Planning Board Minutes 05/27/08

VILLAGE OF CROTON ON HUDSON, NEW YORK

PLANNING BOARD MEETING MINUTES – TUESDAY, MAY 27, 2008

A regular meeting of the Planning Board of the Village of Croton-on-Hudson, New York was held on Tuesday, May 27, 2008 in the Municipal Building.

MEMBERS PRESENT:                Chris Kehoe, Chairman
Fran Allen
Vincent Andrews
                                Robert Luntz
        
                ABSENT:         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.  OLD BUSINESS:

a)      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 noted that at the last meeting the Planning Board asked for some revisions and/or corrections to the architectural plans as well as the inclusion of additional data on the Applicant’s site plan.  Chairman Kehoe noted that floor area ratio (FAR) calculations have been added.  Mr. Wegner said that the Applicant’s site plan also shows how the building height was calculated.  

Mr. Wegner told the board that the proposed retaining wall has been moved two feet to the north.  This allows for the planting of some trees on that (the driveway) side of the property.  The retaining wall is now two feet farther away from the neighbor’s house.  Mr. Wegner noted that moving the wall over by two feet allowed him to drop the height of the wall to four feet at its highest point.  Mr. Andrews asked Mr. Wegner what the maximum height of the retaining wall was before he lowered it, to which Mr. Wegner said six feet.  

Mr. Wegner said that the landscaping changes are also being shown on the Applicant’s plans.  

Mr. Nikic stated that the building height is now being shown on the elevations drawings.  Windows have been added onto the side of the house.  Mr. Nikic said that there is no longer an issue with the Applicant’s meeting the setback requirements for the exterior fireplace.  He explained to the board members that he has removed the exterior fireplace and has added a cantilevered chimney on the other (opposite) side.  

Mr. Wegner explained to the board members how he calculated the building height.  The building height as defined by the Village Code is “the mean elevation between eaves and the highest point on the roof minus the average finished grade along the street (front) side of the house.” Mr. Wegner said that the height of the house in this case is 27.1 feet, as defined by code.  The Village Engineer noted to the board members that a height of 27.1 feet is (would be) in compliance.  Mr. Wegner added that the overall (maximum) height is now being shown on the Applicant’s elevation drawing(s). The Village Engineer said that the overall (maximum) height of the house would be 32’4”.

Mr. Andrews noted that the chimney, as it is presently being proposed, does not go all the way down to the ground.  He questioned how, from a construction standpoint, the chimney could be built in this way. The Village Engineer told Mr. Andrews that it could be done.  He (the Village Engineer) would think that it might look a little odd, but it would be possible to construct it this way.

Chairman Kehoe said that it is his understanding that the right (side) elevation would now have windows.  Originally, no windows were being proposed.  Mr. Wegner said that, indeed, windows have been added.

Mr. Wegner told the board that, for the meeting tonight, he made certain that the Applicant’s architectural plans and site plan match each other.

Rick Turner of 35 Truesdale Drive was present.  Mr. Turner told the board members that the contract vendee for the property, John Nikic, took the initiative to call him about the changes being made to the plan(s) e.g., relocating the retaining wall and the planting of the row of trees.  Mr. Turner said that he greatly appreciates the changes that Mr. Nikic has made.

Ms. Allen pointed out that, given the contours of the land and the house elevation(s), if someone were walking down the sidewalk, the house would appear to tower above the street. She said that, “One would be looking up at the ridge line almost 60 feet above the sidewalk.”  Mr. Wegner told Ms. Allen that someone walking down the sidewalk would be looking at a 35-foot tall building on an angle.  The foundation of the building would not be visible.  A person would not see the entire height of the house from the street.  Mr. Andrews said that it is his recollection, having visited the site that the new house would be set quite far back on a flat area so that it would not appear that tall from this (the street) perspective.         

Ms. Allen noted that the Planning Board did not ask for replacement trees in the front of the house, to which Mr. Wegner said that this is true; however, the Applicant is providing a row of Norway spruce trees at the southerly side of the property as well as three oak trees along the front and opposite (northerly) side.

The Village Engineer noted to those present that his engineering concerns were mostly addressed during the review of the Steep Slopes Hardship Permit application.

