Op-Ed: Tracking Supervisor Greenstein’s thinking on retail in hamlet vs. Chappaqua Crossing
Thursday, July 17, 2014
by Christine Yeres
The public hearing on Summit Greenfield’s application for 120,000 square feet of grocery-with-retail at Chappaqua Crossing reopens next week, on Tuesday, July 22. In order to make some sense of the Chappaqua Crossing debate that has sprawled across so many years and applications, documents and studies, boards and experts, I thought I’d revisit the Greenstein of a little more than one year ago. I’ve used his letter of May 2013 as an organizing tool. I’ll say it up front: This is an argument for a genuine, professionally-handled Master Plan review not of two years’ duration, but for a fast-tracked feasibility study of the of the town’s existing hamlets and retail at Chappaqua Crossing, something the Planning Board has recently called for yet again.
Supervisor Rob Greenstein has knotted up the Chappaqua Crossing application with his ideas of Chappaqua hamlet revitalization, which, in reality, makes the Chappaqua Crossing application only half of a plan. The other half is very scattered, and Greenstein seems to have realized recently (probably with the help of counsel) that he should keep the two in separate containers. But he’s talked enough about both—together—to cause real confusion. I believe that a master plan process is the only way to clear things up.
The urgent part of the Master Plan review could have been done twice over by now: a professional feasibility study of 1) the existing hamlets and a possible shopping center at Chappaqua Crossing along with 2) the redevelopment of downtown Chappaqua to somehow compensate for what some say will be the inevitable draw of a third hamlet at Chappaqua Crossing. Such a study could still be done by this September.
Below, I’ve reprinted Greenstein’s piece as it appeared 14 months ago in NCNOW, a statement made during one of the public hearings on the application. According to what we’ve learned since about the changes to the application and about the Master Plan review (including the Pace outreach), I’ve interposed my own remarks.
Statement by Rob Greenstein at Second Public Hearing on Chappaqua Crossing, NCNOW.org, May 3, 2013
RG: My name is Rob Greenstein. I may go slightly over my time – please bear with me. I’m here to speak on behalf of the Chappaqua-Millwood Chamber of Commerce, and our 166 merchant members. Many of who are here today.
NCNOW: This was a time when Greenstein was stating that a third retail center at Chappaqua Crossing would spell disaster for the existing hamlets.
RG: Unlike last Tuesday’s meeting, I won’t discuss illegal spot zoning, or boring subjects like amending our master plan.
NCNOW: Although Greenstein said after he was elected that he intended to bring Summit Greenfield to the Master Plan table, by January 2014, he was downplaying the importance of the Master Plan review. Although he stated that he would bring Summit Greenfield into the Master Plan process, his conversations with the developer have taken place outside of that review and, for the most part, outside the hearing of fellow Town Board members.
RG: There are lots of business owners here. Mr. Marwell [Summit Greenfield’s counsel], you are a business owner, as am I. Let’s talk business.
All around us, Towns are moving forward with creative, smart and sustainable development. And Summit Development has been involved in many of these successful projects….
Summit Development was involved in Maritime Yards project in South Norwalk, CT. That project consists of 197 housing units, including affordable housing and 40,000 square feet of mixed-use commercial space.
Summit Development was also involved in another successful development in CT. Kings Crossing is a great example of turning a negative into a positive. In 2003, they bought a contaminated 11-acre piece of property for $8M. In 2012, it was sold for $60M. The new shopping center is located close to the Fairfield Metro train station.
NCNOW: The Kings Crossing site was a brownfield. Purchased for $8 million, Summit Greenfield soldl it nine years later for close to $58 million (about the amount SG paid for Reader’s Digest in 2004). It was a traditional strip retail model, with a Whole Foods, Chipotle’s, Petco, Five Guys, a Chase bank and a CVS pharmacy.
RG: Armonk Square is currently being developed. It’s a 3.5 acre lot in downtown Armonk. It includes a new supermarket and a pedestrian mall, and 10 second story apartments.
NCNOW: Armonk Square is up-and-running, with a Decicco’s grocery of around 20,000 square feet. Armonk is mentioned a good deal these days. In “visioning sessions” Pace conducted in May (its report is due out within the next ten days), participants repeatedly wished for a downtown Chappaqua worth going to. And they often added to that sentiment ”—like Armonk.”
