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Yandrasevich2

Yandrasevich sentencing adjourned again

The sentencing date for Scott Yandrasevich, the disgraced former general manager of the Rye Golf Club, was pushed back once again to Thursday, Aug. 6.

According to the Westchester County District Attorney’s office, Yandrasevich’s sentencing was adjourned on July 27 for the new date of Aug. 6. This is the second postponing of Yandrasevich’s sentencing, following an original sentencing date of April 9.

Yandrasevich was charged with 10 felony counts of falsifying records and one felony count of grand larceny in the second degree after forming several shell staffing companies which allowed him to embezzle approximately $342,120 over a six-year period, 2007 to 2013, from the city’s golf club.

The former golf club manager, who resigned from the club in January 2013 and was arrested in November of that year, accepted a plea deal on Nov. 6, 2014 and as a part of the agreement, he was required to pay restitution to the City of Rye for $271,120 of the money he stole from the golf club and its members. If he is unable to repay the restitution, Yandrasevich is expected to serve a greater sentence of one to three years in state prison.

When asked why the case was delayed again, the district attorney’s office told the Review there were simply no updates on the case.

-Reporting by Jackson Chen

CLAY1f

Mamaroneck Harbor sees red hue again

Despite an extensive remediation plan in the works, more red clay has spilled into the Mamaroneck Harbor after some rainfall on July 18. Photo/Jim Desmond

Despite an extensive remediation plan in the works, more red clay has spilled into the Mamaroneck Harbor after some rainfall on July 18. Photo/Jim Desmond

By JACKSON CHEN
After some morning rainfall on July 18, another wave of red clay discharge has been spotted spilling into the Mamaroneck Harbor.

The discharge was the result of rainwater washing throughout Harbor Island Park and collecting the crushed stone dust near the Sportime facility that houses red clay tennis courts. Eventually, the rainwater, mixed with the residual stone dust from the clay courts, coursed through the area’s drainage system and into the Mamaroneck Harbor.

“The problem really is the clay courts and it’s the tip of the iceberg,” said Katherine Desmond, the director of the nearby Marine Education Center. Desmond said the clay discharge points to many problems within the park, including the bigger issue of poor village oversight over the park’s drainage system. Desmond’s husband Jim said 20 minutes after the rainfall, the discharge was seen bleeding into the waters of the harbor.

The recent mishap wasn’t the first time the Desmonds caught the tennis court material spilling into the village waters. In August 2014, the marine education center’s director saw the nearby waters of Harbor Island Park hold a rusty orange hue from heavy runoff from the clay courts.

Because Desmond reported it to the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation, DEC, the village received a violation on Oct. 1, 2014 for allowing the discharge to enter the harbor and eventually seep into the Long Island Sound. According to the DEC, if the violation happened again, the village would be hit with a $37,500 fine for each incident and each day the problem wasn’t solved. While Sportime is the operator of the clay tennis courts, the village ultimately holds ownership of the property and the resulting violations.

Since the August 2014 spills, the more recent July incident is believed to be the only other instance of discharge flowing into the harbor. Despite the Desmonds reporting the incident, the DEC has not issued any fines to the village, according to Village Manager Richard Slingerland. The village manager added that the DEC is giving them a grace period to install a portion of the remediation plan, a required step in addressing the issue.

Slingerland’s remediation plan submitted to the DEC in November 2014 outlined a  bio-retention area that uses soil and vegetation to capture sediment, in addition to an underground water filtration system. However, the plan had to be updated because the DEC expressed concern with the underground system and its potential to be clogged.

Since then, the village manager has updated the plan to include upgraded catch basins and a Stormceptor, a storm water system that retains sediment for later removal and traps oils and debris through floatation.

According to Slingerland, the project is about 95 percent complete, but is missing a key component. Slingerland said the village needs to install the Stormceptor, but is waiting for a textile screen meant to catch most of the pollutants. Despite the village working quickly to install the new remediation plan, the incomplete project allowed another instance of pollutants flowing through the park’s drainage system.

“It won’t be 100 percent, but it’ll catch a huge amount of discharge,” Slingerland said about the textile screens, which are expected to arrive by next week, as of press time. “If the screens were there, it would’ve prevented the discharge.”

Still, there’s some skepticism on the part of Katherine Desmond regarding the village’s efforts. “In terms of the clay [discharges], I don’t see how any kind of better screening is going to be able to stop [its] velocity,” Desmond said.

