VILLAGE OF CROTON ON HUDSON, NEW YORK
PLANNING BOARD MEETING MINUTES – TUESDAY, NOVEMBER 25, 2008
A regular meeting of the Planning Board of the Village of Croton-on-Hudson, New York was held on Tuesday, November 25, 2008 in the Municipal Building.
MEMBERS PRESENT: Chris Kehoe, Chairman
ALSO PRESENT: Ann Gallelli, Member of the Board of Trustees
Daniel O'Connor, P.E., Village Engineer
1. Call to Order:
The meeting was called to order at 8:00 P.M. by Chairman Kehoe.
2. PUBLIC HEARING:
- Nextel of New York, Inc., New Cingular Wireless PCS, LLC and Omnipoint Communications, Inc. – Application for a Site Plan Approval for the Collocation of a Personal Wireless Services Facility at the DPW Facility, Veteran’s Plaza
Robert Gaudioso, Esq. of Snyder & Snyder, LLP; John Furst of Cuddy & Feder, LLP; and Manny Vicente of Homeland Towers, Inc. were present for this application.
Mr. Gaudioso noted to the Planning Board that he is present tonight on behalf of Homeland Towers, Nextel/Sprint and Omnipoint Communications. John Furst of Cuddy & Feder represents New Cingular Wireless/AT&T.
Mr. Gaudioso stated that, at their meeting of November 3, 2008, the Village Board granted the Special Permit for this application. Prior to the Village Board’s granting the Special Permit, the Planning Board had reviewed this application for the purposes of making a recommendation to the Village Board. The Waterfront Advisory Committee (WAC) had also reviewed this application, and the WAC found this project to be consistent with the policies set forth in the Village’s Local Waterfront Revitalization Program (LWRP). Mr. Gaudioso stated that the Applicant is present tonight for the approval of the Site Plan. Mr. Gaudioso noted that the Applicant’s site plan has not changed since the last time they appeared before the Planning Board.
Chairman Kehoe opened the public hearing. He asked if there were any comments on this application from members of the public, to which there were none. Chairman Kehoe entertained a motion to close the public hearing. The motion was made by Mr. Andrews, seconded by Ms. Allen and carried by a vote of 5 to 0.
Chairman Kehoe referred the Planning Board to the Village Board’s resolution of approval for the granting of the Special Permit and noted that there are nine conditions in the resolution, most of which pertain to the Building Permit stage of this project. He questioned if there were any other conditions that the Planning Board would require for the approval of the Site Plan. The Village Engineer suggested that rather than duplicating those conditions enumerated in the Village Board resolution the Planning Board could make it a condition of their approval “that the Applicant shall abide by the conditions set forth in the Village Board resolution.” The Village Engineer stated that when the Planning Board made their recommendation to the Village Board on the Special Permit, the Planning Board suggested
that the permit should be granted subject to a number of conditions that the Village Board should take into consideration. The Village Engineer noted that these conditions have been carried over into the Village Board resolution.
Mr. Luntz asked the Applicant which cell phone companies would be collocating on the cell tower, to which Mr. Gaudioso replied that, at this point in time, Nextel/Sprint, New Cingular Wireless/AT&T and Omnipoint would be collocating on the tower. Mr. Gaudioso added that they (the Applicant) have also received letters of interest from Verizon and Metro PCS.
Mr. Aarons asked who the primary lessee is, to which Mr. Gaudioso replied that the primary lessee is Homeland Towers, Inc. Mr. Gaudioso explained to Mr. Aarons that, during the course of the Planning Board’s review, the original lease agreement between Nextel and the Village was amended to make Homeland Towers the “assignee.”
Chairman Kehoe asked the board members if they had any further comments, to which there were none.
Chairman Kehoe referred to the draft resolution prepared for this application, noting that there are a number of “whereas” clauses including “whereas” clauses describing the nature of the project, its history and the approvals granted thus far. One of the “whereas” clauses refers to condition #3 of the Village Board’s Special Permit, which states that the construction of the cell tower shall be in accordance with the plans and specifications made during the application process. Chairman Kehoe noted that, when the Applicant was before the Planning Board for a recommendation on the Special Permit, the Applicant had prepared, for the Planning Board use, a list of plans and specifications. The Planning Board attached this list to their letter of recommendation to the Village Board.
