The Examiner

Mt. Kisco Planning Board’s Limbo Status Leaves Members Miffed

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The Mount Kisco Village Board met with three of three four planning board members who have continued to serve despite having their terms expire last December.
The Mount Kisco Village Board met with three of three four planning board members who have continued to serve despite having their terms expire last December.

Four Mount Kisco Planning Board members are angered that they continue to serve while no decision to reappoint them to their posts has been made since last December.

Chairman Joseph Cosentino and Vice Chair Anthony Sturniolo were scheduled to be reappointed to their leadership positions for another year on Dec. 7, 2015, while members Ralph Vigliotti and Enrico Mareschi were expected to be approved for new three-year terms. However, the village board has taken no action during the past nine months.

The issue came to a head at last Monday’s work session scheduled at the request of Trustee Karen Schleimer, who said she wanted to discuss why no decision has been made on the four board members.

Cosentino, who has served on the planning board for 30 years and attended last week’s meeting with Vigliotti and Mareschi, said it appears obvious to him that the board wants to get rid of the current members. Trustees failed to follow policy when he wasn’t invited as chairman to an interview of a potential planning board candidate, he said.

“He wants to get all new members on the board,” Cosentino said of Mayor Michael Cindrich.

The mayor, he said, is reacting to pressure from developers, which is serving as motivation to change board membership, Cosentino told The Examiner. Cindrich accused him of having a “building problem,” Cosentino said, but the mayor “won’t bring me into an executive session” to discuss the issue.

Cindrich denied rumors that he met privately with a potential planning board candidate. One person was interviewed during an open meeting after writing trustees a letter expressing interest, Cindrich explained. He did not recall the name of that person, but no appointment was made.

Cindrich said the village board had sought comments from planning board members after a special task force released its recommendations earlier this year on how to streamline the development approval process. The recommendations have not been formally approved.

When asked why no decision has been made, the mayor said he was not at liberty to discuss the matter.

“Please know all of my actions are in the best interest of the residents of Mount Kisco,” Cindrich said. “There were no illegal meetings. There are sensitive issues that I cannot speak about at this time and defaming innuendo serves no purpose.”

Trustee Anthony Markus also issued a statement regarding the controversy.

“The Village Board continues to insure that the planning board operates in a balanced and efficient manner,” Markus said. “In furtherance of this objective, we have engaged a task force headed by Trustee Peter Grunthal and are continuing to review the task force recommendations.”

Vigliotti, on the board for about 17 years, said he believes the current situation with the village board stems from when the task force made its recommendations and there were negative comments from developers and their representatives about the planning board’s work. The planning board wasn’t given adequate opportunity to respond to the task force’s findings, Vigliotti charged.

However, the planners have always looked out for the village’s interests, he maintained.

“We are just waiting for the axe to fall,” Vigliotti said.

It has now been nine months and Mareschi, a one-term, member, said his status also remains in limbo. Sturniolo did not attend last week’s work session because he was sick.

Vigliotti said the trustees’ failure to reappoint current members has been difficult for them, generating questions from village residents about their status.

Despite the concerns, the village board did not commit to voting on their reappointment last week.

Jim Diamond, CEO of the Mount Kisco-based Diamond Properties who has had various applications before the planning board, said he had previously alerted village trustees to concerns he had about the board. He outlined those concerns in a letter to village officials after an application was denied for an outdoor ropes course on the vacant land between his property at 333 N. Bedford Rd. and the Target and Stop & Shop property.

“This was an opportunity for us to revitalize and connect five acres of woods with homeless people and garbage in it to the Village of Mount Kisco soccer field,” Diamond stated in the letter. “The village would have ended up with beautiful walking trails connecting the soccer field to North Bedford Road, creating a truly interesting and educational environment.

“I fear that unless there is a fundamental shift in attitude, and the addition of some vision, that new flowerpots and cleaner sidewalks downtown are not really going to result in Mount Kisco having a dynamic business community,” Diamond continued.

Diamond said his letter to village trustees was written before new Village Manager Edward Brancati and Building Inspector Peter Miley were hired, bringing an increased level of professionalism to the village.

“But improvements to the Planning Board process really still need to come through the Village Board,” he said.





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