Besides the Stormceptor contraption, the village also retrofitted the old catch basins to improve performance. Slingerland said the undersized catch basins were upgraded, while the village also unclogged some of them.

In terms of a more immediate solution, Sportime put up their tennis bubbles during the winter season, which virtually prevented the onset of any more discharge. However, according to Assistant Village Manager Dan Sarnoff, the bubbles were taken down by Sportime because of the summer season, which made the courts unplayable without any type of air conditioning.

In exploring a more permanent solution to the clay runoff, there have been ongoing discussions of relocating the Sportime facility to higher ground. When asked if a relocation of the Sportime facility was still being considered, Slingerland said that the option is still on the table but is currently being discussed between the village and Sportime’s attorneys.

Representatives from the DEC could not be reached for comment, as of press time.

CONTACT: jackson@hometwn.com

 
Playland-18

Playland revenue and attendance up

At the end of June, the 2014 and 2015 attendance and revenue numbers for Playland were nearly identical with 134,031 and 135,587 visitors in 2015 and 2014, respectively, and gross revenues of $2.51 million and $2.58 million in 2015 and 2014, respectively. The major difference was the July 4 weekend weather which allowed the 2015 numbers to surge.

At the end of June, the 2014 and 2015 attendance and revenue numbers for Playland were nearly identical with 134,031 and 135,587 visitors in 2015 and 2014, respectively, and gross revenues of $2.51 million and $2.58 million in 2015 and 2014, respectively. The major difference was the July 4 weekend weather which allowed the 2015 numbers to surge.

By CHRIS EBERHART
Playland had what was considered by many to be a successful season in 2014, and early revenue and attendance figures as of July 19 have already outpaced last year’s numbers. 

Through July 20, 2014, Playland had a total attendance of 230,295 and took in gross revenue of $4.26 million. This year through July 19, which includes the latest numbers obtained by the Review, Playland had a little less than 5,000 more patrons visit the park—235,125—and made nearly $150,000 more—$4.4 million—in gross revenue.

The major difference between this year and last was better weather on July 4—which is generally the busiest day of the year at the amusement park—after a washout in 2014. Through the month of June and heading into the July 4 week, attendance and revenue figures were nearly identical, with 135,587 visitors in 2014 compared to 134,031 visitors in 2015, and a gross revenue of $2.58 million in 2014 and a gross revenue of $2.51 million in 2015.

After July 4, 2015, numbers spiked to 178,998 visitors and gross revenue of $3.35 million, as opposed to 165,353 visitors and a revenue of $3.12 million in 2014.

Westchester County Deputy Parks Commissioner Peter Tartaglia said the numbers indicate about a 6 percent uptick in business over last year.

“Last year, we had the tail end of a hurricane that destroyed most of business on July 4 except for the fireworks show late at night,” Tartaglia said. “This year we had some rain, but it rained early. So from about 4 p.m. on we packed our parking lot and made up a lot of revenue.”

Since hitting a low point in 2013, Playland has been on the upswing in terms of both attendance and revenue, and the driving forces behind that, Tartaglia said, are good weather and an increased number of promotions.

“Weather is always the main factor and will continue to be,” Tartaglia said referring to the amusement park industry, and, in particular, Playland. “Then there are the promotions and discounts that we’ve
been adding.”

Last year, the county started half-priced evenings on Tuesdays and Thursdays at Playland. This year, the county extended that initiative to include Wednesdays and also added a Mother’s Day and Father’s Day promotion, where moms and dads were able to enter the park for free.

“Those are just some of the new promotions,” Tartaglia said.

Playland could see another jump in productivity beginning next year and beyond with Standard Amusements preparing to take over
management of what is the only county-owned amusement park in the nation.

The agreement between the county and Standard was approved by the Westchester County Board of Legislators in June. As part of the 15-year Playland agreement, Standard will invest $25 million—$2.25 million in upfront costs to the county and $22.75 million in direct investments into the 87-year-old amusement park—and pay annual rising payments to the county starting at $300,000. The county will also receive 7.5 percent of the profits once Standard recoups its initial investment.

Currently, Standard and the county are in a co-management period, a time when Standard is shadowing the county in order to better understand how the park is run. The co-management concludes at the end of October, at which point Standard will make a final decision if it wants to stay in or opt out of the agreement.

“So far [the co-management period] has been good,” Tartaglia said. “They’ve been observing and asking questions like ‘Why do you do this?’ or ‘When do you do this?’ So far, it’s been productive.”

