Brian Pugh: Moving forward on the Model Housing Ordinance

To The Editor:brian-pugh-group-cropped
The Village of Croton’s Board of Trustees took its first step at last Monday’s meeting towards the adoption of a proposed Local Law on affordable housing by referring the draft law to the the appropriate committees for review. The proposed law is based on the model housing law promulgated by Westchester County and adopted in one form or another by communities from Ardsley to Yorktown.
The referral of the draft law to the committees follows several televised Work Sessions by the Board of Trustees on this topic and a June 13, 2018 public workshop on housing moderated by facilitators from Pace University.
The key feature of the proposed law is a requirement that for all residential developments of ten (10) or more units created by subdivision or site plan approval, no less than 10% of the total number of units must be created as units to affirmatively further fair housing (AFFH).
A for-purchase housing unit is one that is affordable to a household whose income does not exceed 80% of the area median income (AMI) for Westchester as defined annually by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development. A rental unit is one that is affordable to a household whose income does not exceed 60% AMI and for which the rent and utilities, does not exceed 30% of the tenant’s income.
For example: according to HUD the AMI for a 1-person household is $82,000 annually–therefore to qualify for a AFFH unit under the proposed law, a single individual (no partner or children) buyer could earn no more than $65,600 annually and a renter could earn no more than $49,200. For a 4-person household, the maximum income would be $93,650 for buying a unit and $70,250 for renting a unit.
There is an acute local need for affordable housing. According to the Westchester/Putnam United Way, 32% of all Crotonites and 49% of all renters in the Village are housing burdened (spending more than 30% of their income on housing). Just imagine the economic benefit to our community if these families could redirect a portion of that money they would have otherwise spent on rent towards local businesses or investing in their children’s education.
At a time when village rental vacancy rates are at 2% (far below the county or state average), according to census data, and rents continue to rise, affordable housing is a sorely needed in our community. Our Village’s Comprehensive Plan highlighted the need to diversify housing options to meet the needs of a changing population in our Village. I am glad that we are at moving forward on this issue.

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Brian Pugh: Supporting Small Business

Dear Neighbors:brian-pugh-group-cropped
I am a firm believer that a rising tide is needed to lift all boats, which is why I had the Village of Croton partner with the US Small Business Administration to hold a free seminar for local entrepreneurs at the Croton Yacht Club last Wednesday.
US SBA offers loan guarantees to support financing for small business. The federal agency also provides grant money to not-for profit small business centers that employ professional business advisors that help small business owners with expert advice.
SBA supports several small business resource centers like those in attendance on Wednesday– such as the Women’s Business Center (WBC) in Westchester Country and SCORE. Select financial institutions were also in attendance. These organizations utilize SBA’s loan guarantee to make small business loans that don’t conform to their typical underwriting criteria.
At the SBA seminar, these lenders explained to prospective businesses how to position themselves to win the confidence of lenders and investors and secure the money they need to expand.
I am glad that the SBA is offering our local businesses and entrepreneurs the tools they need to succeed. Small business creates jobs, builds local wealth and grows our tax base.
This SBA seminar was one step towards fostering innovation and investment. Therefore, as always, I encourage those with suggestions about how to further local economic growth and wealth creation by writing me at: bpugh@crotononhudson-ny.gov
Brian Pugh

Ann Gallelli: Decoding Village Agendas No. 420

Dear neighbor:

Here is the 420th installment of Decoding Village Agendas to keep Croton residents informed of the actions of the Village Board at their meetings. I continue to add recipients to this email update on agendas so you may be receiving it for the first time. I enjoy getting your feedback and hope to continue to hear from you. If you do not wish to receive these periodic email updates from me, please reply to this email and your name will be removed from the email list.

Ann Gallelli
Decoding Village Agendas – October 1, 2018

Regular Meeting of the Board of Trustees
8:00 pm

(Open to Public – Televised)
PUBLIC HEARING;

Public Hearing on renewing the special use permit for the telecommunications tower at 26 Veterans Plaza. The original permit was granted in 2008, renewed again in 2013,and would now continue another 5 years to 2023.

Public Hearing on adopting Local Law Introductory No. 8 to amend Chapter 123 of the Village Code, Firearms. The law currently prohibits any firearm being discharged in the Village. The revised law would eliminate firearms instructional facilities in the Village. It would not apply to law enforcement training. It also does not apply to the discharge of a firearm in the defense of person.
CORRESPONDENCE:

Email from Dan Osborne, President of the Croton-Harmon Tigers Booster Club, regarding the cost of overtime at the September 21st homecoming rally. Mr. Osborne is requesting that the Village cover some of the overtime costs for this event because it was a community-wide event attended by Village youth and parents and the Booster Club is a non-profit that serves the community. The overtime bill was in the amount of #837.73.

