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WGO

What’s going on in Harrison

Harrison library events 

The Harrison Public Library will be closed for renovations and is scheduled to reopen on Saturday, Sept. 12, 2015. Visit harrisonpl.org for updates and more information.

English conversation group

Non-native English speakers can practice their English and make new friends in an informal, volunteer-led setting and learn about the Harrison library too. No registration necessary. Group meets Mondays from 11 a.m. to noon at Uncle Henry’s Bar and Grill, 309 Halstead Ave.

West Harrison library events

Mommy & Me Yoga

Come and participate in a special yoga class with your baby. Mats and blankets will be provided or you may bring your own. For babies under 12 months and their mother or caregiver. In the Children’s Room. Open to all. On Tuesday, July 28, from 11 a.m. to noon. Call 948-2092 to sign up or for more information.

Story Time

Great stories, music and fun for ages 1 to 5. No registration necessary, bring your friends. Mondays at 10:30 a.m. for 30 minutes.

Train Time

Choo-Choo! Come and play with Thomas and friends using sets of toy trains for everyone to enjoy on Tuesdays from 10 a.m. to noon.

Open Play Time

Come into the library and meet other parents, grandparents, caregivers and children. Open for children ages 1 to 5. Make new friends, play, read and have fun with some special toys. Meets Wednesdays from 10 a.m. to noon.

Mother Goose Time

Songs, dancing and fun for the little ones ages 3 and under. Thursdays from 10:30 a.m. to 11 a.m.

Crochet and knitting class

Come anytime between 10 a.m. and 11:30 a.m. on Saturdays to knit and/or crochet, meet new friends, share your skills and knowledge and have a good time. No registration needed, walk-ins are welcome. Bring hooks, needles and yarn or practice with ours. Call 948-2092 for more information.

Teens Reading Club

Running every Thursday until Aug. 6 at 2:30 p.m. for one hour. Contact the library at 948-2092 for more information.

Mahjong class

Learn mahjong at the West Harrison Library every Wednesday afternoon from 1:30 p.m. to 5 p.m. Classes for beginners and people who need to refresh their skills. For more information, visit the library or call 948-2092.

Summer Concert Series

Jackie DiMaggio and Christopher Macchio are leading a party on Halstead Avenue and First Street on Wednesday, July 29.

On Thursday, July 30, Hindenburg, a Led Zeppelin tribute, will have a concert on the West Harrison Village Green.

Call the Harrison recreation hotline at 670-3039 for more information. All concerts start at 7 p.m. unless stated otherwise.

Harrison Recreation

TGA Golf Camp

There’s still time to learn how to play golf with Coach Paul over the summer. All equipment is provided. Program is on Wednesdays through Aug. 19 from 4:30 p.m. to 6:30 p.m. at the Veteran’s Memorial Park, located at 100 Crystal St. Price is $329. Registration is done online at playtga.com/southernwestchester. For questions call Sean Rivera at 685-1961 or email srivera@playtga.com.

Lap swimming

Enjoy swimming laps at the Brentwood Pool during the weekday mornings and evenings until Aug. 17 from 8 a.m. to 9 p.m. and from 7 p.m. to 8 p.m. Must have a 2015 Harrison recreation ID card or a senior ID card to participate.

US Sports Institute

Camp and classes for boys and girls of all abilities ages 3 through 14. There are day and evening classes, plus full days and half days. The full schedule and specific programs can be found online at USsportsinstitute.com or call 866-345-BALL (345-2255). All registration is done online.

Event rentals

Available at both the West Harrison Senior Annex and the Veteran’s Memorial Building in downtown Harrison, the building rental fee for events is $450 per 5 hours with a $300 security deposit. Add on additional space at either center for $100 plus an additional $100 security deposit. For questions and available dates call 670-3035. To rent the facility, you must have a 2015 Harrison resident identification card.

Swim camp

Come and enjoy a fun-filled week of aquatics at Ron Belmont Pool Complex from Aug. 10 through Aug. 14 from 9 a.m. to noon. Open to kids entering first through third grade. Instructions will include stroke development and water safety skills, water games, aquatic related art projects and free swimming. Classes cost $150, checks can be made payable to the Town/Village of Harrison.

Summer baseball camp

For kids entering grades K to seven in the fall. Served by the outstanding leadership of longtime 21CS camp director and NCAA assistant coach Josh Cuozzo, the camp program promises to be a child-centered baseball experience that seeks to maximize the development of players’ skills and knowledge of the game.

Open to kids entering grades K through 7 in the fall. Camp meets Monday through Thursdays from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. at the West Harrison Park Turf, Aug. 10 to Aug. 13, rain date is Friday, Aug. 14. Camp fee is $315, available discounts can lower price to $245. Discounts apply for siblings, children who have attended a 21CS camp or clinic in 2014 and multi-week campers who have attended other nearby 21CS camps during the summer of 2015. To register or for additional camp details, visit 21CSonline.com. All registration occurs online.

