Town Board will hold public hearing on grocery plus limited retail at Chappaqua Crossing
Monday, September 24, 2012
by Christine Yeres
The Town Board has scheduled a public hearing for 7:45 p.m., Monday, September 24 on a zoning change to Chappaqua Crossing that would allow limited retail uses in part of Chappaqua Crossing now zoned for business, office and research. The proposed zoning would require an anchor grocery store of 50,000 to 60,000 square feet and several ancillary retail stores to occupy a minimum of 5,000 square feet each.
The Town Board agenda item for Monday, September 24 reads:
Proposed Local Law to amend Chapter 60 of the New Castle Town
Code to add provisions allowing retail uses in a research and office
business district under Certain circumstances.
Public Comment/New Business
Proposed Action- Authorization to Approve
Proposed Local Law to amend Chapter 60 of the New Castle Town
Code to add provisions allowing retail uses in a research and office
business district under certain circumstances.
Zoning change to allow grocery was initiated by the town
When the board invited public comment last March, a resident asked board members whether Summit Greenfield, owners of Chappaqua Crossing, had requested the zoning change to retail. “No,” said Supervisor Susan Carpenter. “It didn’t commence with an application from Summit Greenfield. We initiated [the application] because we thought it was a good thing for the town to consider having space for a grocery store and also for some ability to get better tax revenue from that property.” The amendment reads, in part:
“This Office Park Retail Overlay District zoning is intended to provide the opportunity for the development of a retail zoning district on a planned basis in the Town’s only mapped Research and Office Business District (“Office Park District”)to be anchored by a full service grocery store and provide for other retail uses that will provide a complementary and mutually sustaining tenant mix, that are appropriate for the comfort and convenience of occupants in the underlying Office Park District and occupants and residents in the community, that will facilitate provision of daily needs products and services such as groceries and basic retail in an otherwise underserved market area, and that will support and enhance the Town’s commercial real estate tax base. To further this intent with proper protection for existing development in the community, Office Park Retail Overlay Districts shall be established within Office Park Districts on a floating zone basis, subject to approval by the Town Board in each case, and in accordance with an approved preliminary development concept plan, as described and defined herein.” ~ Section 1, 60-360
Proposed amendment “overlay” would affect between 140,000 and 175,000 of the total 700,000 square feet of office floor area
This “overlay” of retail in the office park would be limited, according to the proposed zoning amendment, to 20% of the total floor area of the underlying office park, but the town board may, at its discretion, increase that total retail area to 25% “if it finds and determines that such size allows for a more harmonious relationship and integration” or “better operation” of the retail with the office space.
The proposed amendment requires that the new retail district contain “a full service grocery store occupying at least 50,000 square feet but not more than 60,000 square feet.” As to other retail, “the minimum floor area occupied by a single use” in the retail district at Chappaqua Crossing “shall be 5,000 square feet.”
Editor’s Note: The Town Board has not yet specified how many retail establishments of at least 5,000 square feet they will permit, but Chappaqua Crossing contains a total of about 700,000 square feet of office space. [In January 2012, 24,000-square-foot ACCESS and WeeZee tenants joined Northern Westchester Hospital and Fiber Media, each with 35,000 square feet, Mount Kisco Medical Group (40,000 square feet) and Government Services Administration (GSA, 6,000 square feet).] Total occupied office space in January 2012: 140,000 square feet—20% of the 700,000 total, the same amount of space the zoning amendment suggests for the retail overlay.]
A great deal of attention is given in the proposed amendment to design guidelines and to preserving the “historic or iconic features of existing buildings.” The amendment would require that equipment such as condensers, satellite dishes, antennas, and solar energy collector panels “be mounted or screened in such a way as to to conceal them from view at the street level.” In addition, the amendment does not permit interior illumination of signs and requires that “all sign lighting should be from exterior shielded sources directed at a sign face so that the lamp is not visible to neighboring residents.”
To view the 13-page draft of the proposed amendment in PDF, click HERE.
The last item on the Planning Board agenda for Tuesday, October 2, is a work session to discuss the proposed zoning amendment, “Town Board Referral re: Local Law to amend Town Code Chapter 60 to add provisions allowing retail uses in a Research and Office Business District under certain conditions.
Related: Town Board to propose zoning change permitting grocery and limited retail at Chappaqua Crossing, NCNOW.org, 7/23/12
Town board invites residents to consider partial rezoning of Chappaqua Crossing, NCNOW.org, 3/9/12
Who do we need to come into downtown Chappaqua? Well, we need people now-a-days to Deposit cash in the locally located banks, or those that do not do all their Bankking from their home or iphone. We need those interested in buying a cup of coffee. We also like the traffic that is generated by Bell School, and the Postal Service. We need all those residents who want to be part of the down town Chappaqua vibe. We also need those who have no choice but to head out and buy food to cook at home. Place a grocery store up at Chappaqua Crossing and you will hurt downtown Chappaqua with such a trickle down ripple effect, that you will have to reduce the property taxes collected on all buildings located in the Town.
