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Friday, September 30, 2022
Home Government Speaking French: Mayor's Update - Fore!, Bambi, Upsize, Rebuild

Speaking French: Mayor’s Update – Fore!, Bambi, Upsize, Rebuild

Here is the next edition of Speaking French, the Mayor's Update.

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City Council Updates from Mayor Douglas French

Rye Golf Club Update

Thanks to the efforts of many individuals, the Club is open for business for the 2013 season.  The City continues to move forward with its four-point plan:  Finalize the RGC investigation, evaluate recommendations from the RGC Strategic Committee on long-term operating models once submitted, implement checks and balances to centralize City financial operations, and institute revised financial disclosure and conflict of interest policies.  The matter with respect to the former Club Manager has been handed over to the Westchester County District Attorney.Rye Arts Center.

The City’s 30-year agreement with the Rye Arts Center is set to expire in 2 years.  The relationship has been mutually beneficial for all and the organization provides a great deal to the community and our children in enhancing our cultural opportunities and quality of life.  Both parties are committed to renewing the agreement and are going through the process of due diligence before renewing the contract some time this year.

Deer Population

The increasing deer population across our region remains a growing problem.  The City has asked to review the situation and explore potential options.  A presentation was made by John Baker, Director of Conservation, Westchester County Parks on the options for a Deer Management pilot program. The bow-hunting program recommended is based on the model program being used and advocated by the Westchester Audubon Society for culling deer herds. The program is run through New York State DEC as the City would need to be issued a special permit by the DEC for the program. The City proposes a joint pilot program with the Jay Heritage Center and the Westchester County Marshlands.  Much more information and discussion is required before any decisions will be made.

Land-Use Workshop

The City held a workshop with its land use Boards to educate the public about their Boards and discuss challenges that each Board faces where the City Council may need to look at reviewing laws.  The Planning Commission issues 28-30 Wetlands Permits a year (about 50% of the applications), with the remainder made up of Subdivisions, Site Plan approvals and general approvals.   The biggest issues stem from the public not fully understanding the land use laws.  The Board is trying to rethink the idea of mitigation requirements in wetland setback areas due to the problems caused by deer eating the required vegetation.

The Zoning Board of Appeals has seen a consistent pattern of applications from people looking to upsize their homes to accommodate growing families.  There are two other types of applications that are increasingly coming before the Board – fences and front yard parking. The Board has been traditionally strict in enforcing these requirements and has on occasion suggested that applicants petition the Council to amend the laws.  The purview of the Board of Architectural Review is to review new buildings and alterations to existing buildings by looking at excessive uniformity, excessive dissimilarity, inappropriateness or poor design quality.  The Board believes that the burden of proof required should be changed from the criminal burden (beyond a reasonable doubt) to a civil burden (a preponderance of evidence). They would also like to see the application sequence changed so that applicants come before the Board of Architectural Review for an opinion prior to going before the Zoning Board of Appeals for a variance.

The role of the Conservation Commission is to be advisory on all environmental and conservation matters in the City.  A major task of the board is to provide advice to the Planning Commission on wetlands permits.  They have also been involved in SEQRA matters; recycling; and noise issues.  The trends they are interested in now include the adoption of a Sustainability Plan by the Council; working with the Planning Commission on retaining wetlands; and a new ordinance for tree protection.

Rebuilding Rye Initiative

Several projects in our rebuilding Rye initiative are moving forward:

Central Avenue Bridge – Materials have been delivered on site and the contractor has begun preparing to do the piling work.

Sluice Gate – The project is still going through testing with the remote systems, on-site systems and switches to the back-up and should be in full control by the end of the month.

Safe Routes to School Bond Projects – a meeting was held with school representatives, Safe Routes to School members, engineers and other community members to prioritize and schedule some of the projects.

Paving Schedule – a revised schedule for the Boston Post Road is being developed to pave the section from Parsons street north.

Central Business District Projects – City staff is looking at design options for the Central Business District approved bond projects that include Smith Street and Elm Street intersection.


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