Monday, Jun 17th

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John A. Bisesto, age 37, of 82 Gordon Street, Yonkers was identified as the victim in a fatal car accident that occurred at the intersection of Jackson Avenue and South Sprain Road on Wednesday afternoon (2/3/10) at 4:05 pm. Bisesto was driving a 1997 BMW 328 convertible when he struck an electric utility pole. Emergency workers arrived at the scene and pronounced him dead. Police are looking for witnesses and urge anyone who saw the accident to call the Greenburgh Police at 682-5325. The accident is being investigated and all calls will be kept confidential.

Fire at the Heathcote School: A fire alarm went off shortly after 5 PM on Thursday 1/28 at the school and the custodian informed the Fire Department that there was a stove fire. The custodian turned off the power to the electric stove and firemen extinguished the burning item that turned out to be a large black plastic container that had been left on top of the stove. The stove was ruined and sections of the kitchen walls and ceiling were blackened with soot.

Downed Trees and Wires: Due to high winds on the afternoon of Monday 1/25 a large tree branch fell on Greenacres Avenue, a tree fell at the Post Road and Farley Road, taking down wires and causing a road closure. A large evergreen snapped in half on Olmstead Road. Wires were down at Gorham and Post Roads and a cable service line fell on Richelieu Road. On Continental Road, the Fire Department was called when the primary Con Edison line fell and caused a fire. A tree branch fell from 202 Brewster Road onto a car parked at 204 Brewster Road.

A Death: Ramona Igual was found dead at the home of her daughter Zaida Jacoby on Gorham Road on the evening of January 28th. The 93 year-old woman had been in good health and when her daughter returned from work she found her mother unresponsive.

Missing Violins: An Old Lyme Road resident reported the theft of two violins from the Quaker Ridge School, each valued at $400 and owned by Ardsley Instrument Music Service. One was stolen from his daughter’s classroom cubby on 1/13 and the other was taken from the music room on 1/20,

Missing Woman and Children: Scarsdale Police assisted Dobbs Ferry Police with a search for a missing woman with two children ages 11 and 7 on 1/31. The Dobbs Ferry woman has a history of psychiatric problems and was missing with the children for two days. As she sometimes visits Quaker House on Popham Road Scarsdale Police were asked to look for her. They determined that she had been at Post Road and Murray Hill Roads on 1/27 and reported that she was last seen in Scarsdale on 1/28.

Missing Property Marker: A Richbell Road woman called police to report that a steel pipe used to mark her property line was missing and that it might be buried underneath some curbing installed at a new home next door. Police advised her to contact the Village Building Department and her attorney.

Ice Skating: A woman reported skaters on the Duck Pond on the afternoon of 1/31, as she was concerned for their safety. Police found two adults skating with a child. Since the pond is shallow and was frozen solid on one side they felt they were safe.

Suspicious Shoppers at LF: An employee at LF on Boniface Circle called police to report three women had been in the store with open shopping bags. They left quickly without making any purchases and drove away in a white BMW SUV. The store employee felt that the shoppers looked suspicious and in light of this incident and shoplifting in prior weeks Police agreed to give extra attention to the store.

Identity Theft: A Walworth Avenue woman reported $4,400 in charges made on her Bloomindales account at the Garden City store. She has not used the account since March 2009. The Fraud Department at the store told her that someone had given her name and asked a store employee to look up the account number and charge the goods.

A Hampton Road woman reported that someone opened a Best Buy credit card in her name and charged $1,557.32 on the account.

Accidents: Due to ice on the road on the morning of 1/28, a Cartesan Road woman, driving on Butler Road, slid off the road into the landscaping at 6-8 Hickory Lane. The car had to be towed off the property. That same morning two cars driving in opposite directions on Kent Road sideswiped one another due to snow and ice.

Also that morning, a car on the Hutchinson River Parkway near Weaver Street slid off the parkway into an embankment and a small pond. A passer-by helped the uninjured driver out of the car and SVAC, the County Police and the Scarsdale Fire Department arrived. The Fire Department used a chain saw to clear the area behind the car so that a tow truck could pull the car out of the pond and up the embankment.

Traffic Violation: An erratic driver was stopped by police on the Post Road on1/27 when his car drifted to the left, barely missing another car, drove north on the Post Road on the yellow line and then crossed the line into southbound traffic. The driver was issued a summons.

Locked Out:
A Tompkins Road woman was locked out of her house on the morning of 1/28. A firefighter cut his hand while trying to open her garage with knife and was unable to get in. He suggested that the woman call a locksmith.

Lee Wha at the New Star Market at 760 South Central Avenue called police at 1 am on 1/26 to report a possible break-in. A screen had pried away from a rear window and portion of the window was broken. A small chair had been placed beneath the window and may have been used by someone attempting to get access to the window to break-in. However the owner did not notice anything missing from the store.

