County IDA chair: Mineola growing by ‘leaps and bounds’

County IDA chair: Mineola growing by ‘leaps and bounds’
101-105 Searing Ave. in Mineola. (Photo courtesy of Google Maps)

Nassau County Industrial Development Agency Chairman Richard Kessel said Mineola has grown by leaps and bounds during a Monday afternoon hearing for The Royal Blue Residential Development on Searing Avenue.

But Mineola Superintendent Michael Nagler expressed reservations about the project because of the tax breaks the developer is seeking.

“There’s been a lot of criticisms about Long Island and that we’re not doing enough for housing and I think the Village of Mineola should be complimented for the efforts they are making for creating housing and affordable housing,” Kessel told the hearing held at Mineola’s Community Center. 

Searing Group LLC has filed an application for the project, which would take two currently vacant lots at 101 and 105 Searing Ave. and develop them into a six-story, 101,600-square-foot building with 54 residential rental units. Six would be affordable housing units. 

The ground floor of the building would include an enclosed parking garage for residents consisting of 54 spaces, one per residential unit, lobby space and other residential amenities. Floors two through six would contain 54 units, with 46 of them being one-bedroom units and eight being two-bedroom, according to Searing’s application.  Also included is a business center, multi-purpose event space, fitness center and rooftop deck with a pool and outdoor patio space, according to the application. 

Searing is seeking an abatement of real property taxes, or payment in lieu of taxes known as a PILOT Program, for 20 years totaling $5.8 million on the property that has projected capital costs of $33.54 million.

Nagler said during the hearing he does not have a problem with the project itself but with the structure of the PILOT program, calling it a detriment to the school district in the near future. 

“Because of the tax cap in New York State, we cannot raise taxes to the equivalent of the revenue lost,” Nagler said. 

The superintendent said one or two PILOT programs would not be an issue, but 11 overlapping programs would be an issue for the district, beginning in the school year 2035-2036 and being most detrimental in 2038-2039.

Nagler said the PILOT program for the Royal Blue development would be No. 11 in Mineola if and when approved on top of the 10 that are currently active.

Projects with PILOTs do not impact a district’s growth factor, a component of the tax cap formula intended to reflect new development in a jurisdiction. Any revenue received under PILOT agreements is subtracted from the tax levy that a district can raise.

Nagler said in his 14 years as superintendent, he or a representative has appeared at every PILOT hearing possible in the village. 

“I continue to be optimistic that we will be able to avoid the school district’s problem that this is creating in future years,” Nagler said. “There has to be some sort of give-and-ake that allows us not to run off this cliff.”

The Nassau County IDA will be holding a board meeting on Thursday, March 30, when they will vote on a resolution granting Searing Group’s PILOT application.


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