As the controversial Kingstonian project nears full approval from city and county agencies, some neighbors are determined to make the final steps as difficult as possible for city officials.
The latest battle is over the city’s plans to give the municipal parking lot and a portion of Fair Street to the developers, Brad Jordan and Joe Bonura Jr., to clear the way for construction of the $52 million project.
Jordan and Bonura are planning 143 apartments, a parking garage beneath those apartments, and a boutique hotel.
What You Need To Know
- The city is planning to hand over a property and eventually a section of a city street to developers of the Kingstonian project
- Residents pleaded at a recent meeting for the city to reconsider its plans
- A hearing is scheduled for Thursday and a council vote could come on Tuesday, March 2
“There’s a lot of good that’s going to come out of this,” said Robert Gaston, president of the Kingston Uptown Business Association (KUBA). Gaston told Spectrum News it is important that the city and county accommodate the developers.
Jordan and Bonura’s tax break request — $25 million over 25 years — was approved last month, and now the city is planning the transfer of the land to them.
It is unclear how much, if anything, the developers will be charged for the parking lot property.
“I think that in order for construction like this to happen, there needs to be incentives for it, in addition to what it’s going to provide for the area,” Gaston said. “Everything that I know seems pretty fair.”
At a February 2 Common Council meeting, more than 15 residents testified, saying they see the transfer plans differently.
“I have been waiting for three years for one governing body in the region to act with integrity and (a) conscience,” neighbor Sarah Wenk told the council. “Fair Street Extension is a historic resource. It serves a vital purpose in moving traffic through uptown Kingston. The street is actively used and acts as a release valve for traffic at North Front, Wall, and Fair streets.”
Council members said Monday the plan is to turn the lot over to the Kingston Land Development Corporation, which may then give it to the developers.
During the February 2nd meeting, residents wondered aloud why the city is not required to sell the lot, like it would other properties. Members said that because the project provides public benefits, the city can give the property to the developer through the KLDC.
In this case, city officials and council members cite public benefits, including additional public parking, public restrooms, and a small park.
The Common Council Finance Committee will hold a public hearing on the transfer on Thursday, and will likely vote on whether to approve the transfer on Monday, March 1.
The full council could then hold its final vote on the transfer as early as Tuesday, March 2.