by Alexander Roberts
After more than a decade of fights over size and design, Tarrytown’s affordable housing project at 21Wildey Street is well on its way to a projected completion date of November 30. But a new controversy has arisen over how to define “affordable,” which will determine who is eligible for the 12 new apartments.
The development was authorized under the village’s old “moderate income” housing ordinance, which defined affordability based upon the income of village employees. In addition, it included preferences for village employees and fire and ambulance corps members.
The building was constructed on the site of Tarrytown’s old village hall by National RE/sources of Greenwich, Connecticut as part of the agreement that opened the way for that developer to build its Hudson Harbor residences on the waterfront.
In 2009, Westchester County was sued by the federal department of Housing and Urban Development for failing to “affirmatively further fair housing” in its use of federal funds. The consent decree resulted in the county promoting a more restrictive “model ordinance.” In 2012, Tarrytown adopted that ordinance, which prohibits preferences and sets much lower income thresholds of affordability than the old village law.
While it was always understood that the village would follow the old requirements, so much time has passed that the Tarrytown Board of Trustees recently asked its attorneys, Steve Silverberg and Kathy Zalantis, for an opinion. They will deliver their opinion at a work session on July 12.
“I’m inclined to think we will have to abide by the new provisions,” said Tarrytown Village Administrator Richard Slingerland.
The new ordinance defines an affordable rental apartment as affordable to a household with income of no more than 60% of the Area Median Income, adjusted by family size. For a family of two, this works out to a maximum of $53,520. It’s $60,180 for a family of three.
Asked how potential tenants might apply for the housing, the village administrator encouraged them to attend the village work session on July 12th.