Ltr from Super: To what degree prior TB has “tied our hands” on Chappaqua Crossing approval

April 8, 2014
by Supervisor Rob Greenstein

Please keep in mind that the prior town conducted the SEQRA review. The prior TB adopted the findings the week before elections. They made specific findings as to traffic and other impacts that would be associated with retail zoning. I do not believe the current town board is at liberty to disregard those findings as it considers whether retail zoning is appropriate for the property.

Unfortunately, while some could certainly disagree &/or chose to ignore the legal realities, our hands are tied by the actions of the prior town board. Yes, how tightly they are tied is still being studied. But, I cannot just ignore the legal realities of the situation.

Do you think we should deny retail because of traffic? Traffic was studied. We are still concerned and is working hard to address, but traffic concerns cannot support a complete denial. Maybe we can approve less. Our attorneys are studying this.

Are you opposed to a 3rd hamlet? That was also studied. We are working very hard to limit the retail uses to prevent CC from harming the existing hamlets.

Do you think we can just deny their application? After eight years of SEQR, the town just says no? How do we defend that in court? How do we convince a federal judge that the town had a legitimate, rational basis for the denial?

This is the reality. Yes, we can still deny their application. But, we would be putting our town in a very precarious legal position. I would LOVE to do as much as I can for those who live near CC but I also have a responsibility to the whole town.

At this point, I do feel that we need to work with Summit Greenfield and work out the best deal for our community. I’d rather shape the inevitable (retail) outcome now then have less leverage and a diminished ability to do so in the wake of an unsuccessful court challenge.

I would do what I think is in the best interests of New Castle – even if it upsets some – this is my current responsibility.

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

Supervisor Greenstein- I agree with all you have written. It’s been 8 years- we can not continually say no and expect that eventually the courts will rule against us. The problem I have is that many have been saying this very thing for the last few years and you refuted them and discounted their reasoning. It is true that a week before the election the prior town board adopted the findings that was one very small piece of this very large puzzle. They only adopted findings – they didn’t approve the plan.
To be clear- I support you and your effort to bring a controlled and well planned development to CC. It’s long overdue.
Perhaps this can be your first step towards truly being transparent. Good luck.

By I can live with that on 04/08/2014 at 4:15 pm

Rob – I agree with your assessment. I have been one of many people that recognize that 8 years of delays and obstruction will eventually lead to long and expensive litigation. Which we probably lose. The adoption of SEQRA findings was just one of many steps. We must move ahead. This will benefit all of us. I only wish you would have listened to us a year ago.

By Resident on 04/08/2014 at 4:36 pm

“Do you think we can just deny their application? After eight years of SEQR, the town just says no? How do we defend that in court? How do we convince a federal judge that the town had a legitimate, rational basis for the denial?”

Why not?  You wanted the prior board to say no only 6 months ago.  What’s the difference at this point?

By illogical on 04/08/2014 at 5:09 pm

It is nice to see the continuity between the previous town board and the current one.  Although I personally would not have wanted more than 40,000 sf of retail, it is important to remember that the previous town board believed that up to 120,000 sf of retail was acceptable and would not unduly impact the town or the existing hamlets.  The previous town board was comprised of lawyers who understood the legal requirements and ramifications of the findings.  The former supervisor, Susan Carpenter, served previously on the planning board with distinction, so she certainly understood how to read the proposed plan and assess its full impact.

By Continuity on 04/08/2014 at 5:47 pm

Greenstein – the adoption of SEQRA findings one week before the election was not a game changer as you suggest. This adoption of findings was not a tipping point. The last town board did not approve Summit Greenfields plan. Part of me understands that retail at CC is inevitable and probably a positive for our community. The other part understands that there is really nothing that transformational here and you ran a dishonest campaign. You should have been honest and told as that after all these years of denying and obstructing, the developer has gained an advantage and we must work out some satisfactory compromise to bring a well thought out retail / commercial/ residential complex to CC. Instead you berated Carpenter, insulted Penny and you are going to do what they had proposed all along.
Once again- no word from Lisa Katz. Maybe she will update us on the train station restaurant soon.

