Op-Ed: Questions on how Master Plan review interfaces with Chappaqua Crossing and Spa proposals

With 50 comments since publication
March 28, 2014
by Christine Yeres

When Supervisor Rob Greenstein read a statement last Tuesday setting out his thinking on two current development proposals—to rezone for grocery-retail at Chappaqua Crossing and for a Spa on the Legionaries property—and explained why he doesn’t favor declaring a moratorium for either, Deputy Supervisor Lisa Katz responded, “Moratorium aside, I do think we have to make sure we plan before we develop.”  The week before, Town Board members seemed genuinely relieved that independent professionals from Pace’s Land Use Center had come to umpire, but several inconsistencies still plague the long-delayed Master Plan process.

In Supervisor’s view, a green light for retail at Chappaqua Crossing

As Greenstein sees it, the previous Town Board took the Chappaqua Crossing application too far to withhold approval now.  And besides, he views the chance to move town hall to Chappaqua Crossing and develop the town hall property as one of the only ways to budge conditions in a languishing Chappaqua hamlet. 

Greenstein is convinced that implementing both—grocery-retail with town hall at Chappaqua Crossing, and town hall property developed—is the key to boosting commercial tax revenues for New Castle. “That’s why,” read Greenstein on Tuesday, “the Town Board is forming a business development advisory committee and moving ahead with our master plan update.”  To see his entire statement, click HERE.

How the Chappaqua Crossing-and-Town Hall swap fit into the Master Plan update is unclear, although Greenstein has said before that while retail rezoning is a given (the total of 120,000 square feet of retail space seems to be a given as well), residents may have some input during the Master Plan process on what other types of retail should join the anchor store, a Whole Foods grocery.  However, since we have learned too that anchors have very specific desires when it come to their sidekicks, it’s unclear how much that input from residents will count. 

The Spa

As to the Spa proposal, Greenstein met with residents surrounding the Legionaries property on Wednesday night, and believes that the developer will likely abandon the spa-restaurant-hotel-condo concept and return to a proposal for all-residential development, most likely condos. 

Greenstein explained in his statement that he is not inclined in any case to consider imposing a moratorium.

Lisa Katz for planning before developing

When Katz said, “I do think we have to make sure we plan before we develop. So I do hope that our Master Plan process will be completed before any decisions are brought before this board,” it was unclear what she meant by “completion,” since she knows that the entire Master Plan process is expected to take 12 to 18 months to complete.

Katz might instead mean that she hopes that the two most urgent development matters—Chappaqua Crossing and the Legionaries property—will have their Master-Plan planning done up front in the process, while Pace is conducting its community outreach over the next three or four months.  However, even that may be longer than Greenstein has in mind for approval of retail at Chappaqua Crossing. He has made clear that retail zoning, in his opinion, is already assured.

Presumably, the Town Board has only to refer a preliminary development concept plan to the Planning Board for approval—the exact place where the previous Town Board left off in November 2013—but the plan is now the new “Main Street” version.  What would remain for the Master Plan review is perhaps figuring out—once retail is approved at Chappaqua Crossing—whether to move town hall there and how to develop the town hall site downtown.

Chapin weighs in

Jason Chapin demonstrated again that tax revenues are very much on his mind. “I believe limited retail at Chappaqua Crossing can benefit the entire town and some development at the Legionnaires property should be pursued.” He did not specify what he meant by “limited retail” or “some development.”

As to the idea of trading Town Hall property for the cupola building, “I’m open to exploring the feasibility of moving Town Hall to Chappaqua Crossing,” said Chapin, “if it does not negatively impact our hamlets, if it makes financial sense and if there is public support to do so. I have serious concerns about replacing Town Hall and adjacent properties with anything that would exacerbate our traffic and parking problems or change the character of our hamlets in a negative way.” 

Where Board Members stand—in pretty difficult spots

• Katz wants to “plan first, then develop.” She gave no indication as to whether accelerated Master Plan treatment for Chappaqua Crossing is planning enough, and whether suggesting what other types of retail residents might want along with Whole Foods is what she means by “planning first.”

• Greenstein is promoting his development plan—retail and town hall at Chappaqua Crossing, residential development on the town hall site—and has said that the retail zoning at Chappaqua Crossing is assured.

• In the meantime, Greenstein, as a member of the Master Plan Steering Committee, is head of the very subgroup into which the Chappaqua Crossing and town hall development fall, “Commercial Development and the Hamlets.”  Although he actively promotes his plan within the committee, he has also passed the “speakership” of that committee to another member, Dan Googel. 

• Chapin is open to Greenstein’s plan, but wants to rule out resulting harm to existing hamlets and see where the public stands.

• Adam Brodsky, meanwhile, is putting together the business development advisory team that will meet for the first time in the second half of April.  Presumably that committee of residents—some of whom are themselves developers and small-business owners (some with shops in town)—will advise the Town Board on 1) how to “revitalize” the existing hamlets; and 2) the feasibility of Greenstein’s plan for retail and town hall at Chappaqua Crossing, and development of town hall property. 

