Lloyd puts Affordable Housing Law on hold

By Mark Reynolds
Posted 7/19/23

Recently, Lloyd Supervisor Dave Plavchak put the town’s Affordable Housing Law on hold. He has been critical of the law, calling it unworkable in its present form, and indicated that he will …

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Lloyd puts Affordable Housing Law on hold


Recently, Lloyd Supervisor Dave Plavchak put the town’s Affordable Housing Law on hold. He has been critical of the law, calling it unworkable in its present form, and indicated that he will soon make a motion for a board vote to repeal the law and work to create another one in its place.

Mountainside Woods developer David Weinberg, in his site plan approval, indicated that he is required to build 16 affordable houses spread out across his project; however, he has already built seven market rate homes on 16 of these lots. This prompted Councilman Joe Mazzetti to bring forth a resolution to have Weinberg substitute other lots within his project in order to meet the affordable requirement. The map that Weinberg provided the Town Board does not show new substitutions, but instead shows seven of the 16 lots that he has already built on.

Since the law went into effect 13 years ago, to date there is not one affordable housing unit in the Town of Lloyd. In the last 10 years, as a number of residential projects were being approved by the Planning Board, no objection was raised by the town’s land use attorney, pointing out the lack of required affordable housing within these projects.

Plavchak said he recently requested information from all 23 municipalities in Ulster County on whether they are providing affordable housing in their town codes. He received 13 responses showing that only three have affordable housing laws in place; the City of Kingston, the Village of New Paltz and the Village of Saugerties. He said Kingston has a full time Housing Director, New Paltz a volunteer Housing Board and Saugerties has a Housing and Urban Development [HUD] office. The town of Accord has language on affordable housing in their comprehensive plan but has not yet codified it into law.

“We have to figure out what is right for Lloyd because what we have right now doesn’t work, hasn’t been enforced and is probably not enforceable the way it’s written,” Plavchak said.

Plavchak said he reviewed the Mountainside Woods project, finding out that the town never gave the project the extra 10 percent density bonus as provided for in the affordable housing law. He recalled that in 2011 Weinberg initially wanted to build 211 units but the Planning Board, of which Plavchak was then a member, cut it to 162 units, while the project’s yield plan indicated they could build 182 units. Plavchak noted that the Ulster County Planning Board, in their review, pointed out that the project had nothing for affordable housing in their plan and told the town to pick 16 units to meet the requirements.

“The [Lloyd] Planning Board and the developer did that, which was probably wrong because the Planning Board should have referred it to the Town Board because the Town Board is the one that enforces that [affordable] law,” he said.

Plavchak said if the town tells Weinberg to go back and build on these designated affordable lots, he may ask why is the town forcing him to build these units now, indicating that Weinberg may sue the town.

“At the same time, we’ve had three other developments built in that time frame where the law wasn’t enforced,” he said. “Right now I’m on hold on the affordable housing and will finish my research and I will try to come up with something that will make sense for our town...instead of making it an issue just because we have this one developer that hasn’t finished yet and we want to suddenly turn this into an issue. That’s where I’m at on it and if anybody wants to challenge me, I’m more than willing to have a discussion.”

Plavchak favors hiring a Housing Administrator but believes it should be a separate, full time position that may cost the town about $100,000 annually, inclusive of salary and benefits. He said the Administrator would be charged with, “determining income eligibility and maintain a list of who is eligible; handle the process of matching people to the houses; track available units for sale; decide the resale prices and the renewable requirements; work with the town’s tax assessor to determine possible real estate tax exemptions, if necessary, to get them under the limit; determine occupancy requirements; confirm ownership and deed restrictions; handle maintenance; enforce the units appeal process; and work with the county, state and other agencies on the qualifications to be a Housing Administrator, which is renewable every four years.”

Plavchak said currently the town is not budgeted to hire an individual at this salary level for the Administrator position, adding that it should be discussed while planning for the town’s 2024 budget. He said he still has an open part-time position to assist the town’s bookkeeper, which will be posted and filled this year.

David E. Barton II (Director of Building, Planning and Zoning Enforcement) said, after reviewing the town’s affordable housing formula, it is “impossible” today for a developer to build a house for $174,000, an amount he arrived at that would meet the affordable statute.

“The code assumes you are going to build one at market rate and build one that is affordable and the profit you made from the extra one would offset the cost of the affordable one, so there would be a wash [but] that’s not the case now. The prices now, country-wide, might be inflated, and there probably will be an adjustment, but it might not be much.”
Plavchak agreed with that cost estimate and has stated several times that people who purchase a $450,000 home in the Mountainside Woods development would see a difference when they see a $174,000 home built next to them. A provision in the current affordable housing law, however, requires that a developer must make the exteriors of the affordable homes ‘indistinguishable’ from the market rate ones.

Plavchak continues to stress that the current affordable housing law does not work for the Town of Lloyd.

“You can’t have a static law; when the market is changing and the law is not changing and I don’t know how you keep up with that. I’ve said since I’ve been here, that I think we need to change that law.”

Plavchak noted that the Mountainside Woods is a conservation subdivision where the developer was approved for 162 units and the town received 125 acres that will never be built on. The developer also gave the town $250,000 that is going toward the in-progress Tillson/Toc road realignment project.