TARRYTOWN, NY — This is one heck of a report card. Niche has come out with its new 2017 rankings of the “Best Places to Live” in New York, but it took a bit of a unique approach: The consumer rankings service assigned a grade, on an A+ to D- scale, to almost every city and town and many neighborhoods around the Empire state.
In the Hudson Valley, 24 of our Patch communities received A+ grades. Only four received a grade less than a B-. One of the fascinating things is that in many cases, Niche actually separated out villages, cities or neighborhoods from their surrounding towns.
David Schroedel, the Chairman of Sleepy Hollow’s Local Development Corporation (LDC), along with Mayor Ken Wray and the Board of Trustees received two submissions totaling 25 pages of fact-checked, and professionally-backed critical comments on the Draft Environmental Impact Statement (DEIS) for the redevelopment of the “East Parcel.” This 28-plus acre parcel is located on the former GM site adjacent to the Metro North railroad tracks, Historic Hudson Valley’s Philipsburg Manor and the Pocantico River and estuary.
In what was declared the final public hearing on the DEIS for the “East Parcel,” former Sleepy Hollow Planning Board Chairman and Pace University Professor for the Environment, Nicholas Robinson, along with Attorney Abigail Jones of the Riverkeeper, left little room for doubt on the flawed document put forth by the LDC.
Mr. Robinson, Chairman of the Pocantico River Watershed Conservancy, stated, “With preparation of this Draft Environmental Impact Statement, and the SEQRA (State Environmental Quality Review Act) procedures currently being pursued by both the Board of Trustees of the Village of Sleepy Hollow, and the Sleepy Hollow Local Development Corporation as the new developer of the ‘East Parcel,’ the Village turns its back on environmental conservation responsibilities to protect both the Pocantico River, for itself and as a tributary of the Hudson River.”
Ms. Jones’ ten-page submission to Chairman Schroedel, regarding the DEIS he put forth to the Village, states, “The proposed project fails to comply with applicable local laws, including Sleepy Hollow’s Local Waterfront Revitalization Plan (LWRP) and attendant municipal ordinance.”
Regardless of what the LDC or Village elected officials want to promote on the “East Parcel,” laws are in effect under the “Special Use Permit” for that property. In essence, the LDC is, “bound by the same provisions of the Special Use Permit that the Village had conferred upon General Motors, Roseland/Sleepy Hollow LLC, and their successor, Lighthouse Landing Ventures LLC [Edge-on-Hudson].” The Permit includes the relationship between the “East Parcel,” the Pocantico River and its flood plain. It also addresses redevelopment of the River’s shore line and eight acres of land allocated by GM to Historic Hudson Valley (HHV). This land allocation to HHV is to restore the River as an “interpretation of colonial life at a 17th-18th century period at the Upper Falls Philipsburg Mill.”
Turning directly to the Mayor and the Board of Trustees, Mr. Robinson’s submission crystallizes the fact that, “equally problematic is the failure of the Board of Trustees to maintain its Waterfront Revitalization Advisory Committee, which had advised on the General Motors FEIS (Final Environmental Impact Statement), and is an important part of the Village’s compliance with LWRP State and Village Law. The standards for the LWRP were reflected in the “Special Use Permit” process and decisions, but have thus far been ignored in this purported LDC and Village SEQRA process for the LDC’s ‘EastParcel’ proposals.”
Also brought to the attention of all present at the public hearing was a muddied and cloudy distinction between the LDC and the Village of Sleepy Hollow with regard to their collaboration on the “East Parcel.” Currently, the Village Planner, Attorney and Administrator also do work for the LDC, and attempts to get dollar costs associated with their dual services have proven unsuccessful at Village Hall. Mr. Robinson’s comments clarify the situation by stating, “It is evident that the legal regulatory duties of the Village are distinct from the property interests of the LDC. To act as if these legal entities are congruent is to confuse their respective duties. The LDC is a developer, standing in the shoes of GM, Roseland, and Lighthouse Landing Ventures [Edge-on-Hudson]. The Village of Sleepy Hollow as a local government has fiduciary duties to the citizens and their environment, through the Trustees as legislators and regulators, and through the Village Planning Board as land use regulators. The current SEQRA process muddied the waters and confuses these roles.”
