Financial benefits to the town of SG’s grocery-retail are “just projections” says Supervisor

With 116 comments since publication
August 16, 2013
by Christine Yeres

In the Board’s Tuesday meeting, NCNOW asked Board members whether they had made further efforts to ascertain the financial benefits to the town of the grocery-retail proposal for Chappaqua Crossing, a recurring theme during the public hearing of July 30.  [Tax certiorari proceedings between Summit Greenfield and the town are scheduled for this fall.]

To NCNOW’s question of whether the tax benefits to the town had been further defined, Supervisor Susan Carpenter responded, “There is an analysis in the SEIS.  I realize it’s very difficult to understand because of so many different variables.”

NCNOW: It’s the developer’s projection.  Will the town do one of its own or not?

Carpenter: At some point, obviously. When it gets built and it gets assessed, we’ll know what we’ve got.

NCNOW: So we don’t know before making a final decision [to approve the grocery-retail project]?

Carpenter:  The assessor has to do it. We don’t tell the assessor what the value’s going to be.

NCNOW: The assessor can’t do anything until it’s built, you mean?

Town Board member Jason Chapin: I think another way to answer this is that the applicant has provided some projected numbers and we have reviewed those numbers in terms of taxes, but there are additional variables that have to be considered so we don’t know what the ultimate numbers are going to be.  We just know what the preliminary numbers are.

Susan Carpenter: And those are just projections.  I mean, I could say I’m building a $50,000 house or a $500,000 house, but the assessor’s going to decide what the house is worth, not me. 

[The day after this article was published, in a comment [below] Town Board member Jason Chapin provided more details of projected tax revenues to the town from grocery-retail use of Chappaqua Crossing.  See “Board member Jason Chapin provides more detail on Chappaqua Crossing tax revenue,” NCNOW.org, 8/29/13.]
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Related: Financial picture of grocery-retail at Chappaqua Crossing: Developer’s projections, taxes paid, NCNOW.org, 8/16/13


Comments(117):
We encourage civil, civic discourse. All comments are reviewed before publication to assure that this standard is met.

You are absolutely right Susan.  It’s like I said.  We have to pass the bill so you can find out what’s in it.

By N. Pelosi on 08/16/2013 at 1:02 pm

IT IS TRULY INCREDIBLE AND FOOLISH THAT THIS TOWN BOARD WOULD BE CONSIDERING SOMETHING AS SIGNIFICANT AS SCRAPPING THE TOWN’S MASTER PLAN AND CHANGING THE ZONING ON THIS PROPERTY WITHOUT ACCURATE FINANCIAL PROJECTIONS !!

APPROVING THIS PROJECT WITHOUT REALISTIC PROJECTIONS IS A SHAM AND IF APPROVED, WHEN THIS BOARD IS VOTED OUT OF OFFICE WE WILL BE LEFT TO DEAL WITH THE DAMAGE. CAN YOU IMAGINE A COMPANY MAKING MOVES LIKE THIS WITHOUT ACCURATE AND COMPLETE FINANCIAL PROJECTIONS?

AND SUSAN CARPENTER AND JASON CHAPIN SHOULD BE EMBARRASSED BY AND ACCOUNTABLE FOR THEIR NONRESPONSIVE,  EVASIVE AND IRRESPONSIBLE ANSWERS IN THIS ARTICLE.

By DAVID GLADSTONE on 08/16/2013 at 1:03 pm

Why can’t the assessor do estimates now based upon what SG is proposing?  Why can’t SG agree now that its assessed valuation for what it is proposing will be not less than a specific amount for a specified time period and that it will not challenge that amount through certiorari proceedings or in any other way?

By Steve Swirsky on 08/16/2013 at 1:10 pm

I bought my house in Chappaqua in 2006 My taxes were based on an assessment. The value of my house has fallen dramatically and twice I had the house reassessed in order to grieve my taxes and get them lowered. Both times the value and taxes came down. It is almost impossible to accurately ascertain the financial benefits to our town while things are on the drawing board. For now estimates and projections at the best to expect. Who knows what property values ( commercial, retail, residential) will be years out when this is completed.

Suffice to say Chapp Crossing is almost empty now and the owner/ developer has paid less in taxes than woud otherwise be the case if it were utilized. Fill it with condos , a grocery - retail complex and values go up and taxes come rolling in. Build it and they will come ...and shop ... And pay taxes. That is common sense -but the NIMBY comments and RG are sure to follow with their sky is falling down sob stories and their condemnation of our board….here they come…

By My this old house on 08/16/2013 at 1:38 pm

Is Chapp Crossing about how much tax revenue flows to the town or is it about an owner/ developer that has been denied usage for years and now has plans to bring something beneficial to the community.  We need a supermarket, we need and want a more balanced mix of retail. We have too many nail salons, real estate brokers, banks and such and people are taking their shopping dollars out of town, lets make our town better. Of course there will be financial benefit to the town. How much ? Is that really the issue? Or is it another obstacle and another reason to criticize our town officials.

Let it be known David Gladstone is a great guy but he lives in Lawrence Farms East right near CC - NIMBY

By RC on 08/16/2013 at 1:53 pm

Town Hall I would like to develop the Readers Digest property, can you tell me what the property taxes will be based on a worse case scenario…..“No”.....“Oh”...... that’s fine with me….I will still go ahead and buy the property for $63,000,000.00. Town Hall what did you do to me…..I just finished the project, and I can’t believe what you want to charge me in property taxes. Don’t call us, call your lawyer if you want your taxes reduced…..YOU KNEW WHAT YOU WERE GETTING INTO WHEN YOU PURCHASED THE PROPERTY! Basically, this is an example of a practice that comes across as being corrupt in nature, but allows the town to “USE” the system of its rules and regulations to generate money and income for everyone elses bank accounts except the taxpayer. The taxpayer will not win on either side of this issue -does Penny or Greenstein know why? So is this a form of corruption, corrupt practices, neither, or both? What are the last 5 major projects approved by town hall, and do we know if the property owner had a problem with the level of taxation being assessed?

By Dark room investments on 08/16/2013 at 2:03 pm

Here they come indeed. But not for the reasons you presuppose. I watched the TB meeting, and I would like to thank the editor for asking the questions she did regarding the CC financials, the planning board vacancy, and the zoning changes. Regardless of one’s position on CC, the TB’s conduct in response to the editor was execrable.

By bob on 08/16/2013 at 2:12 pm

As Nancy Pelosi opined back in March of 2010 when asked about what exactly was in the Affordable Care Act / Obamacare Bill of 2,700 pages:  “You have to pass the Bill to see what is in it!”.  Now we have Susan Carpenter stepping into Pelosi’s shoes with the same rhetoric - since the ugly truth is that nobody really knows what the financial benefit to New Castle will be.  Now, if you want a list of of the potential negatives of 120,000 square feet of retail at Chappaqua Crossing, like a mosquito in a nudist colony, I hardly know where to get started!

By B on 08/16/2013 at 2:12 pm

Would the Town Board please tell us exactly why they conjured up this idea to override the master plan and change the zoning to bring retail to CC.

By what were they thinking !!! on 08/16/2013 at 4:08 pm

The Town Board wrote this legislation to the specifications of Summit Greenfield.  It was written in secret behind closed doors with no public discussion in order to meet Summit Greenfield’s demands and to settle the law suit.  It was written by lawyers with no vision and no studies as to what would be best for the town.

By Edward Galant on 08/16/2013 at 4:24 pm

This question to the town Board misses the point. The project is moving forward not because of the tax benefits to the town, although tax revenue will certainly increase, but because the developer has the town boxed in. For 5 years reasonable and various proposals and plans have been presented to our community by Summit Greenfield. All of them had been either rejected, sent back multiple times for reviews and studies, and stalled out. Lawsuits ensued and we can no longer reject, deny, obstruct the owner usage of its property. Since Readers Digest vacated its been almost entirely empty - 75% unoccupied. The owner can easily demonstrate that all efforts have been made but New castle keeps denying them. Our lawyers know this. - we have no choice but to work with SG and find a reasonable and workable multi use parcel including retail.
The tax revenue and financial impact to the town is not the reason we are in this mess so the question and answer are secondary. If the property is enhanced and utilized, logically the value will go up and the taxes will follow.
We get a supermarket , some additional stores, the community benefits as a whole and we get additional revenue. If the additional tax revenue were $100k or $600k or a million$ it doesn’t change the facts. The facts and circumstances say retail is coming, not CC.

By Reality sucks on 08/16/2013 at 4:39 pm

Hey bob- the editor does an AMAZING job. She works tirelessly and we are grateful but lets not forget as she has occasionally reminded us - SHE LIVES NEAR CHAPPAQUA CROSSING.

She opposes retail at CC as she opposed years ago lights at Greeley athletic fields and any improvements and enhancements that might bring folks to her neighborhood. So her questions were not altogether without a motive and agenda.
But I still THANK HER VERY MUCH!

Editor’s Note: Yes, I live between the row of houses on Roaring Brook Road and the high school baseball field.  I opposed 348, 278 and 199 condos at Chappaqua Crossing, before NCNOW was begun. 

Since then, I have not taken a position on this grocery retail proposal, but try hard to keep up with the story (and am happy have anyone point out inaccuracies in my reporting). 

I have never opposed lights at the Greeley athletic fields.  I think you’re thinking of the neighbors to the south of the competition field, who are far closer to the lighting proposed at the time.

And thank you for thanking NCNOW.

By Chap poster on 08/16/2013 at 4:48 pm

RC,

Let it be known that you are willing to sell your neighbors out because it will not affect you.  Let it be known that you do not care about the viability of the two existing hamlets.

Let it be known that you have no regard for thoughtful, proper planning for the betterment of the entire community.  Let it be known that you have no understanding of planning procedures.  You belong on the sitting board !!!

By Resident on 08/16/2013 at 4:50 pm

to:my this old house,
I would remind you that SG already was approved for housing. We are still waiting for the bulldozers to come in,for construction to begin, and for the “taxes to come rolling in”. Years ago(right after housing was proposed),I was invited by SG to Readers Digest for the developer to show the community what they envisioned. At that time we were told that they already had “deposits” on the units. In retrospect, it seems we were told this to convince us to not try and fight their development.

I would think that based on what they (SG) say and what they actually do, the Town Board would be very skeptical of any projections they present. Do they want to change the nature of our community ,without doing their due diligence on the amount of money we will receive?

(by the way,...when you attack “RG” for this story when he hasn’t even commented, it makes any argument you have less credible).

By M.Harris on 08/16/2013 at 4:50 pm

You know the phrase that the only guarantees in life are “death & taxes…..”. I am going to add one more thing to that phrase. Whenever a hypocrite uses the word NIMBY in an argument, it is a guarantee that the issue at hand is NOT in their back yard.

By M.Harris on 08/16/2013 at 5:18 pm

To “Reality Sucks”: You write “For 5 years reasonable and various proposals and plans have been presented to our community by Summit Greenfield.” And you imply that the law is now on the side of the developer, because the town has jerked him around. Not so. The town has conducted responsible REQUIRED environmental reviews and acted on the first (the approved plan with 111 condos), and will do so on the second (for grocery) - whether that means approving it, denying it, or approving some reduced version of it.

