Category Archives: News

DEER-1f

County-sanctioned deer hunt off

After a recent deer forum in Mamaroneck, where elected officials expressed the desire to see a hunting program implemented to combat the deer population, Westchester County officials said they wouldn’t authorize such an idea without a complete strategy in place. Contributed photo

After a recent deer forum in Mamaroneck, where elected officials expressed the desire to see a hunting program implemented to combat the deer population, Westchester County officials said they wouldn’t authorize such an idea without a complete strategy in place. Contributed photo

By Sarah Varney
According to one local mayor, Westchester County officials have reneged on a February pledge to help Rye and Mamaroneck decrease the deer population by taking advantage of the current bow-hunting season.

In a Sept. 30 letter Rye City Mayor Joe Sack, a Republican, received from the county, Deputy County Executive Kevin Plunkett said the two municipalities must first submit their deer management strategies in order to gain help from the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation for either a cull or a bow-hunting operation. Because the municipalities have not  done so, Plunkett added that the county cannot move ahead with any plan assisting Rye and Mamaroneck without an acceptable strategy in place.

Needless to say, Sack wasn’t happy with the county’s response.

“‘Screw you. Do it yourself,’ that’s what they told us, in effect,” Sack told the Review recently.

“They went back on their word.” Sack indicated that the City of Rye might pursue a strategy employing a private company to cull the deer.

In February, the mayors sent a joint letter to John Baker, Westchester County’s director of conservation, requesting permission to trigger a Deer Management Assistance Plan using the DEC. Under this program, the DEC can put together a team of certified bowhunters that will hunt deer during certain hours on specific days. A recent count of area deer estimated 274 deer per quarter square mile, a number that is believed to be growing fast.

At a Sept. 25 deer forum in Mamaroneck, Sack expressed his frustration with the county’s delay in addressing the issue. Bowhunting season runs from Oct. 1 to Dec. 31.

But there’s more to it than simply requesting a deer intervention, according to Peter Tartaglia, deputy commissioner of Westchester Parks, Recreation and Conservation. Municipalities must convince neighboring cities and villages to support the decision.

Tartaglia stressed that any strategy that includes hunting will not work without regional partnerships in place. He added that within the city limits, a DMAP proposal should include permission from area neighboring county lands that would serve as hunting grounds.

The key is to create a regional partnership in which all parties would participate in a hunt on the same days and times. If the program isn’t created with the assistance of regional partners, a hunt won’t work because the deer will simply cross into a safe parcel of land or even large yards.

Tartaglia said the county hopes to see a complete plan from the joint Rye-Mamaroneck group by Oct. 15 but neither mayor is interested in working on such a plan.

According to Village of Mamaroneck Mayor Norman Rosenblum, a Republican, the village will head back to the drawing board.

“This [reply from the county] strengthens my opinion that we need to do this on the local level. The main thing is not to stick our heads in the sand,” he said. Rosenblum added that plans using sterilization and a hunting program sponsored by private landowners would both be worth exploring further.

Without DEC involvement, deer hunting could only take place on private property with licensed hunters. Sack indicated that he would pursue a private solution with landowners in Rye.

CONTACT: sarah@hometwn.com

 
NYRising2

City accepts $3M flood mitigation grants

 

 

NYRising2By James Pero
In a 6-to-1 vote, $3 million in federal grants, which will go toward several flood mitigation projects in the area, have been accepted by the Rye City Council despite initial hesitation that doing so might bear consequences. 

Rye’s concern with accepting the grants centered on language in the agreement that council members—particularly Mayor Joseph Sack, a Republican, who was the only one to vote against accepting the money—believed could influence Rye’s implementation of affordable housing, specifically by opening up the city to additional expectations and potential legal action.

Adding to the council’s initial concern over the grants is the fact that the funds for the New York Rising grants are to be dispersed through the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, HUD, which together with Westchester County has been embroiled in multiple disputes over the implementation of affordable housing throughout the county.

“I wholeheartedly agree that flooding is an incredible problem in the City of Rye that needs to be addressed,” Sack said.  “And I also wholeheartedly agree that this [agreement] that we’re being asked to sign is wrong for the City of Rye.”