PROPOSED RESOLUTIONS:

Consider authorizing the Village Manager to execute a contract with the Houston-Galveston Area Council to participate in their cooperative purchasing program. This permits the Village to participate in a cooperative purchasing program that applies mainly to DPW items.

Consider authorizing the Village Manager to execute an agreement with Student Assistance Services Corporation for the period beginning September 30, 2018 until September 29,2019, to provide support to the Croton Coalition for an amouny not to exceed $9,560.00. This is an annual contract that allows the Coalition to perform their services. It is funded by a federal grant which is managed by the Village.

Consider authorizing the Village Treasurer to issue a tax refund ti the property owner if 26 Mount Green Road as a result of a tx grievance filed and settled in the State Supreme Court. The SCAR refund is in the amount of $941.88.

Consider authorizing the Village Treasurer to amend the 2018-19 General Fund Budget in the amount of $5,515.00 for monies received for insurance recovery. This involved repairs to a DPW vehivle involved in a one–vehicle accident.

Consider authorizing the Village Treasurer to make an interfund transfer in the General Fund un the amount of $2,400.00 for the purpose of covering training costs for the Fire Department. This money was allocated in the Budget but is held in the Contingency Fund for payment of Fire Department needs as previously approved.

Consider declaring the Board of Trustees to be Lead Agency under SEQRA for the amended special use permit application for Hudson National Golf Club and refer such application to the Waterfront Advisory Committee. This starts the process for an amendment to the Club’s permit allowing them to relocate their caddy facilities on their property.

Consider authorizing the Village Manager to execute an agreement with the Croton Caring Committee to provide compensation in the amount of $7,030.00 a year for services provided to the community for the period beginning June 1, 2019 and ending May 31,2019. The Village would continue to help the Caring Committee defray some of their costs for services such as driving patients to appointments, providing breakfasts and luncheons for isolated and lonely residents, and other services for people in need.

Consider authorizing the Village Manager to execute an agreement with Peter Gisolfi Associates of Hastings-on-Hudson, New York, for the purposes of creating a concept design for the renovation and alteration of the Municipal Building at an amount not to exceed $4,000.00. The Gisolfi firm has previously done design work for the Municipal Building including for the Police Dept. The plans were not implemented but the Village would like to move ahead at this time.

Consider declaring Local Law Introductory No.9 of 2018, amending the Zoning Code of the Village of Croton-om-Hudson, New York, to be a Type 1 action, declaring itself Lead Agency for NYS SEQRA purposes, issuing an EAF and CAF, referring the draft law to the Village Planning Board for a report and referring the Draft Law, EAF and CAF to the Waterfront Advisory Committee and Westchester County Board/Planning Department for review and recommendations. This would take the initial steps to amend the code to include an Affordable Housing requirement for developments of ten units or more. It would require 10% minimum be created as AFFH units. For 10-14 units,one AFFH unit would be required; for 15 -24 units, two AFFH would be required; and then continuing in like increments.

Brian Pugh: How can we make our streets more safe?

Dear Neighbors:brian-pugh-group-cropped
In 2016, the Village of Croton, inspired by a grassroots community safety effort, launched the Slow Down Croton initiative to increase safety for drivers, pedestrians, and bicyclists.
This year, we have augmented this effort with the addition of a 25 MPH speed zone on sections of Cleveland Drive, Grand Street and Old Post Road–which we established in August. In addition, the Village deployed five additional speed signs earlier this month.
Speed is a factor in 1 in 5 car accidents that result in injury or death, according to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety. Speed reduces the time that a driver has to react, increases the distance needed to stop a vehicle and increases the lethality of crashes dramatically.
The new speed zone and the new speed signs are just one step in a process. Our Village Board will continue to work with the Bicycle Pedestrian Committee, the Police Department, School District and members of the community to make our streets safer for all.
We ask for public cooperation as we work toward a safer community. For any suggestions you may have, please write to the Board of Trustees: boardoftrustees@crotononhudson-ny.gov

Brian Pugh
Brian Pugh

Amy Attias: Celebrate Diversity Saturday!

