Boards + residents struggle to understand Chappaqua Crossing traffic problems + mitigations

Town traffic expert leaves Boards with more questions than answers
With 89 comments since publication
May 30, 2014
by Christine Yeres

In a joint meeting of Town Board and Planning Board members both boards heard a presentation of the latest plan by Summit Greenfield for 120,000 square feet of retail (40,000 of it a Whole Foods grocery, 25,000 SF gym, a small bank building and “a series of smaller buildings that could be further subdivided”). “We believe,” said planning and engineering consultant for SG, Andy Tung, “that the traffic is the same, the program is the same and access to the site is the same.”  But without SG’s traffic consultant present, traffic questions from residents and board members remained close to the same degree of unanswered.

_________________________________

In brief . . .

• Elise Mottel will un-recuse herself and be part of the Chappaqua Crossing review and decision

• SG introduced Whole Foods rep for northeast region, who spoke as part of SG’s presentation

• Supervisor Greenstein called the removal of limits on number of small retail spaces a “non-starter”

• TB counsel explained that SEQR does not preempt local zoning, but data from the SEQR environmental review cannot be ignored.  The info will guide the Board’s decision.  If the TB approves zoning and TDP (master plan) changes, the PB would begin its detailed review of the site plan.

• Town Board’s counsel has informed NCNOW that the public hearings on both zoning changes and changes to the town development plan to permit retail had both closed—though neither was voted on—in September 2013.  However, the zoning hearing will reopen on Tuesday, June 10, 2014

• The Planning Board’s 30-day review of the Preliminary Development Concept Plan for CC has begun; PB members will discuss the PDCP in a work session on Tuesday, June 3, toward the end of their meeting.

_________________________________

SG rep gives overview of the new proposal

Originally, the retail use was to have replaced existing office space, but, as Tung explained, now that SG is proposing all 120,000 SF of retail as new construction, SG intends to close off enough basement space to equal (when added to the 39,000 SF of the 100 Building which is to be razed) the 120,000 SF total of new retail space, in a sort of trade. [Later in the meeting TB member Adam Brodsky took issue with the relative values of the retail (worth more) and basement office (worth less) space. See below.].

Whole Foods makes first appearance

Tung introduced Mark Mobley, Executive Coordinator of Design and Construction for the Northeast Region of Whole Foods, who addressed Board members. 

“We’ve been looking for a site in northern Westchester County for several years,” said Mobley, “and we were really excited when this opportunity came to us to provide a grocery store for Chappaqua.  We have signed a lease for 40,000 square feet.  We hope to open in early 2016.  We are the largest provider of natural and organic foods in the area so we think we’ll have a great opportunity to bring a lot of new products to the community, be involved in it.  We will probably hire about 200 people from the local community to be our team members in the store.  We’re really excited to be here and can’t wait for it to open.”

Following Tung’s overview of the proposal, the Town’s traffic consultant, Michael Galante of F.P. Clark, summarized the report he conducted for the Town on the SG traffic report by John Collins Engineers, P.C.

The recession lowered traffic

“Normally,” Galante explained, “2008 data would be considered old.”  But because of the distressed economy, he told board members, traffic has dropped and is only just now recovering to reach the same levels as those studied in 2008. However, he said, the base data for the 17 intersections studied “was grown by 1% per year.”

Peak hour patterns were studied for five times during the day—morning school traffic, morning commuter traffic, school dismissal, afternoon commuter traffic, and Saturday morning traffic.

At several points in the evening Board members and residents called for an appearance by the Collins engineer whose report is the basis of Galante’s review.  NCNOW asked that SG have its traffic consultant bring his traffic-modeling animation program, Synchro, to the next meeting. (It shows dots representing cars as traffic on the roadways, changing as inputs at intersections change.)

Galante’s study was a mini-study of the original Collins maxi-study of traffic which Summit Greenfield commissioned.  Galante’s poster board charts displayed at the front of a full assembly room were impossible to see; he had to read out much of the information. Both Town Board and Planning Board members asked questions of Galante, and in the resulting confusion it took a fair amount of time to finally understand from him, for example, that the “peak hour” traffic numbers he was comparing—previous approved plan to proposed grocery-retail plan—were to be counted in addition to the existing traffic.

Brodsky asked Galante to clarify what the traffic volume is today and what it would be in the future, fully occupied.  Afternoon commuter peak traffic, Galante explained—1,091 vehicles per hour—would be in addition to the current traffic volume.

Site Traffic Generation Trips Per-Hour at Peak Times

Peak Hour School Arrival
7:00 to 8:00 am

Previous Plan:  972 Retail Plan: 920 Net Difference: +52

Weekday Morning Commuter
8:00 to 9:00 am

Previous Plan:  491 Retail Plan: 467 Net Difference: -24

Weekday Afternoon School Dismissal
2:30 to 3:30 pm

Previous Plan:  917 Retail Plan: 724 Net Difference: -193

Weekday Afternoon Commuter
4:30 to 5:30 pm

Previous Plan: 1,245   Retail Plan: 1,091 Net Difference: -154

Saturday Midday
12:00 to 1:00 pm

Previous Plan:  942 Retail Plan: 807 Net Difference: -135

Traffic mitigation measures include a six-lane intersection on Roaring Brook Road at the Greeley entrance with signals and crosswalks for pedestrians (and a third lane added to Greeley’s entry drive) , a southbound slip lane on Route 117 at Roaring Brook Road, and a northbound left-turn lane on Route 117 at Roaring Brook Road—“an improvement needed anyway,” according to Galante, even without the project.

Asked how much office space is currently being leased, Tung estimated that—of the total 662,000 SF of office space—160,000 SF, or 25%, is now occupied.

Galante expressed confidence that traffic numbers—lower for the proposed grocery-retail-office-residential than for the approved office-residential—were accurately modeled, telling members of both boards that the Whole Foods in Darien, CT, for example, was required to measure traffic six months after its completion and found that traffic rates were lower than predicted.

Will Whole Foods draw more regional traffic?

Lisa Katz posited to Galante that a Whole Foods would draw more regional traffic than a standard A&P, for example.  But Galante maintained that a standard A&P or ShopRite grocery would require more like 65,000 or 75,000 SF of space and would therefore draw more traffic than the 40,000 Whole Foods.

PB member Tom Curley asked also “whether [trip] generation rates are the same for different supermarkets,” asking Galante whether Whole Foods has “a greater capture area for its clientele.”  Galante’s response was that 60% or 70% of that retail traffic would come from the Saw Mill Parkway.

Will more small stores generate more traffic than fewer large ones?

Katz asked about the new assumption in the latest Preliminary Development Concept Plan, for an “unlimited number of small stores,” and whether they would draw more traffic than fewer large stores such as a Petco or Staples.  She estimated that as many as 33 small stores might fit into the building footprints. 

Galante responded that according to the trip generation handbook that traffic engineers use, only supermarkets and drugstores are stand-outs for traffic generation.  Otherwise “shopping center” estimates show all other retail trip rates as comparable—whether from large or small stores.

Brodsky sees regional draw—not local density—as key to Whole Foods presence

Whole Foods “is coming here not because of the density in New Castle,” said Brodsky, “but because of the affluence of the regional area—so the shopping center proposed is more of a regional center than a shopping center.” It would be unfair to compare it, he said, to the Millwood shopping center, for example.  “This is a regional shopping center that would bigger-box stores.  Not just a Whole Foods, but very large retail establishments such as a Petco and a Staples, and that’s going to draw from a larger geographic area.” Brodsky was skeptical of Galante’s claim that smaller and bigger box stores would draw the same amount of traffic.

Brodsky suggests reverse orientation of shopping center

“In my view,” continued Brodsky, “the shopping center is completely reversed.  I think that the shopping center should be geared to the Saw Mill Parkway—because it’s a regional draw—and allow people to enter directly off the Saw Mill and not congest 117 and Roaring Brook Road. And in addition, the only reason [Whole Foods is] coming is because of [the site’s] proximity to the parkway, otherwise they would be coming downtown, which obviously would be the best scenario in my view.”

So the shopping center should be oriented toward the Saw Mill rather than towards Bedford Road, Brodsky concluded.

Galante responded as though Brodsky had suggested direct access from the Saw Mill into the shopping center, saying that DOT would be unlikely to approve “direct access from an interchange.”

Steering traffic to enter on Saw Mill side of Chappaqua Crossing

“The concept that people will come from the Saw Mill, as you’ve suggested,” said PB member Richard Brownell to Galante, “is going to lead to more issues [including a rise in the accident rate] which would help if we could direct that traffic more quickly toward Whole Foods, wherever it’s located, and keep it off Roaring Brook, for instance.”

“Oh, I agree with you,” said Galante.

“But I think you’ve put the mitigation for the school into your numbers,” said Brownell.  “That’s why the school traffic option drops [in number of cars per peak hour] when you talk about the current project with these improvements.”

“No, the mitigations,” explained Galante, “don’t reduce the volume of traffic; it reduces the impact and delay.”  The numbers Galante listed were Chappaqua Crossing traffic.  “These go on top of the traffic already on the roads,” he said.

TB member Jason Chapin asked Galante what volume of non-car—i.e., truck—traffic to expect from the project.  Five to ten percent, said Galante, according to Summit Greenfield’s traffic report, adding that the applicant’s traffic engineer would have to answer the question of how much truck traffic would increase with the proposed project.

Brodsky nudges SG to bring its traffic expert next time

“So you hear that traffic is high on the list of priorities,” Brodsky said to Galante.

“Yes,” said Galante. “It usually is.”

“So these are really questions we have to ask the applicant,” said Brodsky. “I’m a little displeased that we don’t have the applicant’s traffic consultant here tonight.  So how can you help us gear the questions toward the applicant so that the concerns of the community are addressed?”

“I don’t want to pass the buck,” said Galante, “but the applicant’s consultant should give you a full, detailed presentation of all the numbers.  That should be done at some point.  It’s not my traffic report, but [with additional study] I could [help you to understand it].”

Katz asked whether it was “an inherent conflict of interest” to rely on the SG’s traffic consultant.  Galante responded that the town had in fact had had a great deal of input into the SG’s traffic report. “We all use the same traffic handbook,” said Galante, which anyone can compare to DOT data. He told Katz that, for example, the developer had suggested the southbound right hand turn lane on 117 and Roaring Brook Road, but because traffic still showed serious delays, as a result of the town’s input the plan now proposed a northbound left hand turn lane as well.

Tung explained to Katz that the SEQR process works in this way:  the applicant conducts studies and the town’s experts review those studies and comment on them.  He explained that the reduction in the size of the grocery (66,000 SF to 40,000 SF) and no drugstore—eliminated since Chappaqua now has a Walgreens and a Rite Aid—accounted for the reduced traffic numbers in the current proposal.

