In a major turn of events, New Castle officials are considering a rezoning of Chappaqua Crossing to allow for a grocery store and rebuilt to be a permitted use on the site, according to an announcement distributed Thursday to the press.
The town's interest ties in two of the most contentious events to have taken place locally within the past year: the future of Chappaqua Crossing, which is the former Reader's Digest site, and the loss of a grocery store in the hamlet.
The announcement states: "With the twin goals of enhancing the commercial tax base and bringing a grocery store to the east side of Town, the Town Board is considering a partial rezoning ofthe Chappaqua Crossing commercial property to allow for very targeted retail, including a space for a grocery store and incidental retail businesses that would service customers of the grocery store and the existing and future commercial tenants at the site."
Chappaqua has been without a major supermarket since closed the place down late last summer, as part of a broader business decision to exit Westchester County. Replacing D'Agostino at the space, located at 411 King St., will be Walgreens, to take over its lease. According to Town Administrator Penny Paderewski, Walgreens has already been granted a building permit and has started work on the site.
Rezoning the site not only would allow for a new supermarket to be in the hamlet, but help in broadening the town's commercial tax base, the town argues. The commercial share of the property tax base is in the low single digits, according to a study released in late 2010.
The future of Chappaqua Crossing, which was once the headquarters of media giant Reader's Digest, has been on uncertain footing. Developer Summit/Greenfield, which requested a multifamily rezoning of the site to allow for 199 townhouses an condos to be built as part of a mixed use project and , is over how the review of the proposal was handled. The federal suit is in the discovery phase, with the town , while the town has filed a .
In a statement released Thursday evening, Summit/Greenfield responded that it has no comment.
Rob Greenstein, who ran for town board last fall and criticized the 199-unit proposal because he was concerned that it would limit commercial use on the site, praised the town's interest.
He said: "I'm very happy to hear that they're considering rezoning Chappaqua Crossing," for that purpose. He also feels that such a move could help in having any settlement of the lawsuits.
Greenstein has proposed considering Chappaqua Crossing, or developing the Chappaqua train station parking lot, as possible sites to build a grocery store.
The town's interest comes on the heels of a Tuesday work session, in which members heard feedback from local architect Albert Krull on how a grocery store could be brought to the hamlet. Krull has experience professionally in working with the grocery industry.
At the meeting, Krull brought up economic constraints that the town faces in geting one, such as a low population density. He also disagreed with Greenstein, who voiced his proposals at the meeting, on looking at those sites.
The board will be providing opportunity for public comment on the scenario at its March 27 regular session, which starts at 7:45 p.m, at New Castle Town Hall.
The full press release from the town is attached to this story. This story has been updated from its original version.