Mohegan Lake Legal Defense Fund

History of this site

This site was originally set up to fight 3 of 5 zoning variances proposed by the FBC development at Sagamore Trail and Mohegan Ave that eliminates two single family homes while nearly quadrupling the parking and occupancy loads of the old Lakeland Jewish Center. That effort failed and the application is currently before the Planning Board.

While Save Mohegan Lake will continue to update you on that issue, we are moving on to all issues affecting the lake, such as Mohegan Lake Improvement District (MLID) meetings, agenda and budget. This site is not an official mouthpiece for MLID, but some updates will be provided on this site; the official site is located here.

We do it all here, so long as it's Mohegan Lake related. Feel free to submit comments, content, garage sale notices, police blotters, PSA's, essays on the virtues of our 105 acre ice rink, rants, raves, etc... We love it all.

Email: YorktownCode@gmail.com

Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Ice, Ice, Baby.

While the town has been incredibly helpful and responsive to the concerns of residents, and despite a short term period where Mohegan Ave was nearly water free--we're back to historically high levels.  Hopefully our partnership with the town will result in a permanent solution for this chronic condition.  Below, a few photos from Christmas morning, 2012.

Looking west toward rte 6.
This is the backside of the possibly beaver fallen tree we discussed here.
Despite it's flaws, Mohegan Lake sure is beautiful.
I would hate to see another car and a pedestrian all fighting for space at this choke point.  Someone's getting wet, at a minimum--if not seriously/gravely injured. 

The Outflow Issue

The level of Mohegan Lake is at an all-time high. The Yorktown highway department has been incredibly helpful in addressing some of the underlying issues, but there's still work to be done. I wanted to share a few photos provided by reader Abby Luby 2 months ago in October. They help illustrate the outflow issues. With no further ado.

Gross.  Our blue-green algae is decidedly on the green end of the spectrum.  This is the lake side of the Mohegan Avenue culvert.  Please note that you can't see the culvert opening on this side.
The Mohegan Lake Improvement District's fearless leader, Ken Belfer, risking life and limb and a dip in some gross algae water to take measurements at the Mohegan Avenue culvert(outflow side).  You can see a separation on this side between the lake level and the culvert.  This indicates we've got a blockage under the road itself. 
Man at work: Ken Belfer.

This interesting steel structure is the grating that keeps crap--for lack of a better word--like branches and trash from clogging up the first in a series of pipes circulate the waters of Mohegan lake.  This is just south of the Winery.

This is across the road (see Winery in background).
Word on the street is that this junction of the pipes was completely cemented shut by the State Department of Transportation.  Thankfully, Yorktown stepped in and fixed this part of the problem.  Unfortunately, our drainage issue persists.  As I type this, I can see half of Mohegan Ave covered in water, snow and ice. 
Thanks for the pictures, Abby!

Monday, December 17, 2012

MLID Meeting 12/20/12 @ 7:30pm


Are you not on the MLID listserv?  Oh, you should be if you care about our dear Mohegan Lake.  You would be getting informative emails about MLID, like the one below.  Hope to see you there.

"Our December meeting of the Mohegan Lake Improvement District will be this Thursday December 20 at 7:30 P.M. In the kitchen of the Mohegan Colony schoolhouse at 99 Baron de Hirsch Road in Crompond.  Hope you can join us as we plan for what we will do in 2013 to try to avoid another summer lost to blue green algae blooms."


 Sure, it is the middle of the holiday season, but you can always find an excuse not to attend an MLID meeting.   Come on, you know you want to be more active in this vital issue that we all pay taxes to fund.  You can actually have a say in how that money gets spent, if you show up this Thursday! :-)
 

 

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Historic Map News

I was playing hookie today cause my father's in town.  We stopped by The Dew Drop Inn Antique Center of Rte. 9 in Phillipstown Very nice shop with many quality vendors.  I was delighted to find two of the same historic maps of Yorktown.  They are pricey: $65.  I didn't by one (I would at $40), but I did take this quick photo detail.  It shows all the old property owners.  You can see where John C. Hart's property is that was donated to town and became our very own John C. Hart Memorial Library.  If I ever get rich, I'm going to become a map collector.

Mohegan Lake Has a Posse.


View Larger Map

Monday, December 10, 2012

Elephant In The Room: The Holland Sporting Club

Arguably the most important issue facing the future of Mohegan Lake?  The Holland Sporting Club.  The fate of this beautiful acreage, which is supposed to end up as passive recreation for the surrounding residential community (and all of Yorktown residents), is still up in the air.

Unsure where the Holland Sporting Club is?  Below is a map with a pin showing you the entrance.  It's basically the peninsula structure jutting out into Mohegan Lake.


View Larger Map
 Yorktown recently demolished about 11 buildings which comprised the original Holland Sporting.  There was some controversy, as there always is with anything in this town. 

If anyone thinks this issue is settled is mistaken. It's quite possible, especially under the current administration, we may see a "private-public partnership" that sees us giving it all, or a portion, away to a private developer.

