REPRINTED: Where We Left Off:  Pace’s “Master Planning Public Engagement Report” is released

Reprinted from: Tuesday, August 5, 2014

Editor’s Note:  Below are excerpts from the New Castle Master Planning Public Engagement Report produced by Pace Land Use Law Center from sessions conducted in May and June of this year with close to 300 participants.  For each of five topics—Commercial Development, Environment & Habitat, Pubic Works & Infrastructure, Public Services & Recreation and Housing—Pace facilitators asked residents, “What’s good now”?  “What’s not working?” and “What are some strategies to overcome what’s not working?”  Pace did not conduct a survey; its informal discussion groups were a qualitative, rather than a quantitative, effort to identify what residents considered “priority issues, assets, and challenges facing the town.”  The report is just shy of 300 pages, much of it in simple list form, with some narrative summary, analysis and conclusions.

Editor’s Note:  Below, NCNOW has first reprinted the entire “Executive Summary”; second, only the “Commercial Development section of the “Analysis,” since that subject was the hottest throughout the sessions; and lastly, from Appendix D, the responses generated from the four Horace Greeley High School participants in a June 23 session, of some interest since they were the only non-adult group captured in an outreach.

To view the entire report on the town’s website, click HERE.

Table of Contents

EXECUTIVE SUMMARY ............................................................................................................ 3

INTRODUCTION ......................................................................................................................... 7

PUBLIC PARTICIPATION METHODOLOGY & PROCESS ............................................................ 8

RESULTS .................................................................................................................................... 12

ANALYSIS .................................................................................................................................. 65

CONCLUSION ............................................................................................................................ 83

APPENDICES ............................................................................................................................ 84


From the Executive Summary:

Commercial Development

For Commercial Development, participants were most concerned with encouraging and facilitating a diversity of retail, food, and service establishment to meet residents’ needs in the Town of New Castle. In particular, they would like more restaurants and shops such as bookstores. Additionally, they want to regulate the number of certain types of businesses allowed in the downtown Chappaqua Hamlet, such as nail salons. Participants also want the Town of New Castle to create a destination or focal point in the downtown Chappaqua Hamlet, such as a theater or arts center, and many participants want a new supermarket built somewhere in Town. Additionally, participants want to prioritize local businesses over chains, want some nightlife activities in the downtown Chappaqua Hamlet, and believe retail and services mixed with diverse housing is appropriate for downtown.

Participants felt strongly about where to locate future commercial development. Many participants want to concentrate commercial development in the downtown Chappaqua Hamlet and near the train station, while some want to add new commercial development at Chappaqua Crossing/Reader’s Digest. A few participants also suggested Millwood as an appropriate location. Participants were divided particularly about whether to locate commercial development at Chappaqua Crossing, and several suggested that the Town government should improve the development process for Chappaqua Crossing to appropriately deal with traffic, environmental, and economic impacts and to ensure community benefits, deal with uncertainty/divisiveness, and improve communication with the community.

Participants expressed a desire to attract more consumers to the Town of New Castle by improving dated storefront façades, beautifying lots, and adopting design standards for the community. Additionally, participants want the Town government to host more events, such as parades and festivals, to attract consumers, and think the Town government should adopt policies to attract and support businesses. Suggested policies include tax abatements and other incentives, a Town marketing campaign to attract consumers to the Town’s businesses, and a program to encourage lower commercial rents.

Environment & Habitat

For Environment & Habitat, a large number of participants are very concerned with protecting the Town of New Castle’s unique character from development impacts. These participants noted the importance of the Town of New Castle’s quaint, small-town, rural feel; good family neighborhoods; varied and unique architecture; historic buildings and stonewalls; and scenic country roads. Additionally, participants generally like the Town of New Castle’s natural and environmental features and are concerned about protecting and maintaining the Town of New Castle’s green, public open space and natural areas, such as the Audubon Preserve and the Arboretum. Participants also like and want to strengthen the Town of New Castle’s environmental regulations and policies, including balanced tree protection management, the environmental review process, nuisance wildlife policies, water resource protection, a nighttime light pollution ordinance, policies to respect the Town’s hilly and rocky topography, a noise ordinance, wetland regulation, pesticide regulations and policies, and invasive species policies.

