Supervisor, New Castle
I have said it again and again: it is truly an honor to serve the citizens of New Castle. From the start, I have believed that your Town Supervisor should be guided by rights and obligations. The rights of the community to be heard and to be informed are critical to a responsive Town Government. And we must always be conscious of our obligations to listen and communicate effectively as we work to address current concerns and problems while at the same time improving our Town and planning for the future. I also recognize that while town-wide issues are my focus, no individual matter is too small for a responsive town government. I welcome those opportunities for more personal contact with residents. As we look ahead, there remains much work to be done, and I will continue to work hard for the entire community. It is my pleasure, then, as Supervisor to provide a quarterly report – 2nd Quarter of 2018 – to the community about current Town projects and initiatives.
- Taxi Service at the Chappaqua Train Station
- Downtown Chappaqua Infrastructure and Streetscape Project Update
- Westchester County Airport
- 2017 Comprehensive Plan
- Chappaqua Crossing
- Sunshine Children’s Home
- Internet Purchase Exchange Location
- Distract Driving – National Highway Traffic Safety Administration/Lifesavers Award for Public Service
- Raising the Age for Tobacco & Vape Product Purchases
- 120 Sidewalk
- Electronic Message Board
- PBA Contract
- Gun Violence
- School Safety
- Town Code Concerning Tree Preservation
- Federal Limitations State and Local Tax (SALT) Deductions
- Workers Comp Savings
- Millwood – Train Trestle Banner
- Closing lower King
- Park Ranger / Animal Warden
- Cell Tower
Our 2018 Summer Concert Series. will have beer & wine from DeCicco & Sons, multiple food trucks & fun activities for the kids. Earlier this year, the New Castle Town Board requested that the NYS State Legislature introduce Home Rule Legislation to allow the Town of New Castle to lease space on its sports field fences at Gedney Park, Millwood Park and, the Recreation Field for the purpose of advertising. Our request was approved. Revenue will go solely to maintaining these parks & fields. Our Start of Summer celebration was a big success. A new tradition! Thank you to our sponsor Camp Nabby.
Unfortunately due to the mandatory increases in minimum wage & the effects of Uber, Lyft, and other transportation network companies (“TNC”), Leros/Greeley Taxi has decided to no longer provide local service from the Chappaqua train station as of June 28th. We sent a Request for Proposals (RFP) to 67 taxi companies. The town’s preference was to agree to terms with a single taxi to replicate the current service – 7 dedicated cabs with a dispatcher. We sent our Request for Proposals (RFP) to 67 taxi companies. Unfortunately, we received no responses with our current model. We issued another RFP with a model used by other towns. We would lease dedicated individual spots to different cab companies. As many have noticed, two taxi companies have been temporarily providing taxi service at the station – Pleasantville Taxi (914-610-8668) & Chappacar (914-238-8294). They are filling the void as we await responses to our last RFP. The responses to the RFP are due on July 16th and the Town anticipates awarding contracts by July 30th. We realize how important cab service is to our residents and those who work in our community & we are working very hard to fill the void left by Greeley Taxi. Read more here.
Downtown Chappaqua Infrastructure and Streetscape Project Update
After a bumpy winter, the asphalt plants opened & we were able to pave lower King and Greeley. Con Ed is currently moving 18 utility poles to make way for wider sidewalks which are ADA complaint. These new poles are higher & will raise the wires! Con Ed also began moving their wires to the new poles. Verizon & Altice will then do the same. The old poles will then be removed – last one to remove their wires removes the pole (that’s the actual rule). Sewer installation was completed. Storm drainage work continues. Storm drainage is expected to be completed by September. Installation of the new traffic signal at South Greeley Avenue and King Street is anticipated for October. Curbing and most sidewalk work is slated to be done in November. Due to the delay caused by complications involving a Con Edison gas line at the beginning of the year and delays laying the new sewer line on lower King, we will not be done until the spring. Please keep in mind that certain type of work cannot be performed during the winter. Underground electrical work will be done in January. The installation of new street lighting is set for March. Plantings will be done in the Spring. Permanent road paving will be done in the spring when the asphalt plants open. Rest assured that downtown merchants and residents will not be inconvenienced for a second consecutive holiday shopping season. We are shutting down most of the operation from Thanksgiving until after the first of the year. Please remember to check the Town of New Castle website for all updates. If you would like to receive daily updates, please email me – RGreenstein@MyNewCastle.org.
Westchester County Airport
Robert Fleisher was appointed to the Westchester County Airport Advisory Board. We created a New Castle Airport Advisory Committee & appointed 13 members to our newly formed committee. Westchester County conducted three community input meetings. All 3 meetings were well attended by New Castle residents. Residents spoke eloquently about the noise, the environment, property values, and health impacts, just to name a few. Once again, I encourage residents to report airport noise using the following form. Click here to read the Town Board letter to County Executive George Latimer & County Legislator Michael Kaplowitz dated June 22, 2018.
