Monday, November 19, 2007

WEEK OF NOV 19 GREENBURGH DEMOCRACY POST YOUR COMMENTS

Please feel free to post your comments about town issues. Have a happy thanksgiving!

THIS WEEK...
BUDGET DISCUSSIONS CONTINUE ---any suggestions that can reduce tax hikes?
DISCUSSION: GREENBURGH HOUSING AUTHORITY (follow up: complaints from Westchester County)

43 comments:

Anonymous said...

The tax hike for the library is statistical noise compared with the cost of fiscal mismanagement the Town has suffered. How can the median price of a home be up (See the blog post trumpeting this factoid as a triumph) and the total assessed value of the Town be down? Feiner has failed to order (as only he can because he is by law the Town's Chief Fiscal Officer) a Town-wide revaluation. This allows any of his commercial developer buddies (uh, and campaign contributors) to petition for a reduction in taxes whenever they feel like it. Why is the total value of Greenburgh today LESS than it was when the Supervisor took office the first time 16 years ago? The question isn't complicated at all. The value is less because the Supervisor finds it right and proper for commercial properties to pay less than their fair share - and screw the taxpayers who can't/won't/don't contribute to the Feiner re-election and ultimate retirement warchest. Why does Feiner direct contributions from the real fat cats go to his long invisible congressional campaign? Because then they don't show up on his piddling NY State Board of Elections filings - Congress ain't a State office, it's Federal and Feiner thinks no one will FOIL the records of his 1998 (and still counting) campaign.
How about it Paul - come clean and release the Federal filings! After all, the campaign has been over for NINE years. What are you hiding?

Anonymous said...

All congressional campaign filings are public documents.

Anonymous said...

To 12:53. The election is over. Try holding your hate for a year, so that this space can be used for information and viewpoints.

Anonymous said...

To 1:46 -
Perhaps 12:53 ought to separate her/his commentary.
But the basic question she/he asks is no less valid.
How can the median price of a house in Greenburgh be up and the total assessed value of the Town decline?
Shouldn't all the residential upgrades and remodellings be more than the depreciation granted businesses? Isn't land on 119 or Central Avenue more valuable now than it was a year ago?
While I agree the tone at 12:53 might have been offensive, the questions raised should be responded to by the Supervisor.

Ed Krauss said...

12:53's comments were not hateful; should be answered now rather than, at least, 12 months from now; and are informative and exhibit a definite, rational, and apolitical viewpoint. Being critical, without merit, is questionable. But when you have the "goods," all bets are off.

Wouldn't 1:46 want the answer to the question as to why after 16 years of escalating property values Greenburgh's rateables are lower, home values are higher-thus being taxed at higher absolute dollars- creating a situation where many residents are house poor.

Why are we in this situation, and how did we get there? It's the commercial propery owners who are raking in unconscienable profits- either in rent or when they opt out by selling- paid their fair share, the tax burden on residents would possibly be halved.

The arguement about business leaving because they are being taxed unfairly, holds little or no water. Central Avenue is a commercial goldmine. So is 119. Businesses move because there is no traffic, or sales to justify their location.And, take it from me, there is too much traffic on Central Ave.

12:53 and the rest of us need an answer, not a "polite" putdown.Let'a all make the same request. We may, and probably won't get an answer...but telling it like it ain't won't work anymore.

1:46 said...

The reason why 12:53 writes in a hateful manner is that even though his questions about the assessibles going down is fair, he engages in the standard "blame the Supervisor" nonsense, as though the Supervisor has the power to change state law and the power to stop certiorari proceedings. I do agree that a revaluation is in order and that it would make taxes more even though probably not lower.

To always bring up the nonsense about the Supervisor's "alleged commercial develpment buddies" which allegedly allows them to petition for lower taxes is false and everybody knows it is false. Commercial property owners don't need anybody's help to file certiorari proceedings, and the results are provided by the Supreme Court. Saying that the "Supervisor finds it right and proper for commercial properties to pay less than their fair share" is equally false and silly. Commercial properties all over the state pay less and that is because the laws allow them to. It is not a Greenburgh decision. And I am sick of hearing about Feiner's campaign contributions. His enemies have worked overtime to prove the existence of favors and wrong-doing and nothing has come up.

