VILLAGE OF CROTON ON HUDSON, NEW YORK
PLANNING BOARD MEETING MINUTES – TUESDAY, JUNE 12, 2007
A regular meeting of the Planning Board of the Village of Croton-on-Hudson, New York was held on Tuesday, June 12, 2007 in the Municipal Building.
MEMBERS PRESENT: Chris Kehoe, Chairman
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. PUBLIC HEARING:
* 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 the proposal before the Planning Board is for a change of use from a movie rental store to a bank at the ShopRite shopping center.
Chairman Kehoe opened the public hearing on this application. He asked if there were any comments from the members of the public, to which there were none.
Mr. Luntz stated that he has read the email from the Village Engineer to the Planning Board saying that the owner of the property was amenable to the Planning Board’s condition requiring bank employees to park in the rear parking lot. This would free up the parking area in the front for customer parking.
The Village Engineer distributed to the Planning Board photographs of the shopping center, which showed the front and back parking lots. The Village Engineer noted that the back parking lot is relatively empty. The front lot appears to be the one that is mainly used. The Customer Care Manager of the New York Sports Club told the Village Engineer that only a few employees of the Sports Club use the back lot. Deliveries are also received in the back. The Village Engineer stated that he also spoke with the owner of the shopping center property who told him that there are no restrictions in the lease on where bank employees could park. Therefore, the Planning Board could certainly make it a condition of their approval that bank employees be required to park in the rear parking lot.
Ms. Allen asked if the parked cars would impede the garbage pick-up, to which the Village Engineer said that he does not think so. The garbage trucks use the access aisle in the back. The Village Engineer stated that the Customer Care Manager of the New York Sports Club told him that the DPW garbage crew comes at various times during the day. They just back up into the lot and pull out. The Village Engineer reiterated that he would not think that cars parked in the back would create a problem for garbage pick-up.
Mr. Andrews asked about the lighting in the back, to which Mr. Clarke replied that the lighting in the back parking lot is sufficient.
The Village Engineer told the board that, with respect to the signage being proposed the Applicant would have to go before the Zoning Board of Appeals for the sign on the side of the bank. This sign does not face the street and would require a variance. The Village Engineer said that the other issue with the signage has to do with the aggregate length of the signage in the front. The total area of all the signage in the front could not exceed two times the length of the building. The Village Engineer suggested that the Applicant could make the sign smaller in area to comply with code requirements. The Village Engineer noted that the sign in the front is in the right location and is similar to the other storefront signs. The problem is its size.
The Village Engineer suggested that the Planning Board not approve the sign on the side of the building, as this sign requires a variance. The Applicant might decide to eliminate the sign altogether rather than seek a variance. The Village Engineer said that, in so far as the sign in the front is concerned, the Applicant could make it smaller in size or seek a variance from the aggregate sign area requirement from the Zoning Board of Appeals.
Chairman Kehoe asked Mr. Clarke if the Applicant has scheduled a meeting before the Advisory Board on the Visual Environment (VEB) for their proposed signage. Mr. Clarke replied that the Applicant is scheduled to go before the VEB on Wednesday, June 20th.
Chairman Kehoe asked if there were any other comments on this application, to which there were none. Chairman Kehoe closed the public hearing.
Chairman Kehoe read aloud the draft resolution. He noted the following conditions:
that the proposed signage be reviewed by the VEB and the Village Engineer for compliance prior to installation. The sign on the side of the building is not being approved since a variance is required. The Applicant can make an application to the ZBA for a variance. The Planning Board hereby approves the sign in the front of the building subject to review by the VEB and approval of the sign area by the Village Engineer.
that employees of the bank be required to park in the rear parking lot of the shopping center.
Chairman Kehoe entertained a motion to approve this change of use application with the conditions discussed tonight. The motion to approve was made by Mr. Andrews, seconded by Mr. Luntz and carried by a vote of 5 to 0.
3. OLD BUSINESS:
a) Brian Ackerman/John Harbeson/Lael Morgan – Batten Road (Sec. 68.17 Blk. 2 Lots 7, 8.1 & 9) – Application for a Preliminary Subdivision Approval
Norman Sheer, attorney for the Applicant, Ron Wegner, P.E., of Cronin Engineering and Brian Ackerman, Lael Morgan and John & Ann Harbeson, owners of the property, were present.
Mr. Sheer stated that, for tonight’s meeting, the Applicant has submitted to the board members an amended (revised) site plan for the new building lot. The house has been rotated slightly. The driveway has been moved to the other side of the house.
Mr. Sheer noted to the board members that one of the concerns with this application has been whether the Applicant would donate a trail to the Village, which would coincide to the sewer easement. Mr. Sheer stated that if the Village were to agree to placing “No Parking” signs in front of the Harbeson’s house, his clients (Ackerman, Morgan and Harbeson) would be willing to grant an easement for the Village trail. Mr. Sheer noted that the “No Parking” signs would be placed at the end of Valley Trail.
