Yorktown Republican Chris Sciarra is putting his political plans on hold on the expectation that Winery at St. George owner Tom DeChiaro is poised to make a run for Town Board.
Sciarra, owner of C.S. Construction and the project manager overseeing renovations needed for the winery’s building permit, said he planned to collect petitions next month in hopes of forcing a primary for the Republican Town Board nomination. The town GOP nominated Councilman Nick Bianco and Traveler’s Rest owner Dave Paganelli last month.
But Sciarra said he had confirmed with DeChiaro that the winery owner, who lives in Mahopac, planned to rent a home in Yorktown in order to establish residence for a Town Board run. Sciarra said that waging a primary campaign alongside DeChiaro would be a conflict of interest for him professionally.
“I’m stepping out because he’s stepping in,” he said.
“I don’t agree with his taking up residence in this town, but that’s his right,” Sciarra added. “He’s already got the residence, the house he’s renting. I just feel like let’s keep our eye on the ball in getting the winery open.”
DeChiaro has yet to comment publicly on his political plans. In 2008 he sued the town in federal court alleging corruption and retaliation targeting him in his bid to open the winery with county approval as an agricultural operation. The suit, which specifically named Bianco, was thrown a year later, and DeChiaro began pursuing local approvals soon after.
The winery secured zoning board approval for a special exception use permit in February, but that came with a checklist of items that need to be addressed before a building permit can be issued. Sciarra said the main issue remaining is a sprinkler system that will require a water main be installed across Route 6.
That’ll be his focus as he leaves the campaign trail for 2013.
“I feel bad for the people that want to vote for me, that tell me all the time,” he said. “But there’s always down the road.”
File photos: Sciarra, left; DeChiaro, right. The Journal News