Volunteer opportunities

The Harrison Recreation Department has many opportunities for high school students through senior citizens to volunteer with youth programs and senior programs. For more information, call 670-3035.

South East Consortium

The Harrison Recreation Department is a member of the South East Consortium for Special Services, Inc., a nonprofit organization that provides year-round therapeutic recreation programs for children and adults with disabilities. South East offers a variety of programs and activities designed to develop physical, social, cognitive and emotional skills. These programs and services are open to all residents in the member communities. Children and adults are also allowed to participate in the regular recreation programs if some accommodations are made in cooperation with SEC on a case-by-case basis. For more information regarding inclusion programs, contact the SEC at 698-5232 or visit secrec.org.

Blood donation opportunities

Eligible donors are encouraged to choose their day to make a difference. Donors of all blood types–especially types O negative, A negative, and B negative–are needed.

Dates to donate blood:

Wednesday, July 29, 3 p.m. to 8 p.m., Columbia Engine and Hose Company 2, 601 N Barry Ave., Mamaroneck.

How to donate blood:

Download the American Red Cross Blood Donor app, visit redcrossblood.org, or call 1-800-RED CROSS (733-2767) to make an appointment or for more information. All blood types are needed to ensure a reliable supply for patients. A blood donor card, driver’s license or two other forms of identification are required at check-in. Individuals who are 17 (16 with parental consent in some states), weigh at least 110 pounds and are in generally good health may be eligible to donate blood. High school students and other donors 18 and younger also have to meet certain height and weight requirements. For more information, visit redcross.org or on Twitter at @RedCross.

 

Deadline for our What’s Going On section is every Thursday at noon. Though space is not guaranteed, we will do our best to accommodate your listing. Please send all items to news@hometwn.com.

 
WGO

What’s going on in Rye

Rye Free Reading Room events

Family Fun Nights at the Library

The Rye Free Reading Room has planned a series of Family Fun Nights for children age 5 and up and their grown-ups on Thursday evenings at 6 p.m. throughout the summer. All pertain to the Summer Reading Program’s theme “Every Hero Has a Story” and feature presentations, films and entertainment with a superhero focus.

On July 30, pop artist Michael Albert leads a workshop that will have children creating super-ific collages to decorate their own super lairs. Pre-registration begins on July 23.

Animal Embassy brings in live “Heroes of the Animal Kingdom” on Aug. 6 and explains how animals benefit from each other. One example is the burrow a tortoise makes that becomes home for many other animals and insects. Pre-registration begins on July 30.

For more information about these programs, visit ryelibrary.org.

Yoga Storytime

Master Storytime Yoga teacher Elisha Simpson will take children on a journey of exploration through body and word on July 25 at 11 a.m. as she accompanies folktales from around the world with yoga exercises to give audience members a way to connect and discover their inner world of creativity, body and imagination. Following the stories, there will be a simple related craft. Visit ryelibrary.org or call 231-3162 for more information.

Insects and butterflies

Science teacher Johnda Ferrari is conducting a Summer Science Fun Club for children entering third through fifth grade at the Rye Free Reading Room on Friday, July 31 at 4 p.m. This session will focus on insects and butterflies. Visit ryelibrary.org for more information and to sign up. Pre-registration is required and opens on Friday, July 24, one week before the program.

Rockin’ Readers Book chats

The Rye Free Reading Room invites students entering second and third grade to read and talk about “Ivan: The Remarkable True Story of the Shopping Mall Gorilla” by Katherine Applegate on Saturday, July 25. The next book on the list is “Tuesday Tucks Me In: The Loyal Bond Between a Soldier and His Service Dog” by Luis Carlos Montalvan, which will be discussed on Saturday, Aug. 22.

The Rockin’ Readers Book Chats, led by the children’s librarian, begins at 3 p.m. and includes a discussion, games and refreshments. To participate, sign up online at ryelibrary.org. Go to Programs and Events, choose the event and click on the “Register” button. Then pick up copies of the books in the Children’s Room. For more information, call 231-3162.

Spin-A-Yarn

An open to the public needle work and fabric arts get-together on Tuesdays from 2 p.m. to 4 p.m. Bring your own project and supplies and work and chat.

Wiggle, Giggle Time

Music and movement for ages 18 months to 4 on Wednesdays and Fridays at 9:30 a.m., 10:15 a.m. and 11 a.m. for 20 minutes in the Meeting Room. Participation from parents and caregivers is encouraged. As space is limited, you may attend one session per day. Doors close five minutes after the program begins to avoid interruptions. Call the Children’s Reference Desk at 231-3162 for more information.