Public Works & Infrastructure

For Public Works & Infrastructure, participants overwhelmingly expressed an interest in establishing a complete streets policy that improves the Town of New Castle’s streets to facilitate multiple modes of travel. In particular, participants want to enhance the pedestrian experience by creating more sidewalks throughout Town, install better bicycle lanes and bicycle parking infrastructure, and install traffic calming measures to improve safety for pedestrians and cyclists. Further, participants want to improve sidewalk, trail, and bicycle path connections, particularly in downtown where added crosswalks and sidewalk connectivity would improve walkability. Additionally, participants suggested enhancing streetscapes with trees, landscaping, planters, and outdoor seating; upgrading public transportation and creating a community trolley or shuttle; and improving train station access and maintenance.

In addition to complete street improvements, participants would like better parking at the train station and downtown to improve access to commercial development and civic uses, as well as better and more parking generally. They also expressed a need for better maintenance for roads and related infrastructure and suggested the Town government could control stormwater runoff by regulating impervious coverage, installing green infrastructure, collecting rainwater, and fixing the town’s drainage problems. Suggested utility improvements include expanding sewer lines, maintaining and burying power lines and other overhead wires, building less intrusive cell towers, installing natural gas lines, extending the Town’s water service, and utilizing renewable and alternative energy sources. To expand development, several participants expressed the need to extend infrastructure, such as roads, sewers, and gas lines. Finally, a large number of participants are concerned with improving traffic patterns in specific areas of town to alleviate traffic congestion and safety hazards, as well as building more roads to improve access and installing traffic lights where appropriate.

Public Services & Recreation Facilities

For Public Services & Recreation Facilities, many participants like existing parks and want to improve them, as well as build new parks. Additionally, a large number of participants want to create more year-round, indoor and outdoor, accessible sports facilities, such as a community pool and recreation center. They expressed a need to improve year-round recreational programming for children and adults, as well as athletic fields. Others suggested parks and recreation improvements include improving landscaping maintenance; building more versatile, safe, and accessible playgrounds; building a small park and more landscaped areas downtown, and adding more outdoor seating and gathering spaces.

In addition to improved parks and recreation facilities, participants would like several Town administration improvements. Prior to further development, a large group of participants would like the Town government to complete the master plan to determine future housing, commercial development, infrastructure, and natural resource protection.

They also would like to enhance planning processes by including more public input, appropriate studies, professionals, local board members, and respect for the current plan. Further, participants would like a streamlined project review and approval process, as well as improved communication between the Town government and residents and the Town government and the school board, Metro North, Westchester County, and surrounding services through increased tax revenues from commercial properties and other funding sources; lower taxes and give rebates where appropriate; and better enforce local regulations, especially zoning.

Participants expressed an interest in maintaining and increasing Town services, including garbage services; improved and expanded recycling services that incorporate composting; more community events, such as festivals and concerts; improved senior center activities; library services; an upgraded and expanded community center; the art center and expanded cultural and art facilities; efficient and safe snow removal; and improved services for young people and families, such as a youth center. Furthermore, participants would like improved emergency services, including a disaster emergency center and plan and better communication with the community. Finally, participants generally approve of the schools but suggested improving school bus service and stops and student drop-off locations.

Housing

Several participants think existing housing is good and should stay consistent and would like to maintain low-density, single-family homes on large lots with limits on housing expansion. Conversely, several participants believe the Town government should create housing that serves seniors, young families and households, and similar groups and want to create affordable housing for these groups. These participants want to provide a greater variety of housing types, such as multi-family, condos, townhomes, starter homes, rentals, and accessory dwelling units, and want housing that will attract and accommodate a diverse range of residents. Additionally, some participants would like mixed use development. Participants suggested locating affordable housing appropriately, especially in the downtown Chappaqua Hamlet, and support locating higher density housing downtown, as well as building more housing near the train station.

ANALYSIS [starting on p. 65 of the report]
In (parentheses) are numbers-of-people participating in each topic discussion, then broken out under each topic.

Commercial Development

Quality of Commercial Development


Encourage and facilitate a diversity of retail, food, and service establishments,
including restaurants and bookstores, to meet residents’ needs in town. Regulate the
number of certain types of businesses allowed in town, like nail salons (120)

• Like the diversity of retail, food, and service establishments (35)
• Too many of the same types of establishments (10), especially nail salons (5)
• Regulate number of same businesses in town (2) and do not allow more of the same
types of establishments (12), especially nail salons (6)
• Need more diversity of retail, small shops, services, amenities, and activities so
residents do not have to go elsewhere to fulfill their needs (21)
• Allow and promote a diverse range of retail/services/stores downtown (7)
• In particular, need more and diverse restaurants (12)
• Establish more restaurants to attract consumers (6)
• Open a bookstore (4)

