Museum Village may sell some of its land for senior housing

| 21 Feb 2012 | 10:58

    MONROE-In an effort to improve its financial footing, Museum Village may sell an unused portion of its property to developer Jonah Mendelbaum who plans to build 86 units of senior housing on it. The disclosure came during the last Monroe Village Board meeting , during which R.J. Smith, president of the Community Foundation of Orange County, addressed the board on behalf of the Museum Village. He said the museum has been struggling financially in recent years and is interested in selling the unused southeast corner of their property to Mendelbaum. The 2.2-acre corner of the museum property is located near the park and ride along Route 17M. Under the proposal, Museum Village would be a 50 percent owner of the development ; it would own 100 percent of the project in 20 to 30 years. The museum also would receive a few thousand dollars each year from the rental income. The viability of the project depends upon the Village of Monroe permitting the developer to connect into the village water system for the consumption of approximately 4,700 gallons of water a day. Mayor Joseph C. Mancuso said he sensed the concept was favorable to some of the board members and suggested that Lanc & Tully Engineering and Water Superintendent Alan Prince review the plan. Mendelbaum will cover cost. Proposals for new residential and commercial development as well as the potential environmental affects of growth on the village were prominent topics of discussion throughout the last Village Board meeting. In addition to the Museum Village proposal, the board received a request for a zoning change for the Orange & Rockland Building Corporation property located on Route 17M near the intersection with Still Road. The approximate 3-acre site is accessed from Stephen Lane. The proposed zoning change is from a General Business designation to Urban Residential Multi-Family. Although currently zoned for commercial use, the cost to develop the property for retail use would be prohibitive due to new restrictive federal wetland laws. The property has been on the market for eight to nine years and development of market rate senior housing was stated as the best use of the site. The Village Board discussed this change at its joint meeting with the Planning Board on Feb. 1, where the recommendation was that the area remain commercially zoned. However, members of the Village Board said they would not object if Orange & Rockland Building Corporation returned to the Planning Board to restate its argument for the zoning change. Village resident Charles Kirk is strongly opposed to the zoning change "You are talking about putting possible senior housing behind the Captain's Table," Kirk said. "None of the perspective buyers would be looking at those condos on a Friday or Saturday night when the bands are playing down there outside. You are asking for a tremendous problem if you allow this to happen." In other, related business: • The board received correspondence was received from Lanc & Tully Engineering's Project Manager John O'Rourke, who is representing Orange and Rockland Utilities Inc. on the easement request for the proposed 16 -inch gas pipeline crossing in Crane Park. The new pipeline is required to supply the increased demand in the Monroe area. Before it reaches any final agreement, the Village Board recommended that provide full engineering and design. It was determined that the project will not affect any item within the park beyond a temporary construction disturbance. Jim Rogers, from the Monroe Improvement Association, stated he would like to see O&R make an improvement to the park for allowing the easement. • The Village Board received correspondence from Planning Board Chairman Robert Woods in regard to new street names for the Woodroe Estates, a 60-unit subdivision on Orange Turnpike. For historical reasons, the Planning Board recommended six names, two of which have already been used. Trustee John Karl III stated this would be confusing for the emergency 911 phone dispatchers and suggested using the names of the victims from Monroe who lost their lives in the World Trade Center disaster. Karl will consult with the Planning Board to discuss the names. • A request was received from Boris Vay for a waiver of the village's Watershed Rules and Regulations for property he is considering purchasing on Ludlam Road. The location of the lot in relationship to the village's water supply system precludes the use of a septic system. Vay is proposing an alternate system consisting of a wastewater treatment module. O'Rourke, of Lanc & Tully Engineering, said this is an acceptable design, which should protect the village's water supply. The Village Board accepted the recommendation of Lanc & Tully and granted a waiver contingent upon review and approval of the Orange County Department of Health and their acceptance of the alternative system. • The board authorized a public hearing for Tuesday, March 15, to inform the public of current environmental conservation requirements associated with storm water management activities and erosion and sediment controls within the village. • The board discussed the pros and cons of the possibility of the village acquiring control and responsibility for North Main Street ,which is currently an Orange County road. • The Village Board approved a resolution for purchase of a wheel loader to the low bidder: Pine Bush Equipment Company Inc. for $100,200. The wheel loader is a vehicle similar to a hoe with a shovel and is used by the DPW.