The scoping document is an early and significant item for the environmental review of the proposal, which involves rezoning the Legionaries of Christ site at 773 Armonk Road to allow for construction of 60 condominium units. The proposal is from developer Stephen Oder of Soder Real Estate Equities.
The document outlines what will be covered during the review. The process is done under the State Environmental Quality Review Act (SEQRA). Under SEQRA, the next step will be the preparation and submission of a draft environmental impact statement (DEIS), which will include studies pertaining to the proposal. Once the draft is submitted and reviewed, a public hearing will be held on it. After public feedback, the applicant would then prepare and submit a final environmental impact statement (FEIS).
A public hearing on the FEIS is discretionary, according to a reply from New Castle Town Counsel Nicolas Ward-Willis that was included in the meeting video. After the FEIS there will be a findings statement produced, which is the last major environmental review document.
The Town Board is serving as lead agency for the environmental review, which means it has oversight and will vote on the major steps.
Speaking at a July 1 Town Board work session, Ward-Willis gave an estimate of ten to 13 months before there is a public hearing on the DEIS.
The Town Board’s approval of the scoping document came following comments members of the public who were critical of the process, the meeting video shows, with board members offering their defenses. Public comment pertaining to the proposal starts shortly after the 52-minute mark in the video.
New Castle's Planning Board, giving advisory feedback in a June 18 memo, was critical of the rezoning and requested that updating the town's master plan be done before rezoning is considered.
"The consensus of the Planning Board is that the much awaited Master Plan Update should be completed prior to any further consideration to rezoning the subject property," the memo states. "The Planning Board believes that to conduct the review of this project under circumstances that differ from its current zoning and the Town Development Plan would be putting the cart before the horse."
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