September 1, 2004
To My Rye Brook Friends and Neighbors:
Nat King Cole’s old song about the lazy, hazy, crazy days of summer apparently does not apply to Rye Brook. This has been a very active three months for the Village Board and staff as we passed and started to implement a number of local laws and began dealing with some matters that will have a major impact on our village.
• Since the current Village Board took office in April, twelve (12) new local laws have been enacted. While most of these dealt with amending or cleaning up deficiencies in existing regulations, several were new and will have an immediate and long-term effect on the village. In the latter category are such things as the creation of certain scenic road overlay districts, conservation easements, and other laws that preserve and protect the natural beauty of Rye Brook.
• Other local law changes were passed in order to enhance safety and quality of life in the community. These regulations include prohibiting parking in some of the more densely populated areas, reducing speed limits in parts of the village, and revising the sign law. While much work was done in terms of addressing our codes, much more still remains and the Board will be addressing those issues, including notifications for tree removals, and further legislative review of site plans and subdivisions, etc., in the future.
• Among other major issues that the Board will be facing includes whether and to what extent final approval authority should be given to the Planning Board. As you will recall, the Vision Plan, which was accepted in 2001 by a prior Board, contained many recommendations that were never implemented. This past spring we appointed a Task Force to deal with recommendations regarding the Planning Board. On September 14, that Task Force will make a formal presentation to the Board on its findings. We encourage all residents to read this report (available at Village Hall or accessible on the Village website, www.ryebrook.org) and participate in any future actions the Board of Trustees may take on this important issue.
• Another critical issue that we addressed was finalizing the approvals for the construction of athletic fields at the compost site on King Street. Agreements were signed with both the Blind Brook School District and the Arbors Homeowners Association for acquisition of the parcels of land needed for the fields. Both of these bodies are in the process of getting the necessary resident approvals that are required for the Village of Rye Brook to acquire the parcels. I will be appointing a Task Force that will be charged with the actual oversight of building the fields.
• The Rye Brook Firehouse is completed and will be staffed and occupied on a 24/7 basis very shortly. An Open House will be held on September 14 from 4:30-7:00 PM with the official dedication scheduled for 5:30 PM. We invite you to come and see your firehouse and meet members of the Rye Brook and Port Chester Fire Departments who, together, work so hard to keep our communities safe. As a follow up on this subject, Port Chester and Rye Brook officials have begun discussions on a long-term fire protection arrangement that should be beneficial to both villages.
• As you may have read, the Altria properties on Westchester Avenue have been sold to the RPW Group Inc. and RPW is in the process of entering into an Industrial Development Agreement (IDA) with the County. Your Board has passed a resolution in which we will not object to the IDA but which specifically protects Village taxpayers (as well as the Town of Rye and the Port Chester School District) in terms of preserving certain revenue-generating aspects of this property. While we welcome and look forward to having RPW as our neighbor, and we will be working closely with this developer as it seeks to make improvements to this prime office location, we will continue to be vigilant on tax issues affecting our Village, the Town of Rye and the Port Chester School District.
• On September 15, the Town of Rye’s Board of Assessment Review (BAR) will complete its review of the challenges to the Town’s 2005 tax rolls (which included the new assessments that were assigned as of June 1). The Village will then evaluate the new rolls and determine whether to accept them as Rye Brook’s tax rolls.
• Finally, our new sanitation contractor, CRP, is fully engaged in both garbage and recycling/bulk trash pick up. While garbage pickups seem to be going smoothly we are facing some difficulties regarding recycling. Basically, residents still tend to have non-recyclable matters mixed into the “blue-bins.” This causes unnecessary delays and increases costs for the Village. Please do your utmost to recycle correctly. For further information as to what is recyclable, please look at the Village’s website at www.ryebrook.org.
Our Village staff has produced, as promised, a plan for leaf collection during the fall season. A summary of the proposed plan is included with this letter, and will be discussed by the Village Board in September. Again, for expedience and safety, please make sure that leaf piles include only leaves … branches, rocks, trash or other matter in those leaf piles may harm personnel and equipment.
Over the coming months, your Board will be continuing to focus on the above issues as well as dealing with traffic on King Street, further law and code revisions, working with NY State Comptroller’s Office to study other ways to increase revenues for the village as an alternate to property taxes, and other matters that deal with the quality of life in Rye Brook.
As usual, we look forward to your input and active participation in our community.
Lawrence A. Rand
September 1, 2004