VILLAGE OF CROTON ON HUDSON, NEW YORK
PLANNING BOARD MEETING MINUTES – TUESDAY, AUGUST 24, 2004:
A regular meeting of the Planning Board of the Village of Croton-on-Hudson, New York was held on Tuesday, August 24, 2004 in the Municipal Building.
MEMBERS PRESENT: Ann Gallelli, Chairman
ABSENT: Thomas Burniston
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 suggested to the Board members that, before the public hearing takes place, the Planning Board should consider an alternative date for the next Planning Board meeting. She stated that the Planning Board might want to change the date from Tuesday, September 7th to Wednesday, September 8th so that the Planning Board meeting would not conflict with a special meeting of the Village Board. Mr. Brumleve said that he would be unable to attend if it were held on the 8th due to a prior commitment. The other members present all thought that they would be able to attend. Chairman Gallelli said that she would let the Planning Board members know by tomorrow afternoon when the meeting would take place.
Croton Housing Network, Inc. – 21 Mt. Airy Road - (Sec. 67.20 Blk. 3 Lot 36) – Application for Amended Site Plan Approval for Mt. Airy Woods (Walk Extension/Patio Construction – Apartment 2A)
Nance Shatzkin, President of the Croton Housing Network, and Stuart Markowitz of SMA Architecture Planning Interiors PC were present for this application.
Chairman Gallelli opened the public hearing. She told those present that the Applicant is proposing to extend a walkway and construct a patio at one of the three buildings in Mt. Airy Woods development.
Ms. Shatzkin stated that the Croton Housing Network (CHN) has a tenant who is wheelchair confined. The CHN is proposing to build an extended walkway and a small patio area, which would be handicap accessible and would allow this tenant to have an outdoor space. The extended walkway would be built out of concrete.
Chairman Gallelli asked if the changes being proposed would ever be needed in the other two buildings of Mt. Airy Woods development, to which Ms. Shatzkin replied that they would not be needed. There is not the same drop from doorway to walkway in the other buildings. She stated that, should they face a handicap accessibility situation in another building, they do not expect that it would require the same solution.
Mr. Markowitz stated that the proposed alteration would extend the existing sidewalk and tie it into the entrance to the apartment. The sidewalk is very low pitched. The concrete walk originally constructed to serve the apartment would be removed and the grounds restored (grass planted). Mr. Klein asked what the total elevation change to the sidewalk would be, to which Mr. Markowitz replied that it would only be a few inches. He noted that they tried to do a ramp over the existing walk; however, the walk extension now being proposed was (is) a much simpler solution.
Chairman Gallelli asked if the sidewalk extension being proposed would affect the existing parking spaces, to which Ms. Shatzkin replied that it would not have an effect on them.
Chairman Gallelli stated that the Planning Board reviewed this application and discussed the specifics of the application at the last Planning Board meeting. She thought that the proposal was relatively straightforward. She asked if the members of the public present had any comments, to which there were none. The Planning Board members had no further comments.
Chairman Gallelli closed the public hearing.
Chairman Gallelli read aloud the draft resolution. She asked the Planning 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 this application. The motion to approve was made by Mr. Klein, seconded by Mr. Brumleve and carried by a vote of 4 to 0.
Chairman Gallelli noted to those present that Ms. Shatzkin had contacted her this afternoon to ask if it would be possible to have a preliminary discussion at tonight’s meeting on the Symphony Knoll affordable housing proposal. This item is not on the agenda for tonight’s meeting, and the Planning Board has not yet received any application materials. Chairman Gallelli noted that this proposal for affordable housing is a matter of extreme interest in the Village. The residents of the Village would want to be a part of the entire process. Chairman Gallelli suggested that, rather than having a preliminary discussion tonight, this item could be placed on the agenda for the first meeting in September. Ms. Shatzkin asked when the application materials would be due, to which Chairman Gallelli stated that they
would be due on the Thursday prior to the meeting date. She noted that the Planning Board meeting might be moved to the 8th. She would know by tomorrow afternoon. Chairman Gallelli suggested that Ms. Shatzkin should contact the Planning Board secretary to confirm the meeting date.