Mr. Sheer stated that the Applicant would hope that, at tonight’s meeting, the Planning Board would decide to recommend to the Village Board the granting of the waiver from the subdivision requirements. Should the waiver be granted, the Applicant would, then, do a lot line adjustment for the three lots.
Chairman Kehoe asked Mr. Wegner if the retaining wall had been reduced in size. Mr. Wegner told Chairman Kehoe that they are proposing a tiered retaining wall, which would be ten feet in height.
Mr. Sheer stated that the Applicant has shown the Planning Board two different site plans, both of which would comply with the Village Code. The latest site plan would give the future owners of the “new” lot more privacy from the Village trail. Mr. Sheer pointed out that, in so far as a house on this lot is concerned, the future owner(s) of the property would have to go before the Planning Board for minor site plan approval.
Chairman Kehoe asked the Village Engineer if there would be an issue with having the driveway directly across the street from Eklof Court. The Village Engineer said that Eklof Court is a cul-de-sac and not a “through” street. Chairman Kehoe asked if, as a rule, the Village would want to have intersections, which are offset from one another, to which the Village Engineer said that it would depend on the street. There is limited traffic movement on Eklof Court. The Village Engineer said that he does not yet know whether the new location being proposed for the driveway would improve the sight distance for someone exiting the driveway.
Ms. Allen asked why double walls are being proposed close to Batten Road, to which Mr. Wegner said, “to make up for the height and change in elevation.” It would just be to make up the grade. The Village Engineer asked what the grade would be, to which Mr. Wegner said 12%. Mr. Luntz said that he would think that terracing would look better than a single wall. He would think that this would be an improvement for the use of this area of the site.
The Village Engineer asked if the disturbance area is at the maximum in terms of slope disturbance. Mr. Wegner said that the calculations for steep slopes “20% and over” have increased somewhat. The calculations for the other degrees of disturbance (“less than 15%” and “areas between 15-20%”) have not increased.
Mr. Luntz asked about the proposed drainage system for the “new” lot. Mr. Wegner said that they could put in dry wells for the roof leaders. They could (also) install a trench drain at the bottom of the driveway. Mr. Luntz asked if the drainage feature in the right-of-way would be “an issue.” The Village Engineer replied that, in so far as the drainage is concerned, the drainage must not interfere with any Village drainage improvements, which are presently in effect or are being proposed for the future. Having looked at this (the Applicant’s) plan, he would think that there would probably be room for some kind of drainage in that location.
The Village Engineer noted that, according to the plan, there is an existing rock ledge, which would be in the way of the new driveway. It would appear that putting in the driveway could potentially require considerable bedrock excavation. The Village Engineer noted that, behind the house, there is a terraced and slope area. Mr. Wegner told the Village Engineer that their intention is to provide the future homeowner with a “bit” of a backyard.
Mr. Sharma pointed out that the application before the Planning Board tonight is not for the proposed house. When a future homeowner applies to the Planning Board for a minor site plan approval for the proposed house, the plans could potentially change.
Mr. Luntz said that, with the driveway on the opposite side of the house, the proposal for the trail location is now more palatable for the owners of the “new” lot and for those using the Village trail.
Chairman Kehoe asked the Applicant to show their proposal for their new lot line configuration(s) to those members of the public interested in this application. Mr. Sheer showed the public a plan with the outline of the “new” building lot in the color blue.
Chairman Kehoe explained to those present for this application the procedure for a subdivision approval. A subdivision of land would require both a preliminary and final approval. There would be a public hearing before the Planning Board at the time of the preliminary approval. If the plans were not to substantially change, there would be no public hearing for the final approval. Chairman Kehoe noted that, in this instance, the Applicant intends to go before the Village Board to seek a waiver from the Village’s subdivision requirements. If the Applicant were granted the waiver, the Applicant would do a lot line adjustment for their three lots. At some time in the future, the prospective owner of the “new” (vacant) lot would come before the Planning Board with a minor site plan application for the
Chairman Kehoe noted that each of the three newly configured lots, belonging to this Applicant, is large enough in size to conceivably be subdivided. An applicant could come before the Planning Board at a future time with a subdivision proposal for any one of these three lots. Mr. Sheer said that he would think it would be possible to do so, but it would be difficult given the site restrictions. He noted that one of the reasons the Applicant is proceeding in this way (with their current plan) is because this site is such a difficult site. Chairman Kehoe noted again that even if the Planning Board were to review this present application as a subdivision rather than a lot line adjustment, there would be nothing to stop an applicant from coming back with another subdivision proposal in the future, to which
Mr. Sheer agreed. Mr. Sheer noted that whether his clients (the Applicant) were to come before this board with a proposal for a subdivision of land or simply do a lot line adjustment, “we would wind up in the same place.”
