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Wednesday, June 26, 2013
There may be occasions when much to my disappointment I may not be able to attend a meeting at Village Hall for one reason or another. Last week, was one such week when I was away for about a week. As you will see unfortunately there is very little information conveyed if one cannot attend the meeting herself or himself.
Meetings I missed last week:
I wanted to know the results of the BAR meeting I could not attend on June 17th since I was out of town. I called the Building Department spoke to a nice lady who advised I should leave a voice mail for Mr. Nunzio who was out in the field.
The I talked to Mr. O'Brien and he too said he could not let me know how each item was decided since he did not have the time to do this kind of work. I asked about just one item, the first one about Chase Road landscaping and he said that was approved.
I suggested in my voice-mail to Mr. Nunzio that the decisions of the BAR ought to be available for all residents much like the decisions of the other boards such as Planning and CHP, that are available on the web site.
This was exactly what Farley Baker, Chair of the BAR, brought up at last night's meeting. More on that on a subsequent post.
15 Circle was approved for demolition and 22 Murray Hill denied. I just talked with Lidia from the Building Department and learned that 22 Murray Hill will be on the BAR agenda for July 8th. Hope it does not get the fate of 45 Cushman...
The Bus Trip:
I missed it, but we learned during the Village Hall meeting from the Mayor last night, that the board visited water pumping station, the fire station in need of repair and other areas such as Cooper Green and George Field Park that are currently in development.
Tuesday, June 25, 2013
I would think you would agree why I was understandably so upset at what I had heard at the Agenda meeting of June 11, 2013.
I wrote an e-mail to Mayor Steves, here is his reply:
Ms. Levi:The Board and I appreciate open and even heated debate on any and all issues before us and genuinely respect an honest difference of opinion. You, perhaps more than most, have enjoyed the openness and responsiveness of the Board. That is why I am so very disappointed that you would express such a view of one of its members. All Board members take our open meetings responsibility extremely seriously; no one more than Trustee Brodsky. To extrapolate from one comment you thought you heard to the rash and unjustified conclusion of her qualifications as a trustee is unfortunate. Your attack on her character is sorely misplaced and woefully uninformed and in the context of our efforts to work with you to better understand the workings of Village government, simply sad. I am particularly disappointed because you have often had the opportunity to witness the good work Trustee Brodsky has accomplished as a trustee.From time to time, the board is presented with a variety of personnel issues which by their nature may only be dealt with in executive session. The open meetings law permits the convening of executive sessions to discuss matters of this sort given the possible impact they may have on individuals who may be the subject of discussion. We are guided by the advice of the Village Attorney in determining when to invoke such a process. In the four plus years I have been part of the board of trustees there has not been a single such meeting that was not justified. Your assertion that there should be only one personnel committee meeting is incorrect. Such meetings are convened as necessary when and if warranted by the circumstances. This procedure has been followed by boards of trustees throughout the history of the Village.Robert J Steves, Mayor
I replied to him:
|from:||Lika L. Levi <email@example.com>|
|date:||Mon, Jun 24, 2013 at 7:09 PM|
|subject:||Re: Agenda meeting June 11, 2013|
Friday, June 14, 2013
Click here for Village Calendar
On June 19th there is a Committee of the Whole meeting at 4:00 p.m. which will take the Board on a bus to various sites in the Village. I am sure they would welcome reporters or other residents.
Later on Wednesday at 7:00 p.m. there is one more of those " Personnel Committee " meetings. As Ms. Brodsky volunteered during the agenda meeting on Tuesday the 11th, these are labeled as such, so no resident is encouraged to attend. In fact residents are very much discouraged from attendance...
See my previous entry about this on the Agenda Meeting of June 11th, 2013.
This is not my understanding of the open meeting laws in our Village, is it yours ?
Thursday, June 13, 2013
We are having some technical issues, we hope to resolve soon. Please bear with us.
