Category Archives: Uncategorized

Greenburgh Demands Homeowners Repair Their Own Sidewalks at Their Own Expense

The Edgemont Community Council has learned that the Town of Greenburgh has issued violation notices to certain homeowners on Old Army Road and Edgemont Circle for failing to fix at their own expense cracks and uneven surfaces in the crumbling asphalt that for years has served as the Town’s sidewalk in front of their respective homes. The Town issued the summonses this week after residents of Robin Hill Road around the corner complained two weeks ago that the Town had installed a sidewalk there made of asphalt instead of more durable concrete. These violation notices come after the Town has for years promised residents of Old Army Road that the crumbling sidewalk there would be replaced. The sidewalk along Old Army Road is one of a network of deteriorating Town sidewalks that Edgemont children must use to walk to and from Seely Place elementary school and the Edgemont Junior-Senior High School.

Using provisions of the Town Code as a weapon to make a point to residents advocating for new sidewalks is not new. When residents advocated for a new sidewalk to be built on Seely Place, the Town began issuing summonses to property owners along Fort Hill Road for failing to clear ice and snow in a timely enough manner from Town-installed sidewalks in front of their homes. The Town’s warning to Edgemont residents was that if they get a sidewalk built in front of their homes, they would be liable for removing ice and snow from them and that if they were not prepared to assume that responsibility, they should advocate against the construction of sidewalks.

Whether the Town may lawfully require residents to repair cracks in the asphalt of Town-built sidewalks is not clear, and the Town’s attempt to punish residents for not fixing the cracks appears to be unprecedented. The notice of violation cites Town Code Section 430-17, which is entitled, “Failure to maintain walkway or observe regulations.” It states that the adjacent owner of property in the Town improved by the installation of a sidewalk or pedestrian walkway “shall be liable for any injury or damage caused by . . . failure . . . to keep and maintain the walkway . . . in good repair, safe and suitable for pedestrian travel.” However, there are no regulations in the Town Code that require homeowners to bear the expense of fixing cracks in the sidewalk.

By contrast, the Town does have regulations that require homeowners to remove ice and snow from sidewalks abutting their property. Section 430-15, entitled, “duty to keep sidewalks free of obstructions” requires homeowners to keep sidewalks “free and clear of snow, ice, dirt or other obstructions within 24 hours after an obstruction is created” and Section 430-16 says the if the obstruction is not removed within 24 hours, the Town may remove it and bill the costs to the homeowner.

The ECC is following this issue closely and will report as it learns more.

ECC Open Letter in Response To Most Recent Draft of Town Code 454

Dear Members of the Town Board,

Last night at the Edgemont Community Council meeting the Board of Directors voted unanimously to oppose the most recent draft of Chapter 454 entitled, “Tobacco product and electronic cigarette advertisements and smoking paraphernalia display” as shared with me by Interim Town Attorney Joe Danko on September 6th. Chapter 454 as revised falls woefully short of addressing the concerns laid out by the Edgemont Community Council in our letter dated August 9th

At the Town Board meeting on August 10th, the ECC requested the Town Board to take its time to get this law right – even if it means delaying the passage of this law into the new school year. We stand committed to that request, and ask again the Town Board to again adjourn the public hearing scheduled for September 14th, withdraw the current draft and schedule a new public hearing as soon as possible after the proposed Chapter 454 has been redrafted to address the issues and concerns outlined in our last letter, and summarized again below. We are eager to work in partnership with the Town Board and Interim Town Attorney to create the strongest law or set of laws possible which protects the children in our community. 

Below is a summary of the concerns still not addressed in the most recent draft of Chapter 454. 