120,000 SF of newly-constructed retail for same amount of basement office space eliminated may not be such a good deal

Andy Tung stated that Summit Greenfield intended to “decommission” 120,000 square feet of existing office space to compensate for the 120,000 square feet of retail that is now entirely new construction (in the original plan the grocery would have used two existing buildings, one of them the cupola building). The decommissioned space SG was proposing, said Tung, would be “basement” space across several buildings.

Adam Brodsky seemed disappointed with the basement trade.  “Removal of 120,000 that’s lower-level is really unleasable space,” he told Tung, “so what you’re removing it is not anything the developer is giving up.” He urged Tung to consider giving up “real, usable space.”

“All the office space is counted the same,” said Tung.  “Yes, some is less usable from a leasing point of view.”

“That makes it unleasable and unusable,” said Brodsky. “It’s like shell game—not really giving anything of value to the community, not a real ‘give’ on the part of the developer. So as food for thought, since they’re asking us to provide 120,000 square feet of retail, they should give 120,000 square feet of office in addition to [eliminating] the 100 Building.

Supervisor Rob Greenstein turned to counsel, Nick Ward-Willis, “Does the Town Board have the power to help the applicant decide which square footage could be removed?”

“At the end of the day it is the applicant’s project,” said Ward-Willis, but the Town Board can make suggestions as to which space would be preferable to decommission.

Back from recusal, Elise Mottel appeals to Galante to make the traffic report comprehensible

After his presentation, Mottel told Galante, “I’ve just come back [from recusal], but to sum up, I don’t really understand the traffic and the charts don’t really help me to understand.  Trucks, the high school traffic—we’re asking for information to be presented to us so that we can really understand the traffic.”

“We can do that,” said Tung, “but with all due respect, the environmental report was conducted in 2011 and 2013 and both of those sets of Findings analyzed the traffic.  Now we’re showing a decrease [in traffic].”

“But with all due respect,” responded Katz, “you did just ask for an unlimited number of smaller stores and the fact that it’s a Whole Foods rather than a regular supermarket has a significant impact and that is a material change.”

Greenstein asked Tung, “As far as having a gym, currently 26,000 SF, and maybe it would be bigger.  What’s the traffic impact of the gym?”

It would generate 90 trips in the afternoon peak hour of 4:30 to 5:30 p.m., said Galante.  “It may generate more traffic at 7:00 p.m. at night. And a lot at 9:30 to 10:30 a.m., after the kids are at school.  Gym traffic goes up and background traffic goes up at that hour.”

“How does traffic generated from a gym compare to the grocery?” asked PB member Sheila Crespi.  “A little less than the grocery,” said Galante.

Annandale traffic problems

PB member Richard Brownell asked how the traffic problem at Annandale and 117 would be addressed.

“There’s a sight line problem there,” said Galante. “There’s a sight line restriction unrelated to this project.  In order to improve it you would have to realign the road, move it or close it.  There are options the town could consider.”

“What we’re going to want you to do,” said Greenstein to Galante, “is to look at all the alternatives to try to mitigate as many intersections as possible, including Annandale.  At the end of the day, it might be something we ask the applicant to do as a condition of approval.”

Crespi noted to Galante that the Saw Mill intersection suffers a significant drop in “level of service,” with only some “signal timing” changes suggested.  With more traffic using the intersection, she suggested to Galante, more mitigation might be necessary.

Counsel cautions that boards must look at additional impacts of newest proposal, not reopen old traffic questions

In response, the Town Board’s counsel, Nick Ward-Willis, noted that the quandary the town finds itself in now is that the board must examine the additional impacts of the newest proposed plan, and not take this occasion to reopen previous traffic study questions.

With something like the Annandale traffic problem, the town can still study the traffic problem at the intersection of Annandale, suggested Greenstein.  “But at the town’s expense at this point, not the developer’s, added Ward-Willis.

Greenstein announces that the TB will not allow more smaller stores

When Crespi mentioned that Summit Greenfield’s request to lift the limit on the number of smaller stores allowed in the Chappaqua Crossing retail district would likely increase competition with the existing hamlet stores, Greenstein responded, “That’s why the Town Board is not going to lift that restriction.  I’ve had a lot to say about this application over the years—trying to advocate for the best possible outcome for the town and that’s what I’m continuing to do as supervisor—so when Summit Greenfield asked to lift restrictions on the number of smaller retail stores I said, ‘That’s a non-starter for us.’  They [SG] weren’t happy to hear this.  But the point is that this application will continue to be shaped over the upcoming months and I encourage all of our residents and merchants to step up and let the board know what you think about having a Whole Foods, a fitness center and some other stores at Chappaqua Crossing.”

Questioning opens to the public

More environmental review required?

Jessica Reinmann, a resident of Cowdin Lane, was accompanied by Michael G. Sterthous a land use attorney with Whiteman Osterman & Hanna of Albany, representing her and other residents of the Chappaqua Crossing neighborhood.  He argued that the latest changes to Summit Greenfield’s proposed development should require additional environmental impact studies.  “When an area of land is rezoned in a way that deviates from the current master plan,” the attorney told Board members, “and offers no planning reason other than the applicant’s own pecuniary gain”—this is “spot zoning.” He listed impacts on “visual resources less than 200 feet away,” traffic, stormwater, loading docks, noise from truck traffic, trash compactors, dumpsters, community character and “the transformation of the project from campus to Main Street strip mall.”

Moratorium urged

“The town,” Reinmann’s attorney continued, “is actively engaged in an update of the master plan that should include this property.  Consider a temporary moratorium on the zoning amendments for large properties. A full rezoning opens the door to over-development of the site,” perhaps, he said, to “future expanded retail.”  He concluded, “This project will affect the community for generations to come.”

Rob Fleisher remarked on the degree of confusion among board members, and asked how the previous board could have arrived at last year’s Findings.  Ward-Willis responded that Board members were not confused, but were simply asking questions.  “We tried to get Mr. Galante to come before the Findings were approved.”  The confusion would be addressed by Summit Greenfield’s traffic consultants at the June 10 public hearing on a change of zoning to permit retail.

Hedy Simpson noted that students walk to school. “I’d like to see more on safety concerns for kids, especially once we get more information on the amount of truck traffic using 117.”

Danny Gladstone asked, “Does the Town Board have a business plan? Do we understand the economics of their plan and does the board have a responsibility to assess the feasibility of that plan?  Probably Whole Foods pays zero rent, and the other stores pay it.  What if the project fails?  What do we do?”

Ward-Willis responded that the town has as little control over the economic feasibility of Summit Greenfield’s plan as it would have over the plan of a private developer of a subdivision.

“Are we entitled to know what the deal is with Whole Foods?” asked Gladstone.

“No, we’re not,” said Ward-Willis.

Tie size of retail or office space to acceptable traffic levels?

“Why not remove whatever amount of office space necessary to make the traffic totals acceptable?” asked NCNOW.  Does the Board have the power to ask Summit Greenfield to decommission enough space to bring traffic to acceptable levels?

The Town Board may make suggestions, said Ward-Willis.

Examination of feasibility of changes to State roadways by DOT

NCNOW asked whether SG would begin the review process by DOT of its proposed mitigation measures on Route 117 (southbound right hand slip lane onto Roaring Brook Road and northbound left hand turn lane onto Roaring Brook Road).

Ward-Willis explained that DOT will require Summit Greenfield to do so.

“He will have to do it,” said Galante.

“When?” asked NCNOW.  “After project approval or before?”

Chapin responded, “We’ve seen many different versions of the proposal.  I think it would be unproductive if we went through the expense of the DOT process before settling on a final plan.”

“But certainly not wait until it’s approved?” asked NCNOW.

“If we were to approve the proposal in its current form, it would be conditioned on the mitigations,” said Chapin.

Rezoning is not dependent on the mitigations being assured, explained Ward-Willis, but site plan approval [the Planning Board’s bailiwick] is dependent on it.

A call to return to the original plan

Chuck Napoli suggested that everyone recall that the original proposal by Summit Greenfield was for “adaptive reuse” of existing building space as retail.  Now that only the 100 Building—floor space of around 40,000 SF—is slated to be removed, allow Summit Greenfield to construct only a new grocery space of that size.  “Give them 40,000 square feet of retail,” said Napoli, “and call it quits.  Making 120,000 SF the number—and turning out some lights [of the basement space, in trade]—is now arbitrary.”

Will an improving economy increase traffic numbers?

Mary Weiss noted that if the traffic numbers were lower than expected because of the slowdown in the economy, and consequently the mitigations were still thought to be effective, would an increase in traffic in an improved economy be taken into account?

“DOT now requires a ten-year-out traffic study,” said Galante.

Brodsky suggests it’s time to ask DOT

“Since maybe ten people have come up and our traffic consultant has come up here and said, ‘Well, it’s up to DOT,’ and ‘We have to ask DOT’—why don’t we just ask DOT?” Brodsky asked Tung.

“We have made preliminary contact with DOT,” said Tung, “but generally they don’t like to be involved—because of their resources and availability—until the the project is at a point where the town or lead agency is comfortable with what the project is going to be.”

Since the Saw Mill and 117 are both State roads, Brodsky said to Tung, “and Summit Greenfield’s traffic consultant is not present, DOT is the other elephant in the room not present.”

“Since you’re getting closer, in your estimation, to what you might want to do with the site,” said Brodsky, “it might be a good time to engage DOT, if that’s possible,” said Brodsky, “so that we can look at all the facts and the whole picture.”

Adam Reinmann asked, “Exactly what happens if the approval is granted for the rezoning, even if contingent on DOT approval, where are we if the DOT decides the proposal is not acceptable?”

Ward-Willis responded that it was possible that Summit Greenfield’s traffic consultant will be present at the public hearing on June 10 to answer questions.  Katz asked Tung to produce Summit Greenfield’s traffic consultant for the June 10 meeting.  (Galante, however, is not free to attend on June 10, Greenstein announced.)

Greenstein’s plan to move town hall to Chappaqua Crossing—where does it fit into the process?

NCNOW asked, “How does the idea of moving Town Hall to the cupola building of Chappaqua Crossing—whether by buying, leasing or being given the cupola building—fit into all this?

“That’s not part of this project,” said Ward-Willis.

“Does this not affect your thought process about the project? NCNOW asked Greenstein.

“The way it affects me personally,” said Greenstein, “is that I’m also looking at downtown Chappaqua—which needs help now.  That’s one possible thing we can do and we should explore all of the options.  As I’ve said before [the same day the Findings were approved by the previous Town Board], we can’t just hope for the best for downtown Chappaqua; we have to shore it up.”


Tuesday, June 10 a public hearing on the change in zoning re-opens and continues.

