NEW: Response to comments on my Op-Ed—“Rural Elegance,” the real “brand” of New Castle

Wednesday, October 8, 2014
by Betty Weitz

Thank you, Editor, for making clear that I do not live near Chappaqua Crossing.  I live towards the western side of town near Supervisor Greenstein. See Op-Ed:  On “Rural Elegance,” the real “brand” of New Castle,, September 29, 2014.

As far as the “woodsy” characterization of our town being dated, that was the term used in the title of the last NYT article published a few weeks ago; that recent article had the same theme of the rustic character of our town as a major asset that draws homebuyers.  The title says it all:  Chappaqua, N.Y.: A Hamlet in a Woodsy Setting, dated Sept. 3, 2014.  Again, the first paragraph reads:

“’When I tell people we live in the woods, I really mean that,’ said Paul Keyes, describing his life in Chappaqua in Northern Westchester.’” 

“When I pull off the road . . .  and finally come up the driveway, I feel like I’ve gone on vacation in the Adirondacks.”  He speaks of his home where the “only views are of rolling hills and trees.”  The article declares that “Chappaqua . . . has retained a small-town rural feeling.” And the article goes on to laud the desirability of the pastoral character of our town.

It is interesting, in this regard, to hear a relatively recent resident’s comments on this same point.  At the September 16th Town Board Work Session (7:40) , a resident who moved here just 4 years ago, told the board that his family came here because of the “bucolic nature” of the town, the almost “Rockwellian sense,” in his words, because that is what they wanted for their children.

I do not endorse any inappropriate build-out of the Chappaqua Hamlet and have said so. The fact of the matter is, as far as I know, there is no such application before any of the boards at this time.  Whereas the Chappaqua Crossing retail development is well along in the SEQRA process and there is a proposed amendment to the current Master Plan before the Town Board to allow such development on that site.

And, as Editor Yeres indicated, and the residents of that neighborhood on the eastern end of town can confirm, I have been supportive of their concerns and have spoken out about the Rosehill development from its inception and presentation of its original application before the board.

Throughout the history of New Castle, supervisors and former boards have served us well in protecting the interests of the town and its residents by promulgating and enforcing the requisite zoning codes. The current zoning laws are testament to this fact. 

Thank you, Ms. Mitchell, for your continued concern for this community and for the excellent service you rendered during your tenure as Supervisor.  We have been the beneficiaries of your good stewardship. 

I believe that many of us will always be concerned about this town of New Castle where we raised our children and that our concern will extend to future generations of families who come here to raise their children.

Finally, I am concerned that there appears to be an attempt to divide this town by using a pejorative acronym that is not worthy of repeating.  This is an enlightened town and it is not characteristic of its populace to marginalize people by name calling.  Not so distant history has and, unfortunately, continues to reveal that no form of marginalization of any group of people, for any reason, is innocuous regardless of any tortuous attempt to justify it.

I prefer to refer to my fellow residents, wherever in town they live, by the term “Neighbor.”

Betty Weitz, Ph.D.






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dear Neighbor Weitz- thank you for this response. Unfortunately you did not address the many comments that pointed out your uneven and hypocritical position. It may be true that the buildout at CC is further along down the road with regard to certain applications but it is also Tru many developments are way past i trial stages and warrant the same treatment. Mr Napoli took most fire in comments. His plan has been before several town boards. He has made numerous presentations and has stated he has investors and bankers lined up. He has even approached the CCSD school board. Certainly after 2 years and much effort his development plan is no longer just on the drawing board.
As others have pointed out, if your concern for suburban elegance and New England charm is sincere than why haven’t you come out against Napoli plan?
Isn’t the Legionarres plan and the Mosque plan also very well on their way ? Why aren’t you concerned and writing letters about their impact on our community? These questions have not been answered by you.

By Dear neighbor on 10/08/2014 at 12:42 pm

Ms weitz “ph.d” is entitled to her opinion as a resident, not with a
psychology imprimatur . That the editor publishes her views at the same time censoring ie not publishing many comments which do not agree with the Yeres/weitz/nimby way of thinking , dilutes the relevance of this publication.

By the way, I have 3 master degrees and a law degree.  Does that entitle my opinion to greater weight than our academic-in-chief ?  Absolutely not.

By What is the point? on 10/08/2014 at 12:49 pm

betty – I am in the camp with many others that support your idea of rural elegance and charm. A shopping mall at CC is as out of charecter as chain stores and 400 car parking garage and 5 story theater is in downtown Chappaqua. You are ducking the issue when you claim only CC has applications and that is why you target that and only that development. Chuck Napoli’s plan is not new or in its early stages. It has been presented and refined over several years. With downtown landowner and TB member Brodksy in support of downtown buildout and Katz in favor of anything but CC the Napoli plan may have a life. This plan has the potential to destroy the elegance and charm you propert to preserve yet you have said absolutely nothing about it. No objections – no letters- no comments- no appearances at the microphone of TB meetings.
You took the time and trouble to write this follow up letter to address comments regarding your last letter but you haven’t addressed the biggest issue , your clear double standard. Why? What’s your motive?

By Middle school mom on 10/08/2014 at 1:01 pm

Ms Weitz- you are either for rural elegance and charm or you are not. Have you studied the plans for the proposed mosque? Applications are in and its enormous as is the parking area. On certain days of the year the traffic in surrounding community will be awful. It does not at all fit in with your theme of elegance and charm yet you remain silent.
Have you seen the plans for the multiple condo development at Legionares property? Trees will come down , roads will be built, the environment and neighborhood will be compromised.  It does not fit in with your message of rural elegance and charm yet you remain silent on all but CC. Perhaps you will write a follow up letter to this follow up letter and explain the hypocracy.

