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scarsdaleoutageHowling winds overnight on December 24-25 knocked out power lines to 471 Scarsdale customers, primarily located in Fox Meadow. Power lines are reported to be down on Post Road and Brite Avenue

According to the Con Edison outage map as of noon on Christmas day, more work is required before they can provide an estimate of the restoration time.

As if this year had not brought enough misfortune, now about 8% of Con Edison’s Scarsdale customers will spend their holiday in the cold – and dark.

The utility reports that a total of 16,126 customers in Westchester County are without power.

If you have any information, please share it in the comments section below.... and send any storm photos to scarsdalecomments@gmail.com.

tree2A downed tree took out a trampoline on Murray Hill Road.

scent2Scarsdale’s new ScentFluence Aroma Design Studio provides immersive sensory experiences that will help you to energize, and de-stress, improve concentration and relaxation, as well as conjure beautiful memories and leaving your space perfectly scented.

Located in the heart of the village at 22 Harwood Court ScentFluence provides individuals with options to shift their senses to an entirely different level. ScentFluence offers a wide range of scents imagined and designed by owner, scent expert and Scarsdale resident, Caroline Fabrigas

They invite you to stop in and explore ScentFluence’s library where you’ll find over 60 entirely original scents as well as some easy to use and professional diffuser options to enhance any room and suit each person on your gift list.

Some unique holiday gifting scent options include pairing any of the scents below with one of ScentFluence’s ambient aroma diffusers;

For fitness fans – Get a boost with “Full of Energy.

Home schooling? – Give the gift of focus with “Peppermint” the historically known way to refresh your mind and elevating your focus. Pair with one of their USB scent sticks.

Create the sensation of a Home Spa – with “Clear Eucalyptus.

Find your balance with “Tree Pose” the latest yoga inspired scent for peace during the busy holiday season.

Need a gift for childcare helpers? Their newest scent, “Child’s Pose” delivers a sense of calm.

Rest easy with “Lavender Basil” - one of three lavender aromas crafted to help you wind down at the end of a stressful day.

Recreate the memory of a night by the fire with “By the Fire.”

Compliment the chef with an assortment of wonderful “Gourmand scents” such as Whipped Berries, Brownie, Bourbon and Cognac.

Try the perfumers secret they’ve been using with our client’s for years – the art of fragrance layering for your home! Contact them to learn more.

Phone orders, curb side pick-up and delivery within the local Scarsdale area available.

Other gift options include a selection of Apotheke candles, diffusers and soaps, NEST Fragrances + Pura diffuser holiday gift sets.

ScentFluence Aroma Design Studio also offers small, social distanced, private group scent library tours by appointment. These unique tours led by Caroline are informative and entertaining Scent Library tours are a great holiday gift or a wonderful way to celebrate any special occasions into the New Year and beyond. Call 914 338 5070 or email caroline@scentmarketing.org for your private appointment. Gift Certificates available.

Holiday Hours
Tuesday – Friday 11:00am – 6:00pm
Saturday 10:00-5:00pm
Sunday (thru end of December) 12:00pm-5:00pm

*Covid restrictions upheld and required.
www.scentfluence.com
Instagram @scentflunce
Facebook @scentflunce

ScentfluenceHoliday1

ScentLibraryThe scent library at ScentfluenceWith so many of us spending more time than ever at home, we’re embarking on home improvement projects, converting play spaces to workspaces and reconfiguring outdoor areas for year-round alfresco entertaining. However, there’s one element of your home environment that you may have overlooked. How does your home smell? When you enter are you greeted with the scent of a fresh bouquet or the stale odor of last night’s dinner?

That’s where Scent Fluence can help. In an age when many retailers are closing their doors, Scarsdale resident Caroline Fabrigas has taken a bold step, opening a unique aroma boutique on Harwood Court in Scarsdale Village. The store provides curated home scents and an array of atomizers to disperse these tantalizing aromas throughout your house.

Step into the store of a tour of their scent library where you can catch a whiff of a wide variety of fragrances from florals like Gardenia, Pure Rose and Bergamont to naturals like citrus, woody and ginger. Fabrigas explains that in her house they diffuse some Eucalyptus and another scent called “Full of Energy” to wake up kids who get sleepy after many hours on Zoom. For the holidays there’s Apple Pie, Berry Tart, Candy Cane, Cognac, Ginger Bread and Pumpkin Spice.AtomizersBattery operated diffusers are available in many colors.

