Poll Results: Orange Avenue Project is Dead; Public In Favor of Orange Avenue, Developer Pulls the Project
Amidst allegations of foot-dragging and delays caused by the school board, threats to go public with the delays and greedy developers trying to take advantage of the district, for all intents and purposes the Orange Avenue project in Suffern is dead as we have just learned that Orange Avenue & Associates has pulled out of the project.
The Ramapo Central School District has not reached an agreement with the developers and despite repeated attempts by the Village of Suffern to get representatives from all three parties to sit down to go over details, sources have confirmed that the RCSD board have refused to set aside time to meet.
Sources have confirmed that the numbers used by the District to calculate potential annual school tax payments were incorrect and greatly inflated. Orange Avenue Associates hired an independent appraisal firm (Sterling Appraisals of Eastchester, NY) at their own expense to review the tax assessment value numbers and they came to the conclusion that the projected annual tax number used by RCSD (approx. $790,000/year) overstated the actual number (approx. $455,000) by almost 74%.
Suffern, which had previously passed their own PILOT agreement that would bring in an additional $50,000/year over what the properties currently bring in now stands to lose the additional revenue as well as 30% of what the property owners are currently paying in taxes due to hazardous waste being found on the properties from an old battery plant as well as a $200,000 loss in building permit revenue and the $280,000 that the sale of 120 Orange Avenue would have brought it.
Orange Avenue Associates who charged that the School District was dragging their feet, initially angered the public by going to the Town of Ramapo for a PILOT have apparently raised their offer by $2.6 million over the life of the PILOT. With the deal effectively dead, the RCSD stands to lose $23,100/year in revenues while the Village of Suffern stands to lose $8,100 due to hazardous waste reductions. Including additional PILOT payments, RCSD stands to lose $50,600/year while Suffern loses $58,100/year.
Opponents cite potential parking issues, tax breaks and more children coming into the schools; proponents cite the increase in disposable income, downtown revitalization and the fact that the district, having graduated a very large senior class from the high school, while welcoming a very small kindergarten class may be in danger of having to close an elementary school.
Ramapo Times and the Rockland Star Conducted two polls that closed at noon today.
The Rockland Star Poll:
What should happen with the Orange Avenue Project in Suffern?
- If the RCSD receives more revenue than it currently gets without development, the project should move forward. – 62% ( 348 votes )
- The entire project should be scrapped. – 25% ( 139 votes )
- Suffern should go ahead and grant the zoning change and the project should be built. – 14% ( 78 votes )
The Ramapo Times Poll:
As currently proposed should the Orange Avenue project in Suffern be built?
- Yes – 66% ( 234 votes )
- No – 34% ( 119 votes )
Based upon Bayesian Credibility Intervals, (similar to the margin of error used in traditional polls) the Rockland Star Poll has a credibility interval of better than + or – 5 while the Ramapo Times Poll with fewer respondents has a credibility interval of + or – 6.