NEW: Comprehensive (or Master) Plan evening of public engagement Monday, June 15 at Bell


Friday, June 12, 2015
~ From the Town of New Castle

Last Spring over 250 community members attended workshops to discuss what you liked and didn’t like about New Castle. These ideas and thoughts have been transformed into goals and objectives related to a vision for our community’s future. Pace Land Use Law Center is hosting a public workshop on Monday at 6:00 p.m. at Bell School to share the transformation of your ideas into goals and objectives for the Town’s Comprehensive Plan. The meeting will include a presentation by Pace followed by breakout sessions so if you are interested in a particular topic, come and talk about that topic. Interested in more than one, you can talk about more than one. Our future depends on you!  We hope to see you there. For more information and to refresh your sense of what we told Pace last year, see New Castle Master Planning Public Engagement Report, July 2014

To find NewCastleNOW’s archive of Master Plan (or Comprehensive Plan) articles, click HERE.


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NEW: Did we get it right?  Did we capture your vision for the town’s future?

Friday, June 12, 2015

Editor’s Note: This week, NewCastleNOW asked Town Planner Sabrina Charney some questions about the Comprehensive Plan outreach scheduled for Monday, June 15, from 6:00 to 9:00 p.m. at Bell Middle School.  Below are her responses.

  NCNOW: What is the purpose of next week’s outreach? 

Charney:  Next week, the public gets to understand how their visions for New Castle begin to fit into a planning document. They can see, for example, how the desire for sidewalks or bicycle paths gets incorporated into Comprehensive Planning language.

The Comprehensive Plan Steering Committee needs the public’s input and suggestions regarding the Comprehensive Plans goals and objectives that incorporate the priority issues, assets and challenges that the public identified at the previous public outreach meetings. This document helps guide the local government officials as they make land use decisions for the future of New Castle.

NCNOW:  Why should residents attend?

Charney: It’s important for the Town of New Castle and the Comprehensive Plan Steering Committee to make sure they have input from the public regarding these larger goals, so that when it comes time to think and evaluate a variety of strategies and options, the public understands what goal they are trying to meet and how best to accomplish that goal.

NCNOW: Will residents hear about specific options for improvements to New Castle?

Charney:   No, this is simply goals and objectives. We need to get this right before we move to the variety of options that might meet each goal.

NCNOW: As I’ve understood so far, Monday’s outreach is partly a review of the results of last spring’s outreach sessions, confirming residents’ input and partly a chance to have more input from residents.

What kind of input do you want from residents this time?

Charney:   The public’s comments from last spring have been categorized, analyzed, and then turned into comprehensive planning language goals-and-objectives.

On Monday, the Committee is asking the public: “Do we have this correct?”  “Are we missing other goals or objectives?”  “Do we agree upon these goals before we move forward?” 

The Committee will be asking residents to ensure that our synthesis of last year’s input is not only accurate and complete, but also represents their vision of New Castle.

NCNOW:  Where can residents see those results to refresh their memories? 

Charney:  On the town’s website:  New Castle Master Planning Public Engagement Report, July 2014.


NCNOW:   So Monday’s outreach will be limited to “goals and objectives,” not the “how-we-get-there” or “strategies” part of last year’s outreach; when does the “how-to” part happen?

Charney:   Next fall, the Comprehensive Plan Steering Committee will return to the community with draft planning strategies designed to achieve the Comprehensive Plan’s stated goals and objectives.

NCNOW:   Will the work that Pace’s has done—studying “existing conditions” and a “Downtown Opportunities Memorandum” including Chappaqua and Millwood—be part of Pace’s presentation?
 
Charney: We (Pace Land Use Law Center, the Comprehensive Plan Steering Committee, Town Staff) have not yet finalized the documents but will be presenting preliminary findings at the workshop on Monday. Draft versions of the documents are scheduled for release to the public on June 30th.

NCNOW:   Will all five Comprehensive Plan topics be discussed?

Charney:   Yes, but participants may see them in a different format that is in response to the ways in which the Comp Plan Steering Committee has now reviewed and evaluated the variety of discussion topics relevant to the Comp Plan.

NCNOW:   Can you remind us what those five topics are?

Charney:   The five topics were Commercial Development and Hamlets; Housing; Public Works Infrastructure; Environment, Habitat and Scenic Resources; Public Services and Recreation. 

NCNOW:   Will the format and method be similar to the outreach sessions of last spring: an initial presentation by Pace (Kevin Dwarka and/or Tiffany Zezula), then particiapnts will break into smaller groups for discussion of “goals and objectives” for the five topics?

Charney:   Yes. After the initial presentation, participants will break out into rooms and will discuss a variety of similar goals and objectives related to a certain overall theme.

NCNOW:   Will copies of the “Downtown Opportunities Memorandum” and “existing conditions” by Pace be available to residents before the meeting, or at the meeting?  How does this memo fit into Monday’s “goals and objectives” theme?
 
Charney: These documents will be released on June 30th to the public in draft form. The public will be invited to submit input on the documents throughout the summer to make sure that we have captured all the relevant data and existing condition information and have presented it accordingly in the documents.  This fall this document will be finalized and synthesized into the Comprehensive Plan Update document.


NCNOW:   Last spring’s various outreach sessions drew, in total, around 300 residents to participate.  Are you satisfied with that number?  There are between 10,000 and 12,000 adult residents in New Castle.  What have you done to ensure the June 15 outreach is well-attended?

Charney:   We’re never satisfied. Our hope is that the prior 300 will attend—and their friends. We have emailed out the flyer to all those that participated last year, including asking other organizations to blast the information out to others that might be interested. Information has also gone out via the e-newsletter, on the Town’s website, posted on facebook, door-to-door efforts and posting at public spaces.  Some kind of summer outreach will also be done but has yet to be determined—suggestions from the public are welcome.

NCNOW:   Will there be food? 

Charney:   Light Refreshments will be provided.

NCNOW:   Are merchants being encouraged to attend? 

Charney:   Yes. 

NCNOW:   Will their input be solicited specially, as a group—or, if they come, are they just a part of the overall participant group?

Charney:   Merchants have been invited to attend a merchant-only breakfast meeting or lunch meeting on Monday.  They are also being encouraged to attend the public meeting if they cannot make the breakfast or lunch meeting. [There are two options for merchants:  8:00 to 9:30 a.m. at Jardin du Roi in Chappaqua, and 12:00 to 1:30 p.m. at Pizza 238 in the Millwood Town Plaza.  Merchants need not be residents.  Contact Tiffany Zezula at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) to let her know to expect you.]


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Greeley roadway mitigations money from Summit Greenfield may not be enough, says Board of Ed

Tuesday, March 17, 2015

Editor’s Note: Last Wednesday Board of Ed members discussed a draft letter to the Town Board stating that the Board of Ed will not pass on cost overruns if Summit Greenfield’s $600,000 for proposed changes to Greeley’s interior roadways proves insufficient.  The letter is below:

Letter to Town re: SG Entrance to Greeley March 11, 2015

Dear Supervisor Greenstein and members of the Town Board:

We, the members of the Chappaqua Central School District Board of Education, are writing to express our extreme displeasure with the proposed financing of a portion of the overall development plan for the Summit Greenfield/Chappaqua Crossing property.

As you know, part of the plan for the 120-acre site includes the reconfiguration of the entryway to the Education Center/Horace Greeley High School off Roaring Brook Road into a multi-lane intersection. Also included is the relocation of the proposed sidewalk and crosswalk from the east side to west side along the Chappaqua Crossing southern entry drive and at the intersection of the Education Center/Horace Greeley High School and Roaring Brook Road to match a proposed sidewalk relocation on the school district’s property on the south side of Roaring Brook Road.

We have closely monitored the evolution of re-development proposals for Chappaqua Crossing since the property was purchased in 2004, and it always has been our understanding that any costs associated with any changes to Roaring Brook Road would be assumed by the developer. However, we have recently learned that a meager $600,000 has been allocated for the modifications detailed above, with the Chappaqua School District expected to be responsible for any costs over that budgeted amount. In essence, the District is now being asked to issue a blank check because we all know that $600,000 is an extremely conservative estimate (perhaps done on purpose to help make the project more appealing) and there are certain to be cost overruns, which are often synonymous with a construction project of this magnitude. Forcing the District, as a custodian of taxpayer dollars, to pay for anything that will benefit a private corporation is the definition of fiscal malfeasance and the Chappaqua Central School District will no longer stand down and allow this “bait and switch” regarding the funding of this portion of the project.

As the connector between the Saw Mill River Parkway and Route 117, Roaring Brook Road is already heavily-traveled and traffic congestion at the entrance to Horace Greeley High School will increase significantly when Chappaqua Crossing reopens for business. This will be especially true during morning drop-offs and afternoon pick-ups, and new and inexperienced drivers mixed with gridlock and traffic jams is a recipe for disaster.

If the site developer is permitted to make changes to Roaring Brook Road without also addressing the need to alleviate the increase in traffic—created by their project—at the entrance to Horace Greeley High School, they will be endangering the lives of students and all of those who travel this thoroughfare. We implore the Town Board to hold Summit Greenfield responsible for all costs associated with any changes made at the intersection of the Education Center/Horace Greeley High School and Roaring Brook Road and its immediate proximity.

Sincerely,

Members of the Chappaqua Central School District Board of Education

Board of Ed discussion of Summit Greenfield’s offer of $600,000 for Greeley roadway “mitigations” begins at the 2 hour mark and runs until 2 hours 12 minutes.

CCSD Board of Education Meeting 3/11/15 from New Castle Media Center on Vimeo.


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Mastering the Master Plan Process: A Week in Master Planning

Tuesday, March 17, 2015

Editor’s Note: Last week was jam-packed with Master Plan-related meetings.  Supervisor Greenstein in a “conversation” sponsored by the League of Women Voters, a presentation by the firm contracted to perform $6.5 million of infrastructure repairs for downtown Chappaqua, a Board of Ed meeting in which members discussed their fears that the $600,000 for Greeley road improvements may not be enough, a Pace outreach session to recap Master Plan efforts so far and show what’s to come, and Bob Kirkwood resigns from Master Plan Steering Committee. Below are “in brief” and more lengthy accounts and observations of each—as well as some of the editor’s opinions [in brackets].

In brief

• In a League of Women Voters conversation with Supervisor Rob Greenstein last week, he revealed that he’s considering striking a deal with Summit Greenfield to place the 20 affordable housing units of the 111 total approved residential in the upper floors of the cupola building instead, leaving 91 market-rate units for the residential-zoned area.

• Consultants WSP Sells summarized some long-term and interim recommendations for infrastructure (water main repair mainly along Greeley Avenue) and streetscape improvements to downtown Chappaqua.  Long-term, they suggested making the triangle at the bridge behave like a roundabout.

• Summit Greenfield’s architects presented Town Board members with more detailed renderings of the retail buildings proposed for Chappaqua Crossing.  The guiding principle of the design seems to be to make large retail spaces read as multiple smaller buildings with differing facades—“Georgian” in style, to complement the cupola building—and to appear to have second stories.  Click HERE to see the renderings.

• The public hearing on the preliminary development concept plan (PDCP) for Chappaqua Crossing began last Tuesday and continues on April 14.  Between these, this Tuesday, March 17, the Planning Board, Town Board and Architectural Review Board meet together to discuss the PDCP. 

[All during the review of Summit Greenfield’s application for retail zoning at Chappaqua Crossing the advice of the town’s Planning Board and the County Planning Department has been largely ignored by the Town Board, whose members have so far acceded to Summit Greenfield’s site plan preferences.

Both town and county planning boards, for example,  were looking for more genuine integration of retail and residential uses, and have disapproved of the positioning of Whole Foods at the far end of a parking lot facing the main street that runs between Bedford Road and the cupola building.  Still, several Town Board members have declared that they care very much what the Planning Board thinks of the PDCP.]

• On Wednesday, Board of Education members discussed a draft letter to the Town Board expressing their fears that Summit Greenfield has pulled a “bait-and-switch” on the the school district.  Board members now doubt that the developer’s proposed $600,000 for improvements to Greeley interior roadways would be enough to cover the actual cost.  In the draft letter, BoE members assert that they will not ask taxpayers to make up any difference. 

“I think [the developer] just needs to know what our process is,” said Superintendent for Business John Chow. “We want them to carry out that plan, but go through the process we have to go through—SED [State Education Department] approval, public bidding, and not just restrict it to $600,000.”  See the draft letter HERE.

• At the Library on Thursday evening, Pace consultants Tiffany Zezula and Kevin Dwarka 1) gave an overview of the Master Plan review, 2) gave a summary of last spring’s outreach sessions in which residents pleaded for a downtown that would attract them, and 3) described their plans to immediately conduct revitalization studies for Chappaqua and Millwood, looking for “viable forms of development” for each.  Dwarka, a land use lawyer and economic consultant specializing in the revitalization of urban neighborhoods (and Senior Fellow at Pace Land Use Law Center) was brought in to conduct the analyses.

• Bob Kirkwood has resigned from the Master Plan Steering Committee for personal reasons. At the start of the Steering Committee’s meeting last Thursday Town Planner Sabrina Charney informed the Steering Committee of his resignation.  Kirkwood will continue to serve as chairman of the Planning Board. 

Lengthier versions

The Supervisor’s plans for housing and town hall at Chappaqua Crossing

In 2011 the Town Board approved 111 residential units for Chappaqua Crossing—20 affordable apartments, 31 market-rate apartments and 60 fee-simple townhouses (i.e., taxed as single-family houses rather than as condos). 

On Tuesday morning, Greenstein revealed at the League gathering that he’s considering an arrangement with Summit Greenfield that would remove the 20 affordable housing units from the 111 residences, place them instead in the upper floors of the cupola building and leaving 91 market-rate residences in the grouping around the auditorium. In the plan approved in 2011, 60 of these would be townhouses, taxed fee-simple.  Greenstein made no mention of what would happen, with 20 fewer apartments, to the two apartment buildings shown in the preliminary development concept plan—on the main entry drive from Bedford Road—that form a sort of gateway to the townhouse development and auditorium behind them. This may come up in tonight’s meeting with Planning Board and ARB.

Town hall to Chappaqua Crossing?

Although Greenstein did not talk about the use of the bottom two floors of the cupola building if the top two are used for housing, he has made it clear for the last year that he remains interested in moving town government to the cupola building.  Such a move, he believes, is central to revitalizing downtown Chappaqua, permitting development of additional retail and residential on town hall property, perhaps through a public-private partnership, and possibly replacing any loss of existing commuter parking with some sort of parking structure [these are notoriously expensive].

Greenstein seems to have had such a chain of occurrences in mind almost from the start: give Summit Greenfield retail zoning, procure the cupola building for a town hall, free up town hall property for development.  In fact, as he drove forward the approval of retail at Chappaqua Crossing over the last year, he often cited the approval of a third commercial center there as further reason to get cracking on the revitalization of the hamlets:  “Yes, it won’t be great for the hamlets, but it will force us to fix them.”  And he fixed on “transit-oriented development” as the answer. 

No more “TOD, TOD” talk

Both the supervisor and Pace are cutting back, by the way, on the use of the words “transit-oriented development” in the downtown, noting that New Castle already has transit-oriented development.  They say that all retail, office and residential in the downtown is, by virtue of having a train station in town, already “transit-oriented.”  And Pace has been tasked to show how the town can create more of it.  Obviously, it’s Chappaqua that has the train station; but according to Pace, Millwood fits the bill in every other way: a community center already there and the potential to develop it more intensely.

So the Master Plan review has morphed from an overall review—of commercial development, housing, parks and recreation, infrastructure and environment—to a master plan plus a deep-dive, fast-tracked economic analysis of downtown Chappaqua and Millwood [the type of analysis that should have been done before approving retail at Chappaqua Crossing]. 

The Missing Piece: Market Realities

In its presentation at the Library, Pace spoke of its approach to “comprehensive planning” in terms of “sustainability”—in social, environmental and economic spheres—and regularly mentioned “market realities.” 

Zezula told audience members that until now it has been this economic piece that had been missing from the discussion.  “What is the economic market here in New Castle?” she asked.  “So we decided that what needs to complement this planning process is to study Chappaqua, Millwood and Chappaqua Crossing and see how those three begin to fit together.”

Chappaqua Crossing in master planning

There seemed to be some confusion among the Master Plan Steering Committee members about how to treat Chappaqua Crossing going forward.  A 120,000-square-foot shopping center with a grocery is clearly a significant new existing condition. 

Asked by a Sustainability Advisory Board member during the Steering Committee meeting preceding the Library outreach session whether downtown development options would be viewed “in light of development at Chappaqua Crossing,” Town Planner Sabrina Charney responded, “That’s part of this process, but downtown has its own identity and feel, and needed to be done whether Chappaqua Crossing happened or not.”

“One of our responsibilities,” added Pace consultant Kevin Dwarka, ” is to ask ‘What things are unique [to the downtown] that you don’t have at Chappaqua Crossing?’ ” 

It may prove difficult, however, to learn what Chappaqua Crossing will have or not have within the two or three months that Pace is setting for itself to produce the “area revitalization studies,” since Summit Greenfield is still in very early stages of finding tenants for the retail space. Even Whole Foods’ lease, according to experts familiar with commercial real estate leasing, likely contains the usual “on condition” clauses.

In the Pace PowerPoint Dwarka listed three “area revitalization study” spots: Chappaqua, Millwood and Chappaqua Crossing.  Going forward, he said, Pace “might have to do more focused outreach on the Millwood and Chappaqua revitalization studies.” Later in the meeting he explained further: “With these two area studies completed as well as with the development planning that has been undertaken for Chappaqua Crossing, we will have hit the three major nodes that can then form the sort of more local micro-basis for the overall comprehensive planning of New Castle.”  [It seems that Chappaqua Crossing has been given a pass on comprehensive planning and will continue on its own course with its own “development planning,” a new existing condition with its own market reality over which the Planning Board has little say.  The rest of town planning will have to arrange itself around it.]

Is infrastructure consultant WSP Sells getting out ahead of the master plan?

WSP Sells is already talking not only about necessary water main repairs, but also about traffic solutions and pedestrian improvements.  WSP was contracted for around $600,000 to do the engineering work for the $6 million project.  In the meeting preceding the Library outreach, Master Plan Steering Committee members questioned “whether we ought to have an impact on what happens there.  It’s fine to repair the water main, but we shouldn’t be promising the Town Board that $6 million will solve all their [downtown] problems.”  For example, added another Steering Committee member, “if we decide we want to propose more density in the downtown, I’d hate to have spent $6 million for a water main if we really need a bigger one.”

“The downtown revitaltization plan gives us the chance to take a look at the various land use options,” explained Pace’s Dwarka.  “Concurrent with that, WSP is asked to look at infrastructure issues.  Then these two come together and we see what the fit is between proposed infrastructure changes and the land use scenarios.”

And speaking of those scenarios…

The “revitalization substudies” will go beyond the usual master planning and point to specific development scenarios involving the “redisposition of key properties in downtown Chappaqua and in Millwood.”

Pace has not yet stated the number the scenarios Dwarka will work up, whether they will be limited to town-owned property and include a town hall moved to Chappaqua Crossing, or whether Chuck Napoli’s plan to create more retail in the center of town (his Bell area plan) will be examined as a possible scenario as well.

How to revitalize Chappaqua and Millwood

It was clear from last spring’s outreach session, Dwarka told the Library audience, “that you all value your downtown.”  He continued:

There have been various studies that have looked at your downtown from a design and vision perspective.  The challenge, though, is to make sure that the visions you articulated are, in fact, financially feasible and also legally implementable.

So we’re looking at what the market tells us it can support in terms of various land uses and, on the basis of market information and in tandem with the feedback from you as a community, will come up with a variety of land use scenarios that over the long term will help to make the downtown an even more thriving place, with a more optimal mix of retail and in a place that functions not only as a commercial heart, but also as a community and as a public center. 

First, we’ll collect more data and information, which we’re in the middle of doing now. We’ll come back to you in two or three months and tell you what the implications of that data are on different types of scenarios.

Our approach is to look at the downtown holistically, at the properties around the train station, but throughout the downtown area.

One way of revitalizing downtowns is to go on a parcel by parcel basis and figure out what you would do on that parcel.  Another way is to develop a cohesive, integreated plan so that you can amend that plan into your comprehensive plan, and then, as needed, proceed through the process of rezoning it to accommodate future redevelopment. 

Concurrently we’re going to be looking at Millwood.

Millwood also functions as a commercial center and as a focal point for surrounding community and neighborhoods.  Some work has gone into Millwood over the years—a zoning analysis, design guidelines and, in 2012, a Project for Public Spaces report.  But that report simply ended with the consultants identification of what they saw in their site visit and some very raw observations about what would be appropriate for Millwood.  It did not go all the way—because it wasn’t scoped to do so—toward developing a concrete implementatiaon strategy of what you would need to do to make Millwood a more vibrant place.

With these two area studies completed as well as with the development planning that has been undertaken for Chappaqua Crossing, we will have hit the three major nodes that can then form the sort of more local micro-basis for the overall comprehensive planning of New Castle.

It’s an ambitious schedule, Dwarka admitted. He estimates these studies may be finished by spring; the next “public engagement workshop” is scheduled for June 2015, followed by drafting of “goals and objectives,” then “strategies,” and a draft plan by fall. 

Preserving the quality of the schools

The data provided by the County, said Dwarka, was pretty “thin” when it came to schools, but, as one Steering Committee member put it, “We agree that New Castle is all about the schools,” and a Master Plan would naturally include the goal of “preserving the quality of the schools.” 

In fact, Board of Ed and Town Board members have fretted publicly this year over the decline in the school population and have discussed publicizing more energetically the reputation of the school district and the virtues of the New Castle as a community. 

In his presentation last week Dwarka noted that although New Castle’s population has remained stable over many years, its demographics have, in fact. changed:  25 to 34 year olds have decreased while the over-65s have risen.  He intends, he said “to do exhaustive demographic analysis,” since the data provided by the County on demographics and housing was also “thin.”

Getting everyone together in master planning

Speaking afterwards to NCNOW, Dwarka expressed interest in joining in the Town Board’s efforts to learn more from housing real estate agencies. 

Adam Brodsky pledged at the end of last year to connect his Downtown Hamlet Business Development Committee, several of whose members are in commercial real estate, with the Master Plan Steering Committee’s work.

Capturing funding

One of Pace’s talents, it seems, is identifying public financing opportunities.  According to Pace’s Tiffany Zezula, aligning municipalities’ interests and plans with regional interests and plans offers the best chance of capturing regional funding for municipalities.

The Pace presentation cited the Mid-Hudson Regional Economic Development Council (click here for its 2014 Progress Report) as a possible resource.  [From a look at its 2014 “Progress Report,” this group seems more geared toward promoting the creation of businesses and jobs—redevelopment of a problem property such as Chappaqua Crossing might have been a good candidate for the council’s consideration—than strengthening retail shopping or revitalizing hamlets.] 

Below is the Pace outreach of this past Thursday.  It runs for one hour.

New Castle Master Plan Public Information Meeting 3/12/15 from New Castle Media Center on Vimeo.


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NEW: Tuesday, March 10th: A Conversation with Rob Greenstein, New Castle’s Town Supervisor


Monday, March 9, 2015
~ from Sheila Bernson and Jennifer Mebes Flagg
Co-Presidents of the League of Women Voters® of New Castle

League of Women VotersThe League of Women Voters® of New Castle invites the community to join in a conversation with Town Supervisor Rob Greenstein on Tuesday, March 10, 2015 at the Chappaqua Library Theater from 10:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m.

Rob Greenstein is the Supervisor and chief fiscal officer of the Town of New Castle. He establishes agendas, presides over Town Board meetings, signs all agreements and contracts on behalf of the Town and is responsible for maintaining financial stability of the Town of New Castle.

Join us for a lively discussion on many topics and issues of the day, including:

• Master Plan Update
• Chappaqua Crossing
• Hunts Place
• Public Safety
• 2015 Goals

Coffee and light refreshments will be available.

For more information, contact the League of Women Voters® of New Castle at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) or call Sheila Bernson at 914-263-0357.

Come with your questions for Supervisor Greenstein.

The League of Women Voters®, a nonpartisan political organization, encourages the informed and active participation of citizens in government, works to increase understanding of major public policy issues, and influences public policy through education and advocacy.


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“All about us”—County provides extensive baseline data on New Castle

Excerpts from the report; video of the presentation
Monday, March 9, 2015
by Christine Yeres

At the end of February, representatives from the County’s Planning Department visited a Town Board meeting to give a brief summary of long-awaited baseline data on New Castle, significant material in master planning.  The extensive report resides on the County’s website; it begins:

While much of the Town’s civic life revolves around New Castle, no residents have a “New Castle” mailing address. Community identity can vary between the five school districts serving the Town, the proximity to either the hamlets of Mount Kisco or Millwood, or even just a resident’s mailing address (the zip code with the largest area is Chappaqua, while other portions of the Town have an Ossining, Millwood or Mount Kisco address).

With its rolling hills, winding roads and large homes, the Town is one of New York State’s wealthiest communities (see Chapter 4 for further discussion on Population Characteristics). The largest hamlet, Chappaqua, supports a picturesque downtown with trendy bistros and boutiques and a Metro North Railroad stop. The smaller commercial center of Millwood, located at the confluence of Routes 100, 133 and the Taconic State Parkway, contains a modest commercial strip mall with a post office and several retail shops and businesses.

New Castle also has undeveloped wooded areas, including large areas of parks and nature preserves (see Chapter 6 for further discussion of natural resources and Chapter 7 for information on recreation and open space).


To view the entire report, click HERE.

The following topic areas are included in the Planning Base Studies:

1. Introduction

2. External Influences - Regional Context

3. The Use of Land

4. Population Characteristics

5. Transportation

6. Natural Resources

7. Recreation, Open Space and Cultural Resources

8. Public Facilities

9. Infrastructure and Utilities

10.Commercial Development

11.Residential Development

12.Current Zoning

13.Build-Out Under Current Zoning

14. Historic and Cultural Resources

How we use our acres

From CHAPTER 3 THE USE OF LAND

New Castle’s primary land use is Single Family Residential. However, many large and small commercial, open space and transportation-related properties are found within the 15,003 acre Town. As mentioned previously, and as shown on the Figure 3-2, the largest land use in the Town is single family dwellings, totaling 7,727 acres, or 51 percent of the Town’s land area. This total includes larger “Estate and Rural Residential” properties and “Single Family with Accessory Apartment” properties, as shown on Map 3-1.

Two/Three-Family and Multi-Structure Properties and Condominium, Apartments, Multi-Family uses make up 484 acres, or three percent of the Town. (See Chapter 11 for further discussion of residential development in the Town).

The lands associated with the Con Edison electric power lines in the western end of Town, including significant portions of the hamlet of Millwood, significantly contribute to the acres categorized as Commercial and Retail uses, totaling 47 acres, are concentrated in and around downtown Chappaqua and Millwood.

Institutional and Public Assembly uses, including schools, government, religious and social/health services uses, account for 739 acres.

The 118 acres identified as Office and Research are almost completely attributed to the former Readers Digest property, now known as Chappaqua Crossing and proposed for a mixed use redevelopment (See Chapter 10 for further discussion of commercial development in the Town).

Open Space and Recreation uses account for 3,197 acres, or 21 percent of the Town’s land uses. These uses include County Parks and Parkway Lands, Local Parks and Open Space, Nature Preserves, Private Recreation, State Park and Parkway Lands and Water Supply Lands (See Chapter 7 for further discussion of open space and recreation).

Several parcels identified as Agricultural uses include both vegetative nursery operations and private horse stables and related equestrian activities.

Seven things that you should know about Westchester County’s population

~ fron Chapter 4: Population Characteristics

In March of 2013, Joseph Salvo, the Director of the New York City Department of City Planning’s Population Division, made a key presentation at the 2013 Land Use Training Institute, hosted by the Westchester Municipal Planning Federation.

Mr. Salvo and his team of demographers developed a list of seven things land use decision makers should know about the population of Westchester County. The following is just a brief summary of the points Mr. Salvo made in that presentation. The seven points included:

1. Westchester County is large and dynamic

There are over 3,100 counties in the U.S. and Westchester is 44the in size of population.

If Westchester was considered a city, it would rank 9th in the nation in size.

People leave the county, but others arrive. Many of the newcomers are from other countries, others from other parts of the United States.

Other counties and cities would envy Westchester’s dynamic shifts of populations.

2. The county possesses ethnic diversity, which is highest in the younger age groups

Immigration is fueling a more diverse racial and ethnic mix in the county.

The county’s increase in Hispanics is also happening in New York City and all over the U.S.

These new residents are younger.

3. It is becoming more diverse through immigration and births

Like New York City and other ―inner ring‖ counties surrounding the city, a growing proportion of residents are foreignborn (NYC at 37%, Westchester 24%)

Many are from Latin America (38%), and these are from a variety of countries (e.g. Mexico, Dominican Republic, Guatemala, Colombia and Peru).

Hispanic immigrants have the highest rate of births among immigrants.

Foreign-born residents can be found in communities throughout Westchester.

4. It has a socioeconomic mix

The proportion of adults over the age of 25 in the county with a Bachelor’s degree or higher is 45%. New York City is 33%.

Household income is also high compared with other areas.

Some of those with lower education and income are clustered in some communities.

A third of all workers in Westchester are foreign born; and they work in a variety of occupations.

5. It is projected to grow at a modest pace

Projections for the county’s population show modest growth over the coming decades.

Such modest growth should be considered a positive.

6. It has an aging population

Westchester’s population is older than the general population of the U.S., which is a concern.

The aging population is seen in communities throughout the county.

7. Putting it all together: Decisions that are demographically informed

Immigrants have a very high employment rate. Some are at the bottom of the income ranges, while others are not.

People are migrating into Westchester, while others migrate out of Westchester. Much of this is back and forth to New York City.

While 9% of those leaving the county go to Florida, almost 8% of those coming from within the United States are from Florida.

Overall, the “ins” and “outs” are almost equal. Migration is largely a phenomenon of the young.

Table of Contents for the County’s Studies on New Castle

Town of New Castle Planning Base Studies Chapters

Cover and table of contents
Chapter 1: Introduction
Chapter 2: External Influences – Regional Context
Chapter 3: The Use of Land
Chapter 4: Population Characteristics
Chapter 5: Transportation
Chapter 6: Natural Resources
Chapter 7: Recreation, Open Space and Cultural Resources
Chapter 8: Public Facilities
Chapter 9: Infrastructure and Utilities
Chapter 10: Commercial Development
Chapter 11: Residential Development
Chapter 12: Current Zoning
Chapter 13: “Build-out” Under Current Zoning
Chapter 14: Historic and Cultural Resources

Town of New Castle Planning Base Studies Maps

All Maps (22MB)
Map 2-1: Regional Location Map
Map 3-1: Land Use
Map 4-1: Population Density
Map 5-1: Road Network
Map 6-1: Environmental Features
Map 6-2: Topography
Map 6-3: Soils
Map 6-4: Impervious Surfaces
Map 7-1: Open Space, Parks and Recreation
Map 8-1: Public Facilities and School Districts
Map 9-1: Sewer Districts
Map 9-3: Sanitary Waste Disposal Methods
Map 10-1: Commercial Land Use
Map 11-1: Neighborhoods and Place Names
Map 12-1: Zoning
Map 13-1: Build-Out Analysis Results

Town of New Castle Planning Base Studies Appendices

3-1 Land Use in Westchester (26 MB)
5-1 Taconic State Parkway National Historic Register of Historic Places Form
5-2 Highway Functional Classification Concepts, Criteria and Procedures
5-3 New Castle Traffic Accident Data
5-4 Traffic Accidents by Type
5-5 Traffic Accidents by Road
5-6 Town of New Castle Design Standards for Streets
6-1 Soil Survey for Putnam and Westchester Counties, New York (17 MB)
6-2 Impervious Surfaces and Water Quality
6-3 A Home-Owner’s Guide to Operating and Maintaining a Septic System
6-4 NYS Stormwater Manuals
    NYS Stormwater Management Design Manual (11 MB)
    NYS Standards and Specifications for Erosion and Sediment Control (21 MB)
6-5 Center for Watershed Protection Unified Site and Subwatershed Reconnaissance Form
6-6 New Castle Stormwater Management Program Annual Report
6-7 New Castle Environmental Protection Overlay District Ordinance
6-8 New Castle Brook Hazard Mitigation Plan
6-9 List of Plants Rarely Eaten by Whitetail Deer
6-10 Westchester County Deer Task Force Report
6-11 New Castle Coyote Flyer
6-12 NYS List of Endangered, Threatened and Special Concern Fish and Wildlife Species
9-1 County Water District Map
9-2 New Castle Climate Action Plan
9-3 Southern Exposure Map
10-1 2011 Longitudinal Employer-Household Dynamics (LEHD) Employment Analysis
12-1 New Castle Official Map and Zoning Map
13-1 New Castle Draft Build-out Analysis Results

 

Town of New Castle Work Session & Board Meeting 2/24/15 from New Castle Media Center on Vimeo.


Comments(0):

REPRINTED: Where We Left Off:  Pace’s “Master Planning Public Engagement Report” is released

Reprinted from: Tuesday, August 5, 2014

Editor’s Note:  Below are excerpts from the New Castle Master Planning Public Engagement Report produced by Pace Land Use Law Center from sessions conducted in May and June of this year with close to 300 participants.  For each of five topics—Commercial Development, Environment & Habitat, Pubic Works & Infrastructure, Public Services & Recreation and Housing—Pace facilitators asked residents, “What’s good now”?  “What’s not working?” and “What are some strategies to overcome what’s not working?”  Pace did not conduct a survey; its informal discussion groups were a qualitative, rather than a quantitative, effort to identify what residents considered “priority issues, assets, and challenges facing the town.”  The report is just shy of 300 pages, much of it in simple list form, with some narrative summary, analysis and conclusions.

Editor’s Note:  Below, NCNOW has first reprinted the entire “Executive Summary”; second, only the “Commercial Development section of the “Analysis,” since that subject was the hottest throughout the sessions; and lastly, from Appendix D, the responses generated from the four Horace Greeley High School participants in a June 23 session, of some interest since they were the only non-adult group captured in an outreach.

To view the entire report on the town’s website, click HERE.

Table of Contents

EXECUTIVE SUMMARY ............................................................................................................ 3

INTRODUCTION ......................................................................................................................... 7

PUBLIC PARTICIPATION METHODOLOGY & PROCESS ............................................................ 8

RESULTS .................................................................................................................................... 12

ANALYSIS .................................................................................................................................. 65

CONCLUSION ............................................................................................................................ 83

APPENDICES ............................................................................................................................ 84


From the Executive Summary:

Commercial Development

For Commercial Development, participants were most concerned with encouraging and facilitating a diversity of retail, food, and service establishment to meet residents’ needs in the Town of New Castle. In particular, they would like more restaurants and shops such as bookstores. Additionally, they want to regulate the number of certain types of businesses allowed in the downtown Chappaqua Hamlet, such as nail salons. Participants also want the Town of New Castle to create a destination or focal point in the downtown Chappaqua Hamlet, such as a theater or arts center, and many participants want a new supermarket built somewhere in Town. Additionally, participants want to prioritize local businesses over chains, want some nightlife activities in the downtown Chappaqua Hamlet, and believe retail and services mixed with diverse housing is appropriate for downtown.

Participants felt strongly about where to locate future commercial development. Many participants want to concentrate commercial development in the downtown Chappaqua Hamlet and near the train station, while some want to add new commercial development at Chappaqua Crossing/Reader’s Digest. A few participants also suggested Millwood as an appropriate location. Participants were divided particularly about whether to locate commercial development at Chappaqua Crossing, and several suggested that the Town government should improve the development process for Chappaqua Crossing to appropriately deal with traffic, environmental, and economic impacts and to ensure community benefits, deal with uncertainty/divisiveness, and improve communication with the community.

Participants expressed a desire to attract more consumers to the Town of New Castle by improving dated storefront façades, beautifying lots, and adopting design standards for the community. Additionally, participants want the Town government to host more events, such as parades and festivals, to attract consumers, and think the Town government should adopt policies to attract and support businesses. Suggested policies include tax abatements and other incentives, a Town marketing campaign to attract consumers to the Town’s businesses, and a program to encourage lower commercial rents.

Environment & Habitat

For Environment & Habitat, a large number of participants are very concerned with protecting the Town of New Castle’s unique character from development impacts. These participants noted the importance of the Town of New Castle’s quaint, small-town, rural feel; good family neighborhoods; varied and unique architecture; historic buildings and stonewalls; and scenic country roads. Additionally, participants generally like the Town of New Castle’s natural and environmental features and are concerned about protecting and maintaining the Town of New Castle’s green, public open space and natural areas, such as the Audubon Preserve and the Arboretum. Participants also like and want to strengthen the Town of New Castle’s environmental regulations and policies, including balanced tree protection management, the environmental review process, nuisance wildlife policies, water resource protection, a nighttime light pollution ordinance, policies to respect the Town’s hilly and rocky topography, a noise ordinance, wetland regulation, pesticide regulations and policies, and invasive species policies.

Public Works & Infrastructure

For Public Works & Infrastructure, participants overwhelmingly expressed an interest in establishing a complete streets policy that improves the Town of New Castle’s streets to facilitate multiple modes of travel. In particular, participants want to enhance the pedestrian experience by creating more sidewalks throughout Town, install better bicycle lanes and bicycle parking infrastructure, and install traffic calming measures to improve safety for pedestrians and cyclists. Further, participants want to improve sidewalk, trail, and bicycle path connections, particularly in downtown where added crosswalks and sidewalk connectivity would improve walkability. Additionally, participants suggested enhancing streetscapes with trees, landscaping, planters, and outdoor seating; upgrading public transportation and creating a community trolley or shuttle; and improving train station access and maintenance.

In addition to complete street improvements, participants would like better parking at the train station and downtown to improve access to commercial development and civic uses, as well as better and more parking generally. They also expressed a need for better maintenance for roads and related infrastructure and suggested the Town government could control stormwater runoff by regulating impervious coverage, installing green infrastructure, collecting rainwater, and fixing the town’s drainage problems. Suggested utility improvements include expanding sewer lines, maintaining and burying power lines and other overhead wires, building less intrusive cell towers, installing natural gas lines, extending the Town’s water service, and utilizing renewable and alternative energy sources. To expand development, several participants expressed the need to extend infrastructure, such as roads, sewers, and gas lines. Finally, a large number of participants are concerned with improving traffic patterns in specific areas of town to alleviate traffic congestion and safety hazards, as well as building more roads to improve access and installing traffic lights where appropriate.

Public Services & Recreation Facilities

For Public Services & Recreation Facilities, many participants like existing parks and want to improve them, as well as build new parks. Additionally, a large number of participants want to create more year-round, indoor and outdoor, accessible sports facilities, such as a community pool and recreation center. They expressed a need to improve year-round recreational programming for children and adults, as well as athletic fields. Others suggested parks and recreation improvements include improving landscaping maintenance; building more versatile, safe, and accessible playgrounds; building a small park and more landscaped areas downtown, and adding more outdoor seating and gathering spaces.

In addition to improved parks and recreation facilities, participants would like several Town administration improvements. Prior to further development, a large group of participants would like the Town government to complete the master plan to determine future housing, commercial development, infrastructure, and natural resource protection.

They also would like to enhance planning processes by including more public input, appropriate studies, professionals, local board members, and respect for the current plan. Further, participants would like a streamlined project review and approval process, as well as improved communication between the Town government and residents and the Town government and the school board, Metro North, Westchester County, and surrounding services through increased tax revenues from commercial properties and other funding sources; lower taxes and give rebates where appropriate; and better enforce local regulations, especially zoning.

Participants expressed an interest in maintaining and increasing Town services, including garbage services; improved and expanded recycling services that incorporate composting; more community events, such as festivals and concerts; improved senior center activities; library services; an upgraded and expanded community center; the art center and expanded cultural and art facilities; efficient and safe snow removal; and improved services for young people and families, such as a youth center. Furthermore, participants would like improved emergency services, including a disaster emergency center and plan and better communication with the community. Finally, participants generally approve of the schools but suggested improving school bus service and stops and student drop-off locations.

Housing

Several participants think existing housing is good and should stay consistent and would like to maintain low-density, single-family homes on large lots with limits on housing expansion. Conversely, several participants believe the Town government should create housing that serves seniors, young families and households, and similar groups and want to create affordable housing for these groups. These participants want to provide a greater variety of housing types, such as multi-family, condos, townhomes, starter homes, rentals, and accessory dwelling units, and want housing that will attract and accommodate a diverse range of residents. Additionally, some participants would like mixed use development. Participants suggested locating affordable housing appropriately, especially in the downtown Chappaqua Hamlet, and support locating higher density housing downtown, as well as building more housing near the train station.

ANALYSIS [starting on p. 65 of the report]
In (parentheses) are numbers-of-people participating in each topic discussion, then broken out under each topic.

Commercial Development

Quality of Commercial Development


Encourage and facilitate a diversity of retail, food, and service establishments,
including restaurants and bookstores, to meet residents’ needs in town. Regulate the
number of certain types of businesses allowed in town, like nail salons (120)

• Like the diversity of retail, food, and service establishments (35)
• Too many of the same types of establishments (10), especially nail salons (5)
• Regulate number of same businesses in town (2) and do not allow more of the same
types of establishments (12), especially nail salons (6)
• Need more diversity of retail, small shops, services, amenities, and activities so
residents do not have to go elsewhere to fulfill their needs (21)
• Allow and promote a diverse range of retail/services/stores downtown (7)
• In particular, need more and diverse restaurants (12)
• Establish more restaurants to attract consumers (6)
• Open a bookstore (4)

Create a destination or focus downtown to attract people (26)
• Need a draw downtown to attract consumers (8)
• Create a destination or focus downtown to attract people. Ideas include a destination
restaurant, pool, non-chain anchor stores, movie theater, arts center, and playhouse
(18)

Build a supermarket somewhere in town (23)
• Need a supermarket (15) in Chappaqua (2), Millwood (1), downtown (1)
• Build a supermarket (4)

Prioritize small, local businesses over chain stores and large commercial
developments (19)

• Like having few chains, big-box stores, fast food establishments, and large commercial
developments (9)
• Like having small, independent mom-and-pop businesses (10)

Create nightlife in New Castle, and encourage stores to open on Sundays (16)
• New Castle needs a nightlife and stores and services open in the evening and on
Sundays (7)
• Create opportunities to go downtown in the evening and at night with later business
hours (7) and open stores on Sunday (2)

Allow mixed uses with retail, services, and diverse housing (multifamily, small
single-family, senior housing, affordable housing for artists) (11)

Location of Commercial Development


Concentrate commercial development downtown and near the train station (43)
• Like the central, downtown location of the town center (15) and municipal facilities (2)
and see opportunity for expansion there (3);
• Like that the train station is convenient to retail and services in downtown (4)
• Focus commercial development in downtown (supermarket, higher density
development, town hall/library/police station, train station, King Street, North Greeley)
(19)

Add new commercial development at Chappaqua Crossing or another site, such as
Millwood or Readers Digest (27)

• Shift expansion of downtown to another site (3)
• Add new commercial development at Chappaqua Crossing (grocery store, civic uses,
theater, museum, town hall, train station) (14)
• Develop Millwood Square; redevelop Millwood firehouse (2)
• Move civic uses to Millwood area (2)
• Redevelop Readers Digest (3), move Bell School here (1), build train station (2)

Avoid commercial development at Chappaqua Crossing (will harm downtown,
residential property, trees, environment, traffic patterns) (12)

Improve Chappaqua Crossing development process (deal with traffic, environmental,
and economic impacts, ensure community benefits, deal with uncertainty/divisiveness,
communicate fully with community) (5)

Storefronts


Improve storefront façades, beautify lots, and adopt design standards for community
(29)

• Downtown storefronts look dated and are not cohesive, lack vibrancy, and need a face
lift (10) and commercial areas need upgrades (3)
• Improve façades and beautify lots (9)
• Adopt design standards for community (6) that conform to existing architecture (1)

Community Activities


Create more events to attract consumers to town (20)
• Like the town’s community activities, including parades, the children’s book
fair/festival, farmers’ market, village market, recreational programs (12)
• Need more festivals and a community gathering center in town (2)
• Create more events to bring people to town (6)

Commercial Development Policies


Adopt policies to attract and support businesses (26)
• Barriers to starting business (regulatory, costs) (6)
• Should adopt policies and incentives to attract and support businesses, such as a tax
abatement program, controlling costs (7)
• Support and invest in businesses and downtown (4), including through an economic
development board (1) or staff person (1) or a business improvement district (1),
better signage (1)
• Provide financial, tax, or other incentives for storefront improvements, downtown
establishments, redevelopments (5)

Develop a marketing campaign to attract consumers to the town’s businesses (16)
• Marketing issues for businesses (1)
• Encourage sale days, retailer events, monthly merchant event (3)
• Develop a marketing campaign to attract consumers to the town’s businesses
(brochures, branding /public image effort, social media campaign, co-marketing with
other towns, “shop local” signs, town billboard) (12)

Create a program to encourage lower commercial rents (11)
• Rents for retail space downtown are too high (6)
• Create a program to encourage lower commercial rents (5)

Editor’s Note:  Appendix D—which runs from pp. 91 to 196—contains a straight-up list of responses elicited from each of the groups—

Both the General Public:

Bell Middle School: Wed. May 7
Horace Greeley HS: Sat. May 10
Westorchard Elementary: Thu. May 15
Seven Bridges Middle School: Wed. May21

... and from Additional Specific Groups:

• New Castle Senior Programs—May 22 New Castle Community Center
• League of Women Voters—May 28 Chappaqua Library
• Chappaqua Moms’ Group—June 4 Gedney Park
• Chamber of Commerce—June 11 Le Jardin du Roi
• Town Staff—June 18 Town Hall
• High School students – June 23 Horace Greeley High School

—on each of the topics:

Commercial Development and Town Centers: The Commercial Development and Town Centers topic provides the framework for discussing the quality and character of the economic centers in the town, both present and future. The topic includes economic development, jobs, and needed tax revenues.

Environment & Habitat: This topic refers to the town’s natural environmental features, including topography, scenic resources, ridgelines, wetlands, parks, open space, sustainability, habitats and the connections among them, including those needed to provide maximum benefits to the community.

Public Works & Infrastructure: This topic refers to the roads and streets in the town, public transportation, the train station, paths and sidewalks, traffic signals and the need for accommodating a variety of methods of moving people and goods into and throughout the community. It also includes other infrastructure improvements including cellular communication facilities, cable, electricity, water, sewers, drainage, flood control and other utilities.

Public Services and Recreation: This topic refers to town-provided services, such as senior services, building permits, garbage collection, recycling, etc. It includes libraries and passive/active recreation. It includes school and educational facilities. Also included are security, public works, fire safety, cultural and art facilities and programs, and related matters.

Housing: This topic refers to the housing needs of both New Castle and the region. This includes housing choices and housing types needed to accommodate the needs of the current and future residents of the town including seniors, young households, workers, town employees and volunteers, and others in the region searching for suitable housing.

—following the same lines of questioning:

What’s good now?
What do you like?
What should be maintained?

What’s not working?
What do you dislike?
What needs to be changed?

What are some strategies to overcome what’s not working?
What new things can we do to make it better?
What opportunities are there?
Where can we make these opportunities happen?

June 23, 2014—High School Students
[Editor’s Note: This session at HGHS had only four participants, but as the only non-adult age group they offer an interesting perspective.]

What’s working now? What should be maintained? Positive:


Commercial Development
• Small businesses are good
• Hall of Scoops is a good thing
• Sherry B’s, Susan Lawrence and Starbucks are good

Environment & Habitat
• The environment-trees, parks fields

Public Works & Infrastructure
• No comments.

Public Services & Recreation
• Good schools-lots of opportunities (classes/diversity/advanced classes-good prep
for state exams)
• Safe community
• Community is a place people want to be
• Easy back streets to run on (safe)
• Chappaqua Library is the best!

Housing
• No comments.

What’s not working? Issues:


Commercial Development
• Most kids go to Mt. Kisco (shopping, movies, etc.). No one hangs out in Chappaqua
• Chappaqua Crossing we don’t need all that retail-cause more issues with traffic and
noise
• People have a lot of $ and do things out of Town.
• Need more restaurants (high end-like Stonebarns Bluehill)
• No one goes to Chappaqua (hamlet) to spend money, it’s too expensive
• Sherry B’s desserts are too small
• Chappaqua is a “grab and go” town, not like Mt. Kisco where you can walk around
• Concerns about impacts on economy

Environment & Habitat
• No comments.

Public Works & Infrastructure
• Need more sidewalks
• Need secondary access for High School
• Riding the bus takes too long to go from 7 bridges to the school, it’s slow and the
traffic is inconvenient, no one is on it.

Public Services & Recreation
• Drugs and Drinking
• School entry points (too many of them)
• Parks (not that accessible)
• The only reason people come to our town is for the schools and the housing and
once their kids are done with school they leave.
• Taxes are too high-budget cuts affect the students, take away recreation, arts, music,
child study, field trips
• Community invests in sports because there are no art programs
• The new ILAB- money should have been spent to do other things- taking away the
hallway was a mistake, it’s only open to 3 classes at a time
• There is no student voice in the town/school budget
• We need a pool +/-
• Facilities for sports are far away can’t have volleyball tournaments in HS ceiling is
too low.
• People with a stake in local government are older and have been here a long time
• Decisions made behind closed doors.
• Town (Chappaqua) is more appropriate for 5th/6th graders

Housing
• Kids who finish college don’t want to come back because taxes are too high
• Affordable housing is bad for the tax base

Strategies:


Commercial Development
• Encourage people to spend more $ here

Environment & Habitat
• No comments.

Public Works & Infrastructure
• No comments.

Public Services & Recreation
• To solve problem of families leaving after graduation create more recreation
• Change Town meetings to be earlier 6:00/6:30
• Make Town Hall meetings more inviting- no suits, more casual, no lecturing more of
a discussion, use technology better, just talk about the issues, have refreshments,
etc. 

Housing
• Millwood good for more housing
• Develop more condos that would be a good thing
• Lower taxes


Comments(35):

“You spoke, we listened”—Master Plan public workshop set for Thursday, March 12 at Library

Master Plan review process picks up from last sping’s public outreach sessions
Monday, March 9, 2015
by Christine Yeres

On Thursday, March 12, a meeting is scheduled for 7:00 to 8:00 p.m. at the Chappaqua Library to recap for residents where the Master Plan review stands and to chart its next steps.  Below is Town Planner Sabrina Charney’s memo apprising Town Board members of her meeting—closed to outsiders—with Pace representatives and the Master Plan Steering Committee members on February 12, 2015. Later, by email, NCNOW submitted some questions about the report, to which Charney supplied some responses.

Charney noted in her email of February 26, “I have answered the questions that are appropriate to be answered at this stage of the Comprehensive Plan Update. Please note that some of the information you are requesting has not yet been developed.”

February 17, 2015 Memo from Town Planner Sabrina Charney to Town Board

MEMO:  The Master Plan Steering Committee met on February 12, 2015 from 5 to 7pm. Re-introductions between Master Plan Steering Committee (MPSC) members and Tiffany Zezula and Kevin Dwarka, Pace Land Use Law Center staff, were made. Sabrina explained Tiffany and Kevin’s role in the master planning process – they were brought on to help facilitate MPSC meetings and public outreach, as well as conduct both Millwood and Chappaqua revitalization studies.

NCNOW:  Are “Millwood and Chappaqua revitalization studies” (Pace is doing this) the same as “market survey” (below, highlighted in yellow)—for which, you say below, a consultant has been selected and which was begun “immediately” following the February 12 meeting? If the two terms have different meanings, can you please define each?

Charney Response:  The revitalization studies are explained in a power point presentation available under the “about the project” tab on the Master Plan page of the Town Website. They are also further detailed in Pace’s proposal. See the website.

MEMO: Pace began their discussion on their workplan by summarizing what the Town has already done: a Community Engagement Report was written following the outreach that was conducted throughout the later part of the year in 2014; the County completed the Town’s Base Studies which inventory the Town’s existing conditions;

NCNOW: —as we heard Tuesday night from the County, they are “existing conditions” with the exception of Chappaqua Crossing as a third commercial district, a retail shopping center of 120,000 SF.  [The public hearing on Chappaqua Crossing’s preliminary development concept plan begins in the Town Board’s meeting of Tuesday, March 10.]

MEMO: —a consultant for the market survey was selected;

NCNOW: Who is the consultant? What is the cost?

Charney Response: In 2014 the Town Board hired PSB [Penn, Schoen & Berland] to conduct a market survey. The Master Plan Steering Committee requested that the survey not take place as planned in 2014, but that we utilize the contract with PSB to create a survey to obtain public input regarding the Comprehensive Plan Update. The consultant is still under contract with the Town and according to the Comprehensive Plan Update Schedule, we will most likely be conducting the survey in early Spring (although this may change as the update process will remain to be fluid to meet the needs of the Town).

