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Clock ticks on Pinnacle North tax proposal

Clock ticks on Pinnacle North tax proposal Photo: Jack Haley, Messenger Post.

November 22, 2017 06:35 AM

CANANDAIGUA — While City Council and representatives of the mixed-use Pinnacle North project met Monday night, nothing concrete has really changed in the request to amend a tax-break agreement.

But, lines of support for a deal from current and incoming councilmembers — and lack of support — are clearer, after a finance/ordinance workshop meeting on Monday night and after a public hearing last week in which several business leaders spoke out in support of a need for an amended deal.

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And what happens on a few dates in December may provide the answer as to when, or if, further development of the multi-phase lakefront project continues.

City Council is expected to vote Dec. 7 on a deal. The Canandaigua City School District Board of Education and Ontario County are expected to weigh in later in December.

The Pinnacle North proposal calls for fixing the tax assessment increases of each residential unit for the first, second and third phases of construction based on the current assessment on a per-unit growth basis, at 1 percent over the 25-year payment in lieu of taxes agreement.

Also, the assessment of the proposed commercial construction in phase five would be set at $2.5 million, and the second and third phases tax assessment would be calculated on occupancy as of March 1, according to the proposal.

Principals in Canandaigua Lakefront LLC, which includes Morgan Management and LeChase Construction, have said the banks require the certainty as a condition of financing and warn the future of the project coud be jeopardized without the amendment. On Monday, they reiterated that 1 percent figure is the limit.

Five members of the committee — Councilmembers Jim Terwilliger, Cindy Wade, Matt Martin, Nick Cutri and Mayor Ellen Polimeni — have voted to support an amendment to the deal, although based on questions asked during the meeting Monday members are seeking the feasibility of movement on increasing the 1 percent assessment figure by increments up to and including 2 percent.

City Manager John Goodwin said that over the last 10 years, the average assessment roll increase is 1.5 percent.

Councilmembers Karen White, Robert O’Brien and David Whitcomb voted against the amendment in November.

Both Martin and White reiterated their respective positions Monday night.

Councilmember Anita Twitchell, who was not present at the committee vote in November, said that developers will show interest in the lakefront property if Pinnacle North cannot complete the project.

“Are you going to take your ball and go home? I seriously doubt it,” Twitchell said.

Councilmember-elect Stephen Uebbing, who was a member of a public-private group that early on attempted to seek interest in developing the property, said the concerns approached were not interested in the property, because of the cost of environmental cleanup required. This development group was invited in and nurtured along the way, he said.

“To me, this is the best hope to get the lakeshore developed,” Uebbing said.

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