CHAPPAQUA, N.Y. – A proposal to bring a grocery store to Chappaqua Crossing was met with skepticism Tuesday night by New Castle’s Planning Board, which questioned the size of the proposed store and the necessity of the project altogether.
The conceptual design calls for approximately 150,000-square-feet of property to be rezoned for retail use, which would be anchored by a full-service grocery store occupying at least 50,000-square-feet.
Planning Board member Sheila Crespi wondered how Chappaqua could possibly support a grocery store that large when its last grocery store, D’Agostinos, went out of business. Planning Board Chair Richard Brownell estimated the D’Agostinos site to be 12,000-square-feet.
“I don’t know the basis for saying it’s an under-served market,” Brownell said of Chappaqua’s need for a grocery store. “If it’s going to proceed, that needs to be determined.”
Brownell said if the town board is determined to bring a grocery store to the Chappaqua Crossing property, it should also consider allowing for smaller stores. He said the town shouldn’t restrict itself to a store in the 50,000 to 60,000-square-foot range and should let the market determine the size of the store.
The board also shared the concerns of residents who felt rezoning Chappaqua Crossing for retail use would divide the hamlet’s business district and drive business away from South Greeley Avenue and King Street.
“I feel that this is introducing a third commercial center into New Castle, which is something the master plan didn’t anticipate,” Crespi said.
Crespi said the project would mean a significant change to the character of the town, and the board needs to determine if that is something its residents really want before moving any further.
“It’s something that when you move forward on, there’s no going back on,” Crespi said.
The planning board will meet again later this month and then send its comments to the town board in a memo before the public hearing reconvenes on Oct. 30.