Stores big or small—or none at all? Planning Board balks at retail zoning for Chappaqua Xing

Advises the matter be run through a master planning process
Thursday, July 17, 2014
by Christine Yeres

Racing to finish their comments on the Chappaqua Crossing proposal before the July 22 public hearing, last Tuesday the Planning Board members Bob Kirkwood, Tom Curley and Sheila Crespi didn’t confine themselves to questions of size of the retail proposed, big stores versus smaller ones, how many restaurants, or additional uses such as garden or auditorium; they also expressed deep reservations about the project.

The three carried on crafting remarks for the Town Board on details of the proposed zoning and preliminary concept development plan but also questioned—as they have repeatedly over the two year’s review of the proposal—whether the Town Board should be considering creating a third retail center in the middle of an established residential neighborhood.  They ended by recommending categorically that a policy discussion take place through a community master plan process before any decision by the Town Board. 

Uncomfortable still that the proposed zoning change language makes short work of inconsistencies with the existing master plan by simply stating that there is a community need for proposed the grocery and retail shopping center, that New Castle is an “underserved market,” and that the retail use was somehow “foreseen” as possibly necessary by the 1989 Master Plan crafters, Planning Board members’ same old questions surfaced on Tuesday. And each one of them expressed frustration that comments they remembered making weeks before on the zoning language for Town Planner Sabrina Charney to pass on to Town Board members seemed to have been dropped from the latest draft zoning text before them.  Plus, they had received the materials they must comment on the very afternoon of the meeting.  They have scheduled an extra meeting for noon on Friday, July 18.

See Near to public hearing, Boards’ thinking on Chappaqua Crossing is all over the map,, 6/20/14.

Retail: community’s need or developer’s opportunity?

With vacancies abounding in Pleasantville, Mt. Kisco and along Bedford Road “and an ample supply of retail space, I don’t think,” said Tom Curley, “anyone had demonstrated the need for more stores for any of the townships around us.”

Rather than characterize New Castle as an “underserved market” whose needs Summit Greenfield is proposing to fill, Curley explained that developers “have to create a demand, create a space people want to go.  These are essentially ‘diverted trips.’ It doesn’t mean that you need that place, but now you want to go to that place.”

“So it’s one thing,” said Curley, “to say [as it does in the proposed zoning language] that is there is a need in town for more retail—and I understand why the applicant would want to make that case, but [not] why the town would want to make that case….  It’s not so much a “need”—but the applicant and the retail community represented by these consultants is saying ‘There is an opportunity here that the developer can capture.  Not a “need” necessarily, but the opportunity for diverted trips.’”

“There are two fundamental objectives in the legislation,” Curley continued, ”—to establish a need—which I can’t find anywhere demonstrated—and, second, to provide a commercial tax base.  Planning is about that, too.  With respect to commercial need my question is not ‘Big stores or little stores?’ but ‘Why any stores?’”

Planning Board members balked at the retail plan from the start

“We had this conversation long ago.  We’re so concerned about the hamlets—how do we build this [grocery-retail at Chappaqua Crossing] and save the hamlets?  We [Planning Board members] said ‘Don’t build it.’”

“We said there’s a zero-sum game for Westhchester,” said Crespi, ‘’—but particularly here.  When you build more retail, you’re going to take it from other [places].  You’re going to capture that retail from somebody else’s retail.”  It could “end up undermining the vitality of the hamlets and defeat the purpose of what’s being billed as additional revenue for the town.”

“My concern,” Crespi continued, “is that bringing people to [Chappaqua Crossing] does not bring them to our other shopping sites in town.  And the AKRF report actually says that: ‘The new grocery store will draw from new customers who would not ordinarily shop in Chappaqua,’—and the reverse is that it will also draw from people who do shop in the hamlet.”  Grocery, she said—quoting from the AKRF study—yields “a low percentage of linked trips.”  AKRF’s remark that an “increased awareness” of the other existing shopping areas in New Castle might bring additional business to the existing hamlets, said Crespi, “is like a hope and a prayer. People are going to shop at Whole Foods and then go elsewhere [to other towns]. This does not in any way indicate that this is a plus-plus for New Castle.”

Zoning that will “change the face of our town”

“We need to talk about this,” said Curley, “because were talking about using zoning legislation to change the face of our town and it really has, in my opinion, less to do with the applicant and applicants’ proposal—that’s downstream—but it turned out that the Town Board, in its wisdom, decided to collapse all these things together and bundle them all up and that has—not purposely—made it difficult to sort through what would normally be a rational planning process. 

“And what we’re talking about now has much more to do with the rational planning of our town and where we put our resources.  If we’re concerned about the future of Millwood and Chappaqua we ought to be focused on those problems—instead of saying ‘We’re going to do this over here [at Chappaqua Crossing] and it’s not going to hurt you’—I don’t quite understand that.  We ought to be focused on those problems in a serious planning effort—and, by the way, there are are serious development proposals for actually doing something for Chappaqua.”

Maybe someday a good idea, but no way to know without master plannning it

“So from the get-go,” said Curley, “this zoning seems to be something we ought to be looking at—we’re talking about the details of the language [of the Town Board’s proposed zoning changes] and we need to go through that and [make our comments].  But I wonder if going through the details of the language shouldn’t be couched in a conclusion—that we may not be ready to reach—that this zoning is just something altogether that’s a bad idea.  Not that it couldn’t someday be a good idea, but a bad idea because nobody has a clue as to what it’s going to mean to the town’s master plan. 

“The way you do these things at this scale is you start with a public policy question and you go through a public policy process to figure out whether you want to change your town this much. You don’t have it arrive on your desk as a development proposal and then make a two-sentence change to your master plan to allow it to happen on the same day that you do your zoning changes. 

