During Monday night’s Town Board meeting, the board voted to make Juneteenth a town holiday.

Juneteenth commemorates the anniversary date of June 19, 1865, marking the end of slavery in Texas. It has grown to become a celebration of emancipation in many communities around the country.

Town Supervisor Peter Parsons brought the agenda item to the board, stating that New York state has already given state employees the day off as a holiday.

Councilmember Jennifer Castelhano said, “This is an important day to celebrate,” adding, “It’s an important part of our history and we should honor our local residents and our other fellow citizens and Americans who want this viewed as a holiday.” She noted that

Gov. Andrew Cuomo has already made it clear that Juneteenth will be a holiday in New York state.

On Oct. 14, Mr. Cuomo signed into law legislation celebrating Juneteenth as a state holiday.

Changes in local laws

The town board also addressed two proposed changes in local laws.

It held a public hearing on a revision that would require applicants to address violations or unpaid fines prior to receiving municipal approval. Two exceptions to this are for instances where the permit application remediates the violation or is to address a hazardous condition.

Town attorney Anthony Molé noted that since the board’s last discussion on this subject, the law was changed slightly per comments from the Lewisboro Planning Board.

While the previous draft said that applications will not be approved until violations or fines are remediated, the planning board suggested that the law be changed to state that in the specific case of unpaid fines, applications will not even be processed until the fines are paid, Mr. Molé explained. The planning board also recommended that the law apply to the town code’s chapters on trees as well as stormwater management.

No resident spoke during the public hearing, so Mr. Parsons made a motion to close the public hearing and all board members voted in favor of the code change.

The board also continued discussion from the Oct. 26 meeting regarding special outdoor “events and sales” local laws.

After a first draft of the law was deemed too broad and only applied to commercial business zoning districts, Mr. Molé said that the law is now drafted as an accessory use in any zoning district for any commercial property in that district.

The law change allows for commercial businesses to host outdoor special events including outdoor sales events, street festivals, art exhibits, antiques markets and food trucks.

Mr. Molé said that some properties may have to amend their site plans to comply with the new law, while others would just be subject to the building inspector’s discretion.

During a public comment period, town resident Dean Travalino suggested to the board that it add wording stating its intention is to streamline the process for shop owners who want to set up such events, minimizing the need for site plan revisions, which would be reviewed by the planning board.

Mr. Parsons endorsed Mr. Travalino’s idea. He said the main goal of the new law is to help shopping centers compete better with other commercial centers in Pound Ridge and Katonah.

The town board set a public hearing on this topic for Jan. 25, 2021, and forwarded the law to the Lewisboro Planning Board and the County Planning Department for comments.

Jessica Leibman is a staff reporter at The Record-Review where she covers the Town of Lewisboro the Katonah-Lewisboro School District.

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