In TB work session, argument breaks out over Greenstein’s place on Master Plan steering group

Greenstein resigns from steering group the following day
April 25, 2014
by Christine Yeres

Supervisor Rob Greenstein was fresh from a Master Plan Steering Committee meeting with its Pace consultant when he entered Tuesday’s Town Board work session.  His update on the Master Plan process triggered questions from Board members and a protracted argument with a member of Greenstein’s “commercial development and hamlets” Master Plan subcommittee.  Greenstein resigned his place on the committee the next day.

A video of the work session is embedded below.

Greenstein reported to Town Board members [Jason Chapin was absent] that the Steering Committee was planning four community outreach meetings—“not six or seven,” he emphasized, ”—the budget was for four meetings”—to be held in four schools on four different dates.  Schools were chosen because they are most conducive to the format of the meetings:  meet in one big space to begin with, then move into “break out” groups on five different topics, then rotate through the topics.  Steering Committee members had compared it jokingly to “speed dating.” 
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The town’s Master Plan review

The community outreach meetings are scheduled for:

Wednesday, May 7 at Bell Middle School 7:00 to 10:00 p.m.

Saturday, May 10 at Horace Greeley High School 9:00 a.m. to noon

Thursday, May 15 at Westorchard Elementary 7:00 to 10:00 p.m.

Wednesday, May 21 at Seven Bridges Middle School 7:00 to 10:00 p.m.

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Lisa Katz: is there training for the people running it?

Rob Greenstein: Pace is running it, professional facilitators are running it. For members of the Steering Committee, our role is signing people in.

Katz: Will the Town Board have input on what questions are asked?

Greenstein: I’m not sure about what questions will be asked.

Katz: Will this board be able to see those questions before they go out?

Greenstein: I don’t know.

NCNOW: Tiffany [Zezula, the Pace consultant] gave out sheets about what will be asked.

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Questions for the Master Plan Community Outreach Sessions

“For each of the following topics—Commercial Development and Town Centers, Environment and Habitat, Public Works and Infrastructure, Public Services and Recreation, and Housing—consider the following questions.  We need to know the priority issues, assets and challenges facing the Town in relation to its land use patterns.

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

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

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

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Greenstein:  She hasn’t circulated questions yet.  We have our logo, tag line—What’s Your New Castle?”  [a play on the town’s website name “MyNewCastle.org”—and we scheduled four meetings.  This afternoon we talked about how the meetings will be run, the ground rules, the format.  We’re not at the point where we’re formulating questions.

Elise Mottel:  When there are questions, will the Town Board have a chance to see them?

Greenstein: Yes, but the questions are going to be very general. There will be five topics and although it’s not a good analogy, because we don’t want people to feel like we’re rushing them, it will be almost like speed dating—not that I’ve ever done that, although, I wish they had that when I was dating but they didn’t—but it would be that you basically go to the five stations of the five different work groups and you get to say what’s on your mind. I don’t know how specifically, but it’s going to give you the chance to discuss things in general.  There are no “questions.”

Adam Brodsky:  You know you can attend meetings…

Katz: I know.  I have attended them. I just think the whole board should know what’s going on.  Maybe we can have Tiffany [Zezula, Pace consultant] come talk to the board.

Mottel: Well, I don’t know if we can pay for that—we’re on a tight budget.

Greenstein:  People are going to come and talk and say things that are on their minds.  No specific questions.  There was talk of a survey, pretty much tabled for now. Where we left off—I was called away [for the Town Board work session]—is that we’re going to table the survey, have the outreach, get the sentiment of the town.  And then, if we were going to have the survey, what I suggested—and I think most people agreed—is that we would have to hire somebody. 

We’d have to dip into the reserve fund.  We wouldn’t have to do that till later in the year until we see how the reserve fund is doing because [town comptroller] Rob Dearie has indicated that the reserve fund might be increasing.  Because, again, we’re dealing with a budget that was passed last year.  So we may have to dip into the reserve fund more, if we can do that without hurting our Triple-A bond rating.

People [of the Steering Committee] thought we would have to have a paid survey company and they can handle it.  Because people are going to have a lot of issues with the questions and things like that…

Katz: Right.

