Tuesday, Jan 28th

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whitestoneRandy WhitestoneOn January 23, 2020 the Citizens Nominating Committee (CNC) announced the candidates it selected for the Scarsdale Citizens’ Non-Partisan Party slate for the following Village offices:

Justin Arest of Heathcote, a Village Resident for 7 years, Trustee

Lena Crandall of Fox Meadow, a Village Resident for 28 years, Trustee

Randy Whitestone of Edgewood, a Village Resident for 25 years, Trustee

Jack Alemany of Fox Meadow, a Village Resident for 30 years, Village Justice

Justin Arest is currently serving his first two-year term as Village Trustee. He grew up in New Rochelle and since moving to Scarsdale served on the Zoning Board of Appeals, the Library Project’s Capital Campaign Committee and the Scarsdale Forum. With Trustee Jane Veron he formed the Village’s Ad Hoc Communications Committee to improve communication between the Village and residents.  

Upon learning the news, Arest said, "I am extremely humbled that the CNC has nominated me for a second term as Trustee and thank its members for their service and commitment to Scarsdale.  I take the role of Trustee very seriously and hope that my hard work and willingness to challenge assumptions and ask tough questions has made a positive difference. I believe there is a lot to be done and will appreciate an opportunity to continue working with my colleagues and our wonderful community to do what is right and what is best for all of us."

LenaCrandallCNCLena Crandall-Photo by Lisa VanGundyLena Crandall is also currently her first term as Village Trustee. In her 28 years in Scarsdale, Lena has been a champion for conservation, beautification and preservation of the Village tree canopy. She served on the Conservation Advisory Council and the Friends of Scarsdale Parks where she improved stormwater management and improved DeLima Park. Crandall said, "I'm thrilled that the Citizen's Nominating Committee has selected me as one of the candidates for Village Trustee.  I have worked hard as a first term Trustee to learn various municipal procedures; but frankly and more importantly, I have transitioned from an advocate with one point of view to a public servant with a broader appreciation for the complexities of most issues.  As the daughter of immigrants, I know how hard it can be to speak up.  My hope is that all residents of Scarsdale, no matter where they're from, will feel comfortable reaching out and talking to me about whatever hot topic comes our way.  I don't have any particular agenda, but I certainly want to do my best to serve our community."

Randy Whitestone is a longtime resident who has served in many volunteer roles throughout the Village.   Randy served as an Executive Committee member of the Scarsdale Forum and has been a past member of the Procedure Committee, the Citizens Nominating Committee and the Scarsdale Bowl Committee.  Professionally, Randy has worked as a financial journalist and a senior communications executive in the financial services industry; he currently works as Head of Communications and Public Affairs at D.E. Shaw Group.

Commenting on his nomination Whitestone said, "I have always felt civic involvement is important, and critical to the vibrant life of our village. During my 25 years in Scarsdale, I have learned from mentors including the late Beverly Sved and Boine Johnson, and from super-volunteers like Jackie Irwin and Jill Spieler. They and many others have impressed me with their dedication and judgment, tirelessly bringing to bear their considerable gifts and talents. So I take seriously the stewardship of this great community. I want to continue to give back and now I offer myself as someone who I'd like to think can help make a difference. I look forward -- by listening, asking the right questions, and providing a voice for the community  -- to helping tackle the tough issues and concerns facing the village."

Jack Alemany was originally named Acting Village Justice in 2015. He began his career as a Prosecutor with the Bronx District Attorney’s office and worked at the Securities and Exchange Commission in the Division of Enforcement. He later formed his own law firm and during that time was appointed to be the Acting Village Justice of Sleepy Hollow (1997-1999), and as an Administrative Law Judge with the Westchester County Taxi and Limousine Commission.

arestJustin Arest
Justin ArestMarc Greenwald served as Chair and Ryan Spicer served as Vice Chair of the CNC.  In addition to the candidates for Village office, the CNC selected Eric Lichtenstein as Chair and Steve Pass as Vice Chair for next year’s CNC.   The CNC also elected Becky Bach to serve as Vice Chair of the Procedure Committee.

