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Planning Board Minutes 05/22/07


VILLAGE OF CROTON ON HUDSON, NEW YORK

PLANNING BOARD MEETING MINUTES – TUESDAY, MAY 22, 2007


A regular meeting of the Planning Board of the Village of Croton-on-Hudson, New York was held on Tuesday, May 22, 2007 in the Municipal Building.


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

2.  NEW 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

Kebra Rhedrick, attorney with Zarin & Steinmetz, was present to represent the Applicant.

Ms. Rhedrick noted to the board members that the last (second) extension granted to her client, DoneDeal, would run out on June 1st of this year.  She is before the board tonight to request a third, and final, extension of the site plan approval.  

Ms. Rhedrick stated that, since the last meeting on this application, the Village and the County have finalized the intermunicipal agreement (IMA) regarding Village ownership of roads formerly owned by the County. Also, since the last meeting, a draft easement agreement between DoneDeal and the Village regarding water mains has been submitted to the Village Attorney.  DoneDeal is waiting for this agreement to be finalized.  Once the agreement has been signed, DoneDeal would be in a position to apply for a building permit for the previously approved mixed-use building.  Ms. Rhedrick stated that her client, DoneDeal, is asking for a six-month extension, to December 1st, 2007, for the completion of the aforementioned easement agreement.

The Village Engineer noted to the board members that the IMA with the County was a lengthy process. Now that the Village owns the road (Croton Point Avenue), the Village is in a position to negotiate with DoneDeal regarding parking in the Village right-of-way.  When the County owned the road, they (the County) would not allow parking in the right-of-way. The Village Engineer stated that the Village could negotiate an agreement with DoneDeal whereby the Village would give DoneDeal a licensed area for a small segment of the parking lot.   

Chairman Kehoe noted to those present that when the site plan approval for the mixed-use building was granted, Fran Allen was the only current member of the Planning Board who was on the board at that time.  

The Village Engineer explained to the Planning Board members that the three-family residential structure on Lot #18 would remain. The new mixed-use building would be built next to this three-family residence.  

The Village Engineer stated that the Village would be issuing one tax identification number for the consolidated lots (Lots 18, 19 & 20).  

The Village Engineer noted that there are actually two easement agreements, which would need to be finalized, for the Applicant to move forward with their project. The first is an easement for the parking area and the second is a water main easement.  After these agreements are signed, it is simply a matter of the developer, DoneDeal, moving ahead with the building permit application in accordance with the Planning Board’s site plan approval.

Mr. Sharma asked if, at the public hearing(s), there was any public reaction to this application.  Ms. Allen recalled that there were concerns expressed by neighbors about garbage and access to the site.  A discussion also took place at the time about putting in some landscaping between the Applicant’s property and the adjacent Exxon Station.  Ms. Allen noted that the main concern with this application had to do with this matter of the parking.  Ms. Allen said that the issues with the neighbors were eventually “worked out.”  She recalled that the Applicant’s neighbors on Wayne Street were satisfied that this project would not increase the traffic on their street.  Ms. Allen stated that she would think that this project would be “set to go,” assuming that the current owner of the property, DoneDeal, were not to make any changes to the previously approved site plan.

Ms. Allen said that she noticed that there was a “For Sale” sign posted on the existing three-family residence.  Ms. Rhedrick said that, to her knowledge, the building is not up for sale.  It is her (Ms. Rhedrick’s) understanding that her client, DoneDeal, intends to go through with this project.

Chairman Kehoe asked if there were any other comments on this application, to which there were none.  

Chairman Kehoe entertained a motion to grant a six-month extension of the site plan approval, to December 1st, 2007.  The motion was made by Mr. Luntz, seconded by Mr. Andrews and carried by a vote of 5 to 0.

b)  Simone Development Co. – 420 South Riverside Avenue (Sec. 79.17 Blk. 2 Lot 1) – Application for a Change of Use from a Movie Rental Store to a Bank

Paul Clarke, Facilities Manager with Union State Bank, was present.

Mr. Clarke stated that Union State Bank has entered into a lease agreement with Simone Development to rent the space in the Shop Rite Shopping Center, which was formerly occupied by a movie rental store.  This change of use requires approval of the Planning Board.  Mr. Clarke stated that changes to the interior space are being proposed. There would be no alterations to the exterior of the building other than the signage for the bank.  The project does not include a drive-up window.       

