Rockland Psychiatric Center
Options For Reuse
April 15, 1998
 
Table of Contents
 
  Page  

 

Executive Summary
1
Introduction
4
Regional Location
6
Description of Property
8
Physical Characteristics of the Site
10
Topography
10
Soil Conditions
10
Wetlands
20
Water Quality Buffers
25
Burial of Subsurface Materials
31
Flood Plain Areas
34
Description of RPC Campus
35
Negotiations with New York State Concerning Buildings  

Listed To Be Retained by State

44
Size of Buildings to Be Conveyed Out By New York State
46
Evaluation of Existing Buildings
48
Reuse of RPC Buildings and Grounds
48
Buildings and Features To Be Saved
49
Potential Asbestos Removal Costs
51
Costs of Demolition/Remediation of Existing Buildings & Structures
52
Middletown Psychiatric Center, Experience of Adaptive Reuse
54
Infrastructure
55
Water Supply
55
Electric and Gas
55
Telephone
56
Sanitary Sewers
56
Conclusions
56
Site Opportunities and Constraints
61
Concept Plan A
64
Concept Plan B
69
Projected Tax Revenues
72
Existing Tax Revenues
72
Development Period Tax Revenues
72
Post Development Tax Revenues
73
Single-Family Development at Current R-80 Zoning
74
Office/Industrial Development
74
Townhouse/ "Empty-Nester" Uses
76
Senior Citizen Housing
77
Retail
77
Summarizing a Possible Development Scenario
78
Market Analysis; Office and Industrial Uses
79
Conclusions
80
   
Market Trends
81
Speculative Office Development Model
81
Economic Feasibility
82
Conclusions on Speculative Office Development Model  

 

83
Renovation of Existing Buildings for Use as Office Space
85
Speculative Industrial Development Model
90
Economic Feasibility
86
Bio-Science Park
87
Impacts on School Enrollments
88
Single-Family Developments
88
Townhouse/ "Empty-Nester" Housing
90
Senior Communities
90
Appendix
91
Anecdotal Experience with Townhouse/ "Empty-Nester" housing 

 

92
Letter to Thom Kleiner, Town Supervisor, from Michael Osnato, ` Superintendent of Schools, Pearl River School Districct, May 7, 1997.
99
 
 
List of Tables
 
Table Number
 
  

Title

 
Page 
1
Site Development Characteristics for Buildings, 

Soil Conservation Service 

 

18
2
Recreation Limits, by Soil Types 

Soil Conservation Service 

 

19
3
Buildings to Be Retained by New York State 

 

37
4
Buildings to Be Conveyed by New York State, Aggregated by Building Size 

 

41
5
Task Force List-RPC Buildings to be Retained and Conveyed by State of New York 

 

45
6
Potential Asbestos Removal Costs 

 

51
7
Concept Plan A Land Use Table 

 

67
8
Concept Plan B Land Use Table 

 

71
9
Demographic Multipliers for School Age Children per Dwelling Unit 

 

93
10
Demographic Multipliers for School-Age Children 

American Housing Survey 

 

94
11
Regional/National Demographic Multipliers by Standard Housing Types, Total Household Size 

 

95
12
Regional/National Demographic Multipliers by Standard Housing Types, Total School Age Children 

 

96
13
Regional/National Demographic Multipliers by Standard Housing Types, Total School Age Children, By Grade 

 

97
14
Regional/National Demographic Multipliers by Standard Housing Types, Total Pre-School Age Children 

 

98
15
Pearl River School District 1993-1998 Enrollments, Regent Diploma Rate, Per Pupil Cost
100
 
 
List of Maps
 
 
Page 
 
Regional Location Map
7
Topography and Steep Slopes Map
12
Soil Characteristics Map
13
Wetland Location and Acreage Map
23
Wetlands and Wetland Buffers Map
24
Water Quality Buffer Map
30
Building Numbers Map
36
Building and Structures Retained By State
39
Buildings Not to Be Retained By State/By Size
47
Electric and other Utilities Map
57
Gas and Utility Tunnel Map
58
Sanitary Sewer, Chilled Water and Water Supply Map
59
Storm Water and Telephone Map
60
Concept Plan A 
66
Concept Plan B
70
 
 
Executive Summary
 

Our charge in this report is to present the Town Board of Orangetown with potential alternative development scenarios for the reuse of the Rockland Psychiatric Center (RPC). New York State has offered the Town of Orangetown the right of first refusal for portions of the RPC property. The Town may seek title to all parts of the site being offered, or only selected segments, or decline to purchase any portion of the site.

 

The site offers the possibility of many different uses. Orangetown wishes to attract job and tax ratables. Accordingly, we have recommended that an area of approximately 56 acres, situated in the southwestern portion of the property, with access to Veteran’s Memorial Drive, be considered for corporate office headquarters, office park use, and / or high-tech flex space.

 

The site has several existing amenities including a nine-hole golf course known as Broad Acres. In order to maximize the value of the course, we have recommended it be extended, to a full 18 holes. Concurrently, we suggest the development of townhouse / "empty-nester units" / senior citizen housing. These uses will provide the "economic engine", to generate sufficient revenue to offset the costs of the project including:

• land acquisition ;

• site remediation (asbestos, lead paint, elimination of dump sites, etc.); and

• demolition of the unneeded buildings.

By contrast, each of these uses (office, senior citizen housing and townhouse/"empty-nester" units) will generate considerable tax revenue and have little or no burden on the local school system. Members of the Pearl River School Board report that newly constructed single-family housing will generate approximately 1.7 children per dwelling unit, based on comparable studies performed in the Marycrest area. The population of the Pearl River School district, which serves the majority of the site, has increased approximately 40 percent during the last eight years. There does not appear to be room for student population growth within the existing school facilities.

 
If these tax generating uses come into fruition within the next few years, a number of other opportunities are possible. The Town has created a task force which has recommended a number of uses for the RPC site including affordable housing, recreational facilities, including a townwide swimming pool and a large ballfield (soccer, and Irish football) , youth center, senior citizen center and housing / facilities for persons in the performing arts.

 

Acknowledgements
 

The report is designed to provide Orangetown’s Town officials with the greatest amount of information to assist in determining the direction in which the municipality elects to proceed. The plans and alternatives that are presented in the report do not represent the consultants’ solution but rather are designed to assist the Town Board in formulating their own conclusions relative to the site.

 
The conclusions reached in this report are entirely our own, however, we could not have prepared this report without the assistance of the following individuals:

                     Thom Kleiner, Supervisor

Town Board of Orangetown

Robert Bergman

Dr. Edward Fischer

Denis O’Donnell

Charles Vezzetti

Bernard Albin, Chairman Architectural Review Committee

Bob Beckerle, Director of Environmental Management and Engineering

John Giardiello, Director of O.B. Z. P. A. E.

Brian Kenney, Tax Assessor

Jim Riley, Esq., Town Attorney

Todd Miles, Esq., Bond Counsel

Task Force Members

 Rockland Business Association

Rockland Economic Development Corporation

Matt Sprung, BNE Developers

Michael Cantor, Bears Nest

Brad Kennedy

Village at Old Tappan

James Tully, CB Realty

Karen Glazer, Glazer Realty

Rosemarie Pelatti, New Line Realty

Jim Ferguson, Prudential Rand Realty

Judy Anderson, Advantage Buyer Realty

Susan Krimko Kopec, Weichert Realtors

Jim Stewart, Blue Hills Golf Course

Tom Meyers, Spokeperson for senior citizen groups

John Benz, Rockland Psychiatric Plant Facilities

 

In addition, we would like to specifically acknowledge John Roebig Ph.D. and Elizabeth Moran, of the firm EcoLogic for their work concerning watershed buffers, wetlands, streams and related matters; to Jack Holt and Phil Stiller of the firm of Fred Holt Construction, Inc. concerning issues of demolition and remediation costs and to Jim Bopp, Executive Director of Rockland and Middletown Psychiatric Centers.

 

Kasler Associates

 

Malcolm Kasler, AICP, PP

Mara Winokur, Project Manager

Jason Kasler, AICP, PP

 

Craig Whitaker Architects

Craig Whitaker

Jennifer Friedman

Adria Avilla

 

Kenneth LeBrun Consultants

Kenneth LeBrun

 
Introduction

 

The Rockland Psychiatric Center (RPC) is owned by New York State and operated by the New York State Office of Mental Retardation and Developmentally Disabled (OMRDD). The advent of pharmaceutical intervention for mental health patients in the 1970’s coupled with a desire to retire debt issued by the State in conjunction with its psychiatric facilities, spawned the deinstitutionalization of mental health facilities. This trend is reflected by the many facilities throughout New York State which have been downsized, including Kings County Mental Health Facility, Letchworth Village, Middletown Psychiatric Center and Harlem Valley Psychiatric Center. According to a document entitled Property Development Project, A New Life for Closing and Downsizing DMH Facilities, authored by the New York State Development Corporation (ESDC), by the year 2000, thirty-one (31) of the fifty-four (54) state mental health facilities will have closed or be significantly reduced in size.

 

The Rockland Psychiatric Center (RPC) embraces approximately 555 acres of land. It is currently zoned R-80 Rural-Residential by the Town of Orangetown. The State is proposing to sell much of the property while retaining the Children’s Psychiatric Facility, The Adult Inpatient Facilities, The Cook-Chill plant and other various facilities. The Town of Orangetown has been afforded the right of first refusal to the site, which presents a rare opportunity for the town to plan comprehensively to meet the Town’s needs.

 

In order to effectively analyze it’s options, the Town of Orangetown initiated a task force comprised of approximately 100 volunteers. The task force committees included a number of subcommittee groups including youth and recreation, senior citizens, land use and planning, buildings, contract negotiations, land, tax revenue and zoning, and economic development and housing. The function of these subcommittees was to infuse community input into the development process and to gather data and information concerning various aspects on the property. Each subcommittee then articulated desired visions for the site’s redevelopment.

Kasler Associates, a planning and community development consulting firm, in conjunction with Craig Whitaker Architects, and Kenneth LeBrun Consultants, were retained by the Town of Orangetown in January of 1998, to perform a planning and pre-development feasibility analysis for the subject site. Our overall mission was to analyze a number of development scenarios and their economic implications for the Town of Orangetown.

 

Each development scenario was explored in light of its planning, economic and architectural viability by utilizing geographic information systems technology and economic modeling. The analysis considered full reuse of existing buildings, their demolition and/or their partial reuse.

 

The balance of this report will document existing conditions, financial and architectural feasibility studies and impacts on the municipal tax structure and various municipal services.

 

The report’s conclusions consider community needs, physical conditions of the Rockland Psychiatric Center, the real estate market, various alternative development scenarios, and the results of meetings conducted with municipal officials, community groups and task force subcommittee members.

 

It should be noted that report is only a first phase. These uses and the environmental issues and potential impacts they engender must be addressed in an environmental impact statement (EIS) in order to comply with the State Environmental Quality Review Act, before the property is redeveloped.

 

 

 
Regional Location

 

The Rockland Psychiatric Center (RPC) occupies approximately 555 acres of land and water of which nearly 391 acres will be sold or otherwise conveyed by the State of New York. The RPC is situated in the geographic center of the Town of Orangetown.

 

The site is situated in the southeastern portion of Rockland County adjacent to the Palisades Interstate Parkway, Exit 6, as noted on the accompanying regional location map. The property enjoys good regional access to Westchester County via the Tappan Zee Bridge, located approximately 6 miles from the site, and to Bergen County, New Jersey, approximately 3/4 mile from the site. New York City is approximately 15 miles away and is accessible vis-a-vis the Palisades Interstate Parkway and the George Washington Bridge. The New York State Thruway, the Garden State Parkway, Route 9W and Route 59 are all within several miles of the property in question.

 

The site lies north of Veteran’s Memorial Drive, a major four-lane east/west thoroughfare and south of Convent Road. Convent Road is a two-lane roadway that is predominantly developed with residential uses and a few local retail neighborhood uses. RPC is bordered on the west by the Lake Tappan Reservoir, a potable water supply system serving Northern New Jersey. Several tracts of single family homes are located south of the property, as is the Town Veteran’s Memorial Park.

 

Surrounding uses in the vicinity of the property consist of a mixed fabric of single-family detached residential homes, a 27 hole public golf course, the Blue Hills office tower complex, and the Pearl River Hilton hotel.

 

Mercedes Benz recently announced the relocation of their corporate headquarters to a site east of the Blue Hills Complex and west of the RPC property. However, Mercedes Benz is currently reevaluating this decision. Reference to Mercedes Benz in the report should take this recent announcement into account.

 

 

insert regional map

 

 
Description of Property

 

The RPC site occupies approximately 555 acres of land and water. Of this total, 47 acres of land are situated beneath Lake Tappan (water rights) and cannot be built upon. A portion of the remaining acreage, some 508 acres, consists of lands improved with buildings and structures, roadways, utilities and other facilities. The remainder of the site is essentially undeveloped and vacant.

 

The State of New York proposes to retain approximately 50 buildings and structures as part of a reduced Rockland Psychiatric Center. The specific buildings and structures to be retained are noted in Table 3 herein. These facilities are divided into separate but related areas as follows:

 

• The Children’s Psychiatric Center is situated in the northwestern portion of the site, along Convent Road. This facility also includes a swimming pool and embraces approximately 25 acres.

 

• The mid-rise buildings located in the east central portion of the RPC site, inclusive of the principal administrative building, three residential buildings, a Catholic church and a Protestant church / synagogue building. This area totals approximately 37 acres.

 

• The Nathan Kline Institute (NKI) in the central portion of the RPC campus. Although this facility is privately owned, for the purpose of this report, this facility is still considered a part of the State’s holdings. The NKI complex totals approximately 27.5 acres.

