New Castle Supervisor's Report - 6/12/2019
Supervisor, New Castle
What happened in Virginia Beach must give us pause about our Town. I’ve learned over the last 5 1/2 years is that we have an incredible group of people working in town hall. I am honored to work with such dedicated people. They truly care about what they do. I wish to thank every one of them for their service to New Castle. Thank you for your commitment to New Castle and our residents. You are part of our community and we want you, like all who live and work in New Castle, to be safe. A government building should be a place of community. Our community meets there. We should feel safe in town hall. And our town employees should absolutely feel safe in their place of employment. This latest mass shooting demonstrates the need for active shooter training. Rest assured, we have been doing that here in New Castle. All our employees go through active shooter training, and we are installing escape windows. A sad state of affairs for sure but we can’t ignore the unfortunate reality. And we must protect our own and not close our eyes from the dangers that exist. And these dangers will be with us until there’s action that reduces the risks we all face. We face a national crisis. We must take a stand against hatred, prejudice, rage and gun violence. Those are our national emergencies. Our voices must be heard, and we cannot stop until they are, and until our nation becomes safe and secure.
A few weeks back the Town Board passed a resolution declaring the first Friday in June to be National Gun Violence Awareness Day – a day to honor and remember all victims and survivors of gun violence and to declare that we as a country must do more to reduce gun violence. Thank you County Executive George Latimer & NYS Assemblyman David Buchwald for joining us at our “Wear Orange Rally” last Friday for National Gun Violence Awareness Day. Here are my remarks from the rally
Today was a beautiful Friday. It was also beautiful on Friday, December 14, 2012. The weather that day was sunny & unseasonably warm. That was also the day when 20 helpless beautiful children were gunned down at the Sandy Hook Elementary School. We see so much on the news that we become immune to reality. Let’s think about Sandy Hook. Join me now in a tragic exercise. For 10 seconds, close your eyes and imagine what a classroom of murdered 5- and 6-year old children look like. Think about the bodies of those 18 little 5- & 6-year-old children – along with the corpse of the killer – which remained in the school for hours while the investigation ensued. Think about that. Think about the what the parents were experiencing. What they still experience, to this day. I apologize, but we must confront reality. We must open our eyes. Wide open. We must all see that this is a travesty. After Sandy Hook, I was convinced this was it. Things would change. “Never again” became the mantra. That’s all it was. Since Sandy Hook there have been shootings in churches, colleges, music festivals, high schools, newsroom, synagogue, restaurant, a bank. Since Sandy Hook nothing has changed on the Federal level. Nothing. Americans, and yes, our community, face the risk of gun violence on a daily basis. Every day our children are at risk. So many teenagers are politically active now, and it’s a great thing to see. Hadiya Pendleton was politically active. She marched in President Obama’s second inaugural parade. She was shot weeks later. As elected officials, it’s our job to protect public safety. I commend New York State leaders for passing common-sense gun safety legislation. They are doing their job. When will our nation’s leaders do the same? All of us here today must join the crusade against gun violence. As citizens, it’s our job to lobby our elected officials to take action. It is true that 100 Americans are killed by gun violence every day and on average there are nearly 13,000 gun homicides every year. Americans are 25 times more likely to be killed with guns than people in other high-income countries. Think about those numbers. Think about the images we had in our minds when we closed our eyes for those 10 seconds. We are failing our children. We need to put a stop to gun violence now. Our voices must be heard, and we cannot stop until they are.
Since the current moratorium expired on June 3, 2019, we extended it for another 6 months. Again, this moratorium only applies to spaces > 3,000 SF. As I mentioned two weeks ago, in November, 2018, the Town Board enacted a 6 month moratorium to allow adequate time to implement new retail and commercial zoning for the Chappaqua hamlet. We must update our zoning so it’s consistent with the goals of the 2017 Comprehensive Plan. Some of those goals include creating a new and more vibrant mix of retail, as well as facilitating the development of diverse housing that meets the needs of young people and older adults. Another goal is creating design guidelines for retail and commercial establishments. Since the adoption of the Moratorium, the Town Board has authorized creation and issuance of a Request For Proposals (RFP) for the Chappaqua Hamlet re-zoning. We released the RFP and, after a series of interviews, we awarded the contract to Kimley-Horn. Kimley-Horn has set forth a 12 to 15 month project timeframe with draft regulations ready by November/December of 2019. Extending the moratorium will provide us with the time needed for the development of new zoning regulations. As far as the actual re-zoning, we’ve already held 2 working group meetings. The working group consists of the Town Board, Planning Board, Randy Katchis, Steve Tavolacci & Bill Spade. Our kick-off meeting was 5/23. You can watch the video here. Our 2nd meeting was 06/10, and you can watch the video here. Our next meeting is 6/25, 9am. All work group meetings are taped.
Downtown Chappaqua Infrastructure and Streetscape Project Update
As far as North Greeley, curbs, decorative lights, sidewalks & brick pavers were installed. As far as lower King, they will continue to place concrete, and continue to install the brick pavers. They will finish the sidewalks then the alley way. As far as Allen Place, they excavated the existing curb & sidewalk. They formed & placed the concrete curb. They graded for the sidewalk. They will now excavate & grade for the bluestone next to Casa Tile. By Pizza Station, they will be excavating the sidewalk on the south side (across from Shell). They will be excavating for the seating wall & trench drains. The following week they will install rebar for the seating wall then pour the concrete. As far as South Greeley, on the Starbuck’s side, they excavated the existing curb & sidewalk from the triangle to lower King. They graded & installed the granite curb. They installed conduits & light pole footings. This week they will grade for the sidewalk, pour the sidewalk and the following week install the brick pavers. On the Bank of America side of South Greeley, they excavated the existing curb & sidewalk on South Greeley from Woodburn to upper King. They installed conduits & light pole footings. They graded for the granite curb. The granite curb will be installed this week. This week they will excavate & install the pedestrian pole footing, install the light pole footing & grade for sidewalk. The following week they will continue to grade the sidewalk then pour the sidewalks. Going up King, on the Petticoat Lane side, they started to excavate the existing sidewalk. Night work is on hold pending final NYS DOT approval for the location of light pole. We are hoping to get a final answer this week so we can get the traffic signal footings installed and finish the sidewalks across from Starbucks and Georges Men’s Shop.
