Missing: A 38 Carat Diamond Necklace , $1,000 and Luggage
- Category: Today's News
- Published on 29 July 2015
- Written by Traci Dutton Ludwig
Stolen: A Church Lane man reported someone removed his briefcase, computer and a suitcase containing clothing from his side porch July 24.
On July 24, while shopping, a woman lost her wallet in Deciccio's Marketplace on East Parkway. Later, the wallet was found in a shopping cart by an employee, but the cash – $1,000 – was missing.
The owner of Wilson and Son Jewelers on Chase Road reported that a necklace, formerly housed in a showcase, has been missing since November 12, 2014. The necklace was described as an 18-karat white gold and diamond opera necklace, containing 224 diamonds totaling 38.27 carats. It was valued at $58,400. The owner said he was not sure if the necklace had been misplaced or if it had been stolen.
Several unlocked cars were entered and rummaged through on Madison Road overnight July 26. One resident reported a few dollars in loose change had been stolen from his car. Another resident reported his red wallet had been stolen out of his car. The wallet was found on the street in front of a driveway, but $110 cash was missing from it.
On July 20, a dog walker from Pets-a Go-Go accidentally went inside the wrong Foxhall Road house looking for a dog to walk. The homeowner said the dog walker must be mistaken and asked her to leave. The dog walker left through the same side door through which she entered. The homeowner and police followed up with the dog walking company. A company representative apologized and said the dog walker was a substitute and made a mistake. The representative said the company changed their policies to avoid future similar incidents. Going forward, if a client's key does not work, the dog walker is required to call the company for the purpose of contacting the dog owner. Dog walkers are no longer authorized to try to open a door if the key does not work.
Locked in at the Scarsdale Pool:
At 8:15 p.m., July 23, police received a call about a person locked inside the Scarsdale Pool Complex. On scene, police were greeted by several lifeguards outside the pool gates. A woman, from Rectory Lane, was inside the pool complex and could not get out. She said she had been drying her hair in the lock room and had not heard the announcement that the pool complex was closing. Police unlocked the gate door, and the woman was able to safely leave the pool complex.
On July 21, an Aspen Road woman reported someone used her Social Security number and an old email address to open an online account with the Social Security administration. The woman notified the Social Security administration that the account was fraudulent.
On July 22, a Circle Road man reported someone filed a fraudulent tax return in his name. He learned about it after receiving a letter from the IRS. Additionally, the man learned that someone called Chase Bank attempting to get information about the balances in his accounts, the man said.
A 3-hour parking sign was pulled out of the ground on Stonehouse Road near the pathway to the Wayside Lane tennis courts. A passerby found the sign on July 20 and notified police. Patrol gave the sign to the highway department for replacement.
On July 21, a driver complained about a bent street sign sticking out into the road, causing a hazard. Patrol straightened the pole of the sign so it was no longer protruding into the roadway. Patrol left a notification for the highway department.
On July 25, a passerby reported a stop sign had been turned to face the wrong direction at the intersection of Greenacres Avenue and Kingston Road. Police turned the stop sign around to face the proper direction.
While on routine street patrol, police noticed an illuminated tactical style flashlight in front of a Ferncliff Road house around 2 a.m., July 21. Due to the hour ad the rash of recent larcenies in the village, police found the flashlight's presence to be disturbing. They vouchered the flashlight as possible evidence
A Bell Road resident asked highway workers to remove their wood chipping machinery from in front of her house July 21. Before police arrived to mediate the discussion, the problem had been rectified.
A man locked his bicycle to a bike rack at Depot Place, took a train into the city and returned with the key to the bicycle lock July 21. He showed police his driver's license and a receipt of purchase for the bike. He asked police to cut off the lock so he could remove his bike and ride it home. Police were helpful.
Wrong way driver:
Westchester County police asked patrol to help them find and stop a driver who was reportedly driving the wrong way on the Bronx River Parkway near the Fenimore Road exit July 24. After looking for the driver for approximately 10 minutes, the driver was not found. It is possible the driver exited the parkway or turned his or her car around to drive in the correct direction.
A Boulevard woman was awake in her bedroom at 3 a.m., July 24, and thought she heard a person sneeze outside her window. She called police, and patrol canvassed the perimeter of her house and the surrounding area. Patrol did not find any suspicious individuals or any signs of criminality.
Man in the trees:
A concerned citizen reported a man standing in the tree line at Greenacres playground while children were playing July 24. Police questioned the man who was dressed in a security guard's uniform. He provided a license and stated he was hired by the board of education to monitor the playground for safety.