 

• Several buildings which are necessary for the present operation of the RPC, including the power plant building, the work control shop, and the firehouse / transportation building are in a connected area west of Third Avenue totalling almost 6 acres.

 

• The State also proposes to retain Buildings 16 and 42, situated south of Maple Street. These facilities occupy approximately 2 acres separated from the remaining structures in the hospital complex. As noted later, we recommend that the occupants of these structures be relocated to the Staff Court Area. Several other buildings proposed to be retained by the State would also be affected by the proposed redevelopment plans. For discussion on this subject see page 42.

 

• The Cook-Chill building located south of Old Orangeburg Road and several small residences along Blaisdell Road are also to be retained. This area totals approximately 8 acres.

 

• We recommend that the EMS services located in buildings 139 and 141 be relocated to the firehouse.

 

• Several buildings situated south of Old Orangeburg Road are also to be retained. These facilities occupy about three acres and are comprised of a large single-family residence and an early Dutch Colonial house of historic worth at the corner of Veteran’s Memorial Drive and Blaisdell Road.

 

• Additionally, RPC also includes two off-tract cemeteries (nondevelopable) totalling approximately eight acres and an 8 acre site off Fern Oval. It is uncertain whether the 8 acre Fern Oval site is included as part of the sale.

 

In total, the State of New York will retain slightly more than 100 acres of land for the Rockland Psychiatric Center and will sell approximately 400 acres of land.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 
Physical Characteristics of the Site

 

Site characteristics including topographic elevations, soil conditions, areas identified as wetlands, and vegetative characteristics will play an important role in the overall redevelopment of the RPC property.

 

Topography

 

The topography of the subject site is varied and in some areas quite steep. The land generally slopes from east to west. The highest elevations are 250+/- feet above sea level along the easterly side of the present nine hole golf course. The land drops to elevations of approximately 55 feet at the edge of Lake Tappan along the westerly side of the property.

 

The varying elevations of the site coupled with many mature trees and landscaped areas are one of the sites principal amenities, and can serve to enhance the man-made and natural environment in the future. The steepness of the land, drainage conditions, soil erosion etc. serve as major impediments to the redevelopment of the site.

 

A general analysis of the site indicates approximately 50 acres of the site contain grades of 10 percent or greater and approximately 21 acres of the site contain grades of 15 percent or greater. This aggregated acreage corresponds to approximately 13 and 5 percent respectively of the 391 acres total acres being offered for sale.

 

The topography and steep sloping areas of the subject site are noted on the map on page 12.

 

 

Soil Conditions

 

The United States Department of Agriculture, Soil Conservation Service, has prepared a study of soil conditions for Rockland County. The forward to the report states the following:

 

The soil survey contains information that can be used in land-planning programs in Rockland County. It contains predictions of soil behavior for selected land uses. The survey also highlights limitations and hazards inherent in the soil, improvements needed to overcome the limitations, and the impact of the selected land uses on the environment.

 

This soil survey is designed for many different users. Farmers, foresters and agronomists can use it to evaluate the potential of the soil and the management needed for maximum food and fiber production. Planners, community officials, engineers, developers, builders, and home buyers can use the survey to plan land use, select sites for construction, and identify special practices needed to ensure proper performance. Conservationists, teachers, students, and specialists in recreation, wildlife management, waste disposal, and pollution control can use the survey to help them understand, protect and enhance the environment.

 

Great differences in soil properties can occur within short distances. Some soils are seasonally wet or subject to flooding. Some are shallow to bedrock. Some are too unstable to be used as a foundation for buildings or roads. Clayey or wet soils are poorly suited for basements or underground installations.

 

These and many other soil properties that affect land use are described in this soil survey. Broad areas are shown on the general soil map. The location of each soil is shown on the detailed soil maps. Each soil in the survey area is described. Information on specific uses is given for each soil. Helping in using this publication and additional information are available at the local office of the Soil Conservation Service or the Cooperative Extension Service.

 

The Soil Conservation Report identifies ten different soil categories for the Rockland Psychiatric Center site. Some of the soils are further divided into subcategories. The classifications are noted on the soils map on page 13. Table 1 on page 18 indicates the relative ease or difficulty of building based upon specific soil characteristics. An analysis of the specific soils on the subject site indicates certain soils which pose severe development constraints. Three of the soils ( Alden, Sloan, Wallington Silt ) are classified as containing severe development constraints due to wet conditions and one of the soils (Wethersfield Gravelly Silt Loam) is constrained due to steep slopes. The fifth soil, identified as Odorthents, wet substratum, is separately discussed. Table 2 on page 19 identifies suitability factors for various recreational uses.

 

 

 

 

insert steep slopes map

 

insert soil map

 

Alden Soils (Ad) (Alden Silt Loam)

 

This soil is deep, nearly level and very poorly drained. It is (located) in broad drainageways or depressed areas of dissected till plains and in depressed areas of bedrock-controlled uplands.

 

A small area of Alden soil approximately 1.7 acres, is situated on the site southwest of the existing golf course.

 

The Soil Conservation Manual notes the following:

 

Depth to Water Table: 1 foot above the surface to 6 inches below the surface (November to June)

Surface Runoff: Slow or Ponded

Depth to Bedrock: More than 60 inches

Use Restrictions: Dwellings: Prolonged periods of wetness and water commonly at or above the surface are the major limitations.

Local Streets: Frost action and prolonged periods with water at or on the surface are major limitations.

Recreation: Prolonged periods in which water is at or on the surface and the organic material in the soil represents the main limitations. The water in the soil during much of the year reduces accessibility.

 

 

 

 

 

Sloan Soil (Silt Loam) (Sa)

 

This soil is deep, nearly level, and very poorly drained. It is located on flood plains of the larger streams in the county. The areas are commonly long and narrow and range mainly from 10 to 50 acres. Slopes are less than 1 percent.

 

Two areas of sloan soils are located on the property. This includes land north and south of the Old Orangeburg Road. A second area of 0.8 acres is located in the northwestern portion of the property. In total, 14.2 acres of land are classified as Silt Loam soils.

 

The Soil Conservation manual notes the following:

 

Depth to Water Table: Surface to 1 foot below the surface

(November to June)

Surface Runoff: Very slow

Depth to Bedrock: More than 60 inches

Flooding: Brief (November to June)

Use Restrictions

 

Dwellings: Flooding and prolonged periods of wetness are the major limitations

Local roads

and streets: Low strength, wetness and flooding are the major limitations.

Recreation: Flooding and prolonged periods during which water is at or on the surface are the main limitations.

 

Wallington Silt Loam (Wa)

 

This soil is very deep, nearly level and somewhat poorly drained. It is (located) on lake plains adjacent to perennial streams.

 

A small area of approximately 1.9 acres is situated in the southwestern portion of the site on the north side of Veteran's Memorial Drive.

 

The Soil Conservation manual notes the following:

 

Depth to Water Table- 6 inches to 1.5 feet (January to April)

Surface Runoff- Slow

Depth to Bedrock- More than 60 inches

Use Restrictions-

 

Dwellings: Wetness is the main limitation of the soil as a site for dwellings, especially those with basements.

Local streets: Seasonal wetness is the main limitation.

Recreation: Seasonal wetness is the main limitation.

 

 

 

Wethersfield Gravelly Silt Loam, 15 to 25 Percent Slopes (WeD)

 

This soil is very deep, moderately steep and well drained. An area of approximately 11.8 acres is located in the west central portion of the property due east of the Lake Tappan area.

 

The Soil Conservation Survey manual notes the following:

 

Depth to Water Table: 1.5 to 2.5 feet (February to April)

Surface Runoff: Rapid

Depth to Bedrock: More than 60 inches

Use Restrictions

Dwellings: Slope is the principal limitation.

Local Streets: Slope is the main constraint.

 

 

Odorthents, Wet Substratum, (Uw)

 

This unit consists of somewhat poorly drained to very poorly drained soils that have been altered mainly by filling. This unit is ( located) mainly in low areas, such as depressions, drainageways and tidal marshes. On-site investigation is needed to determine the suitability of this unit for any use.

 

Two areas designated as Udorthents are located on the property along the north and southeastern portions of Lake Tappan. The two areas occupy 7 and 7.4 acres respectively.

 

In total, the Soil Conservation Service has indicated that 44.0 acres of the site contain severe constraints for development. Severely constrained areas occupy approximately 11 percent of the site that are being disposed of by the State of New York.

insert table 1 site development characteristics

insert table 2-site development characteristics

 

Wetlands

 

New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (NYSDEC) has jurisdiction over wetlands which are over 12.4 acres in size and are mapped and other wetlands of "unusual local importance". DEC regulates activities occurring within designated freshwater wetlands. A review of the NYSDEC wetlands maps for the Nyack Quadrangle does not depict any such wetlands on the property.

 

However, the United States Army Corps. of Engineers (ACOE) has jurisdiction over any wetland area greater than 0.33 acres. Because there are several wetlands on the site greater than 0.33 acres, ACOE regulations will supersede the NYSDEC’s. These regulations have become the national standard for identifying and classifying wetlands. A review of the maps for the Nyack Quad indicates several areas of federally designated wetlands.

 

The Army Corps. in conjunction with USEPA utilize National Fish and Wildlife Inventory (NWI) maps to delineate wetlands. The U.S Fish and Wildlife Service has created a wetland classification and definition system in order to effectively inventory existing wetlands and deepwater habitats.

 

In developing a definition of a wetland, the Service acknowledges that there is "no single, correct, indisputable ecologically sound definition for wetlands, primarily because of the diversity of wetlands and the demarcation between wet and dry environments lies along a continuum."

 

The multidisciplinary definition of a wetlands utilized by U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is based on three attributes:

 

• at least periodically, the land supports predominantly hydrophytes.;

• the substrate is primarily undrained hydric soil;

• the substrate is nonsoil and is saturated with water or covered with shallow water at some time of the year.

 

The designated wetlands noted on the NWI maps indicate approximately a dozen separate wetland areas, the largest of which contains 3.9 acres of land. Collectively, the NWI maps indicate a total wetland area of 9.3 acres.

 

According to an Existing Conditions Study prepared by Lawler, Matusky and Skelly Engineers in April of 1995, the RPC site is located downstream of the United States Geological Survey (USGS) designated headwaters location of the Hackensack River. Headwater location is defined as the point where the average stream flow exceeds 5 cubic feet/second. Due to its location, no fill (without mitigation) of any wetland area is permitted with the exception of utility line installations, road crossings and minor (less than 25 cubic yard area) fill.

 

As a result of these studies, and our own field observations, in which we noted many apparent wetlands areas which did not appear on either NYSDEC or NWI maps, we recommended the Town Board retain a wetland expert to undertake a preliminary field investigation.

 

Accordingly, the Town retained the services of the firm EcoLogic. John H. Roebig Ph.D., of the firm EcoLogic, undertook a preliminary on-site field investigation and has indicated an extensive network of wetlands on the site. Several wetlands areas were identified and delineated by Dr. Roebig. By translating the Global Positioning System (GPS) technology into Geographic Information System (GIS) format, a total wetland area was calculated. (See wetland maps pages 23 and 24.) It should be noted that Mr. Roebig’s delineation is generally consistent with the Soil Conservation Service estimates of "wet soils". Although Dr. Roebig’s conclusions are preliminary, it appears that many more wetland acres are indicated than shown on the existing maps which affect the reuse of the property.

 

The field verified wetlands are scattered throughout the site, but there are six principal locations where the majority of the wetlands are situated, noted as follows:

 

• An area of approximately 13.2 acres located east of Lake Tappan and south of the Children’s Psychiatric Center;

 

• An area of approximately 16.2 acres located west of the 10 acre ballfield and NKI building and north of Old Orangeburg Road;

 

• An area of approximately 7 acres located west of the Cook-Chill building between Old Orangeburg Road and Veteran's Memorial Drive;

 

• An area of approximately 4.58 acres located east of Blaisdell Road and north of Veteran's Memorial Drive;

 

• An area of approximately 2.46 acres located in the southeast portion of the tract located along the intersection of Old Orangeburg Road with Veteran's Memorial Drive; and

 

• An area of approximately 2.34 acres located in the northcentral portion of the site, east of First Street.

 

Smaller wetland areas are dispersed throughout the site.

 

The total wetland acreage on the RPC site is approximately 48 acres.

 

If NYSDEC were to retain jurisdiction over the two largest wetland areas (which exceed 12.4 acres), an additional 100 foot buffer would be required at their perimeter (since they may drain into a potable water supply system). The 100 foot wetland buffer would increase the area constrained for development by approximately 28.8 acres. The total acreage dedicated to wetlands and wetland buffers would therefore total approximately 77.9 acres.

 

 

 

.insert wetland acreage map

insert wetland buffer map

 

Water Quality Buffers

 

Lake Tappan is a source of drinking water, and therefore must be protected from both point and non-point sources of pollution. One obvious method of protecting the lake from surrounding development is to establish a water quality buffer of undeveloped lands on the lake’s perimeter.

 

Elizabeth Moran of the firm EcoLogic, has addressed the role of buffers in protecting water quality, as well as the particular site-specific factors influencing attenuation of contaminants in ground and surface waters.

 

"There is no universal agreement on what constitutes a buffer, which activities are acceptable in a buffer zone, or what is an appropriate buffer width. A vegetated buffer can be a natural riparian area, either set aside or restored to filter pollutants from runoff and to maintain the ecological integrity of the waterbody or the wetland adjacent to it. (Nieswand, et. al, 1989)

 

... (Water quality) buffers can protect both groundwater and subsurface water supplies by slowing water runoff trapping sediment, and enhancing water infiltration. They also trap a variety of pollutants including fertilizers, pesticides, bacteria, pathogens, and heavy metals. The organic material develops in a vegetated buffer can provide sites for physical and chemical sorption and biochemically-mediated breakdown of pollutants.

