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Record staffers bring you information on the comings and goings of New York's Collar City.

Thursday, September 30, 2010

Proposed Uncle Sam Parking Garage schematics

Below are the schematics for the proposed addition of a third level to the Uncle Sam Parking Garage. The expansion will be discussed at the next regular Planning Board meeting, scheduled for October 14, according to the city's website. (The agenda is not yet online.)

Last month, the Industrial Development Authority approved an agreement with developer David Bryce for the purchase of the garage. The addition of the third level was part of the agreement with the IDA, that also included bonding for the sale and an estimated $399,630 in savings through a Payments-in-Lieu-of-Taxes (PILOT) program.

According to the documents, it appears that the area surrounding the garage will experience some partial road closures during the expansion. At a June meeting of the IDA, Bryce said that they would use pre-cast parts for the expansion, which would only take about two weeks to complete.

From the schematics, it appears that, for one week, the bus stop at Third and Fulton Streets will be moved near Fourth and Grand Streets, there will be lane closures on Third Street and on Fourth Street at Fulton and the east entrance to the garage will be closed. The other week would still have lane closures on Third Street, but the bus stop would remain at its current location and the western entrance of the garage would be closed.

It appears that the exterior of the expansion parts would be simulated limestone, the existing glazing on the southwest stair would be replaced with a contextual treatment and "Frear-like" cornices would be added.

City Planning Director Sondra Little has said that Bryce will have tenants on the third level during the week but that there will be public parking on the weekends.

What do you think of the proposed expansion?

Proposed Uncle Sam Parking Garage expansion schematics

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Wednesday, September 29, 2010

'Paint-by-numbers' mural going up Saturday

All are invited to the Taylor Community Block Party this Saturday from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. under the bridge in downtown Troy. At the party, members of the Alley Action Project, joined by any others who are interested, will paint a 10-foot by 75-foot mural completed "paint-by-numbers"-style.

Food and entertainment will also be provided by the Taylor Apartments Tenant Association. Young children must be accompanied by adults.

Taylor Mural Flyer

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Riverfront Park redevelopment presentation online

Information presented by W Architecture at Riverfront Park redevelopment public hearing last week is now available online (.pdf file).

A third as-yet unscheduled meeting will be held to develop a final master plan, at which point the focus will then shift to identifying one area where the $2 million in secured funding can be put to use.

The presentation is also embedded below:

River Front Park Plan 2

Here is an article about the meeting on the Troy Record website.

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Finance Committee meeting leftovers

Last Thursday's City Council Finance Committee meeting was fairly eventful, with controversy over the demolition of the former City Hall site and changes to the city's curfew law getting the most attention. Here are some other issues that were discussed:

Property value certiorari proceedings
Once every month or so, there is an ordinance approving the settlement of certiorari proceedings over challenged property values. This month, there are five on the agenda.

City Assessor Tina Dimitradis and Corporation Counsel Charles Sarris have both said that, when property owners challenge the assessed value of their home or business, the Assessor's Office lacks up-to-date data to properly defend itself, resulting in these settlements. All of the settlements result in a reduced property value assessment for the challenger, meaning their taxes will also be reduced.

Dimitradis has said that there have been 59 certiorari proceedings this year to date, and 13 proceedings through small claims court. According to Dimitriadis, the city could lose $175,000 in property taxes if all certioraris are lost.

At Thursday's meeting, Sarris said he believes the certiorari proceedings regarding property values will be reduced after the city-wide reassessment -- or the city will at least have a fighting chance against them, instead of having to settle.

"Mini-dorms" moratorium
An ordinance is on the table to once again extend the moratorium regarding "the subdivision of residential structures; the conversion of garages, carriage houses or secondary structures to residential units; [and/or] the increase in the number of bedrooms in an existing residential unit" for an additional six months.

The moratorium would be in effect from September 30, 2010 through March 31, 2011. The ordinance was originally drafted by Councilman Ken Zalewski, D-District 5, in 2008 as a way to prevent absentee landlords from subdividing houses into multiple apartments, particularly those rented to college students.

The moratorium survived a veto and an Article 78 lawsuit and continues to be extended every six months while "issues surrounding the need for this moratorium are studied and permanent changes are made to Chapter 285," according to the legislation.

Hudson River/Champlain Canal Dredging
According to Sarris, New York State has requested that Troy vote on a resolution in support of navigational dredging of the river and canal, official recommending that "it is appropriate and cost-effective to the citizens of New York State to address Hudson River/Champlain Canal navigational dredging needs which are identified in certain areas within the proposed federal PCB remediation action concurrently with said remediation action to assure the timely restoration of safe boat navigation on the upper Hudson River area."

Whew. Sarris said he wasn't sure why NYS requested the resolution, other than a symbolic gesture that municipalities are on board.

Also: The owners of Tire Warehouse on River Street want to purchase a parcel of city-owned property across the street for $55,000 and some apparently routine budget transfers within the Water and Sewer Funds have been proposed.

The next regular City Council meeting will take place on Thursday, October 7.

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Thursday, September 23, 2010

Dunne and Zalewski to Mayor: Withdraw Paladino Endorsement

Update: Dunne sent out a corrected version of the press release, which now appears below. Also, Zalewski confirmed that he is in fact kzalewski on The Record's website.

Two members of the Troy City Council want Mayor Harry Tutunjian to withdraw his endorsement of Carl Paladino, the Republican candidate for Governor. Tutunjian announced his endorsement on September 12 in Troy, just days before the primaries, saying that Paladino is the person to "take the burden from taxpayers".

