Long-awaited comments on Chappaqua Crossing traffic, store-size, competitive effects, revenue

Tuesday, October 21, 2014
by Christine Yeres

With the public hearing one week away, a raft of new documents related to the Chappaqua Crossing application for retail zoning has appeared on the town’s website over the last couple of weeks.  Planning Board comments are in, recommending that “adaptive reuse of the existing buildings remain a primary feature of any preliminary development concept plan for retail development.”  Michael Galante says his traffic analysis is still valid.  And the authors of the AKRF report assert that a reduced Chappaqua Crossing will be more harmful to the hamlet than a full 120,000-square-foot version.

In short, AKRF advises against cutting back on the proposed 120,000-square-feet of retail at Chappaqua Crossing, arguing that to reduce it would hobble its ability to procure high-end retailers and place it in a more ordinary category that would be more directly in competition with the existing hamlet’s concentration of personal services.  Here’s how AKRF describes the condition:

“Although the Whole Foods would likely draw customers from a wider trade area regardless of its complementary retail uses, the smaller format shopping center would likely be less successful in creating the critical mass of retail offerings that would make the location desirable to consumers and prospective retail tenants. Instead of offering higher-end destination retail uses, Chappaqua Crossing would likely be tenanted with the exact types of convenience-oriented stores that predominate in Chappaqua.”

“As compared to the 2013 Retail PDCP,” say AKRF authors, “the 2014 Revised Retail PDCP presents a retail layout and anchor store (Whole Foods) that would likely introduce a greater number of smaller stores that are both national chain operators and independent businesses, most of which would sell goods and services at mid- to high-end price points.  In this respect, there would be greater potential for retail overlap with certain retail categories within the Hamlet as compared to the 2013 Retail PDCP with an A&P anchor, which would be more attractive to larger-format national chain stores typically found in a ‘power center’ with a lower overall price point.”

Moreover, AKRF asserts, the 20-minute drive-time catchment area of Chappaqua Crossing and the 1-square-mile catchment area of the Chappaqua Hamlet “indicate that both the Hamlet’s downtown and Chappaqua Crossing can co-exist as viable retail nodes” because Chappaqua Crossing would more directly compete with or “cannibalize” other “existing retail concentrations and larger-format stores located outside of the Hamlet trade areas.”

AKRF attributes this seeming paradox—a big operation at Chappaqua Crossing even with more small stores will cause less injury to the hamlet—to the fact that “Town capture rates for almost all categories” [—“with the exception of Health & Personal Care stores”—] are low,” and so concludes that despite the inclusion of smaller stores along with Whole Foods, Chappaqua Crossing “would have greater product overlap with larger retail centers outside of Town” than with the downtown Hamlet. And as in its first report, AKRF proposes that people from both the office and residential uses at Chappaqua Crossing—and even the consumer traffic drawn to Whole Foods from outside Chappaqua—“could cross-shop” in the hamlet, if encouraged by appropriate “way-finding” signage at Chappaqua Crossing.

Advice for the hamlet

In another part of its report, AKRF explains that the hamlet will not be harmed by Chappaqua Crossing because the hamlet has no singular anchor that draws customers on which other retailers in the hamlet are dependent for consumer traffic, saying:

“If one store was responsible for drawing a substantial share of shopper traffic to the Hamlet, and that store was to be displaced, then the retail dynamic could change in a way that jeopardizes the viability of all retailers dependent on that consumer traffic.”

On the other hand, AKRF “does not advocate this condition as a recommended retail strategy for downtown Chappaqua” and advises “that the Town explore ways to attract greater consumer interest in the downtown through complementary retail anchor(s), more destination retail uses, and/or additional residential/worker populations. The positioning of such in the Hamlet would improve shopper traffic and retail vitality irrespective of Chappaqua Crossing.” 

AKRF vouches for the Town Board’s deep interest in revitalizing the hamlet and assures readers that both now and in future surely “Chappaqua’s downtown would remain more convenient to many trade area [the one square mile, as opposed to Chappaqua Crossing’s 20-minute drive-time] customers” and “would continue to serve an important function of providing ready access to day-to-day needs and in providing specialized products and services not commonly found in larger-format or comparatively-sized national chain stores.”

For more advice from AKRF on revitalizing the downtown, click HERE.

Traffic re-re-redux: No change necessary

Michael Galante has submitted his re-considered traffic report, and stands by his original study, especially, he says, that 25,000 square feet of the 120,000 square feet of proposed retail development is earmarked for a gym, which the engineering handbook says brings less traffic than retail. [Supervisor Greenstein has stated his strong interest in bringing a gym to town-owned town hall property, so it’s unclear whether there will be a gym at all at Chappaqua Crossing.] 

Traffic problems are made neither better nor worse, says Galante, by the alterations between last year’s plan and the current one which proposes 120,000 square feet of retail newly-constructed.