Police checked the welfare of a 12-year-old Heathcote girl after the girl's father was found intoxicated in New Rochelle and taken to White Plains Hospital Center at 5:30 p.m., July 24. The girl said she was fine and did not need any assistance. She said her mother had been informed of the incident with her father, and her mother was on her way home.
At 7:15 p.m., July 24, Ross Road son called police to report his mother had been missing since 6 p.m. the previous day. While police were on scene collecting pertinent information, the mother called her husband. He went to pick her up and notified police. The mother was safe, and no one in the family requested further assistance.
A customer and a Scarsdale Avenue gas station employee were arguing over whether the customer's credit card had been charged $40 even though customer did not received any gas shortly after midnight, July 25. The gas station employee said the gas pumps were turned off, and therefore it was impossible for the customer to be charged. Patrol advised the customer to follow up in civil court if a charge appears on his credit card statement.
A Rural Drive resident reported a shattered sliding glass door July 26. Upon investigation, police determined only the interior pane of a double paned glass door had been shattered. This indicated that the damage occurred from inside the house.
An Evon Court resident reported someone was "persistently ringing" his doorbell around 2 a.m., July 27. Police canvassed the area but did not find any signs of the ringer or of related mischief or criminality.
While patrolling the central village business district on July 20, the parking enforcement officer discovered a 2010 Toyota associated with a parking ticket scofflaw on East Parkway. Police confirmed the owner of the car – Jacqueline Leone – owed a balance of $380 in unpaid parking tickets. The car was towed and impounded by police.
Cars and roadways:
After a Brambach Road resident complained about a gray Honda Accord parked on the street "for three weeks, in violation of the 3-hour parking sign," patrol attempted to contact the owner on July 21. The owner was a resident of Brambach Road but was unable to be reached.
Police issued a parking summons to the driver of a car parked in front of a Drake Road resident's driveway July 21.
Police moved a large branch off of Hampton Road July 22. They left a note for the highway department to pick it up.
Police marked tires and issued two parking summonses to drivers of cars who parked in violation of a three hour parking restriction on Brambach Road July 22.
Police issued a summons to the driver of a car parked in front of a fire hydrant on Fairview Road July 23.
Police notified the highway department about a dangling tree branch on Oakwood Place and a loose wire on Huntington Avenue July 24.
Police removed fallen branches from Post Road July 25.
Seven car accidents were reported in the village this week.
At 7:30 p.m., July 22, neighbors complained of loud music coming from a Bradford Road house. Police informed the homeowner and asked him to lower the volume of the music.
Patrol saw approximately a dozen kids talking loudly and making noise in a Lincoln Road backyard at 11 p.m., July 22. The kids stopped and disappeared into a house when they saw patrol.
Police saw landscapers working in a Tompkins Road yard, with gas-powered leaf blowers on the ground near their truck July 22. Police spoke with the landscapers to educate them about village code regarding the proper use of blowers.
On July 23, police issued a summons to a window salesman soliciting without a permit on Fox Meadow Road.
Police advised a Sycamore Road resident of a noise compliant and advised the resident to lower the volume of his music July 25.
Police advised a Fox Meadow Road resident of a noise compliant and advised the resident to lower the volume of his music July 26.
On July 23, while attempting to take custody of a loose dog on Spier Road, a passerby told patrol that the dog possibly belonged to an Aspen Road resident. Patrol went to the possible owner's house, and the homeowner said she was, in fact, the owner of the dog. She claimed her dog and apologized that it had gotten out. Patrol cautioned the owner on village code regarding a dog at large.
On July 24, workers at a Carstensen Road job site reported a raccoon came out of a storm drain and tried to bite one of the workers. The raccoon ran away before police could investigate. No injuries were reported.
A Normandy Road resident reported a dead rabbit in the road July 25. Police arrived and observed a small rabbit carcass. At that time, the resident said she would prefer to bury the rabbit.
Lost and found:
A mother asked police to help find her son's car, which might have been stolen while the son was playing Frisbee on Edgewood School grounds July 20. While patrol was on scene, the young man checked Edgewood School parking lot again and found the car.
On July 20, a Cohawney Road woman reported losing two license plates last February.
A woman left a pink cosmetic bag at the Scarsdale pool complex July 24. The bag contained her pool pass, $36 cash and keys. She requested extra ridebys of her house because her keys were in the missing bag.
A man reported losing his wallet on Constitution Circle July 25. It contained credit cards, business cards and $100 cash.
