Traffic Consultants Make Recommendations to Improve Safety in Scarsdale
- Category: Shout it Out
- Published on 26 October 2016
- Written by Joanne Wallenstein
Are speeding drivers, careless pedestrians and cyclists and inadequate signage posing a danger to Scarsdale residents? Should speed limits be lowered, more signs and bike lanes added to make Scarsdale safer? In response to concerns about traffic and pedestrian safety outlined in a November 2015 report from the Scarsdale Forum's Municipal Services Committee, the Village of Scarsdale instructed the police to step up traffic enforcement and also hired a traffic consultant to study the issues that were raised about many locations around the Village.
Police took their job seriously and caught many drivers in the village off guard during the first half of this year. So if you got a ticket in Scarsdale Village from the Scarsdale Police in the first half of 2016, it may have been due to this enforcement initiative that increased ticketing for the following offences:
- Failure to yield to pedestrians in crosswalks
- Failure to comply with traffic regulations (stop sign, red light)
- Distracted driving violations (phone usage)
- Failure to wear a seatbelt.
A report issued in July 2016 shows that for the first six months of 2016, police gave out a total of 412 citations for the violations listed above as compared to 250 for the first half of 2015, a 65% increase.
Police also deployed a speed wagon to track driving speeds at three locations in Quaker Ridge where the Forum reported there were problems with speeding. It turned out that people were not speeding – in fact, 90% of drivers were going under the speed limit with the remaining 10% drivers within 5mph of the limit. The monitored locations were Franklin Road and Harvest Drive, Heathcote and Stratton Roads and Penn Boulevard.
As a second step, consultants TRC Engineers of Hawthorne analyzed safety in the Village and in Quaker Ridge and delievered a report and recommendations to Village Managers in July. The engineers were invited to present their results at a meeting on Tuesday night October 26. The report can be viewed on the Village website here:
Scarsdale Village: Because of traffic coming over the Popham Road Bridge and the presence of the train station, the pedestrian crossings at Popham and Chase Roads as well as Popham and Overhill Roads have been safety trouble spots.
The engineers observed and monitored pedestrians attempting to cross Popham Road in the Village, "especially those that are mobility-challenged or impaired and senior citizens who sometimes struggle to cross Popham Road in the allotted pedestraian phasing time."
They recommended a few alternatives for improving safety for pedestrians crossing these three intersections: Chase Road at Popham Road, Popham Road at Chase Road and Popham Road at East Parkway.
In order to give pedestrians more time to cross and to increase the visibility of the crosswalks for drivers the recommended the following alternatives:
- Extended Flashing Don't Walk Time which simply involves changing the timing on the "Don't Walk" signage.
- Colored/high visibility crosswalk: Consultants recommend that striping and wording be added to the pavement before the crosswalk to warn drivers to slowdown or stop before the crosswalk.
- Addition of a traffic signal on the right hand side of westbound Popham Road just before the crosswalk to enforce stopping and reduce the number of drivers who stop in the crosswalk because the existing stoplights are further ahead.
- Lane assignments: Consultants recommend adding a sign that indicates lane assignments on westbound Popham Road before Chase Road to establish appropriate lane assignments, especially the right turn lane.
- Installation of "Turning Vehicles Yield to Pedestrians" and "No Turn on Red Signs" adjacent to the traffic signals.
- Installation of backplates or rectangular shields that fit behind the traffic lights to help with the glare.
- Addition of blinking pedestrian signs with passive detection that blink when a person is walking between two signs – or crossing the street.
- Additional street lighting could be added
The consultants also analyzed the intersections of Crane and Fox Meadow Road and Crane and Stonehouse Roads and found them both to be "acceptable," but made several suggestions for improving safety there including removing bushes and vegetation that obstruct the sightlines, adding a yellow sign that says "intersection ahead," on eastbound Crane Road between Fox Meadow and Stonehouse Roads to let drivers know that people may be crossing as well as an additional sign at the intersection of Crane Road and East Parkway that would say "Traffic Exiting Parkway Does Not Stop."
The report goes on to make similar recommendations for many intersections in West Quaker Ridge including intersections with Weaver Street. You can read the entire report here.
Scarsdale Rocks Back-to-School Fashion
- Category: Shout it Out
- Published on 17 October 2016
- Written by Traci Dutton Ludwig
They've been back in the classroom for about a month, and it finally feels like fall. That means it's time to cozy up to beautiful jackets, new boots and a surge of back-to-school fashions. Because warm temperatures during the first few weeks of school tingled with summer's giddiness, back-to-school shopping is experiencing renewed interest in the village these days. According to Rachel Uchitel, owner of Wyatt Lily, "'Back-to-school' started late, but it's really going strong – because it basically just got cold this week. A lot of my customers are coming in now looking for leggings, comfort wear and other really warm and cozy things."
This year, Uchitel is seeing a strong demand for personalization and individuality in clothing. She offers in-store monogramming with glitter letters or monochrome letters so kids can wear their favorite sayings, sport their initials or interject a bit of humor into their looks. Popular personalization among the pre-school crowd includes "King of Time Out" and "I only date models." Older kids have also hooked into the trend. One student running for school government cleverly designed a cute sweatshirt advertising her candidacy and asking for votes.
"Glitter letters for the girls can really spice up simple tops and bottoms to make them special," Uchitel said. Leggings – especially in fun colors, faux leather, or camouflage prints – are the bottoms of choice this season. They're comfortable, cute and can easily be worn with other pieces to create a variety of looks.
