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Planning Board Minutes 2006 02-14



A regular meeting of the Planning Board of the Village of Croton-on-Hudson, New York was held on Tuesday, February 14, 2006 in the Municipal Building.

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

 MEMBERS ABSENT:       Fran Allen
                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.


Hans & Tara Toro – 3 Red Maple Ridge (Sec. 67.11 Blk. 1 Lot 19) – Application for an Amended Building Envelope to Construct a Swimming Pool

Norman Sheer, attorney, Ryna Lustig, landscape architect, and Hans Toro, owner of the property, were present.

Chairman Gallelli stated that the application before the Planning Board tonight is for a proposed swimming pool on a property in the Arrowcrest Subdivision.  The pool being proposed is outside the prescribed building envelope; hence, the Applicant is required to come before the Planning Board

Mr. Sheer stated that this application for a swimming pool was before the Planning Board in May of 2005.  The Applicant is back before the Planning Board tonight to review the issues and concerns, which were raised at that meeting in May.  Mr. Sheer noted that this Applicant would also have to go before the Water Control Commission for a Wetlands Activity Permit.  It was thought that it would be better to come back before the Planning Board and start the process again before going to the WCC.   

Chairman Gallelli noted that the Toro’s home is in the Arrowcrest Subdivision, which was approved in the mid-1990s. The Applicant’s attorney, Mr. Sheer, was chairman of the Planning Board at that time.   Planning Board member, Fran Allen, was also on the Planning Board when the subdivision was approved.  Chairman Gallelli suggested that Mr. Sheer could review for the new Board members the history of the subdivision and some of the issues that lead to the establishment of building envelopes and the limits of disturbance.

Mr. Sheer told the Board members that, prior to the approval of this subdivision, there was a matter of litigation between the developer and the Village that had to be negotiated.  He (Mr. Sheer) took over as chairman of the Planning Board at that time.  The outcome of the Village’s negotiations with the developer was the approval of a 39-lot cluster, rather than conventional, subdivision with one-third of the parcel being preserved as open space.  There were also some negotiations concerning walking trails.  Mr. Sheer noted that the Arrowcrest and River Landing subdivisions introduced the “modern era” of subdivisions to the Village.  

Mr. Sheer noted that some of the smaller Arrowcrest lots have bigger envelopes and some of the larger lots have smaller envelopes.  The Applicant’s (the Toro’s) lot is a fairly large lot with an average size building envelope.  The lot has an extremely irregular shape.  It becomes narrower at the cul-de-sac and reaches its widest point where the building envelope is located.  

Mr. Sheer said that he does not recall if the Planning Board took into consideration, at the time the subdivision was approved, the terrain of each of the lots.  Chairman Gallelli said that, at the meeting on this application last May, Ms. Allen had recalled the rationale for the building envelope on this particular lot (Lot #14).  Mr. Sheer thought that part of the rationale was the drain exiting to the west, just below the driveway.  There is an outlet at that point. The swale leads the water in a westerly direction.

Mr. Sheer presented to the Planning Board members the approved site plan for the Applicant’s lot (Lot #14) prepared by Ralph Mastromonaco, P.E.   The site plan shows the driveway running north.  Mr. Sheer noted to the Board members the outlet for a drain, to which Chairman Gallelli stated that Ms. Allen thought that it might be a spring.  Mr. Sheer stated that it would probably not be a good idea to disturb that area for a swimming pool.  There is also a steep slope in that area of the property.  Mr. Sheer noted that the pool could also not be put on the existing fill area.  Furthermore, according to the Village Code, a pool cannot be located in the front yard.  Mr. Sheer stated that the Applicant is proposing to put the pool in the back yard.  The pool would be located within the wetlands setback area.  

Mr. Sheer stated that, since the last meeting, the area for the pool has been tightened up.  The pool is not a large one to begin with, and the area for the pool has been pulled in as tightly as possible.  

Mr. Sheer noted to the Board members the three issues pertaining to this pool application that would need to be addressed: (1) the wetlands buffer; (2) the designated building envelope; and (3) the area of disturbance.  Mr. Sheer stated that the total area of disturbance, with the pool, decking, etc., would be more than the 15,000 square feet of disturbance allowed for this lot.    

Mr. Sheer told the Board members that, in his view, the proposed pool is a reasonable amenity for an Arrowcrest house of this size.
Mr. Sheer noted that the pool would be within the wetlands buffer area but not “[right] on top of the wetlands.”  They (the Applicant) believe that, in the construction of the pool, they can keep out of the wetlands and also not interfere with the drainage.  Mr. Sheer stated that the Applicant believes that the site they have chosen for the pool is the best possible site.

Chairman Gallelli noted that there are other kinds of pools, which are considered to be in-ground, but which are built into the site, to which Mr. Sheer said that, in a way, that is what is being suggested here.  He noted the proposed terraced area for the pool.  Chairman Gallelli asked if this would be a poured concrete pool, to which Mr. Toro said that it would be.  It is his (Mr. Toro’s) understanding that a liner pool would change the dynamics.

