Welcome to the Town of Greenburgh
News & Information  
  Select News to View

Please select the year.
2019 2018 2017 2016 2015 2014 2013 2012 2011 2010 2009 2008 2007 2006 2005 2004 2003 2002

Back to Article List

FREE HBO, SHOWTIME REBATE (MUST ACT TODAY)-WHAT MANY PEOPLE HAVE TO SAY ABOUT AN EYESORE TAX
Release Date: May 30, 2019

There is an article in today’s lohud.com that you may be  entitled to a rebate for free HBO or Showtime from Charter Spectrum but must act today.  The average person is getting $75 per household.  Call 833 422 8795.

http://jeffersoncountyalerts.com/2019/05/29/did-you-get-your-free-hbo-showtime-act-quick-spectrumaposs-deadline-is-now/

 

COMMENTS ABOUT EYESORE TAX

A big thank you. Received lots of responses from residents about the concept: should Greenburgh impose a tax on empty storefronts/commercial properties. The following are  the unedited responses –both sides of the issue. I deleted everyone’s names from the list.

 

I spoke with Edye McCarthy, Assessor for the town of Greenburgh today. She indicated that some people are wrong regarding taxation of empty buildings. Properties that are empty are taxed as if they are occupied.

 

As you will note from the comments below there are lots of differing views on this issue. A compromise suggestion: the town building department could impose penalties on eyesores –in extreme circumstances.   Not all empty buildings are eyesores.  And some landlords don’t intentionally keep their buildings vacant.

 

Another idea: if storefronts are vacant we could ask the landlords to make the windows more attractive. For example, at times Sarah Bracey White (the head of our arts committee) has placed art work inside some vacant buildings.

 

This summer I will be asking student interns to investigate how effective economic development committees and economic development coordinators have been in other communities around the nation.   The village of Hastings on Hudson (for example) has an outstanding downtown coordinator- Barbara Prisament. She organizes street fairs and comes up with innovative initiatives that has motivated lots of people to want to shop or eat in Hastings. Would we benefit from an economic development coordinator?

 

PAUL FEINER

From:
Sent: Tuesday, May 28, 2019 5:05 PM
To: Paul Feiner <pfeiner@greenburghny.com>
Subject: Re: should Greenburgh impose a tax on empty storefronts/commercial properties?

 

Great idea, Paul.  The landlords on Hartsdale Ave would rather leave a storefront vacant for years vs. renting it out at a lower (market?) rate.

From:
Sent: Tuesday, May 28, 2019 5:03 PM
To: Paul Feiner <pfeiner@greenburghny.com>
Subject: Re: should Greenburgh impose a tax on empty storefronts/commercial properties?

 

Are we currently collecting property taxes and schools taxes on these parcels? So an eyesore tax would be additional?

.

.

Regards,

 

 

From:
Sent: Tuesday, May 28, 2019 4:57 PM
To: Paul Feiner <pfeiner@greenburghny.com>
Subject: Re: should Greenburgh impose a tax on empty storefronts/commercial properties?

 

Do they already pay taxes on these properties? Is there something that says they don't pay taxes if vacant? Regardless they should pay tax, vacant or not.

From:
Sent: Tuesday, May 28, 2019 4:57 PM
To: Paul Feiner <pfeiner@greenburghny.com>
Subject: Re: should Greenburgh impose a tax on empty storefronts/commercial properties?

 

Paul,

You are a lawyer, I presume you know that such a tax would be illegal.

I think it will cost the town lots of money in the attempt to defend such a ridiculous tax/surcharge.

In addition, it would prevent a developer from building/expanding in Greenburgh in fear that during a downturn, they not only will have vacancies, but an (potential) tax.

 

Somehow, I presume over the years you have been in contact with many commercial building/land owners.  Do you truly think they would want to invest in Greenburgh if you were successful in getting New York State to push this though?

 

The old European Health Club is a topic among many long term Greenburgh residents.  What is the story about this property?  Are they paying their property taxes?  I'm surprised that an auto dealership has yet to lease this property as parking space to store inventory.

 

A landlord can virtually give space rent free, it doesn't mean a business will be successful (ie: Gyro Gyro).  I want to feel sorry for the small business owner who can't make a go out of it, but to put an identical restaurant in a space where 2 other restaurants failed is absurd.

 

Best,

From:
Sent: Tuesday, May 28, 2019 4:50 PM
To: Paul Feiner <pfeiner@greenburghny.com>
Subject: Re: should Greenburgh impose a tax on empty storefronts/commercial properties?

 

Paul:

 

Not a good idea.  The law of unintended consequences.  You may end up with landlords renting to vaping stores, tatoo parlors or worst, more liquor stores or massage palors just to avoid paying a fine or taxes. Clearly, it is in the landlords' best interest to have rent paying tenants.  For one reason or another, businesses are not shelling out tens to hundreds of thousands of $$ to set up a retail location.  They probably have already calculated the onerous costs of operating a business in NYS and are punting or if possible, doing online sales.  

 

From:
Sent: Tuesday, May 28, 2019 4:46 PM
To: Paul Feiner <pfeiner@greenburghny.com>
Subject: RE: should Greenburgh impose a tax on empty storefronts/commercial properties?

 

Isn’t there a way to condemn certain properties and foreclose on it?  The old Jack Lalanne gym is a perfect example.  It has been an eyesore for about 25 years!

From:
Sent: Tuesday, May 28, 2019 5:10 PM
To: Paul Feiner <pfeiner@greenburghny.com>
Subject: Re: should Greenburgh impose a tax on empty storefronts/commercial properties?

 

Not a bad idea at all. 

I wouldn’t impose taxes or penalties when there is an honest attempt to seek another tenant but when months stretch into years that’s another matter. 

You mentioned the old health spa. We have been asking for something to be done about that property for a long time and from what I know a tax won’t motivate that landlord. Stronger action may be needed there. Another example of dormant property is at the north west corner of Central and Underwood. So I guess my short answer is a strong “yes”. 