I was just behind a car with a “Bedford 2020” bumper sticker and it hit me like a ton of bricks: what is missing in our town/community is a sense of planning for the future—5, 10, 15 even 20 years out. Chappaqua 2020, can any of us imagine it? I believe that strong communities should plan for the long term just as (hopefully) corporations do. It oftentimes seems like we’re flying by the seat of our pants—fighting off Conifer, arguing with Summit Greenfield, proposing performance space, supermarkets in wacky places, etc., etc.
We have tremendous brain power in Chappaqua/Millwood. Heads of Fortune 500 companies, magazine publishers, marketing gurus are all within our borders but also lots of other people with good ideas and time/energy to burn (and, yes, I’m speaking to some stay-at-home moms here). I invite anyone interested in the concept to look at the bedford2020.org site. It’s heartening to see the many task forces they have created to work on shaping their town’s future. I would love to have feedback from people interested in doing the same here.
Bedford 2020’s mission is to lead, organize and promote a community wide effort to reduce greenhouse gas emissions 20% by 2020 and to create a sustainable community that conserves its natural resources.
With 18 years left, they have not cut greenhouse gas emissions significantly, but they have gotten many facets of their community moving in the right direction.
Sadly, here in Chappaqua, not many folks are preparing for a future in which climate and limited resources will deeply impact our families. Its not a comfortable conversation, because it means significant change.
A supermarket at Chappaqua Crossing is a great example of very short sighted thinking when you consider environmental and economic realities.
It’s difficult to think long term when the short term bills are coming in. We need an open discussion about BUDGET so that everyone is on the same page. Then we can generate thousands of ideas on how to come up with these amounts and save. I appreciate what town hall stresses about but the beginning of an abundant economy starts when democracy works well. More people need to get involved with the actual running of the town. Perhaps it should be mandatory, like in a co-op. Let our board and employees measure and report, but unless we actually get out on the streets and roll up our sleeves, what else are they left with…..a corporate savior to “feed” us. I’d rather volunteer a few hours once in awhile, meet new neighbors and see my friends, than write larger tax checks. Get the kids out too! Young buyers are looking for community, not a supermarket.
Chappaqua deserves a quality grocery store, albeit one that does not charge the exhorbitant prices that D’agostino’s charged. I think that plus retail in the Crossing would bring more people to the area and keep some of our dollars in town. Done right, it won’t cannibalize downtown as I expect the incoming Walgreen’s to do to Rite Aid. Planning for the future also includes increasing the tax base with the right development. We should study it and go for it if it makes ‘cents.’
By adding retail to Chappaqua Crossing, the “town board” will once AGAIN be hitting the current downtown merchants with yet another huge hurdle…….trying to keep our Chappaqua residents coming into the actual downtown area. We’ve suffered through the bridge construction, we will hugely suffer through the upcoming tearing up of our streets in 2013 & 2014 for water and sewer line work, and now this?!? Having to fight against having our customers split between the actual downtown and now another retail location?!?
Before the town board, yet again, starts a project without a solid OVERALL and cohesive look at the current downtown struggles they need to consider the current merchants that are trying to hang in there and have successful businesses. It is so very disappointing and exhausting to not only be fighting against the economy, the current lack of interest from our residents in a disappointing and somewhat depressed looking downtown to once again have our town board looking at new proposals instead of propping up and fixing what we already have. It makes one wonder what the point of having a business in this town is when the board isn’t necessarily “against” us, but definitely does nothing “for” us.
While I too want a grocery store, the only way it’s going to be price competitive is if it’s of a certain size, and have high volume. That means, any store willing to invest here will need to drive significant traffic from other towns, so expect the parkway entry/exit, Roaring Brook road, and r-117 lights to be nightmares, and also expect to hear the non-stop resupply trucks in the middle of the night.
That’s the trade off.
It’s mice to think we’ll get a cute little Trader Joes or Whoel Foods, but the math doesn’t work…we’re not going to get a wonderful little store with great food/prices just for our exclusive town use.
You must all form a group as headed by one lawyer for the purpose of trying to get your property taxes reduced. If Chappaqua Crossing is given the right to build a grocery store and develop a third business district; your tenants will consistantly be going out of business, and you will be forever managing a failing asset / property. Start now to offset your future vacancy rates and re-negociated / reduced rents. This town is looking at making decisions that will be devasting to the King Street corridor and all throughout downtown Chappaqua. Perhaps the only way to be saved is to go with a plan like Napoli’s, and open first floor space to the financial institutions with affordable housing placed on top. Who has ideas to allow downtown Chappaqua to survive?
