Four-Way Stop Needed
The corner intersection of Manursing and Forest avenues is a site simply waiting for a traffic fatality. In the past couple of weeks, there have been two major car crashes, either one of which could have caused a death.
This pattern of crashes has been happening for years. The problem is that as a car approaches Forest up the Manursing hill, the driver has no way of seeing cars approaching from the left due to non-90-degree angling of the streets. As the approaching car moves out (past the current, ineffectual stop line), it enters into potentially fast-moving cars not previously seen.
The only solution, it seems to me, is to make this a four-way stop intersection, and to do it immediately.
Latimer Has Our Votes
George Latimer is the finest public office holder I have ever met. Though I have been a Westchester resident for only slightly over one year, I was active in governmental affairs for over 50 years in Nassau County.
I first became acquainted with George through email contact inquiring about his position on the establishment of a non-partisan commission to establish election district lines for state and federal positions. Much to my surprise, I received a quick and personal email response. He clearly explained his position, which called for the creation of a non-partisan commission. George voted against the flawed new district lines, which were supported by both parties.
Subsequently, I have met George at a number of public appearances. He has consistently impressed me with his knowledge of the issues facing our state. At times he has, for very good reasons, taken positions opposed by the leadership of his party. At times, he has taken positions that were opposite misguided public opinion.
George has done an excellent job as our State Assemblyman and we have confidence that he will do an excellent job as a State Senator. My family will vote for George to be our next State Senator.
Thomas J. Lavan
I have known George Latimer for many years and think of him as a model elected official. My fellow voters should look past the mindless anti-tax propaganda being thrown at George. His years of thoughtful, responsible service at the local, county and state level make him by far the better candidate for State Senate.George has long been a pillar of our community anddeserves our votes.
Apply the City Code to its Fullest in Regards to Building Applications
The following letter was sent to the City Council and the Board of Architectural Review and forwarded to the paper by the authors for publication in the paper.
We write in regard to the proposed construction of a new house at 2 Greenleaf Street. We own the home immediately adjacent to the subject property and are writing because we think it is critically important that the Board of Architectural Review (BAR) apply the standards set forth in applicable law in reviewing the application and architectural plans for this construction submitted on behalf of Capelli LLC.
We believe that it is abundantly clear that if the Board applied the correct criteria in making its assessment it would not approve the plans that have been submitted and were discussed at the August 22 BAR meeting.
As you know, the powers of the Board and the Board’s standards and considerations for approval of applications are set forth in chapter 53 of the Rye City Code. The Board acts pursuant to the legislative findings of the City Council in Section 53-L, which state that “excessive dissimilarity, inappropriateness… in the external appearance of structures… adversely affects the desirability of the immediate area and neighboring areas within the community… and by doing so… prevents the most appropriate development of such areas.”
Section 53-2 states that the members of the Board must ‘Judge the effect of a proposed erection, reconstruction, or alteration of a structure upon the desirability, property values, and development or preservation of surrounding areas.”
Finally, Section 53-5, in providing for the standards for approval, states that the Board may only approve an application upon finding that the structure “would not be detrimental to the character of the neighborhood, would not prevent the most appropriate development or preservation and/or utilization of the site or of adjacent lands, or would not adversely affect the economic stability, health, safety, and general welfare of the community.”
At the meeting, it was expressed that even if the proposed structure is inappropriate in relation to the other homes on Greenleaf Street (in particular) and Beaumont Park and Loudon Woods (in general), and not in keeping with the character of the neighborhood because of its bulk, the Board can only “mitigate” the most egregious aspects of the plan because the plan meets Floor Area Ratio and other legal requirements without the need for a variance. The Sections of the Code cited above make it clear that the Board is not constrained in this manner. In fact, these sections make clear that the Board can only approve the plan if it “would not be detrimental to the character of the neighborhood.” Thus, the Board should judge the location and design of the garage, the size of the house in relation to others in surrounding areas, its footprint and other features, in making its determination.
It was expressed at the meeting that the Board only has the right to reject a plan if it decreases the property values of neighboring structures. Again, this is totally at odds with the clear language of Chapter 53. The impact on property values is only one of several criteria to be judged by the Board in considering an application.
The owners of 13 homes in the neighborhood have written letters opposing the plans, and none have written letters in its favor. The legislation that required the applicant to send certified letters to the owners of neighboring parcels should be given weight. In fact, the law consistently references the impact on the neighborhood and the neighboring areas within the community. There is a great deal of support for the proposition that the views of the neighbors are entitled to be heard.
Finally, we were told in the meeting that as long as FAR requirements were respected, the Board was powerless to take into account the fact that the house (5,500 square feet according to the builder’s website) would more than double the living space of the existing structure. This is totally at odds with clause (2) of Section 53-5(C) of the Code which states that in assessing “dissimilarity” or “inappropriateness” in relation to any other structures within 1,000 feet of the subject property, the Board should take into account “cubical contents” and “gross floor area”. In addition, that Section calls for the Board to assess whether the structure has an “inappropriate relationship to the site”.
In sum, it is within the power of the Board to reject rather than “mitigate” the plans that accompany this application for the reasons discussed in the letters you have received. We would very much appreciate the opportunity to work with the Board to ensure that only plans that satisfy the standards set forth in the Code are applied.
Very truly yours,
Louis H. Singer
Adele C. Centanni
14 Greenleaf Street