Planning Board Minutes 03/11/08
VILLAGE OF CROTON ON HUDSON, NEW YORK

PLANNING BOARD MEETING MINUTES – TUESDAY, MARCH 11, 2008


A regular meeting of the Planning Board of the Village of Croton-on-Hudson, New York was held on Tuesday, March 11, 2008 in the Municipal Building.


MEMBERS PRESENT:        Chris Kehoe, Chairman
Fran Allen
Vincent Andrews
                                Robert Luntz
                                Deven Sharma
                                                                                        
                ALSO PRESENT:   Thomas Brennan, Member of 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 an Amended Site Plan for Key Bank

Anthony Osterberg, P.E. of Jacobs Engineering Group Inc.; Paul Clarke, Facilities Manager of Key Bank and Brian O’Connor of Frohling Sign Co., were present for this application.

Mr. Osterberg noted that Union State Bank came before the Planning Board in 2007 for a Change of Use Approval from a home video rental store to a bank.  Union State Bank has since been purchased by Key Bank. The Applicant, Key Bank, is before the Planning Board tonight for an Amended Site Plan to install an ATM and night deposit box (AHD) on the façade of the building.

Chairman Kehoe opened the public hearing.  He asked if there were any comments, to which Mr. Luntz noted that the Planning Board had received an email earlier this evening from Doug Wehrle of the Advisory Board on the Visual Environment (VEB).  Mr. Luntz suggested that he could read aloud the email as it was sent to the Planning Board after the Village offices had closed for the day.  The email read as follows:

        The VEB is supportive of the signage and other façade revisions as delineated
        in its architectural plans.

        Key Bank proposes to place identifying signs in both of these locations as well
        as a third sign above its auto teller window in the north façade.  It is our
        understanding that Key Bank would need a variance for two signs – the one
        on the side of the building and the one above the ATM machine.  The only
        “approvable” sign is the one on  the façade.

        It appears that the size of the Key Bank logo and lettering would be the same
        in the signage band on both exposures.  The font and logo size above the ATM
        seems to be appropriately smaller on the scaled drawing, although the signage
        company’s plan shows this signage to be virtually the same scale as the façade
        signs.  It is noted that our approval is based on the architectural drawings, not
        the sign company submissions.

        In addition, the façade plans show that there will be some minor revision to
        the fenestration on the northern façade to accommodate the ATM window,
        as well as a new entry door.  No other exterior work is apparent based on my
        review of the plans.

        Our thoughts are as follows: 1) identifying signage on both eastern and
        northern facades is acceptable, and desirable from both information and
        aesthetic reasons, 2) the logo and name sign above the ATM appears to
        be the right size in the architectural drawings, and again, we see no
        reason to object to this small additional sign.

        Overall, the proposal represents a clean and attractive addition to this
        section of the commercial area.

The Village Engineer noted that when Union State Bank came before the Planning Board in 2007, the Planning Board approved the Change of Use application subject to review of the proposed signs by the VEB.  At that time, the Applicant, Union State Bank, was proposing a sign on the side of the building, which would have required a variance from the Zoning Board of Appeals.  The Village Engineer noted that Key Bank is proposing two signs that would require variances i.e., the sign on the side of the building and the sign above the ATM.  Mr. O’Connor of Frohling Sign Co. noted to the Village Engineer and the Planning Board members that the Applicant has submitted to the Zoning Board of Appeals an application for variances for the two signs.  The Applicant is scheduled to go before the Zoning Board on April 19th.  

Chairman Kehoe asked if there were any further comments, to which there were none.

Chairman Kehoe entertained a motion to close the public hearing.  The motion was made by Mr. Luntz, seconded by Ms. Allen and carried by a vote of 5 to 0.

Chairman Kehoe read aloud the draft resolution.  He suggested that in the second “whereas” clause, wording should be added regarding the proposed change to the façade for the installation of the ATM/AHD.  The “whereas” clause should read:  

“WHEREAS, the proposed Amended Site Plan is for the renovation of the exterior glass storefront to contain a walk-up automated teller machine (ATM) and after-hours repository or night deposit box (AHD).”        
        
