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Sleepy Hollow Board of Trustees Meeting 11/29/11

Residents Speak Out in Favor of ARB; Dec. 10 is 15th Anniversary of Village Name Change; Sleepy Hollow Receives FEMA grant; Devries Park Playground Reno Complete

The start of the meeting was delayed for 35 minutes while the trustees and mayor were in executive session discussing personnel matters and potential litigation.

Several residents took the opportunity to speak-out in support of the Architectural Review Board (ARB) during the Public Hearing on Village Code Changes. The village has been operating without an ARB since June, 2010 when the board was dissolved in response to resident complaints.  

Mark Fry asked the board to restructure, rather than eliminate the ARB. "The ARB is a great way of continuing and preserving our sense of heritage which is a critical part of our downtown revitalization," he said.

Dan Scott said he would like to hear a public discussion on why the ARB should be eliminated instead of tweaked.  "It is as if we are using a meat cleaver and a butcher where a surgeon is needed," said Scott.

Cynthia Sandler pointed out the proposed elimination of the ARB coincides with the redevelopment of the GM site. "The ARB provides a system of checks and balances. Citizens should have a say in the GM development. We need more eyes, not fewer," she said.

Sean Roach added that the ARB is important and should be maintained.

The village code revisions are on-going and additional public hearings will be held before the board approves final changes. The current code and proposed changes are on-line at www.sleepyhollowny.gov.

The board approved bill payments totaling $470,455, including two large payments for power and health insurance.

Mayor's Announcements

Mayor Ken Wray announced that Dec. 10 is the 15th anniversary of the village name change from North Tarrytown to Sleepy Hollow. 

"Some folks celebrate this. Some mourn," said Wray.

To mark the name change and the 136th anniversary of the incorporation of the village, a bell ringing will take place on Dec. 10 at 8:15 p.m. at the , followed by a reception at Village Hall.

Six current members of the Police Advisory Committee were officially appointed to two-year terms. 

Public Comments

A resident who lives at 148 New Broadway, next to , said parts of the park had become a wild forest. "That part of the park used to be maintained. Now it is filled with dead wood and weeds. It is a fire hazard," she said.

"The part of the park closest to houses on New Broadway hasn't been cleaned up in years," agreed Deputy Mayor Tommy Capossela.

Later in the meeting Mayor Wray said he wanted to make sure that park clean-up wouldn't change the nature of the park. "I don't want us going in there and clear-cutting. Douglas Park is a forest. We just put in a new playground to fit-in with the park's unique environment."

The Mayor's comments led to an unpleasant exchange between he and Trustee Capossela.  

"Come on Kenny. It's dead wood," said Capossela. "Clean the park up. Make a decision for once."

Trustee Reports

Trustee David Schroedel said the Public Safety Committee is interviewing new Ambulance Corps volunteers. The Police Advisory Committee is considering increasing the time allotment at parking meters from one hour to two hours to allow people more time to go to dinner or the hair dresser, etc.

Trustee Bruce Campbell said the Community Relations Committee expects to receive the first $30,000 PEG access grant from Cablevision soon and the same amount from Verizon.

The Tree Commission is expected to deliver its recommendations regarding its function soon.

Next week's Board of Trustee work session will take place Dec. 6 at 7 p.m. at the at the Philipse Manor Train Station.

Trustee Capossela said leaf pick-up is on-going and asked residents to bag their leaves if they only have a small amount.

Trustee Evelyn Stupel said 10 cases were on the docket for the next Housing Court and the total amount of fines levied by the court now stands at $181,850. Stupel also said notices have been sent to Beekman Ave. property owners about litter and garbage in front of their buildings. Tickets will be issued for noncompliance with litter regulations.

Mayor Wray took the opportunity to publicly acknowledge the great job done by the Department of Public Works during the . "They had to get out during the storm to clear the roads and also clear fallen branches and trees during the busiest weekend of the year," he said.

New Business

The Board passed a resolution to hire a new auditing firm to conduct the required internal audit for the year 2010-2011 at cost of $29,600. The Board was unhappy with how long it took the previous auditing firm to conduct the 2009-2010 audit, the results of which were only presented last month.

Administrator's Report

The village will once again host a Feed the Hungry event on New Year's Day. Residents are encouraged to volunteer and/or attend as guests. 

A Health Day is planned for Jan. 21. More details to come.

The village received a grant from the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) in the amount of $37,500 for the development of an emergency response plan, which will cost an estimated $50,000. The village will contribute the balance of the funds.

Sleepy Hollow held Confined Space Training two weeks ago. Another session will take place on Dec. 19 so that everyone in the Sleepy Hollow Department of Public Works will have confined space training.

Playground is complete. 

The Trustees voted to bag parking meters for the Holiday season beginning Dec. 15 - Jan. 2.

Daniel Scott December 07, 2011 at 12:06 AM
This is not about more government, this is about community involvement and giving the residents a collective voice to prevent undersirable structures from being built in our neighborhood. This is about a community setting its own standards, and I agree 100% with you, Robert, that you need everyone's input. All of your concerns can be addressed through fixing the ARB, but elliminating it all together leaves us (the residents) completely unprotected. Before we go any further, can anyone name a village that does not have an ARB? If there are any, we should take a very close look at how that Village functions without an ARB, whether they have some other method of enforcing some modest standards and whether we consider that Village a "model" Village that we would like to be like.
Robert Solari December 07, 2011 at 04:23 AM
Chester Springs Pennsylvania and Stockbridge Massachusetts have no ARB boards. Two beautiful Hallmark Villages. I did my home work so you do yours. BTW what ever its worth Thanks for caring.
Blue December 07, 2011 at 12:51 PM
Town of Greenburgh does not have one. Code enforcers
RWL492 December 07, 2011 at 01:59 PM
Mr. Scott, Please ease my mind and tell me that you are planning on running for Mayor. Janet, I mean Trustee Wompa will not make anything better for this village.
Daniel Scott December 07, 2011 at 02:29 PM
I was asking about Villages, not towns or cities, and preferably in New York State, and even more preferably in Westchester County. From my brief survey, every VIllage has an ARB or its functional equivalent. FYI, the Town of Greenburgh consists of six Villages - Ardsley, Dobbs Ferry, Elmsford, Hastings-on-Hudson, Irvington and Tarrytown - and each of these Villages has its own ARB.

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