New Castle Supervisor’s Report – 5/1/2019
Supervisor, New Castle
As I mentioned several months ago, we issued a Request for Proposals (“RFP”) to update our zoning so it’s consistent with the 2017 Comprehensive Plan – which calls for a new and more vibrant mix of retail and residential uses within the hamlets. Last Tuesday, we awarded the zoning RFP to Kimley-Horn. The goal of our new zoning is to encourage and support a sustainable retail and residential downtown Chappaqua. Our consultant will complete a high-level market and financial development analysis to assist in creating the new zoning code. They will explore various development approaches and densities. The Consultant Team will recommend strategies such as programming events and suggestions of attractions to bring people downtown to support retail and add to the attraction of Chappaqua as a place to live, educate, and play, overall improving the tax base in New Castle. The work is projected to last for 12-15 months.
Downtown Chappaqua Infrastructure and Streetscape Project Update
Over the last few weeks, we’ve installed new curbing, new sidewalks & new decorative light poles on South Greeley from Town Hall to the traffic triangle. Decorative light poles were also installed from the library to Bell School (Bell School side). Trenches have been excavated for the sitting wall by Pizza Station, and the footing for new decorative lights have been installed. On North Greeley, on the Rite Aid side, we installed new curbing up to the Rite Aid parking lot. On the other side of North Greeley, curbing was installed from the Post Office to Lower King & sidewalks were installed. The old utility poles on South Greeley have been removed by Con Ed. The start of the installation of brick pavers will take place on Monday, 5/6 on South Greeley from Washington Ave to Woodburn (Town Hall side). Over the last 6 months, we have been working with the state to receive approval for a revised curb line by the historical society & Ibiza Kitchen. Last Friday, we finally received permission from the state to bring the curb line back to near its original spot in front of the historical society and revise the curb from Ibiza to Petticoat Lane. We expect the actual construction of that revised curb line to begin in May/June. On Tuesday, 4/30, trees on North Greeley and Upper King (by Mikolay’s) were removed (the roots from those trees destroyed the sidewalk). We will excavate the sidewalk in front of Susan Lawrence & lower King starting 5/6 – this excavation will be done at night. However, since the concrete plants are only open during the day, curb and sidewalks will be day work. In anticipation for little league parade, 5K/10k road race and Memorial Day Parade – all scheduled for May – temporary road paving to smooth the road and remove trip hazards is currently scheduled for 5/2 on upper King and South Greeley, weather permitting. Please keep in mind that the time frame of this project was 24 months. This summer we will be approaching the 2 year mark. Water main improvements have been completed (1,650+/- feet pipe, new valves, hydrants and fittings). The sanitary sewer improvements have been be completed (700+ of new pipes, new sewer manholes & castings). The storm sewer improvements have also been completed (1,500+/- pipe, replacement and/or repair of existing catch basins, frames and grates). Con Ed replaced their gas lines. Now the part that will improve the appearance of downtown Chappaqua – the streetscape improvements! The streetscape work will also make it safer for residents to walk around our downtown. Please remember to check the Town of New Castle website for all updates.
Work continues on 117. Thank you to CCSD for working with Chappaqua Crossing construction crews to clear the brush along 117 by Whippoorwill. This will help the sight lines!
New Castle Holocaust Memorial
Holocaust Remembrance Day is Thursday, May 2nd. A few weeks back it was suggested that we have a Holocaust Memorial somewhere in town. I am happy to report that the Town Board agrees. We are currently considering various locations. One location under consideration is by the Gazebo. We’re thinking along the lines of a rock with an engraved plaque, tree plantings & some perennial flowers.
I was extremely proud to take part in a Textalyzer Roundtable on April 29th in Albany. The Textalyzer is a mobile use detection technology for drivers involved in an accident. This event was sponsored by NYS Senator Shelley B. Mayer. Senator Mayer is also sponsoring legislation to establish a pilot program for field testing using the Textalyzer. Participants of this informational roundtable discussion included:
- Ben Lieberman, Founder of the Alliance Combating Distracted Driving
- Candace Lightner, Founder of Mothers Against Drunk Driving
- NYS Senator Shelley B. Mayer
- NYS Assemblyman Amy Paulin
- NYS Assemblyman William Magnarelli
- NYS Assemblyman Kevin Byrne
- Charles Ferry, Chief of Police, New Castle
- Ric Simmons, 4th Amendment Expert
- Maurice Cook, Vice President, Systems Engineering, Cellebrite, Developer of the Textalyzer technology
- Mark Gardner, Regional Counsel, Allstate Insurance Company
- Ellen Melchionni, President, New York Insurance Association
Read more here.
