Two candidates vie for mayor in Roslyn Estates

Two candidates vie for mayor in Roslyn Estates
Roslyn Estates' mayoral race is the only contested election in Roslyn. The two candidates running are incumbent Mayor Paul Peter (left) and Roslyn Estates resident Todd Teichman (right). (Photos courtesy of the Village of Roslyn Estates)

Roslyn Estates Mayor Paul Peters is running for re-election March 21 and facing a challenge from resident Todd Teichman.  It is the only contested race in the town

Peters, who is running on the Sunshine Party line, has served as the mayor of Roslyn Estates for the past six years for three consecutive terms. Prior to his time as mayor, Peters was a member of the village’s Board of Zoning Appeals and a trustee for the village.

He has been involved in the fields of real estate and construction for over 50 years and is chairman of the board and principal of Ajustco, LLC and managing partner in GP Associates.

Teichman has lived in Roslyn Estates for 2 1/2 years and has not served in the village government to date. He is running for the Roslyn Estates Party. Teichman currently works in medical sales and has for the previous 25 years.

Previously Teichman served on the District 28 school board in Queens. He said it was one of the most “dysfunctional” school boards in New York City, and within a year it had become more transparent and functional.

Blank Slate Media interviewed both candidates individually to see what they wanted to achieve if elected.

Peters said he wants to continue his role as mayor to serve the utmost interest of the village.

“I don’t see anybody out there yet who I am confident would have the best interest of the village at heart rather than looking for the office for something they can accomplish for themselves,” he said.

During Peters’ tenure as mayor, he has overseen initiatives such as carrying out deferred maintenance throughout the village and beautifying the village in the process.

He said his biggest accomplishment, though, was getting the village organized, following its codes and acting on behalf of the entire village and its residents, not just the interests of select individuals.

“We live in a place where we have all these rules for the benefit of the entire village and for the benefit of all the residents, and sometimes somebody wants to do something they can’t do within an incorporated village,” Peters said. “That’s why people move to an incorporated village so they can have that kind of control and people can’t do whatever they want to the detriment of their neighbors sometimes.”

Teichman said the current village government in Roslyn Estates does not work for a lot of residents. He cited as an example home improvement and tree removal proposals that are typically denied or encounter a long process of approvals.

“Anybody I’ve spoken to who’s dealt with our village and tried to get anything done finds everything impossible,” Teichman said.

He said the laws governing planning and architectural review need to be revisited in order to make them work better for the large majority of Roslyn Estates.

There are three boards involved in building and development: the Architectural Review Board, the Planning Board and the Board of Zoning Appeals. The Board of Trustees does not have jurisdiction over the members of the boards, which are independent. The Board of Trustees does appoint the members of these three boards

“It shouldn’t have to go to multiple counsels, multiple meetings,” Teichman said. “I know people who’ve been to 10-12 meetings to get stuff approved, it’s just ridiculous.”

Teichman said he would like to streamline these processes, which he acknowledged is easier said than done, but ultimately wants the building approval processes to work for the community.

The village has a building inspector who works three days a week throughout the year. This is because, on average, that is the amount of work needed from him based on the amount of construction conducted in the village, according to Peters. He said the amount of construction fluctuates over time, so when there is a high need it takes longer to go through the procedures.

Peters said that he, too, has experienced delays in procedures to get building done on his home, going from one board to the other.

“But we appreciated it because we knew it made it so that our house did not become an eyesore and that we fit into the community and the way the village looked,” Peters said.

Peters said there are many laws and policies that the village does not have control over because state, county and town laws and ordinances take precedence.

“It’s tough to balance the desires of an individual against what the code has written and what’s best for the village as a whole,” Peters said.

He said that Roslyn Estates, like any other incorporated village, has a “fairly extensive code” with a variety of zones and zoning requirements.

“They’re there to protect the village itself and your neighbors so that you can’t do anything you want,” Peters said.

The mayor added that he is confident the various architectural and planning boards do serve the interests of the community overall.

Teichman said he also wants to expand community events that appeal to the community’s youth and families.

“I noticed that there’s not really a sense of community in the village anymore,” Teichman said. “And I don’t know if there ever was because I wasn’t here before, but I imagine there was. I want to do things that bring the community together so people get to know their neighbors.”

He said most of the problems within the village, like noise complaints and speeding, could be addressed by restoring community relations.

“People are less likely to speed if they know that kid that they’re about to hit,” Teichman said.

Regularly in his newsletters, Peters said he writes that the best way to solve issues with neighbors is to speak with them, and if they are having a party that is noisy, invite their neighbors to the party.

“I encourage our residents to be good neighbors and sometimes it’s easiest and best to just work out the issues with your neighbor rather than try to bring in law enforcement,” Peters said.

Teichman said he wants to increase community programs, such as creating a program where high school students can volunteer throughout the community. This would be a win-win for the community, as students get community service hours, they learn skills and the community directly benefits, Teichman said.

Peters said that he and the village have worked to foster community relations, including hosting events such as Halloween and cocktail parties.

“We’ve been fostering that for the last six years,” Peters said.

If re-elected, Peters said he would also like to continue the tax rate as is while continuing programs of repaving the roads. He said there a plans currently in the works to establish a program this spring to continue repaving projects.

“Maintaining the infrastructure in the village is a constant effort,” Peters said.

He added he would also continue to fight against Gov. Kathy Hochul’s housing plan,  alongside other mayors and government officials throughout Long Island. The plan would require local governments to rezone areas within a half mile of MTA rail stations that serve the Long Island Rail Road to achieve 3% growth in housing over three years.

“My goal is to continue to have the best interest of the village at heart, keep it running efficiently, keep it financially, sound and keep it beautiful and be a place where people want to live,” Peters said.

Teichman also pledged to serve the community’s interests.

“I’m going to work my butt off, I’m going to bring energy and transparency, my phone is on, I’m going to listen to the people within the community and I’m going to reach out to the people of the community to get their feedback,” Teichman said. “Roslyn Estates at one point was the jewel of Roslyn, I want it to be that again.”

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