Chairman Kehoe asked if the parking spaces required for a bank would be the same as for the movie rental store, to which the Village Engineer said, “Yes.”  The Village Engineer noted that if it were a restaurant, there would be extra spaces required; but no additional parking is required for a change of use from a retail store to a bank.

Ms. Allen said that, as part of the Planning Board’s review of this application, she would think that it might be useful to take a look at the parking situation.  She noted that it is oftentimes busy and crowded early in the morning at the New York Sports Club parking lot. She questioned what the impact(s) of the parking would be. Mr. Luntz said that he goes to the New York Sports Club early in the morning.  He did not think that the bank operation would have an effect on the parking for the club during the early morning hours.   

Ms. Allen referred to the Applicant’s letter to the Planning Board dated May 16, 2007.  She noted that, as the Applicant stated in their letter, there would be 7 employees for the bank.  The estimated number of customers for the bank would be 10 per hour.  Ms. Allen raised the issue of employee parking.  She questioned whether employees of the bank should be required to park in an area of the parking lot that is not part of the “main” area.  Mr. Luntz asked if there was designated parking for employees of the shopping center, to which the Village Engineer said that he did not know.  He would look into this matter. The Village Engineer said that he has observed that the back parking lot tends to be underutilized.  Mr. Sharma said that he thinks it would make sense a have a designated parking area for employees in the back.  Mr. Clarke told the board members that it is customary for the Union State Bank not to allow their employees to park in the front of the bank facility.

Chairman Kehoe asked if this requirement about employee parking would take Village Board action. He questioned if this matter of the parking would take the form of a suggestion to the owner of the shopping center or if it could be mandated by the Village. The Village Engineer suggested to the board that the Planning Board could put a condition in their resolution of approval regarding the parking. Then, it would be up to the Village to enforce the Planning Board’s condition.   

Chairman Kehoe referred to the Applicant’s proposal for signage.  He asked if the 24-hour ATM sign were “representative” of the signage being proposed.  He thought the sign was somewhat large.  Ms. Allen asked if the sign would be illuminated, to which Mr. Clarke said that it would be.  Mr. Sharma agreed with Chairman Kehoe that the sign seemed quite large.  Ms. Allen thought that the sign would probably be visible from South Riverside Avenue.  Mr. Devon pointed out that for the established patrons of this bank, the sign would not have to be so large.  The Village Engineer noted to the board members that the Advisory Board on the Visual Environment (VEB) would have to review the sign application.  Mr. Luntz suggested that the Planning Board could approve this application subject to the VEB’s approval of the sign.  

Chairman Kehoe suggested that the Planning Board could schedule the public hearing on this application for the first meeting in June (Tuesday, June 12th).  The next regularly scheduled VEB meeting would be held on Wednesday, June 20th.  Chairman Kehoe reiterated what Mr. Luntz had suggested earlier that the Planning Board could approve this application subject to VEB review of the signage.

Chairman Kehoe noted that the owner of the shopping center should be contacted regarding the Planning Board’s concerns about employee parking.  He suggested that the Village Engineer could (also) speak to the Sports Club operators to find out if employee parking in the back would interfere with the club’s customer parking. Ms. Allen suggested that the Village should write a letter to the property owner regarding the requirement for designated employee parking that the Planning Board wants to put into effect.  The Planning Board would want to know if it would be acceptable to them (the property owner), should it become a condition of the Planning Board’s approval.

The Planning Board scheduled the public hearing on this application for Tuesday, June 12th.   

c)  Discussion of Proposed “Stormwater Management and Erosion and Sediment Control” Law

The Village Engineer stated that the Village Board is proposing to amend the Village Code by adding a new chapter (Chapter 196) entitled “Stormwater Management and Erosion and Sediment Control.”  

The Village Engineer provided to those present some background information regarding the new stormwater law.  Stormwater control(s) began at the federal level under the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).  The regulations for stormwater are now to the point where state environmental agencies are regulating stormwater systems.  The state regulatory agency in New York is the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC).  

The Village Engineer stated that the Village applied to the DEC four years ago for coverage under a general State Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (SPDES) permit for stormwater.  The Village is covered under the SPDES permit.  The Village Engineer noted that the state stormwater law requires public education as to proper stormwater control(s).  The state law also requires that municipalities adopt their own local stormwater regulations.    

