Issuu on Google+ Vol. 13/Number 5 February 1, 2013 City receives offers on old CVS Councilman’s speech draws community pushback By CHRISTIAN FALCONE ASSOCIATE EDITOR The city is weighing eight bids to purchase the old CVS building that will likely lead to Rye selling off the controversial property. The City Council is currently reviewing the offers for 1037 Boston Post Road behind closed doors, but Mayor Douglas French, a Republican, said they are legitimate. Late last year, the City Council hired CBRE, a brokerage firm out of Stamford, Conn., to market the property. Bids were due back by Jan. 17. City Attorney Kristen Wilson said the issue of potential sale would be up for public discussion within the next month. “It is probably the next big action item for the City Council to take,” said the city attorney, adding that in a four-to-six-week timeframe, “we’ll know which way the City Council is headed for sure.” City officials would not comment on the monetary value of the offers, or whether or not they exceed the $3.6 million offer to purchase the property from Lester’s, the property’s current tenant, prior to hiring the firm. The only question remaining involves the timing to sell the property in order to put it back on the city’s property tax rolls. “That is the phase we are in,” Mayor French said. “Given the economy, the state of the commercial market, is this the right time and right offer to sell the property?” In deciding to hire a broker, the city also chose to extend the lease agreement with Lester’s through the end of 2013. The lease with Lester’s was set to expire on March 31 of this year. Rye collects roughly $23,000 per month in rent from the clothing retailer. Late last year, the broker placed the property on the market for both sale and lease. The contract with the city states that if CBRE helps facilitate a sale of the property, it would charge the city 4 percent of 1037 continued on page 7 The City Council has received eight offers from prospective buyers interested in the Lester’s building. The property was purchased by the city in 2006. File photo By CHRISTIAN FALCONE ASSOCIATE EDITOR One city councilman’s lengthy commentary on civility has sparked criticism from some residents and reignited an internal controversy that the current city administration had hoped would never again see the light of day. At the City Council meeting of Jan. 23, Richard Filippi, a first-term Republican councilman, launched into a near 12-minute prepared speech. The councilman’s comments centered on the need to move away from personal attacks for the good of the community. He referenced sharp criticism that has been leveled against the the administration over its handling, or lack thereof, of a Rye Golf Club scandal. The main target of Filippi’s jabs was resident Leon Sculti, who has been an outspoken critic of the administration dating back to last year. Filippi leveled a pointed verbal assault against Sculti, whom he said had an abrasive and unorthodox approach toward city officials. Sculti maintains the blog, LausDeo that has been outwardly critically of the current mayor, city manager and other Rye elected officials. But the councilman didn’t stop with Sculti. He provided his take on a 2012 Rye TV scandal—a controversy that City Councilman Richard Filippi Council members had taken a stance not sounded off on a slew of to discuss since the city Ethics Board topics at the Jan. 23 City decided not to rule on accusations levCouncil meeting. Among eled against top city management. In the councilman’s targets were city critics and former his comments, Filippi accused Andrew Rye TV employee Andrew Dapolite. Contributed photo FILIPPI continued on page 5 Sustainability plan on track for summer completion By CHRISTIAN FALCONE ASSOCIATE EDITOR Although Rye’s sustainability plan remains in draft form, the document has already left an impression on some residents in the community. At 80 pages, the plan might be viewed as heavy reading, but it is something Sara Goddard, the city’s Sustainability Committee chair and main author, said is in many ways a must read. The draft comes after a process that has long been in the works and includes input from various community stakeholders. The goal of creating a sustainability plan for Rye is to maintain the community and its inhabitants for the long haul by focusing on the unique natural, social and economic characteristics that set the city apart from others in Westchester. The ef- fort to implement more eco-friendly approaches in mostly cost-effective ways is a growing trend that has been seen in several communities in Westchester already. New Rochelle, Bedford and Larchmont have already adopted sustainability plans, and Goddard said her committee referenced those plans while drafting a version for Rye. Goddard hopes that the Rye plan will be completed by the end of the summer at the latest. “We’re really not at that stage to say ‘here is this document,’” she said. “It’s truly really a draft right now.” The city’s position as a desirable community depends on preserving its open spaces and maintaining an attractive shoreline with abundant, natural wildlife–all without stifling economic growth, according to the draft plan. The plan requires periodic updates as the community grows and priorities change. Once completed, the plan would require the approval of the City Council in order to move forward with its implementation. Then, input would be taken from city officials, municipal committees and civic organizations in order to prioritize a list of initiatives that the city could put into practice. Goddard said it would help the city hone its focus. “It will be a collaborative effort,” said the committee chair. “Certain things will be wish lists since funding would be a concern or long-term projects to set aside.” Personally, Goddard said, she would like to see a focus toward energy efficiency initiatives. She PLAN continued on page 6

Rye Sound Shore Review 2-1-13

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