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  • Mamaroneck Observer

Board Highlights – July 8, 2024

Flood Update

Now that Hurricane season has begun, flooding fears have intensified, and the community is looking for solutions.  Mayor Torres and Village Engineer Gino Frabasile reported that the multiple on-going drainage improvement projects are moving forward, and Phase I of the Washingtonville/Industrial Area Drainage Improvement Study has begun with community interviews.  This comprehensive study will include detailed modeling and is expected to take 12 to 18 months.


Torres also reported that Interim Village Manager Chuck Strome and she had met with Dean Tarulli, the County’s new Director of Flood Mitigation and Stability.  The meeting was also attended by County Legislator Catherine Parker and lasted about two hours.  They discussed intermunicipal cooperation and the possibility of reviving LISWIC (Long Island Sound Watershed Intermunicipal Council) which was formed in the late 1990s to deal with issues affecting the Sound’s water quality.   Meanwhile, Village staff has reached out to other municipalities and the BOT voted to expand the mission of the Flood Mitigation Advisory Committee (FMAC) to allow them to continue meetings with similar committees from neighboring communities.


Torres also reported that the Army Corps of Engineers has completed the Project Partnership Agreement and Senator Chuck Schumer’s office has set a goal of having everything ready by the end of this year.


Memorials for Dan Sarnoff

Since Dan’s untimely passing in May, ideas for ways to honor him have been put forth and some have come to fruition.  Led by Sue Deshensky, the community raised $3,100 for a bench at Harbor Island in Dan’s name with any extra funds to be used for summer camp scholarships.  At the BOT meeting, the Board voted to fund the bench and use all of these funds for scholarships in Dan’s name.


Other ideas include a tree to be planted in his name and the formation of a scholarship at SUNY Brockport where Dan was an alumni. The International City/County Management Association, in conjunction with the New York State City/County Management Association is organizing a collection from its members to fund a scholarship to be used for school materials for a Masters in Public Administration (MPA) student enrolled in the government track.


Additionally, Sally Roberts, Deputy Village Clerk, is working with Dan’s family on a public memorial service sometime this Fall at which time the Hillside Avenue Bridge will be renamed in Dan's honor. Dan was instrumental in the rebuilding of the bridge.


Trustee Comments on Traffic Violation

During the regular meeting Trustee Leilani Yizar-Reid took the opportunity to comment on information revealed by The Mamaroneck Observer (see article HERE) that reported she received a traffic ticket when she crossed the solid double yellow line and travelled approximately four car lengths on the wrong side of the road near Mamaroneck Avenue School.


After reporting recommendations developed by the Village’s Traffic Commission, Yizar-Reid addressed her understanding that as an elected official she was a public official, and her actions are subject to scrutiny.  She stated she plead guilty, paid the full fine and did not hide.  She said, “If you need to FOIL, if you need to do whatever you need to do that is fine.”


Another comment raised some eyebrows as Yizar-Reid stated she “immediately told the traffic committee.”  Editor’s Note: The Mamaroneck Observer has not found any member of the Traffic Commission who can corroborate this statement.  She went on to say, “we all make mistakes because we’re all human and if we cannot acknowledge what we do, then we can’t move forward and we can’t make changes.”  See Yizar-Reid’s full video statement HERE.


Editor’s Note: The Mamaroneck Observer filed a FOIL request for the police body cam footage and was led to believe it would be available this week.  Unfortunately, the most recent correspondence from the Village (see HERE) states on or before September 10, 2024, we “may expect a response detailing the extent to which your request will be granted or denied.”


Marquis de Lafayette

Raise your hand if you knew that the Marquis de Lafayette, hero of the American Revolutionary War, once visited Mamaroneck!


Yes, in 1824, Lafayette returned to America to see how our country’s experiment with democracy was working and one of his stops was Mamaroneck.  To celebrate the 200th Anniversary of this visit, there will be a free event at the 1816 Schoolhouse in Harbor Island Park on August 18th.


Festivities will begin at 1 p.m. with general family-friendly activities for the public including a tour of the Schoolhouse, talks by John Pritts, President of the Mamaroneck Historical Society and Village Historian, historical reenactors portraying characters and craftspeople from the past, and period music.


The Lafayette Tour entourage, including descendants of the Marquis, will arrive at approximately 2:15 p.m. and stay until 3:30 p.m.  There will be formal greetings by dignitaries followed by presentations, including one from Virginie Lafayette.  Other participating groups will present, including the Daughters of the American Revolution and the French-American School of New York (FASNY).  The American Legion Post 90 will perform a 19-gun salute and historical storyteller, Jonathan Kruk, will be on hand for the remainder of the event, which will end at 4 p.m.


All events are free and food trucks will be on site.  Besides the organizations mentioned above, other local partners are the LMC Media, Larchmont Mamaroneck Lions Club, the Mamaroneck Public Library, Sons of the American Revolution, and local Scout troops.


Read more about the schedule in Mamaroneck HERE.


Pelham’s Innovative Solution

Chance Mullen, Mayor of the Village of Pelham, made a presentation on an innovative solution to many of their Village’s problems:  a struggling downtown, stagnating commercial values that shifted the tax burden to homeowners, the need for public infrastructure improvements and overall housing needs.  See presentation HERE.


Mullen described key legislative actions that resulted in a public-private partnership for a consolidated municipal center (fire, police and Village hall) plus public parking.  The “Fair Share Mitigation Law” was particularly interesting as they assessed the cumulative impact of potential development and passed the cost on to developers.  The project was also sensitive to the impact of adding children to the schools, so a majority of the residential units were smaller – either studios or one bedrooms.  A total of 127 residential units were built with 5% set aside as affordable units at 80% AMI (area median income).


Four developers came forward and negotiations took a long time but eventually Pelham got almost everything they wanted – including not having to pay more than $17 million to repair aging facilities.  The Village also negotiated a “payment in lieu of taxes” (PILOT) for 20 years and then the property would be on the tax rolls.


Mullen admitted it took more time than anyone wanted or expected (it’s now 5+ years since the RFP was released) and that compromise and transparency were essential.  He also stated it was worth it.  The project is currently under construction.


Pelham’s successful process to identify and address their needs stands in contrast to the current Hunter Tier Project.


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