Greenstein: We’re well aware, and that’s why it’s good to have an expert. That way it would take it away from us, we give it to them and hope that people will respect their expertise—pretty much like what we’re doing with Pace right now. 

And think about it.  There’s controversy now, even with Pace.  Imagine if we didn’t have Pace to handle it. There’d be even more controversy.  It’s the same with the survey.  It literally could lead to World War III.  So I think we definitely need a survey company that would basically take charge, use their experience and expertise.

Brodsky: And the purpose of the Master Plan committee is to steer the Master Plan.  It comes back to the Town Board once the process has run its course, but we don’t have veto power along the way. That’s not our role.

Katz: if the point of the Master Plan is to determine the future of the town, for the Town Board not to be involved would be reckless and inappropriate.

Brodsky: I think the purpose of the Master Plan process is to assemble all the opinions of the community and to reach out.  And that’s what we’re doing.

Katz:  Aren’t you concerned about it?

Adam: No, because ultimately I’m confident that the members of the Master Plan Steering Committee—that this board voted on and approved—are adequately handling the task at hand and at the end of the day after they assemble the facts with Pace, they’ll bring it back to the Town Board and we’ll consider it.  Do I have more expertise than Pace? No. I’ve never done a Master Plan.

Katz:  I just want everyone on the board to know what’s going on, because having sat in on the Steering Committee meeting I just think it’s important for everyone to know what’s going on—and not to have it run its course without the town board understanding what’s going to be happening.

Greenstein: That’s your responsibility to attend the meetings or see them on video.

Katz:  Not everyone can do that.  That’s why I’m asking here.

Greenstein: And at the end of the day, as John Nolon [Pace consultant] has said, it’s the Town Board’s function to accept or reject some of what was said by the public outreach meetings.  So the whole Master Plan thing—because we have budgetary constraints, we have litigation, we have other issues out on table.  So we definitely have a role in the Master Plan.  Ultimately I think the Town Board has a fairly big role in the process.  The Town Board adopts the Master Plan that the Steering Committee is working on.

Mottel: I think we’re saying that we [Town Board members] may be the final decision maker, but we don’t want to be the final decision maker and find out when we get to the end of the process that something that should have been asked—that was important to us—wasn’t asked.

Yes, we’re the ones who make decisions that involve the litigation and all the other matters.  And I know that we selected members to steer this committee but I think we have to be very involved in that process.  We need to figure out a way to be involved in the process.

Greenstein: My role seems to have caused the most controversy.  When I did sign up for the Master Plan Steering Committee I actually offered to every person on this town board. 

Katz: Rob, I feel you’re getting contentious.  I’m just saying if you’re on it there should be a report to the Town Board about what’s going on.

Greenstein: Every person on the Town Board had the opportunity to be on that Steering Committee, sitting in my seat.  Nobody wanted to, and that’s why I stepped up—so we could move the process forward.

Mottel: Even if I’d had the time—meetings were at 4:00 p.m. [during the work day]—I didn’t feel it was appropriate for me as a Town Board member to be on the Steering Committee if I wanted to hear from the public. I signed up a year ago with Sabrina to be on a subcommittee, but [subsequently] felt I shouldn’t, as a Town Board member, be on it.

Greenstein: Maybe these concerns should have been raised when my predecessor was on the committee.  I’m sure you raised these concerns when Susan [Carpenter] was on the Steering Committee.  Did you raise those concerns then?

Betty Weitz [a member of Greenstein’s “commercial development and hamlets” subcommittee, speaking from the audience]:  It was wrong then [for Carpenter to be on it] and it’s wrong now [for Greenstein to be on it] and I’ll tell you why it’s wrong.  Because when you sit on our committee—the “commercial development and hamlets committee”—or when you sit on the Steering Committee as I observed you do today, you don’t take off your supervisor hat.  You continue acting as Supervisor and issue directives telling us we should be “for” development, that it’s good for the town.  That’s not the function of the Steering Committee.  It’s to elicit from the public what they believe.  I’m not offering solutions—as our consultant [Pace] told us today, we’re not supposed to offer solutions.  You do that [offer solutions], and you wear two hats at the same time.

Greenstein:  In your opinion.

