Controversial form-based code plan will cost New Castle $ 95 billion

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New Castle City Council hopes to liven up downtown Chappaqua with a new forms-based code that would allow mixed-use development in the hamlet.

The Town of New Castle is expected to receive the preliminary form-based code preliminary Final Generic Environmental Impact Assessment (FGEIS) by July 8, but this will cost the town an additional $ 95,000. .

In correspondence with the city, Kimley-Horn Engineering and Landscape Architecture of New York increases the price of the document and the statement of preliminary findings in part because several of the 512 letters submitted by the public demanded a response that “was beyond the scope of the original contract due to their technical nature and level of detail.”

The statement of preliminary findings is expected to arrive three weeks after the preliminary FGEIS.

Last week, city council approved an $ 81,000 change order for Kimley-Horn to address issues raised in four correspondence; additional economic and market analyzes to test the impact of 10% affordable housing on the feasibility of a three- and four-story building assuming two different levels of affordability in the North Greeley Avenue corridor; and work to identify development thresholds for sewer capacity.

An additional $ 14,000 is billed by Kimley-Horn for reporting the findings.

One of the correspondence Kimley-Horn replies to and refers to in her letter to the city, from Residents United to Save the Chappaqua Hamlet, is 116 pages long. Another from the Chappaqua School District contains seven pages with a 71-page attachment from the district consultants.

The board approved the change order by a 4: 1 vote, with opposition from City Councilor Lisa Katz, who strongly criticized the forms-based code. She argued that Kimley-Horn’s fees were based on responding to comments to produce a FGEIS.

“They say there are too many things to answer, but maybe if they did a better job the first time around, they wouldn’t have so much to answer,” Katz remarked. “To me, they sort of extort us for that.”

The original contract was for $ 399,984, followed by two previous change orders totaling $ 46,600, according to city administrator Jill Shapiro.

City Attorney Ed Phillips said negotiations with Kimley-Horn were brutal and at times difficult. However, this resulted in a substantial reduction in additional fees from what they had requested, he said. He did not say what Kimley-Horn originally requested for additional charges.

However, the city also needs to be a little cautious as the contract allows either party to terminate the contract for any reason with 30 days’ notice, Phillips said, which could force the city to re-issue a request for proposal. (DP). Instead, a compromise was sought.

“It created a concern that if we couldn’t come to some kind of compromise, they might work and we had to start over with a tendering process and bring in a new consultant and upgrade them, and that frankly, was not a very attractive option for most city council members, ”said Phillips.

Assistant Supervisor Jeremy Saland said during the bargaining session he was involved in he was very determined to push back. However, municipalities are not private entities, which have much greater freedom to maintain or sever ties with contractors in the event of a dispute.

“We had to move the project forward. We believe in it, ”said Saland. “I know you have a different opinion, but spending more money just to chase this, get this done in a month and a half would have been stupid.”

Katz replied that she would have been ready to play hard ball with Kimley-Horn. She said the consultant would have been reluctant to withdraw from the contract as it would have damaged their reputation.

Supervisor Ivy Pool said if the consultant had not been able to complete the work for the agreed fee then she would have agreed with Katz. But there were too many unforeseen circumstances for them to be able to settle the original charge.

“I don’t think a change order like this is outside of what’s normal and what we see from these kinds of projects every day,” Pool said.

Form-based code controversy has raged since last fall over the proposed rezoning plan, bringing the issue to the fore in the June 22 Democratic primary and municipal elections this year.

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