Planning Board Minutes 09/09/03


A regular meeting of the Planning Board of the Village of Croton-on-Hudson, New York was held on Tuesday, September 9, 2003 in the Municipal Building.

        MEMBERS PRESENT:        Ann Gallelli, Chair
                                        Ted Brumleve
                                        Thomas Burniston
                                        Joel Klein              

                         ABSENT:        Fran Allen
                 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.

Chairman Gallelli informed those present at the meeting that the Planning Board has a new member tonight, Thomas Burniston.  Mr. Burniston is taking Andrew Zelman’s place on the Board.  Chairman Gallelli stated that Mr. Burniston is going to be a great asset to this Planning Board.  He is a long-time resident of the Village and has twice served as an elected member of the Board of Trustees.   Chairman Gallelli stated that she would like to thank Andrew Zelman for his years of service as a Planning Board member.  Mr. Zelman exemplified what a Planning Board member should be.  He was always well informed about the applications before the Board.  He made personal visits to sites as well as group visits with the other Board members.  Chairman Gallelli stated that Mr. Zelman had a particularly insightful way of asking questions and expressing his concerns, which was very useful to the Planning Board.  He saw the Village as a very diverse and eclectic place, which he worked hard to maintain.  Chairman Gallelli noted that Mr. Zelman would continue to hold his present position as Chairman of the Village’s Greenway Committee.  


111 Grand Street Corp. (Amy Cotton) – (Sec. 67.20 Blk. 3 Lot 26) – Site Plan Approval (Awning)

Amy Cotton, owner of the property at 111 Grand Street, was present.  

Chairman Gallelli stated that Ms. Cotton is before the Planning Board for Site Plan Approval to install an awning on the front of her antique shop at 111 Grand Street.  The Planning Board has had a few opportunities to look at this application.  Chairman Gallelli asked Ms. Cotton to explain her proposal to the members of the public present tonight.

Ms. Cotton stated that she is proposing to put an awning on the façade of her store mostly for health reasons.  She thinks the awning would also be an attractive asset to the front of her store.  It would help to market her business as well as serve to protect her from excessive sun exposure.

Chairman Gallelli stated that the awning being proposed is retractable.  No lettering or signs are being proposed.  The color of the awning would be maroon to match the façade.

Chairman Gallelli opened the public hearing.  She asked if there were any comments/questions from the public, to which there were none.  Chairman Gallelli closed the public hearing.

Chairman Gallelli asked the Planning Board members if they had any additional questions for the Applicant, to which the Board members had no further questions.  

The Village Engineer noted that the New York State Building Code states that an awning must be a minimum of 7’ above the sidewalk whereas the Village Code states that an awning must be 6 ?’ above the sidewalk.  When Ms. Cotton puts up her awning, she must adhere to the requirements set forth in the State code (i.e., a minimum of 7’).  

Chairman Gallelli told those present that a draft resolution has been drawn up for this Site Plan application.  She read aloud the draft resolution.  Chairman Gallelli asked the Board members if there were any conditions that should be incorporated into the resolution, to which there were none.  

Chairman Gallelli entertained a motion to approve Ms. Cotton’s application for an awning.  The motion to approve was made by Mr. Brumleve, seconded by Mr. Klein and carried by a vote of 4 to 0.

Ms. Cotton asked the Planning Board if they ever received the minutes from the Advisory Board on the Visual Environment (VEB) on her awning application. Chairman Gallelli replied that, to date, the Planning Board has not received these minutes.

Ms. Cotton noted to the Board members that she is scheduled to appear before the Zoning Board of Appeals tomorrow night (September 10th).  

Croton Enterprises, LLC (C/o Juster Development Co.) – 440-460 South Riverside Avenue – (Sec. 79.17 Blk. 2 Lot 2) – Application for an Amended Site Plan (Signage) for Shop Rite Supermarket – Preliminary Discussion

Sharlene DiNunzio from Lewis Sign Company was present to represent the Applicant.

