Planning Board Minutes 05/13/08

VILLAGE OF CROTON ON HUDSON, NEW YORK

PLANNING BOARD MEETING MINUTES – TUESDAY, MAY 13, 2008


A regular meeting of the Planning Board of the Village of Croton-on-Hudson, New York was held on Tuesday, May 13, 2008 in the Municipal Building.


MEMBERS PRESENT:                Chris Kehoe, Chairman
Fran Allen
Vincent Andrews
                                Robert Luntz
                                Deven Sharma
                                                                                        
                 ALSO PRESENT:          Ann Gallelli, 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.  NEW BUSINESS:

a)      Ed & Robyn Spector – 2 O’Reilly Court – (Sec. 67.20 Blk. 3 Lot 35.19) – Application for a Modification to the Building Envelope for the Construction of a Deck around an Existing Above-Ground Swimming Pool

Robyn Spector, owner of the property, and Mark Perez, contractor for the Applicant, were present.

Chairman Kehoe said that it is his understanding that this proposal is to put the deck on the side of the pool facing the house, to which Mrs. Spector replied that this is, indeed, the case.  Chairman Kehoe asked if the plantings around the back end of the pool would remain, to which Mrs. Spector said that they would.  Mr. Perez noted that all of the existing plantings in the pool area would remain.

Mr. Luntz noted that the previously approved application for a modification to the building envelope had already addressed the idea of putting in the swimming pool.  It is his understanding of this application that the Applicant is asking to extend the previously approved modification to include the deck.  Mrs. Spector said that she discussed their proposal for a deck with the Village Engineer and was told that, before they could apply for a building permit for the deck, they would have to come back before the Planning Board to ask for the building envelope modification.

Ms. Allen said that it would be helpful to the Planning Board, in their review of this application, to have the minutes of the Planning Board’s discussion of the building envelope modification for the above-ground swimming pool.  It would have been useful to have more background information.  Mrs. Spector recalled that the Planning Board’s main concern about the swimming pool was the pool’s visibility from the street. As a condition of their approval the Planning Board had asked that they put a berm around the pool and provide plantings, which would screen the pool from both sides of the street.  Mr. Perez noted that the pine trees on the outside perimeter are now 30 feet in height.  There are also plantings around the pool, which serve to screen the pool from view.

Mr. Sharma said that, in his view, the wording of this application for a modification to the building envelope should be amended. He would think that instead of asking for a modification of the building envelope, the Applicant should be seeking approval to put an accessory structure (deck) outside the envelope.  Mr. Sharma said that he would be opposed to extending or modifying the envelope per se.  

The Village Engineer made photocopies of, and distributed to the Planning Board members, the minutes of the September 7, 1999 meeting, at which time the building envelope modification for the swimming pool was approved. Chairman Kehoe noted that these minutes do not refer to the application as a “building envelope modification.”  The application is being referred to as an “amended site plan.”

The Village Engineer noted that the reasons why he felt the Applicant had to come back before the Planning Board are that the deck was not a part of the original (pool) application and it (the deck) represents a rather large increase to the size of the existing structure (pool).

Chairman Kehoe questioned, in so far as this deck application is concerned, what the Planning Board would be approving.  Would it be “a modification to the building envelope” or “a deck around the [existing] pool?” The Village Engineer said that it could be looked at in both ways i.e., that the deck around the existing pool is being approved; however, the building envelope is (also) being modified to allow the deck in this location.

Mr. Luntz said that he would think that the Planning Board should be careful to approve this deck, as it is being shown in the drawings tonight.  In his view, the building envelope should not increase any more than is required for the deck installation.  Ms. Allen agreed and suggested that the Planning Board could act as they did for the 3 O’Reilly Court application.  The condition of approval for 3 O’Reilly Court stated that, “The modification of the building envelope shall be extended solely for the siting of the swimming pool.”  Mr. Luntz noted that the Planning Board would want the Applicant to be allowed to build the deck because it is (would be) reasonable to accommodate this request for an extension; however, this extension should be solely for the siting of the deck. Chairman Kehoe noted that this would mean that, if something else (another accessory structure) were being proposed between the pool/deck and the house, then, the Applicant would have to come back before the Planning Board.

