A meeting of the Comprehensive Committee of the Village of Croton-on-Hudson was held on Thursday, November 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: Roger Solymosy
Call to Order
The meeting was called to order at 7:30 pm.
2. Affordable Housing
Chairman Gallelli told the committee members that Mr. Solymosy was working on a portion on affordable housing with Nancy Shatzkin, the president of the Croton Housing Network. Hopefully, this draft will be available for discussion at the next meeting.
3. Discussion of the Overall Plan
The Committee members agreed that they needed more time to review all the previously written sections of the plan. They decided to continue meeting on their own without Paul Buckhurst until they are in complete agreement with what changes they want.
Mr. Doyle circulated some additional general recommendations he had written that he would like incorporated into the Plan. His recommendations included endorsing the original Master Plan’s concept of an identifiable core, discouraging future large scale residential developments, no rezoning which would permit commercial development outside of those areas currently zoned for commercial development, enforcement of the recent signage ordinance. Mr. Doyle explained that he felt it important to say no to things you don’t want and clearly define things you would not want to occur in the Village. The other members agreed that for each section of the Village they need to state not only recommendations for the area but also the things they would not want for that area.
4. Residential Recommendations
Chairman Gallelli said that in addition to “affordable housing” there were many topics under the residential section that need to be addressed such as home occupations, accessory apartments, and housing scale.
Mr. Carlson added that he believed the most important part of the entire effort is the residential section – the village is mostly residential – and the committee needs to decide on its vision for the residential areas. The Village already has diversified housing – what recommendations can be made which will maintain housing diversity. He recommended providing off-street parking for new housing at the rate of one space per bedroom. The other members thought this requirement might be too stringent.
Chairman Gallelli thought the existing list of allowable home occupations in the code needed updating. More and more people are being encouraged to work at home.
Mr. Carlson said that increasing home occupations do affect the Village’s infrastructure in terms of increased traffic, additional need for parking, increased usage of water and sewer. Do we identify concerns or make specific recommendations.
Mr. Doyle felt that they needed to specify allowable or not allowable home occupations in some way – otherwise there might be certain occupations coming in that we don’t want.
Chairman Gallelli replied that the code now has a list of allowable occupations – but she doesn’t think it includes most of the actual current existing occupations. In addition, it doesn’t address standards that should be met.
Mr. Doyle said they have the option of developing a long list of allowable occupations with standards or not defining occupations and just developing standards.
Mr. Carlson said that if there is a home occupation – 1 additional off street parking should be required.
Chairman Gallelli suggested undertaking a study to see whether neighborhoods which have home occupations are having an impact on the parking.
Mr. Doyle suggested rather than requiring one off-street parking per home occupation - could link parking to number of employees or clients.
Mr. Casson said that could result in something they would not want – paving of lawns to allow for more parking.
Chairman Gallelli suggested adding standards to do with parking and perhaps a recommendation endorsing improved technological infrastructure.
Mr. Doyle said they could say they support upgrading technologies – but that it should be appropriate to the appropriate zone.
Commercial vehicles, boats and RVs.
The committee members discussed the issue of residents who park their commercial vehicles on the street or in their yards or driveways. In addition, there is the practice of residents who park large boats and RV’s in their driveways near the property lines. The committee members wondered if there was a way to control this practice or make certain recommendations regarding this concerning screening or setbacks. This was an issue the members felt they needed to refer to Paul Buckhurst for his input.
Mr. Carlson said tear downs can improve the housing stock of the community but the problem is people may want to build as large a house as possible on their lots.
The committee discussed the ways certain requirements could result in improved visual look of new houses, such as floor/area ratios, percentage of lot coverages, and setbacks. Mr. Carlson suggested having setbacks increase as the structure’s height increases. There was also a discussion of whether a house needed to face the street, or if there should be requirements for the side of the house facing the street such as façade or windows.
Mr. Carlson felt this was a difficult issue to articulate because large houses on small houses can be appropriate – the goal needs to be to try to contain bulk.
Chairman Gallelli felt the Plan needs to address the issue of bulk and parking requirements for new homes and tear downs. This is another issue the members felt they needed Mr. Buckhurst’s input on. It was agreed that Mr. Carlson would discuss the issue of containing the massing of residential houses with Mr. Buckhurst.
Architectural Review Board
Because the issue of tear downs and new constructions can be so nebulous the issue of an Architectural Review Board came up again. The members did not come to a consensus on this issue but it was agreed that Trustee Grant would raise the subject with the other Trustees.
The committee members agreed that they didn’t think the issue of accessory apartments needed to be linked with affordable housing. They discussed whether it would be better to legalize the existing accessory apartments or to enforce chapter 230-41 of the zoning code which deals with accessory apartments. The question was, what would be the consequence to the Village of each recommendation. Legalizing existing apartments would allow for safety issues to be addressed in terms of electric and fire hazards. However, it could result in more obtrusive parking and noise issues. In addition, legalizing accessory apartments downsizes the housing stock and reduces property values. The members decided to recommend enforcement of chapter 230-41 while reviewing the age requirements as stated in part F of that
5. C2 Zoning
Chairman Gallelli informed the committee that the Village Board had requested a recommendation from them regarding Westchester Taxi and Limousine service running a business out of the old DOT building. In addition to the fact that they have no site plan, is it an allowable use.
Mr. Carlson mentioned that he thought their goal for that area was to increase retail use. Chairman Gallelli agreed but this is the use that came up and they could use this opportunity to improve the site.
6. It was decided to discuss Mr. Casson’s pictures of Village blight at the next meeting.
7. Meeting dates:
The next meeting was set for November 15, 2001 at 7:30 pm.
The meeting was adjourned at 10:30
Janine King, Secretary
Ann Gallelli, Chairperson