  1. While the intention of proposed Town Code §454-4, based on its title, “Prohibited advertising and display,” is to regulate both the advertising and physical display of tobacco products and smoking paraphernalia, the language is unclear and could be read to regulate only “nicotine advertisements” and not regulate the physical display of tobacco products and smoking paraphernalia. Thus, the statute still reads in pertinent part as follows: “no person . . . may place, caused to be placed, maintain or cause to be maintained, smoking paraphernalia or tobacco product, electronic cigarette, or vapor product intended or reasonably expected to be used with or for the consumption of nicotine advertisements in a store front or exterior window or any door. . . .” (emphasis added). The phrase “reasonably expected to be used with or for the consumption of nicotine advertisements” does not appear to make any sense and worse, could be read as limiting the scope of what’s prohibited to “nicotine advertisements” rather than the physical display of tobacco products and smoking paraphernalia.  We asked last month that this crucial provision be corrected, and without any explanation, no change was made. 
  1. This law would only regulate store fronts, exterior windows, and any door which is used for entry. If the intent of this law is to “mitigate the marketing and sale to youth by regulating the public display of tobacco products and electronic cigarette advertisements and smoking paraphernalia”, it would be more effective to regulate the display of these items from being visible from the sidewalk or street. This comprehensive scope is needed because through the use of large plate glass windows through which the interior display of tobacco products and smoking paraphernalia can easily be seen from the street, the regulation can very easily be circumvented.  If this law is adopted as is, children walking our streets will still easily be able to see products and paraphernalia inside businesses if only store fronts, exterior windows, and entry doors are regulated.
  1. This law would only regulate distance from schools, not public parks. Children, which this law is intended to protect, spend considerable time in public parks. Other locations where children spend considerable time include playgrounds, day-care centers, and houses of worship. These locations should be included as well for the maximum protection of our community’s children.
  1. This law would only regulate the public display of tobacco products and electronic cigarette advertisements and smoking paraphernalia, not the sale of the products themselves. The ECC stands firm in its request for the Town to restrict the sale of tobacco products, marijuana, and weapons within an agreed upon and reasonable distance from schools, public parks, playgrounds, day-care centers and houses of worship. To keep the children in our community as safe as possible, the sale of these products should be restricted – not just their marketing and display.
  1. This law would only be enforceable by the Building Department, not the Police Department. This makes no sense to us. The Building Department is generally responsible for enforcing violations of the Town’s zoning code. Chapter 454 is not part of the Town’s zoning code and is not intended as a zoning code amendment. To the contrary, it is being enacted as part of the Town’s police power to protect the health, safety and welfare of the Town’s children.  The proper enforcement agency is therefore the Town’s Police Department, not the Building Department.  Furthermore, while the Building Department is only open during normal business hours, the Police Department operates 24/7/365 and is well positioned to take action on violations of this law.
  1. Enforcement fails to go beyond fines. Proprietors that are repeat offenders of this law should be at risk of having their establishment shut down. Therefore, enforcement should also extend to the Town Attorney’s office to take such steps as it believes may be necessary to enforce Chapter 454, including obtaining injunctive relief from the courts; the statute should also make clear that the Greenburgh Town Court shall have jurisdiction to enforce any such actions the Town Attorney’s office may take.  

We also note that the proposed Town Code 454 does not address all the issues at the center of the ECC’s concerns to protect the children of our community, specifically regulating the sale, display, and advertising of marijuana/paraphernalia and guns/knives/weapons. The adoption of Chapter 454, even if revised, is not a substitute for additional laws that address these additional issues. To date no communication has been received by the ECC on these topics and no draft legislation or a timeline for draft legislation has been shared or discussed to address these concerns. 

We are disappointed that the most recent draft of Chapter 454 does not address all the issues at the center of the ECC’s concerns and that no explanation was made as to why many of the concerns were ignored. Yet, we stand committed to working constructively together. We continue to request that drafts of the revision be shared with the ECC, so that we do not see the draft only after a public hearing has been scheduled, further delaying action on this matter.

Thank you for your consideration,

Dylan F. Pyne

President, The Edgemont Community Council

ECC Monthly Meeting: Monday, September 12, 2022 at 8pm in EHS Faculty Lounge

The Edgemont Community Council will hold its first meeting of the 2022-2023 school year on Monday, Septmber 12th at 8PM. The meeting will be conducted in person in the EHS Faculty Lounge.

The agenda can be found here.

As always, ECC meetings are open to the public.

ECC Smoke Shop Working Group Open Letter in Response To Propoposed Town Code 454

Dear Members of the Town Board,

On Sunday, August 7 I was provided a copy of the proposed Town Code 454 by Supervisor Feiner and subsequently shared it with the Edgemont Community Council Smoke Shop Advocacy Working Group. While the ECC appreciates the efforts to take action against smoke shops near schools prior to the start of the school year, upon review we have the following concerns about the narrow scope of the proposed law:

1. While the intention of proposed Town Code §454-4, based on its title, is to regulate both the advertising and physical display of tobacco products and smoking paraphernalia, the language is unclear and could be read to regulate only “nicotine advertisements” and not regulate the physical display of tobacco products and smoking paraphernalia. This key provision barring the display and advertising of such products within 1,500 feet of a school does not make clear that both the physical display and the advertising of such products in store fronts, exterior windows, and entry doors is prohibited.

2. This law would only regulate store fronts, exterior windows, and any door which is used for entry. If the intent of this law is to “mitigate the marketing and sale to youth by regulating the public display of tobacco products and electronic cigarette advertisements and smoking paraphernalia”, it would be more effective to regulate the display of these items from being visible from the sidewalk or street. If this law is adopted as is, children walking our streets will still easily be able to see products and paraphernalia inside businesses if only store fronts, exterior windows, and entry doors are regulated.

3. This law would only regulate distance from schools, not public parks. Children, which this law is intended to protect, spend considerable time in public parks. Other locations where children spend considerable time include playgrounds, day-care centers, and houses of worship. These locations should be included as well for the maximum protection of our community’s children.

