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Planning Board Minutes 2006 04-25



A regular meeting of the Planning Board of the Village of Croton-on-Hudson, New York was held on Tuesday, April 25, 2006 in the Municipal Building.

MEMBERS PRESENT:        Chris Kehoe, Chairman
Vincent Andrews
Fran Allen

                        ABSENT: Robert Luntz
                ALSO PRESENT:   Ann Gallelli, Liaison from the Village Board
Daniel O’Connor, P.E., Village Engineer
1.  Call to Order:

The meeting was called to order at 8:00 P.M. by Chairman Kehoe.


a)  Croton Housing Network, Inc. – Mt. Airy Road (Sec. 67.20 Blk. 3 Lots 2 & 36) – Application for Site Plan Approval for Symphony Knoll Affordable Housing Project
b)  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

Nance Shatzkin, President of the Croton Housing Network (CHN), Stuart Markowitz of SMA Architecture Planning Interiors PC, and Ron Wegner of Cronin Engineering were present for the Symphony Knoll and Mount Airy Woods applications.

Chairman Kehoe noted that there was a lengthy discussion about the Symphony Knoll application at the last Planning Board meeting.  Ms. Allen was unable to attend that meeting.  The CHN is present tonight to answer any questions that Ms. Allen might have.  Chairman Kehoe noted that, since the last meeting, the Applicant has made some changes to their plans.  The Applicant is apparently prepared tonight to address the issues that were raised.

Ms. Shatzkin stated that she brought with her tonight, for distribution to the Planning Board, copies of the Phase 1A Archeological Study.  She received today the Phase 1B Study. There was not enough time today to make copies for the Planning Board of the Phase 1B Study.  She would bring the copies to the next meeting.  Ms. Shatzkin stated that the result of the Phase 1B Study shows that there is no further investigation necessary.  There were no significant deposits found.  

Ms. Shatzkin stated that, at the last meeting, the Planning Board had asked for a “recap” of the CHN’s funding sources.  Ms. Shatzkin gave the Planning Board secretary a spreadsheet showing the funding for the Symphony Knoll project. She asked that the secretary make copies of the spreadsheet for the board members.   Ms. Shatzkin noted that the Planning Board had also asked for an explanation of the funding “safety valves.”  She did not have the answer to this question tonight but would address this issue at the May 9th meeting.

Ms. Shatzkin stated that, for the next meeting, they would bring a “check list” of the necessary easements and cross-use maintenance agreements.  They have made note of the request, brought up by the Village Engineer last time, to provide an easement to the Village, should the Village decide in the future to extend the water main to Bayview Terrace.  

Ms. Shatzkin told the board members that Ron Wegner of Cronin Engineering is present tonight to address some of the engineering/construction-related issues raised last time.  

Mr. Wegner stated that he has included in the revised set of plans the soil erosion and sedimentation control plan for Symphony Knoll.   Mr. Markowitz noted that they do not have enough copies of the revised plans to distribute to the board tonight.  He would submit all the required documentation in time for the packets, which would be prepared for the May 9th meeting.  The Village Engineer noted that an erosion and sedimentation control plan is necessary due to the widening of the entrance/driveway.

Ms. Shatzkin stated that the next item is the modification to the trail easement, which would be going through the Village-owned out parcel.  Mr. Wegner said that, with respect to the proposed trail, the plan shows the easement but not the actual trail itself.  At this point, it is essentially just showing the trail location.  The Village Engineer said that the easement should be 15 feet wide.  Mr. Wegner noted that the trail itself could be any width within that easement. Ms. Shatzkin noted that the CHN is trying to save surveying costs by utilizing the GPS/GIS systems.  Mr. Markowitz told the board members that the Applicant (the CHN) would be putting the stakes in the ground.  Mr. Wegner mentioned that he has already walked the site with the Trails Committee. The Village Engineer told the board members that the trees need to be marked.  He (the Village Engineer) could go out to the site with the Trails Committee.     

Ms. Shatzkin noted that the trail easement being proposed would include a potential trail connection, which would go downhill and into the Village at Grand Street.  If the Village were to decide to create this trail connection at some point in the future, the easement agreement between CHN and the Village would already be in place.  The Village Engineer said that it would probably be the intention of this easement agreement to give maintenance responsibility of the stairs to the Village, to which Ms. Shatzkin said that, indeed, it would be.  She spoke to Jan Wines of the Trails Committee about the stairs, and she is quite certain Mr. Wines understands that this would be the intention.