Mr. Sharma referred to condition #1 in the draft resolution regarding signage approval(s).  It states in condition #1 that the signs on the side of the building and above the ATM are not being approved since variances are required.  Mr. Sharma suggested that the wording should be changed to say that the Planning Board approves these signs subject to the review and the granting of the variances by the Zoning Board of Appeals.  

Chairman Kehoe noted that, as was the case with the Union State Bank, there would be a condition in the resolution stating that employees of the bank are required to park in the rear parking lot.

The Village Engineer suggested that a condition should be added to the resolution regarding the restriping of the fire lane in that area (the east end) of the shopping center. The striping should be repainted as a means of further alerting drivers that they are not allowed to park in that area (the fire lane) while making use of the walk-up ATM/AHD.  The Applicant’s engineer, Mr. Osterberg, noted to the Village Engineer and the Planning Board that, at this point in time, the fire lane does not continue along the front of the building but (actually) ends at the side of the building.  The Village Engineer said that he would think that the fire lane should be continued all the way along the front.  He suggested that the following condition (#3) should be added:

        “that the owner of the property work with the Village Engineer and Fire Inspector to continue the fire lane along the entire length of the east end of the shopping center.”

The Village Engineer asked that the following condition be included as condition #4 of the Planning Board’s resolution:

        “The Planning Board recognizes that there is no pedestrian sidewalk from South Riverside Avenue into the shopping center and recommends that a sidewalk be installed at some point in the future.”
 
Chairman Kehoe entertained a motion to approve this application with the conditions discussed tonight.  The motion to approve was made by Mr. Luntz, seconded by Mr. Sharma and carried by a vote of 5 to 0.

3.  OLD BUSINESS:

·       John & Donna Nikic – 39 Truesdale Drive  (Sec. 79.09 Blk. 6 Lot 37.01) – Referral from the Village Board for a Steep Slopes Hardship Permit

Ron Wegner of Cronin Engineering and Thomas Brennan, owner of the property, were present for this application.

Mr. Wegner stated that he has revised the Applicant’s plans to reflect the comments made at the last meeting on this application.  The site plan has been updated to show more detail, and John Nikic, the contract vendee, has provided to the Planning Board a set of architectural plans showing the house he intends to build, which is a basic traditional Colonial-style house.  Should the Applicant’s Steep Slopes application be approved by the Village Board, the Applicant would come back before the Planning Board with a Minor Site Plan application for the house.  The Applicant would provide samples of the materials being used on the exterior of the house at that time.

Ms. Allen asked if the house would be a “modular,” to which Mr. Wegner said that it would not be a “modular.”  He explained that the Applicant, John Nikic, is a builder by trade, and a “modular” would not be the kind of house that he would build.

Mr. Wegner referred to the revised site plan and explained how, in the area of the driveway entrance, the sight distance would be maintained up and down the road (Truesdale Drive).   

Mr. Wegner said that the Applicant proposes to use stone for the retaining walls, similar to that which is out front.  The rounded stone, which has been used in the front, is generally not found, but they would incorporate this stone for the new retaining walls to make it work together with the existing stone wall.  Mr. Wegner said that the sections of the walls that are up to 4 feet in height would be “rebuilt” in stone, and the sections that are taller than that would be made of reinforced concrete; however, the face of the walls would be the same.  Mr. Wegner stated that the walls would be a maximum of 4 feet in height coming up both sides of the driveway.  The maximum wall height of 6? feet would be in the back (at the parking area).

Mr. Wegner said that the Applicant proposes to replace the existing chain link fence on top of the retaining wall with a more aesthetically pleasing wooden fence.

Chairman Kehoe asked if the Applicant is proposing to plant low growing shrubs along the property line at the parking area, to which Mr. Wegner said “yes.”    