Ms. DiNunzio stated that this proposal is for sign changes on the façade of the Shop Rite Supermarket.  The script lettering of the new Shop Rite sign would be 8’ in width, which is smaller than the sign that is currently there.

Ms. DiNunzio stated that the Planning Board received in their application materials a letter from Paul Beck Associates, P.A., Structural Engineers regarding the structural soundness of the “space frame” over the entryway to the supermarket.   

Chairman Gallelli stated that it is her understanding that the block letters would be turned into script, and the new Shop Rite logo would be changed slightly.  She asked what the color of the façade would be, to which Ms. DiNunzio stated that she did not know what the color(s) would be.  Her company is only involved with the proposed new signage.  She thought that the color(s) would probably be “cotton linen” white on a  “cobblestone” brown.  

Mr. Brumleve asked how the electrical power would be delivered to the circular Shop Rite logo sign.  He asked if the wiring would be concealed or attached to the outside of the sign.  He expressed concern that the electrical wiring that serves the sign would be tacked onto the frame and not concealed.  Ms. DiNunzio stated that she thought the power for the sign would probably be coming from behind the conduit.  She noted that this is the way it has been done at other Shop Rite stores.

Mr. Brumleve stated that he did not see any conclusive remarks in the calculations submitted by the Applicant’s structural engineers that certify the structural soundness of the frame.  The Village Engineer stated that there is a statement to this effect in the letter from Paul Beck Associates dated June 30, 2003.

Mr. Klein asked if the new Shop Rite logo would be larger in diameter than the present logo, to which Ms. DiNunzio replied that she believes the new logo would be the same size as the present one.  Her company would just be replacing the face of the logo.  Mr. Klein asked if the light levels would therefore be the same, to which Ms. DiNunzio stated that they would be.
Chairman Gallelli stated that the Planning Board would need to schedule a public hearing on this sign application.  The public hearing could be scheduled for the meeting of September 23rd. The Planning Board Secretary should check with the local newspaper(s) tomorrow morning to see if there is still time to notice a meeting for that date. Otherwise, the public hearing would be scheduled for the first meeting in October.  Chairman Gallelli suggested that Ms. DiNunzio could contact the Planning Board Secretary on Thursday of this week to find out when the public hearing would take place.

Ms. DiNunzio asked if the Planning Board would need any additional materials for the public hearing.  Chairman Gallelli stated that the Applicant should supply the information on delivery of electrical power to the Shop Rite logo sign, as requested by Mr. Brumleve.  The Applicant must also submit an Amended Site Plan Application fee of $125.00.  

Chairman Gallelli wanted to know if the Advisory Board on the Visual Environment (VEB) had seen this application, to which Mr. Brumleve replied that the VEB reviewed this sign application at their last meeting.  He would check with the VEB to find out what their comments were.  
Chairman Gallelli told Ms. DiNunzio that she would see her either at the meeting of the 23rd or at the first meeting in October depending on the response from the local newspaper(s).

Hudson National Golf Club – Preliminary Discussion for an Amended Site Plan for a Practice Hole – (Sec. 67.16 Blk. 1 Lots 1, 2 & 27)

Gregg Stanley, Superintendent of Grounds at the Hudson National Golf Club, and Brad Saunders from Sasaki Associates, Inc., were present for this application.

Chairman Gallelli stated that tonight’s discussion is a preliminary discussion to give the people in the audience an opportunity to ask questions on what is being proposed.  

Chairman Gallelli stated that she, together with Fran Allen and the Village Engineer, have been to the site and have seen where the new practice hole is being proposed. Bruce Donohue, the Village’s environmental consultant for the golf course, visited the site today.

Chairman Gallelli noted that Eugene Perl of 39 Finney Farm Road and Theresa Arnold of 51 Finney Farm Road are in the audience tonight for this golf course application.  She suggested that these neighboring residents should come forward to better see the plan being proposed.  

