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Tuesday, December 24, 2013
I wrote the following letter to the editor, which was published in shortened form in the Scarsdale Inquirer of Friday, December 20th, 2013. The entry it is referring to below is what I wrote here on December 16th.
As the year end approaches it is customary to reflect on the past year and think of our wishes for the new year.
I am thankful for your paper and the reporting you and Ilene Nechamkin have been accomplishing reporting on the many issues, meetings taking place in our village. Granted no one person can attend all these meetings all the time and whenever I cannot and even when I am present I still like to read carefully the objective analysis provided in your paper. I am grateful for this.
Your paper also serves as a unique venue of communication between our administration and residents. As such it is a very important form of communication even in this blog and internet age where news is everywhere. Thank you for mentioning my blog Save-Scarsdale, several times already in your paper. I have recently written this:
Letter to the Inquirer December 2013.
You are welcome to publish it all or parts of it as a letter to the Mayor, the Board Trustees as well as the Village Manager and staff, and to you as Editor.
I hope you can join my efforts for a sorely needed park now at Heathcote Five Corners.
With best wishes for the holiday season and 2014, and for our Scarsdale to resume being a Village-in-a-Park again...
Lika L. Levi
Last revised 7:57 p.m. EDT, Sunday April 23, 2017.
Monday, December 16, 2013
These meetings I must add are not for the faint of heart though. Monday night I finally left at about 11:30 p.m. There were two more items on the agenda, plus 4 Dell that was going to come back for more discussions.
The BAR's mission from our website is to:
" preserve and promote the character of and appearance of buildings within the Village of Scarsdale". They can also " impose design conditions to ensure that buildings are designed in harmony with the neighboring community. "…
I am not a native Scarsdalian, ( rather an Istanbullu ) but I fail to understand how One Palmer contributes to the harmony of our Village or how for that matter 2-4 Weaver with 11 units and a design reminiscent of Neuschwanstein will be preserving the character of our Village and then of course there is Heathcote Manor down the street that looks like Squatters' Paradise. No wonder they chose such a name. Reminds me of the saying do not judge a book by its cover. Maybe they hope there will only be buyers buying through the Internet site unseen...
This was the fourth revision for 2-4 Weaver Street. I was also present at the first meeting when Farley Baker had said: " Make it smaller "… It certainly did not seem any smaller Monday night.
They have now retained Bana Choura in addition to Rick Behr's son as architects. Flowery, frilly lilly doily sketches were presented, with no detail. I was at the building department Friday, December 6th afternoon wanting to take another look at these pictures, when there were none to be found. My phone call to Bana on that Friday as well has still not been returned.
When Mr. Baker asked where the gutters were, Bana answered they were concealed.
The windows though are going to be white painted Azec ! David Fenton of Twin Oaks was in attendance to answer the questions. I do not know why David Fenton would want to undertake a building with painted Azec ! Not much quality there. A four, five story building depending on whether you are on the Weaver side or the by-pass side to be built on pillars on the existing parking lot… Some structure, some design, some beauty…
No, tax revenue is all that is being considered here. More tax revenue and your project will be approved. Instant gratification instead of long term planning. We have a very able and capable planner, yet her hands seem tied in this poor vision.
That same evening we heard of an architect talk about natural, real materials, such as wood, copper, slate, stucco for the home he was designing. He talked about humility, about blending into the surroundings even though the house is on Richbell… And yet, this building huge as it is, with artificial materials only shows the poor taste of the developer and the goal to maximize profits forgoing all else using some man made poor facsimile substitute materials that cry out cheap a mile away…
We do not need more insult to add to the injury already done at Heathcote Five Corners after Heathcote Manor, One Palmer and now a 24 hour Shell gas station convenience store on the New Rochelle side slated for more development. It is time to protect what we have and stop the abuse.
Ironically it was reported in the Scarsdale Inquirer of December 6, 2013 that our Trustees recommended that New Rochelle " carefully analyze the potential impacts of the proposed project on the surrounding neighborhood, including traffic, lighting, noise and storm water runoff"….
How come our Trustees are all of a sudden full of caution when up the street they are letting Heathcote Manor happen and now 2-4 Weaver Street ? If they could not stop Heathcote Manor, they now have every occasion to stop 2-4 Weaver Street. What have they done, what are they doing ?
Do they really mean what they say ? It is time to throw that Non-Binding agreement out to Weaver Street itself. Trustee Mark was smart enough to draft such a flexible document and now it is clear Scarsdale does not deserve one more insult. It is time for repairs, amends, repatriation. Give back to this town what it has been robbed of for far too long now: the open air, the trees, the views, the green.
This town is in need of healing. Enough of drainage basins and Cultecs.
Business districts are successful if and when they present a relief from the commercial nature of the area. A yin and yang type of dependency exists for example in the Village Center with Crane Park and the stores in the area. Greenwich Avenue in Greeenwich, CT is also successful with the park nearby.