Here is the 18 item agenda of the BAR for June 17, 2013:
Seven applications for additions, three new house applications and two new garage applications, among other items:
This is the agenda for the Committee for Historic Preservation meeting on June 18th:
On Thu, Jun 13, 2013 at 8:10 AM, Jacquie Lipton <firstname.lastname@example.org> wrote:
We are aware of how beautiful Scarsdale is and, while taking into account progress must be made, buildings which do not have a sympathy with the area are NOT progress.
We would like you to know that we are exceedingly unhappy with the monstrous and crass buildings which are being erected, together with all the associated dirt and machinery used in the process.Please would you put a stop to this positive destruction rather thank construction.Best wishes fromIan and Jacquie Lipton.
This is from a former resident of Cooper Road, he wrote the following on my petition site:
Had you ever seen this before ? He did lift his other ear a little later... Thank God !
And this the other day, flattening himself, in perfect camouflage for any predator flying up above, ears next to body and freeze stance.
I am still trying to come to terms with the two meetings I attended Tuesday night and that is not even all the meetings at Village Hall on Tuesday evening. I left at about 8 p.m. as the Board of Trustees regular meeting was starting and the Lenox Place neighbors were pouring in, including of course Mr. Soldatenko, the Macklers and all...
|Mayor Steves, Trustees and members of the CHP|
First the meeting with the CHP: A certain lady, who up until then seemed very nice and sweet had the following words full of compassion about the residents who attend their meetings:
" We listen to their canned speeches... We are the first body they encounter, so we have to listen to them ".... So much tender loving care, my eyes teared up... She followed with her description of what had happened at 45 Cushman, or may be comments about 45 Cushman were fist... I will not print that description here. Unlike the NYTimes, I draw a line where acceptable language is concerned.
She had so much pent up anger, I could not believe it... At one point Trustee Brodsky and her seemed just bursting at one another...So much emotion, so many feelings that obviously were not aired till then.
She thought the home had been "b------'ed".... Not words I would have associated with this lady. Looks can be deceiving...What did she think, a home 103 years old would have survived as is ? Look at the pyramids in Egypt or the library in Ephesus... or a lady of a certain age. We all acquire patina. It is called "aging" or character... Lucky her, maybe she does not know what that means, yet....
Then talk about Grand Central Station versus Penn Station in Manhattan and what one preferred. The trustees ducked that one quickly... This question they did not even want to address. They want more and more building, it seems to me...And other comments... Age cannot be the only criteria... 100 years is too long. There are buildings 30 years old that should not be demolished....
The inadequacy of the CHP criteria, the BAR criteria, the way the CHP's ruling was overriden in the 45 Cushman application...And in the meanwhile more in the pipeline waiting for the guillotine as it were, when all this can and should be stopped... Why wait to administer CPR to this very sick patient ?
Why not stop reviewing more applications until our laws, our criteria for preservation is revised to everyone's satisfaction and in a just and right manner ? Why continue suffering and be frustrated when this can be stopped ? Why aren't they seeing the green light ? We have to stop this. Too many wrong decisions, too many times. Now, we all realize the criteria is " murky ", subjective and unjust.
Time to revise.
Why do residents volunteer on the Committee for Historic Preservation when all they want is new, new and new ? It seems very counter productive and very deceiving...Sit on the preservation committee and vote to demolish week after week... No wonder, they all needed some therapy Tuesday night.
As we were leaving the third floor meeting room, I uttered the following to to Trustee Lee: " You should meet like this every day for the next 6 months "... I felt there was so much back log, so much communication they had to do... I am glad meetings like this started happening. Once this back log is dealt with, it would be nice if such meetings occurred periodically... They are the ones who have direct contact with the aggrieved resident first hand. They know best what is happening and are best suited to administer the right " medicine " or refer them to the trustees. For a good relationship of any sort communication is key. It seems this has been lacking in our Village for a very long time.
