Village Plows Ahead With Hiring A Consultant On Dissolution
By Tina Traster
Nyack College has submitted a letter to the New York State Attorney General’s Charities Bureau seeking approval for the sale of the college campus. Nonprofit organizations are required to show the AG’s office a fair market transaction is taking place.
No closing date has been set for the campus. The sale cannot take place unless approved by either the Attorney General or the New York State Supreme Court.
The Attorney General’s role is to determine that the terms of the transaction are “fair and reasonable.” The Attorney General will generally reject the petition if it is not supported by an appraisal done within the past twelve months and by a party that’s independent of both the buyer and seller.
Because this transaction may include the development of real property, the Attorney General could reject the sale unless the appraised value represents unused development rights and the maximum development potential for the property.
Additionally, the Attorney General could refer the matter to the court if it determines the “transaction is unusually complex or will have an impact on the public.”
Given that residents are petitioning to dissolve the Village of South Nyack, there is a clear public impact. Citizens can also voice their concerns to the Attorney General’s office regarding this transaction.
Last month, Village Attorney James Birnbaum confirmed in an email to Vizhnitz counsel Joseph Churgin that the congregation has contracted to purchase the campus to operate as a religious school for 250 college students, 250 high school aged students, plus an unspecified number of faculty, staff and family members to live on campus.
There has been a great deal of secrecy around the prospective buyer or buyers of Nyack College but sources have told RCBJ that Rockland County for-profit developers Berel Karniol and Gabe Alexander are involved in the purchase and hope to redevelop the campus for market-rate housing. The deal, believed to be around $45 million, may involve both entities and it is unclear how the two interests would coalesce.
Meanwhile, the Village of South Nyack is pressing ahead to respond to a petition filed by a group of citizens to dissolve the Village to lower taxes and pool resources. On Monday, the board unanimously voted to hire consultant CRG to give residents the “facts and figures” entailed in a village dissolution, according to Mayor Bonnie Christian.
Efforts to fold the village into the Town of Orangetown are a response to the pending sale of the college, presumably to a yeshiva. The petition seeking dissolution of the Village, which had slightly more than the required number of signatures, was certified by the Village Clerk on August 24th. The Village has 30 days to set a date for the referendum to be voted on. To appear on the Nov. 3rd ballot, the board would have to vote by Thursday, Sept 3rd.
As that is unlikely, the referendum will have to be held in a special election 60 to 90 days after the Village board takes a vote.