The Clarkstown Town Board on Tuesday agreed to forward an amendment to
its current law regulating senior citizen congregate housing and assisted care to
the town and Rockland County planning boards.
Town Senior Planner Joe Simoes explained the amendments suggested by the Housing Committee would allow for profit development of rental senior housing instead of limiting it to non for profit organizations. Other provisions would change the size of the units from about 600 square feet to 950 to 1,000 square feet and require the number of two bedroom units be increased from 10 percent to 50 percent.
Simoes said the text amendment would require 10 percent of the units to be affordable. The definition of income eligible would be revised from 80 percent of the county’s median income down to 60 percent. He said 80 percent of the county’s current median income equals $84,320 while 60 percent amounts to $63,240. With rent based on one-third of monthly income, the affordable rent would be approximately $1,739.
Simoes explained the shift to allow for profit corporations was based on the decreased number of senior units being built by not for profit organizations because of reduced funding. Councilmember Stephanie Hausner, who is on the Housing Committee, said removing the barrier limiting construction to not for profits will help to make more senior housing a reality.
Roberta Bangs, also a committee member, said, “The main thing is we really need places for seniors to stay and live in the county. We’re driving seniors out.”
Simoes said regulations guiding the density of units that can be built and their size will help keep the rents at affordable rates for Clarkstown seniors. Clarkstown residents 65 years and older have a household median income of $58,458.
Simoes said the developments would cater to the middle market of seniors who want to move out of their colonials or high ranches and cannot afford the high end but do not meet affordability requirements.
“This is going to be more for the senior who wants to really downsize and not have a lot of responsibilities of maintenance,” he said.
The board members also agreed to have a zoning change for the Congers Hamlet Center reviewed by the two planning boards. The area is near the northern part of Congers Lake and freight rail spur. The property of less than 10 acres is currently zoned Light Office/Industrial and the recommendation is to rezone it to Residential Multifamily.