A video of the three-hour meeting with Galante (reported above) is embedded below:

 

Town of New Castle Joint Town & Planning Board Meeting 5/20/14 from New Castle Media Center on Vimeo.


Comments(109):
We encourage civil, civic discourse. All comments are reviewed before publication to assure that this standard is met.

The NIMBYs came out in force. They even brought their hired hand - they now have their own attorney. The traffic can and will be mitigated but this small group of obstructionist will continue to stall this project.  Expect them to sue -Shame on all of them for their selfish behavior. Whole Foods is an outstanding merchant they are environmentally conscientious , sell natural and healthy foods , and will employ many locals including our teenagers. A few dozen loud mouth selfish people should not hold the rest of our community hostage.

By Resident on 05/30/2014 at 8:22 pm

I’m not against WF coming in per say but their stock has tanked, they overcharge and I would hate to be in an ambulance on 117 if it does get built.

By To resident on 05/30/2014 at 9:14 pm

Jesica Reinmann brought her attorney that also represents other residents in the CC neighborhood. He suggested a moratorium. That won’t work. There is substantial legal precedent that municipalties cannot arbitrarily stop developments because residents fear traffic, noise etc by using a moratorium.  Ask Rob Grreenstein. He is an attorney and has done his homework. Moratoriums do not hold up in court. Reinmann and her neighbors are continuing their stop, obstruct, stall and fear mongoring tactics. Bringing in a lawyer jeopardizes the entire town. If stopped, Summit Greenfield will most certainly reinstate and resume legal action against the town of new castle.  Should that happen Whole Foods will walk, ALL residents will foot the legal bills, and ALL residents suffer as this multi use 110 acre parcel of land goes underutilized and without generated taxes for all.
This is a shameless and selfish bunch.

By West side guy on 05/30/2014 at 9:34 pm

Thank goodness for the outspoken residents who brought light on the traffic issues that cannot be mitigated by the onslaught of cars attracted to the strip mall. They will not be drowned out by the nonsense spewed out by the SG public relations team and their “Resident” commentator.

By More Information Please on 05/30/2014 at 9:39 pm

Resident,

There are many more than a few dozen people who are against turning that beautiful property into a shopping mall. 

It is your selfishness that is appalling.

By another resident on 05/30/2014 at 10:11 pm

You are the selfish ones,not considering the needs of the whole community, all of whom will be affected by the congestion caused by this over-development of our town.

By Back at you on 05/30/2014 at 10:50 pm

I agree with the above commenter. I, for one, am thrilled about the Whole Foods’ lease. (And I live on the Bedford Rd side of town.) Can we start a petition just to show how many of us Chappaqua residents are FOR development at CC? I’m tired of this vocal minority stalling the project.

By Resident on 05/30/2014 at 10:55 pm

West side guy,

It is you who is mistaken.  Since we have begun our master plan process we are in a perfect spot for a moratorium.  Do your homework.  Rob knows full well that this is possible, it is what he campaigned on.  It is what the town should do

http://www.dos.ny.gov/lg/publications/Land_Use_Moratoria.pdf

By West side guy is wrong on 05/30/2014 at 11:14 pm

And you, resident, have no idea of whether it is a “vocal minority” that opposes this project. A petition wouldn’t tell you what you want to know. It would only tell you who wants to sign a petition.

You’re right about this, though, the town should have a real way to find out what residents want. No one has done that, ever. (And neither has the developer.)

So stop sounding like a jerk calling people “this vocal minority.”

By You don't know what you're talking about on 05/30/2014 at 11:50 pm

Whineman & Co. post a 20 million dollar bond to indemnify the town, SG and Whole Foods against loss of revenue, taxes, rents, legal fees should her hired guns seek a stay.

The town board is taking the hard looks necessary to satisfy legal requirements. It is not pretextual. Traffic mitigation is being dealt with professionally and significantly. The more the NIMBYS hold the town’s feet to the fire, the stronger the town’s decisions become.

There is no question that this is not spot zoning. It also involves substantial community benefit. It is not a legal slam dunk for the obstructionists. Yes, NIMBYS have understandable complaints and rights, but the town and its residents also have rights.

By moritorium on 05/31/2014 at 5:18 am

Please remember that the “team” during the campaign promised that they would send out a survey to find out what the Community wants.  To date, they have not reached out.  They are all a disappointment to the residents.

By Team New Castle's promise? on 05/31/2014 at 6:41 am

People want Whole Foods. We need commercial/ retail tax revenue. Traffic issues can be solved. It is a vocal minority. This is the same group that circulated that petition full if lies that fear mongored. These people bought their homes next to a 110 acre commercial property. There were no guarantees Reafers Digest would stay forever. Rt 117 is a state road regulated for truck traffic. Saw Mill Parkway is adjacent to the property. They continue to put all of us in great jeopardy because the developer has been obstructed for 8 years. New Castle residents - all residents will pay the price for their behavior. Sad very sad. Bring us Whole Foods. In the meantime this town board had fumbled and bumbled everything else. Sad very sad.

By Another resident on 05/31/2014 at 7:34 am

Jessica did not bring “her attorney” to the meeting;  she brought the attorney who is now representing a substantial number of residents who believe that the project proposed by SG is a substantial departure from that reviewed in the current SEQR analysis,  traffic and quality of life considerations require that, at the very least, there be a moratorium until the Master Plan process be completed, and the project as proposed will jeopardize New Castle both culturally and financially. 

We have listened to two years of promises, PR, insults and disinformation.  My only regret is that critics of this absurd project did not organize and hire counsel sooner.  We are not merely a few, and we have rights too.

By All of Us on 05/31/2014 at 8:11 am

How are the so called NIMBY’s stalling the process? The planning board and town board continue working with SG.  All those folks are doing is voicing their opinion and asking questions that should be answered before it is approved. After watching the meeting, it seems like they still can’t answer those questions.

By The wheels are still turning on 05/31/2014 at 8:25 am

To By Another resident:
Just curious, do you know what the tax relief numbers for residents are if the chappaqua crossing site is successful? let’s say it’s a huge success, everyone loves it and shops there. What happens to downtown? I’m in agreement we need tax relief, but let’s finish the master plan and get this right.

By What are the tax numbers? on 05/31/2014 at 8:38 am

Not all the people want Whole Foods.  Tax revenue can be gained in many ways that do not require over-development.  For the 100th time - yes, RD was zoned for commercial use, but ALL of the SG plans have required zoning variances to which a court has already held SG is not entitled.  That they came back for another round was their decision, not ours.

The SEQR report shows, not merely that traffic created by the proposed project cannot be entirely mitigated but that, to the extent that it can be mitigated, they would require extensive expansion and reconstruction of the roads about RD, with substantial contributions by DOT.  These facts alone would support a “no” vote by the Board, not the grounds that the changes would be disruptive and out of keeping with the town culture and the DOT money not assured,  in short the SEQR report does not require that we approve a zoning variance: no law requires that we approve such a variance, and the SEQR report itself gives us multiple grounds to say no.

Opponents of this project aren’t backing down, so you can forget that.  SG,  Ron and company are going to have to deal with us.  The sooner they realize that the better for all.

If SG can’t make money on RD, then they should sell the property to the Town, or to a private/public consortium, at current market rates,.  SG can take a write-off and we can develop the property in a manner that benefits the Town and ALL of its residents.

By All of Us on 05/31/2014 at 9:00 am

Look at the pace of development of this site - a moratorium has been in effect on this parcel for nearly 10 years. 

By Chris Roberta on 05/31/2014 at 10:21 am

To Chris Roberta - it’s not the fault of residents that this town board and the one before it and the one before that didn’t seriously undertake a review of the town’s master plan. They knew they should and they let it ride. And the current town board isn’t doing much better with the one it’s running.
It’s not the fault of residents that good planning never took place, or that the town board (this or any other one) never required the developer to deal with Chappaqua Crossing neighbors. It’s the fault of the town boards.
And yet you’re tired of waiting around and want the cost of bad planning and bad governing to fall on those surrounding Chappaqua Crossing. Just because town boards pointed us in a wrong direction doesn’t mean we should continue in that direction.

By Chris Roberta think again on 05/31/2014 at 10:55 am

Chris Roberta how can you compare a limited moratorium (during which time governments are supposed to do some planning for a change) to the 10 year segment during which an developer (or town) has proposed one bad plan after another? Plans that require CHANGE OF ZONING. Do you work for a developer? Zoning = law, the law in place when people bought their homes all around the place. It has been within the developer’s power to ask for something that would work within the zoning. The fact taht it has taken ten years is the developer’s problem. In answer to the developer claiming in court that the town had deprived him of his ability to use his land the courts said that this developer could always have constructed a certain number of single fam houses. The argument was bogus.

By 10 yrs? It's the developer's fault! on 05/31/2014 at 11:01 am

The NIMBY’s have effectively caused a moratorium on this property and would try to continue forever   They are about as transparent as Team New Castle

By Exactly right Roberta on 05/31/2014 at 11:03 am

Typos; sorry.  I meant that the construction and state funding required to mitigate traffic congestion are in themselves sufficient grounds to reject the SG proposal, and that Rob should recognize that opponents are serious and aren’t going away.

By All of Us on 05/31/2014 at 11:04 am

The tax numbers are inconsequential.  That is the truth.

By Resident on 05/31/2014 at 12:06 pm

Post a 20 million bond to get a stay .

By Dear all of us on 05/31/2014 at 12:35 pm

The NIMBYs have hired their own lawyer. Shame on them. Now what? Lawsuits start flying again- and we all lose.  Maybe the rest of us residents can sue Jessica Reinmann and her neighbors for damages as Summit Greenfield will most certainly come after our community and most likely win. They have now been at this for 8 years.
The NIMBYs now blame the previous town board and the current town board. But they didn’t have a problem with the last town board for most of those 8 years. Multiple plans and variations of plans were proposed by SG over the years. Residential McMansions and condos, age restricted housing, and retail to name a few. The only thing the town had approved was a much smaller condo proposal. Originally submitted for 300, then 200 and finally 100 approved and it took years to get that thru. The NIMBYs circulated a BS petition to fear monger and spread lies like sewage treatment and McDonalds was coming to CC. For years the town board sided with the NIMBYs - until they could no longer. Then Carpenter and her board were vilified.
So they elected Team New Castle. They didn’t care that the 3 of them had ZERO government experience. They ignored Team Greens deplorable behavior. They distorted and manipulated an online survey meant to gauge resident sentiment. They rejoiced when a Team NC won until they realized that once in office, Greenstein heard from our new town attorneys and realized progress and retail at CC was inevitable. In fact it could be a big positive. But the NIMBYs don’t care. They will stop at nothing and object to everything. So much do that they have now hired lawyers that will be detrimental to all. The rest of us should sue the NIMBYs.

