Tonight’s regular monthly meeting of the Edgemont Community Council has been canceled as a result of the wintry weather which led to the closing today of Edgemont schools.
We will try to reschedule the meeting once schools reopen and available space can be reserved.
Important items on tonight’s agenda included appointment of both a Nominations Committee to recommend a slate for next year’s officers and directors and a Silver Bowl Committee to recommend this year’s honoree. Under the terms of the ECC’s bylaws, both committees must be formed by February 15; therefore, if the ECC cannot meet formally before then, the ECC will meet “electronically” to ensure that both committees are duly created and in a position to make their recommendations in time for the ECC’s March meeting.
Also on tonight’s agenda was discussion of the ECC’s proposed law governing massage establishments. The need for such a law became apparent when Police Chief Chris McNerney told ECC directors at its October meeting that Edgemont had become the “illicit massage parlor capital of Westchester County.”
At its January meeting, after the failure of the Town to propose an acceptable law of its own, the ECC unanimously approved its own version a proposed law for the Town — drafted by ECC president Bob Bernstein — which would require that all massage establishments obtain both a license from the town clerk and a special permit from the town board.
The town clerk would issue licenses based on recommendations from the police chief, the building inspector and the fire marshal, and the town board would issue special permits, following a public hearing, based on compliance with certain specified criteria to ensure that the business operates lawfully.
However, enactment of the ECC’s proposal is not expected any time soon, if at all. Although the Town formally introduced the measure at a special meeting last month, the Town referred it to the Planning Board for a report and recommendation, where it is not expected to get on the agenda there for at least another three months. Town Supervisor Paul Feiner could have asked the town board to request that the matter be considered on an expedited basis, but he chose not to do so. The measure is opposed by Town Attorney Tim Lewis, who does not believe towns in New York have a legal right to ban brothels fronting as massage parlors; town clerk Judith Beville is apparently also still objecting to the requirement that licenses be issued by the town clerk.
In other town news pertaining to Edgemont, Mr. Feiner has announced plans to seek funding to conduct a one-or two year dredging of Crane Pond, which has not been dredged since 1985. As far as the ECC is aware, the Town has not obtained any studies documenting the need for any such dredging; nor has the Town analyzed the environmental impact of such an operation. There are more than 200 mallard ducks living at the pond this winter.
When the pond was dredged in 1985, one of the principal problems that gave rise to excessive algae growth in the summer was believed to be the presence of phosphates caused by above and below ground water runoff from inadequately draining washing machines and garden and lawn fertilizers. Whether that is still true today, when fewer phosphates are found in laundry detergents and fertilizers, and drainage has improved, is not known — and the Town doesn’t appear to know either. But the Town is nevertheless proceeding with the project — or at least telling Edgemont residents that the Town intends to proceed.
The Town also passed a resolution last month calling for an outside study to be conducted to determine whether sidewalks are needed for children in Edgemont to walk safely to Seely Place and Greenville Elementary Schools. At issue is the Police Chief McNerney’s recommendation last fall that sidewalks be installed on Seely Place, and along portions of Ardsley Road and Fort Hill Road. At its December 2, 2014 work session, the Town Board put the Edgemont sidewalk initiative on hold pending the outcome of a town-wide study of sidewalk needs in all ten school districts in unincorporated Greenburgh.
The town board now apparently wants an outside consultant to determine whether the police chief’s recommendations should be followed. Although the town board unanimously approved the resolution for someone else to study the matter, no request for proposal has been generated and no money for the “study’ has been allocated.
Also on the ECC agenda for tonight’s meeting was an update on the car dealership legislation that the ECC had urged the Town to adopt to minimize the antitrust risk the Town created when it approved a joint proposal from the three competing car dealers in Edgemont to grant them “special permits” to operate with the understanding that, consistent with the town’s zoning code as it currently reads, no other competing dealers would be allowed in.
The proposal was passed in October, and referred immediately to the Planning Board, but the Planning Board did not weigh in until last week, when it put off further consideration of the matter until a meeting in March.