Planning Board Minutes 10/25/05


A regular meeting of the Planning Board of the Village of Croton-on-Hudson, New York was held on Tuesday, October 25, 2005 in the Municipal Building.

MEMBERS PRESENT:                Ann Gallelli, Chairman
Fran Allen
Vincent Andrews
                                        Chris Kehoe
                                        Robert Luntz
                 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.


Mapleby, LLC – 171 So. Riverside Avenue – (Sec. 78.12 Blk. 3 Lot 4) – Application for an Amended Site Plan at Croton Commons

Neil Carnow, Architect; Charles Weinberg and Michael Sullivan, owners of the property; Barbara Groden of West Ex Associates, managing agent; Jeff Matros, owner of the restaurant being proposed (Memphis Mae’s) and Andre Nowara, chef of the restaurant, were present.

Chairman Gallelli stated that before the discussion on the Croton Commons application takes place tonight, she wanted to introduce to those present the two new Planning Board members, Messrs. Robert Luntz and Vincent Andrews.  Mr. Luntz is filling in the remainder of Joel Klein’s term and Mr. Andrews, the remainder of Tom Burniston’s term.  

Chairman Gallelli stated that the public hearing tonight is for an application for a second restaurant in the Croton Commons shopping center.  Chairman Gallelli noted that this type of application would normally be treated as a change of use as opposed to a site plan amendment; however, the resolution for Croton Commons in the late 1980’s stipulated the need for another site plan review for a second restaurant at the shopping center.

Mr. Carnow presented to the Planning Board a plan showing the space in the building at Croton Commons, which would be occupied by the new restaurant.  The space was formerly occupied by Kelleher’s Appliance store.  

Mr. Carnow stated that one of the issues raised at the last meeting was the parking for the restaurant.   There are 113 parking spaces on the site.  The number of parking spaces on the site exceeds the number required.  At the last meeting, the Applicant asked the Planning Board to allow for an increase of the proposed seating to a maximum of 56 seats.  Even with the expansion of the seating to 56, there would be more than enough parking spaces provided.  In addition to the parking on site, there is also available, for the employees of the restaurant, permit parking along Riverside Avenue.  

Mr. Carnow stated that the Applicant had a parking/traffic study done by Adler Consulting, Transportation Planning & Traffic Engineering.  The purpose of the study was to ascertain the parking conditions at various times of day and days of the week.  The study found that, in general, the parking lot was being used to a maximum of about 65% of its capacity.  Mr. Carnow stated that the bagel store at Croton Commons closes at around 4:30-5:00 P.M., so there would be no conflict with the parking for the bagel store.  Also, it would appear that the nail salon would not present a parking problem in that the salon generates the most traffic early Saturday mornings.  

Mr. Carnow stated that another issue that was discussed related to the rooftop equipment of the building.  Mr. Carnow said that he was unable to obtain the manufacturers’ “spec” sheets for the smoker and the exhaust/cooking hood.  Mr. Carnow noted that, size-wise, the smoker and exhaust equipment would fall within the context of the other equipment on the roof of the building. The restaurant would re-use the existing air-conditioning unit.  The exhaust equipment would meet Village Code and Building Code requirements with respect to noise and odors.

Mr. Carnow stated that another issue raised at the last meeting related to trash pick-ups.  This restaurant would have “wet” garbage and dry trash.   Mr. Carnow presented to the Planning Board a revised plan showing a layout of the current, existing dumpster enclosure.  He stated that two dumpsters would be replaced, one with a sealed container and one with a “grease” container.  The garbage in the sealed unit would be picked up twice a week, and the garbage in the “grease” container, once a month.  Chairman Gallelli recalled that, at the last meeting, the Planning Board and the Applicant had discussed a more frequent pick-up of food garbage.  Mr. Carnow stated that the owner of Croton Commons discussed garbage pick-ups with the carter and, based on an assessment of the size of the restaurant relative to the size of other restaurants in the Village, the carter thought that a twice-a-week pick-up would suffice.  Mr. Carnow suggested that, if this is not sufficient, the food garbage could be picked up more frequently.  Chairman Gallelli suggested that a condition could be placed in the resolution to this effect. The condition could say that, if it appears necessary, due to complaints or enforcement issues, the Applicant (restaurant) would be required to increase the number of garbage pick-ups.