During the four-month process of deliberation, Sack requested that additional provisions be put into the agreement that would explicitly protect the city from any perceived risk. According to the mayor, Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s office declined to do so.

“They indicated specifically that the agreement is what it is and you either sign it or you don’t,” he said. “They weren’t making any special exceptions.”

Other council members, however, felt that a memo provided by New York Rising addressing their concerns that accepting the money might affect their freedom to oversee affordable housing in Rye was sufficient enough to allay any hesitation.

“The wording in the memo they gave us gives me peace of mind that we can accept this money,” said Councilman Terry McCartney, a Republican. “This memo is enough to tip the balance in favor of taking this money and trying to improve flood mitigation.”

Before voting, representatives from both Rye’s flood and New York Rising committees, the latter of which was created to analyze the agreement between Rye and New York Rising, were able to relay to the council the conclusions their work on the issue has lead them to.

New York Rising committee co-chair Holly Kennedy chose to show, rather than tell, just how important such grants can be to the Rye by offering up pictures of the city following one of several major floods over the last decade.

Flashing pictures of Rye’s downtown parking lot, the Locust Avenue Firehouse and Orchard Avenue submerged in water, Kennedy urged the council to accept the money.

“What’s important to me at this point is the understanding of the concept of risk,” she said. “And what you’re juggling when you’re thinking about risk.”

According to attorney Mark Blanchard, who stepped in for current City Attorney Kristen Wilson, the memo received from the Governor’s Office of Storm Recovery, though not a binding document, could be used as evidence if any disagreement between HUD and the City of Rye were to ensue in the future.

The memo states specifically that it does not require Rye to “enact a separate policy or plan affirmatively furthering fair housing.”

Furthermore, the memo concludes by stating, “It is our hope that any perceived risk with respect to affirmatively furthering fair housing will not deter the City of Rye from undertaking infrastructure projects that will protect significant portions of its population from future storm events.”

CONTACT: james@hometwn.com

 
The Rye Police Department arrested a 17-year-old Rye High School senior on March 23 for allegedly writing a bomb threat on the bathroom walls of the high school earlier this month. File photo

Smart Schools money to pay for security upgrades

 

 

The list of technology items requested by the Rye City School District under the Smart Schools Bond Act. The district has $286,000 in funds from the state to pay for the security upgrades.

The list of technology items requested by the Rye City School District under the Smart Schools Bond Act. The district has $286,000 in funds from the state to pay for the security upgrades.

By Sarah Varney
The Rye City School District will use its $286,000 Smart Schools Bond Act allotment to pay for interior and exterior security upgrades, according to the Smart Schools Investment Plan submitted to the New York State Education Department on Oct. 6.

In addition to surveillance cameras, the plan also includes “door hardening,” entry control systems and electronic security systems for an unspecified number of main entrances.

Upgrades to main entrances will primarily be made at the district’s three elementary schools, according to sources close to the school district.

The list of specific items in the application includes an undetermined number of interior cameras; 24 primary exterior cameras; 11 secondary exterior cameras; and five supporting servers with the software necessary to manage and monitor cameras and door controls.

Because the equipment requested is relatively simple, the application qualified for “Streamlined Review” status but the time it will take for the request to be approved is unknown, according to Gabriella O’Connor, assistant superintendent for business. The district will begin the project once the plan is approved.

The Smart Schools Bond Act is set up so that schools spend money from their own budgets and then the money is returned to the school districts once the bonds are sold. The state is selling $2 billion worth of Smart Schools bonds. The money from the bond sales is paid back to the schools once it becomes available.

Over the summer, the district spent $1 million on computer technology improvements, including an increase in wireless internet access speed to 100 megabits per second for all of the schools. Consistent speed across the schools will make the camera software easier to use, according to Kaitlyn Sassone, the district’s instructional technology coordinator.

While entrances to the three elementary schools are manned by a security guard and front doors are generally locked, there is no electronic system in place. The security guard must come to the door and let anyone seeking access in after an identification check.

The new electronic systems will most likely automate that process with intercoms and remote lock access, according to sources. It’s also likely that stronger front doors with smaller or no windows will be installed under the “hardening” category.