Let 12:53 and Ed Krauss focus on the problem of how to generate more tax revenues from non-residential sources, which is a huge problem everywhere, and quit making it seem that it would be OK if only Feiner were gone. It would be the exact same thing.

Anonymous said...

I tried to see the planning board meeting tonight,with no luck.
Whomever is running the transfer station to transmit the meeting should have all the employees fired.
It is the worse transfer station here in new york.
We pay good money to see local programs and meetings,why must we pay without seeing a good picture or no audio.
Verizon has said over and over again that the problem is not coming from them it is the sub station that does the transmission of all local programs.
Please look into this problem .Many of us cannot attend these meetings and this is the only way we know what is going on.

Anonymous said...

12:53 maybe you would like to go back to how much money Feiner got at his Bamitsfa,I don't think I spelled that right but you get the drift of what i'm trying to say.
What will you think of nextTHis sounds like someone who has so much hatred for the supervisor that it is sickening.
You sound like a certain commitee person,who is always on the attack.
If you thought that you have proof of your acusations you should sign yor name but one can see there is nothing else for you to say for the moment so your going back in time.
You and Brnstein should get together.

EDDIE MAE FOR HOUSING AUTHORITY COMMISSIONER said...

the Greenburgh Housing Authority is under fire for not doing what it is supposed to do for the tenants. They have lost grants, not followed up on renovation commitments. Cora Carey should not be reappointed.
A compromise commissioner should be found: How about Eddie Mae Barnes?

Anonymous said...

Dear 1:46 -
ONLY the Supervisor has the power to call for a revaluation.
He was advised by a "blue ribbon" citizens' panel of experts he appointed during his first term in office that the Town needed to do a revaluation. His response to that report was that revaluation was political suicide and it would not happen on his watch.
Whether or not, as 12:53 apparently feels, Feiner's campaign warchests have benefitted, it is abundantly clear that the commercial property owners have. As long as the Supervisor refuses to revalue, the unacceptably large disparities between assessments will continue - and that provides commercial property owners with the ammunition they need to demonstrate to a court that they are overtaxed.
This is one of those rare cases where it is appropriate to "blame the Supervisor." Three votes of the Town Board can confirm, but cannot initiate, an order to revalue. The power to introduce that motion is vested solely in the Town's Chief Fiscal Officer. If Mr. Feiner proposed revaluation and the Board rejected it, you would be right. But because he has explicitly refused to introduce the subject and thus prevented the Town Board from acting on, or even publicly discussing revaluation your complaint is ill-informed.
Successful certioraris shift the tax burden from commercial enterprises to single family detached homes - the only unprotected and unorganized property class. The Supervisor should be their champion rather than refusing to act.
As to the expected response that taxes will go up - the fact is that taxes go up because spending goes up. Revaluation will reassign the responsibility for funding but only responsible spending plans will make taxes rise more slowly.

Anonymous said...

To the commentator at 1:46 yesterday -
If the Supervisor isn't responsible then who is?
Except for the last 2 years he has had a rubberstamp Town Board.
"Blaming the Supervisor" is not what it's about - HOLDING THE SUPERVISOR RESPONSIBLE FOR HIS ACTIONS IS!!!

Anonymous said...

Dear 11/20 5:47 AM,

Can you provide a direct citation to support your statement that "The power to introduce that motion is vested solely with a Town Supervisor"? That's a strong statement if it can be supported by citation of section and paragraph.

1:46 said...

I agree that revaluation is in order, and if it in the sole power of the Supervisor then he should be pressed to use that power.

It is the rest of the 12:53 posting that I criticized. If Feiner didn't follow up on revaluation (and his first term was a long time ago)it was, according to the blogger, because he thought that it was political suicide. It wasn't to please the commecial property owners.

It would be so much easier to have useful communications if they were based on the real stuff rather than diverting every argument into an attack on Feiner and his supposed allegiance to developers, which is pure BS.

Anonymous said...

Any member of the Town Board can call for reassessment. Under NYS law the Town Supervisor has one vote out of five. The law does not prevent any member of the Board from calling for reassessment.

Anonymous said...

Paul,

If you beleive in open govt, why are the transcripts of the town meetings availabe. The replays are too time consuming to be useful

Anonymous said...

On this weeks agenda it has:
PW 2 – 11/28/07 Resolution authorizing an amendment to original Agreement for the Roof Replacement at Anthony F. Veteran’s Park Multi- purpose Center

This building is not too old why does it need a new roof already.

