The unanimous vote from the five-member board, which was approved on Tuesday, came just days after a petition was submitted with 520 signatures for a permissive referendum for the lease. The referendum was supported by lease applicants who were not selected: Carla Gambescia, founder of Mount Kisco restaurant Via Vanti!, and Peter and Erin Chase.
Arguments in favor of a permissive referendum, which were posted on a Facebook page called "Our Station, Our Town," included claims that the duration for the the previously issued request for proposals (RFP) was only for days and that negotiating was only done with one applicant.
Love at 10514 is a venture owned by Leslie Lampert, a former Chappaqua resident and owner of two Mount Kisco eateries: Ladle of Love and Cafe of Love.
The Facebook page included a brief statement thanking people for their support.
"We sincerely thank everyone who joined in this petition effort."
The resolution calls for publication of an RFP that is "substantially the same form" as the previous one, which was issued in March.
Reached for comment, Gambescia was surprised that the decision to rescind the lease happened quickly. Gambescia is concerned about the language in the resolution for a new RFP, arguing that it should be a substantially different one. She hopes that a new RFP will be available to the public for a longer period of time and advertised, and that there will be better clarity about what the desired use is and of the criteria for a decision.
Asked about participating again, Gambescia replied that it depends on the RFP. Gambescia, who was in negotiations with the town previously to be the station tenant, continues to operate concession space in the building.
Asked for a reaction to the decision, Lampert's reply was "very disappointed." She did not rule out participating in the next RFP and has faith that the right decision will be made.
Town Supervisor Rob Greenstein issued a statement after the vote. In it, he reacted favorably to the previous RFP process and explained that all applicants had the same opportunity to respond. However, he cited the referendum petition as a factor in the decision to rescind.
"When the Board reviewed the referendum petition and weighed its options, the most prudent choice was to rescind its lease award and reopen the selection process once again. We invite all prior applicants for leasing the Chappaqua Train Station to resubmit their proposals for consideration."
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