Every one of this developer’s plans has been based on an outrageous transfer of wealth from our town to his pocket, driven by his having vastly overpaid for a property and having entered into a leaseback with a failing business model (Reader’s Digest - who didn’t know that print was on its way out??).  Sell 350 condos off and leave the town with the cost of servicing and schooling the new residents. Turn the property into a strip retail center and sell the pieces off to other developers for more $$$ based on the changed zoning.

This developer has never, ever, ever sought to actually partner with this town to find something that works for our town and for his bottom line. 

I, for one, believe this town board knows that and will - if it approves the project - curtail it accordingly and appropriately.  The town board may not know what the final assessed value of the project may be, but they must certainly be taking measures to find out what this deal is worth to the developer and negotiating some benefit for the town, even with a curtailed version of the project.

This developer is from 20 years ago.  No self-respecting developer takes from a community nowadays without negotiating a win-win for both himself and the community he’s hoping to profit from BY A CHANGE IN ZONING THAT THE TOWN BOARD HAS THE AUTHORITY TO REJECT.

Pray the town board knows its own power and will apply it.

By The true reality on 08/16/2013 at 7:37 pm

Chap poster and the Editor,
That in the past the editor opposed 348 (!) condos at CC is a sign of sanity not bias, no matter where she lives. I would also note that the editor has twice clarified issues in my posts and her clarifications could only be read as being fair and/or favorable to the TB and SG—once noting that the town not SG paid for a financial study and again today in another post expanding on a point about partisanship and planning-board appointments. So I will repeat my thanks and urge everyone posting here to be grateful to her. She does an enormous amount of work trying to deal with this TB, and it seems to me she does it fairly.

By bob on 08/16/2013 at 7:59 pm

The true reality,

I wish I could muster the confidence in the TB that you seem to have. I just don’t see evidence of it, but I’ll keep my eyes peeled. On the greed of the developer, there can be no doubt.

By bob on 08/16/2013 at 8:07 pm

M Harris - you leave out many important facts and show your bias. The original ” housing” proposal at CC was for subdivisions to include houses. That was rejected. Multiple plans were presented for condos and age restricted housing. First over 300 condos then over 200 condos and it was watered down and 110 condos approved. I agree that 300 and 200 condos were too many and the town did the right thing. But with only 100 condos approvd and huge amounts of empty buildings and acreage to be filled did you really expect the bulldozers to break ground and start construction? Of course not. Without a complete or near complete plan no one in there right mind would start to build because no one in their right mind would buy until it was known what the project was going to be. Would you buy a condo in a yet to be determined Chapp Crossing - of course not. That is why you haven’t seen your bulldozers.
Also - I twice read ” my this old house” comments. RG was mentioned but he certainly wasn’t attacked as you suggest.
Your sensitivity to the term NIMBY certainly confirms where you live and explains why you are so quick to come to RGs defense - even when he didnt need it.
It may b hard for you to believe but there are actually people in your neighborhood that aren’t scared of retail at CC but they won’t sign their name or discuss it at BBQs or cocktail parties

By Facts not fiction on 08/16/2013 at 10:29 pm

Mr Harris - think back and tell us how many years ago was it when SG invited you to see the “proposed” housing.  That will give us an idea of how long this odyssey has been going on. That proposed housing you reference was rejected and in its place after many more years of no progress approx 100 condos were approved. That took almost 3 years! This property stands almost empty because the Town Board with encouragement and support from NIMBYs like you, stood in the way of all progress. The clock has run out. Now the TB has correctly agreed to suspend expensive and time consuming lawsuits and negotiate with SG. And guess who has a problem with that? The NIMBYs.
NOTHING will be acceptable to you - only an empty CC.
Tell us sir, what would you like to see at CC? Please be realistic - don’t suggest a Canyon Ranch or some social media company campus.
I think the TB has it right. I think a mixed usage campus including commercial, residential condos. and supermarket - retail is the solution.
I expect tight regulations regarding the type of retail store, we should not allow McDonalds or WalMart,  there should be strict hours of operation, and safety/ traffic issues MUST be remedied. That’s what I see- what do NIMBYs see?

By Resident on 08/17/2013 at 7:08 am

Has anyone from team NIMBY, er- New Castle determined the financial benefits of having an large parcel of land remain empty for several years?

By number, please on 08/17/2013 at 8:09 am

To David Gladstone:

You were very polite and respectful when you spoke to the Town Board at a recent public hearing. I don’t see the need to insult me or other Town Board members with your posted comment.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

continued…

By Jason Chapin, Town Board on 08/17/2013 at 9:56 am

To David Gladstone;

continued…

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

- Chappaqua Crossing currently represents about 30% of our commercial tax tax.

- Adding 120k sf of retail at Chappaqua Crossing would increase the Town’s commercial tax base by 60%.

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

I still need to be convinced that potential traffic, neighborhood and environment impacts can be mitigated before I can support the current proposal.

I hope the additional information is helpful. A NewCastleNOW article with more retail and tax analysis is at
http://www.newcastlenow.org/index.php/article/index/new_a_primer_on_the_proposal_for_a_grocery_and_retail_at_chappaqua_crossing

By Jason Chapin, Town Board on 08/17/2013 at 9:58 am

to: By number,By Resident, By Facts not fiction,
I noticed you did not give your real name or address; but as far as I am aware, the offices of Summit Greenfield are not located in Chappaqua.

“Beware those proclaiming to champion society’s best interests or those looking after “the greater good” of the community. More often than not, they are just protecting their own self interests. All too often, the cost of their success is the loss of someone else’s property rights.”


NIMBY (an acronym for the phrase “Not In My Back Yard”), is a pejorative characterization.(PERJORATIVE:a word or grammatical form of expression that expresses contempt or distaste).

By M.Harris on 08/17/2013 at 10:09 am

I don’t get it. Those opposed to retail at CC start with the negative that this will be harmful for our town, that it will create too much traffic, that it will ” destroy” downtown, and more gloom and doom. They start with these unproven and unsubstantiated claims and expect the Town Board to prove them wrong. They have no proof of such negatives, its all emotion. When presented with 2 professional studies, 1 paid for by the developer ( we should take that with a grain of salt) and the other commissioned by our town - BOTH concluded this project will be beneficial and complimentary not harmful. Yet we continue to hear them persist and force the TB to accept the unproven negative.
I suggest this in the context of the question asked by NCNow to the TB regarding the financial benefits this project will bring to the town.
Currently CC sits almost empty. The value of the property has declined dramatically because it is generated little income. The developer continues to request tax relief and will continue to receive it. That’s less revenue for our town coffers. Common sense dictates that if the property is utilized , income is generated, valued assessment goes up, and tax revenues to the town goes up.
Those opposed are looking for a specific dollar amount from our town. I don’t know how that is accomplished. Maybe first those opposed ought to demonstrate and prove their claims of all the negatives retail at CC will bring. Their argument is built around an unfounded fear , one proven incorrect by 2 separate studies.
Then again those living close to CC have already determined what’s best for all of us and will continue to make alarmist and unfounded assertions.  I’d rather shop in my town than take my business to Mt Kisco and have my patronage in my town assist in generated more commercial/retail tax revenue.

By CL on 08/17/2013 at 2:27 pm

Jason - thank you for the illuminating economics. A 60% increase in commercial property taxes certainly is substantial. Keep up the good work. I look forward to a well thought out controlled retail facility at CC!

By Thank you Jason on 08/17/2013 at 2:59 pm

M Harris - it appears it is you who puts self interest above greater good of community. With retail at CC we get a supermarket most want and need and we get retail we don’t have in our nail salon dominated downtown. MOST importantly as demonstrated by Jason Chapin we get tax revenue we desperately need. That revenue benefits all - the greater good. Increased revenue from CC may help keep residents hold down their taxes. Increased tax revenue from CC will fund vital services to the whole town. Increased tax revenue from CC will pay police and DPW salaries.
You are looking out only for yourself and your backyard. The greater good you quoted is served by moving this project forward.

By The greater good on 08/17/2013 at 3:11 pm

To M Harris - that’s a nice snappy quote - the one about proclaiming the greater good but are often just protecting their own self interests. Who’s interests are you protecting in Your opposition to retail at CC? Is it your interests because you live near the development or is it the greater good of the community which will benefit from additional shopping ( even RG acknowledges a Whole Foods at CC would be great) ( and I am not attacking RG). The community will also benefit from increased tax revenues. Town Board member Jason Chapin just articulated the tax benefits to the entire community ( greater good). Our commercial tax revenue increases 60%. So more and better retail including supermarket and increased tax revenue that we all benefit from seems like a project that is positive for the greater good. Seems like the greater good of our community is served by this project and your note rests are served by obstructing it. Just saying…....

By Chappster on 08/17/2013 at 3:45 pm

Mr. Chapin,

I think Mr. Gladstone was right about the supervisor’s conduct at the meeting addressed at the top of this post. That said, I do find the information you provide above to be enlightening, and I hope people on both sides will address these numbers. I know that you’ve stated similar info before, but I wish you had reiterated it at the meeting in this succinct form.
Too many people here judge posters’ positions unthinkingly. There should be genuine debate.

By bob on 08/17/2013 at 4:04 pm

Jason- great answers, very illuminating , and very important. As you know there are a small but vocal group out there intent on running this project off the rails. No matter what reasonable and logical response you offer you will come u set attack.
A bit of advise if u don’t mind- be more prepared to get ambushed. Had you had these detailed answers with the associated economics and tax information at your finger tips at the last meeting ( when Ms Yeres inquired) you would have avoided the wrath of some of these folks.
You and the board are on the right path. You are doing the correct thing. Move ahead and lets get this done. The tax numbers you just presented us with speak volumes.
But be prepared the NIMBY folks are sure to try to punch holes and minimize their importance. I agree that before you approve this proper and tight regulations ought to be in place and traffic/ safety issues mitigated. This is hardly a slam dunk rubber stamp.
Maybe you at some point can include how much in legal fees have been spent and how big that legal bill will grow if lawsuits resume.

By Thanks Jason on 08/17/2013 at 4:11 pm

Mr Harris in his comment includes a poignant quote-
““Beware those proclaiming to champion society’s best interests or those looking after “the greater good” of the community. More often than not, they are just protecting their own self interests. All too often, the cost of their success is the loss of someone else’s property rights.”
The NIMBYs are proclaiming to champion what they think is in the towns best interest when we all know it is their self interests they are protecting. They don’t want retail at CC in their backyard. But they tell us it will harm downtown and create dangerous traffic as if they are trying to shield us all.  The cost of their actions ( or success as the quote says) is the loss of someone else’s property rights. That is the developers rights to utilize their property or the rights of the rest of he community to benefit from grocery/ retail and increased commercial tax revenue for the entire community.
Thank you Mr Harris for such a prescient and illuminating quote. You should share it with your neighbors.

By JJ on 08/17/2013 at 4:48 pm

I have lived in New Castle for more than 20 years and this past week was the first time I visited Chappaqua Crossing (for physical therapy services provided by Northern Westchester Hospital.)  I must say that the property is quite expansive and can easily support the 120,000 square foot retail development supported by the Town Board.  But that is not the issue.  Instead, the real issue is, what is the true effect of retail at CC on New Castle?

The developer has absolutely no interest in rehabbing existing office buildings or constructing new ones - the potential profit just is not there.  So, the property sits severely underutilized and over-assessed with no solution in sight since New Castle cannot force construction of new buildings upon the developer.  Retail appears to be a solution financially palatable to the developer.  But for the signs advertising the retail development that will be visible from three sides, most residents of New Castle will not notice the 120,000 square foot retail development unless they live or attend school nearby. 

