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Planning Board Minutes 03/02/04


A regular meeting of the Planning Board of the Village of Croton-on-Hudson, New York was held on Tuesday, March 2, 2004 in the Municipal Building.

MEMBERS PRESENT:        Ann Gallelli, Chair
                                        Fran Allen
                                        Thomas Burniston
                                        Joel Klein
        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.


Velardo Subdivision Lot #3 (M&A Real Estate Development Corp.) – 1214 Albany Post Road (Sec. 67.19 Blk. 1 Lot 4.02) – Application for Preliminary Subdivision Approval

John Alfonzetti, engineer representing the Applicant, was present.

Chairman Gallelli stated that the first item under new business tonight is the Velardo Subdivision Lot #3.  This lot (Lot #3) was previously part of a three-lot subdivision, which was approved by the Planning Board. The owner/Applicant is now proposing to subdivide Lot #3 into two separate building lots.

Mr. Alfonzetti told the Planning Board members how this proposal for a two-lot subdivision of Lot #3 came about.  The Applicant was about to install a pump station on Lot #3 for a sanitary sewer line, so the lower area of the existing Lot #3 no longer has to be dedicated for a septic system.  The area where the septic system was previously being proposed is the site for the new residence.

Mr. Alfonzetti stated that, in the construction design, the Applicant has made an effort not to disturb steep slope areas.  The Applicant has been successful in keeping the construction in areas where the grade is lower.  

Mr. Klein stated that one of the items missing from this application is an updated tree survey.  He noted that a tree survey had been prepared as part of the original Velardo Subdivision proposal.  He told the Applicant that, as part of this new proposal, the Planning Board would need information on how many trees are now going to be lost as well as the types and sizes of these trees.  Mr. Alfonzetti noted to the Planning Board members that the lower area, where the new house would be situated, is already clear of trees because the septic system was supposed to go there.  He said that he would provide the Planning Board with this information (an updated tree survey).

Ms. Allen stated that she would want to know the current status of the trees on the whole property i.e., the Velardo Subdivision property. She recalled that, when the Planning Board reviewed the original subdivision proposal, there were significant trees that the Planning Board wanted preserved.  The Planning Board performed a careful analysis of the trees.  There were some that were supposed to be protected.  She recalled that, as part of the approval, trees were to be installed along Old Albany Post Road North.  Ms. Allen stated that, before the Planning Board goes forward with this application, the Applicant should provide an update on the status of the trees.  She would want to know which trees are now going to be eliminated.  She would also want to know if there were trees, which were supposed to be preserved, that are now being removed.

Ms. Allen suggested that the Planning Board should go on a site visit.  Chairman Gallelli agreed; however, she thought that the Planning Board members would need some additional information on the status of the trees before going on the site visit.

Mr. Alfonzetti told the Board members that he thought that many of the trees on the Velardo property were still flagged or marked.  

The Village Engineer asked if the Planning Board wanted a tree survey prepared for Lots #1 and #2 or just for the two new lots being proposed (Lots #3 and #4).  Chairman Gallelli said that she thought it might not be possible for the Applicant to prepare an actual survey of the trees on Lots #1 and #2.  She noted that Lots #1 and #2 are “out of our hands” at this point. The Planning Board would definitely want a survey of the trees on Lots #3 and #4. Ms. Allen noted to the others that, with respect to the trees, she would be particularly interested in knowing the status of the Chestnut Oaks that were along the roadway. She would like to know the current status of the trees on the Velardo Subdivision property.  Mr. Alfonzetti told Ms. Allen that, if he were able to obtain this information being requested on the trees, he would be glad to share whatever knowledge he has with the Board members.  

Mr. Burniston stated that there are two items in the Applicant’s proposal that are speculative: 1) the purchase of 10 feet of property from another property owner and 2) a driveway easement.  He said that he could not see the Planning Board approving this subdivision proposal until these two issues are resolved.  The settlement of these matters would have to be a prerequisite for an approval.  Mr. Alfonzetti stated that the Applicant has received a letter from the neighboring property owner’s attorney, which states that the owner will sell the land and provide an easement provided the subdivision goes through.  Chairman Gallelli stated that the Planning Board would have to have proof that a firm contract is in place.  This agreement between the Applicant and the neighboring property owner would have to be “cast in stone” before the Planning Board could approve this application. The Applicant could submit this information on the land purchase and driveway easement as part of the additional documentation required.  

