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.

All inquiries should be addressed to the Larchmont Historical Society.

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Parking Deck Opens; Board Passes Tow Law

Parking and consolidation occupied the biggest chunks of the Mamaroneck Town Board’s agenda on Wednesday, July 8. Following the meeting, the board announced that the long-awaited opening of the Myrtle Avenue parking deck will occur on Monday, July  20. (UPDATE: See photo below.)

Washington Square Parking District Bill Moves to Governor’s Desk

The board began with the good news: both houses of the New York State Legislature have passed a “home rule” bill authorizing Mamaroneck Town to create a special parking district for the Washington Square neighborhood. The bill now requires approval by the governor, and if it passes that hurdle, the Town Board must hold public hearings and pass its own parking legislation that sets out the rules and fees for the new parking district.  (See:  TOM Parking District Bill Advances. and TOM Parking Plan Sparks Controversy)

Parking Deck – Now Ready

Town Administrator Steve Altieri thanked residents for waiting patiently as rains were continuing to delay completion of the Myrtle Boulevard parking deck. Following the meeting, the weather cooperated and workers were able to complete the last step: application of a “membrane” on the deck’s upper level. And on Monday, July 20 Supervisor Valerie O’Keeffe presided over the official opening of the deck.

On Monday, July 20 officials cut the ribbon on the completed parking deck. Photo by Bruce Bennetts Photography

On Monday, July 20 officials cut the ribbon on the completed parking deck. Photo by Bruce Bennetts Photography

Westchester County Legislator Judy Myers credited the board for its “brilliance” in getting the multi-million dollar deck developed without taxpayer funds: Forest City Residential, which won approval in 2006 to build an 8-story apartment building on the same block, had agreed to pay for the deck. (See: FCD Apartment Gets Board Approval) The estimated cost, in 2006, was over $3 million.

Councilwoman Nancy Seligson called the new facility “probably the most beautiful parking deck in America,” and gave a nod to the Architectural Review Board (BAR) for helping ensure that result. Owners of  the businesses and apartments across Myrtle Boulevard lauded their new view and noted that the deck hides both I-95 and the train tracks.

Town residents may apply for a parking permit to use the deck through the clerk however, there is a waiting list. Current permit holders include many residents who had been waiting for many years to get a spot in the small lot that has been replaced by the two-level deck.

Mamaroneck Town resident Maud Tarrant was the first driver into the newly opened parking deck.

Mamaroneck Town resident Maud Tarrant was the first driver into the newly opened parking deck. Photo by Bruce Bennetts Photography

“Towing” Law Approved

What if illegal parking makes it hard for permit holders to find spots in the new deck? The board’s response is a new law that allows the supervisor to contract with one or more companies to tow, impound and store vehicles that are improperly parked in lots or on streets in the Town of Mamaroneck.

The law requires a reasonable fee structure, to be decided in the future, for retrieving a towed car. Presumably, police would also be reasonable in applying the law, said Town Attorney William Maker. For example, an officer would probably ring the doorbell and ask that a car be moved before towing in front of a private residence.

Councilwoman Phyllis Wittner said she was happy to see “teeth put into the law.”

Public Hearings on “No Parking” Zone and Knox Boxes: August 12

The board will be considering a ban on parking along the east side of Maxwell Avenue, the sole access road for large vehicles entering and leaving the Town Yard. There would be a thirty minute “loading zone” to permit unloading merchandise for the stores in the adjacent shopping center. Parking would be available in the shopping center lot and on Madison Avenue and Myrtle Boulevard.

The board will also consider a law to allow for the installation of Knox boxes on multi-unit buildings. These secure boxes hold keys to each of the apartments or offices in the building. With a master key to the Knox boxes, the fire department would have access to the unit keys and be able to mount a speedier response to a fire.

Consolidation Study: in the Town and Between Towns

After announcing the appointment of Councilman David Fishman and resident Maureen LeBlanc as the Town’s representatives to the newly formed tri-municipal consolidation study group, Supervisor Valerie O’Keeffe reported on a recent meeting that took talk of consolidation beyond the town border.

The  gathering, hosted by Mamaroneck Mayor Kathy Savolt, brought together supervisors of Mamaroneck and Rye with mayors from the villages within the two towns: Larchmont, Mamaroneck, Port Chester and Rye Brook.

