Planning Board Minutes 03/04/03


A regular meeting of the Planning Board of the Village of Croton-on-Hudson, New York was held on Tuesday, March 4, 2003 in the Municipal Building.

        MEMBERS PRESENT:        Ann Gallelli, Chair
                                        Fran Allen
Joel Klein
                                        Andrew Zelman
        ABSENT:        Ted Brumleve

                 ALSO PRESENT:  Daniel O’Connor, P.E., Village Engineer

1.  Call to Order:

The meeting was called to order at 8:00 P.M. by Chairman Gallelli.


Croton-on-Hudson Realty, LLC (Finkelstein Warehouse) – 1 Hudson River Drive (Sec. 78.12 Blk. 4 Lot 1) – Application for Amended Site Plan Approval – Preliminary Discussion

Peter Elkin, architect, and Ira Silver were present for this application.

Chairman Gallelli noted for the record that the Planning Board had a (preliminary) discussion on this application when the Applicant was seeking a Special Permit from the Village Board.  The Village Board referred the application to the Planning Board for a recommendation.  The Applicant has since been granted a Special Permit.  The Applicant is now before the Planning Board for an Amended Site Plan approval.

Mr. Elkin stated that he brought with him tonight, for the Planning Board’s review, some cross sections and elevations of the proposed building addition.  He noted to the Board members that the Applicant is aware of the Planning Board’s recommendation letter to the Village Board in which the Planning Board addresses its concerns about the landscaping and the color(s) of the building.  One of the Planning Board’s main concerns is the view of the building from the riverside.  The Planning Board wants to see how well the building blends in with its surroundings.  Mr. Elkin noted that another concern on this property is the drainage.  He expressed his own concern about safeguarding the pipes that cross the site to the Hudson River and drain upland areas.     

Mr. Elkin stated that the first drawing he brought with him tonight shows three horizontal areas of color – dark green, brown and beige – which divide the building horizontally into layers.  This color design was chosen to help the building blend in with its surroundings when viewed from the river.

Mr. Elkin stated that, for tonight’s meeting, he has prepared a cross section map and has shown the planned new riverfront road.  There is a berm on the west side, consisting of several feet, which would be landscaped/planted. On top of the berm is a chain link fence.  Mr. Elkin stated that he did the calculations of the building and road height(s) to help visualize what a person going down the road would see. The 8’ fence is higher than “anyone going down that road.” Ms. Allen wanted to know the elevations, to which Mr. Elkin stated that the building is at 17’ at the base, and the maximum height is approximately 20’ to the eave.  The fence starts at 20’ and goes up another 8’ so that the top of the fence is at 28’.  The top of the building is 37’ but, according to Mr. Elkin, a person cannot see the building through the fence.  Mr. Elkin stated that the train tracks are at 14’ to 16’, and the trains are 10’6” high.  If someone were driving down the road and there was no fence, he/she would see the trains and the building.  Mr. Elkin stated that there is a “slot of vision,” as one makes the right turn off the bridge, where one would definitely see the building.  

Mr. Zelman referred to an area that is overgrown with weeds and asked if there is any plan being proposed to maintain this overgrowth. Mr. Elkin stated that the Applicant did consider, in the landscaping plan, including some additional trees along the west side of the building.  The existing corner of the building is 9’ from the property line.  It was thought that there is not much room along this area to plant anything.  

Chairman Gallelli told Mr. Elkin that the Board member who is not here tonight, Ted Brumleve, called her with his comments.  Mr. Brumleve wondered if, in the narrow piece of land that is north of the area where some landscaping is being proposed, a trellis or a vine could be planted that could provide some additional screening.   Mr. Elkin responded that the Applicant is concerned about moisture and/or rodents getting into the building if there is planting in that area.  The Applicant would really prefer not to put any plants in this area.

Mr. Elkin stated that, in the area of the property where a 3’ retaining wall is located, there is a “valley” that the Applicant is proposing to fill in.  There is room for some landscaping.  Ms. Allen asked if there is drainage in that area, to which Mr. Elkin replied that the Applicant intends to redo the drainage in that area.

Mr. Elkin stated that he is proposing an increase to the size of the Applicant’s proposed addition over what had been shown earlier.  The Applicant would still be at 48.7% coverage.  He would show this revision on the next submittal to the Village.