Anonymous said...

his is the reason the rec.dept. does not know what they are doing. it's not there money
a Roof on a home last 20 to 30 years.
How old is the roof.
I think it's about time that the ones in charge go home.

Ed Krauss said...

To 7:07 PM- I reread my posting regarding rateables going down while property values and home prices are going up, several times and found nary a mention of the supervisor-by title or name. So your apology is accepted. I know in your heart you know you were wrong.

As to me focussing on the problem of how to generate more tax revenues, I offer you, free of charge, an epiphany. I am not an elected official.

I don't know how many "citizens offer Gov. Spitzer, or president Bush ideas of this sort but in my world when you offer yourself up for public service- especially at the top of your local heep, THAT'S YOUR JOB!!!!

By the way, how many focussed or unfocussed ideas on how to generate more tax revenue have you come up with? Then again, we wouldn't know if you came up with any. Unless,of course, you signed the transmittal form; "7:07 PM"

1:46 and 7:07 said...

Mr. Krauss, you are avoiding my point. Neither you nor I are elected officials and neither of us has the responsibility for finding solutions to the declining tax base and increasing tax rate. And though you seem to be a very bright man, I doubt that you can find the answers, though any one of us might have some ideas now and then.

My point was only to say that it doesn't help, or add to an intelligent conversation about a difficult subject, if the simple answer is to repeat the nonsensical charge that the Supervisor and his alleged "commercial property buddies" like the declining tax base and have responsibility for it. I criticized another blogger for making that argument, not you.

I doubt that Bill Greenawalt, if he had been elected, or Suzanne Berger, had she been elected, could have done anything more than Paul Feiner has done regarding the declining tax base.

So don't misinterpret my words. We are in a critical period, along with other municipalities. Let our activists focus on that and get off that anti-Feiner kick, which only distorts the issue.

Happy Thanksgiving.

Ed Krauss said...

Dear 8:04: Thank you for you well wishes. I have had a Happy Thanksgiving, albeit without a calorie counter.

The problem we are facing is truly a monumental one. However the fact that Feiner supporters and detractors appear on this blog- and elsewhere, is not the issue.

The issue is VERITE, truth. And, the truth is we didn't get to this dismal place overnight. It has taken years of financial mismanagement. and the entire board through those years is to blame. During that period the supervisor and two of the councilpeople were on the "team" all the way. So, yes, the supervisor is not solely to blame, but he is a primary mover.

Those who are apologists for him are simply fooling themselves. However, that which has taken decades to metastasize, and grow in size and depth can't be remedied overnight.

The first thing I would do is go to the best "doctor" I could find.A pro at analyzing financials and coming up with a game plan. Not a part time, short range person but a committment to someone, long term, who can do the things, independently, that have to be done.
NO political interference!
NO sweeping under the rug!
NO "old boy network,"whose arms can be twisted without even being touched.

Let the chips fall where they may. This is not a crisis but it can be a tidal wave if handled the way it has been in the past that lead us to the situation we're in.

If the "new" board has the courage to do that, it will be a step in the right direction. If they don't it will be quicksand-time.

It's all up to the five people elected to govern this town.I genuinely hope they realize the gravity of this and act objectively and not with their self interest in mind.

krauss is right said...

krauss is right!

hal samis said...

Happy Thanksgiving but:
whereas there is much to give thanks for, there are many things to say no thanks to, especially during economic crisis.

I'm talking about the 2008 Budget.
And if anyone has noticed, I have been mostly absent on the blog since the election due to a combination of non-provocative topics, non-provacative bloggers, the concomitant absence of Mr. Bernstein due to his terrible illness AND, most of all, because I have been busy elswehere poking around the Budget.

I have been unable to attend the Town Board work sessions on the Budget but if they resemble anything like those in the past, my time is better spent in glancing at their changes than attending the pontificating show that they put in to justify the $1.95 they are able to save taxpayers.

Other than the following, I am not going to get into the Budget just now other than to question why the Town needs both a Comprehensive Plan AND a new position, Assistant Planner @ $42,055 while the underfunded and undermanned Town Comptroller's office also serves as the Town's only Human Resources Department (Personnel).

