New Castle Supervisor’s Report – 1/10/2017
Town Supervisor, New CastleBasketball Court
Believe it or not, our town doesn’t have a basketball court. The only basketball courts in New Castle are contained within the Chappaqua schools. There are outdoor basketball hoops in the Robert E. Bell Middle School parking lot but those are for half-court games. Since 1998, the Town has been looking to install a lighted full court basketball court. This is finally becoming a reality! I am very happy to report that we received a $100,000 grant from Senator Terrance Murphy to construct a lighted full court basketball court within the back corner of the Town Hall parking lot. The dimensions of the Court will be 84-foot by 50-foot, which is the same size installed in Bedford in 2014. The next step is awarding an engineering contract to get construction drawings and move along with construction.
Compact Car Parking
We have temporarily suspended enforcement of our compact car legislation. For over 10 years, the Town has set aside a limited number of parking spaces in the train station parking lot for “compact cars”. The town board has only done two things recently – increase the size of cars that may utilize the “compact car” spots and replace missing/damaged parking signs so that the ordinance could be enforced again. No other changes to the Town Code were made. We currently have 81 compact car spots. However, some of those spaces are narrower than the rest. In fact, there is one cluster of 13 parking spaces within the current compact parking area where the spaces are less than 90 inches. These 13 parking spaces simply cannot handle larger vehicles. The Town Board, with input from our Chief of Police, has decided to limit the compact car area to those 13 smaller spaces.
Last week the Town Board was given an updated draft of the 2017 Comprehensive Plan for their comment and review. The Director of Planning gave a presentation regarding the Plan development process and moving forward towards adopting the document. The presentation can be accessed here. 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, namely Maud Bailey, Gregg Sanzari, Bob Lewis & Chris Roberta, for their commitment, dedication & hard work on this massive undertaking. Besides the four members currently on our Steering Committee, there were six others residents who were sat on this committee. They left. But, one person stayed from beginning to end. And that same person was involved in out last comp plan update in 1989. That person is Maud Bailey! Thank you, Maud. This process has been going on since October 2012 – when the Town requested Westchester County Department of Planning to develop the Town’s Background Studies. This process has involved an unprecedented amount of community input. The desires, hopes and opinions about New Castle form the basis of the document. This document represents a real a collaborative community effort. The Comprehensive Plan Steering Committee met with the Planning Board, Environmental Review Board, Conservation Board, Beautification Advisory Board, Recreation Commission, Sustainability Advisory Board, Board of Architectural Review, Historical Society and the Landmarks Advisory Committee. We discussed the history of the plans development, as well as its contents, which include Comprehensive Plan goals that are found within each section as well as the Implementation Table. We also had a demonstration of the comp plan website, which is still under construction. This comp plan is intended to be a live document easily accessible on the web with links to other information status updates and more. This is a model for other communities to follow, and many communities have already reached out to us for guidance. I would encourage residents to check out the Town’s web site to learn about the Comprehensive Plan update. http://mynewcastle.org/master-plan/about-the-project/. The Town Board will continue to discuss the document at their meeting on Tuesday, February 7th.
We’ve received a lot of feedback on changing the Town name from Town of New Castle to Town of Chappaqua. We’ve received many comments in favor, and against. No doubt, it has elicited strong opinions on both sides. Which, to me, means it doesn’t have the overwhelming support. Like I stated from the beginning, without overwhelming support we should not proceed. Putting that aside, many residents provided valuable feedback. It’s always helpful to hear what residents love about New Castle &/or their hamlet, and things they’d like to see improved.
Distracted Driver Diversion Course
Our distracted driving diversion course for persons ticketed for distracted driving offences is taking shape. We have set 6 dates starting the end of April and reserved Wallace. We will allow each attendee to bring one family member with them at no additional charge. Only the person paying will get a certificate of attendance. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has indicated they will be sending a representative to view our program.
Inclusion & Diversity Committee
Our new Community Inclusion & Diversity Committee held their 1st meeting a few weeks ago. This Committee will work to effectively create community awareness about differences in others as related to race, religion, cultural differences, sexual preferences and gender identity. The Committee will work to develop and implement programs designed to create a spirit of diversity and inclusion of all that live and work in the Town of New Castle as part of “one” unified community. The Committee will work to promote the diversity goals of the Town – to understand and respond to the needs of an increasingly diverse community – and encourage respect and tolerance for those individual differences that enrich our community. I would like to thank our (diverse) committee members for attending the meeting and for volunteering: Dawn Dankner-Rosen, Kristen Browde, Nancy Chung, Natalia Wixom, Jennifer Klein, Elizabeth Fiegelson, Victor Flores, Cynthia Lynch, Ed Frank, Jenni Louis-Jeune, Swapna Venugopal Ramaswamy, Rich Ma & Sheryl Manasse. Check out their Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/New-Castle-Community-Inclusion-Diversity-1638065263155755/
Chappaqua Youth Volunteers Dedicate Lego Robotics to Ossining Children’s Center
I was proud to join four Chappaqua kids when they dedicated new STEM education tools to the After School Enrichment Program at the Ossining Children’s Children Center. These four Chappaqua students volunteer as STEM mentors at the center. They won a Disney Summer of Service grant to purchase the new Lego Education robotics construction sets, software and activity packs. Hopefully the new STEM education tools will spark a strong interest in STEM among the many children who attend Ossining Children’s Center.
Volunteers (from left to right)
Annie Segal, 13, Bell Middle School
Sam Kaplan, 16, Horace Greeley High School
Anabela Taveira, 13, Bell Middle School
Logan Taveira, 15, Horace Greeley High School
FIRST LEGO League Tournament
I was proud to attend the FIRST LEGO League Tournament held at Bell Middle School on Saturday, January 21st. Eighteen local teams, including eight from Chappaqua, competed in this robotics competition. Congratulations to Team Gryffindors who won in the robot design category. They also second place overall, and will be advancing to the semi-final tournament. Congratulations to all competitors who clearly had fun while applying robotics, the technology of the future, fun while applying STEM Concepts to real world problem, and fun while developing critical thinking, working on team-building skills, cooperation & competition.
Clean Energy Community
The Town was named a Clean Energy Community by the State of New York and we are now eligible for a grant in the amount of $100,000. To be eligible we needed to complete 4 High Impact Actions under NYSERDA’s Clean Energy Communities program. A few had already been completed. We actually worked on five but since we haven’t taken possession of our electric vehicle that high impact action doesn’t count yet. The four high impact actions are Solarize Westchester, Community Choice Aggregation, an energy benchmarking program & Unified Solar Permit. Next week, the New York State Senate will be passing a resolution recognizing New Castle for its status as a Clean Energy Community. We have three months from 12/21 to submit one or more projects for funding that meet certain selection criteria set forth in the program Guidance Document. Town staff has been reviewing a list of approximately 15 projects. Town staff will be presenting the Town Board with information and descriptions of the priority projects at the 2/7 Town Board meeting. I would like to thank our incredible Sustainability Advisory Board for their commitment to the environment, and Town Board member Jeremy Saland for bringing this grant opportunity to our attention. The project undertaken by the town are both environmentally friendly and cost-effective. We’re greener in every sense of the word!