Referral from Village Board on Proposed Zoning Changes in Support of the Adopted Comprehensive Plan of 2003
Chairman Gallelli stated that, as discussed at the last meeting, Mr. Brumleve is going to prepare the letter of recommendation to the Village Board on the proposed zoning changes.
Mr. Brumleve referred to the June 2004 Phase I Report Corrective Code Revisions and suggested that the Planning Board should go through this document page by page. Mr. Brumleve stated that in the Introduction on page 4, the word “Zoning” should be inserted before “Board of Appeals.”
Ms. Allen referred to the list of substantive updates in the Introduction and stated that, in her view, special permit authority for fill/excavation should be assigned to the Planning Board instead of the Zoning Board of Appeals. The others agreed. Chairman Gallelli noted that this reference on special permit authority for fill/excavation is found in other parts of the document. This change, from Zoning Board of Appeals to Planning Board, should be made throughout the document.
Mr. Brumleve referred to the definition of the term “Amusement Device” on page 11. He stated that an amusement device today is no longer “coin-controlled.” It is “ticket” or “voucher” controlled. He suggested that the definition should be changed accordingly.
Ms. Allen stated that she thinks the definition on page 11 of the term “basement” is confusing and unclear. She recalled that Chairman Gallelli said at the last meeting that the Comprehensive Plan Committee spent a great deal of time trying to come up with a better definition but was unable to.
Mr. Brumleve noted that, at the last meeting, the Planning Board discussed whether the term “existing grade” in the definition of “height” should be changed. It was suggested at that meeting that the word “existing” could be changed to “native” or “original.” Mr. Brumleve suggested that, rather than “native” or “original,” the word “existing” could be changed to “pre-construction,” to which the other members agreed.
The Planning Board discussed the possibility of revising the definition of “floor area, habitable” on page 13. The Board members thought that “habitable” should be more clearly defined, or perhaps the definition of this term could be removed altogether. Chairman Gallelli noted that the Village Engineer had expressed a concern about habitable basements. His concern was mostly with a basement that is not finished when a new house is constructed but is capable of being finished. When the homeowner comes back for a building permit to finish the basement and make it a habitable space, a minor site plan approval would be required if the “habitable” space were (now) to exceed the 80% FAR. Mr. Brumleve suggested that the definition of “floor area, habitable” could be changed to read: “All spaces within the
exterior walls of a building exclusive of garages, cellars, heater rooms, unheated porches and breezeways, plus attic spaces having a clear height of less than six feet from finished attic floor level to underside of roof rafter.” Chairman Gallelli noted that, if the definition were changed in this way, it would mean in essence that any other space is (could be considered) habitable space. The Planning Board members all agreed that Mr. Brumleve should include this revised definition in the recommendation letter to the Village Board.
Ms. Allen referred to the definition of the term “frontage” on page 13. She wanted to know what was meant by “an approved street or highway,” to which Chairman Gallelli replied that “an approved street” is a street, which has been identified and approved by the Village Board. If a street is not approved and a homeowner does not have 20 feet of frontage, then the homeowner has to seek a variance from the Zoning Board of Appeals.
Mr. Klein thought that the language used to define the term “main floor” was confusing. He suggested that the wording of the definition could be changed to say, “the floor that contains the largest area.” Chairman Gallelli noted to the others that none of the definitions on page 13 were changed because they did (do) not pertain to the issue of Floor Area Ratio (FAR). Mr. Brumleve suggested that the definition of “main floor” remain as is.
Mr. Brumleve referred to Article VII: “Supplementary Regulations” and stated that on page 40 under “Existing small lots in all RA and RB districts,” the two columns under “For Lots With a Width of (feet)” should read: “At Least or More Than” and “Less Than or Equal to.” The missing zone dimensions should be added for the RB zoning district i.e., “--, 50, 5, 13.” Finally, the last four lines in the column on the far left should read: “For two-family residence in: RB.”
Mr. Brumleve wanted to know why Section 230-48: “Dish Antennas” is being deleted. Chairman Gallelli stated that this section was put into the Code when dish antennas were very large in size (up to 20 feet in diameter). The (satellite) technology has since changed so that the language in this section no longer pertains.