District officials declined to provide estimates on when the work might begin.

CONTACT: sarah@hometwn.com

 
vote-2015

Rye City Council candidates: Emily Hurd

 

 

HurdAge: 38

Family: Husband MacKenzie; sons Jack; Charlie and George

Employment: Stay-at-home mom

Years in Rye: Almost five

Political affiliations: Registered Democrat

Endorsements: Democratic, Working Families, Independence lines

Community affiliations: Rye Nature Center Board member, member of the Apawamis Club, active parishioner at Resurrection Church, member of the Jay Heritage Center, member of the Edith Read Wildlife Sanctuary, member of the Rye Historical Society

One thing the average voter doesn’t know about you: I independently rafted down the Grand Canyon.

Q:Why did you decide to run for a seat on the Rye City Council this year?

 

A: I think that Rye is currently at a tipping point with respect to infrastructure, development and other issues and is in need of a city council that addresses and anticipates the community’s needs. As a former corporate lawyer, I have the skills to look at the issues carefully and craft necessary legislation that directly addresses issues that Rye is facing. Most importantly, I’d love to protect the unique assets of Rye that past generations have created.

 

Q: Explain what your platform as a candidate is to our readers.

 

A: My campaign slogan is Fresh Voices, New Ideas, which summarizes our platform. We’d like to bring new ideas and new approaches to the way things are being done right now. Rye is changing and the current city council needs to respond to issues like flooding and maintaining the vibrancy of downtown. We would like to bring a 21st century approach to city council with respect to technology and infrastructure.

 

Q: During last November’s budget cycle, then-City Manager Frank Culross stated that the Rye Fire Department was “staffed for failure.” In his budget proposal, Culross included the addition of several career firefighters to the city’s payroll, which was ultimately rejected by the current Rye City Council. Do you think the fire department is staffed for failure and, if elected, would you support the hiring of new career firefighters?

 

A: I do think the fire department is staffed for failure and I think the addition of several firefighters is important. The No.1 goal of a city government is to protect their residents. The fire department not only assists with fires but also with natural disasters and emergency preparedness. We still do see some newcomers volunteering but we need to increase the number of professional firefighters.

 

Q: The city council recently passed rock chipping legislation into law; something unprecedented in Rye. As a result of the new law, which allows for, at most, 38 calendar days of chipping, do you think the city is now in a better place with this law on the books?

 

A: I think the current regulation is better than no regulation, but I think it’s dangerous to say that we are better off just because we have something on the books. The law that was eventually passed was not what the appointed rock chipping study group or more than 500 residents recommended. They supported a 30-day calendar limit instead of a 38-day calendar limit. We also now have two rock chipping machines that are considerably louder without any noise mitigation provisions put into place. It seems like the city put the interests of the builders above the interest of the residents. I also think the rock chipping issue is a small piece of the bigger developmental issue we’re facing in Rye and it’s dangerous for the city council to address these small issues without looking at the bigger picture of development as a whole.

Q: Since taking office in January 2014, the current city administration of Republican Mayor Joe Sack has made several changes to the city charter. First the charter was changed to allow all members of the city council the same authority as the mayor to access city records in an attempt to bring more checks and balances to city government. Then, the city council approved a change giving it the authority to approve the hiring of a police commissioner. 

Critics of the administration say these measures were an overreach by a mayor and city council interested in taking on additional controls of city government. Do you support the charter changes?

 

A: With respect to the first change, I support openness and I agree that city council members should have access to documents. However, I don’t agree with the second change. I think the city manager has run the government efficiently because people have respected his authority. I don’t think getting involved in the hiring decisions is appropriate.

Q: It was recently reported in this newspaper that the city as a whole has not been following state protocol regarding a purchasing policy for goods and services; an issue that impacted every city department, according to City Manager Marcus Serrano. How alarmed should we be by this news and are you OK with the fact that no one has been held accountable? 

 

A: I think Marcus [Serrano] is doing an awesome job trying to review all the city’s practices and bring to light all the practices that are not what they should be. I think situations like what happened with [Scott] Yandrasevich and the Rye Golf Club has brought to light that we need proper oversight. Do I think it is cause for great alarm? No. I think we need to keep a careful eye on these kinds of practices so that these activities aren’t repeated.