CONTACT: christopher@hometwn.com

 
tuckahoehotelf

Pollutants found in Tuckahoe hotel site

The Tuckahoe Planning Board listened to a summary of the results of a remedial investigation that said there are chemicals on-site but not enough to pose a significant threat to human health, so the old quarry property can be developed into a proposed Marriott hotel, pictured. Rendering courtesy Village of Tuckahoe

The Tuckahoe Planning Board listened to a summary of the results of a remedial investigation that said there are chemicals on-site but not enough to pose a significant threat to human health, so the old quarry property can be developed into a proposed Marriott hotel, pictured. Rendering courtesy Village of Tuckahoe

By CHRIS EBERHART
The site of a proposed hotel on Marbledale Road in Tuckahoe is home to an old village quarry and a New York State Department of Environmental Conservation designated Brownfield site. This means the property has potentially hazardous substances, pollutants or contaminants that would have to be cleaned up before any construction can commence.

For months, the Tuckahoe Planning Board listened to personal anecdotes about the garbage and harmful chemicals that have been dumped over the years in the old quarry.

Lifelong Tuckahoe resident Anthony Lore, who neighbors the location of the hotel proposal, recalled his high school days working with different contractors and dumping asbestos from pipes and oil burners in the quarry.

Joseph Marinello, another lifelong village resident who lives near the proposed hotel, said he remembers when he worked with his uncle doing work for a plumbing contractor  in the Garth Road section of Eastchester and dumped loads of asbestos in the quarry.

“It worries my heart to see this hotel going [in the quarry site] because I know what’s been dumped in there,” Marinello said.  “I’ve seen it.”

On July 21, the Planning Board got a better feel of what’s in the old quarry after listening to an hour-long presentation from environmental consultant and hydro geologist Bill Canavan, of Hydro Environmental Solutions, Inc., who summarized the results of his company’s remedial investigation of the site. A draft of the final result is being prepared for the DEC and then will be distributed to the Planning Board members and made available to the public.

Until then, the board is working off of Canavan’s synopsis, which said the 109-125 Marbledale Road property is a landfill between 16 and 85 feet thick where the quarry used to be, and is filled with cinders, ash, construction and demolition debris, glass, mattress parts and metal auto parts. The study included tests on the groundwater, surface soil, subsurface soil and soil vapors and found a number of contaminants, such as lead and mercury in the subsurface soil tests, throughout the site.

Despite the discovery of these contaminants, Canavan said the 3.5-acre site can still be developed into the proposed five-story, 163-room Marriott SpringHill Suite hotel.

“Historic landfilling does not pose a significant risk to human health,” Canavan said.

But the site will require a cleanup plan that Canavan said will include a combination of soil excavation and offsite disposal; capping, which involves creating and maintaining a hard surface, usually concrete or asphalt, over the contaminated soil; and vapor mitigation.

“It’s not a clean site, but the horror stories we’ve been hearing…the data indicates otherwise,” Canavan said.

After listening to Canavan’s presentation, the Planning Board decided to publish on the environmental notice bulletin, an online publication of the state DEC that publicizes proposals and actions of land use boards throughout the state, a draft of the conditional negative declaration under the New York State Environmental Quality Review Act, SEQR, which says the project will not have any significant adverse impacts on the environment but conditioned on the project, making DEC and the state Department of Health requirements. This vote opens the public comment period, which ends on Sept. 15, the day of the next scheduled Planning Board meeting. It’s customary in many municipalities to not schedule land use meetings in August.

Come Sept. 15, the Planning Board can either decide to extend the comment period, move ahead with the conditional negative declaration or decide against the negative declaration and force the applicant, Bill Weinberg, of the Eastchester-based Bilwin Development Affiliates, LLC, to complete a full environmental impact statement, EIS, which could take up to a year to complete and cost millions of dollars.

The latter is the route that Planning Board member Melba Caliano called for during the meeting on July 21. Although she voted in favor of posting the conditional negative declaration to the Environmental Notice Bulletin to illicit public comment, Caliano argued in favor of a full EIS.

“Given the history of the site, given the level of public participation, I want a belt and suspenders, and I think this site warrants that kind of thoroughness,” Caliano said. “I think the public’s concerns will be more than addressed then.

“I don’t want to even be thinking about ‘should’ve, would’ve, could’ve.’ I want to go to sleep at night and not think about if I should’ve done something different.”

During the meeting, planning board consultant James Pinto made a suggestion to the board that it should look into hiring its own, independent environmental consultant to help the board sift through the environmental reports, a sentiment that was echoed by Caliano and Marinello.

