WPWeek for 3-8 has been posted
the link to youtube is https://youtu.be/h38OlLGtdPI
The link to whiteplainsweek.com
KAT BREZLER ADDRESSING COMMON COUNCIL ON WHITE PLAINS WEEK
ON THE WESTCHESTER SOCIAL FORUM
PLUS DIANE TORSTRUP OF WESTCHESTER4CHANGE AND LEGISLATORS’ RESPONSIVENESS
DELIA MARX ON DRIVERS’ LICENSES FOR NON-CITIZENS IN NYS
STEPHANIE LOW ON WORKSHOP
THE YOU TUBE LINK IS
WPCNR ALBANY ROUNDS. From the New York State Budget Director Robert Mujica. March 3, 2019:
“The Governor has said that the challenge for this budget is dealing with the fiscal realities of revenue shortfalls and an unstable economy.
At our revenue forecasting conference, independent nationally recognized economists, including those invited by the Legislature, warned of a slowing economy.
The Federal SALT tax changes are hurting our economy and limiting our revenue raising options in the result of a recession.
“The revenue forecast is an essential starting point for the State budget, and the Senate, Assembly and Executive do not agree on a revenue estimate, with the Senate insisting on much higher revenues than the Assembly or Executive. By law, we now turn to the Comptroller for a binding revenue estimate.
“While the budget discussion always has differing political priorities and opinions, facts are still facts and numbers are still numbers and the numbers must govern a legitimate budget.
The Governor has said getting the budget done on time is important but it is more important to get the budget right. Because of our record of prudent budgeting, we have never had to do a mid-year budget correction, and we are not about to start now.”
WPCNR COMMON COUNCIL CHRONICLE-EXAMINER. From the City of White Plains. (Edited) March 1, 2019:
The proposal being put forward, which was presented to the Common Council at its work session on February 25th, would expand the City’s Affordable Rental Housing Program (ARHP) in several ways.
First, it would make the program applicable citywide in areas where multi-family housing with 10 or more units is permitted by the Zoning Code. Currently, the program applies primarily in the downtown area.
Second, the proposal expands eligibility for the program to those whose incomes are 50% of AMI.
The City’s current Analysis of Impediments to Fair Housing Choice reveals that there are few housing options for those in this income range.
Subsidized housing exists for those whose income is below the 50% AMI threshold, and the ARHP is available to those whose income is above this threshold. This change would close an important identified gap in the current program.
Third, the proposal would increase affordable set aside amounts to 12% of units at 80% AMI and to 8% at 50% and 60% AMI.
Fourth, the proposal would establish a buy-out of the required affordable rental units as an option for developers.
The funds generated from the buy-out option would go into the city’s existing Affordable Housing Assistance Fund (AHAF) and would be used to create a range of housing assistance programs and more affordable units.
For example, the funds could be used for down payment assistance, the rehabilitation of existing properties, to subsidize existing housing stock, to purchase properties for public-private partnerships, and to defray a portion of the city’s administrative costs associated with management of the program.
Finally, the proposal includes increasing the annual income eligibility limits under the Senior Citizen Rental Income Exemption (SCRIE) and Disabled Rental Income Exemption (DRIE) programs. These are state programs in which the city has participated for many years. Several years ago the city increased the income eligibility limit to its current $30,000 level
.In an effort to encourage more participation in these programs, the proposal would increase the income eligibility limits to the current state maximum of $50,000/year.
These programs apply to those who live in Emergency Tenant Protection Act (ETPA) buildings, of which there are many in the city. Tenants in ETPA buildings who are participating in the SCRIE or DRIE programs are protected from rent increases and building owners receive a tax credit for their participation in the program.
The proposal is currently being discussed by the Common Council and will ultimately require the passage of a local ordinance and amendments to the City’s Zoning Ordinance
The City of White Plains has shown a strong commitment to affordable housing. Its program, which has been in place since 2003, requires multi-family developments to provide a 10% set-aside of affordable units reserved for those at 80% of the Westchester County Area Median Income (AMI) range. Alternatively, a developer could seek Common Council approval to provide 6% affordable units at the lower 60% AMI range. AMI is determined annually by HUD.
“While this program has certainly been successful in creating affordable rental housing units in the city, we recognize that maintaining White Plains as an affordable place to live for people of all income levels strengthens our city. It also requires our consistent attention to ensure that our program is meeting the housing needs of our residents,” said Mayor Tom Roach.
WPCNR THE LETTER TICKER. From the Rosedale Residents Association. March 1, 2019:
The RRA Board would like to alert you that there is a public hearing at City Hall (255 Main St.) on Monday March 4th, at 7:30 pm to consider two applications for zoning changes in the(C-O) campus office zone located in our community.
These applications are as follows:
If you would like to learn more about the proposed project in advance of these meetings:
WPCNA (White Plains Council of Neighborhood Associations), North Street, and Rosedale met with developer Robert Weisz, of the RPW Group on Tuesday February 26.
He has an excellent reputation. He is transparent, reachable and professional. He is very passionate about developing this new mix use project concept in the campus office zone in White Plains.
