By Eileen Gallagher
Chappaqua Crossing was on the agenda at the town board work session on Tuesday, specifically Whole Foods, and the conversation with the developer, Felix Charney, got heated. Much of the discord centered on proposed opening hours and a non-temperature controlled compactor/loading area, which could pose a problem in the warmer months.
What is not disputed is the necessity for some deliveries to occur an hour prior to opening. The hour for opening, however, is the issue.
Supervisor Rob Greenstein suggested having the store open at 8 a.m., and restricting delivery hours for tractor trailers until after 7 a.m. Charney supports a 7 a.m. opening, contending that morning users of the “mandated gym” are looking for something to eat when they are finished.
A resident in attendance, John Ehrlich, advised the town board after a quick internet search that all of the Westchester Whole Foods locations keep the same hours: 8 a.m-10 p.m..
Dr. John Collins, the traffic expert hired by Summit Greenfield, felt it would be sufficient to limit tractor trailers (there would be two a day) to 8 a.m. and allow the smaller trucks to “self-regulate.”
As for the compactor, town board member Adam Brodsky brought up the fact that if this “epicenter of one of the largest nuisances the property is generating” is not “refrigerated”, the refuse will “cook in the heat.”
Architect Andy Tung described the loading dock as an area enclosed on three sides with a cover on top. “The box itself is sealed, at the rear of the store, and 400 feet from any residential building.”
“The loading dock is the closest thing to existing homes,” said councilwoman Lisa Katz, expressing concern about residents hearing the beeping of trucks in reverse and being subjected to malodorous refuse.
Charney reiterated that Summit Greenfield is “not looking to be any more intrusive to our neighbors than this whole process has already been,” and reminded the board that the deadline for site plan approval for Whole Foods is June 30. “This has taken longer than we all expected.” Tung promised that a final site plan application would be ready in June.
Paving the way…
Gerry Moerschell, Commissioner of Public Works, requested an increase in the 2015 budgeted amount for paving town roads of at least $400k.
Citing the condition of the roads after years of economic woes, Moerschell explained in detail the need for rebuilding certain roads rather than just applying an overlay of asphalt.
“We pay a lot in taxes. If we have the money, we owe it to our residents to give them as smooth a road as possible,” Greenstein stated, going on to say that residents he has heard from are frustrated with the poor condition of many of the roads in town.
Comptroller Rob Deary eased the decision for the board as he described the town’s “good financial year” in 2014. “I am comfortable with [an increase of] $400k.”
Town Administrator Jill Shapiro summarized the paving budget amounts as $255k CHIPS ( Consolidated Local Street and Highway Improvement Program ) funding (a reimbursable amount), the original 2015 budgeted amount of $400k, and the additional request of $400k.
“We have to do it when we can do it, or else it’s never going to get done,” Greenstein stressed. “We need it, we have the money, and the comptroller is comfortable with it.”
Members of the board were willing to approve up to $600k, but councilwoman Elise Mottel was concerned about the depletion of the town’s salt supply. As Moerschell estimated that the purchase of more salt for the next winter season would cost an additional $200k due to the state’s increase of the price of road salt of 25%, the board unanimously agreed to the original paving request for $400k.
George Barbarossa of Rev Design presented the new, easy to use, easy to update town website, expected to be unveiled around May 8th, after tax collection.
Barbarossa spoke of reaching out to department heads to get an idea of the most widely used features of the website in order to come up with a “rearchitected” site.
Board member Jason Chapin asked about a continuous improvement process. “How much is collapsed so it’s not three to five clicks?” he asked regarding the navigation of the site.
“The most heavily trafficked areas are one to two clicks.”
The site’s front page will feature drop down menus, and a running blog of latest news, along with press releases, e-news, and the Supervisor’s report.
In other news…
Town board members discussed the need for a “mailbox replacement policy” to address the incidental winter plowing of mailboxes (estimated between five and ten this winter) and the resulting reimbursement to the homeowners. Neighboring towns differ in their policies, with Bedford issuing $125, others $50, and New Castle $250, according to Shapiro.
Brodsky and Town Planner Sabrina Charney Hull will be members of a Streetscape Design Committee, along with Environmental Coordinator Steve Coleman, a merchant, and a member of the Master Plan Steering Committee.
Art Under the Bridge banners will be installed in Millwood and at the train station along with Farmers’ Market, Shop Local, and Distracted Driving banners.
Chapin expressed concern about increasing legal fees. “We’ve spent $14k on Conifer… so these numbers are going up and it’s making me uncomfortable.”
Greenstein responded, “Well, that site makes a lot of people uncomfortable.”
Finally, a reminder: The Rotary Club of Chappaqua will be holding a pancake breakfast and blood drive on Saturday, April 25 from 8 a.m.-2 p.m. at the Church of St. Mary the Virgin, 191 South Greeley Avenue, walk-ins welcome.