The Examiner

New Castle to Take Next Step in Chappaqua Crossing Process

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The New Castle Town Board and the development team for Chappaqua Crossing hammered out key issues last week, including the hours for delivery and opening of Whole Foods.
The New Castle Town Board and the development team for Chappaqua Crossing hammered out key issues last week, including the hours for delivery and opening of Whole Foods.

The New Castle Town Board will vote early next month whether to adopt the Preliminary Development Concept Plan (PDCP) for the Chappaqua Crossing retail proposal and a local law applying the commercial zoning to the property.

Town officials indicated last Tuesday night that the vote would likely take place within the next two weeks after Town Attorney Nicholas Ward-Willis incorporates revisions made last week into the PDCP. Officials could choose to vote on the two items, which, if approved, would trigger formal site plan review by the planning board, during its May 5 work session or the next regular meeting on May 12.

Last week the board ironed out several issues, including coming to an agreement regarding hours of operation and permissible times for deliveries for the 40,000-square-foot Whole Foods, the retail project’s anchor tenant.

Meeting with project representatives and Summit Development President and CEO Felix Charney, the board and applicant agreed that Whole Foods would open at 8 a.m., matching the starting time for the supermarket chain’s other Westchester locations. Deliveries can be made as early as 7 a.m. to Whole Foods.

Meanwhile, all other businesses on the grounds, including the 25,000-square-foot health and fitness center, may open as early as 5:30 a.m.

Operating hours and deliveries for Whole Foods was the most contentious issue discussed last week. Charney pressed for a 7 a.m. opening while Councilwoman Lisa Katz, who cast the dissenting vote last December on the rezone to allow retail, urged for a later starting time.

Charney said that since the store will be selling breakfast items, there should be an earlier start time. There would be gym patrons looking for coffee, and since the complex is across the street Horace Greeley High School, staff and students might also be looking for something to eat before the start of school.

“That would be the latest opening commercial enterprise that sells breakfast in Chappaqua,” Charney remarked of the 8 a.m. opening. “When all your other stores open at 5:30, I think seven is the appropriate hour.”

Katz countered that a 7 a.m. opening would mean deliveries could begin as early as 6 a.m., an hour that would be intrusive to neighboring residents.

“I get what you guys are trying to do, but I also want to protect the residents who are living across the street from a Whole Foods, which they didn’t bargain for, and they don’t want to hear that and have their children wake up at 5:30 or six in the morning because there’s a giant box truck backing up right across from their house,” Katz said.

The applicant’s representatives agreed to Whole Foods opening at 8 a.m. after the town board informed them that the remaining establishments could start at 5:30 a.m.

Once that issue was resolved, Charney then pressed town officials on how quickly site plan approval could be granted by the planning board. He said that Whole Foods had given a June 30, 2015, deadline for final approval for them to move forward.

“It would just be a shame to do all of this and run out of time,” Charney said.

Public relations spokesman Geoffrey Thompson said in a statement last week that it is critical that construction on the project’s retail component begin this fall so Whole Foods can open next year. Whole Foods is also connected to the overall leasing program.

“We continue to work cooperatively with the town in meeting this crucially important goal,” Thompson stated. “A truly outstanding plan has emerged from the hard work and creative input of all involved. We are anxious to complete the final steps for the approval and to get the construction underway.”

Town officials said it would be inappropriate to project how long it might take the planning board to complete its review.

Project planner Andrew Tung said if the PDCP and local law are approved in the next two weeks he would be able to submit the formal site plan application to the town sometime in June.

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