The far-ranging agenda covered the possibility of  sharing services – not just with these neighboring communities but with county and state government as well. Other topics were: unfunded mandates, the property tax burden, and possible consolidations of various towns, villages and school districts.

The twin motivations for the meeting were the difficult economy and a proposal by Rye Town Supervisor Joe Carvin to eliminate his government. The dissolution, just a concept at this point, would impact Mamaroneck Village, which falls 60% in Mamaroneck Town and 40% in Rye Town. Depending on how the dissolution played out, there could be wider impacts in Mamaroneck Town – and possible opportunities for further mergers or cost sharing.

Supervisor O’Keeffe said she came away from this discussion of the financial, practical and historical components of consolidation and shared services with “a feeling that the Town is in pretty good shape” and we’re “lucky to have such good management.”

Councilwoman Wittner commented on the emotional aspects of  proposed changes. For example, those studying consolidation would need to consider expectations of families selecting a community based on the reputation of its schools district. She thought if any change was accomplished, it would be in “small bites.”

Officials  from Mamaroneck and Rye will meet again in a few weeks for further discussion and to determine whether to file for a local government efficiency grant from New York State by the September 23 deadline.

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9 comments to Parking Deck Opens; Board Passes Tow Law

  • Anon E Mous

    Can the Gazette get a few answers?

    The Annual State of The Town Address said that in July of 2008-a year ago-construction began on a new 140 space parking deck on Myrtle Boulevard. Presumably that is what the article refers to.

    Are the rumors true that the new lot has less than 120 spaces? Where did the others go?

    How much did the deck cost to build? How does someone get a parking space and how much does one cost?

    Seems like this ‘grand opening’ is less than grand. Sounds like all this to help a select few while causing the Town more problems at an intersection that still doesn’t work. But the plants there are very nice.

  • Maxine Sanders

    Great news….finally a long standing problem has been solved.

  • Anon E Mous

    That’s great. Great news that a long standing problem was solved. But, a couple more questions:

    1. Which part is the ‘Great news’ and what problem did it solve?
    2. If the problem was long standing, and important, why did it take so long to solve?
    3. Was the problem that was solved more important than others that may still exist?
    4. What needs to be done differently so that important problems don’t remain long-standing in the future?
    5. Did the problem that was solved have something to do with consolidating governments or services so that we will have lower costs and an improved quality of life?
    5. Did the problem that was solved have anything to do with anyone having a problem because some car was not towed away?
    6. Did the problem that was solved have anything to do with providing someone with a parking space and if so how did the person get it and at what price?
    7. Is the problem solved for all residents of the Town?
    8. Did the problem that was solved improve the value of properties in the Town or make them easier to sell or otherwise did they benefit only certain business, e.g. real estate agents, other?
    9. If none of the above guesses are correct, what was it?

  • Fred Wilson

    Why be ANON E. MOUS? Have the courage of your convictions. If you think the parking plans are wrong, say so publicly, not anonymously in a blog. Evidence those who agree with you. Many, many people in this area – 10 apartment buildings, hundreds of people – appreciate this parking deck and the proposed parking district. What’s YOUR special interest, MOUS?

    If you can’t express your dissent publicly, and allow a two-way dialogue, not just you tossing negatives at every turn, then I completely discount your point of view.

    Fred Wilson

  • Anon E Mous

    Shucks, folks, I’m speechless. (With thanks to the Cowardly Lion of Oz).

    Well, maybe I’m not completely speechless; maybe just gas fumes on the brain (oh, sorry, that was Scarecrow who needed the brain.)

    Why be Fred Wilson. And, we can only assume that you are Fred Wilson and the only Fred Wilson.

    ANON E MOUS is ANON E MOUS, non anonymous.

    You can debate whether ANON E MOUS has courage. To ANON E MOUS, does not much matter your feelings on that.

    ANON E MOUS does have some intelligence, as ANON E MOUS does not discount information simply because of its source.

    Supposed someone showed you the same statement twice, a statement which you thought might or might not be true. And just for fun, in one case attributed it to a friend of yours and in another case to someone you disliked. Do you expect that you would evaluate the veracity of the statement equally?

    You resort to the laws of misused largely small numbers. Was Columbus wrong when he said the world was round. I don’t know how many agreed with him, but I suspect the weight of public opinion may not have been completely in his favor and you might not be on this continent based on your logic.

