Village officials surprised residents during their board meeting on Tuesday, February 20, 2007, with passage of a resolution to buy the “Katz property” for $900,000.
Previously, the property owner, Irwin Katz of Striclin Realty, had sued the village for damages, claiming that making automobile dealerships a non-conforming use amounted to a taking and that new Gateway Zones regulations made his land less valuable. Mr. Katz is also the land-owner of Croton Auto Park, located at 1 Municipal Place, Croton-on-Hudson. The undeveloped parcel of land abuts the auto dealership and is located on the North side of Municipal Place and the West side of Maple Street (satellite map).
So went the litigation between Striclin Realty and the village’s insurance company until recent months. During that time, Mr. Katz demonstrated a willingness to sell the property to the village and eventually both parties agreed on a price. According to Trustee Ann Gallelli, the resolution “came up fast at the end because Mr. Katz agreed to the settlement in the last day or two and wanted it done sooner rather than later.” So, the board of trustees obliged and voted for passage of the resolution.
Trustee Gallelli also says that, “Croton will pay for this using $400,000 from its Fund Balance and issue a bond for the remaining $500,000 over 25 or 30 years,” which she says, “will be a small amount each year.”
Despite past reluctance to purchase the parcel by Mayor Dr. Gregory Schmidt and rhetoric during the meeting from Trustee Thomas Brennan, upon passage of the measure, Trustee Gallelli “considers this great thing for Croton and the future development of the Municipal Place Gateway.” Further, she says that “although there is no immediate plan for this site, our ownership assures Croton of a significant role in determining this Gateway’s future according to the guidelines developed for it (in the Village Comprehensive Plan).” If elected mayor in the upcoming village election on March 20, 2007, Trustee Gallelli says that “defining the future of the area will be a goal on mine.”
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