Mr. Wegner referred the Planning Board to the colored photographs provided to the board at the last meeting.  He pointed to the area where the existing chain link fence is located and noted that the two lots (the Applicant’s lot and the adjacent lot) are “at a level” at this point.  Ms. Allen said that it is her understanding that, given the excavation required for the driveway, the wall would have to be 6? feet high at the back (parking area), to which Mr. Wegner said that this is, indeed, the case.  Ms. Allen questioned if the adjacent neighbor would, therefore, be looking at a 6?-foot concrete wall, to which Mr. Wegner said “no,” the neighbor would be looking at the wooden fence, which is currently being proposed.  Mr. Sharma said that, with respect to the reinforced concrete wall faced with stone, he would want to see the Applicant cover the top as well so it would look like “wrapped around stone.”

Mr. Sharma noted that, in his (job) experience, it works out better to have the driveway somewhat level at the entrance to the street.  It makes it easier for a person driving in and out.  Mr. Sharma pointed out that some municipalities have regulations stipulating that the first 20 feet of the driveway from the street be level.  If this were at all viable for this driveway, he would suggest that it be done.  Mr. Sharma reiterated to the Applicant that he should try to change the driveway design so that when it meets the street it is level and perpendicular to the street.  Mr. Wegner said that the 15% slope of the driveway would start at the existing stone wall.  Between the street and the wall is a concrete sidewalk.  From the face of the stone wall to the curb is a distance of about 10 feet.  Mr. Sharma suggested that the 15% slope of the driveway be “pushed back” so that the sloped area closest to the street is reduced to 3-4% and the driveway entrance is at street level.  Mr. Wegner said that he thought this might be doable.  He would look into it.

Mr. Luntz asked Mr. Wegner where, along the driveway, the retaining walls become 6 feet in height, to which Mr. Wegner said that the walls become 6 feet in height in the landing up against the parking area.  Mr. Luntz asked what the width between the two walls would be, to which Mr. Wegner said that the driveway width between the retaining walls is16 feet.  The driveway surface would be asphalt.

Mr. Wegner pointed to the area of the property where the Applicant is proposing to plant oak trees.  

Mr. Wegner said that they have added a trench drain and infiltrator at the bottom of the driveway.  They have to do testing (a test pit) to make sure that the trench drain/infiltrator would fit in this location.  Mr. Wegner said that they drove a rebar into the ground 8 feet in the driveway area and 9 feet in the house location and discovered that, as far as the excavation work is concerned, they should not be dealing with too much rock.

Mr. Wegner noted to the board that, although a garage is not reflected on the house plans, the design for this house would not change if the Applicant were to decide to have a garage.  At present, a garage is not being proposed; however, the Applicant does not want to “close that door” completely.  Mr. Wegner noted that the present set-up is such that a person could walk from the basement to the driveway parking area.     

Mr. Luntz asked if the Applicant is going to “end up with” a railing on the retaining walls along the entire slope of the driveway. The Village Engineer said that, with respect to a railing/fence, the issue is really about safety. The prospective homeowner would not want children walking along the street to climb onto the walls and then fall off onto the asphalt driveway surface.  The Village Engineer said that, rather than discussing the railing/fencing at this juncture, this discussion could take place during the Minor Site Plan approval process.

Mr. Andrews asked if the calculations for drainage would be discussed during the Minor Site Plan review or if they could be discussed at this juncture, to which the Village Engineer responded that the Planning Board could ask to see drainage calculations now, during their review of the Steep Slopes Hardship Permit application.  The Applicant could be asked to put together a drainage report.  Mr. Andrews said that he would think these drainage calculations would be “part and parcel” of a steep slopes review.  Ms. Allen agreed with Mr. Andrews and added that the Planning Board would want to be assured that when it rains the excess runoff is not going to “turn into a big funnel of water.”   She, too, thought that the drainage report should be provided now.

The Village Engineer said that when it rains the water from the gutters goes into seepage pits around the house.  The water almost always overflows during a bad storm. The Village Engineer asked if the drainage system could be built so as to have the excess water runoff go down the driveway. The Village Engineer noted that if the overflow of water were piped into the driveway, there would be less chance of erosion.  Mr. Wegner noted that the water would be going into an area which has been stabilized, so there would be no erosion.  Ms. Allen asked where the storm water goes once it gets to the driveway, to which Mr. Wegner said that it would go into a trench and then onto the street.  Ms. Allen asked if it would be possible to have a more mounded driveway to capture water with a riprap on the right hand side.  This is recommended in the County’s Best Management Practices for storm water.  Mr. Wegner noted to Ms. Allen that this type of system is generally effective when the ground is level, and that is not the case here.  Ms. Allen recalled a successful example of riprap being put in place on a driveway that was steeper and longer than the one the Planning Board is looking at now.  Mr. Wegner pointed out that the Applicant is proposing a trench drain and infiltrator chamber at the bottom of the driveway to catch excess storm water runoff. The drainage system being proposed would be for a 10-year storm event.