Trustee Brodsky said "We are struggling "... over and over again. "We do not know ", etc., etc.
It was like this was a new and novel topic...It is true I had never seen them listening like this before... But Trustee Brosdsky has been a resident for a long time and a trustee for a long time as well... Reports, e-mails of this nature have been coming their way for decades now... So many reports, so many e-mails, letters... Over and over again I hear residents say "our complaints fall on deaf ears"...Why ? It seems they are choosing to do so. For them to prove I am wrong.
The Saltzman report, and how inadequate it is, saving 68 homes out of 6,000 homes. A predetermined report to justify the end to the means like the Village Center report... Not acceptable, inadequate, incompetent, inconsiderate, insensitive from start to finish.
All this is cruel and unjust I thought as I saw my bunny this afternoon in the backyard. No, I thought further: Arbitrary and capricious...Not acceptable. Hard to believe this is what I am witnessing in America in Scarsdale in 2013. On CNN Istanbul is burning, my heart is aching. I turn off the tv.
Is this humanity ? Where are we going ?... Time to stop, think, take a good look...
Everything is money but money is not every thing. Therein lies the mystery.... What a sorry bunch we would be, if we all thought and acted for monetary gain only.
The Trustee's Agenda Meeting:
Next was the Trustee's agenda meeting. I was the only resident in attendance. Maybe they did not know I was there, I do not know. But this is what I heard:
Trustee Brodsky offered the following:
" Let us put it down on the agenda as a personnel meeting, that way no one will show up...( They are allowed to have closed door personnel discussions...)
Al wants to take us on a three hour bus trip...Trustee Eisenman uttered. It will be June 17th or 18th...Can we have a meeting on the bus ? They were scrambling to find some common time to meet altogether...
I came home wondering what this bus trip was about. Trustee Mark answered. You'll see it below.
Why have this bus trip as a concealed item on the agenda ? Wouldn't it be a good idea to have the public see what the trustees are seeing ? Will they drive on enough of pot holes to realise our roads need repair ? Will they drive through enough new development to see what is going on in our beloved Scarsdale ? The hollow homes, bare streets with no character, no trees, no life to them...Just the developer's greed echoing back through space, the space of the former residents' lives: altered, obliterated forever. You can cover, but you cannot hide, syndrome !
Harvest Drive, Archer Lane, Stratton Road, Spruce Lane, Ardmore Road... some of the few streets that I was able to spot on my short study thus far.
As of this writing at 12:30 p.m. on Thursday afternoon, the Village Calendar does not show a personnel meeting on June 17th or 18th...
Later Trustee Brodsky mentioned she wanted to hold a meeting on 2-4 Weaver Street to explore other uses ( I am hearing a park, of course ) for that area... Hurray Trustee Brodsky !!!
Here is my e-mail to Trustee Brodsky and Trustee Mark and Trustee Mark's answer:
From: Lika L. Levi <email@example.com>
To: firstname.lastname@example.org Brodsky <email@example.com>
Cc: Jon Mark <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Sent: Tue, Jun 11, 2013 9:10 pm
Subject: Three hour bus trip...
|from:||Jon Mark <email@example.com>|
|date:||Tue, Jun 11, 2013 at 10:26 PM|
58 Brookby Road
Scarsdale, NY 10583
Tuesday, June 11, 2013
Here we are, more and more building and more and more pervious surfaces replaced by impervious ones, forever and ever...Swimming pools, additions, generators, you name it...
When will enough be enough ? When we are covered all in concrete and asphalt ?...Where would Rufous go then ?...Would you want to live in a Scarsdale of asphalt and concrete and no green ? Is this why you moved here ?...Would you stay if this continued on and on and on ?...