Nothing is certain.  This is an issue that every Mohegan Laker ought to concern themselves with.  No definitively plans have been put forth, and it's all napkin sketches at this point.  Keep your eye on the ball.

Don't Forget To Vote

I'm not sure who is running for Commissioner of the Mohegan Lake Fire District (5 year term) but you can view the legal notice at the Yorktown website here.   I assume it's probably an uncontested position since I haven't heard of any news of a contest, but could be wrong cause I have no clue.  Feel free to fill in the numerous blanks in the comment section, if you're in the know.  Regardless, get out and vote, cause it's the democratic thing to do.

The vote will take place at the Jefferson Valley Fire Station at 500 Lee Boulevard in Jefferson Valley.


Sunday, December 9, 2012

Happy Sunday

Hi there Mohegan Laker,

It was great to see so many of you turn out for the hurricane relief fundraising party for the Keppler's friends from Breezy Point, Queens. It was heartwarming to see what a great and generous--not to mention good looking--community we have. One thing that I kept getting asked last night was how you can follow us on facebook. I was remiss not being explicit in previous posts. All you have to do is click on this link to the facebook page and hit the "like" button. And then you'll have a whole lot of Mohegan Lake up in your facebook news feed.

For the record, we still need to figure out who lost their boat last month.  Spread the word.

Saturday, December 8, 2012

Houston, We Have a Blockage

One of the major factors contributing to the health of the lake is how long a drop of water sits in the lake retention time.  Basically how long it takes to flush a drop of water out of the lake.  One of the problems we've had are at the Mohegan Avenue culvert (pics below).  The town highway super, Eric DiBartolo has been very helpful directing his crew to clear out in front of the concrete culvert with their equipment.  It has helped, but is a small waterfall inside the culvert.  We need to figure out how these obstructions can be pushed or pulled out for a complete fix of that structures flow capacity.

The town also helped with two other structures that were damaged or sealed with concrete[!] by the State when they were doing some work.  These structures are located by The Winery at St. George as the outflow continues under Route 6; there is another structure as the it continues towards Peekskill.  It is my understanding that those are now completely fixed. 

For your orientation, the Mohegan Ave culvert is in line with the tip of this canoe.  Beyond the trees to the upper left is CVS.

Beaver dam or not, there are a ton of branches and muck inside that concrete structure.  If you get close, you can hear the waterfall inside the culvert.  How can we clear it?  Might be easiest to just rip the top off and clean it out with a backhoe and pour a new roof for it and re pave it. 


View Larger Map

Beavers and The Mohegan Lake Outflow

So last weekend I claimed to have photos of a beaver-felled tree.  I went back this morning and retook the photos I lost.  Looking at them again, I think I was wrong.  It almost looks like someone axed it down? Feel free to comment below and share your opinion on what cause it.  One thing is sure is that it was recent.  I think beavers may work more circularly and symmetrically around the tree.  And as Wayne pointed out, that tree is a bit big for a beaver.  Anyhoo...the town has hired a wildlife trapper and has rounded up 4 to be relocated--last I heard.
Detail of felled tree. 

For reference, you can see the corner of Faith Bible at the top right (white corner) of this photo taken from the lake .


View Larger Map

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Getting Up To Speed On The Issues

I highly recommend you get on the official Mohegan Lake Improvement District (MLID) listserv.  You can stay up to date on current issues and meeting dates/times.  Get in touch with MLID president Ken Belfer, or send me an email at YorktownCode@gmail.com, if you're interested in joining.

Quick summary of the most pressing issues:

1)  The blue-green algae problem.  We have a plan to apply for a New York State Department of Environmental Protection to apply alum (aluminum sulfate) to the lake.  The idea is that the alum would bind the phosphorous which is what the algae thrives on--or at least that's my layman's understanding of the issue.

2)  The MLID weed harvester (big boat that harvests the invasive weeds that live under water) is on it's last legs.  It will likely not function for another season.  It is a big ticket item; the current weed harvester was purchased in the mid-80's.  It now spends more time on shore, getting repaired, than it does in the lake.

3)  The  budget.  For the first time last year (2012), the town adjusted our budget--without our knowledge--from the normal 5% admin fee the MLID fund pays to the town by $2,000.  That raised our admin fees to 7.4%.  There's a budget hearing tomorrow, 12/5/12.  We are hoping that they cap the admin fee for all districts at 6%.

4)  The budget, part 2: The MLID general fund has been depleted to the point where we may not be able to afford the alum treatment or a new weed harvester. Alum is a short term solution, but if we don't go forward, you can expect that the NYS Department of Health will likely shut down the lake to all swimming in mid-July again because of the blue-green aglae (ours is more green--neon green algae).  About three years ago our fund was over $300,000 because we had budgeted dredging.  Because of previous applications of copper sulfate (copper is heavy metal, in a bad way), the dredged material would have to be treated as hazardous waste and cost prohibitive to dispose of.  Now we may not have the funds to treat the lake to reduce--if not eliminate--the algae blooms.

