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There will be at least one more public hearing session held by the Mount Kisco Village Board on whether to move to pursue eminent domain proceedings for a 25-acre parcel.
Village trustees decided to extend the hearing regarding 180 S. Bedford Rd. last Monday to the Village Board’s May 16 meeting to give the public more time to absorb what turned into a nearly five-hour forum on Apr. 30 at the library. That session began as the continuation of the eminent domain hearing followed by a question-and-answer session from residents regarding the relocation of a Homeland Towers’ cell town to an area of Leonard Park.
The board is weighing whether the replacement of parkland at South Bedford Road would be the right choice if it went ahead and alienated between 4,000 and 5,000 square feet of Leonard Park to site the tower. A 12-foot-wide road of at least 500 feet long would also need to be created to get vehicles up to the cell tower.
Another possibility is village-owned land off Mountain Avenue.
Board members were in agreement that the public should have another two weeks to get up to speed on all the issues surrounding the eminent domain procedure and the decision the board faces. Deputy Mayor Lisa Abzun said the village provided a timeline and a Frequently Asked Questions page at the Apr. 30 forum and it was likely some residents were still educating themselves on the issue.
“I don’t think there’s been enough time for the public to get ahold of these things and digest them,” Abzun said.
Trustee Anne Bianchi said she favored leaving the hearing open for one more session to provide the public with another opportunity to make their arguments.
Another board member, Trustee Karen Schleimer said she also wanted to keep the hearing open but was concerned that if it was closed this month, the board would have to adopt findings in the middle of the summer. Village Attorney Whitney Singleton said the board has 90 days to make findings from the closure of the hearings but it would not preclude it from doing it sooner than that.
At the marathon Apr. 30 forum, Mayor Gina Picinich said the fair market value for the 25 acres is between $2 million and $3.6 million, significantly more than the $1.5 million the land last sold for about nine years ago. It also is more than the $1.3 million that is currently in the village’s open space fund.
Some proponents of moving ahead with eminent domain have said there is likely grant money available to bridge the gap as well money that could potentially be raised from donations.
If the cell tower is moved to Leonard Park, it is currently sited near the sixth and seventh baskets of the disc golf course.
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/