New Castle Supervisor Quarterly Update: Q4 2018
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 – 4th Quarter of 2018 – to the community about current Town projects and initiatives.
- Downtown Chappaqua Infrastructure and Streetscape Project Update
- Downtown Chappaqua
- Discover Chappaqua
- Millwood Sidewalk
- Chappaqua Crossing
- 2019 Budget
- Taxi Stand
- Seasonal Limitations on Motorized Leaf Blowers
- Westchester County Airport
- Federal Limitations State and Local Tax (SALT) Deductions
- Community Sign
- Chap Line
- Dual Stream Recycling
Downtown Chappaqua Infrastructure and Streetscape Project Update
We received a $459,802 grant for our water infrastructure improvements! Granite curbing & brand new sidewalks were installed on North Greeley from Bischoff to the post office. Granite curbing on King Street from Greeley to the project limit was installed. Granite curbing was also installed on South Greeley from Washington to Woodburn (library side). New trees were planted at that location. We have completed with all the drainage on North Greeley. All pipe material, etc was removed from North Greeley. Operations ceased for the holiday season until after the first of the year. Rumor has it that “some” think the sidewalk in front of Ibiza Kitchen is too big, and the road is too narrow. Is that true? Let’s face it, the sidewalk by Ibiza Kitchen, Family Britches & Petticoat Lane is too big!! It looked good on paper, not so much in reality (engineers tell me this happens). The final plans do allow for parking on both sides – 40’ wide with two 12’ wide travel lanes and two 8’ wide parking lanes – but that won’t happen till the spring when final work is done. Please keep in mind that the narrowed road is a traffic calming measure to encourage safer, more responsible driving and improve safety for motorists, pedestrians and cyclists. But, it’s too narrow and losing parking in front of Ibiza Kitchen, Family Britches & Petticoat Lane – even on a temporary basis – is not acceptable. So, to address these issues & restore parking as soon as possible, the Town Board approved a change order to relocate the curb on King Street and restore the 4 parking spots. This work will be done in early January. We are also addressing the cut-out on Senter Street. That will not happen until the spring, however. We will be living with this for a long time. Now is the time to do it.
We know this has been a long process. Construction started in mid-June, 2017 and will likely be done at the 2 year mark. It was supposed to be completed by November, 2018. Unfortunately, weather, underground utility conflicts & a heavy dependence on utility companies caused delays. We are now running into winter. The sidewalk work, plantings & final paving cannot be done in the winter.
We appreciate your patience, and hope that the finished product was worth the inconvenience. This project will improve the overall aesthetic of our Chappaqua Hamlet and finally provide us with an infrastructure platform that will allow our downtown to grow and prosper.
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
Last year, the Town adopted an updated Comprehensive Plan. Over this past quarter, we’ve held several joint meetings with the Planning Board to discuss an important goal of the comprehensive plan – creating a new and more vibrant mix of retail and residential uses within the hamlets. We must provide housing that meets the needs of young people and older adults. We took 2 important steps. First, we issued a Request for Proposals (“RFP”). We must update our zoning so it’s consistent with the Comprehensive Plan. For example, the 2017 Comprehensive Plan calls for more housing in downtown Chappaqua but our current zoning only allows for 1 floor of housing above retail. That needs to be changed. Another example, North Greeley is a prime area for more housing. Our zoning must reflect that. The second step is we approved a moratorium. The moratorium will allow us to maintain the status quo in the Chappaqua hamlet while we study and implement new retail and commercial zoning legislation for the hamlet. The moratorium prevents the issuance of a building permit & sign permit. The moratorium only applies to spaces > 3,000 SF. As well, applications that were received on or before 10/30/18 will be able to proceed. This moratorium is retroactive to October 30th. Ibiza Kitchen opened. Good luck to them!
We approved a proposal for “Discover Chappaqua”. No doubt, the downtown construction has been tough for our merchants. This initiative will include a website that will highlight all that Chappaqua has to offer – a great place to shop, eat & live. The web site will also highlight the streetscape improvements. The web site launch will coincide with a ribbon cutting celebration in downtown Chappaqua when the streetscape improvements are completed. This is being funded by a very small portion of the mitigation money from Chappaqua Crossing.
The plans for the Millwood sidewalk project are 90% complete. We expect the plans to be submitted to NYS for permitting and land acquisition approval before the end of the year. As soon as the State permits and approvals are secured, we’ll go out to bid. We have slated this project for 2019 construction.
On June 20, 2018, NYS Department of Transportation (DOT), & Metro North activated railroad preemption on the traffic signal at the SMRP & RBR intersection. Due to increased delays, we wrote to DOT requesting observation of the above intersection and implementing possible mitigation measures. DOT listened! DOT approved timing changes to the traffic light on the SMRP. As well, DOT mandated that Summit Greenfield make improvements to the SMRP & RBR intersection. Preliminary plans were developed. Work will include a widening & additional travel lines for both the eastbound and westbound approaches to the SMRP. Changes also include installation of a new traffic signal system, pavement resurfacing and signage. DOT wants the SMRP/RBR work to be completed by Labor Day. The Town hired a traffic consultant to review the proposed improvements to SMRP & RBR intersection.
