Planning Board Minutes 10/14/08

VILLAGE OF CROTON ON HUDSON, NEW YORK

PLANNING BOARD MEETING MINUTES – TUESDAY, OCTOBER 14, 2008


A regular meeting of the Planning Board of the Village of Croton-on-Hudson, New York was held on Tuesday, October 14, 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:

  • Fernando Duce – 1307 Albany Post Road (Sec. 67.14 Blk. 3 Lot 9) – Application for an Extension of Final Subdivision Approval
Chairman Kehoe stated that the Planning Board received in their packets a letter dated September 22, 2008 from Ralph Mastromonaco’s office requesting a 90-day extension of the Applicant’s (Fernando Duce’s) Final Subdivision Plat Approval. Mr. Mastromonaco’s letter indicates that the Applicant has satisfied all of the conditions of Final Subdivision Plat Approval with the exception of removing the garage from the proposed property line, hence, the request for the time extension. Chairman Kehoe questioned why the garage on the property line has not yet been removed, to which the Village Engineer said that he did not know.  The Village Engineer suggested to the board that, perhaps, the Applicant, Mr. Duce, is not ready to move forward on the house construction.

Mr. Luntz said that he, personally, would not have a problem granting the 90-day extension; however, if the Applicant were to ask for another 90-day extension, the Planning Board should (only) grant that extension on condition that the garage on the property line be removed.  Chairman Kehoe said that he would think that the first, and maybe even second, request could be considered “pro forma,” but any request after that would require an explanation.  The Applicant would be asked to come before the Planning Board with an explanation as to why he needs more time.  The Village Engineer told the board that, if the Planning Board so chooses, he could always contact Mr. Duce and say that the Planning Board would be willing to grant this extension; however, the board would not be agreeable to any more extensions, and he should remove the garage.

Chairman Kehoe entertained a motion to grant the Applicant’s request for a 90-day extension of the Final Subdivision Plat Approval, from October 14, 2008 to January 12, 2009. The motion was made by Ms. Allen, seconded by Mr. Andrews and carried by a vote of 5 to 0.

  • 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 Korean Chicken Take-out Restaurant
Thomas Quartuccio, Sr., P.E., engineer for the Applicant; Lee Hyun, proprietor of the proposed take-out restaurant; and John and Jimmy Antiaris of Lakomata Realty, owners of the property, were present for this application.  

Mr. Quartuccio read aloud to the Planning Board the letter from the Applicant’s attorney, Maria Modica-Snow, dated October 8, 2008 in which Ms. Modica-Snow states that, having discussed the issue(s) relating to the parking on the property with the Village Engineer, the matter regarding a variance for the parking has been satisfied. The Village Engineer determined from his research that the parking on the property is “grandfathered in,” and a variance for the parking is, therefore, not required. Ms. Modica-Snow states in her letter that the 5,604 square-foot building on the property was constructed in 1960. The required number of spaces under the law in existence at that time was 11.2 off-street parking spaces, and there currently exists on the property between 24-29 spaces.     

Ms. Allen suggested that, with respect to this matter regarding the parking, the Planning Board should ask the Village Attorney to provide a written response. She, personally, would feel more comfortable if the Planning Board were to “get a reading” from the Village Attorney (just) in case there is a challenge in the future.  Ms. Allen noted that, typically, when the Planning Board receives a letter such as this from an applicant’s attorney, the Planning Board would ask for a response in writing from the Village Attorney.

Chairman Kehoe recalled that, at previous meetings on this application, the Planning Board discussed with the Village Engineer the construction project taking place at the front of the shopping center, to which the Village Engineer replied that the work being done in the front is in the NYS DOT right-of-way and is not going to change the number of parking spaces in the front of the center.  The Village Engineer noted that the worst case scenario (outcome) would be that the parking spaces on top of the sidewalk would become unavailable. He explained that if, during the construction project, the DOT does not allow the Village to shift the sidewalk then, two or three parking spaces would be lost.  The Village Engineer pointed out that there are a few on-street parking spaces “by permit only” on South Riverside Avenue. Perhaps, the employees of the proposed take-out restaurant could use these spaces so as to free up the parking at the shopping center for customers.

Chairman Kehoe referred to the Applicant’s site plan and noted that five parking spaces are being shown at the back of the shopping center. It is not clear from the Village records how these spaces came into being; nevertheless, this back area is being used for parking.  Chairman Kehoe asked if the people using these spaces in the back are parking their vehicles straight in or on a diagonal, to which Mr. Quartuccio said, on a diagonal.  Chairman Kehoe asked the Applicant if they were aware of where employees of the shopping center are currently parking their cars, to which Jimmy Antiaris, owner of the property, replied that the employees park in the back.

Chairman Kehoe recalled that when the doggy day care application came before the Planning Board, neighbors expressed concern about animal odors emanating from the doggy day care establishment.  Chairman Kehoe noted that in the case of a take-out restaurant there might not be a concern about odors in that neighbors are used to food smells emanating from the other food establishments (delicatessen, pizzeria, etc.) already operating at the shopping center. Chairman Kehoe said, “We will have to see what they [the neighbors] say at the public hearing.”

Chairman Kehoe pointed out that the back of the shopping center is full of weeds, which are visible from the residences nearby.  He asked the owners of the property if they had any long-term plans to clean up and maintain the back, to which Mr. Antiaris, Sr. replied that they intend to do some landscaping and planting in the spring.

The Village Engineer said that he has noticed, when driving by the shopping center, that large vehicles are sometimes parked in the back.  The parking spaces in the back are too small and, as a result, these large vehicles are “hanging out in the street.”  Chairman Kehoe said that, perhaps, people should not be allowed to park in the back at all.  Mr. Luntz suggested that, in the alternative, the parking spaces in the back could be reduced in number.  Mr. Andrews asked if there were lines between these parking spaces in the back, to which Mr. Quartuccio replied that there are no lines between the spaces.

