Can the public vote on the Form Based Code?

No. Residents have suggested the Town of New Castle’s proposed local law to adopt the Chappaqua Hamlet Form-Based Code be subject to a referendum of the voters. As confirmed by the Town Attorney, the local law adopting the Chappaqua Hamlet Form-Based Code cannot be adopted subject to a referendum. The general rule in New York State is that there can be no referendum in the absence of constitutional or statutory authority. In this case, there is no statutory authority that would allow the Town Board to call a referendum regarding the proposed local law, nor is there any provision in the law (Municipal Home Rule Law §§ 23 and 24) that would allow a group of voters to petition that the issue be put up for a vote.

In response to certain comments received during the Town Board’s public hearing, New York State Municipal Home Rule Law § 24(2)(a) does not authorize a permissive referendum on the FBC.  That provision states that “a local law shall be subject to a referendum on petition if it…[d]ispenses with a provision of law requiring public notice or hearing as a condition precedent to official action.”  Here, the FBC does not dispense with existing requirements in the Town Code for public hearings associated with site plan or special permit applications under Sections 60-440(C) and 60-430(B) of the Town Code, respectively.  Those requirements will remain, but most applications processed under the FBC will not be subject to site plan or special permit review under Sections 60-440(C) and 60-430(B).  A separate review procedure is proposed to be established for development applications in the hamlet which allows for public comment, but does not require a public hearing.  For further detail, please find the Town Attorney’s memorandum here.

Show All Answers

1. NEW - Will completing the SEQRA review for the FBC on the entire study area undermine the Town Board’s ability to limit the FBC to only a small area (the North Greeley corridor)...
2. NEW - Why is the Town Board considering revisions to the FBC legislation before receiving draft responses to the comments from the public and interested agencies on the Town's DGEIS? ...
3. What is a form-based code?
4. What is the purpose of Chappaqua’s comprehensive plan?
5. What is the goal of rezoning the Chappaqua Hamlet?
6. Will the rezoning change the history of Chappaqua?
7. Is the Chappaqua form-based code a construction project?
8. What is GEIS?
9. Didn’t the members of the Downtown Working Group who own commercial properties in the Chappaqua hamlet have conflicts of interest that precluded their participation?
10. Does the Form Based Code allow the entire Chappaqua Hamlet to be 5 stories in height?
11. Why does the DGEIS study a "full build out" or "buildout scenario" of the Chappaqua Hamlet under the Form Based Code?
12. Does the FBC mean development on Town-owned land?
13. If the Town Board determines in the future to sell or lease Town-owned land for a development project, will I have and opportunity to vote on whether that should occur? Will there be a referendum?
14. Has the Town been in contact with other public entities on this proposal (e.g. the school board)?
15. Once the Form Based Code is in place, what are the next steps for the Town to attract interest in potential opportunities for development?
16. Does the Town plan to use eminent domain to buy and consolidate privately owned, small contiguous parcels?
17. How does the public notification of a proposed development project change with the Form Based Code?
18. Why is this the appropriate time to adopt a Form Based Code for Chappaqua?
19. Does Chappaqua have the water and sewer infrastructure to handle future development?
20. What assumptions were the foundation of the Form Based Code?
21. Can the public vote on the Form Based Code?
22. Can the Town conduct a "public opinion poll" or an advisory (non-binding) referendum of the electorate with respect to the proposed Form-Based Code?
23. Do any members of the Town Board have a conflict of interest with respect to the Form Based Code because they own property in the Chappaqua business hamlet?
24. Did the members of the Town’s “Downtown Working Group” write the Form Based Code?
25. What is the “New Direction” announced by the Town Board for the Form Based Code? What does that mean and what happens next?
26. If the Town Board is limiting the Form Based district to North Greeley, why will the FGEIS and SEQRA Findings Statement be completed for the entire study area?
27. Can the Town lawfully regulate the number of bedrooms that would be permitted within new apartment units?
28. The Chappaqua Board of Education has asserted that the Town cannot control whether future developments in the Chappaqua hamlet will be subsidized through PILOT agreements. Is this accurate?