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Planning Board Minutes 1/15/08


A regular meeting of the Planning Board of the Village of Croton-on-Hudson, New York was held on Tuesday, January 15, 2008 in the Municipal Building.

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

                ABSENT: Deven Sharma
                ALSO PRESENT:   Ann Gallelli, Liaison from the Village Board
Daniel O’Connor, P.E., Village Engineer

1.  Call to Order:

The meeting was called to order at 8:00 P.M. by Chairman Kehoe.


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

Chairman Kehoe recused himself from the review of this application.   He asked Mr. Luntz to take his place as Planning Board Chairman.

Norman Sheer, attorney for the Applicants; Ronald Wegner of Cronin Engineering; and Brian Ackerman, Ann Harbeson and Lael Morgan, owners of the property, were present.  

Mr. Sheer noted to those present that the last time they (the Applicant) met with the board, he reviewed the draft resolution for this application. He had suggested at that time a few minor changes, which have since been made.     

Mr. Luntz noted that at one point during the last meeting it was suggested by the Applicant that the trail easement was going to be withdrawn.  During the course of that meeting the granting of the trail easement was brought back into the proposal.  Mr. Luntz noted further that, at the last meeting, the Planning Board was leaning toward an approval of the preliminary subdivision with the granting of the trail easement.

Mr. Luntz pointed out that, even though he had proposed at the last meeting that the Planning Board close the public hearing on this application, the public hearing was never officially closed.

Mr. Sheer noted that the exact location (metes and bounds) of the trail easement is yet to be determined. The trail location is (would be) a condition of the final rather than the preliminary subdivision approval.

Mr. Sheer said that the Applicant has submitted to the board a cost estimate for the sewer connection.  A metes and bounds description for the sewer easement would be prepared prior to the approval of the final subdivision. Mr. Sheer noted that, at the last meeting, the Planning Board and the Applicant reached an agreement that the trail would remain “rough” rather than covered with wood chips.  

Mr. Sheer stated that the Applicant has submitted a Full Environmental Assessment Form (FEAF) dated December 12, 2007.  Mr. Andrews recalled that there were a few corrections to be made to the FEAF.  The Village Engineer explained the changes to be made to Part 2. On page 15, question 14, “Will Proposed Action impact the exceptional or unique characteristics of a critical environmental area (CEA)…?”, the answer given was “Yes.” This answer is correct; however, the answer to the question, “Can Impact be Mitigated by Project Change?”, was left blank and should have been marked “Yes.”  The Village Engineer noted that this project is within a well field area, which is in the Croton River CEA.  The impact to the CEA would be mitigated by the connection of the proposed house to the Village’s sewer system.  Also, dry wells are being proposed for any excess storm water runoff. The Village Engineer noted that the answer given to question 6 on page 14, “Will Proposed Action alter drainage flow or patterns or surface water runoff?”, was “No” and should have been “Yes.” The Village Engineer said that, although the correct answer to this question is “Yes,” the impact(s) would be “small to moderate.” Mr. Andrews asked the Village Engineer if he was satisfied with the changes being made to the FEAF, to which the Village Engineer said that he was.

Mr. Luntz asked if there were any further comments from the public.  Charles Trendell of 39 Batten Road asked the Planning Board how the environmental impact study for this project was determined.  Mr. Luntz told Mr. Trendell that the Applicant had filled out and submitted to the Planning Board a short form EAF. The Planning Board decided at the last meeting that the long form EAF or FEAF should be submitted. The Full Environmental Assessment Form (FEAF) covers in greater detail the potential impacts and how these impacts would be addressed. Some of the issues that would require mitigation include runoff/drainage and (the handling of) sewage from the new house. Mr. Luntz stated that these issues have been addressed by the Applicant and the Village, respectively, in parts 1, 2 and 3 of the FEAF.  