Mr. Sharma said that he would be opposed to using the terms “extending,” “enlarging,” or “modifying” the building envelope. He would think that the Planning Board could choose to permit the Applicant to build the deck beyond the envelope without extending the envelope.  What he (Mr. Sharma) would be opposed to would be extending the envelope.  The Village Engineer suggested that it would be “like creating a new envelope to coincide with the deck. There would be two independent envelopes:  one for the pool and one for the deck.”  Mr. Luntz said that he would disagree with the idea of two separate envelopes being created. Mr. Luntz said that there is an existing structure (pool) that is outside the envelope.  The deck would extend the modification to the building envelope, as it was previously approved.  The Planning Board has to decide whether or not to allow for such an extension.  Mr. Luntz said that, as it is being shown on the Applicant’s plan(s), he would be comfortable with an extension of the previously approved modification.  He reiterated that the Planning Board’s approval should be restricted to what is being shown on the Applicant’s plan(s).

Chairman Kehoe said that he personally would vote to extend the building envelope but he would be the only member of the Planning Board willing to do so.  

Chairman Kehoe noted that the area of the lawn where the pool and deck are situated is totally flat. He questioned why, at the time of the subdivision approval, the building envelope line was drawn this way.  Ms. Allen pointed out that no matter what the reasoning behind it was at that time, a property owner makes a decision on his/her land based on the assumption that neighboring building envelopes will be respected.   

Mr. Andrews said that, in his view, what the Applicant is proposing to add is reasonable as a “stand-alone structure on what was approved.”

Chairman Kehoe noted that a resolution has been drafted for this (the Spector) application.  He suggested that some of the language of the resolution, which specifically pertains to a building envelope modification, should be amended based on tonight’s discussion.  Mr. Luntz said that it should be made clear in the resolution that the Planning Board is approving the site plan, as presented, with the deck extension.  The date the plans were received by the Village should be duly noted.  Mr. Luntz added that it should be made clear that the Planning Board is approving the site plan and is not extending the building envelope.   

Chairman Kehoe suggested that a new “whereas” clause should be included as follows:

“WHEREAS, the Planning Board considered the Applicant’s request for a modification to the building envelope and determined that the pool deck could be approved without modifying the envelope.”

The Planning Board determined that the fourth “whereas” clause in the draft resolution should be amended to say:

“WHEREAS, on September 7, 1999, the Planning Board approved the proposal for an above-ground swimming pool with the condition that the pool be screened from both sides of the street.”

Mr. Andrews suggested that, in approving this application for the pool deck, the Planning Board should reemphasize the conditions about the screening, which were set forth in the September 7, 1999 minutes.  He suggested that a condition should be incorporated into the resolution for the deck to the effect that the conditions from the September 7, 1999 minutes are reaffirmed and maintained in effect.    

Chairman Kehoe suggested to the Planning Board that the sixth paragraph of the draft resolution should be changed to read:

NOW, THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED, that the application for a pool deck on Lot #19, as shown on the site plan with the extension of the deck and as shown on a set of construction drawings for the deck, included in the Planning Board’s packets and received by the Village on May 7, 2008, be approved subject to the following conditions:
1)      that the condition(s) pertaining to screening of the above-ground swimming pool, as set forth in the minutes of the meeting of September 7, 1999, are hereby reaffirmed and maintained in effect.

2)      that the Planning Board is approving the site plan for the deck and is not extending the building envelope.   

Chairman Kehoe entertained a motion to approve this application for a pool deck extension 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.

b)      John & Donna Nikic – 39 Truesdale Drive (Sec. 79.09 Blk. 6 Lot 37.01) – Application for a Minor Site Plan Approval for a New Single-Family Dwelling

John Nikic, contract vendee for the property, and Ron Wegner of Cronin Engineering were present for this application.

Mr. Wegner stated that the property in question is slightly more than one-third of an acre in size.  The house being proposed would be serviced by municipal water and sewer.  Mr. Wegner noted that this application has been before the Planning Board for a recommendation to the Village Board on a Steep Slopes Hardship Permit and before the Waterfront Advisory Committee for a determination of consistency with the Village’s Local Waterfront Revitalization Program.    

Mr. Wegner noted to the board the changes to the plans that have been made since the last Planning Board meeting.  As requested by the neighboring property owner, Rick Turner, the driveway has been moved farther away from his property line.  A flat landing area has been created at the bottom of the driveway to slow storm water runoff.  A trench drain is being shown at the driveway entrance to catch the excess storm water.  The house has been lowered by approximately one foot.  Mr. Wegner stated that other changes involve lengthening the stabilized construction entrance to the top of the steepest slope of the driveway, adding erosion and sedimentation control details to the plan(s) and adding a note that the retaining wall is being constructed early on in the construction process.  Mr. Wegner noted that before a Certificate of Occupancy could be issued, the Village has to agree to the Applicant’s tree planting plan.  