The true problem, then, is the effect that such a retail development has upon the quality of life of the residents of New Castle, the probability of financial damage to the property owners of New Castle and the very real possibility of financial ruin being suffered by the business owners of both existing hamlets in New Castle.

(continued)

By B on 08/17/2013 at 5:52 pm

(comment continued)


The facts set forth in the comment by Jason Chapin are true - but are not what this fight is all about!  We must only focus on Jason’s concluding statement that “I still need to be convinced that potential traffic, neighborhood and environment impacts can be mitigated before I can support the current proposal.”  Jason has distilled this matter down to one sentence.  Can New Castle handle the projected 4100 car trips per day, seven days per week?  If we can figure out a way to handle that much traffic, do we really want to have this many cars passing through our town every day of the week?  What is the effect on the property values of houses immediately bordering CC?  How about homes one block away?  Homes two blocks away?  How about the negative effect to the value of all of the houses along Route 120 and Route 117 that will bear witness to garbage trucks and tractor-trailers all night long, in addition to the vehicular traffic during the day and evening?  How about the increased traffic through our side streets as people seek alternatives to the traffic jams that will surely ensue?  What will become of our Millwood and Chappaqua downtown business districts - will they survive or be killed off?  How about the negative environmental effects of the proposed retail development? Phosphorous discharge will increase so significantly that it will cost $1,500,000.00 to mitigate them as per the reports submitted to the town by two environmental watchdogs - who will pay this bill?  How about the incredible increase in our carbon footprint due to thousands of car trips per day - how does this fit into our town’s (apparently former) concern for the environment?

(continued)

By B on 08/17/2013 at 5:54 pm

(continued)

The problem with all of the many questions set forth above is that nobody knows the answer!  We can argue all day for or against retail at CC, but at the end of the day, proponents and opponents will still be at loggerheads since the truth is that there is insufficient information to make a decision for or against retail at CC.

So, we are faced with a dilemma - do we vote to approve retail or not?

I submit that we cannot vote in favor of the proposal since the potential financial and quality of life ramifications to our town, to our homeowners and to our business owners far, far outweigh the potential tax benefits to our town that retail at CC will generate. 

A simple balance sheet reveals that the carrot dangled by retail at CC is dipped in poison for New Castle.  Increased tax revenues at CC will be partially, and perhaps completely, offset by bushels of successful tax cert claims filed by homeowners and commercial property owners, since it is not unreasonable to believe that hundreds of homes and commercial properties will be devalued as a result of the retail at CC.  Coupled with a decreased quality of life for New Castle residents as a result of all of the traffic and pollution, the benefit to New Castle may be nonexistent or perhaps even be a negative. 

(continued)

By B on 08/17/2013 at 5:57 pm

(continued)

One final thought:  the attempted avoidance of the dictates of the Master Plan by the Town Board is a red flag that, when added to the potential financial and quality of life dangers set forth above, should give serious pause to Town Board members whose minds are not yet made up about this issue.  The avoidance of the Master Plan by the current Town Board is in many ways the same as the US Congress ignoring the Constitution to make laws that they know to be unconstitutional.  This is illegal at the Federal level and should not be permitted to occur at the local level, even if the New Castle Town Attorney has charted a delicate path by which the Master Plan may be avoided for a vote on retail at CC.             

Sorry for the length of this comment - this issue is so incredibly important to myself and to the people of New Castle.

By B on 08/17/2013 at 5:57 pm

Mr. Chapin,

I watched when Susan Carpenter was asked if Summit Greenfield had demonstrated to her and to the Town Board that they had really tried to lease the existing office space at CC.
In her now signature gesture, she threw up her arms and with exasperation declared, ‘I am not a realtor, how would I know that?’  I ask you, what evidence have you seen that they have done so?

I have been advised by people who have looked at the numbers that the most a family will realize from this development if fully developed and fully rented is a mere $200. tax savings a year.  In fact, I also heard two members of the Planning Board cite the same bottom line.

With existing markets 5 to 10 minutes away in every direction, I do not buy your conclusion that most of the residents must have a grocery in town and that it must be, because of economy of scale, a huge one. 

What we need is a development plan for the downtown hamlet. That is where the Board should be focusing to expand the tax base.  If the town had done its due diligence with thoughtful planning, we would not have RiteAid in the former Gristede’s location, or Walgreen’s at the top of the hill.  Why are you not in favor of waiting for the updated master plan to be completed before you give away the store ?

Summit Greenfield should not be made whole by our town.  It is clear that all they want is to develop the property and escape.  I do not understand how, you in good faith with the town are complicit in their debacle.

By Resident on 08/17/2013 at 6:42 pm

To B - if you have lived in this town for 20 years then you remember Mt Kisco and the the discount outlet center which is now the home of Tagret , A&P, and a few other stores. Before it was demolished it was a wasteland a ghost own. Based on your concerns about traffic, phosphorous, and carbon foot prints that would never have been built.

EVERYONE is raving about the new Deciccos market in Armonk. Had they studied and dissected all the things you bring up about CC that wouldn’t have been built either. Armonk has more traffic now, more exhaust and all those nasty things you fear will invade New Castle. If the town officials of Armonk would have listened to you that new market would not have been built. And everyone in Chapp is pointing to Armonk as an example of good planing and design.

I trust proper environmental guidelines will be met at CC. I trust traffic and safety issues will be addressed. I trust our elected officials will make sure that appropriate retail and food services providers will be allowed and inappropriate ones prohibited.
You use phrases like ” dipped in poison” , pollution, decreased quality of life when you have no proof. Stop the melodrama please.  Did Armonk do a study to ascertain the impact traffic from the new market would have on the houses 2 blocks away? No. They didnt study carbon footprints when they built their new facility. Let me remind you that Readers Digest employed over 2000 employees. They worked shifts all day and night. There were employees, truck deliveries, sanitation trucks, vendors, and countless other cars and vehicles driving in every day. This is an example of starting with a negative you can’t prove and expecting everyone to make decisions based on that speculation.

Retail is coming to CC. Deal with it and cease your fear mongoring.
” dipped in poison” PLEASE!

By Build it and they will come on 08/17/2013 at 10:14 pm

Everyone is raving about Armonk? Rt 128 in Armonk with its stores and shopping is mostly a series of strip malls. Don’t we detest strip malls?

By Merchant on 08/18/2013 at 7:02 am

B and Jason Chapin,

In this posting, I think you have both laid out what is at stake with CC—both sides of the issue. I hope that all the current political candidates (and not their minions) will address these issues and statistics thoughtfully.

By bob on 08/18/2013 at 8:59 am

What I relearned from reading Jason Chapin’s response is that the town from day one has mishandled the development negotiations with Summit Greenfield and in their ad hoc fashion continues to do so.  I do not understand how anyone reading his post can take comfort in his numbers presentation, or to divine from it that the development as proposed to bring retail to CC would overall be a good decision for our bottom line. 

Numbers do not lie, but spinners use numbers.

By careful folks on 08/18/2013 at 2:05 pm

Jason - “Careful Folks” comment above demonstrates that there will be some that will NEVER be happy and NEVER accept this project. You responded with a clear cogent response including the economics and financial benefits to the town - just as you were asked. If you don’t answer the NIMBYs find fault. When you do respond with a detailed and favorable answer the NIMBYs find fault. Ignore them. They will accept nothing short of an empty CC.

By See what I mean? on 08/18/2013 at 2:50 pm

Build it and they will come:  I wish I had a pair of the rose color glasses through which you view the Town Board.  My view of the Town Board is much, much different than yours - and I have absolutely no faith that the Board will do the right thing for New Castle.  The current Town Board has demonstrated that it will do whatever is necessary to protect the members of the prior Town Board, and itself, from pending or potential litigation.  The best interests of New Castle have taken a back seat to the fear of the Town Board that they will be sued for doing what they believe to be the right thing.  Look at the Conifer mess, where everybody agrees the site on Hunts Lane is substandard and not a place that they would want to live, but that the Town Board has approved for an out of place apartment tower for people of color and Hispanics.  Why would they do this?  The Board only has done so to protect Barbara Gerrard and the prior Town Board.  Likewise, the Board introduced the concept of retail at Chappaqua Crossing without consulting anyone.  The Board negotiated a settlement of a Lawsuit the town was by all accounts winning.  Why?  Politics, and not the best interests of the people of New Castle.  Did the Town Board ask if the Lawsuits should be settled?  No.  Did the Town Board ask if retail was desired at Chappaqua Crossing befpre proposing it?  No.  Does the Town Board care what people in New Castle want for Hunts Lane and Chappaqua Crossing?  No.  This is why I am fearful of retail at CC - because nobody is looking out for the people of New Castle, they are just looking put for themselves and their political allies.

By B on 08/18/2013 at 11:40 pm

B,

I think you are making points that no one is directly addressing, i.e., the political motivations of the Town Board trumping many of the town’s best interests.

By bob on 08/19/2013 at 7:44 am

B and bob,

Agree.

By Bob on 08/19/2013 at 11:35 am

Bob and bob:  Yes, what most people miss, as they passionately debate whether the Conifer proposal and the retail proposal at Chappaqua Crossing are respectively good or bad for New Castle, is that both proposals are the creations of our past and current Town Boards.  Knowing that the Town Boards are responsible for these two proposals makes it somewhat comical to watch as current Town Board members stroke their respective chins in deep contemplation over whether either proposal is good for New Castle or not, when it is the Town Boards that first introduced and gave birth to these proposals!  The people of New Castle that stand up and fight against one or both proposals are summarily dismissed by many as “Nimbys”.  In fact, it is the voices of these very people that should be most carefully paid attention to, since these voices emanate from those most passionate about the future well-being of New Castle, not those who are consumed with the well-being of a political party and it’s past or present members.  Hunts Lane and Chappaqua Crossing are not Democrat or Republican issues, they are New Castle issues, created out of whole cloth by the past and present Town Boards.  The people of New Castle deserve the respect of their elected officials to at least listen to and address their concerns before moving forward with either of their proposals.  Unfortunately, to date the Town Board has exhibited a studied arrogance to anybody with the courage to stand up and challenge the Town Board’s politically motivated vision for the future of our town.  I sincerely hope that any current Town Board member on the fence about either of the two proposals puts New Castle first, ahead of petty party politics, and votes against both proposals.  Voting no is the right thing to do if they truly love our town.

By B on 08/19/2013 at 1:45 pm

to: by Resident,
From May 7th, 2013-Chappaqua Patch

“Chappaqua Crossing owner Summit/Greenfield is in talks with a prospective supermarket (anchor) tenant for it to sign a lease as part of its retail proposal, according to spokesman Geoff Thompson.
Thompson said: “We have a supermarket that’s very close to being signed.”
Thomspon declined the give the name of the grocer but said it a company that will be welcomed by people in the community.”

Please let us know which tenant you are “very close to signing”(from May 7th)...or is this another example of just making “stuff up” ?
If the community will welcome it, you should be very proud to announce the name.

Editor’s Note: A grocery, the thinking goes, needs to know that the zoning is in place in order to declare its interest.

By a real (not pretend) resident on 08/19/2013 at 5:06 pm

Regarding the posts by B, what say you, past and present Town Board members? Or operatives of same?

