I think the Long-Range Plan proposal recently put before the community is premature.

Before Rye goes down the road of making changes to its existing Master Plan and comes up with an analysis of the wish lists of the community and how to respond to them, I think we need to project, to the best of our ability, what Rye will look like 10, 15, 25 years out; what its needs will be; and analyze Rye’s assets and what use might be made of them.

Then, we can make an informed decision as to what changes should be made to accommodate the projected reality.

None of this was apparent at the recent public workshop. The thoughts expressed as to the proposal were remarkably similar to what must have been those which resulted in the 1985 Master Plan — essentially, an assumption you merely needed to line-extend current issues.

What should we be doing? Following the advice of Wayne Gretsky, we should be “going where the puck is going to be.”

What enrollment figures does the School District estimate going forward?

Where do The Osborn and WESTMED, two of the biggest employers in Rye, see themselves 20 years out? (Remarkably, neither The Osborn nor WESTMED is represented on the Master Plan Committee.)

I think we’re looking at a major change in the business of Rye.

The combination of WESTMED, The Osborn, the desire of more Rye residents to remain in the area as they age (think of the success of SPRYE), and the proximity of White Plains and Greenwich hospitals suggest quite strongly that Rye’s business is going to be more health-centered. Assuming this is correct, perhaps we should look at zoning changes to permit in-law apartments with arguments pro and con.

Next, Rye has remarkably little in the way of significant parcels of free land.

The place to start, I think, is with land does Rye own or control.

Interestingly enough, in addition to Disbrow Park and whatever its claims may be as to the Thruway property (in fact, I believe, none!), Rye does have one significant parcel. If developed, it would increase public access to salt water beyond that already available through Playland and Oakland Beach, or could address affordable housing supported by the City for the folks who work for Rye — police, firemen, City staff.

It’s the Rye Golf Club course. 

As part of this process, should we consider reducing the course to nine holes and limiting membership to Rye residents?

We also need to identify and address the problem created by those who wish to live here for ten years to take advantage of our schools but contribute little to the community. This obviously affects the price of homes and property taxes.

Before getting into wish lists, we need to look at the larger issues and assess foreseeable changes over the next 15 or 20 years. 

Then, with that in hand, we can address the wish lists.

— Howard G. Seitz