By Eileen Gallagher
Two New Castle residents, Frank Nestro and Kenneth Martin, received accolades and engraved plaques at Town Hall Tuesday to honor their actions on behalf of a New Castle Police Officer. Chief of Police Charles Ferry provided a recap of a January 22 crime incident on North State Road–during which time Nestro and Martin, Chief Ferry explained, jumped into action on behalf of Officer Sean McNeill. Criminal charges brought against the perpetrator, who was convicted and sentenced in the New Castle Justice Court, were detailed in a recent police release.*
Nestro and Martin were driving along North State Road at the intersection of Route 100 in New Castle on January 22, around 6:45 in the morning, related Chief Ferry, when they came upon the scene of a “one car” automobile accident. According to Chief Ferry, as they slowed down in their respective cars, their eyes were drawn to the site of an agitated person with Officer McNeill, who had responded to the call. When the person grabbed the officer’s gun and tried to wrest it from his holster, Chief Ferry continued, Nestro and Martin sprang into action. The two civilians raced from their cars and grabbed the driver, now a suspect, restraining him enough for Officer McNeill to take him into custody, Chief Ferry said.*
With the danger behind them, Nestro, Martin, and Chief Ferry smiled broadly as they posed for photos with the town board members, supervisor, and families. A standing ovation for the citizens followed the presentation.
Station Restaurant Negotiations Continue
During a work session immediately preceeding the board meeting, Peter Chase, followed by Carla Gambescia, offered their ideas and vision for an optimal food service scenario at the currently vacant train station.
Peter Chase came to the meeting room with his own vision and a video presentation** depicting the concepts he has in mind for Chappaqua Station because, as he phrased it, “a picture is worth a thousand words.” As a developer and operator of restaurants and bars around the world, Chase and his wife Erin have been hired by hotels and restaurants to “conceptualize” their spaces. Chase sees the future of “the crown jewel of Chappaqua,” as town board member Adam Brodsky characterized the station, as a market type experience a la Grand Central Station combined with a restaurant and repurposed bar area in what was once the ticket window of the station.
Chase’s food service would begin in the early hours with coffee service and breakfast type foods available by 5 a.m. , and lunch and dinner throughout the day. The Chases are big proponents of the “slow food movement,” or the preservation of traditional and regional cuisine while encouraging the farming of plants, seeds, and livestock characteristic of the local ecosystem. To that end, they would make full use of the Chappaqua Farmers’ Market.
“These last few weeks have been incredibly difficult,” Gambescia began, as she recalled the hundreds of hours and thousands of dollars spent in creating and planning for what she thought was her space for the Chappaqua location of Via Vanti. Wishing to transform the station from its current “pass through” status to a place of community for her fellow New Castle residents, Gambescia attempted to tantalize the audience with her descriptions of nutella crepes, flavored gelatos, an array of meatballs, homemade mozzarella, and lasagna cupcakes.
Exuding her love of Italy and its culture, traditions, and cuisine, Gambescia took the audience on a tour through an Italian piazza, the center of a community where neighbors gather for food and friendship. Gambescia believes that Chappaqua’s train station could be such a place, in a town that, as she phrased it, is more about families and food than any other place in America.
Gambescia continued on, describing the past 13 months of negotiations with first the previous town board, and now the sitting board. According to Gambescia, what she thought was an agreed upon lease, after waiting seven months for the town to complete foundation remediation work, came to an abrupt halt over one unlikely issue:
According to Supervisor Rob Greenstein, the one non-negotiable part of the lease to anyone who rents that space is that the bathrooms must remain available to the public at all times. Greenstein, who contended that bathroom use for the commuters is a major issue, indicated that the previous board had required that, and it is still in effect.
Discussions with Adam Brodsky since January of this year never resulted in a finalized lease, said Gambescia. “We preferred to have the access [to the bathrooms] limited at dinnertime… I was lead to believe that we were having a negotiation. I was not under any impression that this [bathroom use] was going to kill the deal,” explained Gambescia.
At the next work session, the board will announced that it will hear proposals from the owner of a gourmet food shop in Hawthorne and Leslie Lampert, owner of Cafe of Love and Ladles of Love, both in Mt Kisco.
Code Red, and Code Red, and Code Red…
During the Administrator’s Report, Jill Shapiro also addressed citizen reports of a repetitive theme of the testing of the Code Red system. Several residents described receiving several emails from the system. This was due to the “overperformance” of the system, according to Shapiro, town administrator, who apologized for this and ascertained from the company that the offending server will no longer be in use. There is now a policy and procedure to ensure that it does not happen again, she said.
Planning Board Vacancy Announcement
The following is an announcement from Rob Greenstein, Supervisor:
The Town of New Castle would like to thank Douglas Schuerman for his three years of service on the Planning Board and his three years of service on the Environmental Review Board.
As of April 1, 2014 the Town of New Castle will have an opening on the Planning Board. The New Castle Planning Board was established on February 16, 1929. The Board is composed of five members, each appointed for a term of five years. The Planning Board meets on the first and third Tuesdays of each month, except during the month of August.
The Planning Board is empowered by New York State Law to act on requests for subdivision of land and applications for approval of site plans based on application of the Town’s Zoning Ordinance, the Land Subdivision Laws and the Town’s Master Plan of Development, and removal of trees as determined by the Town’s local ordinances. No construction, excavation, filling, re-grading, or clearing of vegetation on any area proposed for subdivision may be undertaken without approval of the Planning Board. The Planning Board also must approve site plans for single plots including location and dimension of buildings on the property, parking, screening, signs and landscaping. It may attach conditions to its site plan approval that must be met before a building permit is issued and that must continue to exist in order to obtain a valid certificate of occupancy. No change of use for a property may take place without Planning Board approval. Additionally, the Planning Board is responsible for implementing the Town’s Master Plan.
In addition, the Planning Board reviews and makes recommendations about amendments to the Zoning Ordinance and amendments to the Town’s Master Plan, which regulates land use within the Town to protect public health, general welfare, and safety of the residents. The Planning Board is authorized to adopt any rules necessary to properly exercise its power of site development and plan review with final Town Board approval. The Board may apply the rules of “cluster zoning” to a subdivision if it determines that such a zoning application is to the Town’s benefit provided that, in certain instances, the Town Board authorizes it to do so. The Town Board appoints the members and Chair of the Planning Board. Members may be reappointed. Town Board members may not be members of the Planning Board. The Town Board may require Planning Board members to take educational and training courses.
The term of the vacancy is 2012 to 2017.
A resume with a cover letter identifying why you would like to become a member of the Planning Board should be submitted to Mary Deems, the New Castle Town Clerk
* According to the New Castle Police Department press release, Dimitrios Vitaliotis was charged with the following crimes:
Attempted Robbery in the third degree
Attempted Grand Larceny fourth degree
Obstructing Governmental Administration second degree
Criminal Mischief fourth degree
Vitaliotis was arraigned before Judge Sorkin of the New Castle Justice Court and was sent to the Westchester County Jail on $20,000 bail. His next court appearance was set for Jan 23 2014 at 7:30 p.m. New Castle Justice Court. He was subsequently convicted and sentenced to one year in jail.