Sunday, Apr 14th

HammerMayor Justin Arest opened the meeting of the Scarsdale Village Board on May 23, 2023 by highlighting the following events:
- Memorial Day Parade on Monday (5/29/23) at 10:00 am at Chase Park
- National Gun Violence Awareness Day on Friday, June 2 at 2:00 pm at the Village Hall
- Scarsdale Music Festival on Saturday, June 3 from 12:00 pm to 7:00 pm at the Scarsdale Village Center.
- A new Farmers Market opening on Sunday, June 4 from 9:00 am to 1:00 pm in the Village
- Pool opening on Saturday (5/27/23) from 9:00 am to 7:00 pm at the Scarsdale Pool Complex

Building Code

The main business of the meeting was to discuss changes to Scarsdale code regarding unsafe buildings.
In May of 2020, the State of New York amended the Uniform Code and Energy Code, requiring local governments to update their code enforcement programs via local law by December 30, 2020. Scarsdale was quick to make the required changes, but the existing Unsafe Building Law is not comparable to those of other municipalities. The Village Board of Trustees recognized the importance of implementing additional procedures and definitions to identify and address unsafe structures, buildings, and equipment that create conditions of imminent danger.

The Board held a public hearing to consider the proposed law that would replace Chapter 132, Article 7 of the Scarsdale Village code of unsafe buildings and structures.

The proposed law:

- Includes more definitions of what constitutes an unsafe building or structure.
- Addresses unsafe equipment in the same manner as unsafe buildings and structures.
- Increases reporting requirements when an unsafe building, structure, or equipment is discovered.
- Authorizes for the Building Department to demolish unsafe buildings, structures, and/or remove unsafe equipment from a property when the owner fails to respond within the time given in the notice to correct.
- Decreases taxpayer burden by providing the Village with increased options to recover the cost of remediation or demolition.
*The full law can be found here

New Village Planner

Kellan Cantrell, a planning professional with nearly seven years of experience in municipal planning, and a Master of Science in City and Regional Planning was appointed as Village Planner, replacing Greg Cutler.

Assistant Village Clerk

The Board of Trustees appointed Charles Hessler, Assistant Village Manager to be appointed as Deputy Clerk. Hessler’s primary role will continue to be Assistant Village Manager, but this additional appointment will enable the Village to have coverage in the event that Village Clerk Emanuel is not available to perform one of those statutorily required functions.

Voter Fraud?

During Public Comments Marybeth Sullivan who lives in White Plains and represents a group called New York Audit spoke about the integrity of the elections in NY State. NY Audit claims that the state elections cannot be validated.

She said, “There are 21 million voter registration entries on the roll and there are:
- Records and registrations with empty addresses.
- Voters with registrations after the registration cutoff date that still voted.
- Voter records that have been purged and are still voting. “

Sullivan then claimed that she will return and when “…you hear the numbers we have discovered, you will be alarmed.” As a preview, she stated that there are 900,000 voter records on our roll, which were never active. These records entered the role and were then purged.

Screen Shot 2022 10 21 at 10.58.15 AMPhotographer Robert CapaAttention history and photography buffs: A new exhibition space has opened in northern Westchester to showcase photography exhibits and serve as a place where people gather to create, view and learn about photography. Their mission is to “inspire visitors to participate in the creative process by illustrating the power of photography as a catalyst for social action.”

Named The Capa Space, after famed war photographer Robert Capa, the museum stands on the grounds of a Quaker Meeting house adjacent to a bucolic cemetery in Yorktown Heights. Members of the Capa family including Robert, Cornell Capa and family members are buried on the grounds, giving context to the presence of a photo exhibition space named for Robert Capa.

On display now are over 50 photographs taken by Capa whose stunning works captures the SpanishSoldierSoldier Saluting at Farewell Ceremony for the International Brigade Photo by Robert Capa from the Robert and Cornell Capa Archive ICP/Magnum Civil War, World War II photos of the landing on D-Day, and WWII in Sicily and France. Also on view are Capa’s final photographs of Vietnam where Life Magazine sent him to document the war in Indochina. Informative signage under each photo offers a chronicle of world history and a look at the art of photography before the birth of digital imagery and the iPhone.

Also included are photos of Capa’s glamourous friends including Ingrid Bergman, to whom he was engaged for a brief time.TheCapaSpaceThe Capa Space

The Capa Space is the brainchild of Yorktown resident and artist Elise Graham. She sought to share her mission to use art to inspire change by opening the exhibition space and bringing world class photography to a local setting.

The gallery will host several exhibits each year, along with special events, dramatic performances, films and lectures. It is open to the public and welcomes visitors. Click here to learn more about the space and to plan your visit.

