By Rob Greenstein
New Castle Supervisor Quarterly Update - 1st Quarter - 2015 I have said it again and again: it is truly an honor to serve the citizens of New Castle. From the start, I have viewed that your Town Supervisor should be guided by rights and obligations. The rights of the community to be heard and to be informed are critical to a responsive Town Government. And we must always be conscious of our obligations to listen and communicate effectively as we work to address current concerns and problems while at the same time improving our Town. Almost every day, I have been responding to individual matters, none of which is too small for a responsive town government. As we look ahead, there remains much work to be done, and I will continue to work hard for the entire community. It is my pleasure, then, as Supervisor to provide a quarterly report to the community about current Town projects and initiatives:
Clean Water Funding in State budget
The New York State 2015-2016 budget has successfully passed. I am happy to report that the State budget includes $200 million (over 3 years) for Clean Water Infrastructure grants (sewers) to municipalities. The money will be appropriated to DEC and administered by EFC. I will be in Albany on April 22 to meet with Senator Terrence Murphy and Assemblyman David Buchwald to formally request the $10 million that will complete the financing package for our Sewage Diversion Project. This project will bring the town into compliance with watershed protection regulations to protect New York City's drinking water as well as drinking water for Westchester County residents.
I am happy to report that as part of the 2015-16 state budget, New Castle will receive $255,237 in CHIPS funding to help repair our roads. Thank you Senator Murphy for co-signing a letter asking for increased funding for our roads.
Inside New Castle: Welcome to the Neighborhood!
Since the 2007-08 school year, which was the beginning of one of the worst economic times for our country, student enrollment in Chappaqua Central School District has decreased by 325 (7.6%) and is projected to decrease an additional 49 students for next year. In an effort to stop this downward trend, we are proud to announce our plans to produce an attractive, full color, glossy, "Welcome to the Neighborhood" guide for current and prospective New Castle residents. The guide is intended to serve as a year round resource for New Castle residents, especially those new to the area, and highlight our special community for those contemplating moving in. The guide will be chock full of Town and relevant information that captures the essence and opportunities of New Castle living. This comprehensive and useful guide is being proudly produced by Inside Chappaqua Magazine's publisher together with a group of contributors in close collaboration with the Town of New Castle. It will be updated annually.
Downtown - Infrastructure and Streetscape Project
On April 7, WSP Sells made another presentation to the Town Board with recommendations for streetscape improvements, improving pedestrian safety and improve traffic circulation in downtown Chappaqua. The Town Board approved interim traffic improvements such as installing a stop sign at the intersection of King Street and Greeley Avenue and studying the impacts associated with turning the Triangle into a modified round-about. WSP presented information related to reducing the visual impact of the power lines in the downtown, through partial burial and increasing the pole height. WSP also presented information regarding streetscape amenities which included identification of areas to create pedestrian gathering spaces through the use of street furniture and landscaping.
As we all know, on September 10, 2013, the prior Town Board adopted (via a 3-2 vote) a resolution granting the application of Conifer for a special use permit to allow for the construction of a 4-story residential building with 28 units of workforce housing on Hunts Place. While the Town Board recognizes that its predecessor board granted the Special Use Permit and that Conifer has a right to continue its efforts to bring the project to fruition, the current Town Board believes that the Hunts Place project site reflects unfavorably upon the values and goals of our community insofar as creating a diverse range of housing opportunities. The Town has advised Conifer of its strong interest in having Conifer relocate its project to a vacant property owned by the Town and located near Town Hall, on a tree-lined residential street in the heart of downtown Chappaqua. This property is referred to as the Washington Avenue Property. The Town remains willing to work collaboratively with Conifer on relocating its project to this property. To further that goal, tonight the Town Board will be voting on a resolution requesting the Comprehensive Plan Steering Committee to study and provide recommendations to the Town Board on the potential use and development of the Washington Avenue property for workforce housing in a manner that is consistent with the policies and themes emerging from the Town Development Plan update and with the infrastructure improvements and streetscape work occurring within the Chappaqua business hamlet.
Ability Beyond Disability
The Town has been advised by Ability Beyond Disability that it will be constructing a residential community home on vacant land at 11 Somerstown Road, Ossining, NY. The home will be for 8 people with developmental disabilities. Under the applicable NYS Mental Hygiene Law, the Town can only recommend denial of the application if there is an over saturation of such homes in the Town. I have been advised there are not, and we welcome Ability Beyond Disability to our Town. Should any residents have any questions or concerns regarding this proposal, please contact my office and I will arrange for a meeting with Ability Beyond Disability to discuss their proposal.
Meeting with President of CCSD
This week I had a productive meeting Karen Visser, President of the Chappaqua Central School District. We discussed scheduling another joint meeting, the improvements to the Horace Greeley High School entrance, education about railroad crossing safety & our distracted driving campaign and working together on marketing Chappaqua to prospective home buyers.