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Tuesday, February 28, 2017

Members of the BAR

I thought some members of the BAR looked a little unfamiliar with Scarsdale.

A closer look at their applications:

When Jessica Kourakos applied to serve on the BAR in March of 2014, her application states length of residence as 1. Not clear if it is one year, one day or one hour.

Same for Lawrence Diamond. His length of residence when he applied in April of 2013, also states 1...

Mera Faddoul applied on April of 2013, in her application also under length of residence, 1.

Jessica started serving on April of 2015, Mera on August of 2013 and Larry Diamond on April of 2015.

They are the three voting  members of the BAR,  who had a combined residency of less than four years at the time they applied.  Clearly not acceptable and not good for our Village.

They should recuse themselves until such time that they are more familiar with our town. All three are welcome to submit their applications in March of 2018. Until then I advise an adjournment of the BAR, a committee that has been the cause of much unwanted, ugly houses in our midst. No more !

 Further, I made a recommendation for five years' residency to serve on the BAR.

Some BAR applications and some decisions for the February 27, 2017 meeting

I could not attend the BAR meeting last night with its 24 applications. Apparently some BAR members had the same ailment...

It was three weeks' accumulation since  Village Hall  was closed last Monday due to the Presidents' Day holiday. I think they should not allow more than 10 applications per evening. It is just too much and one looses the capacity to judge or absorb any more information after about nine of these...No, since they are volunteers, pile on. Well, these volunteers also do not show up.

I called up the Building Department this afternoon and spoke with Roseanne. In attendance were only 4 members. Jessica did not show up. Jack Scott Miller was the Chair.  Dan Finger, Larry Diamond and Jamie Kayan were also in attendance. The meeting lasted till 10:45 p.m.

All four had to agree on any application since they needed a quorum. For 23 Innes, Dan Finger recused himself since he lives on the street. I do not understand why that is a reason for recusal. But then there is a lot I do understand in this Village. So, under such unfavorable conditions, 23 Innes decided to withdraw their application. I hope they will withdraw their application altogether and keep the old house with the real slate and stone instead of all the artificial stuff they are proposing. The houses they build look like Hollywood make-believe houses, all artificial. Filmed and gone in a day.

I was at Village Hall from about 3-4 p.m. looking at  various applications Monday afternoon. In case you are interested:

These are the plans for 23 Innes road:

Fiberglass columns....

Stone veneer, bluestone surfacing...

Stone veneer, brick veneer... They had real stone with the house there. They cannot even bother to recycle...They should be banished from this town. I think they are all veneer too. They should not be allowed to build any more in this town. The damage they have done is like no other.

This is for 61 Franklin Road: They were approved after three submissions. Looking forward to synthetic stucco I can spot a mile away... I suppose they kept that.

This is the Eilon Amidor residence at 18 Cornell Road. They have to resubmit.

John Wall residence at 19 Tisdale Road. Got approved at second attempt.

This is 18 Cornell. Must resubmit.

This is 27 Ferncliff. Must resubmit.

I was fascinated by the Cultec rechargers. Must have some drainage issues. Must keep fingers crossed another Sandy does not show up !

You can go here to see all the decisions: Click, here, please.

1109 Post Road let the Building Department know before the meeting that they had failed to give proper notice to the neighbors, so they withdrew their application.

Last revision 1:55 p.m. EST Tuesday, February 28, 2017.

Monday, February 27, 2017

Consultants for Assessor's Office, another Non-Profit...

A busy week:

Tonight a meeting of the BAR with 24 items, more on that in a separate post later.

The Village Board hired consultants to investigate organizational aspects of the Assessor's office.

Tuesday, February 28, 2017

The Board of Trustees of the Village of Scarsdale will meet as a Committee of the Whole on Tuesday, February 28, 2017 at 6:00 PM. The meeting will be held in the Third Floor Meeting Room in Village Hall. Agenda 1. Organizational Assessment of Town/Village Assessor’s Department 

Why do they have to assess the Assessor's Office ? Who is assessing the VB's performance ? The Assessor did what she was told to do, no more no less. Why did they order a second reval in two years ?

They can't accept the blame, they hire consultants to dissipate the blame and make it focus elsewhere.

Another reason this system is not working. Thank goodness, they are out in a couple more weeks. What will come does not hold much promise either. The CNC slate or the other one. The system is flawed. We need total revamp. That is where consultants are needed. Not to cover up their mistakes.

The problem is volunteers, or nolunteers -  volunteers who do nothing. How do you let go of volunteers who do nothing ? Who are not responsive to residents' pleas year after year, term after term ? They just sit there.

The resident gets up, talks, complains. She or he has a genuine complaint. They just shuffle paper, sit there until the next election. Some make politically correct statements, but say nothing. They just want the vote, the power, to be able to say "I was trustee in Scarsdale". We become a line on their resume...

 Little will others know, they delivered nothing. I agree, it is a big job. But don't accept it,  if you have accepted it, deliver. If not, make provisions for others to deliver. To do nothing in 2017 is to go backwards. The world is spinning at a rate it has never done before. This is the age of global competition in everything. Our VB thinks it is still 1908... Houston we have a problem ! No, we have many problems !!!