What I do want to discuss here is the Agenda for this coming Wednesday's Town Board meeting.

In Agenda order:

BOARDS & COMMISSIONS
This item held over from the last meeting still bothers me for the same reason, why is the Town Council pushing to make these appointments of two to seven year terms when there will be a "new" Town Board in place come January 1?
Why are some members of the CAC being appointed now for a TWO year term to expire 12/31/08 and others being appointed for a TWO year term to expire 12/31/09. If they weren't appointed already, I suspect it can wait another 45 days. Why is Thomas McCarthy being appointed to the Greenburgh Library Board of Trustees NOW when he acknowledged that he knows nothing about the Library but that his neighbor, Howard Jacobs, Chair of the Board, would teach him?
There are other issues but I'm choosing to start with these.

DECISIONS
Why did these proposed laws (piling of leaves and winter snow parking) curcumvent the Public Hearings and go to "for decision only" when at the scheduled Public Hearing, the Town Board acknowledged that they had not yet made available to the Public, indeed themselves, the new draft version of these proposed regulations? Thus Public comment was irrelevant having nothing tangible to probe. Another example of the Town Board not caring to hear from the Public or trying to hide their own negligence from public view?

ATTORNEY
Now, we've been hearing a lot about the Town's unending decline in rateables (the basis for property, school taxes etc.) despite rising property values and new construction. And it is indeed a problem for the Town which is facing rising expenses at the same time as facing declining revenue.

And each Town Board Agenda provides, within the ATTORNEY section, the opportunity to bear witness to this decline. Each tax certiorari settlement is shown separately but never is the total for all such settlements shown. Thus, let me bring that figure now to your attention.

The Town Board will be voting to approve settlements totaling (just at this meeting) $3,744,967+. This astounding figure has given birth to a new rallying call; you may remember JUST THREE VOTES, now witness JUST THIS MEETING in 2008.

What triggered this observation? Under ATTORNEY is this item tucked in among the settlements.

"AT 5 Resolution authorizing the continued retention of Ira Levy as outside counsel for various tax certiorari matters, at a rate of $150 per hour, not to exceed $7500"

First, I am surprised to learn that we farm certiorari work outside and do not use the Town's legal staff. Second, even though $150 per hour is not "especially" unsettling, I can't say that I am "especially" delighted with the results as witness above. Third, what is the Town Assessor's office doing to either offset the declines or provide data to oppose the petitioner's. Bear in mind that each settlement becomes the groundwork for the next petition in line.

But most important, taxpayers need to know just how long that line of petitioners is? Because if the decline in rateables is not about to be reversed, then let's not first hear about the bitter pill each year only at Budget time.

The point being that "if a reasonable man" is or should be aware that property tax revenues are going to continue to decline, then the time to bite the bullet is now and initiate sharp cutbacks in expenses (I note that a number of personnel lines are footnoted as "The CSEA contract for 2008 has not been settled at this time". Not only does this mean that the 2008 Budget as presented will likely show increases in salary and benefits from the concluded negotiations but also that the tax increase does not yet address this in anything other than general terms.

If the Town anticipates even lower property tax revenue in 2009 and 2010 and beyond, then the sensible thing to do is say STARTING NOW, no new hires, no new capital expenses, etc. And sorry, friends, that includes no Comprehensive Plan and the recapture of the already approved first step $200,000. It is fine that the Police Department is yielding control of the Hudson River to the Villages, but this is just a drop in the Budget bucket but exposes the underlying issue: that this and other items (i.e. Homicide squad) remained buried far too long.

"Friends, we got trouble, we got terrible, terrible trouble right here in River City..."

Don't let the December 20 Budget deadline throw you off. Make sure that there is enough time for Publio Comment and the Public Hearings on the Budget AND that there are enough NOTICED Meetings to accommodate this Comment AND that the Town Board listens.

The Town Council will have had almost a month to deal with the Budget. They have had their turn at bat. Public Hearings are the Public's turn at bat, not an additional showcase for Town Councilman Sheehan to teach class.
The Town Council's Budget is their work product; it should speak for itself.

As for selling Parkland, if we can't get out of the "Dedication"
straightjacket, then let's at least get rid of the carrying charges -- either sell for $1 or otherwise transfer our obligations to the wealthier County and State.
As long as the birds and bees and Danny Gold are protected, what does it matter if Greenburgh holds the inventory?