By I call BS on 04/08/2014 at 6:11 pm

If “By Resident” were correct, and the proposed CC development “will benefit all of us,” then by all means full speed ahead. Unfortunately, this is not correct, as was apparent from the SEQRA review and the dozens, perhaps hundreds, of residents who came forward to speak against the proposed development—compared with a handful who publicly favored it. A bad development proposal does not get better by the mere passage of time, and the town board should say no, unless and until there is a meritorious proposal which “will benefit all of us” or at a minimum not carry with it unreasonable risks and burdens for the town, its residents, and the existing hamlets.

By Look to the merits on 04/08/2014 at 6:32 pm

They lost!!

“One shoe drops: Judge dismisses Summit Greenfield’s state suit against the town.” (Title of piece in NCNow archives)  The Judge said SG had no case b/c they knew how it was zoned when they bought the Reader’s Digest property and the town was not obligated to change the zoning.

Greenstein was protesting, running around furiously asking why did the TB give them the 111 units, give them anything at all.  He never heard, he said, as a lawyer, winning a lawsuit and then capitulating to the loser. 

It’s dizzying, can’t keep up with the 180s.




By Remember, Rob, SG lost?! on 04/08/2014 at 6:55 pm

They lost!

“One shoe drops: Judge dismisses Summit Greenfield’s state suit against the town” from NCNow archives.

Judge said SG didn’t have a case because they knew how it was zoned when they bought it and the town had no obligation to change the zoning.

RG carried on why did they give them the 111 units.  As a lawyer, he said he never heard of anyone capitulating to the loser in a lawsuit, when you win it.  He was shocked and loudly declared how ridiculous it was.

Having trouble keeping up with his 180s.

By Enough, already on 04/08/2014 at 7:10 pm

@Look to the Merits-you are clearly a NIMBY as were the very large majority who came forward to speak against the proposal.the current plan is not the same plan as proposed 8 years ago and 6 years ago etc. it has changed and evolved. It is much improved.
For you and the obstructionists, nothing will satisfy but a ghost-town at CC. That has been already proven by all of you. It was because of you/NIMBY we now have Team New Castle in office.  I totally agree with I call BS (above)- we would be in the same place with Penny but at least she was honest about CC and she had years of town hall experience. She could be trusted. Thanks to you we have Team Amateur I mean Team Green.

By Chappster on 04/08/2014 at 7:25 pm

You are so right. With CC, the downtown landlord grip will loosen to allow creativity and charm to return.  And if not, look only to those who refuse to budge for the good of the town.

By Dead chappster on 04/08/2014 at 9:23 pm

Tonight you now say your hands ate loosely tied.  Really!!!

By rob you keep changing your mind on 04/08/2014 at 10:26 pm

Where is Lisa Katz on this? This is the primary issue and reason she ran for Town Board. Greenstein says our hands are tied- is that true Lisa? You are an attorney. What are your thoughts? It’s unconscionable that you have not written a letter, made a comment or issued a statement.

By Disgusted and fed up with LK on 04/09/2014 at 6:36 am

Many people in our community have been following closely the Summit Greenfield – Chapp Crossing odyssey. There has not been one plan but a series of plans, modifications, changes, resubmissions, and rejections. Community activists like Greenstein and NIMBY vocals like Katz are responsible for the long drawn out battle. These delays ha vve effectively strengthened the developers hand because at some point SG will easily and successfully claim that they have bargained I. Hood faith but the town of New Castle has denied them usage of their property. Carpenter and Clinton Smith knew that and now with legal council from his friend at K&B law firm, Greenstein knows it.

However, it is laughable and insulting for Greenstein to suggest that this somehow all transpired a week before the election and now his hands are tied. His hands and Team New Castles hands were tied long before the election. In large part their obstructionist activities put us on this path with this likely outcome long ago. “Findings were adopted” the week before the election – nothing more. That town hoard meeting and the agenda was known well in advance. There were no surprises in the week(s) before the election. Team New Castle were fully aware but ran their election campaign ignoring this inevitable outcome.

