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Is New Rochelle City Council Playing Fair With the Residents?

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Is New Rochelle City Council Playing Fair With the Residents?

September 30, 2012 - 21:39

At the New Rochelle City Council public hearing this month for the cabaret permit for the Siete Ocho Siete restaurant on Pelham Road the speakers were explicit in either praise or criticism. Problems such as noise, lack of sufficient parking, disturbances of nearby neighborhoods including garbage and liter were expounded. Several patrons of Siete Ocho Siete praised both the food and entertainment at the restaurant-cabaret and entreated the Council to allow the cabaret permit.
But there was a larger problem. The proper notices to nearby neighbors had not been sent out. This elicited comments by Mayor Noam Bramson about the legality of the hearing. Corporation Counsel Kathleen Gill advised the City Council another hearing would be necessary. Mayor Bramson led the Council in a vote to hold anther hearing next month. Other questions about the Corporation Counsel's remarks in the Council's Committee of the Whole earlier that day were about the limited amount of discretion that City Council could exercise over this proposed special permit for cabarets. Council members had suddenly been admonished on the "discretion they have" when voting for the permit. The only area the Corporation Counsel suggested that Council may have authority to challenge was whether the cabaret's parking plan works. Many residents and businesses near the cabaret have had reservations about how many more cars could be parked in the area. Under the present permit proposal the cabaret can operate for two years. If the cabaret was found to violate city regulations there is nothing the Council could do until the two year period allowed on the permit was completed. City Manager, Chuck Strome, had also suggested changing the permit to one year instead of the presently proposed two years.
Subsequent to that hearing there was no discussion of the cabaret permit at the next week's Council meeting except for the vote to have another hearing. Why was an extension given for another public hearing by this Council, but the Save Our Armory proposal was turned down at the same meeting because the claim was made the proposal didn't meet a "deadline" imposed by this Council?
Has Council been even handed in their dealings with the public? Fair minded residents will be watching.

In the September 28, 2012 issue of Soundview Rising