Meeting for the second time one month ago, Adam Brodsky’s Downtown Business Development Advisory Committee, a group of around 12 residents who are in commercial development or real estate, asked themselves, too, what Armonk is doing right and what prevents Chappaqua from following suit. Asked by Brodsky for ideas on how to revitalize downtown Chappaqua, one developer on the committee responded, “Putting a grocery at Chappaqua Crossing is exactly how not to help revitalize downtown Chappaqua.”
RG: In Scarsdale, Christie Place has added an > 55 community, retail and commuter parking for their Metro-North station in the village of Scarsdale, just footsteps from the quaint shopping district.
NCNOW: Christie Place is a 42-unit four-story “high-end, luxury” condo building in the center of the village with retail at ground level. Its three-bedroom units are priced at around $1.5 million.
RG: The Village of Harrison is working with the MTA on a transit oriented development.
NCNOW: “Transit-oriented” means fairly dense housing (apartments) development near public transportation—putting more development in centers with public transportation options.
RG: The goal is a vibrant downtown development with potential residential, retail, municipal uses, pedestrian plazas and a new parking structure.
NCNOW: Harrison has come up recently in another connection. Greenstein said three weeks ago that the new 209,000 square foot Lifetime Fitness facility in Harrison was “interested” in having a satellite facility where town hall is now located. He has not said who has expressed interest to whom, but a 25,000-square-foot gym at Chappaqua Crossing is one of the ways Greenstein has sought to make the 120,000 square foot total of grocery-plus-retail (40,000 and 80,000, respectively) at Chappaqua Crossing seem smaller, claiming that no one could rightly consider gym space as actual “retail.” He may be thinking that a gym where town hall sits would knock out the 25,000-square-foot gym from the Chappaqua Crossing site plan all together, bringing the total down to 95,000 square feet; or he may envision gyms in both places, Chappaqua Crossing and town hall. He hasn’t explained his thinking.
RG: All are great examples of smart growth and sustainable development in DOWNTOWN BUSINESS DISTRICTS!
NCNOW: As the Pace report on the community visioning sessions of May and June will show, there was very little mention, on people’s wish-lists, of Chappaqua Crossing in any regard. On the topic of commercial development, over and over across the different sessions, people asked for a downtown that would draw them to visit it.
Next Greenstein pitches his idea to Summit Greenfield: Instead of a grocery and retail at Chappaqua Crossing, he’s about to ask Summit Greenfield to switch properties—let town hall move to Chappaqua Crossing’s cupola building and Summit Greenfield can develop the property around town hall with a grocery, retail and housing. Here he spells it out:
RG: We all realize that we will have development. And there is no doubt that people want a supermarket. And it should be abundantly clear, at this point, that people care very much about preserving our historic downtown business districts. After all, a downtown is the heart and soul of a community. So, let’s be smart like other communities – let’s develop our downtown.
NCNOW: Summit Greenfield seems not to have liked this suggestion, because once he took office in January Greenstein began stating that “retail is coming to Chappaqua Crossing.” And by that he means “grocery and retail.” And why would Summit Greenfield want to do develop downtown Chappaqua instead? It’s highly likely (and natural) that Summit Greenfield is more interested in developing a discrete parcel of its office- and residential-zoned property for use as a retail shopping center and subsequently sell it off.
If its sale of Kings Crossing for $58 million is any measure of what a retail shopping center at Chappaqua Crossing could bring, selling off the one parcel rezoned for retail could alone recoup the $59 million Summit Greenfield paid for the entire Reader’s Digest property ten years ago. And Summit Greenfield would still have the office and residential parcels to sell off.
RG: Our downtown is limited by a challenging topography. Greeley Avenue and North Bedford Road are separated by a steep hill on King Street. On Greeley Avenue, we have a VERY inefficient 10 acre commuter parking lot.
NCNOW: After our “high-performance school district,” that inefficient commuter lot is apparently extremely attractive to prospective home buyers. The commuter lot is the biggest on the train line. People in some otherwise-desirable towns have to wait several years to procure parking permits. Chappaqua is famous for our parking-permit-availability.
But here Greenstein is suggesting a different use of a portion of the on-grade parking lot—by Summit Greenfield—for grocery, retail and housing. A parking structure is one of his solutions for the lost on-grade parking spaces.
