PB uneasy with bypassing Master Plan process to make zoning and Master Plan changes for Spa

Wednesday, February 19, 2014
by Christine Yeres

As with the Chappaqua Crossing application for grocery and retail zoning, the “Spa at New Castle” application would require changes both to the town’s zoning laws and to its Master Plan.  In finalizing their comments to the Town Board on the Spa draft scoping document, due Friday, last night Planning Board members debated how to handle such changes without carving out the Legionaries property—and, because of the “floating zoning” proposed, properties of similar size—from the Master Plan, set for an overall review by the community in the next several months.

The Planning Board’s preliminary advice: 1) The proposed spa use is “obviously incompatible with the current zoning and should wait for the [Master Plan] update,” and 2) as a precondition to moving forward with the Spa application, any changes should be made in the context of viewing the overall Master Plan (also referred to as the Town Development Plan).

“Since we are in middle of a Master Plan update,” said Planning Board member Sheila Crespi, “rather than piecemeal changing of the Master Plan—tweaking it here or there—I was suggesting we continue with the Master Plan update before moving forward.”

“Does the PB support that?” asked Town Planner Sabrina Charney, present in Skype-form at the end of the dais.

“I don’t think this project should be put on hold,” said Planning Board member Dick Brownell, “because there are other timing constraints and a whole bunch of issues about this project—and the more time that’s spent the more money is spent.”

“My view,” said Planning Board Chair Bob Kirkwood, “is it should not be carved out and a special floating should not be established before it’s studied with TDP [town development plan, or Master Plan].  I would say that would be getting the cart in front of the horse.  I would say this is almost a segmented approach and I would not support that, frankly.  I understand the timing issues, but it’s not unusual for a town to call a time out, or moratorium,  and take care of these kinds of global planning issues.”

“My only thought is that how global is it really?” asked Brownell.  “There’s only a few parcels of this size left.  Everything else has already been taken.  I can see it either way.  But I like the idea that if we have carefully thought-out, comprehensive amendments to the TDP that would satisfy me.”

“I agree it’s a little premature [to let the application proceed before the Master Plan review],” said Planning Board member Doug Schuerman, “but I do think the ‘global’ impact is not just that there are other areas in the town it might set a precedent for.  I think it’s more ‘global’ for that region of town.  It has a global impact on that region.  It’s out of character for what’s currently going on there.”

“Good statement, good description,” said Kirkwood.

“Excellent,” said Brownell.

Back to comments on the scoping document

“It’s one thing if you want to recommend moratorium be undertaken,” said Charney, “but that is not commenting on the scoping document.  So let’s focus on the purpose of commenting on the scope.  If you want to object to the project moving forward in relation to the Master Plan, that’s different than commenting on content of the scoping document.”

“If the Planning Board wants to update the Master Plan,” said the Planning Board’s counsel Jennifer Gray, she would make members’ comments reflect that.  “Everyone agrees we should consider whether amendments should be made.  [The questions is] whether to make them before moving forward any further with the application or make them as this application moves forward.”

Can both birds be killed with one stone?

“I would agree,” said Charney.  “The Master Plan process is moving forward.  This [Spa] project is on what I’d call a ‘fast track’ as opposed to the Master Plan.  We’ve had to restart that Master Plan process.  It’s been thought that given that this [Spa] project is in the pipeline and that the Town Board is entertaining a scoping document that would ultimately be looking for amendments. And depending on the timing, those things [the developer’s application timeline and the Master Plan review] might flow into the Master Plan.”

“I wanted certain issues to be included in the scope for analysis,” continued Charney, ”—particularly in regard to large lots: what this would look like applying it to other areas of the town and what are the opportunities to apply this to other parts of town.  Because I’m concerned that the Master Plan now is silent on large lots other than for them to be used what they’re already zoned for.  So there are parts of the scope and the [environmental review process] that would help us further the Master Plan in those areas.  It’s just a matter of timing.”

An end-run around the Master Plan?