BOARD OF APPEALS
VILLAGE OF SCARSDALE
NOTICE IS HEREBY GIVEN
that a Public Hearing will be held by the Board of Appeals of the
Village of Scarsdale in Rutherford Hall in Village Hall on Wednesday, June 12, 2013, at 8:00
p.m. at which time and place the Board of Appeals will consider the following:
1. The application of Ann and William Sacher for variances from Chapters 310-7S and 310-22 of
the Village Code to install a generator in the front yard that would exceed the maximum permitted
lot coverage at 10 Kensington Road, identified on the Village tax map as Sec. 4, Blk. 2, Lot 282.
2. The application of Laura and Ehud Gelblum for an interpretation of Chapter 158 of the Village
Code or, in the alternative, a variance to legalize a fence or sports net in the rear yard which
exceeds the maximum permitted height at 45 Brewster Road, identified on the Village tax map as
Sec. 4, Blk. 2, Lot 440.
3. The application of PeggyAnne and Joseph Cooke for a variance from Chapter 310-51 of the
Village Code to construct a second story addition that would intrude into the required side yard
setback at 14 Claremont Road, identified on the Village tax map as Sec. 6, Blk. 9, Lot 9.
4. The application of Diane and Stephan Lang for variance from Chapter 310-43 of the Village
Code, to legalize a deck which, as built, intrudes into the required rear yard setback at 35
Cohawney Road, identified on the Village tax map as Sec. 4, Blk. 2, Lot 109.
5. The application of Kim and Norman Kurlan for a Special Use Permit, pursuant to Chapter 310-
88 of the Village Code, to construct a swimming pool at 14 Cooper Road, identified on the Village
tax map as Sec. 14, Blk. 3, Lot 4.
6. The application of Sabrina Zook and Marc Brotman for a variance from Chapter 310-43 of the
Village Code to construct a two story addition that would intrude into the required rear yard
setback at 53 Secor Road, identified on the Village tax map as Sec. 18, Blk. 3, Lot 194.
7. The application of Arlene and Morris Goldfarb for Special Use Permits, pursuant to Chapter
310-88 of the Village Code, to construct a swimming pool and a tennis court at 96 Morris Lane,
identified on the Village tax map as Sec. 14, Blk. 5, Lot 14.
8. The application of Beatrice Sevcik and Anthony Gibney for a Special Use Permit, pursuant to
Chapter 310-88 of the Village Code, to construct a swimming pool at 6 Broadmoor Road,
identified on the Village tax map as Sec. 24, Blk. 1, Lot 24.
9. The application of Joanne and Rocco D’Agostino for a Special Use Permit, pursuant to Chapter
310-88 of the Village Code and a variance from Chapter 310-47 to install a hot tub which would
intrude into the required side yard setback at 123 Brewster Road, identified on the Village tax map
as Sec. 5, Blk. 3, Lot 69.
Copies of the above applications are on file in the Coordinating Office at Village Hall and may
be viewed by interested parties at any time during usual business hours. Visit
www.scarsdale.com and “Subscribe to News” to receive meeting agendas. By Order of the
Board of Appeals, Scarsdale, New York, dated May 28, 2013.
Elizabeth Marrinan, AICP, Village Planner.
Saturday, June 8, 2013
Thursday, June 6, 2013
Wednesday, June 5, 2013
Ilene Nechamkin of the Inquirer, Lena Crandall, a neighbor Grace Goldstein of Harcourt Road, Mr. Selanitro, David Candell reporting for the Scarsdale10583 site were in attendance as well as the Mayor and all the trustees in full force and Village Manager and his crew with deputy manager and Mr. Goodwin.
The engineer from D & B, Rob DeGiorgio, explained they would be regrading the river at Harcourt Woods to mitigate flooding. They will start in the fall and hopefully finish up by spring. They will design what is called a gabion wall made of stones as a retention wall and be widening the river. This may alleviate the flooding in the area. We shall see...