What’s missing?

Missing from the picture, however, is any sort of independent assessment and analysis of how the numbers work—questions of return-on-investment, tax revenues generated, financing (if the town must make a purchase), the future of medium-box retail—and whether the town will (or can) make decisions based on the advice of volunteer-resident-advisors.  Will the town hire an independent consultant who can run the scenarios and the numbers, and give the Town Board answers to questions like these:

• Is the “swap” of town hall property for space in the cupola building the “win-win” that Greenstein and the Summit Greenfield believe it is?

• What revenues are projected from each—1) Chappaqua Crossing retail and 2) town hall residential (with first-floor retail)?

• Who will pay for what?  How the town would finance a purchase? What would it cost taxpayers?

• How much is the town hall property worth? (The Town Board has engaged an appraiser to learn the answer to this.)

• How much of the town hall property is Greenstein considering freeing for development? (So far, he has said he is considering only the two or three acres where town hall sits, and has excluded the rec field.)

• How much is the cupola building worth?  Are Summit Greenfield’s own estimates sufficient?

• Would the town own or lease the cupola building?  What are the financials for each scenario?  Run scenarios for town hall and police on floors 1 and 2, residential on floors 3 and 4, described by Greenstein as possibilities.

• Who would pay for the “build out” (renovation) of the cupola building?

• Who will decide the balance between the 120,000 square feet of retail and the amount of office space Summit Greenfield says it will de-commission (actually close down) to make traffic and parking work? (The latest plan shows Building 100 eliminated entirely, and part of Building 300 as well.)

• Will developing the town hall property with residential “revitalize” the downtown?

• How much residential at town hall does Greenstein have in mind?  How many stories, what kind of residential? (Greenstein has stated that the town is most in need of market-rate units for young families and seniors, and the required number of affordable units.)  What will the proposed residential development cost taxpayers in services to new residents? 

• Does the plan for residential include first-floor retail?

Town Planner Sabrina Charney is acting as facilitator/coordinator for the Master Plan Steering Committee. But as Greenstein learned in November, Charney was obliged by the then-Town Board to carry out its directives (Chappaqua Crossing had been declared “off the table” when it came to Master Planning, Greenstein subsequently put it “back on the table,” and now it’s back off-the-table).  Charney has been working closely with Greenstein, Planning Board member Tom Curley, and Summit Greenfield to craft the latest site plan, a third hamlet. See PB has a latest look at Chappaqua Crossing “Main Street” of retail and residential, NCNOW.org. 3/2114. 

But is Charney now obliged to carry out Greenstein’s directives? How does that comport with facilitating the town’s Master Plan process—or the fast-tracked Chappaqua Crossing and Spa parts of it—and input from New Castle’s residents? 

How, in fact, do anyone’s “directives” comport with “Master Plan process”?  This will be a question for Pace consultants, who return Tuesday, April 1, at 5:30 p.m. to hear Steering Committee members’ “problem statements” and to help plan their outreach to the community. 

See what advice Pace had to give the week before: Pace Land Use experts discuss primacy of public outreach with Steering Committee and TB members, NCNOW.org, 3/25/14.


Comments(52):
We encourage civil, civic discourse. All comments are reviewed before publication to assure that this standard is met.

How much leverage does the town have left after the previous town board spit the bit and issued the “Findings” document without any real planning process at all and tax numbers that were based on assumptions that made no cents.  Understand his desire to fast track Chappaqua Crossing to avoid litigation, but I am hoping this board has a better thought out plan to present to the town than the last one.

By Findings statement will haunt us forever on 03/28/2014 at 5:15 pm

Love it or hate it, what this town needs is a leader with a vision that he or she is willing to promote, and of course edit with town input. I give Supervisor Greenstein credit for getting ahead of this issue and making his own ideas known to the public. It’s called leading, not hiding behind process and committees. I for one find it refreshing.

By Area Man on 03/28/2014 at 10:28 pm

This supervisor can hire all the consultants, have committees galore, have talks with residents, etc., but if he has 3 votes, he doesn’t have to listen to any of it.  He can do what he wants and he will.  His two TNC buddies will not go against him.

By please keep in mind on 03/28/2014 at 10:41 pm

Note to all - the writer of this OpEd lives across the street from Chappaqua Crossing and was a very vocal opponent of the middle school being built on the under utilized Greeley Fields).  NIMBY NIMBY NIMBY

Editor’s Note:  It’s good to point out from time to time that I live next to the high school and off Roaring Brook Road.  I think most people know it, but it bears repeating for new (or forgetful) people. 

But point out to me exactly where my coverage of Chappaqua Crossing has been unfair and who exactly considers Greeley’s fields to be “underutilized.”  I was against the building of an second whole middle school, whether it was at Greeley or at Seven Bridges. 