By Try again on 04/09/2014 at 7:22 am

Before you grant any approval to CC, you must first come up with new planning and zoning changes for downtown Chappaqua. I agree that creating a third hamlet will create financial hardships for our downtown landlords, merchants, and business owners. It would not be fair to place the financial burden and time consuming task on the shoulders of our landlords while they try to adapt to the realities of living with the effects of a third hamlet. Lets all understand that it is no easy task to appear before the town boards to request a change of “use” in tenancy, or to modify the interior of a commercial space in order to comply with the demands of a incoming tenant. Would we allow third and fourth floor medical in downtown Chappaqua? Would we allow second floor investment Banks? How about third floor retail, with first floor apartments? Would we allow an Auto Parts store to be located on the second floor? If the fears of a third hamlet ring true, and the real estate market only produces tenants that want the above stated “uses” and location, how will town hall respond? We need this to all be figured out before CC gets its approvals. To do so later is to create to many emergency roof top generator type situations, where an applicant is simply abused due to the process of applying for a change to their property to survive CC. We see a history of town hall being very difficult in working with the landlords, merchants, and business owners, and do not have a history that shows town hall to be an accomodating place. Mr. Greenstein and team what say you?

By NCGPS on 04/09/2014 at 9:25 am

Rob – you have a thankless job. But you are on the right path. It has been said before and worth saying again- a well planned carefully developed properly scaled multi purpose campus at CC will be a great plus for the entire community. It must include a Whole Foods type supermarket and the more community oriented facilities the better. Almost everyone I have met agrees. Only those living in close proximity will continue to object and throw up unwarranted objections. I suspect the fear mongers have been too quiet and expect them to barrage you with exaggerated negative claims. A few shouldn’t dictate to the rest.
Hopefully in a year or 2 we will all be thanking you and enjoying the new Greenstein pool house at CC. LOL

By Bkb on 04/09/2014 at 2:36 pm

No property owner has a right to have their property rezoned, and the Town Board has no obligation to rezone property for anyone.  Having run and been elected on a platform opposing retail zoning at Chappaqua Crossing the Board now has a moral obligation to the voters to deny this rezoning and, if it comes to that, to fight any lawsuit seeking the rezoning. The Town Board’s hands are not tied, and it would be an outrageous breach of faith to the voters who elected them if they now use this as an excuse to renege on their promises made in the election. The voters certainly had a right to a Board that would stand up and fight for their expressed interests.

By Kate Montgomery on 04/09/2014 at 3:21 pm

To Kate Montgomery – excuse me. I am a resident and a taxpayer. I also submitted the informal survey circulated last year and I along with many others indicated we want a Whole Foods. I along with others want retail at CC as long as it is well controlled and well designed.
I heard Candidate Greenstein suggest that Whole Foods would be a good fit at CC. He repeated that in a comment here during the campaign. He also indicated that negotiations with the developer would be needed to find common ground and he frequently mentioned moving Town Hall to CC. That’s what he is doing. I’m sorry the NIMBYs feel betrayed but you folks just weren’t paying attention.
The rest of us recognize we need an increased tax base and we want a Whole Foods. This community is more than just the few blocks near Readers Digest / CC. A decade ago you pushed the new middle school to the other side of town. This time it won’t work.

By I voted too on 04/09/2014 at 6:15 pm

@Ms Montgomery – property is rezoned all the time in this community and all towns. Frequently additions, renovations and new construction require variance- rezoning. Subdivisions also are frequently rezoned. While the owner may not have a right to be rezoned there certainly is plenty of precedent pressuring municipalities to allow owners usage. Retail at CC was and is inevitable. Best to work with government to make sure community is best served. If you are not part of the solution your part of the problem.

By West side on 04/09/2014 at 6:33 pm

Would the Greenstein of last year recognize the Greenstein of today? 
To me, they are two entirely different people.

By Who on 04/09/2014 at 7:43 pm

I live four miles from Chappaqua Crossing, on the west side of town. I am not a NIMBY.  I believe, even though the development is not in my back yard, that political candidates should stand behind the promises they make during election campaigns. I am also very disappointed that the other correspondents on this site do not see fit to sign their names.

By Kate Montgomery on 04/09/2014 at 8:00 pm

Greenstein has changed his mind so many times that at any particular time no one knew what he stood for.  However during the last months of the election he got the votes of the NIMBYS because he said he was against development at CC.

By which way is the wind blowing today? on 04/09/2014 at 8:04 pm

all I remember is Greenstein telling a man at a public hearing last year that he was “out of his mind” and “drunk” because he was pro-grocery and pro-retail at CC. Nothing more needs to be said.