Tuckahoe Village Administrator David Burke said if the village were to hire the consultant, who would then be paid by Tuckahoe, the developer would set up an escrow account to reimburse the village.

CONTACT: christopher@hometwn.com 

 
At the end of June, the 2014 and 2015 attendance and revenue numbers for Playland were nearly identical with 134,031 and 135,587 visitors in 2015 and 2014, respectively, and gross revenues of $2.51 million and $2.58 million in 2015 and 2014, respectively. The major difference was the July 4 weekend weather which allowed the 2015 numbers to surge.

Playland revenue, attendance up over 2014

At the end of June, the 2014 and 2015 attendance and revenue numbers for Playland were nearly identical with 134,031 and 135,587 visitors in 2015 and 2014, respectively, and gross revenues of $2.51 million and $2.58 million in 2015 and 2014, respectively. The major difference was the July 4 weekend weather which allowed the 2015 numbers to surge.

At the end of June, the 2014 and 2015 attendance and revenue numbers for Playland were nearly identical with 134,031 and 135,587 visitors in 2015 and 2014, respectively, and gross revenues of $2.51 million and $2.58 million in 2015 and 2014, respectively. The major difference was the July 4 weekend weather which allowed the 2015 numbers to surge.

By CHRIS EBERHART
Playland had what was considered by many to be a successful season in 2014, and early revenue and attendance figures as of July 19 have already outpaced last year’s numbers. 

Through July 20, 2014, Playland had a total attendance of 230,295 and took in gross revenue of $4.26 million. This year through July 19, which includes the latest numbers obtained by the Review, Playland had a little less than 5,000 more patrons visit the park—235,125—and made nearly $150,000 more—$4.4 million—in gross revenue.

The major difference between this year and last was better weather on July 4—which is generally the busiest day of the year at the amusement park—after a washout in 2014. Through the month of June and heading into the July 4 week, attendance and revenue figures were nearly identical, with 135,587 visitors in 2014 compared to 134,031 visitors in 2015, and a gross revenue of $2.58 million in 2014 and a gross revenue of $2.51 million in 2015.

After July 4, 2015, numbers spiked to 178,998 visitors and gross revenue of $3.35 million, as opposed to 165,353 visitors and a revenue of $3.12 million in 2014.

Westchester County Deputy Parks Commissioner Peter Tartaglia said the numbers indicate about a 6 percent uptick in business over last year.

“Last year, we had the tail end of a hurricane that destroyed most of business on July 4 except for the fireworks show late at night,” Tartaglia said. “This year we had some rain, but it rained early. So from about 4 p.m. on we packed our parking lot and made up a lot of revenue.”

Since hitting a low point in 2013, Playland has been on the upswing in terms of both attendance and revenue, and the driving forces behind that, Tartaglia said, are good weather and an increased number of promotions.

“Weather is always the main factor and will continue to be,” Tartaglia said referring to the amusement park industry, and, in particular, Playland. “Then there are the promotions and discounts that we’ve been adding.”

Last year, the county started half-priced evenings on Tuesdays and Thursdays at Playland. This year, the county extended that initiative to include Wednesdays and also added a Mother’s Day and Father’s Day promotion, where moms and dads were able to enter the park for free.

“Those are just some of the new promotions,” Tartaglia said.

Playland could see another jump in productivity beginning next year and beyond with Standard Amusements preparing to take over management of what is the only county-owned amusement park in the nation.

The agreement between the county and Standard was approved by the Westchester County Board of Legislators in June. As part of the 15-year Playland agreement, Standard will invest $25 million—$2.25 million in upfront costs to the county and $22.75 million in direct investments into the 87-year-old amusement park—and pay annual rising payments to the county starting at $300,000. The county will also receive 7.5 percent of the profits once Standard recoups its initial investment.

Currently, Standard and the county are in a co-management period, a time when Standard is shadowing the county in order to better understand how the park is run. The co-management concludes at the end of October, at which point Standard will make a final decision if it wants to stay in or opt out of the agreement.

“So far [the co-management period] has been good,” Tartaglia said. “They’ve been observing and asking questions like ‘Why do you do this?’ or ‘When do you do this?’ So far, it’s been productive.”

CONTACT: christopher@hometwn.com

 
Westchester County Executive Rob Astorino holds a press conference in front of Hillary Clinton’s home in Chappaqua, N.Y., after the federal government said a Chappaqua affordable housing development shouldn’t count towards a benchmark number as outlined in a 2009 affordable housing settlement.