Mr. Sheer noted that the reason the “No Parking” signs are being requested is that the Harbeson’s are concerned that people would pull up to the dead end and leave their cars parked there. The Village Engineer said that he does not think that this request for “No Parking” signs would be a problem. Ms. Allen said that she thinks that the Trails Committee would agree with permitting “No Parking” signs in this location. The Village Engineer suggested that if, as a result of people using the trail(s), on-street parking in this area were to increase, the residents could let the Village know, and a member of the Village staff would look into it.
The Village Engineer asked Mr. Sheer when the Village could expect the easements to be formulated. Mr. Sheer suggested that the Village Board could grant the waiver on condition that his clients (the Applicant) work out the final location for the trail/sewer easement. The trail/sewer combination easement would cross over Lots #’s 7 and 8 and then go through the “new” building lot to Valley Trail.
Chairman Kehoe wanted to know how the new lot line configuration(s) would be formally identified, to which Mr. Sheer replied that deeds would be recorded with the County Department of Land Records.
Mr. Andrews wanted to know if establishing the easement agreement at this point in time, in conjunction with the current application, would preclude a driveway change in (as part of) a future minor site plan application. The Village Engineer said that it would depend on how the easement agreement is written. In so far as the location of the driveway is concerned, the language could be made more restrictive. It could say words to the effect that the driveway for the new house could not be in the previously proposed location, which was closer to the trail. Mr. Andrews asked who approves the easement conditions. The Village Engineer stated that the Village Attorney and he would check the writing of it. The Village Engineer suggested that the Planning Board could look at the easements and if they had any
comments regarding the language of the easement agreement, the Planning Board could let the Village Board know.
Ms. Allen wanted to know what the implications would be for the clearing of the land for the sewer/trail easement. The Village Engineer told Ms. Allen that when Mr. Wegner and he walked the site, they purposely avoided a triple-quad tree grouping. Ms. Allen wanted to know at what point the easement would be staked. The Village Engineer said that the location of the easement would be mapped when the metes and bounds are described in the easement agreement. Ms. Allen suggested that the sewer/trail easement should be staked before it is mapped so that those interested can see where it is going to go.
Audrey Dinkler of 50 Batten Road wanted to know which house(s) would be serviced by the sewer easement. She noted that her house was not connected to the municipal sewer system. The Village Engineer told Ms. Dinkler that the new house would be connected to the sewer system. The sewer line would need to be extended. The proposal would be to dig up the street and extend the sewer to Batten Road. A manhole would be installed in this location.
Ms. Dinkler said that, with respect to the drainage, the studies carried out by the Village’s storm water consultants, Dvirka & Bartilucci, did not take into consideration this new house being proposed. She asked if the Planning Board could recommend that a condition be placed on any approval(s) that a larger pipe be installed on Batten Road to handle the additional runoff from the new house. Chairman Kehoe said that he would think that it would be up to the engineers for the upcoming Batten Road project to determine whether this pipe should be increased in size. The Village Engineer said that a standard condition of the approval for building on the vacant lot would be that the storm water runoff be kept to this lot. The Village Engineer noted that the Village would be holding a public meeting
on the upcoming Batten Road storm drain project. Residents should come to the meeting to express their points of view.
Mr. Trendell of 39 Batten Road was present. Mr. Trendell stated that he has not heard anything said about how the water runoff from the new house is going to be managed. Mr. Luntz recalled that this issue about water runoff was extensively discussed. There would be a proposed area for dry wells and infiltrators to capture the drainage. Mr. Trendell said that he does not think that the issue of runoff from underground streams has been addressed.
Mr. Trendell questioned the value of having a trail easement on the Applicant’s property if no parking would be allowed in that location for people to park their cars. The Village Engineer noted to Mr. Trendell that the subject trail is actually a trail link. The purpose of this trail would be to provide a link to the Croton Dam. Ms. Allen explained to Mr. Trendell that this connecting trail “has been in the plan” for the Village’s trail system since the early 1990’s. Mr. Trendell expressed concern about usage of the trails at night. Ms. Allen said that the Village trails are only open from dawn to dusk.
Thomas Szoboszlai of 1 Eklof Court was present. Mr. Szoboszlai said that for the last five Planning Board meetings, the Planning Board has been examining the “new” vacant lot as if it were a legal lot. This vacant lot, as it stands now, is not a legal tax lot.
Mr. Szoboszlai expressed concern about the way this application is being processed. He thought that the way this application has been presented, the Planning Board has avoided (not considered) the other two lots. The focus has been on the “new” vacant lot.