Greenwald said, “Starting in late November, the CNC searched for potential candidates and then conducted extensive diligence.  The CNC also received a report from the Judicial Qualification Advisory Committee for the position of Village Justice. While deliberations and reference conversations are not shared publicly, the CNC considered and researched carefully the background, experience, and qualifications of each trustee candidate and engaged in significant deliberation,” stated Marc Greenwald, Chair of the CNC. 

A formal press release containing biographical information and photographs of each candidate will be forthcoming.

The General Village Election will take place Wednesday March 18, 2020.JackAllemanyJack Allemany  

PozinDan PozinThis Tuesday’s village board meeting was a far cry from December’s Freightway session, during which most residents rattled their pitchforks. In fact, the tone of the evening was harmonious, in light of last week’s announcement that the Freightway redevelopment has been halted. 

In his opening comments, Mayor Marc Samwick referenced the issue and stated, “The village board put a hold on the Freightway process for a number of reasons but, primarily, because we realized that many residents were uneasy with the idea of selecting a preferred developer when the initial proposals were considered out-of-touch with what is best for our community.” He continued, “The village board has shared many of the same concerns and neither proposal, as presented, was ever an option.  But (given the) concern (of) our neighbors, made worse with the spread of incomplete and, at times, inaccurate information, we decided the responsible action was to pause.”

He then stated that repairing and eventually replacing the garage is a viable option, along with a “recalibrated” design, but any additional proposals that may shown to the public will include data on financial and school impacts. While he assured the public that no next steps are planned at this time, Mayor Samwick reiterated the board’s commitment to the public comment period and encouraged residents to continue providing feedback on potential plans for the site.

Problem Solved
The pleasantries continued, as Samwick introduced the new village attorney, Dan Pozin, who joins Scarsdale from McCarthy Fingar LLP, where he serves as a partner in the municipal law and land use group. Scarsdale retained McCarthy Fingar at the beginning of this month and Pozin has been working with village staff for two weeks. He is Scarsdale’s primary contact at the firm, supported by several attorneys with deep experience in municipal law.  

In discussing the relationship, Trustee Seth Ross said, “The appointment of an outside firm as general counsel to the village represents a significant change from our past practice in Scarsdale. The decision to adopt this new model… was made after extensive deliberation by this board, and the firm of McCarthy Fingar was chosen after careful vetting and consideration of other interested firms.” 

Next, Ken Schneider, representing Scarsdale Concours, provided a feel-good moment as he presented checks to the Scarsdale Police Benevolent Association, Scarsdale Volunteer Ambulance Corps (SVAC), and Scarsdale Edgewood Family Counseling Service. Since 2003, Scarsdale Concours has raised over $400K for local beneficiaries thorough its auto show featuring antique, classic, and exotic cars. The next event is planned for October 2020. 

At the Podium

After accepting Scarsdale Concours’ donation, David Raizen (Aspen Road) representing SVAC, began the public comment session and seized the opportunity to talk about the importance of community support. “(SVAC’s) fund drive closed out at the end of the year. Our goal was between $250,000 and $300,000. I’ll use the $300,000 number; we did just about half – substantially less than any year that I can remember… There were some very generous residents (but) it was disappointing… We continue with the (misconception) that the corps is supported by tax dollars; it is not and we need your help in delivering the message.”

Robert Berg (Tisdale Road) followed and began by urging fellow residents to support SVAC, “They do fantastic work. They are the best organization in the village and I encourage everyone to give.” He then brought up Freightway: “I want thank the board for halting the process. As you saw at the December 11 meeting, members of the community had some serious concerns… People wanted you to just step back, let the community’s comments get to you, and to reconsider how the process has been handled and will be handled going forward.” Berg went on, “I certainly want Freightway to be considered a redevelopment site… Once you get hold of the comments and evaluate them, the next step should be a community forum so you can hear… what people in the community want to do... Thanks very much. I appreciate the time and the effort that was spent on this process to date. I think we’ve all learned a lot; it’s helpful to go through sort of a traumatic event like this, hopefully we’ll get a good result.” 

