Monday, July 09, 2007


What's happening with the sidewalk policy? The Town Council criticized me over a year ago for not having a sidewalk policy. The Council directed me to propose a sidewalk policy by the summer of 2006. I followed their directive. The Board never approved my policy. They never rejected the policy. They complained about the proposed policy but took no further action. A few months ago they issued a report about sidewalks--talking about the need for sidewalks.
We still don't have a sidewalk policy. I am urging the Town Board to either approve my proposed sidewalk policy or to come up with an alternative plan.
It's easy to criticize. It's harder to come up with a plan.


Michael Kolesar said...

Dear Mr. Supervisor,

Could you post your proposed sidewalk policy on this blog?


Anonymous said...

Paul it's about time that you start fighting back with the notorious four who are trying real hard to put you down. we know that they turned down the plan now its time for them to put up or shut up. Mike k. requested that you publish what they voted down . Let's see why .

Anonymous said...

That problem was creatively solved on the other "Edgemont Tots Need a Playground" post.

Anonymous said...

Yes, please, may we see the proposal?

hal samis said...

I agree Feiner should post his proposal somewhere. It does exist because the Town Council did reject it. It may or may not have been rejected for solid reasons. However, if at first Feiner doesn't succeed, that's why we pay a Town Council.

Accompanying Feiner's posting, may we also see the sidewalk policy of the Town Council which has yet to follow the Supervisor's policy by now almost a year later anniversary of his rejection. And for good measure, it should be pointed out that while Feiner was responding with his proposal, the Town Council also had his prep time to be thinking of the solution and the benefit from the knowledge gained as the basis to reject Feiner's proposal. This is called learning from your opponent's mistakes.

And think about this, the Town Council "assigned" the Police Chief to list the most dangerous streets. How many most dangerous are needed on a list before the first is built? Obviously, when the Town Board chose not to include ANY money in the now approved Capital Budget for sidewalk construction, their view of the Chief must be that he is a very slow worker and would be unable to determine any "most dangerous" streets in say six months forward or six months back or even addressing when reminded of resident concerns from years back. Either the Chief suffers from obsessive compulsive disorder or the more likely conclusion is that he already has (had) a short list of dangerous streets needing sidewalks.

Given this, then why has the Town Council not grabbed the list from the Chief's hand and rushed to vote funding for even one new sidewalk?
Because the ruse is that the Town Council doesn't know the prime street candidates. I submit they have known them for years and could have started construction in this current year had they chosen not to lambast Feiner but instead exercised their 3 votes and voted funding for sidewalk construction in the Capital Budget.

So Town Council are you hung up on the same impasse that Feiner has already encountered? The issue as you know is not where but who pays to build and who pays to maintain.
So trotting out the Police Chief at during your Sidewalk report to the Public was not window dressing because there was nothing else in the window on display. Having more time to act than Feiner, having more assistance than Feiner and having, what you want the residents to believe, is more diligence, the result is still the same. No action. No new sidewalks are contemplated. Just like the town Board voted no funding being allocated to allow the NY State residents to use Taxter Ridge Park through 2009 the earliest.

So residents, never underestimate the powers of a Town Council which publicly does the Ed Koch bit (how am I doing) but privately is no different than the Supervisor who they consistently say is to blame. Add to this logjam is Suzanne Berger who the Town Council supports for Supervisor. They know she won't do anything either so in addition to maintaining their comfort level, she may be able to throw a bone in their direction when other elections beckon. But this is not any Ethics Law violation; this is just the call of the puerile.

Hard to see how the sidewalk issue will get better with the learning curve still beimg ridden by the Town Council and Suzanne Berger not even owning walking shoes.

Anonymous said...

we are still waiting for feiner to

1. account for the westhelp funds
2. post the 2005 memo about the risk of flooding on east hartsdale

Michael Kolesar said...

Dear Anonymice 7/10 6:12AM,

You are either an early riser or work nights and are just getting home - I'll bet early riser.

This particular section is headlined "What's Happening With Sidewalk Policy?" Let's keep this one on focus. There are plenty of other opportunities to post your "Anonymice" comments. We might actually engage in some kind of meaningful discourse on one subject.

By the way, not to let others off the "hook", the other candidates for Town Council owe the public a response somewhere, sometine also. It's clear Ms. Barnes and Mr. Bass have nothing to offer so far on this topic.

Anonymous said...

I tend to agree w keeping topics focused, but there seems to be a trend. Mr. Feiner doesn't provide info that's available - his proposed sidewalk policy, that 2005 memo about east hartsdale, and yea, a simple balance sheet regarding the westhelp funds. Not asking for anything complicated; just copy/paste.

Back on topic, though, this sidewalk thing is a big problem in Greenburgh that will just get worse over the years, so I'm annoyed that the Town Council has not taken any action whatsoever.

Anonymous said...