So, in summary, we need you to get involved.




Sunday, December 2, 2012

Leave It To Beaver

I lost some good photos I took this weekend of a 12-18" tree in the wetland at the top of the lake that had been felled by a beaver.  Unmistakeably a beaver's handiwork; word on the street is the town is hiring trappers.  MLID and the Yorktown official have confirmed it's a problem that contributes the problem of the lake overtaking the road (see image below--yes, I stopped the car to take the pic).

The town highway department has been incredibly helpful and gone above and beyond their duties to clear out the concrete culvert that runs under Mohegan Ave as you come down from Rte. 6.  They have pulled all the muck out in front of the concrete tube, but there's muck inside the culvert.  The town did additional improvements to the outflow infrastructure that passes right by The Winery and out towards Oregon Road (Mohegan Lake water ends up in Peekskill).

Figuring out how we can clean out inside the culvert--without spending boat loads of money--is one of the problems that MLID is tasked with.  If we have a steady outflow, it will contribute to a healthier lake. Any ideas?  Can it be done in-house?

Saturday, December 1, 2012

Who lost their boat just before Thanksgiving?

About a week or two ago, from my house on the north side of the lake, I saw a ghost boat float past (image above).  A good Samaritan from the condos on the east side towed it to SOLE beach; it is still there.   It looks to be a 10-12 foot John boat (?).  It has a red stripe.  I can't make out the brand but it's something "craft." I thought I saw a paddle float by an hour or so later, but never found it. 

Thursday, November 29, 2012

Exciting News

The public hearing for the FBC application should be opened for comment in the beginning of the new year.  The town traffic consultant has been formally retained for the traffic study. This is the last step before a public hearing.  Interested parties will be receiving their certified mail notices shortly.

On another topic, I was at the Mohegan Lake Improvement District (MLID) meeting tonight.  There are a lot of interesting issues that we should all concern ourselves with such as the budget (it's bigger than you might think--about 100K), lake health (blue-green algae sucks--but we can suppress it with an alum treatment), a permit from the DEC to get an permit to treat the lake with alum (very difficult, but possible), Canada goose egg addling (ooooh, sign me up), beavers, the blocked up Culvert under Mohegan Avenue that the beavers are stuffing with felled trees and branches, etc...

We have a beautiful lake but you and I maintain this lake; it's maintained solely by volunteers.  If you live within the MLID special tax District (about 1,500 of us), then you pay taxes to MLID and can't change that; if you care about Mohegan Lake, may as well get involved, right?

We are rolling out a few social media platforms that will allow us to maximize community participation.  You can actually already start following this facebook page that will feature all things MLID.  A formal website for the MLID will be live by the new year as well.

In summary, Mohegan Lake needs you, so please get involved with the MLID.  There are monthly meetings and a few, extremely dedicated people that do it all.  I don't claim to be one of them, but I have been attending a few meetings and have helped out with Lake Day activities and try to pitch in whenever I can.  They need your help.

Hope to see you soon.

-Evan

Monday, October 1, 2012

I'm Outta Here

Below is the content of a Yorktown Patch post that was published this morning.  Thought I should  share:


I moved to Yorktown on July 1st, 2010.  I came with my pregnant wife and two daughters; now we have 3 and are pregnant again.
I have a bachelor of architecture degree from The Cooper Union.  The last 11 years, I have worked in Manhattan as a building code and zoning consultant.  It pays the bills and has allowed us to buy our first home for our growing family.

Shortly after arriving to town, we received a piece of certified mail telling us our neighbor wanted to "legalize" some "existing structures" with an application that was before the Zoning Board of Appeals.  Being the zoning nerd I am, I attended, not thinking much of it.  Legalizing existing structures isn't a big deal--or so I thought.

Turns out the "existing strucutures," two single family homes and a house of worship allowing up to 100 people, 3 days a year, for 3 hours a day--at least according to the Yorktown Building Department and the Tax Assessor--were all to be demolished.  It was explained they had plans to build a church for 344 people on the 2nd floor with 6 classrooms convertible into another auditorium capable of holding another 300+ people.  [note: after they approved the variances, I pointed out that the application was not worded correctly.  The ZBA then revoked their approval and made them use the correct words, "new building," on a second application]




 They currently park up to 92 cars, according to their engineer, Site Design Consultants.  This supports an illegal occupant load of up to 242 people, according to the same engineer.  They are proposing 86 parking spaces to serve the new church capable of having two assembly spaces over 300 people.  Even their attorney, Al Capellini, agreed with me on record that the applicant needed to get a "special use permit" from the town before converting the homes in this R1-10 zoning district. That's when the alarm bells went off; it's rare that the opposition's attorney agrees with you.
 