By that says it all on 04/09/2014 at 10:47 pm

I am very disappointed that I do not have a grocery store in my town.
I also agree about political promises, but wake up, please, they ALL, eventually, do not to EVERYTHING they promise. Why are you surprised or even spend energy blogging the point. The two reasons are that It is impossible to do so (ie.everything) and they are snakes, by the nature of politics.


By Dear Ms Montgomery on 04/10/2014 at 5:06 am

He is the same person, There are some of us that saw through him.
I kept on hammering the point that he was an opportunistic, pandering blow hard with no experience. I was vilified by the NIMBY and obstructionist factions. You all got what you deserve, especially his
fraudulent electioneering.

that being said…Right on with the development!!!

By Dear Who on 04/10/2014 at 5:10 am

To the anonymous poster who can think of nothing to say beyond labeling residents affected by Chappaqua Crossing as NIMBYs, I hope when your neighbor’s home is rezoned as a supermarket you welcome it as good for the community. Is it wrong to care about what happens in your backyard or to the high school?  I was never opposed to the property being used for its original purpose.  I look forward to your anonymous critical reply.

By Barbara Satow on 04/10/2014 at 6:21 am

To It a Says it All- I attended that town board meeting where Greenstein insulted a resident with accusations of being out if his mind and drunk.  That was highly inappropriate yet the NIMBYs ignored and voted him in. But in his defense, the resident was not simply pro – grocery, he supported the development plan as presented at the time which people categorized as a strip mall. It was more about the scope and less about Whole Foods. I make no. Excuses for Greensteins behavior. 

Interestingly, shortly after that TB meeting Greenstein, in a comment on NCNow reaffirmed the notion that bringing Whole a Foods to CC was his idea. 
My interpretation of his statements has always been that he opposed a large strip mall style complex but supported a Whole Foods in a town square type setting. I believe that is what he is perusing today. For this reason I disagree with Kate Montgomery. I never viewed Greenstein as an anti- retail at CC candidate.

By I was there on 04/10/2014 at 6:44 am

@ That Says It All- I agree with you – I watched the replay of the board meeting when “Greenstein telling a man at a public hearing last year that he was “out of his mind” and “drunk” because he was pro-grocery and pro-retail at CC”. For me that cemented my decision not to vote for him. In subsequent TB meetings I watched Lisa Katz disrespect and berate the Town Board. She went so far as to associate school shootings with retail at CC – that too cemented my vote against them. By her logic, we should close all stores in downtown as they are close to Bell MS.

I would never-could never vote for people so disrespectful and insulting to fellow residents.  Add to that their deceitful and dishonest petition and we should have all known the type of people they are.

There should be absolutely no surprises here. As stated before, Greenstein has taken all sides of all issues. He was against retail at CC before he was in favor (Whole Foods was his idea he says). They were all about updating the Master Plan first – “Plan before Developing” they said.  But that didn’t apply that standard to The Spa. And Brodsky is totally conflicted with his own agenda and that too was ignored.

NOW- the very people that voted Team New Castle in office are outraged, disappointed, betrayed….How can that be? What signals did you miss? The answer is clear and simple. You are so opposed to retail at CC that you excused and ignored the dishonest, disrespectful and conflicted behavior. And that’s says it all.

I voted for Penny. She is a dedicated professional with years of experience. She was honest and candid in her support for moving forward with retail at CC. It is needed and done properly will be a great addition to town. Ironically it looks like either way retail is coming to CC. That’s a good thing.

By That really says it all on 04/10/2014 at 8:26 am

To Barbara Satow- forgive me but I have no sympathy for you and NIMBYs whatsoever. I know exactly what it is like to have my neighborhood changed by development and construction. I live between Random Farms and Seven Bridges. First we had the McMansions built at Random Farms along with its faulty sewer/ septic.  Then years later Seven Bridges Middle School was built. The original plan was to build the new middle school on the Greeley campus- much like Fox La, Pleasantville and many other districts. But the Readers Digest, Greeley, now CC NIMBYs fought it and pushed it to my side of town.

Our side of town had to redistrict our children causing angst and disruption. Our side of town had to endure the construction and subsequent traffic. Your kids and your side of town were unaffected.

Did you and your neighbors care about us? Did you vote to block 7 Bridges MS? No. As soon as the new Middle School was no longer in your neighborhood your side of town voted it in and it passed.

