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The city will hold a referendum on the sale of a property on November 8
By Tina Traster
Details have yet to be ironed out between Stony Point City Council and a developer who wants to build a mixed-use project on the former Letchworth village property, but the town says it’s ultimately up to voters to decide whether the land owned by the city should be sold.
City council members on Tuesday unanimously passed a resolution to put the issue to a referendum in the Nov. 8 ballot. The ballot question will ask voters to allow the city to sell the land, subject to its approval of the deal.
“We want the residents to decide,” Stony Point Town supervisor Jim Monaghan said. “We want them to know it’s up to them. It is not our property. It’s your property.
However, city dwellers will likely have to wait until at least August 8.e before they learn the details of an expected memorandum of understanding (MOU), which is underway between the city and a regional developer who proposes to build a multi-faceted community-focused mix of residential units and for the elderly on nearly 30 acres of town-owned and largely abandoned Letchworth Village.
In May, Glen Vetromile, managing director of Hudson Park Group LLC, a real estate development and investment company, presented the city at a public meeting with a flexible plan to build approximately 450 units at market price, including townhouses, condos, multi-family buildings, and 170 assisted and independent senior residences. The project does not include retail or commercial components.
Over the past two months, the two parties have negotiated a memorandum of understanding, taking into account a host of details, including the city’s retention of the Kirkbride building, the developer’s promise to build a recreation center , moving two golf holes, traffic patterns, and other issues.
The developer plans to renovate the Kirkbride Building to relocate the City Court of Justice. The developer proposes to build an approximately 10,000 square foot recreation center on a city-owned parcel of Stony Point Little League property and move the recreation facility now housed in Kirkbride.
The 30 acres the city plans to sell abut the Patriot Hills Golf Course to the east and are located west of Knapp Road, but the golf course will remain in city hands. The developer proposes to relocate and redesign the 15th and 17th holes as the land abuts the proposed subdivisions. No sale price was revealed, but previously the city planned to sell the site for about $3 million to Stony Point resident Raja Amar.
City officials have said they support the project, pointing out that Letchworth has stood ghostly for 26 years, with decaying buildings laden with asbestos. Additionally, the city created an overlay neighborhood in 2014 to encourage mixed-use developments, especially those that provide much-needed housing.
“We are working diligently to reach a fair contract,” Monaghan said, adding that even if residents say yes to a sale, the city is under no obligation to sell the land.
“That doesn’t mean the city has to sell the property,” the supervisor said.
The decision to put the matter to a public vote follows a failed effort by Amar to purchase 26 acres with the Patriot Hills Golf Course to build a luxury hotel/conference center and to upgrade the golf course facilities with a new clubhouse. In November, Amar’s plans were undone by a narrowly won referendum on the electoral ballot. Residents had organized against the plan because many believed Amar lacked the experience to redevelop the complex site. Many have expressed concern that he may eventually resell the property. In addition, some citizens were concerned about the fate of the public golf course.
“This is a proven developer who has done high-end projects in the past and has a reputation for delivering a good product,” said city supervisor Jim Monaghan. “There is a need for this type of housing.