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Bronxville Government and History

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From the Mayor: Public Survey Has Unprecedented Response; See Key Takeaways PDF Print Email


By Mary C. Marvin, Mayor, Village of Bronxville

Jun. 12, 2019:  The village is in the final months of our comprehensive plan process. To recap, the plan is a strategic review of our community’s values, aspirations, and shared vision for the future as well as a village-wide framework to define how Bronxville’s plans, initiatives, and investments fit together. The hope is that it will serve as a consensus document, a blueprint to guide the village as people in leadership change.

Our board of trustees expects it will also serve as a guide for the zoning regulations, planning process, and capital budget--in essence, a “to-do” list for village government.

The process started with a work session attended by the planning and zoning boards members. In many ways, these volunteers are our front line viewing what we do well or not so well as to land use. The work session was followed by stakeholder meetings with many groups, including the Historical Conservancy, Chamber of Commerce, Concordia College, and NYP Lawrence Hospital.

A public survey was formulated and disseminated during the April-to-May window, which was recently followed up with a public hearing and workshop on June 4, 2019.

For those unable to attend the recent public session, I thought it instructive to share some of the major takeaways from the survey. 

This information is also available on the village’s website under the heading Comprehensive Plan. 

As to survey response, it was truly unprecedented. We received 705 responses, representing nearly 30% of the total households in the village, with 41% of the respondents having been village residents for over 20 years. Of those who participated, 74% were in the 46 to 75 age cohort. Most respondents (52%) worked full time, while 23% were retirees.

The following is a synopsis of key takeaways from the survey by category: 

Population and Housing 

At the last count in 2016, our population was 6,395 residents. 

Our population peak was in 1940 at 6,888. 

As to housing, 84% of our homes are owner-occupied, with single-family homes accounting for 41% of the inventory, single-family attached 12%, and multi-family structures compromising 48% of our housing stock. 

Approximately 75% of our land area is single-family home property. 

Residents favored better control of teardowns and major renovations and tightening of controls of home sizes vis-à-vis lot size. 

Residents own, on average, 1.8 cars per household. 

Central Business District 

There was significant support for upgrades on Metro-North/village-owned underpass property. 

Desire for installing new and more LED light fixtures to improve pedestrian safety on the densely traveled streets, in particular, near the train station. 

Support for a small boutique hotel in the downtown. 

Respondents voiced concern for the future and quality in our retail market. 

Top priorities for the business district include improved sidewalks and more downtown parking for residents. 

Meter times were deemed sufficient and there was minimal desire for Sunday meter hours. 

58% of respondents felt central business district traffic is an ever-increasing issue. 

A parking structure was favored by 55% of the survey takers while 25% did not support a structure. The most favored location was in the Kraft Avenue lot on the undulated land near Saint Joseph's Church. 

Occasional closing of Park Place was endorsed by 90% of the respondents, but over 60% said no to a permanent closure. 

54% use the taxi service in the village. 

51% didn’t favor golf cars, scooters, or bikes in the business district as alternatives to cars. 

Municipal and Institutional Assets and Uses 

Bronxville School enrollment has declined since its peak in 2013-14, with the projected decline to continue through 2028, reflective of the demographic trends nationwide. 

Over 82% of respondents support Concordia College’s current development and uses. 

Survey takers were evenly split at 34%/34% on the question of increased growth and services at NewYork-Presbyterian Lawrence Hospital, with the other 32% non-committal. 

17% of respondents use the paddle and/or tennis courts, while 86% support all of our parks and recreational facilities becoming smoke-free. 

The village library and its programs were viewed favorably by 86% of the survey takers.

85% of the respondents supported the not-for-profit institutions paying a user fee for services such as police, fire, and infrastructure repairs. 

50% supported more police walking patrols in the downtown. 

63% want the use of LED fixtures expanded beyond the central business district. 

As to big-picture vision and goals, in essence, most respondents wanted the character of the village to remain the same, with some improvements/tweaks around the edges. Respondents were particularly proud of the village’s historical nature and are dedicated to its preservation. 

Pictured here:  Mayor Mary Marvin.