Mr. Brumleve thought that in Section 230-67A, item 1 (page 55), the wording “single-family or two-family” should be inserted before the word “residential.” Chairman Gallelli suggested that the wording of the sentence could read: “…construction or enlargement of a residential building in an RA or RB district,” to which the others agreed. Mr. Brumleve stated that in the first part of this sentence, the wording should be: “Any new construction or enlargement…” rather than “Any new construction and enlargement...”
Ms. Allen asked if residential decks, patios, walkways, etc. would be excluded from the site plan review process, to which Chairman Gallelli replied that they would, indeed, be excluded. Homeowners would still have to apply for a building permit to build a deck. Chairman Gallelli noted that the Comprehensive Plan Committee did not want to make the new law(s) too onerous on homeowners. Mr. Brumleve pointed out that the Planning Board would be looking at decks in its (the Planning Board’s) newly defined role as an architectural review board. Ms. Allen noted that decks could be contentious in a tight neighborhood where houses are very close together. She suggested that, perhaps, item B.2 on page 55 could be revised to say, “total habitable floor area and exterior decks.”
Mr. Brumleve wanted to know what actually constitutes a “minor site plan.” Mr. Klein pointed out that, indeed, there is no definition for “site” or “site plan” in the Village Code. Mr. Klein wondered if a “site” is always defined by the section, block and lot, or if there were other criteria used. Chairman Gallelli suggested that the Planning Board could raise this issue in its recommendation letter to the Village Board. Mr. Brumleve suggested that the Planning Board could revisit the section of the code that lists definitions and insert a definition for the term “site.” A definition might be: “a legally described or deeded property or properties.” Mr. Klein stated that the Planning Board could ask the Village Engineer if there is already a definition for the term in the state code.
Chairman Gallelli thought that the letter to the Village Board could say that the Planning Board thinks that the definition of “site” would be relevant as it applies to the use of the term in Article XI: Site Plan Approval (page 55). She noted that it would be up to the Village Board to come up with a proper code definition. The Planning Board could just raise the issue.
Mr. Brumleve referred to item B.3 on page 55, which states that minor site plan approval would be required for clearing of vegetation involving 25% or more of the site. Mr. Brumleve stated that a 25% restriction would have different impacts depending on the acreage involved. It would have a greater impact on larger sites. He thought that the 25% restriction might not be appropriate for all zoning districts. The Planning Board decided that the letter to the Village Board should say that, depending on the size of the site, the 25% restriction might be inappropriate and present a negative situation, especially for larger sites. The percentage amount might be adjusted downward or another measure of impact used.
Mr. Brumleve stated that in Section 230-69D, item 3.b (page 56) – Topographic data, “single trees with a diameter of eight inches…” should be changed to “single trees with a diameter of six inches…” to be consistent with code Section 120-1, Excavation; Filling; Topsoil. Furthermore, a new item “3.c” should be added requiring a Steep Slopes plan as part of the “topographic data” submission(s).
Mr. Brumleve referred to item 5.b on page 57 – Required submissions for architectural review – and stated that the wording of 5.b(3) should be changed to read: “Narrative description and/or samples of proposed exterior building materials and treatments.” Chairman Gallelli noted that, with respect to providing samples of the materials being used, it would be difficult to visualize the overall design by viewing a small sample. For example, a small sample of the glass being used for the windows would not tell the Board what the overall window treatment would look like. Mr. Klein pointed out that a narrative description is not going to help much either. The Planning Board members all agreed that the wording “and/or samples” should be added.