Let the games begin.

Anonymous said...

Sell Waterwheel!!!!

Anonymous said...

Paul you have two knowledgeable men giving you the best advice,you would be a fool not to read and listen to what Krauss and Samis are writing..
taxter Ridge was a favor to one of your friends that should have been a no no,but you went ahead with a plan that is a total dead end.
This property cannot be turned into a park for all visitors without pouring milions and millions of dollars into it and you know that you and I cannot afford it anymore.
Some times you have to say no to friends,because in purchasing this parcel you made many of enemies along the way.
If there is a way to unload this parcel look into it.
Many bloggers have written that you should look into selling parkland to developers to bring in some needeed revenue.
What are you waiting for?
Civic associations do not pay taxes for the residents.
Their ideas of purchasing all this parkland put us in the mess that we are in today.
They have taken too many valuable parcels of land off the tax rolls.
The reduction of taxes is because people cannot do what they want and the interference of the civic assoc.stating what they could do or can't.
The board has given to much authority to the few that come to the meeting and express their minds as to what the people want and what THEY want.
I would like to buy the parcel of land on central [the old building with the statue of atlas ]for a large building housing some apartments and indoor parking
I guarantee you if I approach the town with this request,I will be turned down because of the civic assoc.and not on merit of being a good developer.
We need more construction along Central ave. the hell with the civic assoc. again I say they do not pay the residents taxes we each pay our own.

.

hal samis said...

Dear 9:44,
Did you have to mess it up and turn it into a nefarious scheme hatched by the Supervisor? I only mentioned Danny Gold, to pay him his due, because Danny Gold turned a parcel of land which had lost most of its development rights to the Town's new steep slopes and wetlands laws and still was able to convince the Town, the County and the State that not only were they not overpaying for the property (the appraisal was over a year old and not updated to reflect the reduced value from the new laws) but also that it was needed.

Clearly the beneficiary of the purchase was the East Irvington School District and the nearby neighboring property owners, including Danny Gold. But the reason I single out Mr. Gold is not that he did anything wrong; on the contrary he did what any person with a voice (and a talent to organize) would do to "protect" his property rights while making his neighborhood more valuable in the process; Gold recruited popular support for a "motherhood and apple pie" issue which was quickly embraced by the ENTIRE TOWN BOARD. Who would want to be seen as being against green space, acquiring parkland, reduced development, cleaner air, preserving species of mushrooms, helping the moonies and, only "incidental" to the aforementioned benefits to the Town, did a substantial economic benefit to the civic association members emerge -- not that, that matters.

But then, times were different. Mortgage tax routinely came in $2 million over projections and as a result, there was a growing fund balance. Taxpayers liked the idea that the Town was preserving more green space, the bond rating was high and it looked like a safe time to tackle long overdue projects -- a new town hall, a library expansion and even sidewalks and a new court building. There was even enough money that the Town could keep an army of outside consultants and lawyers fully employed to fight whatever local problem appeared to trouble any residents around town. Ridge Hill, the Tappan Zee Bridge, outside Counsel for the Ethics Board, Historical Preservation, Comprehensive Plans...you name it. You see it is no different from the Federal government, everyone wants a piece of pork for their part of town and NOBODY wanted to consider whether it was affordable. Questions about insurance liability, yes; questions about traffic, yes; questions about water run-off, yes; questions about who could use it and who would pay for it, yes. But NOBODY questioned whether taxpayers could afford it.

One day in 2007 the music stopped. The Fund Balance had been dangerously depleted and that old standby, mortgage tax, could no longer be counted upon. Suddenly taxpayers had to confront the reality that $68 (the cost of the Library per average assessment of $15,000) and $68 here and $12 there and $42 over there -- all
added up to a sizeable figure. And the 80% piece of the budget that was basically untouchable (employees, benefits) was going up every year while building an off book liability for a growing retirement pool. And those residents on fixed income or those not as well off, or even those paper rich from real estate could no longer afford all those little token amounts. And a plague fell over the land as the Town Board members set about pointing the finger at anyone other than themselves.

So there are troubled times ahead and the only answer, albeit, not a permanent one, is to encourage development because development brings tax dollars, development brings increased buying power. The reason it is not permanent is because Greenburgh is running out of developable land. There are only around 25 sizeable parcels left and after they go, we'll be left with trying to pull rabbits out of a hat.

