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Bedford Hills NY Homes for Sale

These solar-powered prefab cabins can be set up in just 4 hours | Bedford Hills Real Estate

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Canadian company DROP Structures is on a mission to allow people to “drop” the company’s incredible cabins (almost) hassle-free in just about any location. One of the most versatile designs is the minimalist Mono, a tiny prefab cabin that runs on solar power and can be set up in just a few hours.

tiny cabin with gabled roof and glazed facades

Although the minuscule 106-square-foot cabins take on a very minimalist appearance, the structures are the culmination of years of engineering and design savvy. According to Drop Structures, the cabins, which start at $24,500, typically require no permit. Thanks to their prefabricated assembly, they can be installed in a matter of hours.

Related: Low-energy prefab cabins are inspired by the Nordic concept of ‘friluftsliv’

tiny cabin with pitched roof and glass walls
tiny cabin with pitched roof and wood and glass walls

Built to be tiny, but tough, the Mono tiny cabins are clad in a standing seam metal exterior, which was chosen because the material is resilient to most types of climates and is low-maintenance. The cabins also boast a tight thermal envelope thanks to a solid core insulation that keeps the interior temperatures stable year-round in most climates.

tiny cabin with pitched roof and glazed facades lit from within
tiny cabin with pitched roof and wood covering glass wall

The Mono features a pitched roof with two floor-to-ceiling glazed walls at either side. This standard design enables natural light to flood the interior space and create a seamless connection between the cabin and its surroundings.

wood-lined room with desk and easel
wall with peg holes and shelving

The interior space is quite compact but offers everything needed for a serene retreat away from the hustle and bustle of urban life. The walls and vaulted ceilings are made out of Baltic Birch panels that give the space a warm, cozy feel.

suspended shelf with various items
two people sitting outside a tiny cabin

The biggest advantage of these tiny cabins is versatility. The structures can be customized with various add-ons including extra windows or skylights, a built-in loft, a Murphy bed and more. They can can also go off the grid with the addition of solar panels.

+ DROP Structures

Via Dwell

Images via DROP Structures

tiny cabin lit up at night beside a lake

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10 metros where prices have dropped | Bedford Hills Real Estate

markets-down-2019
iStock; realtor.com

The tectonic plates of America’s major real estate markets continue to shift beneath our feet. Little more than a year ago, unstoppable home price increases seemed to be the new normal just about everywhere. Go, go, go! It was a never-ending party for sellers, and mass anxiety for price-squeezed buyers. But then last fall came signs of a housing slowdown, as big-city prices began to level off—or in some markets actually drop. Was a housing bubble about to burst?

Well, not quite. Nationally home prices still rose 6.9% year over year in April. But here’s the thing: That’s actually the lowest price growth in five years. And according to the latest data, 1 in 5 metropolitan areas is now seeing decreases in home prices, compared with half as many a year ago. So what are the places moving from a seller’s market to a buyer’s? The realtor.com® data team set out to find those metros where home prices are falling the most.

“In a lot of markets buyers are hitting an affordability ceiling,” says Chief Economist Danielle Hale of realtor.com. “Prices just can’t keep rising if buyers can’t keep up. They are dropping out, and that’s why we’re seeing prices adjust [down] in some markets.H

There are some surprises on this list—including some of the highest-profile markets in the country (hello, San Francisco Bay Area!). It turns out there is a limit to how high home prices can go, even in some of America’s most alluring, if overheated, places.

Some markets are seeing price drops due to overbuilding: This creates too much supply and not enough demand, so prices naturally fall. And just like in past years, in other areas, natural disasters devastated lives, communities, and local real estate.

“A disaster will affect your ability to market” your home, says Orell Anderson, president of Strategic Property Analytics, in Laguna Beach, CA. It can boost home prices and rents in unaffected pockets as locals compete for housing. But it can also hurt an area’s image as folks don’t want to suffer through another disaster. “The market will demand a discount.”

To figure out where prices are down the most, we looked at the change in median list prices on realtor.com from April 2018 to April 2019 in the 250 biggest metropolitan areas.* We filtered out markets where price per square footage was up over that period. And we limited the ranking to no more than three metros per state.

So where are prices declining the most? Buckle up, let’s take a cross-country trip.

Where home prices have fallen the most
Where home prices have fallen the mostTony Frenzel

1. San Jose, CA

Median list price: $1.1 million
Median list price change: -8.4%

Santana Row in San Jose, CA
Santana Row in San Jose, CAalacatr/iStock

Yes, you read that right. Perennial hottest market in the U.S., San Jose is seeing the steepest declines in home prices these days. For the past few years, home prices in this city at the heart of Silicon Valley have soared at double-digit rates. But last fall, red flags started to appear. Sellers began slashing list prices, with the number of price reductions jumping 200% over the previous year. Now prices are plummeting faster than anywhere else in the U.S.

Time for a quick reality check: None of this means that San Jose has become a bargain. It’s still America’s most expensive real estate market. But therein lies the problem—prices just shot up too high. From April 2017 to April 2018, median list prices soared a remarkable 28%. And even in the San Francisco Bay Area, what comes up must come down. Eventually.

“When [prices] jump that quick, it can produce a reaction with buyers, who say, ‘I can’t do it anymore, that is just too expensive,'” says Patrick Carlisle, Bay Area chief marketing analyst at the real estate firm Compass.

Federal tax law changes also played a role. Homeowners can now deduct only up to $10,000 in property and income taxes combined. Plus, the amount of mortgage interest deduction folks can write off on their taxes was reduced. In pricey areas like San Jose, that can translate into a big financial hit.

This has led dwellings to sit longer on the market, climbing from a median 19 days to 27 from April 2018 to April 2019. Meanwhile, the amount of abodes currently for sale has jumped 92%.

2. Oxnard, CA

Median list price: $681,100
Median list price change: -5.4%

Waterfront homes in Oxnard, CA
Waterfront homes in Oxnard, CAbenedek/iStock

In late 2017, the Thomas fire burned almost 300,000 acres, destroying more than 1,000 homes in Ventura County, part of the Oxnard metro, and surrounding areas (including Santa Barbara County). At the time it was the largest wildfire in California history. And that was just the beginning of the widespread damage—the conflagration damaged ground soil and tree roots, leading to mudslides that wiped out still more homes.

In the disaster’s wake, some displaced victims left the area altogether instead of going through the long, painful process of rebuilding. Others who were thinking of moving to the area changed their plans altogether.

Overall rising prices in the area north of Los Angeles are also to blame. Last spring, buyers hit their breaking point, says local real estate agent Kevin Paffrath, of meetkevin.com. With high prices, mortgage rates, and the tax changes, many stayed on the sidelines, lessening demand in the area.

3. College Station, TX

Median list price: $265,000
Median list price change: -5.4%

Three-bedroom home in College Station, TX
Three-bedroom home in College Station, TXrealtor.com

The 64,000 Texas A&M University students that pour into College Station every fall—plus all of the faculty and staff—need lots of places to live. But builders in pro-development Texas went a bit overboard in recent years. That resulted in a glut of new homes in this market two hours northwest of Houston, pushing inventory up 18.3% year over year and causing prices to tumble.

Eventually, investors are expected to snap up many of these properties and rent them out to students. But it also means buyers have options. So they can take their time finding the right one—and then negotiating the price down.

Folks here can snag a new home for a bargain compared with those in bigger cities such as Austin and Dallas. A new three-bedroom home with a granite-topped island and walk-in closets in the master-planned community of Creek Meadows is listed at just $241,200.

4. Bridgeport, CT (Fairfield County)

Median list price: $750,000
Median list price change: -4.9%

Bridgeport, CT
Bridgeport, CTDenisTangneyJr/iStock

Prices are sky-high in this golden metro encompassing all of wealthy Fairfield County, home to some of the toniest enclaves just outside of New York City. But as in California, tax law changes made buying sprawling mansions in uber-wealthy communities such as Greenwich more expensive. That’s because the state has some of the highest property taxes in the nation—and now homeowners can’t write off nearly as much.

Plus, many of the affluent buyers who might normally head for Fairfield County may be choosing to go to Manhattan instead. That’s because the city has had an influx of new, luxury towers going up in recent years—including the flashy, massive development Hudson Yards.

The cooling in the Bridgeport metro has helped push inventory up 8.5% year over year in Fairfield County. Keep in mind prices in this market have a huge range. There are three-bedroom ’60s ranches priced at $185,000in the city of Bridgeport itself, and Colonial-style estates priced just under $3 million in Greenwich.

5. San Francisco, CA

Median list price: $948,300
Median list price change: -4.1%

Homes in San Francisco, CA
Homes in San Francisco, CAAndia/Getty Images

When California home prices overheated late last year, it was no surprise that San Francisco—the second-most expensive metro in the nation, after San Jose—took a big hit.

Prices here jumped 10% from April 1, 2017, to April 1, 2018, making homeownership a steeper-than-ever climb for ordinary people. And more homes are going up for sale in lower-priced areas nearby, like Oakland, which is pulling the metro’s median list price down, says Carlisle of Compass.

But prices may soon surge again. San Francisco–based Uber and Lyft just went public, and Pinterest, Slack, Postmates, and Airbnb might soon follow suit. With all of those initial public offerings, workers could be in line for some windfalls. And what better way to spend all that money than on real estate?

“Some sellers have stopped putting their homes on the market because they want to wait for the supposed rush of [IPO] buyers,” Carlisle says.

