Town releases proposed zoning text for “Active Lifestyle District” w/ spa at Legionaries in mind

1:00 p.m. Friday, February 14, 2013
~ from the Town of New Castle

Editor’s Note: The proposed text amendment under which a developer would be permitted to construct The Spa at New Castle on the 96-acre Legionaries property presently zoned for two-acre residential use was released today by the town.  There was some confusion in last Tuesday’s public hearing on the draft scoping for the project as to whether the draft text had been composed yet.  It had; and here it is, below.  As with the Chappaqua Crossing application, any zoning change—and any change to the Town Development Plan to permit it—must each go through a public hearing process of its own, apart from public hearings on the Draft Environmental Impact Statement and, sometimes, even the final Environmental Impact Statement. 

The amendment would create a “floating” zone, a generic zone that might be applied within the town wherever the circumstances and conditions described in the zoning text obtain.

For more articles on the Spa application from’s archives, click HERE.

The public scoping hearing (the scope is the list of environmental concerns the applicant must respond to) has closed, but written comments may be submitted until Friday, February 21, 2014—either by email, to a special address for the purpose:

.(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address).

Or by snail-mail, to:

Town Administrator Jill Shapiro
200 South Greeley Avenue
Chappaqua, NY 10514

To see the February 10, 2014 letter in which the Westchester County Planning Board weighed in on the Spa application click HERE

You can find all documents pertaining to The Spa at New Castle application (including the County letter of 2-10-14) on THIS PAGE of the town’s website.


Add New § 60-370 to the Town of New Castle Zoning Code as follows:

§ 60-370 Active Lifestyle (AL) Floating District

A. Findings; purpose and intent.

(1) The Town Board of the Town of New Castle hereby finds that it is in the best

interests of the Town to foster and promote economic growth and development by

allowing active lifestyle developments, which are designed to facilitate a style of

living that combines active recreation with mind-body wellness amenities. An

active lifestyle development may contain some or all of the following types of uses:

residential dwelling units, either one- or multi-family; hotel; spa; restaurant; and

recreation. The Town Board further finds that such developments would attract

new residents, tourists, and members of the community to utilize and enjoy

recreation, service and lifestyle amenities in a self-contained, unified facility,

insulated from, and not intruding upon, surrounding areas. Pursuant to the general

authority granted under § 261 of the Town Law, the Town Board hereby creates a

floating zoning district for active lifestyle developments (“AL District”). The AL

District would permit active lifestyle developments only on those limited sites

within the Town where such use would be compatible with surrounding uses, and

would have sufficient area to provide for housing, recreational, and service needs,

while ensuring adequate buffering of neighborhood uses, protection of

environmental resources, and preservation of open space and the general character

of the Town. Such developments shall also be designed and operated in an orderly,

aesthetically pleasing, and well-planned manner.

B. Procedures and powers.

(1) In accordance with the procedures for Amending the Zoning Code set forth in

Article VI of this Chapter, on its own motion, on recommendation of the Planning

Board, or on a Petition submitted by a duly authorized representative of an owner of

any parcel of land within the Town, the Town Board may amend the Zoning Map to

include such parcel within the AL District and subject to the use, density and bulk

requirements set forth in this Section, provided that such parcel satisfies the

locational criteria set forth below.

(2) An application to the Town Board for a zoning change to permit an AL District

designation shall conform to the requirements of Article VI of this Chapter, and

shall also be accompanied by:

(a) A written statement containing the following:

[1] How the proposed development would accomplish the purposes set forth

in this Section;

[2] Intended uses on the parcel; and

[3] Intended method of preservation for any open space, environmental

resources, and/or architecturally or historically significant buildings or


(b) Preliminary site development plans illustrating design concepts for proposed

and existing streets, drives, parking areas, recreation areas, walks, paved

areas, utilities, open space, plantings, screened landscaping, and other

improvements, existing and proposed system of drainage including adjacent

existing natural waterways, existing and proposed topography at a suitable

contour level, and the locations and outlines of proposed and existing

buildings together with preliminary architectural drawings for proposed


(3) Upon the Town Board including a parcel within the AL District, implementation of

development shall be subject to the requirements set forth herein, as well as all

other applicable regulations in this Chapter, including, but not limited to, the Town

Planning Board’s site development plan review authority and procedures set forth in

§ 60-440.

C. Locational criteria.

(1) The AL District may only be applied to a parcel within the Town that contains a

minimum area of 75 contiguous acres, and has at least 300 feet of frontage along a

state or county road.

