In August of 2011, developer Mark Steiner got several zoning regulations changed in the district that covers Seaside Sanitarium. At that time, he said he should have plans for Seaside in to the town by the end of August 2012, at the latest.
Now, it is February of 2013, and there is still no plan before the Waterford Planning and Zoning Commission. Steiner had a pre-application meeting this past summer where he discussed rebuilding the existing buildings into 50 high-end condos and constructing 72 single-family homes on the property, but hasn’t talked with the town’s planning staff since.
And now, Gov. Dannel Malloy is funding the state gives the town each year. While First Selectman Dan Steward correctly points out more state funding in other areas will balance out the difference, it also means that if Steiner does buy the property the town will have more to gain financially.
There are many obstacles facing Steiner. Below, we detail each one, and give further detail on the potential of lost PILOT funding and why he has yet to buy the property.
Kathleen and Alan Jacques, two neighbors of Seaside who have opposed Steiner’s vision for the property, have filed a lawsuit appealing a decision by the Planning and Zoning Commission to change some of the regulations in the zoning district in 2011. That lawsuit is still ongoing.
If the Jacques win that lawsuit, the zoning regulations at Seaside will change and it will impact what is allowed in that zone.
Steiner’s Pre-Application Meeting
This summer, Steiner met with the Planning and Zoning Commission to discuss his vision for the property in a pre-application meeting. There, he outlined his hopes to rebuild the existing buildings into 50 high-end condos along with constructing approximately 72 single-family homes on the property.
Wednesday, Waterford Planning Director Tom Wagner said Steiner would need to change the zoning regulations in the district to allow for that proposal. Wagner said he has heard nothing from Steiner since that meeting.
Alleged Steiner Financial Issues
In the past few years, court records show a bank began the foreclosure process on Steiner’s home and several other companies took him to court over unpaid bills. However, court records show those cases have been settled in November of 2012.
Why Steiner Hasn’t Bought the Property Yet
In May of 2011, the state reached a tentative agreement to sell Seaside to Steiner for $8 million. However, the state has not yet sold the property to Steiner because the sale is contingent on Steiner getting town approval on his buildings plans, according to a previous interview with Jeffrey Beckham, the Director of Communications for the Connecticut Department of Administrative Services.
The state paid Waterford $373,493 in PILOT funds this year for the property. Now, Malloy is proposing to cut that funding, while increasing state funding in other areas to Waterford so the overall state aid to the town stays flat.
If approved, it means the town will be collecting no money from the parcel. If Steiner buys the property, the town will begin to collect property taxes from him.
According to Waterford Assessor’s online database, Seaside has an assessed value of $33,989,030. At the current mill rate of 19.77, the town would have collected $671,962.53 in taxes this year from the property as it sits today. If it was developed and the value increased, so would that figure.
A Tuesday voicemail to Steiner from Patch was not returned.