Long story short, I sued the town pro se.  I spoke to lots of attorney friends, at length, and prepared my best professional case against the zoning variances.  Ultimately, the court did not read my petition or render a decision based on the merits of my agument. All because I didn't serve my neighbor, they said it was a fatal flaw.  What hurt so much was that I wasn't challenging a decision my neighbor made, it was the determiations (not even all of them), that the ZBA made.  
The law is clear that the action I was taking was to "challenge the final determination of governmental agency of body."  Not being an attorney, I wasn't aware of some obscure case law and lost on a technicality.
 
So instead of enforcing existing laws and kindly pointing out it's not legal to convert single family homes without Yorktown approval or permit, the town rewarded the developer who acted illegally by granting inappropriate zoning variances that will ultimately depress home values in the area.
Then there is the "Costco" issue.  I've written several posts for the Patch on the subject outlining my objections to the proposal as an individual.  I argue that it's not about Costco, but rather conformance with the Comprehensive Plan.  

The Yorktown Building, Engineering, Envirionmental and Planning departments sent a memo to the planning board stating:
 
The public policy sections outline the recommendations from the Yorktown Comprehensive Plan, the Sustainable Development Study, and Westchester County’s Patterns. Many of these recommendations are contrary to the objectives of the Costco project, yet there is little discussion in the potential impacts section on how the project does comply with goals from these reports or how the project will enhance the Bear Mountain Triangle/Crompond Hamlet Center area despite these differences. The Comprehensive Plan describes the C-3 zone as a small scale roadside commercial hamlet center...

and the Comprehensive Plan goes further and states:
 
This stretch of Route 202 should be a green corridor, with preservation of open space on the north side, and heavily landscaped buffers on both sides that hide the building and parking lots to the rear.
 
I don't think the "open space" the town envisioned when it adopted the Plan into law in 2010 was a parking lot.  Furthermore, the applicant seeks a zoning variance to have approximately 25' high light poles throughout the site whereas zoning only allows for 16'; granting an increase over 55% of what's allowed in height to those lights surely won't help hide anything behind the nominal buffer proposed.
It's hard to see how this proposal got off the ground in the first place.  According to the developer, he apparently had lots of other offers.  I think he should have chosen one that conforms to the Comprehensive Plan.
 
These aren't sour grapes, it's just a reality it's taken me a few years to accept.  The future of Yorktown is not a 34 year old with a growing family.  The future is Al Capellini and Costco.  The future is rezoning 100 acres from large parcel single family homes to C-3 so State Land Corp. can maximize their ROI (return on investment). It's about letting development progress unfettered while preserving and maximizing developers' ROIs.  Apparently that's what's meant by the Yorktown motto: Progress with Preservation.
 
The building department and tax assessor records, to this day, still show that I live next to 2 houses, homes occupied as such from 1929 to 2006, and a very small house of worship with a maximum legal capacity of 100 people on 3 days a year where they exceed the normal 35 people.  The 23 parking spaces permitted is now used by 92.  The reality is that the homes were illegally converted and now it's nearly 200 people a week with 90+ cars at least 52 days a year.
 
The Comprehensive Plan was adopted as law and is still on the books. Regardless of what the 
Comprehensive Plan says, it would appear that the development team will get Costco built in Yorktown with the full-throated support of the Town Board and Chamber of Commerce.
My advice to young families considering Yorktown--or any other municipality--would be don't rely on town records and valid laws to determine a town's character.  Dig deeper.  Just because that house next to your house is legally a house--per town records--and looks like a house, the town may turn a blind eye--perhaps even encourage--it's illegal occupancy and use, even after dozens of correspondence bringing it to their attention that it's in violation of existing, valid law.
 
There were red flags I could have picked up before I bought with a little googling.  The "Trump" development for the elderly, for example. Yorktown helpfully (to the developer) rezoned it from an office park to an assisted-living facility with an age restriction of 62. "Within 30 days of receiving the approval, Cappelli went back to the town asking to drop the 'assisted living' designation.Once that was achieved, in 2005, the developers sought and received permission to drop the age to 55 and above. In 2010, they approached the town asking to lift the restriction entirely. The town balked because the developers by then were on the hook for $700,000 in overdue taxes."   Talk to neighors in the area you are considering.  Use google to research the town.  Don't rely on town officials and their records.
 
Thankfully there are many towns and villages adjacent to Yorktown in Westchester that appear to have their town planning ducks in a row.  Because of the odd school district lines, we can even move to another town and stay in the same elementary school.
 
I was happy to meet all my neighbors and get elected vice president of my home owners association.  It was fun to get involved at town meetings.  Sadly, it only ended in heartache and pain.  On the upside, I've learned a valuable life lesson.  Everyone knows you can't fight city hall, but you can research a prospective city hall prior to purchasing your home and make sure you share the same values as they do.  A home inspector can't do that for you, but the internet and talking to people sure can.
 
Farewell and good luck, Yorktown. 

