How cynical and insulting can the developer and the property owner/investors be to our community?

This recent reposting/rescheduling of the Zaida project presentation is a good indication.

With the rescheduling of the meeting, the posting in and the developer’s website have been significantly revised.  They are relying on the fact that the public is disengaged, and therefore retooling this presentation will weaken opposition and provide less ability for the Planning Board and the Zoning Board to act in the best interests of the City.

And again, I cannot express the failure of the Common Council to stand for the best long term interests of Little Falls.

Two key elements of the revision that need to be highlighted are:

1.) The 2018 Draft Comprehensive Plan did not consider this type of housing AT ALL.  This is a late, last minute shift to the plan, even from the 2021 revision of the plan. NOBODY polled during the survey advocated for this type of development. The fact that the plan is still in DRAFT form tells you that the public had NO SAY in any of this.

2.) The description of the use of the Zaida units is the most egregious insult to everyone’s intelligence.  The original posting on the developer’s website stated:

“The project includes a diverse mix of housing: (i) 72 units for general occupancy up to 60% AMI; (ii) 36 units set aside for supportive service populations, specifically survivors of domestic violence, veterans, and at-risk youth’ and, (iii) 30 units supported by project-based Section 8 Housing Choice Vouchers.  ICAN, will be providing on-site services for the supportive housing units.”

It now states:

The project includes a diverse mix of housing with rents that will be affordable to individuals and households with incomes up to 60% of the Area Median Income (AMI) for the Utica-Rome, NY MSA.”  

In other words, they are lying to us about the ultimate use of the units.  A 60% AMI qualification still includes all of the other elements they described in the original plan.  Plus, it’s still 60% AGI- below the poverty level.

Also, note the convenient omission of ICAN’s involvement and presence.

Whatever the developer- Pennrose, and its local investors, tell us at the presentation, remember:  this is about tax breaks, tax incentives and cashing out from your investment property; it’s not about the best interests of the community.

Ariel Twitchell
Little Falls, New York