Weitz: You issued a directive today.  You censored the [Steering Committee’s] desire, or the statement by Hala [Makowska, a Steering Committee member]—when Hala said they should have an independent survey done by a professional company.  You said “We don’t have the money.”  That’s not your place, Rob.  First let them come to a decision.  Then if they need to come to the Town Board as a whole for funding, then the Town Board makes that decision.  But you can’t cut off their decision-making process at that point.  You can’t wear two hats at the same time.  It interferes with the process. 

Greenstein: Betty, did you hear the part of the meeting when I said I would bring that to the Town Board to discuss whether we could find the funding and whether we should dip into the reserves?

Weitz: You’re not supposed to do that, Rob.

Greenstein: Who says I’m not supposed to do that?  You, Betty? 

Weitz: You’re not on the Town Board when you’re setting on that committee.  If you were not on that committee they would come to a decision—“We do or do not want this”—and then they would approach the board, and you [Town Board members] would then make the decision to fund or not fund them.  You’re mixing the two.

Greenstein:  I appreciate that you’re entitled to your opinion.  But do me a favor: You’re criticizing me for something that I didn’t want to do.  I offered [the Steering Committee position] to many other people, including other members of our subcommittee.  I don’t want to be on the commercial development and hamlet committee or the Steering Committee.  I am doing it because nobody else wanted to and we had to move the process along. You’re criticizing me for stepping up to the plate to do something nobody else wanted to do.

Weitz: There are 12,000 adults in this town I think we can tease out one of them to take the position.

NCNOW: Rob, would you mind being relieved of the position if we could find someone? Because it has been a conflict.

Greenstein: If we think that there’s somebody who is capable of being on the Steering Committee I would certainly entertain it. But again, not just anybody.  For instance, our committee has someone who’s vehemently opposed to commercial development, so is that somebody we really want to ask?  No. Our committee also has [referring to Weitz, See: http://www.newcastlenow.org/index.php/article/index/new_pace_runs_one_master_plan_process_while_greenstein_runs_another, NCNOW.org, 4/4/14, where excerpts of Greenstein’s emails are published] someone who discloses things to the public that are said in private.  Is that someone we want to ask?  No. So it has to be somebody everyone’s comfortable with.  But yes, if you have names of people, we’d be happy to entertain it. 

We have a very difficult committee.  It’s very well known now.  There’s a lot of people a lot smarter than me who say “There’s no way I want to do that.”

Roberta Galant [another member of Greenstein’s subcommittee on commercial development and hamlets,” speaking from the audience]:  Excuse me, may I ask you a question? You have said previously that there’s someone on your committee—and I’m on your committee—and I pretty much know the people on it.  I’ve talked with them.  So this is the third time I’ve heard you say, “There are people on the committee who are against development.”  Now, I don’t know anyone on the committee who is against development.  And I’ve had conversations with them and I pretty much know where they stand. Some are for more development than others.  So I’m wondering, To whom are you referring?

Greenstein:  I don’t necessarily need to answer your question…

Galant: No, you don’t.

Greenstein:  But I will say this: My opinion is shared by many people on the committee—obviously not you—but my opinion is shared by many people on the committee.

Galant:  Well, I think, though, if you’re going to make a statement like that as a committee member, and as a Steering Committee member, as a Supervisor, you at least should let us know who you’re talking about.

Greenstein: You’re certainly entitled to think that.

Galant: And you don’t have to [answer]

Greenstein: Thank you, I appreciate that.

Galant:  And you can say “No, I’m not going to answer your question ...”

Greenstein:  I already did.

Galant:  And I’m going to say it flatly: There is no one on our committee who is against development.

Greenstein: And I’m going to say flatly that there is.

Galant: Then we disagree.  And you can’t say who you think it is.

Greenstein: I can.  I just choose not to.  Because here’s the thing: I respect that we have a committee that what happens in the committee stays in the committee.  And here we go, Roberta, that’s another problem we have on our committee: that what happens in the committee should stay in the committee.  And I’m going to keep to my word on that.  So I’m not going to sit here and tell you what I think based on what’s happening in the committee.  Now other people on the committee might choose to do that, but I don’t.  I’m going to stick with that rule.

Galant: We’re here now and that’s not what we’re talking about.  Within our committee you made that statement originally, then someone echoed it, then someone else presented it as fact.  As far as I am concerned, it’s just not factual.

