Predictably, Mr Feiner and his Board voted unanimously to adopt their ill-conceived zoning district change. This move, again predictably, promises to embroil the Unincorporated Greenburgh taxpayers in yet another discrimination lawsuit. The new zoning amendment creates what will be known as a M-SH62 district. Simply, this represents what will be know as Multifamily Senior Housing for 62 year old people and over. Commissioner Garrett Duquesne claims this will create much needed new senior housing.
The zoning change is being made for a specific intent, affecting specifically, the housing structures located at 48, 50, 54, 56 and 58 Manhattan Avenue. This housing is currently considered part of a low-income scatter-site housing complex that is next to the Theodore Young Community Center. Many people who spoke at the Town Board meeting endorsed scatter-site housing as well as low-income housing. Many also endorsed the rebuilding effort as neglect and a lack of maintenance, a hallmark of the Feiner Administration for over 24-years, have cited the need for improvement.
During the Town Board meeting, one younger woman who stated she lives in one of the apartments, begrudgingly got up to speak after she and her neighbors did not receive an accurate account as to what was happening with the project or exactly what was going to happen to their place of residence? Then she stressed while she had concern for her neighbors, she wants to know how she, specifically, would be affected. Again, different answers abounded with Town Attorney Tim Lewis seemingly having the final, although apparently not correct, word in the matter.
During the meeting, Mr Feiner requested Raju Abraham, Executive Director of the Greenburgh Housing Authority, to come to the podium and clarify a few points. Yes, 4 families will be moved out as they won't qualify to be a resident there under the new zoning code. He also acknowledged that the tenants will be moved to a newly renovated apartment with new appliances in a different Greenburgh Housing Authority facility in another part of Town. This sounds like they are being bribed to just shut up and go along with their eviction. He also stated they could move anywhere in the Country as they are Section 8 voucher recipients and they can use the voucher anywhere. Section 8 requires a tenant to spend 30% of their income towards rent. Simply, this is nothing more than subsidized housing.
Commissioner Duquesne has stated the plan is to demolish the currently occupied five buildings and ultimately relocate four of the five families as they are under 62 years of age. Clearly, this is another form of discrimination once this bill was voted through! So much so, in fact that several speakers (of the G10) reiterated the point several times during both comment periods and the hearing itself. Ignoring the advice of attorneys and other well-regarded residents, the Town Board went along with the flawed bill and adopted it anyway, virtually ensuring a lawsuit for $25 million.
What does this mean? Several things.
First, this new spot-zoning change is more of the same throughout the Town. We’ve been witnessing spot-zoning by Mr Feiner and his Board with wanton regularity. They've done it with Westhab in Fulton Park, Brightview in Glenview, Shelbourne in Edgemont and so many more locations. Virtually every neighborhood, except Mr Feiner’s gated community of Boulder Ridge, has felt the spot-zoning wrath of Mr Feiner and crew. So, with this new zoning code change specifying by law an age restriction, the Unincorporated Town should expect to be in court again.
Second, is the illegality of creating a law that restricts people of a certain age from being able to move into a neighborhood. In fact, replace “62-year olds” with any other group and see if you can more easily understand why this is wrong on so many levels. Had the Town left out the “age of 62 and older” from the bill now passed into law, and left the onus on the Greenburgh Housing Authority or the group the Town is contracting these apartments with to build, we would not have to worry about going to court for another discrimination lawsuit. In fact, zoning guru Ella Preiser suggested at numerous times that the bill could easily be changed and the liability eliminated. Instead, Councilman Jones took to the bully pulpit to berate and rudely shout down Ms Preiser. Shortly thereafter, Town Councilman Sheehan would jump on the bully pulpit and attack Ms Preiser as well when she got up to speak again.
Immediately before the rudeness by Mr Jones, Bob Bernstein explained in great detail why the change in this proposal could easily be corrected, but must be done before its adoption. He further explained why this will wind up in court and expose the Unincorporated Town taxpayers to a $26 million dollar discrimination lawsuit. An interesting aside witnessed here again was several audience members, new to the sham known as open government , were actually engaged in a back and forth discussion by the Board members. These same Board members usually refuse to discuss anything with their critics and detractors. And, as we witnessed this night, chose to be rude to regular attendees instead.
There’s already a lawsuit against the Town from S&R (Steven and Richard Troy) Development, who changed their original proposal from luxury houses (2 or 3 McMansions) to an affordable housing proposal on Dromore Road in Edgemont. In an effort to halt the Town from going deeper into the discrimination hole the Board was digging for themselves, Mr Bernstein suggested Mr Feiner and his Town Board hold off passing the “neg dec” for another project after Mr Bernstein warned them not to, as their motion to dismiss the discrimination lawsuit by Dromore Developer's S&R, would be going in front of Judge Cathy Seibel, who cited when reading her decision not to dismiss it, that the Town, Mr Feiner and Board had already been found guilty of discrimination, destroying evidence and lying under oath in the Fortress Bible law suit.
Since the motion to dismiss the S&R lawsuit against the Town was, ahem, dismissed, and the lawsuit moving forward, the Town should tread carefully when they make such decisions as to zoning with the intent to limit who can and cannot move into a specific area of the Town. While decisions like these are terrible for the Town financially, they're embarrassing to the taxpayers who support developing various types of housing throughout the Town. It's also completely understandable why Edgemont residents are actively pursuing incorporation. Who would want to be part of this circus at Hillside Avenue? The numbers are growing. At least the villages are insulated from a good part of this. It has to end. Only then will we get A Better Greenburgh.
This call to action was not published in a periodical, but rather distributed as a single-sheet broadside in and around Lowell, Massachusetts, during a strike in 1834. The factory workers were reacting to an unprecedented wage decrease of roughly 15 percent across the board. The goal was to have beleaguered workers sign a petition and essentially unionize on the spot and then to strike until the three resolutions on this page were met by the mill owners.
Labor Day is more than just an excuse to BBQ. It is a day to honor labor and to remember that our rights as workers were won by those who came before us.
Happy Labor Day 2017!