    You say many people, even hundreds of people in ten apartment buildings appreciate the deck. Let’s assume that maybe even a thousand or more people appreciate it. So what? How many thousands live in the Town? How many tens of thousands live in Westchester. How many of all those people might like a Christmas present in July from their governments? How many of them got one? (Perhaps, even just a pair of ruby slippers?) How many people may be in more need of help than those who got a parking deck.

    You see you may be quite wrong on many things. This is a public discussion and you could feel free to attempt answers to the questions. Or you can sit back as Fred Wilson, content not to question as long as you feel you’ve gotten at least what you deserve.

    There are others who wish now that somebody named Bernie was asked more question by someone; questions they just didn’t think to ask themselves in time. Oh, and they knew Bernie was his name. His name was not ANON E MOUS. ANON E MOUS regrets the suffering that Bernie caused and is grateful that ANON E MOUS was lucky not to suffer because of Bernie.

    There are others who wish more questions were asked of sub-prime brokers and lenders; but at the time that seemed fine because hundreds, maybe thousands, maybe even tens of thousands were participating. Unfortunately, it doesn’t look so good now to very many, does it? And perhaps you, as ANON E MOUS was, are lucky not to have been affected by it.

    By the way, I don’t discount the point you made. I’ve responded to it. Now perhaps, turn off the emotional side and turn on the thinking side. Look out into the future and perhaps you’ll reconsider your answer, or lack thereof, while there’s still time.

    Best regards,

  • Fred Wilson

    Mr. Mous,
    Quite a dissertation, filled with wonderful, descriptive language.

    These blogs, with people like you who speak anonymously, do not take the place of participatory democracy. There are public meetings open to all; many are televised. In the New England Town-meeting tradition, everybody has a right to their say. If the 1,000 people affected by the parking deck want it, and the other 27,000 don’t want it – or at least 15,000 don’t want it, making up a majority – then policy should be changed. But if 27,000 are silent – don’t care – don’t participate – that is their right as well. It doesn’t mean that the policy, benefitting 1,000 is automatically wrong. Or that the action is merely a gift to ther 1,000 who want it.

    And a parking garage is not a “Christmas present” – a garage is a public facility used to provide a public benefit, parking, to advance the interests of residents, commuters, businesses, consumers, whoever needs to function in an area, and needs also to park their car near that area. If you believe this is a gift, then every public improvement – a newly re-done sidewalk, or re-paved street, a new traffic light installed, an improved park is merely government’s Christmas gift to someone. Implied in all of that is that it is a gift that ought not be given.

    Perhaps the real question is philosophy: perhaps, Mr. Mous, you are a libertarian who doesn’t believe that government should be doing these things at all. OK – that’s a legit opinion, and where it is held in majority – Alaska, Texas, Wyoming, etc. – government policy and actions reflect that belief. Do only the minimum; tax the minimum. Each individual is on their own, and you shouldn’t look to the government for those “presents”.

    But if you attend a public meeting and engage in healthy, face to face debate, you get to answer questions on your philosophy as well as ask them. When you sit at a computer and anon e. mously ask them only, and seek to raise doubts, then it’s merely a one way effort to seed doubt, not to find truth.

    Frankly, you are far less objectionable than the blog commentators I find on other public blog – they are filled with venom, generally coming from the right side of the political spectrum, angry and distrustful of everyone and everything involved in government. Some spread stories that are not true, but can’t be effectively refuted in any one venue.

    Enough. That’s my point of view…you have yours, and we wake up tomorrow in a country where we can both express our disagreement in writing and in the open airwaves.


  • Anon E Mous

    Mr. Wilson, I presume.

    Your compliments are most appreciated. As is your participation in the discussion. Seems like so far the many you feel are supporters have left you to respond alone while they sit silently.

    How ironic and unfortunate, that rights our ancestors fought for so vigorously, including freedom of speech and the right to vote, are so often neglected.

    You nicely identified two issues. Let’s separate them.

    First, you deal with the method of discussion. The New England Town meeting tradition, which I’m sorry to say I missed, but expect worked well given people’s schedules, the geography of some populations and everybody in a town knowing everyone else; it certainly may do so even now is some places.

    You speak of some meetings being televised, but as you say, only some, which implies, that are some are not televised; and television for the most part is one-way communication, not discussion. And sometimes it can be difficult getting to a meeting; even difficult trying to get across Myrtle Blvd. or finding a parking space. :-)

    Please don’t dismiss the very method you’ve used, the internet, which provides a way for people to discuss things regardless of time and location and even though they may not know each other or with whom they are communicating. It can provide a very effective way for many opinions to be expressed and to be evaluated by many.