6. Hilo, HI

Median list price: $481,600
Median list price change: -3.5%

New home in Hilo, HI
New home in Hilo, HIrealtor.com

The Kilauea Volcano spewed a miles-long lava stream through the Big Island of Hawaii last May. The news was plastered with images of magma tearing through Hawaiian homes, about 700 of which were destroyed. Recovery efforts are expected to cost more than $800 million.

It shattered the image of a Polynesian paradise for many foreign investors, wealthy professionals, and rich retirees drawn to Hawaii as a dreamy second-home destination. And in the months following the eruption, tourism dropped off—a huge deal for a market that relies heavily on the business.

But price declines haven’t been substantial enough to create many great bargains here. This brand-new, three-bedroom home with a chef’s kitchenis still going for $545,000.

7. Cape Coral, FL

Median list price: $300,000
Median list price change: -3.3%

Cape Coral, FL
Cape Coral, FLTriggerPhoto/iStock

Last year, a massive algae bloom turned Cape Coral’s 400-plus-mile canal system, the crown jewel of the city, into a stinking, toxic green waterway. That wasn’t exactly an inducement for buyers in this fast-growing retirement town, and real estate prices fell accordingly.

“It was smelly and ugly,” says Mike Lombardo, a local real estate agent at Old Glory Realty. “You couldn’t go to the beach because of all the algae. And you couldn’t go fishing because the algae was killing the fish. The whole [real estate] system here is built off people coming down here to enjoy the weather and beach.”

The Army Corps of Engineers released excess water from Lake Okeechobee in 2018 to lessen the risk of flooding, bringing nutrient-rich water to Cape Coral and spurring the bloom. In March President Donald Trump toured Herbert Hoover Dike at Lake Okeechobee, promising to speed up infrastructure improvements that would prevent a repeat of 2018’s algae bloom.

The contamination was a double whammy for a market hit in 2017 by Hurricane Irma, which flooded homes and also hurt prices.

8. Laredo, TX

Median list price: $180,100
Median list price change: -2.9%

Laredo, TX
Laredo, TXDenisTangneyJr/iStock

Located on the U.S.-Mexico border on the banks of the Rio Grande River, Laredo is one of America’s largest inland ports, with more than $200 billion in goods passing through every year. So why is this city packed with customs and border security gigs seeing home prices drop?

It boils down to overbuilding, particularly at the higher end of the market. There’s no shortage of new homes sprouting up here, which means existing homes competing for those buyers have to lower their prices.

“Homes for over $300,000 are on the market longer than usual,” says Sandra Mendiola Alaniz, local broker/owner of Re/Max Real Estate Services.

9. Huntington, WV

Median list price: $143,300
Median list price change: -2.3%

Downtown Huntington, WV
Downtown Huntington, WVDenisTangneyJr/iStock

Huntington is a struggling metro that’s been badly affected by the opioid crisis. Many are leaving the city, on the Ohio River, for better-paying jobs and opportunities elsewhere. That means there aren’t exactly a lot of people clamoring to buy real estate, which keeps prices down.

Prices were low to begin with, so even a small decline can move the needle quite a bit. The median price here dropped $3,300—compared with $105,000 in San Jose.

Home to public research university Marshall University, this college town’s greatest selling point is its affordability. This month, realtor.com named Huntington among the top places for finding a mortgage under $1,000 per month. A lovely three-bedroom home built in the ’30s with a landscaped front yard can go for just $125,000.

10. Iowa City, IA

Median list price: $275,000
Median list price change: -1.8%

Iowa City winter
Iowa City winterChip Somodevilla/Getty Images

When the polar vortex rolled into the Midwest earlier this year, it brought minus 20 degrees to Iowa, turning boiling water to ice in seconds. That rough winter meant the spring buying season got off to a very late start.

“People weren’t listing,” says Emily Farber, a Realtor at Lepic-Kroeger Realtors. “It was harder for them to take care of exterior maintenance because the weather was so atrocious.”

Plus, there wasn’t as much new construction in the cold. So other would-be sellers couldn’t find a new or trade-up home to buy—so they waited, too.

“It created a snowball effect,” says Farber. As it were.

read more…

https://www.realtor.com/news/trends/2019-where-home-prices-falling-the-most/

Mortgage interest rates average 4.17% | Bedford Hills Real Estate

Freddie Mac (OTCQB: FMCC) today released the results of its Primary Mortgage Market Survey® (PMMS®), showing that fixed mortgage rates rose for the third consecutive week.

Sam Khater, Freddie Mac’s chief economist, says, “After dropping dramatically in late March, mortgage rates have modestly increased since then. While this week marks the third consecutive week of rises, purchase activity reached a nine-year high – indicative of a strong spring homebuying season.”

News Facts

  • 30-year fixed-rate mortgage (FRM) averaged 4.17 percent with an average 0.5 point for the week ending April 18, 2019, up from last week when it averaged 4.12 percent. A year ago at this time, the 30-year FRM averaged 4.47 percent. 
  • 15-year FRM this week averaged 3.62 percent with an average 0.5 point, up from last week when it averaged 3.60 percent. A year ago at this time, the 15-year FRM averaged 3.94 percent. 
  • 5-year Treasury-indexed hybrid adjustable-rate mortgage (ARM) averaged 3.78 percent with an average 0.3 point, down from last week when it averaged 3.80 percent. A year ago at this time, the 5-year ARM averaged 3.67 percent.

Average commitment rates should be reported along with average fees and points to reflect the total upfront cost of obtaining the mortgage. Visit the following link for the Definitions. Borrowers may still pay closing costs which are not included in the survey.

Powering the future – Net-zero energy homes have arrived | Bedford Hills Real Estate

Workers install solar panels on the roofs of homes under construction south of Corona, California. The California Energy Commission in May 2018 adopted new energy building standards requiring solar panels for virtually all new homes built in the state starting in 2020.

MediaNews Group/Inland Valley Daily Bulletin via Getty Images | Digital First Media | Getty ImagesWorkers install solar panels on the roofs of homes under construction south of Corona, California. The California Energy Commission in May 2018 adopted new energy building standards requiring solar panels for virtually all new homes built in the state starting in 2020.

In 2013 De Young Properties built a single-family house in central California that defied nearly three generations worth of homes the family business had constructed. It was a net-zero energy building — it had the potential to produce as much energy as it would consume in a year. De Young didn’t build another one for four years, but within that period the company refined its designs to be more energy-efficient and technology-focused and drove down costs.

“Energy bills tend to be pretty high and onerous, and you usually have to sacrifice comfort for your energy bill or your energy bill for comfort, and we saw an opportunity to advance in this realm and become a leader,” said Brandon De Young, executive vice president.

In 2017 De Young Properties started the process of constructing three communities near Fresno, California, with more than 140 single-family homes in three different communities that will have the same level of energy efficiency. So far the homebuilder has constructed half of the first community, Envision at Loma Vista, and is in the process of beginning the other two. The cost of each home is typically between $350,000 and $450,000 — and carries an additional $10,000 over the cost of De Young’s comparable non-zero energy properties.

The homebuilder’s early investment in zero-energy construction was prescient. If you buy a new house in California within the next few years, there’s a good chance it will be built along similar lines. In December, California instituted a new requirement that calls for most new homes and multi-floor residential buildings up to three stories high to include solar rooftop panels beginning in 2020. Depending on the specifics of the design and the residence’s energy consumption pattern, solar panels could produce all the electricity needed for the home. The state’s ultimate goal is to produce net-zero energy homes that reduce the state’s carbon footprint and make buildings energy self-sufficient.

California is one of the world’s largest economies

This is the first time a state has built this requirement into its code, but similar regulations exist in cities like Tucson, Arizona, as well as the City of South Miami, the first introduced in Florida. Renewable energy mandates like residential rooftop solar come at a time when California has faced an unprecedented series of wildfires, with at least some of the natural disasters linked to more extreme weather patterns in an era of climate change.

The Net-Zero Energy Coalition estimates the U.S. has only 5,000 net-zero energy single-family homes and over 7,000 net-zero multi-family homes. That number could expand in 2020 to over 100,000 net-zero energy homes, based on the average annual new home constructions in California.

“California by itself is one of the largest economies in the world,” said Jacob Corvidae, a principal at the Rocky Mountain Institute. “What happens there has some impact, and it’s going to be an impact that has an effect on the rest of the country because they’re going to be figuring out ways to make solar cheaper and that scale will help bring down the cost.”

A home within De Young Properties' Envision at Loma Vista community outside Fresno, California.

De Young PropertiesA home within De Young Properties’ Envision at Loma Vista community outside Fresno, California.

In 2017, the U.S. Department of Energy estimated about 39 percent of the total energy consumed in the country was in the residential and commercial sectors. A majority of the energy was produced by fossil fuels like coal, petroleum and natural gas.

Net-zero energy and zero energy-ready homes — which can be zero energy if solar panels are installed or their capacities are increased — are built to be more energy efficient than a typical building. This includes adding extra insulation, high-quality windows, LED lighting, low-flow water fixtures, heat-reflecting roof tiles and energy-efficient appliances that, when combined, reduce the amount of energy the house consumes.

On the outside, the houses are built to optimize energy efficiency with significant airtight construction and economical roofs, walls, windows and foundations, said Sam Rashkin, Chief Architect of the Building Technologies Office in the Department of Energy’s Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy. These technologies also allow for better temperature regulation, low-humidity, less noise and minimize exposure to dangerous pollutants.