Mr. Zelman asked if the 5 trees being proposed along the front border are tall, to which Mr. Elkin replied that they are, indeed, tall.  They are London Plane trees that potentially get quite big.

Chairman Gallelli stated that the Applicant is proposing to provide some off-site landscaping on the “new road” side of the property.  She asked if the Applicant would provide the plants themselves or would he, instead, come up with a monetary amount for the plants, to which Mr. Elkin replied that the Applicant would go along with whatever the Village wants. Chairman Gallelli stated that she is not going to offer an opinion on this matter, but she would like to take this matter to the Village Board.  She told Mr. Elkin that she has already discussed this idea about the landscaping with the Mayor and he thinks it is a wonderful idea.  The Village might prefer the money as opposed to the plants because the project is still so far off.  Mr. Elkin stated that Mr. Finkelstein has given his “okay” to this landscaping proposal, to which Chairman Gallelli reiterated that she would take the matter to the Village Board.

Mr. Elkin stated that the next aspect of his presentation tonight is the proximity of the new addition to the storm drain.  While it is probable that the Applicant will have a pile foundation, these piles would be augured in down to the depth of the bottom of the pipe.  Then, they would be driven in so as not to have an effect on the setting of the pipes.  Mr. Klein asked Mr. Elkin how many piles he anticipates, to which Mr. Elkin stated that he anticipates about 24 to 30 piles.  Mr. Klein thought that, in so far as maximum noise allowances and hours of operation for the pile driving are concerned, the Planning Board should incorporate into its resolution of approval the same provisions as it incorporated into its Half Moon Bay approval(s).  

Mr. Elkin explained to the Board members what the Applicant intends to do about drainage on the site.  He (Mr. Elkin) and the Village Engineer have already discussed the new statute passed by New York State which will require the Applicant to obtain a SPEDES permit from the NYS Department of Environmental Conservation.  The Applicant is also doing remedial work on two major collection basins.

Mr. Elkin referred the Planning Board to drawing SP-3, which shows the existing and proposed lighting.   The lighting diagram shows an even amount of illumination on each light.  All the lighting is contained on the site with minor exceptions.  The new lighting will consist of metal halide fixtures. The purpose of some of the lighting being proposed is to provide security on the side of the building and to illuminate the exit.  Mr. Klein asked Mr. Elkin how many mercury fixtures are being replaced, to which Mr. Elkin replied that 6 are being replaced on the main building and 3 are being replaced on the west side.  The Village Engineer asked if there were any on the south side that would be abandoned, to which Mr. Elkin replied that 3 or 4 are being abandoned on that side.

Mr. Klein stated that the County is looking into the issue of how to safely dispose of mercury lights/fixtures.  He thought it would be important for him to become aware of what the procedure is.  He told the Applicant that these fixtures should certainly not be thrown out in the trash.  Mr. Elkin stated that he would look into it and have an answer for the Planning Board by the next meeting.

Chairman Gallelli asked Mr. Elkin why the lighting on the south side of the building is an issue for him, to which Mr. Elkin replied that if it is dark back there, then, people could fall and get hurt.  Mr. Elkin stated that the lights on the side of the building taper off about 40’ out.  He would be concerned, for safety reasons, should anyone be back there.  He noted that he does not want to propose any new lights.  Mr. Silver told the Board members that no one goes back there anyway, to which Mr. Elkin replied that, if this is the case, then, it might not be a cause for concern.  The Village Engineer asked if there are existing lights on the west side, to which Mr. Silver responded that there are some 100-watt incandescent lights on the west side.  Mr. Elkin made a suggestion that these could be replaced with fluorescent lights.

Chairman Gallelli told the Applicant that she wanted to go over a few items that she and the Village Engineer discussed earlier today.  One of the items was the State Environmental Quality Review Act (SEQRA) process.  According to the SEQRA regulations, this application probably would fall into the Type 1 Action category.  Regardless of the category, the building is located in a critical environmental area.  The Planning Board will want to declare its intent to become the Lead Agency under SEQRA.  According to the SEQRA process, the Planning Board will need 30 days for interested and involved agencies to respond to the Planning Board’s Declaration of Intent.  Once these agencies have responded, the Board can progress to the next step with this application.  Chairman Gallelli noted that, in the meantime, the Applicant has to obtain a SPEDES permit from the NYSDEC.    