Trading spaces

Following up on the offer by Summit Greenfield to decommission as much existing first-level office space as it is allowed to construct in new footprint, the Planning Board asks in its comments to be shown “equivalency between parking demand for basement office space versus parking for retail use” and recommends a “parking accumulation study” that takes into account all the disparate—or “mixed”—uses intended for the property—because the parts will likely be sold to different developers each of whom will naturally press for his or her own parking needs.  But Galante’s traffic study doesn’t take into account either the decommissioning of existing space in an amount equivalent to the construction of the new, or parking specifically.

Traffic not better, not worse

According to Galante, changes to the application—120,000 square feet of new-building, increase in number of smaller stores and Whole Foods as a grocer—

“will neither exacerbate nor improve the adverse traffic impacts projected of the four previously identified unsignalized intersections within the Study Area.  Generally, these impacts are an increase in vehicle delay exiting a side road approach to a major roadway.  The four intersections are the following:

1. South Greeley Avenue at Quaker Street (north leg);
2. Bedford Road at Eastern Site Access Drive [Annandale];
3. Roaring Brook Road at Southern Access Drive [the high school]; and
4. Bedford Road at Whippoorwill Road.

Only a substantial reduction in retail density or major roadway improvements (not contemplated or proposed by the Applicant) could mitigate…”

By way of conclusion Galante says in his report, “It is our opinion that the proposed Mitigation Plan presented by the Applicant will accommodate proposed changes to the overall Site Plan, as currently presented by the Applicant.”

Revenues from Chappaqua Crossing

According to AKRF, “the higher the rents, the greater the tax revenue.  It would therefore be in the Town’s best interest, from a tax revenue perspective, for the developer to lease-up the project with tenants that can support the highest possible rent levels.”  Whole Foods is the draw for “wealthier shoppers,” and as for ancillary tenants, says AKRF, smaller stores tend to sell higher-value, higher-margin goods than do larger retailers, which results in higher sales per square foot figures” and, it follows, higher rents.

Where else has this proposed model worked?

When AKRF produced its initial report, it was not certain who the anchor grocer would be.  Now, in response to the Planning Board’s request to “Show us where has this model worked”—knowing that Whole Foods has signed a lease contingent on the success of the zoning change, AKRF offers two case studies:  Kings Crossing in Fairfield, Connecticut and Milford Marketplace in Milford, Connecticut. 

Both shopping centers, explains AKRF, are anchored by Whole Foods and were “selected based on their comparable sizes, demographics (both have trade areas with large numbers of high-income households), and their location within close proximity to major traffic arteries.” 

While there may be similarities, each forms part of an intensive extended retail corridor—Kings Crossing (developed by Summit Greenfield) is on Grassmere Avenue, 0.5 miles from I-95; Milford Marketplace is on the Boston Post Road.

To view the entire 67-page AKRF report, click HERE.

For excerpts from the report’s first 12 pages, the “Executive Summary,” click HERE.

For a rundown of the latest documents—including the proposed rezoning-for-retail amendment—added to the town’s website under “Land Use Applications” for Chappaqua Crossing, click HERE.

We encourage civil, civic discourse. All comments are reviewed before publication to assure that this standard is met.

This report attempts to provide a justification for a larger Chappaqua Crossing.
But the report’s conclusions rely on contradictions.

Downtown Chappaqua has stores that mostly draw people from a smaller radius, about one mile is the primary market the report says.

If Chappaqua Crossing is smaller it will draw people from a smaller radius like the downtown does.

Yet, downtown Chappaqua is more than 2 miles from Chappaqua Crossing. 
So their primary markets as Neighborhood Centers would barely overlap.  This suggests that they could co-exist at the Neighborhood Center scale.

Of course, the goal of retailers downtown and at Chappaqua Crossing and the developers would be to attract people from farther away.  So these two areas would compete regardless of the store sizes.  The report can’t accurately predict the impacts on downtown Chappaqua.  Based on proximity alone, Pleasantville has more of an impact on downtown Chappaqua and Mt. Kisco will be impacted more by Chappaqua Crossing. 

The report’s data including existing retail space is interesting but it does not support the conclusions.

By Contradictions on 10/21/2014 at 6:56 am

We could have a human-size grocery and couple of other retail uses at CC and it wold do fine AND THE HAMLET WOULD DO FINE.  It’s that Summit Greenfield wants to make a killing with this shopping center and the town board wants them to too.  On the other hand, the town board has no power to ensure that the whole ball of wax will work.  What the heck will go into the empty barn-like space ever? 

What – that matches with the killing they make – do we get for turning ourselves into a regional shopping center?

By What do we get? on 10/21/2014 at 7:02 am

This plan is NOT WHAT WAS INTENDED – planning board is right about adaptive reuse. 

