A meeting of the Comprehensive Committee of the Village of Croton-on-Hudson was held on Thursday, July 12, 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, Kurt Carlson
Also present: Paul Buckhurst and Elana Vatsky of Buckhurst Fish & Jacquemart
Call to Order
The meeting was called to order at 7:30 pm.
Commercial Districts Parking Space Requirements
Chairman Gallelli suggested making a recommendation to change the parking space requirements for the commercial districts should be done soon. Frank Fish had felt they were too restrictive and recommended setting realistic standards rather than forcing businesses to apply for variances. Presently C1 is 1 for 300 sq. ft. and C2 is 2 for 300 sq. ft. The Planning Board is beginning to receive site plan applications in C2. If the parking requirements are going to change, she would rather see them change now rather than in a year’s time.
Mr. Buckhurst stated that the Village’s standards are more restrictive than other villages and the FAR requirements are not in sync with the parking requirements.
Mr. Solymosy would like to understand what the effect will be if the parking requirements are changed.
Chairman Gallelli would like to be able to process site plans without having to create permanent variances. She asked Mr. Buckhurst if he and Mr. Fish would write up recommendations that can be presented to the Village Board.
Chairman Gallelli told the committee that the design of the new sidewalks to be built along Riverside Avenue and Route 129 has been changed. The state DOT doesn’t want the sidewalks to come down the north side of Municipal Place – they want the sidewalks to come down the south side adjacent to Croton Commons.
The committee discussed the possibility of Kayson expanding into the empty lot which it owns. Does the Village have any control over that happening. Should the committee take another look at allowable uses in C1 and C2.
Mr. Buckhurst said that if the Village is unable to stop the expansion into that lot the Village might negotiate for a small park and shielded parking.
Discussion of guidelines for Comprehensive Plan
Mr. Buckhurst had prepared new guidelines for the Comprehensive Plan. Mr. Buckhurst advised the committee to look at the issues and see if they agreed – not to focus on problems with implementation.
Natural Resources, Trails and Open Space
Open Space Recommendations
Respond to the planning objectives outlined in the LWRP for Croton
Introduce zoning/conservation easements to permanently protect open space areas, such as Croton Gorge and Con Edison easement lands
Enhance natural quality of the Croton River
Preserve natural character of Croton’s Hudson River waterfront areas
Trails and Links
Improve pedestrian links throughout Village (connections to trails, walkways, sidewalks)
Create better pedestrian/bike connections at RR station
Develop maintenance plan for trails, especially Croton River Gorge
Post trail map on Croton web site
Improve trail system signage, and develop trail map for signs and distribution to orient people
· Create tree trail and maps
Improve Waterfront Access
Create new county trail providing access to Croton Point Park
Develop proposed new access road off Half Moon Access Drive
Review feasibility of pedestrian link/bridge over MetroNorth tracks to provide northern connection to new waterfront park
Utilize “picture tunnel” for pedestrian/bike access
Recommendations for Waterfront Parks (Seprieo site)
Utilize old railroad station building for related park, restaurant activities
Implement noise abatement measures
Provide services at parks (bathroom, water, limited commercial) to increase usage
Focus on increasing pedestrian access
Enhance security through lighting, police patrol and other measures
The committee members discussed the conflicting views for the Seprieo property. There is an apparent discrepancy between the comprehensive plan survey results and the feasibility study recommendations for Seprieo. Perhaps the community does want more active recreation for this site.
Chairman Gallelli recommended trying to add more proposals regarding open space which could be used to amend the LWRP. The LWRP originally had 10 proposals of which nine have now been met.
Sidewalks and Pedestrian Networks
Establish priorities for sidewalk replacement
Review new sidewalk needs where pedestrian use is heavy
Enforce sidewalk maintenance by adjacent sidewalk owners
Provide traffic calming measures to reduce speeds at key areas of Village and improve pedestrian comfort and safety
Ø Improved crosswalks, properly located (e.g. at commercial centers and other critical pedestrian crossing areas)
Ø Curb extensions (neckdowns) at major pedestrian crossings without reducing traffic capacity
Ø Look at traffic patterns, ease flow of traffic, find opportunities for one-way traffic
Ø Parking: integrate with flow of traffic, pedestrian movement; identify key areas
where parking is needed
Study key intersections where traffic congestion is prevalent e.g. Route 129/Municipal Place/Route 9A
Review feasibility of providing regular jitney service between Croton Harmon Station and residential areas
Improve bicycle connections and provide bike storage facilities at station
Improve visual quality of parking lot with landscaping
Review feasibility of structured parking in lot, if additional need for parking spaces is justified
Improve railroad station structure, create esplanade
Review needs of residents dependent on bus service (e.g. elderly) including feasibility of extending service at weekends
· Provide bus shelters in key locations
Develop measures to preserve historic homes
Implement architectural review/design standards to encourage attractive housing and appropriate scale
Integrate new housing into existing neighborhoods and control rebuilding through careful review of building scale, architectural character and siting
Affordable Housing Opportunities
Study moderate and low-income housing opportunities by:
Ø reviewing potential sites that are currently vacant or underutilized
Ø developing housing units above retail uses in commercial centers
Ø evaluate housing needs for senior Village residents
Undertake study of existing housing apartment regulations, (including accessory apartments), role of apartments in providing affordable housing. Study components should include:
Ø identifying the location and prevalence of accessory apartments
Ø assessing the impact of legalizing existing apartments versus enforcing current regulations
Ø reviewing the most appropriate locations for such units
Ø if legalizing existing apartments is considered as an option, regulations should be developed to control occupancy, size, external modifications to main house, and parking
· Review and address inconsistencies in zoning code
Mr. Buckhurst said he amended the housing recommendations to reflect some of the comments at last meeting with Nancy Shatzkin.