POSTSCRIPT- neither Random Farms nor 7Bridges MS created the feared negative impact. Property values did not go down and traffic is very managable. Hardest part was Uprooting our kids and separating them from friends.

By 7Bridges mom on 04/10/2014 at 9:33 am

Stop worrying about logos and color schemes and focus on being a Supervisor. How about a refreshing blast of honesty and say ” I wanted to be elected so I was going to say and do anything to get that done”. Stop blaming old boards and say ” I really have no idea how local government works”.  The gall that you are showing by asking about a 3rd Hamlet is just embarrassing. You were the one who SPOKE FOR THE TOWN at board meetings saying everyone was against it.  You should be ashamed of yourself.

By Czar Greenstein be honest on 04/10/2014 at 10:06 am

Rob Greenstein, as recent, as Tuesday’s Board mtg, still gets annoyed when questioned.  Yes he has toned it down a bit but for someone who complained so bitterly about Susan Carpenter, I still do not feel comfortable getting up and raising a question.  Quite frankly Brodsky’s responses are not much better.  Robin Murphy, Christine and a woman named Jessica were raising very good questions.  The irritated and dismissive responses they received were unacceptable from my point of view.  What are all these meetings he is having with the Spa neighbors and planned next with the CC neighbors? How come no one else knows when they take place? I checked the website.  I checked NCNow.  I checked the new Bulletin.  I would like to attend.  Looks like closed door meetings, which he accused Carpenter of as well.  Transparency?  I think not.

By What is going on? on 04/10/2014 at 10:36 am

7Bridges Mom has it correct. I remember very well those in her community near Greeley and Readers Digest protesting a middle school in their neighborhood.  They threatened to vote it down. When the school board caved and moved it to Seven Bridges many, but not all in opposition , voted for the new middle school. In effect saying not in my backyard but in your backyard its ok

I also have little sympathy. This small well mobilzed outspoken community signed a bogus petition , stuffed the ballot box if you will when Dawn Greenberg attempted to survey our residents, and they blindly supported the disturbing and dishonest behavior of he candidates they voted for. What goes around comes around.

By What goes around comes around on 04/10/2014 at 1:11 pm

If all of the people who spoke out against CC last fall were not NIMBYs, then where were these same people during the public comments about the spa??

By ???? on 04/10/2014 at 2:51 pm

Kudos to Barbara Satow for printing your name. But Barbara-why are you directing your frustration at anonymous posters that label you a NIMBY? Shouldn’t your frustrations and anger be directed at the town board members you elected? I am sure you and most of your neighbors voted for Lisa Katz and R Greenstein. Seems to me you should comment about how they have let you down. It seems to me you should be writing a comment asking why Katz has been absolutely silent. I for one voted for Penny P – I saw through Team New Castle and I was greatly concerned that they had zero experience in town government. Retail at CC was not the only issue and I cast my vote based on trust and belief that our Town Board would do the right thing for everyone- not just a small neighborhood. Seems like you and your neighbors ignored the rest of us in town when you voted Team New Castle. Now we have the same concern for you as you showed us.

By TR on 04/10/2014 at 3:15 pm

To Ms Satow- It sounds like you are looking for sympathetic ears because of rezoning and its impact on your neighborhood and high school. Where was your concerrn when you voted for 3 totally inexperinced candidates? These people were rude and disrespectful. They showed their deceitful ways throughout the election campaign but you and your NIMBY community didnt care.You ignored their deplorable behavior and their self serving agendas. I bet you signed their petition even though it was dishonest in alarming residents that a sewage treatment plant was part of the CC plan. And big neon signs….and lions and tigers and bears.

Greenstein has been a huge supporter of The Napoli Plan to revitalize downtown Chapp. He still is. That plans calls for a huge parking garage and chain stores right next to my childrens Bell School. It didnt seem to bother you about those Bell students safety but you care about Greeley students?-you voted for Team New Castle anyway. Now our entire community is stuck with this group for 2 years. I think you should direct your anger at them and their lack of transparency. At them for promising “a new approach to governing” and “end to the status quo”. You folks got duped and we all will suffer. I remain anonymous so as not to incur the wrath of Capt Greenstein.