And where’s the “lights out” part where the developer closes off 120K SF of office space?  And where’s the part where the town gets the cupola building?

By What? Where’s the other stuff? on 10/21/2014 at 7:04 am

build it and we will come! This is another professionally done study that supports retail at CC. LETS BE CLEAR- this study was paid for by the Town of New Castle. It was not the result of money spent by the developer. AKRF is a real estate planning, advisory, engineering consulting firm that has been in business over 30 years with extensive experience.
Other studies and surveys completed that also support retail at CC have been criticized ( by NIMBYs) because they were paid for by Summit Greenfield. This AKRF study was paid for by the Town of New Castle with our tax dollars. It’s time we listen to the experts and build this thing.

By Resident on 10/21/2014 at 7:39 am

The editor points out “With the public hearing one week away…”.
So now we will have another public hearing- another public hearing? I have been closely following this development for 8 years! There have been so many public hearings and public comments that I have lost count. Now we have been presented with yet another professionally done survey, this by AKRF commissioned by the Town of New castle and our current Town Board. This TB includes at least 1 member adamantly opposed to the development which I am sure AKRF is fully aware of. Still and AGAIN the study concludes no adverse impact to downtown (probably a benefit), increased tax revenue, manageable workable traffic, and a net overall benefit to the entire community. For those predictably readying to disparage and diminish AKRF here is their website – https://www.akrf.com/ – You will see they have extensive experience in the NY area with emphasis on NYC, LI, and Hudson Valley developments.
The independent traffic consultant had equally excellent and impeccable experience and reputation. We now have years of studies and surveys and ALL conclude that retail at CC is viable, not a negative and will be a important addition to the community.
And now another “public hearing”…ughh!
Expect the NIMBYs to come out in force and spew their unfounded and fiction based claims. With respect to Ms Katz, now is the time for this Town Board to advance this plan and build this project. Most of us support it and we will not be attending another marathon Board meeting where the same folks fear monger and make unsupported claims as facts when they are not facts at all.  Regardless of how it is characterized – community center, neighborhood center or lifestyle center – it should be built. The emotions and exaggerations of a small few should not rule the day. Bring Whole Foods , ancillary retail and this multi use development to our community. Its what we want and what we need.

By Chapp on 10/21/2014 at 8:32 am

Let the AKRF bashing begin.  Are they in Greenstein’s pocket, incompetent or just misinformed?  The NIMBY’s will be out in full force including Katz.  What will be their next move be?  Who can they discredit next?

By Bring it on NIMBY’s on 10/21/2014 at 8:34 am

Why is this not the lead article in this edition?  A fluff article on Rocky Hills is more important than the AKRF study on CC?  If their conclusions had been against retail at CC I bet this have been the lead article instead of buried in the middle of the page

Editor’s Note: Relax.  It is not “buried.”  I always lead with calendar.  And Supervisor Greenstein’s report—next—gave a bit of an overview of where Chappaqua Crossing stands. I placed the pieces well.

By Location in NCN on 10/21/2014 at 8:38 am

I continue to be baffled and dismayed by the lack of concern regarding increased traffic over a train track.

By Audrey Rabinowitz on 10/21/2014 at 8:41 am

Let’s just get it done!! Enough mental bickering!! The town looks like something from “Leave it to Beaver”.  We need a high end grocery store, a gym and or pool and better shopping in our town. Just do it already!!

By Enough Already on 10/21/2014 at 9:17 am

Those who want a grocery store etc. and understand the tax benefits should show up, if only for a few minutes. There are more of us than the NIMBYS. The NIMBYS’ rallying cry is that “no one wants CC”. They will not be able to discredit body count, as they did with the surveys which they, themselves, compromised. That adulteration was not as successful as they hoped because the large CC support cancelled out their double and triple opposition replies.

By supporter on 10/21/2014 at 10:55 am

Now we have another professionally done survey from AKRF. A very well known and highly reputable consulting firm specialzng in Real estate. The results speak for themselves and clearly support retail at CC. This study was not paid for by developer Summit Greenfield. It was a second paid for by the tax payers of New Castle.
Usually any evidence and documentation like this study is automatically discredited by the NIMBYs claiming bias based on developer funding. This study has nothing to do with Summit Greenfield! But expect the usual bashing from the usual people. It’s boring already and would be funny if it weren’t so disruptive and damaging to the community at large.  I will be sitting out the next public hearing. I haven’t the time or energy to hear the NIMBY exaggerated BS and their insults.
The Town Board has all the information it needs to build this. Equally important the developer now has another bullet to fire at us in a lawsuit should they be denied.

