Finally, spring has arrived in the village and with it the return of many familiar sights and sounds of the season – bicycles, strollers, tennis balls, happy dogs, lawn mowers, leaf blowers and outdoor dining, to name just a few.
To make all spring activities healthy and successful, please just take a moment to review and in some cases rethink normal seasonal decisions.
As example, think about caring for your lawn this year organically and avoid using pesticides, which drain directly into our storm sewer system polluting all of the village run-off. Run-off carries with it whatever can be dislodged from our properties including salt, soil, leaves, pesticides, fertilizer and oil and gas. Check that gutters and sump pumps drain onto soil and not paved surfaces or into a storm sewer. Calibrate sprinklers so as not to water sidewalks and driveways.
If you choose not to use grass clippings for mulching or composting, bag them for disposal this season. The village’s Department of Public Works can remove bags much more frequently, preventing the pungent smells emanating from the decomposing piles, keeping these piles from clogging sewers and impeding drainage after rainstorms.
Gas-powered blowers may only be used to remove lawn debris until June 1and then again after Sept. 30.
If making seasonal renovation or landscaping improvements, consider using porous surfaces such as brick or gravel in lieu of asphalt and design landscaping to facilitate water retention and soil infiltration. As a reminder, if any of the renovation work requires a village permit, it may only be undertaken between 8 a.m. and 6 p.m. on weekdays.
The proper maintenance of sidewalks, both private and public, is the first step to making the village even more pedestrian friendly. Homeowners are responsible for the maintenance, repair and replacement of the sidewalks adjacent to their home. If in disrepair, the Public Works Department will issue a “duty to repair” notice. The village, in turn, is responsible for the maintenance of all curbing.
Should a pedestrian leave the sidewalk and enter a designated crosswalk, New York state law requires not only the car in the adjacent lane to stop, but also the cars traveling in the opposite direction. As illustration, at the intersection near Botticelli Bridal Shop and Houlihan Lawrence, the law requires all four lanes to stop when an individual first steps in the crosswalk.
When walking with a dog, please pick up after your pet. Pet waste not only damages plants and lawns but has become a major contaminant to our water systems. Waste placed in plastic bags and then dropped in storm sewers causes the growth of very dangerous bacteria.
If choosing to drive, and especially when waiting for students or train goers, please remember that Westchester County enacted an anti-idling law. School buses and delivery trucks as well as passenger cars that idle more than three minutes can be issued violation tickets up to $500. The goal of the law is to reduce CO2 emissions because for every two minutes a car idles, it uses the same amount of fuel to drive a mile.
The nice weather also signals the opening of two wonderful village institutions, our village tennis courts and the now all-green farmer’s market celebrating its 12th anniversary.
The village offers permits for spring/summer use of our tennis facilities as well as lessons for all ages. Stop by Village Hall or call Susan Laughlin at 337-6500, extension 112, to sign up.
Our very successful farmer’s market, located on Stone Place at Paxton Avenue, will open on May 11 and operate ever Saturday until Nov. 23 during the hours of 8:30 a.m. and 1 p.m. rain or shine. There will be two organic farmers and 30 vendors. Everything at the market must have ingredients grown or processed locally – either in New York, New Jersey or the Hudson Valley.
Spring in the village also brings more events and entertaining, and with that an uptick in trash. Approximately $180,000 of your tax dollars were spent collecting trash last year. The more we recycle, the less we spend because in lieu of paying a “tipping fee” to landfills and burn facilities for non-recycled garbage, we actually receive money on the sale of our recyclables.
As a refresher, the following items may now be recycled in Westchester County in addition to the obvious ones: cereal boxes, phone books, pizza cartons, corrugated cardboards, glossy magazines and inserts, aluminum foil and trays, egg cartons and detergent bottles including all caps and lids.
The following items as yet cannot be recycled and must be placed in regular garbage: Coat hangers, plastic and Styrofoam packing materials, milk cartons, books, paint and oil cans, light bulbs, mirrors and kitchen cookware.
And finally, when you are out walking through the village, step in to one of our wonderful stores and restaurants. Simply put, our merchants need your patronage. Not only will you be supporting the people who support the village through their constant generosity, you are helping yourself and our village long term. Keeping purchases local keeps money local, contributes to our sales tax revenue, saves on fuel and ancillary transportation costs, encourages a walking environment, fosters a human connection between merchant and customers, reduces local taxes and increases property values. For every $100 spent in one of our locally owned independent businesses, $68 eventually returns to our community. The same amount spent at an out-of-town mall or chain store returns $48 “home,” and if spent on the Internet, nothing comes back to our village. As quoted in a recent New York Times article, “if a village loses a store out of indifference or to save a buck or two, we have lost a lot more than we have saved.”
The trustees and I believe that adherence to the suggestions in this article need not be done by legislation, rather by a collective desire to keep our village the special place it is.