By RayJ on 05/31/2014 at 3:08 pm

The lawyer now representing the NIMBYs is requesting a moratorium until the master plan is complete. What a joke! Maybe the lawyer should visit Chapp Crossing. He will find a ghost town. 110 acres of underutilized and near empty office space. For years the developer has been thwarted on plans and proposals to utilize the property. In effect there has been a moratorium for 8 years!
Readers Digest employed thousands of workers with night and day shifts. There were truck deliveries, traffic, garbage removal, visitors, cafeteria food deliveries, vendor and maintenance traffic, etc. in addition RT 117 was always busy with truck traffic that serviced the huge Grand Union regional distribution center in Mt Kisco. Trucks rambled to and from this facility day and night 7 days a week. Then it went away. Then Readers Digest went away. The NIMBYs have been spoiled by the deserted CC and the closed distribution center.
Maybe the NIMBY lawyer should understand the history of our community before he suggests to our a Town Board that a moratorium be instituted. Moratoriums will not hold up in court. Suing to block or delay will certainly be a negative for our community.
I find this group of people the most self centered and manipulative group I have ever seen in my 30 plus years in this community.

By West Ender on 05/31/2014 at 3:54 pm

All Nimbys who are represented by the attorney must so disclose. Then we can move forward vis a vis those litigants. Attorney comments are material

By Bring it on on 05/31/2014 at 4:47 pm

It’s so very sad to read through these comments and watch neighbors and community members feel so hateful and divided about over priced kale and hemp shampoo. The issues at Chappaqua crossings are deep and extremely serious.  When someone gets killed on 117 , our crime rate spikes and our community services are stretched to the brink- think back about the strong words and ideas you had that this project truly is the right thing for our entire town.

By Sickening on 05/31/2014 at 5:02 pm

West Ender,

It is who who should understand the history of how Reader’s Digest was used in its heyday and its surrounding roads and traffic.  It is your description that is erroneous.  It has been debunked by other readers, many times over, but you persist in your deliberate claptrap. Claptrap, a civil word for lies.

If you do this because you think you that this proposed development will save you taxes, it will not.  Now who is the self centered one ?

Why do you not enjoy the beautiful area that the west end is, an area that you are fortunate to live in.  An area that probably gives you more house and more acreage for less money that other areas in town.  Oh, but you do not have mail delivery, quelle dommage!

By Claptrap. on 05/31/2014 at 5:41 pm

To those of you who live near Chapp Crossing ( i will respectfully refrain from using the term NIMBY) - You are wasting your money hiring an attorney if his tact is to call for a moratorium until the Master Plan is complete. The master plan is not some magical holy grail that will guide us. SEQR is well along, studies by the town and the developer completed, and the process is well under way. No court will support another 12-18 month delay because that is what PACE estimates it will take to complete the Master Plan.
Traffic can be mitigated, hours of operation negotiated, store size and layout manipulated ALL to give the town and CC community a net positive. The Town Square concept is excellent!
This has gone on long enough. Whole Foods is a marquee anchor tenant. It is small by comparison to most other super markets. Of course it has “regional” draw. What retailer today would survive solely on the patronage of New Castle. Would Family Britches or Mikolay Jewelers be in business if they depended only on Chapp residents? Of course not.
CC is surrounded by NY St RT 117(suitable for trucks) and the Saw Mill River PKWY. You can not continue to portray your commnuity as some quiet not to be disturbed farm land. Even the Greeley campus is tucked away behind a huge entrance shielding it from traffic. The students at Bell School are in more danger being next to downtown retail traffic and the trainstation parking lot.
Lets get on with it!

By chapp mom on 05/31/2014 at 5:42 pm

I think you are doing a great job, and I really appreciate the fact that you are thinking about the downtown merchants. What coming changes are you thinking about that will help the creation of new kinds of businesses to be allowed into the downtown area that currently are not allowed? What changes are you making within the four walls of town hall that will expedite or eliminate applications by existing merchants for when they need to do something to their space in order to stay in business i.e. emergency roof top generators, outside tables and chairs, banners, allowed displays. I fear that the CC issue and other matters may be distracting the deployment of your ideas and changes towards town hall processes that you had discussed when running for office. Team Green how are you going to cause real excitement in the grapevine of conversations between many people that would cause them to open up a business in Chappaqua. What are you doing to stimulate the very rough local economy, what ideas are you thinking about. All I hear is CC, I’d like to hear word on other topics that continue to choke the efforts of existing merchants and landlords of the area. Where is the evidence of action on your part to deploy change? I know that CC is a monster of a matter, but please don’t forget the other matters that need you and the rest of Team Green. Thanks!

By For Elliot Ness on 05/31/2014 at 10:53 pm

At a minimum, Stopping tax losses IS saving taxes. THAT fact is beyond cavil. The only so called “debunking” has been through NIMBY self centered falsehoods and half truths.

So long as proper procedure is followed and genuine “hard looks” are taken, it is the town board’s prerogative to make decisions it feels are in the best interest of the town as a WHOLE. As to CC, its approval directly benefits one property owner and indirectly benefits hundreds or thousands of others. And as to a hand full of NIMBYS, it indeed may be a detraction but also a benefit, which the NIMBY rail that they don’t like or want, but the eventual purchasers of their homes will choose the convenience it offers.

Some NIMBY’s on this posting site have heretically stated that they want Whole Foods etc. near them. Yes, most don’t, but some do. I think that 111 homes with 20 affordable units next to my house is much worse than having upscale stores.

By Clapper debunker on 06/01/2014 at 1:44 am

Claptrap- west ender has it correct. Readers Digest was a busy bustling campus with thousands of employees. All kinds of vehicles and trucks were in and out. Rt 117 was used everyday as a truck route to and from the Grand Union distribution center. Those are facts not erroneous and certainly not debunked by others.
It is an accurate description of the traffic and commerce the area accommodated for years.

By Hey claptrap on 06/01/2014 at 5:41 am

To All Of Us- your comments exemplify the true nimby position. You say opponents of this project aren’t backing down and SG and Ron will have to deal with us. We have all been dealing with you people for 8 years! Had you not opposed all the condos and age restricting housing that might have been built by now but you opposed that too.
Your suggestion that SG should sell the property to our town or to a private/public consortium echoes the absurdity suggested by Lisa Katz. With what money do you suggest our town buy this parcel? You want tax payers to foot the bill and buy CC so that you don’t have to deal with a little traffic. That perfectly sums up the selfishness and chutzpah of you NIMBYs.  I suppose you would like the rest of us to buy this and turn it into walking trails and sculpture gardens so you people can take nice strolls. In the meantime people are excited about Whole Foods and all the good that this will bring ALL residents. It’s not just about you!
The misinformation and pr coming from you folks insults the rest of our community. The fear mongoring and sky is falling rhetoric is getting old. For years we have been hearing about unbearable and dangerous traffic, fast food and big box stores, sewage treatment plants and neon lights. Heck, your ring leader even exploited school shootings trying to scare people. You circulated a BS petition and you ruined a well intentioned town survey by voting multiple times.
For 8 years You have blocked and obstructed all previous plans and suggestions by the developer with multiple town board support. Now the tactics don’t work and you attack and blame the town board. Readers Digest is gone- it’s not coming back. The office buildings are antiquated and inappropriate for modern office use. This town square configuration with a Whole a foods and ancillary retail is excellent. Deal with it!

By Your nimby is showing on 06/01/2014 at 6:08 am

The NIMBYs voted for Greenstein. They overwhelmingly supported him and team new castle. Once in office Mr Greenstein and our towns new attorneys concluded exactly what the previous town board and previous attorneys concluded- that a moratorium will not hold up in court. Delaying another year or two ( that is the estimate from Pace to finish the master plan) is out of the question and will bolster any legal action by Summit Greenfield. I am no fan of SG but in their defense they have come to our town with multiple plans for development. Their early plans and proposals did NOT include any retail at all. These plans started as Readers Digest was downsizing and exiting and included houses, condos, age restricted housing, and affordable housing. The NIMBYs objected and the previous town board rejected, delayed, and watered down all of them. Multiple applications and studies were submitted. It is only because these early plans were shot down did “retail at CC” evolve. The irony here is that this current project which should be approved is a self influctd result of their own behavior.
In hindsight I bet these people would have preferred a couple hundred condos , some houses, and commercial over Whole Foods and retail. They boxed themselves in.
I support this multi use facility with condos, commercial, Whole Foods and ancillary retail. The Town Square format is beautiful and NOT a strip mall. Control hours of operation, control traffic, and let’s get on with it.

By Robert M on 06/01/2014 at 8:34 am

For 8 years, Your Nimby Is Showing, we’ve been listening to people insult the many homeowners and other citizens who, for good reasons, oppose the series of huge, intrusive, projects proposed by SG for CC.  Each project required a zoning variance. For years, we’ve seen posters, some of whom may be working for the developer, smear and slander citizens who raised important points about safety, quality of life, potential tax revenues, practicality, and other issues relating to SG’s proposals.

Last November, the SG retail plan was the main issue that motivated votes for Rob, Adam and Lisa.  Either because your fellow citizens—whom you claim strongly favor the project—did not care enough to vote, or because, as is more likely, more people who care about the project are against it than for it, Rob’s team won. 

Perhaps because he has been convinced by SG that the Town can’t win, or maybe because he doesn’t know how else to raise tax revenues or fix downtown, Rob now appears to support the SG project.  A big development at SG is precisely NOT why we elected his team.  The latest SG proposal materially changes the plan approved by SEQR while not solving the problems posed by a huge development - moves the deck chairs around on the Titanic.

Now, because we believe that the project is bad for ALL of us, not merely those in the RD area, and because WE VOTED THE DAMNED THING DOWN IN NOVEMBER, a group that opposes the project has sought legal representation.

The Reader’s Digest is zoned for commercial use.  If SG can’t use it profitably for that purpose, than SG should sell the property.  I suggested a consortium of private (conference center? swimming pool? small # of townhouses?) and public purchasers. Government funds may be available for such purposes, particularly if some of the property is used as public space or affordable housing.

We should stop trying to appease SG and start thinking about what would serve ALL OF US.

 

 

 

 

By All of Us on 06/01/2014 at 9:14 am

The election is over, he is in office. He has the mantle of power. We are left with the merits of the application. THAT is the only item that should be discussed. Campaign falsehoods are irrelevant now. Get over THAT issue.

As to the merits, is it the law that there must be absolute traffic perfection and absolutely no adverse impact to allow a development? Or is there a modicum of flexibility that also takes into account benefits? I do not know the answer to these questions.