Chairman Gallelli referred to the Arrowcrest subdivision map brought to the meeting by the Village Engineer.  She asked where the conservation easement is located, to which Mr. Sheer pointed it out on the map.  The Village Engineer pointed out to the Board members the detention basin that was proposed. He also pointed out the wetlands buffer.  Mr. Sheer noted that the map the Board is looking at is (obviously) not the final subdivision map.  The Village Engineer noted to those present that the limit of disturbance of 15,000 square feet for Lot #14 appears on the approved subdivision plan.  Mr. Sheer noted that the 15,000 square feet refers to the limit of disturbance and not the lot coverage.

Chairman Gallelli asked what the size of the pool would be, to which Ms. Lustig said, 20’ x 40’.

Chairman Gallelli said that the issues that have to be dealt with are the wetlands buffer and the disturbance area.  Also, there may be an issue with the steep slopes.  She told the Applicant that they are going to have to do steep slopes calculations.

Chairman Gallelli told the Applicant that the Planning Board would handle this application for a modification to the building envelope by a resolution of the board.  No public hearing is required.  Chairman Gallelli noted that a public hearing would be required for the wetlands activity permit.  Chairman Gallelli noted that the wetlands permit would have to be approved by the WCC before the Planning Board could make its decision.  Chairman Gallelli stated that if it is determined that a steep slopes permit is required, the Applicant would also have to go before the Village Board.     

Mr. Kehoe referred to the Applicant’s drawing for the swimming pool and noted that a portion of the Applicant’s house is situated in the wetlands setback area.  Chairman Gallelli said that this was the case in some instances at Arrowcrest Subdivision.  She recalled that, at the time the cluster subdivision was approved, a single wetlands activity permit was granted for the whole subdivision, which covered lots with building envelopes and limits of disturbance acknowledged to be in a wetlands buffer area.   

The Village Engineer noted to the Planning Board that the WCC might not want to move ahead with the approval of the wetlands activity permit until the issue involving the limit of disturbance of 15,000 square feet is resolved.  Chairman Gallelli suggested that if this were to become a problem, then the WCC and the Planning Board could hold a joint meeting to discuss the matter, or, in the alternative, the WCC could pass their comments/concerns back to the Planning Board.

Chairman Gallelli asked if there were any other comments or suggestions. The Village Engineer told the Applicant that the WCC would want more detail on the storm water plan(s) and on the trees to be removed.  The WCC would be concerned about potential impacts to the wetlands buffer area.   

Chairman Gallelli told the Applicant to be in touch with the Village Engineer’s office when they are ready to come back before the Board.


Lead Agency Designation for Condemnation of Property at 1A Croton Point Avenue through Eminent Domain

Chairman Gallelli stated that the Planning Board has received a notice that the Village Board is intending to be the Lead Agency for the Eminent Domain proposal at 1A Croton Point Avenue.  

Chairman Gallelli stated that the Eminent Domain action is essentially an action that falls under the Village Board’s purview.  As part of the State Environmental Quality Review Act (SEQRA) process, the Village Board has to inform all interested and involved agencies of their intent to become the Lead Agency. Should there be any objections to the Village Board acting as the Lead Agency, the interested and involved agencies have 30 days to respond.

Chairman Gallelli noted to the Board members that, in this particular case, the Planning Board is an interested rather than an involved agency.  As an interested agency, the Planning Board does not have the decision-making power(s) that an involved agency has.  The involved agencies include the Water Control Commission (WCC) and the Waterfront Advisory Committee (WAC).  

Chairman Gallelli stated that the subject property at 1A Croton Point Avenue is approximately 10 acres in size.  The Village is proposing to use the property for a new DPW facility and other public uses.  Chairman Gallelli explained that, in an Eminent Domain action, a municipality has to propose a public good for the use of the land.  In this case, it would be the new DPW facility.  The Village Engineer showed the Planning Board members the Village’s plans for the site presented at the last Village Board meeting.  The Village Engineer stated that a larger DPW building would be proposed, which would include more office space.   There would be a salt shed on the property and more room for storage of vehicles and materials (sand, concrete, leaves, etc.).  The project would also include an expanded commuter parking area for the Croton-Harmon Train Station.   

Chairman Gallelli reiterated that the issue before the Planning Board tonight is whether or not the Village Board should act as the Lead Agency for this project.

Chairman Gallelli stated that the Planning Board has also received in their packet of information on this project the Full Environmental Assessment Form (FEAF). She told the Board members that, should the Planning Board have any comments/concerns on the answers given in the FEAF, the appropriate time to comment would be tonight. Chairman Gallelli noted that she did not come across any answers that she thought were erroneous as far as Planning Board involvement. The Planning Board had no further comments.

Chairman Gallelli asked the Planning Board if they had any objections to the Village Board acting as the Lead Agency for this project, to which there were none.  Chairman Gallelli noted that, as there are no objections, it is not necessary (required) that the Planning Board write a letter to the Village Board.


Approval of the minutes of the Tuesday, January 10, 2006 Planning Board meeting was postponed until the meeting of February 28, 2006.

The minutes of the Tuesday, January 24, 2006 Planning Board meeting were approved on a motion by Mr. Kehoe, seconded by Mr. Luntz 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 9:22 P.M.


Sylvia Mills,