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Rye Mayor Fields Questions From Residents Over Morning Coffee

Rye Mayor Joe Sack, right, and Councilwoman Julie Killian fielded citizens' questions over coffee. Photo Credit: Jon Craig
One city resident said she may run for Rye City school board while another asked about the lack of public reports about holiday burglaries. Photo Credit: Jon Craig

RYE, N.Y. -- Rye Mayor Joseph Sack decided to start 2015 off fresh by hosting an informal coffee meeting Saturday with citizens and the news media.

Sack called it the first of what he hopes will be a continuing series of informal gatherings to hear city residents' concerns.

Sack was joined by Councilwoman Julie Killian at Ruby's Oyster Bar & Bistro, fielding dozens of questions small and large, from potholes to bomb scares and dangerous intersections.

At a minimum, Sack said he hopes to open the lines of communication, saying residents and reporters are welcome to contact him directly anytime. County Legislator Catherine Parker, D-Rye, and editors from two local newspapers also attended.

Two residents asked the elected officials what can be done about rocks that homeowners place on city-owned shoulders to keep motorists from parking or drifting onto the grass. Sack said it's likely the city will do something about it "because they are dangerous" and are on city property. "We're going to enforce the fact it's not their property."

Killian agreed: "We've committed to do it. It's just going to take time."

John Leonard, a 35-year resident of the city, expressed concern about Rye losing its semi-rural, natural characteristics as over-sized homes are built on vacant lots or the sites of torn-down homes. Century-old trees are removed, landscapes wrecked and boulders removed, he said. "I'm asking you to look at the rules,'' Leonard said. "Are the (zoning regulations) sufficiently tight? I don't think they are."

Sack said the City Council is receptive to concerns like Leonard's. He and Killian have been responsive to the noisy "rockchipping" trend by setting up a study group. "We're the first to ever do it,'' Sack said.

Regarding school safety, Sack said the police department is actively investigating three recent bomb scares at Rye High School but that few details are shared with elected officials so that leads are not compromised.

Separately, Sack said the city is concerned about pedestrian safety near Osborn Elementary School. He said the issue has been studied, but that parents have to use common sense in not jaywalking across Boston Post Road at Sonn Drive when they pick up their children.

"We don't have control over everything that goes on,'' Killian added.

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