By its no longer about greenstein on 06/01/2014 at 10:00 am

To All of Us- I voted for Rob Greenstein too. I did not vote for him because i was “VOTING THE DAMNED THING DOWN”. I spoke with Rob, I read his letters and his comments. Greenstein ran for Supervisor as a tough negotiator. He promised he would work with SG to get the best deal for our community and not roll over like Carpenter. I did not vote for him because he said he would oppose a zoning change at CC. In fact, if you were paying attention, he said many times that he thought a Whole Foods at CC would be great. He said is wife favored it and he took credit for the idea. He and Brodsky support a revitalized downtown which is not mutually exclusive to retail at CC. He supports the Napoli plan and Brodsky supports changed zoning downtown to allow merchants and landlords to be more competitive. Clearly these candidates are comfortable with changing zoning to improve our community. I did not vote for Grenstein because he promised to keep CC commercially zoned forever. Quite the contrary.
Now in office, thanks to your support, he has consulted with our new lawyers. He full well knows that the only strategy is to work with and negotiate with SG and extract the best deal for EVERYONE! A moratorium wont work and the position that SG bought commercially zoned property and we can not change zoning is a losing battle.
As I know it is coming….I am not RG - I do not work for SG. I live right near you and I support retail at CC. There are actually many in the CC community that believe this will be a positive.

By Not a NIMBY on 06/01/2014 at 10:56 am

Put the NIMBY money where there mouths painfully are….write the check instead of pouring it into the ocean of legal expense.

This is not about appeasement. Most of us want Whole Foods. You are in the minority on that point. Deal with it.

The court, as those of us whose judgment is not clouded by NIMBY rage, will see the 360 degree of the situation. The benefit to the town and the townsfolk’s overall desire.

I have no doubt that all i’s will be dotted and t’s crossed reducing the matter to a discretionary decision by the board. No judge can or will substitute its judgment for that of an elected government that follows the rules. Courts deal with unhappy litigants everyday. Deal with that too.

By Dear all of us on 06/01/2014 at 11:00 am

Hey All Of Us- I don’t know who you think you are representing but you don’t speak for me. There are some maybe even more than a few who live amongst you and thinks if properly done retail/Whole Foods at CC might be great. So don’t suggest the Nimby is one voice.
I was present at the meeting a few weeks ago at the home of a neighbor. You know the meeting where Team New Castle came to gear the complaints and cries or dishonesty and betrayal you all heaped upon them. Rob bobed and weaved and blamed the situation the “SH*The inherited. Not everyone there thinks he is such a villain. We sit quietly while the rest of you embarrass yourselves with threats of lawsuits.
The community at large is watching and I am fearful our community is being viewed as selfish and unrealistic. I will not be a part of dragging our town into expensive lawsuits.

By Lawrence Farms East on 06/01/2014 at 11:13 am

Just build the darn thing already. The comments on this post by the NIMBYs are just regurgitated and recycle old false ideas.
Reading the comments above we read of strip malls, ambulances stuck on rt 117,  someone getting killed on 117, crime rates spike, resources stretched to the limit, it won’t increase tax revenue/ won’t save taxes. 
All of these things are deceitful exaggerated half truths or flat out lies. It is consistent with the behavior and fear mongoring that continues. They ignore the studies done and ignore legal counsel by 2 seperate firms.
I hope and trust Mr Greenstein has the perseverance and fortitude to stay in course and get this project done. It must be well planned with keen attention to traffic flow and safety. The design looks awesome and Whole Foods is a major coup four our community. He then addresses the needs of downtown and together with CC our town is greatly improved. Greenstein will be a hero if this is done properly and we all win.

By Ronnie on 06/01/2014 at 12:16 pm

To All of Us- you must be kidding. Are you really trying to gain sympathy for the NIMBYs? You claim you and your CC neighbors have been insulted, ” smear and slandered” . You repeat the claim that some of the critical comments may be from people working for the developer. What a joke! Did it ever occur to you that the comments are accurate and reflect opinions of many residents based on nimby behavior. Let’s review-
For years You have blocked, obstructed and objected to every plan and proposal put forth. Because of the time gone by and because all alternatives proposed were blocked by you is it now retail at CC that is the plan. This is self inflicted. You folks crested this.
You circulated a petition full of lies meant to scare residents. You all signed and circulated it claiming big box stores, fast food chains, neon lights, and sewage facility was coming to CC.
You poisened a well intentioned town survey by coaching each other on how to vote multiple times.
You attended board meetings and yelled, screamed, and monopolized the agendas.
You supported and voted for a team New Castle in spite of their horrible behavior and tactics. You applauded Katz as she and Greenstein disrespected and insulted. None of you came forward to condem her for exploiting school shooting tragedies as a way to block retail at CC.
You voted for 3 amateurs with no experience void of ethics and decorum. You ignored their conflicts of interest and their personal agendas.
We are all stuck with them now. So forgive the rest of us if we have no sympathy for you.
Demographics have changed -retail/ commerce has changed. Times change. There is only 1 large parcel of property in our midst that can accommodate Whole Foods , a pool/gym, and other needed facilities. You are out of touch with the decade old position that SG bought property and we should not change zoning.

By LOL!!!!!!!! on 06/01/2014 at 2:07 pm

Can we just get over this issue and focus on WHY the downtown is a problem…have you ever tried to walk there? Sidewalks—or the lack of sidewalks that aren’t crooked or cracked or misaligned.  Parking…another issue…no place to just walk without having to deal with an oversized SUV driver fresh out of the city who hasn’t driven since he/she was 16? We need a grocery store nearby…one that isn’t huge (like A&P with the stuff in the aisle and people stopping every two feet)...let’s get some organic produce in and shop in our town (Decicco’s by the way is great, but again, in another town).  Let’s focus on the big problems in the town - it looks tired and worn down, almost a slum…landlords who would prefer to have vacant property (Maxim’s?) than actually do something with it. Parking is horrible, walking is horrible, even the signage rules are silly (why is Walgreen’s sign so small…it looks ridiculous and like it doesn’t fit)...let’s become pro-getting something, anything done…better than just sitting around and protesting CC…it is going to happen, in some shape or form…let’s lobby for how it will improve things (i.e….sidewalks for 117?)...for those worried about the Greeley implications - focus on how already kids 9-12 (the rules don’t work that prohibit younger students from leaving grounds—and that ridiculous, but a nice guy, security system is just pathetic) are leaving school and DRIVING to Rocky’s or wherever…better to have the WALK to CC to get food than get in a car and drive wherever…

By Cynthia Metcalf on 06/01/2014 at 3:09 pm

If you like the “neighborhood” plan for CC, be sure you thank the former TB.  The idea came from Mr. Curley in discussions during their term.  Greenstein should not get the credit.

By to whom we should thank on 06/01/2014 at 4:15 pm

To. Not A Nimby: what SG is proposing and Rob now appears to be supporting is not merely a Whole Foods, but the same enormous retail center that the former board seemed about to approve.  Some retail at CC, to support whatever residential and commercial use is made of the space, has never been the issue.  An enormous shopping center is the issue; and, yes,  I believe that Rob’s supporters believed that he would oppose any such proposal.  He criticized such plans repeatedly. That he and Adam Brodsky support a downtown plan is not in question - the question is what Rob wants to do at CC.  Having the town attorney rubber stamp what may actually be a planning, not legal decision is not persuasive.  The Town won in state court and, precisely because the Board has great discretion, the SEQR report does not give SG grounds to demand a variance. 

I think that what is done with CC should benefit All of Us, not merely Some of Us.
Rob won, because he rejected SG’s proposal.  I believe that my neighbors who,oppose the plan share my view that everyone, not just SG, should benefit from the RD property.  The proposal for which Rob appears to be advocating is no better than the previous one.  I expect that even some in Lawrence Farms - particularly those not adjacent or near to either Annandale or 117 - don’t mind huge development.  Many of us do, however, and the screaming and insults posted here (not by you) suggest to me that the fact that a group has sought legal representation is making some people very nervous, because those people thought that the rest of us could be ignored.

Every plan proposed by SG has been huge and culture-changing and required a variance.  Their plans are being opposed, because they come back with different versions of the same bad ideas.  I repeat that if SG can’t turn a profit without plans-on-steroids, then SG should sell the property and leave.

By All of Us on 06/01/2014 at 4:26 pm

LOL!!!!- BRAVO - - I agree 100 percent!Perfect comment - best on the board.

By resident on 06/01/2014 at 5:32 pm

Cynthia -

I think that the problem with downtown is partly logistical - a long narrow street, divided by the bridge, with at least some of the retail on a steep hill.  The whole area needs to be made user-friendly, with more trees and less concrete and stores that encourage browsing.  That also means better parking.  A D’Agostino-size grocery store in town would be great - Village Market closes too early - “where” is the issue.  The farmers’s market is wonderful, but only one morning per week.  My favorite local town is Katonah.  I don’t think we can easily duplicate that small, old village feeling, but what we have now - banks, realtors and nail salons - clearly doesn’t work.  Whatever is done needs to be warm and on a village scale.  Right now it feels - not like a slum, but like a highway exit (which it is). 

The downtown problem is not the same as the RD problem.  I certainly understood Rob to say that he opposed the enormous retail project and that, rather than accept the SEQR findings, he would fight for a much smaller plan that included far less retail.  That’s what I voted for.

But we are going around in circles; so I am done with that for now.  I think that the lawyers will hash this one out, with everyone - finally - being represented.  All the anger and name-calling will ultimately be subordinated to the legal rules, just as in the NYS Supreme Court case— that the town won. Yes, it costs money - but it’s the fair way and, as should be abundantly clear by now, screaming and name calling are not going to intimidate either side into backing down.  I would prefer that the ultimate decision may be made not by angry people, but rather on objective legal grounds, with all sides and all views competently represented. It’s not perfect, but it’s better than this.

By All of Us on 06/01/2014 at 6:28 pm

To All of Us - you are entitled to your own opinion but you are not entitled to your own facts. The retail at CC currently being negotiated is nothing like the original retail at CC proposal first presented by SG. That is a fact. Recall the strip mall and use of existing buildings. The new plan is town square format not strip mall. It calls for construction of new structures to fit into this better format.  You all cried about big box stores and A&P / Shop Rite size supermarkets. These can be 60,0000 ft or more. Whole Foods is 40,000 sq feet. A gym / pool is different use of space than multiple retailers.
You are not telling the truth when you say ” some retail at CC, to support whatever residential and commercial use is made of the space has never been an issue”. NEVER BEEN AN ISSUE! Are you kidding us?
You NIMBYs , many of you NIMBYs have stood and continue to stand opposed to any and all retail at CC. In your own comment above you repeat the mantra that ” Readers Digest is zoned for commercial use. If SG can’t use it profitably for that purpose than SG should sell the property”. Those are your exact words. Your nimby position is don’t change the zoning to allow retail.
So which is it? You support ” some retail” as you stated in your most recent comment. Or you oppose zoning change for retail and SG must keep it commercially zoned as you wrote 2 comments ago? Gotcha ya

By Also not a nimby on 06/01/2014 at 7:16 pm

To All of Us- you voted for Team New Castle. You acknowledge that Brodsky ran on a platform to allow downtown merchants and landlords to increase store size and be more competitive. That requires zoning changes and variances. Greenstein also wants to revitalize downtown. He has embraced the Napoli plan. Rob supports a large performing arts center and increased larger retail for downtown. This also requires zoning changes and variances. So you and the NIMBYs voted for candidates that you knew would support zoning changes in New Cadtle. You can not possibly expect that our town board members to support your position of no zoning changes for SG at CC but zoning changes would be allowed for downtown developments. That would be laughed out of court.
Rob Greenstein promised to negotiate with SG. He promised he would not simply acquiesce to their demands. He suggested land swaps , Whole Foods at CC, and opposition to a strip mall. Well so far he has delivered on those promises. Retail is coming to CC and it should. Greenstein will be a hard nosed negotiator and get us a pool or gym or town field. The NIMBYs will not stop this. Tell your lawyer to go home. Save your money.

