Open Letter to TB members: The entire town has a full stake on the issue of traffic and safety
“One chance to get this right”
Thursday, May 15, 2014
by John and Liza Norton
Dear Board Members;
Allow us please to add our voices to the chorus of New Castle residents who are greatly concerned about the impact that the proposed retail development at Chappaqua Crossing will have on local traffic volume and flow.
For the record my wife and I are not fundamentally opposed to the retail/residential development of the site assuming a rational and balanced approach is taken. Yes, we do need a supermarket in town and Chappaqua Crossing seems like a logical place for it. (However, should a Whole Foods loom over Roaring Brook Road, probably not.)
Central to this discussion is the reality that Summit/Greenfield purchased a corporate campus ill-suited for major retail/residential development. The developer’s initial due diligence certainly should have revealed that the site’s retail potential is severely limited by the fact that the site is served by limited commercial access, congested state and local roadways.
After years of listening to a litany of self-inflicted hardships and wrangling with Summit/Greenfield over various residential development proposals the Board is now presented with a more complicated mixed retail, office and residential proposal.
At this stage of the proceedings the critical consideration of traffic and safety seem to have been subordinated. The absence of any credible current “retail” traffic data before the Board and minimal commentary is most troubling. Arguably the junctions of Rt. 117 and Roaring Brook Road and the entrance to Horace Greeley High School are the among the most problematic intersections in New Castle. The Board and the community need to be able to analyze a relevant commercial traffic impact study before any proposal is approved. Needless to say the developers’ proposed traffic remediation plan appears woefully inadequate.
The torturous eight-year saga of Chappaqua Crossing should not lead to community fatigue and Board capitulation. As a commercial developer intent on selling its interest in Chappaqua Crossing as soon as soon the rent-up becomes self liquidating, Summit/Greenfield will naturally attempt to limit its infrastructure costs and continue to plead that they are victims of restrictive local government oversight. It is consistent with the facts that they will resist funding the major capital improvements required to the surrounding roadways.
The entire New Castle community has a full stake on the issue of traffic and safety. Summit/Greenfield has very different interests. No half measures are acceptable. We all have one chance to get this right; if not, we live with the consequences for decades.
John & Liza Norton
2 Taylor Road
Lawrence Farms East
Mt. Kisco, NY