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Stepping Stones to Rework Protocol for Katonah Site

Bedford planners focus on number of visitors and vehicles, impact on neighborhood.

The Stepping Stones Foundation, which is seeking a special-use permit to build a parking lot while neighbors of the Katonah site press for resolution of concerns about traffic and noise, will rework the draft of a protocol governing its activities after a page-by-page review with the Bedford Planning Board Tuesday night.

Issues aired during the review, which consumed more than half of the 3.5-hour board meeting, included the number and size of vehicles, number of trips, number of people admitted to the Oak Road site, deliveries, times for tours, the best way to limit the impact of events on the residential neighborhood (especially those concentrated on weekends in warm-weather months) and the possibility that some activities may have outgrown the 8-acre property.

Stepping Stones is the historic home of Bill and Lois Wilson, respective co-founders of Alcoholics Anonymous and the Al-Anon Family Groups. It is on the state and national registers of historic places and since 1990 has been operated by the Stepping Stones Foundation. The federal government is considering designation of the site as a National Historic Landmark.

The site is a mecca for the world’s recovering alcoholics and attracts several hundred people to its annual picnic, its largest event. Annual visitors total 3,000 since Stepping Stones was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 2004, according to an article posted Feb. 17 on www.lohud.com.

The Town Board has asked the Planning Board to help the foundation develop a protocol that will govern the operation of the site and address the concerns of neighbors. The Town Board ultimately will approve or reject the protocol and the permit for the landscaped 14-space parking area.

While differences remained at the end of Tuesday’s meeting, there appeared to be general agreement with a suggestion by board Vice Chair Deirdre Courtney-Batson that the protocol, once adopted, be reviewed after one year to determine how well it is working.  

Meanwhile, traffic consultant John Collins will be asked to update his data based on the revised protocol, with particular emphasis on the numbers associated with major events. Several board members cited traffic as a key environmental concern during the review process required by the state Environmental Quality Review Act.

Foundation Executive Director Annah Perch and attorney Whitney Singleton, representing Stepping Stones during the review, said the site does not attract a “tremendous amount” of traffic except on certain occasions. In the course of a year it involves fewer car trips than a single-family home, they said. Shuttle buses carry passengers from off-site parking areas for large events.

Courtney-Batson said, “It is the perception of neighbors that activity has expanded” in recent years.

Diane S. Briganti, a 28-year resident of Oak Road directly across from Stepping Stones, who has called for tighter limits on the number of vehicles and visitors, suggested that some activities had grown too large for the neighborhood and should be held off-site. 

In response to questions about noise levels and compliance with fire codes, board Chair Donald J. Coe said that a public address system must comply with town noise regulations and that fire officials will be asked to review safety and occupancy provisions. Perch noted that fire officials conduct periodic walk-throughs.

Summarizing the conflicting perspectives, board member John P. Sullivan said, “God bless your work but the site is much more used, with a museum-like atmosphere in a neighborhood that can’t sustain it.”

To read earlier Patch reports please click here and here.