“Then you take it to the zoning board to make sure you have the zoning will work then receive applications under that zoning and decide whether to go ahead and grant it that way.

“But this is not good regional planning, it’s not good town planning, it’s not community planning and there’s a very severe consequence to a very real neighborhood and a set of people who have every right to be concerned and every right to feel that planning’s not serving them either.

Stores big or small—or not at all?

“[These issues] cut through all the other language [in these documents].  So when we talk about ‘big store or small store—we can have that conversation and I think small stores have much less of an impact than big stores, but the fundamental question is why have any retail at all?”

Crespi picked up the store size problem, saying “I think small and big stores will both affect the existing hamlets. Not that one store or another will stay in business, but overall whether there is a thriving business district in downtown Chappaqua and Millwood.

“One of my big concerns is that Whole Foods itself is the category-killer that has grocery, bakery take out, catering—whether the rest of the stores are big or small you have your major anchor taking business out of the hamlets.”

“My A&P in Millwood,” said Curley, “—our distinction is that it’s the smallest A&P on the planet—if you go to the one in Mt. Kisco, it has bakery, take-out—all the things Whole Foods has, but in a different price category and product delivery category of ‘organic’ and ‘locally sourced.’”

“And a lot that’s not organic,” added Crespi.  “They have it all.”

“Whether a Whole Foods or another specialty grocer,” said Curley, “that whole category is not something that we actually need to have in our community. We’ve got plenty of grocery stores. Nobody’s starving.  It’s not a need.  It may be a desire—of a smaller segment of the population than we otherwise know about—as a weekly shopping trip, and for a larger segment something to do once a month or for a special occasion, and for the rest of us it’s just not something important to us.  It’s not a need, it might be a wish.  It’s more a development opportunity for a developer rather than it being a community need.  So when we talk in the zoning [amendment] about the justification that it’s for ‘community needs’ and for tax revenue, it’s not a community need.  And therefore the impacts associated with this take on a whole other dimension.

“If someone were to come up to me and say ‘Well, how about a Whole Foods in your community?’ I might say ‘That sounds great,” but if they then say, ‘Oh, by the way, a Whole Foods in your community means there’s going to be all this traffic on 117 and Roaring Brook Road with the whole school situation there, and they’re going to place this thing in the middle of an established residential neighborhood.  And by the way you have a whole bunch of people in this neighborhood who have lived in this town and raised their families in this town and then all of a sudden their life is going to be disrupted to the extent of having this thing next door’ —I would think a whole lot different about whether I would want a Whole Foods. I would say, ‘Put it in Bedford Hills. Let somebody else have it.  That’s not our town.  It doesn’t have to be here.’

“These are less technical questions [than commenting for the Town Board on the zoning changes], but they’re the questions,” Curley concluded.

Proceed along two tracks

“I think the way to proceed,” said Planning Board Chair Bob Kirkwood, “is to write a cover letter to the Town Board expressing these sentiments, if they’re the sentiments of the Planning Board—while at the same time realizing that the Town Board has a situation—whether real or perceived—that its back is up against the wall, or they have to take action or something.  But I think you raise important questions.  And I’m late to the process myself, but this is certainly not inconsistent with my gut on it.  I think the approach here is to do it in a bifurcated way.  It’s a two-part thing and, by god, I think it’s in each of our memos already.  The memos are presumptuous in that the whole underpinning is that the legislation is appropriate.  And when you pull that underpinning out, well, now we have a whole different equation here.

“So we should be traveling in two different lines: a planning line for local regional and community planning, and for the specifics [of the proposed zoning amendments].

“Sabrina [Charney, Town Planner] and Tom and the applicant, town board and staff have been working on it for many months, so let’s travel in two lines.  I think this is critical.  I think it’s what’s been troubling me, because we haven’t had that different level of conversation.  I wasn’t sure where you guys were a year or two ago before I came in…”

This belongs in a master planning process

“This is where we were,” said Curley, “when this first came in [two years ago] which is: This belongs in the master planning process.  They should not do this before the master plan is done and all the things we’re talking about right now are exactly appropriate in a policy discussion.  I’ve already started to put a letter together that I can—or we can—work on and decide whether it’s the right tone and right message to go out.”

“I think that each of the two ways we travel,” said Kirkwood, “could be equally constructive to the Town Board—from a 40,000-feet-high level and up close on the specifics as well.”

The above discussion runs from around the 3-hour, 51-minute mark to the end of the meeting, about two hours.

Town of New Castle Planning Board Meeting 7/15/14 from New Castle Media Center on Vimeo.

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

At this meeting, it was mentioned—correctly—that CC presents a monumental decision for affecting the future of the town. Yet two members of the board don’t even show up. What’s up with that?

By bob on 07/18/2014 at 7:43 am

There is no grocery store in Chappaqua. I want one. Millwood is too far.

There are what seems like dozens of nail job places in Chappaqua, and no one complains about unfair competition when another one moves in

There are many real estate agents in Chappaqua. No one complains when another one moves in

There are three dry cleaners in Chappaqua, two deli’s, two pizza, a many little 1-off shops.

The concept that Read Digest as a retail location will somehow hurt downtown Chappaqua is ridiculous, and is not based in fact.

The opposition is lead by a small number of very wealthy property owners in the immediate area who candidly have a selfish NIBY campaign trying to convince the town of the impeding doom.

If you’re worried about traffic, just wait until the developers give up on retail and put a large corporation back in RD property, something the town would have ZERO ability to stop since it allowed and activity sought Readers Digest for 1/2 century. As a long time resident I remember the traffic when 3000 employees were coming and going for three shifts. It was a nightmare.

