Neighbors Fear a Subdivision Will Cause Additional Flooding In Heathcote
- Thursday, 01 February 2024 12:49
- Last Updated: Wednesday, 14 February 2024 10:54
- Published: Thursday, 01 February 2024 12:49
- Joanne Wallenstein
- Hits: 1864
Though the Scarsdale Trustees imposed a moratorium on some land use applications earlier this month, several projects that were already in the works are still under consideration as the applications were filed before the moratorium was imposed.
At a lengthy meeting on January 31, the Planning Board held a hearing on a proposal for a
subdivision at 46 Lincoln Road and 101 Carthage Road that would covert two lots into three. The Board spent two hours questioning an engineer and the developer’s attorney about plans to relocate an underground watercourse, remove 44 trees and build a third house in an open lot between the two existing lots.
The hearing had been rescheduled as insufficient notice of the meeting date was given when the Village newspaper suddenly ceased publication.
Representing Developer Raj Krishnan, attorney Lucia Chiocchio of Cuddy and Feder explained that the house at 101 Carthage Road would be removed and two new homes would be built. There is an application pending with the Committee for Historic Preservation to take down 46 Lincoln Road and if passed, a new home will be built there as well. All three lots meet the minimum lot size requirements. The three new homes would face Carthage Road and retention basins would be buried in the front yards.
In order to regrade the properties and improve drainage, the developer is seeking approval for “land disturbance within the adjoining property buffer.”
The plan includes the relocation of an underground water pipe that gathers water from surrounding properties and catch basins on 46 Lincoln Road. According to the attorney, the watercourse was original an open stream but was buried at some point between 1954 and 1976.
The engineer explained plans to move the water course into the Village right of way along Carthage and Lincoln Roads and to make it a part of the Village’s drainage infrastructure. The new pipe would be 42 inches in diameter and Senor said it would reduce the velocity of water coming off the property by 35%. Senor said, “The new stream would be wider and rougher and slow down the water velocity.”
According to Village Engineer David Goessl, “The Village Board would need to approve a resolution to put the watercourse in the Village right of way.”
Questioned as to why the property appears to be very wet and “ponds” during rainstorms, Senor claimed that a series of catch basins on the property were not maintained and that the existing pipe was corroded. The new home would be built on the site of these catch basins so he claimed there would no longer be an issue.
The engineer fielded additional questions about the plan. Since there would be very little distance between the driveways of the two new homes would there be a median for planting? Given the 8 foot difference in elevation between the proposed new homes, Senor explained that a retaining wall that rises to a height of four and a half feet would be built between the two. Goessl asked if the driveway would be wide enough for a car to turn around and get into the garage bays. About the disturbance of the buffer, Senor pointed out that since the properties are adjacent, some of the disturbance would be between the two new properties, but pointed to other areas abutting existing neighbors where regrading would need to be done in the buffer area.
Landscape Architect Walter G. Nestler explained that the property includes 98 trees and they plan to remove 44 trees and retain 54 trees. Some trees are coming out due to the rerouting of the stormwater pipe. They will replace the 44 trees with 67 trees. About the canopy trees he said, we will replace some of them with natives, but they will not grow to the height of the current ones “in my lifetime.” He said some of the trees that will be removed are invasive or dead.
Residents waited over two hours to comment and some left before they had the chance to do so. They questioned the engineer’s plans to redirect the water and presented a different picture of the current water issues that already plague their streets and homes.
Jay Cannell of 121 Carthage Road read a letter from Eric Tepper of 26 Lincoln Road, which is five houses upstream from 46 Lincoln Road. Tepper said he has lived on Lincoln Road for 21 years but there has been considerable flooding only in the past five years. He said he experienced $40,000 in damage to his basement and his gravel driveway was washed away. He said, “This was despite assurances that subdivisions would not affect my house.” Referring to the current proposal he said, “I see no evidence that we will not have incremental water damage. The property is below street level and has its own water issues. I do not see any benefit to the community. The only benefit is the monetary value to the developer.”
