Open Ltr-Community group responds to Greenstein interview on development at Armonk Road property

With 49 comments since publication
April 11, 2014

To the New Castle Town Board,

We, members of the neighborhood group called the “Society of Neighbors, Inc.,” are writing to comment on the article in NewCastleNOW.org titled “Supervisor’s first 100 Days: Chappaqua Crossing and Spa—now “Homes”—@ New Castle.” More specifically, we want to address Mr. Greenstein’s reliance on a meeting with residents to validate his positioning.

The relevant portion of the article is as follows:

“Greenstein: Now Steve Oder is proposing a residential development. Sixty condos, a clubhouse, indoor-outdoor pool, health club, tennis, a theatre. No restaurant, no spa. No commercial use at all.

And this was not “negotiating” with the developer, either. What I did was I went to the residents and attended a meeting of opponents of the spa project. I heard their concerns, relayed them to Oder and he changed his application after hearing the concerns of residents.

That’s not to say every resident is going to be in favor of 60 condos. Some may prefer nothing and some may prefer to see housing on two acre lots, which is what it’s zoned for.”

We feel it is imperative that the board and all concerned parties understand that this is a severe misrepresentation of events.  Mr. Oder’s new proposal was NOT agreed to in any way by the residents with whom Mr. Greenstein met. While Mr. Greenstein does not explicitly say the neighbors signed off on this new plan, when he states that “Oder…changed his application after hearing the concerns of residents,” he implies that the new application reflects the residents’ views. This is patently false.

Mr. Greenstein continues, subtly and grossly, to misstate reality by saying, “That’s not to say every residents is going to be in favor of 60 condos. Some may prefer…to see housing on two acre lots…” This implies that the majority of residents are in favor of 60 condos with only an insignificant number of outliers insisting on development within the current 2-acre zoning.  What was actually expressed by the neighbors is that NOBODY wanted a 60 condo development and the overwhelming majority wanted residential development in keeping with the current R2-A zoning.

This neighborhood is zoned R2-A for sound, well thought out reasons.  The master plan has specified this area for low density development because of the lack of infrastructure in the area, and because of environmental constraints of the land itself.

Greenstein informed the neighbors at this meeting that to date, he has neither seen the property in question, nor visited the abutting streets (Tripp St. and Roseholm Place). We have on numerous occasions in the past several months encouraged the board to walk the property, as well as view it from neighboring properties and streets. We again extend this offer and suggest this be done before the leaves are back on the trees.

We hope that our elected representatives will uphold the laws and comprehensive plan of our town.  We hope they will act in a responsible way to ensure the protection of the quality of life of the residents who have entered into a ‘social contract’ with the town.  Residents are required to behave in ways specified by the zoning laws applicable to the property they own.  They must abide by these laws or be penalized.  There is the reasonable expectation that, in turn, they will be protected by these same laws. The laws and comprehensive plan are also in place to protect the environment.  We sincerely hope that steps will be taken to prevent long term negative environmental impacts to our beautiful town, and that these principles will not be compromised.  These are views that were actually expressed by neighbors to Mr. Greenstein.

Sincerely,
Society of Neighbors, Inc.

The opinions expressed here are representative of close to 40 New Castle residents in the extended neighborhood surrounding the Legionaries property at 773 Armonk Road that Mr. Oder is proposing to develop.

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