Posted by: Dawn Powell | April 7, 2009

Oregon Corners Plan – the April Fool’s Day meeting

The Bully Pulpit

Oregon Corners – April Fools

It was Patty’s line.  She told Bob that just because he has a bully pulpit doesn’t mean he has to bully everyone.

Patty V. did an effective job in her ”Shootout” post of presenting the meeting.  In an attempt to keep some of us from speaking, or at least delay the inevitable, Mr. Tendy started on the other side of the room.  But then, he saw that Patty was not sitting with the rest of the people he wanted to avoid, so he had to make up a new rule that he was calling on business owners first.  I hope that he will not succeed in making this a community vs. business issue.  It is not.

The business owners did a wonderful job of sticking up for themselves, and I believe that means standing up for the community too.  It’s a shame that business owners have to waste an evening of their precious time, in a very uncertain economic climate, telling the town board what they should already be able to figure out.  You do not design a business district without talking to the people who have businesses there.  You do not make decisions about private property without bothering to talk to the property owners.  We need a democratic process that fosters public engagement.  Instead, there was anger, tension, fear.  That is the Town Board’s fault.  They allow Mr. Robert Tendy to bully them, and then to bully the public. While Mr. Keating was rightfully angered that he did not have any input into this plan, and first heard of it when it was televised, it is my understanding that the Town Board members did not have any input into this plan, and first saw it when the presentation was being taped.

As I understand it, $5000 has been wasted on this debacle. 

The Comprehensive Plan recommended a Master Plan for Oregon Corners with a planner, with the business owners, and with Cortlandt.  Instead, we get this silly picture of trees, and parallel parking, and denuded streams.

This misstep cannot be excused.  The Comprehensive Plan process taught us all about a successful planning process.  Every one of the current Board members has placed politics and their own advancement over the needs of the community.  We need the Comprehensive Plan committee.  We need a democratic process.  We do not need edicts from above. 

I would like to see ABACA involved, and any other local architects who are willing.  We also have a local arborist, with expertise in native planting.  It would be nice to see him involved.  I bet we could have a real community project, if Mr. Tendy would just get his politics out of the way. 

We would like the problems addressed, without Mr. Tendy’s endless quest to feel that he has left his mark on the town.  He told us that he had talked to Mr. Santucci about the clothing drop boxes behind the deli.  Oops – it’s not Mr. Santucci’s property.

Mr. Tendy wants us to know that he didn’t just put up that wall to be beautiful!!!!   There’s another mess to clean up. That will be a tough one.

Regarding rumble strips – when we have asked for these or speed bumps on roads in Lake Peekskill, we have been repeatedly told that they are strongly discouraged by emergency services. 

The property owner objects to Bob’s little pedestrian bridges over the stream.

Our streamside buffers are supposed to be protected.  Mr. Tendy does not seem to care about the health of the streams, the ecology of the area, the quality of the drinking, the stormwater runoff.  Since the DEC won’t stop him, he will continue to “clean out” the stream.

He also prefers a piecemeal approach to signage, and will change the law to accommodate what he wants.  I think we already have a piecemeal approach to signage, with a lot of people doing whatever they want.     

Mr. Zarcone recommended putting the stream into a culvert to create more parking.

Mr. Tendy’s treatment of Ms. Villanova was inexcusable. 

And regarding that “grant, “ for  Oscawana  Lake Road, it is not a grant.  It is an Act of Congress   (SAFETEA-LU) passed during Sue Kelly’s  tenure.

Begun and held at the City of Washington on Tuesday,

the fourth day of January, two thousand and five

An Act

To authorize funds for Federal-aid highways, highway safety programs, and transit

programs, and for other purposes.

Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of

the United States of America in Congress assembled,

SECTION 1. SHORT TITLE; TABLE OF CONTENTS.

(a) SHORT TITLE.—This Act may be cited as the ‘‘Safe, Accountable,

Flexible, Efficient Transportation Equity Act: A Legacy for

Users’’ or ‘‘SAFETEA–LU’’

1361 NY Construct sidewalks and roadway improvements

on Oscawana Lake Road in the Town

of Putnam Valley ……………………………………… $480,000

This is on page 166 of the legislation.  Mr. Tendy repeatedly talks about the spread of misinformation.  It appears that he is the one doing it.  It is $480,000.  Where did the $600,000 figure come from?

I would think that this is the money to be used on the Oscawana Lake Road component of the Peekskill Hollow Road project.  It doesn’t seem like enough money for the county’s proposal.

The public should not be left out of the loop on any of these projects.  We now have this county Oregon Corners plan, a Putnam County Savings Bank project that may or may not be happening, a Peekskill Hollow Road project, and hostilities between the town and the property owner next to the wall. Piecemeal does not work.  We already have ample evidence of that. 

Reinstate the CP committee now, and let’s get this done.  Two women and one man of courage and foresight are all that we need.

Mr. Tendy not only tried to belittle the public, he stood not far from the podium, so that his presence was even more intimidating to the speakers.   It was Bob’s show;  it just wasn’t a very good one.  Mr. Tendy accused John of trying to make this into a circus.  Bob did a good job of that all by himself.   John Cohen has tried to incorporate the folk tradition into a great many of our planning projects.  He has a long tradition with country music, Appalachian music, the New Lost City Ramblers, Pete Seeger, and Bob Dylan.  He is one of the treasures of Putnam Valley and part of its flavor.

And while we are still on the subject of Oregon Corners, the restaurant is for sale, the post office, the prior snips n’ tips building and the deli are for sale, the garage is in litigation, and the 2 buildings next to the hardware store have been vacated for possible construction.  Nice plan.

This meeting went on, even after the hostile confrontation.  Mr. Tendy does not hesitate to put town business onto the agenda, hoping to evade public participation.  None of this was on the agenda posted on the town calendar.

The urgent issues –

Another section of non-conforming lot law has been written.  I will be writing a post to explain the significance of non-conforming lots and the Byzantine journey on which the Town Board is taking the zoning code.  Setting this public hearing was apparently so urgent, it could not wait until a regular meeting.

The urgent appointment of a landscape architect to oversee the Kaspar mitigation plan.  This is someone recommended by Bill Zutt, who will be charging the taxpayers $105/hour, including one way travel time from Westport.  We do not have time to find someone or to evaluate credentials.  Despite years of litigation, the current administration did not plan ahead for this.  They also did not consider monetary reparations in the consent order in this case.  So the Town gets to continue to pay and pay and pay, and the County continues to put parcels into the ag district.  Town Board Member Priscilla Keresey did ask why the taxpayers were paying for this.  The problem is, she didn’t ask the question before authorizing the consent order.

And last, but not least, was the urgent appointment of an egg addler for Lake Peekskill.  The LP budget committee tried to introduce this concept at budget time, back in the fall, but Mr. Tendy is on ‘no’ mode, when any of us from Lake Peekskill ask for something.  Besides he preferred the BB method of goose control.  I’m glad it’s not going that way.

And Mr. Zarcone wanted to discuss ethics with Mr. Tendy, but Bob didn’t want anyone else to hear that conversation.

DP


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