The Village Engineer told those present that the state has developed model stormwater laws for use by municipalities.  The principal aspects of the new local law deal with erosion and sedimentation control and water quantity and quality management.  

The Village Engineer stated that, for the most part, the Village is following the state model law but has made some changes. In the Village’s new stormwater law, the land disturbance threshold has been reduced from one acre to 5,000 square feet.  Applicants have to provide erosion and sedimentation control plans for the land disturbed.  If the land disturbed were more than one acre, then an applicant would be asked to include on their plan(s) a proposal for a water quality improvement system.  The Village Engineer noted that the state's model law only included the water quality improvement requirement when the land disturbed was more than five acres.  The Village Engineer said that the state allows municipalities to deviate from the state model. If a municipality were to decide to make changes to the state’s model law, the municipality would be required to provide back-up data.     

Chairman Kehoe asked the Village Engineer if applicants are required, under the present law, to calculate the amount of land being disturbed by the project, to which the Village Engineer stated that under the current law applicants are required to provide erosion and sedimentation control plans.  The “quantity” aspect of land being disturbed is not precisely stated in the Village’s current regulations.

Charles Trendell of 39 Batten Road was present.  Mr. Trendell asked the Village Engineer to explain how the amount of water allowed to run off of properties is measured or determined. The Village Engineer told Mr. Trendell that there are standardized formulas and/or calculations used by professionals in the field.  There are different criteria for alleviating the amount of water runoff, such as the type of ground cover used.

Mr. Trendell asked if the stormwater law is brand new. The Village Engineer said that there are, currently, regulations on stormwater in the Village Code.  The Village is amending the code to include this new chapter on stormwater. The state has mandated that local governments enact their own stormwater laws.  The local stormwater legislation must be adopted by January of next year.

Chairman Kehoe noted that by reducing the amount of land disturbance from one acre to 5,000 square feet the Village, with the enactment of the new stormwater law, would be in a better position to “catch more of the development activity that goes on in the Village.”

Chairman Kehoe referred to Sec. 196-7 entitled “Stormwater management and erosion and sediment control for minor land disturbance activities.”  He noted that this section of the new law would involve a substantially reduced amount of land disturbance i.e., 400 square feet.  The Village Engineer gave as an example of a minor land disturbance activity a homeowner doing an addition to his/her house. The Village would not want this activity to be exempt from the law but would want to simplify the approval process.  The Village Engineer said that an erosion and sedimentation control plan would still be required as well as a simplified water quality management system, such as a seepage pit. This type of minor activity would, more than likely, just require the approval of the Village Engineer.  

The Village Engineer gave an example of mitigation that would be required under the new stormwater law. In the past, a homeowner could build a patio, walkway or other type of impervious surface on his/her property without any means to mitigate the additional stormwater runoff. The new law would require some form of mitigation, such as the installation of a dry well.  Mr. Sharma noted that, after awhile, a dry well does not function well unless it is properly maintained.  The Village Engineer stated that if a homeowner installs a dry well, a basic requirement is that the homeowner is responsible for maintaining it.  Chairman Kehoe referred to Sec. 196-9 pertaining to the maintenance of stormwater facilities.  He asked the Village Engineer if the new stormwater law would require a corrective maintenance program from a homeowner, as described in this section.  The Village Engineer said that parts of Sec. 196-9 would not be relevant to homeowners but would pertain to commercial establishments.  A homeowner, for example, would not be required to provide “written procedures for operation and maintenance and training new maintenance personnel” [D(2)].  Instead, a note would be placed on the homeowner’s plan(s) saying words to the effect that “once a year, [you must] check your dry well to make sure it is draining.” For commercial facilities, the Village might decide to have the applicant(s) provide an annual report to the Village specifying a preventive stormwater maintenance program.   

The Village Engineer noted that, under the new law, the Village Engineer’s office would act as “Stormwater Management Officer.”

The Village Engineer noted that the new law consists of two articles: Article I “Stormwater Management and Erosion and Sediment Control” and Article II “Illegal Discharges and Illicit Connections to Separate Storm Sewer System.”  The Village Engineer stated that the latter article (Article II) prohibits illegal connections to the Village’s storm sewer system and gives the Village authority to establish the necessary monitoring, surveillance and inspection procedures.