Photo by N. Bower 

Editor's note: As a public service, MyhometownBronxville publishes articles from local institutions, officeholders, and individuals. MyhometownBronxville does not fact-check statements therein, and any opinions expressed therein do not necessarily reflect the thinking of its staff.

BHS Students Take Action to Reduce Litter in Bronxville PDF Print Email


By Justine McClennan, Biology/Earth Science Teacher, Bronxville High School, and Kelly Weild, Bronxville High School Student 

Jun. 12, 2019:  This year, students who were enrolled in the Bronx River Research course at Bronxville High School conducted research on litter in the Village of Bronxville.

With help from the Bronx River Alliance, students completed trash surveys on Palmer Avenue and Parkway Road in which they categorized and tallied litter. Based on the data they collected, students concluded that tobacco products were the number-one source of litter in Bronxville.

Students hypothesized that floatable litter was being transmitted into storm drains by natural causes such as rain and wind, and then discharged to the river. To bring awareness to this issue, students contacted the Village of Bronxville to initiate reforms.

Students provided the village with a map of hotspots of litter and cigarette butts so that the village could strategically buy and place trash cans in town. Additionally, they proposed hosting a storm drain art competition to bring attention to the issue of litter in the town. Students presented their idea to the board of trustees and gained approval to hold the contest with co-sponsorship from the village.

Jim Palmer, Bronxville’s village administrator, describes his interaction with the students and the village saying, “I am most impressed with the entire stormwater educational program undertaken by Justine McClellan and her students that led up to this wonderful artwork.  

"Education and outreach to the community is a critical component of the village’s municipal storm sewer system (MS4) program, and this joint effort between the village and school is a model for how communities can be educated on the importance of understanding what enters our waterways and how it gets there.”

The winner of the 2019 Storm Drain Art Competition was Olivia O'Keefe, a sophomore at Bronxville High School. Olivia worked a grand total of eleven hours over the course of two days to complete the design on Pondfield Road in front of Apple Bank. During the course of the painting, which took place during the sidewalk sale, many pedestrians stopped to ask questions about the art project.

Principal Ann Meyer captured the community impact saying, “This project is exactly what we mean when we say we are developing engaged citizens. Our students researched a problem, trash in the Bronx River, developed potential causes, and found a way to act to address the issue. I could not be more proud to see these citizen-scientists make a difference in our local community.”

Sophomore Kelly Weild will continue researching the impact of litter in Bronxville next year, and students hope that the storm drain art competition will become an annual event in Bronxville and inspire other municipalities to host their own as well.

Photo by Brian O’Keefe

Editor's note: As a public service, MyhometownBronxville publishes articles from local institutions, officeholders, and individuals. MyhometownBronxville does not fact-check statements therein, and any opinions expressed therein do not necessarily reflect the thinking of its staff.

Fate of Upper Scout Field Remains Undecided PDF Print Email


By Carol Bartold, Senior Reporter     

Jun. 5, 2019: The only remaining open area at Westchester County’s Scout Field will remain undisturbed for the time being. The county’s plan to reconfigure Upper Scout Field to house a soccer field while preserving some open space remains in limbo. The decision rests with Westchester County Executive George Latimer, and he has stated that he wants to get a clear idea of the best use of the park for everyone concerned.

Under the terms of an inter-municipal agreement (IMA) unanimously approved by the Westchester County Board of Legislators in 2016, during the Rob Astorino administration, the Town of Eastchester was authorized to operate and maintain the soccer field for a five-year term with the option to renew the agreement at the town’s discretion. As approved, the resolution states that the IMA would grant exclusive use of the soccer field to Eastchester schools and all use and control of Upper Scout Field to the Town of Eastchester.

When Latimer assumed the office and inherited the agreement from Astorino, he contacted the various Scout Field constituencies and did a walk-through of the park. “I will continue dialogues with those parties,” he said. “Is this an either/or situation, or is there a way to harmonize the desires of the various groups? That’s what I want to learn.”

Scout Field lies within the jurisdictions of Westchester County, the City of Yonkers, the City of Mount Vernon, the Town of Eastchester, and the Village of Bronxville.