MEMO: —and each Master Plan Committee [member] completed research on particular topics, some of which resulted in written SWOT reports.

NCNOW:  Which topics have written reports? Where are these written reports made available?

Charney Response: The SWOT analyses that have been put into written form are drafts. They are not in a form for public dissemination at this time.

MEMO:  Pace then discussed their three-pronged approach to sustainability in master planning. This approach has three components: social, environmental and economic sustainability.

While previous studies and outreach efforts have provided insight on the social and environmental aspects of our Town, the Chappaqua and Millwood revitalization studies will shed light on market realities and existing economic conditions that have not been explored previously.

NCNOW:  So the AKRF reports [commissioned during the Chappaqua Crossing SEQR review] are not sufficient? What will Pace’s “revitalization studies” provide that AKRF did not? How does the town’s previous HR&A market study report fit in?

Charney Response:  The AKRF reports were focused on one commercial area of the the Town. As you are aware there are three areas in accordance with the Town’s Zoning. AKRF’s work will be incorporated into Pace’s work. See my comment above regarding the scope of the revitalization studies.

MEMO:  These analyses, paired with the environmental and social aspects of sustainability, will be vital to our Master Plan Update.

NCNOW: This is unclear. Can you, as an example, choose any topic and show how you would apply all three—1. environmental, 2. social and 3. “market realities and existing economic conditions”?

Say the topics of “sidewalks”—1. Sidewalks would be beneficial to the environment, 2. people like them and would walk (get exercise) and talk on them, 3. we must consider that they’re very costly. Is this what you mean by the three-pronged approach?

Charney Response: Since the market realities have not been produced yet, it would be difficult to apply all three. We need time to conduct the analysis.

MEMO: Pace reviewed the project’s tentative timeline; both hamlet revitalization studies will commence immediately so that the results are available and can be incorporated with all other planning considerations as soon as possible.

Existing Conditions and Goals and Objectives will be defined and elaborated upon through the end of the winter and into the spring.

NCNOW: What “goals and objectives”? When do the public outreach sessions come into play in developing these goals and objectives? Or are the MPSC members expected to develop them on their own? Or have they developed them already?

Charney Response: The MPSC [Master Plan Steering Committee] working with Town Staff and Pace will develop the draft goals and objectives. At the time that the MPSC is comfortable releasing the goals and objectives will be when the public workshops will be held.

NCNOW:  When do the MPSC and Pace ask residents, “Did we understand you correctly? Is this what you told us in last Spring’s outreach sessions?” Is this what the March 12 meeting will be about?

Charney Response:  Yes, you are correct.

NCNOW: And now that a shopping center is approved for Chappaqua Crossing, how will this rather large change in circumstance be factored into the Master Plan review?

Charney Response:  Chappaqua Crossing has historically been a commercial area. The change is to allow retail uses and housing on the property. These changes will be considered as noted above into the facets of the plan that are affected by them.

NCNOW: When are various options and scenarios generated by residents and when are they presented to residents? Does Kevin Dwarka [working with Pace] have the software to model these dynamically (so that for each alteration/change, the effects are shown)?

Charney Response: I am not sure what you are referring to. It seems as if you are talking about technical analysis or response to technical analysis that has yet to be performed.

MEMO: By the end of the summer, Goals and Objectives will be finalized and Draft Planning Strategies and Implementation Tools will be developed.

NCNOW: Summer is quiet. Many people are gone. Who, exactly, is going to take the “elaborated” goals and objectives from spring and finalize them over the summer to develop “strategy and implementation tools” by September?

Charney Response: The goals, objectives and impelmentation strategies are going to be further developed by Pace and theTown’s technical professional staff . We are very aware of the seasonal time frame and the structure of the timeline considers this in scheduling opportunities for public feedback. While summer is a time for the public to be on vacation, professional staff are working.

NCNOW: It sounds to me so far as though “transit-oriented development” is—itself—a goal-and-objective for which Pace has been tasked to develop “strategy and implementation tools.” But shouldn’t TOD be, at this point, one of several—or even many—options residents are shown? Or at least several TOD options? Will other options be elicited from residents in outreach sessions?

Charney Response:  By definition we already have TOD due to the fact that we have a train station in Chappaqua. Part of the Comprehensive Plan Update process is to explore options to improve what we have.

MEMO: A Draft Master Plan will be written up and available for public comment by September, and revision of the Draft Master Plan and Guidance on Environmental Review will take place through the fall.

The MPSC will continue to meet monthly for the duration of the planning process, and four public workshops will be held.

NCNOW: More important than how many there are: at what point in the process do they occur and what is the purpose of each?

Charney Response: As mentioned earlier the process is fluid. Timing of the public sessions will coincide with the deliverables and approval of those deliverables by the Master Plan Steering Committee.

MEMO:  Pace answered Board member’s questions about the exact structure of a master plan,

NCNOW:  What did Pace answer? Refer to the information on the website [the Master Plan page of the Town’s website, http://www.mynewcastle.org/index.php/home-2].

MEMO: the kind of information the plan will include,

NCNOW: What kind? What’s the answer?

Charney Response: Refer to the information on the website.

MEMO: the purpose the market survey will serve,

NCNOW:  What purpose will it serve? (And how will it differ from two by AKRF and one by HR&A?)

Charney Response: You are confusing what was a Market survey with what will be a Comprehensive Plan Survey

MEMO: public engagement,

NCNOW:  What are the purposes of each of the four public engagement sessions? And at what point in the process do they occur?

Charney Response: To report on the progress being made and obtain public input regarding that information. They will occur when we have the information to share in a form accessible to the public.

MEMO: and the emphasis of both hamlet revitalization studies.

NCNOW: What is this “emphasis”? Something like “transit-oriented development”? For Millwood and Chappaqua? Or a different emphasis for each?

Charney Response: Refer to the website as mentioned above

MEMO:  Prior to closing the meeting, the Committee agreed that the first 15 minutes of each meeting would be “closed” to the public so that the committee could discuss things without being under the public eye. If there are future instances where meetings should be closed to the public due to the sensitive nature of the discussion, staff and consultants would inform the committee in advance.

NCNOW:  “Staff and consultants would

inform

the committee”—or “consult” the committee? Who is in charge of the Master Plan review?

Charney Response: Staff and consultants are performing the technical analsyis which supports the plan update. Depending on the analysis to be discussed, the Town and Pace may determine that the meeting (or a portion thereof) should not be open to the public. If a MPSC member would like to discuss something “closed” to the public, they would inform me and I would inform the rest of the commitee.

MEMO:  The next MPSC meeting was set for March 12th from 5-7PM with a focus on existing conditions. Immediately after the MPSC meeting, a public workshop will be scheduled to be held at the Chappaqua Library from 7-9PM. A staff level meeting will be held prior to the next meeting to map out forward progress of the Master Plan Update and to further define the public workshop.

NCNOW: “Further define” that night’s public workshop? What do you believe right now is the purpose of the March 12 outreach at the Library? Is it getting reacquainted with the process and familiarizing people with “existing conditions”? As defined by whom? The MPSC and its SWOT analyses or the County baseline data presented last night?

Charney Response:  The MPSC meeting on March 12th is from 5-6:40 and the public workshop is from 7-8. Please see the workshop flyer under latest news [on the Town website: http://www.mynewcastle.org/index.php/chappaqua-news/latest-news/1252-master-plan-update-meeting-3-12-15]


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MasterPlanNOW

Tuesday, January 20. 2015

Editor’s Note:  NCNOW has trimmed down.  The town itself does a fine job as a community bulletin board, pushing out notices and announcements, so NCNOW will concentrate strictly on keeping track of the Master Plan process.

Supervisor Rob Greenstein reported two weeks ago that the Master Plan process is alive and well, but it hasn’t been well at all. The process has been not-started, then false-started, restarted, derailed by the supervisor, then bypassed for Chappaqua Crossing—and possibly for Rosehill—and is now supposedly back on track.

It’s had no-money, some money for an outreach by Pace, more money for a survey, a canceled (or postponed) survey, money for a consultant (Pace) to pick up where Pace left off.  Tonight Pace will speak to Town Board members as well as Master Plan Steering Committee members about what comes next—and whether or how the “transit-oriented development” on town-owned property supported by the supervisor will be included in the Master Plan review.  Below is the video of Pace’s presentation of January 20, 2015:

Master Plan Update - PACE Land Use Center 1/20/15 from New Castle Media Center on Vimeo.


Comments(6):

NEW: Calendar for New Castle for the week starting Wednesday, January 28

_____________________

• Wed. Jan. 28: Town Board Meeting 8:00 p.m. [Tuesday Jan. 27 TB meeting was postponed to Wed. Jan 28]. The meeting will be streamed live: http://new.livestream.com/nccmc. Click HERE for agenda and packet of materials. 1/28/15: NOTE: TONIGHT’S AGENDA HAS CHANGED: The Westchester County Dept of Planning presentation on New Castle’s base studies (for purposes of master planning) has been canceled. THe presentation will be rescheduled.
_____________________

To see more calendar listings, visit NCNOW’s Calendar page.


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Town Board members vote 4-1 to approve retail zoning at Chappaqua Crossing

December 19, 2014
by Christine Yeres

Because Town Court was in session on Thursday, Town Board members met in the Chappaqua Library theater to vote on several amendments related to the retail zoning change for Chappaqua Crossing.  Board members were somber, a handful of residents were present, Felix Charney of Summit Development sat listening from high in the raked theater. No questions or comments were allowed. The Board’s counsel, Nick Ward-Willis ran through minor changes to the latest version of the each amendment to be considered.

In a 4-1 vote, Town Board members approved alterations to the Town Development Plan and then the creation of a floating retail overlay district on the property, leaving approval of the preliminary development concept plan (PDCP)—the specifics of where on the property the retail zone will be applied and where buildings will be placed—for early in the new year. 

Deputy Supervisor Lisa Katz alone voted “no” to each. 

Board members read prepared statements.  Included in Supervisor Greenstein’s was a list of several “mitigations” Summit Greenfield had proposed: money, land, roadway improvements, jitney service, and consulting fees. [Below are links to each of these.]

After the meeting, Greenstein reiterated that although the Town Board does not intend to share PDCP approval authority with the Planning Board, it will seek Planning Board participation in reviewing the project.  Board member Elise Mottel vowed in her statement to “press Summit Greenfield to work harder to incorporate traditional neighborhood design concepts into the Preliminary Development Concept Plan and to adaptively reuse the existing buildings.”

Absent from the zoning amendment was the 15,000 square foot limit on restaurants desired by Whole Foods; instead, there appeared only a limit of 7,500 square feet on carry-out food establishments. Any grocery must be between 30,000 and 45,000 square feet, personal services—with the exception of medical services—remain prohibited, truck delivery start-time was changed from 5:00 a.m. to 7:00 a.m., and “no truck storage or idling on the site at any time (or during overnight or early morning hours)” was added.

Below are statements from each Town Board member, a press release from the Town, one from Summit Development by Geoff Thompson, and the “mitigations” letter from Summit Development to Town Board members.  The video of the meeting is embedded at bottom.

Statement by Rob Greenstein

Statement by Adam Brodsky

Statement by Lisa Katz

Statement by Elise Mottel

Statement by Jason Chapin

Town press release on retail zoning approval

Summit Development press release on retail zoning approval

Summit Development letter to Town Board setting out additional mitigation measures

 


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Town staff collect gifts for Sunshine’s children


December 19, 2014
by Christine Yeres

This holiday season Town staff donated gifts for the children of Sunshine Children’s Home & Rehab Center in Ossining, N.Y., a 54-bed licensed nursing facility that specializes in the care and treatment of medically complex children who require post acute, rehabilitative care. Daisy Hernandez, who organized the effort, took photos of the gifts “before” and “after” wrapping. See them below.


Before ...


... and after


www.sunshinechildrenshome.org
15 Spring Valley Road
Ossining, N.Y.


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Councilwoman Elise Mottel’s statement on Chappaqua Xing retail zoning approval

Tonight, the Town Board will be voting on whether to make certain modifications to the New Castle Town Code to allow retail uses on the former Reader’s Digest site, the Town’s only B-RO-20 (Business and Office Business) District. 

In January 2006, at the beginning of my second year on the Town Board, Summit Greenfield submitted a petition seeking to establish a new zoning district called a Planned Campus Development Site.  Their proposal was to build 348 market rate residential units having 2-3 bedrooms, and 80% of the units would have been age restricted.  After many public hearings and much public resistance, the Town Board rejected the proposal on December 12, 2006.  Among other reasons, the Town Board recognized that the Reader’s Digest campus was the Town’s last major commercially-zoned property, outside of our Chappaqua and Millwood business hamlets.  The Town Board at that time acknowledged the importance of preserving and expanding our commercial tax base, as reflected in the Town’s Development Plan.
 
Since that time, the Town Board and the residents of New Castle have been presented with various applications by Summit Greenfield for the development of this site.  Since 2006, we’ve also been faced with the following events: (i) the bankruptcy of Reader’s Digest and Reader’s Digest vacating the Property in December 2010, leaving approximately 250,000 feet of unoccupied office space, (ii) economic conditions and trends that do not support the use of the Property as a large commercial office park; and (iii) the closing of the D’Agostino supermarket in the Chappaqua hamlet. 

I have struggled with the question of whether Chappaqua Crossing should be rezoned to allow retail uses.  On the one hand, allowing retail at Chappaqua Crossing would serve an important community need by enhancing the commercial tax base.  On the other hand, the 2013 Supplemental Findings Statement considered the potential impacts of the proposed retail development and determined it would have significant adverse traffic impacts, some but not all of which could be mitigated. 

I am also concerned that the revised retail Preliminary Development Concept Plan, which now relocates the grocery store to a free standing building in the southern portion of the project site and reconfigures the remaining retail stores proposed for the site, is less than ideal.  Summit Greenfield initially proposed placing retail stores in the existing office buildings, which would allow those facilities to be adaptively reused while supporting the remaining office and research uses.  Having new freestanding buildings on the site is not what I prefer, though I recognize that Summit Greenfield may have certain constraints in terms of creating a space acceptable to Whole Foods.

When I net this all out, I believe that allowing retail uses at Chappaqua Crossing will encourage commercial occupancy of currently underutilized property and enhance the Town’s commercial tax base.  The Town Board will ensure that Summit Greenfield implements the required mitigation measures to reduce the adverse traffic impacts, including, without limitation, improvements to Roaring Brook Road, turning lanes, and restricting delivery hours to retail users.  Further, I intend to press Summit Greenfield to work harder to incorporate traditional neighborhood design concepts into the Preliminary Development Concept Plan and to adaptively reuse the existing buildings.  For tonight, I intend to vote in favor of the resolutions before us.

Elise K. Mottel
December 18, 2014


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Councilman Jason Chapin’s statement on Chappaqua Xing retail zoning approval

I have a few words to say about tonight’s vote on the Chappaqua Crossing retail proposal. This has definitely been the most comprehensive, complicated and controversial land use proposal that I have been involved with in my seven years on the board - and maybe in the history of New Castle.

When looking at the history of Reader’s Digest and their use of the site, it’s important to note that many changes took place over the years as many buildings and thousands of employees were added. At its height, the company used 700,000 square feet of office space and had 7,000 employees working 24-7. We learned to deal with all the traffic, including trucks, cars and shuttle buses that came with such a big and successful company. We also relied on the significant property taxes that benefited the Town and school district.

It’s hard to accept that post-Reader’s Digest, only 21 percent of the office space is currently rented and over 500,000 square feet of space is vacant. While we’ve enjoyed the reduced traffic, we’ve also seen a sharp drop in the property’s taxes.

I want to tell you briefly why I was willing to consider the proposal. First, Summit Greenfield has rights like everyone else to propose changes to their property. Second, I was interested in exploring the adaptive re-use of the empty buildings at Chappaqua Crossing. Third, I thought it was in the town’s best interests to support a new supermarket after D’Agostino’s closed. I also thought filling some of our retail gaps would appeal to most people. And I believed that increasing our commercial tax base by almost 50 percent would provide relief to all of the residential taxpayers in town.

Regarding the review process, it’s worth noting that the Town went far beyond what was required by law. In fact, there were almost 20 public hearings over more than two years. All of the involved and interested agencies as well as environmental, planning and engineering, traffic, real estate and other experts provided dozens of reports and contributed to the process. The Planning Board, Architectural Review Board, Town staff and Town attorneys also played an important role in the process. The public was heavily involved and provided hundreds of comments. During this process, my fellow board members and I have debated, at times, vigorously, numerous aspects of the issues before us. We have taken the requisite hard look at the potential environmental impacts which resulted in a comprehensive Findings Statement issued by the Town Board last year.

Personally, I struggled with many issues, from concerns about traffic and neighborhood character to potential impacts on the hamlets. I weighed the opinions and suggestions from everyone involved. I also fought hard for transparency, integrity and professionalism throughout the review process. I am comfortable that the process allowed everyone an opportunity to be heard. 

In the end, I realize there will never be a perfect proposal or a decision that pleases everyone. I also know that change often causes fear and uncertainty. As an elected official who serves the town as an at-large representative, I feel obligated to make my decision based on what is in the best interest of the entire town and I know that may mean disappointing people who I respect, including friends and neighbors.

I have decided to vote in favor of the zoning change with the understanding that the Preliminary Development Concept Plan still needs to be approved.  Going forward, I expect the Town Board to work with the Town Planner, the Planning Board and other interested parties on the PDCP to ensure that it is appropriate for the site and the town. 

I thank everyone for participating in this process and helping me make my decision.

Jason Chapin Dec. 18, 2014

 

 


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Deputy Supervisor Lisa Katz’s statement on Chappaqua Xing retail zoning approval

First, I would like to thank my fellow Board members and all town and government employees who worked tirelessly to get us where we are today.

When I ran for Town councilwoman, I promised to act with integrity and in the best interests of our community, and I have worked hard to keep that promise.  I weigh every town board action, large or small, against the effect it’s going to have on the people who live and work and raise their families in all of our neighborhoods.  And I have weighed this decision as to whether to allow the Chappaqua Crossing property to be zoned for retail, in addition to its current office and residential zoning, very carefully. 

On the one hand, I understand the argument that it is important to increase our commercial tax base in order to alleviate financial pressure on our residents.  I also understand that some of our residents would welcome a supermarket in Chappaqua, and especially a Whole Foods if, indeed, it does come to New Castle.  I recognize these arguments, and, in fact, have no personal objections to them.  However, I need to analyze those potential benefits and then weigh them against the potential detriments. 

Over the past year, I have spent countless hours analyzing and studying the materials regarding Chappaqua Crossing.  I have sought to review the facts and thoughtfully analyze this project that will substantially impact our town. After reviewing all the information and expert reports, I believe that Chappaqua Crossing is an inappropriate site for the retail development proposal that we have in front of us tonight.  While I realize that many residents would like to see the site remain undeveloped, I do not believe that the status quo is a viable option either.  And, in fact, I might have been able to vote for this plan as first conceived with a grocery and some ancillary retail in a smaller scale shopping center.  But I feel that in the last year Summit Greenfield has run away with this proposal.  I believe that the site warrants development; however, I do not believe that the current retail center is in the best interest of the town, its residents or its merchants.  While a Whole Foods or other supermarket may be a welcome addition to New Castle, I do not believe that allowing a supermarket plus additional retail development of a size that approximately equals the size of the downtown Chappaqua business district is an appropriate action.

In analyzing the tax benefit to our town of the requested retail rezoning, I have not been presented with any credible information to show that our residential taxpayers will receive a substantial reduction in their tax bills. I think that Summit Greenfield has substantially over-estimated the tax revenues that will likely be generated by the grocery-retail project.
While it is true that commercial taxes will go up if retail is permitted at Chappaqua Crossing and if the development is successful, the commercial tax base will still represent only a very small percentage of our entire tax base. So even if the retail center at Chappaqua Crossing is successful, the tax benefit to the community likely will be small.  In fact, when weighed against the potential for home owners who live close to Chappaqua Crossing to claim that their tax bills should be cut because the assessed value of their homes has decreased as a result of the project, and the potential decrease in the assessed values of the existing downtown commercial real estate, I worry that the development could actually negatively impact taxes.

The roads and infrastructure to and from the site are already terribly overburdened.  This will be made much worse if Chappaqua Crossing emerges as a retail shopping center.  The plan we vote on tonight will bring what has been termed by the previous Town Board as “unmitigatable” traffic congestion at certain intersections, and moreover, the “mitigations” themselves – if approved by DOT—will make Route 117, Roaring Brook Road and the Saw Mill Parkway into a set of major commercial roadways in the middle of established residential neighborhoods on all but one side of it.  This will carry over to other town roads. And, even though Summit Greenfield proposes to restructure the entrance to Horace Greeley high school, both the 2011 and 2013 findings statements make clear that the project site driveways on 117 and Roaring Brook Road will suffer from “unmitigated significant adverse impacts.”

Despite my reservations about this project, I tried to negotiate with my fellow Board members to make this development as beneficial and unobtrusive to New Castle as possible, but, I don’t believe the concessions that were made have resulted in this project being in the best interests of the town.  The proposed mitigations from Summit Greenfield that you heard about tonight are not enough.  The proposed retail project is just too big.

I also believe in planning before developing which is a major reason why I ran for the Town Board, and why I believe I was successful in the election.  The Chappaqua Crossing property has essentially been removed from the master plan process. Approving the zoning for this plan now will make Summit Greenfield the master of our master plan, and everything else will have to be contorted to fit around it. 

Ultimately, Summit Greenfield is an investor out to make money, and, if I were in their situation, I would likely also be asking for all I could to maximize my investment and not be concerned with the long-term impact on the quality of life in our town.  No one can fault them for that.  But while I understand the importance of development, I believe that the proposed retail development at Chappaqua Crossing in the version before us tonight is not good enough for our Town.  It is neither the right development, nor the right size, nor the right vision for our community. And the Planning Board shares many of my concerns too.  I believe, as they do, that development needs to be appropriate and thoughtful, and the town needs to guide it.

In growing our town, we must be careful not to irreparably damage the neighborhoods, lifestyle and nature of our town. All of that defines our unique culture and makes New Castle the special, attractive place that it is.  Our job as your representatives is to protect the quality of life for the citizens who live here, and not let inappropriate development bulldoze what we all love about New Castle.

For all of these reasons, I am voting against this proposal.


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Councilman Adam Brodsky’s statement on Chappaqua Xing retail zoning approval

I have been wrestling with this decision for my entire year in office.  I clearly understand the arguments on both sides and have truly taken them to heart.  It is completely understandable for the residents in proximately to this development to be concerned about their home values and quality of life.  I understand the gravity of this decision and the impact it will have on my friends and neighbors.

As a Town Board Member, it’s my responsibility to balance the interests of residents on places like Cowdin Lane, Roaring Brook Road and Annandale Drive, with the interests of our entire community.  As a Town Board Member, I have to take into account that Reader’s Digest filed for bankruptcy and abandoned the property years ago.  I have to take into account that most of the office space on the property is vacant and functionally obsolete. 

I know that in New Castle, residents have high expectations.  We count on having world-class schools and first class services.  But if we want to maintain those things, our elected leaders need to make smart financial decisions.  The State is passing down unfunded mandates to local governments while at the same time capping the revenues we can derive from real estate taxes.  In the long term, the only way to preserve the things we enjoy in New Castle is to adapt to changes and ensure that our relatively small stock of commercial properties is kept in productive use. 

I think it’s important to remember that Reader’s Digest was a corporate citizen in our community for many decades, going back to the 1930s.  For a long time, we enjoyed the benefits of the tax revenue that the company provided to our community, while accepting the inconveniences of having 7,000 employees working at the site on a 24-hour basis.  Looking ahead, I believe the property will be able to support retail uses, and that our community will benefit not only from increased tax revenues, but from having a Whole Foods, gym, good restaurants and other uses at the site.  The status quo – vacant, obsolete office space and a hole in our commercial tax base – is not the best choice for the Town in my opinion.

The vast majority of speakers who spoke at our public hearings expressed concern regarding traffic.  I will be the first to admit that this project will add traffic to our local roads.  But I also am persuaded that the road improvements and other mitigation work that Summit Greenfield will be required to perform will alleviate most traffic impacts and provide other benefits to our community.

I am humbled that I am one of the five decision makers casting a vote tonight, and I assure you I have had many hours of introspection on what is the answer to this conundrum.  This has not been an easy decision to reach.  I know there will be residents who are affected by this project more directly than others. 

But the Town has spent 10 years working on solutions for this property, and it is time to decide and bring this process to a conclusion.  For the sake of progress and moving our community forward, I think it is in the best interest of the community to allow retail development at Reader’s Digest.  I will be voting in favor of the resolutions that are before us tonight. 


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Statement by Supervisor Greenstein on Chappaqua Crossing retail zoning approval

I’d like to start by thanking our Town Staff, my colleagues on the Town Board, and our predecessors for all of their time and hard work on this application.  I don’t think it would be an exaggeration to say this has been the longest and most controversial land use application in our Town’s history. 

The question before this Board is whether to change our zoning to allow retail development at Chappaqua Crossing.  I am voting in favor of allowing retail development on the site. 

I know there are some residents who would prefer that Chappaqua Crossing did not change.  The property is essentially idle, and its buildings are mostly vacant.  The problem with that view is that it is not economically sustainable.  Our property taxes make our community unaffordable to many young families, drive-out our seniors and empty nesters, and ultimately will drive down our property values.  A strong commercial tax base is essential to our community’s long term fiscal health. 

In 1987, approximately 70.2 percent of the tax roll in the Town was from residential properties.  Currently, according to Town Assessor Phillip Platz, approximately 91 percent of our tax roll consists of residential properties.  About 6% is industrial, religious, or utilities.  Our commercial tax base is a mere 3%.  That is unsustainable.  As Town Supervisor, I’ve experienced firsthand the challenges of dealing with the State’s tax cap and unfunded mandates.  The bottom line is—we must increase our commercial tax base.  I have been saying this since I ran for Town Board in 2011.

I was always in favor of a high-end specialty grocery store - like Whole Foods - at Chappaqua Crossing.  I believe that the majority of residents are looking forward to having a Whole Foods at Chappaqua Crossing.  I believe that health and fitness related uses, new restaurants, and some other retail stores, also will be welcome additions to our community.

As Supervisor, my job is to make the best possible decisions for all of our Town residents.  When I sized-up the situation with Chappaqua Crossing, I came to the conclusion that we should try to reach the best possible solution for our entire community.  Kicking the can down the road was not an option.  Denying the rezoning application, or imposing a moratorium, were options, but not good ones in my opinion.  I could not go back and rewrite history. 
Throughout this process, I’ve tried to be very candid about my views—some would say too candid.  But one of the promises that I made when I ran for office was that I’d be accessible to residents and transparent about what I was doing.  To get the residents of New Castle the best outcome, the best amenities, the best aesthetics, and the tax dollars we need, I chose to foster a working relationship with Summit Greenfield.  We took each other’s interests into consideration.

With input from our Planning Board, we’ve persuaded Summit Greenfield to move away from its original proposal to build big box stores, and instead to design a more community-oriented, walkable retail development.  We’ve also worked with Summit Greenfield on measures that will help mitigate the impacts of their proposed development.  Besides the road improvements on Route 117 and Roaring Brook Road, some of these mitigation measures are as follows:

• Provide the Town with a $1,500,000 payment to create recreational trails and other recreational opportunities; to improve the Town’s existing business hamlets; or to undertake other initiatives to mitigate impacts associated with the Chappaqua Crossing development.
• Improve the HGHS entrance drive (estimated cost $600,000).
• Improve the appearance of the Roaring Brook Road median with landscaping and/or other improvements.
• Convey title of four parcels of land along Roaring Brook Road which are currently owned by S-G to the Town, and use that land to create a green space and buffer for residents who live near the site
• Reduce the amount of existing office space available for lease by an additional 42,000 (a 35% increase) for a total reduction of 162,000 square feet of office space with a limit of no more than 500,000 square feet of office space at the property.
• Donate the Wallace Auditorium to the Town
• Extend the sewer line to Roaring Brook Road for potential future connection
• Provide free jitney shuttle service between Chappaqua Crossing & the Chappaqua hamlet
• Install and maintain an information kiosk at Chappaqua Crossing for the purpose of promoting Chappaqua hamlet businesses and activities
• Pay a $100,000 recreation fee
• Pay the Town’s outstanding consulting fees, up to $100,000, and
• Pay the Town’s future consulting fees, up to another $100,000.

We are also mandating that 25,000 SF –  20% of the total retail - be used for health and fitness-related uses.  This will reduce the amount of retail that would generate deliveries.  Replacing retail with the gym use also reduces traffic impacts. 

At its peak, Reader’s Digest had over 7,000 employees on this campus.  They were a magazine that focused on medicine, and healthy living.  The magazine never ran advertisements for cigarettes.  Instead, it began warning readers of the dangers of smoking even before the Surgeon General did in 1964.  Tobacco and liquor stores will be prohibited at Chappaqua Crossing. 

This property will return to a vibrant commercial center while keeping up the tradition of healthy living.  The property will be a community-oriented, walkable retail development.  New retail tenants – like Whole Foods and fitness-related uses – will join existing office tenants such as Northern Westchester Hospital, Mount Kisco Medical Group, ACCESS Nursing Services & WeeZee. 

The Town now has a tremendous opportunity to not only help put the Chappaqua Crossing campus into productive use, but to rejuvenate our existing business hamlets at the same time.  It is now time to finish our Master Plan update and turn our undivided attention to our existing business hamlets. 
When I started the Chappaqua-Millwood Chamber of Commerce, one of my goals was to help revitalize our existing business hamlets.  When Pace Land Use Law Center conducted their public outreach as part of the Master Plan update, participants repeatedly focused their attention on downtown Chappaqua Hamlet.  Likewise, when AKRF conducted their Competitive Effects Analysis for Chappaqua Crossing, they recommended that the Town explores ways to attract greater consumer interest in the downtown.

We’ve already formed the Downtown Business Development Committee.  I plan to propose the creation of a Business Improvement District to offer incentives to new and expanding businesses and for business recruitment.  We can also explore infrastructural upgrades like ChapLine—the bicycle/foot path that would connect Chappaqua Crossing to downtown Chappaqua.

While this Town Board did not agree on everything, I truly believe we put aside our differences and each of us worked together and acted in the best interests of the community.  We also looked out for the interests of the neighbors who will be most affected by this development. 

A community is the product of many voices and views, with different perspectives. An important job of an elected official is to listen to those voices and allow them to build something together. No one gets everything they want, and no one is left out.  As a community, we share the burden, and as a community we change, grow and improve. We are, here in New Castle, a special community. Let’s go forward as one. 

I believe that we are building a better New Castle by our decision, one that provides more for the community while maintaining those assets and values that drew us to this Town.  Chappaqua Crossing will bring new and different amenities for our residents while enhancing our commercial tax base.  For me, that is the bottom line.

I look forward to continuing to work with all of our neighbors, including Summit Greenfield, to ensure that this development is in the best interests of the community.

I’d like to start by thanking our Town Staff, my colleagues on the Town Board, and our predecessors for all of their time and hard work on this application.  I don’t think it would be an exaggeration to say this has been the longest and most controversial land use application in our Town’s history. 
The question before this Board is whether to change our zoning to allow retail development at Chappaqua Crossing.  I am voting in favor of allowing retail development on the site. 
I know there are some residents who would prefer that Chappaqua Crossing did not change.  The property is essentially idle, and its buildings are mostly vacant.  The problem with that view is that it is not economically sustainable.  Our property taxes make our community unaffordable to many young families, drive-out our seniors and empty nesters, and ultimately will drive down our property values.  A strong commercial tax base is essential to our community’s long term fiscal health. 
In 1987, approximately 70.2 percent of the tax roll in the Town was from residential properties.  Currently, according to Town Assessor Phillip Platz, approximately 91 percent of our tax roll consists of residential properties.  About 6% is industrial, religious, or utilities.  Our commercial tax base is a mere 3%.  That is unsustainable.  As Town Supervisor, I’ve experienced firsthand the challenges of dealing with the State’s tax cap and unfunded mandates.  The bottom line is—we must increase our commercial tax base.  I have been saying this since I ran for Town Board in 2011.
I was always in favor of a high-end specialty grocery store - like Whole Foods - at Chappaqua Crossing.  I believe that the majority of residents are looking forward to having a Whole Foods at Chappaqua Crossing.  I believe that health and fitness related uses, new restaurants, and some other retail stores, also will be welcome additions to our community.
As Supervisor, my job is to make the best possible decisions for all of our Town residents.  When I sized-up the situation with Chappaqua Crossing, I came to the conclusion that we should try to reach the best possible solution for our entire community.  Kicking the can down the road was not an option.  Denying the rezoning application, or imposing a moratorium, were options, but not good ones in my opinion.  I could not go back and rewrite history. 
Throughout this process, I’ve tried to be very candid about my views—some would say too candid.  But one of the promises that I made when I ran for office was that I’d be accessible to residents and transparent about what I was doing.  To get the residents of New Castle the best outcome, the best amenities, the best aesthetics, and the tax dollars we need, I chose to foster a working relationship with Summit Greenfield.  We took each other’s interests into consideration. 
With input from our Planning Board, we’ve persuaded Summit Greenfield to move away from its original proposal to build big box stores, and instead to design a more community-oriented, walkable retail development.  We’ve also worked with Summit Greenfield on measures that will help mitigate the impacts of their proposed development.  Besides the road improvements on Route 117 and Roaring Brook Road, some of these mitigation measures are as follows:
• Provide the Town with a $1,500,000 payment to create recreational trails and other recreational opportunities; to improve the Town’s existing business hamlets; or to undertake other initiatives to mitigate impacts associated with the Chappaqua Crossing development.
• Improve the HGHS entrance drive (estimated cost $600,000).
• Improve the appearance of the Roaring Brook Road median with landscaping and/or other improvements.
• Convey title of four parcels of land along Roaring Brook Road which are currently owned by S-G to the Town, and use that land to create a green space and buffer for residents who live near the site
• Reduce the amount of existing office space available for lease by an additional 42,000 (a 35% increase) for a total reduction of 162,000 square feet of office space with a limit of no more than 500,000 square feet of office space at the property.
• Donate the Wallace Auditorium to the Town
• Extend the sewer line to Roaring Brook Road for potential future connection
• Provide free jitney shuttle service between Chappaqua Crossing & the Chappaqua hamlet
• Install and maintain an information kiosk at Chappaqua Crossing for the purpose of promoting Chappaqua hamlet businesses and activities
• Pay a $100,000 recreation fee
• Pay the Town’s outstanding consulting fees, up to $100,000, and
• Pay the Town’s future consulting fees, up to another $100,000.

We are also mandating that 25,000 SF –  20% of the total retail - be used for health and fitness-related uses.  This will reduce the amount of retail that would generate deliveries.  Replacing retail with the gym use also reduces traffic impacts. 
At its peak, Reader’s Digest had over 7,000 employees on this campus.  They were a magazine that focused on medicine, and healthy living.  The magazine never ran advertisements for cigarettes.  Instead, it began warning readers of the dangers of smoking even before the Surgeon General did in 1964.  Tobacco and liquor stores will be prohibited at Chappaqua Crossing. 
This property will return to a vibrant commercial center while keeping up the tradition of healthy living.  The property will be a community-oriented, walkable retail development.  New retail tenants – like Whole Foods and fitness-related uses – will join existing office tenants such as Northern Westchester Hospital, Mount Kisco Medical Group, ACCESS Nursing Services & WeeZee. 
The Town now has a tremendous opportunity to not only help put the Chappaqua Crossing campus into productive use, but to rejuvenate our existing business hamlets at the same time.  It is now time to finish our Master Plan update and turn our undivided attention to our existing business hamlets. 
When I started the Chappaqua-Millwood Chamber of Commerce, one of my goals was to help revitalize our existing business hamlets.  When Pace Land Use Law Center conducted their public outreach as part of the Master Plan update, participants repeatedly focused their attention on downtown Chappaqua Hamlet.  Likewise, when AKRF conducted their Competitive Effects Analysis for Chappaqua Crossing, they recommended that the Town explores ways to attract greater consumer interest in the downtown.
We’ve already formed the Downtown Business Development Committee.  I plan to propose the creation of a Business Improvement District to offer incentives to new and expanding businesses and for business recruitment.  We can also explore infrastructural upgrades like ChapLine—the bicycle/foot path that would connect Chappaqua Crossing to downtown Chappaqua. 
While this Town Board did not agree on everything, I truly believe we put aside our differences and each of us worked together and acted in the best interests of the community.  We also looked out for the interests of the neighbors who will be most affected by this development. 
A community is the product of many voices and views, with different perspectives. An important job of an elected official is to listen to those voices and allow them to build something together. No one gets everything they want, and no one is left out.  As a community, we share the burden, and as a community we change, grow and improve. We are, here in New Castle, a special community. Let’s go forward as one. 
I believe that we are building a better New Castle by our decision, one that provides more for the community while maintaining those assets and values that drew us to this Town.  Chappaqua Crossing will bring new and different amenities for our residents while enhancing our commercial tax base.  For me, that is the bottom line.
I look forward to continuing to work with all of our neighbors, including Summit Greenfield, to ensure that this development is in the best interests of the community.


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Town’s press release on approval of Chappaqua Crossing retail zoning

Saturday, December 20, 2014
~ from the Town of New Castle

At a special meeting held on Thursday, December 18, 2014, the Town Board adopted three important resolutions relating to the Chappaqua Crossing project.

First, the Town Board decided that additional environmental review was not required with respect to the project changes proposed by the Applicant earlier this year.  Among other things, the Applicant now proposes placing a Whole Foods in a standalone building, rather than inside the existing buildings on the site.  Second, the Town Board decided to amend the Town Development Plan to allow retail development in place of some of the existing office space at Chappaqua Crossing.  Third, the Town Board adopted a Retail Local Law that is intended to allow a grocer, health/fitness uses, restaurants and retail stores to be built at Chappaqua Crossing.  All three resolutions carried by a 4-1 vote.

In a statement last night, Supervisor Greenstein stated “I believe that we are building a better New Castle by our decision, one that provides more for the community while maintaining those assets and values that drew us to this Town.  Chappaqua Crossing will bring new and different amenities for our residents while enhancing our commercial tax base.  For me, that is the bottom line”.  The Applicant also announced that it plans to undertake a number of steps to help mitigate the impacts associated with its retail project, including donating land that it owns on Roaring Brook Road to the Town for open space, improving the entrance into Horace Greeley High School to ease congestion during peak hours, and providing $1.8 million to the Town for recreation and other mitigation purposes, as well as for consulting fees.

Although the project still needs additional review and approvals, the Town Board’s actions on Thursday night mark a significant milestone.  Early next year, the Applicant is expected to submit a preliminary development concept plan to the Town Board that depicts the final layout and design features of the proposed retail development.

The Town Board’s special meeting may be viewed online at www.nccmc.com.  Copies of the Town Board’s resolutions and other related documents are being posted to the Town’s website.


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Press Release from Summit Development: Chappaqua Crossing retail zoning is approved

10 Years after Purchase of Former Reader’s Digest Campus,
Zoning to Permit Mixed-Use Is in Place

Whole Foods Market to Anchor Retail Component

December 19, 2014
by Geoff Thompson, Thompson & Bender

CHAPPAQUA, NY (December 19, 2014)—Just four days short of the 10th anniversary of the purchase of the former Reader’s Digest campus in Chappaqua by Summit /Greenfield Partners, the New Castle Town Board voted to adopt new zoning that will allow for construction of a retail component - including a Whole Foods Market, retail shops, restaurants and a fitness facilities – on a portion of the site, now called Chappaqua Crossing.

The approval follows a decade of often contentious debate that included more than 100 public hearings and meetings that cleared the way to allow the first new uses on the 120-acre property. The Town had previously approved 111 units of housing including 20 affordable.

At a special meeting, the Town Board voted 4-1 to approve the retail zoning amendment applicable to Chappaqua Crossing and to amend the town’s Master Plan to accommodate the new zoning. The Board also passed resolutions that a Supplemental Environmental Impact Statement on the retail zone was not needed and to amend the previous adopted Findings Statement.

In January the Board will vote on two remaining items:  revising the Town’s zoning map to apply the Retail Overlay to the site and to approve the Preliminary Development Concept Plan, which establishes the specific layout of the retail buildings. Plans will then be submitted to the New Castle Planning Board for site plan and subdivision approvals in early 2015.

Summit/Greenfield closed on the purchase of the property on December 22, 2004, and submitted its first plans for re-use of the property in 2005. The details of the last night’s approval were hammered out over the last several months and following the latest round of public hearings dealing with various aspects of the plan.  Reader’s Digest had first come to the site in 1939 and eventually expanded to nearly 700,000 square feet of office space where at one time some 7,000 workers were employed.

The last Reader’s Digest employees vacated the iconic site in 2009. About 150,000 square feet of the building is currently leased by a mix of tenants including Northern Westchester Hospital and Mount Kisco Medical Group. Chappaqua Crossing is the largest commercial taxpaying property in a town in which only 3 percent of the tax base is commercial.

The new retail component was developed in response to a 2012 proposal by the prior Town Board to add “retail” as a permitted use within the site’s B-RO-20 zoning. The parameters of the retail zone including the types and sizes of the specific retail and related uses that would be acceptable were specified by that 2012 draft local law. Summit/Greenfield then responded with a plan that was consistent with those parameters which included having a supermarket. The current Town Board and the Planning Board made modifications to the uses which are reflected in the approved plan and include a gym.

In addition to bringing new uses to the property, the Chappaqua Crossing proposal includes in excess of $17 million in additional benefits to the Town. As part of the project, Summit/Greenfield will:

• Provide $1.5 million to be used by the Town at its sole discretion to study and implement improvements to the Town’s existing business hamlets, improve or create trail and recreation uses or otherwise undertake initiatives to reduce any perceived impacts associated with the development of Chappaqua Crossing.

• Invest an estimated $3 million in roadway and traffic improvements at the Roaring Brook Road intersections with Route 117 (Bedford Road) and the entrance to the Horace Greeley High School.

• Invest up to $600,000 in improvements to the High School entrance driveway consistent with a 2013 plan developed for the Chappaqua Central School District.

• Demolish three existing houses owned by S/G on Roaring Brook Road to expand the open space buffer and place conservation on the three lots plus a vacant lot that constitute Chappaqua Crossing’s frontage on Roaring Brook Road between Route 117 and the south entrance to Chappaqua Crossing. The properties have a combined value of over $3 million.

• Enclose the loading area of the supermarket to provide additional screening for neighbors at an estimated cost of $200,000.

• Reduce the amount of existing office space by 162,000 square feet (approximately 20%) and limit the amount of space available for lease or use at any time to 500,000 square feet. The resulting loss of capitalized income is approximately $6 million.

• Retain the Wallace Auditorium for future donation to either the Town of its designee for public use. The auditorium was built in 1990 and has an estimated value of $2 million.

• Pay the Town a recreation fee of $100,000.

• Provide a free jitney service between Chappaqua Crossing and the Chappaqua hamlet and MetroNorth train station for not less than two years after residential construction is completed. Estimated annual cost: $100,000.

• Reimburse up to $100,000 in consulting and attorney fees incurred by the Town in its review of the project during 2014-15 and reimburse up to $100,000 in consulting and attorney fees incurred during the Planning Board’s site plan review.

Felix Charney, President of Summit Development, said that the ownership team was pleased to have finally reached this important milestone. “It’s been a long, costly and often painful process and there’s more to be done, but this vote will allow us to move forward together submit the site plans and accelerate the leasing. We appreciate the efforts of Supervisor Rob Greenstein the Town Board and the prior town boards to finally bring the environmental and zoning review to a conclusion and we look forward to continuing to work with the town to create what we are confident will be a genuine asset to the town and its residents.”

In voting in favor of the retail zoning, Town Supervisor Rob Greenstein said:  “I believe we are building a better New Castle by our decision, one that provides more for the community, while maintaining those assets and values that drew us to this Town. Councilman Adam Brodsky added that “the status quo – vacant, obsolete office space and a hole in our commercial tax base – is not the best choice for our town.”


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Summit Development letter to TB setting out additional mitigation measures

December 18, 2014

Hon. Robert J. Greenstein, Supervisor and
Members of the Town of New Castle Town Board
Town Hall
200 South Greeley Avenue
Chappaqua, NY 10514

Dear Supervisor Greenstein:

As you know, on December 22, 2004 SG Chappaqua B, LLC (“S-G”) purchased the former Reader’s Digest corporate campus located at 480 Bedford Road, New Castle, New York, now known as Chappaqua Crossing.  Now, almost ten years to the day and after having spent millions of dollars on studies and appearing at over 100 meetings with Town officials, neighbors, and stakeholders in front of four Town Boards, this Town Board is now ready to vote upon legislation that would allow the development of retail uses at Chappaqua Crossing.  The legislation now under consideration by the Town would enable S-G to move ahead with its lease agreement with Whole Foods Market (which is conditional upon the Planning Board’s unappealable site plan and subdivision approval by June 30, 2015), and bring Whole Foods to Chappaqua Crossing.  We are pleased that the goal of bringing a full-service grocer to Chappaqua initiated by the Town Board over two years ago finally appears within reach, and the largest commercial property and the largest single taxpaying property in New Castle is poised to be returned to productive use for the Town’s residents, workers, merchants, and visitors. 

As responsible corporate citizens and members of this community, we have weathered the bankruptcy of Reader’s Digest and, despite many obstacles, fought hard to maintain the beauty and integrity of the site, while remaining committed to finding an economically feasible adaptive reuse of our property.  We realize that, while the tremendous benefits of Chappaqua Crossing far outweigh any perceived negative impacts to the Town, completion of Chappaqua Crossing cannot be undertaken without change.  To ameliorate any perceived impacts associated with these changes, S-G is committed to expend considerable amounts of money, effort, and property to improve traffic flow, enhance aesthetics, create effective buffers for residences closest to the project site, provide recreational opportunities, improve Town infrastructure, and provide synergistic benefits to the downtown business community. 
Specifically, as part of our commitment to this community, S-G plans, effective beginning 35 days following the later of the filing of final site plan and subdivision approvals for S-G’s PDCP from the Town’s Planning Board allowing building permits to issue and construction to commence, and the running of applicable appeals and statute of limitations periods, to provide the following to the Town.  Some of these actions expand upon the mitigation measures identified in the 2011 and 2013 Findings Statements, while others represent new financial and other responsibilities we are willing voluntarily to assume. 

1.  Offsite Roadway and Traffic Improvements

a. Route 117 / Roaring Brook Road Intersection – Dedicate the necessary property owned by S-G, relocate utilities, upgrade traffic signals, install crosswalk, and install northbound and southbound turning lanes at intersection of Route 117 and Roaring Brook Road (RBR) (cost estimated at approximately $2,000,000). 

b. Roaring Brook Road / Horace Greeley High School / Chappaqua Crossing South Drive - Dedicate the necessary property owned by S-G, relocate utilities, install traffic signals, install crosswalk, and install eastbound and westbound turning lanes at intersection of Roaring Brook Road, the Horace Greeley High School (HGHS) entrance drive and the Chappaqua Crossing south entry (cost estimated at approximately $1,000,000.)

c. Horace Greeley High School Entrance Drive – At no cost to the Town or the Chappaqua Central School District, up to our maximum investment of $600,000, work with the Town and School District to secure all necessary NYSDOT permits and, if approved by the District, undertake improvements to the High School entrance drive, consistent with the 2013 plan prepared by Frederick P. Clark Associates (up to a maximum cost of $600,000).

d. Roaring Brook Road / Chappaqua Crossing West Drive – Provide pavement markings, road improvements and signage, and add entry feature(s), including but not limited to a marque gateway sign and landscaping, at Chappaqua Crossing west entry to encourage drivers to utilize the west entry rather than Roaring Brook Road (cost estimated at approximately $25,000).

e. Traffic study – Pay for traffic study to consider possible road modifications to improve ingress and egress to Annandale Road, up to a maximum amount of $15,000.

2. Open Space & Buffer Improvements

a. Roaring Brook Road median – Improve the appearance of the Roaring Brook Road median with landscaping and/or other improvements to the satisfaction of the Planning Board as part of the Retail Overlay site plan approval process, up to a maximum amount of $20,000.

b. Roaring Brook Road houses / parcels

      i. Demolish the three existing houses owned by S-G at 15, 21 and 57 Roaring Brook Road, regrade and seed property (cost estimated at $100,000). 
      ii. At the Town’s option, place conservation easements upon the four parcels of land owned by S-G, less any land utilized for on- or off-site traffic improvements (the “Buffer Properties”), or convey title to the Town or land conservancy (the parcels have a combined value of approximately $3,200,000). 
      iii. Perform landscaping and planting upon the Buffer Properties in a manner satisfactory to the Planning Board as part of the Retail Overlay site plan approval process

c. Trail development – Establish on-site walking trails for for use by Chappaqua Crossing residents, tenants, visitors and the general public in a manner satisfactory to the Planning Board as part of the Retail Overlay and/or MFPD site plan processes for those respective areas of the site.

d. Trail maintenance – Participate in the maintenance of on-site walking trails for public use.

e. Future trail connection – At no cost to the Town, provide any easement(s) that the parties agree linking on-site trails and the overall development to any new off-site trails established near the project site.  Any additional costs associated with such improvements could be funded directly by the Town through S-G’s $1,500,000 payment, as set forth below in No. 5(e), or by any other manner at the Town’s discretion.

3.  Retail Operations

a. Grocery store loading – Enclose the grocery store loading area to provide further screening for neighbors (cost estimated at $200,000).

b. Delivery hours - deliveries to retail users at Chappaqua Crossing will be restricted to certain hours.

4.  Office Operations

a. Reduction in space – Reduce the amount of existing office space available for lease by an additional 42,000 sf beyond that proposed in the S-G Petition for a total reduction of 162,000 square feet of office space and with a limit of no more than 500,000 square feet of office space at the property to be available for lease or use at any time (loss of estimated lease income capitalized at approximately $6,000,000).

5.  Public Infrastructure and Fees

a. Wallace Auditorium – retain the Wallace Auditorium for future donation to the Town or its designee for public use (value estimated at $2,000,000).

b. Sanitary sewer – for potential future public connection, extend the onsite sanitary sewer system to the Roaring Brook Road right-of-way at the Chappaqua Crossing south entry (additional cost estimated at $200,000).

c. Jitney - Provide free jitney shuttle service between Chappaqua Crossing, the Chappaqua hamlet, and the Chappaqua Metro-North railroad station, with scheduled service during business hours.  Jitney service would begin following the issuance of certificates of occupancy for 50,000 sf of retail space and continue so long as warranted by ridership and for not less than 2 years after residential construction in the East Village is completed (annual cost estimated at $100,000).

d. Kiosk - Install and maintain an information kiosk at Chappaqua Crossing for the purpose of promoting Chappaqua hamlet businesses and activities (cost estimated at $25,000)

e. Other Improvements - Provide the Town with $1,500,000, to be utilized by the Town, in its sole discretion, to create and/or improve recreational trails, facilities and/or other recreational opportunities; to study and/or implement improvements to the Town’s existing business hamlets; and/or to undertake such other initiatives to reduce impacts associated with the Chappaqua Crossing development as the Town deems advisable.

f. Recreation fee – Pay a $100,000 recreation fee in accord with the terms of a prior agreement between S-G and the Town. 

g. Outstanding review fees – Reimburse the Town for the consulting and attorneys’ fees incurred in 2014/2015 to review the revised Retail and Residential PDCPs,  proposed Retail Local Law and land use approvals relating to the Chappaqua Crossing retail project, up to a maximum amount of $100,000.

h. Future review fees – Reimburse the Town for the consulting and attorneys’ fees that will be incurred in connection with the Planning Board’s review of S-G’s site plan application, up to a maximum amount of $100,000.

All told, we estimate that S-G will provide in excess of $17 million in additional benefits to New Castle residents by implementing the foregoing measures.  Of course, these benefits do not include the considerable additional tax revenue that will be generated from the operation of Chappaqua Crossing. 

We hope that a favorable vote by the Town Board on our rezoning application and proposed Retail PDCP will provide a foundation for us to explore ways in which we can work together to provide additional opportunities for the Town.  In particular, we remain interested in facilitating a discussion with the Town and community at large to study the possibility of relocating your municipal offices and police station to the iconic cupola building at Chappaqua Crossing. We also would welcome a discussion with Town leaders, residents and retail merchants on measures that may improve your existing business districts and help revitalize downtown Chappaqua.

As we hopefully turn this important corner, we look forward to working collaboratively with the Town of New Castle to finally bring this project to fruition. 