Chairman Gallelli stated that a Full Environmental Assessment Form (FEAF), with a visual addendum, would probably be adequate for distribution to the interested and involved agencies.

Chairman Gallelli noted that, when Metro Enviro applied for a Special Permit for their building, the Planning Board required that the Applicant take pictures to show how the building would appear from various points.  For the Finkelstein application, she would like to see how the building is going to appear from the Half Moon Bay condominium complex and from Route 9.  Chairman Gallelli reiterated that she would like the Applicant to provide a visual addendum to the FEAF. The areas the Planning Board would be most interested in are: (1) the high point on the road to Half Moon Bay just before going over the railroad tracks and (2) the area on Route 9 (just) as people are passing out onto the highway.  

Mr. Klein asked what the height of the corner of the building closest to the road is, to which Mr. Elkin stated that, “it is about 20’ to the eave and a little bit higher as you go up.”  Mr. Klein said that he thinks the height of the building is such that it would not be difficult to put up a small balloon and take photos.  The Village Engineer suggested that, as an alternative, the Applicant could use a digital photo-editing program.    

The Village Engineer told the Applicant that the Fire Inspector, Frank Pusatere, has suggested/requested that the Applicant provide breaks in the fence in order to have access to the fire hydrants.  According to Mr. Pusatere, the firemen would not want to string the fire hoses over the fence but would want, instead, to be able to run the hoses through the holes in the fence.  Mr. Elkin noted that the grade drops off severely on Half Moon Bay Drive, to which the Village Engineer stated that he could have the Fire Inspector look at the specific hydrant to see if it is worth modifying the grade in that area.  Mr. Elkin asked if 2’ to 3’ sections would suffice, to which the Village Engineer thought that this would be fine.  Mr. Elkin stated that he will come up with a detail/plan of breaks in the fence and, if the Village approves, the Applicant will have it done.  Ms. Allen asked Mr. Elkin if Mr. Finkelstein owns the chain link fence around the property, to which Mr. Elkin stated that he does.  Mr. Elkin added that the Applicant intends to continue the fence by extending it along the frontage of the railroad.  

Chairman Gallelli suggested that, at tonight’s meeting, the Planning Board could move to declare its intent to act as Lead Agency for this application.  The Notice of Intent would be distributed to the interested and involved agencies.  These agencies would have 30 days to respond.  After the 30 days have elapsed, the public hearing on this application can take place. Chairman Gallelli stated that the Planning Board can go ahead and schedule the date of the public hearing tonight.  

The Planning Board scheduled the public hearing for Tuesday, April 22, 2003.

Chairman Gallelli asked the Planning Board for a motion to declare its intent to act as Lead Agency on this application and distribute the information on this Action to the involved and interested agencies.  The motion was made by Mr. Zelman, seconded by Mr. Klein and carried by a vote of 4 to 0.

Chairman Gallelli reviewed the items required for the next submittal and for the mailing to the interested/involved agencies, which included the balloon photos.  She told the Applicant that the Planning Board would need the Full Environmental Assessment Form (FEAF).  She suggested that, if the visual addendum is not ready in time for the SEQRA mailing, the Planning Board could send the FEAF out first and provide the visual addendum later on.  The Village Engineer asked Mr. Elkin to provide a reduced scale of the Applicant’s plan for inclusion in the FEAF.  

Chairman Gallelli complimented the Applicant’s architect, Mr. Elkin, on his fine presentation tonight. Mr. Klein noted that the Applicant, Max Finkelstein, comes before the Board with a great deal of credibility.  “He has an excellent track record.”  

Ms. Allen asked about the colors for the new building.  Mr. Elkin distributed the color chart to the Planning Board and said that the colors (selected) are “classic green” on top; a “seal brown” strip in the middle; and “surrey beige” on the bottom.  The roof color is “slate gray.”

Mr. Elkin told the Board members that he would see them again at the public hearing on April 22nd.