SoldierSoldier Saluting at Farewell Ceremony for the International Brigade Photo by Robert Capa from the Robert and Cornell Capa Archive ICP/Magnum

ShowOpeningThe opening of the Robert Capa show on April 8, 2023.

 

ivyThis article was submitted by Madelaine Eppenstein President of the Friends of Scarsdale Parks

English ivy, an aggressively invasive, non-native evergreen vine, is literally engulfing and destroying Scarsdale’s majestic shade trees and evergreen conifers. While some consider an evergreen cover on tree trunks to be attractive, allowing vines to grow on trees is dangerous and potentially fatal to even the largest mature tree. English ivy is considered an “invasive species” in New York State, defined as “non-native to the ecosystem under consideration. . . whose introduction causes or is likely to cause economic or environmental harm or harm to human health.” Ivy blocks sunlight from reaching a tree’s own leaves, which weakens the tree by impeding photosynthesis. Ivy usurps nutrients and water from soil, depleting a tree’s resources. Adding significant weight to tree branches, ivy makes them more susceptible to damage from high winds, heavy ice, and snow.

We urge Scarsdale’s homeowners, landscapers, and government to take action to protect village trees from English ivy vine damage. Besides the enormous cost of removing dead or dying trees, losing trees means losing the significant environmental services that trees provide to filter air by capturing carbon and releasing oxygen, slow and absorb runoff and flooding, cool homes in summer, and provide food and shelter for songbirds and other wildlife.

To save our trees residents can help remove destructive ivy and other invasive vines and prevent further injury. This is the technique favored by Friends of Scarsdale Parks, Inc. (FOSP), the environmental nonprofit active in Scarsdale since 1957, and practiced by other local groups including the Bronx River Parkway Reservation Conservancy.

Using pruners, loppers, and hand saws to cut the vines, remove and discard a section approximately 12-24 inches long on the lower part of the trunk, taking care not to damage the tree’s bark. Do not pull the remaining ivy off the trunk, as this may damage the tree or cause upper tree branches to fall. While some experts have recommended painting the cut ends of ivy with pesticide, this should be done only by professionals and avoided due to the health and safety dangers of pesticides as acknowledged in the recently codified Village policy banning most uses of pesticides on public property.

Before tackling the ivy, make sure you can distinguish English ivy and avoid contact with poison ivy. Wear long sleeves, pants, socks, and gloves to protect yourself from poison ivy and ticks. Or instruct your landscaper to emancipate your trees now as part of spring clean-up, or any time after the tree leaves have fallen in fall or winter.

FOSP March 2023 Vine cutting session at the Harwood Park wetland restoration site along Brewster Road, attended by FOSP board members and student liaison, Scarsdale HS Garden Club members, and two former Scarsdale mayors. Photos by Cynthia Roberts.

We invite the community to participate in the effort to save Scarsdale’s trees beginning with the trees on your own residential properties. Please contact us at meppenstein@eppenstein.com or 914-262-6656 if you have any questions, or would like to join in an organized community effort to save our trees from harmful vines. Learn more about English ivy and other invasive species, and find useful how-to information here and here. Join Pollinator Pathway by removing invasives, planting natives, and avoiding pesticides at https://www.pollinator-pathway.org/.

Madelaine Eppenstein, FOSP President
Cynthia Roberts, FOSP Vice President
Dr. Darlene LeFrancois Haber, Scarsdale Forum Inc. Sustainability Committee Chair

Justin ArestHere are comments made by Mayor Justin Arest at the Village Board meeting on May 9, 2023.

I would like to start my Mayor’s comments by inviting our Police Chief to address the board and community on the organized car theft rings that are impacting our region.

The Village has issued a press release with safety tips and will continue to look for ways to reach the community. We also need the help of the press and our neighborhood associations. We must be vigilant. Our PD is doing everything it can and we are fortunate to have them protecting us. We live in a very safe community but can’t take that for granted. We need to share the important safety tips from our PD including locking our car and house doors, bringing keys inside, setting our alarms and when possible, using installing exterior camera systems.

One of the priorities that we have discussed is making an even greater effort to ensure all that we do is considered through the lens of inclusivity. The Village’s Human Relation Council, under the leadership of Purnima Srivastava and Aubrey Phillibert have been working closely with Governance and Administration Chair Trustee Gruenberg and Vice Chair Trustee Ahuja who is also Board Liaison to the council. There will be more to discuss about the Council in coming weeks and the work they hope to accomplish over the coming year but tonight I want to express my appreciation for their work assembling a list of May celebrations that I will read tonight and the first board meeting of every month going forward.

