Tuesday, October 25, 2016

Greenburgh Police Department's Review Class

The Town of Greenburgh Police Department is conducting a review class for all town residents that have registered for the November 19, 2016 Police Officer Entrance Exam. The review class will begin Wednesday, October 26th, 2016 from 6:30pm to 8:00pm and will continue each Wednesday evening through November 16th, 2016. Classes will be held at the Theodore D. Young Community Center- 32 Manhattan Avenue, White Plains, New York 10607, and is free to all town residents. If you have not reserved a seat in the class, please do so by e-mailing Sergeant Norman Hall at nhall@greenburghny.com.

Chris T. McNerney
Chief of Police
Town of Greenburgh Police Department

Sunday, October 23, 2016

Fallen Firefighter Ceremony

Westchester County Fallen Firefighters Memorial Service
Sunday, October 23, 2016
1000 Hours
Westchester County Department of Emergency Services (DES)
4 Dana Road
Valhalla NY 10595

All departments are invited

Sunday, October 16, 2016

Senior Housing and the Comprehensive Plan

Here’s something we don’t hear about every day, or ever see happening in Greenburgh. The City of Rye has elected to change zoning for a commercial property into residential in the hopes of repurposing vacant or unused office space in their community. Specifically, construction is slated to start on a 122-unit senior home in a former office building at 120 Old Post Road after the city's Planning Commission completes a site plan review. According to Republican Rye City Councilman Richard Mecca, “…there’s a market for this kind of property.”

The kind of property he’s discussing is the construction of a 122-unit senior housing facility that would provide luxury residential housing for seniors. The office building in question has been unoccupied since 2009. Once completed, the over-55 residents would be able to choose from one and two bedroom apartments. The current building would be razed and a new 245,000 square feet building would be constructed, roughly 3 times the size of the current building. While we question the increased size as necessary, we’re sure the developers have claimed the usual reasons, focusing on their profitability only working with this size building. We’re also sure if challenged, they have another number they are willing to scale it down to.

In Greenburgh, however, we’ve seen the new Comprehensive Plan adopted. Critics, including ABG, point out that it is more of a political document/statement and an encapsulation of what the Town currently has as opposed to providing a blueprint and true plan for the future of our Town. After 8 long years of preparation, public forums and road shows, the document falls flat on its face, allowing Mr Feiner and his Board similar carte blanche with zoning changes throughout the Unincorporated Town. This failing will be evident tomorrow night when the Town Board adopts a change to zoning specific to the Manhattan Avenue area to eliminate the existing HUD housing and build bigger buildings with mix-use retail space at ground level. It’s easy to perceive the Town Board as doing spot-zoning but they will apply this as a Town-wide endeavor to skirt that issue.

The one bright light throughout Mr Feiner’s constant onslaught to allow commercial enterprises in residential areas has been neighborhood pushback. At the former Frank’s Nursery property on Dobbs Ferry Road, Mr Feiner tried to convince residents to accept an 8-story, 83-foot sports bubble in their residential neighborhood on that property. By banding together, they were able to push back with one mantra: keep the zoning residential and build residential housing of any type at that location!

The GameOn 365 owners, who had been encouraged in private meetings with Mr Feiner and his Board  not to worry about the zoning as they would name themselves the lead agency and push the zoning change through, moved their plans to the Visioli golf driving range property next door. What Mr Feiner and crew hadn’t counted on was the resolve and intelligence of the residents. Using the Town’s own laws, they held fast and got every neighbor adjacent to the property to object to the usage. Subsequently, after Mr Feiner played his games with the property and losing more money for the Town, movement on creating a new senior assisted living facility has begun.

To that end, there will be a Public Hearing/Discussion on the proposed CHS Assisted Living Facility at the Planning Board on Wed. Oct. 19th. The meeting starts at 8:00pm. Residents of the Town are urged to attend to see and hear what the plans are for this new facility. This is a story of David beating Goliath. Right now, however, we applaud the City of Rye for taking a positive step in creating housing from commercial property and wished we could see similar thinking in our Town. Only then will we see A Better Greenburgh.

Tyler Rush Memorial Scholarship Car and Truck Show Today

For more information, please visit: http://www.ElmsfordFD.com.

Thursday, October 13, 2016

Hydrant Flushing Coming to Your Neighborhood

The Greenburgh Water Department announced their annual maintenance program to operate and flush fire hydrants for the week beginning Monday, October 17, 2016 thru Friday, October 21, 2016 beginning in the Knollwood Area.This action is necessary to make sure the fire hydrants are in good working order in case of emergencies and to help flush sediment out of the distribution system.

