Planning Board Minutes 06/26/07



A regular meeting of the Planning Board of the Village of Croton-on-Hudson, New York was held on Tuesday, June 26, 2007 in the Municipal Building.

MEMBERS PRESENT:                Chris Kehoe, Chairman
                                        Fran Allen
                                        Deven Sharma

                 ABSENT:                Vincent Andrews
                                        Robert Luntz
                ALSO PRESENT:           Daniel O’Connor, P.E., Village Engineer

1.  Call to Order:

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


*   T/C of Croton Inc. (Tom & Carlene Fallacaro) – 75 South Riverside Avenue (Sec. 78.12 Blk. 3 Lot 1) – Application for an Amended Site Plan Approval

Edmond Gemmola, architect for the Applicant, and Tom Fallacaro, owner of the property, were present.

Mr. Gemmola showed the Planning Board photographs of the Applicant’s existing building/site.  Chairman Kehoe noted to Mr. Gemmola that the Planning Board is quite familiar with the E/T cycle site.  Several months ago the Planning Board performed a lengthy review of an application for a proposed day care center at this site.  

Mr. Gemmola said that the Applicant’s current proposal would include a new retaining wall. The highest point of the wall would be 8 to 8? feet.  The wall would “taper down” as it continues along the length of the property to the southern-most end.  Mr. Gemmola described the wall as an interlocking concrete-block gravity retaining wall with a cap. He distributed to the board members the manufacturer’s specifications.

Mr. Gemmola stated that the current application would involve a change of use from the E/T Cycle Center to the law offices of Robert J. Hilpert.   

Mr. Gemmola noted that Mr. Hilpert’s offices are presently upstairs.  Mr. Hilpert would like to rent the downstairs for the expansion of his law firm.  Mr. Hilpert’s son and daughter are both attorneys and would be joining their father’s practice at this (his current) location.  Mr. Gemmola stated that, as shown on the plans submitted, the downstairs space has been reconfigured into law offices.

Mr. Gemmola stated that the total square footage of the newly configured space would be 7,800 square feet. The required number of on-site parking spaces based on the square footage would be approximately 26.  Mr. Gemmola noted that the parking spaces have been re-striped, and they “net out” at 30 spaces.   The handicap parking space would be situated at the very front of the building.    

Mr. Gemmola said that, as part of the new proposal, two other means of egress would be provided.  The front door would remain as is.  

Mr. Gemmola stated that the landscaping and/or plantings on the property have, for the most part, matured.  In the summer, on the Grand Street side, the building is shielded from view by plantings.  Also, a lawn runs along the front of the property on South Riverside Avenue.  Mr. Gemmola noted that the Applicant might try putting a “crawling” plant, such as ivy, on the new retaining wall, if they could get the plant to take hold.

Mr. Gemmola referred to the front elevation plan and stated that there would be all new windows on the first floor.  They intend to put in high glass to let light in near the parking lot area.  The existing signage would be removed.

Chairman Kehoe asked the Village Engineer if there were any zoning issues to be dealt with, to which the Village Engineer said that it (a law office) is allowed in the C-2 zoning district.

Chairman Kehoe noted that the Applicant’s plan shows nine separate offices.  It would appear to be a layout for a very large law office.  Chairman Kehoe questioned whether, at some point in the future, another lawyer might be asked to join Mr. Hilpert’s practice.  Chairman Kehoe asked if parking would become an issue should another lawyer be asked to join.  Mr. Gemmola said that he did not know whether other lawyers would be asked to join the practice in the future.  The Village Engineer said that, in so far as the office space is concerned, he would think that Mr. Hilpert would not want an overcrowded office space.  Generally speaking, a law office tends to be spacious in size.  The Village Engineer said that, over time, another lawyer could be asked to join the practice.  Should Mr. Hilpert decide, for example, to turn the conference room into two additional law offices, he could do so.  The Village Engineer noted that, based on the square footage, the parking requirement(s) would still be met.  