By RM on 10/21/2014 at 12:19 pm

Whole Foods anchors both Kings Crossing in Fairfield and Milford Marketplace in Millford – both in CT. One is .5 miles from I-95 and the other on Boston Post Rd. Chapp Crossing is also on a main access road – it’s called the Saw Mill River Parkway.
CC will be visable from the Saw Mill but will be set back and not seen from RT 117.
The CT developments are similar and also serve adjacent affluent high end communities this is further evidence provided by an in deOther study by a highly reputable consulting firm and hired by our town board – not the developer.
We can expect the NIMBY’s to fire away. We can expect the editor to highlight the negatives and play down the positives. We can expect another letter from developer Napoli Critical of CC so he can get his development up and running.
Of course the “do nothing” for another year until the holy grail master plan is complete.
Get on with it and build it already. It’s a no brainier.

By Good Comparisons on 10/21/2014 at 2:27 pm

Go look on any real estate site. The houses surrounding Kings Crossing and Milford Marketplace are all priced between $200,000 and $300,000.

By Comparables? on 10/21/2014 at 3:46 pm

Dear Editor- I am a long time reader and big fan of NCN and your tireless work. I commend your honesty in pointing out that you live near CC and oppose development. Recently and with good reason your articles and headlines often tilt towards editorials and focus on anti CC.
This issue certainly proves that point. This article is half way down the issue below articles on Rocky Hills , below an article on The Dewey Decimal System and below Fall Festival. Your calendar is always top left but you always prominently display a important story top right. Had this AKRF study concluded retail at CC was a negative you can bet your bottom dollar it would be front and center with a screaming headline!!!
Because the study supports CC you bury it and the headline offers no insight as to the positive conclusion for Retail at CC. It’s perfectly obvious.

By Here is the “tilt” on 10/21/2014 at 3:48 pm

Is AKRF nuts?  They say CC retail won’t hurt hamlet retail because there’s not the kind of healthy retail mix WITH SOME KIND OF ANCHOR STORE that brings a critical mass of other stores to make the downtown work. and THEN AKRF says:

“AKRF does not advocate this condition as a recommended retail strategy for downtown Chappaqua” and advises “that the Town explore ways to attract greater consumer interest in the downtown through complementary retail anchor(s), more destination retail uses, and/or additional residential/worker populations. The positioning of such in the Hamlet would improve shopper traffic and retail vitality irrespective of Chappaqua Crossing.”

Next, AKRF has the gall to advise that the downtown DO EXACTLY THAT. “
Irrespective of big fat regional retail center at CC? “????? Oh yeah?  Well with shiny new CC retail in place at CC, that’s exactly what’s NOT going to happen in the hamlet. Are they serious?  What planet are they on?  Oh, I remember: Planet Rob Greenstein who made it clear what he wants them to say.

By IRRESPECTIVE OF CHAPPAQUA CROSSING?!?!? on 10/21/2014 at 4:09 pm

In the Supervisor’s Report in this edition of New Castle Now, Rob Greenstein writes that the town is $10 Million shy of the cost for the Sewer Inclusion Project, which is necessary to connect sections of town, including Chappaqua Crossing to the Yonkers Sewage treatment plant.

What is the impact of the cost of the sewer connections on the prospects for Chappaqua Crossing?  Is the town going to borrow $10M or more for Chappaqua Crossing to have sewers?  How does this fit in the economic and environmental impacts? Is the town going to make this investment to enable Summit Greenfield to go forward?  IS Summit Greenfield going to pay for these connections?

What happens without these sewage connections?  Why can’t the Town bring sewers to my neighborhood if it is gong to make this investment?

By Impact of the Sewer Inclusion Project? on 10/21/2014 at 4:33 pm

Editor Yeres- the placement and headline of this article is disgraceful. Had the AKRF study concluded negative impact you most certainly would have a big fat headline and placed it at the top of this issue. Because the study concluded and concurred with other studies that retail at CC is a positive you bury the story down below and offer a tepid benign headline.  Is the Dewey Decimal System and Rocky Hills stories more important than this long awaited study???

Editor’s Note: Again, I have no idea what you’re seeing.  The story was third on the front page, column one.  Only Calendar and Supervisor’s Report were placed before it.

By Shame shame on 10/21/2014 at 5:21 pm

We now have multiple studies and multiple surveys that essentially all conclude the same – retail at CC can and should be built. Some have been discredited by those in opposition on the grounds that they were bias and paid for by the developer. This AKRF study is their second one and it was paid for by The Town not Summit Greenfield.
The Nimbys , led by TB member L Katz have trashed all studies/surveys that support this project but this AKRF study should be (but wont) end this tiresome and endless debate. Two surveys (a third in the works) have already concluded that majority of residents favor this.
Since Ms Katz is a lawyer I hope she will explain how further obstruction and delay will not result in a lawsuit by the developer – because it will. SG now has another piece of evidence that refutes and dispels all the false Nimby claims. Whole Foods/ancillary retail will be a great addition. A full multi-use and operational CC will add tax revenue and actually help real estate values. We are losing to other towns with lower taxes with competitive schools and with services (like a super market).
The Town Board has a fiduciary responsibility to get this project going and to keep us from getting sued. Another “public hearing” will just be another embarrassment to those that stand up and tell lies and a waste of time for the rest of us.

