While the FBC is by no means the only issue of importance in New Castle, it nonetheless is an issue that invokes strong opinions in some and is routinely a topic of conversation across the community. As such, it is critical that even if we disagree, we all try to understand what the FBC is and what it isn’t. As such, I share the following TOP 20 FACTS about the FBC:
- An FBC is merely a zoning change – it is not a construction plan or development project.
- An FBC regulates the architecture and scale of buildings and tells developers what the community would like to see built.
- Port Chester, Red Hook, Ithaca, and other municipalities in NYS have adopted FBCs. They are relatively new, but increasingly used to revitalize and encourage redevelopment.
- Even without the FBC and merely allowing for a more efficient development and building process as many of those who oppose the FBC desire, 341 additional units could be built in the hamlet. Without public land such as the train station lot, only 308 more units could be built on top of what is already permissible today if, and only if, a future Town Board rezoned the remainder of the hamlet, and every private property was combined and built out to the maximum allowable height.
- Four-story buildings will only be permitted on the westerly side of North Greeley, alongside the railroad tracks. Three stories will be the limit on the east side.
- The Town’s current zoning already allows three story buildings on both sides of North Greeley Avenue.
- Five story buildings will not be permitted anywhere in the Chappaqua hamlet.
- The proposed FBC will ONLY be applied to North Greeley Avenue (approximately 6 acres, including the old Rite Aid property).
- The North Greeley area that the Town Board has identified for rezoning comprises only approximately 10% of the full study area that has been reviewed with respect to potential environmental impacts.
- A key goal in the Town's 2017 Comprehensive Plan is creating new housing opportunities in the Chappaqua hamlet, which has public water, sewer, and easy access to public transportation.
- The FBC is intended to create new housing options for seniors, millennials, and empty nesters, at prices that will be affordable to a range of households.
- The train station parking lot is NOT being rezoned.
- Since the first Downtown Working Group session on May 23, 2019, there have been numerous public meetings, public hearings, and public engagement sessions with more to come.
- The Town's environmental review (SEQRA) is studying three stories along King Street and four stories elsewhere. Currently, the maximum number of floors in the hamlet is three stories.
- The Town Board can regulate the number of bedrooms per apartment to minimize potential impacts on the school district.
- The “maximum theoretical buildout” is not a construction plan. It is a hypothetical analysis required by law to explore potential environmental impacts and alternatives that requires the lease or sale of public land including the train station.
- The Town Board is not contemplating the lease or sale of any public property as part of the FBC.
- In the future, any sale or lease of public property will require a separate process and be subject to a permissive referendum, thereby giving residents the tools to stop any development on public land.
- Under the FBC, the Planning Board will review any projects that involve combining lots and creating a new property larger than 0.50 acre and the Architectural Review Board will help ensure that required architectural and design standards are met.
- The FBC has a neighbor notification provision that requires notice be given to owners of property abutting the proposed location of a development project.
Please continue to share your suggestion and thoughts to ensure the zoning change can be the best it can be!
Jeremy Saland, Acting Town Supervisor