A good portion of the Monday, May 10 meeting of the Larchmont Village Board focused on local businesses. Responding to concerns and complaints about the look of Larchmont’s many empty stores, Mayor Josh Mandell announced formation of a Business District Improvement Committee and put out a call for volunteers.
The board also acted – with varying degrees of support – to requests from local businesses to hold special sale events.
Also at the Board:
To give a boost to buying locally, Ellie Davidow from the Larchmont Chamber of Commerce requested permission to put up banners across Palmer Avenue and across the Post Office announcing Umbrella Sales Days in Larchmont, June 3, 4, and 5 with rain date June 7. Since there is currently an ordinance against banners strung across streets, the board denied this request but gave permission to hold the Umbrella sales, where discounted merchandise will be displayed on sidewalks outside stores.
Mayor Mandell asked that future requests of this sort be made before the public meeting to give the board a chance to review any laws related to action sought.
Another idea to give support to local businesses and create a strong community identity came from Polly Kreisman, editor of the Loop, and Melissa Perez, owner with her family of Tequila Sunrise and España restaurants. They are sponsoring an event with music and food to be held the evening of June 3, in conjunction with the first day of umbrella sales. They requested permission to close off all or part of Larchmont Avenue in front of those restaurants for the evening. This plan met with resistance, largely from Trustee Marlene Kolbert.
“The police chief has already told us that he is not prepared to close the whole street,” said Ms. Kolbert. He also was opposed to closing one lane, which he viewed as a safety hazard. Ms. Kolbert expressed additional concern about paying overtime for extra police that would be required, particularly after Ms. Kreisman indicated she would be be sponsoring a Bastille Day celebration on July 14 (corrected), which would entail another street closing.
“We don’t want to discourage people from doing things but we are extremely mindful of all our costs for them,” said Ms. Kolbert.
“It’s up to you,” countered Ms. Kreisman. “If you want the people in the village to have a sense of community and all have their businesses seen after hours versus a few hours of overtime, that’s the choice you’ll have to make.”
Trustees Richard Ward and Jaine Eney expressed support for the event and tried to suggest other alternatives. However, since the police need to be consulted, the mayor said the board will confer with the chief and take the issue up again next week at a work session.
“We’ll hold the event anyway, even if it’s inside the restaurants,” said the clearly disappointed Ms. Kreisman. In parting, she mentioned Mamaroneck Avenue would be closed for three Thursday nights this summer. “I guess they have more community pride in Mamaroneck than we do in Larchmont,” she said.
“Oh, we have plenty of community pride in Larchmont,” replied Mayor Mandell.