Fabrigas reports that some customers are purchasing multiple scents and diffusers for different areas of their homes.

There are many scents to choose from and Fabrigas is also happy to curate a mix for you, based on what you find appealing. To diffuse the scents, there are atomizers in all price ranges, from a small battery operated device priced at $35 to more complex devices in all price ranges. There’s even a small diffuser that you can plug into the USB port of your car or home computer.

scent2Scented hand sanitizerThe scents and diffusers are unique holiday gifts and Fabrigas is offering grab and go gifts for the holidays. For as little as $50 you can have a unique gift for anyone on your holiday list.

Fabrigas has spent a lifetime in the beauty and fragrance industry and inherited this business when her husband suddenly passed away. She explained, “For the past eight years, I've been the CEO of Scent Marketing Inc., which I inherited after the sad loss of my late husband and Scent Marketing Pioneer, Harald H. Vogt. Scent Marketing Inc. is a full-service Scent and Sensory Marketing company that has become the trusted resource for Fortune 500 global brands such as Baccarat Hotel & Residences, 1 Hotel, Auberge Resorts Collection, Hyatt, Neiman Marcus, The North Face, Campari Brands and Citizen watches to name a few.”

Now she is offering these scents to customers to use at home in her first ScentFluence Aroma Design Studio.

Stop by Scentfluence at 22 Harwood Court in Scarsdale Village to tour their scent library. It’s a breath of fresh air.

Scent Fluence
22 Harwood Court
Scarsdale, NY 10583
www.scentfluence.com

freightwayAfter negotiations to build a transit-oriented development on the Freightway site reached an impasse earlier in the year, the Village was left with a deteriorating parking garage and the need to foot the bill for yearly maintenance and long-term repairs. Then the COVID crisis hit and the garage was abandoned by commuters and parking revenues for the Village virtually dried up.

Eleven months later, the Village still faces the same problems. Should we continue to invest in the preservation of the garage or build something new on the property?

Built in 1973, the 48-year-old structure requires yearly repair and maintenance in order to keep each parking level safe and functional for town residents. In 2002, the Village of Scarsdale invested over $1.5 million in the garage for necessary restoration and upkeep work. Since then, the town authorized various smaller scale financings for Freightway, including $88,000 in 2005 for security camera installations, $33,000 in 2016 for repairs to the top deck level, $100,000 in 2018 for drainage and brickwork, and $100,000 in 2019 for concrete repairs.

As we close out 2020, the Village of Scarsdale must make critical decisions on what the future of the Freightway Garage will look like. The Village Trustees are split on the matter, with some advocating for a pause on spending, some pushing for continuing yearly maintenance repairs, and others hoping to develop the property into something else entirely.

In 2018, seven development firms presented their preliminary visions for the future of the site. These plans included various combinations of improvements, with some creating residential units, increasing parking capacity, building retail and office spaces, and adding pedestrian bridges and plazas. These models generated enthusiasm from some who visualized the property as a key to revitalizing the downtown and bringing new residents to town. However others feared the impact on school enrollment numbers, additional traffic and the effect on the existing Garth Road retailers who would be impacted by a multi-year construction project.

After considerable dissent, in January 2020, these development plans were put on hold while the Village of Scarsdale weighed its options on how to proceed with the garage and the 2 acre site. 

On Tuesday December 7, the Scarsdale Village Board of Trustees held a meeting to discuss the future of Freightway Parking Garage via Zoom video conferencing. Attending the meeting was Jack Caliendo, a Senior Associate from Desman Associates, a firm hired to provide consulting engineering services and perform a condition assessment of the garage. Mr. Caliendo presented the Board of Trustees with a Condition Survey Report that can be found here.

The survey concluded that the garage is in “fair to poor physical condition... (with) cracks on the structural slab freightway1and traffic membrane observed throughout the parking garage.” Additionally, the firm reported that “the cracks and the failed caulk joints have permitted seepage of moisture into the concrete slab initiating corrosion of the embedded reinforcement and metal deck soffit” which then resulted in “deterioration of the supported concrete floors.” The report goes on to detail where the garage faces leeks, steel corrosion, clogged drains, and other maintenance and structural issues.