Chairman Kehoe told the board that a draft resolution has been prepared for this application. He noted that there is a condition in the resolution regarding the hiring of an environmental consultant to review the building permit plans.  The Village Engineer said that, in the past, the Planning Board has not required a review by an environmental consultant for these types of lots.  The Planning Board decided that, for the subject lot on Truesdale Drive, this condition regarding the environmental consultant should be taken out.  Chairman Kehoe noted that there is another condition, which states that, “construction milestones [shall] be established by the Village Engineer at which times inspections by either Village inspectors or the environmental consultant for the project be performed prior to construction proceeding further.”  The Planning Board decided that this condition should remain in the resolution, but the wording about the environmental consultant should be taken out.

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

Chairman Kehoe read aloud the draft resolution with the following condition:

“that construction milestones be established by the Village Engineer at which times inspections by Village inspectors be performed prior to construction proceeding further.”
 
Chairman Kehoe entertained a motion to approve this application with the condition discussed tonight.  The motion to approve was made by Mr. Andrews, seconded by Ms. Allen and carried by a vote of 4 to 0.

b)      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 said that the plans have been revised to show the building coverage, FAR’s, building height, etc.  Sugar maple trees and American beech trees have been added to the plan.  Mr. Wegner noted that the sugar maples would be planted on opposite corners in the front and rear of the property and the beech trees would be planted along the rear property line.  Chairman Kehoe said that it is his understanding of the plans that there is a wood fence on the left side of the property, to which Mr. Wegner replied that there is actually a wood fence on both the left and right sides.  

Mr. Nikic referred the board to the rear elevation plan and noted that the two windows below the breakfast nook have been removed. The height of the structure (house) is being shown on the elevation plan(s).  The site plan and elevation plans are now “in sync” with each other.  Mr. Wegner noted that a detail of the window well is being shown on the basement and foundation plan.  

Mr. Nikic stated that the exterior architectural elements discussed at the last meeting regarding the colors and materials to be used have been added to the architectural plans.

Ms. Allen noted that the plans still show windows below ground.  Mr. Wegner told the board that window wells are being shown based on the assumption that the rock could be moved and a full basement could be built. If, during the construction, it is determined that the rock could not be moved, then, the Applicant’s plans would have to be revised accordingly.

Chairman Kehoe said that it is his understanding that the rock excavation for construction of the full basement would be done manually, and no blasting would be performed. If the rock excavation for the full basement could not be carried out in five days, then, the full basement would not be built and plans would be resubmitted to the Village Engineer for a crawl space, to which Mr. Wegner replied that this is, indeed, the case.  The Village Engineer noted that item #4 under “Rock Excavation Notes” on the Applicant’s site plan states that, “No blasting shall be performed on site.”

The Village Engineer stated that prior to construction the Applicant must stabilize the construction entrance and put in a silt fence.  He (the Village Engineer) would want to know when the Applicant would be starting the rock excavation.  His office would want to keep track of the progress being made and have a handle on the five-day time limit being imposed.

Ms. Allen asked who was responsible for labeling the trees on the property, to which Mr. Wegner said that he believes the trees were labeled by the surveyor.  Mr. Wegner noted that most of the trees are maples.  Some are black birch trees.  Mr. Wegner told the board members that, during the construction, they (the Applicant) intend to preserve as many trees on the property as possible.  Ms. Allen noted that even on these types of lots (the Truesdale Drive and Franklin Avenue lots being discussed tonight) there is the possibility of trees being misidentified. She would think that the Planning Board should not make a “blanket statement” that the Village’s environmental consultant need not become involved.  Ms. Allen said that, in her view, it would be appropriate for the Planning Board to have the environmental consultant become involved in cases where there might be significant or specimen trees and/or when there is a possibility that trees have been mislabeled.

The Village Engineer asked the Applicant if they had spoken with the abutting and adjacent neighbors about the rock excavation, to which Mr. Nikic replied that he has spoken to the neighbors on the left.  He has not spoken with “each and every neighbor.”  Mr. Nikic noted to the board members that, in so far as the rock excavation is concerned, they do not know what type of rock they will hit.  Just because there is rock in the area does not necessarily mean that it is solid granite that could not be removed.  The Village Engineer suggested that the Planning Board might want to make it a condition of their approval that the abutting and adjacent neighbors be notified prior to the excavation taking place.  The neighbors should be told where and when the rock is being excavated and that the excavation is limited to five days.