Mr. Luntz asked if the new restaurant being proposed would be a lunch and dinner restaurant only, to which Mr. Carnow said that this would be the case.  Mr. Luntz asked if there were any requirements for employees at Croton Commons to have permit parking to park off-site, to which Mr. Carnow replied that it is required by the landlord to obtain these (parking) permits.  Chairman Gallelli noted that permit parking is also available on the westerly side of South Riverside Avenue.  Mr. Carnow added that some of the employees who have been parking on site would now be parking on South Riverside Avenue.  Ms. Allen asked where the on-site permit parking is located, to which Mr. Carnow indicated on the plan the on-site permit parking.   Ms. Groden stated that there are permit parking spaces, which back up to the gas station.  Employees of Croton Commons park there. They have never had a problem with the employees about parking in that area.  Ms. Allen asked if the parking behind the nail salon is diagonal parking, to which Ms. Groden said that it is.  Ms. Allen asked how many permit parking spaces there are on site, to which Mr. Carnow replied that he thought it was somewhere in the vicinity of 25 spaces.  

Mr. Andrews noted that the parking study was done the last week of August/first week of September, which are heavy vacation weeks.  He questioned if this was a good time to do the study.  Mr. Carnow noted that, as a rule, the only time the parking lot at Croton Commons is full of cars is on Saturday mornings.  The parking for the restaurant would be later on in the day.      

Chairman Gallelli asked if the Applicant could explain how the smoker unit works.  Mr. Nowara stated that the smoker unit does not require a lot of wood.  The unit has an electrical element that allows chunks of wood to smolder.  The heat generated by the electrical element and the smoke generated by the smoldering wood circulates and penetrates the meat and gives it its smoked flavor.  The smoke comes out through the top of the unit and passes through a vent.  Mr. Nowara noted that the smoker unit, which would be used for the restaurant, puts out less smoke than a household grill.  It is an efficient cooking system.

Chairman Gallelli asked if there were any comments from the public, to which there were none.  Chairman Gallelli closed the public hearing.

Chairman Gallelli read aloud the draft resolution. She noted that, as per tonight’s discussion, a condition should be added to the resolution which states that the Village Engineer’s Office may, if necessary, require more frequent garbage pick-ups.    

Chairman Gallelli told those present that the Fire Inspector, Peter Anfiteatro, has reviewed this application, and he does not foresee any problems.  

Ms. Allen asked if the Planning Board’s approval would include the possible expansion of the seating at the restaurant to “up to 56 seats.”  Ms. Allen suggested that there could be some language incorporated into the resolution to this effect.  Chairman Gallelli suggested that the language regarding the seating could be added to the second “whereas” clause as follows:  “Whereas, the purpose of this application is for a new restaurant (Memphis Mae’s), in the space formerly occupied by Kelleher’s Appliance store, to accommodate no more than 56 seats.”

Chairman Gallelli entertained a motion to approve this application with the changes/additions to the resolution discussed tonight.  The motion to approve was made by Mr. Luntz, seconded by Mr. Andrews and carried by a vote of 5 to 0.


Croton Fire Department Plans for Training Facility – Review & Comments

Bill Vlad, Chief of the Fire Department; Gary Diggs, Assistant Chief; and Thomas Dinkler, former Chief of the Fire Department, were present.

Chairman Gallelli noted that this proposal for a training facility for the Fire Department has already been presented to the Village Board.  The Fire Department is here tonight to present their proposal to the Planning Board for review and comments.  Chairman Gallelli noted that the Planning Board is not the approval authority for this project.  The Planning Board would provide any comments or suggestions in the form of a letter to the Village Board.

Chief Vlad stated that the training facility would consist of two to three trailers bolted together and a separate concrete pad for extrication drills.  Chief Vlad noted that the Fire Department wants to have its own in-house community training center so the firemen do not have to travel to Valhalla for training and so they do not have to take equipment out of the Village in case of an emergency.  