Road rage on Central Avenue: On Wednesday morning 1/27 two drivers got into a dispute when Albert Marku of the Bronx noticed that he was being tailgated by a black Honda, driven by Mark Rasulo of Yonkers. Marku tried braking but the Honda continued to pursue him so Marku threw coffee out the window and eventually stopped, got out of his car and approached Rasulo. Marku also called 911 to report that an aggressive driver was following him. Greenburgh Police directed him to call Yonkers Police to mediate.

Navigation devices were stolen out of two cars parked at a Roxbury Road home sometime between 1/7 and 1/28. The owner reports that the cars were left unlocked in the driveway.

Found: On the afternoon of 1/30 a black Toyota Camry was found parked in front of 196 East Hartsdale Avenue with the keys in the ignition and the radio on. Police were unable to contact the owner so they took the keys back to Police Headquarters.

Mayor Carolyn Stevens gave an update to the Neighborhood Association Presidents on Monday night 1/25 and in addition to her insights shared a tin of her homemade shortbread cookies dipped in chocolate. The cookies made it worth the trip to Village Hall on a rainy night and we hope she shares her recipe with

Speaking of rain, the Village is due to receive $1.5 million in county funds this week to be used to clean up and repair the watercourse that extends from George Field Park down the Post Road to Brewster Road and Harwood Court. Now Scarsdale will need to match the grant by raising another $1.5 million through a bond sale. Once the funds are secured we can solicit bids and proceed with the work. The sooner the better …take a look at the flooding in the high school parking lot from Monday’s rain.

In other Village news, the Mayor will appoint a new advisory board to examine our historic preservation law. The current statute has not been effective in preserving village homes and neighborhood character. The advisory board, to be headed by Lucas J. Meyer, will listen to ideas from the community, examine preservation laws from neighboring towns and formulate a new policy that will strike a balance between owner’s rights and preserving Scarsdale’s unique character. A first step in the process will be an assessment of the neighborhoods of Scarsdale to be done in coordination with the Town and Village Civic Club’s Neighborhood Character Committee.

The reconstruction and expansion of the Popham Road Bridge is moving slowly with the real work to begin in March. Most of the work will be done at night as construction cannot be done about the train tracks during the day and 2-3 lanes for traffic should be open at all times. The entire project should take 20 months and the Mayor will schedule a meeting in February with Village residents who will be affected by the project. A new Chinese Restaurant called Rich Restaurant has opened on the Popham Road Bridge –but please don’t stop your car on the bridge to run in for food pick-up as you’ll snarl traffic.

Budgeting sessions for next year’s Village Budget are due to begin shortly. The Village has taken a hit on revenues as interest income has declined from $1.4 million to just $130,000. The Village will have to pay 55% more into the state pension fund for union workers and the reduction in our assessed value will also impact our revenues. There’s more bad news for Mamaroneck Strip residents who can expect another large tax increase.

What can be done about the large concrete wall on Weaver Street? The Mayor hopes that when the wall is faced with stone and landscaping is done, trees will make the retention basin at Heathcote Manor more attractive. And residents who have concerns about development at the Five Corners are encouraged to attend the Village Land Use Committee meeting on February 1 at 6:55 in the third floor meeting room at Village Hall. Developer Frederick S. Fish will be on hand to review his plans for development at 2-4 Weaver Street and to field questions from the community.

The CNC announced their selection of candidates for Village Trustee on 1/27/10. Three nominees were chosen; two to replace Trustees Dan Hochvert and Sharon Lindsay who will complete their second terms this year. Current Village Trustee Richard Toder was considered to serve a second two-year term.

The committee re-nominated Mr. Toder and selected Kay Eisenman and Jonathan Mark as their nominees to fill Hochvert’s and Lindsay’s seats.

Kay Eisenman, is currently serving her second term as Chair of the Board of Architectural Review and was previously the Chair of the Conservation Advisory Council. Ms. Eisenman has worked for the Westchester County Department of Planning as an environmental planner since 1989 and has given years of service to the Village of Scarsdale. She began her volunteer activities on the Greenacres and Middle School PTA’s, served on the Board of the Scarsdale Adult School for twenty years and then moved onto ten years on the Conservation Advisory Council.

She graduated Phi Beta Kappa from New York University, has a masters from Columbia University Teachers College and a Masters in Public Administration from the Robert F. Wagner Graduate School of Public Service. In her professional life she has been the Executive Director of the Westchester Municipal Planning Federation for the past eight years, working on county land use issues. She conducts environmental reviews for municipal projects funded by HUD and runs the Envirothon program for high school students. She has lived in Scarsdale for 40 years.

Commenting on her nomination, Ms. Eisenman said, "I am of course pleased and honored to have been chosen by the Nominating Committee to serve as a Trustee on the Board.  It was not something I ever imagined happening, so was surprised and not quite sure that I was up to the task, however the confidence others showed made me feel that I should give it my best shot.  I think the Village is run in a way that should make all of us proud to live in it, and I intend to do my best to contribute to that effort."