By Robert M on 10/21/2014 at 5:28 pm

To Comparables? – your selfish Nimby is very apparent. You point out that houses in Milford near their Whole Foods shopping are in the range of $200-$300 k. I guess you think because you live in Chapp and your house is worth a $ million $ then you are somehow better than those in less expensive houses. Therefore you must be entitled to what you want and don’t want. We get it you don’t want retail at CC.  Get over it and deal with it. Like it or not it’s coming. 
This study is another nail in your coffin. Your years of whining exaggerating and fear mongering are coming to an end. This isn’t Summit Grenfields study – it’s funded by New Castle taxpayers at the direction of the Town Board you elected.
Yeah – I know now you will implicate Supervisor Greenstein. But Katz is also on the board. It’s over.

By Your true colors are showing on 10/21/2014 at 5:35 pm

Anyone who believes that the downtown hamlet will benefit from retail at CC by having better signage to show shoppers there the way to the downtown is truly delusional.

Both traffic experts said that there will be a major increase in traffic on all of the roads around CC if it becomes a retail shopping destination. There is NO mitigation. Period.

I read the study.

By resident on 10/21/2014 at 7:00 pm

Since no ideas have been advanced that help down town (other than ‘Napoliville monstrosity), then, I argue that NOTHING can help the downtown. And, if nothing can help downtown, then we should look towards helping the town. Chappaqua Crossing is that help both storewise, shoppingwise and taxwise. Assuming (ugh) the NIMBY point that CC does not help the town, then, it is a neutral. If it is a neutral, the WHY NOT? Further, since property values are not hurt nearly as bad as decried (per recent $1.5m Cowdin sale), WHY NOT?

Ok, there will be some traffic. Just avoid the area and accept the great shopping and convenience as compensatory for the extra 4 minutes, at most, of traffic when one goes near there.

By downtown is dead on 10/21/2014 at 11:14 pm

No surprise that these consultants tell us more tenants and higher rents = more revenue.  But there is no reason to allow the developer to have his full ask.  There will be three developers eventually – retail, office, residential – and loading that property with traffic beyond a certain point will hurt all of them. That has to be controlled by the town up front.  The report is interesting but not definitive.

By Interesting on 10/22/2014 at 5:53 am

Christine- you are an intelligent woman. Certainly you can see and understand that you placed this story below many others. The reader must scroll down below stories and pictures of Rocky Hills, Fall Festival , The Dewey decimal System etc. it is true that you placed it third story down on the left column but in newspaper parlance the top right column is usually the lead the important story. There you have pictures and an article about Rocky Hills.
This is a big story. Development at CC has been ongoing for almost a decade. This study , the second by AKRF and paid for by taxpayers, clearly supports the development. You as editor made a clear choice to move the story down and write no attention grabbing headline. As other have pointed out, had this AKRF study been favorable to the NIMBY cause the story placement would have been front and center and the headline would have been screaming something from the roof tops.

Editor’s Note:  The story is THIRD in the lineup.  I now realize that what you’re describing in ONE PIECE—the calendar for the week—that shows events up top (not articles—individual events).  It happened to be very fall-festivally-long with lots of events over the next ten days. 

The AKRF report is described as “Long-awaited,” along with the Galante and Planning Bd comments.  The info is extensive and interesting, but I’d hardly call it screamingly favorable news about Chappaqua Crossing except perhaps to someone, such as yourself, who seems to need to interpret the study as screamingly favorable to the proposed retail project.

By C’mon man on 10/22/2014 at 7:27 am

The placement of this article proves the editors bias. When she wants a story to resonate and stand out she has regularly features that story at the top right column of NewCastleNow. This story which hurts her NIMBY cause is located third story down on the left. There is no stand out attention grabbing headline or by-line drawing the readers attention.
She intentionally and not so successfully attempted to downplay this story. We all know very well had the AKRF study been helpful to the NIMBY cause this story would be top of the page with a headline that made sure the reader understood the message.
This is a clear example of how the Nimbys try to manipulate the narrative.
Our elected officials and our community now have all the information data studies/ surveys needed to finally get this development built.

By It’s NIMBY tilt and bias on 10/22/2014 at 8:10 am

Good job, Christine, with the AKRF rept. “Tilt” is way-tilted. The AKRF report is both positive and negative. It doesn’t solve anything. The town board has a very difficult decision to make. I can see the arguments on both sides and AKRF did nothing to make anyone able to declare a winner in the argument. “Tilt” is determined to see tilt and to have retail at CC.