By Hey All of Us on 06/01/2014 at 8:38 pm

Dear (not) all of us, you make the pro CC argument, namely, that you want what’s best for the town as a whole…...which is anti Nimby.  Nimbys only want what’s best for themselves. The rest of us are screaming for whole foods etc because IT is best for the town.  Thank you for making our case. 

I pray that you make that argument in court

By Gotcha on 06/01/2014 at 10:32 pm

Also not a nimby - you need to calm down.  The new project is rearranged but still huge.  The commercial zoning is what SG has now and if they can’t make that work without substituting a huge project - 350 condos (the first proposal) or the current reconfigurated strip mall - then they should sell out at FMV and leave.  Some people do oppose any retail on the site, but most are advocating a smaller, mixed use project that includes public space.  You are creating straw men.  The common denominator of all the SG proposals is “development on steroids,” requiring large scale road work, e.g. - the common denominator of the opponents is “SG is not legally entitled to any variance and whatever is built should be on a scale that would conform to current community culture and standards.”  It’s you guys who are forcing an unreasonable project on all of us.

By All of Us on 06/01/2014 at 11:25 pm

To All of Us- seems that you have been caught red handed. In one comment you say “some retail….has never been an issue” at CC. And in another comment you say SG owns Readers Digest property which is Zoned for commercial use and if they can’t use it profitably than SG should sell the property. Those are 2 very different thoughts. You are either willing to accept some retail or you are not. Typical nimby double speak.
I believe I represent the majority when I say we want and need this property developed. We want and need Whole Foods. We want and need a well designed , well planned multi- use facility. We want and need the tax revenues. We are sensitive to traffic issues and expect design and flow to mitigate most concerns.
The most recent SG plan has done away with the strip mall concept. 120,000 sq ft if it should remain that size can easily be accommodated on 110 acres. With WF occupying 40000 sq ft the other 80 can be used for a gym, pool, Soul Cycle, Jamba Juice , banks , and eating establishments.
With proper negotiations I believe Greenstein can get town hall moved and begin to revitalize downtown as well. This can be a win win for all. You and your neighbors won’t be overrun with traffic. For decades Readers Digest and Rt 117 were substantially busier than the last 8 years.
Hire your lawyers and continue your dishonest tactics. We are all watching you.

By Resident on 06/02/2014 at 6:48 am

All Of Us - there you go again with your Nimby exaggerations and distortions. You say the new project is still ” huge” and describe it as a ” development on steroids”. That is bunk. Chapp Crossing- formally Readers Digest- is 110 acres. The property is huge and set back off of 117. It can easily accommodate 120,000 sq ft of retail. So can the surrounding roads ( SAw Mill Pkwy and Rt 117). Whole Foods will utilize fully one third and the other two thirds can easily be configured to accommodate a gym, pool, restaraunts, etc.  you rant , ave and fear monger as if this development on steroids will be the home to a10 screen multiplex, Home Depot, and Costo. That is not happening.
So when you take liberties and exaggerate calling the current plan huge and on steroids you expose your selfishness. Let’s remember you are the same folks who warned us that CC would include a sewage treatment facility and McDonalds. Huge is in the eye of the beholder and 120000 sq ft within 110 acres is not huge!
Lastly, you refer to the early proposal by SG of 350 condos. You rejected that as you rejected 200 condos. It was watered down to 110. Had you NIMBYs accepted some compromise we could have added to the housing stock and tax base, included alternative housing for empty nesters to downsize, and today CC would be a commercial / residential complex. Then you wouldn’t be stressing about retail at CC. But you folks rejected all the condos too.  You created retail at CC by obstructing every plan before retail was put on the drawing board.
I am grateful Greenstein recognized the need for Whole Foods early in his campaign and I am optimistic he will deliver.

By Build it and we will come! on 06/02/2014 at 7:59 am

Whole foods is part of this day and age’s ‘chappaqua culture and standard’. Not having a supermarket with the majority clamoring for it makes it so.  Methinks that nimbys have forfeited the right to use the word ‘reasonable’  in any discussion, I am sorry to say. 

Hey (not) all of us:  keep it coming.  Airing every conceivable nimby point shows that same are largely emotional, personal and biased and that is good for proponents

By Community culture standard on 06/02/2014 at 8:12 am

All of Us - there is ample room at CC to accommodate the current project and public space. The developer need not scale back retail in order to provide public space. We can get walking / hiking trails, fields, and recreational facilities and also the currently proposed facility. It’s not one or the other. It can be both.

By Rayj on 06/02/2014 at 8:18 am

@ ALL of us- as you admit you voted for Rob, Adam, and Lisa because retail at CC motivated you to do so. Unfortunately that selfish and myopic view was responsible for electing 3 inexperienced people into office who have already demonstrated they are in way over their heads. If you were paying attention, Rob regularly advocated for Whole Foods at CC. He and Brodsky regularly voiced support for a revitalized downtown that would require zoning changes. Only Lisa was a one trick pony committed to stopping development at CC. So with Rob and Adam predisposed to allowing owners and developers zoning changes why are you all surprised and disappointed that retail at CC with Whole Foods is moving forward.
In spite of their lack of experience, you elected them to use their best judgement to represent our interests, the operative word being OUR. They were not elected to serve the narrow and personal interests of a few dozen individuals that might be inconvienced pulling out of their streets. OUR best interests, the community as a whole, is best served with a multi- use facility at CC which includes retail and Whole Foods. You don’t get to decide how big , and how many stores. You have already exerted undue and outsized influence on this project for the past 8 years.

By Anonymous on 06/02/2014 at 8:39 am

Dear All of Us - I would appreciate if you would not imply that you speak for"all of us”!in the CC community. I live in Lawrence Farms East and you do not represent my interests. I voted for Penny. I liked her trusted her and respected her years of public service. I admired her honesty in how should expressed her plan for CC and dealing with the developer. I agreed with her that retail was inevitable and if done properly it would not be thus terrible horrible thing you all fear. I did not sign your petition and I could never take part or condon the horrible behavior of some of my neighbors and their favored candidates.

By NOT one of you on 06/02/2014 at 8:58 am

All,

Wait for the master plan update..  Then we will know what the town wants for CC.

Those who are screaming for a whole Foods may in fact turn out to be the vocal minority.

Plan first.  Does anyone remember what team green ran on ????

By planning first on 06/02/2014 at 9:04 am

Clearly the ‘all of us’ person speaks only for a part of a small subset of the community.  Ok, so she doesn’t LIKE the size of the development.  She advocates a smaller size which will guarantee failure….....which is the nimby goal. 

bias and agendas of speakers and writers should always be made known to listeners and readers.

Why do I feel that by reading this debate I am watching an old Bruce Lee Kung fu movie?  The ninja Nimbys pop out arguments and contrived facts from every direction any time day or night. However, the hero: ‘logic and truth’ is able to repell all attacks by the ‘liar clan’ (movie parlance).

 

By A matter of taste on 06/02/2014 at 11:26 am

Dear Resident:  Please watch carefully, because you will see that reasonable people will prevail.  There is mixed opinion among opponents of SG’s proposal as to what if any retail should be permitted at the RD site; my position, which you continue to distort, is that any retail permitted must be scaled to serve a few townhouses and, perhaps, a conference/fitness center, not the entire county of Westchester. We are talking about the difference between a Village Market, wine store and Citibank cash machine, and the Danbury mall.  Get real.  Your own list of proposed retail tells the story. 

And Gotcha, you’re write:  by definition, advocating for the town is not NIMBYism.  The opponents of the project care, not merely for their own interests, but also those of the town.  That’s why this NIMBY stuff is trumped up developer nonsense. It’s not merely our back yards in which we don’t want this huge development built; it’s yours, too.

By All of US on 06/02/2014 at 11:36 am

The more I know, the less there is too like.  Traffic and taxes still look awful.  Not sure how old TB approved the Findings.  Hope an explanation is coming.  Maybe Jason can explain.

By Behind the Curtain on 06/02/2014 at 12:50 pm

The town as a whole benefits from the current proposal . It has the mix of stores the developer and most of us need and want.  At best , you want to guild the lily.  You are entitled to your opinion which most people do not share.  Pure and simple, your nimbyesq ideas will thwart success .  Which, of course , is what you advocate.

By Dear all of us......not on 06/02/2014 at 1:04 pm

...It was watered down to 110. Had you NIMBYs accepted some compromise we could have added to the housing stock and tax base, included alternative housing for empty nesters to downsize, and today CC would be a commercial / residential complex. Then you wouldn’t be stressing about retail at CC. But you folks rejected all the condos too…

This is an inaccurate understanding of the tax base and how condos fit into it.  If there were 350 condos, the cost of sending the students in those condos would have far exceeded the revenue from taxes generated.  Maybe your town taxes would have stayed the same, but your school taxes, 2/3rds of your total would have gone up up up.  Building condos without the homestead election is a transfer of wealth from the residents to the condo builders.  The only people in NC to benefit from that would be those who live in NC but are not in the Chappaqua School district such as West Ender.  The folks in Mt Pleasant would have been even more materially harmed, but hey they live in another town so not sure we should be worrying too much about them, eh?

By Fee Simple on 06/02/2014 at 1:10 pm

Looking forward to the third hamlet!

By shakespeare on 06/02/2014 at 1:22 pm

As to CC, master plan is a euphemism for needless two year additional delay, making it a total of ten years delay

By Master Plan not needed for CC on 06/02/2014 at 1:43 pm

Yes, the Danbury Fair mall is a perfect comparison to what is proposed at Chappaqua Crossing. Danbury Fair has 3 anchor stores that EACH are larger than the entire proposed retail development at Chappaqua Crossing. Danbury Fair has almost 1.3 million square feet of retail space. Maybe my grade school math is rusty, so perhaps “All of US” can correct me if I’m wrong, but isn’t the Danbury mall more than 10 times the size of what’s being proposed for Chappaqua Crossing http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Danbury_Fair_(shopping_mall) ?