 

In addition to water quality protection, buffers can serve a number of other functions such as providing natural habitat for wildlife and improving fish habitat. Schueler (1995) lists twenty benefits of urban stream buffers including flood control, mitigation from stream warming, providing areas for present or future greenbelts, and the protection of associated wetlands.

 

Streamside buffers consisting of plantings of trees, shrubs, and grasses are called riparian buffers. These buffers can help restore damaged streams by restoring base flow and intercepting contaminants from both surface water and ground water. If riparian buffers are wide enough, the buffer can include riverine and palustrine wetlands that are frequently found along the stream corridor. Another strategy is to maintain separate buffer areas adjacent to each wetland. A wetland buffer provides the same functions to the wetland as a vegetated buffer provides to a stream corridor. These functional benefits include water- quality improvements (trapping sediments, organic compounds, pesticides, and other potential pollutants before they reach the wetland) and habitat enhancement. Many of the secondary functions such as flood control and open space preservation are evidenced as well.

 

How well a particular buffer functions, depends on its design with respect of the sensitivity of the receiving water, hydrology, site soils and slopes, and the mass, loading and type of pollutants it is to remove. Optimal design is site-specific. The optimal width of a buffer varies depending on the sensitivity of the receiving water (lake, stream or wetland), the condition of upland potential pollutants, and the degree of water quality protection desired. Urban stream buffers range from 20 to 200 feet in width on each side of the stream according to a national survey of 36 local buffer programs, with a median of 100 feet (Hearty, M. 1993).

 

The effectiveness of a buffer is also influenced by how well it is maintained. One of the main problems of maintaining buffers is the 'invisibility' of the buffer boundaries to owners, contractors and the public. Most buffers end up with a significant amounts of disturbance. A study of buffers ranging from two to eight years old found that 95 percent of the buffers showed visible signs of alteration. Forty percent of the buffers had been altered by human activity that their capability to protect the adjacent wetland was severely compromised (Cooke, 1991).

 

Schueler (1995) has concluded [that] effective buffers are divided into a number of lateral zones [termed] inner core, middle zone, and outer core. Each zone has its own defined width, particular vegetation target, and each has its own allowable uses (the most restricted near the stream). This researcher further concluded that educational and enforcement tools need to be incorporated into project planning in order for buffers to meet their water-quality objectives.

 

Setback Restrictions

 

In Massachusetts, the Rivers Protection Act, Chapter 258 of the Act of 1996, applies to nearly 9,000 mile of riverbanks. The law creates a 200-foot riverfront area that extends on both sides of rivers and streams. The law is intended to protect the natural integrity of the rivers and to encourage and establish open space along rivers.

 

Setback requirements for the edges of lakes are a common means of protecting the integrity of lakes and reservoirs. For example, a number of municipalities (e.g. Arietra in the Adirondack Park) have specific shoreline restrictions for particular land uses. For example, buildings are required to be at least 100' from water courses; leaching fields need to be at least 150' from the waters edge; and any active agriculture cannot be closer than 300' from any surface water course. (Arietta Process, 1974).

 

Shoreline zones may be designated as "critical environmental areas" in New York, thus triggering a State Environmental Quality Review Act (SEQRA) review and a positive declaration for development within this zone. Projects within a designated critical environmental area are then subject to greater scrutiny. Typically, a 100 ft zone is designated as the critical environmental area.

 

Setbacks also vary by land use. For example, throughout the Adirondack Park Land Agency, the principal building setback from lakes, ponds, rivers, and streams varies with land use as follows:

 

Hamlet area and moderate intensity = 50'

Low intensity and rural use areas = 75'

Resource management = 100'

Sewage drainage field = 100'

 

Special setback requirements may be adopted for water supply reservoirs. The recently adopted agreement for the New York City watershed specifies buffer areas within 100 ft. of water courses and wetlands, and 300 ft, of a water supply reservoir or main stem tributary. Creation or expansion of impervious surface within these critical areas is closely controlled. Stormwater management plans are required. There are exceptions to these setback requirement for existing land uses. The New York City watershed agreement reflects a complex integration of science (how are pollutants generated and transported, and what are the rates and processes of attenuation) with public policy.

 

Wetland/Stream Buffers

 

Wetland buffers provide an ecological transition zone from uplands to freshwater wetlands, which is an integral part of the freshwater wetland ecosystem. They provide temporary refuge for freshwater wetlands fauna during high water, critical habitat for animals dependent upon but not resident in freshwater wetlands, and slight variations of freshwater wetland boundaries over time due to hydrologic or climatologic effects. In addition, the buffer areas provide many of the water quality functions of the wetland itself. Among these critical functions is trapping sediment and improving the quality of storm water control, thus reducing the adverse impacts of development on wetland species and community structure. The need for and extent of buffers varies with the sensitivity of the wetlands, existing and proposed land uses, and the degree of protection desired.

 

Similar to vegetated filter strips, certain wetlands provide a variety of water quality functions such as trapping sediments and transforming pollutants. In general, however, wetlands derive their ability to renovate pollutants from their locations within the landscape more than their hydrologic process. Hydric soils are less effective as buffers than non-hydric soils. Therefore, since wetlands may be poor buffers and are themselves often critical resources, wetlands themselves should be buffered in many cases. McKague et. al. (1996) concluded that a 90' buffer was required to provide adequate protection to a wetland from adjacent development.

 

In some states (including New Jersey) wetlands are classified by resource value. The size of the regulatory buffer area, termed the transition zone, varies depending on the resource value. Ordinary wetlands have no transition areas, wetlands of intermediate resource value are required to maintain 50 feet transition zones. Wetlands of exceptional resource value are required to maintain 150 feet buffers. In cases of EPA priority wetlands, the review jurisdiction is extended to the wetland drainage (or watershed) area.

 

In New York State, a 100-foot buffer is specified for any State designated wetland. Many municipalities (e.g. Bedford., Mt Kisco) place l00-foot buffers on all wetlands.

 

The Lake Tappan wetlands have a wide range of habitat values and functional roles. Some are relatively undisturbed but the majority of them have a significant degree of human disturbance. A number have been filled or impacted by construction and household debris while others have storm-water runoff being directly discharged into the wetlands. These wetlands have been seriously impacted and altered and in many cases are now completely dominated by nuisance species such as common reed (Phragmites australis). An aggressive restoration and wetland buffer program could restore these wetlands and protect them from any further degradation.

 

Acceptable Uses Within Steam and Wetland Buffers

 

Stream and wetland buffer areas may be subject to great pressures from property owners and adjacent users. Determining what is an acceptable use in a buffer area can be difficult. Often, there is a need to reconcile many different competing and very strong pressures in buffer areas. This is particularly so of recreation, water dependent uses, utilities, and best management practices. The three-stage buffer concept described above would lend itself to different uses specified for each zone.

 

A means of improving the water quality function of buffers is the development of buffers specifically designed for the primary function desired. Vegetated treatment systems are a combination of vegetative filter strips and constructed wetlands designed to remove sediment and other pollutants from surface water runoff. This can be accomplished by a combination of filtration, deposition, infiltration, adsorption, absorption, decomposition, and volatilization. Vegetated treatment systems can be designed and constructed to perform some of these water quality functions.

 

Summary and conclusion

 

The Rockland State Psychiatric Institution site is a very diverse site with very high recreational and habitat potential. One of the best means of protecting and enhancing this resource is the establishment of lake, stream and wetland buffers throughout the site. A minimum total buffer width of 100 feet seems appropriate and a 200-300 feet buffer would provide added protection for critical areas and be consistent with other localities. Since much of the site in the immediate vicinity of the lake and wetlands have not been developed, the site offers an unusual opportunity to maintain the ecological integrity of the lake, stream, and wetland system. This added protection would be realized in added water quality benefits and avoided filtration costs.

 

Another alternative is to delineate a buffer zone with a variable width, depending on site specific conditions of soils, slopes, and characteristics of the aquatic and wetland resources. Under this approach, the minimum setback would be in effect throughout the parcel. Additional setback might be required in certain critical areas. This approach has the advantage of consistency with the existing policies of the water purveyor.

 

We recommend that setback distances for this parcel be developed in a site-specific basis. Adoption of a three-zone buffer system would protect the water resource but still allow nonintrusive, low impact development. The system could be divided into three lateral zones. The specific widths, target vegetation, and allowable uses could be developed on a site-specific basis. The proper use of best management practices (BMP's), sensitive site planning and project design along with this vegetative buffer, wouId maximize the environmental and social benefits of these water resource buffers."2

 

Our investigation suggests that the science supporting a 300 foot buffer between RPC and Lake Tappan makes good policy sense, both for the State of New York and Orangetown.

 

insert water quality buffer map

 

 

Burial of Subsurface Materials and Other Environmental Concerns

 

On October 31, 1996, PSI Environmental Geotechnician Construction prepared a Phase I Environmental Site Assessment (EAS) of the Rockland Psychiatric Center for Chesterton Biswanger International and the ESDC. The EAS, (Section 8.0 FINDINGS And CONCLUSIONS), notes that there are a number of environmental contaminants present on the RPC site. PSI cites the presence of PCB’s in one of the three existing transformers (building #48), the existence of drums containing pesticides, "snow-free" and deicer. Furthermore, the PSI study revealed that Building 44 housed underground storage tanks ranging in size from 1,000-4,000 gallons containing diesel and unleaded gasoline, waste and fuel oil.

 

"No monitors were identified in this area, and it is not anticipated that any of the tanks are outfitted with cathodic protection or leak detection. It is anticipated that all six of these tanks will need to be upgraded or replaced by 12/98.3"

 

Building 44 also contained transmission fluid, anti-freeze, oils and other waste drained waste fluids. Furthermore, several waste oil drums were found on the loading dock on the southwest corner of Building 47. The study indicated that the drums had been stored there for approximately three years. The facility manager did not indicate that any plans were in place to dispose of these drums.

 

The PSI report further comments on landfilling activities as follows:

 

"A great amount of landfilling activities have taken place throughout New York State since the early 1930’s. A 1981 report prepared by the New York State Office of Mental Health for the Rockland County Department of Health indicates the areas where dumping has historically taken place. Although the report indicated where waste was dumped, it did not address quantities. A significant amount of vegetation has since covered over large portions of these areas. Therefore, it is not possible to give an accurate account of the types and quantities of wastes disposed and the potential presence of hazardous materials.

 

During on-site reconnaissance, several trucks were observed dumping excess fill material from the excavation currently taking place at the center sewer treatment facility. No municipal solid wastes were observed in this material. The soil was being deposited in the area to the west of Building 88 (Dump Area No. 1). Also identified in the area west of Building 88 were piles of construction debris. According to RPC officials, this material was deposited from the on-going construction project at Building 35. No municipal solid waste was observed in any of these piles. The dump area occupies approximately two acres.

 

Dump Area 2, located to the southeast of the sewage treatment facility, is approximately 30 acres in size. The majority of the dumping in this area is confined to a two acre tract approximately 500 yards southeast of the sewage treatment facility. Waste piles in this area are tightly grouped together. Materials include concrete, asphalt, household appliances, municipal solid waste, a 55-gallon drum with unknown contents. The majority of these materials could not be observed due to excessive vegetative cover in the area.

 

A significant amount of dumping has also taken place along the dirt road behind Building 43. Although not visible from the road, the extent of dumping becomes apparent when walking the adjacent stream bed. In some places, waste is piled 10-15 feet high and covered with a deep layer of grass clippings, leaves, tree limbs and other debris. Wastes include, but are not limited to: dishwashers, washing machines, concrete, tires, cans, buckets, wood, soil, and empty drums.

 

Dump Area 3 is located behind Building 123 and contains hundreds of tires, the body of a van, landscape, and construction debris. This area was reportedly also used for burying and drainage of drums containing waste oil, transmission fluid, anti-freeze, and other liquid wastes. No obvious evidence of these drums were observed during the site walk. However, the dumping took place over 25 years ago. A significant amount of vegetation has covered the area since.

 

Dump Area 4 is situated south of Building 84. The fill in materials deposit are similar to those identified in Dump Area 1. RPC officials indicate that this material also comes from the Building 35 construction site.4 "

 

In addition to these landfilling activities, carcinogenic pollutants (tetrachloroethylene) were recently discharged into Lake Tappan. United Water Resources ordered tests be performed when it was discovered that fish with lesions had been found in one stream on the property and that a fish kill of approximately 100 fish were found in another.

 

Accordingly, we recommend a full investigation be performed on-site to precisely identify the magnitude, extent, and location of the environmental problems and potential contaminants, and that the results of this investigation and the costs of remediation be detailed in an EIS prepared for the property.

 

 

Flood Plain Areas

 

According to the National Flood Insurance Program, Community Panel 360686-0002C, dated August 2, 1982 for the Town of Orangetown, New York, the Rockland Psychiatric Center is situated partially within a delineated zone "A" which is described as areas containing the 100 year flood, and partially within delineated zone "C" which are areas corresponding to the 500 year flood which are subject to minimal flooding. This map indicates that the 500 year flood roughly corresponds to the area of Lake Tappan. A hydraulic earthen dam controls the water flow from Lake Tappan, and the average mean high water level is 56 NGVD. Flooding occurs at 76 NGVD, meaning there is a very slight probability of flooding on this site.

 
 
Description of Rockland Psychiatric Center Campus
 

A list of buildings provided by the Empire State Development Corporation (ESDC) identifies the structures that are to be retained or disposed of by the State of New York.

