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, July 30, 2013


Petition to Save Scarsdale and UNESCO Criteria


Dear Readers,

I will make this the last post, so it will be easier to access the petition.

Newer  blogs will be below the UNESCO criteria blog.  I hope this will make it easy for anyone to access the  petition and understand the UNESCO criteria.

Sign my petition: Click here to sign the petition to preserve Scarsdale  to urge our 

Trustees to act to conserve Scarsdale, our architectural and environmental heritage.

Forward to all, resident and non-resident alike or else watch a potential World Heritage site get buried live: our architectural and environmental heritage get lost, bit by bit, day after day descend into the abyss of an inferno engulfing us all.

From the UNESCO World Heritage Site:

The Criteria for Selection

To be included on the World Heritage List, sites must be of outstanding universal value and meet at least one out of ten selection criteria. These criteria are explained in theOperational Guidelines for the Implementation of the World Heritage Convention which, besides the text of the Convention, is the main working tool on World Heritage. The criteria are regularly revised by the Committee to reflect the evolution of the World Heritage concept itself.

Until the end of 2004, World Heritage sites were selected on the basis of six cultural and four natural criteria. With the adoption of the revised Operational Guidelines for the Implementation of the World Heritage Convention, only one set of ten criteria exists.
Cultural criteriaNatural criteria
Operational Guidelines 2002(i)(ii)(iii)(iv)(v)(vi)(i)(ii)(iii)(iv)
Operational Guidelines 2005(i)(ii)(iii)(iv)(v)(vi)(viii)(ix)(vii)(x)
Selection criteria:
  1. to represent a masterpiece of human creative genius;
  2. to exhibit an important interchange of human values, over a span of time or within a cultural area of the world, on developments in architecture or technology, monumental arts, town-planning or landscape design;
  3. to bear a unique or at least exceptional testimony to a cultural tradition or to a civilization which is living or which has disappeared;
  4. to be an outstanding example of a type of building, architectural or technological ensemble or landscape which illustrates (a) significant stage(s) in human history;
  5. to be an outstanding example of a traditional human settlement, land-use, or sea-use which is representative of a culture (or cultures), or human interaction with the environment especially when it has become vulnerable under the impact of irreversible change;
  6. to be directly or tangibly associated with events or living traditions, with ideas, or with beliefs, with artistic and literary works of outstanding universal significance. (The Committee considers that this criterion should preferably be used in conjunction with other criteria);
  7. to contain superlative natural phenomena or areas of exceptional natural beauty and aesthetic importance;
  8. to be outstanding examples representing major stages of earth's history, including the record of life, significant on-going geological processes in the development of landforms, or significant geomorphic or physiographic features;
  9. to be outstanding examples representing significant on-going ecological and biological processes in the evolution and development of terrestrial, fresh water, coastal and marine ecosystems and communities of plants and animals;
  10. to contain the most important and significant natural habitats for in-situ conservation of biological diversity, including those containing threatened species of outstanding universal value from the point of view of science or conservation.
The protection, management, authenticity and integrity of properties are also important considerations.
Since 1992 significant interactions between people and the natural environment have been recognized as cultural landscapes.

Latest from the CHP and the BAR



Here is the latest from the CHP and the BAR:

 22 Murray Hill that was denied demolition and went before the BAR later and was approved in their July 22nd meeting. 

The BAR issued  a Certificate of Appropriateness " in my view very inappropriate and gave the OK for it to be demolished !!!

Here is 22 Murray Hill, soon to hit the landfill somewhere...

"Demo" below is short for demolition. The Scarsdale building department cannot bring itself to write demolition, I presume....

22MurrayHillRoad


























July16, 2013
  • 11 Springdale Rd. Demo approved    
  • 1159 Post Rd. Demo approved
  • 239 Fox Meadow Rd. Demo denied 
 June 18, 2013
  • 15 Circle Rd. Demo approved
  •  22 Murray Hill Rd .Demo denied

Saturday, July 20, 2013

Westchester Gannett Barbara Livingston Nackman reporter

Dear Readers, Residents,


Barbara from the LoHud newspaper contacted me and wanted to write about this issue.


Her article is published in today's Sunday, July 28th,  Gannett paper under the heading Scarsdale Tear Downs.

Somehow she has forgotten she said this and she never answered my question either...Oh, well.


By way of explanation – I am not taking a stand for or against, but as a real estate reporter/writer I can’t help but not notice this trend. I can see the point of pulling down some of these houses, but some really look very nice even if they need some new wallpaper and paint. I am not sure what it says about Scarsdale and its property owners, but it is a story to tell.  There is a lot on your website, but I was hoping you would answer my points specifically, if you could.   And either way, I will mention the site.