Chairman Kehoe noted that this same list of plans and specifications, which has not been altered at all, would be attached to the Planning Board’s resolution of Site Plan approval.
Chairman Kehoe suggested that the resolution of Site Plan approval should contain the following condition: “that the Applicant shall abide by the nine conditions set forth in the Village Board’s resolution of approval dated November 3, 2008.”
Chairman Kehoe entertained a motion to approve this application with the aforementioned condition. The motion was made by Mr. Luntz, seconded by Ms. Allen and carried by a vote of 4 to 0. Planning Board member Mark Aarons abstained.
3. OLD BUSINESS:
- Croton Community Nursery School – Lower North Highland Place (Sec. 67.20 Blk. 2 Lots 5, 6, 9 and 25[formerly Lots 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12 and 25]) – Application for a Preliminary Subdivision Approval
Ron Wegner of Cronin Engineering was present to represent the Applicant.
Chairman Kehoe noted that, since the last meeting on this application, Planning Board members Fran Allen and Robert Luntz have been on a site visit to the nursery school property and, based on their site visit, the Applicant’s engineer has revised the Applicant’s initial plans for the subdivision. Mr. Wegner noted to those present that he also attended this site walk (visit), which was based on the initial layout that had been prepared. The initial proposal had a different wetland delineation, which has since been updated to correspond with the new subdivision layout. Mr. Wegner noted that the Applicant hired a professional wetlands consultant to do the delineation. Chairman Kehoe pointed out that the report submitted by the Applicant’s wetlands consultant has not yet been
reviewed or concurred with by the Village’s consultant.
Mr. Wegner stated that a discussion ensued as a result of the site visit about moving the residence on Lot #1 closer to the road. Mr. Wegner noted that the previously submitted subdivision plans do not show the existing neighbor’s house next to Lot #1, and this house is now being shown. As indicated on the plan(s), this (the neighbor’s) house is very close to the southernmost property line presently being proposed for Lot #1.
Mr. Wegner noted that the house location for Lot #3 “did not look too bad,” so no change was made to the house location. He did make the shape of the house itself on Lot #3 somewhat narrower than it was before. Mr. Wegner stated that, as a result of the site walk, the house location for Lot #4 has been changed. He referred to the Applicant’s plan and said that the house was moved farther back on Lot #4 and “off of the knob” where it had originally been situated.
Mr. Wegner stated that, on the new plan(s), Lot #1 has been widened. He tried a different design for the house narrowing it slightly, and he pulled it up as close as he could to the zoning setback.
Mr. Luntz referred to the layout for Lot #1 and noted that there is an old (existing) stone spring house in the front of this lot which, according to the Applicant’s plan, would be cut in two by the driveway being proposed. Mr. Luntz suggested that the Applicant should move the driveway, if at all possible, to preserve this interesting feature on Lot #1, to which Mr. Wegner said that he would try to do so. Mr. Luntz said that he is pleased that, with the changes being made to the Applicant’s original plan(s), more of the existing stone wall would be preserved. Chairman Kehoe asked how tall the retaining wall on Lot #1 would be, to which Mr. Wegner said, six feet. Mr. Wegner noted that John Nikic is the contract vendee for the nursery school property. Mr. Nikic is using the
same house design for Lot #1 as he used for his house on Franklin Avenue.
Mr. Luntz referred to the Applicant’s plan showing a (drainage) catch basin in the front next to the driveway and said that he would think that having a storm water feature in the front makes sense.