Police referred a Woods Lane homeowner to the building department to help sort out a property line disagreement that the woman was having with a neighbor July 24.
Firefighters helped a driver get car keys out of a storm drain on Spencer Place July 20.
Firefighters traced the source of sewer odor in a Spier Road house to a slop sink with a clogged trap July 21.
Firefighters shut off the water supply to a broken water heater in a Horseguard Lane house and advised the homeowner to call for service July 22.
Firefighters shut gas and electricity to an oven that sparked in a Ridgecrest East house July 22. They advised the homeowner to call for service.
Firefighters determined the cause of an unusual odor in a Walworth Avenue house was a moth repellant cake in the basement July 23. Firefighter4s removed the moth repellant and gave it to the homeowner for disposal.
An odor in Chase Bank on East Parkway was found to be caused by fumes from a roof primer July 24.
This week, firefighters assisted at two car accidents in the village. They responded to one false carbon monoxide alarm and 20 false fire alarms caused by device malfunction, cooking smoke, construction dust, a plumber sweating pipes and heat from a hair dryer.
This report covering police and fire department information from July 20-28 was complied from official information.
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Chalking Gets Cliquey at Scarsdale High School
- Category: Schools
- Published on 28 July 2015
- Written by Zoe Frishberg
The Scarsdale High School class of 2016 government is considering changes to the long beloved tradition of senior class "chalking" after students were upset over the results last year. The class of 2015's chalking left many unhappy, prompting the government to discuss how to better execute the tradition.
The Scarsdale High School custom happens annually during the start of the school year. Seniors show up early in the morning to cover the Brewster road entrance with drawings, names and decorations. The excitement caused by chalking is felt every year when seniors join together as a class to beautify the school with colorful markings. Chalking is an opportunity for the senior class to bond and collaborate before beginning their last year together. Oftentimes groups of friends will draw designs together, usually choosing to name their group and draw the name on the sidewalk.
Last year, many felt the practice promoted cliques and exclusivity rather than unity. "The event promotes the existence of separate friend groups rather than a more united class," reported Sarah Weintraub, secretary of the class of 2016 government. The habit of designating, naming, and then publicly labeling groups of friends made many uncomfortable. "[Chalking] seems to invite exclusion and make for awkward attempts to define groups," remarked former class president of the class of 2015 Matt Mandel. "I feel like people without solidified groups felt uncomfortable," He continued. Aside from the pressure to design exclusive friend groups, many were put off by one friend group showing up in the early hours of the morning to claim a large central spot. "Some of the problems that have been brought up in the past have to do with one clique getting a 'better spot' or a more central spot while others can be made to feel less important," stated Weintraub. Many felt that the ability to claim the central spot for one friend group created an uncomfortable hierarchy within the senior class.
Because of discontent with last years chalking, the class of 2016 government has begun discussions to try and minimize the exclusivity for next year. "We definitely did not like the 'cliquey' feeling of last years chalking and want to address it for this year," reported Stephanie Strek, secretary of the class of 2016. "We may try to block off the center section of the school's sidewalk to create a piece that the entire class would work on together," continued Strek. Many feel the change would be welcome, helping to promote a united senior class instead of divided friend groups. "Chalking should be about coming together as a senior class," expressed Sami Meyers, an incoming SHS senior. The government hopes that creating this minor change in the tradition will make chalking a more positive experience for everyone. "We want to make chalking something that brings the class together," remarked Strek.
No official changes have been made yet, however, and the government is still discussing whether changes should be made to the tradition. "In terms of next year, we are planning on meeting at the end of the summer to discuss the possibility of changes," reported Strek. "We haven't made any final decisions yet but our ideas have been well-received," elaborated Weintraub. Many hope that the minor change will bring about a more inclusive environment. "Our goal is to potentially make chalking a fun event that helps to bring together the senior class," concluded Weintraub.
Builders Exploit Loophole to Maximize Home Size
- Category: Open Houses
- Published on 22 July 2015
- Written by Joanne Wallenstein
Are architects and builders using gravel driveways to increase lot coverage in Scarsdale? From a study commissioned by Scarsdale Village, it appears the answer is yes. An analysis of building applications in 2013-2014 shows that though only 10% of existing homes in Scarsdale have gravel driveways, 24.4% of new applications call for the use of gravel surfacing to maximize lot coverage. Since Village Code now treats gravel pervious for zoning purposes, applicants use gravel rather than impervious asphalt surfaces to allow for increased lot coverage and bigger homes. Furthermore, an inconsistency in current village code treats gravel as impermeable for storm water purposes, while defining it as permeable in the zoning code.