Now, Bill Dunne, D-District 4, and Ken Zalewski, D-District 5, have issued a press release calling for Tutunjian to retract the endorsement because of "countless bigoted and sexually perverse" e-mail forwarded by Paladino earlier this year before announcing his candidacy. The e-mails have a been a recurring source of criticism for the Gubernatorial candidate, who has apologized for them. Just last week members of the NAACP and other minority groups held a protest regarding the e-mails.

"In his recent endorsement speech, Mayor Harry Tutunjian described Mr. Paladino as someone we can relate to," said Dunne in the release. "Personally, I can related to him and I'd love to know exactly what the Mayor means by this. Does he share Mr. Paladino's off-putting sense of humor? I, for one, don't find racism to be funny."

Zalewski continues the theme of whether or not Paladino is relatable, focusing on his personal wealth, his affair, and 31 years as a registered Democratic as examples of Paladino being "the dictionary definition of hypocrisy."

Commenter kzalewski, reasonably believed to be Zalewski himself, made multiple comments regarding the endorsement on the above-linked article that contain links to the e-mails and similar language to the press release.

The full press release is below:

Members of the Troy City Council are calling upon Mayor Harry Tutunjian to withdraw his endorsement of Republican gubernatorial candidate Carl Paladino, after it was revealed that Mr. Paladino enjoyed and forwarded countless bigoted and sexually perverse e-mails. In addition, Mr. Paladino laughed at offended responders, claiming the overtly racist e-mails were “funny”.

“In his recent endorsement speech, Mayor Harry Tutunjian described Mr. Paladino as someone we can relate to. Personally, I can't relate to him and I'd love to know exactly what the Mayor means by this. Does he share Mr. Paladino's off-putting sense of humor? I, for one, don't find racism to be funny,” stated Councilman Bill Dunne(Democrat - District 4).

“Troy's citizens do not relate to a multi-millionaire who pretends to be 'one of them'. We do not relate to a hypocrite who criticized Governor Paterson for having an affair, when it turns out that he had his own affair. We do not relate to a "pay-to-play" government insider who made millions by buying out politicians, and who now wants to cast himself as an outsider and reformer,” commented Councilman Ken Zalewski (Democrat - District 5). “Mr. Paladino is the dictionary definition of hypocrisy, and his campaign is divisive and dishonest.”

Zalewski also noted that Tutunjian used the Uncle Sam parade as a vehicle to give Paladino a platform, then had to back-pedal when Paladino showed his true colors. “It wasn't enough that the Mayor politicized the Uncle Sam parade by endorsing this individual,” said Zalewski. “He then had to cover up for Paladino‟s extremist remarks.”

“We are at as sad a point in this country as I can remember. At a time when we should be coming together to build consensus and solve problems, candidates like Carl Paladino are playing on peoples worst fears, dividing Americans along socio-economic lines. There is nothing 'maverick' about this. This is right out of the playbook of Republican strategist Karl Rove and Bush era political divisiveness,” continued Dunne.

“Councilman Dunne and I call on Mayor Tutunjian to disavow Republican gubernatorial candidate Carl Paladino and his racist, sexist, and anti-Semitic comments,” stated Zalewski. “Troy is a city of working class people who reject the politics of division and who can easily see through Paladino's veneer of righteous indignation: He is not a change agent – he is part of the problem – a government insider who exploited the system to build his massive fortune.”

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Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Constitution Week

Mayor Harry Tutunjian issued a proclamation last week naming September 17 - 23 "Constitution Week", following in suit with Public Law 915 and Constitution Week across the nation.

As part of Constitution Week, Tutunjian urges "all citizens to reaffirm the ideals the framers of the Constitution had in 1787 by protecting the freedoms granted to us by this document."

In a ceremony that looks to have taken place in his office, Tutunjian was joined by members of the Daughters of the American Revolution in issuing the proclamation.

Photos are available via the Troy, N.Y. Facebook page (you don't have to be logged in/a member)


Whereas, The Constitution of the United States of America remains the guardian of our liberties as it embodies the principles of limited government; and

Whereas, this year marks the two hundred twenty third anniversary of the framing of the Constitution of the United States of America by the Constitutional Convention; and

Whereas, it is fitting and proper to afford official recognition to this magnificent document and reflect on the privileges it bestowson all citizens; and

Whereas, Public Law 915 guarantees the issuing of a proclamation each year by the President of the United States of America designating September 17th through 23rd as Constitution Week.

Now, Therefore, I, the Honorable Harry J. Tutunjian, by virtue of the authority vested in me as Mayor of the City of Troy, County of Rensselaer, in the State of New York do hereby proclaim the week of September 17th through 23rd as “CONSTITUTION WEEK” in the City of Troy and urge all citizens to reaffirm the ideals the framers of the Constitution had in 1787 by protecting the freedoms granted to us by this document.

In Witness, Whereof, I have set my hand and caused the seal of the City of Troy to be affixed this sixteenth day of September in the year two thousand and ten.

Hon. Harry J. Tutunjian

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Negative declaration for Euclid Ave. development approved

At a special meeting of the Planning Board last night, the conditioned negative declaration for the proposed development of high-end residential subdivision on Euclid Avenue, according to Sondra Little.

It is unclear if any changes were made to the conditioned negative declaration, which contained several mitigation measures as outlined in this August 28 article:

The negative declaration was the last step in the nearly three-year State Environmental Quality Review process. The development raised a number of concerns for area residents, resulting in the mitigation measures required of the developer.

More details will be posted as they become available.