Create a destination or focus downtown to attract people (26)
• Need a draw downtown to attract consumers (8)
• Create a destination or focus downtown to attract people. Ideas include a destination
restaurant, pool, non-chain anchor stores, movie theater, arts center, and playhouse
(18)

Build a supermarket somewhere in town (23)
• Need a supermarket (15) in Chappaqua (2), Millwood (1), downtown (1)
• Build a supermarket (4)

Prioritize small, local businesses over chain stores and large commercial
developments (19)

• Like having few chains, big-box stores, fast food establishments, and large commercial
developments (9)
• Like having small, independent mom-and-pop businesses (10)

Create nightlife in New Castle, and encourage stores to open on Sundays (16)
• New Castle needs a nightlife and stores and services open in the evening and on
Sundays (7)
• Create opportunities to go downtown in the evening and at night with later business
hours (7) and open stores on Sunday (2)

Allow mixed uses with retail, services, and diverse housing (multifamily, small
single-family, senior housing, affordable housing for artists) (11)

Location of Commercial Development


Concentrate commercial development downtown and near the train station (43)
• Like the central, downtown location of the town center (15) and municipal facilities (2)
and see opportunity for expansion there (3);
• Like that the train station is convenient to retail and services in downtown (4)
• Focus commercial development in downtown (supermarket, higher density
development, town hall/library/police station, train station, King Street, North Greeley)
(19)

Add new commercial development at Chappaqua Crossing or another site, such as
Millwood or Readers Digest (27)

• Shift expansion of downtown to another site (3)
• Add new commercial development at Chappaqua Crossing (grocery store, civic uses,
theater, museum, town hall, train station) (14)
• Develop Millwood Square; redevelop Millwood firehouse (2)
• Move civic uses to Millwood area (2)
• Redevelop Readers Digest (3), move Bell School here (1), build train station (2)

Avoid commercial development at Chappaqua Crossing (will harm downtown,
residential property, trees, environment, traffic patterns) (12)

Improve Chappaqua Crossing development process (deal with traffic, environmental,
and economic impacts, ensure community benefits, deal with uncertainty/divisiveness,
communicate fully with community) (5)

Storefronts


Improve storefront façades, beautify lots, and adopt design standards for community
(29)

• Downtown storefronts look dated and are not cohesive, lack vibrancy, and need a face
lift (10) and commercial areas need upgrades (3)
• Improve façades and beautify lots (9)
• Adopt design standards for community (6) that conform to existing architecture (1)

Community Activities


Create more events to attract consumers to town (20)
• Like the town’s community activities, including parades, the children’s book
fair/festival, farmers’ market, village market, recreational programs (12)
• Need more festivals and a community gathering center in town (2)
• Create more events to bring people to town (6)

Commercial Development Policies


Adopt policies to attract and support businesses (26)
• Barriers to starting business (regulatory, costs) (6)
• Should adopt policies and incentives to attract and support businesses, such as a tax
abatement program, controlling costs (7)
• Support and invest in businesses and downtown (4), including through an economic
development board (1) or staff person (1) or a business improvement district (1),
better signage (1)
• Provide financial, tax, or other incentives for storefront improvements, downtown
establishments, redevelopments (5)

Develop a marketing campaign to attract consumers to the town’s businesses (16)
• Marketing issues for businesses (1)
• Encourage sale days, retailer events, monthly merchant event (3)
• Develop a marketing campaign to attract consumers to the town’s businesses
(brochures, branding /public image effort, social media campaign, co-marketing with
other towns, “shop local” signs, town billboard) (12)

Create a program to encourage lower commercial rents (11)
• Rents for retail space downtown are too high (6)
• Create a program to encourage lower commercial rents (5)

Editor’s Note:  Appendix D—which runs from pp. 91 to 196—contains a straight-up list of responses elicited from each of the groups—

Both the General Public:

Bell Middle School: Wed. May 7
Horace Greeley HS: Sat. May 10
Westorchard Elementary: Thu. May 15
Seven Bridges Middle School: Wed. May21

... and from Additional Specific Groups:

• New Castle Senior Programs—May 22 New Castle Community Center
• League of Women Voters—May 28 Chappaqua Library
• Chappaqua Moms’ Group—June 4 Gedney Park
• Chamber of Commerce—June 11 Le Jardin du Roi
• Town Staff—June 18 Town Hall
• High School students – June 23 Horace Greeley High School

—on each of the topics:

Commercial Development and Town Centers: The Commercial Development and Town Centers topic provides the framework for discussing the quality and character of the economic centers in the town, both present and future. The topic includes economic development, jobs, and needed tax revenues.

