Friday, Jul 12th

brokentreesAs of 6:25 PM the wind is howling and many more of you have reported that you have lost power. Most recently we were notified that Marjory Lane is out along with Quaker Center at Brookby Road near the Middle School. Acccording to residents in Edgemont, the power is out on Thomas Lane, Barclay, Edgemot, Ferndale, Glendale and Sheridan Roads. The Greenburgh police are reporting the following outages in Edgemont:

-Seely Place; from Henry Street to Wallick Close
-Clayton Road; from Sheridan Road to Underhill Avenue
-Edgewood Road; from Cross Way to Joyce Road

In Scarsdale Village, police have taped off a portion of Authreith Road where a tree may have fallen. In Greenacres, residents who live on Walworth Avenue between Berkeley and Claremont have no power and have been unable to report the outage as the Con Ed phone number is not working.

The area around George Field has also been hit. At 8 am a tree fell on Oxford Road and took out power to a few homes. The tree blocked the road until a crew came by to clear it. A few minutes ago, we got a report of three trees breaking on Windmill Circle. Nora Marino took this live action photo of one of the trees falling behind her home to share with you.

On Gorham Court a tree fell on the traffic island -- here is a photo from Randall Rainer of Brewster Road: treeongorham

Jon Leslie of Greenacres Avenue reported that a large tree fell at his neighbor's house and hit his home --take a look at these photos:
greenacrestree2greenacrestree

Please continue to send in storm reports and photos to scarsdalecomments@gmail.com.

 

 

feinerIn the wake of the Fortress Bible Church decision against the Town of Greenburgh, the Board of the Edgemont Community Council is calling for the resignation of Greenburgh Town Supervisor Paul Feiner and Town Councilwoman Diana Juettner.

In September 2012 the U.S. Court of Appeals upheld a decision that found that the Town of Greenburgh violated the constitutional rights of the Fortress Bible Church in its effort to build a new sanctuary and school off Dobbs Ferry Road in Hartsdale. The Church purchased the property in 1998 and the Town blocked its effort to move ahead for years with zoning and traffic safety challenges and illegal demands for a fire truck or a cash payment to gain approval. The court found that the Town destroyed evidence and acted in bad faith. They also said that Feiner’s testimony during the trial was “not credible.”

The Church is seeking $5 to $6 million in damages and the Town’s insurance carrier informed them that it would not cover damages arising out of willful legal violations.

Feiner has served as Town Supervisor for 21 years and this court decision is not the first to raise the ire of Edgemont residents who have been sparring with him for years over a wide range of issues.

Here are a few of these additional issues:

westhelp
Westhelp now stands empty

Edgemont residents have charged that they are paying unnecessarily high real estate taxes to finance duplicate services within the unincorporated areas of the Town of Greenburgh.

Residents also contend that Feiner has failed to rent out 108 apartments at Westhelp, losing the Town of Greenburgh at least $1 million a year.

In another recently filed lawsuit, a group of Greenburgh residents are objecting to Feiner’s proposal to lease the former site of Frank’s Nursery to Game On to build a 94,000 square foot indoor sports facility. They argue that the lease violates County law that states that property acquired through foreclosure must be sold and they are also calling for a full environmental review of the property which may be contaminated due to pesticide use by the nursery. Feiner has announced a Town-wide referendum on the lease despite the questionable legality of renting the property.

gameon365
Rendering for proposed Game On 365 facility

 

Below is a copy of the letter from the Board of the Directors of the Edgemont Community Council calling for the resignations of Feiner and Juettner. Learn more about issues concerning Edgemont here.

October 23, 2012
Town Supervisor Paul Feiner and Town Councilwoman Diana Juettner
From: The Board of Directors, ECC
Re: Your Resignations due to your actions regarding Fortress Bible Mr. Feiner and Ms. Juettner,

On October 1st, the ECC's Board of Directors met and unanimously voted to ask for your resignations due to your actions regarding the Fortress Bible Church. As the United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit wrote in unanimously affirming the district court's decision against the Town:

The district court found that Town staff, including at least one Board member, had intentionally destroyed discoverable evidence despite specific instructions not to do so.

The district court's comprehensive findings demonstrate that the Town disingenuously used SEQRA to obstruct and ultimately deny the Church's project.

We find sufficient evidence . . . to support the district court's finding . . . that the Town was acting in bad faith and in hostility to the project such that it would not have allowed the Church to build any worship facility and school.

The Town attempted to extort from the Church a payment in lieu of taxes, it ignored and then replaced its Planning Commissioner when he advocated on the Church's behalf, and Town staff intentionally destroyed relevant evidence.

… we conclude that on the record before us there was no rational basis for the Town's actions.

The original judgment of the district court followed a 26-day trial, during which Mr. Feiner testified and the judge found Mr. Feiner's testimony, particularly with regard to his supposed concerns about "traffic safety" to be "not credible." The district court also found that Town officials, including Mr. Feiner and Ms. Juettner had, through their actions over a period of years intentionally violated the constitutional rights of the church, in violation of the church's rights to religious freedom under the First Amendment and to equal protection under the Fourteenth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution and that, as a direct, immediate, and reasonably foreseeable consequence, their actions will cost Greenburgh taxpayers millions of dollars in damages, none of which, because their actions involved intentional violations of federal law, will be covered by insurance.

