Clips, Hyperlocal

Neighbors Denounce Plan as “Overdevelopment”

After their original plan was rejected by the town board in December 2006, SG Chappaqua LLC spent the next eight months making alterations to it.

It went back to the drawing board to create a new plan, one that was designed after carefully listening to the community’s concerns and one that “furthers the goals of the Town Development Plan.”

But others seem less than pleased with the changes.

To voice their displeasure about the project, a group of residents have hosted a Web site that posts the names of nearly 600 townspeople, who’re opposed to the development.

In a scathing write-up titled, “Ouch! S/G’s “Two-Pronged” Plan for Overdevelopment of RD Property,” the group states that the plan is an “enormous overdevelopment” and that it’ll set a “dangerous density precedent in New Castle.”

For its part, SG Chappaqua argues that the project won’t deface the Arcadian character of the quaint hamlet, especially in light of the fact that there’ll be a ring of 40-acre open space buffer around the perimeter.

Taking aim at the online outfit, Geoff Thompson, spokesman for SG Chappaqua says, “I find the anonymity of the Web site to be puzzling. It’s hard to tell who the leader of the group is. To me, it seems to be a sort of tactic to sway people.”

Though it takes a somewhat benign view of the affordable units, it’s critical of the market-rate units. It appears to slam SG Chappaqua on the variance request front, even harder.

“It seems [Felix Charney, president of Summit Development] has discovered, since December 12, 2006 that the market has changed and that large corporate tenants are hard to come by,” it says.

Further, it seems to issue an ominous warning by saying, “What S/G hasn’t emphasized yet, is that they’ve said, they mean to go forward with the variance with or without the residential component.”

One of their concerns is that the hitherto unspecified number of tenants on the site will generate a “tremendous” volume of traffic.

The developers believe otherwise.

“We believe that a larger number of tenants will generate less traffic,” counters SG Chappaqua.

Further, “We hope that the town will give us a full and fair hearing. We don’t want to be shouted down. We feel this is a good and practical plan that will only help and not hurt the community.”

During the course of the September 18 meeting, questions were raised by members of both the town board and the planning board.

“How are sewer ducts to work here?” asked one official.

Another sought a clarification on how the project proposed to “have a minimal impact on town services.” Yet another member inquired as to whether “there was anything on the site for children such as a playground.”

Opponents argue that the age-restriction is unenforceable, which in turn, will lead to a large number of kids burdening the local schools.

But SG Chappaqua believes that it’s easy to implement.

“We propose to implement the age-restriction on the housing units through deed restrictions, restrictions in the condominium and homeowners association organizational documents and by-laws, and the Offering Plans.”

These will also be reviewed by the New York State attorney general before the units can be sold. We also propose that there’ll be age restrictions in the certificates of occupancy,” John S. Marwell, attorney for SG Chappaqua, in response to an e-mail query.

While the developers acknowledge they’re facing “resistance” from neighbors, they hope the town will give them a “full and fair hearing,” says Thompson.

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