The March report finds that "An investigation of recent applications indicates that most building coverages in these applications range from 76% to 96% of the maximum allowable, and gravel surfacing is used to increase proposed lot area coverage from 100% to 140% of the maximum allowable." (Meaning lot coverage would be 140% if the gravel was considered as impervious.)
She said, "Lot coverage has expanded over time and has expanded beyond what was envisioned in the original code. This has a direct effect on community character, and reduces green space. As you walk down the street there is a perception that the amount of pavement and non-natural material is becoming larger and larger."
The consultant discussed a report that showed that most other local communities consider all driveways impervious, whether they are gravel or asphalt.
The Scarsdale Board of Trustees sought to address expanding lot coverage by passing a moratorium on building applications that use gravel surfaces to maximize lot coverage. The moratorium went into effect in February 2015 and was recently extended until October 2015 to give the BOT time to study the issue.
At a July 21 meeting of the Law and Land Use Committee of the Board of Trustees, the consultant, the village planner and the board discussed whether or not to move forward with passing a resolution to make the moratorium a permanent part of village code. The Planning Board held two work sessions and a public hearing on the proposed code change.
They discussed the fact that if the new law is passed, some existing homes with gravel driveways would no longer conform to Village Code. However, the consultants estimated that at most 25% of homes with gravel driveways would become non-conforming and could be grandfathered.
In a discussion about the proposed change, architect Bana Choura said, "There will be side effects in design. On wetlands there will be no room for driveways. It would be impossible to have a long driveway leading to a garage on the side and it would be difficult to have a "decent size" house.
Dan Steinberg from the Planning Board said, " Bana's comment reflects the knowledge that architects and developers have of this loophole that allows for larger houses. There is knowledge that we have this provision that we can exploit.
Her comment highlights the fact that we have this loophole."
The consultant said, "It's a balancing act. It will take architects and builders time to get used to it. It may mean that swimming pools get smaller – or it may mean that houses get smaller to accommodate outside features such as pools or tennis courts. One can always go back and increase and decrease."
Following the discussion, the committee voted unanimously to move it forward to schedule a public hearing on the proposed change.
Astorino Spars with U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara Over Progress of Fair and Affordable Housing Settlement
- Category: Shout it Out
- Published on 28 July 2015
- Written by Joanne Wallenstein
Though Westchester County appears to be complying with the terms of the 2009 Fair and Affordable Housing Settlement, the U.S. Attorney's Office says that Westchester is not doing enough.
According to the U.S Attorney Preet Bharara – who is a Westchester County resident himself – the County has not met their benchmarks. The settlement required that financing for 450 of the 750 affordable units be in place by the end of 2014. The County said that 454 units were funded but the Federal Monitor appointed to oversee the settlement claims that 28 of the 454 units have not been approved. These 28 units are to be built in New Castle at Chappaqua Station however the developer is facing opposition from residents there and has failed to receive the variances he needs to move forward. The U.S. Attorney says that the County should take legal action against the municipality to force approval for the project.
The proposed penalties for failing to break local zoning codes are steep. If the court rules in favor of the U.S. Attorney, Westchester County would pay $30,000 for January 2015 and $60,000 every month thereafter. Assistant U.S. Attorney David J. Kennedy also recommended that Westchester be forced to establish an escrow account of $1.65 million — $68,800 for each of the 24 units short of the benchmark. The county has already lost millions in community development block grants that were earmarked for Westchester but withheld as punishment by HUD.
At a press conference held in front of Hillary Clinton's home on Old House Lane in Chappaqua on July 24, Westchester County Executive Rob Astorino fought back. He warned that home rule, which gives localities the ability to pass laws to govern themselves as they see fit, is being threatened by an "overreaching federal government intent on socially re-engineering America's suburbs. " Astorino also noted that Chappaqua is home to NYS Governor Andrew Cuomo.
He said, "What's at stake is who controls the future of our towns, villages and cities across the nation – the people who actually live in them, or unelected bureaucrats operating out of cubicles in Washington," "What's new is that, if changes are not made, local control of your neighborhood is on the way out."
"The federal government's assault on our local communities in Westchester is dumbfounding, shocking, and counterproductive," said Astorino.
Astorino explained: "Here's how it works. HUD decides whether your neighborhood meets the quotas the agency believes represent the proper balance of race, income, education and other demographic features. If the zip code doesn't measure up, HUD then prescribes corrective measures, which essentially come down to running roughshod over local zoning so HUD can socially engineer the character of your community to bring it in line with its quotas."