This past week, another letter asking for solicitations. You know from who... The defunct Non-Partisan party. They are so clueless, they are sending me a solicitation envelope when they should know by now, I am totally unsupportive of them. Wasting money. Their specialty.

Another year, another wife and husband team. One goes another grows.

I will remember not to vote.

Last revised 1:50 p.m. EST Friday, March 3rd 2017.

Mamaroneck and Cambridge Roads

These two houses are  at the corner of Cambridge and Mamaroneck Roads, one facing another in complete discord, begging for harmony where all has been thrown out the window...

This below, is a  perfect example what should not be allowed... And yet...

First revision 6:54 a.m. EST Monday, February 27, 2017.

Friday, February 24, 2017

Board of Architectural Review Agenda for Monday, February 27th

Below, the agenda for February 27th, Monday. 

This time Jessica will need a truck load of chocolate chip cookies. I hope she is prepared. Maybe she is taking some art courses this weekend... A trip to Florence will help.

This is what  she said in her Boards and Councils Application. Reason she is applying: " A love of architecture which is one of the primary reasons we came to Scarsdale"... 

She is destroying the very reason she came to Scarsdale for. Synthetic slate and styrofoam stucco should be banned in Scarsdale forever.

Due to platform incompatibility, I had to printout the schedule as follows. Not every pretty, but I hope you can read all that is on the agenda.

Note the new houses, being proposed. If you are at all concerned about your streetscape, you should look at the plans of these new houses especially. It is amazing how these architects lack imagination or artistic abilities...They are in desperate need of any input !

I noticed after posting this that the house number for Eilon Amidor's Cornell Street application is omitted. I hope it will be corrected prior to the meeting.

First revised on Sunday, February 26th at 7:05 a.m.

Zoning Board of Appeals A agenda for March 8, 2017

Three swimming pools on the agenda:

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, 1001 Post Road, Scarsdale NY 10583 on Wednesday, March 8, 2017 at 8:00 p.m. at which time and place the Board of Appeals will consider the following:
  1. The application of 14 Reimer Rd. LLC for a Special Use Permit, pursuant to Chapter 310-88 of the Village Code, to construct a swimming pool at 14 Reimer Road, identified on the Village tax map as Sec. 14, Blk. 3, Lot 18.
  2. The application of Bilane Holdings LLC for a Special Use Permit, pursuant to Chapter 310-88 of the Village Code, to construct a swimming pool at 9 Birch Lane, identified on the Village tax map as Sec. 14, Blk. 6, Lot 37.
  3. The application of 96 Morris La. LLC 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.
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. To receive meeting agendas by e-mail, visit www.scarsdale.com and click on Notify Meto subscribe.
By Order of the Board of Appeals, Scarsdale, New York, dated February 22, 2017. Elizabeth Marrinan, AICP, Village Planner

Assessments in Scarsdale

Here we go:

If our system is so great, why this ?

Assessment number 1: 1969 ( Per Deputy Assessor Patrick McEvily )

Assessment number 2: 2014

Assessment number 3: 2016.

The Assessment of 2016 triggered a law-suit petitioned by 150 residents.

The Village Attorney will not disclose how many Article 78 proceedings the Village has currently pending... I do not know much, but I know of at least three including this last one.

Thank you Non-Partisan system.

Thank you  our volunteer residents serving our Village part-time.

We are getting served court papers... Tax payer money going to fix problems that should not have been there in the first place.

We get water we cannot drink since November 15, 2015. We are informed the new UV facility to treat the cryptosporidium is scheduled for completion by March 15, 2018,  in fall 2016 water bill insert.

We have to drive on roads full of pot-holes.

Even though our resident volunteers perform the jobs that at other municipalities professionals do, still we have higher taxes than most. Go figure ...

They tell us to vote, but there is no voting... On and on.. Enough for today, right ?

Parts of the Non-Partisan system, is good. The fact that there is no political affiliation. But volunteers serving part-time has to change.

Past Sunday's  ( February 19th ) warm weather brought out this honeybee from its winter slumber. Here it is on top of our garbage dumpster:

This is an Eranthis Hyemalis or winter aconite photographed on Monday February 20th, coming out in the Spring weather we have had in front of a Galanthus Nivalis or  Common Snowdrop bulb.

Last revision 6:41 p.m. EST, Monday February 27, 2017.

Composting Program so far...

The composting program started January 9th, 2017, the first of its kind in Westchester.

Here is the compost residents brought so far by week and the starter kits sold.

First four weeks' total is 3,520 lbs.
The next two weeks' total is 3,600 lbs. Definitely picking up !!!

I know in the first two weeks 200 kits were sold. So, there are definitely some very interested individuals, but it does not look like too many residents have caught up with the program so far. May be the are just not buying the kits...The numbers are growing which is encouraging.

Composting is a great way to return to the soil what we have taken from it. Instead of our food scraps being mixed in with the household garbage and going to incinerators, this is making use of your every day garbage. 

It is easy, green and good for Earth ! 

