There is a new twist in the lawsuit brought by The Landing against the Town of Greenburgh, its assessor, board of assessment review, and the Dobbs Ferry Union Free School District, in an effort to change its 103 units from single-family homes to condominiums, and thus be entitled to a lower property tax rate.
On Oct. 21, Dobbs Ferry native and homeowner Matt Rosenberg filed an Affidavit in Support of Motion to Intervene in the case. Rosenberg is the founder of Dobbs Ferry Taxpayers for Fair Cost Sharing, whose Facebook group description says that it exists “to create public pressure to force residents of The Landing to make their HOA cease and desist.”
In his affidavit, Rosenberg states that he’s filing a motion to intervene “in order to better represent the interests of the typical taxpaying homeowner in Dobbs Ferry and to challenge and oppose the Petitioner's attempt to be reclassified from a Homeowners Association to a Condominium Association and to receive lower assessments…”
The Landings’ stance is that it legally reclassified the development’s homes as condominiums as of April 30, 2018 by filing papers with Westchester County. Since condominiums are taxed at a lower rate than single-family homes, the HOA also wants to be reimbursed $2.2 million for property taxes paid in 2018 and 2019.
That reimbursement, at a cost of $1.1 million per year, would come from the Town ($100,000), the Village of Dobbs Ferry ($250,000), and the school district ($750,000). Should The Landing win its case to convert to condos, and potentially lower its assessment as much as 50 percent, taxes would increase for other homeowners in Dobbs Ferry.
Rosenberg’s affidavit includes a history of The Landing dating back to the late 1980s, before its developer, Summit Residential of Valhalla, purchased the property in the late 1990s. Rosenberg states that Summit “sought and obtained approval of the development of The Landing on the basis of 103 taxpaying single-family homes. The Village, Town, and school district relied on that choice and commitment and the forecasted tax stream that was part and parcel of the bargain struck.”
On the Dobbs Ferry Taxpayers for Fair Cost Sharing website (https://df-taxpayers.com) Rosenberg posted minutes from planning board and village board meetings from the late 1980s through the mid-1990s that he maintains are relevant to his claims.
The Landing was completed in 2000, and its first residents arrived in 2000-2001. Rosenberg’s affidavit continues, “The Landing made its choice, the Respondents relied (now to their detriment), and Petitioner should not be allowed to breach its promises.”
The development’s basic premise is that any taxpaying entity would want to take advantage of an opportunity to lessen its tax burden.
On June 13, 2018, the Town of Greenburgh passed a law preventing single-family homes to convert to condos. On Aug. 20, 2018, The Landing filed suit accusing the Town of Greenburgh and the New York State Attorney General’s Office, which has jurisdiction over condos, of working together to prevent The Landing from converting, and “depriving converted condominiums of that beneficial tax treatment.” The lawsuit detailed a timeline of actions going back to November 2017.
It will be up to Justice Bruce E. Tolbert of Westchester County Supreme Court to determine whether Rosenberg has standing to intervene in the case.
“If we, Dobbs Ferry Taxpayers for Fair Cost Sharing, don't have a seat at the table, then we will be left to wonder, ‘How did they let this happen to us?’ as we dig deeper into our pockets to make up for the tax shortfall estimated at over a million dollars a year,” Rosenberg told the Enterprise on Oct. 27. “The Landing owners would have created this problem, we would carry more of the burden, and they would benefit from it into the future.”