Village Of Sea Cliff Completes Purchase Of NY American Water Building

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(Photo by Caroline Ryan)

The Village of Sea Cliff completed the purchase of 325 Prospect Ave from NYAW on June 30. The purchase of this 2.5 acres of waterfront property continues the efforts of the Village of Sea Cliff to preserve open space and protect historically significant structures.

 

In 2017, the Village of Sea Cliff commenced litigation against New York American Water as it related to increases in rate charges and fees authorized by the Public Service Commission and billed by NYAW to ratepayers in the Sea Cliff District Service Area. It was the Village’s position that the rates and fees were irrational, inequitable, and contrary to law.

After acknowledging that its representations to the Public Service Commission to support the extraordinary rate increases were based on certain underlying “accounting” inaccuracies, NYAW agreed to various measures, including:
• Bill Credits: NYAW was obligated to accelerate filings to the PSC that reduced rates by approximately $6.4 Million for all customers of the Sea Cliff Water District.
• Internal Controls/Independent Monitor: NYAW was required to implement certain internal controls to reduce the likelihood of future inaccuracies and to appoint an independent monitor to oversee the new internal controls.
• Sale of 325 Prospect Avenue: NYAW agreed to sell this property to the Village at a $1 million discount and reimbursement of certain litigation legal fees, for a net purchase price of $540,000.
• Ratepayer credit: In addition to the bill credits, NYAW agreed to provide Sea Cliff District ratepayers with a $1.6 million credit on future water bills.

This property contains two historically significant structures and over 2 acres of scenic open space.

Mayor Villafane announced “The Village of Sea is excited to announce that the purchase of this property is a legacy project that will benefit generations of residents Sea Cliff.” She further explained that the next phase regarding this property will be to conduct a publicly engaged analysis to determine the Village’s vision for the best public use or uses of the property Town Hall Meetings will be scheduled in the fall to discuss the renovation of the buildings, utilization of the property and methods for funding that do not unduly impact the taxpayers.

Trustee Kevin McGilloway also emphasized that this is a legacy acquisition that will benefit current residents as well as generations to come. He went on to say that “All of Sea Cliff owes a debt of gratitude to individuals that brought this conceptual settlement into reality. Specifically, Bruce Kennedy who was the genesis of the idea and diligently worked to bring the concept into actuality.

Additionally, former Mayor Edward Lieberman who led the Board of Trustees and supported the actions of all involved in obtaining this property.”

Trustee Dina Epstein said, “After a four year struggle the Village is victorious. Our ratepayers received significant refunds and we now own this historic coastal resource. This acquisition will keep the land open and available to public use. Sea Cliff doesn’t need more development and more cars, we need to work to preserve
our open spaces and the character of our community.”

While Mayor Villafane and the Board of Trustees are soliciting the input of the community about the use of the property, one thing is for sure; there will be a significant portion of the property that will be dedicated to the arts.

-Submitted by the Village of Sea Cliff

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