Cities with the most zero-energy buildings

CityNumber of Units
Sacramento, CA853
Vancouver, BC723
Davis, CA664
Portland, OR365
New York, NY361
Austin, TX346
Honolulu, HI338
Clarkdale, AZ323
Washington DC317
National City, CA268

Net-Zero Energy Coalition

There is no one-size-fits-all design for zero-energy homes. In De Young’s housing market, the modern style — homes you might find on a Google search with flat walls and a box-like look — are not as prevalent, so the company configured the homes to come in an array of styles, such as cottage, modern-farmhouse, and Italian-inspired variations.

“You don’t have to do it that [modern] way. We found out that you can build a zero-energy home that looks just as beautiful as any other home,” De Young said.

Costs of going zero energy

California commissioners anticipate the new mandate will add $40 more to a monthly mortgage payment, but with an $80 return on heating, cooling and lighting over a 30-year term. The upfront cost to a single-family house will be approximately $9,500 with savings of $19,000 over 30 years.

Ann Edminster, a board member of the Net-Zero Energy Coalition and a green building consultant, argues that people shouldn’t be thinking of the upfront costs in isolation. Home buyers can make decisions in a house’s design that offset the additional costs for net zero-energy upgrades, such as sacrificing decorative housing elements.

“It’s the same thing as asking for a roof rack on your car. You’re going to pay extra,” Edminster said, referring to design choices homeowners already make which result in higher costs, and in some cases, less energy efficiency.

A net zero energy home under construction by De Young Properties. Adding solar panels to a roof will not alone get a house to net zero energy. Choices in the framing and window design are part of required energy-efficiency upgrades.

De Young PropertiesA net zero energy home under construction by De Young Properties. Adding solar panels to a roof will not alone get a house to net zero energy. Choices in the framing and window design are part of required energy-efficiency upgrades.

In De Young’s case, making a home energy efficient usually costs an additional $10,000 before adding solar panels, which makes the home zero energy. Purchasing a solar system outright could add between six to 12 percent to the price, De Young said. The company has a partnership with Tesla which offers zero-down leases on its solar panels, among other financing options. In 2017, 41 percent of residential solar was owned by a third-party, which includes monthly leases and power purchase agreements, or PPAs, that allow customers to pay per kilowatt-hour of generation.

Charles Kibert, a professor at the University of Florida’s College of Design, Construction and Planning, said there are some drawbacks to relying on solar. The panels require ample roof space, a certain orientation that allows for optimum energy production and consistent weather conditions.

“All those factors put together and my experience is that you have to try really hard to have a net zero home,” Kibert said, adding that how people manage their home is a big factor. “Living behavior every day drives energy consumption pretty reliably.”

Problems with the grid

The issues go beyond individual homes to the grid itself.

Kibert said there are two methods for reducing the carbon footprint beyond zero-energy homes: a low-carbon grid and better renewable energy storage. The current method of generating energy for most grids still depends on fossil fuels, but he said a few have moved to renewable energy like hydropower. California is far ahead of many U.S. states with its utilities already producing between 30 percent to 40 percent of energy from renewable sources.

Storing produced renewable energy remains costly, which is why people remain connected to the grid.

“If you had storage in your home and you were careful about your energy consumption, you would be effectively off the grid,” Kibert said. “You wouldn’t have to worry about it, but storage is expensive.”

Tesla’s Powerwall home storage solution has a cost of roughly $7,000 per unit. Tesla recommends two units for a home to be powered 100 percent with renewable energy and have at least 24 hours of power during a utility outage, which brings the total cost to over $14,000 — excluding installation costs that range from $1,000 to $3,000, according to the company.

Edminster said it is clear that the grid will not be disappearing anytime soon. The California mandate only requires homes to meet a higher level of efficiency and use solar, but that doesn’t mean residents won’t be able to use gas from the grid — it only offsets electricity use.

She said we are much further along in building energy-efficient homes than energy-efficient grids. “The efficiency side is pretty dialed in so that if someone felt like being zero-net energy by placing solar panels on their roof they probably would be pretty close to being zero-net energy.”

Zero-energy homes highlight a commitment to efficiency and the effort to reduce individual energy consumption. Ultimately, the objective is to find a healthy, reduced level of energy consumption. “What we really want is at the level of the social fabric to have our energy consumption to be met by renewable sources,” Edminster said. “That’s the big goal.”

read more…

https://www.cnbc.com/2019/02/14/homes-that-produce-their-own-energy-might-be-the-future-and-california-is-inching-closer.html

Mortgage rates average 4.46% | Bedhord Hills Real Estate

Freddie Mac (OTCQB: FMCC) today released the results of its Primary Mortgage Market Surveyâ, showing that mortgage rates moved up slightly after weeks of moderating.

Sam Khater, Freddie Mac’s chief economist, says, “Purchase applications were down this week after soaring early in the year. However, softening house price appreciation along with increasing inventory of homes on the market – and historically low mortgage rates –  should give a boost to the spring homebuying season.”

News Facts

  • 30-year fixed-rate mortgage (FRM) averaged 4.46 percent with an average 0.5 point for the week ending January 31, 2019, up from last week when it averaged 4.45 percent. A year ago at this time, the 30-year FRM averaged 4.22 percent. 
  • 15-year FRM this week averaged 3.89 percent with an average 0.4 point, up from last week when it averaged 3.88 percent. A year ago at this time, the 15-year FRM averaged 3.68 percent. 
  • 5-year Treasury-indexed hybrid adjustable-rate mortgage (ARM) averaged 3.96 percent with an average 0.3 point, up from last week when it averaged 3.90 percent. A year ago at this time, the 5-year ARM averaged 3.53 percent.

Average commitment rates should be reported along with average fees and points to reflect the total upfront cost of obtaining the mortgage. Visit the following link for the Definitions. Borrowers may still pay closing costs which are not included in the survey.

Muhammed Ali’s former LA home on the market | Bedford Hills Real Estate

muhammad ali house

Douglas Elliman

  • Muhammad Ali’s former Los Angeles home is on the market for nearly $17 million, The Wall Street Journal reported.
  • The boxer and his wife bought the house in 1979 and lived there until 1986.
  • The nine-bedroom home, which dates back to 1916, sits on 1.5 acres in Fremont Place, a gated community known for its historic mansions.
  • It hit the market on what would have been Ali’s 77th birthday.

The former home of celebrated boxer Muhammad Ali is for sale in Los Angeles for $16.999 million.

The nine-bedroom mansion sits on 1.5 acres in the Hancock Park neighborhood in a gated community called Fremont Place, which is known for its historic mansions, according to The Wall Street Journal. It’s listed by Douglas Elliman.

The current owners of the home bought it for $2.5 million in 2001, the Journal reported.

The house, which is more than 100 years old, hit the market on January 17, 2018, which would have been Ali’s 77th birthday. He died in 2016.

Here’s a look inside.

A mansion in Los Angeles that once belonged to Muhammad Ali has hit the market for $16.999 million.

Douglas Elliman

Source55 Fremont Place

Housing Inventory Tracking | Bedford Hills Real Estate

I love Bill McBride’s Calculated Risk blog

Update: Watching existing home “for sale” inventory is very helpful. As an example, the increase in inventory in late 2005 helped me call the top for housing.

And the decrease in inventory eventually helped me correctly call the bottom for house prices in early 2012, see: The Housing Bottom is Here.

And in 2015, it appeared the inventory build in several markets was ending, and that boosted price increases.

I don’t have a crystal ball, but watching inventory helps understand the housing market.

Inventory, on a national basis, was unchanged year-over-year (YoY) in July, this followed 37 consecutive months with a YoY decline.

The graph below shows the YoY change for non-contingent inventory in Houston, Las Vegas, Sacramento (through August) and also Phoenix (through July) and total existing home inventory as reported by the NAR (through July).

image: https://4.bp.blogspot.com/-q5HBzFd0njM/W5q8p0StEDI/AAAAAAAAwAU/rQCgnKAobAsQ2a5xzlfVUzGANmCIoFzDgCLcBGAs/s320/InventoryPreAug2018.PNG

Click on graph for larger image.

This shows the YoY change in inventory for Houston, Las Vegas, Phoenix, and Sacramento.  The black line is the year-over-year change in inventory as reported by the NAR.

Note that inventory in Sacramento was up 22% year-over-year in July (inventory was still very low), and has increased YoY for eleven consecutive months.

Also note that inventory was up 20% YoY in Las Vegas in August (red), the second consecutive month with a YoY increase.

Houston is a special case, and inventory was up for several years due to lower oil prices, but declined YoY recently as oil prices increased.  Inventory was up slightly in Houston in August (but the YoY change might be distorted by Hurricane Harvey last year).

Inventory is a key for the housing market, and I am watching inventory for the impact of the new tax law and higher mortgage rates on housing.   I expect national inventory will be up YoY at the end of 2018 (but still be low).

This is not comparable to late 2005 when inventory increased sharply signaling the end of the housing bubble, but it does appear that inventory is bottoming nationally (but still very low).

 

Read more at https://www.calculatedriskblog.com/#DgT40fTJtpLyGmFz.99

Home prices make the biggest jump in four years | Bedford Hills Real Estate

It is a seller’s market, undeniably. The supply of homes for sale is low, demand is high, and now prices are heating up even more. But sellers today see more reasons to stay put than to profit.