 

The list enumerates a total of 119 buildings and structures. Of that number, a total of 50 buildings and structures, totalling 1,357,244 square feet, is listed to be retained by the State. This information is presented in Table 3 and in a mapped format on pages 39 and 40. The map that appears on page 40 was provided by ESDC and in some cases, is in conflict with other information provided. The total square footage to remain constitutes approximately 53 percent of the total buildings and structures on site.

 

The listing identifies a total of 69 buildings and structures that are not to be retained by the State. Table 4 indicates these buildings collectively total 1,204,648 square feet of space.

 

All of the on-site buildings and structures are described by building numbers which are indicated on the accompanying map.

 

insert building numbers map

 

 
Table 3
Buildings to be Retained
By State of New York
 
 
 
Building 
Number
 
Description
 
 
Square Feet
1.
1
Administration
23,161
2.
9
Clinics Offices
32,182
3.
11
Transitional Living
29,215
4.
16
Nurses Home (CLUE)
20,521
5.
17 
Patient Building
90,118
6.
19
Blaisdell ATC
81,651
7.
20
Staff(CLUE)
7,434
8.
24
NKI Staff Housing
NA
9.
28
Blaisdell ATC (Oases)
20,129
10.
29
Office Building (MH Assoc.)
20,833
11.
31
Married Emp./Admin.
20,129
12.
33
Employee Bldg (DASNY)
21,070
13.
35
NKI
NA
14.
37
NKI
NA
15.
39
NKI
NA
16.
42
Female Employee (CLUE)
20,521
17.
43
NKI
NA
18.
44
Firehouse Trans/Safety
15,383
19.
45
Storehouse
14,336
20.
50
Powerhouse/Powerplant
57,242
21.
54
Socr (24 Bed)
13,464
22.
56
Shop Building
13,280
23.
57
Patient Building
278,690
24.
58
Patient Building
171,163
25.
59
Kitchen
72,751
26.
60
Patient Building
174,198
27.
62
Staff
3,335
28.
63
Staff
3,335
29.
67
Greenhouse
2,636
30.
68
Sewage Pumping House
1,330
31.
74
Garage ( Building 54)
483
 
Table 3
(Continued)
Buildings to be Retained
By State of New York

 

 
Building
Number
Description
Square Feet
 
32.
 
92
 
RCPC
 
11,882
33.
95
RCPC
11,882
34.
96
RCPC
11,882
35.
97
Blaisdell ATC
11,882
36.
112
Old Powerhouse Grounds Storage
5,354
37.
114
Swimming Pool Service
114
38.
116 
Catholic Chapel
16,256
39.
117
Chapel/Jewish Synagogue
6,591
40.
120
Gas Meter Building
240
41.
121
Sewage Rake House
45
42.
122
NKI
NA
43.
124
Rockland CPC
NA
44.
125
Rockland CPC
NA
45.
131
Transformer
30
46.
141
Staff Housing (Orangetown Paramedics)
2,416
47.
142
Transformer
30
48.
144
Regional Food Kitchen
70,000
49.
145
New Rehab Center
50.
---
Not Identified
 
Total
---
 
1,357,244
 
NA- Not Available
 
 
insert land to be retained by RPC/NKI
insert land to be retained by RPC/NKI 2

 

 

Table 4
Buildings to Be Conveyed
by the State of New York
Aggregated By Size (Square Feet)
 
Buildings More than 50,000 square feet
 
 
Building Number
 
 
Description
 
 
(Square Feet)
1.
34
Psychogeriatric Inpatient
101,808
2.
18
Ext Care Unit Social Rehab
84,426
3.
32
Gen Geriatric Social Rehab Inpatient
81,040
4.
36
Deaf Unit HSKPG
77,410
5.
7
MPD Geriatric
71,535
6.
8
Admission Unit
71,535
7.
47
Laundry Building
60,105
8.
5
Med Geriatric NKI
57,196
9.
6
Admissions
57,196
10.
10
Med Services X-Ray IPT`
51,662
11.
38
Kitchen Building Outpatient
50,316
 
Sub-Total
 
764,196
       
 
Buildings of 20,000 to 49,999 Square Feet
 
 
Building 
Number
 
Description
Square Feet
12.
101
Education and Training
40,006
13.
2
Connecting Support
30,763
14.
3
Connecting Support
30,643
15.
12
Inpatient Building
30,008
16.
40
Auditorium/ Com Service Store
29,931
17.
26
Trans Service Crisis Res
29,819
18.
49
Old Stonehouse
25,059
19.
14
Administration
21,049
20.
15 
Nurse’s Home
20,521
21.
41
Male Emp Home
20,265
       
       
 
Sub-Total
 
278,064
 
Table 4
(Continued)
Buildings 10,000 to 19,999 Square Feet
 
 
Building 
Number
 
Description
 
 
Square Feet
       
22.
4
Kitchen
13,154
23.
98
Storage
11,882
24.
99
Storage
11,882
25.
100
Storage
11,882
26.
48
Vegetable Storage
11,094
 
 
Sub-Total
 
59,894
       
       
 
Buildings Less Than 10,000 Square Feet
 
 
Building Number
 
 
Description
 
Square Feet
27.
13
New Look Clothing Store
9,656
28.
84
Veg Store Bldg
9,400
29.
22
Crisis Residence
7,732
30.
25
Director’s House
6,671
31.
85
Barn Storage
6,120
32.
111
Golf Clubhouse-Broad Acres
5,544
33.
112
Old Powerhouse
5,354
34.
77
Staff Housing
4,146
35.
123
Butler Steel Storage
4,050
36.
132
Staff Housing
3,083
37.
133
Staff Housing
3,083
38.
134
Staff Housing
3,083
39.
135
Staff Housing
3,083
40.
73
Staff Housing
2,471
41.
136
Staff Housing
2,442
42.
137
Staff Housing
2,416
43.
138
Staff Housing
2,416
44.
139
Staff Housing
2,416
45.
140
Staff Housing
2,416
46.
115
Bus Station
2,400
47.
108
Staff Housing
2,211
 
Table 4
(Continued)
 
Buildings Less Than 10,000 Square Feet
 
 
Building Number
Description
Sq. Ft.
 
48.
109
Staff Housing
2,211
49.
110
Staff Housing
2,211
50.
107
Garages
1,853
51.
27
Garage
1,276
52.
75
Shed (Golf)
1,120
53.-64.
---
 
Facilities less than 1,000 square feet 
3,630
 
Sub-Total
 
 
102,494
 
Total
 
1,204,648
 
Buildings Not Identified as to Square Footage
 
 
Building Number
 
Description
65.-69.
21, 23,24,37,55
NKI Staff
 
 
 
Negotiations With New York State Concerning Certain Buildings To Be Retained by State
 

The State proposes to retain several buildings which may pose a substantial impediment to an overall redevelopment plan. Additionally, several State sources concerning buildings to be sold/retained are in conflict with one another. These buildings and their respective square footages are as follows:

 

Building 
Number
  

Area (Sq. Ft.) 

 

9
32,182*
11
29,215*
16
20,521à
24
--------
28
20,128*
29
20,833*
31
20,129*
33
21,070*
42
20,521à
95
11,882*
96
11,882*
97
11,882*
114
swimming pool *
131
2,416*
141
2,416*
  * Buildings in conflict with proposed golf course/townhouse/"empty-nester unit" development.

à Buildings in conflict with proposed village center.

 

A total of 184,036 square feet of building area is in conflict with the development of the golf course/townhouse/"empty-nester unit" uses and 41,042 square feet is in conflict with village center uses.

 

These areas of conflict are noted on the accompanying map.

 

Table 5 which follows is a listing provided by one of the Task Force groups which identifies buildings being offered for sale and to be retained by New York State.

 

The chart indicates 20 buildings that contain an asterisk which are in conflict with the State designated listing.

 

Negotiations with the OMH and RPC should resolve these discrepancies.

 
insert table 5 task force list

 

Size of Buildings To Be Conveyed By State

 

According to the RPC listing a total of 69 buildings and structures are not to be retained. We believe Buildings 16, 42, 139 and 141 should become part of the sale. Of the total, five buildings, numbered 21, 23, 24, 37 and 55 are not identified by their respective square footage.

 

Of the 64 buildings that are identified (as to their respective square footages), 11 of the buildings are noted to contain 50,000 square feet or more. These buildings total 764,196 square feet and account for 63.4 percent of the total square footage to be conveyed, although they represent only 16 percent of the total buildings.

 

There is a significant issue associated with the size of these buildings. If they are not to be demolished, there may be difficulties in adaptive reuse in converting same for other purposes (see discussion concerning Middletown Psychiatric Center page 54).

 

Five of the eleven largest buildings are located north of Maple Street, east of Third Avenue. Four additional buildings are located between First and Second Streets north of Oak Street. The tenth building is situated between Second and Third Streets north of Oak Street. Building 47 is located west of Third Street south of Oak Street.

 

There are a total of ten buildings that vary in square footage from 20,000 to 49,999 square feet. In the aggregate, these buildings total 278,064 square feet, representing 23.1 percent of all buildings to be conveyed.

 

Therefore, the 21 buildings with a minimum of 20,000 square feet, and a maximum of 101,808 square feet , have a combined total floor area of 1.042 million square feet. Due to their relative size and other functional deficiencies, rehabilitation of these buildings is highly questionable. (See discussion concerning rehabilitation page 52).

 

The following map demonstrates those buildings and structures which the State will not retain, which are further distinguished by building size.

 

insert buildings not retained by Size map

 

 

Evaluation of Existing Buildings

 

All buildings situated within the main campus of the RPC site were constructed between 1929-1934. The majority were built of reinforced concrete, with exterior walls approximately two feet thick. The interior partition walls of these structures are also reinforced concrete and some are structural load bearing walls.

 

The buildings for potential sale vary from 1-4 stories in height, have basements and are all inter-connected by a network of large (4-8 ft. in height) utility tunnels which served as patient/staff interior walkways.

All buildings contain asbestos and lead paint, which will require remediation whether they are rehabilitated or demolished. The interconnecting tunnel system will also require asbestos remediation.

 

Reuse of the Rockland Psychiatric Center Buildings and Grounds

 

The relatively narrow streets and magnificent street trees at RPC give the site much of its character and represent a significant asset. The trees and streets should be melded into any future reuse plan because of their character and the obvious savings in infrastructure costs. There are also hundreds of mature trees throughout the site. These should be plotted, marked, and integrated into any redevelopment plan.

 

The present streets have a cartway width of approximately 20 feet. The narrow roadway will necessitate off-street parking if any reuse is planned for the core area of the RPC site. Some street widening should be considered at intersections.

 

Buildings and Features to be Saved

 

There are 119 buildings at RPC. Approximately 70 of the buildings are vacant, have been abandoned, or will shortly be abandoned. Several of the buildings are suitable for reuse because of their location, architectural character and the relatively lesser costs of remediation and rehabilitation.

 

Assembly Hall (Building 40) is a good example of American institutional architecture. The neo-Georgian 1930’s front entrance, the large vaulted interior, stage area, and bowling alley and cafeteria in the basement, could be renovated and used by the Town of Orangetown for a variety of civic, cultural, and recreational purposes. As discussed elsewhere, the Assembly Hall could be a natural focal point and anchor to a small town or village green, or the center of any redevelopment plan.

 

ESDC has estimated the cost of removing the asbestos to be $131,925, which makes this one of the least expensive buildings at RPC to remediate on a per square foot basis. To the asbestos cost must be added the cost for covering and/ or removing the lead paint. The parquet wood floor on the main level, has been damaged by water. The interior paint is peeling and there appears to be superficial damage to the plaster and doors. It is likely the plumbing, HVAC, and electrical system will need upgrading. The building should be examined for compliance with local fire and building codes and compliance with the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA).

 

If Orangetown considers taking title, we recommend developing a program for the building's reuse and the preparation of conceptual plans in sufficient detail to develop accurate cost estimates for programming and rehabilitation. These figures will give fair comparison with the costs of developing a similar project elsewhere in town.

 

 

Fire Station & Garage (Building 44) is centrally located on the site. The building is in a vaguely neo-Romanesque style and with its hose tower presents a robust terminus to Maple Street. The building is in apparently good shape and has the lowest asbestos remediation costs ($39,090 or $2.54/ sf) of any structure worth keeping. There is potential for joint tenancy with RPC, which will presumably need less space for its own fire protection and police needs. The Orangetown Emergency Medical Service (EMS) presently parks its vehicles in the driveways of two small frame buildings at the south end of Blaisdell Road. The EMS has expressed interest in Building 44. We recommend a cooperative study with RPC and State Office of Mental Health to arrive at a plan for reusing and/or adding to the present facility in order to serve both State and Town needs efficiently. This facility is not scheduled for sale by New York State.

 

 

Senior Director's Residence (Building 25) has been likened by one observer to the house that Bruce Wayne might have lived in the movie, "Batman." The house has over 6,600 sf. of space and its brick and half-timber neo-English Tudor exterior gives it a commanding appearance on Old Orangeburg Road. The asbestos remediation costs ($19,226 or $2.88/ sf) are not excessive. Because people generally make purchase decisions based upon neighborhoods rather than individual buildings, it is unlikely the Senior Director's Residence in its present location will sell for as much as it would in a neighborhood of similarly sized residences.

 

If, however, the Broad Acres golf course were expanded from its present 9 holes to 18 holes, and some part of the expanded course were in proximity to the Senior Director's Residence, then the building might serve as a club house. The decision to retain Building 25 should await the more important decision of the golf course's size and location, and whether the building and grounds can easily be readapted to a clubhouse with ancillary facilities and parking.

