Thursday, January 04, 2007

PUBLIC HEARING REQUESTED ON CENTRAL AVE RESIDENTIAL DEVELOPMENT MORATORIUM

In recent months Edgemont civic associations have requested a moratorium on residential development along the Central Ave corridor. The concern: Residential development will have more of an impact on the school district than commercial development. During a moratorium a study of the Central Ave corridor would take place. At the conclusion of the study a determination would be made whether a zoning change should be approved.
I believe that the Town Board should schedule a public hearing on this requested moratorium and have placed the item on the agenda for next Wednesday, January 10th at 7:00 PM. I am requesting the Town Board to direct the Town Attorney/Commissioner of Planning to draft a resolution and to schedule the hearing within 30 days.
Some people do not support the moratorium. Holding a public hearing on this matter will provide all residents of Edgemont and Greenburgh with the opportunity to express their views.

28 comments:

hal samis said...

Is a "spot" moratorium legal? It would penalize only some of the Town's property owners.

Residential construction on Central Avenue in Hartsdale should not be a concern the Edgemont School District.
Therefore why encumber these owners?

Thus, you are proposing a Hearing for a three mile moratorium along just one roadway?

How long would such a moratorium last? The last moratorium (town-wide) was two years in duration.

These are matters that should influence the wording of the Resolution.

And I presume that what is proposed for January 10 is just a Resolution to hold a Hearing in the future.

Paul Feiner said...

I will ask the Town Board on Wednesday to schedule a hearing sometime within the next month.
I had a dept head meeting today. The consensus was that we could have a moratorium but would have to tie it into the districts school capacity- the impact additional residential development have on school infrastructure.

For the Moratorium said...

On November 30, before anyone ever heard about the property near the Nature Center, Samis (presumably speaking for Feiner as he often does these days) dismissed Edgemont's request for a moratorium on residential development along Central Avenue, saying:

"If I lived in Edgemont should I be worried today? No.
Then when? 10 years down the road.

Come back and talk moratorium in about 6 years."

Two weeks later, Samis should have been made to choke on those words when it became known that a developer seeking to build condos had purchased the property along the Central Avenue corridor adjacent to an already existing condo complex, but also near the Nature Center.

The ECC made its request at the first Town Board meeting in September. Even Feiner took the lead that night and spoke favorably of the idea. But then, presumably after consulting Samis, he dropped the ball.

Edgemont has now got a problem on its hands. If ever there was a time for Greenburgh to consider the moratorium, it is right now.

Hopefully Feiner will do more than just "schedule a hearing."

Hopefully, he'll back away from Samis and support the moratorium which, if enacted, will give the Town and Edgemont some breathing room to come up with a meaningful plan for dealing with the much more imminent prospect of further residential development.

Paul Feiner said...

Dear For the Moratorium: I find it amazing that you are critical even when I'm agreeing with you. I want to help the Edgemont school district and want to be responsive to the school districts concerns. That is why I am pushing for the public hearing. It's frustrating to read anonymous comments that contain inaccurate and false information.
Hal Samis identifies himself. He is willing to put his name next to his comments.

Anonymous said...

Paul, I agree with "For the Moratorium." If you were for it, you would have put it on the agenda months ago when it was first requested.

If you are in favor of it now, you would do more than just "schedule a hearing." You would say, "I support ECC's request and will work with ECC's leaders to make sure the Town has everything it needs for the resolution and the hearing to get the moratorium enacted as soon we can."

Edgemont residents have seen you say one thing to the Scarsdale Inquirer, when you want to pander to Edgemont voters, and the opposite to the Rivertown Enterprise, when pandering to village voters.

So, Edgemont residents are understandably skeptical when you say you want to "help the Edgemont school district."

And why blog anonymously? One reason is that you and your vocal supporters like Mr. Samis have a reputation for personally attacking and slandering your Edgemont critics by name, rather than responding intelligently to their criticism.

I bet that's why, if they're blogging at all, you won't see any of Edgemont's leaders identifying themselves by name. They know better.

But you know who they are.

They speak out at town board meetings, they are often quoted in news stories and they write letters to the editor.

No one can stop you and your supporters from slandering them on your blog, but they've at least got a fighting chance to be heard in these other forums, and I respect their choice.

hal samis said...