 

From:
Sent: Tuesday, May 28, 2019 5:05 PM
To: Paul Feiner <pfeiner@greenburghny.com>
Subject: Re: should Greenburgh impose a tax on empty storefronts/commercial properties?

 

NO think of way to lower their cost to be in business and do not tax them out of business. 

How about a tax break if the modernize the property and open a business. 

You do it for the big developers why not the little. 

Your answer to everything is tax it. 

From:
Sent: Tuesday, May 28, 2019 5:16 PM
To: Paul Feiner <pfeiner@greenburghny.com>
Subject: Re: should Greenburgh impose a tax on empty storefronts/commercial properties?

 

100% YES

From:
Sent: Tuesday, May 28, 2019 4:46 PM
To: Paul Feiner <pfeiner@greenburghny.com>
Subject: RE: should Greenburgh impose a tax on empty storefronts/commercial properties?

 

Isn’t there a way to condemn certain properties and foreclose on it?  The old Jack Lalanne gym is a perfect example.  It has been an eyesore for about 25 years!

 

Condemn, foreclose and then sell the property. It is a prime location on Central Ave. That is my idea.

From:
Sent: Tuesday, May 28, 2019 5:20 PM
To: Paul Feiner <pfeiner@greenburghny.com>
Subject: Re: should Greenburgh impose a tax on empty storefronts/commercial properties?

 

Yes. I absolutely think they should impose a tax in empty store fronts. It will force them to rent them out, and maybe rent them out to rents that are not so exorbitant. 

 

From:
Sent: Tuesday, May 28, 2019 5:20 PM
To: Paul Feiner <pfeiner@greenburghny.com>; Paul Feiner <gblist@cit-e.net>
Subject: Re: should Greenburgh impose a tax on empty storefronts/commercial properties?

 

Paul,

I am leaning against an additional tax on vacant storefronts. I think it can lead to property owners filling properties with the wrong type of store for a few months all to save a few months of taxes. I would much rather a building to sit vacant a few months in order to get the necessary permits and fit the building to the a more stable store. I would take long term stability over short term tax review anytime.

 

From:
Sent: Tuesday, May 28, 2019 6:04 PM
To: Paul Feiner <pfeiner@greenburghny.com>
Subject: Re: should Greenburgh impose a tax on empty storefronts/commercial properties?

Hi Paul,

 

Absolutely. 

 

And it should be a retroactive tax.

 

Thanks,

From:
Sent: Tuesday, May 28, 2019 5:28 PM
To: Paul Feiner <pfeiner@greenburghny.com>
Subject: Re: should Greenburgh impose a tax on empty storefronts/commercial properties?

 

Yes! Great idea 

From:
Sent: Tuesday, May 28, 2019 5:49 PM
To: Cc: Paul Feiner <pfeiner@greenburghny.com>
Subject: Re: should Greenburgh impose a tax on empty storefronts/commercial properties?

 

I agree with this.  This will push property owners to rent the vacant properties and make necessary repairs or sell the property to someone who will make the repairs and then rent.  This is a problem across Westchester but Greenburgh is an area where it is a major problem.  The Acme shopping center is a disaster as well as the intersection of Hartsdale Ave. and Central Ave.  

From:
Sent: Tuesday, May 28, 2019 6:17 PM
To: Paul Feiner <pfeiner@greenburghny.com>
Subject: Re: should Greenburgh impose a tax on empty storefronts/commercial properties?

 

Good idea to tax the vacant storefronts. They might not stay vacant too long. 

 

As for that health spa, I tried to go there in 1990 when it was a Jack Lalane spa. It was already closed down. Sincerely that makes almost 30 years that it has been abandoned. It should be foreclosed and demolished. I can’t imagine the smell of mildew in there now. Maybe Greenburgh Nature Center can restore the land to woods.

From:
Sent: Tuesday, May 28, 2019 5:39 PM
To: Paul Feiner <pfeiner@greenburghny.com>
Subject: Re: should Greenburgh impose a tax on empty storefronts/commercial properties?

 

Definitely something to examine and if prudent move forward with.

From:
Sent: Tuesday, May 28, 2019 5:37 PM
To: Paul Feiner <pfeiner@greenburghny.com>
Subject: Re: should Greenburgh impose a tax on empty storefronts/commercial properties?

 

Paul

 

Sitting with a vacant house alongside me for years, I can empathize with these folks.
While we're at it, how about doing something to encourage owners of commercial buildings to upkeep their property.  The Acme Supermarket shopping center is an eyesore.  Perhaps it's time the town encouraged them to fix it up a bit too.

 

These are quality-of-life issues.  If they want to make money in this town, have a standard and live up to it.

 

I say whatever the law allows, do it.

From:
Sent: Tuesday, May 28, 2019 5:35 PM
To: Paul Feiner <pfeiner@greenburghny.com>
Subject: Re: should Greenburgh impose a tax on empty storefronts/commercial properties?

 

No.

From:
Sent: Tuesday, May 28, 2019 6:34 PM
To: Paul Feiner <pfeiner@greenburghny.com>
Subject: Re: should Greenburgh impose a tax on empty storefronts/commercial properties?

 

I agree with a tax on vacant storefronts after they are empty for a certain amount of time.   I feel that sometimes, property owners leave stores empty solely to get a tax credit.   These empty stores, like the one you mentioned are dangerous as squatters may move in.  Not with standing, are an eye sore and lower the value of nearby properties.  If not a tax, but perhaps the town or county should be able to take ownership of these properties and sell them sell auction, after due process of course. 

From:
Sent: Tuesday, May 28, 2019 6:49 PM
To: Paul Feiner <pfeiner@greenburghny.com>
Subject: Re: should Greenburgh impose a tax on empty storefronts/commercial properties?