2017 Comprehensive Plan
In 2017, the Town Board adopted an updated Comprehensive Plan. So far we have received 2 awards for our updated comp plan. The Town Board & Planning Board began the discussion of executing Goal 26 of 2017 Comprehensive Plan. Goal 26 is titled “Create a sustainable mix of commercial and residential uses within the hamlets”. We are exploring increased opportunities for housing in the hamlets. We discussed the use of a Generic Environmental Impact Statement (“GEIS”) to review proposed zoning changes. Use of a GEIS makes it attractive to developers to know that any potential significant adverse environmental impacts have already been studied. We are now proud to introduce our 2017 Comprehensive Plan website. http://www.plannewcastle.us Thank you Sabrina D. Charney Hull, our Director of Planning, and Lyle Anderson for making this web site a reality.
The Town Board is creating a ChapLine Committee. The ChapLine is essentially a “pathway” that connects downtown with “Chappaqua Crossing”. This path would connect over 400 households to downtown Chappaqua. It’s 100% consistent with the comp plan. We started interviewing residents and hope to make appointments soon.
Composting – On March 12, 2018, the New Castle Town Board unanimously authorized a food scrap recycling program for residents! Food scraps are one of the largest components of trash sent to landfills and incinerators. To celebrate National Learn About Composting Day on May 29th our incredible Sustainability Advisory Board launched our New Castle program. The kits cost $25 and consist of a kitchen collection bin, a locking transportation bin to take the waste to the Recycling Center and compostable bags for both bins. The kits will be for sale at the Farmer’s Market, The Recycling Center and at some town events. For more information email Composting@MyNewCastle.org. Our Sustainability Advisory Board (“SAB”) has proposed legislation setting forth seasonal limitations regarding the use of motorized leaf blowers. Motorized blowers create noise, emit gases and blow dust particles and other airborne pollutants into the air and onto neighboring properties. In order to reduce the impacts of motorized blowers, our SAB is recommending prohibiting the use of motorized blowers from May 15 through September 30. Other Westchester Towns who have instituted seasonal bans include Rye, Tuckahoe, Yonkers, Larchmont, Ardsley, Mamaroneck, Hastings, Sleepy Hollow, New Rochelle, Pelham, Dobbs Ferry & Irvington. Our electric shuttle has arrived! You’ll soon see it on the streets of New Castle.
I’m happy to report that we are receiving additional fund from NYS for paving. Our original budget was $922,452. With the additional funds, our total paving budget for 2018 is $1,016,024! So far we have paved Cardinal Place Croton Lake Road, Little Lakes Road & Quaker Bridge Road. We also rebuilt and paved: Dawning Lane, Quaker Ridge Road and the west end of Glendale. This August we will be paving 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.
Shuttle Service – Beginning April 11th, Chappaqua Crossing started offering their free shuttle service. Initially, they are using a 12 person school bus. Many people are asking when Life Time Fitness is opening – they are planning for an October opening. They’ve had a very strong response to their web site. They say the strongest response for a new suburban club anywhere. Feel free to join their waitlist to receive pricing information, club updates and exclusive information about their Founding Membership offer. The three houses on Roaring Brook Road have been demolished. Those houses were owned by Chappaqua Crossing and vacant for years. As part of the approval process, title of the 4 parcels of land -which are currently owned by Summit Greenfield – will be conveyed to the Town. The property would be deed restricted and remain as open space – a buffer for residents who live near the site. The Town received the $1,500,000 payment from Summit Greenfield which is to be used to help mitigate the impacts associated with this retail and residential development. Proud to take part in the Chappaqua Crossing apartment dedication. The iconic cupola building at Chappaqua Crossing now represents how affordable housing should be – integrated with market rate units and workforce housing in a beautiful and vibrant location. This is affordable housing we can be proud of!
Sunshine Children’s Home
We wrote several letters to Westchester County re: the wells and a radium filtration system at the Sunshine Children’s Home.
Internet Purchase Exchange Location
The New Castle Police Department is offering residents increased safety when buying or selling items over the Internet. Residents can now make exchanges in the first floor lobby of Town Hall. The lobby is located right outside of the police station door where an officer is on duty 24/7. Video cameras have been installed that will record activity in the lobby. Anyone interested in using the Internet Exchange Location can simply show up and conduct the transaction.
Kudos to Ben Lieberman on being selected to receive the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration/Lifesavers Award for Public Service. His dedication to reducing distracted driving deaths and injuries and his commitment to keeping families safe on our roadways is being acknowledged.
Raising the Age for Tobacco & Vape Product Purchases
The Town Board adopted a local law to prohibit the sale of tobacco, liquid nicotine products and electronic cigarettes to persons under the age of 21. Our new law will complement our previously passed local law which regulates the location of vape shops. We are committed to protecting young people from all nicotine delivery systems. Happy to report that Westchester County recently increased the age to 21.
