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UPDATE: Conifer Public Hearing to be Adjourned

The New Castle Town Board will briefly continue the hearing but for a procedural matter, because it will vote to adjourn it. Town Administator says public comment will not be taken tonight.

UPDATE, 2 p.m., Tuesday:

Conifer attorney Alfred DelBello told Patch that the reason why an adjournment was requested was because it was felt that having tonight was not necessary.

"We just don't need to meet tonight," he said.

DelBello cited, as a reason for the request, the fact that Conifer only responded yesterday to a January memo prepared by Town Planner Sabrina Charney Hull. That memo listed several concerns about the proposal, including whether Conifer's proposal to use parking in a municipal lot near the Chappaqua train station for guests is practical.

DelBello also told Patch that Conifer is not submitting a smaller building plan as an alternative as part of the review process, something that Supervisor Susan Carpenter suggested during the last meeting for the public hearing.

UPDATE, noon, Tuesday:

Conifer will not be at the hearing and an adjournment has been requested, the town announced. The hearing will still technically be open tonight but public comment will not be taken, according to Town Administrator Penny Paderewski. The town board will then vote to adjourn the hearing to a future date.

ORIGINAL STORY, 5:50 a.m., Tuesday:

At tonight's New Castle Town Board meeting, a public hearing will continue for Conifer Realty's Chappaqua Station affordable housing plan.

The controversial proposal, which involves a 36-unit building to be constructed on 0.38 acres at the end of Hunts Place in Chappaqua, has been criticized by some residents, who feel that the property is not suitable for housing, citing its boundaries between the Saw Mill River Parkway and train tracks. 

The hearing, which has been open since August, is for a special permit that Conifer needs from the town board in order to build on the site. Conifer's building, which ranges from three to five stories tall, also needs a series of variances from the zoning board of appeals.

The continuation of the hearing comes at a time when the town board is becoming more vocal about its concerns with the project. At the last hearing-related meeting, on Jan. 22, board members expressed concerns about whether there is enough suitable parking for the site and about traffic safety along the Route 120 bridge, which would be connected to the building with a walkway. Some board members suggested that Conifer had not fulfilled requirements needed for a special permit, and also indicated that they might want the developer to produce and environmental impact statement.

Meanwhile, it appears that litigation has not been ruled out as a scenario. At the town board's Feb. 5 work session, Supervisor Susan Carpenter stated that Conifer has threatened to sue over the matter. Board members at that meeting also wondered whether there is inconsistency for the criteria of the parcel's zoning - it's under General Industrial (I-G) - and that of the special permit. One option to resolve the situation that was discussed would be to rezone the site for Retail Business (B-R), which Supervisor Susan Carpenter said would allow for a larger building than I-G can but one that is smaller than what Conifer wants.

The board's meeting, which includes the hearing, starts tonight at 8:15 p.m. at town hall in Chappaqua. Click here for the agenda.

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