 

Paul,

 

My initial reaction to this question is, why are landlords so willing to leave properties vacant?  It seems counterintuitive, however, it may simply mean that they gain some financial incentive in doing so.  If they were really concerned about having their properties occupied, they would easily fill any vacancies with acceptable market pricing of those properties.

 

So, in my opinion, since taxation trends to be viewed as punitive and regressive, why not consider positively motivating landlords to fill their vacant properties with appropriate financial incentives to them and their prospective renters?  Tax abatements, property upgrade incentives or the like to encourage landlords to seek businesses with future growth opportunities based on the viability of their intended business investments.  

 

This approach will require landlords to determine which prospective tenants propose to invest in viable businesses, maybe even with the consultive support from the Town.

 

Just food for thought.

From:
Sent: Tuesday, May 28, 2019 6:56 PM
To: Paul Feiner <pfeiner@greenburghny.com>
Subject: Re: should Greenburgh impose a tax on empty storefronts/commercial properties?

 

Yes! They are eye sites in our community!!!!

From:
Sent: Tuesday, May 28, 2019 6:58 PM
To: Paul Feiner <pfeiner@greenburghny.com>
Subject: Re: should Greenburgh impose a tax on empty storefronts/commercial properties?

 

Eye sore, yes. Mere vacancy, no. If the owner keeps up the property so it is not an eye sore than imo it is up to him whether it is rented out. 
It is the owner’s investment and if he is willing to bear the costs without an economic return that is his decision. But again, only so long as the building is maintained and does not become an eye sore.

From:
Sent: Tuesday, May 28, 2019 7:10 PM
To: Paul Feiner <pfeiner@greenburghny.com>
Subject: Re: should Greenburgh impose a tax on empty storefronts/commercial properties?

 

yes A great idea!!!!

From:
Sent: Tuesday, May 28, 2019 7:17 PM
To: Paul Feiner <pfeiner@greenburghny.com>
Subject: Re: should Greenburgh impose a tax on empty storefronts/commercial properties?

 

Dear Mr. Feiner,

 

I think vacant commercial properties should be taxed or fined under some regulation - I don't know enough to be specific.

 

This would accomplish several goals: prevent the eyesore factor, prevent over-building and encourage renovation.  Obsolete commercial properties could properly be converted to housing, of which we have a lack in the town.  It might require a zoning change, which could be included in the taxing/fining legislation.

 

Thank you for your interest in the public opinion!

From: Nextdoor Ardsley <reply@rs.email.nextdoor.com>
To: feiner98 <feiner98@aol.com>
Sent: Tue, May 28, 2019 9:56 pm
Subject: Re: should the town impose vacant commercial tax on properties intentionally left vacant (like the spa on Central Ave)?

https://flask.nextdoor.com/t_i/spacer.gif?ot=bMk43fu4fWg2YHDcyGJxETD3w1cSm_iRg2wBwN6NnxloJzARQP6ykhKryAh0p1-W&ec=CUuITXfgC4y3JTZ2xRbYqsCEDVfj1pLaDEEEO8rW-uw=&open_profile_id=12398143&cd=9hbqNEyFV7b5QFzDBYxLzk3nmDDP_x0FMh7Njy88OxjR8GOZVHKtc50AMABZ2_ZN

Yes! I suggested this to the Dobbs Ferry board of trustees! Rents are too high & too many empty storefronts!

To: feiner98 <feiner98@aol.com>
Sent: Tue, May 28, 2019 9:50 pm
Subject: Re: should the town impose vacant commercial tax on properties intentionally left vacant (like the spa on Central Ave)?

https://flask.nextdoor.com/t_i/spacer.gif?ot=p9oN6rx0MQ8O9kxMiIF4BaqlfCpb1gN9ZkncR7ClbXInIBjlz9I9WgNl1AUAhd82&ec=CUuITXfgC4y3JTZ2xRbYqsCEDVfj1pLaDEEEO8rW-uw=&open_profile_id=12398143&cd=9hbqNEyFV7b5QFzDBYxLzk3nmDDP_x0FMh7Njy88OxjDamwFNBz5puTrL-j-WZ0L

I wholeheartedly support this. Enough with landlords holding out for the next Sephora.

From:
Sent: Tuesday, May 28, 2019 10:47 PM
To: Paul Feiner
Subject: Re: should Greenburgh impose a tax on empty storefronts/commercial properties?

 

Yes yes yes!! 

From:
Sent: Tuesday, May 28, 2019 9:49 PM
To: Paul Feiner
Cc:

Subject: Re: should Greenburgh impose a tax on empty storefronts/commercial properties?

 

Hello Mr. Feiner,

 

I sincerely doubt a landlord is leaving an eyesore without their own purpose.

 

You mention a Health Spa that closed in Edgemont for decades....which I believe is owned by the carpet place. As long as they maintain the grounds and keep it "safe" for people who are NOT trespassing.....then that is their right in a non-socialist society.

 

If a property is not being maintained....there are already building codes that can be enforced....rather than taxing an already losing property.

 

I know you will get a whole lot of people to say TAX, Tax and Tax some more....but that is not at all reasonable.

 

Nice seeing you support the Veterans as you ALWAYS do. I applaud all your work to bring the Veteran's to life in the various Living Memorials.

 

Keep smiling,

From:
Sent: Tuesday, May 28, 2019 8:57 PM
To: Paul Feiner
Subject: Re: should Greenburgh impose a tax on empty storefronts/commercial properties?

 

Its not a bad idea, however the town also needs to do everything in its power to cut red tape and get businesses approved to move into those spaces, in an expedited manner!  From what I have heard the process can be very cumbersome! 

 

Let the landlords and potential tenants know that the town is open and completely welcoming for businesses of all size!

From:
Sent: Tuesday, May 28, 2019 9:22 PM
To: Paul Feiner
Subject: Re: should Greenburgh impose a tax on empty storefronts/commercial properties?

