Letter to the Editor: Business As Usual?

As a twenty four year resident of Palisades, I have noted that there has been little in the way of commercial enterprises here, but a few have endured. Buying a postage stamp has never been under threat and although we can no longer buy gas at the old gas station, having an excellent café in lieu is indeed a much better alternative. Yonderhill antiques too has reinvented itself, catering for a series of businesses that allow its owner to keep the building in good repair. These businesses however, continue to be attacked by a small group of Palisades residents.

Legal battles regarding tenants at the Yonderhill building has cost the owner somewhere between $50,000 and $100,000 in lawyers fees due to the resistance of this small band of residents. They seem to have nothing better to do than throw up road blocks to commercial ventures. Now it seems the same people have lobbied the town of Orangetown to bring in parking restrictions on Route 9W to prevent customers of the Palisades Market from parking when frequenting the café. I myself received a ticket for $25 not realizing new signs had been erected without consulting residents. Heresay is that the owners are rethinking their situation due to the subsequent drop in revenue.

On weekends the Palisades Community Center has been running events which result in cars parking along Oak Tree Road on both sides, impeding the flow of traffic and causing risk to pedestrians due to cars parking half on the sidewalk. However, no efforts seem to have been made to address this situation. Could this be because the same people who harassed the owner of the Yonderhill building and caused problems for parking at Palisades Market are indeed the very same people who run these events?

It’s now time for certain Palisades residents to support their community, not tear it down. If you want to do what is right for Palisades, look after the business people who fight against decay of beautiful buildings and run the businesses that make our community a better place to live. These businesses are legacies that need to be embraced, not eradicated.

Alan D. Townsley
7 Closter Road, Palisades NY 10964

The Editors of 10964 Respond
Dear Mr. Townsley;

Your letter charges that recent actions by some activist residents are having a negative effect on local businesses. We offer some facts to refute these charges.

Due to the recent increase in accidents on Route 9W in Palisades, (32 in 17 months), approximately 500 people signed a petition to the NYS Department of Transportation requesting safety corrections to the Route 9W/Oak Tree Road intersection and lowering the speed limit from 45 mph to 35 mph. Restricting Route 9W parking was not listed in this petition or connected to the PCC. Independently, a Route 9W resident raised this concern with the DOT because of safety and the blockage of a driveway.

And as for Yonderhill, Palisades residents have always enjoyed and patronized the businesses housed there. People in the community understandably had questions about dividing this historic building into two businesses; some attended meetings to express their opinions, for and against. The decision by the owners of Yonderhill to involve themselves in costly litigation against the Zoning Board of Appeals and their tenant Sundala is a completely separate issue.

In support of local business, especially the Route 9W Market, the installation of a sidewalk has been suggested for the east side of Route 9W from Oak Tree Road to the Tallman trailhead to improve the safety of the community and visitors as they walk to the Market. NYS Assemblymember Jaffee is looking into securing a grant. Slowing traffic to 35 mph is an attempt to provide safety to the growing number of cyclists, pedestrians and cars traveling to and from Palisades businesses and other locations, including the Route 9W market, Snedens Pointe, HNA, the Palisades Swim Club, Bright Horizons and the Tallman trailhead.