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Planning Board Minutes 07/22/08

VILLAGE OF CROTON ON HUDSON, NEW YORK

PLANNING BOARD MEETING MINUTES – TUESDAY, JULY 22, 2008


A regular meeting of the Planning Board of the Village of Croton-on-Hudson, New York was held on Tuesday, July 22, 2008 in the Municipal Building.


MEMBERS PRESENT:        Chris Kehoe, Chairman
                                Mark Aarons
                                Fran Allen
Vincent Andrews
Robert Luntz
                                                                                                                                ALSO    PRESENT:                 Ann Gallelli, Village Board Member
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)      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 continued

Thomas Quartuccio, Sr., P.E., the new representative for the Applicant, and Lee Hyun, proprietor of the proposed take-out restaurant, were present.

Chairman Kehoe told the Applicant that, before discussing their Change of Use application tonight, he would like to take this opportunity to welcome to the Planning Board newly appointed Planning Board member Mark Aarons.

Chairman Kehoe noted that this application for a Change of Use was before the Planning Board several weeks ago.  There was an issue at that time regarding the parking.  He asked the Applicant to bring the Planning Board up to date on this matter regarding the parking.  Mr. Quartuccio told the board members that, at present, the lot in question holds 29 cars.  There are a total of 29 parking spaces including those five spaces situated at the rear of the building.  The building houses six stores, each approximately 1,000 square feet in size.  The parking requirement is one space per 250 square feet for general retail use; however, the requirement is different for a restaurant use.  For a restaurant the requirement is one parking space per a table seating four people.  Mr. Quartuccio stated that the Applicant would like to seat 16 people; so, the parking requirement for 16 people would be four spaces (16 divided by 4 = 4).

The Village Engineer noted to the board that he has researched this property and, according to the Village’s records, the building in question is 5,604 square feet in size.  The Village Engineer noted that he was unable to find the original site plan for the building.  Furthermore, some of the original approvals are missing from the property file.  The Village Engineer said that the number of parking spaces at this shopping center was an issue from the very beginning. The Planning Board discussed the parking back in 1960.  The minutes of the subject Planning Board meeting indicate that if the Applicant’s plan were to be revised to show 18 parking spaces, then, that would be satisfactory to the Planning Board.  The number of parking spaces (18) might have been based on the square footage at that time (1960).  The Village Engineer cited another example relating to parking that came before the Zoning Board in 1973, noting that the property file contains a letter from the Zoning Board secretary, dating back to 1973, regarding a request for a variance from the parking requirement(s) for a pizzeria.  

The Village Engineer noted that, given the food establishments at the shopping center, the total number of spaces required would be 35 (23 based on square footage + 12 for restaurant use = 35).  As it stands now, there are 29 parking spaces; however, he (the Village Engineer) did not know for certain whether the five parking spaces in the rear of the building were ever officially approved.  If the 29 spaces were, indeed, officially approved, then the number of spaces lacking would be 6 (35 – 29 = 6).  Chairman Kehoe said that the Applicant would need to go before the Zoning Board of Appeals for a variance from the parking requirement, to which the Village Engineer said that, indeed, they would.  The Village Engineer added that, with respect to the parking situation at the shopping center, there is nothing in the Village Code allowing the Planning Board to waive the number of parking spaces in that area of the Village.

Mr. Andrews asked if the Planning Board would be making a recommendation on the parking to the Zoning Board, to which the Village Engineer replied that the Planning Board has the option of making such a recommendation.  

Chairman Kehoe raised the issue of parking for the employees of the proposed take-out restaurant.  He pointed out that the Village has set up public parking nearby (across the street from Dom’s).  Perhaps, employees of the restaurant could park there rather than at the shopping center.  The Village Engineer noted that these on-street parking spaces are “by permit only.”  There are 12 to 15 spaces in all.  He did not know if they were all taken already.  The Village Engineer noted that if employees of the stores were to drive independently of each other, then the parking spaces at the shopping center would all be taken up by the employees.  Chairman Kehoe said that it is his understanding that some of the employees car pool.  He added that, in order to maximize the number of parking spaces available for patrons of the stores at the shopping center, it would be helpful for the employees to park elsewhere.  Mr. Hyun told the Planning Board that there would be two employees at his take-out restaurant. Mr. Luntz said that he would think that it could be made a requirement that employees must park off-site.  He suggested that this could be a part of the Planning Board’s recommendation to the Zoning Board.

Mr. Andrews noted that another question to be considered is whether a fast-food take-out establishment is appropriate in a shopping center that already has two other food establishments.