Mr. Stanley thanked everyone for coming to the meeting tonight.  He said that he first wanted to explain the background for the current proposal.  In April of 2002 he received an advertisement in the mail stating that Dr. Swee’s property on Finney Farm Road was for sale.  Dr. Swee’s property consists of 3? acres, which is surrounded by the golf course property.  Mr. Stanley stated that the members of the golf course were concerned that this land next to the golf course could potentially be subdivided.  The members did not want big homes situated right next to the golf course property.  One of the club members decided to purchase the Swee property. The closing was in August of 2002.

Mr. Stanley stated that the golf club has always struggled with the “playability” of the practice area in its present location.  The architect for Hudson National, Thomas Fazio, has since come up with a new design for the practice area that he feels might work better.  Mr. Stanley stated that he decided to contact Brad Saunders of Sasaki Associates to help him to introduce this proposal to the Planning Board and to the interested members of the public.

Mr. Saunders pointed to the newly acquired golf course property on the map.  He told those present that the proposal before the Planning Board is to relocate the driving range to this area.  The current location for the driving range is very small.  Many of the players use 7 irons.  The new proposal would be for a 300-yard driving range.

Mr. Saunders stated that the golf club has asked the firm of Lawler Matusky & Skelly to look for possible wildlife habitation on the newly acquired property.  This firm has done a survey to determine the presence of possible wildlife habitats.  The golf club has also hired an archeological consultant.  Mr. Saunders stated that the State has a more stringent set of standards for archeological testing than it did when the original golf course was being proposed.  He noted that the golf course has been asked to carry out new tests using 50’ grid test pits.  So far, nothing has shown up.  

Mr. Saunders stated that, as part of the proposal for the new driving range, the golf club would discontinue the use of (a portion of) Finney Farm Lane.  The area in question would be replanted with beds of shrubs and trees and would eventually become part of the wooded buffer.    

Mrs. Arnold stated that her house is located right on the corner of Finney Farm Road close to the golf course property.  She noted that she frequently finds golf balls on her lawn.  She would not want this unsafe situation, with golf balls landing on her lawn, to get worse.  She was also concerned about the blasting that would have to take place for the construction of the new driving range.  Mr. Saunders pointed out to Mrs. Arnold that, on a practice range, a player just tees off.  Once the player tees off, he does not hit the ball again. The distance from Mrs. Arnold’s house to the tee box would be between 350 to 400 yards.  A top golfer hits the ball a maximum of approximately 300 yards.  He noted that the golf balls on Mrs. Arnold’s property are from golfers who are actually playing golf on the fairway.  The green on the fairway is closer to Mrs. Arnold’s property than the driving range would be.  Mr. Saunders stated further that the area along the property next to the driving range would be lined with trees, which would act as a shield.     

Mr. Saunders stated that a Tree Survey of the entire property has been prepared.

Mr. Saunders stated that, as part of this proposal the driving range, which is presently being used, would be eliminated.

Mr. Saunders stated that he would like to create a wildlife habitat for birds in the area that is currently a driving range.  He told those present that surveys of breeding birds have shown that species of birds hardest hit by the recent surge of development have been field birds.  When farmers worked the land, the habitat for these birds was being maintained.  When the local farms disappeared, so did the field birds.  Mr. Saunders stated that, as a matter of the upkeep of a golf course, lawns are constantly being mowed; so, there are opportunities to incorporate this type of bird habitat to this type of land use.  Mr. Saunders stated that he would also like to see shrubs in this area; however, it is almost impossible to establish that type of cover due to the deer.  He would like the focus to be on creating and maintaining a grass lands habitat for birds.  Mr. Saunders stated that he would propose working with the Audubon Society to select the species to be used.  Mr. Klein asked if he intends to work with the Arboretum as well, to which Mr. Saunders said that he would be willing to do so.  Mr. Saunders noted that the old driving range is about 3 acres in size, all of which would become a bird habitat.  

