The Village of Ossining, NY
Frequently Asked Questions  

Please browse our list of commonly asked questions to see if we can quickly answer your question. 


      - Why is the Village redoing the five corners intersection now?
      - Isn't it unusual to see roundabouts in the middle of busy downtowns? Aren’t they designed for highways and rural areas?
      - Are roundabouts safe for pedestrians? It feels like a traffic light is safer.
      - What is a permissive referendum? What are the guidelines

          Why is the Village redoing the five corners intersection now?

In response to the question, Why is the Village redoing the intersection now?, you can see the response from Interim Village Manager, Paul Fraioli here

With the understanding that one option or the other for upgrading the intersection would be determined by the Board, Maser Consulting offered this slide presentation at the October 13, 2016 work session. They compared the advantages and disadvantages for either a conventional signal or a roundabout. The cost was found to be about the same. From the perspective of pedestrian safety and traffic flow, the roundabout was better. The roundabout is also better for the environment, and expands sidewalks to allow for increased plantings and public gathering space.


          Isn't it unusual to see roundabouts in the middle of busy downtowns? Aren’t they designed for highways and rural areas?

Roundabouts can work very well in downtown settings. This video shot in the Glens Falls roundabout, includes interviews with local business owners, police officers, and a journalist identifying a myriad of benefits they were surprised to be experiencing, including this statement, “What I think was not foreseen by a lot of folks was, [it’s] fantastic for pedestrians…plus it’s a signature thing for Glens Falls.”
Ossining’s Historic Preservation Commission Chair, Joanne Tall called to our attention the roundabout the Glens Falls as an example of one that is located in an historic downtown. It can be disconcerting to consider a big change to a community, particularly in a way that is tangible like an intersection where we all walk, drive and shop. Once a roundabout is in place, there tends to be a very a positive response. This was certainly the case for the roundabout in Glens Falls.
Even a single lane roundabout like the one coming to the heart of Ossining’s downtown, requires a slightly larger footprint than a traffic signal. Space is often not a limitation in rural areas. Downtowns that are developed on all corners, typically don’t allow enough space to construct a roundabout. Because two of the corners of our downtown intersection are undeveloped, we have flexibility that is not typical for a downtown Village. In November, a number of business owners and members of the Historic Preservation Commission joined the Village Board and the engineers on a site visit through the five corners intersection to see the parameters of the roundabout design, including where sidewalks will be shifted and expanded.

          Are roundabouts safe for pedestrians? It feels like a traffic light is safer.
At the November 16, 2016 meeting the Village welcomed Howard McCulloch, roundabout expert from the NYS DOT, to provide a presentation and engage in a conversation about roundabouts. A significant portion of his presentation focused on pedestrian safety. In fact, roundabouts are the NYS DOT’s preferred option for all intersection upgrades because studies demonstrate that they are so much safer for pedestrians.

When people hear the term “roundabout” they often think of large, fast, dangerous rotaries. A “modern roundabout”, particularly a single lane roundabout like this would be, are significantly safer for both vehicles and pedestrians than conventional intersections. The Wisconsin DOT offers this video about roundabouts, including data about the safety of roundabouts, particularly for pedestrians.

          What is a permissive referendum? What are the guidelines
At the February 1, 2017 meeting, the Village Board passed a resolution to fund the roundabout. Village Corporation Counsel Stuart Kahan provided the following remarks regarding the guidelines for a permissive referendum.
Mayor and members of the Board of Trustees, on this evening’s agenda, there are two bond resolutions, which include language that the resolutions are subject to permissive referenda.  I wanted to take a few minutes to detail to the Board and the public what is a public referendum and how the process works according to New York’s Village Law.
With a public referendum, voters in the Village have the right, during a specified time period, to petition the local government requesting a vote on a particular resolution approved by the Board.  Not every resolution is subject to a permissive referendum.  New York law lists those matters which are subject to a permissive referendum.  Among the matters subject to a permissive referendum are certain bond resolutions as detailed in Local Finance Law section 36.00.
The process for a permissive referendum is detailed in New York’s Village Law section 9-900, et. al.  The procedure is as follows:
  1. Within 10 days after the Board of Trustees adopts a resolution subject to a permissive referendum, the Village Clerk shall post and publish a notice which notice sets forth the date of the adoption of the resolution.The notice is to contain an abstract of the resolution stating the purpose and that the resolution is subject to a permissive referendum.
  2. Within 30 days after the passage of the resolution, a valid petition must be filed with the Village Clerk.If no petition is filed within 30 days, the resolution goes into effect by operation of law.
  3. The petition filed with the Village Clerk must include a number equal to at least 20% of the electors as shown on the register of electors for the last general Village election.According to the Westchester County Board of Elections, as of the last general village election in November, 2016, there were 10,727 registered electors.This is not the number of people who voted but the number who were registered to vote.The 20% requirement equals 2,146 signatures on the petitions.
  4. Village Law section 9-902(8) provides a form of the petition and what language must be included on the petition.
  5. If a written challenge to a petition is received within 5 days after the petition is filed, the matter is to be referred to a Justice of the Supreme Court in Westchester County for determination.The challenge is conducted pursuant to New York Election Law section 16-116 which provides that the proceeding is given a preference over all other matters and is to be decided in a timely manner.Additionally, the Village Clerk has an independent responsibility to determine that the petition is prima facie valid.
  6. The timing of the referendum depends on when the petition is filed.For the Village of Ossining, if the petition is filed after November 1 and before September 1, a special election must be held.That special election must be held not less than 10 or more than 60 days after the petition is filed.Arrangements would have to be made with the Board of Elections to get voting machines and election inspectors.Ballots would have to be printed and the Village Clerk would be responsible for conducting the referendum.The referendum is to be noticed, conducted, canvassed and otherwise held in the same manner as the general election.
  7. The Village Clerk also must prepare a list of eligible voters.That list may be added to or amended up to and including the date of the vote.Pursuant to the Village Law, the registration list of eligible voters must be prepared and filed in the Village Clerk’s office at least 10 days before the vote.The list is a public record that is open to inspection by any interested person.A qualified individual may have the list amended to include his/her name at any time up to and including the date of the vote.A decision by the clerk no to revise the list of eligible voters may be reviewed by the Court through an Article 78 proceeding.



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