Tag Archives: Town Board

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GREENBURGH TOWN BOARD TO VOTE WEDNESDAY ON EXPANSION OF MIDWAY SHOPPING CENTER IN EDGEMONT

Having trouble finding a place to park at the always crowded Shop Rite in the Midway Shopping Center on Central Avenue in Edgemont? Ever feel that navigating the congested parking lot at Midway, either by car or on foot, is … Continue reading

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LATEST DRAFT OF GREENBURGH COMPREHENSIVE PLAN DELETES PLANS FOR APARTMENTS AND ‘CHARRETTES’

The Town’s much-maligned Comprehensive Plan Steering Committee this week released a third draft of a proposed plan for the unincorporated areas of the Town which, in an apparent effort to quiet critics, this time eliminates all proposals in Edgemont and … Continue reading

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EDGEMONT COMMUNITY COUNCIL APPEALS BUILDING INSPECTOR RULING THAT ASSISTED LIVING FACILITY CAN BUILD AT SPRAINBROOK WITHOUT A VARIANCE

The Edgemont Community Council this week appealed a decision by Greenburgh’s building inspector that no variance from the zoning board is needed for a four-story 85-bed assisted living facility proposed for a residential neighborhood at the site of the Sprainbrook … Continue reading

GREENBURGH POLICE ARREST 11 IN MASSAGE PARLOR CRACKDOWN

Greenburgh police yesterday arrested 11 women, ranging in age from 18 to 54, and charged them with unlawfully operating as licensed massage therapists without having the requisite state license.

The women worked in six massage parlors — five of them on Central Avenue in Edgemont and one on Tarrytown Road.   A press release issued by the police department said all six massage parlors were closed yesterday by the building department.

The closings are all believed to be temporary because, unlike other towns and villages in New York, Greenburgh does not give its police the legal authority to close down massage parlors employing therapists who are not licensed.

A proposal sponsored by the Edgemont Community Council — and drafted by its president — to give the Town that authority was introduced in January, but was then put on indefinite hold after the town attorney questioned whether state law allows towns to give police such authority.

All of the suspects arrested yesterday were transported to Police Headquarters, where they were booked, processed, and released on bail.  The unauthorized practice of a profession, which is what they were charged with, is a Class E Felony under the New York State Penal Law.

The six massage parlors are Aroma Spa, 698 South Central Avenue, Charming Spa, 390 South Central Avenue, Dove Spa, 114 South Central Avenue, Green Luck Spa, 791 South Central Avenue, Green Rose Body Work, 455 South Central Avenue, and K’s Angel Spa, 298 Tarrytown Road.

The ECC’s proposal was introduced at a special meeting of the town board in January only after the ECC posted copies of online adult oriented advertisements featuring young scantily clad Asian women announcing “grand opening specials” at two massage parlors in Edgemont, one of which is located directly across the street from the Greenburgh Nature Center.  A prior effort to get the measure introduced at a town board meeting failed when Town Clerk Judith Beville objected and would not stop speaking until town board members turned to another subject.

The arrests were made by members of the Greenburgh Police Street Crime Unit and Drug and Alcohol Task Force after a “short term investigation” at “numerous massage establishments” in town, the police said.

Police Chief Chris McNerney told the ECC last October that houses of prostitution fronting as massage parlors in Edgemont had become so rampant that Edgemont had become the “illicit massage parlor capital of Westchester County.”

ECC president Bob Bernstein drafted the legislation to give local law enforcement the tools they requested — based on laws already enacted without any legal challenge in Clarkstown in 1996 and in Farmingdale in 2013 — after Town Attorney Tim Lewis refused to do so.  Mr. Lewis has continued to oppose enactment of the proposed legislation because he believes towns in New York are not permitted to enact such legislation.

On February 19, a deputy town attorney sent a letter to the state attorney general asking whether the ECC’s proposed legislation was “preempted” by state law.

Mr. Bernstein said the letter was misleading because, among other things, it failed to state that (i) the purpose of the law was to shut down houses of prostitution fronting as massage parlors, (ii) such legislation was expressly authorized by the state legislature (Town Law Section 130, subsection 11), and (iii) other towns and villages have already adopted similar measures without any legal challenge.

