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Screen Shot 2017 01 09 at 10.57.28 1050x525DeCicco & Sons, operators of a chain of family-owned supermarkets in the Hudson Valley, has announced the latest step in their continuing commitment to environmental stewardship. The company will fully eliminate single-use plastic bags in all seven of their stores, within the next thirty days.

“We’ve decided to take this step because we take very seriously the role that we have within our communities, and the responsibility we have to be good corporate citizens,” shared John DeCicco Jr., CEO of the DeCicco & Sons chain. He went on to say, “Over the last several years, we’ve undertaken quite a number of environmental initiatives, we think that being environmentally conscious is not just smart business, but that it’s an ethical imperative.”

DeCicco & Sons has introduced a wide range of green initiatives in their stores, among them; the use of highly efficient LED lighting, installation of rooftop solar panels, the use of natural refrigerants, the installation of doors on refrigerated cases and implementing advanced environmental controls in the stores. DeCicco and Sons’ dedication to environmental responsibility has received recognition and accolades, including a Platinum GreenChill certification, the U.S. EPA’s highest sustainability award for food retailers, a pending LEED certification for the Larchmont location, and a 2018 Westchester County Eco Award, among many others.

“As DeCicco & Sons continues to grow, we’re being very diligent about how we operate. We use reclaimed materials and smart building technology when we build a new store, such as the soon-to-open Somers location,” explained chain V.P., Joseph DeCicco Jr. “We also place an emphasis on sourcing the highest quality products from local suppliers. Environmental consciousness is something that we believe is important to our customers, and it’s definitely important to us as a family, and as a company.”

“As the stores eliminate single-use plastic bags, we’ll continue to have paper bags available for the convenience of our customers, but we’ll be encouraging people to use durable, reusable shopping bags,” said company V.P. Christopher DeCicco. Customers that return to the store with their own bags will receive a credit on their register total. Chris explained, “We took a look at our operations, and identified that this was the single most positive environmental change that we could make. We used 22 million plastic bags last year. That won’t happen again next year.”

According to the United Nations Environment Programme, single-use plastic bags are one of the top five single-use plastics found in the environment by magnitude, and they are one of the top five items encountered in coastline clean-ups.

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votebuttonOn Tuesday, November 13, a week after the November 6 local, state and federal elections, Scarsdale residents will turn out again and vote for their neighbors who are running for seats on the non-partisan Citizens Nominating Committee. Sixteen residents have volunteered to run as the elected representatives from each elementary school area. Those who are elected will join current CNC members to meet with non-partisan candidates for the village offices of Mayor and three Trustees. The 30 elected members of the CNC will then nominate candidates to represent the Non-Partisan party’s slate in the village election, which takes place in March 2019.*

According to Procedure Committee Chair Madelaine Eppenstein, “these are the candidates whose names will appear on the CNC ballot on November 13 – the full list along with biographies of each candidate will appear in the brochure mailed to all residents prior to the election:

CNCCandidates

Procedure Committee Co-Chair Eric Cheng stated that “the thirteen new committee members elected on November 13 will join the 17 others serving staggered three-year terms on the CNC. The Procedure Committee, which administers the process, is seeking the election of two candidates in each district, with the exception of Edgewood, where it is seeking the election of three candidates to include the replacement of one CNC member who recently resigned (leaving a one-year vacancy), and Heathcote, where the third and fourth highest vote getters in this election will fill either a one-year or two-year vacancy.”

This year the Procedure Committee has proposed amendments to the Non-Partisan Resolution, the governing document of the Scarsdale non-partisan electoral system. Copies of the proposed amendments and a markup of the Non-Partisan Resolution are available on the Procedure Committee website here, and will also appear in the election brochure and on the ballot when the voters go to the polls to vote in a new class of CNC members.

The CNC election will be held on Tuesday, November 13, 2018 at Village Hall. Residents may vote in person in the Village Hall Lobby on that date from 7:00 to 10:00 AM and from 2:00 to 9:00 PM, or by mail-in ballot received by 5:00 PM on Election Day. In the event of a tie, a run-off election will be held on Tuesday, November 20, 2018.

* Under New York State Law, candidates outside the village non-partisan election system may also run for village office by obtaining the prescribed number of signatures on a nominating petition.

