New Castle residents will have at least two chances to comment on the proposed Chappaqua Crossing retail plan as the town board confirmed accepted the Draft Supplemental Environmental Impact Statement Tuesday night.
The board scheduled to begin the public hearing on Tuesday, April 23 at 7 p.m. and continue on Monday, April 29 at 1:30 p.m. If a third session is necessary to finish hearing additional statements, the board will convene on Tuesday, April 30 at 7 p.m. All of the forums will be held at New Castle Town Hall, with April 23 and 29 scheduled for three hours each. Should the April 30 session be held it would conclude by 9 p.m.
Residents may also submit written comments for up to 10 days following the close of the hearing either on April 29 or 30.
In addition to the the DSEIS, two concurrent hearings will be held on whether the town should adopt new zoning text provisions to establish an Office Park Retail Overlay District to allow for the inclusion of retail operations at the former Reader’s Digest property and to refer the proposed Town Development Plan amendments to the town planning board and county planning commission for recommendations.
The application for 120,000 square feet of retail space, including a supermarket of up to 66,000 square feet, has been in public circulation for more than a year, despite it taking about six months for developer Summit/Greenfield to submit requested revisions. Councilman Robin Stout said the town is eager to listen to the feedback from the public.
“It is getting that process started, something I am anxious today to do,” said Stout said at Tuesday night’s town board meeting.
Town Attorney Clinton Smith, who briefed the board about the complex issues surrounding the project, said the acceptance of the DSEIS does not mean that the board necessarily endorses the project but that Summit/Greenfield has adequately addressed issues and questions to begin the next step, which is the public hearing.
A key issue is that town law prohibits rezoning of property that conflicts with the Master Plan, necessitating the proposed amendments to the town development plan, Smith said. The town is in the process of updating its Master Plan, which was last revised in 1989.
There have been concerns raised by segments of the community and members of the town’s planning board about adding more traffic to congested roadways in the vicinity of the property and whether the retail plan would draw shoppers away from downtown Chappaqua.
Councilman Jason Chapin said he has heard criticisms from some community members that the town board seems to be rushing into the process. However, Smith said that the town is adhering to the state Environmental Quality Review process (SEQR).
“This process is following the law,” Smith said. “There is absolutely no question about that.”
The board held off referring the DSEIS, the local law that would establish zoning for the project and the proposed amendments to the town’s development plan to the New Castle Board of Architectural Review, which is required. Smith told the town board that holding the public hearing was “necessary to advance you along the decision-making process” but getting the Board of Architectural Review involved was not necessary at this time.
Martin has more than 30 years experience covering local news in Westchester and Putnam counties, including a frequent focus on zoning and planning issues. He has been editor-in-chief of The Examiner since its inception in 2007. Read more from Martin’s editor-author bio here. Read Martin’s archived work here: https://www.theexaminernews.com/author/martin-wilbur2007/