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Planning Board Minutes 2006 11-28

VILLAGE OF CROTON ON HUDSON, NEW YORK

PLANNING BOARD MEETING MINUTES – TUESDAY, NOVEMBER 28, 2006


A regular meeting of the Planning Board of the Village of Croton-on-Hudson, New York was held on Tuesday, November 28, 2006 in the Municipal Building.

MEMBERS PRESENT:                Chris Kehoe, Chairman
                                Fran Allen
                                Vincent Andrews
                                Robert Luntz
                                Deven Sharma
                                                                                        
                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.

2.  OLD BUSINESS:

a)  Croton Point DoneDeal, LLC – Croton Point Avenue (Sec. 79.13 Blk. 2 Lots 18, 19 & 20) – Request for a Third Extension of Site Plan Approval

Helen Collier Mauch of Zarin & Steinmetz, Attorneys at Law, was present to represent the Applicant.

Ms. Mauch reviewed the history of this application stating that the previous owner of the property, Kieran Murray, received site plan approval for a mixed-use building in April 2003.  In March 2006 the current owner of the property, DoneDeal, requested, and was granted, a four-month extension of the site plan approval to August 2006.  The Applicant requested, and was granted, a second extension to December 2006.  The Applicant is before the board tonight to request a third extension.  

Ms. Mauch noted that the Village and the County are in the process of negotiating an Inter-Municipal Agreement (IMA) whereby certain property would be conveyed from the County to the Village, including a right-of-way along the Applicant’s property.  The Applicant cannot move forward with their project until the IMA is fully executed.  Ms. Mauch said that it is her understanding, having spoken to the Village Engineer, that a four-month extension of the site plan approval would be adequate.      

The Village Engineer noted that, with respect to the DoneDeal application, the County DPW had set a policy whereby they were not going to allow parking in or near the County right-of-way.  It was because of the County’s policy regarding the right-of way that the Applicant had to come before the Planning Board last March to ask for a time extension.  The Village Engineer noted that, once the Village owns the roads, the County’s policy regarding the right-of-way would no longer apply.  

The Village Engineer reviewed for the board the status of the IMA negotiations between the County and the Village.  The Village Engineer said that the agreement with the County is that the Village would take over the County roads and, in return, the County would provide the monies for the Riverwalk Trail extension.  Chairman Kehoe questioned if the four-month extension, presently being requested, would be long enough. The Village Engineer told the board that the Village Manager wants to have the IMA signed within the next few weeks.  He (the Village Engineer) would think that a four-month extension would suffice; however, if the Planning Board were to grant a six-month extension, the extra two months would serve as a “cushion,” should it become necessary.  The Planning Board decided to grant the Applicant a six-month time extension.

Chairman Kehoe entertained a motion to grant a six-month extension to June 1, 2007.  The motion was made by Mr. Luntz, seconded by Mr. Andrews and carried by a vote of 4 to 0.  Mr. Sharma abstained.

b)  Fernando Duce – 1307 Albany Post Road (Sec. 67.14 Blk. 3 Lot 9) – Application for a Preliminary Subdivision Approval

Ralph G. Mastromonaco, P.E., P.C. was present.

Chairman Kehoe stated that this application was first on the agenda on August 22, 2006.  At the August 22nd meeting, the Planning Board and the Village Engineer talked briefly about the Applicant’s plans.  Chairman Kehoe noted that the Applicant’s plans have since been revised.  

Mr. Mastromonaco stated that, sometime after the August 22nd meeting, his firm received from the Village Engineer a list of items, which the Village Engineer wanted incorporated onto the Applicant’s plan(s).  The plans have been revised accordingly.   