It seems to bother you that I’m “curious” about how the integrity of the Master Plan process will be maintained, which is the subject of the piece above. 

Don’t you want to know what residents want?  They may or may not want retail at Chappaqua Crossing, a spa at Legionaries, town hall developed as residential.  Don’t you want to actually find out?  I do.

By curious10514 on 03/29/2014 at 12:04 am

Sabrina Charney has created a place of undue prominence for herself.  It is inappropriate for her to be wearing so many hats.  At the least she should be removed from the master planning process.

By the planners place on 03/29/2014 at 12:52 am

This is an excellent review of what is going on.  There are many questions that need answers.
What is clear is that Greenstein is a double dealer.

By resident on 03/29/2014 at 8:20 am

You certainly have laid it all out.

Won’t retail in the Town hall property adversely effect the downtown merchants especially with the draw away of CC?

If residential, why not place the missing affordable units there to close that door? In this manner, the Human Rights Investigation will more quickly expend itself. We will have provided the 28 units that is our share. So where is the discrimination?

Editor’s Note:  I’ve laid out questions for (and about) the Master Plan review.  Your questions are questions for the Master Plan review. 

And as an aside, I believe that the appraisal and assessment of the town hall property (now, or soon, underway) includes the stretch along Washington Avenue which Rob Greenstein has proposed as an alternative site to Hunts Place.

By Dear Christine on 03/29/2014 at 8:42 am

Sabrina and Rob: YOU GUYS are NOT supposed to be directing and shaping the master plan. Stop it now! You’re not the bosses of it. And if you keep on acting as though you are, you’ll ruin the chances of getting people to participate. Wait. I guess you’d like that.

By Rob and Sabrina are not the bosses on 03/29/2014 at 9:26 am

Agree with planners place.  She needs to be removed from the Master Plan involvement.  She seems to insert herself everywhere without really serving a function. For two years, she did nothing.

 

 

By Charney needs to go on 03/29/2014 at 9:39 am

This editor is to be lauded for her coverage.  Without her newspaper, we would not know what is going on.  Transparency is not Greenstein’s strong suit.  He tried to take away freedom of the press by silencing commenters.  There are serious things going on, we need to know.  Thank you, Editor, for your thorough and excellent coverage.


By We need to know on 03/29/2014 at 9:48 am

Rob, I didn’t vote for you to impose your own master plan on the town.  I voted for you because the previous board didn’t get the master plan going - and you led us to believe you would.

I voted for you because you would give the town the chance to find out what it wanted. You and Adam are persisting in thinking that we voted FOR whatever you two have in mind.  Not so.  You need to find out what residents have in mind for New Castle.  I repeat: NOT YOUR MASTER PLAN, BUT NEW CASTLE’S MASTER PLAN.

Oh, but I put this in a place where you’ll never see it.  You’re a fool if you don’t look at what we say.  And you will fail.

By Rob, drop your own personal master plan on 03/29/2014 at 10:15 am

Greenstein has hijacked the entire process. There is NO transparency as promised. Deals with developers are being cut behind closed doors.
For years Greensteins mantra was no retail at CC. As head of the Chamber of Commerce he often proclaimed that retail at CC would create a third hamlet and a third hamlet would DESTROY downtown and downtown merchants. NOW, he is full on board with retail at CC and in addition his stated goal is to also move our town hall and Police station to CC. Not only will CC now have retail and all the accompanying traffice and danger to Greeley students but it will also be bolstered by having our town government in the CC Cupola building. All those workers at town hall and all those residnets and folks that conduct business at current town hall will be buying their coffeee, eating their lunch and shopping at the new retail at CC. Not only did Greenstein and Katz lie to us but Greenstein also threw all those downtown merchants und4er the bus!
Town Hall is the property of NEw Castle, It is owned by resident taxpayers. We have not given Greenstein permission to secretly negotiate our p[roeprty away with a for profit devleoper. Where is the resident survey? What traffic studies have been done?

By chapp mom on 03/29/2014 at 10:56 am

We never had these issues with the previous planner.  Unlike Sabrina Charney he always behaved in a completely professional manner, .  She is everywhere.  It looks to me that she is manipulating the process to support Greenstein’s agenda. There are many ethical questions to be answered regarding her actions.

Is it true that her salary is much more than the planner that we lost ?

By resident on 03/29/2014 at 12:20 pm

Where is the CC traffic report done by the planning board that we were promised ?