RG: Some describe our downtown as quaint. There is nothing quaint about a 10 acre parking lot. There is nothing quaint about a dying downtown. And there would certainly be nothing quaint about a ghost town, if this project is approved.
NCNOW: And here, to save the downtown from becoming a “ghost town,” Greenstein explicitly invites Summit Greenfield to trade town hall for the cupola—
RG: Let Summit Greenfield develop our 10-acre parking lot – build a parking structure – like they have in Scarsdale and will have in Harrison. Let’s develop where our police station / Town Hall is.
NCNOW: In fact, the current Town Board determined early this year to engage an appraiser/surveyor to assess town-owned property around town hall, to learn its value and physical characteristics. The Board revealed last week that they have only just now begun to conduct that assessment. Town Board members weren’t even sure what they had agreed to in a February 4, 2014 work session.
RG: We can even develop where our library is.
NCNOW: This can’t happen. The land on which the Chappaqua Library sits is a forever-deal, governed by a covenant. But it was an idea.
RG: This would be good for Summit Greenfield. Downtown Chappaqua is valuable real estate.
NCNOW: After agreeing in February 2014 to find out just how valuable, the Town Board is only now having that appraisal/assessment get underway.
RG: We can have a supermarket – like Trader Joe’s, senior living and some affordable housing. This would add critical mass to our downtown.
NCNOW: Pretty much everyone agrees that a critical mass of retail—and, along with it, foot-traffic—is missing in downtown Chappaqua. Some of Adam Brodsky’s Business Development Advisory Committee members said it too, and cited a grocery in the downtown as preferable to one at Chappaqua Crossing. But none of the participants had any magic bullet on how to pump life into the languishing hamlet. And they all ruminated on the secret of Armonk’s success.
RG: And, YES, let’s add traffic lights to deal with any increased pedestrian and vehicle traffic. Put safety first!
NCNOW: The Town Board has commissioned the firm that will manage the infrastructure fixes of the water mains and sidewalks (and, most recently the appraisal/assessment of town hall property) to study the traffic light possibilities at the Starbucks corner, the bridge and the Pizza Station intersection. The wires across the roads last month around the downtown have been measuring flow for the traffic-light study.
RG: At Chappaqua Crossing, we could have our Town Hall and police department in the historic main cupola building. We can use another building for our library.
NCNOW: Well, perhaps a satellite library. The covenant assures that the Chappaqua Library itself will remain on its present site.
RC: We can build a Town pool there. This is something residents would rally around. Wouldn’t that be a nice change of pace?
NCNOW: A town pool is something that came up fairly frequently during the Pace visioning sessions, though as a “wish,” in the abstract, often with the observation that “other towns have them.” It was not mentioned particularly in connection with Chappaqua Crossing. The town and school district are discussing how to make use of the Twin Oaks property recently purchased by a resident with the idea of making it into a recreational area for residents.
RG: This is not a crazy idea. Mr. Chapin said he is open to moving Town Hall and the police department to Chappaqua Crossing down the road if the costs aren’t prohibitive, [if] a fair transaction could be worked out and [if] it created better opportunities for the hamlet. This would!
NCNOW: Greenstein has a feeling that it would. And it may not be a crazy idea if, as Chapin suggested, Greenstein were engaging a firm to do a feasibility study on these very questions—costs, fair transaction, creation of better opportunities for the hamlet. What’s been done to learn the answers? The Master Plan review could have focused on this as well, but six months have passed and the Town Board has still not committed to it.
RG: Just the other day, a Westchester County Legislator proposed swapping properties with a developer to build a home for developmentally disabled residents. These swaps happen.
NCNOW: I bet these swaps don’t happen, though, without serious analysis. There’s been none by the Town Board—not in November 2013, when Tom Curley recommended it (and, by the way, it would have been finished three months ago), and not since. This should have been folded into the Master Plan review. Asked last week whether the Town Board would now properly fund a Master Plan review with professional help (rather than the in-house job it has been so far), Greenstein said that the Master Plan Steering Committee hadn’t asked the Town Board for any money. He said the Town Board would consider spending money on the Master Plan review if the Steering Committee asked for it.