Bilingual Storytime

Bilingual Birdies, a foreign language and live music program, will be back at the library to present a blast of culture, music, and stories in Spanish. All family members will enjoy learning songs and rhymes en Español. On Saturday, Aug. 1 at 11 a.m. for 30 minutes.

Estate planning for seniors

Pat Micek, Esq., of McMillan, Constabile, Maker & Perone, LLP, will address estate planning for seniors on Saturday, Aug. 1 from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. The talk will include protecting your assets for your family rather than losing them to a nursing home, and a Q&A in plain language with no legalese. For more information, visit ryelibrary.org or call 231-3161.

Teen Animation Workshop

The Rye Free Reading Room invites teens to register for a three-part Teen Animation Workshop taught by Westchester artist Susan Darwin from 6 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. on Thursdays, Aug. 6, 13 and 20. The sessions will include an overview of animation and instruction in the medium of cut-up magazines and images to create “Monty Python-esque” films.

Participants may bring their own images–photos, magazines, posters, and newspapers–ready to cut up or select from a supply of images brought by the instructor. Everything else needed will be provided, but teens should bring a smartphone or digital camera to test out their animations. To get the most out of the workshop, it is necessary to attend all three sessions. Space is limited. Please pre-register via the event description at ryelibrary.org. This series is sponsored by the Auxiliary Board of the Rye Free Reading Room.

Playland Park

Milt Gerver Big Band Orchestra

See The Milt Gerver Orchestra and vocalists perform on Fridays, July 24 and 31 and Aug. 7 from 7:30 p.m. to 9:30 p.m. on the boardwalk. Come out to listen, dance and swing. Enter via the poolside parking entrance.

Read Wildlife Sanctuary

On Saturday, July 25, children ages 9 and up can learn to use a compass to find their way. Orienteering for children will be from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. Call 967-8720 for more information.

International Friendship Day

On Sunday, Aug. 2, celebrate Friendship Day with Playland with a $15 admission fee all day. Get a free friendship bracelet while supplies last. This admission price cannot be combined with other offers and coupons are not valid.

Parking fees apply. For more information, visit ryeplayland.org or call 813-7010.

Wainwright House

The Yoga Training Academy offers two summer certifications:

– July 31 to Aug. 2 from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m.: Yin Yoga

Led by Corina Benner. Students will learn which tissues are being targeted, the physiological benefits of yoga and the subtle effects that contribute to the all-over good feeling the practice creates. Students will deeply investigate more than 25 Yin poses, as well as energy channels and emotional balancing. Upon completion, students will be able to field questions with confidence and true clarity. Fee: $450 for members; $500 for non-members.

— Aug. 13 to Aug. 16: Prenatal Yoga Teacher Training

Led by Sue Elkind. Also open to certified yoga teachers. Students will learn how to support women during their journey into motherhood both physically and emotionally. The training will provide essential techniques such as structuring and sequencing, asana modifications by trimester, key restorative postures, as well as alignment and anatomy. Fee: $600 for members; $650 for non-members.

For more information, call Carol Craig at 967-6080 or visit and register at wainwright.org.

Wine tasting and synagogue tour 

Join Congregation Emanu-El of Westchester for a summer whites wine tasting conducted by the experts from Westchester Wine Warehouse on Thursday, July 30 at 7 p.m.

Stay for wine and cheese, tour the synagogue with Rabbi Howard Goldsmith, ask questions and get to know current congregants in a relaxing social atmosphere. This event is geared for prospective members and friends. Babysitting services are available upon request. The synagogue is located at 2125 Westchester Ave. East in Rye. To RSVP, email alevitt@congregationemanuel.org, or call 967-4382 ext. 11.

Blood donation opportunities

Eligible donors are encouraged to choose their day to make a difference. Donors of all blood types–especially types O negative, A negative, and B negative–are needed.

Dates to donate blood:

Saturday, Aug. 1 from  9 a.m. to 2 p.m., YMCA, 21 Locust Ave. in Rye.

How to donate blood:

Download the American Red Cross Blood Donor app, visit redcrossblood.org, or call 1-800-RED CROSS (733-2767) to make an appointment or for more information. All blood types are needed to ensure a reliable supply for patients. A blood donor card, driver’s license or two other forms of identification are required at check-in. Individuals who are 17 (16 with parental consent in some states), weigh at least 110 pounds and are in generally good health may be eligible to donate blood. High school students and other donors 18 and younger also have to meet certain height and weight requirements. For more information, visit redcross.org or on Twitter at @RedCross.

 

Deadline for our What’s Going On section is every Thursday at noon. Though space is not guaranteed, we will do our best to accommodate your listing. Please send all items to news@hometwn.com.