May Celebrations:

Asian Pacific Heritage Month
May is Asian Pacific Heritage month in the United States. The month of May was chosen to commemorate the immigration of the first Japanese to the United States on May 7, 1843, and to mark the anniversary of the completion of the transcontinental railroad on May 10, 1869. AAPIHM originated in 1978 when it was passed as a singular week by Congress, designating it as the first week of May 1979 by President Jimmy Carter. President George H.W. Bush later issued Presidential Proclamation 6130 on May 7, 1990, making May 1990 the first Asian American Heritage Month, now known as AAPIHM. In 2021, a record 20 million Asian Americans were able to trace their roots to more than 20 countries in East and Southeast Asia and the Indian subcontinent. Village of Scarsdale celebrates this month with our fellow AAPI residents.

Older Americans Month
May is Older Americans Month, established in 1963 to honor the legacies and contributions of older Americans and to support them as they enter their next stage of life.  On this 60th anniversary of Older Americans Month, we honor our community’s senior citizens, whose lifetimes of hard work, devotion to family, and commitment to community have laid the foundation for the community we are today.

Jewish American Heritage Month
May is Jewish American Heritage Month, which recognizes the diverse contributions of the Jewish people to American culture.  Jewish American Heritage Month originated in 1980 when Congress passed a resolution, which authorized and requested the President to issue a proclamation designating April 21-28, 1980 as Jewish Heritage Week. Following a series of annual presidential proclamations designating a week in April or May of each year as Jewish Heritage Week, President George W. Bush proclaimed May as Jewish American Heritage Month on April 20, 2006. Village of Scarsdale is enriched by the contributions Jewish Americans make to this community

Mental Health Awareness Month
May is Mental Health Awareness Month (or Mental Health Month), which aims to raise awareness and educate the public about mental illnesses and reduce the stigma that surrounds mental illnesses. Mental Health Awareness Month was established in 1949 to increase awareness of the importance of mental health and wellness in Americans’ lives and to celebrate recovery from mental illness. I want to add here that I met with Jay Genova, director of SFCS, earlier today and he asked that I let the community know there is no waiting list to see a mental health professionals. They are available to meet with you and if you need any help, please do not hesitate to reach out to them right away.

Cinco de Mayo
May 5: Cinco de Mayo, a Mexican holiday commemorating the Mexican Army’s 1862 victory over France at the Battle of Puebla during the Franco-Mexican War (1861–1867). This day celebrates Mexican culture and heritage with a variety of festivities, including parades and mariachi music performances. More popular in the United States than Mexico, Cinco de Mayo has become associated with the celebration of Mexican-American culture. Celebrations began in California, where they have been observed annually since 1863.

Lastly, I am happy to recognize Food Allergy Awareness week. I have a proclamation to read… This is not the first year that we have recognized this issue, in fact it has been a number of years now and I want to thank Deputy Manager Marshall for her support in putting this together.

Before I turn it over to the Manager for his comments, I also want to update the community on a work session schedule going forward. Of course, there are many important projects that are being evaluated and much more work on community priorities to come. We have met twice as a Board to discuss community priorities and the ball is now in the Manager’s court. Staff’s input is vital to how we move forward. They will help us understand the required resources for each goal and help us ensure we are moving forward in the most effective and efficient ways. The expectation is for at least some of that information to return to the board in the next week or two and to have more information on scheduling of Board work sessions on specific topics at our next board meeting.

As for the Pool Project and our current facility:oldpool

• The Scarsdale Pool Complex is scheduled to open Saturday, May 27. We can’t wait to welcome everyone Memorial Day Weekend!


• We are very fortunate to have an experienced and dedicated team assigned to pool operations who will work all summer to give our residents the best experience
possible.

The Immediate Next Step for the Pool Project is additional research.

• Based on the results of the May 2022 survey, it’s clear there is significant interest among many residents in pursuing enhancements to the Scarsdale Pool Complex.
• In the near term, we have determined that additional information gathering is merited, given the estimated costs of a project of this potential scale.
• In-depth interviews will begin soon with municipal staff at pool complexes in several comparable communities throughout the country to analyze best practices,
design plans and sustainable models, as well as other financial and operational considerations.
• The findings from this phase will complement the consultant work completed to date and will help to inform our next steps for the project.

We Want to Hear From You!

• As always, community input and engagement remain a top priority.
• We encourage residents to continue to engage with us at Village meetings, ask questions, share opinions and offer ideas throughout the process.
• There will be more opportunities for residents to learn about the plans for the Pool Complex and provide feedback as the project gets underway.

I would like to emphasize that just because we are doing this additional work before moving forward into the schematic design phase, where we will work with the community to design the complex, does not mean that the time sensitivities previously explained do not exist. As I believe the community is aware, serious equipment issues would require improvements and substantial improvements would bring the complex under newer code. But, it still is not prudent to rush any part of this project. This is a generational opportunity and must be done the right way. This Board and I know the community appreciates our Parks and Rec team and their efforts to make the Summer of 2023 a great time to spend at our pool.