We need to step up to the plate, allow development of small, controlled and dignified retail at the location. You wont even notice the traffic, and in fact with proposed lane changes, it will be better. Instead of all 17000 Chappaqua residents driving to Mount Kisco or Thornwood for groceries, we could do it locally.

By tired of the NIBY on 07/18/2014 at 7:53 am

Wonderful distinction between a desire and a need.  This is a very thoughtful conversation by the Planning Board and it succinctly sets forth the concerns many of us have had from the start. Now on to the master plan…..

By Audrey Rabinowitz on 07/18/2014 at 8:47 am

In over 20 years of living here, I think that I can count the number of times I have been in a store or restaurant in the Chappaqua hamlet on one hand. The only reason I’m ever in Chappaqua is for the train (daily) or the occasional trip to Town Hall to visit the assessor or building department. I do, however, patronize almost all of the businesses in Millwood regularly. For groceries that I cannot find in our “smallest A&P on the planet”, I usually go to the A&P in Mt. Kisco. If there was a Whole Foods at Chappaqua Crossing, I might actually spend some time and money on that side of town. I bet I’m not the only person in the West End that fits this pattern and we are about 20% of the town. How does that fit into the “diversion” narrative?

By Michael Olin on 07/18/2014 at 9:00 am

A point that has been forgotten might be worth bringing up. Why did D’Agastino Grocery close? I think one of the reasons was that it was too expensive for many residents.

Basic grocery items will be expensive at a Whole Foods. It will be interesting to see if it has the draw from residents (and folks from nearby towns) to support it. What items does it have that will entice residents of Armonk to drive to Chappaqua vs. Decicco FoodMarket. Or residents from Mt. Kisco to drive to Chappaqua vs. A&P. What about Bedford – will they pass by A&P and Decicco just because it is a Whole Foods?

By Will residents support a Whole Foods? on 07/18/2014 at 9:38 am

So a few appointed – not elected town officials will decide that retail at CC is not appropriate?
I think these town planners do not have a clue about the state of retail in our community or for that matter the state of retail on Main St USA.
First of all downtown Chapp is compromised because it is challenged by having a ” top of the hill” vs bottom of the hill segregation. If I shop at Top of The Hill Wines and then want to grab a bite to eat at Susan Lawrnrce I must get back in the car and drive. It is not walkable. So within the one downtown hamlet we have 2 subsets. Additional parking or the Napoli plan will not remedy this fact of life.
As pointed out by ” Tired of NIBY” ( nimby) above, we have too many nail salons, too many real estate agents, banks and brokers. We have Rite Aid and Wallgreen and we have Starbucks, Dunkin D, delis and 3 pizza shops. Is this what we are trying to save and preserve?
Retail today is in peril because of internet commerce and show rooming. The only retail enclaves that survive and thrive are those clustered around anchors that attract shoppers. Whole Foods is one such anchor. No ” European style market” ( Naploi plan) for downtown will work. No theater or parking garage will work. Pleasantville with Jacob Burns theater has many empty and struggling stores.
We have one 110 acre parcel of property in our midst that can be and should be developed. We have a developer willing to work with us, get us Whole Foods and bring rec facilities to boot. The idea that a third hamlet will damage downtown is short sighted and not based on current retail reality. Town planning board should get a clue.

By Also tired of the NIMBYs on 07/18/2014 at 9:41 am

To Michael Olin,

Fits perfectly!  You’ll shop at Chappaqua Crossing instead of in Millwood.

By Diversion? on 07/18/2014 at 9:59 am

Everyone raves about Armonk. People hold it up as an example of town planning and good judgement. Except there was a strong small vocal group of Armonk residents opposed to DeCcicos and ancillary retail. They fought on grounds of character of the community, traffic, parking and negative impact to other Armonk retailers.
One such argument claimed that if Dccicos was built it would siphon customers away from the ” strip mall” retailers on RT 128 north of Deccicios. Shoppers and diners in Armonk can not walk the length of Main St ( rt 128) – they must get in their cars.  In effect , downtown Armonk has hamlets within the hamlet.
Once in a car what’s the difference? I ask this question because the same can be said of downtown Chapp. It would be far better to put a Whole Foods at CC and keep patrons local then to have our dollars go elsewhere. Once I shop in Mt Kisco or Armonk that’s where I stay for other goods and services. Maybe not my nails. Retail at CC with Whole Foods has a far better chance of attracting shoppers that will also shop downtown Chapp than is current situation where we live town entirely.
What is this preoccupation with preserving a downtown that isn’t working and will never work given its layout. And don’t start me on the Napoli plan to revitalize downtown with its chain stores, 400 car garage, and ugly elevated turf field. That is an abomination. Chapp Cross is a beautiful and viable property that can/ should include Whole Foods, retail, residential, commercial and town facilities. What is the planning board thinking?

By Build it – we will come on 07/18/2014 at 10:16 am

Planning Board members please learn from Sabrina.  She knows what she is doing in truncating your comments to the Town Board so that just the relevant points are recorded in conformance with the adopted Findings Statement that justifies 120,000 sf of retail at CC.  Thank goodness the Planning Board is acting in an advisory capacity only and that the Town Board adopts zoning ordinances and master plan amendments.  Former Supervisor Carpenter clearly understood the need for CC (retail and housing) when she shepherded the Findings Statement to its adoption.  More than ever, we need her type of leadership now.

