Chappaqua Station Hearing Resumes Tuesday; Budget Goes To A Vote

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An updated rendering of the Chappaqua Station affordable-housing site was presented at a Sept. 20 public hearing. Photo Credit: Brian Marschhauser
Clinton Smith, a town attorney for New Castle, said the town board is responsible for the next step of the project. Photo Credit: Brian Marschhauser

CHAPPAQUA, N.Y. – Another chapter in the Chappaqua Station saga opens Tuesday when Conifer Realty returns for a continued public hearing on its affordable housing proposal.

Residents will have another opportunity to comment on the proposal when the town board’s meeting begins at 7:45 p.m. in New Castle Town Hall. The hearing was previously adjourned on Sept. 20 after many residents shared concerns about the size of the five-story, 36-unit building at 54 Hunts Place.

The meeting was adjourned to give Conifer more time to respond to new questions and to allow residents sufficient time to comment. Town officials do not anticipate the hearing will close Tuesday, but when it does, the town board will determine what happens next.

“The next step for the town board is to make an environmental determination under the State Environmental Quality Review Act (SEQR),” said Town Attorney Clinton Smith.

As lead agency on the Chappaqua Station project, it would be up to the town board to make an assessment of whether the proposed project will have a significant adverse impact on the environment. Under the SEQR Act, the town can make one of three declarations about the proposal.

A “negative declaration” means the project is not expected to have significant adverse environmental impacts. A “conditioned negative declaration” is used when a proposed action may have an adverse effect on the environment that can be eliminated or mitigated without the need for additional environmental studies. A “positive declaration” means the project presents significant adverse environmental impacts.

“If it’s a positive declaration they would be required to submit an Environmental Impact Statement,” Smith said.

While the town is responsible for the environmental review, council member Jason Chapin has said there are 10 town, county and state agencies that will have a yes or no vote on the proposal in some fashion.

Following the Chappaqua Station hearing, the board will also vote to adopt a 2013 town budget. The preliminary $35.9 million budget presented to the board two weeks ago would raise residents’ tax bills by an average of $74 per household but manages to comply with the state-mandated 2 percent tax levy cap. The total tax levy is proposed to increase from $19,340,705 to $19,752,495.

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