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Pelham development projects focus of candidate forum

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Pelham development projects focus of candidate forum

Candidates for Pelham mayor and trustee took questions from residents.

Candidates for Pelham mayor and trustee took questions from residents.

Candidates for Pelham mayor and trustee took questions from residents.

Candidates for Pelham mayor and trustee took questions from residents.

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Candidates running for mayor and trustee in the Village of Pelham election answered questions during a forum held Wednesday in Pelham Memorial High School’s Alumni Hall, with the crux of the debate focused on development in Pelham.

Before a standing-room-only crowd, all the candidates touched on development in their opening remarks before answering a round of specific questions about real estate projects from residents. Voters asked about future developments’ impact on taxes, replacing the firehouse and a parking deck, whether office seekers wanted no development or more development, and what their plans were regarding future projects.

The Republican/Pelham Village Party candidates said they were in favor of development, but were concerned about the pace and type of projects. Republican trustee candidate Stephen Doka said his slate supported condos and other properties that generate greater tax revenues than rental apartments.

Chance Mullen, Democratic and Pelham Forward mayoral candidate, argued against that position, saying “just because they’re rentals does not mean there is no tax revenue. To get young professionals, seniors and empty-nesters, we need rentals.”

Mullen said the 101 Wolfs Lane project would absorb 15 percent of the cost of the new Hutchinson School. He argued in favor of mixed-use developments, pointing out how successful they were in nearby towns.

Republican/Pelham Village Party mayoral candidate Candice Ripoll said people come to Pelham because of its safety, its schools and its proximity to the city. She said the village should “take a pause, and consider the developments [we] are undertaking.”

It was standing-room-only for Pelham candidate forum in PMHS’s Alumni Hall.

After the initial back-and-forth on downtown real-estate projects, a break from the topic was taken and other questions were asked. One resident stated that Pleasantville had preemptively prohibited the sale of marijuana in town should the state approve it and asked what Pelham would do. Mullen said that he would support a similar law, and GOP trustee candidate Arthur Long said his party agreed.

Residents, who submitted their questions on cards, asked the candidates how they would lead Pelham to be more environmentally sustainable.

“Such projects take a very long time to produce a return,” Doka said, but added the Republicans aim to push sustainability.

Lisa Hill-Reis, Democratic candidate for trustee, discussed the Solarize Pelham campaign and the success and impact it has had, as well as the village’s discussions with developers about green features in their buildings.

On police and fire services, Republican trustee candidate LeRoy Marriott said the police department needed more staff now and that number would grow as real-estate projects were completed.

Mullen said the police and fire departments needed to be treated “like assets, not liabilities.”

The forum will be broadcast on Cablevision channel 75 and Verizon FiOS channel 43, as well as on the school channels, Cablevision channel 77 and Verizon FiOS channel 42, and on the homepage of the Pelham Examiner and Pelham Plus. 

Voting will take place on Tuesday from 6 a.m. to 9 p.m. at the Daronco Townhouse.

The candidate forum was co-sponsored by the Pelham Examiner and Pelham Plus.

The full party slates for the Village of Pelham election:

Republican and Pelham Village Party

  • Mayor: Candice Ripoll
  • Trustee: Stephen Doka
  • Trustee: LeRoy Marriott
  • Trustee: Arthur Long

Democratic and Pelham Forward Party

  • Mayor: Chance Mullen
  • Trustee: Lisa Hill-Ries
  • Trustee: Mike Carpenter
  • Trustee: Ariel Spira-Cohen

Residents will also vote on a ballot proposition that, if approved, would move village elections from March to Election Day in November.

About the Writer
Daniella Cherner, Social Media Editor

Daniella Cherner is a senior at Pelham Memorial High School. In addition to writing for the Pelham Examiner, she runs on the cross country and track teams...

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Pelham development projects focus of candidate forum