By Lynn on 07/18/2014 at 10:27 am

When will the planning board and those intent on preserving revitalizing downtown Chapp wake up? We have an opportunity to revitalize all of New Castle with a Whole Foods and multi use project at CC. Downtown is not suitable for a buildout. No plan by Brodsky or scheme by Napoli will change the fact that our downtown is not Armonk or any other Main St. We have a middle school smack in the middle of town complete with ball fields and nighttime events. We also have a filled to capacity commuter train station parking lot – also smack in the middle of town. Then we have the up the hill downtown versus the down the hill downtown which is unwalkable with packages from shopping. The current poor mix of merchants(nail salons, day spas, real estate, banks, coffee, delis , pizza etc) results in part from the challenges of downtown layout and traffic. How is it possible to add more shopping and eating establishments to an already crowded and poorly designed area. The Bell Area Plan (Naploli) has as it’s goal to make downtown a ” draw” and bring in outside shoppers. Imagine more stores and a 400 car garage next to Bell and across from the train station. Now imagine its 3pm , school lets out shoppers and cars are everywhere. Or it’s 6 pm and the train lets out while Bell fields are being used and shoppers/ dinners are driving in and out. It’s preposterous! 
Retail / Whole Foods at CC is the only solution. Stop trying to save something that is impossible to save. The NIMBYs try to argue that retail at CC would create a third hamlet and destroy downtown BUT MOST of them don’t shop downtown now. They are going to Armonk and Mt Kisco to shop.

By Wake up -small the coffee on 07/18/2014 at 10:58 am

Tom Curley made some excellent philosophical points at this meeting. The problem, of course, is that reality bites. Whether or not one believes the previous town board tied the town’s hands regarding CC, continued delays (even for a fast-tacked master plan) will lead to expensive litigation (expensive even if the town ultimately wins) and a continued erosion of the tax base leading to higher taxes. While the community has many wealthy people (some of whom I’m sure sit on advisory boards) who are willing to bear this economic hardship, many others can’t afford it. That is why an elected body answering to the voters and not an appointed body must be the lead agency on CC and other big projects. The town board was elected to represent all the people, not just the rich who oppose development no matter the cost to all.

By bob on 07/18/2014 at 11:54 am

This is the cowards way out. The master plan is not a magical mystical document that holds all the answers. It certainly will be worthless given the motivation and agendas of those volunteering on committees and ” helping out”.
The planning board ( not all present for this meeting) recognizes the situation our town board ( our community) is in when discussion turned to ” our backs against the wall”. We understand that to mean that after 8 years of delays, with applications in and approved, with studies done and inspections complete the developer at CC has a substantial claim that they are being denied usage. The town board understands thus, our lawyers know it, and most rational residents understand thus reality.
A master plan , fast tracked or regular way, does nothing to address the reality that exists at CC. Furthermore the MP does not address the opportunity -the time line! and the consequences to all of us should we fail to seize the moment. This discussion has been dominated by NIMBYs for far too long. The MP will not resolve these issues.
Retail and Whole Foods should come to CC. The planning board is buying into the stall tactic by referencing the MP. They clearly don’t want to decide. They don’t want the responsibility and don’t want to incur the wrath of NIMBYs so they say ” we should wait for the Master Plan” before we decide. That’s the cowards way out.
You sought appointment to the planning board now step up.

By Old timer on 07/18/2014 at 12:19 pm

If this planning board and the residents near CC – let’s call them NIMBYs- were to be presented today with a plan for a Bed n Breakfast Restaraunt combination with the Restaraunt holding private parties and corporate events it would be voted down – hands down.
Well that exists today. It’s called Crabtree Kittle House. They have parties and events late into the night. Sometimes the outside is used. It sits right in the middle of a residential zoned neighborhood. I do not mean to compare retail at CC to Kittle House but it certainly makes clear that zoning is not rigid and fear mongering by my neighbors is unwarranted. To be clear – if Kittle House were never here and today an application was presented to town officials it would get rejected and the NIMBYs would be obstructing. Says a lot ….

By I’m not a nimby but I live there on 07/18/2014 at 3:15 pm

Its great to say lets deal with issues in the master plan- but when are we going to work on the master plan?  So far there were a few meeting in the Chappaqua area and what has come of that?  At this rate it will be another 20 years before anything happens.  maybe its time for the town board to hire someone who actually can make this process work- so far its a disaster.

By master plan?? on 07/18/2014 at 3:37 pm


If we had Carpenter’s “type of leadership now,” we’d have a strip mall at CC. No thanks.

By bob on 07/18/2014 at 3:52 pm

To Diversion – mr Olin may change his shopping from Millwood to Whole Foods at CC but many like me now shop in Armonk, Mt Kisco and Pleasantville.
A&P in Millwood is very small and not at all competitive and diverse in its offerings. The A&P in Mt Kisco is far superior. Retail / Whole Foods at CC will capture and reclaim New Castle shoppers that currently shop in other towns. Once in those towns we often shop and patronize their other stores. Wallgreen Rite Aid & Starbucks are not drawing me to Chapp. I won’t go to WalGreen for diapers and baby goods and then get back in my car and shop Village Market or Susan Lawrnece. Too much time not to mention gas consumption environmental impact.
I laugh when I hear the woman NIMBYs as they complain about retail at CC and how it will hurt downtown Chapp. They rave about Deccicios and are not shopping in the very town they pretend to care about. Once Whole Foods is built at CC I guarantee they will all shop there.

