Heathcote Neighbors Tell Planning Board, "Enough is Enough"
- Category: Real Estate
- Published: Thursday, 30 November 2023 09:50
- Jordi Wiener
Stormwater woes were top of mind for residents of Lincoln, Carthage and Fayette Roads who came to Village Hall on November 29 to protest a proposed subdivision that they feared would bring additional flooding to their neighborhood.
The Planning Board met on 11-29 to consider a proposed three lot subdivision combining 46 Lincoln Road and 101 Carthage Road and creating a new lot in between the two. See the details here. Project Engineer Eliot Senor presented the plans with input from the applicant Raj Krishnan. Since the Committee for Historic Preservation is still weighing whether or not the mid-century modern house at 46 Lincoln Road can be demolished, the Planning Board assumed that 46 Lincoln would remain and that two new houses would be built on the two adjoining lots. At 101 Carthage Road the builder has permission to tear down the existing house and build a new one.
The Planning Board discussion centered on a watercourse that runs through the property and whether or not it should be enclosed, relocated and deeded to the Village for maintenance. It is currently piped with a corroded metal pipe and is not legal. The existing property includes a flat depression that is very wet and it was unclear whether this was due to natural conditions or the failure of the watercourse. This area would be the site of the house on the middle property. There were also questions about a requirement for a 25-foot setback from both sides of the watercourse.
Explaining his goals, the applicant and builder Raj Krishnan said, “We are building that community now. The topography is very challenging due to the bowl phenomenon. It does not make 46 Lincoln livable. The pipe is rotted and is not handing water well. We feel that it’s right to upgrade the pipe and make sure it handles the storm drainage through the property. We built houses on Carthage and Fayette and this drainage will affect it. This will make it optimal. Will allow 3 beautiful families to live there without flooding. It will optimize the entire community.”
In order to do the subdivision and build two new houses, 57 trees would need to be taken down. Senor said that his analysis of the trees showed that 11 are invasive species, 12 are deemed hazardous and 3 are in poor condition.
There is ample room to create three lots on the property. About the subdivision Krishnan said, “Another reason to create these three lots is that there are two subdivided lots across the street – and then this will fit in better with the community. It would optimize the aesthetic of the neighborhood. These lots are bigger than the ones up the street.”
Nine neighbors sent letters to the Planning Board in advance of the meeting and many spoke that night.
Jason Yellin wrote, “Carthage Road has been hard hit by major water and storm events over the years. Our basement was flooded with 26” of water during Hurricane Ida which required over $200,000 of water and mold remediation and remodeling that was not covered by FEMA relief funds or insurance. I recall watching the water shooting up from the storm drains on Carthage Road, directly across from our house in the middle of the proposed work area….. the water simply has no place to go as the Village keeps approving home renovations and larger homes with basements with no overarching water management goals or solutions.”
He continued, “We have tried to remediate water issues at our home through the installation of catch basin, French drains and pitch buildup around our house. We recently were forced to raise a basement door 6 inches off the ground. We have wrapped the cement foundation of our home twice since moving in 11 years ago. Honestly, we are out of ideas how to protect our home from the next major water storm. Noreaster, tropical storm or hurricane. Enough is enough…. It is unfair to ask the neighbors in this hard-hit area to shoulder this undue risk. “
Diana Hurwitz said, “There has been a tremendous shift in water and water issues. We have spent tens of thousands of dollars cleaning up after storms. Drainage has gotten worse. Water has come over the curb and gone into the sewers. I am opposed to the subdivision. We are graced with a beautiful midcentury home on the lot and a lot of green space that we all enjoy. We have been blighted by overdeveloped homes that are not sensitive to the neighborhood. 57 trees are a lot to lose for the neighborhood – I find it hard to believe that taking down 57 trees won’t have a negative effect on drainage.”
She continued, “This water diversion seems cockamamie – an underground watercourse is hard to maintain. You should ask the developer to put up a bond for water issues for 5 years after the project so that we have somewhere to go.”
Elise Blatter from 93 Carthage said “Our neighborhood has experienced tremendous flooding – Ida was devastating……Overbuilding on heavily saturated land is irresponsible. Eliminating permeable land is negatively impacting our neighborhood. The structures that are going up are too large. There is no longer sunlight in our front yard… I am strongly against the subdivision.”
Jessica Bandel from 96 Carthage Road said, “Overbuilding large homes on small lots seems to be more frequent. I believe we need to change zoning code to prevent this… Our garage had two feet of water during Hurricane Ida. We have to use sandbags to prevent water from the sewer from coming into our house. How will adding three more homes help this? Developers have found loopholes to build homes that loom over neighboring homes. I believe there should be 2 not 3 homes there…. I would implore the board to leave the lot lines Design should be tasteful and fit into our beautiful neighborhood.”
Myra Saul of 5 Lincoln Road said that she has lived here for years but is now getting flooding in her basement. She said, “It is happening all over the neighborhood…. I strongly take issue with the kind of houses they are proposing…. I am completely against this subdivision.”