The Village Engineer suggested that he could do some additional research on this property, prior to the Applicant appearing before the Zoning Board.  There might be something “grandfathered in” with respect to the parking.  He would do some further research and let the Applicant know.

Chairman Kehoe suggested that the Planning Board could discuss tonight their letter of recommendation to the Zoning Board.  Mr. Luntz reiterated that, in their letter of recommendation, the Planning Board should suggest that the Zoning Board consider having the employees of the take-out restaurant park off-site.  Chairman Kehoe asked if the Planning Board had any other comments/concerns about this application, to which the Planning Board had no further comments.

The Village Engineer said that, in his (further) research of this property, he would review the property file once again to see how the variance granted in 1973 factors in to what is there now.  The Village Engineer noted that if parking spaces were waived for the pizzeria, then, that would reduce the total number of parking spaces required for the shopping center.

Chairman Kehoe noted that the Applicant would have to come back before the Planning Board for a Change of Use approval.  At that point in time, the Planning Board would discuss other site-related issues (garbage/dumpster enclosure, signage, etc.).

Chairman Kehoe said that he would prepare a memorandum to the Zoning Board saying that the Planning Board has heard (discussed) this application for a take-out restaurant and that, generally speaking, the Planning Board finds it plausible.  He would also say that, in so far as the parking situation at the shopping center is concerned, the Planning Board would suggest that the Zoning Board should contemplate having the employees of the take-out restaurant park their cars off-site.   

Chairman Kehoe noted to the Applicant that, at this point, they should be in contact with the Village Engineer regarding any additional findings about the parking.
         
b)      Brian Ackerman/John Harbeson/Lael Morgan – Batten Road (Sec. 68.17 Blk. 2 Lots 7, 8.1 & 9) – Request for a Time Extension for Presentation of the Final Subdivision Plat

Chairman Kehoe noted that this Applicant was before the Planning Board several months ago, at which time the Planning Board granted the Applicant Preliminary Subdivision approval for their property on Batten Road.  Chairman Kehoe told those present that, as has been his practice right along with respect to the review of this application, he would be recusing himself from the discussion tonight.

Ms. Allen acted as chairperson for this application.  She noted that the Planning Board received a letter from Norman Sheer, attorney for the Applicant, dated July 8, 2008, requesting an extension for the presentation to the Planning Board of the final subdivision plat. Mr. Sheer explains in his letter that the Westchester County Health Department has not yet processed and approved the subdivision plat, hence, the request for the time extension.  The Applicant is asking the Planning Board to grant a six-month extension to January 15, 2009.       

Ms. Allen asked if there were any comments from the board members, to which there were none.  Ms. Allen entertained a motion to grant the Applicant’s request for a six-month extension to January 15, 2009.  The motion was made by Mr. Andrews, seconded by Mr. Luntz and carried by a vote of 3 to 0.  Mr. Aarons abstained.

c)      Rakis, Inc. (Peter Tsagarakis) – 215 South Riverside Avenue (Sec. 79.09 Blk. 1 Lot 54) – Application for an Amended Site Plan for the Croton Colonial Diner

Ed Gemmola of Gemmola Associates; Gerald Klein of Katz & Klein; and Kary Ioannou, engineer for the Applicant, were present.

Chairman Kehoe noted that the Planning Board received in their packets for tonight’s meeting the Applicant’s revised drawings.  

Mr. Gemmola reminded the board members that he had told the Planning Board at the last meeting that he would submit a photometric plan to show the lighting on the diner property.  He distributed to the Planning Board the photometric (lighting) plan.  Mr. Gemmola noted that lighting has to be provided in the parking lot for safety purposes; however, the lighting from the diner property must not spill out onto the neighboring residential properties.  Mr. Gemmola said that the Applicant is proposing that new lighting be installed in the existing pole locations.  The poles are old and need replacing.

Mr. Luntz referred to the lighting plan and noted to Mr. Gemmola that there are zeros being shown around the light pole at the entrance off of Bungalow Road. The zeros in that area would mean that there would be no lighting, or the lighting would be at a minimum in that location.  Mr. Gemmola said that he would think that this is an error on the plan. The point is not to let the light spill off of the site.  He suggested that, in so far as the lighting is concerned, the Applicant’s consultant on the lighting could be asked to attend a Planning Board meeting to provide an explanation of the lighting plan and answer any questions the Planning Board might have.  Mr. Andrews noted to Mr. Gemmola that the Planning Board would need to know if these zeros are, indeed, an error on the plan.  The Planning Board would want to be certain that there is enough lighting being proposed for the parking lot in the back.       

Mr. Gemmola indicated on the revised plan the proposed new location for the dumpster.  

