News Based on facts, either observed and verified directly by the reporter, or reported and verified from knowledgeable sources.
Mount Kisco Deputy Mayor Lisa Abzun and longtime village Trustee Karen Schleimer may not have competition in this year’s general election, but that doesn’t mean they won’t have difficult issues to face over the next two years.
Abzun, who was appointed to the Village Board last December following the election of Anthony Markus to village justice, will get her full first term. Although she never aspired to run for public office, preferring volunteer work instead, the complex issues that she was required to quickly familiarize herself with were an eye-opener.
“I don’t mind the hard work and I don’t mind making decisions that can be difficult, so with all those things combined, I guess to run for a two-year position appealed to me, so here I am,” she said.
Of all the complex issues facing the village, the twin controversies of pursuing eminent domain for the 25-acre parcel at 180 S. Bedford Rd., the location of a proposed solar farm and cell tower, and potentially relocating the tower to Leonard Park top the list. For Abzun, no decision can be made about whether the park is a viable option for a tower until Homeland Towers completes and submits a formal survey of where exactly the tower would go.
“It doesn’t precisely identify the location in a way that we need to have it identified,” she said of what is available so far.
The question about the 25 acres comes down to what the sale price would be and whether the village could afford to buy it, Abzun said. While eminent domain is a possibility for the South Bedford Road parcel, there is also a chance the village could acquire the property through a private sale with the current owner, she said.
Schleimer who will return for a seventh two-year term, by far the longest tenure of any current board member, said she would like to help the village figure out its identity.
“What is important to us, and I don’t think at this point we know and that needs…a unified direction, and I think that’s really important,” Schleimer said.
Recently, the village’s Trails Team has caught the attention of her and other residents to little-known or unknown parts of the village.
Schleimer said the village should continue through the eminent domain process for 180 S. Bedford Rd. but that doesn’t mean the cell tower should then be sited in Leonard Park. She would like to look at alternate locations including other properties on Route 172, since that’s the stretch where the village’s consultant concluded there was compromised coverage.
Schleimer renewed calls for formation of a Route 172 Corridor Committee with the Town of Bedford in hopes of collaborating with their neighbor on solutions.
“I think that both towns would see much better results,” she said.
Since Mount Kisco is a walking community, Abzun raised the need for more pedestrian walkways and crosswalks to heighten safety.
“We really need to, number one, try to slow traffic down in the village, make crossings for pedestrians more visible and safer,” Abzun said.
One prime spot for an additional crosswalk would be on Lexington and Columbus avenues, not far from Neighbors Link, she said.
Schleimer said the pending closure of Walgreens on South Moger Avenue is a blow to that street, but so are the vacancies scattered throughout the village, including the site of the old Modell’s.
She would like the village to work with the state to ease traffic issues along the main routes, including exploring whether eliminating parking on one side of Main Street during peak hours could make sense to create a second lane of traffic in one direction.
“Instead of doing nothing, we should either have a committee or have discussions and sit down with planners and see if there is anything we can do to make it better than it is,” Schleimer said.
Martin has more than 30 years experience covering local news in Westchester and Putnam counties, including a frequent focus on zoning and planning issues. He has been editor-in-chief of The Examiner since its inception in 2007. Read more from Martin’s editor-author bio here. Read Martin’s archived work here: https://www.theexaminernews.com/author/martin-wilbur2007/