Real Estate Rumors, “Appealing” Taxes, Honor Roll, Office Park Living

Annual Property Taxes: $59,601
Brick Colonial
260 Fort Hill Rd, Edgemont

“It is an extraordinary house,” says Claire Civetta, associate broker with Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage, about this magnificent 1.4-acre property. “It was custom-built by a family for a family.” The three-story home has six bedrooms, five full baths and a powder room, a two-story grand entrance with Turkish stone floors, a sweeping main staircase, a conservatory with heated floors, and a gourmet kitchen to die for. The master bedroom has its own fireplace, balcony, sitting room, and luxury marble bath.

Like other brokers this winter of seemingly endless storms, Civetta won’t let snow or ice get in the way of visiting this property–or any other that she has listed, for that matter. Civetta drives a Jeep, which “can get through anything,” she says. If she has listed your property, and you just happen to be someplace sunny sipping piña coladas, she will make sure your driveways and walkways are shoveled clean, so clients can make their way inside and fall in love—and make an offer, of course.
For more information, call (914) 584-3476 or visit

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Just a Rumor?
The New York Times had reported that Chita Rivera, 78, the Broadway singer and dancer we know so well from West Side Story, is moving with her daughter, Lisa Mordente, the actress-choreographer, to Westchester. But that’s not so, says David Sanders, the owner of Sanders Properties in Nyack, New York.
And he should know: he has Rivera’s three-acre Civil War estate in Blauvelt, New York (Rockland County) on the market for $825,000, and he says the star and her daughter are going to buy another house nearby in the same county. (The New York Times, for the record, later corrected the error.)

In addition to starring in West Side Story at the Winter Garden in 1957, Rivera was a hit in Chicago at the 46th Street Theatre (now the Richard Rogers) in 1975 and in The Rink at the Martin Beck in 1984. (She won a Tony for the latter.) Alas, it would have been a feather in the county’s cap to add Rivera to the list of Westchester’s famous residents.

Good Grief! These Property Tax Burdens!

The Westchester County Clerk’s office reports that tax appeals are soaring–up nearly 70 percent to 9,714 last year from a mere 5,772 in 2009. Not surprisingly, the record number of challenges–attempts to “grieve” one’s taxes—seems to be a side effect of the troubled housing market and the recession. “These grievances are having a tremendous negative effect on local tax rolls,” said Westchester County Clerk Timothy C. Idoni, whose office released the figures. But with all due respect to the County Clerk, what he says is not quite true, because, if your tax challenge is successful, your neighbors could end up footing the bill. In the end, cities and towns have the power to raise the tax rate to compensate for those losses, if that’s what they need to do. New Rochelle saw the highest number of tax challenges at 1,399; Greenburgh came in second with 1,325.

Local Architect Wins Honor
Carol J. Weissman Kurth of Bedford has been elevated to The American Institute of Architects (AIA) College of Fellows, the first female architect from the AIA Westchester Hudson Valley Chapter to do so. This honor is conferred on licensed architects for significant contributions to architecture and society, and for those who have achieved a standard of excellence in the profession. The American Institute of Architects has a membership of 80,000 architects worldwide, and there are fewer than 2,700 members distinguished with the honor of fellowship.  We featured Kurth’s award-winning design of a home in Pound Ridge in the winter issue of Westchester Home.

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Retrofitting Suburbia: Reinventing Westchester’s Underutilized Office Parks 

The Urban Land Institute of Westchester/Fairfield is holding a breakfast and seminar at 7:30 am on March 3 at 360 Hamilton Avenue in White Plains to discuss the county’s reissued study, “Office Park Housing: Adapting Underutilized Office Parks for Housing”. The study will be represented by Planning Commissioner Ed Buroughs,  along with Richard Hyman of RH Hyman Consulting, and Robert Weinberg, president of Robert Martin Company. A Q&A will follow. As we know all too well, Westchester’s housing is among the most expensive in the nation, and, when it comes to affordable housing in the county, there’s far too little of it. For more information, email

Our Best of Westchester Party is July 24!

Our Westchester Home Design Awards event is June 26!

Our Wine & Food Festival returns June 4-9!

Our Wunderkinds event takes place on May 23!

Our Best of Business Ballot is open through May 15!

Our Healthcare Heroes Awards event takes place on May 9!

Our Westchester Home Builders Awards take place on April 4!

Our Diversity, Equity & Inclusion Forum is March 14!

Unveiled: A Boutique Bridal Brunch is February 25!

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