Statement From Joint Town & Planning Board Meeting 5/20/14


Good evening and welcome to tonight's joint meeting between the Town Board and the Planning Board to discuss the Chappaqua Crossing's project. I am joined on the dais tonight by my fellow board members Elise Mottel, Lisa Katz, Jason Chapin and Adam Brodsky as well as Planning Board members Richard Brownell, Thomas Curley and Sheila Crespi. Planning Board Chairman Bob Kirkwood is out of town on business but has informed me he will be reviewing tonight's videotape of the meeting. Sitting at the tables below the dais, we are joined by Town Administrator Jill Shapiro, Town Clerk Mary Deems, Town Attorney Nicholas Ward-Willis, Planning Board Attorney Jennifer Gray, Town Planner Sabrina Charney-Hull and the Town's Traffic Consultant Michael Galante of FP Clarke. Representatives of the applicant are also present.

I welcome you to what we expect to be a long meeting with many questions and hopefully answers. Tonight we continue our community's discussion of the proposed redevelopment of the Reader's Digest property. It is a process that began in 2007 and has resulted in many productive discussions with intelligent discourse and insight from our residents. All of us on the dais tonight look forward to continuing that dialog so that we can ensure that when the Board's make the decisions on this project, they have heard from all who wish to speak.

Please note this is a joint meeting of the two boards and not a public hearing – although residents will have a chance to ask questions. There will be a public hearing scheduled for June 10th and opportunities in the future for additional comments. As concerns tonight, I have asked the applicant's representative to speak next so they may explain their revised proposal to the Town Board, Planning Board and the public. After the applicant's representatives have made their presentation, I have asked our Town Attorney to advise the Boards and public where we are with respect to the review process and I have asked our Town Planner to advise as to the planning considerations as we proceed with our review. After they have spoken, we will hear from the Town's Traffic Consultant, Michael Galante. Mr. Galante has been involved on behalf of the Town with this project for a number of years and has reviewed the applicant's traffic reports and critiqued them on behalf of the Town. We look forward to hearing Mr. Galante's review and comments on the revised plan as it concerns traffic. After Mr. Galante has concluded his comments, I will open the floor to discussions from the Town Board and Planning Board members so they may discuss this matter and ask questions of the applicant and the Town's staffing consultants. We will then open the floor to comments from the public.

We have a sign-in sheet on the table at the back of the room for anyone who wishes to speak to sign up. At the conclusion of any questions or comments from the Planning Board or Town Board, the Town Clerk will gather the sign-in sheet and I will call upon people in the order in which they appear on the sheet. Please note that we are hopeful the applicant will be able to answer questions posed tonight but recognize your questions or comments may not be answered tonight and there will be opportunities in the near future for you to ask your question again and for the applicant to provide responses. I will ask that each speaker limit their comments to approximately 5 minutes. To the extent we are constrained by time, I will be asking people to wrap up their comments so that we may hear from the next speaker. Please note this is not an effort to deny people the opportunity to speak but rather is in recognition of the large number of people that wish to speak, and the fact there will be other opportunities for your comments to be heard. To the extent time is permitted at the end, there will be an opportunity for those who wish to speak further to do so after all those who want to speak have spoken.

I'd like to announce that our colleague, Councilwoman Mottel, will be joining the Board in its deliberations and decision-making on this application. In 2010, Councilwoman Mottel recused herself on this matter, but I understand that she has concluded there is no longer a need for remaining recused.

As everyone knows, I've have a lot to say about this application over the years. What I've tried to do throughout this process has been to advocate for the best possible outcome for the Town, and that's what I'm continuing to do as Supervisor. So, for example, when Summit Greenfield recently came back to us with the revised PDCP and asked us to lift the restriction on the number of small retail stores at the site, I said that's a nonstarter for me. I'm pleased to say that my colleagues on the Board feel the same way, and we've told Summit Greenfield that lifting the restriction is not going to happen. Now, Summit Greenfield wasn't happy to hear that. But the point is, this application will continue to be shaped over the upcoming months, and I encourage all of our residents and merchants to step up and let the Board know what you think about having a Whole Foods and some other retail stores at Chappaqua Crossing.