Supervisor Susan Carpenter and opponents alike proposed various measures, mainly to curtail impacts on traffic and quality of life.
Carpenter, in her remarks, suggested that the state Department of Transportation and developer Summit/Greenfield look at the possibility of installing a traffic light at the intersection of the campus' access road with Route 117. Such a light would be close to an existing light at the main road's intersection with Roaring Brook Road. The supervisor felt that such a measure could help people exiting nearby Annandale Road, which has a problematic sightline for turning.
Additionally, Carpenter is interested in the possibility of using some of Summit/Greenfield's property to the north of Roaring Brook to create a new westbound lane, along with turning the existing westbound lane into a new eastbound one. She suggested that the existing eastbound corridor, which is south of a landscaped median, would be abandoned and the driveways would be extended out. Her idea came in response to a desire to help the quality of life on the road and was similar to an idea from a person who spoke at an earlier public hearing.
Nearby resident Victor Siber, an ardent critic of the retail plan and an earlier residential proposal for the site that was only given partial approval, also suggested dealing with headlights from vehicles, which Carpenter was receptive to handling.
“That's an invasion of your privacy and a destruction of your property right,” he said, then calling for the matter to be dealt with.
Team New Castle candidate and project critic Lisa Katz asked, based on local feedback, if Annandale could be closed off to traffic. Carpenter expressed interest in the idea and felt that it could be handled with the involvement of Town Planner Sabrina Charney Hull. Councilman Jason Chapin then asked Katz whether people would support the idea regardless of what happens at Chappaqua Crossing.
“I think people would,” she replied.
John Ehrlich, who also lives near the site, suggested soundproofing, reconsideration of road engineering and more advance traffic signal timing technology. He also wants nearby residents have access to Chappaqua Crossing's sewer system.
The plan calls for the creation of 120,000 square feet of retail space, including a grocery store of 36,000 to 66,000 square feet. It would require rezoning a portion of the site, along with changing the master plan. The findings statement, which is the last major document for proposal's environmental review, was posted on the town's website earlier this week and residents are asked to provide comment through Oct. 22. Carpenter, however, emphasized that the board is looking for substantive feedback and wants it to be pertinent.
Although the dialogue at times seemed relatively calm for discussion of what is among the most controversial local topics, at other times the atmosphere became tense and resembled previous meetings.
Siber was skeptical of proposed traffic mitigation measures that have been mentioned in the record, such as signal timing change, noting that the DOT has not given approval. He also noted that the Chappaqua school board has not given backing for a series of proposed traffic mitigations for the Horace Greeley High School campus area that are meant to.
“It's way too early. Get those things lined up.”
When asked to address whether pre-approval from the DOT could be granted, Town Attorney Clinton Smith dismissed the idea, feeling that it is unlikely, as opposed to later on.
Siber, bringing up the issue again at another point in the meeting, referenced a November 2012 correspondence between the town and DOT that suggested the agency would give feedback if a $2,000 fee is paid. Smith, however, noted that the correspondence was in the context of the environmental review and took umbrage at the agency's request for a fee during such a process.
Donna White, a Cowdin Lane resident who lives near the Route 117 intersection, was skeptical that there could be a second light included on the main road. She also wondered whether her yard would need to be taken if more room is needed for traffic.
Several residents called for the town board not to rush the process. The requests also came in the context of Councilman John Buckley's planned vacation that will run through next Wednesday, a day after the board will meet again.
“It doesn't need to be approved by a certain time," said Katz.
Jessica Reinman felt that the board should meet when Buckley returns instead.
At another point, Katz asked about the possibility of the board voting next Tuesday. Chapin and Councilman Robin Stout expressed doubts about doing so, although Carpenter did not immediately rule it out.
Katz also does not want to see a repeat of the September night when the town board voted to approve the special permit for Conifer Realty's Chappaqua Station affordable housing plan, where board members read prepared statements after hearing from residents. She suggested that if it happens again, “you would have an uprising.”
Resident Michael Nolan got into a tense exchange with Stout and Carpenter. He is skeptical about having the town board vote before the election day, feeling there is a lack of objectivity. He is also open to the idea of a public referendum. Stout was wary of the idea, noting that government has a representative democracy, and felt that doing so on zoning could lead to a lawsuit.
Wednesday's meeting date was originally considered as a tentative voting date on a final findings statement, along with the master plan update and zoning text change, according to what Smith told Patch the week before.