VILLAGE OF CROTON ON HUDSON, NEW YORK
PLANNING BOARD MEETING MINUTES – THURSDAY, SEPTEMBER 23, 2004:
A special meeting of the Planning Board of the Village of Croton-on-Hudson, New York was held on Thursday, September 23, 2004 in the Municipal Building.
MEMBERS PRESENT: Ann Gallelli, Chairman
ABSENT: Ted Brumleve
ALSO PRESENT: Seymour Waldman, Village Attorney
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.
2. NEW BUSINESS:
Referral from the Village Board on Metro Enviro Special Permit Renewal and Settlement
Chairman Gallelli stated that the sole purpose of the meeting tonight is to discuss a referral from the Village Board regarding the renewal of the Special Permit for Metro Enviro and the settlement between the Village and Metro Enviro.
Messrs. Klein and Burniston both thought that it would not be appropriate for the Planning Board to comment on the legal and financial aspects of this application. Mr. Waldman told the Board members that it would be entirely appropriate for the Planning Board to say words to this effect in its recommendation letter to the Village Board. He noted that, indeed, much of the Settlement Agreement is not within the Planning Board’s purview.
Mr. Burniston noted that, with respect to the Amended Special Permit, the renewal application for Metro Enviro does not involve any real physical change to the site. He did not see how the Planning Board would have any ability to comment on the Village’s proposed use of the northeast corner of the site. Mr. Waldman thought that it would be appropriate for the Planning Board to review this aspect of the application. He agreed with Mr. Burniston that there are very few changes to the Special Permit, which was granted to Metro Enviro in 1998. He noted one minor change regarding clean-up operations. Mr. Waldman stated that the proposed use by the Village would be for the storage of equipment and materials. The Planning Board could provide its comments on this proposed “new” use.
Mr. Klein referred to condition #24 of the draft Amended Special Permit and stated that, in reading this condition, it sounds as if the Village could store anything on the property except for salt. Ms. Allen said that that is her understanding as well. She noted that there is a significant storm water management facility on the northeast corner of the site. The Village worked very hard to have this facility installed in this location. Mr. Klein stated that the way it reads now, the Village could store hazardous materials on the site. He noted that even though the Village might be storing these materials in an acceptable manner, it is not always possible to prevent spillage. Mr. Waldman stated that he thought condition #24 e) contained limitations with respect to impacts on the storm water
basin. Ms. Allen noted that there is more specificity about potential impacts to the storm water basin in the Settlement Agreement than in the Amended Special Permit.
Ms. Allen wanted to know who is responsible for maintaining the storm water basin, to which Chairman Gallelli replied that Metro Enviro is maintaining it right now. Ms. Allen thought that the continued maintenance of the storm water basin should be more clearly spelled out in the Amended Special Permit.
The Village Engineer stated that Metro Enviro maintains the basin right now, and they would continue to do so. The basin would be surrounded with a silt fence, and an open berm would be put in. When the DPW starts to use the site, the DPW would put in gravel. Ms. Allen stated that this procedure about protection and future maintenance of the storm water facility, just described by the Village Engineer, should be more clearly spelled out in the Amended Special Permit.
The Village Engineer noted that the storm drain is outside the licensed area, so Metro Enviro would continue to maintain it.
Chairman Gallelli suggested that the letter to the Village Board should say that maintenance of the storm water facility would continue to be the responsibility of Metro Enviro.
Ms. Allen reiterated that the Settlement Agreement is more specific than the Amended Special Permit about the maintenance of the storm drain. Mr. Waldman noted that protection of the storm drain is discussed in 2.I.iv.on page 6 of the Settlement Agreement and in condition #24 on page 9 of the Amended Special Permit.
Mr. Klein stated that, in his view, the continued storage of hazardous materials by the Village should take place at the Municipal Garage rather than at this site. Chairman Gallelli noted that, having read the Amended Special Permit and Settlement Agreement, it appears that Metro Enviro would not want the Village to “mess up” their property in any way. Mr. Klein suggested that the storage of petroleum, oil or lubricants, as well as the storage of hazardous materials, should be prohibited.
