Stating that they have followed the process for over a year and a half, the attorney for Foundation Shelbourne spoke at the Town Board Work Session, stating that taking a vote on the already approved NegDec to rescind it was strictly political! He also stated he would not be able to attend the Town Board meeting Tuesday night but the owners might attend and speak. Mr Sciaretta claimed that this was quite a surprise that the Town would vote to rescind a NegDec that was vetted from the traffic and planning departments. He claimed it was illegal, improper and a slap in the face to them. While we are against the Shelbourne project because it does not meet the zoning code recently adopted, we believe he was right!
The Town voted prematurely to approve the NegDec regarding the proposed Formation Shelbourne Assisted Living Housing facility that would replace the existing Sprainbrook Nursery. Opponents had said that approving the NegDec prematurely was not following the process that Mr Feiner and his Board can’t wait to espouse at meetings. More importantly, opponents stated it would have made everything fall into place more easily for the developer, claiming there was no fact-finding done, no reports of conditions had and no studies performed by those normally engaged in such actions. Because Mr Feiner wanted this project to go through, facts, figures and real information didn’t matter! His compliant Town Board voted the NegDec through. Is it any wonder that residents no longer have faith in the process, the zoning codes or the Town administration?
The real problem is that while the attorney for Formation Shelbourne didn’t say it outright, he alluded to the fact that while this had never been done before, it appeared to him to be setting a precedent and his clients might be prepared to sue the Town over this. We all know Mr Feiner has always said, “If you don’t like what I'm doing, sue me.” And many have. But, as we have said before, this is not about Shelbourne per se, or the Krautter Family who owns the property and operates the Sprainbrook Nursery at that location. It’s about publicity for Mr Feiner as well as leveraging Edgemont from incorporating into a Village and having the Town lose their chunk of revenue for the Unincorporated budget!
We’ve written before about how many in Edgemont are disappointed and dismayed with Mr Feiner’s actions and the actions of his Board toward them. So much so, that there have been talks and meetings about Edgemont incorporating to get out from under the Town’s, and more specifically, Mr Feiner’s control. Many communities feel the same way but are without the resources to act upon it. Regardless of whether or not Edgemont moves to incorporate, the Town Board’s disingenuous acts are now coming home to roost. The Town Board should have waited to make a decision after the Zoning Board of Appeals either granted the variances requested by Shelbourne or not. That would have been correctly following the process. The NegDec they approved was a blatant political move by Mr Feiner and his Board. We still believe it was a setup to appease Shelbourne and then to rescind and appear to be appeasing Edgemont. But all of this may have backfired on Mr Feiner.
There are variables in play here that will have long-term ramifications on Unincorporated Greenburgh. In effect, Mr Feiner has blessed the Shelbourne and consequently, all other commercial projects in all residential neighborhoods. He tried to do this with an 8-story inflatable bubble for his friends from GameOn 365 on Dobbs Ferry Road. Once this is allowed to begin, it sets the precedent to allow it in other neighborhoods. Mr Feiner was successful in doing this in the Glenville section with the Brightview Assisted Living facility. Brightview was the author of the Town's Assisted Living Zoning Code that is about two years old. By allowing them to write the code, they accommodated everything they needed. Now, the Town Board and the Legal Department’s laziness has resurfaced and is creating this issue.
Shelbourne is too large a facility for the size of the property and it is not within 200 feet of a state or county right of way. Those two conditions were put in the zoning code by Brightview and agreed to by Mr Feiner and his Board when they approved the Zoning Code change. Had the Town written the law, overseen the writing of the law or at least been involved with its authorship, perhaps this wouldn’t be happening. This is more proof that we need term limits to aid us in stopping laziness and unconditional and unchallenged decisions from Town Hall. It's no wonder Edgemont continues to discuss incorporation. This madness has to change. Only then will we get A Better Greenburgh.