Village of Mamaroneck Board Considering Changes to Escrow Account

Proposal discussed at the village Board of Trustees' work session at the Regatta last night would streamline land use permit application process, provide exemptions to hardship cases.

Village residents could end up paying less to apply for land use approvals if the Board of Trustees enacts proposed changes to village code that would allow for hardship exemptions in certain cases.

Exemptions could potentially apply to the requirement that residents seeking land use permits are currently required to pay for professional consulting fees incurred by the village during the permitting process.

The board also seeks to foster uniformity among various land use boards, which will be required to use the same professional consultants when reviewing a particular application.

“We’re working on stopping any overlap or duplication of effort for residents who bring an application before multiple boards,” said Trustee Toni Pergola Ryan. 

“Better cooperation between boards is always something to be pursued,” said village land use attorney Lester Steinman.

A lively discussion ensued when the board considered the exemption provisions. The proposed law reads: “Where, based on circumstances particular to the income and assets of the applicant, the applicant establishes by clear and convincing proof that compliance would create a significant financial hardship, the Board of Trustees, in its discretion, may grant a partial or total waiver of the escrow and fee reimbursement requirements of this Chapter.”

Mayor Norm Rosenblum questioned the provision’s vague wording. Steinman answered that the law would provide a general framework and not consider individual cases.

Trustee John Hofstetter questioned if a “shell” real estate corporation established to build a project in the village—usually created just to oversee the proposed development and thus showing no assets—would be able to claim a hardship.

“There could be all kinds of games played with this,” he cautioned.

Sue McCrory January 19, 2012 at 01:09 PM
I reviewed the proposed law and noted with concern that there is NO LIMIT to the amount that might be charged. That's quite scary. Mr. Steinman's firm charged nearly $17,000 in legal fees to the Shore Acres Property Owners and the Golubs over a relatively minor dispute about whether Mamaroneck Beach & Yacht's site plan met the zoning regulations with respect to parking. If it costs $17,000 to evaluate whether a parking lot needs a hard surface so that spaces can be permanently marked, just imagine the amount the income that Mr. Steinman's firm can expect to pump from Village residents in a year. Imagine that if you want a minor variance, your neighbors can stream to the land use board with comments, jacking up the "cost" to you. If you object because a neighbor got a permit without the required approvals or variance, the cost to you of objecting will be huge. Imagine, $20,000 to contest a wrongly-issued permit on an adjoining lot. It's ridiculous. This will be an interesting policy choice for the Board of Trustees. I hope they do not swallow this proposal the way it is written. I urge residents to submit comments to the Board of Trustees opposing this.
Doreen Roney January 19, 2012 at 06:02 PM
Where can this proposed new law be found?
Stefani Kim January 19, 2012 at 07:48 PM
Hi Doreen, The law has not yet been uploaded to the website under the Proposed Local Laws tab yet. I will e-mail the village manager and upload a copy as soon as I get one. Best, Stefani
Stefani Kim January 24, 2012 at 08:27 PM
Hi Doreen, I was told by Village Manager Rich Slingerland that since the law is still being drafted it is not yet available for release. I will post a copy once it's completed. Best, Stefani
Doreen Roney January 24, 2012 at 09:19 PM
Thank you for following up on this Stefani.


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