Both the Town Board & Planning Board voted to approve the necessary changes that allowed Whole Foods to open. Both boards were laser focused on safety. Together, we prepared a Maintenance and Protection of Traffic (MPT) plan that will make the intersection safer! Safer now for both drivers & pedestrians, and safer in the future when permanent measures – that we are mandating – are implemented. A big component of this MPT plan is that Summit Greenfield must pay for New Castle Police Department to control the117/RBR intersection, the Horace Greeley High School entrance/RBR intersection & the west entrance to CC (down by the highway). New Castle police will provide up to three officers, at Summit Greenfield’s expense, from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. on weekdays and from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. on weekends . As well, Summit Greenfield must provide flaggers to be stationed as requested by the Police Department. Officers will remain until Jan. 20th. Our MPT plan has 3 phases, Only Whole Foods & Chase Bank can open in the 1st Phase. In the 2nd phase, other retail can open, including Life Time Fitness.
We approved the 2019 Budget. This marks the 8th straight year that New Castle will stay within the 2% tax cap. We are staying within the cap while managing the $14.1 million borrowing necessary to replace water, sanitary sewer and storm water infrastructure in our downtown Chappaqua Hamlet. With carry-overs from prior years, the law allows us to raise taxes by more than one million dollars. Our tentative budget only proposes a tax increase of $484,336. This amounts to a $62 increase to the average resident. We have maintained almost a million dollars for our paving budget.
We previously awarded our train station taxi contract to Pleasantville Taxi. The Town Board has now authorized Pleasantville Taxi the non-exclusive use of the taxi stand. The Town &/or the Chappaqua-Millwood Chamber of Commerce will also use the taxi stand to promote the town business districts.
Seasonal Limitations on Motorized Leaf Blowers
As I mentioned several times since June, our Sustainability Advisory Board (“SAB”) has proposed legislation setting forth seasonal limitations regarding the use of motorized leaf blowers. Like many other towns, our SAB is recommending prohibiting the use of motorized blowers from May 15 through September 30. Our 1st public hearing was held on October 23rd. Our 2nd public hearing was November 13th. After hearing lots of great feedback from residents and landscapers, the SAB has requested that we adjourn our public hearings so they can rework the legislation. I would like to thank the SAB for their work on this initiative and their commitment to addressing environmental concerns
Westchester County Airport
The FAA Reauthorization Bill includes key provisions address excessive aircraft noise concerns. The Bill directs FAA to designate a regional ombudsmen in each FAA region to serve as a point of contact with the public, including community groups, to address noise, pollution, and safety issues. It also includes a provision to require the FAA to finalize its study of alternative metrics for measuring aircraft noise. In addition, the bill directs the FAA to conduct a study on health risks that noise and aircraft flights on residents exposed to a range of noise levels from such flights. New Castle now has a new noise monitor on Hamilton Drive.
Federal Limitations State and Local Tax (SALT) Deductions
As many are well aware, in response to the new $10,000 cap on State and Local Tax (SALT) imposed by the federal government, NYS enacted legislation that authorizes charitable contributions to the state and local governments. Unfortunately, last month the IRS proposed an amendment to limit these charitable contributions. New Castle joined the newly-formed Coalition for the Charitable Contribution Deduction to challenge the proposed regulation before it’s finalized.
Our new electronic message boards across from the Shell Station in downtown Chappaqua have been installed! Thank you to local architects Keiko & Bill Spade for their design. I would also like to thank our incredible DPW crew – Walter Quast, Terry Rowe & Dan Rubino – as well as the Greeley Boosters, CSSD School Board & Superintendent Christine Ackerman. This is a great collaborative effort for the benefit of the community.
Our ChapLine Committee started working on a Request for Proposals (“RFP”) for the design, engineering and construction services for the Chapline, a multi-use pedestrian trail between the Chappaqua hamlet and Roaring Brook Road.. Thank you to our ChapLine Committee for their work on this potential project.
Dual Stream Recycling
Effective January 1, 2019, we went back to dual-stream recycling. The United States used to export much of its recycling waste to China. Unfortunately, China recently stopped taking this foreign recycled waste. This change has dramatically increased the cost to accept single stream recycling causing municipalities across the country to go back to dual-stream recycling. Dual stream means that recycling must be separated for curbside pickup: paper and cardboard in one container, and clean glass, metal, and plastics numbered 1-6 in another. These rules also apply to items dropped off at the recycling center. Guidelines for dual stream recycling along with stickers to label your separate recycling containers were provided with Sanipro’s 2019 Town of News Castle Refuse and Recycling Calendar. For more information, go to the Town of New Castle website and to the Sustainability Advisory Board’s website. Questions? Email the Sustainability Advisory Board at firstname.lastname@example.org.
For More News
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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.