By Mary C. Marvin, Mayor, Village of Bronxville
Mar. 21, 2018: This past weekend was the last one of winter, dare I even say, so our thoughts are turning to spring initiatives.
As you have most assuredly noticed, potholes abound in the village. Repairs have commenced, and our trucks will be out for the next several weeks doing patching.
With a renewed focus on our few open spaces, the village will continue to care for all lawns and plant beds by mulching in place, leaving grass clippings as fertilizer, and keeping all of our properties pesticide- and chemical-free so children can sit on the grass and dogs may roam.
Long on the back burner because of the construction of Villa BXV, we are focusing on Bacon Woods Park, fully an acre-plus of open space on Kensington Road. We will be sending out a request for proposals to seek ideas and costs for improvements, including refurbishment of the walkway between Sagamore and Kensington Roads. We also plan to widen the sidewalk for easier walking access near the rear of Christ Church.
In an effort to make our village even more pedestrian friendly, we ask you, the responsible homeowners, to maintain, repair, and replace sidewalks adjacent to your home. If they are in disrepair and not remediated, our public works department issues a “duty to repair” notice. By law, the village is responsible for all adjacent curbing. The incredibly inclement weather has kept so many of us home, and traffic in our village stores suffered as a consequence. As the weather improves, please use our sidewalks to head to our business district.
We have noticed gardeners back working in the village and remind residents that leaves must be bagged and not blown onto the right of way, and tree branches and debris must be tied together. For some reason this winter, we saw a huge uptick in pet waste bags being thrown into sewers. Since the bags used are usually non-biodegradable, they clog our piping system and we’ve spent unnecessary funds to clear obstructions and retrieve these bags.
Our Green Committee is already gearing up for its spring initiatives, chief among them the replanting of our Community Garden. Last year, our small garden generated 250 pounds of fresh vegetables that were all donated to nearby soup kitchens. Though Westchester County is one of the wealthiest counties in the country, one in five residents does not receive proper nourishment.
The Green Committee is also looking into the composting of food scraps. Scarsdale and Larchmont have led the way and their programs are a huge success.
Home renovation and even smaller projects traditionally commence in early spring and large or small, most often require a building permit from the village.
If you anticipate any work on your home, start by calling the building department at 914-337-7338. The staff can guide you as to whether permits or variances are required. Undertaking work without permits results in the doubling of fees, both on the cost of the permit itself and the estimate of the value of the project. Many residents are running into this problem when they go to place their home for sale and find projects have no valid certificate of occupancy, so the home cannot be transferred. Even seemingly small projects such as electrical or plumbing work need permits. The overriding concern is safety both for one’s own home and nearby neighbors.
The terms of a village permit allow work to be done from 8:00 am to 6:00 pm on weekdays only. If the project is one for which a permit is not required, for example, painting, work can be done on weekends. However, even work acceptable to do on weekends must respect the village’s noise ordinance and not create an undue disturbance. Villagers can call the police department with any noise concerns.
After a permit request is filed, work cannot commence until the permit request is reviewed and signed off on by the building department. All building permit requirements and applications are now available on our website.
Walkways, patios, sheds, emergency generators, roof replacements, and fences, require building permits.
After the past few weeks, we are mourning the loss of way too many trees, both public and private in the village.
The village will be feeding, fertilizing, and trimming the street trees and we ask you to do the same. The village is now one of only a few communities not to have a tree ordinance, as we have historically relied on the foresight and stewardship of residents to value this intrinsic asset. As part of our new comprehensive plan, we will revisit the issue.
Preserving our municipal trees will be front and center this spring. The village-owned trees serve architectural and engineering functions beyond their aesthetic value. They enhance building design, reduce glare and reflection, screen unsightly areas, muffle urban noise, and reduce the “heat island effect” caused by pavement and commercial buildings.
As an added plus, trees grow in value as they age while most other municipal assets, including roads and sewers, decline in value.
Trees on private property produce even greater monetary value. Studies have demonstrated that 10 to 23 percent of the value of a residence is based on its tree stock. A municipality also captures some of this monetary value, as enhanced property values increase assessed values and the resulting tax base.
Trees also provide important symbolic links with the past and are important often simply because they have lived through eras with which we have few other connections left.
The warmer weather also brings an increase in door-to-door solicitations. Individuals selling goods cannot do so legally without first receiving a permit from the village. Do not hesitate to call the police department if the salesperson cannot produce their permit. Upon investigation, the police have found that some of the charities that were purported to benefit from our purchases were nonexistent.
The First Amendment does protect all those “selling” an idea or cause, so groups such as Jehovah's Witnesses or Greenpeace do not need permission to ring your bell. To limit this kind of visit, a small “No Solicitation” sign near the front door has proven effective.
Spring also brings greater turnover of residents in village houses and apartments. Residents of some of our townhomes and apartment complexes often rent parking spaces on a first-come, first-served basis. However, when one sells or purchases a unit, the parking space is not part of the deed of transfer. This confusion has led to many frustrated new purchasers. However, there is a solution. If you plan on purchasing in the village, you can put your name on the waiting list in anticipation of purchase. Conversely, if you plan on selling in the not-too-distant future, you may put your name on the waiting list as well to save a spot for your anticipated purchaser.
You will also see us sprucing up village benches and receptacles, polishing plaques, and bringing everything out from under the winter blanket.
Editor's note: As a public service, MyhometownBronxville publishes press releases, statements, and articles from local institutions, legislators, and candidates. MyhometownBronxville does not fact-check statements therein, and any opinions expressed therein do not necessarily reflect the thinking of its staff.