GREENBURGH, N.Y. — The Greenburgh Town Board is now considering selling, rather than leasing, the Frank's Nursery property to Game On 365 to avoid a lawsuit challenging the lease's conditions.
While two-thirds of Greenburgh residents supported leasing the Dobbs Ferry Road site to Game On in a Nov. 6 referendum, several Greenburgh civic association leaders and residents filed a lawsuit in October contesting the lease . They said the lease violated several laws, including the Westchester County tax code and state real property law, the state Environmental Quality Review Act and the Finneran law.
Greenburgh Supervisor Paul Feiner said the board has not agreed on a selling price yet, but that Game On has agreed to pay more than the $1.5 million promised by the next highest bidder during the RFP process. Game On would also be responsible for environmental costs to clear the property of found carcinogens.
By state law, the Town Board does not have to put the sale of a property on a referendum as it did for the lease in November, Feiner said.
"Another referendum would cost money and wouldn't get as big a turnout as it did on Election Day," Feiner said. "I have a pretty good idea from the voters that they really want the sports complex. I feel it would pass by the same margin."
Local attorney Bob Bernstein said selling the property would undercut the lawsuit, which cited county law requiring foreclosed property to be sold and the Finneran Law, which deals with taxpayer-funded property.
However, Game On will still have to apply for zoning changes for the site, which is in a single-family residential zone. The lawsuit also mentions a flawed RFP process, and Bernstein would like to see the Town Board hold a public auction for the property.
"If Game On is the highest bidder, so be it," Bernstein said. "That way, taxpayers are ensured they're getting the best price the property would draw with all available information."
Feiner said he expects to have a resolution expressing the Town Board's intent to sell the property to Game On by January and a final sale of the property in February.
Game On 365 Project Manager Martin Hewitt said in a statement that the sale will benefit the town because the taxpayers would no longer have ongoing tax obligations, including payments for environmental remediation.
"Game On 365 is proud to collaborate on a solution with the Town of Greenburgh that eliminates a scenario where the property sits unoccupied through a long and unnecessary lawsuit," Hewitt said in the statement.
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