Home prices jumped 7.1 percent annually in May, according to a new report from CoreLogic. That’s the biggest jump in four years. Annual price gains had been shrinking slightly, as mortgage rates rose, but apparently higher rates are not hurting demand. They are, however, exacerbating the already critical supply shortage.

“During the first quarter, we found that about 50 percent of all existing homeowners had a mortgage rate of 3.75 percent or less,” said Frank Nothaft, chief economist for CoreLogic. “May’s mortgage rates averaged a seven-year high of 4.6 percent, with an increasing number of homeowners keeping the low-rate loans they currently have, rather than sell and buy another home that would carry a higher interest rate.”

Rising costs could hurt entry level housing supply

Rising costs could hurt entry level housing supply  

If mortgage rates were to rise further, fewer homeowners would want to move. In fact, if today’s homeowners just considering a move were faced with a mortgage rate 1 percentage point higher than their current one, 24 percent would not move, according to a survey by John Burns Real Estate Consulting. Thirty-six percent said they “may not” move. The average rate on the 30-year fixed is now slightly more than 1 percentage point higher than the lows following the recession.

The median price of an existing home sold in May was $264,800, according to the National Association of Realtors. Of course, all real estate is local, and certain markets are hotter than others. Seattle, Denver, and San Francisco continue to see some of the biggest price gains, as they also have the leanest supply.

The supply of homes for sale has been dropping on an annual basis for the past 36 months, according to the National Association of Realtors. The shortage is most acute at the lower end of the market, where demand is highest and where investors bought thousands of distressed properties during the housing crash, turning them into lucrative rentals.

Younger potential buyers have already delayed homeownership due to the recession and high levels of student loan debt. They have also been hampered by high rents, making it more difficult to save for a downpayment.

Higher rents, combined with higher home prices, are the number one reason for the decline in young homeowners, followed by lower marriage and fertility rates, according to a recent study by Freddie Mac.

“Historically low mortgage rates and increasingly favorable employment conditions should have generated a far greater number of home purchases by young adults, especially in the last five years,” said Sam Khater, Freddie Mac’s chief economist. “Unfortunately, home-price and rent growth above incomes — driven primarily by a severe shortage of housing supply — have been too high of a hurdle for many would-be buyers to clear.”

read more…

https://www.cnbc.com/2018/07/02/housing-is-getting-more-expensive-as-home-sellers-retreat.html?__source=newsletter%7Ceveningbrief

Mortgage rates average 3.88% | Bedford Hills Real Estate

Freddie Mac (OTCQBFMCC) today released the results of its Primary Mortgage Market Survey® (PMMS®), showing the average 30-year fixed mortgage rate ticking down this week.

News Facts

  • 30-year fixed-rate mortgage (FRM) averaged 3.88 percent with an average 0.5 point for the week ending October 19, 2017, down from last week when it averaged 3.91 percent. A year ago at this time, the 30-year FRM averaged 3.52 percent.
  • 15-year FRM this week averaged 3.19 percent with an average 0.5 point, down from last week when it averaged 3.21 percent. A year ago at this time, the 15-year FRM averaged 2.79 percent.
  • 5-year Treasury-indexed hybrid adjustable-rate mortgage (ARM) averaged 3.17 percent this week with an average 0.4 point, up from last week when it averaged 3.16 percent. A year ago at this time, the 5-year ARM averaged 2.85 percent.

Average commitment rates should be reported along with average fees and points to reflect the total upfront cost of obtaining the mortgage. Visit the following link for the Definitions. Borrowers may still pay closing costs which are not included in the survey.

Quote
Attributed to Sean Becketti, chief economist, Freddie Mac.
“Rates came down slightly this week, ending a brief, two-week streak of increases. The 10-year Treasury yield dipped 6 basis points, while the 30-year fixed mortgage rate fell 3 basis points to 3.88 percent.”

Bedford Town Hall news | Bedford Hills Real Estate

FOR THE MAY 16 TOWN BOARD AGENDA
 
CALENDARS 
For the Community Events Calendar click here
For the Town Calendar click here
FLAGS AT HALF STAFF
On May 15,  Peace Officer Memorial Day, flags will be flown at half staff.
 
CONTINUING POSTS
 
POTHOLE REPAIRS SEASON HAS OPENED
As to potholes you find in our Town roads, please call our Pothole Hotline at 666-7669 or feel free to contact me at 666-6530 or Supervisor@bedfordny.gov.
For potholes on state roads in our Town, such as Routes 22, 117, 121, 137 and 172 we would suggest that you call NYS’s pothole line at 1-800-POTHOLE.  
MARK YOUR CALENDARS ~ MEMORIAL DAY EVENTS IN THE TOWN OF BEDFORD
click here for the flyer
ACQUISITION OF WASTEWATER TREATMENT PLANT FOR $1 MOVES FORWARD
As has been recently reported, the property owners in the Bedford Hills-Katonah Business Sewer District on March 30 approved a referendum for the creation of the district and a $1.1 million bond issue.   The sewer system will utilize the wastewater treatment plant (WWTP) operated by the Department of Corrections and Community Supervision (DOCCS) for the Bedford Hills correctional facilities.  The agreement between the Town of Bedford and DOCCS provides for conveying to the Town title to the WWTP, which has excess capacity and can accommodate the other properties in the district.   The procedure for conveying title is the enactment of a Home Rule Law by the NYS Legislature and signed by the Governor, which would authorize the conveyance.   This is the regular procedure which DOCCS has followed in other instances in which a municipality received land from DOCCS; for example, DOCCS conveyed land to Greene County to construct a County jail; and to Beacon for athletic fields.   Special thanks to Public Works Commissioner Kevin Winn, Planning Director Jeff Osterman, DOCCS and especially State Senator George Latimer and State Assemblyman David Buchwald and their respective staffs for turning around very quickly the proposed law.  I also wish to thank Town Clerk Boo Fumagalli who is familiar with the process and has been handling the documentation.   Accordingly, the Town Board approved at the May 2 meeting the Home Rule Request for the enactment of S5786 & A7559 to vest authority to the commissioner of the NYS Office of General Services subject to the consent of the commissioner of the NYS Department of Corrections and Community Services to convey title to the Town of Bedford to approximately 9 acres of unappropriated state lands in Bedford Hills on which is located the wastewater treatment plant presently operated by the Department of Corrections and Community Supervision. 
2016 AUDIT REPORT
The Town’s financial operations for the year ended December 31, 2016.  Click here for the audited financial statements that have been prepared by PKF O’Connor Davies LLC.  In addition to the Town’s audited financials, click here for the results of the review of the Town’s Justice Court.   Among the highlights are that the Town spent less than the adopted 2016 budget and revenues in most areas were higher than budgeted, resulting in a substantial increase in General Fund balances (over $1.1 million) and in Highway Fund balances (over $400,000).   The Town Board adopted a policy last year which states in part “The Town of Bedford finances will be managed so as to maintain balances of the various funds at levels sufficient to mitigate current and future risks, such as revenue shortfalls, unanticipated expenditures, stabilization of tax rates and user fees, protection of the Town’s creditworthiness, and to provide for adequate cash flow needs.”    The General Fund balance now is at approximately 35% of 2017 budgeted expenditures and the Highway Fund balance at approximately 20% of 2017 budgeted expenditures.   The Town Board believes that such levels are responsible, prudent and not excessive.
 
PROCUREMENT POLICY & BEST VALUE PROCUREMENT
The Town Board discussed a new proposed procurement policy which would be adopted at the same time as a local law allowing “Best Value Procurement”.  The proposed procurement policy would clarify sections of the current policy that may be unclear or outdated.  As written, the proposed procurement policy would also streamline the internal process for purchasing in preparation for the implementation of the Town’s new financial software.  The proposed procurement policy includes a new section for “Best Value Procurement”.  New York General Municipal Law allows Towns to authorize, by local law, the award of certain purchase contracts, including contracts for services, subject to competitive bidding on the basis of “best value” as defined in New York Finance Law.   The proposed “Best Value Procurement” local law will provide flexibility in obtaining good and services at favorable prices and will reduce the time to procure such goods and services.   The Town Board set a public hearing on the proposed law for May 16 at 8:10 PM.
PROPOSED REVISIONS TO LOCAL LAW AMENDING CHAPTER 76 OF THE TOWN CODE – THE LANDLORD REGISTRY LAW (“LLRL”)
The LLRL requires owners of two-family and multi-family residential rental buildings to register with the Town Building Department, pay a fee for each unit that is covered by the LLRL and requires the units to be inspected by the Building Department.  The primary changes to the LLRL we are proposing are as follows:
  • The definition of a “Residential Rental Property” in Section 76-2 is being revised to clarify that the LLRL applies to all units located in two-family or multi-family buildings, including mixed use commercial buildings. It also clarifies that unoccupied rental units are subject to registration, fees and inspection requirements.
  • Section 76-3 of the current LLRL requires every owner of a two-family or multi-family building to register with the Building Department upon taking ownership of a qualifying property and to file a recertification every two (2) years. The revised Section 76-3(B) requires recertification to be filed every three (3) years.
  • Section 76-3(C) of the revised LLRL only requires payment of the registry fee at the time of the initial registration and every three (3) years thereafter. In the current law, the registration / recertification fee must be paid every two (2) years.
  • Section 76-3(C) of the revised LLRL does not require a registration fees to be paid for units that are owner occupied or that are occupied by an owner’s immediate family (parents or children).
  • Section 76-4 (C) of the revised LLRL provides for a recertification form to confirm that all previously submitted information is still accurate.
  • Section 76-3(D) allows the Building Department to stagger the scheduled recertification filings and inspections during the first two years the revised law is in effect. This will allow the inspections to be spread out over a three year period, rather than having to conduct all inspections in the same year.
  • Section 76-5 of the current LLRL requires the owner of qualified rental units to schedule an inspection with the Building Department within 60 days of either the initial registration or any recertification filing which previously occurred every two (2) years.  Under the revised Section 76-5(A), inspections are now only required every three (3) years.
  • Under the revised version of Section 76-5(A), if an owner does not contact the Building Department within the appropriate time, then they could be subject to penalties under the revised LLRL. Previously, it was unclear whether the Owner or the Building Department had the burden of scheduling inspections. The Building Department will continue to check to make sure that inspections are scheduled and conducted as required. The revised Local Law clarifies that the burden of scheduling inspections is on the Owners, rather than the Building Department.
The Town Board set a public hearing on the proposed amendments for May 16 at 8:00 PM.
 