His property at 1133 Westchester Ave. is on 74 acres and his proposal to the city is to utilize 20 acres. Ten years ago, he received approval from the city to build a 120-room hotel and office complex on the same site where the current proposed residential housing will be built. Due to the market conditions at the time he cancelled hotel-office project.
The RRA Board urges you to attend the public hearing on Monday March 4 at City Hall.
We have three properties in the Rosedale community in the Campus Zone that potentially could petition for this overlay zoning variance to build residential apartments in our low-density zone.
These properties are as follows; 1311 Mamaroneck Ave, 1301 Mamaroneck Ave, and 1275 Mamaroneck Ave. In addition, there are another five properties in the South of White plains which are as follows; 250 North Street, 701-777 Westchester Ave, 925-1025 Westchester Ave, 1111-1129 Westchester Ave, and 1101 Westchester Ave. These eight properties add up to an additional 161 acres in this campus zone.
(Editor’s Note: WPCNR has learned the Council of Neighborhood Associations had requested the Mayor’s Office that this hearing be postponed.)
On September 5, the union said, a new cleaning company , Zobber Janitorial and Cleaning, took over the contract of the properties, and refused to rehire most of the building’s workers. None of the eight night cleaners received any written offer of employment. The new cleaning contractor is paying half-time workers almost a third less than previous employees, earned, with none of the union benefits.
Lenore Friedlaendar of the SEIU told WPCNR the SEIU is examining the options available to the union after they learn all the circumstances of the sale of the property.
The youtube link is https://youtu.be/GEF8MfIlP8w the whiteplainsweek.com link is http://www.whiteplainsweek.com/
WPCNR SCHOOL DAYS. By John F. Bailey. February 27, 2019:
Superintendent of Schools Dr. Joseph Ricca said Monday evening the district was awaiting the unveiling of the 2019 City Assessment Roll due out Friday March 1 and other specific information to determine whether or not the tentative budget of approximately $225 Million announced two weeks ago would have to be reconsidered.
The White Plains City Assessor, Lloyd Tasch, told WPCNR this morning that it appeared at this time the assessment roll “would break even” with last year, which would be good news for the city and the school district. Other information would most likely be status of certain Payments In Lieu of Taxes.
The School Board proceeded to hear presentations from the heads of the Technology, Transportation, Food Service, and Facilities Departments. Each of which went into more detail of the breadth of services the district maintains every year in some of the most extensive presentations this observer has seen in 19 years of covering this school district.
The most impressive sweep of progress was detailed by Ron Velez, Director of Management Information Systems. Mr. Velez outlined the main expenditures for the upcoming 2019-20 year in the slide above.
In the video below, Dr. Ricca explains how the overall budget awaits input from the city and introduces Ron Velez who presents the impressive upgrading of school technology through iPADS, which every parent should be aware of, and explains in more detail the technology upgrades for 2019-20
WPCNR COMMON COUNCIL CHRONICLE-EXAMINER. By John F. Bailey. February 27, 2019.UPDATED:
Mayor Tom Roach introduced the concept of bicycles for rent ten months ago in May, 2018, when two companies were selected to introduce fleets of smart looking bicycles to rent by smart phone apps in White Plains. One company left the city after two months.
Lime Bikes stayed and ten months later the local managers of the Lime operation of 300 bikes (activated by phone ap), declared the program a success.
In ten months of availability at cluster locations in White Plains, the company reported 8,900 unique riders have taken 43,000 trips at a $1 a HALF- hour each, the average length of trip being 9 minutes. Of the 8,900 unique riders, each averaged 4 trips a month. 62% of riders take another trip within 30 days.
The most bicycle trips are to and from the White Plains Train Station. Other destinations are White Plains Hospital and Mamaroneck Avenue. The main complaint comes from bikes being parked in residential areas. An efficient bicycle retrieval sweep daily has cut down on the residential bike dropoffs. (No statistics were stated).
The company is eager to continue the program with the city.
They introduced a battery-equipped bike that through a torque system, supplements the power of a cyclist’s pedaling that will supply extra power to a cyclist when climbing hills.
The presenters told the council that the torque boost only works when the cyclist is pedaling. They hope to introduce the “Lime Lightening” (as WPCNR has dubbed the new bike) on April 1, and bring more to the Lime White Plains Fleet May 1. The battery-equipped bikes will be swapped out with a certain number of the solely cyclist powered bikes, the exact ratio to be determined by the power bike popularity. An addition of 15 cents per minute will be added to the $ 1 charge per hour, for the convenience of the torque-battery bike, they said.
Concerns were raised about safety issues, but the managers presenting did not have any knowledge of accidents involving the bikes. Councilman Dennis Krolian raised concerns about insurance, but the presenters said that in being eligible to rent the bicycles by purchasing the Lime bike app, the user of a Lime Bike agrees to a waiver of liability. The managers said they are in the process of creating an data retrieval system that would track accidents and incidents.
The Council, WPCNR believes has to make the demo program permanent or extend the Pilot.