Mr. Klein asked if this arrangement between the Applicant and the neighboring property owner would necessitate a lot line change for Lot #2, to which Mr. Alfonzetti said that it would.  

Mr. Klein asked how this additional 10 feet of property would affect the Applicant’s steep slope calculations, to which Mr. Alfonzetti responded that the additional 10 feet of land have already been incorporated into the calculations.  Ms. Allen asked if the steep slopes requirement for Lot #2 would still be met if the 10 feet of property on Lot #2 were taken away.  Mr. Alfonzetti said that he did not check to see if the requirement(s) would still be met; however, he has the information on what the percentages were originally and what was taken away and could do the calculations.

Mr. Burniston noted that a two-story house is proposed for new Lot #4.  As part of the proposal for the placement of this new house and driveway, the Applicant is increasing the ground level by 20 feet and making the grade substantially steeper in the back of the property. The Applicant is raising, to a greater degree, the height of the house.  Mr. Alfonzetti stated that the house was brought up (raised) in order to maintain the grade on the driveway.  He noted to the Board members that the Applicant is staying within a 14% grade on the driveway.  

Mr. Klein asked how much more fill would have to be brought in.  He thought that the Applicant would need to bring in a substantial amount of fill.  Chairman Gallelli told Mr. Alfonzetti that, as part of its review, the Planning Board would want to know the amount of fill.  Mr. Klein added that the Planning Board would also want to know where the fill would be coming from, how many truckloads and/or trips would be involved, etc.      

Chairman Gallelli stated that she does not see where, in the Applicant’s plan(s), the Applicant has allowed room in the area of disturbance for a future swimming pool.  She noted to Mr. Alfonzetti that, in its preliminary review of this subdivision, the Planning Board would need to look at likely scenarios for future development.  Mr. Alfonzetti noted to the Board that this whole area on Lot #4 where the septic system was going to be installed is below 15% grade.  He suggested that the house could be moved down further to provide more room for a future swimming pool.       

Ms. Allen noted that the Applicant intends to raise the ground level for the proposed house on Lot #4 by 14 feet (or more) and then build a two-story house, 35 feet in height, on the filled area.  The top of the proposed house would be 50’ above the current grade.  She expressed concern about the impact of the height of this house on views from the river.  Ms. Allen pointed out that the whole Village is within a Coastal Zone Management Act area. One of the policies of the Coastal Zone Management Act is the preservation of views of the river and from the river.  Ms. Allen thought that the Planning Board might want to ask for an assessment of what the proposed house would look like from the river.  Mr. Klein noted that the consideration of scenic views is also discussed in the Village Code.   The Applicant asked why this had not come up earlier.  The Board pointed out that trees had been cut that would have obscured the view of the houses from the river.

Chairman Gallelli noted that the Applicant would have to go before the Water Control Commission (WCC) for a Wetlands Activity Permit.   She suggested that the Applicant should contact the WCC as soon as possible to be placed on their next meeting agenda.  

Chairman Gallelli stated that new Lot #4 would be approximately 94,000 square feet in size.  In so far as the steep slope calculations on this lot are concerned, fully one-third of the lot would be greater than a 20% slope area.  The Applicant is proposing to disturb, on Lot #4, the maximum allowable amount of steep slopes area greater than 20%, which is 10%.  Chairman Gallelli stated that, in her view, this is a significant amount of disturbance.  Mr. Alfonzetti noted that the area of the greatest steep slope disturbance would essentially be where the proposed driveway is situated.  Mr. Klein suggested that, to remedy this situation and, also, to solve some of the other problems on this lot, the Applicant could make the proposed driveway slightly steeper.  If the driveway were somewhat steeper, the Applicant could cut down on the amount of fill required, create less disturbance to the steep slopes, lessen the impact of the visibility of the house from the river, and cut down on the size of the retaining walls.

Chairman Gallelli asked if there were any other comments tonight on this application.  The Village Engineer suggested that, on the revised set of plans showing the steep slope areas, the Applicant should make a distinction (by variations in shading) among the three different categories of steep slopes.

