Last scoping session over, deadline for written comment noon today, Jan. 25, 2008.
By Christine Yeres
January 25, 2008
With the exception of a longer, 25-minute summary of the project by Summit Greenfield’s counsel rather than the ten minute version residents heard in the first two scoping sessions, January 22nd’s third session felt like familiar territory. The developer is seeking a change to New Castle’s zoning laws that would permit him both to build 278residential units and to increase the number of business tenants he is allowed under the existing zoning (now four) to an “unlimited” number.
Again Supervisor Barbara Gerrard reminded residents that the purpose of the scoping session was not to avow approval or disapproval of the developer’s project, but rather to use the time to help compose a list of issues the developer must address in his “draft environmental impact statement,” showing how – if the project were to be approved—its potential impacts might be mitigated. A key part of the environmental impact statement is the section listing a range of alternatives to the proposal to be investigated.
Those who spoke were mainly residents of New Castle. For some proponents of the project the “affordable” elements – both “senior” and “workforce”—were the attraction. Individuals as well as organizations such as ALOFT (“Active Living over Fifty”) and Northern Westchester Hospital, whose representative was interested in both “workforce” housing for hospital staff and in supplying the medical services that seniors are likely to require asked the New Castle Town Board to consider the social and economic benefits of the project. Some residents were interested in the “downsizing” aspect of the condominium units and see the development as a way to sell their homes and yet remain in town.
Opponents of the project focused on its size, the traffic it would draw and the unenforceability of the age restrictions that would eventually permit a costly influx of students into public schools – the same objections, they say, that caused the town to turn away Summit’s proposal of last year. They say that this newer plan is, in fact, worse, since in addition to the 278 unit condo development Summit is asking for an unlimited number of business tenants to lease its space.
The most “scope-like” comments came from the League of Women Voters of New Castle. Co-president Sheila Crespi read into the record a summary of the League’s comments which should soon be available on the League’s website, http://www.watpa.org/lwvnc/.
Watch for video stream of the third scoping (the first and second are already available) on ncctv.org’s new website, now offering “video on demand.”