See below:

Here is the e-mail correspondence, my answers to her questions:

Note, the e-mail correspondence took place on July 18th and I had originally written this article about a week ago, hence the dates...




Nackman, Barbara L. <BNACKMAN@lohud.com>
Jul 18 (2 days ago)
to me
Lika,
I am writing about the tear-downs in Scarsdale.  As a longtime resident and blogger with a clear opinion about this, would you speak with me briefly by phone on Friday about this?

I went to a CHP meeting and want some local comments on the process and preservation of homes.

Thanks,
Barbara



Barbara Livingston Nackman
Staff Writer
cid:3430122285_8857947

1133 Westchester Ave., White Plains, NY 10604
Reach me at bnackman@lohud.com
Phone:   914-694-5228; Mobile 914-609-8016

Follow all the real estate news at

Visit us at at www.lohud.com
Also, on Facebook.com/lohud.com and
Follow me at Twitter @barbaranackman

Lika L. Levi
Barbara, There is a lot on my website that you can use. If you have specifics...
Jul 19 (1 day ago)
Nackman, Barbara L.
Jul 19 (1 day ago)
to me
Lika,

Here are some questions as you  requested. Feel free to say what you’d like on whichever questions you feel hit the topic best and your perspective.  To that end, I need to find out how to identify you.  How long have you lived in Scarsdale, in your house and what is your occupation.


Q: It seems that every month the village of Scarsdale is approving the demolition of older homes presumably so the property owners can build new ones (I am in the process of collecting the numbers).  You have blogged about this of late. Would you sum up your view of the many demolitions and tell me what you would to see happening in Scarsdale.

Q: What bothers you most – the number of homes, the type of homes that come down, what?

Q: What does  the tearing down of older homes do to the character and character of Scarsdale?

Q: How would retaining some of these homes enrich the village and its surroundings?

Q: Is this a matter of homeowners wanting to build much larger homes on ordinary parcels in a sought-after village?

Q: What is your opinion of 239 Fox Meadow Road/ what neighborhood is that?

Something else you would like to say on the topic that I haven’t touched on or totally missed?


By way of explanation – I am not taking a stand for or against, but as a real estate reporter/writer I can’t help but not notice this trend. I can see the point of pulling down some of these houses, but some really look very nice even if they need some new wallpaper and paint. I am not sure what it says about Scarsdale and its property owners, but it is a story to tell.  There is a lot on your website, but I was hoping you would answer my points specifically, if you could.   And either way, I will mention the site.


I love this comment from your email and think it is important, but maybe a phrase or word is missing, because I don’t completely understand  what IT is?
but of course this in the long run ( if we can achieve it ) WHAT WILL BE THE BEST THING FOR SCARSDALE?? will be the best thing for Scarsdale, and by extension I hope for the rest of the country where our history, our architectural as well as our environmental heritage will finally get the respect they deserve

Thanks for your attention and time.  I will be putting this together by Monday.  Sorry that you had problems in the past when quoted.  That has not been my experience with interviewees or sources. I appreciate you offering an option that could work.

All the best,
Barbara



Barbara Livingston Nackman
Staff Writer
cid:3430122285_8857947

1133 Westchester Ave., White Plains, NY 10604
Reach me at bnackman@lohud.com
Phone:   914-694-5228; Mobile 914-609-8016

Follow all the real estate news at

Visit us at at www.lohud.com
Also, on Facebook.com/lohud.com and
Follow me at Twitter @barbaranackman




From: Lika L. Levi [mailto:lika@save-scarsdale.org]
Sent: Friday, July 19, 2013 7:14 AM
To: Nackman, Barbara L.
Subject: Re: scarsdale tear downs
Lika L. Levi <lika@save-scarsdale.org>
11:07 AM (3 minutes ago)
to Barbara
Barbara,

My answers, following your questions:
  

On Fri, Jul 19, 2013 at 9:19 AM, Nackman, Barbara L. <BNACKMAN@lohud.com> wrote:
Lika,

Here are some questions as you  requested. Feel free to say what you’d like on whichever questions you feel hit the topic best and your perspective.  To that end, I need to find out how to identify you.  How long have you lived in Scarsdale, in your house and what is your occupation.


We have lived in Scarsdale in the same house for more than 22 years now. My occupation for about the past three years has been this "development" issue and other related aspects of it. Prior to that I was an Astronomy and Physics professor, but I was still very much involved in these kinds of issues in Scarsdale. About three years ago, I decided I would devote almost my full attention to this.