By Resident mom on 07/18/2014 at 4:07 pm

Residents / NIMBYs complained about the strip mall design at CC. Mr Curley and others were helpful in suggesting/ designing a town square concept. The developer complied. The original supermarket footprint was 60,000 sq ft and residents/ NIMBYs complained it was too big and would invite a sub standard mass market supermarket like ShopRite or Stopn Shop. So the developer made the space smaller down to 40,000 sq ft and got Whole Foods to commit.
Now we are back to ” we must have an updated master plan”. This is exactly why the developer will win a lawsuit should we continue to obstruct with this MP silliness.
The planning board and town board must deal with reality and start to make decisions that benefit all of us. Stop caving to a small group and this editor.

By It is a shame and a sham on 07/18/2014 at 4:13 pm

Look at the energy the anti CC zealots are expending. You would think that seone is threatening to cu off their arms

By You people are all misguided on 07/18/2014 at 4:48 pm

This entire process and the participants are totally dysfunctional. Is not this the same Mr Curley that suggested to Summit Greenfield and past town board that a town square format at Chapp Crossing would be better and more acceptable than the originally proposed “strip mall”? It appears the town square plan has been adopted by the developer and now Curley and the planning board is saying ” wait , we need a master plan update”. If that is so then why make the suggestion to change the plan in the first plan. Instead Curley comes up with a clever solution he works with the developer in a matter of speaking but now he backtracks and wants to hit the reset button.
Anybody who doesn’t recognize that this developer has all the ammunition it needs to sue this town has not been paying attention. This is exactly why we have our backs against the wall. It is exactly what Greenstein and our lawyers see. It is why we must get Whole Foods before they walk and before it all falls apart.

By Ronnie on 07/18/2014 at 5:27 pm

I just watched this video from the 3:51 mark as suggested by editor Yeres.
I am very concerned with the comments made by these planners. They state their opinions which are not facts. Crespi says that Whole Foods at CC would damage the vitality of downtown hamlet. Her words. Based on what study what facts Ms Crespi. My wife and I shop outside of town. As far as we are concerned there is no vitality downtown. It’s full of nail salons banks and offers little. What vitality? She is concerned about Whole Foods being a category killer. We have no super market. What is she worried about – the bakery at Who,e Foods will take business from Sherry B? They sell prepared foods and pizza – is she worried about Pizza Station and Starbucks?
Curley says ” we don’t need a specialty grocer” he says ” nobody is starving”. It’s not a need it’s a wish. What planet is this guy on. He is from Millwood and acknowledges the A&P there is smallest on planet and he sings the praises of A&P in Mt Kisco. Huh?
It scares me to think that our town is in the hands of these people who pontificate and substitute their opinions for facts.
We need a supermarket. We want Whole Foods. Real estate brokers are telling us people are moving to other towns that have complete services and stores.

By Roger on 07/18/2014 at 6:02 pm

@ I’m not a nimby but I live there,

You also do not know what you are talking about.  Crabtree’s Kittle House was there before the other homes around it.  It is nothing like the monumental change you MUST HAVE at CC.

By nimby doesn’t know and says a lot on 07/18/2014 at 6:09 pm

Curley and Cespi are way out over their skis on this one. It is outrageous that town planners are making such outrageous statements. Really Tom Curley – we don’t need a grocery store ? ” it’s not something that is important to us”. Who is Curley speaking for? He says it’s not a need but a desire by ” a smaller segment of the population”. What a silly and inaccurate statement..
It’s important to many of us to have a supermarket in our own town. It’s try we are not starving as Curley said but what an outrageous comment and over reach of his duties and responsibilities. Are town planners now mind readers who decide what residents want and need.
Maybe he missed the well intentioned online survey that resulted in at least 50% of respondents that wanted a Whole Foods like grocer. That is until it was pulled off line after the NIMBYs manipulated and poisened it.
The dialogue between Crespi and Curley regarding their opinions and views on what Whole Foods is and what effects it will have on our community is pure conjecture and not fact based. Is Crespi now an expert on retail and on supermarkets in particular. She says Who,e Foods is a category killer.  Had the Armonk planners and town officials thought DeCcicos was a category killer taking baking business from other bakeries, prepared and catered foods away from other caterers, it would have never been approved. This is total over reach and once again the master plan is held out as the end all be all and it won’t do a darn thing but land us in court.

By Over stepping on 07/18/2014 at 7:30 pm

I am deeply concerned that people like Mr Curley and Ms Crespi are purporting to represent and understand the needs and wants of residents. I am a mom with 3 young children. Most if my friends are of similar age with young families. Curley is way out of line and totally out if touch when he states we don’t need a whole foods type market. Heis totally wrong when he says it’s a desire for a smaller segment of the population. He thinks most people only do a big shopping once a month or once a week. Maybe he never had kids or if he did it was so long ago he forgot but we can tell you that with 3 children I am food shopping 2 sometimes 3 times a week. It’s ridiculous that this man thinks most people only do a big shopping once a month.
Crespi states that bringing people to CC does not bring them to our other shopping sites in town. I can tell you I do not shop in Chapp at all. I go to Mt Kisco. Once there I shop for almost everything I need.  If there is a Whole Foods at CC I would be much user to home and much more inclined to drive down the hill. Now there is no chance. Certainly a better chance if I stay local. 
I can’t believe these planners make these patently false statements. They state opinion not fact. They offer no proof no studies no documentation yet they sit up there as if they are experts on retailing and super markets. This town is in trouble.
A friend of mine from NYC is looking to buy a house in the area. She was shown houses in Armonk and Greenburg. When she asked her broker to compare Chapp she was told we have very high taxes and we don’t even have a super market. It matters very much to young moms.

