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Harmon Re-Zoning Law Deemed Deliberate and Responsible

April 2, 2013

It’s taken 4 years and over $422,000 in your taxpayer dollars, but the Article 78 brought by a few Village residents against the Village enactment of Local Law No. 4, has been dismissed.

In 2009, two Croton residents, Thomas Simone and Holly  Crosbie-Foote launched an Article 78 against the Village of Croton,  in order to declare Local Law No. 4 arbitrary, capricious, irrational, and an abuse of discretion.

Basically, Local Law No. 4, or the Harmon Re-Zoning Law, sought to give property owners on the east side of South Riverside Avenue between Croton Point Avenue and Oneida Avenue the ability to convert their (mostly) empty, one-story properties into the two-story, mixed use types of properties seen on the west side of South Riverside.  Many of these businesses were shuttered because of the high rent demanded by property owners.  By allowing mixed-use buildings, with apartments providing rental income to offset the amount needed to rent the downstairs storefronts, Village officials sought to make Harmon more enticing to small business owners or those in search of office space.  With no vacant apartment stock available in Croton, the re-zoning initiative appeared to be a no-brainer.

Until the two individuals above, later apparently joined by Robert Armanini, owner of Feed the Birds, decided that Local Law No. 4 was a secret way for democratic Village officials to bring in their developer buddies and build low income housing in Harmon, as evidenced by Croton Republican Committee campaign flyers featuring photos of tenement buildings and pictures of rats and roaches to drive home their point.  Village officials listened to and acted on these complaints by proposing that apartments of a tightly regulated size would only be allowed, only to be accused by local attorney Roseann Schuyler of violating the federal fair housing act.  You can’t make this stuff up.

Now that the justice system has decided that “disagreement is not grounds for accusations of arbitrary and capricious behavior”, we can all get back to the business of building a business-friendly Harmon.

8 Comments leave one →
  1. Cathie Elliott permalink
    April 3, 2013 7:26 am

    Funny, I did not see any news of this on the NCN Forum, usually the first to break big “news” items in Croton – I wonder how they missed it?

  2. georgianna33 permalink
    April 3, 2013 9:33 am

    Those of us who have favored the rezoning of this area of Harmon from its inception to this final (we hope!) decision by the courts. Thanks to the Mayor and Trustees who have quietly and deliberately given factual and detailed responses to answer the concerns raised by the few residents in opposition. And special thanks to Kieran Murray and his fellow citizens who analyzed and dissected each trumped up charge made by the opponents to this valued legislation.

  3. April 4, 2013 6:11 am

    I am going to save this text so I can present it in a few years when the crime starts and the garbage and loitering starts.

    I don’t believe it is the Dem’s wish to “create” low income housing but I believe that through naivety of not living or having lived in places where these conditions exist, you will all be in for a surprise in a few years. But I’m sure someone will find some excuse or someone else to blame.

    Also, I think its a pretty low blow to mention the business owner and his business in this email for siding with the petition. At least he believes in what is right unless so many of the other clueless individuals who think they are right and oh so superior. Don’t worry, you’ll see in a few years. And I;ll be here to say I told you so.

    • d-con permalink
      April 4, 2013 9:54 am

      We do have naive folks here in town–people that insisted on electing a 23 year old trustee who pays no property taxes and is basically a seat filler from what I’ve seen of the recent Village Board meetings. Don’t think that hasn’t had an impact on people who are considering purchasing homes in Croton. And now he’s helping his campaign manager repeat the process for a Cortlandt Town Council seat.
      Don’t purport to classify the many who moved here from crowded urban areas where, yes, living conditions were less than safe and who support the rezoning wholeheartedly. And don’t belittle the public servants in Croton who are charged with keeping residents safe.
      Also, if Mr. Armanini has no problem with being publicly listed in as a petitioner in the Article 78, he should also have no problem being listed as an opponent of the law in other media.
      Maybe you shouldn’t be speaking for him, either.

    • Justice Served permalink
      April 4, 2013 10:18 am

      RA, I don’t think it was a low blow to mention Robert Armanini and Feed the Birds in the article, both Robert Armanini (current and/or former Croton GOP officer) and RMA Enterprises (as I understand it, the business entity operating Feed the Birds) were BOTH petitioners on the lawsuit. The article simply states this fact and is accurate.

  4. J. DiLeo permalink
    April 4, 2013 12:25 pm

    How much bird seed will Mr. Armanini and Feed the Birds need to sell in order to pay back taxpayers the $422,000 it cost to defend against his frivolous lawsuit? Mr. Armanini, Ms. Moran, Ms. Schuyler, Ms.Crosbie-Foote and Mr. Simone all owe the village and its taxpayers an apology and reimbursement for legal expenses at the least.

  5. April 4, 2013 12:48 pm

    The threat/comment in RA’s post (could RA be a ghost name for Robert Armanini?) is outrageous. To claim what they/the opponents/attorneys/and few misguided residents failed to prove through the very expensive law suit filed against the village in a public post is despicable. To pretend that in a few years the rezoning of the small part of Harmon will result in a “crime ridden” hamlet littered with “garbage and loitering” is still unfounded, baseless, sour grapes, and poor loser mentality. The opponents lost in court. The village won in court. The false claims and the case was dismissed by the Judge.

    Now who will pay taxpayers back for the $500,000 costs of defending the litigation?

  6. Disgusted! permalink
    April 4, 2013 9:59 pm

    Can the editors please post the judges decision. I know I am not the only one interested in reading what the judge had to say.

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