Chairman Kehoe pointed out that the foundation plan shows a garage door; however, there is no elevation plan of the garage, to which Mr. Nikic said that, indeed, there is no full elevation of the garage.  Mr. Wegner noted that the original plans presented to the Planning Board did not show a garage; however, it has always been the case that a garage could be added, if desired.

Ms. Allen noted that the wrong address is being shown on the architectural/elevation drawings.  The drawings should say “39 Truesdale Drive” as opposed to “35 Truesdale Drive.”  Mr. Luntz added that the left and right elevation drawings are also wrong.  Chairman Kehoe asked Mr. Nikic to confirm that the garage being proposed is on the right elevation.  Mr. Nikic said that, facing the building, the garage is (would be) on one’s left side.  Chairman Kehoe said that, if this is the case, then this would mean that there is a discrepancy in the left elevation drawing. Mr. Nikic explained to the board members the reason for the discrepancies stating that the template used was for one of his houses that had been designed years ago.  Mr. Nikic said that, apparently, when the draftsman did the mirror image, he did not “pick up on it all the way through.”

Mr. Nikic stated that there are no windows on the sides of the house.  The windows are only in the front and the back.  Chairman Kehoe questioned why there are no windows, pointing out that there is a good distance between the houses on both sides. Mr. Nikic said that, in this particular case, it is an issue of privacy.  He was under the impression that the neighboring property owners on either side would appreciate having more privacy.

The Village Engineer referred to the fireplace being shown on the right elevation drawing and stated that the Applicant would have to go before the Zoning Board of Appeals for a side yard setback variance for the fireplace. He told Mr. Nikic that, according to the Village Code, the calculations for setbacks would have to include the fireplace on the house exterior.  Ms. Allen noted that the front elevation drawing is also wrong in terms of the location of the fireplace.

Ms. Allen stated that the site plan says that the building height is “less than 35 feet.”  The Planning Board would want to know the exact height of the house being proposed. This information should be included on the Applicant’s plan(s).

Mr. Luntz noted that the Applicant said in his letter to the Planning Board that he would bring to the meeting samples of siding, roofing, etc.  Mr. Nikic distributed to the board members a sample of the trim and shutters.  He also passed out a photographic rendering of the front door and noted that he would paint the door “Colonial green” to match the shutters.

Ms. Allen asked if the house is a “modular,” to which Mr. Nikic replied that it is not.  It is a “stick” building.

Mr. Wegner told the board that, for the next meeting, they would show the garage elevation.  They would draw in the garage below the first floor.  Mr. Sharma suggested that they could provide a profile of the driveway itself.  The profile drawing should show where the driveway meets the garage doors.  The Planning Board would want to see an elevation of “that part of the basement where the [garage] doors are.”

Mr. Luntz told the Applicant that they need to come back to the Planning Board with modified architectural plans that accurately reflect what is going to be built.  The Village Engineer suggested to the Applicant that they could take information off of the site plan and “plug” this information into the architectural plans.

Mr. Sharma said that he would think that the house being proposed is consistent with the other houses in the neighborhood.  Chairman Kehoe noted that one inconsistency would be not having windows on either side.  Mr. Nikic told the board that if it would please the Planning Board to have windows on the sides of the house, he would not be opposed to adding them.  The issue is privacy for the neighboring homeowners. He said that, in essence, it would help him to create a “better product” to have windows on both sides.

The Village Engineer reiterated that, in order to meet setback requirements, the site plan has to be adjusted for the fireplace or the house itself needs to be moved.

Rick Turner of 35 Truesdale Drive was present.  He asked if a separate excavation permit would be required for this application. Given the excavation involved for the house/driveway, he would think a separate permit might be required.  Mr. Turner expressed concern about the impact of this project on his back yard.  He was concerned about maintaining his privacy.  Chairman Kehoe said that it was his impression that Mr. Turner had spoken to the property owner and that he (Mr. Turner) had liked the idea of the fence.  Mr. Turner said that he and the prospective property owner, Mr. Nikic, were not able to agree upon the landscaping in general.  Mr. Turner added that he has a conduit for electricity on the side (fence side) of the property. For that reason he would want to protect the integrity of the property line in that area.  Mr. Turner asked how high the retaining walls are at the property line where the conduit is located, to which Mr. Wegner said six feet. Mr. Turner asked if there was a detail of the retaining wall that he could look at, to which Mr. Wegner showed Mr. Turner details of the retaining wall (the four-foot wall and the greater than four-foot wall).  

Mr. Turner noted to the Applicant and the Planning Board that he is appreciative of having the proposed driveway moved farther away from his property line.  

