By Rick Pezzullo —
Of the four incumbents on the ballot November 2, Tarrytown Trustee David Kim has the least government experience under his belt (having only served since September 2020, when he was appointed to fill a vacancy), but he brings a broad range of skills to the position.
Kim, who has lived in the village with his family since 2016, has the distinction of being the first ever Korean American public official in Westchester County, which garnered him an endorsement from the Westchester Asian American Democrats (WAAD) Executive Committee .
“David’s election is significant and paramount to our mission of supporting Asian American & Pacific Islander (AAPI) Democrats to elected office,” said Lisa Do Hofflich, WAAD Chair. “From serving on the zoning board to his professional background as an architect and urban planner, David’s knowledge and expertise on environmental sustainability, walkability and safe streets will continue to be a great asset to Tarrytown’s growth.”
Running on the Democratic and Tarrytown United lines, Kim, who was born in South Korea but raised in Long Beach, Calif., since he was seven, said he was running for a full two-year term because “I can provide our village with a unique and highly relevant skill set at an essential time.”
“I am a trained architect and planner and work through a mission driven development collaborative that puts public needs and environmental sustainability before profits,” Kim stated. “I saw the need to apply my training and values to help improve walkability on our village streets, particularly for the benefit of our children and our seniors. Because I am a father of two school-aged children living in the Miller Park neighborhood with my wife and aging parents and traffic safety matters a great deal as does efficient mobility. My experience and skills in planning, development and architecture is vitally needed within the board to inform how we will deal with issues of affordability, development, and mobility, while we work to retain and protect what makes Tarrytown a unique, accessible and welcoming community.”
Prior to joining the Board of Trustees, Kim, who has a degree in architecture from Cornell University, served two years on Zoning Board of Appeals and chaired the Parking Task Force. He also served on the Comprehensive Plan Management Committee.
“I believe that my background as an architecture, development and planning professional, as well as my lived experience as an immigrant, are the most significant contributions to the board,” he said. “I have continued working with the Tarrytown Environmental Advisory Council, the Transportation & Mobility Council, the steering committees of Route 9 Active Transportation Study and the Route 119 Complete Streets Plan. From this experience, I know what it takes to bring about substantive improvements, and I will use my role on the board to ensure that we work to meet the concerns and needs of our residents.”
Kim said increasing transparency and making information accessible to all village residents was an issue that needed to be addressed.
“I understand how many feel when it comes to village communications and the lack of clarity. I have felt the same. Unintended gaps in communication and understanding can lead to mistrust and suspicion of the system,” Kim stated. “We will work to make village government proactive in informing all residents on village affairs, to meet them where they are, and creating avenues for all who want to engage and contribute.”
He also maintained housing affordability was a pressing issue, especially for seniors on fixed incomes and young adults just starting out.
“We will strive for creative ways to add to our existing housing stock that helps our residents stay near family and age-in-place, that is welcoming to newcomers at all stages of life and enhances the uniqueness of Tarrytown,” Kim stated.
A broader issue he mentioned was mobility.
“Getting around the village and beyond can be perilous for pedestrians and those on alternate modes like bicycles, frustrating for drivers and feel complete neglect as a bus rider,” Kim stated. “This issue is broader than just what happens within the confines of Tarrytown and Sleepy Hollow. Our slate will actively engage and work with the state, the county, the neighboring villages to address improvements to all modes that lead to broader choices for safe and sensible travel.”
Meanwhile, Kim said he favors Tarrytown opting in to allowing cannabis dispensaries under state regulations within the village, but opting out of allowing consumption sites, like lounges and bars.
“So, what does this mean for our village? First, there is no chance of a dispensary opening within our village anytime soon. The state board regulating cannabis sales recently formed and they haven’t begun writing the rules that govern sales. It will take time. This gives us the opportunity to be proactive, to discuss and outline the terms for any dispensary location that works best for our community before any retailer has a chance to apply,” he stated.
“We should not passively wait on the state and limit our future opportunities. If we ever do get a dispensary (because choosing to allow a dispensary does not guarantee we will get one), the possible sales taxes will help diversify our revenue sources and make our village budget more resilient to weather ups and downs,” Kim added.