To the editor:Sep. 14th LTEs -- AA

This Saturday, September 29th, the Village of Croton will be celebrating its first Multicultural Festival, highlighting just a few of the different cultures in our beautiful Crazy Quilt. In this time of great divisiveness, where hate has been given permission to openly be voiced, every step we can come closer to one another is the best antidote. Love does indeed counteract fear and hate, and this small festival is our first contribution.

Sharing food, music, and dance from other cultures helps us know one another. Try a hula hoop, dance to African drumbeats, listen to the tap of Irish dancers, and just enjoy your neighbors. There will be live music, dance demonstrations, community art projects, yoga, stories for children, food trucks and local food and dessert vendors, as well as a brewery from Ossining. Browse beautiful photographs, paper cuttings, and other crafts.

This is not a political event. This is a celebration of Us. There is something for everyone. Come join us as we remember that with our differences, we are indeed One World.

The event takes place at Senasqua Park, on Elliott Way, from 12 til 4, with a raindate of Sunday, Septemgber 30. Hope to see you there!

Amy Attias, Trustee, Croton on Hudson

Ann Gallelli: Eye on the Hudson

To the Editor,ann2016
As many of you are aware, the Hudson River is threatened by two separate actions being undertaken by federal agencies – the Coast Guard and the Army Corps of Engineers.
In 2017, the Coast Guard entertained a change in regulations that would permit up to 49 additional barge anchorages in the area between the GW Bridge and Kingston. In response to a huge outcry, and receiving 10,000+ comments, they formed a committee, Ports and Waterways Safety Assessment (PAWSA), to consider the responses.
The committee held 2 workshops in different geographic areas and was made of up of professionals in the maritime industry, local representatives of municipalities along the Hudson River, fishermen, recreational boaters, and environmental experts such a Riverkeeper. I was one of the invited attendees.
The result is the formation of another committee, the Hudson River Safety, Navigation & Operations Committee (HRSNOC). This committee will have its first meeting on October 2 to address the previously identified facets of recreational and commercial safety on the river. I expect to attend this meeting and hope to raise issues of scenic, environmental and economic relevance to communities like Croton who have large investments in their riverfront.
More recently, The Army Corps of Engineers (ACOE) has completed a draft of alternative approaches to protecting the coastline from storm surges. It is called the NY-NJ Storm Surge Protection Program and is in response to Hurricane Sandy damage in 2012. The approaches range from actual barriers closing off NY harbor and flow to the Hudson River to storm-hardening vulnerable coastal areas.
While storm surges are definitely something to be addressed there are reasons to be very careful about the approach selected. Riverkeeper warns of barriers threatening the actual life of the river as far north as Troy in so far as changing currents and flows affect its ecology, habitats, breeding areas, etc. Other approaches suggested may have effects on one or more coastal communities. Each needs to be studied carefully. ACOE proposes only to further study the few it considers “most viable”. Further the ACOE proposals would not be required to be measured against the federal Coastal Zone Management standards.
This effectively cuts off inputs from Villages like Croton that specifically adopted a Local Waterfront Revitalization Program so we could have such input. In fact, it is our LWRP that gave us standing in the previously mentioned Anchorage discussion and was a decisive factor in defeating the Millennium Pipeline of prior years.
On the ACOE proposal, the Village has adopted a resolution supporting a complete and thorough study of all the options as well as including the Coastal Zone Management standards for review purposes. The comment period has been extended to Nov. 5. It is unclear what will come next but the Village has a clear interest in participating in this review and we will be staying abreast of the developments ahead.
Ann Gallelli

