NORTH SALEM, N.Y. -- The candidates running in a special election for a North Salem Town Board seat repeatedly discussed their approaches to development and the town's rural character at a recent forum.
Republican candidate William Monti, who was appointed to the seat following the death of Councilman Bruce Buchholtz, declared support for “responsible growth of our town while guarding our rural character.”
Monti also cited examples of properties that could be developed. They include an old lumber site in Croton Falls and a property by Route 121 and Bloomer Road, and the Croton Falls Firehouse. In the case of the latter, the Fire Department plans to move into a new facility near the Interstate 684 interchange.
Democratic challenger Martin Aronchick, whose experience includes having served on local committees for open space and the town's Comprehensive Plan, warned against what he called "townwide development." He called the notion of it a “false solution.”
Aronchick also argued that the Comprehensive Plan only looks for growth in the general population.
“It’s not a static document but it’s not providing for general growth,” he said.
Aronchick also warned about inappropriate development that could lead to an increased demand for services.
Both candidates agreed on certain topics, including support for volunteerism locally and in praising how the town has handled affordable housing. Each cited their experience as benefits. Monti named specific examples of affordable housing, such as the Bridleside development. Now retired, Monti was involved with operations of power plants. Aronchick, an attorney, was once a prosecutor.
Both candidates have volunteered in town. Before joining the Town Board, Monti was Vice Chairman of the Zoning Board of Appeals, a member of the Housing Board and an alternative for an assessment board. Aside from his service on committees, Aronchick has been involved in several local groups, including the Lions Club and the Open Space Foundation. He has also served as a firefighter and EMT.
The Oct. 16 forum was moderated by a League of Women Voters chapter and was held at North Salem Middle School/High School.
The special election to fill the unexpired term of Buchholtz is on Tuesday, Nov. 4, but the seat is scheduled to be up for a regular election again next year.
Aronchick also has the Independence Party ballot line and a local party line called North Salem Rural. Monti also has the Conservative Party line.
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