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Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Land Use Committee meeting Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Dear Readers,

I got back a while ago from a meeting of the Land Use Committee of our Village Board. This was the agenda:

1.              Payment in Lieu of Tax Agreement (PILOT) – 25 Saxon Woods Road.

2.              Proposed Amendments to Official Village Map –         Re-Map Portion of Farragut Road

The trustees started with Farragut Road first. We listened to the applicants'  attorneys and then to some neighbors. The trustees went into executive session  and came back about half an hour later. Trustee Mark said the following:

 This is all your creation, so we are turning down both of your requests. The applicants' attorneys were saying the BOA told them to go to the trustees, etc. etc.

I think they wanted to remap and build on the lot that had given up its development rights long ago,  or something to that effect. In all of these meetings, the issue gets confused, compounded, some know what is going on, some do not. It all seems hurried, intimidation seems the norm and I do resent that all documents are not available for all to see, to look at... The volunteer board is so burdened, they can hardly deal with all. They rely on the staff to present the issue accurately. Unfortunately, the staff's business acumen most of the time leaves a lot to be desired.

I wish they would call me, when they need such advice. I could negotiate better, I would think.

I know it is one thing to drive the car and another to be a passenger's side driver. But I would never accept to be a trustee- they did hint at it. It is an impossible job !

But I was just there to observe and familiarize myself with the processes involved, so it was interesting. It seemed a confusing issue, I would have liked to hear from the trustees as to what was really the issue in clear cut black and white terms...That did not happen. They are almost all there after a full day's work, they are visibly tired and want to move on to the next item on the agenda...

While the trustees were in executive session, we were left to chat with one another. Linda Leavitt, the editor of the Scarsdale Inquirer was sitting next to me, so it was good to finally meet her and see what a lovely lady she is. Contrary to popular belief, she does not won the paper, but is just an editor. The paper is owned by Diana White ( I think I have the name right ) of Bedford. They own papers in Bedford and Riverdale...Her dad owned the papers before her. 

There were other congenial conversations as well. Everyone was relieved to hear the good decision and left promptly.

I talked to everyone about my plan to freeze Scarsdale, as in freeze development in Scarsdale. One man wanted to know if he could put a basketball hoop under the freeze, another inquired about air-conditioning units... They could not decide one way or another, but I think were intrigued by the idea. I advised them to check out my blog, which I hope they will and if so inclined, sign my petition... We shall see. I told them  in my plan, only the outside would be regulated. Much like Hampstead Garden Suburb in London: Click here for Wikipedia description: Hampstead_Garden_Suburb

 They all seemed to have too much on their minds and did not really want to be burdened any more...Young, hurried lives with young ones at home. I totally understand.

The second item was the assisted living facility applying for a PILOT, or payment in lieu of taxes... paying $ 4 Mil. over 10 years instead of taxes at 25 Saxon Woods Road. Why 4 and not 6 or 10 Million dollars ? 

Again hurry, hurry we have another meeting to go to....When we have so many potholes, such need for revenue and only 4 Mil... They will be charging about  $ 3,000 per month for 115 patients. Their revenue will be more than $ 3 Mil. per year and they will pay us in taxes only about $ 400,000 per year for 10 years. At the end of the 10 year period I hope they will negotiate better.

Thank you Trustee Stern for your questions. We are blessed to have Trustee Stern on our board, a resident who has that trademark 2 year-old twinkle in his eye of a physicist. His questions and comments reveal a smart, working mind.

When it comes to the resident we get taxed up until a pitiful sewage fee and the assisted facility gets a break, saying they will provide jobs in the area. Who are they fooling ? Who from Scarsdale, paying Scarsdale taxes is going to work at an assisted care facility ? I do not understand this. Do you ? On the other hand they are getting funded by the IDA ( Industrial Development Agency) and the HUD ....

Good deal for them, not so great for us ! Who came up with the $ 4 Mil. and why I would like to know. Again signed and closed, the trustees went into executive session to talk about personnel issues. 

We have to be much more diligent about all these issues. We have to show the developer, the business coming into Scarsdale that we are here to negotiate a good business transaction. The Scarsdale they want as an address did not come cheap and will not be inexpensive. Our Village is attracting all these businesses because of who lives here and who keeps this place the way it is. Our volunteers on the Village Board sacrifice a lot to keep it the way it is, they deserve roads that can be navigated without an SUV at least, our 

Going forward we have to do much better in terms of preservation and conservation. Our roads need to be fixed, our wetlands protected, my bunny family cannot loose their home ! 

My thoughts, how about yours ?

In the mail recently: links of note:  Historic New EnglandSave the WhalesXL PipelineAbout Bellayre ski area in NY State

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