Sincerely,

 

Felix T. Charney

On behalf of SG Chappaqua B, LLC

 

 


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TODAY: CFM closes with an indoor celebration Saturday, December 20, to reopen in early spring


Tuesday, December 9, 2014
~ from The Chappaqua Farmers Market

The Chappaqua Farmers Market thanks the community for its wonderful support this year. This has been the Market’s best year yet, and we would like to show our appreciation to our shoppers, farmers, and vendors by making the December 20th market into a festive holiday celebration. We’ll be toasting the season with free hot apple cider and live entertainment as well as our usual full complement of fresh, nourishing local fare.

Who’s at Our Party on December 20, 2014:

Aroma Coffee/ locally-roasted beans
Basics Fuirst Spice Blends
Bohemian Baked
Bread Alone
Calcutta Kitchens
City Saucery/ NEW VENDOR
Chatham Brewing Co.
Consider Bardwell Award-winning cheeses
Crown Maple Organic Syrup
D & J Produce
Doc Pickle
Joe Tomato Mozzarella
Kontoulis Olive Oil
La Petite Occasion Confections
Luxx Chocolat
Madura Farms
Mrs. D’s Mediterranean Delights
Obercreek Farm
Penny Lick Ice Cream
Pura Vida Fishery
Ronnybrook Dairy
Running Creek Farm
Saratoga Cracker Co.
Sherry B Dessert Studio
Skinny Buddha
Sohha Yogurt
Southtown Farms/pastured meats, chicken, eggs
Stone Barns Pastured Meats
Taiim Falafel Shack
Teagevity
Tierra Farm
True Food
Wildseed Apothecary
Wright’s Apple Farm

Craft Vendors:
Basics Fuirst Spice Blends
Kim Sava Designs (purses, aprons, rustic assemblage)
Susan Lanzano/stationery
August Wren/prints, cards, calendars
Terraria
Chrissy Chapin Jewelry
Mount Kisco Candle Co.

Events:
Chappaqua Cares will be collecting toys
Mt. Kisco Interfaith Food Pantry Collection will be collecting food

Kids: Cookie Decorating courtesy of Sherry B Dessert Studio
Music: Music in Chappaqua


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PB to TB: Zoning law should reflect the Town’s long-term interest, not SG’s short term needs

Hours before Town Board votes on zoning—8:15 p.m. @ Chappaqua Library—Planning Board finalizes its comments on Chappaqua Crossing
Thursday, December 18, 2014

Editor’s Note:  Planning Board members followed up their Monday discussion of Chappaqua Crossing’s application for retail zoning with final comments to the Town Board. The 8-point letter ends: “In sum, after all this time and effort, the Planning Board believes that we need to look beyond the applicant’s immediate financial needs and legal posturing and get this right.  Frankly, a broader enabling law should work better than the more limited approval that [Summit Greenfield] seek[s].  At the same time, broader enabling legislation should serve as an important signal from the Town to the applicant that there is an expectation that we need to continue to work jointly toward a ‘best’ plan.”

In tonight’s meeting, the Town Board’s counsel has explained, the Town Board will vote on whether to grant the retail zoning, but it will not vote on the preliminary development concept plan, specifying locations of buildings and roadways, until January or February.  Counsel has also said that “mitigations” —in the form of a letter from Summit Greenfield—will be revealed. 

CORRECTION: In tonight’s meeting, the Town Board’s counsel explained on Monday, the Town Board will vote on whether to grant the retail zoning, but it will not vote on the preliminary development concept plan specifying locations of buildings and roadways, until January or February.

Although on Monday the town’s Counsel said that “mitigations” —in the form of a letter from Summit Greenfield—will be revealed tonight, today that estimate was revised.  It is no longer certain that the Summit Greenfield’s letter proposing mitigations will be a part of tonight’s meeting.

Below are the Planning Board’s comments of today in their entirety:

See the Planning Board’s Monday conversation here: While Town Bd makes plans to approve retail zoning, Planning Bd envisions another solution, NCNOW.org, 12/16/14

To: Town Board
From: Planning Board
Re: Local Law Referral re: modification of Town Zoning Map re: Chappaqua Crossing
Date: December 18, 2014

The Town Board has referred to the Planning Board a proposed local law to amend the Town’s Zoning Map for purposes of mapping a new OPR Office Park Retail Overlay District of approximately 19.1 acres on a portion of the existing B-RO-20 Research and Office Business District mapped on the Chappaqua Crossing property.  Prior to enactment of such legislation, the Town Board must enact amendments to Chapter 60, Zoning, of the Town Code to permit such retail use.  That enabling legislation has been previously referred to the Planning Board for review and comment.

Accordingly, this appears to be the Planning Board’s last opportunity to lend its input before a change to the Town’s zoning law or zoning map is adopted by the Town Board.  Our comments and recommendations set forth below are based are based upon planning principles, keeping in mind that the Town Board, as the Town’s legislative body, has exclusive jurisdiction over the enactment of changes to our zoning law and zoning map.

1) Through no party’s fault, this drawn-out process has resulted in a fragmented review of the proposed development of the property.  As a result, our sense is that the applicant’s revised and “preferred” proposal is less than optimal and does not incorporate the important features of a traditional neighborhood development plan.  The current proposal to map only a portion of the subject property for retail use, therefore, may not best meet the Town’s long-term objectives for the property, and may not assure the best chance of long-term success for development of the property.

(2) The Planning Board has consistently stated that the changed zoning law and Town action should not be driven by the short term interests of this particular developer/applicant or a particular tenant. Development of this parcel will have long term impacts on the Town. The best possible planning strategies should be utilized for the long term interests of the Town and the sustainable viability of the project.

(3)  Based upon Findings Statements adopted by the Town Board in April 2011 and October 2013, it appears that the applicant has shown that (1) the property is eligible for and can be appropriately developed with a combination of residential, commercial/ retail, and office development; and (2) significant impacts of the development can be avoided or, if they cannot be avoided, they can be mitigated to an acceptable level.

(4) The proposal to divide the parcel into three separate divisions imposes artificial constraints on the property that seem inconsistent with the stated objectives of the applicant and the Town to pursue a traditional neighborhood development plan.  As proposed, there would be a multi-family residential zone, an office zone, and, now, a retail overlay on a defined portion of the office area. 

(5)  Instead of this partitioned approach, the Planning Board proposes that any final change to the Town’s zoning law and zoning map for this property should be a broad, enabling legislation that would promote the potential for a true, comprehensive, integrated traditional neighborhood development plan.  With appropriate constraints and conditions, the Planning Board believes the entire parcel should be re-zoned for multi-family, office, business and retail uses to maximize planning flexibility that will enable the applicant and the Town to develop a “best” plan.  Consideration must also be given to the future of the site and how it may evolve through time; conditions and ownership will change.  The legislation should reflect the Town’s long-term interest, not merely the current needs of the site and its current owner.  The applicant’s proposal to locate a concentrated retail area on the southern end of the site may limit the ultimate viability of the development because it may preclude both adaptive retail reuse of existing structures and the realization of a traditional neighborhood development plan.

(6)   Appropriate limitations or conditions might include the following:  any housing element must include at least 20% affordable housing; maximum gross retail/commercial use shall be limited to an appropriate square footage that is consistent with parking regulations and traffic concerns; aggregate office development should be limited to an appropriate aggregate square footage that is consistent with current parking regulations (recognizing varying parking demands between business days, evenings and weekends) and consistent with traffic impacts.

(7)  The status of the Cupola Building might also be better addressed through integrated mixed-use zoning of the property.  At present, the building is excluded from the MFPD Residential District and from the proposed Office Park Retail Overlay District.  It also appears to be undesirable as office space in today’s market, as efforts to rent it have to date been unsuccessful.  Thus, this iconic building which is the centerpiece of Chappaqua Crossing stands empty.  An integrated, mixed-use campus would offer new opportunities to consider this building for adaptive reuse as housing, or as retail space that might have more flexible requirements than a grocery store, provided that the aggregate totals for retail and housing square footage currently in place or contemplated for the site are not exceeded.  If, however, the property is divided into separate zoning districts, consideration should be given to a special carve-out for the Cupola Building for mixed-use, provided again that aggregate square footage totals for housing, office and retail space for the site are not exceeded.

(8) If it is determined that a traditional neighborhood development plan cannot be planned, then retail development should be limited to the adaptive re-use of the existing structures to the greatest extent possible.

In sum, after all this time and effort, the Planning Board believes that we need to look beyond the applicant’s immediate financial needs and legal posturing and get this right.  Frankly, a broader enabling law should work better than the more limited approval that they seek.  At the same time, broader enabling legislation should serve as an important signal from the Town to the applicant that there is an expectation that we need to continue to work jointly toward a “best” plan.

cc:  Sabrina D. Charney Hull, Town Planner
      Lester D. Steinman, Esq.
      Nicholas Ward-Willis, Esq.

 


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Bedford 2020 salutes Henriette Suhr


December 16, 2015
~ from Bedford 2020

Bedford 2020 wishes to join with the Town of New Castle, Chappaqua, and the surroundings areas of Westchester County and beyond in paying tribute to Henriette Suhr for her untiring efforts to enhance the quality of the environment for the benefit of not only the current inhabitiants of planet Earth but primarily for future generations.

On behalf of Bedford 2020 this 9th day of December 2014

Ellen Rouse Conrad
(Co-President)

Olivia H. Farr
(Senior Vice President)

Mary Beth Kass
(Co-President)

About Bedford 2020

Bedford 2020 is a non-profit organization leading a grass roots effort to reduce greenhouse gas emissions 20% by the year 2020 in the town of Bedford, NY.

We are reducing emissions and making a difference through community programs that span five action areas, including: Energy, Food & Agriculture, Transportation, Waste & Recycling, and Water & Land Use.

Bedford 2020 programs are led by the work of nine Task Forces staffed with over 90 community volunteers. Visit bedford2020.org


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Over two months, police issue 135 tickets to drivers using electronic devices

Thursday, December 18, 2014
~ from the Town of New Castle

Between October 1 and December 1 New Castle Police Officers issued 135 tickets to drivers caught using a hand held electronic device. The tickets were issued as part of the Town’s “Hands Off the Phone and On the Wheel” initiative.

The program decals are seen on vehicles in the Horace Greeley High School parking lot.  New Castle Police Chief Charles Ferry stated, “It is great to see young drivers in New Castle supporting the message of the Hands Off the Phone program.” Representatives of the schools chapter of SADD recently came in to Supervisor Greenstein’s officer to replenish their supply.

Driver inexperience makes distracted driving a particularly dangerous behavior for young drivers. That is why as of November 1, 2014 probationary drivers and junior drivers will lose their licenses for 120 days if they are convicted of using a hand held electronic device.

Distracted driving is not limited to the young. Experienced drivers are just as likely to engage in this dangerous behavior. Of the tickets issued the youngest driver was 16 and the oldest was 77. The median age was 40.

New Castle Supervisor Rob Greenstein stated, “Distracted driving is the number-one killer of teens in America, and statistics show that using a cell phone while driving can be as dangerous as driving while intoxicated.  Drivers receive 5 points on their license and a hefty fine but the saving of a life is priceless.”

The Hands Off the Phone and on the Wheel initiative will continue with periods of targeted enforcement throughout the Town of New Castle.


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Services for Kittle House’s Richard “Dick” Crabtree

Thursday, December 18, 2014

Richard Crabtree died on Friday, December 12.  His family will receive visitors at Cassidy-Flynn Funeral Home at 288 East Main Street in Mount Kisco on Thursday, December 18, from 7:00 to 9:00 p.m., and Friday, December 19, from 2:00 to 4:00 p.m. and from 7:00 to 9:00 p.m. On Saturday, December 20, at 9:45 a.m. a funeral service will take place at St. Patricks Church in Bedford.

In lieu of flowers, please make donations to the Boys and Girls Club of Northern Westchester, the Salvation Army, and the Graymoor Spiritual Life Center, Garrison, NY. 

Click to see the New York Times notice of his death.


Comments(1):

While Town Bd makes plans to approve retail zoning, Planning Bd envisions another solution

Town Board will vote on the zoning legislation at 8:15 p.m. on Thursday, December 18, at Chappaqua Library Theater
Tuesday, December 16, 2014
by Christine Yeres

Last night, Bob Kirkwood, chair of Planning Board, proposed a way forward with the Chappaqua Crossing application that could lessen the impacts of the proposed retail development.  In a letter shared with Town Board members, Kirkwood proposed that that the Town Board give the town and the developer more flexibility to plan the site as genuine mixed-use.  Instead of three disparate office, residential and retail zones, he suggested, maintain the overall cap for retail of 120,000 square feet (and office space of 500,000 square feet), but draw a boundary around the entire property designating it as “mixed use.”  The single “mixed use” zoning could permit uses to move or mingle and create “traditional neighborhood development” conditions as both county and town Planning Boards have consistently called for over the 2.5 years of reviewing the application.

So while the Town Board was in executive session discussing the terms of the retail zoning change it intends to approve Thursday, December 18, Planning Board members considered Kirkwood’s conversation-starter letter.  Below is a transcript of the Planning Board’s discussion.  Kirkwood began:

Chairman Bob Kirkwood: This is a fairly important piece of property to the town, and the applicant has gone through a long process of [environmental review] showing, in my view, that significant impacts can be avoided or mitigated to a great extent, though perhaps not completely. 

But when we last saw this [plan] and last met with the applicant it seemed to me we were all straining with the application and that it wasn’t really working the way the applicant as well as the town was looking at it, trying to get a TND [Traditional Neighborhood Development plan] in place. I came away thinking—and it was no one’s fault—that this has been a segmented review and we have this parcel mound that is partitioned arbitrarily and I think that’s providing challenges to coming up with an integrated plan that works for the piece of property, works for the applicant, and, frankly, works for the long-term interest of the town, which is that if something is to be done at this location, it should be successful over the long term.

So my thoughts on it were that it would be better for all parties that the mapping be a broad as possible, that the changes to the zoning laws more of an enabling legislation with appropriate controls in terms of maximum aggregate development for housing,  maximum aggregate development for retail, for maximum aggregate usage for office, etc.  This would assure that our local parking codes are is observed, that the property is planned in an integrated fashion.  It seemed to me that the constraints we have placed on the applicant and the property for purposes of study should not be the ones we place on the property for ultimate development.  so that was the reason the main reasons behind my memo I sent out to the Town Board and staff.  I don’t pretend this is a unanimous feeling or that this is ‘the answer,’ but I wanted to get some conversation going. 

Planning Board member Tom Curley: If I could just relate some history on this subject that must be on the record: When Dick [Brownell] was chairman and Sheila [Crespi] and I and Dick were looking at this plan, one of the things we said about the proposed retail overlay is that if we were really interested in doing a service—good planning in the town—was not to treat this as a single-use district—which it essentially is: retail—but to expand the overlay to include as much of the property—and I think someone said ‘Why not the whole property?’—to make it a multi-use district so that in the final planning of the mixture of residential, office and retail, and any public spaces that might be appropriate, I think we found there are some—that there be more flexibility in planning and, in the end, [acknowledging that] the developer is the owner of the property, a better development from the point of view of the town, a new retail-residential center for the town of New Castle.  And we thought that such zoning would deliver to us—I don’t want to say—‘more special’ than anybody else, but appropriate to our town rather than it being in our view a retail development next to an office development next to a residential development, which you pretty much see in every town everywhere.  We didn’t think that would necessarily be a penalty to the applicant. 

Again, I want to say the applicant worked with us under the terms of the proposed legislation for quite a period of time to try to get the best result.  But I think that if you don’t have the proper fundamental zoning underlay for maximum flexibility and the best outcome, then you’re always going to be hampered by it.

So the history is what it is.  I agree with your comments wholeheartedly and suspect there might be some sympathy from other Planning Board members for that point of view—I wonder what position we’re in now in order to influence this particular proposed legislation in order to potentially yield a re-look at the plan under a new zoning designation that would give more flexibility and achieve those ends.

Kirkwood:  That I leave that to the attorneys.  It seemed to me that we’re at a point, though, that if we’re going to make a statement this is the time to do it, because it’s getting very close to the time where the Town Board has to make some sort of decision. 

Planning Board Counsel Les Steinman: It seems to be imminent on the major pieces of legislation, so this is the opportunity, if you want to use it, to make those comments.

Kirkwood:  I don’t think we’re offering these statements as a—quote, unquote—disapproval.  I think it’s one of recommendation or thought in terms of framing the zoning.  I thought these comments were very consistent with what I’ve heard over the years from you folks up here and some measure of frustration, frankly, even from the applicant, in trying to get the traditional neighborhood plan to work.  And I think we’ve heard the same thing from staff, this kind of frustration.  I’m not suggesting a ‘do-over.’  I’m saying the applicant and town have worked and done what they’re supposed to do under SEQR.  And I think the process has some way worked—as inefficient as it might seem to some observers—but at the same time, we’re at a point where it did work and we’re able to say ‘OK, you’ve shown X, Y and Z but we don’t want to limit the opportunities for this property any further and frankly to make this as broad as possible and, as you say, Tom, to make this ‘multi-district’ to the greatest extent possible, and I’d be willing to hear about carve-outs, but in my view it should be to the greatest extent possible [multi-use].

Curley:  I think if you look at the whole property, it’s being proposed as a ‘multi-use district’—there are multiple uses within the larger property boundary.  The distinction we’re looking for is called a ‘mixed-use district,’ where you can have these separate uses on the property and have them mix together.  So I’d rather see the term ‘mixed-use” rather than ‘multi-use’.

Planning Board member Sheila Crespi: Tom very accurately summed up—and I don’t know at what point the discussion took a different channel—but that was my recollection of initial discussions two and a half years ago on what we were first seeing with the retail overlay being proposed for the district.  So I don’t have a problem with including those kinds of thoughts in the memo if that is something we are able to do.

Kirkwood: What are the next steps?

Planning Board counsel Nick Ward-Willis: The next step is for the Planning Board to issue its report and recommendation in the form of a memorandum as you’ve done in the past with your comments on the law that’s proposed before you and any changes you would recommend that the Town Board consider.  If you want to get your thoughts to the Town Board before they vote on the 18th, tonight’s your opportunity.

Planning Board member Michael Allen: I am also more or less in agreement with everything you’ve put forth in the memo and as a relative newcomer I came with relatively fresh eyes, having not focused very intently on this issue prior to joining this Board, but as a resident.  I tend to agree.  I don’t know what’s to be gained by restricting [the retail zoning] to a certain portion of the site, but consistent with comments I made at a prior meeting, when we looked at the last iteration of the applicant’s ‘site plan’—for lack of a better word to describe what they gave us.  They’ve got a very large site here and they’ve chosen, for whatever reason, to concentrate the most intense uses right up against the existing residential areas, which seem to me just unnecessary to do so.  I’ll stand by that comment: You’ve got a large piece of land here.  I don’t see the need to concentrate the most intense and—what the residents would say—the most objectionable uses right up to their back yard.  So if we were able to widen the retail overlay to include larger portions of the site we would at least give the developer future opportunity to amend that plan.

Planning Board member Dick Brownell:  I remember we had discussions about this last year and even a little bit this year.  To a certain extent, mixing everything together and giving it free-form may create too much consternation as to what-all is going to happen.  However, I’ve said ‘Gee, in Building 200 [the cupola building], if housing makes sense there, that would be a good place to put it, because you could sell some great condominiums there—large ones—outsized, if you will, because of the view you’re going to get of the setting sun or maybe even the rising sun.  It’s up high enough.

I think that within limits there should be flexibility.  I don’t know what those limits should be, but I’d like to limit the gross retail, so that it doesn’t strike anyone to say, ‘Oh, we could put twice as much in!’  But I’d like to leave that where it is.  I think the Town is talking about a maximum of 120,000 square feet and if I understand what’s happened at other meetings perhaps the applicant is thinking of decommissioning 162,000 square feet of office space plus the basement to go with it or leave the basement for some low use, which would impact parking in a positive way in the long term, but in the short term, if too much is done in one area or the other the parking—I’m sorry, I mean the traffic—in the short term may be an issue.

Allen: You remind me of something else I meant to point out—that in meetings past a large part of the discussion was around the adaptive reuse of some of the office property.  And this overlay would seem to preclude any retail from entering those former office buildings.

Brownell: Exactly right. Excellent.  So with those two points—and the third one: what is the percentage of affordable housing that’s been approved?

Ward-Willis: 20%.  Town code requires 10%, the MFPD [multifamily (residential) planned development] approval by the Town Board required 20%.

Brownell:  And is it workforce and something else?

Steinman:  No. It’s all “affirmatively further fair housing” [as per the County settlement, not workforce].

Brownell:  Good.  There should be flexibility allowed, but in no way go beyond the gross retail that’s going to be set.

Kirkwood: Absolutely.

Curley:  And if I can put an exclamation point on that: In nothing we discussed were any of us contemplating, in turning it into a mixed-use overlay, that the number of retail would go up.  It was just the distribution of those numbers. And if the numbers could go down for purposes of maybe mitigating some of the impacts that the community is unhappy with or would be easier to do, that would be potentially a good thing if the applicant were willing to do that.

Brownell: And if it turns out that if 162,000 square feet of office space is going to be decommissioned, or turned into something else that makes sense—but not retail—then I can agree.  The limitations have to be modest as to where the mixing [of uses] occurs.  I wouldn’t allow more than 15% of one in another zone.

Steinman:  I think you have to keep in mind that those types of specifics are in the law that is not before you tonight.  It’s in the law that’s already on the Town Board’s agenda.  And I think what the chairman [Kirkwood] has done is basically outlined some comments on the overall process, which he has put before you, which is fine, but this is a very specific piece of legislation, and it doesn’t sound like there’s any overriding objection to the use of retail on a portion of the property but the concerns go to a macro-approach to the development of the entire property.

Kirkwood: Yes, and I’m glad Michael brought up the adaptive reuse of the buildings. That really seems largely to have fallen off from what we saw before this latest plan.  And as that starts to fall off the plan, we have these gyrations about abandoning basements and abandoning parts of buildings.  We clearly have now a plan that’s straining against itself. And, again, to give an applicant the most flexibility to make this the most successful possible location, it seems to me perhaps those buildings should be freed up—even demolished if they’re not going to be used—and used for something else in terms of the overall mix.  I couldn’t agree more with Dick’s comment, and I’m glad he brought it up because I think it’s critically important:  In no way should the aggregate uses exceed anything we’ve been talking about over the years. I’m not even sure I would go with the 15% change, but that’s very important. That’s an excellent point.

Brownell: It’s not a 15% change on gross retail; it’s a 15% move out of one of the districts and the overall aggregate has to stay the same. And I would say that given Michael’s thought of adaptive reuse, with adaptive reuse I could support, personally, going to 120,000 [square feet of retail].  If not, [the amount of retail] should be a lower number, if [the retail is] free-standing and also not ‘TND’.  There’s a whole bunch of things that are maybe too specific, but I think that if the applicant listens to the tape and is here taking notes, then you get a sense of where I stand on how far you can go with these things.  But I think that to make it better and to do something along the lines of TND—which, in the last set of drawings I saw, it was called a ‘hybrid’—but I think they forgot the batteries. It’s only running on gas.  The adaptive reuse I think has to be an incentive in a way.  It needs to take the concepts you espouse and make them have the clarity that won’t create a whole bunch of hassles down the road.  If it’s going to create hassles, then leave it the way it is.  But I think we should go forward with that set of caveats.

Crespi:  The point that Michael raised about the current drawing of the retail overlay district excluding any adaptive reuse—particularly of Building 200 [cupola building]—but any of the buildings—is actually a very good point whether we’re talking about overall use of the property or even just the retail overlay district, because as it’s being conceived of now—as three separate zoning districts—that Building 200 is not slated for any use whatsoever, not for retail, or housing or office.  So it leaves this huge hole in the picture of what’s being done with the centerpiece building, this landmark-eligible building that is the centerpiece of this property.  It’s being made into a white elephant.  We should maybe address that in addition to whatever thoughts we might have about true mixed use of the property.

Brownell: And along those lines, I wouldn’t have have a problem if we drew a box and we included the 200 Building and say it’s a candidate for multiple uses. It would be a mixed-use building.  And let everybody use their imagination and creativity the best way they can, and get us something that’s better.

Allen: I think that part of our obligation is that this isn’t really for the applicant—it’s for the town.  And this legislation will stand on the books a long time and it will be a long, long time before anybody decides that they’d like to open this can-of-worms again. 

And just because this configuration is what the applicant feels is most viable at this very moment, that very well may change over time and we shouldn’t… if no one ca make the case that making these restrictions has a benefit, then I don’t understand why we would make them.

Curley:  That’s very well said, because the observation that no one has made the case that these particular restrictions drawn on the map in this particular way has any planning benefit other than putting restrictions or a cap on the number of square feet that’s allowed and, through the process of the PDCP, locating these buildings in a way which then runs through the EIS process and identifies the impacts.  That seems to be more of a reactive than a proactive approach to the design problem.

I don’t know how to say this without sounding as though I’m casting aspersions on somebody, but these things take on a life of their own and sometimes it ends up that we’re in a defensive posture and we’re trying to do the least harm to the town rather than the best for the town.  That’s the way these things go sometimes in history and then it lands on the public sector desk and we respond accordingly.  If this is an opportunity to look at what the best is that could happen by opening this up again, then I’m all for it.  To me, that means a multi-use district, and the distinction—if we’re talking about 15% here [Brownell’s idea], and a larger bubble over here [Allen’s idea], and your points of view and my point of view, which might differ—that’s a discussion that hopefully we’ll be able to have one day in order to sort that out. 

Brownell: I totally agree.  I just don’t want to start at 85,000 [square feet of retail].

Curley:  No, I understand.  And in the end it’s the Town Board that makes those decisions, advised by us.  And if there’s a way to get back on the more proactive side rather than a reactive side, then this would perhaps be a device to do so.

Brownell:  This is helpful.  And it should be allowed to go forward in parallel with such things as, for example, supermarket construction.  As long as we’re not proposing that everything stop in order to re-do this—but I don’t think anyone is—I want to make sure that’s clear from my personal perspective.  We don’t want to stop it, we just want to give people reasonable flexibility where we would be rewarded as a town with a better project.

Kirkwood: That’s well stated.  I think that’s the key. My thinking on it was really to make this ‘enabling’ legislation, to enable the applicant—who I sense, the last time we heard from them, was frustrated also.  The word ‘hybrid’ was used by the applicant, not by us. It was Andy [Tung] who kept saying it was ‘a hybrid,’ and sort of reluctantly saying, ‘It’s a hybrid; it’s not what we want.’ 

Brownell:  I don’t remember myself, personally, saying ‘hybrid’ in kind terms.

Kirkwood: So that would be my take on it. I don’t know how it would be interpreted by the applicant, but from my perspective it would be that if the Town Board were so inclined, and if they approve these kinds of changes, to make it as broad as possible so that when [the applicant] came for actual site plan development we would hopefully see a really true traditional neighborhood development plan—or the opportunity for such—and perhaps some ideas regarding the better usage of some of the older buildings.  And where some of them can’t be used at all—where they’re dysfunctional—I can’t see why, if we can’t figure out a use for them, we would make the applicant keep them there.

Brownell:  I think the applicant is always able to knock the buildings down.

Allen:  Right, but [the proposed three-zone proposal] would require them to put them back as office.

Brownell: And that’s why mixed use makes sense.

Kirkwood: So where do go from here?  Should we try to offer some thoughts to the Town Board?  Some guidance, some recommendations or thoughts, clearly the ball’s in their court.  They make the decision on this.

Planning Board members decided to use Kirkwood’s memo as a base, marking up the memo and send it to the Town Board.  Ward-Willis cautioned them that they might want to get the memo to the Town Board before they consider the retail local law on Thursday, December 18, in a meeting at which the Town Board intends to vote on the retail zoning change, the Town Development Plan amendments and some amendments to the Supplemental Findings Statement. 

Once the zoning is approved, Summit Greenfield “can go interface with the DOT” on its plans for roadway “mitigations.”  Also on December 18 the Town Board will reveal the results of its negotiations with Summit Greenfield, the town’s side of the purported “win” in the “win-win” for both developer and town. 

In the Town Board meeting following the Planning Board’s, Town Board counsel Ed Phillips explained that because Summit Greenfield wished to further refine changes to the Preliminary Development Concept Plan for the project, votes on approval of the PDCP and the mapping of the “floating” retail zoning to a specific place on the property would take place in January or February of 2015. 

In the video below, the discussion on a single mixed-use zone for Chappaqua Crossing runs from the 40-minute mark to the 1-hour and 17-minute mark:

 


Comments(16):

Updates from Supervisor Greenstein on Chappaqua Crossing and Conifer

The Town Board will vote on the Chappaqua Crossing application on Thursday, December 18.
December 12, 2014

Editor’s Note: Below are updates from Supervisor Rob Greenstein on the status of the Conifer and Chappaqua Crossing proposals.  Following them is a four-minute video of the Supervisor’s report from last Tuesday’s Town Board meeting.

Chappaqua Crossing

We continued our Chappaqua Crossing public hearings. The three public hearings addressed the Town Development Plan amendments, Retail Local Law and the Preliminary Development Concept Plan. This is our tenth (10) public hearing since the revised Preliminary Development Concept Plan was introduced in April, 2014.

I would like to point out some of the highlights of Draft Local Law.

  •  162,000 SF will be either decommissioned (i.e. taken out of use) or demolished
  •  No lower level/basement space can be counted towards this 162,000 SF
  •  Fitness-related use(s) is now mandated and must occupy at least 25,000 SF
  •  Maximum office space will be capped at 500,000 SF
  •  Fast food is not permitted

Please keep in mind that prohibiting a restaurant that is part of a national chain would be unprecedented in Westchester County. We’re unaware of any municipality in Westchester that has banned or restricted full-service chain restaurants. The legality of a ban on full-service chain restaurants would likely be subject to challenge. On the other hand, many municipalities, including New Castle, restrict “fast food” restaurants to certain zoning districts. In the proposed local zoning law, fast-food restaurants would be prohibited at Chappaqua Crossing.

At the conclusion of Tuesday’s meeting, the public hearings were closed. Written comments will be accepted until December 12, 2014 at 4:00pm . The Chappaqua Crossing vote is currently scheduled for Thursday, December 18th.

Conifer

A few weeks back, Conifer’s project began showing new signs of activity. As you probably heard, Westchester County Board Chairman Michael Kaplowitz announced that the County legislature intended to conditionally approve funding for Conifer’s project, subject to issuance of the necessary building and fire code variances. Conifer was on the New York State Board of Review’s agenda on December 9, 2014 with a revised application.

Conifer’s revised plans do not shrink or materially change the footprint of Conifer’s proposed building. In other words, Conifer still proposes to build from property line to property line. Conifer is now proposing the use of nonflammable building materials in upper portions of the building and adding additional sprinklers. The matter was heard and then adjourned without a decision. The hearing will resume in February, 2015.

 

Town Supervisor’s Report 12/9/14 from New Castle Media Center on Vimeo.


Comments(5):

Letter to TB: The only question is whether to allow retail at Chappaqua Crossing or not

“The Board will not have the ability to pick and choose tenants in the future.”
Saturday, December 13, 2014
by Jeff Blockinger

Editor’s Note: On Monday, December 8, Jeff Blockinger sent the following comments to Town Board members. Blockinger has spoken at previous public hearings, telling Town Board members should concern themselves with fixing the existing problems of downtown Chappaqua before creating a “third hamlet’ at Chappaqua Crossing.

Soleil Property LLC
65 King Street
Chappaqua, New York 10514

December 8, 2014

Rob Greenstein
Town Supervisor
Town of New Castle
200 South Greely Avenue
Chappaqua, New York 10514

Dear Rob,

I had the opportunity to review the comments of the Board of the Town of New Castle (the “Board”) at the last public hearing regarding Chappaqua Crossing’s Revised Preliminary Development Concept Plan (the “PDCP”) and am concerned that there seems to be a view that the retail and restaurant mix at Chappaqua Crossing will be determined by a collective effort among Summit Greenfield (“SG”), the Board and the community at large. 

If my observations are correct, that reflects a fundamental misunderstanding about the legal authority of the Board to influence tenant selection in privately owned commercial real estate developments.  Because I cannot make all of the public hearings, I am making my comments available to Christine Yeres. 

As I am sure you are aware, both the New York Senate and Assembly introduced bills in 2012 to regulate “formula retail” (chain stores and restaurants) because, as described in the justification statement of the Senate Bill, formula retail establishments have “invaded village and hamlet downtowns, eroding historic character, aesthetics, and unique community character and identity, replacing it with the sameness of Anywhere, USA.”  See NY Senate Bill S1771-2013 (the “Bill”). 

The Bill further states that there is a lack of “express statutory authority” for this type of zoning in New York and there is concern about whether enacting such restrictions would be “an impermissible regulation of economic competition.”  The purpose of the Bill is to permit these restrictions if they are enacted “pursuant to a comprehensive plan and for a legitimate purpose such as protecting historic character or community identity.”  Importantly, the Bill has twice been referred to the Local Governments committee with no further action.  Accordingly, the Board does not have a current right to enact this type of zoning restriction.  I have not engaged in any case research but am assuming that no clear authority exists to protect the historic character or community identity of a newly built strip mall development.

Without this authority (and even if the Bill ultimately becomes law) the Board will be taking significant risk by attempting to impose formula retail restrictions at Chappaqua Crossing.  I believe it will fail for many reasons. 

First, there is no obvious interest that warrants protection.  The Board will need to argue that the restrictions are for the purpose of protecting the historic character of a newly built strip mall that is located on a large parcel that was just rezoned to permit 111 newly constructed housing units and 120,000 square feet of retail space in a traditional strip mall design.  I cannot imagine any judge being persuaded by that argument. 

Second, in approving the PDCP, the Board will have relied on two case studies set forth in the AKRF Report when it considered the viability of the retail development at Chappaqua Crossing.  Each of those strip malls are predominantly occupied by formula retail establishments.  In this regard, the Board will need to defend its use of two case studies that would be impermissible as a basis for the rezoning.  The internal inconsistency is obvious. 

Finally, we all observed Howard Stahl’s sabre rattling at the October 28 public hearing and are well aware that SG is standing ready to unleash Fried Frank on the town if the Board acts in an arbitrary manner.  In this case, any such restrictions would lack any legitimate purpose and will severely impact the commercial viability of this development, including SG’s ability to obtain financing.  Even if SG agreed to contractual restrictions today, they certainly will be challenged in the future if such restrictions cause low rents or high vacancies.  This litigation will be costly and ultimately the town will lose because Mr. Stahl will be correct.

I feel strongly that the Board should move on from this conversation and acknowledge that the only question on the table is whether to permit retail at Chappaqua Crossing or not.  If the board should find the PDCP to be an appropriate usage, it will not have the ability to pick and choose tenants in the future.

Occupancy will be determined by market forces

as you have advocated.  The Board needs to be comfortable with this reality.  I also feel strongly, as we have discussed many times before, that the Board should be prioritizing the well-documented, existing problems within the downtown hamlet and address those problems before it moves to create a third hamlet.  Feel free to reach out if you would like to discuss.

Best regards,


Jeff Blockinger

cc: Lisa Katz
Adam Brodsky
Elise Mottel
Jason Chapin
Jill Simon-Shapiro
Christine Yeres


Comments(7):

Op-Ed: A six-lane intersection between Greeley and CC shopping center is a monstrosity

December 12, 2014

Editor’s Note:  What follows is an op-ed + public comment.  Since today is the deadline for comments on the proposed rezoning of Chappaqua Crossing as a retail shopping center, I am submitting into the record an email discussion with Town Board and Board of Education members.  It was triggered by my email to them suggesting they consider a roundabout rather than a “signalized” six-lane intersection at the high school entrance.  Roundabouts have been proven safer for pedestrians and vehicles that conventional intersections with traffic lights.  In the group email below, Supervisor Greenstein and Board of Ed members Jeffrey Mester and Vicky Tipp weighed in.  Thanks to a reference by Mester to a previous article in NCNOW, I found that the Town’s traffic consultant Michael Galante had told Board of Ed members in August of 2013 that only 5% of traffic could be “counted on” to use the back road into Chappaqua Crossing; the Greeley entrance and the main entrance on Bedford Road would serve as main access drives.

“Only about five percent of the traffic into Chappaqua Crossing can be counted upon to take the back entrance into the campus from the Saw Mill, Galante told Board members and administrators.  The main entrances onto the Chappaqua Crossing campus will be one opposite the high school entrance on Roaring Brook Road and one on Route 117, or Bedford Road, currently the one official entryway.”

~ from Town planner promotes changes to Greeley campus to ease Chappaqua Crossing traffic, NCNOW.org. 8/15/13

December 4, 2014 Email to Town Board and Board of Education members: Greeley and Whole Foods intersection

Emailed Comment from Christine Yeres to Town Board members Supervisor Rob Greenstein, Deputy Supervisor Lisa Katz, Adam Brodsky, Elise Mottel and Jason Chapin; and Board of Ed members President Karen Visser, Jeffrey Mester, Vicky Tipp, Warren Messner and Alyson Gardner-Kiesel

Since the Town Board seems unwilling* to lighten the load of shopping center traffic that may pass through the Roaring Brook Road/Greeley intersection, and the Town Board has hinted in its most recent public hearing that this is the time to ask Summit Greenfield for needed mitigations, I’d like to suggest an alternative to the current plan for that intersection. 
___________________________

* CY: I am including Town Counsel Ed Phillips’ objection to the wording of my email-comment to Town Board and Board of Ed members:

Town Counsel Ed Phillips’ Dec. 12 email to Christine Yeres and Town Board members:

I was troubled by the word “unwilling” and the implication that the Board hasn’t tried to limit traffic impacts on RBR.

As I mentioned in another email this week, the traffic allocations were complex and involved all three proposed entrances and all three uses (residential, office, retail).  I think something was lost in translation with respect to the statement you attributed to Galante.

 

CY: Following Phillips’ email, I invited Town Board members today to state what they believe the percentages are.

December 12, 2014: CY to Phillips and TB members:

But there was no “translation.”  I was present and I noted what he said.  If he has changed his opinion since, I’d be happy to hear what he currently believes the percentages will be.  Or, better, what Town Board members currently believe the percentages will be, from all the traffic testimony they have gathered for decision-making purposes.

Town Board members? What percentage of the traffic into Chappaqua Crossing—for all three purposes (residential, retail, office)—will use the back CC entrance, the RBR-Greeley entrance, and the Bedford Road-117 entrance into Chappaqua Crossing?

December 12, 2014: Ed Phillips to Christine Yeres and TB members:

I was not present to hear what Galante said, but I don’t think the 5% statement attributed to him is accurate.  Unfortunately, Galante is not available due to medical reasons.


___________________________

[CY: Back to my comment on the Greeley intersection…]

The planned six- (or 5.5-) lane intersection connecting Greeley and a Chappaqua Crossing Whole Foods shopping center would be a monstrosity both logistically and aesthetically.  Its intensive commercial, signalized appearance would also be unseemly conceptually, for both the high school and the neighborhood, compared to the fairly natural setting of the existing intersection and median along Roaring Brook Road—given also the prized academic and field use of the property. 

A far better solution would be as large a roundabout as is required for circulation, more on SG’s property than the HS’s (it needs to be off-center in anyway)—so that the Ed Center on the southeast corner and the new residents on the southwest corner would be looking out over a handsome circular park at the high school entrance, around which cars are constantly moving (forced, by the nature of the roundabout) at a rational rate of speed, with pedestrian crossings not through the circle but across the feeder lanes and their triangular splitter islands.

You will find that research shows that rotaries are not only traffic-calming, but they eliminate the idling forced by the signalized intersection now described in Summit Greenfield’s plans and—even more important—are safer for both cars and pedestrians than conventional intersections.  The State prefers them, in fact. 

As described in current plans, all 5.5 or six lanes of traffic will come to a halt and cars will sit idling every time a pedestrian (most likely, students) pushes a button to cross the intersection.  With the high school schedule as full of extended free periods as it is, and the campus as open as it is, there will be a great deal of crossing back and forth, therefore a great deal of all-way-stopping, with cars idling, for a mechanically-set period of time. 

I visited Poughkeepsie two months ago to view a roundabout near Vassar.  It happened to connect campus park-like areas with small-town streets of small shops (as opposed to a 120,000 SF shopping center-plus-office park), but it was handsome and well-used by both vehicles and pedestrians.  Movements were orderly.  Because of the grade (see photos), it was terraced slightly (Roaring Brook Road is less complicated grading-wise).  It provided a distinctly pedestrian-friendly experience in crossing its feeder lanes. 

Two attachments below are photos of the Poughkeepsie roundabout; another is a GoogleEarth map and ink sketch of a roundabout for Greeley’s entrance by Chuck Napoli, and a pdf with more material on roundabouts. 

I don’t know what kind of approval the town needs for alterations to Roaring Brook Road, but it is a town road and not a state road, and so may not have to go through the same DOT channels as the proposed northbound lane with dedicated left turn lane onto Roaring Brook Road.

One day later, on December 5, Rob Greenstein responded first, in an email to me with this summary of Galante’s position: 

Per Michael Galante: The roundabout was evaluated about a year ago. It would take land to do it. The concern, if I remember correctly, is that there was a concern with the high use of the roundabout by school buses (and the need to size it accordingly). Further, the Town at that time did not want students crossing on the legs of the roundabout without signal control.  Traffic will still be stopped every morning waiting to enter the school campus. This issue will not go away with the roundabout, or with the signal.

I added my comments to the “Per Michael Galante” email and sent it to all Town Board and Board of Ed members:

Christine Yeres to Town Board and Board of Ed members with comments on Galante’s take on roundabouts:

To Rob’s forwarded response including Galante’s analysis (Mr. G may not be well-versed in roundabout use) I want to respond (in UPPER CASE):

Per Michael Galante: The roundabout was evaluated about a year ago. It would take land to do it.

THE LAND IS THERE, ON THE CHAPPAQUA CROSSING SIDE.

The concern, if I remember correctly, is that there was a concern with the high use of the roundabout by school buses (and the need to size it accordingly).

OK WHAT SIZE IS THAT?  THE BIGGER THE BETTER AND THE MORE PARK-LIKE.  THEY NEED TO BE 100 FT IN DIAMETER FOR BUSES.  CHUCK NAPOLI’S SKETCH IS OF A 100-FT.  BUT MAKE IT BIGGER IF YOU WANT.

​Further, the Town at that time did not want students crossing on the legs of the roundabout without signal control.

​PERHAPS THE TOWN WILL BE PERSUADED BY SAFETY DATA FOR ROUNDABOUTS v. SIX-LANE SIGNALIZED INTERSECTIONS.

Traffic will still be stopped every morning waiting to enter the school campus.

​WHAT DOES MR. GALANTE MEAN, “STOPPED EVERY MORNING WAITING TO ENTER THE SCHOOL CAMPUS”?  LESS STOPPING WITH ROUNDABOUTS.  ALMOST EVERYONE DRIVES TO SCHOOL (OR IS DRIVEN).  VERY FEW WALKERS INTO GREELEY DURING THE BAD MORNING-ARRIVAL HOUR.

This issue will not go away with the roundabout, or with the signal. 

LIKE MR. MARWELL, WHO ANSWERS THE QUESTION, “CAN IT BE MADE BETTER BY DOING ‘X,’?” GALANTE IS ANSWERING THE QUESTION, “CAN THIS MAKE IT BETTER?” WITH “THIS ISSUE WILL NOT GO AWAY” WITH EITHER.  HE’S SKIPPING OVER “BETTER”—AND, AESTHETICALLY, CHARACTER-WISE, AND SAFETY-WISE IT IS, I BELIEVE, “BETTER.”

Jeffrey Mester replying to all—December 5, 2014:

Christine,

You were at the meeting at the Ed Center when this was asked of Mr. Galante. (Here is a link to the story you wrote about that meeting.)  I think I asked the question as Chuck Napoli, a big proponent of roundabouts, suggested it to me.  Galante answered why it was not “better” than a traffic light. He is the traffic expert.  I do not think one trip up to a roundabout in Poughkeepsie makes an expert.  If it does, I used a roundabout in Blacksburg, Va this past weekend and I found it to be quite confusing and treacherous.  Admittedly, I was unfamiliar with the area and it was a tight circle roundabout.  I happen to think it is safer to cross at a stop light than to have to cross lanes of traffic that are entering and exiting a roundabout. 

If I am on this email because you want my support for this idea as a school board member, I do not.  I think the best interest of the district and the students is served either by no entrance across from the high school or by the proposed traffic light in the current plan. I do not think aesthetics trump safety.  If I am on this email for some other reason, unsubscribe me.

I am also not sure what you mean when you wrote, “With the high school full of extended free periods as it is…”

December 5, 2014 email from Christine Yeres to all, in response to Mester’s email:

Let’s be scientific about it, Jeff.  For safety over aesthetics, roundabout may be the way to go.  Let’s both suspend belief in our own experiences of roundabouts and see what the research says.  Michael Galante is a traffic expert; he may not be expert in roundabouts.

December 9, 2014: Vicky Tipp email to all:

I am for safety first.  However, I do think aesthetics and character are important.  If we’re examining all options, and if there is a lot of land available on the Chapp Crossing side for a roundabout, I wonder if a pedestrian bridge would make this a more feasible option.  It could be a bridge with plantings and other interesting features, i.e., a mini version of the Highline in downtown NYC.  I am concerned about our beautiful hamlet with open space and a slightly rural feel turning into another Mt. Kisco.  Development is necessary but should not be done in a roughshod way that puts expediency and convenience above quality of life considerations.  I am very concerned about a six-lane major route configuration right outside of the entrance of Greeley.  I understand the convenience of having a major entrance to Chapp Crossing at that intersection, but the priority should be the safety of our students and respect for the aesthetics of their space.  I want to be clear that I don’t speak for the Board here and only for myself, but I do feel that the placement of this intersection is an intrusion on HGHS.

December 12, 2014: Jeffrey Mester email to all:

I would also add that I liked Vicky’s suggestion of a pedestrian bridge regardless of the configuration of the intersection. But, I understand that it is not practical to build with ADA (American’s with Disabilities Act), requirements.

roundabout

poughkeepsie

poughkeepsie


Comments(38):

Resident tells TB approval & construction of road changes will make it years before CC can operate


December 12, 2014
by Christine Yeres

Speaking for neighbors in Lawrence Farms East, Bill Devaney challenged the work of Summit Greenfield’s traffic consultant, John Collins, with a report of his own.  In the December 9 continuation of the public hearing on Chappaqua Crossing, Devaney asked Town Board counsel Nick Ward-Willis to confirm that the State would require Summit Greenfield to construct all roadway improvements before any certificate of occupancy were issued. Ward-Willis did so, explaining that Summit Greenfield cannot get a building permit until New York State’s Department of Transportation has approved Summit Greenfield’s proposed road improvements or “mitigations,” and cannot obtain a certificate of occupancy until those improvements are completed. Devaney then read sections of the report he had commissioned from an independent traffic consultant.

“We used [the Collins traffic report] information,” said Devaney, “and noted that Collins collected studies from 2003, 2004 and 2005—reiterations, ‘Take this away, add that, take this other one away and it’s about equal to this other thing…’—But did we notice that traffic volumes had increased over the years, so we obtained DOT’s data to verify volumes around the site.  And we analyzed traffic from a ‘no build’ to a ‘build’ position of what the site would look like in five years.”  Devaney listed the intersections around the project and their “level of service” grade [DOT grades range from A to F]:

Left turn from Route 117 northbound: F
Roaring Brook Road east: F
Saw Mill Parkway northbound: F
Turn lane: F
Saw Mill Parkway southbound: F
Roaring Brook Road eastbound: F
Roaring Brook Road westbound: F
Annandale: F

“There are some Cs and Ds,” continued Devaney, “But what it really says is that for the site access off Route 117, making a left turn across from Annandale will always be an F, no matter what is done.”

Quoting from his report, Devaney noted that, with changes, the intersection of Roaring Brook Road and 117 ” ‘would improve to a service level B, however, more detailed improvements should be prepared because they cannot be made within the existing 50-foot right-of-way.’ That brings in utility folks.  Con Ed probably won’t want to move that backbone [of utility poles on the west side].  They’ll try to build an additional lane on the east side, northbound, possibly taking land on adjoining properties or require construction easements.  Now the power those people have through the court system before construction starts will be extensive in causing delays in approvals. Time equals money, and that’s really not what we want.  We’d like to get our project built—but we see a big slowdown in approvals—that will take years, not months. For people who think that Whole Foods is going to be here next year to do their holiday shopping—probably not.  On that road, all the drainage, utility and signal poles, relocation of overhead lines by the utility companies, retaining walls, slope stabilization, drainage—it just goes on and on. 

“And what DOT has said is that they would probably ask for a backdown [left turn lane on 117 south of Roaring Brook Road] of 200 linear feet—not 100 feet—and probably extend that road up past Annandale Drive.  It’s not going to be easy.  God bless the developer—spending all that money for us. 

“Noise studies? When you take that amount of land and move toward that direction [east side of 117], even if it’s Bob Lewis’s [west] side, that triggers environmental noise studies and everything else that goes along with it, for the ‘quiet enjoyment of the neighbors.’  And, as Jason has said,  there has to be an economic benefit that goes along with that, which we really haven’t seen yet.

“Then we talk about Roaring Brook Road, where 75% of the traffic will come in to the property from the Saw Mill.  That right turn—whatever’s done to it—will always remain an ‘F’.  Collins’ [Summit Greenfield’s traffic consultant] report doesn’t really talk about the Saw Mill Parkway, which will require extensive work to make it a ‘D’. Left turns southbound on the Saw Mill don’t work.  Everything has to be rearranged on the Saw Mill for considerable dollars, considerable time.  Studies have to be done by DOT, contracts have to be issued, work has to be done.  We’re downstream, ladies and gentlemen, three years.” 

“Safety analysis,” said Devaney, “Not done by Collins.” He read from the traffic report he commissioned, ” ‘Given the size of the project and traffic volumes, the adjacent location with access to the high school, roadway grades at Roaring Brook, narrow roadways on 117, the close proximity of the railroad crossing’—which everyone seems to forget that there’s Metro North whipping by there at 70 miles per hour—‘a study of the crash area should be undertaken by the applicant.  This recommendation is supported by the September 25, 2014 letter from DOT to the applicant’s engineer indicating that a few priority investigation locations exist along the 117 entrance and the west [Saw Mill] entrance to the property.’ A “priority investigation” location is determined by a physical analysis and the number of crashes above a certain set threshold for a roadway.’  We’re a long ways off from doing anything on this site.”

[Editor’s Note: According to the text of the zoning amendment, once approved by the Town Board, the retail zoning “shall expire within 12 months of the date of Town Board approval if the applicant has not applied for and received site development plan approval and final subdivision plat approval, if appropriate, from the Planning Board in accordance with the requirements of this chapter and unless work on the site is begun within 18 months of Town Board approval and is being prosecuted to conclusion with reasonable diligence.”]

The Economics

Finished with his traffic report comments, Devaney returned to the economics of the project.  “Jason and Rob have said, ‘Market will dictate.’ I love that.  I love market.  ‘Market will dictate’ This is how I see it.  Where is the new Whole Foods?  In Chappaqua Crossing.  Right place.  But there’s a problem.  The main entrance where 75% of the traffic will enter is 150 feet from a railway crossing.  The entrance today is marked ‘F’—right next to the Saw Mill River Parkway—also a very dangerous intersection.  The market is going to tell me that someone at Whole Foods is going to take a look at this and say ‘Are we out of our minds, corporately, to locate our brand next to a railway crossing that everyone in Northern Westchester acknowledges is dangerous?’

“So is that a good marketing ploy?  Market will dictate, Jason—I agree with you.  The smart guys from Whole Foods will come here and take a look at this. The national brands that are trying to piggyback Whole Foods are going to say ‘Do we really want to be next to a railway crossing 150 feet away?’ I doubt it. I would rather have the Board and the developer sit down and get this thing right, because we can’t afford to get it wrong.  And right now, it’s wrong.” 

Devaney submitted his traffic report comments to the Town Board on Friday, December 12, the last day for written comment.


Comments(22):

Answers to NCNOW’s Questions for December 9 public hearing on Chappaqua Crossing retail zoning

Design-wise, Summit Greenfield’s plan is a Whole Foods 50,000 square foot strip center within a fake-traditional neighborhood development
Tuesday, December 9, 2014—UPDATED December 13, 2014—with answers
by Christine Yeres

Ignoring Planning Board and County Planning Board objections to the proposed retail “mixed use” development of Chappaqua Crossing, the Town Board is fine-tuning its draft zoning—and seems to be giving Summit Greenfield everything it asks for.  The draft zoning has bypassed the original “adaptive reuse” concept advanced by Susan Carpenter: a grocery special enough to draw customers even though relatively hidden away in existing buildings, plus some accompanying retail.