Mr. Wegner noted to the board that the house on Lot #2 has been moved “way to the back where there is a big flat area.” There had been a question of a water course (drainage channel) running through this area of the back, but when they went on the site walk, he did not see any evidence of water running through that area. Mr. Wegner referred to the Applicant’s plan showing the steep slopes and pointed out that he would be able to “keep to less slope areas” for the driveway. Chairman Kehoe said that it is his understanding that this new location for the house on Lot #2 would depend on the final decision regarding the drainage channel in the back. Mr. Luntz said that the layout for Lot #2 is much better than that which was originally being proposed. The house is no
longer situated on a knob as it was before. Ms. Allen agreed that the house is in a much better location and noted further that the original layout for the house would have involved a great deal of blasting. Mr. Luntz noted that the overall design of the houses on all four lots is better than the original proposal. One improvement is the alternating layout of the houses, which makes it possible for the houses situated toward the front on Lots #’s 1 and 3 to have more space between them.
Mr. Luntz referred to the plan showing the retaining wall for Lot #4 and said that, as he understands the plan, this wall would be fairly significant in height, to which Mr. Wegner said that “it [the wall] maxes out at six feet.” Mr. Wegner noted that he incurred more land disturbance with the original layout.
Ms. Allen recalled that one of the discussions in the field was to bring the driveway on Lot #4 very close to Lot #3, to which Mr. Wegner replied that in order to make that work he had to slightly move the lot line for Lot #3. Mr. Luntz noted that there would still be a fair amount of cut and fill. Ms. Allen said that, to minimize the cut and fill, her idea in the field was to move the driveway over as much as possible. Mr. Luntz pointed out that the contours on Lot #4 “dive down” quite quickly from 260 to 220 coming into the property. One could maintain a fairly level drive into the property but to do so would require that a rather significant retaining wall be built. Mr. Wegner said (again) that he “maxed out” the wall on Lot #4 at six feet. He noted that if
one were to compare the previous layout, one would see that the new driveway comes in pretty much on the Lot #3 lot line. Mr. Luntz said that the natural land features are significant in this area. He questioned what would happen if one were to put the driveway right on the existing lot line for Lots #’s 3 and 4. The Village Engineer pointed out that, if a common driveway were to be created for Lots #’s 3 and 4, it would probably not result in “saving much asphalt.”
The Village Engineer asked Mr. Wegner if, in order to determine the lot width for Lot #3, he averaged the width of the property line at the front and back of the proposed house, to which Mr. Wegner said that, indeed, this is what he did. He calculated the lot width to be 151 feet. Mr. Wegner told the Village Engineer that he could make adjustments to the lot lines, if necessary. The Village Engineer noted that the way the lots lines are presently being proposed, there would not be much flexibility in the way the house could be situated. If one were to push the house back somewhat, the house would no longer be in compliance. The Village Engineer suggested to Mr. Wegner that perhaps the lot line(s) could be adjusted. If one were to “jog the lot line over,” it would give the
potential homeowner more of a buffer area at the rear of the house.
The Village Engineer referred to the drainage being shown on the Applicant’s plan for Lot #4 and asked Mr. Wegner what would happen to the drainage (runoff) once it reaches the road (Lower North Highland Place). He noted that the plan shows that the drainage would be brought downhill toward the road. Where would the water go from there? Mr. Wegner told the Village Engineer that he still has to work out this aspect of the drainage proposal. He would be looking into it. Mr. Wegner noted that, at this point in time, they (the Applicant) are still in the preliminary stages of their subdivision proposal. He was hoping tonight to get feedback from the Planning Board as to whether the Planning Board thinks that the new layout being shown would be workable. Mr. Luntz said that, in
his view, the new layout works nicely with the existing features of the property. He would think that this layout is a “huge improvement” from what was originally being proposed.
The Village Engineer referred to the Applicant’s plan showing an expansive area of land (woods) off to the left of the driveway on Lot #2. The Village Engineer said that it would be a benefit to Lot #1 to have some of this expansive land area. The Village Engineer suggested that the property line between Lots #’s 1 and 2 could be adjusted accordingly. Mr. Luntz said that he, personally, likes the idea of having the woods in the front on Lot #2 and would rather leave it as is.