Ms. Allen told the Applicant that the houses on the adjoining properties should be shown on the plan(s) including the house situated on the property to the south.  

Chairman Gallelli summarized for the Applicant the items required for the next meeting.  The Applicant should schedule a meeting before the WCC.  The Applicant should provide an updated tree survey of the property, which is to be subdivided and also look into the status of the trees from the previous subdivision approval.  Once the Planning Board has this information, the Planning Board can schedule a site visit. The Applicant should recheck the steep slope calculations on Lot #2.  The Applicant should provide additional information on the fill i.e., how much fill would be required and where it would come from.  The Applicant should look at the area(s) of disturbance to accommodate a future swimming pool. The Planning Board would want to know how the house on new Lot #4 would look from the river.  The Applicant should provide drawings that differentiate (by variations in shading) the three categories of steep slopes on the property.  The plans should show the abutting and adjacent properties. The Applicant should provide the Planning Board with documentation regarding the land purchase and easement agreement with the neighboring property owner.

Mr. Klein suggested again that the Applicant should look into the possibility of making the driveway slightly steeper.  

The Village Engineer stated that, at some point, the Applicant should provide sediment and erosion control plans.  Utility details would also have to be submitted.  Mr. Klein stated that he did not notice on the plan(s) any information on the size of the force main, to which the Village Engineer stated that this information would be included on the utility plan.  

Mr. Klein asked Mr. Alfonzetti if he had any boring data to submit to the Planning Board, to which Mr. Alfonzetti stated that he did not.  He (Mr. Alfonzetti) noted that testing was probably done when the Applicant created the design for the septic system.   

The Planning Board did not schedule a return date for this application.  The Applicant should contact the Planning Board Secretary to be placed on the agenda once the items that were discussed tonight have been addressed.


Hudson National Golf Club – (Sec. 67.12 Blk. 1 Lot 2 and Sec. 67.16 Blk. 1 Lots l, 2 & 27) – Application for Amended Site Plan Approval for a ‘Practice Hole’ – Discussion of DEIS Preparation

Brad Saunders of Sasaki Associates Inc. and Chris Smith, Superintendent of Grounds at Hudson National Golf Club, were present for this application.

Chairman Gallelli stated that Mr. Saunders has prepared a revised Table of Contents for the Draft Environmental Impact Statement (DEIS) based on the changes made at the last meeting.  

Chairman Gallelli stated that she just had a few minor comments to make.  She noted that under the section entitled “Environmental Setting/Impacts/Mitigation Measures,” the Planning Board reinstated, in its entirety, the 15 items from the previous (Prickly Pear) DEIS.  

Chairman Gallelli noted that under the section entitled “Project Alternatives,” the Planning Board wanted the Applicant to include a chart comparing the alternatives, to which Mr. Saunders replied that, indeed, there would be a comparison chart.

Chairman Gallelli recalled that, at the last meeting, the Planning Board had added “teaching facility” to the list of items under “Project Description.”  She thought that “teaching facility” could be item #9.

Chairman Gallelli noted that the section entitled “Construction Management” has been moved to page 4 and has been relabeled “Construction Impacts.”

Chairman Gallelli stated that under “Site Hydrology” the Planning Board had wanted to include, in the “Impacts” category, the affects on adjacent properties, specifically the Finney Farm pool.  She noted that this item has not been included in the revised Table of Contents, and she thought that it should be.  Mr. Saunders asked if this item (Finney Farm Pool) should be specifically identified as one of the impacts under “Site Hydrology,” to which Chairman Gallelli said that she thought it should be.

Chairman Gallelli referred to the section entitled “Noise” and stated that the Planning Board would want to know the impacts of noise on the surrounding neighborhood.

Chairman Gallelli asked Mr. Klein if he had anything to add relating to the archeological impacts.  Mr. Klein stated that he read Mr. Donohue’s comments identifying the need for the Applicant to talk about the archeological impacts.  He (Mr. Klein) did not see anything substantive to be concerned about from the survey reports.    