Brian Pugh: Path Forward On The Reusable Bag Initiative

Dear Neighbors:brian-pugh-group-cropped
Following the submission of a petition with over 1,000 signatures in support of a “Reusable Bag Initiative”, the Board of Trustees of the Village of Croton began considering the adoption of a new local law governing single-use shopping bags. Because of the potential impact on residents, businesses and our environment, and the attendant legal consequences, the Board must move deliberately.
To date, the bag issue has been addressed at Regular Board of Trustees Meetings on May 9th, July 23rd, September 4rd and Work Sessions on June 11th, August 13th, and September 12th.
The community group that petitioned the Board has proposed that the Village adopt a local law modeled on the one enacted in the Town of New Castle. The New Castle law bans single-use plastic bags in all stores and requires that certain stores (e.g. supermarkets and pharmacies) collect a fee on paper bags. The petitioners cite an array of jurisdictions that have banned plastic bags and report by the U.N. calling on governments to consider banning or taxing single-use bags or food containers to stem a tide of plastic-related pollution.
The Food Industry Alliance, a trade group representing supermarkets, has made its position very clear. FIA strongly opposes a ban on single-use plastic bags and instead proffers a fee on both plastic and paper bags. FIA cites the Town of Bedford and Suffolk County as examples of communities that have followed this approach.
The discussion regarding different policy proposals to shift away from single-use plastic bags has environmental consequences. There is also the potential of fiscal repercussions for property taxpayers.
The Village of Hastings-on-Hudson was sued by the Food Industry Alliance in October 2014 over the plastic bag ban that they had adopted in June of that year. The FIA argued the matter required full review under New York’s State Environmental Quality Review (SEQR) Act because they claim that an increase in the use of paper bags could have a greater negative impact on the environment.
Hastings spent close to $50,000 on the litigation before it was dismissed for procedural reasons (the FIA member store in Hastings, an A&P, went out of business following the unrelated bankruptcy of the A&P chain). If our Village were to prevail in a potential lawsuit, it’s possible a plaintiff would appeal, which could easily cost another $50,000, for total legal fees of $100,00 or more. For perspective, the 2017 tax cap was approximately $162,000.
As part of the legislative process, the Village will complete a review of the proposed local law under the State Environmental Quality Review Act (SEQRA). The first step is the preparation of a draft Environmental Assessment Form (EAF) by the Village Attorney, which will take several weeks.
In the meantime, I ask that members of the public with information they think is relevant to this discussion to forward it to me at bpugh@crotononhudson-ny.gov with “Plastic Bags” in the subject line.
Sincerely,
Brian Pugh

Sherry Horowitz: Remembering Georgianna Grant

September 17, 2018sherry2017
Letter to the Editor
Last week, Michael Grant submitted a Letter to the Editor of the Gazette about his Mother, Georgianna Grant. I want to thank him for that.
What a wonderful gift, Michael, to share your Mother’s reflections on a long life well lived and thoroughly appreciated! The profound acceptance of her own joys and sorrows is a testament to our common humanity. If we eventually arrive at that level of wisdom and compassion, which, curiously, are one and the same thing, then the accumulation of years is indeed a blessing!
Georgianna was the first person I met in Croton; she sold me my first home on Sunset Drive. Over the many years since then, and the continuously evolving incarnations of our lives, I never lost my love and respect for her.
Thanks again, Michael for enriching our lives by sharing hers.
Sincerely, Sherry Horowitz

Andy Simmons: I want to be your Village Trustee

My name is Andy Simmons and I want to be your Village Trustee.simmons.PNG

After having grown up and lived in “the City”, my wife and I decided to move out when our rent-stabilized one-bedroom apartment grew smaller and smaller as our one-year-old daughter grew bigger and bigger. We began our search for a new home by looking at Hastings. Then Pelham. Then Irvington, Riverdale … we saw it all. Nothing felt right for us until we visited Croton. We were awed by the village’s natural beauty, charmed by the diversity of homes, and touched by the people we met.

Over the ensuing years, we learned what it was like to come to terms with a mortgage, car payments, daycare, and the money pit we called “Home”; we watched as our daughter went from toddler to young woman attending Croton Harmon High as an 11th grader; and we were embraced by the community. For the last 14 years, Croton has been my home and refuge. It’s time for me to give back. That’s why I’m proud to run for trustee as a Democrat.

Be it Croton Landing or the vast trails system, much of what I love about Croton was initiated by the Croton Democrats. I share their progressive attitudes toward the environment and housing, and appreciate that they’ve kept my taxes low because, well, I’m cheap.

For these reasons and more (which I will get into in future letters), I am excited to run for office. Thank you for your time.  

Andy Simmons

Croton-on-Hudson

 

Chairman Richard Masur: Remembering Trustee Georgianna Grant

To the Editor,Image result for croton democrats

When my wife, Eileen Henry, and I moved to Croton on Hudson fourteen years ago, one of the people we were lucky enough to meet was Georgianna Grant.  She had already retired from her service on the Village Board of Trustees, but continued to be, as she had been for decades, deeply interested in and involved with the life of this community.  She welcomed us and invited us to join with her and the other wonderful women and men of the Croton Democrats who have devoted themselves to the welfare of our village and the wellbeing of its residents.  Eileen and I have been honored to have known her and will continue to strive to follow her example. On behalf of the Croton Dems, I want to offer our sincere condolences to the entire Grant clan. We are all diminished by her passing.

 

Richard Masur

Chair, Croton Democratic Committee