As you may know, New York State Public Officers Law Section 36 provides for the removal by a court of elected town officials "for any misconduct, maladministration, malfeasance or malversation in office." The cases in New York that have interpreted this statute state that removal from office under this statute requires a showing of either "self-dealing, corrupt activities, conflict of interest, moral turpitude, intentional wrongdoing or violation of a public trust." See Salvadaor v. Ross, 61

A.D.23d 1163 (3d Dep't 2009). In the Fortress Bible case, the Second Circuit Court of Appeals affirmed findings that Mr. Feiner and Ms. Juettner engaged in intentional wrongdoing in violation of the constitutional rights of a church, resulting in millions of dollars in damages. Such conduct clearly meets the requirements for removal from office under Public Officers Law Section 36.

Please do Greenburgh the ultimate service and resign from your posts.

This continued, willful misuse of the power of your positions is a terrible detriment to the community and should not continue.

For the Board of Directors,
Geoff LoftusPresident,
Edgemont Community Council

 

brokenwindowAutumn has brought more than fallings leaves and earlier sun downs to Scarsdale. Greenburgh Police report that burglars have returned to Edgemont and are preying on dark homes in the evening hours.On Sunday, September 29, the rear sliding door of a house on Pheasant Run was broken and the home was entered. However nothing of value appears to be missing. This past Saturday, October 6 another burglary was reported on Rock Hill Lane. The homeowner went out around 7:20 p.m. and returned around 10 p.m. to find a broken window in the bedroom and a number of jewelry items removed.

After these two burglaries in Edgemont in the past two weeks, police are warning residents to leave lights on when you go out and remember to activate your alarm.

Police have increased their patrol of Edgemont and urge anyone that observes any suspicious activity to immediately contact the Police Department at 682-5300 or 911 if it is an immediate emergency.

Residents who would like information on how to make their homes more secure or get involved in a neighborhood watch program should contact Police Officer Peter Dandreano of the Crime Prevention Unit at 682-5334 or pdanreano@greenburghny.com.

 

 

stainedglass2While Scarsdale Village Trustees convened in a meeting room on Monday night to discuss the building process, another drama was unfolding in Village Hall. The Board of Architectural Review was in session and one item on the agenda drew a small crowd of concerned Fox Meadow residents. They were there to voice their views on a home that was renovated at 48 Ogden Road.

Originally a ranch-style house, the home has been remodeled into a Tudor. But one element of the renovation did not comply with the approved plans. The design plans that were reviewed by the BAR included a large arched, mullioned window above the front door. That window was in keeping with the style of the house and approved by the BAR who has jurisdiction over the exteriors of renovations and new homes.

But rather than comply with the approved plans, the residents installed a large stained glass window featuring a blue ribbon, pictured above. stainedglasswindowSince it deviated from the original plan, the homeowners had to reapply to the BAR for design approval in order to get a certificate of occupancy for the house.The homeowner, Dr. Bayrakdarian, argued that the new window was beautiful, had personal meaning to the family and was very costly. He explained that the design for the window was derived from the emblem for the Ladies Aid Society. Elizabeth Blackwell the first female physician in the United States helped to found the society, which trained nurses during the Civil War and sent supplies to the troops. Bayrakdarian claimed it would cost $35,000 to replace the window and questioned why the Board and his neighbors could rule on matters of personal taste. He submitted photos of other stained glass windows on Tudor homes in Fox Meadow and said that the shape of the window conformed to the original plans. He asked if he could simply install a plate glass window and hang the stained glass window behind it inside the house. Appealing to the audience, he added, “my children are young and we want to live here in harmony with our neighbors.”

ladiesaidwindow
A Stained Glass Window at the Ladies Aid Society
A host of neighbors spoke and said that the stained glass window was not in keeping with the design of the house or the neighborhood. One said, “I feel for you but the original window that was proposed was beautiful and that’s not the one that was installed.”Another said, “Everyone here faces the window from our homes. It is not the right scale and it is not the right look. We all painstakingly restored our own homes and followed the rules. If the process had been followed we would not be here. We feel guilty, but the plans don’t match.”Others came to the Bayrakdarian’s defence. A Harcourt Road man said that he has lived in his house since 1976 and that the former home on the Ogden Road property was neglected. Referring to the new house and the window he said, “I personally like it …. it is a matter of taste.”

This is not the first time neighbors objected to the renovation. At a BAR meeting in March 2011 where plans for the house were vetted, a Fox Meadow woman said the planned house looked like a "faux Tudor" and voiced concerns about the building materials and lack of landscaping to screen the house. She feared the new house would "change the whole feel of the neighborhood."

After considerable discussion on Monday October 15, the BAR members voted on the amended plans and turned them down unanimously. The Bayrakdarian’s now face a choice – they can removed the stained glass window and substitute the window shown in the original plan or file an appeal to overturn the BAR’s decision.

malledCaitlin Kelly, the author of "Malled, My Unintentional Career in Retail" will appear at the Scarsdale Library on Tuesday, October 23rd at 7:30pm. Kelly’s new book was recently published in paperback and will also be published in China in March 2013. It's the story of the author’s two- plus years working for The North Face as a sales associate, and Kelly will be discussing the intimate, thorough and candid details of what it’s really like to work for $7 to 10/hour. "Malled" explains the global industry that Kelly was involved with in vivid and awe-inspiring detail – including accounts of factory workers committing suicide in China and Americans struggling to support large families, usually on part-time poverty-level wages with no benefits.

Caitlin Kelly’s work has appeared in The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, The Washington Post, Seventeen, Town & Country, Glamour, New York, and Sports Illustrated, among others. Visit www.caitlinkelly.com for more information about the author, and www.scarsdalelibrary.org for additional on the autumn 2012 speaker series.

The Scarsdale Public Library is located at 54 Olmsted Road, Scarsdale, NY, 10583. Phone: (914) 722- 1300. Website: www.scarsdalelibrary.org .