As the date for the start of the long-awaited Palmer Avenue Streetscape in Larchmont draws closer and final costs are assessed, the village board considered a proposal last night to have a portion of the costs for the project shared by 60 village property owners.
“We are copying a program that was done in 2004-05 on Boston Post Road,” said Mayor Anne McAndrews, referring to a past sidewalk improvement plan.
Each property owner’s share of the approximately $320K that the village is hoping to assess back to them as part of the working of a bond, would be determined by measuring both the linear feet of curbing and square footage of sidewalk in front of their property, not including trees, tree wells, vaults or light posts, said McAndrews.
By way of example, McAndrews described the potential impact for , a store that occupies a significant amount of space on Palmer Avenue. In her estimation, the store, with approximately 55 linear feet of curbing, would contribute $7,352 to the project which, paid out over a 15-year bond, would be $627 annually.
Further, she said to allay some concerns voiced by business owners, this special assessment would not be added to the assessed value of individual properties.
“This is a business expense, this is deductible….it comes out to be much less netted,” she said.
The current estimates for the cost of the project total $1.7 million and are broken down as follows: a $1.27 million bid awarded to for completion of the project; $304K for professional work; $40K for curbing and a 10 percent contingency of $126K as part of the accepted bid. Of that amount, and $320K as part of the proposed property owner’s share. The remaining $605K would be borrowed by the village and paid back over a 15-year period at $51K per year with a 3.75 percent interest rate.
“For us to have done all this project on our own dollar, on your dollar, would have been considerably more expensive,” said Trustee Marlene Kolbert, referring to grant funding that the village received.
But some business owners were concerned that the project’s construction would only compound the parking and traffic concerns that plague certain parts of the business district.
“We are going to try our damndest to have as much as we can have done by the end of October,” said McAndrews in response to the concern.
The five-month project will begin between East and West Avenues near Palmer Avenue, continue to Ann Taylor, and then across Palmer toward Harry’s Burritos. Merchants that will be affected by the project will be notified in advance; there will be no parking in front of the area being worked on until the work is completed.
Next steps will include the board making a determination as to the amount to be shared by property owners and then individual assessments will be calculated and mailed to each owner. Following that, there will be another public hearing to discuss the assessments.
Board members, however, remained confident that the project would do much to revive the village's business district.
“In order to keep the village up to snuff, every now and then you have to invest the money in fixing your infrastructure,” said Kolbert.