SOMERS, N.Y. – Phase II of The Mews at Baldwin Place, Somers’ affordable housing complex on Route 6, is on the horizon. Like The Mews Phase I, it will be restricted to older citizens, but the minimum age will be 55 instead of 62.
The Planning Board has given preliminary approval of the site plan, said Rose Noonan, co-developer and executive director of the Housing Action Council, and funding approval has already come from the Westchester County Board of Legislators.
Noonan and her development partner, Ken Kearney, are requesting that the recreation fee be reduced from the $450,000 of The Mews Phase I, to $400,000 for The Mews II. They also want the same agreement for payments in lieu of taxes, which included exemption from real estate taxes in return for a payment of $500 per unit, to be increased annually by 3 percent over a four-year period.
The Planning Board wondered if it is usual to ask for a reduced recreation fee. “Yes,” replied Kearney. “This is the highest one I’ve paid. Sometimes I pay none at all.”
“I know that Phase I did not count toward the HUD affordable housing requirement,” Town Board member Rick Morrissey said, referring to an affordable housing settlement that the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development reached with Westchester County. “Would that be the case with Phase II?”
“No, this would count toward the settlement,” said Kearney. There are 72 units in The Mews II plan.
Supervisor Mary Beth Murphy asked whether the age restrictions were in keeping with federal regulations.
“It complies with both the federal fair housing law and the goals of the HUD settlement,” Kearney said.
Phase I has been a great success, Kearney said. “There’s a great synergy there. It has 100 percent occupancy, with a very long waiting list. It’s my favorite project. Every time I pass it, I hug it. I’m very proud.”
“When you drive by, it doesn’t look like affordable housing. It’s as nice as any development around,” he added.
A public hearing on The Mews II is scheduled for the March 14 Town Board meeting. The builders hope to start building in June, with a completion date of a year to a year and a half.