By traffic is but one problem on 03/29/2014 at 12:27 pm

As a community are we going to be happy with the less than 1 percent who pay attention to these matters if they come to the conclusion to build CC as being proposed by the developer, approve Conifer, and move forward with the Spa? All the master plan does is create lawsuits that the entire Municipality gets to pay for whether we like it or not. A very prominent White Plains Lawyer once said that the worse thing that New Castle can do is open up the master plan process. He said that it is best for the Supervisor or the powers that be, to decide how the Municipality should be improved. He went on to comment that once you get a minority of interested residents trying to either fix, keep, or change various parts of the current master plan, you then end up with a mess and lawsuits. Team Green should scrap the master plan process and just implement what they want to do according to how they were originally voted into office. Scrap the master planning and appoint a PRO BUSINESS PRO DEVELOPMENT PRO GROWTH PRO Taxpayer PRO MERCHANT PRO LANDLORD PRO INVESTOR PRO DoER to the Planning Board, and someone who hates meetings and over discussing and reviewing the same matter over and over. Team Green, you’re new and you have the arrogance to think you know what you are doing or not doing. Don’t worry about flip flopping, change course, change direction, and chalk this time of being in office as that time where you now have to take your training wheels off and roll on your own. Shake your head, shake your arms, and shake off how you have so far been positioned by people you seem to trust.

By Stop the master plan on 03/29/2014 at 2:16 pm

Are you for the Jets or the Giants? The Yankees or the Red Soxs? Are you for the Democrats or the Republicans? The Tea Party or the Independent Voters? The problem with America today is that we are not addressing our problems, instead we are handling everything like it is a game, and we are bringing a game mentality into everything. Would you rather give a $75,000,000 contract to a basketball player or to a brain surgeon who saved your life by removing your cancer? We seem to be on a misguided path in many areas of society, and it shows here in this matter. New Castle does not need to bring in professionals to “umpire” the master plan process. However, the use of the word ‘umpire’ is very relevant, because many who are involved in the review process of an applicant do carry with them a gaming mentality. Many have said that ‘he/she didn’t even get close to me, I kept them at bay.’ Well, that is the problem, we should not be looking to keep anyone at bay, instead we (meaning us as a community) should have individuals representing us to find quick solutions. If Town Hall is now reduced to bringing in umpires, it is probably time to move. Keep the games out of Town Hall and find solutions and common ground for the majority while keeping intact the New Castle we all love. Greenstein you were voted into office not to play anyones game.

By That's the problem on 03/29/2014 at 2:37 pm

The Cupola building would be a nice spot for the town office, but it is unrealistic to think that freeing up the current town hall for residential or commercial development will revitalize downtown.  Downtown lost its supermarkets.  When Chappaqua Crossing is built, there will be even less reason to come downtown.  It will become sleepier than it is now.  On the plus side, parking may become less problematic.

What Supervisors Greenstein, Carpenter and Gerrard share is an antipathy towards meaningful public participation in long range planning for our community.  If their decisions hadn’t been so poor, it might not matter, but this planning process really brings our town government’s shortcomings to light.  The town planner is just a servant of the supervisor.  She is rightly concerned about keeping her job, but that limits her ability to facilitate meaningful public participation.

By Downtown Blues on 03/29/2014 at 3:24 pm

Christine, I was so happy you raised all these important questions that are being ignored or glossed over.  Of everything, I’m most upset about the seemingly single-handed decision to move town hall.  Who else wants this?  It the town hall lot becomes housing, how will 10-20-30 more downtown residents move the needle on downtown’s vibrancy?  Thousands of residents live walking distance to downtown and still sidewalks and stores are empty.  More important, I know it’s scary, but I think people will have to step out from the shadows and let their opinions be known.  You won’t be able to wear masks to the Pace meetings or when interviewed on the street.    I’m proof that a little venom won’t hurt you.  Plus personal attacks will only make the attacker look bad.  Please consider signing your name.

By Dawn Greenberg on 03/29/2014 at 3:30 pm

“Robert Greenstein, a Chappaqua homeowner and prominent opponent, says he has 900 signatures on his petition to oppose the developers’ current plan. “Summit Greenfield is asking us to change the zoning for them and accept negative environmental, social and economic impacts so they can maximize their return on investment,” he says.”

Updated March 3, 2011 12:01 a.m. ET WALL ST. JOURNAL

There are even more negative environmental and social impacts now.
And we get no tax relief.  What happened?

By Flip flop on 03/29/2014 at 3:46 pm

That’s the problem is so right.  Greenstein keeps talking about “winning” and this is a “win-win” and that is a “win-win.”

That’s his mentality.  He’s playing craps with our property values.
no studies, just on his say-so.  If he says so, it’s right, because he says so. Is he a real estate investor, no, is he an architect, no, is he a town planner, no, has he ever been a town supervisor before, no, how about a tb member, well—no.  How long has he been supervisor,almost 3 months now—wow!

But he knows everything!  Don’t anyone contradict the big Kahuna.

By Really a zero sum game for New Castle--and we lose on 03/29/2014 at 4:22 pm

“How the Chappaqua Crossing-and-Town Hall swap fit into the Master Plan update is unclear,”

It’s clear.  Pay attention, Lisa.  It’s develop the projects first so you can develop a plan that is a carbon copy of the developments. 