And I agree with “Irrespective” – it’s ridiculous to think that big retail at CC will not prevent healthy development of downtown Chappaqua.

By “Tilted” is tilted one on 10/22/2014 at 8:38 am

“Napoliville monstrosity”? The cure AKRF prescribes for downtown Chappaqua is exactly what Mr. Napoli has been talking about for eons. Did you actually read the report?

By Napoli is actually right, according to AKRF on 10/22/2014 at 8:40 am

Enough.  Enough talk, enough hearings, enough studies, and enough surveys.  Let’s cut right to the chase.

Greenstein is clearly voting yes on this, as evidenced by his “hands are tied” alibi.

Brodsky will follow whatever Greenstein does.

Katz is voting no, as this was her sole purpose for running for office.

The wildcards are Chapin and Mottel. Greenstein may have made a major mistake by essentially shunning both of them ever since he took office.  It would be the ultimate form of payback if Chapin and Mottel both agreed to vote no on this.  Personally, I would love to see it.

By enough on 10/22/2014 at 9:04 am

If you have a further problem, email me.

.(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)

By Im not buying it Chrsitine on 10/22/2014 at 11:49 am

I’ve invited you to email me. 

.(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)

By RESIDENT MOM on 10/22/2014 at 4:41 pm

Dear Town Board,
I am a citizen of New Castle and I am hoping that you will vote to approve the zoning change at Chappaqua Crossing and bring the much needed and deeply wanted Whole Foods to our town.
Thank you for your efforts on this project and for listening to all neighborhood input.

By Anonymous on 10/23/2014 at 4:24 pm

Dear town board
Please do not be cowered and let the tail wag the dog. That is , don’t be bullied or intimidated by the vocal minority into making a decision against what the majority of the town wants, and , more importantly, what it sorely needs.

Recent sales show property values on Cowdin lane have held steady such that there is no property value loss to those nimby extremists . They are good people whose market value fears, with the passage of time,turn out not to be based in actual fact.

Traffic is another thing, which no doubt you will address.

By Also anonymous on 10/24/2014 at 10:41 am

Editor Yeres did a very good job summarizing the points of the study.  In doing so she made the report easier for me to understand.  I think the report will provide the town board with a legal justification for approving the project at a larger size in line with the town adopted findings but I don’t believe AKRF or anybody else can really forecast the future of downtown.

By Susie Woodsmith on 10/24/2014 at 11:37 am


How are we to know you are really a “citizen” of New Castle if you are anonymous?  Anyone can claim anything anonymously.

B/T/W,  we usually call ourselves residents.

By Come out, come out, whoever you are! on 10/24/2014 at 12:00 pm

i implore the town board to move this development forward. Studies and surveys all conclude in favor. The Westchester Planning Board also blessed CC. Further delay and we lose Whole Foods. If that happens the developer sues and wins.
To Come out , come out whoever you are! How silly of you to question someone as to their citizenship because they post anonymously – when your critique is done anonymously. That’s right out of the NIMBY playbook. In that playbook its perfectly ok be anonymous as long as you are anti retail at CC. But when we are for retail at CC and post anonymously you accuse us of working for the developer or not a citizen.
This project can no longer be held up by this small group of obstructionists. 8 years is enough. We need a supermarket. We need a better mix of housing stock. A gym and other retail would be great. Downtown is charming but it will never handle modern lifestyle community type multi use facility.

By Anonymous resident on 10/24/2014 at 6:44 pm

It’s only a matter of time before an 18 wheeler makes a mistake and drives on the Saw Mill or attempts to drive down Roaring Brook from 120. I also forsee impatient drivers stopping on the train tracks. We all know what can happen there.

By Long Time Resident on 10/24/2014 at 7:00 pm

To: Anonymous resident:

“But when we are for retail at CC and post anonymously you accuse us of working for the developer or not a citizen.”

If you have been paying attention, you would remember that this was Greenstein’s MO on these message boards while he was against development.

By how ironic on 10/24/2014 at 9:00 pm

Long time Resident is a bird of my feather.

By chicken little on 10/24/2014 at 11:16 pm

My wife and I live in the West End of New Castle, close to Millwood, in one of the oldest houses in town. We’re retired, and we don’t need to add a lot of junk to our lives. We do need to buy food, get household supplies, get the dog groomed, clothing dry cleaned,and stamps purchased periodically. I’m French by birth, so I’m used to doing my food shopping by going to the butcher, the wine store, the cheese store, the fish store, the bread baker (boulangerie) for bread and croissants, the cake maker (patisserie)for tartes and tortes, the chocolate shop (chocolatier) and so forth several times a week. We can do all these things in Millwood and Chappaqua, though for certain special order fish and specialty cake items we occasionally need Mt. Kisco and Pleasantville.  We never set foot in department stores, big box stores, discount stores or mass merchandisers. We’re not awed by Whole Foods—the quality is infinitely higher at Chappaqua Village Market, or at Grand Central Market when we go into the city from the Chappaqua train station.

