Tonawanda News

October 30, 2013

Candidate opposed to LL Drive contract|CANDIDATE LETTER: Koch opposed to LL Drive deal

The Tonawanda News

Tonawanda News — As Election Day, Tuesday, Nov. 5, draws near, I feel that it is important for me to share my views on the issues that the City of Tonawanda and the Fourth Ward race. It is with this in mind that I would like to provide you with some information on my stance regarding the proposed contract of sale between the City of Tonawanda and Natale Developers, for the land on Little League Drive.

I have spent a considerable amount of time going door to door and speaking with the residents of our ward. In doing so, I have determined that there are growing concerns regarding the potential sale of this land. I have taken the time to highlight some of the concerns in the following bullets:

• Natale Developers will be agreeing to pay $192,000 for the project. This ends up being less than 39 percent of the 16.94 acre property’s value.

• Under this proposal, new homes in the development will actually be classified under New York State’s Condominium Status. This means they will only be assessed at 65 percent of their value, essentially creating a permanent 35 percent tax break.

• With the exception of waste disposal services, residents of this development will receive 100 percent of our police, fire, school and Department of Public Works services at 65 percent of cost.

• Tax breaks to this extent have not been provided to other residents. In fact, members of the Fourth Ward are set to face yet another reassessment in the near future.

• The current contract includes three phases, which will result in the development of roughly 56 new homes. The caveat however, is that the City of Tonawanda does not get paid until the completion of each phase. In addition, Natale Developers holds the right to withdraw from the contract, consequence free, at any point throughout the development.

• The City of Tonawanda has denied requests from the school district for four acres of property adjacent to their new Capital Improvement Project. This could create future tension, as the school district is a partial land owner of the old Clinton H. Small Stadium, which the city will be looking to sell or develop in the future.

• In 2009, when the City of Tonawanda issued request for development proposals on Little League Drive, it was specifically stated that condominiums, apartment/duplex units, or patio homes should not be proposed. One can only question why these buildings are up for proposal now.

With the current proposal on the table, I am strongly opposed to the contract of sale. I firmly believe that development in our city can be a positive and rewarding experience, if for the right reasons. However, as an elected member of the Common Council, I would make it my mission to ensure that these experiences are both positive and rewarding for all members of our community, not just a select few. If you have any questions, please call me at 692-3070.

Jenna Koch

Candidate, Fourth Ward

City of Tonawanda