Mr. Szoboszlai questioned whether the Planning Board had anywhere in their record(s) a plan showing the prior lot configuration. Mr. Sheer showed Mr. Szoboszlai a map, which illustrated how the lot lines were drawn. Mr. Sheer stated that the very first time the Applicant came before the Planning Board, the Applicant informed the Planning Board that they had made a “defacto” lot line change, and they recognized the illegitimacy of it. One of the purposes of coming before the Planning Board was (is) to rectify this situation. Mr. Sheer reiterated that one of the reasons the Applicant is presently before the Planning Board is to follow the proper procedure for legalizing their newly configured lots.
Mr. Szoboszlai said that the Planning Board has not received a proper topographical map. The three properties, taken together, are more than ten acres in size. There are substantially flat areas of land on these properties. Mr. Szoboszlai said that, “The way it [this application] is being presented, the board is precluded to considering what the impact of these land features would be on its decision.” The board has not seen any steep slope calculations for the other two lots. Ms. Allen noted that there are houses on these two lots. The Applicant is not proposing to subdivide these lots. Ms. Allen noted that if, in the future, someone were to propose to subdivide one or both of these lots, then, the Planning Board would ask for a complete application (e.g., topographical map, a
steep slopes analysis, tree survey, etc.). This is not required for the current application. Ms. Allen reiterated that two of the three lots already have houses on them. No additional building is being proposed on these two “improved” lots. Building is only being proposed on the “new” vacant lot.
Mr. Szoboszlai expressed concern that when a future homeowner comes before the Planning Board with a minor site plan application for the house on the vacant lot, the house location would be “hemmed in by the lines drawn today.” At that point in time it would not be possible for the Planning Board to alter the lot line(s). Mr. Szoboszlai thought that the Applicant should be required to go through the subdivision process. The subdivision process would allow the Planning Board an opportunity to hear “the proper evidence.” A public hearing for the approval of the preliminary subdivision would be held. Mr. Szoboszlai thought that, even for a recommendation on the lot line adjustment, a public hearing should be required. He questioned whether the Planning Board could make a decision without
holding the proper hearings. Chairman Kehoe stated that, for the Planning Board to make a recommendation to the Village Board, a public hearing is not required. The Planning Board is (has been) following the proper procedure in this regard. Chairman Kehoe noted to those present that the Planning Board did not have to allow the public to speak tonight. This is not a public hearing. However, it has been the policy of this and previous planning boards to give the public an opportunity to speak at board meetings.
Arlene Lazaro of 42 Batten Road expressed concern about flooding on her property caused by storm water runoff. She was concerned about the impact(s) of the new house on the storm water runoff. The Village Engineer noted that even if this proposal on the Batten Road lots had never come to pass, the Village’s storm water project for Batten Road would still move forward. He told those present that probably within the next 30-45 days the Village would hold a community meeting to discuss the project. Ms. Lazaro said that she would think the Village would be taking a risk by not installing a larger pipe for any additional storm water.
Robert Wintermeier of 43 Radnor Avenue asked if the Applicant would also be seeking a waiver from the steep slopes requirement, to which Chairman Kehoe said, “No.” The Applicant is under the thresholds for steep slopes. The Applicant has performed the calculations for steep slopes, and they are disturbing the permitted amount(s) under the Steep Slopes Ordinance. Mr. Wintermeier asked about the circumstances for requesting a waiver from the subdivision requirements. Chairman Kehoe explained to Mr. Wintermeier that the subject property, as it currently exists, comprises three lots. After the lot lines are changed, the subject property would still consist of three lots. No additional lots are being created. Section 230-120(C) of the Village Code allows an applicant, under these circumstances, to seek
a waiver from the subdivision regulations. Mr. Wintermeier said that his concern would be that, by recommending the waiver, the Planning Board would be setting a precedent for a future applicant to seek a waiver from the subdivision regulations. Mr. Wintermeier pointed out that there are legal aspects of the board’s actions, which should be considered. Mr. Wintermeier questioned what would happen, for example, if the board were to “make a mistake” about a subdivision. Could the Village be sued? He would be concerned about the legal ramifications. He would hope that the Village would not be exposing itself to future litigation.
Mr. Wintermeier said that, as he understands it, members of the public would be allowed to express their views on this application at the Village Board meeting, to which Chairman Kehoe said that this is, indeed, the case. Chairman Kehoe explained to those present that the Village Board would not hold a public hearing on a request for a waiver; however, the public would still be given an opportunity to speak. Mr. Luntz added that once the Village Board receives the Applicant’s request in writing it becomes an “agenda item,” and the public would be allowed to speak.