Mr. Turner stated that the Applicant’s proposed retaining wall is parallel to his property line.  It would be helpful to have some additional landscaping installed in that area.  Chairman Kehoe suggested that, for the next meeting, the Applicant could provide details of the landscaping, for example, the type of low-growing shrub being proposed.  Mr. Turner said that, if there were going to be windows installed on that side of the house, then, he would ask for trees.  Mr. Wegner noted that there are already trees just inside the fence. Also, for screening purposes, the Applicant proposes to provide some additional landscaping and a six-foot tall fence.  Mr. Luntz said that he, personally, is satisfied with the Applicant’s solution for screening between these two properties.  Chairman Kehoe suggested that the Applicant could provide to the Planning Board photographs of the existing trees between the two properties.  Mr. Wegner said that he would bring to the next meeting the photographs that he has of the trees along the fence.   

Thomas Brennan, current owner of the property at 39 Truesdale Drive, was present.  Mr. Brennan stated that he has two surveys that show clearly that the fence is on the property that he now owns.  Mr. Brennan said that the neighboring property owner, Rick Turner, does not have permission to have an electrical circuit on his (Mr. Brennan’s) property.  Chairman Kehoe said that the Planning Board is operating on the assumption that the survey line is the property line, to which Mr. Wegner replied that this is, indeed, the case.  Mr. Brennan noted that Mr. Turner has expressed concern tonight that his back yard is going to be negatively impacted by this proposal.  It was his (Mr. Brennan’s) recollection that Mr. Turner did not express this concern at past meetings.  Mr. Turner’s concern at past meetings was the location of the driveway.  Mr. Brennan pointed out that Mr. Turner was not present at the Steep Slopes Hardship Permit hearing.  Chairman Kehoe noted that the Planning Board provided their comments to the Village Board on the Steep Slopes Hardship Permit.  The fence and other site plan details are part of the Planning Board’s Minor Site Plan review. Mr. Turner told those present that he did not oppose the granting of the Steep Slopes Hardship Permit and he does not oppose the construction of this project.  He wants to protect the privacy of his rear yard. He would want the board to consider pulling over, as much as is reasonably possible, the retaining wall being proposed.  

Chairman Kehoe told the Applicant that the next regularly scheduled Planning Board meeting would be held on Tuesday, May 27th.  They could come back before the Planning Board at that time if they are prepared to do so.  

        c)  John & Donna Nikic – Franklin Avenue – (Sec.79.13 Blk.4 Lot 8.01) – Application for a Minor Site Plan Approval for a New Single-Family Dwelling

John Nikic, contract vendee for the property, and Ron Wegner of Cronin Engineering were present for this application.

Mr. Wegner noted to the Planning Board that, as was the case with 39 Truesdale Drive, this application for a single-family dwelling on Franklin Avenue required a Steep Slopes Hardship Permit from the Village Board.  The application for a Steep Slopes Hardship Permit was referred to the Planning Board for a recommendation.  The Applicant also had to go before the Waterfront Advisory Committee for a determination of consistency with the policies of the Local Waterfront Revitalization Program.  Mr. Wegner noted that the Village Board granted the Steep Slopes Hardship Permit.  The Applicant is currently before the Planning Board for a Minor Site Plan approval.

Chairman Kehoe asked Mr. Wegner if the Planning Board’s comments in their recommendation to the Village Board on the Steep Slopes Hardship Permit application have been addressed in the drawings submitted for tonight’s meeting, to which Mr. Wegner said that, indeed, they have.   The plans that the Planning Board has before them tonight are the same as those submitted to the Village Board for the public hearing on the Steep Slopes Hardship Permit.

Mr. Wegner noted to the board members that one of the issues that came up at the last Planning Board meeting is the potential on this property for blasting.  Mr. Wegner said that the Applicant does not intend to do any blasting. The schedule for the excavation and removal of rock is included on the Applicant’s site plan under the “Rock Excavation Notes.”  There would be a limited number of days and hours allotted for rock removal. Mr. Wegner stated that if excavation for a full basement could not be performed in the allotted time frame, then, rather than building a full basement, plans would be resubmitted for the construction of a crawl space.  Mr. Wegner noted that, to control the dust from the rock excavation, a water spray would be provided. The Village Engineer said that the neighbors in the stone house next door had expressed concern about the potentially negative effects on their house and property of any blasting on this site. Mr. Wegner assured the Planning Board that no blasting would be performed.  He referred to note #4 under the “Rock Excavation Notes,” which states that, “No blasting shall be performed on site.”  Mr. Wegner pointed out that the plan containing this note about the blasting is the very same plan approved by the Village Board for the granting of the Steep Slopes Hardship Permit.

