Village of Pelham’s Board of Trustees Approves Resolution to Initiate Condemnation Proceedings Under NYS’s Eminent Domain Procedure Law for the Establishment of a Public Use and Safety Project

By Joyce Farrell

At the Village of Pelham Board of Trustees meeting on May 28, Trustee Kim McGreal reminded all that Juneteenth will be celebrated on Sunday, June 16.

Insurance broker R.J. Impastato from FOA and Son Insurance Corp. informed Mayor Chance Mullen and the Board that his company was able to reduce the cost of coverage previously stated in their renewal presentation by $86,000 by restructuring the umbrella coverage for law enforcement and that coverage maintains the deductibles. The Board approved the resolution authorizing the award of insurance coverage through FOA and Son Insurance Corp. for Property and Casualty Insurance Coverage (Property including Crime, General and Law Enforcement Liability, Public Officials and Employment Practices Liability, Automobile Liability and Physical Damage, Excess Liability, and Workers Compensation) for the Period of June 1, 2024, through May 31, 2025. 

Nick Tedrow, Deputy Program Manager for the Westchester Power Program, Sustainable Westchester, presented the proposal for the Westchester Power Contract Renewal for 2024, which aims for a “greener contract.” The new contract only includes default choices for a 50% default of renewable energy as the final pricing will not be determined until later in the year. At that time there will be opt-up choices, which are dependent upon the MOU Memorandum of Understanding) that a municipality chooses. Mayor Mullen stated that the earliest the Board could take a final vote on an MOU is at the Board meeting on June 11. 

After many months of trying,  the Board of Trustees was unable to obtain an easement from the Board of Education, the owner of Julianne’s Playground. The Board of Trustees, therefore, approved a resolution to initiate condemnation proceedings under the New York State Eminent Domain Procedure Law in connection with the establishment of a Public Use and Safety Project for a retention system for flood mitigation underneath Julianne’s Playground and for an upgrade to Julianne’s Playground.

The Village of Pelham’s Sustainability Advisory Board Co-Chair, Yenna Chan, and Advisory Board Member Heather Eliezer presented an Acceptance of Support Letter for a New York Sea Grant for Natural Resources Inventory (NRI). The NRI’s intent is to inventory the natural resources of the Village of Pelham by identifying the physical and biological elements of the cultural resources using maps and data gathered from local, state, and county sources, as well as field assessments, to create a document that can guide conservation and the protection of natural features. This would assist in helping to maintain the ecological health of natural areas which can then improve the climate resiliency of the area. The NRI could be used for many purposes, such as for the basis of a sustainability plan. Bio Habitats, an ecology consultant, estimates that it’s a year-long project and would ideally begin assessments in the spring of 2025. There’s no cost to the Village as the grant is for 100%, and the work would be done by Bio Habitats and Cornell. A stakeholder group made up of volunteers for monthly meetings would be established, and eventually, there would be report and recommendation reviews, and occasional public meetings. Trustee Theresa Mohan has agreed to be a volunteer for the monthly meetings. Dr. Eliezer pointed out that there would be information revealed for future opportunities for flood mitigation through green infrastructure and for collaboration on such mitigation with bordering municipalities. The Board approved the signing by the Village Manager, Christopher Scelza, of the Acceptance of Support Letter.

Finally, the Board also approved a resolution authorizing a special event request from the Pelham Civic Association for the 4th Annual Toonerville Music Festival.

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