Ms. Allen referred to the section entitled “Visual Resources/Lighting.”  She noted that, at the last meeting, she had expressed concern about the impacts on the view shed of the proposed planting at the old sod nursery.  Mr. Saunders told the Board members that he would not have any problem shrinking down the number of plantings in this area or eliminating the planting plan in this area altogether.  Ms. Allen suggested that, in this section on “Visual Resources/Lighting,” the Applicant could include another item under “Impacts” pertaining to the impacts on the view shed from anywhere off site, including mitigation areas.     

Mr. Klein stated that the section entitled “History/Archaeology” includes a “Mitigation Measures” category.  Mr. Klein noted that a topic of discussion/study that is becoming more and more prevalent in a DEIS is a proposed plan (discovery plan), should there be an unanticipated or unforeseen archaeological find during the construction process.  He suggested that a proposal for a “discovery plan” could be added under the category “Mitigation Measures.”

Ms. Allen stated that Eugene Perl of 39 Finney Farm Road is present tonight.  She wanted to take the opportunity to ask Mr. Perl to discuss an item regarding the ‘practice hole’ project, which he brought up to her this past week.  Mr. Perl stated that, before he discusses this item, he has a comment to make on the DEIS.  He would want to make sure that under the “Site Hydrology” section of the Table of Contents, the Applicant includes the impacts on the wetlands, streams and ponds that feed into the Finney Farm pool. He was concerned about the possible affects of this project on the water entering into the pool.  Ms. Allen added that the neighbors would want the Applicant to find a way, which would assure that there is no change in the water flows.  

Mr. Perl told the Board members that he came to the meeting tonight to suggest to the Planning Board that, as part of the approval of this project, a conservation easement could be established on the land, which runs from the Swee property down toward Finney Farm Road.  This area is composed of wetlands and is not being built on.  Mr. Perl stated that a conservation easement would serve to protect this land and make it possible to keep it in its current state.  Chairman Gallelli thought that Mr. Perl’s suggestion was a good one.  She suggested that Mr. Smith and Mr. Saunders could present this idea to the golf club.  She realized that neither Mr. Smith nor Mr. Saunders was in a position to respond to this idea tonight.

Chairman Gallelli entertained a motion to approve the Table of Contents for the ‘practice hole’ DEIS, with the changes discussed tonight.  The motion to approve was made by Mr. Klein, seconded by Ms. Allen and carried by a vote of 4 to 0.

Chairman Gallelli stated that, at the Village Board meeting last night, the Village Board received a letter of application from HNGC for an Amended Special Permit for the ‘practice hole.’  This application has been referred to the Planning Board for a recommendation.  The Planning Board has also received the initial review of the ‘practice hole’ project from Stuart Cohen of Environmental & Turf Services.

Ms. Allen asked what the next steps for this project would be.  Chairman Gallelli described the State Environmental Quality Review Act (SEQRA) process.  The Applicant prepares the DEIS. The Planning Board reviews the DEIS for completeness.  A public hearing is held.  The Applicant prepares the Final Environmental Impact Statement (FEIS).  The FEIS responds to comments on the DEIS from the public and the Planning Board.  A Findings Statement is prepared.  


Chairman Gallelli stated that the next meeting is March 23rd.  The agenda will include a referral item from the Village Board for a change in zoning, from RA-5 to C-1, for the Croton Colonial Diner.  The agenda will also include Galena Feit’s three-lot subdivision proposal known as the Hudson View Subdivision. The Planning Board members and the Applicant have recently received a copy of the Dvirka & Bartilucci study of the drainage on Ms. Feit’s property.   

Chairman Gallelli stated that the April 6th meeting falls on Passover.  She asked if the Planning Board members wanted to change the meeting date.  The members decided to keep the April 6th date.

Chairman Gallelli stated that the Planning Board Secretary is unable to attend the Planning Board meeting scheduled for May 4th.  She asked that the members consider another meeting date.


The minutes of the Tuesday, January 6, 2004 Planning Board meeting were approved, as amended, on a motion by Mr. Burniston, seconded by Ms. Allen and carried by a vote of 4 to 0.

The minutes of the Tuesday, February 3, 2004 Planning Board meeting were approved, as amended, on a motion by Mr. Burniston, seconded by Ms. Allen and carried by a vote of 3 to 0.  Mr. Klein abstained.


There being no further business to come before the Board, the meeting was duly adjourned at 9:20 P.M.


Sylvia Mills,