By Fab mom on 07/18/2014 at 8:33 pm

With vacancies abounding in Pleasantville, Mt. Kisco and along Bedford Road “and an ample supply of retail space, I don’t think,” said Tom Curley, “anyone had demonstrated the need for more stores for any of the townships around us.”
This must apply to Chuck Napoli and his Bell Area Plan which he updated at a recent town board working session. Napoli plans to build more retail for downtown Chapp.
He has been highly critical of retail at CC for obvious and selfish reasons. I wonder what he thinks of Curleys view that there is too much retail and overcapacity.
Personally and from reading I have done, the only retail that continues to thrive is generally centered around a key anchor like Whole Foods. Combine that with a gym or some such facility and it does well. I’m pretty sure Family Britches, Mikolay and Greeley Hardware are not filling empty stores. Even Jacob Burns has not helped mom n pop Pleasantville merchants.

By Robert M on 07/18/2014 at 8:53 pm

OK, I’v stated my name..
My second child has benefitted enormously from Deccico’s…they treat their workers right and this has been an enormously positive experience for my daughter..I think they are great!  While I would love a Whole Foods, etc, or a Trader joes…I really think that we need to assess what would work and what would not…I am perplexed that a NewCastleNow bit would relay that people in higher places would take it into consideration the numbers during a time when most of New Castle is, for lack of a better word, absent…why not look at the, say, third week in September… this organization treats their workers right…wouldn’t you like for your hold to be treated nicely if they worked for them?

By Cynthia Metcalf on 07/18/2014 at 9:36 pm

More progress has been made with the master plan in the 6 months with Greenstein than in the 6 years with Gerard & Carpenter.

By 10514 on 07/18/2014 at 10:47 pm

Robert M.,

You need to read more.  The reason that Whole Foods does not come without the other ” accessory ” stores is that those accessory stores pay the rent, Whole Foods pays little to nothing.  The accessory stores generally go out of business, they are rarely successful.
Another reason to stop this stupid idea.

By Resident on 07/19/2014 at 9:33 am

We need a master plan. The town board should stop procrastinating and approve the funding.  All these bitter self serving comments here tell us nothing except what a few rabid shoppers want shopping at any cost to the community.

I do not believe that the majority of the town feels the same.  The master plan will tell us.  Towns all around us are doing good planning why are we still behind the 8 ball ?

Thank you P B for all of your diligent work.

By master plan please on 07/19/2014 at 9:45 am

WOW !  The rabid gimmee my shopping at any cost to the community are out in force.
Maybe they are afraid of what the good sense, hard and diligent work of the planning board shows us.  I do not believe that the majority of town feels as these rabid shoppers do.  I do not believe that the majority of the town is for harming the community at large and bringing a shopping mall to CC.  In fact, everyone I have spoken to does not understand the magnitude of this outsized proposal.  When they do understand, to a person, they say “no way.”  They say, “we had no idea ! “

The master plan will tell us what the town does want.  That is why it is crucial to the town’s
future. It is unconscionable that Rob Greenstein and the rest of the town board have been procrastinating on voting to fund the master plan.  They are as culpable on this as the previous town boards and all those rabid shoppers.

By respect zoning and master plan on 07/19/2014 at 10:20 am


Sabrina is Rob’s puppet.  She is most certainly not the person to lead the master plan.
She has never been an independent player.  Not in the previous administration and not in this one.

By no, no, no on 07/19/2014 at 10:22 am

Having just watched the portion of the planning board meeting that dealt with reatil-Whole Foods at CC I am dismayed by the lack of understanding by the planning board. In particular Crespi and Curley do not seem to have a clue.There opinions about Whole Foods and the needs/wants of residents is not at all what I experience everyday. My friends are in the same boat and would also agree that Crispi and Curley are out of touch.
I live off Hardscrabble Rd. I have a young family and I do one “big” weekly shopping and at least 1 sometimes 2 smaller ones during the week. I exit Hardscrabble make a left on rt 120 and a right onto rt 133 into Mt Kisco. I shop the A&P and once there take care of almost all my household needs(dry cleaning, kids clothes, banking, gas). My only time downtown Chapp is for occasional dinner at LeJardin or Quaker. If there was a Whole Foods at CC thats where i will shop and I would be far more inclined to shop dowtown Chapp as well. Curley thinks that only a small segment of the population needs a supermarket. Crespi is anti Whole Foods for damage it will do to downtown. Not having a reaso0n to shop in my town is what is hurting downtown and YES we want and we need a supermarket.

By Reality is my life on 07/19/2014 at 11:46 am

Build it,

Actually I have heard many complaints on Armonk Square from Armonk residents themselves.
Too much traffic, etc.  And they do not know how many other local stores will be put out of business, like that fabulous fish store.  In any case, at least it is in the DOWNTOWN.  It is not sprawl.  CC is sprawl, whether you want to admit that or not.  It is sprawl !

By say no to sprawl on 07/19/2014 at 11:47 am

I am one of the MANY people living in this town on a budget. I try to shop local and give business to local merchants but it is not practical or economical. I can buy the same jeans T-shirts, sneakers and sweatshirts at Kohls and spend HALF the $$$ than buying at Squires. Food at Village Mkt and Susan Lawrence is highway robbery. And simple tasks like dry cleaning and coffee at Starbucks usually takes too much time because parking is a nightmare. What downtown vitality is Ms Crespi refering to?
I have shopped a few times at Decicco’s in Armonk and like Whole Foods it is expensive but I can rationalize occasionaly because there is something to be said for the convenience of one stop shopping which saves time saves gas and lowers frustration of trying to deal with downtown Chapp. The selction is far better and cheaper than Village Mkt.
I see little downside in Whole Foods at Chapp and only upside for the communbity. Add a gym , pool ball field rec center at CC and it will thrive. It seems to me that the planning board members have forgotten what it is like to raise children while holding a job and attending to shopping needs. Maybe money is no object to them. I am often perplexed when i hear people worried about downtown merchants. It seems to me that the residents pay the taxes and it should be the residents needs that should take priority. I am sensitive to those living near CC and I am confident that town officials and planners will work with developers to make sure traffic and safety concerns are addressed. The master plan and the vitality of downtown are phoney concerns meant to slow down and stop progress.

