No Accessory Apartments in Clarkstown (UPDATE)

The town board rescinded its public hearing on proposed local law to allow accessory apartments in single-family homes.


Clarkstown Supervisor Alex Gromack said town board members decided to rescind the public hearing on the proposed accessory apartments law after hearing from senior citizens they preferred other options. The original intent of the accessory apartment proposal was to provide affordable rental housing for emergency services volunteers. A Tuesday night public hearing was scheduled on amending the zoning law to allow accessory apartments however the board voted unanimously to rescind the hearing.

Residents had criticized the proposal and described it as downsizing and a measure that could potentially change the character of Clarkstown.  After meeting with senior citizens, Gromack said they expressed more interest in housing similar to the Middlewood Housing Development on North Middletown Road in Nanuet. 

“Moreover while we believe that much of the opposition to this initiative is based on misinformation it does not appear that our residents as a whole do embrace this concept at this time and that our efforts would be better spent focusing on some of the other priority needs being studied by our town planning board and our housing committee,” said Gromack.

He then asked the board for a motion to rescind the public hearing. His statement is attached to this article.

Councilmember Stephanie Hausner, who served on the housing committee, noted senior citizens, New City Ambulance Corps members and New City firefighters were at the meeting. 

“I just want to assure everyone that this does not mean that we are not going to be looking at other opportunities for volunteer housing for our volunteers, “ she said. We want to keep our volunteers in the community and we will continue to look at ways to do that. “

Gromack said the town had been proactive in meeting the housing needs of residents through its housing survey, hamlet center senior housing zone development and other initiatives. 

Peter WInterbourne October 04, 2012 at 09:14 PM
As a volunteer myself Ex chief of Nanuet FD and current member of West Nyack FD 23 yrs total, and I am currently sitting on the sub sub committee working on the benifits for the volunteers, I see the need to retain the volunteers ESPECIALLY the newer and younger members because they are the future of the Emergency Services. Take a look at your tax bill. look at the PD budget and look at the FD and Ambulance budget. If the FD and Ambulance go paid, the FD budget will be the same if not more than the PD budget, even with the consolidation of the FD. Payroll will be the same and the cost of equiptment is more than the PD, The vehicle maintence will be more obviously. So look at that and this is why we need to retain our volunteer services. We are working together with the other agencies especialy with the seniors clubs within Clarkstown and from the imput the idea came about. To have a homeowner 60 yrs old + and has lived in thier house 20+ yrs to have an apt built to code to rent to a volunteer. This is a VOLUNTERY program for a homeowner to sign up for, and it doesnt cost the tax payers anything just the homeowner who if they are interested knows whats involved. Yes its our forsite to see and its a burden on all the departments in the County and New York State to retain and recruite new volunteers. we know that we need to retain our volunteers because it is a strain on the current members to volunteer thier time.
Peter WInterbourne October 04, 2012 at 09:23 PM
There is a similar program in Orangetown that has been on the books for about 20 yrs now and has about 200 units. How many illegal apartment are in Clarkstown? I dont know myself but im sure its more than we think! This has been a subject for all the departments in the County and New York State because its a problem for them to recrute more members and keep members because who works 2 or more jobs to make ends meet because they want to stay were they are and dont want to leave. Again the issue is with the future we need to keep the volunteers. Again look at the tax bill and compare and figure what you will pay if we lose the volunteers.
Peter WInterbourne October 04, 2012 at 09:26 PM
Consider join the volunteers yourself. Help yourself and help others. See what its all about and what it takes. from the new member to the chiefs or presidents they ALL volunteer.
Joshua Levitsky October 05, 2012 at 12:59 PM
What I find interesting is people are saying a tax break or stipend is better. This is so weird to me. Because if there is a stipend or tax break that's money Clarkstown is giving up. If an elderly person is able to rent me an accessory apartment then it helps out that person who loves to live in Clarkstown, and maybe lived there all their life, but it also doesn't take any money away from Clarkstown, and unless I'm wrong the homeowner pays taxes on what I would pay them so Clarkstown actually brings in revenue so we all benefit. Folks who are concerned about what people will come to Clarkstown are misguided because the same people will be there for a stipend or tax break. It's a shame really because I wanted to stay in Clarkstown but there's no way I can afford it. Hopefully there aren't many others like me who desperately want to stay, volunteer at multiple Clarkstown agencies, but simply can't afford to.
dennis October 06, 2012 at 02:32 PM
Rockland is the last only all volunteer county in the Hudson Valley for the fire service.


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