1. When will the Town Board announce what kind of deal they are striking with Summit Greenfield?

Step by step, the proposed retail development project seems to be tipping in the direction of a “win” for Summit Greenfield and an undisclosed no-one-knows-what for New Castle.  The plan for retail has 1) has marched outside into new construction, 2) pays lip service to the Planning Board’s traditional neighborhood development “main street” requirements, but 3) positions the 40,000 square foot Whole Foods and its 10,000 square foot attached building with its service-back to Roaring Brook Road and a vast parking lot between its storefront and the “main street”—in effect, a 50,000 square foot strip center within a fake-traditional neighborhood development.  Is this what the Summit Greenfield and the Town Board means by “a hybrid”?

ANSWER: The Town Board will announce the details of its arrangement with Summit Greenfield when Board members vote on the application, presumably next Thursday, December 18.

2.  Mothballing office space in exchange for newly added retail

Using the words “adaptive reuse” to characterize the retail proposal for the Reader’s Digest site is not the same as genuine adaptive reuse of its existing buildings.  What Susan Carpenter and Westchester County mean by “adaptive reuse” is the latter.

According to the thinking of the Town Board and developer any different use of the site—say for a car dealership, since 100% of New Castle’s automotive dollars are ‘leaking’ outside the town—is something they might call “adaptive reuse” of the site.  But the proposed retail plan does not adaptively reuse the hard-to-lease existing office space—it adds new retail space and permits Summit Greenfield to “mothball” an equivalent amount of space.

ANSWER: The Town Board intends to require Summit Greenfield to “decommission” 162,000 square feet of existing office space.  According to Greenstein’s Supervisor’s Report of this week,“162,000 SF will be either decommissioned (i.e. taken out of use) or demolished” and “No lower level/basement space can be counted towards this 162,000 SF.” 

3. “Mothball”?

How will it work to “mothball” 120,000 square feet of office space in exchange for the new retail use when the retail, office and residential zones are sold—as Summit Greenfield has said they will be—to different developers, as many as three different ones? 

How can the developer-owner of the office space be expected to be guardian of the “mothballed” sections of its space for the benefit of the developer-owner of the retail?  What will a purchase agreement between Summit Greenfield and the would-be office park owner look like?  How would the “integrated operating plan” among the three entities handle “mothballed” square footage? 

ANSWER: An owner would have to make application to the Town Board to make use of the “mothballed” space. 

4. Summit Greenfield can add 300,000 square feet of additional office space “as of right”

Neither the Town Board nor its counsel have answered the question of how to ensure that Summit Greenfield (if indeed SG remains the owner of the property or any part of it) will not build out another 300,000 square feet of office space—up to 1,000,000 square feet, as Summit Greenfield has described is its “right” to do?

Town counsel has suggested the Town Board has the authority to “cap” that number, but he has not explained which developer-owner—the retail, the office or the residential—in splitting up the property, inherits the “as of right” to build another 300,000 square feet of office space?  Can this “as of right” be sold separately to a developer?

ANSWER: According to Town Board counsel Nick Ward-Willis, the new “retail overlay” zoning amendment would cap office space at 500,000 square feet, period.  The 1 million “as of right” square footage will disappear.

5. Where is a model of the proposed development?

What will the retail development and the roadways bordering it look like?  Any client or buyer in the development world might rightly expect to see a three-dimensional model of the proposed development. But neither the applicant nor the Town Board has presented the town with a model of the proposed development and the roadways and entrances that serve it.  The draft zoning says the Town Board can ask for one.  Residents have asked to see one. None has been produced.

ANSWER:  Ward-Willis noted that Summit Greenfield had fashioned a model of the original residential proposal, but “they have not done a model of this one.”  The Town Board does not intend to require one.

6. Where has such a retail/office development worked?

There have been no examples of success for this type of retail development: one with established residential neighborhoods and a high school on three sides of it; and on the fourth side, a parkway closed to commercial vehicles—and with an on-grade railroad crossing.

Another key claim by both the Town Board and Summit Greenfield is that the addition of retail to the office-zoned property will aid in attracting tenants to the antiquated, hard-to-lease office space. Where has this worked?  Where has this occurred before in a configuration such as the proposed development?  Neither the Town Board nor Summit Greenfield has provided successful examples.

ANSWER: No successful models—or comparables—have been offered. [To my question of whether the retail development proposed by Summit Greenfield can be successful, Greenstein responded that I should consider the bright side:  If it’s not successful, then there won’t be traffic to worry about.] 

7. Two intersections that are “unmitigatable”—the Town will “encourage” drivers to use the Chappaqua Crossing entrance rather than the Greeley intersection

Michael Galante told School Board members in August of 2013 that no more than 5% of the traffic entering Chappaqua Crossing could be counted on to enter the property from the Saw Mill by bearing left into Chappaqua Crossing’s back entrance.  The vast majority of vehicles, he told them, would use the Roaring Brook Road and Bedford Road entrances.

How does this comport with Town Board members’ belief that 80% of vehicles will come to Chappaqua Crossing by means of the Saw Mill?  Does the Town Board believe that 80% of vehicles drawn to Chappaqua Crossing will come from the Saw Mill, or that 80% of those vehicles will use the “back door” into Chappaqua Crossing?

If Town Board members believe that only 5% of traffic into Chappaqua Crossing will enter by bearing left into the Chappaqua Crossing property (rather than right onto Roaring Brook Road), do Town Board members also believe that this 5% can be changed by “directing” traffic to the left?  Will there be a traffic signal there, where the two roads split?

ANSWER: I still have no definitive answer to this “5%” question, which I included in my own comments to the Town Board and Board of Education members and submitted to the Town Board yesterday as written comment on Chappaqua Crossing.  See Op-Ed: A six-lane intersection between Greeley and CC shopping center is a monstrosity, NCNOW, 12/12/14.

By email from Town Board counsel Ed Phillips responded to the 5% question on December 6, 2014:  “I’ve seen 5% associated only with the amount of traffic expected to approach by traversing across RBR (eg, via 120, and then crossing over the SMRP) - not as the ratio (5/95) that could be expected to use the back entrance vs proposed RBR entrance.”

And by email—in response to my Town Board/Board of Ed comments—from Supervisor Greenstein on December 12, 2014: “I was not present to hear what Galante said, but I don’t think the 5% statement attributed to him is accurate.  Unfortunately, Galante is not available due to medical reasons.  I would request that you confirm this figure before possibly spreading misinformation.” 

8.  “We made the changes your Planning Board suggested, and our anchor stores aren’t so interested.  Now we need small stores too.”

Since Summit Greenfield reported that its short list of “junior anchor” stores preferred the strip center layout to the redesigned “main street” of Chappaqua Crossing, six months ago Summit Greenfield pleaded to be allowed to divide the buildings of 25,000, 18,000, 15,500 and 10,000 square feet into any number of smaller stores it wants.  (Summit Greenfield has provided an extensive list of “high-end” small stores as potential tenants.)  Supervisor Greenstein at first called no-limits-on-smaller-stores a “non-starter,” but now the zoning includes the ability by Summit Greenfield to have an unlimited number of smaller retail stores 1,500 square feet or larger.

Can the Town Board and counsel confirm that the zoning intends to permit small stores to lease retail space at Chappaqua Crossing in addition to—not instead of—Summit Greenfield’s ability to lease to “junior anchor” chain stores such as Petco and Staples, and that Summit Greenfield may lease to any combination of large or small stores it wishes?

So apart from the discussion of whether or not the Town Board should allow “chain” restaurants, the current proposed draft zoning does not prevent Summit Greenfield from leasing to “chains” such as those frequently found accompanying Whole Foods—Petco, Staples and CVS—and perhaps to chain restaurants often found alongside Whole Foods such as Chipotle and Five Guys (depending on how you decide the “chain restaurant” matter).  Is this correct? 

ANSWER: The retail zoning would allow Summit Greenfield to choose its tenants, whether “junior anchor” or “high-end” small stores. See Town Board members debate whether to allow chain restaurants, NCNOW.org, 12/6/14.
_________________________________

Here’s what the Planning Board and County Planning Board don’t like:

~ from “Near to public hearing, Boards’ thinking on Chappaqua Crossing is all over the map,” NCNOW.org, 6/20/14

Redesign rollercoaster

Since to the Planning Board it looked as though both the previous and present Town Boards fully intended to approve retail at Chappaqua Crossing despite Planning Board reservations, the Planning Board sent its architect member, Tom Curley, to work to redesign Summit Greenfield’s original plan for a strip center along a single parking lot into a less objectionable, more neighborhood-y design oriented along a “main street.”  The Planning Board has said that Curley’s efforts should not be taken as an endorsement of the project.  In fact, Planning Board members are still questioning whether there should be retail development at Chappaqua Crossing at all.

But now a complication has developed from the redesign of the site along a main street.  According to Summit Greenfield, Curley’s re-working of the “strip center” plan into more of a village main street has had the effect of alienating the interest of “junior anchor” stores which are accustomed to standing shoulder-to-shoulder with other stores, all facing a parking lot.

Consequently, the newest version of the grocery-retail plan shows the larger spaces divided into spaces for smaller stores. While Planning Board members were conflicted over whether large stores or small stores at Chappaqua Crossing will harm the hamlets more—Curley calls the large ones “category killers,” stores that overlap with, and overtake, multiple smaller single businesses—Greenstein, seeking perhaps to approve the retail at Chappaqua Crossing yet show that he also intends to protect the downtown merchants, has called the unlimited-number-of-smaller-stores idea a “non-starter.”

So back to the bigger-box stores, which, according to a June 16 letter from the County Planning Department, is a less desirable layout, and contrary to “a more pedestrian-friendly, village-type street with buildings close to the street and parking in the rear.” The County is critical also of the strip-center-style parking lot for the grocery, noting “the placement of the Whole Foods building behind its own large parking lot would further erode the functionality of a ‘main street’ environment and significantly discourage walking between uses on the site.”


Comments(32):

CFM closes with an indoor celebration December 20, to reopen in early spring


Tuesday, December 9, 2014
~ from The Chappaqua Farmers Market

The Chappaqua Farmers Market thanks the community for its wonderful support this year. This has been the Market’s best year yet, and we would like to show our appreciation to our shoppers, farmers, and vendors by making the December 20th market into a festive holiday celebration. We’ll be toasting the season with free hot apple cider and live entertainment as well as our usual full complement of fresh, nourishing local fare.

Although we were unable to find a suitable location for a winter market that would be able to accommodate our shoppers, farmers, and vendors on a consistent weekly basis, we deeply appreciate the effort that the Town Board, Town administrators, and Town staff, as well as the Chappaqua Central School District, made in helping us sort through the options. The lively discussions in support of the market that took place in various public forums are gratifying testimony to the wonderful sense of community that the Market has fostered as well as to the bonds that shoppers have forged with the farmers and vendors. We take the disappointment many felt in the lack of finding a suitable venue as evidence that there is a deep connection between the community and the Market, and for that we are grateful.

So, be sure to join us next Saturday at our usual location at the train station and the following Saturday indoors at the Chappaqua Community Center. You’ll be able to stock up on delicious, fresh local food, purchase last minute gifts for the foodies on your list and wish your neighbors and favorite farmers a happy holiday. For the rest of the winter, you can find many of your favorite vendors at the Hastings Farmers Market or visit the Pleasantville Farmers Market. We believe in the farm to table movement and in supporting local farmers and food purveyors. These markets and others offer great options for the winter.

We will be back at the Chappaqua Train Station plaza in the early spring, stronger than ever, with all of our favorite vendors along with some new ones.


Chappaqua Farmers Market – Q and A’s about the winter market

Q. You considered several options over the past month. Why did you decide to
cancel the winter market?

A. Though we did have options, none of them were viable for enough of our vendors.
Specific locations are addressed in the questions that follow this one.

Q. Why did the school district say no to having the farmers market at Bell or
another school? Was it a cost issue?

A. The district had operational concerns with a farmers market in the schools.
We did not request to use the schools without the charge that they customarily
charge community groups. Nor was it a liability issue. We have always carried
insurance naming the space provider.

Q. What about using the Community Center?

A. Our vendors need a consistent weekly schedule through April to make the
winter market viable and there were not enough available dates at the
Community Center. The Town went out of their way to extend us the dates that
were available.

Q. Did you try churches in town?

A. Our former home at St Mary’s worked well for our first years and we always
had a good relationship with the church. They did increase their rent, but that
was not the reason we did not return. We’ve grown in size, and also their
operational needs have changed, so the space is not suitable. We did approach
other churches in town, but none were able to accommodate us.

Q. Did you look at Chappaqua Crossing?

A. Yes, they were very helpful and showed us two spaces. We had two issues:
first, the space was not ideally laid out and, second, we believe that our presence
in downtown Chappaqua is important for the community aspects of the market.

Q. What about staying outside at the train station? Or using the station building?

A. Having an outdoor winter venue, while workable for some markets, was not
acceptable to a number of our vendors, even if they could bring space heaters.
Fewer shoppers will turn out in the cold, and since some of our vendors drive
over two hours to get here, we want to make sure the trip is worthwhile for them.
The town helpfully offered the train station building, but only until mid-January
when a tenant is expected to be in place. Also, the station building is small and
there is not adequate electrical service for our vendors.

Q. There was some controversy with the Town Board. Comment?

A. We had many challenges and some frustration in the process of looking for
space. The Town Administrator and Board were helpful and creative in coming
up with options for us, but in the end none were viable. During the process we
gained insight into each other’s operations. The Town has supported this market
from inception and we look forward to continuing a good working relationship.

Q. When will you re-open in the spring?

A. We hope to have an early spring opening, around the end of April, but that
depends on how difficult a winter it is for our farmers. We will be making
announcements in March about the opening date.

Q. How can the community help now?

A. Shop at our last two markets on December 13th and 20th and come back in the spring and support us! This has been the Market’s best year and we would like to show our appreciation to our shoppers, farmers and vendors by making our December 20th market, which will be indoors at the Community Center, a festive community celebration.

Q. Shall I make a suggestion for indoor space for this winter?

A. We appreciated the suggestions for indoor space that came from the
community, however for this winter our search is over.

Q. Will you try to find a location for next winter?

A. Yes, we realize how important the winter market is for the community and our
farmers and vendors. We will continue to work with the Town, the School District,
private property owners and others to find a workable location.


Comments(17):

TONIGHT:Town honors Henriette Suhr, an early-adopter of environmental conservation and preservation


Suhr with her well-worn copy of Rachel Carson’s 1962 seminal book on environment, Silent Spring
Tuesday, December 9, 2014
by Christine Yeres

Tonight at 8:00 p.m. the Town Board and Planning Board will honor Henriette Granville Suhr for her avid and continuing interest in conservation, preservation and acquisition of open spaces within the Town.  At around 8:45 p.m. there will be a reception in the gallery of the Chappaqua Library, open to the public (enter by the theatre door).

There isn’t much at Henriette Suhr’s 13-acre gardens at ​Rocky Hills on Old Roaring Brook Road​ that hasn’t been meticulously and artfully planned and executed by her over the last 50 years.  Only the forget-me-nots are allowed to run free, making seas of blue each spring, more every year.

Yes, there is a roaring brook that runs through the property, a section of a fallen old weeping willow that has been allowed to remain and sprout new life, bright vistas framed by dark arching branches, tiny flowers cascading from between stones in walls, dark purple columbines, gigantic hostas, masses of azaleas ​and swaths of brilliant green lawn​, ​plus an all-​yellow garden.

Parsons School of Design in Paris

​As a teenager, Suhr’s family moved from Austria to Paris.  She’d had an English governess, ​and so could speak English, but learning French at that age proved difficult enough for it to occur to her parents to send Henriette and her sister to the Parson’s School of Design, just opening then in Paris on the Place des Vosges. She studied decorating, her sister studied fashion.

When she came to live in New York City, it was easy for her to get a job, she recalls. First, she spoke English; second, she was a graduate of Parsons. During the war years, she worked at Macy’s, then spent a year at Lord & Taylor, then on to Bloomingdale’s.  She met William “Billy” Suhr in 1941. He was the sole conservator of the Frick Collection.  In 1956 the couple bought the 13-acre property with a small house on Old Roaring Brook Road, at first as a weekend retreat.

She and her late husband were not gardeners, but gradually, as her interest in interior design shifted to the garden, it became their joint passion.  They let Rocky Hills make them into gardeners.  Now in her late nineties, she’s been in its gardens ever since.

​Polly Kuhn, a former supervisor of New Castle and longtime friend, admires Suhr for her persistence and dedication over the years.  “She regularly attended New Castle Planning Board meetings whenever there was proposed building in or near wetlands. She has followed the discussion in detail, and made sure that the environmental review did not slight any study of drainage or the effect of development on surrounding hydrology.  She is a familiar sight, wearing a feminine felt fedora, with feather, her intelligent eyes on the map or chart under discussion. She doesn’t necessarily speak at meetings; her presence alone often brings attention to the environmental issues she wants considered.


Rocky Hills now, in winter

Looking ahead

By an arrangement struck with the County in 2000, at her death Suhr’s Rocky Hills was to have become County park land.  “I have been deeply concerned with conservation and preservation of green spaces,” she explained this week to NCNOW, “and it had been my dream for the future to set Rocky Hills aside as a public space for people to enjoy and to learn.  Unfortunately, it turned out that under a changed County administration they felt they weren’t able to fulfill the arrangement, so it’s come back to me.  We’re in the process now of making different plans for the future.”


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Greeley Sports Boosters’ Basketball Weekend Fri-Sat, Dec. 12-13



Tuesday, December 2, 2014
~ from The Greeley Sports Boosters

Our Greeley Sports Booster Basketball Weekend will again be a lot of fun (hopefully no snowstorms this year).  Come out and support Greeley Basketball and the Boosters on Friday, December 12 and Saturday, December 13.  Admission is $3 for adults, $2 for chilsren or students, and $5 for a weekend pass (only $1 for students wearing orange and blue!).  Refreshments available.  See our schedule below:

It’s a great two days to see both the Boys and the Girls JV and Varsity basketball teams in action, as a community.  It is one of the big fundraisers that the Boosters holds and all proceeds benefit all our sports programs at Greeley. 

Our goal this year is to raise $10,000.  Think of how those funds can enhance our sports programs including the purchase of a portable scoreboard for softball and soccer, a new electronic sign in town and new video equipment for all our teams. We’ll have terrific refreshments, Booster promotional items, like the always popular fold up bench seat, along with performances by our new cheerleading squad. It’s going to be a spirited weekend so come out a support our basketball teams and the Boosters.

Friday, December 12
Greeley v. Peekskill
5:00 pm JV Boys
6:45 pm Varsity Boys

Saturday, December 13
1:15 pm JV Girls v. Irvington
3:00 pm JV Boys v. Ossining
5:00 pm Varsity Girls v. Irvington
6:45 pm Varsity Boys v. Ossining


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TODAY: Town’s Annual Tree-Lighting, Sing-along and Holiday Stroll Saturday, December 6



Tuesday, December 2, 2014

• 1-5pm crafts & museum tours at Horace Greeley House

• 2:30pm ice sculpture show at Desires by Mikolay

• 3:30pm Chappaqua Orchestra sing-along at Bell School

• 5pm New Castle Historical Society’s tree lighting at Greeley House

The Holiday Stroll is presented by Breezemont Day Camp & the Chappaqua-Millwood Chamber of Commerce


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Christmas trees from First Congregational—a family and community tradition

FCC’s tree and wreath sale takes place Sat-Sun December 6th, 7th, 13th, 14th, 20th, 21st
Saturday, December 6, 2014
by Astrid Quish

Every December since we’ve lived here (16 years), my family has sold Christmas trees at our church, The First Congregational Church of Chappaqua on Orchard Ridge Road.  Yes, that’s the same church that has the famous Barn Sale every year.

The Christmas tree sale has been one of our family’s favorite Christmas traditions.  It starts with an early morning on the Sunday of Thanksgiving weekend when the large truck from New Hampshire arrives with over 150 Balsam trees, each tied securely in twine. 

We all bundle up in our oldest of winter clothing in preparation for the sap that will surely stick to our gloves and jackets, and head to church.  The strongest of the church members climb up on the truck and start handing trees down. Other members measure, mark and move the trees to their various wood stands that have been set up just for the occasion.  Coffee, hot chocolate and donuts await all and the fresh smell of pine puts us all in a cheerful mood. 

Next comes the actual Christmas tree sale days.  We choose a shift together, pack up warm clothes, the dogs and Christmas music.  We arrive early so we can find our tree.  There is always a warm hearted debate on the size of the tree.  My husband and sons head right for the tallest trees and try to convince me that the 9 ½ foot tree will definitely fit in our house with 8 foot ceilings; we just need to trim it a bit.  After much deliberation we choose a tree and announce, “This is the best tree we’ve ever had”. 

The rest of the time we help families select their best tree ever; it’s amazing how particular people are about their trees.  The trunks are given a fresh cut and the process of tying the tree to the car begins with promises that the tree is secure and will definitely make it to their destination. 

In between tree sales, we bond with our fellow tree sellers, play football, have snow ball fights, sing Christmas songs and go inside for hot chocolate if it’s cold.  At the end of our shift, we head home with our securely tied tree to the roof of the car (it’s never fallen off), the smell of pine sap on our clothes, and we laugh about whether the tree is actually going to fit in the room this year, how much of the top and base we are going to have to cut off and whether there will be enough room for the angel.  Lucky for us the angel is made of cardboard (an original purchase from Woolworths for our first Christmas) and she is quite flexible.

We have met so many nice people over the years during our church’s Christmas tree sales.  It is such a joyous time and we look forward to the tradition once again this year.  Please consider buying your tree and wreaths at our church this year so the tradition can continue.  The trees are beautiful and the selling staff is the best ever!

Location:  First Congregational Church of Chappaqua
    Orchard Ridge Road (Off Rte 117 just north of King Street)

Sale dates and times:  Weekends in December (6th, 7th, 13th, 14th, 20th, 21st)
        10-4pm on Saturdays and 11-4pm on Sundays


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NEW: On Tuesday, December 9, New Castle Salutes Henriette Granville Suhr


Friday, December 5, 2014
~ New Castle Supervisor Rob Greenstein

On Tuesday, December 9, the Town of New Castle will honor a long-time resident, Henriette Suhr, for her many years of attention to environmental issues. Bob Kirkwood and our Planning Board have brought to our attention that for some forty years or more she has quietly served as a citizen observer to their meetings, focused on their compliance with environmental regulations. She has pointed that Board, and the Town, toward greater awareness of wetlands, drainage and hydrology—not the kind of work that makes headlines. Over time, though, the accumulated effect demands our notice.

We don’t want to close out 2014 without a salute to this model citizen. Please come to our December 9 meeting to join in the tribute at around 8:00 p.m.


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NEW: Mt. Kisco Interfaith Food Pantry a new partner to CFM


On Dec. 6 and 13 Chappaqua Farmers Market runs from 9:00am to 1:00pm @ Chappaqua Train Station; on Dec. 20 @ the Community Center
Saturday, December 6, 2014

When the folks at Madura Farm let me know they were bringing crates of hand-shelled dried cranberry beans this week, it made me smile. It allows me to re-post this sentimental blog food writer Melissa Clark wrote about cooking up comforting cranberry beans, in the wake of Hurricane Sandy, two years ago. Originally from Colombia, cranberry beans are known for their creamy, almost velvety texture which lends itself so well to soups and stews. This recipe from Bon Appetit showcases the beans (also known as Borlotti beans) in a humble, one-pot dish seasoned only with sage and garlic. You could add some chorizo or any other type of sausage to the pot if you wanted a heartier dish.

Click here for Borlotti Beans with Sage and Garlic, from Bon Apetit

___________________________________

THE LATEST

Please note that there are updates to our location and start time in December. On December 6th and 13th we will be at the train station from 9am to 1pm.

Beginning December 20th visit us inside at the Community Center at 10 Senter Street, across from the Horace Greeley House and the fire station.

We will be starting a half hour later this winter to give our farmers and vendors some extra time. The markets will run from 9 am to 1 pm.  See you all soon. And don’t forget to follow us on Instagram @chappaquafarmersmarket.

___________________________________


Southtown Farms is a new farmer from the Garden State who sells grass-fed beef, pastured pork – and plenty of sausage. He also has plump roasting chickens just crying out for rosemary or 40 cloves of garlic, and just-laid eggs, too. And, as an added bonus, he comes stocked with Ronnybrook Milk and other Ronnybrook creamery products. Please give them a warm welcome!

Teagevity is at the market this week. Don’t forget to pick up a soothing cup of chai from Preston, first thing…his smile and gorgeous display of organic teas and tea paraphernalia are hard to miss.

I am so pleased to announce a new partnership between the Chappaqua Farmer’s Market and the Mount Kisco Interfaith Food Pantry which will be collecting healthy food for the needy at the end of each market day starting tomorrow. http://www.mountkiscofoodpantry.org/

Also, The Chappaqua Garden Club’s annual wreath sale starts Friday and continues on through Saturday at the train station. So, you can pick up a holiday wreath before or after you shop. How easy is that?

Pascale Le Draoulec
food writer/ farmer’s market director
author: “American Pie:Slices of Life (and Pie) from America’s Back Roads” (HarperCollins)


Who’s at the Market on
Saturday, December 6, 2014

Bread Alone
Consider Bardwell Cheese
Crown Maple Organic Syrup
Doc Pickles (weather permitting)
D & J Produce
Edenesque Almond Milks (weather permitting)
Joe Tomato Mozzarella
Madura Farms
Mrs. D’s Mediterranean Delights
NU Burgers
Pie Lady of Nyack
Pura Vida
Running Creek Farm
Skinny Buddha
Southtown Farms/Ronnybrook Milk
Sohha Yogurt
Teagevity
True Food
Taiim
Wright’s Farm

Events

Chappaqua Garden Club Wreath Sale

Mt. Kisco Interfaith Food Pantry collectionhttp://www.mountkiscofoodpantry.org/”> http://www.mountkiscofoodpantry.org/


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Town Board members debate whether to allow chain restaurants

Saturday, December 6, 2014
by Christine Yeres

In Whole Foods’ conditional lease with Summit Greenfield, the planned 40,000-square-foot grocery requires that no more than 16,000 square feet of the 120,000-square-foot shopping center should be leased for restaurant use.  Whether or not to allow them to be chain restaurants is still a point of disagreement among Town Board members.

Supervisor Rob Greenstein was reluctant to impose a “no chains” requirement for restaurants, since, he reasoned, it would rule out desirable chains as well. He suggested that whether Chappaqua Crossing attracts an Outback or a Smith & Wollensky steakhouse—both are chains—should be left to market forces, “based on the population and what they want.” 

“I disagree,” said Town Board member Lisa Katz. “I think it’s a landlord who has checked the box of the Chipotle and the Five Guys and the restaurants they want in here.  They’re asking for a lot from our town and we have every right to restrict what should go there.  And there are amazing restaurants nearby that are not chain restaurants that do phenomenal business in this area.  I think we would not be losing anything or [prevent] the developer from having a successful business by prohibiting chain restaurants.  I would rather see a really wonderful restaurant that’s a destination—like Stone Barns—than an Outback or TGIF.  I think we have something really special in our community and to allow those types of restaurants to come in and turn us into downtown White Plains or Mt. Kisco—I think we have every right to say we don’t want that. This might make it a little harder, because the developer can’t check its boxes of the retailers that go into every single one of its shopping centers.” 

“I agree that we have something very special here,” said Greenstein, “but we also have 500,000 square feet of office space here and if we want Summit Greenfield to rent their office space—and we would get tax revenues from that—I think it’s also nice for them to have a place for the people who work there to go to lunch like a Chipotle or a Chop’t—“

“—or a Whole Foods,” said Katz, “which has plenty of places to eat—”

“—and there are plenty of non-chain restaurants,” said Town Board member Elise Mottle, “that can provide places for office workers to eat.”

“And if right now [restaurants are] limited to 15,000 square feet out of 120,000 square feet of retail,” said Katz, “I don’t think Summit Greenfield is going to go out of business because we’re not allowing a chain restaurant.”

“Hypothetically,” said Town Board member Jason Chapin, “if this proposal were to be approved then you could have a mix of local restaurants and national-type restaurants.  Or one that’s currently located in New Castle that may want to relocate at Chappaqua Crossing, and bring in another restaurant to the downtown.  So there’s a whole mix of options and opportunities.”

“If you look at Armonk,” said Greenstein, “they have really great restaurants and they also don’t have a restriction on chains, so there is something to be said for market forces.”

“They don’t have a developer like Summit Greenfield coming in,” said Katz, “that has a list of [food establishments] that they like.  They’ve already told us they want a Chipotle and a Panera and a Five Guys.  Armonk does not have that.  Armonk was much more of a free market than this is.  And they have a new restaurant opening up where the garden center used to be, they have all these wonderful restaurants opening up—none of which are chains—I cannot imagine that a valid argument can be made that Summit Greenfield cannot survive without chain restaurants.”

Phillips suggested a middle way: “If want to restrict chains you could say some lesser number—say, no more than 7500 square feet of the 15,000—could be occupied by chains.”

“I agree with Lisa,” said Mottel.  “I look at Chappaqua Crossing as a very special place and it should be treated as a special place and we should look very carefully at the uses.  We want to make it a destination and not just a place where you get restaurants that can be placed in any area in Westchester.” 

“We want it to be successful,” said Greenstein, “but we also want the free market to work, without hindering that.  The reality is that this compromise [7,500 chain, 7,500 non-chain] probably wouldn’t hinder the free market, because it’s probably going to wind up like that anyway.  I know Stone Barns is interested—and [the Chappaqua Crossing 15,000 square feet for restaurant use] will probably end up with half of it a nice restaurant-type place and the other half will be a place where people can get a quick bite—because there is 500,000 square feet of office space.”

“But it depends on what we allow,” said Katz.  “Whole Foods has a huge food court and there’s a cafeteria in the Reader’s Digest property where people can eat.  And we want people to go downtown, too.”

“Maybe we can do a mix-and-match,” suggested Brodsky, “because the more diversity you have—whether it’s food or clothes—it makes it more dynamic and increases the likelihood of success.”

Mottel announced that she was “very interested” in having restaurants come to Chappaqua Crossing, “because I think it’s a use the town needs and I think it will create a destination and will be a use that will not have as great an impact on traffic as some of the other uses. So I would welcome restaurants at Chappaqua Crossing,” said Mottel, “as long as it’s the right mix.”“

Chapin pointed out that the town’s AKRF study found that New Castle satisfies only 15% of residents’ demand for for full-service restaurants and only 38% for limited-service restaurants.  “So this report tells me that there’s plenty of room for restaurants in New Castle without threatening existing restaurants.  And I do think that restaurants do attract residents from other towns and also our New Castle residents who are spending their restaurant dollars elsewhere.”

“That depends on what restaurants and who we want to attract,” said Katz.

“And I can envision,” said Mottel, “with those beautiful restaurants, getting people to actually spend time at Chappaqua Crossing and enjoy the grounds.”

“—former grounds,” added Katz.

Board members were taking pains to tie down the chains/no-chains issue in the draft zoning because, as they explained, the 15,000-square-foot restriction on restaurants is part of Whole Foods’ lease. If Whole Foods were to leave the development, the restriction would disappear.  New Castle’s zoning laws do not currently ban chain restaurants in the town; a ban at Chappaqua Crossing would apply only to the retail zoned segment of Chappaqua Crossing.

Board members determined that they needed to discuss the matter further.  The public hearing reopens on Tuesday, December 9.

Town Board Work Session/Public Hearing 12/2/14 from New Castle Media Center on Vimeo.


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Chappaqua Xing public hearing of November 18 adjourned to continue Tuesday, December 2

Tuesday, December 2, 2014
by Christine Yeres

Editor’s Note: The following is an account of November 18 public hearing on changes to the town’s zoning that would permit retail at Chappaqua Crossing.  The hearing continues tonight at 8:45 p.m. 

At the start of the November 18 public hearing, town counsel Nick Ward-Willis set the record straight on claims made by Summit Greenfield’s litigation counsel, Howard Stahl on October 28. 

See In Chappaqua Xing public hearing, Board members try to get a handle on size and traffic levers; Developer’s litigator says time’s up, Whole Foods will walk, SG will sue, NCNOW.org, 11/1/14.

Contrary to Stahl’s assertion, said Ward-Willis, that “approving retail development at Chappaqua Crossing” was how the town had “agreed to resolve” lawsuits Summit Greenfield had brought, Ward-Willis explained that the town had simply agreed to a settlement that “required the town to process the retail zoning petition in a timely fashion.”

Second, said Ward-Willis, it was not the case that “Summit Greenfield had been trying for ten years to get this property rezoned.”  The town approved residential use in 2011, and in 2013 the developer resubmitted an application for retail, “which the town has reviewed in an efficient manner, with seven public hearings and due diligence by the town.” It was “simply not the case that Summit Greenfield had to ‘start from scratch’ on the retail proposal submitted in 2013.”

Public comment

Bill Devaney

“I’m not a not-in-my-backyard kind of guy,” said Devaney.  “I’m pro-development.  I’ve spent 40 years as a professional in development. We want to see development that enhances the surrounding neighborhood.  I’ve never seen such a beautiful suburban campus. I just can’t believe that the best we can do is a Whole Foods and retail.  Is this the highest and best use of the site?”

“Anyone in this business—and, Adam, you should know,” said Devaney to Town Board member Adam Brodsky, “it’s a challenge to get this across the finish line.”

Devaney suggested the Board ask for “a performance bond from this developer” to ensure the project “is finished to the satisfaction of the residents of New Castle.”

“This is a very large-scale project, and I don’t think the Building Department has the person power to oversee this project.”  He asked Ward-Willis, “Should we consider [a performance bond]?”

“We can handle that in site plan review [after approving the zoning],” said Ward-Willis.  “Make sure the Planning Board is directed [to do it].”

Town Board member Lisa Katz suggested such language be part of the rezoning legislation, “not the site plan.”

Jeff Blockinger

“I’m extremely concerned that there is a well-known problem with the existing hamlets,” said Blockinger, a property owner in downtown Chappaqua.  “I still don’t see a plan [for those]—and we’re now opening up a third hamlet.”

Blockinger pointed out that the AKRF report was “quite circular” in saying that “the downtown has been abandoned by the community, so [the development at Chappaqua Crossing] won’t hurt it because already nobody is shopping there.  But the right question is Does the town of New Castle have the appetite to do a major [construction project at 117 and Roaring Brook Road and come down here [to the hamlet] and do it all over again?”

Blockinger reminded Town Board members that “residents were extremely upset” during the years’ long construction of the Quaker Road bridge.  Now, he said, the Town Board was considering “engaging in a massive third hamlet of 120,000 square feet, versus 150,000 square feet of existing retail in New Castle.”

The $6.5 million the Town Board has allocated for improvements to the Chappaqua hamlet, Blockinger said, would quickly disappear below-ground, with the likelihood very low “that it will have any meaningful impact on the aesthetic of the town.”

Blockinger observed that Board members seemed “deep[ly] concern[ed] that Whole Foods is going to skip town if we don’t approve the zoning change],  but they don’t get emotional about this.  If they think the zip code is good, it’s good.”  He added that a Whole Foods at Chappaqua Crossing would be “the fifth within 30 minutes of here.”

As to the developer’s list of proposed retail tenants, said Blockinger, “none is committed.  There a very good chance we will not get high-end retail.  We may not get a Del Frisco [Steakhouse], but Bob’s Furniture.  Once [retail zoning is] approved, the town loses the ability to choose the retail.  There will be a certain amount of Planning Board [site plan] approval, but the Planning Board will not be able to pick Del Frisco instead of Applebee’s” or “more like Lexington Avenue in Mt. Kisco.” 

“They will ask for more,” Blockinger added.  “Prepare for a long relationship with them.”

The town is committed to improving downtown Chappaqua, Town Board member Jason Chapin said to Blockinger, and intended to “create a capital project for the town budget” that very evening.  “The infrastructure is very old and in need of repair,” said Chapin, and, as to “pedestrian safety improvements,” he added, “that work will be done.”

“I do think that $6.5 million is unrealistic, and maybe foolish,” responded Blockinger.

“$6.5 million is not going to put boots on the ground,” said Supervisor Rob Greenstein. “That won’t fix it.  The reality is that half the downtown is being used for municipal purposes, like the six- or seven-acre parking lot next to the train station.”

“I have the will to do [fix the downtown],” said Greenstein.  “And I hope the Chappaqua Crossing project will force others to realize that it’s time to do it—more nighttime activities, more recreation space—it’s time to do it.  Chappaqua Crossing should encourage us to do it.”

“Again,” said Blockinger, “the AKRF report is very aspirational about Whole Foods and the success of [the Chappaqua Crossing retail] project.  They do not say it will be a success.”  All they say, he noted, is “that 120,000 square feet has a better chance [than less].”

“You need to ask about population density and its ability to support retail development after retail development,” Blockinger advised Board members.  “People come here because they don’t want houses on top of each other.  That results in disparate retail development.  This is not a project that needs to be a priority for this town when there is so much else [to do].”

“I didn’t run [for office] to spend a year on Chappaqua Crossing,” said Greenstein, adding that once the Board makes a decision, “then we can turn all our attention to downtown Chappaqua.”

“People in this town do not like to be bothered,” said Blockinger, “or to have commuter lot headaches for a significant amount of time.  And a regional shopping center near unprotected railroad tracks?—AKRF doesn’t address any of these issues.  AKRF asked only one simple question: If you have a place where people are not shopping already [downtown Chappaqua], will a new one poach from that?”

Katz concurred that AKRF was, in effect, saying that “our downtown is deficient so Chappaqua Crossing will not impact it.  But it’s the other way around.”

“It also said,” Greenstein interjected, “that regardless of what happens at Chappaqua Crossing we have to do downtown development.”

“The question is whether people have the appetite for more development,” Blockinger repeated.  “This is a very complicated town.”

“It’s gonna happen,” said Greenstein, referring to hamlet development.”

Bob Lewis

“Jeff is dealing with the Big Picture,” said Lewis, whose issue, he told the Board, was “whether there is a retail vehicular entrance on Roaring Brook Road. This is a residential street.  If you accept our premise that placing an entrance on that street is going to threaten the residential houses on that street, it doesn’t mean that we have the right to stay there in perpetuity, but we have an investment there.  We are the existing development.  And in your draft law there is nothing concrete abut how you are protecting us, nothing about how you will respond to [the idea of] taking the entrance off of Roaring Brook Road or to our properties if they lose value.”

“We don’t want to have multifamily and retail on our street or Whole Foods backed up to our homes,” said Lewis, “but that’s what the PDCP [preliminary development concept plan] shows—exactly that: that our homes are in jeopardy.”

“Are you prepared,” asked Lewis, “to tell us that you will rezone our property to be compatible with what you are proposing to do across the street?” By this Lewis meant rezoning the residential strip of houses along the south side of Roaring Brook Road to permit multifamily housing or retail development, an option he has previously mentioned in public hearings.

“We can’t talk right now about what we’re going to do,” said Town Board member Lisa Katz, “but it’s at the top of my list.  I know your homes are going to be impacted. 

“Whether or not to rezone [your residential to multifamily and retail]? That is a huge slippery slope.  But it is absolutely on the table to close that entrance, given that all the traffic is going to be coming from either 117 or the Saw Mill.  [The Town Board is] talking about [Roaring Brook Road], the median, and what we can do to enhance the neighborhood.  Just because it’s not in the [draft zoning] law doesn’t mean we’re not talking about it.  All the mitgation suggestions in your letter—we are spending a lot of time addressing your mitigations.”

The Town Board’s “top five our six topics revolve around the residents surrounding the project,” added Town Board member Adam Brodsky.

“People did not move here to live in White Plains,” said Katz.  “They liked that there wasn’t such huge development [in New Castle] and didn’t want to live in a city setting.  So to start rezoning neighborhoods worries me.  Large developments worry me.  And not having a sufficient downtown worries me.  One of the resounding comments yesterday [in her talks with residents at Lange’s] was ‘We didn’t move here to live in Mt. Kisco, Yonkers or White Planins.  That’s really important to protect.”

“The Board has only been considering retail rezoning for less than two years,” said Lewis.  “Sometimes it takes a while—particularly when nobody’s interested at looking at options—and you could come up with dozens of ideas in a few weeks and get insight into what works and what doesn’t.”

“We’ve looked at your suggestions,” said Town Board member Jason Chapin. [See Letter from Roaring Brook Road residents to Town Board.] “And I’m struggling with the traffic expert’s [assertions] that if there were a Whole Foods that 80% of traffic would come off the Saw Mill and I know the lower entrance is currently in use and I don’t know why that wouldn’t be the main entrance to the property.”

“Doesn’t it look to you quite circuitous?” asked Lewis.

“People are coming in [from that lower entrance] for office, residential and retail,” said Katz.  “It’s a nice, quick drive around.”

“It would be more convincing to me,” said Lewis, “if you didn’t put the entrance on my street.”

Rob Fleisher

“There used to be a limit on the number of stores under 5,000 square feet,” said Fleisher.

“Yes, we’ve heard a lot of evidence,” said Greenstein, “from the AKRF report and the Planning Board about why there shouldn’t be a small store restriction.”

“The Board is still deciding?” asked Fleisher.

“Yes,” said Greenstein.  “We’re working on the retail mix still.”

“When I look at the options of the community [on whether to permit retail zoning] I’m guessing that it’s split,” said Fleisher.  “The only mandate is that people want you to protect us.  The timeline is such that some of you won’t be here anymore.  Those protections are really built in and are obvious to everyone—including Summit Greenfield—several levels to deal with unexpected things that are going to happen.”

Fleisher suggested that the Town Board should ensure that if or when something goes wrong, “Summit Greenfield ]must fix them] in a certain way.  Summit Greenfield may not like some of those things.  If there are problems I think the community is crying out to you to give us those protections, in years to follow also.”

“I don’t know about the traffic,” said Fleisher, “or whether they will pull from downtown, but they don’t know either.”

“The AKRF report is very valuable,” said Chapin. “It identifies leakage very clearly and—regardless of what happens at Chappaqua Crossing—it’s good information.”

“I think you’re right,” Katz told Fleisher. “Whatever protections we want should be written into the local law—restrictions that we want to protect the rest of the town.  If you [identify] restrictions that should go into the local law, that’s what we want.”

“The more that’s written in,” said Fleisher, “where the residents of our town can see in black and white on a page, you can create a lot more comfort.  The ‘Findings’ could have done more to lay out some of these things. Here’s another opportunity now.”

“There is talk of memorializing everything into an agreement,” said Supervisor Rob Greenstein, “and we are looking out for the community’s best interest.  We’re not leaving anything to chance.”

Right now, said Fleisher, the design of the project seems “made to be split up” and sold separately as a retail zone, a residential zone and an office zone.  “If they want to do that, they should pay a premium.” He noted that “there’s not any TND [traditional neighborhood development characteristics] at all” such as residential above the retail.”

“We’re well aware of the Planning Board’s and the County’s preference for that,” said Greenstein, “and we’re taking that into account.”

Fleisher suggested that Summit Greenfield offer a performance bond against, for example, the 20 affordable housing units.  “If those don’t get done first,” said Fleisher, “I’ll be very disappointed.”

Katz said that whatever conditions the Town Board decides to impose should be binding to any next owner or developer and if the conditions are not met the zoning should be able to be rescinded.

Such conditions would be binding upon next owners, explained Ward-Willis, and if Summit Greenfield were not to apply for and receive site plan approval within 12 months, “the PDCP and the remapping of the retail onto the property would expire and would go back to non-retail.”

Vic Siber

Siber challenged Greenstein’s assertion at the previous public hearing that the intersection at Roaring Brook Road and 117 could operate as well as the intersection at 128 and 117.  Greenstein responded that his point had been more a matter of traffic counts. 

Ward-Willis explained that if State Department of Transportation does not approve the alterations Summit Greenfield has proposed for Route 117 and Roaring Brook Road, “the the project doesn’t proceed.”

Question about downtown rents

To a written question read by Greenstein, “Do rents in downtown Chappaqua affect the vitality of the hamlet?” —rephrased by Katz as “You mean: Are the rents too high?” Blockinger returned to tell Board members that the price-per-square-foot in Chappaqua is “down 18% in the last five years for purchases,” and that retail tenants “are expecting further reductions going forward” if retail is permitted at Chappaqua Crossing, “and the expectation of the landlords is that it will result in further tax [grievances] and further erosion of the tax base downtown.”

“Which is more reason why we need to revitalize downtown Chappaqua,” said Greenstein.

John Ehrlich

The sustainability of the retail proposal by Summit Greenfield “is based on a wish, a hope and a prayer,” said Ehrlich.  “How different is Whole Foods from Mrs. Green’s, which is a hop, skip and a jump away?”

Ehrlich suggested attracting genetics and research operations to the site, or a hotel, or medical facilities—“all far better and more acceptable uses for this site.”

NCNOW

“Whole Foods is the anchor that’s going to attract the other retail,” said Greenstein. 

From the examples of other developments Summit Greenfield has provided, NCNOW noted, the Town Board doesn’t really know how a retail development in an office park works.  Summit Greenfield’s examples are shopping centers along heavy commercial corridors, not an office campus-style space set in a residential neighborhood. 

To this, Chapin responded, “we need to be open to trends—that a lot of these suburban office parks are looking at adaptive reuse.”

“I’d still like to see an example of adaptive reuse like this one that’s proposed for Chappaqua Crossing,” said NCNOW. “There isn’t one yet.”

“To rent retail space is a lot more than renting office space,” said Greenstein. 

“We also realize,” said Katz, “that the current trend [in shopping] is toward online.  We are looking to see whether the proposed size will be viable.”

“Personally, I think there’s a certain attraction to living in a place [like Chappaqua Crossing] where you can walk to work,” said Greenstein. “They’re successful all over the country.”

“Like in a town,” said NCNOW.

NCNOW asked whether the Town Board intended to require that newly-constructed buildings match the Georgian architecture of the cupola building, as the 2013 Findings suggest. 

“These are elements discussed during site plan review,” explained Ward-Willis, even though the ARB has, for now, approved a sterotypical Whole Foods supermarket design in the PDCP stage.

Last, NCNOW reminded Town Board members that Summit Greenfield has stated that it can—“as of right”—construct another 300,000 square feet of office space on its property, to make close to 1,000,000 square feet of office space.  If the Town Board requires Summit Greenfield to “trade” office space for new retail, how would the town enforce a new, reduced amount of square footage on the site.  Could Summit Greenfield return to construct up to 1,000,000 square feet in the future?

“It depends on the final version of the local [retail rezoning] law could come up with a lower number,” said town counsel Ed Phillips. 

“If we change the zoning law,” said Katz.

“We are looking at that number,” said Greenstein.  “There will be a number in that local retail law and we are also exploring demolishing buildings.”

Town Administrator Jill Shapiro read a letter from the Westchester County Planning Board in which the County reiterated that in its opinion the proposed plan for Chappaqua Crossing is not true mixed use. 

Chuck Napoli

“It’s a three-humped camel,” said Napoli. “The County has asked over and over for a traditional neighborhood, mixed-use design. “You can’t possibly approve this concept plan, knowing that the County’s [wishes have not been met]. You haven’t done that.”

Town of New Castle Work Session/Public Hearing 11/18/14 from New Castle Media Center on Vimeo.


Comments(5):

Summit Greenfield’s 2012 real estate tax projections for Chappaqua Crossing

Tuesday, December 2, 2014

Editor’s Note: The finances of Chappaqua Crossing were again a topic of discussion in the November 18 public hearing. With the public hearing on Tuesday, December 2, NCNOW is reprinting a piece by Jason Chapin from August 2013, setting out Summit Greenfield’s tax revenue projections for Chappaqua Crossing.  Chapin provided the piece in response to a statement in August 2013 by then-Supervisor Susan Carpenter that the revenues from Chappaqua Crossing were “just projections,” and that the Town Assessor could not determine the value of the property and its taxes until the proposed retail was leased and operating.  They may indeed be “just projections,” but in Chapin’s view they are projections that count.  Below is his thinking.  NCNOW has added some bracketed information, for clarification.

On pages 664-680 of a 744-page document—Volume 1, Section III, Appendix Chappaqua Crossing SEIS—is a memo from Hudson Property Advisors to developer Summit Greenfield on the projected tax revenues of the proposed grocery-retail project at Chappaqua Crossing, compared to the project already approved by the Town Board that includes an unlimited number of office tenants and 111 units of housing.

Town Board member Jason Chapin referred to this report in a comment to NCNOW’s August 16, 2013 article, “Financial benefits to the town of SG’s grocery-retail are “just projections” says Supervisor.”  Chapin wrote:


I’d be happy to provide some additional information about Chappaqua Crossing taxes and projected taxes. A few facts:

- Summit Greenfield has paid an average of about $1.625 million in property taxes since 2008.

- The assessed value of the property is down significantly since then, mostly due to Readers’ Digest walking away from their 20 year lease.

- Summit Greenfield is grieving their taxes and is likely to see their taxes decreased since only 20% of the office space is currently occupied and at least 20% is considered unrentable due to the age and condition of two buildings.

- Property value and tax projections provided by Hudson Property Advisors show that converting 120,000 sf to retail including a 50,000 sf grocery store would generate about $1.142 million in property taxes.

- Adding retail would increase the assessed value of the property and generate $3.061 million in property taxes.

- Taxes for the already approved 111 units of housing would generate additional property taxes.

- A typical grocery store is 46,000 sf and generates $385k in sales per week and $20 million per year.

- Only 3.3% of the Town’s tax base is commercial property.

- Chappaqua Crossing currently represents about 30% of our commercial tax base. [1.0% of 1.3% —Editor]

- Adding 120,000 sf of retail at Chappaqua Crossing would increase the Town’s commercial tax base by 60%. [from 3.3% to 5.28%—Editor]

Based on what we know from Hudson Property Advisors and other data from two market analysis reports, I’m comfortable with the preliminarly tax projections. The ultimate tax figures can’t be calculated until a plan is approved, a project is completed and current market conditions are factored in.

I still need to be convinced that potential traffic, neighborhood and environment impacts can be mitigated before I can support the current proposal.

I hope the additional information is helpful. A NewCastleNOW article with more retail and tax analysis is at
http://www.newcastlenow.org/index.php/article/index/new_a_primer_on_the_proposal_for_a_grocery_and_retail_at_chappaqua_crossing

MEMO

TO: Summit Development, c/o Andrew V. Tung, ASLA, Esq., LEED AP, , Divney Tung Schwalbe, LLP, One North Broadway, 14th floor, White Plains, NY 10601

FROM: Hudson Property Advisors, LLC

RE: Real Estate Tax comparison (FEIS vs. SEIS ), Chappaqua Crossing


October 11, 2012

[Click HERE to view the entire 16-page memo.]

This memo is prepared in response to your request concerning the potential taxes that could be generated from the commercial component of the Chappaqua Crossing mixed‐use project. It involves a comparison of real estate taxes that would likely be generated by retail use vs. office use for 120,000 sq. ft. of space at Chappaqua Crossing. Please note that this memo is based partly on assumptions and data contained in our earlier work on this project and cannot be fully understood without review of our previous work.

Potential taxes were projected under three scenarios:

Approved Project: (662,000 sq. ft. office).

SEIS Alt. 1: 542,000 sq. ft. office and 120,000 sq. ft. retail, including a 36,000 sq. ft. grocery store.

SEIS Alt. 2: 542,000 sq. ft. office and 120,000 sq. ft. retail, including a 50,000 sq. ft. grocery store.

SEIS Alt. 3: 542,000 sq. ft. office and 120,000 sq. ft. retail, including a 65,000 sq. ft. grocery store.

BACKGROUND

In April 2011 the New Castle Town Board issued a Findings Statement for the Chappaqua Crossing mixed‐use project. Subsequently the Town Board adopted zoning changes that permit the re‐use of the 662,000 square foot existing office facility by multiple tenants and would permit, following additional Town review and approvals, the construction of 111 multi‐family residential units in the eastern portion of the site. This Memorandum relates to the commercial component only.

In July 2012, the Town Board issued a Draft Local Law that would permit creation of a “retail overlay district” for certain property in the B‐RO‐20 zoning district (such as Chappaqua Crossing). Within this retail overlay district, plans call for a full‐service grocery store anchor tenant and provision for other retail uses in what is now known as the SEIS‐ Proposed Project.

TAX PROJECTIONS

The projection for taxes for the Approved Project is based on the same criteria included in our prior work and incorporates basic assumptions consistent with those in the FEIS.