Although requests for proposals (RFP) have been issued for a soccer field, a move that has raised concern among some interested parties and park patrons, Latimer emphasized that no contracts have been authorized. He explained that the RFPs will give the county an idea of how much the project might cost. Under the terms of the IMA, the county agreed to bond $1.9 million for Upper Scout Field improvements required to construct the field.

Yonkers city councilman Mike Breen, whose District #5 includes Scout Field, stated that the city is concerned with the proposal’s permitting process, which could develop the open area into a controlled space that will be locked, limiting accessibility. “We also have an issue with Eastchester as the managing entity,” he said. In April 2018, the Yonkers City Council approved a resolution opposing the county’s development plan.

Friends of Scout Field, a citizen-based group that has organized to oppose the reconfiguration and development of Upper Scout Field, has expressed concern that the plan would destroy the ecological environment, upset wildlife, and endanger the Bronx River Watershed.

“We feel the county board of legislators was derelict in their duties in voting unanimously for the development plan,” said John Torres, a member of the group. “They made the mistake of approving the plan without knowing all the facts.” He added that the board has kept this citizen group at arm’s length.

Several group members have met with George Latimer and left the discussion feeling that he wants to be fair and equitable to everyone concerned. “He’s hearing our concerns and that’s important,” Joan Aracich noted.

According to Susan Burkat, also of Friends of Scout Field, the argument that a soccer field in this particular location is needed is a false argument. “There are at least twelve other places for kids to play organized sports in the county.” She pointed out that bird watchers, parents with small children, and dog owners are among area residents who enjoy Upper Scout Field’s open space.

John Torres stressed that the Friends of Scout Field movement to save the park has a strong group of supporters who stand in solidarity to preserve the park as open space and stop Upper Scout Field’s reconfiguration. “We’re confident we can stop this, but we can’t be complacent,” he said.

For County Executive George Latimer, the real issue is determining the best use of the park for the greatest number of people.

Pictured here:  Scout Field

Photo by N. Bower

From the Mayor: Celebrate Our Differences and Our Commonalities PDF Print Email


By Mary C. Marvin, Mayor, Village of Bronxville

Jun. 5, 2019:  While I was doing research for my Memorial Day speech on what unites America as a nation, I also uncovered very fascinating facts about what makes us united in our difference from much of the rest of the developed world.

For good or for ill, we are indeed a breed apart, literally starting with the basics of date, time, and temperature.

Along with Belize, Cayman Islands, and Palau, we are the only nations left who register temperature on the Fahrenheit scale. We also promised that we would be on the metric system by 1980 but stayed with pints and quarts with Liberia and Myanmar, the other two holdouts.

Europeans write the date in the format day/month/year, unlike our month/day/year and we often consider a week commencing on Sunday while most of the world starts the new week on Monday. We also use a twelve-hour clock with needed AMs and PMs tacked on, while the rest of the world uses the International Standard 24-hour clock dating back to the Egyptians, which we only reserve for the military.

As to lifestyle differences, not surprisingly, Americans marry more and divorce more, and baby showers and bachelorette parties are considered odd customs around the world. When children arrive, Americans are truly perhaps the only people in the world who have taken the habit of using surnames as given names, and now even as first, not just middle, names.

As to education, schools and universities are free for the most part in Europe, with access to university considered a right. When they arrive at university, students have learned a foreign language – a compulsory requirement since elementary school. Most Europeans have a decent command of two to four languages. 

In the job arena, Americans take the least amount of “time off” than any other country. As a result, and also taking into consideration that the EU is over twice as small as the U.S.A., Europeans travel considerably more than Americans inside or outside their own continent. Unlike Americans, they do not do it in their cars. Europeans tend to think that driving 100km is a long way, while, for us that’s an easy journey.

Compared to our European counterparts, we are more religious, and churchgoing is still popular here, while the practice in Europe has almost entirely disappeared, save for the elderly and special events such as Christmas.

Almost all Europeans have cars with manual gears, compared to our preference for automatic ones in cars that are larger and squarer, with an appreciation for limousines and pick-up trucks.