Environment & Habitat: This topic refers to the town’s natural environmental features, including topography, scenic resources, ridgelines, wetlands, parks, open space, sustainability, habitats and the connections among them, including those needed to provide maximum benefits to the community.

Public Works & Infrastructure: This topic refers to the roads and streets in the town, public transportation, the train station, paths and sidewalks, traffic signals and the need for accommodating a variety of methods of moving people and goods into and throughout the community. It also includes other infrastructure improvements including cellular communication facilities, cable, electricity, water, sewers, drainage, flood control and other utilities.

Public Services and Recreation: This topic refers to town-provided services, such as senior services, building permits, garbage collection, recycling, etc. It includes libraries and passive/active recreation. It includes school and educational facilities. Also included are security, public works, fire safety, cultural and art facilities and programs, and related matters.

Housing: This topic refers to the housing needs of both New Castle and the region. This includes housing choices and housing types needed to accommodate the needs of the current and future residents of the town including seniors, young households, workers, town employees and volunteers, and others in the region searching for suitable housing.

—following the same lines of questioning:

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

June 23, 2014—High School Students
[Editor’s Note: This session at HGHS had only four participants, but as the only non-adult age group they offer an interesting perspective.]

What’s working now? What should be maintained? Positive:


Commercial Development
• Small businesses are good
• Hall of Scoops is a good thing
• Sherry B’s, Susan Lawrence and Starbucks are good

Environment & Habitat
• The environment-trees, parks fields

Public Works & Infrastructure
• No comments.

Public Services & Recreation
• Good schools-lots of opportunities (classes/diversity/advanced classes-good prep
for state exams)
• Safe community
• Community is a place people want to be
• Easy back streets to run on (safe)
• Chappaqua Library is the best!

Housing
• No comments.

What’s not working? Issues:


Commercial Development
• Most kids go to Mt. Kisco (shopping, movies, etc.). No one hangs out in Chappaqua
• Chappaqua Crossing we don’t need all that retail-cause more issues with traffic and
noise
• People have a lot of $ and do things out of Town.
• Need more restaurants (high end-like Stonebarns Bluehill)
• No one goes to Chappaqua (hamlet) to spend money, it’s too expensive
• Sherry B’s desserts are too small
• Chappaqua is a “grab and go” town, not like Mt. Kisco where you can walk around
• Concerns about impacts on economy

Environment & Habitat
• No comments.

Public Works & Infrastructure
• Need more sidewalks
• Need secondary access for High School
• Riding the bus takes too long to go from 7 bridges to the school, it’s slow and the
traffic is inconvenient, no one is on it.

Public Services & Recreation
• Drugs and Drinking
• School entry points (too many of them)
• Parks (not that accessible)
• The only reason people come to our town is for the schools and the housing and
once their kids are done with school they leave.
• Taxes are too high-budget cuts affect the students, take away recreation, arts, music,
child study, field trips
• Community invests in sports because there are no art programs
• The new ILAB- money should have been spent to do other things- taking away the
hallway was a mistake, it’s only open to 3 classes at a time
• There is no student voice in the town/school budget
• We need a pool +/-
• Facilities for sports are far away can’t have volleyball tournaments in HS ceiling is
too low.
• People with a stake in local government are older and have been here a long time
• Decisions made behind closed doors.
• Town (Chappaqua) is more appropriate for 5th/6th graders

Housing
• Kids who finish college don’t want to come back because taxes are too high
• Affordable housing is bad for the tax base

Strategies:


Commercial Development
• Encourage people to spend more $ here

Environment & Habitat
• No comments.

Public Works & Infrastructure
• No comments.

Public Services & Recreation
• To solve problem of families leaving after graduation create more recreation
• Change Town meetings to be earlier 6:00/6:30
• Make Town Hall meetings more inviting- no suits, more casual, no lecturing more of
a discussion, use technology better, just talk about the issues, have refreshments,
etc. 

Housing
• Millwood good for more housing
• Develop more condos that would be a good thing
• Lower taxes


Comments(35):
We encourage civil, civic discourse. All comments are reviewed before publication to assure that this standard is met.