Q: It seems that every month the village of Scarsdale is approving the demolition of older homes presumably so the property owners can build new ones (I am in the process of collecting the numbers).  You have blogged about this of late. Would you sum up your view of the many demolitions and tell me what you would ( like  ?)  to see happening in Scarsdale.

There are many demolitions that come up  on the agenda of the CHP ( ironically enough, called the Committee for Historic Preservation... )  every month. Once on the agenda it is almost always the death sentence for the home. If they do not approve the demolition as in 45 Cushman and 22 Murray Hill lately, the applicant goes in front of the BAR and they with their criteria judge and vote on the " Certificate of Appropriateness" in my view " Inappropriateness" and issue the demolition permit essentially.

The criteria for each board is on my website as well as the Village Code of course.But the fact that the BAR criteria, a higher court is less stringent than the lower court the CHP, reflects the bias in our Code, which of course is no longer pertinent but outdated by decades...


I am originally, from Istanbul, Turkey where a much older country (  about 12,000 years of civilization history )  has lost all of its history or what is left is in a museum in Berlin or London. In the USA, as a much younger country I think we have to be much more vigilant and protective of our history. So, older homes to start with should be preserved. 

Now, not only older homes are being demolished, but along with the demolish permit, the current laws allow for bigger homes or even more homes to be built in the same lot ( two lots maybe possible for 15 Circle Road, for example, now ). 

So, not only are we losing our older homes, our architectural heritage ( as I am calling it), but we are also endangering our environment, pushing wildlife away, destroying habitat and covering more of our impervious surfaces with the  "needed" paraphernalia of our lives, such as : pools, tennis courts, hot tubs, etc. ( this last is an item on the agenda of the Board of Appeals for July 31st )...


Q: What bothers you most – the number of homes, the type of homes that come down, what?
I think I answered this above. It is a two prong assault or insult if you will: Older homes being lost, much of the environment lost along with it...



Q: What does  the tearing down of older homes do to the character and character of Scarsdale?


Scarsdale was one of the first if not the first planned suburban community in 1925, designed by the firm of Olmsted et al. The same firm behind Central Park in NYC. You could find other sources to be accurate on this. But, the meandering tree lined streets, the set-backs, the lot sizes, the homes was not by accident but via careful, deliberate, planning that continues in part today in neighborhood monthly, bi-monthly resident volunteer run, meetings such as the BAR, the Planning Board etc. 

Now, however, tearing down old homes is taking this away and replacing it, with a home that shouts: "I made it on Wall Street or wherever, I want a 6,800 sq. ft. home and here is the proof " .


I think our Village is like no other in the USA or anywhere and all of it needs to be preserved.

If a person needs to make a statement, he or she can easily find other forms of slef-expression elsewhere. This is detrimental to us on a few levels and  is akin to a psychotic writing his or her death sentence. A healthy person does neither.

We will be lost among huge homes, drainage basins ( seven of them had to be planned per  front page article by Ilene Nechamkin, the Scarsdale Inquirer of July 12th ) , swamps and no soil, no garden, no wildlife very quickly if this is allowed to proceed much longer.

The problem is Scarsdale sits between two huge bodies of water. The Hudson River on the one side, Long Island Sound on the other. The water table is high. We should not be building in most areas. But because of our proximity to NYC, and the reputation of the schools, this has been a magnet for the metropolitan area. We started building on wetlands aggravating the infrastructure. Now, to mitigate this the Village has designated seven drainage areas.

 Where our son, used to play soccer, Cooper Green is now a drainage basin, or swamp.... Acres, upon acres of drainage basins... Why ? So, that Wall Street magnate, or surgeon, or whomever can have his or her statement home....






Q: How would retaining some of these homes enrich the village and its surroundings?

It would anchor us to our past, to a carefully planned urban planning past which is our true heritage. Right now, we are like the teen-ager on binge drinking getting drunk and thinking none of it... A teen-ager's brain cells get destroyed by binge drinking and is detrimental. In a similar fashion, this kind of building is detrimental to our character, personality as a Village.

To hold on to the past, is a good thing, especially in this country since we are so young and as a culture we seem to float some times. To our youth, I think it is especially beneficial to see old homes and how we have cherished them. It shows these homes have survived and it shows we valued them enough to make them survive. Tangible, forthright evidence of continuity, survival, especially in face of adversity is important I think for the human race and the youth in particular. What better example than such beautiful homes ?







Q: Is this a matter of homeowners wanting to build much larger homes on ordinary parcels in a sought-after village?


