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Chappaqua Architect Ponders Empty-Nester Housing

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.”