Mr. Caliendo estimated that the garage could last another 20-25 years if properly maintained. If the upkeep does not remain current, he anticipated only 10 years of future use. To plan for the future of the site, Desman Associates developed a course of action for the next 25 years that would cost an estimated $8 million. The first five years would focus on the most pressing structural fixes, waterproofing work, and drainage repairs. In later years, the firm budgets for necessary guard replacements, paintwork, and lighting and exterior improvements.

After Mr. Caliendo presented his findings and 25-year maintenance plan, several trustees expressed concerns about the cost of the project. Trustee Jonathan Lewis said that in light of Scarsdale’s current revenue challenges, he believes that the board’s efforts should be focused on establishing the budget for the next fiscal year. Trustee Lena Crandall echoed this sentiment and highlighted that “there are too many unknowns right now” amidst the COVID-19 pandemic. She suggested enlisting the Scarsdale Forum or the Scarsdale League of Women Voters to engage the community and suggest ideas for future uses of the garage.

freightway2.jpgTrustee Randall Whitestone endorsed this idea and emphasized that because we are still in the middle of the pandemic and a period of economic uncertainty, he does not think the town has the capacity to make any concrete decisions regarding the future of Freightway.

Mayor Samwick made one last attempt to restart the development process but was not able to convince others on the board. He said, “I agree with what has been said – but the potential for the Freightway site is an economic decision. Do we want to spend money on repairs – or do we want to look for a revenue opportunity?... We now have $2.4 million in revenue shortfalls in the present year and there will be shortfalls in the coming year. … There were concerns about the size and scope of previous proposals. If we don’t need that large a garage, this could have a positive effect on the Village. Let’s see if we can engage with the community. This is a fiscal discussion. What’s the harm of having some focus groups?

Justin Arest said, "Finding the best value for that site is important. This benefit would not come from many years – we need to discuss our situation now. I am concerned that we’re having these discussions when we don’t have the time for other serious discussions."

Looking at the future, Trustees wondered if work and commuting habits may have been permanently changed by the pandemic and asked whether a garage of this size would ever be fully occupied again. They discussed the need to generate revenue and ideas for alternate uses for the garage such as installing solar panels on the roof for a solar energy farm or renting out a few levels to a car rental company or an auto dealership. They agreed that more work was needed but that the Village budget, not the garage, was a priority at this time.

In conclusion, the Village of Scarsdale is currently stuck with an ailing garage and has no plans to move forward with either developing the site or investing in the necessary maintenance work. While the future remains uncertain, for the time being, the Freightway Parking Garage will stand unchanged.

yessignBerg lost his challenge to allow the posting of signs in the Village right of way.The court has ruled on Robert Berg’s claims challenging the constitutionality of certain provisions of the Scarsdale Village Code and alleging that Scarsdale Village denied him his First Amendment rights in connection with the enforcement of that local law barring the placement of signage in the Village right of way and the removal of signs from Village-owned property. In general, In Scarsdale, the Village right of way is 13 feet on either side of a paved road, or the first 13 feet from the curb.

In a decision filed on November 12, 2020, Nelson S. Roman, a judge for the Southern District of New York ruled in favor of the Village of Scarsdale finding that the Village code, on its face, is constitutional both under the Fourteenth Amendment (because it gives sufficient notice to Scarsdale residents about what “acts” are prohibited) and under the First Amendment (because it is “content neutral” and narrowly tailored to serve significant government interests ).

However, the court did grant Berg summary judgment on his claim that the Village violated his First Amendment rights by “selectively enforcing the signposting law against political speech relative to other forms of speech.” In other words, before 2018, the Village did permit the posting of political signs around the Village in the weeks before an election but barred any commercial signage. The court found that, if the Village enforces its code, it must be done uniformly for all types of signage.

The dispute dates back to January 2018 when voters were considering a $64.8 million school bond referendum. Berg and his supporters placed “Vote Yes” signs in the Village right of way in front of their homes and in other public places around the Village.