Dear Editor- you correctly point out that this was not a survey. The ” report” is a result of informal discussion groups. It would be helpful to review who participated and how they were picked. I recall a dust up some months ago when Supervisor Greenstein was asked to resign from one of these groups ( committees). What role did Katz and Brodsky have? In NCN comments I have read that Chuck Napoli ( downtown developer) participated- is that true? Who volunteered and who decided which residents participated?
Christine- I take issue with your explanation for reprinting only the executive summary and the ” commercial dvelopment” sections. You claim because it was the ” hottest throughout”.  This plays right into the hands of those that charectieize you as a biased nimby editor. West Enders car deeply about sewers and infrastrure - they feel like second class citizens. Empty nesters like me care deeply recreation and housing options. You are so caught up in this retail at CC brouhaha that it has compromised your reporting. Retail at CC and all your nimby neighbors have over run this town with their agendas. Whole a Foods at CC is but one issue we face- base on your reporting in this blog one would think it’s the only issue.

By Empty nester looking for a smaller nest on 08/05/2014 at 3:16 pm

I agree with empty nester! Retail at CC and the commerce committee is the ” hottest” issue only in the eyes/ minds of NIMBYs.
There is a large condo development bring considered at Legionairres. A 25000 sq ft mosque with hundreds of parking spaces being considered for the west end. Infrastructure like sewers and drainage are important. Open space , environment and recreational facilities are top reasons we live here.
Once again this website focuses in on retail at CC. The master plan is supposed to be about all things for all residents. 
Once again this proves that the master plan process is all about blocking CC and not about the rest of our issues. 
Editor Yeres should be reporting all of this. Instead she highlights retail at CC.

By Resident on 08/05/2014 at 5:04 pm

The idiocy of commenters never ceases.

Commercial development was the hottest topic at these outreach meetings.

People were not “picked” to participate.  People who were interested in participating came to these outreach meetings.  All town residents and business owners were welcomed.  Where were you Resident and Empty nester ?

The entire report is on the town’s website.  Why not see for yourself before making more stupid comments.

By Jane P. on 08/05/2014 at 9:26 pm

To Jane- I participated and I can tell you first hand that there were many who volunteered and got involved for the singular reason to stop retail at CC. That is why it was the hottest issue. In theory a Master Plan is to provide a blue print for all of our community and for all of our needs as directed by the 5 topics covered. In reality many participated because they want to prevent and stop a particular development. In reality they are using the Master Plan as a foil and an excuse for their agenda.
In the meetings I attended it was crystal clear who these people were and why they had volunteered.
Before my involvement I watched a town board meeting / work session at which time Greenstein was pressured to resign his participation because many believed he was pro retail at CC. Yet the anti retail faction is widely visible and active.
Most disturbing is that the intent of the MP is totally lost on these participants. They don’t care about environment and habitat or public services recreation or housing. They only want to stop retail at CC in their backyard.
From my experience in my group I see only a slanted and biased result. I am sympathetic and respectful of the neighbors around CC but I do not condon their behavior.

By I participated on 08/06/2014 at 6:51 am

Did we learn anything from this exercise that we did not already know?  Seems like it was a waste of time and money.

Editor’s Note: What did you learn from it?

By Is anyone surprised? on 08/06/2014 at 7:04 am

@I participated,

You nailed it.

By bob on 08/06/2014 at 8:54 am

These are the 5 topics covered under the New Castle Master Planning Public Engagement Report — Commercial Development, Environment & Habitat, Pubic Works & Infrastructure, Public Services & Recreation and Housing. Commercial Development is the “hottest” topic not because it is most important not because it is more crucial than say environment –infrastructure or housing but is hottest because that is the focus of a small militant group aka NIMBY have championed.  With the Editor of this publication firmly in their camp the topic is always highlighted contributing to making it “hottest”.
To prove the point – the editor chose to print ONLY the analysis of the Commercial Development section and omitted the other 4 sections. She informs us that the rest is included in the 300 page report and she provides a link. She should have printed the executive summary and treated all 5 topics the same.
Last time I checked our town is a community comprised of many people with many interests and concerns.  After attending- watching many TB meetings and reading NewCastleNow it is clear that retail at CC has an oversized and overemphasized standing. It is terribly unfair to the rest of us that are deeply concerned about our taxes, housing, parks-recreation, seniors, schools, sewers, and many other issues. Our elected officials need to take back the narrative and work for everybody.

By Steve C on 08/06/2014 at 10:17 am

I participated,

I too participated and did not experience what you say that you did.  I find YOUR take biased and do not condone it.  I found neighborly communication on all topics. The entire evening was like a breadth of fresh air after all the acrimony.
These outreach meetings were a first step.  I know that you will fight this all the way because a real master plan MAY not suit your prejudice .  Your bias is crystal clear.
BTW, even your term,  ” volunteer ” is misleading.  Unlike yourself I will be content with the results even if they are not what I would like.

