VILLAGE OF CROTON ON HUDSON, NEW YORK
PLANNING BOARD MEETING MINUTES – TUESDAY, JANUARY 6, 2004:
A regular meeting of the Planning Board of the Village of Croton-on-Hudson, New York was held on Tuesday, January 6, 2004 in the Municipal Building.
MEMBERS PRESENT: Ann Gallelli, Chair
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.
Croton Free Library – 171 Cleveland Drive (Sec. 79.05 Blk. 1 Lot 23) – Application for Amended Site Plan Approval – Preliminary Discussion
Art Clements of Lothrop Associates and Mary Donnery, Director of the Croton Free Library, were present for this application.
Chairman Gallelli stated that the Croton Free Library is before the Planning Board for a proposed Amended Site Plan. The library proposes to replace a pair of doors in the Children’s Room with a window.
Mr. Clements stated that the library is proposing some minor renovations at the east-end of the building. These renovations include new flooring, ceilings and furniture. The only structural changes being proposed are the removal of a pair of doors leading from the Children’s Room into the corridor to the west and the removal of an existing pair of doors leading from the Children’s Room to the exterior. These doors to the exterior would be replaced by a window, 6 feet wide by 5 feet high.
Mr. Clements told the Board members that there exist at the library an adequate number of exits to satisfy the NYS Building Code without having this doorway to the exterior. The reason for removing the pair of doors to the corridor is to make this passageway (corridor) an extended part of the children’s library to serve as an art gallery.
Mr. Clements stated that, by removing the door to the exterior, people would no longer try to enter the library through this door. The proposed new window would be brought down lower than the windows that are there now so that the children could see outside.
Chairman Gallelli stated that a public hearing would have to be called for this Amended Site Plan application. After the public has had an opportunity to speak, then, the Planning Board could make a decision to approve or disapprove this application.
Chairman Gallelli stated that Planning Board member, Ted Brumleve, was unable to attend the meeting tonight. He raises the issue of why a different type and shape of window, from that which already exists, is being used. Mr. Clements stated that only the proportions of the window are being changed.
Mr. Klein stated that his only concern with the elimination of the exterior doors is the safety factor. The children would have to go farther to reach an exit in case of an emergency. Mr. Clements stated that the doors in the Children’s Room are not currently being used as an exit. He suggested putting an “exit” sign on the entrance to the children’s library, which is 85’ away.
Mr. Klein wanted to know what the standards are for the number of exits. Mr. Clements stated that the number of exits is based on building occupancy. The library is classified as an assembly building. The number of exits at the Croton Free Library meets the Code requirements. The number of exits required for the library is two, and the number being proposed is four, even with the doors being removed from the children’s wing. Mr. Clements stated that, according to the Code, the maximum travel distance in case of an emergency is 200’. The travel distance at the children’s wing would be 100’. Mr. Klein wanted to know what the current maximum exit travel distance is, to which Mr. Clements said that it is within 20’.
Mr. Burniston stated that, to his knowledge, these doors to the exterior in the children’s wing were there for egress purposes in case of a fire. He wanted to know if the Fire Inspector had had an opportunity to look at this application. He also wondered if the new window being proposed should be a “kick-out” window for emergency purposes. Chairman Gallelli told Mr. Burniston that the Planning Board could have the Fire Inspector review this application before the public hearing is held.
Mr. Burniston noted for the record that, at one time, he was a member of the Board of Trustees of the Croton Free Library. He did not see his role on the Planning Board as being a conflict of interest because he is no longer a Board member at the library. Mr. Klein noted that, at one time, he too was a member of the Board of Trustees at the library.
Mr. Klein wondered if, with respect to this application, it would be possible to meet the Applicant’s aesthetic requirements for the Children’s Room and still have something in this location that could function as an exit. Mr. Clements noted that the library is trying to discourage people from using these exterior doors in the children’s wing as an entrance into the library. Mr. Klein said that he would want something available for emergency purposes only, and not for use as an entrance or exit.
Chairman Gallelli stated that she visited the library this afternoon. Ms. Donnery explained to her that, since these doors are easy “push-out” doors, the concern is that children would use these doors as an exit. This exit is not “controlled,” which is a safety concern.
Mr. Clements stated that, before the next meeting, he would look into this matter of providing an emergency exit in this location. Chairman Gallelli stated that, in the interim, she would ask the Fire Inspector to review this Amended Site Plan application. Mr. Klein stated that the Planning Board would want to know from the Fire Inspector if removing these exterior doors would represent a dangerous reduction in the level of safety.