Sheehan concentrated on Central Ave. and 119. Remember when he took out the map With some existing sidewaks , He never said anything about the rest of Greenburgh where sidewalks are needed. If I remember correctly he kept asking the chief of police his advice on certain matters, Samis should know which meeting it was. The whole thing made no ense to me. Well whatever Sheehan does or say makes no sense ,He's full of hot air and has to release it at town meetings.

hal samis said...

Dear 1:18,

May I direct you to my longish posting on "Needed in Greenburgh" which predated this topic. I started out on the named topic then addressed the sidewalk comments which had just been entered.

As Mike Kolesar has correctly noted, those promoting their anti-Feiner theme find it equally appropriate whether the topic be banning Easter Eggs, requiring bicycles to be registered or making the Villages pay tolls to enter unincorporated.

I, too, have an all purpose one size fits all mantra. Most of you know it by heart: just three votes.

For additional sidewalk comments see: Needed in Greenburgh, July 9 at 12:01 AM.

Anonymous said...

I'm not anti-Feiner; I'd just like to read his proposal. I'd also like for the Town Council to take some action.

Anonymous said...


Anonymous said...

Feiner's proposed sidewalk policy is posted under documents and forms and is under the town attorney's listings on the town web site. Just checked for it. It's there.
Where is the council's sidewalk policy?

Michael Kolesar said...

To the bloggers who posted the link to the Supervisor's proposed policy - thank you.

This posting is the first of what may be a few on this subject in order to move discussion forward. At the outset, if you disagree, please be respectful and keep this civil, especially if you are going to post "Anonymously".

Re items 4 (2) and 6, both of which concern snow removal:

I oppose item 6 ( that the Town get in the snow removal business on sidewalks - read the draft document for the complete language).

As section 5 of the draft notes, Section 430 of the existing Town code already addresses this issue. For those who do not want to leave this and go to the Town web site and read the Town code:

"Article V Snow and Ice Removal [Amended 2-23-1994 by L.L No. 1-1994]

430-15 Duty to keep sidewalks free of obstructions.

The landowner of any property abutting any street, highway or road in the Town and the occupant of any premises where a sidewalk or pedestrian walkway has been installed are required to keep the sidewalk bordering the property or premises free and clear of snow, ice, dirt or other obstructions within 24 hours after an obstruction is created. In the event that the obstruction cannot be removed without damaging the sidewalk, the use of salt and/or ashes is permitted to the extent otherwise permitted by law.

430-16. Failure to remove.

If any landowner or occupant fails to keep his property or premises free and clear of snow, ice, dirt, or any other obstruction as set forth in 430-15 above within 24 hours, the Town may perform removal and bill the costs to the landowner. Any work performed pursuant to this section shall be a lien upon the property until paid."

So, there has been this law on the books for more than 10 years and probably in some other form for longer that that. No need for the Town to get into the snow removal business. Just enforce the law.

I have reviewed a number of other municipalities laws in this regard and the Town's law or their's compared to the Town's are essentially the same with respect to the basic responsibilities. The list includes: Yonkers, Scarsdale, Hastings, Dobbs Ferry, Tarrytown, and my Ardsley.

The differences where I could find them is in the amount of time one has to clear the situation.

Tarrytown - 2 hours after the end of a snowfall, excluding the hours of 9PM to 7AM.
Scarsdale - 4 hours with the same exclusion as Tarrytown.
Hastings, Dobbs Ferry and Ardsley - all have 12 hours limits.

Suggestion, that with respect to snow and ice, the Town decrease the requirement to 12 hours.

Now I know that "Anonymouse" will respond with another of their "Kolesar has it wrong" headlines (of course choosing to show no backbone by posting "Anonymously"), but the situation on Ardsley Road near the Scarsdale border is no different. If the property owners fail to do their legally required task and behave in a decidedly unneighborably manner, then the Town should clear the sidewalk and bill them. No ifs, no buts. Send the offending property owners a specific letter (registered, return receipt) with a copy of the Town code and let them know that the Town will act, if they don't this next snow season. Of course, the local commmunity groups and their leaders might also communicate with the offenders (after all, they spaek for these property owners when they get up befote the Town Council and the public and identify themselves as such), but that might be asking too much.

In summary, stay out of the sidewalk snow removal operations, unless it is a sidewalk that abuts Town owned / occupied property.

Anonymous said...

I'm most concerned about sidewalk construction and repairs, not snow removal. Hopefully that's part of the proposed sidewalk policy. I'll check on the website. (That documents/forms section needs cleanup/updating.)

kolesar's flip-flopping said...

Kolesar's flip-flopping.

Highway Law 140 permits town boards to order the town to remove the snow from sidewalks along county roads, like Ardsley Road, provided the cost is charged town-wide.

Ardsley Road is a very dangerous hilly and winding public thoroughfare used everyday by many commuters and students which, because of the blind curves and steep slopes, is very difficult for homeowners to shovel. In addition, because the road is also narrow, the town usually plows snow from the road onto the sidewalks because there is no place else for it to go.