Mr. Luntz said that he would think that the existing stone wall on Lot #3 could “work into the landscaping for the house.” A stone wall rolling through the property is (would be) a very nice feature. Mr. Luntz reiterated that, if it at all possible, he would like to see this old stone wall incorporated into the landscaping for Lot #3. Chairman Kehoe noted that, in his experience working with the Planning Board at the Town of Cortlandt, the Planning Board would make it a condition of their approval that the stone wall be preserved.
Mr. Luntz noted that, given the natural features of the land, Lots #’s 2 and 4 could have an accessory structure, such as a swimming pool, on the property but Lots #’s 1 and 3 could not.
Chairman Kehoe suggested that, to safeguard trees being cut in the back of these properties, a conservation easement could be established. Ms. Allen agreed and said that a conservation easement would be useful to protect and preserve the open space. Chairman Kehoe noted that, in the Town of Cortlandt, the town’s environmental consultant would give a recommendation as to whether a conservation easement would be beneficial. He suggested that, perhaps the Village’s environmental consultant, Bruce Donohue, could render his opinion on the establishment of a conservation easement for the nursery school property. Ms. Allen noted that the back area is a direct connection between Kaplan’s Pond and the Croton River. She would think that it would be a good idea to either establish the
conservation easement or dedicate this land to the Village. Chairman Kehoe noted further that there is a common open area (Lot 38) to the right of the nursery school parcels. He would think that this would give even more credence to the idea of preserving this land in the back as open space.
Chairman Kehoe asked Mr. Wegner if he could quantify the steep slope disturbance(s) on the property, to which Mr. Wegner showed the board color-coded maps indicating the steep slopes. He compared for the Planning Board the steep slope disturbance on the old and new subdivision layouts and said that it would appear that the land disturbance would be less on the new layout. Chairman Kehoe asked Mr. Wegner if he intends to provide the board with a steep slopes analysis giving actual numbers (square footage), to which Mr. Wegner said that he would do the steep slopes calculations and/or provide the Planning Board with a steep slopes analysis.
The Village Engineer told the Applicant that a tree survey would have to be submitted. He pointed out that the Planning Board could decide to make some adjustments to the lot layout(s) based on this tree survey. The Village Engineer noted that the Planning Board would ask the Applicant to hire an arborist to tag the trees. Then, the Village’s consultant would confirm the accuracy of the tree survey. Mr. Luntz said that he would think that now would be a good time to do the survey. Ms. Allen said that it would, indeed, be a good time with the leaves off the trees. Mr. Luntz suggested that all trees forward of the wetlands buffer should be surveyed. Ms. Allen said that, in so far as the scope of this survey is concerned, the Planning Board would want to have a record of
the trees “as they exist today.” The Village Engineer added that any trees close to the wetlands buffer should be surveyed. For Lots #’s 1 and 2, the surveyor would want to go at least 40 feet into the buffer “to get that perimeter edge.” The Village Engineer suggested that on Lots #’s 3 and 4, trees up to the base of the slope but not beyond should be surveyed. The Village Engineer said that he would doubt that a future homeowner would touch the trees on the sloped area(s). Ms. Allen thought that the specimen trees in the back of the lots should be tagged, to which the Village Engineer pointed out that if this land in the back were dedicated to the Village, then it would be highly unlikely that any trees in that area would be taken down or damaged. He added that if a conservation easement were established, then the trees would be slightly less protected.
Mr. Wegner asked what the purpose of the tree survey is, to which Chairman Kehoe replied that a tree survey not only serves the purpose of indicating the trees to be removed and saved for the construction of the house(s), but also helps the Planning Board in its efforts to preserve and protect the land/open space. Chairman Kehoe said that, in this particular case, a tree survey showing the significant and specimen trees in the back of the lots would help the Planning Board to know whether to enlarge or shrink a potential conservation easement in the back. Chairman Kehoe suggested that the Applicant’s tree surveyor could do a survey of the trees in the front, and the Village’s environmental consultant could “field tag” the significant and specimen trees in the back.
