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Lifestyle
 
Living in Pound Ridge, N.Y.
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Taken together with a lot of other protected land, Ward Pound Ridge Reservation, a county-owned tract of more than 4,000 acres, makes Pound Ridge wealthy in open space.
 
There was little about this 23-square-mile municipality in northeastern Westchester to trouble Mr. Warshauer, its town supervisor: the underground water supply, all 11 aquifers of it, was untainted; more than a third of town land had been set aside as open space; and the minimum residential lot size was an acre.
 
Indeed, the housing developments, highways and malls that mark the landscape of many surrounding towns had bypassed Pound Ridge, which does not have even a single traffic light.
 
Now, however, Mr. Warshauer sees a different kind threat to this town of picturesque hills and dales, where tumbledown stone walls line graceful, winding roads. The threat is coming from the sky, in the form of low-flying airplanes. These have caused the supervisor, among others, to toss and turn in bed.
The Federal Aviation Administration has begun working on a plan to shift air traffic patterns inland, and according to Mr. Warshauer, who has been supervisor since 2004, “It could impact in a very negative way what we’ve worked so hard to preserve here in Pound Ridge.”
 
The new routing, to begin sometime next year, could affect national routes, as well as those for LaGuardia, said James Peters, an agency spokesman in Jamaica, Queens. Mr. Warshauer sees the changes as potentially menacing not only the quality of human life but also the future of endangered species in ecologically sensitive conservation land. But according to Mr. Peters, agency studies indicated there would be no adverse ecological effects. In any event, the threat of increased noise and emissions is worrisome enough that residents have formed an Alliance for Sensible Airspace Planning, with complaint hotline numbers posted on the town’s Web site. Pound Ridge is one of several municipalities mustering opposition.
 
Another modern technology that generates ambivalence these days is cellular telephone service.
 
Until recently, Mr. Warshauer said, residents returning home to their rural retreats from high-pressure jobs in Manhattan, or Stamford and Greenwich in nearby Connecticut, might have grumbled about poor cellphone reception in low-lying areas, but they generally weren’t eager for anything beyond the town’s single cell tower.
 
Now the quest is on for a second tower, and while most residents agree on the need, few like the idea of the new equipment anywhere near their backyard, Mr. Warshauer added.
 
Vivian and Peter Falco, who bought their first house in Pound Ridge 25 years ago and reared two sons there, say they are grateful the town has remained essentially unspoiled.
 
In 1985, they paid $270,000 for a three-bedroom ranch on two acres with a pond. A decade later, Ms. Falco, a physical therapist, and her husband, a commercial real estate investor, spent $700,000 to build their next home, a four-bedroom colonial on three acres.
 
“During that time,” Ms. Falco said, “we’ve seen more and more land built on. And the street we live on, which lies in three watershed areas, has changed from a road half filled with houses to one that is now 90 percent built on.”
Still, she noted, over that period more land has been set aside as open space, to mitigate the impact of the growth.
 
WHAT YOU’LL FIND
This town of almost 5,000, shaped like a backwards “L,” is bordered to the southeast and south by New Canaan and Stamford in Connecticut, and otherwise surrounded by Bedford and Lewisboro. Residents have included celebrities like the Bush White House spokesman Ari Fleischer, the actor Richard Gere and the newscaster Tom Brokaw.
 
As of last year there were 1,923 single-family homes, up from 1,806 10 years earlier and from 1,668 in 1992, said Karen Taft, the administrator for the planning and the zoning boards. Since last year, because of the economy, the town has received only one or two new building applications, she said. There are no multifamily homes, and only a smattering of accessory apartments found in a few homes and above stores.
 
But the value of local real estate has been hard hit, despite the fact that the estimated median household income in Pound Ridge in 2008 was $191,439 —
almost two and a half times the county median. In recent years, many residents lost high-paying jobs and major investments, said Gloria Marwell, an associate broker with Prudential Holmes and Kennedy in Bedford; price cuts across the board reflect that.
 
“The downward trend came late to Pound Ridge,” Ms. Marwell said, “but we were not exempt. Last year we also saw increasing numbers of short sales and foreclosures.” Additionally, she said, the fraud perpetrated by Bernard L. Madoff, who lived nearby in Greenwich, “hit people in this area, too.” Similarly Paul Greenwood, a hedge fund manager and a former supervisor of North Salem, who has pleaded guilty to misappropriating $554 million in client funds, promoted his schemes in Pound Ridge circles, Ms. Marwell said.
 
WHAT YOU’LL PAY
As of Oct. 11, 94 homes were on the market. At the low end, a two-bedroom one-bath ranch is listed at $297,000. In the middle, a five-bedroom four-and-a-half-bath colonial on 3.61 acres is listed at $1.5 million. For $10 million, there is a six-bedroom five-and-a-half-bath colonial with a caretaker’s cottage on 11.9 acres.
The median sales price is $850,000; the lowest so far this year was $295,000 and the highest was $3.325 million, according to statistics from Prudential Holmes and Kennedy. That compares with the overall single-family median in Westchester of $607,500 at the end of the second quarter.