By anonymous on 04/10/2014 at 4:38 pm

Let’s not rehash old arguments about zoning changes. “It was zoned commercial so it must stay commercial” is old and done. Everybody points to Armonk and it’s downtown as an example of an exciting and well designed plan. Well, Armonk Square ( home of Decicco’s market) needed multiple zoning changes and special permits. Store size , off street parking, utility were all rezoned. Down the block, Marianis Nursery ( now food and furnishings) needed zoning changes. There were even a few protests as some houses and condos are in close proximity. In the end it turned out beautifully. So please let’s stop with the “don’t change zoning at CC” silliness.

By Build it already on 04/10/2014 at 5:24 pm

I don’t think either Barbara Satow or I have stated our voting preferences. But we have had the courage to use our names. Why are so many commentors reluctant to do so?

By Kate Montgomery on 04/10/2014 at 8:28 pm

They did not develop correctly.  They are having all types of problems.  First and foremost, they messed up on the parking needs.  Wait until it is all built out.

By get the facts from Armonk on 04/10/2014 at 9:25 pm

I am not looking for sympathy. Nor do I feel anger or disrespect towards residents who support the development of CC or expect you to agree with me. I am well aware that our neighborhood is not the only place in New Castle to experience the negative impact of development.  I did not live here when the 7 Bridges decision was made but can appreciate that it was not good for many people on the other side of town or their children.  I would not expect those residents to be happy about that, and certainly would not have found it contemptible or selfish to simply speak out against it. And by the way, yes I am very disappointed by the position taken in this letter to the editor. Whoever you are (for all I know you are someone I see every day), have a Happy Passover or Easter, if applicable.

By Barbara Satow on 04/11/2014 at 5:12 am

Dear Kate – I assume you must be new to this blog/ website. Had you been following along these past few years you would understand that many of us did print our names with our comments only to be embarrassed, insulted, and bullied by the current Supervisor. Thanks to people like you and Ms Satow he was elected. Not only had he written nasty responses to our comments but he also publicly insulted and embarrassed a resident at a town board meeting. He called the resident a drunk and out of his mind simply for speaking in support of retail at CC. There has been the occasional debate, here and elsewhere , on the virtues or sins of anonymous commentary. I believe the majority of people support the words, the message, and the sharing of ideas and opinions over who signs a name.
Resident Betsy Weitz printed a wonderful letter on New CastleNow which sums it up perfectly. Perhaps Editor Yeres will attach it for you.

By Anonymous on 04/11/2014 at 12:20 pm

TNC may be far from perfect, but if Penny P had been elected supervisor, uncontrolled retail would have already been granted to CC and Conifer would be getting a key to the city. Is that what you would want for this town?

By Penny’s world on 04/11/2014 at 1:34 pm

To All, please read the summary of the CC litigation.  If retail is not approved, we will be back in court and this time all residents will be paying the piper.  What is now proposed is a lot better than the original concept plan.
A green house to grow fresh product and a gym are very different than all big box stores.
Thank you to Tom Curley for working so hard to make this a good fit. The design makes a huge difference.  Now we need to make sure that Summit Greenfield has a developer on board
to build the apartment buildings and the town houses so we get our 20 affordable units as previously approved. Could be the carrot that is needed.  The Wallace auditorium has been saved and will be an asset for lots of different groups going forward.

By JJS on 04/12/2014 at 11:39 pm

Last year Tom Curley started working on this plan and it is very satisfying to see it coming to fruition.  He is an asset to our community.

By Thank you Tom for your persistence on 04/15/2014 at 8:07 am

I have really tried to give these new board members a chance.  At every turn I cannot find anything that even one has done that makes me think we are fortunate to have them lead our Town.  They blame the last Board instead of just moving forward.  They read empty statements.  They have offered nothing.  Please become the leaders you were elected to be.

By dissatisfaction with new bd members on 04/17/2014 at 1:49 am

Rob Greenstein –

I heard you say on more than one occasion that the old town board was caving to SG because they were afraid of litigation but that YOU are not afraid of litigation and that they should “bring it on.” I also heard you say that your wife wanted a Whole Foods. So, I guess your willingness to litigate to protect our town is outweighed by your wife’s desire for a Whole Foods. Well, I’m sorry but that’s a big crock of BS and I am infuriated that I voted for you on the grounds that you would protect us from retail development at CC. I guess your wife is your most important constituent so screw the rest of us.

