Board Closing in on Plans for Chatsworth
New Lighting, Sidewalks, Trees, but no Buried Wires
by Judy Silberstein
the discussion on overhead wires
read what Larchmonters in 1922 were saying about their
(September 21, 2002) Sidewalks, lighting, trees, curbing
are once again on the agenda for the Village of Larchmont
Board of Trustees which will be discussing streetscape
improvement for Chatsworth Avenue between the Post Road
and Addison Street at their September 23 public meeting.
The area has been under consideration for over three
years during which the consultants Cherbuliez/Munz have
been supporting the Board in its quest to develop plans
for improving the Post Road and Palmer Avenue business
districts. Plans for the Chatsworth block are complicated
by the ongoing negotiations between the Village and
CVS over development of the former Grand Union site.
Chatsworth improvement is among the first projects tackled
by the current Board elected in March. Early on, they
considered the possibility of burying the utility wires
that run along the sidewalk on the western side of the
street. In a June discussion of the project, Deputy
Mayor Chris Verni explained that the Board decided against
burying the wires when Con-Edison estimated it would
cost about $250,000 and require an additional 12 to
18 months to implement. This week, Trustee Liz Feld
noted that because of backlogs at Con-Edison, the project
might have been delayed up to three years. “Everyone
was in favor of it notionally, “ she said, “but
we had to balance the estimated three year time delay
with the improvements we were prepared to go forward
There is additional time pressure on the Board coming
from federal sources. The project is being partially
funded by a $100,000 federal grant acquired with the
assistance of Congresswoman Nita Lowey. The grant requires
implementation to start relatively soon.
addition to the time pressures, the Board was also concerned
that burying the wires would require removing some of
the mature trees that now provide summer shade for second
story apartments and outdoor dining at the many eating
establishments lining the block. Some of the trees are
slated for replacement by healthier specimens, said
Feld, but others will remain. In addition, CVS plans
additional trees for the old Grand Union parking lot,
as shown in proposals presented on September 9 to the
The Board is still open to considering wire burial
elsewhere in the business district. "Looking down
the road on Palmer Avenue," said Trustee Marlene
Kolbert, "let's see if the economics and the timetable
have changed. Let's not rule it out."
the moment, though, the Board is focused on Chatsworth
and “How to make that block, with its strange
oleo of architecture, look good,” said Verni.
Over the summer the Board members have been debating
among themselves the relative merits of granite versus
bluestone curbing, the color of concrete for the sidewalks,
the types of lighting fixtures and the placement and
types of trees, tree wells, benches and trash cans.
This morning the Board placed an assortment of concrete
samples outside the old Grand Union so residents could
view the various choices under consideration for the
new sidewalks. Board members are giving extra attention
to choices for the Chatsworth block since the plan is
to use similar materials for future renovations in other
parts of the business district.
They have had assistance from members of the Beautification
Committee, Board of Architectural Review, Planning Commission,
and Parks and Trees Committee and from Bubba Fanelli,
a Village resident and lighting expert. Mr. Fanelli
was particularly helpful in guiding the Board towards
fixtures that conform to state environmental standards.
Many of the attractive fixtures they had seen during
their field trips to nearby communities do not meet
current standards and would require expensive retrofitting.
“Mr. Fanelli probably saved us thousands of dollars,”
With Mr. Fanelli's assistance, the Board is narrowing
its choices to fixtures that aim the light down on the
street where it's needed rather than on the night sky
or in the windows of second-story apartments. "We're
looking for that perfect fixture that is both esthetically
pleasing and accomplishes our goals," said Kolbert.
"That's not easy," she added.
To learn more about the Chatsworth plans, residents
should show up for the Village Board meeting on Monday,
September 23 or watch the proceedings on LMC-TV.
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