When police removed the signs, Berg sought clarification about the law and was told by the Village Attorney that it was “unlawful for anyone to place sign or advertisement on Village property without permission or authority. However residents can place signs on their property in the portion that is not owned by the Village.”

On February 6, 2018, Berg applied for a preliminary injunction and temporary restraining order to prevent the Village from removing any signs so long as they posted no traffic hazards and he was granted the injunction by the court.

Since February 2018 Scarsdale Police have complied with that injunction and political and commercial signage has been permitted on Village-owned land throughout Scarsdale.

The disputed Village code reads as follows:

“No person other than a duly authorized official or employee of the village shall post, attach or display any sign, notice, placard, poster or other advertising medium to or upon or over any sidewalk, tree, stone, fence, wall, pole, railing of other object in, along, upon or over any street, park or other public place in the village.”

At the time, in response to the injunction, a new provision was added to the Village code that required those who wish to post signs in the Village right of way to apply to the Village Engineer who was required to make a decision on the application within three business days.

Testimony from Village officials shows that the code was rarely enforced. It says, “For at least the past ten years, the Village has allowed for election signs to be posted on the grass area of the Village right of way for a period of time before the date of any election. If a complaint were received the Village would ask that the sign be moved from the right-of-way to one’s property.”

In January 2018 in response to complaints about political signs in the right of way, the Police told the Deputy Village Manager that they were going to collect all signs in the Village right of way in order to be consistent. Berg then applied for a restraining order and when he won it, the Village responded and ordered the police to cease from removing any signs in the Village Right of Way.

Here is a summary of Berg’s case:

Bergs first set of claims were that the provision was “impermissibly vague” and, thus, violated the due process requirement of the Fourteenth Amendment. Berg argued that:

-It did not state the Village right of way was approximately 13 feet from the curb.

-Since the code regarding signs was in a chapter of the code called “Littering and Handbills” that it was only intended to prevent litter, especially from handbills, i.e. not signs.

-It failed to define the words “obstruct’ or “obstruction.”

-The provision is vague because the Village never issued a permit to place a temporary political sign in the Village right of way.

-The provision fails to provide enforcement standards by which the Village Engineer is to evaluate the applications.

The court rejected all of these arguments and found that the provision was not vague and gave fair notice to “persons of ordinary intelligence” of what “behavior or acts” the Village was prohibiting.

First Amendment

The court then turned to the question of whether the Village code violated the First Amendment. Here is what they concluded.

-The court found that the Village code is “content neutral” because the provisions apply to all signs and obstructions without reference to their content or viewpoint.

-The court found that “some regulation of signage is permissible,” if it “is related to esthetic concerns which many courts have found to constitute a significant government interest.” In addition, the code “is intended to advance pedestrian and traffic safety which is in itself a substantial interest.”

-Finally, they found that the Village’s sign regulation clearly leaves ample opportunities for protected speech where it regulates the posting of signs only in public places and not on private property.”

For those reasons, the Court found that the challenged sections of the Village Code do not, on their face, violate the First Amendment.

Finally, the Court turned to Berg’s argument that the “discriminatory enforcement” of the Code violated his First Amendment rights. The court found that, until 2017, the Village did permit political signs to be placed around the Village – but did not permit commercial signage. They said that this extended “preferential treatment” toward political signs and discriminated against other kinds of signs. Any distinction between types of speech would be unconstitutional, but “content neutral” enforcement is permitted because it enforces the sign posting laws without consideration of content.

The court vacated the temporary restraining order that allowed the posting of signs in the Village right of way. The ruling says, “the Village is free to enforce the proscription against the posting of signs on public property, including the Village rights of way, as to all types of signs or as to none of them but it cannot selectively enforce based on whether a sign contains political, commercial or another type of speech.”

Commenting on the decision, Scarsdale Village Manager Steve Pappalardo said, "The Village is pleased that the Court agreed that the Village Code provisions were constitutional and enforceable. We’ll need to review the decision closely and further discuss the operational and legislative decisions amongst the administration, Village Board and legal counsel."

So, what’s the message for Village residents? If you have signs of any kind in the 13 feet in front of your house, move them or lose them!

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