 

 

There have been numerous proposals to deal with these eyesores.

 

we will try to focus on some and foward them for your review.

From:
Sent: Tuesday, May 28, 2019 9:21 PM
To: Paul Feiner
Subject: Re: should Greenburgh impose a tax on empty storefronts/commercial properties?

 

Paul, abandoned property is an eyesore, and an expense for the municipality. Property owners should not be rewarded for keeping their properties off the market and using them for tax losses. If that incentive is removed, you can bet that they will do do everything possible to rent, refurbish, sell or otherwise stem the flow of outgoing dollars.

From:
Sent: Tuesday, May 28, 2019 8:07 PM
To: Paul Feiner
Subject: Re: should Greenburgh impose a tax on empty storefronts/commercial properties?

 

YES

From:
Sent: Tuesday, May 28, 2019 7:44 PM
To: Paul Feiner
Subject: Re: should Greenburgh impose a tax on empty storefronts/commercial properties?

 

Absolutely not.  Let the free market handle it.

The proposed vacancy tax would reduce both the appraised and fair market values of the properties, thereby reducing tax revenue.

There are other remedies for cases such as the abandoned health spa.

From:
Sent: Tuesday, May 28, 2019 7:45 PM
To: Paul Feiner
Subject: Re: should Greenburgh impose a tax on empty storefronts/commercial properties?

 

Paul

 

What do we have to lose?

 

Also, what was the decision on leaf blowers?

From:
Sent: Tuesday, May 28, 2019 7:30 PM
To: Paul Feiner
Subject: Re: should Greenburgh impose a tax on empty storefronts/commercial properties?

 

We are absolutely shocked they don't pay taxes! What incentizes them to lease it?? Not only that, it may stop landlords from pushing out tenants (like our cleaners on Central) because they can just write off the loss while it sits there vacant.  Vacancies hurt us; pure & simple and anything that prevents them and continues to bring a revenue flow to our town should be pursued.

From:
Sent: Wednesday, May 29, 2019 8:27 AM
To: Paul Feiner
Subject: Re: should Greenburgh impose a tax on empty storefronts/commercial properties?

 

Good morning Paul. I support a tax as described. I would be in favor of allowing a six month period after the property has been vacated to give the owner a reasonable time to sell or rent it. Thanks for soliciting feedback.

From:
Sent: Wednesday, May 29, 2019 8:05 AM
To: Paul Feiner
Subject: Re: should Greenburgh impose a tax on empty storefronts/commercial properties?

 

I believe this is an idea to explore. The health spa property is such an embarrassment. The vacant space at the intersection of Central and Hartsdale Avenue is horrible.  

From:
Sent: Wednesday, May 29, 2019 5:14 AM
To: Paul Feiner
Subject: Re: should Greenburgh impose a tax on empty storefronts/commercial properties?

 

 The vacant stores are somewhat of an eye sore. I’ve thought it could possibly negatively impact property value in a specific community but aren’t land owners are already being negatively affected by having their store vacant (not collecting  rent)? 

  I’m assuming they are trying to rent out their stores and imposing an additional tax would be a burden on them. 

  With regard to rentals. There are a few home rentals in my neighborhood. One of the families contacted the town about poor heat  ( I believe) and the owner was subsequently contacted and now they are being evicted!!!  They have a baby and another small child!!!!!!!! Omgosh. In addition their rent was I think DOUBLED!  I think they are leaving by September. How is this legal?  I’m going to check with the source of this info to make sure I’m correct. If it’s true, could anything be done?  They are such a nice quiet couple. Upsetting when I hear this. 

From:
Sent: Wednesday, May 29, 2019 6:35 AM
To: Paul Feiner
Subject: Re: should Greenburgh impose a tax on empty storefronts/commercial properties?

 

I think it would be a good idea. Not only for the reason referenced in paragraph 3 below but it might give them pause when raising the rent of a new business that might be struggling. 

From:
Sent: Wednesday, May 29, 2019 9:15 AM
To: Paul Feiner <pfeiner@greenburghny.com>
Subject: Re: should Greenburgh impose a tax on empty storefronts/commercial properties?

 

I agree that they are eyesores but I don’t think they should be charged a vacancy tax if they can’t fill the store by no fault of their own. I do think that they should be responsible for maintaining the property even if its vacant though (I.e. regular landscaping, snow shoveling pathways, etc.)

 

The articles you sent us all list large cities with dense populations where the property values are booming. I don’t think our population density merits this type of action. Perhaps the town can offer other incentives to help attract new businesses instead.  

From:
Sent: Wednesday, May 29, 2019 8:29 AM
To: Paul Feiner <pfeiner@greenburghny.com>
Cc: 'gblist@cit-e.net''''''eew (gblist@cit-e.net) <gblist@cit-e.net>
Subject: Re: should Greenburgh impose a tax on empty storefronts/commercial properties?

 

Will they impose the tax on on future renter  and renters in the same shopping center.
I read your email last night. Early this morning, I took a drive on Central Ave, 119
and on East Hartsdale Rd. There are many small and large fronts for rent.
I expect additional store fronts will close within a year or less.

From:
Sent: Wednesday, May 29, 2019 7:10 AM
To: Paul Feiner <pfeiner@greenburghny.com>
Subject: RE: should Greenburgh impose a tax on empty storefronts/commercial properties?

 

Dear Supervisor Feiner,

 

Retail stores are a thing of the past; online shopping is the future.  Instead of punishing people for owning property geared to an outdated business method, perhaps we should look to change zoning laws so that something else could go into those locations.  Perhaps tax credits for converting.  I think rewarding good behavior is much better than punishing bad.

   

 

 

 

 

Agreed- maybe this will push landlords to fill, fix, or sell these properties... They are an eyesore and hurt our own investments in our community. BTW- What about the empty/vacant lots the town owns?