“I would say,” Kirkwood responded, “that the point you make that the Master Plan is ‘silent’ is really not the case.  In fact, it is zoned for two-acre residential.  It’s not silent.  That’s what it’s zoned for.  So what’s happening here is that the proposal is for a very significant change in that zoning, inconsistent with our Master Plan and inconsistent with our zoning.  So I would think there would be a perspective taken by a good number of residents that the Master Plan is not silent, in fact that what is in the Master Plan is appropriate.  And so what you’re really doing here, it seems to me, is—fast-track, slow-track, whatever track—is that you are doing an end run around that [Master Plan] statement and policy that’s been around a long time.  I’m not saying the policy is right, wrong, or in-between, but it is something that by looking at the application you’re starting to move into an area that is inconsistent with a plan that exists.  And I think we start to get into problems and difficulties when we start doing this kind of ‘pocket’ approach.”

“When I said it was silent, I meant to say that it’s zoned residential and that there’s no language about uses other than what it’s been zoned for,” said Charney.  “So do you want to start off your comments [to the Town Board] being more specific about not moving forward on this project until the Master Plan is completed? Or do you want to just . . . ”

“Maybe we can all agree,” said Kirkwood, “just to make a very strong statement—or a statement—in here, recognizing that this action would be inconsistent with the existing town development plan and the applicant is going to have to put forward some very good reasons why this policy should be negated for this application.”

After carve-outs, what will be left for the Master Plan review?

“I think the net result of that comment,” said Crespi, “is that it will be carved out from the Master Plan process, because a rationale will come in—that will be accepted or not accepted—to the point of changing this particular part of the Master Plan without looking at the plan overall, but just carving out the text to create a floating zone.  So I am more comfortable with a statement that the Master Plan should probably be updated first.  And we’re seeing a lot of big projects come in that are being carved out from this process.  You begin to wonder what will be left for the Master Plan when we get around to it if all the big parcels are being carved out from it.  It becomes a little worrisome what you’ll be looking at when you start [the review of the Master Plan] as to the impacts—and the flexibility for doing things with these other large parcels that you didn’t have a chance to consider before they got carved out of the Master Plan.”

“I agree,” said Kirkwood.  “And it puts us in the position again—as you know, I’m a big supporter of updating the Master Plan—of being [reactive to a developer’s request] and it seems to me important that we get that Master Plan process going first and handle this as part of it.”

“It is possible,” said Crespi, “that in [proceeding with this application] we might gain some information about floating zones that would be useful in the Master Plan process—in the overall process and not just to carve out a piece of it for some amendment.  [For example, at a policy level,] some discussion of floating zones and how they might apply to large parcels that exist or might become available in the future.”

“One of the concerns I have,” said Kirkwood, “is that [treating this application outside of the Master Plan] puts the town in a reactive position in terms of a community statement of values, goals, policies—as opposed to working with applicants, working with the community to say, ‘This is where we’d like to go’—rather than having this carve-out.  I think that’s what the Master Plan is all about.  So I agree with you, Sheila.  I think every time we take away from that we diminish the importance of the document, we diminish therefore the input—on the direction, the policy—from the community and instead put ourselves very much in just a reactive position with things coming to us ‘yea,’ ‘nay,’ ‘smaller,’ ‘bigger,’ ‘over here,’ ‘over there,’ ‘try this,’ ‘try that.’  This [Spa application] could be the right thing that we want to see, but it just doesn’t have the right feeling.”

“OK,” said Brownell, “let’s try this wording: ‘It is obviously incompatible with the current zoning and should wait for the TDP update.  It is recommended that, if the project goes forward, comprehensive amendments to the town development plan would need to be included in the proposed action before moving forward with the project.”

“When you reference ‘comprehensive amendments to the TDP’,” asked Crespi, “do you mean more than the carve-out of this one piece of property?”

“As opposed to having just amendments,” said Brownell, “we could have ‘comprehensive amendments’ to the TDP, that would universally address such large parcels having zoning changes.”

Include, suggested Crespi, examples such as ” ‘the creation of a floating zone and its potential to be applied to other large parcels either existing or that may become available in New Castle.’ “

Brownell re-read the changed language: ” ‘It is recommended that if this project goes forward, comprehensive amendments to the TDP would need to be developed and address zoning changes on large parcels similar to this site anywhere in town.  These [comprehensive amendments] would be included in the proposed action before this moving forward with this project.’  Because the big issue that we’ve raised is that we have zoning changes for two large parcels—Chappaqua Crossing and the Spa, and a small zoning change for Conifer—but there are other parcels that may come forward, and we’re looking for an update not on the whole TDP but on this [large-parcel] piece of the TDP being brought in because it’s critical to the thinking ...”