    Each method, and variations of them, have advantages and disadvantages. I agree, that some blogs can be of little use and the extension of free speech afforded by the internet is not perfect, but it sure beats the alternative.

    Second, you speak of the role of government and the fair allocation of resources. Perhaps from what you say, we agree more than we disagree. Government has a responsibility to ‘promote the general welfare’ and to assure that all have equal opportunity. HOPEfully, we will make additional progress on that path. But the distribution of PORK, as in pork barrel legislation. is a different story.

    To quote you, ‘a garage is a public facility used to provide a public benefit, parking, to advance the interests of residents, commuters, businesses, consumers, whoever needs to function in an area, and needs also to park their car near that area.’ So perhaps a ‘deck’ is not a ‘garage’ as many in the groups of people you list can’t use the new deck. Some number, and no one answered the question, so we don’t know the number, but some have said the deck would have almost 150 spaces, while others have said it has around 50 spaces. And only those who were able to get permits for it are able to park there. And it doesn’t seem that anyone is saying whether the price of the permits provided all the residents of the town with a fair value.

    Use the terminology that you’re comfortable with, e.g. Christmas presents in July, government pork, member item, etc. But let’s not simply assume that all the residents of the Town benefited appropriately from the ‘deck’.

    Your other examples, whether street improvements, lighting, parks etc. are good examples as well. Have you considered whether all the residents of the Town are treated equally on these or if not equally, that there is good justification for any unequal distribution, i.e. to provide an equal opportunity. Ask questions please. And yes, for example, the income tax is a graduated rate scale based approximately on ability to pay. But that’s a separate discussion.

    And do you know what is perhaps most objectionable. That the truth is so often obscured. Frankly Fred, the questions that started this discussion don’t appear here to have been answered, frankly.

    Yes as you said ‘we wake up tomorrow in a country where we can both express our disagreement in writing and in the open airwaves’. Let us be thankful for that, for both our rights and our technologies, and let’s use them wisely.

    And you’re right that some sit comfortably in their silence until it is too late. If asking questions helps even one other person avoid the difficulties of losing their home to the sub-prime industry, or losing their money to a Bernie, or not getting what the government really should be providing to them and to others–maybe a public transit and cleaner air–then those questions should be asked. And those questions also should be answered.

    Best regards,

  • Sushi Says

    I’m SO enjoying this discussion. Wonderful blogging!!!
    Kudos to Mr. Wilson and Anon E. Mous.

    Keep it comin’ ….

  • Anon E Mous

    Thank you, thank, thank you, Sushi.

    And Mr. Wilson, I presume would presumably thank you too.

    Sushi, please join the blogging, or the journalism, or whatever anyone wants to call it, because whatever its name it’s an exchange of ideas among the community. And while Mr. Wilson pointed out that some number of people expressed their thoughts on the parking deck the vast majority was silent.

    It’s hard to interpret silence; many interpret as they would like it to be. Does anybody remember when they first heard about ‘The Silent Majority’? Trivia question – Does anybody know when it was used before that?

    Now, all, listen up, ’cause you may be getting another chance to say what’s on your mind, on a related issue, what is referred to above as the TOM Parking District Bill.

    It has been reported that the Governor has signed it, the bill requested by the Town, well by the Town governing body anyway. But those people haven’t said what they would do if the law they asked for passed.

    The law would allow the Town government to sell permits for parking on certain streets. The Town government it appears could determine the price, and many conditions for the permits and for their method of distribution/sale.

    Those without permits couldn’t park there or couldn’t park there at certain times, or, etc.

    Will the Town government act at all on this?

    Will the Town government require an appropriate value for the space if it sells permits for parking on some streets?

    Will selling permits on those streets be a help or be a problem when some people nearby have visitors?

    Will street permit parking cause additional traffic, additional pollution, additional speeding and additional safety problems for pedestrians on the surrounding streets that don’t have permit parking but just normal parking or abnormal parking?

    Anon E Mous doesn’t know. Do you? Do they? Does anyone?

    Do any of those Mr. Wilson referred to who spoke about the deck have an opinion?

    Do any of those who have been silent have an opinion?

    Best regards,