Town Supervisor Paul Feiner found time this Thanksgiving weekend to post the “F-Bomb” on an email blast to 2500 town residents in order to get attention for his point that Westchester County should spend more money cleaning graffiti on its bike trails .
But Mr. Feiner couldn’t find time this weekend to clue residents in to what’s being proposed on Monday night’s town board agenda.
Of immediate importance to Edgemont residents is an agenda item regarding a proposed redevelopment at Midway Shopping Center, in which the board plans on referring the proposal – whatever it may be – to the Town’s Planning Board.
Nowhere on the agenda is there any discussion of what the plan is, whether it’s a prior “compromise” plan that town board members said they would vote down, or whether it’s something new. In short, it’s a complete mystery.
And even though Mr. Feiner has widely proclaimed the dawning of a new working relationship with Edgemont Community Council, no one from the town board has so much as contacted the ECC to let us know what’s being proposed for Edgemont’s largest shopping center.
But the problems don’t stop there.
Another proposal calls for a “refund” to a “resident” of a “portion” of a $500 filing fee required to file an appeal with the Town’s Zoning Board of Appeals.
Here, too, no details are provided.
As it happens, the ECC was charged $500 this summer when it filed an appeal to the Zoning Board of an interpretation of the zoning code by the building inspector.
The interpretation being appealed was that an 80-bed assisted living facility proposed for the Sprainbrook Nursery site in a residential neighborhood at the corner of Underhill and Sprain Roads in Edgemont did not require any variances – even though it is nearly a mile from the nearest state or county road and does not meet the minimum 4 acres required for such a facility.
In order to make sure that emergency medical services can reach assisted living facilities in a timely manner, the Town’s zoning code requires that they be within 200 feet of a state or county “right-of-way.”
But regardless of the merits of the ECC’s appeal, the Town has had a rule on its books since 1981, which expressly prohibits the Town from charging any filing fees whenever a civic group files an appeal seeking an interpretation of the zoning code.
But rather than come clean with the public about this matter, the Town Board instead appears to be proposing to refund at least some of the money – but only to an unnamed “resident.”
The town board agenda was discussed at the board’s last work session, but not a word was mentioned about this matter, unless of course it was discussed in executive session so the public wouldn’t know what was said.
Also on the agenda for Monday night is the Town’s first public hearing on next year’s proposed budget.
In prior years, residents would get to weigh in after hearing department heads plead their case to the town board. That way, the public would know what department heads thought they needed in terms of money and what programs or services might be cut if the proposed funds were not restored.
Not so this year.
The Town Board has decided to hear from the public before they meet with any department heads. That way, the public will have less to say Monday night and will have less time to analyze what department heads may have to say when they meet with the town board in December.
By law, the budget must be approved by December 20.
Even on relatively minor matters, the Town Board keeps mum.
On Monday’s agenda, there had been a proposal to approve the annual contract for the Town’s after-school program known as “Xposure.” At the last minute, that matter has been put over, without explanation, for another two weeks.
In prior years, a substantial portion of the cost of Xposure was underwritten by a donor from the Village of Scarsdale. That donor has now passed away, and the funding has reportedly ceased. So the question is whether the town is now picking up the difference and if so, how much that will be.
But the Town’s agenda discloses nothing about the new contract – and the Town’s proposed budget for 2016 doesn’t give any details either.
The issue of funding for the program has been controversial in prior years because the Town provides free bus service at taxpayer expense for students to participate if they are enrolled in the Greenburgh Central School District, but nothing like that is offered for children in the Edgemont School District which not only has no busing for its children but offers its own after school program on site entirely at parental expense.
Edgemont pays about 25% of the Town’s cost of its after school program.