September 18, 2015
Letter: Local Clergy Question Starwood Development Plan
The Starwood development at the United Hospital site will have great consequences for our village. It depends on what the final agreement is. We the undersigned feel that the final outcome depends on a number of issues.
Will the Village accept the Starwood proposed PILOT which over its 20-year life would reduce tax revenues by $58 million — $34 million to the schools, $10 million to the Village and the rest to the county and state. If it is accepted, the burden would be on the taxpayers of Port Chester to cover the school and needed infrastructure expenditures that without the PILOT would be met.
Will the Village allow Starwood to demolish 134 units of affordable housing without replacing them? 999 High Street will be demolished in the present Starwood design which would eliminate 134 units of badly needed housing. The overcrowding in the Village can only be expected to worsen if affordable units are demolished and not replaced thus increasing pressure on an already overburdened housing market. A 20% set aside in the development would address this loss as would a fund set aside solely for the construction of 134 units in Port Chester. Of course the issue with the latter suggestion is the lack of other buildable parcels.
What can the Village do to insure that in their construction Starwood will hire local workers at good wages and offer training so that laborers can increase their skill sets and thus become even more productive members of our community?
The increase in housing units and commercial buildings on the proposed scale will of course increase demands on our public safety system. We do not feel that has been adequately addressed in Starwood’s proposal either.
While we do not have all the answers to these concerns, we feel it is incumbent upon our village, especially our village board, to satisfactorily address them. It is a matter of justice from our faith traditions and a matter of fairness to our fellow citizens.
Father Hilario Albert
St. Peter’s Episcopal Church
Rabbi Jaymee Alpert
Congregation Kneses Tifereth Israel|
Rev. J. Bruce Baker
All Souls Parish
Pastor Jim O’Hanlon
St. Paul’s Lutheran Church
Pastor Natalie Wimberly
St. Frances AME Zion Church