 

Q: Please name one city issue that you feel has been handled or addressed adequately by the current administration. Why?

 

A: I agree with the recent passing of the acceptance of the grant from NY Rising. I think the city did its due diligence and understood the contextual obligations resulting from the NY Rising award. I think a balance of $3 million toward flood mitigation could prevent $85 million worth of damage that Rye faced from the effects of a storm in 2007.

 

Q: The city council recently decided to accept $3 million in flood mitigation funds from the state, which will be administered by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, HUD. Mayor Sack was the only member to vote against accepted the funds fearing HUD would expect certain things from the city regarding affordable housing. Would you have accepted the money and what plan do you have to combat flooding in Rye? 

 

A: I don’t think one single project is going to decrease the impact of flooding; I think it’s going to be a culmination of many projects. I think our first priority as city council members is to protect our residents.

-Reporting by Suzy Berkowitz

vote-2015

Rye City Council candidates: Jim Culyer

 

 

CulyerAge: 65

Family: Wife; three children; five grandchildren

Employment: Retired

Years in Rye: 32

Political affiliations: Registered Republican

Endorsements: Republican line

Community affiliations: National Eagle Scout Association member, attends Resurrection Church

One thing the average voter doesn’t know about you: In high school, I was captain of the bowling team and received my athletic letter in the sport; in college, I lettered in golf.

Q: Why did you decide to run for a seat on the Rye City Council this year?

 

A: I have always believed and participated in community service in Rye since moving here. I’m very community-spirited. I have tried to participate in community organizations where I felt I would be beneficial. Community service is a big thing for me. I just love living in Rye.

 

Q: Explain what your platform as a candidate is to our readers.

 

A: I believe “True To Rye” starts with family, as do my Republican partners Richard Mecca and Leon Sculti. We believe in community service. We’re basically lifelong residents. Our families grew up and continue to live here. We have all participated heavily in Rye activities; I’ve spent 12 years on the school board and served four years as its president.

 

Q: During last November’s budget cycle, then-City Manager Frank Culross stated that the Rye Fire Department was “staffed for failure.” In his budget proposal, Culross included the addition of several career firefighters to the city’s payroll, which was ultimately rejected by the current Rye City Council. Do you think the fire department is staffed for failure, and, if elected, would you support the hiring of new career firefighters?

 

A: I think that the City of Rye Fire Department, as a volunteer organization, needs a major review. The volunteers in Rye are getting older. The number of volunteers joining the department is decreasing. Those volunteers that are of appropriate age are actually becoming paid firefighters, as some retire or as the paid fire department increases its member numbers. As a result of all of those things, I think a proper review needs to take place in order to provide the same quality of service as our Department of Public Works, police department, etc., in order to maintain our city as we all want.

 

Q: The city council recently passed rock chipping legislation into law; something unprecedented in Rye. As a result of the new law, which allows for, at most, 38 calendar days of chipping, do you think the city is now in a better place with this law on the books?

 

A: From day one, I have supported limits on rock chipping, and today I support the current policy as just passed by the city council in a 7-0 vote. I believe it does protect our neighbors, it does provide guidance to contractors, and it still allows Rye to address and grow in its housing needs.

 

Q: Since taking office in January 2014, the current city administration of Republican Mayor Joe Sack has made several changes to the city charter. First the charter was changed to allow all members of the city council the same authority as the mayor to access city records in an attempt to bring more checks and balances to city government. Then, the city council approved a change giving it the authority to approve the hiring of a police commissioner. 

Critics of the administration say these measures were an overreach by a mayor and city council interested in taking on additional controls of city government. Do you support the charter changes?

 

A: I support the city council hiring the city manager. I support the council having the ability to access documentation, certainly not to be hindered. As a courtesy, the city manager would work with the city council when considering hiring high-level positions. But, as a city manager-type of government, it does lie with the city manager to make those kinds of decisions. I just hope that there would be input from the council, which should not be interfering with the hiring and firing of people who work for the city manager.

