Condo Plans for Former Seaford Avenue School Property Heading to Voters

Seaford school board also planning referendum on access road at Seaford Harbor School in scheduled Oct. 16 vote.

The future of the former Seaford Avenue School property will be in the hands of the voters in mid October.

The Seaford Board of Education voted at its Thursday night meeting to hold a referendum vote on Oct. 16 where residents will decide whether to approve a  at the 5.6-acre property on 2165 Seaford Ave. If approved, the project would net the Seaford School District around $5.2 milion and enable the developer, BK at Seaford, LLC, to construct 113 condos that would be sold in the range of $350,000 to $400,000 each. If voters give the geen light for the project, BK at Seaford, LLC, a subsidiary of The Engel Burman Group in Garden City, would then need to obtain necessary zoning approvals from the Town of Hempstead before breaking ground. 

Seaford Board of Education President Brian Fagan estimates that if the sale of the Seaford Avenue School property is approved it will save the district around $100,000 in annual maintenance costs in addition to creating an additional tax revenue source. After closing in 1981, the 1939-built Seaford Avenue School building served as the home of Five Towns College and most recently Nassau BOCES until its lease expired in 2010. 

"It's very important that the community understand the benefits of this sale," Fagan said. "This is planning for the future." 


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In addition to voters deciding whether to approve the sale of the Seaford Avenue School property for a condo development, another referendum is also planned for the Oct. 16 ballot addressing a long-stalled new access road project for the . The estimated $596,719 project, which would be paid for by leftover funds from a capital improvements proposition approved in December 2007, failed by 238 votes in a May 2010 referendum vote. The Seaford school board is scheduled to vote at a special meeting scheduled for this Tuesday morning on a resolution to include a referendum for the access road project on the same day as the condo proposal. 

A town hall meeting to provide an overview on referendums for the Seaford Avenue School property and access road project is tentatively scheduled for Oct. 4 at . 