Chairman Gallelli asked Mr. Saunders if he could explain to those present the aspects of drainage that he would anticipate are of importance for the new driving range.  Mr. Saunders stated that, in designing the new driving range, the Applicant wanted to be sure that the design layout would not alter the current drainage situation.  He pointed to two watershed areas on the map and stated that the water currently going into this watershed would be directed to the other watershed area.  Mr. Perl expressed concern about the drainage being proposed.  He stated that he does not understand how the drainage could work in the way Mr. Saunders just described, seeing that the 16th green that he (Mr. Saunders) is referring to would be higher in elevation.  Chairman Gallelli stated that the drainage/runoff in this area goes under the 16th green and down Prickly Pear Hill.  Mr. Stanley stated that the lion’s share of runoff goes to Finney Farm Road.  Mr. Perl expressed his concern that, if this land were denuded, the drainage system currently in use would be disrupted.  Mr. Brumleve told Mr. Saunders that he would have to illustrate at an upcoming meeting how the drainage would work to clarify these questions/concerns. Mr. Saunders stated that he would be presenting a drainage plan that he believes would resolve the issues raised tonight.

Mr. Perl noted that, on the Planning Board’s agenda, the area in question is being referred to as a “practice hole” when, in actuality, it is a driving range.    

Chairman Gallelli stated that, in order to come to a satisfactory agreement on the drainage situation, the Planning Board must re-engage Dr. Stuart Cohen of Environmental & Turf Services (ETS) to look into this matter.  Dr. Cohen has been involved with drainage matters at the golf course from the very beginning. Chairman Gallelli stated that she assumes the Applicant would be agreeable to this arrangement.  Mr. Saunders noted that the Village also has a hydrologist engineer currently working on drainage matters, to which Chairman Gallelli stated that this is true.  The Village hired Dvirka & Bartilucci to do a drainage study, which is now completed.  Tony Conetta, a hydrologist engineer with Dvirka & Bartilucci, has been to the golf course property extensively.    

Mr. Perl stated that, in constructing the new driving range, the new growth that is in this area now would be denuded.  He was concerned that this would affect the current drainage situation. He was also concerned that blasting the rock in this area to make the land level would create drainage problems.  Mr. Perl recalled that when the original golf course was proposed, there were many questions raised about the runoff.  The land was denuded to construct the golf course.  The water held up by plant roots had no place to go.  Mr. Perl stated that, with respect to ground contaminants, there have been occasions when fertilizers exceeded the (acceptable) levels.  He expressed his concern about both the ground contaminants and runoff problems.  Chairman Gallelli told Mr. Perl that these are issues that are of great concern to the Planning Board as well. The Planning Board would want to hire a qualified expert to provide answers to these questions/concerns.  She would suggest that the Planning Board engage the same experts in the field that were previously engaged.  Mr. Perl asked if he could be involved in a site walk when these consultants working for the Village walk the land, to which Chairman Gallelli stated that she thought this could be arranged.  Chairman Gallelli stated that Bruce Donohue of Environmental Design Consulting and Stuart Cohen of Environmental & Turf Services would probably be the ones making the site visits.  Mr. Perl asked to be made aware of these site visits.

Ms. Arnold expressed concern again that her house would be affected by the blasting.

The Village Engineer asked if there is going to be a new access up Finney Farm Lane, to which Mr. Stanley stated that there would not be a new access.  They are going to discontinue this road.  Mr. Stanley stated that the construction access would be through Arrowcrest Drive.

Chairman Gallelli asked how long the Applicant anticipates that this project would be under construction, to which Mr. Stanley said about three to four months.  He would like to do it in the summertime.

Chairman Gallelli asked if the Applicant could show where the water quality basins are going to be.  Mr. Saunders referred to the plan that indicated the two water quality basins being proposed.   He stated that the Applicant is proposing two basins, one for each drainage area involved.  He noted that these two water quality basins have been designed using the State’s current standards.  

Chairman Gallelli stated that she has spoken to Bruce Donohue about the plan for the water quality basins.  She asked Mr. Donohue if there were farmers’ drains located in the area(s) where the basins would be located, to which Mr. Donohue said that he does not anticipate that there are any in this area.  Mr. Saunders added that the testing currently being done has not found any yet.

