The following was submitted to Rivertowns Enterprise on 2/23/2003 as a Letter to the Editor. The version here is one paragraph longer and is electronically annotated. Click on any number-link (they look like footnotes) and you will be taken directly to backup information in a relevant paragraph of another document at this site. Then use the 'back' button on your browser to return to here.

We all long for genuine community. We want a livable place where we can co-exist with others in a spirit of collaboration Ė a place where we, as citizens acting together through local government, can exercise control over decisions that deeply affect us.

Communities like this thrive only where local government is open and responsive and carefully strives to be genuinely inclusive, rational, and transparent.[1]

Dobbs Ferry government presently displays none of these qualities. A 5-to-2 split in the Board gives the majority impunity to regularly inhibit citizen participation, deny access to information, and actively attempt to silence and discredit those who would challenge its right to operate in this manner. Itís an antiquated Good-Ole-Boy system the political lifeblood of which is rumor and innuendo.

Particularly problematic is its failure to assume responsibility for planful development. Control is relinquished to 'developers' to do with neighborhoods what they will.[2] [3] No Master Plan exists. Codes, say Village consultants and committees, are outdated and inconsistent.[4] McMansions spring up amidst smaller homes[5] despite residents' objections.[6] But the Board does nothing.[7]

In the Virginia/Lefurgy neighborhood of small one-family homes[8] where my family has lived for 51 years, 2 projects proposing 9 new two-family homes[9] would DOUBLE the density of families and cars, despite the fact that...

  • neighborhood infrastructure cannot safely handle the current density of homes and traffic;[10]

  • the proposed buildings would drastically change the present one-family character of the neighborhood, contrary to goals prescribed by code;[11]

  • in 1970, village consultants recommended maintaining the Village's residential areas at the then-current density levels, saying that neighborhoods had by then already reached maximum capacity![12]

This would radically change the character of the neighborhood and exacerbate current traffic, parking, and safety problems [13].

The Village's failure to conduct a proper site plan review [14] forced neighbors to bring this matter to Westchester Supreme Court, where the matter awaits a judge's decision. When will the Village stop fighting residents and join with them to protect the neighborhoods?

Allegra Dengler[15], Vikki Jones, Paul Sterne and Brian Maddox are the only hope Dobbs Ferry has for open and responsive government capable of halting rampant inappropriate development. They possesses the combined knowledge, skills and committment to do whatís necessary. [16] All they need is your vote.

John Fudjack