By They are out of touch on 07/19/2014 at 12:19 pm

To respect zoning and master plan- your statement that the master plan will tell us what the town wants is wrong. Maybe you are joking.
Have you seen the master plan process in action? Do you know who is participating. It’s a white wash – a total joke. The participants ” helping out” and volunteering have their own agendas. Many are NIMBYs he’ll bent on obstructing. How will the results of such a process render anything meaningful ? The results will be biased and slanted.
As already mentioned a worth mentioning again as an example of the foolishness of this is the commerce committee. Chuck Napoli sits on that committee. He is a long time resident and an architect but he is also a developer with his own plan for downtown. He has made multiple submissions and presentations. On Tuesday he presented further information to the town board. He has been opposed to retail at CC for years because it interferes with his own for profit downtown development.  He sits on a committee developing the master plan.  You really think the master plan is going to tell us what the town wants and needs? I don’t. It will tell us what the participants with their own selfish agendas want. In the meantime we stand to lose a premier highly sought after grocer and all the good that comes either it. Not to mention the taxes we desperately need.

By U r wrong! on 07/19/2014 at 1:01 pm

All of you who say that you are shopping in Mt. Kisco etc. are making the point that we do not “need” retail at CC. Shopping is available 5 minutes in all directions.  That is the reality.  You are drooling over a Whole Foods.  If that is what you needed you should have moved elsewhere.  You have no right to ruin a neighborhood and the existing hamlets.

The financial returns if CC is built with 120,000 sq.ft. of new building are de minimis at best. And that is without any of the negative externalities factored in. Even Greenie, in a rare honest moment has said as much.

By negative externalities on 07/19/2014 at 1:03 pm

The eloquent posting by “they are out of touch” sums up the situation perfectly. Between my dozens of published and unpublished postings, I have been saying the same thing for over a year.  Simply legally enact a B I D , and the downtown merchants and their very deep pocket landlords can design and self-fund all the help they need .  And…. The town , if it wants, can make some financial contributions to specific BID projects, with the approval of the community.  By the way, CC can be a part of the BID and can be taxed to help downtown.

By Dear editor on 07/19/2014 at 1:14 pm

They are out of touch,

Maybe it is you who is out of touch except for what you want.  That is why we need a
master plan.  That is how a town learns what its residents want.  That is how towns plan responsibly for the future.  It does not learn anything by the screaming meamies who cannot see beyond their own selfish noses.

By master plan first on 07/19/2014 at 1:53 pm

What’s wrong with this Pllanning Board?  Don’t they know that the Town Board’s motto is “Ready…Fire…Aim!”????  And if the TB chooses to respond to the PB they would likely say “No time left to aim—and it wouldn’t matter anyway, because we intend to rely on the developer’s plan!”

By Ready…fire…aim! on 07/19/2014 at 3:11 pm

This whole process is nothing short of a train wreck.  Led by conductor Greenstein.

By had enough on 07/19/2014 at 3:13 pm

It’s not a master plan, it master”ba——-).

Millwood has always been nothing. Downtown had evolved that way by landlords throwing out the good .

By What it really is on 07/19/2014 at 4:16 pm


How do you know what the residents want ? 

And BTW there is no way to manage the traffic that you so easily dismiss.

It is your arguments for what you want that are phony

I heard no one against the pool or the gym.

By dear touch on 07/19/2014 at 4:23 pm

U r wrong,

I agree with much, but not all that you say.  The town board should hire a reputable firm that does master planning. That is what towns do. I too am not pleased with the way this and the previous town boards have undermined the process.

Any other thoughts ?

By hire a master planning firm on 07/19/2014 at 6:31 pm

To master plan first- maybe you have not been paying attention when you call for a master plan first. Look who is participating and volunteering to be part of the master plan process. It is chock full of NIMBYs and others with their own agendas. The results of a faulty and biased MP process will result in a faulty and biased Master Plan. Why should we wait for that first?

To dear touch – you say “I heard no one against the pool and the gym”. Really? Haven’t you heard the NIMBYs who cry that this is commercially zoned and we should not change it? A gym will require changed zoning. Besides no gym operator is coming to CC without an anchor like Whole Foods.

By Rayj on 07/19/2014 at 9:23 pm

Isn’t it about time for you anonymous posters to state your names and stand behind your positions? Are you that embarrassed about your statements that you are afraid to identify yourselves? Perhaps its Greenstein and Summit Greenfield’s PR Firm? In any event, your anonymous comments have no credibility and are a waste of time.

By David Gladstone on 07/22/2014 at 3:59 pm

I say we have a parade for all the members of the Planning Board. A going away parade. I would urge Mr. Greenstein to dismiss the Planning Board and to seat all new members. The current PB members have done a wonderful job in providing their time, but now there exist a mistrust and distrust, and an attitude of a view that is hurting the values of the community. We have a lot to thank each and every member of this PB, but now we need fresh eyes, a fresh start, a new begining, and a sense that the Town Supervisor is willing to sever ties with anyone or any group, in order to show the community that he is out to find the right solution. Too many remarks have been made that causes too many residents to scratch the side of their head. Lets hold a parade down Greeley Avenue and wish them all well in whatever else they choose to do outside of town hall. I wish you well and grant you the ability to come back in 10 years. Who wants to organize the parade?

