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Welcome to the Spa at New Castle Section

Special PB meeting to discuss details of cell tower, 130-foot monopole or fake tree?

Monday, July 28, 2014

Editor’s Note: The Planning Board has scheduled a special meeting at 6:00 p.m. on Wednesday, July 30 to discuss details of the Homeland Tower/Verizon cell tower on the Alfredo property on Armonk Road.  The public hearing was closed on July 15 after a report from a radio frequency consultant confirmed that the 110-foot version would not fill the wireless coverage gap Homeland has identified.  But a130-foot tower—rather than the 150-foot tower at first proposed—will do the job. It remains to decide whether it should be a pole with antennae or one disguised as a tree.

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Contrary to Planning Board advice,Town Board undertakes Rosehill environmental review

Friday, July 11, 2014
by Christine Yeres

Ignoring its Planning Board’s advice that “the much awaited Master Plan Update should be completed prior to any further consideration to rezoning the subject property,” last Tuesday the Town Board gave the go-ahead for the environmental review of the Rosehill proposal for 60 condos, clubhouse, tennis courts and pool at the 773 Armonk Road Legionaries property.  Lisa Katz pointed out that since the Rosehill environmental review may take up to 18 months, the Board is, in fact, “planning before developing,” because the Master Plan review is already underway.

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Planning Bd to Town Bd: Master Plan update should come before rezoning for Rosehill

Tuesday, July 1, 2014

Editor’s Note: .  In a work session tonight, the Town Board will discuss the draft scoping document—a broad list of environmental impacts to address—for the Rosehill application to construct 60 condo units on the Legionaries property at 773 Armonk Road.

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Against Planning Bd advice, Town Bd seems set to go forward with Rosehill scoping

Tuesday, July 8, 2014
by Christine Yeres

Judging from last Tuesday’s Work Session, Town Board members seem inclined, as “lead agency,” to approve tonight the draft environmental scope—the laundry list of all environmental impacts to be considered—for the Rosehill application to construct 60 condos with a health club, tennis and a theatre at 773 Armonk Road.  Neighbors of two-acre residential zoned property pointed out to Board members during the work session that the Planning Board had directly advised against proceeding with the application until the Master Plan review is completed.

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Town Assessor places Legionaries property back on the tax rolls

Monday, June 9, 2014
by Christine Yeres

New Castle’s tax roll for 2014 shows that the Legionaries of Christ property at 773 Armonk Road has lost its tax exempt status.  The owners may appeal the decision, but for now instead of the $2,500 in taxes the property owner paid last year, it goes back on the rolls. Had it not been exempt for 2013, it would have paid around $134,000 to the Bedford school district, $27,000 to the Town of New Castle and $35,000 to Westchester County.

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Letter to ZBA: Ensure that Alfredo’s is operating within its special permit for a nursery

The ZBA is scheduled to continue its discussion of the cell tower proposed by Homeland Towers on the Alfredo property on Wed. May 28. To see agenda, click HERE
Monday, May 19, 2014
by Roger Blanc and June Blanc

“The Board has been provided with sufficient information of unsanctioned activities from neighbors of this property that surely require further investigation by the Board.”

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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.

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Supervisor’s first 100 Days: Chappaqua Crossing and Spa—now “Homes”—@ New Castle

April 8, 2014
by Christine Yeres

Editor’s Note:  In an interview yesterday, Supervisor Rob Greenstein, now in office for three months, gave an update of his accomplishments in these first 100 days. The following article treats only the subjects of the search for a “win-win” at Chappaqua Crossing and the Spa @ New Castle, now renamed “Homes @ New Castle,” due, according to Greenstein, to his efforts to bring neighbors and developer toward something both can support. 

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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.

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Letter to Town Assessor:  Tax exemption for Legionaries should have become invalid years ago

Monday, March 24, 2014
by Sharon Greene

Dear Mr. Platz,

It has come to my attention that the tax-exempt status of the property at 773 Armonk Road is being formally questioned.  As I have mentioned to various governmental boards over the years—for close to a decade now—this property has not been in use.  I, and several other neighbors, are in the position of easily observing lights in the buildings when they are lit, as well as traffic, if and when it occurs, along their access drive.