Thursday, September 13, 2012

A Quick Recap

The public hearing regarding the enormous church that will demolish 2 single family homes, create an occupancy on the 2nd floor of 344 people, 6 school classrooms for 19 kids each, convertable into an auditorium for over 300 people while reducing the number of cars they park their to day is becoming a reality.  If you add the occupancy of both floors, you have almost 700 people as a potential occupancy.  Oh, but don't worry, they "promise" not to occupy--never, ever, ever--over 344 people.  Sure, they currently exceed the legal occupancy by 152 people and park over 70 cars than are allowed (23 max).


Cut to the chase:

Today they are allowed 100 people in the church 3 days a year, 3 hours at a time.  They illegally converted two single family homes that the Yorktown building department and the tax assessor still classify as a single family residences to a church. A church requires a special use permit in this (R1-10) zoning district.  I should note it is the smallest residential zone in the whole town, as far as lot area requirments; that is in keeping with the small, summer cottage nature of the area; that's literally what this specific neighborhood was established as and still has the flavor of--but this will destroy a prominent corner of it.

Now they occupy up to "252" people, against the law.  The town is spineless and refuses to enforce valid laws, even though the building inspector noted it was a violation to convert the homes to church without approval or permits.  Hire a prominent attorney and threaten to sue the town.  That is the takeaway from this story.

But we can and will fight to make this development a more reasonable size and in keeping with the character, while preserving the quality of life of all residents of Yorktown.  The church isn't bad and the congregation is full of beautiful families.  This is a town planning issue though and the proposal is wholly inappropriate.  There's a reason he hired Al Capellini. 

If I haven't been at your door with a good old fashioned paper petition regarding the planning board application for Faith Bible Church, then drop me a line, or email me (YorktownCode@gmail.com).  I have a couple community organizers gathering signatures, but am always looking additional help.

Thursday, August 16, 2012

:(

I lost my lawsuit.  Details to come soon.  I'll scan and post the decision.

It reminds me of the first time I lost a wrestling match.  No one to blame but myself.  I got tossed on a technicality.  Lesson learned.

Gotta stay positive.  We have an exciting challenge coming up next month with the planning board.

Monday, August 13, 2012

A Good Sense of Humor

The Yorktown Planning Board conducted a great meeting tonight.  Not to be overly dramatic, but planning and zoning issues can be quite emotional.  I truly respect the care and consideration the board takes in their decisions.

The IBM Helipad issue, for example, shows the thin line these gracious volunteers have to navigate: concerned citizens who live literally a stone's throw from a proposed helipad v. keeping good relations with IBM who is a very decent corporate citizen.  

Planning board members have a tough job and offer up their expertise (and take classes, and things) to ensure we have a decent town.  From what I saw tonight, we're in good hands.  This video shows an--obviously joking--planning board member commenting that what we really need on the proposed FBC development site is an Amish church (no car traffic, get it? horse and buggies).  Obviously we love all churches, mosques, temples, etc..., and do not discriminate.  It's still funny though, because traffic and parking are of serious, serious concern.  It's funny cause it's true.  



The End Times Are Upon Us: September 10, 2012

Mark your calendars. Tonight there was a meeting at the Yorktown Planning Board regarding Faith Bible Church.  There will be a public hearing to approve over "344" people (on the 2nd floor) and "63" or "86 [note: they already park 90+ there already!] parking spaces, not to mention the school for troubled youths (114 classroom seats on the first floor, with the 344 aforementioned occupants on the second floor).

We are certainly not opposed to the church, nor their plans to build a new church.  A school for troubled youths, not so much.  Scale it down, considering they park more cars on site than is proposed under the new development (which eliminates two single family homes).

Please, expand your church, but please acknowledge that you've already done so without approval of the Yorktown Planning Board, nor the permit of the Building Department.  That has to be a part of the equation.


Please make sure you listen to this video of the pastor explaining about the "Youth Center" he plans to build here.  When a group of us met with him last April, he explained the program of the school to us as primarily music oriented for youths to get them away from drug and gang violence.  An honorable idea, but not right for this residential area of Mohegan Lake.  

Thursday, June 28, 2012

Slackin' On My Bloggin'

The Westchester Supreme court is honorable and just.  They also have a huge back-log of cases, I imagine, with budget cuts [or do we call them austerity measures?] and the like.  I was hoping to have a decision 60 days or so after April 24th date the judge set for final submissions (there is never an in-person hearing with article 78 petitions, it is completely a written argument).

In the meantime, I've been slackin' on my bloggin'.  I aim to change that.

I think it would be wise for us to gear up for the public hearings for Faith Bible Church's development plans at various boards that will likely start back up again this fall.  To date, they have not authorized a contract with the town's traffic consultant to do the requisite traffic study.  Oh, hey, speaking of traffic studies, it just so happens that my neighbor just happened to sit on the town traffic board for a few years and actually has an historic traffic study of the intersection of Sagamore Trail and Mohegan Avenue. That's certainly a happy coincidence; I think I'll hold that card to my chest until we see the new traffic study.  Can't wait to share and compare though.

For today's discussion, please note the following:

1) Faith Bible Church illegally converted [editor's note: very un-churchly] two legal single family homes.  The tax assessor (see the Yorktown tax assessment records, below) and building department records support that assertion. 



