UPDATE: Full text of revised DEIS for Digest development proposal

Click to see Vol.1, “Narrative,” and Vol 2, “Appendix”

DEIS under review by town board; public hearings possible in late May or early June

Finally, a PDF of the DEIS
April 10, 2009 [Updated: Monday, April 13, 2009]
by Christine Yeres

Developer Summit Greenfield’s revised draft environmental impact statement (DEIS) relating to its development proposal for the Reader’s Digest property reached town hall March 31, 2009. The massive document has been red-lined, enabling town board members to identify changes made to the document in response to the board’s request for certain information it found inadequate or missing in the developer’s first submission. 

The developer declined to provide the board and the public with an electronic version of its first submission, maintaining that easy proliferation of the material before the document had been declared completed would cause confusion. But this time, as the board discovered accidentally several days after receiving the document, it was accompanied by a digital version of the redlined draft environmental impact statement. Click to see the 834-page, word-searchable, read-only “Draft Environmental Impact Statement, Volume 1 – Narrative,” redlined to show changes from the original.  Click here to see the DEIS’s 737-page “Volume 2 – Appendix.”  Town hall and the Chappaqua Library each has a hard copy of the DEIS for public review.

Hearings as early as end of May, beginning of June

Board members will again divvy up the subject areas to review the document. The board has 30 days from the date of receipt, until May 1, to determine whether the DEIS is complete.  If they declare it complete, explained Town Supervisor Barbara Gerrard at the board’s work session this Tuesday, April 7, the board could schedule public hearings as early as May 26 and June 9 to ensure that hearings do not take place in summer months when residents are traditionally away. 

When Gerrard asked for comments from board members, Robin Stout responded, “I would prefer the review be thorough rather than prompt. I know we have obligations, but I would like to be thorough in order to determine completeness.”

Board favors workforce housing

Gerrard continued, “We are having our staff move as quickly as possible. Our consultants, Saccardi & Schiff, are working quickly; most of the interviews are done. They’re analyzing alternative government uses [for some portions of the property].  Some of our ideas [presented to] Saccardi seem more doable than others.” She then reiterated the board’s interest in housing other than market rate, “We continue, as a board, to favor the workforce housing component and want that to move along.”

Developer’s lawyer suggests meeting between town board and developer

At Tuesday’s evening meeting, Stephen Kass of New York’s Carter Ledyard & Millburn, an attorney for Summit Greenfield asked to speak to the board. He began by telling them that he had read in the latest edition of NewCastleNOW.org (click here to see “Reader’s Digest developer submits revised DEIS to New Castle,” NewCastleNOW.org, April 3, 2009.) comments made by Supervisor Barbara Gerrard stating that the town board was surprised that his client has not attempted to speak with the board. 

“If I can construe the comments as an invitation, we would be delighted if you would find the opportunity to meet with us. My client would be pleased to meet with you and your team and go over any questions you might have,” Kass stated.

Gerrard responded, “We’re not quite ready; we need to hear more from Saccardi & Schiff.”  That consulting team was hired one month ago and has set itself a time limit of four months to complete its study for the board. See “Topics of discussion at joint town board meeting and planning board meeting,” NewCastleNOW.org, March 6, 2009.

Past coverage:

Reader’s Digest developer submits revised DEIS to New Castle (4/3/09)

“State of the Town” Roundtable with Supervisor Barbara Gerrard (4/3/09)

Town board interviews three consultants eager to help envision public uses for Digest property (2/13/09)

Town board member Elise Kessler Mottel and Supervisor Barbara Gerrard

Town board members Michael Wolfensohn and Robin Stout

Representing Summit Greenfield, attorneys Stephen L. Kass, Carter Ledyard & Milburn; and Megan K. Smith, Shamberg Marwell Davis & Hollis