Where is the analysis of a Village of Edgemont's legals rights to the Hartsdale Public Parking District?
Is there a summary of the legal analysis memo?
Click here for an explanation of the Duane Morris memo by Emily Gold Waldman, who is an Edgemont resident and a law professor at the Elisabeth Haub School of Law at Pace University
What is the Hartsdale Public Parking District?
The Hartsdale Public Parking District ("HPPD"), located within the Town of Greenburgh, was created as a special district by a resolution of the Town Board and a 1950 Act (as amended in 1952) of the New York State legislature. Pursuant to that enabling legislation, HPPD “shall be deemed a parking district organized and created under the provisions of Article 12 of the Town Law.”
Article 12 of the Town Law governs the establishment and operation special districts (aka “special improvement districts”). HPPD is a distinct legal entity, with an existence separate and apart from the Town.
What does the HPPD do and what does it own? How is it funded?
HPPD owns and operates six separate parking facilities, five of which are near the Hartsdale Metro-North train station. Commuter parking, permitted both quarterly and annually, is available for Sites “A”, “D”, “E” and “F”, and hourly metered parking is available to the public at Sites “A”, “B”, “C” and “D”.
|Site||Short Description||Longer Description||Permits?||Meters?|
|Site A||Shopping structure||Five level parking structure located off E. Hartsdale Avenue behind Rite Aid Pharmacy.||Yes||Yes|
|Site B||Northbound pickup meters||Open parking lot located off Fenimore Road on the Northbound side of the railroad tracks.||No||Yes|
|Site C||Central Avenue meters||Open parking lot located off Central Avenue behind IHOP restaurant. Access from Central Avenue & East Hartsdale Avenue (non-train station parking).||No||Yes|
|Site D||Bronx River Pkwy.||Parking lot between railroad tracks and south-bound entrance to Bronx River Pkwy.||Yes||Yes|
|Site E||Pipeline Road||Located off E. Hartsdale Avenue. Runs from Station Plaza along south-bound railroad track.||Yes||No|
|Site F||Station structure||Six level parking structure located north of Starbucks on south-bound railroad track..||Yes||No|
See below for an aerial view of the commuter sites.
The HPPD derives its revenues from commuter parking permit fees, meter parking collections, rental income from cell towers, and other sources. No HPPD revenues are derived from Town of Greenburgh tax revenues or parking violation fines, and HPPD does not receive any services from the Town.
Which of the Parking District’s facilities are situated in Edgemont? Why does it matter?
All the Bronx River Parkway spaces in Site “D”, and most (approximately 75%) of the Pipeline Road parking spaces in Site “E”, are located within the proposed boundaries of the Village of Edgemont. The HPPD's income-producing cell towers are also physically within Edgemont’s borders.
In this regard, Edgemont is different from the existing six incorporated villages in the Town, as Edgemont would be the only village with overlapping boundaries and common territory with the Parking District. This fact is important because Town Law § 190, which authorizes the creation of special districts, expressly states that “[n]o such district shall be established or extended in a city or in an incorporated village” absent the express consent of the village. In other words, if Edgemont incorporates, the HPPD shall have no legal right to continue providing service within Edgemont (after the transition period). This provision affords the village considerable leverage.
Nonetheless, village laws provide that Edgemont would have the option (but not the obligation) to continue to receive services from the HPPD, a possibility that is discussed further below.
So, what happens to Edgemont’s parking access upon incorporation?
Currently, the Parking District grants priority commuter parking access to residents of the unincorporated areas of Greenburgh, which includes Edgemont. Some residents have expressed concern that, if Edgemont were to incorporate, our newfound village status diminish our rights with respect to Parking District spaces.
Fortunately, New York State case law—supported by certain statutory provisions—provides that real and personal property belonging to special districts within the borders of a newly incorporated village (in this case the physical real estate parcels of sites “D” and “E” in the case of Edgemont) becomes the real and personal property of the incorporating village. As previously noted, an incorporated Edgemont would be the only village in Greenburgh where this would apply (because Edgemont would be the only village with common territory with the Parking District).
In a similar vein, the real estate, all of the property, cash, and debt of the Greenville Fire District (also a special district under § 190 of Article 12 of Town Law) would be apportioned to the village upon incorporation. Since the incorporation petition used the same boundaries as the Fire District, the Fire District becomes a department of the village, and the property and debt of the district is transferred to the village.
Does that automatically mean Edgemont will only be able to park in Sites “D” and “E” and not the northern Sites “B” and “F”?
