New Restaurants Opening and Infrastructure Improvements in Process: News from the Village Board

ViaFornoDespite the dog days of summer, Scarsdale continues to move ahead, as reported at this week’s board of trustees meeting.

In his remarks, Scarsdale Village Manager Steve Pappalardo reminded residents about paving work on Post Road and the replacement of a gas main on Scarsdale Avenue.

The New York State Department of Transportation has begun prep work for resurfacing the roadway; moving north from Eastchester, contractors are replacing/installing handicap access ramps, adjusting manholes and removing asphalt prior to pouring new asphalt. To minimize negative effects for motorists and residents, is being done between 7:00 pm and 6:00 am, Sunday through Thursday, with the most disruptive activities planned for early in the evening each day to reduce nighttime noise. The project should be completed in early September.

In downtown Scarsdale, Con Ed has started replacing and upgrading an old underground gas main on Scarsdale Avenue, between Popham Road and Wright Place. The three- to four-week project will be completed in two phases – daytime work is scheduled between August 15 and 18, and nighttime work is planned from August 30 through September 14. While minimal disruption is expected during the first phase of work, residents are advised to expect more significant traffic and parking restrictions, as well as excavation noise during the second phase of the project.

In both cases, some short-term pain certainly will lead to long-term gain.Scarsdale AvenueA gas main on Scarsdale Avenue is being replaced by Con Edison.

Perhaps more exciting news came from Trustee Jane Veron, who discussed two new restaurants that will be coming to Scarsdale.

Via Forno Wood Fired Pizza & Vinoteca will open in the former 7-Eleven space on Garth Road this coming fall. The restaurant, described as “a modern interpretation of traditional wood-fired pizza restaurant and wine bar concept,” will feature an outdoor dining area at the corner of Garth and Popham Roads.

Veron also announced that the White Plains eatery Sapori is expanding to a second location in Scarsdale. The highly regarded Italian restaurant will move into the space that most recently was occupied by Wuji, on Chase Road.

In addition, she discussed her work with the new Scarsdale Business Alliance, which recently hosted the village’s annual sidewalk sale and has begun planning for the next “Light the ‘Dale” event, among other activities. And, in related news, the Scarsdale Farmers’ Market will close at the end of August, and review resident feedback and comments in preparing to re-launch in the fall.

Veron concluded her comments with an update on the work of the Scarsdale Ad Hoc Communications Committee, which has been developing a volunteer portal for and creating new resident information materials throughout the summer.

Mayor’s Comments
Mayor Dan Hochvert provided a recap of his activities during the past weeks, which included making progress on a number of initiatives of interest to residents.

First, in an effort to learn more about distributed antenna systems (DAS) that are being proposed for Scarsdale, Hochvert and Trustee Justin Arest spoke with Rye City Mayor Joshua Cohn about Crown Castle’s second lawsuit against Rye over a stalled proposal to place DAS in the municipality. Late last year, a federal judge dismissed a lawsuit filed by the company against Rye, which accused the city of violating federal law when it required Crown Castle to conduct additional reviews of its proposal. Cohn will continue to provide Scarsdale officials with updates as the situation develops.

Also, Hochvert and other municipal officials met with Westchester County Executive George Latimer to talk about “bridge strikes,” or trucks hitting bridges on local roadways, which inevitably lead to traffic nightmares. An increasing number of truck drivers, following their GPS systems, enter local parkways, such as the Hutchinson River Parkway, and crash into low bridges that they cannot clear. In the first half of 2018, there were dozens of bridge strikes in Westchester. Latimer is interested in working with Scarsdale, Rye Brook and Rye to roll out new methods to alert drivers.

More recently, in advancing Scarsdale’s sustainability efforts, Hochvert met with county officials to review ideas on reducing the number of plastic bags used throughout Westchester. While New York legislators didn’t act on proposals to impose a fee on plastic bags during their last session, a growing number of communities throughout the state are banning the use of single-use plastic bags by retailers and are promoting the use of reusable bags to reduce environmental waste.

In addition, Hochvert continues to encourage better communications with Con Ed and improve communications with the utility during emergencies and power outages. He and other Scarsdale officials met with local Con Ed representatives to outline ways to more effectively coordinate activities among Scarsdale Public Works Department, Scarsdale Police and Con Ed officials, and reported that the work will continue.

Public Comment

Zoe Berg (Tisdale Road) expressed her concerns about what she sees as a lack of “organized efforts to solicit input about what matters most to us here in Scarsdale.” She said, “Village board meetings… do not create an inclusive atmosphere that encourages dialogue… time limits, not responding to questions until the end of the speaking period, and refusing to engage in back and forth fosters apathy among our community… Why have no surveys been distributed to gain a better sense of residents’ needs? Why have no focus groups been created? What about a town hall? You are here for us, so please make an effort to engage with us and find out what we need to prioritize as village.”

Bob Berg (Tisdale Road) discussed Scarsdale’s property assessment processes and recommended a recent report prepared by the Scarsdale Forum Assessment Revaluation Committee. “…the forum’s (committee) published what I consider a brilliant, objective and highly informative study on how to do a proper town-wide property assessment… which is absolutely essential reading... The report uses examples of both the Tyler and Ryan revaluations to point out flaws and shortcomings that must be avoided in any future revals in Scarsdale, and it points out positive aspect, largely from the Tyler reval, that should be repeated.” He continued, “The real estate market in Scarsdale is rapidly changing… I expect prices to decline next year as buyers run the numbers and figure out the true after-tax cost of owning in Scarsdale, now that the federal income tax subsidy has been mostly removed. We’re going to need to do another reval within the next two to three years… given that reality… we’ve got to start the process soon.”

Bob Harrison (Fox Meadow Road) began his comments by announcing that the Scarsdale Youth Tennis League just completed its 34th season. This year, 45 children participated in over 335 matches. He then changed gears and asked the trustees about how many property tax grievances were filed this past June (approximately 550, a decrease from about 750 filed last year).

Matthew Miller (Roosevelt Place) concluded the public comment portion by mentioning his concerns about general discourse during board meetings. “When I hear… the mayor cutting me off when I (am) speaking… I (don’t) really care about that… On May 22, you told Bob Harrison, before he even spoke, to keep it to five minutes and, while he was speaking, you kept interrupting him… On June 26… he said it’s a little cold in here… and you guys said you have to keep the air conditioning going because we’re blowing hot air at you… That’s not right. I think it was terribly rude… I believe this community is a great community. I will keep coming here… trying to make this town great; I also think all you guys are wonderful people… we(just) can’t do those type of things.”