Chairman Kehoe said that, according to the steep slopes analysis (calculations) on the Applicant’s plans, the only impact on the steep slopes would be for the construction of the driveway.  The house location is not in a steep slopes area.  The proposed disturbance in the “15 to 20%” category would be 579 square feet and the disturbance in the “20% or greater” category would be 1,383 square feet.  Chairman Kehoe noted that almost all of the disturbance would for the proposed driveway, to which Mr. Wegner said that this is, indeed, the case.  Mr. Wegner pointed out that the disturbance in the “15 to 20%” category is (would be) totally for the construction of the driveway.  Mr. Wegner noted that, with respect to finding a driveway location, there was no access to the flat area(s) of the property as the land all the way around the Applicant’s property is fully developed.  Mr. Andrews asked the Village Engineer if he was satisfied with the erosion control measures being proposed, to which the Village Engineer replied that he was.  The Village Engineer said that when the driveway is excavated, gravel would be used on the surface to minimize erosion.  The testing (test pits) so far indicates good results from a bedrock standpoint.  One of the first tasks for the contractor would be to pour the foundation and the reinforced concrete wall(s).  The soil would be faced.  The Village Engineer noted that the house being proposed is on a flat area.  There would be a silt fence installed around the house to prevent erosion. The driveway would be installed fairly quickly.  The Village Engineer reiterated that he would think, from an erosion control standpoint, the project would be manageable.  

Ms. Allen expressed concern about water reaching the street during a bad storm event.  She noted that, with the building of the proposed house and driveway/parking area, there would be an increase in the amount of impervious surface on the hillside.   The design being proposed is for a 10-year storm event.  The Applicant proposes to install dry wells and a trench drain to catch the water on site.  She would want to see the drainage numbers (calculations) for the driveway.  Chairman Kehoe noted that Mr. Wegner had pointed out earlier that no matter whether the property is developed or undeveloped, during a really bad storm event, water would end up going out onto the street.  Ms. Allen said that she would nonetheless like to see these drainage calculations.  Ms. Allen asked if the Applicant had a proposal for the design of the trench drain, to which Mr. Wegner said that he does not have a detail of the trench drain on the plan; however, he does have a catalog sheet.  He showed Ms. Allen the catalog sheet.  Ms. Allen asked where the water would go once it hits the street.  The Village Engineer said that the water would flow downhill toward Old Post Road South.

Mr. Sharma said that, with respect to the drainage, the Planning Board would want to see a comparison of the water flow downhill “pre- and post-development,” to which Mr. Wegner replied that such a comparison would be a part of the drainage analysis being provided.    

Chairman Kehoe noted that Mr. Turner had brought up at the last meeting the matter of the Applicant needing to go before the Waterfront Advisory Committee for a determination of consistency with the policies of the Local Waterfront Revitalization Program (LWRP).  The Applicant would be required to submit a Coastal Assessment Form for review by the WAC.  The Village Engineer pointed out that the outcome of this “dual review” would be a two-part recommendation to the Village Board on this Steep Slopes Hardship Permit application, one from the Planning Board and one from the WAC.  Ms. Allen noted to the Applicant that one of the issues that would be raised at the WAC meeting is whether or not the drainage from this project would have an impact on the Croton River.  

Chairman Kehoe told the Applicant that they could come back before the Planning Board with the drainage calculations even if they have not yet been before the WAC.

The Village Engineer told the Planning Board that, since the last meeting, he has checked to see if this project is within the Critical Environmental Area (CEA) for the Croton River, and it is not.  He distributed to the board members a map showing the CEA specified by Westchester County for Croton Point Park and the Croton River.  The Village Engineer said that, although it is not within a CEA, it is in the coastal zone and, therefore, this project has to go before the WAC.