“So it’s not just for the floating zone,” said Crespi, “but for the use of large parcels?”

“It’s good to use the word ‘comprehensive’ when describing the amendments,” said Charney, “because they need to be factually based, hard-look types of amendments. [The applicant is] asking for a floating zone and you’re looking for the comprehensive rationale as to why the Master Plan should be amended.”

The Planning Board’s comments in final form—and those of the public—are due at close-of-business on Friday, February 21. 

A video of the meeting is below.  The Spa scope discussion begins at the 8-minute mark; till around the 30-minute mark PB members discuss the how the Spa application fits timing-wise with the Master Plan review, then for the next two hours they discuss the remainder of the scoping document.
________________________

The public scoping hearing (the scope is the list of environmental concerns the applicant must respond to) has closed, but written comments may be submitted until Friday, February 21, 2014—either by email, to a special address for the purpose:

.(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address).

Or by snail-mail, to:

Town Administrator Jill Shapiro
200 South Greeley Avenue
Chappaqua, NY 10514

To see the February 10, 2014 letter in which the Westchester County Planning Board weighed in on the Spa application click HERE

You can find all documents pertaining to The Spa at New Castle application (including the County letter of 2-10-14) on THIS PAGE of the town’s website.

To view the entire Draft Scope click HERE.
_________________________

To view NCNOW’s archived Spa articles, click HERE.

Town of New Castle Planning Board Meeting 2/18/14 from New Castle Media Center on Vimeo.


Comments(43):
We encourage civil, civic discourse. All comments are reviewed before publication to assure that this standard is met.

I am very relieved to see that the planning board with Bob Kirkwood as its chair is FINALLY acting like an independent body.

By Jane P. on 02/20/2014 at 4:01 pm

It should now be clear that we need a new town planner.

By new blood on 02/20/2014 at 4:24 pm

Agree with new blood.  It is time.

By It is abundantly clear on 02/20/2014 at 8:40 pm

At least one board is capable of instiling confidence.
Good job planning board! 
Not too sure about Sabrina though, I think her performance was lacking (master plan was silent…come on).

By Chris Roberta on 02/20/2014 at 9:50 pm

For the developer of CC, I would at this time head into a controlled BANKRUPTCY. By going into bankruptcy you will be clearing out and eliminating a lot of your debt, and bad bet obligations as caused by the operating procedures of external parties i.e. The Municipality of New Castle. The Town of New Castle while waiting for you to emerge out of bankruptcy may take the opportunity to understand what it is that they would approve and bless for your property: we will be hearing about this property in 2019 with an approval still needing to be received from the Municipality. I hate to say it, but I just can’t bear to see you get jerked around by the “process.” It’s time for you to use the “process.” As for the Developer of the proposed SPA, pack up your checkbook and bring it to a place where it will be welcomed with open arms. I really do not see the Planning Board working with you in a fashion that would bring to you either a quick denial or approval of what you would like to do. I do not believe that the Planning Board has the know how to give you an outright quick denial, or an approval that would make financial sense in keeping up with the approval process. All this PB is going to do is take time and not answer to anyone, or any one concern. All they will do is make annoucements as to what they plan to do, or how they plan to plan finding answers in the review of your project. I would tell the owners of the proposed SPA property, thank you, but no thank you, goodbye! Team Green show your colors, or are these the colors you would like to show?

By Free advice! on 02/21/2014 at 2:59 am

Our Town planner is probably one of the most smartest people you can have working in the position that she has at Town Hall. I think it would be best for all concerned if the PB listened to what she has to say, and acts on what she is requesting. I am sure that she is not very happy with how bogged down the PB makes it for an applicant to be given either a quick denial or a nod of approval to proceed. Even a former building inspector during his last few years was losing his patience with what was coming out of the PB. Team Green how do you intend to set the tone as to how the PB should be behaving? Do you like what you see so far, or are you still green in your positions that you have with the Town?

By Stop it! on 02/21/2014 at 3:11 am

And Kirkwood was appointed by whom?

By duh on 02/21/2014 at 7:37 am

What do you mean?