In a similar vein, we need a park at Heathcote Five Corners to give a little yang to the yin of the commercial nature of the area. Why sell Village land to a profit maximizing, unimaginative, dull, absentee mall developer from New Jersey ( F. W. Fish ) who cannot even keep the Tavern cupola in good repair ? Nor could they make up their minds as to what they wanted: the extra storage area, the parking, the map that was not accurate, the appeal that they needed, etc., etc. This project has been problematic and plagued with problems from the very start.
This Village that can spend $ 12 Mil. on a public safety building should spend a couple of million dollars and acquire this property via eminent domain and give us a little breather in an area bereaved, hurt and damaged by all the latest development and traffic.
Heathcote Park is what we need here and what I have been asking for all along. See my letter to the Editor published in the June 21, 2009 edition of the Scarsdale Inquirer.
Now, I hope it is obvious to our Trustees and the management in Village Hall that this is the only viable solution for the area. Or else, one more sentence will be written into Scarsdale's death sentence that has already received far too many entries lately.
This applicant has been with us since 2007. In the last two and a half years alone they have had to appear in more than 17 meetings, in this round as our planner puts it. They have been pushing this project like venom through the throat of a sick man and they are still saying there is "no opposition"… Yeah, because people who really care about Scarsdale are leaving and the rest are fed up with the futility of the fight and disgusted with the insensitive attitude of our Trustees who cloaked in all verisimilitude of righteousness are doing everything but protecting our Village. Where is visionary proactive, contemporary, green planning ? Why not finally change the zoning in Heathcote Five Corners ? Why not give us a park at Heatchote Five Corners ?
The British have left, but we have let this enemy conquer us, infiltrate us and they are now intent on destroying us. It is time to wake up. Scarsdale is in pain.
Show us you care, give us Heathcote Park !
Of course, if I had a magic wand I would want Heathcote Park where One Palmer is now and move One Palmer to the 2-4 Weaver Street location in its entirety.
As they say in French: " L'homme propose Dieu dispose". Man proposes or asks, and God, ( or the authorities, in this case our very capable Mayor and the Board of Trustees together with equally capable, diligent and responsible Village Manager and team ) delivers. Amen !
Monday, December 9, 2013
It has been a while since the above meeting, my apologies for not writing sooner. First I was not going to write at all, but now I think it is best to record this meeting for those of you who would like to know more about what happens at events such as these.
Typically, there are not too many residents attending these meetings. At this one Ilene Nechamkin attended as a reporter as she often does and reports dutifully and objectively on the events as they transpired. This time her article was published in the November 22, 2013 edition of Scarsdale Inquirer.
Deb Pekarek of the League of Women Voters sat to my left. A while into the meeting Mr. Soldatenko came and sat to my right. We were the only residents in attendance.
The Village Manager's office was in full attendance as they usually are. Now, we have a new person just in charge of FOIL applications, plus another new gentleman. He said he was Mr. Nunzio Piterosanti's assistant and had been with us already three weeks. I congratulated him, since his predecessor had not lasted two days, I had been told.
At the end of the meeting I could not help but comment on the many law suits Mr. Soldatenko has now ongoing with our Village. I was told he has five pending. I wanted to clarify this, he would not comment. Then, I asked him if he had found a lawyer, who was offering a special: " Sue for two and get three more for free, or some other kind of special "… He liked the joke, laughed. He said: "Ask Mr. Esannason". I said I had asked him, but he would not give me a definite answer either. We both laughed.
Trustee Lee has come along way since the day he had announced the fate the Canada Geese in our Village. He tried very hard this time to steer our trustees towards some kind of action regarding the development problem. Unfortunately delay, delegate and procrastinate again resulted. No definite result.
They decided they would meet with Seth Ross, Planning Board Chair and Farley Baker the BAR Chair and try to come up with a way to curb development. In the meanwhile every two weeks the BAR is reviewing 18 items on its agenda for new homes, etc., the CHP is meeting once a month to demolish old homes, the BOA is meeting once a month to do what it can to abuse this land even more if the current laws do not allow. The Planning Board does its share to plan for more abuse.
The Trustees and the Staff are considering options….Democracy is fine, but there is a point where it becomes counter productive. Our administration has ceased to protect what it was set out to do. It is now catering to the developer or to the resident whose project will produce the most tax revenue. Nothing else matters. It is all theatre till there ! As residents they are shooting themselves in the foot as well… Don't they see this is no solution ? Am I the only one who likes trees and open space ? Don't they see it will be a Silent Spring soon, even in Scarsdale ?
They have to act faster than their opponent, or else they are defeated. Don't they see this ?
Eight months into this new Board, and still nothing.
The Mayor was not present nor was Trustee Stern.
We are waiting for some real leadership from our resident and very capable volunteers.
Hopefully soon, before we are buried in concrete and asphalt...