By Andrew Vitelli
Tourists passing through Chappaqua in hopes of catching a glimpse of the home of the former, and perhaps future, president are out of luck.
The New Castle Town Board voted unanimously last week to restrict those driving down Old House Lane, the cul-de-sac on which former President Bill and Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton reside, to “local traffic only.”
“The police chief received a request regarding security concerns,” Town Administrator Jill Shapiro explained at the August 16 Town Board meeting at New Castle Town Hall. The law also restricts nearby cul-de-sac Green Lane to local traffic.
Town resident John Ehrlich questioned whether the law change was needed, noting that the Secret Service had managed when Bill Clinton was president in 2000.
“Clearly, this is going to be a tourist attraction,” Ehrlich told the town board. “I consider it to be an attraction for the town, something that draws people into the town and does something positive.”
During the meeting, Councilwoman Hala Makowska said the board wanted to avoid drawing undue attention to the site by discussing the street’s residents, though the Clintons’ address can be found with a Google search.
After holding a public hearing on the law, which amends the “Vehicles and Traffic” chapter of the town code, the board decided to close the hearing and vote immediately rather than leave the hearing open until the next town board meeting. Councilman Jeremy Saland said that, “in light of the upcoming events that may shape our political landscape and that here in New Castle,” immediate action was warranted.
The Clintons’ home, purchased in 1999, has become something of a tourist attraction for visitors, according to a July article on CNN’s website.
It’s unclear what the penalty would be for those who violate the law. The section of the code affected by the law mentions a $50 fine for stop sign and yield sign violations but doesn’t specify the consequence of violating the “no-through-traffic street” laws.