Friday, February 02, 2007

COUNTY PLANNING BOARD HAS CONCERNS ABOT MORATORIUM ON RESIDENTIAL DEVLEOPMENT-CENTRAL AVE

The Westchester County Planning Board has sent the town a letter expressing concerns about the proposed moratorium on residential development - Central Ave. The county claims that the CA district is the only zoning district within the Edgemont School district which permits multi family dwellings. The county wants to promote the creation of a mix of uses along the county's developed corridors. The county claims that Central Ave is a particularly suitable place to locate multi family housing due to the fact that commercial and retail areas are often nearby. The county has stated that "while the overcrowding of local schools is an important concern, the issues of school enrollment must be weighed against the smart growth benefits that multi family developments along a major mixed use, transit oriented corridor can provide for a region in need of housing that is transit oriented and near local commercial centers.
The Westchester County Planning Board does not have the ability to overrule local decisions - they act in an advisory capacity. The Town Board will review the Planning Board's recommendations.

4 comments:

hal samis said...

Far be it from me to tell the Edgemont School District how to run their schools. (Go ahead, insert laugh here) And if their new recording studio (as written by Heather Murray in Friday's Scarsdale Inquirer) is seen as one of the essentials that makes their school system so good, then who am I to disagree, especially as I don't live in Edgemont and didn't send my kid to school there.

But what I can question is what I read in the Susan Wolfert article just to the right of Ms. Murray's story. Ms. Wolfert's article is mostly concerned with reporting what was said at the first Public Hearing regarding the proposed Central Avenue moratorium. And, for that matter, although lengthy, the article is significant for what was not reported.

The Edgemont School District cries that it is at "capacity", giving the impression that one more student would sink their lifeboat. When the Titanic sank, not only was there an insufficient number of lifeboats on board, but also unlaunched and unfilled lifeboats. By this measure, it is not such a stretch of the imagination to ask Edgemont to account for how they fill their lifeboats; how they use up their capacity. If there is no room for more students, does that mean that there is also insufficient recording studio space? While more to the point, if some of the amenities were not being provided, would the school district really be at or nearing capacity as Mr. Bernstein and Ms. McNally would have residents and the town boards believe. If there is space for "frills", could this space (and who knows what other things exist that might even make the VSD envious) be used to avert the "crisis" by instead being used for traditional classrooms which apparently are on the endangered species list. I don't know, but perhaps the Edgemont civic leaders should be asked. Standing off to the side, I read the two articles and only concluded "chutzpah": the well worn joke, "man kills parents; asks for mercy because he is an orphan".

Why do I care? Because someone pays for this moratorium and the eventual down-zoning. The unwilling victim is the owner of property along the Central Avenue corridor who will not benefit by having his property tied up, restricted in use and have to pay the taxes while he is being screwed. Meanwhile, the 68% of Edgemont enrollment which comes from the single family home segment is not viewed to be the same threat as the 32% multifamily segment. The moratorium is only aimed at multifamily development. Far be it from Edgemont leaders to plug all the holes, perhaps because they know that, the far larger number of Edgemont residents which they don't represent, would be out in force to protest curbing their own property development rights. If one considered all the property in Edgemont that could be divided into creating new housing, single or multifamily, but is not located on Central Avenue, then that would be a suitable basis for concern; however it is this property which is not being addressed by the moratorium.

Finally, regarding Ms. Wolfert's article... What was missing was balance. There was a resident who spoke twice (as did McNally and Bernstein) AGAINST the proposed moratorium -- me. However, you who read the article saw no mention of this, not necessarily by name just that there was opposition. And whereas it was not due to newpaper real estate down-zoning (a shortge of white space) or censorship of opposing views, there is a more likely explanation in my opinion.

Ms. Wolfert is a member of the seven person Greenburgh Library Board of Trustees. Actually, she is the VP of the group and one of the three members of their building committee. Ms Wolfert is very protective of the Library expansion program. I have been very critical of how it is being undertaken. Mr. Bernstein and Ms. McNally have been supportive of the Trustees throughout the troubled project history. One hand washes the other, quid pro quo.

Remember that in the "symphony" of life, the "rests" are as important as the "notes". What you don't get to read is just as important as what you my be spoon fed. In the topics that interest me, I tend to choose the contrarian role and try to bring you what the system likes to overlook when I am detailing the blemishes on sacred cows: be these cows in the guise of a Library or a School District or a Civic association.

That's why forums like this blog are important to provide alternative views that get covered up or "missed" by the media. And why those that would oppose such a public airing of dirty linen, only do so by responding as "anonymous". Which is why those, when responding to other viewpoints, wear masks which are their self-granted license to distort or degrade.

Anonymous said...

Hal,

Reporters tend to give more credence and more space to persons representing groups. Bob is a Civic Association president and Democratic Town Leader. Michelle is ECC president. They have the support of groups of people. Perhaps if you identify the groups you are a leader with, the papers would be more inclined to quote you.

hal samis said...

Dear anonymous,
Perhaps even a reporter lurking...
Newspapers also tend to present balance to an issue, if other sides are respresented, even by mere residents.

Civic Associations says they represent people. That is not exactly accurate. More often than not they represent a fraction of their association membership, and that in turn, represents a fraction of their area. Most people simply don't care.

What I represent is truth, justice and the American way.

Or, before paying royalty fees, let me put it another way. I represent an idea. Ideas are not dangerous and if they are seriously thought out they should be heard. In a Public Hearing, the speakers, be they leaders of groups or mere mortals, in neither heading are they the ones actually doing the voting. The speakers are normally partisan but all they are doing is presenting information and ideas to the appropriate Boards conducting the Public Hearings. In Ms Wolfert's article, (neither the speaker or the judge, merely the reporter) she had a lot of space available to present different sides of the issue and she decided not to do so. In the past she has quoted mere individuals, including myself. This time she was playing favorites.

All animals are equal. Some are NOT more equal than others; at least not during a Public Hearing.
I would like to think that the Edgemont Schools are teaching about the importance of ideas and what this means. In 1776, standing on a soapbox and yelling at the top of your voice was free speech. In 2007, standing on a soapbox and yelling is not free speech; if only popular ideas or popular speakers are portrayed in the local paper, then you are back to the events leading up to 1776.

And when you exercise your right to be anonymous, how can we take you seriously unless we know if you are a civic leader and have "the support of groups of people". Applying your own logic, then your unsigned posting has even less credence than mine so why do you take the effort to trip over your own feet?

Anonymous said...

hAL SAMIS,YOU ARE THE ONLY ONE WHO SPEAKS THE TRUTH.THE EDGEMONT CIVIC ASSOCIATION DOES NOTHING TO HELP THE MANY SENIOR CITIZENS WHO LIVE IN EDGEMONT.MANY OF THEM DO NOT HAVE CHILDREN IN THE SCHOOLS.TAXES ARE THE SAME FOR THEM AS ONE WHO HAS TWO,THREE,FOUR CHILDREN IN SCHOOL.DEVELOPMENT IS NEEDED ON CENTRAL AVE.CUT OUT SOME OF THE SCHOOL ACTIVITIES,TO SAVE .