Sean Cohen (Chesterfield Road) stated, “I’d like to thank the (Freightway Redevelopment) committee for presenting (the proposals) to all of us and reconsidering… I do think the process raises a larger question, which is: what do you want the village to look like 10 years from now or 30 years from now?” He continued, “We see a lot of restaurants and things happening on Garth Road and very little happening in the central village itself… Maybe we need to look at an overall plan for the village. A number of people (stated) that the center is dying; Garth Road is growing, maybe because of what the main landlord in the central village is doing. There have been some successful developments, maybe we can (replicate them).”

Bob Harrison (Fox Meadow Road) followed and said, “(With regard to) Scarsdale Volunteer Ambulance Corps… I strongly encourage our residents to make a gift… for their efforts… let’s get out an write some checks.” He then moved on to Freightway: “It looks like the board’s made a wise decision in putting things on pause… I think the proposals we’ve seen from your two finalists are too large.” After referencing a simpler development plan proposed by a Scarsdale architect in the 1990s, Harrison continued, “I’m glad you’re pausing; I hope it’s more than just a pause and that you’re thinking about what’s best for the community. We don’t have to build an extravagant set of apartments.” He concluded by thanking the mayor and board for their efforts. 

After Michael Levine (Walworth Avenue) extended his thanks to the village for suspending  the Freightway process, Carl Finger (Butler Road) stated, “I understand the concerns of my friends and neighbors (that were) expressed during the (Freightway) meeting, namely burdening the school with too many additional students, however many that would be. What I cannot understand are the claims that I continue to hear… that the community has been kept in the dark, (and) that the plans and proposals have been foisted suddenly upon the community, when I do not believe that to be the case. I want to review what the board has done to keep the community involved from the beginning to end.” 

He then outlined the various public meetings and opportunities for Scarsdale residents to contribute to the Freightway redevelopment plan dating back to March 2017, such as land use committee meetings, online and in-person surveys, and public workshops and walking tours. Finger also noted that workshop recordings and summaries, and other information have been available via scarsdale.com, and that village invited residents to sign up for alerts about Freightway meetings and developments over two years ago. Mayor Samwick interjected when he exceeded the allotted speaking time, so Finger summarized his thoughts by saying, “That’s not all of it and, when I hear people suggest that the board that has not been soliciting community input and that we need community input, it makes my blood boil. I appreciate all the time and effort that’s been spent; I’m not suggesting anything in terms of results… I feel we have to have the record straight.”

Claudine Gecel (Kent Road) then said, “Probably, 98 percent of people in the village think we need more parking… It also seems that people are not in agreement on whether we need more apartments in the village… However, there are things that could go in that location that would not be apartments, such as… (a) mini medical center… there’s parking, there are doctors’ offices, there’s radiology, and there’s stores… There are other commercial enterprises that can go in that spot and there are REITs that specialize in that. It’s possible to explore something that would include more parking, offices, specific shopping… and it wouldn’t involve lots of apartments.” 

Trustee Justin Arest replied, “I think we have to cognizant of, when talking about medical offices, the parking implications and the traffic implications… We need to enhance our parking and find better ways to park for shopping and other things, but I’m not sure we need an extra number of striped spaces… I think medical offices are not really a practical option for that location.”  

Mark Your Calendar

Mayor Samwick and Trustee Ross will meet with residents on Wednesday, January 22 at Balducci’s (Palmer Road) from 6:30 to 8:30 pm. All members of the public are invited to this latest “Coffee with the Mayor.”  

The village begins its annual budget process today during a meeting at Scarsdale Village Hall. All budget sessions are open to the public; check scarsdale.com for dates and times. 

