Tompkins County
New York

Report or Discussion Item

Housing Capital Reserve Fund Discussion


Department:Planning, Development, and Environmental Quality CommitteeSponsors:


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Meeting History

Nov 2, 2017 3:00 PM  Planning, Development, and Environmental Quality Committee Regular Meeting

Ms. Robertson said the Economic Development Collaborative is a group that meets every other month and said they discussed the idea of a Housing Capital Reserve Fund and are in the process of setting up a brainstorming session among the housing planning committees.

Ms. Robertson said she is interested in also receiving feedback from Committee members and to discuss different areas that this funding could be used for.

Ms. Chock said she is interested in starting a discussion about priorities for what the funding would pay for as well as discuss the criteria. She would also like to discuss the types of applicants and consider the categories before any decision is made on what to spend the funds on. Another question she would like to have addressed is who would be making the decision and suggested a committee be set up with various stakeholders involved. She questioned if the projects would be leveraged or leveraged along with current funding. Additionally, she asked if this would present a potential for getting current partners to step up or new partners.

Mr. Sigler said what is more important is what would be the purpose of the money used for. He also questioned who would receive the money.

Ms. Robertson said that is the question she is asking of Committee members.

Mr. Sigler said the legalities of how the funds are spent would have to be considered.

Mr. Mareane said there are constitutional restrictions of public funds. He believes there are structures in place the County could use to help such as endowing an LDC. Any direct relationship with a developer or not-for-profit agency, he said the County needs to be careful and that the County Attorney should be consulted.

Ms. Robertson said this money will be a unique source of funds and again asked Committee members what they would like to see it used for.

Ms. Kiefer spoke of a recent meeting she attended in the Village of Cayuga Heights where public input was being received concerning zoning ordinances. There was great discussion on the need for older people to remain in their expensive homes and be able to rent out rooms in those homes. She questioned whether that could be a topic of discussion. Ms. Robertson said the topic could be supporting seniors living in the homes that they have if desirable.

Ms. Chock said her priorities include affordability, owner-occupied housing, and combat gentrification including involving people who are living in the communities. In addition, she would like to have new partners brought in with some of the money.

Mr. Sigler asked how much of this issue is a money problem or a regulation problem and spoke of recent infrastructure problem with a housing project. Ms. Robertson said infrastructure is on the list as it can be a block for developing housing. Mr. Sigler also spoke of intermunicipal agreements being established where municipalities work together.

Mr. McKenna spoke briefly about the proposed project in the Town of Newfield for low and high-end housing.

Ms. Robertson summarized the discussion and said the following topics were captured: senior living, infrastructure, owner-occupied housing, and affordability. Ms. Kiefer added education as another area.

Mr. Mareane asked the Committee to think about a different model similar to an industrial park model. Through an LDC, a track of land could be purchased for development with utilities and other basic infrastructure brought in and dealt with up front; the County could then decide what types of uses it would want on the land including owner-occupied, lower-income housing, etc., along with amenities. Request for Proposals could be done and developers could come in and build what the County has requested. In summary, the County would capitalize the LDC, the LDC makes that up-front investment to make sure it is shovel ready. Infrastructure would be built, plans would be taken care of, and then the County would sell it. The money would then be recycled and ready to use for another project.