Legal single family house occupied as such up until 5 years ago.


Legal single family house that a single family lived in until about 5 years ago after FBC took title.

Legal house of worship for 100 people 3 times a year, for 3 hours a day supported by 23 cars.  That's what the last Yorktown approval for FBC allows.  It's insane that Yorktown is so spineless they won't enforce this egregious infraction of the law after having it brought to their attention multiple times.


2)  Faith Bible Church is a great congregation of people.  All of the ones that park without permission on Shrub Oak Lake Estates' beach and walk by my house are beautiful people.  I always say hi and chat if they seem inclined. 


That is all for today.  I promise to quit slackin' on my bloggin'.  I leave you with this classic video from Jay-Z (featuring Jumain Dupri) which was the inspiration for the title of this post..."turn it up."

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Mohegan Lake Day Is Going To Rock Your World [figuratively speaking]

Mohegan Lake Day is Sunday, July 15th, 2012 starting at 1pm on the MHPOA beach.  Please check out the tentative details by clicking on these ridiculously over-sized words to be transported to the MLID blog.


Thursday, June 14, 2012

Mohegan Lake Day: Sunday July 15th, 2012

Has it already been another year?  My goodness, it has.

Mohegan Lake is great lake, worthy of celebration.  On Sunday July 15th, 2012--beginning at 1pm on the Mohegan Highlands beach we will kick off this year's festivities with a special guest speaker.  Refreshments?  Oh yes.  There are activities at nearly every beach association on the lake throughout the day.

I was at the Mohegan Lake Improvement District (MLID) meeting tonight and we are laying out a great itinerary.  There is a regatta (boat races!) for all different vessel classifications.  Wind permitting, we'll even have a sail boat class.  Live Music.  A kid friendly movie night?  You bet.  Lots more too.

You'll be receiving a mailing or seeing a poster here or there soon.  And of course, you can get information here.  In the meantime, let's revisit this video about how to save snapping turtles from getting hit on the road from a Will Ferrel doppelganger.  It's genuinely heart-warming.

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Silly Geese

We are hoping the Court will make a decision on our article 78 petition in the next 60 to 90 days.  It's really hard to predict as the lead time varies from judge to judge, depending on case-load and other factors.

There are several other things we can discuss to pass the time such as the State Land Corp. rezone, the Costco site and the "Super" Walmart.  There will be a lot on that in the near future.  In the meantime, enjoy this video of baby geese walking down Mohegan Ave.  I'm going to use this post to propose the speed bumps that near the intersection of Scofield Road and Mohegan Ave be extended all the way up Mohegan to Sagamore Trail.  People actually walk on this sidewalk-less street while some people drive at break-neck speeds.  The speed bumps are very effective, in my personal experience.


Friday, May 18, 2012

Spring!

I'm personally not a fan of Canada geese because they poop on everything and I think their population could be responsibly and ethically thinned; much like Senator Gillibrand.  They are actually good meat; we could kill two birds with one stone (pun totally intended).  Donate the meat to food pantries and keep our environment well balanced.

However, I have to say I screamed like a little girl when I saw the babies down at the beach tonight.  So very cute.  And boy, do they ever have a unique, shall I say, locomotion.


Friday, May 11, 2012

Interesting Development

There's an article in this morning's Yorktown Examiner regarding the 100 acre development mentioned in the previous post for "State Land Corp." which is a private development and has nothing to do with the state.

Here's a choice quote from the Yorktown police chief:

  

Let's hope the town board leaves this zoning district as it exists.  The developer can build several nice homes on the site and turn a handsome profit without detrimentally altering the character of the area.  The last thing the Yorktown Town Board should do is give another developer a handout at the detriment of the rest of Yorktown.

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

SaveYorktown.com?

Boy, I tell ya, northern Westchester is chocked full o' nuts crazy development and legislative proposals.  It's really, truly, very hard to keep up.  It's no wonder there's such a fatalistic mentality within the residential population of Yorktown when it comes to planning issues.  "You can't fight town hall" is a ubiquitous refrain with people who resign themselves to having to "live with it."

While this site was definitively set up to fight one particular issue, we may have to expand the scope of our discussion.  For example: there is a proposal to transfer approval authority to the town board, from the planning board.  I was heartened to see a lively group of people show up, en masse, to highlight the drawbacks of such a move.  The law was changed in 1994 based on sound reasoning.  There's not much of an argument to change it back other than "it used to be like that."  Imagine if we started changing laws back to how they used to be just because "it used to be like that."

Moving on, here's an issue that deserves some attention.  At the end of the day, to make a new commercial development a stone's throw from the Costco project site to move forward, there is a 100 acre site that needs to be rezoned to make that viable.  Under the agenda item titled "Forest Management Plan" , there is a substanative discussion that directly affects the viability of both of those projects; it's imperative that the public insert itself into this disclosure early and often [note: the preceding link is to Town Board summaries lovingly prepared by former supervisor Susan Siegel who maintains a LISTSERV here; I encourage you to sign up for mailings].