Mr. Klein stated that there should be a category designated for historic houses in that part of the “new” code, which deals with architectural review. It should be stated in that section of the code that any residence constructed before “such and such a date” should be considered an historic structure for purposes of architectural review. Chairman Gallelli asked where this category designated for historic houses should be inserted. Mr. Brumleve suggested that it could be inserted as a new “#10” on page 59 under item 12.ii – Building design. It would then be one of the criteria for architectural review that the Planning Board would have the authority to look at. Mr. Klein agreed and stated that an historic structure would be any structure that has been listed on, or determined eligible
for, the state or national Register of Historic Places, or designated as an historic structure by Westchester County. The Planning Board decided that a structure would be considered “historic” if it were built prior to 1931, the year that the first zoning ordinance went into effect. Mr. Brumleve suggested that item #10 could read: “Historic Quality: the building’s value within the historic or landmark fabric of the Village (i.e., built before 1931) and documentation supporting its determination as eligible for listing on the Register of Historic Places…”
Chairman Gallelli referred to Section 230-77 – Administration and Procedure. She stated that, during the Comprehensive Plan Committee’s review of the Village Zoning Code, no changes were made to this section. Under Section 230-78 – Powers and Duties, a new item #4 “Architectural Review” was added.
Ms. Allen referred to Section 230-81B on page 64 and stated that this section of the Code should be changed. The Planning Board, rather than the Zoning Board of Appeals, should have jurisdiction to review special permit applications for Excavation, Filling & Topsoil Removal.
Mr. Brumleve stated that he would draft a recommendation letter for the Planning Board to review at the next Planning Board meeting.
Chairman Gallelli noted that the Planning Board members received in their packets tonight a request from the Village Board to review the proposed amendments to the Town of Cortlandt’s Zoning Ordinance. The Village Board would like a recommendation from the Planning Board as to whether any of the changes being proposed should be incorporated into the Village’s Zoning Ordinance. Chairman Gallelli noted that some of the categories being reviewed in the Town of Cortlandt are irrelevant to the Village of Croton-on-Hudson e.g., “Planned Village Development (PVD)” and “livestock farms.” Other categories such as “Bed & Breakfasts” and “Customary Home Occupations” are going to be discussed during the Comprehensive Plan Committee’s Phase III review of the Village’s Zoning Code.
The environmental categories such as Steep Slopes and Wetlands would be part of a review of the Village’s environmental laws, which has been recently recommended by the Village Engineer. Chairman Gallelli stated that the Village would hire an environmental consultant to review the current environmental law(s). At that point in time, the Village could revisit the proposed changes to the Town laws to see if any of these changes would pertain to the Village. Chairman Gallelli suggested that the Planning Board’s letter to the Village Board could point out that some of the changes to the Town laws would apply to the Village and some would not. With respect to those changes that do apply, the Planning Board recommends that the Town’s “list” be used as a resource in the Phase III review of the Zoning Code and in the review of the Village’s environmental laws.
APPROVAL OF MINUTES:
The minutes of the Tuesday, July 27, 2004 Planning Board meeting were approved, as amended, on a motion by Ms. Allen, seconded by Mr. Brumleve and carried by a vote of 4 to 0.
The minutes of the Tuesday, August 3, 2004 Planning Board meeting were approved, as amended, on a motion by Ms. Allen, seconded by Mr. Klein and carried by a vote of 4 to 0.
There being no further business to come before the Board, the meeting was duly adjourned at 10:10 P.M.
WHEREAS, the Planning Board held a public hearing on an Amended Site Plan application on Tuesday, August 24, 2004 for the Croton Housing Network, hereafter known as “the Applicant,” said property located at 21-49 Mt. Airy Road and designated on the Tax Map of the Village of Croton-on-Hudson as Section 67.20 Block 3 Lot 36; and
WHEREAS, the proposal is for the extension of a concrete walk and the construction of a patio to provide handicap accessibility for an apartment at the Mount Airy Woods development; and
WHEREAS, the Applicant submitted a Short Environmental Assessment Form dated July 21, 2004; 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 Amended Site Plan application as shown on Sheets A-1, A-2, A-3 & A-4 of the plan entitled “New Walk/Patio Croton Housing Network Mount Airy Woods,” prepared by SMA Architecture, Planning, Interiors, dated May 18, 2004, last revised July 22, 2004, be approved.
In the event that this Amended 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
Motion to approve by Mr. Klein, seconded by Mr. Brumleve and carried by a vote of 4 to 0. Mr. Burniston was absent from the meeting.
Resolution accepted with the minutes of the meeting held on Tuesday, August 24, 2004.