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04 26 01

A meeting of the Comprehensive Committee of the Village of Croton-on-Hudson was held on Thursday, April 26, 2001, at the Municipal Building, One Van Wyck Street, Croton on Hudson, NY 10520.

The following members were present:

Chairperson Ann Gallelli
Justin Casson
Roger Solymosy
Kurt Carlson
Trustee Liaison Georgianna Grant

Absent:  Paul Doyle

Also present:   Paul Buckhurst and  Frank Fish of Buckhurst Fish & Jacquemart

Call to Order

The meeting was called to order at 7:00 pm.

Gateway Districts

Chairman Gallelli stated that there has long been a concern by the Village Board and residents of the Village about the appearance of the gateway areas of the Village.  The Village Board appointed a gateway committee chaired by John Imbiano, to study design plans for the gateway areas.  Chairman Gallelli reported on Mr. Imbiano’s concerns as to the sensitive nature of the gateway areas and the need to coordinate planning for those parts of the Village.  There was concern that the moratorium would expire before careful consideration could be given to those issues despite the considerable progress made by the Committee in resolving many of those issues.  Since these plans will not be completed before the end of the moratorium development law, the Comprehensive Plan Committee will have to recommend an extension of the law for the gateway districts.

Mr. Buckhurst referred to a memo he had prepared to discuss the gateway districts in the Village.

The defining characteristics of gateway districts in Croton are:

Vehicular entry points into Croton from Routes 9/9A.
Commercial Uses
Highway business-oriented
Opportunities for new development

At the moment they are the least characteristic of the village – instead of defining the characteristic of village.

Mr. Fish explained that because the three overlay districts are different from each other – it will not be easy to construct a single overlay district.  There will have to be three separate designs for the three districts – the zoning code would reference the design guidelines as provided in the Comprehensive Plan.

Mr. Buckhurst listed the requirements for the gateway overlay districts that would be written in the plan.  The design requirements would be described with pictures.

Design Elements

Building Placement and Form:  street frontage/materials used
Landscaping:  street trees, screening of parking
Gateway signage:  incorporating Croton logo in gateway signs
Setbacks/buffers:  increase setback buffer and landscaping requirements
Materials:  sidewalks and pedestrian crossings differentiated with same materials

Transportation Elements

Pedestrian linkages to adjacent residential districts
Tie commercial districts into Village trails system
Traffic calming devices
Differentiate pedestrian amenities (sidewalks, crosswalks) with similar paving materials)

Chairman Gallelli stated that in next week’s work session on May 2, 2001, Mr. Casson will bring up his idea for Croton Commons and Municipal Place.

Mr. Buckhurst went on to talk about the individual districts starting with Croton Point Avenue and South Riverside Avenue.  One of the main problems is the stored parking which overlaps the sidewalks making the walking experience unpleasant and unattractive.  The other negative points are the parking all along the street up to Benedict Blvd and the overhead wires.

Mr. Carlson said that replacing the overhead wires should be a stated goal in the plan regardless of the cost.

Mr. Fish explained that the utility company wouldn’t replace them for one or two properties – it would have to be done for the whole street – not just for the gateway areas.

Mr. Casson said he would like to add bicycle racks at the train station and bicycle paths leading to the train station.

Chairman Gallelli said that things like underground wires and bike paths may be things the committee recommends for many areas of the Village – those wouldn’t be specific to the gateway areas.

Mr. Carlson said that in order to be specific to the gateway areas the committee should be looking at usage and bulk requirements.

Mr. Fish replied that initially they wanted to emphasize design requirements, for example, should buildings be set back from street or right up to street with parking in the back.

Chairman Gallelli said that on Croton Point Avenue it would not be desirable to have access from the back because behind Croton Point Avenue is Wayne street which is located in a residential area

Mr. Carlson said that the views from this gateway area are spectacular and the Exxon canopy broke the view.  These views should be taken into consideration when drawing the designs of this area.

Mr. Fish asked about the parcel of land across from CVS and Grand Union.  Should the plan recommend the Village attempt to purchase this lot.  Chairman Gallelli said making such recommendations should be part of the plan.

Chairman Gallelli suggested that the design for the Harmon area include brick facades – since many of the older buildings already have brick facades in the Harmon area.

Mr. Carlson suggested extending the gateway area to include the corner of Benedict Boulevard and South Riverside.
Mr. Solymosy asked if they should have recommended making car dealerships an illegal use.  If one goes out of business, that would have prevented a new dealer from coming in.

Mr. Fish said that the designs will lend themselves to either office or retail.  If they design a building close to the road – that would lend itself more to office.  Or a buffer section in front could be put in for landscaping.

Chairman Gallelli asked about materials.

Mr. Buckhurst replied that there would be guidelines – but could not be a requirement.

Mr. Fish said that in state law the Planning Board can look at architectural features and design issues when granting site-plan approval.

Chairman Gallelli asked if there were any suggestions for the third gateway area – the O-1 district in the Northern end of the Village.

Mr. Buckhurst suggested extending the district to the other side of the street and include the trail easement

Mr. Fish suggested requiring landscaping to be extended more than ten feet.

Mr. Solymosy suggested extending the stone wall theme which exists on Albany Post Road farther north into the gateway area.

Draft of Local Law to extend Moratorium

Chairman Gallelli said that the additional language added to the draft law was suggested by Village Attorney Seymour Waldman.  The draft law will extend the moratorium on the gateway districts for six months until December 26, 2001.  At the next Village Board meeting on May 7, 2001, the Trustees will call for the Public Hearing to be held on June 4, 2001.

Floor/Area Ratios

Mr. Fish said that he understood that the Trustees and certain commercial owners were concerned about the recommendation to reduce FAR levels from 2.0 to 0.5 in the C-2 district.  He prepared an explanation of floor/area ratios – see attached – and is prepared to present this explanation at the Public Hearing.  He stressed that if owners are able to comply with the parking requirements already in the zoning code, they will be able to comply with the new FARs.  The lots that cannot achieve the new FARs are already a non-conforming use because of parking requirements.

Office Zones and Residential Subdivisions

It was agreed not to make changes to the office zones and residential districts at this time.

Approval of minutes

The minutes of February 28, 2001 were approved as corrected.

Meeting Dates

The next work session was set for May 2, 2001 at 7:30.  The committee members were asked to go the next Village Board work session to be held on May 14, 2001 to discuss the recommended changes to the commercial districts.

The meeting was adjourned at 10:00 pm.

Respectfully submitted,

Janine King, Secretary

Ann Gallelli, Chairperson