By bob on 08/19/2013 at 5:16 pm

Editor, 

I do not understand the rational for that “thinking”.  Can you say where you heard it ?

Editor’s Note: It’s said to be standard behavior/practice for supermarkets not to reveal their interest if the developer can’t show that the zoning is there.  It sort of makes some kind of sense. 

HOWEVER…

This is why I asked town board members on August 13 how they can be confident that the zoning can be crafted (as the board has said they can pull off) to attract a grocery store that the community will think not-ordinary (that is, not an A&P, ShopRite, Stop-and-Shop) if the board must change the zoning to find out which grocery is interested.  They had no answer that night.

By resident on 08/19/2013 at 8:05 pm

@B - you are right. Penny do you understand ? Mr. Robert Greenstein do you understand ? Now that we both understand, it does not suggest that we should bring former members back to the Planning Board, or keep the existing roster of members! The new Supervisor should on day one or even now, make it clear who they would like to see submit their resignation. Even if “B” is a former Planning Board member it is too late to get back into the good graces of the Public! New Castle has been damaged by everyone that works at town hall becuase of a CYA guiding principle. (Cover Your A&S)We need a new pool of talent like a former blogger has suggested. Mrs. Paderewski does however have the experience to change New Castle based on the frsustrations she has witnessed throughout her 27 years working for Town Hall. Does she have the will, the guts, the desire, the love, to return town hall to the community? What about Greenstein, does he perhaps need the existing structure of the current town hall to remain in order to learn the ropes, or is he truly the candidate of change? Merchants, stakeholders, landlords, taxpayers; what do both candidates stand for? I am asking all bloggers to flood New Castle with names of individuals that should be sitting on our town board, planning board, and zoning board. Bloggers who do we want fired, hired, and told to leave? Lets show both candidates who is paying attention!

By That's correct! on 08/19/2013 at 9:31 pm

That’s correct,
So who are these people who should be running the Town?  Get the names out there.  Everyone wants to know who you think would do the “right” job.  We are all interested.

By Tell those who are listening on 08/21/2013 at 6:44 pm

Proactively canvas the Muncipality seeking out new talent to step forward, and also ask the residents to submit the names of those that should be asked to serve. Ask the heads of both the Democrat and Republican parties of our area to come together to interview all those responding to such efforts, with a wild card vote on each applicant coming out of the CCSD Administration. I would only install those individuals that pay a tax bill in New Castle, own a business and a home, and have children in the CCSD, and who seek to take appropriate economic steps in keeping New Castle vibrant. I would want all candidates to understand basic fundamental concepts of what it takes to turn the lights on in a business each and every day whether for the first time or after many years of doing so, and what it takes for a homeowner to resolve various town hall issues that need to be addressed in order to sell or refinance their home. We have too much of a gotcha mentality at town hall, and a town hall that is too sterile in their willingness to offer out flexibility and solutions. We need our town boards to be seated with individuals that perhaps understand that you cannot cross every T or dot every i, or follow the laws to the maximum definition or interpretation of such law. The residents of New Castle need to restore a pliable town hall that works for the footings of the community with seated board members that will not have to walk around with a “How to do manual” or a ” lawyer”  in tow while conducting the business of the community and will just have a inner sense as to what needs to be done or not done in order to get things done and going or approved. You want a generator, walk into the Blding Dpt. arrange a field visit and figure it out between the owner and only one person at town hall. Count all the town personnel it took for that merchant to get his generator approved.

By @ Tell those who are listening on 08/22/2013 at 8:18 pm

Jason Chapin’s remark that retail at CC will increase the town’s commercial tax base by 60% sounds great, except that we’re starting at such a low number that 60% is virtually meaningless, so those of you who find those numbers enlightening should dig a little deeper.

I’m not going to say that retail at CC will destroy downtown, but anybody who thinks that adding retail at CC might actually help our downtown - or the town as a whole - is seriously deluding themselves. 

Nobody - whether they are coming from within Chappaqua or from villages or towns outside of Chappaqua - is going to shop at CC (if retail eventually comes there) and then say to themselves, “gee wiz, I’m only 2 miles from downtown chappaqua, why don’t I get back in my car and go shopping in downtown Chappaqua.

The only way to improve downtown chappaqua is to create the type of retail density (and don’t think that means that it has to be overwhelmingly dense) that modern urban planners uniformly deem to be the proper way to improve downtowns, regardless of size or location. 

One of Summit Greenfield’s partners on other projects specifically decided to NOT invest with SG because they know that CC was a bad idea from a retail standpoint.

and, oh yea, bravo David Gladstone.  Jason Chapin and Susan Carpenter are clearly operating under some misguided assumptions about what is good for Chappaqua.

By NOT so enlightening on 08/23/2013 at 3:25 pm

When people bought their homes near Reader’s Digest there was no guarantee that it would always remain Reader’s Digest.  When Summit Greenfield bought the property, there were no guarantees what this property would become.  When someone buys a home near a very large property they should be smart enough to know that there are no guarantees of what might happen to that large piece of property.  The TB is trying to maximize revenue for the Town.  It is working hard to reduce taxes and listen to the concerns of those who live near by.  You had no guarantee when you moved there.  None.

By Buyer beware on 08/23/2013 at 3:50 pm

To “buyer beware” Actually, there is a guarantee to people living near Reader’s Digest: the zoning is a guarantee, just like the zoning in your neighborhood is a guarantee for you. 

People around Reader’s Digest may have no right to expect nothing will happen there, but they DO have a right to expect that whatever happens will comply with the zoning law that is in place, just like you expect your zoning and the zoning laws around you to stay in place.

Call this what it is - people like you are saying “We want a grocery, so too bad for Reader’s Digest’s neighbors - we’re going change your zoning to retail because there are more of us than there are of you.”

By Beg to differ on 08/23/2013 at 8:14 pm

By not letting Chappaqua Crossing go forward, the entire town is damaged financially or otherwise as follows:

1. $500 hourly legal fees paid to the town’s outside attorneys
2. Same we must reimburse SG’s attorneys if and when they prevail in Court
3. Total legal bills and costs could be $1,000,000
4. $2,000,000 in lost real estate taxes which continues every day SG is denied the use of its property
5. The town does not have a supermarket
6. I would like to see a calculation of the current and projected increases in everyone’s tax rate to finance this objection-fiasco.
7. If the town loses in court, it loses much of its control to negotiate with the developer. At times, Courts continue monitoring these types of cases to assure implimenation of its orders.


If CC goes forward, the NIMBYS do not lose as much as they fear. They will be able to have their taxes reduced based upon their belief that their property values will be lowered (if that in fact will be the case which is by no means a certainty). But there is a caveat: In Manhattan, when the 2nd Ave elevated train was built, all bordering real estate had taxes reduced. When it was torn down,the taxes were restored. If CC turns out to have an element of charm, viability and convenience to NIMBYS, any reduced taxes must be restored. They should not have it both ways. continued

By The Sky is not falling on 08/23/2013 at 9:42 pm

Cowdin Lane is charming and it should remain so. So long as any approved plan has a buffer and prohibition that no part of the development can be seen or is in the line of Cowdin’s sight, where is the lifestyle and property ruination or impact? Yes, possible traffic on 117, but there will be traffic lights and mitigation. Won’t there be a major entrance to CC from the Saw Mill? Cowdin people making a right turn could have increased traffic during school hours…which they have now. Making left turns could have some slow traffic which affects every person driving on 117,not just those residents. The traffic glut is from Greeley, CC at worst provides an incremental traffic increase. The Cowdin calculus should also include a measure of THEIR shopping convenience (and other NIMBY’s too).

Have the 117 entrance to the development closed during Greeley release times…just a thought.

Readers Digest Road is a major connecting roadway to the Saw Mill. Anyone who buys a house on such a highly trafficked road runs the risk of increased traffic. They buy their homes with road and Saw Mill noise. The sale prices for such houses are generally constrained by that type of thoroughfare. Readers Rd appears to have the capability of being widened. Yes, that will reduce charm, but that happens in every road widening situation. The loss of charm is partially compensated by a reduction in real estate taxes.

Wasn’t there traffic at the beginning and end of the Reader’s Digest Work days? CC traffic will be more evenly distributed, won’t it?

By the sky is not falling continued on 08/23/2013 at 9:43 pm

Maybe the downtown area should take the hit. When landlord’s see that their tenants can’t pay the exorbitant rents, they will wake up and smell the coffee. Hopefully they will lower rents (as a function of the marketplace) and maybe, just maybe, reasonably priced stores can return to our community.

It’s the fear of the unknown that is most upsetting. But what is known is a large financial burden to the taxpayers every day that project is delayed. The judicial hammer will hit us all on the head if we don’t make the best of this situation while the developer is in deal making mode.

By tahe sky is not falling continued again on 08/23/2013 at 9:44 pm

Upon approval of CC reduce the tax bill of all commercial property owners by 33%. Phase this reduction in over 48 months, and for every point above the property tax cap, add another 2 points worth of add’l tax reduction - Calculate this tax impact to the community into the property tax that CC will have to make up for. Upon approval of CC, immediately and without failure to perform, town hall should remove all Planning and Zoning laws from downtown Chappaqua, and only keep intact that pornographic type businesses are not allowed to move into town. This will provide the property owners with the ability to survive as being the owner of their property, and making the best decisions possible to keep downtown Chappaqua vibrant, active, and alive. Put in place a fund as funded by CC tax base to pay for any New Castle property owner their expense of having to contend with the $25k and above it cost to change the “USE” of their own property / commercial space to accept a different kind of tenant. Does Town Hall have the guts to stand in the shoes of a landlord or residential property owner who will be impacted by Conifer row project - I DON’T THINK SO! Is Penny or Robert talking about any of these issues to this specific point…........” N O ” Why?????????????? Afraid?

By Across the board on 08/23/2013 at 10:51 pm

Practical questions on traffic:

1)
What is the plan for the traffic, how much do changes cost, and who pays for the changes?

2)
Has anyone noticed that 117 is paved and in great shape in Pleasantville and Mt Kisco but has been a complete disaster FOR YEARS in the Chappaqua section - and who from the town managed the ConEd gas leak saga? Dont worry, 117 will be paved end Summer 2014! Whoops, will it then be rebuilt for the CC retail project?

3)
A southbound additional right turn lane on 117 could go on the empty lot on the northwest corner of Readers Digest Road (owned by SG). Where do we get the land for a northbound left turn lane on 117? Will the house on the southwest corner be torn down?

4)
What are the traffic projections for Annandale Drive and will it be closed at 117? Southbound (left) turns are already dangerous and time consuming so it seems that a safe alternative would be to close it off?

5)
How long will it take to cut through the CC property during peak Greely traffic times to avoid the Greely congestion? This will work for southbound 117 but northbound might be tougher.

6)
It seems that Readers Digest Road may have to be 4 lanes, and if so, who pays? Right now it is one of the busiest roads in the town and has pot holes and the painted center line is worn off and dangerous - can we at least afford to paint the lines while this debate goes on…

Some thoughts…

By By practical nimby on 08/23/2013 at 11:21 pm

“Buyer Beware” - what you’re saying is that neighborhoods and streets around Reader’s digest should have no guarantee that the zoning laws around them should be respected.

So you must believe that if the town board decides it wants to sell out the neighborhoods around Reader’s Digest and Greeley for revenues from a strip retail center and grocery, then the zoning laws are changeable.