Putting a full size grocery store in at Chappaqua Crossing and adding some retail stores adds up imho, to a huge increase in traffice that will be a nightmare for local residents. Imagine just half of the traffic that the local Stop’nshop shopping center in Thornwood attracts around the entry and exit to Chappaqua crossing….then add school traffic to Greeley.
I have lived on Roaring Brook Road across the Saw Mill for 20 years. School traffic on narrow, winding Roaring Brook road is extremely congested during that time, as well as after school. As a parent of two students of Chappaqua schools, I accept that as a necessary evil.
However, I am not sure that the increase in traffic to access the Saw Mill crossing on both Roaring Brook and Old Roaring Brook Roads would be manageable. These narrow, winding secondary roads were not built to handle constant traffic.
Not to mention the fact that the value of every home along Roaring Brook, Old Roaring Brook, parts of 117, and Cowdin Lane would be negatively affected by a huge increase in traffic.
For the 40+ years we’ve lived here, I’ve seen every new proposal met with the standard “more traffic, it will do terrible things, etc.” At the same time, I’ve heard the regular complaints about high taxes. Does anyone remember that there was a lot of traffic at Readers Digest when it was fully employed? We all lived with it and the property values didn’t go down and nothing drastic happened—and our taxes were lower.
Forget about a grocery store, I suggest that we think about a major sports complex. Why not build a Ice Rink, along with 15 olympic size swimming pools, along with a well known and BRANDED tennis facility, mini branded golf course, spa and resort Hotel (30 rooms), upscale restaurants with downscale pricing, meeting halls. Lets bring a little bit of Wall Street onto the site. Lets have the Reader’s Digest Fitness Center of about 175,000 sqft. Lets build Basket Ball Courts, Baseball fields. Why not an outside Archery range, field hockey, and several more soccer fields. Then lets get the Chappaqua School District, Bedford CSD, North Castle CSD, Ossining CSD, and Yorktown CSD, to all enter into long term agreements to pay for their mandated and required use of the property – generate revenue for the owner. Then still allow him to build residential. This will create a lot of people coming into the area at different times during different seasons and programs throughout the year. But this idea will keep the economic health of the area alive and well for generations to come! I don’t see this kind of thinking at Town Hall, or the desire to think outside the box! Also, keep Medical on the property as well.
Make every inch of the Reader’s Digest property, along with the property on Rt.128, a SOLAR FARM that feeds electricity back to the grid. How many Solar collecting panels can be installed at Readers Digest? Does Readers Digest have the capacity to produce enough Solar Energy to do away with conventional thoughts of development? How much money can a venture like this make for the owner over a period of 5,10,20,30,40,50 years. Are there any Government grants or monies from both the private and public sectors to make this work here in Westchester County and on this property?
A 50,000 t0 60,000 square foot “grocery store?”
I guess the term “Supermarket” has been banned by the Board. A store,“by any other name,” would still be what it really is.
How about a town pool with a retractable roof so that older adults could have a convenient and affordable place to swim? Plus extra ball fields to take the stress off the CCSD fields. Love the ideas put forth by Sports complex needed and the call for creative thinking.
The Town Board should consider what the impact of approving a supermarket and other retail at Chappaqua Crossing would probably be on Summit Greenfield’s continuing pursuit of large scale residential development at the site. They will be able to argue that this is a commercial area with all the necessities for residential and that the Town’s Master Plan is no longer a controlling factor since it does not reflect the new retail hub. They will have a whole new basis to come back for their real objective.
Beware of unintended consequences!
We’ve lived in Chappaqua for seven years. We chose Chappaqua over other Westchester towns because, although it was within an hour’s commuting time from Manhattan, it felt like a small, country town. We live in Lawrence Farms East, close to Chappaqua Crossing.
Since the day that we arrived, the town has been embroiled in dispute with developers who seek to turn a profit in ways that will change the character of Chappaqua. Build a condo village in Chappaqua Crossing, a large apartment complex by the railroad station and Saw Mill, or put tens of thousands of commercial space—a box store—at the Crossing: these projects have in common that they belong in a large town or small city, not in a hamlet with a “small town” culture.
I think that we need a new supermarket at the D’Agostino site (which remains empty a year after D’Agostino left) and that affordable housing should be built, on a smaller scale, on a site whose size and location is suitable for multiple dwellings. Everyone has the right to make a profit; developers, too. Yet why must Chappaqua fight off developer after developer who appears to have no interest whatsoever in preserving the things that make Chappaqua a great place to live?