And Greenstein should never have been on the steering committee, neither should have Carpenter.
I find it completely disingenuous and suspect that anyone would be against New Castle finally after at least 25 years getting an updated master plan.

Master plans have a shelf life of 10 years.  It has been unconscionable for this to have dragged on for so long.

I will say that if the TB does not hire a planning firm to do the rest of the job, this will all have been a waste of time.  Sabrina Charney is NOT the one to head this effort.  She is the supervisors handmaiden. 

By Jane P. on 08/06/2014 at 11:51 am

Here is what I learned from it. When you have a disproportionate representation of “volunteers” with an agenda you get a disproportionate skewed and inaccurate result. We know the NIMBYs are well organized and have demonstrated their persistence over and over. They dominate Town Board meetings. They speak write letters circulate petitions and manipulate surveys. It should not be a surprise to anyone that when these Master Plan groups were formed and residents were asked to volunteer that the NIMBYs came out in force.
I believe I represent many that favor retail at CC but neither has the time or inclination to sit through week night TB meetings that run until midnight. We support Whole Foods and retail but we don’t circulate petitions and we don’t campaign for candidates. We live our lives- we pay our taxes – we raise our families etc. It is human nature to get involved when things upset and impact you directly. That is why the residents near CC are so vocal. But that doesn’t make them right and it doesn’t make the less vocal tax paying resident wrong. It certainly does not excuse them for the inaccuracies and false claims they make regarding retail at CC.
With Master plan, surveys and studies you get out what you put in. If NIMBY dominate MP group sessions – what outcome do you expect?

By Grafflin mom on 08/06/2014 at 1:02 pm

@ Jane- why should we waste money and hire a planning firm? Others that have been hired and when their findings /results are presented they are not believed and they are dismissed by those in opposition.
Last year our town commissioned a study to examine the effects of retail at CC. The results where consistent with a different study commissioned by Summit Greenfield. Both concluded a net benefit to our town and little negative impact to downtown. Predictably, those opposed to retail at CC dismissed the results as biased and inaccurate.
The town board changed lawyers this year after the election. Our current attorneys agree with our past attorneys that Summit Greenfield has a very strong case against our town should legal action be reinstated. Two separate law firms agree – yet those in opposition to retail at CC dismiss their advice.
Now you want to hire a planning firm-why? Unless the planning firm will draw up plans for walking trails and bird watching the NIMBYs will dismiss them too.
We do not have the time or the money to waste.

By A Taxpayer on 08/07/2014 at 9:02 am

Graffin mom,

It is the shopping at any cost folk who are making false claims.  They have no excuse for their deliberate selfish unsubstantiated claims.  But they have shown that that will not stop them and I do not expect that it will stop you. 

Where are and who are all these people you represent ?  Trashing the master plan process as you do says it all.  What are you and your group afraid of ?

By tax payer too on 08/07/2014 at 11:54 am

Grafflin Mom, Empty Nester, Resident, I Participated,

I really don’t get it.  I’ll give you that maybe this isn’t telling us all that much that we don’t already know, or at least that we think we know.  I’ll give you that some of the folks in close proximity to CC can be a bit overzealous at times.  But I attended the first of these sessions.  The folks running these sessions bent over backwards to assure the proper tone, and that the groups were run properly.  The complaint of not having time for those that did not attend is just complete BS.  If you care you can make time.  But that might risk actually compromising your ignorance, thereby hindering the ability to post about the vast conspiracy theories.  What I actually saw at this session and what I continue to see throughout town is a vast majority of thoughtful individuals willing to engage in constructive dialogue.  What you folks describe above is a fairy tale that perhaps best fits some warped view you collectivley have of our community, or perhaps even the world in general.

Christine, unfortunately this site has somehow morphed into a giant petri dish for thoughts that we have the least interest in hearing.

By You're All Nuts on 08/07/2014 at 12:16 pm

Graffin mom,

Can having a WF’s really mean so much to you ????

By ???? on 08/07/2014 at 12:55 pm

@You’re All Nuts,

If you’re not interested in what your fellow citizens have to say, just climb out of the petri dish and stop reading.

By bob on 08/08/2014 at 7:33 am

To taxpayer too- what do you mean by ” shopping at any cost”?  All the negatives that retail at CC as portrayed by the NIMBYs are all exaggerated or don’t exist. They cry decreased property values- dangerous traffic - destruction of downtown- ambulance stuck on 117 to name a few. Yet they have no proof and in fact studies done here and in many other communities refute their wild claims.  So when you ask at what cost what do you mean.
I see great benefits that have been proven over and over again.

