CHAPPAQUA, N.Y. – A representative from the Chappaqua Crossing development company, Summit/Greenfield, presented a detailed explanation of the company's plans for the grocery and retail site at Tuesday afternoon's New Castle Planning Board work session, and in turn heard the town planning board's vision for the property.
Both sides seemed to agree that retail will draw more tenants to the 400,000 square feet of office space on the site now.
The planning board wants to see the project include shifting retail buildings to create a more traditional “Main Street hamlet shopping environment.”
Planning Board member Tom Curley said this would go hand-in-hand with creating neighborhood-like roadways, pedestrian lighting and designs more conducive to a living complex rather than a shopping center or strip mall, Curley explained.
“I think if it's done right, this is the best way to bring this property back,” said Curley.
Summit/Greenfield representative Andrew Tung concurred, saying that filling office space is difficult, given that it's a “challenge these days to find those in need of office space in Northern Westchester.”
Where the two men disagreed was on whether Chappaqua Crossing should be positioned as just a shopping center, or more of a beautiful neighborhood street leading into the "Hamlet of Chappaqua Crossing."
Tung did not favor the hamlet-type idea.
“That form works in a number of different ways, but what I’ve come to realize is that the hamlet plan is not the right answer in every location,” Tung said.
But Curley said he believes a "hamlet" plan would not only make the property more valuable to investors, but also the community as a whole.
“It adds to the whole civic presence of the town to have... a third hamlet—a new hamlet, as opposed to a shopping center,” he said. “It makes more of a place out of Chappaqua—out of New Castle—than it is now.”
Both sides seemed interested in finding a middle ground between the two visions, though, in the interest of moving this plan forward.
Curley and Tung scheduled a meeting with New Castle Town Planner Sabrina Charney Hull behind closed doors for Friday afternoon to allow “creative minds” to blend Summit/Greenfield’s current plan with the Planning Board’s hamlet aspirations.
“Once the town gets past the hurdle of ‘Do we want to do retail here?’ the next question is ‘Can we?’ said Curley. "The last question would be ‘How do we do it?’”
Of course, Summit/Greenfield would only get to the point of dealing formally with the Planning Board if, and when, the Town Board approves the developer's current draft supplemental environmental impact statement and rezoning attempt. Tung said he was looking forward to working with the Planning Board once they get that rezoning.