“However, since we have learned too that anchors have very specific desires when it come to their sidekicks, it’s unclear how much that input from residents will count.” 

That’s clear too.  Residents have no input.  As he said, the supermarket anchor calls the shots.  Depends which side of his mouth you are watching.  Out of one side, residents have the call.  Out of the other side, the supermarket has the call.  Believe the second—it came out of the left side of his mouth.

“In the meantime, Greenstein, as a member of the Master Plan Steering Committee, is head of the very subgroup into which the Chappaqua Crossing and town hall development fall, “Commercial Development and the Hamlets.”  “Although he actively promotes his plan within the committee,”

Says it all. He needs to be there.  How else can he be certain the plan is a carbon copy of the developments he is carrying out?  Besides, he has to slow down the planning horse and speed up the development horse, and he’s in the perfect place to do it.

• Is the “swap” of town hall property for space in the cupola building the “win-win” that Greenstein and the Summit Greenfield believe it is?

• What revenues are projected from each—1) Chappaqua Crossing retail and 2) town hall residential (with first-floor retail)?

Don’t ask significant questions, Mme. Editor, they could gum up the works.  Greenstein doesn’t waant to know, they could be the wrong answers and he would have to recognize facts.  Only green lights for our modest supervisor.

By Don't ask silly questions on 03/29/2014 at 4:48 pm

Dawn - I have always been a big fan of yours.

What you and most people fail to realize is that moving town hall and replacing it with residential is only step 1 for Mr Greenstein and Brodsky. Brodsky is committed to relaxing downtown codes and regulations allowing property owners to maximize their property values. Of course he ( his family that employs him) is one of those owners. This fits nicely with the Napoli plan which certainly will emerge as step 2. We haven’t heard much about Napoli plan lately nor have we heard from Mr Napoli himself. Rest assured Greenstein has Napoli’s back and it’s just a matter of time until we hear more about the revitalization of downtown.

I am most curious about your opinion and that of other downtown merchants as to Mr Greensteins abandonment of his primary pledge. As the head of the chamber of commerce and also as candidate for Supervisor, Greenstein warned that retail at CC would create a third hamlet. He stated under no uncertain terms that a third hamlet would destroy downtown Chapp and put merchants out of business. Now he is pushing forward with retail at CC. On top of that he wants town hall moved to CC as well which will draw away more activity and customers from downtown and to CC. Seems like you and other merchants ought yo be furious with him.

By Resident on 03/29/2014 at 5:29 pm

Dawn Greenberg,

I see no sense in participating in a process that has a predetermined outcome.  If this is really about what “the community” wants, then the town supervisor would be only marginally involved in the process.  Unfortunately, he is right smack in the middle of it.  This is all just window dressing.

I applaud those who are willing to volunteer their time for what they believe to be the betterment of the town.  But I am afraid these folks are being taken for a ride and I think we all know who the conductor is.

By runaway train on 03/29/2014 at 7:17 pm

Resident, how can I not respond to a fan smile. I would love to talk to you and chapp mom and others who are concerned and outraged.  Just to be clear, I’ll only be a brick-and-mortar retailer for another month.  I did well enough, certainly exceeded $ goals and supported great causes, but not well enough for the emotional wear-and-tear.  Our downtown has a lot of challenges, made worse by all the “sturm and drang” coming out of town hall for the last two years. 

I knew Rob would go ahead with CC once Whole Foods came on board.  I didn’t understand the other merchants blind faith in him.  I find his support of the Napoli project (and I have a lot of respect for Chuck) to be a head scratcher.  First of all, the Ccsd, Boe, etc will never allow a mall/parking garage to take shape on that field.  Second, i cannot believe any retailer with an envelope and a piece of paper could imagine a viable business there, esp if CC happens.  Respectfully, I don’t think Chuck or Rob have any retail experience.

I still remain hopeful that Rob can do the right thing and let Pace do their job without trying to control them.  I heard that Pace has received calls from some in our community to plead for just that.  I don’t think Rob is evil or out for his own enrichment.  I think he’s convinced he knows best and regards anything that slows him down as an inconvenience. 

By Dawn Greenberg on 03/29/2014 at 7:20 pm

Dawn, I think you are an optimist about Rob.

By I hope you are right on 03/29/2014 at 9:52 pm

Rob, you’re out of power now.  You had power with Summit Greenfield when you took office and you have negotiated it away. Not least by making it clear to Summit Greenfield that you intend to give them this retail deal, not to mention that you have given away the store to them. This stuff isn’t yours to give. You’ve made a bad mistake. People didn’t elect you to do all this. THey elected you because Susan Carpenter tried to do all this stuff on her own with no real master plan process. You not only have a not real MP process, but you’re running a dishonest one. Sabrina Charney helped Susan Carpenter to run her fake MP and now she’s helping you to run yours. And to run around Pace, who you’ve set up as a beard.