One better reason that people don't use their real names is that they can hide and still publish falsehoods. Case in point just a few paragraphs up -- from "for the moratorium".

What this blogger fails to point out when quoting me from November 30 is that I was -- not possible to assume otherwise as it follows about three specific paragraphs by me -- discussing the conversion of the Midway Shopping Center to residential, perhaps creating as many as 400 units. See for yourself by going to November comments and open up Moratorium.

So when I mention this as maybe a legitimate concern in 10 years, it has nothing to do with the insignificant pimple of residential development near the Nature Center.
And, assuming that whatever number of units got built on this parcel, are 100% going to produce a school age population?

As a random thought, perhaps the solution to the residential development problem is to permit it if it contains only studio and one bedroom units (even C of O unit restricted), a mix which would be undesireable to parents. The choice of whether or not to abide by this limitation would be made by the developer if he wanted to do a residential project.

Samis speaks for himself and I'm not sure that this doesn't cause problems for Mr. Feiner on his blog.
But, those otherwise recognizable Edgemont civic leaders who fear slander by revealing opinions as their own on this blog...give me a break. You can just as easily be "slandered" or more likely exposed as intellectually bankrupt when you appear at Town Hall or by letter-to-the editor on those rare occasions when you crawl out from under your rock. YES, I WRITE THIS ON PURPOSE to show everyone how your community standing is so fragile because someone (me) writes mere words. You want people to believe that the reason you are afraid to identify yourselves is because I confront you? Run home to mommy and let her stroke your head and say "there, there, everything's going to be all right".

If you want to act like a baby, be prepared to be treated like a baby. Otherwise stand up like an adult and be prepared to take your tongue-lashing when you earn it. One way not to be chastened is not to use this blog as a personal lie distribution center.

Anonymous said...

Samis has morphed into a Feiner blow-hard that no one except Feiner listens to.

The few people who've bothered to take him on have cleaned his clock. On most occasions he doesn't know what he's talking about and because his torrent of words is so filled with anger and personal insults, even if he had a valid point, and he rarely does, no one would care.

Newspapers cannot publish Samis's libel and slander. The Town Board is not supposed to allow personal attacks (but Samis routinely gets away with it). He obviously gets away with it here, which is why many of us choose to remain anonymous. Who needs the aggravation?

Anonymous said...

Anonymous is nastier than Samis ever could be. As Mr. Feiner pointed out in the earlier post, Mr. Samis puts his name on his messages. The angry, personal attacker against Samis is a wimp. If you really believe that Samis is a blow hard identify yourself. You say that Samis is guilty of libel and slander. Your comments are just as bad. Look in the mirror. The person you criticize is yourself.

Anonymous said...

I think the blogger or bloggers who were being critical of Mr. Samis was being far too kind.

Mr. Samis has used this blog to personally, repeatedly and gratuitously attack by name town employees, town council members, Edgemont civic association heads, and members of the library board of trustees, all because he either does not like these people personally or because they had the temerity to criticize positions taken by Mr. Feiner or by Mr. Samis himself.

Mr. Samis can dish the venom out, but he sure can't take it. He whines about being quoted out of context, but I read what he wrote and he's guilty as charged.

Kudos to the blogger who nailed him. Well done!

hal samis said...

Dear anoymice:

Saying it is so isn't proving it.
I repeat to all would-be clock cleaners, go to the November 30 comments and see if I wasn't discussing the fears relating to a Midway conversion -- and the timetable that would follow to vacate a shopping center that only recently signed up national chains with new, long term leases.

Of course, bloggers can get away with this misinformation because they are anonymous and they don't expect readers to take the trouble to go to the actual blog comments I made. Just because one of my critics says he went there and read it does not prove his point. See for yourself.

I name names (no doubt people who want to remain anonymous find this discomforting) because these named people actually say or do the things I report.

Who has "cleaned my clock". Let's use the Journalism menu: Who, What, Where, When, Why and How.
If it were true, then it would be a vote of confidence because cleaner clocks run more accurately and longer.

Let me see if I have this straight.
I "pick" on people because they have "picked" on me.

I am guilty of libel and slander and newspapers can't publish me. This proves that the author of this can't read. I get away with this routinely at the Town Board meetings even though I attack the members of the Town Council.