As far as the 120 sidewalk, Con Ed is on site now starting their gas main replacement project from Ridgewood Terrace to Elm Street. After they finish, we will start the phase 2 of new 120 sidewalk.
Electronic Message Board
The Town Board approved a proposal for the installation of the new electronic message board. Work has started on the foundation.
The Town of New Castle and New Castle Police Benevolent Association finally agreed on a new 5 year contract. Their contract had expired on 12/31/17. Thank you to New Castle PBA President Chad Golanec and Town Administrator Jill Shapiro for their hard work to get this done.
June 1st was National Gun Violence Awareness Day and we held a vigil in New Castle to do just that. June 21 was “ASK Day” (Asking Saves Kids). The ASK campaign promotes a simple idea with the potential to help keep kids safe. It encourages parents to ASK if there is an unlocked gun in the homes where their children play.. The Town of New Castle has free gun locks provided by Project Child Safe. They are available in a display box next to the Med-return box in the police lobby.
As many likely noticed, there was an increased visual police presence at Horace Greeley High School, as well as our other schools. Chappaqua Central School District has assembled a safety task force to review school security. The community has been advised that the task force will meet when school resumes in September and analyze, among other things, a School Resource Officer (“SRO”). I respect their process and look forward to the long term recommendations expected in January 2019 re: a SRO. In the interim, in my opinion, and much more importantly, the opinion of our Chief of Police, a New Castle Police Officer should be allowed into the schools come this fall while the task force conducts their review. Please keep in mind that New Castle police have been invited into the schools since 2012. In the aftermath of the Sandy Hook school murders then Superintendent Lynn McKay requested that New Castle Police have routine patrols in the schools. We have been in the schools on a daily basis ever since. After the Parkland shooting, we increased our presence at the high school and middle schools. One officer full time at the high school and one officer handling the 2 middle schools. By all accounts this was well received by students, parents, principals, teachers and administrative staff. In my opinion, and again, the opinion of the Chief, now more than ever, it would be irresponsible on the part of the district to go back to a pre-Sandy Hook security protocols. I will continue to let my feelings know and I encourage others to do the same.
Town Code Concerning Tree Preservation
The Town Board approved a local law to amend Chapter 121 of the Code of the Town of New Castle concerning tree preservation. The local law was reviewed by the Planning Board as well as the Environmental Review Board, and we held 3 public hearings – on April 10th, April 24th & May 8t). Our amendments strengthens and clarifies our tree removal permit requirements and procedures, our tree replacement requirements and use of the Tree Bank Fund. As far as education, the Town will create a user-friendly guide to help residents understand the Tree Preservation Law & we’ll create a web page to encourage healthy yard practices and tree preservation.
Federal Limitations State and Local Tax (SALT) Deductions
There is no doubt that the new limitations by the federal government to State and Local Tax (SALT) deductions on federal income tax returns will have significant negative consequences for our residents. To minimize the negative impact to NYS residents, NYS adopted legislation, which took effect on April 12, 2018, which enables local governments and school districts to establish a charitable fund to receive unrestricted charitable contributions. Establishment of the charitable fund must be done by adoption of local law and resolution of their school board respectively. Rest assured, we are currently collaborating with NYS, Westchester County, tax professionals, tax lawyers and multiple municipal associations to successfully implement this program. I will provide future updates as we move ahead. Last week, the IRS issued a notice of its intent to propose regulations regarding the federal tax law amendments affecting state and local income tax deductions, and in particular measures which NYS enacted. We are monitoring that closely.
Workers Comp Savings
We approved a renewal for the 2018-2019. We are savings another $42,533 over last year’s premium
Millwood – Train Trestle Banner
We have received permission from Westchester County to hang a Welcome to Millwood Banner over the rusted train trestle on Route 100!
Closing lower King
The Town Board is looking into turning lower King into a pedestrian plaza on a few Sundays during the summer.
Park Ranger / Animal Warden
At the Chief suggestion, the Town Board has approved the hiring of a part-time park warden.
The Town Board approved a lease with Homeland Towers to allow a cell tower at the water treatment plant in Millwood. Their application will require a special permit from the Planning Board. The Planning Board will review the proposed site location, height limitations, visual impacts, as well as structural and safety concerns. With revenues from the cell tower, we plan on building a salt dome tower at the water treatment plant in Millwood. Homeland agreed to build the access road. This salt dome would benefit Millwood & the West End by reducing travel time for our snow plowers to restock salt.
For More News
For those on Facebook, please follow my Supervisor’s Page which can be found here. https://www.facebook.com/TownSupervisorRobGreenstein/ This is just another avenue to interact with the community, as well as share news, events and updates.These are the highlights of the matters of Town-wide concern that we have been addressing recently. As I noted at the beginning, a responsive Town government listens, responds and communicates. We work for you, our fellow residents! As we look ahead, I will continue to work hard and get things done that benefit our entire community.