Canell said he has been on Carthage Road since 2006 and spent $700,000 addressing his water issues. About the proposed development he said, “The three houses are going to look ridiculous – look at the house on Carthage Road -I am amazed that it is legal to have a house that close to the road….. What is going to happen to the houses downstream that they are tapping into? I am the second house in from the left from Mamaroneck Road (121 Carthage Road). All the water comes downhill. Now you are taking more water and putting it into the current system. You are allowing too many houses to be built. The problem in Scarsdale is there is too much water overflowing into the existing houses. We didn’t have floods when I was growing up here. If you add new developments – what about the damage you will do to other peoples’ houses?”
About 46 Lincoln Road he said, “That area was a lake – they built it over water. Is the builder willing to cover future losses? Is the town going to take responsibility. Why are we building three houses? Money. … We are going to proceed with legal action if we have adverse effects. I love the term 100-year storm – we have had 9 of them. This should not be approved. The water can’t go anywhere.”
Diana Hurwitz lives on Fayette Road behind 46 Lincoln Road. She said, “I object to any work being done in the property buffer behind my house. The water has become a bigger issue for us and our neighbors. Does not make sense to take land where there is ponding and build on it? There have been two homes there separated by a damp, area. Building there will compromise the neighbors’ properties. There has been no improvement to our stormwater system and we continue to build. If the Village foolishly agrees to this – is the Village going to be responsible for the increased flooding? Senor worked on a subdivision across the street and both homeowners have had 100’s of thousands of flooding in their homes. If greed wins and this is approved I believe there should be an independent civil engineer, and a bond to reimburse neighbors.”
Jason Yellin of 104 Carthage Road said I lived here since 2012 on a subdivision. The home was constructed in 2008. I would be across the street from the relocated pipe – we will be above it.
But what’s going to happen downstream? The water is getting higher and higher.
I am worried about Lincoln and the bottom of Carthage. Focus on the downstream impacts.”
Nelson Soares of 49 Lincoln Road said, “The stream goes underneath Lincoln and between 47 and 49 Lincoln Roads where it overflows. We have had sewage issues. In the last few years this has happened many times. We have had more problems in the last 5-10 years.”
Samuel Blakely of 47 Fayette Road said, “Every time it rains the storm drains flood. The water collects in the open lot on Lincoln Road – and releases over time. If they build a house there, there won’t be a place for the water to collect. This would cause the rain to go right into my yard – there would be more water storage to catch and release. My basement is flooded because of new construction.”
Marcia Helbling of 42 Fayette Road spoke about neighborhood character. She said, the charge of this board is to “Impose design conditions to ensure that buildings are built in harmony with the community. I live next door to 44 Fayette Road – it is in size and color non-conforming. It is very upsetting to live next door to that. This builder has lost all credibility that he will build something that conforms.”
Jack Miller of 45 Fayette Road said, “I didn’t see the notice until Thursday.” He showed a series of historic village maps that included a pond at the present site of the Heathcote School and an open watercourse that ran from Lincoln Road to Crossway Field. He said, “there is a rare opportunity to restore an historic waterway … There is a stream that goes from 50 Lincoln Road to the firehouse.” In a letter to the Planning Board he said, “The thought of re-routing a watercourse off its long-time course could be catastrophic. To people who live in the area.”
Discussing the house he said, “46 Lincoln is a Usonian style house modelled after Frank Lloyd Wright’s Falling Water. The open stream was a feature of the house. The stream is still there but sometime in the 1970’s it was covered over. Relocating this stream makes this a tricky site. I know how I would vote on this if I was in your shoes. Three houses here would be detrimental to the neighbors.”
Jessica Bandel said she lives “adjacent to 101 Carthage Road.” She said, “We all have to live with the flooding. I do not consent to any work in the property buffer. She urged the Planning Board to “make the ethical decision.”