The hydrant flushing and operating action will take place during the day from 9:30 A.M. to 2:30 P.M. Greenburgh Water District Customers in the neighborhoods listed and the immediate vicinity should expect temporary periods of discolored water and lowered pressure resulting from this maintenance operation. This discoloration consists primarily of harmless silt and air and does not affect the safety of the water. For further information, customers may contact the Greenburgh Water Department at 914-989-1900 or visit the Town websitewww.greenburghny.com.

- MAYFAIR ACRES, including roads near Knollwood Road, Manor Drive, Buena Vista Drive and Chelsea Road.
- PARKWAY HOMES, including roads near Hillside Avenue, Old Tarrytown Road, North Road, South Road, Maryton Road, Lawrence Drive, Virginia Road.
- WYNDOVER PARK, including roads near Old Kensico Road, County Center Road, Winnetou Road, and The Woodlands.

Please be advised that flushing may cause water pressure variations and discoloration of water. This does not represent a health hazard. However, customers are cautioned to determine if the water is clear before washing clothes (or any other processing) as staining may occur. If you experience discoloration in your water after crews have been flushing in your neighborhood, clear the pipes in your home by running cold water faucets for a few minutes. The water is absolutely safe. However, to avoid any inconvenience, we suggest you monitor the water before doing any laundry and keep water in the refrigerator for drinking and cooking.

Monday, October 10, 2016

Passing of Barry Matthews

Barry W. Matthews
1953 - 2016

Barry W. Matthews 63, of White Plains, N.Y. and formerly of Greenburgh, N.Y. died on Oct.8,2016. He was born on Feb.24,1953 to the late William and Mary Matthews in White Plains, N.Y. 

He was a retired Deputy Chief with the Fairview Fire District, retiring in 2009 after 29 Years of Service. Barry was a proud member of the Westchester County Firefighters Emerald Society Pipes and Drums. 

He is survived by his devoted wife, Bernadette (Bonnie; nee Voelkel)Matthews of White Plains, N.Y. and by his loving children, Brian (Elizabeth) Matthews of Yorktown, N.Y. and Megan Matthews of Valhalla, N.Y. one brother, James (Debi)Matthews of Yorktown, N.Y. also survived by his three cherished grandchildren, Tara, Fiona and Brendan. Predeceased by his brother, William Matthews. 

Reposing, Hawthorne Funeral Home on Monday and Tuesday, 2-4 and 7-9 PM. Funeral Mass, Holy Name of Jesus Church, Valhalla, N.Y. on Wednesday, 10 AM. Interment, Mt Calvary Cemetery, Greenburgh, N.Y. In lieu of flowers donations to New York Police and Fire Widow's and Children's Benefit Fund P.O. Box 26837 N.Y., N.Y. 10087 would be appreciated.

21 West Stevens Ave.
Hawthorne, New York 10532

Reprinted from the Journal News

Sunday, October 9, 2016

Reclaim New York, Pitch Gigabit and Ignore Flooding

This past week featured a very interesting meeting held at the Greenburgh Public Library by a group called Reclaim New York. Simply, their goals are somewhat straightforward and easily understandable. They seek civil engagement of the public with their local, county and state governments. Among their goals include trying to make New York affordable again. They even have an online calculator (NYCalculator.org) which you can use to learn what NY is costing you and thwarting your efforts to save money for retirement, school, purchasing a home and so on. And, for some, it exposes their struggle to just get by. Another of their goals is to try to stop the incumbency curse (our words) of re-electing the same politicians over and over again who continue to insult us by telling us they are creating jobs and saving us money in one breath and then continue to raise our taxes in the next. They also seek to expose and stop corruption and return government as a tool back to the people. Check them out by visiting their website: http://www.reclaimnewyork.org/.

There is nothing a politician loves more than a new project being pitched in their district and being seduced with more tax money becoming available for them to spend. What those same politicians refuse to do, ever, is actually lower your tax burden when these new funds are acquired. Coming off the heels of the Reclaim New York meeting, we read an article in the October 6, 2016 issue of the Journal News with a different vigor. Journal News reporter Richard Liebson quotes White Plains Planning Commissioner Chris Gomez, “For the past year, White Plains has been looking at ways to improve transit and make the neighborhood around the TransCenter a "go to" residential, retail and entertainment destination in the city, with a better link to the downtown business district. Using a $1 million state grant and the consulting services of WSP Parsons Brinkerhoff, city planners have been working with Metro North and other interested parties, and held a series of public meetings to gain insight into what residents and local businesses would like to see in the area.” We went to their website to see what topics of discussion were being highlighted.