But you sir have a problem if you want to build on Central Avenue. You don't have Danny Gold. More to the point, you have vocal civic associations whose priority is not jsut to see the property remain undeveloped but, above all, not to be multi-family developed. Even the owner's plan for retail development was scuttled by the local civic associations. You see, there is an outbreak of loco parentis going around in Edgemont: some of the Edgemont leaders believe that they are responsible for property they don't own. And one of the symptoms of this malady is that whatever you want to do today on your property, they will respond with favoring what they denied yesterday. And what you want to do tomorrow, they will by then reject in favor of the one use they are willing to tolerate: a single family home on scenic and quiet Central Avenue. What this suggests is building a structure with many individualized "units" and selling them only to people with the surname of "Smith".

So good luck and remember to reflect kindly on the glory that once was Camelot.

Anonymous said...

Property with actual frontage on Central Ave gets more $$ for retail. So pls stop trying to scare anyone.

And Gold's folly cant be sold

hal samis said...

Dear 8:55,

Boo!
In case you haven't noticed there are parcels with "actual frontage on Central Avenue" that have residential development. Too bad they didn't read your comment.

What you no doubt intended to say was a buyer might pay more for land on Central Avenue because it is possible to build retail or office.

But that would not be telling the entire story.
How much demand is there for more retail or office space in this part of town? What will the effect of Ridge Hill be upon the area? Right now condominium development is the hot product in this area and, as you are also aware, the excellence of the Edgemont school system itself encourages property owners to build residential with the school as the "unique selling proposition".

And there's more. For retail, a wider parcel and thus more frontage and thus more exposure from the Avenue is worth more. But width alone is not the factor. Shopping Centers, like Midway, are more valuable than Strip Centers because they attract national chains. The theory being that "anchors" attract customers for the other retail tenants. Many chains will not rent in strips or stand-alone locations.
The rents, accordingly, are higher in Centers vs Strips. And the type of tenants that congregate in Strips are generally those chains seeking lower rent entrees or mom and pops which lack the financial statements of the chains. Having "credit" tenants is of value to owners when they seek financing. Unfortunately or fortunately (depending on which side of the coin you want to end up on), the narrow parcels along Central Avenue will not provide any future Midways and thus the viability of strips and single tenant buildings is questionable in the internet shopping age. Given the future choice between collecting lower rents from a service oriented store (shoe repair, dry cleaner, barbershop, florist) and building condos, most owners would opt for condos in locations where there is enough land to build. As for office development, the small plot size affects the viability of the project also. Unable to create large floor plates (a need for corporate tenants), the Central Avenue corridor is left with an office market for small space users, tenants who are unlikely to remain over time (either they grow and need more space or they go out of business) and thus creating re-renting risk (vacancy does not produce income) and new leasing effort and expense.

So, even from my abbreviated overview, the one sentence anonymous expert is sorely lacking in talking points.

As for selling dedicated Parkland, that would require legislation by the State -- but it can be done.
However, as for Taxter Ridge, it is doubtful that having partners, the co-owners, the County and the State, would go along with this. Thus it is unlikely (never say never not knowing what the future may bring) that the property would ever find its way back to the tax roster. However the one possibility that Greenburgh could pursue is to 1) save the continued expense of paying for its share of the park purchase 2) save the expense of opening the park to the public and 3) save the expense of maintaining the park.

And that could result from trying to convince the County and the State that it would be vital that they "buy out" Greenburgh's interest. And, even if Greenburgh had to take a loss on its continuing obligation to pay 1/3 of the acquisition cost, it would save millions of dollars in opening and maintaining the property.

Finally, trying to tag the property as "Gold's Folly" is perhaps unfair. Maybe like Alaska, oil will be discovered on the property and nothing would be more pleasing, if not, patriotic to the rest of Greenburgh than to see oil rigs rising on the skyline of East Irvington.

Anonymous said...

How about putting windmills on the Taxter ridge property.
Since there is so much talk about closing Indian point where will we get all the electricity used by the residents in Westchester.
This will be a great place to set up windmills even if Indian Point does not close.
We would have a better choice for cheap electricity.

Anonymous said...