Lorraine DeVita August 20, 2012 at 01:44 PM
Vinny what your suggesting is a neighborhood lot of 5 acres for the kids to play soccer etc whent here are a myriad of parks available? interesting concept - jack up our school taxes even further to maintain sports fields? hmmmmmm.. now while i agree condos may not be the way to go as propsed i truly dont feel a 5 acre school district taxpayer funded and mantained playground is the proper utilization of our tax dollars when we have so many educational issues that need ot be addressed. what would say is your priority money for education or a 5 acre sports field?
Chris Wendt August 20, 2012 at 02:59 PM
Also, that building can not stand there, deteriorating forever. Eventually, the $100K annual cost to maintain it (even in a mothballed state) will give way to higher costs for demolition and removal of the rotting hulk. Not selling the building to a developer exposes the school district (and tax payers) to liability for the eventual costs to demolish and cart-away the remains. Wantagh got left "holding the bag" so to speak when long-vacant Sunrise Park School burned down shortly (weeks) before the contract of sale was to have been closed. That ultimately cost Wantagh about $4 million foregone revenue and unplanned legal fees for subsequent lawsuits. We still made money, net, on the sale, however. The point is, an old, empty building is frought with risk, poses a big liability and carries a totally unproductive but significant ongoing annual expense. In other words, it becomes a financial "hot potato".
Chris Wendt August 20, 2012 at 03:08 PM
Lorraine, putting the building "up for sale", e.g. marketing it, is not the same as actually selling it. You would have to see the contract to determine what protections, conditions, escape clauses exist in the event of (a) voter disapproval of the actual sale, and, (b) failure to obtain the required zoning change(s) and any variances. The risk of voter disapproval should be easy; a "No" vote probably terminates the contract without recourse by the buyer. But, a "Yes" vote then followed by rejection of a zoning change from "school" to "condos" perhaps would not void the contract, but could open the develpment up to significant changes not contemplated at the time of the "Yes" vote, but also without recourse, this time by the district. A important question to ask and have answered: if the voters approve the sale, can the developer change the plan after he pays the district its money?
Lorraine DeVita August 20, 2012 at 04:04 PM
chris i am going to disagree with you on this -It CLEARLY states to "DIRECT the SALE" along with terms and conditions, The board shall ACT upon those in "PURSUANCE of such direction " . . this community did not DIRECT the board to SELL the buidling, nor did the board solicite the inhabitants and residents for any terms or conditions at ANY general meeting .matter of fact when ANy discussion of the sale was ot take place along with temrs and conditions they did it in executive session. without input from the community. . thereby negating the board putting th eproperty up for sale. symantics yes but legal ones.
Lorraine DeVita August 20, 2012 at 04:05 PM
also the price of the building was not determined by a authorized assessment - the BUYER determined the price he wanted to pay and not until AFTER the bid was in, did the district pay for an assessment . the assement $$'s to my knowlegde havent been released to the public. I have bought & sold both personaly and professionaly commerical and residential real estate in numerous states and some internationaly. There has always been an assessment along with comps to determine the market value of the property in the current market PRIOR to placing it on the market. as is stated in your referenced material. again the board did not follow the letter or intent of the law. AFTER numerous years of debating on what to do with this albatross they finally make a decision, then dont even follow protocal, process or even Ed law. Seriously If contested this could & SHOULD jeopardize the sale .. The community was not informed as was their right. the board acted solely at their own discretion.
Chris Wendt August 20, 2012 at 04:46 PM
@ Lorraine re: the sequence of steps and other points of law. Your questions would be better directed to the Board of Education. Negotiations concerning real estate transactions (terms, conditions, asking/selling price) are specifically excluded from the Open Meetings Law, and must be conducted in confidential executive sessions. Unless there had been confidential negotiations leading up to the contract of sale having been inked, then there could be no meaningful vote. I think the Board is clean on that part. Did they mis-step by offering the property or beginning negotiations before there was an appraisal? Hard to say, not knowing the dates of each step taken (or not taken). Fact is, they got an appraisal and now have an offer which exceeds the appraisal, so even if there was a procedural mis-step it would seem to have been of no effect on the outcome. The penalty for that kind of error (if there was an error) is no penalty, unless a contract had been made for a lower price than the appraisal and then the Board tried to back-out of it with the buyer because of the lapse; then the penalty could have been financial in favor of the injured buyer, and at the expense of the district (and possibly the taxpayers, but that is not certain, either).
Lorraine DeVita August 20, 2012 at 05:16 PM