Mitch Horn February 23, 2012 at 01:17 PM
The town should be ashamed. Stepping Stones puts Bedford on the national Map as a positive,awe inspiring location - as opposed to just the place where Martha Lives or Richard eats or Glenn cooked a rabit in a pot. Whatever Ms. Briganti's real problem is, she should see a shrink instead of the Town board. We are tired of hearing her air her nastiness. If she thinks she can't sell her house because of SS, then she is marketing to the wrong population. I am sure there are thousands of AA members with very big bucks that would pay top dollar to live in close proximity to the historical place. But perhaps she should do it with more honesty than she did with the Neighborhood "Petition" she passed around - Misrepresenting the aim of the petition to get people to sign and then presenting it as a fete acompli that the neighborhood wanted SS to go away. Shame on you! My understanding is the whole point of the Parking spaces was to get visitor parking OFF the road and to have a way for safer, quieter interaction with the neighborhood. Ms Briganti's constant tirades and personal vendetta against the place has taken the whole thing in an unwarranted direction, once again forcing local govt. as well as This small Museum to spend funds and time to appease the person with the biggest mouth, not what is best for the community.
maliagirl February 29, 2012 at 05:28 AM
Oh really, the town should be ashamed ....why? Because people come from all over to pay homage to the biggest sexual predator in AA ...Mr 13 stepper himself, Bill W. who had a mistress for 15 years who is still getting money in her will from the sale of Big Books today. Maybe its that PA system that is blasting the stupid "sharing " of AA members who insist upon having meetings when they come on their pilgrimage, to talk about themselves. I am no fool. I know what really goes in in AA today. Shall we talk about the 3rd level sex offenders and violent criminals that are being sentenced to AA meetings. Shall we talk about the family in Connecticut that were brutally raped and murdered and then burned down the house ..oh yea those guys met in an AA meeting...or shall we talk about the AA sponsor in Boulder Colorado that was just arressted for sexual assault...or shall we talk about the man who ripped off 23 AA members for $7 million dollars. Probably not. Lets just cover it up. Read the Orange Papers. She has a right. Its her neighborhood. Its not yours. And you are not special because you are in AA. I am sick of you guys in AA thinking you are better then normies as you call them... cause you are sober. AA does not help millions. AA is shrinking. BB sales were down $100,000 last year. No young person will read that antiquated hogwash. Wake up AA is not the only game in town. Try Smart Recovery, Rational Recovery, Secular for Sobriety, or Women for Sobriety.
Terry Lewis February 29, 2012 at 06:09 AM
Monica, what are you doing. This site is not designed to handle your ramblings. Please take your incoherent rants someplace else please. Bill had a mistress, her name was Helen Wynn big deal. This doesn't make a person a sexual deviant. As far as AA having issues with predators this is not true at all. Most of the incidents you have mentioned happened outside of AA meeting and we are not even sure the criminals were even alcoholics. Monica other wise known as Massive on the Orange Papers and Leaving AA Blog, you are a agitator looking to stir up trouble with your outrageous claims. Massive so what people met in a AA meeting. There are over 2 million members and probably a half to three quarters of a million more visitors (people coming in to see if AA is a fit for them) going to AA meetings. Just because people met at a AA meeting doesn't mean what you are suggesting. So I guess if you had 2 people who met at your house for a party then left and committed felonies this would some how reflect on your character. I don't think so. You have been told a thousand times take it up with the proper authorities, Judges, Prosecuting Attorneys, Parole Boards, Probation Officers, County Courts ect....But you will not. Monica you spent 36 years in AA and you haven't yet tried to bring this issue to the proper source. Why don't you truly think about the direction you want to take your advocacy and try to focus in a the real issues facing alcoholism today.
B Grahame February 29, 2012 at 06:28 PM
Terry Whose ranting? I thought Monica's post was interesting. I didn'y know there was so much controversy in AA. I'd like to know more. Is there anywhere on the net you can find more info?
Anti Denial February 29, 2012 at 06:29 PM
I totally agree with you Monica. This woman's house values are being effected by these very selfish people at Stepping Stones. AA thinks the world revolves around them. Well it doesnt! It is a very dangerous out of control organization filled with court mandated sexual offenders, killers, rapists, prostitutes and lots of 13 stepping going around. It is disgusting to think after all the people who have died at the hands of AA members to honor Bill W. is a slap in the face. I think it is great that the neighbors are sticking up for what is right and demanding the city do the right thing.
Anti Denial February 29, 2012 at 06:31 PM
Hi Terry! Yes you can go to www.nadaytona.org or www.leavingaa.com There is much controversy about the crimes down by AA members and how AA refuses to do anything. Even children that are raped or molested is considered an "outside issue" for AA.
Anti Denial February 29, 2012 at 06:33 PM
There is also www.orange-papers.org and www.stinkin-thinkin.com that has a huge resource of articles about the travesties of Alcoholics Anonymous and it's founder Bill W.
Anti Denial February 29, 2012 at 06:38 PM
Monica is doing this world a great service in exposing AA. We are making strides. People are learning the truth. Thank you Monica! Keep up the good work! Ms. Briganti, dont give up. It is worth the fight. I have great admiration for you and the other neighbors who are being effected by the selfish actions of the Stepping Stones Foundation board.
Terry Lewis March 04, 2012 at 07:06 AM
Who is ranting? Someone by the name of Antidenial was posts 4 times in a row. Monica Richardson is not a major advocate and has not done a lot in the anti-aa circles. For crying out loud she just got through spending 40 years in AA and her husband is still there. She still goes herself. So please lets all get on the same page here, This blog is not designed to listen to this nonsense AntiDenial so take it somewhere else. As you can tell by the participation this is not resonating with many people. Unless you want to count your one buddy above you, Ben Grahame. I guess that is his name B. Grahame, I took a guess.
Mitch Horn March 04, 2012 at 01:40 PM
This is a concerted effort by a small group of very bitter folks to discredit AA and rewrite history of the millions of lives it has saved, by posting on any and all references to AA so that when searches are done, these negative posts come to the top so people who really need information about getting sober and saving their lives cannot find it through all this nonsense. As always, follow the money and I suspect you will find that most of these nay-sayers are people who would profit by people using other, expensive snake oil remedies for the Disease of Alcoholism.
Anti Denial March 04, 2012 at 03:01 PM
I am very sympathetic for the nieghbors in the area that are having to tolerate Stepping Stones Foundation attempt to circumvent the law and bring down property. values. This is not the only town that has problems with AA. Check out the Rude Awakening stories of this community in Holly Hill Fl near Daytona Beach Fl. http://nadaytona.org/rude-awakening/ Citizens can make a difference, so I appauld your efforts there and wish you the best of luck stopping the worshiping of Bill W.
Ross Revira March 04, 2012 at 05:24 PM
Wait till the affordable housing comes to Katonah, You ain't seen nothing yet. Thank you Peter Harckham.
maliagirl May 29, 2012 at 08:11 PM
Sure I will gladly share with you the memo from an insider Board Member of Alcoholics ANonymous about the sexual predation problem in AA. ( Actually it is posted on the internet) also go to www.leavingaa.com for my story and other horror stories. ALso go to www.stop13stepinaa.wordpress.com Also you should know that Violent criminals and sex offenders are being sentenced to AA. Remember that story in Connecticut a few years back where the Dr wife and his two beautiful daughters were raped and brutally murdered and they they burnt the house down? Those two creeps met in AA. Enjoy your fantasy about who comes to AA meetings. Most good members like me have left, are leaving and or only attend little home meetings where THEY ARE SAFE! Don't say I didn't warn you. I am the Founder of The Grass Roots movement to Make AA SAFER.
Anti Denial May 29, 2012 at 11:44 PM
Here is a new Anti AA website. It is very nice. It has a forum too! Check it out! www.recoveringfromrecovery.com

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