Trouble continues to brew on Richbell Road where feuding neighbors have now embroiled a Village Trustee in their trouble. For years, Ruth and Sandor Frankel of 17 Richbell Road have voiced ongoing objections about a home built on a flag lot adjacent to their home at 15A Richbell Road by the Tretter family.
In 2008, the Frankels and another neighbor, the Rose’s, hired an attorney to object to the construction of a swimming pool at the Tretter home, citing lot coverage requirements, potential drainage issues and the irregular shape of the property. For their part, in the summer of 2010, the Tretters complained about Mrs. Frankel playing very loud music outside. At a June, 2011 Planning Board meeting, Sandor Frankel called the Tretter home “the 10,000 square foot MacMansion built in the back,” and complained about water issues in his basement.
The Frankels did not feel that the Scarsdale Building Department were enforcing Village code and they were also unhappy with the response they received from the personnel in the department. As a result, in February, 2012 Ruth Frankel submitted a petition with 200 signatures to the Village, lodging dissatisfaction with the Building Department.
On April 11, 2012, Sandor Frankel came before the Village Board to voice a complaint about drainage caused by the construction of the Tretter’s driveway. He again conveyed his dissatisfaction with the response from the Village, and suggested that their inaction could be retribution for the petition filed by his wife Ruth Frankel.
At the 4-11 meeting, Frankel told Trustees, “I am not here to address the dirt issue where we have been forced to swallow dirt during the construction. The Village gave me no protection. I am here to address the unilateral, unauthorized change in the topography of the Tretter’s driveway.” He explained, “This narrow neck of property has been the focus of controversy between the Tretter’s and the Rose’s since the Tretters began their construction project.”
He continued to claim that the grade of the Tretter’s driveway had been changed so that it now drains onto his property -- and also stated that a drainage pipe has been installed inches from his property that will cause the water to flow onto his land. He said that the Tretter’s project had caused “tens of thousands of dollars in damage to his garage,” and urged the Trustees to come to visit his home that night to view the exposed drainage pipe.
Possibly in response to these claims, on the morning of April 13, 2012, Trustee Robert Harrison went to the property to investigate. He was spotted by Ilyse Tretter on her property taking photos of her driveway. In a letter to Trustee Harrison that was also submitted to the Village Attorney, Mayor and Village Board on April 13, Tretter says, “As I orally stated to you when I caught you in the act, not only were you unauthorized to walk about our property uninvited, but we also believe that your conduct is inappropriate for a Village Trustee.” Tretter also objected to private conversations Harrison has had with the Frankels that she received via FOIL requests and said, “More to the point and regardless of your subjective motivations, it is improper for an individual Trustee to involve himself or herself personally in one homeowner’s dispute with another about a building project,” and added, “Obviously, it is highly irregular for you to trespass on our property to take pictures with your camera in the name of your personal fact-finding. Please recuse yourself from any further communications or actions regarding our property.”
Also, in the file from the Village was a hand-written note from Ruth Frankel, dated April 10 and received at Village Hall on April 11. In the note, Frankel asks for all copies of correspondence between Trustee Brodsky and “the Traders”, concerning the development at 15A Richbell Road. Frankel then says, “Because of this conflict of interest, Ms. Brodsky should not be allowed to have voted on this development issue.”
Village Manager quickly replied to Frankel. In a letter dated April 12, he says, “ It is assumed you mean Mr. and Mrs. Tretter who reside at 15A Richbell Road,” and lets Mrs. Frankel know that a search has turned up no files and there is no correspondence. He also says,” in regard to the allegation of the conflict of interest between Trustee Brodsky and Mr. and Mrs. Trader (sic.) there is no supportive documentation for me to consider looking further into the matter. As such it is taken as a mere assertion that is unsubstantiated. Therefore, until further information is provided there will be no follow-up.”
The correspondence and FOIL requests are on the agenda for the April 24 meeting of the Scarsdale Village Board of Trustees.