CHAPPAQUA, N.Y. - Local residents gathered Tuesday night at New Castle Town Hall to voice their concerns regarding a five-story affordable housing project that has been proposed for Chappaqua.
"There seems to be a mind-set that this project is gonna be entitled to go forward no matter what, and we're just doing fine tuning," said resident Peter Davidson. "I think it's a terrible project. I think it's shoehorned into a space that's totally, 100 percent inappropriate for the proposed use."
The proposed building, called Chappaqua Station, would be west of the Metro-North train station and east of the Saw Mill River Parkway near the exit 32 northbound off-ramp. The developer, Conifer Realty, plans to use nearly all of the available .38 acres of land, leaving little to no space on the perimeter.
Despite believing affordable housing would be beneficial to Chappaqua, many residents took issue with the location of Conifer's proposal from safety, traffic and aesthetic standpoints.
"I am so in favor of affordable housing in this town, it breaks my heart to have stand here and tell you I don't think that's the right place to build it," said resident Wally Toscano.
Planning board members and residents both expressed concern about fire trucks and engines not having the proper space to enter the property and turn around. Conifer's attorney, Alfred DelBello, suggested the fire district could park on the Saw Mill exit ramp to access the building.
"There's a fire in the building, traffic slows down on the Saw Mill, traffic slows down on the bridge, fire trucks are trying to get to it. That's not gonna happen," Toscano said.
Town Planner David Brito indicated the coming and going of Chappaqua Station residents also could pose traffic issues, including the possibility of cars stopping near the building's Route 120 bridge entrance.
In response to the complaints, DelBello said the company already has planned a meeting with the Chappaqua Fire District and will return with completed traffic studies.
Drawing from plans posted on Conifer's website, resident and junior architect Shaun Gotterbarn presented the board with three-dimensional renderings of what the building would look like from different views in the hamlet.
"I really feel like the public needs to understand what it looks like and the scale of it," Gotterbarn said. The planning board accepted Gotterbarn's drawings and officially put them into record.
Conifer will return to the planning board March 20 with revised plans based on recommendations it received on Tuesday night. The board has 45 days to make a recommendation to the New Castle Town Board, which ultimately will make the final decision.
"Right now, it looks like they're gonna win, and we're gonna lose. We don't want that win-lose dynamic set up," said resident Chuck Napoli. "We really think that the people should really be part of the process."