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Tarrytown Mayoral Candidates Share Positions on Key Issues

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September 28, 2021

The Hudson Independent asked the three candidates for mayor of Tarrytown — Karen Brown, Paul Janos and Doug Zollo — the same five questions about key local issues. Read below for their responses, ordered randomly.

Janos did not answer the questions by the publication deadline provided by The Hudson Independent. Out of fairness, his answers could not be included in this article.

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Background: Tarrytown residents vote for mayor Tuesday, Nov. 2. Each candidate is running with three candidates for village trustee. Brown is running with Rebecca McGovern, David Kim and Effie Phillips-Staley on the Democratic and Tarrytown United party lines. Janos is running with Stan Friedlander, Monica Reyes-Grajales and Mark Weinstein as the Preserve our Village party. Zollo is running with Peter Bartolacci, Ida Doctor and Terence Murphy as the Village Alliance party. Both the mayor and village trustees serve two-year terms.

The Hudson Independent: What is your vision for development on the riverfront? Do you think the WIBC should survive, in one form or another?

Karen Brown: “I am committed to protecting the riverfront and ensuring that everyone can enjoy this incredible natural resource. Washington Irving Boat Club is important to the fabric of Tarrytown with its low cost slips and relaxing nights-out. The RFQ/RFI process brought five interesting concepts for the village owned land. I was pleased to see that WIBC was among them and look forward to working with them on fleshing out details.”

Paul Janos:

Doug Zollo: “While Village leaders and residents are currently focused on development on the west side of Broadway along the Hudson River, I believe we must take a holistic approach to development throughout our entire village. This approach must include the impact of Sleepy Hollow’s Edge-on-Hudson development. A comprehensive traffic study must be commissioned regarding the consequences of both in-process and future developments. 

There are decision makers in Tarrytown who favor large scale development and are even willing to sell public land to advance their agendas. I oppose their vision, will not sell public lands, and will strongly oppose developers who seek zoning amendments to further their projects without regard for the impact on our neighborhoods. My goal is to protect the quality of life of our residents along with the character and charm of our village, which are the reasons so many of us settled in Tarrytown.

The WIBC has a long and deep-rooted history in Tarrytown. Tarrytown’s village government also has a responsibility to its more than 11,000 residents to maximize the intrinsic value of this unique and beautiful waterfront location. Many Tarrytown residents enjoy the use of its riverfront areas, and this is a “once-in-a-generation” opportunity to enhance this site for public use. The plans submitted by all qualified parties for this piece of property will be considered by the village. If the plans submitted by WIBC and their chosen partners meet the revitalization criteria that best serve the public interest, I would support their continued existence on the site.”

THI: If you are elected mayor, will your administration opt in or out of legalized marijuana sales?

Janos:

Brown: “I will continue to question state officials and weigh public input on whether to allow dispensaries and/or on-site consumption in Tarrytown. Tax revenue from legal marijuana sales could help offset our property taxes and make it possible to further invest in our village. However, I am concerned about whether Tarrytown will have sufficient control, including over the location of these businesses.”

Zollo: “Cannabis was deemed legal for recreational use in New York State as of March 31, 2021. Basically, marijuana can be smoked anywhere you can smoke a cigarette. The village cannot usurp State Law. What we have to decide is whether or not cannabis will be legally sold in Tarrytown and whether or not we will allow the establishment of marijuana lounges in Tarrytown. If we don’t allow marijuana to be legally sold in Tarrytown, it will be sold in neighboring communities, brought back into Tarrytown and we will lose valuable tax dollars.  The location of establishments that would be permitted to sell marijuana or the lounges where it would be consumed is a factor that can be regulated through zoning. If after public vetting it is determined that the legal sale of marijuana and smoking lounges should be permitted, we would have to take into account the demographics of the area, proximity to a school or church or other such factors that would restrict their location. It is my position that no decisions related to cannabis use in Tarrytown should be made without full input from residents and full disclosure by the village government and staff.”