Ms. Allen expressed concern about the Village’s monitoring of the water at the Hudson National Golf Course.  She noted that when the golf course was approved, the Planning Board was very specific, in their resolution of approval, about water monitoring.  It was a condition of the approval that the water quality basins would have to be looked at every year for several years.  There was an expectation by the Planning Board that these water basins would be rebuilt every five to seven years.  The maintenance of these water basins was supposed to be in perpetuity.  Ms. Allen asked if there was a way of making a provision in the law that would require the continued monitoring and maintenance of the water quality basins at the golf course facility.  The Village Engineer told the board members that he performed an inspection of the water basins at the golf course in 2006.  If the water basins required maintenance, the golf course would be asked to do the work.  The Village Engineer noted that if the basins were not draining properly, the reason would probably be that they were plugged up with debris of some sort.  He told the board members that one item of concern to him at the golf course last year was the clogging of a riprap swale. The function of the riprap swale is to discharge the water to the water quality basin.  The maintenance crew at the golf course had been blowing leaves off the course and into the riprap swale.  The swale got clogged with the leaves, and instead of the water discharging into the basin, the water overtopped the swale.  Ms. Allen asked if logbooks were being kept on the maintenance of these water quality basins at the golf course.  The Village Engineer said that, although inspections were done, he has not been keeping logbooks.  Mr. Luntz said that he thought Ms. Allen was suggesting that the golf course should keep the logbooks, to which Ms. Allen said that this is, indeed, the case.  The Village Engineer suggested that the committee working on the stormwater law could add language regarding continued maintenance of existing storm drain systems.  The law could state that existing storm drains must be properly maintained.  He (the Village Engineer) thought that the language should be more generic in tone (not “singling out” the golf course).  Ms. Allen suggested that this issue of compliance of existing storm drain systems should be brought up with Dvirka & Bartilucci, the Village’s stormwater consultants.

The Village Engineer told those present that there would be a group meeting on the proposed stormwater law on Thursday, May 31st. All interested Village boards, such as the Planning Board and Water Control Commission, would participate at the group meeting.  The public hearing on the proposed law would be scheduled for some time in June.

Mr. Trendell asked if there would be a public hearing on the Ackerman/Harbeson/Morgan property on Batten Road.  Chairman Kehoe explained to Mr. Trendell that a public hearing before the Planning Board might not be required.  It would depend on the type of application.  A public hearing would only be required if this application were considered a “full-blown” subdivision.  If this application were only to involve an adjustment of lot lines, it would not be required.  Chairman Kehoe noted to Mr. Trendell that this Applicant is seeking a waiver from the subdivision requirement(s) from the Village Board.   

Tom Szoboszlai of 1 Eklof Court was present.  Mr. Szoboszlai wanted to know to what degree the new stormwater law would impact the Village’s stormwater project for Batten Road.  Would the new law govern how this project could be carried out?  Chairman Kehoe thought that this was a good question.  Chairman Kehoe asked the Village Engineer if, for example, the Village would have to do quality improvements prior to discharging the water downstream.  The Village Engineer said that the Village would be putting in a municipal storm drain system to handle the floodwaters coming downstream and to the creek.  More and more water has been running down to the creek and down Batten Road.  The storm drain system on Batten Road is to alleviate flooding and lessen the water quality impact(s).  The Village Engineer noted that he would be reviewing Dvirka & Bartilucci’s plans for the project.  Once the plans have been reviewed, the residents of Batten Road would be invited to a meeting with Dvirka & Bartilucci and himself to discuss this project.

Audrey Dinkler of 50 Batten Road showed the board members photographs of damage to her house caused by flooding. She was concerned about the flooding on Batten Road and asked about the upcoming capital project for drainage improvements.  She would want to be certain that the drainage system (pipes) being installed could handle the floodwater.  The Village Engineer told Ms. Dinkler that the drainage pipes come in standard sizes.  The Village knows that flooding is an issue on Batten Road.  The Village could look into upsizing the pipes, if it were deemed to be necessary.  The Village Engineer noted that this matter regarding the size of the pipes would be looked at during the design phase.  The Village Engineer explained to those present the direction he gave to Dvirka & Bartilucci regarding the storm drain system.  Instead of putting in an extra pipe under the driveway(s), he suggested putting a structure where the stream crosses Batten Road.  The water would flow into this structure and then discharge into the channel that flows to Route 129.    

