Internet based journal created to document environmental and architectural conditions in Scarsdale under the non-partisan system governing. Read our efforts to preserve this town. Read articles Scarsdale10583.com or the local newspaper The Scarsdale Inquirer will not publish! Come to Scarsdale, see what a beautiful town this is worthy of UNESCO World Heritage designation. But our elected resident volunteers will not protect this town. We need your help to preserve it forever, for all !

Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Ogden Road, Sherbrooke Road

Pictures from today: 9 Ogden Road


and this is 10 Ogden Road where the developer wants to build two homes...

Here is something going on at Sherbrooke Road right around Duck Pond Road off of Heathcote Road..




Monday, April 29, 2013

Spring in the garden, 14 Fox Meadow Road

Here some pictures from my garden this spring:

Dicentra spectabilis or bleeding heart, you can see why...

 Viola Sororia "Freckles"



And a lovely home at 14 Fox Meadow Road not far from where I was invited earlier....

Sunday, April 28, 2013

NYC Preservation Laws

Dear Readers,

Please note current preservation practices in New York City:

http://www.nyc.gov/html/lpc/html/faqs/faq_designation.shtml

And most importantly:

What types of properties can be designated?
The Landmarks Law requires that, to be designated, a potential landmark must be at least 30 years old and must possess "a special character or special historical or aesthetic interest or value as part of the development, heritage, or cultural characteristics of the city, state, or nation."

I hope you find the site interesting and useful.

Important Village Board Meetings Coming up

Dear Readers,

There is also a Zoning Board of Appeals meeting coming up on May 8th continuing the assault on our environment and land. See the agenda here:

http://www.scarsdale.com/Portals/0/BOA/WEB%20BALA%2005%2013%20REV.pdf

None of this should be allowed any more...

Please note the Mayor has announced they will be holding a public meeting on May28th at 6:00 p.m. at Village Hall where they will be discussing among themselves this development issue.

Their discussions have to take place in public, so he announced this at the meeting itself. Too bad, the Village Calendar is not yet showing it as such, but as a Joint Meeting of the Land Use and Law Committees. The public may not comment, but is allowed to observe. In my experience at meetings of this nature, sometimes they do allow public comments.

If you can attend, that would be great !


From the Scarsdale10583 site, published as of Friday April 26, 2013

Here is what was published so far:



YOU ARE HERE: VILLAGE VOICES  WHERE IS THE VILLAGE IN A PARK?

Where is the Village in a Park?

