Board Highlights October 23, 2023
By Kathy Savolt -
During his regular Village Manager Report (see HERE), Jerry Barberio reported that Village officials had a successful meeting with the US Army Corps of Engineers (ACE), the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC), County officials from several departments and representatives from Senator Schumer’s and Gillibrand’s offices on 10/20/2023.
Due to inflation, the total amount earmarked for the ACE project has been increased from $88 million to “somewhere around $125 million.” Additionally, the Village of Mamaroneck will use ACE’s design for the demolition of the Ward Avenue bridge and funding from the County to complete that phase of the ACE project. The Village also got the green light to remove the Center Avenue pedestrian bridge.
Barberio also reported that he has formed a workgroup to assist property owners in the flood plain elevate their homes and get access to grant funds from the State Office of Resilient Homes and Communities. The only other member of the group mentioned was the Community Resource Center who has applied to be a 501(c)(3) agency to distribute these grant funds. No further information was reported.
The Village has also hired a consultant to gather data to show the impact of the Thruway Authority on flooding and develop a plan for the dam. Barberio mentioned there is now State funding available for dam study and repair/replacement.
At the Flood Mitigation Advisory Committee meeting on October 24th, Trustee Yizar-Reid announced that the ACE project will not begin until 2025. No further details are available at this time.
Grants to be Available for Flood Victims
At the Work Session, the BOT discussed developing a grant program to help residential flood victims using funds from the American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA), a Federal program designed to help communities post-COVID. More work has to be done to make this a reality so, watch for more information.
Public Hearings on New Laws
Three separate public hearings were held on three proposed new laws, all of which were environmentally minded measures aimed at reducing the Village’s carbon footprint and work to reduce flooding as well as help property owners in the flood zones. Members of the public had plenty to say about each of these measures, causing BOT members to think again about the proposals.
The first proposed local law, W-2023, See HERE, addressed zoning changes designed to require property owners to retain more stormwater on their properties. A summary of the law prepared by the Director of Planning, Greg Cutler, is available HERE. The major changes in this law are requirements to retain larger quantities of storm water on propertied being developed or renovated, a limit on the amount of impervious surfaces on properties, and a reprieve on zoning height restrictions in the flood zone which will allow property owners to raise their houses 2 feet above the base flood elevation. It was noted that after Hurricane Ida, two feet above the base may not be enough. Infill housing in commercial districts will be encouraged to provide storm water detention for a 500 year storm. Several residents spoke at the hearing making points that these changes were not enough. Bernie Camarda asked that blue roofs (retention of stormwater on top of buildings) be mandatory. The new law encourages but does not mandate such installations. The law passed 5-0.
This proposed law (see HERE) was requested by members of the Committee for the Environment (CFTE) to encourage reduced use of fossil fuels and renewable energy sources. The proposed law would eliminate the Board of Architectural Review from the review process for smaller solar installations.
David Freeman, Chair of the CFTE, and Liam Robb O’Hagan, a member of the committee told the BOT that their request was not only to streamline the approval process but to adopt the Unified Solar Permit. See HERE.
After discussion, the BOT tabled the matter and closed the Public Hearing.
This proposal called for the banning of gasoline-powered leaf blowers. See HERE.
This public hearing brought people out on both sides of the argument. The proposed local law exempts the local schools (in accordance with State law) and the Village, an exemption that caused some concern, prompting discussion between the Village Manager and the BOT.
Members of the CFTE strongly supported the new law and were joined by Catherine Pennell, a member of the Village of Larchmont’s Environmental Committee, who reported excellent results there. Pennell urged that since the landscapers work in both communities, the local laws should be synced across municipalities.
Two community members who either currently work in landscaping or have done so, Jarrett Winchester and Carlo Reca both opposed the proposed law stating that the current technology for electric blowers doesn’t allow for efficient removal of leaves, especially on large properties.
Stuart Tiekert forcefully questioned the point of passing a law that is currently not enforced anyway.
The discussion went back and forth with speakers from both sides stepping up to the podium several times. At the end of the discussion, the BOT voted in favor of the proposed law 3-1 with the Mayor voting against and Trustee Yizar-Reed abstaining. The Mayor ended the matter stating, “We’ll have to revise this in the future.”
The BOT approved a resolution authorizing the issuance of Tax Anticipation Notes (TANs) during fiscal years 2024-25 and 2025-26 to aid the Mamaroneck Public Library. This action was necessary to allow the Library to move forward with their budget process for their next fiscal year. The Village will borrow the necessary funds to allow the Library to slowly reintroduce services that were cut during the current fiscal year and the Library will pay the money back, with interest.