Chairman Kehoe wanted to know if the Trails Committee puts a sign up for a trail, to which the Village Engineer said that they do.  The Village Engineer noted that the Trails Committee is trying to use the new Village logo for the trail markers.  Ms. Shatzkin thought that it would be a nice gesture to give the trail a name in honor of someone in the Village.  

Ms. Shatzkin said that the next item to be addressed had to do with the gutters and whether they could be tied into the storm drain system.  Mr. Wegner told the board members that he has added an additional yard drain.  The Village Engineer asked if it would be designed so that the gutters could tie into the storm drains, to which Mr. Markowitz said that it would be.

Ms. Shatzkin said that the revised plans include dumpster and enclosure details.  Mr. Wegner showed the board members a colored rendering of the dumpster area.  He noted that there would be a black vinyl chain-link fence around the dumpster.  The dumpster area is situated in the corner just past the parking for the cottage.

Ms. Shatzkin said that the next item on their “list” had to do with extending the front sidewalk.  Mr. Wegner stated that they have extended the sidewalk up to the front curb.  They have extended the concrete to the end of the parking area.  

Ms. Shatzkin said she does not know whether the Trails Committee would be able to create the trail in conjunction with the building of Symphony Knoll.  Ms. Allen told Ms. Shatzkin that she thinks they intend to do so.  Mr. Wegner noted that when they walked the site they chose a trail location, which is viable to walk on.  Ms. Shatzkin said that she thinks a walking trail up to Symphony Knoll would be a wonderful asset.  The implementation of the trail and the building of Symphony Knoll could be brought together and could reinforce one another in a positive way.  Chairman Kehoe referred to an area of the plan showing the trail.  He stated that the trail in that location seems to go through rock.  Ms. Shatzkin told Chairman Kehoe that the trail would go around that rock.  Ms. Shatzkin noted that the highpoint of the trail in this area offers a beautiful view of the Hudson River.

The Village Engineer asked if the Applicant’s plan shows where the existing water main ends, to which Mr. Wegner said that it does.

The Village Engineer noted that, with respect to the utilities for Mt. Airy Woods, the last document the Village has in its files is an easement from the CHN to the County.  The Village does not have any IMA documents after that.  The Village Engineer told Ms. Shatzkin that the Water Department wants it clarified who is responsible for the maintenance. The Village Engineer said that he has asked the Village Clerk to look for any files that might exist in the Village Manager’s office.  Ms. Shatzkin said that she would go through the CHN files.  The Village Engineer referred to the Applicant’s plan(s) and described where he thought the easement would have to go, should the Village’s water main be extended at some point in the future.  Mr. Wegner told the Village Engineer that he would put the metes & bounds description on the Applicant’s plan(s).    

Mr. Wegner explained to those present the on site detention and storm water system.   There are a series of yard drains on site.  The yard drains and drop inlets connect to the existing catch basin in the Mt. Airy Woods driveway.  Mr. Wegner explained the system of pipes, outlets and catch basins.  He told the board members that, for the next Planning Board submission, he would be adding a profile of the proposed detention area.

Ms. Shatzin stated that the next item to be covered was the grading around the back of the building.  Mr. Wegner pointed to an area on the Applicant’s revised plan and stated that he is showing on the revised plan additional grading in this area.

Mr. Wegner stated that, with regard to the catch basin at the bottom of the driveway, he has added the following note to the revised plan: “to remove and provide a replacement for the relocated curb.”  

Ms. Shatzkin wanted to know with whom they should meet in the Fire Department regarding the Symphony Knoll application, to which the Village Engineer suggested that Ms. Shatzkin should ask the Chief of the Fire Department.  It would be up to the Chief to appoint someone in the department to review the application.

