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Millwood Residents Want Planning Board Representation

MILLWOOD, N.Y. – When Susan Carpenter officially takes over as New Castle’s town supervisor in January, she will be leaving behind a vacancy on the planning board. At least a few Millwood residents are hoping her replacement comes from their side of town.

“There has been no representative of Millwood or the West End on the planning board for a number of years,” Donald Weisstuch said to Carpenter at Thursday night’s Millwood Task Force meeting. “I believe that your administration should commit to appointing a Millwood or West End resident to fill that seat.”

Carpenter, who was present at the meeting, disagreed with the belief that different parts of town have any representatives on the board. She said that board members represent New Castle as a whole and are appointed to serve every part of town equally.

“I’d be delighted to have qualified candidates from Millwood apply, and certainly we’ll look carefully at and for candidates from Millwood,” said Carpenter, who pointed out that she does not live in Chappaqua. “However, as far as I’m concerned, nobody on the planning board represents any part of town.”

Weisstuch said that qualified Millwood candidates have applied to fill openings on the board in the past and have been continually turned down. He said that Millwood Task Force member June Farnham was so discouraged from not being appointed to the planning board, that she tendered her resignation from the group earlier this week.

“Why is it, that we’re not qualified? Of course we’re qualified. So you end up with wondering what have we done?” said Weisstuch. “All we want to be is part of the greater community. People in Millwood are reticent to step forward when they look at the track record.”

Carpenter said that while Millwood and West End candidates are invited to apply for the vacancy, the best candidate will be chosen regardless of where they live. “Can I tell you ‘oh if we get one candidate (from Millwood) that person will go on the planning board’? I can’t just tell you that. But I can tell you they will be given serious consideration.”

Another Millwood resident in support of putting a candidate from the west side of town on the board is former planning board chair, Sara Brewster. She agreed that a lack of representaion on any board in recent years has left Millwood residents feeling discouraged.

“Millwood and West End is something that is special," said Brewster. "There are very, very talented people over here and I am appalled that (Farnham) has felt that she has been so mistreated, and not put on a board when she was so qualified, that she has had to leave the task force.”

As former planning board members themselves, Brewster and Weisstuch agreed with Carpenter that nobody represents any part of town, but believes the current board members have a lack of familiarity with Millwood.

“There’s a certain sensitivity about Millwood and the West End that is lacking because there are people on the planning board that couldn’t get arrested in Millwood,” said Weisstuch. “I will be sorely disappointed if a qualified candidate from Millwood steps forward and is not appointed.”

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