Tonawanda News

The City

August 28, 2013

City, Natale detail Little League plans

Natale holds information session on Little League Drive housing development

Tonawanda News — Natale Builders presented their detailed plans for a housing development off Little League Drive Tuesday night at an informational session that dozens of City of Tonawanda residents attended. 

“The proposal is the result of many, many years of hard work,” attorney Laurence Rubin, of Kavinoky Cook LLC, who represented the city in the negotiations with Natale, said at the session. 

Mayor Ron Pilozzi and Natale, the set developer for the property, reached a contract agreement at the end of July, but the council hasn’t approved the plans. The agreement came after almost three years of negotiations with the company and eight weeks of work on the contract itself. 

The document calls for construction of 56 condominium-status homes that will be built in three phases. At least four different models will be available in ranch and two-story designs. The sizes will range from 1,350 square feet to 2,200 square feet, and the homes will cost between $180,000 and $300,000. 

Natale will pay a total of $192,000 for the 16.94-acre property, and will also pay for infrastructure costs at the site, including the installation of roads, water and sewer lines and street lighting. The infrastructure work is estimated to cost between $1.8 million and $2 million. 

“There will be no long-term capital costs for the city, and that is quite an accomplishment,” Rubin said Tuesday. 

In turn for paying for infrastructure costs, Natale requested that the city allow them to classify the homes under the state’s condominium status. 

As a result of the condo status, the homes will be assessed at a reduced rate.

“The result of assessing it that way is that it comes in at about 65 percent of the construction value. Those evaluated at 100 percent with comparable value of construction would be paying more in taxes,” Rubin explained earlier this year. 

Put simply, homeowners whose properties cost $250,000 to buy will pay taxes as if the home was worth $162,500 — a fact that has angered some homeowners who note those in the development won’t be paying their fair share.

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