New Castle Supervisor’s Report – 11/13/18
Supervisor, New Castle
I extend my personal congratulations to Pete Harckham on his victory in the State Senate race. There’s no question that Senator-Elect Harckham knows New Castle and its issues. I look forward to working with him. I also congratulate Assemblyman David Buchwald on his re-election to the State Assembly. We have in the past and will continue to partner with Assemblyman Buchwald on numerous initiatives in Albany. I value our relationships with the legislators who serve our town in Congress and in state government. We cannot move forward and govern effectively without such collaboration. Finally, my best wishes go out to Terrence Murphy. As State Senator, he helped our town on many matters that were important to us. I wish him the best.
On Monday, October 29th, I attended an Interfaith Vigil for victims of the Pittsburgh synagogue shooting at Temple Beth El. Our police will be as vigilant as ever to protect all of our residents. No community expects this kind of horror. We will remain alert and responsive. Our thoughts and sympathies go out to the victims of the senseless violence in Pittsburgh. They are in our hearts and minds. That’s true. But I’m tired of saying it! How many more times do we need to send our thoughts and sympathies to the victims. How many more times do we need to hold vigils? And how many more times do we need to cope with these types of loses? What happened in Pittsburgh is not what our country stands for. And yet, once again, we gathered for another vigil. We must take a stand against hatred, prejudice & rage – and the tragedy it so often brings. We must make our voices heard. Enough is enough!
Volunteer Appreciation Dinner
On October 30th we held our annual time to gather and show our appreciation to those who volunteer on our Town boards & committees. We also honored Dr. William Flank, who served on our Environmental Review Board (“ERB”) for 27 years and was chair since 1999. Besides serving on the ERB, his involvement with the Chappaqua Boy Scouts is legendary – over 30 years! He was Troop 1’s longest serving scoutmaster. Over the Troop’s 105 year history, 117 scouts have reached the rank of Eagle Scout. No one has trained more scout leaders! Dr. Flank participated in 94 of the Eagle projects. Under Dr. Flank’s tenure, 55 of his Scouts became Eagles! Scouting has a motto – “Be Prepared”. We would not be prepared as a community without our volunteers. Whether it’s reviewing an application to improve a home, improve our environment, our arts, our quality of life, our appearance or our preparedness in an emergency, you are making New Castle a better place to live, work & play. I thank all of our volunteers & Dr. Flank for giving up their personal time and sharing their experience, expertise and energy for our community.
Small Business Saturday
Saturday, November 24th – Small Business Saturday is a day dedicated to supporting small businesses and communities across the country. Here are my top 10 reasons to Shop Local.
Downtown Chappaqua Infrastructure and Streetscape Project Update
The rain continues to slow our progress. Granite curbing was installed on North Greeley from Bischoff to the post office. Sidewalks are scheduled to be poured this week at that location. Granite curbing is currently being installed on South Greeley from Washington to Woodburn (library side). Sidewalks are scheduled to be poured this week and next week, at that location. Those are the only 2 locations were sidewalks are being poured this week & next week – neither spot is near stores. We continue to excavate on King Street from S. Greeley to the Horace Greeley House and then to the project limit. This a great example of widening our sidewalks (without losing parking). Granite curbing on King Street from Greeley to the project limit will be installed next week. Asphalt will be placed on the sidewalk at that location. Trees have been planted on South Greeley (library side). As far as final drainage work on North Greeley from lower King to Maple, work has started on the revised drainage piping/manhole to get around the Verizon duct bank which is creating a conflict. As I mentioned several times over the course of the year, 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 at RGreenstein@MyNewCastle.org
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.
Last year, the Town adopted an updated Comprehensive Plan. Over this past, 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 will be conducting another joint meeting this Friday. We are now taking 2 important steps. First, we are issuing a Request for Proposals (“RFP”). Our zoning must be updated in order to create a sustainable mix of commercial and residential uses to revitalize the hamlet. The second step is a moratorium. The moratorium will allow us to maintain the status quo in the Chappaqua hamlet while we implement new retail and commercial zoning legislation for the Chappaqua hamlet. This moratorium shall not apply to retail structures having a gross floor area of less than 3,000 square feet. As well, applications that were received on or before 10/30/18 will be able to proceed. Read more here.