By Re: duh on 02/21/2014 at 9:33 am

@ duh,

What is your point ?

By point ? on 02/21/2014 at 10:07 am

To Stop it!,

I don’t know how smart the town planner is, but I do know that she assisted the former town board in its approval of Conifer’s residential development and Chappaqua Crossing’s 100+ residential units.  Both those projects are well beyond the size, scale and density of current zoning and the master plan’s recommendations, necessitating amendments to both.  So, I think her approach on the spa project is based on her experience with those other large projects. 

The master plan and current zoning have been given short shrift.  The town planner has reflected what a majority of the town board wanted.  Presumably, if she wants to stay employed, she will gauge what the current town board wants and follow their lead. 

No matter how smart she is, she would do well to listen to what the planning board members say and not stifle their discussions or be dismissive of their concerns. 

By Job on 02/21/2014 at 10:08 am

Stop it,

You must be joking, or the planners best friend.  She is hardly “the smartest person in the position.” 

I, as a resident tax payer am dissatisfied with her work as town planner. 

By to Stop it! on 02/21/2014 at 10:16 am

Free advice,

Both the SPA and CC have wasted enough of this town’s time , energy and money.  Terrible projects that should both be denied.

By to Free advice on 02/21/2014 at 10:19 am

The point is that Kirkwood was appointed by Greenstein, Katz, and Brodsky after having been stonewalled forever by Mottel and Chapin for purely political reasons. So Kirkwood is taking the planning board in the new direction so many approve of, and he is doing it because of the new town board.

By duh on 02/21/2014 at 11:13 am

“Our Town planner is probably one of the most smartest people you can have working in the position that she has at Town Hall.”

Perhaps that’s because she’s the ONLY person in her position. Chris Roberta, for once, is on the right track here at least (but for the wrong reasons no doubt). We can do much better. She has got to go.

By bob on 02/21/2014 at 11:27 am

Job,

Very good comment.  The question is, just what does the current town board want ?

I wish that I knew or that I felt that they could be trusted.  So far they have not shown good faith with the community.

By good comment on 02/21/2014 at 11:28 am

duh,

The new supervisor also made Adam Brodsky the head of downtown development.  Are you good with that ?

I am very happy to see Mr. Kirkwood on the planning board and I see that he is doing a fine job as chair.  You do know that boards are supposed to be independent bodies, do you not ?

Editor’s Note:  In another article

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

you’ll see that Mr. Greenstein—Not Mr. Brodsky—is going to head up the Business Development Advisory Committee.

By what about Brodsky ? on 02/21/2014 at 1:17 pm

If the Town Board and Planning Board give preferential treatment or fast track the Spa they open themselves up to lawsuits from the developer of CC. They also can be sued by the folks that live near the proposed Spa. The new board members opposed retail at Chapp Crossing on traffic issues, character of neighborhood issues, and lack of updated master plan. They can not possibly fast track the Spa as those same issues are involved. They ran on a NIMBY platform and for that they will now have to slow and obstruct all other projects or else they will be exposed.
There will be no progress in our community. Does feel like the status quo. Déjà Vu all over again.

By Now what? Time to move on 02/21/2014 at 3:33 pm

Greenstein may be heading up the advisory board but it’s members were chosen by Brodsky and Greenstein. So Brodsky has certainly ensured his interests are considered. Beside Greenstein is hardly impartial. Napoli presented his plans years ago and has frequently made presentations and proposals to our various town boards. Each time Napoli did so Greenstein was in his corner cheerleading. Greenstein wrote multiple letters of support for Napoli plan and regularly spoke at town meetings in support of Napoli. Now Greenstein picks and heads up the downtown business advisory board and his running mate helps him pick its members. Connect the dots folks!!,,,

By Dear editor on 02/21/2014 at 5:58 pm

Double standard for CC versus the Spa, creating a position for slate member Stuart Miller, having Brodsky even play a role in the downtown advisory board while Katz heads the CC board. Same hack conduct as before. Just a different cast of characters.

By Same as it ever was on 02/21/2014 at 7:47 pm

@ Dear Editor:

Agree!  Ànd the dots do not draw a pretty picture!