 

Q: It was recently reported in this newspaper that the city as a whole has not been following state protocol regarding a purchasing policy for goods and services; an issue that impacted every city department, according to City Manager Marcus Serrano. How alarmed should we be by this news and are you OK with the fact that no one has been held accountable? 

A: We rely on our staff to know and understand the laws that ultimately they’re responsible for. The purchasing of goods and services; they are unique things. For example, I believe there is a $20,000 a year maximum that you can purchase goods and services through acquiring quotes from different vendors. You have to be aware, and the average person, in my opinion, may not be aware of such things. I support following the laws as written, and there’s opportunity to learn, to help everyone learn those laws. Just because a mistake was made, it doesn’t mean that we should fire the person responsible.

 

Q: Please name one city issue that you feel has not been adequately handled or addressed by the current administration. Why?

 

A: Deer population is an area that needs a more aggressive approach. I believe that the approach has to be through Westchester County and also in working with our neighbors, like the Village of Mamaroneck.

Q: The city council recently decided to accept $3 million in flood mitigation funds from the state, which will be administered by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, HUD. Mayor Sack was the only member to vote against accepting the funds fearing HUD would expect certain things from the city regarding affordable housing. Would you have accepted the money and what plan do you have to combat flooding in Rye? 

 

A:  As I stated at the debate, as long as there were no strings attached to accepting this money—that needed the City of Rye to address additional affordable housing—I was in agreement of accepting the money. I think like Bronxville, Scarsdale and Harrison, we have to look at developing private and/or public partnerships to help us address things like parking in the downtown area. Frederick, Md., is an example. They created a whole downtown area, which was prone to flooding, that is now a gorgeous walking area with shops, cafés, park-like settings, etc.

-Reporting by Sibylla Chipaziwa

Westchester-Couny-Center-De

Petition urges Astorino to ban gun shows

In an online petition created by Ossining resident Charles Bell, more than 3,000 residents have urged County Executive Rob Astorino to ban gun shows at the Westchester County Center.

In an online petition created by Ossining resident Charles Bell, more than 3,000 residents have urged County Executive Rob Astorino to ban gun shows at the Westchester County Center.

By James Pero
Following yet another mass shooting that killed nine in Roseburg, Ore. on Oct. 1, an online petition to ban gun shows at the Westchester County Convention Center has gathered more than 3,220 signatures. 

The petition, created by Ossining resident Charles Bell, aims to reinstate a ban on gun shows at the center which was allowed to lapse under current County Executive Rob Astorino, a Republican, after he took office in 2010. Before then, gun shows in the center were banned in 1999 by former County Executive Andrew Spano, a Democrat.

“I am shocked and saddened by the recent horrific shooting of eight students and a faculty member at Umpqua Community College in Roseburg, Ore.,” reads Bell’s petition. “Please respect the wishes of Westchester residents, parents, students and taxpayers who do not wish to see our county buildings used to promote and facilitate gun sales.”

In tandem with the petition, Greenburgh Town Supervisor Paul Feiner, a Democrat, wrote a letter to Astorino, urging him to follow through with banning the shows, which Feiner said encourage the sale of guns in Westchester County.

“I am calling on the county to ban all gun shows at the County Center,” Feiner said in his letter. “It’s not the place of government to encourage gun ownership.”

So far, County Executive Rob Astorino has showed little interest in enacting a gun show ban at the Westchester County Center, even despite some public support.  File photos

So far, County Executive Rob Astorino has showed little interest in enacting a gun show ban at the Westchester County Center, even despite some public support.
File photos

In the past, gun shows have been met with fervent opposition, particularly among gun control advocates who condemn the so-called “gun show loophole,” a provision in many state laws that allows private sellers—including those at gun exhibitions—to execute the sale of firearms in person or over the internet without a background check.

New York state, however, is one of only six states in the country that bans the sale of firearms through guns shows without conducting a formal background check.

Astorino, who ran and lost his race for governor in 2014 on a platform which aimed to repeal the New York State SAFE act—a law that prohibits the sale of high capacity magazines amongst other regulatory provisions aimed at firearms—has swayed in favor of gun owners throughout his tenure as county executive.

