PRIOR POSTS OF CONTINUED RELEVANCE
Vacancy on Tree Advisory Board
The Town Board is accepting applications for a vacancy on the Tree Advisory Board. The Tree Advisory Board was established for the purpose of advising the Enforcement Officer, Building Inspector, Planning Board, Wetlands Control Commission, Town Board, Highway Department, Recreation Department and other agencies and offices of the Town on matters relating to the preservation, planting and removal of trees.
The Board advises the Town on the health of trees, helps develop tree planting plans and plans and participates in Arbor Day activities.
It is a 9-member board, with each member appointed to a 5-year term. The Board usually meets the 4th Thursday of the month at 425 Cherry Street, 2nd Floor Conference Room, in Bedford Hills. For the entire text of the Tree Preservation Ordinance, please go to General Code, Chapter 112.
If you are interested in serving, please e-mail your resume with a cover letter to
firstname.lastname@example.org. You also may mail it to me at Supervisor, 321 Bedford Road, Bedford Hills, New York 10507.
Bedford Fire District – Proposed Fire House
Vote on Referendum Set
As I mentioned previously, a number of Bedford Village residents have contacted me regarding the proposal of the Bedford Fire District to construct a new fire house off of South Brook Road and Old Post Road (a/k/a Route 22) in Bedford Village.
At the outset I should explain that t
he Town’s attorneys have determined that the Town has no approval authority over the proposed firehouse project because the Bedford Fire District is a local government entity under New Y ork law.
The Bedford Fire District has posted a substantial amount of information regarding the proposed fire house which can be accessed at
. The New Fire House Committee invites the public to send questions regarding the project to
or call (91 4) 205- 6341 which are both dedicated to the project.
Public Information Session
Wed. April 10
BV Fire House
34 Village Green Bedford Village
The Bond Referendum
Tuesday April 30
BV Fire House
34 Village Green Bedford Village
Amendments to Noise Law Adopted
The Town Board held public hearings on proposed amendments to the Town Code which were developed with our Police Department, Code Enforcement personnel, Town Clerk and Town attorneys, Keane & Beane, to eliminate inconsistencies in sections of the Town Code relating to noise disturbance. There were actually three hearings, two of which deleted provisions in the Town Code and the third which adopted the new provisions.
In addition to intending to eliminate the inconsistencies, we also want the noise law to be fair and equitable. Based on decisions of the Town Justice Court, we need to clarify provisions pertaining to dog barking. The revisions in the included limitations on exemptions to the noise law.
The following are key provisions of the amendments:
- To address the inconsistencies, the proposed amendments eliminate the provisions which are difficult to enforce regarding unreasonable or excessive barking and what constitutes a noise violation, and has replaced them with revised provisions to define “Noise Disturbance” and identify specific activities that are prohibited and specific activities that are exempt from the noise regulations.
- For enforcement purposes, it requires either sworn affidavits from two separate persons in two separate residences, direct observation by the enforcement officer or official, or that the noise level exceeds certain decibel levels as measured with a sound metering device.
- The revisions continue to permit the use of a sound metering dev ice as an alternative method of enforcement and sets specific decibel levels that cannot be exceeded in residential and nonresidential zones during day time and nighttime hours. The provisions were simplified.
- The law identifies a number of noise making activities that are generally exempt from the noise regulations. However, there are limitations with respect to many of these exemptions. In addition, a general provision has been included that the exempt activities cannot exceed the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health recommended exposure levels for occupational noise exposure.
Update on Repaving Route 117
Public Works Commissioner Kevin Winn and I met on Friday, March 22 with representatives of the New York State Department of Transportation, Consolidated Edison and the Village of Mount Kisco.
By way of background, Consolidated Edison replaced a gas line along the length of Route 117 from the start of the business district in Bedford Hills south into Mount Kisco. The replacement required digging up Route 117. The work was not completed in time for repaving last Fall leaving the road surface in poor condition. The Village of Mount Kisco also had to replace water mains under Route 117. As Route 117 is a New York State road, NYSDOT regulates the work on the road and specifies necessary restoration. NY SDOT has previously mandated, and Con Ed agreed to comply with, curb to curb restoration of the portion of 117 disturbed by Con Ed as part of two NY SDOT highway work permits. I called the meeting to confirm the project scope and ensure that the project is undertaken as promptly as possible this Spring.
