By Zarah Kavarana
The following is a breakdown of the topics discussed at the New Castle Town Hall Meeting on Tuesday, July 9, 2013.
The Summer Concert Series, Co-sponsored by the Chappaqua-Millwood Chamber of Commerce, began at the gazebo of the Recreation Field. The schedule is as follows: July 10 featured Tramps Like Us, a Bruce Springsteen cover band; July 17 is the Chappaqua Orchestra; July 24 is One Hot Night, a Neil diamond cover band; and July 31 is Hollaback, an 80s tribute band. All concerts begin at 7 p.m. and are free.
The Chappaqua Sales Days will begin on July 25, continuing on the 26th and the 27th. It will take place at the Chappaqua Hamlet, where residents can buy food from local restaurants and shop all the offerings vendors have in store. Don’t miss out on one of Chappaqua’s best shopping days of the summer!
The Farmers Market is in full swing at the Chappaqua Train Station every Saturday between 8:30 A.M. and 1 P.M. Here, summer produce is starting to come in strong with fresh fruits and vegetables, meats, cheese, baked goods, and even a fresh fish market from a fish vender from the Long Island Sound.
Town Administrator’s Report:
Approximately six months ago, the town began working with the East Hudson Watershed Corporation to protect water quality and improve drainage on Old Roaring Brook Road. The project will allow maintenance efforts of the towns Department of Public Works to be more successful and improve the functionality of the roadway for those who live on and use it. On June 28, a letter was sent out to the residents of the area, explaining what actions would be taken over the next several weeks. Since then, design work has begun. Several property owners who were contacted have agreed to allow for tests to be conducted on their properties as part of the investigatory engineering work. Further updates will be presented as this project progresses.
Heat Wave Monitoring
Officials have been monitoring the heat wave we’ve been experiencing, and ensuring that members of the senior community are doing well in such hot conditions. Police have been checking in on seniors through the Senior Watch Program, and have not encountered any problems as yet.
David McKay Wilson from the Journal News reported on Friday, July 5 about 10 local municipalities which are attempting to see if they can derive value by joining together and having one vendor do a re-evaluation. New Castle joined the group early in the process. The results of the bids are expected to be released sometime in November.
In the first half of 2013 compared to the same period last year, the medium price for single family homes in the Chappaqua school district has increased by 15.4% from 758,000 to 875,000. The number of homes sold has increased from 49 to 89, which is an 81.6% increase.
The Master Plan Update Steering Committee has been working on establishing the Master Plan update website and work groups. Those who are interested in working on specific areas of the Master Plan should stay tuned. Sign up will be announced on the town Master Plan update webpage, which will be ready by the end of the month. Please contact the town planner, Sabrina Charney Hull for more information sooner.
Hazard Mitigation Grant Program
Four projects have been submitted for consideration for the Hazard Mitigation Grant program. Three have been designated for improvements to the west end of town, and one is for the community center.
The first is a request in the amount of $250,000 to and re-profile the road, as well as to rebuild and expand the storm water drainage system on Spring Valley Road. The project is expected to prevent flooding in the area and improve both resilience and reliability of the roadway.
The second is in the amount of $200,000 to rebuild the stone mass supporting Hawkes Avenue and increase storm water drainage system capacity. This will repair erosive damage and ensure stability of the road.
The third project is for $200,000 to install more catch basins and increase the size of the drainpipes on Allapartus Road. This will provide safer driving conditions and excessive icing in the winter from storm water.
The last project is for $75,000 for a fix-based diesel generator for the Community Center. When completed, the Community Center can perform as a temporary rest site for residents during a storm situation.
Energize New Castle
Ethan Fuirst, Deputy Chair of the New Castle Sustainability Advisory Board and recent Greeley graduate spoke on behalf of Energize New Castle, a branch of Energize New York. Energize New Castle is a non-profit organization from which homeowners can get a low cost energy assessment and a 10 to 15% rebate on any improvements they make on their home.