There were talks of skyways, tearing down the Galleria and making a Central Park-like park, increasing retail space (huh?), more parks, a theater for live entertainment like Madison Square Garden, more dining (because Mamaroneck Avenue lacks enough restaurants?), better traffic congestion alleviation, and so on. One topic we continually write about and rarely see any resolve or even movement on, is mitigating flooding along the Bronx River corridor. Here is a map of the proposed area to be remodeled.

Notice the bottleneck of the Bronx River at the bridge at Hamilton Avenue and again at Main Street. It is obvious even to non-engineers, residents, government officials and yes, elected officials that this is a significant part of the flooding problem. Another obvious-upon-inspection issue is the quantity of debris, litter and refuse that has built up in these areas which the City of White Plains has ignored. This exacerbates flooding each time there is any rainfall. There are other locations as well along the Bronx River corridor that suffer from the same neglect. It used to be that when we had significant storms there would be understandably generated flooding. Now, however, even sun showers are clogging the rivers.

Town of Greenburgh Public Works Commissioner Victor Carosi was named as the co-Chair for a multi-community task force on flooding. The other usual players were named as well, such as County Legislator Alfreda Williams. But regardless of who is on this task force to mitigate flooding, they never meet, never come out with information and have continued to ignore the flooding issues everywhere in our Town and villages – especially along the Bronx River corridor! It’s as if the politicians welcome flooding so they can have the media feature their soundbyte about how somebody else has failed these victims and they will look into it. The only thing they seem to look into is finding a different flood location for another soundbyte.

The Journal News article said “they” were, “Using a $1 million state grant and the consulting services of WSP Parsons Brinkerhoff, city planners have been working with Metro North and other interested parties…” So,now we know who the developer of this massive project is predestined to be. Every time a resident complains about flooding and what’s not being done to mitigate it, they are told there is no money. Here was $1 million that could have been used toward dredging the river, cleaning out debris and helping the Bronx River corridor residents keep their homes and loved ones safe. Another lame excuse is that there are multi-jurisdictional legal issues to address. Just cleaning the river, which falls under the aegis of the Westchester County government, always seems to be the victim of finger-pointing. Apparently, it’s not enough to get a full-time salary and lifetime medical benefits and actually help taxpayers. Rather, they prefer to spend more time printing a Proclamation to present at a dinner and glad-hand those in attendance in hopes of more votes.

Now we see the latest “pitch” by the cities to install gigabit internet service to “allow them to tap into an exclusive global network of high speed information sharing that is fueling previously unthinkable economic growth.” There it is again. Political speak for how they are unnecessarily spending our money and using buzz words to do it. In fact, New Rochelle lifetime Mayor Noam Bramson said, “What we are learning is that the digital infrastructure can be every bit as important (as roads and bridges).” That’s doubtful. But maybe Mayor Bramson could try maintaining the roads and bridges first, before we give him more money to waste?

Later in the article, other city’s leaders gave their reasons why this needed to be done. A lot of reasons were given to validate this “historic” move, as they always are. Internet companies will bid for this work, such as Verizon, AT&T and Comcast. Wait a minute. Aren’t they really the only games in town anyway? Then they mention that the cities will need to float a bond to pay for this. What’s not said is that you and I will pay for this for the next twenty years even knowing that technology becomes outdated almost as soon as it’s installed. It’s kind of like your brand new car depreciating as soon as you take ownership and drive it off the dealer’s lot.

We also have outside players adding insult to injury. The Westchester County Association, a group maneuvering to be political power brokers started by now deceased former County Executive Alfred DelBello and current president William Mooney in 2009 (or so). Its representatives are extolling the benefits of gigabit services for businesses, in schools, smart-energy power grids, public safety and well, you get the idea. Although they didn’t mention it, we expect it will also cure cancer. While purporting to have no skin the game, why are they even involved?