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HeathcoteManorThis letter was sent to Scarsdale10583 by Lika Levi of Lockwood Road on April 16 and published here with some editing by the site administrator: Dear Editor: I continue to be concerned for the fiscal as well as the physical well-being of our dear Village that once was known as Village-in-a-Park. We may soon ask, "Where is the park? Where is the open space, where are the trees, where are the beautiful stately homes basking in the shade of age old stately trees? Where is all this? Where are the homes built in 1925, dignified, reserved, quietly elegant, understated?" They are all going one by one: just attend any of the meetings of the so called Committee for Historic Preservation. They approve demolitions.
In spite of so called regulation, buildings way too big for their lots are going up everywhere in our Village, just drive on Rock Creek Lane or even closer, look across Village Hall on Crane Road where instead of a historical building that was once there, now two big McMansions are reminders there of the inadequacy of our building regulations. Be present at any meeting of the Panning Board or the Board of Appeals if you need more examples, any month. Or, better still, to receive their agendas add your email address to the list serve from Village Hall.
Every mechanism seems to be here to regulate and stop such insult and yet every regulation everywhere is ineffective. They say democracy is not a spectator sport; this adage seems very relevant today in Scarsdale. Our history, our environmental values, our architecture, our neighborhoods, our trees all are up for grabs to the highest bidder every day at Village Hall. It is a very busy place.PalmerAvenue
Our volunteer and professional staff work long hours to safeguard our interest, and yet the developer seems to have the say at the end of the day. There are now drainage basins everywhere, wetlands are being built upon, lots subdivided, a real building boom going on in Scarsdale as lots are being divided every which way, boards approving all that come their way and the average tax paying citizen left in the cold of the harsh reality that our village is degrading our life-style deteriorating. There is now even a sewage tax imposed above and beyond all the other raises in our taxes above the CPI (Consumer Price Index) of course.
Nobody moved here to see more buildings or fewer trees. We moved here for nature, for our freedom, for the schools, for the bird calls, for the rabbit we see occasionally in our yards. Yet, these building practices are creating habitat loss right here in our backyards even as I write this. When the developer's backhoe hits the ground, it is the executioner's song. Turning a blind eye makes us robots. A Silent Spring (by Rachel Carson) is in the works.
Even though there is One Palmer going up at the intersection at Heathcote Five Corners, a huge monster, 2-4 Weaver Street is being planned. It is again on the Planning Baord agenda, this time as the first item on agenda for April 24th at 8:00 p.m. Their proposal is to add further insult to the injury: a building more than three times the size of One Palmer, this while selling village land at bargain price or no price.
While our taxes are going up: both school and village, while our roads are full of pot holes, while there is no provision to add to our green space to make more parkland... while the rest of the world is crying out, screaming about global climate change, carbon footprint, in the aftermath of Sandy and obvious repercussions of our damage to our environment, Scarsdale, the suburban community that first passed zoning laws in 1925, is now in 2013 building like no other.
If you think this is not right, if you would like to see a stop to this conquer and plunder mentality, please come to the meeting at Village Hall on April 24th at 8:00 p.m.
delimaLet the Planning Board know the only alternative to 2-4 Weaver Street is not to sell village land, but to acquire more to make a park there at that same location. After more than five years of negotiation that I know about, countless hearings, many emails, it is time we put a stop to this continuous aggravation. Nobody has the time or the energy to deal with this over and over again, year after year, board after board. We are bored, frankly. The zoning at Heathcote Five Corners has to be updated so we do not face such monstrous proposals any more, ever.
Planning at every level has to plan for a better Scarsdale, not a worse one. Laws, regulations need to be revised, updated. The FAR reduced, commercial area zoning updated to give way to less building, more green space. We cannot be writing Scarsdale's death sentence at every land use board meeting. Yet, this is precisely what is happening over and over again at meeting after meeting, despite of many letters, many objections from activist and concerned groups and individuals alike.
After the monstrous One Palmer, hideous 7 Popham, colossal Christie Place, we need a park, and none other than a park. I would love to have One onepalmerPalmer razed, and a park made there as well.
The only acceptable solution, now is to acquire 2-4 Weaver by eminent domain and let this community have the park it deserves and sorely needs. Residents who have been here longer than I remind me there was once a plan to make a parking lot at De Lima, and another parking lot at Chase Park. In 2013, it is time for a park at Heathcote Five Corners.
I hope readers of this site agree with me and support me. We need your input. Please contact me and let me know you agree with me.
I would love to see many of you at the meeting on April 24th at 8:00 p.m. in Rutherford Hall. 2-4 Weaver is the first item on the agenda. If you cannot make it to the meeting, please e-mail me at Likallevi@aol.comLikallevi@aol.com with " Scarsdale" in the subject line and I will add your name to the list of concerned citizens wishing for reform in our building codes. Email me your comments or call me at (914) 722-0004.
We have to stop this and let our government know we do not approve of these deleterious practices.
Remember, "Democracy is not a spectator sport." Tomorrow is too late, call or e-mail me today.
Lika L. Levi
Lockwood Road
Photo credit: Lika L. Levi
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written by Lika L. L., April 26, 2013
Dear Readers,

So many of you have called, e-mailed me and now you have started signing the petition that I just created at:

http://www.thepetitionsite.com...in-a-park/

Thank you for all your support. I am sorry though there are so many horror stories out there.

For now, sign my petition with your comments and come to the Trustees' open meeting to discuss this issue on Tuesday, May 28th at 6:00 p.m. at Village Hall.

Be well, check back here regularly. I hope Joanne keeps this up for a while...

If not, you know where and how to reach me:
(914) 722-0004 and '> Likallevi@aol.comLikallevi@aol.com
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written by Lika L. L., April 25, 2013

Dear Friends,

Last night it was one more session of the Planning Board planning for more environmental destruction. The new chairman Seth Ross, reiterated what I had heard from Jane Veron last month, that their board is not in charge of changing the laws and cannot change the laws. They can only apply them.

They certainly do apply, dilapidated laws no longer applicable to our Village in 2013 ! Mr. Seth Ross and others on the board were visibly disturbed. Maybe he’ll contact our Mayor and let him know this is enough, it was enough 20 years ago…

This time after my pleas for the environment and modern conservation ecology practices and against all this destruction, they were all visibly disturbed and unhappy with the laws they are in charge of enacting and enforcing.