RENDERING

4 stories to replace 3 Jalapeños

If approved, the development project for the 3 Jalapeños lot would transform the property into a  four-story, mixed-use building with 21 residential units and retail space on the ground floor.  Rendering courtesy Comstock Residential Contracting

If approved, the development project for the 3 Jalapeños lot would transform the property into a
four-story, mixed-use building with 21 residential units and retail space on the ground floor.
Rendering courtesy Comstock Residential Contracting

By JACKSON CHEN
The long-dilapidated 3 Jalapeños building on Mamaroneck Avenue is making steps toward improvement as its site plan goes through the Village of Mamaroneck’s lengthy approval process. 

The site plan, which was designed by the project architect Gregg DeAngelis, went in front of the village’s Planning Board for the third time on July 8. The board, which is serving as the lead agency for the project, has provided several suggestions to both DeAngelis and Paul Noto, the attorney representing the owners of the property, Comstock Residential Contracting, LLC.

With some adjustments stemming from the Planning Board meetings, the 20,000-square-foot development proposal is for a mixed-use, four-story building with retail space on the ground floor and 21 residential units on the top three floors. According to the proposal, the units will be split up into nine one-bedroom units and 12 two-bedroom units, with 33 parking spaces. Within the 33 spots, nine of them are designated parking spots for the nearly 3,000-square-foot retail space.

During the July 8 meeting, the Planning Board focused mostly on the project’s parking configuration, which details nine spaces for the retail portion and the remaining 21 for residential use.

“We’re still not happy with the parking plan,” said Stewart Sterk, chairman of the Planning Board, who felt there was a surplus of parking spaces for the proposal. Sterk added that he preferred a reduction of retail space or a reconfiguring of the unit spaces, rather than to impact the aesthetics of the plaza-style front of the building.

While the board continues to scrutinize several aspects of the project, they are mostly in favor of the development plan that also calls for the demolition of the decaying one-story building, which sits as the former home of Mexican restaurant, 3 Jalapeños. The defunct restaurant has stagnantly sat out of business for years after severe flood damage from Tropical Storm Irene in 2011.

The clashing, faded greens and reds of the building, located at 690 Mamaroneck Ave., greet many residents as they enter the village’s bustling downtown area. Serving as a reminder of the several instances of urban blight in the Washingtonville neighborhood of the village, the board aimed to improve this area with its recent passage of transit-oriented development, TOD, legislation. Passed in November 2014, the TOD aimed to rehabilitate the neglected areas near the Metro-North train station with redevelopment.

However, the TOD legislation was strongly opposed by some nearby residents for fear of worsening flood conditions. However, since its original iteration, the development proposal for the 3 Jalapeños lot would improve its storm water conditions compared to the current barren site, according to Noto.

Noto said the project will retain a lot of the incoming storm water and even reuse the water for irrigation. According to DeAngelis, the impervious surface of the lot would be reduced by 15 percent compared to the current abandoned lot.

Proposed as the first major development within the newly-defined TOD area, Noto said the finished project would really enhance the area with a mixed-use building. “I think it’s exactly what the trustees had envisioned when they developed the TOD zone,” Noto said.

In continuing the review process, the development proposal will go before the village’s Harbor and Coastal Zone Management Commission on July 15 for a preliminary review. Noto said there’s a possibility that the applicant will be back to the Planning Board by the end of July, and if not, it would be during meetings in September.

CONTACT: jackson@hometwn.com

 
HAMPSHIRE1

Hampshire submits third development proposal

HAMPSHIRE1

Hampshire Country Club has submitted a third development proposal for 105 residential units. This time, however, the proposal is removed from the Marine Recreation Zone portion of the club.Photo/Jackson Chen

By JACKSON CHEN
After the Village of Mamaroneck Board of Trustees declined to consider two contentious development plans from Hampshire Country Club, the club has submitted a third, more zoning-compliant, plan.

The county club, located at 1025 Cove Road, proposed a new development plan that includes the construction of 105 residential units split up into 44 single-family residences and 61 townhouses.

The plan, which was submitted on June 26, was before the village’s Planning Board on July 8 as a preliminary project proposal. Still, the introductory meeting caught the attention of several residents who voiced their concerns about density and flooding.

A sharp contrast with the club’s most recent proposal shows that the construction of the 105-unit complex would fall under the R-20 zone of the village, which is considered a one-family residential district, according to village code. Hampshire’s 106-acre property is largely located within the R-20 zone, but also has 4.4 acres in the village’s Marine Recreation Zone.

In the past, the club’s condominium developments were designed for the 4.4-acre area within the  marine zone, which is strictly limited to waterfront recreational activities and prohibits the construction of residential structures.