Information Emerges About $570,000 in Contributions for the Scarsdale Community Center
- Category: The Goods
- Published on 22 July 2015
- Written by Joanne Wallenstein
Information about the funds for the proposed Scarsdale Community Center is coming to light. Prompted by an inquiry to Scarsdale10583 last week, Executive Board member and former Scarsdale Mayor Ed Morgan has sent Scarsdale10583 the following letter that explains the current status of the organization and the funds. See the letter below where he explains that there is a split among the Board between those who wish to liquidate the fund and return them to the contributors and Morgan who advocates continuing to pursue the project. In the letter he explains the history of the SCC, the impact of the recession and tax cap and his ideas for moving forward.
In addition, Morgan sent us the link to the SCC's financial statements that are available on Guidestar.com. The current balance sheet, reproduced below, shows that as of June 30 2013 the fund was sizable. The balance sheet shows $557,049 in 2013, down from $578,013 in 2012.
Last, Guidestar lists the names of the Board as of 2013. The list is shown at the end of this article.
Here is the letter from Ed Morgan:
TO the SCC Board of Directors
Dear SCC Board Members:
Sometimes friends and neighbors may disagree about some matter; later, however that matter may work out, they may still remain neighbors and friends. In writing this letter to you, I observe that within the SCC we have recently had the first situation described in the preceding sentence; I hope that in time we may also at least have the second as well.
Some time has passed since my last update to you, and I should explain the recent situation to you.
The basic history of SCC is that we (and I am here referring to all of SCC's wonderful volunteers, including you as Board members and some of you as Executive Committee members) have accomplished extraordinary things with comparatively tiny amounts of money. Among other things, we have established that a majority of Scarsdale's residents favor having a community indoor pool/center facility, and backed that up by obtaining membership pledges, without the benefit of final construction drawings, from a high percentage of Scarsdale residents, a feat considered remarkable, even unique, by the highly qualified independent professional feasibility consultant engaged by SCC. We have obtained a widely praised, beautiful conceptual project design, by architects who have successfully built a comparable facility elsewhere in our County. With that conceptual design, and several studies, all pointing in the same direction, we have established the existing outdoor pool site as the most practicable Scarsdale site for the indoor pool/center facility, and one broadly accepted by the community. With repeated studies, internally by our own volunteers and externally with nationally recognized experts in the field, we have established both the conceptual soundness and the financial soundness of the proposed indoor pool/center facility for Scarsdale. The financial figures have required periodic updates, but the bottom line from all of the successive financial studies, taken together, is that a community facility such as that proposed (with all of the moneys involved serving the general public benefit rather than the profits of a commercial business) can be built with pricing competitive with other less attractive commercial, etc. facilities elsewhere in the region, and should therefore be financially feasible based on SCC's past history of broad community membership support. Additional meaningful work has also been accomplished in refining the conceptual design, the costings, and environmental and permitting aspects.
At that point, the greatest recession in 80 years intervened, with a slow and mostly tepid recovery, and exacerbated by the psychological effects of a State cap enacted on local property taxes. The original project process model assumed, with considerable encouragement at the time from all sorts of people including governmental officials, that once SCC established a significant membership base (successfully done) and perhaps a few other things (generally also successfully done), then the Village would step up, make the land needed available for project use, and advance the amounts needed to complete construction design papers, and environmental and permitting work, the same to be reimbursed to the Village from the anticipated Village bonds to be issued for project construction. The intention here was that it was to be reasonably certain that the project (including the architectural, environmental, etc. pre-construction work) over time would be paid for in full by the users of the facility through their memberships and other fees, and not by Scarsdale's taxpayers through their taxes. In short, the project was over time not to be subsidized by Scarsdale taxpayers generally.
The great recession and State cap, however, changed the original dynamics and made the original project process model obsolete, at least for the foreseeable future. In the interests of full disclosure, I note that key current Village Budget information (attached) is consistent with that view. For some, including some Executive Committee members, if the original model could no longer work, that has been enough. They have worked long and hard, even brilliantly, but they see it as time to abandon the effort and wind down SCC.
For others, however, then and still including me, that was not and is not an acceptable answer, at least if there were other options to be explored which could still complete the project for the benefit of all Scarsdalians. For me, having gotten as far as we have, it would be a betrayal of trust to all those members and others who have long supported SCC if we were not to pursue alternate ways of getting the project successfully completed. I will therefore neither support nor have any part in any SCC liquidation.
