Purse Stolen During Middle-of-Night Wakefield Road Burglary. Firefighters Knock Down Bell Road House Fire
- Category: Today's News
- Published on 19 July 2016
- Written by Traci Dutton Ludwig
Wakefield Road Burglary: A Wakefield Road house was burglarized in the early morning hours of July 13. When the homeowner woke up, she noticed her front door open and the storm door held open by the doorstopper. Further investigation indicated that the woman's handbag was stolen from the dining room, two rooms away from the alleged burglar's point of entry. The handbag contained two wallets, credit cards, a Green Card, $700 cash, a driver's license and personal papers. Additional personal papers were scattered on the floor around a chair where the handbag had been. The homeowner was not positive if she had locked the door the previous night. The burglary was discovered at 6:30 a.m., July 13. However, it was not reported to police until 6:30 p.m. that day. While canvassing the neighborhood as part of the investigation, patrol noticed one bent window screen frame and one removed window screen at a Crossway house. The Crossway homeowner advised that the removed screen might have fallen off during recent power washing, and the bent screen frame was old and should not cause any concern. Police are following up with the Wakefield Road burglary.
Bell Road house fire
A fire at a Bell Road house summoned firefighters to the scene at 2:30 a.m., July 11. Upon arrival, all residents were outside the house. Firefighters arrived to find smoke coming from the eaves of the third floor in a wood frame house. They began an aggressive initial attack of he working fire, using a stretched handline. The fire was knocked down in approximately 15 minutes. Firefighters and volunteers overhauled the structure and checked for extension. Heavy smoke and water damage occurred on the third floor. Some water damage affected the first and second floors. No fire damage was observed in structural elements of the house. Greenville and Hartsdale engines responded to scene for assistance. Volunteers provided additional support. A cause and origin team traced the cause of the fire to a portable air conditioning unit.
On July 13, a Johnson Road woman reported fraudulent use of her First National Bank credit card. Fraudulent charges for a cellphone, cab service in New York City and a restaurant in the Bronx appeared on her statement in March. At that time, she contacted the credit card company, and the account number was changed. Although the charges were supposed to have been removed from the account, the woman did not think they were actually removed. A further check with the company indicated that the charges had not yet been removed because the employee working on the matter had left the company. The woman also learned that the address on her account had been changed in an unknown address in Youngstown, Ohio. A duplicate credit card was sent to that address. Her online account information was also changed. A review of the last statement showed at least $3,000 in fraudulent charges and $500 in current fraudulent charges. The woman cancelled the account and did not ask for a new card, pending resolution of the matter.
On July 13, an Eastwoods Lane man reported his Chase debit card had been fraudulently duplicated by an unknown person who walked into a Long Island bank with a fake driver's license July 1. As a result of the card, at least $7,000 was fraudulently withdrawn from his account, and approximately $4,000 in fraudulent transactions were made. The account was closed, and the credit reporting agencies were informed.
An Eastchester man called police after his brother and his brother's girlfriend engaged in a verbal dispute inside the man's house. He said his brother was out of control as the couple left his house, and the girlfriend was crying hysterically. Concerned for the well being of both parties, patrol called the girlfriend's cell phone, and the man's brother answered. He was uncooperative and he refused to place his girlfriend on Gabby the phone. A sergeant contacted the girlfriend and she provided police with the address of her whereabouts, in Dobbs Ferry. Patrol contacted Dobbs Ferry police for a welfare check. Dobbs Ferry police called back and advised that the couple was at the address. They were fine, and no police assistance was needed.
On July 16, a caller reported a disagreement with his wife. She allegedly threatened to take their kids and hit the caller with her car at "the high school parking lot." Multiple patrol units responded to Scarsdale High School and began canvassing. Dispatch cancelled the call after ascertaining that the incident occurred at Greenburgh High School. Greenburgh police were reportedly on scene.
On July 16, an Edgewood man reported a problem with an ex-employee. He showed police two rambling emails from the former employee. In one email, the ex-employee accused the man of stalking, forgery, harassment and cyber bullying due to the ex-employee's Ukranian background. In the second email, the ex-employee requested that the man never contact him again. Although there were no specific threats, the man believes the ex-employee is unstable and "does not know what he is capable of." Additional ride-bys of the house were requested.