THI: What is your position on the proposed route 9 bicycle lane?

Zollo: “While I advocate for and encourage recreational outdoor exercise and activity, I cannot support bike lanes on Route 9 in our village. As someone who both lives and works on Route 9, I have witnessed first-hand many mirrors and doors of parked vehicles being struck by moving vehicles that are passing by. The road is narrow and already congested, leaving no room for bicycle lanes. It would be dangerous and would no doubt lead to serious injuries or even death. Also, Tarrytown cannot afford to lose parking spaces to accommodate bike lanes. The plan to have dedicated bike lanes from the Tappan Zee Bridge Shared Use Path, along State Route 119 to the North County Trailway, which itself is 22 miles long, allows for dedicated, safe and enjoyable bicycle travel.”

Brown: “I know that improving the safety for bike riders and walkers is important to a great number of our residents.  I support efforts to improve Broadway for the safety and mobility of pedestrians, bicyclists, and drivers alike. The Route 9 Active Transportation Conceptual Study aims to do so as well. Any solutions should take into account the parking needs of the village. I look forward to hearing from the state on what can be practically implemented.”

Janos:

THI: What is your opinion of the village’s position on police reform?

Brown: “Tarrytown can be very proud of its Police Department and the Village’s Police Reform & Reinvention Collaborative of 2020.  As a member of the Police Reform Committee, I fought to make sure all voices were heard and acknowledged throughout the process.  The report offers insight on how we will advance the diversity of our police force, engagement with BIPOC citizens, handling encounters with mental illness and the village’s pursuit of equitable treatment under the law. The report was a good start to an ongoing effort.”

Zollo: “In March of this year the Village of Tarrytown submitted its Police Reform and Reinvention Collaborative Plan and Recommendations to New York State. The killing of George Floyd was cause for a national reckoning as it related to the killing of African American men by police. While the Village of Tarrytown has complete faith in the integrity of its Police Department, a complete review of the department’s strategies, policies, procedures, and training was commissioned. The Board of Trustees appointed a police Reform Committee, which included a steering committee of village community leaders and a stakeholder committee whose members were volunteers representing a wide spectrum of our community.  I was chosen as the committee chairman by the Board of Trustees. After months of meetings, a village wide survey and input from the public, our report was finalized and a number of recommendations were made. The Police Department Supervisors have implemented training practices and other policies and procedures that will further enhance community relations and the strong relationship between the Tarrytown Police Department and our community.”

Janos:

THI: What is your vision for Tarrytown’s downtown area? (including North Broadway)

Zollo: “On Easter Sunday 2021, my wife and I decided to take a walk through our business district. The conditions were so unacceptable that I took pictures and sent them to my colleagues on the Board of Trustees and Village Administration. The sidewalks were (and still are) in disrepair and heavily stained and the tree wells were a hodge-podge of weeds, litter, and broken or missing fences and cobblestones. Also, trash and recycling were left out over the weekend to be picked up the following week. The business district is the heart of our village and should reflect the very best of Tarrytown. We must come up with an action plan for the repair and revitalization of this area which attracts so many of our residents and visitors. This plan must then be followed by education and code enforcement. I would invite any interested Tarrytown constituent to visit the Village Alliance website at www.tarrytownvillagealliance.com to learn more about our positions and platforms on the central business district along with other critical issues facing Tarrytown.”

Janos:

Brown: “I am proud that Forbes named Tarrytown as one of the top 10 prettiest towns in America. Downtown has been made more attractive and accessible by planting trees, adding tree lights, installing bike stands, and adding parking. If elected, I will build on this success by simplifying the permitting process for new business. I will also collaborate on repairing sidewalks and reducing the number of vacant storefronts on North Broadway by encouraging creative uses.  A long term vision for the buildings on North Broadway may require a holistic approach including studies of the area on the village’s end followed by engagement with current building owners.”

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