By No way, no how! on 02/21/2014 at 7:53 pm

Greenstein initially appointed Brodsky to head the Business Development Advisory Committee, but then realized he could not get away with it and covered his tracks.  It is not a good situation.  We all need to attend PB meetings and speak out.

By A serious situation on 02/21/2014 at 9:17 pm

Correction:

That should read TB (Town Board) not PB. 
Sorry!  Thank you.

 

 

By A serious situation on 02/22/2014 at 12:35 am

Through all the phony rage its a wonder you folks can even see the dots, let alone connect them.

By bob on 02/22/2014 at 7:17 am

This is about as sleazy and self serving as politics gets. Greenstein,  Brodsky, and Katz are certainly living up to their promise of TRANSPARANCY! They are transparent in their motives and their self serving personal agendas. Brodsky owns downtown property and he assists Greenstein in choosing members for the downtown advisory board. Greenstein has been committed to derailing retail at CC so he can jam thru his buddy Napoli plan which he clearly has been committed to. So Brodsky and Greenstein have full influence over downtown development. Both should be forced to recuse themselves on all such downtown issues as they have a very clear conflict of interest.
Lisa Katz is an embarrassment. She ran for office with the sole purpose of stopping retail at Chapp Crossing.  She regularly fear mongeed and accused the last town board of enabling the developer. She cited traffic, safety, property value negatives, sewage treatment facility, fast good and neon signs as damage done by retail at CC. She was the poster girl for NIMBY. Now she sits on the town board and another developer proposes a very large complex at the Legionaires property. This plan includes a spa, hotel, conference convention facility, restaurant, condos, large parking lot. Reasonable folks would expect Katz to protest and object to this project as loudly and vociferously as she objected to retail at CC. But she has been silent and the town board she sits on is ” entertaining” the developers request. Yes - this is certainly an example of transparency. It is painfully transparent that because the Spa is not in her backyard Katz remains quiet. But when development in her backyard threatens her she was wildly loud and critical of the last town board for entertaining zoning change requests and compromise.
How do these people sleep at night? How do they walk about town and not realize people are on to them.

By RJ on 02/22/2014 at 8:00 am

Hey bob - perhaps if this Spa/ hotel / restaurant complex were down the block from your house as it is mine you would understand that this isn’t phoney rage. Someone labeled you the NewCastleNow mascot. I agree - assuming the mascot is a clown.

By Walk a mile in my shoes on 02/23/2014 at 1:12 pm

It is a fnatasy that the Spa property is a big lot.  the only buildabl;e land is the field along Tripp Street, the rest of the acreage is just rocky ridges and wetlands. That’s why they are trying to put a 5 story building 45 feet from the backyards on Roseholm. The Master Plan says this sort of multifamily housing should not increase the density over what could be built under conventional subdivision regulations- and this land has very little development potential.  Keep in mind the Legionnaires didn’t pay that much for the property and the Vatican has lots of money- they don’t need to make another bundle by selling this way over its real market value so this out of state developer can trash this neighborhood.

By look at the land first on 02/23/2014 at 2:39 pm

CC pays property tax, the current SPA site does not until it becomes a SPA. Town should move forward to get the property back on the tax rolls with the SPA project; it makes sense. For those not in favor of the SPA, file suit against whoever to try and stop it, but the Town should show leadership and push the PB to move to approve, and not move to review, wait, see, plan, redraw, think again, think twice, form another committee to find solutions and answers; Kirkwood is great at this, but this will harm New Castle in the long run as it has over the past 20 yrs. No, leadership is leadership, and we voted Team Green in to lead and do, to lead and get done, to lead and provide denials or rejections. We did not vote Team Green in to waste time or get applicants like CC and the SPA bogged down in hinden agendas as placed into a review process. This administration should promote moving in a direction that makes great sense as with the SPA PROJECT, and simply leave the burden to those who would like to stop it to opening up their own checkbook and filing their own lawsuit. The taxpayers of New Castle need this property to come back onto the tax rolls - PERIOD! Penny for your thoughts?

By What? on 02/23/2014 at 2:44 pm

RJ hit the nail on the head. I TOTALY AGREE!!!

By Patty K on 02/23/2014 at 2:48 pm

You are comparing apples and oranges.  CC has the potential to clog up the entire town among other impacts.  The spa is at the edge of town and if it is approved, it is hard to see it having a large impact on anyone but the neighboring lots that directly border the property. Doesn’t sound like they can get their septic in order anyway.