 

 

https://d19rpgkrjeba2z.cloudfront.net/1fd476dc94e5e469/static/nextdoorv2/images/avatars/avatar-r.png

 

 

 

 

 

If they hit these landlords in the pocket then they would stop using these nasty vacant properties and lots as tax write-offs while they are 1000% ruining our investment our homes our businesses when they have trash they get a little violation it... See more

 

 

From:
Sent: Wednesday, May 29, 2019 9:57 AM
To: Paul Feiner <pfeiner@greenburghny.com>
Subject: Re: should Greenburgh impose a tax on empty storefronts/commercial properties?

 

Doesn't the Town have the power right now to sanction those landowners who keep their properties in egregious condition? I have been asking you for years to do something about the rotting Atlas (a/k/a the "Health Spa") and to date nothing has been done. Why pass the buck if you can take some action?

Yes I think taxes should be put on empty store fronts and commercial property. I live near 4 corners in hartsdale And it looks like a third world country. Duane Reade on 4 corners has been empty for years it is an eye sore.

From:
Sent: Tuesday, May 28, 2019 6:54 PM
To: Paul Feiner <pfeiner@greenburghny.com>
Subject: Vacant store front tax

 

Paul,

 

I would argue that the tax would put an unreasonable burden on the property owner, especially since the amount of tax deduction has been reduced. The examples shown by the websites you provided never mentioned what the municipalities did with all the funds they collected. The property owners would just file for property tax reductions based on the reduced value of their property due to the recent moves of retail going on-line. 

There are some parcels and business properties that need to be addressed. But taxing the will accomplish a complete opposite of what is proposed.

 

San Francisco is not a good example......San Francisco takes in a load of taxes, and yet the city looks more like Tent City, with all the homeless setting-up residence in front, and around local businesses. Tourists are not visiting the Wharf and some of the other attractions.

 

Visit Hartford and you see similar situations.

 

It would be more effective if the Town Building Inspectors visited the vacant properties and businesses to make sure they are still up code.

 

Taxing is not the answer. Maybe cutting back on some business fees and regulations will help.

 

Thanks for letting me vent. What do you think of my proposal?

From:
Sent: Tuesday, May 21, 2019 11:30 AM
To: Paul Feiner <pfeiner@greenburghny.com>
Subject: Criteria for Eyesore Tax Assessment : Enclosed

 

Criteria for Assessment of Eyesore Tax

 

First, we need to answer the question of whether there are any Greenburgh Town Regulations that act as a deterrent or make it difficult for the commercial property owner to rent out their spaces. If so, we need to make sure that these regulations are done away with or minimized so commercial property owners don't have to get over too many hurdles just to rent their space.

 

Second. We need to remove the tax break for properties that remain empty. There is no reason they should be provided a tax break. This in itself acts as a demotivator to fill in the spaces and fill in quickly.

 

Third. The town should stop approving new building in the cases that there are vacant commercial and retail properties that can be used for the same operation. For example, Shake Shack could have used the grocery space, cut the space to their desired square footage, updated the look of the outside of their storefront, and create a drive through. It may have taken some architect to think a bit harder but that would have been an option. 

 

Fourth. Storefront vacancies need to be registered with the town the moment the space becomes vacant. The registration will cost $850 (or whatever amount the town deems necessary and reasonable).  Commercial spaces, especially those that are at street level, that do not comply will have to pay an annual penalty of $3500. 

Fifth. empty commercial, residential buildings, and ground floor storefronts, for example the building on Knollwood Road across the Shell Gas Station, shall be assessed an extra $6000 on top of the town tax that they already pay for the property. 

 

Sixth. If there are pending or construction permits where the landlord is recreating the space for a lessee, then the tax does not need to be levied but the vacancy registration and fee still need to be paid. Additionally, the construction needs to be concluded in good time without "false" code issues being a continual problem. If the update to the structure is not completed within one (1) year, then the commercial vacancy will be considered as that -- a vacancy and will revert back to having to register the vacancy yearly, pay the fee for the vacancy, then pay the additional tax.

This will hopefully stop commercial and residential property holders with empty spaces from gaming the system by pretending to work on the space while creating issues that are against code in order to skirt the regulations.

There are motions like this being looked at in SF and in Chicago. The tax break is being exploited and should be removed in order to ensure that the town is not being cheated out of revenue, and residents be made to pick up the burden.

 

Let me know if there is anything else that you want me to help with or if you need something changed.

Do the town residents get to attend the town board meeting? If so, please advise of time and I will be there if my schedule permits. 


Thank you.

From:
Sent: Wednesday, May 29, 2019 1:22 PM
To: Paul Feiner <pfeiner@greenburghny.com>
Subject: Re: should Greenburgh impose a tax on empty storefronts/commercial properties?

 

I think it's a bad idea. Westchester real estate taxes are very high, compared to other spots in the country. Still, Greenburgh commercial rents aren't rising, are they? Few owners hold commercial property off the rental market unless they think it's about to rise in value (they don't want to be locked into a long-term sub-market rent). OR, they think their property is needed or useful for a near-future assemblage to create a larger development (e.g., the Four Corners mess) so they need flexibility. This has been true since we've had zoning and land use restrictions in America. A local tax will only drive up the cost of development (and future rents in turn) in a rising market and cause property abandonment or dishonest schemes in a declining market. Government incentives based on rentals (not promises to rent) are a better way to go. Maybe this is not the most popular approach, but government can't punish owners into making any other decisions about their property than those which align with their self-interest. 

From:
Sent: Wednesday, May 29, 2019 1:09 PM
To: Paul Feiner <pfeiner@greenburghny.com>
Cc:
Subject: Re: should Greenburgh impose a tax on empty storefronts/commercial properties?

