An Edgemont resident has launched an online petition drive to protest Greenburgh’s finding this week that construction of an 80-unit 94-bed assisted living facility in their neighborhood would have no significant adverse impact.

Jeff Sherwin, who lives off Underhill Road, launched the petition after town officials ignored his repeated requests for a study to determine the impact in his otherwise quiet neighborhood of noise and traffic associated with the expected 100 or more incidents annually of emergency vehicles having to travel at high rates of speed to the facility — as well as a study of the impacts those vehicles may face when having to navigate the dangerous downward sloping hairpin turn on Underhill Road just before they get to the site.

Under Greenburgh’s zoning law, enacted in 2013, assisted living facilities were permitted in residential neighborhoods as long as they were within 200 feet of a state or county right-of-way.   The Town imposed the 200-foot requirement specifically in order to protect residential neighborhoods like Mr. Sherwin’s from precisely the impacts that the Town, in its finding this week, unanimously found were too insignificant to be worthy of any study.

Even though the Town’s own law was written to protect Mr. Sherwin and the hundreds of other residents along the Underhill corridor from the impacts the Town feared an assisted living facility in their neighborhood might bring, Town officials this week refused to determine how many emergency vehicles would typically respond to such calls from the fire district, the police department and the Town’s EMT ambulance service, how loud their sirens would be, the frequency and time of day when such calls are likely to occur, whether the community should expect more calls made when the facility opens and the staff there is less familiar with the residents, and compare the level of noise expected to be generated with the level of noise the neighborhood currently experiences based on similar emergency medical calls.

At the town board meeting Wednesday night, Mr. Sherwin said the Town already had access to data from which such a study could be conducted, but town officials were so determined to grant the “negative declaration” and not impose any burdens on the part of Shelbourne to study anything that might potentially create a problem for Shelbourne that might cause Shelbourne to drop the project and find another site, they stopped communicating with him altogether – that is, until the night of town board meeting when, out of the blue, Mr. Sherwin was presented just as the meeting began with a revised “negative declaration” which not only ignored everything he had asked the Town to do – but affirmatively represented there was no noise issue worthy of study at all.

Mr. Sherwin said the idea of doing a petition came to him after Town Supervisor Paul Feiner said the reason he was voting to block any state-mandated study of the environmental impacts the project may pose was that he had received a petition with around 50 signatures from Edgemont residents who said they supported the project. The petition was signed mainly by friends in Edgemont of the local family seeking to sell the property – only a few of whom actually live along Underhill Road.

Mr. Sherwin said he was disappointed that Mr. Feiner would make an important land use decision based not on taking a “good hard look” at the project’s impacts as state law requires, but instead on the number of signatures appearing on a petition from the project’s supporters. He also expressed disappointment that the other town board members seemed to go along with everything Mr. Feiner said.

Mr. Sherwin said he hopes to get many more signatures than the 50 that Mr. Feiner had received from the project’s supporters and to present them to the Zoning Board, when it considers whether to grant Shelbourne a variance from the 200-foot requirement and, if the variance is granted, to the Town Board when it considers whether to grant Shelbourne a “special use permit” which, based on what Mr. Feiner said, will almost certainly be granted no matter what residents living in the area most affected may say.

Comments are closed.