By West sider on 10/08/2014 at 1:09 pm

Betty-to count yourself a champion of rural elegance and charm you must stand up for it wherever and whenever it is challenged. That is the point and your inconsistency deserves a response.

By Resident on 10/08/2014 at 1:31 pm

Thank you for the followup.  Could you also tell us what your PhD is in?  I assume it is in marketing or town planning by the way you spoke so authoritatively about them in your initial op-ed piece. 

Also, I caution against using terms tossed around in a NYT article written by someone who does not live here.  I love the trees and open spaces of New Castle, but we are closer to being like Scarsdale than we are like the Adirondacks.

I am also still confused as to why the apparent tree and wood capital of Westchester will change because of some small development at the former Reader’s Digest site.  Those who shall not be labeled have repeatedly claimed that the development there will forever change this town.  I doubt that, but it may, by why is change necessarily bad? 

We are, as you point out, a community of neighbors.  But we are not all going to be collectively benefited by or harmed by every decision our Town boards make under their charters.  In fact, I argue that we should look to maximize the benefit to the most people while mitigating the harm to the small minority.

By New Castle Nancy on 10/08/2014 at 2:26 pm

Betty – why are you so adverse to using the acronym NIMBY. It is used all of the time when projects of all sorts and in all places are debated and discussed. I am amused at the case of the liberal left in Massachusetts ( limousine liberals I.e. Kennedy type) that rail against big business and big oil for polluting. They implore the use of renewable green energy such as wind and solar and detest carbon / fossil fuels. When a wind farm was proposed and then fully funded off the coast of MA (Nantucket, Cape Cod, Martha’s Vineyard) these same liberals protested against the wind mills because it might ruin there views of the horizon. Classic case of NIMBY.
To your point, if anybody has divided this town it is not those of us who use the acronym NIMBY but those NiMbys that have fear mongored, distorted, and lied. They circulated a petition full of lies and distortions meant to scare. They ruined a well intended town survey ( Whitehouse/ Greenburg survey) by completed multiple surveys. They dominate and monopolize town meetings. They disrespect and insult those that disagree with them. Not in my backyard is a fair and often used characterization. The actions of this faction in town who subscribe to NIMBY are the ones dividing the town. Most people are either in favor of CC or are at least willing to have an open mind and work something out. These NIMBYs want no compromise -no development at all. They insist on denying , at all costs, something that will benefit the rest of us. That is what is divisive.

By Resident on 10/08/2014 at 5:37 pm

I just read the 7 comments above.  What I see is that these 7 posters cannot read.

By unbelievable on 10/08/2014 at 8:44 pm

Betty- you lost me when you injected your view of what you think is “an attempt to divide this town by using a pejorative acronym..”  Using the term NIMBY and applying it to people that reject something because of proximity is not disrespectful. If the shoe fits…..
To the contrary, the divide in this town is being created by those who take liberty with the truth, fear mongor, threaten, and treat others disrespectfully. I used to occasionally attend town board meetings. When I didn’t attend in recent years I always watched the replays. I now do neither. The meetings have been an endless parade of people repeating over and over claims that they can not support and have no proof. Recently a few of these NiMbys proclaimed that they had hired ” our own lawyer”. So who is dividing this town – the NIMBYs or those that use the acronym?
I was duped into signing a petition a few years ago because it stated that a sewage treatment facility and big box stores were coming to CC. I never got the chance to participate in Dawn Greenbergs survey because it was prematurely taken off line because the NIMBYs tried to poison it. The endless cries of property devaluation, unbearable traffic, danger to Greeley students, ambulances stuck on 117, etc have never been proven but they persist. Forgive me if I don’t have a warm fuzzy feelings about these ” neighbors” as you prefer to call them. Perhaps you ought to reevaluate who is attempting to divide our town.

By You are out of line Betty on 10/09/2014 at 7:53 am

to PHD Betty- the divide in this town is because of the bad behavior of a small group not because of those that call them NIMBY’s.

By Rayj on 10/09/2014 at 9:07 am

To PHD Betty- what divides this town is the bad selfish behavior of a small group not those of us who have used the well deserved acronym NIMBY To describe them.

By RN on 10/09/2014 at 11:03 am

You are out of line,

No, it is you who is out of line.  And your comment is filled with self serving B.S. 
You want to turn that beautiful property into a shopping mall and I find that unconscionable.
Hiring an attorney to protect one’s self is hardly divisive.  It is what our country was founded on but that would be lost on you.  Sputter away.

Stay uninformed in your own ignorant bubble.  It seems that you have plenty of company.
Very sad commentary on this town.

By unbelievable on 10/09/2014 at 11:29 am

We have lost our lustre when compared to nearby, upscale towns. Yes we have trees and rural elegance, but so do they. They also have supermarkets, thriving restaurants and stores, which we no longer have. The quality of Our schools, while still top, are matched by Armonk and others. We are no longer the only ‘go to’ school system.
I think it is time for many of us to stop being in denial and proactively pull our town in to the present. The segregated CC will still have trees and will not be seen except from the Saw Mill Parkway. At least lets develop a commercial tax base, which everyone else has.

Part of our problem is that many still think that they, personally, and the town is ‘special’ i.e. better than any one else. That certainly is not true today whereas historically one could argue a ‘maybe’.

By Not in denial on 10/10/2014 at 12:02 pm


Many moved here because it was different from other towns.  These other towns always had fine schools, but many liked the difference that Chappaqua offered.we never were the only go to school system.

That may never have been important to you. It may be your opinion that we have lost our luster but there are many who would disagree with you.

Your description of what is proposed at CC is as bogus as your premise.

By see it differently on 10/10/2014 at 8:25 pm

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