A look around the town: update on everything

May 2, 2008
Editor’s note: NewCastleNOW has been covering the goings on about town for six months now, and we thought it was time for a listing of the topics currently under consideration by the town board.

Citibank parking re-do, Route 117 sidewalk, Walkway through woods to Bell Middle School, Reader’s Digest environmental impact statement, New Castle generic environmental impact statement, Millwood Shell station, Little red and white stationhouse in Millwood, Allen Place garbage district, School board’s bill to town for $81,000 for maintenance of fields, Parking lot across from Susan Lawrence, New town planner hired, 120 Bridge, Hamlet Steering Committee, Police Department expansion, Changes to Gedney leash law, Basketball court at Gedney, Sewer district for Random Farms-Riverwoods-Yeshiva, 9/11 Memorial, and New parks and recreation department employee


Citibank parking: Town Administrator Gennaro Faiella has met with both landlords and tenants, from Pizza Station to Citibank, and the landlord of the gas station on the opposite corner, who will be affected by the re-do of the Citibank parking lot. The underground oil contamination must be cleaned up before the town can carry through its plan to move the garbage collection area from the back corner of the Citibank parking lot to behind the gas station. Everyone’s on board. The town board will authorize Nick Pouter to go forward with plans and specifications for the landscaping project and put them out for bids. The area should come out the other side of summer transformed. The ability to work during the summer, when traffic is substantially less, was important to the town’s timetable.

Route 117 sidewalk: Faiella has met with residents along the east side of Route117. The six condo owners at Bayberry Close are the last group with whom he’ll meet. The last town invitation to meet drew only one resident from Bayberry; others will be contacted again.
Walkway through woods to Bell Middle School: The $400 grant application to Safe Routes to School is to help defray the cost of both the walkway through the woods and the Route 117 sidewalk. The grant is pending.

Summit Greenfield measures noise at high school intersection

Reader’s Digest environmental impact statement: Summit Greenfield is expected to submit its environmental impact statement sometime this summer; it will most likely be found incomplete. The town staff will study the statement before sending it back to Summit Greenfield for additional information. There will likely be hearings sometime in the fall.


New Castle generic environmental impact statement: The town is exploring its own list of acceptable or desirable uses of the Reader’s Digest property. To that end, it has sent out “requests for proposals” to find a consultant who will advise the board on feasibility of some rental or purchase of part of Reader’s Digest office space, field space, auditorium or space for an indoor swimming pool. 

Millwood Shell station: Owner John DeMeo is waiting for the New York State Health Department’s approval for septic fields. New Castle’s planning board has approved his plan for pumps up front with a convenience store behind them. The project is in the final stages of getting municipal approvals. DeMeo hopes to begin construction soon, since concrete and blacktop flow better before winter. 


Little red and white stationhouse in Millwood: The plan with the Somers restauranteur fell through and the little place is up for rent.  Ideas?


Allen Place garbage district: With fees apportioned among the merchants who back onto it, this area behind Chappaqua Village Market and the Chappaqua Restaurant is scheduled to have its garbage pick up consolidated and better organized this summer. Final letters to garbage carters have gone out for a bid that is bundled together with town and school garbage pick up.

School board’s bill to town for $81,000 for maintenance of fields: After discussing the matter at its work session of April 15, 2008, the town board has offered to make only a partial payment of $20,000 to the school district. Town board members want to discuss further the state of the fields as well as the ways in which the town partners with the school district to the benefit of both parties, such as in the area of garbage collection (town negotiates contracts for both town and schools garbage pick up), and by advice the town provides to the school district through its parks and recreation head, Bob Snyder. The town board will form a committee of two town board and two school board members to resolve these issues.
Parking lot across from Susan Lawrence:  Six weeks ago, March 2008, the town board invited the planning board to put on its thinking cap and look at possible uses of this town-owned lot—whether to infill with a row of shops and a parking structure and if so, where to provide parking for additional traffic to these new shops. Faiella says that the planning board hasn’t moved forward yet and will now wait for the new planner the town has hired. New Planner? Yes, next item. 

New town planner: The town has hired Lincoln Daley from North Andover, Massachusetts for this newly created position. In its May 13 meeting, the board will pass a resolution to officially bring him on board. Daley visited Town Hall on Wednesday, April 30, to meet and greet town hall staff during the day and then met members of the volunteer boards later in the evening. “Planning” will be a separate department, with Daley at its head. He’ll have to hit the ground running with all that needs his attention: the Chappaqua hamlet plans, the Route 120 bridge reconstruction, the Millwood area design plan, Chappaqua Crossing (Reader’s Digest) and the Millwood fire house.

Bridge: Bids are in. The project is in the hands of the New York State Department of Transportation, according to Administrator Faiella.

Hamlet Steering Committee: They’ve hired the engineering firm of Dolph Rotfeld to survey and map field conditions and sidewalk and street infrastructure in downtown Chappaqua. The committee will now interview for a landscape architect.

Police Department expansion: Faiella plans to sit down with the architect the town has consulted before and revisit the proposed plans as well as explore the options the town is considering for space rental from Summit Greenfield of Reader’s Digest space. The Recreation Department currently shares the ground floor of town hall with the police department. Above, the new police desk, more wood and window, with plexiglass to come.

Changes to Gedney dog leash law: Revisions from the parks and recreation commission will go back to town attorney Clinton Smith for redrafting.
Basketball court at Gedney: The town board approved a proposal for engineering services to survey and design plans and specification for a basketball court at Gedney Park. The cost is $14,500.
Sewer district for Random Farms, Riverwoods and Yeshiva: The town is still trying to get the serious attention of the County Board of Legislators’ Budget Committee so that those parts of New Castle with failing septic systems can be allowed to form a sewer district to protect New York City watershed areas. 


9/11 Memorial: No bids came back for the single package of services to construct this project. The town will break the package into a series of smaller bids and resubmit them to contractors.

New parks and recreation department employee: New employee Matt Nordt will work with Wayne Bass to run town camps and teen programs, devise more music and spectacle, a family fun day and other programs to bring people into the downtown.