Mr. Quartuccio stated that there is a covered walkway in the back next to a retaining wall.  There are also two sets of stairs leading down to the shopping center.  Chairman Kehoe asked if the tenants of the shopping center have doors leading out to the back, to which Mr. Antiaris, Sr. replied that they do.

Chairman Kehoe said that he would be interested in seeing the back of the building cleaned up and organized with respect to the parking.  Mr. Luntz said that he, too, would think that it would be helpful to clean up and organize this parking area.  Mr. Luntz said further that he would not have a problem with this application in terms of the use being proposed (take-out restaurant), but the site plan could most certainly be improved.

Chairman Kehoe asked the Applicant what the mode of transportation for the employees of the take-out restaurant would be, to which Mr. Hyun replied that, just as all of the employees of his nail salon come to work in one van, so, too, would the employees of his take-out restaurant.

The Village Engineer noted to those present that he discovered in his research of this property that there was a time (1978) when the dumpsters, then situated in the back, were an issue with the neighbors. The neighbors complained, and the dumpsters were subsequently moved to a location in the front. The Village Engineer asked if there is presently a grease dumpster in the back, to which Mr. Quartuccio said that there are actually two grease containers in the back.  The Village Engineer noted that these drums (containers) are not that large (50-gallon drums).  He asked if, perhaps, they could be relocated to the front, to which Mr. Antiaris, Sr. said that he would think that this would be impossible.  Mr. Antiaris, Jr. added that the pick-up in the front would be very difficult.  The Village Engineer noted that there is an enclosed area in the front of the property for dumpsters.  He asked if the drums could be placed in this dumpster enclosure.  Mr. Antiaris, Sr. said that there are two dumpsters in there already.  There would be no extra room in the enclosure for the two drums.  

Chairman Kehoe said that he would think that the issues being discussed tonight could be “fleshed out” during the public hearing.  He suggested that the Planning Board could move forward to the scheduling of the public hearing tonight.  Mr. Luntz pointed out that the Applicant’s attorney has dealt with the variance issue for the parking, but the Planning Board would still need to hear from the Village Attorney.  Chairman Kehoe stated that the owners of the property have come to the meeting tonight, and he would hope that they could do something about reorganizing the back of the property closest to the residential area(s). Chairman Kehoe asked the owners if, for the next meeting (public hearing), they could come up with ideas for the parking in the back and ideas for improving the situation with the dumpsters/grease containers.  Ms. Allen noted to the Applicant that, to move this project along, it would be helpful to the board to have these issues addressed.  

Mr. Aarons asked what is north of the grease containers in the back, to which the Village Engineer said, some lawn area.  Mr. Quartuccio added that there is (just) some overgrown vegetation (weeds) in that area.  Mr. Aarons asked if there could be parking spaces in what is now a lawn (grass), to which the Village Engineer said that he would not think so.  The land “drops off,” and the area would not be wide enough unless the parking were on a diagonal.  Besides, the residents living nearby would prefer not to have any parking in the back at all.

The Village Engineer brought up the issue again of parked vehicles in the back “hanging out in the street.”  He noted to those present that he has not received any complaints about these parked vehicles. He would check with the Police Department to see if they had ever received any complaints.    

Mr. Antiaris, Jr. told the board that, for the next meeting, they would take some photographs of the existing conditions and make some improvements to the site plan.  Ms. Allen suggested that they (the owners) could talk to the neighbors.  This might serve to help them to resolve some of the issues being raised.

Chairman Kehoe asked if all of the tenants of the shopping center use the dumpsters in the front, to which Mr. Antiaris, Sr. replied that they do.  

Chairman Kehoe asked if the Korean chicken establishment, presently being proposed, would be mostly take-out, to which Mr. Hyun said, yes, it would be.  Mr. Hyun added that a person could eat in his establishment, but it is “not really [being set up] to eat in there.”

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

Chairman Kehoe suggested that the public hearing on this change-of-use application could take place at the next regularly scheduled Planning Board meeting to be held on Tuesday, October 28th, to which the board agreed.

3,  OTHER BUSINESS:

  • Chairman Kehoe noted that the first Planning Board meeting of November falls on a holiday (Veteran’s Day).  The Municipal Building would be closed.  The Planning Board discussed possible alternative dates for the meeting. Wednesday, November 12th was suggested as an alternative date.  The board agreed to check their schedules and confirm the November 12th meeting date via email.
  • The Planning Board discussed a date for the site visit to the Croton Community Nursery School. The date agreed upon was Sunday, October 26th at 4:00 P.M. Three of the five board members would be able to visit the site on that date.  The other two members said that they would be willing to go on their own.  
  • Trustee Gallelli informed the Planning Board that, on Tuesday, October 28th, the second-floor meeting room would be in use for the Harmon Development Committee presentation, which would be televised.  The Planning Board would be unable to meet in the meeting room that night.  Chairman Kehoe asked the Planning Board secretary to check the availability of the Court Room.
4,  APPROVAL OF MINUTES:

The minutes of the Tuesday, September 9, 2008 Planning Board meeting were approved, as amended, on a motion by Mr. Andrews, seconded by Ms. Allen and carried by a vote of 4 to 0.  Board member Robert Luntz abstained.  

5.  ADJOURNMENT:

There being no further business to come before the Board, the meeting was duly adjourned at 9:00 P.M.

Sincerely,



Sylvia Mills
Secretary


Sylvia Mills
Village of Croton-on-Hudson
Engineer's Office
tel: 914-271-4783
fax: 914-271-3790