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In Fairness to All, Adopt Rock Chipping Legislation Without Delay
The following letter was sent to the City Council and forwarded to the paper for publication.
The Rock Chipping Study Group should be commended for their diligent work on the difficult issues associated with rock chipping in Rye. The Proposed Law No. 2015, based on the recommendations of the Study Group, addresses those issues in a fair and balanced fashion. It protects the health, safety, and well being of our neighborhoods, while at the same time allowing for responsible rock removal when necessary to develop a site.
Specifically, I would like to emphasize the following points:
The 30-day calendar limit on chipping is based on extensive analysis by the Study Group. As Jim Hedges noted at the July 8 public hearing, almost all of the chipping projects in residential zones 2-6 could have been accomplished in fewer than 22 days. If proper due diligence suggests that a project may require more than 22 days, the contractor has the option to blast. This legislation does not infringe on a homeowner’s or developer’s right to build on their property; rather, it requires them to remove rock efficiently with the least possible disruption to neighbors.
The 18-month limit similarly ensures that developers will plan rock removal appropriately with the necessary up-front due diligence. A high-resolution seismic refraction study can be conducted at a comparatively low cost and will reveal the extent and type of rock. This will enable the developer to plan the timing of the rock removal so that it can all be accomplished at one time.
One addition to Proposed Law No. 2015 that should be considered is requiring notice to surrounding homeowners at the permitting stage, rather than after the permit has been granted. Neighbors should be afforded the opportunity to review the permit and comment on it before it is issued.
Our community and our elected officials have struggled with this issue for a considerable period of time. Mayor Sack appointed the Work Study Group to analyze the issues, consider alternative approaches, and develop a set of recommendations. Proposed Law No. 2015 reflects those recommendations and deserves our support. Several Councilmembers, when I pressed them to take a stronger stand against rock chipping, noted that compromises need to be made in order to achieve a practical, workable regulatory scheme. Proposed Law No. 2015 (with the one minor suggestion noted above) does just that and should be adopted without further delay.
— Pamela McGuire
Make Rock Chipping Legislation Permanent
We want to voice our support for the Temporary Statute regarding Mechanical Rock Removal (Local Law No. 2015) and urge its enactment in to permanent status at the end of the trial period.
We have lived through multiple rock-chipping projects in our neighborhood and understand first-hand how annoying and distracting they can be. This level of construction noise materially impacts the quality of life in our neighborhoods. Those who are away from Rye during the day may not grasp the full gist of the problem, but for those of us who work in our homes or are in Rye during weekdays, the level of noise is acutely unnerving and productivity-sapping.
At the same time we understand that homes must be built and renovated, foundations dug, and that we all benefit when the quality of homes in Rye is upgraded.
Finding the right balance is key and we feel this law as currently written achieves it. It is especially useful in guiding the relationship between contractor and homeowner: Knowing in advance that a limited amount of chipping can be done means geological studies will be commissioned, contingency plans made and realistic conversations will occur about foundations, basements or pools. Contractors who blithely assure homeowners that the chipping will be ‘minimal’ or ‘two-weeks-max’ and who then come around with the sad news that ‘it will take a little longer’ will instead need to work together with architects and owners to create a backup plan – a smaller basement for instance. This is appropriate and good – we need to work with the land in reasonable and creative ways, not simply level it to suit our computer-modeled elevations. This historical accommodation of natural landforms actually contributes to Rye’s architectural character.
Compromises will be made. One neighbor was induced to build a swimming pool in solid rock. The contractor told us all he expected the chipping to take two weeks. Seven weeks later (this project straddled the current Moratorium) they are still chipping. Do we care if people can no longer carve a pool out of solid granite in Rye? We know our answer.
The permanent law will need teeth. Speeding tickets with no points system means wealthy people could speed with impunity. We cannot draft a law whose intent is so easily thwarted by simply writing checks.
Our gratitude goes to those who have worked hard to craft this balanced plan.
— Bob and Wonda Clyatt
Adopt the Committee’s Recommendation on Rock Chipping
I want to thank the Mayor and City Council for opening up the community discussion on rock chipping, and urge them to take the recommendations put together by the rock chipping committee and adopt them, as is, into City law.
The committee is a very well balanced group of Rye citizens, including Council members, builders, and neighbors of rock chipping projects. They worked very hard, over many months, to come up with a reasonable compromise that balances health and safety concerns, quality of life, and property rights’ issues.
I hope we can accept this reasonable compromise and move on to other issues.
— Suki van Dijk
A Fine Finish to the Season
Another season has come to an end in Rye. This year in particular there was some great softball played in the city. Congratulations to all the Championship teams for winning their respective divisions: The Rye Roadhouse, Eastland Alarms, The Hammerheads, and Poppy’s Ballbusters. It is a long season that begins in April and ends in August and they played hard to win their divisions.
I want to take a minute to thank a few people who contributed to the quality of softball this season. Thank you to Carmen DeFabio and Joe Archino of USSSA for helping schedule umpires and interpret rules. Thank you to Melanie Cane of The Rye Record for taking photos of the championship teams. Thank you to Sally Rogol, Greg Bean, and Assistant Superintendent Ike Kuzio for providing guidance and humor and for giving great advice on how to handle tough situations. All three of them are good softball players themselves! Thank you to Nancy Fedorchak for helping with the registration and collecting softball payments.
Thank you to John Demarco, our Park Foreman, for taking pride in the fields and for leading a great crew of guys. They made the fields look great every night, which I know the softball players appreciated. Just like every year, there were several nights when other local communities cancelled games that our crew worked hard to get our games in. Demarco’s staff includes, Kevin Ceballos, Frankie Cecere, Kenny and Frank Errigo, Tim Golikov, Frank Lopez, and Anthony Patafio.
Finally, thank you to the players in the league for showing good sportsmanship and for playing softball in Rye. See you at the field next year!
— Doug Scott,