Friday, Jun 02nd

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.

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.

Employee Stirs up a Fuss At Panera: Derek Riviera, a disgruntled employee did some damage to the Panera Bread Factory on Central Avenue on the afternoon of 1/18 when he came by to pick up his paycheck. Riviera was bad-mouthing the manager to another store employee when the manager asked him to “make this his last day in the store.” This incited Riviera, age 21, to yell, scream and break dishes and containers. The manager asked him to leave the store and Riviera threatened to “come back and get him.”

Rogaine?: A woman took four containers of men’s Rogaine from the CVS store on North Central Avenue on 1/12 and left the store without paying. The woman is described as 5’2”, 175 pounds, wearing a white jacket, a pink hat, blue jeans and white sneakers. She was carrying a white bag bearing a pink heart. She fled north on Central Avenue on foot and police noted that the crime matches a similar theft at the CVS on Knollwood Road on 12/10.

Larceny: Best Buy on Central Avenue was also the subject of thievery. A witness at the store was in the bathroom and heard someone opening packages in another stall. The empty packages were then placed in the garbage. The witness took the empty boxes and alerted security who stopped the offender and examined his bag as he was leaving the store. The culprit fled but police picked him up on Central Avenue where he was identified as Gilbert Trotman, age 45 of New York, N.Y. He stole over $500 in merchandise.

Car Theft: A 2008 gray Toyota Highlander was stolen from a Highland Road home during the night of January 14th. A black plastic bag was found on the lamppost in the driveway.

Fraud: A man with fraudulent identification attempted to withdraw $3,800 from the Chase Bank at 660 South Central Avenue on Saturday morning 1/16. He presented a New Jersey driver’s license and a Visa card, both bearing the name Steven Lerit, along with a signed withdrawal slip. The teller noticed that the driver’s license number did not match the number on file and furthermore that the license bore a phony hologram. She picked up the phone to summon the fraud department when the suspect left the bank and headed up Central Avenue. Police were not able to find the man and the bank froze the accounts of Steven Lerit in response to the incident.

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.

The Greenburgh Police have arrested a homeless man and charged him with the robbery of a woman on Tarryhill Way in the Fairview section of Greenburgh on Sunday night January 10th.  The 59-year-old female victim was approached by a tall black man wearing a dark ski mask. He shoved her and grabbed her purse. Police arrested Ricardo Laing, age 21 on Manhattan Avenue near Grand Street and charged him with robbery in the third degree, a class D felony.

Laing has nine prior arrests and two misdemeanor convictions.  He is currently on bail from Westchester County Court for Criminal Possession of a Weapon and Criminal Possession of a Stolen Firearm.  

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