wrong chris, Procedural steps have an impact again i cite your reference while i agree the actual T&C;s and negotiating must take place in exec. session the fact remains this board was NEVER directed by the community to place the property on the market, the community was simply not given the opportunity to voice their opinions or concerns. or DIRECT the BOARD on their behalf. READ what you cited Chris. and yes the call has been made to the NYS Dept of ED. for concurrence and clarity.
SSteacher August 20, 2012 at 08:03 PM
There are 50 plus districts. I guess I should have said in ALMOST every district. Pulling up two to prove a point proves little. I know teachers in 30 plus districts who are saying their numbers are all decreasing, proving the point that people are not fleeing public education in Seaford.
Chris Wendt August 20, 2012 at 09:39 PM
Indicating that not all that many people are opting out of public education in Seaford. Some are, for sure. Fleeing, no, well, you would have to ask them individually. Departing, certainly.
Chris Wendt August 20, 2012 at 09:43 PM
I know what I cited, and gave you my opinion of what I think it means in practical terms. If NYSED has a different view, then I would certainly like to know. (I think I am correct on this one. You wouldn't vote on a pig-in-a-poke, like "School Board, sell this school! And we don't care WHAT you get for it, or who buys it for what pupose...like a knife-throwing academy!")
j gallagher August 21, 2012 at 02:35 AM
I don't have time to read all the comments. Are the playing fields the kids have been using for instructional sports for the last 50 plus years going to be lost with this deal or is just the building.
Lorraine DeVita August 21, 2012 at 10:45 AM
Its the entire parcel all 5.6 acres will be sold including the fields, but remember there are numerous fields throughout seaford which are all better maintained and safer for these kids with ample parking,
Jeanne Gatto Lettieri August 23, 2012 at 11:56 AM
@ Lorraine. There ar NO fields between Sunrise and Merrick Road! Why do we have to lose the open space. Look at levittown. Open space were built into to every subdivision. And where is all that traffic going to go on Waverly Ave. The local streets were no built to accomodate this kind of population density. Nice of the school board to sell out it's families. They get a one time cash influx. The residents get stuck with a nightmare forever.
Lorraine DeVita August 23, 2012 at 05:32 PM
@Jeannee- i am not disagreeing with you. I am also not agreeing with you. I am sort of ambivilant on this issue. I live within a few blocks of the property on the other side of the overpass on Southard which is equal in traffic to waverly . My concerns are with the COST to the TAXPAYERS if we keep this property. We have not only the maintence costs but the insurance costs and the loss of potential tax revenue relief. Seaford has Seamans neck park, Washington park , Cedar Creek park and Wantagh park and of course our claim to fame the illustrious fields of dreams. How many FIELDs do we need? Levittown is a completely different scenario it was built as PLANNED community from its inception. small footprint houses on small plots to accomodate returning vets from the war in a community designed with open spaces. Seaford as with other communities have always been for most instances spot or tract built with small pockets of mini developments on a as need basis. Open spaces were not and are a consideration: bang for the buck was and still is.. do i personally think 113 condo units are good move hell no thats a whole lot of people in a relatively small area. Do i feel a beautifully designed planned Senior housing concept as referenced above would better serve the community with the builder allocating a small open shared space community area/park for the residents old and new to utilize YES.! but playing fields NO! thats a HUGE waste of taxpayers money.
Lorraine DeVita August 23, 2012 at 05:42 PM
There is always a compromise that should be considered also : a 65/35 split 65 percent senior housing one story 1200 sq feet of living space -w/garage 35 percent two story town houses with 1500-2000 sq feet -w/garage A mixed community that would appease both the residents of seaford and satisfy the builders needs to make a significant return on his investment.
Jim August 23, 2012 at 05:53 PM
Jeanne, You are so right, I only wish everyone else could see it. That quick shot of cash will be spent before the ink on the check is dry and nobody will know where the cash went. Remember, once the developer owns the property, he can do with it what he wants as long as he can get it approved by the TOH. The residents of the district will not have a vote on it.
Lorraine DeVita August 23, 2012 at 06:17 PM
I suggest everyone who is on the fence to do several things, call your insurance company, call you mortgage company and call a respected RE broker ASK them THEIR EXPERT opinions once you have provided them with all the correct and detailed informaiton. THEN make your decision. dont make a gut decision just because you dont want change. I dont know the answers any better then you do but pls find out HOW this proposed sale and build will effect your homes VALUE and your TAXES weigh the pros and cons then make a decision you can live with. just get ALL the info first. .
Lorraine DeVita August 23, 2012 at 06:22 PM
I strongly suggest that at the Oct meeting the Board has the foresight to ask the Buyer, Builder & Architect , local banks , Re Brokers, Appraisors , insurance companies etc to join the discussion and voice their expert opinions while the information is disseminated in a transparent manner. . This will go a long way in insuring Seaford has been given ALL the information it needs to make an informed decison.
Chris Wendt August 23, 2012 at 07:42 PM