Whatever could be done to lower electricity bills would greatly be appreciated.
Many of the Homes in Greenburgh are all electric and boy are we feeling the crunch.
To make changes at this stage of the game is not possible.
We do need windmill farms here in Greenburgh and that parcel of land in Irvington would be perfect to help us.
It cannot be used for anything else unless you are Trump Or the gentleman who is building all those high risers in White Plains.

Anonymous said...

Hal,

There are very few residential properties with usuable frontage on Central Avenue. Most are either set back (becuase of hills/rocks), or small slivers with apartments going back (which wont work for the "Atlas" property, because it is too hilly in the back, and has "steep slopes" issues") or are very old (built in the 1920s). The new ones, like Stone Ridge, are actully not Central Avenue. Even the Fine Arts Cinema, which is in a very small strip, was driven out by high rents. OK, properties with real, usable frontage on Central are valuable for retail. Sorry Hal,

hal samis said...

Dear sorry @12:43,

First, the one who owns the property should be the one to determine its best use, especially in a mixed use zone: that best use being defined as the best use for the owner.

Second, if the owner should feel that there is no need for more retail he is not going to build retail just because you think that the area needs it or it should be there because there is other retail on either side. Least of all considerations is the idea that because retail may generate higher taxes, that an owner should be be willing to assume more risk to help out the Town or the School District. Ask the owner of the former Barnes & Noble, former Newmark & Lewis whether the area is in dire need of more retail. Regarding that plot, from "Chorus Line"...Frontage 10, Depth 4. The parcel won't support very many residential units so it likely will remain retail, even vacant.

As for the Fine Arts Cinema, they don't build 2-Plexes anymore for good reason. The staffing doesn't increase proportionately for larger theaters; the art house crowd are not big consumers at the refreshment stand (the real profit center)whereas movies for the masses attract popcorn/soda jumbo sizers; the market for these pictures is not as broad, sellouts on the weekend does not support a space which is mostly empty five days a week; and the owners have mostly exited the exhibition business. So much for the situation you have defined as "driven out by high rent" in a strip.

And with all this talk about building more retail, what happened to those complaints about too much traffic on Central Avenue?

Finally, regarding your comments about the existing residential parcels. None of the residential properties in Greenburgh on Central Avenue were built on level land. The topography is what it is. Thanks to the miracles of space-age technology, largely earth moving equipment and blasting, even large masses of rock have been removed to allow construction. Stone Ridge is the exception thus: "new one" not "new ones" would be the correct analysis for noting a flag lot. Furthermore all the other residential properties have the same or greater frontage on Central Avenue as the "Atlas" property. As for steep slope laws, they can be changed or given variances. The same steep slope application covers retail use as well. When there is little tax revenue from a vacant property, the Town may well want to reconsider whether it can afford to consign these properties to the under developed bin or whether it makes more sense and dollars to remove such impediments because of the potential revenues.

Sorry to find myself continually having to respond to the ignorant who inhabit that bottomless reservoir called anonymous.

See "sorry" has another meaning other than sympathy or apology. When used as an adjective, it means inferior or worthless. A term which can be directed to certain members of the Planning Board, for example. But here on this blog, it can be applied to those who thing the answer is black or white, never grey as if that mattered.

Sorry is not "the hardest" word.

Anonymous said...

I am certain that a variance could be given. For a price.

Anonymous said...

I moved into the area about 3 weeks ago and i asked my neighbor about the garbage schedule.He told me don't worry put your garbage on the bottom of the recepticle and put what is being picked up for that day on top. It will be picked up this way you never have garbage hanging arround.
Well I noticed today a day after a holiday some homes had garbage curbside and everything was picked up.
Could you sanitation boss explain this to me. I had a big party yesterday and I'm stuck with all my waste.
I refuse to listen to my neighbor but if this is the norm I think we should all receive the same pickups.
He also told me that since he moved here he has never had garbage except from the weekend.
I would like to know who is in charge and why such a differnce in homes on the same street.

Anonymous said...

The sanitation schedule is broken.

memo to hal said...

Hal:

1. taxter ridge is feiner's folly
2. east irvington and irvington village share one school district.
3. if bernstein wins both 1 and 2 and taxter and many other parks have to be paid for by the villages, then you might see some of them being unloaded.

Anonymous said...

Dear Memo,

Hal wont respond to this. He is too busy supporting Paul. And I dont think Taxter Ridge will get sold -- too tough to "De-parkify" Park land.