I leave you with the following moments of nature recently captured on the northern tip of Mohegan Lake:






Friday, May 4, 2012

Sidebar

There's some healthy public discourse going on with the Yorktown town board.  It involves transferring approval authority from the planning board to the town board (scroll to the end of this link, to read the meeting summary regarding the transfer of approval authority).  The town board will vote on the matter, soon.  I'm still gathering facts, but am leaning towards it's a terrible idea to approve such a change.

While I gather facts, please enjoy this photo from the meeting.  Those in the know may find some humor in that sign referencing the Yonkers town council/board member who was convicted of corruption and is serving jail time for yadda, yadda...

Glad to know that Yorktown has retained it's sense of humor.



Monday, April 30, 2012

Quick Update

Facebook page is rolling out, slowly.  Please like us.  We'll like you back; promise.  Twitter feed to follow soon.


Thursday, April 12, 2012

Quick Update

Things will get a bit more lively on the site  soon.  The lawsuit is coming to a conclusion.  It'll still be a few months before anything is final.  I'm currently fending of a cross-motion to dismiss.  Hiiiiiiya!

I recently saw Laurence Dalfino, architect for my neighbor.  We were both attending a continuing education class on New York City Energy Code.  13 credits--that's good. It was actually held at my Alma mater, The Cooper Union.  Abraham Lincoln once delivered a speech in the same  room we had class; that speech basically secured his nomination.  I actually see Larry down at the DOB a lot, he actually has an office on 5th Avenue in the City.  Small world.  Small world.


Monday, March 5, 2012

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Like Watching Paint Dry


The new return date on the article 78 petition will be pushed out a bit past 3/6/2012; at the end of the day, our legal system takes time to navigate.  Initially, and naively, I was expecting this action to come to a conclusion in a quick dramatic fashion.  That is not going to happen.  It will happen in a fair and just manner though.  I'm sure of it.

So, in the meantime, I leave you with this: the deed and the restrictions attached to the wetland parking lot.

Background: the two lots across Sagamore Ave. from Faith Bible Church used as parking were transferred to the Lakeland Jewish Center from Shrub Oak Lake Estates [an adjacent home owners association] to use for 6 parking spaces.  Shrub Oak Lake Estates (SOLE)  transferred title to the Lakeland Jewish Center in 1969 and it included six (6) legally binding terms and conditions.


It's a bit hard to read, let me enlarge that for you.

Still having trouble reading it? Here's a transcription of the six (6) terms and conditions of the wetland deed that Faith Bible Church is legally required to observe.  

1. Approval of the Supreme Court of Westchester County to the conveyance.

2.  That the Grantee [Lakeland Jewish Center--now Faith Bible Church] shall develop, grade gravel and maintain the subject parcel as and for an automobile parking area.
 Setting aside the fact that the wetland lot is now paved, they comply with that term.
3. The Grantor [Shrub Oak Lake Estates] hereby reserves a permanent easement on behalf of its membership to use the subject parcel at all times for parking purposes at no cost to the Grantor [SOLE] or any of its individual members of the Grantor and the Grantee [Faith Bible Church].
That speaks for itself [emphasis mine].
4. That the subject parcel be permanently posted by the Grantee to indicate it as private property for the exclusive use of the members of the Grantor and the Grantee.
I like how attorneys use such crisp, clear language.
5. In the event the Grantee shall abandon the subject parcel and not use the same for parking purposes or if the Grantee shall use the subject parcel for any purpose other than parking, then the Grantor its successors, then the Grantor its successors and/or assigns.
No can argue FBC does not comply with that condition.
 [CLICK ON IMAGE BELOW TO MAKE BIG]

6. That the Grantee shall not in any way encumber the subject parcel by mortgage, lien or easement, but shall always maintain clear and unencumbered title to the subject parcel excepting the easement herein reserved to the Grantor, and in the event of a breach thereof, the Grantor shall have the right of re-entry and the fee shall revert forthwith to the Grantor, and in the event a breach thereof, the Grantor, its successors and/or assigns.
Let's all marinate on that while the paint dries.





Sunday, February 26, 2012

Someone's Not Truthin'

Someone's not being honest with themselves, their community, the Mohegan Lake residential community and the Yorktown government.

Today, Sunday, February 26th, 2012, Faith Bible Church parked 88 cars to support an average occupant load; an average load, per pastor Zottolli's Planning Board application is about 150 to 160 people.

The new building that would take the place of two single family homes and the very small church that allows 100 occupants 3 days per year would allow for 344 people on the second floor alone. The church's architect, Larry Dalfino, has made up a code section about "non-simultaneous occupancy" claiming the 1st floor would never be occupied if the 2nd floor was being used. That's not only a lie, but also completely unenforceable.
Read the deed that ZBA chairman Gregg Bucci never took the time to read, here.