By Rob, you're giving away the store on 03/30/2014 at 12:02 am

Rob,

Is it your trusted Adam Brodsky who has advised you that lies do not matter ?  Or are you two liars on a pod ?

By lies on 03/30/2014 at 7:39 am

It seems to me that the merchants had blind faith in Rob because he was their ‘leader’. He was the head of the head of the chamber of commerce and fed them his BS, privately, for years . The merchants no doubt considered him their only hope to save their businesses and livelihoods. They were impressed by his bluster and promises and ate up everything he said. The merchants were a small group of non-voters. It was like shooting fish in a barrel for Rob.

Rob then took that small success to the CC. He was right on Conifer and swayed the CC opposers. The combination got him elected.

Rob knew that the merchants did not know better and helpless. After all, he led the chamber of commerce and was communicating with them all constantly with no push back from anyone. He capitalized on their vulnerability. If this were a legal matter, and the merchants were his clients (which maybe they were on unrelated, general legal matters) perhaps a conflict of interest complaint to the Grievance Committee of the Bar would be appropriate if a merchant feels aggrieved to that extent.

But that is not our case. Just a scenario that could explain how the merchants were duped.

By Blind faith on 03/30/2014 at 9:17 am

Rob’s competing newsletter is like NJ Governor Christie’s lawyer’s white wash report. Sheesh

By Who is Rob , Really? on 03/30/2014 at 9:27 am

I have just learned that a Brodsky-type person is on the current Armonk town board. she is the ex husband of the town’s largest developer. She recused herself on every vote concerning her ex husband. Brodsky should do the same on any downtown and CC vote, that is if he is a mensch.

By recusal on 03/30/2014 at 11:17 am

CC must be developed. We can debate whether or not Rob was disingenuous during his campaign. It seems that charm may be an integral part of the design. I hope so. Keep rob for now, maybe. LOL

By Rob is not giving away the store on 03/30/2014 at 11:23 am

To Rob is not giving away the store,

That is the joke of the week!  If he weren’t, you wouldn’t have to say so.

By You have to be kidding. on 03/30/2014 at 1:25 pm

Yes, Rob is giving away the store.  No one is saying that CC should not be developed.
There is no way to get rid of Rob until the next election, but everyone who is against what he is doing should let him and the town board know what they think.

By yes, he is giving away the store on 03/30/2014 at 1:42 pm

Just look at the letters written in this issue- it says an awful lot about our town board. Editor Yeres writes this letter on the very important issues of Master Plan, its impact on developments, The Spa, CC development, and moving town hall to the Cupola building at CC.
Supervisor Greenstein writes letters about anonymous comments and sending our pictures of pot holes in. TB member Katz writes about the lease for the train station. Chapin writes about his vision.
Only Editor Yeres ( who is not on the TB) addresses important and pressing issues. Thank you Christine!
Our elected officials continue to secretly negotiate with Summit Greenfield, they are pressing ahead with The Spa, and moving quickly to relocate town hall. These are most important. They shed no light- no TRANSPARANCY on the important issues. Team New Castle promised us a new approach to governing. They ran a campaign that ridiculed and insulted S Carpenter and her board because she negotiated behind closed doors and did not include resident sentiment. Now Team New Castle is doing all and more of the same things they derided the last TB for doing.
With all these very important issues on the table we get letters about pot holes and the restaurant lease at the train station.
So much for their promises. Again, I am reminded of their campaign literature and mailings that included pictures of their spouses and children. As if to say, ” we are families just like yours”. Except I teach my children to keep their words and keep their promises. I teach them to be honorable and true to their words. I teach them to treat others as they would like to be treated themselves. I wonder what Team New Castle says to their kids now after they have broken all their promises to the community.

By FB mom on 03/30/2014 at 3:22 pm

Greenstein, I didn’t vote for you to do what you want.  The Town Bd before you did that.  I wanted something different.  I believed the “party politics has no place in local govt” - and now see you showing off like some uber-Republican talking about sweetheart deals from the Bd before you and overturning 1x wk garbage because Republican think it’s the height of principle to give people BATHROOMS AND GARBAGE PICK UP?!?!?!?!?!  Stop with the bathroom (train station) talk and the garbage talk.  We have more important things to do.  Get out of the way of the people’s master plan.  You have no right to wheel and deal with Chap Crossing.

By Get out of the way, Rob Greenstein on 03/30/2014 at 4:51 pm

Guess what, Team New Castle - it’s totally stupid to tell the developer of Chappaqua Crossing that you’re gonna give them the zoning they want no matter what anyone says.  You idiots!

By Stop secret dealings on 03/30/2014 at 4:52 pm

Thank you for your efforts. You are appreciated. I am a fan even though you refused to post a number of my rants LOL. You are even handed. Thank you

By Yes to Christine on 03/30/2014 at 8:48 pm

Master plan, shmaster plan. At this point in time we all get it about Chappaqua crossing. no plan is needed to “see” its projected effect. I feel, at this point in time, its process is a pretext for CC opposers to justify their continued opposition.