Chairman Kehoe said that he is prepared to move forward with a recommendation. Mr. Andrews said that he thinks the public has raised many valid concerns, but these concerns were (have been) considered by this board and would be again during the minor site plan application process. Mr. Andrews said that he, too, would be willing to move forward with a recommendation. Chairman Kehoe suggested to the other members that the Planning Board could recommend that the waiver be granted subject to the establishment of a sewer/trail easement on the Applicant’s property. It should be noted that any kind of construction on the Applicant’s property should not diminish the intended use of the trail. Ms. Allen said that the memorandum to the Village Board should also state that, at the request of the Applicant,
the Planning Board has agreed to recommend that “No Parking” signs be placed at the end of Valley Trail. Chairman Kehoe noted that the issues, which were raised by members of the public tonight about additional storm water runoff and/or the environmental impact(s), should also be addressed.
Chairman Kehoe entertained a motion to recommend the granting of the waiver with the conditions discussed tonight. The motion was made by Mr. Luntz, seconded by Ms. Allen and carried by a vote of 5 to 0.
Chairman Kehoe told the board that he would prepare a memorandum and circulate it to the board members for their review.
b) Bell Property – 175 Old Post Road North (Sec. 67.15 Blk. 1 Lots 8 & 8.01) – Application for a Preliminary Subdivision Approval – Preliminary Discussion
Ron Wegner, P.E., of Cronin Engineering; Craig Baumgarner, attorney for the Applicant; Kevin Kaye, consultant for the Applicant and James Moorhead, trustee of the property, were present.
Chairman Kehoe stated that this application was last before the Planning Board on Tuesday, April 24th. The revised plans, submitted for tonight’s meeting, show the steep slopes and wetland buffers.
Chairman Kehoe noted that the Applicant has provided the Planning Board tonight with three alternatives for access to the six subdivision lots.
Ms. Allen said that she was unable to attend the first meeting on this application. She introduced herself to the Applicant and noted that her property on Finney Farm Road is being shown on the Applicant’s plans.
Mr. Wegner stated that the Bell property is approximately 18 acres in size. The Applicant is proposing a six-lot subdivision. The major constraints of this piece of property are the lack of frontage and the lack of access for emergency vehicles. Mr. Wegner stated that the Applicant would not want to cause a great deal of land disturbance. To minimize the disturbance, the Applicant came up with the layout, which was presented at the last Planning Board meeting (Alternative #1). Mr. Wegner stated that Lots #’s 1, 2 and 3 have frontages off of Albany Post Road. There is an existing driveway off of Albany Post Road where the existing residences gain access. The one driveway, as laid out on the plans for Alternative #1, would serve all six parcels. Mr. Wegner stated that Lots #’s
4, 5, and 6 would gain frontage from Albany Post Road from the extension of the parcel on the northern side. Mr. Wegner described how this narrow strip of land on the northern side moves along the edge of two properties, which are not owned by the Bell family.
Mr. Wegner said that the driveway along the Applicant’s narrow strip of land is shared by the owners of the properties on either side of the driveway. This narrow strip of land would provide frontage for the subdivision lots but would not provide the required access. Individual lots must have 20 feet of frontage and must provide access for emergency vehicles. Lots #’s 4, 5 and 6 have the required distance for frontage (20 feet), but the access requirements for frontage would not be met. The Applicant would have to seek a variance from the access requirements from the Zoning Board of Appeals.
Mr. Luntz asked who maintains the shared driveway on the northern side, to which Mr. Moorhead said that he believes the users of the shared driveway maintain it.
Chairman Kehoe noted that the proposal for Alternative #1, as just described, was presented to the Planning Board at the last meeting.
The Village Engineer noted that, according to the Code, the frontage on a piece of property has to be 20 feet on a public street, and the property/homeowner has to have access through his/her frontage.
Mr. Wegner said that Alternative #2 would involve building a new public road on the northern side of the property. The narrow strip of land is not wide enough for a right-of-way. The Applicant would have to purchase land from the Harris’ to make a 50-foot right-of-way on which to build a public (Village) road. Lots #’s 3, 4, 5 and 6 would have the required frontage and access off of this potential Village road. Lots #'s’1 and 2 would have frontage off of Albany Post Road. There could conceivably be 10 feet of driveway on each of these properties (Lots #’s 1 and 2), which might satisfy the frontage requirements. Mr. Baumgarner referred to the Harris’ landlocked parcel of land on the northern side and noted that upon the building of this public road, the Harris’ would now have the
required frontage/access. The building of this road could create a situation whereby future land development could take place.
Ms. Allen said that, rather than showing alternatives that require purchasing land, building roads, etc., she would like to see a proposal on what could be built on the land the Applicant actually (presently) owns. Chairman Kehoe said that Alternative #1 shows what could be built on the Applicant’s land. As previously stated, this alternative (#1) would require a number of variances. Mr. Baumgarner noted that to avoid having to seek these variances Alternative #2 would be the best option.
Ms. Allen said that she does not think it is appropriate to ask an Applicant to bring in options, which require buying property or going across someone else’s property. Mr. Andrews said that, as he understands it, the Applicant is exploring the options for developing their land. Mr. Andrews thought that they (the Applicant) wanted to have a better understanding of how their property might be developed. Mr. Andrews noted that the Planning Board is under no obligation to go with any one option.