The members of the 2018 Procedure Committee are: Charles Baltman; Sarah Bell; David Dembitzer; Eric Cheng; Madelaine Eppenstein; Timothy Foley; Jeff Goodwin; Mayra Kirkendall-Rodríguez; Eli Mattioli; David Peck; Pam Rubin; Gregory Soldatenko; Nancy Steinberg; Michelle Sterling; and Bruce Wells.

Contact: Madelaine Eppenstein, Chair at meppenstein@eppenstein.com

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garth roadFollowing up on a meeting it held this summer, the Scarsdale Village Law Committee took another next step toward limiting the presence of vape shops and gun stores within the village.

Since Scarsdale is unable to enforce an outright ban on these stores as a municipality cannot dictate what retailers may and may not sell. However, the village is able to restrict the location of certain establishments, and set other safety standards as part of its zoning code.

Specifically, on Tuesday 9-25 the committee approved changes to the local zoning code that increase the distance between these retailers and schools, houses of worship and the like, and clarify the village’s official definitions of the goods sold at the establishments.

First, the group addressed the term “vape shop.” Recognizing that “vapes” are just one type of a class of products, and the term “vape shop” will not be used in the code; the village is now regulating retailers that sell one or more versions of electronic nicotine delivery systems (ENDS), and related components and parts. These include vapes, vaporizers, vape pens, hookah pens, e-cigarettes, e-pipes, tank systems, and any other electronic- or battery-powered devices and accessories used to smoke flavored solutions.

Village Attorney Angela Sapienza-Martin, explained, “For instance, (considering) the two locations that we know for certain, in the village, that do sell these products, neither would be a ‘vape shop’ per se; they sell a number of other products, so that’s why we thought this change was necessary.” She continued, “We felt that this definition, which comes from the FDA, was the most all-encompassing definition we looked at.”

Next, Sapienza-Martin announced that the village’s official definition of “firearms,” which previously was based on the description provided in the federal Gun Control Act, would be modified to include “antique guns,” which are not included in the legislation. Trustee Seth Ross had suggested the change during the committee’s last meeting on the issue, pointing out that antique guns should be subject to the same restrictions as other firearms, as they also can cause harm to others.

Restricted Establishments
Scarsdale plans to classify ENDS and firearms retailers as restricted establishments that require a special use permit for the sale, transfer or commercial delivery of these products and related accessories.

Their locations would be limited to the “VCR 1.0 Zone,” covering Garth Road from Freightway to the Eastchester border. They also must be sited more than 250 feet from away from schools, nurseries, nursery schools, daycare centers, playgrounds and houses of worship, and over 250 feet away from similar restricted establishments.

There already is a house of worship currently located on Garth Road -- Chabad of Scarsdale – and the Cornerstone Children’s Center is further south.

As the VCR 1.0 Zone is close to the Eastchester border, Sapienza-Martin noted that the regulation applies regardless of jurisdictional boundary; in other words, if school, house of worship, daycare center or the like was located in Eastchester, a restricted retailer in Scarsdale still must be sited more than 250 feet away from that establishment.

The proposed code modifications also address storage of ENDS components and parts, and firearms and ammunitions. Retailers already must comply with a number of local, state and federal guidelines regarding storage, such as properly securing products and stocking them behind counters, away from customers. Scarsdale has proposed expanded storage regulations to be consistent with its other code modifications (e.g., ensuring all products are classified as ENDS) and addressing any gaps that impact safety.

Getting Affairs in Order
Because two Scarsdale businesses currently sell ENDS products, the village must allow those establishments an appropriate timeframe to come into compliance with the proposed code changes. Generally speaking, when a code amendment restricts an activity that was previously permitted, a municipality must be reasonable and provide organizations with sufficient time (or “amortization period”) to change non-conforming practices and comply with new regulations. “If an entire business is non-conforming, then you’re looking at a much longer period of time; if it’s a single product that you’re making non-conforming, then you may be looking at a shorter period of time,“ said Sapienza-Martin.

She noted that one of the Scarsdale retailers already has stated that he would have little problem with complying with the new code provisions, but the other retailer – 7-Eleven -- is more resistant. “One of the attorneys in the legal department… said that this would be a very big deal for them,” Sapienza-Martin said, but, the company has not shared any supporting sales data to support the argument. “They may be looking to challenge… because they don’t want other municipalities seeing what we’re doing and mimic it.” After considering existing case law, and discussing which timeframes would be seen as fair and reasonable, the committee decided to provide the establishments 12 months to comply with the modifications.

