You can't change your town or your nation while you're sitting at home. You have to #PutYourShoesOn.
Managing in a progressive and bipartisan way is just a start, without compromising the community values. Since January we've been the resistance. Now it's time to vote, and afterwards, to lead.
By putting people together we discover that our problems aren't unique - and that we can be more effective in fashioning solutions when we work together. Here's one perfect example.
We must address speeding, the lack of sidewalks and crosswalks, and the need for traffic calming measures in the hamlets and on quiet residential streets.
Large trucks will soon stream into Chappaqua Crossing. Let's establish a truck safety unit within our local Police Dept. and seek increased State Police patrols on Routes 100, 117, 120, 133 and 128.
Keeping residents safe is a pressing concern to be addressed on day one, starting with a full review of speed limits throughout the town.
Let's have responsible, strategic fiscal management. Your tax money shouldn't be wasted on vanity projects or spent fixing managerial missteps.
A full environmental review will be required before all development, with a focus on protecting environmentally sensitive areas, such as the East and West Ends of town.
I will seek out opportunities for administrative and service consolidation, as well as understanding the impact of our town's projects on other neighboring towns.
Because of the unique size and shape of New Castle, sharing borders with eight other towns, it is incumbent upon leaders in New Castle not only to show up at the table but to lead.
This is the Stronger New Castle Platform - a platform of which I'm proud, put together by the slate on which I'm running.
1. We Will Bring New Energy, Enthusiasm and Solutions to Our Hamlets
We love New Castle for many reasons, including the small-town feel, excellent schools, proximity to New York City, fascinating neighbors and friends, and our strong connection to nature.
Revitalizing Downtown Chappaqua
It is vitally important to preserve and bolster the economic vitality of Downtown Chappaqua, especially in the face of the development at Chappaqua Crossing. Residents love the charming, quaint nature of the town, with “one-of-a-kind” stores and restaurants that you cannot find in a strip mall. We love knowing the shop owners by name, and the personalized service that results from shopping at small businesses that care.
Our vision for Downtown Chappaqua adds to existing retail, providing more good reasons to spend time downtown. This means rezoning Downtown Chappaqua to allow for new and different uses of existing spaces. We want to create a truly walkable downtown with sufficient parking to encourage shoppers to visit multiple stores and restaurants.
While we love the idea of more trees and wider ADA-compliant sidewalks, we also will work to solve structural challenges like traffic and parking. The next administration will be responsible for determining how $1.5 million from Summit Greenfield will be spent to mitigate the negative impacts of Chappaqua Crossing to the hamlet. We will involve all stakeholders in developing viable alternatives so that this money is spent to its maximum benefit to fully realize Chappaqua’s potential.
Building a Stronger Millwood
We will work closely with the Millwood-West End Advisory Board, local businesses, and residents to create consensus on how best to support the hamlet of Millwood. Residents’ concerns, such as the DOT facility, the restoration of the train station, and the bike lane on Route 100, will be addressed promptly and with respect. With the recent opening of DeCicco’s, we will prioritize installing the long overdue sidewalks that will connect Millwood’s shopping areas.
Another of Millwood’s primary challenges today is the lack of sewer infrastructure. We will create a plan to bring sewers to Millwood in order to allow this gem along the North County Trailway to realize its full potential.
2. Stronger New Castle Will Enhance Safety and Improve Infrastructure
We take safety seriously. With substantial numbers of large trucks expected to flow through the east and west sides of town into Chappaqua Crossing we will take two important steps. We will establish a truck safety unit within the New Castle Police Department, and make sure that roads leading into town, including State-owned Routes 100, 117, 120, 133 and 128, are given extra attention. We’ll ask Governor Cuomo to direct the New York State Police to increase their patrols along these roads. Our goal is to protect New Castle as we deal with the impact of the large-scale retail being included in the Chappaqua Crossing development.
We will immediately address speeding, starting with a full review of speed limits throughout town. Our town needs traffic calming measures in the hamlets and on residential streets. As parents, our hearts skip a beat when the students from Bell pour into town on Friday afternoons. Keeping our children safe while they are in town is a pressing concern that we will address.