Ms. Allen asked if, with respect to the trails, there is a surface being provided, to which Ms. Shatzkin stated that the surface for the trails would be up to the Trails Committee.  The CHN would not have anything to do with the construction of the trails.  They would just be providing the easements.  Ms. Shatzkin noted that the only part of the trail system that currently exists is the stairs.  Ms. Shatzkin told the board members that the CHN would cooperate with the Trails Committee in any way possible to implement the trail system.  They would do anything they could to help out while their equipment and/or resources are on the site.  Ms. Allen pointed to a surfaced area of the Applicant’s plan and asked if this was a part of the proposed trail, to which Mr. Markowitz told Ms. Allen that the area to which she is referring is an extension of the sidewalk, which has been added to the plan.  This sidewalk would connect with the trail.  Ms. Shatzkin noted that this extension of the sidewalk is a result of the discussion that took place at the last meeting and that it is not part of the trail system.

Mr. Markowitz stated that the Applicant’s plans show the gutter locations.  There would be three at each side of the building and two at the inside corners of the front.  All of these gutters would be connected to the storm water system.

Mr. Markowitz told the board members that there are two possibilities for locating the condensers.  One is to group all of them in the rear; the other is to place them on the roof behind the peaks of the roof.  

Mr. Markowitz gave a description of the second egress at the rear entrance of the building.  The second egress would pass by a stairway and out the back.  A platform/landing would be created in such a way as to “pick up” the nearest contour.  The Village Engineer asked if a path would be provided that would go around the building to the front, to which Mr. Markowitz said that a path would be provided.  The Village Engineer expressed concern about snow in the wintertime and asked if the egress route (pathway) being described would be clear enough to traverse in the winter, to which Mr. Markowitz suggested that, to keep it clear, they could improve the surface with substrate material(s).  Chairman Kehoe suggested that, perhaps, the CHN could ask the Fire Department their opinion about the second egress from the back of the building.  Mr. Wegner said that another option for egress would be the trail(s).  The Village Engineer said that a trail would not be a viable option in three feet of snow.

Chairman Kehoe said that if it were determined by the Fire Department that there has to be a way to get out the back door and around to the front, then he would think the so-called path being described would pretty much have to be a sidewalk. Mr. Markowitz told Chairman Kehoe that they would be showing on the plan(s) a walkway around the building that could be built and be maintained.  Chairman Kehoe asked if there would be landscaping on that side of the building and, if so, would the path be “outside” the landscaped area?  He asked again if the CHN could double-check with the Fire Department as to the necessity of this second egress from the back.  Mr. Kehoe said that unless it is a requirement he, personally, would prefer not to have the path.

Mr. Markowitz discussed the exterior lighting for the building at Symphony Knoll.  He said that the lights that the Planning Board saw at the last meeting did not have glass globes.  The lighting has been toned down.   The actual fixtures have not been selected yet.

Mr. Markowitz showed the Planning Board the front and rear elevation drawings.  He said that, with respect to the rear elevation, they intend to do something to break up the siding in the back.  He noted that the back of the building faces the woods.

Mr. Andrews said that, as he understands it, the CHN had to go back to the Zoning Board of Appeals for an extension to their variance, to which Ms. Shatzkin said that this is, indeed, the case.  They were at the last ZBA meeting; however, the public hearing was postponed.  They (the CHN) decided to ask for a postponement due to the fact that the full board was not present.  It was thought that it would be better to wait until all the members were present.  Ms. Shatzkin noted that the CHN is scheduled to go back before the ZBA in May.  The meeting would take place the night after the public hearing before the Planning Board.  Ms. Shatzkin stated that the condition of the variance was that construction had to begin within a year from the date the variance was granted.  The funding procedure and the review process took longer than anticipated, so they had to ask the ZBA for an extension.

Mr. Andrews noted that, at the last meeting, the CHN said that they would address the information concerning the funding, to which Ms. Shatzkin replied that she needs the County to give her “the right language.”   The CHN would provide this information at the public hearing in May.

The Village Engineer asked if there were any issues with the County Health Department regarding the water and sewer connections.  He noted that, in the past, the service line has just been for Mt. Airy Woods.  Now, it would be serving two complexes.  Ms. Shatzkin said that she would look into this matter with the County.  In the interim, she would search her files for IMA’s on the existing utilities.  She told the Village Engineer that the CHN would be scheduling a meeting regarding the easements.  They would include the Village Engineer in on the discussion.

