Hi, my name is Joan Grangenois-Thomas (gruh-zhen-wa), and I am running for re-election for a seat on the Port Chester Board of Trustees. I am asking for your vote on Tuesday, March 15.
I learned a lot in the 3 years since I was first elected. There’s a lot at stake and people counting on me to deliver. I will never profess to know everything – no one does. What I do know is that my goal to bring fairness and balance hasn’t changed. You all elected me in 2019 to be a voice of reason. I think I did that when I objected to setting a public hearing on the monumental legislation to adopt the form-based code – a new zoning scheme that will increase our population by approximately 10,000 people in 10 years - just as New York State shut down because of Covid-19. I was the only trustee who voted against adopting it and I stand by that vote. We weren’t prepared for what was to be unleashed as a result of that.
Our infrastructure is still in dire need of attention and a comprehensive study to ensure it can handle the thousands of additional units being planned. The village has yet to conduct a housing needs assessment, a comprehensive traffic study or a social-economic impact study. One outgoing trustee called all the needed studies an “IOU”. Shouldn’t those reviews been done before we embarked on the new zoning? Will we be prepared when those IOU’s come due?
Some of the concerns I’ve heard from residents is that they are worried about the pace of development and towering buildings overshadowing the homes and businesses around it and losing the charm of the village. We need to ensure that the BoT has final say on development projects over a certain size.
Severe budget cuts have decimated our Planning, Buildings and Code Departments. We cannot develop at our current pace without having a plan as to how these departments will be adequately staffed. These directly impact quality of life in the village. As a matter of fact, I think we need a moratorium on all development until the village understands all the impacts that new projects will have on infrastructure, traffic, taxes and housing.
Hurricane Ida wreaked havoc on our village; homes flooded, roads were washed out, businesses were devastated. We need a strategic plan that keeps us focused on the things we need to do to prevent devastation like that in the future.
We need transparency, clear policies and boundaries in order to regain the trust of the community. I will seek that all members of the boards and commissions that have influence in land use and fiduciary policies sign disclosure forms. I will also seek to strengthen our ethics, civility and harassment policies.
I am thrilled that there are 3 women running for election! This is a good thing. We still need to create a more inclusive and welcoming atmosphere. There’s still so much more work to do. Please get out and vote on March 15 or request an absentee ballot from the Village Clerk (937-5200). Join me at the table – I’ll make room!