@ Jim re: " That quick shot of cash will be spent before the ink on the check is dry and nobody will know where the cash went." That is probably not true, however do not take my word for it. At the October meeting, be sure you get a clear understanding of what the Board of Education intends to do with the money. This type of money is usually placed into a sinking fund to be used (appropriated) in decreasing installments to offest (reduce) the tax levy over multiple years. However, I am not familiar with the current state of the law or regulations concerning this. If, for example, the net proceeds of the sale are $5 million, then a 10-year sinking fund might be appropriated like this: Balance............Appropriated 5,000,000 ...... 900,000 4,100,000 ...... 800,000 3,300,000 ...... 700,000 2,600,000 ...... 600,000 2,000,000 ...... 500,000 1,500,000 ...... 500,000 1,000,000 ...... 400,000 600,000 ...... 300,000 300,000 ...... 200,000 100,000 ...... 100,000 (Zero) Note, too, that there is the sale price, and then there are the net proceeds, after commissions, legal, and other fees are paid and subtracted from the sale price.
Jim August 24, 2012 at 02:05 AM
Chris, You are right about how they should handle the money, and I'm sure they will do it the correct way. I was speaking metaphorically. I have seen what happens when properties were sold in other districts. Properties are sold and a few years later your taxes are still going up and there is no real change in the way business is conducted except that the former property is gone forever. The developer made a boat load of money and he is gone and the residents are left with nothing.
Chris Wendt August 24, 2012 at 10:53 AM
Re: "...what happens when properties were sold in other districts. Properties are sold and a few years later your taxes are still going up and there is no real change in the way business is conducted except that the former property is gone forever." You have to weigh that against leaving a derelict building sit on a lot, rotting, and consuming $100K per year to maintain it, while producing no revenue but serving as an attractive nuisance in the neighborhood. Selling the school is not a cure for other things, such as the way you perceive business being conducted in the district. If you want to change that, then you need to address the desired changes and hoped-for results with the school board.
Chris Wendt August 24, 2012 at 11:22 AM
@ Jeanne Gatto Lettieri re: "Why do we have to lose the open space. Look at levittown. Open space were built into to every subdivision." Here is another important question for the October meeting. There are requirements for open space in the type of development proposed. However, one of more frequent variances sought is for the developer to be excused from keeping the required open space. You should ask, "Does the plan as it is proposed allow for the required amount of open space, or, will a variance be required?"
Tarralos Fan for Life August 25, 2012 at 01:54 PM
YES Jeanne is correct. Waverly Ave willbe construction HELL for years.......and the Board members all live up north and do not have this as an issue in their lives. They will spend that money so fast on cheerleaders uniforms or bigger floodlites on the field of dreams, or hiring a assistant to the assistant of something.............CANT WAIT TO MOVE!!!!! Time for changes at the board, Lorraine lets get it going. We need you
Chris Wendt August 25, 2012 at 07:52 PM
Tarralos, do you dispute the need to sell the derelict schoolbuilding, to stem the unproductive spending of $100K per year to maintain and secure that facility, and to generate much needed cash for your school district? May I suggest that rash statements about how the proceeds might be spent should be reserved until after you ask that question and receive a reasoned reply? Sure, selling the hulk of a 75-year old building will mean its demolition and replacement with a new project which is the reason the purchaser is willing to pay $5+ million to acquire it. Yes, construction will involve disturbances, some noise, large vehicles, and crews of workers at the site during the construction. I think everyone realizes that is what happens, and such an expectation would be reasonable to accept, although inconvenient for a time. "Hell...for years..." is a bit of an embellishment, I think.
JDe August 25, 2012 at 10:57 PM
correction to earlier kinda off-topic @Ozone Park Native misleading comment about BObama's getting rid of mortgage interest deductions: in reality, to budget balance, the President proposes (quoting his budget director) that his (unpassed) "jobs bill would be paid for by eliminating tax preferences for **upper-income individuals and corporations** ... $400 billion over 10 years would come from limiting tax deductions for charitable contributions and mortgage interest payments ... such tax increases have been adamantly opposed by Republicans." might be a problem for anyone planning to buy the planned pricey condos but not if the needed senior housing were built instead. on topic though: while I'm sure the school district would like to grow its taxable base of new private housing, what are the possibilities of have a competing option voted in that offers a private/public option to build senior housing like the affordable Nehemiah Program houses flourishing in the city and elsewhere? would the planned referendum ballot be the proper place to direct the BoE on how to move ahead with the property if senior hosing is Seaford's preference ?
Chris Wendt August 26, 2012 at 12:22 AM