Etc. Etc. Etc.
Some one has mixed up their meds.

One sad thing about these untrue, illogical and infantile "comments" is that the author(s) have no time to contribute an opinion on the blog topics but only on me. Of course that I generate so much attention makes me feel that I am on target on sensitive issues and that if you can't destroy the point, then the only recourse is to attack the bearer.
The other sad conclusion is that this kind of attack (whether provoked or not) happens in the Northeast where it is presumed that the population is college educated, somewhat liberal and tolerant of dissenting opinions. Instead I witness the exercise on free license to say whatever comes to mind, to make any allegation, to deflect, deceive and debunk all while hiding under the cyberspace equivalent of a KKK robe.
And for what purpose, to convince who? Like anyone believes that there are vast numbers of residents faithfully reading these blogs, people who believe all they read, people who even care.
And, even more perplexing is that these few come to the equivalent of Mr. Feiner's online living room to throw rocks and abuse instead of using the premises to exchange ideas and information.
My blogs are lengthy because they are expository, often entertaining but they are meant to inform and give the least aware reader among you the maximum back story.
When I criticize the Library Board Trustees or the Town Council, does anyone refute my accusations. Am I attempting to win a popularity contest, no. What I am trying to do is to state what it would be improper for elected officials to state and this is not something that I have discussed or plotted with the Supervisor. If you don't like what I write, the blog entry begins with my name so it is simple enough to scroll past. I don't do this to win friends and I suspect that those who write anonymously are the victims who feel they have stripped naked in public but are afraid or unable to defend themselves.

This blog is in its fourth month. Does anyone think that no one from the Town Council or the Library Board or Edgemont civic associations drops by to read the comments. Have you ever seen any comments signed by any of them? If I am wrong, they certainly have the means, documents and staff at their disposal to draft a reply or denial. Yet apparently they won't, can't or are afraid to open a wound they hope will heal on its own.

Why is it so wrong when I identify people. You get news from newspapers or on television with names. You see names in editorial or columns. Without knowing who is responsible would make the stories nonsensical. But when it happens here on this blog, at Town Hall or in letters-to-the-editor, the cowering subjects cry libel and slander, clearly inappropriate terms for criticism. Of course if I say something about "anonymous" it would be a difficult case to prove even if slander and libel did occur.

But mostly I wonder why everyone is so afraid of attaching their name to something they believe is correct and honest. I can think of a lot of reasons to be anonymous when lying or being wrong.

And I can detect propoganda techniques when they are being employed. Statements without proof, conclusions without basis, creating mythical coatails to cling to so as to give the impression that there is someone else who thinks the same way, the same person writing with multiple blogs as though there were others...all this is apparent.

But cheer up. Today was a day to handle all this house cleaning before the next Town Board meeting.
You can attack and I won't respond. You got your desired attention but that's it. From now on, I'll confine myself to the blog topics with the perps names in print. Back to business as usual.

hal samis said...

Question:

Does the Edgemont School District accept non-resident students who pay tuition fees?

That's the slow ball. Get ready for the change-up.

Anonymous said...

There is probably a Hal Samis-like person in every community or organization that allows open participate.

While well-meaning folks may find it tempting on occasion to engage them in dialogue, the best way to deal with people like that is to put them on ignore.

Eventually they seek the attention they desperately crave elsewhere, and those who want to engage in meaningful discussion can get on with it.

Clock cleaner needed said...

Whoever is cleaning mr samis' clock, please proceed to downtown Hartsdale and reset the clock - its time is off by an hour.

hal samis said...

Tick Tock, Tick Tock, Tick Tock
I've already emailed this concern to DPW three times.
The problem is that Mr. Regula is too busy assuring the Town Council that everything is ok at the Library that he has stopped running his own Department.
If you have any other problems, say leaf pick-up or garbage collection, you can reach Al at the Library or c/o Captain Hook.

Anonymous said...

Wasnt that clock on East Hartsdale a gift from a jewler. That clock has cost the town a lot of frustration. Let the doner fix it. His name is plastered all over it.

Edgemont voter said...