D. Permitted uses in the AL District.

(1) All permitted uses in the R-2A District, as set forth in § 60-410A.

(2) One- and multi-family dwelling units, as defined by § 60-210.

(3) Hotel.

(4) Restaurant and bar, as defined by § 60-210.

(5) Recreational facilities, including spa services and tennis courts.

(6) Meeting and conference facilities.

(7) Incidental and accessory uses, as defined by § 60-210, including, but not limited to,

retail sales, office space, and any other use permitted by the Town Board.

E. Density standards.

(1) The maximum permitted density for an active lifestyle development shall be based

on the following site area requirements:

(a) The maximum permitted floor area ratio for all buildings combined within an

active lifestyle development shall be 0.1.

(b) The maximum permitted development coverage shall be 10.0%.

(c) The maximum permitted building coverage shall 5.0%.

F. Site and structure requirements.

(1) All buildings and structures in the AL District shall comply with the following bulk


(a) Floor area ratio per use. The maximum permitted percentage of the total floor

area of an active lifestyle development to be used for residential purposes

shall be 65%. The minimum permitted percentage of the total floor area of an

active lifestyle development to be used for hospitality, recreation and/or

service purposes shall be 35%.

(b) Height. The maximum height of a building shall be 40 feet, except that any

active lifestyle development proposing the adaptive re-use of an existing

building shall be permitted to meet the highest roof peak of such existing

building so that the visual appearance is not significantly altered.

(c) Lot width and depth. There shall be no minimum lot width or depth in the AL


(d) Off-street parking. All structures and land uses in the AL District shall be

provided with a sufficient amount of off-street parking to meet the needs of

persons employed at or making use of such structures or land uses, and

sufficient off-street loading facilities to meet the needs of such structures or

land uses, as set forth in Sections 60-420F(3) and (6) of the Town Code,

except that the Planning Board may approve the joint use of parking spaces by

two or more uses on the same or contiguous lots, provided the total capacity

of said lots is no more than 30% less than the sum of the spaces required for

each, and provided that the Planning Board finds that the capacity to be

provided will substantially meet the intent of the requirements by reason of

variation in the probable time of maximum use by patrons and employees

among such establishments, and also provided that such approval of such joint

use shall be automatically terminated upon the termination of the operation of

any such establishments. Notwithstanding anything to the contrary in

Sections 60-420F(3) and (6), where numerical requirements for parking and/or

loading are not specified for a particular structure or land use in the Town

Code, the Planning Board, in its sole discretion, may accept numerical parking

requirements submitted by the Applicant and obtained from other reputable

sources such as the Institute of Transportation Engineers, the Urban Land

Institute, and the American Planning Association, or from surveys of other

facilities deemed by the Planning Board to be sufficiently similar in nature

and operation to the structure or land use in question. Parking shall be set

back from the property line at least 75 feet on all sides.

(e) Yards. All front yards shall be, at a minimum, 75 feet. All side yards shall

be, at a minimum, 45 feet. All rear yards shall be, at a minimum, 60 feet.

(f) Frontage. Any parcel in the AL District shall have frontage of at least 300

feet along a state or county road.

(g) Usable open space. There shall be provided sufficient usable open space as

determined by the Planning Board for use by the residents and/or hotel/spa

guests, which shall be appropriate in location, size and design to the type of

development. Within such usable open space, there shall be provided

landscaped walkways with, as appropriate, amenities such as benches, flower

gardens, patios and other appropriate facilities designed to accommodate a

variety of outdoor recreational activities suited to the needs, abilities and

preferences of residents and hotel/spa guests.

(h) Buffer screening. The existing natural buffers at the site shall be sufficiently

maintained so as to adequately screen the development upon such parcel from

adjacent property owners. Existing buffers shall be supplemented as deemed

necessary by the Planning Board.

G. Ownership.

(1) Parcels and/or buildings constructed and maintained in conjunction with an active

lifestyle development may be in different ownership. 

(2) The parcel may be subdivided in accordance with Chapter 113 of the Town of New

Castle Town Code.

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

The new town board is proposing to “plan” to meet the need of a developer for big profits at the expense of the people in the neighborhood- ignoring all provisions of the existing master plan.  exactly what they criticized the old town board for doing- except its not in Lisa Katz’s neighborhood.