The projection for taxes for the SEIS Alt. 1 through Alt. 3 are based on a drawing entitled “Master Site Plan, SP‐1.0”, dated September 14, 2012 as well as additional narrative information provided by Divney Tung Schwalbe, LLP. The SEIS Proposed Project calls for replacing 120,000 square feet of existing office space with an equivalent amount of new retail space, to include a “full service grocery store and other retail uses” (the total amount of commercial space on the site would remain at 662,000 square feet. This includes locating the grocery store in a to‐be‐renovated portion of the existing office facility, with freestanding retail stores to be located in what is currently an office parking area. In addition, plans call for reopening a reconfigured south driveway to Roaring Brook Road and removing the gates at the west and east driveways so that there would be three free‐ flowing access points to the office and future residential and retail uses on the site. In addition, construction of additional parking areas on‐site to serve both retail and office uses will be provided.

Owing to the fact that some of the space in the SEIS project represents retail use, the tax projection for the SEIS requires several revisions for some of the basic assumptions. Key revisions include:

Rent levels applied for the various space types based on retail usages..

Overall vacancy rate for the retail space is reduced from 10% (for the pure office use) to 5% reflecting the lower vacancy level likely to be achieved for retail use.

Since the retail leases are expected to be “net” leases, expenses (insurance, utilities and general operating expenses) are not applied as landlord expenses.

Management expense is increased from 3.0% of EGI to 5.0% of EGI reflecting the additional cost relating to retail use.

Basic Overall Capitalization rate for the retail portion is reduced from 8.25% to 7.75% (retail use typically commands a lower capitalization rate compared to office use).

The equalized tax rate is NOT added to the OAR because the leases are net (tenants paying taxes). It is important to note that although this is not the typical method of analysis used for tax certiorari. Typically for tax certiorari, rent is estimated under the assumption that the landlord would be responsible for taxes then the equalized tax rate is in included in the OAR). Exclusion of the rate and taxes assumes that the tenant will pay the stated rents regardless of what amount of taxes are charged.

For demonstrative purposes, we prepared a supplemental calculation (Methodology 2) which does include an equalized tax rate in the overall rate for the retail component. This second calculation shows what the amount of taxes would be if the landlord were responsible for the full tax burden at the calculated equitable level. While this is contrary to market norms (which call for net leases – with the tenants paying their pro‐rata shares of real estate taxes), it nevertheless indicates a total tax amount of for the retail use if the landlord were responsible for the full tax burden. The figures are included for demonstrative purposes only. It is noted that the results achieved under both methodologies are similar.

SUMMARY

On the following pages are three tax projections for the commercial component of the Chappaqua Crossing mixed‐use project along with a summary of tax rates for 2012.

Under the office use scenario, taxes are projected to be $2,344,965,000

Under the three SEIS (mixed office and retail use) scenarios, taxes are projected to range from $3,016,148 to $3,060,708. Using a second methodology (see comment 6), the taxes are projected to range from $2,979,944 to $3,021,718. The two methodologies result in tax projections within 3.0% of each other; this difference is considered insignificant.

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Comments(2):

Phone scams increasing—check these tips on avoiding becoming a victim

Monday, December 1, 2014
~ from The New Castle Police

New Castle Police Department has been receiving a significant increase in reports of attempted telephone scams involving the Internal Revenue Service and other scams.  During the last 24 hours many New Castle residents reported getting calls from an individual identifying himself/herself as an agent of the IRS and that the resident owed back taxes.  The caller states that if the taxes are not paid immediately by phone or wire they or their spouse will be arrested within the next few hours.

According to the IRS “The IRS reminds people that they can know pretty easily when a supposed IRS caller is a fake. Here are five things the scammers often do but the IRS will not do. Any one of these five things is a tell-tale sign of a scam. The IRS will never:

•  Call you about taxes you owe without first mailing you an official notice.

•  Demand that you pay taxes without giving you the opportunity to question or appeal the amount they say you owe.

•  Require you to use a specific payment method for your taxes, such as a prepaid debit card.

•  Ask for credit or debit card numbers over the phone.

•  Threaten to bring in local police or other law-enforcement groups to have you arrested for not paying.”

If you receive one of these calls, hang up the phone.  You may report the incident to the Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration (TIGTA) at 1.800.366.4484 or at http://www.tigta.gov.  For further information on this scam go to http://www.irs.gov/uac/Tax-Scams-Consumer-Alerts

Other scams involve a ruse that an attorney or law enforcement officer is calling to report a relative has been arrested in a distant city and you must pay bail right now or the relative will go to jail.  If you get such a call, police recommend that you hang up on the caller.  If you are concerned that the call could be real, get contact information without releasing any of your personal information and call the police.  We can help you to contact any legitimate law enforcement agency in the world.  Remember, no law enforcement officer would ever call you with a demand for money.

The FBI has advice on avoiding telephone fraud scams.  You may find the information at this web site:  http://www.fbi.gov/scams-safety/fraud/fraud#telmkt

Contact Information:
LT Daniel Cannon
Patrol Division
914-238-4422
.(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)

Nov. 21 Advisory: Beware of Phone Scam on ConEd Customers.

Call 1-800-75-CONED To Verify Whether You Owe Money.
November 21, 2014
~ from the New Castle Police Department

ConEd customers are getting fraudulent calls from scammers pretending to be calling from ConEd threatening to discontinue service immediately if a “past due bill” is not paid immediately over the phone.  Police advise you to hang up on such callers and for you to call ConEd directly at 1-800-75CONED and select option #2. You may then confirm directly with ConEd whether you owe past due funds or not.

To sign up to receive these alerts directly, click to the Nixle sign-up page.

Contact Information:
LT Daniel Cannon
Patrol Division
914-238-4422
.(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)


Comments(2):

L to E: To hamlet or not to hamlet? There’s no question: Chappaqua Xing will damage the hamlet


Monday, December 1, 2014
by Chuck Napoli

If anyone has any doubts about whether Chappaqua Crossing will challenge the viability of downtown Chappaqua, rest assured: it will.  It’s exactly the kind of place the first AKRF study told us “would more directly compete with the function of the hamlet centers.”

I guess that was before AKRF took the position, in its second study, that since the Chappaqua hamlet didn’t have any anchor that other stores could be drawn to, to form a critical mass of retail, there was nothing here in the hamlet worth hurting, therefore “no harm.”  And since the zoning—with its “no personal services”—won’t allow Chappaqua Crossing to compete with the “personal services” industry of the hamlet—the nail and hair salons and dry cleaners – again, “no harm.”

Oh, and thanks, AKRF, for the advice that “regardless of what happens at Chappaqua Crossing” we really ought to get the hamlet an anchor and some critical mass rather than remain a personal-services center.

But a “lifestyle center” (that’s how Summit Greenfield is marketing it now) sitting at Chappaqua Crossing is going to deprive the hamlet of its ability to develop—just as AKRF concluded in its first study.

Yes, now it’s called a “lifestyle center”



Summit Greenfield will promote Chappaqua Crossing at the Javits Center’s International Council of Shopping Centers (ICSC) next week as a “lifestyle center”—“an upscale, rentable 120,000 SF outdoor shopping, dining and fitness experience scheduled to open Q4 of 2015,” “a “master-planned project - 300,000 SF of office (existing) & up to 200 housing units.”  See the complete brochure by clicking HERE.

A shopping center by any other name . . .

The definition of a shopping center is standard: “a group of commercial establishments planned, developed, and managed as a unit related to the trade area it serves.” (Urban Land Institute).  So far, we’ve heard Chappaqua Crossing called:

• A Strip Center
• A Power Center
• A Main Street Center
• A Town Center
• A Traditional Neighborhood Design
• A hybrid Neighborhood Center
• A Community Shopping Center

And now a “Lifestyle Center”

A lifestyle center is a shopping center or mixed-used commercial development that combines the traditional retail functions of a shopping mall with leisure amenities oriented towards upscale consumers.

In its report

Ten Principles for Rethinking the Mall

, the Urban Land Institute suggests that to be successful, Lifestyle Centers “seek to integrate, to the extent possible, other community anchors such as cultural facilities, civic buildings, municipal parks, office concentrations. Integration can increase the market draw, expand the trade area, and create a more compelling destination for the mall site as well as for the larger district. But it’s important to ensure that onsite and off-site uses create synergy—are complementary—and don’t cannibalize each other… [emphasis is mine].”

Remember that AKRF’s first competitive analysis, in July 2013, compared the plans termed “Shopping Center” and “Town Center” and decided that it was the “town center” (also-known-as “lifestyle center”) that Summit Greenfield was proposing that does the cannibalizing.  From AKRF’s first study:

Shopping Center versus Town Center [a/k/a “Lifestyle Center] Layout. dIn terms of retail layout, both layouts would introduce a grocery store use and several larger-format retail stores, the uses within those stores would be similar, and as described above there would be some retail overlap with either layout. However, from a competitive standpoint the “town center” layout would have greater overlap in the manner in which it functions in the community. The town center layout would compete for residents’ leisure time, as it would provide open space and other amenities that would draw users to the space and promote lingering. While this “place making” has its advantages from urban design and neighborhood character perspectives, it would more directly compete with the function of the hamlet centers, rather than providing a complement to Chappaqua’s walkable downtown and neighborhood-scale retailing through its larger space and more auto-oriented shopping. Consumers use both “types” of retail experiences but presently the Town is limited to only its hamlets.



That limitation, by the way, was purposeful. It’s still in the Master Plan, which explicitly directed that retail activity be limited to the two existing hamlet centers.  It’s also still the preference of Westchester County: more development where development is already, in our downtowns—especially in downtowns with a train station.

But, incredibly, the Town Board is now considering whether to approve a third hamlet—a fake town center or “lifestyle center”—that will directly compete with our hamlets. 

As Andrew Blum wrote in “The Mall Goes Undercover—It now looks like a city street,” Slate.com, April 6, 2005,

“…lifestyle centers do all the things that urban planners have promoted for years as ways of counteracting sprawl: squeeze more into less space, combine a mix of activities, and employ a fine-grained street grid to create a public realm—a ‘sidewalk ballet,’ in Jane Jacobs’ alluring phrase. The irony is almost too perfect: Malls are now being designed to resemble the downtown commercial districts they replaced”....


—or, as in New Castle, will replace . . .


Comments(27):

NEW: 2015 New Castle Budget Forum Tuesday, December 9th at 9:30 a.m.


Saturday, December 6, 2014
by Sheila Bernson and Jennifer Mebes Flagg
Co-Presidents of the League of Women Voters of New Castle

Please join the League of Women Voters of New Castle on December 9th at 9:30 a.m. at the Chappaqua Library for a forum with Town Comptroller Robert Deary, Town Administrator Jill Shapiro and Town Supervisor Rob Greenstein. Comptroller Deary will provide an overview of the budget process and discuss the revenue and expense factors that have influenced the decision-making.  Jill Shapiro and Rob Greenstein will be there to answer questions, so questions from the audience are welcome!

The public hearing on the budget will take place on Tuesday, November 25th at 7:45 p.m. at Town Hall. Copies of the proposed budget are available upon request at Town Hall or online at www.mynewcastle.org. The Town Board is scheduled to vote on the budget at the December 9th Town Board meeting.

For more information, please contact the League of Women Voters of New Castle at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address).


Comments(0):

Voter Participation in New Castle—Will You Take One Minute to Answer a Few Questions?


Tuesday, November 18, 2014
by Sheila Bernson and Jennifer Mebes Flagg
Co-Presidents of the League of Women Voters of New Castle

You may have seen the recent New York Times op-ed piece that said the US midterm elections had the lowest voter participation in more than seven decades—just 36.3%.
New York State’s participation was the fourth lowest in the country at 28.8% (New Castle’s percentage is not yet available).

The League of Women Voters of New Castle is asking the New Castle community to help us better understand why the turnout was so low and whether residents believe they are getting sufficient information to make informed decisions. 

Please complete our short online survey (CLICK HERE)—it will take less than a minute of your time. All responses will be anonymous. It is not our intention to conduct a statistically valid survey, but rather to gather anecdotally some information so that the League can ensure that the community is getting the information it needs about the candidates and the issues.

If you prefer, you can complete the survey in person; over the next week we will be at the Library, Farmers Market, Club Fit, Starbucks and other locations asking residents to complete the survey. Please contact us at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) with questions.

Thank you for your participation!


Comments(2):

A summary of the budget in Town Administrator’s 2015 “Budget Message”


Saturday, December 2, 2014

Editor’s Note: The Town Board has closed the public hearing on the budget and will vote to approve it on the evening of December 9. The League of Women Voters of New Castle will hold an information forum on the budget on Tuesday, December 9th at 9:30 a.m. at the Chappaqua Library.  Town Comptroller Robert Deary, Town Administrator Jill Shapiro and Town Supervisor Rob Greenstein will be there to explain the budget and answer questions.

For links to the budget, as well as Shapiro’s summary, click HERE.

Budget Message from Town Administrator Jill Simon Shapiro

Dear Honorable Supervisor Greenstein, Deputy Supervisor Katz and members of the Town Board:

It is my pleasure to present the 2015 tentative budget for your consideration. Once again, Comptroller Rob Deary has crafted a budget that balances the provision of essential municipal services with fiscal responsibility. Once again, New Castle will stay within the 2% tax cap – this time for the fourth straight year.

This budget not only provides for spending on critical infrastructure projects which have suffered due to years of neglect during the recession, but allows the Town to strengthen its financial stature by maintaining fund balance, critical to maintain its Aaa bond rating. This budget proposes a mere 1.56 percent tax increase or just $10 annually for the average homeowner.  The average home value in New Castle has a market value of $829,274 and an assessed value of $171,411. Under the 2% tax cap, the Town of New Castle could have raised the tax levy by $390,043. However, this budget reflects an increase of just $39,617 to our tax levy, a mere 0.2%,  while restoring critical infrastructure and holding fees for services at 2014 levels.

During the past year, the total assessed value of the Town rose just under $5 million to $1,069,389,349 from $1,065,375,856,  a 0.38% increase.  The average Town and Special District Tax Bill which includes the general fund, highway fund, water, refuse, fire and ambulance districts will increase $10 from $3,621 in 2014 to $3,631 in 2015.

[That increase does not reflect the governor’s planned rebate checks to which New Castle residents will be entitled due to our compliance with the 2% tax cap ceiling.]

This budget reflects the Town’s aggressive negotiation of two major contracts: the Refuse and Recycling contract as well as our Workers Compensation insurance. Together these two new contracts represent a savings to the Town of over three quarters of a million dollars.  The savings with the new refuse and recycling contract allowed the town to reduce the annual refuse charge to residents from $485 to $440.  More importantly, it allows the Town to stop subsidizing the contract. In the past, between $200,000 and $300,000 of fund balance annually was being used to subsidize the refuse contract. These funds were necessary in order to artificially preserve the $485 annual refuse fee and still meet the contract price.

The new contract provides the same level of excellent service with the same company, introduces single stream recycling and allows the Town to pass along real savings to homeowners without subsiding the contract. Details of each of these major contracts are below. Even in those instances where the Town was not able to secure great savings when renegotiating a renewal, as in our general liability insurance contract, our increase was minimal: a 4% increase.

This budget reflects the Board’s commitment to downtown beautification. $15,000 has been allocated to downtown beautification—a ­­ $14,500 increase—for plantings, and lighting even while the streetscape project is underway. The Pace public outreach findings were clear that the public wanted a revitalized downtown hamlet and this Board is putting funding in place to ensure that vision becomes a reality. These beautification efforts are in tandem with the WSP-Sels infrastructure project. We expect WSP-Sels to complete its preliminary engineering studies and then to present its vision for our improved downtown streetscape for public comment. We expect to break ground on this exciting revitalization project in 2015.

Repaving roads as well as an aggressive pot hole repair program have allowed the Town’s DPW to gain the upper hand in road maintenance. This budget allows DPW to continue that battle. Through a 50% increase in the paving budget (a $200,000 increase resulting in a $600,000 budget), the Town is committed to reclaiming its storm damaged roads through a comprehensive multi-year repaving schedule. An increase in staffing in the highway department will help support road projects and snow removal. Ongoing projects include critical drainage work on Old Roaring Brook Road.

This budget also reflects the Town’s commitment to the timely and comprehensive completion of the master plan update. Funds have been allocated to the master plan process to ensure the resources are available to complete this project in 2015.

Funds have been identified for the construction of the long awaited basketball court in the Chappaqua Hamlet, as well as new playground equipment for Gedney Park and Town Hall.


Employee Benefits
This budget also reflects the decrease in three expenditure areas of employee benefits: Workers Compensation, the New York State Retirement System and Health Insurance. 

Workers Compensation: A renegotiated contract resulted in drastically reduced premiums from 2014 ($987,938) to 2015 ($548,365); a $439,573 savings. Most importantly, this sharply lower premium was obtained without any change to our Workers Comp coverage.

New York State Retirement System: After years of double digit percentage increases from 2009 through 2012 in our contributions to the New York State Retirement System, our contributions started leveling off in 2013. Last year’s contributions saw a modest decline and we are pleased to report a continuation of that trend. The Town’s retirement system contributions saw a decrease of over 7% for 2015 with that trend continuing in 2016. The 2015 retirement bill of $2,484,625 represents a savings of $187,070 over the 2014 bill of $2,484,625.

Health Insurance: Almost twenty years ago, New Castle joined with other municipalities to form a consortium to help manage health care costs. That health care consortium, Municipal Employees Benefit Consortium (MEBCO), continues to provide quality health care coverage at reasonable rates for our employees. In 2015, the Town will see a budgeted decrease of $240,010 for our annual premium, from $4,138,091 in 2014 to $3,898.081 in 2015.


General Fund
The savings from the three major budget drivers listed above, will help offset a modest decrease in revenue to our general fund. The general fund expects to see decreases in revenues from tax penalties and camp enrollment with an increase in sales tax.

Tax Penalties: The general fund will continue to see a decrease in tax revenues due to a decrease in the number of delinquent properties. In years past, the town has carried a large number of liens on its books. As we are concluding the first in rem proceeding in over 15 years, we have collected over 1.25 million dollars in outstanding liens during 2014. As we have less delinquent properties, the projected revenue from penalties necessarily falls. We have adjusted the projected revenue from tax penalties down $50,000 to $350,000 in 2015 from $400,000 in 2014.

Camps: The Town expects the downward trend of camp enrollment of the past several years to continue in 2015. As such we are anticipating a decrease of $95,000 in revenue from camps from $486,300 in 2014 to $390,575 in 2015.

Sales Tax: Improving economic data supports an anticipated increase in the sales tax of $125,000 from $2,325,000 in 2014 to $2,450,000 in 2015.

In addition, the Town has allocated monies from general fund for the following:

-Train station maintenance $35,000, an increase of $32,000 over 2014 for repainting the exterior of the train station and taxi stand.

-Master Plan consultant- $50,000. The Town Board is committed to completing the master plan update in 2015. To that end, they have directed funds be allocated to hire support staff to assist in the completion of this project update.

-Downtown Beautification -$15,000, an increase of $14,500 for streetscape improvements in our downtown hamlets.

-Town Board/Boards and Commissions- $10,000, an increase of $9,900 for our Boards and commissions to allow for town projects as well as education and outreach efforts.

- Additional Hires of an Assistant Town Planner to assist in the multitude of projects pending in Town. The addition of an assistant town planner will reduce the number of outside consultants that the Town needs to hire to complete the review of pending projects.


Highway Fund
This budget also reflects the Town’s commitment to rebuilding our critical infrastructure. The 2015 budget increases the paving budget by 50%, a $200,000 increase from $400,000 in 2014 to $600,000 in 2015. The Town paved over 5 miles of road in 2014 and is committed to a comprehensive paving program and regular paving schedule. Our Commissioner of Public Works Gerry Moerschell has prepared a five-year paving plan which would increase the resurfacing schedule over that time to return us to where we should have been if regular road maintenance had not been abandoned in past years.

Severe staffing cuts over the past several years has resulted in a stretched and stressed work force and a decrease in critical services. Specifically, the reduction in Department of Public Works staff has resulted in reduced plowing efficiency throughout the Town. In short, we simply did not have enough staff to plow the roads in a timely and efficient manner. Over the past year, the Town has increased highway staff from 12 to 14 to support increased highway projects and snow removal duties. The $183,696 increase in salaries in the Highway Department reflects that increase in staffing. ($764,399 [2014] to $948,095 [2015]).

Refuse Fund
The Refuse Fund expects to see a significant drop in revenue in 2015. Despite these numbers, the fund will see an overall increase as our expenditures will drop even more dramatically due to the terms of the new contract. This budget will include a $45 per parcel reduction in refuse and recycling fees due to the new seven-year contract signed earlier this year.  This will result in a $275,614 decrease in revenue from 2014 levels. The refuse fund will also see decreases in yard waste and compost revenue as we continue to scale back our operations in response to resident complaints. The combined revenue loss from these two operations will be $85,000. In addition, the change over to single stream recycling will eliminate the $55,000 annual revenue derived from newspaper and cardboard recycling. Moreover, the refuse fund will not receive an infusion of monies from fund balance this year. This will reduce revenue by $208,752, the amount of fund balance used in 2014 to balance the refuse fund shortfall.

However, the expenses for the refuse fund will be slashed by $812,000 as a result of the new contract. The town will spend $80,000 to replace trash receptacles throughout town and an additional $61,000 to install recycling bins throughout the hamlets.

Special Districts
The Birch Drive Water District bond has matured so there will be no further expenses in this district. This represents a savings of $5,240 to the district.

Conclusion

I believe this tentative budget sets forth a fiscally responsible roadmap for the town for 2015 and beyond. It anticipates and provides for contingencies with an eye to the bottom line and holding tax increases to the lowest levels in decades.  It provides the services our residents expect and helps restore our infrastructure to conditions our residents deserve.

I would like to thank Rob Deary for his integrity and expertise throughout his budget process.  I would also like to thank the entire staff, especially department heads, for all of their assistance in preparing this budget—without them, this budget would never have been produced.  It is my privilege to work among such professionals and the Town is fortunate to have such dedicate staff working tirelessly on their behalf.

Respectfully Submitted,

Jill Simon Shapiro
Town Administrator

October 7, 2014


Comments(2):

County Legislature likely to approve funding for Hunts Place affordable housing by end of year

Conifer project must meet fire safety requirements first
Saturday, November 22, 2014
by Christine Yeres

On Thursday, County Legislator and Chairman of the Legislature, Mike Kaplowitz, visited New Castle and announced at an outdoor press conference alongside Hunts Place that the Westchester Board of Legislators will likely vote to authorize county funds for a Hunts Place four-story, 28-unit affordable housing project proposed by Conifer Realty.

Based on questions of fire safety and firefighter access—the proposed project filled the 0.31 acre site from edge to edge—last January the Legislature declined to give the go-ahead for around $1.6 million in County monies.  Six months later, the State’s fire safety Board of Review denied seven of eight variances Conifer needed to move ahead with the project.

Now, said Kaplowitz, as long as Conifer proposes a project that meets requirements for fire safety, the Legislature is inclined to approve the release of the funds before the end of the year.

According to its 2009 agreement with HUD, the County must produce 750 “fair-and-affordable” units by the end of 2016. Having funding in place for 450 units is the “milestone” to hit by the end of 2014.  Currently County has reached the 426 mark, Kaplowitz explained.  Missing the milestone brings fines on the County. 

Reached for comment yesterday, Supervisor Rob Greenstein responded by email, “Although I haven’t seen the legislation yet, from what I gather, the County’s position hasn’t changed.  Everyone agrees that the project must satisfy New York State fire and building codes or obtain variances in order to move forward at the current site, including Conifer.”


Comments(21):

NEW: Last “summer” market of the season. Come stock up for “T” DAY.


November 21, 2014
by Pascale LeDraoulec

First off – a giant “thank you” to all of you shoppers who helped make this season at the train station our BEST yet. The highlight, of course, was our fabulous pie contest. So many of you dusted off (or broke in) your rolling pins…we were touched. And quite impressed. Next week of course, is a big pie week. It looks like you will do just fine in that department.

It’s all about the sides . . .

Let’s face it…Thanksgiving is really all about the sides. We make a big fuss about the bird and, of course, it is important to cook it right and coax the most flavor out of it, but whether you brine it, roast it or put it on the grill the sides are where it’s at. The sides are what folks crave and get all sentimental about. So many people crave the side dishes of their childhood….truth is, when pressed – it’s rarely the exact same recipe they crave, but a particular ingredient. If you had Brussels sprouts at your holiday table as a kid, you’ll want to see them there next week. But there’s no harm in improving on that Brussels sprouts recipe, right? Charring them a little, maybe? Ditto for mashed potatoes. Do you really think your cousin Mary’s mashed potatoes wouldn’t benefit from an addition of caramelized onions?

Here are three recipe “upgrades”  for some Thanksgiving side-dish classics – all three of which will appear on my holiday table next week.

1.  Mashed Potatoes and Caramelized Onions

2. Caramelized Butternut Squash Wedges with a sage hazelnut-pesto

3.  Pot stuck Brussels Sprouts

Many of you have been asking about the Winter Market. As you know, we’ve out-grown the St. Mary’s Church space and that is not an option for us this year. We are pursuing other indoor options, but for the time being, we are planning on being at the train station on Dec. 6th. and every week after that – weather permitting – until we find an adequate indoor space. We love the “in and out” aspect of the train station – easy parking and access to vendors for quick shopping on cold days. We hope to see you all on the Dec. 6th. In the meanwhile come do your big shop for the big day on Saturday.

Bombay Emerald will be there with their special chutneys – perfect to jazz up turkey sandwiches. And, Sherry B Dessert Studio will have steaming HOT cocoa and coffee. They will be offering free Sherry B marshmallows with every cup of cocoa. Marshmallows – always better with cocoa than with yams.

To see a list of this week’s vendors, click HERE.

See you at the market!

Pascale Le Draoulec
food writer/ farmer’s market director
author: “American Pie:Slices of Life (and Pie) from America’s Back Roads” (HarperCollins)

Visit us on Facebook by clicking HERE.


Comments(0):

NEW: Supervisor’s Report of November 18, 2014

November 21, 2014
~ from Supervisor Rob Greenstein

• Chappaqua Crossing update
• Chappaqua Central School District - Finance Advisory Committee

Chappaqua Crossing

Since April 2014 when Summit Greenfield changed the layout and design of its proposed retail center, we have conducted seven (7) public hearings, all of which have been lengthy and well-attended.  In terms of next steps, the Town Board is working on what it anticipates will be a final version of the Retail Local Law.  The Board is considering certain changes based upon the work and input that has gone into this application.  For example, we are exploring ways to limit the overall amount of commercial and retail amount of space that is allowed at Chappaqua Crossing.  We may consider prohibiting certain retail uses at the site, particularly given its proximity to Horace Greeley High School.  We welcome comments from residents tonight on those issues.  I still anticipate that the Town Board will be able to complete its work on the draft Retail Local Law and be in a position to vote on the legislation by the end of the year.  I would encourage residents to stay informed by checking our Town website for updates about the public hearings and any further revisions to the draft Retail Local Law.  Our next, and eighth (8), public hearing will be held on December 2nd.

Chappaqua Central School District - Finance Advisory Committee

This week both myself, Deputy Supervisor Lisa Katz & Town Administrator Jill Shapiro will be meeting with the Chappaqua Central School District Finance Advisory Committee, along with School Superintendent Dr. Lyn McKay and a few members of the School Board. The purpose of the meeting is to seek out and take advantage of collaboration opportunities between the school district and the town.


Comments(2):

Master Plan Steering Committee meets new Business Development Committee . . .

Saturday, November 22, 2014
by Christine Yeres

THIS MEETING WAS CANCELLED

According to the home page of the town’s website, “The New Castle Master Plan Steering Committee and the Business Development Advisory Committee will meet on Tuesday, November 25, 2014 at 6:30 p.m. to hear a presentation on “Transit Oriented Development - The Path to Downtown Revitalization.”  Supervisor Rob Greenstein has frequently touted the benefits of transit-oriented development (TOD) for the Chappaqua hamlet, maintaining that approval of retail at Chappaqua Crossing would act as additional motivation to strengthen the existing hamlet by means of TOD.

What is TOD?

“Transit-oriented development, or TOD, is a type of community development that includes a mixture of housing, office, retail and/or other amenities integrated into a walkable neighborhood and located within a half-mile of quality public transportation.”  ~ from ReconnectingAmerica.org

The town is actively engaged in having the eight acres it owns around and including town hall, some of the train parking lot and the rec field appraised and surveyed.  A priority for members of the newly-formed Business Development Advisory Committee (BDAC), headed by Town Board member Adam Brodsky, is to make “recommendations to the New Castle government regarding strategic redevelopment opportunities for Town-owned property and make recommendations regarding the highest and best uses based on current market conditions.”  See full text of the resolution forming the BDAC by clicking HERE.

See also Town Board makes it official: New Castle has a “Business Development Advisory Committee”—Brodsky promises to work closely with Master Plan “commercial development and hamlets” group, NCNOW.org, 11/15/14.


Comments(5):

Astorino Corrects Federal Housing Monitor’s Report

~ from Westchester County website

Last Updated on Monday, 29 September 2014 15:41

Westchester County has sent a letter to the monitor overseeing Westchester’s affordable housing settlement with the federal government to correct inaccuracies and misimpressions in his most recent assessment of the county’s progress.

In addition to objections with the content of the “Monitor’s Second Biennial Assessment of the Westchester County’s Compliance,” the letter points out that the monitor, who works for the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, failed to follow the settlement’s requirements for submitting reports to the court. Paragraph 40 of the settlement explicitly requires the monitor to meet with the county “prior to the submission of such reports to the Court.” No such consultation occurred prior to the June 26th submission.

Five years into the seven-year term of the settlement, the public record shows the county is in compliance. As such, the county takes strong objection to a number of unsupported assertions in the report by the monitor, James E. Johnson.

“It is critical that the public be given the full and true story about the county’s progress and that the federal government be held to the same standards as the county,” said Astorino. “My job is to ensure the county meets its obligations, which has been our goal from day one. But I also have an obligation to ensure the federal government plays by the rules and does not use its enormous powers to bully the county into capitulating to demands that go beyond the terms of the settlement.”

The settlement, negotiated and approved under former County Executive Andrew Spano, requires the county to develop 750 units of affordable housing in 31 mostly white communities in Westchester by 2017, using $51.6 million of county tax dollars. It also requires the county to conduct an outreach and education effort to individuals, landlords, realtors, condo and cooperative board members, and municipalities. The settlement’s application system has attracted interest from 29 states, potential sites have been identified in all 31 communities and the progress to date includes:

  407 units with financing in place; (450 is benchmark for this year)
  404 units with building permits; (surpasses this year’s benchmark of 350)
  184 units occupied; (almost 25 percent of the 750 unit total)
  $34 million of county’s $51.6 million budget committed
  $105 million leveraged from other sources (e.g. state, federal and foundation funds)
  $2.1 million allocated for outreach, education and housing services
  755 meetings with communities, developers and nonprofits
  65,000 unique visitors on average to Housing Website each quarter
  5,300 households signed up for settlement’s 750 units

Factual comments

In the county’s letter, written by Deputy County Executive Kevin Plunkett, the county refutes the monitor’s charge that the County Executive “misstated the terms of the Settlement and signaled ongoing defiance of its terms.” With clear documentation, the letter demonstrates the comments made by the county executive to be factual and in response to statements actually made by HUD and the monitor.

For example, the monitor wrote that the County Executive was in error to suggest that HUD and the monitor were attempting to expand the settlement to increase the number of affordable housing units from 750 to 10,768. But the record clearly shows the figure was introduced by the monitor in his March 21, 2013 Report Cards to local municipalities.

The 10,768 figure comes from a 2004 Rutgers University study and a derivative 2005 allocation plan, neither of which was ever adopted by the County Executive, the Board of Legislators or local municipalities. Nevertheless, figures from these reports were incorporated into the monitor’s report cards, and municipalities were told they had “an obligation” to meet these unadopted allocations, despite the fact that no such requirement is mentioned in the settlement.

The allocations in the Report Card called for 5,847 units of affordable housing to be built in the 31 communities involved in the Settlement. Not surprisingly, public concern and confusion followed. It was the county executive’s responsibility to correct the record, which he did.

“This was a perfect example of how frustrating it can be in dealing with HUD and the monitor,” said Astorino. “They give you a number that no one has agreed to, criticize you for not meeting it, pretend they never really meant it in the first place, and then blame you for creating confusion. Not to bring this to the public’s attention would have been irresponsible.”

It should be noted that the only way to react to the monitor’s report cards was in public, because the county was never given the courtesy to review them ahead of time. The first time the county saw the report cards was after they were sent to municipalities, who then forwarded them to the County Planning Department. Had the county been given the courtesy to review documents before public release, the confusion, which the monitor complains about, may have been avoided.

“The monitor seems to be suggesting that no one is allowed to question him or the federal government,” Astorino said. “But what good is a settlement if the federal government gets to make and change all the rules. That’s not a contract, it’s a dictate with no checks or balances, and that’s not what the county agreed to or how government in the United States is supposed to operate.

Duties to analyze zoning

The county also strongly disagrees with the Monitor’s contention the county “either failed or refused to comply with the duties to analyze zoning.” There is no evidence to support this assertion. In fact there is overwhelming evidence to the contrary.

The only current area of dispute between the county and HUD is the submission of an Analysis of Impediments (AI) that is acceptable to HUD. To date, the county has submitted eight AI’s to HUD. HUD has rejected all eight submissions because it wants the county to change its conclusions. The county has refused, saying there is no basis to do so.

The county’s eight AI’s total thousands of pages of data, maps, charts, analysis and action steps and are the most comprehensive AI’s ever received by the agency. All 853 of the county’s zoning districts have been reviewed and no evidence of exclusionary zoning was found. Separate reports by the Pace University Land Use Law Center and the monitor’s team from Pratt Institute support the county’s conclusion. Analysis by the county also included the Berenson and Huntington tests, which also found no evidence of exclusionary zoning.

“A fair question to ask is at what point do HUD’s rejections become unreasonable,” the letter states. “HUD’s rejections also have to be viewed in the light of the agency’s decision to eliminate AI’s on a nationwide basis. HUD’s new proposed rules for Affirmatively Furthering Fair Housing no longer require AI’s, saying the documents have “not been as effective as had been envisioned.”“


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Veterans Day, a Day of Remembrance and Gratitude


Operation Visit Our Veterans
More slides in “Read more…”
Tuesday, November 18, 2014
by Lori Townsend, Chappaqua Girl Scouts

Veterans Day… many view this a day for sleeping late and fun activities.  But last Tuesday, Chappaqua Girl Scouts were busy prepping for their Veterans Day deliveries to honor New Castle’s fallen and living military servicemen, servicewomen and their families.  Before day’s end, 20 troops with scouts of all ages (grades 1 – 10) had visited more than 260 veterans’ homes.

The spouse of one of the veterans commented that ‘no one had ever thanked her husband before’ and that she thought it was the ‘best thing that Chappaqua Girl Scouts could ever do.’  Girl Scouts young and old seem to understand the significance of the day and the meaning of their visits.  This is how girls in the 10th grade troop expressed their thanks:

Dear Veteran,

Thank you so, so much for your honorable service. We truly appreciate everything you have done for us and our nation; your sacrifice does not go unnoticed or forgotten. We are so lucky to live in a country where people have the courage to defend our rights and freedom. You are an inspiration to us. We will do our best to follow your precedent of altruism and give back to our community through Girl Scouts and beyond.

Please accept these baked goods as a token of our gratitude. We can never fully repay the debt we owe you for your service, but they represent our deepest appreciation. Thank you.
Although we set aside today, Veterans Day, as a special time to honor your sacrifice, please know that we remember and are grateful for what you’ve done every day of the year. Truly, we cannot thank you enough.  As many have noted, America is the ‘land of the free’ because of you, the brave.

Troop 1023

If you know of a New Castle Veteran who would like to be on the list – or if for any reason a Veteran would like to be removed from the list—please contact troop organizer Cindy Katz at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address).

 

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The Horace Greeley High School Theatre Company proudly presents: Little Shop of Horrors


Thursday, Nov 20th at 7pm
Friday Nov 21st at 8pm
Saturday, Nov 22nd at 8pm
Horace Greeley High School Auditorium

Down-and-out skid row floral assistant Seymour becomes an overnight sensation when he discovers an exotic plant with a mysterious craving for fresh blood. It isn’t long before “Audrey II” has grown from a harmless shrub into an ill-tempered, R&B-singing carnivore who promises Seymour fame and fortune in exchange for feeding its growing appetite.

This delightfully demented comedy of hapless lovers and a man-eating plant blends doo-wop, rock, and Motown into a hilarious send-up of B-movie horror flicks.

Tickets are $10
(Tickets can be purchased at the door or online.)


Comments(0):

Greeley Girls Varsity Swimming Wins Third Straight Section 1 Title


Tuesday, November 18, 2014
by Jim Hadley

With a total of 363 points, Greeley swimmers surpassed Fox Lane (266 points) and Clarkstown (239 points) to win their third straight Section 1 title at Felix Festa Middle School on Wednesday Nov 5.

The Medley Relay team of Emma Hadley, Olivia Lyman, Erica Silverman and Isabella Weiner led off the meet to finish first and set a Section 1 meet record with a time of 1:48.58.  Kasia Malendowicz finished first in the 500 Freestyle with an All-American Consideration time of 4:55.01 and Emma Hadley finished first in the 100 Backstroke with All-American time of 55.57 setting a Section 1 meet record and a Greeley team record. 

Other highlights include second place finishes in both 200 and 400 Freestyle Relays.  The 200 relay team of Eric Silverman, Isabella Weiner, Rachel Hellman and Kasia Malendowicz set a team record of 1:38.99 and qualified for the NY State High School Championships and the 400 relay team of Rachel Hellman, Cate Sawkins, Nicole Digiacomo and Kasia Malendonwicz set a team record of 3:34.45 and also qualified for the state meet.

In individual events Senior Erica Silverman finished second and qualified for the state meet in both the 200 Individual Medley and 100 Butterfly.

In total Greeley is sending 11 swimmers to the NY State High School Championships in Ithaca, NY on November 21 and 22.  In addition to the three relays, individual qualifiers included Gaige Elms, Mary Fitzsimmons, Emma Hadley, Rachel Hellman, Olivia Lyman, Kasia Malendowicz, Amanda McHugh, Cate Sawkins, Erica Silverman and Isabella Weiner. 

Photo: Greeley swimmers accept Section 1 award


Comments(1):

“Business Development Advisory Committee” established, members appointed

November 14, 2014

Editor’s Note:  On November 10, 2014, Town Board members moved to adopt a “Resolution establishing and appointing members of a Business Development Advisory Committee to assist the Town Board by identifying and recommending policy initiatives that will strengthen our existing businesses; attract new and desirable businesses to New Castle; and help our community revitalize our existing business hamlets.”  The remainder of the text of the resolution follows (its members are listed also):

WHEREAS, the Town recognizes that many of the businesses in our hamlets are struggling with difficult economic conditions and other longstanding issues that have impeded growth and discouraged capital investment; and

WHEREAS, the Town had begun the process of preparing an updated Master Plan that will serve as a comprehensive long range plan to guide future growth and development in our community, including our existing business hamlets; and

WHEREAS, the Town wishes to explore how the potential redevelopment of Town owned property in the downtown hamlet could help spark the revitalization of our downtown hamlet by creating new residential and commercial opportunities in the heart of the downtown area; and

WHEREAS, the Town intends to proceed with longstanding plans to make infrastructure improvements in our business hamlets that will include improvements in landscape, lighting, sidewalks, curbing and crosswalks; and

WHEREAS, the Town Board intends for the Business Development Advisory Committee to draw upon the collective talents and intellectual capital of our residents with experience in commercial real estate and small business to study these matters in a comprehensive fashion and develop recommendations that will foster the creation of more vibrant, diverse and economically thriving business hamlets;

NOW THEREFORE, be it

RESOLVED, that the Town Board establishes the Business Development Advisory Committee; and be it further

RESOLVED, that the Mission Statement for the Business Development Advisory Committee shall be as follows:

The Business Development Advisory Committee (“BDAC”) is established to assist the long-term economic stability of the Town’s business hamlets while maintaining the small town values and community spirit that assure New Castle is a great place to live, work, play, invest and conduct business.  The BDAC will engage with the business community to attract desirable new community investment, help existing businesses expand, recruit targeted new businesses and enrich the life of the community.  The BDAC will also make recommendations to the New Castle government regarding strategic redevelopment opportunities for Town-owned property and make recommendations regarding the highest and best uses based on current market conditions.

And be it further

RESOLVED, that the Business Development Advisory Committee will be responsible for giving general direction to the Town Board, including but not limited to making recommendations with respect to the following:

Attracting and retaining a more diverse range of businesses, particularly with respect to the mix of retail uses, to reinforce our business hamlets as vibrant and unique destinations for shopping, entertainment and social activities;

Exploring how the Town can encourage and promote the development of new amenities and uses, such as a performing arts or community center;

Working to increase the commercial tax base;

Streamlining the approval process for new businesses and create a more business-friendly environment for existing businesses;

Helping identify policies for tax abatements, grants, and other special incentives that could foster business development in our hamlets; and

Working with existing landlords to find tenants that will fill needs and increase the variety of retail uses;

And be it further

RESOLVED, that the Business Development Advisory Committee will be comprised of no fewer than seven (7) members, preferably including landlords, merchants and residents with experience in commercial real estate and/or small business; and be it further

RESOLVED, that the Town Board appoints the following people as members of the Business Development Advisory Committee:

Phil Luria
Joan Simon
Corey Shanus
Erik Nicolaysen
David Perlmutter
Barry Mishkin
Jeffrey Blockinger
Phil Altman
Solveig McShea
Randy Katchis
Lee Anchin

And be it further

RESOLVED, that the Business Development Advisory Committee shall not be construed as a “special board” as that term is defined in Section 272-a of New York State Town Law, and that nothing in this resolution shall be deemed to prohibit or limit the Town Board from exercising its statutory and regulatory authority as it sees fit.

 


Comments(0):

Town Board makes it official: New Castle has a “Business Development Advisory Committee”

Brodsky promises to work closely with Master Plan “commercial development and hamlets” group
Saturday, November 15, 2014
by Christine Yeres

The Town Board officially enlisted local brain power to serve on a Business Development Advisory Committee (“BDAC”) headed by Town Board member Adam Brodsky. The group is charged with assisting the Town Board “by identifying and recommending policy initiatives that will strengthen our existing businesses, attract new and desirable businesses to New Castle, and help our community revitalize our existing business hamlets.”

According to the resolution establishing the committee, one of its priorities will be to advise the Town Board on “strategic redevelopment opportunities for Town-owned property”—the eight-ish acres on which Town Hall, some commuter parking and the rec field sit— and making “recommendations regarding the highest and best uses based on current market conditions.”

Asked how the BDAC will interface with the Master Plan subcommittee on “commercial development and hamlets,” Brodsky promised collaboration between the two, explaining that “the Master Plan is ‘Big Picture,’ and this [BDAC] is more ‘nuts-and-bolts’.”

To see the full text of the Resolution and the names of its 11 members, click HERE.

Status of the Master Plan

The Master Plan effort is on hold, waiting for the return of “County data” that the Master Plan Steering Committee has sent back to the county. According to Town Planner Sabrina Charney, the work of the subcommittees—analysis of the current Master Plan’s “strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats”—is finished and the Steering Committee members will next “be facilitated” by professional Master Plan consultants in “drafting goals and objectives.”

In eliciting these goals and objectives, said Charney, consultants will “balance several different resources—the Pace outreach report, the Master Plan subcommittees’ analyses, the existing Town Development Plan [Master Plan] and the county background analyses expected to be released any day now.”

During public comment, Betty Weitz took issue with Charney’s statement that the subcommittees’ work had been finished and turned in.  “Not the one I sit on,” said Weitz, a member of the “commercial development and hamlets” group.


Comments(4):

SUNDAY:  Interfaith Thanksgiving Service and Community Meal at Temple Beth El


November 14, 2014
by Elinor Griffith

The Chappaqua Interfaith Council will hold its annual Thanksgiving Service this year at Temple Beth El (220 South Bedford Road, Chappaqua) on Sunday, November 23 at 4:00 p.m. A free community meal will follow the interfaith service. Everyone is welcome. Prayers, readings, music and song will be performed by members of all the participating faith communities.

    “Members of our various faith communities tell us every year how much they look forward to this celebratory service of Thanksgiving shared with their friends and neighbors of different faiths. It is very special,” says Rev. Leigh Pezet, the new president of the Chappaqua Interfaith Council and pastor of the Lutheran Church of Our Redeemer. “Coming together as the whole people of God is truly an uplifting experience. It gives us hope and affirms that we are all part of one human family united in our commitment to help bring about a better world for all people.”

This is the ninth year the Chappaqua Interfaith Council has offered a meal following the service. Over 300 guests are expected to attend. Once again the Kittle House is graciously providing the turkey, stuffing, mashed potatoes and sides for the community meal. The Village Market and other local stores and individuals are contributing additional food.

At the Thanksgiving Interfaith Service the community can welcome our two new faith leaders: Rabbi Jonathan Jaffe of Temple Beth El, and Rev. Gwyneth MacKenzie Murphy, of St. Mary the Virgin, Episcopal.

This year the Council will accept tax-deductible donations of money or food for these organizations:

• Donations of money for the Emergency Shelter Partnership. This nonprofit coalition of religious communities and the Drug Council of Mount Kisco provide emergency food and shelter at local houses of worship during the coldest months of the year.  To find out more about how you can donate directly or join the partnership, please contact Rev. Paul Alcorn (Bedford Presbyterian Church, 234-3672) or Mel Berger (Mount Kisco Drug Council,  666-0614).

• Money donations for the Nyaka AIDS Orphans Project, Uganda, which provides free education to 600 youngsters, grades K - 12. (Over 2 million children in Uganda have lost one or both of their parents. to AIDS.) The school was started by Twesigye Jackson Kaguri, a 2012 CNN Hero, and it also also provides children with two free meals daily and access to an onsite medical facility. Read more about Kaguri’s story in his book, A School for My Village.

• Non-perishable foods will be accepted for the Interfaith Emergency Food Pantry. Located in Pleasantville, it serves the elderly, disabled and other needy clients from surrounding communities, including Chappaqua, Millwood and Hawthorne.

The Chappaqua Interfaith Council includes representatives, both lay and clergy, from the following eight faith communities: Baha’is of New Castle; Chappaqua Friends Meeting; The Church of St. Mary the Virgin, Episcopal; First Congregational Church; Lutheran Church of our Redeemer; St. John and St. Mary’s Catholic Church; Temple Beth El of Northern Westchester and the Upper Westchester Muslim Society.

      For further information, please contact Elinor Griffith at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)

Event:  Interfaith Thanksgiving Service and Community Meal
Location:  Temple Beth El, 220 South Bedford Road, Chappaqua
Date:  Sunday, November 23, 2014, 4:00 pm
Sponsor:  Chappaqua Interfaith Council    


Comments(0):

L to E: School district’s hosting of Chappaqua Farmers Market at Bell would benefit our town

Tuesday, November 18, 2014
by Nancy Huehnergarth

As a weekly shopper at the Chappaqua Farmers Market, I was deeply dismayed to learn that the Chappaqua Central School District (CCSD) has refused to host the indoor winter farmers market at the Bell School.

The popular, non-profit market is a vibrant community-gathering place on Saturday mornings, bringing high-quality local foods and produce to our town. The winter market, which can no longer be hosted by St. Mary’s church, has served as a shopping and meeting place for families and seniors for the past three years.

Why CCSD refused to host the market at Bell is a mystery, but not particularly surprising. CCSD’s leadership long ago erected impermeable barriers between the school system, the community and town leaders. Whereas Chappaqua’s residents bear a significant tax burden to fund our schools, the school district appears to maintain a deliberate distance between itself and the community, which not only defies logic but also engenders ill-will.

With a national movement afoot to open public schools after hours for indoor recreation and events that benefit community residents, it’s time for CCSD to become a collaborative part of our community, rather than remain an island alone.

I have no doubt that the Chappaqua Farmers Market organizers would work closely with the district to handle sanitation, liability and security needs. Other events at Bell have successfully featured food and food service – witness the food vendors at the recent Bell Craft Fair.

Perhaps a good compromise would be for CCSD to reverse its decision and give the winter farmers market a two-month trial period inside Bell School. While the indoor market has been green-lighted to use the train station building through January (when construction on a new restaurant may begin), this is hardly a long-term solution considering space needs, shopper/merchant comfort and weather concerns. A winter Chappaqua Farmers Market in comfortable confines is important to the community and will draw shoppers into our town center, where they spend money at other stores and restaurants.

Our neighboring town of Pleasantville hosts a busy winter farmers market in its middle school. The market serves and unites the community throughout the long, cold winter months when people tend to hibernate. CCSD leaders could easily speak with administrators of the Pleasantville School District to learn how they have successfully dealt with sanitation or other concerns that have arisen as they hosted their town’s market.

I strongly urge taxpaying citizens in the CCSD to send an email to Superintendent Lyn McKay (.(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)) and our school board president, Karen Visser (.(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)), urging them to please reconsider hosting the indoor winter farmers market at Bell.

A thriving, united community depends on good will and cooperation between taxpayers, school district administrators and town leaders. CCSD should do its part by hosting the town’s winter farmers market and reversing its decades-long detachment from the rest of the community.

Sincerely,
Nancy Huehnergarth


Comments(52):

Winners of Greeley’s 5th Annual Spelling Bee; biggest winner—HG Scholarship Fund


November 14, 2014

The 5th Annual Spelling Bee on Monday, November 10th was a huge success thanks to all the sponsors, participants, and HGSF executives Emme Nagler (12), Eleanor Sadik-Khan (12), Owen Ruggiero (11) and Ellie Loigman (10). With help from their advisors Ms. Mullen and Mrs. Devane, their efforts raised $15,000 for the Horace Greeley Scholarship Fund.

Also, a huge thanks to Andrew Corsilia, George Benack and Dev Jhaveri who served as this year’s “word pronouncers.” They fearlessly stood before 300 people, perfectly pronouncing words including aiguillette, senescence and syzygy. We also want to thank Michael Taylor and the fantastic DJ Club for helping with the sound and doing a great job with the music all night long.

And now for the winners…

Getting to the Championship Round is a combination of luck and skill.  This year, the Championship Round came down to a tie between two teams. Greeley English teachers Jacqueline Abair, Kathryn Ward and Lisa Mayer versus sophomore girls Meaghan Townsend, Stephie Shen and Kaylie Eiden.

The winning word was quokka; a stocky herbivorous marsupial of southwestern Australia that has a short tail. It turns out that Kaylie’s favorite animal is a quokka and she knew the spelling, allowing her team to take home the championship and grand prize Kindle Fires!

Best costume for the school round went to the “HMN scrabble tiles:” Henry Ault, Nicholas Ng and Margot Putnam.


A very special thanks to all our generous sponsors…

The Anand, Marano & O’Shea Families
The Berwin, Linden & Rosenberg Families
The Brandes, Carreras & Engel Families
Breeze Gifts
Bueti Brothers
The Burack, Divack & Litwak Families
Burack Investments
Carl J Lepere Heating and A/C
The Cavallo & Ruggiero Families
Chappaqua Paint and Hardware
CHOP’T
The Cook Family
The Dorfman, Friedland & Herman Families
Flying Point Asset Management LLC
The Guerney Family
The Hellman, Krishnan & Mejjati Families
The Hiebert, Wei & Rauch Families
Houlihan Lawrence
The Hufferdine, Meyer & Young Families
Jack and Deborah Becker Charitable Foundation
The Jhaveri, Marano, & Snow Families
The Kishore, Kumar & Silverman Families
Korth and Shannahan
The Kurens, Groppa & Moskowitz Families
The Loigman Family
The Lee, Meyer & Young Families
Mt. Kisco Medical Group
The Nagler, Nankof & Wolfe Families
Old Stone Trattoria
The Parsons, Rosenberg & Wasserman Families
The Paz/Delman Family
Perlmutter Properties
Primary Wave Media
Rotary Club of Chappaqua
The Sadik-Khan Family
The Semler Family
Sheptin Tutoring
Squires
The Taylor Family
The Townsend Family
The Unger Family
Villarina’s Deli and Catering
Wilson Prep
Yonkers Eyes

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


Comments(1):

Invitation to New Castle Residents: Let’s think together.

Opportunity to meet and talk at Lange’s on Monday, Nov. 17, 9:30 am to 11:30 am.
November 14, 2014
by Deputy Supervisor Lisa Katz

It’s no secret that, for many reasons, I am opposed to the current retail development proposal at Chappaqua Crossing.  However, I also realize that some retail may be approved by the Town Board, and, if so, I want to ensure that it is the best possible size and type of development for our whole community.

