Dear Fellow Republican
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Local Preschool Politics

A couple of hand-painted signs I saw this morning prompted me to write the following note to the Town Planning Board. There is apparently a proposal to locate a small nursery school in a house up a long driveway off Bear Ridge Road, an arterial that leads from the village of Pleasantville to King Street (Rt 120). The guy acros the street seems to have blown his stack and stayed up all night painting signs. Here's my 2 cents:

Mt. Pleasant Planning Board
One Town Hall Plaza
Thornwood, NY

RE: Revised 2-Lot Subdivision App. #873 and Application for Site Plan Approval for Nursery School & Special Use Permit Application App. SP- 1016 for 235 Bear Ridge Road

This morning, when driving my husband to the train station, I saw several signs posted by an opponent of these applications asking people to turn out this evening and express opposition to the proposed day care facility. So I am moved to express my opinion, but instead wish to speak in support of these applications. I am unable to attend the meeting, so I am writing this letter instead.

I do not know either the applicant or the party posting the signs. But I gather the opponents are concerned about a potential increase in traffic. This opposition puzzles me, since a much larger day care facility at 600 Bear Ridge Road has caused no significant traffic problems that I can recall. (I live at [probably shouldn't post my home address on my blog, should I?] where I have resided for 10 years; my husband has owned our house since 1976.)

Bear Ridge Road is one of the major arterials leading into and out if the area in which I live. The child population in this area is experiencing a significant increase as is well documented by the school districts. The town need only consult its own public school enrollment statistics to verify this. Nursery school slots are in short supply. It is usually necessary to apply at least months in advance for a slot at a desirable school.

Parents residing in the Heritage Court/Old Farm Hill areas are already transporting their children to and from whatever nursery school they have been able to find via either Bear Ridge Road (either heading toward Pleasantville or toward King Street) or via Crestview to Deerfield N to Old Farm N to 117. If we assume each route has equal traffic, a third of the preschoolers in this area are already being transported by car past the site of the proposed day care center. It is my impression that Bear Ridge carries a majority of this traffic, so the figure is probably higher than one third.

It seems to me that a small day care center (the figure listed on the opponent’s signs is 40 children) is unlikely to draw much outside of a 1 mile radius since the existing need for nursery school slots is so high, and that its most likely effect on Bear Ridge Road would be a reduction in traffic: if parents stop at 235 Bear Ridge rather than driving the whole route to the centers of Pleasantville, Chappaqua, or Armonk, the total average traffic on Bear Ridge would be slightly reduced rather than increased.

Hence, I ask that you vote in favor of the two applications before you and in favor of a nursery school at 235 Bear Ridge. Area residents need the services it will provide and it has little potential to create traffic problems, and may even help with existing traffic.

(The family that owns the property in question owns the adjancent 16 acres of undeveloped woods, as far as I know. Although I would probably not send Elizabeth there, since we already have a preschool we're happy with, it might well be a nice spot for a preschool.)