Thursday, January 28, 2016

Sports Bubble Bursts

We previously wrote on February 17, 2014 about the apparent safety issues with sports bubbles being more common than we were led to believe by the Town Administration and other proponents of sports bubbles. However, the bubbles they all referenced were smaller than the proposed bubble originally slated to be inflated at 715 Dobbs Ferry Road, the former Frank's Nursery property. Other safety concerns were quickly dismissed by Mr Feiner. Contamination cleanup of the property was also quickly placated by Town Attorney Tim Lewis, an unacknowledged and unknown hazardous materials remediation specialist.

Worthington Woodlands Civic Association members were not against development of that property. Yet their one constant was that no commercial entity be allowed to use the space and that it be utilized as zoned, for residential housing. Mr Feiner continued to assault the neighborhood with plans of an eight-story, 84-foot tall sports bubble as well as other commercial endeavors. WWCA balked and maintained their ground. 

Safety issues continued to be the topic du jour when discussing the use of the property. It seems there is an active proposal to develop the property as an assisted living facility. The WWCA has endorsed this project as it conforms to the zoned usage and will be used as intended, for residential housing. 

The sports bubble that had been proposed by GameOn 365 for that location then decided they would locate it next door to the Visioli's Golf Driving Range. The safety issues still remain regardless of the location. As was just witnessed this past weekend, a severe snowstorm hammered our area. With about two feet of snow, many roofs collapsed in traditionally built structures. In fact, crews for many businesses could be seen clearing their flat roofs of snow to lighten the stress the snow was placing on the structures. 

In Mt Vernon the Sports Underdome, often referenced by Mr Feiner and others who supported (pun intended) using a dome at the former Frank's Nursery property, had a collapse due to the crushing weight of the snow. Fortunately, no one was hurt. This same dome had had previous collapses in February of 2003 and December 2010. Third times a charm? In an ad hoc interview, the newly elected Mayor of Mt Vernon stated the owners should have cleaned the dome off during the storm. Classic politician response.

No doubt sports bubbles can provide a respite from inclement weather if used judiciously. Utilizing a sports bubble for 15 years, as has been proposed in our Town, is an aberration of the intent these flexible devices allow. We should remain adamant that resident and guest safety is too important to allow people to be put at risk through the use of sports bubbles. We would support a change in our code disallowing them and keeping people safe. Only then will we see A Better Greenburgh.

Wednesday, January 27, 2016

Update To Preventing Public Access to Conference Rooms

ABG posted an article on January 23rd, about the Town enacting a new policy when the public was not present, severely restricting the use of Town Hall’s assorted conference rooms for neighborhood meetings. We believe this is nothing more than another ploy by the Town politicos to hinder public interaction with Town Hall. Seemingly operating covertly and under the cover of darkness, this move is exacerbated by an already untrustworthy administration.

We posted: 
In an unexplained move that we’re told originated from the Town Clerk’s office, the public is no longer allowed to utilize Town Hall conference rooms for meetings!”  We were told that this originated where we said. However, in the comments section of that previous article, Town Clerk Judith Beville posted this statement:

“Dear All;
Please be informed that changes in the use of meeting rooms at Greenburgh Town Hall absolutely and unequivocably did not originate with the Office of the Town Clerk. The official resolution on this matter was approved on December 22, 2015 and is posted on the Town's website. Once again, these changes did not "originate" from the Town Clerk's office nor is the Town Clerk authorized to make such changes. Thank you for this opportunity to share a comment and thank you, too, for your attention to my note of clarification regarding this misconception.
Best regards to all,
Judith A. Beville
Greenburgh Town Clerk”

We will not refute the statement and in the interest of fairness, accept Ms Beville’s comments as correct.

Another comment we made in that same article was regarding a question we had posed to the Police Chief, Chris McNerney. We had said:
“The Board has supplied a nicely written list of “Whereas’s” to cover themselves, it “states” and uses the Police Chief as a scapegoat, saying this is being done upon his recommendations. We reached out to the Police Chief for information but did not receive a response.”