Because this season's palette of navy, gold, black and gray expresses a toned-down vibe, Uchitel looks for clothing that has fun embellishments and interesting details. Patches, this year, are especially popular. For ultimate style, she recommends keeping everything a bit sophisticated, rather than childish. "I've got some really great, yummy, slouchy hats with sparkle for colder weather. Everyone loves them. I've also got fur wrist clasps that work like a snapping bracelet. They're so great that parents are buying them for themselves as well as for their kids."
Skull motifs, in sophisticated tones of silver, bronze and gold, are a favorite at Wyatt Lily. Just like the fur bracelets, any accessory embossed with a skull has become popular among all age groups. This season, Uchitel recommends getting the look through key chains, mini purses or backpacks – for young ladies and mommies too.
Phyllis Samuels, a 25-year-long buyer for Neil's Corner Spot, said, "Although back-to-school shopping starts as soon as the buses from sleep away camp return, it continues throughout the fall." Among the most popular items this season are patches and denim, she said. "We're seeing a lot of jeans – skinny jeans, torn jeans and patches everywhere." Patches capture a retro, 1970s-style vibe, but they have become especially user-friendly through pin-on versions and stick-on versions manufactured by a company called "Hipsta." In addition to accessorizing jeans with patches, Samuels recommends using them on sneakers, leggings, backpacks and flannel shirts. She said, "Flannels – worn open over tank tops – continue to be a popular look for girls – as well as grommets and lace-up everything."
Construction details – such as laces, grommets and studs – are wildly popular embellishments within the season's palette of neutrals. "This is not a very colorful season. There's a lot of gray and olive," Samuels said. Black – the uniform color of the 1990s – is also back in style, as evidenced by the wave of students wearing black T-shirts rolling in and out of Scarsdale High School at the beginning and end of each day.
"Back-to-school looks for boys focus on comfort, practicality and, often, a certain sports appeal," Samuels said, "Boys want the same kind of comfort that girls have long enjoyed." She said fuzzy pajama pants and jeans made from French terry with stretch are popular for boys now. College T-shirts, jerseys with draft picks and sports shirts from all the popular New York teams remain favorites too – and Neil's has them all. Flannel shirts are another trend in boys' back-to-school fashion this season. However, unlike girls, boys wear their flannel shirts buttoned-up and un-tucked.
For the high school crowd, most trends trickle down from young pop-culture icons like Kendall Jenner, 20, and Gigi Hadid, 21. According to LF Store stylist Alianna Anselmi, some of this year's biggest back-to-school trends include embroidery on denim, suede and sweaters; camouflage tops and jackets; vintage looks; bomber jackets in every color and fabric; off-the-shoulder, choker tops that zip at the back of the neck; lace tops for layering; and satin slip dresses. The palette is subdued – black, gray and olive – but tempered by the feminine softness of blush pink and plum. "It's like a 90s grunge look but more fun, young and girly," Anselmi said. "Imagine a vintage looking, oversized black band T-shirt paired with a pink skirt ... or a sequined slip dress worn over a casual T-shirt, layered with a denim jacket and boots."
Because of the season's wildly changing temperatures, fall is all about layering. "We do a lot of mixing and matching at LF. This way you can experiment and play with your clothes. You can be inspired by those trends that Kendall and Gigi are wearing, but you can also personalize a look to make it your own. I always tell girls they should never be afraid to try a new trend. They should never be afraid to be the first person to wear something new," Anselmi said.
For a great fall wardrobe, she recommends a mix of fun trend pieces and amazing classics. These include some recommended essentials. "You'll want to start with a really great pair of well-fitting jeans that you can wear with everything, then mix it up with some of this year's ripped styles," Anselmi said. "You'll also want a really good skirt that you can wear all season with tights and tall, thigh-high boots. I'd go for a beautiful suede or leather skirt that you can dress up or down." Other gorgeous pieces include classic leather bomber jackets, pretty bralettes for layering beneath loose dresses and oversized slouchy sweaters, and flannel shirts embellished with mesh panels, contrasting sleeves or hoods.
Chokers – in denim, leather, lace, suede and bejeweled – dominate this season's jewelry trend and "are a great way to give a basic top a totally new look," Anselmi said. Suede baseball caps in army green, black, gray and blush are another hot accessory for back-to-school. Because these caps are both practical and cute, some girls are buying them in every available color. "They look really cool, add definite style to your look – and are great for those days when you're rushing out the door or didn't have time to wash your hair," she advised. Over-the-knee boots, which were trending last fall, have already gone viral in this year's scene. Anselmi said, "Tall boots in beautiful suede are great with short, chunky heels or flat soles. You can wear them with fall's shorter skirts to keep your legs warm, or you can pull them over skinny jeans for a really stylish look. Some versions are coming in with stitched embroidery details or a distressed look, which I think is great because you don't have to worry about the scuffing up the toes when you wear them."
Hyatt Park Sound-Off: The Unintended Consequences of a Park Makeover
- Category: On Our Radar
- Published on 18 October 2016
- Written by Stacie M. Waldman
(Updated October 20) Residents of the Bramlee Heights Neighborhood Association and Crane-Berkeley, the Village Engineer, the Superintendent of Parks, Village Trustees, Friends of the Scarsdale Parks and others gathered on Wednesday night at Village Hall to discuss mitigating traffic and parking issues at Hyatt Park on Grand Boulevard in Scarsdale. Hyatt Park also made the news recently because of its status as a public park with key fob-access bathrooms available only to Scarsdale residents.
Village Engineer Frank Balbi opened the meeting by showing attendees a map of Hyatt Park to highlight the issues with parking and traffic and the impact on residents in the area. The recent renovation of Hyatt Park has made it very popular for softball and baseball tournaments as well as daily recreational use. He stated that the purpose of the meeting was to discuss the village's proposal, solicit feedback from attendees and clear up any misunderstanding. There is currently no funding nor a solidified plan to build a parking lot at Hyatt Park.