We like dealing with people who know our names and our preferences, and who can recommend, say, a wine or cut of beef on that basis. We will never go to Chappaqua Crossing regardless of what you put there. And by the way, mall traffic across the main line of Metro North at street level, rather than elevated on an overpass, is virtually guaranteed to result in a fatal accident which throws our precious AAA rating into the junk bargain basement if, indeed, bankruptcy can be averted. So I hope you’re not stupid enough to allow that.

By Chris Wyser-Pratte on 10/25/2014 at 4:00 am

Mr Wyser- Pratt – you are retired and represent but one demographic. I have 3 young children and moved here three years ago. An Average day includes getting the kids off to 2 diff schools, working part time, after school activities, youth sports and dance. I do not have the luxury of shopping at multiple stores to purchase food household items and such. Maybe one day it will be important for me to shop at stores where my name is known and a wine or cut of beef will be recommended to me but that seems a long way off. It is imperative I drive to one place or one center and be able to buy food, produce, fish beef diapers etc all under one roof. My time is best spent with my family and not driving all over the place shopping and looking for parking.
I recognize there are many retired folks and empty nesters like you living here. But when it’s time to sell the likely buyers will be younger folks bringing up their families. I assure you not having a super market in our own town is a big drawback. I have friends in Westchester, CT, Long Island and down south. They can not believe that I live in a town that doesn’t have a supermarket. All the taxes we pay, and I pay more than all my friends, and we don’t have a respectable place to shop. I drive to Armonk or Mt Kisco.
As for concerns about railroad tracks, I grew up in the south and street level tracks are the norm, even near commerce. Even up and down Metro North tracks are street level.
Enjoy your wine and cheese – my kids prefer Mac n cheese.

By My nest is full on 10/25/2014 at 6:15 pm

I grew up in Chappaqua and am now in my 30’s. My parents are close to retirement and still live in town.

The town was always great, but it could honestly use a face lift and more ammenities.

I have lived a number of places since I left Chappaqua, and I began to realize there were things missing from our hamlet. If you want to draw young families to the town, there need to be better restaurants, better retail stores and better markets.  Not only are the housing prices unaffordable to millenials and young families, there are fewer ammenities and things to do in town.  Harsh reality is, if future generations A) cant afford to live in town and B) have nothing to do if they can afford to buy in town, none of the exisiting stores/restaurants will survive. The future of the town rests on the future generations that will raise families in town. Fortunately or Unfortunately the town will need to make the things more attractive and cater to that generation in one way or another.

I drive through Chappaqua and Mount Kisco and they both look downtrodden and ghostly compared to when i grew up (and no, its not because of the Target in Mt.Kisco or the new Walgreens).  Store fronts are empty, restaurants are constantly closing…Its sad.  Things look decrepid. Something like Chappaqua crossing could be a breath of fresh air to the town and could draw new families/customers from other areas.

By Anonymous on 10/28/2014 at 2:17 pm

Dear “My Nest is Full”—First, I won’t be selling unless my or my wife’s health demands it. You see, we just moved here about a year before you did. We chose New Castle because we liked the “ethos” of the town. I may have been born in France, but I was raised mostly in Pelham, New Rochelle and Larchmont. I can’t say I liked the way those towns slurb into each other, I recoil at the thought of going to a “shopping center”, and I was delighted by the open space and elbow room of the town I chose to live in, historic New Castle. I’m curious—why did you choose to move to a town that had none of the amenities you covet? Your wish to change the town environment rather reminds me of people who buy a house next to a freeway and then complain about the noise and demand a barrier wall. Hey, the freeway was there first…
I would be delighted if they develop Chappaqua Crossing into a community, another hamlet in the town, with multiple housing units, its own supermarket and post office and dry cleaners and wine/liquor store. I oppose their building something which destroys the downtown area of Chappaqua, which is very pleasant and is the heart and soul of the community in which we live. And, oh yes, I do know about railroad crossings at street level in the south. My wife was raised in the south, and I’ve even visited the famous “Rural Retreat” station in Virginia, on the main line of the C&O and memorialized in a photograph by O. Winston Link. How many trains do you think made that transit in a day? Have you ever looked at the schedule for the Harlem line of Metro-North? A street-level crossing is totally unacceptable, and if the railroad has any say (which as owner of the right of way I assume they do) they should veto such a concept.