WalworthFireA Greenacres family is out of their home for the holidays after a fire on Saturday night December 21. According to Scarsdale Fire Chief James Seymour, the fire department received a report of smoke inside 41 Walworth Avenue home at 10:20 pm. Upon arrival firefighters saw smoke visible from the exterior and an active fire in the basement of the home.

Firefighters stretched the initial attack hose line through a door in the rear of the house in order to suppress the fire. They encountered heavy smoke and heavy fire in the basement with smoke and fire extending to the first floor. Scarsdale career firefighters were assisted at the scene by Scarsdale volunteer firefighters and mutual aid units from the Fairview, Greenville and Hartsdale fire departments. The White Plains and Eastchester fire departments responded to cover the remainder of the village while the fire was ongoing.

The main body of fire was knocked down within 20 minutes of arrival and FD units remained on scene for several hours checking for extension, while the Scarsdale and Westchester County fire investigation units attempted to determine the cause. Fire Department units were also assisted on the scene by Scarsdale Police, Scarsdale Ambulance and Scarsdale DPW units.

Above is a picture of the basement door where FD units located the fire inside.

The family was relocated to a home next to Hitchcock Church. The church asked congregants for furniture donations and helped the family to get resettled.

trafficlightAt 5:30 pm on December 23, the driver of a van travelling eastbound over the Popham Road Bridge in Scarsdale, lost control of the van and struck a light pole. The pole at the southeast corner of Popham Road and Scarsdale Avenue toppled and took down the signals and traffic lights at a busy time of the evening when commuters were returning home.

The driver of the van, a non Scarsdale resident, was arrested for DWI and taken to Westchester Medical Center, along with a passenger in the car.

Though no one was seriously injured, the hit caused the closure of East Parkway in front of the station as well as detours around the busy intersection of Popham Road and Scarsdale Avenue.

Here is a firsthand report from eyewitness Madelaine Eppenstein: "I witnessed firsthand the Popham Road incident last night as my husband and I as well as other onlookers stood on the sidewalk outside Chase Bank. The pole did not topple as reported in your item. The impact was so great that the traffic signal assembly (traffic light) detached from the end of the mast arm and dropped straight onto the middle of the road, still attached to its cables. Eerily, the signal lights were still blinking. The van slammed directly into the pole crumpling the front end and smashing the pole’s metal base, part of which was dragged a short distance when it was run over by another vehicle. I called SPD on my cell phone. First responders arrived within a few short minutes of the impact, followed by SVAC which transported the driver and passenger for treatment. I walked over early this morning to find that all evidence of the accident, the van, pole, signal and debris, had been removed."

As of Tuesday morning December 24, repairs are still being made at the intersection of Popham and Garth Roads.

Here is a statement from Village Manager Steve Pappalardo sent out on Tuesday night.

“Earlier this evening a motorist drove off the road at the Popham Road Scarsdale Avenue intersection, striking the traffic signal pole rendering the signal inoperable. In addition, the accident knocked out power to the traffic signals at Popham Road and East Parkway and Popham Road at Chase Road.

….Con Edison and the Village’s traffic signal contractor are on scene working to restore power to the signals. Early reports are that the signals at Popham/East Parkway and Popham/Chase may be restored by tomorrow, however the damage to the Popham/Scarsdale Avenue signal is severe and it will likely take several days before a new replacement signal is installed."

He asked residents to avoid the intersection if possible.

freeholidayparkingThe Village of Scarsdale is pleased to provide two (2) hours of free parking in the Village Center from Wednesday, December 18, 2019, through Tuesday, December 24, 2019, at specifically marked metered locations.

This Village program is intended to attract residents and visitors to the Village Center to shop local this holiday season. In order to ensure vehicular turnover and maximum access to the parking spaces, the Scarsdale Police Department will enforce the two (2) hour parking limit. In addition, merchants and their employees will be permitted to park free of charge in the Freightway Garage Levels 5A and 5B during the aforementioned time period.

The Village’s decision to offer free holiday parking in the Village Center was jointly arrived through discussions with the Scarsdale Business Alliance.

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