Sunshine Home Asks Neighboring Village for Municipal Water

The attorney for the Sunshine Children’s Home & Rehab Center has sent a letter to Village of Ossining officials once again requesting the facility be allowed to connect to the municipality’s water supply.

Mark Weingarten’s Apr. 2 letter to the Ossining Village Board of Trustees stated that while the expanded facility would be able to tap into sufficient well water without affecting neighbors’ water supply off-site, there have been persistent concerns among homeowners near the Spring Valley Road site.

Approvals from the Town of New Castle to enlarge the facility from under 19,000 square feet to about 143,000 square feet and from 54 to 122 beds would also require “construction of a costly new water treatment system approved by Westchester County Department of Health,” according to the letter.

“Notwithstanding all of the analyses that confirm that use of the wells will not adversely impact off-site water supply, residents of the Town of New Castle and the Town and Village of Ossining continue to express concerns about potential impacts on their water supply and the sufficiency of the on-site water sources in the event of a fire,” the letter stated.

Ossining Mayor Victoria Gearity said the Village Board formally received the letter at its meeting last week. She did not tip her hand as to how she and the rest of the board may act. E-mails to three village trustees were ignored last week.

“Since we received a formal request, we will have a formal response,” Gearity said.

Sunshine Children’s Home submitted a similar request in December 2015, but the village rebuffed the applicant.

Attempts to reach Weingarten last week to pose questions about the letter were unsuccessful.

Neighbors who have opposed the project said this latest request has deepened suspicions because Sunshine’s representatives have maintained that wells on its property would meet the expanded facility’s need for up to 15,000 gallons of water a day.

“The Sunshine Home and Mark Weingarten testified to New Castle and to a New York State Supreme Court judge that there was more than enough water for the expansion,” said nearby resident Laura Houston. “For them to turn around and ask Ossining for water now raises all kinds of questions about the truth, as well as the safety of the patients and staff at the hospital.”

Glendale Road resident Cynthia Manocherian said Sunshine Home’s representatives haven’t been truthful about water since the start of the project’s review.

“Sunshine Home has been pressuring Ossining officials for municipal water since at least 2013, this time with the help of New Castle Town Supervisor (Robert) Greenstein,” Manocherian said. “Either Sunshine has sufficient well water or it doesn’t. Which is it?”

Greenstein denied he was behind the request, saying it was initiated by the developer. He said the neighbors have the right to oppose the project but are disingenuous when arguing that they have the welfare of the children in mind.

“If these people are truly concerned about the water quality, truly concerned about their wells drying up and truly concerned about the best interests of the children, they would put pressure on Ossining to connect Sunshine Children’s Home to their water supply,” Greenstein said.

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