Astorino takes housing war to Clinton’s home

Westchester County Executive Rob Astorino holds a press conference in front of Hillary Clinton’s home in Chappaqua, N.Y., after the federal government said a Chappaqua affordable housing development shouldn’t count towards a benchmark number as outlined in a 2009 affordable housing settlement.

Westchester County Executive Rob Astorino holds a press conference in front of Hillary Clinton’s home in Chappaqua, N.Y., after the federal government said a Chappaqua affordable housing development shouldn’t count towards a benchmark number as outlined in a 2009 affordable housing settlement.

By CHRIS EBERHART
Hillary Clinton’s home in Chappaqua, N.Y. was the latest battleground in the housing war between the federal government and Westchester County Executive Rob Astorino, a Republican. 

On July 21, U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara’s office said Westchester County should be held in contempt of court and be forced to pay monthly fines of $60,000 for violating the terms of a 2009 affordable housing settlement.

As part of the settlement, which was signed by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, HUD, and former County Executive Andy Spano, a Democrat, Westchester had to build 750 units of affordable housing in the county over a seven-year period, complete a source of income legislation—which bans discrimination against potential renters and home buyers based on their source of income—and complete an analysis of impediments, which is a review of the barriers affecting the development of affordable housing.

Astorino, who took over the county executive’s office in 2010 after defeating Spano, has strongly contested the settlement from the outset and said the federal government is overreaching and threatening to dismantle local zoning.

Until recently, the analysis of impediments was the main source of contention between the two sides. The eight Astorino administration-completed analyses of impediments, all of which claim Westchester doesn’t have exclusionary zoning, were denied by HUD, and the county executive refused to submit the analyses completed by the federal monitor Jim Johnson, who is overseeing implementation of the settlement, that said otherwise.

Now the two sides are fighting over the financing benchmark put in place by the settlement, specifically involving a development in Chappaqua, Clinton’s hometown, and whether the units should count toward the end of 2014 financing benchmark of 450 units.

The housing monitor said in a May 8, 2015 report that the 28-unit Chappaqua train station development shouldn’t count toward the 450-unit benchmark because the funding was not in place by the end of 2014, and the project’s completion is shrouded in doubt because of litigation and heavy scrutiny by the community and New Castle officials. But the county says the funding is in place and the project is moving forward, so the units should count, which would give the county financing for 454 units.

David Kennedy, assistant U.S. attorney, backed the monitor’s report and said the county should establish an escrow account in the amount of $1.65 million, pending the development of the 24-unit shortfall under the 2009 affordable housing settlement. The money would be returned if the county meets its next financing benchmark of 600 units by the end of 2015. If it doesn’t, the county would lose $68,800 for each unit it’s short.

Rob Astorino leaves his contact information with aides to Hillary Clinton asking her to contact him to let him know if she thought her hometown of Chappaqua was discriminatory.  Photos courtesy Westchester County

Rob Astorino leaves his contact information with aides to Hillary Clinton asking her to contact him to let him know if she thought her hometown of Chappaqua was discriminatory.
Photos courtesy Westchester County

Astorino counter-punched by knocking on Clinton’s door to put her on the spot and ask her in front of a large press contingent if she, as a presumptive Democratic nominee for president, thought her hometown of Chappaqua was discriminatory and if she supports the current administration’s “radical housing policies.”

“It would give many of her neighbors in town and throughout the county some comfort to hear her respond ‘no’ and ‘no,’” Astorino said.

Although the former secretary of state and U.S. senator wasn’t home, Astorino left his contact information with one of her aides and continued with his press conference on her front steps.

“The federal government’s assault on our local communities in Westchester is dumbfounding, shocking and counterproductive,” Astorino said. “Here’s how it works: HUD decides whether your neighborhood meets the quotas the agency believes represent the proper balance of race, income, education and other demographic features. If the zip code doesn’t measure up, HUD then prescribes corrective measures, which essentially come down to running roughshod over local zoning so HUD can socially engineer the character of your community to bring it in line with its quotas.”

Westchester County Board of Legislators Chairman Mike Kaplowitz, a Yorktown Democrat who has been leading an unprecedented legislative effort to act on behalf of the county, which is typically done by the county executive, in the housing matter, said he has been critical of the county executive in the past, particularly about not filing an analysis of impediments that would be deemed acceptable to HUD.

But Kaplowitz said he’s standing with Astorino on this particular issue.

