Completion of the SEQRA process is a legally required step before any zoning changes can be enacted by the Town Board. For that reason alone, the SEQRA process that the Town Board started in January 2020 must continue and be completed. But there is another, broader reason for completing the SEQRA review on the entire study area.
The public hearing conducted on the DGEIS was hugely successful in eliciting public comments and input from residents and interested agencies such as the New Castle Planning Board and the Chappaqua Central School District. The Town Board received comments on many important issues and challenges facing our community, such as the need to create new housing opportunities and better respond to trends (post Covid-19 and otherwise) impacting the demand for retail goods and services. Those issues are relevant to the entire study area, not just the North Greeley corridor. The Town Board wants these questions answered!
It is perfectly appropriate for residents to have different opinions about changing our downtown. Some residents have advocated for building a Rec Center in the downtown, while others would like to have more housing options for empty nesters. Some residents want to see nothing changed at all. Regardless of your point of view, we all should be able to agree that objective, reliable data is essential to informed decision-making by our elected officials.
Completing the SEQRA process on the entire study area will provide the Town Board and residents with fact-based information and analyses that will be invaluable as we continue the dialogue over revitalizing our downtown. Our goal is to build a foundation for future planning and zoning decisions throughout the study area, without committing to any specific course of action at this time beyond the North Greeley corridor. By completing the SEQRA process on the entire study area, the community will have a solid understanding of the environmental, social and economic implications of encouraging redevelopment through rezoning.
We will keep the community updated on these efforts as we continue to move Chappaqua Forward.