Mr. Trendell said that it would appear to him that the Planning Board is concerned about the trail link at Valley Trail but not the potential drainage and flooding problems on Batten Road. He would be concerned about the potential flooding downstream. Mr. Andrews suggested that the Village Engineer could talk about the site impacts of this subdivision proposal and how they would be handled. The Village Engineer stated that the Applicant’s engineer has developed a drainage report, which shows existing and proposed storm water flows. These flows would necessarily increase because of the impervious surfaces being created.  In order to mitigate the impact(s), the Applicant’s engineer proposes to install, at the bottom of the driveway, a trench drain that would be piped to a dry well.  The Village Engineer noted that, at the time of the minor site plan application, the Applicant would be asked to do soil tests.  The dry well, presently being proposed, might require modification depending on the results of the soil testing. Consideration would then be given to the volume of the device (dry well).  The Village Engineer pointed out that, to a larger degree, the same method for handling drainage was used at the Hudson View Subdivision with the installation of the detention pond.      

Mr. Trendell asked the Village Engineer if the Applicant’s engineer had performed any rain volume studies.  The Village Engineer explained that, in so far as the potential for storm water runoff is concerned, there are standard rainfall models that are used. The Applicant has used the model for rainfall that is standard to the industry.  Mr. Andrews asked if the Village Engineer was satisfied with the rain volume study that was performed, to which the Village Engineer said that he was.

Rhoda Stephens of 2 Batten Road was present.  She pointed out that for the new house being proposed the future homeowner/developer is going to have to remove a number of trees.  She would be concerned about drainage, given the number of trees that would have to come down.  She was also concerned about the significant and specimen trees situated on the property.  She would hope that the future homeowner/developer would take great care to protect these trees. Mr. Luntz noted that any development of a piece of property typically involves tree removal.  In so far as the drainage is concerned, the Applicant’s engineer has produced a drainage plan to take care of excess runoff created by the new development.  The Planning Board and the Village Engineer are satisfied with the solution being proposed.  Dry wells, swales and other drainage mechanisms are (would be) in place to address any additional water runoff.

Mr. Luntz asked if there were any further comments from the public, to which there were none.  Mr. Luntz proposed that the public hearing be closed.  The motion to close the public hearing was made by Ms. Allen, seconded by Mr. Andrews and carried by a vote of 3 to 0.  

Mr. Luntz said that he is satisfied with the proposal for the trail easement. He would ask that the Applicant work “hand in hand” with the Trails Committee on the exact location for the trail.  The objective would be to find the most expeditious way “down the hill” onto Batten Road and, at the same time, respect the privacy of people whose property is situated along the trail route.  Mr. Luntz said that he is confident that the Applicant and the Trails Committee could “work something out” that would be in everyone’s best interest. Ms. Allen asked if the intent is to put on the subdivision map the placement of the trail.  Mr. Luntz said that it is his understanding that the final subdivision map would include the trail. Mr. Sheer said that the final subdivision map would include the location of both the sewer and trail easements.

The Village Engineer noted that the Harbeson’s would like the trail to be moved to a location farther away from their house/property. They suggested an alternative location along the property line. The Village Engineer and the chairman of the Trails Committee, Jan Wines, have walked this “new” route. Mr. Wines has expressed his concern that the route is too “roundabout.”  He would attempt to set up a field meeting to find a shorter route.  Ms. Allen referred to condition #4 of the draft resolution. She said that she would assume this condition is adequate for settling the matter of the trail location, to which Mr. Sheer thought that it was. Mr. Sheer told the board that once the easement agreements are drawn up, they would be submitted to the Village Engineer who, in turn, would submit them to the Planning Board.  The Planning Board would have an opportunity to review the easements at the time of the final subdivision approval.

The Village Engineer told those present that the Village is in the process of working on the final points of the Batten Road Drainage Project.  The project would begin in the summer during low groundwater table conditions.  It is anticipated that the project would begin and be completed during the summer months.  The Village Engineer noted that the size of the piping has been increased to 24” to handle a greater volume of water.

Mr. Sheer told the Planning Board that, as part of their approval, the Planning Board would need to issue a Negative Declaration and make their findings.

Ms. Allen suggested to the Planning Board that, in the “whereas” clause in the draft resolution pertaining to the FEAF, it should be more clearly stated that the Planning Board accepts the FEAF with the minor changes discussed tonight.    