No, it is mostly the home-owner selling, cashing in and then the developer building on spec hastily before demand goes down...We know the cyclical nature of real estate and right now after the melt down, it is back to spend, spend, build, build...



Q: What is your opinion of 239 Fox Meadow Road/ what neighborhood is that?


It is a lovely stone  ( or stone facade )  home, as you can see from the pictures in a beautiful neighborhood of quintessential Scarsdale. Fox Meadow Road is what makes Scarsdale, Scarsdale. It is a prime example of character, of a home that adds to neighborhood character. It has to be preserved forever, for all.

These are not only national, but international treasures. Parts of Istanbul, where I grew up, were declared UNESCO World Heritage site, I think similarly parts and even all of Scarsdale should be declared  a World Heritage site. But we have to hurry, the developers are having their hay day and our Village Board is not acting fast enough.




Something else you would like to say on the topic that I haven’t touched on or totally missed?

No, you let me know, please if any of this needs clarification. 



By way of explanation – I am not taking a stand for or against, but as a real estate reporter/writer I can’t help but not notice this trend. I can see the point of pulling down some of these houses, but some really look very nice even if they need some new wallpaper and paint. I am not sure what it says about Scarsdale and its property owners, but it is a story to tell.

 I agree, definitely. There is a story or many stories here...


There is a lot on your website, but I was hoping you would answer my points specifically, if you could.   And either way, I will mention the site.


I love this comment from your email and think it is important, but maybe a phrase or word is missing, because I don’t completely understand  what IT is?


but of course this in the long run ( if we can achieve it ) WHAT WILL BE THE BEST THING FOR SCARSDALE??


To declare Scarsdale a UNESCO World Heritage Site and preserve the so called "ugly" with the beautiful, the quirky with the true masterpieces. A neighborhood is a totality not to be fragmented and I think as whole it will make much more sense and in the long run much better for not only all of us, but for the whole world... Who can replicate 103 year old home, or a 100 year old home with all its character, age ?

The fact that it has survived this long would be testament enough to grant it special status, in this case, the UNESCO World Heritage status. We satisfy the many criteria above and beyond the required.

And of course, we would be preserving architectural heritage and natural ( environmental ) heritage with the one and the same blow. This is why I think this is so important and I would appreciate it of you would encourage  your readers to sign my petition which can be accessed though my website or if they have questions or comments to call me or e-mail me.

I am looking forward to seeing your signature on my petition as well. 

Thank you for writing about this.



will be the best thing for Scarsdale, and by extension I hope for the rest of the country where our history, our architectural as well as our environmental heritage will finally get the respect they deserve

Thanks for your attention and time.  I will be putting this together by Monday.  Sorry that you had problems in the past when quoted.  That has not been my experience with interviewees or sources. I appreciate you offering an option that could work.

All the best,
Barbara



Barbara Livingston Nackman
Staff Writer
cid:3430122285_8857947

1133 Westchester Ave., White Plains, NY 10604
Reach me at bnackman@lohud.com
Phone:   914-694-5228; Mobile 914-609-8016

Follow all the real estate news at
http://realestate.lohudblogs.com/

Visit us at at www.lohud.com
Also, on Facebook.com/lohud.com and
Follow me at Twitter @barbaranackman



From: Lika L. Levi [mailto:lika@save-scarsdale.org]
Sent: Friday, July 19, 2013 7:14 AM
To: Nackman, Barbara L.
Subject: Re: scarsdale tear downs

Barbara,
There is a lot on my website that you can use. If you have specifics in mind, kindly put them in writing and send them to me via e-mail.
I hate to be misunderstood or poorly understood over a hasty phone conversation. 
I feel real estate agents and the real estate industry, have declared me their enemy, but of course this in the long run ( if we can achieve it ) will be the best thing for Scarsdale, and by extension I hope for the rest of the country where our history, our architectural as well as our environmental heritage will finally get the respect they deserve.



One last question for you:

How did you hear about my website ?... 

Thursday, July 18, 2013

The F.A.R rules and Scarsdale10583

Dear Readers,

I received this on Monday, from Joanne W. from Scarsdale10583 site:

On Mon, Jul 15, 2013 at 8:14 AM, Joanne Wallenstein <scarsdalecomments@gmail.com>wrote:

Hi Lika: we are writing an article on Scarsdale10583 about the FAR requirements. We were hoping you would give us a quote about the current FAR code --
Do you think it should be revised, and if so, how? Do you believe that home sizes are exceeding lot capacity?