Elaine Weir of 138 Brewster Road said, “I love newly built houses but I am concerned with water issues, the loss of trees and the loss of open space. This would stress our water system. The new houses are set higher than the older houses which are getting flooded. We should stop subdividing in Scarsdale.
Marcia Helbling of 42 Fayette Road said she had previously spoken to the Planning Board about spoke about two houses at 44 Fayette and 92 Carthage. She said, “It’s the size of these builds I am concerned about. You can’t appreciate the scale of this on a piece of paper. I am concerned that the same thing will happen there. People stop me in the street to tell me what they think of 44 Fayette Road. She read a text from a friend that said, “Marcia – I passed by your corner.
What a monstrosity they built. I am sorry they ruined your corner of Scarsdale.”
She continued, “Water is constantly running in the sewer – my sump pump is constantly running. Water has to go somewhere. You have to appreciate the people who are here still and think about our homes.”
Jeannie Rosenthal of Innes Road said she grew up in Scarsdale and moved back here six years ago. She said, “I want to comment on the aesthetic. We have lost open space. I appreciated the variation in the home design. The design of these houses erodes the magic of our town. The subdivision feels like Levittown – it doesn’t feel like Scarsdale.”
Jack Miller of 45 Fayette Road said that the builder should also remove many dead trees that were not catalogued. Turing to engineer Eliot Senor he said, “I believe Eliot you once did an excellent job preventing a subdivision on this same site.”
He continued, “I love this town, I have been on this board and on the BAR – all four boards do different things. Everything is compartmentalized.” Turning to the plan he said, “You guys are looking at boxes. These are going to be big houses.”
He showed a photo of water bubbling over the curb in a rainstorm – and bubbling out of the sewer. He said, “Even when it’s not raining there is water moving through our neighborhood. We are getting homes with basements – where there were none. They dig 40 x 30 foot, ten feet deep basements.” He told the Planning Board that it is their charge to protect the neighborhood and said, “This is not protecting the ecological character of the property. If this stream fails it will take down Lincoln, Mamaroneck Road and even one of the new homes across the street.”
David Schwartz of Carthage Road said, “I live in one of the homes that is the subdivision across the street. We have terrible water problems. We have spent hundreds of thousands of dollars remediating the damage. About the subdivision he said, “Some things are meant to be left alone…. We look around at what has happened – enough is enough. Two new homes might be appropriate but enough is enough.”
Senor told the Board he would work on the drainage plan and the design and on calculations of water flow.
Raj Kirshnan responded to the neighbors saying, “As a community member I am sensitive to the issues that have been raised. This is the polarization of pro vs. anti-development. This has become so polarized. I would like to bring these two sides together. These are all problems. This meeting is about the subdivision. We would like to bring people together to talk about the big picture. He then addressed many of the speakers saying “Elise – your house is one of the tallest. Marcia is also part of a four-lot subdivision.” To which Marcia replied, “I am not part of the subdivision.” He said, “I am talking about bringing three families into Scarsdale to enjoy the amenities here.”
After discussion from the board, Planning Board Chairman Clapp concluded the meeting and said that the application would be held over to the January meeting allow time to get further reports and information.
He asked the applicants to provide justification about why the watercourse should be piped rather than open and for a plan that places it beyond the 25 foot buffer. He asked for more information about the soil condition, hydrolics and permeability of the flat middle lot that is now very wet. The board also agreed to move forward with a SQRA review which is an assessment of any environmental impacts of the project.
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Rebuilt in 2004, it all starts with the circular driveway leading up to this incredible Quaker Ridge Colonial with every bell and whistle. Two story entry with marble floor opens up to the dramatic living room with incredible windows overlooking the lush property. There is both a large dining room and breakfast room off the kitchen opening to the oversized family room with tray ceiling, loads of windows, and French doors out to patio. The chef's kitchen is complete with high-end appliances (Wolf gas cooktop and double ovens, SubZero refrigerator, 2 Miele dishwashers), granite counters, center island with gold bar sink and adjacent to mud room with pantry closet, laundry room and door out to yard. A cozy office/library faces out towards the front of the home and soaks in great afternoon sun and there is a beautiful powder room nearby with exquisite glass pedestal sink. The first level also includes a primary bedroom suite wing with dressing room (or nursery/bedroom) complete with closets and full bath, hallway with large outfitted closet, luxurious primary bath with double sinks, jetted tub and large shower, and the outstanding primary bedroom with tray ceiling, gas fireplace and Juliette balcony. Second level has another primary bedroom option with walk-in closet, Juliette balcony and ensuite bath plus 3 additional large bedrooms and hall bath with double sinks. Finished lower level above ground level includes 2500 square feet of incredible spaces for gym, playroom, 2nd family room with full bath, storage, and French doors out to stone patio and private yard. Special features include gorgeous hardwood floors, 4 wood burning fireplaces and 1 gas fireplace, amazing windows (palladium, bay, picture, skylights), multitude of French doors, 3 car garage with extra storage area, and beautiful walnut elevator which accesses all floors. One of a kind home not to be missed!
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