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?

No.  The Downtown Working Group consisted of the following individuals: 

  • Each member of the Town Board
  • Three members of the Planning Board
  • Randy Katchis and Steve Tavolacci, who own commercial properties in the Chappaqua business hamlet
  • Bill Spade, a local architect

The property owners and architect who volunteered to serve on the Downtown Working Group participated in a purely advisory role. All have strong ties to our community. Randy Katchis lived in Chappaqua for 26 years and formerly served on the Chappaqua Board of Education. Steve Tavolacci is a lifelong resident and local developer. Bill Spade is a 30-year Town resident and has worked on numerous projects in our community, including as a volunteer at the Fuller Center rehabilitation underway at 300 King Street.

The volunteer members of the Downtown Working Group contributed real-world, and subject matter experience to the task of informing the Town’s independent planning consultant, Kimley Horn of New York, P.C. (“KH”), how to tailor the draft Form Based Code zoning legislation to best fit the needs of the Chappaqua business hamlet. Although the Town’s 2017 Comprehensive Plan established the community’s goals for the Chappaqua hamlet, input from these volunteer members helped inform how the Town could achieve its stated objectives through revised zoning legislation for the downtown.

The Downtown Working Group held its kick-off meeting on May 23, 2019, at which time each of its volunteer members explained their professional backgrounds, shared experiences living in the Town, and with respect to Randy Katchis and Steve Tavolacci, disclosed their property ownership in the business hamlet. Each meeting of the Downtown Working Group was videotaped and can be viewed here: Chappaqua Forward.

Residents who serve on advisory boards like the Downtown Working Group do not fall within the definition of Town “officers” or “employees” set forth in the Town’s Ethics Code. See Town Code § 9-2. The provisions of the Town Ethics Code are inapplicable to residents who volunteer their time to serve on such advisory boards.

Not only was there no conflict of interest in having these residents as members of the Downtown Working Group, the Town Attorney has confirmed that their involvement was entirely consistent with SEQRA’s objective of ensuring that interested parties are appropriately engaged in the consideration of a proposed action.

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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?