You should be careful about throwing around words like “reasonable” and “huge” when your chosen comparison is so laughable.

By West Ender on 06/02/2014 at 1:49 pm

Your words seem genuine, but in the end you are at absolute nimby wearing a veneer of reason

By Dear all of us on 06/02/2014 at 1:59 pm

All Of Us ( you certainly don’t speak for me)- you have been caught and exposed by several who have caught your contradiction and lie. In one comment you support some retail at CC - you say it has never been an issue. But in another comment you state that SG bought commercially zoned property and if they can’t be profitable that way they should sell. That clearly states that you oppose changing zoning to accommodate retail. So in 2 comments on the same pits you totally contradict yourself. Then you ignore those that point this out and respond to other silly positions.
Like you just wrote that if any retail should be permitted ” must be scaled to serve a few townhouses, ...conference/ fitness center..”  What planet are you on? What business person, what merchant will invest in a store at CC that exists to serve a few townhouses? The answer is no one! It’s a non starter. Your position is unrealistic like your insistence that you speak for all of us.
Successful retail can not and does not survive serving a small narrow audience. Maybe a nail salon, deli, pizza, or bank can but we have plenty of them. Family Britches, Mikolay, and other successful merchants exists because they draw customers from our town and other towns. They would be out of business if dependent on only Chapp customers.
It’s time we build thus and it’s time you and your neighbors stop embarrassing yourselves with unreasonable and ridiculous demands. As others gave said, had you folks not pushed back so hard against residential at CC( more condos, houses, age restricted and affordable housing) we would not even be debating retail today.

By Long time resident on 06/02/2014 at 2:36 pm

To All of Us - the more you comment the more you shed light on your hypocrisy and unrealistic position. There us nothing on the drawing board for CC that is anything close to the Danbury Mall. Your suggestion that the retail at CC should serve a few hundred people living there with a wine store and Citibank cash machine proves that you and the NIMBYs won’t really accept anything.
If you want the town board and your fellow residents to take you seriously I suggest you come to the table with realistic suggestions. Retail is coming to CC because it is in everybody’s best interest. Leave your lawyers at home and try to work out important issues like traffic and hours of operation. If you insist that retail at CC is about a dry cleaner, wine store and ATM machine you will not be taken seriously.
Based on your comments above you do yourself and your neighbors more harm then good.
I’ll meet you in Aisle 8 at Whole a Foods when it opens. That’s were they sell the baloney.

By Clam up already on 06/02/2014 at 3:07 pm

You folks are not reading carefully.  I never claimed to represent all of the town of New Castle, but rather to express the view that all town residents, not merely a few, should benefit from development.  Clearly, many don’t agree that the project is bad for New Castle. But some of you are so enmeshed in your NIMBY mindset that you can’t hear a message that denies the NIMBY mantra.  Those who oppose the project don’t think that it belongs ANYWHERE in New Castle, and that another, more sensible plan should be developed that benefits ALL OF US. Hence, “All of Us.”

Calling people liars is abusive and tiresome. Yes, I don’t think that SG has the legal right to demand a variance.  No, I don’t think that “no retail” is the sole answer, so long as a retail plan is proposed is reasonably scaled and a plan includes public space. Yes, I know that SG is not proposing to build the Danbury Mall. But no, I don’t think that what is being proposed is suitable for our community; it’s may not be Danbury but, relative to our size and culture, it’s huge.

Many residents opposed 350 condos, because 350 condos were too many. SG got preliminary approval for 110 condos, but has apparently abandoned that plan.  Why?  Because they cannot make money from either the present zoning or a variance that allows development consistent with community needs.

Traffic mitigation, to the extent that it could be achieved, would require extensive reconstruction of 117 and Roaring Brook Road, with large contributions from DOT.  Why would we want to rebuild a residential community merely to accommodate a developer’s desire to make a profit?  Why build a big retail center that nobody asked for and the town - all of us, in my view—does not need?  Why cross our fingers and hope that DOT comes through?

Fact are stubborn little critters. I have not screamed, hollered, or called anyone names.  Who was it that said that s/he who screams that loudest and most abusively, may have the weakest case?

 

 

By All of Us on 06/02/2014 at 3:51 pm

ALL OF US - you have succesfully illumintaed the NIMBY position. Say anything, do anything , exagerate , fear monger - any to stop progress at Chapp Crossing. You have gone from approving “some retail” to objecting to any retail because the developer bought commercially zoned property and if he cant be profitable he should sell it. You approve of a few stores and an ATM machine to serve a few town houses but thjink the current 120,000 sq ft plan is like the Danbury Mall. Have you ever set foot in the Danbury Mall - obviously NOT!
The Danbury Mall is not coming to CC. Costco, McDonalds and a sewage treatment plant is not coming to CC. Ambulances will not get stuck on 117,crime will not spike, a strip mall is not being built,your property values wont plummet, your quality of life will not be destroyed, ....have I left any of the NIMBY playbook out?
Chapp Crossing should be and hopefully will be a multi-use facility. It will have office space , condo-townhouses, and retail with a WHol;e Foods! The layout will be a pleasing “town square” design (not a strip mall). There will be walking paths, street lanters, and hopefully some recreational facilities for the community.
As you have already acknowledged, you voted for Rob Greenstein. That means you voted for him and the board to use their best judgement, negotiate the best deal, and do what is right for all of us. He/they were not elected to serve you and the few blocks of homes around CC. When its all said and done - it wont be nearly as bad as you thought. And you can still use the ATM machine at CC

By Chappster on 06/02/2014 at 5:00 pm

Master plan not needed,

Really ?  The main reason that the town is in the bind that it is now is that we, all of the town boards going back at least 10 years, have not done thoughtful planning. 

Planning may not suit your selfish wants, but it is always the best way for towns to function.

By master plan first on 06/02/2014 at 5:42 pm

Don’t be fooled by the NIMBY’s - it’s not just about the SG proposals - remember the new school that ended up on the other side of town? 

A decades worth of history clearly shows that folks around this site want nothing built.

Someone should go through the town meeting tapes and make a NIMBY highlight reel - the things these people have said over the past decade are comical (Lisa would definitely be nominated for ‘best performance’).

By Dispute This! on 06/02/2014 at 8:48 pm

Fee Simple- it is estimated that half the homes in New Castle are owned by people who no longer have children in school - empty nesters. There are few options to downsize and stay in the community.  CC would have been perfect for age restricted town houses. Then the occupants would pay taxes but would not have children attending school.
The NIMBYs shot that down too.

By Empty Nester on 06/03/2014 at 6:04 am

Today’s post shows the NIMBY spill over effect. They are stopping everything.

By develope gedney please on 06/03/2014 at 10:05 am

Empty Nester: I think your estimate of 50% of homes having students in the schools is accurate.  While it would be nice if the only people to buy the million dollar condos at CC were folks already in town who were empty nesters and they sold their fee simple homes to people with one or less kids, that is not what the developer’s study indicated and even less what the school study showed.

If age restricted housing could actually be enforced, then the probability of having children in those condos would be lower than otherwise.  As is, there are supposed to be 20 affordable units in the development.  I am willing to make book that those will have children in them.

I think the final amount of condos approved is a reasonable compromise.  I happen to think that retail development there, in some form, makes sense too.  I know there are good and valid reasons for both no and yes on this issue and that like the empty nester to student households is 50-50, probably half the people will be happy or unhappy depending on what is decided.

We can scream and stomp our feet here on these boards, but the bottom line is that the town has certain obligations to the law, to the process, and to the community as a whole.  What the final decision should be is anyone’s guess.  Only hindsight, years from now, will we know if what was decided was the right thing.

By Fee Simple on 06/03/2014 at 2:39 pm

You are too cogent, reasonable and thoughtful to have a discussion with the Nimbys.
You did not say no , no matter what. For that they dismiss you

By Dear fee simple on 06/03/2014 at 5:01 pm

The traffic at the Roaring Brooke Road and 117 stinks now and the place is empty. Roaring Brook Road backs up going to and from the SMP depending on time of day.  How in G-d’s name is this going to work when this place goes live under the proposed plan?  The turning lane is not going to help me when I’m backed up hundreds of feet.  Making a left from the new exit or Annandale, forget about it. Are these unreasonable questions?

By Can't anyone provide a simple explanation? on 06/04/2014 at 12:23 am

Your comment is step two. The step one is to see how different from the up and running CC traffic situation differs, if at all, from the return-to-Readers Digest-fully-operational traffic pattern.

It is most important that the traffic from the 111 new units be factored OUT of any equation. THAT traffic is now a given circumstance that cannot be used as a reason against retail.

By Dear simple expanation on 06/04/2014 at 12:59 pm

Me thinks that the traffic patterns which result from the under utilized Readers Digest has spoiled those who live and drive by that property. The sleeping giant has awakened, deal with it.

By not spoiled on 06/04/2014 at 1:48 pm

not spoiled,

Anyone who uses the supercilious term ” methinks” does not deserve to be taken seriously.

By resident on 06/04/2014 at 9:54 pm

Me thinks I have struck the right nerve underscoring the truth about the town being spoiled by the low use of the property, me thinks. Many people know that to be the case and the truth, except those with agendas that ignore the truth of the fact, me thinks.

So, to give you any sort of respectful consideration, is it your belief that the use of the property and traffic patters at Readers’ digest highest and busiest point is NOT relevant to the discussion? Me thinks

By Dear resident on 06/05/2014 at 7:30 am

The easiest way to lessen the traffic problems at Roaring Brook/117 is to put your teenagers on the school bus (that you’re already paying for) instead of driving them to school every day.

By West Ender on 06/05/2014 at 7:48 am

Boy are you right

By Dear west ender on 06/05/2014 at 10:17 am

You are avoiding the question.  If they want to lease up the space under existing zoning, go for it.  If they want waivers and zoning changes, we shouldn’t end up with a worse situation than we have now.  If this place was so dependent on revenue from RD, that risk was priced into the deal at the start when they bought it.  If they didn’t account for that, take your lumps and do the best you can, but don’t make a vital artery a friggin parking lot. If Greeny, the TB and the PB don’t get that, they aren’t doing any of us any good.

By Can't anyone provide a simple explanation? on 06/05/2014 at 1:11 pm

Your arguments, at this point in time, are stale. The overwhelming majority of the town wants retail at CC. And…are grateful that the town board is letting it happen. As a majority member, I couldn’t care less about SG and how much money it may or may not make.