Linda Inouye who lives at the very end of Potter Road remarked, "I've had to call the police because there have been many times, particularly on Saturdays when tournaments are ongoing, one after another after another, that I have not been able to get in or out of my driveway." There is also justified cause for concern about emergency vehicles having access.
Mr. Balbi discussed immediate ways to alleviate some of the parking issues:
• East side of Potter Road will have restricted parking
• Striping of spots on Potter Road
• Adding of three handicapped spots on Potter Road
• Kick out Grand Boulevard 60 feet to add an additional three spots
• Keep 13 spots on west side of Potter Road
• Parking at the Scarsdale Historical Society next to the park (adds 13 parking spaces)
Altogether, 20 spots would be lost on Potter Road with the restricted parking. But the addition of three spots on Grand Boulevard would mean a total of 17 parking spots would be lost. Therefore, the village is proposing a 22-foot wide asphalt aisle way (for two-way traffic) with 27 gravel parking spots and an asphalt turnaround on the west side of Hyatt Park. There would be 10-foot fencing and additional netting to protect the cars parked in the lot from baseballs.
Brian Gray, Superintendent of Parks, said that the park is a public park and available for all to use. He added that many Scarsdale residents from other parts of Scarsdale also use the park but are not within walking distance of the park so they drive and need a place to leave their cars. "If you have two games going on at the same time, there's the potential for 40+ cars to need parking spots."
Kaye Eisenmann from Friends of the Scarsdale Parks, reported that the organization disagrees with the building of the parking lot and they recommend that all of Hyatt Field Park be protected and preserved in perpetuity. She asked whether Hyatt Park is designated as parkland and the panel did not know the answer to this.
A Brambach Road resident questioned the map saying it's not updated and it's deceiving. He stated that the map shows more green space than actually exists. He moved from the city to the suburbs for additional green space almost 40 years ago. He also said that the trees were being cut near that area today. Mr. Balbi responded that the map is to scale and accurate.
Another Scarsdale resident asked, "Fundamentally this is a neighborhood park, so why should we be encouraging anyone to drive there?" As Brian Gray stated, however, the parks in Scarsdale are public and open to all Scarsdale residents as well as neighboring residents. If you live in Fox Meadow, you are not limited to the Fox Meadow playgrounds.
Darlene LeFrancois-Haber, representing the Edgewood Sustainability Committee, agreed with the position of the Friends of the Scarsdale Parks saying, "...the conceptual plan should be scrapped. The park is on wetlands and frankly it is irresponsible. There are many trees susceptible to damage because of this." She later brought up the idea of shuttles from established lots to sports events at the park.
Craig Hobbs lives on Boulevard opposite Hyatt Field. He read his and his neighbors' objections to the parking lot in a statement and also had a petition with 30 signatures. He also wanted to reach out to people in other areas of Scarsdale to see if people who have to drive to Hyatt Field Park agree with opposing the parking lot construction. The key points of their objections are loss of public field space, limited seasonal usage (during warmer months), increased transiency and loitering, pedestrian child safety issues, increased sporting events, and use of Scarsdale taxpayer money for maintenance of the park that is now often used by non-Scarsdale residents (e.g. Eastchester residents).
Liz Margolin, a resident across the street from the Park on Potter Road, objects to the increase in softball tournaments at the park, particularly when neither team is from Scarsdale. She read a statement from the Bramlee Heights Neighborhood Association in opposition to the parking lot. The statement is shown below. "The majority of people at our meeting were strongly opposed to the constructing of 27 parking spots. They feel the loss of green space outweighs any potential benefit and are also concerned that the lot would encourage use of the lot by non-Scarsdale residents including transients and loiterers." Brian Gray responded that Scarsdale is paid whenever visiting teams use the field and said he would reach out to Scarsdale softball to discuss the timing of games as well as limitations on tournaments.
Another meeting attendee noted, "Parking right at the park is unnecessary. Parents can drop their kids off from the game and go park elsewhere. Furthermore, the Crane-Berkley neighborhood also has parking and maps distributed to parents of athletes should reflect this." Mr. Balbi assured the panel and audience that if people started parking in Crane-Berkeley, those residents would be at the next meeting asking for additional street parking restrictions.
Village Trustee Matt Callaghan encouraged all those with a strong point of view to, "...come to village board meetings, write letters, ask us what we think during the meeting. I think what we're seeing is the unintended consequences of a nice field and park."
A resident of 146 Grand Boulevard who lives across the street from the park and field said, "This was a foreseeable consequence," he said. "The playground renovation and the scheduling of more tournaments...we like to pull our car in to where we are going but that's not always realistic." Another local resident said, "The Historical Society house and land is going on the market so those additional 13 parking spots will be lost soon." Brian Gray acknowledged that the Village is aware of this.
A resident of Lee Road added, "Hyatt Field Park was a sleepy park. Now, with the renovation, it's a beautiful and fun park and it's on all the social media sites. So people are coming from all over to use the park. Why couldn't it have been updated without the zipline and bathrooms? We have supersized our park. Not to mention that Scarsdale has made it onto national news because of the $5 key fob access for residents of the village."
Becca, also of Lee Road, commented how Davis Park used to be "all the hype" in Scarsdale. "But then after a year of two, the traffic to the park decreased. Also, Davis is known as a park for 'little kids' and Hyatt Park has become known as a park for kids of all ages. Even teenagers want to uses the park."