Thank you,
Joanne and Jonathan Greenberg



____________________________________
Joanne Wallenstein
Scarsdale10583.comscarsdalecomments@gmail.com914-980-4803
http://www.facebook.com/Scarsdale10583
http://twitter.com/#!/Scarsdale10583

and I sent this, which is replicated  in part and with some corrections:


Joanne,

I am sure you know my feelings about this. I feel I have been repeating my self ad infinitum to be soon accused of having an advanced case of Alzheimer's.

Nonetheless thank you for asking.

Just drive to One Rectory Lane ( corner of Church and Rectory, 6,800 sq.ft according to the worker there with six bedrooms, seven bathrooms, )  and see what is going on there and take some pictures. I have pictures on my web page  ( http://www.save-scarsdale.org/2013/05/todays-pictures-oak-way-all-way-at-end.html ) as it was earlier and even then it looked huge. 

As we just spoke on the phone there is also North Chase Road going up now (http://www.save-scarsdale.org/2013/05/todays-pictures-stonehouse-road-better.html ) , plus the two homes on the latest BAR agenda on Rock Creek Lane. Per Farley Baker these are 6,000 sq.ft. homes on .2 acres each. Farley Baker asked them to go back and come back with reduced sizes after neighbor after neighbor complained at last week's meeting.

Huge, bulky homes and very little space left for a garden, all pervious surfaces taken up by impervious ones. That includes pathways, garages, pools, tennis courts, - any structure that suffocates the soil and all that live underneath...We are loosing our character as a Village-in-a-Park and becoming a Village-of-Monstrosities...

When 11 School Lane went up in 2001, it was so huge in such a small lot that, it gave rise to the F.A.R study....But, the FAR was a joke from the start. I knew it when 10 Autenrieth went up in 2007, but they did not want to look at it. There was too much demand for bigger and bigger homes and the Village was hungry for more tax revenue. 

Mr. Gatta himself unfortunately is no advocate for conservation, and at the latest BAR meeting with the VB , he said " Thank God (homes) Colonial Acres is gone "... and now replaced with celluloid replicas of his taste, I suppose bringing in more tax revenue... We now have ugly homes and roads with endless pot holes. What happened to the additional tax revenue ?... 

Big, uncharacteristic, thoughtless, model homes developed hastily on spec., creating a feeling of emptiness where there used to be neighborhood character, history, value, taste. Sorry, I do not agree with Mr. Gatta here. 

The FAR needs to be revised so that it does not allow for big structures any more. The impervious surfaces it requires has to be increased three, four times. The bulk it allows has to be reduced three, four times. The height, width it allows similarly....

There was never a calculation for bulk, volume of air displaced by the house. This has to be accounted for. The volume displaced cannot be more than the original structure there, ideally even less. 

We have to stop building ( impacting negatively our environment )  and try to mitigate the damage we have caused on our own natural environment. We have to add to the inventory of empty space, we have to start to demolish and give back to nature, give back to the wildlife their habitat we have so hastily and unjustly confiscated. If not extinct, nature has the ability to heal itself and will come back. But, we have to allow for this to happen, before it is too late.

Gone are the days of build and build. We have become the psychotic writing his or her death sentence. This much building is self-destructive. 

Anyone can tell you this is not healthy behavior and has to be stopped as soon as possible, preferably via a moratorium until satisfactory laws are put in place. I have been issuing warning signals ( e-mails ) since 2007 !

That is why I started my petition for UNESCO World Heritage site that would solve the architectural integrity and environmental conservation issues with one blow, since it would freeze our Village in time and preserve all. It would become a historic landmark, a place where old homes are maintained, cherished, valued forever. Who can replicate a 100 year old home, the way it really was, the way it became, it survived ? 

There is character that cannot be quantified or replicated here that is cherished all over the world and preserved.

Us, as a young country  we have to go to great lengths to preserve and conserve our heritage, the little we have. No, so far we have been doing the exact opposite... Is this right, is this smart ? Or should we change direction, as in quickly, beofre it is all gone, irrevocably, irreparably...

Joanne, I think it would be great to interview our Village Manager, Village Planner and Mayor and make this a full-blown saga and article. You are the professional and I am clearly the amateur, but there is room for all to help here.

On the subject of other issues to be covered: what ever happened to the Committee for Historic Preservation and their law suit, the sale of the house, etc. etc....

Please let me know if any of this is unclear or needs further elaboration.

Thank you so much for addressing this and informing the public !



  Lika


Lika L. Levi

Founder, Save Scarsdale (a non-profit in formation)
21 Lockwood Road
Scarsdale, NY 10583-5301

Office: (914) 722-0004