As far as Roaring Brook Road (“RBR”), the traffic light is installed. We are waiting for Con Ed to bring power to it. As far as the two utility poles in the roadway on Roaring Brook Road, we continue to work with Con Ed, Altice (cable) & Verizon need to move their wires to the new poles. The poles expected to be removed last week of November. As far as the work on 117, Summit Greenfield has finally received their permit for the work on 117. They will be installing new northbound and southbound turning lanes at intersection of Route 117 and RBR. The Town hired a traffic consultant to review the proposed improvements to SMRP & RBR intersection. As I previously mentioned, preliminary plans 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. The opening for Whole Foods is 12/12. The opening for Lifetime Fitness is now Jan, 2019. Whole Foods is now hiring!
This week we reviewed the 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 preparing the RFP.
2019 Preliminary Budget
The 2019 Preliminary Budget 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 preliminary budget only proposes a tax increase of $515,951. This amounts to a $62 increase to the average resident. We have maintained almost a million dollars for our paving budget. Our public hearing will be scheduled for Nov. 27. Rob Deary will be attending the public hearing & will conduct his annual Budget Presentation. The Town Board will vote on the budget at our Dec 11th meeting. Click here to view the 2019 Preliminary Budget PowerPoint Presentation. Here’s the link to the 2019 Preliminary Budget.
Westchester County Airport
The last Westchester County Airport Advisory Board Meeting of the year is Wed, 11/14, 7p. One of the items on the agenda is a presentation by the head of the Department of Public Works on the planned repaving of the main runway. Coupled with this is the plan to fund it with FAA grants which bind the County to the FAA for 20 years. The meeting will take place at the Westchester County Airport, Main Terminal, 2nd Floor Conference Room, 240 Airport Road, White Plains. New Castle now has a new noise monitor on Hamilton Drive.
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. The noise, emissions of gases, and blowing of dust particles and other airborne pollutants into the air, and health hazards caused by leaf blowers, especially gas-powered, mandate some sort of action. Like many other towns, our SAB is recommending prohibiting the use of motorized blowers from May 15 through September 30. During the period of October 1 through and including May 14 of each year, the use of motorized blowers is permitted. Our 1st public hearing was held on October 23rd. Our second public hearing was November 13th. Our next public hearing is December 4th. After receiving much public comment over the last several weeks, the draft legislation will be changed. Public comments and suggestions are encouraged and welcomed. TownBoard@MyNewCastle.org work shop it on November 20 to receive direction as to who how to modify the draft law – Then continue the hearing to December 4- close hearing on 12/4 and then vote on 12/11.
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 – including New Castle – to go back to dual-stream recycling. This change will take effect 01/01/19. You will hear much more about this over the next several months.
Chappaqua Summer Scholarship Program (“CSSP”)
I was honored to attend the 50th Anniversary Celebration of the Chappaqua Summer Scholarship Program (“CSSP”). Nancy Stein was honored, and it was well deserved. Nancy has been active with CSSP since 1972, and she has been instrumental in the success of this incredible organization. To learn more about CSSP, read the recent article in Inside Chappaqua or check out their website.
Thank you to Christy Saltstein and Michele Berliner, Co-founders of Stayin’ Alive, for awarding grants to Chappaqua Fire Department & Chappaqua Volunteer Ambulance Corp. Stayin’ Alive is a charity that supports the First Responders of Northern Westchester. Michele and Christy started Stayin’ Alive after both of their husbands were critically injured during Hurricane Sandy in 2012. Their husbands only survived thanks to a daring rescue by the North Castle First Responders. As a way of saying thanks, they raise funds to provide life-saving equipment to our emergency responders that is not covered in their annual budget. Since 2013, they have provided 33 Grant Awards throughout Northern Westchester, totally over $150,000.
Eagle Scout – Spencer Stasko
Congratulations to Chappaqua Troop 1’s newest Eagle Scout – Spencer Stasko. For his Eagle project, Spencer created guides to several Town of New Castle parks describing available hiking trails. Spencer led a team of scouts and community members to experience trails and document trail characteristics. Over the course of his scouting career he has participated in numerous scouting events and community service projects developing life skills and leadership abilities.