Lena Crandall from Fox Meadow suggested a creative alternative to reduce traffic at Hyatt Field Park. "Let's improve all of the other playground and make them just as great. That way people will end up using all of the playgrounds more and not just Hyatt."
Where do things go from here? PRC (Parks, Recreation, and Conservation) will send their recommendation to the Superintendent of Parks (Brian Gray) who will then send his recommendation to the Village Board of Trustees.
(Original Article posted Monday October 17, 2016)
The Friends of the Scarsdale Parks has issued a report opposing the paving of parking spots at Hyatt Field Park to accommodate increased usage at the park which has recently been improved and now has a state of the art playground and restrooms.
Because the new park has attracted more usage, people are parking their cars on both sides of Potter Road, which is adjacent to the park, making it difficult to turn around or pass. On the opposite side of the park there is gravel road or utility path that leads to a rear driveway for one resident. The Village proposed paving this passage, widening it and including 27 parking spots to alleviate the crowding on Potter Road. In addition, since the gravel road is adjacent to a large baseball diamond, the Village would also need to construct safety netting or fencing to protect the parked cars from being hit by balls from the diamond.
However, the Friends of the Scarsdale Parks objects for many reasons, primarily because the parking spaces would consume scarce open space that is used for recreation, picnics and play. They contend the park is a sensitive wetland and they object to the use of public funds to solve a parking problem. They argue that "neighborhood harmony over the unintended consequences of Hyatt Field's popularity should be not be achieved at the expense of the parkland itself."
Mayor Jon Mark addressed the issue in his remarks at the Village Board meeting on October 13. He explained that the Village staff had been speaking to people who live next to the park and have been unable to get in and out of their driveways at times when they were blocked by cars belonging to people who were using the park. He explained that in response to these complaints the Parks and Recreation Department was looking into creating parking on the gravel drive.
However, he assured everyone that nothing had been decided as yet and the matter would be discussed at a public meeting of the Parks and Recreation Council on Wednesday night October 19 at 7:30pm at Village Hall.
Statement by the Bramlee Heights Neighborhood Association on the Parking Situation and Rest Stations at Hyatt Field Park
On Monday, October 17, members of the Bramlee Heights Neighborhood Association heard from Parks Superintendent Brian Gray on various proposals for alleviating automobile parking congestion caused by visitors to Hyatt Field Park which, at times, has reached a volume that is neither safe nor sustainable on Potter Rd and Lee Rd. After a discussion, the participants of the meeting would like to share our feedback both on the underlying situation and proposed solution.
It is our analysis that the main driver of congestion above and beyond what our neighbors are used to is the usage of the park for tournaments, particularly softball, but potentially including baseball and basketball in the future, and that the problem is at its peak when softball tournaments at Hyatt Field have no Scarsdale teams participating in the games, requiring nearly all participants and spectators to drive. We believe reducing the total number of tournaments, and minimizing if not eliminating any tournaments in which Scarsdale teams are not participating, as was stated policy in the past, will have a major impact.
We enthusiastically agree with eliminating parking on the east side of Potter Road to ensure access to emergency vehicles and reduce inconvenience to residents, and urge that the promised signage promulgating this be installed as soon as possible.
We also enthusiastically support an arrangement between the Village and the Scarsdale Historical Society on usage of the 13-spot parking lot by park visitors, particularly during peak usage periods, and encourage discussion with Immaculate Heart of Mary Church and School on the use of their parking lot during peak times.
Once these steps have been taken, we welcome further community dialogue and good ideas to determine how many additional spots may still be needed, and other options for achieving them.
Although it was not the unanimous sense of the room to be opposed to the concept of a 27-spot parking lot in what is now left field, a strong supermajority of attendees were strongly opposed. They feel the loss of public and green space outweighs any potential benefits, and are also concerned that the lot would encourage non-Scarsdale usage of the park, potentially exacerbating the problem, would have an impact on child and pedestrian safety, particularly for those residents entering the park from the stairs on the west side, and would encourage transiency and loitering, particularly at night.
A minority of attendees were not opposed to the lot in concept, but were also open to other solutions that wouldn't involve a loss of green space, so long as the frustrating traffic and parking issues were improved.
Additionally, at our meeting we discussed whether the current system of round-the-clock key fob access to the comfort stations at Hyatt Field Park was appropriate or if some other arrangement should be put into place (e.g., open to all for some hours during the day, but fob- only access the rest of the time.) It was the unanimous sense of the room that key fob access was appropriate to protect the investment of building the rest stations. However, we believe that the process by which visiting coaches of softball and baseball teams obtain a key fob to access the rest stations needs to be reviewed and improved as, by experience, some of those coaches are not receiving the fobs in advance from their appropriate contact with the Village or the appropriate athletic association.
Finally, the residents of the Boulevard continue to be concerned about safety in crossing the street for pedestrian families looking to use the park and would welcome further dialogue on options like crosswalks, stop signs, and speed bumps.
For more information, please contact Bramlee Heights Neighborhood Association President Angela Olcese at email@example.com or neighborhood volunteer Tim Foley at firstname.lastname@example.org.
What do you think? Please add your comments in the section below:
Raiders Varsity Girls Soccer Team Capture League Title, Girls Volleyball Team Triumphs Over Mamaroneck
- Category: Around Town
- Published on 19 October 2016
- Written by Joanne Wallenstein
The Scarsdale Varsity A Girls Soccer team has won their second consecutive league title, completing the regular season with a record of 10-5-1 and a league record of 9-1. The team competed against especially tough competition this year, which included not only strong traditional rivals New Rochelle, Mamaroneck and Ursuline, but also talented, physical teams from Rockland County and northern Westchester such as North Rockland, Clarkstown South, Yorktown and Suffern. The Raiders head to the section playoffs beginning this weekend.