The Village Engineer reiterated that for Lots #’s 1 and 2 the Applicant’s surveyor should go 40 feet into the buffer to survey the trees. Then, for Lots #’s 3 and 4, the surveyor should go up to the base of the steep slope but not beyond. The Village’s environmental consultant, Bruce Donohue, could flag the significant and specimen trees at the back of the properties. Chairman Kehoe said that he, personally, would be comfortable with the Applicant’s surveyor doing the survey in the front of the properties and Mr. Donohue doing the additional specimen investigation in the back area(s).
The Village Engineer suggested that Mr. Donohue could be in contact with the Applicant’s wetlands consultant, Stephen Coleman, to arrange a meeting in the field. The Village Engineer said that the hope would be that they would arrive at a consensus with respect to the wetlands. Chairman Kehoe noted that, once Mr. Donohue has had an opportunity to review Mr. Coleman’s work on the wetlands delineation, the Planning Board would want Mr. Donohue to provide a written report.
Chairman Kehoe noted that the existing (neighbor’s) house to the left of proposed Lot #1 is very close to the common property line. It would be preferable for this house to be farther away from the common property line. Chairman Kehoe questioned whether it might be possible to do a lot line adjustment to provide a wider space between Lot #1 and the neighbor’s house. The Village Engineer noted that the lot width of Lot #1 is 171 feet and the minimum required lot width in the RA-40 District is 150 feet. He would think that there would be room to do a lot line adjustment between these two lots and still have Lot #1 meet the lot width requirements. He realizes that such a lot line adjustment could only take place if the neighbor agreed to it. Mr. Wegner suggested that another way “to make this happen” that would not involve the neighbor would be to reconfigure Lot #1 by adjusting the lot line between Lots #’s 1 and 2.
Chairman Kehoe noted that, for tonight’s meeting, the Applicant submitted a title report for the Planning Board’s review. He asked the other members whether they thought that the Planning Board should provide the Village Attorney with a copy of this report. Chairman Kehoe noted that the issue is whether or not there were ever any covenants or conditions placed on this property that would prohibit its future development. Chairman Kehoe questioned if a title report would be the type of document that would include this information, to which Mr. Wegner said that he would think so. Ms. Allen said that she noticed, in reading the title report, that this (the nursery school) land was part of the Rubin property. It is her understanding that it was Mr. Rubin’s practice to put a number of
covenants in his deeds. Chairman Kehoe said that, in so far as these covenants are concerned, rather than finding them in the deed, they might instead be incorporated into the wording of the organization’s charter. Mr. Andrews agreed and said that a title report has more to do with what runs with the land and an organization’s charter, with what a property owner is allowed to do with his/her property.
Mr. Aarons referred to item #7 in Schedule B of the title report, which read:
7. Covenants, conditions, easements of record and other matters as follows:
Mr. Aarons noted that this item (#7) ends after the phrase “as follows:” It would normally end with the word “None” or contain a list of covenants or easements. In this instance, no covenants or easements are listed and the word “None” is not there either. Mr. Aarons suggested that the Applicant should look through the County Land Records for this information. The Planning Board would need to know if there were any covenants or easements of record. Mr. Aarons reiterated that item #7 should either say “None” or contain a list of the covenants or easements.
Chairman Kehoe asked if the title report should be submitted to the Village Attorney for review, to which Mr. Aarons thought that this would not necessarily be the proper way to proceed. In his (Mr. Aaron’s) view, the way to proceed would be to have the Applicant’s attorney render an opinion in writing for the Village Attorney to review. Mr. Aarons said that, in order for the Planning Board to move forward with this application, the Planning Board would want to see an opinion from the nursery school’s attorney to the effect that this project is a valid project, that there is a binding resolution, etc. Mr. Andrews noted that the Applicant’s attorney would have to look at the nursery school’s charter and state law. The project would have to be consistent with both.
Board of Trustees member Ann Gallelli was present. Trustee Gallelli told the Planning Board that she was on the Board of Directors of the Croton Community Nursery School back in the 1970’s. It is her recollection that Mr. Rubin’s gift of this land was to benefit the nursery school’s needs. The intention was that a “new” nursery school would be built on the property; however, it turned out to be too expensive for them to do. Trustee Gallelli stated that in the 1980’s and 1990’s the nursery school contemplated selling this land. The thought was that the money from the sale of this land would benefit the students. Both attempts to sell the property were voted down by the board. Trustee Gallelli said that she never actually saw the documents
pertaining to the gift of land to the nursery school; however, it was always presented to her that the subject land would ultimately be used to benefit the school.