Chairman Gallelli noted that one of the Village’s uses for the site would be for leaves. There would be a period of time (one month) when the leaves would be at the site and not in the compost tubes.
Mr. Klein wondered if the Village would ever have occasion to fuel any of its equipment on the site. He would not want the Village to be the responsible party if something were to go wrong. Mr. Waldman pointed out that the Planning Board is responsible for analyzing and making recommendations on whether there is (would be) an environmental problem with any activity that would be carried out on the premises.
The Planning Board decided that the letter of recommendation to the Village Board should say that, in addition to no salt being stored on the site, no hazardous or toxic materials and no petroleum, oil or lubricants should be stored.
Mr. Klein said that he has three other areas of concern. People have voiced complaints about odors, noise and traffic. He wanted to know if the Village had a record of complaints specifically in regard to noise and odor problems at Metro Enviro. He noted that his office is close to the site, and the only noise issue that he could think of is trucks idling. Chairman Gallelli stated that Metro Enviro prepares an annual noise survey. The noises that they measure always seem to fall within the acceptable range in terms of DBA. The Village Engineer stated that, to his knowledge, the Village has not received any complaints on odors or noise at the Metro Enviro site. Mr. Waldman noted that, at a facility of this kind, noise and odors would be of concern; however, the Village Board
thought that the provisions of the Amended Special Permit deal fully and adequately with the issue(s).
Ms. Allen noted that, in item 2.E on page 4 of the Settlement Agreement, there is no mention of the Village Monitor being able to monitor noise. Mr. Burniston noted that the Settlement Agreement is the negotiation of the lawsuit between the Village and the complainant and is outside the Planning Board’s purview. Ms. Allen stated that she thought the Planning Board should, at least, make the observation that monitoring noise levels was left out. She would definitely want the Village Monitor to be able to monitor noise. Mr. Burniston asked if she would want this language added to condition #14 of the Amended Special Permit. Chairman Gallelli noted that there is nothing (in the law) that would preclude the Village from monitoring noise should it be deemed necessary. The Village always has the
right to monitor such things. She did not think that it would need to be specifically stated. The Planning Board decided not to recommend any changes to the wording of condition #14.
Ms. Allen noted that there is a “typo” in condition #34 on page 11 of the Amended Special Permit. The year “1996” should be changed to “2006.”
Chairman Gallelli suggested that, in the recommendation letter, the Planning Board could say that, on the matters of noise and odors, the Planning Board feels that the provisions of the proposed Amended Special Permit adequately cover these concerns.
Mr. Klein stated that, with respect to traffic, he thinks people have forgotten that the reason the Planning Board put a tonnage restriction on Metro Enviro was to “cap” the number of truck trips in and out of the facility. As he understands it, when the actual traffic data became available to the Village, it was found that the traffic counts originally used by the Planning Board were high. Chairman Gallelli stated that as many as 200 were projected; however, the actual numbers were well below 200. Mr. Klein noted that these trips were cut in half because the rail spur was put in.
Mr. Klein noted that there were accusations made that much of the truck traffic to Metro Enviro was coming from Route 129 and North Riverside Avenue. Metro Enviro conducted a study to check the origins of its deliveries. The results showed that five trucks (per day) were coming down Route 129, and they were all pick-up trucks. Mr. Klein did not think that Route 129 would be a preferred route for larger trucks. The drivers of larger vehicles would prefer to take Route 9. Chairman Gallelli stated that the Village asked Metro Enviro to do a survey on the origins of the truck traffic. The results were that very few trucks come down Route 129. Mr. Klein stated that he is raising the traffic issue because it was the single most important issue of the Planning Board at the time of the
initial review. It is clear that the original environmental assessment overestimated the truck traffic that would result from the operation of the facility. The actual traffic is much below what was projected.