By it no longer matters on 03/30/2014 at 8:52 pm

you are right. Rob is our first governing-by-internet supervisor…..which is really only fluff. I would by now get has figured out that we see through him. Sigh…..

By dear fb mom on 03/30/2014 at 8:56 pm

Rob,

Do you give any thought to ....  DELETED


EDITOR’S NOTE:  Off limits.

By Rob ? on 03/31/2014 at 12:57 pm

What happened to your promise or pledge, Team New Castle, to plan first and develop later?  That is what all this is about!

By in summary on 03/31/2014 at 6:59 pm

The “findings” only deal with what the impacts would be if there is that amount of retail at CC.  Nothing says the town has to rezone to the maximum the developer wants or the maximum amount in the findings.  Only that theoretically you COULD. Don’t let Greenstein tell you he has to because of the findings.  What you COULD do is not necessarily what you SHOULD do. CC was never promised the town would rezone, only that the Town would consider it. So the town needs to figure out what it SHOULD do- for the benefit of the whole town. That includes the neighbors and the hamlets, but it includes everyone else as well.

By don't be snowed on 04/02/2014 at 4:23 pm

Rob is lying to residents, to fellow board members, to master plan participants.  He’s made a big mistake working on his OWN plan for CC rather than on the community’s plan for it through the master plan he promised.  CC and town hall and more housing downtown etc. etc.  And he’s made a big mistake by telling CC that he’s going to give them the retail zoning change.  HE doesn’t have the power to do that.  IF IF IF there is retail at CC it should be smaller and the retail along with it should be smaller BY A LOT.  He’s so eager to MAKE A DEAL that he’s gone rogue.  He’s not the boss of the town or of the master plan review.  And neither is town planner Sabrina Charney.  The two of them are staking their egos and resumes on this CC project and on the spa (which he says is now only residential).  Let’s see how many condos that piece of land can take.  Nowhere NEAR what the developer wanted or wants again.

By Rob's making big mistakes all over the place on 04/02/2014 at 6:16 pm

Greenstein has squandered all his power over Summit Greenfield.  Smarter deal makers may be able to save it, but Rob has nearly given away the store.  Why the 120,000 sf total?  Why even the 40,000 sf grocery?  If the previous town board had trimmed it back substantially they wouldn’t have had so much opposition.  By Rob not trimming it back substantially he will have a lot of opposition - and not only has he not cut it back, he’s added to it by including a very risky plan for downtown and moving town hall.  I have no confidence in this board any longer.  They’ve done the opposite of what they promised.

Greenstein also has some mistaken ideas.  He’s telling residents all over the public access channel that (unless NewCastle Now got this wrong) the town board’s settlement with SG was to approve the retail.  It was not.  It was to REVIEW the retail.  Look at this:

According to Supervisor Rob Greenstein, the previous Town Board “introduced retail to Chappaqua Crossing and entered into a settlement with Summit Greenfield that [the town] would essentially approve retail and would follow a very strict timeline in order to do that.  We came aboard and now that’s what we’re dealing with. Now we’re dealing with SEQR process that’s completed.  We’re dealing with a ‘Findings’ statement saying [retail at Chappaqua Crossing] not going to adversely affect our downtown hamlets and we’re dealing with ‘any negative impacts can be mitigated.’ ”

http://www.newcastlenow.org/index.php/article/new_supervisor_talks_retail_at_chappaqua_xing_a_wrap_spa_developer_to_consi

By You've spent all your time losing residents' confi on 04/02/2014 at 9:28 pm

To don’t be snowed:
Who are you kidding?  The prior town board paved the way for retail at Chappaqua Crossing.  The findings that they approved discounted the negative effects of the project on both the surrounding neighborhood and on the hamlets of Chappaqua and Millwood.  The ‘independent’ impact analysis study was certainly lacking, but the prior town board accepted it as sufficient to justify the findings.  Trying to rewrite history is an insult to those of us who saw the arrogance of the prior town board.  Rob’s actions are equally stupid but they don’t exonerate the misguided actions of Carpenter, et al.