ALLIED COMMUNITY ENTERPRISES (ACE)
 a local affordable housing organization, has received funding for a Septic Repair/Replacement Program.  ACE is led by Joan Arnold and has as its board members Katonah residents Don Scott and Betsy Weir.  This Grant is administered by ACE and funded by New York State Affordable Housing Corporation (AHC) to provide eligible homeowners with funding for septic repair/replacement. Grants are for systems that are in failure or failing, not for expansion.
Click here for Supervisor Chris Burdick’s letter explaining the program
Click here  for the link to the repair/replacement program

EMS AND FIRE DEPARTMENT LIFE MEMBERS VOLUNTEERS
I am pleased to report that the Town Board at its May 2 meeting adopted a policy to extend “free” pool membership to “life” members of each fire department and to the Katonah-bedford Hills Volunteer Ambulance Corp.
 
BEDFORD PLAYHOUSE UPDATE
Click here for the press release and photos

SUPERVISOR’S NEWS & NOTES
For the most recent video (click here) on the Historic Preservation Law, 2016 Audit, and the Restoration of the Bedford Hills Train Station.


FOR THE SUPERVISOR’S MONTHLY REPORT (APRIL) click here
UPDATE ON PROPOSAL FOR BIKE PARK AT KATONAH MEMORIAL PARK
 Several Katonah residents, both those favoring the proposal and those opposing it, have asked about the status and the process.   Ultimately, the Town Board will make the decision.  We follow a process and rely heavily on our staff and the Recreation Parks Advisory Committee (RPAC).   We have asked staff and RPAC to review the proposal together with comments and concerns raised.   Below are questions and concerns which have been raised and need to be addressed.  This will require time.  While staff and RPAC will proceed diligently, I would not consider it reasonable for us to expect due diligence to be completed and a report with recommendations for either the May 2 or the May 16 Town Board meeting.  I am hopeful that the Town Board can consider the matter at either the June 7 or June 21 meeting.  All interested parties will have an opportunity to address the Board at such time. 
In answer to questions raised by those opposed to the proposal, I wish to assure you that we have received many valid and legitimate comments and concerns, and as detailed below from Recreation and Parks Superintendent Bill Heidepriem, they all will be considered and addressed.   In answer to questions raised by those supporting the proposal, even if the Board were to approve the proposal, the actual creation of the park would need to await the fall after the conclusion of the summer park season.    

Among points/questions to be considered: 
  • The appropriateness of this new park amenity in a hamlet park
  • Family Bike area size of 1 acre – it doesn’t seem big enough for the three areas and the potential number of users
  • “Good neighbor” impact
  • Traffic impact on Wildwood Road & neighbor concerns
  • Parking impact – new parking area and by the shelter
  • Insurance questions – rate increase, liability issues, additional requirements from our carrier
  • Storm water discharge from the shelter access road to the wooded area proposed for the family bike area
  • Trail walker vs bike ride – potential conflicts
  • Bikers going “off course” into undesignated areas of the woods as well as onto the trails
  • Supervision, monitoring concerns – who, how etc.
  • Impact to the environment – wooded area – trees – soils – habitat
  • Erosion concerns – down the hill 
Bike Area Trails:
  • Construction – who reviews and approves the design drawings?
  • Pump & Strider track material – Clay proposed – maintenance requirements, run off, etc.
  • What amount of money needs to be budgeted for yearly maintenance/repairs improvements etc?
  • Maintenance – need to better understand the maintenance requirements associated with the trails as well as perimeter area
  • Are there maintenance standards that exist?
  • What are the maintenance requirements?
  • Yearly
  • Seasonal
  • Weekly
  • Daily
  • Weather impacts:
  • Freeze/thaw
  • Heavy rains
  • Bike Area season – what is the season?
  • Teamster vs volunteer work
  • Staff impact
Other Options:
  • Within Katonah Memorial Park
  • Other Town Parks
  • Other Areas
MISSION 16, Saturday, May 20, 2017 – HONOR FLIGHT FOR WWII VETERANS
Come cheer on veterans from the greatest generation as they depart on Hudson Valley Honor Flight’s Mission 16 to Washington D.C. on May 20, 2017. All are welcome to honor our heroes and give them the sendoff and welcome home that many of them never received but they so rightfully deserve. Click here for the flyer.
NOTES FROM THE APRIL 18 TOWN BOARD
  1. Overhaul of Historic Building Preservation Law   The Town Board, following a well- attended public hearing with many presenting their views, adopted amendments to the Historic Building Preservation Law.  Each property owner subject to the law was mailed notice of the public hearing (and had previously been notified of public information sessions held last year and one held this year).  The amendments include adoption of a list of historic properties; reduction in the number of historic properties subject to regulation; reduction in the authority of the Historic Building Preservation Commission (the HBPC review authority is limited to the 258 properties in “Tier 1”), clear establishment of “as of right” activities (no historic approval required); a new administrative permit to cut time and expense; and plain English rewrites of several provisions of the law.   The Town Board also adopted a resolution for a partial rebate in building permit fees for historic work.   The following summarizes the changes adopted in the HBPL:
SCOPE & PROCEDURES PRIOR TO AMENDMENTS
NEW SCOPE & PROCEDURES FOLLOWING AMENDMENTS
Properties subject to HBPC review:      807
Subject to administrative permit only:     0
HBPC applications/year (average):        12
Properties subject to HBPC review:           258
Subject to administrative permit only:        349
HBPC applications/year (estimated):          5
Total number Historic Buildings:          807*
The law requires that all permit applications affecting any of these Historic Buildings be referred to the HBPC
Tier I:                                                        258 properties
  • As-of-right projects are defined and will require no application or review
  • Substantial alteration or demolition will be subject to HBPC review
Tier II –                                                   349 properties
  • Only demolition will require approval; approval will be by administrative permit (no HBPC review)
2.    Support for Installation of Replacement Fire Tower at Ward Pound Ridge Reservation   The Board adopted a resolution urging Westchester County to proceed with the largely community-funded effort to install a replacement fire tower a short distance for Pell Hill in Ward Pound Ridge Reservation.  The tower would provide a magnificent view of the tristate area, draw visitors and be a boon financially for the park and local businesses.  Click here for the resolution.
3.    Proposed amendments to Landlord Registry Law   The Board discussed further changes being recommended by Town Counsel and the Building Inspector providing the following: changing inspection period from every two years to every three years; adding mixed used commercial/residential properties (about 15 to 20); exempting owner-occupied units from the inspection fee (but they would be subject to inspection; and clarifying certain language.