The outcome of the meeting:
- Con Edison confirmed that the restoration would be curb to curb (rather than only the southbound lane) running from Green Lane south to a bit short of Barker Street in Mt. Kisco
- To minimize disruption to the businesses and those traveling Route 117 during the day, work would be carried out from 8 PM to 6 AM
- The target dates are as follows, all dependent upon weather conditions and sufficiently high temperature to ensure proper curing:
-Curb replacement and restoration to commence by April 15
-Completion of curb replacement by April 30
-Repaving to commence first week of May
-Repaving completion by mid-May.
With the objective of keeping on target, I have scheduled another meeting for late April with the representatives of Con Edison, NYSDOT and the Village of Mt. Kisco and their engineers.
I will continue to keep the community apprised.
Post Script on the Hack Into Town’s Website
The good news: no one’s personal information was at risk and no damage was done to the Town’s website.
As I mentioned last week, all financial transactions with the Town are handled by third party pay ment processors to which any one wishing to do business with the Town is digitally referred. No confidential data is stored on the digital files operating our website nor on the Town’s servers.
While our website security previously was quite good, we are making it more robust (at very modest additional expense).
DON'T BE A CRIME VICTIM
Lock Your Car
In the past week The Town of Bedford Police Department has seen a dramatic rise in complaints from residents of Katonah regarding larcenies from unlocked motor vehicles in their driveways during the overnight hours. We remind you to secure your vehicles and do not leave valuables in your car. Remember: “If you see something, say something.” The Bedford Police Department operates 24/7/365.
Please call 914-241-3111 immediately when you observe suspicious activity.
Vacancy on Traffic Safety Working Group
The Town Board is accepting applications for a vacancy on the Traffic Safety Working Group.
In 2014 the Town Board established the Traffic Safety Working Group to advise the Town Board for the following purposes:
- Promote and encourage street and highway traffic safety
- Formulate street and highway safety programs and coordinate efforts of interested parties and agencies engaged in traffic safety education
- Study traffic conditions on streets and highways, study and analyze reports of accidents and causes thereof, and recommend to the appropriate legislative bodies, departments or commissions such changes as deemed advisable in rules, orders, regulations and physical changes to the roadway, signage and other components of the roadway system
- Conduct meetings on a regular basis and invite to such meetings parties and agencies, public and private, interested in traffic regulation, control and safety
- Promote safety education for drivers, cyclists, and pedestrians
- Obtain and assemble motor vehicle accident data, and analyze, study and consolidate such data to evaluate potential changes to the roadway system and for educational and informational purposes
- Coordinate and direct local activities related to the implementation of the state highway safety program, as approved by the governor or his designee
- Make reports/recommendations to the Town Board as necessary
- Provide a sustained and systematic mechanism and clearing house for considering concerns about traffic safety
REMINDER FROM THE TAX ASSESSORS OFFICE:
2019 Exemption Filing Deadlines
For the 2019 Tentative Assessment Roll, the exemption
filing deadline for all new or renewal exemption applications is May 1st 2019
Important Notice for Property Owners Age 65 and Over
- New STAR requirements for 2019
- To receive the Enhanced STAR exemption, you must enroll in the Income Verification Program (IVP). If you’re already enrolled in IVP, no action is needed
- If you qualify for the Low Income Senior Citizens exemption, you will no longer automatically receive the Enhanced STAR exemption. You must apply for Enhanced STAR separately
For general information or questions on your existing exemptions, please contact the Town of Bedford Assessor’s office at (914)-666-5149 or email
Additional information can be obtained at the New York State Department of Tax & Finance website at
From time to time especially during spring thaw, some residents ask me why we don’t pave our dirt roads. There also is the mistaken assumption that dirt roads are more expensive than paved roads. I’d like to share with you some considerations.
- The Town owns and maintains 33 miles of dirt roads, which are part of the Town's charm and rustic character. However, by their nature dirt roads provide a lesser level of service than a paved road
- The annual cost of regular maintenance of dirt roads is higher than that for paved roads, however, this comparison does not consider the cost of paving. We now spend $1.3 million each year on paving approximately eight miles of the Town’s 97 miles of paved roads. When factoring in paving costs, the cost of our dirt roads and paved roads is about equal
- The Town has a long standing policy to preserve and protect dirt roads as integral to the semirural character of Bedford. This policy is carried in the Town’s Comprehensive Plan. “Strategy 8: Dirt Roads: It is the policy of the Town to avoid paving the existing dirt roads.”… “These roads sustain Bedford’s rural character and serve as an effective traffic calming technique.” It also is stated that the Town should “maintain dirt roads rather than pave them.”