By Findings on 04/03/2014 at 10:17 am

When you have been abused by Town Hall for so many years, and then you have a person like Mr. Greenstein stepping forward, it is very easy and hopeful that what he said in the past will still ring true. Let’s face it, Town Hall makes it money by going after the downtown merchants of Chappaqua. They make their money when a yogurt place wants to open, a pizza shop, or when someone wants to mount an EMERGENCY GENERATOR ON THEIR OWN ROOF. So far, if all this administration is going to do is handle the CC, Conifer, and Spa project, then the rest of all the most important issues will not be addressed. We need to allow additional types and kinds of businesses in downtown Chappaqua, we need to remove second floor restrictions on occupancy and use. We need to make it very easy for downtown landlords to add second, third, or fourth floors to their buildings without increasing their property tax payment. Please do not blame the business owners, merchants, or landlords, for voting in one administrator over another; all we want is for the “choke hold” to be removed from our necks, and for us to try a breath prosperity back into our businesses. We need less permitting, less forms to be filed, less regulation. Please ease up on us, and if we should get so out of hand, then bring back the cold war of regulations to be used against us business owners, merchants, and landlords. The weather is beautiful can we put chairs and tables out on the sidewalk where it makes sense without having to hire a lawyer, surveyor, special consultant, engineer, and a architect. Can we remove non-bearing walls in our space without suffering to pay a $8,000 bill as created by Town Hall? I can go on and on, but this is why various candidates will capture our attention, because at the end of the day we can only hope that they mean what they say and they say what they mean. So you’re right we are blinded with hope, because without hope, we have nothing.

By Re: Blind faith on 04/03/2014 at 11:32 am

To “findings” - you’re the one doing the snowing.  you clearly don’t understand the environmental review that was required.  The prEvious board may have led us down the path toward retail, but Rob Greenstein’s team toppled them by promising ANOtHER PATH. The grocery retail was far from nailed down by the previous tb.  Its a lie to say it was.

And “dont be snowed” is actually right. The tb has a great deal of leeway in deciding what to allow at CC.  Don’t ou remember that when the town bd decided to give Summit Greenfield unlimited business tenants and the 111 residential units the tb CUT IT DOWN TO THAT AFTER FINDINGS SAID IT WAS ENVIRONMENTALLY POSSIBLE TO HAVE MORE?  No one on the previous town bd went around shooting off their mouths every day like Greestein does saying “We’re gonna let them have retail and move town hall, we gotta let them have retail and give us the cupola bldg!” (except the tb members who did say “We intend to approve grocery retail” , and LOST in what Greenstein considered a referendum - unfortunately, he considered it a referendum approving whatever might pop into his head, rather than a referendum on the previous tb’s not planning before deciding
to give grocery/retail zoning).

Rob Greenstein is B.S-ing when he says his hands are tied by what the previous bd did.  His hands are tied becuase he’s tying them himself - to Felix Charnye andWhole Foods grabbing hands.

By Both of you (you and Rob) are B.S.ing on 04/03/2014 at 12:41 pm

Dear Christine

I applaud you for this piece.  You are not afraid to ask questions and point out the issues that we need to consider as a community.

I am finding that many of the comments are tending toward rants.  I find this a shame, since i feel that this petty tone is a distraction from many valuable comments and insights.
If we want to be properly heard, then we need to cut the attacks within the comments.

I will be reprinting your article, with your permission, and sharing it with my neighbors.
We will be forming a neighborhood group to be sure that the outreach committee hears from us as a block of concerned citizens.

Thank you

By An enlightened resident on 04/03/2014 at 2:15 pm

To ‘Both of You’

Yes, I do understand that conducting a DEIS Statement of Findings is required.  But I do not believe that the conclusions this DEIS reached were balanced or reasonable or required.  Do you?

They included:

“The Town Board finds that:...
• Maintaining a threshold of no greater than 120,000 square feet of retail and 542,000 square feet of office use for a total of 662,000 square feet of commercial use will maintain consistency with the findings of the CR&EV; Project and will mitigate any significant environmental impact from the addition of retail use as a type of commercial use at the project site.”

See:  http://mynewcastle.org/index.php/chappaqua-news/currentprojects/chappaqua-crossing/646-2013-findings-statement

If you take the time to read the findings, you will see the language Carpenter crafted with the developer to amend the 1989 Development Plan (Master Plan) and to create the amended zone supporting retail.  The other board members declined Carpenter’s advice to adopt the amendments to the development plan and zoning code before the election, but they did adopt the findings. 

If the findings had been more balanced, the current town board could use them to require a reduced amount of retail, no retail or more mitigation for the negative effects of the development.  Perhaps the findings can be amended to reduce the amount of retail. 

What was not ‘nailed down’ by the prior board was the site plan review of the project, which can have a tremendous impact on the site itself and its effects on the neighborhood. 

I hope reasonable people can downsize this project below the thresholds set by the prior town board in their approved findings.

By the way, your insults and use of ALL CAPS do not strengthen your argument.
 

By Findings on 04/03/2014 at 3:04 pm

Findings,

Thank you.

It is easy to misrepresent as “Don’t be snowed ” has done, or to confuse as ” both of you ” has done.

I thank you for your clarification as to what actually was done and what now can be done.

By roberta galant on 04/04/2014 at 4:44 pm

Findings, I am not certain you are actually right.

By bob on 04/05/2014 at 8:31 am

Going through the Master plan process seems to be a waste of time and money with what this Supervisor already plans to do.  If he has two more votes, then it is a done deal.  Don’t waste people’s time and money AND don’t insult our intelligence.

By Bottom line on 04/06/2014 at 12:32 pm


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