APRIL 20 UPDATE FROM THE TRAFFIC SAFETY WORKING GROUP COMMITTEE
1.  Update from DPW:
a.  Bedford Village Traffic Calming Measures Along Village Green – Kevin Winn gave an update. The design for the traffic calming measures has been approved. The existing crosswalk will be changed to a raised concrete block crosswalk that looks like brick. A speed hump is also set to be added near the church on the Route 172 side. Hahn Engineering drafted the design and presented it to the Bedford Village Historic District Review Commission. After some minor modifications, the plan was presented again to the commission and was approved. These measures are set to be implemented in summer 2017 and coincide with the paving in the Village Green area.
b. Haines Road/Bedford Road Crosswalk – Kevin Winn gave an update. NYS DOT has given its permission to place a rapid-flash beacon at the crosswalk. The beacon goes below the sign indicating the crosswalk. They are currently trying to secure funding.
c. Parkway/Katonah Avenue – Kevin Winn gave an update. The island on the east side of Parkway is slated to be extended out to create a “refuge island” in summer 2017. The northeast corner of the intersection has been changed to a parking spot. The parking spot idea has seemed to work better than the previous idea of placing flower baskets in the area. Don Scott reports that the spot is used frequently during the late morning and afternoon hours.
2.  Update from Police Department:
a.  Vehicle Weight Scales – Mel Padilla gave an update. A second set of scales has been acquired. There was a delay in the state certifying the scales; however, both sets are now ready to be deployed. One commercial vehicle detail has been scheduled each month between May and September. The officers will be checking for gross vehicle weight, in addition to other items such as uncovered loads and missing placards. The goal of these inspections is to reduce truck traffic in the hamlets and throughout the town. Don Scott brought up the local delivery only signs which are placed in certain locations in the town. Chief Padilla stated that the law, as written, is too ambiguous to enforce properly. Chris Burdick and Jeff Osterman will look at the previous research done on the signs and law and see if there are any improvements that can be made.
b. Speed Limit Enforcement on Route 172 – Mel Padilla gave an update. The last speed study was done in October 2016. This study found that the 85% of drivers were doing an average speed of 47 MPH on this stretch of road. Chief Padilla brought up that officers have mentioned that one side of the roadway is 35 MPH and the other side is 30 MPH. The same situation exists on Route 35. Kevin Winn said he would look into the signage and bring any inconsistencies to the attention of NYS DOT. A traffic study is currently being conducted now to see if there has been any abatement in speed in this area. Once the study is completed next week, the speed board will be deployed to this area as a short-term fix. A lengthy discussion followed regarding the feasibility of installing speed camera signs or actual speed cameras to deter speeding in the area. There were questions regarding the legality of doing so and Chris Burdick stated he would be able to gather more information on the topic. Don Scott mentioned that other municipalities such as Yonkers and New York City have successfully implemented cameras. He also mentioned that he would be including a question on the speed cameras on a survey he is planning to send to Katonah residents and would share the results.
VACANCIES ~ BOARDS, COMMISSIONS AND COMMITTEES
The Town of Bedford is looking to fill a vacancy (open only to a resident of the Katonah park district) on the Recreation and Parks Advisory (RPAC) Committee – for more information on the Committee click here.  The Town is also looking to fill a vacancy on the Tree Advisory Board (TAB) with preferably a certified arborist. for more information on the Board click here.  If you are interested in serving, please e-mail your resume with a cover letter to supervisor@bedfordny.gov.
You also may mail it to me at Supervisor, 321 Bedford Road, Bedford Hills, New York 10507.   We also have two vacancies on the Veterans Affairs Advisory Committee, click here for more information on the committee or email the committee at veterans@bedfordny.gov  .
GREAT NEWS – ALL OF I-684 RUNNING THROUGH BEDFORD TO BE PAVED 
I am delighted to share with you some great news.  In a follow up call with NYS Department of Transportation Regional Director Todd Westhuis, he reported that DOT in 2018 will proceed with the paving of I-684 from Harris Road to the Exit 5/6 interchange (at Route 35).   This is in addition to the funding which Assemblyman Buchwald helped secure for the portion from the Route 172 interchange to Harris Road which will be carried out in 2017.
     My thanks goes to the community for making your voices heard.  The petition drive, the letter writing, the phone calls, the lobbying, the work of our elected representatives collectively paid off.

Click here for the press release

BEDFORD HILLS TRAIN STATION GRAND RE-OPENING RECEPTION
On Thursday evening, April 6, 2017, we celebrated the grand re-opening of the Bedford Hills train station following its restoration to its former glory from the early 20th century. The event, which the Bedford Hills Neighborhood Association co-sponsored with and the Town, was well attended.  Folks who had seen the before station marveled at the restoration of the high ceilings, ceiling lighting, ceiling fans, wall sconces and wainscoting. The event was hosted by Chris Burdick Town Supervisor; Lee V.A. Roberts Deputy Supervisor; Maryann Carr Councilwoman; and Don Scott Councilman. Our Superintendent of Recreation and Parks did his usual fabulous job as MC and arranging the reception. Many who contributed so heavily to this project were thanked and acknowledged.  We also thank the Bedford Hills merchants who supported this event.  Pizza, deserts, wine, sparkling water, flowers were all in abundance.
We are delighted that the newly renovated station now is available for Town activities, community events and use by community organizations and even for private parties (imagine a birthday party in the beautiful venue).  Superintendent of Recreation & Parks Bill Heidepriem has posted to the Town’s website a facility use forms and fee schedule should you be interested, click here.
OFFICIAL RESULTS OF MARCH 30 SEWER VOTE – IT PASSES OVERWHELMINGLY
Property owners in the central business districts of Bedford Hills and Katonah voted yesterday on whether to create a sewer district and approve the issuance of $1.2 million in bonds toward the estimated $20.5 million to build the sewer system.
I am pleased to report that the referendum was approved by 94% of the vote with 97 voting yes and 6 voting no. Most gratifying is that 86% of the eligible votes were cast.
I wish to thank those who have made this possible, especially the strong support of my colleagues on the Town Board.  I also wish to thank our tireless staff with Planning Director Jeff Osterman and Public Works Commissioner Kevin Winn doing a superb job in developing an affordable and intelligent plan, with the able assistance of our consulting engineers, Arcadis.  Thanks, too, to Town Clerk Boo Fumagalli and Deputy Town Clerk Nina Kellogg and the Election Inspectors who did an excellent job running the election and handling all the procedures, mailings, ballots and election rules.  Our counsel, Joel Sachs, and bond counsel, Doug Goodfriend, ably navigated us through the intricacies of New York State sewer law, election law and SEQRA.  Most of all, thanks to the voters who approved our moving ahead with this plan so crucial to protecting water quality and ensuring the vitality of our business districts.   Please see my March 31, 2017 Supervisor’s Report on next steps.
TOWN BOARD ACTIONS ON PARKING AT COMMUTER LOTS
The Town Board met on March 27 with Comptroller Abe Zambrano, who heads the Town’s Parking Bureau, to consider recommendations for the Town’s commuter lots, including strategies for reducing waiting lists at certain lots, a modest rate increase (there has been no increase since 2011) and a modest increase in the parking spaces.   There is a more detailed discussion in my March 31, 2017 report.
NEW FAIR & AFFORDABLE HOMEOWNERSHIP OPPORTUNITIES IN WESTCHESTER
            Applications are now being accepted for more than 30 new, fair and affordable homes in Westchester. These homes are single-family properties and condominiums, ranging in size, from one to five bedrooms. All of the homes are in good condition and located in the following communities: Bedford, Buchanan, Cortlandt, Harrison, Lewisboro, Mount Pleasant, North Castle, Pelham Manor, Peekskill, Pound Ridge, Somers, and Yorktown. “The county is pleased to offer these homes at discounted prices to families that want to live in Westchester County, but may not have been able to afford it in the past,” said County Executive Robert P. Astorino. “I urge anyone who is interested to apply to purchase these homes.”
            Westchester County purchased these homes at market value and is selling them at affordable prices to qualified individuals and families. The price for fair and affordable homes range $125,000 to $300,000.
Qualifications for buyers to purchase an affordable home include:
  • A  household income at or less than 80% of the Area Median Income for Westchester County:  $60,400 for a one-person household; $69,000 for a two-person household; $77,650 for a three-person household; $86,250 for a four-person household ; $93,150 for a five-person household.
  •  Households must also have savings for a down payment and closing costs, satisfactory credit, and incomes sufficient to carry the monthly mortgage payments.
            These 30-plus homes are among the 790 units that the county is developing in accordance with the 2009 housing settlement.  The settlement permitted the county to satisfy up to 25% of the required 750 units with existing housing.  The properties will remain affordable for 50 years.
   Information on each unit is available on the county’s Homeseeker website at www.westchestergov.com/homeseeker, where interested families can view the information, download the application and sign up to receive information on additional properties and open houses.
The county’s housing marketing consultant, the Housing Action Council (HAC), is handling the marketing of each unit. Rose Noonan, executive director of the HAC, said the available homes have a number of options for potential buyers, such as proximity to public transportation, amount of yard space, and communities with a pool or near a lake.
“There are also the condominiums with amenities and common areas cared for by management companies,” said Noonan. “Each home has its own style ranging from townhomes and flats to raised ranches to Cape Cod style and colonials.”
The HAC is a not-for-profit organization that helps the county identify and qualify prospective purchasers.  As a member of the New York Mortgage Coalition, the HAC also provides homeownership counseling and assists buyers through the mortgage approval process.
            The buyers will be selected through a lottery process. Applications will be accepted through April 24, after which public lotteries will be held for each property. Buyers can expect to be in their homes by the end of the year.
            For additional information about the homes and their communities, contact the HAC at (914) 332-4144 or hac@affordablehomes.org or go to http://homes.westchestergov.com/homeownership/homeseeker-opportunities.
FOR THE SUPERVISOR’S LATEST VIDEO WITH COMPTROLLER ABRAHAM ZAMBRANO click here
S&P GLOBAL RATINGS – REAFFIRMS BEDFORD’S AAA BOND RATING
I’m pleased to inform you that S&P Global Ratings has assigned a AAA Bond Rating to the Town. Fewer than 3% of municipalities are awarded this coveted rating which has a direct impact on taxpayers by providing a lower rate of interest than those municipalities whose ratings are not as high.  We are delighted that we received on our $10 million bond issue to finance 2016 and 2017 Capital Projects a 3.078% interest rate, well below the 3.5% which Comptroller Abe Zambrano used for budgeting purposes.
TOWN BOARD ADOPTS RESOLUTION REAFFIRMING MORAL STANCE
The resolution referred to below has now also been posted in Spanish, for both the English and Spanish Versions – The Town Board adopted the resolution which I proposed setting forth the Town’s Moral Stance on Recent Events and Related Town Policies.  I am grateful to my colleagues on the Board for their unanimous support and for the community for their involvement in the discussion which led to the development of the resolution and its adoption.  I do wish to emphasize the need for understanding, tolerance and civility for all members of the community regardless of their background and viewpoints, as the resolution recognizes.  While the great majority of those in attendance at the Town Board meeting on March 4 at which the resolution was adopted, there were some opposed.  To paraphrase Voltaire, I may disagree with your viewpoint, but I will defend to the death your right to say it.
VACANCY ON BLUE MOUNTAIN DEVELOPMENT BOARD AND BEDFORD HOUSING AGENCY
This Board and the Agency was created by the Bedford Town Board over thirty years ago to promote the creation of affordable housing stock.  The Board has worked tirelessly with not for profits (such as A Home, Habitat for Humanity and ACE), religious institutions (such as Antioch Baptist Church), New York State and Westchester County.  Most recently Blue Mountain has been partnering with Antioch Baptist Church for the creation of 12 affordable housing units at the Church’s property on Railroad Avenue which the Church will be conveying to a separate not-for-profit corporation.   It has been a long standing practice for the Town Board to consult with its boards and commissions when vacancies arise, particularly for suggestions as to skill sets and experience desired.   In the case of Blue Mountain, the individual leaving the Board is an attorney, and it would be helpful to replace him as well with an attorney.  For those interested in the vacancy, kindly e-mail your resume and cover letter (or e-mail) to supervisor@bedfordny.gov.
 
