By Carol P. Bartold, Senior Reporter
Oct. 18, 2017: The Bronxville Board of Trustees, at its regular meeting on October 10, unanimously decided to remove a section from proposed Local Law 3-2017 calling for limited parking on Oriole Avenue and Greenfield Avenue between Tanglewylde Avenue and Woodland Avenue. The legislation was intended to address problems with Concordia College commuter students and staff parking in residential neighborhoods due to a lack of on-campus parking.
Mayor Mary Marvin proposed a thirty-day period during which village officials will contact the Concordia College administration and require the college to comply with parking conditions already in place that restrict students and staff from parking on residential streets.
Research conducted by Village Attorney James Staudt and his associate Amanda Brosy has revealed that several planning board approvals over the past forty to fifty years, including for construction of dormitories in the 1970s, the chapel in the 1980s, and the library in 2002, contain restrictions related to parking on the streets in the vicinity of the college.
"There were similar conditions and a similar theme throughout the approval processes," Staudt said of the findings, "to prevent students from parking on residential streets on the west side of the campus." He added that there is no sunset on the conditions imposed.
Residents from several streets in the neighborhood immediately west of the Concordia College campus, while unhappy with the current parking situation and increased traffic, addressed the board about the undesirable effects of imposing one-hour parking on Oriole Avenue and Greenfield Avenue. Speakers stated that signage would not only decrease property values and impair the area's serene image but also send a message that the area suffers from congestion and noise and poses potential danger for children.
Trustee Guy Longobardo noted that Concordia College has evolved from a small residential college with, perhaps, 600 students to a commuter college. After experiencing a 26 percent growth over the past year, the campus serves over 1,400 students, along with staff to support that increase.
A nursing program offering courses on Mondays and Wednesdays has brought most of the traffic and spillover parking into residential neighborhoods between the hours of 11:00 am and 3:00 pm.
"The crux of our conflict with Concordia has been the remarkable growth of the commuter population," said Oriole Avenue resident Ludger Hentschel. "It seems clear to me that they should grapple with those issues rather than passing them off onto the neighbors."
Greg Schooley, also from Oriole Avenue, remarked that the problem is not limited to traffic and parking, as people using the streets sometimes harass neighbors and leave garbage behind.
Speakers stated that residents have attempted to have conversations with the Concordia College administration about the situation on their streets but have not received any satisfaction. "We have been at this for two years," said Mike Conaton, a Woodland Avenue resident. "From my estimation, it started with very promising goodwill and good dialogue with the school, but it went on and on with no resolutions."
Greenfield Avenue resident Bill Blais emphasized that none of the Greenfield households support Local Law 3-2017. He pointed out that the college has ample land available to use for parking.
The Bronxville Planning Board rejected Concordia College's application, presented in May and June of 2016, to increase parking on the campus. A call to Jim Bunn, special assistant to the president at the college, seeking comment was not returned.
Bronxville Police Chief Christopher Satriale suggested that the board approve the proposed local law as drafted, with the one-hour parking restrictions on Oriole Avenue and Greenfield Avenue. "I prefer to see it on the books. It would enable us to take immediate action in the event conditions were not met," he said. "We've come this far and we have a solution at hand that would clean this situation up this week for Oriole Avenue residents."
Satriale reminded the board and Concordia College neighbors that, without the local law in place, anyone can park on their streets until 3:00 am and the police department can do nothing about it.
A hearing on Oriole Avenue and Greenfield Avenue parking restrictions will be re-opened at the next Bronxville Board of Trustees Meeting on Monday, November 13.
Pictured here: Chief Christopher Satriale addressing the Bronxville Village Board.
Photo by Carol P. Bartold