Planning Board Minutes 2006 10-10
Village of Croton-on-Hudson, New York

Planning Board Meeting Minutes – Tuesday, October 10, 2006

A regular meeting of the Planning Board of the Village of Croton-on-Hudson, New York was held on Tuesday, October 10, 2006 in the Municipal Building.

        Present:        Chris Kehoe, Chairman
                Fran Allen
                Vincent Andrews
                Robert Luntz

        Also Present:   Daniel O’Connor, P.E., Village Engineer

        Absent: Deven Sharma

1.      Call to Order

Chairman Kehoe called the meeting to order at 8:00 PM.

2.      Old Business

·       Hans & Tara Toro – 3 Red Maple Ridge (67.11-1-19) Application for an amended building envelope to construct a swimming pool

Norman Sheer was present to represent Hans and Tara Toro in regard to an application for amendments to their site plan for a swimming pool.

Mr. Sheer introduced the applicant Mr. Toro, Ron Wegner of Cronin Engineering, and Ryna Lustig the landscape designer. Mr. Sheer described the site as lot 14 in the Arrowcrest subdivision. It is a flag lot and shares the driveway with lot 15.

Mr. Sheer summarized the history of the application. It was presented to the Planning Board in February 2006. The Planning Board referred the application to the Water Control Commission. The WCC reviewed the application and adopted a resolution on July 19, 2006 granting a Wetlands Activity Permit. He explained that the first set of drawings was from the original February submission, and the second set was drawn per the request of the WCC showing the tree canopies. The WCC was concerned about disturbing the tree canopy and specified in the Wetland Activity Permit stipulations that a certified arborist is on site to ensure the safety of the trees, that there will be no chlorine residual or discharge, that the Planning Board and Engineer approve the plans for the retaining wall, and that the arborist agrees that the retaining wall does not disturb tree roots.

Mr. Sheer explained that the site for the proposed pool was selected after careful consideration. The yard directly behind the house cannot be used because it is fill. Ms. Lustig added that the pool contractor would not work in fill. Mr. Sheer continued that the Toros also considered building behind the driveway where it meets the garage, but there is a slope and a drainage pipe outlet. Therefore, the west side of the lot is the best option.

Mr. Sheer stated that the pool is a relatively small pool at 800 square feet, and there will not be a lot of additional decking or patio. The distance from the house to the pool itself is less than fifteen feet, and because of the conservation easement, the pool cannot be seen from lot 13, the neighbor to the west.

Ms. Allen pointed out that the proposed pool falls almost entirely in the wetland buffer.

Mr. Andrews asked where the current application exceeds the original building envelope. After some discussion, Mr. O’Connor clarified that after looking at the original subdivision plan; almost all the construction would take place outside the building envelope. The applicant meets the 10 ft. set back requirement from the lot line for the swimming pool.

Mr. Luntz asked where the fence would be located. Ms. Lustig stated that it would run off the property line, just below the retaining wall and loop up around to the existing wood deck. Chairman Kehoe asked about access to the pool and patio area from the deck. Mr. Wegner stated that steps come down to the patio area, and fencing can be connected to the back of the house. Ms. Allen asked if there was an existing fence, and Ms. Lustig responded that the existing fence is outside the pool area and does not comply with the village code regarding fencing around pools.

Mr. Andrews expressed concern that the pool deck will change run off depending on the type of surface. Ms. Lustig stated it would be pavers on stone dust, relatively impervious.

Chairman Kehoe asked what the purpose of seeing the tree canopy was. Mr. Sheer stated that the WCC wanted to see how much excavation would occur under the canopy of the trees. Mr. Wegner stated that most of the trees in the area of the pool are on the neighbor’s property and would not be disturbed. He also mentioned that at least one of the birch trees on the Toro’s property is dead. Mr. Allen expressed concern that one apparently healthy 32” oak on the property would be removed, since it is in the center of the proposed pool. Ms. Lustig stated that the Toros have done a lot of tree planting on their property, therefore mitigating the impact, and stated that upon completion of the pool, they will continue with the planting plan.

Ms. Allen asked if the applicant could move the pool out into the open lawn since some of the steep shaded area where the pool was to be constructed had a slope of greater than 20%. She stated changing the location would also mean moving the pool outside of the wetland buffer. Mr. Sheer stated that moving the pool in front of the house created an issue of privacy since there is a common driveway and the house across the driveway is situated at a higher elevation and would be able to see down into the pool area. Ms. Lustig stated that most of the property is shady, with periods of sun depending on the time of day. Ms. Allen pointed out that in the front fewer trees would be disturbed.