 

 

Staff Houses (Buildings 21, 22, 23 and 55) are currently abandoned or used by RPC staff on a short-term basis. They could be used by the Town for a variety of purposes. The buildings, clad in dark brick and cream-colored clapboard appear to be the work of one architect, and together with the Non-Medical Officers Building (Building 54) and Staff House (Building 20) form a marvelously scaled grass quadrangle on the south side of Old Orangeburg Road called Staff Court. RPC intends to retain Buildings 20 and 54 in the Staff Court Area, which are single-family staff residences. It is uncertain as to whether or not RPC will retain Buildings 62, 63 and 24.

 

Dutch Sandstone (Building 77)

 

This house located at the intersection of Blaisdell Road and Veteran’s Memorial Drive was built circa 1765 and should be placed on the National Register of Historic Places. The building can be preserved in its present location and could be utilized by the Town for a variety of uses. In the alternative, the house could be relocated to another site on the RPC property.

 

Potential Asbestos Removal Costs

 

New York State has prepared certain estimates for the costs of potential asbestos removal costs for 62 of the buildings proposed to be sold. The estimates also include the cost of asbestos removal for the utility tunnel. The costs total $6.248 million dollars and are noted in Table 6 as follows:

 

Table 6
Potential Asbestos Removal Costs

 

Rockland Psychiatric 
Center Building #
 
 
Potential cost
 
2,3,4,5,6,7,8
$1,500,325
10
$195,935
12,14,26,28
$423,650
13,40,45,48,115
$359,145
15, 16, 41, 42
$299,550
18,19,32,34,36
$1,524,450
20,21,22,23,25,55,62,63,77
$175,790
38
$131,925
44
$39,090
47
$338,650
49
$86,247
56
$70,558
96,97,98,99,100,101
$839,200
108-110, 131-141
Utility Tunnel
$12,600
$251,060
 
Total
$6,248,175
 

A total of 20 buildings that are identified for sale are not included in this listing. These are noted as buildings 15, 27, 37, 46, 71, 72, 73, 76, 79, 84, 89, 90, 91, 102, 107, 111, 115, 118, 123 and 143.

 

In addition, there are a total of 13 buildings that are listed in the asbestos removal list which are not proposed to be sold. These buildings are noted as buildings 16, 20, 28, 42, 44, 56, 62, 63, 95, 96, 97, 131, and 141.

 

Due to the lack of information concerning many existing buildings, this information must be updated when discussions are held with the ESDC.

 

Costs of Demolition and Remediation of Existing Buildings and Structures

 

The costs of rehabilitating the existing RPC structures are very high versus their potential for demolition. A "gut rehab" of these buildings would include the costs for asbestos removal, electrical, roofing and window replacement, HVAC and costs to refurbish restrooms and install elevators etc. Furthermore, most of the buildings do not meet the accessibility standards of the Americans with Disabilities (ADA) Act. To put these costs into perspective, they approximate the costs of developing new Class A office space.

The "hard costs" of bricks and mortar will be approximately $90/square foot to which must be added the "soft costs" of architects, engineers and attorneys, the cost of land, the cost of building parking lots and some proportionate or ‘pro-rata share’ of the remediation or demolition of the underground steam tunnels. If all buildings were reused the total "hard" rehabilitation plus asbestos removal costs would total $108 million plus soft costs and costs of land acquisition.

 

By contrast, the costs of demolishing the existing structures is approximately:
Asbestos Removal  $5.8 million
Demolition  $6.8 million
Total Basement Structural Fill  $5.5 million 

 

Total Demolition, asbestos removal  

and fill basement fill costs

  

$18.1 million*

 

 

*These calculations are based upon the following:

 

1. ESDC’s gross square feet estimates for all buildings, except for the basements, which are RPC square footage numbers.

 

2. Asbestos removal costs are ESDC estimates. Because they were based on clusters of buildings, the total square footage of each cluster was multiplied by the per square foot costs and divided by the number of individual buildings in the cluster.

 

3. Demolition costs were calculated at $4.50 square foot for concrete buildings and $3.00 per square foot for frame buildings. These costs include carting costs. If all buildings were demolished in the same contract the total demolition costs will be substantially reduced.

 

4. Basement fill costs equal basement square footage times 10 feet (height) times $25 per cubic yard, divided by 27 cubic yards.

 

 

5. Rehabilitation costs are the asbestos remediation costs for each building plus $2.00 per square foot (selective demolition) plus $50 per square foot (plumbing, electricity, HVAC, tenant improvements) plus $4 per square foot (roofing) plus $1,200 per window (@1 window per 200 square feet), plus $30,000 per restroom ($60,000 for male/female) (@ 1 male/female restroom per 20,000 square feet) plus $15,000 per floor and $5,000 per cab (elevators) or $250,000 for a new elevator (@ 1 elevator per 40,000 square feet).

 

 

 
Middletown Psychiatric Center Experience of Adaptive Reuse

 

The experience of adaptive reuse at the Middletown Psychiatric Center, located in Orange County, New York, approximately 1 hour north of the RPC site, is instructive. In the early 1990’s, the State announced the closing of three psychiatric facilities in the State. Harlem Valley, Central Islip and Gowanda Psychiatric facilities. Middletown downsized its facilities and attempted to reuse its excess space. This effort has been met with limited success. Attempts to aggressively market four large (60,000-70,000 sq. ft.) inpatient facilities has proven to be difficult due to the inefficiencies in building footprints/configuration coupled with rehabilitation costs.

 

Despite aggressive marketing, the State’s primary success in attracting tenants has been limited to retaining not-for-profit and State agencies. In order to induce Cornell University Cooperative Extension program to locate on the site, the hospital was required to relocate its own modern administrative offices into an older, adjacent ward to make the offices available for Cornell. Other agencies followed suit including a shelter for homeless teenagers, a legal service firm for the mentally ill, a credit union and the New School for Social Research. Currently, six years later, approximately 75 percent of the four large existing inpatient building space remain vacant.

 

 

Infrastructure

 

Water Supply

 

United Water Resources, formerly the Spring Valley Water Company, is the water purveyor for the RPC site. It owns the Lake Tappan reservoir. According to the Lawler, Matusky, Skelly, Rockland Bioscience Site Existing Conditions Report, dated April, 1995, the United Water Company has 3 sizable water mains located in the central section of property. Water mains do not presently extend to the western section of the site or the eastern portion of the property where the existing golf course is situated. A 12 inch water main in Convent Road extends in an east-west direction. Another 16 inch water main is located at the intersection of Old Orangeburg Road, Veterans Memorial Drive and Hunt Road. Another 16 inch main exists at the intersection of Blaisdell Road and Old Orangeburg Road. These main trunk lines connect to smaller localized lines linking the existing buildings.

 

 

Electric and Gas

 

The site contains a network of underground utility tunnels ranging in height from 4 to 8 feet that house the utility network. Most of the tunnels contain asbestos and steam pipes, which provide heat to the existing operational buildings on site. Excess electricity created by steam power is sold to the electrical grid. Representatives of the RPC plant facilities services indicate that developers will not be able to purchase steam from the power plant. They would have to utilize the existing gas mains or use oil for heating purposes.

 

There are 3 main gas trunk lines serving the property, including a 3 inch gas main located in Convent Road, an 8 inch gas main which extends to the Pearl River Hilton Hotel along Veterans Memorial Drive, and a 4 inch gas main in Veterans Memorial Drive that extends west from the Palisades Interstate Parkway to Blaisdell Road. As noted in the early 1990’s report authored by LMS, none of those gas mains have sufficient capacity to provide service to the western end of the property. There may not be sufficient capacity for redevelopment of the entire site, as well.

 

Orange and Rockland Utilities supply gas and electric services for the subject property. Overhead electric wires exist on Convent and Old Orangeburg Roads.

 

 

 

Telephone

 

Telephone service is available from roads in the vicinity of the RPC site, with potential connection available from Old Orangeburg Road and Convent Road. An underground telephone line is situated on the north side of Old Orangeburg Road within the ROW. Telephone service is provided by Bell Atlantic as well as other cellular phone companies.

 

 

Sanitary Sewers

 

The RPC site is served by a network of sewers concentrated in the central portion of the site. The areas west of the pumping station and the existing golf course are not serviced by sewers. The Orangetown sewage treatment plant provides treatment for this site. Currently a pumping station for the sewage treatment facility exists west of the power plant. Although the leaching fields are no longer being utilized by RPC, the pumping station is operational and has recently received a 1.75 million dollar investment to upgrade its capabilities.

 

The maps on pages 57 to 60 indicate the location of various utilities including the following:

 

• Electric, Light Poles, Traffic Lights, Transformers, and Utility Poles.

• Gas and Utility Lines.

• Chilled Water, Sanitary Sewers and Water Supply.

• Stormwater Drainage and Telephone Lines.

 

 

Conclusions

 

We have not been able to ascertain the physical conditions of the on-site utility services nor is there any evidence that these services can meet the needs of any new development on site.

 

The LMS study prepared for the proposed BioScience center concluded that the existing infrastructure facilities did not contain sufficient capacity to service that development.

 

Should the Town consider taking title to part or all of the site, we recommend that a detailed needs/capacity analysis be undertaken as part of a due diligence or environmental impact statement study.

 

insert utilities

insert utilities

insert utilities

insert utilities

 
Site Opportunities and Constraints

 

The Rockland Psychiatric Center site has numerous opportunities and constraints that affect redevelopment. These elements are noted in the following table:

 
Opportunities 

 

Constraints
• Sizable RPC site to be sold (approximately 391 acres). • Significant area approximately 164 +/- acres to be retained by the State of New York. 

 

  • A number of facilities to be retained by the State are distributed throughout the site makes comprehensive and functional planning difficult. 

  

• Several high rise buildings and the power plant will remain, and can be seen from some distance.

• Major infrastructure in place (central portion of RPC). • Virtually no infrastructure in western portion of the site. 

 

  • Underground eight foot high utility tunnels will require remediation and elimination if existing buildings are demolished. 

 

• Substantial portion of site contains outstanding specimen trees which should be preserved wherever possible. 

 

• Other portions of the site will require planting, landscaping and screening.
• RPC site contains rolling and varying topography. • Approximately 5 percent of the site being offered for sale (391 acres) contains existing grades of 15 percent or greater while approximately 13 percent of the total site being offered for sale contains existing grades of 10 percent or greater. Some of these areas are too steep for building purposes. 

 

• Site enjoys outstanding views of Lake Tappan. • Lake Tappan, a potable water supply source, must be protected from point and non-point sources of pollution. New York State Department of Environmental Conservation and other agencies will likely require approval of development in and near the Lake. 

 

• RPC site enjoys good transportation frontage and linkage to Veteran's Memorial Drive with access to the Palisades Interstate Parkway. 

 

• The property should be limited to no more than 2 or 3 points of access with Veteran's Memorial Drive. 

 

   
   
   
Opportunities 

  

• Environmentally sensitive lands including wetlands and steep slopes, wetland buffers and water quality buffers, worthy of preservation, total approximately 129 acres. 

  

• Existing Broad Acres nine-hole golf course should be preserved; expansion to an eighteen-hole golf course can serve as an important economic and aesthetic impetus for future development. In addition to recapturing lost land, golf courses traditionally enhance the value and image of surrounding real estate, more than offsetting the cost of the course. A golf course mitigates the perception of many local residents that the remaining psychiatric center will have a lingering negative image. 

 

Constraints 

  

• Environmentally sensitive lands limit the development for substantial portions of the site. 

  

  

• Expansion of the golf course within a checkerboard development pattern, requires costly improvements and creative design capabilities. Development of an 18 hole golf course will require some mutual agreement between the Town of Orangetown and the Empire State Development Corporation.

• The proposed 18 hole course would serve as a comprehensive link to the site and a greenbelt buffer against the remaining RPC lands not to be acquired. 

 

• Buildings that will remain can serve as an impediment to the comprehensive planning for the property. 

  

 

• Blaisdell Road is the only principal access into site. 

 

• Blaisdell Road is offset from Third Avenue. Requires other improvements if it is to serve as the primary gateway to the proposed development.
 
• A total of approximately 70 buildings are to be conveyed by the State of New York. • Eleven buildings contain 50,000 square feet or more and are considered functionally obsolete and structurally will require extensive repairs if adaptive reuse is undertaken. 

 

  • These 11 buildings account for approximately 2/3 of the total square footage to be sold . 

 

  • Rehabilitation is not considered feasible when compared to comparative costs for new construction.
• If buildings located in northern and east central portion of the property are demolished, an "economic engine", or new uses at sufficient density and value are required to justify this action.  

 

 
   
   
   
Opportunities 

  

• The principal findings of this report calls for the development of townhouse/"empty-nester" units and senior citizen housing to serve as the catalyst for the site’s redevelopment. 

  

• Concurrent with this development, an extension of the golf course weaving through the residential component can be accomplished. 

  

• The plan provides the opportunity to create a "village center" serving as the focal point for the development. This area may serve as an a town pool, a cultural center, a youth center, some limited retail and service activities, and artist/studio housing facilities. This location would also be appropriate for senior citizen housing. 

 

Constraints 

  

  

  

  

  

  

  

  

  

  

  

• Certain buildings within the village area, such as numbers 16 and 42 are to remain on RPC property. Consideration should be given to moving these uses to another compatible location, perhaps the Staff Court Area. 

• Redevelopment of the site is supportive of a number of other community needs including a 10-acre ballfield, and a town -wide swimming pool, areas for hiking, picnicking, camping and other similar recreational functions. 