By CC and Spa on 02/24/2014 at 2:09 am

@Walk a mile in my shoes,

Do you support massive retail at CC then?

By bob on 02/24/2014 at 7:48 am

RJ speaks for many people in this town.

By They must go on 02/24/2014 at 8:04 am

The selfish and hypocritical SPA NIMBYs would have the town dedicate this property as their own private park, but this land needs to be developed for the benefit of all tax payers.

By tax relief on 02/24/2014 at 8:10 am

@What,
“We did not vote Team Green in to waste time or get applicants like CC and the SPA bogged down in hinden agendas as placed into a review process”. 

This is exactly why people voted for Team Green and the only reason that Katz ran for office.  Her only goal is to stop CC from having retail.  The problem is that they are not being consistent in their Master Plan delay tactic

By Really? on 02/24/2014 at 8:32 am

@What?:

You did not “vote Team Green in.”  As the developer for this project, you only care about making a buck and do not care about Master Plans, environmental impacts, or the taxpayers of this Town.  Do not try and represent otherwise.  By the way, all school tax revenue for this commercial development will be going to the BEDFORD SCHOOL DISTRICT.  The citizens of this Town will fight you tooth and nail against turning our residential neighborhoods into commercial zones.  You can be sure of that.  Hopefully, the Town Board realizes that their jobs will be shortlived if they don’t listen to the citizens of the Town and thumb their nose at the PB.  Various members of the Board are on record as opposing the exact type of commercial development in residential neighborhoods that you are proposing.  If they vote for your project, they will be exposed as hypocrites.  If you want a lawsuit, then so be it.  It shouldn’t have to come to that but our Town is worth it.

By Send Oder Back to NJ on 02/24/2014 at 9:53 am

How the hell do we pick people to serve on the Master Plan? From what I can see there are people already involved in the process that have absolutely no right to be in such a position. I think we need to revisit how a Master Plan committee is assembled. I think we need our Master Plan panel to be 10 or 15 members in size. To thrust the future of New Castle into a very micro nano slice of a pie of people harboring certain attitudes, agendas, or vendettas, is sickening in my opinion. I would like to see Sabrina Charney take on more of a role in pulling from the community people who she feels should be heard and part of the process. Sabrina is a reall good person, a decent person. knows what she is doing, but is being slapped around by hidden agendas that come out of the PB. Greenstein needs to align himself more with Sabrina, then with any one else - I don’t think that he is - PLEASE CORRECT ME IF I AM WRONG. OH, please don’t discount what she has to offer because she likes to see people have the ability to live amongst the super rich. I am sure if given proposals to address such matters that she would agree i.e. Town licenses for basement or attic located apartments in single family homes (Why not). Do not force AFH on any projects, keep the free market free.

By How on 02/24/2014 at 10:10 am

Tax relief is somewhat correct - if you look at our reserve balance we could use some additional revenue. 

If adding tax revenue is the goal lets build both retail at CC and the Spa.  But lets not pick and choose based on whose backyard they are in and whose rentals they will compete with. 

By Chris Roberta on 02/24/2014 at 10:57 am

“RJ speaks for many people in this town.”

He/she certainly does. Hypocrites all.

By duh on 02/24/2014 at 11:43 am

The Legionnaires own the SPA property and there is no basis for this property to be tax exempt.  They are not using it for their tax exempt purposes and in fact have not only offered it for sale but have given an option to a private developer.  The only reason its not being taxed now is that the town assessor is not doing his job.

By To What? on 02/25/2014 at 2:23 pm

We need SMART PLANNING! The planning board’s comments are spot-on.

First of all, it’s not a “SPA”. That is what the developers want you to you hear, but it’s really a 250,000 sq ft commercial district on 100 acres of land complete with hotel, retail, offices, 50 condos, restaurant, bar, etc. - smack in the middle of a beautiful 2 acre residential zone among homes that have been there a very long time. If you live in New Castle, this could be YOUR neighborhood. How would you feel if they put a hotel up next door to YOUR beautiful property? If this goes through, that can happen… and for some, it will!