 

This is a complicated topic.  At first blush it seems to be a good idea to force landlords to develop property.  However, when analyzing the reasons for this situation, this solution may be counterproductive.  Why would landlords want to keep their properties vacant?  Potential commercial tenants may feel that certain areas are not conducive for their business due to costs, potential business activity, etc.  If we tax the landlord for his inability to secure tenants, they may abandon their properties and simply move to another town to do business.  There is also the very great risk that the town is doing this simply to raise revenue.

 

This must be thought out very carefully.  In certain areas of the town this additional tax might create positive effects while in other parts of town - may make matters worse.

From:
Sent: Wednesday, May 29, 2019 12:01 PM
To: Paul Feiner <pfeiner@greenburghny.com>
Subject: Re: FW: should Greenburgh impose a tax on empty storefronts/commercial properties?

 

Paul - As a long time broker on the Avenue taxing the owners is a BAD IDEA. It would help if the real estate taxes on commercial properties were lower. Tenants add up the total costs ( rent taxes ins cam elec etc ) in making the decision to rent space. We have the highest real estate taxes in the nation!!!Gyms, Restaurants, require special use permits which take a lot of time and money as will as the sign ordnance is very restrictive. Put the thought of taxing the owners of vacant properties out of your mind. Regards, Marty.

From:
Sent: Wednesday, May 29, 2019 11:49 AM
To: Paul Feiner <pfeiner@greenburghny.com>
Subject: Re: should Greenburgh impose a tax on empty storefronts/commercial properties?

 

Hi Paul,

 

Thanks. Quick question - aren’t property taxes already being levied and paid on these vacant properties?

Regards,

From:
Sent: Wednesday, May 29, 2019 11:44 AM
To: Paul Feiner <pfeiner@greenburghny.com>
Subject: Re: should Greenburgh impose a tax on empty storefronts/commercial properties?

 

The fact that this property has been a horrible eyesore for decades should have been more than enough for you and that neighbors have repeatedly complained about it. It is a slap in the face to our tax paying town members, and, as one other writer on nextdoor noted, it certainly impacts the value of neighboring properties. It was in clear violation years ago, when I had the misfortune to enter this property to make a turn. It was then a rutted war zone and I barely was able to get out of there. After this, I noted that the landowner instead of demolishing this mess, simply erected a horrible fence around it, making the whole area look even worse. You have known about this for years. The many other vacant properties are a real cause for concern as well. Do you and your board actually CARE about the way the town looks, or is the fact that these landowners keep paying taxes all that matters to you? Sorry, but I don't buy it. You should have done something years ago

From:
Date: May 29, 2019 at 4:45:36 PM EDT
To: pfeiner@greenburghny.com
Subject: Re: should Greenburgh impose a tax on empty storefronts/commercial properties?  /  RESPONSE

Dear Paul:

 

Don't established vacant property owners pay full taxes even if empty or no tenants in place? Would this new tax just create another write off for these properties? Not a bad idea on your part though.

Suggestion:

Make sure Housing Dept. and DPW pay close attention to these properties for appearance and safety. Insurance companies don't like to cover vacant properties (might want to check on this issue for enforcement).

Regards,

From:
Sent: Wednesday, May 29, 2019 6:06 PM
To: Paul Feiner
Subject: Re: should Greenburgh impose a tax on empty storefronts/commercial properties?

 

It’s certainly something that should be explored.

Can Extra Taxes on Vacant Land Cure City Blight?

Some cities are seeking to hike taxes on vacant property as a way of spurring redevelopment and eliminating blight.

pewtrusts.org

 

1d ago · 18 neighborhoods in General

Reply

https://d19rpgkrjeba2z.cloudfront.net/9b053e9719b895b9/static/images/reactions/thank42.png

3

30

Stephanie Anderson

 

Irvington on Hudson·1d ago

Yes! Landlords should be held accountable! Maybe even make rents affordable. Like Mrs. greens in Tarrytown went out of buisnsss becausw rent is insane ans its STILL empty

Thank

Lois Green

 Hartsdale Estates·1d ago

Yes, it is an eyesore.

Thank

https://d19rpgkrjeba2z.cloudfront.net/9b053e9719b895b9/static/images/reactions/thank42.png

1

Lance Patrouch

 

, Hartsdale Ave·1d ago

I always thought the owner was responsible for the taxes regardless

Thank

https://d19rpgkrjeba2z.cloudfront.net/9b053e9719b895b9/static/images/reactions/thank42.png

2

 

, Hartsdale Ave·1d ago

I wholeheartedly support this. Enough with landlords holding out for the next Sephora.

Thank

https://d19rpgkrjeba2z.cloudfront.net/9b053e9719b895b9/static/images/reactions/thank42.png

1

Elaine Trader

 

, Dobbs Ferry·1d ago

Yes! I suggested this to the Dobbs Ferry board of trustees! Rents are too high & too many empty storefronts!

Thank

https://d19rpgkrjeba2z.cloudfront.net/9b053e9719b895b9/static/images/reactions/thank42.png

2

Regina Murray

, Colonial Heights·15h ago

Yes I totally agree there is some monetary gain I do believe with the landlord leaving the property vacant they must write it off as a loss for the year there's something going on which is why these properties are left vacant for decades at a time these properties should have a very high vacancy tax this way the landlord's may feel compelled to lower the asking rent.. and the new business I'm sure would be a compliment to the neighborhood versus a vacant building also there's a whole nother set of problems with a vacancy it can potentially become a Haven for rodents Yeek

Thank

https://d19rpgkrjeba2z.cloudfront.net/9b053e9719b895b9/static/images/reactions/thank42.png

1

Richard Zlotowitz

 

, Ardsley·13h ago

Yes, absolutely, a vacancy tax can act as a disincentive to keeping the store empty. Additionally, the state legislature should change the law about a tax write-off if a store is not rented. Both these things together would act as huge disincentive to vacancies.

