A Summary of Summer
What happened while you were away…
Tuesday, September 16, 2014
Editor’s Note: There won’t be any exam, but for those of you who’ve been away in mind, body, or both, here’s a cheat sheet of what happened over the summer.
Newly paved Route 117
A ride along Route 117/Bedford Road is no longer bone-rattling. The State repaved the whole stretch of it mainly in July, mainly at night. The Town had the foresight to keep the scrapings of old asphalt (estimated to be worth $40,000), piling it up on State property at the northwest corner of the Saw Mill intersection with Roaring Brook Road. The Town will store the “millings,” as they’re called, in various New Castle locations and use them over time for its own road repairs.
Two public hearings on the Chappaqua Crossing grocery-retail application took place, during which both TB members and residents asked traffic experts to explain existing traffic data. TB members asked for numbers showing how reducing retail by as much as 50% would reduce traffic, how big stores versus small stores would affect traffic and the existing hamlets.
Former TB member John Buckley suggested during the July 22 hearing that instead of retail, raising the amount of residential permitted at Chappaqua Crossing from 111 units to 200 might satisfy all parties.
At the August 12 public hearing, Chappaqua hamlet property owners urged the TB to concentrate on improving the two existing hamlets rather than create a third.
The Planning Board has not yet submitted its final comments on the application, but in July recommended categorically that a Master Plan review take place before any decision on the application. PB members have asked for more info on big store/small store effects and further analysis of market demand for the project.
In response, the TB has ordered up additional reports from AKRF, the firm that conducted a previous report on the “competitive effects” of retail at Chappaqua Crossing on the existing hamlets.
The public hearing on the application continues on Tuesday, September 23.
Master Plan Review
Pace Land Use Law Center Report on Community Outreach and Master Plan
Master Plan Steering Committee, TB and PB members all met with Tiffany Zezula of Pace to run through the results of the community outreach session held in May and June. A recurrent theme in residents’ input was improvement of the Town’s commercial centers, primarily downtown Chappaqua.
Random sampling of 300 residents in phone survey
Next step, they determined, is to commission a September phone survey of 300 residents, randomly sampled, by Penn, Shoen & Berland Associates. The survey will be partly based on the Pace report, asking both general questions and more specific ones framed by the Master Plan Steering Committee and Town Board.
This week the TB sent out over-sized postcards notifying residents that the survey firm would be calling 300 of them in the next two weeks. The postcard has a cut-off portion (no postage necessary) inviting residents to give the TB general feedback on how they think the TB is doing so far.
Proposed Mosque on Pinesbridge Road
The public hearing on the application for a special permit and on the Final Environmental Impact Statement for the proposed mosque on Pinesbridge Road was continued to Monday, September 22.
New contract with Sanipro for waste disposal
Town enters new waste disposal contract with Sanipro, with savings of $477,980 per year of the seven-year contract The new garbage pick up contract will remain once-per-week, and in January recycling will change to “single stream”—paper, plastic, metal all together.
Mrs. Green’s labor dispute settled
Robin Michel stepped down as Mrs. Green’s C.E.O., the Mrs. Green’s employees who had been let go were rehired.
King Street Bar and Restaurant closed its doors over the summer.
Lower King Street gas line replacement
Con Ed installed a new gas main along lower King Street. The Town pressed Con Ed to work during the nights rather than in daytime so that parking and commerce could take place with minimal obstruction.
Infrastructure repairs to Chappaqua hamlet
The engineering and design work has been done for the under-ground water main replacement along North and South Greeley. Next year the work itself will take place. The same firm—WSP Sells—will implement improvements to the “streetscape” as well, including sidewalk repairs and crosswalk creation.
Appraisal of Town Hall property
As part of the Master Plan review, the Town Board approved the surveying of Town-owned property including Town Hall, some of the commuter parking lot and the rec field. Surveyors will ascertain property lines and the firm hired to carry out the infrastructure and streetscape improvements to the hamlet will assess the physical properties of the eight-ish acres.
Big savings in Workers’ Comp
A change in insurance carrier will enable the Town to pay $222,525 less in Workers’ Comp for 2014-15 than in 2013-14. Workers’ Compensation provides coverage for the Towns workers against work related injuries and indemnifies them for medical costs and lost wages.
Train Station improvements, status of RFP
The taxi stand at the Chappaqua Train Station is a month-to-month tenant. The town is considering some modifications to the taxi stand, but they will depend on who the tenant is for the train station building. That building, too, needs some painting, which will be in the 2015 budget.
The Town Board will revisit these improvements when they undertake an RFP process to find a tenant for the train station. There has been no RFP issued since the last one, which was followed by a contract with Ladle of Love, subsequently rescinded. Last week TB members said they were close to issuing a new RFP.
Old Roaring Brook Road Drainage Project
At a cost of around $11,000, the town intends to have WSP Sells—the firm it’s using to do the downtown infrastructure improvements—do surveying work on the unpaved half-mile segment of Old Roaring Brook Road, in preparation for a drainage improvement project. WSP will mark property lines on both sides of that segment of road, which is highly prone to washouts and potholes.
Con Ed targets seven Taylor Road Trees for removal
Con Ed intends to remove seven weakest members of Taylor Road’s allée of trees. Town Board members discussed breaking the news to residents now that summer is over and people are back in town, and giving them time to absorb it before Con Ed proceeds. The combination of weak root systems, proximity to the road pavement, and Con Ed wires running through their branches has proved fatal over time. It’s a liability issue, with the town “between a rock and a hard place,” said Board members. “Once Con Ed tells us it’s a public safety issue—and our own arborist tells us the same thing,” said Supervisor Rob Greenstein, “—I don’t think the Town Board has any choice.”
Lisa Katz asked whether the town could require Con Ed to replace the trees. “We can,” said Town Administrator Jill Shapiro, “but not in the right-of-way. The plantings would be far onto people’s properties.”