Chairman Kehoe reiterated to those present that the public hearings on the Symphony Knoll and Mt. Airy Woods applications would take place on Tuesday, May 9th.

c)  Nextel of New York, Inc. – Discussion of the Hiring of Consultants to Assist the Village in the Review of Nextel’s Proposal for a Collocation of a Personal Wireless Services Facility at the Municipal Building
d)  Nextel of New York, Inc. and New Cingular Wireless PCS, LLC – Discussion of the Hiring of Consultants to Assist the Village in the Review of Nextel’s and Cingular’s Proposal for a Collocation of a Personal Wireless Services Facility at the DPW Facility, Veteran’s Plaza

Chairman Kehoe stated that the next item on the agenda is the hiring of consultants for the wireless services facilities projects.  The Planning Board needs to hire two consultants.  The first should have expertise in planning, historic preservation and the visual and aesthetic aspects of the application and the second should have expertise in the technical aspects.  Chairman Kehoe noted that the following two planning consultant firms have provided resume materials on their services: Frederick P. Clark Associates and Ferrandino & Associates.   

Chairman Kehoe noted that the Planning Board only received the materials on these consultants at the meeting tonight.  

Trustee Gallelli stated that, since the Planning Board is handling the details on the hiring of these consultants, the Planning Board should let the Village Board know which consultant firms they (the Planning Board) want to use.  If the Planning Board leaves it up to the Village Board to make a decision, then the Village Board would have to go through a similar type of review process.  This would only serve to delay these applications.  Trustee Gallelli stated that the Village Board meetings in May would be held on May 1st and May 15th.  Chairman Kehoe asked if the decision on the consultants would have to be provided to the Village Board for the May 1st meeting, to which Trustee Gallelli said, no.

The Village Engineer told the board members that Nextel has recommended two radio frequency engineering consultant firms to do the technical review. They are: RCC Consultants, Inc. and Ronald E. Graiff.   Both consulting firms have provided materials on their services.  Mr. Andrews noted that RCC appears to have fairly relevant experience with other local communities.  Ms. Allen asked why the Village would need to hire a radio frequency engineer, to which the Village Engineer stated that a radio frequency engineer would look at the Applicant’s coverage analysis to make sure that the information provided by the Applicant is correct.  

Chairman Kehoe noted that if, during the review process, historic preservation concerns come to light, the Village’s consultant might say that the cell tower should be moved to a different location.

The Village Engineer stated that the reason Nextel recommended these two radio frequency engineering firms is because, in their experience, these two firms had sufficient knowledge.  Some of the other consulting firms might not be qualified to review radio frequencies.  The Village Engineer told the board members that he has been searching for names of other firms, but it has been difficult to find experts in this field.  Ms. Allen recalled that the Village found a radio frequency engineer for the review of the proposal on Old Post Road North ten years ago.  She suggested that, rather than going solely by the Applicant’s selections, the Village Engineer should continue his search.   

Mr. Andrews suggested that the Village could contact the local municipalities that have used these engineering firms in the past.  The Village could ask if these firms appeared to be objective in their review, if they were well qualified, etc.  Chairman Kehoe said that the Village could contact these municipalities and, at the same, time, continue to search for other candidates.  The Planning Board could then continue its discussion on the hiring of the radio frequency engineer at the next Planning Board meeting.  Chairman Kehoe noted that Nextel did not provide the names of the two planning consultant firms. These were selected by the Village.

The Village Engineer said that Ferrandino & Associates was quick to respond to his request for information.  They provided specific resume information on their experience with telecommunications applications.  He (the Village Engineer) tried to contact David Stolman of Frederick P. Clark Associates, but Mr. Stolman was out of town.  When he finally spoke to Mr. Stolman, the information that Mr. Stolman provided was just “boiler plate.”  The Village Engineer said that in order to be able to compare the two firms, he would need more specific (resume) information from Frederick P. Clark Associates.

The Village Engineer expressed concern about the two consultants (planning and radio frequency) duplicating their efforts in the review process.  For example, RCC Consultants, Inc. and Frederick P. Clark Associates are both qualified to review applications in terms of zoning and telecommunications codes.  The Village would not want a duplicate effort made in the review of these applications.  The Village Engineer suggested that whichever firm has the most experience on a given aspect of the project should work on that particular aspect.  Chairman Kehoe noted that there are two sites under review.  He assumed that the two consultants (planning and radio frequency) once they are hired would review both sites, to which the Village Engineer said, yes.