The team has been led throughout the season by four senior captains, Kate Donovan (MF), Lucy Glickman (M), Erica Shapse (D) and Hayley Rozencwaig (M). Head Coach Mindy Genovese and Assistant Coach Kiera Fox have been working the girls six days per week since late August to maximize their performance and experience on and off the field. The team has engaged in off the field activities that have helped build camaraderie and a sense of purpose among the players.
In what was the highlight of the season so far, the Raiders clinched their league championship on Saturday evening, October 15, in a thrilling 1-0 win over arch-rival New Rochelle, avenging their sole league loss from earlier in the season. The game was played before a raucous crowd of about 300 people under the lights at Scarsdale High School, which included a contingent of fans of the Hugenots. It was Senior Day and in a pre-game ceremony enthusiastically emceed by Brian Rozencwaig, the team honored the seniors who were playing their last league game of the season and their parents for their commitment and contribution to Scarsdale soccer over the years. It is a tradition that all the team seniors start the game. The seniors who were honored were Donovan, Glickman, Juliette Meyers, Sophia Mohlulis, Shannon Regan, Rozencwaig, Shapse and Jenna Stewart. The game also included a fund raising effort, in which contributions were donated to the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation.
The only goal of the game came at 36:30 of the first half when Donovan, off a gorgeous pass from freshman phenom Olivia Bryant, scored on a rush down the right side with a perfect shot from 15 yards out. The Scarsdale fans in attendance roared when the goal was scored, undoubtedly recognizing that goals were likely to be at a premium. The game, as expected, was mostly a defensive battle with Scarsdale's four across defense continually stymying the Hugenot's attack. Sophomore center back Allison Stafford was all over the field, repeatedly thwarting the Hugenot's mid-fielders and forwards and starting Raiders' offensive rushes, with strong support from right back Mohlulis and junior center back Sam Mancini. Sophomore goalie Christina Coco preserved the shutout with a couple of difficult saves.
Looking ahead, the Raiders will host the first of what will hopefully be multiple playoff games on Saturday, October 22. The time of the game has not yet been determined. In the team's 16 games during the regular season, they allowed a total of 16 goals, which is an average of one goal per game, and only six goals in their ten league games. These consistently low scoring games enable the Raiders to be in each game, which is a cause for optimism heading into the playoffs notwithstanding the formidable competition they will face. The challenge will be finishing on scoring opportunities and taking advantage of their opponents' mistakes. Scarsdale10583 will report on the team's playoff performance in next week's edition.
Raiders Girls Volleyball Team Scores Impressive Win Against Mamaroneck
The Raiders Girls Volleyball Team win against Mamaroneck on Tuesday 10/18 was a perfect demonstration of their improvement in teamwork and skills. Starting off the season with two early losses, the team stayed motivated with the goal to make it far into the playoffs. With their Mamaroneck game being one of the final ones of the regular season, it was important for the team to maintain their reputation as a formidable opponent. In this win, Scarsdale swept the game 3-0 sets. In the first set, the Raiders showed their dominance, keeping a constant lead. The second set tested the players' endurance and skills under pressure when Mamaroneck tied it after a 6 point lead by Scarsdale. Ultimately the Raiders won this set 25-23. They used this momentum from the 2nd set win to close out the third set 25-16. With playoffs right around the corner, a sweep by the Raiders is just the thing they need to catapult them towards the post season.
(Volleyball text by Emmeline Berridge. Photos by Jon Thaler. See more here:)
U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara Draws a Crowd in Scarsdale
- Category: Neighborhood News
- Published on 18 October 2016
- Written by Joanne Wallenstein
The top federal law enforcement officer for the Southern District of New York, U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara filled the room at Scarsdale Golf Club when he came to address the Scarsdale League of Women Voters on Friday October 14. Bharara was invited and introduced by Scarsdale Acting Village Justice Cindy Dunne who served with and under Bharara in the U.S. Attorney's Office. She credited him with fighting terrorism and corruption and said he was committed to justness and fairness.
Bharara explained that though most people thinking his jurisdiction is only Manhattan, his office also covers several northern counties and the effects of his work extend around the globe to countries like Russia, Venezuela, Turkey, India and Switzerland.
He said, "We make cases against corrupt public officials and we try to bring justice
to broken correctional institutions. We protect the homeland and brought both the Times Square and Chelsea bombers to court." He added, "We are fearless, independent, and were proud of it. We believe no one is above the law, no matter how rich."
He referenced corruption charges brought against members of both houses of the NYS Legislature including Speaker of the NYS Assembly Sheldon Silver and Dean Skelos from the NYS Senate for extorting no show jobs for his son Adam in exchange for official conduct. Bharara credited local Assemblywoman Amy Paulin, who was in attendance at the luncheon, with testifying against Silver, in spite of the fact that she was dependent on him and Silver was known to be vindictive.
Bharara said, "There is a "show me the money" culture in Albany, " which he called a "bipartisan problem." He quoted a recent poll that found that 87% of people believe that corruption is a serious problem in New York State and only 4% thought the prosecutor has gone too far.
In addition to his focus on public corruption, Bharara's office is also working to stem opioid abuse, a growing problem in the U.S. where 78 Americans a day die from opioid overdoses. Citing trafficking of prescription drugs as one of the causes, Bharara said, "we are shutting down distribution channels including doctors, pill mills and peddlers and getting significant sentences." In addition to fighting drug abuse through prosecutions, his office will host educational forums on the issue, with one scheduled for December 1 at Pace University.