Mr. Andrews noted that, according to the Applicant’s site plan, the square footage of the house would be 4,129 square feet, which would include the first floor, second floor and attic space(s).  Mr. Andrews asked when the basement space would be included, to which the Village Engineer replied that the floor space of the basement would count in the calculation of the square footage if the space were considered to be habitable.  The Village Engineer noted that a utility room would be excluded; however, heated play (recreation) areas would count as habitable space.  Mr. Wegner pointed out to those present that, whether the basement space is counted or not, the Applicant is well below the FAR threshold.  

Mr. Wegner said that, as he understands the code, basement spaces are included in the calculation of the square footage of habitable floor area; however, cellar spaces are not included, to which the Village Engineer told Mr. Wegner that this is correct.  The Village Engineer noted that a garage would also not be included in the calculation.

The Village Engineer noted that the Applicant’s site plan indicates that the number of stories would be 2?.  He pointed out to the Planning Board that, according to the Village Code, a basement would constitute a “story” whereas a cellar would not. The Village Engineer explained the difference between a cellar and a basement stating that if more than one-half of the space is buried, then it would be considered a “cellar.”  The Village Engineer said that “cellar” in the Village Code is defined as “any space in a building, the structural ceiling level of which is less than four feet above the average finished grade where such grade abuts that exterior wall of such building which fronts on any street.”  Mr. Wegner noted to the board that he included the garage level of the house in his average grade calculations.   It is just a matter of whether it counts or not.

Ms. Allen asked if any fill would be brought on or taken off the site, to which Mr. Wegner said that, there might be some transfer of materials, but [it] should not be too far off balance.

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

Chairman Kehoe read aloud the draft resolution.  The conditions would be as follows:

·       that construction milestones be established by the Village Engineer at which times inspections by Village inspectors be performed prior to construction proceeding further.

·       that written notice be given to the neighbors within 200 feet of the property alerting them of the rock excavation taking place. The neighbors shall be told where and when the rock is being excavated and that the excavation is limited to five days. The Village Engineer’s office shall be sent a copy of this notice.

·       that the rock excavation shall be performed in accordance to the approved plans submitted.

·       that no blasting shall be performed on site.

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. Andrews and carried by a vote of 4 to 0.  

3.  ADJOURNMENT:

There being no further business to come before the Board, the meeting was duly adjourned at 8:47 P.M.

Sincerely,



Sylvia Mills
Secretary
RESOLUTION


WHEREAS, the Planning Board reviewed a Minor Site Plan application on Tuesday, May 13, 2008 and continued on Tuesday, May 27, 2008 for John & Donna Nikic, hereafter known as “the Applicant,” said property located at 39 Truesdale Drive and designated on the Tax Map of the Village of Croton-on-Hudson as Section 79.09 Block 6 Lot 37.01; and

WHEREAS, the proposal is for a new single-family dwelling; and

WHEREAS, the Applicant applied to the Village Board for a Steep Slopes Hardship Permit on February 19, 2008; and

WHEREAS, the Village Board subsequently referred this matter to the Planning Board and Waterfront Advisory Committee for their review and recommendation; and

WHEREAS, the Planning Board recommended that the Village Board grant the Steep Slopes Hardship Permit subject to the conditions enumerated in a memorandum from the Chairman of the Planning Board, Chris Kehoe, dated March 28, 2008; and

WHEREAS, the Waterfront Advisory Committee found this project to be consistent with the Local Waterfront Revitalization Program (LWRP) policies subject to the conditions enumerated in a memorandum from the Chairman of the Waterfront Advisory Committee, Fran Allen, dated March 28, 2008; and

WHEREAS, the Village Board granted the Steep Slopes Hardship Permit at their meeting of April 21, 2008; and

WHEREAS, under the requirements of the State Environmental Quality Review Act (SEQRA), the Planning Board has determined that this project is a Type II Action, which is not subject to review under SEQRA.