By hypocracy abounds on 02/15/2014 at 9:13 am

So long as this project works from an engineering point of view, and that all design precautions can be designed into the functionality of all building systems i.e. septic / drainage, this is a project that the Municipality of New Castle should move very quickly to approve. Open up the property to the entire Community by installing walking, biking, Segway, and horse trails. Again, this is a site that most in the Community would not even know how to find, they would not even know how to find the driveway. This will be a beautiful project tucked away in a portion of the property that makes sense to approve. Lets move these approvals along and ask the developer for some community gifts i.e. olympic size swimming pool for the greeley swim team, basket ball Courts, official size soccer field to serve the Muniicipality. Give quick approvals get community gifts, ask for ongoing redraws and a prolonged period of findings and answers between saying Yes or No, and this developer will not be open to the idea of any community gifts. The right project located in the right part of town removing a use that no longer works. Town Hall move to approve this project.

By NCGPS on 02/15/2014 at 9:48 am

As I understand it there are existing documents regarding how much building the grounds at the Legionaries Property will take.  These documents have been referenced from the first time that the ‘Spa’ people proposed this development.  I wonder if ANY member of the sitting TB has read these studies and recommendations. If they have not, then they should.  From everything that I have heard about this very wet site, it is not a place for any large development.  It certainly is not appropriate for the neighborhood.  I do not live there, but I care about what happens to ALL communities in town.

I wonder why Supervisor Greenstein has decided that this process must go forward.  I believe that it should be stopped now.  We have wasted enough time, energy and money on these
mistakes.  I expected that Mr. Greenstein would be a different, more sensible leader.

By sensible leader ? on 02/15/2014 at 4:07 pm

you are dreaming.  Maybe New Castle should buy the property and make it a park.  But there is almost no part of that land that is developable- and they want to develop it lot line to lot line.  How would you like a 5 story building 45 feet from the back of your house? Nothing is “tucked away”- its in the backyards of the houses on Roseholm and Tripp St.  But I suppose you don’t live there so what do you care. The property works just fine for the 2 acre residential zoning that is allowed there. If the town is going to throw all zoning out the door- then watch for the next holiday Inn at Mt Kisco Country Club.

By to NCGPS on 02/16/2014 at 10:24 am

Now that’s a handout – allow the developer to rezone the entire parcel and then subdivide and sell off smaller parcels of now commercially zoned land.  Whose economic growth and development does this foster and promote?

By Chris Roberta on 02/16/2014 at 6:11 pm

This may be the shortest tenure of a Supervisor in New Castle history.



By Enough is enough on 02/17/2014 at 5:53 am

The debate about the spa is interesting. The proponents of retail sprawl at CC were quick to condemn as NIMBYs anyone who questioned what the developer proposed. Yet now with this project there is not a peep from these same people about NIMBY-ism. Shows that where you live determines the level of your hypocrisy.

By bob on 02/17/2014 at 8:34 am

And shows that where you sit shows the level of hypocrisy!

What happened to the “Green Team”?

By Talk about hypocrisy! on 02/17/2014 at 11:27 am

Just because 15 people who live in the neighborhood of the proposed spa speak out against it means nothing.  You’ll get this for any development in town.  Would be nice to hear Brodsky and Katz offer something of substance on this topic other that repeating the same party line, “we’ll do whatever the community wants.”  Their view of governing is good during an election, but not realistic once in office.  If governments did what communities always wanted, none of us would pay taxes.  The honeymoon is officially over.

By it’s already getting old on 02/17/2014 at 11:49 am

Not comprehensible.  Do over?

By Not so Wet! on 02/17/2014 at 4:11 pm

bob is propagating falsities – watch the video of the last scoping session if you doubt this.

He’s got that clown costume on again.

By C.R. on 02/17/2014 at 5:30 pm

Ah. The truth is hurting the NIMBY hypocrites. I urge all to watch the scoping session and see for yourselves.

By bob on 02/17/2014 at 7:39 pm

How about “transparency” when they have been meeting behind the scenes with the Chappaqua Crossing developer?

Didn’t take them long!

By No credibility on 02/17/2014 at 11:44 pm

When is a hamlet not a hamlet?  When Greenstein says so!

By Orwell would be proud on 02/17/2014 at 11:47 pm

It’s one thing to meet with and talk to a developer, and it’s another thing to make back-room deals, as has been done in the past.

By duh on 02/18/2014 at 2:51 pm

To duh,

You left something out.  “. . . and it’s another thing
to make back-room deals as has been done in the past” and the PRESENT.

By You have to be kidding on 02/18/2014 at 8:35 pm

@You have to be kidding,

As for the past, you have only to review the history of Conifer. As for the present, please present us with proof that something has been enacted in collusion with a developer.

