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.

1 comment:

  1. Is there a law of nature or let alone a state law that something has to be built at this forlorn location? In fact a far better scenario would be for the developer to ride back on its horses to Irving, Texas (last residence of Lee Harvey Oswald's family before that fateful day in Dallas), use the environmental reports they have submitted to the DEC about the contamination (as Hastings just did with Atlantic Richfield who will now be cleaning up their waterfront) and let the DEC do its job and get Azko Nobel to clean up the site. Then it can be made into a fabulous park or bio-diversity center for the emerging bio-tech center in that area. That would be a terrific complementary use for an overdeveloped area as contemplated by the Comprehensive Plan. In fact, an existing sign on the property already indicates that very thing. Or the Town could sponsor a competition as was done with Rye Playland seeking proposals for the site. Compare for example the hideous 9/11 Memorial in Greenburgh - a pathetic eyesore designed by a no namer that is already falling apart, where the Town improperly took FEMA funds to build it and let the private Rotary Club use the backside of the wall on public property for its own hideous mural with The Rising at Kensico Dam where an international competition was held by the County resulting a moving tribute (and perhaps the one good thing Andy Spano (rememember him?) did.

    While we appreciate ABG's apparent pull back from its full throated endorsement of this mega-development, it still needs to get our more and look at the area. We must listen to our volunteer ambulance leaders - this project threatens the life and well being of every resident in Greenburgh. Its the wrong project at the wrong location at the wrong time.
    We need it to disappear to get A Better Greenburgh.