Mr. Gemmola stated that, as part of the project, the stone wall on the Hudson Street side of the property would be continued.  Landscaping is being proposed adjacent to the existing wall.  Mr. Gemmola noted that the Applicant has not yet specified the species of plants.  Mr. Gemmola noted further that additional landscaping would be installed near the new dumpster location and the Applicant would also try to put in plantings among the trees that are situated along the border of the neighboring residential area.  

Mr. Gemmola showed the Planning Board photographs of the existing plantings along the roadway to the front entrance of the diner.

Mr. Gemmola explained to the board how the parking spaces were calculated. A total of 10.88 parking spaces would be required based on the square footage of the building (2,722 square feet).  An additional 27.5 spaces would be required when the 110 seats of the restaurant are factored in (110 divided by 4 = 27.5).  The grand total for the required number of parking spaces would be 38.38 spaces.  Mr. Gemmola noted that, as is presently being shown on the site plan, the Applicant is proposing to have a total of 54 parking spaces provided.  

Mr. Gemmola said that the Applicant is proposing a right turn “in only” entrance off of Bungalow Road. He noted that the vegetation along Bungalow Road would have to be maintained (weeds removed) for sight distance purposes.

Chairman Kehoe asked if the stone wall at that end of the property (Bungalow Road) would be refaced, to which Mr. Gemmola replied that, at the last meeting, the Planning Board had asked that the Applicant put a stone veneer on that wall.  They intend to do so.    

Chairman Kehoe noted that, at the last meeting, the Applicant pointed out that with the new plan the steep slopes disturbance is greatly reduced. A Steep Slopes permit would not be required. Mr. Gemmola told the board that, when calculating the disturbance to the steep slopes, they assumed the worst in terms of the grading. Even though they assumed the worst, the result of their analysis was that the disturbance to the steep slopes would be significantly less.

Mr. Gemmola noted that, as part of the submission for the meeting tonight, the Applicant provided wall sections showing the heights of walls.

Ms. Allen asked if deliveries to the diner were being made in 18-wheeler trucks, to which Mr. Gemmola said, no, that usually the trucks making deliveries are box trucks.  Chairman Kehoe referred to the site plan and pointed out that the “rectangle” being shown just behind the diner designates the loading area and not a type of truck.

Chairman Kehoe asked if there would be a sign in the back of the diner signifying “employee parking only,” to which Mr. Gemmola said, yes.

Mr. Luntz asked if both the compactor and the dumpster would be able to fit into the dumpster area now being proposed, to which Mr. Gemmola said that they think there would be enough room to put one of them. Chairman Kehoe pointed out that the Planning Board would prefer to have both the compactor and the dumpster in the enclosure area, to which Mr. Gemmola replied that they would enclose both the compactor and dumpster, even if they have to lose a parking space. Mr. Andrews expressed concern that the compactor and dumpster were right next to a homeowner’s yard. Ms. Allen asked if the compactor and dumpster could be put closer to the building. Chairman Kehoe suggested that, perhaps, the dumpster enclosure could be put in the “#7” area directly behind the diner where two employee parking spaces are presently being shown.  The two employee parking spaces could, then, be moved to the area where the dumpster is now being shown.

Chairman Kehoe noted that, at the last meeting, the Planning Board discussed the drainage system and the catch basins on the diner property.  The engineer for the Applicant, Kary Ioannou, said that, after that meeting, he (actually) did not go back out to the diner property to locate the existing catch basins.  He was not sure if this would be required prior to going before the Zoning Board.  Mr. Ioannou told the board that he thinks the water goes into a catch basin underneath the road.  He would check into it.  

Mr. Klein noted that, along with the Special Permits for parking in a residential zoning district, the Applicant would also require a variance from the Zoning Board to remove the existing guiderail.  

Mr. Luntz suggested that, to help screen the diner parking lot from the neighboring residence(s), the Applicant could extend the row of plantings to include the area where the compactor/dumpster had been proposed to be relocated.

Mr. Gemmola noted that the revised plans show the wetlands buffer.  The Village Engineer told the Applicant that the Planning Board would have jurisdiction over the Wetlands Activity Permit required.  The Planning Board would refer the Wetlands Activity Permit application to the Water Control Commission for a recommendation.  The Wetlands Activity Permit would be for the work being done in the buffer at the diner entrance off of Bungalow Road.

