New Castle Supervisor’s Report – 1/10/2017
Town Supervisor, New Castle
On December 29, 2016, the Town Building Inspector issued a “Phase I” Building Permit for the Chappaqua Station workforce housing project at 54 Hunts Place. The Building Inspector’s issuance of this building permit was based upon his determination that Conifer had satisfied all of the conditions set forth in the Special Permit issued by a prior Town Board in 2013. The Building Inspector is solely responsible for issuing building permits.
That said, I want to remind residents that the current Town Board worked hard to persuade Conifer to relocate its project to a different location, or alternatively, make it smaller, so it could provide better emergency access for first responders. In the end, we were not successful. We could not rewrite history. We could not change what a prior Town Board had done, and we were not able to persuade Conifer to change its plans.
The federal government has been very critical of our efforts to relocate or change this project. Just last month, the US Attorney’s Office accused the Town in court papers of “delaying, impeding, deterring, and obstructing the progress of Chappaqua Station.” I want to assure residents that the Town Board has done none of these things. What members of the Town Board have done, including myself, is express opinions about the project site. We have expressed concerns about safety, which were shared by our Building Inspector and others. And we have said that the building’s location is terrible, and may tend to stigmatize and isolate its future residents.
At all times, however, we have followed the law. I also want to say that when this building is finally built on Hunts Place, as now appears inevitable, I will be the first person in line, right along with my fellow Town Board members, to welcome its new residents to the community.
Westchester Power Program
As you may know, in May 2016, New Castle residents and businesses joined the Westchester Power program and began receiving electricity supply from The Energy Services Company ConEd Solutions (except for residents and businesses that opted-out). The program provides a fixed rate for green-based electricity and to-date it has saved money vs. Con Ed’s normal program that provides primarily fossil fuel based electricity. The contract for supplying the electricity is now being assigned from Con Ed Solutions to a different company, Constellation New Energy (an Exelon company).
THIS CHANGE WILL IN NO WAY IMPACT YOUR SUPPLY OF ELECTRICITY OR ITS COST.
The new ESCO must continue to supply New Castle residents and businesses (who have not opted out) under the terms of the contract negotiated with Con Ed Solutions. The fixed rate will not increase during the term of the contract. Soon you will receive a letter from Con Ed Solutions and Constellation New Energy explaining the above.
If you have any questions, please contact Con Ed Solutions at 888-437-1722 or Westchester Power at 914-242-4725. If you still have concerns, please email the New Castle Sustainability Advisory Board at firstname.lastname@example.org.
New Castle Name Change – Town of Chappaqua
We’re asking residents for feedback on changing the town’s name to Chappaqua in hopes of reducing confusion, making the municipality more identifiable and the ability to promote Chappaqua. Please keep in mind if a name change would take place, mailing addresses for the numerous zip codes in New Castle would remain the same. For example, the zip codes for Chappaqua, Millwood, Mount Kisco, Ossining and Bedford would remain the same but they would be considered hamlets of the Town of Chappaqua, instead of the Town of New Castle. Those who feel a special connection to Millwood & Ossining, for example, would retain that connection. The Town of New Castle would simply change to the Town of Chappaqua. This would essentially allow us to promote Chappaqua, which is more well-known than New Castle, without alienating people who live in Millwood and Mount Kisco and Ossining and Bedford and Yorktown. The town’s lack of name recognition is compounded by the fact that New Castle does not have a zip code. Nor does the Town of New Castle have a hamlet or village with that same name within it like so many other Towns. For example, the Town of Greenwich includes Greenwich. The Town of Yorktown includes Yorktown Heights. The Town of Scarsdale includes the Village of Scarsdale. The Town of Ossining includes the Village of Ossining. While certainly those in the Chappaqua zip code would benefit from the promotion of their mailing address – and certain zip codes will always fetch higher values – this is about unification. All residents would have more of a connection to Chappaqua – the name on our train station and nationally respected school system – two of the strongest draws to our area. This would also reduce confusion. Not only confusion with North Castle but most residents of New Castle have grown accustomed to the response “where” when telling people they live in New Castle. Most end up saying just Chappaqua or Chappaqua Schools. There is precedent. In the 1990s, North Tarrytown become Sleepy Hollow and it has been seen as a huge success. This is merely an idea for discussion. We are simply asking for input. It’s obviously a very big change which would only be done hearing from as many residents as possible. And, IMO, only if overwhelming support! Even with overwhelming support we would need State legislature approval. Please send feedback to TownBoard@MyNewCastle.org.
Recreation & Parks Smoking Ban
Our Parks & Recreation Commission is suggesting a new rule which would prohibit smoking in our public parks. We are asking for feedback on this proposal. Please provide feedback to TownBoard@MyNewCastle.org.
We are looking into working with hangupanddrive.com about offering a distracted driving diversion course to persons ticketed for distracted driving offenses.
Walking when it’s dark outside can be dangerous. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration reports that 75 percent of pedestrian fatalities occur during hours of darkness. New Castle Police want to help residents BE SEEN and stay safe. New Castle Police are offering residents a free pedestrian safety reflector. The reflectors will be available at the police station. Officers will also be carrying reflectors in police vehicles to provide to pedestrians walking in dark areas. These reflectors can easily be attached to your clothing or items you carry to help increase your visibility while walking. They can also be used on a dogs collar to make nighttime dog walking safer. This program has been very well received and, unfortunately, we are already out of reflectors. More are being ordered.
Rob Greenstein Statement: 2016 IN REVIEW
It is again time to reflect on our accomplishments over the past year. As always, we have been busy this year with ongoing projects and new projects that will help to improve the town. I’ve said it again and again; it is truly an honor to serve the citizens of New Castle. Over the past year, I have brought residents into the process and engaged them, listened to your concerns and ideas, and governed in a transparent fashion. I have tried to bring vision and fresh ideas to the table; even if those ideas come from others. And, most important, I have acted in the best interests of the entire community. I am very proud of the progress made throughout the year. Click here to read a few of the highlights.