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Thoughts While Strolling (2)

February 5, 2008

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Wheeling and Dealing on Truesdale Drive. The other day we happened to be strolling down Truesdale Drive and noticed a “For Sale” sign that brought back memories. Almost a year ago, on February 7, 2007, Tom Brennan bought the property at 45 Truesdale Drive for a cool $700,000. Yes, we’re talking about our Tom Brennan, Croton Village Trustee. And we describe the price he paid as a “cool” $700,000 because the Westchester County Clerk has no record of a mortgage on the property after the sale. The seller was Suzanne Roddy, widow of Joseph J. Roddy, who died at the age of 81 on May 23, 2002.

The deal included a separate lot, but one of its disadvantages was its rather narrow driveway. No sooner had he bought the property, Tom got his teat caught in a wringer. He decided to widen the driveway with some rented do-it-yourself construction equipment, in the process making his newly acquired neighbors apprehensive and decidedly unhappy.

While operating the equipment with which he was unfamiliar, he knocked down a ConEd feeder wire. This hot wire lay sparking in the roadway, causing the police to be called. Also, he neglected to check with the ConEd hot line to make sure that he wasn’t working near any buried gas lines. Aside from these calamitous events, it seems that a clause in the Zoning Code also prohibits excavation within 50 feet of a public road, and the code enforcement officer issued him a citation. Work ground to a halt while his application for a permit was swiftly given priority by the ZBA and shoehorned into the ZBA schedule for the meeting on March 14.

In sharp contrast to the treatment the ZBA gives ordinary citizens by delaying decisions and forcing them to return month after month, two days later the ZBA held a special meeting on the site of the property on the morning of March 16 at 8:30 a.m. ZBA members quickly rubber-stamped his project on the spot. We could only think of Mel Brooks’ famous line as King Louis XVI in his film, History of the World, Part I: “It’s good to be the king.” On the recommendation of the Village Engineer, the ZBA also issued a negative declaration—a document stating that there was no substantial evidence that the project would have a significant effect on the environment.

Recently, Mr. Brennan decided to put the separable lot on the market. Richard Albert is the broker, and the asking price is $349,900—half the amount Mr. Brennan paid for the house and land. We trust that Mr. Brennan, the newly minted real estate mogul, wasn’t hoping to flip this property quickly for a big profit. Given the swooning state of the real estate market everywhere, our wish for him is, using the words of that famous Japanese expression, “rots of ruck with this and with your candidates in the coming erection.”



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