When the club submitted its previous development proposals, nearby residents led by Celia Felsher, president of the Mamaroneck Coastal Environment Coalition, openly voiced their disapproval of the zoning violation and potential environmental concerns the club would create.

When Hampshire submitted its original 121-unit development plan to the village, the Board of Trustees denied the club’s request in February 2014, and subsequently denied Hampshire’s revised plan of 96 units in June 2014.

As a result of Hampshire’s two previous proposals being shot down, the club filed a $55 million lawsuit against the village for what it alleges as “unlawful, discriminatory, capricious and vexatious conduct” in dealing with their prior development plans.

After scrapping the prior plans, Hampshire’s more recent development proposal was constructed with the assistance of Zarin and Steinmetz, a White Plains-based law firm, and engineers from VHB, a civil engineering consulting firm also in White Plains, to meet the village’s zoning stipulations, according to Thomas Nappi, Hampshire’s senior project manager.

“We were encouraged to submit a zoning-compliant plan and that’s what we’ve done,” Nappi said. “This plan includes only development where the zoning permits it.”

Nappi added that the approvals process where the plan moves through the village’s various land use boards is expected to last up to two years, but that the club would remain fully operational.

In terms of a response from the coalition, Nappi said, “I don’t know what to expect; we took their concerns under great consideration when we developed this new plan.”

When reviewing the new proposal, Felsher still contested that the condominiums were not right for the village. She added that the issues span from traffic congestion and exacerbating flooding concerns to acquiring a large amount of special permits to allow for construction.

When beginning the lengthy review process, the Planning Board made the motion to serve as the lead agency for approving the development plan during its July 8 meeting, alongside referring the proposal to the Westchester County Planning Board for additional review.

CONTACT: jackson@hometwn.com

 
The Rye City Council has established the city’s very first historic district in the downtown area, allowing tax exemptions for century-old properties. Photo/Jackson Chen

City creates first historic distric downtown

The Rye City Council has established the city’s very first historic district in the downtown area, allowing tax exemptions for century-old properties. Photo/Jackson Chen

The Rye City Council has established the city’s very first historic district in the downtown area, allowing tax exemptions for century-old properties. Photo/Jackson Chen

By JACKSON CHEN
History was just made and soon will be preserved as the Rye City Council has established the first historic district in the heart of downtown Rye. 

As a result of the city’s Landmarks Advisory Committee’s request, the council voted in favor of designating a large chunk of the city’s downtown area as a historic district during its July 8 meeting. But the creation of the district comes with certain amendments.

The idea of creating a historic district, which was first tackled by the council in April, allows certain properties to be deemed historic and finally able to take advantage of the lenient tax-exempt language that was added into the city code in December 2013.

“We’re out to preserve the historic character of this community,” said Maurio Sax, a member of the landmarks committee. “We’re bringing democracy to the neighborhoods…people have a say in what their neighborhoods are going to look like.”

The 2013 amendment, adopted under the former administration of Mayor Douglas French, a Republican, created a local law that provided historic property owners a 100 percent tax exemption for the first five years for any alterations or rehabilitations to their property. Generally, if any improvement work was done on a property, the property tax values would scale accordingly. With the new law in place, historic properties would only have to pay the full amount of property taxes after 10 years—0 percent for the first five years and then an additional 20 percent annually over the remaining five years—according to the code.

After a few months of council discussions and a historic district now in place, owners of certain properties within the downtown area could start claiming tax exemptions if they chose to renovate or repair their existing structures.

In making some amendments to the district before its vote, the council decided to include a stipulation that buildings within the historic district would only be able to claim tax exemptions if they were at least 100 years old.

Additionally, Republican Deputy Mayor Laura Brett, who also serves as the liaison to the Landmarks Advisory Committee, proposed to limit the outline of the historic district to exclude Locust Avenue. For the historic district’s purposes, the council was only interested in providing tax exemptions to properties with historic significance that were close to the city’s downtown.

“If we exclude Locust from this…we just exclude a small portion of the district where it doesn’t really contribute to the character of the downtown,” Brett said.

As for the properties that have yet to surpass a century’s time, Jack Zahringer, chairman of the landmarks committee, said they could claim tax exemptions for the structural improvements by going through an approvals process.

Zahringer added the properties under 100 years of age would require a proposal from the landmarks committee and eventually approval from the City Council. However, according to the committee’s survey, more than 51 buildings in the downtown district already meet the 100-year stipulation.

“Basically you walk up and down Purchase Street, we want to save most of everything,” Zahringer said, describing properties like the iconic T.D.’s Rye Smoke Shop and the Weichert Realtors building on the corner of Purchase Street and Theodore Fremd Avenue.