4. This law would only regulate the public display of tobacco products and electronic cigarette advertisements and smoking paraphernalia, not the sale of the products themselves. The ECC stands firm in its request for the town to restrict the sale of tobacco products, marijuana, and weapons within 1,500 feet of schools and public parks. To keep the children in our community as safe as possible, the sale of these products should be restricted – not just their marketing and display.

5. This law would only be enforceable by the Building Department, not the Police Department. Why is it that we would limit the potential enforcement agencies? While the Building Department is only open during normal business hours, the Police Department operates 24/7/365 and is well positioned to take action on violations of this law.

Additionally, based on the advice of Linda Richter, the Vice President of Prevention Research and Analysis at Partnership to End Addition, who is an Edgemont resident and a member of the ECC Working Group, we have concerns about the following definitions:

  • ADVERTISEMENT – This definition is problematic as it applies only to products authorized to be sold by the FDA (which are the ones that would be required to carry the health warning), but there are hundreds of products that are currently in regulatory limbo since they are awaiting FDA review or haven’t yet applied for FDA authorization, that can technically still be sold, and would be unlikely to voluntarily carry a health warning.
  • ELECTRONIC CIGARETTE OR E-CIGARETTE – To be more comprehensive this should be updated to include vapor/aerosol. Technically, electronic cigarette smoke is not a vapor (which implies it’s primarily water), but an aerosol. The research/policy field is careful to use the term “aerosol” for that reason since it means there’s a lot more in it than just water vapor (i.e., toxic heavy metals, ultrafine particles, volatile organic compounds, flavoring chemicals, etc.). We wouldn’t want this to be used as a technical loophole.
  • TOBACCO PRODUCT – To be more comprehensive this list should specifically include synthetic nicotine-based oral products that are becoming increasingly popular with children – gum, lozenges, gummies, and tablets. The industry has been arguing that these aren’t tobacco products because the nicotine is synthetic and not from the tobacco plant. But the federal government just ruled that they are to be considered tobacco products and fall under FDA authority.

For these reasons, the ECC has serious reservations and respectfully requests that the Town Board adjourn the public hearing scheduled for August 10, withdraw the current draft and schedule a new public hearing as soon as possible after the proposed Chapter 454 has been redrafted to address the above issues and concerns. While we were eager to have this addressed before the start of the school year, what is most important is adopting the strongest law possible.

We would appreciate, as a courtesy in working constructively together, that drafts of the revision be shared with the ECC, so that we do not see the draft only after a public hearing has been scheduled, further delaying action on this matter.

We also note that the proposed Town Code 454 does not address all the issues at the center of the ECC’s concerns, specifically regulating the sale, display, and advertising of marijuana/tobacco/paraphernalia and guns/knives/weapons within 1,500 feet of schools and public parks. For those reasons, the adoption of Chapter 454, even if revised, is not a substitute for additional laws that address all these issues.

Thank you for your consideration,

Dylan F. Pyne

President, The Edgemont Community Council

ECC Demands Action Against Tobacco and Vaping Establishments on Central Park Avenue

Public Health Law Article 13-F Section 1399-DD-1 restricts the public display of tobacco and vaping product advertisements and the display of smoking paraphernalia within 500 feet of a school in New York City and within 1,500 feet of a school in the rest of the state. 

The Westchester County Board of Health is the enforcement agency for this law.

The ECC demands action be taken against 3 establishments that have publicly advertised tobacco and vaping products within 1,500 feet of Seely Place Elementary School or Edgemont Jr./Sr. High School in the last month. These establishments are: 

·         BP Station at 610 Central Park Ave, Scarsdale, NY 10583 (Parcel ID 8.410-299-5) (property line approximately 265 feet from Edgemont Jr./Sr. High School)

·         Cloud House Smoke Shop at 760 Central Park Ave, Scarsdale, NY 10583 (Parcel ID 8.460-329-3) (property line approximately 430 feet from Seely Place Elementary School)

·         Scarsdale Convenience at 455 Central Park Ave, Scarsdale, NY 10583 (Parcel ID 8.350-252-2) (property line approximately 610 feet from Edgemont Jr./Sr. High School)

At its June 6th meeting, the ECC passed a resolution requesting the Town of Greenburgh to adopt a new zoning ordinance restricting the sale of tobacco and vaping products within 1,500 feet of a school. In response to the ECC’s prior advocacy, yesterday the Town of Greenburgh cited Cloud House Smoke Shop for violations for the installation of merchandise without a certificate of occupancy, installation of displays/illumination in windows, and general noxious/offensive use. Additionally, the Town of Greenburgh cited the BP Station for violations for the installation of displays/illumination in windows.

The ECC is eager to work with its members, the Town of Greenburgh, and Westchester County to make Edgemont a safe and healthy place for our children and families. If you are interested in joining the ECC in this advocacy initiative, please sign on to this petition.