Under the current Mayor, Sleepy Hollow has had four different Planning Board Chairs. To head the Planning Board it is extremely helpful to have legal knowledge in addition to planning experience in real estate. Construction and architectural knowledge is also a plus, and above all, procedural knowledge for conducting meetings and public hearings. Musical chairs may be acceptable in a recreational setting, however, with the gravity of guiding the largest development Sleepy Hollow will ever undergo, experience and constancy is called for.
In 1990 Westchester County designated the “East Parcel” banks along the lower Pocantico estuary as a “Critical Environmental Area (CEA) and according to Mr. Robinson’s statement the LDC has ignored its obligation to “evaluate how to avert any impacts on the CEA.”
This article could continue to the lengths of a doctoral dissertion, however, suffice it to say that all residents and interested parties can read Mr. Robinson’s submission in its entirety here: http://www.riverjournalonline.com/letters/4300-re-draft-environmental-impact-statement-for-the-redevelopment-of-the-east-parcel.html
The “breach of faith with the public” comment made in Mr. Robinson’s submission needs to awaken the LDC, Mayor, Board of Trustees and the Planning Board of Sleepy Hollow. The Village had, under the previous administration, worked diligently to create sustainable development, protect environments, include residents through active, meaningful, committees and above all, plan for the future of all its people.
At present, all hands in the Village are needed on deck.
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has issued a legal order directing the Village of Tarrytown, New York to comply with the Safe Drinking Water Act’s Lead and Copper Rule. A recent investigation by the EPA revealed that Tarrytown had violated numerous provisions of the rule, including failing to properly evaluate the village’s water distribution system before establishing tap sampling locations and failing to meet requirements for properly identifying tap monitoring locations. The EPA has issued a legal order requiring the Village of Tarrytown to deliver consumer notices and conduct public education activities for individuals and organizations using the village’s water supply.
“Providing clean drinking water is one of the most important functions of government,” said Judith A. Enck, EPA Regional Administrator. “It is essential that the Village of Tarrytown fully comply with the Safe Drinking Water Act so the health of residents is protected.”
In April 2016, the EPA conducted an audit at Tarrytown Water Supply’s offices to review Lead and Copper Rule data and also conducted a site visit of treatment facilities used by the village. In June 2016, Tarrytown Water Supply provided additional information in response to a request by the EPA.
Tarrytown was inspected because recent sampling results by the village showed action level exceedances for lead in drinking water. Out of 31 samples, four exceeded the EPA’s action level for lead.
Tarrytown has 15 days from receipt of the EPA order to send results to homeowners whose taps were sampled for lead and copper from 2013 to 2015. These notices must include: sample testing results; an explanation of the health effects of lead; steps consumers can take to reduce lead exposure in drinking water; contact information for the utility; and information on and definitions of the maximum contaminant level goal and the lead action level.
Tarrytown must also submit public education material to the EPA, the New York State Department of Health and the Westchester County Department of Health within 15 days of receipt of the order for these agencies’ approval, and comply with the Safe Drinking Water Act’s public education delivery requirements for these materials within 30 days, including posting the material on the village’s website. Tarrytown must also submit a plan to provide for other public outreach activities within 30 days, including hosting at least one public meeting for village residents.
The EPA is working with the New York State Department of Health and the Westchester County Department of Health to bring Tarrytown into compliance with other provisions of the Lead and Copper Rule, including: requirements that proper sampling protocols be followed; a requirement that all sampling results be reported; and a requirement that the Westchester County Department of Health approve the village’s corrosion control treatment.
The Safe Drinking Water Act’s Lead and Copper Rule requires Public Water Systems to sample drinking water in a representative selection of taps in their distribution system to determine if their water exceeds the EPA’s action level of 15 parts per billion for lead. If water systems exceed this action level, various follow-up actions need to be taken, such as public education, corrosion control treatment and replacement of lead service lines. The failure to take such follow-up actions results in violations of the Safe Drinking Water Act.
For more information on the Lead and Copper Rule, visit:
River Journal (RJ) wrote an article in the 2016 Memorial Day Issue entitled “Off the Rails…Sleepy Hollow’s Local Development Corporation (SHLDC). The article can be read at RiverJournalOnline.com by clicking Villages andgoing to Sleepy Hollow.