Town of New Castle Supervisor’s Report April 18, 2017

New Castle Supervisor’s Report – 4/18/2017

Rob Greenstein
Supervisor, New Castle

Fundraiser for Chappaqua Performing Arts Center – Frank Shiner in Concert!

Come see Frank Shiner in Concert on Sat., April 22 at 8:00pm. Help kick off the new Chappaqua Performing Arts Center (former Wallace Auditorium at Reader’s Digest / Chappaqua Crossing). 100% of ticket sale profits go to the Friends of the Chappaqua Performing Arts Center! Special guest appearance from the Greeley 2017 Senior cast of GREASE!! Tickets available here.

Comprehensive Plan Public Hearing

Last night, we had our first public hearing on the Draft Comprehensive Plan. It’s been 28 years since the Town’s Master Plan was last updated, 1989. Over the past few years, residents and volunteers, planning consultants and advisory board members, Town staff and officials have worked together to develop a new Comprehensive Plan for New Castle. The draft Comprehensive Plan uses resident input combined with best planning practice to establish policies that will guide New Castle’s growth and governance over the next fifteen to twenty years. I would like to thank Sabrina Charney Hull, our Director of Planning, Samantha Leroy, our Assistant Town Planner, and our entire Comprehensive Plan Steering Committee – Maud Bailey, Gregg Sanzari, Bob Lewis & Chris Roberta – for their commitment, dedication & hard work on this massive undertaking.

This process has involved an unprecedented amount of community input. The desires, hopes and opinions about New Castle form the basis of the document. Besides meeting with the Planning Board (three times), Environmental Review Board, Conservation Board, Beautification Advisory Board, Recreation Commission, Sustainability Advisory Board, Board of Architectural Review, Historical Society and the Landmarks Advisory Committee, the Comp Plan Steering Committee worked with our professional Planning Department and with the Pace Land Use Law Center. In addition, the draft document provided to the Planning Board was reviewed by Town Counsel. It was a real a collaborative community effort!

We have 48 goals in the Implementation Table, which includes actions to move forward with both the Millwood and Chappaqua revitalization strategies. Our goals include create a sustainable mix of commercial and residential uses within the hamlets, creating vibrant and walkable mixed-use areas in the hamlets. We have goals to attract, retain and support diverse, local businesses and establishments and increase availability of recreational programming and facilities.

We have 184 “Action Items” in the New Castle 2017 Comprehensive Plan. For the first time the Town Board will be addressing “economic development” within the Town’s hamlets as a result of the work we’ve been doing with the Comprehensive Plan Update. For the first time the Town Board will be positioning the Millwood Business District for sewers as a result of the work we’ve been doing with the Comprehensive Plan Update. Other actions items include exploring opportunities to diversify retail mix in hamlets and provide a wide range of goods and services. Create incentives to retain existing and attract new, local businesses that meet the needs of the community. Undertake a parking feasibility study to analyze the opportunities and needs for parking in Chappaqua. Develop a comprehensive sidewalk plan which includes examining the feasibility of sidewalks on all major routes including Rt. 117, 100, 120, 133, 128. Develop design guidelines for downtown Chappaqua which includes standards for signage, street frontage, windows, awnings, building color and materials and street architecture.

The draft Comprehensive Plan can be accessed on the Town’s website. If you have any questions, please e-mail the Comprehensive Planning team atmycompplan@myNewCastle.org.

Bank Moratorium

As many residents have learned, Wells Fargo is leaving downtown Chappaqua in order to consolidate that branch with its Pleasantville branch. According to Wells Fargo, the Chappaqua location will permanently close on June 14, 2017. In light of this development, I thought it would be a good time to discuss the type of retail uses that we want to encourage and facilitate in our business hamlets. It’s also a timely discussion because we are opening a public hearing tonight on the update to our Comprehensive Plan. Two of the action items in the 2017 Draft Comprehensive Plan are:

  • Explore opportunities to diversify retail mix in hamlets and provide a wide range of goods and services.
  • Re-examination of Town code and previous resolutions regarding restrictions on certain common business types or the repetition of business types.

It’s my opinion that we have already have plenty of conveniently-located banks and that we don’t need new ones. We want to encourage a healthy mix of retail uses in our business hamlets, and I think most residents would agree, we aren’t achieving that goal. I’d like to hear what others have to say about that. I’m interested in exploring ways we can use zoning to limit the number of banks and perhaps other retail uses. I’ve suggested that the Town Board explore the adoption of a moratorium on new banks. So, with that said, perhaps our Town Planner and Town Attorney can kick-off tonight’s discussion with their thoughts on these issues.

Leaf Blowers

Over the years some residents have asked the Town Board to impose a ban on leaf blowers. Many communities already have ordinances to safeguard their residents from the negative impacts of the devices. Besides noises, leaf blowers generate large amounts of airborne dust, allergens, animal waste, pesticides, and fertilizer that impact all individuals, but especially those with allergy and respiratory conditions. The gas-powered models emit carbon monoxide, hydrocarbons, and other volatile compounds. Over 15 Westchester communities have ordinances restricting the use of leaf blowers: New Rochelle, White Plains, Pelham, Village Scarsdale, Larchmont, Mamaroneck, Greenburgh, Bronxville, Pelham Manor, Yonkers, Rye, Hastings, Tarrytown, Dobbs Ferry, Sleepy Hollow & Tuckahoe. Our Sustainability Advisory Board is going to begin working on the leaf blower issue. They will study pro/cons, what other towns have done, and if there are any special considerations for New Castle.

