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10/1/2012

Mayor’s Corner:

On 1A Croton Point Avenue and a waste transfer station

[October 1, 2012] I would like to set the record on the matter of 1A Croton Point Avenue (1ACPA), the closed transfer site opposite the entrance to the Croton Harmon Train Station.

I oppose a transfer station use for the site. This use is prohibited in our Village Code for good reason. Let me repeat, I do not support having a waste transfer station in the village.

On the matter of “who-knew-about-which-meetings,” the village fields many, many requests from all kinds of potential developers or event producers for "a meeting." Some can be dealt with by phone, some by face to face. These inquiries range from folks exploring how to open child care centers to those wanting filming permits or seasonal vending licenses.  In short, we try to answer questions about what is permitted and how to apply.

These informational meetings involve our explaining the village code and steps of the process to someone who may or may not have a viable plan or fundable project. It is simply impractical to involve everyone on the village board at the outset of every request. Most of the meetings lead nowhere. Any meetings that do produce tangible proposals are brought to the attention of the full board.  Those that move forward will proceed to a full, open public process of permit applications, hearings, board meeting deliberations, planning board review, etc.

I want to clarify what meetings I attended regarding 1A Croton Point Avenue since taking office as Mayor. I was out of state on a family matter over the past 4 days, and not able to scour my calendar until today.
[April 7, 2009] In April 2009, at my very first meeting as Mayor with our Village staff, DPW Superintendent Marco Gennarelli raised invitations he has been asked to present from County DEF to meet on 1ACPA. I firmly and politely declined. Hence, it is important to note that the County was pushing on this issue from the very beginning.

[December 16, 2009] Eight months later after Steven Corrigan, a real estate broker, made numerous requests and invitations for me to do so, I finally met with him and Charles Martabano, of Terrapin Capital Holdings, on December 16, 2009. Martabano represented himself as an attorney for one of the site owners of 1ACPA. That meeting was brief and held in Terrapin’s office in Mt Kisco, as I had non-village business nearby that day. There was a representative from City Carting present. From what I understood, City Carting had recently contracted with the County's Solid Waste District for hauling to Wheelabrator in Peeskill and the MURF recycling facility in Yonkers. No County staff was present. ~I explained all the history of the site from Village's perspective (prohibition on transfer stations, special permit termination, the court case, etc). I also make clear that the village wanted a good, responsible site owner and tenant.  Martabano basically said MTA and site owners appeared far apart on a price. Recall that MTA-Metro-North was in discussion about acquiring the site, but had not looped the Village into any of those discussions. End of the first meeting.

[June 11, 2010] A half-year later, after numerous requests from County Department of Environmental Facilities to meet, I attended a meeting with DEF Commissioner Tom Lauro and Deputy Commissioner Louis Vetrone in DEF’s offices in New Rochelle about 1ACPA on June 11, 2010.  The village was represented by Manager Abe Zambrano, Deputy Mayor/ Trustee Ann Gallelli, and DPW Superintendent Marco Gennarelli. Neither the site owners nor City Carting was represented at this meeting, which lasted about an hour. Again, we explained all the history of the site from Village's perspective (prohibition on transfer stations, special permit termination, the court case, etc). We explained that the MTA-Metro-North discussions with the site owner appeared to be stalling and we emphasized again that we were interested in a good, responsible site owner and tenant. The County was noncommittal about whether they wanted to acquire the site themselves.  We did learn about the expansion and renovation of the MURF (that recycling operation run by City Carting for the County would soon allow all plastics #1-7 to be accepted). That is good news, but of course, not related to 1ACPA. End of the second meeting.

[December 22, 2010] A half-year later, Corrigan and the County again made repeated requests for a meeting on 1ACPA.  It took place in the Village Manager's conference room on December 22, 2010 (and included Lauro, Vetrone, Martabano, Corrigan, Attorney Kenneht Gunshor, and Zambrano, Gennarelli, Gallelli, Assistant Manager Janine King, Village Engineer Dan O’Connor and myself).  The County DEF was present. No one from City Carting wasis present. We heard from Martabano and Gunshor (representing both site-owners) that the MTA-Metro-North discussions were at an impasse and effectively dead. We repeated all the history of the site from Village's perspective (prohibition on transfer stations, special permit termination, the court case, etc) and that we were–first and foremost–interested in a good, responsible site owner and tenant. The County said virtually nothing. End of the third meeting.

This last meeting (December 2010) particularly irritated me. It was a total waste of time for the Village. We learned nothing. Everyone present already knew the background that the Village presented from their prior involvement or meetings. Everything we told them was already in the Village’s public record on this matter.

Since then, we heard nothing for a year and a half until this summer 2012. A potential change in ownership cropped up this summer during a routine police patrol at the site, when we were told the contact phone number for the site owner had changed. Our inquiries since mid-summer, through our Village Attorney Jim Staudt’s contacting the site owners’ attorneys, have yielded no new information about any new owner.  We are closely monitoring the situation. But until now, no one seems authorized by the new owners—if, in fact, there are new owners--to tell us anything.

Let me say that our position has been very consistent and public all along: the waste transfer use is prohibited in the village for good reason. Someone outside the village initiated each of the three meetings above. No one on our board or staff requested these meetings.

If outside forces have some other agenda, I’d like them to say so publicly.

If one or two local residents see dark conspiracy theories everywhere and are busy provoking a nefarious witch-hunt against me or other public servants, I’d like them to say so publicly as well.

Believe it or not, those of us up here do have the best interests of the village and its residents constantly in mind.

Let me repeat, I do not support having a waste transfer station in the village.

Any outside force who wants to operate a waste transfer station here will have a very substantial and public process to undergo.  

Mayor Leo Wiegman