The chairman said there’s no reason to be held in contempt when the Chappaqua development project is moving forward after receiving final approvals at the beginning of July, and added the the federal government is going after the wrong issue.

“This is like having a kid not doing well in school because he doesn’t do his homework but punishing him for using a red toothbrush instead of a blue one,” he said. “It defies common sense and feeds into the overreaching argument that the county executive has been saying all along.”

Affordable housing was the focus of a recent Supreme Court case that resulted in a 5-4 decision in favor of HUD and disparate impact, which says housing discrimination doesn’t have to be intentional in order to be illegal.

Charles McNally, an HUD spokesperson, told the Review in a previous interview that this Supreme Court decision is “another important step in the long march toward fulfilling one our nation’s founding ideals: equal opportunity for all Americans.”

Astorino said the decision “puts unprecedented power in the hands of Washington bureaucrats.”

Kennedy supported the monitor’s position that a civil contempt motion should be filed against the county, but the county won’t be required to pay fines until federal district court Judge Denise Cote makes a decision on whether to uphold the motion.

CONTACT: christopher@hometwn.com

 
The Town of Mamaroneck was recently awarded a $100,000 grant to study the possibility of installing microgrids for the area surrounding the Town Center. File photo

Mamaroneck awarded $200K to study microgrids

The Town of Mamaroneck was recently awarded a $100,000 grant to study the possibility of installing microgrids for the area surrounding the Town Center. File photo

The Town of Mamaroneck was recently awarded a $100,000 grant to study the possibility of installing microgrids for the area surrounding the Town Center. File photo

By JACKSON CHEN
Both the Town and the Village of Mamaroneck were awarded $100,000 each this month to study an alternative power grid project.

As part of a large overhaul initiative, 83 communities received grant money from the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority’s NY Prize competition. The $40 million competition aims to modernize the state’s electrical infrastructure with the introduction of an alternative system called microgrids. Alongside the town and village, several Westchester County communities were selected, including New Rochelle.

Microgrids, as the name implies, operate as smaller, independent electrical grids that would be able to supply electricity to certain zoned areas, especially during weather emergencies and power outages. After the state recovered from the damage of recent severe storms, the idea of microgrids bloomed to make sure certain municipal areas would still remain operational in the event of blackouts or power outages.

“[The microgrid proposal] really is a great opportunity to address some of the needs in the community,” said Town of Mamaroneck Supervisor Nancy Seligson, a Democrat. “One of the things we heard in the Town of Mamaroneck after Superstorm Sandy [was that] some people wanted to be more energy-independent.”

After the town applied for the NY Prize competition, the town’s staff and Sustainability Collaborative worked with Booz Allen, a Virginia-based engineering consulting firm, to secure the grant to study microgrids.

According to Town Administrator Stephen Altieri, there are two areas within the town to be studied. The administrator added that one of the areas incorporates the Town Center, Mamaroneck High School, the Sarah Neuman Center and the Mobil gas station on Boston Post Road. The town is also looking at another area that includes Hommocks Middle School, the Walgreens on Boston Post Road and nearby apartments.

Altieri said that under normal circumstances the town would operate on the electrical grid supported by Con Ed. “But there will be times of power outages where this [microgrid] can work independently and make sure certain facilities are available,” Altieri said.

Outside the forecasted major storms, microgrids can also account for the unexpected electrical outages that occur because of anything from high winds to traffic accidents.

“Anything that turns the lights off, [a microgrid] has the ability to respond and do it in a very seamless way,” said Pat Wilkinson, vice president and head of Siemen’s Energy Automation Business Unit, who will be working on the town’s feasibility study. “The facilities that are part of that circuit, they don’t have to do anything, the automation technology responds very quickly.”

Now that the town and Booz Allen have secured the $100,000, they will now be working alongside Siemens and Power Analytics, two large power industry corporations, to move forward with a feasibility study regarding microgrids. The study would measure the costs involved, architectural designs and the overall system of installing the microgrids.

“Implementing a microgrid is really a process of identifying what we consider a critical load,” Wilkinson said of the areas that would be the most desirable for the microgrid installation. “So the feasibility aspect of this is looking at exactly what is considered the critical loads.”

Barely a mile away, the Village of Mamaroneck will be tackling the same feasibility study with the help of Steven Winter Associates, a research and consulting firm. Alongside the Town of Mamaroneck, the village was awarded the same grant through the efforts of Murphy Brothers Contracting, on 416 Waverly Ave., who applied for the funding mechanism. The project was lent support by the village’s Micro-Grid team that included Mayor Norman Rosenblum, a Republican, and aims to strengthen the village’s resiliency in the face of hurricanes and other natural disasters.