Saying his office remains optimistic in the face of some very tough challenges he said,
"We have a choice. We can imagine ourselves as Sisyphus pushing the rock up the hill only to have it roll back down the hill. Or we can look at Archimedes who said,
'Give me a long enough lever and a place to stand and I shall move the earth itself.""
Asked during the question and answer period if he would continue to serve if appointed by the next president, he said, "I love my job and I am not tired of it and I will continue to serve."
Grease on Stage at SHS November 18-20
- Category: Arts and Entertainment
- Published on 24 October 2016
- Written by Joanne Wallenstein
The Scarsdale High School Drama Club will present Grease on November 18, 19 and 20 in the high school auditorium. The musical features a large cast and is directed by Barbara Malecki.
The play if appropriate for everyone in the family and takes place in 1959, when Rydell High School's senior class is in rare form. The too-cool-for-school "Burger Palace Boys" are stealing hub-caps and acting tough and their gum-snapping, chain-smoking "Pink Ladies" are looking hot in bobby sox and pedal pushers.
The 1950s high school dream is about to explode in this rollicking musical that is both an homage to the idealism of the fifties and a satire of high schoolers' age-old desire to be provocative and rebellious. At the heart of the story is the romance between hot-rodding gangster Danny Zuko and the sweet new girl in town, Sandy Dumbrowski. They had a secret romance in summer, but now back in the context of school, peer-pressure and cliques make their love a bit more complicated. Can Danny maintain his cool dude status and still get make demure Sandy his girl? The whole gang sings and dances around Danny and Sandy's romance, through such hit songs as "Greased Lightnin'", "We Go Together", and "Mooning", recalling the music of Buddy Holly, Little Richard and Elvis Presley that became the soundtrack of a generation. Starting off with an eight-year Broadway run, Grease is among the world's most popular musicals and has a cult-like following, especially among teens!
The performances will be in the Scarsdale High School auditorium on November 18th and 19th at 7:30 and November 20th at 2:00.
Tickets are available at SHSGrease.eventbrite.com or at the door.
Grease Cast List
Danny- Robby Chappell
Sandy- Sophia Roth
Rizzo- Alexa Trujillo
Kenickie- Matt Kutzin
Frenchy- Jenna Orrico
Doody- Sofus Rose
Marty- Morgan Cochrane
Jan- Camila Tardif
Roger- Craig Carroll
Vince- David D'Silva
Sonny- Gabriel Lesser
Patty- Gabby Kauffman
Eugene- Jacob Binyaminov
Cha-Cha- Lena Proctor
Miss Lynch- Dahlia Gopstein
Blanche- Talli Lesser
Jazzy- Gracey Jones
Dance Captains- Perri Thaler, Ava Kashar
Featured Dancers- Margaret Kantor, Catherine Zhao, Daniella Ashman, Anaya Barmecha
Featured Singers- Jessica Byers, Hannah Lewis, Cassie Davis, Izzy Bailey
Voices- Daniella Ashman (Sheila), David D'Silva (Hero), Hudson Jakubowicz (Scientist)
Scarsdale Bowl Committee Seeks Recommendations
- Category: People
- Published on 24 October 2016
- Written by Joanne Wallenstein
The 2017 Scarsdale Bowl Committee will begin its work in early December to select the 2017 recipient of the Scarsdale Bowl and is seeking recommendations from the community for a possible honoree. The Scarsdale Bowl, under the sponsorship of the Scarsdale Foundation, has been awarded annually since 1943 to an individual, or in rare instances, to a husband and wife, who has given "unselfishly of his/her time, energy and effort to the civic welfare of the community." The founding donors of the Bowl believed that "many who serve generously and voluntarily, without office, honor or publicity, are those deserving of having their names permanently inscribed on the Scarsdale Bowl."
David Lee is serving as chair of this year's Scarsdale Bowl Committee. The members of the committee serve staggered two-year terms. The newly appointed Class of 2018 consists of Norman Alterman, Diane Baylor, Kate Conlan, Lee Fischman, Mona Longman, Suzanne Seiden, and Margaret Smith. The continuing Class-members of 2017 are Beth Ehrich Berkley, Jonathan Bradlow, Fran Galloway, Gary Katz, Janet Korins, Eli Mattiolli, and Jyoti Ruta. Evelyn Stock, Scarsdale Foundation trustee, will serve on the committee as the liaison, and Robert Jeremiah is serving as secretary/treasurer. Emily Sherwood, president of the Scarsdale Foundation, is an ex-officio, non-voting member.
The Scarsdale Bowl will be awarded at a dinner on Wednesday, April 26, 2017, at The Fountainhead in New Rochelle. The ceremony will pay tribute to the 2017 honoree and to the spirit of volunteerism, central to the civic life of the Scarsdale community.
The Bowl Committee enthusiastically welcomes community input. It will hold its first meeting December 4, 2016 and requests that residents contact any member of the committee with suggestions of potential recipients. Recommendations are requested by November 18, 2016, although suggestions will be accepted at any time prior to the Committee's December meeting. Suggestions should be emailed to the Committee at: email@example.com. Questions may be directed to David Lee at (914) 725.3240.
Additional information about the Scarsdale Foundation and the Scarsdale Bowl can be found at www.scarsdalefoundation.org.
Board of Trustees Explores Possible Real Estate Tax Phase-In For Hardest Hit Residents
- Category: Village Voices
- Published on 16 October 2016
- Written by Joanne Wallenstein
Should people who received more than a 25% increase in their real estate taxes after the 2016 revaluation be granted some relief? That's what the Scarsdale Board of Trustees discussed at a special meeting on Thursday night October 13. Under consideration was the possibility of asking the state legislator to consider special legislation to allow residents who received greater than a 25% increase, are STAR eligible and meet certain other criteria to be allowed to phase in their tax increase over a period of three years. During that three-year period, the balance of taxpayers would pay more in taxes to make up for the shortfall from their neighbor's savings.