Diversity and Inclusion

I’m very proud to introduce our new “Build Trust – Reduce Crime” flyer. These flyers will be distributed around town and the message will also be printed on business cards for our officers to carry with them. The New Castle Police Department wants all people – regardless of their immigration status—to feel comfortable talking to its officers. They will not ask about someone’s immigration status! They want witnesses and crime victims to know they are here to help you. Their message is simple: Crime victims should feel comfortable reporting crimes. Witnesses should feel comfortable reporting crimes. This initiative is about building trust. Building trust to keep our community safe. We are one community! Read article in The Examiner: http://www.theexaminernews.com/new-castle-reaffirms-policy-on-handling-immigration-status/

As well, Chappaqua Coalition for Youth, Chappaqua Central School District and the Town of New Castle present “Diversity and Inclusion in America Today: A Conversation”. Wednesday, April 26, 7:30 – 9:00 PM. The Chappaqua Performing Arts Center (the old Reader’s Digest building auditorium), 480 Bedford Road, Chappaqua. Moderated by the Rev. Dr. Martha Jacobs, Senior Minister, First Congregational Church.

Chappaqua Gets State Money To Improve Roads

I am very happy to report that New Castle is getting $315,833.07 in CHIPS (Consolidated Local Street and Highway Improvement Program Funding). I want to thank Senator Terrence Murphy for his help in securing these funds for New Castle. That was $93,000 more than we expected. This brings our total budget for paving & road improvements for 2017 to $915,452. Our Department of Public Works will release the road paving list at the end of May. Read more here.

Distracted Driving Diversion Course

We had our first Distracted Driving Diversion Course on April 13, 2017. The presentation was held at the Chappaqua Performing Arts Center and lasted one hour. We received a lot of positive feedback. Jacy Good and her husband Steve Johnson of HangUpandDrive.com put together a great course. We had twenty four paid attendees. Our next courses are scheduled for May 23, July 10 & August 29. The Distracted Driver Diversion Course was developed to help lower crashes caused by people using cell phones and electronic devices while driving. The course is offered to persons who have been ticketed in the Town of New Castle for a distracted driving offense. Clickhere for Frequently Asked Questions.

We received some nice recognition by American Automobile Association……Suburban communities could look to the town of New Castle in Westchester County. New Castle’s intense publicity campaign and strategic deployment of officers allowed its police department to issue more texting summonses than the Buffalo, Rochester and Syracuse police departments combined.

Lastly, I’m looking forward to heading up to Albany on Monday to join New York State Senator Terrence Murphy and Assistant Speaker of the New York State Assembly, Félix Ortiz, who are hosting “Distracted Driving Awareness Lobby Day”. Advocates from across the State will be speaking about Distracted Driving and its consequences in New York as well as their support for “Evan’s Law” (Senate Bill 2306 / Assembly Bill 3955) in memory of Evan Lieberman. Evan died at age 19 after being a passenger in a head-on crash caused by a distracted driver.

Millwood InterGenerate Community Garden

A few weeks back we had another productive meeting regarding the Millwood InterGenerate Community Garden. We are working on getting all the quotes we need for the materials. Grading /leveling the garden area took place this week. Gravel is also being delivered. We have secured a 550 gallon tank. As far as next steps, we will soon order wood and start building the raised beds. The soil will then get delivered and the gardeners will fill the beds. The fencing will be delivered and we build the fence.

Youth Community Action Committee

We had our first meeting of the New Castle Youth Civics Action (“YCA”) Committee. We have approximately 30 kids express interest, and many were able to attend our first meeting. The goal of YCA is to increase youth participation in local government. Young people should be informed and engaged. They should have an active “voice” for important issues that concern them. They are valuable stakeholders, capable of contributing to the vibrancy of our community. They can identify and represent the needs of the youth community. And here in New Castle, they will!

Backyard Chickens

Many residents are asking when will be discussing backyard chickens – the answer is next week, April 25th. We are just waiting for the environmental boards to complete their memo. Thank you to Councilwoman Hala Makowska for preparing a matrix that allows us to review and compare how various municipalities handle how the eggs are used, permitting, gender, quantity limitations, set-backs, sanitation, coop/building, predator/nuisance, noise & animal welfare.

New Castle 10K / 5K / Family Fun

Last year we added a 5K run as another option to our challenging 10K. This year we’re adding some family fun activities for kids on the recreation field. We’ll have professional trainers from Prescriptions for Fitness and L3 Fitness, as well as instructors and equipment from World Cup Gymnastics. Chappaqua Paint & Hardware will be cooking up some sausage (donated by Esposito Sausage) & other delicacies on The Big Green Egg. This event is generously sponsored by New Castle Recreation & Parks and Platinum Drive Realty. Click here for mroe information.

Coyote Awareness Workshop

This has been rescheduled. The new date is Wed., May 3rd, 7:00 pm – 8:45 pm, Town Hall Assembly Room, 200 South Greeley Avenue, Chappaqua.

Facebook

For those on Facebook, please follow my Supervisor’s Page, which can be found here. This is just another avenue to interact with the community, as well as share news, events and updates.