No. To avoid relinquishing important revenue-producing assets, the HPPD could negotiate with Edgemont to maintain the status quo under which both Village of Edgemont and unincorporated Greenburgh commuters retain access to all parking lots near the Hartsdale Metro-North station. This could be accomplished through any number of legal arrangements, including easements and tolling agreements, that would include guarantees that Edgemont residents would always have equal priority with all unincorporated Town residents.
Importantly, arrangements to maintain the status quo would also benefit Hartsdale residents, residents of the unincorporated section of the Ardsley School District, and other non-Edgemont commuters by maintaining their ability to park in desirable spots located within Edgemont’s boundaries.
In any event, all daily metered spaces in all HPPD sites are available to any commuter with a valid automobile registration without regard to residency.
If the Parking District is unwilling to negotiate with the Village to maintain Edgemont’s current access priority, and thus Sites “D” and “E” are in fact apportioned to Edgemont, how much would that cost? Would the Village be entitled to any offsetting revenue?
Applicable State law requires that incorporating villages only assume the proportionate debt obligations of any special districts that overlap their geographical territory. In our earlier example, the Greenville Fire District overlaps the proposed Village of Edgemont by 100% (since their metes and bounds are identical). Therefore, the village would be responsible for 100% of any outstanding debt obligations of the Fire District and the debt service payable thereon.
Since only a portion of the HPPD is situated within the geographical boundaries of the village, the village would be responsible for only a portion of the indebtedness incurred by, or for, the Parking District during the period that Edgemont was part of the Parking District—and only if the status quo is not maintained. The apportionment of those payments would be based on the relative assessed valuation of the real and personal property of the Parking District within the Village compared to that outside the Village.
While the relative assessed valuation of properties in the HPPD is not tracked by the Town and therefore is unknown, the HPPD’s debt service obligations to the Town is known and fixed: $450,000 annually through and including 2026. Therefore, if the village represents 50% of the HPPD valuation, then the village would owe 50% x $450,000 = $225,000. In no instance would the village’s owe more than its proportionate share of the debt payments, which themselves expire in 2026. Further, the village would have no additional financial obligations to the HPPD beyond its share of the debt payments.
If Sites “D” and “E” are apportioned to the village, then the village would be entitled to parking permit revenue and rental income from the cell towers, which together are projected to exceed $300,000.
However, if the status quo is maintained as described in the preceding section, the HPPD would retain all revenue and debt expense, and the village government itself would have no ongoing obligations.
If the sites in Edgemont are in fact apportioned to the village, will we have enough capacity to meet Edgemont demand?
Based on the most recent information provided to the EIC by the HPPD for year-to-date 2017, Edgemont residents currently account for approximately thirty-eight percent (38%) of the commuter parking permits issued by the HPPD. Further, the aggregate number of potential commuter parking spaces within the village coincidentally also represent approximately thirty-eight percent (38%) of the total commuter permitted spots within the HPPD.
Thus, if Sites “D” and “E” were apportioned to Edgemont, the new village government would have sufficient parking capacity. Further, based upon a proposal to the EIC by Propark America, the village could increase the capacity of Site "D" by 15% through the implementation of valet service in a manner similar to the operation at the Scarsdale Freightway site.
Is there anything in the land records that would prohibit the transfer of Sites “D” and “E” to the Village?
No. The EIC and its attorneys have reviewed the records and there are no deed restrictions, easements or reversionary rights relating to Sites “D” and “E” that would prohibit their transfer to the village. Further, there are no restrictions precluding the reconfiguration of Sites “D” and “E”. Therefore, if those sites were apportioned to the village, Edgemont’s Board of Trustees would (for example) have the authority to convert the daily metered spaces in Site “D” into quarterly/annual permitted spaces; establish a valet service similar to Scarsdale’s; or take any other actions to maximize benefits for Edgemont commuters.
There is also nothing in the land records of Site “F” precluding the Parking District from reconfiguring the mix of permitted and metered spaces in that location, should the Board of Commissioners deem it advisable or necessary to do so.
Bottom line: will an incorporated Edgemont have sufficient parking at the Hartsdale Metro-North Station?
Yes. New York State provide that special districts may not operate within incorporated villages without village consent. They further provide for the apportionment of special district assets and liabilities to ensure that incorporation does not penalize special district service users residing in the territory of newly incorporated villages.
Residents of a Village of Edgemont will have legal rights to sufficient parking spaces at the Hartsdale Metro-North train station, in perpetuity, irrespective of any policy decisions of the Town or HPPD.