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New Chappaqua Crossing Housing Plan Puts 32 Units In Cupola Building

The cupola building at Chappaqua Crossing. Owner Summit/Greenfield has proposed 32 rental apartments for the buildings upper two floors.
The cupola building at Chappaqua Crossing. Owner Summit/Greenfield has proposed 32 rental apartments for the buildings upper two floors. Photo Credit: Contributed

CHAPPAQUA, N.Y. -- After some informal discussion this spring , Chappaqua Crossing owner Summit/Greenfield has submitted a rezoning petition to allow for 32 affordable-housing units to be built in the site's iconic cupola building.

The petition, which was filed with the town of New Castle last week, calls for amending the text of Chappaqua Crossing's existing commercial zone, called B-RO-20, to allow for multifamily residential usage in existing buildings.

"We believe this is a unique opportunity to create high-quality affordable housing in a distinctive setting,” Felix Charney, president of Summit Development, said in a statement.

Summit/Greenfield is a joint venture between Charney's company and Greenfield partners.

The building, along with several adjacent office structures, fall under the B-RO-20 zone, which takes up about 70.2 acres on the former Reader's Digest campus.

The four-story cupola building, which dates to the 1930s and was an original structure for Reader's Digest, would host the apartment units on its two upper floors, Summit/Greenfield announced. The apartments will include studio, one-bedroom, two-bedroom and three-bedroom rental units, according to the submission.

The project would represent an increase in affordable-housing stock, which would count towards Westchester County's 2009 federal settlement to have 750 units built over seven years in 31 predominantly white municipalities.

Currently, the campus has multifamily residential zoning for about 31.2 acres on the eastern side - it is called the "East Village" - which allows for up to 111 units. The allowable housing stock includes 60 market-rate townhouses and 31 market-rate condos and 20 affordable condos.

In connection with the affordable-units shift, Summit/Greenfield now proposes to reconfigure the East Village so that it has 91 market-rate townhouses. For the entire campus, the aggregate number of housing units would rise to 123.

A modification to the East Village's draft layout, which is called a Preliminary Development Concept Plan (PDCP), is also proposed.

“I believe that Summit Greenfield’s proposal offers the opportunity to create affordable housing choices in our Town that we all can be proud of," New Castle Supervisor Rob Greenstein said in a statement."

Greenstein also support giving the townhouses "fee-simple" status, which means they will be taxed like single-family homes. This status can result in more revenue compared to condos.

It is possible that an outside developer could be brought on for the new proposal, according to Summit/Greenfield spokesman Geoff Thompson.

The current multifamily zone was approved in 2011 by a previous New Castle Town Board following a lengthy review that lasted for years. Over time, Summit/Greenfield proposed three denser housing iterations, with its last one being at 199 units. The 111-unit approval also constituted a partial denial, as the board opted not to allow an 88-unit cluster on the northern section of the site, which was dubbed the "North Village."

The owner sued the town in 2011 over how the rezoning process was handled, and the parties reached a settlement in 2012. The settlement terms call for Summit/Greenfield to drop its litigation if the Town Board and Planning Board give approvals for its retail proposal for another portion of the site. The owner could return to court, however, if either body were to issue a denial.

The Town Board approved the retail project's rezoning and PDCP, which calls for 120,000 square feet of space and anchored by a Whole Foods, with votes held in December and May. The project is now before the Planning Board.

The board is set to take up the new project's application on Tuesday.

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