We have finally received a response from the Police Chief and share it below:

“ I hope all is well with you. Sorry for the delay in getting back to you. 
The lack of security and porousness of Town Hall have been concerns of mine for a long time. Town Hall is considered critical infrastructure and must be protected as such. This includes limiting after hour use by non-essential individuals. In doing research on public use of municipal City, Town and Village Halls, I only found public use of a “Meeting Room" when the specific room was designated as a "Community Room". We have a Community Center. I was unable to find a City, Town or Village Hall in Westchester that permitted open public use of their government headquarters during non-business hours. If you know of one please let me know. Common sense dictates, it’s a bad practice.
All Town Boards, Commissions, Committees and Councils will still be using Town Hall. 
Other municipal buildings in the Town are staffed during non-business hours and have designated public meeting rooms. The Library is converting some space to add an additional public meeting room. 
If you have any questions, don’t hesitate to contact me.

Chief McNerney”
While we can appreciate the Chief’s concern, we also realize that there needs to be some give and take from Town Hall. Once Mr Feiner invited the Hamas members to use Town Hall for an anti-Israeli meeting, he opened the door for numerous problems ethically, financially and security-wise. Yet, the most upsetting part of this is the disruption it causes to the numerous legitimate organizations that utilize Town Hall for their meetings, such as support groups, civic associations, etc.

Town Hall belongs to the taxpayers - period. Access to meeting rooms, and reasonable restrictions to certain areas is what is needed here, not an entire cordoning off to all residents. Surely there can be a happy medium. Mr Feiner and his Town Board suggest that residents and taxpayer groups use meetings rooms at the Theodore Young Community Center, Veteran Park and the Greenburgh Library instead of Town Hall. 

ABG went to the Greenburgh Library, identified why we were asking about availability for meeting rooms. We were told that all of the Library’s meeting rooms were booked through April, with one exception being the large community room for March 17th. ABG was asked if we'd like to look into future months but was assured the result would be similar. The representative we spoke with mentioned it was a bit unfair to residents to take away the use of Town Hall and then dump these people onto the Library who would be forced to refuse their requests. No fee schedule was available at the time, however, there is a charge for the use of rooms if and when they are available.

We then went to the Theodore Young Community Center (TYCC) and asked about availability there, both daytime and night. We were basically told the same thing. The representative we spoke with also agreed that Town Hall belongs to the taxpayers and people should be allowed to access its meeting rooms if they are available. This representative stated that the facility has some rooms open during the day, But is usually booked up way in advance, so if you have a specific date and time you need a room, get your request in right away. Then it was explained how the XPosure program also impacts the center's availability. Both locations stated they will not pre-book regular events such as monthly meetings.

Rental fee schedule for the Theodore Young Community Center

We havent contacted Veteran Park representatives but are pretty sure well run into the same issue. Apparently, Mr Feiner's decision to surreptitiously shut the public out of Town Hall and shun them to unavailable venues is another example of circling the wagons against growing criticism and failures. Instead of closing off all of Town Hall to the people who pay the bills and pay the judgements for his illegal behavior, they can simple close and lock doors to offices, cordon off areas they dont want the public entering, and make other simple adjustments that allow the reasonable use of the building by resident taxpayers. After all, we now have security guards in the building after the fiasco he created with the anti-Israeli meeting. His bad behavior must end. Only then will we see A Better Greenburgh.

Sunday, January 24, 2016

Storm's Over, Start Digging

Expert, and we use that term loosely, meteorologists finally got it right. Between the Doppler system, NOAA, and other systems used to predict the weather, they hype-ageddoned this storm to ridiculous proportions but finally hit the nail on the head. Each time they over-hype a storm, making it the news story of the day, and it fails to materialize, it not only hurts their credibility. The public begins to experience the "crying wolf" syndrome and ignores the next warning. Their catch-all after that is, "Better to be safe than sorry."

It's funny, growing up we relied on a thermometer to tell us it was cold outside, or our parents telling us to wear a jacket. Plus, growing up also taught you a few things. One was, when it was winter, you needed a jacket. If it was raining you used a raincoat or grabbed an umbrella. Common sense seemed to be just as valuable then as it is now. But we seem to rely less on common sense now than ever before.

