Letters to the editor

Trustee Candidate Bartolacci in an 8-Year Battle with Riverview Neighbors

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October 23, 2021

Peter Bartolacci of 67 Miller Avenue, Tarrytown, has been before either or both the Village Planning Board or the Zoning Board of Appeals since April of 2013. Currently Peter Bartolacci is running for election to the Tarrytown Village Board of Trustees (BOT).

The Tarrytown BOT is made up of the Village Mayor, the Deputy Mayor and five additional trustees, each elected for a two-year term.  The BOT is a legislative body and develops policy for the Village.  It is charged, among other things, with enacting rules and regulations governing the Village, including the Village Code.

Since early 2013, Peter Bartolacci has been before various village boards endeavoring to obliterate the steep slope at the rear of his property. Instead of just “repairing or replacing” an old six-to-eight-foot-high railroad tie wall on the steep slope of his property, as his application recites, Bartolacci is endeavoring to extend the yard by adding about 15 extra feet by newly constructing two massive tiered walls with backfill.

His plans have all entailed constructing one or more walls of combined height of 18-to-20-foot-high  on the western property line, destroying the steep slope and filling the yard with hundreds of cubic yards of fill. The most recent plans require 48 dump trucks for the 475 cubic yards of fill –twice as many if large dump trucks cannot be used in the small roads around Miller Avenue.

Like the codes of most of the river towns with hills and slopes descending to the Hudson River, the Village Code of Tarrytown restricts removal of steep slopes and hills to preserve the unique landscapes of the village. It mandates minimization of disturbance of steep slopes and permits a waiver only if the benefit to the owner outweighs the detriment to the neighbors and the neighborhood. The elimination of steep slopes is not permitted merely to add flatter yard space even in the case of new home construction.

Initially, in early 2013, Peter Bartolacci was informed that because he wanted to obliterate the steep slope, his plan needed to be approved by the Village Planning Board. After arguing with the Planning Board for months, Peter Bartolacci appealed to the Zoning Board of Appeals.  That Board affirmed the Planning Board’s determination. Peter Bartolacci then sued the Zoning Board of Appeals and appealed to the Supreme Court in White Plains which also affirmed the determination. Peter Bartolacci then appealed to the Appellate Division in Brooklyn which again affirmed the Zoning Board’s determination.  Each of these appeals and litigations cost the taxpayers of the village to pay a lawyer to defend the village’s reasonable actions.

After a hiatus of 39 months, Peter Bartolacci returned to the Village Planning Board, ignored the Village Code’s requirement of notice to the public and paid no fees for a new application.  Despite the fact that the Village Code indicates that any wall higher than six feet would need a variance prior to approval, Peter Bartolacci argued for months that his plans had no need for a variance.

After obtaining a variance in September 2017, Peter Bartolacci returned to the Village Planning Board with no notice to the public and pursued yet again walls around his property to eliminate the steep slope.

In mid-2018, after pursuing block walls since 2013, Peter Bartolacci admitted that the geogrids needed for those walls would be too close to the house.  He changed the plans to massive poured concrete walls. By fall 2018, Peter Bartolacci still failed to answer questions and provide critical engineering information required by the Village Planning Board. The application was adjourned for the entire year of 2019.

According to the Village Code, all variances expire two years after grant. Thus, the variance granted in September 2017 expired in September 2019 while Bartolacci was adjourned for failing to provide the required engineering information.

Once again in 2020, with no notice to the public required by the Village Code, Peter Bartolacci returned to the Planning Board to pursue the massive concrete walls.  Approval was granted in late September 2020.

The Planning Board’s approval in 2020 forced the most negatively impacted neighbor to bring suit against Peter Bartolacci and the Board to comply with the Village Code.  This suit is presently before the Supreme Court in White Plains.

Most recently, Peter Bartolacci is back before the Village Planning Board pursuing massive block walls — two walls 9-9.5 feet high across the west and 11 and 11.5 feet- high on the north and south of the property because the approved concrete walls turned out to be too expensive.

More than 10 neighbors along Riverview Avenue have strenuously objected to the proposed massive walls — appearing in person at the Planning Board meetings and signing a number of petitions expressing their concern at the negative impacts the walls will have on the neighborhood. Through their letters and signed petitions, the Riverview Avenue neighbors have clearly explained to the Planning Board that although there are lots of walls in the village — no wall even remotely like the massive walls has been built recently.  These walls will set a dangerous precedent. Not only will the massive walls present a danger to the resident’s downslope, but they will also violate the steep slope protections of the Code and be out of character with the neighborhood.  The neighbors are still waiting for responses and adequate answers to outstanding engineering and landscaping questions.

All facts can be checked: The Planning Board Minutes and the Zoning Board of Appeals Minutes on the Village website and Bartolacci v. Village of Tarrytown Zoning Board of Appeals, Dec and Order Index No 1326-14 June 5, 2014, aff’d 2016 Slip Op 07643 Nov 16, 2016.

For an illustration of Bartolacci’s rendition of the massive wall 9.5-and 9-foot-high system Peter Bartolacci is trying to construct to “repair and replace” a single six-to-eight-foot-high old railroad tie wall.  Request a copy of his submission to the Zoning Board of Appeals submitted on July 2, 2021, available from the Planning and Zoning Department at the Village Hall.

For an illustration of the neighbor’s rendition of a reasonably sized, eight-foot-high single block wall the neighbor has suggested to Peter Bartolacci and the Planning Board to replace the original single six-eight-foot-high railroaded wall superimposed on a photograph taken some years ago from the neighbor’s yard see the minutes of the Planning Board of August 23, 2021, at page 47 of 52 pages.

Submitted,

Geraldine F Baldwin, Tarrytown, NY

October 22, 2021

 

Ed­i­tor’s Note: Read Peter Bartolacci’s Oct. 24 Letter to the Editor in Response

 

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