On July 13, patrol stopped a motorcycle for expired tags, and a computer check revealed the operator to be a missing person from Martin County, Florida. The operator stated he has been in contact with family and is unsure of why he has been reported missing. The reporting jurisdiction was advised about police contact with the "missing party." Martin County's Sheriff's Office first refused to give any information about the missing persons case unless a teletype message was sent. Patrol then sent a teletype hit confirmation request and received a response with absolutely no information on it, other than the party was reported missing. After approximately 30 minutes of detaining the motorcycle operator and no cooperation from the Martin County Sheriff's, patrol authorized the person's release. He was deemed to be in good mental and physical condition.
A Dunham Road woman said a tall white man rang her bell, claimed he belonged to an engineering company and alleged she owed him $2,000 for curb work. The man refused to give the woman a business card or contact information. He left in a white or light blue van. Patrol canvassed the area but could not find him.
On July 15, an Old Orchard Road homeowner returned home to find his door lock cylinder on the floor. The homeowner advised he left his house at 3 p.m. and returned five hours later. The other knobs on the door remained locked and secure. The inside of the house was in good order. Patrol inspected the door and the cylinder. The cylinder appeared to be new, and no sign of force was noticed. Patrol noticed the cylinder does not seem to be appropriately sized for the door. Patrol advised the homeowner to contact a locksmith.
On July 11, patrol checked the welfare of a Crane Road woman. She was OK.
Patrol helped Metro North police obtain a passenger's pedigree information July 11. The passenger was complaining of chest pain and medical assistance was provided.
A Horseguard Lane woman reported two men standing outside her driveway smoking July 11. She felt uncomfortable and did not want to enter her house. Patrol conducted a field interview, and the men dispersed.
The remnants of spent fireworks were found on Corell Road at approximately 1 a.m., July 12. There was no evidence of fire, as had been reported by a caller.
On July 11, a caller reported a worker directing traffic was struck by at Freightway and Garth roads. The driver – a 47-year-old Scarsdale man – allegedly drove his 1997 Nissan around two cars stopped for a garbage truck and entered the oncoming lane. His driving was described in the accident report as "failing to use caution." The driver stuck the 27-year-old worker, and the worker was taken to White Plains Hospital Center. The following summonses were issued to the driver: driving left of pavement markings, reckless driving, causing physical injury by failure to use due care and failure to use the designated lane.
Cars and roadways
Patrol received a report of a person possibly passed out in a Smart car parked on Swarthmore Road July 11. Officers spoke to the car's driver, who was lucid and in good health. She said she had driven a long distance and pulled over to stop and rest.
A car with a flat tire was blocking a Palmer Avenue driveway July 11. While the driver was waiting for AAA, the car was moved to Marjory Lane, so the resident could exit her driveway.
Overlook Road was closed because a tree fell onto power lines July 11.
Verizon was notified about a low-hanging communication wire at Tompkins and Fenimore roads July 12.
A caller reported an expired inspection sticker on a black Jeep parked on Tisdale Road July 12. Patrol issued a summons.
A car stalled at Post and Mamaroneck roads July 13. The driver's father arrived and re-started the car while police stood by.
Police contacted an electrical repair service for a malfunctioning traffic light at Crane and Woodland roads July 13.
A resident reported a parked car near Red Maple Swamp on Gorham Road at 9:30 a.m., July 13. Patrol spoke with the driver, a cleaning woman who was waiting to go to her next job site in the village. There was no sign of any illegal or suspicious activity.
A tow truck company advised towing an illegally parked 2015 Audi from DeCicco's Marketplace parking lot at 5:30 p.m., July 15.
A Park Road tag sale was creating traffic congestion July 16. Patrol asked guests at the tag sale to move their cars to one side of the street so emergency vehicles could freely pass if necessary.
During a traffic stop July 16, police confiscated a car's license plates and gave the New Rochelle driver a summons for a suspended registration due to five unresolved parking tickets in 12 months.
An Acura ran out of gas on Colonial Road July 17. The driver was awaiting roadside assistance when police checked on her.
A sign fell down at the northbound entrance ramp of the Hutchinson River Parkway on Mamaroneck Road July 17. Police placed the sign in a safe location and made sure the entrance ramp was nevertheless clearly indicated. The highway department was notified for replacement.