But I bet you think the zoning regs around YOU should be respected.

By Is your zoning changeable? on 08/24/2013 at 6:29 am

“Has anyone noticed that 117 is paved and in great shape in Pleasantville and Mt Kisco but has been a complete disaster FOR YEARS in the Chappaqua section…”

This is true of other New Castle (NOT state) roads. For example, Spring Valley is well maintained in Ossining and Yorktown but dismal in Nw Castle.

By Look all over town on 08/24/2013 at 9:09 am

Dear practical NIMBY and Buyer Beware,

Zoning, by definition, is always subject to variance everywhere. We see that on every block in every municipality. True, variances are small i.e. set backs, home additions, pools.Sometimes allowing a home to be built on a smaller lot than otherwise permitted to have two next door neighbors instead of one. It happens. Get over it.

Building the 100 homes within existing density rules is a permitted use which has already been approved. This residential use is beyond all objections such that the only remaining debate regards commerical use.

Non-residential use was the pre-existing use. The change sought is not from residential to non-residential, which is a change in character which zoning is designed to protect. The CC change is from one form of commercial use to another, not the transmogrification the Chicken Littles (i.e. NIMBYS) are screaming about.

Anyone who lives near any lands that are capable of development, knows that a development will occur one day. Such person hopes it won’t happen, but it is a certainty to occur when economics warrant the change. Just like the certainty of the effect of the laws of gravity, populations increase and demands for enhanced property use grow concomitantly.

Think about this: what if the Digest building were fully tenanted by permitted thriving permitted businsesses? Wouldn’t the traffic situation be a problem? Of course it would be. Therefore, traffic congestion within that permitted “problem” scenario cannot form the basis for NIMBY traffic objections to CC. Again, it is a question of degree of change… not a change in the rules of the game.


Continued

By The Sky is not falling on 08/24/2013 at 10:08 am

Don’t mix apples with oranges. Non CC issues should not be linked to items of long standing disrepair which require attention. SG and CC must be made to pay and are no doubt willing to pay for their benefical share of of those repair items. After all, it will be more cost effective for the Town and SG to make those permanent improvement than paying for the expensive legal fees and incurring real estate tax losses.

This entire dispute is turning out to be a replay of the 1950"s Gregory Peck Korean war movie, “Pork Chop Hill” where the issue was nothing more than which side in a conflict has the most power.

The sell out, if there is any, is to sacrifice the interests of the town as a whole in favor of the downtown landlords who, it is claimed, will be the biggest losers. It is not a given that NIMBYS will suffer as mush as they claim they will. That “not given” is the certainty.

By The sky is not falling continued on 08/24/2013 at 10:09 am

Make whatever deal there is to be made Now! SG probably will then be able to compromise its tax certiorari for lower amounts and drop all its legal claims. Paid legal fee invoices are no substitute for civil improvements and peace in town.

Also, as to the claim of hypocrisy, we all bear the risk of our next door neighbor selling to a group home. Such is a change of use not in character with one family neighborhoods. That is a prohibited character change for all to see on the particular street. Income producing to income producing is an adjustment, not a change.

It is my understanding that the CC store will at worst only bee visible from the Saw Mill or otherwise be screened from Readers Rd view.

How many employees did Reader’s digest have at its height? The parking lot is huge such that it would seem that there were scores of cars parked there. Again, which is worse: glut of cars before and after the work day, or an even stream of the same volume of cars throughout the day?

By the sky is falling continued 2 on 08/24/2013 at 10:36 am

The Chappaqua Crossing commerical development seems to me to be a discreet, separate area just like Millwood. While it is a bit closer to downtown, it is still a drive away. It will have its own population to patronize and sustain it.

By M Leabwitz on 08/25/2013 at 12:29 am

“Buyer Beware” - what you’re saying is that neighborhoods and streets around Reader’s digest should have no guarantee that the zoning laws around them should be respected (But I bet you think the zoning regs around YOU should be respected.)

So you must believe that if the town board decides it wants to sell out the neighborhoods around Reader’s Digest and Greeley for revenues from a strip retail shopping center, then the zoning laws are changeable.

By Is your zoning changeable? on 08/25/2013 at 7:01 am

M Leabwitz, have you been paying attention or are you just focused on the shopping or the taxes?  The town’s own report on existing retail showed that the 120,000 sq ft of retail at Chappaqua Cr will be 54% of all the retail in all three places (the two hamlets now have 220,000 sq ft of retail between them).

“Just like Millwood”? With a Petco, Five Guys and Chipotle?

“Discrete, separate area”? To support its magnitude this strip center has to draw heavily from everywhere.  Drawing from everywhere = traffic getting into it from surrounding roadways.

Editor’s Note:  I think the writer means that the 120,000 sf at CC represents a 54% “increase” in the amount of retail (220,000 sf) that exists now in the two hamlets.

By "Just like Millwood"??? on 08/25/2013 at 7:03 am

It’s coming.  So instead of whining work with the TB to get the kind of stores that you want there.  Let get good restaurants that will bring people into Town.  Let’s get stores that don’t compete with our downtown merchants.  The TB can control the types of stores coming in.  Use your energy in a positive way.  All thesefear mongering people are not helping!  Listen to those who are positive forces.  People who stand up at TB meetings and say or yell this is bad are just not doing aanyone any good!

By get ready on 08/25/2013 at 8:16 am

Dear just like millwood,

Whats wrong with five Guys, Chipotle etc? It will bring in the “tide” of shoppers including our residents. The Saw Mill fronted entrance accommodates the travellers BEFORE reaching any NIMBY homes. The commercial space will be hidden from all NIMBY view except from the Saw Mill.  “Ma Nish ta naw Helilah hazeh”. Why is our community different from all others? We have grown,like others, and have the capacity for growth, luckily unlike others. We have a fallow, separated area that can accommodate such growth. Lets increase our tax base and grow in this discreetly located area.

The nay sayers are just like Obama “birthers”. Nothing anyone can say or do will change their minds. They objectionists no matter what!  ps.I am not an Obama fan LOL.

I will make a deal with you,personally, you absorb my personal tax loss and I will give you my proxy.

By M Leabwitz on 08/25/2013 at 1:23 pm

It cannot be argued that CC is devoid of all merit. Since in this world “The flow of water cannot be stopped and can only be channelled”, the focus should be to work with CC to have stores that fit in here. Bear in mind that just because a vocal extreme minority of people dont want one type of store, the majority of the town may have no problem with it. (I personally do not think we need another nail place but it could service the new CC community, but what do I know?)

The mix of stores, in the first instance, is the prerogative of the developer. Does anyone seriously think that SG will put in a miz of stores that is doomed to failure? They will try to do the best it can for itself, which, is best for all of us in the long run.

If the stores succeed, Chappaqua as a whole succeeds. Yes some existing stores in town that should fold, may do so. Somewhere in these discussions that circumstance was referred to as evolution of stores.

By the way, “Sky not falling” has a good point. What was the maximum amount of cars that Reader’s Digest had at its zenith? What was the traffic flow at that time? If the projected traffic (which is now a dead flow) is comparable to that historic busy time, then the new traffic flow issue is not a legitimate issue. “Just like Millwood” is simply a contrarian. No doubt he/she has a bumper sticker that reads “Just Say NO”

By Get Ready is correct; on 08/25/2013 at 2:15 pm

It’s time to do away with contracting out with an outside law firm. This is costing New Castle way too much money! The next Supervisor needs to consider moving this expense to a full time salaried position for around $125k per year and do away with $500 an hour invoicing. It’s about time we tap into the HR market place and try to reduce our Municipal costs. Who graduated from law school last year and was a straight “A” student and would like to make a name and a career for themselves in New Castle? We need to bring down the cost that the Muncipality generates. If we change the method as to how town hall works we can find savings. We should have the Town Board, Planning Board, and Zoning Board, as well as the Building Department, Town Planner, Town Engineer, all sit in one room in the review of any application that is under review with one town attorney at the ready to advise the town! We really can’t afford going into the future in the same manner that we have over the past 50 years. We really need the next Supervisor to explore the real idea of changing how town hall works for the taxpayers of the area. Remember, town hall works for us, not the other way around, and these are the kinds of changes we need to make as seen in nearby Connecticut. We have rising expenses in every corner of town hall and if we don’t act now they will ask us to drive our garbage to Hunts Lane and do away with once a week garbage pick up! Mrs. Penny - Mr. G, what do you think? What does the support staff at town hall that supports whoever wins at town hall think? You know who gets fired when too much money is wasted by town hall?

By Some ideas on 08/25/2013 at 3:51 pm

to “get ready is correct”

You write: “The mix of stores, in the first instance, is the prerogative of the developer. Does anyone seriously think that SG will put in a miz of stores that is doomed to failure? They will try to do the best it can for itself, which, is best for all of us in the long run.”

The developer doesn’t have to “put in a mix of store that is doomed to failure” in order for the project to be counted as a failure here in New Castle. 

He might have a mix in mind that serves his bottom line very well. Just as he’s saying now “The office space won’t work for us, you have to let us do retail” he can later say “The retail we had in mind won’t work.  No Whole Foods, how about an A&P?  How about whatever wants to come into the space?  Walmart? Costco?”  This developer is groping around to find something that will work, just like developers do. The town board is no match for him.  And the town board without a master plan is an even worse match for him.

The town board is in over its head. The developer (or the developer he sells it to) will make what he has to out of the retail zoning - whatever gets him the most money. If that’s Costco or Walmarts, then so be it, from his point of view.

By The town board is in over its head on 08/26/2013 at 8:02 am

Some ideas,

A few of your notions are good ones, but how are we going to get a full-time lawyer for $125k per year when we pay a town administrator $180k plus per year?

By salaries run rampant on 08/26/2013 at 8:20 am

These comments and rants are entertaining. What I read for that most part,  are vetted and debunked arguments against progress. The Saw Mill entrance absorbs a substantial part of the destination traffic,
doesn’t it?  The development is not next to the downtown area and thereby does not affect what ever charm it may still now have. With lower downtown rents, cute stores may return.  Just another opinion out here

By The Emporer has no clothes on 08/26/2013 at 8:44 am

to “get ready is correct”

You write: “The mix of stores, in the first instance, is the prerogative of the developer. Does anyone seriously think that SG will put in a miz of stores that is doomed to failure? They will try to do the best it can for itself, which, is best for all of us in the long run.

If the stores succeed, Chappaqua as a whole succeeds. Yes some existing stores in town that should fold, may do so. Somewhere in these discussions that circumstance was referred to as evolution of stores.”

But think about this…

The developer doesn’t have to “put in a mix of store that is doomed to failure” in order for the project to be counted as a failure here in New Castle, as costing New Castle’s residents and merchants. 

The developer might have a mix in mind that serves his bottom line very well, but is nothing like what the town board imagines it can dictate through the zoning amendments.

Just as the developer is saying now “The office space won’t work, you have to let us do retail” he can later say “The retail we had in mind won’t work.  No Whole Foods, how about an A&P?  How about whatever wants to come into the space?  You don’t want it left empty, do you?”  The developer will have the town board by the short hairs - again. 

The town board has to decide what it can control and what it cannot. How successful do you think the town board will be at micro managing the mix of stores for the town’s benefit?  The town board is in over its head. The developer will make what he has to out of the retail zoning - whatever gets him the most money. If that’s Costco or Walmarats, then so be it, from his point of view.  And the town board will have to take his word for it that he’s tried everything else.

