Chappaqua Architect Ponders Empty-Nester Housing

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Chappaqua resident and architect Chuck Napoli, here presenting his plan for a revitalization of the Hamlet's downtown area, says he wants to figure out a way to make the Hamlet empty-nester friendly.
Chappaqua resident and architect Chuck Napoli, here presenting his plan for a revitalization of the Hamlet's downtown area, says he wants to figure out a way to make the Hamlet empty-nester friendly. Photo Credit: Michael Nocella

CHAPPAQUA, N.Y. – Chappaqua architect and resident Chuck Napoli spends the majority of his time thinking about the “master plan” of Chappaqua. Most notably, the potential revitalization of the hamlet’s downtown area.

With the re-imagining of Chappaqua’s commercial space already in motion, Napoli says he would also like to be part of the hamlet’s residential philosophy going forward. In particular, what to do with empty nesters.

Many Chappaqua empty nesters move out of town to avoid high taxes for schools their children no longer attend. Napoli thinks it’s a shame there isn’t a more enticing alternative than leaving the area.

“We should look into figuring out a way to keep our seniors in the town,” he said. “They are a resource of Chappaqua culture and wisdom that is invaluable to our community.”

Napoli says one way to keep Chappaqua’s elders in the area is to offer them smaller homes. Such an option would mean less tax and upkeep, but still provide a place for their kids to come visit.

“A new form of housing in Chappaqua would be cottage housing,” he said. “It would create a zoning issue, so that would be the hurdle. But you could clear that hurdle by down-zoning.”

Napoli suggested such housing would not only be attractive to senior empty nesters, but also new, young families who can’t yet afford a bigger home.

“I call this kind of housing concept starter homes,” he said. “In this case, for the young family, it’s a fresh start. For an older individual, they’re starting a new chapter in their life.”

While the idea of starter homes and cottages is not directly related to the hamlet’s downtown revitalization, Napoli says the two go hand-in-hand when thinking about Chappaqua’s end goal.

“Developing a town is a mindset,” he said. “When I think about Chappaqua, I always ask myself if we are designed for the long haul. Hopefully, revitalizing the downtown is part of that. I think giving empty nesters more affordable, more appealing housing options could also be part of that solution.”

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Comments (4)

Please stop polluting the conversation by constantly confusing choice with opinion. Choice of a smaller home for young families or our elders and your opinion about the Crossing. Lets not confuse people by collapsing the two topics in one.
The small home movement is NOT condo or town house housing of past, knee jerck solutions for developers whos mission is getting in and out as fast as possible.
Small homes have every amenity of traditional homes but more manageable, smaller; a yard, privacy and choice marked by unique architectural styles in context with small town habitats.
Now the topic of the crossing. Since 1969 New Castle has zoned out all B-RO parcels in this town except for the Crossing and that now we may zone out some more.
Hey, instead of more housing or retail or using the crossing property as a depository for what is lacking try listening and thinking about this idea.

I'm a business owner needing to expand my growing business. The Crossing has space in the existing buildings but I'm not really interested in moving into a building as if it were a condo or town house. I would want my own property; my own self expression; a building with my logo and my name on it.
So, here is the idea if you are still reading. Why not rezone the crossing property in many smaller Business parcels for growing companies.
I think the space in the existing buildings may become more attractive to support business and too with several different companies, vehicle movements will be staggered during peak hours and helloooo, the increased non-residential tax base we want.

Finally, zoning is as changeable as the people want it to be, The State Legislature gave the municipalities the power to create their own zoning laws. That said, the people and furthermore any zoning change or creation must include all interested parties, stakeholders, official agencies and yes people like you. Come on out and play Chappster and let's choose how we want it to be.

With the FAR legislation that permits a 4,500 square foot home on a half acre it is not surprising that the Town's stock of smaller homes has been depleted. There was a time that they were in abundance. They were the starter homes. When a family wished for a substantially larger home they moved to a larger home. Unfortunately with the encouragement of the Zoning Board and the blessing of the Town Board for years homeowners have been building outsized houses completely altering the nature of neighborhoods with smaller homes and lots. Now we need more starter homes.
Once again, an example of very poor planning from the Town.

Chappaqua Crossing provides the PERFECT location for empty nest housing, whether it be "cottage housing" as Mr Napoli suggests or town houses, or condos. Chappaqua Crossing also provides the perfect spot to provide some retail and super market. In summary we have in our midst an underutilized 110 acre tract of land that easily can accommodate cottage housing, town houses, and some retail ALL of which will contribute handsomely to our tax base. Isn’t it interesting that Mr Napoli states that his idea would create a zoning issue yet when zoning issue in Chapp Crossing is mentioned it creates an uproar??? While Mr Napoli has some innovative and aggressive ideas for our downtown they would be terribly disruptive to construct and most certainly create even more congestion and traffic. Lets use the empty property we already have before we we start to dismantle and disrupt our downtown.

Why not just lower the taxes (for a reasonable number of years or until the house is sold) on homes of parents whose children went through the Chappaqua school system from K-12 but who are now all gone.