I have been working with my fellow Board members and the Planning Board on a number of additional mitigation measures and conditions, including reducing the overall size of the retail space.  As you’ve heard us discuss, we’re also looking to persuade Summit Greenfield to demolish or decommission an equivalent or greater amount of office space than the retail they are proposing to add, to help make the project a better fit for our community. 

I also have been discussing with my Board colleagues what types of retail businesses and amenities we may want, and what we may not want to allow at Chappaqua Crossing.  For example, we do not want a smoke shop, since the development is a short walk from our high school. 

We’ve heard from Summit Greenfield as to what types of retailers it hopes to attract to Chappaqua Crossing.*  I want to hear from residents on what types of retail or amenities you do and do not want to see at Chappaqua Crossing if the Board were to approve the retail proposal in some form.  I also want to hear your thoughts about other improvements that we could ask be undertaken to benefit our entire town and to lessen the impact on neighboring residents.

Our next public hearing is Tuesday, November 18th at approximately 8:30 p.m., and I urge you to attend to let the Board know your thoughts.  If you cannot attend that meeting, or if you don’t feel comfortable attending, I will once again be holding a “coffee talk” at Lange’s in Chappaqua this Monday, November 17th from 9:30 to 11:30 a.m. 

Please feel free to drop by to share your thoughts.

Lisa Katz
Deputy Town Supervisor

Editor’s Note:  The list of possible retail tenants submitted by Summit Greenfield can be viewed by clicking HERE.  According to Supervisor Rob Greenstein, Town Board members will continue their discussion of matters still-to-be-decided pertaining to the Chappaqua Crossing application.


Comments(30):

Supervisor’s Report of November 10, 2014

November 14, 2014
~ by New Castle Supervisor Rob Greenstein

• New Business Development Advisory Committee formed
• Town Prepares for Winter

Business Development Advisory Committee

The Downtown Business Development Committee (“DBDC”) is being established to assist the long-term economic stability of the Town’s downtown business district while maintaining the small town values and community spirit that assure New Castle is a great place to live, work, play, invest and conduct business.  The DBDC will engage with the business community to attract desirable new community investment, help existing businesses expand, recruit targeted new businesses and enrich the life of the community.  The DBDC will also make recommendations to the New Castle government regarding strategic redevelopment opportunities for Town owned downtown property and make recommendations regarding the highest and best uses based on current market conditions. DBDC is committed to the revitalization of downtown Chappaqua.  The vision for the revitalization of downtown Chappaqua will be the catalyst for a dynamic and growing partnership among members of the community, business owners and local government.

Town of New Castle Winter Preparedness

•        We have our contract in place for weather notifications from Universal Weather Service
•        We have on hand a salt supply to handle 6 to 9 storm events
•        We have a contractual relationship with the same NYS Office of General Services salt supplier as last year
•        Liquid anti-icing/de-icing solutions on-hand to handle 4 to 5 storms
•        All plow trucks are current on service
•        All drop-in spreaders have been serviced and ready for installation by Friday November 14
•        Spare plow blade inventory is adequate
•        2 new F-550 snow spreaders are on order to be delivered by end of November
•        One replacement plow truck is being added to our fleet
•        All 17 designated primary plow operators have received the Cornell University Snow-Ice Operations and Safety Training;  additionally, all 5 back-up drivers have received this training
•        Rental Bobcat for sidewalk clearing will arrive shortly
•        Currently working with NYS Department Of Transportation on obtaining space in Millwood Salt Shed to supply our “west-end” trucks

Town Supervisor’s Report 11/10/14 from New Castle Media Center on Vimeo.

 


Comments(2):

Town Administrator’s Report of November 10, 2014

November 14, 2014
~ from Town Administrator Jill Simon Shapiro

• DOT agrees to screen its Millwood yard
• Bank of America South Greeley sidewalk replacement
• Take It or Leave It Shop wraps up its season on November 22

Improvements to DOT yard in Millwood get the go-ahead

On October 31, 2014, Mike Stern Co-Chair of the Millwood-West End Advisory Board, Rob Greenstein, myself, Bart Carey, Charlie Bergstrom met with New York State DOT Jorge Argote, P.E, Resident Engineer, Region 8, Northern Westchester, and two NYSDOT Landscape architects, Jason Wolfanger and Kyle Buser.  The purpose of the meeting was to discuss the planned construction project to improve the Millwood DOT yard located on Route 100/Campfire Road.

We were shown a sketch of the project which included a planting list of 38 new trees—5 white pine, 8 Colorodo spruce, 8 Norway spruce, 10 river birch and 9 red maple—as well as and their placement along with fencing to screen the fuel tanks from the public view. The project is identified as PIN 41135-C:- Construction Maintenance sub-headquarters Buildings 4 and 5.

This project is going out to bid in January 2015. They expect to break ground in the Spring of 2015. It will take two years to complete the project as the yard will continue to operate during construction.  The newly installed guardrail will be black vinyl-coated galvanized fence to blend into its surroundings. The fuel tanks will be shielded from view by 8 foot high fencing: 6 foot pressure treated stockade fences will be set two feet up off the ground, with the first two feet shielded by lattice.

Bank of America- sidewalk replacement

On Monday November 17- Bank of America will be replacing the sidewalk out side the bank on South Greeley avenue
Work is expected to last from Monday, November 17 to Friday, November 24 – the sidewalk will be allowed to cure under blankets for the weekend—Nov 22-23—and reopen for public use on Monday Nov 24.  The contractors will be working 7:00 am – 3:30 pm.

As pedestrians will understandably not be able to use the sidewalk, fencing will be erected to provide a 4-foot wide corridor along South Greeley Avenue.  Four (4) parking spaces along South Greeley will be cordoned off for this use.  There will be signs and flagmen during the actual construction and concrete-pouring. We will also lose 4 spots in the south Greeley parking lot for the dumpster, but handicapped parking will not be affected.

Take It or Leave It Shop

Saturday, November 22, is the Take It or Leave It Shop’s last open day of the season. It has been a fantastic run for the shop this year and we so look forward to its reopening next spring. The new location at the edge of the commuter lot and adjacent to the farmer’s market has been a huge boon for this perennial favorite—just another reason to for wish for an early spring!


Comments(3):

NEW:  Summit Greenfield submits “Proposed Tenant Mix” for Chappaqua Crossing

From SRS Real Estate Partners, mounted on the town’s website.

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Comments(0):

A Thanks to Our Veterans; a Girl Scout Tradition Continues

Veterans Day
November 7, 2014
by Cindy Katz

It’s that time of year—the troops are getting ready. Girl Scout Troops, that is. Veteran’s Day, November 11th, is almost here and the Girl Scout troops of Chappaqua will be getting ready to bake, make cards and pack and deliver baked goods to the two hundred and sixty veterans in New Castle.

The tradition started here in New Castle in 2007 when Girl Scout Troop 1021 decided on honoring our veterans for their Silver Award (the second highest award earned in Girl Scouts). Thanks to Troop 1021, this tradition is still going strong.  This year, eighteen troops will be participating, ranging from elementary school age through high school.

Many of the troops have participated each year and leaders state it is one of the year’s highlights. It truly brings meaning to the day. The baking and card making is fun for the girls. Some bake with their families and some bake as a troop. Later, when they deliver a connection is made; they hear stories and sometimes take pictures.

While the idea of this effort is to thank our veterans, after delivery, we receive many notes of gratitude from the veterans. These letters and emails are filled with stories of service and heartfelt thanks to the Girl Scouts. While it may seem unnecessary to thank us, these notes have touched us all.

On November 10th, many Chappaqua Girl Scouts and their families will be baking and thinking of our veterans. On November 11th, you may see us with American flags on our cars and smiles on our faces when we deliver home baked goods and a whole lot of thanks.

Thank you, veterans for your service. It is our honor and pleasure to recognize you on Veteran’s Day and always.

Cindy Katz is a Girl Scout leader of ninth grade troop, 2319.  Troop 2319 has been participating in the Girl Scout Veteran’s Day effort since 2008 and currently oversees the project.


Comments(2):

Supervisor’s update on status of Chappaqua Crossing application

Town Board will discuss elements of CC application in work session preceding Nov. 18 public hearing
November 17, 2014
~ by Supervisor Rob Greenstein

The Town Board is continuing its work on a draft local law and preliminary development concept plan that could allow a Whole Foods supermarket, a gym, restaurants and retail stores to be built at Chappaqua Crossing.  With input from our Planning Board, we’ve persuaded Summit Greenfield to move away from its original proposal to build large format retail stores, and instead to design a more community-oriented, walkable retail development.

Each side has compromised and the current proposal, while not perfect, has been significantly improved. 

The Board also is working with its Town Planner and consultants to do everything it can to ensure that the type of retailers and amenities we might see at Chappaqua Crossing are the best for our community. 

Perhaps most importantly, the Board continues to press Summit Greenfield to commit itself to taking the steps necessary to ensure that the impacts of any retail development are avoided or mitigated to the fullest extent possible.  These steps may involve limiting not just the allowable retail space at Chappaqua Crossing, but the overall amount of commercial space on the property. 

The Board also is exploring ways to create new open space on the property and other improvements that could benefit nearby residents. 

Next week, I expect that the Town Board will be discussing some of these possibilities at its Work Session on Tuesday, November 18, 2014.

Editor’s Note: The work session is followed by a public hearing on the Chappaqua Crossing application.  The list of possible retail tenants submitted by Summit Greenfield can be viewed by clicking HERE.


Comments(15):

Preparing for November 18 public hearing on Chappaqua Crossing zoning and Master Plan changes

Tuesday, November 18, 2014
by Christine Yeres

Town Board members have said they intend to make a decision on the Chappaqua Crossing application for retail rezoning before year’s end, and they will likely close the public hearing at the end of the November 18 public hearing.  Despite the advice of the Planning Board, Town Board members showed in their meeting on Monday that they intend to keep approval authority for the preliminary development concept plan for themselves.  “We’ve consulted them already,” explained Greenstein, “and we’ll continue to listen to them.” The plan has been made better by the Planning Board, he said. But formal power-sharing is too complicated.

According to the Town Board’s counsel, Nick Ward-Willis, if and when the Town Board votes to adopt the retail zoning, it could also approve a preliminary development concept plan (PDCP), possibly with a formal referral to the Planning Board before the PDCP “goes final.”  After PDCP stage, Summit Greenfield would return to the Planning Board for site plan approval.

Traditional Neighborhood Development

Although the Planning Board felt that implementation of the “Traditional Neighborhood Development” principles for which it advocated fell short of the mark, and the County Planning Board expressed disappointment that the proposed plan for Chappaqua Crossing was not more genuinely “mixed use,” Greenstein has called it “a hybrid,” and “a compromise.”

“The current proposal,” Greenstein has said, “while not perfect, has been significantly improved.”

Size of the retail and traffic

“We’re considering [approving] 120,000 square feet,” said Town Board member Jason Chapin, “but I still have significant concerns about traffic and about the proposed changes to the intersections at Roaring Brook Road at 117.”

“The two case studies,” continued Chapin, “with two developments with a Whole Foods—Kings Crossing and Milford Marketplace, and those are both considered successful developments—are both less than 120,000 square feet.”

“The plan originally put forth was 120,000 square feet,” Greenstein pointed out, “but that includes a 25,000-square-foot gym, so really we’re talking about 95,000 square feet of retail.”

“If we can minimize the traffic impacts,” said Greenstein, “we will certainly try to do that.  But the gym is not retail, and there’s no pharmacy [proposed] any longer.”

“With a Whole Foods of 40,000 square feet and a gym of 25,000,” said Chapin, “you have to consider traffic for each and what other types of retail would create greater traffic.  Consider if you have a gym you want to know when most of that traffic is generated so you would want to look at types of retail that generate traffic in the middle of the day or toward evening—so a restaurant or two restaurants.”

“Having less office space would mitigate traffic as well,” said Greenstein.

Revenues

“People are talking about tax revenues that are so important,” said Greenstein.  “Well, retail generates more taxes than office space.  And the Planning Board’s AKRF study says that if you’re going to do it [approve retail], you want it to be successful.” [AKRF posited that granting the full 120,000 square feet of retail could help ensure the success of the shopping center.]

“The more stores, the more rent,” explained Town Board member Adam Brodsky, “—the more valuable the property, the more tax revenue.”

Citing a Whole Foods quarterly report, Chapin said, “The average Whole Foods is 36,000 square feet and generates $30 million a year [in sales]—which is $10 million more than a normal supermarket [such as A&P].  So this tells me this would generate significantly more property taxes than an A&P.  We know from our town assessor that he can’t put a value on the property until we know who the tenants are.  The community wants us to say what the exact number is, but we can’t provide that.”

The assessor, explained Brodsky, “looks at the rental income from the property, puts a factor on that and that’s the tax bill.  The retail market rents at three times what office space does, so the space would be leased for very high rent.”

The public hearing continues on the evening of Tuesday, November 18.  According to Supervisor Greenstein, the Town Board will continue its discussion of the draft legislation in the work session preceding the hearing.  Deputy Supervisor Lisa Katz has invited residents to speak with her about Chappaqua Crossing on Monday, November 17, at Lange’s, between 9:30 and 11:30 a.m.
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To see the draft rezoning legislation, click HERE

 

 


Comments(34):

Town Board is at work revising Chappaqua Crossing draft zoning . . .

. . . and remains non-committal on Planning Board request to share PDCP approval authority

Saturday, November 8, 2014
by Christine Yeres

Last Wednesday Town Board members ran through the draft retail zoning from May of this year.  Early on they discussed whether to agree to the Planning Board’s request that its members be included in the approval process for the preliminary development concept plan, “so that the Planning Board’s concerns and comments could be folded into the Town Board’s actions.”

The Town Board’s counsel, Nick Ward-Willis, outlined the approval process:

The Town Development Plan amendment would say, “Yes, we agree that there should be retail at Chappaqua Crossing.”

The zoning amendment would say, “Yes, retail is allowed in the property.”

First the Town Board would adopt the zoning change, then advance to Preliminary Concept Design Plan (PDCP) stage.

During PDCP stage “is the Board’s chance to say how much retail, to add conditions, and “put your fingerprints” on the project, he told Board members, “tailoring it to how, specifically, you believe the site should be developed.”

At this point the Town Board would refer the PDCP to the Planning Board and have a public hearing—“so there would be that opportunity for comment by the Planning Board,” explained Ward-Willis.

Last comes “site plan approval” by the Planning Board—site layout: where parking, streets and drainage go, lighting, garbage pickup, times for deliveries, storm water issues, sidewalks, architectural details, as well as environmental permits.

Planning Board request to share PDCP approval authority with Town Board

The Planning Board has proposed that its members be included in approval of the PDCP rather than be called upon officially only at site plan approval stage.

Ward-Willis cautioned Town Board members that sharing PDCP approval authority, in his experience, could result in an applicant feeling he or she is “serving two masters,” and that the applicant “ping-pongs” from one board to another.

Town Planner Sabrina Charney agreed with Ward-Willis.  “Serving two masters,” she said—present by speaker phone at the meeting—“is very convoluted.”

“The Planning Board expressed its desire to incorporate Traditional Neighborhood Development principles and standards,” observed Town Board member Jason Chapin.  “Overall here is the Planning Board saying they’re in favor of TND—and since they are the experts, I agree with that.  I think it’s appropriate to share the changes we want to make with them and get their feedback.  It’s important to continue to work with them on this process.”

“We definitely want their input,” said Supervisor Rob Greenstein, “but acknowledge that this has bee a long, drawn-out process.  We don’t want to complicate it any more than we have to.”

Town Board members made no commitment to formally share approval authority with the Planning Board when it comes to the PDCP.

County and Department of Transportation approvals

“And approval from the County?” asked Town Board member Lisa Katz.

“The County wants more TND design,” said Ward-Willis, in the form, for example, of “more pedestrian and bike linkage between the three uses [retail, office, and residential].”

“And can we get the Department of Transportation to opine on the [proposed changes to Route 117]—or they won’t do it till after [the project] is approved?” asked Katz.

“DOT is not going to expend their resources [thinking about] it until Summit Greenfield applies for a work permit,” said Ward-Willis.  [The cost of the changes themselves would be borne entirely by Summit Greenfield.]

Size of the retail

The draft zoning the Town Board was reviewing in the work session still reads, “maximum square footage shall not exceed 120,000 square feet.”  Ward-Willis explained, “That is something that we have to discuss.  Right now that number is a place-holder.”

Chapin reminded colleagues that, in concept, according to the draft zoning, if the Town Board were to approve 120,000 square feet of retail, that same amount of existing office space would be decommissioned.

Town Board member Adam Brodsky noted that “some space [proposed for decomissioning] is basement space, “not really a fair exchange for the retail. We should consider that in the analysis.  It’s not really apples-to-apples.”

“The basement,” explained Greenstein, “is space on a level with the Saw Mill side of the building—it’s not so dark and dingy.  The first floor is level with Route 117.”

“It’s pretty dark and dingy,” said Katz, who used to work at Reader’s Digest.

No other large anchors

The Planning Board, said Ward-Willis, believed the town should not permit anchors-size stores other than the 40,000-square-foot Whole Foods grocery.  No additional big-box.

“That’s consistent with TND,” said Greenstein.

But the Town Board might want to exempt the 25,000-square-foot gym space, suggested Charney.

“I agree,” said Katz, “but only if there’s a gym there.  No gym, then no exemption.”

Is there parking enough?

“How was it determined that there is enough parking?” asked Brodsky.

“It was grandfathered in,” said Charney, by the Town Inspector. ”—which is why the Planning Board wants the site to have integrated parking, to operate as one continuous site for parking.” [The ratio of office square footage to parking spaces for the Reader’s Digest operation were lower than Town Code currently requires.]

“People want to build a little business in town,” said Brodsky, “and we drive them crazy [over whether they have enough parking spaces]—and here we’re glossing over it and saying the Building Inspector took his best guess.  Parking drives everything.”

“Whole Foods certainly didn’t gloss over parking,” said Greenstein.

“And they’re asking for more [parking spaces] than our code requires,” added Charney.

Charney agreed that she would look at the history of the grandfathered parking requirements with Ward-Willis and report back to the Town Board.

Screening

The draft zoning specifies that “[T]he shape, dimension, topography, and location of any Office Park Retail Overlay District must allow for an appropriate and attractive development with proper building separation and screening and a harmonious relationship with adjoining land uses and the natural physical terrain.”

“There should be aggressive screening between anything approved [at Chappaqua Crossing] and outside uses,” said Katz.

Fitting into the neighborhood

Bob Lewis, who lives at the corner of 117 and Roaring Brook Road, addressed Town Board members.  “The main thing tonight is that the design of this site have not been explored from the standpoint of what’s good for the area—only for the applicant, and never in terms of the neighbors and what’s good for the neighbors.”

An architect himself, Lewis had some sketches, he told Board members, showing how retail traffic might be directed mainly to enter on the Saw Mill Parkway side of the Chappaqua Crossing site to reach the retail zone.  Mere signage—pointing traffic to “go left” into Chappaqua Crossing instead of right, onto Roaring Brook Road—wasn’t enough, he suggested.

“Why not just build a nice entrance facing the parkway?” asked Lewis.  “And why put the ass-end of the supermarket smack-dab on a residential street when you could instead consolidate the [Chappaqua Crossing residential units] along Roaring Brook Road to make a traditional neighborhood [with the residences on the opposite side of the street]?  This is the preliminary development concept stage of the process.  This is where you make these big decisions.  You don’t wait for the design development phase or the construction documents phase.”

Ward-Willis suggested that Lewis make such comments at the next public hearing, or that he set up an appointment to discuss his ideas with Town Planner Sabrina Charney.

“It sounds like some of the ideas you have are things we should consider putting into the zoning law,” said Katz, ”—and some of them, such as the placement of Whole Foods, has to be part of the preliminary concept development plan.”

“Some of your recommendations have been made at the public hearings—and there are going to be more public hearings,” Greenstein assured Lewis.

Lewis responded that in the ten years that Summit Greenfield’s proposals have been considered “we haven’t really thought about these things.”  And as to the “harmonious relationship” the zoning describes, said Lewis, “when you have two incompatible uses in direct proximity, the more extensive the buffer should be.”

“The way you make a design decision,” said Lewis, “is that you lay out half a dozen design ideas and let the best ones float to the top.”  Lewis pointed out that the County, too, was not happy with Summit Greenfield’s latest concept plan.

“If you were the applicant,” Greenstein asked Lewis, “who has been at this eight to ten years, and someone comes in at the eleventh hour and asks to redesign the project, what would you say?”

“If I were the applicant I’d say it’s been going on too long,” said Lewis.  “But I’m a neighbor and I also say it’s been going on too long.  I want resolution too.  I’m not proposing to abandon everything but have it pass the test of ‘Have we really looked at this thing?’”

Asked after the meeting Lewis told NCNOW, “The answer is that the developer seems more interested in retail than anything else, and if he gets it he probably doesn’t care exactly what it all looks like,” said Lewis, “and I hope the Board can influence him to make site work for everybody—including the neighborhood around it.”

Katz sets the record straight on sewage treatment at Chappaqua Crossing

Katz pointed out that the draft zoning the Town Board had before it listed “Utility structures for the transmission, storage and/or treatment of water and sewage.”  Since she has felt “pushback” over her statement that “sewage treatment” was a permitted use, she said, she wanted to note, for the record, that “sewage treatment” was then—and was still—a use permitted in the draft zoning document. 

Ward-Willis posited that the use may no longer be necessary.  Asked later in the work session whether it would be removed, Town Planner Sabrina Charney guessed that it had been included in the zoning originally when it was not clear that Summit Greenfield would obtain County permission to extend the sewer district.  It now has that permission.  “If we don’t need it,” said Katz, “I would definitely take that out.”

“Personal services” defined

It was a request of the Planning Board that the proposed zoning amendment include a definition of the “personal services” that the zoning states are the domain of the existing hamlets and will not be repeated at Chappaqua Crossing.  Ward-Willis said that these include repair, care of, cleaning, and maintenance businesses such as barber shops, beauty shops, nail salons and pet-grooming establishments, and have been specified in the revisions.

Alteration of the proposed 120,000 square feet upper of retail

When it comes to the amount of retail space Summit Greenfield could be allowed to create, Ward-Willis characterized the 120,000-square-feet figure as “a placeholder.”  When NCNOW asked at what stage of the review or approval process it might be reduced, by whom, and by what mechanism, Ward-Willis responded that the Town Board had the authority—any time between now and the time they take a vote on it, and it’s a discussion the Town Board needs to have.”  A public discussion? asked NCNOW.  “Yes,” said Ward-Willis.

“Just to summarize,” said Chapin, “we have all the reports, we’re going to have more public hearings and will get more feedback, but I think we also need to agree that we need to move forward as expeditiously as possible.  We don’t want to take too much time, but we want to take enough time to thoroughly review everything.  I’ve heard other Board members say they’d like to make a decision by the end of the year.  I would agree with that.”

“And a lot of this will be decided in the PDCP phase,” said Greenstein, “which we’re not approving now.”

Brodsky, too, agreed it was time to resolve the Chappaqua Crossing application.

The Board continues its discussion of the Chappaqua Crossing amendments in its regular meeting on Monday, November 10, around 8:15 p.m. The public hearing resumes on Tuesday, November 18.

Latest documents mounted on the Town website:

Town Planner’s Summary of the Chappaqua Crossing Revised Retail PDCP


Draft zoning amendment for retail


Comments(37):

NEW: Versatile Jerusalem artichokes at the market


8:30 am to 1:00 pm at the Chappaqua Train Station
Saturday, November 8, 2014

Jerusalem artichokes are neither from Jerusalem nor are they artichokes.  This week, local niche farmer Dick Goldsmith will be selling them for $5 a quart. Sunchokes couldn’t be more versatile. You can eat them raw, sliced or julienned in salads or with dips. Like jicama – they can be dressed in advance and will keep their snap and crunch for hours.

Roasting them brings out their nuttiness. Toss them in a roasting pan with chicken, turkey, lamb or pork – but make sure you toss them to coat with pan juices during the last half hour of cooking. They make a great substitute for potatoes as a side dish. I like to pan fry them with carrots and a little cardamom.

These edible tubers were being cultivated in North America long before European settlers set a buckled boot on these shores. Early Italian settlers called the plant girasole, the Italian word for sunflower because of its resemblance to the garden sunflower. Some say the word girasole eventually morphed to Jerusalem. Another explanation for the name is that the Pilgrims, when they came to the New World, named the plant in honor of the “New Jerusalem” they believed they were creating. It was, allegedly, French explorer Samuel de Champlain who first linked the tuber to the artichoke. He sent the first samples of the plant to France with a note in which he compared the tuber’s flavor to that of an artichoke stem.

In the 1960s it was Frieda Caplan, a smart-thinking produce wholesaler, who renamed the nutty-flavored tuber, sunchoke to make it a sexier sell. (She can also take credit for the popularity of both kiwi and jicama, but that’s another story).

Here’s a Jamie Oliver recipe for sauteed Jerusalem artichokes with garlic and bay leaves.

Also on tap this week:

Rich Brownies will be bringing over 20 varieties of brownies and blondies including Betsy’s favorite – Chai Blondies. Belly up to the brownie bar for some Guinness Brownies and Champagne Brownies as well new sugar-free and four types of gluten-free varieties to suit all dietary restrictions.

Sherry B. Dessert Studio will be making hot chocolate for the wee ones who need a “shot of hot” at the November markets. Their house-made hot chocolate is made from a blend of crushed white and dark chocolate. They will also be selling their wrapped hot chocolate “blocks” (to make hot chocolate at home).

And for folks who prefer their chocolate solid – Luxx Chocolat is back this week.

Penny Lick is bringing dark chocolate and maple salted caramel push pops and pints of “drunken pumpkin” ice cream – pumpkin with a bit of (ok, a lot of) bourbon for good measure.

It’s made with Champagne but you can’t get drunk on the Champagne Kombucha Tea – back this week, their last visit of the season – so stock up!

Also: Jodie’s Gym will be in our grassy middle with all sorts of fun games and obstacle courses for the kids to keep them active – and warm – while you shop.

And, the knife sharpener is here: last chance to get your carving knife a “blade lift” before Thanksgiving. For a list of vendors for November 8, click HERE.

Visit us on Facebook by clicking HERE.

Pascale Le Draoulec
food writer/ farmer’s market director
author: “American Pie:Slices of Life (and Pie) from America’s Back Roads”


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68 Greeley seniors receive Cum Laude recognition


Saturday, November 8, 2014
~ from CCSD website

At a ceremony on October 29th, 68 students were inducted into the Cum Laude Society, which is an academic recognition program (determined by a specific GPA) for members of the senior class. Students must be enrolled in Greeley for four or more complete semesters to be eligible.

 

*Summa Cum Laude
^Magna Cum Laude
+Cum Laude

Congratulations to:

  Matthew Altman+

  Michael Ballou^

  Kristina Barry^

  Melanie Benson*

  Hannah Berck+

  Theodore Bisdikian^

  Michael Borenstein^

  Leyla Brittan^

  Jasmine Chen^

  Allison Dammann+

  Tamsin de Wied*

  Payton DePalma^

  Michaela Dickson+

  Michael Doppelt* (Valedictory Honors)

  Madailéin Dubrosa+

  Calder Fontaine*

  Alessandra Giannasca*

  Molly Gonzalez+

  Divya Gopinath* (Valedictory Honors)

  Dana Gottlieb+

  Bernadette Grant* (Valedictory Honors)

  Isabel Gutenplan*

  Sydney Hamroff*

  Oliver Harris^

  Elizabeth Hart* (Valedictory Honors)

  Liana Henderson-Semel^

  Jacob Horwitz*

  Dev Jhaveri+

  Laura Kiernan+

  Cutler Klein^

  Alexandra Kung^

  Alan Lee^

  Benjamin Leser+

  Jacob Levine^

    Frank Lin^

  Benjamin Linde+

  Emily Maccabee^

  Nicole Medway*

  Emma Meyer+

  Jenna Miller^

  Emily Nagler*

  Nikita Nagrath^

  Jason Neff^

  Sarah Pactor+

  Margot Putnam*

  Sophia Rader^

  Noah Reich*

  Jessica Reisch*

  Amanda Rota* (Valedictory Honors)

  Kimberly Rota^

  Bilal Sadik+

  Eleanor Sadik-Khan^

  Zachary Schoenfeld^

  Jennifer Semler* (Valedictory Honors)

  Carolyn Silipigni+

  Brianna Silverman+

  Matthew Solnick+

  Andrew Spiegel^

  Neil Steiner+

  Alice Thum^

  Dean Valente*

  Mira Vanchiswar^

  Riya Verma* (Valedictory Honors)

  Jeremy Wei+

  Bryn Weiner*

  Samantha Winshall+

  Caroline Wolfe*

  Ray Zhang+


Comments(2):

Town Board will hear presentation for “Chappaqua Station, Farm-to-Town” from Chases

Saturday, November 1, 2014
by Christine Yeres

In its work session on Wednesday, November 5, the Town Board will hear a presentation from Peter and Erin Chase of their vision for the Chappaqua train station as a “farm-to-town” restaurant-bar-and-local produce space. Theirs was the only “response for proposal” submitted to the Town. According to the agenda for the work session, the 20-minute presentation is scheduled to begin at 8:00 p.m.

Find the entire RFP—published on the Town’s website—by clicking HERE.

From the RFP:

Mornings

Monday through Friday

4:30am-11:30am:

We will offer fresh fruit, croissants, bagels, muffins, egg sandwiches, coffee, tea, fresh juices. Customers will place orders in the newly designed baggage storage room (currently operating as Café La Track).

From there they can enjoy their breakfast in the main room, outside on the terrace, or on their way to the next stop.

Saturday and Sunday (Brunch) 8am-11:30am:

Same offerings as above.

11am-2pm:

We will infuse the regular breakfast offering with creative lunch/brunch offerings.

In general we will curate and make available a best of offering from local farms and our very own farmers market. This will be incorporated both daily and support our “Family Night” offering.

Lunch and Dinner

Monday through Friday

11:30am-5pm:

Panini, gourmet salads and sandwiches, and soups.

5pm – 10pm:

Above items together with assorted tapas, cheese and charcuterie plates, gourmet salads, soups, raw bar (shrimp, oysters, clams), and fish, meat and pasta of the day and desserts. Small production wines and local craft beers will be offered.

Saturday and Sunday

2pm-5pm: same lunch offerings as above (brunch will be served from 11am-2pm).

5pm-10pm: Family Nights—similar offerings as dinner above, with the addition of a family-style farm meal.

In general we will curate and make available a best of offering from local farms and our very own farmers market. This will be incorporated both daily and support our “Family Night” offering.


Comments(8):

In Chappaqua Xing public hearing, Board members try to get a handle on size and traffic levers

Developer’s litigator says time’s up, Whole Foods will walk, SG will sue
With 100 comments since publication
Saturday, November 1, 2014
by Christine Yeres

In last Tuesday’s public hearing on Chappaqua Crossing, a Whole Foods representative testified that a total of 120,000 square feet of retail—40,000 of which would be Whole Foods’ part—is the number its corporate office likes. And a new memo on traffic from the Summit Greenfield says that to reduce the 120,000 square feet would violate the terms of its conditional lease with Whole Foods. Yet Town Board members seemed still to be trying to find a way to work the amount-of-retail-square-footage and volume-of-traffic levers to find a formula that all parties can live with.  And all three parties—Town Board, Summit Greenfield and Whole Foods—want the matter decided by end-of-year.

After public comments, Summit Greenfield’s counsel introduced the developer’s lead Fried Frank litigator, who warned that not only would Whole Foods walk, but that the lawsuits against the town—suspended by a settlement in 2012—would resume if the retail zoning is not approved in what remains of 2014.

Town Board member Lisa Katz bristled at what she interpreted as the threat of a lawsuit by Summit Greenfield’s litigation attorney and pressed him to discover from his client by what amount the 120,000 square foot figure for retail originally proposed in the draft zoning—and still subject to change by the Town Board—could be reduced to reach a compromise.

Next Steps in the Process

According to Town Board counsel Nick Ward-Willis, “if the Town Board were to consider this project,” after the environmental analysis it would first amend the Town Development Plan to allow retail, then adopt a “retail local law” adding “retail” to the list of permitted uses in the zone, then approve the “preliminary development concept plan” or PDCP (—the Planning Board has asked that the Town Board officially share its review of the PDCP with the Planning Board—) and, lastly, the Planning Board would hold public hearings on approval of the final site plan.  The zoning amendment that would permit retail use does just that—make retail a permitted use on the property.  How much retail square footage and where buildings would be located, and their number and size are decided in the PDCP stage.

Although at the end of the public hearing on Tuesday the Town Board closed public comment on the amendments, the remaining hearing subjects (minor alterations to the approved residential portion of the site were approved) are continued until November 18.  Between now and then the Board expects to make changes to the drafts of each and attempt to make its decision on whether to permit retail at Chappaqua Crossing by year’s end.

The Public Hearing of October 28, 2014

An account of the meeting follows; the 3-hour and 47-minute video is embedded below it. Early on in the video is AKRF’s presentation of its “competitive effects” report.

AKRF Report on Competitive Effects on the Hamlet

Tuesday’s public hearing on a zoning change for Chappaqua Crossing began with a presentation by the firm that analyzed “the competitive effects” of retail at Chappaqua Crossing on the downtown hamlet, maintaining that the two retail centers can coexist.

Whole Foods is concerned about delays

Next, Mark Mobley, Whole Foods’ northeast region executive construction coordinator, told Board members that the company has “looked for years for a location up here.”

“Four years ago,” Mobley continued, “when Felix [Charney of Summit Greenfield] came to us we looked at the old Reader’s Digest building and determined it wouldn’t work for us.  A main shopping center is better for us.”  Whole Foods’ ” real estate board required that we be out in the shopping center in a critical mass of retail,” said Mobley, and the company “would like to be part of the community, bringing a healthy lifestyle” and working “with the schools and hospital.” 

Whole Foods was “concerned with all the delays,” said Mobley. “We’d like to get it done as soon as possible.”  If approval isn’t forthcoming by the end of the year, said Mobley, “we will consider moving on.”

Whole Foods, he said, “likes the location and the mix of tenants, which is very successful at Kings Crossing [Fairfield, CT].”

“We like the size of this center [at Chappaqua Crossing] because there’s not a lot of retail around it.”

“What’s the minimum [you feel you need]?” asked Lisa Katz.

“It’s what the real estate committee approves,” said Mobley.

“And you said there was a December 31 deadline.  After that date Whole Foods will no longer be interested?” asked Katz.

Mobley responded that Whole Foods would “consider moving on” after December 31.

Comparison between intersection at Rt. 128 and 117 with Roaring Brook Road and 117

Superintendent Rob Greenstein had asked traffic experts to analyze traffic conditions at Rt. 128 and 117, “because it has turning lanes both north and south, surrounded by commercial” and seemed to work well.  The results: Roaring Brook Road and Rt. 117 intersection “would be similar.”

TB member Adam Brodsky asks Whole Foods rep for rationale for 120,000 square feet

“Large format versus small format,” Town Board member Adam Brodsky asked, “—take the hamlet out of the equation for the moment—in your experience, what’s the best recipe to make the shopping center a success?”

“Each one is different,” said Mobley. “When you’re in another area with a lot of retail you’re feeding off each other shopping centers.  We originally wanted more retail.  This is probably about the smallest it can be.”

“My question,” said Brodsky, ” is if there’s 80,000 or 60,000 square feet [in addition to the 40,000 square foot Whole Foods and 25,000 square foot gym] what is Whole Foods’ preference?  For six 10,000 square foot [stores]?”

“Probably a mix,” said Mobley.  “A lot of retail in centers we’re in is 1,500 to 5,000 square feet and it works well… There are some up to 10,000 square feet. There’s no set formula to it.”

What makes Whole Foods think it can be successful, asked Brodsky, on a property “with no frontage on a road”?

“We’re not your typical grocery store. We do a lot of demographic research,” said Mobley.  “In this area we’ve been requested heavily for years by people that want us.  We have a good following.  We’re a totally different market than ShopRite or Stop-and-Shop.  People drive 30 minutes for a Whole Foods.  This is a part of Westchester we want to be in.” 

“In my day job I do similar things to what you do,” said Brodsky.  “When we look at projects we have a rationale.  Obviously, you might like a million square feet.  How did you get to “120… it’s got to be 120”—Why not 110,00 or 119,000?  Why 120,000?”

“That’s all taken care of in Austin [Texas] in the real estate committee,” said Mobley. “I just build them and design them.”

“That doesn’t answer our question,” said Katz.

“What does the additional 80,000 do that the 60,000 [in addition to the 40,000 Whole Foods] wouldn’t do?” asked Brodsky.

“The more retail, the more people you bring in,” said Mobley.  “It plays well between the small shops and us.  If we were up there by ourselves it wouldn’t be good.  There’s a synergy going on from other retailers.”

“Yes,” said Brodsky, “that’s why it’s called an ‘anchor’ and ‘symbiotic.’  That’s crystal clear.  What’s the magic number that gets you the synergy but at the same time reduces the impact on the community?  Everything in politics is about compromise. That’s where I’m coming from.”

Effects on existing retail, character of the town

“Part of this debate has to do with our downtown,” said Supervisor Rob Greenstein.  “A lot of our downtown merchants are struggling.  Have you opened a Whole Foods where people are concerned about their downtown?”  How do we make it a win-win? he asked.

Mobley’s example was the Whole Foods in Manhattan, at Union Square.  The green market that operates there was at first fearful that the presence of Whole Foods would harm it.  But the opposite happened, Mobley said.  The green market “had actually grown.” He cited Darien, CT— with Whole Foods on the outskirts of the downtown—as another “win-win situation.”

“Northern Westchester is more bucolic than Manhattan and Yonkers,” said Katz.  “We’re asking these questions because Whole Foods wants to come into the middle of a residential neighborhood. It’s not the same as putting it in a major downtown center.  This is going to change the whole character of the neighborhood.  So this is not a small ask.  We want to know how we can make it a win-win for everybody.  Just to say ‘120,000 square feet’—we’re trying to figure out whether this can fit into the character of our town.”

“Have you had experience,” Greenstein asked Mobley, “building a Whole Foods in a residential neighborhood?”

“We have on going in in New Jersey—a small shopping center [in Closter, NJ] that’s being renovated and added on to—that’s going into [a residential neighborhood].  Probably about 130,000 or 140,000 square feet.  It’s pretty much in a residential neighborhood.  But there’s no other retail in the neighborhood and, like AKRF said, people are driving off to other various [locations] in Bergen County, spending their dollars elsewhere.  We would not come into this area if we didn’t have a critical mass around us in order to bring other people into the area to shop.  It just doesn’t work economically. ” 

“I think what’s going to happen,” said Mobley, “is people who come here are also going to shop downtown, because they’re in the neighborhood ‘cause there’s no place else to shop in this part of the world, and it’s going to be a win-win situation for both [retail] areas.”

Public Comment, during which Board members also commented frequently

Hedy Simpson

Simpson asked how often trucks, which are unable to access the site from the Saw Mill Parkway, entering from Bedford Road across from Annandale Road will make deliveries to retail at Chappaqua Crossing.  A traffic light at the Bedford Road entrance would likely not be approved, the Board has learned, since Annandale Road is already so close to a traffic signal at Roaring Brook Road.

Mobley explained that “not more than two 18-wheelers per day,” would enter the site, “perhaps three at holiday times,” for which Whole Foods manages the logistics.  UPS and FedEx are more common carriers for other retailers.

Felix Charney of Summit Greenfield responded, “this is hypothetical,” since Summit Greenfield doesn’t have leases with stores other than Whole Foods’ conditional lease—“We were originally invited to this process and were asked to get Whole Foods interested,” he reminded Board members—“but the smaller the store, the smaller the truck. I would suspect the only 18-wheelers would be Whole Foods.” He added,

Danny Gladstone

“I’ve argued all along that there’s a business side to this that the Board hasn’t been looking at,” said Gladstone. “What traffic, rents, dollars per square foot are required, he asked, for the developer to be successful? 

“And was the Jersey center put into a residential neighborhood with $2 million homes?” asked Gladstone.

“Someone could argue too,” said Greenstein, “that the retail is being put next to 600,000 square feet of office, across from a high school, next to the Saw Mill Parkway, next to Route 117, which is a major state road ....”

“But we didn’t calculate when talking about tax revenues,” said Gladstone, “what the tax mitigations for all the homeowners will be.  Where’s the offset? We’ve only looked at one side.”

“In this region [—NY, CT, NJ—] we have not closed any stores due to being unsuccessful,” said Mobley.

Reduction in size of retail

Lynne Lambert

Lambert continued on the trail of the traffic numbers, asking Town Board members to confirm that they had seen the numbers both they and the Planning Board had asked Summit Greenfield’s traffic experts to supply: Traffic for Chappaqua Crossing if the retail space were reduced by 25% and by 50%. “You’ve seen those numbers, right?” she asked Board members.  The Board’s counsel answered for them, referring Lambert to documents published on the Town website.  One of the documents is a response from Summit Greenfield’s counsel, a letter of September 18, 2014 stating that such a reduction “will not improve the level-of-service at those intersections,”  and adding further that, “such reductions in retail space would violate the terms of the lease” between the developer and “its conditional tenant, Whole Foods.”

More traffic because of Whole Foods “regional draw”?

“By Whole Foods’ admission,” said Brodsky, “this is a regional center with a regional draw. 
A center drawing from the larger regional area.  On that basis the question is if you’re drawing from a larger region, a more affluent customer base, will more traffic be generated?” 

“The Darien, CT store draws less traffic than we had predicted,” said Summit Greenfield’s traffic expert, John Collins.  The same was true for the A&P and Target in Mt. Kisco, he said.  “We likely overestimated the traffic numbers.”

“What you have acknowledged to the Board is that this center will generate tremendous traffic to this area,” said Brodsky. “Otherwise it won’t be successful.  And the roadway [mitigations] will make it better, but not perfect.”

“It does generate traffic,” said Collins.  “It would be crazy to say it doesn’t.  That traffic is impactful on the roadways, there are intersections identified as needing improvement.  Those improvements have been done [changes have been suggested to DOT] to the maximum extent possible.  That that will improve the operation and also improve the existing operation, especially the intersection of 117 and Roaring Brook Road.  I never said there would be no traffic, because if you had no traffic you’d have no [shopping] center.”

Roger Klepper

Earlier in the evening, Jason Chapin had elicited information from Summit Greenfield’s traffic consultant John Collins that Collins has stated before: That in the cases of both Whole Foods in Darien, CT and the A&P / Target shopping center in Mt. Kisco, Collins’ projected traffic numbers had, in the end, come in lower than predicted.

In public comment, Roger Klepper addressed the over-estimates by Collins.  “Before we make any inferences about whether the traffic will be more or less than what they’re projecting,” said Klepper, “there isn’t any explanation.  So unless you can understand the specific of those projects, merely presenting the fact that the traffic was less-than-expected is meaningless. You’d have to be able to say ‘OK, those things that made it less—would we expect them to be applicable to our project?’”

“The traffic analysis,” continued Klepper, left him with “something unsatisfactory.”  He described for Board members what should have been a routine Saturday trip for him through town—but it was during Community Day, when he realized what “traffic” means “when it becomes something you have to plan around.”

Klepper noted, he said, that the traffic comparisons were based on fully utilized office space.  In looking over the traffic data, “what jumped out to me was ‘weekday peak a.m. highway hour”—which gives 859 as the number of vehicles.  That’s roughly the level of traffic we’re talking about at all times the stores are open.  That’s something we need to consider.  Once the genie’s out of the bottle, it’s out…  When you think about questions of whether 120,000 square feet is the right amount, this is what’s at stake.  I think it’s a quality of life thing for our town.  It would be great to have Whole Foods there, but we need to make sure what it means in terms of the town.”

To this comment, Greenstein suggested Klepper consider a comparison with the intersection at 117 and 128 [at Lexington Avenue]

“That’s a much larger intersection,” said Katz. 

Greenstein said he had asked the traffic experts about the 117 and 128 intersection and they confirmed, he said, that turning lanes and traffic volume there are comparable to the intersection of Route 117 and Roaring Brook Road. 

“No one disputes that there’s going to be traffic,” said Brodsky. “One of the decisions we’re going to have to make as a Board is whether the benefit of this development outweighs the impacts to the community.”

Bobby Wang

New to town, Wang’s house is located at the high school entrance.  Since the developer owns all the property along the north side of Roaring Brook Road, he suggested, can the developer use his own property as access into the shopping center? 

Rita Tobin

Tobin asked whether alterations to Route 117 would require the taking of private property?  Either the applicant owns the property needed or the property needed for the alterations is in the right-of-way, said the Board’s counsel, Nick Ward-Willis.  The cost of the alterations would be paid for by the applicant.  The developer would have to have a work permit from the Department of Transportation for such work before any building permit is issued.

Bob Lewis

“The applicant cannot propose a mitigation [for traffic] that is a solution,” said Lewis.  “I do see impacts that are not yet being addressed.  AKRF asked whether Chappaqua Crossing, as proposed, would constitute a third hamlet.  Their answer was No.  Why is that question important? Who cares whether it’s called hamlet?  We seem to want more intense development [for the Chappaqua Crossing property].  Even I can see why my wonderful residential neighborhood may have lived its useful life. And we just have to accept the fact that we don’t live here anymore.  If you decide you want development in this neighborhood, it’s your decision.  AKRF seemed to say that [retail at] Chappaqua Crossing would not hurt business in the Chappaqua hamlet. I think the argument was that there is no anchor store in the hamlet that would suffer from competition; but in the same AKRF report said that every commercial center profits from an anchor store.”

“I thought AKRF was trying to say that because there’s no anchor store in Chappaqua,” said Greenstein, “the risk to downtown Chappaqua is reduced.”

“Sounds to me that you’re creating a competitive situation,” said Lewis, “that will make it harder to develop the downtown.”

“AKRF also said that regardless of what happens at Chappaqua Crossing, there are things that have to be done for downtown Chappaqua,” noted Greenstein.  “I would hope that this may motivate some people who for whatever reason have been reluctant to do in downtown Chappaqua the things we paid hundreds of thousands of dollars to consultants to hear.  This will hopefully be the motivation we need to do it.”

“The Planning Board has made a pitch to be included in the PDCP [preliminary development concept plan] approval process,” said Lewis.  “I think they would contribute a lot and that that’s the kind of scrutiny that’s required.  Their written comments have been great—especially their ‘traditional neighborhood design’ comments, but I’m a little sad they haven’t applied those principles to the broader neighborhood.  I wonder if there’s some way we can expand this conversation—without necessarily further burdening the applicant—to develop the area, but utilize some of the principles the Planning Board talks about.”

Greenstein assured Lewis that although some people would inevitably be affected more than others by the proposed retail, the Board would attempt to mitigate those effects.  Chapin told Lewis to make his suggestions known to Board members so that they can be considered in the PDCP stage of approval.

Katz suggested that rather than consider rezoning his neighborhood for commercial development Lewis might concentrate instead on procuring more of a buffer for the homes along Roaring Brook Road. 

“Send the Board your ideas and we’ll try to integrate them,” Brodsky told Lewis.  “This is the moment.”

Betty Weitz

Weitz asked whether, if the retail project is conditioned on approval of the roadway alterations by the Department of Transportation, the retail zoning would remain. Ward-Willis explained that “the town needs to change the zoning to permit retail, the retail use would then be approved through the PDCP [preliminary development concept plan], the site plan approval that follows requires approval from DOT before any building permit is issued.” If the proposed project is not approved, the retail zoning would remain on the books perhaps for another retail development one day—a smaller retail development that wouldn’t require the roadway changes.

Weitz urged Board members to wait for Master Plan outreach before making any decision on the retail zoning.  She read from a June 13, 2013 letter written by Greenstein before his election, in which he asked, “Why is the town undertaking the review and updating of its Master Plan if they’re not going to use it as they consider a project that could forever change the character of New Castle?” and advocated for a moratorium.  She reminded Greenstein that the Findings of 2013 were a tool to help decide whether to approve the retail proposal, not a commitment to do so.

Austin Tobin

Tobin suggested that the Board require financial figures from Whole Foods’ other stores to calculate what its traffic volumes would be for Whole Foods at Chappaqua Crossing.

Cory Stevens

Stevens, “a previous resident of Chappaqua” and now a nanny for three years here, was critical of the Board’s no-time-limits on comments and found that many people made the same negative statements over and over. She read from a device, “It leaves the people who are all for a Whole Foods—like me and the family I work for—fearful to step forward.  The family I work for are all for Whole Foods along with other families they’re friends with in Chappaqua and families I’ve encountered through playdates.  But they’re afraid that the people from Cowdin Lane or Christine of the Daily Voice are going to ridicule or stone them.  I hope when you make your decision you keep that in mind, that Cowdin Lane is but one street out of many in Chappaqua and I think if you went door-to-door or sent out a letter you’d be surprised at the positive response you get.”

Philip Werbel

Werbel told Board members that the claim by residents that the proposed shopping center is “a regional center” is inaccurate.  And their complaint that it would be “smack-dab in the middle of a residential neighborhood” is inconsistent with the location of the so-called neighborhood—“bound by a railroad track and a school campus and a major road.  Now if they were going to build it at the Mt. Kisco Country Club, that’s smack-dab in the middle of a residential neighborhood.”

He told Board members that he believed that the Chappaqua Crossing proposal had been “vetted up the wazoo” and that calls for master planning were “a pretext to delay this forever.”

“We absolutely need [retail at Chappaqua Crossing],” said Werbel.  “The downtown is dead.  Now it’s your job to bring [the downtown] up.  And I’m sure you are.  On a personal level, I go to the Whole Foods in White Plains, but I don’t want to go to White Plains anymore.  I go to the one in Portchester. It’s fabulous. I can’t believe it. Anyone who doesn’t go there, you’re making a mistake. I live near Armonk.  I never shop in Chappaqua.  Never. I go to Decicco’s, I go everywhere.  The Armonk model is a success. Take advantage of it.  Make the downtown beautiful.”

Chuck Napoli

“So here it is,” said Napoli. “We have a business plan for something and [imagine] it’s time to do the executive summary.  What I’m asking you [Board members to do] is present for us an executive summary in your own words of what the benefit to the town is after all this work has been done.  It’s a business plan and it’s going to tell us what the benefits are.  [That executive summary contains] sort of the reason to change the zoning and it should show up as some kind of statement.  Before this gets done I hope you put it in a statement saying, ‘This is the benefit to the town….’”

Summit Greenfield’s counsel wraps up, introduces its lead litigator to provide advice to the Town Board

Summit Greenfield’s counsel John Marwell reminded Board members that to view traffic increases in terms of percentages is misleading, that the property is zoned for commercial activity and that two previous Boards had found that “the inconvenience of additional traffic is outweighed by the benefits of the proposed project.” 

Marwell introduced Howard Stahl of Fried Frank, Summit Greenfield’s litigation counsel, to outline where the applicant “would like to see the project” by the end of this year. 

Stahl began by noting that many property owners had expressed their views of the retail proposal and how it may affect them, “as they have every right to do.” But, he continued, “I want to talk to you about another property owner who pays more taxes than any other property owner in Chappaqua, who is now in the tenth year of trying to obtain some zoning for this site.  They’ve gone through four different boards, three or four different supervisors—every one of which has had a different proposal for Summit Greenfield.” 

“You have an opportunity to settle this,” Stahl continued.  “And you’re right, Supervisor, that everyone won’t be satisfied. And a perfect compromise is where everyone is somewhat dissatisfied, some more than others.  The last group you need to pay money to is me—and him [pointing to the Town Board’s counsel]—and other people like us who will litigate this in the courts.”  Stahl told Board members of a case with “almost the identical fact-pattern as the last ten years in Chappaqua”—Sherman versus the Town of Chester—in which a developer had spent millions as the town “kept moving the goal posts”—that been settled in May in favor of the developer. 

Stahl reminded Board members that, as supervisor in 2012, Susan Carpenter had herself proposed that Summit Greenfield consider retail use at Chappaqua Crossing.  “When the zoning was finally approved for the limited number of residential units,” which the applicant believed was economically infeasible, Summit Greenfield’s litigation began.  And Carpenter, he said, had decided to settle the litigation by suggesting the retail use—and not “just a food store,” said Stahl, “but a Whole Foods… because every community wants a Whole Foods. It’s sort of iconic.  This is the only community I’ve heard of where there’s resistance to having a Whole Foods.” 

“I can’t believe there is a single topic that you all haven’t looked at,” said Stahl.  “It’s time now for a legal reason to make a decision.  You have to decide what you want to do.  I can’t force you to do the sensible thing—which is to settle this in a way your predecessors found it ought to be settled, with this [property] being used for retail purposes.  For a food store.  You don’t have a food store.”