 

• In addition to relocating uses in buildings 16 and 42, the following should also be evaluated: 

  

1. Relocate Children’s Psychiatric Center swimming pool. 

2. Relocate NKI parking lot. 

3. Relocate buildings along Blaisdell Road used by emergency medical services to present Fire Station building. (Building 44) 

4. Consolidate or relocate parking area south of the Towers. 

5. Relocate Buildings 29, 31 and 33. 

 

• The plan retains or develops an extensive amount of recreation and open space, representing almost 2/3 the total site being offered for sale. 

 

• A major impediment to reclaiming all of these lands are the underground burial of a number of contaminants, many of which are unknown. There is evidence of construction debris, glass etc. There is some concern pertaining to the existence of medical wastes and other type of contaminants on the site. 

 

• The site also contains a valuable area of approximately 56 acres of land in the southwest corner of the property. Development of this tract could be utilized for non-residential uses including office park, high-tech flex space or corporate headquarter facilities uses. • The western portion of Old Orangeburg Road divides the property into 2 parcels accounting for 1/3 and 2/3 of the site. Abandonment of the Old Orangeburg Road right-of-way might be considered to create a combined development parcel at the western end of the site. 

  

  

 

 

Concept Plan A

 

Two Concept Plans have been developed which represent the distillation of a number of earlier concepts as additional environmental information has been forthcoming.

 

Concept Plan A proposes the construction of an executive golf course consisting of an additional 9 holes (approximately 3,340 yards long) to be added to the existing 9 hole (2,740 yards long) golf course. This concept proposes to utilize the development of the golf course as the "economic engine" in the redevelopment of the site. In conjunction with the extension of the golf course, many of the existing buildings will be demolished and replaced with a series of townhouse/"empty-nester" units lying adjacent to many of the golf links. This plan could result in approximately 300/350 townhouse/"empty-nester" units. The concept suggests a total of eight cluster areas which could be established. Seven of these areas would be located within the "core" area of the site and one area would overlook Lake Tappan. This alternative integrates the townhouse/"empty-nester" units directly into the golf course. The Plan also utilizes the golf course as a major buffer against the existing RPC buildings that are proposed to be retained.

 

The corporate office park headquarters/office park/high tech component, situated in the southwestern corner of the site, occupies approximately 56 acres of land. Utilizing a net floor area ratio of 0.4 produce up to approximately 975,000 square feet of office space. This area could be used by one or more end-users and is identified as development parcels 3 and 4 on Concept Plan A.

Concept Plan A embraces a central village area fronting on a "village green" of approximately 16 acres. The "village center" would serve as a focal point for the area and is inclusive of the Assembly Hall building (Building 40). The Plan would require relocating buildings 16 and 42 into the Staff Court area. The remaining buildings in the centralized, village green could remain for adaptive reuse purposes or they could be demolished. The village area would be suitable for a youth recreation facility, and/or for a limited amount of retail and personal service establishments serving the area. The village area will require parking to serve the respective uses within the village. Development parcel 1 situated to the east of the village center would be appropriate for artist housing, studios and for other similar talents.

 

An additional element of this plan calls for a senior housing on a six acre tract component adjacent to the village area on the west side of Third Street. The site lies south of the power plant. Building 47 is scheduled to be sold within the next few years. The proposal would call for the demolition of this building and the construction of approximately 50-60 senior citizen housing units in one or two buildings 2 to 3 stories high.

 

The Plan also calls for the retention of the 10-acre ballfield on Third Avenue, the only truly level area on the entire site. The site has been utilized as the Gaelic Football site for many years and the proposed plan recommends its continued usage on this site. The property can also be utilized by other similar sports activities such as football, soccer, etc.

 

Concept Plan A also calls for the creation of a town-wide recreational pool and center of approximately 10 acres. Concept Plan A suggests the ultimate inclusion of two adult town-wide swimming pools and a children’s swimming pool to serve the long-range needs of the Town. This swim club could provide off-street parking and other supplemental amenities. One site that can be utilized for these purposes is situated along the easterly corner of Blaisdell Road south of Old Orangeburg Road.

 

A tract of land of approximately 8 acres (Development parcel 2) situated west of Blaisdell Road, adjacent to the Cook-Chill Building, could serve as a future development parcel for a number of varied uses including but not limited to senior citizen housing, assisted living facilities, nursing homes, and soccer fields. This development parcel would also be appropriate for the "Mighty-Midgets" soccer group.

 

An open tract of land consisting of wetlands and steeply sloping areas segment of the site located west of the Power Plant would be preserved for passive recreation uses including hiking, picnicking, camping, bird watching and other similar outdoor activities. This area totals approximately 20 acres of land.

 

Along the border of Lake Tappan, a variable width, site specific water quality buffer area adjacent to the potable water supply reservoir would be established as a network of open green space and conservation area. This area would be limited to hiking, bird watching and fishing (by permit issued by the water company.) A hiking trail extending more than a mile to Convent Road could also be established parallel to Lake Tappan.

 

The open space/buffer/wetlands component of this Plan totals approximately 119 acres, thereby accounting for approximately 30 percent of the total acreage which is to be conveyed by the State of New York. Coupled with the existing and proposed golf course, approximately 243 acres of the 391 acre site would be committed to recreation and open space purposes, representing 62 percent of the site.

 

The plan also calls for the establishment of a historic district for the Dutch sandstone house (Building 77) located at the corner of Blaisdell Road and Veteran’s Memorial Drive. This structure could serve many uses and provide the Orangetown community with an attractive gateway into the RPC site.

 
insert concept plan A Map
Table 7
Concept Plan A
Land Use Table
 
 
Concept 
Plan A
Land To Be Maintained by the State (Acres) 

 

 
Lake Tappan
47
RPC Lands
101
Cemetery
8
Small Reservoir Site*
8
Sub-Total 

 

164
Land To Be Conveyed Out By State (Acres) 

(Categorized by Recommended Usage) 

 

 
Townhouse/"empty-nester unit"
36
Historic Building
1
Development Parcels 1 à
3
Senior Citizen Housing
6
Corporate Park/High-Tech  

(Development Parcels 3 & 4) ´

56
Village Center/Village Green
16
Development Parcel 2 àà
8
Sub-Total 

 

128
Golf Course/Club House
124
Swim Pool
10
Ballfield
10
Sub-Total 

 

144
Lake Tappan Buffer/Trail
29
Wetlands
48
Wetland Buffer ààà
22
Open Space
20
Sub-Total
119
 
Total Land To Be Conveyed 
391
Total
555
 

* Passive Recreation

´ Development parcels 3 & 4 can be utilized for corporate office use/high-tech flex space

 

(legend continued on next page)

à Development parcel 1 can be utilized for a number of uses including, but not limited to, townhouse/"empty-nester unit’s, artist housing, assisted living, nursing home, soccer fields etc.

 

à à Development parcel 2 can be utilized for townhouse/"empty-nester unit" use, artist housing, senior housing.

 

ààà 100 foot wetland buffer if NYSDEC retains jurisdiction.

 

 

Concept Plan B

 

The primary difference between Concept Plan B and Concept Plan A is that five of the nine holes added to the golf course would be threaded behind the staff court, Cook-Chill plant, athletic fields and power plant on land not otherwise easily usable for development or to certain active recreation uses because of its topography, irregular shape and proximity to wetlands. The Plan also assumes that the large single-family house ( Building 25 ) would be suitable for reuse as a club house. The layout of the course also allows ample room for ancillary parking between the club house and staff court.

 

This layout would increase by 27 acres the amount of land available for development in the heart of the property around the town center.

 

The amount of land for potential office development remains the same in Concept Plans A and B. In either plan the land behind the power plant, the land adjacent to of the Cook-Chill plant, and the large 56 acre parcel at the western end of the site would be suitable for office-park use. The sites can be joined by roads bordering the golf course or developed separately depending on whether one or more end-users acquire these sites.

 

Each plan leaves a number of parcels for a municipal pool, the largest site of which would contain approximately 7 acres. The site finally selected will depend on the amount of parking required and whether the facility is an indoor natatorium or traditional warm-weather outdoor pool or pools. There are numerous areas in either plan where soccer and other outdoor play can occur.

 

Several buildings west of the Cook-Chill plant on Old Orangeburg Road may be reusable in either Concept Plan for a variety of purposes (Buildings 62, 63). Building 24 on the north side of Old Orangeburg Road may also be reusable either in its present location or moved to a new site.

 

 

The potentially different character of the two concept plans, the difference in infrastructure costs, the difference in relative acquisition costs, varying housing densities and land-sale costs to developers should be subject to a more rigorous analysis at the next phase of the process.

 
 
 
 
 

 

insert concept plan B Map

 
Table 8
Concept Plan B
Land Use Table
 
Concept 
Plan B
Land To Be Maintained by the State (Acres) 

 

 
Lake Tappan
47
RPC Lands
101
Cemetery
8
Small Reservoir Site*
8
Sub-Total 

 

164
Land To Be Conveyed Out By State (Acres) 

(Categorized by Recommended Usage) 

 

 
Residential Development Parcels
63
Historic Building
1
Non-Residential Development Parcels 
61
Village Center/ Village Green
10
Sub-Total 

 

135
Golf Course/Club House
129
Pool Development Parcels 
16
Ballfield 

Sub-Total

10
155
 
Lake Tappan Buffer/Trail
29
Wetlands
48
Wetland Buffer ààà
22
Open Space
2
Sub-Total
101
 
Total Land To Be Conveyed 
391
Total
555
   
   
   
   
ààà 100 foot wetland buffer if NYSDEC retains jurisdiction.

 

Projected Tax Revenues

 

The three strongest market demands in the community, corporate office-high tech industrial, townhouse /"empty nester units", and senior citizen housing, all provide more tax revenue than costs measured in terms of children to be educated . These three uses also appear to best meet the needs of the community entering into the 21 st century with changing demographics and job needs.

 

A fourth use, single family homes would generate more children per dwelling unit than tax revenue to pay for these childrens’ education.

 

 

Existing Tax Revenues

 

The State is currently paying an annual PILOT (Payment in Lieu of Taxes), of $1,523,000, based on an assessed value of $35,865,000 on 602 acres, or approximately $60,000 per acre. The proposed sale of the land would reduce the assessed value of the State-owned lands by approximately $24,665,000 and reduce the PILOT by approximately $1,047,000, leaving approximately $475,000 in annual PILOT payments from the State.

 

The PILOT payments are allocated as follows:

 
 
Current Taxes
Percentage of Taxes Tax Reduction 

 

School Taxes
$955,868
62.76%
$657,357
Library Taxes
$48,897
3.21%
$33,627
Town Taxes
$408,723
26.83%
$281,082
County Taxes
$109,677
7.20%
$75,426
       
Total
$1,523,165
100.00% 
$1,047,491
 

 

Development Period Tax Revenues

 

The tax revenues generated through the development period will consist of continuing PILOT payments from the State plus tax payments on the assessed value of the land. Because land tends to be relatively volatile in price, depending on the real estate markets, zoning, etc., it is impossible to put a price on the land several years from now, without knowing the zoning, market demand or the development plans of a prospective user. We can, however, make some educated judgments that will help to develop a perspective. The first consideration is that of the approximately 400 acres to be sold by the State, approximately 120-150 acres will be available for residential/commercial development, above and beyond the lands allocated to the golf course and other recreational uses. Less than one-third of the site will be developed.

 

The most likely uses for the site, given the responses of the residents and analysis of available market data, are office/industrial, townhouse/"empty-nester" units, senior citizen housing and a continuation or expansion of the existing nine-hole golf course. These uses also tend to be positive tax revenue generators.

 

Given the limited land available for development because of the wetlands and the desire for green space and recreational areas, these uses also best fit a development scheme which clusters the development rather than spreads it out as exemplified by single-family home development.

 

A higher concentration or density of development on a lesser amount of land will result in a higher land value for the developable portion of the site, while retaining the majority of the land as green space/recreational areas. It is possible, depending on the market and a final development plan, that land values (after remediation and demolition) of the approximate 120-150 acres to be developed will approximate the assessed value of 400 acres of land before the sale. If the assessed value of the land after sale falls short of the current assessed value, it may be possible to negotiate a tax or PILOT payment with a prospective developer through the land development period which would minimize the loss in tax revenues, thereby stabilizing tax revenues.

 

 

Post Development Tax Revenues

 

Appraisal Methods

 

In order to place a fair market value on the different property types being considered for the development of the RPC, the Orangetown Assessor’s office employs three approaches to value:

 

1. the market approach - applicable to townhouse/"empty-nester" units and single-family homes. Owner occupied units would be taxed at the homestead rate ($26.13/$1,000 of assessed value);

 

2. the income approach -indicates value for commercial properties whose main purpose is to create yield for the owner. An appraiser will use the income approach to value, for example, for office buildings and retail shopping centers. A capitalization rate (with an equalization rate incorporated) is applied to the net operating income of the property to arrive at value. ($41.88/$1,000 of non-exempt value under 485b described below);

 

3. the cost approach - when special use buildings are constructed. Examples are nursing homes, hospitals and conference centers, because there are few pertinent sales to indicate value. For-profit assisted living or nursing home facilities, for example, would likely be assessed the same as a commercial property.

 

To attract commerce to the Town of Orangetown, and other parts of the State, New York State offers a property tax exemption known as the 485b. The exemption is for new buildings with a certificate of occupancy and excluding 50% of the value. The exemption, exclusive of land costs, phases out over ten years at the rate of 5% per year.

 

As the RPC is redeveloped, it will be reassessed. Following are some reasonable estimates of development density and respective taxes for the uses mentioned. Again, predicting the precise development plan for the site is beyond the scope of this report, but we can make some judgements which will help in developing a perspective. The numbers are based on current dollars, with no allowance for inflation; most have been rounded to simplify the presentation.