Thank

https://d19rpgkrjeba2z.cloudfront.net/9b053e9719b895b9/static/images/reactions/thank42.png

1

 

, Hartsdale Ave·13h ago

Agreed- maybe this will push landlords to fill, fix, or sell these properties... They are an eyesore and hurt our own investments in our community. BTW- What about the empty/vacant lots the town owns?

Thank

https://d19rpgkrjeba2z.cloudfront.net/9b053e9719b895b9/static/images/reactions/thank42.png

1

Regina Murray

 

, Colonial Heights·13h ago

If they hit these landlords in the pocket then they would stop using these nasty vacant properties and lots as tax write-offs while they are 1000% ruining our investment our homes our businesses when they have trash they get a little violation it doesn't add up to much they out price the rent of their commercial property weather sale price so high no one can touch it my brain is on overload but I wish someone would come up with an ingenious way of making these people pay when you hit someone in the pocket they seem to relax and come on The Logical side of the fence

Thank

https://d19rpgkrjeba2z.cloudfront.net/9b053e9719b895b9/static/images/reactions/thank42.png

2

Deborah Ciresi

 

, Edgemont·12h ago

I have been writing to you for years about the egregious condition of the Rotting Atlas and the decrepit spaceship in back of it (a/k/a the "health spa"). To date, the town has taken absolutely no action. That property has been in that repellent condition for well over two decades. Isn't there some authority that the town has, right now, to take swift and decisive action, without even having to bother Albany? It seems to me that when the town board wants something done in other areas, they don't hesitate to take action--why not here?

Thank

https://d19rpgkrjeba2z.cloudfront.net/9b053e9719b895b9/static/images/reactions/thank42.png

5

 

, Crestwood·12h ago

Absolutely not , it’s giving up control of your own property.

Thank

https://d19rpgkrjeba2z.cloudfront.net/9b053e9719b895b9/static/images/reactions/thank42.png

1

Regina Murray

, Colonial Heights·12h ago

When a property is an eyesore and it's uncapped and it is damaging the property values of others the property owner needs someone to step in.. what would be the logical reason of letting a piece of commercial property become more and more dilapidated not rented out and not fix it up for one's own selfish gain that's all I could see but if there's something I'm missing please fill me in because that's clearly what it appears

Thank

https://d19rpgkrjeba2z.cloudfront.net/9b053e9719b895b9/static/images/reactions/thank42.png

1

 

, Dobbs Ferry·10h ago

Definitely support this. Look at Long Island City in Queens: once all the vacancy tax breaks were set to expire, developers started building which created a domino effect of construction and commerce.

Thank

https://d19rpgkrjeba2z.cloudfront.net/9b053e9719b895b9/static/images/reactions/thank42.png

1

karen hoffman

 

, Secor Woods·10h ago

i believe we should..// their rents are too high and they benefit from taking a loss on their taxes... so YES

Thank

https://d19rpgkrjeba2z.cloudfront.net/9b053e9719b895b9/static/images/reactions/thank42.png

1

wayne Miller

 

, Hartsdale Ave·9h ago

Yes yes yes! Paul something has to be done,as amazon is taking over the world more and more buildings and storefronts are vacating and remaining empty with no maintenance being done creating these eyesores everywhere,please follow through on this important issue and thank you!!!

Thank

Dawnn Allen

 

, Irvington on Hudson·9h ago

These properties are held vacant as the landowners have found a way to get loans on the proferida based on impossibly high rents that caused the initial tenants to have to leave. It is a despicable practice and should not be allowed to occur. Taxing commercial properties that have been held vacant on purpose is a great idea. In conclusion, a big yes for me.

Thank

Tytus Boleslawski

 

, Hartsdale Ave·8h ago

Is anybody that responded to Paul a landlord? Do you own rental property? Please explain the motivation, with real life examples, how owning rental property and not renting it or even holding out for higher rent is a business model. How does that math work? In my case, if i can't rent something for the asking price, I lower the price, as not having income is not a good thing. There is no benefit in taking a loss. I agree something has to be done about the vacancies in our neighborhood but taxing may not be the answer if the motivation is not to rent the property and take the loss, it would only give them more loss. I think there is a demand issue, not enough demand for retail/commercial property in the area. Retail is dying due to online purchasing, not holding out for higher rent. We need to revitalize the commercial districts to get businesses to want to open their doors here!

Thank

https://d19rpgkrjeba2z.cloudfront.net/9b053e9719b895b9/static/images/reactions/thank42.png

https://d19rpgkrjeba2z.cloudfront.net/9b053e9719b895b9/static/images/reactions/like-v2_42.png

2

Judy Lindey

 

, Ardsley·8h ago

Absolutely The building opposite Benjamins Steak House has never been occupied. Horrible vacant stores and a huge vacant ugly building in the middle of Ardsley formerly a garage.The Ardsley properties don't meet the appearance codes. The newest ugly thing is brown paper on the filthy windows. What good is planting flowers around the disgusting buildings ? Landlords should be required to keep spotless stores, not permitted to cover the mess with brown paper.

Thank

 

 

, Hartsdale Estates·7h ago

It seems that my neighbors are pretty quick to judge without knowing the other part of the equation. I believe (as a landlord) that landlords have a responsibility to keep their properties in rentable condition even if they haven’t been rented. Most landlords are smart enough to make rental concessions when something doesn’t get snapped up. And they usually have to pay taxes on their property, rented or not. If they let it deteriorate it may be because they don’t have the wherewithal to maintain it. What do you think that financial penalties will do? Their taxes are not based on rental income. I do think the municipality may be able to force them to sell the property to the highest bidder...but you would need to consult a real estate attorney in that case. And the community should not be so quick to blame the victim! Most landlords are responsible small-businessmen and women, just trying to eke out a living in an era where their costs are skyhigh. To wit, so many vacant retail establishments.

