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.


Tuesday, June 25, 2013

ZBA Public Hearing for Faith Bible Church: Part 4

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There will be Zoning Board of Appeals Public hearing in 2 days for the subject application; that's June 27th, 2013 at 6:30pm in the meeting room at Yorktown Town Hall.  You are advised to show up 15 minutes early, if you want to attend.  As always, if you can't make the meeting--you can watch it live on Cablevision channel 20..

Monday, June 24, 2013

Rescue Me!

I rescued 3 kittens off of Mohegan Avenue.  I couldn't round up the mother and one other kitten and pray they don't end up roadkill.  You may see them playing near the guard rail on Mohegan Ave at the north side of the lake; it makes the ridiculous speeds some people travel down our main drag that much scarier.  I am loathe to put them in a shelter since they are soooooooo adorable, but will if we can't find homes for them.  They seem to be a few weeks old.   They are all black with white socks a mark or two on their faces.  They are all very personable and poop and pee in a litter box.  Do you want one or know someone who might?  Please get in touch with me asap:

Please excuse the the blurry photos, playful kittens are playful and won't sit still.  

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Big Tree Falls Down

Man Tree Down.  A big tree fell into the lake on Shrub Oak Lake Estates beach during the monsoon rains we got last week.

Snapping or Painted Turtle?

Found this gal trying to lay some eggs about a foot off of the road next to a retaining wall and placed in a safer spot.  I hope I didn't screw up the circle of life.  It's that time of year, so drive slow and keep an eye out for turtles on the road.

I thought it was a snapping turtle, but a friend says it may actually be a painted turtle.  Do you know?

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

MLID Meeting 6/20/13

A message from the MLID president:

The Mohegan Lake Improvement District is meeting this Thursday June 20th at 7:30 P.M. at the Mohegan Colony schoolhouse at 99 Baron de Hirsch Road in Crompond.  We will be meeting in the kitchen.  We will be finalizing the plans and schedule for Lake Day Sunday July 14th, discussing the work our summer staff are doing around the lake, making decisions on use of some lake management consultants, and checking in on the "state of the lake." 

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Sunday Brunch at the Brays (feat. continuously blaring car alarm)

This video was taken from my front porch last Sunday morning; newborn child in my arms (you can hear her at the end of the video).  You can see my bedroom window (open) and behind the lush screen of trees sits one of the Faith Bible Church parking lots where they triple and quadruple park cars; the town uses the euphemism "stacking" to describe this eyesore and hazard.  The video was cut short because my phone ran out of memory.  All told this went on for 5 minutes.  There are a few things that are troubling about this situation:

  1. There are so many cars parked illegally that it takes 5 minutes for the 200 person church to figure out who's car it is and turn it off.
  2. The lush screen of trees, under the proposed new development, will be cut down and a chain link fence installed.  Chain link fence instead of a screen of tress.  My god, how much more value can my house lose? 
  3. The town refuses to enforce existing laws in spite of years (literally) of written complaints.

I really, really wish Yorktown would start being more friendly and supportive of residents and quit letting developers run roughshod over this town.  It's not only a quality of life issue, it's a public hazard and devalues all homes in the area.