According to a statement by Ned McCormack, a spokesperson for Astorino’s office, Astorino will likely do so again.

“There has not been a gun show at the County Center since 2012. If there is a request at some point in the future from a licensed operator, the county would consider it, in the same way the state does.” McCormack said,

Gun rights groups like the Westchester County Firearms Association are expectedly on the same page as Astorino. To them, the issue comes down to a matter of legality.

“It’s a legitimate business in commerce and everyone is getting a background check,” said the group’s President Scott Sommavilla, adding that mental illness is the real issue of importance. “[Gun shows] are legal and lawful commerce. For 25 to 30 years, they’ve been [at the convention center] without problem.”pistol_1

Despite the slim odds of such a ban materializing, the petition has continued to gather signatures—climbing from 2,000 to more than 3,000 in a less than a week—as well as support from other county officials, including Westchester County Legislator Catherine Parker, a Rye Democrat, who has joined the effort to enact a ban.

“Westchester County should not be in the business of promoting gun sales,” Parker, who is up for re-election this year, said. “We shouldn’t allow Rob Astorino’s statewide political ambitions to jeopardize the health and safety of county residents. Westchester County is under no obligation whatsoever to promote and subsidize gun sales through the use of taxpayer assets, and I hope the county executive will see reason on this issue.”

According to data from the Federal Election Commission, Bell has donated a total of $1,700 to various Democratic campaigns between 2011 and 2012.

Bell could not be reached for comment, as of press time.

CONTACT: james@hometwn.com

 
A recent court ruling found that County Executive Rob Astorino and Westchester County did not engage in housing discrimination. However, the court upheld HUD’s decision to withhold federal funding from the county due to the discrepancies over implementation of the affordable housing settlement. File photo

Court: HUD can withhold funds from county

A recent court ruling found that County Executive Rob Astorino and Westchester County did not engage in housing discrimination. However, the court upheld HUD’s decision to withhold federal funding from the county due to the discrepancies over implementation of the affordable housing settlement. File photo

A recent court ruling found that County Executive Rob Astorino and Westchester County did not engage in housing discrimination. However, the court upheld HUD’s decision to withhold federal funding from the county due to the discrepancies over implementation of the affordable housing settlement. File photo

By Sibylla Chipaziwa
A Sept. 25 appellate court ruling found that the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development’s decision to withhold funds from Westchester County did not violate federal law. 

The U.S. Court of Appeals in the Second District also found that HUD is therefore allowed to reallocate 2013 funds to other jurisdictions and withhold the remaining funds from 2011, approximately $750,000. The court also said that the 2014 funds—approximately $5 million in Community Block Development Grants—must be delayed from being reallocated by HUD until the county exhausts its right to seek additional legal review of the matter.

But the court’s ruling also made it clear that the county neither violated the Fair Housing Act, nor engaged in housing discrimination. And that ruling provided an opportunity for the Republican administration of Westchester County Executive Rob Astorino to claim victory in his ongoing battle with HUD.

Regarding the court’s ruling, Ned McCormack, communications director for the county executive, said that “it takes away any legitimacy from HUD’s claims that [the county’s] zoning is exclusionary.”

Circuit court judges Jose A. Cabranes, Reena Raggi and Richard C. Wesley said in their ruling, “We merely conclude that HUD’s decision—in the context of providing federal funds—to require the county to redo its zoning analysis and to develop strategies to overcome impediments to fair housing did not violate federal law” and added that “there has been no finding, at any point, that Westchester actually engaged in housing discrimination.”

Whether the county is guilty of discrimination is a separate, pending lawsuit, according to Holly M. Leicht, HUD’s regional administrator.

Leicht added that contrary to Astorino’s victory comments, the appeals court “in fact determined that…HUD has the authority to require prospective grantees to analyze their local zoning laws for discriminatory impact, and to reject those analyses when they are inadequate,” adding that HUD gave detailed reasons for its rejections and gave the county “multiple opportunities to make changes and resubmissions, but the county refused to do so.”