Chairman Kehoe asked if the retaining walls would be a consistent four feet. Mr. Wegner stated that the maximum would be four feet, and that they would curve around into the hill. Chairman Kehoe asked if two walls were necessary. Mr. Wegner stated that they were.

Ms. Allen stated that this would all occur in the wetland buffer. Mr. Sheer stated that the wetland is a stream on lot 13. Mr. Luntz stated that on the map the stream is identified where it says conservation easement. Ms. Allen stated that is a significant stream and she hesitates to get involved in an area with two wetland boundaries. Mr. O’Conner stated it was a watercourse regulated under the wetland regulations, which set a 20 ft prohibited zone and a 100 ft minimum activity zone. Chairman Kehoe asked if the house required a wetland permit when it was built. Mr. O’Connor stated that the wetland activity permit was issued for the whole subdivision, and approved by the board back then. This system created a problem for future construction because the permit was issued to the developer and had to be renewed at least once. Now it is expired, and individual properties have to come in for wetland activity permits. Chairman Kehoe stated that they required two things, wetland activity and exceeding the building envelope.

Mr. Luntz asked if the original intention of the building envelope was to prevent further development because it is so limiting. Mr. O’Connor agreed that it is very limiting. He stated that the Toros would require a variance to build the pool in front of the house.

Ms. Allen stated that in this particular case, the pool is almost entirely in the wetland set back area. She stated that there is an opportunity to save significant vegetation and there is value in preserving the flows of water in the area. She also wondered if removing trees would exacerbate the run-off. She asked what types of trees were included in the planting program in front of the house. Ms. Lustig listed hollies, shadbush, cherries and spruces. Ms. Allen said they were small and stated that the project would remove a complete canopy. Chairman Kehoe stated, only three trees would be removed but one happens to be huge. He stated that the arborist would be onsite, but was concerned that other trees would be removed due to the impact of the construction.

Ms. Allen stated she would like to see another proposed site. She suggested they achieve privacy with additional vegetation. Mr. Toro stated that in front of the house, the pool would still be in the buffer and outside the envelope. Also, even in the summer, the pool would be visible. Lot 17 is also at a higher elevation. Ms. Allen asked when the plan was updated. Mr. Wegner stated it was completed for the WCC July 2006.

Mr. Kehoe asked for any other comments. Mr. O’Connor stated that the planning board would need to expand the building envelope. He also stated that the Arrowcrest Plans set a 15,000 sq. ft. limit of disturbance on lot 14.

Mr. Wegner responded that the applicant has no way to know how much was disturbed by original builder and that they can guess. Mr. O’Conner stated that based on what already exists, the estimated original disturbance may have been close to 15,000 sq. ft. including the deck, and that the pool area would increase the area 3000 sq. ft.

Mr. Luntz asked if the fill is immediately behind the concrete patio because that is the ideal location for the pool. Ms. Lustig agreed it is the ideal location, but stated that the pool contractor will not work there since it is fill. She reiterated that the selected site represents a compromise on a tricky and tight site.

Ms. Allen asked if they could supply her with the current percentage and future percentage of impervious surface on the lot. Mr. Sheer stated they did not have the information at hand.

Mr. Andrews asked about pool water drainage. Mr. Wegner responded that the pool water would pump into the sewer. He did not know the exact volume. Mr. Andrews questioned whether rain would cause additional water to discharge over the side of the pool and patio. Mr. Wegner stated that they could install additional drainage systems around the pool. Chairman Kehoe suggested a drainage structure or dry well, maybe between the retaining walls. Mr. O’Connor asked if the deck could be a brick patio deck because it would benefit the wetlands. Ms. Lustig stated everything pitches away from the house and the wetland. Mr. Luntz asked if they would be willing to do testing to calculate the runoff and include a drainage system if necessary. Mr. Sheer confirmed that they would be willing.

Mr. Kehoe stated that he did not think they were ready to approve this tonight. The applicant should investigate the soil and volume of drainage at the site. He asked that they return to the board with a proposed simple drainage plan and suggested they consult with Dan about steep slope disturbance. Mr. Luntz also stated they should show the proposed amended building envelope, that which would need to be approved, on the plans.