Stahl told Board members that he had looked at 6:30 p.m. in downtown Chappaqua for dinner before the hearing.  “It was pathetic. I found a Dunkin Donuts we were going to eat at.  It had three stools.  And two people were on two of them. Next door was a pizza place.  There was nothing else there.  The array of stores next to it—the dry cleaner and the other stores?  They were all built in the 50s or something. They all looked like little bowling alleys.  I’ve heard all of these studies about ‘we need to study the impact of this retail on the downtown.’  Anything would help downtown.  And this [retail at Chappaqua Crossing] would certainly help the downtown.”

Returning to the settlement during Carpenter’s term as Supervisor, Stahl said that she had “asked us to stop” the pending lawsuits. The resulting settlement agreement at the end of 2012, he said, stated that if the zoning could be done within the next year, where retail would be permitted and a food store would come in—and it had to be Whole Foods—that would be the resolution of the litigation and it wouldn’t be refiled. 

[Editor’s Note: In the settlement, the lawsuits were suspended, and the town agreed to review the possibility of retail zoning for a portion of the site within a year’s time—not grant it within a year’s time.  If the Board decided not to rezone, Summit Greenfield would have the option of reopening the lawsuits.  As part of the settlement Summit Greenfield also paid hundreds of thousands of dollars in fees it owed the town.  Carpenter’s pressing for Whole Foods was a part of a strategy of “adaptive reuse”—to use existing office space to house the retail.  A Whole Foods, the thinking went, would have draw enough to be placed in a location without frontage to the street and yet have customers find it. Since that proposal, 120,000 square feet of retail in new construction has been proposed by Summit Greenfield.]

“And then you were elected,” said Stahl, continuing with his history and addressing Greenstein, “and we had to basically start over.  And you had every right to want to know all about this.” 

“We are now a year later,” continued Stahl.  The end of the tolling period [the pause in the litigation] is the end of this year.  And you not only have to worry about Whole Foods leaving at the end of this year—they believe they have other things to do than go through this endlessly, when there are other places that want them—but our litigation either has to be commenced and finalized or settled.”

“Do your deliberations, you considerations, issue your reports, read your reports—it’s got to be done by the end of the year.  That’s the end of the tolling agreement.  After that, you’re back wasting millions of dollars.  And if you lose, if you lose you will have these folks who are opponents of the development thrilled with you because you will own—will have paid for—Chappaqua Crossing, because that’s what the litigation is about. That’s silly.  You need the tax revenue.  You get $3 million more a year [* see note, below] if you just do this development.  It’s been ten years and [Summit Greenfield] still has no valuable, useful zoning on that property.”  Stahl concluded, “It’s time to end it, one way or the other.” 

Katz told Stahl, “I, for one, am not going to make a decision that will affect this town forever based on the threat of litigation that—it’s my understanding—you were losing, and was dismissed.  You said that in a compromise everyone’s a little unhappy. I want to know,” said Katz, “what will make your client exceedingly unhappy but not unhappy enough to continue a lawsuit.”

“You’re there right now,” said Stahl.

“No, we’re not there,” said Katz, “because there’s been no compromise.  I want to know how unhappy they can be and not sue.”

“It’s ten years,” said Stahl.

“What I want to know if you’re asking us to negotiate and to settle this, what is that point where your client will be unhappy enough to settle…”

“You’re at it,” repeated Stahl.

“No.  I’m not talking about the time. I’m talking about the size,” said Katz.

“She’s talking about the square footage of the retail,” explained Greenfield to Stahl.

“What are the parameters of the project that can still get done,” said Katz, “where your client will not be happy, our town will not be happy and there will be no litigation?”

“We don’t have time to start over,” said Stahl.

“So you’re saying it’s not negotiable at all?” asked Katz.

Stahl responded that Summit Greenfield and the town had been negotiating for ten years.

“I cannot revisit [residential],” said Katz. “That’s been done.  [Residential] has been approved.  I’m talking about the project that’s currently before the Town Board, are you saying that you will not negotiate on behalf of your client to change the size [of the retail] at all?  That if [the retail zoning] is not approved exactly as written [in the draft zoning, at 120,000 square feet] you’re suing us—is that what you’re threatening?”

“We’ve already sued you,” said Stahl.

And you lost,” said Katz.  “Let’s not go there.  So you’re not willing to negotiate?”

“It’s been negotiated for ten years,” said Stahl.

“Not…this…project,” said Katz. “It has not been ten years. And I worked at Reader’s Digest when Summit Greenfield owned it and I was there when Reader’s Digest left. So I know full well that this has not been going on for ten years.”

“OK, how about the two years with Ms. Carpenter as the supervisor?” asked Stahl.

“Two years is not ten years,” said Katz. “And what I’m asking you is how can this particular project that is currently before the board be negotiated in a way that is acceptable and unacceptable to all parties?”

“It’s been negotiated for two years,” said Stahl.

“You’re talking like a lawyer,” ,” said Katz.  “You need to stop and talk like someone who wants to compromise. I’m not asking you for an answer now. You probably don’t have one.  You’re telling me that a compromise is when all sides are unhappy, but what you’re telling me is that your client is unwilling to be any less happy than they are right now. I know they’re upset that this has taken so long.  I can’t change that.  What I can do is vote to approve or disapprove this project, so I want to know how we’re going to figure out a compromise.”

Stahl advised Katz to read the Sherman versus the Town of Chester. “It’s pretty amazing,” said Stahl.  “It’s this case.”

“I’ve read it,” said Katz.

“You are the Board.  You are an extension and a follow-on to Ms. Carpenter and the prior Board where Mr. Chapin was a member,” said Stahl.  “It doesn’t start or stop when you get on of off the Board.  Summit Greenfield has been negotiating with this Board for over ten years.”

“I understand,” said Katz.  “But not on this project. And what I’m asking you is to sit down at the table and figure out what your client’s willing to give on.”

“So the answer is—to continue Lisa’s thought,” said Brodsky, “is that if you don’t want to give us an answer, then we’ll make the decision for you.  So we can either have a back and forth in a discussion about how we want to work as partners, or we can carry out our duty and make the decision on your behalf.”

“Whatever happens with the litigation happens,” said Greenstein.  “Hopefully it’s a win for everybody—for the community and for the developer.  I agree with you it’s time to make a decision and we’ll let the chips fall where they may.”

As the hearing ended and Stahl turned to leave, several Board members called after him that he hadn’t gone far enough in search of his dinner, that there were places in town he just didn’t know about.

Public comment closed; public hearing adjourned to November 18

The hearings on the zoning change, the Town Development Plan changes and the preliminary development concept plan will remain open—adjourned to November 18, 2014—Greenstein announced, since the Town Board will likely make alterations to the draft amendments in meetings between now and then.*[*Note: An earlier version of this article stated that public comment had ended; it has not.  So long as the public hearing remains open, members of the public may comment.]

________________

[* note:] “$3 million more a year” in tax revenues is calculated based on the complete occupancy and leasing of all the existing office buildings plus the retail space.  According to charts provided in 2012, the increment between a fully-leased Chappaqua Crossing with retail—and one without—is around $500,000.  More recently, the AKRF report assessed the economic benefit this way: The more stores, the more rent. 

To find NCNOW’s archived pieces on Chappaqua Crossing, click HERE.

 

Town of New Castle Board Meeting 10/28/14 from New Castle Media Center on Vimeo.


Comments(110):

Historical Society talk by Yulia Omelich on “Coco Chanel – Fashion Revolutionary”

Tuesday, November 4, 2014
~ from the New Castle Historical Society

On Wednesday, November 12 at 7:00 p.m., please join us at the Horace Greeley House, 100 King Street, for a talk, “Coco Chanel—Fashion Revolutionary,” by Yulia Omelich, owner of the COUTUREDossier boutique at 67 Bedford Road. Tickets are free, but space is limited, so you are advised to make your reservations early.

Madame Chanel was one of the most successful and influential women of the 20th century.  Her fashion legacy is recognizable worldwide and is as fresh and wearable today as it was when this hard-driving woman set out to change women’s lives through the clothes they wear.

Ms. Omelich has customers in Europe, South America, and cyberspace. Her background is in diplomacy and banking, as well as fashion.  She holds an MBA from American/Georgetown University in Washington, DC and a Master’s degree from Moscow State University of International Relations.

This event is sponsored by the New Castle Historical Society. The Society’s Museum, the Horace Greeley House is open for tours where visitors may view the historic home or one of the current exhibits:  Here Comes the Bride, Notable Neighbors in New Castle, and Hats Off.  Open hours are:  Tuesdays, Wednesdays, Thursdays, and Saturdays from 1 – 4 PM or by appointment at 914-238-4666.  For more information please view the Society’s website:  www.newcastlehs.org.


Comments(0):

New Castle Rec Department will run Election Day programs Tues. Nov. 4

Tuesday, October 28, 2014
~ from the Town of New Castle

With school out and the kids home, are you looking for something for them to do on November 4?  Then check out the Election Day programs being offered through the Recreation Department.

The following programs will be offered at the Community Center on Election Day:

• Jewelry & Beading Workshop with Melanie Rose from 10:00am - 12:00pm

• Pizza & Bingo from 12:00pm - 2:30pm

• “Get Crafty” art program from 2:30pm - 4:00pm

For more Election Day program details, click HERE.

Take advantage of all three programs as staff will be on hand to supervise your children throughout the day.


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NEW: Calling all ghosts and goblins, pirates and princesses!


Tuesday, October 28, 2014

The Town of New Castle and Kiwi Country Day Camp are proud to present “Downtown Chappaqua Halloween” on Friday, October 31st.  Residents are invited to trick-or-treat at your favorite local BOO-tiques.  This fun family event will feature lots of candy, a photo booth, fun characters & giveaways.

Streets will be open to traffic, so children must be accompanied by adults.


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SUNDAY, Nov. 2:  The Greeley All-Athlete Walkathon


Tuesday, October 28, 2014
~ from The Horace Greeley Athletic Community and Greeley Sports Boosters

Don’t just talk the talk…WALK THE WALK!!! The Sports Boosters, in conjunction with Greeley athletes from all sports and all seasons, are planning the first Horace Greeley Athlete Walkathon.  We’ll be stepping out on Sunday, November 2nd in memory of Gardner Marks, Class of 2008. Our community lost Gardner at age 23 from complications from Leukemia just two short years after his diagnosis.

Cancer is non-discriminating.

Gardner was a Greeley Athlete just like you. The walkathon is the perfect platform to raise both awareness and money in the fight against Pediatric/Adolescent Cancers, Spinal and brain tumors.

This year we will be making contributions to organizations that are right in our own backyard… PCRF-Kids (Pediatric Cancer Research Foundation) an organization devoted to raising money toward grants for cutting edge cancer/stem cell research, and Making Headway, an organization that provides essential care and support for the child, family and peers helping them through emotionally and physically difficult times outside of the medical world as well as research. Both organizations have a common vision…to bring hope and life saving treatments to kids battling cancer, and malignant spine and brain tumors.

Please click HERE to donate via the website!

All families and friends are welcome to walk with us on November 2nd!!!! Let’s shoot for 100% attendance from ALL teams.

Thank you.

The Horace Greeley Athletic Community and Greeley Sports Boosters


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Reminder to vote on November 4, and why we should vote YES on the redistricting proposal

League Logo
Tuesday, October 28, 2014
by Sheila Bernson and Jennifer Mebes Flagg
Co-Presidents of the League of Women Voters of New Castle

On October 23rd the League of Women Voters of New Castle held a combined Candidates’ Night and Redistricting Forum. A taping of the evening is available below, as well as links to information on three statewide ballot proposals we’ll be asked to vote on.

Below is the video of Candidates’ Night (which runs for around 1.5 hours) and the presentation on the Redistricting Proposal (which begins at the 1 hour 33 minute mark):

This November there are three statewide ballot questions. The ballot proposals are:

• Proposal 1: Constitutional Amendment on Redistricting

• Proposal 2: Permitting Electronic Distribution of State Legislative Bills

• Proposal 3: The Smart Schools Bond Act of 2014


The New York State League of Women Voters is urging voters to vote YES for Proposal 1.

See also: Proposal 1: Constitutional Amendment on Redistricting, NCNOW.org, 10/28/14.

A brief summary of each proposal with the pros and cons (if any) is available in the League’s 2014 Voters Guide Part II (click HERE for the Guide). Information about the proposals and the candidates can also be found at www.vote411.org.

To see this year’s ballot, click SAMPLE BALLOT

Please don’t forget to vote!


Comments(2):

Proposal 1: Constitutional Amendment on Redistricting

League Logo
Tuesday, October 28, 2014
by Mary Kirsch, League of Women Voters of New Castle, Voter Service Chair

The League of Women Voters of New York State believes that Proposal 1 represents progress and urges New Yorkers to vote Yes for Proposal 1 on November 4th.  Our reasoning is below.


What is redistricting all about?

The US Constitution mandates that every ten years, a census of the country be conducted and the results used to determine the number of persons in each US Congressional district. Since the total number of members of the House of Representatives has not changed, the number of people represented by each Congressperson must change.  This is called reapportionment.  After the census, the states are told how many representatives they are entitled to.  After every census, some states get fewer representatives and some get more, reflecting the shifting demographics of the country.  An analogous process happens at all levels of government.

Who does it?

The individual states have been given the power to draw the district boundaries for the new number of US Congressional Districts.  New York State, by its Constitution, also draws lines for State Senate and State Assembly Districts. (Westchester County Board of Legislators also redraws its lines after the census.) Presently, the state legislators themselves draw the lines for the Senate and Assembly districts and then they vote to adopt those lines.  The NYS Constitution states that such districts must be as nearly as possible equal in number, in as compact a form as practicable and consist of contiguous territory. It is a complicated process in that you need to consider other subdivisions such as county, town and city.  The basic building block is the Election District. New Castle is divided into 16 election districts: 14 of them in Congressional District 17 and two in Congressional District 18.

Why does it need reform?

Drawing district lines that contain nearly the same number of inhabitants and are contiguous can be done in many, many different ways.  Anyone can go to the NYS Board of Elections website and find out the number of voters registered for any party in any particular election district. In addition, the census data makes available other demographics like ethnic group, household income, education level, etc.  Most legislators are very aware of who their constituents are.  Therefore, in New York State, every ten years, the legislators make sure that lines are drawn so that they will have the best chance of retaining their seats.  It works: 97% of incumbent legislators in NYS were reelected in 2012.  This is in stark contrast to the poor image the Legislature has throughout the state.

Here are some examples of how line drawing can help an incumbent or a particular party:

1. There is a popular challenger making waves in your district.  You can draw the lines so that his/her house in not in your district anymore!
2. There is a group of citizens who share the same ethnicity or same property interests and you want to dilute their power.  You can draw the lines so that they are split among several different neighboring districts, making them a tiny minority (easily ignored) in several districts!
3. There is a geographical area that has almost the same number of voters in each party.  You can draw lines so that many people from Party A end up in one or a few districts so that the other districts are more likely to vote for Party B. 
4. Both political parties engage in this “rigging”.  In New York State, for decades the two parties have made a deal:  Democrats draw lines for the Assembly, Republicans draw lines for the Senate and nobody rocks the boat.

What reform is proposed for New York State?

Proposal 1 on the ballot this election day (November 4, 2014) is an amendment to the New York State Constitution that alters this process. 

• It establishes a 10-member commission that cannot include legislators, spouses of legislators, lobbyists, party officials, etc.  The commission will include four Republicans and four Democrats and two members that are not affiliated with either party.
• It includes specific anti-gerrymandering rules.
• It provides for a transparent process: lines and data must be available to the public in a timely manner and public hearings must be held throughout the state.
• Voting Rights Act provisions and protecting minority rights are incorporated in the amendment. 

How is it an improvement?

Even though the legislators themselves have the final vote, it will be much more difficult for the legislators to design districts in their favor. 
By the Constitution, district lines must be made public in a timely way, giving good government groups time to assess the fairness of the proposed lines.
The fact that the anti-gerrymandering provisions are in the Constitution makes it easier for citizens to sue to have the lines drawn fairly.

Is Proposal 1 perfect?

No.  Ideally, it would be better if the legislators had no say and the commission’s lines became law automatically.  But this process is a huge improvement.

Why not wait for perfect?

Look how close we came in 2012!  The Honorable Ed Koch’ nonpartisan reform group, NY Uprising, had gotten 350 candidates for the state legislature in the 2010 election to pledge to support independent redistricting, budget reform and ethics reform.  Of those candidates, 138 were elected to the legislature, representing a majority in each chamber.  (NY Uprising included the League of Women Voters, Citizen’s Union, Common Cause and NYPIRG.) But, when it came down to the crucial vote in March 2012, the legislators reneged and Governor Cuomo did not veto their gerrymandered districts as he had promised.  However, as a compromise the governor did get this amendment to reform the process for the next and subsequent redistrictings.  After all the pressure and publicity, this is as far as we got.  How can we think we will get farther at another point in the future? 

The League of Women Voters of New York State believes that Proposal 1 represents progress and urges New Yorkers to vote Yes for Proposal 1 on November 4th.


Comments(0):

Chamber of Commerce seeking 2015 President, Executive Director, committee members

October 28, 2014

The Chappaqua-Millwood Chamber of Commerce is actively seeking a President, Executive Director, and Board and committee members for 2015.  You do not have to be a merchant to serve.

Chamber founder, and current Town of New Castle Supervisor, stated “I started the chamber to help the merchants.  The mission was clear…...merchants support our community - our community must support our merchants.  We had lots of great community events.  We introduced a Shop Local campaign!  As Supervisor, I am still 100% committed to this mission, and the founding principles upon which the chamber was founded, and thrived.  I look forward to working with a new group of merchants &/or residents to “Growing Commerce, Connections & Community”, the motto of the chamber.

Candidates should email Solveig McShea @ .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)

if interested.

The deadline is November 15th for candidates!


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Town Board gets all its document-ducks in order for public hearing on Chappaqua Crossing


DOT and Collins traffic correspondence recently added
October 24, 2014
by Christine Yeres

In last Tuesday’s work session, in preparation for the public hearing on Chappaqua Crossing at 8:00 p.m. on Tuesday, October 28, Town Board counsel Nick Ward-Willis took Town Board members through not only the amendments that are the subjects of the hearing, but also the many documents that have been submitted by the applicant’s consultants, the town’s consultants, the County Planning Board and NYS Department of Transportation.  Below are links to many of them, some with summaries.

_______________________________________________

Proposed Rezoning Amendment to permit retail

Local law to Amend the Town Development Plan Map and Proposed Legislation to Allow Retail Uses in a Research and Office Business District
_______________________________________________

Traffic

Most recently, correspondence between NYS Department of Transportation and Summit Greenfield’s traffic consultant, John Collins, have been added to the town’s website.  At issue are the traffic mitigations Summit Greenfield has proposed.

Department of Transportation’s preliminary review of traffic analysis September 25, 2014

DOT asks for traffic forecast and analysis contemplating “estimated time of completion” plus ten years.  DOT questions the absence of “Synchro” information for Route 117 and Roaring Brook Road intersection; Synchro shows the intersection level-of-service as D and a level-of-service of F for the left-turn movement.  And DOT notes that further review of Synchro shows a level of service of F for “all 3 PROPOSED weekday scenarios provided” but are reported in the TIS [Traffic Impact Study] as level-of-service B and says, “Please clarify.”

Collins response to DOT comments October 16, 2014

• The State is reviewing the SDEIS and the 2013 Retail PDCP and is unaware of the recent data shared with the Town. That data established that the 2008 traffic volumes are representative of 2013 Existing Conditions. As a result the traffic projections in the SDEIS reflect a Future Forecast Year of 2020. Based on NYSDOT long term growth data which are lower that what was used in the SDEIS, the traffic projections would reflect a Future Forecast Year of 2025 and would satisfy the requested Estimated Time of Completion + 10 Year analysis (ETC + 10).

• As noted in the NYSDOT letter, the SDEIS Traffic Impact Study and SYNCHRO analysis indicates that the NYS Route 117/Roaring Brook Road intersection is
currently operating at or above capacity during peak periods with poor Levels of Service (LOS F) and high volume-to-capacity (v/c) ratios. With the roadway improvements noted in the SDEIS and identified in the Findings, an overall Level of Service “B” with improved volume-to-capacity (v/c) ratios will be experienced under the future Build Conditions. No further improvements would be needed at this intersection. The NYSDOT may have design details that could further improve operating conditions. These details are normal and associated with any Highway Work Permit.

• Also as part of the Highway Work Permit process, the NYSDOT requires a Priority Intersection Location Study (accident study) within the proposed improvement area to determine the effect of any improvements on operating and safety conditions. It should be noted that the type of improvements proposed will improve operating and safety conditions in the area.

Based on the above, no new information is needed to be submitted at this time to NYSDOT since the NYSDOT will not complete its review of a Highway Work Permit application prior to preliminary Site Plan Approval. After preliminary Site Plan Approval, the Estimated Time of Completion + 10 Year analysis and PIL Study will be submitted.
_______________________________________________

Elise Mottel no longer recused

Ethics Advisory Opinion In the Matter of Councilwoman Elise K. Motel

Ms. Mottel announced at last week’s Town Board meeting that the Ethics Committee had cleared her to participate in the Chappaqua Crossing deliberations.  She is no longer recused.
_______________________________________________

AKRF’s report on competitive effects of Chappaqua Crossing on Chappaqua Hamlet

AKRF 2014 Amended PDCP Competitive Effects Analysis

See “Long-awaited comments on Chappaqua Crossing traffic, store-size, competitive effects, revenue,” NCNOW.org, 10/21/14.
_______________________________________________

County wants more genuine mixed use

Westchester County Planning Board Letter of August 5, 2014

“As per our previous comments, we would prefer that the Office Park Retail Overlay zone be revised to permit both residential and retail uses so as to allow for a site plan that would create a true mixed-use development where residences are placed closer to (or above) stores and workplaces to create the efficiencies and synergies that occur in a mixed-use environment.”
_______________________________________________

Board of Architectural Review OKs
July 22, 2014 Board of Architectural Review of 2014 Amended PDCP

“The Board generally approved of the design of the buildings as submitted with the exception
of the rear (loading area) and left side of Whole Foods. The Board recommends that a review
of these areas and suggests that they have the same detailing and breaking down of mass that
the front of the building has.

Page A2 (Entry Elevation) that is tied to the rear service area in which the board is dissatisfied
with both elevations. The Boards suggestion is to add more articulation on the façade since
the entry way is facing the street for both the “Rear Elevation” and the “Left Elevation”,
breakdown the massing to accommodate the street front to make more attractive to the
passing.

Faux Village– The Board is satisfied

Retail– The Board is satisfied with the elevations

Fitness Building– The Board is satisfied

Editor’s Note:Unless there are newer drawings, Summit Greenfield’s renderings have so far shown elevations for proposed new buildings that are not recognizably Georgian.  The November 2013 Findings state, “Any new buildings shall be Georgian-style architecture compatible with the architecture of the Rotunda Building. The Town Architectural Review Board shall review and approve this aspect of any proposal in cooperation with the Town Planning Board.
_______________________________________________

Counsel for Summit Greenfield presses for zoning approvals

September 10, 2014 Letter from Applicant’s Attorney Shamberg, Marwell, Hollis, Andreycak, Ladilaw P.C.

SG’s attorney asks the TB to close the public hearings on October 28 and “the zoning approvals [...] must be approved immediately for Whole Foods to maintain its interest in the Site.”  The letter details the history of SG’s applications to the town and, beginning on p. 10, responds to a letter (below) from the attorney representing residents—neighboring Chappaqua Crossing—who make up the “Coalition for Reasonable Zoning.”
_______________________________________________

“Coalition for Reasonable Zoning” letter

June 23, 2014 Letter from Attorney for the Coalition for Reasonable Zoning

CRZ argues that in considering the rezoning for retail the Town Board is not constrained by the previous Town Board’s “Findings” of November 2013.
_______________________________________________

Town Planner proposes changes to parts of Town Development Plan inconsistent with retail use

TDP Amendments, Town Planner’s April 2, 2013 Memorandum and May 17, 2013 Planning Board Referral Memorandum

2013_Planning_Board_TDP_Amendments.pdf

Town Planner supports Planning Board’s “Traditional Neighborhood Design” standards

2013_Town_Planner_Proposed_Amendments.pdf

Town Planner’s rationale for amendments to the Town Development Plan

Amended_Town_Development_Plan_Policies_.pdf

What wording changes should be made to the Town Development Plan to make it consistent with permitting retail development at Chappaqua Crossing

_______________________________________________

Traffic

New Castle Traffic Consultant’s Review of 2014 Amended PDCP

Michael Galante recommends no changes to the traffic mitigation plan “based on moving the commercial buildings within the site itself.”  The 25,000 square foot gym, he says, will draw less traffic than the same amount of retail.
_______________________________________________

Planning Board Comments

Planning Board Referral Response re CC Legislation

“Planning Board recommends an approval process whereby both the Planning Board and Town Board approve the preliminary development concept plan”—rather than the Town Board alone approving it and leaving the Planning Board to handle “final site development plan.”  In addition to wetlands, steep slope and tree removal permits, the Planning Board “recommends that its report to the Town Board should include the relationship of the project to the community character of New Castle. The last sentence of this section refers to residents in the community. This should be further defined as the existing neighborhoods.”

Planning Board asks also for an analysis of the economic effects of retail at Chappaqua Crossing on the existing hamlets.  The AKRF report was generated in response to this request. 

Planning Board recommends that the “site plan shall incorporate Traditional Neighborhood Design (TND) principles and standards intended to diversify and integrate land uses within close proximity to each other, and provide for recreational and shopping needs of the community” and spells out those principles.

Planning Board recommends that the Town Board leave approval processes for signage and lighting to the appropriate advisory boards, rather than take the responsibility to themselves, as the legislation proposes.

The Planning Board recommends that “The Town Board and Planning Board should require that the owners’ agreement for integrated operation of the site shall be confirmed by written agreement, in a recordable form satisfactory to the Town Attorney. This should apply not only at the time when application for rezoning is made, but also to future applications, e.g., if additional parking is needed. [...]”

Additional requests by the Planning Board:

Clarify number of restaurants permitted, with a view to noise, odor and vermin control.

Define the “personal services”—that are not permitted—more specifically.

Planning Board Referral Response re CC Residential

Planning Board asks for detail on costs to the town associated with keeping the auditorium within the residential area.

Planning Board “recommends that a new parking accumulation study be undertaken for the entire site that takes into account the new and expanded uses proposed for the site including, but not limited to, the gym, several restaurants, and the 5,000-square-foot mezzanine area of Whole Foods, as well as the auditorium.”

Planning Board Referral Response re Modify the Boundaries of the Mapped MFPD

Planning Board approves a “de minimis modification of the northern boundary of the [multifamily planned development, 111 residential units].”

Planning Board Referral Response re Retail PDCP

“Adaptive reuse of existing buildings at Chappaqua Crossing has been a primary planning objective from the inception of the proposal for retail development on the property. As an alternative to adaptive reuse of the existing buildings, a proposal advancing Traditional Neighborhood Design (TND) principles and standards was explored. The Planning Board reiterates its recommendation that TND principles and standards be incorporated into any preliminary development concept plan for Chappaqua Crossing. To date the Applicant has not presented a true TND proposal. In the absence of a true TND proposal, the Planning Board recommends that adaptive reuse of the existing buildings remain a primary feature of any preliminary development concept plan for retail development at Chappaqua Crossing.”

Town Board of New Castle Work Session 10/21/14 from New Castle Media Center on Vimeo.


Comments(57):

Opening for part-time position as Town Information Officer

Saturday, November 1, 2014
~ from the Town of New Castle

The position is responsible for all areas of public relations, including serving as the Town’s Public Information Officer. In addition, the position is responsible for the maintenance of the Town’s various social media outlets, including its Facebook page.

The successful candidate will have a broad range of experiences in public relations and the use of social media; will be detail oriented and will make it a priority to develop positive relationships with Town staff, volunteers, contractors and the general public. The Public Information Office provides an ongoing information program to citizens about their town government’s policies, services and activities.

The Public Information Office is responsible for the following tasks:

Answer requests for information and assistance
Create content and edit contributions to our weekly newsletter.
Tape work sessions- follow and understand the topics being discussed
Assist local clubs, schools and other organizations in publicizing their community service and fundraising projects.
Support the efforts of all town departments to communicate more effectively with the public
Manage the Town’s various communication tools including social media, community alerts and web site
Provide an effective public information and communication link between the Township government and its citizens through publications, news releases, oral and written presentations, cable television and other mass media.
Facilitate an accurate and consistent flow of information regarding government issues, programs and services to the community.
Maintain the town’s credibility with citizens and the news media by providing complete and accurate information, and to promoting Town of New Castle as an outstanding community in which to live and work.
Serve as a liaison to media on behalf of the Town of New Castle.
Coordinate community outreach and awareness campaigns.

Compensation: $25/hr with a max of 17.5 hours per week.


Comments(2):

Fifth Annual Chappaqua Spelling Bee at 7:00 p.m. Monday, November 10


Tuesday, November 4, 2014
by Eleanor Sadik-Khan, SHARE Executive

S.H.A.R.E., or Students Have A Responsibility Everywhere, the umbrella volunteer organization at Horace Greeley High School, invites you to its fifth annual Spelling Bee, a fun fund-raiser for the Horace Greeley Scholarship Fund.

A popular event for the whole Chappaqua community, the Bee raises both funds and awareness for the Horace Greeley Scholarship Fund. Many people in the community are unaware of the impact the Scholarship Fund has for Greeley grads by helping them meet the cost of college tuition.

In years past, the HGSF has not always been able to meet 100% of the students’ needs in paying for college. Each year grant applications to the HGSF reveal just how deeply some of our neighbors here in Chappaqua are struggling to meet basic needs let alone pay for a child’s college education and each year the HGSF has funds available to meet less than 40% of the demonstrated need.

Last year the Spelling Bee raised over $17,000, all of which was used to fund grants to Greeley grads.  S.H.A.R.E. and the HGSF hope to continue to help the community through the F-U-N of the Spelling Bee!

The format for the Bee

Within five groupings (teachers, adults, high school students, high school seniors, and middle school students), three-person teams spell their way to the final round, where a winner is declared.

The format for the Greeley Bee is somewhat different from a traditional Bee, where individuals compete and each spells a different word. At the Greeley Bee, every team will spell the same word as all other teams in their preliminary round.

Each team of three members will sit together at a table, discuss the spelling of the word and write their answer on a white board, which they will hold up when asked to by the moderator. The words and definitions will be projected behind the teams for the audience to see after everyone has put their boards up.

In between rounds, expect entertainment from the Enchords, an a cappella group at Greeley, and student music groups. Also be on the lookout for those competing in the costume contest, the winners of which take home their own prizes. Every team is encouraged to dress to impress – the competition is fierce, so bring your spelling skills AND your best costume!

There will be six to eight preliminary rounds, and the winning teams from each will move on to a playoff round. So, come and reclaim your title, be crowned the new champ or hone your dusty skills. Young or older, this night is always one to remember!


Comments(0):

NEW: “P-I-E!”—New Castle’s FALL FESTIVAL Apple Pie Contest


SATURDAY 8:30 am to 1:00 pm @ the Chappaqua Train Station
And visit our costume exchange tent!
Bring in your apple pies by 10:30 a.m.
October 24, 2013
by Pascale LeDraoulec

“PIE!”  Just saying it out loud makes you smile, doesn’t it?  “Although the Egyptians first imagined it and the British brought it across the Atlantic, pie – the sweet staple of pioneers – is the quintessential American dessert . . .

. . . There isn’t a state in the union that doesn’t boast a signature pie, from Georgia peach to Florida Key lime to Pennsylvania shoofly. Pie transcends all lines of race, color and class. A rhubarb pie feels as much at home in a blue-collar diner in Flint, Michigan as it does in a lacy autumn inn in Vermont. And while no two Americans bake their pie exactly in the same way, most would agree that nothing screams USA better than a wedge of apple pie served warm on a plate. “

“American Pie: Slices of Life (and pie) from America’s Back Roads”/Pascale Le Draoulec

In honor of the New Castle Fall Festival we are so excited to host our first annual APPLE PIE CONTEST at the farmer’s market. No need to pre-register just bring your pie – 100% homemade – to the market tent by 10:30 a.m. on Saturday and we will take it from there.

Nervous about making your own crust? You won’t be the first. Here’s a tip I learned from expert pie bakers of all ages when I drove across America for “American Pie:” Make sure all of your ingredients – your butter and even your bowl are COLD when you start. And, don’t over-work your dough. Also – no texting or talking on the phone while making pie. Take your time and enjoy the process. And, if you can, make it with someone you love. We encourage group efforts…

We are so pleased that our judges are: Beth Sovern, Family and Consumer Science Teacher at Bell and Helen Harrison, ESL Teacher at Bell at Seven Bridges and Horace Greeley.

May the best baker win!

For our list of vendors this week, click HERE.

And, if your sweet tooth leans more toward chocolate than pie, you’ll be happy to know that Luxx Chocolate is back this week.

Bombay Emerald Chutney is also here for their monthly visit: their pomegranate chutney is such a treat on sautéed potatoes. And I won’t think of eating a lamb burger that isn’t topped with a dollop of their mint chutney. Chatham Brewing Co. pays us a visit this week so stock up on hard ciders for your Halloween party.

Don’t forget to pick up a Halloween costume from our “take it or leave it COSTUME TENT.”

See you at the Market!

Pascale Le Draoulec
food writer/ farmer’s market director
author: “American Pie:Slices of Life (and Pie) from America’s Back Roads” (HarperCollins)


Comments(0):

New Castle’s FALL FESTIVAL Pie Contest Saturday, October 25


Tuesday, October 21, 2014
~ from Chappaqua Farmers Market

New Castle’s FALL FESTIVAL on Saturday, October 25th includes an Apple Pie Contest.  Entries must be submitted by 10:30 a.m. October 25 at the market tent with an index card with your name, phone number and email address on one side and your recipe/ingredient list on the other. Pies must be made entirely from scratch…

Our Pie Judges

Beth Sovern is the Family & Consumer Sciences teacher at Bell; as part of the FACS curriculum, Beth teaches all 6th, 7th & 8th grade students to cook. Helen Harrison teaches ESL at Bell, Seven Bridges and Greeley. Both are long-time Chappaqua residents and avid bakers.

After the contest/judging, there will be an opportunity for members of the public to taste the pies themselves!


Comments(0):

New Castle’s Best-Kept Secret Garden: Autumn at Rocky Hills


Tuesday, October 21, 2011
~ from the Friends of Rocky Hills

Although this fall foliage excursion is right in our own backyard, it’s a world apart!  This Saturday, October 25, from noon to 4:00 p.m., New Castle’s best-kept-secret garden opens to give the public one of only two chances yearly to peek at its living, breathing palette of colors and textures—this time, Rocky Hills in autumn.

Rocky Hills—The Garden of William and Henriette Suhr
Saturday, October 25
12:00 pm to 4:00 pm
95 Old Roaring Brook Road
$5 per person; children 12 & under free

The Garden Conservancy

Preserving America’s Exceptional Gardens

rocky hills

“Rocky Hills, the product of an old-world sense of stewardship and the patient artistry of Henriette Suhr”

At Rocky Hills, planting among the stone walls began some fifty years ago and continues to this day. You will find mature specimens of black walnut and ash, complemented by recent additions of weeping beech, dawn redwood, stewartia, dogwood, and an impressive collection of magnolia and conifers. Tree peonies and an extensive planting of rhododendrons and azaleas compete for attention with the carpet of bulbs throughout the thirteen acres. Most impressive in May and June are the forget-me-nots, which are allowed full freedom throughout the garden. Starting on the hillside meadow, clouds of perfect blue flowers appear among an ever expanding rock garden, through the hills and terraces, walls and paths, through fern woodlands, finding good company with self-sown primula along the natural brook that serves as the heart of the garden. Click here for more information on Rocky Hills as a Preservation Project of the Garden Conservancy.

I'm in the garden

Directions: From Saw Mill River Parkway, go north to Exit 33/Reader’s Digest Road. At traffic light, turn left, then make a sharp right onto Old Roaring Brook Road. Rocky Hills, #95, is 1 mile on right. Please park along Old Roaring Brook Road or Lawrence Farms Crossways as directed.

From Merritt Parkway/Route 15, go to I-287 West and exit at Saw Mill River Parkway North. Proceed as directed above.

From Taconic Parkway South take Route 100/Route 133 exit toward Briarcliff Manor/Millwood. Turn right onto Route 100/Route 133/Saw Mill River Road/Somerstown Turnpike. Turn right onto Station Road for a half mile and then turn right onto Millwood Road. Take a slight right onto Quaker Road for about 0.5 mile and then turn sharp left onto Seven Bridges Road. Turn right onto Lawrence Farms Crossway and left onto Old Roaring Brook Road to number 95.


Comments(0):

Chappaqua Crossing documents recently added to the town website

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Editor’s Note: Below is a list—and some brief descriptions—of recently-mounted documents in the town website’s “Land Use Applications” page. Each blue title opens directly to a pdf of the document.
_______________________________________________

Proposed Rezoning for Retail: Local law to Amend the Town Development Plan Map and Proposed Legislation to Allow Retail Uses in a Research and Office Business District
_______________________________________________

Traffic

Most recently, correspondence between NYS Department of Transportation and Summit Greenfield’s traffic consultant, John Collins, have been added to the town’s website.  At issue are the traffic mitigations Summit Greenfield has proposed.

Department of Transportation’s preliminary review of traffic analysis September 25, 2014

DOT asks for traffic forecast and analysis contemplating “estimated time of completion” plus ten years.  DOT questions the absence of “Synchro” information for Route 117 and Roaring Brook Road intersection; Synchro shows the intersection level-of-service as D and a level-of-service of F for the left-turn movement.  And DOT notes that further review of Synchro shows a level of service of F for “all 3 PROPOSED weekday scenarios provided” but are reported in the TIS [Traffic Impact Study] as level-of-service B and says, “Please clarify.”

Collins response to DOT comments October 16, 2014

• The State is reviewing the SDEIS and the 2013 Retail PDCP and is unaware of the recent data shared with the Town. That data established that the 2008 traffic volumes are representative of 2013 Existing Conditions. As a result the traffic projections in the SDEIS reflect a Future Forecast Year of 2020. Based on NYSDOT long term growth data which are lower that what was used in the SDEIS, the traffic projections would reflect a Future Forecast Year of 2025 and would satisfy the requested Estimated Time of Completion + 10 Year analysis (ETC + 10).

• As noted in the NYSDOT letter, the SDEIS Traffic Impact Study and SYNCHRO analysis indicates that the NYS Route 117/Roaring Brook Road intersection is
currently operating at or above capacity during peak periods with poor Levels of Service (LOS F) and high volume-to-capacity (v/c) ratios. With the roadway improvements noted in the SDEIS and identified in the Findings, an overall Level of Service “B” with improved volume-to-capacity (v/c) ratios will be experienced under the future Build Conditions. No further improvements would be needed at this intersection. The NYSDOT may have design details that could further improve operating conditions. These details are normal and associated with any Highway Work Permit.

• Also as part of the Highway Work Permit process, the NYSDOT requires a Priority Intersection Location Study (accident study) within the proposed improvement area to determine the effect of any improvements on operating and safety conditions. It should be noted that the type of improvements proposed will improve operating and safety conditions in the area.

Based on the above, no new information is needed to be submitted at this time to NYSDOT since the NYSDOT will not complete its review of a Highway Work Permit application prior to preliminary Site Plan Approval. After preliminary Site Plan Approval, the Estimated Time of Completion + 10 Year analysis and PIL Study will be submitted.
_______________________________________________

Ethics Advisory Opinion In the Matter of Councilwoman Elise K. Motel

Ms. Mottel announced at last week’s Town Board meeting that the Ethics Committee had cleared her to participate in the Chappaqua Crossing deliberations.  She is no longer recused.
_______________________________________________

AKRF 2014 Amended PDCP Competitive Effects Analysis

See “Long-awaited comments on Chappaqua Crossing traffic, store-size, competitive effects, revenue,” NCNOW.org, 10/21/14.
_______________________________________________

Westchester County Planning Board Letter of August 5, 2014

“As per our previous comments, we would prefer that the Office Park Retail Overlay zone be revised to permit both resiential and retail uses so as to allow for a site plan that would create a true mixed-use development where residences are placed closer to (or above) stores and workplaces to create the efficiencies and synergies that occur in a mixed-use environment.”
_______________________________________________

July 22, 2014 Board of Architectural Review of 2014 Amended PDCP

Editor’s Note:The BAR approves the Unless there are newer drawings, Summit Greenfield’s renderings have so far shown elevations for proposed new buildings that are not recognizably Georgian.  The November 2013 Findings state, “Any new buildings shall be Georgian-style architecture compatible with the architecture of the Rotunda Building. The Town Architectural Review Board shall review and approve this aspect of any proposal in cooperation with the Town Planning Board.
_______________________________________________

September 10, 2014 Letter from Applicant’s Attorney Shamberg, Marwell, Hollis, Andreycak, Ladilaw P.C.

SG’s attorney asks the TB to close the public hearings on October 28 and “the zoning approvals [...] must be approved immediately for Whole Foods to maintain its interest in the Site.”  The letter details the history of SG’s applications to the town and, beginning on p. 10, responds to a letter (below) from the attorney representing residents—neighboring Chappaqua Crossing—who make up the “Coalition for Reasonable Zoning.”
_______________________________________________

June 23, 2014 Letter from Attorney for the Coalition for Reasonable Zoning

CRZ argues that in considering the rezoning for retail the Town Board is not constrained by the previous Town Board’s “Findings” of November 2013.
_______________________________________________

TDP Amendments, Town Planner’s April 2, 2013 Memorandum and May 17, 2013 Planning Board Referral Memorandum

2013_Planning_Board_TDP_Amendments.pdf

Town Planner supports Planning Board’s “Traditional Neighborhood Design” standards

2013_Town_Planner_Proposed_Amendments.pdf

Town Planner’s rationale for amendments to the Town Development Plan

Amended_Town_Development_Plan_Policies_.pdf

What wording changes should be made to the Town Development Plan to make it consistent with permitting retail development at Chappaqua Crossing

_______________________________________________

New Castle Traffic Consultant’s Review of 2014 Amended PDCP

Michael Galante recommends no changes to the traffic mitigation plan “based on moving the commercial buildings within the site itself.”  The 25,000 square foot gym, he says, will draw less traffic than the same amount of retail.
_______________________________________________

Planning Board Referral Response re CC Legislation

“Planning Board recommends an approval process whereby both the Planning Board and Town Board approve the preliminary development concept plan”—rather than the Town Board alone approving it and leaving the Planning Board to handle “final site development plan.”  In addition to wetlands, steep slope and tree removal permits, the Planning Board “recommends that its report to the Town Board should include the relationship of the project to the community character of New Castle. The last sentence of this section refers to residents in the community. This should be further defined as the existing neighborhoods.”

Planning Board asks also for an analysis of the economic effects of retail at Chappaqua Crossing on the existing hamlets.  The AKRF report was generated in response to this request. 

Planning Board recommends that the “site plan shall incorporate Traditional Neighborhood Design (TND) principles and standards intended to diversify and integrate land uses within close proximity to each other, and provide for recreational and shopping needs of the community” and spells out those principles.

Planning Board recommends that the Town Board leave approval processes for signage and lighting to the appropriate advisory boards, rather than take the responsibility to themselves, as the legislation proposes.

The Planning Board recommends that “The Town Board and Planning Board should require that the owners’ agreement for integrated operation of the site shall be confirmed by written agreement, in a recordable form satisfactory to the Town Attorney. This should apply not only at the time when application for rezoning is made, but also to future applications, e.g., if additional parking is needed. [...]”

Additional requests by the Planning Board:

Clarify number of restaurants permitted, with a view to noise, odor and vermin control.

Define the “personal services”—that are not permitted—more specifically.
_______________________________________________

Planning Board Referral Response re CC Residential

Planning Board asks for detail on costs to the town associated with keeping the auditorium within the residential area.

Planning Board “recommends that a new parking accumulation study be undertaken for the entire site that takes into account the new and expanded uses proposed for the site including, but not limited to, the gym, several restaurants, and the 5,000-square-foot mezzanine area of Whole Foods, as well as the auditorium.”
_______________________________________________

Planning Board Referral Response re Modify the Boundaries of the Mapped MFPD

Planning Board approves a “de minimis modification of the northern boundary of the [multifamily planned development, 111 residential units].”
_______________________________________________

Planning Board Referral Response re Retail PDCP

“Adaptive reuse of existing buildings at Chappaqua Crossing has been a primary planning objective from the inception of the proposal for retail development on the property. As an alternative to adaptive reuse of the existing buildings, a proposal advancing Traditional Neighborhood Design (TND) principles and standards was explored. The Planning Board reiterates its recommendation that TND principles and standards be incorporated into any preliminary development concept plan for Chappaqua Crossing. To date the Applicant has not presented a true TND proposal. In the absence of a true TND proposal, the Planning Board recommends that adaptive reuse of the existing buildings remain a primary feature of any preliminary development concept plan for retail development at Chappaqua Crossing.”


Comments(0):

Master Plan Steering Committee postpones survey, approves RFP for help with Master Plan

October 24, 2014

Editor’s Note:  A notice appeared on the town’s website this week informing residents that the Master Plan Steering Committee has decided to postpone to February/March 2015 the survey that was to have taken place in September/October of this year.  Their reasons are set out below.  They also endorsed the release of a Request for Proposals for Master Plan assistance.

From the town’s website:  On October 21, 2014, the Master Plan Steering Committee announced that it was postponing the master plan survey until February/March 2015 so the survey could be better aligned with the progress of its work on the master plan update. The Committee also expressed concern about conducting the survey now, during the midst of the Fall election season, while residents are already receiving an influx of robo calls and political surveys. The Committee’s memorandum concerning the timing of the survey may be viewed here:

From: New Castle Master Plan Steering Committee
Maud Bailey
Richard Brownell
Robert Kirkwood
Robert Lewis
Christopher Roberta

To: Town Board

Re: MASTER PLAN SURVEY (PSB)

Date: October 21, 2014

On October 17, 2014 the New Castle Master Plan Steering Committee met to discuss the
September 2014 Draft Master Plan Survey provided by Penn Schoen and Berland (PSB).
The ultimate question was whether or not useful information would be generated through
the survey in its current form to further the Master Plan Update process. The Committee
concluded that many of the proposed survey questions would provide little more than
affirmation of the Pace Land Use Law Center Outreach effort. The MPSC seeks more
useful public input.

After we reached this conclusion, we discussed whether or not each member was
prepared to draft new questions based on their strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and
threats (SWOT) analysis with each of their work groups. Some work groups have not
met to finalize their SWOT analysis and need a bit more time to complete this stage of
their work. In addition to this issue, concern was raised by the MPSC regarding “survey
saturation” during the midst of election season when robo calls and political surveys are
flooding town residents daily.

We unanimously endorse the release of the request for proposal for Master Plan
assistance. The additional help will enable us to focus on formulating draft goals and
objectives, which we can use to better elicit public input for the Town’s vision.
The Town Planner has submitted to you an updated version of the request for proposals
(which was sent to you on October 17th) which identifies a revised project schedule. As
you can see from this project schedule, the second round of outreach is proposed for
March through June of next year. We expect to be prepared to create new survey
questions in February/March of next year.

Thank you for the opportunity to review and comment on this survey.

To see the pdf on the town’s website, click HERE.


Comments(6):

L to E: The new Train Station RFP process should be a model of transparency

Tuesday, October 28, 2014
by Robin Murphy

Last month, the Town of New Castle released a new Request for Proposal (“RFP”) for the publicly-owned Chappaqua Train Station and the deadline for submissions was last week.  This is the current Town Board’s second attempt to find a tenant for the Train Station and by issuing the RFP in advance of all public presentation, this time they have allowed a more appropriate window (weeks, instead of days) for the submission of proposals, certainly making the current process an improvement over the prior one.  However, there is yet a lot to happen and I am concerned that the Town Board plans to keep the decision-making mostly confidential instead of being transparent and assuring that residents can be confident of the integrity of the process.

As the events in the spring showed, our community is very interested in the future of the train station as well as the manner in which our town government works.  Although not everyone agrees on the best use for the space—some want food service, some believe a non-food service better fits the site, and others want the building to be left as-is—what seemed to unite the larger-than-expected number of residents who signed the petition that led to a do-over of the RFP process is the importance of knowing that our elected officials are acting in the Town’s best interests.

With the prior RFP, the written proposals were kept confidential until after the Town Board made their selection and the lease was signed.  This time, while the identity of those the Board selects to make presentations will be known, the Town has not said it will identify those not selected nor will it disclose all written submissions. 

Make all the RFPs public

Last week I submitted a request under the Freedom of Information Law (FOIL) seeking all current train station RFP submissions.  While residents Peter and Erin Chase have already posted their proposal online—on a Facebook page, “Our Station, Our Town,” with a link to their proposal—I suggest that the Town take the initiative and show its commitment to transparency by immediately posting all proposals on the Town website.

In addition to these proposals, I’m hopeful that going forward the Town Board will hold relevant discussions on the Train Station space in public meetings rather than confidential executive sessions. Shared information will help ensure that the decision is fair and protects the common good. 

For example, while the Board has decided that food service is still the goal for the station, the discussions leading to that decision were not part of any public meeting and, as a result, we do not know whether other types of use were considered, why food service is viewed as the best use of that space for the community, and whether the final decision for food service was unanimous or just a majority. 

Transparency would also allow residents to hold our elected officials accountable for their actions.  For example, when the train station lease was rescinded, it happened suddenly, with no public discussion.  Instead, a prepared resolution was read around midnight at the June 24th Board meeting.  Residents never learned exactly why the lease was rescinded other than a vague statement that it was not in the best interests of the community to spend money on a referendum.  And although that may have been what motivated the rescission, we don’t know—we can’t know—because residents were never allowed to hear the discussions.  There was also a concern that the Town Board seemed not to have been familiar with the Westchester County Health Code before selecting a food service tenant. 

Had discussions been in public meetings, we would have an idea what went on and also might be able to determine whether taxpayer money was well spent.  After all, the train station lease ended up costing taxpayers over $19,000 in legal fees alone.  Although the Town Supervisor warned that the legal fees related to the permissive referendum would be expensive, it’s worth noting that those efforts didn’t start until Saturday, May 31st and most of the legal costs (around $17,000) were in April and May when lease negotiations were underway.

The State’s Open Meetings Law

While the public deserves to have our town government to do the right thing, our State government supports it as well.  For example, the New York State’s Open Meeting Law (“OML”) requires that meetings of public bodies be open to the public unless there is a basis for entry into an executive session (i.e., “that portion of a meeting not open to the general public”).

One of the categories that may be discussed in executive session is “the proposed acquisition, sale or lease of real property…, but only when publicity would substantially affect the value thereof.” In other words, the Open Meetings Law requires discussions about the lease of the train station to be held at public meetings unless “publicity would substantially affect the value thereof.”  That is apparently the Town’s main justification for confidentiality in terms of meetings about the train station RFP and lease. 

I am not a lawyer, but the NY Committee on Open Government has made clear that this exception to the public meeting requirement is not automatic just because a town is considering a possible lease of public property.  It must be decided on the facts of the specific situation.  The connection between publicity and the value of the lease must be clearly established.  While all those discussions have been in executive session, it is extremely hard to see how having public discussions on the RFP itself would have any impact, let alone a “substantial” one, on the value of the train station lease. 

It is also a stretch to see how disclosing the written submissions, including the financial terms, would “substantially affect” the value of the lease.  The RFP lays out a very flexible review process that covers a wide variety of factors and in bold-faced type says the Town has no obligation to accept the highest rent. 

Considering that the Chases have disclosed the rent they are proposing in their new RFP, the rent cow seems to be out of the barn and, in any case, I, for one, cannot see why anyone wouldn’t favor full disclosure as a way of fostering competition and getting the best result for the community.  In the FOIL letter I sent last week, I quoted from an advisory opinion by the Executive Director of the Committee on Open Government, who noted in another case that:

…in the RFP process, the figures offered by submitters are subject to negotiation and change; they do not reflect the “bottom line.” In view of the flexibility of the process, it is difficult to envision how disclosure of those figures would adversely affect an agency’s ability to engage in the best contractual arrangement on behalf of the taxpayers…  If anything, disclosure might encourage submitters to better accommodate the needs of the agency or propose what might be characterized as a better deal.  Rather than impairing the process, disclosure might enhance it.


As for the discussions involving the selection of a tenant for lease negotiations, those too should be public.  Every step of the decision-making process on this important community asset is a matter of public concern—as has been made extremely clear.  The community wants and deserves transparency and the law requires it.