 

Single Family Development at Current R-80 Zoning

 

Current zoning permits one single-family residence per two acres (80,000 sq. ft.). The maximum number of units, based on this zoning, at RPC would be approximately 80 units. At an average of 1.7 students per household, based on studies by the local school district, the 80 units would generate approximately 136 students. At an estimated cost of $13,000 per student, the total cost to the schools would be approximately $22,100 per residence, or a total of $1.77 million dollars for the entire site.

 

Estimated sales prices for the units in an exclusive golf course community could range as high as $500,000 to $800,000 with total market values from $30-$48,000,000 and assessed values of $27-$43,000,000. It is anticipated that the estimated sales prices for similar type homes not in a golf course community would generate substantially lower sales prices. Tax revenues generated at these prices would range from approximately $700,000 to $1,100,000 for the entire site. With approximately 63% going to the schools, the site would generate school tax revenues ranging from $7,400 to $11,800 per residence, or a total of $500,000 to $440,000 for the entire development. Lower priced housing would likely produce the same cost per residence, with a proportionately lower level of tax revenues.

 

It is not the purpose of this study to recommend one housing type or price range over another, but rather to illustrate the tax effect of different types of uses. Single- family housing, at any price range, is likely to be tax revenue negative.

 

Office/Industrial Development

 

Total development costs for new construction office and industrial properties will vary from approximately $75 per square foot (psf) of rentable floor space for high tech office/industrial at the lower end to as high as $150 per square foot of rentable floor space for Class "A" office space at the higher end.

 

A typical floor area ratio (ratio of total floor area of a building to land area - FAR) for office development is 40%. Using this ratio, for each acre of land (43,560 square feet per acre), a developer will build approximately 17,500 square feet of office or industrial space. For purposes of perspective, a 50-acre office park with a 40% FAR would have a total developed floor area of approximately 875,000 square feet.

 

Office development in Orangetown would benefit from the 485b program which provides for a 50% reduction in the assessed value of the improvements (exclusive of land value) for any new development. As the properties age and assessments increase, the owners have the option of grieving any increases, which will potentially keep the taxes competitive with other developments.

 

Applying the 485b program results in an approximate assessed value of $30 per square foot (psf) for industrial/flex space and $60 psf for office space. These values should put Orangetown within the competitive range of taxes paid by surrounding communities.

 

The total tax ratables, at $41.88/$1,000 could range from approximately $1.25 psf for industrial/ flex space to $2.50 psf for Class "A" office space, or $22-$44,000 per acre. A 50 acre site, for example, could generate a range of tax revenues from $1,100,000 to $2,200,000 in the first year.

 

There are no school children generated by the office/industrial market, although the town and county will have to provide municipal services. The cost/benefit ratio for office and industrial development is, therefore, generally considered to be the most desirable in providing the highest tax revenues and the least costs to the community.

 

 

 

Townhouse/"Empty-Nester" Uses

 

Typical townhouse/"empty nester" community will have a density of approximately six units per acre. Given the lake, the green spaces recreational opportunities, the site should be a very desirable location for empty-nesters downsizing from the four and five-bedroom homes in the County. Sale prices are likely to range from $200,000 to $400,000 per unit, for a majority of units on or near the golf course.

 

Six units per acre would generate a minimum of $1,200,000 in market values and $1,100,000 per acre in assessed values and a maximum of $2,400,000 in market values and $2,200,000 per acre in assessed value. At $26.13/$1,000, each acre could generate a minimum of approximately $29,000 in taxes and a maximum of $58,000 per acre.

 

Given the statistical average (taken from local "empty-nester" townhouse developments *) of less than one student per seven housing units, the total cost to the schools would be approximately $11,200 per acre, based on an average cost of $13,000 per student. Approximately 37% of the tax revenues would go to town, county and library. Between $18,000 and $36,000 per acre would go to the schools. The net revenue generated for the schools would be approximately $7,000 per acre at the minimum price and $25,000 per acre at the maximum price.

 

* See Appendix

 

Senior Citizen’s Housing

 

There are several different types of senior housing, some of which are rental units assessed on their income and profit potential, others are owner occupied. Owner--occupied units will generally be smaller and sell for less than the town house/"empty-nester" units, but are not necessarily at a higher density.

 

With an average selling price of $150,000 per unit, owner-occupied senior housing units at six units per acre would have a market value of $900,000 per acre, an assessed value of approximately $810,000 per acre and tax revenues of approximately $21,000 per acre.

 

For-profit rental units for seniors, ranging from moderately active through assisted living and nursing homes, generally have much higher densities. Although values can vary significantly, $1,000,000 - $2,000,000 per acre of market value is a reasonable assumption. At $41.75/$1,000, a senior/assisted living/nursing home can generate between $42,000 to $84,000 per acre of tax revenues, with no school age children. A typical ten-acre site would generate between $420,000 and $840,000 in tax revenues per year.

 

Retail

 

If any significant portion of the site is to be developed as residential, there will be a demand for local/convenience retail services. This would likely range from 10,000 to 20,000 sf and could be located in a town center within walking distance of residences, and accessible to surrounding areas. Each 10,000 square feet of retail generally requires an acre of land (43,560 sf) to accommodate the parking.

 

 

Summarizing a Possible Development Scenario

 

Again, we are attempting to gain a perspective on tax revenues for this site. The following totals merely suggest one of many possible combinations of development. They do not suggest one use over another, or that any of the following uses will actually be developed on the site, or that a total of 120 to 150 acres will be developed. They merely illustrate one of the possible impacts on the community from developing the various uses on the site.

 

 
Property Type Acres Min. Tax Revenues Max Tax Revenues
       
Office/Industrial
50
$1,100,000
$2,200,000
       
Townhouse/      
"Empty Nester" Units
50
$1,450,000
$2,480,000
       
Senior Housing (1)
40
$840,000
$1,050,000
       
Retail
2
$ 32,000
$ 64,000
       
Totals
142
$3,432,000
$5,794,000
       
 

 

Notes: (1) Based on 40 acres of owner-occupied senior housing at the lower end and 30 acres of owner occupied senior housing and a 10 acre nursing home/skilled care facility at the higher end.

 

Of the total tax revenues generated in the "minimum" scenario, approximately $1,270,000 would go to the town, county and library for services provided to the new residents and businesses. Of the remaining $2,160,000 plus going to the schools, an estimated 50 new students would cost the schools approximately $650,000 for net positive revenues to the schools of approximately $1,450,000.

 

As a closing comment, maximizing the value of the land and the tax revenues has both positive and negative benefits. While new development may increase traffic congestion, for example, it also creates jobs, reduces homeowner’s property taxes and may provide surplus revenues which can be applied against other needs. At the other extreme, should no development occur on the RPC site, no revenues will be generated to offset the costs of the open space and recreational activities the Town seeks. The challenge will be to strike an acceptable balance.

 

 

Market Analysis; Office and Industrial Uses

 

After a long pause, real estate research firms are finally announcing several new office/industrial developments in the various suburban markets surrounding Manhattan. Vacancy levels have dropped from record highs, rental rates have risen in most areas and financial institutions are once again funding new construction projects, although not at the pace of the mid 1980's.

 

Although various research firms track the larger markets and sub-markets, providing detailed analysis of transactions and rental rates, Rockland County, because of the historically small number of transactions and the extended time period since the last new construction occurred, has received minimal attention. As a result, there is a limited amount of information in print, identifying absorption rates and rental rates as market comparables to aid in projecting future demand.

 

As a generalization, speculative office and industrial developments are very sensitive to competing rental rates. Owner-occupied office and industrial developments, however, often are the product of other forces, such as proximity to a chief-executives home, or state-provided incentives, for example. These concepts help to explain the recent activity in the Rockland County office and industrial markets.

 

Another important factor in attracting office and industrial development to Orangetown is the availability of quality sites, according to a soon to be released Fantas study (Deloite Touche). Developers and end users want a minimum of delay and will invariably pursue sites ready for development before they will pursue sites that must go through a lengthy planning process.

 

Conclusions

 

A. Speculative Office Development: Market demand and rental rates are not yet strong enough to support the cost of speculative new construction Class "A" office space.

 

B. Owner Occupied Office Development: The Mercedes Benz acquisition of 90 acres for use of its domestic corporate headquarters with 400,000 square feet of Class "A" office space (with a reported pending application for an additional 800,000 square feet of office space) illustrates the "overriding considerations" in the development of owner-occupied office space. The perception in the real estate community is that the Mercedes transaction will have a ripple effect as the velocity of inquiries from user clients appears to have increased dramatically. Concomitantly, Mercedes Benz’s announcement that they are reconsidering the move has the contrary effect.

 

C. Speculative Industrial Development: Interviews with local brokers, developers and the Economic Development Committee suggest that demand and rental rates for high-tech and light-industrial space have risen to a level that justifies speculative industrial development.

 

D. Owner-Occupied Industrial Space: The strongest activity level is reported to be in the owner-occupied industrial market. Much of the activity is reported to have followed the announcement of the Mercedes Benz site, and is presumed to be a result of both a strengthening of the commercial/industrial real estate market and a ripple effect from the Mercedes Benz acquisition.

 

The most likely development in the near future will be high tech or flex-space industrial buildings which are essentially high-end industrial buildings with 25% or more finished office space, an office image from the front, minimal common areas and individual entrances. These can be attractive developments, particularly in a managed office park setting. A high tech industrial park is also compatible with a bio-science park and, allowing for demand and timing, could be fully or partially leased as a bio-science facility. Although the perception is that high tech industrial may be first to come to the site, it is probably advisable to maintain some degree of flexibility in the event that another large office user should pursue the site.

 

Given the loss of jobs and tax revenues from the downsizing of the Rockland Psychiatric Center, development of office and high tech industrial space which will provide jobs and a favorable balance of tax revenues versus expenses remains a desirable objective for Orangetown.

 

Market Trends

 

The closest major market to Rockland County is Bergen County in northern New Jersey which, according to CB Commercial, has a total of 229 office buildings in excess of 30,000 square feet, providing a total office base of 20.7 million square feet. Average vacancy rates for these five counties have declined steadily from 14.1% in 1996 to 9.25% in the 4th quarter of 1997, leaving approximately 1,900,000 sf vacant. Current average asking rents for Class "A" office space in Bergen County, on a gross lease basis, is slightly above $21.00 per square foot (psf), exclusive of tenant electric charges, with several high end projects commanding $25.00 and $30.00 psf rents.5

 

Discussions with local brokers active in the area suggest that Rockland County market trends have followed a similar pattern of vacancies and rental rates. Blue Hill Plaza, with a long history of vacancies, is now reported to be less than 10% vacant and commanding rents in the range of $20.00 psf.

 

Although these figures suggest a relatively healthy office market, as the following development models illustrate, the improving rental levels and vacancy rates do not yet support the cost of speculative new construction office space in Rockland County.

 

 

Speculative Office Development Model

 

The majority of Class "A" suburban office buildings falls within a 100,000 to 200,000 square foot size range. A typical 100,000 square foot office building will require approximately 5 acres of land.

 

Development costs for a typical new office building are generally calculated by the developers on a dollar per gross square foot of new construction basis as well as a total cost basis. The following is an abbreviated estimate of current costs to develop a new 100,000 square foot office building in a prime market area. Land costs and rental levels will vary based on the quality of the building and the market.

 

 

 
Total Costs
$/SF
     
Land Costs:
$2,000,000
$20 (3)
Hard Costs
$7,000,000
$70
TIs and LCs (1)
$3,000,000
$30
Soft Costs (2)
$3,000,000
$30
     
Total Costs 
$15,000,000
$150
 

(1) Tenant Improvements and Leasing Commissions for new construction.

(2) Inclusive of interest costs through lease up of the building.

(3) Equates to $400,000 per acre for a prime location.

 

Construction costs are calculated on the gross square feet of building constructed. Common areas, which include lobbies, fire stairs, elevators, atriums, and other uses considered to be amenities, often exceed 20% of the gross square feet of the building. A developer will normally allocate these common areas in a building to the individual tenants through use of an "add on" factor, in proportion to the tenants occupied space. This results in a "net rentable area" which is the basis for calculating the tenant’s rent and his proportionate share of operating expense pass through.

 

 

Economic Feasibility

 

Knowing the development costs, the next step is to compare market demand, rental rates and operating expenses against the development costs.

 

In today’s market, a developer will generally seek a 12% return on investment (net operating income divided by total investment) on an all-cash basis. Net operating income is calculated after payment of all operating expenses, but before payments for tenant improvements, leasing commissions or reserves for replacements during the operating period.

 

Using the $150 per square foot cost (total investment), a 12% return on investment would be $18 per square foot ($150 x 12%). The developer must achieve an $18 per square foot net operating income after expenses to meet his investment goals. This is the current cash yield and does not include any anticipated tax benefits or appreciation on sale and does not include operating expenses that would be passed on to the tenant.

 

Current operating expenses for Class "A" suburban office buildings vary from market to market and building to building because of differences in design, tax and utility rates, etc. The majority of new suburban Class "A" office buildings, however, fall close to the $10 per square foot range for total operating expenses, inclusive of taxes and utilities. In a typical "gross" lease, these expenses are paid by the landlord out of the rents collected from the tenants.

Tenant electric charges are generally considered to be additional rent paid by the tenants for consumption of electricity within the tenants space. These charges typically range from $1.50 psf to $2.25 psf, depending on the markets, effectively reducing operating expenses to $8.50 psf in a market with $10.00 psf operating expense and a $1.50 psf electric charge.