Mr. Gemmola noted that there would be closings, perhaps more than one at a time, taking place at the law offices. The Village Engineer said that if, for some reason, the parking lot were full, and there were two closings taking place at the law offices at the same time, there should be plenty of available on-street parking in this area that is not being used.

Mr. Sharma said that the Applicant would have to be sure that the parking spaces are sized properly.  There would have to be adequate maneuvering in and out of the parking spaces.  

Mr. Sharma questioned how it would look from the road to have cars parked the length of (along) the lawn area on South Riverside Avenue. The Village Engineer thought that this was a good question.  He said that he would think that this is, indeed, an issue the Planning Board should look at.   
The Village Engineer noted that the retaining wall “is getting moved back a couple of feet.”  Moving the wall back would improve the sight distance and would (also) allow a few more parking spots to be installed.  

Mr. Gemmola said that he would think a law office would be a “clean” use of this site.  There would be no trucks coming in and out for maintenance work, as was the case with the E/T Cycle business.  Furthermore, there would be no “surge of parking” during business hours, as with a retail store.

The Village Engineer noted that the Applicant’s new retaining wall would be a “complete gravity wall” (no geo-grid).

Mr. Gemmola said that, for the construction of the retaining wall, they would dig 8 inches into the ground and fill the space with gravel.  From the recess to the ground is 8 feet, which is “what the new wall would retain.”  

The Village Engineer asked the Planning Board if they would want plantings installed along South Riverside Avenue to screen the parked cars.  The lawn area on South Riverside Avenue is in the Village right-of-way; however, the Village could issue to this Applicant an Improvement in the Street Line Permit to install plantings in the right-of-way.  Ms. Allen said that she would think that it would be a good idea to have plantings there.  She said that the head-on parking being proposed would be a better use of this space, but she would think it would be preferable, from an aesthetic standpoint, to screen the parked cars from view.  Ms. Allen suggested that the Applicant should choose plantings that would not spread out beyond the lawn area and onto the sidewalk.     

Ms. Allen asked if the one handicap parking space being proposed would be adequate.  She noted that there are currently two handicap spaces in the parking lot.  Mr. Gemmola said that they could easily provide another handicap parking space.  The number of handicap spaces is based on the car count.  He would check to see if another handicap space is, indeed, required.  Mr. Sharma said that he would think that, based on the number of cars, they would need the two handicap spaces.  

The Village Engineer told Mr. Gemmola that he should show, on the Applicant’s revised plan(s), the handicap parking signs.

Ms. Allen noted that there are two trash bins situated in the southern-most corner of the property. Mr. Fallacaro said that they would be getting rid of these two trash bins.  The Village Engineer stated that, for the next meeting, the Applicant should provide information on the trash enclosure being proposed.  Mr. Gemmola said that the Applicant is thinking of installing a chain link fence with black slats to enclose the trash area. Chairman Kehoe asked who takes care of the garbage pick-up on this site, to which Mr. Fallacaro said that the Village’s DPW does.

Chairman Kehoe suggested that the Planning Board could schedule the public hearing on this amended site plan application, to which the other members all agreed.  The Planning Board scheduled the public hearing for the Tuesday, July 24th Planning Board meeting.  It was noted that the Advisory Board on the Visual Environment (VEB) is required, by code, to review applications to the Planning Board and provide their comments. The VEB would be asked to review this application at their next regularly scheduled meeting to be held on Wednesday, July 18th.  The VEB could then provide their comments to the Planning Board in time for the July 24th public hearing.  Mr. Gemmola said that he would make the necessary revisions to the Applicant’s plans and deliver them to the Village Engineer’s Office in time for the VEB meeting of the 18th.  


The minutes of the Tuesday, May 22, 2007 Planning Board meeting were approved on a motion by Ms. Allen, seconded by Mr. Sharma and carried by a vote of 3 to 0.   


There being no further business to come before the Board, the meeting was duly adjourned at 8:45 P.M.


Sylvia Mills