Affordable housing questions remain in Lloyd

By Mark Reynolds
Posted 3/29/23

At the March 15 Lloyd Town Board meeting Councilman Joe Mazzetti asked Supervisor Dave Plavchak whether David Weinberg, developer of the Mountainside Woods project, has built any of his affordable …

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Affordable housing questions remain in Lloyd


At the March 15 Lloyd Town Board meeting Councilman Joe Mazzetti asked Supervisor Dave Plavchak whether David Weinberg, developer of the Mountainside Woods project, has built any of his affordable housing units. These housing units are listed as required conditions on his approved site plan. Plavchak tossed the question back to Mazzetti, saying, “You were on the [town] board when you guys approved it, so you tell me. I’ve already said I’m not going backwards on stuff.”

In an interview, town attorney Sean Murphy said conditions on approved site plans cannot be ignored and must be enforced.

Plavchak later clarified his comments about the Mountainside Woods project in a phone interview with the Southern Ulster Times.

“I never said that they shouldn’t be enforced. I said I personally am not going backwards. The rest of the Town Board is welcome to vote on something, so make a motion,” he said. “The law says the Town Board enforces it.”

In the town’s Affordable Housing law, it appears that a Housing Administrator is the person who does the enforcement to ensure that developers are meeting the law’s requirements. In the 10 years since the law went into effect, the Town Board once appointed Building Administrator Dave Barton to the position of Administrator, but more than a year later he informed the board that administrating this law is not part of his job description. Since then, the town has not appointed anyone to the position.

Plavchak said, “I haven’t heard how somebody’s going to enforce it and how they’re going to go back and do it. If you read that law, it says that we should have hired a Housing Administrator [but] we don’t have one...You have to hire an administrator with the right skills to do that job and someone on the board has to bring that forward and nobody has brought that forward that I know of.”

Plavchak admitted that although the town does not have the resources to administer the housing program, “stopping someone from building something because the town can’t enforce it is unfair also.” He said he personally believes Ulster County should supply Housing Administrators for each of the towns.

Years ago, when Terresa Bakner was the town’s Land Use attorney, she informed the Town Board that they can go back and require developers of already built residential projects to provide the proper number of affordable housing units. The board has refused to take any action on these projects, and to date the Town of Lloyd does not have a single affordable housing unit.

Weinberg’s attorney Jayne Weinberg and the town worked out the details that resulted in making 16 affordable of a total of 168 units. These were shown on a map of the project that was submitted to the Planning Board. Each of the proposed affordable lots were numbered and shaded and spread out across the entire project. In addition, Weinberg’s approved site plan states that he can substitute other lots for his initial ones, but any substitutions have to be approved by Building Inspector Dave Barton and they must be in compliance with all town code provisions. A response to a Freedom of Information Law [FOIL] request stated that “no records exist” from the developer nor from Barton concerning substitutions.

The results of a search on the Ulster County Parcel viewer showed that Weinberg sold five of what were required affordable homes at prices ranging from a low of $294,875 to a high of $394,900 from 2017 through 2022.

Very recently, Weinberg took his price scale to another level, selling two homes on Emerson Terrace for $475,000 and $580,000, though it is unclear if these particular lots were earmarked for affordable homes. The town’s Building Department had to issue Certificates of Occupancy in order for Weinberg to proceed with these seven sales.

Over the past two years, the Town Board sought to hire the non-profit Rural Ulster Preservation Company [RUPCO] to handle the administrative aspects of their affordable program.

Records released through FOIL show that Barton reached out to RUPCO via email once in 2021 and twice in 2022, asking if the agency would be able to administer the town’s affordable housing program. There are no emails back from RUPCO showing a detailed plan on how the agency could help the town.

Maru Gonzalez, Brand Manager and Executive Coordinator to the Chief Executive Officer of RUPCO, said there were a few conversations with the Town of Lloyd Administration, “but there’s not been anything concrete to move forward.” Additionally, she said RUPCO has never managed a percent of an Affordable Housing project.

“What we have done in the past is if there is a 50 unit development that is all affordable, then we could potentially manage it. We have never manged 10 percent of somebody else,” she said. “We provide property management, so we are the landlord for all of the building.”

RUPCO CEO Kevin O’Connor added some clarification on his agency’s interaction with the town.

“We discussed doing this but we never got to a point of coming to terms on any implementation, so we have never stepped in to do it and it just never got to a point where we made an agreement to do it,” he said. “With what I understand, they’ve had this on the books for awhile and they hadn’t enforced it.”

O’Connor acknowledged that RUPCO may be partially at fault.

“I asked a staff member to get involved; we were busy on a million other things and we might have dropped the ball on this,” he said. “We were going to propose something and we might not have [but] we’re open to further discussion on it.”