Planning Board Minutes 04/24/07


A regular meeting of the Planning Board of the Village of Croton-on-Hudson, New York was held on Tuesday, April 24, 2007 in the Municipal Building.

        MEMBERS PRESENT:        Chris Kehoe, Chair
                                        Vincent Andrews
                                        Deven Sharma
                                        Robert Luntz
Absent:         Fran Allen

                Also Present:   Village Engineer Dan O’Connor

1.      Call to Order:

The meeting was called to order at 8:10 P.M. by Chairman Kehoe

2.      Old Business:

a)      Brian Ackerman/John Harbeson/Lael Morgan, Batten Road (Sec. 68.17 Blk. 2, Lots 7, 8.1 & 9) – Application for Preliminary Subdivision Approval.

Ronald Wegner and Norman Sheer, representing the applicants, discussed the sewer easement and showed changes to plans; they went to the field and mapped out a route for the proposed easement which is now cut inland uphill of the proposed lot, across to Valley Trail; they also looked at the potential for drainage at 2 locations, one in front of the proposed house and another at the bottom of the driveway where they can put a dry well.  The site distance leaving the driveway will have some minor grading and clearing.  Chris Kehoe stated that one other issue had to do with a process question and they asked advice of counsel; Village Attorney Staudt replied on 4/24/07 with the opinion that the current process was permissible under the Village Code. Vincent Andrews stated that Village Attorney Staudt’s letter was for the Planning Board and perhaps should not be publicly shared; he suggested the matter be tabled until further consultation with the Village Attorney. The decision was that the letter should not be read in its entirety, but the opinion expressed in the letter was reiterated.  Chris Kehoe referred to the question of a trail easement. Mr. Wegner replied that his clients may grant a trail easement, but the current placement would be in the worst possible place.  Robert Luntz asked if there was another alternate route. They have walked it and found no other suitable location; it is a very difficult terrain.  Dan O’Connor added that the property is very steep.  Mr. Sharma stated that there was an email that the easement would be along the drainage line and did they try to relocate the easement.  Mr. Kehoe said that the easement would be a legal agreement with the Village to provide for future construction of a trail to exist; there is a map or discussion since 1993 that there would be a connection there.  Mr. Wegner replied that future wishes for trails were just drawn on a map and were not necessarily looking at the lot; this lot was initially on the market for 5 houses and a builder may have gotten 2 or 3; if the easement is run across the driveway, there is the potential of hikers to climb the wall and look into windows.  Mr. Sharma asked that they do diligence to relocate the house.  Mr. Andrews added that the new property lines now dictate only one location for the house.  Mr. Sheer replied that less slope disturbance the better.  Mr. Andrews stated that a trail location down the side of the driveway is akin to having a sidewalk along side the house; how would you say this would be a major disturbance?  The applicant replied that it is about 35 feet from the house and no other house on Batten Road has a trail that close.  Mr. Sharma suggested that the contours on the map are hypothetical and to put the driveway on the other side of the house which would leave that area undisturbed.  Mr. Sheer replied that this would put the driveway 20 feet deeper. Ron Wegner replied that they can take a look at moving the driveway to the other side of the house and see how this would affect steep slopes disturbance.  Dan O’Connor stated that the Trails Committee is looking for a 4 or 5 ft. wide trail; the trail easement would be adjacent to the property line with the top to vary a little; the retaining wall may need to be extended down; at a future time they could do what they want to do with the driveway.  Mr. Wegner stated that the trail could be a problem and they may need “no parking” and/or “no parking – car will be towed” signs erected; the reply was that this would not be a problem.  Mr. Kehoe stated that since they have been here 4 or 5 times, perhaps the content can be handled through the waiver process; the Planning Board could make a recommendation to the Village Board to make a waiver subject to a trail easement.  Mr. O’Connor suggested that additional site planning not be done before the Village Board; this is a Planning Board issue.  Mr. Sharma asked if there are trail standards.  Dan O’Connor stated that if it means compromising, they would rather have the trail closer to a house. It was suggested that this be held over to the next Planning Board meeting on May 8th.  Dan O’Connor added that an issue is at the very top – it may have to go outside the sewer easement; he will have Jan Wines look at the area. It was noted that there is a proposed sewer easement across the Harbeson property; the easement is there because of a group of large trees and is within a triangular portion of the property.

Other discussion: the applicant has a right to go to the Village Board to ask for a waiver for “X” amount of subdivision items.  One house could be built there anyway; waiver is specific to the subdivision of the property.  Mr. Sheer is concerned about the privacy, but it is the board’s job to protect the privacy of the other residents also.  This is not a lot that has been subdivided by the board, but was done by the applicants. There are three lots there now and the end of the process there will be three lots; what subdivision line should be done differently?  Mr. Kehoe stated that the Planning Board can make a recommendation to the Village Board to grant or not grant a waiver.  Mr. Szoboszlai stated that four meetings is no longer a discussion; Mr. Staudt’s letter was not read, but handed back and a statement was made; he made a formal request to see the memo. Mr. Szoboszlai added that Mr. Sheer has seen the letter and has had conversations with the attorney about this.  Village Engineer O’Connor replied that the memo from Attorney Staudt stated that the process by the Planning Board is proper.  Another resident stated that he would like a FOIL of this also.  Dan O’Connor replied that they will have an answer tomorrow if it is FOIL’ed.   Mr. Szoboszlai stated that regarding the trail easement and the objections on the basis of privacy; he feels that they are focusing on their own concerns and he would be concerned having a driveway at bedroom level 30 ft. from his house.  Tom Szoboszlai stated that the site plan approval at a later date will deal just with this lot and they cannot change property lines at that time.  Mr. Sharma asked what other implications of this waiver are.  Mr. O’Connor replied that the property lines are altered and the Village Board can waive the subdivision process with conditions that it can be done by lot line alteration; the three lots need to go through a subdivision process unless it is waived.  Mr. Luntz stated that the Village gains by this change as the equal division of these lots means less development.  Mr. Szoboszlai replied that the only person to benefit from this is Mr. Harbeson.   A resident requested that a public hearing be held.  Mr. Kehoe replied that there wouldn’t be a public hearing.  Mr. Luntz added that when it comes before the Village Board, residents would have a chance to speak.  Mr. Trendell added that there also is a water issue.  Mr. O’Connor replied that the Village is preparing storm water proposal for Batten Rd.