3.      New Business

·       Croton View Properties, LLC – 40-50 Maple Street (79.09-1-30) Application for an amended site plan to operate a nail salon & full service space, expand existing tenant spaces and make minor exterior modification

Steve Chang, the architect for Floris Nail and Spa, was present to represent the applicant. He stated that the group has 12 stores in New York, Connecticut, New Jersey and Pennsylvania. The salons vary in size from 1500-8000 sq. ft. Salon services include manicure and pedicure stations, facial and skin treatments, and full service hair salon. The clientele is 80% female, and customers almost always come by appointment. One appointment may take up to two hours depending on the treatments. The employees are primarily Korean American who will come to the store by company van from Flushing, Queens. It is a fifteen-passenger van so there will likely never be more than fifteen employees at the store. The manager drives the van. Floris is a franchise, but the company will run the store until it is established.

Mr. Chang explained that Floris has made special arrangements with the landlord to make some modification to the tenant spaces. From the currently vacant storefront, 800 sq. ft. will go to the liquor store, which has already been approved by the engineer’s office, and 1000 sq. ft. will go to the gourmet deli. The change in square footage fits the vacant space under the minimum square footage required by the zoning. The remaining 6000 sq. ft. will be the Floris full service salon. The stairs in the back of the store are utility access to the roof.

Chairman Kehoe asked about the parking regulations. Mr. O’Connor stated that when Zeytinia came in for their site plan review the parking analysis was completed. The calculation for the entire space including the vacant store required a total of 148 spaces. The ZBA issued a variance for eight spaces, making the required number 140. 143 spaces are provided. Five handicapped spaces are required; six are provided. The section of the lot for employee parking has narrower spaces and is included in the existing 148 parking space count. A reconfiguration of the handicapped spaces resulted in one more spot. Mr. Luntz asked if the lot is approved for the amount of square footage. Mr. O’Conner responded that from a zoning perspective, the parking lot meets code. Mr. Kehoe stated that the code does not take into account the type of business.

Mr. O’Connor asked how the other stores would use all the space. Anthony Bronconelli, the landlord, responded that the liquor store plans to use 65-70% of the space for more storage, and Zeytinia will use the space for storage. The additional storage space increases the store’s purchasing power. Chairman Kehoe stated that even if the other tenants would hire more employees, the parking code requirement does not change. Mr. O’Connor asked where the van would be parked. Mr. Chang stated it would fit in a regular space. Mr. Luntz asked about the planned hours of operations. Mr. Chang stated the hours will be 9:30 a.m. to 7 p.m. seven days a week. Ten people will be employed, and possibly an additional local person as a receptionist. All the employees will be licensed by the state of New York. Typically no more than ten will be working at a time, which means the maximum number of customers would be twenty-one. He noted that everything you do in the salon requires you to have employee attention.

Mr. Chang stated that the minor exterior modifications include additional windows on the south side and another window on the north side of the door. Mr. O’Connor stated the windows will need to be shown on the elevation and gave permission for the architect to remove the sheet rock in the vacant store to determine the structure of the building.

Mr. O’Connor asked about deliveries. Mr. Chang stated that deliveries occur about once a month from a small minivan. They come during business hours, and pick the slowest time because employees unload the van.

Mr. Kehoe stated that the Board needs to review the elevation information and structural information. He asked about the number of employees at other stores. Mr. Chang stated that New Canaan has eight employees and Farmingdale has fifteen. Mr. Andrews pointed out that he counted 44 stations and asked if more employees may be brought in during peak hours. Mr. Chang stated that local employees will not be brought in, and transportation limits the number of employees to a maximum of fifteen, because of the size of the van.

Mr. Kehoe stated that the sign needs to go to the Visual Environment Board. The proposed business meets the requirements for parking. He suggested that they schedule a public hearing for next meeting.

Mr. Andrews requested that they bring pictures of the other stores. He also asked if village has any special requirements for nail salons. Mr. O’Connor stated that there are none.

4.      Approval of Minutes

The minutes of the Tuesday, September 12, 2006 Planning Board Meeting were approved on the motion of Mr. Luntz, seconded by Chairman Kehoe and carried by a vote of 4 to 0.

5.      Meeting Adjourment

There being no further business to come before the Board, the meeting was duly adjourned at 9:34 PM.


Emily Fannon