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Planning Board Minutes 05/11/04


A regular meeting of the Planning Board of the Village of Croton-on-Hudson, New York was held on Tuesday, May 11, 2004 in the Municipal Building.

MEMBERS PRESENT:        Ann Gallelli, Chairman
Fran Allen
                                        Joel Klein

                                 ABSENT:        Ted Brumleve
                                        Thomas Burniston

        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.


a)    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 for the Applicant, was present.

Chairman Gallelli noted that, at the last meeting on this application, Ms. Allen requested that the Applicant should provide the Planning Board with an overlay drawing, which shows the house on Lot #3 as it was last approved on the site plan and as it was actually built.  

Mr. Alfonzetti stated that he had a meeting with the Village Engineer about the overlay drawing.  During the course of the meeting, it was discovered that he (Mr. Alfonzetti) left out the 100-foot wetlands setback line on the drawing, and he also left out the deck on the house on Lot #3.  He is providing to the Board members tonight a plan, which shows both the wetlands setback line and the deck.

Mr. Alfonzetti stated that he is submitting to the Board tonight the manufacturer’s specifications for the storm water filter system designed to provide the mitigation of the driveway and asphalt areas.  He is also providing the manufacturer’s specifications for a system of erosion protection designed for steep slope areas.

Mr. Klein stated that the filter system being proposed would require frequent maintenance.  He wondered if it was realistic to expect a homeowner to unclog a gutter every three months or so.  The Village Engineer noted that once the filter is clogged with debris, it would cease to function.  Chairman Gallelli suggested that Mr. Alfonzetti should try to find a storm water filter system that is easier to maintain.

Mr. Alfonzetti told the Board that, as requested at previous meetings on this application, he has taken the pictures, from the river, of the proposed house on Lot #4.  In order to be able to visualize the house, he placed a cluster of balloons at a height of 30 feet in the air at the corner of the house.  He passed out the pictures to the Board members.  Ms. Allen wondered if the house would be visible from the river when the foliage is off the trees.  Chairman Gallelli thought that when the foliage was off the trees in the wintertime, it would be possible to see a portion of the roof of the house; however the backdrop would be a hill situated behind the house.  She did not think that the house would be all that visible from the river. Mr. Klein noted that during the wintertime, when the visibility of the house is at its greatest point, the number of viewers is going to be at its lowest point.  Ms. Allen was still concerned that the house would create a “big scar” on the face of the hillside.  She was concerned about the amount of tree clearing involved.  Chairman Gallelli noted that, with respect to the visibility of the house from the river, even trees without leaves could provide a substantial visual barrier.  Mr. Alfonzetti stated that the proposed house is at the same elevation as Route 9.  Ms. Allen noted that the contour line on the site plan shows that Route 9 is 10 feet below the property line, which is below the house.

The Village Engineer stated that the driveway is behind the house and would be partially blocked from view.  He thought that plantings could be installed to obscure the area(s) cleared of trees.  

Chairman Gallelli said that it appears from the Applicant’s plan(s) that there are a substantial number of dry wells, to which Mr. Alfonzetti replied that he may have “over designed” the drainage system.  He noted that all impervious surfaces are addressed with dry wells for a 100-year storm event.  

Chairman Gallelli referred to the change in location of the house and driveway on Lot #4.  She noted that the Planning Board agreed that this change in location should take place.  Her only concern would be how a person would enter the house.  She noted that the homeowners would not want their guests arriving at the garage. She asked Mr. Alfonzetti if there would be an area for a small walkway from the driveway (parking) area to the front door of the house, to which Mr. Alfonzetti said that there would be.

Chairman Gallelli asked if the adjustments to the lot lines were (kept) in conformity with the Village’s steep slopes law, to which the Village Engineer said that they were.