Mr. Mastromonaco stated that the Applicant, Fernando Duce, would have to obtain a utility easement for his two-lot subdivision.  Ms. Allen asked Mr. Mastromonaco to explain the easement that is required.  Mr. Mastromonaco stated that Mr. Duce would like to connect his houses to the utilities on Arrowcrest Drive.  In order to do so, he would have to go through property belonging to the Arrowcrest Homeowners Association. Mr. Mastromonaco noted that there are other ways, but this method of connecting to the utilities would create the least amount of land disturbance.  Ms. Allen noted that the piece of land to which Mr. Mastromonaco is referring is open space owned by the Homeowners Association.   Mr. Mastromonaco said that if it were not possible to go through this land for the utilities, the Applicant would have to put the utilities on Albany Post Road.  The Village Engineer asked if, perhaps, the connections could be made through Mr. Duce’s adjacent piece of property, to which Mr. Mastromonaco thought that it might be possible.  He would look into it.  Mr. Mastromonaco noted that Mr. Duce has met with the Homeowners Association already.  It is his understanding from Mr. Duce that it would take some time to reach an agreement.

Chairman Kehoe said that there is an existing driveway that goes from the existing house on the property to NYS Route 9A (Albany Post Road).  He asked if this driveway would service both of the new lots being proposed.  Mr. Mastromonaco stated that, as it stands now, there is one access point off of Albany Post Road for the driveway(s).  The Applicant intends to use the old (existing) driveway for new Lot #2 and put in a new driveway, running parallel to Albany Post Road, for new Lot #1.  

Ms. Allen noted that there is an old driveway that is not being shown on the Applicant’s plan.  She referred to the area where she thought this old roadway (driveway) might be situated.  Ms. Allen told the other members that the old driveway would be apparent on the site walk.  Mr. Mastromonaco said that it (the driveway) might have been there at one time.  He does not know if it is still there today.   Mr. Luntz said that he believes the remnants of the old driveway can be seen on the plan in the adjustment of the contour lines.  Ms. Allen asked if, rather than putting in a new driveway to access Lot #1, this old driveway, which is toward the back of the property, could be used.  She was concerned about the trees that would have to be cut down to put in the new driveway along Albany Post Road.  Chairman Kehoe suggested that, when the Planning Board goes on their site visit, they could look at possible alternative driveway locations.

Mr. Andrews asked who was responsible for determining the condition(s) of the trees in the Tree Schedule.  He asked what qualifications that individual had to determine whether the tree was “good,” “bad” or “dead.” The Village Engineer said that he would think that either the Applicant’s surveyor or “someone from Ralph Mastromonaco’s office” identified the trees. Ms. Allen said that she would want the Village’s environmental consultant to verify the Applicant’s Tree Schedule.   Mr. Andrews said that the Planning Board would want it confirmed that a qualified individual prepared the tree survey.  The Village Engineer suggested to the board members that either the Village’s environmental consultant, Bruce Donohue, could go to the site first to verify the condition(s) of the trees or, in the alternative, the Planning Board could do their site visit first.  Mr. Mastromonaco said that he would like the Planning Board to do their site walk (visit) first.  Ms. Allen said that there is an advantage to having the trees properly identified beforehand.  It is useful for the Planning Board to know, while on the site visit, what they are looking at. The Village Engineer asked if there were tags on the trees, to which Mr. Mastromonaco said that there were.

Ms. Allen noted that the last time the Planning Board discussed the trees on the property, the Tree Schedule was incomplete.  There were some trees that were not on the schedule at all.  Mr. Mastromonaco told the board that these trees, which had been “cut off,” are now included in the tree survey.   The tag numbers now go up to tree #1212.  

The Planning Board discussed a possible date and time for the site visit.  The Village Engineer noted that, in the past, the Planning Board has oftentimes made their site visits on Saturday mornings.  He (the Village Engineer) would be available anytime this Saturday, December 2nd.  Ms. Allen said that perhaps Mr. Donohue could join the Planning Board on their site visit.  She (Ms. Allen) would like to have the Village’s environmental consultant become involved early on in the process. The Village Engineer noted that in order for Mr. Donohue to come to the site, there would have to be monies placed in escrow to cover his expenses.  Ms. Allen asked how long it would take for the monies to be put in escrow, to which Mr. Mastromonaco said that he did not think it would take that long.  The Village Engineer suggested that the site walk could be scheduled for this weekend as long as the escrow is received by the end of the week (Friday).  Mr. Mastromonaco said that he would arrange to have the monies in escrow by the end of the week.  Messrs. Andrews and Luntz both stated that they would have to check their schedules first before saying they could come on the site walk. They would email the others to let them know if they could come on Saturday.  The Planning Board scheduled the site visit for Saturday, December 2nd at 9:00 A.M.  