Mr. Sheer said that the first condition of the Planning Board’s resolution should read: “that the foregoing recitals are incorporated herein as if set forth at length.”  

Mr. Luntz read aloud the draft resolution.  He asked if there were any other additions/changes to the wording of the resolution other than the ones already discussed.  Mr. Sheer referred to the “Now, therefore be it resolved…” paragraph and noted that the date of the Applicant’s last revised plans should be changed from December 18, 2007 to December 6, 2007.  Mr. Andrews noted that wording should be added to the end of condition #4 to the effect that the Planning Board has determined to waive the subdivision recreation fee in consideration of the trail easement.   

Mr. Luntz entertained a motion to approve this application with the conditions discussed tonight.  The motion to approve was made by Mr. Andrews, seconded by Ms. Allen and carried by a vote of 3 to 0.


*    Chairman Kehoe noted to the members that the Village’s proposed steep slopes law would be discussed at the Planning Board meeting of January 29th.  He asked the Planning Board secretary to email the draft law to the members.  Trustee Gallelli reminded the board members that on February 11th the Village Board has scheduled a meeting for involved committees/boards to comment on the proposed law.

*    Chairman Kehoe told the board members that Trustee Gallelli would be attending the Westchester 2025 Launch to be held at the Westchester County Center on January 16th.  He, too, would be attending the meeting in his capacity as planner for the Town of Cortlandt.  Trustee Gallelli noted that the Village Engineer also plans to attend this meeting.

*    Trustee Gallelli stated that the Harmon Commercial Development Committee presented their recommendations to the Village Board at the Village Board meeting last night. The committee suggested to the Village Board that a planning consultant should be hired. They also suggested that a marketing professional should be hired to do a feasibility study for that (the Harmon) area.  Trustee Gallelli noted that the zoning recommendations, which have been suggested, would be a lengthy process.  The Village Engineer told the Planning Board that there was a question raised about whether other commercial areas of the Village should also be taken into consideration.

*    Trustee Gallelli reminded the board members of the training requirement for Planning/Zoning Board members.  Board members must complete four hours of training per year to continue serving on their respective boards.  For those who cannot attend the various seminars offered throughout the year, there is training offered on-line.

*    Chairman Kehoe described to the Planning Board the grant program entitled Trees for Tributaries which, he thought, might be of some interest to the Village.  He mentioned Mayo’s Landing on the Croton River as a possible beneficiary of this program.    

*    The Village Engineer told the board that he spoke to Robert Gaudioso, the attorney for Nextel, who informed him that the cell tower project at the DPW site has been put “on hold.”  Nextel/Sprint are in the process of changing the equipment at their existing facilities for the purpose of re-banding to different frequencies.  The Village Engineer noted that T-Mobile and AT&T are still interested in moving forward with the cell tower proposal.

*    Ms. Allen recalled to the board that when the Planning Board was reviewing the Duce Subdivision, she had raised an issue regarding what, she thought, was a discrepancy in the steep slopes calculations. The Applicant’s engineer, Ralph Mastromonaco, had redone the calculations for the purpose of relocating the utilities for the new house(s).  He had included in the revised calculations off-site land on the existing Duce property. Ms. Allen questioned the way in which Mr. Mastromonaco calculated the steep slopes. She would want the Village Attorney to render an opinion, and she would want assurance that this matter of how to calculate the slope area(s) is covered in the new law.         


The minutes of the Tuesday, November 27, 2007 Planning Board meeting were approved on a motion by Mr. Andrews, seconded by Mr. Luntz and carried by a vote of 4 to 0.  

The minutes of the Tuesday, December 11, 2007 Planning Board meeting were approved, as amended, on a motion by Mr. Luntz, seconded by Mr. Andrews and carried by a vote of 3 to 0.  Ms. Allen abstained.


There being no further business to come before the Board, the meeting was duly adjourned at 9:10 P.M.


