After of negotiations with the man who owns 1141 Main St., a property needed for the the City of Peekskill has reached an agreement with him.
During Monday night’s meeting, the Council approved for the city manager to execute a $514,400 contract for the acquisition of Gerrardo Escandon’s property, the white house on the corner of Main St. and Broad. The building has housed a hair salon and money wiring business, and two tenants over the last few years.
The city has agreed to a purchase price of $485,00; business relocation payment to Escandon’s business Ecuamerica Multiservies Corp. of $25,000 and reimbursement of Escondon’s attorney’s fees of $4,500. One of the building's businesses and one tenant have already relocated, Mayor Mary Foster said.
Escandon paid $485,000 for the property more than six years ago and told Patch last year that he would not accept anything below it. The city offered him $325,000 in Jan. 2011, he said last year.
This is the second of three properties the city needs to purchase in order to move forward with the firehouse project. City officials are still in negotiations with , the owner of Crossroads Plaza and the Panio Liquors building.
“The (negotiations) are amicable and fruitful,” said City Corporation Counsel Bernis Nelson of talks with Huang Monday night. Huang was unavailable for comment at the time this article was published.
The first parcel was sold to the city in fall of 2011 for $565,000. In March 2011, the then-City Manager Rick Finn told Patch that the city had estimated it would pay $2.75 million for land acquisition.
City officials have maintained that they did not want to invoke Eminent Domain Procedure to acquire the properties needed for the firehouse, but preparing to use Eminent Domain earlier this year in case it become necessary. Eminent domain is a condemnation process that claims property in the name of public service. In Dec. 2011, after the project had been in progress for about two years, Foster said that."The current conditions of existing firehouses have been described as unsafe, unsanitary, and too old. The Council did not want to wait any longer for land acquisition becuase of the problems at the current firehouses, the early this year.
“I’m very happy we are purchasing this property. It is another step in the right direction for the firehouse,” Deputy Mayor Drew Claxton said during the work session Monday night.
The Council had to waive a rule that states agendas must be publicly posted at the same time the Council receives that information, Foster said. Because the agreement with Escandon was reached late Friday and the City Clerk had left for the day, the revised agenda was not posted until Saturday, Foster said.
“This has been a very difficult negotiation and the purchaser gave a deadline and it’s essential to send the full contract back tomorrow to make the deal go,” Nelson said at the work session Monday.
“We don’t take this lightly. Unfortunately, this is extremely time sensitive,” Mayor Foster said of the motion to waive the rule.
Claxton opposed Councilwoman Marybeth McGowan’s motion to waive the rule, based on practice, during the Common Council meeting, but the rest of the council approved, which allowed them to vote on the acquisition deal last night. They all voted in favor. Councilman Don Bennett was absent.
"We are very happy to see that conclude in an agreeable, consensual way. And it has not been easy and we have one left to go," Foster said.
The Council is hopeful to reach an agreement with Huang, which would mean they could cease all Eminent Domain procedures.
Members of the public spoke out against Eminent Domain, the cost of the firehouse and its planned location during athis March.
Also on Monday night, the Council discussed holding a special meeting on July 9 to adopt the Draft Environmental Impact Statement as complete and to schedule a public hearing for July 30 at 10 a.m.
*Editor's Note:An original version of this article stated that the Council discussed holding a special meeting to schedule a public hearing for July 16. The date they discussed was July 30. Also, Mayor Mary Foster sent the following in an email to Patch on June 27 to clarify the timeline for the DEIS and public hearing. Foster wrote:
On July 9th if the DEIS is final we can accept it as such and then on July 16th we can pass a resolution that will schedule the public hearing for a future date. We do not know what that date is yet. But the public hearing will not be on the 16th. We originally had it scheduled for July 23rd but that schedule has been pushed back because staff is still addressing the Council’s comments on the DEIS. Staff suggested at Monday’s work session that the Public Hearing could be scheduled for July 30th. However, 3 of the council are away that night. Therefore the Public Hearing will be scheduled for some date in August.
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