Chairman Gallelli noted that a previously conducted study by Metro Enviro showed that, over the course of a year 7,000 trucks enter the facility. This number is much less than what was projected.
Mr. Klein thought that almost all of the trucks come off of Route 9 between 8:00 A.M. and 9:00 A.M. He noted that he has not seen a truck, en route to Metro Enviro, interfere with traffic going into the train station. He has also not seen any truck interfere with rush hour traffic. Based on his observation, the truck traffic going into Metro Enviro is not adding to peak traffic flows.
Chairman Gallelli suggested that the letter of recommendation could say that, over the period of the existing Special Permit, the actual traffic has proven to be much less than what was projected at the time the permit was granted.
Mr. Burniston referred to condition #30 of the Amended Special Permit regarding storm water and erosion control(s). He thought that in this condition the use of the word “must” would be preferable to the word “should,” to which the other members agreed.
Mr. Burniston referred to condition #42. He questioned the use of the word “substantial” before the wording “verifiable harm.” He stated that, in his view, the word “substantial” should be removed. He noted that the word “substantial” in this context connotes serious injury. In his opinion, if an isolated occurrence were to cause any harm to the community at all, the facility should be closed down. Furthermore, it should not matter whether this isolated occurrence is an accident or not. Mr. Waldman noted that the second sentence in that paragraph was intentionally written so that violations that result in “substantial verifiable harm to public health, safety, or the environment…” could be a basis for revocation, even if isolated or accidental. Chairman Gallelli thought that the wording
“verifiable harm,” on its own, could lend itself to an interpretation, which might not be intended or desirable i.e., that the facility could (should) be shut down for an insignificant reason. Mr. Klein stated that the Village would want to ensure that there would be no problems at this facility. He thought that a higher standard should be applied, given their (Metro Enviro’s) track record. The Village needs a condition in the permit that is going to have a “hair trigger.” The Planning Board decided to say in the recommendation letter that the Planning Board would prefer that the word “substantial” be removed from condition #42. The word “substantial” should also be removed from the seventh “whereas” clause on page 2 of the Settlement Agreement.
Mr. Burniston stated that he thinks that overall the Amended Special Permit, as drafted, is appropriate. The use is an appropriate use for this area. He noted that the Village’s use of this property would also be governed by this Amended Special Permit. There is no reason why the Planning Board would say that this is (would be) unacceptable. The Planning Board has made suggestions regarding the language but only in an advisory capacity.
Mr. Klein wanted to know if, in the history of this operation, there was anything undesirable that occurred that the Village would like to prohibit or prevent from happening again.
Ms. Allen referred the others to condition #28 of the Amended Special Permit. She had a concern about the use of the word “promptly” in the first sentence. In her view, when an inspection by a government agency is carried out at Metro Enviro or when a violation is issued, there should be a definitive time limit (set) for Metro Enviro to notify the Village Engineer. Mr. Waldman stated that, in his view, the use of the word “promptly” is sufficient. Promptly means “right away.” Ms. Allen stated that reading this condition (#28) reminded her of the issue of the record books at Metro Enviro not being kept properly. The Village did not have an opportunity to see the books. Now, the procedures have changed. Chairman Gallelli noted that the information in these record books is (was)
always available at Metro Enviro for the Village to review.
Mr. Klein still wanted to know if there was any activity that is now permitted at Metro Enviro that the Village would want to prohibit or prevent from happening again. Mr. Waldman stated that Ms. Allen just gave a very good past example of such an activity. Somehow, Metro Enviro’s bookkeeping or recordation of information was so structured that someone having a mind to deceive could do so. Now, Metro Enviro has changed its technology for keeping records.
Mr. Klein wanted to know if any of the changes to the Operations and Maintenance (O&M) Manual needed to be incorporated into the Amended Special Permit. Mr. Waldman did not think that they would need to be incorporated. They are covered already in condition #19.