Deputy Village Manager Robert Cole reviewed a study done by Village Managers to examine how many residents might be eligible and what the effect of the phase in program would be on the balance of taxpayers.
The study estimated that only 128 homeowners would potentially be eligible – and that assumes that these people did not grieve their over the summer, bringing their tax increase below 25%. To qualify, they also need to be up to date on their taxes and to not have done a renovation that is responsible for their tax increase. Last, they would need to file their paperwork on time.
Cole presented data to show the estimated tax increase that the balance of taxpayers would have to pay to subsidize the loss in revenue from the phase in if 128 residents qualified. He estimated these increases for homeowners with homes at varying values.
- If you own a house that is assessed at $629,000, you would pay $38 more in year one and $19 more in year two.
- If you own a home valued at $1,500,000, the increase would be $92 in year one and $46.40 in year two.
- For a home valued at $3.5 million, taxes would increase $214 for the first year and $107 for the second year.
If the Board did decide to move forward, it would need to pass both houses of the NYS legislature, be signed into law by the Governor and there would be ample time for public hearings. It would be put into effect in March before the following year's tax roll was filed with the state.
Commenting on the proposal, several people at the meeting asked why the Village would go to all this work to benefit fewer than 128 people. Others asked the Village to use their energy to invalidate the 2016 revaluation, rather than attempt to ameliorate its effects.
Mayra Kirkendall Rodriguez said, "Given that this will take an enormous amount of village resources and time for people on the Board of Trustees, why would you spend political capital in this manner and not ask the legislature to invalidate the entire revaluation?"
Mayor Mark explained, "This was done to help those who were most seriously impacted by the revaluation. We know that this has past muster with the Governor. It is unprecedented to invalidate the revaluation. In fact, the Governor vetoed legislation to invalidate a reval due to objections from the county."
He added, "The Tyler reval was criticized as well. If we went back to the 2014 revaluation, there would be an equal number of people who were unhappy with that result. That is not a practical way to address this issue."
Mark said that the Scarsdale Forum was studying the revaluation and that perhaps the League of Women Voters and an ad hoc committee would also be assigned to look into the best way to do the next revaluation. He said, "That's where we should focus our energy."
Robert Berg said, "I believe the phase in is a bad idea. I object to any legislation favoring any one group of taxpayers. It is inappropriate and unprincipled. I think the number of eligible parcels is less than 128. What about those who filed grievances? Some may have filed SCARS? There might only be 20 eligible properties. It is ridiculous for legislation to be passed by the state for a very small number of residents. It does not make sense to use our pull with Albany to do this. Let's get approval from the state to allow Scarsdale to void this revaluation. I am serving on the Forum committee on the revaluation and I think our committee will ultimately say we need to do a new revaluation using the Tyler methodology."
Village Manager Steve Pappalardo responded to Berg, indicating that the Village needed more time before implementing yet another revaluation. He said, "We have found that revaluations that went well had a tremendous amount of community outreach before and during the process. It is also good to give the residents their assessments early and let them have the chance to meet with the vendor. We have learned a lot – and we don't want to make those same mistakes again. The community is going to need be informed. It probably will not be done for 2017... and will take until 2018."
Sherry Berkowitz of Ross Road said, "My assessment went up 40% Why will this work only for people who are STAR eligible?"
You can watch the meeting on Scarsdale Public TV here:
After the meeting, the Board of Trustees held their regular meeting and Mayor Jon Mark offered comments on the phase-in and the equalization rate, which the NYS Office of Real Property Tax Services (ORPTS) has determined to be 89.14. The Village considered challenging this rate, but a consultant analyzed the data and determined that his calculation would be the same as ORPTS and did not recommend a challenge.
Read the full text of the Mayor's remarks below:
Comments by Jon Mark
Meeting of Board of Trustees
October 13, 2016
2016 Revaluation Related Matters Update
I provided an update on 2016 revaluation related matters as part of my State of the Village address at the Scarsdale Forum meeting last Thursday. What follows is an updated version of those comments.
• The possibility of seeking legislation to permit a three-year phase-in of increases in assessments experienced by certain residents on whom the impact of the revaluation was sufficiently harsh as to put them in jeopardy of leaving the Village was considered at a Committee of the Whole meeting held this evening just prior to this meeting. The pros and cons of pursuing that course of action were discussed, we listened to public comment on the proposal and the Board has taken the matter under advisement. To repeat comments made at prior meetings, any New York State legislation that would authorize the Village to adopt a phase-in Village Code provision would have to be approved by both houses of the State legislature and be signed into law by the Governor. If those events occurred, the matter would be back in the hands of the Village Board. At that stage, the Board would have to consider, at a public hearing, whether to adopt a Village Code provision that would put the phase-in into effect. Since the State legislature is not scheduled to re-convene until January 2017, it will be some months and several procedural steps before a phase-in Village Code provision is adopted, if it is adopted at all.
• The Village staff continues to collect and organize information that might support a claim against J.F. Ryan & Associates. In the meantime, the Village continues to withhold from J.F. Ryan approximately $49,000 in fees he claims are due his firm.
