(This story was published on September 19, 2013)
Kisco's Village Board of Trustees approved a resolution calling for
any property tax exemption for The Hearth at Mount Kisco that is
granted by the Westchester County Industrial Development Agency
(IDA) to be entirely offset by a payment in lieu of taxes
The resolution, passed 3-0 in a special Tuesday meeting, opposes any attempt from The Hearth to pay less than what it would otherwise pay for property taxes, criticizing anything that is "disproportionately shifting the tax burden to other property owners within the affected taxing jurisdictions."
Mayor Michael Cindrich, along with trustees Jean Farber and Karen Schleimer approved the resolution, while Deputy Mayor George Griffin and Trustee Anthony Markus were absent.
If The Hearth, a proposed 129-unit senior housing complex, gets a property tax exemption, it would affect taxes for Mount Kisco and the Bedford Central School District. During an environmental review for an earlier iteration of the project, it was projected to bring in $495,000 in annual tax revenue, Village Attorney Whitney Singleton recently said.
The development team applied to the IDA because exemptions are being sought for sales and mortgage recording taxes; the board is not challenging a request to waive the latter two taxes. Property taxes are tied in but the application requires having the applicant enter into negotiations with the village for a PILOT, Mark Miller, an attorney for the applicant, told the planning board. At the planning board meeting, Miller emphasized that the project would technically get an exemption.
The resolution is also critical of the fact that the village was not informed of a request for tax exemptions through the IDA until Aug. 28. It states that the applicant had previously represented the project as being subject to property taxes and benefiting tax jurisdictions. Members of the planning board, which is overseeing an application for site plan and special permit approval, blasted the bid when they were alerted to it by Singleton at a late-August meeting. Bedford Central's school board is also not happy about the matter not previously being represented.
A public hearing for the exemptions was opened on Sept. 11 by the IDA. It was continued until Thursday and then closed. The IDA is slated to vote on the exemptions. The village is still in discussions with the developer over how to resolve the issue, according to Village Manager James Palmer.
The Hearth is proposed for a 17.7-acre hillside property at 270 Kisco Ave., across the street from Holiday Inn Drive. It includes 80 units for assisted or enriched living and 40 for memory care, it was explained at the planning board meeting.
The site, once owned by the Swiss Benevolent Society, is currently owned by the village, which is slated to swap it for a smaller parcel along Mountain Avenue that was formerly the site of the Town and Country senior center. That deal stems from a 2005 lawsuit settlement with developer Robert Mishkin, who sued because he was unable to get approval from the village for expanding the senior center's use. Mishkin's parcel was also formerly owned by the Swiss Benevolent Society.
The original proposal for the Kisco Avenue site, called Westchester Residence & Club, also had 129 units but called for a larger building and a different footprint. It was given an environmental review by the planning board from 2006-09 and the village board of trustees rezoned the site in 2009. The plan was halted amid a bad economy and it did not resurface until 2012, when Mishkin came back with Hearth Management and Fortus Group as new majority business partners.
The planning board will take up the proposal again, including continuing a public hearing for its special permit request, at its Sept. 24 meeting, according to its agenda.