Town of New Castle Supervisor’s Report February 28, 2017
Town Supervisor, New Castle
Bomb Threats To Jewish Community Centers In Hudson Valley
Our town has its own synagogue. That synagogue is a special place. It’s a place of worship and learning. It’s a place of community, with outreach programs for those in need, whether or not they live in New Castle. We are appalled by these threats around the region and offer our support to all who were directly impacted. And we call for all to understand that a threat against one religion, race or sexual preference or orientation is a threat to us all. Together, we will be united, strong and we will turn back hatred.
Revised Final Draft 2017 Comprehensive Plan
Last night we once again discussed the Revised Final Draft 2017 Comprehensive Plan. Once again, 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 been going on since October 2012. It 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! Once the Town Board determines that we have an adequate draft, we will begin the environmental review process. We will also conduct public hearings.
By way of background, in 2014, the Town Board held three scoping sessions and ultimately adopted a 36-page Scoping Outline for this project. The Planning Board provided input with respect to the Scoping Outline, as did the Westchester County Department of Planning. Since then, however, the project has changed. When initially proposed, the project called for the adaptive reuse of the existing institutional building. As discussed at our last two meetings on this project, that is no longer being proposed. We concluded our last meeting with requesting the Applicant to explain how its project is consistent with our draft Comprehensive Plan.
The Applicant returned last night to do that, and explain their latest plans. The Applicant recognizes that the Rosehill application requires a change by the Town Board to our zoning code to allow multi-family housing on the Rosehill property as opposed to single family homes on 2 acre lots, which is presently permitted by the code. As the Applicant and its attorney have also recognized and stated, the Town Board has absolute discretion to deny or grant the requested zoning amendment. The Applicant has provided the Town Board with Concept Plans and a Table in an effort to illustrate that the project complies with the Town’s draft Comprehensive Plan. From the outset, the Applicant has understood that the Town was updating its Comprehensive Plan. The Applicant decided to move ahead with its project, assuming the risk that the zoning change it was proposing might not be consistent with the revised Comprehensive Plan. In my view, consistency with the Town’s Comprehensive Plan is critical insofar as the Town Board’s decision-making because the Applicant is asking the Town Board to enact a zoning change in order to allow this project to move forward. To me, that has always been, and remains, the critical threshold question. Would this project be consistent with our Comprehensive Plan, and would it serve the best interests of our community?
Roaring Brook Road
I know many residents were happy to see our DPW doing temporary repairs on Roaring Brook Road. Typically through the month of February and into March the weather doesn’t allow for road repairs but with the warm, dry weather we were able to get it done. This will hold us until this summer when Summit Greenfield (the owner of Chappaqua Crossing) does major road work this summer.
Chappaqua Crossing & Whole Foods
I know many residents are concerned about the recent report that Whole Foods is closing some stores, and any potential impact on Chappaqua Crossing (“CC”). To date, Whole Foods (“WF”) is still committed to this project. Summit Greenfield (“SG”) has asked WF for three extensions. They’ve all been granted. SG is currently waiting on NYC DEP. They met with them earlier this week and were advised that NYS DEP has finished with their review and they are processing their approval letter. After that, everything will be in the hands of our building department for the issuance of their building permit. With permits in hand, SG would then have their closing for financing. Upon issuance of our building permit, SG will provide the Town with performance bonds on the infrastructure work, a cash deposit or bond for tree replacement, a huge building permit application fee, and the $1.5 million (60 days after the building permit issues). Once construction starts, I will provide periodic construction updates to residents. We will be doing the same with our downtown infrastructure/streetscape project.
I was very happy to hear that AAA will be highlighting New Caste’s Distracted Driving in a report about distracted driving enforcement across the state. The report will feature New Castle as a model for distracted driving enforcement/education efforts and how communities throughout New York could follow our lead. They saw New Castle Police Officer Chad Golanec’s presentation at the New York State Highway Safety Symposium last year, and they were impressed with the commitment from the Officer, the Department, and the Town to the initiative. They noted that most other communities don’t come anywhere close to our level of engagement with this critical traffic safety issue. This report will be distributed to police departments, legislators, and media across the state
New Castle Mandate Relief Committee will be sending letters to Senator Terrence Murphy & Assemblyman David Buchwald requesting an update on whatever efforts they have made, or are currently contemplating, to provide mandate relief to New Castle residents. In 2014, the New Castle Town Board established a Mandate Relief Committee based on the belief that certain New York State Mandates have and continue to impose significant financial restrictions on our Town, restrictions that must be addressed in order to ensure the stability and sustainability of local services to residents. In September 2015, the Committee presented a formal report to the Town Board detailing the dramatic negative economic impact of various mandates on the Town and providing a series of recommendations. The Report has previously been provided to each of your offices, and a copy may be found online (http://mynewcastle.org/mandate-relief-committee-report-to-town-board-october-6-2015/). On March 3, 2016, New Castle hosted “The Coming Storm: Unfunded Mandates and Their Rising Impact”, a roundtable featuring EJ McMahon of the Empire Center. A video of this roundtable may be found online as well (https://livestream.com/nccmc/Roundtable/videos/114204297. The committee is committed to securing meaningful mandate reform from Albany and seeks to keep residents informed of the progress of their elected State officials on a regular basis.
Millwood 200 Year Anniversary
Work has started on the celebration of Millwood’s 200 Year Anniversary. On February 10, 2017, Councilwoman Hala Makowska, Superintendent of Recreation & Parks Ike Kuzio, Jill Shapiro, Gray Williams, Greg Santone, Michael Stern & myself met to discuss preliminary plans.
We talked about many potential exciting events. I was happy to provide an update about rebuilding the replica train station and advise the group that we received permission from Westchester County to put an anniversary banner over train trestle on Route 100. I’m also happy to report that some improvements will be coming to the Millwood Plaza (where DeCicco & Sons is). The owner will be giving the building a clean fresh look. The property needs some blacktopping, sidewalk work and aesthetics. They expect the work to take most of the spring and part of the summer.
Westchester County Board Chairman Mike Kaplowitz
Westchester County Board Chairman Mike Kaplowitz has rescheduled his appearance before the New Castle Town Board from tomorrow to March 28th @ 7:45p.