Mr. Bernstein last week asked the town board to withdraw the letter and said if a letter is to be sent at all, it should include all “pertinent facts” as required by rules governing letters requesting legal opinions from the attorney general.  The town board this week refused at its work session to withdraw the letter and, as expected, the planning board, meeting secretly in executive session on Wednesday evening, likewise refused to withdraw the letter.  The town attorney’s office says the letter is “neutral” and that the state attorney general would have to be an “idiot” not to know the “pertinent facts.”

In a letter to Town Supervisor Paul Feiner, the chair of the Planning Board, Fran McLaughlin, said that her board’s decision to send the letter now means that the measure is on hold indefinitely.

“If the AG says the law is not pre-empted,” Ms. McLaughlin said, “the Town can proceed with its review.  If he says it is pre-empted, the Town needs to come at this another way to ensure the shut down of massage establishments conducting illegal activities.”

GREENBURGH FAILS TO MAKE THE CUT AMONG BEST PLACES TO LIVE IN NEW YORK

The Town of Greenburgh may have the highest ranked school district in the entire country, but the Town itself not only didn’t crack the top ten places to live in New York — when nine of the ten were from Westchester County — it didn’t even make a list of the top 50.

According to Movoto.com, the best place to live in New York this year is the Town of Mamoroneck, followed by the Village of Tarrytown, the City of White Plains, the Village of Mount Kisco, and the Town/Village of Scarsdale.  Rounding out the rest of the top ten are  the Town/Village of Harrison, the Village of Dobbs Ferry, the Town of Ossining, the City of Rye, and the City of New Rochelle.

“In order to come up with our ranking of best places in New York,” Movoto said, “we started out by gathering a list of all the places in the state with 10,000 people or more from the 2010 U.S. Census. This left us with a total of 87 places. We then looked at each of these places in terms of the following criteria:

  • Total amenities
  • Quality of life (cost of living, median home price, median rent, median household income, and student to teacher ratio)
  • Total crimes
  • Tax rates (sales tax and income tax)
  • Unemployment
  • Commute time
  • Weather (temperature and air quality)

From there, we ranked each place with a score of 1 to 87, according to the above criteria, with the lowest number being best. After that, we averaged each for an overall Big Deal Score; again, the lower the better.”

The site did not specify why certain large towns like Greenburgh did not even crack the top 50.

However, the Town and its government has had its share of problems, ranging from draining 40% of reserves last fall to fund spending needs in an election year in order to keep tax hikes artificially low, to backing efforts yesterday by the town attorney and town clerk to block a community-drafted proposal to give police in Greenburgh the tools they say they need — and which other New York towns and villages have enacted without objection — to stop houses of prostitution from fronting as massage parlors in the town.

On top of that, efforts resisted for years by town officials to build sidewalks to make it safer for children to walk to and from their elementary schools now seem to be moving at a snail’s pace — which is better than not moving at all — while a lack of municipal spending and planning has resulted in the town’s outdoor pools having outlived their 35-year useful life — with no plan to replace them.

Even such basic services as road repaving have slowed to the point where, after a series of terrible winters, many town roads are so rutted with potholes they might as well be located in war-town areas of Somalia or Syria.  Even well publicized efforts to sell town property — such as Frank’s Nursery on Dobbs Ferry Road, which the Town acquired more than four years ago in a tax foreclosure sale — collapsed in failure when prospective purchasers learned the property was contaminated with carcinogens.

And Greenburgh taxpayers still have nearly ten years to pay off a $5.5 million settlement with the Fortress Bible Church — believed to be the largest such settlement against a municipality in U.S. history — after town officials were found to have violated the constitutional rights of the church by refusing permission to let the church build a chapel and school on church-owned land based on supposed traffic safety concerns that the court found were baseless.

On the positive side, Town Supervisor Paul Feiner and town council members Kevin Morgan and Ken Jones are running for re-election proclaiming that, through their efforts, management of the Town has never been better.