Ms. Arnold asked where the water runoff from the new driving range would go.  She asked if the Applicant intends to put in a new drainage system to handle the runoff.  Mr. Saunders pointed to an area on the plan showing a number of small squares representing catch basins. These catch basins are (have been) designed to collect the storm water runoff.  

Chairman Gallelli stated that the Applicant, Hudson National Golf Club, would like to formalize this Site Plan Amendment application.  

Chairman Gallelli stated that Mr. Stanley has provided Fran Allen with a copy of the archeological study.  She (Chairman Gallelli) would make a copy of this study available to the other Board members.  

Chairman Gallelli stated that tonight’s discussion is just a preliminary discussion to see what direction this Applicant should take and to bring up the issues that need to be raised.  The appropriate people (experts in the field) should now be contacted to begin their work on these issues.  

Mr. Perl expressed his concern again about pesticides/contaminants, to which Mr. Stanley responded that there has been an extensive monitoring program in place for a number of years to monitor pollutants and chemicals at the golf course.  This monitoring program has been carried out by the Village’s consultants (ETS).  Mr. Perl asked if this proposal for a driving range would trigger the reinstatement of the testing (monitoring) program, to which Chairman Gallelli responded that the Planning Board is not far enough along in the application process to make this determination.  

Mr. Burniston asked where the blasting would take place, to which Mr. Saunders pointed to the map and stated that the blasting would primarily take place on this side (the “top part”).  

Chairman Gallelli stated that she thinks the Planning Board should make a site visit to the golf course.  

Mr. Brumleve told the Applicant that it would be helpful to the Planning Board to have an understanding of the cut and fill balance.  Also, with respect to the blasting of rocks being proposed, the Planning Board would need to know how long this blasting is going to take.

Chairman Gallelli reiterated that the Planning Board should make a site visit.  She thought that the Board members might, actually, want to have more than one site visit.  It might be useful to schedule the first site visit for the very near future.  Mr. Brumleve stated that for the site visit, it would be helpful if stakes were placed in the ground at the tee box, the second and third practice green, etc.  By doing so, it would be easier for the Planning Board members to understand the distance(s) involved.

The Planning Board tentatively scheduled the site visit for Saturday, September 13th at 10:00 A.M.  The Board members would meet at the Maintenance Building.  

Chairman Gallelli stated that she would like to make sure that Bruce Donohue and Stuart Cohen of ETS have an opportunity to see the application materials and become involved with this project as soon as possible.

Mr. Klein had questions on the archeological study that was prepared.  He said that he assumes the Planning Board would declare itself the Lead Agency on this application.  He asked the Applicant who made the decision that an archeological study had to be done and why the decision was made.  He noted that the Applicant has decided what the scope of the study should be and who should review it.  Mr. Saunders told Mr. Klein that it was his decision that the study should be done.  Mr. Klein wanted to know who designed the survey, to which Mr. Saunders stated that Greg Walwer, an archeologist with Archeological Consulting Services, designed the survey.  Mr. Klein noted that they indicated in their report that they have contacted the New York State Department of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation about the archeological study.  He wondered why the study was given to this department to review.  The report says that State Parks has authority over these matters, and this is not true.  

Mr. Klein told the Applicant that if he (Mr. Klein) were the one reviewing this report, the Scope of Work would probably be different from what the Applicant’s consultant has decided it should be.  For example, digging a hole every 50’ is not the way to look for farm drains.  Mr. Saunders stated that he was told to dig these holes.  The reason the report was sent to the Parks Department is because, in the past, he has always sent these reports to this department.  Mr. Saunders stated that he has been involved with at least ten SEQRA reviews in New York, and the archeological studies have always been sent to the Parks Department for their review.  He admitted that he does not know if they actually have the statutory authority over these matters.    