By Parade on 07/22/2014 at 7:12 pm

First those with hidden agendas must disclose them,ie
Downtown merchants,downtown owners, Napoliville profiteers , Nimbys, property value loss fears,

By Dear mr Gladstone on 07/23/2014 at 8:14 pm

Dear mr Gladstone,
It is your prerogative to enjoy being pilloried and ridiculed for unpopular speech. I support such speech without recrimination

By Freedom of speech on 07/23/2014 at 9:40 pm

I suggest a parade to salute the planning board.  They are terrific.

By salute the planning board on 07/23/2014 at 10:39 pm

Mr Gladstone – facts are facts. History is history. And opinions are opinions. It does not matter if one attaches ones name. If you find fault or disagree then point out and show us what you find fault with. The posting of my name is not important. It is what I say that matters.  Sharing of ideas, debate and critism are no less valid because one chooses anonymity.
Besides most of your nimby neighbors post anonymously all the time. You do t seem to find fault with the anti retail at CC anonymous comments – only the pro retail position troubles you. 
I’ve seen and heard some NIMBYs. I’ve sen their TB appearances and their embarrassing behavior. They would best served disguised and anonymous.

By Anonymous on 07/24/2014 at 6:07 pm

Gladstone- it’s a small person that attacks the messenger and ignores the message.

By Cheap shot on 07/25/2014 at 7:53 am

Mr Gladstone- I’ve seen/ heard you and the NIMBYs for too long. I will not print my name but here are some facts.
8 years have passed since Summit Greenfield began proposals and plans for CC.
Multiple plans have been submitted- some rejected, some altered some accepted.
The developer has been asked to make changes and modifications to appease TB and residents. / NIMBYs.
Studies have been done. Impact evaluated –
60k sq ft supermarket downsized to 40k with Whole Foods the tenant.
SG will clearly demonstrate denial of usage. Master Plan moratorium will not hold up in court ( 2 separate law firms agree)
Residents want Whole Foods. Our community is in desperate need of retail- commercial taxes. Readers Digest is not coming back.
NIMBYs floated bogus petition. NIMBYs rigged the town survey. NIMBYs monopolize TB meetings.

By Facts are facts on 07/25/2014 at 8:27 am

Facts are facts,

Really Facts ?  I am a resident clear across town and I do not want retail at CC.  I certain,y do not want a Whole Foods.  All of your other points are bogus as well.

Why not just speak for yourself and say that you want it and will say anything to get it.
I repeat, all of your so called ” facts” are bogus.

By This resident does not want Whole Foods on 07/26/2014 at 8:42 am

Facts ?,

Your facts are not facts.  They are bogus.  I am a resident who lives clear across town

You other ” facts” are equally bogus.  Why not just speak for yourself and say that that is what you want and that you will say anything to support your wants ?

And BTW, we are in a perfect position for a moratorium .  You are lying or misinformed about that.  The studies you mention do not support what you want them to do. The changes the developer has made are from a reuse of the beautiful, iconic Readers Digest building to 120,000 sq. ft. all new buildings. 

I say NO THANKS to that and to you I say STOP THE LIES.

By Resident who does not want WF on 07/26/2014 at 8:57 am

Resident who does not want WF- We ar NOT in a perfect position for a moratorium – that is bunk – a complete lie.
After 8 years of multiple plan submissions, rejections, changes, obstructions, petitions, modifications, studies, more studies and approvals with still little to no progress there is no way a moratorium will be accepted as another reason stall and obstruct the developer from proper usage. 
It is you who are totally misinformed. The town of new castle had a lawyer that advised we can not continue to stall. Since that opinion, an election was held and the newTB hired a new law firm. The new lawyers concur- a moratorium will not hold up in court.

By Legal mind on 07/26/2014 at 6:12 pm

Dear “Legal Mind” – you’re definitely a “Legal Mouth,” but don’t really know what you’re talking about.  Who exactly has stated that “a moratorium will not hold up in court”????

What you say is bunk. The eight years you mention are the same eight years the developer has been asking for (and getting) changes to the zoning he purchased the property with.  The retail idea is only two years old.  And considering the big deal of it, that’s a very short time for an application. It might be a good idea and it might not.  Nothing I’ve heard from current (or past) town board members leads me to believe that they (or you, “Legal Mind/Mouth”) know the answer.

By U don’t know what you’re talking about on 07/27/2014 at 11:18 am

Legal mind,

I wonder where you received your legal training.  What you say is patently false.

You lie.

By @ legal mindless on 07/27/2014 at 11:50 am

Yo legal eagle not,

Why not read before you spout.  The lawyers never said what you say they said.  You must think that repeating falsehoods make them true.  You are wrong about that as well.

By Jane P. on 07/27/2014 at 3:24 pm

If the planning board has any sense they will listen and follow the advice of the town planner.  She has more knowledge of complex projects like this one than does the planning board and she can help the board avoid the wasteful discussions that distract us from getting this development built.

By See Sense on 07/27/2014 at 7:30 pm

The town as a whole should be the decision maker….which is the town board. The planner is an advisor who is subject to the deficiencies of any one person.

By the town planner is only one person on 07/28/2014 at 8:34 am

See Sense,

How do you know that this community WANTS this project built.  Your advice is suspect.

By resident on 07/28/2014 at 11:40 am

Wow. Lotsa self-proclaimed legal eagles sounding off. One thing’s for sure though. No matter which side wins, there will be a lawsuit. And the taxpayers will take it on the chin again.

By bob on 07/28/2014 at 1:08 pm

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