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Conifer Appeals Judge's Ruling, Seeks New Castle Permit Extension

The site for Conifer Realty's Chappaqua Station housing proposal.
The site for Conifer Realty's Chappaqua Station housing proposal. Photo Credit: Tom Auchterlonie

CHAPPAQUA, N.Y. - Just a day after a state Supreme Court judge dismissed Conifer Realty's lawsuit against the town of New Castle , the developer's lawyer confirmed that a notice of appeal has been filed.

Judge Charles Wood sided with New Castle in a dispute for when a special permit for Conifer's Chappaqua Station affordable-housing proposal expires.

Conifer argued that the permit is in effect for 25 years due to a provision in the town code that covers workforce housing. The town argued that an 18-month timeline, which applies to special permits in general, covers the period for construction and that the 25-year period is just for use of the building.

Randolph McLaughlin, the affordable-housing company's counsel, added that a letter requesting an extension of the special permit has been sent to the town's attorney.

"We are confidant that the request will be granted in light of Building Inspector [Bill] Maskiell’s recommendation to the Board in February 2015 that an extension should be granted," McLaughlin wrote in an email.

The permit was approved by the Town Board in September 2013, passing by a 3-2 vote. Since that time, the composition of the board has changed. Under the 18-month timeline, the permit was to have expired this past March. However, the court issued a freeze on the expiration shortly after the lawsuit was filed in February.

In his ruling, Wood noted that the town has agreed not to allow the permit to expire during the review of a extension request, provided that Conifer submits one within 20 days.

McLaughlin cited the 20-day period when asked why the request is being made in addition to filing an appeal. He declined to comment on whether Conifer would drop its lawsuit should permit be extended.

A decision on whether to extend the permit is up to the Town Board.

Conifer's proposed housing complex would contain 28 units and be located at 54 Hunts Place, a site in downtown Chappaqua that is roughly a third of an acre. The site's location near train tracks and the Saw Mill River Parkway has been a point of contention from residents opposed to the development. They have argued that the project will lead to problems with safety and stigmatization. Earlier this year, a state board approved a series of building and fire code variances pertaining to the project's safety.

Previously coverage of Conifer's lawsuit is available here.

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