RG: This would be a win-win—a win for Summit Greenfield and a win for our community. You can recoup your investment, and it would not involve a bail-out.
We just need to be smart about it!
NCNOW: Again, it would be entirely natural for Summit Greenfield to have no interest in the town hall / cupola swap, especially if the sale of a rezoned retail shopping center parcel at Chappaqua Crossing would enable Summit Greenfield to recoup the greater part of its original $59 million purchase price for the Reader’s Digest property.
RG: Work with our residents, like you did with Kings Crossing.
NCNOW: The Kings Crossing site was in a more industrial area, a brownfield situated near a Home Depot and several highways, so it’s unclear how Summit Greenfield worked with residents in that situation.
RG: Work with the community and an economic development committee. Many of our residents are developers and real estate investors themselves. We have an incredible pool of talent. We can create an advisory board made up of people in town that have relevant professional expertise in retail and commercial real estate, public relations and advertising. There is a lot of experience in town – people who love our town and our community – and willing to help to preserve it.
NCNOW: We also have a Planning Board with planning knowledge. Their advice was pretty much ignored by the previous Town Board. The Planning Board is now going over the revised site plan from Summit Greenfield and is questioning the layout, the store size, the traffic, the economic benefits to the town, and whether there should be retail at Chappaqua Crossing at all. See Stores big or small—or none at all? Planning Board balks at retail zoning for Chappaqua Crossing, NCNOW.org, 7/17/14.
And as to putting together a committee of residents who are developers and real estate investors themselves, Greenstein and Brodsky have done that. But rather than have that committee figure out how to relocated town hall at Chappaqua Crossing and develop the Town Hall property with grocery, retail and housing—as Greenstein envisions in this May 2014 letter—Brodsky’s committee is being asked to look more at how to revitalize downtown Chappaqua assuming Summit Greenfield will be granted the zoning to allow a 40,000-square-foot grocery and up to 80,000 square feet of additional retail at Chappaqua Crossing.
RG: Let’s work together.
Related: Near to public hearing, Boards’ thinking on Chappaqua Crossing is all over the map, NCNOW.org, 6/20/14
And for collected articles on Chappaqua Crossing click HERE.
Master plan review is, at this point in time, simply a delay tactic for NIMBY opposers. The editor is a NIMBY who lives near the project. Toward the end of the last hearing, she was running around whispering in everyone’s ear:
“master plan, master plan”.
Everyone is aware of cc and what it is and what it’s impact will be. A master plan is not necessary to have CC fit into any town wide scheme for that reason. A master plan may be necessary for everything else, though.
Editor’s Note: I’m not whispering in anyone’s ear. I tell the Town Board at every one of their meetings that they have not conducted and are not conducting any kind of process by which they can know whether the project is a good or bad one and whether this town wants it or does not.
After reading this tripe, the town would be better off if greenstein stopped thinking and did nothing.
Christine, I have always been committed to revitalizing downtown Chappaqua.
At the Town Board meeting on October 29, 2013 – which ended in a vote to adopt Findings of the environmental review 1 week before the election – I asked Town Board members what they “planned to do for the downtown to shore it up,” if retail comes to Chappaqua Crossing. I stated “It’s a big risk,” said Greenstein, “that you’re taking with people’s livelihood. Please don’t hope—but make sure—that if it does have a negative effect you have a plan to protect the merchants.”
My committment to downtown Chappauqa has only grown stronger. I will do everything in my power to make sure downtown Chappaqua is revitalized.
Editor – Your personal vendetta- attacks on Supervisor Greenstein are unfair and unbecoming. While it is true you as editor have reiterated your personal situation (you live near CC and are a NIMBY) you are abusing your role as editor.
The headline of your Op-Ed above is “TRACKING Supervisor Greenstein’s thinking ….” But your OP-Ed does no such thing. You do not TRACK anything. All you have done is point out and include Greenstein’s position of 14 months ago. In May 3013 he had not yet declared himself candidate for Supervisor. When he did officially run for Town Board his positions evolved and changed. If you want to be honest and truly “track” Greenstein’s thinking then you should include his many quotes, comments and statements he made supporting Whole Foods, supporting better dialogue with Summit Greenfield, and his suggestions on how to make CC a functional and acceptable multi use facility. .