Trustee Eisenman read from a prepared statement and gave us the background at the start of the meeting, much like Trustee Mark had done the other night with 2-4 Weaver. What would still be better is if they would hand those in attendance their statement so that later we could read it and have a chance to reflect on it. Of course, I even think it should be available through the village web site. I would have loved to have read it prior to the meeting. It just makes us better informed listeners. All who attend these meetings have a genuine interest, and because all have a different background, we all can contribute and potentially do. There are usually not too many in attendance, so I think it would not be too difficult to print a couple of statements and hand them out. That would certainly make a better, more transparent government. All in the open, nothing to hide. We are sharing all we know with you sentiment, throughout.
The more you attend these kinds of meetings, the more you begin to understand government is a complex, but interesting and intriguing process. You had to be there !
Tuesday, June 4, 2013
This morning I thought I would see what the George Field Basin looked like. Tomorrow night at Village Hall there is a presentation of Dvirka & Bertolucci on the Harcourt Woods basin. They keep getting hired to do the wetlands studies for the Village...
They are also the ones doing the study for Cushman wetlands, trying to draw conclusions on future soil conditions based on an 8 month old study....That is like an ant at the foot of a giant trying to count the hair on the giant's head... Totally futile, unless your objective is to fund D and B and make sure all the partners' kids' college funds are well endowed...I sent an e-mail on this to our Village Manager and copied our Mayor. Hopefully they will find it useful and act upon it. I tried to tell Seth Ross about this also, but he looks like he is getting a heart attack each time I move up to the table to talk. So, I am not sure he can concentrate much...
Another point, why is the Village paying for these studies ? The Village should choose the company to do the study, but the applicant should pay the bill. No, the Village portrayed to everyone but the resident, is a Village rich in cash reserves, hiring right and left... No wonder the economy picked up.
Soon they will hire a consultant on how to walk or how to properly salt your meat and then raise taxes on the resident because the sewage lines need repair...and our Manager does not remember when he had said" If the residents do not want it it does not get done in Scarsdale ". Now, if the residents do not want it, it especially gets done in Scarsdale, gets tried anyway...
Scaresdale as one kid had drawn one year on a Halloween poster.
|George Field Swamps thanks to poor planning. 7 Million cubic feet draining into here...|
|Landscape architects at the site this morning observing the invasives that had migrated into the area...|
|On Cambridge Road, with the architectural firm below....Sound familiar ? How about the BAR ?|
|Inside out, is right. How about insider to out ?|
I was in the Herkimer area when I noticed these fences and a new home being built, guess the builder:
|3 Meadow Road new home or homes to be built..|
|My backyard bunny flattening his ears, making himself look like a leaf, a stone...perfect camouflage, the other day.|
|Lady bug ( Harmonia Axyridis as identified by Lost Lady Bug Project ) at George Field|
Click here: From Lost Lady Bug Project
Last revised July 16, 2017 10:34 UTC.
You may recall 15 Herkimer was already on the BAR agenda last month for a new home. Our neighborhoods are changing at a rate, I certainly cannot keep up with !
Here is Herkimer Road:
|40 Herkimer Modern home, certainly does not belong there....|
|15 Herkimer given the demolish order, bulldozer at the ready.|
|17 Herkimer ( new, looks like )|
|21 Herkimer Road|
|24 Herkimer, got the demolish permit built in 1940|
Here is more from Herkimer with architectural detail from 24 Herkimer:
|24 Herkimer to leave us soon...|
|21 Herkimer with architectural detail, still standing. Wonder how long ? I feel each of these homes' death sentence is being drawn as we speak... One by one, unless the trustees get the preservation law written.|
Now, Harvest Drive:
|50 Harvest Drive detail|
|50 Harvest Drive|
|Harvest Drive new...|
|50 Harvest Drive emptying house for curbside pickup|
Monday, June 3, 2013
Trustee Mark at the end of the meeting read his prepared statement that he had obviously prepared prior to the meeting after all the comments were made, about an hour's ( or more ) worth of comments... Numerous times residents spoke: Martin Kaufman, Larry Bell, neighbors on Wynmor Road, myself, etc., etc. and yet "No, we are the trustees, this is what we are doing" attitude, callous, insensitive, inappropriate ... over and over again...Democracy or autocracy in Scarsdale. Forget about government by the people, for the people, it is government against the people in Puddledale...