By Resident on 08/08/2014 at 8:15 am

A Taxpayer,

Repeating your contention as to what the lawyers think does not make it accurate. That assertion has already been debunked, but yet you persist.

You are wrong. It is not a waste of money to hire the right people, i.e. a planning firm to conduct the Master Plan.  Hiring Pace for the initial outreach was a good beginning. Sabrina is not qualified to do the master plan. The T.B. is shortchanging the taxpayers by not behaving responsibly and dragging its feet.  These ad hoc decisions are why we are where we are now, nowhere.

Even Sabrina admitted that that study you reference was lacking when she was asked about it by our newest planning board member Michael Allen. He asked very good questions.  Would be good to have answers.

Tax payer, if you are truly interesting in the town you would want these answers too.
I question your motives.

By Jane P. on 08/08/2014 at 8:47 am

You’re All Nuts,

I heartily agree with and thank you for your first paragraph.  While I understand your frustration I disagree with your take on the morphing of this site.  I think it important for all voices to be heard, even the ones that I do not like and with whom I disagree.

There is no other venue for these open, public exchanges and for that I say thank you Christine!

By tax payer too on 08/08/2014 at 12:05 pm

To Jane P - who decides who the ” right people” are to hire? You , Katz, Brodsky?
I have now listened very carefully to the traffic expert hired by the developer. This traffic expert has a 30 year track record. He has a phd and impeccable credentials. He has worked on hundreds of developments including retail that includes Whole Food projects. His assessments and predictions have proven highly reliable once the projects completed. I learned this about him because I Googled him and was able to research who he is and what he has done. He was the right person to hire and his works supports This project.
I mention this to you because In spite of his experience his stature and his quality reputation - he was criticized and marginalized because he was hired by Summit Greenfiled. So I ask you again - what difference does it make to hire the right people if all of you with your nimby agenda will manipulate the system.
Besides too much emphasis is placed on the master plan. It’s not the holy grail. It’s simply a guide. And add to the equation the lobby hell bent on stopping retail at CC at all costs some of whom are on the TB and related committees , the result is a waste.

By Round hill rd on 08/08/2014 at 4:57 pm

Jane- who has debunked the assertion that our former town lawyers and our current town lawyers agree that the developer has a very strong case against the town of new castle should the obstruction continue?
The Town Board are elected officials. Planning Board is appointed. We elect people and expect they us best judgement. Just because you disagree with the direction or the results does not mean we should hire outsiders. No more than we should hold a referendum , survey, or study whenever there is a difference of opinion. Nothing would ever be accomplished.
To repeat what others have said , there is nothing good about a Master Plan that is influenced by a overbearing aggressive group intent on influencing the results.

By Please explain on 08/08/2014 at 5:32 pm

The insistence that we update our Master Plan is nothing more than another stall- delay tactic. It is the NIMBYs last hope that they get a result that they can use to continue to thwart development. Studies have been done and experts have been brought in that confirm retail at CC will work just fine. ( paid for by both the town and developers) 
Seriously, are we really arguing that downtown Chapp with RiteAide, Wallgreens, Starbucks, Dunkin Doughnuts, 8 nail salons , 5 banks and 5 real estate brokers is sufficient to service our community?
The NIMBYs call those of us who support retail at CC selfish. That’s the joke. They are the selfish ones. We are all expected to live in a community that doesn’t even have a supermarket and other goods and services because they may have to put up with a little extra traffic?  They forget Readers Digest days with its traffic. They forget the truck traffic from Grand Union distribution center in Mt Kisco.

By Let's be honest on 08/09/2014 at 6:42 am

“Who has debunked the assertion that our former town lawyers and our current town lawyers agree that the developer has a very strong case against the town of new castle should the obstruction continue?”

This is a good question. Who specifically has done this?

By bob on 08/09/2014 at 8:22 am

Please tell us where and when you heard the town’s lawyers say that SG has a strong case against the town.  That is the question.  And please be specific.

By please tell us on 08/09/2014 at 12:28 pm

Please tell us where and when you heard the town’s lawyers say that SG has no case against the town.
That is the question.  And please be specific.