Five car accidents were reported in the village this week.
Police picked up a small brown dog from Highland Way July 11. It appeared to be a pit bull and mastiff mix. It was taken to an animal hospital to determine if it had a microchip, which it did not. New Rochelle Humane Society picked up the dog.
On July 16, a Post Road woman reported two coyotes might be living under her deck. Patrol did not see any coyotes while on scene. Patrol advised the woman to contact a wildlife service company, as the police department is not equipped to catch and relocate wild animals.
Two loose dogs were travelling together at Heathcote Road and Palmer Avenue July 17. A nearby resident caught one of the dogs and provided police with the owner's phone number, as listed on the dog's collar. She was not able to catch the second dog. The owner picked up the dog and confirmed he had a second dog. He said he would look for the second dog on his own.
Patrol dispersed four kids from Hyatt Field after dark July 12.
Police issued landscapers summonses for illegal use of gas-powered leaf blowers on Lebanon and Secor roads July 14, Franklin Road July 15.
A caller reported illegal use of a leaf blower on Autenreith Road July 14; however, the "blower" was actually a spraying device used to apply insecticide. No village code violations were observed.
On July 14, patrol advised an event planner overseeing a 50th birthday party on Ogden Road that the music was too loud. The event planner instructed the DJ to lower the volume of the music. Approximately 90 minutes later, another noise complaint was reported. Patrol asked the homeowner to turn off the music, and the homeowner complied.
Patrol advised a food truck vendor that he needed a permit to sell food in the village July 15. The vendor said he started the process to obtain a permit, but the process was not yet finished.
After neighbors complained about noise, patrol advised a Wynmor Road resident to lower the volume of party music at 8 p.m., July 15. The resident complied.
Two people in a Honda Civic were "hanging out" at the end of Harvest Drive at 7:45 p.m., July 16. Patrol dispersed them from the area.
Loud music coming from a social gathering on Saxon Woods Road was lowered after patrol advised hosts of the neighbors' complaints at 10 p.m., July 16.
Kids were in a park on Drake Road after dark July 16. Patrol asked them to clean up litter in their immediate area and exit to park. The kids complied and left.
Brambach Road party hosts lowered the volume of music after patrol advised them of neighbors' complaints July 16.
Numerous people attending a softball game on Supply Field illegally parked their cars in the Scarsdale Medical Group lot on Heathcote Road, leaving no spots for doctors July 17. Patrol asked people to move their cars and to refrain from parking in the private lot in the future.
Lost and found
A Huntington Avenue man reported losing a license plate from his moped July 14.
Someone found a credit card and a $10 bill in the village July 17. Patrol tracked down the owner and called him. He responded to headquarters to pick up his property.
On July 11, slightly elevated carbon monoxide levels in a Gorham Road house were caused by prolonged stove use. Con Edison was called, and firefighters ventilated the house.
Firefighters helped a Crossway resident change a battery in a chirping smoke alarm July 11.
An outdoor odor of propane at the tennis court on Wayside Lane was traced to an open valve on a small mushroom-style propane heater July 11. Firefighters shut the valve, and the odor disappeared.
A tree limbs on Overlook Road wires was causing a potential hazard July 12. Firefighters shut the roadway, taped off the affected sidewalk and stood by for Con Edison. The highway department was also requested to cut the tree limbs once conditions were deemed safe.
A report of a brush fire in Corell Park was received July 12. Instead, firefighters found a discharged firework. They watered down the area and checked for extension.
Verizon was notified about a low-hanging wire on Fenimore Road July 12. A sawhorse was placed beneath the wire to prevent vehicles from striking it in the meantime.
Grease at the bottom of a Cushman Road house started smoking July 12. Firefighters shut off the oven and ventilated the house.
A passerby reported a gas leak at a construction site on Continental Road July 13. There, firefighters found workers using hand tools in a construction pit revealing an exposed gas line. There was no damage to the line. Con Edison released firefighters from the scene.
Con Edison was called about a potential gas leak on Garth Road July 14.
Firefighters stood by for Con Edison at the site of an arcing wire against a Church Lane tree July 14.
Firefighters stood by for Con Edison at the site of reported propane odor in a Mamaroneck Road house July 14. While there, firefighters determined the resident's hot water heater had been recalled by the manufacturer and was determined to be unsafe. The unit was red-tagged for follow-up by Con Edison.