Based on advice we have received from several people knowledgeable in major fundraising efforts, it still remains reasonably possible that the project can be completed using a new project process model. To be sure, the new model would also be new to Scarsdale, differently structured than less formal "pass the hat around" kinds of efforts which have often been seen in Scarsdale. With the development fairly recently of more accurate costing information, and reflecting also the special features of the conceptual design widely lauded in the community, the total project cost would be expected to be in excess of $20 million. Based on general industry experience, the costs prior to commencing construction for construction design work, environmental, permitting, etc. would be expected to be in excess of $1 million, probably nearer to $2 million. Under the new model, fundraising would have to cover all of that pre-construction work, as well as being available for a much larger portion of total construction costs than previously anticipated, in return for seeking and gaining Village approval of the right to use the site and probably a modest amount of bonded funding as well.
The major fundraising approach, which has been successful elsewhere and which we are told could also be successful in Scarsdale, would include initially development of a feasibility study and plan, and then a period working with potential major donors sufficient to cover most of total project costs, all prior to returning for the smaller public portion of the fundraising campaign. At this point, SCC already has a portion of what would be needed for the feasibility study and plan, and fundraising would be needed to cover the rest of that cost.
To get there, several SCC actions are needed, including the following. First, the Board and Executive Committee need to be restructured to include a significant component of people with fundraising skills while retaining the other skills we have long had in excellent abundance. Second, we need to reopen membership, since about one third of Scarsdale residents were not even in the community when membership was last open, and others have also asked about such an opportunity. As contemplated by the most recently prepared SCC financial analysis provided to the Village and the public, a very special discounted membership would continue for those faithful SCC members who have been with us for many years. The new memberships would be structured differently for the current circumstances, but would still include some discount in post-opening membership fees, albeit a smaller one than provided for the original SCC members. Third, and in addition, an active "friends" of SCC group would be launched, in part to accomplish modest fundraising for current costs but more importantly as part of a larger media effort and events to publicize the SCC in the community and keep interested residents periodically informed.
For some time I have urged implementation of these actions to the Executive Committee. However, given that some Executive Committee members wish to proceed with an SCC liquidation, there has been an impasse. I am very grateful to those who have indicated willingness to seek an alternative process model for completing the SCC project. However, the impasse nonetheless continues, which doubtless has been mystifying to many in the community.
I still have faith that the basic SCC concept is sound, and hope that the work so capably already done will eventually lead to the realization of the indoor pool/center facility so long desired by thousands of Scarsdale residents. Under the totality of the circumstances described above, however, I have concluded that I should resign as SCC President, and I hereby do so, effective immediately.
I continue to wish SCC, and everyone connected with it, well now and for the future. Should new leadership decide to overcome the impasse mentioned and move forward toward the SCC objectives, please let me know. I would be pleased support such efforts to the extent that I can be useful.
Edward A. Morgan
According to Morgan, continuing SCC officers currently include: Bart Hamlin, VP; Steve Bush, Controller; Meredith Lonner, VP Membership (among other things, handles refund requests at firstname.lastname@example.org); and Alan Garfunkel, Secretary.
Board members as of 2013 include:
EVA ROMAS WILSON
Balance Sheet as of 2013
Committee for Historic Preservation Denies Demolition Applications for Two Homes
- Category: Shout it Out
- Published on 22 July 2015
- Written by Joanne Wallenstein
It's rare that Scarsdale's Committee for Historic Preservation agrees to deny a demolition permit for a home in Scarsdale and even rarer when they vote to preserve two homes at their monthly meeting.
The Village's criteria for preservation are strict and as Committee Chair Paul Diamond and William Silverman claimed, under it's new preservation laws, the criteria to preserve homes are even stricter than the criteria set by New York State or the National Register.
Here are the criteria for preservation as set forth in Village code:
In making a determination whether to grant an application for a certificate or to deny such application and require that the building in question be preserved, the Committee shall consider the level of significance in American history, architecture, archeology, engineering and culture present in the building, as well as the integrity of location, design, setting, materials and workmanship, and
(1) That the building is associated with events that have made a significant contribution to broad patterns of Village, regional, state or national history; or
(2) That the building is associated with the life of a person or persons of historical significance; or
(3) That the building is the work of a master and embodies the distinctive characteristics of a type, period or method of construction that possess high artistic values; or
(4) That the building has yielded or may be likely to yield information important in prehistory or history.
