Give Us a Break, Trustee Olver

The following letter was published in last week’s issue of the Gazette.

To the Editor:

Give us a break, Trustee Olver. 

I am certainly willing to believe that the vision of “affordable private housing for Croton people” such as teachers, young graduates and seniors that you offer in your letter is what you wish will happen when the Municipal Place Gateway and North Riverside corridor are rezoned. However, your letter suggests a much greater chance of that happening, and much more control of that issue on the part of the village, than is realistic and thereby does a disservice to the community.

If we as a community are going to be “starting a conversation” about potential redevelopment . . . let’s have a rational, honest conversation based on the facts.

It is unrealistic to expect that development of apartments that are new construction, with Hudson River views and enclosed, off-street parking (as was suggested in the village’s presentation) is going to do much to increase housing opportunities for entry-level workers and people on fixed incomes.


Of course, your colleagues on the Village Board recently passed an affordable housing ordinance that would require new developments with ten or more apartments to allocate 10% of those units as “affordable.” But Croton’s affordable housing ordinance does not include a local preference for Croton residents of any kind, as your letter suggests would be the case. Instead, any “affordable” apartments will have to be marketed in accordance with Westchester County’s Fair & Affordable Housing Affirmative Marketing Plan, which also provides no local preference for “Croton people.”

Even if it did (which it does not), would a local preference imposed by an overwhelmingly white community (such as Croton) actually withstand a legal challenge that it violates the Fair Housing Act by perpetuating discriminatory housing patterns? Current jurisprudence suggests it would not.

Of course, Croton’s teachers, seniors and recent grads could throw their names into the hat, along with all other eligible applicants in the required “marketing and outreach area”, hoping to snag one of the new “affordable” apartments developed here. After all, how many potential tenants can there be in the nine counties of New York and Connecticut to which all “affordable” apartments developed in Croton must be marketed, with a total population of over 10 million people? I’m sure all parents looking to reduce unnecessary snow days will be keeping their fingers crossed that Croton’s teachers will get lucky in that lottery.

Even if they did, just about every full-time educator in the Croton Harmon School District earns in excess of the income eligibility ceiling for such “affordable” units. In 2018, that limit was $49,200 for a one-person household ($70,250/four-person household). Could a recent grad or a senior citizen qualify? Perhaps more easily than a local teacher, but without a local preference, or a legal designation of “senior housing” those “Croton people” who want the “affordable middle-class housing” on North Riverside will be left standing in line with thousands of other eligible applicants.

If we as a community are going to be “starting a conversation” about potential redevelopment—or, more honestly, now that the public has been asked to join the conversation—let’s have a rational, honest conversation based on the facts.

Roseann Schuyler