The Mamaroneck Town Board held two public hearings, passed two new laws and tabled another for two months at its August 12 meeting. Supervisor Valerie O’Keeffe also reported, briefly, on the recent Westchester County Desegregation Agreement with the Anti-Discrimination Center.
Key Box Law Passes
Board members unanimously passed a law requiring the installation of key boxes for commercial buildings and residential buildings containing five or more dwelling units. Affected properties are required to be in compliance by August 31, 2010.
The boxes allow emergency responders to access the buildings without breaking doors or windows. The new law lists the types of keys that must be kept in the boxes, such as keys for locked entrances or exits, utility rooms, control rooms, and elevators. Size and cost of the boxes will vary with the size of the building: the smallest box now costs about $400.
The Mamaroneck Town Fire Department will obtain a list of eligible properties from the building department and will approve the number and placement of each box. The fire department will also keep a record of the times the key is used as well as a pin code for each use.
The property owner will be responsible for the purchase, installation and maintenance of the boxes. They must also provide the fire department with keys to any locked fences or gates.
Key boxes are currently installed at several apartment houses on North Chatsworth Avenue. The boxes are also in use in the Village of Mamaroneck. which already has a law.
Councilman Ernie Odierno suggested that keybox installations might lower fire insurance premiums for property owners.
No Parking Any Time on Maxwell Avenue (at least on the East Side)
To allow for the safe passage by Mamaroneck Town Highway Department vehicles along Maxwell Avenue, the board passed a law prohibiting parking on the east side of Maxwell Avenue. For the convenience of the area businesses in the adjacent shopping center, a 30 minute loading zone will be established. Area businesses may purchase permits ($50 for the current year) from the town for metered parking on the west side of the avenue. Permit holders will be able to park up to ten hours daily in the metered spot.
Repeal of Off Street Parking Law Remains on Hold
The current law requires that cars parked off-street (usually on the driveway) be no less than 25 feet from a home’s front lot line. The board is continuing to discuss details of the law, including what to do with driveways that do not now conform to the law. To allow for further review by the Planning Board, the Town Board adjourned the public hearing to its October 7 meeting.
Public Hearing Set for Section 8 Housing Voucher Plan
The board will hold a public hearing on the Section 8 Administrative Plan on October 7, 2009.
Renovation of Town Center Community Services Area Approved
When Mamaroneck Town and Mamaroneck Village consolidated their community services and Section 8 programs into a single office in January, the Town Center office proved inadequate to house the increased staff. (See: A Merger is Coming for Larchmont & Mamaroneck Seniors.)
The Town now provides senior bus transportation and nutrition programs for the tri-municipal area. In addition, the Town’s Section 8 administrative responsibilities have grown from overseeing 260 units to a current count of 670.
Town Administrator Steve Altieri proposed a $275,000 budget to renovate the existing space to serve the current needs. The Town Board approved the low bid of $210,000 for construction costs. The Section 8 Administrative Fund will provide $180,000 and the Town will contribute $112,800 for the renovation and related expenses. Another $28,200 will come from the Police Department budget.
Consolidation of Services: Talks Continue
Town Supervisor Valerie O’Keeffe reported that she will be meeting Thursday, August 13 with the municipal leaders from the villages of Larchmont, Mamaroneck. Port Chester and Rye Brook and the Town of Rye to continue their discussion of sharing or consolidating municipal services. (See: Consolidation Study: in the Town and Between Towns.) Also, the newly constituted Tri-municipal Shared Services/Consolidation Study Group has begun its work. (See: New Tri-Muni Group To Study Possible Consolidations.)
Supervisor O’Keeffe stated she was surprised to learn of the County’s settlement of a lawsuit alleging that Westchester did not comply with mandates to encourage fair housing. She said she had been told previously that the lawsuit lacked merit.
The settlement, which needs to be approved by the County Board of Legislators, requires Westchester to build or acquire 750 homes or apartments, 630 of which must be in towns and villages where black residents constitute less than 3 percent of the population and Hispanics comprise less than 7 percent. The Town of Mamaroneck and the Village of Larchmont both fall into this category of communities with small numbers of minorities.
The board will review the terms of the proposed settlement and comment at a later meeting on the issue.