The Town of New Castle has released a draft findings statement for the Chappaqua Crossing retail plan, the last major document for the proposal's environmental review.
The document, which was released this week, outlines what mitigation measures that would have to be undertaken for the project, which calls for 120,000 square feet of retail space, including a grocery store of 36,000 to 66,000.
The findings statement succeeds the proposal's final supplemental environmental impact statement (FSEIS), which is a detail analysis document. The FSEIS, in turn, succeeded the proposal's draft supplemental environmental impact statement.
The New Castle Town Board voted to accept the FSEIS on Sept. 3 and also closed public hearings pertaining to the proposal. The retail plan calls for rezoning part of the site's commercial zone, along with changing the town development plan.
The findings statement argues on the town board believes that traffic impact use of the site is trumped by commercial use on the site, and notes that mitigation is called for.
"Ultimately, the Town Board believes that the economic benefits to the Town of allowing increased commercial use at the Project Site – the only remaining major commercial site in the Town outside the hamlet areas – outweigh the negative impacts caused by increased traffic." the statement notes. "In addition, the Town Board believes that the identified traffic mitigation, including the improvements to the Horace Greeley High School Access Road, will improve traffic circulation in the area of the Project Site."
The findings statement, which deals with traffic on pages 35-40, states that seven intersections would have what were called significant impacts. It adds that this can be avoided at four of those intersections. The town also believes, despite receiving information from applicant Summit/Greenfield that suggested the other three intersections cannot be mitigated, that they can be improved if refinements are made to signal timing.
The document also raises the possibility of incorporating a series of proposed traffic mitigation measures at the nearby Horace Greeley High School campus to help. They include the addition of another lane for the roadway to Roaring Brook Road, getting rid of the western sidewalk and replacing it with an eastern one, and shifting parking near the education center. The Chappaqua school board weighed in on the measures at a recent meeting.
The findings also use the current zoning on the site, which includes the April 2011 rezoning of a portion for 111 housing units, as the basis for traffic level of service (LOS) versus the retail plan. Signal timing is suggested as a way to help with traffic at the southbound area of Route 117 and Roaring Brook Road, along with the the vicinity of Roaring Brook Road and the Saw Mill River Parkway. It also calls for improved signage and traffic controls at the the site's main entrance and exit road off of Route 117.
The findings statement also suggests that ancillary retail for the site, with size restrictions imposed, would not be an issue with the existing hamlets.
"The size restrictions contained within the Proposed Redrafted for Consolidation local law (1,500 SF minimum floor area for a single tenant and no more than four retail tenants with a floor area under 5,000 SF) will ensure that the scale of commercial retail activity does not conflict with the existing commercial activity within the Chappaqua and Millwood Hamlets."
Some residents who are opposed to the plan have expressed concerns about traffic impact, along with fear that the project would result in the creation of a new business center.
The idea of bringing retail to Chappaqua Crossing was first proposed by the town board in March 2012, in reaction to the recent closure of the D'Agostino grocery chain's Chappaqua location off of King Street. Summit/Greenfield subsequently submitted a formal petition for its own plan in October 2012. The town and the developer, last December, agreed to settle a pair of lawsuits over the rezoning review of the earlier housing proposal; 199 units were proposed, versus the 111 approved. The deal calls for Summit/Greenfield to suspend the lawsuits and to drop them if approval for a retail plan is granted. If the town board denies a plan, then the developer can bring back the lawsuits.
The town board is slated to have a discussion of the draft findings statement during a special meeting on Wednesday, according to Town Clerk Jill Shapiro. The meeting starts at 7:45 p.m. at town hall in Chappaqua. According to the agenda for the meeting, the public will be able to review the findings statement until Oct. 22.
A copy of the draft findings statement is available at this link.