Appointments to Boards and Councils

Jennifer Fischman was appointed to the Library Board to fill the term vacated by Gary Katz. Her term will end on April 1, 2024.

Janice Starr and Eli Mattioli were appointed to an. expanded Board of Ethics.

Elizabeth Hoexter was appointed as an alternate to the Board of Appeals ending April 6, 2026.

Lynne Clark was appointed to serve on the Town Board of Assessment Review until September 20, 2024.

Resolution

The Board will hold a Public Hearing to revise law concerning unsafe building structures and equipment on May 23, 2023.

LegislatureGovernor Kathy Hochul’s much feared housing compact has been abandoned. The plan, which was a part of the NYS budget, was a major thorn in the budget negotiations and fell apart due to opposition from many quarters.

In Scarsdale and other suburban locations along the Metro North and Long Island Railroad lines, the plan would have cleared the way for large scale development within a half mile of the train stations by allowing builders to override local zoning code. Protections for the environment, stormwater, parking, and density would have been ignored to facilitate multifamily housing on what is now zoned as single home lots.

But it turns out that suburban legislators were not the only ones objecting to the plan.

According to reports, advocates for tenants were vying for protection from eviction and the plan failed to address their pleas. They were seeking a provision called “good cause eviction,” protection which would require landlords to show good cause before evicting tenants as well as limitations on rent increases, similar to rent control. Another proposed program would have provided rental assistance vouchers for homeless New Yorkers and tenants at risk of eviction.

The building unions were also opposed to the plan as it did not include fair wage and labor standards into the housing expansion.

Legislators from more densely populated portions of Manhattan, Brooklyn and Queens also opposed the provision in the bill that would have lifted the floor area ratio (FAR) requirement that requires residential buildings to be up to 12 times the size of their lot in what’s known as the density cap. This would have allowed developers to vastly increase the size of their projects and further crowd already packed areas.

Here are some comments from local leaders on the news.

Susan Douglass, President of the Scarsdale Forum who wrote a detailed position paper on the possible effects of the legislation on Scarsdale said, “ Governor Hochul has "shelved" the Housing Compact for now, in a strategy to get the already delayed State budget passed. According to published information from news sources, State Assembly and Senate leaders have been unwilling in budget negotiations to support part of Governor Hochul’s plan that would allow the State to override local zoning laws for new housing developments.

However, Governor Hochul and state lawmakers could still negotiate a housing deal in the legislative session, outside of the budget process. Therefore, it is incumbent upon Scarsdale to closely follow the process and be prepared to study and weigh in on any new proposals. Moreover, it may be prudent for Scarsdale officials, civic organizations such as the Scarsdale Forum and others, along with concerned citizens, to study and perhaps propose options to create new housing in Scarsdale, a portion of which might be affordable. This would put us in a position of being proactive rather than reactive.

State Assemblymember Amy Paulin who represents Scarsdale in Albany and fought against the compact said, “Thankfully, the Governor’s housing compact proposal was struck. I respect the Governor’s commitment and agree with her goal to increase housing in New York State. It is something we need. That being said I felt her proposal was untenable for our area, and for many areas throughout the state which could not withstand the proposed density and pace of housing development.”

State Senator Shelley Mayer said, "It is clear to me for some time that Westchester needs - and must have - more affordable housing if it is to continue to be a diverse, thriving county that supports a path to the middle class. That being said, I made it abundantly clear to my colleagues and our Senate Leader that the Governor's proposed Housing Compact, with its 3% growth target, transit-oriented development requirements, and overriding of local zoning, was the wrong approach to the issues we face. I felt strongly it was a top-down, one size fits all approach that failed to incorporate the views of local elected officials and homeowners and failed to acknowledge that many suburban communities in Westchester have been and stand ready to find ways to provide affordable housing in their communities. I spoke out and am pleased that the Governor ultimately withdrew her plans. I look forward to working with my legislative colleagues, Governor Hochul and our county and local leaders, to find constructive ways to increase the supply of affordable housing in Westchester."

And Melanie Spivak, who is on the Board of the Scarsdale’s Neighborhood Associations and rallied residents to write letters opposing the housing compact said, “Although there is a definite need for more housing, especially affordable housing, Governor Hochul’s proposal was an unrealistic solution. As always, one size solutions don’t fit all size communities. Increased housing density must be built in areas where the infrastructure can handle it, where municipalities can assure it can be built in the proper place, in a safe and environmentally proper location, without a time clock, and in a way that enhances the uniqueness of each community. Local control of our zoning laws and building requirements are imperative to protecting our unique village. I am grateful for the hard work and perseverance of Amy Paulin, who understands our community and represented Scarsdale in helping to defeat the Governor’s short- sighted housing proposal. I look forward to building housing in our community that enhances its qualities, not hurt it.”

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