Quations fo Memo said...

What if Bernstein loses both 1 and 2? What excuses will you have then?

hal samis said...

Dear memo:

How's Florida?

My response to your "points"
1) Just three votes. These weren't only votes; the Town Council members were falling all over themselves to align themselves with preserving greenspace.

2) Is this meant as a correction to something I wrote? If so, what was it.

3) Since I neither use nor pay for any of the parks, be my guest to sell any or all to private developers. Were Taxter Ridge to become a Ridge Hill would not displease me one bit. However, this won't happen because the County and the State control the deal and the best that Greenburgh can do is to find a way out, even if it has to take a loss in doing so: the long term savings would more than justify such expense. As your soulmate writes, to "de-parkify" is tough.
And, any chance that the results of Bernstein's lawsuits will:
A) occur in our lifetime?
B) win? I always am dubious when I am told by advocates that the conclusion is obvious.

My additional comments.

This is not a pro-Feiner issue or even an anti-Feiner issue unless you want to examine the entire nature of politics and whether elected officials represent their publics, their own views or whoever yells the loudest.
You know I always opposed this purchase but not for the A/B reasons: instead for the actual and continuing inaccessibility of the location, the cost to acquire, the self-interest of the civic association that promoted the purchase, the unreflected in price devaluation of the property following the steep slope and wetlands laws, the self-interest of the real estate brokers calling themselves the Trust For Public Land, the lack of parking, the seller being a convicted felon, etc.

And I said these things before the Westchester County Board of Legislators too and was similarly ignored. Thanks, Tom and Lois.

Politicians have to make decisions that will never be the right decision for everyone. However, the Town Board heard all the arguments and decided to make to the safe decision which was to err on the side of preserving open space. That it also favored a particular School District was disguised by the hypothesis that the acquisition was for the benefit of the entire town and thus it skirted the in the future WESTHELP issues. In applying this justification, it also opened up the Bernstein can of worms that if so, then everyone should pay. And even residents of Edgemont, then, were so enamoured of land preservation issues, that they supported the acquisition.
As I have also argued, that if land were similarly priced per acre and available in Edgemont, then they were entitled to as much as could be purchased for the same approximate $65,000 cost per acre. Unfortunately it is not.

But if everyone still wants to blame just the Town Supervisor, why won't the same people admit that just the Town Supervisor was right about the wasteful expense of the Library expansion. If only Feiner was wrong about Taxter, then doesn't fairness demand equal praise for being right when damnation is the consequence of being wrong?

Never mind that the cost of the Library expansion is $20 million and rising and that the Town's share of the Taxter Ridge purchase is $4 million+ (Town is responsible for opening the park and maintaining it, like it is responsible for maintaining the operating costs of the Library).

Never mind that the potential loss of taxes for the 200 acres developed by private ownership would be significant but instead the end result was to remove the property from the tax rolls while the real loss of tax revenue from Feiner's proposed sale of the old Town Hall site was yet another evidence of not feeling the pinch of rateables shrinkage. The difference in the two situations should be noted: the Town Hall site was already not par of the tax rolls and the Library made a reasonable case for need; Taxter Ridge was privately owned albeit by a Church but its unlocked value would produce a significant revenue stream.

So even if I support Feiner and I don't agree with the purchase, common sense should allow that he is not above making a mistake and, if this mistake was, at the time, so apparent to everyone else who had a vote, then the vote to buy the parcel would not have passed.

Sometimes you win, sometimes you lose. Always the piper must be paid.

Anonymous said...

Hal,

I predict decisions will be handed down in both Fortress and the Bernstein within one year.

Also, what is Feiner's "solutin" re the Westhelp money.

hal samis said...

Ask Feiner.

Anonymous said...

I thought he read this board.

hal samis said...

Ask Feiner.

Anonymous said...

So Al Regula do you have an answer concernig the garbage pickup that one of the bloggers was refering to.
One of her neighbors told this new resident to put the household garbage on the bottom of the recepticle and then what ever is the pick for the day on top.
The neighbor has pickup four times a week.
If this is the case we should all do the same and not have any garbage except maybe for one day.
The street has only curbside pickup.
Awaiting your answer,if it is true that this is being done we all pay taxes and we should receive the same benefits.