JDe, nice thought. Now all you need is the competing option, meaning someone to make a proposal and an offer...that exceeds the current offer. The property has been actively marketed for over a year. No competing offer has materialized. There are many schools being closed on Long Island, and that trend is very likely to continue for the near term. You might consider that, if there is not presently a glut of surplus school sites for sale, that there will be in the foreseeable future. Seaford should not want to be left holding the bag so to speak waiting for a competing offer for this property. for which you already a very attractive offer in hand. Here is the link to the Nehemiah Home Ownership Program http://www.nyc.gov/html/hpd/html/buyers/nehemiah.shtml What is lacking in Seaford are two key ingredients of the NYC program: direct housing subsidies of $46,000 for each of the single-family home, as well as $30 million infrastructure subsidy. Another note: "The Nehemiah program is a collaboration between HPD and a consortia of community-based churches in Brooklyn that over the past 15 years has constructed nearly 3,000 single-family homes in the East New York and Brownsville sections of Brooklyn." There is no reference in the Nehemiah literature that this is senior housing program. Have you looked into the possibility of having churches provide massive financial support for affordable housing in a middle class, predominately white, suburban neighborhood?
Lorraine DeVita August 26, 2012 at 02:55 AM
Pssst - as stated by Brian Fagan at the Library meeting - there WAS another interested party which the BOARD chose not to pursue -
Lorraine DeVita August 26, 2012 at 03:36 AM
Chris, Years is not an exageration- lets not minimize the impact onthe surrounding homes. From start to finish this project if approved will take approximately 1-1/2 to 2 yrs IF all goes as planned. This is not a home remodel or even a demo of an old home and rebuild of a new one. This is a development. The actual demolition and construction WILL be messy and noisey, it WILL be an inconvenience for the neighbors, HOWEVER what everyone has to realize is SOMETHING has to be done with this building- whether it is sold to THIS builder or another or not at all , there will be NOISE there will be inconvenience regardless of WHAT is built there. The building is basically uninhabitable,unsafe & needs to be either torn down or completely gutted. It is fast becoming dangerous & far too expensive to keep. We can try to impress upon the neighbors that when completed it will be a continual source of added tax revenue, it will also be a VAST improvement over what is there now , IT will not be an eyesore it will not be a safety hazzard or a perpetual drain on the districts resource. BUT Lets not diminsih the BULLET these residents are going to BITE for the good fo the community. Its a BIG ONE. Would i personally be pissed as hell & concerned if i lived in the surrounding homes. OFCOURSE,this is going to effect the neighborhood for BLOCKs, anyone between sunrise & merrick is going to feel the effects. But truthfully we DONT have a viable alternative & this NEEDS to be done.
Buster of Seaford September 15, 2012 at 08:33 PM
Can someone please tell me if the q and a is still scheduled for 10/4? And since the last posts (mid-August) has there been a definition of the minumum space needed, traffic studies as well as community impact, etc...? Now that the sign is up at the school, I would like to be at least somewhat informed before the vote. I am very apprehensive and somewhat suspicious of the board..as I've been living 2 blocks from the site 23 years now and was witness to the last time they tried to bulldoze this past the residents, with negative results. Seems not much info, and not a lot of pubicity re: the vote. Particularly if you haven't kids attending school..no notices out in the neighborhood..beyond the one on the real estate developers at the school, easily missed..this is a repeat of the way it went down the last time. At the time there were rumors of some kind of collusion between members of the board and the developer. I'd just like to know if there has been due diligence. Esp.n terms of the impact. So please let me know? Thanks.
Lorraine DeVita September 18, 2012 at 12:35 PM
Buster- The points you raise are valid as to PR and transparency- To my knowledge a district wide mailer with all the pertinant informaiton has not been composed and mailed out as of todays date.( i could be wrong) Nor has an Agenda of the October meeting been formulated and dispersed(again could be wrong). As to an impact survey- I dont think that figured in their equation. Their concern was selling the property and the financial impact on the community if the property DOESNT sell. What i would suggest is call the developer E/B and ask for a project representative and the arch of record to speak with the immediate homeowners to address those concerns @ an informal meeting . Actually I fear the Board is going to tell you THEY (the Board) dont have the answers you seek .Bottom line IMO is the board has left the responsibility up to the BUYER to SELL the concept to the community but i dont think they informed the buyer of that, nor have they informed the community. We have a persistent problem in Seaford when it comes to thorough,clear, concise, timely factual information being disseminated by the Board and Administration. In business its called effective and thorough COMMUNICATION, unfortunately on most matters - it simply isnt the Boards SOP and i fear it is becaseu they dont grasp the concept that WE the taxpayers NEED and want ALL the information to make an informed decision, the days of blindly following the board are long since gone.


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