Mr. Wegner described the “Finney Farm Road” option (Alternative #3). Mr. Wegner stated that Finney Farm Road would be made a public road up to a certain point. The part of the Bell property, which is situated on Finney Farm Road, would then be on a public street. Lots #’s 2, 3, 4 and 5 would come off of Finney Farm Road. Lot #1 would still have access off of Albany Post Road and Lot #6 would have access off of the narrow strip of road on the northern side of the property.
Mr. Moorhead told the board that, if they were to go with Alternative #3, they would not be accessing the subdivision through Finney Farm Road. Instead, they would provide access to the subdivision through a common driveway off of Albany Post Road. Mr. Moorhead said that they would be willing to make infrastructure improvements on Finney Farm Road, which would benefit the Village. Ms. Allen noted to Mr. Moorhead that, in the past, the residents of Finney Farm Road, except for one, have not been interested in these improvements. Mr. Baumgarner reiterated that, with Alternative #3, the Applicant would propose to make improvements (bring in services) to Finney Farm Road but not use this road for access.
Mr. Wegner said that they would like to keep the access where it is, i.e., the existing common driveway that serves the two residences.
Ms. Allen noted that this alternative (#3) would involve a disturbance to wetlands areas. Mr. Baumgarner said that the Applicant would not want physical access off of Finney Farm Road. The public services would have to be brought in for the new houses. Mr. Wegner said that they would have to cross over the road for sewer and other services, but they would not use the road for access. Mr. Baumgarner pointed out that the road would remain intact.
Chairman Kehoe said that it is his understanding that the Applicant has shown the watercourses on their revised plans. Mr. Wegner stated that the watercourses have been mapped but not delineated. Chairman Kehoe asked about the hiring of the Village’s environmental consultant. He wanted to know if the Village’s consultant would be the one to delineate the wetlands once they (the Applicant) have made a formal application. The Village Engineer stated that the Applicant would hire a consultant to do this work. The Village would then have their consultant confirm that the work was done properly.
Ms. Allen noted to the Applicant that the situation involving the infrastructure on Finney Farm Road is a complex one. Finney Farm Road is a private road. The infrastructure on Finney Farm Road is owned by the Hudson National Golf Club. Ms. Allen noted that there have been discussions in the past on what to do to upgrade the sewer system. So far, these discussions have not led to a resolution. Ms. Allen noted that besides the infrastructure itself there would be other matters to consider, e.g., sewer line breaks, the cost for connections to individual houses, etc. Mr. Moorhead said that they are not looking to replace the system itself. They would need to provide services to the new houses and thought that, while doing so, they could (also) provide services that would benefit the
Village’s infrastructure. Ms. Allen asked how they would propose moving forward so that all parties would be onboard. Mr. Baumgarner said that they would have to ask the golf club for permission to lay the lines. Since the Applicant would have to bring the sewer lines up to their lots anyway, they would go up Finney Farm as far as they could. “It would then be up to the ‘powers that be’ to make it happen.”
Ms. Allen noted that, with respect to the sewer lines, the Applicant would be dealing with an ancient sewer system in this area of the Village that has not been properly mapped. Mr. Wegner said that they would have to find where they could hook up to it. Any connections that would have to be made through existing properties would have to be made. Mr. Kaye noted that, in so far as the sewer system is concerned, the Applicant would be facilitating the process for others on Finney Farm Road. It would be up to the residents on Finney Farm Road to take advantage of the work that the Applicant had done.
Janet Nelson of 40 Finney Farm Road was present. She told the Applicant that they would have to go all the way down from Finney Farm because the water is under the road. The pipes that are there are not big enough. Ms. Nelson said that she would think that if the Village were to float a bond, the residents of Finney Farm would never vote for it.
Chairman Kehoe said that he would be hesitant to give the Applicant an indication on how they should proceed. He would prefer that the Applicant choose the alternative that they are most desirous of and make an application to the Planning Board. Ms. Allen added that the Applicant has to make an application that is “realistic,” based on the land that they actually own. Mr. Kaye said that the Applicant was hoping for some guidance from the Planning Board tonight. The Applicant thought that rather than deciding for the Village what they (the Village) had to consider the Village could provide some feedback. If option #3, for example, were a possibility, then the Applicant would move forward with that option. Mr. Kaye said that, should they move forward with option #3, he would think that
the residents of Finney Farm Road would benefit from it, and there would be no change in access to and from Finney Farm Road.
Ms. Allen noted that upgrading the sewer system on Finney Farm Road has not been done because of the cost(s) involved. It might be interesting to explore this option, but to make an application without having thoroughly explored it would be a “waste of everybody’s time.” Ms. Allen added that the Applicant would have to do some serious work to know whether this option would, indeed, be feasible.
