WPCNR EVENING CITY STAR REPORTER. By John F. Bailey. October 11, 2002:The Realm Senior Citizen Assisted Living Project planned for the rocky wooded tract of forest next to the Ethical Culture Society of Westchester off Saxon Woods Road will be before the Scarsdale Planning Board again Wednesday, October 23, the Scarsdale Village Planner told WPCNR Thursday. Elizabeth Marrinan also told WPCNR that the Scarsdale Police Department is investigating last week’s fire on the site as having been deliberately set.
Ms. Marrinan brought WPCNR up-to-date on where the project is in the Scarsdale Planning Board review process. She said the 117-unit, 3-story project will come back to the Board on October 23 to report on hydrological issues involving the Mamaroneck River which runs through the property, and the design of the bridge crossing the river. Asked if the Planning Board was leaning towards approving the project based on satisfactory answers, she said she could not tell at this time.
WPCNR asked if last week’s fire that has been determined to be definitely set at vacant house on the property, causing a jam-up of traffic on two-lane Saxon Woods Road had any affect on the Planning Board’s consideration of the project. Marrinan said the Planning Board had made it clear to Realm, that if the project were to be approved, the developer would have to have Saxon Wood Road be widened and the bridge over the Mamaroneck River to be widened to accommodate the increased traffic.
Realm Must go to City for Road Improvements.
She said that it was up to Realm, the developer, to obtain approval for widening of the road from the City of White Plains. This is one of 14 approvals Realm must receive from the City of White Plains to execute the project. The city is opposed to the project in principle.
Fire at vacant house said not to be an accident.
Lieutenant Bryant Clark, spokesman for the Scarsdale Police Department told WPCNR that the arson investigator for the Scarsdale Fire Department had told the police that the fire that took place on the property last week, which left only walls of the home standing, was not an accident, and the police are investigating the matter as a definite arson.
Clark said there was indication that the vacant house had been used for impromtu parties in the past, but the fire appeared to be “intentionally set,” and not an accident, “based on the physical evidence.” Chemical analysis of evidence taken from the scene is still being analyzed by the Westchester County Forensics Lab as of Thursday afternoon, he reported, and said he would keep WPCNR informed.
Lieutenant Clark said at this time his department is working on the investigation on its own, and is not involving the White Plains Public Safety Department. He said that should investigation lead police to White Plains residents, the Scarsdale Police would have the right to make an arrest of the suspect(s).