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Board tables affordable housing vote

The Skaneateles Town Board heard from both sides of the table during a public hearing Thursday evening regarding an affordable housing local law.

At the end of the hour-long hearing, though, the board opted to table any vote on the law until it is modified.

"It's not perfect by a long way," Councilman Jim Greenfield said. "There's too many loopholes."

Those who turned out for the hearing to speak in favor of it were mostly members of the committee formed to research and evaluate laws in an attempt to have legislation in Skaneateles.

According to Mary Kate Shane, a member of the committee, the group saw a need for affordable housing, particularly residents who are elderly and seeking residence within their financial means, new residents coming to the community and newlyweds searching for a first home.

"We didn't come to any conclusions," Shane said. "I think by passing this resolution it would make it easier. We are asking you to pass this law."

Also on the committee, Jim Williams spoke in favor of the resolution. He said the law that's currently drafted didn't work. What the committee is talking about is affordable housing for moderate-income people.

"Skaneateles is a very attractive place," he said.

According to Williams, the committee wanted to form the law so Skaneateles continues to be a place where people from a variety of income levels can live and contribute to the community. The way the new draft is, anyone with an income of $91,000 or less would be eligible for affordable housing.

Terri Roney, also on the committee, said there's a stigma on affordable housing that makes people think of low-income housing. However, that's not the case.

"What we're trying to do here is try to address the starter homes," she said.

A stipulation for any developer who wanted to build a subdivision would be that 15 percent of the development would have to be considered affordable housing. But, there has to be at least five homes built before an affordable house is constructed.

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