By contrast, Europeans like smaller, rounder cars, quite possibly because small cars are easier to park in tightly packed historical towns where parking garages are anathema. As to bumper stickers on their cars, they are considered an interesting American phenomenon. In Europe, usage is virtually limited to a discreet “baby on board” or a regional flag. In a similar vein, giant billboards on highways in Europe are not only absent but illegal in many countries as considered too distracting. When you get home after parking street side, most of the world leaves their shoes at the door. Clearly on a hygienic and even logical basis, they are way ahead of us. I can’t imagine nor want to think of what we bring home after a day in NYC!

As to politics, Europeans are more liberal regarding soft drugs, prostitution, alcohol, and abortion. In contrast, Americans grant greater freedom when it concerns gun possession and driving a car, vs the European norm, which is 18 for the earliest license. As a result, while the U.S. is home to less than five percent of the world’s population, we have between 40 and 50% of civilian-owned guns.

Patriotism as a concept is very American born. We are unique in playing the national anthem at virtually every sporting event and flying flags on front porches.

In a very curious departure, it is prohibited in most of Europe for military people or anyone with a professional military history to be a politician.

As to our eating habits, we could emulate most of the world, as they eat more varied and balanced meals, less fat, and more yogurt. We consume, as a country, sweeter food and more soft drinks than virtually any other nation. We are also drowning in an abundance of consumption of high fructose corn syrup vs cane sugar, a sweetener more common worldwide.

We eat all of this much earlier than the rest of the world, where on average others eat between 8:00 and 10:30 pm (not sure they are getting up making the 6:40 am express train?!).

In the world of head-scratchers, most of the world does not understand why we eat pizza via hand vs using a knife and fork. (Little did we know when Mayor DiBlasio was ridiculed at Grimaldi’s in Brooklyn, he was actually Continental.)

And in a humorous finale, Europeans just don’t get why our public toilets have inch-wide gaps around the door, and they are extremely uncomfortable watching others walking by while in a stall.

Again, just more reasons to celebrate our differences and our commonalities.

Pictured here:  Mayor Mary Marvin

Photo by N. Bower


Editor's note: As a public service, MyhometownBronxville publishes articles from local institutions, officeholders, and individuals. MyhometownBronxville does not fact-check statements therein, and any opinions expressed therein do not necessarily reflect the thinking of its staff.

Bronxville Police Blotter: May 15 to May 21, 2019 PDF Print Email


By Bronxville Police Department

June 5, 2019: The following entries are from the Bronxville police blotter. 

May 15, 2019, 1:12 am, Palmer Avenue: Officers responded to a 911 call of a verbal altercation between several males inside 32 Palmer Avenue. Officers quelled the disagreement and the individuals left of their own accord. No crime was committed.

May 16, 2019, 7:04 am, Prescott Avenue: A 2008 Audi was stolen from a driveway overnight. The vehicle was unlocked, and the alarm was not activated. The incident is being investigated.

May 17, 2019, 9:24 am, Prescott Avenue: A vehicle was reportedly rummaged through overnight. No items were reported missing. The vehicle was unlocked, and the alarm was not activated.

May 17, 2019, 11:50 am, Library Lane: Motor vehicle accident, two vehicles, no injuries; the responding officer completed an information exchange and provided both drivers with copies.

May 17, 2019, 11:57 pm, Sagamore Road: An anonymous caller reported that a bag had been left unattended outside of the apartment building. Officers responded and were unable to substantiate the claim.

May 19, 2019, 5:39 pm, Pondfield Road:  A wallet was turned over to police. The owner was notified, and the property was returned.

May 20, 2019, 12:15 pm, Parkway Road: A vehicle parking boot was affixed to a 2018 Honda HRV rendering it immobilized because of $325 in outstanding parking fines. The fines were satisfied later in the day and the aforementioned vehicle was released.

May 21, 2019, 7:03 am, Meadow Avenue: Officers responded to a report of an open door at the St. Joseph’s School. Officers checked the interior of the location and all appeared to be in order.

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