Since he arrived in Armonk 30 years ago, Guy Mezzancello has been consistently active in the Town of North Castle.
Whether it was assuming the commissionership of the Armonk Baseball League or putting up lights at Community Field, the electrical contractor said he’s always given back to the community.
In 2009, Mezzancello, 57, was one of three hopefuls who vied for the Democratic nomination for supervisor, losing to the late Becky Kittredge. Three years ago, he was appointed to fill a vacancy on the town’s planning board.
Now in 2014, after being contacted by the Republican Committee in the spring, he’s thrown his hat back into the political ring, challenging Councilman Jose Berra to complete Michael Schiliro’s unexpired term on the town board.
“I’ve always been involved in the town,” Mezzancello explained of his decision to get back into the political fray. I enjoy the town, doing things for the town. It was a perfect time to go after it.”
Mezzancello said while he’s well-versed in many of the issues affecting the town, his familiarity and knowledge of those issues from his time on the planning board would be a plus on the town board. Perhaps no bigger application faces the town than the golf course redesign and 88 residential units that have been proposed by the Brynwood Golf & Country Club.
He prefers to see the property remain a golf course, but doesn’t want the town to have condominium owners getting the steep tax break.
“Something’s going to happen up there, it’s a beautiful piece of property,” said Mezzancello, the planning board’s representative on the Comprehensive Plan Steering Committee. “I would hope to keep the golf course in our hometown of North Castle. I want to keep it green but I do want the taxation to be correct. Why should we give it away cheap?”
Mezzancello, who said that 88 units is too dense for the property, would be willing to explore a compromise of 60 to 65 units as long as there’s no additional burden to the schools and roads and to the taxpayers.
Mezzancello said he was pleased the town approved developer Michael Fareri’s plan to bring a combination of market rate and affordable housing units to the site of the old lumberyard on Armonk’s Bedford Road. The infrastructure is in place near the center of the hamlet and it shows that North Castle is contributing to the county’s affordable housing stock.
“I think we’ve done a great job over there with Fareri doing his thing and moving the buildings over,” Mezzancello said. “I think it’s a good spot for it.”
About a month and a half ago, the town was listed by the federal monitor as having potentially exclusionary zoning but Mezzancello didn’t think that was accurate. The town could also consider using a North White Plains property, the former United Rental location, on Washington Avenue as another site for more affordable units.
With interest rates still extremely low, Mezzancello is a proponent of borrowing money to help improve the condition of the roads more quickly than funding through the annual budget.
“I think it has to start soon because the roads need help,” he said.
Creating more parking areas to ease the traffic and volume of cars in downtown Armonk since the opening of Armonk Square must be a priority, Mezzancello said. While expanding the lot behind Hergenhan Recreation Center is a good start, he believes the town will need to explore other options as well, including the more expensive Kent Place site and the Verizon lot near the library.
He also would be willing to ask Werber Management, owner of the Armonk Shopping Center where the new CVS is located, to make that lot into a parking district. Therefore, shoppers who go to Armonk Square could walk out of the lot and cross Maple Avenue to reach their destination.
Mezzancello is strongly against the ward system, which will be on a special election ballot on Nov. 13. For a town of 12,000 residents, there’s no need to increase the size of government and spend more money. Many residents would have less representation and face more red tape.
“I think the ward system is good for larger, much larger communities, but the numbers speak for themselves,” he said. “Out of 932 towns in New York, only 11 have it.”
Mezzancello said he has no doubts that if he’s elected he would fit right in on the current board.
“I’m a team player all the way and I think everybody on that board will say the same thing,” he said.