KENDALL – Town Board members Tuesday evening heard from residents of The Cottages at Troutburg who expressed their concerns over plans by the owner of the development to convert from a three-season to a four-season community.
Currently, there are six cottages which have been sold and several residents told council members they want to be certain that the conversion of their cottages to four-season homes be done by a reputable, independent contractor and in compliance with town codes.
They said they are worried that the assistance which owner/manager Jack Howitt is offering is not enough to make the cottages four-season ready.
“We are all very committed to making this community a success, but we feel like the owner blatantly disregards the original concept of the community in order to make a profit,” residents stated in a letter sent to the board dated Oct. 10. In the letter, they spelled out three areas of concern including the conversion of current properties, security and safety.
Residents say the development still does not have security gates and the original large lake house on the property as well as a vacant cottage are rented out the owner to anyone. The Cottages at Troutburg is located at a former Salvation Army Camp along Lake Ontario.
“In the email from the owner, he stated that a benefit of converting to four season will be ‘cross country skiing, sledding, snowshoeing, possible ice fishing and skating,’” a group of residents wrote to council members. “The cottage owners’ issues with this is that it may not be rented out to strangers who will have total access to the community when days are much shorter.
“These are not just frivolous weekend cottages and are, in fact, primary homes to some,” the residents informed council members. “When we bought, we were committed to the idea that was sold to us, and actually signed contracts for a three season community. Now, the whole concept of what we purchased is being changed and we feel our concerns are being ignored at every turn and we have no say.”
In a separate, anonymous letter to Town Supervisor Tony Cammarata, a writer stated that there are residents who are happy with the change to four season.
“We feel it would be both beneficial to the town and the residents. We have also heard prospective buyers would buy if it was a four season community which is why we believe the sale of the cottages have been challenging,” according to the letter.
In a letter to Supervisor Cammarata from Jack Howitt, he writes that he believes the change will assist The Cottages with sales efforts.
“We expect this to increase, to some small extent, the number of full time residents of Kendall, increase town tax revenue, and increase the prospects for success of this slow moving project,” he said.
Howitt requests town approval for four-season use of the Cottages going forward.
Residents of Troutburg were notified of the change in an email from management. The notice states that current residents will not be affected by the change unless they choose to have their leases amended to allow four-season use of their site. Management states hot boxes (the cottages do not have basements) will be upgraded at no charge with a four-season choice. New cottage sites will be leased year-round.
“Four season owners will pay 100 percent assessed taxes rather than the present 80 percent,” the notice states. “The additional tax cost for all season use is quite gentle at approximately $49/month for a cottage that cost $140,000.”
The notice states that this is a one-time offer to present residents and contract holders to have their lease modified free of charge and with no rental adjustment other than a small increase in RE taxes.
“Troutburg Management will be paying the difference in taxes to the Town of Kendall for current residents who remain three season. The single tax bill that comes to The Cottages with this charge will now reflect 100 percent assessment for all cottages.”
Residents attending Tuesday’s Town Board meeting told Supervisor Cammarata they will be satisfied if they are assured winterizing of their cottages will be done correctly to meet the standards of a four season residence.
Council members took no action on the issue Tuesday evening.
• In other matters, the board heard from residents Trudy and Bob Slocum, who live in the area of Norway and Lake Shore Roads, and who would like the town to expand public water into their neighborhood. They presented the board with signed petitions of residents in the Lake Shore/Kendall Road/Norway Road area who would like public water.
Cammarata said the town has been working diligently to create water districts and that West Kendall Road is next in line.
“We appreciate the work you have done,” Cammarata told the Slocums. “A staple of life is water, and we’ve been working for five years getting water districts in place. We do want to get you water. For Kendall to grow, we need water.”
The town would take the petitions to the town’s engineer to discuss moving forward, but because of the process involved in creating a water district, it could be sometime in 2019 that a water district would actually be in place.
Town of Kendall is now accepting partial tax payments
Kendall property owners now have the option of making partial payments for or on account of taxes, special ad valorem levies or special assessments under certain terms and conditions.
Council members approved the partial payments in September to help taxpayers who are having difficulty paying their real estate taxes on a timely basis.
Partial payments can be made from January 1 through April 30 and there is no limit to the number of partial payments a taxpayer may make on a tax bill for a particular tax map parcel, but it must be at least $200.
The partial payments provide, “tax relief for people having difficulties,” Supervisor Cammarata said.
By allowing for partial payments during the tax collection period, residents can avoid or decrease penalties charged against the unpaid balance.
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