According to Zahringer, the genesis of the historic district proposal began with the troubling financial future of the smoke shop. After years of economic hardships, the 90-year-old store on the corner of Purchase Street and Elm Place was ready to go out of business. In response to the shop’s struggles, the committee looked for ways to make ends meet for iconic properties in the downtown area.

While looking for solutions, the committee found similar legislation that was passed in Ithaca, N.Y., approximately 10 years ago. Ithaca’s iteration served as an example for Rye’s own historic district laws by providing a model of tax exemptions.

Zahringer said even with a decade of Ithaca’s historic district exemptions on the books, he estimated that about 10 properties claimed tax exemptions.

In bringing a historic district to Rye, Brett said the law would provide “a really good blueprint for how communities and neighborhoods can move forward in terms of defining what a historic building is within a proposed district.”

While Zahringer and the committee’s survey included more than 50 properties that are over 100 years old, he said that he expects to see maybe one application a year for a historic property looking for tax exemptions.

CONTACT: jackson@hometwn.com

 
Developers are beginning to weigh in as the Rye City Council carefully works on constructing a rock chipping law. File photo

Developers disagree with chipping law

Developers are beginning to weigh in as the Rye City Council carefully works on constructing a rock chipping law. File photo

Developers are beginning to weigh in as the Rye City Council carefully works on constructing a rock chipping law. File photo

By JACKSON CHEN
Developers, contractors and builders in the City of Rye are expressing strong opposition to the ongoing creation of a restrictive rock chipping law that will be detrimental to their livelihoods, as it currently stands. 

Rock chipping, a common construction practice that steadily breaks through large rocks with the use of mechanical tools, prompted a need for some legislation after a project on 135 Highland Road persisted for more than seven months. Neighbor complaints of the project and its continuing rock chipping led the Rye City Council to consider new regulations for the disruptive construction practice.

While the council is still in the early stages of public hearings, the draft law currently requires developers to obtain permits seven days in advance, give ample notice to nearby residents and be limited to only one machine on site.

Rock chipping would also be limited to 30 calendar days and allowed only on weekdays from 9 a.m. to 3:30 p.m., according to the draft law. Additionally, the draft included that any type of rock removal would be prohibited on major holidays and testing days for nearby schools. In terms of violations, developers would be hit with a $1,000 fine, a stop-work order, 15 days in jail or any combination of the three.

As the council knew it would take time to mold such a contentious law, they put into place a rock chipping moratorium that shares many of the same stipulations of the draft law on June 17. Currently, developers are facing the 30 calendar day restriction, which usually equates to about 22 working days because of the weekend and holiday restrictions.

With a reduction in the amount of working days, developers felt the restrictions placed on rock chipping are proving to be detrimental to their current projects and future prospects.

“It was like going 100 miles an hour to zero,” said Roger Paganelli, a Rye resident and co-owner of a Rye-based development company. Like many other builders, Paganelli was not against the creation of rock chipping regulations, but said that the draft law was overreaching right out of the gate and needs thorough review.

Sharing Pagnelli’s sentiments, many developers felt the 30 calendar day limit was unfair. Instead, developers proposed a 30 business day limit as an alternative.

“30 days… is not really 30 days, it’s 22 days,” Paganelli said. “If it falls on a month with federal holidays, it’s only 18 days.” The developer added with the shortened time limit during the day, the draft law would also take out approximately five more working hours of the week.

For many in the development industry, the restriction of 30 calendar days only added to a project’s uncontrollable aspects, like poor weather and equipment breakdowns. On top of those, builders also require approvals from several utilities companies, according to Anthony Cassano, a city resident and local builder. Cassano said the process of seeking approvals for gas, electric and water companies takes about a day each.

To combat the possible delays from the utilities approvals, Councilman Richard Slack, unaffiliated, said the council is looking at possibly including an exemption within the 30-day limit for developers to acquire certain approvals.

While builders in Rye are strongly opposed to how the law stands now, most residents agree with the current iteration. Some residents even felt there was a need for further regulations, including noise limitations and environmental impact mitigation.

But for Paganelli, he said the draft law should be scrapped and reconstructed with more input from the construction community in Rye.

“We really do need to come to a mutually beneficial agreement and compromise on these issues,” Paganelli said. “We don’t want to scrap this and never revisit it; we want to scrap it and redo it with our input.”

The Rye City Council is expected to revisit the rock chipping issue during its next meeting scheduled for Aug. 5.

CONTACT: jackson@hometwn.com

 
Rye-City-Hall-8

Rye reaches new contract with clerical unit

By CHRIS EBERHART
The city has come to terms on a new contract with the city’s clerical unit that runs through 2016. The announcement came at the July 8 Rye City Council meeting.