Editor’s Note: At this point, the above discussion with Weitz had lasted for about ten minutes.  Greenstein moved to close the work session and go into executive session.  No board member seconded the motion.  Weitz rose to speak again, and the two argued for another 12 minutes.

Katz: Betty, it shouldn’t matter.  I think whether you’re pro-development or against it, I think all those opinions should be on that committee.

NCNOW: So, Rob, while we’re waiting for a second [to the motion to move to executive session], you would agree to have someone replace you whom the board agrees is qualified?

And, to be fair, I want to say that Tiffany [Zezula, of Pace] is proceeding with the Master Plan.  For those of you who are interested—she has not crossed off certain subjects.  As far as she is concerned, people will be considering all matters they wish to consider.  It’s going to be a very free—even fun, she says—thing to participate in a big brainstorm.  Tiffany is proceeding as though this is true. 

Mottel:  You mean it could be the wish-list of—anyone’s wish-list?

NCNOW: Yes.  Despite interior conflicts that have been set up.

Greenstein:  There’s no conflicts, Christine.  What I’ve said a million times—and it’s worth repeating—is that at the end of the day—and this has been in your newspaper.  I know that sometimes when you read a lot of the comments things go off on these crazy tangents—but what I’ve said very strictly is that at the end of the day the Town Board is going to be making some decisions based on legal re-al-i-ties, and that is what I’ve said.

NCNOW: And you’ve said what those decisions are going to be [that the Town Board’s hands are tied, that there will be retail at Chappaqua Crossing].  [See Ltr from Super: To what degree prior TB has “tied our hands” on Chappaqua Crossing approval, NCNOW.org, 4/8/14

Greenstein: That’s actually what John Nolon [of Pace] said: that at the end of the day the Town Board will have to make decisions.

Weitz:  Right!  That’s why you can’t be on this committee.  Because you’re on a decision-making body and this is not what this Steering Committee is about.  It’s self-evident.

NCNOW: So we’ll look for candidates?  The Board can look for candidates [to replace Greenstein].

Weitz [responding to Greenstein’s complaint that she quoted emails of his in a meeting with Pace]:  I think that the public trust is more important than 17 members of [Greenstein’s “commercial development and hamlets”] committee.  And when one of our members [Greenstein] says, essentially, ‘Screw the public. I’m going ahead with this development anyway,’ they have the right to know.  ‘Transparency’ was the main plank of your campaign.

We have nothing to hide.  I’m not going to breach the public trust.  I’m not going to sit on a committee where someone says ‘Who cares what they say? I’m moving ahead with it anyway”—and pretend that I don’t know that.

Editor’s Note: Greenstein and Weitz continued to argue about the wording of the emails Greenstein and members of the committee have exchanged on the subject of whether committee email conversations should be considered as private.

Greenstein claimed that his group has “clammed up” as a result of her disclosures. “When people in the group besides me want to speak openly they don’t want a member who’s going to turn around and then release it to the public.  So as a result, everybody has clammed up.”

“Nice try,” said Weitz. 

Greenstein argued that everything he has said in committee he has said publicly also, that Weitz would have been justified in repeating his public opinions, but that he took issue with revealing committee communications—quoting his emails in a meeting with Pace. She was “someone who doesn’t respect the rule of ‘What’s said in the committee stays in the committee.’”

NCNOW:  When Betty read those emails she was in a Steering Committee session with Pace consultants, appealing to a Pace consultant, asking ‘What do we do about this unresolved conflict?’  She’s allowed to ask Pace.  The committees are not secret committees.

Greenstein:  The reason people like you, people in the press, are not on the committees is because—and Pace has said this and Sabrina [Charney, Town Planner] has asked people not to go public with things that are said in the group.  Because they want a free exchange of ideas.  There were rules in place asking not to do it. 

Weitz disagreed that such a rule had been promulgated. Greenstein said he would produce emails to the contrary.

NCNOW:  But that’s a group discussing what they’d like the policy to be.  It’s not a law.  It’s not Town Code.  It’s people discussing ‘How should we proceed?’”

Greenstein: You’re right, Christine, it’s not a town code.  It’s just a rule of etiquette that people told us to follow and unfortunately one person [did not].