The other interesting thing is the need for all of the news reporters to stand in the storm/blizzard/flood as though that will make their reporting more authentic or dramatic. Doubtful. We watched a YouTube video of a reporter doing her thing in either a hurricane or some other event with high winds when she is struck and knocked off camera by a flying Stop sign (visible during a slow motion replay). She never saw it coming. Another crazy aspect of this reporting is the constant interviewing of people out during the storm. What are they expecting these people to say? "I came out to experience this because I'm an idiot."

Now that the sun is shining, the temperatures are rising and we'll soon begin to dig out, the reporters will be showing us cars buried under snow, roofs that have collapsed and in coastal areas, flooding. We have a flooding problem in Greenburgh thanks to micro-over development of every parcel of land that's vacant. Thankfully, though, there was no flooding in Greenburgh during this storm. But, there's always another one on its way with leaders who would rather get media coverage of it than help the residents by fixing it. Stay safe while you recover from this storm.

Saturday, January 23, 2016

Town Prohibits Residents From Using Conference Rooms

In an unexplained move that we’re told originated from the Town Clerk’s office, the public is no longer allowed to utilize Town Hall conference rooms for meetings! We’ve heard the decree even forbids all Town Civic Associations as well as Town appointed Boards, such as the Historic Preservation Board, from using the conference rooms. We hope this is not the case. Previously, local groups, neighborhood groups and civic associations had always had access to conference rooms for meetings, discussions, etc, in their Town Hall. Why the sudden change?

One reason that comes to mind is simply censorship and control from the corner office. You may recall we wrote about censorship originating from Mr Feiner in our article found here in our article from Tuesday, January 12, 2016 Censoring The Public, when we discussed Mr Feiner’s blatant censoring of the public – unless of course having a dialog with any individual was something he wanted to do – at the “Scoping Session” for the Jefferson at Saw Mill project. Then he said he would be following Twitter-type rules of only allowing residents to speak for one minute.

Another school of thought refers back to the demonstration that Mr Feiner organized inviting Hamas supporters to utilize Town Hall for an anti-Israel demonstration. It bordered on some ugly behavior with some terrible things said. One older gentleman (using the term loosely) threatened a resident with death threats. We wrote more in depth about this in another article on Tuesday, October 27, 2015 Anti-Semitic Board Offers Hamas Town Hall.

ABG believes this newest elimination of the taxpayer’s rights to use their own, taxpayer-funded building for their groups and organizations meetings is nothing more than retribution against those same taxpayers trying to slow and stop Mr Feiner and his Town Board’s agenda(s). ABG also believes this is the culmination from backlash the corner office received for handing over the keys to the anti-Israel haters. They should not use their own bad behavior to create edicts against the public! At that time, Ms Beville was the one who controlled use of the Town Hall facility and no doubt followed orders from Mr Feiner. But now they are forcing residents to go to different Commissioners for usage of even fewer conference rooms!

This Board seems bent on limiting our resident’s participation and voice, usually because the residents are looking for their leadership to do the right thing and then call them on it when they don’t. Don’t believe us? They have routinely “run the clock out” to adjourn before “allowing” residents to have their 5-minutes at the podium. They have also delayed the official start of meetings with poetry readings, presentations, musical performances and such and then abjectly eliminated the public comment session claiming there “was not enough time” to allow the public a chance to speak. 

The resolution, not requiring a hearing and most importantly, public comments, allows this Town Board to run rampant over the people who not only pay their salaries, but who own the building! The Board has supplied a nicely written list of “Whereas’s” to cover themselves, it “states” and uses the Police Chief as a scapegoat, saying this is being done upon his recommendations. We reached out to the Police Chief for information but did not receive a response. It also says that in addition to not being able to use Town Hall for meetings, groups can use the conference rooms in the Library and Veteran Park. Factually impossible because these rooms are booked almost throughout the year already, they also suggest the Theodore D. Young Community Center as another alternative. Again, rooms in the TDYCC, like the other locations, are only available for a small window during the day and many are already booked as well. This is nothing more than Mr Feiner boasting another way he can control and manipulate the public.