Mr. Mastromonaco said that the Applicant would put flags on the property to show the Planning Board where the roads (driveways) would be located.  They would also put ribbons around the trees to be cut down.

Ms. Allen said that she thinks the driveway entrance is dangerous where it currently exists.  She was concerned about the sight distance.  She wondered if the entrance could be moved to a different location.  Chairman Kehoe suggested that the Planning Board could look at alternatives for the driveway entrance when they go on their site visit.  Chairman Kehoe suggested that, perhaps, the driveway entrance could come off of Arrowcrest Drive.  The Village Engineer told the board members that it is his understanding from Mr. Duce that the Arrowcrest Homeowners Association would not agree to a driveway cut off of Arrowcrest Drive.  Ms. Allen thought that before drawing the conclusion that such a driveway cut could not be done, the idea should be further explored. The Village should take another look at the legal agreements/arrangements pertaining to the Arrowcrest Subdivision, Arrowcrest Road, etc.      

Mr. Mastromonaco told the board members that, for the tree survey, the Applicant identified the trees, which are eight inches in diameter and over.  

The Village Engineer said that he would contact Mr. Donohue about the site visit on Saturday.

The Village Engineer stated that the Applicant should provide to the Village $2,500 in escrow monies by the end of the week (Friday). Mr. Mastromonaco said that he would arrange with Mr. Duce to have the escrow monies provided.  

c)  Referral from the Village Board for a Special Permit to Open a Child Day Care Center at 75 South Riverside Avenue (Sec. 78.12 Blk. 3 Lot 1)

Raffaele Tarulli, engineer representing the Applicant, was present for this application.

Mr. Tarulli said that, for tonight’s meeting, he prepared the Full Environmental Assessment Form (EAF).  He also prepared a brief history of the property as it progressed during the 1990’s.  Mr. Tarulli stated that in January 1987 the Planning Board approved a site plan for a one-floor addition at ground level.  The second floor was already in existence by that time (1987).  Mr. Tarulli stated that in October 1995 the Planning Board approved a site plan for the alteration of retail/office space.  Between 1995 and 1997 there were some significant changes made to the second floor of the building.  Changes included the creation of office space(s), revision of steps and the addition of an elevator.  Mr. Tarulli noted that the arrangement of the offices on the second floor has not changed since then (1997).  

Mr. Tarulli noted to the board members that the 1995 site plan was approved with the condition that the work had to be completed within one year.  The Applicant applied for, and was granted, an extension to allow landscaping of the property to occur.  

Chairman Kehoe said that, as he understands it, the 1995 approval was for alterations to both the retail and office space(s) of the building.  The 1995 approval would, therefore, cover the first- and second-floors, to which Mr. Tarulli said that this is, indeed, the case.  Mr. Tarulli noted that from 1995 to 1997, there were changes made to the second-floor room arrangement.  The room arrangement has not changed since then.  

Mr. Andrews asked when the variance for the parking was granted, to which the Village Engineer replied that the variance for the 32 parking spaces was granted in the mid-1980’s.   Mr. Tarulli said that he thinks the parking variance was granted in 1987.             

Mr. Luntz noted that it was suggested at the last meeting that the Applicant should hire a traffic engineer to look at the parking situation.  Mr. Tarulli said that he has been in touch with a traffic engineer and has just received a proposal.  He (Mr. Tarulli) would be submitting this proposal to the prospective operators of the day care center.      

A discussion ensued regarding the parking situation on the property.  Ms. Allen noted that the parking variance granted in the 1980’s was significant.  She would be concerned that the 17 parking spaces required by the variance would be ample parking for the offices on the second floor and the new day care center facility.  Mr. Luntz said that he has observed the parking on the site for the last few weeks.  He only saw one car in the parking lot each time he passed by.  Ms. Allen said that whatever decision the Planning Board makes, the Planning Board could not assume that the situation with the parking is going to remain in its current state.  The use(s) of the building might change.  Chairman Kehoe noted that regardless of what happens at this site, only 17 parking spaces are required by the subject zoning variance.  The Village Engineer gave a brief history of the parking situation stating that in 1987 the Village Engineer at the time, Philip Tully, analyzed the parking.  He concluded that 49 spaces were required.  This analysis was presented to the Zoning Board of Appeals.  The ZBA made a decision to waive 32 parking spaces.  There are no conditions in the resolution of approval that specifies the use(s) of the building.  