• This week the Village received notice from the NYS Office of Real Property Tax Services (ORPTS) that a tentative state equalization rate for the Town of Scarsdale of 89.14 had been established. This rate is minimally higher than the preliminary equalization rate of 89.06 issued by ORPTS on September 7, 2016. Soon after receiving the preliminary rate, the Village staff explored the possibility of contesting the preliminary state equalization rate issued by ORPTS and retained a consultant to assist with that effort. The consultant completed his analysis and submitted to it to ORPTS for review. After consulting with ORPTS regarding his work, the parties agreed that the consultant failed to undertake certain statistical procedures used by ORPTS in its analysis to make an adjustment in the sales ratio analysis data. The consultant then reviewed his work further and concluded that based on the parameters of ORPTS' approach, his calculation would be approximately the same as theirs. The Village Manager convinced the consultant to waive any payment for his work in light of this outcome.
Based on the review of the preliminary equalization rate through the Assessor and the consultant, and subsequent discussions with ORPTS, it is highly unlikely that any new information will be available to persuade ORPTS at an administrative hearing to increase the equalization rate substantially. It is therefore unlikely that further proceedings with regard to the equalization rate will be pursued. However, this may help to support our claim against J.F. Ryan relative to the quality of his work. The Village Attorney has incorporated this information into the bill of particulars he has drafted for this purpose and sent to J.F. Ryan's counsel.
• Regarding the question of whether the Village Board will take steps to void the 2016 revaluation, as has been stated at past meetings, the Village Board does not have statutory authority to take such an action on its own. We understand that should the Village wish to pursue this route, the earliest draft legislation could be submitted for initial consideration in Albany would be January 2017. Based on that timing, it is not likely we would learn whether or not the legislation passed for several months thereafter, close to the time the spring tax bills had to go out. Further, based on the report of the 2011 experience of the Town of Hamilton, New York when it sought legislation to simply extend the filing date of its assessment roll, it is possible that Westchester County might oppose any such legislative proposal as did Madison County in the case of Hamilton. That opposition proved persuasive in Hamilton's case and the Governor vetoed the legislation despite it having passed in both houses of the New York legislature. It is reasonably apparent that a request to entirely void an assessment roll – as contrasted with a request to simply extend a filing date which was Hamilton's request -- would be a more difficult issue for Albany to approve.
• We recognize residents' issues with the 2016 revaluation and the strong desire of some to reinstate the 2015 final assessment roll. However, it is less than clear that reinstating the 2015 final assessment roll, and it is not clear that that could be done, would be a prudent course to take since that roll too had its critics. One procedural issue that re-instatement might trigger is that those who may be grieved by the reinstatement of the 2015 roll would not have an opportunity file grievances. That inability must be seriously considered. It is my view that rather than reinstating a prior roll that also had its flaws and so could precipitate a host of additional issues, the Village as a whole would be better served by looking ahead and planning in a thoughtful way for the next Village-wide revaluation. If the Village were to adopt the phase-in approach just mentioned, those who felt the greatest burden of the 2016 revaluation and were in the least favorable position to bear that burden, would get some measure of relief (admittedly allocated to all other residents). In the case of the Towns of Greenburgh and Ossining, both of which adopted the phase-in approach, that approach was sufficiently bearable by all residents as to make it worthwhile. However, as has been stated previously, no decision has been made whether to implement a phase-in as described.
• With respect to the Assessor and the Assessor's Office, the Board is studying what should be done within applicable legal parameters about the staffing and functioning of that office.
Timing of SCARS Filings
The Staff has informed me that because the statutory filing deadline for the SCAR appeals of October 15, 2016 falls on a weekend, the filing deadline is extended to the next business day, which in this case, is Monday, October 17, 2016. This will allow homeowners the weekend and another business day to finalize their SCAR appeals.
Hyatt Field Parking Issues
The Parks and Recreation Department had been discussing with certain residents who live directly adjacent to Hyatt Field means for reducing the in-street traffic issues that are being exacerbated by the popularity of the new playground at Hyatt Field. The Village staff had been receiving complaints that residents could not get out of their driveways at times, due to the amount of additional traffic parked on their streets. In order to address that issue, Parks & Rec revived a plan that had been discussed in prior years to pave a driveway ingress at the border of the field and create a parking lot that would allow some number of park users to get off the local streets. When this plan became known to other residents, both in the neighborhood, and in other areas of Scarsdale, there was an outpouring of concern that open space was about to be paved over without due consideration of resident desire to preserve open space.
In light of the broader based concern expressed, a public meeting of the Parks and Recreation Council has been scheduled for October 19, 2016 at 7:30 pm in Rutherford Hall. At the meeting an overview of the proposal will be presented and resident comment will be solicited. In the meantime, no work on the part of the plan which would involve the paving of a driveway and a parking lot will be done. Note however, that as part of the re-paving of Potter Road, an additional three feet of width will be added to that street. This will allow cars parked along Potter Road to pull a bit further off the main part of the street and permit better traffic flow on that street.
Ad Hoc Committee on Communications
The Village Board perceives a need to improve its communications to residents. To that end and as the result of the efforts of Trustee Jane Veron, the agenda for tonight includes an item for the formation of an Ad Hoc Communications Committee. If the Board adopts the relevant resolution, the Committee will consist of 10 residents who responded to a general request for applications from residents interested in serving on such a Committee. Deputy Village Manager Rob Cole will also be a Committee member and the Committee will be chaired by Trustee Veron. Trustee Pekarek will also serve as a liaison to the Committee.
The Committee will serve for a period of one year. Its mandate will be to support the successful launch of the Village's new website, a communications platform intended to support 24/7 resident access and engagement. The Committee will also be asked to present written recommendations for strengthening Village communication strategies and cultivating engagement opportunities with the diversity of audiences served by the web site. We are excited by the creation of this Committee to provide focused resident feedback on this important and necessary function.