LOOKING FOR AFFORDABLE APARTMENTS AND CARING LANDLORDS
“A safe and peaceful home is the dream of every domestic violence victim.
Hope’s Door has a wonderful opportunity to make their dream come true.
We received a 3-year grant award to provide rental subsidies for victims fleeing abuse.
During their subsidy period, we will work with victims to become economically self-sufficient. We have all the victims we need and all the funding we need. What we do need are reasonably-priced apartments with landlords who want to make a difference in the lives of victims and their children. Please help us. If you know any landlords that would be interested in partnering with us, please have them contact: Debbie Lauro Conn
Director of Community Services DLauroConn@HopesDoorNY.org
(914) 747-0828 x 1017.”
ALLIED COMMUNITY ENTERPRISES’ (ACE) SEPTIC REPAIR/REPLACEMENT PROGRAM   We are delighted to be partnering with ACE on its exciting new Septic Repair /Replacement Program.  Under this program, homeowners who are income qualified in Bedford, Lewisboro and Pound Ridge are eligible to have their septic systems repaired or replaced under a program funded by New York State’s Affordable Housing Corporation.  Homeowners under the enhanced star program and other homeowners who may be lower income may be eligible.  Click here for the steps.  Click here for the application. More information can be found by going to the ACE website.
2017 MOBILE SHREDDER EVENTS – MARK YOUR CALENDARS
The Town of Bedford is pleased to announce that in response to requests from members of the community, the Town is providing four mobile paper shredder events in 2017:
  • March 18, September 16, and November 18 at the Town Recycling Center at 343 Railroad Avenue, Bedford Hills from 11:00 AM to 2:00 PM.
  • May 6 at our Crusher Road highway yard off Crusher Road in Bedford Village from 9:00 AM to 12:00 PM, as part of spring cleanup days.
At the event, a Mobile Shredding Trucks will securely destroy documents. The company’s customer service professionals never physically touch your documents so the entire process is “touch-free”. The company can shred paper, paper clips, rubber bands, staples and even the black clips. They cannot shred 3-ring binders, or anything that is non paper (CDs, tapes, DVDs, hard drives, etc…).  There will be no charge to residents for the service.
 