Leaf Blower Environmental Protection Law
After multiple public hearings and lots of written comments, our incredible Sustainability Advisory Board (“SAB”) has developed a revised solution. The SAB is proposing leaf blower legislation that permits gas-powered leaf blowers during October thru May but only permits electric leaf blowers in the summertime. Eliminating gas-powered leaf blowers in the summer will reduce air pollutants & reduce noise levels. As far as greenhouse gases, it is estimated that with this proposal over 135 metric tons of CO2 annually will be saved from the atmosphere. This will be on the Town Board agenda on May 7th. Click here to see the SAB Report – Leaf Blower Environmental Protection Law April 2019
Westchester County Airport
Last week, we had a very productive meeting with the County Executive to discuss New Castle issues with the Westchester County Airport. Attendees included County Executive George Latimer, Ken Jenkins (Deputy County Executive), Joan McDonald (Director of Operations), Susan Spear, (Intergovernmental Affairs), John M. Nonna (County Attorney), Vic Mallison (Senior Assistant to the County Executive), Aviva Meyer (Assistant to the County Executive Public Health and Infrastructure), Westchester County Legislator Mike Kaplowitz, New Castle Councilmember Jeremy Saland, New Castle Town Administrator Jill Shapiro, 4 members of the New Castle Airport Advisory Board – Robert Fleisher, Tara Kassal, Warren Gottlieb & Susan Comey – and myself. The County Executive provided us with a copy of a letter sent to the FAA NY Airports District Office. His letter recognized new provisions in the FAA Reauthorization Act of 2018 to address airport noise. The County Executive offered to share data from our noise monitors, noise complaints and flight tracking information. He also requested a meeting to discuss ways we can work together to help alleviate local noise impacts and hear from impacted residents in a public meeting. The County Executive agreed to conduct this meeting in New Castle. I offered the Chappaqua Performing Arts Center as a venue as I anticipate the meeting to be very well attended.
As far as the engagement and funding of an independent consultant, the County Executive agreed to look into securing services as part of the Master Plan RFP. But, significantly, this would be done in advance of the final Master Plan RFP, hopefully sooner rather than later, so we could have the benefit of the analysis to formulate & advocate effectively for New Castle, and neighboring towns. There was agreement about increasing the landing fees at Westchester Airport. We talked about improving the flow of data, especially to the Westchester Airport Advisory Board.
Thank you to the New Castle Airport Advisory Committee for putting together the agenda, and helping the Town Board draft a thank you letter.
InterGenerate Community Garden at Millwood
The Millwood InterGenerate Community Garden is open for registration! A collaboration between the Town of New Castle and InterGenerate- a local non-profit that also runs the community garden at the Chappaqua Volunteer Ambulance Corps, the garden consists of 30 raised beds and is located at the base of Sand Street in Millwood. All New Castle residents who want to grow their own food are welcome – no experience required. There will be periodic classes for new gardeners and potluck social events throughout the season for all participants. If you are interested, go to www.InterGenerate.net. Click on Millwood, and fill out the information form. Suzi Novak, the garden coordinator, will answer questions and send registration materials to everyone who wants to join the garden. The grand opening is Saturday, May 11th, 10am. There are a couple of openings for the Chappaqua Garden this year as well.
We have installed 163 new LED streetlights to date. This means that we are more than 1/3 of the way to completion. Weather permitting, we expect to complete the change out program by the end of May.
We previously passed a new rule prohibiting smoking in our public parks. We also passed a local law raising the age to purchase tobacco & vape product from 18 to 21. As well, we passed a local law regulating the location of vape shop. We prohibited vape shops within 2,000 feet of the lot line of any school, 500 feet of any park, playground, library or religious institution & no more than one vape shall be located on any lot or within 1,000 feet of any other vape shop. We are now considering amending our vape law to include the same restrictions for the retail distribution, sale or offer for consumption of recreation marijuana. On March 26th, we opened our public hearing, and held another public hearing on April 30th. We adjourned the public hearing to 5/14. We also wrote a letter to Senator Peter Harckham & Assemblyman David Buchwald expressing our concerns re: recreational marijuana.
Kudos to Suzi Novak from our incredible Sustainability Advisory Board for teaching a first grade class from West Orchard all about recycling and food compost.
These are some of our second grade Grafflin cub scouts who joined the #Trashtag Challenge. They cleaned up the trail running from the Episcopalian church to the Temple. Four full paper grocery bags of garbage! Join the Beautification Advisory Board by accepting the #Trashtag challenge to clean-up our community this April. #Trashtag is a global movement that is sweeping social media. The idea is simple: 1) choose a street or neighborhood, 2) snap a before photo, 3) clean up and leave your bags for curbside collection, 4) post photos of your efforts on social using #TrashtagNewCastle to inspire others to do the same. Pick up plastic bags all month at: Town Hall, the Recycling Center and Hardware Stores in both Chappaqua and Millwood.