1. What is Matinecock Court?
Matinecock Court Housing Development Fund Corporation is an organization involved in the development of economically accessible housing. Its mission is to create, maintain and operate the 146-unit housing development Matinecock Court, to be built in the 14.5 acre parcel at the corner of Elwood Rd and Pulaski Rd in East Northport.
2. What is Housing Help, Inc.?
Founded in 1966 and based in Greenlawn, Housing Help Inc. is a not-for-profit organization helping families access safe and decent affordable housing, and develop the financial skills necessary to maintain their home. Housing Help Inc. provides one-on-one counseling and hosts seminars and workshops to assist with financial, debt and credit management, tenant resources, first-time home buying, foreclosure prevention and management, senior housing and taxes, and student loan debt.
3. What does the Federal Fair Housing Settlement Agreement between the Town of Huntington and Housing Help, Inc. involve?
Entered in 2000, the Settlement Agreement called for the construction of 155 units of affordable housing, a community center, a sewage treatment plant and appropriate parking. Currently, the number of units has dropped to 146 including 70 units of rental housing and 76 Condominium units affordable to households making between $47,000 and $95,000 a year. In addition, due to new Suffolk County Health Dept. guidelines, the size of the Sewage Treatment Plant will decrease by 25% while maintaining the same capacity.
4. When is Matinecock Court breaking ground and how long will it take?
We expect to commence construction in June of 2022 and will take about two more years to complete.
5. Why has it taken so long for construction to begin?
Throughout Matinecock Court’s long-standing history, our goal has always been to design and build a high quality development that is cost effective and provides safe housing that is economically accessible. After the initial delays due to our legal challenges, the plans required changes in design, schedule and permits which delayed financing which also increased costs and extended delays. We are happy to be back on course and look forward to our groundbreaking in 2022 and getting closer to accomplishing our goal.
6. What is a Residential Cooperative and how does it differ from a traditional Co-op?
In a Residential Cooperative, the residents become owners and shareholders in a cooperative corporation. All of the financing is contained in an underlying mortgage so shareholders are able to buy-in with low down-payments. As with traditional cooperatives, shareholders accrue equity which they receive at the time they sell and depart. The cooperative board determines, based on prior year’s performance, what the annual shareholder allocation of equity will be. That equity can be used by the homeowner for any purpose including the purchase of another home.
7. Why is the development changing from rental/condominium to Residential Cooperative?
The Residential Cooperative approach makes financing more accessible to build, manage and operate the development. We also believe this approach is more in sync with the current home ownership trends and will make it accessible to a broader range of households. In addition, it acts as a launching platform to future home ownership.
8. How does the community benefit from changing the structure of the development to a Residential Cooperative? What will the tax contribution be?
This structure will eliminate the need for an IDA1 Payment in Lieu of Taxes (PILOT) because there will no longer be rental units. In order to ensure ongoing compliance with affordability requirements and a predictable level of operating expenses in the development, the proposal calls for property taxes to be determined based on Article 11 of the New York State Private Housing Finance Law which allows a municipality, in this case the Town of Huntington, to approve a predefined property tax schedule for developments that are defined as affordable. The proposed first year taxes will be at least 225% higher than what is currently being paid on the property. Each year taxes will increase by the lesser of 2% or the percentage of increase in the Nassau/Suffolk County median income.
(1 Industrial development agencies and authorities (IDAs) are established under the General Municipal Law and the Public Authorities Law to foster economic development in specific localities. They are public benefit corporations and are generally exempt from sales and use taxes (sales tax) on their purchases)
9. Are there other examples of a similar Residential Cooperatives in Long Island?
An example of this type of cooperative is already in existence in Melville in a development known as Highland Green at 1 Strathmore Way on Ruland Road. This gated 117-unit property developed with the Long Island Housing Partnership has been in existence for five years and has been extremely successful.
10. Will it increase the student population in the Northport/East Northport School District?
Stony Brook University School of Business (2020) and the Long Island Regional Planning Council (2021) conducted recent studies of multi-family developments and their impact on schools and concluded that the number of students was significantly less than anticipated. For example, of the 117 units in Highland Green on Ruland Rd, only 20 students are attending the Half Hollow Hills SD, which includes a number of students who were already enrolled. The studies also concluded that the revenue the town and schools generated exceeded the cost of additional students that were added to the district. (https://lirpc.org/wp-content/uploads/2021/03/Long-Island-Multifamily-Impacts-Final-3.11.21.pdf)
11. If the new proposed structure is not approved by the Town, what will happen to the development?
The development will proceed under its current structure on June 2022 as per the current settlement agreement.
12. What type of building will it be? How many bedrooms are the units?
Matinecock Court will be a gated community with 17 two-story buildings housing 146 residential units of which 18 are one-bedroom, 89 are two-bedroom, 38 are three-bedroom and 2-bedroom unit for the superintendent. As part of an arrangement with the State of New York, six units are slated for residents with developmental disabilities and we are working with the State to ensure this remains with the proposed new structure. In addition, the development will include a community building, appropriate parking and a sewage treatment plant.
13. How is this funded?
The development will be funded with a combination of New York State tax credits, bonds, low-interest loans through Suffolk County and private equity.
14. What will the impact be to the traffic in the area? Will it increase traffic?
All necessary reviews were conducted and approved by the Town of Huntington prior to the issuance of the site plan approval by the Town.
15. How will this impact the environment in the area?
The development is designed with a sewage treatment plant approved by Suffolk County, and its community and building design comply with the Town’s storm water management code.
16. How will this impact home values in the area?
In our experience, gated communities add value to the immediate community in the long term.
17. Who can apply? How much must an applicant make to be eligible?
Households with an annual income between $47,000 and $95,000 and will include an asset and credit check as required by Federal and State law.
18. What is the application process? Who gets to decide?
Residents will be chosen from a group of qualifying applicants via lottery. The qualifying process will involve a combination of independent and government agencies in addition to Housing Help Inc.
19. When will the application process begin?
We expect to break ground in June 2022 and complete construction in about two years. As we get closer to completion we will announce the start date.
20. Are sublets allowed?
Sublets are strictly prohibited under the rules of the offering plan.
21. Will there be more updates?
Yes. As plans progress we will continue to provide updates in meetings similar to this.
22. Who may I contact with questions?
You may submit your questions to MCBoard@housinghelpinc.org.
23. How will Matinecock Court grant residents the opportunity to build equity?
The residents at Matinecock Court will be able to accrue equity through an allocation of annual surpluses that the Cooperative generates which is the net after income, expenses and the payment of debt. The allocated surplus will accrue to each of the residents (Cooperative shareholder) accounts until such time as they move out. At that time, provided that they are in good standing and not owing maintenance, they will receive the accrued equity. In the early years that amount will be lower but after seven to ten years, the amount is expected to be in excess of $2,000 per unit per year.