Mr. Saunders stated that he realizes that the Lead Agency for this application would have the ultimate authority in these SEQRA matters; however, the Applicant thought it would be beneficial to provide this information to the Planning Board in advance.  The Applicant would know “up front” if there were any problems.     

Mr. Klein stated that every archeological survey that the Planning Board has asked for requires that the person doing the work must be a Registered Professional Archeologist.  A registered archeologist must subject himself/herself to certain standards. He noted to the Applicant that, in this instance, the Planning Board does not have any background information on the person hired to do this work.

Mr. Klein stated that he would like to see the “back and forth” correspondence between the Applicant and the Parks Department.  Mr. Saunders said that he would be willing to provide the Planning Board with this information.  

Mr. Burniston asked Mr. Saunders if he could possibly amend the report to include the communications that occurred between the Applicant and the Parks Department.  Chairman Gallelli asked if the Applicant could provide the archeologist’s resume to the Planning Board Secretary and direct it to Joel Klein’s attention.  

Mr. Saunders asked Mr. Klein if he would recommend that the additional 50’ grid tests be discontinued, to which Mr. Klein replied that he would hold off, for now, on doing these tests.

Chairman Gallelli summarized tonight’s discussion(s).  She said she would submit the relevant information on this application to Bruce Donohue and ETS.  She would ask these consultants to provide the Scope of Work for the review of this proposal.  Chairman Gallelli stated that, once this application is formalized, the Planning Board would declare its Intent to Become the Lead Agency for this application. The Full Environmental Assessment Form (FEAF) would be sent to the interested/involved agencies.  Chairman Gallelli noted that Part III of the FEAF would be required depending on how the Planning Board would want to proceed.  Chairman Gallelli noted further that, earlier in the meeting, there was some discussion about notifying the Arboretum and the Audubon Society regarding the identification of mitigation planting(s) for a potential field bird habitat.

Mr. Klein wanted to know if when the abutting property owners are notified of this proposal, the abutters to the entire golf course would be notified or would it just be the abutters to this parcel.  Mr. Saunders said that it would be the larger group of abutting property owners because part of the work would be taking place on the golf course itself.

Chairman Gallelli reminded the Board members that the site visit to the golf course is scheduled for Saturday, September 13th.  


Chairman Gallelli asked the Planning Board Secretary to write a letter to Mark Giordano reminding him that the public hearing on the Zeytuna gourmet market is scheduled to take place on Tuesday, September 23rd.  Since he was unable to be present at the last meeting on this application, the Planning Board feels it is essential that he be present at the meeting of the 23rd.  


There being no further business to come before the Board, the meeting was duly adjourned at 9:35 P.M.


Sylvia Mills,


WHEREAS, the Planning Board held a public hearing on a Site Plan application on Tuesday, September 9, 2003 for Amy Cotton (111 Grand Street Corp.), hereafter known as “the Applicant,” said property located at 111 Grand Street and designated on the Tax Map of the Village of Croton-on-Hudson as Section 67.20 Block 3 Lot 26; and

WHEREAS, the proposal is to install an awning on the façade of Ms. Cotton’s antique shop known as “& Antiques;” and

WHEREAS, under the requirements of Local Law 7 of 1977, the Planning Board has determined that there will be no adverse impacts resulting from the proposed application that cannot be properly mitigated.

NOW, THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED, that the Site Plan application as shown on a drawing (undated) prepared by Signs Ink, Ltd., received by the Planning Board on August 7, 2003, be approved.

In the event that this Site Plan is not implemented within three (3) years of this date, this approval shall expire.
                                                The Planning Board of the Village of
                                                Croton-on-Hudson, New York

                                                Ann H. Gallelli, Chairperson
                                                Fran Allen
                                                Ted Brumleve
                                                Thomas Burniston
                                        Joel Klein

Motion to approve by Mr. Brumleve, seconded by Mr. Klein and carried by a vote of 4 to 0.

Resolution accepted with the minutes of the meeting held on Tuesday, September 9, 2003.