Ms. Allen asked why the Village could not see monthly reports from Metro Enviro. Chairman Gallelli noted that the Village already receives reports on a regular basis. They come in quarterly. Chairman Gallelli noted further that, with respect to these reports, it might be difficult for the Village to perform meaningful monthly reviews. The Village lacks the manpower.
Chairman Gallelli stated that Mr. Brumleve had a few comments to make on this referral request. He suggests that the last sentence in the second paragraph of the Introduction of the Full Environmental Assessment Form (FEAF) should read, “The allowable maximum facility throughput will remain at the current 850 tons per day.” In the third line of item 3 on page 6 of the Settlement Agreement, Mr. Brumleve suggests that the word “within” should be inserted before the wording “one month following the end…” Mr. Brumleve’s only other question had to do with condition #10 in the Amended Special Permit, which pertains to outdoor storage of piles of exempt materials. This condition #10 does not mention time frames. Chairman Gallelli pointed out that the O&M Manual covers these time frames.
Mr. Burniston referred to condition #6 on page 4. He wondered if there had ever been any materials buried on the premises. He did not think so. He recalled that, over the years, there have been allegations made; however, he never saw any documentation to support these allegations. Chairman Gallelli also recalled that there have been allegations but no proof.
Chairman Gallelli said that she found a grammatical error in item 12 of the Settlement Agreement. The last line should read: “…withdrawal of its motion…” rather than “…withdrawal of it motion…”
Chairman Gallelli suggested that she could review the points that would be made in the Planning Board’s recommendation letter. If the Board members had any changes/additions, they should let her know.
Chairman Gallelli stated that the letter would say that the Planning Board feels that many parts of the Settlement Agreement would go beyond the purview of the Planning Board, especially those with financial aspects. The Planning Board reviewed the areas of the Settlement Agreement and the Amended Special Permit that fall within the Planning Board’s normal review. The Amended Special Permit has two aspects: those items that deal with Metro Enviro’s operations and those that deal with the Village’s operations. The Planning Board does not see any real change in what Metro Enviro can do. The Village, in its use of a portion of the property, would be Metro Enviro’s tenant. The Village would have to comply with the same conditions as Metro Enviro except as otherwise provided in the proposed
Settlement Agreement and Amended Special Permit.
Chairman Gallelli stated that, in condition #24 of the Amended Special Permit, the Planning Board would suggest that in addition to the prohibition of salt storage, a prohibition should also be placed on the storage of hazardous or toxic materials and petroleum, oil or lubricants. The Planning Board would also suggest that it be clearly stated in the permit that the storm water facility, located outside the area to be licensed to the Village, would continue to be maintained by Metro Enviro. Mr. Waldman stated that, in the letter, the Planning Board should note its recognition of the fact that the Village would construct erosion and sedimentation controls on its portion of the property to further protect the storm water basin.
Chairman Gallelli stated that, with respect to noise and odors, the Planning Board would say that it feels that the provisions of the proposed Amended Special Permit adequately cover these concerns. Furthermore, the Planning Board is not aware of any past problems with noise and odors. With respect to traffic, the letter would state that the traffic generated at the site has been significantly less than projected by the Village Board and by the Planning Board’s consultant at the time of the granting of the Special Permit (1998).
Chairman Gallelli stated that in condition #30 of the Amended Special Permit, the word “must” is preferred over the word “should.” The Planning Board would prefer that the word “substantial” be removed from condition #42 of the permit and on the bottom of page 2 of the Settlement Agreement. In condition #30 the date should be changed from “1996” to “2006.”
Chairman Gallelli stated that the letter would say that, overall, the Planning Board feels that the Settlement Agreement and the Amended Special Permit, as drafted, reflect an appropriate use of the area as far as this facility, Metro Enviro, is concerned.
Chairman Gallelli asked the Board members if they had any changes/additions to the aforementioned points for the recommendation letter to the Village Board, to which there were none.
Chairman Gallelli stated that she would prepare the letter of recommendation to the Village Board in time for the public hearing on Monday, September 27th.
There being no further business to come before the Board, the meeting was duly adjourned at 9:35 P.M.