Sylvia Mills


WHEREAS, Brian Ackerman, Lael Morgan, and John and Ann Harbeson have applied to the Planning Board for Preliminary Subdivision Plat Approval on property which is located on Batten Road, in a Residential RA-25 District, and is designated on the Tax Map of the Village as Section 68.17 Block 2 Lots 7, 8.1 and 9 (formerly #56 180 2A); and

WHEREAS, this property, consisting of 11.93 acres and three existing lots, is proposed to have the lot lines of the existing three lots modified, which is considered a subdivision under the Village Code; and

WHEREAS, the Applicant has submitted to the Planning Board a Full Environmental Assessment Form (FEAF) dated December 12, 2007, with corrections dated January 15, 2008; and
WHEREAS, the Planning Board, having reviewed this Project under the State Environmental Quality Review Act (SEQRA) and the Village’s Environmental Review Law known as Chapter 116 of the Village Code, thereby finds that the Project will not have a significant adverse impact on the environment and issues a Negative Declaration; and

WHEREAS, a Public Hearing before the Planning Board was held on this application on Tuesday, December 11, 2007, and continued to Tuesday, January 15, 2008; and

WHEREAS, on Tuesday, January 15, 2008, the public hearing was closed.

NOW, THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED, that the Planning Board approves the application submitted by Brian Ackerman, Lael Morgan, and John and Ann Harbeson for a three-lot subdivision of property located on Batten Road, as shown on Drawing #SP-1.1 entitled “Overall Property Layout Preliminary Subdivision for Ackerman, Morgan, & Harbeson” and Drawing #SP-1.2 entitled “Site Development Plan – Lot 8 Preliminary Subdivision for Ackerman, Morgan, & Harbeson,” prepared by Cronin Engineering, P.E. P.C., dated January 16, 2007, and last revised December 6, 2007, and a report entitled “Drainage Analysis Prepared for Ackerman, Morgan & Harbeson,” prepared by Cronin Engineering, P.E. P.C., dated December 10, 2007, subject to the following conditions:

1)      that the foregoing recitals are incorporated herein as if set forth at length.

2)      that a Minor Site Plan application shall be submitted and approved by the Planning Board prior to the issuance of a Building Permit for new tax lot #8.

3)      that construction oversight be performed by the Village’s environmental consultant.

4)      that given the limitations of the site the Planning Board has determined that the trail easement is sufficient suitable recreational land.  The trail easement will provide for the completion of an important trail link described in the 1993 Village Trail Master Plan and Addendum and will provide all Village residents with recreational opportunities. The subdivision recreation fee for new tax lot #8 is waived in consideration of the trail easement.

5)      that permanent irrevocable easements for a future sewer line extension and Village recreational trail link shall be granted to the Village in exact locations to be determined by the Planning Board, the Village Engineer and the Trails Committee prior to the Final Subdivision Approval.  These easements shall be completed by the Applicant to the satisfaction of the Village Attorney and the Village Engineer.  Easement agreements shall be finalized and certified copies of the filed easements and a signed and sealed survey map showing the easement boundaries and iron rods installed at points of course changes shall be provided to the Village prior to the final plat being signed.

6)      that the developer of new tax lot #8 is responsible to obtain Westchester County Health Department approval of the plans and to construct the sewer collection system extension to Batten Road, as generally shown on the subdivision plans.  Prior to the issuance of a building permit a bond satisfactory to the Village shall be submitted covering the construction of the sewer collection system extension.

7)      that iron rods be installed at property corners and any change in course of the new lot lines being established for the existing lots.  A survey showing the iron rods shall be submitted to the Village prior to the final plat being signed.

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, that, as part of the Final Subdivision Plat approval process, the Applicant shall seek the necessary approval from the Westchester County Department of Health.  Evidence of approval by the Westchester County Department of Health shall be in the form of the Department of Health’s endorsement of the Final Subdivision Plat.

                                                The Planning Board of the Village of
                                                Croton-on-Hudson, New York

                                                Chris Kehoe, Chairperson                                                                                                         Fran Allen
                                                Vincent Andrews
                                                Robert Luntz
                                                Deven Sharma

The motion to approve was made by Mr. Andrews, seconded by Ms. Allen and carried by a vote of 3 to 0.  Planning Board Chairman Chris Kehoe recused himself.  Board member Deven Sharma was absent from the meeting.

The resolution was accepted with the minutes of the Planning Board meeting held on January 15, 2008.