Con Edison was called about fallen electrical wires on Post Road July 17. Firefighters established a safe area by closing the roadway lanes in the meantime.
This week, firefighters assisted at two car accidents in the village and on the Hutchinson River Parkway. They responded to four false carbon-monoxide alarms and nine false fire alarms caused by device malfunction, cooking smoke and construction dust.
This report covering police and fire department activity from July 11-17 has been compiled from official information.
Public Notice: Property owners are reminded of Village Code Chapter 205 restricting the use of gasoline powered leaf blowers from June 1 through September 30. Please refrain from using the blowers during this period and remind your gardeners as well.
This police report is sponsored by Scarsdale Security who does more than just security. Contact them about remote video for your home or business. Call 914-722-2200 or visit their website.
Building Delays at 2-4 Weaver: Plus Vacant Lots Mean Lost Revenue for Scarsdale
- Category: Real Estate
- Published on 20 July 2016
- Written by Joanne Wallenstein
It's not your imagination – work at the former Heathcote Tavern building at 2-4 Weaver Street has come to a halt and the large signs for Twin Oaks Construction have been taken down. According to Village Manager Steve Pappalardo, Twin Oaks is no longer the general contractor on the job and a new firm has been retained and will restart the work shortly.
This is just the most recent setback on a project with a long history. Even before Scarsdale10583 was founded in 2009, a group called the "Heathcote Coalition" fought development at the site for years, and urged trustees not to sell a small strip of land adjacent to the property to the developers in order to block their plans. Claiming environmental, aesthetic and traffic concerns, they stalled approval for the project but ultimately a term sheet was signed and construction began, albeit slowly.
Steve Oder, the developer of the property, says a "misunderstanding about procedures and operations" with Twin Oaks caused a delay of several months. They hope to be back on track with the new general contractor who is starting work next week. Plans call for the completion of a model in the late fall and for the entire project to be done before next summer. Stay tuned.
We also noticed a general slowdown in building, with many vacant home sites waiting for buyers. Speculative developers purchase lots, tear down the homes and are now sitting on their investments. As these lots do not include homes, their assessments have dropped steeply and the village is suffering a loss in revenue.
For example, at 31 Murray Hill Road, the home has been torn down and taxes on the vacant lot have been reduced from $63,012 in 2015 to $22,792 in 2014. 18 Heathcote Road, a 5.39 acre property is also vacant. The developer had plans approved to build an expansive new home and take down 33 trees. But while they wait for a buyer, taxes which were as high as $195,144 in 2014, have now been reduced to $44,096. At 14 Reimer Road, the owner received permission to tear down the home in December, 2015. The 1.32 acre lot is now vacant and taxes have been reduced from $60,776 to $21,980.
So in addition to the loss of historic homes, the Village of Scarsdale is suffering a loss in tax revenue from the demolition of homes by speculative builders.
16 South Church Lane
This classic brick Colonial built in 1932 was renovated from 2004-2014. This home sits on .69 acres in Fox Meadow and Crane Berkley. There is more than 5,200 square feet plus a 40 foot pool with an electronic cover, a pool house with heat and central air conditioning plus a full kitchen, bathroom, storage room, outdoor built-in BBQ, covered patio, and a pergola. In the house, there is a marble vestibule, an entry foyer, a living room with a gas fireplace, a formal dining room, a Clive Christian mahogany library with a gas fireplace, a Christopher Peacock kitchen, a breakfast room/family room with a gas fireplace, a conservatory, mudroom, laundry room, and a second powder room. On the second floor, there is a master bedroom with a bathroom, walk-in closet, and four additional bedrooms with three bathrooms. On the lower level, there is a gym/playroom. There are Marvin windows, new heating and air conditioning systems and an interior/exterior sound system.
Sale Price: $3,875,000
7 Stonehouse Road
This newly built nearly 6,000 square foot Colonial has an open kitchen/family room. There is also a library, laundry and mudroom off the two car garage on the first floor. On the second floor, there is a master bedroom suite with tray ceilings and two walk in closets. There are three additional bedrooms with three full baths and a back staircase.
