CHAPPAQUA, N.Y. – The Chappaqua Schools Board of Education reached a consensus that Horace Greeley High School’s campus will be part of the Chappaqua Crossing proposal in its Wednesday night meeting.
The involvement of the campus relates to the traffic flow on Roaring Brook Road and the entrance to the high school, which both sit in between the school and Chappaqua Crossing. Developer Summit/Greenfield’s plan for a 36,000- to 66,000-square-foot grocery store at the site has many residents distraught about the potential impact on the town. One of most reverberated issues is the traffic it would bring to Route 117 and Roaring Brook Road, which is already notorious for congestion when school begins and lets out.
The current proposal would widen Horace Greeley’s entrance from two lanes to three lanes. There would be additional changes to entrance’s curve and crosswalk, both of which figure to lend better safety for both drivers and pedestrians. All of the work would be paid for by Summit/Greenfield. Board members weighed the benefits of a better traffic flow at Horace Greeley versus the possibility of a less aesthetically pleasing campus.
“This is a plan they think will mitigate the impact of the development across the street while also offering to fix our own (traffic) problem – if the Town does indeed approve it,” Board President Jeffrey Mester said.
Some board members were not sold on the current design and how it would impact the campus visually.
“I am concerned about the impacts these changes would have aesthetically,” board member Karen Visser said. “Will it (Greely’s entrance) look like a highway instead of a residential area?”
Board member Victoria Tipp echoed Visser’s concerns.
“What will this do to the aesthetics?” she asked. “This would be a much more commercial look. They’re creating a huge hub and the look of the school will change because of it.”
Though the school district does not have to agree to be part of the site plan, board members agreed that if the development does indeed happen, the alternative of not making changes to address the impact of its new neighbor isn’t a good option.
“We’re pretty much forced to do this regardless if this proposal gets approved,” Tipp said. “We should at least keep the right to modify the plan on our end as this process moves forward.”
Assistant Superintendent for Business John Chow confirmed the district will be able to make changes and suggestions to the plan.
“That is the understanding,” he said.
Mester said whether or not development at Chappaqua Crossing takes place, Horace Greeley’s traffic flow needs to be dealt with sooner or later anyway.
“This is something we would do with our own time and money eventually at some point,” he said. “The Town is trying to help us with our problem while also addressing the outside problem.”