Thank You!

Check MarkYesterday, the people of New Rochelle voted overwhelming for constructive, forward-looking leadership, and expressed clear, unambiguous support for a vision of positive change in our city.

In the City elections, I am thrilled by the victories for my running mates in Council Districts 5 and 6, Barry Fertel and Liz Fried, both of whom emerged as winners in hard-fought campaigns.  And I am both humbled and gratified by the landslide margin in my own race for reelection.  Although he fell short, I also congratulate Luis Zepeda in Council District 1 for a valiant effort in a tough, uphill contest.  Here are the results from the Board of Elections, with all precincts reporting.

There are mixed results (from my perspective) in the County Legislative elections covering New Rochelle.  Catherine Parker won reelection by an unexpectedly wide margin, while Haina Just-Michael appears this morning to be trailing in a very tight contest.  (Haina racked up huge numbers in New Rochelle, yet trails overall because of bigger margins for Sheila Marcotte in Eastchester and Tuckahoe.)  Here are the full County results.

I congratulate all the winners, including Democrats Jared Rice and Ivar Hyden, who were reelected without opposition, and Republicans Lou Trangucci and Al Tarantino, who were returned to the City Council for new terms.

I also congratulate my opponent, James O’Toole, on his campaign.  James was gracious in reaching out to me last night to offer his concession, and I look forward to James’ continuing appearances at our Council meetings!

Finally, and most importantly, I want to take this opportunity to thank everyone who played a part in our local campaign this year.  Whether you posted a lawn sign, gave an endorsement, made a financial contribution, handed out literature, or simply took the time to vote, Catie and I together feel a deep, personal sense of gratitude for your help.

I look ahead to the coming term with great optimism — humbled to be entrusted again with leadership, but also refreshed by such a strong statement of support and determined to work my hardest alongside colleagues of both parties to justify your confidence.

This is an exciting moment for New Rochelle.  Let’s do everything possible to make the most of our opportunities.

P.S.  If you have a lawn sign on your property, please go ahead and dispose of it.




New Rochelle – Ideally Yours

Brand“New Rochelle – Ideally Yours”

I hope you like that phrase, because we’ll all be hearing it (and seeing the associated NRNY logo) many, many times in the next few years.  It’s our new brand, unveiled for the first time yesterday.

The brand may seem pretty simple, but it’s actually the product of many months of work, including extensive community surveys and creative input from graphic designers and communication experts, all coordinated by a national-caliber firm called North Star.  There’s more information about the process in this prior post.

A sample marketing package, utilizing the brand design and color palette
A sample marketing package utilizing our brand.

A good brand must be both aspirational and plausible.  It has to capture what’s best and distinctive about a community, and yet still ring true.

“Ideally Yours” communicates in a single phrase the breadth of opportunities in New Rochelle – the scope of housing options, commuting choices, and cultural traditions that can suit any lifestyle.  It also captures the inclusive spirit of our diversity, which gives all of us the creative freedom to pursue individual goals. Whatever your ideal may be, you can find it in New Rochelle.

The brand can be used in almost any context.
The brand can be used in almost any context.

Creating our brand is one challenge, and that’s now done.  Utilizing the brand effectively is a whole separate challenge, and that’s only just begun.  Going forward, we should work to integrate the brand into every platform of public communication, encourage its use by large institutions in New Rochelle, and employ the brand in professional marketing efforts aimed at attracting new business and enhancing New Rochelle’s civic image.

This power point, presented to the City Council yesterday, contains much more information, and also provides illustrative examples of how our brand could be used in a professional marketing campaign.

I think the team did a spectacular job.  And with the City pursuing an ambitious downtown development plan, the timing for rolling out our brand could not be better.

Spread the word . . . New Rochelle is Ideally Yours.


RDRXR Releases DGEIS Based on RAP . . . More Acronyms to Follow

New Rochelle’s master development team at RDRXR has just presented their Draft Generic Environmental Impact Statement (DGEIS) to the New Rochelle City Council.  It’s now online and will be the subject of a formal public hearing on October 13th.

Based on the zoning and urban design principles presented several weeks ago in the Recommended Action Plan (RAP) for the downtown, the DGEIS is a comprehensive look at the effect of our ambitious development initiative on everything from traffic patterns, to economic activity, to student enrollment, to job creation, to utility demands.  It also includes a preliminary framework for ensuring that developers contribute fairly to the infrastructure and service costs associated with growth.  That’s critical, because development only makes sense if residents and taxpayers come out ahead.

The word “Draft” should be emphasized.  By accepting this document, the City Council has not yet signaled approval of or satisfaction with all of its content.  Instead, we have deemed it sufficiently complete for the purpose of receiving feedback from the community and from other public agencies.  An updated “Final” version of the document (an “FGEIS”), that includes responses to any comments received, is scheduled to be presented later this year.

Then there’s the word “Generic.”  What does that mean?  Instead of focusing on a single project, as in most prior environmental reviews undertaken in New Rochelle, this EIS evaluates the effect of build-out targets and proposed zoning for the entire downtown area.  In this sense, it provides a much more holistic view of how development could reshape New Rochelle and of what measures would be necessary to ensure that our community receives both planning and fiscal benefits.

Once the environmental review process concludes, specific projects that fall within the development parameters of the GEIS will no longer be required to conduct their own full-scale environmental analysis (some lesser form of review may still be necessary.)  By providing this kind of pre-approval, New Rochelle can knock down a major financial and procedural impediment to investment and help transform our entire downtown into a more attractive business proposition.  Indeed, this is one of the major objectives of the master development process; by paying for the comprehensive GEIS, RDRXR is, in effect, subsidizing development by other teams that may now view New Rochelle as ripe with opportunity.

I look forward to examining the DGEIS closely in the weeks ahead, asking my own questions, and receiving constructive comments from our community.

We’re making great progress . . . more acronyms to follow!

Downtown Vision Takes Shape

Wide ShotOur vision for downtown New Rochelle is taking shape – a walkable, culturally vibrant, inclusive urban center that takes maximum advantage of our unparalleled location, and offers exciting opportunities to live, work, play, and shop.

Last night, New Rochelle’s master development team at RDRXR presented their Recommended Action Plan or “RAP.”  Today, you can read the entire document online (warning: it’s a big download) or watch the presentation to the Council.

The product of months of hard work and extensive community input, the RAP lays out design criteria, height restrictions, planning strategies, and infrastructure improvements for different portions of the Main Street area and lower North Avenue corridor.  These recommendations will be the basis for a proposed overlay zone that is likely to come before the City Council by the end of this year.

Proposed Downtown Overlay Zone Boundaries
Proposed Downtown Overlay Zone Boundaries

The RAP also suggests a market-supported balance of commercial and residential construction, totaling millions of square feet – the largest and most ambitious development effort in the modern history of the Hudson Valley.  These targets will be the subject of a comprehensive environmental review, also likely to conclude by the end of this year.

Together, the zoning and the completed environmental analysis will reduce barriers to future private investment by establishing clear, predictable development rights, and by eliminating the high cost of project-specific environmental reviews.  More than ever before, New Rochelle will be open for business and ready to welcome any investor who shares our vision.

The forward-looking action items within the RAP are its most important features, but the discussion of historical development patterns is also worth a look and offers helpful context for current decision-making.

There’s much more hard work ahead, and I certainly won’t be satisfied until there are shovels in the ground.  But the release of the RAP is a major milestone in the City’s ongoing downtown revitalization efforts, and I’m excited about New Rochelle’s prospects.