Thank

https://d19rpgkrjeba2z.cloudfront.net/9b053e9719b895b9/static/images/reactions/thank42.png

https://d19rpgkrjeba2z.cloudfront.net/9b053e9719b895b9/static/images/reactions/like-v2_42.png

2

 

, Hartsdale Ave·Edited 6h ago

Vacancies is a complex issue. I think we need to be careful not to oversimplify and put a bit more thought into the solution than simply levying a tax on the owners. Greenburgh already has a dreadful reputation for making it hard to do business. Do we really want to give landlords & enterprises another reason not to do business here? Why not start by finding out exactly why said storefronts are empty? I’ll wager we find that the cause of the problem(s) is more obvious and closer than we think.

Thank

https://d19rpgkrjeba2z.cloudfront.net/9b053e9719b895b9/static/images/reactions/thank42.png

https://d19rpgkrjeba2z.cloudfront.net/9b053e9719b895b9/static/images/reactions/like-v2_42.png

4

 

, Hartsdale Estates·6h ago

Yes, they certainly should pay their taxes. And what about taxes on homes that have been under construction for years? Do they pay their fair share of property taxes (and whatever other taxes they should be responsible for.) Do we, homeowners that do pay our taxes, subsidize those those who don't? If so, that is just not fair!

Thank

 

 

, Edgemont·6h ago

It would be awesome if the Town, recognizing that school taxes across Greenburgh, are among the highest in the nation, not only focused on those who aren't paying their fair share of taxes but also on trying to lower taxes and making the community more friendly for businesses to move into Greenburgh.

Thank

https://d19rpgkrjeba2z.cloudfront.net/9b053e9719b895b9/static/images/reactions/thank42.png

1

Brian Lacek

 

, Edgemont·6h ago

A vacant land tax ‘may’ only help in a hot market, where businesses are flocking to get in but some landlords are waiting for a better deal. I do not think there is such a hot market here. A tax can work the opposite and make it impossible for landlords to perform any maintenance at all, plus scare away potential buyers of the properties. More analysis necessary...’to a person with a hammer, all the world is a nail’...more tax is not an answer.

Thank

https://d19rpgkrjeba2z.cloudfront.net/9b053e9719b895b9/static/images/reactions/thank42.png

4

 

, Hartsdale Estates·6h ago

They do pay their taxes Gene! If they didn’t there would be tax liens and the property would be sold at auction for non-payment. We homeowners are not subsidizing these properties. And i can tell you as a taxpayer with a house under construction for two years and more to go, that my taxes began At the minute i closed. And i live in the same neighborhood that you do..

Thank

https://d19rpgkrjeba2z.cloudfront.net/9b053e9719b895b9/static/images/reactions/thank42.png

https://d19rpgkrjeba2z.cloudfront.net/9b053e9719b895b9/static/images/reactions/like-v2_42.png

3

 

, Colonial Heights·4h ago

It appears my very insightful post was deleted. Perhaps Mr. Taxer, I mean Feiner didn’t like it. You should look at providing tax incentives to make your area more desirable. Apparently, the economics are not there for business to thrive. You are probably taxing too much. The European Health Spa has been closed for 40 years. Providing a proper incentive may allow a business to thrive there. You also pushed Rite Aid out of business.

Thank

Brian Lacek

 

, Edgemont·3h ago

Just a question. These are all just opinions on nextdoor, a social media platform. Will there be some method to formally vote on this and other matters? I guess there is some process, but I don’t know what it is. And how will people not on nextdoor learn about the process of voting on this and other issues? Also, i think dialog with the landlords is vital...can we learn what their story is? There is really not enough data or analysis to make an educated vote at this point.

Thank

 

 

, Hartsdale Estates·3h ago

I guess my reply was somehow deleted. In any case, I wrote some criteria for this tax and the very first one was that the town regulation around commercial property should be reviewed. That was the very first point before any other criteria. I think this should be brought to a town meeting and the announcement around its discussion should be posted days in advance of the meeting, not the night before. Thanks.

Thank

https://d19rpgkrjeba2z.cloudfront.net/9b053e9719b895b9/static/images/reactions/thank42.png

1

Brian Lacek

 

, Edgemont·2h ago

Hi PN, so it means then that this is already a done deal i guess? So who cares with all these posts then? How can we learn what the existing regulations are anyway? I mean i don’t have any skin in this at all, but i wasted some skin from my thumbs writing my opinions which will make no difference anyway. In general, how did you learn about this in the first place? Some website or something? Thanks.

Thank

 

 

, Hartsdale Estates·2h agoNew

Nope, nothing is done at all.

Thank

 

 

, Hartsdale Estates·2h agoNew

I suggested it ... just brainstorming at a neighborhood dinner.

Thank

 

 

From:
Sent: Wednesday, May 29, 2019 10:18 PM
To: Paul Feiner
Subject: Re: should Greenburgh impose a tax on empty storefronts/commercial properties?

 

Hi Paul,

 

Yes, Greenburgh should impose a tax on empty storefronts. It makes perfect sense.

From:
Sent: Wednesday, May 29, 2019 6:26 PM
To: Paul Feiner
Subject: Re: should Greenburgh impose a tax on empty storefronts/commercial properties?

 

Dear Paul,

 

Seems like a sound idea. The health spa site certainly meets the eyesore standard. Terrible.

 

Best,

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 




Print this page Print this page Print this page Email this page Email this page





Contact Information | Home | Town Supervisor | Town Council | Town Clerk's Office | Tax Department | Departments | Documents & Forms | Town Code | GIS Maps, Tax and Assessment Information | Agendas & Minutes | Watch Live Board Meetings | Public Access TV On Demand | Links | Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) | Employment Opportunities | Town Updates by E-Mail | Pay Parking Tickets Online | Pay Water Bill Online | On-Line Tax Payments | Map to Town Hall
Use Mobile Site

Copyright © 2014 Town of Greenburgh, NY. All Rights Reserved.

Powered by Cit-e-Net