Tuesday, February 28, 2017

Town Crippled With Supervisor Gone

There’s quite a bit that must happen for a neighborhood in our Town, such as this one known as Edgemont (Greenville by some), to ultimately want to incorporate into a Village within the Town. The steps taken so far are moving that goal closer to fruition. To be candid, not everyone is a fan of the Edgemont incorporation move. Many of those opponents include Mr Feiner, and probably his Town Board – mostly because we believe he told them to be against it.

Others who have doubts have called a meeting for tonight at the Highview School, off of Central Avenue, at 7:30pm. They might have wanted the meeting at Town Hall, but you’ll recall Mr Feiner and his Town Board decided to forbid any taxpayer the use of their own taxpayer building after he allowed a Hamas organization to use it and the police had to be called in to address a Feiner-created near riot situation! What a shame that residents are treated so poorly by Mr Feiner until a reporter is nearby and he can spout his phony “open government” mantra.

Whether or not you are for the Edgemont incorporation, you can find out more information by attending the meeting to be held tonight. Ironically, Mr Feiner was away on vacation when Jeff Sherwin of the Edgemont Incorporation Committee arrived at Town Hall loaded with a 1400 signature petition and a $6,000 filing fee to initiate the incorporation process. Bereft of any real legal talent at Town Hall, many, including the legal department, chose to misinterpret the law and not allow Mr Sherwin his right of filing his petition or paying the required fee. Under the rouse of ignorance, legal technicalities or simply ineptness, the Deputy Town Supervisor, in this case Councilman Jones, was claimed to not be able to accept the petitions or fee. Town Attorney Tim Lewis said he was unable to accept them, stating it had to go to the Supervisor. And, finally, the Town Clerk, the official keeper of all documents, was supposedly unable to accept them as well. To make a play on a line in My Cousin Vinny, “Do the laws of operation cease to exist at Town Hall when the Supervisor is away?”

What this clearly demonstrates is several things. First, our Town's operation will grind to a halt if the Supervisor is out of Town, ill and not in the office, or worse. Second, if the first assumption is not correct, does Mr Feiner have his administration so well-trained (scared) that they refuse to act in his absence for fear of repercussions or retribution (read: be Sonya’d)? Third, is there no other legal recourse that this administration's minions can seek guidance from in Mr Feiner's absence should our second scenario be incorrect? With all of the back-and-forth, their refusals lessened the amount of time Mr Feiner needs to validate the signatures. And, we all know that Mr Feiner is one of the best at disqualifying petition signatures.

The last municipality to incorporate was Rye Brook in 1982. It’s not a question of why did it take so long since then? Rather, why is this happening at all? Edgemont is the wealthiest community in the Unincorporated Town of Greenburgh. For years they have butted proverbial heads with Mr Feiner and iterations of his Town Boards about how their community was treated. Or, more importantly, mistreated. They have asked for zoning considerations during stressful zoning changes and been ignored. They asked for sidewalks and were ignored - at least until Mr Feiner realized they were serious about incorporation. They asked the Town not to add a tax, oops, fee to service stations on Central Avenue and were ignored. Wait a minute... he’s done this to every community except the Manhattan Avenue section of Fairview. The difference is Edgemont has the money, talent and resources others do not have to fight him. And fight him they are!

No neighborhood should have to feel or pursue the need to incorporate to protect its residents from the politicians in charge. And yet, this is Greenburgh; often described as Bizarro Greenburgh. This helps us to understand why a neighborhood such as Edgemont would want to incorporate and get out from under the bad and costly decisions of this administration. We're sure there are other communities that feel the same way but don’t have near the resources of an Edgemont to get “out from under”. It’s too bad that any neighborhood is driven to feel this way. This must end. Only then will we get A Better Greenburgh.

Saturday, February 25, 2017

Bad Proposal Repackaged

It has now been confirmed that the 32-acre golf driving range owned by the Visioli Family on Dobbs Ferry Road has finally been sold to GameOn 365. You will recall that GameOn 365 was the proponent of installing an 8-story-plus permanent inflatable sports dome at 715 Dobbs Ferry Road, the former Frank’s Nursery location. Community outrage and unity stopped this travesty from happening. Now, because of the relentless work of the Worthington Woodlands Civic Association, the Fulton Park Civic Association, the Council of Greenburgh Civic Associations and others, GameOn 365’s inappropriate proposal was squashed, only to see another iteration be born for the adjacent golf driving range. The new plan called for a much larger sports complex which included a 55 foot building, outdoor soccer fields, 90 ft. lights and retail shops. 

