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TOTS Report's Notebook: March 14, 2015

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TOTS Report's Notebook: March 14, 2015

March 14, 2015 - 22:40
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Notes that have yet to become stories.

More Billboards on I-95

The City of New Rochelle wants to get a Home Rule authorization to increase the number of allowable billboards on the I-95 corridor from six to nine. It was not that long ago that Noam Bramson wanted to rip down all of the billboards. It might have something to do with that $3,000 a month fee per billboard the City receives.

Pothole Patrol

The City wants an extra $200,000 to fix potholes due to “the extreme winter’s severe weather”, that record freezing temperatures and anticipated spring warming will produce an abundance of potholes causing pavement deterioration. driver discomfort and possible vehicle damage. This resolution presented as if it is a new thing that there are potholes all over the city at this time of year.

School Board Conflict with State of the City Address

School Board members will have a conflict the night of the State of the City Address; the event was moved three times and landed on the night of a school board meeting.

Civil Service Commission Review

John Imburgia, our Civil Service contributor, reviewed the CSC meetings for 2014 and found 3 of them that were of interest.  In March, the CSC went into executive session improperly as they did not note any reason for doing so.  After coming out of executive session, they discussed that the police commissioner wanted a non-resident police list and that a police candidate was being disqualified. They decided to vote on these issues in April, which they did. In April, they approved the police commissioner's request for a non-resident list. In July, they held special meeting to discuss the fact that the NYS CSC advised them that they could not use a non-resident list so long as they still had 3 candidates on the resident list. As a result they approved a new police exam this year for non-city residents. Imburgia noted that Commissioner Procopio does very little, if anything at these meetings.

To Pergola or Not to Pergola

Proving once again it's not that you follow the law but who you know that enforces the law, Lianne Merchant is up to her old tricks. At the Historical Landmarks Review Board meeting on March 11th, Sarah Dodds-Brown, a member of the Planning Board, appeared before the HLRB to “legalize” a pergola at a property she owns at 9 The Serpentine in the historic district. A pergola is a garden structure forming a shaded walkway, passageway, or sitting area of vertical posts or pillars that usually support cross-beams and a sturdy open lattice, often upon which woody vines are trained. This is amazing given that Dodds-Brown, as a City official and an attorney, would obviously know that she would not get approval for the pergola as part of renovation work on the house. The pergola never appeared in the plans. Yet, Lianne Merchant, school board president, who sits on the HRLB, indicated that she did not have a problem with her pal being permitted to legalize the illegal pergola; the HRLB agreed to allow Dodds-Brown to explore landscaping to screen the pergola. Ironically, Sarah Dodds-Brown lives on Slocum Street and rents out the property at 9 The Serpentine. I guess that’s progress when the “good old boy” network becomes the “good old girl” network.  BTW, Lianne has still not pay her school taxes on 12 Memorial Highway but she IS up for election in May.

 

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Shame on Sarah Dodds-Brown for not going before the HLRB BEFORE erecting a pergola in the yard of a house she owns on The Serpentine.  As a Planning Board member and an attorney, she's quite familiar with the rules of the HLRB.  Anyone else would be advised by the HLRB to tear it down.  That Board is actually considering landscape screening for the offending structure -- which, I might add, would set a dangerous precedent.  The purpose of the HLRB is to protect the historical aspects of certain neighborhoods.  If the Board allows the pergola, I'm wondering if the owner has to pay $3,000, which is the amount one must pay if they are successful in legalizing existing structures before the Zoning Board.

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