Summit Greenfield deserves NOTHING from us. They sued the town – they lost. They grieved their taxes, as is their right because they have done nothing to maintain or increase the value of their commercial property. They have done nothing to create an attractive and updated commercial work environment – something that landlords all over have to do to create value in their investment. Buying a property that is not suitable for certain use (retail) does not give them the right to bully us and there is no reason for you to fold your cards now and tell us that we can’t fight them anymore – just because you and your wife so desperately want that Whole Foods.

Come on, don’t pull your tough guy act against the people who elected you. Show it to SG as you told us you would.

By I have a great pair of flip flops for our supervis on 04/20/2014 at 12:16 pm

Dear Flip flop,
Downtown is dying because of the change in Bell School population. That change ended up reducing the shopping traffic to below a level that can sustain retail at the current rent levels. Much less people want to shop there any longer. You can’t blame Rob for that.

Yes, it would be nice to ‘help’ the landlords, but that is a capitalist/market item. But, helping them is giving them monetary value that goes directly into their pockets, that is, landlord welfare. THAT is not Rob’s job.

His job is to help the town as a whole. That is, in part, get retail that we ‘need’ or want.  We ‘need’ a supermarket and an increased tax base. His wife may want a Whole Foods because she is just like the no-longer-silent-majority of residents. I want it more than she does, so you deride me for that desire?

Yes Rob is/was a bully blowhard, you are right about that. But you voted for him and you got him. I was screaming at the top of my lungs saying just that before the election.

You appear to be a justifiably disappointed merchant or landlord. If merchant, look to your landlord to upgrade your façade and lower your rent. If a landlord, suck it up. You, just like the rest of us, must bear the effects of the economic downturn. When things turn around, you will get the financial benefit and even more so, if you receive commercial welfare…..will you give it back to us at that time?

By CC has nothing to do with downtown on 04/21/2014 at 8:09 am

I do not live in the world of big money, except insofar as our residential neighbors who have that where-with-all.

I am not a fan of SG, but, it has risked much money and will be making a development that has some beneficial effects.

The downtown landlords and merchants are of the same stripe, but on a much smaller scale. I do not want to throw them under the bus, but, we are ALL subject to the laws of gravity and market place.

By SG is our neighbor too on 04/21/2014 at 8:35 am

“The lord helps those who help themselves” as my late father always said. In our context, we should establish a Business Improvement District “BID” to cover all retail and commercial property in New Castle. That type of taxing district is established by the town board subject to a rejection vote by a majority of property owners. Its entire budget is applied towards businesses to whatever extent necessary to improve them, specifically, the money can only go towards real estate in the district.

Sounds good, you say? The problem is that it is funded only by the properties that benefit from it. So what’s the problem you ask? In a word…Hypocrisy. The landlords and merchants would like the entire town to pay for improvements to their stores and bottom lines, to the detriment to the bottom lines of the town residents. If the businesses improve, the business bottom lines improve but ours doesn’t.

I suggest that a BID is proposed. This will quiet the landlords and stop the merchants from crying. A bid is a singular authority to manage the town’s retail economy as a whole and have one decisional authority on facades and other things per its charter. There will be very little, if any, bureaucratic overhead, unless Rob installs one of his cronies as chairman at a paid position.

A volunteer board seems the way to go. But remember, it has the authority to impose real estate taxes on the real estate within the district….which could include Chappaqua Crossing (LOL). Also, a BID can be eliminated by a vote of he affected properties at any time.

By Stop the Crying on 04/21/2014 at 10:47 am

Why not a B I D?

Editor’s Note:  B.I.D. = Business Improvement District.  From Wikipedia:

A business improvement district (BID) is a defined area within which businesses pay an additional tax (or levy) in order to fund projects within the district’s boundaries. The BID is often funded primarily through the levy but can also draw on other public and private funding streams. BIDs may go by other names, such as business improvement area (BIA), business revitalization zone (BRZ), community improvement district (CID), special services area (SSA), or special improvement district (SID). BIDs provide services, such as cleaning streets, providing security, making capital improvements, construction of pedestrian and streetscape enhancements, and marketing the area. The services provided by BIDs are supplemental to those already provided by the municipality

By Sounds good to me on 04/25/2014 at 10:57 pm

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