I am pleased that Paul Feiner is fighting for Edgemont. I thank him for fighting for the Nature Center. I thank him for fighting for the Edgemont school district by supporting a moratorium on residential properties. I thank him for keeping us informed.
Paul: Don't lose your temper. Your critics are trying to get you angry. Your critics won't you to lose it. That is why they are so horribly nasty.

Anonymous said...

Fighting for the Nature Center? Give me a break. Have you or anyone else seen the property that's being talked about here?

It's a relatively small piece of mostly unwooded land that's not even adjacent to the Nature Center. It borders the Scarsdale Woods condo complex, the high school playing fields, a convent, and Dromore Road.

There's a ten foot high brick serpentine wall on the other side of Dromore Road that separates Nature Center property from this property.

No one in Edgemont would want to see this property become condos.

But how helpful is it to claim that this is all about protecting the Nature Center when even the Nature Center's board of directors isn't sure what needs to be done here.

Everyone is prepared to sit down with Edgemont's leaders to discuss realistic ways in which this problem might be solved. Everyone it seems, except Feiner.

Feiner fighting for Edgemont? He could start by getting his facts straight.

hal samis said...

Can anyone explain why property only in Greenburgh is sold and the seller, or the seller's agents never contact obvious potential buyers?

If there are Real Estate Brokers involved, apparently they feel they have already done enough legwork for their commission.
If it is a direct sale by the Owner, how come (he) never thinks to approach the least offensive buyer? Say the Town itself, or the Nature Center, or one of the many Edgemont Civic Associations?

Remember the purchase of the Town Hall. A deal was already in place when the Town Assessor heard about it. The owner of the property was locally represented and yet the Town had been looking for years, reported so in all the local media and had in fact abandoned the attempted purchase of the vacant building across the street, mostly because @135,000 square feet, it was too big a bite coming from an existing 14,000 square foot Town Hall. The Town had even formed a committee of volunteers, including Arnold Laubich, a real estate expert and Edgemont resident; and they searched and they searched and they searched and they still couldn't find a suitable location even though there weren't that many existing office buildings in Greenburgh, particularly buildings that were located less under a mile from the then existing Town Hall. For that matter, the 135,000 foot building that was dropped from consideration was also under a mile (being across the street), abandoned for years and finally considered for purchase only AFTER a real estate investor tied it up.

I'm not bringing this up to open old wounds although I'm sure that some readers will feel compelled to blog so but in the hopes that after the dust settles someone will consider what follows.

For at least 10 years Edgemont has complained about a lack of open space in their area. Edgemont has complained about traffic on Central Avenue. Edgemont has complained about capacity problems in their schools. Edgemont has joined other sections of Town in the often heard "claim" that new residential development costs the Town more in expenses than the new real estate taxes bring in while the possibility of additional students creates a hardhip for existing school systems. When new commercial development occurs in Edgemont, there are Edgemont civic leaders in line to criticize and delay it and even to render it stillborn.

And as a person in real estate, but not locally involved (not by design), I am troubled by the evolving dance that occurs: "we like our retail stores", "we don't like all the traffic", "we don't want Ridge Hill because it will hurt Central Avenue stores", "we don't want the Linens N Things sign letters so large", "we want open space", "we don't want higher taxes" etc. The music and the steps change constantly and the result when considered together is to produce the same doublespeak that politicians are accused of...but it is acceptable only when Edgemont "leaders" mouth the words.

But what I really don't understand and have already asked others to find out, is why a real estate development company was able to purchase this property and "no one" knew about it until after the fact just like my opening paragraphs regarding the Greenburgh Town Hall.

First off let me provide some relief to those I am about to criticize. Those in real estate versus average residents see real estate not only for what exists (buildings etc. which are called "improvements" by the "industry and in real estate law) but for what's underneath, the land. Thus, any building can be torn down and rebuilt or in some cases, reconfigured. Central Avenue is roughly a four mile strip in Edgemont and there are in addition to a few completely vacant parcels, a lot of buildings ALL of which could be turned into something different than their current use. Lots can be combined.
There are many possibilities and even occupied buildings have leases which expire or can be bought out or sometimes voided upon demolition ("demolition" clauses). The average person, not being in the business, is not expected to understand this. This marks the end of the "excuse accepted" portion of this blog entry. Now let me start the criticism.