As part of the new contract, the salaries of the CSEA Local 1000 clerical unit will increase 2.25 percent each year from 2014 to 2016 and is retroactive for current members as of Jan. 1, 2014. Members are to contribute 25 percent of the cost of their health premiums and 50 percent of the cost of health benefit premiums for retired employees and their dependents during the retired employees’ lifetime. The previous contract expired at the end of 2013, which is when negotiations towards a new agreement were first initiated.

Rye Mayor Joe Sack, a Republican, said reducing long-term healthcare costs, especially through retirement, has been a focus of the current city council.

Marcus Serrano, who sat at the dais on July 8 for the first time as Rye’s city manager, said the contract is a win for the city because of the contributions into retirement as well as the percentage that the city will be receiving, which Serrano said is among the highest in Westchester County.

This contract has been a source of contention between the CSEA Local 1000 Clerical Unit and the city that nearly ended up in court. On May 4, the local union group filed a notice of claim against the City of Rye that stated female employees were “being treated less favorable” than the male employees within the same union with respect to salary increases and negotiated benefits.

The union’s attorney, Alison Cagle, said the notice of claim was eventually dropped last month as the city and union finalized a new contract. Futhermore, Cagle said, the issue wasn’t with the current city council and administration but with Scott Pickup, the former city manager who headed contract negotiaons on behalf of the city. Pickup left Rye unceremoniously in 2014 after a brief, yet tumultuous, four-year period that was marred by several high-profile controversies. Because the city and the union reached a mutual agreement on the contract, Cagle didn’t want to dive into details, but said “some things that were done in previous negotiations left a sour taste.”

“But we’re happy with the current contract,” Cagle said. “Our concerns were addressed with former interim City Manager Frank Culross and the [city] council. They listened to our concerns and were understanding and sympathetic.”

CONTACT: christopher@hometwn.com

 
Originally built in 1927, the Eastchester High School is in need of major renovations and expansion of the building to accommodate increasing enrollment. The Eastchester Board of Education is currently considering undertaking this project. File photo

Moran: EHS in need of expansion

Originally built in 1927, the Eastchester High School is in need of major renovations and expansion of the building to accommodate increasing enrollment. The Eastchester Board of Education is currently considering undertaking this project. File photo

Originally built in 1927, the Eastchester High School is in need of major renovations and expansion of the building to accommodate increasing enrollment. The Eastchester Board of Education is currently considering undertaking this project. File photo

By CHRIS EBERHART
The Eastchester School District is looking to continue with a series of capital projects in the school buildings that started with the renovation and expansion of Waverly Kindergarten Center to include first grade in 2000 and the middle school in 2014. 

During the 2015-2016 school year, the district’s attention will turn to a high school in need of more classrooms and modernization.

The same building that housed an enrollment of 526 students in 1996 nearly doubled to 905 by the 2014-2015 school year. Student enrollment numbers in the high school are projected to increase to more than 1,000 students by 2020.

In an effort to keep up with rising enrollment, the old gym in the high school was turned into “makeshift temporary classrooms” for AP math and computer science courses in 2003, according to Eastchester High School Principal Dr. Jeffrey Capuano. But the classrooms remain 12 years later and will continue to be used into the foreseeable future, Capuano said.

In the meantime, the school district will look to improve other areas of the school, including the weight room, which is currently a carved out space in the back of the boys’ locker room, a cafeteria that is too small and an auditorium with a currently water-damaged stage, outdated lighting and chipped paint.

“The high school building is aging and in need of updating, renovating and additional classroom space,” Eastchester Schools Superintendent Dr. Walter Moran said. “The district concluded a five-year process of research, enrollment analysis and cost analysis that has led to the approval of a draft plan by the Board of Education Facilities Committee.”

The Board of Education will mull over a possible bond referendum to complete the project, but the cost of the bond and details of the plan are not yet known. The plan is only in the draft stage at the moment.

The school board is expected to discuss the plans for the project throughout the summer and into the 2015-2016 school year.

Just last year, the new middle school wing, a $12.8 million project that was funded by a bond approved by public vote in 2011, was completed. The new wing added 13 new classrooms, two new state-of-the-art science labs, small instructional spaces used for foreign language classes and the school’s intensive special needs program, bathrooms and an enlarged cafeteria. The science labs, which will have new technology such as interactive white boards, student computers and wireless capability, coincide with the newly implemented STEM—science, technology, engineering and math—course.

Prior to that, in 2000, the Waverly Kindergarten Center was expanded to twice its size with the addition of 14 classrooms to include first grade and to help keep class sizes in the Anne Hutchinson and Greenvale schools down.

