In a 6-3 split decision, the Canandaigua City Council approved the PILOT agreement for the rehabilitation of the Labelon Building following an executive session last night.
Councilmembers Cutri, Unrath, Dittmar, Covington, Lyon, and Uebbing were all in favor of the PILOT, which would create 48 housing units and 12,000 feet of commercial space in a building that has been vacant on a Brownfield site for three decades.
Councilmember Uebbing expressed that he is extremely cautious of offering PILOT agreements but stated that the project met two criteria: it met a public purpose and creased low and moderate-income housing. He also stated that Savarino Companies has a good reputation and a work project history that denoted that.
Councilmember Dittmar said that the MRB Group looked at the agreement on behalf of the City, including the financials, and MRB was convinced that this project would only be feasible with the PILOT program. He said this would be an asset to the community, and the building is currently creating minimum tax revenue, and the project would be better than what the City is receiving now.
Councilmembers White, Sutton, and Mayor Palumbo voted against the PILOT agreement.
White expressed that one reason she was voting no was because of the length of the PILOT, which would be over 30 years.
Sutton didn’t support the PILOT for several reasons. First, she was dismayed at the lack of transparency. The financial documents were not available to the public to view, and no public hearing was offered to the community. Sutton said it was a disservice to residents and fatigued from developers who cannot profit without taxpayers holding them up.
She was also against the notion that it would be considered low and moderate-income housing, with the cost of each apartment ranging from $1100 to $2000. Counselor Uebbing said that the cost of rents has gone up all over the country, and Lyon also stated that this was within state restrictions of what could be considered low and moderate-income housing rents.
Palumbo was also against the project due to the length of the PILOT.
The Council approved two events last evening. On Main Street, the Huntington’s Walk to raise money for Huntington’s Disease will take place on May 14, 2022. Sutton inquired about adding an accountability section to event applications to protect the City. This accountability section will put the applying party responsible for providing proof of coordination with a charity for a charity event and require that the City receives confirmation that a charity received the funds raised from an event.
The Finger Lakes Winter Carnival and Fun Run, coordinated by the Lake House, will occur at the City Pier on March 18-20, 2022. The event will be three themed days of events, including retail, beverages, and food.
Council unanimously created two positions: Engineering Aide for the Department of Public Works and a Senior Clerk Position for the Treasury department.
The Council will be holding a public hearing on a Local Law amending “Construction Codes, Uniform” on April 2, 2022, at 7 PM at the Hurley Building located at 205 Saltonstall Street and/or virtually at https://us06web.zoom.us/j/85999209422. Council tabled the Local Law resolution until the next meeting.
The Council approved two contracts. The first was awarded to Polydyne Inc out of Georgia for sludge polymer at the Water Resource Recovery Facility for $1.51 per pound. Council also awarded the contract to Raftelis for $39,000 for a Wholesale Water Rate and Plant Expansion Study, the funding being earmarked in the water budget for this year.
Council unanimously approved the ordinance amending the Sign Regulations code for the City. Residents can find the code on pages 24-36 of the agenda. The amendments changed the regulations surrounding the content of signs to protect First Amendment rights and focused on the size, placement manner, and construction of signs around the City.
The Council appointed Doug Merrill to the Board of Assessment Review.
Julie Coleman is a resident of the City of Geneva and freelance contributor to FingerLakes1.com. Formerly, she was a reporter with the Finger Lakes Times and Director of Marketing and Communications for the City of Geneva. Currently, she manages two businesses in Ontario County, enjoys spending her free time with her husband and child, and participates in several community working groups.