Knowing the above, I have to point out that those Edgemont Civic "leaders" who are continuously in the limelight, continuously promoting their Edgemont affiliation, knowledge, expertise and concerns.
As I have noted in the paragraph above beginning "For at least 10 years..." these people have to start to take responsibility for "adverse" conditions as they occur, condtions they should have been aware of because they have positioned themselves not as mere residents but a higher species: Civic Leaders. Instead they hasten to blame everyone else as the cause when what THEY label a "crisis", is imminent.

If Central Avenue has been such a concern over time, where is the Edgemont Real Estate Committee to keep track of development, who owns what, can we buy this parcel? And better, let's go to the owner of a desirable piece and say "we (then run to the Town) want to buy your property if you ever decide to sell". Real Estate brokers are notorious for calling on owners and inventing "I've got a buyer dying to buy your property, let me know if it is for sale". That's from the more honest brokers, others manufacture an offer and then go looking for a buyer. In case anyone hasn't noticed, the real estate market in the metro region has been hot for years and everyone knows it. Thus objections that "we can't do that, it will only jack up the price" are meaningless because owners of desireable sites receive many unsolicited weekly calls from buyers and brokers because that is what they do for a livelihood. And the buyers need no longer be local; properties are targeted by out-of-state if not foreign buyers. So, throw all those fears of driving up the price by the interest of others. Everyone knows everything about it already.

EXCEPT in Greenburgh and now in Edgemont. If I lived in Edgemont and was concerned about specific sites (say Central Avenue) because of the supposed impact upon the School District, then I would make it my business to talk to owners.
And, let me introduce this thought.
How do I know that the Nature Center or anyone in Edgemont had not been contacted before a sale? A denial from parties is also a way to cover your rear.

The Bally/Carpet store property whose owner came before the Town with a proposed retail redevelopment plan was beat up by the Edgemont civic leaders and the plan was withdrawn. Is the property for sale? Will Edgemont see the owner back with a new plan, perhaps residential instead of retail? Will it be sold to someone with more expertise to get a plan approved? Or will it remain undeveloped forever (HA!). I'm thinking that Edgemont leaders, instead of being proactive are merely playing wait and see, to follow by doing the reactive game of crying to the Town Board and Scarsdale Inquirer.

In today's real estate market, commercial properties are not sold, they are bought and if Edgemont leaders really are as concerned as they want everyone to believe, they had best wake up and get on with it.

Fundamental to Democracy and the American way of life is the notion of preserving the rights of private property. Instead of finding ways to subvert this concept and "take" or "borrow" what belongs to others, Edgemont leaders would do better by pursuing the higher ground and finding ways to finance an acquisition. And the municipal government, in turn, when pressed by vocal voters for a moratorium with the response to succumb to this pressure, has available an equitable compromise to lessen the burden upon the owner, whether the property is currently derving income or not. That compromise is to suspend the taxes (or leasing for an equivalent cost if a there is a legal bar), both real estate and school taxes, for the length of the moratorium. This expense, borne by the Town and the School District, would be an incentive to not allow the moratorium to continue as has been the local experience. Most of you have by now played dvds at home and seen the industry promo at the begining...you know the one that illustrates snatching a handbag, stealing a car, shoplifting, etc. with "YOU WOULDN'T... as the theme.

In Edgemont, taking or borrowing someone's real estate which is what happens in a moratorium (who would want to pay top dollar for it before knowing if the zoning has changed) is a real burden, even if existing lease revenue provides some comfort. And, remember the purpose of the moratorium is not likely one which will make the property more valuable. If you insist upon a moratorium, then do the right thing and pay for it.

Being a reasonable man, I would have no problem with this as peace offering. It would be an honorable Greenburgh first.

Anonymous said...

A torrent of words, offering nothing constructive or serious. No, the town is not going to suspend the collection of school, county, town, sewer and fire taxes while a moratorium is in place, nor should it.

hal samis said...

Dear anoymous?
Is a torrent a step up from a rant?

"No, the town is not going to suspend the collection of....."

Let's play "What's My Line"
first question: Are you an employee of the town?

Anonymous said...

It doesn't take an employee of the town to know it would be against state law for the town to suspend the collection of school, town, county, sewer and fire taxes - for any reason.