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The County weighs in on draft scope for Spa at New Castle

Saturday, February 15, 2014

Editor’s Note: In a February 10, 2014 letter from Edward Buroughs, Commissioner of the County’s Planning Department, the County provided its comments on the draft scoping document—the list of potential environmental impacts—for the proposed Spa at New Castle, suggesting that the scope require further detail on affordable housing, public transportation, recycling, stormwater management and green building technology.

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Planning Board weighs in on impacts of proposed spa-hotel-condo project

Tuesday, February 11, 2014
by Christine Yeres

In its Tuesday, February 4 meeting, the Planning Board combed through the draft scoping document in the application for a zoning change that would permit a spa, hotel, restaurant and condos at the Legionaries property on Armonk Road.  The Town Board, lead agency in the environmental review for the project, “The Spa at New Castle,” is required by state law to refer the scoping document to the Planning Board for its comments.  The scoping document is a list of potential environmental impacts composed by the developer with input from the town’s planning staff.

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Spa applicant asks that hearing close, TB holds it open through PB review February 4

January 31, 2014
by Christine Yeres

In a public scoping session for a proposed high-end spa, hotel and restaurant along with 50 condos on a portion of the Legionaries property at 773 Armond Road, about 15 neighbors of the property acquitted themselves with great SEQR-decorum.  As the State Environmental Quality Review Act asks, they methodically listed matters they believed had been either missed entirely or inadequately described in the draft “scoping” document produced by the developer and subsequently examined by town staff.

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NYS’s legal advice to towns on how to deal with cell phone tower applications

Monday, April 21, 2014

Editor’s Note: From NYS’s Department of State, Office of General Counsel, comes this memo on the problems faced by municipalities in dealing with cell phone tower applications. One suggested tool is a “short-term moratorium” until the municipality “has had a chance to analyze the overall planning issue and to decide where, and under what conditions, tower construction may proceed”—and “only in cases where the municipality is actively engaged in a study of its comprehensive plan or its zoning regulations during the course of the moratorium, with particular attention being paid to the use or uses involved.”

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New owner offers Twin Oaks as a cell tower site superior to Alfredo’s


Saturday, July 12, 2014
by Christine Yeres

With its public hearing closed and the 90-day shot-clock for the Homeland/Verizon cell tower application due to run out in early August, on July 1 the Planning Board received a surprise offer from a Whippoorwill road resident.  Hopeful that the Planning Board could treat his offer as “new information” and reopen the alternative-site phase of the application process, Bill Wachtel told Board members he was willing to have the Twin Oaks site he purchased six months ago be considered as an alternative to the Alfredo property on the Armonk Road.

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PB views “Rosehill” as new—rather than amended— plan, nearly as impactful as Spa

Special meeting of Planning Board at 7:00 p.m. on June 9 will discuss Rosehill scope further
Saturday, June 7, 2014
by Christine Yeres

At the beginning of May developer Steve Oder submitted a revised proposal for the Legionaries property at 773 Armonk Road.  Commercial elements of the last plan—spa, restaurant and hotel—are gone.  Instead, Oder is proposing 60 condos and a new zoning he calls UPP, or “unique property preservation.” The Town Board decided to remain lead agency for the application and conducted a scoping session (a list of what environmental impacts must be studied through the SEQR process) for the environmental review which closed on May 27.  The scoping document was passed to the Planning Board for comment.

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PB asks for expert consultant to learn whether cell tower can be less than 150 feet

Saturday, June 7, 2014
by Christine Yeres

In a special meeting scheduled for 7:00 p.m. on Monday, June 9, Planning Board members hope to clear up issues of tower height and the coverage gap Homeland Towers has said it must cover by placing a 150-foot cell tower on Armonk Road.

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Letter to ZBA: Deny the cell tower application for Alfredo property

Saturday, June 7, 2014
by Roger and June Blanc

Editor’s Note: The following letter was sent to the Zoning Board of Appeals and to the Planning Board.  The authors contend that Homeland Towers representatives still “have not demonstrated that the proposed tower is the best or least intrusive means of remedying whatever lack of signal strength is now present.  There is much data in the record before the Board to give rise to a serious doubt as to whether there is in fact any significant gap in signal coverage.” The entire letter is reprinted below.