By The town board is in over its head on 08/26/2013 at 11:32 am

Has our area forgotten the value of money? Just as no one is entitled to reside in New Castle, no resident should be made to believe that we need to pay country club legal fees to our own town attorneys. How nice would it be to find an inexpensive residential rental that a “just starting out” lawyer can lease while he builds his/her career in town hall. As for such talent not being in line with other salaries, let us just have one fight at a time and take baby steps to move towards reducing the overhead of town hall. It needs to start with all the white collar positions at town hall! Let’s get our next Supervisor to be the last one in that will make the kind of salary that this one happens to deserve, and if Greenstein is elected, well then he is the candidate of change. So perhaps he will pass laws that prevent the next Supervisor or second term from earning the kind of bucks we are discussing. We now need to give others an opportunity to serve and be hired while seeking to reduce costs. The law is the law, and when an interpretation is needed during a conflict, we simply go ask the judicial system for an opinion any lawyer can do this. We do not need to be banged over the head at $500 an hour, leave those kinds of fees in the private sector. The structure of Government does not need to reflect the private structure fee schedule. You use the benefit of Government when you need to and you remove the benefit of the private structure from Government when savings can be realized. This is one of those examples. We can all argue both sides of this issue, but the fact remains that white collar expenses inside town hall need to come way down, down, down. When property taxes get reduced, the expenses of town hall need to follow, this is one of those areas where it can be done! The problem is, so many are so friendly at town hall with each other that it has become one big family. Penny / Robert, what are you prepared to do!

By Rampant run salaries on 08/26/2013 at 12:04 pm

I do not believe anybody that has previously posted in this thread against proper development at Chappaqua Crossing can accurately be described as NIMBY.  The common theme here is that the current Town Board has unilaterally decreed, in an epic cover-your-ass move, that it will give the developer what the developer wants, even before the developer formally asked for it! 

Retail at CC is so financially advantageous to Summit Greenfield that they were probably as shocked about the willingness of the Town Board to offer 120,000 square feet of retail at CC as the rest of the townspeople of New Castle were! 

And that is precisely the problem:  Nobody asked the opinion of the people of New Castle if they wanted 120,000 square feet of retail dropped smack-dab into the middle of their quiet bedroom community. 

This is not a NIMBY issue - far from it!  This is a New Castle issue -  born of the political bosses that pull the puppet strings of Susan Carpenter, Elise Mottel and Robin Stout.  How dare anybody question the motives of someone brave enough to stand up and be heard as they defend NEW CASTLE?  Their home! 

Obviously, some people will be affected more than others by retail at CC, and I fully expect that they will vigorously oppose the proposal.  I live in New Castle and I oppose the retail proposal based upon the potential for unknown and unwanted change to the very nature of the quality of life in our Town, not because my home is so directly affected by the proposal. 

I am confident that a referendum on this proposal would be defeated by a significant majority of the residents.  Shockingly, the input of the residents of New Castle is undesired by the Town Board and it is regularly dismissed with much sarcastic derision directly to the face of those brave enough to speak for New Castle.  Shameful behavior by Susan Carpenter and company. 
     
(continued)

By B on 08/26/2013 at 1:44 pm

(comment continued)


I do not know what will happen if retail of 120K square feet is built at CC, nor do you.  Sadly, nobody knows the effect on our town: property values, quality of life, traffic, safety, pollution, noise -  I can go on and and on.  The only “study” regarding retail at CC (by AKRF) did not address any of the quality of life or property value issues.  No such study was deemed necessary by the Town Board, even though the potential ramifications to New Castle of retail at CC are undeniably huge.  The Town’s Master Plan is being ignored by the Town Board - a massive red flag that something is amiss with the proposal, 

The Town Board is not so visionary that they know the true effects retail at CC will have on our town. The only thing the Town Board knew is that the Lawsuits could be resolved if they gave up the store, literally, without any public input.  The Town Board knows full well that the retail at CC they have agreed to is not supported by anywhere near a majority of the townspeople, and thus they are rushing headlong towards an approval before the next Town Board takes over on January 1, 2014. 

(continued)

By B on 08/26/2013 at 1:46 pm

(comment continued)


As I posited earlier, if this idea for retail at CC is so darn exceptional, why can’t the current Town Board just slow things down, do the proper studies, and let the retail proposal be voted on by the next Town Board?  No, the political bosses have told Carpenter that the vote must happen this year because two competent and independent candidates are running for her Supervisor seat.  The political bosses know that the retail at CC proposal will die if not approved this calendar year, since both Supervisor candidates would never make such a monumental change to New Castle without the support of the townspeople, without proper studies to learn the true effects on the quality of life in New Castle and without an appropriate revision to the Town’s Master Plan. 

How can anybody who truly cares for New Castle stand idly by and watch as retail at CC proceeds - when absolutely nobody knows what an approval means to the quality of life in our New Castle community? 

By B on 08/26/2013 at 1:46 pm

When asked how much the grocery and retail strip center at Chappaqua Crossing could be expected to bring the town in revenues, she offered this comparison: “I could say I’m building a $50,000 house or a $500,000 house, but the assessor’s going to decide what the house is worth, not me.” 

Does she really not see the difference between building a house and giving a developer the right to develop a strip retail shopping center?  The entire town (and town board) should be plenty concerned about how much this proposal will bring to the town in revenues.

Is the “Hudson Property Advisors” (that Mr. Chapin mentions above) a consultant hired by the town board or by the developer? It makes a big difference, I would think. And if the town board had this information from Hudson Property Advisors, why would the town board not say so when asked?

By Revenues to the town from strip retail center on 08/26/2013 at 4:57 pm

B,

Thank you.

By Bob on 08/26/2013 at 5:03 pm

To B and Bob

1. Your point that the town is acting hastily is belied by reality.  Please refer to the African term :Jelan” which is a polite way of refusing to do something by “considering the matter forever”. That is what you really want, endless consideration without or preventing an approval. Three years have already passed. Sheesh. How many more years and how many more hundreds of thousands of wasted tax dollars do you think it should take? The Court will dismiss this “too fast” argument summarily. The slowness you want is an unabashed pretext to thwart the project no matter what.


2. CC is not even close to the center of town. It is in an underdeveloped area that is surprisingly segregated with substantial access from the Saw Mill Parkway for drawn-to-area-shoppers. Something
“Smack dab in the middle” of a municipality necessarily means that all comers and goers pass through the “smack dab middle” of the village which is certainly not the situation we face. Ironically, it is that diversion of traffic that the landlords fear, that their high rent paying tenants will be left out of the new mix of Chappaqua retail traffic flow.

If there were, in fact, more shopping traffic in town, then the village merchants would get some additional patrons. Traffic flow=sales to some extent. The irony is that, on the one hand, merchants and political agenda opponents argue that CC will take away traffic(which is one valid point)...but, on the other hand, NIMBY’s argue that CC will create traffic even though the in and out to the Sa Mill bypasses them completely.
In other words, discussions about traffic depend on who is involved where that person lives and who is that person’s landlord.

continued

By The Facts of Life on 08/26/2013 at 6:33 pm

Dear Rampant Run,
Your argument about salaries, while absolutely correct, is a side show and a distraction from the real issues that face us. It is small potatoes in the context of the millions of tax dollars involved. Keep the faith

By the facts of life on 08/26/2013 at 6:35 pm

CC is not “Smack-Dab” in the middle of anything. It is a few miles away from downtown, at an entrance to the Saw Mill Parkway.  It creates its own micro-neighborhood.

Armonk Square is your “Smack-Dab” example. Ample parking right in the heart of the business district draws shoppers to all the local stores. But this is not our situation… far from it.

Smack-Dab middle means exactly that: all pass thorugh that central point. CC is hardly that.

Who controls the issue? : 1)NIMBY’s who don’t want traffic near them (not exactly a calm or accurate assertion) 2) Merchants who WANT increased shopper traffic hoping for increased sales. Absorbtion of non-local, destination traffic which by-passes the town center in not a threat to our local merchants or 3) Our underpaid elected board members who live in town and are trying to do the right thing by everyone,not to a special interest group.

By Map reader on 08/26/2013 at 8:36 pm

I like my potatoes mashed, not baked!

By Re: the facts of life on 08/27/2013 at 10:28 am

Dear Rampant Run…LOL

By Facts of life on 08/27/2013 at 11:25 am

I previously used the term “smack-dab” since to me that best describes the location of Chappaqua Crossing in the middle of a residential neighborhood.  I did not need to examine a map of New Castle to ascertain whether Chappaqua Crossing is anywhere near the heart of of our downtown area - it clearly is not - and therein lies my real issue with retail at CC.

If the proposed retail was to be built in a commercial area such as downtown Chappaqua, I would not be as concerned for the future of New Castle, since the retail use would be just like the DeCicco’s Market in Armonk - an extension of the commercial use already present.  Instead, we have a completely different situation where a quiet bedroom area of town will be completely transformed into a retail destination with more than four thousand car trips per day in and out, tractor-trailers all day and night on Route 120 (from 684) and then on Route 117, and garbage trucks daily on our local streets heading for Route 117. 

Keep in mind that the highest and best use of properties bordering such a retail development is commercial, not residential.  Is New Castle prepared for currently residential homes to be converted into commercial properties on three sides of CC, most likely with neon signage?   

(continued)

By B on 08/27/2013 at 1:02 pm

(comment continued)

“Map reader” posits that three groups “control the issue” - specifically NIMBY’s, Merchants and the group of “underpaid elected board members”.  This is not a NIMBY issue in my humble opinion.  Yes, there are a certain group of homeowners that are going to be so negatively affected by the proposed retail that they are up in arms in opposition.  Seriously, can you dismiss them as NIMBY’s?  If my house was located next to CC and is worth $1,000,000.00 today, and after the retail at CC proposal goes through and my house could very well be worth just $500,000.00, can you with a straight face call that person a NIMBY?  I would call that person and every other homeowner in his neighborhood a realist, since the loss of value in residential real estate surrounding CC is a fact.  How much will the value drop? 

Nobody knows what will happen to New Castle if retail at CC goes forward - and the Town Board is afraid to ask. (the only study commissioned by the Town Board was narrowly focused on a single question important to business owners)  I would feel a lot more comfortable about proposed retail at CC if the process was not done backwards as our Town Board has done by proposing retail at CC and then asking for a single somewhat irrelevant study - and only after much pressure from home and business owners.

By B on 08/27/2013 at 1:03 pm

Map reader:

You wrote “Our underpaid elected board members who live in town and are trying to do the right thing by everyone,not to a special interest group.”  Oh, how I wish that the “everyone” the Town Board is trying to do the right thing by included the townspeople of New Castle!  Instead, we have an out of control cabal whose idea of “everyone” are the members of the prior and current Town Boards.

By B on 08/27/2013 at 4:15 pm

Rampant Run Salaries—Are you speaking English?  What in the world are you trying to say?  It makes absolutely no sense.  I read what you wrote 2xs and I just cannot figure out what you are trying to get at.

By What? on 08/27/2013 at 5:11 pm

@ What? - Are you speaking English because I recognize it and it does not seem foreign to me, as it does to some other people. What in the world are you trying to say because we keep telling town hall about how we feel and it does not need to be discussed any further, so what new information are you trying to express that we have not already heard from others? It makes absolutely no sense why anyone in the community would continue to float the same old ideas that have never taken traction. I read what you wrote 2xs and I just cannot figure out what you are trying to get at since what you have to offer has always been asked of town hall to consider and do over the past several administrations. Hope you understand that I am trying to communicate in a certain way that will allow you to understand my position!

