By Janet Bear
What are the current issues of interest and concern facing our local communities? Those in attendance at the Larchmont/Mamaroneck Local Summit breakfast presentation on September 18th had the opportunity to have that question answered by the two village mayors and the town supervisor from Larchmont and Mamaroneck.
Town of Mamaroneck
The Town of Mamaroneck is undertaking an update of the comprehensive town plan. Supervisor Nancy Seligson explained that the major focus would be on parking issues, land usage and recreational needs while maintaining the community character. Resident input will be encouraged. Building on the food waste-recycling program (celebrating its one year anniversary this month), Supervisor Seligson reported that additional environmental initiatives coming to Mamaroneck include the installation of four electric charging stations and the purchase of two town electric vehicles.
A consortium of five local communities worked together and obtained a $5.4 million state grant for the improvement of our local sewers. A gun ban law has been passed, prohibiting guns from being brought into town owned buildings. The Town Board is embarking on a reusable bag initiative and has begun work on the 2019 budget, with a 2.06% cap.
Village of Larchmont
“The state of the village of Larchmont is quite healthy”, stated Mayor Lorraine Walsh. Volunteerism is vibrant (The Larchmont Day celebration was run by volunteers.) However, the Village Boards’ principle concern is the health of the downtown. Recognizing that the retail model is changing, the Board has taken steps to preserve the role of a vibrant downtown. Vacancy rates are down and steps have been taken to increase foot traffic, but the village continues to have problems with certain landlords and with parking. Plans for the expansion and renovation of the movie theatre are moving forward, with final approval by the planning board anticipated soon.
A parking study is underway, and will probably result in the installation of metered parking in the downtown (thru kiosks and mobile apps.) “On street parking must be for local shoppers,” stated Mayor Walsh. Addressing the issue of current road disruptions, Mayor Walsh reported that Con Ed is replacing gas mains throughout the community due to aging infrastructure and our high water table.
Village of Mamaroneck
Mayor Tom Murphy, Village of Mamaroneck stated, “There’s a lot happening in the Village of Mamaroneck.” Construction is underway for 159 new housing units, which unfortunately will increase traffic congestion. A Safe Streets initiative is underway, with the objective to protect our children. “Please drive slower.” Residents can now enjoy the beach at Harbor Island during the off-season, new downtown signage is coming and a food waste-recycling program has begun. The Board is redoing the Village comprehensive plan, with input from the community.
One major issue facing the Village of Mamaroneck is the need for affordable housing. There is a moratorium on new development while new zoning rules are proposed, and Mayor Murphy is hoping that it will include provisions for affordable housing. George Latimer, Westchester County Executive, stated that the county is going to focus on this issue to help local communities.
This breakfast forum was hosted by the Larchmont/Mamaroneck Local Summit, an informal community council that seeks to make life better for all in the tri-municipal area. Its monthly meetings are held at the Nautilus Diner in Mamaroneck at 7:45 a.m., on the third Tuesday of the month. The next meeting will be on Tuesday, October 16, when the Summit will present “Should Larchmont Adopt Historic Preservation?”