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WED: Much about Armonk Road cell tower—both law and community character—is up in the air

The ZBA continues its discussion on Homeland cell tower Wed. May 28 @ Town Hall

A rendering of the tower by Homeland-Verizon showing three of six possible arrays of antennae
Saturday, May 24, 2014 [Originally published on Tuesday, April 22, 2014]
by Christine Yeres

When Planning Board members speculated during last week’s as to why Homeland Towers and its client, Verizon, were not interested in pursuing alternatives to the 150-foot cell tower Homeland is proposing for Armonk Road, an attorney for residents of Whippoorwill Lake Road was ready with an answer: “Because Homeland Towers doesn’t make money doing that.  Homeland makes money building towers like this.”

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Keeping lead agency status, TB sets May 27 scoping session for Rosehill condo proposal

Rosehill
Thursday, May 15, 2014
by Christine Yeres

On Monday night Town Board members voted to hold a scoping session on the latest proposal from Stephen Oder of Soder Real Estate Equities for a 60-unit condominium development at 773 Armonk Road, the Legionaries property.  Oder has withdrawn his proposal for a commercial spa, hotel and condos, and will instead concentrate on “adaptive reuse” of the former Billy Rose mansion and estate for residential use.  He is proposing the the Town create a “Unique Property Preservation Floating District” for 60 condos.

 

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Tom Curley urges neighbors of proposed cell tower to participate in Master Plan review


“What kind of town do we want to have ten years from now?” said Curley, in a personal Master Plan outreach.
Tuesday, April 21, 2014

Editor’s Note: Following last Wednesday’s public hearing on the Homeland Verizon cell tower proposed for Armonk Road, Planning Board member Tom Curley addressed the neighbors who had spoken passionately in opposition to the project.  “I’ve lived here for 20 years,” Curley began.  “I live over on the other side of town, in Millwood, and I came here for exactly the same reason I think everybody here has said they did too. . .

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Supervisor talks: Retail at Chappaqua Xing a given, spa developer to consider all-residential


Supervisor committed to shoring up Chappaqua hamlet by developing town hall property with residential, in swap for town hall at cupola building
March 21, 2014
by Christine Yeres

Last Tuesday morning, Supervisor Rob Greenstein spoke at the League of Women Voters’ annual “Conversation with the Supervisor.”  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.’ ” A video of the session is embedded below.

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The Spa and Chappaqua Crossing: An update from Supervisor Rob Greenstein

March 21, 2014
by Rob Greenstein

I’d like to provide residents with a brief update on the Chappaqua Crossing and Spa at New Castle land use applications.  First, however, I’d like to take a moment to talk about zoning moratoriums and explain why, as Supervisor, I have not favored taking this legislative step.

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Ltr to ZBA: Deny Alfredo cell tower application; there are alternatives

March 18, 2014
by June and Roger Blanc

To the Zoning Board of Appeals
Ladies and Gentlemen:

We live in close proximity to the site covered by the above-captioned applications (together, the “Applications”) and we respectfully recommend that the Zoning Board of Appeals and the Planning Board (together, the “Boards”) deny the Applications for the reasons set forth below and other reasons the Boards may find appropriate.

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L to E: Issue a moratorium on new zoning ordinances until the Master Plan is updated

March 14, 2014
by Jeffrey Kay

I am happy to hear the Town Board has put into motion the update of the 1989 Town Development Plan, and that on March 18 the Steering Committee will meet with the Town Board and Pace consultants to discuss details of the community outreach. Town Supervisor Robert Greenstein stated “the overall purpose of the Master Plan is to provide a “roadmap” for development in the Town of New Castle over the next twenty years.” However, given how contrary the proposal for “The Spa at New Castle” is to the Master Plan, it is unfair both to the residents of our town and even to the developer to proceed with the application, the environmental (SEQR) review and the consideration of rezoning a residential neighborhood into a new commercial district concurrently with the update of the Master Plan.

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PB sets public hearing for cell tower on Armonk Road; ZBA asks for violations check

Alfredo
The ZBA questions whether Alfredo LDC has gone beyond the “nursery” of its special permit
Monday, March 10, 2014
by Christine Yeres

In its meeting last week the Planning Board set Wednesday, April 16, as a public hearing date for Homeland Towers’ application to plant a 150-foot cell tower at 620 Armonk Road, on the 22-acre Alfredo Landscape & Development Corp. operating as a nursery by special permit in the 2-acre residential area.