Chairman Kehoe asked if the change from a full basement to a crawl space would have an impact on the elevation of the house presently being proposed, to which Mr. Wegner replied that the Applicant has no intention of raising the house.

Chairman Kehoe noted that there is a utility closet in the current design for the full basement.  He questioned what would happen to the utility closet if a crawl space were built, to which Mr. Nikic said that if the design for a full basement could not be carried out as he had originally intended, then he would probably have to reconfigure the first floor.  The Village Engineer said that if a crawl space as opposed to the full basement were built, the utility room, exercise room and bathroom in the basement would have to be shifted over to the other side of the house.    

Chairman Kehoe noted that the plan submitted for tonight’s meeting lacks a chart indicating the Floor Area Ratio (FAR) calculations and the square footage of the house.  Chairman Kehoe said that he would think, from looking at the plans, that the house on Franklin Avenue is bigger than the one just approved on Truesdale Drive. The front elevation for the house on Franklin Avenue is somewhat more imposing.  Mr. Wegner said that, for the house on Franklin Avenue, the percentage of building coverage is actually reduced.  Chairman Kehoe noted that the Franklin Avenue lot is larger than the Truesdale Drive lot by 2,000 or 3,000 square feet.  

Ms. Allen recalled that there was an issue raised at the last meeting about the windows below grade.  She referred to drawing #A5 showing the rear elevation and asked if all of these windows below grade still exist, to which Mr. Wegner said that he believes the grading in the rear might have changed.  Mr. Nikic explained the changes that were made to the rear elevation plan stating that when, at the last meeting, the Village Engineer suggested a crawl space be built underneath as opposed to a basement the rear elevation plan was adjusted to show this crawl space.  Apparently, the below-grade windows were left on the plan in error.  Mr. Nikic pointed out that the two windows being shown underneath the breakfast nook should have been removed; however, the other windows would remain.

Mr. Sharma said that the height of the house should be indicated on the Applicant’s plan(s).  Chairman Kehoe added that the calculations for determining the building height should be duly noted. Ms. Allen said that the Planning Board would also want to see the calculations for determining the cut and fill.  Mr. Luntz pointed out that the Applicant has shown the contour lines on the site plan submitted.  The first floor is at 113.  He asked if the cut would be done without any blasting, to which Mr. Wegner said that it would be.

Mr. Wegner noted that details on the erosion control, rock removal and storm water management are being shown on the plan(s).

Mr. Nikic distributed to the board members samples of the roof and siding material(s) as well as a colored photograph of the front door.  The siding color would be Heather Moss.  Chairman Kehoe said that it seemed to him from the architectural drawings submitted that the house being proposed on Franklin Avenue has much more detail to it than the house on Truesdale Drive.

Ms. Allen said that, for the next meeting, the Applicant’s plan(s) should show the elevation at the ridge line.

Chairman Kehoe reviewed the items required for the next meeting. The windows being shown on the crawl space beneath the breakfast nook should be removed.  Any discrepancies on the labeling of the plans should be rectified.  The building height and square footage of the house should be provided.  As Ms. Allen just mentioned, the plan(s) should show the elevation at the ridge line.

Ms. Allen noted that, according to the Applicant’s plans, the Applicant intends to provide protection for an 18” DBH black birch tree.  The size of the tree well is not specified.  Ms. Allen expressed concern that the tree wells being installed would not be large enough.  Tree wells should allow for growth.  Ms. Allen said that it is her understanding that tree roots extend out to the drip line of a tree. She reiterated that she would be concerned that the tree wells being installed would constrain the growth of the trees.  Ms. Allen told the Applicant that, for the next meeting, the Planning Board would also want to see a tree plan showing the type(s) of replacement trees being proposed. She personally would like to see some specimen trees planted e.g., oak and beech trees.  Mr. Andrews added that, in so far as a landscaping plan is concerned, he would think there might be some screening required to protect the privacy of the neighbors.

Chairman Kehoe noted to the Applicant that they could come back before the board at the next regularly scheduled meeting, if they are prepared to do so.

d)      Lakomata Realty – 2-12 Maple Street (Sec. 79.09 Blk. 1 Lot 66) – Application for a Change of Use Approval from a Nail Salon to a Take-out Restaurant – Preliminary Discussion

Carl T. Grimm, RA, architect for the Applicant, was present.

Mr. Grimm passed out photographs of the shopping center where the proposed take-out restaurant would be situated.  Mr. Grimm said that the prospective tenant intends to create a “restaurant row” in this area of the Village, which would include the current Chinese take-out and pizza restaurants as well as the Applicant’s proposed Korean fried chicken take-out restaurant.

