Pelham Examiner

Pelham Examiner

Pelham Examiner

Responds to Manor Dems: Lower home values result of bordering Bronx, Mt. Vernon; sources of most flood waters are outside Pelham

To the editor:

I grew up in the former Village of North Pelham. My dad was a village trustee there, as well as a former town historian. My wife Fran and I briefly lived out of town but moved back in 1993 and settled in Pelham Manor. I attended Pelham schools, as well as our three sons. They are out in the world, armed with a fantastic education, blazing trails of success after growing up in this fantastic community.

Just some observations after listening to the candidate forum before the upcoming Village of Pelham Manor trustee election. I hesitate to term it a debate, if that was the intention.

We watched the broadcast on Channel 46 Wednesday evening and thought it was an eye-opening hour of “questions to the candidates.” Incumbent Trustee Maurice Owen-Michaane was well-armed and calmly went through the numbers of where we stood financially and where we are going. Fellow incumbent Breda Bennett was passionately proud of her accomplishments and rightly so. The last village elections have seen uncontested candidates reelected, and one would have to think, as there was no opposition for at least four years, that the populace must be pleased with the results.

The quiet outrage that materialized at the forum as well as in some letters to the editor in support of candidates Kate Pringle and Mark Cardwell would make you wonder where their emotions were hiding over the last couple of elections. One letter questioned why our real estate doesn’t command home prices like Rye, Scarsdale and Bronxville. Geography might be the answer. Those communities are not bordered by the Bronx and Mount Vernon. Another comment sarcastically questioned what was so wonderful about twice-weekly garbage pickups that includes rear-house retrievals. Maybe not a big deal to those in their forties, but the elder part of our population might not be able to drag out their pails by 8 a.m. Not all municipalities provide this service.

Obviously, the topic on most everyone’s minds was the flooding in various parts of not only Pelham Manor but the Village of Pelham. There are efforts under way to mitigate the water issues, and much of the solution as many people are aware originates at the sources of the water, most of it outside of Pelham.

If I had any comments about the water, I would ask what the City of New Rochelle or the County of Westchester are doing to help us downstream in Pelham.

To those who contributed negatively to this election dialogue, I would ask what you have done up to this point to remedy your discontent with the present mayor or trustees? They are your neighbors and have open doors for your commentary. If you think “new blood” is the answer with untested individuals without picking up a phone or reaching out to the resources already available, think again.

Maurice Owen-Michaane and Breda Bennett deserve your support and your vote!

Mark and Fran House

812 Wolf’s Lane

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Comments (3)

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  • K

    Kurt WiesenmaierMar 18, 2024 at 10:55 am

    Thank you for sharing your thoughts, I believe it’s important to have this discussion openly and respectfully. Like most, I also have a long history with Pelham. I had the benefit of moving here in 1985 as a child and have since moved back with my own family and plan to be here for another 20 or so years.

    I’ve been a local realtor in this community for 10+ years, I can tell you that our geographic location is our strength, not our weakness. Like my parents, myself, and most persons looking to buy in Pelham, proximity to NYC is often the main draw.

    If the surrounding communities were the issue, surly Bronxville (bordered by some of the same communities you’ve mentioned plus Yonkers) wouldn’t be able to have some of Westchester’s priciest homes. I can assure you that our high taxes, relative to the affluent communities mentioned, are the main reason for the downward pressure on our home prices. Rye for instance has in the neighborhood of a 1.6% property tax rate, while we are ~3%.

    On flooding, I think you’ve fundamentally misunderstood the issue…we aren’t downstream, we are upstream – the challenge is often the discharge or end point of our own water collection systems. Also, the origin source of the water is rain, not something outside of Pelham. The current trustees were smart to commission the drainage infrastructure study early, I think everyone agrees that it should be acted upon quickly. For the benefit of anyone that hasn’t seen it you find it on the manor website (links are blocked from being posted here).

  • P

    Peter BazeliMar 18, 2024 at 10:39 am

    Bronxville does, in fact, border not only Mount Vernon, but also Yonkers. And yet, Pelham Manor houses have sold for a 33.4% discount to Bronxville houses, on a median per square foot basis, since 2016. It’s time we took action to strategically support our property values.

  • A

    Adam IlkowitzMar 18, 2024 at 8:05 am

    I’m a newer (9 years) Pelham Manor resident, with two kids going through the schools. You bet we were attracted by the schools, besides falling in love with the home we purchased.

    The last contested election was 3 years ago, with 3 open seats including Mayor. The interest in seeing “new blood” is not new.

    But Kate and Mark are not new either. Kate has been attending Village board meetings and speaking for years! Go check the minutes to see her name pop up time and again. And Mark has advocated for emergency services by both deed and action.

    What is also not new is this notion that “it ain’t broke,” but the facts show that the Manor can do better. Our neighboring municipalities never heard from us about flooding for years. Our current and previous board have ignored resident pleas for traffic and pedestrian safety improvements. Food scrapping was another fight against resident concerns for years. Three years after community engagement on police and we still have no female officers.

    I’m going to vote for change in the hope that residents are listened to, that we start engaging with our neighboring municipalities across a variety of issues, and we spend our money smarter and more effectively.