The Village Engineer suggested that, in the Planning Board’s referral to the Village Board, the Planning Board could discuss the parking.  A brief history of the parking at the site could be provided.  The Planning Board should also note in their memorandum that on-street parking could be provided for the employees of the day care center.  The Village Engineer said that the Applicant’s traffic engineer should look at the parking situation on the site and make suggestions as to ways in which it could be improved.  Mr. Luntz said that the traffic engineer should give his/her professional opinion as to whether the traffic flow to and from the site would be “reasonable,” given this (the day care center) use.  Mr. Luntz said that he would think that the Planning Board should not give their recommendation to the Village Board without first knowing what the traffic engineer has to say about the parking.

Mr. Andrews stated that at the last meeting the Planning Board also discussed the parking for the proposed day care center on Albany Post Road.  It was his recollection from that meeting that, based on the analysis that was performed, 17 spaces was a relatively good number.

The Village Engineer recalled that at the last meeting it was suggested that the Applicant should look into the possibility of moving the retaining wall back slightly to provide more aisle width for a vehicle to back out.  

Chairman Kehoe asked if the Applicant should be showing on the site plan parking spaces reserved for the second-floor offices.  The Village Engineer said that if, by reserving these parking spaces, the traffic flow to and from the site could be improved, then they should be shown.

Chairman Kehoe noted that Mr. Tarulli has said that he is going to talk to the Applicant about the proposal received from the traffic consultant. Chairman Kehoe suggested that if the Applicant decides to hire this consultant the traffic study, once completed, should be forwarded to the Village Engineer for his review.

Ms. Allen said that, with respect to the 12 on-street parking spaces designated for the employees of the day care center, she would want to be sure that these 12 spaces “go with this particular application and not with the building.”  The Village Engineer noted that there is parking on the street now, but it is rarely used.  The Village Engineer pointed out that the Village could not keep people from parking along the street, but there could be a two-hour limit placed on the parking.  Mr. Luntz said that he thinks what Ms. Allen is saying is that, in so far as the on-street parking is concerned, any approval(s) should go with this particular use.  If the use were to change, then the approval(s) could be revoked. Ms. Allen said that, with respect to the parking on this site, she would want the next tenant of the building to have to go through the same (review) process.  The next use might require more parking than what this site can handle.  Ms. Allen said that she would not want the next tenant to think that these on-street parking spaces were automatically theirs.  

Chairman Kehoe asked what would happen if someone were to apply for a parking permit for one of the 12 spaces in front of the day care center, and this individual were not an employee of the day care center.  The Village Engineer said that he would think that the demand for parking in that area of the Village would be “localized.”  He did not anticipate that there would be a lot of people applying for permits to park in these spaces.  Mr. Sharma expressed concern about losing the 12 public parking spaces along the street.  By granting the special permit, the Village would be making a special concession to the 12 employees of the day care center, giving them permission to park there all day.  Chairman Kehoe noted that if the Planning Board is uncomfortable about giving the 12 spaces to the employees, then this should be duly noted in the recommendation back to the Village Board.

Mr. Luntz noted that, with respect to the on-street parking, the Village would be “bettering a situation” by striping these 12 parking spaces.

Mr. Sharma questioned what would happen if the parking pattern in that area of South Riverside Avenue were to change and, suddenly, these parking spaces were required on a “first-come, first-serve basis.” The 12 spots in front of the day care would always be filled by the employees.  Mr. Sharma stated that the “special concession” regarding the employee parking would have to go with this application only, otherwise, it would not work.   The Village Engineer noted to the board members that, if the use of the building were to change, then the Applicant would have to come back before the Planning Board for a change of use approval.  The Planning Board would re-visit the parking as part of their review.