Van Wyck Associates (Mark Giordano) – 50 Maple Street (Sec. 79.09 Blk. 1 Lot 30) – Application for Amended Site Plan Approval – Preliminary Discussion

Chairman Gallelli stated that she thought Mark Giordano or Mr. Giordano’s engineer, Phil Tully, would be here tonight; however, no one came to represent this application.

Chairman Gallelli stated that she and the Village Engineer looked at the site earlier today.  

Chairman Gallelli told the Planning Board members that the store space is almost the same as what was being proposed the last time except, “the only place that they are straightening out is the little section where the bottle machine(s) used to be.”

Chairman Gallelli described to the Planning Board the changes to the existing site plan.  She stated that the area being shown on the plan that is just glass is where the new entrance is going to be.  The Village Engineer noted that, from a fire code standpoint, these doors would open out.  

Chairman Gallelli pointed to an area on the plan and stated that, from here over, is the existing CVS store.  Right now, CVS basically has for an entrance the old Grand Union entrance.  The first set of doors is where the shopping carts used to be.  The Applicant intends to put a wall here, and it will go straight back to CVS.  This (wall) is the element that will cut the grocery store off from CVS.  The Applicant is cutting off the open area/space where Grand Union used to keep the shopping carts. Chairman Gallelli pointed to another section of the plan and stated that this area in the back is for deliveries.  In terms of the exterior, the Applicant is proposing a change in the windows and doors.  She pointed out that what the Applicant has actually done is to reverse the door and window.  The exterior surface material will be “face brick” all the way across the front.  

Chairman Gallelli stated that the Planning Board would still need to see signage information from the Applicant.  Also, the garbage situation needs to be worked out.  

Chairman Gallelli stated that, last night at the Village Board meeting, the Mayor announced the eminent signing of the contract for the grocery store.  She stated that it could be described as an upscale gourmet grocery.

Chairman Gallelli recalled that there were issues pertaining to garbage when the Grand Union supermarket was open.  Some of these issues were resolved when the Planning Board approved a garbage compact container at the Van Wyck II shopping center.  

Chairman Gallelli noted that the other significant issue is (the making of) deliveries to the store.  Mr. Klein thought that small-scale deliveries like bread would come into the front of the building.  Chairman Gallelli stated that if the new grocer is selling fresh fruit and vegetables, he/she might be going to the market and bringing the fresh produce back to the store.  She thought that it would be ideal to have these deliveries made to the front of the store rather than the back; however, the deliveries could not be made during the daytime.  

Ms. Allen asked if the new grocery is part of a chain, to which Chairman Gallelli stated that there is another store in New York City at Maiden Lane near the former World Trade Center site.

The Village Engineer asked if a small van making deliveries to the new grocery would be able to enter the premises in the early morning hours (6:30 am). Chairman Gallelli stated that she thinks there are noise regulations pertaining to decibel ratings that would have to be considered.   She noted that, earlier this winter, there was concern expressed about the noise of the machines doing snow removal.  One of the Trustees is going to introduce new legislation about big machines doing snow removal during early morning hours.  The same problem with noise might arise with early morning deliveries to the grocery store.  Mr. Klein stated that he thinks the Planning Board would need to know more about the kind of vehicles being used for deliveries to the new store.  Chairman Gallelli stated that the Planning Board would also have to review the proposed (new) regulations for noise.  Another problem that the Board will need to look into is the problem of two stores now receiving deliveries rather than just one including one truck blocking egress or ingress of another. The new grocery store could very well have conflicts for deliveries with CVS.    

Chairman Gallelli suggested that the Planning Board should put together a letter to Mark Giordano outlining all these questions/concerns brought up tonight.   

Mr. Zelman stated that there has never been adequate parking there (at the old Grand Union store). Chairman Gallelli noted to the other members that, with respect to the parking, she has learned that privately-owned places such as this one can go to the Village and ask for public enforcement.  Mr. Klein stated that the parking is a real problem, and it is just going to get worse.

Ms. Allen wanted to know if CVS had its deliveries made to the back of the store when the Grand Union was still open, to which Chairman Gallelli replied that CVS had no access to the back.  All their deliveries were made to the front.