This issue over affordable housing in Westchester dates back to 2009, when former County Executive Andy Spano, a Democrat, reached a settlement with the federal government to provide 750 units of affordable housing in 31 Westchester communities within a seven-year timeframe under the threat of lawsuit.

Other requirements of the agreement included completing an analysis of impediments, AI—a review of factors affecting affordable housing development, such as a municipality’s zoning codes—and passing legislation that bans housing
discrimination based on a person’s source of income, such as Social Security or Section 8.

The AI issue has led to a stalemate between the Astorino administration and HUD. To date, the county has submitted eight analyses of impediments, none of which have been accepted and approved by HUD. Ultimately, this led HUD to withhold federal funding and as a result, the matter ended up in the courts.

In July 2015, Westchester County appealed a district court decision to deny its motion for a preliminary injunction—a request that prevents a party from pursuing a particular course of action until a final decision is made—against HUD for withholding of federal funds. The county’s complaints were dismissed when the district court granted HUD’s summary judgment motion, deciding the case without a trial.

As a result, Westchester is no longing seeking additional funds from HUD for fiscal years 2015 through 2017. However, according to the decision, the county still has to meet the obligations of the 2009 settlement, including submitting an AI that HUD finds acceptable. Because of these circumstances, the court left open the question of how HUD would enforce the 2009 affordable housing agreement against the county and how the county could “end further supervision over its housing policies.”

McCormack told the Review that the next step is the county continuing to comply with the benchmarks in the 2009 settlement to build the 750 affordable housing units.

When asked if the quota would be reached in time—the end of 2016—he said, “We have plans to get there, and we’ve met all the benchmarks so far and our plan is to continue to meet them.”

According to McCormack, as of Sept. 30, 2015, out of the 750 affordable units to be built, 489 have financing and 442 have building permits.

In a statement, Westchester’s Board of Legislators Chairman Michael Kaplowitz, a Yorktown Democrat, said, “It is good to know that the Appeals Court recognizes that [the county’s] communities are not discriminatory.”

Kaplowitz added that the real issue was whether HUD had a right to withhold funds but also said that none of the eight AIs the county provided to HUD were acceptable.

“I urge the county executive and HUD to keep the dialogue open so that we can eventually satisfy this requirement of the 2009 settlement,” the legislator said.

CONTACT: sibylla@hometwn.com

 
From left, Rye High School Principal Patricia Taylor joins the National Merit Scholarship semifinalists, Christopher Julian, William Colwell, Julia Donovan and SuLynn Kok. The Class of 2015 had 15 semifinalists. Scholarship recipients will be notified in the spring. Photo/Sarah Varney

RHS seniors receive National Merit honors

From left, Rye High School Principal Patricia Taylor joins the National Merit Scholarship semifinalists, Christopher Julian, William Colwell, Julia Donovan and SuLynn Kok. The Class of 2015 had 15 semifinalists. Scholarship recipients will be notified in the spring. Photo/Sarah Varney

From left, Rye High School Principal Patricia Taylor joins the National Merit Scholarship semifinalists, Christopher Julian, William Colwell, Julia Donovan and SuLynn Kok. The Class of 2015 had 15 semifinalists. Scholarship recipients will be notified in the spring. Photo/Sarah Varney

The National Merit Scholarship Program is administered by the National Merit Corp. based in Washington, D.C. In conjunction with university and corporate funding, the company distributes $33 million to approximately 5,000 high school seniors nationwide.

-Reporting by Sarah Varney

A view of the renovated RHS fitness center. Funding for the renovation was provided by the Giordano family.

Rye Fund for Education unveils new courtyard

 

 

On the evening of Thursday, Oct. 8, administrators from the Rye Fund for Education and the the Rye City School District co-hosted the debut of the science wing courtyard. According to Rye Fund for Education co-founder Mary Emery, the group raised $120,000 for the courtyard project through the sale of paver bricks engraved with Rye High School family names. Also, the Class of 1964 donated 21 bricks and a bench in honor of 11 deceased members of that class.

-Reporting by Sarah Varney

Roy Aletti, famous for his elaborate Christmas display, rides down Halstead Avenue in a classic fire engine repainted with the Harrison Fire Department insignia.

Harrison comes out for Columbus Day