Summit Greenfield appeals dismissal of its State suit against the town
October 19, 2012
by Christine Yeres
Last Friday Summit Greenfield appealed the dismissal of its State Supreme Court suit against the Town of New Castle. The filing falls well within the 30-day window the plaintiff had in which to file its appeal. Town Supervisor Susan Carpenter was unfazed by the action, saying she would have been surprised if the developer had not filed an appeal.
See One shoe drops: Judge dismisses Summit Greenfield’s state suit against the town, NCNOW.org, 10/5/12, for background and a timeline.
The state complaint, dismissed and now appealed
In the complaint filed in state court Summit Greenfield alleged that the town’s failure to act on their application had deprived the Plaintiff of all economically viable use of the commercial portion of the Property, and therefore, constituted a taking without recompense. The Summit Greenfield sought compensatory damages—even suggesting that the town be made to purchase the property—and attorneys’ fees.
The federal complaint, still pending
“This action,” the federal complaint alleged, “arises out of Defendants’ continued efforts to prevent affordable housing in New Castle – which is highly likely to be occupied by racial or ethnic minorities and the elderly –by unconstitutionally and intentionally denying Plaintiff its rights and expectations to a fair, timely and unbiased decision on its long pending land use application.”
The Summit Greenfield laid out three motivations for the town’s actions:
1. To prevent the construction of affordable housing;
2. To maintain Chappaqua Crossing in its “stately and bucolic condition;” and
3. “To limit economic activity in the commercial portion of the Property so high-priced residential housing in the immediate vicinity can enjoy the benefit of having a sleepy, park-like campus atmosphere at the Property.”
Summit Greenfield argued that the town board’s actions were a violation of the Fair Housing Act, 42 U.S.C. Sections 3601 et seq and had deprived it of its constitutional rights to substantive due process and equal protection under 42 U.S. C. Section 1983.
Summit Greenfield seeks compensatory and punitive damages, to be determined by a jury, and attorneys’ fees.
On Monday, the developer submitted an application for a change of zoning that would permit a total of 120,000 square feet of retail, including an anchor grocery of between 36,000 and 66,000 square feet. See Chappaqua Crossing submits preliminary plan for retail development; retail makes partial use of existing buildings, plus new construction, NCNOW.org, 10/16/12. On Tuesday, the Town Board declared its intent to act as lead agency in the environmental review of the application and officially asked the Planning Board to begin its review of it.
The Town Board will continue the public hearing on the zoning change—and simultaneously open a public hearing on Summit Greenfield’s application—on Tuesday, October 30, 2012, to begin at 8:00 p.m.
The Town Board should focus on strengthening retail operations in our current downtown hamlets. There are other options available, such as developing the current Town Hall property, that the Board has not even considered. They are trying to appease Summit Greenfield, who is currently suing the Town. And they WILL, if we don’t take action now.
We know that many people are upset that D’Agostino’s closed and want a supermarket in Chappaqua. But what the Town Board is proposing at Chappaqua Crossing is NOT about a new supermarket – IT’S ABOUT CREATING A STRIP MALL!
It’s about adding over 120,000 square feet of new retail space, including at least one tenant the size of a typical WalMart, with the HOPE that maybe a supermarket will come.
It’s about destroying downtown Chappaqua. In addition to a 60,000 square foot anchor store, there will be other large merchants and will likely include ANOTHER dry cleaner, another nail salon—all the typical shops in a shopping strip anchored by a Walmart-type store—as well as, according to the Town Board, a Verizon Wireless shop and a SEWAGE TREATMENT CENTER! This will draw even more shoppers away from the downtown Chappaqua shopping hamlet, a place we need to support if we want local merchants at all.
A strip mall will negatively impact the surrounding neighborhoods. We will have trucks delivering food at all hours of the day and night through predominantly residential neighborhoods, and 120 and 117, not to mention the potential for accidents (or worse!) with our High School right next door! This is already a dangerous and busy intersection, and trucks are not allowed on the Saw Mill. One accident will stop traffic for miles.
Please sign the petition to STOP THE STRIP MALL AND SAVE DOWNTOWN CHAPPAQUA before it is too late!!