Greenstein moved again to go into executive session, saying, “Betty you cannot come here and monopolize our meetings all night long.”  The two argued another few minutes about the content of certain emails.  Brodsky broke up the fight.  “We’re not in a bickering session.  We’re in a Town Board meeting.”  He seconded the motion and the Board began its executive session.
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Visit NCNOW’s archived articles on the Master Plan review by clicking HERE.

Greenstein’s update on the Master Plan review begins at the 59-minute mark, the argument with Weitz begins at the 1-hour, 11-minute mark and ends at the 1-hour, 32-minute mark.

New Castle Town Board Work Session 4/22/14 from New Castle Media Center on Vimeo.

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For NCNOW’s archived articles on the Master Plan, visit our Master Plan page.

On four days in May, tell us about the future of Your New Castle, NCNOW.org, 4/25/14

Tensions surface over survey and funding, supervisor resigns his Master Plan hat, NCNOW.org, 4/25/14

Master Plan and Chappaqua Crossing: An update from Supervisor Rob Greenstein, NCNOW.org, 4/25/14


Comments(25):
We encourage civil, civic discourse. All comments are reviewed before publication to assure that this standard is met.

After reading thus article it is clear that these committees and boards are polarized by those for development vs those against development. Now each side is jockeying for position in hopes of loading the respective committees with people that share their view. Mr Greenstein has been upfront and actively looking for a solution and negotiation with Summit Greenfield so he is deemed pro development. The anti development people don’t want him involved- that is clear. These town board members had the chance to step up and serve on the master plan committee but did not. Greenstein did- now they vilify him and he steps down.
I greatly respect The Editor for her tireless work and providing NCN to our community but thus is one example that her personal position ( opposition to any retail at CC) is clearly on display based on her questions.

Editor’s Note:  You have not characterized my position correctly.  I am pro-Master Plan, whatever the result.

By Sad on 04/26/2014 at 7:39 am

This is ridiculous.  You must do a survey.  I don’t think you’ll get the turnout you expect at meetings.  Evenings are very difficult for parents of young kids as are Saturday mornings.  Additionally, many people are afraid the meetings will turn into arguments.  Most important,this is a case where we need anonymity more than ever. People will be afraid to speak up for fear of offending neighbors, merchants, etc.  For goodness sake, the comptroller is telling you we have the money.  This is a no- brainer.

By Dawn Greenberg on 04/26/2014 at 7:53 am

I said I would produce emails referenced above.  Emails from Sabrina, our town planner, are below.  There were also emails from many members of the group asking Betty Weitz to keep our communication private.  I will not reprint those emails out of respect for members of the committee.  But, Betty chose to ignore the pleas of her fellow committee members.  That’s her right.  But, it’s unfortunate as the group did clam up as a result.

From: Sabrina Charney Hull
Sent: Monday, March 24, 2014 3:42 PM
To: Betty Weitz
Cc: Jill Shapiro
Subject: Commercial Work Group

Hi Betty-

I hope you are well.  I have been reading the emails of the commercial workgroup and in one of them you mentioned you were writing an article.  This raises several concerns for me in relation to the integrity of the process.  It is important that the volunteer members of the work groups feel they have the ability to be open and share their perspectives. The integrity of the process is essential to the validity of the results. While Rob Greenstein has indicated he has nothing to hide, the Master Plan Update is not about one individual but is for the community as a whole.  If you are writing an article, can you tell me what it is about and who will be publishing it?

Thank you,
Sabrina

CONTINUED

By Rob Greenstein on 04/26/2014 at 7:56 am

CONTINUED
And then On March 29th, Sabrina wrote this email to the group.

On Mar 29, 2014, at 12:36 AM, Sabrina Charney Hull wrote:
All-
It is imperative that members feel confident enough to speak openly during this process. The discussion of reporting the dialogue in local media is inappropriate.

Thank you,
Sabrina

I leave you with this quote from Theodore Roosevelt Excerpt from the speech “Citizenship In A Republic” delivered at the Sorbonne, in Paris, France on 23 April, 1910….........

It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs, who comes short again and again, because there is no effort without error and shortcoming; but who does actually strive to do the deeds; who knows great enthusiasms, the great devotions; who spends himself in a worthy cause; who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who neither know victory nor defeat.