We’re being are spoon-fed a lot of the same political misinformation that is rolled out for every project to justify these publicity producing moves. Come election time, this will be one of their accomplishments that we paid and will continue to pay for, not them. And are you utilizing it? Of course not. They tell us that this will reduce the digital divide – whatever that really is. What will be divided is your money from you over the course of years. We’re sure Mr Feiner would have jumped onto this bandwagon had he been invited. Since it was only for city leaders, he’ll have to wait until next time - but it is sure to come our way. We’re sure it’s coming. Reclaim New York discusses these types of smokescreens as well as how to combat them. They are worth checking out and even getting involved in. The more people who see what these disingenuous politicians are doing, the better! Only then will we get A Better Greenburgh.

Sunday, October 2, 2016

Reclaim New York Coming To Greenburgh

Reclaim is a non-partisan, not-for-profit government accountability group focused solely on the state of NY. They’re all about teaching citizens about how to be pro-active in local government, utilizing FOIL requests, etc (right up your alley). With an overall focus on high taxes, governmental mismanagement and corruption.

This Tuesday, October 4th 
6 – 8 PM
at the Greenburgh Public Library
300 Tarrytown Road, Elmsford, NY, 10523
in the Multipurpose room.

We are told but cannot verify that there will be free dinner. All people have to do is sign up beforehand via the link provided.

Saturday, October 1, 2016

Break-Ins Surge According to Email

 Even without receiving campaign emails from the corner office about what’s going on around Town, it’s no longer a secret that the Greenburgh Police Department has lessened their traffic control presence throughout the Town. It was most notably observed in several neighborhoods that used to have an officer in either a marked, unmarked or “shadow” vehicle sitting with a radar gun monitoring traffic, speeders and issuing tickets. The officers doing this have apparently been removed from these locations and either reassigned or perhaps even retired. While we don’t have a reason for this, we know the lack of traffic policing has not gone unnoticed.
Many residents have reached out to their civic associations to complain and find out why. The police department has admitted they are short-staffed. Quite possibly a personnel shortage might, in fact, be the reason. But we also read that the police department decided not to fill a vacant position to purchase several motorcycles. Clearly, this move would indicate the position that was open was not necessarily impactful or critical to the police on patrol. Or was it?

In one of his recent daily email campaign blasts, Mr Feiner wrote to residents that “Over a dozen unlocked vehicles were entered last night in the Joyce Road section of Hartsdale and property was stolen from within the cars. Additionally, one unlocked vehicle with a key left inside was stolen.  If each of these cars was locked this email would not have been written!” We doubt that. In fact, he would simply discuss something else. Such as, since the professionals he hired to repair the 9-11 memorial wall at Presser Park (formerly Webb Field) failed with their last attempt, he has enlisted the help of students to repair the wall and try to keep the individual tiles from falling off again.

He continues, “We are stepping up patrols and asking residents to help protect themselves by locking their vehicles at night. This crime of opportunity is plaguing many communities in Westchester and we believe the Greenburgh police have previously arrested the subjects responsible for last night’s crimes. Our officers have been in the Bronx most of the day following up.” What it sounds like is that a lack of patrols by our police might be what’s missing. Perhaps one of the new motorcycle police officers could do the patrol more stealthily than a regular patrol car?

Finally, he says, “The Greenburgh police department also has a neighborhood watch program. Neighbors who participate in the neighborhood watch efforts help the police look for suspicious activity. Let us know if you're interested in setting up a neighborhood watch program on your street. We can have a police officer meet with you and your neighbors at someone's home, provide neighbors with safety tips and advise you what action steps you could take to help us keep your neighborhood very safe.”

We are all for Neighborhood Watch programs and encourage the public to report any suspicious activity, regardless of a Neighborhood Watch or not. But Mr Feiner has cleverly switched the subject from a lack of action with the thefts in the Hartsdale neighborhood away from the real issue, that of a lack of police presence in all of our neighborhoods. Our police department is one of the best to be found anywhere. Sadly, the police chief answers to, and the department falls under Mr Feiner’s purview. 

While all of the rhetoric from the corner office will no doubt change the subject, Mr Feiner will offer to meet with anyone who is willing to talk to him. If he hadn’t already changed the subject prior to his arrival, he will do so once he is there. Then he will try to enlist the help of that person to assist him in creating a program to... We need a more visible police presence in all of our neighborhoods to thwart crime. We need speed monitoring and ticketing of those offenders who violate the law. If we have the police in our neighborhoods instead of in the Bronx or riding motorcycles, maybe we can prevent more crime here as get to know our police officers better. Only then will we get A Better Greenburgh.