By @What again! on 08/27/2013 at 8:28 pm

The readers digest property is a commercial zone which is physically near nothing. To say it is in the heart of a bedroom community is part of and opening or closing argument in court It is precisely that, an argument which is belied by the map. CC has direct access to the Saw Mill parkway which absorbs most of the traffic issues.
A home or two may be able to see a commercial structure, which, no doubt will be required architecturally blend into to the overall style of the development.

The plight of the 15 or so Cowdin homes is understood. But there is a subtantial buffer between their streeet and the development It appears,that the mindset on Cowdin is more that they KNOW CC is on the other side of the woods as opposed to a palpable presence. This reminds me of the child who is scolded by her mother for putting on a torn undergarment under a shirt and sweater during the winter. The child cries “but nobody will see it! The mother replies: “but I will know you are wearing it, take it off”

What is the incremental increase in garbage removal over what 110 homes necessitate? One or two more trucks entering and exiting the Saw Mill entrance at 5 am a few extra times per week? Are those 4 or 5 pickups are enough to scuttle a developement?

Lets hear all the objections. So far every objection has been vetted and shown to be more emotion and fear than fact. The entire matter is within the sound discretion of the Town Board. I hope that the board members have the mettle to make a decision based on the facts,and not through intimidation.

continued

By Map Reader on 08/27/2013 at 10:01 pm

What is the incremental increase in garbage removal over what 110 homes necessitate? One or two more trucks entering and exiting the Saw Mill entrance at 5 am a few extra times per week? Are those 4 or 5 pickups are enough to scuttle a developement?

Lets hear all the objections. So far every objection has been vetted and shown to be more emotion and fear than fact. The entire matter is within the sound discretion of the Town Board. I hope that the board members have the mettle to make a decision based on the facts,and not through intimidation.“Changing our bedroom community?” Cripes, Chappaqua used to be farms and has evolved into one of the highest taxed school districts in the nation. Not all of us earn the mid six figures to seven figures of income that is necessary to afford to pay the taxes. Increasing the tax base is the only answer….unless you want to go to war with the teacher’s union whose members consume 75% of the school budget which, itself, is 2/3 of the overal tax burden. I don’t. Other cuts people suggest are less than drops in the budgetary bucket

I support the Board which ever side it comes down on. The situation continues ad nauseum. It would be ajoke if it were not so costly to us all.

B says it best: SHE WANTS NO CHANGE AT ALL PERIOD!  That point of view cannot be part of the dynamics of the CC debate. With thay manner of thinking, Christopher Colubus would not have discovered America.

One commenter here aptly wrote the the sky is not falling. It is not.  Building the costly Seven Bridges School hurt the downtown severely. Lets have a parallel, new mini downtown which is out of the clutches of the Chappaqua power cliquie.

Just look at Pleasantville. It is vibrant and interesting. Oh, but noooooo, not for snooty Chappaqua.

By lets get real continued on 08/27/2013 at 10:07 pm

B, Obviously it is a matter of “religion” with you…such that there is no reasoning with you. “Religion” being defined as faith-based illogic. Thankfully the Courts do not make decisions this way. I would like see your televised, cross examined testimony that the project should be stopped simply because you want no changes at all, period.

By Logical thinker on 08/28/2013 at 7:11 am

The other day my neighbor went to Ridge Hill in Yonkers! He told me that they went into several stores and purchased at the end of their visit around $275 worth of consumer goods and food. They got back in their car and left Yonkers. I asked my neighbor if they went to any other areas in Yonkers or knew to go to any other stores or businesses and he told me “NO.” He also said that after spending $275 that he had no desire to drive around Yonkers. The Planning Board cannot think that people are going to spend $100 at CC and then float everyone’s boat by spending another $100 in downtown Chappaqua. It will be necessary for CC to attract consumers from all over, but once they spend their $100,  $300, or $400, they are not going anywhere else to spend money!  This is known as the “Casino Effect.”  When you go to Foxwoods Casino, you never venture out to explore all the other merchants located outside the grounds of the casino! Please Planning Board do not gamble with the future of downtown Chappaqua! Get ready for peeling paint, vacant stores, ever changing stores, and just a slow march towards an economic breakdown in downtown Chappaqua if a third business district is created! This will result in every property owner seeking to have their property taxes reduced!

By Our Hill on 08/28/2013 at 10:26 am

I am being unfairly portrayed as being against development at Chappaqua Crossing, when the reality is that I have absolutely no issue with development there.  I only ask that the proper process be followed before retail is approved at CC.  Can somebody please explain exactly when the rules changed in New Castle - and it became OK to circumvent the proper procedures to change zoning laws?  Or perhaps the date that ignoring the Master Plan became acceptable?  Presently, nobody knows what will happen to New Castle if the 120,000 square foot retail at CC is given the green light since no study has been completed regarding traffic, noise, pollution, property values etc. etc.  When those studies are completed and the Town’s Master Plan is updated, then, and only then, can we have a serious discussion about retail at CC.  The Town Board has done everything ass-backwards at CC and unfortunately cares only about covering their butts and the butts of the prior Town Board.  If the interests of the residents of New Castle were indeed a priority of the Town Board, they would commission appropriate studies, follow the proper procedures, and ask the residents if they want retail approved at CC.

By B on 08/28/2013 at 10:39 am

B, it is a given that the future is uncertain.The 2 or 3 more studies you would like are variations of the same theme. Studies are guides for decision makers and are, at best, educated guesses. Same should not to be considered gospel. The best advice anyone can give the Town Board is to use its common sense in making the decision and, at this point in time, ignore the redundant, emotional volume of everyone. The largest part of the developement has been vetted and approved. What remains is tweaking and adjustments to traffic and aesthetics. These are extremely important but are capable of being addressed properly.

Master plans in every municipality are changed every generation or so as demographics,population and needs change. The Board is being unfairly beat up.

First and last the debate is only about Chappaqua Crossing. Everything else is throwing sand in the eyes of the Board and trying to posture for litigation purposes through bringing up any issue that our extremely intelligent neighbors can conjure up. In this case, where there is artificially created smoke, there is no fire.

By Logical Thinker on 08/28/2013 at 11:52 am

Your argument supports the entire CC idea. Destination shoppers, who patronize CC stores,  would never go into town anyway except possibly for Susan Lawrence. The CC revenue stream is what we are discussing, nothing else. So long as CC generates a net positive tax flow to the town from this largely visually unseen, out of the way, segregated area, we all benefit from that permanently incoming tide of commerce.

The Ridge Hill example is similar only in that it is remotely located on a parkway/thruway in a city with a population of over 400,000. CC visitors will largely enter from the Saw Mill and exit he same way without negatively impacting traffic etc. We are tiny and in need of a supermarket.

Ridge Hill, in its essence, differs from CC because of the CC height limitations and is a fraction of the size of that major mall. CC is a shopping center designed to be small enough to be shoe-horned into residential development and large enough (hopefully) to draw a mix of stores that even you, B, reasoned opponents as well as the blow hards will patronize

By Our HIll Response on 08/28/2013 at 12:21 pm

Yes, even NIMBY’s will patronize CC because it will be too convenient not to do so. LOL

By Our Hlll response one more thought on 08/28/2013 at 12:38 pm

Forget about more studies! Ask the question of Town Hall, can they handle having all the downtown landlords file applications to have their property taxes reduced by 33% (Start there)- study this! Will Town Hall go out and ask the landlords what they need that is free and clear of any out of pocket expenses for them, so that they can survive CC - study this!

What current Planning and Zoning laws need to be eliminated along with the restrictions coming from NYS or Westchester County so that the landlords can adjust who can rent from them - study this!

Lastly, where is the master plan, who is working on the master plan, how many merchants are involved, how many landlords are involved, how many residents are involved, how many staff members are involved from CCSD, what say the Police Department, what say the Fire Department, what say the DOT.

Where is a web site that shows who has their finger prints all over the master plan and what beautiful ideas they are dreaming up? If you think we need no more studies, I am going to sell you the Crooklyn Bridge for the fifth time! Does the master plan impact CC Penny or Robert G.?

By No more studies! on 08/28/2013 at 12:43 pm

Dear no more studies, As one person wrote in “Jelan”, “they will study and consider it for eternity” so it never comes to pass. In the interim, the town loses hundreds of thousands of dollars while it is being considered forever. I have no problem with a delay that I personally do not have to pay for. Let all the “no change” advocates stand up and be counted…to be on a list to absorb the tax losses that the change advocates seek.

In this country everyone has the right to be wrong and to be a hypocrite. Others have the right to expose that hypocrisy and not-so-secret agendas for the rest of the town to evaluate.

NIMBYS don’t want the developement, period a la B. They simply don’t want inevitable development to happen during their period of ownership of their houses. When they move, they couldn’t care less.

Downtown Store owners simply do not want competition, period. But that wish is not a legally cognizable reason to prevent progress.

Political office seekers are stirring up the waters for their personal agrandizement. It is one thing if a blow hard says that he or she will not run for any town office until after the CC controversy is finally over. It is an entirely different matter when the blow is in the direction of getting himself elected to office whipping up emotions.

On the other hand, the rest of us would like to see progress and a charmingly designed set of stores ( see Armonk Square)that creates the convenience and revenue stream from which we all could benefit.

How about this:: Have the exterior of all the stores follow the design and style of the Reader’s digest building. Similar to landmarking in New York City.

I just hope that there are more open minded people in this sophisticated town than their close minded neighbors.

By Our HIll Response on 08/28/2013 at 6:43 pm

Who are the ten top landlords in Chappaqua? Which candidate can claim credit for inviting these landlords by invitation to have a round table discussion with them - anyone? What Town Board members can claim that they invited 10 of the top landlords in Chappaqua to talk to them about CC - anyone? What Planning Board members can claim that they spoke to the top ten landlords of Chappaqua - anyone? Who from the Zoning Board can claim that they spoke to the top ten landlords - anyone? The beloved Town Attorneys, have they ever walked around downtown to talk to both landlords and merchants - anyone? What community groups have walked around Chappaqua to meet with the top ten landlords to find a concensus of developing a stated position? 

Who is coming up with the procedure that is needed to be taken to see how the ripple effect of a CC approval is going to permanently impact New Castle? Again, who are the ten top landlords of downtown Chappaqua and can anyone claim that they have had the decency to talk to them!

Who Mrs. Paderewski, who Mr. Greenstein, who can claim that all the issues concerning CC, if for no other reason, are at a minimum known by our town hall? Who will order on day one of winning the election that they will take the above measures - who?

Don’t hide behind that town hall meetings are open to all - these types of meetings need to take place inside the office of the Supervisor and by invitation only! The rest can walk around town, it’s easy we now have GPS! Its been a while go say hello! Then hold a 5 hour meeting at one of our Schools to hear from the residents by invitation only! I hope CC does not get approved by the same concept used to paint by the numbers - the right picture will not be realized if not done by a real artist! Who is our real artist?

By Art of the deal! on 08/28/2013 at 7:29 pm

When asked how much the grocery and retail strip center at Chappaqua Crossing could be expected to bring the town in revenues, Ms. Carpenter offered this comparison: “I could say I’m building a $50,000 house or a $500,000 house, but the assessor’s going to decide what the house is worth, not me.” 