Sale Price: $2,862,500
129 Carthage Road
This Heathcote Colonial with a new kitchen, renovated baths and wood floors throughout is situated on .62 acre with a circular driveway, a master bedroom on the main level with custom closets and a newly updated bath, two more bedrooms and bath on the main level, plus two second floor bedrooms with a hall bath and a family room, two laundry areas (one on first floor and one on second floor), a living room with fireplace and bay window, a formal dining room, a family room with a fireplace, vaulted ceiling with skylights and doors to the deck. There is a first floor office, a basement with a playroom/movie room and another full bath.
Sale Price: $2,005,000
77 Greenacres Avenue
This one level home is situated on .78 of an acre. It has four bedrooms, three bathrooms and two half baths, a master suite with a sitting room and a three-car garage. Next to the barrel-ceiling living room with fireplace, there is a loggia leading to a bluestone courtyard overlooking the garden. Features in this home include a steam shower/whirlpool soaking tub in the master bath, radiant heat bathrooms, two powder rooms, a cedar closet in the attic, new windows, hardwood floors with mahogany inlay, mudroom/laundry room/pantry/second refrigerator/freezer, built-in storage, and indoor/outdoor speakers.
Sale Price: $1,810,000
This Colonial is on .25 acres of landscaped property. Recent upgrades include a new kitchen featuring Leicht custom cabinetry, Miele and Thermador professional grade appliances, caesarstone counter tops, new Marvin Ultimate Clad windows and doors, whole house gas generator, new chimney flue, upgraded ADT security system with four cameras, insulated attic and garage ceiling, extended patio, terraced retaining walls, two new air conditioning condenser units, re-paved entrance walkway and steps, interior/exterior painting, and California closets.
Sale Price: $1,800,000
32 Aspen Road
This updated home in the heart of Quaker Ridge has a living room with a wood-burning fireplace and built-ins and a formal dining room with French doors that open to the sunroom. There is a renovated gourmet kitchen with premium appliances and an island with seating overlooking the patio. There is also a wood-beamed family room. The first floor master bedroom offers custom closets and an en suite bathroom with a glass enclosed shower and marble double vanity. Two additional bedrooms complete the first floor with an updated hallway full bath. Upstairs are two large bedrooms and a new full bath. The lower level includes a laundry room, storage and a walk out basement.
Sale Price: $1,670,000
12 Montrose Road
This 2,851 square feet Colonial home on .28 acre in Greenacres has four bedrooms, two and a half baths, a gourmet kitchen with top-of-the-line appliances, granite counters, a center island and a separate breakfast area. The master bedroom suite has a fireplace and bathroom with dual sinks, glass enclosed shower and a separate tub. There is a cobblestone patio surrounded by a stone wall.
Sale Price: $1,610,000
7 Carstensen Road
This Fox Meadow center hall Tudor features parquet floors, a den/family room off the kitchen, with a stone wall and a fireplace, and a custom master bedroom walk-in closet.
Sale Price: $1,315,000
106 Brambach Road
This updated Scarsdale colonial has an enclosed wrap around sun porch with millwork, a renovated gourmet kitchen with granite countertops, stainless steel appliances and breakfast bar, which opens into the family room. There are nine-foot ceilings throughout first floor with the living room with fireplace open to the dining room. The second floor has a master suite with an updated full bath, two additional bedrooms, plus a cherry wood office/ fourth bedroom and an updated hall bath. There is also a finished attic.
Sale Price: $1,198,000
57 Midvale Road
This Edgemont Colonial is on .62 acres with golf course views. This home has four full and one half bathroom. The kitchen has been updated with a Carrara center island, window seat, teak desk and hutch, two sinks, a wine refrigerator, and high end stainless steel appliances. The kitchen opens to a formal dining room with bay windows overlooking a Gunite in-ground pool. There is a family room with a gas fireplace, a formal living room with custom built-ins and a fireplace, a bluestone patio accessible through French doors from the family and living rooms. There is a double story entry with custom wainscotting. There is also a second master en-suite bedroom and a powder room. The second floor has a master bedroom with a tray ceiling, four custom walk-in-closets, a master bathroom with double sinks, a jetted tub, separate shower and toilet. There are two additional bedrooms, a den with custom built-ins and a bath with double sinks. There is a new sound system in the kitchen/dining room/lower level playroom/pool area. There are new bamboo floors in the playroom, custom cabinets in the mudroom, and a new washer, dryer and bathroom with radiant heat through the floor.