Chairman Gallelli noted that, as shown on the overlay, the intrusion into the wetlands areas on the original Lot #3 is more than what was originally thought.  As a result of this further intrusion into the wetlands, the Applicant would have to go back before the WCC for an Amended Wetlands Activity Permit.  The WCC would have to determine the mitigation/remediation required.   

Chairman Gallelli stated that she thought the Planning Board was at the point of scheduling a public hearing on this application.  The Planning Board has looked at most of the issues relating to the subdivision of this property i.e., siting the house, visibility of the house from the river, etc.  Ms. Allen agreed but said that she would hope the Planning Board would have, by the public hearing, a finalized set of plans.  She thought that the information which, at present, is spread out on different plans, should be pulled together.  Any missing information should be placed on the plans.  

Ms. Allen noted that information is missing on the Applicant’s plan(s) pertaining to the mitigation plantings that were to be installed in the wetlands setback areas on Lot #3.  Chairman Gallelli stated that it is her understanding that the wetlands mitigation area for Lot #3 had been slightly extended as a result of the changes made to the house.  She added that the Village’s environmental consultant had identified the invasive species to be removed.  Ms. Allen did not think that a list had ever been established, to which the Village Engineer replied that he thought this list was on the site plan.  Mr. Alfonzetti told the Board members that he has not shown the quantity and location of plants; however, he does show the list of remediation plantings that were installed.  This information was taken from the old site plan.                  
Chairman Gallelli said that she would agree with Ms. Allen that it would be better to consolidate all the required information on one or two sheets rather than have it spread out in different places.  

Mr. Alfonzetti asked if he should show the wetlands and wetlands mitigation, with the corresponding notes, on the plot plan, to which Ms. Allen said that he should.  Mr. Klein thought that the Applicant’s drawings (plans) might be too “busy” if he were to try to consolidate too much information on one plan.   He asked if the new site plan being submitted would supercede the existing site plan on Lot #3.  If so, the Planning Board should be able to make a comparison, just by looking at the plan, of the way it was and the way it is going to be.  Ms. Allen thought that the Planning Board might need to see the “as-built” drawing for the current (existing) Lot #3.  Mr. Klein stated that anything that will be done on new Lot #3 is still part of the site plan. Chairman Gallelli pointed out that the application before the Planning Board tonight is not really a site plan application; it is an application for a subdivision.  She told Mr. Alfonzetti that he should focus on what the conditions are going to be on the new Lot #4 irrespective of what they were before.  The Village Engineer stated that the site plan for Lot #3 should be updated to show the deck that was recently put on the house, the new driveway, etc.

Chairman Gallelli told Mr. Alfonzetti that the Planning Board would want an update of the trees on Lot #4.  For example, the Planning Board would want to know what trees exist there now and which ones will remain.  Ms. Allen suggested that the tree plan should be on a separate sheet.

Chairman Gallelli asked Mr. Alfonzetti for an update on the status of the contract between the Applicant and the owner of Lot #2.  Mr. Alfonzetti stated that the contract agreement has been drawn up.  The two parties are waiting for the Planning Board’s determination on whether or not the Applicant’s property can be subdivided.  

Chairman Gallelli thought that the public hearing on this application could be scheduled for Tuesday, June 1st.  She told Mr. Alfonzetti that the meeting would take place in the courtroom downstairs because the Village Board will be meeting in the meeting room upstairs.  

Ms. Allen stated that, with respect to the amount of the incursion into the wetlands areas, she would like to know the change in the overall square footage of the wetlands buffer incursion.  She would want to know the square footage both before and after the in-field changes were made.  She would also want the square footage before and after the deck was installed.  Chairman Gallelli wanted to know how this information could be used, to which Mr. Klein stated that this information might be useful in determining the type of mitigation required.  The WCC has to make the determination on the mitigation required.  It might be helpful to them in terms of the one-to-one replacement of plantings.   

Ms. Allen noted that, in this particular instance, the Planning Board has received from this Applicant a new site plan for Lot #3, which is significantly different from the previously approved site plan.  The question is whether or not the Planning Board should approve this new site plan.