The Village Engineer asked if, with respect to Alternative #2, (building the new road), the Applicant had looked at the construction that would be needed. The Village Engineer thought that building this road might result in massive grading. Mr. Wegner said that the worst that he saw was 12% on the existing grade. Mr. Moorhead noted that by the time one gets to their property (the Bell property) the land is considerably flatter. Chairman Kehoe said that, as he understands it, the majority of that road would be situated in the wetlands buffer. The Village Engineer suggested that one way to reduce the impacts to the wetlands would be to shorten the cul-de-sac. Mr. Luntz asked if, on the adjacent Harris property, there is only one house, to which Mr. Wegner replied that they are only
showing one house on that property.
Ms. Allen said that she would strongly object to calling the subdivision “Finney Farm Estates.” From an historical standpoint, the Bell property has never been a part of Finney Farm. She suggested that the Applicant should consider another name for their subdivision. Mr. Wegner explained that “Finney Farm Estates” would not be the name given to this subdivision. This name, “Finney Farm Estates,” is, indeed, shown on the Applicant’s plans; however, it is meant to describe the land “below” the Bell property.
Chairman Kehoe suggested that the Applicant contact the Village Engineer’s office when they are ready to come back before the board.
4. NEW BUSINESS:
* TGL Realty Co. Inc. – 49 North Riverside Avenue (Sec. 78.08 Blk. 3 Lot 81) – Application for an Amended Site Plan for the Ocean House Restaurant
Norman Sheer, attorney for the Applicant; Robert Barstow, architect from Sleepy Hollow Designs; and Brian and Paula Galvin, proprietors of the restaurant, were present.
Mr. Sheer told the board members that the Applicant is present tonight for an initial informal discussion on their proposal for an addition to the Ocean House Restaurant.
Ms. Galvin stated that they are proposing a 400 square-foot addition on the south side of the building. Their proposal includes a second bathroom, which would be handicapped accessible and additional seating for 20. Ms. Galvin noted that the site plan shows parking to the rear of the building, but this parking is presently used by tenants of the apartment building next door.
Mr. Andrews asked what, if anything, is currently in the area where the addition is being proposed, to which Mr. Sheer said, “Open land.” Mr. Andrews asked if the apartment building and the restaurant were owned by the same landlord, to which Mr. Sheer said, “Yes.”
Mr. Sharma asked if there were windows on the side of the apartment building facing the new addition. He noted that there would only be six feet of space separating the apartment building from the new addition. Mr. Sheer said that the apartment building is on a higher elevation than the addition. He did not think that this would present a problem.
Chairman Kehoe asked if the basement of the apartment building is being used for storage, to which Mr. Sheer said that it is.
Mr. Sharma wanted to know if the new addition being proposed would have an impact on the off-street parking requirements. Mr. Sheer stated that, by code, the Planning Board has the power to waive the off-street parking requirements for existing buildings and in areas where there is no available parking.
Chairman Kehoe said that he lives farther up the hill on Farrington Road. When he is making the turn to go up the hill to his house, he has experienced a problem with people doing U-turns at the foot of Farrington Road. Chairman Kehoe said that one of the issues to be addressed would be the parking at the bottom of the hill. He thought that it would be helpful if, going up Farrington Road, there could be parking for residents only. The parking for the commercial (restaurant) establishments could be along Route 9A.
Mr. Sharma said that the Applicant would have to satisfy this board that the new addition would not have any negative impact(s) on the neighbors with respect to parking, noise, etc. He would think that whatever the negative impacts on the neighborhood are now, these problems would be exacerbated by the addition of 20 seats. He reiterated that the Applicant would have to show that there would not be any impact(s). Mr. Sheer said that the Applicant would take a very careful look at the parking and come back to the board with more information.
The Village Engineer told the board members that “Honey’s,” the restaurant on the other side of the street was recently sold and appears to be doing well. There are now two restaurants on the same street competing for the available on-street parking spaces. Adding 20 seats to the Ocean House Restaurant would only serve to create a higher demand for the on-street parking that is available in this area.
Mr. Luntz said that he thinks that on-street parking in the Village should be encouraged. It is “part of it” (to be expected) that people would have to “hunt and peck” for a parking space along the street.
Chairman Kehoe noted that people coming from out of town to the restaurant would not have to make a U-turn at the foot of Farrington Road to leave the Village. They could continue up Farrington Road and go out of town from that direction. He wondered if it would be possible to put a sign at the foot of the hill on Farrington Road to this effect.
Chairman Kehoe noted that, as Mr. Sheer pointed out earlier in the meeting, the Planning Board has the right to waive the parking requirements. Chairman Kehoe stated that should the board decide not to waive the parking requirements, the Applicant would have to find the required parking on site. Since there are no available spaces on site, this decision by the Planning Board would “kill” the project.