Many thought the project had finally been killed when GameOn 365 lost their bid for the Former Frank’s Nursery property and subsequently dropped their plans for the driving range. Obviously, they have not.

We proved in earlier posts that Mr Feiner and GameOn 365 had made backroom deals long before the former Frank’s Nursery property became available. In fact, when those emails were uncovered through the Freedom of Information Law (FOIL) requests, the GameOn 365 representatives were found to have told Mr Feiner that they should not be emailing each other as emails can be FOIL-ed and telephone conversations cannot. Is this type of deceit what we want or expect from our leaders? We certainly don’t want it but sadly have accepted that it is what can be expected from this administration.

As of this date, there is no additional information about the intended use of the property, which,as you may already know, is zoned Residential (R-30) - Single Family Homes. We expect to have Garrett Duquesne, the Commissioner of Community Development and Conservation (a contradiction of terms unless you know what you're doing) to inform us when plans to develop the property are submitted. He had promised the Civic Associations and the public that he would keep everyone informed about this project. 

The entire surrounding neighborhood, as well as other Town residents, signed a petition stating that they were against the project. The reason for the wide-spread opposition to this project: a change to the zoning code which would allow a commercial entity to be built in this residential neighborhood would set a precedent that would effect every residential neighborhood in our Town. It's too bad that Mr Feiner doesn't care about this. Only when Mr Feiner starts to care about all neighborhoods, other than his own, will we finally get A Better Greenburgh. 

Thursday, February 23, 2017

Solving A Problem That Doesn’t Exist Benefits One Business

Once again Mr Feiner has pinned a new problem to his publicity-stunt circus cadre of ‘issues’. His claim this time? Installing cell towers in East Irvington will help the people who have complained about poor cell service will now have better service. According to conversations ABG has had with Irvington residents, a) there are no cell reception issues and b) they do not want cell towers installed in their neighborhood. Besides, if we responded to everyone that’s ever had poor cell service, we’d probably give up using cell phones. This move seems to be nothing more than another disregard for resident’s safety and granting Homeland Towers, LLC, access to phone poles for financial gain. This time, however, the contract will be for 55-years! Talk about not understanding the Art of the Deal!

In a post we previously wrote from Monday, December 12, 2011, entitled Increasing Cell Tower Radiation in Town, we discussed how Homeland Towers, a cell tower company, intended to erect two 108 foot cell towers in the Town. The proposed locations were one on Taxter Road and one on Tarrytown Road. We discussed how you could see what one would look like by going southbound on the Hutchinson River Parkway from Westchester Avenue eastbound. At the time, there was another company, looking to put cell towers on existing utility poles.

Then, in another article, from Saturday, July 27, 2013, NextG: Another Guilty Verdict,
we wrote that the courts found in favor of the plaintiff, Crown Castle NG East, Inc., the “new” parent company of NextG Networks of New York, and against the Town. The original petitioner sought to install cell towers on phone poles throughout the Town. Their lawsuit alleged the protracted process began in 2009 with their cell tower installation applications to Mr Feiner and the Town took an unreasonable amount of time to make a decision, based on The FCC’s “Shot Clock” order.

The “Shot Clock” was supposedly an important step enacted by Congress to encourage the expansion of wireless networks throughout the nation. The ruling provides that a local jurisdiction must act on an application for the location of additional antennas to existing infrastructure within 90 days and an application for the construction of new infrastructure within 150 days. And, at the same time it claims to allow local control, but it really does not seem the “locals” actually maintain control.

The taxpaying public is required to once again weigh-in on the cell tower proposals and should insist Mr Feiner and his Board allow the Antenna Review Board and the Zoning Board address the issue of a proposal, which would take the onus off of Mr Feiner and the Board and place it where it belongs. We haven’t heard if Mr Feiner is allowing the Antennae Review Board use of a meeting room in Town Hall again, after he stopped allowing them to meet at Town Hall long before he stopped allowing any Greenburgh groups access to meeting rooms. After almost inciting a riot at Town Hall when he allowed a Hamas group use of Town Hall for an anti-Israel rally, Mr Feiner instructed his Town Board to no longer allow Greenburgh taxpayers the use of their building.

Cell towers in Greenburgh may be the right thing to do if it’s in the correct location. When it’s not, it should not be entertained by this administration and in fact, struck down immediately. We have an Antenna Review Board that can address this and is the proper agency to turn  to for these types of review. We doubt that will happen. Appointing many “Feiner-friendly” residents to these different Boards becomes more and more indicative of Mr Feiner’s policy of stacking the deck to acquire rulings he seeks. It has to stop. Only then will we get A Better Greenburgh.