Assistant Chief Diggs told the Planning Board that the Fire Department is looking for support from all departments in the Village to create a localized training facility.  The facility would consist of trailers bolted together to form a mock house.  The mock house would be filled with non-toxic smoke.  The firemen in training would go through a maze to find victims in a fire.  Mr. Diggs stated that having their own training facility would cut off one hour in travel time to Valhalla for the firemen and save wear and tear on the fire apparatus.  

Mr. Diggs stated that, as far as the environmental impacts are concerned, the Fire Department would want to minimize the impact(s) on the environment as much as possible.  The positioning of the trailers would be such that there would be no impact on drainage lines.  A person driving by would not be able to see the training facility.  The facility would be located about 12 feet below the grade of South Riverside Avenue.  The existing tree line would be kept as thick as possible so that people would not be able to see the facility from the road.  Development of the property would include clearing debris, brush and trees from the center of the property.  The entrance point to the facility would be from the driveway to the west of the Skatepark.  Mr. Diggs stated that the cement pad would be installed for safety purposes and to protect the environment during vehicle extrication training.

Mr. Andrews asked if the entire training facility would be fenced in and secured, to which Mr. Diggs replied that it is already secured with a chain link fence.

Mr. Kehoe asked where the firemen in training would park, to which Mr. Diggs replied that they would “load up” a vehicle at the firehouse and bring the firemen to the site.  

Ms. Allen asked if, when the building is being used for training, smoke would escape from the building, to which Mr. Diggs replied that, for the most part, the smoke would not escape but would remain inside the building.  The Fire Department would use three or four smoke machines to simulate an actual fire.  

Chairman Gallelli stated that trees along the drop-off to South Riverside Avenue should be maintained, to the maximum extent possible, to provide screening for people looking down onto the property.  Mr. Diggs told Chairman Gallelli that the small “triangle of vegetation” would be left alone.

Mr. Andrews asked how often the training facility would be used, to which Mr. Diggs replied that it would be used every week.  At the present time, the Fire Department has one engine company that goes to Valhalla every week.

Mr. Kehoe said that he would think other neighboring fire departments would want to use this facility. Mr. Diggs stated that the Croton Fire Department does provide mutual aid to its neighbors.  The Croton Fire Department would invite these fire companies to join them at the training facility. Mr. Diggs noted that the facility is not that large.  They would have one engine company come from Ossining and Montrose, for example, for a training drill.  They would not open the facility up to other districts but would want to work with neighboring fire companies.  

Mr. Luntz asked when the firemen do the training, to which Mr. Diggs replied that the training takes place in the evenings between 7 and 10 P.M.  Mr. Diggs noted that they want to set up a day class every few weeks for people working night hours.

Mr. Diggs noted to the Board members that the subject property is owned by the NYS Department of Transportation.  The DOT is looking for an endorsement from the Village stating that the Fire Department will be pursuing the property.  The Village Board has already authorized the Village Manager to write a letter to this effect to the DOT.

The Village Engineer asked where the extrication training has been done in the past, to which Chief Vlad replied that the extrications have been done at the Grand Street Fire House and at the Village garage.

Mr. Diggs stated that there are very few spots left in the Village for such a training facility.  The subject property would never be used for anything else and would be a good spot for a training facility.

Mr. Kehoe asked if the site is outside the gateway area, to which Chairman Gallelli said that it is.

Ms. Allen brought up the issue of screening from South Riverside Avenue.  She thought that they (the Fire Department) might want to think about providing some additional screening since all the existing trees on the property are deciduous, and the property would be exposed in the wintertime.  Chairman Gallelli noted to the firemen present that the Planning Board would probably make a suggestion in its letter to the Village Board regarding additional planting(s) and/or screening from South Riverside Avenue.

Chairman Gallelli asked how many firemen would be using this facility, to which Mr. Diggs said about 65.  Chief Vlad stated that the facility would be a critical training facility for the Fire Department.  The Croton Fire Department takes its search & rescue training very seriously.