Chairman Gallelli stated that she thought Ms. Allen’s point was well taken.  She noted that when the Applicant first requested permission to realign the original house, the main issue was the extent of the incursion into the wetlands areas.  The Applicant went before the WCC for approval of an Amended Wetlands Permit.  The Planning Board decided at that time to abide by the WCC’s decision, and the limit of disturbance line was modified accordingly.  Now, it has been discovered that there has been additional disturbance to the wetlands areas. The same procedure should take place again.  The preliminary subdivision plan should be adjusted to show the new limit of disturbance line.  Chairman Gallelli noted to the Applicant that, for a modification to the wetlands, the procedure would be for the WCC to hold a public hearing to discuss this matter and then pass a resolution. The Planning Board would also have to approve this change by a resolution.

Ms. Allen stated that the last topic of discussion that she would like to bring up tonight is the question of the trees on Lot #3.  She referred to the two trees in the tree wells.  She stated that no one she has spoken to seems to think that these trees will survive.  Ms. Allen noted that the trees in question are outside the wetlands setback area.  She thought that the limit of disturbance line ran very close to these trees.  Ms. Allen stated that she would like to have some type of action taken to mitigate the loss of these trees.  Chairman Gallelli thought that an arborist could be asked to evaluate the condition of the trees, to which Ms. Allen agreed.  Ms. Allen stated that if it is determined that the trees will not survive, the Planning Board could ask for replacement trees to be planted in appropriate places on the property.   

Ms. Allen stated that there were other (additional) trees cut down on the slope and in the proposed septic area on Lot #3.  Ms. Allen noted that at some point after the Planning Board approved the final plat for the Velardo Subdivision, the route, designated for the line to the septic system, was modified.  After this modification took place, it was discovered that the house on Lot #3 could be served by the municipal sewer system, and a septic system would not be required.  Ms. Allen stated that she would like to know how the changes to the line location on the original plan took place that resulted in the cutting down of several trees that were to be saved.  Chairman Gallelli told Ms. Allen that the Planning Board would not have been involved with these changes.  They appeared on the environmental site plan.  She was not sure how these changes were made, but it could be that the Village’s environmental consultant, Bruce Donohue, was in some way involved. He would have been asked to review the environmental site plan. Chairman Gallelli noted as an example that, when Mr. Donohue reviews the environmental site plans for the River Landing Subdivision, there are, at times, field variations required for building the house, installing the driveway, etc.  

The Village Engineer stated that, when the building activity took place on Lot #3, the Applicant’s engineer, Ralph Mastromonaco, was hired to draw up the plan.  The original building plan was dated April 10, 2003.  The plan was revised on April 29th and again on May 8th.  The Village Engineer stated that it appears, from looking at the plan, that Mr. Mastromonaco moved the sewer line location to outside the wetlands buffer area.  The proposed septic system was located outside the buffer area as much as possible.  The Village Engineer noted that the change that Ms. Allen is referring to would have been made when the Applicant first went before the WCC for an Amended Wetlands Activity Permit.

Ms. Allen stated that she would raise the issue concerning the mitigation of the trees at the public hearing on this application.  

Mr. Cipriano, owner of Lot #3, told the Planning Board members that the clearing of soil and debris from the glacial rock (glacial erratic) is scheduled to take place next week.

Chairman Gallelli reiterated that the public hearing on this application would take place on Tuesday, June 1st.


Chairman Gallelli reminded the members that the joint meeting of the Comprehensive Plan Committee, Village Board and Planning Board would take place on Thursday, May 27th.  

Chairman Gallelli stated that the dates which were established for the Village Board and Planning Board to visit the Something Good in the World school are Tuesday, May 18th at 7:00 P.M. and Saturday, May 22nd at 1:00 P.M.


There being no further business to come before the Board, the meeting was duly adjourned at 9:12 P.M.


Sylvia Mills,