The Village Engineer asked if there was another safety protection system in place at the library, to which Ms. Donnery replied that there are smoke alarms and/or smoke detectors.
The Planning Board scheduled the public hearing on this application for Tuesday, January 27th.
Michael & Susan Lanzillotto – 3 Birch Court (Sec. 67.20 Blk. 3 Lot 35.08) – Application for an Amended Site Plan Approval – Preliminary Discussion
Ryna Lustig, Landscape Architect, Anthony Torchia of Coral Sea Pools and Michael Lanzillotto, owner of the property, were present for this application.
Chairman Gallelli stated that the Applicant is before the Planning Board to install an in-ground swimming pool on their lot in the River Landing Subdivision. This application has to come before the Planning Board because the proposed swimming pool is outside the building envelope. Chairman Gallelli referred to the River Landing Subdivision Approval of June 1990 and read aloud that portion of the resolution, which gives the requirement(s) for an Amended Site Plan approval by the Planning Board. Chairman Gallelli noted that applications, such as this one, are approved by resolution of the Planning Board; no public hearing is required.
Ms. Lustig noted to the Planning Board members the reasons why the Applicant chose the proposed location for the swimming pool. She stated that much of the land that makes up this piece of property consists of rock. Most of the existing lawn area is a rock ledge. The area where the land slopes off in the back is where the pool would be. Ms. Lustig noted that this area has less rock, which means that less rock would have to be “chipped away.” Also, the swimming pool and landscaped area around the pool in this (proposed) location would fit nicely into the contours of the land. Ms. Lustig noted further that the Applicant’s swimming pool, in this location, would not have any impact on the neighbors’ views, and it would not have any impact on the surrounding natural environment. She noted
that there is a beautiful rock outcropping on the property, which the Applicant intends to preserve.
Chairman Gallelli noted to the Applicant that there is no topographic information on the plan that was provided to the Planning Board.
Chairman Gallelli told the other members that she visited the Lanzillotto property today. The land to the north of the Applicant’s property is common open space; there is a deep ravine in this area. The houses on the eastside are separated from the Lanzillotto property by a large rock ridge, which will screen the pool.
Chairman Gallelli stated that, in her review of this application, she referred back to the Final Environmental Impact Statement (FEIS) for the River Landing Subdivision. The lot in question is River Landing Subdivision Lot #8. Chairman Gallelli referred to the subdivision map and stated that the dotted line on the map is the setback line for the wetlands. The swimming pool, in its proposed location beyond the designated building envelope, encroaches into the 120-foot wetlands buffer. Chairman Gallelli stated that, because it encroaches into the wetlands buffer, a Wetlands Activity Permit is required. Chairman Gallelli noted to the Applicant that this does not mean that it would be prohibited to put a swimming pool in this location. It simply means that the Applicant would have to go
before the Water Control Commission (WCC) for a Wetlands Activity Permit. Once approved, the Applicant would then come back to the Planning Board for an Amended Site Plan Approval.
Chairman Gallelli stated that she would not have a problem approving this application as long as the WCC finds it acceptable, and as long as the building permit plan for the Village Engineer would meet all requirements of drainage and erosion control. Mr. Klein told the Applicant that the Planning Board would want to know how the pool would be constructed so as to be sure that there would be no erosion problem(s).
Chairman Gallelli told the Applicant that, in order for the Planning Board to continue its review of this application, the Applicant would have to provide, to the Village Engineer, information on erosion control, drainage, etc. For approval, the Planning Board would want the Village Engineer’s recommendation(s). The Village Engineer told the Applicant that the plans submitted to the WCC should show the contours. Mr. Klein stated that, in order for the WCC to review this application, the Applicant would need to provide contour and profile data.
Mr. Torchia stated that the pool filtering system being used is known as a closed loop system. In a closed loop system, water is filtered back into the pool, and it never leaves the pool. The water, which goes back into the pool, is clean. The Village Engineer asked the Applicant to provide the manufacturer’s specifications on this filtering system.
The Village Engineer told Mr. Torchia that if he has done test pits, he might want to show the data to the WCC. Mr. Torchia noted to those present that he is not going to do any blasting for the swimming pool.
The Village Engineer noted that there are two trees being shown on the Applicant’s plan. Mr. Lanzillotto stated that the plan to which the Village Engineer is referring is an old plan. There are no trees there now.