They seemed a little helpless, sort of like the guy arraigned in handcuffs walking out of Rutherford Hall right before our meeting. Omen enough, there was an arrest. Yes, somebody with a gun had been menacing golfers on the golf course, the judge told me.

Maybe the Planning Board finally heard me. Why do they even bother listening to all the neighbors month after month, if they are going to approve every sub-division, every huge house on every tiny lot ?

I do not want to attend another meeting where I have to defend the environment in Scarsdale in 2013 to intelligent individuals, volunteer residents. Twice in a row is more than enough. I do not think they want to see me any more either.

If our laws no longer serve us, it is time for amendments. Even the constitution got amended, right ? Many times…

The FAR needs to go, the Planning board needs to start planning for a better future not a worse one. We have to contact our Mayor, our Village Board, the Zoning Board of Appeals, the Committee for Historic Preservation, our Village Manager over and over again until they hear us and enact laws that protect us. What is currently enforced has stopped serving us long ago.

This government has to be by the people, for the people and not against the people.

I hope you will join me in changing the status quo in Scarsdale. We have to bring back the park to our Scarsdale.

Call me with any suggestions or ideas you may have. Pass the message on, keep the flame alive, stay informed.

More soon.

Lika L. Levi
(914) 722-0004

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written by Lika L. L., April 24, 2013
Dear Readers,

First I wish to correct what I said here earlier: You can have one on one conversations with the trustees, but their discussions have to take place in public. This from my conversation with our Mayor Steves last night.

Case in point: on May 28th at 6:00 p.m. our Village Board will convene to talk about this preservation, conservation issue. It is a public meeting where they want to talk among themselves and learn and see what each trustee is thinking about. Mayor Steves said there will not be public comments allowed, but who knows they may change their mind…

From my experience in this town going back to almost 22 years now, to the years before e-mail, the best way to contribute is by attending meetings. I know it is the toughest too, but it really is the only chance you get to truly experience what is taking place. Watching the meeting on tv, does not convey an iota about the dynamics of the meeting itself …

No, they did not want to touch the Moratorium issue. They were very reluctant to take any big step, instead we listened to resolutions they have to pass: about fire-fighter uniforms, about cobble stones being purchased, about the new auditors hired , etc. etc.

Your government, your town, your life !

Lika L. Levi
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written by Lika L. L., April 21, 2013
Dear Quaker Ridge Resident and other readers,

Thank you for your kind words.

I do not think I can have private conversations with our new trustees. I think by law, all trustees have to be present when a comment is made so that they are all aware of all developments and can judge accordingly and be fair.

I am not sure being on a board is really very effective or productive. Once appointed, they all seem more constrained and restrained than ever. Whereas, as a resident I feel I have much more flexibility and no commitments... The time commitment on any of the boards is immense. Given my travel schedule and needs, I am reluctant to commit. Sort of like dating versus marriage...

I wish to take the time here to thank Ms. Joanne Wallenstein for publishing my letter in the first place and then of course for making this possible. I feel it is valuable to have a conversation going among residents and this is a great platform ! I hope we will continue the conversation.

I also want to thank Linda Dietz and many other friends who supported me and encouraged me to soldier on....Thank you all !

I feel the time is ripe if not even a little too late to freeze in time our Village.

No more building or demolishing !

If you are interested in any of this, I think as the Quaker Ridge commenter is suggesting, please come to the second VB meeting this Tuesday evening, the 23rd of April at 8:00 p.m. and join me in demanding a Moratorium on all real estate in our Village. We have to stop this.

We have to defend and take care of what we love or else very quickly it can and often will slip away… I am sure, you all know what I am talking about.

This applies to all as aspects of our love, be it a relationship or a quaint Village in siege of developers.

Hope to meet all of you at Village Hall Tuesday evening at 8:00 p.m. If you cannot make it to the meeting our Mayor has an e-mail address: '> Mayor@scarsdale.comMayor@scarsdale.com and my contact information is right below, here.

We can and will make a difference, we have to. After all we are not all ostriches burying our heads in sand, or are we ?

With love and a little something ephemeral from my garden:

/Users/likalevi/Pictures/iPhoto Library/Masters/2013/04/21/20130421-170452/DSC05455.JPG

I hope you can see the picture above.

