Letters To The Editor

Letters To The Editor 06.01.23

Homeless Vets / Housing / Zoning Policies

In the last few weeks, the Times Union has been reporting about “Group accused of making up story about homeless vets being evicted to make room for migrants [TU May 19, 2023]. Although this was a fabricated scenario, there are still vets and others without places to sleep or live. Per Axios, since 1999 rent has increased by 134.9% where as income has only increased by 76.8% [https://www.axios.com/2023/05/22/americas-growing-rent-burden#]. 

Housing and zoning policies directly relate the increase in rent. Per the Brookings Institution, parking requirements and foundations are driving up the cost of the multifamily housing. Further, the Victoria Transport Policy published analysis in May 2023 stating, “Based on typical affordable housing development costs, one parking space per unit typically increases moderate-priced housing costs approximately 12%, and two parking spaces increases lower-priced housing costs by 25%. Since parking costs increase as a percentage of rent for lower priced housing, and low income households tend to own fewer vehicles, parking minimums are unfair and regressive.”

Beyond outdated and bad parking mandates, policies that limit the number of multifamily dwellings (like the current multi-family moratorium in North Greenbush) directly limit the supply of housing options. When supply is constricted, demand and thus rents increase.

We need to explore our zoning and housing policies to see how they are contributing to housing issues.

Michael Myer, North Greenbush

Save the Historic WSL Firehouse

The historic Garfield School on Route 2 in Eagle Mills was conveyed by the Brittonkill School District to the Town of Brunswick in 1986 and became home to the Garfield Reading Center (the precursor to the public library) and the Brunswick Historical Society. The Garfield School is listed on both the State and National Register of Historic Places. The Garfield School was built in 1881, eight years after the 1873 West Sand Lake Firehouse – which the WSL fire department now wants to bulldoze and replace with lawn and landscaping (and no doubt an electronic sign).

In Sand Lake, we have “a history” of successfully repurposing our old historic buildings. Former School District #7 in Averill Park is now the Sgt. Walter Adams American Legion Post and our original Town Hall (and before that the 1835 Sand Lake Presbyterian Church) is the home of the Sand Lake Center for the Arts. Other prominent historic buildings in town that have found new uses include Old Daley’s on Crooked Lake, Perry-Komdat Funeral Chapel, Tighe’s Bistro Americain, Towne Tavern, LaPerla at the Gregory House, Kay’s Pizza, Young’s Pharmacy and General Store, the Arlington House, Arts Letters Numbers at Faith Mills, Homeroom Lofts, SHAC Community Center, Dater House Antiques, and (soon) the Sand Lake Merchant. And maybe your house, too! Is it possible you and all the people behind these preservation efforts were misguided and the WSLFD has the right vision for Sand Lake? Do we want West Sand Lake to become just another charmless suburban strip? Demolishing the historic 1873 West Sand Lake Firehouse is an extremely bad idea and wrong for Sand Lake. Fire Department leadership, public officials, and community leaders need to find and adopt an alternative solution and Save the Historic West Sand Lake Firehouse.

Peter Finn, Averill Park

North Greenbush Town Board squanders town money in purchase of Electric Vehicle Chargers

In 2021, the North Greenbush Climate Smart Committee, which I chaired, pursued state and utility funding to finance the installation of two level 2 electric vehicle charging stations at town hall. At the August 2021 board meeting, we unanimously approved a resolution authorizing the supervisor to sign an agreement with Potentia Management Group for this project. At the time, the installation of this charging station was estimated to cost $20,685 and was eligible for $19,145 in rebates from the utility and NYSERDA, a state authority. The total project cost to the town at the time -$1,500. Although it passed the resolution, the GOP leadership did not proceed with this project in 2021 as it was an election year and they did not want to advance any of the Climate Smart committee’s initiatives, including the charging stations. Instead, they turned their attention to churning out sensational and baseless political mailers. While the GOP town board members wasted time on partisan political wrangling, the state program rebate program expired. The price for the charging stations also increased by $1,000 each. Realizing it would look bad to backtrack on its pledge to install the stations, the town board passed yet another resolution at its June 2022 meeting which would allow it to proceed with the original purchase. The new cost to the town-$10,000 instead of $1,500. Town residents won’t hear about these extra costs to taxpayers now that the stations are finally installed. Instead, the GOP will put out a press release patting themselves on the back for their “environmentalism”. The town board majority continues to put politics and their own survival ahead of the taxpayers and residents of North Greenbush.

Mary Frances Sabo, North Greenbush

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