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You are here: Home Section Table Village Voices BOT Updates Residents on Village Affairs: Sidewalk Sale July 26-28
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BOT Updates Residents on Village Affairs: Sidewalk Sale July 26-28

flowers1During a relatively short meeting this Tuesday, the mayor and trustees made note of completed projects, such as the opening of he Library Loft, and looked ahead to others, most notably, the redevelopment of Freightway.

Mayor’s Comments
Mayor Dan Hochvert mentioned July 4 festivities held in Arthur Manor and Greenacres, and thanked organizers for their efforts in arranging the celebrations for their neighbors. He also mentioned that some residents expressed concern about individuals unexpectedly coming to their homes and claiming to be from ConEd. “The ConEd folks are installing smart meters,” Hochvert explained. “One of the advantages of that is ConEd will be able to tell if the power is out at a particular house…they had some difficulty doing that after the storms at the beginning of March.” Con Ed is expected to complete the installations at the end of 2019; the utility is supposed to send notification to those households affected prior to installation. For more information, visit coned.com/smartmeters.

Manager’s Comments
Assistant Village Manager Ingrid Richards discussed the visioning study for the Freightway redevelopment site, submitted by the Freightway Steering Committee. After reviewing the study, which highlights what residents would like to see at the site, the village administration will begin the process for selecting a developer. “The first step is the distribution of a “request for expression of interest” (which) will garner information from the development community on suggested conceptual development plans, zoning paradigms and creative financial methods,” according to Richards. It also will assist and identify qualified developers that have experience in constructing and financing complex, mixed-use transit-oriented projects. Once feedback is obtained and evaluated, a short list of possible developers will be created, and those firms will be asked to respond to RFPs. The request for expression of interest will be issued on Monday, July 16; developers will have until October 2018 to respond.

Trustee Reports
In following up on Richard’s report, Trustee Jane Veron mentioned that she, along with the Village Planner, attended a seminar on autonomous vehicles and smart parking solutions, which provided additional insights which may be applied to the Freightway project.

Veron also reported that the village’s Communications Committee produced and distributed postcards to encourage residents to subscribe to the village’s “Notify Me” service. Members of the committee also recently met with village board and council leaders to discuss ways to make the application process more informative and efficient.

Veron then discussed the library’s recent transition to the Library Loft. “The library board is so appreciative of the village staff’s incredible hard work in moving the library to its temporary location… DPW... did an amazing job, and were so committed to this move. In addition, our library staff worked around the clock.” Additionally, she expressed thanks to residents for their support during the process. Hochvert added, “It’s amazing how efficiently they have organized a much smaller space… The staff there seemed very happy because they are functioning in a way (that) a professional library should.”

Veron concluded by announcing that the new Scarsdale Business Alliance will host a sidewalk sale in Downtown Scarsdale from Thursday, July 26 through Saturday, July 28. “There is huge interest among merchants; we have new merchants that have opened, and merchants that are coming from within the greater village center area to share their merchandise…”

Trustee Matt Callaghan reported on recent Scarsdale Fire Department activities, including participation in the Arthur Manor July 4 parade and fundraising efforts for the Westchester Band. He also noted that the Scarsdale Pool will celebrate its 50th anniversary this year and acknowledged the work of pool staff behind the scenes who keep the facility running.

Trustee Lena Crandall began her comments by thanking village staff who were involved in organizing the annual fireworks display at the pool complex. She then discussed the meeting on additional tree code amendments that was held just hours before. Specifically, the size requirement for replacement trees has been changed from three inches in diameter to two, as smaller trees are more likely to thrive and are less costly for the homeowner.

Trustee Carl Finger discussed the most recent Law Committee meeting, also held earlier in the evening, to examine the possibility of limiting the presence of gun and vape shops in and around Scarsdale. He encouraged residents to review the proposal, which is available at scarsdale.com, and submit their opinions on the subject.

Public Comment
In the public comment portion of the meeting, residents voiced concerns about issues that have been discussed before, including the village’s appointment process, the administration’s priorities and the installation of distributed antenna systems (DAS).

Jacob Frishberg (Montrose Road) opened by stating, “The Voters’ Choice Party is compelled to point out… the inability of our mayor and village trustees to follow…best practices in important village appointments. This time it is a critical village position – the replacement of the village attorney.” He explained that a leader of the party, Robert Berg, upon hearing of Wayne Esannason’s pending retirement, contacted village hall to stress the importance of appointing a highly skilled replacement and later suggested a search process guided by a group of talented lawyers who live in Scarsdale. However, Angela Martin, the village’s director of human resources and deputy village attorney, soon was promoted to replace Esannason. “No one else was considered for the job. The village manager recommended Ms. Martin and the mayor appointed her with the approval of the trustees, except for one,” said Frishberg. “The job was not advertised; no search was made for any more-qualified candidates… We residents are entitled to have the best-qualified village attorney work for us… Had the position been advertised, doubtless, dozens or scores of excellent municipal attorneys with decades of relevant experience would have applied.”

Bob Selvaggio (Rochambeau Road) followed and began his comments by thanking the village board for the hours they put in to “do a good job for Scarsdale.” He then went on to discuss the need for the village to develop “data-driven action points,” and criticized the administration’s focus on issues such as the tree code, and gun and vape shops. “I have to ask… do you have any data… that show widespread community support for enhanced penalties on homeowners who… take down their own trees? Do you have any reason to think that the likelihood of a gun shop or vape shop seeing sufficient profit potential in Scarsdale market is significant...Do you have any data to indicate that these issues make the list of our residents’ top 50 concerns?” To illustrate his point, Salvaggio referenced a recent traffic survey of Scarsdale residents analyzed by Brice Kirkendall-Rodriquez and Mayra Kirkendall-Rodriguez, which provided insights into residents’ concerns about walking, driving and cycling in the village. Data collected from survey respondents led to specific recommendations to improve traffic safety. “These are the types of data that should be used to establish government priorities,” he said. “I suggest that the village should address actual issues that residents face, such as the impact of tax reform on housing costs and property values, lack of transparency in hiring and appointment practices, and traffic and road conditions.”

Zoe Berg (Tisdale Road) concluded the public comment session by addressing the need for village officials to respect residents and cautioning the village about the installation of DAS throughout Scarsdale. “A few days after… I stood before you to express my science-based concerns regarding the potential installation of (DAS) near schools and residential homes, Wayne Esannason… spoke ill of me…among other senior village representatives…This completely inappropriate and unprofessional behavior… made us all wonder, if the village attorney is besmirching one concerned resident, is he besmirching other residents in public settings?” She continued, “Speaking ill of the people you represent is corrosive to community good will and community engagement.” Berg then discussed the DAS issue, stating that the systems will expose residents to a classified carcinogen day-in and day-out, and that wireless radiation exposure is associated to numerous ill health effects. She has asked the mayor to meet with her to discuss the issue prior to negotiating with Crown Castle, the telecommunications vendor that would install the systems, to no avail. “Mayor Hochvert… you need to educate yourself beforehand… Crown Castle will make claims that wireless radiation is not dangerous… You need to be fully equipped with the work of honest scientists who don’t have a financial stake in the telecommunications industry… All I’m asking for here is that our mayor, and even members of the board meet with a wireless radiation expert before starting negotiations.”

In response, Hochvert said, “We are meeting with another municipality that has a court case on radiation. And, as you have indicated, we cannot (say no) on the basis of radiation, but we are going to work with another municipality to see what they have had success with, and why they are in court. We have to go through the right process; we don’t just arbitrarily say ‘radiation is a problem, so therefore…’ We have to find another way to deal with the concerns you’ve expressed.”

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