This is also NOT just about the few large plots of land that are currently available around town (there are a few). But what if a shrewd developer buys up a bunch of connected residential lots along 133, or 120, or 117 (etc.) and merged them together to make one larger lot? Under this floating zone that is being proposed, they would then be able to build commercially in any residential area in our town. The developer could flip that land, develop it commercially, make millions and ruin the residential and rural nature of our town in the process. This planning board is not stupid. They see the damage this could cause. This is a really BIG deal!

Also - THIS IS WHY FLOATING ZONES ARE NOT USED THIS WAY ANYWHERE ELSE IN THE UNITED STATES! Floating Zones are supposed to help towns find land for NECESSITIES. For instance, if we needed a hospital here and there was nowhere else to put one. Is a “SPA” (hotel, retail, condos, restaurant, bar, offices, etc.) a NECESSITY that warrants commercializing a residential area? That is NOT how Floating Zones are used and according to NY State, the way this developer is trying to use it is really “Spot Zoning”. That is not permitted.

By plan first, build later on 02/25/2014 at 6:08 pm

Our current Master Plan does NOT permit this activity. If this goes forward before the Master Plan is revised, then we might as well throw the Master Plan in the garbage and forget about it entirely. Why bother spending time revising a document if nobody abides by it? And if our Master Plan means nothing, then why would anybody buy residential property any longer in our town if someone can just go and build a hotel or some other commercial development right next to it? Zoning here then becomes unpredictable. Good luck EVER selling your home in the Town of New Castle if this happens. Without a plan to guide us, the developer vultures will take full advantage of every loophole (and there are many being tossed around right now) to turn our town into a more commercial, less predictable and substantially less desirable place to live.

One more thing, for the tax naysayers: once town property values decrease because of this zoning change, tax revenues for the town will go DOWN in sympathy. It’s a fact. And this project does not provide nearly enough tax benefit to offset the decreases it will cause in property taxes across our town - not to mention losses to the value of your homes! The net tax benefit, and net benefit overall to the town and its residents is all negative.

 

 

By plan first, build later (continued) on 02/25/2014 at 6:10 pm

New Castle citizens are being impacted by the same issues that our nation are facing. I would suggest to all concerned to research the United Nations Agenda 21. New Castle is being directed by political forces to create a new world order. Sustainability is a buzz word used to hide nefarious ideology. Re-zoning is a key component to land grabs.

Why does Doug Schuerman mention “global impact”?

“I agree it’s a little premature [to let the application proceed before the Master Plan review],” said Planning Board member Doug Schuerman, “but I do think the ‘global’ impact is not just that there are other areas in the town it might set a precedent for.  I think it’s more ‘global’ for that region of town.  It has a global impact on that region.  It’s out of character for what’s currently going on there.”

I do not foresee citizens of other countries coming to our town to use a “spa”, do you? Where is the lawyer for the people of New Castle speaking up for us? How could those “in power” just invent new zoning regulations? Isn’t it enough we have an Imperial President in the White House that we have small government running around lawlessly? Who is standing up for our sovereignty?

By We the People on 02/25/2014 at 8:36 pm

Through their manipulation of the law, the town’s lawyer and the town board are making a mockery of the master plan. Instead of manipulating the law to screw residents, our town lawyer should be calling bull***t on the developer’s unorthodox tactics which according to NYS has spot zoning written all over it. Stand up, mr town attorney, to defend your residents and the master plan and stop wasting town resources on this foolish attempt for this developer to make money at the expense of our town and its residents.

Then get back to updating the Master Plan, and begin working with developers to put this land back on the tax roll. It’s a residential area, so build homes and welcome new taxpaying neighbors into our community.

As for your “spa”, if this is a trophy you must have then find an area that our master plan has zoned to accommodate it - or place it in your own back yard, mr attorney!

By lawyers! on 02/26/2014 at 5:03 pm

I don’t know about anyone else here but if 15 single family homes were built there and paid what I do for taxes= that equals tax relief.  It is zoned for 2 acre single family homes.  The only reason the developer isn’t offering that plan is they are greedy as hell and want to make money and destroy the character of the town.  Take a look at your tax bill and tell me 15 single family homes doesn’t equal tax relief

By Tax relief on 02/28/2014 at 7:38 pm


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