Let's set that falsehood aside. Let's pretend that the church is legally allowed to occupy the premises with "150-160 people" and park 88 cars on site to get those people there [the church is actually only allowed 100 people 3 days a year, for 3 hours and can only legally park 23 cars on site]. Let's then pretend the town approved "344" people to occupy the new building. How many cars would they have to park to support that occupant load? If it takes 88 parking spaces to allow 160 people on the site, how many spaces would be required to support 344 people? This is middle school math, but I'm going to give away a $40 gift certificate to The Winery At St. George for the first person to correctly figure out the number of parking spaces required to support 344 people (based on the current ratio of 88 cars to 160 parishoners) and leave the answer in the comment section.

Thursday, February 23, 2012

What's Happenin' Now

2/24/2012: tomorrow, FBC's attorney is due in court at 9:30 in the "forenoon" [that's fancy lawyer-speak for "morning"]. He's trying to insert himself into the case because he doesn't think the Yorktown's attorney will do a good enough job.

2/28/2012, I will receive the town's motion to dismiss. They will argue that FBC should have been party to my lawsuit. There's still a snowball's chance that happens. 3/6/2012: Assuming I'm not thrown out of court for notifying FBC, I will have served my response to the town's motion to dismiss and reply to my petition to the court. I get the feeling it's going to be summer--at the earliest--before we have resolution. In the meantime, please enjoy this TV theme song instrumental. What'sHappenin' Now!! Oh no I didn't.

Saturday, February 18, 2012

3 Day Weekend!

I hope the holiday weekend affords you some time for leisurely reading, too.

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

What Does It All Mean?

I agreed to a conditional adjournment with Jeanneatte Koster (the Yorktown attorney) yesterday.  Initially I had opposed such a move.  My reasoning was that since the Zoning Board had deviated so radically from their normal procedure when certifying variance approvals, why would I agree to give them more time to respond to my petition.  Whereas a normal zoning variance gets recorded with the town clerk 30 days or more past the zoning board publicly votes on an application, the variances for FBC were recorded in 4 days (12/8/11-12/12/11).  Some of the variances they voted on last November still haven't even been certified!  Because there was no other application which the ZBA certified that quickly in all of 2011 (nothing even came close), it put me at a great disadvantage.  Anyhoo, out of the kindness of my heart, I've pushed out the return date to 3/6/2012.  If the ZBA weren't totally unaccountable for their actions (Jeannette has to defend them), I wouldn't have budged.
Note the only italicized words in her letter are "pro se."  That's code to the judge that she thinks I'm cray-cray


But wait, there's more.  Al Capellini, esq, on behalf of FBC, has filed a motion to intervene.  He is sad he wasn't invited to the party and wants to get served too.  He notes in his letter to the Honorable Judge Barbara Zambelli that he has directed the town to it is his understanding that..." Yorktown will move to dismiss my suit on grounds that I didn't serve the applicant, FBC.  In the same breath, he files a formal reply to my petition in Westchester County supreme court.

What does it all mean?

It means that Al Capellini will now get to serve as de facto council for Yorktown (read: I'm going to get tag-teamed by two attorneys now).  This, of course, presumes the judge doesn't throw me out of court for not serving the landowner (I checked my magic 8 ball and the outlook is good that I won't).

It's important to understand that I'm challenging the ZBA's, not FBC's, decision making process and the action of approving MAJOR zoning variances; I did not challenge 3 of the original five variances because they were reasonable.  I'm claiming that their action of approving the variances was  arbitrary and will be detrimental to our small residential community.  I've made the facts of this controversial public application and my article 78 petition so widely available to the public, he's already finished his reply to paperwork he's not yet been served. Ha!
What does it all mean?

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Word of the Day: Impleader

Happy Valentine's Day!  As you're well aware, today is the return date on my article 78 petition.  There's a few happenings going on we'll talk about later, but in the mean time, please take the time to research today's word of the day.

Impleader, defined.

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Judgement (Valentine's) Day

February 14th is the return date (the day the judge is set to render a decision).  The town attorney's office asked me to adjourn the matter for a couple of weeks.  I respectfully said no. That decision was partly emotional, being so close to the issue and not having the means to afford an attorney to represent my family; it was also based on the fact that the ZBA certified their vote with the town clerk in 4 days.  Normally it takes at least a month, if not longer.  My research with the town clerk's office covering the last 12 months shows that this move was unprecedented (I'll show you the data if you email me at yorktowncode@gmail.com).
I apologize for not cropping this painting before I posted it the first time.  I promise to steal it from the artist and scan it in one shot so we don't have that unsightly crease in the center as well.  Fine art though, right?
Unless the judge grants an adjournment without my consent, it should all happen very quickly.  Though it's quite possible the judge needs more time to review it because of a heavy case load or whatnot.  I honestly have no idea what is about to happen because I'm not an attorney and have never done this before.  It's all rather exciting and scary. What if the judge reprimands me and I end up looking like an ass and all of Yorktown hates me, forever.  That would suck.