Planning Board Piles On Chappaqua Crossing Concerns

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Andrew Tung, a planning and engineering consultant for the planned new uses on the site, on Tuesday presented the company's proposal for a retail center at Chappaqua Crossing to the New Castle Planning Board.
Andrew Tung, a planning and engineering consultant for the planned new uses on the site, on Tuesday presented the company's proposal for a retail center at Chappaqua Crossing to the New Castle Planning Board. Photo Credit: Brian Marschhauser

UPDATED 3:35 p.m.

CHAPPAQUA, N.Y. – The Chappaqua Crossing bashing tour continued Tuesday night when the New Castle Planning Board took its turn to criticize Summit/Greenfield’s proposal for retail development at the 480 Bedford Road property.

“I’m having trouble understanding how this works in the real world,” said board member Tom Curley. “It just doesn’t pass the smell test.”

Summit/Greenfield’s current petition calls for 120,000 square feet of retail space that is anchored by a full-service grocery store of 36,000 to 66,000 square feet. The grocery store would be supported by smaller retail stores.

Summit/Greenfield is acting on a town-initiated proposal to rezone the property to allow for retail development in the currently zoned Research and Office Business District. The petition was referred to the Planning Board for review.

The board piggybacked concerns local residents brought up Nov. 27, when the Town Board opened the proposal for public comment. Curley continued to question the actual need for the retail center and wondered what type of grocer would want to occupy such a “nontraditional” site.

“I think there is this notion somehow that we’re doing this because we’re underserved,” he said. “I guarantee if you do the market study you’ll find we’re not underserved.”

Andrew Tung, a planning and engineering consultant for the planned new uses on the site, agreed that the space is a difficult sell but said it has already garnered interest from major grocery store chains.

Tung said stores and restaurants like Chipotle, Five Guys, Starbucks, Petco and Staples would be the type of national chains that would round out the development. He said the names were only hypothetical and the ancillary stores would mostly depend on the main grocery store.

Curley described Petco and Staples as “category killers” that would prevent similar stores from ever coming to the town. He said the proposal doesn’t have a “campus feel” and believes it is a missed opportunity to capitalize on the historical significance of the property, which formerly was the headquarters of Reader's Digest.

Curley and other members agreed that significant market studies need to be carried out before the proposal can be approved, and put the onus on Summit/Greenfield to prove there is a desire and need for such a development in Chappaqua.

“As long as it takes,” Curley said about the study. “Once this gets built, there’s no going back.”

Geoff Thompson, a spokesperson from Chappaqua Crossing responded "We are not attempting to compete with the downtown merchants. In fact, we have responded to the Town Board’s zoning proposal which explicitly states that there will be no 'big box' stores and no fast food restaurants. By keeping shoppers now leaving town in search of groceries and other merchandise, it serves to benefit the entire retail community. The success of Chappaqua Crossing as an office location, a residential community and a retail source means more people in Chappaqua who will be looking for local shops, restaurants and services, not just on site but in the downtown. We respect the concerns of the businesses in the hamlet and are confident that going forward the retail approach we are taking and that the Town Board has put forth will be a benefit to the overall health of the local business community."

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Comments (7)

This is a substantial commercial property that should be utilized...a shopping complex with direct access to the sawmill seems pretty logical, at least it would be for us as opposed to multi-family housing that would tax us. Alternatively if townspeople are opposed to development here they should band together and purchase the property as a group and turn it into a park. I'd pay something to do that, but otherwise, I say let the retail complex move forward.

So its ok to have Starbucks, Dunkin Dougnuts, Rite-Aid, Walgreens in town but not Petco or Staples at CC? Can we have another nail salon orbanh or real estate broker? Would that be ok? Who gets to decide?
Does anybody even know if we will be able to see these stores should they be built at Chappaqua Crossing? I've lived in town 18 years and have never been on the grounds of Readers Digest/Chap Cross. All we can see is the brick building from the Saw Mill (and the developer plans to leab=ve that as is) and the front gate from 117. Should Whole Foods or Petco move in - will we even see them? Bassett and Tina- you do not know the answer to this question yet you are so dead set against it. Why not keep an open mind and see if it or something might work. If we can find accetable retail and a supermarket and get taxes its a win win. There are 100's who oppose but many also are being reasonable and open minded and ready to hear the plan. You are drowning us out.

There you go again. I am dead set against a third hamlet without the complete, careful study that an updated Master Plan would provide.
Wonder if you have been following or even have a clue to the myriad of serious concerns the Planning Board has spoken to.
You are the one who has made up your mind on as far as I have read from your posts, very selfish wants. What is clear, again from your many posts, is that you do not care about the character of the community. Too bad that you have never been to the site. It is a treasure, albeit one that holds no interest for you.

A study and master plan is nothing more than a stall tactic and we will eventually lose using that strategy. Even if this holy grail study and master plan was done- what if it concluded that Chapp Crossing is a viable location for controlled retail and it will provide needed tax revenues for our town and for our school system? You and all the NIMBY folks will still object. You are not fooling anyone- you will object, obstruct regardless.
I am in the camp that we should have an open mind and lets hear what our elected officials and the developer have to say and what the plans really call for. Even our school board stated this week that we must have additional commercial revenue if we are to maintain our excellent district and fund the budget.
Have you ever turned on your car radio and the static prevented you from hearing the song clearly? You know that annoying hiss and buzz that prevents you from clearly hearing? Well you and the NIMBY folks are the static that are preventing the rest of us from hearing and understanding the potential, the plans, the discussion regarding Chapp Crossing.

Thank goodness for the smart, thoughtful input from the Planning Board.
I have been following their meetings on this subject and each member of this board has spoken substantively against this proposal.
The Town Board does not seem to be really listening to the hundreds of residents who oppose this. Let us hope that they do listen to our Planning Board.

Chipotle? Petco? Isn't a Staples in Mount Kisco. -- Having these stores in such a beautiful location as Readers Digest is a sin. The Board's reaction is finally a sign that the leader's of Chappaqua are thinking rationally. Finally common sense and reason is getting a voice. Chappaqua is not "underserved." Downtown needs our business. As do the other larger stores just a town away.