Reader’s Digest site developers can only build on less than one-third of property

The community board of New Castle, the Chappaqua town where developers originally sought to build a 348-unit condominium on the 114-acre site that formerly housed the Reader’s Digest, ruled that Summit Development and Greenfield Partners could only build 111 units on 31 of the acres, the New York Times reported. The developers purchased the land for $59 million seven years ago and have been continually rebuffed in their efforts to build on the site, and have alleged in two lawsuits that the town opposes affordable multi-family housing. But the town supervisor, Barbara Gerrard, said the community wants to limit residential development to leave room for commercial development in order to raise more revenue for the town.

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Currently, Chappaqua shops contribute less than 3 percent to the area tax base, and revenue took a major hit upon Reader’s Digest’s departure. Gerrard says she struck a compromise by allowing for development but still respecting many community members’ wishes that the 114-acres remain a vast, lightly developed property. These developers are not the first to go to court with Chappaqua over development obstacles, as SG Chappaqua has filed a lawsuit demanding that the town buy back its property after continually rejecting its proposals. New Castle also reached a settlement with the federal Department of Housing and Urban Development when it mandated that largely white Westchester communities needed to create affordable housing. [NYT]