A meeting of the Comprehensive Committee of the Village of Croton-on-Hudson was held on Thursday, February 1, 2001, at the Municipal Building, One Van Wyck Street, Croton on Hudson, NY 10520.
The following members were present:
Chairperson Ann Gallelli
Trustee Liaison Georgianna Grant
Absent: Paul Doyle
Also present: Frank Fish and Bonnie Braine of Buckhurst, Fish & Jacquemart
Call to Order
The meeting was called to order at 8 pm.
Chairman Gallelli said that the priority for tonight is to come to a consensus on Light Industrial. The Village Board and Village Attorney Waldman are waiting for the committee’s recommendations on Light Industrial. The zoning changes need to be in place before the end of the current moratorium.
Mr. Fish explained that under the proposed changes most uses in light industrial are now only permitted with the granting of a special permit. Solid waste and liquid waste transfer stations and landfill and construction and demolition transfer stations will be prohibited.
Mr. Solymosy said he would like to discuss the use of a timetable for Metro Enviro so that after a stated number of years they would no longer be allowed to operate.
Mr. Fish said he would like to put off that discussion until the language under light industrial is approved.
Mr. Solymosy asked if there are certain meanings defined by the DEC which the committee should look at before finishing discussion of Light Industrial.
Mr. Fish stated that he believed that solid waste transfer station is the correct term to use and he believed it was acceptable to add liquid transfer station. He wanted to make sure the committee agreed with the construction and demolition language as well
Mr. Carlson asked if the committee should be concerned with storage of waste and debris in addition to transfer stations.
Mr. Fish replied that the committee needs to decide if the language should be broad in order to let the Planning Department make interpretations or more specific to try to cover more types of businesses.
Chairman Gallelli said that there is nothing in the permitted uses that includes storage.
Mr. Fish replied that warehousing is included.
Chairman Gallelli said that she would like to let the use of special permits control new business entry in the village rather than to try to anticipate every type of business.
Mr. Solymosy disagreed, he would prefer to try to restrict businesses specifically rather than use special permits, he would rather have clear descriptions and clear regulations and would like to save the use of special permits for certain specific uses.
Mr. Fish attempted to focus the discussion back to his proposed changes and agree on the language that would prohibit transfer stations.
Mr. Solymosy asked if it was necessary to list prohibited uses or just eliminate the use under permitted uses.
Mr. Fish stated that he did both; under special permit use under utilities he excluded transfer stations as a permitted use, and he also added a category which lists prohibited uses.
Chairman Gallelli asked if the committee could agree on the language.
Mr. Fish said that he would add “storage stations” – the language would read as follows: “Excluding solid and liquid waste transfer and storage stations and landfills (including construction and demolitions materials)
Chairman Gallelli said that the committee could take up the issue of more specific permitted uses at a later date; that does not need to be decided before the end of the moratorium.
Mr. Fish said that he would make the changes and send the final version back to the committee.
Mr. Solymosy said that the list of permitted uses currently includes R&D laboratories and he is concerned with medical and biomedical research laboratories and not sure that they should be a permitted use.
Mr. Fish said that the reason he broke that use out was because the word laboratory bothered him as well and this would be an example of the use of a special permit.
Mr. Solymosy said that he believes there is nothing in the code that regulates hazardous materials or biohazardous materials.
Mr. Casson asked if they could just exclude laboratories which produce hazardous materials.
Mr. Solymosy said that they all do to some extent. If these uses are to be permitted he would rather have them subject to special permits.
Mr. Fish said that he separated laboratories from professional offices so that if the committee is concerned with that use – it could be made into a special permit category.
Mr. Solymosy said he would rather prohibit those kinds of uses.
Mr. Carlson asked if these types of laboratories weren’t regulated by other state agencies.
Chairman Gallelli said that if they were subject to a special permit their uses could be regulated.
Mr. Solymosy believed that all laboratories producing hazardous waste should not be allowed in the Village at all. This would include medical research and genetic engineering.
Chairman Gallelli suggested having research and development laboratories permitted under special permit and excluding medical and biological research laboratories.
Mr. Fish reminded the committee that if the special permits are granted by the Board of Trustees they would have wide-ranging discretionary power in what they could allow and not allow. He believed that now that solid and waste transfer stations have been prohibited outright, research and development laboratories could be moved to special permit use rather than trying to ban them outright as well.
Mr. Solymosy agreed to move research and development laboratories to special permit use but would still like to exclude laboratories that produce or use hazardous materials and biological materials.
Mr. Carlson said that as this issue doesn’t need to be decided before the end of the moratorium the committee could discuss it further before agreeing on the exact wording.
Mr. Fish then asked about hotels, motels, and restaurants – do these need to be subject to special permits rather than permitted use?
Mr. Solymosy thought they should be subject to special permits.