Mr. Sharma questioned if the parking variance would still be valid if the use were to change.  He would want to know what the Village Attorney’s opinion would be regarding the variance, if there were a change in the use.  The Village Engineer said that the Village Attorney has rendered an opinion on the parking variance.  He said that the variance was not conditioned on a specific use.  His (the Village Attorney’s) opinion was that the variance runs with the property.  The use could “come and go” provided the required parking for the specific use does not exceed the number of parking spaces that were waived (32).  Chairman Kehoe noted that the Village Attorney’s opinion on this parking variance should be put in writing.    

The Village Engineer said that the Planning Board could recommend that the retaining wall be rebuilt.  The Village Engineer noted that it would be better for the maneuvering of vehicles in the parking lot if the wall could be pushed back four or five feet.

The Village Engineer said that Mr. Tarulli should look at the requirements for the handicap parking spaces.   The spaces need to be 8? feet wide.  There needs to be an 8-foot aisle between the spaces.

The Planning Board reviewed the Applicant’s Full Environmental Assessment Form (EAF).  Ms. Allen said that with respect to question #19 on page 5 of 21 of the EAF, “Is the site located in or substantially contiguous to a Critical Environmental Area…,” she thinks that the area in question is in a Critical Environmental Area.  The Village Engineer said that he was of the opinion that this was not so, but he would check into it.

Chairman Kehoe told Mr. Tarulli that the Applicant could come back before the Planning Board on Tuesday, December 12th, if the Applicant has the report from the traffic engineer by then.  Mr. Tarulli said that he would let the Planning Board know.

3.  OTHER BUSINESS:

-  Hudson View Subdivision – Prospect Place & Old Post Road North (Sec. 67.20 Blk. 4 Lot 19) – Discussion of Field Changes by Village Engineer

The Village Engineer referred the Planning Board to the plans prepared by Cronin Engineering showing the field changes for the Hudson View Subdivision.  

The Village Engineer noted that the Planning Board has already approved the minor site plan application for the house on Lot #3.  The construction of the house has begun.  The foundation is in.  The contractor is starting the framing.  

The Village Engineer went over the field changes that have taken place.  He told the board that, with respect to the drainage, a rip rap swale had originally been proposed.  It would have been necessary to disturb an 18-foot wide swath of land for the swale.  The DPW had expressed their concern to him that there would be issues with the homeowners regarding the upkeep and maintenance of the swale. Finally, more trees would have to be disturbed.  The Village Engineer stated that the drainage system on the property was changed from an 18-foot wide swale to a 30-inch pipe.  The 30-inch pipe could handle a 100-year storm.  The pipe would be easier for the Village to maintain.  There would be no erosion.  The Village Engineer stated that the pipe and the manholes have been ordered.  Construction would take place late this week or early next week.  The pipe is being located on the property in such a way as to avoid as many trees as possible.  

The Village Engineer noted to the board members that the easement for the drainage was drawn around the pipe.  The pipe would be located in the center of the easement.  The easement has been shifted somewhat.  Chairman Kehoe asked if the drainage easement was located totally on Lot #2, to which the Village Engineer replied that most of it is on Lot #2, however, a portion of it is located on the top corner of Lot #3.

The Village Engineer explained to the board members the field change regarding the relocation of the discharge pipe for the new detention pond.  The Village Engineer stated that Hilmar Fenger, the owner of the Hudson View Subdivision, also purchased the property next door, formerly owned by Anthony DeSantis.  When Mr. DeSantis owned the property, he required that the drainage easement be located along the rear property line, so the discharge pipe had to be situated all the way to the rear of the property, past the island and then back into the existing pond.  The Village Engineer had not wanted the pipe in that location because of the greater number of trees that would have to be removed.  The original plan, to which Mr. DeSantis would not agree, was to have the discharge pipe go through the center of the property.  

The Village Engineer stated that Mr. Fenger looked into the engineering aspects of the pipe design and decided that “the shortest solution would be the straight solution.” The relocation of the pipe would also be more desirable to him from an economic standpoint.  

The Village Engineer noted that relocating the pipe allows a whole section of trees on the property to be saved.  Furthermore, the new location of the outlet would be farther away from the island and more toward the open part of the pond.  There would be no erosion.