Sale Price: $2,092,500
12 Edgemont Circle
This four bedroom, three bath home is on .38 acre on a cul-de-sac in Edgemont. This home has a family room with sliding glass doors to the yard.
Sale Price: $1,200,000
105 Old Colony Road
This Edgemont home features an eat-in kitchen with premium appliances, which opens to a family room with sliders to the patio, a formal living room with a wood burning fireplace and a formal dining room. The second level boasts three bedrooms, one en-suite full bath and one hall full bath. The third level contains a master suite incorporating a bedroom with skylights, a master bath with soaking tub, large shower and double vanity, and a dressing room with a walk-in closet. The lower level includes a recreation room/guest room/office with a fourth full bath and a door to the patio/yard, laundry and a fully outfitted two car garage.
Sale Price: $950,000
11 Meadowview Drive
This three bedroom, two and a half bath split level home is on .30 acre in the Edgemont School District. This home has an updated eat-in-kitchen with granite countertops and stainless steel appliances and a door to the deck, a family/playroom with a fireplace and a powder room, a master bedroom with a bathroom, an additional den/office/fourth bedroom, hardwood floors throughout, vaulted ceiling, freshly painted, and a one-car attached garage.
Sale Price: $650,000
30 Morris Lane, Scarsdale
Majestically set in Scarsdale's prestigious Murray Hill, this stately six bedroom Georgian Modern Colonial sits on a private 1.82 acres that boasts a gorgeous pool, Deco Turf II tennis court and perfectly manicured landscaping. The gracious 23' high entry foyer with circular stairs leads to the elegant interior space. The unique design of high ceilings, an abundance of windows and doors allows for the house to be bathed daily in natural light. The master suite is a romantic vision in white. The lower level offers an additional 3100 square feet of beautiful, recreational space. House also available furnished with custom designed one of a kind Christian Liaigre and Holly Hunt furniture and Edward Fields rugs throughout. This is a true Scarsdale gem. Not to be missed! For more information, click here.
List Price: $8,600,000
8 Berkeley Lane, Scarsdale
Move right into this spacious three bedroom, two and a half bath Split Level set on .22 acres. Situated on a dead-end street, this well maintained home is a short distance to the school and only steps to the commuter bus to Scarsdale train station. The home offers an open floor plan, hardwood floors, and nicely sized rooms. Convenient access to the lower level and family room through the two-car garage is a plus. For more information, click here.
List Price: $899,000
Truck Hits Mamaroneck Road Bridge, Closing Hutch for Eight Hours
- Category: The Goods
- Published on 19 July 2016
- Written by Joanne Wallenstein
A tractor trailer heading south on the Hutchinson River Parkway on Monday afternoon July 18 hit the bridge at Mamaroneck Road and broke apart, snarling traffic for eight hours. Local resident Jonathan Lerner spotted the problem and shared these photos of the accident which scattered potatoes over the two lane road.
According to Lerner, accidents like this happen all too frequently. He said, "There is an ongoing problem with trucks being "sliced" open like can openers I have lived near exit 22 Mamaroneck Road for years and this occurs each month and has happened for the past 25 years. This one shut down the Hutch this afternoon at around 1 o'clock. There are two dangers. The first: cars behind the truck could be hit by debris. The larger danger is that if the truck is carrying fuel or chemicals and explodes, such as what happened on 287, it endangers nearby homes and residents."
He continued, "I have expressed my concerns over the years, and due to my actions they have raised fines and installed electronic devices, but we still see this happening. My suggestion is to attach a chain to pole at the height of the bridge before the bridge, so that a truck driver would be aware of the height of the bridge by hearing the chain scrape, well before hitting the bridge. This is low tech and inexpensive and would allow the driver to exit the parkway before hitting the bridge."
Photos by Jonather Lerner
The 2016 Reval: We're All in this Together
- Category: Shout it Out
- Published on 24 July 2016
- Written by Joanne Wallenstein
This an opinion piece from site owner Joanne Wallenstein:
There's not much to be said about the 2016 revaluation that hasn't been said already –not once, but over and over and over again. And not just said .... but even screamed.
So I'll take this opportunity to say what hasn't been said and what badly needs to be conveyed.