Mr. Grimm stated that the change of use would be from a nail salon to a restaurant.  He would think that this is a fairly “routine” change of use proposal.  Mr. Grimm said that the reason he is before the Planning Board is to discuss the various elements of a change of use, which, in this particular case, would include the inherent parking problems at this site.  Mr. Grimm noted to the Planning Board members that, a year ago, the Village Engineer received a letter of rejection from the NYS Department of Transportation (DOT) to change, and make improvements to, the current parking situation.    

Chairman Kehoe noted that, according to the site plan, there are 28 parking spots on the front and sides of the shopping center.  The Village Engineer told the board members that people have also been parking their cars in the rear of the shopping center.  He would think that there would be room for as many as five cars in the back.  The Village Engineer stated that the area across the street in the back of the shopping center is a residential area.  There have been complaints about parking in the back from the residents.

The Village Engineer told those present that the standard regulations for parking, as set forth in the Village Code, change with the addition/inclusion of a food facility.  Mr. Grimm stated that the Applicant would like to have four tables in their take-out restaurant.  It is his understanding that one parking space per four seats is required, which would mean that one parking space per table would be required.

Mr. Luntz said that, in so far as the retail environment of the Village is concerned, he personally would be more interested in the overall “health of the Village.”  Just because a nail salon would be allowed by code does not mean that we (the Village) would want another nail salon in town.  Mr. Luntz said that he would think that the take-out chicken establishment, presently being proposed, would be an improvement to the retail environment of this section of the Village.  Mr. Luntz noted that “The parking is the parking, and it is not going to be expanded.”  He did not see what the Planning Board could do about the parking situation, as it currently exists.  Mr. Grimm noted that one solution might be for the employees to park their cars across the street.  The parking across the street is “by permit only.”

Ms. Allen asked what the legally required parking for the take-out restaurant would be, to which the Village Engineer said that he would calculate the required number of parking spaces to be 43  (30 parking spaces based on the square footage with 13 added = 43). Chairman Kehoe pointed out that even if the use being proposed were a “standard retail operation” rather than a restaurant, there would not be enough parking spaces.

Mr. Andrews noted that the Planning Board often faces this situation of not having enough parking spaces.  He personally did not think that the parking situation would be any worse off, if another take-out restaurant were to go into the vacant space at the shopping center.  Mr. Andrews pointed out that unless the Village decides to go with double-decker parking garages, the parking situation is not going to be resolved.  Mr. Andrews said that he does not have a problem with the take-out restaurant currently being proposed.

The Village Engineer noted that in some areas of the Village the Planning Board could waive the required number of parking spaces; however, this is not the case in this area (Maple Street).  

Chairman Kehoe noted that the parking issue has come to light due to the fact that this is a change of use application.  If the use were not going to change, and the business were going from retail to retail, the owner of the business would set up his/her store without the parking issue ever being discussed.  The retail business owner would not even have to come before the Planning Board.  Mr. Andrews questioned what the procedure is (would be) regarding the parking.  The Village Engineer said that he would have to review the property file and research the history of the parking at this site.  There was a variance for parking issued in 1973.  He would have to do research to see if the variance is still in effect.  The Village Engineer said that he would do a complete file review to find out what variances have been issued over the years and if they are still valid.  Mr. Sharma noted that the issue for the Planning Board to discuss is: “How bad the parking is going to get compared to how bad it was before.” The Planning Board has to look at the issue of the parking and make a decision.

The Village Engineer said that the dimensions of the parking spaces would have to be looked at.  He noted that the parking spaces in the front of the shopping center are usable.

Chairman Kehoe pointed out that if the Applicant were to seek a variance from the off-street parking requirements, then the remedy of the parking situation would be up to the Zoning Board.  The Planning Board would have no role.  The Village Engineer mentioned the other issues for the Planning Board to review including odors from the restaurant, ventilation, deliveries, dumpster enclosure, garbage pick-up, etc.

The Village Engineer noted that the best scenario for the parking would be for the owner of the shopping center to contact the DOT and ask to lease part of the DOT right-of-way for official parking spaces for the shopping center.

The Village Engineer told the board that he would research the history of the parking and report back to the board.  Mr. Grimm noted that the prospective owner of the take-out restaurant is anxious to move forward as soon as possible.  The Village Engineer told Mr. Grimm that should the Applicant require a variance, the Zoning Board only meets once a month.  Mr. Luntz said that, as he understands the process, the Applicant could go before the Zoning Board without first having to come back to the Planning Board.  The Applicant would have to contact the Village Engineer who would let him know if a variance were required. Once the issue regarding the parking variance is resolved, then, the Applicant would come back before the Planning Board.