The Village Engineer told the board members that there would be an easement granted to the Village around the new detention pond.  The Village Engineer recalled to the board the discussion that took place at the time the subdivision was approved about the fencing around the detention pond. The Planning Board had decided to go with a “three-foot tall split rail fence, hedge or other fencing as permitted by the Village.”  The Planning Board had concluded that the detention pond should be constructed first to see what it would look like. Then, a more informed decision could be made on what to use for the fencing.  The Village Engineer noted that there might be more maintenance with a split rail fence.  He suggested, as a possible alternative, installing a chain-link fence and then putting landscaping around it.  Chairman Kehoe said that if the solution were not going to be a split rail fence, then he would want this matter regarding the type of fencing to come back before the Planning Board.  Ms. Allen agreed.  She added that, generally speaking, the Planning Board should be “in the loop” on these decisions.

The Village Engineer noted that the current property owner, Mr. Fenger, is keeping some of the drainage system that exists, e.g., the catch basin and manhole.

The Village Engineer described the last major field change that has occurred.  He noted to the board that when Mr. DeSantis owned the property next door, he would not give the Village access to the detention pond over his driveway.  The new owner, Mr. Fenger, has agreed to grant the Village right-of-way over the driveway.  The Village will now have access to both sides of the pond.  The Village Engineer noted that this field change regarding Village access to the pond allows a grouping of trees to be saved.  The Village Engineer stated that the pond would be built roughly as shown on the plan(s).  There was a requirement to have a gravel access road to the pond.  Such an access road would be installed for maintenance purposes.

Chairman Kehoe stated that the Applicant has been before the Planning Board for a minor site plan approval for the house on Lot #3.  The Applicant has not yet been before the board for the houses on Lots #1 and #2. Chairman Kehoe expressed his concern that the trees on the entire (subdivision) site have already been cleared.  He (Chairman Kehoe) could understand from the developer’s perspective the reasoning behind clearing the trees all at once.  However, for the Planning Board it could be considered premature to cut down all the trees when the board has not yet reviewed the two remaining minor site plan applications.  Chairman Kehoe noted that the Planning Board spends a great deal of time on the review of individual lots.  The Village Engineer suggested that, in the future, it (the clearing of the trees) could be done in phases rather than all at once.

The Village Engineer explained why the trees were cut down.  He said that it has always been known that fill had to be stored someplace on the property.  The trees were cut down on Lot #1 to provide an area on the property to put the fill.  The Village Engineer noted that some of the better trees on Lot #1 were saved.  From the very beginning, there were not a lot of trees on Lot #2 that were going to be saved.  

The Village Engineer told the board members that after construction started an issue came up regarding the sewer easement.  He (the Village Engineer) told the Applicant not to change the sewer easement because it is “up in the air” at this point where they (the Applicant) are going to connect to the sewer line.  The Village Engineer noted that the developer wants the retaining wall to be an aesthetic (“visual”) aspect of the property, so the Applicant is working on a way to install the sewer line to avoid having a negative impact on the wall.

The Village Engineer said that the Village has an opportunity to work with this developer to put in a gravity flow sewer-line system.  The gravity line would eliminate a number of pump stations. The Village Engineer noted that in order for this change to take place, there would have to be agreements reached with the neighboring property owners.     

Ms. Allen stated that she noticed on the “new” map that the proposed limits of disturbance have been lost.  The Village Engineer said that they just were not shown.  These plans were created to show the field changes, so not everything is necessarily being shown on these plans.  Ms. Allen said that she would like to have the limits of disturbance shown on these plans.  

Ms. Allen said that she has been working on a list of practices/procedures in the Planning Board’s review process that she believes the Planning Board might want changed. For example, one change should be that the Village’s environmental consultant becomes involved with projects much earlier on in the Planning Board’s review.  The Planning Board needs to have the trees on properties properly identified.  Ms. Allen said that she has been looking at tree laws in other municipalities.  She believes that “We [the Village] are not handling things the way we should.”

The Village Engineer updated the Planning Board on the curb being installed for drainage purposes on Old Post Road North.  He said that one section is being poured tomorrow (Wednesday), and the other section is being poured on Friday.

4.         ADJOURNMENT:

There being no further business to come before the Board, the meeting was duly adjourned at 9:50 P.M.

Sincerely,



Sylvia Mills,
SECRETARY