Those who are unhappy with their assessments, about 19% of homeowners, seem to be looking for someone to blame. They are pointing fingers at the Village Assessor, the Village Attorney and the man who conducted the second revaluation, John F. Ryan. They are singling out the trustees and deriding the Mayor, even insinuating that the individuals on the Board of Trustees stood to gain from their revised assessments.
As Mayor Mark noted, many leading this angry charge have rarely come to Village Hall and few participate in Scarsdale's democratic, non-partisan system. Yet, now, believing they have been unjustly treated, they are storming village meetings and writing copious complaints. They seek to humiliate both village staffers and their neighbors and peers who have volunteered to serve the community. They speak out of turn, yell out from their seats, fail to respect time limits and lack respect for some of Scarsdale's finest, most intelligent public servants.
From where I sit, I see that our Mayor, who has lived in Scarsdale for most of his life and loves this town with all his heart, is being belittled and demeaned. The entire Board of Trustees, who have listened patiently and thoughtfully to residents' complaints, often appear surprised and taken aback by the tone of their constituency.
It is difficult to sit in the audience and watch this ugly campaign. No matter how unhappy you might be about the valuation of your property this time around, the Mayor and the trustees are our neighbors, our friends, and people who volunteer because they love our community.
I can't help but think back to June 2014 when after the first revaluation, a different group came to Village Hall to object to their new assessments. They were angry as well – but often opened their comments by thanking the Board for serving before bringing forth their complaints in a respectful fashion. These folks were persistent as well, and ultimately, the Board voted to conduct a second revaluation to address these perceived inequities. It had been 45 years since a reval had been done; changing the values of all properties in the village was bound to be traumatizing for a number of people, and in retrospect it doesn't seem shocking that it might take more than one attempt to get the job done as fairly as possible.
Sometimes things go wrong. Sometimes there are unanticipated consequences of well-intentioned actions. This seems one of those times. Village Board members have expressed tremendous unhappiness with the outcome of the second reval. They are not failing to listen, or oblivious to the issues being raised (again and again) about the second reval. They have explored the available avenues for ameliorating residents' concerns. Short of another reval, authorized by the next board, or two boards from now, there is nothing that can be done on a village-wide level. This is as frustrating to the Mayor and trustees as it is to anyone who has been complaining.
So before you come to Village Hall and excoriate the leadership, or threaten a lawsuit because you want the people in charge to do something that they can't actually do, think about who you are attacking. Your so-called enemies are really no different from yourselves, concerned educated, passionate residents who love Scarsdale as much as you do ... and the Village would need to use your own tax dollars to defend the suit!
It's time to stop hating them and shaming them for working on the community's behalf. If you care about Village government, become a part of the solution, and become instrumental in working through the problems from the inside.
Economies Proposed to Reduce Cost of Library Renovation
- Category: Village Voices
- Published on 20 July 2016
- Written by Joanne Wallenstein
Proponents of a revamp of the Scarsdale Libray returned to Village Hall on Tuesday July 20 to present a more economical plan for the renovation and enhancement of the facility. In response to concerns about the price tag of the original proposal, the committee worked with their architects, engineers and village staff to identify economies that would not compromise the programmatic goals while reducing the amount of funding needed from the Village.
The plans involve renovations to all the existing interior spaces and expansions around the perimeter to allow the library to be integrated with its park-like setting. Wiring and equipment for state-of-the art technology will be installed to allow users to collaborate, do research and access new media. The entry will become a glass lobby and café where users can chat, relax and enjoy a snack or light meal. The new configuration will include several flexible meeting rooms and small group study rooms. The children's wing and children's program room will be updated and there will be a separate teen room as well. The main reading rooms will be encased in glass allowing users to look out onto library pond. The current reference room will be a quiet reading room with comfortable seating. Those who work from the library will have access to a technology suite with a printer, copier, laminator and other equipment to accommodate hands-on projects.
The original numbers called for the Village to contribute $12 million toward the $20.5 million renovation and expansion. Though the new plans were appealing, some residents feared the additional tax burden resulting from increased debt payments by the Village. At the time, Treasurer Mary Lou McClure said that borrowing $12 million would raise the Village's debt payments by $1 million a year or an average of $150 per household for 15 years.