From Ben Salanitro:

1/18/2017 – 740 lb - .37 Ton
1/25/2017 – 1040 lb - .52 Ton
2/1/2017 – 840 lb - .42 Ton
2/8/2017 – 900 lb - .45 Ton
2/15/2017 – 1580 lb - .79 Ton
2/23/2017 – 2020 lb – 1.01 Ton

Starter Kits Sold – 242

Benedict A. Salanitro, P.E.
Superintendent of Public Works
Village of Scarsdale
1001 Post Road, Scarsdale NY 10583
FAX: 914-722-1103

First revision 3:44 p.m. EST Friday February 24th, 2017.

Thursday, February 23, 2017

49 Butler Road

Here we are, not everyone is in favor of destroying and destruction.

They would rather renovate, restore, reclaim.

Dear Reader,

  If there are any other renovations going on in and around Scarsdale that you think I should mention here, please let me know at Lika@Save-Scarsdale.org or (914) 722-0004.

 We are going to win this war, one house at a time.

Thank you !

First revision 7:12 a.m. EST on  February 23, 2017.

The Assault continues...

Planning Board meeting last night, Wednesday February 22nd:

More lots, two new lots, more congestion. Instead of less congestion, more green space. 

When is our dear elected resident volunteer VB going to wake up from its slumber and do something for us ? No, they are like the ostrich with its head buried in deep sand. Unaware of anything and everything. They have ceased to be relevant let alone beneficial. 

Our system has not been working for us or for them for a very long time. Marc Samwick was still asking for help at the last VB meeting....

NOTICE IS HEREBY GIVEN that a public hearing will be held by the Planning Board of the Village of Scarsdale in Rutherford Hall in Village Hall, 1001 Post Road, Scarsdale NY 10583, on Wednesday, February 22, 2017, at 6:30 p.m. at which time and place the Planning Board will consider the following:

1. A recommendation to the Village Board regarding the amount of the recreation fee to be assessed to the applicant, the Estate of Hazel Golenbock, for the three lot subdivision which resulted in two new lots at 18 and 0 Cornell Street and 19 Griffen Avenue, identified on the Village tax map as Sec. 24, Blk. 1, Lots 4, 5 and 4A.

Copies of the above application are on file in the Coordinating Office at Village Hall and may be viewed by interested parties at any time during usual business hours. To receive meeting agendas by e-mail, visit www.scarsdale.com and click on Notify Meto subscribe.
By Order of the Planning Board, Scarsdale, New York, dated February 7, 2017. Elizabeth Marrinan AICP, Village Planner. 

Last revision 6:07 a.m. EST Friday, February 24, 2017.

Tuesday, February 21, 2017

5 Lockwood Road

Once again, as I delve into Village land use issues, we are facing  "development" on our street, just like in July of 2013.

The owners who had lived at 5 Lockwood Road, Jean and Kenneth Wentworth  for more than 50 years or so moved away and sold the house this past summer. We were told the new owners would not tear down the house. Early winter we received a letter stating they were planning on an addition. It did not look too egregious, I did not attend the BAR meeting.

A week or so later we received another letter stating they wanted an even bigger addition.  This time hand delivered the night of January 30th for the meting on February 6th. There is no end to what people want...

See what is going on and try to keep calm.

Look at the displaced soil, mountain loads of it.

I took this picture on the right on February 1st.

These three pictures were taken at the same location, back of the house where they were proposing a new addition.
The one to the left below was taken on February 1st at 10:57 a.m., the one below on February 6th at 12:59 p.m. and the last one the same day at 4:48 p.m. with the plans next to it and the new addition highlighted with the cloud like area.

A closer look:

Does not look like they even waited for the approval, right ?  They were in front of the BAR on February 6th at 8:00p.m., but by 4:00 p.m. or so, they were already pouring  concrete.

5 Lockwood looked like this on February 6th at 12:58 p.m. :

The two pictures below were taken around 1:00 p.m., the right most at 4:52 p.m. when I returned to take some more pictures. Look how congested the area is becoming.

Our building code is allowing this. The architects and the new tenants are taking advantage of all this. Grab all you can, while you can. Our planner thinks our FAR laws are "fine"... What if everyone expanded to the maximum allowable square footage ? No, they refuse to think, to legislate, to plan.

The pictures below were sent with the notice for the BAR. The front view and then the back view of the house.

Looks like the Best Buy logo, don't you agree ?

It does not belong here and yet it was what the BAR approved despite my objections on Monday February 6th evening at the 11th hour literally. Very late at night after hearing thirteen other applications. This was number 14.

Their very kind words full of compassion:  "Well, you are lucky they did not tear down the house"... Instead of saying "Yeah, we should change the building laws, cannot allow this to continue". No, she took one more bite of her chocolate chip cookie, the only sign she was still a human being and not a Ninja or something...She is more familiar with IMAX and plastic dinosaurs than she is mullions or melons...Toy Story to the rescue !

Look what they are doing to the side of the house where there is hardly any room:

House next door 7 Lockwood Road below, and 16 Lockwood Road house across the street, underneath:

And the real owner: The tufted titmouse posing for me here, below right as I was taking these pictures.