New Castle Supervisor’s Report – 9/26/2018
Supervisor, New Castle
Chappaqua Girl Scouts
Chappaqua Girl Scouts have a long tradition of leadership and community service in our town. Want to get involved? Chappaqua Girl Scouts are forming new troops at Grafflin, Roaring Brook & Westorchard Elementary Schools. If interested, please attend the information session on 9/27 at Westorchard Elementary School Cafetorium, 6:00pm – 7:30pm. Any questions, or if you are unable to attend the meeting, please email Joanne Brady Jbrady527@gmail.com.
Chappaqua Children’s Book Festival
Chappaqua Children’s Book Festival is this Saturday! The book festival will be held from 10am-4pm at Bell School in Chappaqua. Our Electric Shuttle – the “Electric Ride” – will be used during the festival. It will be on a continuous loop from Bell School to Woodburn through thcommuter parking lot up Washington to South Greeley and back to Bell.
Downtown Chappaqua Infrastructure and Streetscape Project Update
Con Ed continues to move their wires to the new poles. Verizon & Altice will then move their wires & the old poles will be removed. We thank the utility companies for their cooperation! Besides the overhead wire work, there are many utility conduits underground that are creating issues that need to be addressed.
One such area is in front of the Shell station. We are working hard with Verizon to get that issue resolved so the work can be completed, steel plates removed and the road paved prior to the book festival on Saturday. Excavation for granite curbing has started on North Greeley. Brand new sidewalk will then be installed on North Greeley from Bischoff Avenue to Maple Avenue.
Next week – after the Chappaqua Children’s Book Festival – excavation & installation of the granite curbing will start by Washington Avenue to Woodburn Avenue. Storm drainage improvements will be completed by the end of the month and repaving will be finished by Thanksgiving. Unfortunately, the onset of winter will put curb & sidewalk installation on hold.
Over the past several months, we have met several times with the Planning Board to discuss creating a sustainable mix of commercial and residential uses in downtown Chappaqua pursuant to our 2017 Comprehensive Plan. It is clear that we need to change the zoning in downtown Chappaqua to encourage more housing. Last night we took the 1st step by approving the issuance of a Request For Proposals (“RFP”) for Chappaqua Hamlet Zoning Revisions. After the RFP responses are received, the Town Board & Planning Board will review the proposals.
Traffic Light timing at the intersection of Roaring Brook Road and the Saw Mill Parkway
As I mentioned over the last several months, many have noticed the change in the timing of the traffic lights that affect the grade crossing at the intersection of Roaring Brook Road and the Saw Mill Parkway. In short, on June 20, 2018 the New York State Department of Transportation (“NYSDOT”) and Metro North activated railroad preemption on the traffic signal at the Saw Mill River Parkway @ Roaring Brook Road.
To summarize the preemption operation, when a train is detected, the signal is prevented from giving a green signal to traffic heading east towards the train tracks. We wrote to NYSDOT voicing our concerns. A meeting was held with NYSDOT on September 13, 2018. They agreed that mitigation measures should be studied. Last night we authorized an RFP for a traffic consultant to study possible mitigation measures.
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 counties, local governments, and school districts to establish a charitable gifts reserve fund that may be used to defray some of the costs related to public education, healthcare, or other public service provided by that entity. Unfortunately, on September 5, 2018 the IRS proposed an amendment to limit these charitable contributions. This proposed IRS amendment would disallow states’ attempts to work around the $10,000 cap. A number of tax law experts believe that this proposed IRS amendment constitutes an arbitrary and capricious interpretation of federal tax law. Last night we approved participation a coalition that will submit objections to the proposed IRS amendment.
On Monday night, the Town of New Castle hosted a well-attended lecture titled “Bears in Our Backyard”. For those who missed it, here’s the video. As a reminder, NYS Department of Environmental is the only agency who can remove a bear, and they will only do so if the bear creates a public disturbance, acts aggressively towards a human or pet, attempts to enter a home, or is injured and cannot move freely to escape. According to the DEC proper storage of garbage and the removal of bird feeders during periods when bears are active are the two most important steps you can take to drastically reduce nuisance bear problems in your area. According to NYDEC, if you see a bear:
- Don’t panic. Bears are more likely to be afraid of you than you are of them. Know that you have the privilege of seeing a magnificent wild creature close-up, but don’t lose sight of the fact that bears are powerful animals that may defend themselves if they feel threatened.
- Never approach, surround, or attempt to touch a bear.
- Always leave a clear escape route for the bear. If you feel threatened by a bear, back away slowly, but do not run. If the bear keeps coming back or will not leave, make loud noises—yell, clap, blow car horns or air horns, or drum on nearby objects. More information can be found here
Millwood – Cell Tower
The lease has been executed to allow a cell tower at the water treatment plant in Millwood. This will improve cell service in Millwood! The tower will be near the Millwood electric towers. Their application now goes before the Planning Board for a Special Permit. 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 will make improvements to Millwood including the construction of a salt dome tower at the water treatment plant in Millwood. This salt dome would benefit Millwood & the West End by reducing travel time for our snow plows to restock salt.
Millwood – Train Trestle Banner
As I previously mentioned, we have received permission from Westchester County to hang a “Welcome to Millwood” banner over the rusted train trestle on Route 100! We now need a permit from NYS DOT, and we expect that in the very near future.
Habitat for Humanity Update
As far as King Street, the building had a stream underneath it and was sitting on loose bricks and stones for a foundation. It finally has a real foundation. The beams are now level and water lines installed. They are currently framing, paneled & siding will then be installed. Lots of volunteers over the next few months will expedite a great amount of work and visible progress. As far as Millwood, they are currently working with NYS DOT to run their water lines. A few softball teams have been helping with the build – more are welcome! A few construction companies will be helping in November.
2019 Budget Meeting
Our Town Board budget meetings with department heads start next week. These meetings will take place on Tues., 10/02, 6-10p & Wed, 10/03, 8am-11am.