Monday, June 10, 2013

Faith Bible Church Is Back At The Zoning Board 6/27/2013

I'm experiencing, first hand, Yorktown's building and zoning machine in action.  My neighbor is trying to parlay a very small house of worship and two legal single family homes (per building department and tax assessor records the houses were illegally converted) into a huge church.  I love the church and would love to see them upgrade their facilities, but we need to be realistic about the occupant and parking loads the site can support.
The church's attorney has opened their 4th Zoning Board of Appeals (ZBA) application which will be heard publicly on Thursday June 27th, 2013 at Town Hall at 6:30pm.  The Planning Board--who has been hearing the application for more than 4 years[!!!]--sent the applicant back to the ZBA at my prodding. The chronology of the 4 zoning variances breaks down as follows:
  1. Application #1: Instead of notifying all of the "interested parties" to the planning board application, the applicant only notifies 2 homeowners of the  required zoning variances (6 households were notified of the planning app).  I showed up to the first ZBA hearing, raised numerous, valid and serious questions.  ZBA closed the hearing and approved the variances.  I advised the town attorney (representative of the board) that the ZBA should rescind the variance approvals for various reasons.  The ZBA rescinded their approval.
  2. Application #2:  In spite of overwhelming public opposition (oral and written), and in light of the gross and factual parking deficiencies, the ZBA approved the zoning variances. They told me specifically that my concerns about parking would be addressed at the planning board.  As luck would have it, we're back at the zoning board to address--among other serious issues--PARKING!  Literally.  [note: I sued--pro se--and lost, not on merits, but because I didn't notice the church, even though I was challenging the ZBA's determination].
  3. Application #3:  I notify the Planning Board that the applicant has overlooked two major variances regarding parking prohibitions in front yards in residential districts (makes sense), and a miscalculated the required front yard (honest oversights by the town's most prominent attorney and engineer--I'm sure). The Planning Board correctly directs the applicant to notify 2 adjacent home owners associations, a park district and the Mohegan Lake Improvement District who were not party to the original planning application in 2009.   The applicant hastily makes application to get on the ZBA agenda for April 2013 (they only meet once a month).  Applicant withdraws the application, voluntarily because there are still glaring deficiencies.
  4. Application #4:   I won't start picking apart the wild, siding interpretations the applicant's attorney is trying to sell the ZBA in this space; I'll save that for the public hearing, 6/27/13.
I made an unsucessful bid to garner the endorsement of the Democratic party for 1 of the 2 open town board seats in the upcoming election based on my love of Yorktown, education and career. 
My day job is consulting on zoning and building code matters for the City's most prominent building owners, engineers and architects.  If I'm having a hard time understanding and navigating Yorktown's planning, zoning and building departments, then I feel for the average homeowner.  It shouldn't be this hard.  Please keep me in mind if you want substantive change in these areas of government. 
Free zoning and building code consultations at

Thursday, June 6, 2013

6.6.13:MLID Meeting Notes

I'll aim to bring you full, proper notes of all meetings going forward.  Here are abridged, unofficial notes:

Mohegan Lake day will be on July 14th, 2013.  Save the Date.  Details of all activities to follow shortly.  Remember what a good time we had last year.  This year will be on par.

We love our beavers.  They do pose a problem.  Mohegan Ave is constantly flooded and it's too much maintenance for the town to keep up with.  There's a reason people say "busy as a beaver."  These cute little critters are industrious; they are making an amazing comeback all around the region (we should welcome it since our fore bearers nearly extincted them).

We are opening discussions with the town.  Aiming for a bridge over Mohegan Avenue because that's the real (and natural) solution.  Wetlands are supposed to regulate the level of the lake.  It's supposed to flow back and forth. Mohegan Ave never should have been built as it is because it completely blocks that natural flow of the lake to the wetlands and vice-versa.  The real solution is that the Army Corp of Engineers redesigns it.  In the meantime, we'll do our best with our able bodied Highway Department. 

Lake health is not awesome, but water quality is still fully swimmable--as of today.  Many factors contribute to water quality, but one problem is invasive plant species.  The kind that live under water, like water chestnuts and curly leaf pondweed.

Our weed harvester was bought new in 1984.  I was 6 years old then, now 35 with 4 daughters.  It's a machine and is basically kaput.  We have a decent budget, about $96,000 a year, but a new harvester is about 100K.  We'd have to bond it.  Going to be done as it's a necessity, not happening this year.
Wayne--our lake manager-- and his boys are using the Jon boat and elbow grease to do everything possible to remove as much plant matter as possible.  Remember, those plants just die and add to the nutrients that fuel the algae blooms.

Algae is bad and we'll get it again this year. We are exploring several solutions: barley straw, Phoslock (way too expensive), and Alum (expensive, but we could swing it, but there are DEC permitting issues).

If you have an interest in Mohegan Lake, please stay tuned and get involved.

Tuesday, June 4, 2013

Mohegan Lake Improvement District Meeting: 6/6/13

We will be meeting this Thursday at 8:00 PM in the kitchen at the Mohegan Colony schoolhouse at 99 Baron de Hirsch Road in Crompond.