b)      Croton View Properties LLC – 40-50 Maple Street (Sec. 79.09 Blk. 1 Lot 30) – Application for a Sign Permit for Floris Nail & Spa

Jin Kim stated that she did not attend the VEB meeting when they discussed the sign as requested and she is waiting for comments from some who did attend the meeting.  Mr. Sharma stated that he has no problem with the sign as proposed.  Mr. Kehoe suggested approving the sign subject to VEB comments; if VEB required something to be changed and the applicant has an objection to this change, then it would come back to the Planning Board; the applicant should get the letter in the next few days.  Mr. Luntz made a motion to approve subject to gross VEB objections; the motion was seconded by Mr. Sharma.  Vote was taken with all in favor.  

        3.   New Business:

·       Bell Property, 175 Old Post Road North (Sec. 67.15 Blk. 1 Lots 8 & 8.01) – Application for a Preliminary Subdivision Approval – Preliminary Discussion

Ronald Wegner, Craig Baumgartner and Kevin Kay: this is an 18.7 acre parcel owned by Bell Family Trust; a large parcel goes to Hudson National with a little finger that comes to N. Riverside; they would like to keep one residence and one other rebuilt; proposed is for six residences; there is a shortage in frontage for lots 2 , 4, 5 and 6; the frontage on N. Riverside Ave. has adequate minimum frontage; however, they will be lacking access for fire/emergency equipment; is a steep site and driveways to existing residences are steep; to meet town roads standards they would have to make incredible cuts; they would like to minimize disturbances to the site; it is technically possible to go the conventional route for a subdivision, but difficult. Mr. Baumgartner did drive up the alternate area, but it is just as steep and there is an existing house at the end of road.  Mr. Kehoe stated that they would still need a variance for access by emergency vehicles.  Mr. Baumgartner replied that just 1/10th of a foot plus access variance is needed.  Mr. Wegner stated that Finney Farm Rd. is a private road and does have frontage; they discussed possibility to get this dedicated and upgrade water and sewer; they would have to negotiate with the Golf Course.  Mr. Luntz asked if connecting at the turn would alleviate steep slope issues.  Mr. Wegner replied that it would reduce variances needed.  Mr. Baumgartner added that the water course running next to property would require a lot of disturbance.  Mr. O’Connor stated that Fran Allen believes a piece of Finney Farm was sold to Doscal and he is trying to get information from owners.  Mr. O’Connor suggested perhaps purchasing land from Harris where the narrow point is and extending the road to all the properties.  Mr. Wegner replied that they may still have issue with grades.  Mr. Luntz said that it appears to be a convoluted way of accessing the area.  Mr. O’Connor suggested that some land from Bolton also, along with the Harris land, would be a combination of the two; it would also need a 50 ft. right of way for a public road.  Mr. Wegner replied that they can look at this; and asked if there were any other thoughts on Finney Farm Road potential?  Mr. O’Connor answered that Finney Farm Rd. is a private road; if the bottom portion could be turned into a Village street, that would give the applicant 3 lots frontage that would meet zoning code standards; the benefit is that it takes a private road and brings it up to Village Code standards; plus utilities need to be looked at.  Mr. Kehoe asked when does environmental work need to be done which will be an important component and impacts a possible connection. Mr. O’Connor replied that the ZBA needs to act on potential variances; the Planning Board can make a recommendation; applicant needs to decide what they want to do to a point where variances will be needed; there are watercourse issues plus seasonal streams; the Village Board is working on a new wetland law which is waiting to be implemented along with storm water regulations so all buffers should be shown and how many months it flows.  Mr. Kehoe asked to get to Finney Farm Road, would something need to be constructed?  Mr. Wegner replied yes.  Mr. Kay added that crossing the water course does not need to be; there are still issues with access; they could continue access from existing road but maintain benefits to Finney Farm is far less disturbance.  Mr. O’Connor stated that most important are environmental constraints, steep slopes, sewer easement from Hudson Nat’l Golf Course which is not shown on the map, and utilities.  Mr. Wegner stated that they will explore three different options for access, environmental concerns and grades.  Mr. Kay stated that he wants guidance from the Planning Board to get these things ironed out first before the formal process begins.  Mr. O’Connor added that they must also show the existing house.

4.       Approval of Minutes:

The minutes of the March 27, 2007 Planning Board minutes were approved as corrected on a motion by Mr. Sharma seconded by Mr. Andrews and carried by a vote – all in favor.

5.      Adjournment:

There being no further business to come before the Board, the meeting was duly adjourned at 10:05 P.M. Motion by Vincent Andrews; 2nd by Deven Sharma – approved unanimously.


Phyllis A. Bradbury
Interim Secretary