Clearly, this move is wrong for the Town, it’s residents, and most importantly the taxpayers. Town Hall belongs to the public. It is everyone’s building and while Mr Feiner has been there for 24-years, he remains a guest there and should always remember that. That’s when we’ll see A Better Greenburgh.

Another Great Snowstorm

With blizzard conditions socking it to the area, we started discussing bad snow storms that we could remember. Then one of our industrious staffers did a search for the worst snowstorms. He found one in particular, from the evening of January 28, 1922 that had a record 25 inches of snowfall. Three miles away was a slightly different measured amount of 30 inches. 

Photo credit:

Apparently, several hundred people fought their way through the greatest snowstorm in Washington DC’s history to see a show at the Knickerbocker Theater, then the city’s largest and most modern moving picture theater of the time. Unbeknownst to the theater patrons, the Knickerbocker Theater’s flat roof was tremendously burdened by the weight of the snow. 

Shortly before 9:00 p.m., the Knickerbocker Theater’s orchestra was play­ing for the intermission. The lights had dimmed and the people were returning to their seats. Suddenly, a loud hissing noise filled the room. The ceiling, weighed down from the snow, had begun to split apart down the middle. The few people who had noticed the splitt­ing ceiling dove under their seats or ran for the door. As the roof fell in, it collapsed the theater’s balcony and pulled down portions of the surrounding brick walls, killing 98 people and injuring 133. Some of Washington’s prominent politicians and business owners were among the casualties. The disaster ranks as one of Washington’s worst in history, and the snowstorm continues to hold the record for Washington’s single greatest snowfall. 
Looking into the orchestra pit of the Knickerbocker Theater

Locally, in separate incidents years ago, the Town’s two bowling alleys also experienced roof collapses due to snow weight. The Elmsford Lanes on Saw Mill River Road, had a roof collapse from snow weight but was repaired and reopened. Ultimately, it became what is now known as Sportime USA. Also collapsing from the weight of snow was the roof on the old Skytop Lanes on Knollwood Road. It was subsequently torn down and replaced with office buildings. More digging, no pun intended, by staffers found numerous roof collapses in the area due to snow. It’s more common than you might think. In fact, ABG has just learned that a sports bubble in Mt Vernon, NY, has just collapsed under the weight of todays snowstorm! Weve always questioned the stability and safety of inflatable domes.

We even recall back in the late 1960’s there was a significant snow storm in our area that shut down just about everything. In fact, one staffer recalls that Olivieri Construction, along with others, used bulldozers to create a path in several neighborhoods to allow access by emergency vehicles. He even recalls seeing a Volkswagen Beetle being the only vehicle able to fit in the path. Apparently the driver went for supplies for the neighbors. 

We've already learned of several deaths due to today’s storm. If you dont need to go out, stay home, play some games, watch a movie, catch up on house work or just relax. But please stay safe. It helps us have A Better Greenburgh. 

Wednesday, January 20, 2016

Baby It’s Cold INside

Now that we’re finally being treated to real January weather, the usual suspects have reared their ugly heads. Accidents due to freezing water on our streets have begun to happen again. Notices to seniors and children to bundle up are part of every news broadcast. And of course, our old nemesis at the Greenburgh Town Library is back. We’ve learned once again that there is little if any heat on the second floor, making it unusable. This, after we had been told by Mr Feiner that a new supplemental furnace had been installed this past year.

An email was sent out by one of the administrators regarding meetings that are to be held on the second floor:
“...wanted to let you know that there is no/little heat on the second floor of the library. There was an issue last week, and it is still not fixed. It will only get colder as the day goes on, so I am CANCELING tonight's ... meeting.”

Mr Feiner has bragged numerous times about purchasing a new auxiliary boiler for the library. You may recall the under-powered and inadequate HVAC system for the library installed during the library’s renovation was overseen by Mr Feiner and his Board as the lead agency. They touted a new energy saving geothermal heating system for the library that would reduce heating costs. However, it was incorrectly installed as well as installed on the wrong side of the building and failed as a cost savings energy solution.