SAVE THE DATES FOR ANNUAL CLEAN UP WEEKEND – MAY 6 AND 7
The Town will be alive with activity in this time honored tradition as we work to clean out our attics and garages, buy treasures at rummage sales and tag sales (for next year’s Clean Up weekend), buy and plant flowers and generally beautify our wonderful Town.  We applaud Chowder & Marching Club, Katonah Village Improvement Society, the Katonah Presbyterian Church, to name only a few who make it such a great event.  The Town’s highway facility off of Crusher Road in Bedford Village will be open.   Click here for more information
CANTITOE 282 CIRCUIT ROADS TO BE TRIMMED TOWN OF BEDFORD
New York State Electric and Gas (NYSEG) will be trimming the vegetation around our facilities on the Cantitoe 282 circuit during March 2017 to May 2017.  The contractor that has been awarded the contract is Nelson Tree Service.  Attached is the list of roads that we will be working on in your town.   NYSEG does this routine maintenance to insure the safe and reliable distribution of power.  If you have any questions about the schedule work or vegetation related concerns, please do not hesitate to contact me.
1.   Bayberry Ln;
2.    Baylis Ln;
3.    Bedford Center Rd;
4.    Brett Ln;
5.    Brundage Ridge Rd;
6.    Cantitoe St;
7.    Captain Theale Rd;
8.    Crusher Rd;
9.    David Lapsley Rd;
10.  East Way;
11.  Ferris Ln;
12.  Gordon Ave;
13.  Greenwich Rd;
14.  Grove Rd;
15.  Guard Hill Rd;
16.  Hollyhock Ln; Homestead Ln;
17.  Jefferson Ln;
18.  Lake Ave;
19.  Lincoln Ave;
20.  Locust Dr;
21.  Marys Ln;
22.  Millbrook Pl;
23.  Millbrook Rd;
24.  Old Post Rd;
25.  Oliver Rd;
26.  Pleasant St
27.  Pound Ridge Rd;
28.  Route 172;
29.  Route 22;
30.  S Bedford Rd;
31.  S Brook Rd;
32.  Spruce Pond Ln;
33.  Stone Paddock Pl;
34.  Tarleton Rd;
35.  The Farms Rd;
36.  Train Band Rd;
37.  Turtlepond Ln;
38.  Village Grn;
39.  Vinton Ave;
40.  Virginia Ave;
41.  W Circle Rd;
42.  Washington Ave;
43.  West Cir
FIVE YEAR UNAUDITED FINANCIAL PROJECTION 2017-2021
Click here for our projections prepared by our Town Comptroller Abe Zambrano.
2016 ANNUAL REPORT NOW POSTED TO WEBSITE!
Please take a few minutes to review our 2016 Annual Report, which summarizes what your Town government did to serve the community in 2016.  You’ll find a department by department summary of continuing to provide a high level of service and highlights of improvements made. Click here .
FAIR & AFFORDABLE HOME OWNERSHIP OPPORTUNITIES IN THE TOWN
                 In a market where the median sale price of homes in Westchester County are at $600,000 – and even higher in Bedford — there are affordable homeownership opportunities in Bedford.  The Housing Action Council, a nonprofit organization, is accepting applications for single family properties and condos throughout Westchester including six  in Bedford.    These include one bedroom condos at Bedford Terrace, a one and two bedroom condo at Bedford Mews, a two bedroom single family property on Ridge St. and a 3 bedroom single family home on Church St.
             The affordable sale prices were made possible with financial help from Westchester County.  Maximum household incomes, minimum occupancy, primary residency and resale requirements apply.  For more information, applications and requirements, go to www.housingactioncouncil.org  or email hac@affordablehomes.org or call (914) 332-4144.
                   Three of the Bedford properties have an application deadline of
April 24;  others are on a first come first serve basis.
CON EDISON PRUNING
Con Ed is pruning branches around power lines on the Mt. Kisco electrical loop, this week and next weather permitting.  Con Ed has notified the abutting residents. At present they are only pruning branches and there are no actual tree removals to be done. They have a wood chipper crew with them and they are removing debris as they go. However, Con Ed will be assessing the health of the trees as they proceed and there could be a request for actual tree take-downs.   The roads are: Bedford Rd; Valeria Ct; S. Beechwood Rd, Green La, Edna St,  Center St,  Norm Ave,  Mclain St, Springhurst Rd,  W. Patent Rd, Broad Brook Rd, Guard Hill Rd,  Darlington Rd Christopher Rd, Rock Gate Farm Rd, Letitia  La, Charles Rd,
S. Bedford Rd,  Old Wagon Rd,  Chestnut Ridge Rd, Linden La, Sarles St, Deer Knoll Rd
MORTGAGE ASSISTANCE PROGRAM (MAP)
A new program offered by the NY AG’s Office. The program will provide up to $40k to homeowners facing foreclosure due to delinquent mortgage payments, property taxes or Gmaintenance fees.  If they qualify, they do not need to pay it back monthly.  It is paid back if the homeowner refinances or sells the house over the life of the loan.   Westchester Residential Opportunities Inc. (WRO) is designated to process the application from their office.  Homeowners can call Veronica Raphael,
Director of Foreclosure Prevention to see if they qualify for this program.  914-428-4507 x334 or vraphael@wroinc.org.
LIMITED PARKING AT TOWN OFFICES DURING POLICE STATION CONSTRUCTION
Please be advised that during the renovation work at the Police Station, parking at both 425 Cherry Street and 321 Bedford Road will be limited.  Please note that starting on Monday, February 6, there will be “Resident Parking Only” for certain spaces in the parking lots.   We would also strongly recommend that if you need to visit the Town Offices, you consider doing so on a day other than when the Justice Court is in session.  For the Justice Court schedule and other information regarding parking, please click here.
THREE MAJOR INTERSECTIONS IN KATONAH: ROUTES 35 AND 22, ROUTE 35 AND THE I-684 OVERPASS AND ROUTE 25 AND WOODBRIDGE ROAD
I have been working with Public Works Commissioner Kevin Winn and Police Chief Mel Padilla to address the danger posed with power outages knocking out the traffic lights at the three major intersections in Katonah: Routes 35 and 22, Route 35 and the I-684 overpass and Route 25 and Woodbridge Road.
As was recognized in the discussion of the outage, posting officers either to direct traffic or place flares in a multi lane highway with additional turning lanes in dark rainy/icing conditions is extremely dangerous (especially with some careless, heedless drivers disregarding the intersections and basic traffic law).
We are exploring other means of addressing the problem. Because there have been previous incidences of power outages at these locations, I have contacted NYSEG to ask what measures NYSEG is taking to “harden” the circuit which power the traffic lights. I have also asked whether there might be a “dual feed” whereby if one circuit goes down, another circuit might pick up the load. It’s not a likelihood, but I still felt I should ask. I also placed a call to the regional office of the NYS Department of Transportation to discuss our concerns, given that the traffic lights are owned by and the responsibility of DOT.
Most important is getting the traffic lights back into operation as quickly as possible. Given that FEMA did not grant our post-Sandy request for funding generators, we purchased them ourselves. The generators are portable and may be used in emergency situations throughout town. As such, the generators are not fixed in a given location but are transported from safe storage to where most needed. Commissioner Winn and Chief Padilla are instituting new procedures for mobilizing the generators more quickly. They are confident that doing so should significantly reduce the time that the traffic lights are out.
POLICE STATION RENOVATIONS  
            This is the second installment of the explanation of the project to renovate the station building to which there hasn’t been any significant work in over 30 years.  The $7 million project is comprised of the renovation of the lower level of the Town Offices at 321 Bedford Road to house the police department while the one-year renovation project is being carried out; the gut renovation of the station building; the removal of a portion of the adjacent building (known as the “Milk Building”) to allow room for an addition to the station building; and a second addition to the station building.   The following describes the improvements/renovations to the interior of the station building and the facilities to be housed in it with the additions:
  • Increased security measures will include electronic access control to secure areas and increased video surveillance of sensitive areas.
  • Locate Interview room in lobby to limit entry to the inner secure area of building.
  • Dedicated office space for sergeants to conduct their secondary duties and counsel officers under their command
  • Larger lockers for officers to accommodate all equipment and uniforms (current lockers are insufficient in size).
  • Location of lieutenant offices, detective division and records office to be consolidated into one area to facilitate efficiency of operations.
  • Conference area to be added for executive-level meetings as well as in-house emergency operations management center capabilities.
  • Classroom to be expanded and updated with modern A/V equipment.  This will give the ability to host regional training and reduce training costs for Bedford Officers.
  • Access to classroom from lobby to be added to limit unnecessary entry to the inner secure area of building.
  • Training area for defensive tactics and dynamic tactical training t. Having this capability will reduce scheduling and training overtime costs by conducting smaller trainings with on-duty officers.
  • Health and wellness area included for officers to stay in good physical condition; area will also include provisions for officers held overnight during inclement weather/emergency situations.
  • Larger evidence room to allow for appropriate secure storage in accordance with state accreditation requirements.
  • Secure prisoner intake to maintain the safety and security of the arresting officers and the defendant.
  • Centralized server room for all departmental IT and telecommunications equipment.
  • Secure enclosed space for weapons maintenance and storage
  • Garage for storage of specialty vehicles and equipment (UTV, Motorcycle, Message Boards, etc..)
  • Report writing, muster, and break areas combined and located near dispatch to facilitate communication between the oncoming and outgoing tour.
             Also the Better Business Bureau offers other Scam Alerts at https://www.bbb.org/council/news-events/lists/bbb-scam-alerts/
NYSEG ~ EMERGENCY PREPAREDNESS UPDATE
To report an outage or an electrical emergency, please call us at 1.800.572.1131 or go to our Emergency Preparedness web page, “Outage Central,” at
You can sign up for Outage Alerts to receive notifications regarding power outages and the estimated restoration time at  http://www.nyseg.com/YourAccount/AboutAlerts.html
NYSEG urges customers to stay away from downed power lines – even lines that appear dead can be deadly. NYSEG customers should call 1.800.572.1131 to report downed power lines or other hazardous conditions.
DAILY PARKING RATE CHANGE 
Effective 1/2/17 the daily parking rate is $8 per calendar day
For more information on Parking Permits click here
.
TEXT MESSAGES FROM NYSEG AND CON EDISON -outages and emergencies
You can sign up for text alerts from NYSEG by going to http://www.nyseg.com/youraccount/aboutalerts.html  and from Con Edison by going to
http://www.coned.com/mobileapp/. In addition, here is some useful information if you need to contact either NYSEG or Con Edison. Both NYSEG and Con Edison encourage customers with special needs to enroll in special services for them.  “NYSEG is committed to providing their customers with safe, reliable energy delivery. They also offer many services for special need customers, including: Special Identification for households where everyone is elderly, blind or disabled. Large print, sight-saver Bills for visually-impaired customers.  Home Energy Assistance Program (HEAP) grants  NYSEG’s Energy Assistance Program (EAP) Project SHARE emergency energy assistance program. If you or someone in your household relies on life-sustaining equipment, you should contact NYSEG immediately! How to call NYSEG: Electricity interruptions or emergencies: 1.800.572.1131 (24 hours a day, every day) Customer relations center: 1.800.572.1111 Payment arrangements: 1.888.315.1755 Hearing and speech-impaired: Dial 711 (New York Relay Service)” Message from Con Edison: Customer Central Special Services Safety for Special Customers: It is important that we have a record of everyone who uses electrically operated life-support equipment or has medical hardships so we can contact them in an emergency. To learn more and complete the survey, please visit the link below. You can also let us know by calling 1-800-75-CONED (1-800-752-6633). Con Edison customers can enroll for this service by visiting www.conEd.com, clicking on Customer Central, and then the “special services” link. You will need your account number. To keep our records current, each year we send a letter asking you to recertify. http://www.coned.com/customercentral/specialservices.asp
Customers with Special Needs: We recognize that senior citizens and people with disabilities need special attention. That’s why we offer a variety of services and billing and payment options that make life a little bit easier for the elderly, visually or hearing-impaired, or customers with permanent disabilities. Please visit the link below to view the Customers With Special Needs brochure. http://www.coned.com/customercentral/specialservices.asp
SMOKE & CARBON MONOXIDE DETECTORS
 I would like to take this opportunity to urge residents to check their smoke detectors and carbon monoxide detectors.
            A regular reader of this weekly newsletter asked why I repeat certain posts from week to week.   I do so because not everyone reads my newsletter on a weekly basis, much information provided remains relevant and I wish to continue to alert the community about it.    In response to the comment, however, you will see that I’ve divided the newsletter into two sections “New Posts” and “Continuing Posts”.   Both sections are relevant and, I believe, worthy of review.    I wish to thank readers for making suggestions and comments; over the years, I’ve not only changed format but added content based on them (for example, why the flags are flow at half-mast).
CON EDISON 
Warns Customers Not To Fall for Scam Callers
Refer Suspicious Calls to Police or 1-800-75CONED
NEW YORK – Con Edison is warning customers not to fall for scams in which a caller threatens a service turnoff unless the customer purchases a pre-paid card or arranges for a transfer via MoneyGram to pay a bill.
These callers are not from Con Edison and Con Edison does not accept payments of electric or gas bills by pre-paid debit cards, or by MoneyGram or similar transfers.
The company has recently seen a spike in reports from customers who were contacted by the scammers. Con Edison believes the scammers are calling customers randomly, not targeting just those who owe back payments. The company has received complaints from residential and business customers.
The scammers sometimes even tell the customer about a store near the customer’s home that sells pre-paid cards. The scammer instructs the customer to pay cash to put money on the card and to then provide the number on the card to the person who called.
Once the customer provides the scammer with the card number, the scammer steals the money on the card.
There have even been reports of these scammers making a Con Edison phone number show up on the customer’s caller ID.
With MoneyGram, scammers may ask a customer to provide money from a bank account, credit card or debit card by going online or to a specified location. The money goes into someone else’s bank account or is available for the receiver to pick up in cash.
Be alert if anyone asks you by telephone to arrange for pre-paid debit cards or a MoneyGram transfer as payment for your bill, or to send money to an out-of-state address. Never arrange payment or divulge account or personal information, including debit or credit card information, over the telephone, unless you are certain you are speaking to a Con Edison representative.
Anyone who feels they may have been a target of an impostor or a payment scam should call their local police department. They may also call Con Edison at 1-800-75CONED.
Con Edison’s website, http://www.coned.com/customercentral/managemybill.asp, offers a variety of approved and convenient options for bill payment.
OFFICE OF EMERGENCY MANAGEMENT   
Over the last couple of years, I have brought together about quarterly the chiefs of our fire departments and the president of the Katonah Bedford Hills Volunteer Ambulance Corps to discuss matters of mutual concern. Results of some of the last couple of meetings was the Town agreeing to assume the expense of a larger monitor and certain other improvements to the OEM center housed on the second floor of the Bedford Hills Fire House. In addition, we have discussed ways to reduce false alarms which result in unnecessary deployment of emergency forces and unnecessary charges to property owners.
TO SIGN-UP FOR NIXLE ALERTS click here
POW-MIA FLAG NOW BEING FLOWN ON ALL TOWN OF BEDFORD FLAGPOLES
In 1990 a federal law was enacted which recognized the National League of Families POW/MIA Flag which identified it “as a symbol of our Nation’s concern and commitment to resolving as fully as possible the fates of Americans still prisoner, missing and unaccounted for in Southeast Asia.”   The flag has become a symbol for prisoners of war and those missing in action from all American wars.  Joining the Westchester County and other Westchester municipalities, I have directed that the POW/MIA flag be flown on all Town of Bedford flagpoles.   This began on Monday, December 5.