 

Adding the $18 and $8.50 results in a gross lease rate of $26.50 psf, before vacancy and credit losses. Allowing for, say, a 5% vacancy/credit loss results in a gross lease rate to the tenant of approximately $27.90 per square foot of net rentable area ($26.50/95%) - typically rounded to $28.00 psf.

 

Building on a site with $5.00 psf land costs, calculated on the building area ($100,000 per acre), rather than the $20.00 used in the above calculations for a prime location, would reduce costs and required rental rates, but would also likely increase lease up time and average vacancy rates if the reduced site costs reflected a less desirable location. The reduction of $15.00 psf in land costs would theoretically reduce lease rates by approximately $1.60 psf to $26.30 psf - without adjusting for any differences in interest rates for lower development costs, but a potentially longer lease up period.

 

 

Conclusions on Speculative Office Development

 

The Rockland County Class "A" office market currently lacks the volume of activity and the rental rates to justify speculative new construction office space, and although real estate professionals such as Tully express confidence in the potential of Rockland County as a future office market, and speak optimistically of the spin-off from the Mercedes-Benz deal, the time has not yet arrived to justify construction of new office space and there is no way of knowing rental rates in Rockland County which will justify new construction.

 

It is also worthy of note that the initial 400,000 sf of office space to be developed by Mercedes Benz is reported to be constructed with the intention of being occupied by Mercedes Benz. Preliminary plans are reported to have been submitted to the Town of Orangetown including an additional 800,000 sf of office/industrial space to be built on the 90 acre site. The preliminary conclusions are that this additional space, if developed, will be limited to owner occupied Class "A" office. 6

 

To the extent that the additional space at the Mercedes Benz site is owner-occupied, it should have a positive impact on both speculative and owner-occupied office development. In the event that the additional 800,000 sf is to be developed as speculative office space, it will provide stiff competition for any planned office development at the Rockland Psychiatric Center site, until such time as the majority of any such speculative space is leased.

 

Given the high risk nature of being the first to develop in a relatively slow market, Mercedes Benz is in a unique position to pursue speculative development that could compete with New Jersey and possibly jump start a new round of office development in Rockland County.

 

Given the uncertainty of which opportunities will surface first, office or industrial, it is probably advisable to provide sufficient flexibility in zoning to permit either use.

 

Renovation of Existing Buildings for Use as Office Space:

 

As discussed previously, renovation of existing structures for use as office space does not appear to be financially feasible. The structures were designed for a specialized use which does not readily re-adapt for office use.

 

The consensus of commercial real estate professionals we interviewed is that the existing buildings would have to go through a "gut" rehab, which would entail removing and replacing everything but the foundations and wall structures. Total rehab costs would approach new construction costs.

 

The concrete load bearing walls in the middle of the typical 30 foot wide structure would reduce design efficiencies in most of these buildings to approximately 50%, as compared to 80-90% for a typical Class "B" structure. To prove financial feasibility, a developer would have to compensate for the lower design efficiencies with proportionally higher rental rates. The finished product, because of its design inefficiencies for use as office space, would have to command rental rates approaching Class "A" office space - a virtual impossibility in this market. The best possible grade of office, after renovation, would be Class "B" or Class "C" with rental rates ranging from $12-15 psf. Re-use of these structures for any type of industrial use would not be feasible from a design perspective.

 

 

Speculative Industrial Development Model

 

With the well published data on manufacturing facilities moving south or overseas, there is little reason to dwell on industrial development of heavy manufacturing facilities. Today’s industrial sites are more often retail distribution and high tech office/industrial space or light assembly work - generally referred to as flex space.

 

The modern retail distribution sites are "big boxes", with 30 foot or higher clear ceiling heights, designed to efficiently store and move large quantities of goods. The automated systems in these buildings have reduced the number of jobs required to a minimal number. This type of facility will generate tax revenues, but few new jobs.

 

Flex-space, an abbreviation for "flexible space", is a mix of office and industrial space. It generally contains 25% or more of finished office space (as opposed to 5-10% in traditional industrial warehouse buildings) with the 75% or less warehouse portion being some form of high tech space. Some spaces are finished as 100% office. The general design and appearance is often closer to office than industrial space and accommodates industries with higher paying and greater numbers of jobs.

 

The typical flex-space design is single story with grade level parking, individual addresses and entrances with no common areas, and limited, if any, amenities. Typical rental rates for new construction are in the $7.50 range for 25% finished office space. The cost to lease and finish additional office space in a flex building adds a cost similar to finishing an office building - close to $30.00 psf. Rents vary in proportion to office finish, which is one of the highest single costs. Traditional industrial space with 10% office will reduce costs and lease rates proportionally.

 

Most leases are net, as opposed to gross for office buildings, with each tenant directly responsible for paying his share of operating expenses. The net rent to the landlord in a net leased industrial building is the equivalent to the net operating income after expenses in a gross leased office building.

 

 

Economic Feasibility

 

A speculative developer of flex space will require essentially the same 12% yield on an all-cash basis that an office developer would require. The cost structure for a similar size facility, however, is somewhat different.

 

 
Total Costs
$/SF
     
Land Costs:
$500,000
$5.00 (3)
Hard Costs
$3,800,000
$38.00
TIs and LCs (1)
$700,000
$7.00
Soft Costs (2)
$1,000,000
$10.00
     
Total Costs 
$6,000,000
$60.00
 

 

 

(1) Tenant Improvements and Leasing Commissions for new construction with TIs calculated on 25% of space.

(2) Inclusive of interest costs through lease up of the building.

(3) Equates to $100,000 per acre.

 

The consensus of real estate brokers and developers we interviewed is that the market is rapidly approaching rental levels which will support new development of speculative space, and that owner-occupied industrial users are already paying these rents. It is easier to command these rents in a quality park than it is in an isolated location.

 

Bio-Science Park

 

A Bio-Science Park, should be compatible with a high-tech industrial park - barring any uses or types of research that would discourage other users. It may be possible either to incorporate a bio-science park as a portion of a high tech industrial park or to lease or sell the entire site to a Bio-Science Park. Given the high failure rate of Bio-Science Parks and the stiff competition, it may be better for the town limit a Bio-Science Park to a percentage of a total park, if it should materialize.

 

In summary, although speculative office development of Class "A" space is uncertain at this time, owner occupied Class "A" space may be feasible and both speculative and owner-occupied industrial space appears to be feasible.

 
Impact on the School Enrollments

 

A major concern of the school district, which is currently operating at or near capacity, is the number of new school age children that will be coming into the district and the related revenues generated by the housing types that they will occupy. Most of the focus groups, the Realtors being the one exception, made little distinction in the types of residential housing and the impact on the school systems.

 

The statistical average of bedrooms per person for Rockland County is slightly greater than one bedroom per person (275,000 bedrooms/271,000 residents = 1.015), which can be misleading. The total number of housing units in Rockland County is 94,122, as of the 1996 ACS report, resulting in an average of 2.92 bedrooms per unit. Single family detached units comprise 62.4% of the market, with three and four bedroom units totaling 55% of the market.

 

These statistics suggest that if there is, on average, one person per bedroom and the majority of residents are families as opposed to singles, that efficiencies, one bedrooms and most two bedrooms will have no children. The children are largely concentrated in the single family homes with 3 or more bedrooms.

 

Single Family

 

According to unofficial reports, the average new single family home generates almost two school age children per household. This comports with the Pearl River School Board that estimated 1.7 children generated per single-family residence. The projected cost to educate a child at approximately $12,482 per year far exceeds the taxes generated by a typical household with two school age children. The following excerpt from the 1996 American Communities Survey, published by the US Census Bureau, illustrates a much lower number of school age children per single family home.

 

Number of Bedrooms in Rockland County

# of BR, 1996 # Units Total BR Percent

of Total

 

Efficiency 1,023 1,023 0.37

1 14,878 14,878 5.42

2 18,223 36,446 13.27

3 25,722 77,166 28.10

4 26,315 105,260 38.34

5 7,961 39,805 14.50

94,122 274,578 100.00

Efficiencies, one and two-bedroom units are assumed to have negligible children.

Total Units with 3 BR or more 59,998

Total % with 3 BR or more 63.74%

 
Rockland County School Age Children

Ages Population

5-9 22,062

10-14 20,154

15-18 (1) 14,563

Total School Age Children 56,779

 

(1) 15-19 age group adjusted by 20%.

 

Total Population 271,000

School Age Children % of Total 20.95%

School Age Children 56,779

Units with 3 BR or more 59,998

Children/Unit w/ 3 or more BR 0.95

 

The above analysis suggests that for each housing unit with three or more bedrooms, there is one school age child. This appears to conflict with the School Boards statement that the average new single family residence produces 1.7 children per single family household.

 

The difference appears explainable in that a large percent of the existing stock of single family homes are occupied by baby boomers in their late forties and early fifties. Their children have, for the most part, graduated from high school. As these baby boomers sell off their homes, they are likely to be replaced by a younger couples in their thirties with two or more school age children. Similarly, a new subdivision of single family homes is likely to produce close to two children per household. Additionally, senior citizens, a significant portion of the County’s population, no longer have young children of school age, although many continue to reside in their single-family homes.

 

 

Townhouse/"Empty-Nester Unit" Communities

 

The fastest growth rate from 1990 to 1996 in Rockland County was two bedroom units, apparently reflecting an empty-nester population moving to smaller homes when made available. It is important to consider that these types of developments are unlikely to include any significant number of school age children and that the sale of the single family home is a life style or economic decision generally driven by reasons other than just the availability of townhouse/"empty-nester" housing.

 

With the dramatic increase in baby boomers passing the 55 age mark, there will be an increase in demand for "empty nesters"/town house units . Baby boomers tend to have older children who and have graduated from high school, are attending college or have moved out of the parents household.

 

Because an empty nester is making an economic and lifestyle choice, the availability or lack of availability of townhouse/"empty-nester unit"/condominiums in Orangetown catering to his/her needs is unlikely to influence the decision to purchase. It will simply limit their choice of locations to other communities if there are no available units in the area. (See Table 9 in the Appendix)

 

 

Senior Communities

 

Senior citizens generate no children, and pay taxes, although at a reduced rate with the incoming STAR program for seniors. The reduced property taxes from seniors will be paid by the State.

 

 

 

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Appendix
 

 

 

Anecdotal Experience with Townhouse/ "Empty Nester Housing"

 

Experience of townhouse/"empty-nester developments" in several nearby communities indicate they have very low level of school-age children per housing unit.

 

A 140-unit development nearby, known as the Village at Old Tappan has one school age child for every seven housing units. Half of the children attend elementary school and the other 50 percent are of high-school age. The price range for these housing units vary between $250,000 and $400,000.

 

A second development, is known as the Bear’s Nest. This development, when completed will total 196 residential condominium units. Similar to the Village, very few children reside in these units. At last count, there were only 8 school-age children generated by the 91 resident families - a ratio of 1 child for every 11.3 housing units.

 

 

Table 9
Demographic Multipliers
for School Age Children
(monitored in the 1987 American Housing Survey)
Utilizing actual townhouse/ "empty-nester unit" experience

 
  

  

 

Number of Projected School Age Children
Per Dwelling Unit
 
single-family blended rate *
.766
single-family generation rate for as per Pearl River School Board  

 

1.7
Townhouse/"empty-nester unit" generation rate ***
0.147
0.088
average townhouse/"empty-nester unit" generation rate*** 

 

0.118
 

Source: Development Impact Assessment Handbook. Washington, D.C.: ULI-The Urban Land Institute. American Housing Survey, 1987. Burchell, Robert W, David Listokin, et. al, * Blended statistics were utilized to calculate the number of children generated due to the uncertainty of the number of bedrooms. The assumption is 1/3 three bedroom units, 1/3 four bedroom units, 1/3 five bedroom units.

 

** Generation rates suggested by Pearl River School Board

 

** Utilizing actual experience levels at the Village at Old Tappan and Bear’s Nest Townhouse/"Empty-Nester Units."
 
 
Table 10
Demographic Multipliers
for School Age Children
(monitored in the 1987 American Housing Survey)
 

 

  

  

  

 

Number of Projected School Age Children
Per Dwelling Unit
 
Single-family blended rate *
0.766
Townhouse/"empty-nester unit" blended rate ** 

 

0.277
  Source: Development Impact Assessment Handbook. Washington, D.C.: ULI-The Urban Land Institute. American Housing Survey, 1987. Burchell, Robert W, David Listokin, et. al, * Blended statistics were utilized to calculate the number of children generated due to the uncertainty of the number of bedrooms. The assumption is 1/3 three bedroom units, 1/3 four bedroom units, 1/3 five bedroom units.

 

** These numbers account for a mixture of housing types and price ranges. The actual number of children generated is anticipated to be lower due to the price structure of the proposed housing units. Blended statistics were utilized to calculate the number of children generated. The table assumes 1/2 two bedroom units and 1/2 three bedroom units.

 

*** See Table 7 for modified actual experience in school generation statistics based upon the Village in Old Tappan ($260,000-$400,000) and the Bear’s Nest in Park Ridge ($429,000- $619,000).

 

insert Table 11 handbook

insert table 12 handbook

 

insert table 13 handbook

 

insert table 14 handbook

insert Osnato letter

 

 

 

 
Table 15
Pearl River School District
1993-1998
 
Year 
Enrollment
Regents Diploma Rate
Per Pupil Cost
 
1993
1,885
54%
$12,969
1994
1,940
56%
$12,884
1995
2,060
63%
$12,784
1996
2,130
60%
$12,394
1997
2,190
70%
$12,375
1998
2,310
72%(projected)
$12,482
 
 

Source: Pearl River School District, District Newsletter, Winter 1998