Last year found the Fairview Fire Department responding numerous times to the library as the uninsulated sprinkler pipes in the uninsulated area above the drop ceiling on the second floor burst. While damage was minimal to library resources, this issue should have been addressed years ago! But since there is rarely monies budgeted for maintenance and infrastructure replacements, the library continues to languish as Mr Feiner’s personal political football. It needs to stop. The library should be made whole again with working systems, hours that accommodate the public and more books, videos and meeting rooms. While we will probably have to be content with the lack of promised meetings rooms, these changes must be made. Only then will we have A Better Greenburgh.

Monday, January 18, 2016

Commissioner William Carter Passes Away

Commissioner William Carter of the Theodore Young Community Center (Department of Community Resources) recently passed away after battling cancer. Mr. Carter started working for the town on November 15th, 2008. William “Bill” Carter was well known and respected in the community. He had been an advocate for our youth and coordinated county funded youth initiative programming. He was responsible for insuring contract compliance of youth services providers contracted by the county and facilitates all aspects associated with resource allocation of millions of dollars in youth development funding.

Bill has also worked with the Educational Opportunity Center of Westchester and with the White Plains Youth Bureau. He taught at Westchester Community College as a Adjunct Professor and worked at Hawthorne Cedar Knolls School and Family Service of Westchester.

Bill had fought person demons earlier in his life. He turned his life around and then received his MSW from Columbia University School of Social Work. He was the recipient of the Eveline Burns Scholar in Social Policy Fellowship. He graduated from Dominican College of Blauvelt (Summa Cum Laude), with a BS in Social Work. He has been invited to give presentations to colleges, educators around New York State and St. Lucia.

Our hearts and prayers go out to Bill’s family.

Hawthorne Theatre Closes

All-Westchester Saw Mill Multiplex Cinemas, established about thirty years ago on Saw Mill River Road in Hawthorne, has closed their doors. The site of the long time theatre is soon to become an 67,000 square foot Audi dealership, car wash and service center if plans already in the works continue on track. The owners of the Audi dealership already have one location in Eastchester.

The 10-screen theater is owned and operated by National Amusements, Inc., a Norwood, Massachusetts-based chain. The same company also operates the newer Greenburgh Multiplex Cinemas less than four miles south on Saw Mill River Road in Elmsford across from Sam's Club.

Martin Luther King Day

Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. addresses crowd in Washington, DC 

Martin Luther King Day is a federal holiday held on the third Monday of January. It celebrates the life and achievements of Martin Luther King Jr., an influential American civil rights leader. He is most well-known for his campaigns to end racial segregation on public transport and for racial equality in the United States. 

 If you seek a way to honor Dr King's legacy, visit Volunteer New York! ( to sign up for an opportunity to participate in any of over 30 different projects throughout Westchester County. Age and skill sets are less important and even kids can participate.Some of the areas of focus are disaster and emergency services, hunger and homelessness, children and youth services, civic and community involvement, health and wellness and senior citizen services.

Thursday, January 14, 2016

Tensions Run High In Emotional Protest

Emotion filled the packed room. Overflow was in an adjacent room and the cafeteria. Little did the Ardsley residents know how Mr Feiner operates and he was using them for his benefit. Knowing he would be sworn in this night having been re-elected yet again after running unopposed, he wanted a big crowd. He got it. There were 376 people in attendance. In fact, Police Chief McNerney informed us that after 150 were counted and allowed into the main hall, they began directing people toward others rooms in the building to adhere to the fire code occupancy restrictions.

Mr Feiner worked the Town’s GBList to its maximum. The GBList is the email list Mr Feiner treats as his own even though he continues to violate a court order for him to release its contents under the Freedom of Information Law. Between the proposed Jefferson Apartment complex project and other area construction in the Ardsley, Dobbs Ferry, and Hastings area, neighbors have a lot to be upset about. This proposal is for the abandoned and unused property on Lawrence Street, formerly used and currently owned by the Netherlands-based company Akzo Nobel. ABG is against the over-development of Unincorporated Greenburgh, but recognizes that this proposal is a legal use for this land. The zoning is commercial and Greenburgh zoning for commercial property includes multi-family housing use.