Mr. Turner of 35 Truesdale Drive was present.  He said that having compared the Applicant’s previously submitted plans with the revised plans being reviewed tonight he noted that the proposed driveway has been moved closer to his property line.  The previous plans showed more of a buffer (area) in that location. Mr. Turner said that, during Hurricane Floyd, his parcel and the adjacent vacant parcel “took all the water from Morningside Drive and the upper areas.”  The soil on his property is mostly composed of clay, which does not hold water well.  Mr. Turner said that, to catch the water that “sheets down” from the uphill properties, there currently exists in the area between the two properties a swale and some riprap.  Mr. Turner said that, for drainage purposes, he would rather maintain more space between his property and the driveway being proposed.   Mr. Wegner explained to Mr. Turner that they moved the driveway closer to the property line so as to maintain some of the large trees on the Applicant’s property, particularly the 36-inch (DBH) oak tree.  Mr. Turner said that he would ask that the board reconsider this “new” driveway location.  Mr. Sharma said that, as he understands it, the storm water runs off of Mr. Turner’s property and onto the Applicant’s vacant parcel before it runs down onto the street, to which Mr. Turner said that this is the case.  The water from uphill flows naturally in that direction.  Mr. Luntz suggested to Mr. Turner that it might be helpful to have a storm water retention feature of some sort constructed on his property to handle the excess storm water.       

Mr. Brennan, the current owner of the vacant lot at 39 Truesdale Drive, was present.  Mr. Brennan suggested that the Planning Board could come to his house at 45 Truesdale Drive and view, from that vantage point, the topography of the land.  Mr. Brennan said that from his backyard at 45 Truesdale Drive, the Planning Board could look at the point at which his vacant lot borders on Mr. Turner’s, and in doing so, they would see that there is no elevation change.  If one were to look at the angle of the driveway on the lot that Mr. Turner’s houses sits on, one would see that it (the driveway) is quite sloped.  Mr. Brennan said that he personally has not seen water pooling on the vacant lot during heavy rains.  He would suggest that the angle of the slope of Mr. Turner’s driveway is not that much steeper than his driveway.  Ms. Allen said that, having looked at the Applicant’s plans, it would appear that the topography of the land is very steep at the corner of Mr. Turner’s property.  

The Village Engineer said that he would think that some water goes onto the vacant lot.  Once the retaining wall is put up, the wall would “act like a dam,” and the water would be collected in back of the retaining wall.  The Village Engineer said that a typical way to handle the drainage would be to put in a swale with riprap down to the location of the sidewalk, the purpose being to prevent a gulley from forming behind the wall.  The Village Engineer said that the object of creating a swale would be to prevent erosion from taking place behind the retaining wall.  The Village Engineer noted that, in the alternative, the gravel trench, which currently exists in that location, could be brought up to the surface.  The Applicant could either create a swale or use the existing gravel trench to direct the water down toward Truesdale Drive.

Mr. Luntz noted that the retaining wall being proposed should actually improve the drainage situation.  Mr. Luntz said that, as he sees the drainage situation, the excess storm water should be dealt with on Mr. Turner’s property and not be allowed to “sheet out” onto the street.  Mr. Turner said that, as he mentioned earlier, the soil on his property is composed of clay, which does not absorb water well.  Mr. Wegner pointed out that, with respect to the drainage, the creation of a swale along the property line would be a part of his drainage analysis.  Mr. Turner said again that he would encourage the Applicant to use the previous plan for the driveway that showed more of a buffer between the two properties.

Chairman Kehoe noted that, according to the Applicant’s site plan, the existing chain link fence is located on their property.  It is his understanding that a new survey has been prepared for the vacant lot, which also shows this fence on the Applicant’s property.  Mr. Turner told those present that, in so far as the location of the chain link fence is concerned, his survey differs from the Applicant’s survey.  

Mr. Brennan suggested again that the Planning Board should come to his property at 45 Truesdale Drive to view his (vacant) lot and Mr. Turner’s lot.  Mr. Brennan said, “I don’t think my driveway would have any more impact than his (Mr. Turner’s) does.”       

