January 04, 2020
The following letter was published in this week’s issue of the Gazette.
To the Editor,
I attended the November 18th public hearing regarding the proposed rezoning of the Municipal Gateway and North Riverside areas. Taking the opportunity to speak, I re-emphasized my concerns about traffic and infrastructure. I also highlighted the minimal discussion of potential impacts on our school district. The Mayor was quick to contradict the latter with some documentation, quoting a study from Rutgers and suggesting only 6 students would be added to the schools. He ended with a not-so-subtle jab, “that it’s common sense.”
I’ve since followed up on the Mayor’s citation and I’m being generous to say the information is underwhelming. I didn’t roll into the public meeting without doing some homework first. Unfortunately, I made the rookie mistake of looking at the “final report”, where I assumed (and hoped) to find a thorough analysis. Of course, the information isn’t there; turns out it’s a measly 2 pages buried in an environmental impact statement.
The data is obviously presented to appease critics. The environmental impact statement itself is mostly checkboxes. There are a few claims:
1. The Rutgers study is combined with a comparison to similar developments to suggest a paltry increase in students.
2. Croton’s school district is currently under-enrolled.
3. Westchester county birthrates are declining.
The worst-case scenario in the document is about 6 additional students for an 80 unit complex. Does that sound like common sense? Say what you will, but that’s a stretch if I ever heard one. In a world where anyone can cite studies and stats to prove just about anything, I think Croton deserves deeper analysis.
The document also claims Westchester’s birth rates are declining. Maybe so, but birthrates aren’t driving population growth; migration and immigration are. The Board has repeatedly cited “new village immigrants” as benefactors of new development, yet somehow they are neglected in this superficial analysis. It’s incongruous to cite low birth rates after having gone on and on about a housing shortage in our highly desired village, as the Board has. READ THE REST FROM MR. SAPORITO HERE.