Traditionally, Mr Feiner and his Town Board operate with flagrant disregard of neighborhood concerns and over-sized projects. This clearly falls in that category. There are many examples of where a developer has built too large a project, blessed by Mr Feiner and his Board even after hearing from upset residents at packed meetings. Several, but not all, include Westhab in Fulton Park, Brightview Assisted Living in Glenville, Regeneron in north Elmsford/Tarrytown, Dromore Road and the proposed Shelbourne Assisted Living facility in Edgemont at the former Sprain Brook Nursery and more. The point is, this Town Board routinely favors the developer over the homeowner, taxpayer and resident. So, what will happen?

Speaker after speaker bemoaned numerous points against this project. No one spoke in favor of ithe Jefferson proposal except the developer. Obvious issues with this proposal are increased traffic, increased school enrollment, no tax benefits for Ardsley and our constant harangue of flooding and future increased flooding to the area. Ironically, PO1 on the agenda was for the Town Board to vote for a resolution adopting the 2015 Westchester County Hazard Mitigation Plan update. This is classic Town Board. Why fix the problem on both the Bronx River and Saw Mill River corridors when we can talk about it and say the County has a plan? It will never get better as long as these politicians are in office.

There was also a litany of varied speakers in attendance. They included current and former Ardsley Mayors, Trustees, Ardsley school Board members and several emergency responders from the Ardsley Volunteer Ambulance Corps. The emergency responders stated they have about 30 or so members and while their call volume is increasing, their membership is not. The point being that whenever you increase the amount of residents, the responders’ call volume increases. This was exactly the issue broached by Police Chief McNerney at a previous Town Board meeting when the discussion was about adding another assisted living facility, this time at the old Sprain Brook Nursery site. More personnel would be needed, whether paid or volunteer.

Retired Judge Herbert Rosenberg apologized to the residents of Ardsley as a resident of Dobbs Ferry for the nightmarish construction and disruption caused to them from the Rivertown Square development currently underway. Many have been stuck on area roadways caused by traffic backups, accidents and construction equipment being positioned on the site.

During the proceedings of this “scoping” session, Mr Feiner played the crowd as we’ve seen done before. Most recently he protested the shopping center expansion on Central Avenue only to capitulate. Unfortunately, that's what we believe will happen here. He will postulate often about being against this, injecting sound bite snippets that he will later post on his websites (, and YouTube. He'll have the Town videographer carefully craft his swearing in, showing the huge crowd and then the scoping session, again, utilizing the crowd. Sadly, we think he'll capitulate again and approve this project. After all is said and done, he knows the Ardsley residents that showed up last night will be reduced to half for the next meeting. In time, he will wear them down until there is no opposition. We hope this won't happen.

The demands currently being made of the developer can be considered reasonable or unreasonable, depending on which side you are on. ABG would like to see a scaled down project on this site if it were to proceed. There may be other ideas in the works for this location. The Town Board usually meets with developers two years before their proposals are made public. One of the former project leaders for this told ABG staffers during a meeting a year ago that they had previously pitched this project to Mr Feiner, who gave them a favorable response back then. Something is going to be built at this location. We’ve seen Mr Feiner go through hell and high water to push the GameOn 365 sports bubble into a residential neighborhood. We hope that doesn't happen here. We also hope that all sides are willing to sit down and work together to create a proposal that all those involved can live with when that time comes. Only then will we get A Better Greenburgh.

Tuesday, January 12, 2016

Censoring The Public

We’ve often seen Mr Feiner and his Board do whatever they could to shut down residents from speaking at Town Board meetings and other public events. To say open government in Greenburgh is alive and well is heresy, only mocked openly when Mr Feiner purports to espouse it. One meeting saw he and his Town Board adjourn the meeting at 10:15PM without giving residents an opportunity to speak as was promised earlier. And, many who speak at the opening three-minute session often state they’ll come back during the five-minute session. Although in this instance, with sheepish smiles on their faces, the Board hurriedly scampered away for fear of being challenged.