B. The Committee may consider if the building is listed on the National Register of Historic Places, New York State Register of Historic Places or Westchester County Inventory of Historic Places. A national, state or county listing alone is not sufficient to warrant preservation.
However at their July 21st meeting, after considerable deliberation, the Committee voted to deny demolition to two homes: the first was a Collett-built Tudor home at 11 Carstensan Road, built in 1925, and the second was an arts and crafts style home at 1023 Post Road that was featured in the Historic Resources Survey.
The application to demolish 11 Carstensan Road was filed by owner Lin Chen Tien and signed by architect Bana Choura who is also a member of the Committee for Historic Preservation.
Tien claimed that the home was not built by Collett and could not be preserved on those grounds, as the Village records erroneously stated the house was built by a different builder; however committee member Alan Steinfeld displayed a copy of the original building permit which showed that the home was built by Walter Collett. The committee then discussed whether or not Collett, who built 300 homes in Scarsdale, could be called a master. Diamond read passages from a letter sent to the committee by neighboring residents on Carstensan who said, "We have lived at 20 Carstensan since 2007. Collett was known for the quality of materials and workmanship....a Collet-built home is a badge of quality, workmanship and architectural significance... the existing house is an example of Collett's work ...The unique beauty of the street is due to so many of his homes in one location. Carstensan Road is the developer's legacy. Cartensan Road is the best example of his work and is a permanent and distinctive imprint on the face of Scarsdale. Collett lived in Scarsdale from 1923-42 built 300 custom homes. His own home was at 2 Carstensan Road. The demolition of 11 Carstensan would be the loss of a distinctive Tudor home."
Tien, the homeowner argued, "He did not design it. And 10 and 12 Carstensan Road were subdivided and built new in the 1990's. The whole street is Tudor style but there are a lot of newer homes."
Diamond then read another letter that said, "The home was designed for attorney William Haines by architect Walther on a street designed by Collett. Collett designed the street to be built as a rambling country lane. If the house were torn down the lot could be subdivided and two homes could be built." Diamond also showed a photo of the home that appeared in a 1931 book about Collett homes.
Diamond recounted a conversation he had with Andrew Dolkart who is the Director of Preservation at the Columbia Architecture School of planning and preservation. Dolkart established Collett as an important local figure and said 11 Carstensan embodies the type of house that was built in Scarsdale at that time.
Village historian Lucas Meyer said, "Given the quality of the construction and the association with Collett I would be against it coming down."
Architect Bana Choura then spoke but when it was revealed that she was the architect who signed the demolition application, she was recused from the conversation and the vote.
Committee member Alan Steinfeld questioned whether or not Collett was a master, but went on to say, "Cartensan Road is the first neighborhood to be completed under Collett's direction. He was an important builder and laid out homes and neighborhoods that gave Scarsdale its character for decades. It should be preserved under the criteria that says, "That the building is associated with events that have made a significant contribution to broad patterns of Village, regional, state or national history." He added, "It is important to maintain the integrity of the street."
Committee member Joyce Hirsch said, "The house contributes to a pattern of history."
Diamond said, "I feel that it should be saved as well. I think Collett is a master based on the criteria."
Barbara Jaffe said, "Though the process of tearing down Carstensan has already begun, Collett exemplifies Scarsdale. His work represents the time and the period."
Bill Silverman said, "If we can't save this house under this criteria than we can't save any houses. We are preserving it because of architectural quality. If we tear this down, the neighborhood will be destroyed. Of all the houses we see this is a very special house. Look at the windows, the stonework ... it is more distinctive than any we have seen this year. I vote to preserve it under criteria one and three. Carstensan the first road to be completed under the organization. Committee member John Cromwell concurred with Silverman.
Associate Village Historian Jonathan Lerner told the committee, that the property was originally a farm with an apple orchard purchased by the Collett Corporation from Lewis Popham. Lerner believed that this also made the property historic.
Builder Bobby Ben Simon then addressed the committee. He said, "I don't think it rises to the level.... You have the highest responsibility here. You are stepping into someone's house. She owns the house. You are not addressing the guidelines.
When you are about to make a decision about someone else's property you better have the highest standards – and you do not have it. You need to think long and hard before you make that decision on someone's property."
Silverman replied, "This is one of the few houses that meet the strict criteria we have been given."
The homeowner also continued to state her case. She said, "Everything you concluded is based on the decision that this was built by Walter Collett. I am going to challenge the authenticity of everything I heard tonight. So how do we put any credential or credibility on that paper? I am going to assemble a team to challenge it."
