Gazette Ceases Publication: Donates Archives to LHS

In 2010, the Larchmont Gazette ceased publication. In 2011 the publishers donated all contents to the Larchmont Historical Society, which will continue to make the Gazette archives available online.

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Water Rates to Rise 18% in Mamaroneck Town

At its May 5 meeting, the Mamaroneck Town Board voted to increase water rates and approve changes for construction of a multi-story apartment building that has been under consideration for most of the decade.

The board tabled a decision on Laurel Avenue parking (on which residents disagree) and announced next steps on a possible town-wide revaluation, which has been under review since 2008.

Want Water? Be Ready to Spend 18% More

Board members unanimously approved an 18% increase, effective June 1, for water rates in the unincorporated area of Mamaroneck Town, including those for homeowners, schools, and churches, as per the Westchester Joint Water Works (WJWW) schedule.

The increase will raise an “average” homeowner’s annual water bill (now estimated at $480.29) by $86.45. In an effort to promote water conservation, in 2007, the Town implemented an inclining water rate structure that increases the cost as one uses more water.

Town Administrator Stephen Altieri noted “the circumstances where water [was] a cheap commodity have come to an end.”

Town water rates are based on WJWW operating expenses, Town Water District expenses and the costs associated with a New York State court- mandated water filtration plant. The unincorporated part of the Town of Mamaroneck, the Village of Mamaroneck and the Town of Harrison obtain their water from WJWW. Based on water usage, each municipality pays its proportionate share of the Water Works budget. Mamaroneck Town pays 18.4% of the budget, and this year that will be $2.4 million of the $13.1 million total.

The WJWW proposed capital projects for the Town of Mamaroneck total $1,550,000. The Town will issue bonds to finance this expense. The budget impact will be felt next year. The capital projects include repair of the Lundy Lane water main. Also included as a capital expenditure is $900,000 in engineering costs for a filtration plant plan, which was developed in response to the court mandate for such a system. WJWW has been working with Westchester County on an alternative that would be less costly. The Town’s portion of the engineering costs for development of the alternative plan is $280,000.

In view of the increasing cost of this resource, Supervisor Valerie O’Keeffe anticipates that Mamaroneck Town’s water supply contract with the Village of Larchmont, due to end next year, will reflect these additional costs.

At their last meeting, the Village of Larchmont warned residents to expect an 18-20% rise in their water rates by October.

Byron Place Permit Changes Get Green Light

The Town Board, designating itself as the lead agency for the project, approved an additional ten units (now to be 149) for the Byron Place Associates apartment development. One of these will be  designated for affordable housing. The board also approved revised plans for the development’s garage, which will allow for additional parking and storage space.

So when will the building begin? Ned Ferron, owner of the New York Sports Club on Madison Avenue, expressed impatience with the delay in the project. The developer’s representatives said construction financing is not yet in place and a construction start date has not been set. However, Town Attorney William Maker noted two Town permit deadlines: April 18, 2011 for the building application and October 18, 2011 for a building permit.

The Town granted the first special permit on October 18, 2006 and extended that permit on April 2008 to the 2011 dates. Councilman David Fishman pointed out that Byron Place Associates assumed the project from the original developer (Forest City Daly, see: First Looks at the Apartment Project Proposed for Madison.)

The board, particularly Supervisor O’Keeffe, peppered Andrew Tung, one of the developer’s representatives, with questions about how the extra parking spaces would be allotted so as to avoid creating “trouble” among the residents. After much back and forth, Mr. Tung agreed that a better course would be to rent the extra spaces to residents on a short term basis rather than making them available for purchase as originally planned.

Village of Larchmont Trustee Anne McAndrews asked whether the building plan revisions and subsequent blasting at the site would endanger the Village’s water tanks, located close to the proposed building. Mr. Tung reminded officials that the developer agreed early on to coordinate with the municipalities prior to construction on procedures for site preparation and excavation. The developer is to review the site with the Village’s engineer and to undertake appropriate procedures to prevent harm to the tanks.