Such is the case with tomorrow night’s meeting to discuss the the Jefferson Project proposal to be constructed on property at Lawrence and Saw Mill River Roads. Only this time, the Board is making no pretense of curtailing the public’s right to speak. This time Mr Feiner is sending out an email (we wonder if there is also a snail mail version?) stating the rules of engagement for tomorrow night. In his email, he states that they are expecting a very large turnout. And, as a way to justify his control of the public, is using the guise of a Twitter Inspired speaking option. Frankly, it’s designed to be cute so he can get away with silencing the public.

If his concern is really that there were a lot of people seeking to speak, he could schedule another time to do this. However, he won’t do that because he really isn’t interested what people want to say. This episode is a fait accompli. If there are not a lot of people in attendance, will he simply allow everyone to speak for the three and five minutes as previously done? Doubtful. If there are a lot of people, and the majority are against the development, he will use that to twist the arm of the Jefferson management to provide beau coup give-backs in return for what will appear to be begrudgingly offered support. Can you say lawsuit?

There are two schools of thought for this development. The first is that the developer purchased this land, put together a proposal designed for the site and is entitled to build it. There must be an acknowledged back and forth between the developer, the Town and the Village’s residents. The second side is from the Village residents perspective. They naturally are afraid of increases in school children and increases in traffic and congestion. There are of course other issues on both sides.

We hope to see many residents come out on Wednesday night to speak on this issue. While no one promises that the process will be easy, we hope that everyone will treat each other with respect and courtesy. Since these will be people not normally attending a Town Board meeting, Mr Feiner, et al, will be on their best behavior. These guests will not be returning after tomorrow’s meeting. They will hear platitudes of open government, that the Board hears their concerns, they will do their due diligence, people need to have faith in the system and a litany of worn out expressions that have served them well in the past amongst virgin crowds. Only if they continue to come back and not allow this Board to censor them will they have a chance of getting their way. This Board has proved that all too many times. It’s why we continually hope the willfully ignorant will get involved and help us to get A Better Greenburgh.

Monday, January 11, 2016

Town Board Goes Against A Good Project

There is a proposal in front of the Town Board to build an apartment complex at Lawrence Avenue and Saw Mill River Road (and Parkway). It is comprised  of 272 apartments, down from its original proposal of 296, based on feedback the Jefferson Management team received from the community. Almost immediately after the proposal “hit the bricks,” Mr Feiner came out against it, as did Ardsley resident and Town Board member Diana Juettner, claiming it would burden the infrastructure. While hypocritical to say the least, the Jefferson offered to make significant changes to the area, even going as far south of the project itself to Jackson Avenue. The Loft complex approved by Mr Feiner and his Board near Jackson Avenue offered no changes. Nor has Mr Feiner and Ms Juettner ever offered help to the area.

But the lies have already begun from the corner office. The offering has not generated as much “significant controversy” as Mr Feiner would have you believe. It is he that is trying to create a controversy where controversy does not exist. The development, while overgrown with weeds, dumped dirt and debris, offers value from the stand point of flooding and water absorption Still, they resist this property in a commercial area, ideally suited for a project such as this. You can read more about this project in our earlier post from Sunday, April 19, 2015
JPI Proposing 296 Multi-Family Apartments Jefferson at Saw Mill River(

Mr Feiner claims he is “proposing initiatives” that frankly are either already in the original proposal or too ridiculous to entertain. However, Mr Feiner's standard method of operation is to throw these types of inane ideas out there and hope that something gains traction. But he knows that if he can get some of his supporters to be at the meeting to parrot these points, he’ll get what he desires in publicity from the media, a quote or two on News 12 and possibly other TV stations - depending on whom he invites.

Here's a few of his “initiatives.” Ours are in black, his are in blue:

Widening of both Lawrence Street and Saw Mill River Road to include turning lanes as appropriate from Lawrence street to entrance of the thruway. I believe that the entire length of Saw Mill River Road from Jackson Ave to Ardsley downtown should be widened. 
The plans show a widening and turning lane added on 9A at Jackson Avenue to allow for an increase in traffic heading south on 9A. As we’ve written previously, the Ginsburgh developer of The Loft should be doing this but is not. Nor, is Mr Feiner saddling them with similar conditions.