By bob on 08/09/2014 at 3:02 pm

To Please tell us- I live in Lawrence Farms East. I am one of several in my community that secretly and quietly support retail at CC ( provided it is done with highest sensitivity to traffic and hours of operation). We don’t speak up much because our neighbors don’t appreciate our position.
Several months ago a meeting of residents took place a the Kittle House. Some, not all of the a Town Board members attended. At this meeting we were told that the lawyers advised our town board that they had inherited a very tenuous situation and a lawsuit would be difficult to beat. A new castle town board member told a group of residents that our town lawyers said the developer has a very strong case.
That’s your answer and it is 100% true. I heard it with my own ears and there were many others who heard the same.
Our former Town administrator Penny P told me the same thing when she was running for Supervisor. She knew it first hand from her access to the former board and former lawyers. That is why many people know this. It would be foolish of our town board to publicly acknowledge the strong case SG has. We would be in effect arguing their case - but it is true.

By Not a nimby on 08/09/2014 at 3:09 pm

bob,

As usual you distort .  I never said the lawyers said anything.  Not a nimby reports what they told a few neighbors privately , but they never spoke publicly. 

Greenie, who you unfailingly support told the town over and over that SG does not have a strong case while he was campaigning and then, lo and behold changed his tune once elected.  He blamed Carpenter who has plenty to be blamed for but he showed all of us that he was little more than a big mouth with no cojones.

By please tell us on 08/10/2014 at 12:53 pm

After he was elected Leader Greenstein,  every chance he got, everywhere he went both publicly and privately proclaiming that retail is coming to CC did equally as much harm to any legal case the town may have as did Susan Carpenter and Robin Stout.

Everything that Greenstein has done stinks to high heaven.

By resident on 08/10/2014 at 7:31 pm

@please tell us,
No distortion at all. I used your exact words to ask the exact same question.
Which you of course cannot answer.

By bob on 08/10/2014 at 8:22 pm

No one could equal the damage Carpenter and Stout have done.

By bob on 08/10/2014 at 8:31 pm

Not a nimby,

What you were witness to is as interesting as it is disturbing.  Why would the towns attorneys say privately to a group of residents what they have refused to say publicly ?

I can certainly understand why you wish to stay anonymous and am very grateful that you are not my neighbor.

By Not in my town. on 08/10/2014 at 10:01 pm

@Not in my town,

Read again. “Not a Nimby” didn’t say the town attorneys said anything privately to a group of residents. He/she said a town board member told the residents what the attorneys told the town board.
To wit:
“A new castle town board member told a group of residents that our town lawyers said the developer has a very strong case.”

By bob on 08/11/2014 at 11:53 am

The Pace report shows a number of obvious things. One is the outward appearance and over all (lack of) charm of the downtown. Convenience to residents is what shopping in suburban towns is about. We are willing to pay a slight premium for it.

In prior postings, the idea of creating a ‘business improvement district’ “BID” was mentioned. As the editor clarified in her note, a BID is designed to make a town more inviting, appealing and convenient, (ie. to improve business), by upgrading and adding charm to the outward appearances and facades of the subject area.  Well, aren’t some of the reported PACE comments exactly on this point? Who doesn’t agree that upgrades ti facades, sidewalks, street lights, planters fall within this category. Even parking, maybe. One thing and one thing only is within the BID budget… dealing ONLY with stores, and nothing else.

The unanswered question I have asked at least 5 times is: Why hasn’t a BID been created? The unspoken answer is that it would be politically incorrect even though it is financially correct for all of us tax payers.

What is politically incorrect, you ask? Well, it is a tax ONLY upon the businesses and commercial property owners for them to pay for the upgrades to and for the benefit of their own properties. The town taxpayers do not pay one cent towards that dedicated budget. (The town can make a voluntary contribution)

AND….the commercial property owners have the right to vote down the creation of a BID and avoid those self created and self dedicated taxes!!! Where else in this country can a commercial street vote down a tax that they don’t want?

The answer is simple. The property owners want all of us to pay for the enhancements to THEIR properties, which, of course, profit them by the ability to collect greater rents and higher sales prices when the properties are sold.

continued

By One concern is easily addressed on 08/11/2014 at 12:44 pm

A BID is not THE answer to the downtown doldrums. It is, however, one method of improvement.  And by the way, Chappaqua crossing can be included in that district and can be taxed to benefit the BID district as a whole. This means that theoretically CC pays BID taxes that go toward helping the down town. 

Sigh, this is not what the NIMBYS want to hear because it is a suggestion that is not negative towards Chappaqua Crossing.

By easily addressed continued on 08/11/2014 at 12:44 pm

Gee tnx bob,

Then it was members of the TB trying to pressure the residents.  Does that make it better ?

By Not in my town on 08/12/2014 at 2:19 pm

No, it makes it correct.

By bob on 08/13/2014 at 5:58 pm

bob has it wrong again.

By Just plain wrong on 09/01/2014 at 9:00 am


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