After discussions with the trustees, the committee went back to work and identified $3 million in modifications to the project, to reduce the Village's share to $8.4 million. The Board hopes that some of these items can be funded at a later date, but believes that the changes will not "gut the project."
A complete list of the reductions and the rationale for each can be found on the Village website, but here is a summary:
One of the larger cost savings is the elimination of the basement under the new portions of the building Instead, the new portions of the building will be constructed on a slab. This will save $348,000. Another $348,000 in savings will be achieved by using less expensive flooring. Landscaping will be cutback, saving $155,000 and the outdoor reading deck will also be eliminated, for a savings of $53,000.
Original plans called for the Scott Room to be flexible space that could be partitioned to accommodate multiple groups or meetings. The reduced plan eliminates the partitions and the need for additional AV equipment, saving $227,000.
The new plan calls for less expensive furniture, shelving units and light fixtures, and also eliminates the furniture for the outdoor deck, saving $340,000.
What else? Reductions for AV equipment will save $299,735, modifications to the acoustic ceiling and architectural woodwork will result in $124,000 in savings and $150,000 will be saved by a redesign of the foundation.
Two environmental features will also be cut from the job including the solar panels on the roof, saving $459,000 and the green roof, for $53,000.
In total, savings add up to $3,009,513 including $391,000 in construction management and administration fees.
To compensate for the loss of space in the basement, 1,800 square feet of space has been added to the main level on the northwest side of the building. Architect Daniel Heuberger from Dattner Architects, called this addition, "more or less of swap of the space," and said decisions would be made down the road about its use. The new library would be 31,000 square feet, plus 1,800 square feet for the additional room.
Therefore, the estimate for the total project has been reduced from $20.5 million to $17.9 million, which includes $700,000 for the temporary library space at Supply Field.
The Library Board has pledged to raise $7.5 million in private funding, and says that many are waiting to make their donations until they know that the Village is on board. The Village will apply to receive $500,000 in grant funding for the temporary library from the NYS Dormitory Authority and also believe that they will save $1.5 million in operating costs while the library is being built.
There was discussion about the amount of funding the Village would need to bond. The Village Treasurer said that the $1.5 million in anticipated operating expense savings could not be considered "revenue." She estimated that if the Village borrowed $10 million for 15 years, total debt service would increase from about $2.8 million a year to $3.5 million a year. This would translate into taxes of $118 per year for 15 years for a household with an assessment of $1.5mm.
Temporary Library at Supply Field
Architect John D'Angelo presented plans to build a temporary library on the second floor of in the building at Supply Field. Village managers examined the use of the Supply Field building vs. the former Body Fit space on Scarsdale Avenue and determined that it made more sense to do modest renovations to the second floor of the Supply Field Building. This way, no rent would be paid, and the renovated space could be used by the Village for another purpose after the library reopens.
D'Angelo explained that the following work would be done:
- Install heating and air conditioning and insulate the walls
- Build a circulation desk and create offices for the library's administrative staff
- Add toilets
- Build a small children's area, reading area and space for copy machines and office equipment.
The overall cost to renovate the temporary library is estimated to be $700,000.
There are 40 parking spaces at Supply Field, and Library Director Elizabeth Bermel explained that the temporary library would work around field use schedules, and be open when the ball fields are not in use. Program could be held outside and in other village facilities, schools and houses of worship.
At the conclusion of the presentation, Trustee Marc Samwick asked questions about the accuracy of the financial estimates. He said, "What if we get to the end of design development and can't build what we planned; what will we do next?
Heuberger said we "never can tell that we are going to hit it on the money. But between contingencies and deduct alternatives we feel we have enough control over the project." He explained, that if needed, "we could take away the bells and whistles," and "defer items that can't be purchased to a later date." However, he assured Samwick, "you would still have a functioning library."
M.L. Perlman, who serves on the Scarsdale Forum, asked the Board and architects to consider LEED certification and requested that the solar roof be put back into the project. Simon replied, saying that there are environmentally responsible elements of the design, but it will not be LEED certified. She cited better energy conservation, rain gardens, new systems, and energy conserving windows." Heuberger added, "You don't need LEED certification to be a sustainable design. We will meet state energy code and deliver a healthy building that is economical to operate. LEED is not the only path to sustainability."
Concluding a two and a half hour meeting, the trustees thanked the board and Village managers and agreed to continue the discussion. See the proposal here.