Of course violating state law like that is just the kind of "out of the box" thinking that Feiner must like about you. Good going.

In addition to assisting in his re-election campaign, perhaps you might consider joining his Valhalla legal defense team. They're big on this violating state law thing.

hal samis said...

Dear reading challenged,
From my entry:

"that compromise is to suspend the taxes (or leasing for an equivalent cost if there is a legal bar)..."

Now that may not be legally possible or desireable or doable either but it is only an idea; what is common to Greenburgh anonymice is that ideas, if different from their own, should not be aired. I assume once you amass enough guns and ammo to enforce your views you will feel safe enough to come out of the shadows to insure that everyone thinks the way you do.

In the meanwhile because the history is that Edgemont civic leaders all huddle together under an umbrella under another umbrella when it rains, the idea that anyone outside of their elite group could offer up their own views without being affiliated is obviously an alien concept.

It is amazing how every comment of mine yields a poke at Feiner. If you are so certain that we are the same person, would you please ask your friends on the Town Council to see that I become eligible for Town medical benefits.
Thanks

Anonymous said...

Mr. Samis, Greenburgh residents are well aware that you need attention, and some may also think you need medical attention (or at least your meds), but medical benefits too? That's just going too far.

And why do you always assume the slamming you and Feiner get comes from Edgemont?

Edgemont residents are just as smart as the rest of us in town. Oh sure, some of them might have figured it out little faster than others, but rest assured, word's getting around.

hal samis said...

I'm sorry but I don't believe you.
If you don't even know your own name, it is also just as possible that you don't know where you live.

hal samis said...

Golly I hope that the Edgemont School District can prove that they are "bursting at the seams" and that they've got a forward capacity analysis based on say a 20 history.
Oh, and don't count those seats you sell to non-residents. If you've got room for them, then you can seat a few more residents.
And I am talking about classroom seats not parking spaces in the student parking lot.

hal samis said...

Why is a moratorium needed if the stated purpose is to conduct a study? This seems like Central Avenue owners are being punished for something that is not yet proven, not that far removed from being judged guilty until proven innocent. You don't shut down the road to conduct a traffic study. Nor should you leave the door open to build elsewhere.

If the premise is that the School District cannot support ANY residential construction, then don't discriminate. I'll go along with a moratorium for the entire Edgemont School District.


After all, what about other streets in Edgemont where residential construction can occur? What about your next door neighbor? Are
Greenburgh residents supposed to believe that the only danger to the School District comes from Central Avenue?
Think goose, think gander.

How about this scenario, tell your neighbor that they can't sell their home to a family with children, "It's for the good of the District, Frank." So to prevent this face-to-face confrontation, just pass a local law that no homes may be sold to buyers with children or of child-bearing age. Or Edgemont could establish a new leadership organization: Edgemont Child Control (ECC) which will administer real estate sales so that a stasis is maintained -- one child out, one child in. "Hello Mrs. Smith, you asked me to call when we got a listing with a two-child school permit. If you're still interested, we just got a new listing..."

What about the rights of Edgemont residents (the little people who come out and vote, what about those owners without children) who want to sell or sub-divide their Edgemont property?

Would anyone be content with accomplishing the same result by permitting only studio and one bedroom units to be built?

Who was the original owner (not occupant) of the property on Dromore? Not an Edgemont resident I hope.

I look forward to the Moratorium Hearing otherwise called the "Night of 1000 Errors".

Anonymous said...

The only part of the Edgemont School District that is zoned for multi-dwellings is along the Central Avenue corridor.

hal samis said...

So how far inland does this corridor extend? The Dromore Road parcel is around 100 feet off Central Avenue with the Scarsdale Woods Apartments in between.

Do they get a "get-out-of-jail-free" card with this moratorium? If so, what's the fuss?

10 subdivisions can produce at least 10 new homes and if each home had 1.5 kids that would be another 15 potential students. That number is ok? How about 20? How about 45?

If so or not, how many additional students can the Edgemont Schools accommodate? Why doesn't the Edgemont School District buy the Dromore Road property? Additional space to expand? Better that Edgemont pay for its population problems than the entire Town.

If Edgemont is concerned about an increased school age invasion, then they should close all the doors while they have a chance.

But then this would antagonize some vocal residents with property and we can't have that.