CONTACT: christopher@hometwn.com

 
The Broken Bow Brewery is a fairly new addition to the Village of Tuckahoe community. Photos/Bobby Begun

Broken Bow issued permit for emergency chiller

By CHRIS EBERHART
Broken Bow Brewery has been operating with a failing chiller for the past couple weeks. The business needs a larger, more powerful one to handle the increased workload but needs a site plan approval from the Planning Board in order to move it outside. 

Because it was an emergency situation that came about recently, there isn’t enough time to include the item on the agenda for the July 21 Tuckahoe Planning Board meeting and there isn’t a meeting planned for August. So, the Planning Board wouldn’t be able to give site plan approval until at least the end of September. But Broken Bow’s architect David Barbuti said he doesn’t know how much time the chiller has left. A chiller is a machine used to help keep beverages such as beer cold.

“The chiller is dying,” Barbuti said to the Planning Board during its July 6 work session. “I was there about a week ago, and it had a couple of wires sticking out of it, so it can go any day now.”

Michael LaMothe, one of the owners of the Marbledale Road brewery, said the chiller shuts down anywhere from three to five times a day.

To help the local brewery, which first opened its doors to the Tuckahoe community back in 2013, the village will issue a temporary permit that will allow Broken Bow to install a chiller with 250 percent of the current chiller’s power until the fall. Because of the larger size of the new chiller, it needs to be moved from the inside of the brewery to the outside, which will require alterations to the approved site plan and approval of the Planning Board.

LaMothe said the brewery had been discussing plans for an outdoor beer garden and a grain silo to handle increased demand for raw materials, but the urgency of the situation forced the brewery to apply for the temporary permit now and come back in the fall with the full project.

“We’ve been expanding a lot, and we’re seeing a lot of growth,” LaMothe said. “In the beginning, we were avoiding [clientele in] New York City until we had a delivery system in place, and now we do and we’ve started to expand into Manhattan. But [the growth] is taxing
the chiller.”

CONTACT: christopher@hometwn.com

 

David Barra was appointed to an open position on the Tuckahoe Planning Board after Antonio Leo left to take a seat on the Tuckahoe Village Board of Trustees. 
Photo courtesy David Barra

Barra named to Planning Board

David Barra was appointed to an open position on the Tuckahoe Planning Board after Antonio Leo left to take a seat on the Tuckahoe Village Board of Trustees.  Photo courtesy David Barra

David Barra was appointed to an open position on the Tuckahoe Planning Board after Antonio Leo left to take a seat on the Tuckahoe Village Board of Trustees.
Photo courtesy David Barra

By CHRIS EBERHART
The final piece of the puzzle is in place that makes the Tuckahoe village government whole again after the sudden death of Trustee Stephen Quigley in early May. 

During the June 22 Tuckahoe Village Board of Trustees meeting, the mayor appointed David Barra, 54, to the village Planning Board to replace former Planning Board member Antonio Leo, who left the board in late May to replace his late friend Quigley on the  Board of Trustees. Barra has a professional and academic background in architecture and, for the last 25 years, has been buying and refurbishing homes in the village as a hobby. His current project is a home on Fisher Avenue.

“This was something I wanted to do,” Barra said about joining the land use board. “I saw there was an opening [on the Planning Board] and reached out to the mayor and said I was interested. They knew me from my work with refurbishing homes in the village, so he gave me a shot, and I’m honored to serve the community.”

Barra, who is currently a construction manager for Citi Group and served as the director of construction for the MTV network before that, will be thrown right into the mix with the village in a state of revitalization. Already under construction are three projects at the corner of Main Street and Winterhill Road, across from the Crestwood train station, and on Jackson Avenue and two additional projects on Main Street and Marbledale Road are in front of Tuckahoe’s land use boards.

The largest project being discussed is the proposed Marriott SpringHill Suites, a five-story, 163-room hotel with a 6,400-square-foot restaurant on the first floor and 208 on-site parking spaces, at 109-125 Marbledale Road, which is an old quarry site. The location site is a New York State Department of Environmental Conservation-designated Brownfield site, which is land that has potentially hazardous substances, pollutants or contaminants that would have to be cleaned up before construction can begin on.

The contaminated site, along with concerns about traffic congestion in the area and parking, has led to early complaints about the project by neighboring residents and business owners. Barra said, while he’s for the project, it’s important to listen to the concerns of the community and address as many of them as the board can.

“I’m for this project,” Barra said. “It’s going to add a lot to the community, and if planned properly, will be a major asset to the village.

“But this project, all the projects require proper planning and development, and that’s why [public] meetings are important, because the community interest is the number one concern. These buildings are going to be here for a long time, so we have to make sure they blend in with the village.”

Barra will sit at the dais for the first time at the July 21 Planning Board meeting, when the hotel applicant is scheduled to discuss the findings of recent environmental testing.

CONTACT: christopher@hometwn.com