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From Village Hall: Mayor Comments on Freightway and Public Communication: Village Announces Water Flushing Schedule

MagnoliaHere are comments from Scarsdale Mayor Marc Samwick that were delivered at the April 23rd meeting of the Board of Trustees. Read below for board policy on communicating at meetings, information about the development of the Freighway site and on the Village's use of organic gradening methods and native plants on Village-owned property.

Public Comment and Public Hearings:
The Board has heard from certain members of the community that: (i) people would like to be better able to manage the five minutes allocated per person at public comment and at public hearings, and (ii) people would like more time to speak at public comment and at public hearings.

We understand and agree that we can better communicate time with residents wishing to speak at the microphone. We evaluated a couple of different alternatives and opted to implement a chime that will indicate when there is one minute remaining. This will be followed by a second chime one minute later that will indicate the completion of five minutes.

We also understand that there are times that people may wish to speak for more than five minutes.

We have looked into best practices and there appears to be some consensus that established and consistently enforced parameters are effective in promoting productive and fair communication.

We also found a number of specific recommendations to establish between three and five minute time limits per speaker. Some also recommend limiting total public comment to set time frames with some recommending cumulative a time limit of 30 minutes.

We wish to encourage community involvement and open communication so we believe it preferable to maintain our existing five-minute limits and maintain the practice of not having an overall time limit for public comment.

It is important to note that enforcement of the five-minute limit has potential ramifications on fairness and potentially on one’s first amendment rights. It would not be fair and could potentially be viewed by some as a first amendment infringement if we were to inconsistently enforce an individual’s time limit. In an effort to promote equitability and free speech, we intend to enforce the five-minute limit.

We understand there may be periodic frustration with this policy and we ask the community to respect the policy outlined this evening for the betterment and equitability of Board meetings.

We also wish to remind people that the public comment portion of Board Meetings is only one of the ways to communicate with your elected officials. Please note that board members may be reached via email at their first initial followed by their last name and I may be reached at We will continue to seek alternative methods to promote communication with your Board. We very much want to hear from you.

I would like to update the community on the potential redevelopment of the Freightway parking garage site. As many of you know, we have been working on this project for two years.MarcSamwickMayor Marc Samwick

As I mentioned two weeks ago, the next steps in this process lead up to the issuance of a Request for Proposals (or, RFP). As a lead item for us to work toward the issuance of an RFP, we intend to vote this evening on the retention of a planning consulting firm, AKRF, a New York City-based firm with an office in White Plains. The selection of AKRF was the result of a search process that included contacting 7 firms and 6 meetings by the Board of Trustees to interview and discuss this selection. We are very pleased with the selection of AKRF, a firm with extensive experience throughout Westchester County, the New York Metropolitan Area and the Boston-Washington corridor. AKRF has worked on transit-oriented projects involving the MTA and brings valuable experience to the team.

Tomorrow evening we will hold two meetings with AKRF. The first meeting will start at 6:15 and is expected to be held in executive session. The second meeting will start at 7:30 and is expected to cover the steps leading to the issuance of an RFP.

We are committed to holding an open and transparent process with respect to the potential redevelopment of the Freightway site with numerous opportunities for public input and engagement. We expect the RFP process to result in the selection of a preferred developer to work with the Village in a public-private partnership to redevelop the Freightway site. In connection with the process of selecting a preferred developer, it will at times be necessary to maintain confidence to protect the Village’s interests. We are cognizant of the tension that may arise between an open and transparent process and maintaining certain information in a confidential manner. We will do our best to provide the maximum information flow at the earliest time while protecting the Village’s interests.

We encourage you to attend tomorrow evening’s meeting to hear more about the process leading up to the issuance of the RFP and to stay abreast of the potential redevelopment of the Freightway site.

Landscape management program:
Lastly, I would like to discuss pesticide use by the Village on Village-owned properties. I have spoke with the Village Manager and Brian Gray, the Superintendant of the PRC about this issue and I am please to report that:

1. The Village is committed to the use of organic methods in our landscaping program.

2. A key strategy of our current approach is to use organic fertilizer and seeding to both strengthen the soil and make the turf grass more healthy and resilient to weed growth.

3. Increasingly, the Village has focused planting native species of plants, trees, and shrubs in lieu of other non-native alternatives.

4. As one example of our approach, a number of our athletic fields were stricken with a white grub infestation in 2018. To combat the problem, an organic microorganism nematode application was applied and will be monitored for its success through the fall of 2019.

5. Together with our Public Works staff, the Parks, Recreation, and Conservation staff diligently oversee our parks and other municipal grounds to ensure that their significant contribution to our Village in a Park identity is maintained over time and that the recreational fields and parks remain safe, attractive locations for both passive and active recreational endeavors.

water main flushingWater Flushing Schedule:

The periodic water main flushing program of the Village Water Department will begin Monday, April 15, 2019, and will continue until all pipes in the system have been systematically flushed.

The program is scheduled to prevent discoloration of water associated with peak summer usage. Slight discoloration may occur during the flushing period, during daytime and early evening hours, but will quickly dissipate. The discolored water is safe for consumption; however, to avoid possible staining, clothes washing should be delayed until the water is clear.

The neighborhood flushing schedule is as follows:

April 15th through April 18th: Greenacres west of Post Road; Fox Meadow; Old Scarsdale; Overhill; Berkeley-in-Scarsdale; Bramlee Heights; Arthur Manor; and Post Road starting from White Plains through Eastchester.

April 22nd through April 28th: Greenacres east of Post Road; Drake-Edgewood; Sherbrooke Park; Heathcote; Murray Hill/Middle Heathcote; East Heathcote; Secor Farms; and part of West Quaker Ridge.

April 29th through May 3rd: Remaining portion of West Quaker Ridge; Scarsdale Meadows; Quaker Ridge; and Colonial Acres.

A map version of the flushing schedule can be accessed here. Please also note that the schedule may be adjusted or extended, particularly in response to weather conditions.

Weekly schedule updates will be available on the Water Department webpage of, as well as broadcast on cable television channels 42 and 43 (Verizon) and 75 and 76 (Cablevision/Altice).

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