By Rob Greenstein on 04/26/2014 at 7:59 am

I am disturbed that Lisa Katz seems to want to control the work of the committee. She appears not to understand the role of the committee vis a vis the board or the fact that the board does not necessarily get to control every decision or chart every course the town takes. That said, if she had the space to finish a thought without Rob’s constant interruptions, her position might be clearer.

Equally disturbing, Rob, who seems genuinely perplexed as to why his membership on the committee is inappropriate, continues to dominate conversations - often in his condescending manner. His treatment of BettyWeitz (and others) in this meeting was unacceptable in a Town Supervisor.

By Audrey Rabinowitz on 04/26/2014 at 8:07 am

Dear Dawn Greenburg- while the idea if a survey seems reasonable it solves nothing in the courts should the developer pursue legal action. Even if a survey is conducted and the results are heavily in opposition to retail that is meaningless in regards to the developers rights and claim of denied usage for 8 years.

In addition, I have little faith that a survey would accurately reflect resident sentiment. The survey you and Ms Whitehouse conducted lady year was prematurely halted after 2 days because many NIMBYs voted multiple times on multiple computers and devices. I have no sought they will find a way to to the same in any new survey. Lastly, our community has a very large empty nester population ( as much as 50% of our home owners) and they are consistently absent from elections and surveys.

Common sense and legal responsibility must guide us.
A well planned, multi use development, with a Whole Foods type market, ancillary retail in a town square setting ( not strip mall) with appropriate hours of operation is the answer. It will improve our town and improve our desperate need for commercial taxes. 
Surveys and committees such as these are just a distraction.

By And a Waste of time on 04/26/2014 at 8:17 am

Dear Editor- many opposed to retail at CC ( like you)!are now hiding behind the master plan. According to Pace ,  The master plan process will take at least a year maybe longer to complete. We can and shouldn’t wait that long. Because of years of obstruction and opposition the developer now has the upper hand. The town and Greenstein have no choice but to negotiate the best deal for all. I think that is what Greenstein is trying to do. He is trying to get SG to compromise, to design retail in a better way and to extract additional perks for the community.

You say you are not against development but you are pro master plan. How do you expect to get an honest master plan that benefits all residents when the master plan committee is made up of people hell bent on stopping retail at CC. Ms Katz is not on the committee but she and some on the committee have already forced off one member.  The master plan update is another stall tactic that will take 12-18 months. Whole Foods will walk , which I suspect is the NIMBY strategy, and the courts won’t care. The town loses.

By Ronnie on 04/26/2014 at 8:30 am

This meeting proves that most involved are doing so to promote and protect their personal agendas. As a matter of etiquette and decorum , Emails and stated opinions between members of any committee that meets privately must be confidential until committee is prepared to go public. Without trust people will not be open for fear their position will be leaked. If a committee member wants to explore and be open to development in order to formulate policy then that member can not fear that residents will lash out once they find out.
In think Ms Weitz was way out of line in making private comments and private discussions public. That violates a code of ethics and undermines the process.

By Raymond on 04/26/2014 at 8:47 am

“Rob Greenstein has indicated he has nothing to hide….”

Yeah, other than the fact that he unilaterally decided to steamroll ahead with retail at CC without telling anybody and without the “vigorous community input” that he promised.

What other secrets is he not telling us?

By some transparency this is on 04/26/2014 at 9:12 am

There was a survey, that even packed and skewed by NIMBY dishonesty, showed that the town is evenly divided. Do we keep on taking surveys to get the same answer? Only a compulsory vote can get a true result.

Put a ballot in with the tax bills or send out a numbered mailer.

