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New Castle Considers Moratorium for North Greeley Corridor

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New Castle officials are contemplating re-instatement of a moratorium for a stretch of North Greeley Avenue as they continue to search for ways to reinvigorate that portion of the Chappaqua hamlet.

The Town Board is now weighing a six-month prohibition against accepting or reviewing applications for site plan, special permits, variances and building and sign permits on properties with existing commercial space of at least 3,000 square feet. The board is expected to discuss the issue again at this week’s work session and schedule to open a public hearing on Mar. 22.

Supervisor Lisa Katz said she supported the move as the town works toward improving the North Greeley Avenue corridor. The area that is under consideration for the moratorium is about 7.75 acres, stretching from King Street to Bischoff Avenue, she said.

“As we are considering zoning, this is something I believe that is appropriate and that’s why we’re proposing it for six months on a limited basis,” Katz said. “It is not the entire 72-acre hamlet on which we are trying a moratorium. That’s not what’s proposed here.”

The town enacted a downtown moratorium in late 2018 for the hamlet’s Retail Business and Retail Business and Parking zones for about two years, the same acreage where the Form Based Code was initially proposed. The moratorium was revised last year to include only the stretch of North Greeley Avenue that is now under consideration after the Form Based Code’s scope was reduced.

Announcement of a potential moratorium comes one week after the town and planning boards brainstormed about how to improve the North Greeley corridor.

Last week, Councilman Jeremy Saland pounced on his board colleagues for resurrecting the possibility of a moratorium after opposing it last year during the run-up to the town elections.

He repeatedly asked them what has changed during the past year that would make them think that a moratorium is now necessary on the street but wasn’t in 2021.

Saland said he opposed a piecemeal approach of various measures, such as possibly instituting a 10 percent affordable housing requirement for the two zones that was discussed last week as well, without coordinating a policy and a plan for the corridor’s future.

“There’s no applications that I’m aware of that are consistent with and by right being sought in the hamlet, meaning three stories or whatever the zoning is now,” Saland said. “So there’s nothing that is on the horizon immediately that we’re saying we need to stop this from happening because it’s not fitting into our community.”
Councilman Christian Hildenbrand chided Saland for reading their quotes and campaign literature during last week’s discussion and said it makes “perfect sense” to give the board a chance to consider the next steps for North Greeley Avenue.

“What we’re talking about now is a very specific part of town that I think if there’s not unanimous support, actually in every conversation I had last year with every resident, that is a focal point, and to the extent that we are in collaboration with the Planning Board, which I think is the proper way to do this, and we started last week,” Hildenbrand said. “I hope that will be a continuing thing, to the extent that we can come up with options for North Greeley.”

The town sought public engagement last year, which is critical to ensuring that North Greeley Avenue is developed in a way that is consistent with what its residents would like to see, said Councilwoman Tara Kassal.

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