By Chris Wyser-Pratte on 10/28/2014 at 10:13 pm

To Chris Wyser – Pratte – we have lived here close to thirty years and recently pulled our house off the market . I can tell you first hand that a significant obstacle in selling our house is the reputation Chapp now has as a town with high taxes which continue to rise combined with lack of basic services ( like a supermarket). Real estate brokers will confirm that our strong school system is no longer in a class by itself and nearby towns offer strong schools in communities with lower taxes and more amenities. Young families are primary buyers and they seek communities that suit their lifestyle. It’s charming that you and your wife enjoy shopping at several small stores to procure your beef, wine and cheese but most people prefer the shopping experience provided at a Whole Foods, Trader Joes, and DeCcicos of Armonk. Drive , park once and stock up on produce, household items, baby needs, fish and beef all under one roof or in close proximity.
Our downtown is charming but it is challenged by an up the hill/ down the hill topography. Having a middle school and train station in the middle of this sliver also creates problems. Lastly, online commerce has forever changed main st mom n pop retail. Retail at CC will not destroy downtown. The decline started years ago. It’s best our community join the modern age and take advantage of the opportunity before us. Whole Foods and all that goes with it is needed in order for us to stay competitive and provide residents a modern lifestyle multi use facility.

By Emptynester on 10/29/2014 at 10:20 am


Did you and your spouse vote for that gold plated unneeded second middle school ?

If so, the YOU are responsible for our high taxes. 

It is absolutely false to say that our downtown cannot return to the hub of shopping and meeting that it used to be.  And puleez, this baloney that we do not have food shopping is nonsense.  We have markets 5 minutes in every direction.  True, we do not have a Whole Foods but that matters not one whit to many who live here, plan to stay here and love this town.

I say bravo to Chris Wyser-Pratte.  He displays the values that many still treasure.

By Resident on 10/29/2014 at 1:48 pm

i did not vote for the second middle school. I opposed it on every level!!!
It passed by a very slim margin and those near CC ( then Readers Digest) forced the CCSD school board to change the location in order to secure their votes. The school board first choice for the new school was Greeley. But the NIMBYs the same NIMBYs as today, protested and force the 7 Bridges location. Once the school board changed the location these NIMBYs got in board and passed the vote. The same NIMBYs didn’t want the middle school in their backyard as they don’t want CC in their backyard. That school should never have been built anywhere but the NIMBYs, once they got it moved , vote to approve.
These people are ruining our town!!!

By Empty nester too on 10/30/2014 at 11:44 am

Empty nester too,

I concur with all the other reasonable residents who have said that anyone using the term “nimby” has no credibility.
There is no way that you can support that the people living around CC voted for the second school once the location was moved.  Another baseless attack.
BTW, it was the then school board itself that shoved this school down the residents throats.
I live nowhere near either location.

By resident on 10/30/2014 at 1:17 pm

to resident – “NIMBY” is an often used term and accurately reflects the reality of many many situations so not just in Chapp. Using the term does not hurt credibility. There is another often used term ITSFWI – if the shoe fits wear it. 
It was the then school board that shoved the new middle school down residents throats but the issue went to a vote as we needed to approve a $55million bond. The school boards first choice was building the school on the Greeley campus. The pushback from those living near Greeley was ferocious and the school board knew they would lose the vote. Some living near Greeley opposed any new school and some favored a new school but Not In Their Backyard. Under pressure and recognizing the bond would not be passed the school board moved the new school to the west side. This is fact. It is not baseless. I was very active in the state. I attended most every meeting. I sat with and debated residents. I was always against the new middle school regardless of location. I know several and conversed with many who only wanted the new school as long as it was not at Greeley. The NIMBY label was used then just as it is used today. The only reason that new school was passed was because it was moved from Greeley to 7 Bridges. Had the school board stood its ground and kept the school at Greeley we would not have it today. That is fact – not baseless. I lived it.

By Empty nester too is correct on 10/30/2014 at 7:17 pm

Their back yard is your back yard.  Plain and simple.

By longtime resident on 10/30/2014 at 10:12 pm

Empty Nester Too has it correct – is CORRECT. That is exactly how and why 7 Bridges MS passed and ended up here. The school board blinked. They moved the proposed school away from Greeley and then and only then did it pass. It would have been voted down at Greeley.

By West side on 10/31/2014 at 1:25 pm

The school board did not ” blink.”  The school board endlessly campaigned against all the studies that showed it was a mistake.  They pushed it through. The League of Women Voters worked to have it pass also.  It passed by very few votes.  No reputable school board would have sanctioned it.

Both west Ender and empty nester need to chill.

By sense ? on 11/01/2014 at 12:59 am

Post a comment:

Display Name*:

Your Display Name will be associated with this comment on NewCastleNOW.org. We encourage commentators to use their real name or initials.

We encourage civil, civic discourse. In other words, be pithy and polite. All comments will be reviewed before publication to assure that this standard is met.