Councilwoman Nancy Seligson expressed some concern about the “scary” and “derelict” condition of three homes on the site that will be demolished when construction begins. Mr. Tung assured the board that they will “make sure there are no unsafe conditions there.”

The comment of the evening came from Councilman Ernie Odierna, who noted, “No one can accuse us of not discussing this extensively.”

Laurel Parking on Hold

Also at the May 5 meeting, the board again took up the proposal to remove the exemption of a section of Laurel Avenue from the town-wide ban on overnight parking. (See: Overnight Parking Has Neighbors At Odds.)

But no vote was taken because notice of the formal hearing had not been provided to all necessary parties.

The issue before the board concerns the section of Laurel Avenue from Weaver Street to the dead end. This section was not included on the list of streets exempted from the overnight parking ban in 1984, but signs placed on the street at a later date indicate that overnight parking is permissible. Town officials could find no legal authority to support these signs, notwithstanding the recollections of several residents who spoke at a prior board meeting, that such an exemption had been granted.

Residents Dennis O’Toole and  Maureen Denyssenko repeated concerns they expressed at the April 15 meeting as to safety issues and hardships created by the exemption. Another Laurel Street resident, Joe Carducci, who built several houses on the block, recalled the Town kept the dead end to prevent the street being used as a bypass. He said the parking exemption was allowed in the 90s and he supported retaining it. He traced current difficulties to residents parking on both sides of the street making it difficult for through traffic.

Remember Reval?

Mamaroneck Town is continuing to take steps – if very slowly – towards town-wide revaluation of all properties, something that has been under consideration for the past two years and was last undertaken in 1968.

Town Administrator Steve Altieri announced the Town will be meeting with New York State to plan and initiate the community education component of the process. Simultaneously, the Town is continuing to draft a proposal for contractors who would appraise each property. He hopes this will be approved by the Board by end of the summer.

The aim is to have a new assessment roll completed by 2013.

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3 comments to Water Rates to Rise 18% in Mamaroneck Town

  • Groundhog Day

    Am I doing the math correctly? Based upon the linked article it appears that, if you assume there would be approx. 200 children (assuming no children in the one bedroom apts. and 2 children in the 2 bedroom apts. — with 6 2 bdrm apts. with no children) in the new building, the school tax to be paid per child would equate to just over $2,000 — whereas I estimate the approx. school tax per child in a Larchmont or Mamaroneck house is somewhere between $5,500 and $10,000 (conservatively), and the “cost per child” in the district is approximately $24,000. Thus, while the $400k+ number in school taxes may, at first glance, appear to be a positive number, it seems to me that this will be yet another drain on our limited school budget resources that we will have to deal with going forward.

    • Judy Silberstein

      Groundhog — another section of the executive summary of the draft environmental impact statement addresses the question you raise: the number of children and the impact on the schools.

      This was also discussed at some length during the original public hearings on the development.

      This is what the executive summary says on the issue: “The planned unit mix of one and two-bedroom rental units, marketed
      primarily to single professionals and empty nesters, is expected to generate less than 18 additional public school children with no adverse effect on the district’s

      • Groundhog Day

        Thanks, Judy.

        If, however, the only assurance of this is that it will be “marketed primarily to single professionals and empty nesters”, I am not at all convinced. I believe the report indicates that 106 of the units will be 2 bedrooms. How many single professionals without children or empty nesters are going to be interested in paying for a 2 bedroom apartment in this economy? Has anyone surveyed the residents of 2 bedroom apartments in Larchmont and Mamaroneck to check whether school-aged children are in residence. How did they come-up with the number 18? I know a number of empty nesters in one bedroom apartments and a number of families with children in 2 bedroom apartments, but I personally do not know any single professionals or empty nesters in 2 bedroom apartments (obviously, I do not know all, or even most, of the residents of 2 bedroom apartments in Larchmont and Mamaroneck, but it would really surprise me if most 2 bedroom apartments did not include child residents).