Village Perspectives – Briarcliff Manor

Prioritize the importance of current projects either recently completed or ongoing. Choose at least 3 areas where Village government has placed their attention.

There are several projects in mid-stream, so to speak. Timing and the effects of weather has been the main culprit in closing out some of this year’s projects. We are focused on completing the $8 Million Westchester County project to upgrade our roads and bridges prior to our take over. A majority of the road construction segment is complete but the Pocantico River Bridge replacement has been hit with numerous engineering and time delays, mostly due to seasonal NYSDEP restrictions when working in a designed river bed such as the Pocantico River. Seasonal effects and regulatory limitations have caused us to re-spot the dredging of Law Park Pond to the Spring of 2019. We have the financing in place and the contracts nailed down. We split our overall re-paving program: the most in need were recently completed and we are programming the rest for late Spring 2019.

What are some of the challenges facing your Village in terms of growth, parking, available housing, village basic services, etc.? 

Timing and sequencing are always a problem. We live by the understanding that “no time is a good time” to get projects done and then do the best to work around these concerns to target the needs of VBM in our nearly 6 square mile area. Parking is always a need and it is not confined to only one area. We are methodically reviewing interest by developers to expand housing projects in the VBM. Various shuttered corporate facilities have active interest for conversion into housing. We know that Briarcliff is a great place to live but the M/BOT is deeply concerned as to the impacts on existing Village and School District facilities (VBM is in the BM and Ossining school districts). Demand for Village services also include pressure on our voluntary Fire and Ambulance facilities: there are many indirect pressures that will need to be addressed first. This is especially so since separate applications for zoning changes are in process for the former Sony Corporation, Mearl Corporation, and Phil-lips Labs Properties: all to be handled in a fully open and transparent procedure of public meetings for our residents to be heard.

Name a problem area or areas where a coordinated effort is needed within your Village. If not a problem area, then an area that requires governmental vigilance. 

As a result of existing construction work at the former Kings College property (now “The Club”), serious concerns about the interruption of heavy construction and the impacts on neighboring residential areas jumped to our attention. Briarcliff Manor is a series of neighborhoods which was mingled with these specific, some-what long dormant, former corporate offices. In the case of The Club, this project was approved over 10+ years ago. Today’s standards as to impacts of noise, dust and the construction/work hours of such a huge project weigh heavily on the BOT: we are addressing them now in hindsight but these same issues also are to be fully vetted for any new projects coming before various Boards for approval.

What projects are on tap or in the planning stages for 2019? 

There are always infra-structure issues that by plan or fate…come up.  Getting a handle on them and mapping out how to address them is the issue…closely followed by how we are going to finance them. These types of projects never come cheap. Most are street and drainage issues that have been identified as needing attention years ago but now must be addressed. A good example is the total rebuilding of the Law Park Playground. One of last Winter’s Nor’easters significantly damaged this “aged and tired” playground but it’s “…when life gives you lemons, you make lemonade…”, we pooled our talent, funding and citizen input to totally rebuild this playground. Part of planning is to be able to jump into a situation quickly having the support of the M/BOT.

Lastly, add any basic in-formation of importance for your Village that you would like our readers to know.

As crazy as this sounds… Water! Working together with VSH and VTT, VBM is chairing the “Tri-Village Water Works,” a long dreamed-of effort to consolidate water transmission operations from the NYCDEP aqueduct source level to our respective pump facilities along the Tarrytown Lakes. I believe great benefits are in the offing as the 3 villages work together on this project while maintaining each individual village’s internal water distribution and municipal/consumer operations. We secured a NYS grant (and we have to match funds $ for $) to consolidate and share in this forward-looking project. The template of our efforts have extended even to the NYSDOT construction site at Routes 9A and 100C in Elmsford. We are active participants here as the existing intersection is rebuilt into a new round-about. Why us? Because our circa early 1970’s, 30-inch water main runs directly under the site and our transmission main is to be relocated at NYS-DOT expense.

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About the Author: Philip Zegarelli