Supervisor’s Report on five public hearings for Chappaqua Crossing changes to town code

February 25, 2011

Editor’s note: At the town board meeting on Tuesday, February 22, Town Supervisor Barbara Gerrard read her Supervisor’s Report into the record explaining public hearings on Chappaqua Crossing and the timeline for the board’s continuing environmental review. The following is a reprint of her report.

On our agenda tonight we (and by “we” in this case I mean Councilmember Stout, Councilmember Wolfensohn, and I, because the other Town Board members have recused themselves from participating in this process) expect to set public hearings on the zoning changes that Summit Greenfield has requested for its Chappaqua Crossing proposal. We also will make any necessary referrals of those proposed Local Laws to the Town Planning Board, the Westchester County Planning Board, and neighboring municipalities.  However, the fact that we are setting those Public Hearings and making those referrals should not be taken by anyone as an indication that we intend to pass any or all of the proposed Local Laws.

The following is a timeline for action:

As I said two weeks ago, we intend to finish our work by the end of next month – that is, by March 31, 2011.  That means that we intend to finish the environmental review and make findings under the State Environmental Quality Review Act and then decide on Summit Greenfield’s petition for application of a Multi-Family Planned Development zone and other zoning amendments to the former Reader’s Digest property.

Tonight, we expect to set Public Hearings for our meeting Tuesday, March 22, 2011, one month from today, to consider proposed Local Laws that would implement all of each of Summit Greenfield’s current Petition requests.  We stated some of our concerns with Summit Greenfield’s proposal in meetings held last November and December, but we have not and will not make up our minds until after we have completed the environmental review under SEQR; held Public Hearings on the proposed amendments; and considered your comments and responses to the referrals.  If we are going to conclude the process by the end of March, however – and we have been urged to bring this to a conclusion – we must set these Public Hearings and make the referrals now.  These proposed Local Laws are on the agenda for that purpose.

Between now and March 22, we want to finish and adopt a Final Environmental Impact Statement under SEQR.  We are working with the Town’s consultants to prepare final revisions to Summit Greenfield’s last proposed FEIS, and we expect to have an approved FEIS in the second week of March.

After we adopt a adopt an FEIS, we must file and circulate it among Involved Agencies and make it available for public review for no fewer than 10 days, and then we must make findings to end the environmental review under SEQR within no more than 30 days from the date of adoption.  If we have an adopted FEIS by the March 8th meeting as we expect, that will give the public two weeks to review it before we open the Public Hearings on the zoning amendments on March 22.

Keeping to our schedule, then, we would close the Public Hearings on March 22 or as soon thereafter as the public has had an adequate opportunity to comment, receive any referral responses, consider all of the same, and then adopt a Finding Statement under SEQR.  Remember, too, that we must adopt our Finding Statement within 30 days of adopting the FEIS, so the clock will be ticking.

Then, once we adopt our Finding Statements, we will act on the proposed zoning amendments themselves by voting on the proposed Local Laws.  And again, we plan to do so by the end of March.

Although this may be regarded as an aggressive schedule, please remember that all the research is in, the three of us have engaged in a thorough and exhaustive review of the impacts, and it is time to make a decision.  While at this point no decision has been made, we are setting our schedule to assure all that the process will be concluded in the next several weeks.

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We encourage civil, civic discourse. In other words, be pithy and polite. All comments will be reviewed before publication to assure that this standard is met.