The Village Engineer noted to the Applicant that there is a section in the Village Code (230-52D) that requires that lot lines of residential properties be screened.  This would mean that screening should be provided between the diner parking lot and the residence(s) on Hudson Street.  The Village Engineer noted that, in terms of the screening being provided, the Planning Board would want to know the types of plantings being proposed and how high they would grow.  He noted further that the obligation seems to be on the commercial property owner to provide this screening.  Mr. Luntz suggested that plantings could be placed in front of the retaining wall that would be high enough to provide the necessary screening. Ms. Allen asked if, on the property line between the parking lot and 8 Hudson Street, it would be possible to make the two-foot bumper overhang wider and plant trees in the area in front of the wall. Mr. Gemmola suggested that a row of Arborvitae could be planted to “wipe out” the view of the retaining wall altogether. The Village Engineer questioned if the plantings presently being proposed along Hudson Street would provide proper screening of the parking lot. Mr. Gemmola noted that there is an existing chain link fence on top of the retaining wall on the Hudson Street side. Mr. Gemmola said that, to provide better screening, perhaps slats could be put in the chain link fence to make it more solid.  Chairman Kehoe asked if the Applicant is proposing to put a small strip of plantings behind the chain link fence, to which Mr. Gemmola said, yes. Chairman Kehoe said that, with respect to the row of Arborvitae that Mr. Gemmola suggested earlier, he, personally, would prefer not to see a row of Arborvitae “marching along.”  Mr. Gemmola replied that, along with putting slats in the fence, they (the Applicant) could choose something more decorative than the Arborvitae for the plantings.  The Village Engineer noted that slats in the chain link fence would tend to get “messy.”  Maintenance would be required to keep them clean. Mr. Luntz said, rather than putting slats in the fence, he would rather see plantings used for the screening.

Chairman Kehoe said that he could draft a letter to the Zoning Board recommending that the Special Permits for parking and the variance for the removal of the guiderail be granted.  Among other items, he could say in the letter that it is the opinion of the Planning Board that the parking lot would look better without the guiderail there.   The Village Engineer pointed out that, because the parking lot borders on residential properties, the Zoning Board would be interested in the lighting being proposed. Ms. Allen suggested that the Applicant might want to bring to the meeting samples of the lighting fixtures.  

Chairman Kehoe told the Applicant that they should revise their plans according to the discussion that has taken place at the Planning Board meeting tonight.  They could go to the Zoning Board with the revised plans.  He thought that it would not be necessary to come back to the Planning Board first.  

Ms. Allen noted that on the Applicant’s plan(s) the lot lines are designated by a heavy black line.  There is nothing in the legend showing this designation.  Mr. Gemmola said that he would add the lot line designation to the legend.

Chairman Kehoe noted that in the Zoning Tabulation, the Applicant has put “N/A” for the lot depth requirement, to which the Village Engineer replied that there is no lot depth requirement in the C-2 Zoning District.

The Village Engineer noted that there is a discrepancy in the Floor Area Ratio (FAR) calculations.  The FAR ratio should be “0.5.”  The Village Engineer pointed out that the Applicant still meets the FAR requirements, but the number should be changed to “0.5.”

Mr. Gemmola said that he would contact the Village Engineer’s office when the Applicant is ready to come back before the Planning Board.

3.  OTHER BUSINESS:

·       Chairman Kehoe told the other members that the Harmon Development Committee has made their recommendation on commercial development in the Harmon area. Trustee Gallelli noted that the entire Harmon Development Committee recommendation is on the Village’s website. She pointed out that the next step would be another work session with the Village Board followed by another public presentation, probably at a regularly scheduled Village Board meeting. Trustee Gallelli noted further that the Village Board is attempting to provide more opportunities for the public to become familiar with the Committee’s recommendation.

·       Chairman Kehoe noted that the public hearing on the proposed Steep Slopes law took place at the last Village Board meeting, and the law was passed.  Trustee Gallelli told the Planning Board that one aspect of the new law is that the Planning Board, rather than the Village Board, would be the approving authority for Steep Slopes permits.     

·       The Village Engineer stated that Chairman Kehoe and he would be meeting with Ron Wegner of Cronin Engineering regarding a proposal to subdivide the Croton Community Nursery School property on North Highland Avenue.  The proposal would be to subdivide the property into four building lots.

4.  APPROVAL OF MINUTES:

The minutes of the Tuesday, June 10, 2008 Planning Board meeting were approved on a motion by Ms. Allen, seconded by Mr. Andrews and carried by a vote of 3 to 0.  Board members Robert Luntz and Mark Aarons abstained.

The minutes of the Tuesday, June 24, 2008 Planning Board meeting were approved on a motion by Mr. Luntz, seconded by Mr. Andrews and carried by a vote of 3 to 0.  Board members Fran Allen and Mark Aarons abstained.

5.  ADJOURNMENT:

There being no further business to come before the Board, the meeting was duly adjourned at 9:20 P.M.

Sincerely,



Sylvia Mills
Secretary