By duh on 02/19/2014 at 6:31 am

How can you have proof if it’s a back room deal “in collusion with a developer,” as you put it?

Your language is interesting.  Do you know something we don’t?

By @Duh on 02/19/2014 at 1:57 pm

How can you have proof? Easy. Just point to some development or zoning change the current town board has approved. Go ahead, name one.

By duh on 02/19/2014 at 3:36 pm

If there are really no back room deals afoot then why have we not heard diddley about whole foods? Yes we have the Curley layout but have there been no discussions w whole foods? Nothing? Nada? Don’t believe it.

By Where are we with whole foods? on 02/19/2014 at 3:58 pm

it sure was smelly that the town attorney insisted the draft text of the amendment was public and then the next day town residents seeking to view the document were turned away by town hall. 

Good thing there is FOIL to keep Team New Castle transparent.

By C.R. on 02/19/2014 at 5:51 pm

Let’s not deceive the public by calling this project “The Spa at New Castle”, it is not a sweet, quiet, new age spa,  it is a 125 person Restaurant, 2500 square foot condo units,a 50 room hotel, gym, parking garages with tennis and basketball courts on the roof,  indoor/outdoor pool, chapel, juice bar and oh yes, a spa! in a 2 acre resident zoned neighborhood.

By Tripp Street Neighbor on 02/19/2014 at 6:17 pm

Did anyone actually file a FOIL to see this draft?

By curious on 02/19/2014 at 7:27 pm

Careful. Your NIMBY costume is showing.

By bob on 02/19/2014 at 8:36 pm

We did not know they were working to change the zoning code until it was presented fully drafted.  Does anyone know who wrote it.  Sounds like a developer wrote it.  Do we now have developers writing our zoning codes?

Duh sure opened a hornets’ nest!

By So much for transparency on 02/19/2014 at 10:05 pm

curious – the answer to your question is yes

By I filed one on 02/20/2014 at 8:33 am

Curiously, it was released after the FOIL request

By C.R. on 02/20/2014 at 9:50 am

@So much for transparency,

“We did not know they were working to change the zoning code until it was presented fully drafted,” you write.

Not so. Anyone watching the meetings and reading the reports knew a change of zoning was being requested. How could it not have been for such a proposed project? What you may not have known is that a draft existed, but surely everyone realized a zoning change was in play.

By duh on 02/20/2014 at 1:07 pm

bob, so sad the pre-election statements you fell hook line and sinker for are ringing hollow.  What ever happened to transparency bob? it’s ok you can give them a pass on this one, and the next, and…

By C.R. on 02/20/2014 at 3:15 pm


Searching for true colors. Simple question you can answer yes or no. Do you favor any commercial development at the spa location?

As for transparency, this town has never had such transparency. Nothing has been approved in secret, as it was in the failed administration you still cling to. You may not like it when people talk, but that is what has given us open government.

By bob on 02/20/2014 at 3:39 pm

It’s to early to say, remember “plan first then…” 

But i do think it would be a travesty to the citizens of New Castle if we ended up with a spa and no whole foods.

Clinging, really? – did you forget about when I asked where the cronies at?

And your feelings about the town attorney comments and the citizens being denied by town hall?  Perhaps you would have more credibility if you we’re capable of admitting when your wrong.

By C.R. on 02/20/2014 at 9:33 pm


Asked a direct question, you obfuscate. You are all for retail sprawl at CC (in someone else’s back yard) and are quick to tar opponents as NIMBYs. But when asked about commercial zoning at the spa property (closer to home?), you yourself quickly don your NIMBY garb. Neither of your positions puts the town’s best interests first, only your on. Perhaps you would have more credibility if you were capable of admitting and embracing your own hypocrisy.

By bob on 02/21/2014 at 11:23 am

bob and his revisionist memory. Never said I supported commercial zoning @ CC or Spa, I do very strongly support an honest transparent process for both. 

Development should be based on the master plan, not liberal ideologies (conifer) or in whose backyard they are in (spa) or in whose backyard they are in and whose rentals they will compete with (CC). 

By C.R. on 02/21/2014 at 4:49 pm

The record does not support C.R.‘s new assertions. That record is, as he would say, transparent. He supported retail at CC and called opponents NIMBYs. Then with the spa property he joined the NIMBYs. His true colors are visible to all.

By bob on 02/22/2014 at 7:52 am

bob, are you referring to the record in your mind, or the broken one you keep spinning?

By C.R. on 02/22/2014 at 2:01 pm

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