GreeNR Plan Creates Serious Issues for New Rochelle Residents

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GreeNR Plan Creates Serious Issues for New Rochelle Residents

May 12, 2012 - 21:31

In the May 3 issue of the Westchester Guardian

*Update: Mayor Bramson says he will not attend Conference in Rio.

Will the 43 initiatives of the GreeNR plan ever be implemented? According to Debra Newborn, New Rochelle's Sustainability Coordinator, the City of New Rochelle has received several awards for their plans for environmental sustainability. The present Sustainability Plan includes job creation and addresses the quality of life according to Newborn at the New Rochelle League of Women Voters Coffee and Conversation meeting on April 20 led by Susan Fleming.
A projection has been made that the population of the City will increase by 5,000 in the near future and the "challenge" was where will these new residents of the City live. The Smart Growth answer was to place these people in new buildings within one-half mile of the train station and stores (in the southern part of the City).
Newborn continued, New Rochelle is an "urban-suburban" city. One present problem mentioned was the storm drains that overflow. She did feel the City is attracting artists to lofts that are available. A complete street policy in her view needs to consider pedestrians, cyclist and cars. Questions from the audience included concerns about whether the sustainability plan was working and whether to lack of money in the City budget was a constraining factor. Anna Giordano reminded the group about her successful efforts to get the schools to recycle commingles. There were additional concerns that stores and businesses also need to recycle, and Newborn answered they were "working on it." Steve Mayo wanted to know how to get businesses to cooperate. The additional proposed 5,000 housing units for downtown was criticized because of the lack of air pollution studies and the inadequacy of the capacity of the sewer. Mayo reminded the group that at present new apartments in the downtown are not paying for themselves because of "tax breaks." As she did during her opening remarks, Newborn answered by saying the City was winning awards.
Recently on the New Rochelle Talk of the Sound Blog a tape of Mayor Noam Bramson at the City Council meeting of April 10, 2012 is shown where he stated, "The City has no relationship with the UN." However, he will be attending the UN's conference (Rio + 20) from June 20-23 representing New Rochelle. New Rochelle is a member of ICLEI and joined this organization without holding a public hearing or having a City Council vote on it. The City's membership was based on a representative from the organization speaking at a City Council meeting according to the City Manager, Chuck Strome. The Rio + 20 Conference will be focusing on changing national standards to international standards considered "essential" by the UN. For example, to help poorer people, "subsidies" for poorer counties will be leveraged by obtaining "full cost pricing" in more affluent countries. While New Rochelle is a member of ICLEI, Westchester County has dropped its membership.
After the meeting, Robert Cox, editor of the New Rochelle Talk of the Sound Blog, said: "I was dismayed that Miss Newborn kept pushing the issue back into recycling when GreeNR is about many things, of which recycling is small part. I am far more concerned about land-use issues, the massive increases in taxes needed to fund the GreeNR initiatives, and the negative impact on home values which would result from implementing GreeNR.

There are 4 Comments

Unfortunately the awards Ms. Newborn speaks of are meaningless unless they somehow equate to higher city assessments.

When will Mayor Bramson focus on increasing/adding/building New Rochelle's list of assessments? None of his current development plans add to the city's assessment base or come with any benefits to the current tax payers.

If the developers won't come to NR without tax abatemnts, what does that say about our community? To me, it says NR is a very weak and unatttractive place to do business, mainly because of its tax policies.

It's been unattractive for over THREE DECADES!!!

*sigh* One more time.

Idoni=Bramson. Got it now?

Idoni did nothing for downtown NR and was rewarded with a high paying job in WP.

Bramson was chosen by Idoni in his own image and ... wait for it ... will be rewarded with a high paying job somewhere, possibly in the office next to his Svengali Idoni.

You read it here first.

Who loses? The NR residents of 30 years ago and today. Got it now? Good. You going to vote the bum out?

Of course she should not be speaking for the City on any issue. In fact, she seems incapable of even sniffing at the relationship between planning and sustainability (the latter is, in most cases) a means to an end such as the electric bulB (energy) was the means to lighting for homes,etc. (end) in past years. I will speak about this briefly tomorrow as part of the citizens portion of the Council Meeting and post all comments in frightening depth in two installments on TOTS.

Of course Bob is right to be concerned about her sole input being on recycling. the fact of the matter is that the greater majority of non-means so called Sustainability/Green is via federal or state mandate.... recycling, air pollution, etc. Otherwise we should concentrate on educating the citizens on affordable applications like energy efficient bulbs, white roofs, etc.

We do not, repeat do not need ICLEI or Ms. Newborn. This is not rocket science; it is little more than the evolution of technology.

Mostly, she cannot and should not speak for New Rochelle on this or any mattter. Sounds like Abe Napersenk during Echo Bay's earlier involvement where he was the voice of the project. That was bad but at least this man was very competent even if out of role.

If the administration cannot stand up and see the obvious disadvantages to the community, its own reputation and connection to the planning process, then I suppose it will be subject to more community enforcement via the recent filing on the failure to notify City Council on Newborn's presentation.

I will also speak about that with the gentle reminder that the City Council is the true, only and unique governing body of the community; 7 people, 6 districts, 1 apparently at large who heads up the council. I will also speak on this point and post on all.

I am not arrogant in saying all this; I am a citizen, who respects the rule of law, honors our federal and city Constitution and cannot understand for the life of me why others cannot read and grapse the City Charter and manage to it.

Use it or lose it. Maybe a referendum again is in order.

I arrived late and did not hear your complete presentation at the council meeting. I am eagerly awaiting your post on TOTS. It seems the city is moving on and will be updating the Comprehension Plan. The development department under the leadership of Eleanor Sharpe is scheduling 4 meetings that will be held in the north, south, west and central parts of New Rochelle. Unfortunately, none are scheduled for the east end of New Rochelle. Have they forgotten that this area will be undergoing most of the future development. As stated by the mayor, this will be a publicly inclusive process and represents the value and goals of the citizens. I feel the east end has been intentionally ignored.

Warren, I am very happy you are back.