To be fair balanced and true to your own headline you should have provided readers with candidate Greensteins positions and his comments/letters and presentations all of which you have in your NCN archives. Retail at CC is dynamic and fluid. Things have changed. Legal counsel has changed but the opinion has not. The Supervisors recent-current thinking is far more relevant than 14 month old pre candidate positions. You intentionally omitted them.
Politicians and biz executives often “evolve” and change views once they are in office and get to see and know things unavailable as candidate. Obama said marriage is between a man and a women and then “evolved” and now supports same sex marriage. He made closing GITMO top priority but once in office reality set in. Same is true of biz leaders once in the C-Suite they see things differently. I am not RG – don’t know even know him.
Editor’s Note: The Supervisor’s current thinking is all over the place and not shared much in public meetings. If he were to present his current thinking I would write about it. His past thinking is all we have to go on right now—and there is a long and detailed record of that in the archives of NCNOW, including the letter I chose to look at closely 14 months later. There are many others to which I could do the same and I may.
Dear Christine- you are entitled to your opinion but it is biased and slanted given you are a NIMBY living near CC. You reiterate your call for a “fast tracked” Master Plan review. Clearly you understand that we can not and should not wait the 1-2 years a complete MP would take. I assume you understand that past and current New Castle lawyers have warned that further delay will certainly result in lawsuits against our town. Lawyers have concluded that we will lose the lawsuits. As pointed out “moratoriums” do not hold up in court especially when 8 years have already passed.
Lets entertain your suggestion – a fast tracked Master Plan. Why should anybody believe the process will be fair and represent the interests of all residents? We have seen the early meetings and work sessions and we know who is involved in the process. The committees and sub committees are stacked with anti- development people. Nothing fair – nothing balanced and representative of the people will result. Perhaps in your next Op-Ed you will include quotes, positions and comments from your NIMBY neighbors who also happen to be participating in the MP process.
An example of someone with a personal agenda is developer Napoli. This past Tuesday he made a presentation to the TB during work session. He outlined his projected revenues for his Bell Area Plan which includes new retail, housing, theater and parking. Just 3 weeks ago Napoli wrote a letter to NCN critical of retail at CC (one of MANY ofver the years) and its implied “trucking routes” in the area. Napoli is part of the Master Plan process. Now tell me if you think a fast tracked or regular MP will be of any value when its participants have agendas.
Fast track or not the master plan is not a substitute for common sense and logical thinking. We want and need awhile Foids. We want and need tax revenue. We can’t afford to lose lawsuits. The master plan is not the holy grail. It is beingbusedvas another delay and stall tactic.
Ms. Yeres, is your position that Supervisor Greenstein has not said anything publicly on this topic while in office? You have now lost what little credibility you had left. Also, a real journalist would seek a quote from someone if they are writing an article about that person. It’s a basic concept in journalism. Maybe you missed that class.
You whispered on my ear and I saw you flitting around doing the same thing with your gaggle of Nimbys. Deny it all you want, it is what it is and you did what you did
The ball is and has always been in the landlords, court . Simply crest a downtown
B I D. What’s the problem?
Oops I forgot, the problem is that the landlords want everyone else to help and subsidize them through the town budget instead of paying out of their own pockets for improvements that benefit only themselves. Hey, I could use some landscaping to make my street look better . How about including a subsidy to me as part of the “poor landlord ” package .
A feasibility study completed by September? Not in this town.
“evolve” = flip-flop
Editor – then include Greenstein comments where he stated his desire to move town hall to CC. That move was in conjunction with building out and developing CC. Also include Greensteins often repeated position that Whole Foods would be great at CC, that it was his idea, and that retail at CC was ” inevitable”. Since he became a candidate and thru the election, Greenstein spoke and wrote about being a tough negotiator with Summt Greenfield and working to find a solution. I did not closely follow many of his positions prior to the election but when the whole Team New Castle thing took flight I started to pay attention to all candidates. The Greenstein I voted for promised a better outcome at CC. He supported a Whole Foods. He suggested a land swap and pressuring the developer to include recreational facilities for the community. There was no thinking then about a third hamlet being a problem.
I tracked his positions when the town board election season started and that’s how I based my vote. I see little relevance in your reprinting a 14 month old exchange while you totally ignore more current and recent positions. At the very least your headline of “Tracking” Greensteins thinking is totally misleading because you include none of his thinking into the election and nothing on his campaign platform.
