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Temporary Use of Armory Sought by Committee

February 06, 2009 - 18:00
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[this article originally appeared in the Feb. 3, 2009 Westchester Herald]

"Nothing will happen (to the New Rochelle Armory) without the State being the lead agency." These words by Peter Parente at the Save Our Armory (SOA) meeting set the tone on January 26 at the American Legion, Post 8 in New Rochelle. Both Ron Tocci and Peter Parente, co-chairs of the SOA Committee, wanted to get the city to agree on uses for the Armory. Parente mentioned that there are federal grants and loans that could be used to develop a good business plan for the Echo Bay area.

Forest City Ratner's financial problems according to Tocci have caused the company to cancel some of their pending projects. With this possible void, putting a new roof on the Armory might create "a plan that makes sense," Tocci continued. Councilman Lou Trangucci questioned how to validate that Forest City Ratner is "close to bankruptcy." He added the company is "still committed to the project." A neighborhood needs not only a plan to save the building. but also funding. When asked about the stimulus program and funding for the city, Councilman Trangucci suggested that the $10 million project on storm water was a current priority of the city. Parente and Tocci were asked to go on WVOX to explain to the public where the SOA committee is today.

Save Our Armory Committee Says Echo Bay Needs Alternate Proposal

February 01, 2009 - 03:20

Save Our Armory Committee Says Echo Bay Needs Alternate Proposal by Peggy Godfrey (from Westchester Times Tribune, December 2008)

The Save Our Armory (SOA) Committee according to its co-chairman, Peter Parente, favors "development and wants the city of New Rochelle to flourish." However the Committee has been bombarded by requests to "do something," particularly to show an alternative plan for the Echo Bay area.
The message about the Echo Bay proposal needs to reach the public. Forest City Residential wants to create a development with homeowners and renters. Since there will be 700 rental units an IDA tax abatement will be possible. This would mean higher taxes for the residents. The City Yard will have to be moved to Beechwood Avenue and will require a $2.5 million study just for the relocation. Another 6% of the city taxes collected every year will be needed to bond for the relocation of the City Yard. The bottom line, according to Parente is, "We're going to owe more than Forest City Residential brings in" revenue to the city.

South End Civic League Hears Two Developers

February 01, 2009 - 03:07

South End Civic League Hears Two Developers (Westchester Times Tribune)

Two prospective developers for the Weyman Avenue area presented their proposals to the South End Civic League members at their December meeting. Mark Weingarten, attorney for Joe Simone, President of the Simone Development Company, explained that the City of New Rochelle zoned the parcel that includes Home Depot, Costco and Linens and Things for large scale retail. He felt Simone's proposed development would generate $400,000 in taxes for New Rochelle and 225 full time jobs.
The plan would connect a two level parking lot from Linens and Things to the Costco parking lot. It also includes a new two level retail building at the entrance of the Costco parking lot. Mitch Spalin, Vice President of the South End Civic League, asked if it would be a two level store. She was told it could be one or two stores.
Other concerns addressed were the promise that a traffic study would be completed and that no abatements or IDA tax PILOTS would be sought. Flooding and the capping of the land were discussed. Weingarten claimed their engineers would properly cap the property which years ago had been a dump. He concluded that the site has great exposure to I-95 and was adjacent to its exit.

Maisano, Trangucci and Cox Address the South End Civic League

February 01, 2009 - 03:04

Maisano, Trangucci, and Cox Address the South End Civic League (Westchester Herald)

County Legislator Jim Maisano brought "bad news" about the federal mandates to remove the nitrogen from two sewage plants in New Rochelle and Mamaroneck. He characterized the upgrading necessary as the "largest capital project" in Westchester's history and felt the costs were unfair to the taxpayers on the Sound Shore. There is no funding coming from New York State to reduce the taxpayers' costs. Federal funding is being sought. The New York State Department of Environmental Conservation, he felt, needs to look at these necessary changes which must be paid for by the four Long Island Sound Sewer districts. In answer to questions from members of the South End Civic League meeting on January12, Maisano said that technology for nitrogen removal was changing and in the near future we "may get better technology." He felt "forced" to vote for the 30 year bonds to finance this project which could translate to an increase of more than $250 per year for homeowners' taxes.

More Information needed on a Sustainabililty Coordinator (Westchester Herald)

February 01, 2009 - 02:57

How does the new Sustainability Coordinator make "New Rochelle a model city ecologically sustainable development" There is no statement listed in her duties that tells how the city will assess the present amount of pollutants in the area. At the New Rochelle Citizens Reform Club on January 22 questions relating to her position were referred to Councilman Lou Trangucci.

How can this Coordinator be a "catalyst" to develop sustainability initiatives when questions about air, noise, water, wind and other types of pollution are not measured or acknowledged? What cost effectiveness can be made when clean-up costs are rarely given to residents? What will this coordinator say to community groups when she is confronted with neighborhood problems such as excessive noise or overpowering wind (created by high rise buildings)?

Is the LeCount Square Project Overreaching?

December 18, 2008 - 16:58

From Westchester Times Tribune before the City Council approved this
FEIS.

My mother used to say, "Don't rob Peter to pay Paul," but are the recommendations in the LeCount Square Final Environmental Impact Statement (FEIS) doing just that? The New Roc garage will be used to supply some of the parking spaces for this LeCount Square project which will consist of mixed uses of retail, restaurants, residential, hotel and parking facilities. But the FEIS on page I-23 under the parking spaces section projects a deficit of 95 spaces in the New Roc garage during the day. The developer's solution is to reduce the number of the New Roc hotel (Marriott Residence Inn) parking spaces on the top level of the garage.

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Is the LeCount Square Project Overreaching?

From Westchester Times Tribune before the City Council approved this
FEIS.

My mother used to say, "Don't rob Peter to pay Paul," but are the recommendations in the LeCount Square Final Environmental Impact Statement (FEIS) doing just that? The New Roc garage will be used to supply some of the parking spaces for this LeCount Square project which will consist of mixed uses of retail, restaurants, residential, hotel and parking facilities. But the FEIS on page I-23 under the parking spaces section projects a deficit of 95 spaces in the New Roc garage during the day. The developer's solution is to reduce the number of the New Roc hotel (Marriott Residence Inn) parking spaces on the top level of the garage.

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