Mr. Sheer said that the Ocean House Restaurant has become a “destination” restaurant. By having more seating available, it would help Ocean House to remain in business in the Village. Mr. Sheer said that, with respect to the neighbors of the restaurant, the proprietors of Ocean House want to hear their concerns. They (the proprietors) do not want to be imposing upon their neighbors.
Ms. Allen wondered if the answer to the parking problem might be valet parking.
Chairman Kehoe noted that the Planning Board just received in their packets tonight a letter dated June 12, 2007 from Warren Burholt of 9 Farrington Road.
Chairman Kehoe told those members of the public present for this application that it is the practice of this and previous planning boards to allow comments from the public, even before the public hearing takes place. He suggested that if there were a specific issue that a member of the public would want to address he/she should bring it up to the board.
Art Roosa of 7 Farrington Road was present. Mr. Roosa said that, “The quality of life on Farrington [Road] has gone down hill considerably since the restaurant opened.” He would think that expanding the restaurant is going to make a “bad situation far worse.” Mr. Roosa explained that, in so far as the parking is concerned, many of his neighbors have no driveways. They have to park on the street. His neighbors come home from work and, since the restaurant opened up, they have no place to park. Mr. Roosa said that he drives the Fire Chief’s car, and he is fortunate enough to have a driveway. However, when his wife comes home he has to find a place on the street for his vehicle so that she can park in their driveway. Mr. Roosa noted that the owners of the restaurant come to
work in two separate vehicles. They park in front of the restaurant. He would think that they should park around the corner and leave the spots in front of the restaurant for their customers. This might alleviate the parking problem somewhat. Mr. Roosa said that customers of the restaurant have made U-turns in his driveway. He recalled an incident that took place when his nephew was playing ball in the driveway and somebody made a U-turn. Mr. Roosa said that his nephew “almost got killed.”
Mr. Roosa expressed concern about the accessibility of emergency vehicles to the restaurant. He recalled an incident that happened a while ago when an ambulance was called to the restaurant and there was no place to park. They had to park the ambulance in the middle of the street.
Mr. Roosa said that, with the new addition at the south end, the restaurant would be much closer physically to the four-family apartment building. The apartment building has vinyl siding. He was concerned that if there were a fire in the restaurant, the apartment building would catch on fire and spread to other buildings on the block. Mr. Roosa noted that he has been a fireman for 20 years and “has seen it too many times.”
Chairman Kehoe suggested that, among other items, the Applicant should look into the parking problem at the foot of Farrington Road. The Applicant should contact the Village Engineer’s office when they are ready to come back before the board.
5. APPROVAL OF MINUTES:
Approval of the minutes of the Tuesday, May 22, 2007 Planning Board meeting was adjourned until the meeting of Tuesday June 26, 2007.
There being no further business to come before the Board, the meeting was duly adjourned at 11:00 P.M.
WHEREAS, the Planning Board held a public hearing on a Change of Use application on Tuesday, June 12, 2007 for the Union State Bank, hereafter known as “the Applicant,” said property owned by Simone Development Co. and located at 420 South Riverside Avenue. The property is in the C-2 Zoning District and designated on the Tax Map of the Village of Croton-on-Hudson as Section 79.17 Block 2 Lot 1 (formerly #2 98 1D-1); and
WHEREAS, the proposed Change of Use is from a movie rental store to a bank; and
WHEREAS, under the requirements of Local Law 7 of 1977, the Planning Board has determined that there will be no adverse impacts resulting from the proposed application that cannot be properly mitigated.
NOW, THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED, that the Change of Use application, as shown on a copy of a site plan entitled “Proposed Tenant Space Hudson Plaza ‘Home Entertainment Center Corp.,’ prepared by David Graham Architects, received by the Planning Board on May 17, 2007; a drawing #SK-1 entitled “Union State Bank, Croton-on-Hudson,” prepared by Architecture Interior Design Project Management, received by the Planning Board on May 17, 2007; and an application for a sign permit received by the Planning Board on May 17, 2007, be approved subject to the following conditions:
that the proposed sign be reviewed by the VEB and the Village Engineer for compliance prior to installation. The sign on the side of the building is not being approved since a variance is required. The Applicant can make an application to the ZBA for a variance. The Planning Board hereby approves the sign in the front of the building subject to review by the VEB and approval of the sign area by the Village Engineer.
that employees of the bank be required to park in the rear parking lot of the shopping center.
In the event that this Change of Use is not implemented within three (3) years of this date, this approval shall expire.
The Planning Board of the Village of
Croton-on-Hudson, New York
Chris Kehoe, Chairman
Motion to approve by Mr. Andrews, seconded by Mr. Luntz and carried by a vote of 5 to 0.
Resolution accepted with the minutes of the meeting held on Tuesday, June 12, 2007.