Richard Masur: When Ex-Trustees Attack

Dear Neighbors,Richard Masur Picture


I want to start by acknowledging that Mr. Joel Gingold did an admirable job in his letter published in the Gazette two weeks ago.  He made what I thought were thoughtful and reasonable suggestions to the Village Board about how to avoid potential problems with possible zoning plan changes being studied by the Village.  Even though I believe that most of the things Mr. Gingold suggested were already being done, his suggestions seemed to be constructive.


Last week Mr. Bob Anderson added his voice to the conversation by posing a list of “10 questions for the Croton Board of Trustees regarding rezoning”.  The questions in and of themselves were potentially productive. However, there are some things that suggest that may not be the case.


Mr. Anderson starts from the premise that a current draft proposal exists.  That is just not true. As Mr. Paul Doyle, the Chair of the working group conducting the current Zoning Study made clear in last week’s Gazette, the working group is still in the process of considering possible zoning changes in the Municipal Place Gateway and North Riverside areas.  Mr. Doyle further made clear that this process is far from complete. And he forthrightly stated that the decisions about what recommendations the working group will be making to the Board will take into account many factors, including the Comprehensive Plan.  


In fact, the Zoning Study grew directly out of the Village’s Comprehensive Plan, which is a legal document adopted by the Village while Mr. Anderson was serving on the Board as Deputy Mayor.  What he voted to approve included the following: “Adapting housing, transit, recreation and buildings and public spaces will help a vibrant and engaged senior population to securely age in place and contribute to a vibrant community. At the same time, the Village must provide the services and quality of life that will attract and retain the new Village immigrants and younger workforce needed to replace a labor force that is shrinking as the population ages.”


According to NY State law, once a Comprehensive Plan is adopted, all land use regulations must be in accordance with it. In other words, the working group has no option but to take the Comprehensive Plan into account when developing their recommendations about zoning in the Village. 


This raises the question – What did Mr. Anderson and his colleagues on the Board think they were voting for when they approved the adoption of the Plan?  It also raises the question (given his intimate knowledge of the Comprehensive Plan) of why a former Deputy Mayor wouldn’t understand that each of the questions included on his list would already be part of the Zoning Study, and will certainly be taken into account in developing the work group’s recommendations and the Village Board’s eventual rezoning decisions.  


But before that happens, as we can assume Mr. Anderson must already know, the work group has more work to do.  And before the Board takes any action, it will certainly solicit much more public discussion and input.  


If Mr. Anderson’s questions were published in an effort to further that process, then I for one, think they are productive.  If, on the other hand, they are an effort to simply raise provocative issues which Mr. Anderson should know have no clear answers at this time, then I for one think they are decidedly unproductive.


Richard Masur

Chair, Croton Democratic Committee


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