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You are here: Home Section Table Around Town Candidate for Village Trustee Lena Crandall Champions Scarsdale's Green Initiatives
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Candidate for Village Trustee Lena Crandall Champions Scarsdale's Green Initiatives

LenaCrandallCNCLena Crandall is running for Village TrusteeLena Crandall is one of three candidates running for Village Trustee on the slate of the Scarsdale Citizens' Non-Partisan Party. We asked her about her experience and views and here is what she shared:

Why are you interested in serving as Village Trustee
?

After close to twenty years as an active member of this community, I now have a broad perspective and understanding of the issues, opportunities and constraints in civic matters. Furthermore, my professional background as an attorney will be invaluable in analyzing, researching and discussing whatever topics may arise.

You have worn many hats as a volunteer in Scarsdale. Tell us about some of the things you have done, what has been most meaningful to you and why?

Just about every situation presented challenges. One of the most meaningful, however, was when my initiative with the Conservation Advisory Council and the Friends of Scarsdale Parks improved the stormwater work between Scout Field and Harcourt Road. Thanks to our collaborative efforts to bring updated environmentally sound engineering practices into the mix, the project incorporated the existing old-growth forest to naturally absorb and filter rainwater in a low-cost, aesthetically pleasing way. Without us, the woodland would have been replaced with an unsightly, old school stormwater basin. County Executive Latimer has recently come out in favor of more "green infrastructure" approaches like this to address stormwater management.

Many of us know you from your involvement with the Friends of the Scarsdale Parks: How did you become interested in plants, trees and landscape? What are some of the initiatives you spearheaded here? What other projects would you hope to see developed here in Scarsdale?

I grew up in a rural area in Upstate New York. The outdoors was always my playground. So, I couldn't understand why parents wouldn't let their children play in a wooded area next to the Fox Meadow ball fields. My curiosity led to the eventual discovery that this abandoned lot used to be an outdoor classroom. As I studied other outdoor classrooms, I also learned about stormwater management, arboriculture, and many land use-related topics.

The Friends of Scarsdale Parks heard about my efforts and invited me to join their board. I was quickly promoted to president. We changed the direction of FOSP from garden-tour organizers to stewards of our remaining public open spaces. We created a partnership with the Village to improve deLima Park with help from the little-known Parkland Reserve Fund and FOSP donations. Thankfully, the current FOSP Board has built upon this foundation to improve other areas in our Village.

In general, joint projects between our local non-profits, government, private businesses and volunteers yield better results with lower overall costs to taxpayers. One recent example is the Scarsdale Library renovation project. The Library volunteers have literally raised millions of dollars to renovate and expand this significant public facility. I am interested in seeing more collaborative efforts between local businesses, the Village and volunteers.

What are your thoughts about the proposed changes to the tree code?

The proposed legislation was studied by the Conservation Advisory Council, the Friends of Scarsdale Parks, an appointed working group of volunteers and staff, and subsequently modified in a series of public Board of Trustee Sustainability and Law Committee meetings. I listened closely to the remarks at the recent Public Hearing in Village Hall. There are reasonable concerns about safety in light of stronger, more frequent storm systems. The Village Board said that the law would be clarified to make it easy for homeowners to remove dangerous trees as of right, without a fee or replacement requirement. This makes sense: safety has to be the number one priority.

The new notice-of-any-tree removal requirement, whether it’s due to a hazardous condition or as-of-right, will provide useful data for future analysis. More importantly, the record of tree removals will also assist the Land Use Boards in their review of properties under development. The Village has already started gathering input from the Board of Architectural Review, the Planning Board and the Zoning Board of Appeals on this and other topics. Taking a further look at how other communities have approached this issue might also be instructive. There’s always work to be done in finding the right balance between the rights of homeowners and community considerations.

I hope residents will answer the Village Board’s request for more input by sending an email to clerk@scarsdale.com.

As you know, the entire Committee for Historic Preservation resigned in November. What are the issues with the current code and what would you like to see changed during your tenure? I attended the Village Trustee Land Use Committee meeting with former members of the CHP. They provided recommendations, which will be reviewed by the next Board of Trustees. I intend to contribute information from The National Trust for Historic Preservation with respect to rehabilitating homes to make them "useful and functional for contemporary living while preserving important historic and architectural features." However, the path to a solution to the issue of preservation is not yet clear and I look forward to participating in future discussions.

The need for sustainability and conservation is becoming increasingly important. What are some initiatives in these areas that are on your agenda for the Village?

Sustainability has different definitions. My view is that we must always strive to deliver essential municipal services in ways that are cost-effective, efficient and environmentally responsible. Scarsdale is already taking a leadership role with the weekly pickup of food waste, but there is more we can learn from other communities with respect to tree management (discussed above), healthy landscapes, pedestrian-friendly streets and other planning approaches to lowering our carbon footprint. The Freightway Project is a unique opportunity to bring the best of sustainable development to town. The key is to stay informed and in close communication with the community we serve.

Some say that residents are steering away from volunteering due to a decline in civil discourse. Do you think that’s a valid point? And if so, what can be done?

I've actually noticed an increase in attendance at Village Board meetings. But I am concerned that our residents who prefer civil discourse may be less inclined to speak up on issues that are important to them. My hope is to make Village Hall more accessible to all residents, whether they've lived here for a lifetime or a few weeks. The hallmark of the Scarsdale Citizens' Non-Partisan Party is that candidates are selected for their ability to not only work on the issues, but also with one another and the community on difficult topics. I have spent my years working in Scarsdale brining new voices to the table. As Village Trustee I will have more opportunities to encourage all residents, regardless of citizenship, to become involved in our democratic process. I hope to make it easy, meaningful and fun to live in our Global Village.

The Village election will be held on Tuesday March 20th. Voting is from 6 am to 9 am and noon to 9 pm at Scarsdale Library.

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