The committee then clarified that, since the code amendments are part of the village’s zoning code, the Scarsdale Building Department would be responsible for enforcing the new requirements via regular inspections.

Residents, of course, will have a chance to voice their opinions about the proposed revisions before they are finalized. Trustee Carl Finger noted that, “We’ll keep an open mind, and hear from any member of the public who comes to the public hearing, and we’re sending it over to the planning board… there will be another opportunity for anyone to speak, and then it will come back to us.” He continued, “They’ll be opportunities for us to consider what (additional) information people provide to us.”

Laura Halligan is a local writer, editor and marketing consultant. She is principal of Pinch Hit Prose and provides communications services to entrepreneurs, small businesses and nonprofits.

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brookby5You’re not imagining it. The reason it feels like so many roads are being repaved in Scarsdale is because this year, the village, county and state repaved a record amount of roads, more mileage than in any year in recent memory.

A study of the road resurfacing program presented at Village Hall on Tuesday October 9 showed that for the 2017/18 calendar year 6.17 miles of road ways were repaved. This includes 1.21 miles funded with $304,650 by Con Edison who is now required to pay for curb to curb repaving of any roads they disrupt when installing new gas lines.

In addition to the Village’s increased spending, this year Scarsdale saw the resurfacing of county and state roads such as the Post Road and Weaver Street, underwritten by the state and the county, with no impact to our local budget.

But even with this uptick in spending, a good portion of Scarsdale’s 79 miles of roadways remain in need of repair.

In 2017 the village hired engineers to do a complete conditions assessment of our roads.

They concluded the following:

15% or 11.53 miles were in excellent condition

35% or 28.41 miles were in good condition

41% or 31.78 miles were in fair condition

9% or 7.79 miles were in poor condition

At the meeting, Village Engineer David Goessl explained that the cost to resurface a road is $250,000 per mile, making it $1,250,000 to repave five miles of road. The village also spends $500,000 per year on curb restoration and another $250,000 per year on repairs and patching. The NYS Department of Transportation CHIPS program (Consolidated Highway Improvement Program) reimburses the village $500,000 per year so the cost to repave 4-5 miles per year, continue the curb restoration program and do routine maintenance the would be $1,500,000.

If the village maintains this level of spending for the next five years, by 2023 all roads rated as “poor” would be repaired and the amount of “fair” roads, now about 30 miles, would be reduced to 16.1 miles. However, the $1.5 million annual spend would not bring all roads up to Good or Excellent condition.

Village engineers also presented a second, more aggressive scenario that would bring all village roads up to Good or Excellent condition in the next five years. Under this scenario, the Village would spend $2,167,000 per year and resurface 6.67 miles per year. They explained that it is not practical to do more that 6.67 miles per years for a host of reasons. Among them are:

-Paving can only be done in the four warmest months of the year

-It is best to repave when school is out and school buses are not travelling on Village roads.

-The Village competes with out local municipalities for contractors who repair roads at the same time of year.

-The Village does not have a dedicated staff person to manage paving.

The presentation was made in advance of the budget planning cycle so that trustees could prioritize needs and consider roads within the context of other Village budget items.

Whether they decide to allocate $1.5 million or $2,167 million, they will vastly increase spending on road repairs which hovered at only $300,000- $400,000 per year for 2008 to 2014 when the village was only repaving about 1.5 miles per year. Trustees attribute this lack of spending in the past to the current state of the roads.

So the next time you’re stuck in traffic due to road construction or required to detour to get around paving crews, rather than be annoyed, appreciate the fact that your roads are being repaired and you’ll have a better ride in the months to come.

Wondering how your road compares? Look up the condition of your road here:

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GasLeak1At 9:30 am on Monday September 17, workers who were repaving the Post Road in Scarsdale, struck a gas line causing leaks to homes on Evon Court and the Post Road between Boulevard and Sprague Roads.

The road was shut down, and detours were set up, rerouting traffic while the Scarsdale Fire Department, the Police Department and Con Edison were called to the scene. Homes on Evon Court along with two homes on the Post Road were evacuated. IHM was notified and advised to keep students inside until further notice.

At 11:50 am Con Edison announced that the leak had been recapped and allowed residents to return to their homes. At 12:30 vehicles were cleared and both lanes of traffic were reopened.
GasLeak2

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