The Village Engineer noted that the public meeting on the Batten Road drainage project might take place this summer.  Then, if everything goes according to plan, the actual construction could take place in the fall.

Elvita Rhodes, a member of the Village’s Water Control Commission, was present.  Ms. Rhodes stressed the importance of public education in the management of stormwater.  Ms. Rhodes noted that stormwater management is not a new concept; however, the mechanisms for managing stormwater have improved a great deal over the years.  She gave, as an example, dry wells, which are of a much better quality than those constructed a hundred years (or so) ago.  Ms. Rhodes said that the whole Village could be considered a watershed. She noted that in their stormwater study, Dvirka & Bartilucci identified and classified the major watershed areas in the Village.  As far as educating the public on stormwater is concerned, Ms. Rhodes thought that residents of the Village should first be asked to understand how to manage stormwater on their own properties. Every homeowner should understand where the drainage flows off of the property.  Mr. Luntz noted that, in fact, it is the responsibility of the homeowner to take care of all the water on his/her property.  Ms. Rhodes pointed out that the ecology of trees is changing, which creates an even greater need for stormwater mitigation on individual properties. Chairman Kehoe said that one component of the stormwater law is public education and outreach. In so far as stormwater management is concerned, Chairman Kehoe thought that the Village had more than met their public education requirement.  It is up to Village residents to read the materials provided.

Mr. Szoboszlai noted that, as mentioned earlier by the Village Engineer, plans are being developed by Dvirka & Bartilucci for the Batten Road stormwater project.  He asked if the current D&B proposal would account for the underground streams from the major storm that the Village just experienced. The Village Engineer explained to Mr. Szoboszlai how a peak flow for drainage is calculated. The computer model looks at the watershed and at impervious surfaces and analyzes the drainage flow over time.  Water flowing into a subsurface has a slower rate of flow.  As the water goes downhill, the water table rises.  The Village Engineer noted that the rate increase at the bottom is not looked at by this computer model.  Mr. Szoboszlai said that flooding has occurred at times after a major rainstorm.  Ms. Allen noted that the hillside at Batten Road is very interesting to geologists in New York State. The hillside is full of underground streams.  Ms. Allen said that when the golf course application was being reviewed there was concern that pesticides might flow downstream and into people’s wells.  Wells were monitored, and no traces of pesticides were found.  Ms. Allen said that she would think it would be important to use this computer model for the source(s) of water.  The Village Engineer noted to Ms. Allen that, in designing the drainage system for Batten Road, they would make sure that the pipes were large enough to effectively handle the groundwater flow and to capture the subsurface water.  

Mr. Szoboszlai asked if he could take water out of his French drain and put it into the Village’s stormwater system.  The Village Engineer said that he would have to look into the feasibility of doing so “from an engineering perspective.”  He would let Mr. Szoboszlai know.  Mr. Szoboszlai said that he would think that residents living in this area would want to be able to effectively hook into the Village’s drainage system.  

Ms. Allen said that, overall, she thinks the Village’s proposed stormwater law is a good law.  

Ms. Allen stated that, in so far as the May 31st group meeting is concerned, she would think that the way for the Planning Board to proceed would be to submit their comments in writing.  She had prepared, for the stormwater discussion tonight, her comments on the proposed law.  She assumed that the other board members also had comments.  Ms. Allen offered assistance to Chairman Kehoe in pulling together, in memorandum form, the board’s comments/ideas. She suggested that board members could provide their input to her via email.           

3.      APPROVAL OF MINUTES:

The minutes of the Tuesday, April 10, 2007 Planning Board meeting were approved, as amended, on a motion by Mr. Luntz, seconded by Mr. Andrews and carried by a vote of 4 to 0.  Mr. Sharma abstained.
 
The minutes of the Tuesday, April 24, 2007 Planning Board meeting were approved, as amended, on a motion by Mr. Luntz, seconded by Chairman Kehoe and carried by a vote of 3 to 0.  Mr. Sharma and Ms. Allen abstained.  

4.         ADJOURNMENT:

There being no further business to come before the Board, the meeting was duly adjourned at 10:12 P.M.

Sincerely,



Sylvia Mills
SECRETARY