The assessment is free if your household income is less than $215,800 and your home is less than 3500 ft.² With an income between $215,000 and $269,000 the assessment is only $50.
In addition to the cost estimate, the program will tell you about a payback period so that you can see your return on a dollars and cents basis. The entire program is made to help homeowners save money on their energy bills and help towns reach their energy conservation goals. The average home saves $1000 a year.
Fuirst said that out of all the Energize New York municipalities, Chappaqua is definitely a “slacker” in the program. The towns that have enthusiastic support from their elected officials and leaders have much greater numbers of sign-ups. He encouraged board members to set an example for residents and personally get an energy assessment on their homes, which member, John Buckley agreed to do.
Meeting attendees were encouraged to sign up in the back of the room or online at energizenewcastle.org. For questions or concerns on this matter, contact Ethan Fuirst at email@example.com.
Parking Meter Hours Public Hearing:
With no one to speak, the public hearing was closed. Meter hours will now be between 6 A.M. and 6 P.M. Monday through Friday, instead of the current 8 A.M. to 6 P.M.
Landmark Designation Public Hearing:
With approval of the homeowner of 108 South Bedford Road, the home will be designated as a New Castle landmark.
Public Comment for New Business:
One resident spoke about scheduling for the Chappaqua Crossing deliberation. He strongly advised board members to change the discussion date from July 30 to one of three dates: November 12, 19, or 26. With too much opposition from those who live near the property, he said that the topic required an thoughtful discussion because it would completely change the character and the surrounding neighborhood.
The remaining speakers voiced their opinions on the proposal for the Chappaqua Spa.
Overall, they shared the same concerns. The final project would be of an enormous size and scope that would eventually attract between 200 and 400 people at a time on the site, causing increased traffic in the area. The increased activity would cause property values to plummet. Most of all, residents were concerned about the effects of the spa’s pool and bathrooms, used by hundreds of people daily, on the already high water table and poor septic conditions. They additionally argued that there is no need for a project like this, and that it defeated the purpose of the two-acre zoning laws currently in place.
- Use credit cards at the Town Hall and other town facilities to pay the following fees: Taxes, penalties, interest, special assessments, water rents and fees, recreation and parks fees, town application permit and license fees, justice court fines, police fines, civil penalty and fees, recycling fees. The town’s website or towns venders, third party website may be used to pay all of the fees listed, except those for recycling.
- Add a new member to the Zoning Board of Appeals for a five-year term to expire on December 31, 2017.
- Assign a fee for the posting of signs at the Millwood and Chappaqua Triangles. The fee will be established annually. The fee for 2013 is $20. Organizations or individuals who are seeking to post signs are to deposit the sign at the Department of Public Works on the Friday before the sign is to be posted before 3 P.M. The Department of Public Works is fully responsible for posting and removing all signs at both triangles.
- Approve the New York State Department of Transportation Municipal Snow and Ice Agreement index lump sum payment factor adjustment, which was originally estimated at $35,275.80, and now revised to $58,804.76
- Approve the second of two one year contract extensions for the 2011 tree removal contract with Almstead Tree Removal, and the second of two one year extensions for the 2011 tree pruning contract with Bartlett Tree Expert Company with same terms as 2013.
- Approve the request for two police computer training sessions as follows: One officer to attend the Impact Records Management Training in Saratoga, NY between September 16 and 18 for the cost of $350, and two officers to attend the BCS User Conference on August 6 and 7 in Easton, NY for $1,466
- Obtain bids for the Annandale Road culvert replacement, to follow.
- Minutes from: Tuesday, May 7; Friday, May 17; Tuesday, May 21; and Tuesday, May 28.
- Monthly reports from the Town Clerk, Court Clerk, and Receiver of Taxes.
Following announcements, the public portion of the meeting ended. The board then went into executive session to discuss contracts and a matter of potential litigation.