Chairman Gallelli asked the Planning Board if they had any other questions or comments, to which there were none.   

Chairman Gallelli asked if the members of the Planning Board were all in favor of this proposal, to which they were all in favor.  Chairman Gallelli told the members of the Fire Department present that she would write a positive response from the Planning Board to the Village Board on the proposed training facility.

-    Chairman Gallelli stated that the developer of the Katz property on the corner of Maple Street and Municipal Place is scheduled to come before the Planning Board at the next meeting.  The developer is proposing a two-story building on this 2?-acre parcel, which is situated behind the Croton Auto Park.  The building is in a Gateway District and would therefore have to conform to Gateway District requirements. The written description for the Gateway District(s) calls for establishing a streetscape-type of environment, which would emphasize “walkable” areas for pedestrians.      

-    Chairman Gallelli stated that the Village Engineer has brought to her attention that his (the Village Engineer’s) office has been receiving inquiries regarding the possibility of developing/building condominium units instead of two-family houses in a two-family residential (RB) district.  If it were a condominium rather than a two-family house, the people living there would have common property held by a homeowner’s association.  Chairman Gallelli thought that the Planning Board could suggest to the Village Board that the Planning Board look into this matter of a condominium versus a two-family house.  The Planning Board could ask the Michaelian Institute of Pace University to come up with examples of what other municipalities are doing.           

-    Chairman Gallelli noted that Nextel made a presentation on their cell tower proposal at the Village Board meeting last night.  They are proposing two locations: a cell tower next to the DPW garage and cellular equipment on the roof of the Municipal Building.  Nextel would have to go before the Village Board for a Special Permit.  The Village Board would refer this application to the Planning Board for a recommendation.  

-    Mr. Kehoe noted to the Board members that he would not be able to stay for the entire Planning Board meeting next week.  He would try to be at the meeting for the Katz application.  He would let the Planning Board secretary know.

-    Chairman Gallelli told the Board members that she would be away the fourth Tuesday of November, which is the week of Thanksgiving.  She suggested that the meeting could be changed to the following Tuesday (November 29th), to which the other members agreed.     


The minutes of the Tuesday, September 27, 2005 Planning Board meeting were approved, as amended, on a motion by Mr. Kehoe, seconded by Ms. Allen and carried by a vote of 4 to 0.  Mr. Andrews abstained.


There being no further business to come before the Board, Chairman Gallelli entertained a motion to adjourn the meeting.  The motion was made by Ms. Allen, seconded by Mr. Kehoe and carried by a vote of 5 to 0.  The meeting was duly adjourned at 9:27 P.M.


Sylvia Mills,


WHEREAS, the Planning Board held a public hearing on an Amended Site Plan application on Tuesday, October 25, 2005 for Mapleby, LLC, hereafter known as “the Applicant,” said property located at 171-187 South Riverside Avenue (Croton Commons shopping center) and designated on the Tax Map of the Village of Croton-on-Hudson as Section 78.12 Block 3 Lot 4; and

WHEREAS, the purpose of this application is for a new restaurant (Memphis Mae’s), in the space formerly occupied by Kelleher’s Appliance store, to accommodate no more than 56 seats; and

WHEREAS, the Planning Board resolution for Croton Commons dated May 27, 1986 stipulates that any lease of space for an additional restaurant use at Croton Commons would require Amended Site Plan approval; 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 plan SY-1 entitled “Croton Commons Amended Site Plan,” dated September 21, 2005, last revised October 13, 2005, prepared by Neil Carnow, Architect, be approved subject to the following conditions:

1)      The Village Engineer’s Office may, if necessary, require more frequent garbage pick-ups.

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
                                                Fran Allen
                                                Vincent Andrews
                                        Chris Kehoe
                                                Robert Luntz

Motion to approve by Mr. Luntz, seconded by Mr. Andrews and carried by a vote of 5 to 0.  

Resolution accepted with the minutes of the meeting held on Tuesday, October 25, 2005.