Mr. Klein told the Applicant that the WCC would also want to know about the cut and fill balance, to which Mr. Torchia stated that he would provide this information to the WCC on a detailed plan.
Mr. Klein stated that the Applicant should provide the WCC with an erosion control plan. The Village Engineer stated that the WCC would also want to see the cut sheets on the re-circulation (filtering) system.
Chairman Gallelli stated that if the WCC approves this application, there would be a resolution drafted with the conditions of the approval. Once approved by the WCC, the Applicant would come back before the Planning Board for approval of the Amended Site Plan. Chairman Gallelli reiterated that, if this application were approved by the WCC, she would be inclined to go along with their decision, to which the other Planning Board members agreed.
The Village Engineer stated that the WCC meets only once a month. The Applicant would need to provide the application materials to the WCC secretary as soon as possible to be placed on the next agenda. He suggested that the Applicant should call his office tomorrow to be placed on the agenda for the January meeting.
Chairman Gallelli noted to the Applicant that, for the next submission to the Planning Board, the Planning Board would want to see on the site plan a more “realistic” line, which shows where the building envelope has been extended.
Lakomota Realty Co. – 2 Maple Street (Sec. 79.09 Blk. 1 Lot 66) – Application for an Amended Site Plan Approval for Croton Cleaners & Launderers – Preliminary Discussion
Luis Saavedra, owner of Croton Cleaners & Launderers, was present for this application.
Mr. Saavedra explained to the Planning Board the changes that he is proposing to make to his store. An existing window would be replaced by two double doors; a wall would be closed off and fireproofed on both sides; and two doors with exit signs would be installed in the rear. Mr. Saavedra noted to the Board members that his business has not being doing well. The purpose of these alterations would be to make it possible to sublease the laundromat side of his store.
Chairman Gallelli asked Mr. Saavedra if he had the property owner’s permission to make these changes, to which Mr. Saavedra replied that he did. (Documentation was provided.)
Chairman Gallelli stated that she did not have any problem with the Applicant’s decision to downsize his business. Her concern would be with the new space. She would want to know what this space would be used for. Mr. Saavedra told the Planning Board members that a friend of his is interested in turning this space into a “memorabilia” store.
Mr. Klein told the Applicant that he would be concerned about the parking situation, should another retail space be created in this shopping center. Mr. Burniston noted that there are effectively two distinct businesses operating out of the single retail space now and Mr. Klein agreed. Mr. Saavedra noted to the Board that customers for the Croton Diner make the parking situation in this location even more difficult. He thought that by taking away the laundromat side of the store, it would improve the parking. People using the laundromat stay 1or 2 hours. People coming into a “memorabilia” store would stay only 10-15 minutes. Mr. Klein asked the Applicant how many customers he served in a day on the laundromat side, to which Mr. Saavedra said, about 10 to 20. Mr. Klein pointed out that
if 10 to 20 people are using the laundromat for 1? to 2 hours, and customers coming into the proposed retail store only stay 10-15 minutes, it could be that this decrease in the amount of time spent in the retail store would “balance out” the increase in the amount of traffic.
Mr. Burniston noted that, with respect to the parking situation, the Chinese take-out and the delicatessen at the shopping center both do a “landmark” business. Customers of these stores park their vehicles along the sidewalk and Route 129. They pick up their food orders/purchases and leave. The customers of the Croton Diner park their vehicles along the whole right side of the road and stay for longer periods of time.
Mr. Burniston stated for the record that he is a customer of the Croton Cleaners & Launderers; however, he did not see any conflict of interest in reviewing this Amended Site Plan application.
Mr. Klein noted that the current parking problem might not be that much worse with a new retail store coming in. However, there would be an increase in the number of vehicles, turning movements, etc.
Mr. Klein stated that a problem for him is the uncertainty about what type of business would be going into that space. Chairman Gallelli suggested that the Planning Board could make it a condition of the approval that the Applicant would have to come back before the Planning Board when a prospective tenant is ready to rent the space. Chairman Gallelli thought that a restaurant would probably be prohibited because of the number of parking spaces required. Mr. Klein noted that if the type of business were to go from retail to retail, for example, an applicant would not have to come before the Planning Board. Mr. Burniston stated that it is his understanding of the Village Code that the Planning Board would not be allowed to regulate “who comes in or who does not come in.” He thought that the
question before the Planning Board in this case is whether or not the Applicant would be allowed to go ahead with his construction project. Chairman Gallelli stated that this is true; however, in this particular case the Applicant, in going ahead with this construction project, is creating another (second) space.