Chairman Gallelli then raised a point to discuss further – she would like to rezone the light industrial district north of the Pedestrian Bridge to Waterfront Commercial.
Mr. Solymosy said that before the Light Industrial section is finished he would like to discuss the use of an amortization schedule to be used for prohibited uses that were currently permitted.
Mr. Fish said that an amortization clause could be added to the zoning code. The length of time should give the owner a reasonable period to recoup his investments. It is also preferable to have more than one amortization schedule for more than one use. The amortization schedule should be subject to a hearing run by the Zoning Board of Appeals.
Chairman Gallelli wasn’t sure if the ZBA was the best board to run the hearing since they are politically appointed, not elected.
Mr. Fish said they would add a separate section in the code under enforcement called amortization. It would not be specific to any one use – would cover signs, uses not allowed in a specific district; it would have an appeals provision which would go to the Board of Trustees. It would apply only to prohibited uses. The draft will be given to Village Attorney Waldman for his review. It is also possible to wait to add the amortization schedule when the rest of the comprehensive plan is written. This way other prohibited uses might be added.
Chairman Gallelli agreed that the amortization schedule should be written up at the end of the comprehensive plan process. At this stage only the use will be prohibited. She added that the new light industrial section should be sent to the Board of Trustees and the Planning Board. The comprehensive plan committee will most likely have to meet with the Planning Board when discussing the C1 and C2 districts.
Mr. Fish talked about the difference between the Upper Village and the rest of the commercial zones. The upper village may have been built before the use of automobiles. The other districts should have a reduced FAR (floor area ratio) – to about .5. The FAR in the upper village should be around 2.
Trustee Grant said that North Riverside Avenue should be looked at in the same way as the upper village.
Mr. Fish said that the Upper Village and North Riverside Avenue could be zoned C1 and the rest of commercial districts C2. This would allow use differentials between the two zones.
Chairman Gallelli said that there are concerns with parking lots and automobile sales in the commercial districts. She would like to make commercial parking lots a prohibited use
Mr. Solymosy added that he would like to make gas stations and printing presses prohibited uses in the upper village.
Mr. Casson added that storage car lots that are not onsite to the business should also be a prohibited use.
Mr. Fish replied that in his first presentation about commercial districts he had made storage lots and commercial lots subject to a special permit.
Chairman Gallelli replied that the committee was now saying that they should be prohibited outright.
Mr. Carlson was uncomfortable outlawing commercial lots. He felt that increased parking may be necessary if the committee is trying to promote small businesses.
Mr. Solymosy replied that the village could add municipal parking to address parking needs without adding a privately owned commercial lot.
Mr. Casson said that instead of deleting these uses from the list of permitted uses they should become a prohibited use. Then the amortization schedule could be used to close down any existing business over time.
Mr. Fish said he would write an amortization clause which includes parking lots, storage lots, transfer stations and illegal signs. These businesses will still be allowed to go to the zoning board to obtain a variance. He added that there is still a need to discuss all permitted and prohibited uses in the commercial districts.
Mr. Solymosy said he would like to prohibit hospitals and nursing homes from commercial districts.
Chairman Gallelli did not agree.
Mr. Fish said that the committee needed to focus on any additional issues which needed to be decided before the end of the moratorium.
Chairman Gallelli replied that there were certain undeveloped lots which the committee wanted to protect before the end of the moratorium.
Mr. Fish argued if these lots were to be rezoned it would be better if that came out of the comprehensive plan. No real decisions could be made about these lots until the plan was completed.
After additional discussion about this it was decided that the committee would try to extend the moratorium on certain areas of special concern to the Village. This would include areas labeled “gateways” to the Village, and undeveloped and unoccupied properties. This would include Croton Point Avenue, Croton Commons, and the bottom of Brook Street.
Mr. Fish said that these areas have to be defined lot by lot.
Chairman Gallelli mentioned the automobile sales recommendations from the Planning Board. She asked Mr. Fish to incorporate those recommendations into the changes for the commercial districts. These recommendations would only be made to C2 – since C1 will now be reserved for the Upper Village and North Riverside Avenue.
The committee discussed other uses in C1 and C2 that they may want to prohibit such as video arcades, drive-in theaters. Mr. Solymosy said he was also concerned about nursing homes and extended-residence places.
Mr. Fish summarized the changes he would be making. The committee had agreed on Light Industrial. For the commercial districts he would reduce the FAR, include the landscape standards, and include the recommendations from the Planning Board on automobile sales.
Chairman Gallelli said they would need another meeting to go over specific uses in the commercial districts. The following meeting on February 22, 2001 would be to discuss the format and topic of the next public input workshop. If there is time at that meeting, they could continue the discussion on the commercial districts.
Approval of minutes
The minutes of October 26, 2000, November 30, 2000, and December 7, 2000 were approved as corrected.
The meeting was adjourned at 11 pm.
Janine King, Secretary
Ann Gallelli, Chairman