Lika L. Levi
(914) 722-0004
Likallevi@aol.comLikallevi@aol.com 
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written by quaker ridge resident, April 21, 2013
It's great to see such passionate voices about retaining our Village character! We have two new Village trustees, Tom Martin and Bill Stern. I urge you to speak to them. They are both relative "newbies" to village politics eager to hear from their constituents. Tell them you have an interest in joining a Village board where your voices can be heard in an appropriate forum and where you can actually work to make change. I hope you will respond on point to my remarks.
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written by Lika L. L., April 20, 2013
/Users/likalevi/Desktop/Scarsdale, NY - Google Maps.webarchive

The above does bot look like a forest to me... Just drive to Spruce Lane off of Rock Creek Lane and see what our current building code is doing.

In NYC, a building 30 years old is candidate for Landmark status. See here:http://www.nyc.gov/html/lpc/ht...tion.shtml

I hope you can view these links. In Scarsdale, the Committee for Historic Preservation is only preoccupied with their own preservation, they just demolish...

It is time we preserved our architectural and environmental heritage.

Lika L. Levi
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written by Proper T, April 19, 2013
Yes, let's get rid of Christie Place and bring back the abandoned gas station and parking lot that it replaced. Why don't we stop 1 Palmer and rebuild the gas station it replaced too? How about the cinder block shack at the corner of Fayette and Carthage? Want that back too? I do agree that Heatcote Manor is an eyesore, not sure how that one slipped through. People are building mansions, but that has been going on in Scarsdale since they platted the place out. BTW, in Scarsdale, they are mansions, not McMansions; folks here can afford the real thing. In 50 or 100 years the historical preservation committee will be arguing about some of the houses being built today. As for shade, take a look at our village in a park via Google Earth. It looks like a forest to me.
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written by Heathcote res, April 19, 2013
We moved here 14 years ago because like many people, we liked the "village in a park" and I especially admired the beautiful old houses when we were looking in Westchester-tudors, colonials and the occasional mid-century split, cape or ranch for variation. I am heartsick about what has happened in the village and especially in my neighborhood, Heathcote. While I support one's right to live how and as they wish, this destruction and rebuilding is going to ultimately be counterproductive. Soon no one is going to want to live here, it has become such an unattractive place. Many buyers are being priced out, and the economically diverse community of the past is gone. Other communities in Westchester do not allow this-they have respect for the past, the environment, and for the people who moved to them for a gracious, low-key vibe. We are a source of ridicule and have become "Manhattan North."
I attend the Historical review meetings and they are a joke. Are the members of that group trying to save old buildings? I really can't tell. The builder or architect presents reasons why the house is not worth saving and the board all agree with him/them. A member of the group will sometimes make a joke about who lived in the house, "John Smith, a paint salesmen lived there." I'm not sure why they are all laugh, either because of how quaint that he could at one time afford to live here, or that he is so unimportant. Why does someone important or significant have to have occupied a home to make it worth saving? Wouldn't it be enough that it is a nice building from the early 20th century, and served generations of families who lived there?
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written by Bonnie, April 19, 2013
What is going on with the non development called Heathcote Manor (pictured above). The developer ripped out all the trees and started building townhomes and then just stopped. There has been no contruction at the site for a very, very, long time. How was this allowed to happen? Does anyone know why?
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written by Kim, April 19, 2013
As a Scarsdale resident, I totally agree. I moved to Westchester from Manhattan 13 years ago. I moved here for nature, and natural beauty, trees, animals, birds. We are turning our suburbs into glorified shopping malls, blasting away habitat of animals, and clearing away plants and trees. I am currently doing research on the physical and mental health benefits of time spent in nature, and what I am finding is astounding. Simply put, time spent in green spaces is an elixir. Yet we eradicate them at every turn, and then wonder why we are stressed, sick, obese, and unhappy.
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written by Not Surprised, Too, April 18, 2013
"Grotesque" is the best word to describe the McMansions, and "condescending" or "self-absorbed" might be better words used to describe the attitude of the "elected" village boards ...
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written by Not surprised, April 17, 2013
Why ask that question? The fact is larger homes bring in larger tax revenue. That is the aim of the Government. I grew up here when shade was prevalent. Now it's take down all the cover show we can show off the mostly grotesque larger homes. We have lost our village character. No one stands up to the crass attitude that pervades our village. If one does stand up, he/she mostly gets shot down. It really is tough to fight village hall.
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written by Thomas, April 17, 2013
Great point. Many communities have purchased land as "open space", used for parks or just open space. When was the last time Scarsdale bought any land as "open space"?
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