I care about improving my lifestyle by having an upscale supermarket and other upscale retail that other upscale communities have, which we do not. I see that tax losses will stop (a net tax benefit) and maybe, just maybe, CC will be as wildly successful as Armonk Square and there will be a tax flow into the public fisc.

With time the vast majority sees that it is the NIMBY minority’s falsehoods and screams that are creating the conflict. By all means they have the right to protest, but not to lie and ‘fix’ survey results.

The discretion lies with the town board so long as it follows the rules, which it is doing. Deal with it.

By Dear cant anyone provide on 06/05/2014 at 10:20 pm

Still waiting for an answer. I remember Jason talking about tax benefits when they approved the findings, but the old TB and maybe this one too have not provided the tax analysis. Jason wrote a letter today about process. Why won’t he share the tax analysis if he is now such a big fan of process?  Someone please ask for this at the next meeting.

By still waiting on a simple explanation on 06/06/2014 at 1:22 am

@ Dear cant anyone provide,

All that you know for sure is what YOU want.  Yo have no credible evidence to support your contention that the majority, let alone the ” overwhelming majority”  wants retail at CC.

Everyone who has looked at the financials says that the return will be minimal, if any.  That does not even factor in the loss in value from all of the surrounding streets or the cost of the extra town services that will be needed.

But do not let any of the above bother you, because your lifestyle needs an upscale market.

By sorry, does not add up on 06/06/2014 at 2:59 pm

Me and everyone else.  Financials are a part of it.  Having a supermarket is most of it .
Nimby, nimby , nimby nimby,  sigh

By Dear sorry on 06/06/2014 at 6:50 pm

they rest of the town overwhelmingly benefits. sorry about your NIMBY street, but what did u expect moving in next to the largest commercial parcel of land in the town?

By dear nimby sorry on 06/06/2014 at 9:21 pm

This town has turned into a very ugly place.  The newer people , the ME generation are frankly disgusting, and they are proud of it.  Really amazing.

By amazing on 06/07/2014 at 2:57 pm

After a beautiful day at the Strawberry Festival, all this name-calling and bitterness is just sad.  How about we forego anonymity and start talking like neighbors?

By Dawn Greenberg on 06/07/2014 at 10:08 pm

It is very difficult to reason with a person who insists that by having traffic restored to levels of readers digest’s hey day and to that of the preexisting 117 supermarket distribution route is an absolute show stopper.  If the person says ” ok, I can live with bumped up traffic, just work on it”  its an entirely different Matter when that same person says: “absoluty not, period , end of story.”

It is also difficult to reason with people who refuse any change whatsoever, even to the extent that it may be against their own interest.  How do you reason with a suicide bomber?

Of course you are right, but the ‘nimby’ faction appears to feel their lives (actually property values) are under attack.  Just read the posts:  “we must be reckoned with”. “We have lawyers” “rob’s overall town view is a betrayal to us”.
“Cc is smack in the middle of town” .....when it is set off and bounded by trains, parkway, school, truck route .  Cripes that is probably why readers digest chose that location decades ago!

Unfortunately, well meaning Dawn, its a type of range war that I watch in old westerns on t v.  Sigh

.

 

By Yes dawn on 06/08/2014 at 11:43 am

I have lived here 35 years and want the development.  Am I amazing good, or amazing bad, according to you?

By Dear amazing on 06/08/2014 at 11:44 am

Dawn - you of all people asking people to forego anonymity. You were a very public victim of Greenstein and his bullying and abuse. Now that he is in a position of power and we know his lack of scruples , is their any doubt that he will use his position to retaliate. He and a Team New Castle deserve all the critisicm coming their way but why risk printing our name? I have no doubt RG will use any means at his disposible to get even and retaliate. Perhaps the town tax assessor comes a calling and my taxes go up. Maybe the building inspector comes over and tries to find some things not in compliance. I would put nothing last him
/ them. Unfortunately that is the state of affairs in our lovely town. Many residents were fooled and out of selfish interests ahead of common sense, they voted for Twam New Castle. Ignored were these three horrible behavior, their lack of respect and decorum, and their total lack of government experince. In short. We have 3 amatuers with their own agendas who lied to all of us.

By Glass houses on 06/08/2014 at 4:54 pm

I am anxiously awaiting a report from one of the NIMBYs that attended the super secret CC nimby neighborhood meeting at The Kittle House a few weeks ago. 2 board members attended- only 2 because if a third were present they would get in trouble. These NIMBYs have an “us vs the rest of town” mentality. They see themselves as privaledged and invincible. They and Katz have polarized the town.
Retail at CC is inevitable. It’s a great thing -Whole Foods will be awesome. These people should accept this fact and work to secure best hours of operation, best traffic configuration, and acceptable plan for themselves. But to hire lawyers, threaten moratoriums, put all of us in jeopardy of being sued by the developer,  and continuing this 8 year block/ obstruct tactic is an abomination.
I used to be somewhat sympathetic but after the phoney petition, the blind support for Team Green, the fear mongoring about destroyed property values and stuck ambulances on 117 , I have had enough. Build this already.

By Please tell us on 06/08/2014 at 5:05 pm

I was at the kittle house meeting .  Rob greenstein and co are now on “double secret probation”.

By Animal houses, vis a vis our "jungle" on 06/09/2014 at 1:17 pm

NIMBY is such a derogatory acronym. If our school children spoke like a lot of you are writing people would be calling them bullies. You can have a difference of opinion and still behave in such a manner that is civil. Isn’t that what you’d be saying to a child?

By So over the name calling on 06/09/2014 at 5:10 pm

The nimby acronym is a perfect contraction of the words that describe people who “do not want development in their back yard”.  What is wrong with using one word instead of 8?  It is not “name calling” it is identification.  If a nimby feels bad about being called a nimby, then, the question is “why feel bad about being labeled as a person who holds a strong belief which you feel justified in holding? Unless you also feel that the held belief is less than 100% correct. 

Nimbys are selfish. However they are entitled to be so.  The point is that they should stand up and say” I am a selfish nimby and am proud of it”. “I want to protect my property value and tough on you if you don’t like my opinion” ” yes the town does not agree with me but I am sticking up for myself”

They should thumb their noses at us, as they are doing.  And the rest of us can take them or leave them. But they are Nimbys, period. They want to stop anything from being developed in their back yards. The shoes fit and they are wearing them.

By Economy of words on 06/10/2014 at 9:14 am

Economy of words,

What you do not seem to realize, or refuse to realize is that there are many, many residents all across the town who are against bringing this way too large retail development to the beautiful old Readers Digest property.  You obviously do not care about that beautiful site, but many do.  There are other very good uses to which it could and should be used.

It is you and your group who do not care about what others want because you must have your shopping. It is you who are the selfish ones.  Look in the mirror and then down at your own shoes.  You say anything, even erroneous things to achieve your own selfish wants.  Not neighborly nor honorable.  Period.

By dear economy of words on 06/13/2014 at 1:48 pm

And you also refuse to grasp the idea that more people than your “many many” want it.
It’s the board’s decision.  The problem is not retail, it is 111 new homes.
It by no means a slam dunk against, and it’s really not close.  The vocal minority doesn’t want it and the silent majority does.  Deal with it

By Dear economy person on 06/13/2014 at 8:59 pm

Name one other “very good use” that an investor is willing to sink millions in to develop.

Offices failed, 111 home are being built. You obstinately reject retail.

Come on, what use, how use, where use? No problem, write your personal check buy it yourself and build what you want. Have NIMBY Inc pony up the money where their collective big mouths are.

By Dear Economy person on 06/14/2014 at 8:54 am

Dear Dear economy,

I would seek help for those voices that you are hearing.

By resident on 06/14/2014 at 6:09 pm

What viable, alternate use for CC is there? The non response reeks of hypocrisy.
What else is new?

By Well? on 06/14/2014 at 10:10 pm

Since there are no alternative uses for the property that anyone can suggest, the current cc plan is the only plan. And, if that is the only plan, then, what is the problem? (other than those who want no development at all, which won’t happen)

By I hear no voices on 06/18/2014 at 7:55 am

I hear voices,

The plan began with a grocery and a few other stores INSIDE the existing Readers Digest
structure.  There have been many plans since then.  We are now faced with a 120,000 sq. ft.
plan which is ALL NEW BUILDINGS.  That is quite a change from the original plan.

The developers seem to have the town by the you know what but if the town board would do their job AND listen to all of the reservations that the planning board has voiced for years now, they would at the least make this a much smaller design and return it to the existing structures.

I add that Summit Greenfield NEVER tried to lease the buildings.  NEVER. The town boards past and present never questioned or insisted that they do so.  They have done a lousy job for the town.

I would further add that the financial returns for this project are dubious at best to the town but wonderful for the developer.

By dear voices on 06/19/2014 at 12:04 pm

Instead of criticizing and sand throwing, how about a solid suggestion for an alternate commercial use that is viable?

The developer’s financials are irrelevant except insofar as its tax reduction petitions are concerned.

The only relevant financial that means anything is having a break even project after it opens for business and its tax burden is substantially increased.

No one has seriously challenged the fact that the buildings are obsolete. If you don’t think so, buy the project with your own money and work around the given impossibilities.

By Dear dear voices on 06/19/2014 at 9:22 pm

Years of reports showed that the space is obsolete in terms of configuration and electronic capability. There were no takers at any price. The only place for the word “NEVER” is with the NIMBY attitude:
“We NIMBYS will NEVER stop opposing the projet”

Editor’s Note:  What reports are these?

By leasing didn't work on 06/20/2014 at 7:20 am

No market rate tenant wants to rent old space that is not even worth a paint job. Sure, someone would occupy it at a below market rate, a beggar who is not a chooser. On that basis, as a landlord myself, I would rather keep it vacant. Yes, less revenue, but much less headache.

The dear voices person’s criticism is unfair.

Editor’s Note:  It seems as thought “leasing didn’t work” knows of some reports that confirm what you say.  Let’s see them.

By "The little engine that couldn't" on 06/20/2014 at 8:16 am

Over the past 2 years this publication reported and quoted a number of people, SG representatives and Rob G, who stated, without contradiction, that the space was really unsuitable for today’s uses.
I may be wrong (as I am many times)but it was my impression that much of the formerly occupied space was knock down space, unless a Readers digest type business came in….unless the town moved into the Cuppola to same that icon.

If CC is capable of being leased, then, the record on SG’s tax certiorari petitions should be examined to confirm that it swears under oath as to the inability to rent. That demonstration is an integral part of SG’s case for tax reductions. The media may wish to look into it to clarify this point.

By as reported in NCN on 06/20/2014 at 12:27 pm


Post a comment:

Display Name*:

Your Display Name will be associated with this comment on NewCastleNOW.org. We encourage commentators to use their real name or initials.

We encourage civil, civic discourse. In other words, be pithy and polite. All comments will be reviewed before publication to assure that this standard is met.