Jonathan I. Mark, a corporate lawyer and partner at Cahill Gordon and Reindel is another Scarsdale veteran. He has lived in town for 34 years and grew up here, attending the Griffin Avenue School, Quaker Ridge and Scarsdale High School. He attended college at Dartmouth and holds a law degree from Columbia. He has worked at Cahill Gordon and Reindel for 34 years, and as a partner there for 28 years.

He is a member of many community organizations and was a founding member of the committee to build the Scarsdale Community Center, member of the Heathcote Five Corners Coalition, as well as the Scarsdale Alumni Association, the Scarsdale Baseball Club and Westchester Reform Temple.

Richard Toder has been nominated to serve a second two-year term as Village Trustee. He is also an attorney and has served on many Village Boards and Committees including the Scarsdale Foundation, Village Board of Ethics, President and Member of the Scarsdale Board of Education and the Board of Appeals.

He has an undergraduate degree from Columbia College and a JD from Harvard Law School.

Congratulations to the candidates and a thank you to the members of the Citizen's Nominating Committee for your commitment to Scarsdale.

Frederick S. Fish, owner of the Bistro Citron building (a.k.a. the Heathcote Tavern) at 2-4 Weaver Street has been in negotiations with the Village on the terms for developing the site for commercial use and residential units for several years. In order to facilitate the development Fish has asked the Village to sell him the adjacent parking lot. The agreement he hammered out with the Village Board last year called for a building no larger than 27,000 square feet, protection of the tavern building from demolition for fifteen years, age restricted housing and a limitation on curb cuts on Weaver Street.

At the time, the Heathcote Five Corners Coalition, a group of 190 families who are monitoring development at the Five Corners along Weaver Street urged the Trustees not to sell the parking lot to Fish as they feared that new development of the property would bring additional congestion to an already crowded intersection. They called for an environmental impact study and a traffic study before the sale of the land and approval of the site plans for development. At the time, several Village Trustees warned that if they voted against the sale of the parking lot, Fish might withdraw his agreement and the Village could be faced with a far less favorable plan in the future. At a June 23, 2009 meeting the trustees voted to send the land sale proposal back to the Village Land Use Committee for further study and Fish responded by withdrawing his plans

Now, after Bistro Citron has closed and Fish is sitting on an even more unprofitable property, his lawyers have come back with a revised agreement for the Village with terms that some residents may find even more distasteful than the original. The letter, from Fish’s lawyer’s, Zarin and Steinmetz urges the Village Board to take action on the land sale of the parking lot and outlines some revised terms for the development of the building:

-The residential units would not be “age restricted” which means that the units could be occupied by families adding more children to our school system. Why? The letter states that Fish will not be able to get financing for the project if it calls for age restricted housing as “ their lending institution will simply not agree to limit the market of these units any more than necessary in this economic climate.”

-The design team has prepared several alternatives, however in their main alternative plan, the building would be larger than the June agreement. The new wording limits the size of the structure to 27,000 square feet of residential floor space, not including areas for parking, hallways, common rooms, elevators and the like.

-Rather than limit the building to 14 units, two additional units could be built in the space now occupied by the restaurant.

-Limitations on the use of the tavern building have been eliminated, opening the door for more residential units, or businesses that could bring additional traffic to the area. Though the current lease of village land to the tavern owner requires that a restaurant be maintained, the new agreement does not call for the operation of a restaurant.

- Only the façade of the tavern building would have to be maintained. The interior could be altered or gutted and there are no use restrictions for the building.

-While the previous agreement required the developer to get the County’s permission to allow access from the parking lot to the Heathcote Bypass to alleviate traffic to the Five Corners, the current one does not. The letter states, “Due to the recent traffic analysis establishing a reduction in traffic levels at the Five Corners, and the estimated costs of pursuing a connection over the Subject Property, the Contract of Sale shall not be contingent upon F.S. Fish pursuing an agreement with Westchester County for access from the Subject Property to the Heathcote Bypass."

The letter then states that if the Village does not agree to these new terms by Monday February 22, 2010, Fish will pursue other “as-of-right” options. Without the Village parking lot they contend they could demolish the tavern building and replace it with 12,000 square feet of ground level commercial space and 12 residential units, as they believe there is ample space to build a parking structure to meet zoning requirements. Furthermore, Fish has discussed “an affordable housing option with Westchester County” for the site.

The Village Land Use Committee will hold a meeting on Monday February 1 at 6:55 pm in the third floor meeting room of Village Hall to consider the new proposal. Trustee Sharon Lindsay has invited Fish and his representatives to attend the meeting to present their proposal and field questions and comments from the Village Board and the public. All concerned members of the community are invited to attend.

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