Chairman Gallelli noted that the grocery deliveries might also conflict with people dropping their mail into the mail drop-off boxes.  With respect to the issue of parking availability or the lack thereof, there has been, and continues to be, a problem with the illegal parking of vehicles in the fire lane. She thinks the parking situation will become even more an issue with the opening of the grocery store.

The Village Engineer asked if CVS plans to use the overhead doors in the back and if there is a separate door for CVS, to which Chairman Gallelli replied that this is a good question.  The Planning Board will raise this issue in the letter to Mark Giordano.

Ms. Allen pointed out that the corner where the liquor store and Post Office are located is a busy corner.  She wondered if there might be a new marking(s) for the parking that could be considered to manage that area better.  The Village Engineer replied that, at this point in time, this area is a fire lane.  He suggested that, perhaps, the Planning Board could take this opportunity to have the Applicant, Mr. Giordano, review the parking situation overall.  Ms. Allen noted that people have a tendency to stand at this corner.  The situation is hazardous.  She suggested that there could be (provided) some 5- or 10-minute parking spots across from the Post Office, such as they have in Croton Commons.  Chairman Gallelli noted that the ones at Croton Commons are privately maintained.  She said that, if the Applicant gives the Village the right to enforce the parking at the shopping center, then, the Village would be in a stronger position.

Mr. Klein noted that these parking spots (the 5- or 10-minute spots) would be reserved for people using the Post Office.  This means that there would be fewer spaces available for people going into CVS or the grocery store.  He thought that this might create an even greater problem.  There might be more cars circling the parking lot looking for places to park.  The situation might end up being worse than the situation now where people stop for 5 minutes and run into the Post Office.  Chairman Gallelli suggested that, perhaps, the Post Office could move the mailboxes to another location.  Mr. Klein noted that, at one time, there was talk of moving the mailboxes to the traffic island on the other side.

Chairman Gallelli stated that she would pose this question about the mailboxes, along with the other questions/concerns discussed tonight, in the follow-up letter to Mark Giordano.


Referral to the Planning Board from the Recreation Department for the Dobbs Park Little League Concession Building

Chairman Gallelli told the other members that she spoke earlier with Ted Brumleve about this application. Mr. Brumleve commented to her that, in terms of the aesthetics, the building being proposed is very unattractive.  The members present all agreed.

Mr. Zelman wanted to know exactly where the building would be located, to which Chairman Gallelli stated that she thinks the building will be situated in the corner behind the Grand Street Fire House at the northeast end of the park.   

Chairman Gallelli stated that the concession building is a joint-effort between the Recreation Department and the Little League.  The money to finance this project will be provided primarily by the Little League with the Village paying for the bathroom plumbing.  The building will be used not only by the Little League but also by the Recreation Department.  The overall project being proposed consists of a concession stand, bathroom facility and storage room. No cooked foods will be sold at the concession stand, just snack foods such as sodas; candy bars; etc.

Ms. Allen stated that, having looked at the plan, the building appears big to her.

Chairman Gallelli stated that, from the Little League’s point of view, the primary reason for this building project is the concession stand.  After the Little League season is over, the building will be available for any other interested group(s).
Chairman Gallelli stated that this project is in the Recreation Department’s jurisdiction.  The Recreation Department brought this proposal before the Village Board of Trustees who reviewed it in a work session.  The Village Board of Trustees did not state any objection to it at their work session.  The proposal is now being referred to the Planning Board and the Advisory Board on the Visual Environment (VEB).

The Village Engineer referred to the plan and stated that there is a storm drain running down the Dobbs Park property.  The storm drain has to be increased in size to 42” to handle the storm water volume.  The catch basin would have to be upgraded to a hydraulic structure.  Mr. Klein asked how close the storm drain is to where the Applicant proposes to put the building, to which the Village Engineer replied that he does not know exactly where the pipe is in relation to the new building.  He stated that the pipe would have to be laid out on a field survey, and the building would have to be located far enough away so as not to interfere with the replacement work that might have to be done.  The Village Engineer reiterated that, having received no site plan for the concession building, it is impossible to know if the building is situated far enough away.  Chairman Gallelli stated that she would bring this matter up in the letter to the Recreation Department.