She then took another approach and argued, "I can't keep it up. You are supposed to consider the economics. It is over 100 years old – it is hard to keep up! The criteria is arbitrary. The committee's interpretation of each criteria is arbitrary."
A motion was made to find the property of historic significance. The committee voted and five members supported preservation on criteria #1 and #3, with one member voting for preservation on criteria #1.
The group then turned to a discussion of two homes on the Post Road. The properties at 1023 and 1025 Post Road were presented by builder Matt Miller. He began with an impassioned speech about his love for Scarsdale and a plea for the Committee to be open minded as demolition of one of the homes had been previously denied.
The house at 1023 Post Road is an arts and crafts style home built in 1910. The home was featured in the Historic Resources Survey of the village completed in 2012. The report notes the stucco home's "homey" features, benches, built-in alcove on the façade, porte cochere, arched dormers and round gable window."
Historian According to Diamond, Dolkart believes the home embodies the period and meets the criteria for historic significance.
In the discussion that followed, Joyce Hirsch noted that since the home is not visible from the Post Road she was not "sure what it added to the community." Silverman said, "Our only job is to apply this limited criteria. This is the most distinctive example of this style of architecture." Bana Choura said, "The placement of the home has nothing to do with it. We have to vote to preserve it. If we don't save this, they are gone."
The owner, Matt Miller objected, saying, "Look at the house – is this the work of a master? Is this a great house? Would you want to move into it? Is it worthy of saving? I am hearing you say this a magnificent house? It's not a nice road!"
The committee then voted and agreed to deny the demolition application.
However, the night was not a total loss for builder Matt Miller who did receive approval to demolish the adjacent property at 1025 Post Road, built in 1907.
The committee also cleared the way for demolition of homes at the following addresses:
- 21 Rectory Lane, Application from Bobby Ben Simon
- 110 Brewster Road – Application from Joe Daniels
- 30 Tunstall Road – Presented by Mary Scott
- 56 Hampton Road – Application from Sarah Kaspers
Diamond told both Tien and Miller that they do have the right to an appeal to the Board of Trustees. So we may not have heard the end of the discussion yet.
Music Festival In Mamaroneck on September 19
- Category: Arts and Entertainment
- Published on 27 July 2015
- Written by Joanne Wallenstein
The SOWE 2015 Music Festival, produced in association with 107.1 The Peak, will feature a line-up of top artists, performing world class rock, folk, alternate, and indie bands on multiple stages. The full day of music, food and family fun will be held at Harbor Island Park in Mamaroneck on Saturday September 19, 2015
This will be the third local event for Scarsdale's Rich Baumer who produced food festivals for the past two years in Scarsdale and Mamaroneck. Baumer said, "We are excited to produce live music shows in addition to our successful food and wine festivals. The demand for quality live music in Westchester County is very strong, and our lineup this year delivers a wide range of great nationally touring acts in a fun, exciting, family atmosphere. With 107.1 The Peak involved, you can be sure to hear your favorite bands and find some great new ones, as well."
Artists scheduled to perform include: Felix Cavaliere's Rascals, Marc Cohn, David Johansen, Shawn Mullins, Willie Nile, Cheerleader, Steve Forbert, Andrew Belle, Joe D'urso & Stone Caravan, HeyDaze, Third Story, and East Love. Many more artists will be added in the next few weeks. Check their web site for an updated schedule, ticket information, parking, FAQ, etc. Tickets are on sale now.
In addition to musical performances, there will be a variety of wine, beer, food trucks, and delicacies from around the world. In addition there will rides and games for kids, plus a full complement of activities for the entire family.
Harbor Island Park in Mamaroneck includes 44 waterfront acres encompassing a salt water beach, spray ground, pavilion, rest rooms, showers, marina, boat launching area, docks, fishing floats, tennis club, picnic tables, benches, swing benches, ball fields, play fields and parking.
Early bird tickets are available through July 31, 2015. VIP Tickets, which include tented hospitality lounges, VIP parking, and access closest to the stages, are also available for this day-long celebration.
"At 107.1 The Peak we are always excited about live rock and roll music and our involvement in the 2015 SOWE Music Festival helps to expand the live music offering in Westchester. After all who doesn't like listening to great live music in an amazing setting?" Chris Herrmann, Program Director 107.1 The Peak.
Follow SOWE on Instagram: @sowemusicfest Facebook: @sowefoodfest, Twitter: @sowemusicfest and Linked In: linkedin.com/company/sowe-music-festival.