November 08, 2017 10:34 PM
CANANDAIGUA — Heading into a public hearing scheduled for Nov. 16, the majority of City Council is in favor of amending a payment-in-lieu of taxes agreement for work to continue at the Pinnacle North project.
At a finance/budget committee meeting earlier in the week, Councilmember James Terwilliger voted in favor of the PILOT amendment, the major piece of which fixes the tax assessment for each residential unit for phases one — which is substantially complete — two and three based on the current assessment, which is a figure reached by settlement between the developer and city.
The certainty the developer is seeking is the 1 percent growth each year over the 25-year PILOT agreement, based on occupancy, which principals in project owner Canandaigua Lakefront LLC say is necessary for financing of the remaining phases of development.
The issue in not acting is a potentially stalled development on Lakeshore Drive, Terwilliger said.
“I don’t want another bird cage down there,” said Terwilliger, referring to the stalled Canandaigua FInger Lakes Resort project. “We already have one.”
Terwilliger was joined by Mayor Ellen Polimeni and Councilmembers Cindy Wade, Matt Martin and Nick Cutri in recommending the amendment to the full council.
“We want to see it move forward,” Polimeni said.
Councilmembers Robert O’Brien, Karen White and David Whitcomb voted against the request, for a variety of reasons. Councilmember Anita Twitchell was not in attendance for the Monday meeting.
O’Brien said he is in favor of the project continuing. But should the numbers not prove in favor of the developers over time, they will be back before the city again, O’Brien said.
“We don’t get the certainty you get,” O’Brien said.
The city had assessed the main parcel at 50 Lakeshore Drive at $16 million, which was higher than the $10 million assessment the owner had banked on, resulting in a challenge of the assessment and the settlement of $12 million.
The proposed assessment per unit figure of $93,688.89 for 2017 is based on that settlement figure.
City Manager John Goodwin said the negotiated assessment figure may or may not be an actual value that will determine numbers down the road, and recommended to City Council waiting until March 1, which is when assessment rolls are completed. That would give a year of determining what the actual assessment is, he said.
Kevin Morgan, a principal with Morgan Management, which is a partner with LeChase Construction in the development, said delays in momentum in gaining occupants results in fewer tax dollars to jurisdictions — the city, Canandaigua school district and Ontario County — as well as jeopardizing financing for the remainder of the five-phase project.
“We can’t move forward,” Morgan said. “It’s real.”
Morgan said the taxing jurisdictions would see more revenue from the project under the amended agreement than the current one.
Polimeni said to think back to what was going on at the location prior to Pinnacle North — “absolutely nothing,” she said — and the commercial and residential activity generated there by the project.
Economic development consultant Rich Rising, speaking in support of the owner, said this is more than a real estate project.
“This is a priority project for the community,” Rising said.
As part of the amendment, tax assessments for phases two and three would be calculated on units occupied by March 1 of any tax year to ensure an even tax revenue, which comes as a suggestion from the city. Once a phase reaches 90 percent occupancy, all of the phases’ units are subject to the assessment per residential unit for the respective year for the remainder of the PILOT agreement, according to the proposed amendment.
Also, the tax assessment for the fifth phase of construction, which is a commercial phase, would be fixed at $2.5 million in the year it’s completed.
Because of the certainty provided in the PILOT amendment, the need to challenge the assessment is eliminated and Morgan-LeChase would have no need to request a change to the agreement in the future, according to the proposal.
If you go
WHAT Public hearing on proposed amendment to Pinnacle North payment-in-lieu-of-takes agreement
WHEN 7 p.m. Thursday, Nov. 16
WHERE Canandaigua City Hall, 2 N. Main St.
Mike Murphy/Messenger Post
Created: November 08, 2017 10:34 PM
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