By Dear Dawn G on 04/26/2014 at 9:45 am

Dawn - with all due respect, we saw what happened when you tried a survey pre-election. The anti retail at CC gang where so determined to get their way they manipulated and poisened the process by voting against developmenyt at CC on the survey using multiple log ins and multiple devices on which they voted. So we know a single person could have filled out the survey 3,4, or 5 times. This is how deteremined these people are to get it their way and obstrcut progress and honest dialogue.
Besides we already did a “survey” of sorts - it was called the election. Rob Greenstein told us he was in favor of WHole Foods at CC- in fact he claimed it was his idea. He told us he wanted to move town hall to CC and negotiate with Summit Greenfield. He told us he was oppossed to a strip mall and a better option existed if we sat down with SG and worked out a deal. He won the election. NOw he is doing exactly what he promised. The same people now giving him a hard time are the people that voted for him! Kinda funny…
The confusion I have is how is it that Katz and Greenstein couldnt see for themselves that they were on the same ticket with different agendas. Brodsky has always been a development guy. As long as he gets to develop downtown he wont get in the way of development at CC. That too was very clear going into the election. He and Greenstein seemed aligned but i dont get how Katz was so out of touch.
So the election (survey) was done. Now we should let them govern. These committess and hearings are just a showcase for the anti-retail at CC people to continue to vent and obstrcut. Its a waste of everybodys money and time.
An updated master plan is a good idea but it will not be The Dead Sea Scrolls. ITs an outline and according to PACE wont be complete until sometime in 2015. It is imparctical and wrong to think that we should halt talks and progress for a year considering this has been ongoing for 8 years!

By resident- on 04/26/2014 at 9:58 am

Rob Greenstein, you published the e-mails on the Chappaqua Moms page, but with the following preface below. Why was that excluded here?

“It is obviously unfortunate when a resident makes false accusations. Admittedly. it would be better for public relations purposes if that resident was not an older woman but facts matter.”

By hmm? on 04/26/2014 at 10:05 am

Raymond, you clearly do not understand what the committee was supposed to do. It was not supposed to be “PRO” anything. And if Rob Greenstein hadn’t hijacked it for his own PRO-him development plan—involving downtown development and town hall moving and Whole Foods coming with 80,000 sq ft of other retail—then this unfortunate committee would have had no conversations that any member of the public could not have overheard without being offended. He set up his committee to polarize itself. Exactly, according to what the Pace person in the video says not to do. I wish I’d know this earlier.

By From the Committee-of-the-Polarized on 04/26/2014 at 10:05 am

When asked what the questions are, Rob says that he is not sure what questions will be asked.  In fact as the editor says and shows us, they were given out and talked about during the Pace meeting.  Later when asked about the survey, Rob gives an answer that is at odds with the actual Pace discussion.

Rob would not know the truth if it hit him in the face.  Anyone who believes this man, or his motives is a fool.

By Resident on 04/26/2014 at 10:18 am

To From the Committee of the polarized -so now Greenstein has resigned from the committee. A pro retail at CC voice is gone. Now we have a group of anti retail at CC people on the committee with Katz on the sidelines trying to influence. At least with Greenstein he offered a counter balance. You really think these people are open minded? They come to this exercise with strong views. Even those that claim to be open minded tip their hands when they speak or question. Once again the NIMBYs shout the loudest and push Grenstein out. That’s very funny considering it was the NIMBYs that voted him in office.

By Resident on 04/26/2014 at 10:25 am

Everything Greenstein has said about the commercial work group is spot on.  It is composed of residents trying to use the master plan process to stop specific developments.  Some are trying to stop Chappaqua Crossing, some the Spa @ New Castle, and some the cell tower.  Some like Betty Weitz don’t want any development anywhere. Some like Chuck Napoli are using the process to push their own development plans.  Half of the group have their own personal agendas.

Because of these personal agendas, it is embroiled in controversy. 
Because of leaks to the media by Betty Weitz, it has now gone silent. 

Greenstein voluntarily left the group to lessen the controversy.  I respect him for that.

Anyone who has their own personal agenda should follow his lead and immediately resign from the group.  If they do not, they should be asked to leave.  We all know who they are.

By Commerical Work Group member on 04/26/2014 at 12:36 pm

There is only 1 person who can get away with rambling for 20 minutes at a town board meeting and screaming at our Supervisor - and that person is Betty Weitz.  I have been told that the School Board has told her to leave their meetings.  Is that true?

I also find it unusual that Betty Weitz writes letters to NC NOW (including a letter in suppport of anonymous comments), makes numerous public statements at Town Board & School Board meetings and is certainly not shy about making her opinions known but never uses her name when posting comments.  Why not, Betty?

By Marc L. on 04/26/2014 at 4:49 pm

I don’t understand why Greenstein is coy about naming the committee member he thinks is opposed to all development.  He’s not coy about criticizing in general, or criticizing Weitz about other issues. 