For Murphy Brothers, the microgrid would be a part of the second phase of construction of the Mamaroneck Self Storage Facility. According to Michael Murphy, the company’s director of new project development, the coverage of the microgrid would include the main village offices at 123 Mamaroneck Ave. and the headquarters of both the fire and police departments.

While Wilkinson said feasibility studies for each municipality can vary in length, he added that it may be completed within the town in the next four months.

CONTACT: jackson@hometwn.com

 
Federal agency moving into Midland Avenue location

Federal agency moving into Midland Avenue location

Federal agency moving into Midland Avenue location

Federal agency moving into Midland Avenue location

By JACKSON CHEN
A federal agency’s building permit for the property at 600 Midland Ave. is currently under review after its proposal was recently approved by the Rye City Planning Commission. 

According to the city’s Building Department, the representatives of the property submitted an application for a building permit on July 21.

The property was purchased by 600 Midland Avenue, LLC, for $6 million on Dec. 30, 2014, according to records on file with the city assessor’s office. The two-story building was previously occupied by USAlliance Federal Credit Union, which has since moved its offices to the Kohl’s Shopping Center on Boston Post Road in nearby Port Chester.

The Midland Avenue property is a privately-owned building, but the tenant is expected to be a federal agency, like the FBI, according to City Planner Christian Miller. While the FBI is headquartered in Washington, D.C., the federal agency has a local office in White Plains.

The site plan for the Rye property also indicated that the building would be occupied by a tenant managed through the General Services Administration, the agency that handles real estate matters for the federal government. Since the building is owned by the LLC, the property would not see any tax exemptions, according to the city assessor’s office. The property’s assessment translates to a market value of $6.4 million.

Since the new owners are planning to keep the building for office use, the proposal would adhere to the city’s B-4 zone that only allows the space to be used by office buildings. However, the applicant is planning to repurpose the 30,000-square-foot property by adding an extra 1,700 square feet, new concrete sidewalks and a perimeter security fence with an access gate.

“They’re doing a modest expansion and…they’re not really changing the footprint of the building,” Miller said.

After three meetings in front of the Planning Commission, there were discussions regarding the perimeter fence and off-site queuing, where cars would line up along a sidewalk to enter. Besides traffic concerns, the commission discussed the addition of sidewalks that would create approximately 1,100 square feet of additional, impervious surfaces, where water cannot pass through that would lend itself to more flooding concerns. However, the proposal was eventually approved, after taking into consideration that the developers would include double the amo-
unt of wetland mitigation to offset the increase of impervious surfaces.

Michael Huntress, the pro-ject’s applicant, could not be reached for comment as of press time.

CONTACT: jackson@hometwn.com

 
Mountco, a Scarsdale-based construction and development company, presents a $1 million check to Rye Interfaith Housing Corporation for its combined work on Rye Manor. The two corporations are joined by state, county and city officials. Photo/Jackson Chen

Rye Manor renovations adds 30-year lifespan

Mountco, a Scarsdale-based construction and development company, presents a $1 million check to Rye Interfaith Housing Corporation for its combined work on Rye Manor. The two corporations are joined by state, county and city officials. Photo/Jackson Chen

Mountco, a Scarsdale-based construction and development company, presents a $1 million check to Rye Interfaith Housing Corporation for its combined work on Rye Manor. The two corporations are joined by state, county and city officials. Photo/Jackson Chen

By JACKSON CHEN
A Rye City nonprofit organization for senior affordable housing was given another $1 million for their work with a Scarsdale-based construction company that recently renovated Rye Manor so it can last another 30 years.

Rye Interfaith Housing Corp., an organization that sponsored the original creation of Rye Manor, first developed the 100-unit structure in 1987. The nonprofit was created by five churches in the city to specifically address the novel idea of affordable housing back in the ‘80s, according to Rye Interfaith President Bruce MacLeod. Throughout the years, Rye Manor has remained the sole project the organization has worked on.

After getting city approval, the complex located at 300 Theall Road was built and expected to operate as a senior affordable housing unit for the next 30 years under ownership of Rye Interfaith.

Nearly three decades later, the aging housing complex required extensive renovations and a renewal of its U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development contract, which allowed the complex its affordable housing status.

“It came time to think about moving forward and the building needed some work,” MacLeod said. “We talked to a number of different developers and chose the Mountco folks to put together a group to buy it.”