I wanted to take a moment to point out the process re: sidewalk work. Like most big construction projects there are many subcontractors each doing what they do best. All the work must be coordinated. We need to keep each sub-contractor busy for continuous periods of time. They don’t come back for 1 day stretches. For example, when A&K is installing curbs they need a big stretch. Same for pouring sidewalks and installing pavers. Here’s a summary:
- Sidewalks are excavated (ELQ).
- Area is then graded for curbs (ELQ)
- Curbs are then installed (A&K)
- Footings for the decorative light poles are excavated (ELQ).
- Footings are installed (ELQ)
- Electrical conduits for the decorative light poles are then installed (Town DPW, electrician).
- Decorative lights are then installed (Verde, electrician)
- Sidewalks need to be graded (ELQ)
- Sidewalks & foundation for the brick pavers are poured (A&K).
- Brick pavers are then installed (A&K)
The Town Board approved funding for content for a brand new web site the town is planning called Discover Chappaqua. A site similar to this. For the content, we are collaborating with Grace Bennett of Inside Press. This Discover Chappaqua website that will highlight all that Chappaqua has to offer - a great place to shop, eat & live. The web site will also highlight the streetscape improvements. The web site launch will coincide with a ribbon cutting celebration in downtown Chappaqua when the streetscape improvements are completed.
Extremely proud to receive an award on behalf of New Castle from the Westchester Municipal Planning Federation for the integrated housing in the Cupola building at Chappaqua Crossing. It was noted that.....The creative renovation of this iconic building at the heart of the 114 acre former Reader’s Digest campus resulted in 64 integrated mixed income residential apartments. The adaptive re-use of the building now provides affordable, workforce and market rate housing options while contributing to the successful mixed-use re-development of the property. Congratulations to the Town Board, Planning Board & Sabrina D. Charney Hull, our Director of Planning.
Work on 117 continues. As I mentioned two weeks ago, just as we experienced delays with our downtown project due to utility issues, so too have the developers at Chappaqua Crossing. NYSDOT and Con Edison have finally resolved the issue of the gas main and Con Edison will be lowering it to NYSDOT regulation. They are continuing with the wall work and it is their hope that they can still achieve an early July completion.
Workers Compensation Savings
We are renewing our workers compensation policy for 2019-2020. The savings over last year’s policy will be $63.036. Since 2014 Foa & Son Co has reduced the Town’s workers compensation costs by $1,575,047!
CVAC Annual Dinner and Officer Installation
I was honored to attend Chappaqua Volunteer Ambulance Corps (CVAC) Annual Dinner and Officer Installation. Residents who have been lucky not to need CVAC’s assistance only see an ambulance rushing by, or an ambulance waiting at public events in case of an emergency. Most are unaware of the high volume of calls CVAC responds to. CVAC doesn’t get to pick and choose the type of incidents that they respond to, regardless of the danger involved. They are true first responders, whether it’s a broken leg or a gunshot, like at Lange’s. The rest of us can avoid looking at tragedy, illness, even fatalities. They ace those incidents with professionalism. In so doing that, CVAC honors us all. Thank You. Congratulations to the new officers:
- Peter Marcon - Chairman
- Kate Clough - Captain
- Joseph Gentilesco - 1st lieutenant
- Elissa Schilmeister - 2nd Lieutenant
- Marianne Karr - Treasurer
- Marc Hirschfield - Secretary
- Norm Jen - Youth Corps Director
Congratulations to Chappaqua Orchestra, Barbara Yahr & our EPIC Committee!
Very pleased to announce that The Together in Music Family Concert was selected to receive the Matt Dolan Innovative Program and Award Grant through the Westchester Recreation and Parks Society for their work with our Every Person is Connected Committee (“EPIC”). This past March, multiple groups partnered to provide an interactive and inclusive family concert spotlighting the special needs community playing with the Chappaqua Orchestra. This program is a great collaboration of different organizations coming together to enhance and enrich the lives of children with special needs and providing them with a memorable musical experience. Congratulations to Chappaqua Orchestra, Barbara Yahr & our EPIC Committee!
I’ve said it many times before but our greatest resource is our residents! Kudos to Alexandra Luchow Rosenberg & Stacey Saiontz for leading this effort! Great article in The Examiner.
Leaf Blower Environmental Protection Law
We held another public hearing on 6/11. One again, we heard lots of great feedback. Our next public hearing is 07/16. The revised leaf blower legislation permits gas-powered leaf blowers during October thru May but only permits electric leaf blowers in the summertime. Eliminating gas-powered leaf blowers in the summer will reduce air pollutants & reduce noise levels. As far as greenhouse gases, it is estimated that with this proposal over 135 metric tons of CO2 annually will be saved from the atmosphere. Click here to see the SAB Report – Leaf Blower Environmental Protection Law April. Click here to read a copy of the draft law.