For many years people have talked about building sidewalks from Downtown Chappaqua to Horace Greeley High School and to what is now Chappaqua Crossing along the Route 117 corridor. We want to accomplish this goal as part of our plan to connect the community and enhance the walkability of our town. This will take planning but we can get it done.
We will address the unresolved traffic problems in Downtown Chappaqua and on Roaring Brook Road, the latter of which will be worsened significantly by the massive Chappaqua Crossing development. Some of the solutions are easy. Others will take more time.
We know how to manage large projects and bring them in on time and under budget. We will make improvements to our sewer systems a high priority, including moving aggressively to fix the failing sewers in Random Farms, Riverwoods and Yeshiva. We will seek State funding to pay substantial portions of all needed infrastructure work.
3. Stronger New Castle Will Protect Your Investment and Keep Taxes in Check
For most of us, our homes are our single largest investment. Since the last real estate peak, our property values have declined 15%. (New York State Department of Tax and Finance, Office of Real Property Services, 2007-2016 report). Stronger New Castle will put the interests of homeowners above those of developers. If a proposed development project is not within current zoning, it will need to meet a high standard before it can proceed. The review process for any application outside of current zoning will include a full environmental review as well as a review of the impacts to traffic, water, taxes and safety.
Spot zoning isn’t just improper; it undermines our shared investment. Floating zones are a dangerous precedent for future development in low-density zones. We oppose both.
We understand that high property taxes deter people from moving into our community, threatening future vitality. Town taxes account for approximately 20% of our property tax bill. We will stay within the 2% tax cap.
We recognize the importance of spending tax dollars wisely to build a stronger future for New Castle. We will apply thorough planning and value engineering to manage expenditures and avoid costly missteps that can result in higher tax bills for you. And we won’t miss opportunities to seek State funding to reduce your tax burden.
4. Stronger New Castle Will Put Residents and our Environment First
A strong connection to the environment and the natural beauty of our town is what attracted many of us to New Castle, and is what keeps us here after our kids age out of our schools. New Castle residents do not want large-scale or high-density development in residential neighborhoods, and neither do we. We regard a full review of environmental impacts as a precondition to any development outside of existing zoning regulations.
While sensible, well-managed development in the hamlets is to be encouraged, development in the environmentally-sensitive areas of the East and West Ends of New Castle must be considered in the context of the ecological framework of these areas. We will foster regional cooperation through strong relationships with our neighboring towns. This is vital where there is overlap on environmental issues and where the decisions one town makes can and will affect the others.
We will also work closely with New York State, Westchester County, and New York City on environmental issues and regional concerns. We will ensure that all appropriate measures are taken to preserve what is unique and picturesque about our community so that future generations can continue to enjoy living, playing, and visiting these areas.
5. Stronger New Castle Commits to Open and Transparent Governance
We will bring respect and civility to Town Hall. Our communications will provide you with information that keeps you informed and involved. We will rely on the expertise of our independent boards and committees to advise the Board’s decisions, knowing that they are integral to the fabric of our community.
We live in a town that has remarkably accomplished individuals who are generous with their time and energy. Their contributions make New Castle stronger. We will honor and encourage those contributions and the active participation in local government by all citizens. When residents take the time to show up at Town Hall or to write letters to the Town Board, they will be treated with dignity and respect.
We will increase the transparency and accessibility of government services. We will provide adequate notice of all Town Board meetings so that citizens feel welcome to come and express their opinions. We will streamline the town’s website to make it easier to find the information you need and to report issues that require attention. We will publish your public comments on the website. We will index Town Board videos by topic so you can find what you are looking for quickly.
As Town Board members, we will not vote to issue a bond without proper notice and without full analysis of the impact on your taxes. There will be full transparency on all Town Board votes.
We will support strategic, thoughtful, and coordinated governance, including providing clarity on the priority and sequencing of the actions identified in the recently adopted comprehensive plan. We will define metrics to assess each new project and to measure our success at achieving each goal.
New Castle needs new leadership and new energy. New Castle needs a Town Board that understands how to lead, how to manage through change, and how to make our shared vision a reality. Stronger New Castle will deliver. We look forward to hearing your ideas, and thinking together about how to make New Castle a town you love to call home.
Visit Stronger New Castle at http://www.strongernewcastle.org