Consequently, in the interests of public safety, residents asked the town to assume responsibility for the snow removal. The cost would be minimal and if spread town-wide, would be de minimus. By contrast, if there were an accident, the town itself might face liabilty for creating an unsafe condition -- and this would be a town-wide liability.

Kolesar, of all people, thought it reasonable for the town to assume this cost. But that was then.

Kolesar now insists that the town should make the homeowners along Ardsley Road do all the shoveling and bill and ticket them if they don't.

The problem is that the town's been doing that, it hasn't worked, and the conditions in winter are as dangerous as ever. That's why residents are asking the town to do more.

Kolesar seems to think that's just too bad, and if someone gets killed or injured, and the town gets sued for negligence, we'll just have to cross that bridge when we come to it.

Sounds pennywise, pound foolish and downright irresponsible. Way to go Kolesar!

hal samis said...

Coming soon to a blog near you.

Humpty Dumpty sat on a wall
Humpty Dumpty took a great fall
All the King's horses and all the King's men,
Could put Humpty Dumpty back together again.

Humpty should spend the summer jogging between The Bite, Lattanzi's, Linda Jean's and the Black Dog.

Michael Kolesar said...

Dear Anonymouse 7/12 4:54 PM,

As I predicted, you have no backbone. You continue to post your comments and place your own opinions cast as someone else's lacking the courage and fairness to identify yourself. Some brave American you are! Bet you never served your country.

Now to the substance. My position isn't a "flip-flop." If the respective property owners don't clear the sidewalk, I agree that the Town should do it. Just bill them in accordance with the Town's and virtually every other municipality's laws. The cost should be diminimus, but that's still no reason to burden all the other property owners in unincorporatyed Greenburgh or even the Town with their "special" treatment and the cost thereof.

Anonymouse, what your proposal for all of the future sidewalks that the Town may see within its boundaries at some future day? Is the DPW going to be responsible for them too? Wow what a DPW bill and those sidewalks won't be on "county roads", so don't even try to go "Town wide" on those.

Anonymouse won't debate that they are getting services for free that every other property owner has to provide, whether commercial or private residence. Oh well, I guess some people just can't stand to be on the wrong side of even one issue.

hal samis said...

Has anyone noticed that when the topic puts the Town Council squarely at risk, there are very few blogger comments?

And everyone was supposed to be concerned about the Town lacking sidewalks. Apparently, Edgemont no longer is concerned.

I would assume then that sidewalks are no longer a concern and that Town resources (dollars and employees) should be directed elsewhere.

Anonymous said...

Edgemont's civic leaders have said all along that funding for all future sidewalk projects within the town of Greenburgh should be done in accordance with the suburban law.

If the town were to comply with the suburban law, which so far it has never done, the costs of new sidewalk projects would always be charged to the town outside of the villages, i.e., the "B" budget.

The real issue for the town is who should pay not for new sidewalks, but for existing sidewalks. The state comptroller has already provided that answer. He's said that unless the people benefited by those existing sidewalks agree to form sidewalk districts to pay for them, the cost of maintaining those sidewalks is a town-wide expense.

And forget about Feiner's idea of forming a sidewalk district consisting of the unincorporated areas of the town. The state comptroller said that would be illegal.

What this means is that, for example, unless a neighborhood sidewalk district is created to pay for the cost of maintaining existing sidewalks in, say, Old Edgemont or Poet's Corner, the costs of maintaining those sidewalks must be a town-wide expense.

Simply put, it is illegal to continue to charge unincorporated area taxpayers for that cost.

If village residents don't like that outcome, then they should hold the town's elected officials accountable for that collective lapse in judgment -- starting with Feiner -- when they vote.

Anonymous said...

Edgemont most certainly cares about sidewalks - construction and maintenance - particularly around ALL of the schools in Unincorporated Greenburgh. And sidewalks in Unincorporated Greenburgh should certainly not be billed to the villages.

This village/unincorporated thing is such a ridiculous arrangement, and is the cause of the majority of dramas around here. Why don't the villages form one town with no unincorporated silliness, and Unincorporated Greenburgh become a town-village like Scarsdale? I can't see how anyone would be displeased with that kind of arrangement.

Anonymous said...

Ask Sheehan what was said about the sidewalk plans behind closed doors. he makes the laws and he breaks them.

hal samis said...

So Edgemont still cares about sidewalks. And no one likes the Supervisor's sidewalk policy. Which brings us back finally to the topic, "What's happening with the sidewalk policy???"

Town Council said "Feiner sidewalk policy, feh".

What is the Town Council's sidewalk policy?

Just three votes and the sidewalk construction would start. That might be in 2009 as the Town Board didn't allocate any capital money for building new sidewalks.

So if you don't like Feiner, how can you like the Town Council?