Does she really not see the difference between building a house and giving a developer the right to develop a strip retail shopping center?  The entire town (and town board) should be plenty concerned about how much this proposal will bring to the town in revenues.

Is the “Hudson Property Advisors” (that Mr. Chapin mentions above) a consultant hired by the town board or by the developer? It makes a big difference, I would think. And if the town board had this information from Hudson Property Advisors, why would the town board not say so when asked?

By Revenues to the town from a strip retail center on 08/28/2013 at 7:53 pm

to Our Hill Response,

After dismissing NIMBY concerns, you write “the rest of us would like to see progress and a charmingly designed set of stores ( see Armonk Square)that creates the convenience and revenue stream from which we all could benefit.”

Have you seen the strip retail center in the developer’s materials?  You call this “a charmingly designed set of stores”??  It’s a far cry from Armonk Sq. The town board has give no indication that it will consider the planning board’s suggestion that it be made to look more like a “charming” town center.

By Charming?!?!? on 08/28/2013 at 7:58 pm

Dear charming, Lets channel our energies to make sure that the facade
has eye appeal to everyone. THAT is the approach that makes the most sense. Thank you for pointing that out!

...and we don’t want to hear from the developer about the cost.

By OUR HILL on 08/28/2013 at 8:31 pm

Dear Art of the deal,

Your point is not unreasonable but,if it walks like a duck and quacks like a duck it is a duck. Property owners are wise to be silent and let others do their bidding (ie Chamber of Commerce for merchants who derivatively speak for landlords). Since there are more voters than landlords, if any landlord makes any sound that person or his/her spokesperson will justifiable be jumped on.

Holding invitation only meetings is the way old Chappaqua worked (ie nominating committees). That type of secrecy is un-American and no longer is the way the town does elective business (I hope).

If your suggestion were taken, then many could and should say that “Backroom deals are being made”. I don’t disagree with you but it is a slippery slope to do it that way. Even if you win, you lose.

By I Like deals too on 08/28/2013 at 8:51 pm

Don’t you feel like you are smacked in the face by the CC topic, and lets not talk about Conifer row. I don’t know, but I remember a PR firm saying that if I can get people talking only about the gripes of a project, then the focus is on the project ultimately being approved; this is why I feel like I have been smacked in the face!

I think we have to slow down the energy on only responding to this project, and start up the energy again on what we would like to see built at CC that we can all live with. Would it make a nice research center, could it attract a NYC back office investment giant. How many people travel from 1 hour north of Chappaqua, 1 hour north of Portchester, take Rt.84 to Rt.684, into NYC?

What firms are they traveling to on a daily basis and could we get a Federal Grant to relocate such firms out of NYC and place them at CC? Would this not cut down on a CARBON FOOT PRINT - You want to do a study, lets ask Metro North if we can enter onto a train car and ask for a quick show of hands, then we can identify those firms that should be asked to come up to CC.

How else can we find out what firms in NYC should be leasing the entire CC complex - lets study this! It’s our job to find solutions and not just be NIMBY! Perhaps we can get Federal money to freeze the CC matter by funding both his property taxes, mortgage and insurance payments, and use some money for finding a “USER” that if located at CC, would take x amount of tons of Carbon out of the atmosphere! Who do we know that can identify Federal Funding for this kind of an endeavor?

By Don't YOU! on 08/28/2013 at 10:16 pm

I for one would like to see the CC property developed. I for one do not want to take any steps that would destroy the livelihoods of both the existing landlords or the merchants of New Castle. They are the people who know best as to how to manage and cope with the overly restrictive town laws that keep down town Chappaqua somewhat successful and appealing for outsiders to move into the area. I for one believe that the CC mess started, as mentioned, 24 months before the current owner purchased the property. It was during this time that the current owner said on camera that he felt that the town board made certain overtures that he should proceed with his purchase, and these overtures were somewhat confirmed by the town board. I believe that during that time we did not have the correct ideas, minds, and vision in place, for the wellbeing of the entire Community.  CC should be a mix of age restricted townhomes, age restricted single family homes, single family homes, and updated version of both 1 and 2 bedroom co-op type ownership,  some onsite self storage, and 2 to 4 family multifamily homes having from 2 to four bedrooms in each unit. 

It should house a new community swimming pool, a new mutual aid Firehouse with Police quarters, and a couple of sport fields that the CCSD can use,  a new park with a water feature i.e. pond, and a three story high parking garage that is situated on the property so that access can be easily provided to all that use Horace Greeley,  the Chappaqua train station, or want to take an old fashion looking shuttle bus into down town Chappaqua to do some shopping; lets plan for 20 years down the road!  -  This is how you do it, but we blew too much of the current owners money through not knowing what to do. Now as some have suggested, the Community can only move to bankrupt the owner or give him his approvals - Nasty, nasty, nasty! How about we propose the above and tell him to start now!

By Here's your permit, now go! on 08/28/2013 at 11:03 pm

Endless “what ifs” and wish lists become counter-productive at some point in time. Most everyone has good faith things to say and the debate is healthy, open and free. But it is the developer’s deal. Let’s just guide the development to have the look and feel of an upscale, aesthetically acceptable project in its own separate corner of town.

To here’s your permit, you are dreaming as to the project micro management but are correct about bankruptcy…but not the developers….OURS!

By our hill on 08/29/2013 at 8:17 am

I am trying to get a warm and fuzzy feeling about 120,000 square feet of retail at Chappaqua Crossing but I am having a tough time.  So far, nobody can explain to me why there has to be such a large development at CC when we are witnessing a successful supermarket development of no more than 20,000 square feet in downtown Armonk.  This retail at CC ball only started rolling in March of 2012 by the New Castle Town Board led by the then-new, now leaving, Supervisor Susan Carpenter - see the March 2012 article on this site that discusses the retail initiative being explored by the Town Board. 

There was indeed support in town last year for a replacement “grocery store”  due to the closing of D’Agostino’s.  Heck, even Rob Greenstein supported the idea of a new grocery store at CC!  But where did a proposal for a 66,000 square foot mega-store come from?  66,000 square feet is NOT a grocery store!  Where did the proposal for a total of 120,000 square feet of retail come from? The support in town was for the replacement of our charming D’Agostino’s that was less than 15,000 square feet.  There was no broad-based support for such a large scale development of 120,000 square feet last year - or this year.

I have asked for proper procedures to be followed - is that too much?  Am I a NIMBY for asking that a proposal created out of whole cloth by the current Town Board without any real support from the townspeople by done correctly? 

I truly hope that I am not considered a NIMBY for wanting to make sure that a development that has the potential to disrupt the way of life in our town, the safety of pedestrians and drivers, and the property values of so many business and homeowners is done properly.  However, if my concern for the future of New Castle makes me a NIMBY, then I guess, for the purpose of the issue of retail at CC, I am proud to be called a NIMBY.

By B on 08/29/2013 at 9:57 am

Fine, this goes to show you the fear that town hall harbors over this matter. I am sure that if you were right, then the Town of New Castle can claim to go bankrupt because it can’t pay out on a Court room victory by the developer. Ultimately, The Town of New Castle can assess that property so high, that the developer will be paying back any victory received. Listen, we all know that the Town of New Castle can take their gloves off. Hey, these things are never easy when such big mistakes have been made, it does not mean that we can’t continue to use the system. All’s well that ends well!

By @ our hill response on 08/29/2013 at 11:24 am

Rough math would dictate that the developer would need to be allowed to build out a mix of 840 units, while trying to get $75,000 per unit to go towards his purchase price. Play around with this base formula and come up with a mix of what should be built out. $63,000,000.00 divided by $75,000 = 840 units.

How does the impact of 840 units stack up against what is being proposed? What is the size of only one unit, and if we alot 2 or 3 unit blocks to one structure, how does your proposal come together. What would be the ratio of development between what you propose? Has anyone at town hall evaluated this? Have either of the candidates?

By Re: Here's your permit on 08/29/2013 at 12:18 pm

@Here’s your permit—Why in the world would Chappaqua Crossing do what you suggest?

By What? on 08/29/2013 at 4:59 pm

Here’s your Permit: 

I have been paying very close attention to this issue since the very beginning and I recall that Summit Greenfield promised to give 6.5 acres of Chappaqua Crossing to New Castle for use as a town pool etc. etc.  This 6.5 acres was mentioned prominently on the Chappaqua Crossing website until a few months ago, when at a meeting of the Town Board, somebody pointed out that the website mentioned the 6.5 acre gift to New Castle.  Not surprisingly, the website of Chappaqua Crossing was subsequently updated and the 6.5 acre gift to New Castle has now been erased from cyberspace forever. 

Yes, the Town Board has managed to give away even more than we could imagine in its zeal to resolve the litigation that New Castle was winning.  Instead of a free 6.5 acre parcel of land that the public could use for myriad purposes including perhaps a Town pool or Town Hall or Town anything, New Castle is instead contemplating a $2,000,000.00 purchase of the Twin Oaks property.  So, we have the bald in-your-face incompetence of the Town Board on display for all to see, as New Castle has negotiated its way from a winning position in the Summit Greenfield Litigation to a distant last place finish, with the alteration of the very nature of our town hanging in the balance PLUS a potential $2,000,000.00 bill to show for it. 

I understand that the Town Boards past and present had their respective chestnuts removed from the fire as a result of the Summit Greenfield Settlement, but was the protection of these few individuals really worth giving up so much to accomplish this - including approval of 120,000 square feet of retail at CC without knowing what will happen to New Castle plus the loss of 6.5 valuable acres of land at CC that now will cost the town $2,000,000.00 to replace by purchasing Twin Oaks?

By B on 08/30/2013 at 3:00 pm

Twin oaks is selling only for $2,000,000? If the town won’t buy it, I will LOL.  Lets have a private placement of the municipal bond offering only to residents of the town. I would go for 100 or more tax exempt general obligation bonds and maybe more subscribers are needed.  Really, that is not a bad idea.

I originally thought you were an illogical NIMBY. I see that you are thoughtful,inciteful and helpful to the discussion.

CC development at this point is like a river. While it may not be able to be stopped,its flow can and should be managed and directed in the best possible way.

By Dear B on 09/01/2013 at 10:40 am

Does anyone know the “Bond King”? I think this is a very creative idea to allow both Town Hall and the residents of the area to do what they want to do, and how they want to do it. Don’t want CC - What would have to be the BOND FLOAT to buy that project away from SG? Want to buy Twin Oaks and make it into a Municipal swimming pool campus - What would have to be the BOND FLOAT? You want this, and don’t want that, would like this now - OK - Call the Bond King! If someone from the Community set up a “practice account” working in real time, with real signals coming from e-signal. I wonder if on a make believe trial run with real advertising behind it, if the Community would respond in such a way as to “Go Live” which such a great idea. This would truly un-cork the wealth of the community to shape the community in a direction that they want it to go. Good idea! Can Penny do this? Can Greenstein do this? This very hint of an idea may be the very first signs as to how a New New Castle Town Hall may have to conduct themselves. These are the new ideas that we need to implement.

By Bond bond on 09/02/2013 at 11:47 am

Lets all pitch in and try to take control of our town. $2,000,000 in bonds spread over 200 people is nothing. LOL

By Bond King on 09/05/2013 at 8:46 pm


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