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Planning Board comments on Spa scoping document

spa back view
Monday, February 24, 2014

Editor’s Note: Comments due last Friday from the Planning Board to the Town Board as lead agency in the Spa at New Castle application were published today on the town’s website.

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Letter to Town Board: Spa “floating zone” has the potential to land in other residential areas

February 20, 2014
by Sharon Greene, Ph.D.

Dear Members of the Town Board:  I would like to add a couple of comments and questions in addition to my prior comments. Since the proposed zoning amendment has been made available to the public, I’m concerned about an issue that was raised in the last public scoping session—that of “scope creep.”

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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.

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In Spa scoping hearing, neighbors ask TB to stop the application, TB says process will continue

spa back view
Tuesday, February 18, 2014
by Christine Yeres

In last Tuesday’s public hearing on the draft scoping for an application to create a new “floating zone” that could permit a “Resort Lifestyle Complex” on the Legionaries property and others as described in the draft zoning text released last week, residents elaborated on the scope’s list of environmental impacts that must, by law, be thoroughly examined by the developer and town before any rezoning is approved. The hearing was punctuated several times by entreaties from residents to stop consideration of the application altogether.  The Town Board declined the requests, closed the public hearing, and extended the period for written comment to close-of-business this Friday, February 21.  [Video of the meeting is embedded below.]

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Town releases proposed zoning text for “Active Lifestyle District” w/ spa at Legionaries in mind

1:00 p.m. Friday, February 14, 2013
~ from the Town of New Castle

Editor’s Note: The proposed text amendment under which a developer would be permitted to construct The Spa at New Castle on the 96-acre Legionaries property presently zoned for two-acre residential use was released today by the town.  There was some confusion in last Tuesday’s public hearing on the draft scoping for the project as to whether the draft text had been composed yet.  It had; and here it is, below.  As with the Chappaqua Crossing application, any zoning change—and any change to the Town Development Plan to permit it—must each go through a public hearing process of its own, apart from public hearings on the Draft Environmental Impact Statement and, sometimes, even the final Environmental Impact Statement. 

The amendment would create a “floating” zone, a generic zone that might be applied within the town wherever the circumstances and conditions described in the zoning text obtain.

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TB gives green light for next step in environmental review of “The Spa at New Castle”

RG
Town Board will hear application with open mind; nothing has been approved
January 26, 2014
by Christine Yeres

To acquaint new Town Board members with his proposal for “The Spa at New Castle”—a hotel, spa and condominium units on the 96-acre Legionaries property at 773 Armonk Road—Stephen Oder of Soder Real Estate Equities visited last week’s Town Board work session with his attorney, David Steinmetz of Zarin & Steinmetz. “​It took us a long time to get out of the starting box on this project,” said Steinmetz, “but we’re now excited to move forward.” Half a dozen neighbors of the property had come also, to assert that the project is inappropriate for the two-acre residential zone. The Town Board has scheduled a public scoping session to identify environmental issues on Tuesday, January 28, at town hall.

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Prospective buyer pitches spa-hotel-condo complex at Legionaries 98-acre property

Oder makes proposal
Town Board and Planning Board members gathered to hear the proposal for development of 773 Armonk Road
September 7, 2012
by Christine Yeres

Town Board and Planning Board members crowded into the conference room at Town Hall on Tuesday to hear a concept plan for the 97-acre Legionaries of Christ property on the Armonk Road (Route 128).  The plan includes a 30-room boutique hotel “with extensive amenities” in the main and oldest building, a 20,000 square foot spa and gym facility in a nearby chapel. Sixty new condominium apartments—20 penthouses sitting on 40 duplexes, with parking underneath, divided among four I-shaped buildings—would all have an unimpeded panoramic view to the north.

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98-acre Legionaries of Christ property on the Armonk Road is up for sale

legion
See photos of the property in “Read more…” and in Photo Gallery
October 7, 2011
by Christine Yeres

After nine years of appearances and applications before New Castle’s zoning board of appeals, the 98-acre Legionaries of Christ property at 773 Armonk Road (Route 128) is for sale.

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