I used to look at NewCastleNow for reliable unbiased topical and informative town info. But it is now dominated by personal agendas and distortions and omissions. Your nimby is showing too often.
Reading the editor’s comments (as the nimby she unabashedly admits she is) is like listening to Palestinians complaining about Israeli desire to be terrorist free. They both criticize a point of view which is opposite to their’s which is justified or otherwise not outrageously bad.
Well Greenstein sure has his people out supporting his leadership of the Town. Christine Yeres may not want development at CC but at least she has been consistent in her reporting. She has also been one of the few who question Greenstein and his actions. Keep watching folks. This is one Town Supervisor who will get this Town in trouble even with the new attorney holding his hand every minute!
Why is the idea of a “chappaqua business provement district ” being ignored?
Rob Greenstein has said everything and anything on every side of every issue.
That is why he can point to this and to that as what he has said.
That is why he is a huckster.
Missing in this and all of your reporting is any information about the probability of a lawsuit by Summit Greenfield shoud we continue to delay and obstruct. For 8 years the developer has submitted multiple plans – made many changes – resubmitted, conducted and paid for studies – the town has commissioned studies-environmental impact has been completed. Our last sets of attorneys understood that we can delay no longer. Our new lawyers have indicated that the wheels are in motion and a master plan review is nothing more than a “moratorium”. Moratorium will not hold up in court. The developer was told we dont like the strip mall so they changed it to town square with walking paths benches lamp posts. They were told a 60k sq ft supermarket is too big so they changed it to 40k and have a committment from Whole Foods. Now we are saying “hold everything” stop the presses lets do a master plan review which takes a year- even a fast track is a sham – looks who is on the committees. Tom Curley was instrumental in suggestedin the town square design. Now he has second thoughts?
IF you want to be a journalist perhaps you should shine some light on the legalities and liabilities to our community if the NIMBYs (editor included) continue to block this. My goodness- we are talking about a gym and a high class supermarket not a Mcdonalds and a Walmart!
Actually we are in the perfect spot to legally enact a moratorium.
The information you request of the editor has been previously covered in NCNow.
The reporting here by Christine Yeres is a stellar example of rigorous, fair journalism that holds Rob Greenstein accountable.
The fact of the matter is that Rob Greenstein ran as a candidate OPPOSED to rushed retail development at Chappaqua Crossing. He capitalized on Chappaqua’s widespread discontent with an expedited, opaque process that could destroy the character of our town.
Months later, Greenstein has done a COMPLETE FLIP-FLOP while pretending that there’s nothing to see. He has arrogated power, quashed dissent, and sought to delegitimize any opponents.
This is not the politician Chappaqua residents, and defies the political will of voters.
Christine, keep doing what you’re doing—reporting the facts. Without you, Rob Greenstein will continue to serve himself at the expense of Chappaqua.
A voter, you are so right in your evaluation of the Supervisor.
While you are not entirely incorrect, you are not as right as you think you are. Christine is in her heart and home ownership a NIMBY.
She can’t help herself. She slants and cherry picks quotes.
Chappaqua Crossing is good for the town as a whole. Yes, the failing downtown will be dealt a blow, but they refuse to help themselves (Why not a BID?).Yes, NIMBYS will have a camouflaged ‘village-style’ shopping center near them. But they are, at most, 2% of the town. The remaining 98% point of view is subject to debate. But, the NIMBY’s poisoned the survey well.
My neighbor just returned from a trip to Utah and had the full dose of the Mormons. They are a nice,giving people who believe in something that is false (magic underwear, Jesus came here 600 BC). Our NIMBYS are regular people who believe, in their hearts, Mormon style, that the sky is falling. It is not.
Rob sees this just like most rational people and he is acting accordingly. Ok, so, in your eyes, he flip flopped. The people he really disappointed are his constituent merchants who, at the end of the day, have no say at all because they do not live or vote here.
The electorate which feels deceived, was not as deceived as they think. I guess we had to read the fine print of what he was saying.