Mr. Sharma questioned why the tenant was applying for this change of use.  He would think that the owner of the property should be the applicant.  Mr. Grimm said that the owner of the property was invited to attend this meeting, but they could not come.

Chairman Kehoe noted that, in some cases, the Planning Board would do a more thorough review of an application before sending the applicant to the ZBA, to which the Village Engineer said that in this particular case the situation is somewhat different in that “We know what is there.”  Chairman Kehoe pointed out that the parking would be “off the table” for the Planning Board to discuss, if the ZBA were to grant the variance.  Mr. Luntz suggested that, in so far as the parking is concerned, the Planning Board could (still) make it a condition of their approval that the owner of the take-out restaurant and the employees park elsewhere.  Ms. Allen pointed out that this Applicant would be unable to proceed with the change of use, if the variance were not granted.  In this particular case, it is the “show stopper” for the change of use application.  Mr. Luntz suggested that, at the ZBA hearing, the Applicant could discuss with the ZBA the idea of the owner and employees parking across the street.  

Chairman Kehoe told the Applicant that, at this juncture, they should contact the Village Engineer regarding the parking.  The Applicant should go before the ZBA, if necessary.  Once the parking situation is resolved, they could come back before the Planning Board.


3.  OLD BUSINESS:

·       Bell Property – 175 Old Post Road North (Sec. 67.15 Blk. 1 Lots 8 & 8.01) – Review of Wetlands Consultant’s Credentials for the Bell Subdivision Property

Ron Wegner of Cronin Engineering was present for this application.

Mr. Wegner told the board that the Applicant would like hire the firm of Robert G. Torgersen, LA, CPESC Landscape Architecture and Environmental Sciences to perform the wetlands delineation of the Bell property.  The Applicant has submitted this consultant’s resume for the Planning Board’s review.

Ms. Allen said that she would want to be certain that there is a process in place for involving the Village’s environmental consultant with the Bell property wetlands delineation.  The Village’s consultant should be a part of the process.  Ms. Allen said that the Village has not been using their environmental consultant effectively.  The Village’s consultant has not been noticed in a timely fashion when on-site activities pertinent to his services are underway.  She gave as an example the Hudson View Subdivision (Prospect Place) project.  Ms. Allen said that she would not want this breakdown in the coordination with the Village’s consultant to take place on the Bell Subdivision property.    

The Village Engineer told the Planning Board that the Village is working on a Request for Proposal for an environmental consultant. The Village Board would ultimately decide on the consultant.  The Planning Board would be asked to make a recommendation.  The Village Engineer said that he, personally, would rather deal with one consulting firm and develop a working relationship with that firm.  The Village Engineer stated that, for this (the Bell property) application, the Planning Board could hire a consultant and require the Applicant to provide escrow monies.  The two consultants could work together “as a team” or the Applicant’s consultant could perform the work and then have it verified by the Village’s consultant.  The Village Engineer said that the process of flagging the wetlands could be time-consuming.  If both consultants are on site the entire time, it would be fair to the Applicant to find out in advance how many hours the flagging of the wetlands is going to take.  

Ms. Allen pointed out that a wetlands consultant does more than just put boundaries on the wetlands areas.  Plant and soil analyses are also performed.  She would think that it would be important to have the Village’s consultant on site at the time the decision is made about the wetlands boundary.  The Village’s consultant could confirm at this point in the process that the work was properly and accurately done.  Chairman Kehoe questioned why the Planning Board could not simply require the Applicant to use the Village’s consultant to do the work to begin with.  The Village Engineer said that the “highest quality level” of service would be to have both consultants do the delineation work; however, this would also be the most expensive way to proceed.  Mr. Andrews suggested that the developer’s (Applicant’s) consultant could outline his proposal for the wetlands delineation/analysis in advance.  The Village’s consultant could review the proposal and make a determination as to when it would be necessary to be at the site.  Mr. Andrews said that, in this way, the “hand-holding for every little thing” could be avoided. Ms. Allen said that she likes the idea that Chairman Kehoe brought up of having the Village’s consultant do the wetlands delineation to begin with.

Chairman Kehoe noted to the others that there is a wetlands inventory and/or report that would have to be written up.  He questioned whether the Planning Board would also be asking for information on the functioning of the wetlands.  The Village Engineer referred the Planning Board members to the wetlands chapter in the Village Code and stated that the law deals with both the delineation and the mitigation of the wetlands.  The functioning of the wetlands would be part of the mitigation process.  Mr. Wegner noted that the functioning and/or biodiversity studies of wetlands areas involve a much more in-depth analysis.  Chairman Kehoe suggested that the Applicant’s consultant might be called upon to do (more) work as the application proceeds.