Comments(19):

Miracle season continues for Greeley Field Hockey


Saturday, November 1, 2014
by David Hauptman

Few leaves remain on the trees, the weather is cold, and the fall sports season in Chappaqua is over, sadly.  Wait, what did you just say?  It’s not over??  How can that be?  Soccer, tennis, curling, football are finished for the year, right?

But the Greeley Quaker Girls’ field hockey team marches on!  After finishing the regular season 13-3 and gaining a bye in the first round, the Quakers beat Scarsdale in the second round on Thursday, October 30th, 2-1 in a hard-fought, intense game.

The game was evenly matched with both teams having numerous scoring opportunities early on, but at the 10 minute mark, Olivia Green sent a big hit way up the right sideline that was deflected beautifully by Megan Graham right onto the stick of Katie Jakacki.  KJax, as the team calls her, carried in and beat the Scarsdale goalkeeper to give Greeley an early 1-0 lead.  You will not see a prettier assist and goal.  Graham is like a Kestrel……………..look it up!!  OK, I will tell you, she has the Kestrel’s gift of accuracy of movement, speed and grace, mental concentration, acting at the correct moment with patience and precise action.  Like a Pronghorn, Jakacki is constantly moving for the entire 60 minutes and always seems to find herself in the right place at the right time.

The referees penalized Greeley twice in the first half, two minutes each, but Greeley’s defense held up to the task, stopping all of Scarsdale’s opportunities.  Olivia Harris made save after wild save, and the defense stepped up.  Lindsay Hauptman stopped one early opportunity positioned in the goal and cleared out a ball that Harris had saved leading to a rebound shot.  Hauptman went on to stop Scarsdale rush after rush, taking risks and winning the entire game.  Coaches have described Hauptman as a Koala, not because it is the laziest animal in the entire world but because it is smart, cagy, tenacious and will bite your head off if you get it mad!!

Hannah Sofer had to deal with numerous mano a mano situations and stood strong in each, frantically covering the middle with grace and joie de vivre.  Coach Brittany Paulis commented, without Hannah, we would be in deep tribulation.

Paulis and head coach Sukhi Singh have done a miraculous job with this team and the entire Greeley Field Hockey program, it is a top sport in the community and will be for years to come.

Annie Lindenthal at stopper amazingly covers a huge portion of the field and is always there to transition the ball back to offense when Scarsdale thought they had some momentum, a constant source of agitation for opponents.  Lucy Benack, with speed and timing is the offensive defensewoman threat for Greeley, turning each Scarsdale rush into a Greeley rush time after time.  Her timing is prodigious.  Like a Peregrine Falcon, Benack is faster than others of her breed an unable to be caught.

At midfield Olivia Green was stellar, fighting for and winning the majority of the 50-50 balls and carrying the play for the Quakers as she did the entire season, covering the field with skill and determination. Olivia moves like a shark, always ready to capitalize.

Early in the second half Greeley doubled the lead on a corner as Sammy Attia took a terrific pass from Nikki Potter to beat the Scarsdale net minder.  Attia wommanned the left side winning possession and beating defenders the entire game.  Back to Potter, the freshman was outstanding, all over the place and constantly frustrating Scarsdale.

Bernie Grant was crazy good the entire game, tirelessly beating Scarsdale to the ball and her hits were extremely effective, changing the landscape of the game throughout.  One of the team leaders and motivational quarterbacks with internal skill you can’t teach.  Kudos to Bernie and Olivia Green for taking 99% of the big hits this year which is a responsibility they take on with great rapture (hey, give me a break, some of them are juniors and the SAT is coming up!!)

Mid-way through the second half Olivia Harris was called for suppression (the term in field hockey used for covering the ball).  Unfortunately for her, the ref was not in position to see that the ball was not covered but influenced by Scarsdale, made the call anyway.  This led to a penalty shot which was scored by Erin Nicholas, Scarsdale’s leading scorer who had 18 goals this season.

Late in the second half the referees called Potter for obstruction and sent her off for two minutes, which was the 4th time Greeley was sent off for two minutes in the game versus Scarsdale having no penalty time.  Add that to awarding a penalty shot for Scarsdale and……….well, things that make you go “Hmmmmmmmmmmmmmm”.

The last two minutes were crazy but Greeley held off a mad rush including a breakaway for Scarsdale superstar Erin Nicholas who was stopped when Olivia Harris left her crease venturing out to cut off Nicholas and stop the shot 10 yards from the goal, the Greeley defense recovered to clear the ball and a minute later it was all over.

Ready and waiting in case Greeley needed the help were the most patient girls on the team Emily Kerstein, Courtney Kay, Abby Fuirst, Lauren Neff, Katie Graham, Fiona Grant and backup keeper Willa Kuhn.  Ellie Mercer who was injured early in the season was on the sidelines to support her mates!!

The next game for the Quakers will be Tuesday, November 4 at Mahopac in the Sectional Semi-finals.  When asked how they plan to prepare for the next game, Olivia Green commented: “we will have our typical pre-game meal of dunkin munchkins, followed by a daylong of gummies and cookies.  Lindsay Hauptman commented, “we are so happy our coaches allow us to practice as much as they do!  I can’t get enough running and feel we need to spend even more time on the running and practicing this week than we ever have!”

Coach Singh, hearing Hauptman’s comments, is happy to accommodate and responded: “we will run double this week!!”

On a positive note for Scarsdale, one student from Greeley noted, the cars in the parking lot are really nice, must be very expensive!!


Comments(1):

Supervisor’s Report from Tuesday, October 14

Tuesday, October 21, 2014
~ from Supervisor Rob Greenstein

• More Town Events Coming
• Chappaqua Crossing Update
• Update on Westchester County Sewer Inclusion Project
• The ChapLine
• Master Plan Survey Update

During the Pace public outreach sessions for the Master Plan, participants expressed an interest in Town government hosting more events, such as parades and festivals.  Here are a few such events being planned:

•  New Castle Recreation & Park Department and Kiwi Country Day Camp are proud to present The Fall Festival is scheduled for Sat., Oct 25th from 11a-4p

•  New Castle Halloween House Decorating Contest. Prizes will be given in two categories: family-friendly and scariest house.  Email submissions to Samantha Levine from Chappaqua Hamlet Hub @ .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)

•  New Castle Recreation & Park Department and Kiwi Country Day Camp are proud to present “Downtown Chappaqua Halloween” on Wed, October 31st.  Celebrate with your favorite local BOO-tiques.  Trick or treat, photo booth, fun characters & giveaways.

Chappaqua Crossing Update

I’d like to provide residents with a brief update on the Chappaqua Crossing project.  On September 8, the Town Board received several comment memos from our Planning Board that have been posted on the Town’s website.  On September 23, the Town Board adjourned the public hearing on Chappaqua Crossing while we awaited receipt of further information and comments from our professional consultants and Town Planner.  Specifically, the Town Board expects to receive an updated Competitive Effects Analysis from its outside planning consultant, AKRF, and review memos from its traffic consultant and Town Planner.  Tonight, the Town Board intends to adjourn the public hearing to October 28.  By then, I expect the Board will have received all outstanding materials on Chappaqua Crossing, which will be posted on the Town’s website.  I encourage all residents to review the information that is available on the Town’s website and to attend our next public meeting on October 28, when I expect that our public hearing on Chappaqua Crossing will resume.  Once the public has had an opportunity to review and comment on this final round of materials, I expect that the Town Board will entertain a motion to close the public hearing.

Update on Westchester County Sewer Inclusion Project

Westchester county sewer inclusion project involves the connection of Random Farms, Riverwoods, Yeshiva and Chappaqua Crossing to Yonkers’ treatment plant.  The Town of New Castle has secured 16 million dollars in county and state funds to help defray construction costs of this major infrastructure project. Unfortunately, due to the county’s delay in approving this project - prior to County Legislator Kaplowitz assuming leadership of the County Board - the cost of this project has skyrocketed. Current construction estimates now project that diversion for these three districts will cost between $24 to $26 million dollars. This leaves the town with a $10 million shortfall.  The Town has sought additional funding from the state and the county to further defray the cost of this project to these three districts. Needless to say, these additional funds are not easy to come by; we are one of many worthwhile applicants competing for limited state and county resources.  We have explored state, federal and county grants that may be available to the Town for this project and have filed a number of state grants. We are hopeful that one of those applications will be granted.

ChapLine

Also during the Pace public outreach sessions, participants overwhelmingly expressed an interest in enhancing the pedestrian experience and improving trail and bicycle path connections.  In today’s enewsletter there is a presentation from Daniel Googel regarding the ChapLine.  There is an existing undeveloped pathway extending between Horace Greeley High School to downtown Chappaqua.  Developing this path would create a great walking/bicycle path from the high school to downtown Chappaqua. You can also watch the presentation HERE.

Master Plan Update Survey

As you may have heard, the Master Planning Steering Committee is working with an outside survey research firm to gather input from residents about what they think is important to address in the updated master plan.  In the near future, you may be contacted by a representative at PSB Interviewing to participate in the telephone survey.  The phone interviews will be conducted over the next few weeks and should take you around 20 minutes to complete.  This is a great opportunity to share your opinions and we would greatly appreciate your participation.  After the survey results are collected, we will share the findings with the public.  We are committed to keeping residents engaged and informed throughout the process.

You can also watch the Supervisor’s Report here:

Town of New Castle Supervisor’s Report 10/14/14 from New Castle Media Center on Vimeo.


Comments(6):

Historical Society’s 46th Annual Chappaqua Antiques Show Sat-Sun Nov. 1-2

Antiques sale
October 24, 2014
~ from the New Castle Historical Society

The first weekend of November brings the Chappaqua Antiques Show to Westchester for the 46th year. It is one of the most highly-anticipated events of the Fall in the Northeast. Extraordinary merchandise from more than 50 quality dealers will be featured along with an appraiser, a design consultant, a gourmet cafe, luscious homemade desserts, and a multiple raffle drawing of luxe goods and services.  Saturday and Sunday, November 1-2, from 10:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. at Westorchard School, 25 Granite Road.

46th Chappaqua Antique Show - Nov 1 & 2 - Westorchard School, 25 Granite Road, Chappaqua - Benefits New Castle Historical Society


A dedicated team of 150 energetic volunteers will make this show come to life and sparkle.

“The 46th Annual Chappaqua Antiques Show will have something for everyone,” says Dealer Chair Buffy Haas. “Silver, fine jewelry, decorative posters, elaborate quilts, mid-century furnishings, rare maps and books, folk art, and unique collectibles will entertain and tempt show-goers. And the Society’s Gold in Your Attic booth has treasures from Westchester’s finest attics!”

Our Appraisers, Jay Grutman of Rhinebeck Antique Emporium and Charles Glasner, will be on the stage to provide verbal appraisals of your treasures for a nominal charge. An Interior Designer, Cami Weinstein, will be available for design advice for those unsure how to mesh antique and modern elements in their rooms to add depth and interest to living spaces.

Sponsored by the New Castle Historical Society, this event raises important funds to support the Horace Greeley House Museum and its rich calendar of activities for students, adults, and researchers.

A perennial favorite in the Hudson Valley, the Chappaqua Antiques Show has something for everyone. Plan to be part of it and save the date!

coupon


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Greeley Boys Soccer JV B Team wraps up its season


October 24, 2014
~ from John DiGuglielmo

The 2014/2015 Greeley Boys Soccer JV B team recently completed their season. They went 8 and 1 under Coach Anthony Vaglica.

Sitting: From L to R,
Edwin Barbecho, Max Kurens, Noah Goldstein, Nicky DiGuglielmo, Matthew Dinaburg, Zach Ellis

Kneeling: From L to R,
Dylan Glickman, Ryan Sullivan, Samuel Resnick, Zachary Dulman, Matthew LaFortezza, Miles Bomback, Zachary Jacobus-Oseroff, Alatair dePap, Pavan Kumaraguru

Standing: From L to R,
Zachary Lampe, William Seidman, Jeremy Klausner, Chase Sullivan,Teddy Rader, Michael Delman, Dylan cohen, Dylan Boilen, John Amundsen, Luke Bulaj, Charles Grob, Kristopher Arboleda

600


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Winners of The Dewey Decimal Festival, now an annual fundraiser of live, staged readings


Tuesday, October 21, 2014
by C.J. Ehrlich

Last Saturday, the Friends of Chappaqua Library presented its first—we now believe—annual Dewey Decimal Festival, an evening of original ten-minute comedies that raised $2,500 for the Library.  Audience members chose the winners by paper ballot at the end of the evening.  And the winners are…

1st - Dewey or Don’t We
2nd - What Would Dewey Do?
3rd - Beatrix Potter Must Die
4th - Shall I Compare Me?

Over 100 short comedies about books and libraries were submitted by playwrights from around the world. The top nine were selected by a reading committee and by “reader’s circles” held over the summer, where daring volunteers got together to read the plays out loud to see if they were “stage worthy.”

The plays were performed as staged readings by a team of talented professional and avocational actors from around Westchester.

The plays were:

 
  “Dewey Or Don’t We”: - Nancy Halper, Summit, N.J.  FIRST PLACE
  “What Would Dewey Do”: - Joe Musso, Birmingham, Alabama SECOND PLACE
  “Beatrix Potter Must Die”: Patrick Gabridge, Brookline, Mass THIRD PLACE
  “Shall I Compare Me”: - Cary Pepper, San Francisco, California FOURTH PLACE
  “Elvis Is Dead”: - James Hutchison, Calgery, Alberta
  “Fully Vetted”: - Russell Weeks, Seattle, Washington
  “Search Oolong Tea Benefits”: - Rich Espey, Towson, Maryland
  “The Tango Player”: - Catherine Frid, Toronto, Ontario
  “2+1 = Murder”: - C.J. Ehrlich, Chappaqua, NY

About each play…


SHALL I COMPARE ME?

Felicia come across someone online riffing on Shakespeare, Burns and Wordsworth. Will she be burned by the flames of passion? Or will her best friend rescue her from this literary hot spot?


DEWEY OR DON’T WE

Oliver, a long time patron of the Pleasantdale Library, is upset to learn that the board of directors has voted to replace the Dewey Decimal system with a more “user-friendly” cataloguing system.


BEATRIX POTTER MUST DIE!

A desperate American farmer travels back in time for an unusual solution to his plague of rabbits.


FULLY VETTED

Chris, who knows nothing about science, is about to be interviewed for the position of Director of Diagnostic Toxicology.


WHAT WOULD DEWEY DO?

Two logophiles connect in the library, thanks to Melvil Dewey, inventor of the Dewey Decimal System.


ELVIS IS DEAD

Dr. Frederica Bunson and Commander Robert Frump have travelled back in time to retrieve a lost book and save the universe! 


THE TANGO PLAYER

Librarian Julia’s enthusiasm overwhelms a bystander.


SEACH OOLONG TEA BENEFITS

Two lost search particles zipping through cyberspace try to make sense of the information they’re being asked to retrieve.


2+1=MURDER

Blaze Pascal has got to solve this case by the numbers! A thrilling, film noir tribute to Math 101.

 

Chappaqua resident and playwright C.J. Ehrlich is happy to see her work again presented at the Chappaqua Library Theatre. Previously, her full-length comedy THE CUPCAKE CONSPIRACY (co-written with Philip J. Kaplan), a comedy about marriage and terrorism, was performed in Chappaqua as a staged reading, also to benefit the Friends of the Library. THE CUPCAKE CONSPIRACY will have its world premiere as a full production this January, at Rover Dramawerks in Dallas, TX.

Younger readers may not know that the Dewey Decimal System is a book shelving organizational tool invented by Melvil Dewey in 1876. Back then, libraries organized their books by height, and by the order they were acquired. This wasn’t actually a problem as no one could actually handle the books, aside from a few wealthy patrons.

Proceeds from the evening will benefit the Friends of the Chappaqua Library, the group that supports dozens of adult, teen and children’s library programs open to anyone in Westchester, including Nursery Rhyme Time, Big Truck Day, the Foreign Policy Discussion group, careers workshops and many other programs.

The Friends also fund special projects like the Shakespeare Garden and the Butterfly Courtyard, and acquisitions of furniture, as well as purchasing books, CDs, DVDs and many more items not covered by the library’s budget. Chapapqua Library holdings can be borrowed by anyone in the country with a WLS library card.

For more information, or to get on the mailing list for next year’s Dewey Decimal Festival, email .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address).


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Horace Greeley Girls Swimming and Diving Defeats Arlington to Complete Season Undefeated


Tuesday, October 21, 2014
by Jim Hadley

Greeley handed Arlington, the largest high school in NY state and a new member of the Conference, their first loss in seven years to finish the dual meet season undefeated with a record of 10-0.  The team competes in the Conference 1/League 2 championship on Friday Oct 24 at SUNY Purchase (diving) and Saturday Oct 25 at 4:30 PM at the Boys and Girls Club of Northern Westchester (swimming). The Section championships are Nov 3 through 5.

In the Arlington meet Greeley swimmers Cate Sawkins (200 freestyle), Erica Silverman (200 IM and 100 butterfly), Anna Gagnion (diving), Kasia Malendowicz (100 freestyle), Gaige Elms (500 freestyle), Emma Hadley (100 backstroke) and Olivia Lyman (100 breaststroke) captured individual wins and Rachel Hellman, Lyman, Sawkins and Malendowicz won the 400 freestyle relay.

In Greeley tradition at the conclusion of the meet the 14 senior girls on team were honored with tributes by the juniors.


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HG Boys Varsity Soccer team clinches league title and wraps up the 2014 regular season


Matt Neuberger dashing to goal
Tuesday, October 21, 2014
by Peter Gadaleta

The Horace Greeley Boys Varsity Soccer team wrapped up its regular season in fine fashion this past week. On Wednesday, October 8th the team visited RC Ketcham and pulled out a thrilling 4-3 victory over the 9th ranked team in Class AA. Greeley twice battled back from 1 goal deficits to eventually win the game. Forward Matt Neuberger scored a hat trick in the game and sophomore Jonathan Gerstein scored his first varsity goal. After trailing 2-1 in the first half, three consecutive goals by Greeley sealed up the victory.

On Friday, October 10 Greeley played Rye at home in a tough defensive struggle. Greeley controlled the bulk of the play from the back line up but could not find an answer for the tough Rye goalie. Mid-way through the second half midfielder Michael Adler put in a beautiful pass onto the feet of Zander Levitz who scored the goal of the year on a 20 yard curving shot that skimmed off the far post and into the side netting. The only goal of the game along with great goalkeeping of Jason Re was enough for the 1-0 victory. 
           

On Tuesday, October 14, Greeley traveled to Portchester to meet the #3 ranked team in Class AA and the overall 5th ranked team.  The matchup has always been a strong rival for Greeley and facing the all-sectional junior forward Steve Hernandez of Portchester makes it all the tougher competition. Greeley struck first in the game with a goal from Matt Neuberger, his 13th of the season. Matt has been one of the top scorers in Class AA and deserves mention for all-sectional. He subsequently had to leave the game due to tightness in his hamstring. After a quick Portchester goal and 1-1 tie at half, Portchester came out strong in the second half and scored another to take a 2-1.

Greeley did strike back late in the game to tie the game at 2-2 with a free kick from Woody Grob who has been very versatile this year. After filling in for injured defenseman earlier in the year, Woody has now gotten comfortable in the forward position and secured the goal for Greeley which ended the game in a 2-2 tie.


On Friday October 17th, the team celebrated senior day by entertaining Scarsdale at home. In tough fought battle verse the 8th overall ranked team Greeley fell 2-1. After spotting Scarsdale a 2-0 lead in the first half, Greeley fought back in the second half with a Mike Ballou goal and nearly tied game in the remaining minutes with a point blank blast from Luke Cohen which was deflected wide by a Scarsdale defender at the last second. On Saturday October 18, Somers was defeated by John Jay which awarded Greeley the league title with a 7-2-1 overall record. The team will now spend the next few days preparing for the sectional playoffs.


Seniors from back left Ben Goldenberg, Alex Wiseman, Paul Gadaleta, Jason Meshberg, Eddie Chavez, Jason Re, Mike Ballou, Drew Goldenberg, Nic Catapano, Adam Siff, Willie Yormack, Luke Cohen, Cole Findling, Randy Ginsburg, Alex Scheine, Charlie Levitz, Mike Adler and Woody Grob


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Long-awaited comments on Chappaqua Crossing traffic, store-size, competitive effects, revenue

Tuesday, October 21, 2014
by Christine Yeres

With the public hearing one week away, a raft of new documents related to the Chappaqua Crossing application for retail zoning has appeared on the town’s website over the last couple of weeks.  Planning Board comments are in, recommending that “adaptive reuse of the existing buildings remain a primary feature of any preliminary development concept plan for retail development.”  Michael Galante says his traffic analysis is still valid.  And the authors of the AKRF report assert that a reduced Chappaqua Crossing will be more harmful to the hamlet than a full 120,000-square-foot version.

In short, AKRF advises against cutting back on the proposed 120,000-square-feet of retail at Chappaqua Crossing, arguing that to reduce it would hobble its ability to procure high-end retailers and place it in a more ordinary category that would be more directly in competition with the existing hamlet’s concentration of personal services.  Here’s how AKRF describes the condition:

“Although the Whole Foods would likely draw customers from a wider trade area regardless of its complementary retail uses, the smaller format shopping center would likely be less successful in creating the critical mass of retail offerings that would make the location desirable to consumers and prospective retail tenants. Instead of offering higher-end destination retail uses, Chappaqua Crossing would likely be tenanted with the exact types of convenience-oriented stores that predominate in Chappaqua.”

“As compared to the 2013 Retail PDCP,” say AKRF authors, “the 2014 Revised Retail PDCP presents a retail layout and anchor store (Whole Foods) that would likely introduce a greater number of smaller stores that are both national chain operators and independent businesses, most of which would sell goods and services at mid- to high-end price points.  In this respect, there would be greater potential for retail overlap with certain retail categories within the Hamlet as compared to the 2013 Retail PDCP with an A&P anchor, which would be more attractive to larger-format national chain stores typically found in a ‘power center’ with a lower overall price point.”

Moreover, AKRF asserts, the 20-minute drive-time catchment area of Chappaqua Crossing and the 1-square-mile catchment area of the Chappaqua Hamlet “indicate that both the Hamlet’s downtown and Chappaqua Crossing can co-exist as viable retail nodes” because Chappaqua Crossing would more directly compete with or “cannibalize” other “existing retail concentrations and larger-format stores located outside of the Hamlet trade areas.”

AKRF attributes this seeming paradox—a big operation at Chappaqua Crossing even with more small stores will cause less injury to the hamlet—to the fact that “Town capture rates for almost all categories” [—“with the exception of Health & Personal Care stores”—] are low,” and so concludes that despite the inclusion of smaller stores along with Whole Foods, Chappaqua Crossing “would have greater product overlap with larger retail centers outside of Town” than with the downtown Hamlet. And as in its first report, AKRF proposes that people from both the office and residential uses at Chappaqua Crossing—and even the consumer traffic drawn to Whole Foods from outside Chappaqua—“could cross-shop” in the hamlet, if encouraged by appropriate “way-finding” signage at Chappaqua Crossing.

Advice for the hamlet

In another part of its report, AKRF explains that the hamlet will not be harmed by Chappaqua Crossing because the hamlet has no singular anchor that draws customers on which other retailers in the hamlet are dependent for consumer traffic, saying:

“If one store was responsible for drawing a substantial share of shopper traffic to the Hamlet, and that store was to be displaced, then the retail dynamic could change in a way that jeopardizes the viability of all retailers dependent on that consumer traffic.”

On the other hand, AKRF “does not advocate this condition as a recommended retail strategy for downtown Chappaqua” and advises “that the Town explore ways to attract greater consumer interest in the downtown through complementary retail anchor(s), more destination retail uses, and/or additional residential/worker populations. The positioning of such in the Hamlet would improve shopper traffic and retail vitality irrespective of Chappaqua Crossing.” 

AKRF vouches for the Town Board’s deep interest in revitalizing the hamlet and assures readers that both now and in future surely “Chappaqua’s downtown would remain more convenient to many trade area [the one square mile, as opposed to Chappaqua Crossing’s 20-minute drive-time] customers” and “would continue to serve an important function of providing ready access to day-to-day needs and in providing specialized products and services not commonly found in larger-format or comparatively-sized national chain stores.”

For more advice from AKRF on revitalizing the downtown, click HERE.

Traffic re-re-redux: No change necessary

Michael Galante has submitted his re-considered traffic report, and stands by his original study, especially, he says, that 25,000 square feet of the 120,000 square feet of proposed retail development is earmarked for a gym, which the engineering handbook says brings less traffic than retail. [Supervisor Greenstein has stated his strong interest in bringing a gym to town-owned town hall property, so it’s unclear whether there will be a gym at all at Chappaqua Crossing.] 

Traffic problems are made neither better nor worse, says Galante, by the alterations between last year’s plan and the current one which proposes 120,000 square feet of retail newly-constructed.

Trading spaces

Following up on the offer by Summit Greenfield to decommission as much existing first-level office space as it is allowed to construct in new footprint, the Planning Board asks in its comments to be shown “equivalency between parking demand for basement office space versus parking for retail use” and recommends a “parking accumulation study” that takes into account all the disparate—or “mixed”—uses intended for the property—because the parts will likely be sold to different developers each of whom will naturally press for his or her own parking needs.  But Galante’s traffic study doesn’t take into account either the decommissioning of existing space in an amount equivalent to the construction of the new, or parking specifically.

Traffic not better, not worse

According to Galante, changes to the application—120,000 square feet of new-building, increase in number of smaller stores and Whole Foods as a grocer—

“will neither exacerbate nor improve the adverse traffic impacts projected of the four previously identified unsignalized intersections within the Study Area.  Generally, these impacts are an increase in vehicle delay exiting a side road approach to a major roadway.  The four intersections are the following:

1. South Greeley Avenue at Quaker Street (north leg);
2. Bedford Road at Eastern Site Access Drive [Annandale];
3. Roaring Brook Road at Southern Access Drive [the high school]; and
4. Bedford Road at Whippoorwill Road.

Only a substantial reduction in retail density or major roadway improvements (not contemplated or proposed by the Applicant) could mitigate…”

By way of conclusion Galante says in his report, “It is our opinion that the proposed Mitigation Plan presented by the Applicant will accommodate proposed changes to the overall Site Plan, as currently presented by the Applicant.”

Revenues from Chappaqua Crossing

According to AKRF, “the higher the rents, the greater the tax revenue.  It would therefore be in the Town’s best interest, from a tax revenue perspective, for the developer to lease-up the project with tenants that can support the highest possible rent levels.”  Whole Foods is the draw for “wealthier shoppers,” and as for ancillary tenants, says AKRF, smaller stores tend to sell higher-value, higher-margin goods than do larger retailers, which results in higher sales per square foot figures” and, it follows, higher rents.

Where else has this proposed model worked?

When AKRF produced its initial report, it was not certain who the anchor grocer would be.  Now, in response to the Planning Board’s request to “Show us where has this model worked”—knowing that Whole Foods has signed a lease contingent on the success of the zoning change, AKRF offers two case studies:  Kings Crossing in Fairfield, Connecticut and Milford Marketplace in Milford, Connecticut. 

Both shopping centers, explains AKRF, are anchored by Whole Foods and were “selected based on their comparable sizes, demographics (both have trade areas with large numbers of high-income households), and their location within close proximity to major traffic arteries.” 

While there may be similarities, each forms part of an intensive extended retail corridor—Kings Crossing (developed by Summit Greenfield) is on Grassmere Avenue, 0.5 miles from I-95; Milford Marketplace is on the Boston Post Road.

To view the entire 67-page AKRF report, click HERE.

For excerpts from the report’s first 12 pages, the “Executive Summary,” click HERE.

For a rundown of the latest documents—including the proposed rezoning-for-retail amendment—added to the town’s website under “Land Use Applications” for Chappaqua Crossing, click HERE.


Comments(49):

AKRF Updated “Competitive Effects Analysis” on revised retail proposal for Chappaqua Crossing

October 20, 2014

Editor’s Note:  The AKRF report on the competitive effects on the existing Chappaqua hamlet of retail at Chappaqua Crossing—as proposed most recently, with all 120,000 square feet of retail in new construction— appeared Friday on the town’s website. The report addresses the following topics:

• Likely Retail Composition and Consumer Base of 2014 Revised Retail PDCP
• Potential Competitive Effects Assuming 25 to 50 Percent Reductions in Chappaqua Crossing Retail Space
• 2014 Revised Retail PDCP and the 1989 Town Development Plan
• Property Tax Implications of the Proposed Whole Foods Market and Small Store Format

To view the entire 67-page AKRF report, click HERE.  Below is much of the 12-page “Executive Summary” (minus the figures) with which AKRF begins the report:

LIKELY RETAIL COMPOSITION AND CONSUMER BASE OF 2014 REVISED RETAIL PDCP

The 2014 Revised Retail PDCP submitted by the Applicant and illustrated in Figure 1 is located
substantially within the same southern area of the project site as the 2013 retail Preliminary
Development Concept Plan that was analyzed in the Supplemental Environmental Impact
Statement for Chappaqua Crossing, and that was analyzed by AKRF in 2013 (see Figure 6).
However, unlike the 2013 plan, with the 2014 Revised Retail PDCP a portion of the proposed
retail would not adaptively reuse the existing Reader’s Digest campus buildings for the proposed
Whole Foods grocer as an anchor tenant; instead, the Whole Foods would occupy a newly-
constructed retail building that includes approximately 40,000 square feet for Whole Foods and
10,000 square feet for another yet-to-be-determined retailer. The 2014 Revised Retail PDCP also
introduces several new design elements that, borrowing from the Traditional Neighborhood
Development architectural style, seek to increase the walkability and place-making potential of
the Retail Overlay District. In addition, as part of the 2014 Revised Retail PDCP the Applicant has
requested to remove the limit on the maximum number of retail stores between 1,500 and
5,000 square feet. 

Relative to established industry standards for shopping centers, the 2014 Revised Retail PDCP
falls between two of the ULI’s classifications for shopping center type: Neighborhood Center and
Community Center. A Neighborhood Center typically encompasses 30,000 to 150,000 square
feet of gross leasable area on a three- to five-acre site. Typically anchored by a supermarket
tenant, Neighborhood Centers offer convenience-oriented complementary retail uses, especially
in the personal services and quick-service restaurant categories. According to ULI’s Dollars and
Cents of Shopping Centers, the most common retail tenants in a Neighborhood Center are
medical and dental offices, hair and nail salons, and pizza restaurants. The current amount and
composition of retail in the Chappaqua Hamlet most closely aligns with ULI’s definition of
Neighborhood Center.

Community Centers tend to be larger, with a more diverse array of retail tenants and a wider
trade area; according to ULI, Community Centers offer 150,000-500,000 square feet of gross
leasable area, draw customers from a population of 40,000 to 250,000 people within a 3- to 12-
mile primary trade area, and are often anchored by a full-service supermarket. According to ULI,
many centers are built around a discount department store (rather than a traditional
department store), super drugstore, and/or a family clothing store, as well as a large
supermarket. Although the proposed 120,000 square feet of retail at Chappaqua Crossing would
be less than that offered by a typical Community Center, the development’s site plan most
closely resembles that of a typical Lifestyle sub-type [Footnote 3] of Community Center, with landscaped
open spaces and, at least to some extent, retail offerings fronting a pedestrian thoroughfare.
Further, the selection of Whole Foods as the center’s anchor tenant would expand the center’s
primary trade area beyond that which a typical Neighborhood Center would serve, producing a
larger customer base to support higher-end retail offerings. Whole Foods tends to attract
wealthier shoppers from farther distances than a typical grocery store because of its specialized
product offerings and established brand equity.

[Footnote 3] Lifestyle centers aim to provide leisure and/or other non-shopping amenities in addition to retail offerings. The goal is to create a veritable place where nearby residents may choose to spend time outside of typical shopping trips. Retail tenants at a Lifestyle center, which are typically located in affluent communities, tend to be more upscale.

Given the knowledge of a Whole Foods grocer as an anchor tenant, the analysis includes two
case study retail centers—Kings Crossing in Fairfield, Connecticut and Milford Marketplace in
Milford, Connecticut—both of which are anchored by a Whole Foods. In addition to sharing this
anchor with the 2014 Revised Retail PDCP, the case studies were selected based on their
comparable sizes, demographics (both have trade areas with large numbers of high-income
households), and their location within close proximity to major traffic arteries.

As compared to the 2013 Retail PDCP, the 2014 Revised Retail PDCP presents a retail
layout and anchor store (Whole Foods) that would likely introduce a greater number of smaller
stores that are both national chain operators and independent businesses, most of which would
sell goods and services at mid- to high-end price points. In this respect, there would be greater
potential for retail overlap with certain retail categories within the Hamlet as compared to the
2013 Retail PDCP with an A&P anchor, which would be more attractive to larger-format national
chain stores typically found in a “power center” with a lower overall price point.

However, cannibalization of sales would be greater from larger retail centers outside of Town because
those retail centers would have greater product overlap with Chappaqua Crossing. Overall, the capture rates indicate that both the Hamlet’s downtown and Chappaqua Crossing can co-exist as viable retail nodes.

Nevertheless, competitive effects on stores closest to a project site can occur even when there
are substantial unspent dollars within a trade area, and therefore the potential for displacement
of existing retail establishments due to competition cannot be ruled out. However, the
competitive effects of the 2014 Revised Retail PDCP would not have the potential for significant
adverse environmental impacts because the retail program would not affect the overall viability
of the Hamlet’s retail core. While competitive economic impacts are not considered
environmental impacts under SEQRA, such competitive impacts can become an environmental
concern if they result in a community character impact owing to the widespread, long term
vacancy in existing retail concentrations that affect the entire neighborhood. Individual,
isolated, and short-term vacancies would not be considered environmental impacts.

Any potential retail displacement resulting from the 2014 Revised Retail PDCP would not result
in “widespread, long-term vacancy in existing retail concentrations” for the following reasons
(detailed further in the report):

• There is no singular “anchor” retail use within Chappaqua Hamlet for which other
Hamlet retailers depend on for their viability. If one store was responsible for drawing
a substantial share of shopper traffic to the Hamlet, and that store was to be displaced,
then the retail dynamic could change in a way that jeopardizes the viability of all
retailers dependent on that consumer traffic. This is not the case in Chappaqua Hamlet,
which minimizes the threat created from the loss of any particular store. It is important
to note, however, that AKRF does not advocate this condition as a recommended retail
strategy for downtown Chappaqua. While not the subject of this analysis, AKRF
recommends that the Town explores ways to attract greater consumer interest in the
downtown through complimentary retail anchor(s), more destination retail uses, and/or
additional residential/worker populations. The positioning of such in the Hamlet would
improve shopper traffic and retail vitality irrespective of Chappaqua Crossing.

• Chappaqua’s downtown would remain more convenient to many trade area
customers. For Hamlet retail products that may substantially overlap with Chappaqua
Crossing retail, local area residents would continue to make a majority of their shopping
trips to stores closest to their homes. The Town’s existing retail inventory is weighted
toward convenience goods, personal and laundry services, and specialty shopping
goods. With many downtown retail districts in suburban locations, this shift toward a
higher percentage of convenience goods and personal services is partly the result of
such retail districts adapting to the presence of larger-format shopping goods stores
outside of downtown centers, and more recently Internet sales. Town centers have
evolved over time with these new market influences, but continue to serve an
important function of providing ready access to day-to-day needs and in providing
specialized products and services not commonly found in larger-format or
comparatively-sized national chain stores.

• Chappaqua’s downtown possesses many critical elements of an attractive retailing
location for both customers and existing/prospective retail tenants. Chappaqua’s
downtown is located within close proximity to many residents, and is at the intersection
of several key transportation routes (Routes 120, 117 and the Saw Mill Parkway).
downtown area includes the Chappaqua Metro North Railroad Station, Chappaqua
Library, Bell Middle School, Town Hall, the Post office, ball fields and pocket parks.
There are also professional offices within the surrounding downtown.  All of the above-
described uses generate vehicular and pedestrian traffic to and through the downtown
area on a daily basis, throughout the day and into the evening

• There is substantial unmet consumer demand, creating opportunity for new/niche
retail uses. Given the high levels of consumer leakage in most retail categories, a vacant
storefront could more easily be re-tenanted with retail uses that are positioned to
capture that leakage. New stores have the opportunity to identify and capitalize on
unmet demand and niche retailing opportunities.

• Chappaqua Crossing would create a new consumer base for downtown retail.
Chappaqua Crossing contains a substantial amount of commercial office space, and
would include 111 new residential units. Both of these uses would present new local
consumers, who would shop at Chappaqua Crossing and who would be potential
customers for existing Hamlet stores. In addition, the Whole Foods and other retail uses
at Chappaqua Crossing would draw customers from a broad area, some of whom would
not otherwise frequent Chappaqua, and could cross-shop within the downtown area.
This cross-shopping activity could be facilitated through requirements to include signage
or other means of way-finding (e.g., information kiosk) that promotes the Town’s retail
offerings as a whole—including but not exclusive to those uses at Chappaqua Crossing.

•  The Town is committed to investing in the downtown area in ways that will improve
retail conditions and solidify prospective retailers’ outlook on the location’s long-term
viability. The Town has set aside $6.5 million in its capital budget for making
improvements to the downtown’s water and sewer lines, and streetscape
improvements (including sidewalks, crosswalks and landscaping). The Town also will be
updating its Master Plan, which will explore opportunities through rezoning and
potentially transit-oriented development to better capitalize on market opportunities.
For example, potential transit-oriented-development surrounding the Chappaqua Metro
North station would likely strengthen the retail market in downtown Chappaqua. Such a
development, if properly planned and calibrated, would draw additional consumers to
the area. In addition, new housing units would increase the number of people in close
proximity (walking distance) to the downtown area, which would likely strengthen retail
sales at existing stores.

POTENTIAL COMPETITIVE EFFECTS ASSUMING 25 TO 50 PERCENT REDUCTIONS IN CHAPPAQUA
CROSSING RETAIL SPACE

If the gross leasable area devoted to retail uses at the Chappaqua Crossing site were reduced by
25 or 50 percent (resulting 90,000 square feet and 60,000 square feet of retail, respectively), the
development would be more appropriately classified as a Neighborhood Center. Neighborhood
Centers are often anchored by a supermarket, but complementary retail uses generally tend
toward smaller-floorplate, convenience-oriented retailers. Because of the smaller format of the
retail center, the primary trade area also tends to be smaller. As a result, the complementary
services generally consist of businesses with limited regional appeal, like quick-service
restaurants, medical and dental offices, and beauty salons.


Although the Whole Foods would likely draw customers from a wider trade area regardless of its
complementary retail uses, the smaller format shopping center would likely be less successful in
creating the critical mass of retail offerings that would make the location desirable to consumers
and prospective retail tenants. Instead of offering higher-end destination retail uses, Chappaqua
Crossing would likely be tenanted with the exact types of convenience-oriented stores that
predominate in Chappaqua. In that way, the proposed reduction in retail floorspace at the
proposed center could exacerbate Chappaqua Crossing’s competitive effects on Hamlet
retailers.

2014 REVISED RETAIL PDCP AND THE 1989 TOWN DEVELOPMENT PLAN

The Town’s Planning Board requested that AKRF consider whether the 2014 Revised Retail
PDCP, with new free-standing retail and virtually no re-use of existing buildings, along with the
occupancies now proposed by the Applicant with the revised plan, creates a third hamlet, which
would be inconsistent with the 1989 New Castle Town Development Plan (the 1989 TDP).

AKRF does not view the Applicant’s proposal to forgo adaptive reuse as directly material to the
question of whether the 2014 Revised Retail PDCP would constitute a “third hamlet.” The action
would not increase the amount of residential use or square footage proposed as retail use; it
remains at the approved amount of residential and consumer traffic and overall activity would not
materially change as a result of the proposal to build more of the retail within new, free-
standing space.  The 2013 Retail PDCP already advanced a site plan that included substantial new
retail development such that the newly proposed space for the anchor tenant would not
fundamentally alter the nature and character of the activities that would occur at the site.

The activity and place-making generated by the proposed mix of uses does not, in itself,
constitute a “town center” or “hamlet.” Chappaqua Crossing is not designed around, or built
upon, the density of civic and residential uses that typify a hamlet center. When viewing a town
center from this functional perspective, its primary objective is to provide a concentration of
neighborhood goods and services while allowing other locations to receive shopping goods trips,
which by their nature are more auto-dependent.  There are greater numbers of residents living
within reasonable walking distances of downtown Chappaqua as compared to Chappaqua
Crossing, even when accounting for Chappaqua Crossing’s future residential population. In
addition, given the potential for linked trips between downtown retail and the Metro North
station, Town offices, Chappaqua Public Library and the Bell School, the downtown area—by
virtue of its location, residential density, and physical constraints There are greater numbers of residents living
within reasonable walking distances of downtown Chappaqua as compared to Chappaqua
Crossing, even when accounting for Chappaqua Crossing’s future residential population. In
addition, given the potential for linked trips between downtown retail and the Metro North
station, Town offices, Chappaqua Public Library and the Bell School, the downtown area—by
virtue of its location, residential density, and physical constraints.

Like the 2013 Retail PDCP, the 2014 Revised Retail PDCP would introduce a new retail
concentration outside of the existing hamlet centers, and in this respect is inconsistent with the
position advanced in the 1968 Town Plan of Development, and reaffirmed in the 1989 PDP.
However, in both its 2011 and 2013 Findings Statements related to Chappaqua Crossing and as
part of ongoing efforts to amend the 1989 PDP, the Town correctly recognizes that the
underlying assumptions and projections that formed the basis of the 1989 TDP’s position on this
issue have not been realized. For example, when the 1989 TDP was adopted it foresaw the IBM
Hudson Hills facility as a potential commercial center, but it was never constructed. The only
remaining campus-type office setting was the Reader’s Digest site, and the 1989 TDP did not
foresee Reader’s Digest downsizing and ultimate departure. As discussed in the 1989 TDP,
property tax revenue is an important source of revenue to the Town, and the majority of the
property tax revenue has been generated from residential properties. In 1987 approximately
70.2 percent of the tax roll in the Town was from residential properties; only 7.5 percent of the
tax roll was generated from commercial and industrial properties, which included the Reader’s
Digest development. According to Town Assessor Phillip Platz, currently approximately 91
percent of the tax roll in the Town is from residential properties.

AKRF believes that in order to maintain its position as a “model corporate campus,” Chappaqua
Crossing should advance a mix of uses on the project site that goes beyond commercial office
space. Mixed-use projects bring vibrancy and a sense of place to the suburban landscape, and
provide a competitive edge within a suburban office market, as office and residential tenants
benefit from the close proximity of retail uses. In addition, the Applicant’s request to eliminate
restrictions related to store sizes likely reflects a desire to attract national chain stores that are
trending toward a smaller brick-and-mortar presence—retailers are seeking smaller footprints
as merchandise categories move to online channels.

PROPERTY TAX IMPLICATIONS OF THE PROPOSED WHOLE FOODS MARKET AND SMALL STORE
FORMAT

There are several commonly-used methods for determining the fair market value for parcels
that are subject to property tax. According to the Town Assessor, Philip Platz, the Town of New
Castle uses an income-based approach to assessing commercial properties. As a result of this
approach, the magnitude of revenue for the Town resulting from new ratables at the
Chappaqua Crossing site depends on the rent levels for its retail floorspace—in other words, the
higher the rents, the greater the tax revenue. It would therefore be in the Town’s best interest,
from a tax revenue perspective, for the developer to lease-up the project with tenants that can
support the highest possible rent levels.

The rents that can be achieved by a retail development are influenced by a variety of factors,
including its anchor tenants and store sizes. The rents, in turn, affect the value of the retail
center and the associated property taxes generated by the property. The selection of Whole
Foods as the project’s anchor tenant, as well as the potential shift to smaller stores described in
the 2014 revised PDCP, would result in higher rent levels not only for the supermarket space,
but also for the shopping center as a whole. Retail tenants typically aim to spend a fixed
proportion (generally 10 percent or less) of their revenue on rent expenses; therefore, a store
generating higher sales per square foot could afford to spend more on rent. According to ULI’s
Dollars and Cents of Shopping Centers, a local supermarket chain like A&P would generate
$554.924 per square foot in sales. According to Whole Foods’ financial statements, the chain’s
average sales-per-square-foot nationwide in 2013 was $937.405. As a result, it can reasonably
expected that the property owner would command higher rent levels from Whole Foods than it
would have from A&P—and therefore, that it would assume a larger property tax burden as a
result of its selection.

A higher concentration of smaller stores would also have positive property tax implications for
the Town. In general, rent levels are inversely correlated with store size because of economies
of scale; generally as a store gets larger, its rent decreases on a per-square-foot-basis. Smaller
stores tend to sell higher-value, higher-margin goods than do larger retailers, which results in
higher sales per square foot figures. This phenomenon would be reinforced by the selection of
the Whole Foods, which is likely to attract wealthier shoppers than would an A&P. The customer
base could a support a higher-end tenanting strategy—an assumption that is supported by the
Applicant’s Proposed Merchandising Mix, as well as the case studies included in this report.


Comments(9):

NEW: Fall Festival Apple Pie Contest Winners

Pie
Tuesday, October 28, 2014
~ from the Chappaqua Farmers Market

There were 22 glorious entries in the Chappaqua Farmers Market 2014 Apple Pie Contest—and the winners are:

Youth Entries (16 & under) – 12 entries

1st place
Team Chappy #2 (Dmytro Crawford)

2nd place
  Lulu Zibenberg & Anjalie Bhattacharyya – “Secret Apple Pie”

3rd place
        Team Chappy #1 (Dmytro Crawford)

Junior Winners

Junior Winners
Photos of youth winners courtesy of Catherine Lepone

Adult Entries – 10 entries

1st place
Michelle Hecht – French Apple Tart

2nd place TIE
Lisa Nicklin – Apple Ginger Pie
Lydia Sternfeld – Buttermilk Apple Pie

3rd place
Tobey Jen – Cosmos Apple Pie

judges

tasting

Many thanks to our judges, Helen Harrison (left) and Beth Sovern (right), for tasting 22 pies with grace and aplomb.


Comments(2):

Birchwood Swim and Tennis Club Team Wins USTA National Tennis Championship


(l to r) Denise Stogsdill, Kelly Slomsky, Stephanie Casper, Jackie Leopold, Jennifer Sheehy, Alice Coleman
Tuesday, October 21, 2014
by Rob Rauch

A women’s tennis team from the Birchwood Swim and Tennis Club in Chappaqua, NY won the USTA League Adult 18-and-over 2.5-Level National Championships held at the Indian Wells Tennis Garden in Indian Wells, CA on October 17 through 19, 2014.  Representing the Eastern Section of the US Tennis Association (USTA), Birchwood’s team won the national title by edging out the Northern California Section team from Diablo, CA, 2-1, in the championship match.

The national championship caps a season which began back in May.  Birchwood’s team, which calls themselves the Racquettes, went 9-0 in league play against other club tennis teams around the county.  They then went on to win the Westchester/Rockland play-off, the Southern Regional, and USTA Eastern Section championships.  “It’s awesome. Our team had a great time. We really enjoyed ourselves. Everyone played their best,” said team captain Kelly Slomsky. “We just had a blast.”

“We are excited for the team and congratulate them for all their hard work and success,” stated Birchwood’s Club President Ron Jendzejec. “Our tennis programs are thriving under the leadership of our head pro Thad Hughes and Tennis Chair Rob Rauch and the board is committed to providing the full range of tennis activities for our members—from kid’s camps to developmental clinics to adult competitive leagues.  This year we hosted 10 competitive adult tennis teams participating in the USTA and MITL leagues.” 

About Birchwood Swim and Tennis Club

Birchwood Swim and Tennis is located in historic Chappaqua, New York.  The club is a not-for-profit community club composed of 325 families as members that offers numerous programs for members of all ages. Eight Har-Tru tennis courts, a large pool for adults and older children, a children’s pool, ping-pong, playground equipment, and a snack bar offering full meals as well as light snacks are some of the many amenities members enjoy. For those interested in competitive swimming, diving and tennis, we offer teams for all three sports. Our extensive tennis program offers a dedicated staff of teaching professionals and coaches, with both competitive and teaching programs for children, juniors and adults.  The Club was organized in 1961 and it is situated on an expansive property surrounded by protected Audubon Society land that is landscaped with mature, stately trees, flowerbeds and stone walkways.

For more information, contact Rob Rauch
Birchwood Tennis Chair
.(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) or .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)
www.birchwoodswimandtennis.com


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NEW: Soup’s On!  . . . And next week our Great Pie Contest!


Music, kid-activities, Halloween costume exchange—Saturday Oct. 18—from 8:30 am to 1:00 pm @ Chappaqua Train Station
Friday, October 17, 2014
by Pascale LeDraoulec

I brought my crock pot out of deep storage yesterday. The summer blender fit neatly in its place. Bye bye, smoothies—hello, soup season!  Even if the temps this weekend will be far from nippy, I always get my soup groove on when the turning leaves match the produce in the market bins: golden squash, burnished pumpkins, gray-green gourds.

I’ve made a soup promise to myself this fall: one batch of scratch soup a week. No matter what. I’m trying to make a batch big enough so that I can freeze some too for when the days get short, cold and gray.

Sorrel, parsnip and apple and other classics are on my list of course. But this year I’m hankering for heartier soups that will make a meal instead of just start one.

This recipe on the Food52 website caught my fancy -  a fun riff on the classic Portuguese caldo verde. The cauliflower at the Madura stand are always remarkable this time of year. I don’t know about you but a bowl of this soup, a slice of Consider Bardwell cheese, a tossed salad and I’m set.

My mother always told me that most great soups start with leeks so make sure you pick up plenty of those. And make sure to pick up some apples this week too for our apple pie contest on October 25th. Start thinking about recipes…entries must be submitted by 10:30 a.m. at the market tent with an index card with your name, phone number and email address on one side and your recipe/ingredient list on the other. Pies must be made entirely from scratch…

See you at the market!

Pascale Le Draoulec
food writer/ farmer’s market director
author: “American Pie:Slices of Life (and Pie) from America’s Back Roads” (HarperCollins)

Visit us on Facebook by clicking HERE.

pie


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Resident promotes “The ChapLine,” a path from Chappaqua Crossing to downtown Chappaqua


October 17, 2014
by Christine Yeres

At last Tuesday’s Town Board meeting, New Castle resident Dan Googel brought to public attention a concept first floated around 2005, when Mt. Kisco needed to reline a sewer main running south through New Castle along the east side of the railroad tracks between Horace Greeley High School and North Greeley Avenue in downtown Chappaqua.  Gravel was laid down along the path so that trucks could come and go.  At the time, former Town Administrator Gerry Faiella thought to ask the county to replace the gravel with asphalt once the project was completed and even lay an electrical conduit for low path-lights someday.

The concept resurfaced at the end of last year, when the Town Board inserted into its November 2013 “Findings” on the Chappaqua Crossing application a directive—under the heading “Community Facilities and Services”—that, “[a]s proposed by the Applicant, there shall be cooperation in opening on-site trails for public use and in connecting on-site trails to the prospective trail along the sewer trunk line providing bicycle and/or pedestrian access to the Chappaqua Hamlet.”  Presumably the pathway would from town, beyond Greeley, and connect to Chappaqua Crossing—a distance of around 1.6 miles.  The project would require easements from several Lawrence Farms South properties that border on the pathway; the town already has an easement from the Chestnut Oaks condo development on North Greeley Avenue.

Googel, who serves on the “Commerce and Hamlets” committee of the Master Plan review has investigated the pathway (see photos of it in his presentation below).  In a town “where our kids can’t bike on virtually any of our roads,” he told Board members, he learned from the Pace public outreach that New Castle residents are keen nowadays to have ways to walk and bike around town—and here, he said, was one that pretty much exists already.  The “ChapLine” trail, he said, “remains in great shape and could be upgraded cost-effectively to a public pedestrian/bicycle path benefiting the entire New Castle community.” To finish it off might cost between $850,000 and $1.4 million, and deliver benefits well worth the cost.

On the Town’s website Googel explains further:

“The ChapLine would provide a healthy recreational space for our families and enhance the pedestrian/biking experience in a town where roads tend to be relatively unsafe for walking and biking. Such trails have been proven to increase the values of nearby properties as home buyers increasingly seek more pedestrian-friendly communities. The ChapLine would also allow Horace Greeley students with a means to safely walk or bike to/from school and provide a safer and healthier alternative to driving off-campus during the day, as they could walk or bike to downtown Chappaqua for lunch or snacks. Regardless the ultimate mix of office, residential and retail at Chappaqua Crossing, the ChapLine would provide the residents and employees an alternate means to get to downtown Chappaqua.”

See Googel’s presentation to the Town Board—including maps delineating the pathway—is embedded below:

The Chappaqua Bike/Walkway (The “ChapLine”) from New Castle Media Center on Vimeo.


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