Mr. Turner noted to the board that a well-established privet hedge now exists in the location of the chain link fence.  In his view, the privet hedge does a wonderful job screening the two properties.  Mr. Turner said that he would object to the wood fence being proposed.  The Village Engineer noted that, according to code, if a fence is no more than 6 feet in height, a building permit is not required.  The homeowner has a right to put up a 6-foot high wood fence.  The Village Engineer suggested that the Applicant could talk to his neighbor, Mr. Turner, about what type of fence to install.  Chairman Kehoe noted that if the Applicant’s Minor Site Plan were to show a 6-foot high fence, and the Planning Board voted to approve the Minor Site Plan, then the Planning Board would be approving the “6-foot high fence as shown on the plan.”  Mr. Turner suggested that, with respect to this matter regarding the fence, the Planning Board could leave it up to them (the prospective homeowner and himself) to choose the fence. Chairman Kehoe agreed that the best solution would be to have the two neighbors get together on this matter.  Mr. Turner noted to the board that there exists now a split rail fence to prevent people from getting too close to the precipice.  The Village Engineer suggested that this matter regarding the fencing could be discussed in more detail during the Minor Site Plan review.  For the purposes of the steep slopes review, the fencing should be incorporated on the plan(s) with a “generic note” saying that fencing is to be installed for safety purposes.         

Chairman Kehoe told Mr. Turner that, for the next meeting on this application, the Planning Board would ask the Applicant to look into the possibility of reincorporating the first iteration of the driveway.
      
4.  APPROVAL OF MINUTES:

The minutes of the Tuesday, February 12, 2008 Planning Board meeting were approved on a motion by Mr. Andrews, seconded by Ms. Allen and carried by a vote of 4 to 0.  Mr. Sharma abstained.

5.  ADJOURNMENT:

There being no further business to come before the Board, the meeting was duly adjourned at 9:36 P.M.

Sincerely,



Sylvia Mills



RESOLUTION


WHEREAS, the Planning Board held a public hearing on an Amended Site Plan application on Tuesday, March 11, 2008 for Key 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 Amended Site Plan is for the renovation of the exterior glass storefront to contain a walk-up automated teller machine (ATM) and after-hours repository or night deposit box (AHD); and

WHEREAS, this proposal is considered a Type II Action under the State Environmental Quality Review Act (SEQRA), therefore, no Negative Declaration is required.

NOW, THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED, that the Amended Site Plan application, as shown on the title sheet page #G-001 entitled “Key Bank PID #6618 Croton-on-Hudson 420 South Riverside Avenue Croton-on-Hudson, NY 10520,” sheet #A105 entitled “Furniture, Fixture and Equipment Coordination Plan,” sheet #A-201 entitled “Exterior Elevations” and sheet #A-301 entitled “Building Sections and Details,” prepared by Jacobs Architecture & Engineering Practice, dated February 6, 2008, last revised February 20, 2008; and an application for a sign permit, received by the Planning Board on February 21, 2008, be approved subject to the following conditions:

1)      that the proposed signs be reviewed by the VEB and the Village Engineer for compliance prior to installation.  The signs on the side of the building and above the ATM require variances from the Zoning Board of Appeals.  The Planning Board hereby approves these signs subject to the review and the granting of the variances by the Zoning Board of Appeals.  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.

2)      that employees of the bank be required to park in the rear parking lot of the shopping center.

3)            that the owner of the property work with the Village Engineer and Fire Inspector to continue the fire lane along the entire length of the east end of the shopping center.

4)            The Planning Board recognizes that there is no pedestrian sidewalk from South Riverside Avenue into the shopping center and recommends that a sidewalk be installed at some point in the future.

In the event that this Amended Site Plan 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
                                                Fran Allen
                                                Vincent Andrews
                                                Robert Luntz
                                                Deven Sharma
                                                        
Motion to approve by Mr. Luntz, seconded by Mr. Sharma and carried by a vote of 5 to 0.  

Resolution accepted with the minutes of the meeting held on Tuesday, March 11, 2008.