Those who would liken the CC debacle to the terrible atrocities that the Palestinians are suffering are just plain out of touch. These people suffer from decades of curfews, having their homes demolished for any reason whatsoever and then denied permits to rebuild, their wives having to give birth without medical care because they are not allowed to leave their homes outside certain hours, etc. This is not the place to take the Palestinians, who everyone from the Iranians to, now, the NIMBY’s of Chappaqua, have interjected into whatever debate or cause they have, have thrown these people into arguments they really, really, do not want to be a part of. Focus on the issues, and leave the Palestinians out of it.
Actually, insofar as it has been set forth by thenTown’s lawyers -citing the main case re SEIS requirements and Board discretion – the law appears to strongly favor the town in any dispute with SG. The case at issue, Riverrun, concerned an approval process that had continued for NINETEEN YEARS – all caps, because you wouldn’t believe it. The Town Board finally chose to forego further SEIS reports and approve the proposed project, and opponents sued. The case turned on the question of the Board’s discretionary authority – not whether an SEIS was warranted – and the States highest court, in an opinion by Chief Justice Judith Kaye, affirmed the town’s right to exercise discretion regarding whether a supplemental report was required.
I write this, not because I think that any of the abusive commenters above gives a hoot, but in case there is anyone reading who cares about the law. The town attorney’s conclusions that the law suit would be unwinnable are confusing, particularly since he is apparently relying on Riverrun as a precedent.
In any event, nobody knows who will win a lawsuit. One certainty is that somebody is going to sue – either opponents of the project or SG. The law appears to favor the opponents; and the Planning Board says “wait,” buttressing the town’s position if it refuses to grant the variance or requests supplemental findings.
Wanted to add that we had out of town guests this weekend—friends from St. Paul—who knew nothing about this dispute. After driving them around Lawrence Farms East, Roaring Brook Road, Cowdin Lane, etc., we mentioned the 120,000 shopping center proposed for the Readers Digest property. Their response (before we’d finished describing the project or indicated our opposition): “Are they [meaning the Town] out of their minds?”
Quod erat demonstratum, Rob: don’t do this.
@ dear a voter,
I do not believe anything that Rob Greenstein says. He has demonstrated that there is no reason to believe him. He has also shown us that he is not qualified to lead public meetings. His demeanor and his behavior are an embarrassment to the town.
The Israelis give free medical care and millions of dollars of financial support to the Gazans annually. Their thank you is to have HAMAS bomb them. The NIMBYS bomb CC even though it has given concession after concession.
The capability of closed, one track, ‘religious’ minds is and apt comparison. The Gazan people do not want the terrorism and want peace.
They are the majority. The comparison to use is almost identical.
The majority of our town is NOT in favor of closing or denying CC.
Yet the vocal, legal bomb throwing minority is getting all the press and causing, in our case, ‘death’ of money.
I am glad you ‘hate’ my comparison because it has struck a nerve of truth.
How do you know what the majority want ? What concessions has S.G. given ?
The comparison with the Middle East is absurd, as are your comments.
To A Voter- you could not be more wrong!
Ms Yeres- picks her headlines and her quotes to promote her position. She challenges Greenstein at every turn now that he is not on board with the NIMBYs. She was in his corner before.
You are incorrect that Greenstein ran as a candidate opposed to rushed retail development. What person in his/ her right mind can possibly think anything about development at CC has been rushed. It’s been 8 Years!!! Greenstein ran to bring intellgnt well designed and mutually beneficial development to CC. He favored Whole Foods- favored moving town hall and insisted that tough negotiations with the developer was an imperative. That’s why I voted for him. Not because he was anti retail- he was not. You only heard what you NIMBYs wanted to hear. You heard the RG of several years ago not the RG candidate.
The idea for retail at CC was introduced 2 years ago. I have been reading NCNow for years and find the editor to be unbiased. I never thought her to be in anyone’s corner.
I have been listening to Greenstein for years. He lies.
Rob Greenstein has lied and has sided with whomever he thought was the right person to side with at any particular time. It may make a good politician but New Castle residents are smarter than that. I hope he is smart enough to know that he would not be supported in another election. Transparency, Ha!
Christine thanks for your hard work. The Czar now has to live with the fact that he is always on the record now and pull all the slimy moves he did to get elected. He has changed his mind more times than (add joke here). Its crazy to think that he cares about anyone other then himself and all he is working on is his legacy which is a joke..