Trustee Mark, this is not right. Trustee Eisenman said we were at the end of the process... How can she be so insensitive and yet volunteer to serve on the Village Board I do not understand. I thought you had to have some compassion, some empathy... If she does have it, it certainly is not evident to me.
How can we be at the end of the process, when all the time we were told this is nothing, this is a non-binding agreement, at Planning Board meeting after meeting Liz Marrinan goes: "This is nothing, this is nothing you are only approving the facade, you are not doing any thing important"... Blasphemy, happening in Scarsdale (Puddledale) in 2013 and you would think it were the feudal times in Europe.
The non-binding agreement gets changed over and over to their benefit and why not to our benefit ? Were the trustees going to represent the resident ? Good deal they raised the price of village land. You have a long way to go to make it a fair deal, Trustee Mark. Please contact me, you need assistance in.
Later tonight I was at the tail end of the BAR meeting. Farley Baker exhibited the same insensitivity I witnessed earlier at the Trustee meeting. My friend Claudine's property ( 10 Kent Road, last item on the agenda ) cannot be screened properly because the new house was built so very close to her property. An issue Lena Crandall brought up over and over again. And now I see it in action. I suggested they demolish the one third of the house... They cannot put in Japanese maples because they are too expensive... Two trees in a $ 5 Mil. home. I do not understand this, do you ?...
Maybe there should be a member of the Board attending these meetings. There are liaisons everywhere else... A member to attend the CHP, the BAR and the BOA as well as Planning Board meetings. I do not think they will like what they will see and maybe just knowing a trustee will be at the meeting will cause the meeting to be different. Actually I mentioned this during my long conversation with Trustee Stern tonight, he seemed to agree it would be a good idea.
Thank God, for Trustee Stern, a breath of fresh air on the Board, no one like a physicist to see things clearly, to get to the bottom of the issue in a heart beat !
Ilene Nechamkin of the Scarsdale Inquirer was in person at the Land Use meeting as opposed to watching the meeting at home on tv, of course because this meeting was not televised. I want to thank her for her objective and good reporting covering the VB meeting last week. She wrote a bit about me in last week's Inquirer which made the hits to this web site increase astronomically ! Yes, they have a much more loyal and consistent base as an audience. They have been around for a long time and the community relies on their reporting, which has only gotten better and better over the years. Thank you Linda !
That's all for tonight. Be well all !
I wrote this on June 21, 2009 which was then published in the Scarsdale Inquirer.
Mayor Bob Steves was then Trustee Steves...Carolyn Stevens was Mayor and our past Mayor Flisser was a Trustee then.
A long time has passed, but I hope we are getting nearer to an acceptable solution that will involve less building, more preservation and conservation and that will finally consider and uphold the interests of the 17,000 or so residents we should be safeguarding, always !
The residents who cannot attend meetings- the silent majority who just pays the bills, is at the train platform at 6:00 a.m., the two wage earner families who moved to Scarsdale for what it is, for what it has been and not what it has been becoming, recently in the past 10, 20 years as we seem to be accommodating every developer, every architect, real estate investor and not the conservationist, the preservationist or the nature lover to the long term detriment of this community. For a better Scarsdale, we have to say "No" to development, now !
I am posting parts of that letter that are still relevant today:
Dear Scarsdale Village Board,
Sunday, June 2, 2013
I wrote this email to Trustee Mark yesterday, his response follows.
Like a seasoned politician he deflects the question and does not answer it. This is our resident lawyer volunteer who grew up in Scarsdale, not a politician with 50 years' experience...
No further comments your Honor, I rest my case.