August 28, 2019


New Castle

People before Politics

In this edition:
> In the Spotlight: Affordable Housing
> Help Aesop’s Fable Restaurant
> Voter Registration & Absentees

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In the Spotlight – Hunts Place Affordable Housing
Over the past few weeks residents have been asking, “What is going on with the Hunt’s Place housing project?”  David McKay Wilson’s August 19th article in the Journal News,
Chappaqua affordable housing stalled by Mount Vernon company’s shoddy infrastructure workaddresses the question.It is a good time to reflect on how we got to this point of building a 28-unit affordable housing project on an undersized lot sandwiched between a busy highway, off-ramp, Metro North railroad, and our busiest bridge.  The article points out that taxpayers have funded this project to the tune of $600,000 per unit; any guesses what the price tag will be when this is all finished? If it gets finished.
This project remains Exhibit A for why no single political party should control all of government. Resident requests were ignored and a project that was not good for our Town was rammed through.  Worse, there were many resident experts with experience in this field who were not listened to.  The Town Board led by Democratic Committee supported Supervisor Barbara Gerrard wrote this enthusiastic letter in support of the project, “I’m pleased to express the enthusiastic support of the New Castle Town Board… The Town has been working diligently… We hope that this local demonstration of support helps leverage the necessary resources from Homes and Community Renewal for Conifer to develop the Hunts Lane parcel…” She went on to describe all the regulations the Town would loosen to make the deal happen.  Working diligently for whom? Local elected officials must be held to a community first standard—they work for you.

Let’s talk about affordable housing because it’s important. Economic and racial
diversity strengthens and grows our community. Yet fewer and fewer of our parents and grandparents are able to stay in town to build continuity and a multi-generational community.  And our workforce is often forced to live far from Town. Why? Because on top of a very high property tax burden, we have expensive and limited housing options.  Many people end up stretching their budgets to live in our Town and are left in financially risky positions when recessions hit or college bills come due. And others simply cannot come to our town at all.  We are less of a Community because of it.
Westchester County continues to struggle with affordable housing options and in properly responding to the 2009 Housing Settlement Agreement. In our Town, our leaders were so focused on the number of units that they forgot to focus on the people that would inhabit them. Meeting our numbers should be about creating affordable places that people can call ‘home.’  Instead they allowed a development to be shoe-horned into a location with multiple issues.  We believe it might even violate the intent of the Settlement which was to build integrated (not isolated) housing. It certainly violates the rules of common sense.  We can do better.In contrast, the Town recently saw the addition of 64 mixed units (market-rental, workforce and affordable) at Chappaqua Crossing that is beautiful, safe and well-integrated (the Town won a planning award for this).  We support development like this.  We also have several projects in Town, including those being built by
The Fuller Center for Housing, that will make a difference.  The Town can better support The Fuller House to see those projects and others to completion.A strong community requires diverse housing options. To that end, we support our Town’s revisit of the hamlet zoning laws so we can consider the feasibility of adding residential units above commercial spaces. Team New Castle will thoughtfully and carefully review these plans to make sure they can achieve the above goals but also to ensure that we do not overcrowd our charming downtown Chappaqua, change it to be something our residents do not want, or throw downtown into many more years of disruptive construction.

Conifer Housing Project: An Example of Politics over People

 “It is not more bigness that should be our goal. We must attempt, rather, to bring people back to…the warmth of community, to the worth of individual effort and responsibility…and of individuals working together as a community, to better their lives and their children’s future.”

— Robert F. Kennedy

Help Aesop’s Fable Restaurant
On August 18 one of our favorite local restaurants was damaged by fire.  They are closed and working on repairs; this is a terrible loss for the community. Owner Tony Veshta has been a staple in our community for so many years and we wish him well.  A GoFundMe page has been setup to help Tony through this tough time. If you are able to support Aesop’s, you can find it here.This is also a good time to thank the first responders who do so much in our Town, and of course, responded with bravery and skill to put the fire down.  I don’t think many realize the training time they put in and how dedicated they are.  Thank you to the Chappaqua Fire Department, the Millwood Fire Department, the Mt. Kisco Fire Department, the Chappaqua Volunteer Ambulance Corps, the Ossining Volunteer Ambulance Corps, the Mt. Kisco Volunteer Ambulance Corps, and the New Castle Police Department for all you do for our Town.And finally, support our local businesses all across Town; they are a vital part of our community.  Check out the Millwood-Chappaqua Chamber of Commerce.

Missed our last newsletter? (click here)

Register to Vote
Recently move? Just became a U.S. Citizen? Turned 18?  Take a minute to register to vote today. You can download the form here. Complete and mail to: Westchester County BOE; 25 Quarropas St; White Plains, NY 10601. The last day to postmark an application is October 11th.

Absentee Ballots
Headed to College? Going south for the winter? Serving our country in the military? If you will be away from your home county on Election Day you can apply for an absentee ballot.  You can download the form here.  Complete and mail to: Westchester County BOE; 25 Quarropas St; White Plains, NY 10601. The last day to postmark an absentee application is October 29th. 
Note: If you are active duty military on deployment, we thank you for your service. Please see this website for instructions.

Enjoy the Long Weekend.  Labor Day ushers in the height of campaign season. Over these next 2 months until Election Day we will not waste your time; a campaign is a great opportunity to hear your issues, concerns, and suggestions. We’re listening, and whether we win in November or not, we will work to make sure you are heard and your concerns are not forgotten.  

Election Day is Tuesday, November 5th
(click below for candidate biographies)

Jim Smith for Town Supervisor
Lauren Levin for Town Councilman
Sean Maraynes for Town Councilman

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Jim, Lauren & Sean

Contact Us: TeamNewCastle@tnc2019.org