The company was able to renovate the four-story complex with new windows, roofing, interior work, and upgrades to the heating, elevators and electrical work. According to Mountco, Rye Manor remained fully occupied by its residents throughout the renovation process that started approximately two years ago.

“I’m very happy with what they did with my apartment and I think the renovations were very nice,” said Meg Treganowan, a Rye Manor resident. She added that the renovations included new countertops for her kitchen, new tile flooring and a vanity mirror in the bathroom.

The renovations and assistance of Rye Interfaith are expected to allow Rye Manor to endure another 30 years, according to Joel Mounty, president of Mountco Construction and Development Corp. After the work was completed, Mounty presented Rye Interfaith with a $1 million donation to commemorate the guidance efforts of the nonprofit organization.

According to MacLeod, Rye Interfaith worked with the development company throughout the process in a consulting role, providing ideas as to which renovations to focus on.

The million dollars given to Rye Interfaith’s consulting was on top of another $1 million that Mountco provided  to fund the organization’s operating costs and efforts for more local affordable housing
developments nearly two years ago.

“We have $2 million to support and help affordable projects in some minority way,” MacLeod said, but he added “we’re not a developer; we’re just a source of community support and financing.”

MacLeod said the organization has looked at a couple of projects, but that it was too soon to make any determinations and didn’t want to share any further details with the Review. The president added that past concerns about the negatives of affordable housing have seemed to dissipate, since Rye Manor has stood for 30 years without having any type of negative impact on the city.

CONTACT: jackson@hometwn.com

 
A bill to move the Eastchester Fire District elections from December to November never made it to the New York state Senate floor during the legislative session, and Sen. George Latimer said he has yet to receive an explanation. File photo

State doesn’t vote on EFD election change bill

A bill to move the Eastchester Fire District elections from December to November never made it to the New York state Senate floor during the legislative session, and Sen. George Latimer said he has yet to receive an explanation. File photo

A bill to move the Eastchester Fire District elections from December to November never made it to the New York state Senate floor during the legislative session, and Sen. George Latimer said he has yet to receive an explanation. File photo

By CHRIS EBERHART
 Since 2010, the Eastchester Fire District has been unsuccessfully trying to move the fire commissioners’ election from December to coincide with Election Day in November in an effort to bolster voter turnout. But another New York state legislative session has now ended without a change.

This year, as in years past, the bill, which requires approval from both houses of the state Legislature, a signature from the governor and authorization from the Westchester County Board of Elections, passed in the Democratic-majority state Assembly but never made it to the floor of the Republican-led Senate. So, the 2015 fire election will once again be held in December.

State Sen. George Latimer, a Rye Democrat who carried the bill in the Senate, said there was no reason why the bill hadn’t been voted on.

“We did everything we could,” Latimer said. “We filed the bill in January, so it wasn’t like it was a last-minute June bill. We prioritized it. We interacted with the majority. We had elected officials in the area lobby for it. I’m at a loss to explain why it never came to the floor. And whatever the [Republicans’] opposition to the bill is, they haven’t made public.”

Latimer sent a letter to state Senate Majority Leader John Flanagan, a Huntington Republican, asking for clarification about why the bill did not pass, but has yet to receive a response.

Dennis Winter, chairman of the Eastchester Board of Fire Commissioners, has been pushing the move for years and said the inability to pass the bill is “discouraging,” but the fire district will again push to move the date to November next year.

The bill passed the Assembly in 2011 and 2012 but died in the Senate both years. In 2013, the bill passed both houses after what Winter called an “aggressive” effort by Latimer in his first year as a senator. Shortly after, the bill was signed by Democratic Gov. Andrew Cuomo.

But issues with the election date move were raised by the county Board of Elections. Taijan Jones, an executive assistant to the county Board of Elections commissioners, told the Review during a previous interview that the fire district elections and elections run by the county Board of Elections have different standards with respect to factors such as petition filing and machine use, and that the language of the bill in 2013 had to be altered to conform to Board of Election standards.

Latimer said the bill, amended in 2014 to reflect the changes required by the Board of Elections, was resubmitted during the 2014 legislative session but was shot down by the Senate because of last-minute concerns over wording. Latimer said the objections were voiced too late in the legislative session to change the wording in time.

The issues brought up by the Senate in 2014 were addressed in the 2015 submission to the state Legislature, but for reasons unknown to Latimer, the bill never made it the floor of the Senate after passing the Assembly.

 CONTACT: christopher@hometwn.com