Town board invites residents to consider partial rezoning of Chappaqua Crossing
March 9, 2012
by Christine Yeres
In a carefully worded press release yesterday, town board members floated the idea that it might be in the interest of both the town and Summit Greenfield, the owner-developer of the former Reader’s Digest property, to explore zoning changes to part of the property that would permit some “very targeted retail, including space for a grocery store and incidental retail businesses.” Board members invite the community to comment publicly on the idea at their Tuesday, March 27 board meeting at 7:45 p.m. The text of the press release follows.
From Town Supervisor Susan Carpenter, Deputy Supervisor Elise Kessler Mottel and Council Members John Buckley, Robin Stout and Jason Chapin:
Thursday, March 8, 2012
The New Castle Town Board always wants to respond to the needs and desires of our local community. Planning for the economic and social health of our Town is a vital priority.
For many years the Board has identified protection and enhancement of the Town’s commercial real estate tax base as a primary goal in order ease the burden on our residential tax base. This goal of a stable and productive commercial tax base has become ever more critical with the recent legislation that caps towns’ and school districts’ abilities to raise taxes to meet financial needs.
The loss to the Town and the Chappaqua Central School District of the largest single private taxpayer when Reader’s Digest moved and left Chappaqua Crossing largely vacant threatens the Town and School District with a serious loss in revenue and further shift of more of the tax burden to residential taxpayers. The Chappaqua hamlet also lost a full service grocery store this past year, and that cost the Town an important community resource and further threatens the Town and the School District’s commercial tax base.
Chappaqua Crossing is an immediately available commercial opportunity for the Town. It holds the potential for both a healthier commercial tax base and provision of goods and services that our residents want and need. With the twin goals of enhancing the commercial tax base and bringing a grocery store to the east side of Town, the Town Board is considering a partial rezoning of the Chappaqua Crossing commercial property to allow for very targeted retail, including a space for a grocery store and incidental retail businesses that would service customers of the grocery store and the existing and future commercial tenants at the site.
Any such change needs vigorous community input and of course would be subject to all applicable laws, including any further necessary environmental review. Further, any such changes would need to be carefully crafted in order to promote the desired commercial usage but minimize competition with our hamlet centers. We believe that we can maximize the likelihood of success and avoid the risk of unintended consequences by careful zoning, using techniques like floor plate and floor area ratio requirements, accessory use standards, and concept plan approval.
The Town Board is setting aside time for public comment on this idea at our regularly scheduled meeting at 7:45 PM on Tuesday, March 27, 2012. No petition or legislation is before the Town Board, and this is not a hearing required under any applicable law; it is a way to open a community dialogue on finding the appropriate way to move our community forward, together. We look forward to your thoughts.