NOW, THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED, that the Minor Site Plan application as shown on Plan #SP-1.0 entitled “Site Development Plan – Site Development for John and Donna Nikic” and Plan #UD-2.0 entitled “Details – Site Development for John and Donna Nikic,” prepared by Cronin Engineering P.E., P.C., dated February 13, 2008, last revised May 22, 2008; Drawing A-1 entitled “Basement & Foundation Plan;” Drawing A-2 entitled “First Floor Construction Plan;” Drawing A-3 entitled “Second Floor Construction Plan;” Drawing A-4 entitled “Front & Right Exterior Elevations;” Drawing A-5 entitled “Rear & Left Exterior Elevations;” and Drawing A-6 entitled “Typical Wall Section and General Notes,” dated May 15, 2008, be approved subject to the following condition:

1.      that construction milestones be established by the Village Engineer at which times inspections by Village inspectors be performed prior to construction proceeding further.

In the event that this Minor 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. Andrews, seconded by Ms. Allen and carried by a vote of 4 to 0.  Board member Deven Sharma was absent.
                
Resolution accepted with the minutes of the meeting held on Tuesday, May 27, 2008.


RESOLUTION

WHEREAS, the Planning Board reviewed a Minor Site Plan application on Tuesday, May 13, 2008 and continued to Tuesday, May 27, 2008 for John & Donna Nikic, hereafter known as “the Applicant,” said property located at Franklin Avenue and designated on the Tax Map of the Village of Croton-on-Hudson as Section 79.13 Block 4 Lot 8.01; and

WHEREAS, the proposal is for a new single-family dwelling; and

WHEREAS, the Applicant applied to the Village Board for a Steep Slopes Hardship Permit on March 17, 2008; and

WHEREAS, the Village Board subsequently referred this matter to the Planning Board and Waterfront Advisory Committee for their review and recommendation; and

WHEREAS, the Planning Board recommended that the Village Board grant the Steep Slopes Hardship Permit subject to the conditions enumerated in a memorandum from the Chairman of the Planning Board, Chris Kehoe, dated April 15, 2008, last revised April 30, 2008; and

WHEREAS, the Waterfront Advisory Committee found this project to be consistent with the Local Waterfront Revitalization Program (LWRP) policies subject to the conditions enumerated in a memorandum from the Chairman of the Waterfront Advisory Committee, Fran Allen, dated April 18, 2008; and

WHEREAS, the Village Board granted the Steep Slopes Hardship Permit at their meeting of May 5, 2008; and

WHEREAS, under the requirements of the State Environmental Quality Review Act (SEQRA), the Planning Board has determined that this project is a Type II Action, which is not subject to review under SEQRA.

NOW, THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED, that the Minor Site Plan application as shown on Plan #SP-1.0 entitled “Site Development Plan – Franklin Avenue Site Development for John and Donna Nikic” and Plan #UD-2.0 entitled “Details – Franklin Avenue Site Development for John and Donna Nikic,” prepared by Cronin Engineering P.E., P.C., dated March 12, 2008, last revised May 22, 2008; Drawing A1 entitled “Basement/Foundation Floor Plan;” Drawing A2 entitled “First Floor Plan;” Drawing A3 entitled “Second Floor Plan;” Drawing A4 entitled “Front and Left Elevations;” and Drawing A5 entitled “Rear and Right Elevations,” dated May 15, 2008, be approved subject to the following conditions:

1)      that construction milestones be established by the Village Engineer at which times inspections by Village inspectors be performed prior to construction proceeding further.

2)      that written notice be given to the neighbors within 200 feet of the property alerting them of the rock excavation taking place. The neighbors shall be told where and when the rock is being excavated and that the excavation is limited to five days. The Village Engineer’s office shall be sent a copy of this notice.

3)      that the rock excavation shall be performed in accordance to the approved plans submitted.

4)      that no blasting shall be performed on site.

In the event that this Minor 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. Andrews and carried by a vote of 4 to 0.  Board member Deven Sharma was absent.
                
Resolution accepted with the minutes of the meeting held on Tuesday, May 27, 2008.