Trustee Grant asked about the use of an architectural review board?
Mr. Solymosy suggested perhaps utilizing a review board in certain places – the gateway areas and upper village – which would tie in with the new landscaping requirements and sign requirements.
Mr. Buckhurst suggested developing a design guideline handbook.
Chairman Gallelli mentioned that Mayor Elliott desires to form a historic preservation committee to identify historic properties - but compliance with its suggestions would be voluntary.
Mr. Casson asked in what way would it benefit the homeowner.
Trustee Grant said she wasn’t sure how a voluntary program would work – she was more comfortable with legislation.
Mr. Buckhurst said that the idea is to try to encourage more thinking about the village as a historic area. The historic preservation committee is a way to start.
Chairman Gallelli suggested utilizing the Croton Historical Society – they might have an input in identifying historic houses.
Mr. Solymosy suggested developing a pamphlet and a map showing historic properties.
The Committee made some changes to the Housing guidelines page as follows.
The category “age-appropriate housing was removed”
Housing needs for seniors will go under “affordable housing opportunities”
“Examining potential re-use of older homes owned by senior citizens” will be taken out.
Chairman Gallelli said she did want to make sure affordable housing opportunities and the need for housing for seniors is addressed in the Plan.
Mr. Casson said the committee needed to define what is meant by accessory apartments
Mr. Solymosy said that there are many accessory apartments in use in the Village as well as houses being used by many people, not just one family, and also boarding houses. This is a global issue – there are a lot of people here that aren’t being acknowledged.
Chairman Gallelli said the Committee needs to study all apartments – legal accessory and illegal apartments. She asked Mr. Buckhurst to give the committee some input on how to undergo this kind of study.
Mr. Solymosy mentioned that the committee had not yet addressed in detail the issue of housing – having to do with setbacks and lot sizes.
Strengthen role and quality of commercial centers
Ø Need to increase range of retail establishments
Ø Improvements to appearance and overall image
Ø Improve accessibility from nearby housing to underline local, neighborhood-oriented function
Role as image-defining gateways to Village (Harmon, Municipal Place)
Maintain and encourage mixed use
Build on historic character (scale, mix)
Improve pedestrian amenities
Establish stronger design guidelines re façade design, signage, etc.
“Gateway” role requires improved image
Streetscape improvements – Short Term (improved signage, establish landscaped setbacks, screening of surface parking, etc.)
Long Term (consolidation of curb cuts, coordination of future building design through guidelines, new sidewalks and underground utilities)
Pedestrian/bike path connections to adjacent residential area
“Gateway” role requires improved image
Consider village purchase of Katz Property for senior/arts/mixed use development; to include Village park area.
Enhance pedestrian connections/amenities between major plaza areas
Long-term redevelopment guidelines
Maintain and encourage mixed use
Upgrade poorer quality buildings/uses
Improve pedestrian connection to Brook Street overpass including additional planting
Expand on recent streetscape improvements e.g. by creating strong “riverfront” character
Office District, North Village
Strengthen image of north gateway with additional landscaping, signage
Design guidelines to reflect more rural character of this entry point (e.g. use of stone roadside walls, etc.)
Chairman Gallelli said that the plan needs to make a recommendation for a new zoning map to encompass the new zoning changes that have been made and to include the gateway areas.
Mr. Solymosy asked if the Plan could address the property owned by CSX.
Chairman Gallelli replied that CSX is exempt from SEQRA laws and Coastal Zone Management laws.
Mr. Solymosy thought the Committee should ask Village Attorney Waldman and Mr. Fish if the Village could pass local laws which would make certain of their practices illegal.
Mr. Casson said that he still wanted to address the idea of amortization of metro enviro, storage parking lots, and any other practices existing in the Village which the Committee may wish to try to end over the long term.
Community Facilities and Services
Develop multi-use community center for seniors, artists, children
(consider purchase of Katz property on Municipal Place)
Provide public spaces for performances and art exhibits
Evaluate need to extend sewer system
Gateway Areas (Municipal Place, Harmon, North gateway)
Create high quality, small-scale parks and pedestrian amenities in Village gateway areas by:
Ø developing new park at Municipal Place (Katz property)
Ø preserving and enhancing small open space areas
Ø enhancing northern entrance to Village
Parks and Recreation
Assess need for additional recreation facilities,
Clarify plan for Black Rock Park
Provide handicap access to parks and riverfronts (Black Rock, Senasqua)
Develop park maintenance plans, especially for Duck Pond Park
Place additional recreational facilities on the waterfront.
The committee members suggested the following changes:
Attempt to improve access to Silver Lake
Place additional recreational facilities on the waterfront.
Mr. Solymosy suggested looking again at undeveloped properties in the Village. Also, perhaps Hudson National and Croton Point Park needs to be rezoned.
Discussion on proposal from Trustee Harkins regarding train station.
Trustee Harkins had asked the committee to take a look at a proposal which would add retail shops to the Croton-Harmon commuter train station.
The Committee felt this would reduce the commercial viability of the rest of the Village as well as reduce substantially the number of available usable parking spaces for commuters.
Mr. Solymosy suggested that each committee member come up with a list of items which could be addressed to make the Village a more attractive place. It was agreed that they would discuss these lists at the next meeting.
Future meeting dates
The next meeting will take place some time in September
The minutes of May 31, 2001 were approved as corrected.
The meeting was adjourned at 9:45 pm.
Janine King, Secretary
Ann Gallelli, Chairperson