A local developer who has repeatedly battled town officials for years on a wide range of issues said he is mulling a run for a seat on the North Castle Town Board this November.
Armonk resident Michael Fareri said he will explore a candidacy or possibly reach out to other residents to form a slate of candidates because he is disenchanted with what he listed as stagnant assessables, a decrease in property values and taxes that have crept up by about 25 percent over the past 10 years.
Fareri said the town has made it too difficult for development to take place, making it difficult for the town to realize an increase in assessable property. Costs per square foot for North Castle real estate has fallen by about 50 percent in the past decade, he contended.
“So, it’s my opinion, if I was on the Town Board and why I’m considering potentially getting involved, I don’t want to see these decreases in property values continue,” said Fareri, who has lived in town for close to 45 years.
He said that if he was on the board, he’d support policies that would increase development and assessable properties. Fareri also said he would support an independent study to look at staffing and salaries and whether certain functions could be outsourced in hopes that the town operate more efficiently.
He pointed to the building and highway departments as areas that could be improved and questioned why North Castle needs about 34 officers and spend more than $8 million annually on the police department.
“I think the town has a lot of different ways to improve itself,” he said. “I would look at outsourcing certain departments in town that I don’t think are done very well.”
Fareri has also butted heads with the current board over the stockpiling of road millings at the highway department property in Armonk and on Middle Patent Road.
This is not the first time that Fareri has floated the idea of running for town office but to this point he has not followed through with pursuing a candidacy. A registered Republican, Fareri said he wants to take more time. He would expect to make a decision in about three to five months in time to file petitions.
“I’m going to test the market. I’d have to search my own conscience to see if I’m willing to put the time in as a member of the Town Board,” Fareri said. “I have to discuss this with my friends and family and I’d like to see, and hopefully find, other people in the community who have an interest in serving the community to make it better.”
He declined to answer whether he would pursue a major party nomination or seek an independent line, saying that with town issues labels are virtually meaningless.
Fareri has been a lightning rod for controversy in recent years, butting heads with town officials, including the current Town Board regarding two of his properties, the site of the old lumberyard on Bedford Road and 470 Main St.
He has continually accused the board of treating him unfairly for refusing to allow him to transfer six affordable units from the lumberyard site to Main Street and for forcing him to provide 20 percent affordable units at the lumberyard.
The developer has also sued the town regarding development issues and launched a federal civil rights lawsuit against current Supervisor Michael Schiliro. The suit was initiated after he was prohibited from speaking at a Town Board meeting unless he apologized to a town employee. The suit was settled out of court.