Chairman Gallelli stated that Mr. Brumleve suggested to her that, in order to improve the looks of the building, cat blocks running parallel to the roof at the rear and front ends could be used.  Chairman Gallelli asked if this is a corrugated roof.  The Village Engineer replied that it is a metal roof.  

Chairman Gallelli noted that the Village is paying for the bathroom facility.  Mr. Zelman wondered if there was really such a big difference in cost between a cinderblock building and a “nicer looking” building.  

The Village Engineer stated that the Recreation Department is asking architects for their views on how the building will look from the perspective of the new road.  

Ms. Allen referred to note #15, which states that the color shall be selected and approved by the owner.   She asked who the owner is, to which Chairman Gallelli replied that the owner is the Village and/or Recreation Department. Ms. Allen thought that this information should be more clearly stated.  She suggested mentioning this in the letter to the Recreation Department.

Ms. Allen said that she still does not understand what they are going to do with this commissary.

Chairman Gallelli stated that the concession stand includes such features as shelving, a refrigerator and counter space.  Mr. Brumleve had commented to her that, having reviewed the elevation drawing, it would seem that the person at the counter is selling items over the Dutch door, and this door is only about 2’ wide.  Mr. Brumleve thought that the door might create a bottleneck inside and, perhaps, should be made larger.  Mr. Klein asked about the rollup door, to which the Village Engineer responded that he thinks this is actually a rollup window.  There is a rollup door and an exterior door for entering/leaving the concession stand.  Mr. Klein stated that the rollup window is on the right side elevation.  The front elevation shows the potential Dutch door, and the right side, the rollup window.  

The Village Engineer stated that he asked Art Neff of the Recreation Department about the concrete pad in front of the rollup window. Mr. Neff told him that this concrete pad would tie into the existing walkway.

Chairman Gallelli stated that, if the Recreation Department goes through with this project, the Planning Board should make some strong landscaping suggestions.

The Village Engineer stated that the Recreation Department should have a site plan prepared because they will need to address the drainage pipe issue.

The Village Engineer noted to the Board that Mr. Neff is also talking about having a sewer line to the new building.

Chairman Gallelli suggested that the Planning Board should send a letter to the Recreation Department and in the letter, the Planning Board should leave an opening for working with the Recreation Department on details for the project, including landscaping and the building layout/design.  The letter would address all the issues/concerns discussed tonight. The other members concurred with Chairman Gallelli’s suggestion.

Chairman Gallelli stated that she would be interested in knowing who will be cleaning the new bathrooms after a major event.  She noted that, down at Senasqua Park, the Village hires people to wash the bathroom facilities.  She would raise this issue in the Planning Board’s letter.

Chairman Gallelli stated that the next meeting of the Planning Board will take place on Tuesday, March 25th.


There being no further business to come before the Board, the meeting was duly adjourned at 9:40 P.M.


Sylvia Mills,


WHEREAS, Croton-on-Hudson Realty, LLC (Finkelstein Warehouse) has submitted an application to the Planning Board of the Village of Croton-on-Hudson, New York for an Amended Site Plan Approval for a parcel of property located at 1 Hudson River Drive and designated on the Tax Maps of the Village of Croton-on-Hudson, New York as
Sec. 78.12 Blk. 4 Lot 1; and

WHEREAS, the purpose of this application is for an expansion of the existing warehouse; and

WHEREAS, the Applicant was granted a Special Permit for this expansion by the Village Board of Trustees at its meeting of January 21, 2003; and

WHEREAS, the Planning Board has determined that the proposed project is a Type 1 Action under the State Environmental Quality Review Act (SEQRA); and

WHEREAS, the Planning Board, in its review of the Amended Site Plan, is an appropriate Lead Agency for this application.

NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED, that the Planning Board of the Village of Croton-on-Hudson, New York proposes to serve as Lead Agency for the proposed application by Croton-on-Hudson Realty, LLC (Finkelstein Warehouse); and

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, that a Notice of Intent to act as Lead Agency be circulated to the Village Board of Trustees and Zoning Board of Appeals, and involved agencies of the State of New York and Westchester County along with copies of the Full Environmental Assessment Form.

The Planning Board of the Village of
Croton-on-Hudson, New York

Ann Gallelli, Chair
Fran Allen
Ted Brumleve
Joel Klein
Andrew Zelman