(This story has been updated)
CHAPPAQUA, N.Y. -- The New Castle Town Board voted unanimously on Tuesday, Dec. 9, to close three public hearings pertaining to the Chappaqua Crossing retail proposal.
The Town Board will consider scheduling a Dec. 18 special meeting for taking action on the matter, its Dec. 15 meeting agenda shows. Previously, voting was eyed for Dec. 15, according to remarks Supervisor Rob Greenstein made at the board's Tuesday meeting.
The three hearings covered retail zoning text legislation, the project's initial layout -- called a preliminary development concept plan (PDCP) -- and amendments to the town's master plan. One hearing remains open and will continue on Dec. 15, which is for remapping part of the site to include the proposed retail overlay zone.
The rezoning legislation allows for up to 120,000 square feet of retail space, including a grocery store of 36,000 to 56,000, although some board members expressed interest in lowering the maximum amount. Chappaqua Crossing owner Summit/Greenfield proposes having a 40,000-square-foot Whole Foods serve as the grocery store and anchor tenant.
In his supervisor's report, Greenstein touched upon some other details of the rezoning legislation, including a 500,000-square-foot cap on nearby office space, along with a mothballing or demolition of 162,000 of office space. In the case of the latter, according to the supervisor, lower-level or basement space would not count towards the figure.
Greenstein also mentioned a new requirement under the legislation, which is to have fitness-related uses occupying a minimum of 25,000 square feet of the allowable retail space.
The supervisor also dismissed the notion of banning chain restaurants from the site, a topic that was touched upon by the Town Board at its Dec. 2 meeting.
"We’re unaware of any municipality in Westchester that has banned or restricted full-service chain restaurants," he said. "The legality of such a ban on full-service chain restaurants would likely be subject to challenge.”
Greenstein added that a ban on fast-food restaurants will be included.
In contrast, Deputy Supervisor Lisa Katz, who has been an outspoken skeptic of retail at the site, was open to a chain-restaurant ban.
“I personally don’t mind being the leader in an area," she said.
Attendance for the public hearings was relatively low, although residents who had previously voiced concerns spoke again.
William Devaney, who said he was speaking for neighbors -- he referred to the nearby Lawrence Farms East community -- discussed results of a traffic study that was commissioned by multiple people and involved an engineer being retained.
Devaney, who does not plan on making the study available to the public, read some of its findings, which included a Level of Service "F" rating for multiple roadways near Chappaqua Crossing. He did not specify whether these ratings were before or after construction of the project, although he mentioned that the report included both "no-build" and build scenarios.
One intersection he clarified was for the intersection of Route 117 and Roaring Brook Road, which would have a "B" rating. Additionally, Devaney predicted a years-long process for the developer regarding traffic mitigation.
Devaney declined to disclose who commissioned the study or who was hired for it.
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