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In Response to Robert Scott's Letters

January 28, 2009

To the Editor,

I would like to respond to some of the comments of Bob Scott in various forums. I have known Bob a long time and greatly respect his regular willingness to offer opinions on many subjects of Village interest. In this case I have to disagree with him on both his comments (Backing into Zoning Change #1 and #2) on the development of the Gateway legislation and on the Harmon Economic Development Committee’s proposals.

Having been there for both of them as Chair of the Comprehensive Plan Committee and as liaison to the Harmon Business Committee, I know that most, if not all, of Bob’s concerns and issues were discussed by the committee. For instance his stance that the committee did not discuss the impact of the Route 9 highway is incorrect. Although it may not appear in the marketing feasibility study that accompanies the Committee Report (Danth Study), it’s impact both historically and for the future, was a significant part of the discussion with the consultant. Its presence has a great deal to do with what is possible business-wise in Croton now. Bob’s question about who is going to entice businesses here is a good one but is also covered in the report. In fact, a review of the report shows that the committee made several suggestions - not just the rezoning one that has captured attention. Marketing ourselves does not require hiring a marketer as suggested but it does require putting together a package of information for prospective businesses.

It is perhaps unknown, but such prospective businesses and commercial brokers come to the Village frequently seeking information. Unfortunately, it is not available in a comprehensive package and there is no positive presentation of Croton as a good place for a business to flourish. Developing this “package” is part of the committee’s presentation and does not require any additional staffing and is done in many other villages.

Mr. Murray is no doubt seen as passionate in his many responses about the report and its impact, and he should be. He and the entire committee, all professionals who deal in the world of business and government in various capacities, were extremely diligent in putting together a realistic and supportable proposal. They came together from decidedly different points of view and yet, through reasoned discussion and serious research, were able to agree on the final recommendations. These were also vetted by two professional consulting firms and supported by them. I know they are dismayed by the misinformed statements and rumors that are being made regarding their recommendations. Clearly the public would like more opportunities to hear about and understand the committees proposals. This would ensure a more informed discussion and the committee would like to provide it. As the current majority will not agree to any more public discussion of the report on their part, Mr. Murray, as Chair, has no doubt felt a need to set the record straight. If this seems over zealous, it is surely due to his commitment to fellow members and Village residents that their work not be distorted and that a possible positive step for business in Croton not be dropped by the Village government. The recommendations deserve a full examination and that is all he and his committee have ever asked for.

There is a proscribed process in law for that to occur for zoning amendments. It would allow all interested parties to have their input considered and studied and responded to — the SEQRA process. Unfortunately, this is not being allowed to happen. Interested citizens of the Village should be insisting on this kind of structured review so they can participate in it in a meaningful way. I applaud Mr. Murray for his fortitude in staying with his committee’s recommendations and defending them in the face of inaccurate and misinformed statements.

— Ann Gallelli



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