Construction of sidewalks and bike lanes on both Lawrence and Saw Mill Road from Jackson to downtown Ardsley to promote safe pedestrian/bicycling.
Sidewalks are a condition in our Town for all new construction, regardless of whether or not they connect or lead to anything. These were in the initial plans that had been submitted. The Jefferson project has also made accommodations for bike path use as well as creating a section of public parking that bikers can use to come to the site by car, park and ride the bike path.

Construction of an overpass from Lawrence Street westbound to Saw Mill River Parkway Southbound. As it is the light is problematic, prone to back up and causes systematic delays.
Our staffers travel this route every day and say the light is not so much the issue as are the quantity of construction vehicles moving to and from the area, slowing things down. As our elected representatives, if the traffic light is problematic, then it is up to he, Ms Juettner and the other Town Board members to get it fixed, not the Jefferson!

Construction of additional parking in downtown Ardsley to address the shortage of parking in the business district. Almost 300 new apartments will definitely increase parking problems.
While parking in Ardsley has been an issue for at least 24-years, Mr Feiner’s tenure as Supervisor, he has never made any overtures to address their parking issues. In fact, their Village Board had sidewalks added in Town through grant money Mr Feiner didn't even apply for. The Jefferson plans show all parking for the facility will be provided on their property and not utilize any from the Village proper. If this facility was in the Village itself it might affect parking – but it’s not and it won’t.

Possible construction of additional parking at area train stations to address commuter parking problems.
Even after being lifelong residents, this has us baffled as we cannot locate a train station in Ardsley.

A requirement that frequent shuttle service be provided to train station and downtown Ardsley.
Again, there is no train station in downtown Ardsley.This indicates that this is purely a boilerplate exercise by Mr Feiner.

We need to analyze ability of first responders to come to the assistance of those with emergency medical needs if the Parkway is closed and there are major traffic jams on Lawrence and on Saw Mill River Road.
This is a phony excuse. There has been no study for any other projects anywhere in the Town that was ever denied for lack of access to emergency responders. Emergency vehicles always get through traffic. In fact, the one project that actually does have inadequate access for emergency vehicles is the Brightview Assisted Living facility at Rt 119 and Benedict Avenue. Yet, Mr Feiner and his Board made themselves the lead agency for the project and then approved every aspect of it. Fire trucks responding there are forced to pull in, do whatever is needed and then back their rigs out when they are finished. This is absurd! But, Mr Feiner wanted this regardless of what was needed. In fact, a similar project endorsed by him is the Shellbourne Assisted Living project where the old Sprain Nursery was located. They too, will be building more than the property and surrounding area can handle, thwarting the effectiveness, efficiency and safety of the emergency services responders. Apparently, the safety of assisted living living residents also means little to Mr Feiner and his Board.

There has also been discussion that the Ardsley Schools District will be overrun with new students. According the a spokesman at The Jefferson, the goal of this project is to attract single and newlywed Millenials, and not families with school age children. In fact, our discussion with them indicated that this is a “starter” home for both of those groups, leading them toward purchasing a home when the do have kids. While no one can guarantee this will be the case, the Jefferson Management based their information and projections on other projects of theirs throughout the country.

You may be wondering why the Town Board would object to this project when it seems to be in the right spot, doesn't negatively impact the area, and in fact improves it, falls in line with the other developments Mr Feiner and his Board readily approved and can add to the tax roles, albeit at a discounted tax rate? Because Ms Juettner is afraid of making her constituents mad and losing votes. But, it’s not just her, it’s also Mr Feiner not wanting to lose any votes from Ardsley. After all, the Villages add an awful lot of votes to their campaigns. Sadly, they’re not doing what’s right for the taxpayers and constituents. Rather, they’re acting in their own best interests.

This project is right for the area and needs to be approved. Ultimately, it will go through and be built. In the meantime, we believe Mr Feiner will try to coerce more from the Jefferson Management than is required for approvals. Don’t believe us? Just look at the disastrous results of the Fortress Bible Discrimination case that Mr Feiner lost in Federal court and was found guilty on seven counts. Come and weigh in this Wednesday night at the Town Board meeting at 7:30PM. Be an active part of the Town. Only then will we see A Better Greenburgh.

Friday, January 1, 2016