All committee meetings should be open to the public, with the exception of legally permitted executive sessions to discuss personnel matters, litigation, etc.  I can’t understand why a master planning meeting or subcommittee meeting should be private or why the town planner should try to stifle the public’s right to know about what’s going on with the master plan. She should show the public, the town’s citizens, respect.

By Rules of Order? on 04/26/2014 at 9:29 pm

Isn’t the person opposed to all development the same as the person leaking information (in Rob’s mind)?

By One and the same on 04/27/2014 at 10:15 am

No one on our committee is anti-development.  Rob is the one who introduced the “anti” element by pushing his agenda—the exact opposite of the behavior Pace in trying to instill in us.  The only “anti” vibe is not anti-development, but “anti” being strong-armed by the supervisor.  And it’s not because he’s the supervisor.  I don’t think Susan Carpenter should have been on it either.  But she at least had some planning sense. 

Rob has subverted the master plan process and has single-handedly poisoned the work group.  And the only reason there is a question now of people not wanting their “private” communications divulged is because Rob got us all to talk about things (and in ways) that were anti-masterplan.  Not one of our meetings should not be able to be witnessed by any resident at any time.  Rob and Sabrina have tried constantly to control this master plan - and keep it weak by not feeding it properly with $$.

By Anti-anti-masterplanning on 04/27/2014 at 7:13 pm

I just watched the tape.  Rob Greenstein said the group went silent since Betty Weitz went public with their conversations against their wishes and against the instructions of our town planner.  She claimed that since someone on the group emailed her a book recommendation the group did not go silent.  Rob responded that one person emailing another with a book recommendations is not the type of open discussions that the commerical work group should be having.  Betty started screaming at Rob asking him if she should stop reading.  You can’t make this stuff up.

I commend Rob for stepping down.  He should not be subjected to this type of nonsense.

By Reading is fundamental on 04/27/2014 at 9:16 pm

Betty Weitz is the definition of “Banana” - Build Absolutely Nothing Anywhere Near Anything.  She joined the wrong committee.  She should be on the Anti Commercial Development Committee.  Or Be Like Rhineback Committee.

By Samantha Stephens on 04/27/2014 at 10:37 pm

To Anti-anti master planning- I watched the video of the meeting.  It was contentious all the way around. It wasn’t just Rob Greenstein but several others. Betty Weitz seemed most combative and she is definitely an example of the ” anti ” vibe that you claim doesn’t exist. Lisa Katz , while not officialy a committee member, certainly asserted herself as deputy supervisor and she is certainly “anti” retail at CC.
In spite of your incorrect opinion there is a very strong “anti” vibe and they are determined to corrupt the process. It’s easy to make Greenstein the scapegoat because of his aggressive style but I give him credit for calling out those who pretend to be open mind and unbiased when we can all see they are not. It would be foolish of the town to spend unnecessary dollars we don’t have to continue this charade.
Go to the video tape

By RK on 04/28/2014 at 7:16 am

Betty I honestly believe your involvement w the master plan is extremely divisive. You should step aside.

By Anon on 04/28/2014 at 10:06 am

@Anti-anti masterplanning - you say “no one on OUR committee is anti- development”. Obviously you are on the committee. I have been following all the board meetings past and present. I concider myself educated on the CC issue for many years. I know all the players. I have heard them speak and read their letters and comments.
Of course there are anti development people on your committee and it’s sub committees. I do not count people who pretend to embrace development when all they really mean is a small change, a few park benches and walking paths. Development in the context of these discussions refers to retail at CC, Legionairres, or transformational projects like the downtown revitalization plan (Napoli).
Betty Weitz has long been opposed to development. Others participating are NIMBY CC people. Napoli is on a sub committee and he has publicly opposed Summit Greenfield at CC because it is in direct conflict with his own development plans.
It is ridiculous and hypocritical of you to accuse Greenstein of poisoning the work group when the work group has already been poisoned by people with their own agendas.
At least Greenstein is honest and states his view of retail at CC. And Greenstein has the responsibility to look out for the entire town not just one neighborhood. Many of the rest of you pretend to have open minds but you are clearly biased against development.

By You are not fooling anybody on 04/28/2014 at 11:25 am


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