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August 22, 2014

‘Pops, Patriots and Fireworks’

Pound Ridge/Scotts Corners

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  3. Sam Parker Country Market — 257 Westchester Avenue    


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  2. Village Green Deli — Village Green; Routes 22 and 172    

  3. Bedford Shell — Routes 22 and 172 (at blinking light); 848 So. Bedford Road

  4. Village Service Center —193 Pound Ridge Road (at Long Ridge Road intersection)    


Bedford Hills

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  2. Bueti’s Deli – 526 Bedford Road (Route 117)


Katonah

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  2. Steger’s Paper Mill – 89 Katonah Avenue    

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  4. Bagel Shoppe – Katonah Shopping Center; 280 Katonah Avenue    

  5. Katonah Sunoco – 105 Bedford Road


Mount Kisco

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Cross River

  1. Bagel Boys Café – Cross River Shopping Center; Routes 121 and 35    

  2. Cross River Shell Station – Route 35    

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Stop work order issued on noted Croton Lake Road property

By R.J. MARX
R.J. MARX PHOTO

Workers are idled at Ivanna Farms in Bedford Corners.

 

Work on School House Meadow, located across from the historic Bedford Corners property Braewold on Croton Lake Road, came to a halt this week when a stop work order was issued by the Bedford Building Department for violations stemming from an agreement with the town’s wetlands control commission to create a sheep pasture and two small structures.

Eric Hadar, owner of the property through Ivanna Farms LLC, received a stop work order from the town on Tuesday, Aug. 19.

Code enforcement officer William O’Keefe delivered the notice after observing the installation of field drains, the importation of crushed stone and the use of heavy equipment in a wetlands buffer — all of which, he said, are violations of town code.

Work had been in process under the direction of J.D. Barrett and Associates, landscape architect and environmental planner, based in Easton, Conn., which did not return a request for comment.

According to wetlands control commission member Andrew Messinger, Ivanna Farms LLC consulted with the wetlands commission over a plan to establish sheep pastures and two small shelters. The stop work order was issued because the project exceeded the scope of the initial consultation, which lists some wetlands commission requirements but is not considered a formal wetlands permit.

According to Lori Ensinger, president of the Westchester Land Trust, in 1994, Jim and Twink Wood, whose family had owned the property for almost 200 years, provided 19.5 acres for a conservation easement managed by the Westchester Land Trust. An additional 10.5 acres were added in 1998. Conservation easements are voluntary agreements by the landowner to preserve property in its natural state, thereby relinquishing the owner’s development rights. While it does not transfer ownership to the land trust, it does spell out a landowner’s obligation to protect the existing character of the property in perpetuity.

This land includes School House Meadow, once the site of a one-room schoolhouse and named in a survey by the Bedford Conservation Board as one of the best “viewscapes” in Bedford.

In speaking of the view from Croton Lake Road over the meadow, Mr. Wood said in 2000, “on a clear day you can see the mountaintops on either side of the Hudson River.”

 

Town sites violation in fencing plan

In 2012, the wetlands commission reviewed maps from the property owner for two applications. One set of maps was for the dredging of a pond, work done in conjunction with a neighbor. The work was completed successfully, according to director of planning Jeff Osterman.

The second set of maps received by the planning department, which were titled “Ivanna Farms alternative fencing plan,” indicate the possible creation of a sheep farm in the meadow. While specific plans for the potential sheep were not included, the wetlands commission did comment on a proposed 30-foot-length fence in the field, requesting that contractors install the fence using stone or reclaimed or recycled concrete.

“The entrance shall be maintained in a condition which will prevent tracking or flowing of sediment onto public right of way,” the maps read. “This may require periodic top dressing with additional stone as conditions demand and repair and/or cleanout of any measures used to trap sediment. All sediment spilled, dropped, washed or tracked onto public right of way must be removed immediately.”

According to the notes on the map, the property owner was prohibited from the use of fertilizers on the property. Mowing was also limited and the grass height specified.

According to Mr. Messinger, the wetlands commission does not receive building violations directly. He said the building department may instruct the property owner to apply for a permit, or it could go to the town court, which would report it to the wetlands control commission. Should a permit be requested and granted, work may continue at the site, as long as it fits under the scope of the approved uses.

According to Ms. Ensinger, the easement permits the installation and maintenance of drainage systems in the meadows. “What he appears to be doing is not a violation of this easement, but since we haven’t been presented plans, we would need to meet with him and review the plans,” she said Wednesday. “But if it is consistent with the easement— which we can’t determine yet, we don’t know what additional plans he has — he nevertheless does need to work with the town because the easement doesn’t supersede the town code. Whatever permits are required, he would need to seek. We can’t comment on what the town requirements are. That’s a separate but related issue. We would have no jurisdiction over that from a town perspective.”

According to Ms. Ensinger, the easement does allow for grazing, including sheep, cows or horses. “The easement clearly allows for agricultural uses, animal husbandry, equestrian and related purposes,” she said.


Land trust, town ask for scope of work


Ms. Ensinger said that the Westchester Land Trust was notified to the work by a nearby homeowner. “In this case, we went out to the site when we were notified by a neighbor, to ascertain what the situation was and we have not declared it a violation yet, but we did request from Mr. Hadar’s representative that he forward whatever plans were related to the drainage work,” she said. “The enforcement of the easement is not a town or local municipal court issue. It is initially an issue between the grantor and the grantee, that is, the property owner and the land trust.”

Ms. Ensinger said that if there is a violation and it is not remediated within a prescribed period of time, the land trust would “go to lengths” to work amicably with the property owners to resolve the matter.

“In many cases, they’re very minor,” she said. “They’re simply a result of an oversight on the part of the property owner, that they didn’t realize there was a clause in the easement that they couldn’t do a particular activity, whether it’s mowing or cutting trees, or building small structures. Litigation is absolutely the last resort, and we would not take this to court.

“In this particular case, it’s in the town’s hands,” she added. “They would be the first to get additional information that was requested, a drainage plan, and again, the initial view is that from the easement’s view, drainage maintenance is permitted.” It has to pass muster with the town, and the landowner is required to notify the land trust before taking any action, so we can review the plan, and we still have not seen any plan.

“We expect to be in communication with the town planning officials and we will proceed accordingly once we get further information. We don’t have all the information we need at this time.


A prestigious property

Mr. Hadar purchased the property in Bedford Corners in 2006 from the Wood family, which had owned the parcel since 1809. Braewold, located off Croton Lake Road, is a Second Empire-style stone house built in 1870. It was designed by noted architect Addison Hutton, who is known for designing buildings located on the Swarthmore and Bryn Mawr college campuses in Pennsylvania. The residence is one of the major contributing properties included within the Woodpile, a farm associated with a series of properties, residences and outbuildings along Croton Lake Road, which was once owned by the Wood family of Bedford.  The Woodpile was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1992. School House Meadow was specifically cited as being a part of the Woodpile in the National Register listing.

Braewold is known for its stone construction, which was quarried from the Woodpile farm itself, and overlooks School House Meadow to its west.

Mr. Hadar, founder of the Manhattan-based real estate company Allied Partners, applied to Bedford’s historic building preservation commission to replace a section of the house’s original stone facade on the west side of the house with glass to help take advantage of the property’s view from the home’s kitchen last month. The commission denied that request.


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