Village of Pelham BOT Meetings for September 12 and 26 Address Several Issues

By Joyce Farrell

On September 12, the Board of Trustees (BOT) of the Village of Pelham discussed the Zoning Text Amendment Petition regarding outdoor dining, which had previously been permitted under the COVID-19 pandemic. Edits to the amendment were discussed at the next meeting on September 26. The board agreed to refer the edited Amendment to the Zoning and Planning Boards to call for a public hearing on October 10. Also discussed was a proposed signage and striping plan to provide more parking spaces at the Metro-North train station, four of which would be two-hour spaces, benefitting a new coffee shop/sandwich shop opening at the train station.

On September 12, the board agreed to establish a fee for the use of the village’s electric vehicle parking spaces, and passed a resolution authorizing Budget Amendment (Reference Auditors Adjusting Journal Entry) to Fund Electric Vehicle Charging Stations. On September 26, the board approved a resolution Authorizing Village-Wide Fee Schedule Modification as it Relates to Electric Vehicle Charging Rates and Occupancy Fee for Electric Vehicle Parking Spaces. In addition, the board approved a resolution Adopting Local Law No. 3 of 2023 Regarding the Placement of Electric Vehicle Charging Stations in Municipal Parking Lot 07 and Rules Regulating Electric Vehicle Parking Spaces.

Other matters on September 12 included the approval of a resolution that authorizes the Village Administrator to sign an agreement with Cuono Engineering PLLC for an amount not to exceed $15,500.00 for structural engineering services for the rehabilitation of Municipal Parking Lot 03. Additionally, two resolutions were approved that authorized the hiring of two new village employees. Lance Ortiz of Patterson, NY will be a new village laborer, and Armir Taraj was sworn in as a new member of the Planning Board. Taraj is replacing Sid Burke, who retired from the board.

On September 12 and September 26, residents addressed the board about traffic and safety issues. A resident alerted the board to problems on First Avenue between First Street and Lincoln Avenue. Numerous car accidents and the constant flow of traffic have left them unable to let their children play outside unattended. In addition, several collisions have occurred on First Avenue because drives on the exit ramp assume it is a one-way street. There is also a construction trailer near the exit, impeding the view of exiting vehicles. The need for an actual stop sign and enforcement of the speed limit was expressed.

Mayor Mullen responded that since the construction job is complete, and the Village of Pelham can take back some responsibility for the intersection, the Village is going to re-engage one more time to attempt to resolve some of the issues noted.

On September 26, Mayor Mullen announced stepped-up enforcement around school zones, where there’s not always enough police staff to write the necessary tickets.  

During public comment, the need for increased safety measures, including a request for a four-way stop at Boulevard and Cliff Avenue was made by a resident involved in an early morning accident, a spot where many accidents have previously occurred. Additional comments were made about Monteray Avenue being a cut-through. Mayor Mullen pointed out that that even happens with four-way stop signs but suggested that it would be warranted to make Irving Place, which is also used as a cut-through, a one-way street. Trustee Hill-Ries wondered if speed bumps on Boulevard had been considered. The Mayor will ask the traffic engineers if temporary ones can be tried on Boulevard and on First Avenue to see if they work.

Trustee Hill-Ries and Mayor Mullen reported that they met with consultants from Westchester County about the $250,000 improvement grant to show them downtown and what the town of Pelham is all about, and were pleased by the county’s great ideas.  Mayor Mullen also advised that a survey will be distributed to Pelham residents and those within two to three miles of Pelham to get people to talk about Pelham’s downtown to find out why they do or don’t come here, what they love about Pelham, what issues there are, etc. to get true market data to work with. It will be distributed through various channels, including Facebook and Instagram.

Mayor Mullen mentioned that the work session actually started early on September 26 off-site at 6:00 p.m. at the future onsite Municipal Center. The exterior of the center may be closed soon, in order for the interior work to begin.

Other resolutions approved included authorizing the Appointment of Jacqueline Tolbert to fill a part-time School Crossing Guard vacancy, and another authorizing an Inter-Municipal Agreement Between the City of New Rochelle and the Village of Pelham for the Disposal of Organic Waste, beginning on October 15, just in time for leaf collection. 

Finally, the board passed a resolution authorizing the completion of the probation period of Police Lieutenant Michael Sheehy, and although he will have a six-month probation period, it passed a resolution permanently appointing Police Chief Danny Green, whose appointment had been provisional.