Edgemont Incorporation is Real

Yesterday, the Edgemont Incorporation Committee (EIC) team travelled to the Town Clerk’s office at Greenburgh Town Hall to file a petition seeking a referendum on Edgemont incorporating as a village. Although initially unsuccessful, we should assume that the EIC will complete the filing within the next week or two, kicking off the next phase of this process.

With this action the EIC have sent a clear message to the town that they are serious and plan on following through on their stated objectives.

For the Town Supervisor and board, who have so far kept their head in the sand and failed to seriously engage the EIC, it’s time to start focusing on day-after scenarios. For those of us in Hartsdale and the rest of the town outside of villages (TOV) area, it’s time to set out our expectations and put pressure on our elected bodies to ensure this process does not negatively impact our homes, families and communities.


Inform your neighbors: the more voices we have, the more influence we will have in guiding the future of our neighborhood.

Thursday, February 16, 2017

Geppetto Would Be Upset

He’s at it again. Mr Feiner has decided to increase his range beyond the coveted “GB (e-mail) List” and launch yet another snail mail blitz on behalf of a infant business. No, this not about a business that addresses things for kids. Rather, this is another politically correct “green” startup that Mr Feiner has decided to promote with taxpayer money. You will recall he has done this before with other companies. Just because someone says it’s green, doesn’t necessarily make it so. Mr Feiner always seems ready to commit our tax dollars without consequence or validation. This time the company he’s promoting is Solarize Westchester.

He did the same thing a short time ago with Sustainable Westchester, a startup energy company that was begun by a group of attorneys experimenting with Greenburgh’s residents to perfect their energy “company” to later be rolled out throughout the country. Mr Feiner had singularly decided without taxpayer input, to enter ALL RESIDENTS into an Energy Savings Consortium Organization (ESCO) called Sustainable Westchester. 

This was a three-year contract with no guarantee of savings from day one through day one-thousand and ninety-five. They were originally promising to save energy money for taxpayers’ electric and gas services. Once the Town adopted their plan, the gas portion mysteriously disappeared and was not included in the overall package. When pressed, Mr Feiner ignored the questions because if you don’t answer, he knows people will stop asking. Regardless, Mr Feiner did mailings, press releases, radio broadcasts and so claiming that participants would save from $400 to $600 dollars a year. After much scrutiny by many civic associations and Mr Ken Stahn of the Sprain Road Civic Association, it was determined that his claims were unrealistic.

When all of the calculations and math was completed, Mr Stahn declared an impasse. He was unable to see how any resident could possibly save $400 to $600 dollars given the current energy prices. In fact, he met several times with them to try to prove the claims by Mr Feiner. He could not. In fact, now that the Sustainable Westchester program has been underway for about a year now, we’ve been unable to validate those claims and have learned of only minimal savings upwards of about $30 (on the high side) having been seen by those residents he’s enrolled into the program without their approval! In fact, as we wrote this article, ABG learned that ConEd Solutions, the actual company contracted by Sustainable Westchester to provide and bill for the actual delivery of electricity, was sold to another energy company. That company claims they will honor Sustainable Westchester’s agreements. 

“Solarize Westchester has expressed interest in working with the Greenburgh Town Board screening potential solar companies – trying to come up with the most competitive pricing proposal and quality installation.” Translation from Feiner-speak into real-world English: We want a monopoly on selling and installing solar panels in the Town of Greenburgh and know if we enlist mostly Mr Feiner, but also include his Town Board, we will have an unencumbered bonanza and lock out any competition. It’s like Sustainable Westchester all over again. 

The letter that Mr Feiner mailed to residents says you might be able to save a few hundred dollars a month by placing solar panels on your roof. He then extols the benefits of one of the Town Board members’ savings, which he doesn’t quantify (nor ever will), and fails to mention there are panels on every roof surface of his home. He adds that there were no up front costs. Is that with this same company or a different one? Naturally, he doesn’t say. He also doesn’t touch on any permits that homeowners might need to pay for to do this work. He doesn’t mention any inspections that need to be done during and after the installations and he doesn’t mention how long it will take for the installation to return the investment to the homeowner. Finally, he also doesn’t mention if the panels are a purchase, lease or some other kind of financial arrangement with the homeowners. 

In the end, we are all for solar and other forms of energy savings and devices, both environmentally and financially. We just don’t think the Supervisor and his Town Board should be the “pitchmen” for a private company, no matter how laudable it may be. As Mr Feiner continues to use his office as a bully pulpit, many people may be lured into a false sense of security and ultimately get burned - such as senior citizens. This blatant salesmanship from Mr Feiner and his Board must end, as well as the lack of truth coming from his administration. Only then will we see A Better Greenburgh.