Rye Mayor Doug French released his latest update – about chasing coyotes (with paint balls), Bowman dam and Beaver Swamp updates, Schubert being all wet (or not), green Rye and $1 million for the Bird.
From the desk of Mayor Douglas French
City Prepares for Coyote Activity
As we head into the warmer weather, the City will continue a proactive approach to coyotes and will monitor developments closely for any signs of abnormal behavior. It is important that residents also be on alert and take proper precautions for personal safety. Sightings should be reported to Police at 967-1234 and a coyote fact sheet is posted on the City's website. Based on current levels of activity, there are no immediate plans for hunting and trapping; however, the Police Department has been issued a Hazing permit from the NYS Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) to include use of non-lethal talc pellets intended to shock coyotes and keep them afraid of humans. Wildlife experts indicate that activities such as hazing, hunting, and trapping are necessary to restore the natural fear of human contact that has been lost by certain animals. If there is any indication of abnormal behavior that would warrant a more aggressive approach, the City will re-seek authorization from the NYS DEC to begin trapping and hunting.
Flood Mitigation Updates and Preparedness
At the March 16th Council meeting, the City Manager provided an update on the status of the flood mitigation projects. The Sluice Gate project at Bowman Dam to regulate water flow has received all of the necessary funding and permits and should be ready to go to bid later this spring. It is anticipated that scheduling and construction can begin shortly thereafter. A grant and approval from the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) that would first allow the City to conduct a study of the possible expansion of the upper pond behind Bowman Dam in order to retain more water upstream is in the final stage of approval. However, this is the most rigorous stage as it calls for review from several agencies to include the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) for example. Finally, the City reviewed the emergency notification protocol if the dam is breached during storms. This would include reverse 911 telephone calls, Nixle announcements to registered residents, postings and updates on the City website and neighborhood drive-through announcements by the Police department.
Beaver Swamp and Project Home Run
On March 8th, the NYS Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) issued a draft permit to the Town/Village of Harrison based on additional information and an amended plan submission. The City of Rye is still part of an administrative hearing on Beaver Swamp and Project Home Run. As part of this proceeding, given the decision by the NYS DEC to authorize a permit for the project, the City has until May 6th to respond as to which issues should be adjudicated. The Council will continue to review the permit authorization with Corporation Counsel and will make a decision over the next several weeks on how we will proceed.
Matter of Schubert v City of Rye Planning Commission Dismissed
Last week, the Honorable Barbara Zambelli of the Supreme Court of the State of New York dismissed the Article 78 of Civil Practice Law and Rules proceeding against the City of Rye Planning Commission, City Planner, Building Inspector and City Engineer. In her decision, Judge Zambelli dismissed the Article 78 in its entirety and found the petition failed to state a cause of action and was time barred.
Environmental Sustainability Forum on 3/31
Last October the Council established an environmental sustainability committee to help the City inform and educate the public on sustainability practices, and to assist in developing a sustainability plan similar to what other communities have begun such as Larchmont, Bedford and New Rochelle. This Thursday, March 31st at 7:00 pm at the Rye Free Reading Room, the Committee will be conducting a kickoff forum to introduce the concept of sustainability, hear from leaders on the subject, and dialog and gather community feedback.
$1M in Bird Homestead Grants Fully Received
The City received notification this week of receipt of the final two of four Bird Homestead Grant monies. The NYS Office of Parks, Recreation, and Historic Preservation grant in the amount of $350,000 and a Westchester County grant in the amount of $200,000 were both received bringing the total funds received to $1,000,000 to fully restore the City's financial outlay. As part of Rye's efforts for historical preservation, in 2009 the City acquired the waterfront property at 600 Milton Road of the former property of Henry Bird and family — better known as Bird Homestead. Since then the City has worked diligently with all agencies and officials to recoup the financial outlay.