New Castle Supervisor’s Report – Sept. 5, 2018
Town Supervisor, New Castle
Please join us as the Town of New Castle marks the seventeenth anniversary of 9-11. We will commemorate this solemn day with a memorial service honoring and remembering all those affected and the thousands who lost their lives, including three New Castle residents. The memorial will be held on Tuesday, September 11, 2018 at 6:30 P.M. at the Gedney Park, Millwood Road (Route 133).
Downtown Chappaqua Infrastructure and Streetscape Project Update
Drainage works continues on North Greeley from Lower King to Maple Avenue. Con Ed continues to work on installing new utility poles. The new poles are higher, and will be neater. The old poles will be removed once Con Ed, Altice (cable) & Verizon move their wires to the new poles. Con Ed will be working this Sunday night through next Thursday morning at the intersection of lower King Street & South Greeley. Please remember to check the Town of New Castle website for all updates. If you would like to receive daily updates, please email me atRGreenstein@MyNewCastle.org.
A few updates regarding some vacant space in downtown Chappaqua. As I previously reported, Ibiza Kitchen is coming to the old Chappaqua Tavern space. The broker who handled the old Chappaqua Tavern space is also handling the Hall of Scoops vacancy. Lots of interest in the Hall of Scoop space. There is an application pending to put a taco place in the old Dunkin Donuts. As well, the Shell Station has an application pending to renovate their gas station & add a convenience store. William Raveis is moving into the former sherry b space. With the streetscape project, residents can look forward to new, wider sidewalks, attractive new public spaces, new crosswalks and traffic/parking improvements that will make it safer and more enjoyable to walk around our downtown. With the infrastructure improvements, our hamlet can grow and become more vibrant. In that regard, we held another joint meeting with the Planning Board to continue our discussion of creating a sustainable mix of commercial and residential uses in downtown Chappaqua pursuant to our 2017 Comprehensive Plan.
As far as Roaring Brook Road, the traffic light is currently being installed. As many have likely noticed, there are two utility poles in the middle of the widened roadway on Roaring Brook Road. Rest assured, these poles will be removed. Con Ed has installed the new utility poles. Con Ed, Altice (cable) & Verizon need to move their wires to the new poles. It’s not simply a process of moving wires to the new poles, they won’t reach. They need to run new cables. This process should be completed over the next several weeks & then the poles will be removed. I’ve been advised that they will be working on setting the mast arms for traffic signals today and complete the wiring of the traffic signals on Tuesday the 4th. Summit Greenfield hopes to start the improvements to 117 this month.
As school opens, you will continue to see an increased New Castle police presence at Horace Greeley High School, as well as our other schools.
Traffic Light timing at the intersection of Roaring Brook Road and the Saw Mill Parkway
As I mentioned last month, many have noticed the change in the timing of the traffic lights that affect the grade crossing at the intersection of Roaring Brook Road and the Saw Mill Parkway. In short, on June 20, 2018 the New York State Department of Transportation (“NYSDOT”) and Metro North activated railroad preemption on the traffic signal at the Saw Mill River Parkway @ Roaring Brook Road.
To summarize the preemption operation, when a train is detected, west bound Roaring Brook Road receives 34 seconds of green time to clear the train tracks, after this interval the remaining time is allocated to the Saw Mill River Parkway. The signal will not return to normal operation until the train clears the preemption area. During the preemption event, the signal is prevented from giving a green signal to east bound Roaring Brook Road, as motorists would be directed toward the train tracks.
Since that update, we wrote to NYSDOT requesting observation of the above intersection and implementing possible mitigation measures NYSDOT has already responded to our letter dated August 21st, and we are currently scheduling a meeting. We also wrote to the MTA regarding implementing positive train control.
Our total paving budget for 2018 was $1,016,024! This year we paved the following roads:
- Cardinal Place
- Croton Lake Road
- Little Lakes Road
- Dawning Lane
- Quaker Ridge Road
- Quaker Bridge Road
- West end of Glendale.
- Ridge Road
- White Oak
- Tall Timber
We also paved the northern section of the south commuter lot. Next summer we plan on repaving the exit road, Woodburn and the parking spots along Memorial Circle. The commuter lot paving is funded by commuter parking fees.
Con Ed has completed their gas main replacement from Ridgewood Terrace to Elm Street and now the 2nd phase of the 120 sidewalk replacement project has begun. We hope to complete the new sidewalk next month.
Westchester County Airport
On August 14th Westchester County Legislator Nancy Barr, Rye Town Supervisor Gary Zuckerman, Harrison Town Councilman Frank Gordon & Citizens for a Responsible County Airport Executive Director Jonathan Wang & myself attended a very productive meeting with Senator Kirsten Gillibrand’s office. Very happy to report that U.S. Senate Minority Leader Charles E. Schumer and U.S. Senator Kirsten Gillibrand announced the Quiet Communities Act, legislation that would require the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to reestablish an Office of Noise Abatement and Control.
This legislation would empower the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to oversee airplane noise issues across the country. We are currently trying to schedule a meeting with Nita Lowey’s office.
Black Bear Sightings
Many have noticed black bear sightings in New Castle. Our police department is working with our Conservation Board to have a bear expert do a presentation and answer questions as soon as possible. The position of the NYS Department of Environmental Conservation (“NYSDEC”) – which is the only agency who can remove a bear – is that bears will only be encouraged to leave the area if the bear creates a public disturbance, acts aggressively towards a human or pet, attempts to enter a home, or is injured and cannot move freely to escape.
The black bear is natural to the area and residents should take precautions to avoid contact. According to the DEC proper storage of garbage and the removal of bird feeders during periods when bears are active are the two most important steps you can take to drastically reduce nuisance bear problems in your area.
According to NYDEC, if you see a bear:
Don’t panic. Bears are more likely to be afraid of you than you are of them. Know that you have the privilege of seeing a magnificent wild creature close-up, but don’t lose sight of the fact that bears are powerful animals that may defend themselves if they feel threatened.
Never approach, surround, or attempt to touch a bear.
Always leave a clear escape route for the bear. If you feel threatened by a bear, back away slowly, but do not run. If the bear keeps coming back or will not leave, make loud noises—yell, clap, blow car horns or air horns, or drum on nearby objects.
More information can be found here.
Federal Limitations State and Local Tax (SALT) Deductions
As many residents know, we have been following the change in federal tax law regarding a cap on State and Local Tax (SALT) deductions. Earlier this year the NYS Legislature authorized local governments and school districts to accept charitable donations in lieu of tax payments so residents would be able to get a tax deduction. While litigation regarding the cap is ongoing, the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) recently proposed an amendment to limit charitable contributions which convert to a property tax credit made after August 27, 2018. This proposal would disallow states’ attempts to work around the $10,000 cap on SALT deductions.
We will continue to follow the litigation as well as any changes in the proposed amendment. The opportunity to implement a new program arises in a very unsettled area of law that pits state/local authorities against federal authorities. We need to determine whether proceeding with a program exposes the Town or school district to potential liability, now or in the future.
Taxi – Commuter Parking Lot
As I mentioned last month, we awarded our train station taxi contract to Pleasantville Taxi (914-610-8668). One of the conditions of our approval was the use of hybrid vehicles. Glad to see the hybrids have arrived.
Bike Exchange This Saturday
Donate your old bikes to the Take It Or Leave It Shed this Saturday, September 8th from 9-12p. This is a one day event! Like always, residents are welcome to take anything left at the shed. All donated bikes not taken throughout the day will be donated to Neighbor’s Link in Mount Kisco. Thank you to Hickory & Tweed in Armonk for refurbishing the bikes before they are donated.