The Village Engineer noted to the board members that the radio frequency engineer would make sure that the proposed projects are in compliance with the current telecommunications laws.

The Village Engineer asked if the Planning Board wanted more specific resume information from Frederick P. Clark Associates, to which the board members all said, yes.  Ms. Allen said that, for the next meeting, she would also want the Village Engineer to continue his search for names of other radio frequency engineering firms.  

The Village Engineer said that, in his view, the two planning consultant firms contacted thus far are both well qualified.  He asked the board members if they would want more names of planning consultants, to which the board members did not think that was necessary.

Ms. Allen asked if the Village has had any experience with Ferrandino & Associates.  Chairman Kehoe referred to their resume information and stated that, according to the resume, this firm has worked for the Village in the preparation of a hazard mitigation grant application.  They also claim to have worked with Dvirka & Bartilucci on the Village’s storm water management plan.  Trustee Gallelli noted to the board members that she became acquainted with this firm in her affiliation with the Westchester Municipal Planning Federation.  They do quite a bit of work around the area.  They have been on the “short list” for Village projects. The Village Engineer said that he thinks Ferrandino & Associates probably did some GIS work for Dvirka & Bartilucci.

Mr. Andrews said that RCC has provided the Village with contact information on their services.  He thought that it would be worthwhile to follow up on those contacts.

The Village Engineer noted to the board members that Ferrandino & Associates had sent him a large package of information.  He only copied 30% of it for tonight’s meeting.  He suggested that he could scan the rest of the information and send a “PDF” file to the Planning Board.

Ms. Allen noted to the board members that she has been following cell tower applications in the Adirondacks region. One of the most important issues in that region is the visual impact(s).  There has been some success in that region in cutting down on the size of the towers.  Ms. Allen thought that the Planning Board would want to know what the alternatives to cell towers might be.

The Village Engineer gave a brief history of the Nextel application(s).  Nextel had expressed interest to the Village in using the roof of the Municipal Building for their cellular equipment.  They also expressed interest in a spot down by the river for the installation of a cell tower.  Members of the Village staff and representatives from Nextel walked the Village property.  They (Nextel) discovered a grassy area between the salt shed and the canoe launch that they thought might work for a cell tower.  They used a crane to put up a transmitter and then used a crane again to perform a visual analysis.  The Village Engineer stated that Nextel liked the spot that was chosen for coverage reasons; the Village liked the spot because it would not impact Village operations.  Nextel now needs to obtain the necessary permits from the Village and go through the SEQRA process.

Trustee Gallelli gave a brief history of the wireless services facility applications that have come to the Village.  There have been four over the last 15 years.  None have materialized.  The applications that are before the Planning Board tonight are the only ones that have come this far along in the process.

The Village Engineer told the board members that he would call the references for RCC.  He would also check other names for radio frequency engineers.  

Trustee Gallelli said that she would provide an update to the Village Board.  She would say that the Planning Board is in the process of working on the hiring of consultants for the Nextel projects.


-    Chairman Kehoe stated that the Planning Board has received from the Village Board notifications for the designation of lead agency for the wireless services facilities projects at the Municipal Building at One Van Wyck Street and the DPW site at Veterans Plaza, respectively.  Chairman Kehoe asked the Planning Board members if they had any objections to the Village Board acting as the lead agency for these two projects, to which there were none.

-    The Village Engineer told the board members that Mayor Greg Schmidt has brought up the concept of having alternate members for the Planning Board.  The reason to have alternates would be to always have a five-member board.  Trustee Gallelli noted that the alternates would be required to come to all of the Planning Board meetings so as to be available in case one of the regular members was absent.  The alternates would also have to come to all of the meetings to be fully involved and/or keep informed of the projects before the Planning Board.  She expressed concern that the alternates might lose interest if they were to come to all the meetings and never have an opportunity to serve.  Chairman Kehoe thought that there might also be an issue concerning which of the two alternates to choose should only one member be absent. Trustee Gallelli noted that this proposal of adding alternate members to the Planning Board would require an amendment to the Village Code.


The approval of the March 28, 2006 Planning Board minutes was adjourned until the next Planning Board meeting on May 9th.


There being no further business to come before the Board, the meeting was duly adjourned at 10:34 P.M.


Sylvia Mills,