Mr. Luntz disagreed with the idea of the Village’s imposing a consultant on the developer (Applicant).  He said that as long as the Applicant’s consultant has the proper qualifications, he would not have a problem with the Applicant choosing his/her own consultant.  Mr. Luntz said that he would think that it would be a more efficient use of time to have the delineation work done and then have the Village’s consultant verify the work.  Mr. Andrews said that the Applicant would have to put up the escrow money for the Village’s consultant to verify the work.  He, too, would have no problem doing it this way.  Mr. Wegner pointed out that the Applicant has used this consulting firm (Torgersen) before.  They have a working relationship with this particular firm.            

Ms. Allen said that she would like to propose that the two consultants do the wetlands delineation “as a team.”  

Chairman Kehoe suggested that, perhaps, the Planning Board should have Bruce Donohue, who has been the Village’s environmental consultant on past projects, become involved at this point in the process.  Mr. Andrews said that he would think that whomever the Planning Board hires for this project, the Planning Board should leave it up to this individual whether he/she “[would] want to be involved “every step of the way.”  Mr. Andrews added that the Village’s consultant would have to be notified of any activity pertaining to his/her consulting services being required on site.   Chairman Kehoe said that, having read Mr. Torgersen’s resume, he, personally, is satisfied with Mr. Torgersen’s credentials.  Chairman Kehoe said that the Planning Board could, indeed, leave it up to Mr. Donohue to let the board know how and when he would want to become involved.  Ms. Allen reiterated that Mr. Donohue would need to be told when activities pertaining to his services were being done.  Mr. Andrews said that he would like to see Mr. Donohue’s credentials.  He would like, as a courtesy, to know whom we (the Planning Board) are hiring.  Ms. Allen said that one of the advantages of hiring Mr. Donohue is that Mr. Donohue worked with the Planning Board on the golf course project, and this property (the Bell property) borders on the golf course.  The Village Engineer told the board that he would contact Mr. Donohue and ask him to outline what he would need to do for a wetlands review.  He would then contact the Applicant to set up the escrow account.

4.  APPROVAL OF MINUTES:

The minutes of the Tuesday, April 8, 2008 Planning Board meeting were approved on a motion by Mr. Sharma, seconded by Ms. Allen and carried by a vote of 4 to 0.  Planning Board member Vincent Andrews abstained.

The minutes of the Tuesday, April 22, 2008 Planning Board meeting were approved on a motion by Ms. Allen, seconded by Mr. Sharma and carried by a vote of 3 to 0.  Planning Board Chairman Chris Kehoe and board member Vincent Andrews abstained.

5.  ADJOURNMENT:

There being no further business to come before the Board, the meeting was duly adjourned at 10:38 P.M.

Sincerely,



Sylvia Mills
Secretary

RESOLUTION

WHEREAS, the Planning Board approved the River Landing Subdivision on October 2, 1990; and

WHEREAS, each lot in the River Landing Subdivision had a building envelope defined for it, beyond which no construction could occur without approval of the Planning Board; and

WHEREAS, Ed & Robyn Spector, owners of Lot #19 in the River Landing Subdivision (2 O’Reilly Court – Sec. 67.20 Blk. 3 Lot 35.19) has requested an expansion of that lot’s building envelope for the purpose of constructing a deck around an existing above-ground swimming pool; and

WHEREAS, on September 7, 1999, the Planning Board approved the proposal for an above-ground swimming pool with the condition that the pool be screened from both sides of the street; and

WHEREAS, the Planning Board has considered the Applicant’s request for a modification to the building envelope for the pool deck and has determined that this pool deck could be approved without modifying the building envelope; and

WHEREAS, under the requirements of the State Environmental Quality Review Act (SEQRA), the Planning Board has determined that this project to construct a pool deck is a Type II Action, and no Negative Declaration is required.

NOW, THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED, that the application for a pool deck on Lot #19, as shown on the site plan with the extension of the deck and as shown on a set of construction drawings for the deck, included in the Planning Board’s packets and received by the Village on May 7, 2008, be approved subject to the following conditions:

1)      that the condition(s) pertaining to screening of the above-ground swimming pool, as set forth in the minutes of the meeting of September 7, 1999, are hereby reaffirmed and maintained in effect.
2)      that the Planning Board is approving the site plan for the deck and is not extending the building envelope.   

Failure to implement this approval in three years will result in the expiration of this approval.

                                                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 May 13, 2008.