- Many of the Town’s large estates which maintain horses front dirt roads. Dirt roads are gentler on horses’ feet than paved roads. Many horses do not have strong enough feet to withstand the pounding on hard roads. Paved roads can also aggravate hoof problems. Converting dirt roads to paved roads might lead to the disappearance of the horse farms and subdivision of the properties
- Even should the Town determine to change its policy, the cost of converting dirt roads to paved roads considerably exceeds the cost of our regular resurfacing of existing paved roads. Converting a road from dirt to asphalt would require drainage improvements and four to six inches of asphalt. In addition, regulations of the New York City Department of Environmental Protection would require that the Town secure a stormwater permit for paving more than one acre of dirt roads. Meeting the stormwater permit requirements may entail installing catch basins, filtering mechanism and other drainage systems to attenuate the velocity and run-off from paved surfaces.
- For these reasons, over the years the Town Board has not considered it appropriate to pave our dirt roads.
As noted in last week’s newsletter, we recognize that winter wreaks the greatest havoc on our roads. This is most evident with the spring thaw and with it mud season, which is most damaging to our dirt roads. It’s typically one of the most challenging seasons for our crews in maintaining the dirt roads. The Town frequently maintains and inspects all our roads and the most in late winter and throughout the spring.
We will be working as promptly as we can to restore our roads to good condition – though of course, if we are hit with a late season snow storm, snow removal operations will take precedence to provide safe travel.
While we ask that you be patient with us given the difficulty of the maintenance, we do encourage you to please bring to our attention potholes or other issues which you feel need attention.
Please call our Pothole Hotline at 666-7669 or feel free to contact me at 666-6530 or Supervisor@ bedfordny.gov.
For potholes on the NYS roads traversing the Town (Routes 22, 117, 121, 137 and 172) please call NYS’s pothole line at 1-800-POTHOLE.
We appreciate your understanding and patience.
Proposed Cell Tower at Petre Glass or 425 Cherry Street
Process Following the Balloon Tests
As those following this newsletter are aware, Homeland Towers has proposed a cell tower at 21 Haines Road (Petre Glass) or in the alternative 425 Cherry Street. One of the first steps in the process are balloon tests at the sites to assess visual impact of the tower. The balloon tests were performed last Saturday, March 9: two at the potential locations at 425 Cherry Street - one right by the town building at the north end and the second at the south end of the property at the end of the parking lot and the third was at 21 Haines Road.
I spent a couple of hours on Saturday morning driving around to assess view impacts which are different for all three potential sites. I’d like to mention a few points for the understandably anxious and highly concerned residents who may be affected.
- Federal law – the Federal Communication Act and orders of the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) leave very little authority to municipalities in their review of applications for wireless facilities. If the applicant proves that there is a deficiency in cell service and that the site which is proposed is the least obtrusive, then the municipality is hard pressed not to approve the application. The extent of the authority then is limited to “site plan review” such as the design, screening, tweaking location and similar matters
- Planning Board members provided instructions to Homeland Towers on the balloon tests, location of photographs to attempt to capture the visual impact
- Homeland Towers had engaged a professional photographer with experience and training in taking the photographs
- The next steps (and the FCC has recently expanded what constitutes a need) There also are trade-off
If on town property, we have more control of the tower site and the tower operation than if on a private site. Although the Town would receive rental income from town property, the Town Board is far more interested in minimizing impact than in getting revenue.
With a tower on Town property we'd get a berth for police department and other emergency communications equipment at the top of the tower. Then again, there are folks who will see a tower at 425 but won't see it at Petre.
Folks who live on Haines (especially the condos at 51 Haines) will see Petre very nearby, but not the tower sites at 425.
The Town Board needs to balance the visual impacts, long term advantages to emergency services and impact on property owners.
No decisions will be made any time soon. It will be months, not weeks.
Based on prior balloon tests, we had anticipated that it would take three months for Homeland Towers to submit its visual impact analysis to the Town. Homeland Towers president mentioned to me in a call earlier this week, however, that they may submit the visual analysis report to the Planning Board within three weeks.
The Town will engage an independent, dispassionate consultant to review all of Homeland’s submissions.
Under federal law the Planning Board will need to act upon Homeland’s application within 120 twenty days (this period is referred to as the “shotclock”). The shotclock does not begin to run until the application is complete. Without the visual impact analysis the application is incomplete.
There will be ample opportunity for public input, including public hearings.
I would like to thank Sarah Sheeleigh Jeffers for initiating an excellent community conversation on the Katonah Parents Facebook Group regarding the balloon tests and Homeland Tower's proposal. I also thank those who are posing their questions and concerns.
Be assured that the Town Board and Planning Board is listening intently.