Mr. Saavedra stated that he, personally, would not have a problem coming back before the Planning Board for the subleasing of this space.
Chairman Gallelli stated that, at this point in time, the Applicant’s entire operation, which consists of the dry cleaners and the laundromat, is a personal service operation. If the Applicant were to change one-half of his space to another type of operation e.g., restaurant, retail store, etc., then this would constitute a change of use and the Applicant would have to come back before the Planning Board.
Chairman Gallelli stated that by approving the construction of this “new” space, it seems to her that the Planning Board would be allowing a second business to go into this space. Mr. Burniston stated that, in his view, this Applicant is before the Planning Board for just the construction project i.e., double doors and a change in the wall.
Mr. Burniston stated that, with respect to the parking, the Village has recently been authorized to enforce the parking in the CVS shopping center. He wondered if there would be a way for the Village to control the parking in this area as well. He suggested that, perhaps, the Village could limit the parking along the side where customers for the diner park their vehicles. The Village Engineer pointed out that a 30-minute parking sign in this area would create parking problems for the diner. Chairman Gallelli noted that people probably park on that side because this is a shortcut to the entrance of the diner.
Chairman Gallelli noted to the Applicant that this application would require a public hearing. She suggested that the public hearing could be scheduled tonight, to which the other Board members agreed.
The Village Engineer asked the Planning Board members if they wanted the Applicant to discuss, with his landlord, the possibility of the Village enforcing the parking on this site. Chairman Gallelli told the Village Engineer that the Village Manager might have already approached the owner on this subject of the parking. She would look into it.
Mr. Burniston asked if the Applicant, in this case, should be the property owner rather than the tenant, to which the Village Engineer replied that the owner of a piece of property could authorize his/her tenant to come before the Planning Board with an application.
The Village Engineer asked Mr. Saavedra if the owner of the property could attend the public hearing on this application, to which Mr. Saavedra said that he could ask his landlord to attend. Chairman Gallelli told the Applicant that the Planning Board might have some issues to discuss with the landlord regarding the traffic and parking situation at the shopping center. These issues are within the jurisdiction of the landlord and not the tenant.
Mr. Burniston reiterated that he uses this dry cleaning service. As a resident of the Village, he uses the services of businesses located in the Village. Members of other boards do the same. He did not feel that this would, in any way, impact his decision on this board.
The Planning Board scheduled the public hearing on this application for Tuesday, January 27th.
Chairman Gallelli stated that the Hudson National Golf Course is coming back before the Planning Board on January 27th for a continuation of the discussion on the ‘practice hole.’ Chairman Gallelli stated that, with respect to the State Environmental Quality Review Act (SEQRA) process, it was thought at first that the golf course would have to provide the Planning Board with an expanded Environmental Assessment Form (EAF). The Village Attorney has reviewed this application and has determined that an Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) would have to be submitted. Chairman Gallelli noted that the requirement for the submission of an EIS has to do with laws involving open space areas as well as a determination that some of the project impacts would be large.
Chairman Gallelli suggested that she could meet with the Village Engineer, before the next Planning Board meeting, to draft a proposed scope or Table of Contents for the EIS. The proposed scope of this project could then be discussed at the next meeting.
Chairman Gallelli stated that American Building Technologies (Galena Feit) would be coming back before the Planning Board on the 27th. Ms. Feit is proposing to build a single-family house on her property at the intersection of Old Post Road North and Prospect Place. Ms. Feit is still pursuing her plans to subdivide this piece of property. A drainage study on this property is now being performed by the Village’s consultants, Dvirka & Bartilucci Consulting Engineers. Chairman Gallelli stated that the Village Engineer would like to pass on to Ms. Feit any advice that the Planning Board might have to offer on her application for a building permit. Mr. Klein noted that the property in question is immediately adjacent to a proposed National
Historic Register district. He thought that the single-family house being proposed should be consistent, in terms of its style, to the historic houses in the area.
APPROVAL OF MINUTES:
The minutes of the Tuesday, November 18, 2003 Planning Board meeting were approved on a motion by Mr. Burniston, seconded by Mr. Klein and carried by a vote of 3 to 0.
Approval of the minutes of the Tuesday, December 2, 2003 meeting was adjourned until the next Planning Board meeting.
There being no further business to come before the Board, the meeting was duly adjourned at 10:10 P.M.