Mr. Wegner said that he would be in contact with the Village Engineer’s office at such time as they (the Applicant) are ready to come back before the board.
- Margo Francy- 57 Old Post Road North (Sec. 67.20 Blk. 2 Lot 27) – Application for a Steep Slope Permit
Ron Wegner of Cronin Engineering was present to represent the Applicant.
Chairman Kehoe recused himself from the review of this application. Mr. Luntz acted as chairperson.
Mr. Wegner said that, at the last meeting, a discussion took place on the history of this project. There was also a discussion on what the implications of the changes to the Steep Slopes Law would be on this application. Mr. Wegner said that the Planning Board went through the sixteen review standards enumerated in the new Steep Slopes Law and applied these sixteen standards to this project.
Mr. Wegner stated that the Applicant proposes to build a residence with a footprint, which is only 100 square feet above the minimum (880 square feet) required in the RA-9 Zoning District. Mr. Wegner said that he has reduced the size of the house to the greatest extent possible. In the new design for the house there would be no indoor parking (attached garage), which would help to minimize the disturbance to the site.
Mr. Wegner stated that, as this application is both for a steep slopes and a site plan approval, tonight’s submission includes the building elevations and a long Environmental Assessment Form (EAF).
Mr. Wegner showed the Planning Board a site plan of the property indicating the disturbed area(s) and stated that he essentially “colored up” this map to make it clearer what the existing conditions are and what is being proposed.
Mr. Wegner noted to the Planning Board that a change to the plan since the last meeting is the addition of a drywell. He said that the addition of this drywell would “fit into the same limit of disturbance that we have now and would not be a substantial change to the plan.”
Mr. Wegner stated that he has laid out on the plan a fairly detailed construction sequence. When the ground is broken, the first of the upper walls would be constructed creating a diversion for the drainage. Erosion controls would be in place as early as possible. Mr. Wegner said that the upper wall would be built first and then the lower wall. The earthwork between the two retaining walls would be done once the walls are built.
Ms. Allen said that she visited the site today and found it difficult to know, from the plan submitted, which trees were to be saved and which were to be removed. It was difficult to identify the larger trees to be removed due to the fact that the Applicant has submitted a plan showing the house location in one drawing and the location of the trees in another. It would be useful to have both the house and trees in the same drawing.
Ms. Allen expressed concern about the sight distance when exiting the driveway. She noted that the proposed house would be situated part way up the hill. There is a curve in the road a short distance downhill. She would think that the sight distance would be hindered by the hill and the curve in the road. Mr. Wegner noted that there is a driveway situated right at the curve. The driveway for the Francy house would be 100 feet up the hill, which would make the sight distance from the Francy driveway much better than from the driveway at the curve. Ms. Allen said that she would like to know what the sight distance would be, to which Mr. Wegner replied that he would look into it.
Ms. Allen asked what the soil composition of the hill is. She pointed out that there are “a lot of sand dunes in this community.” Mr. Wegner said that he thought the soil was listed as a Charlton Loam. The Village Engineer noted that Mr. Wegner would be doing a percolation test for the drywell and would know what the soils are by doing this test. Ms. Allen asked if there were any government restrictions based on these soil categories, to which Mr. Wegner responded that the state has new storm water regulations, but he thinks that they pertain to more steep-sloped categories. The Village Engineer noted that the various soil series could vary in the field. He would think that the area in question is not sand. Ms. Allen said that this area is a deeply creviced area, so it is not known
what the soil consists of. The Village Engineer suggested that, in order to know the soil composition, the Applicant could do a “perc” test at the rear of the house. He would think that the “perc” test for the drywell and the test at the rear of the house would be sufficient to indicate the soil composition. Mr. Wegner suggested that he could “get a machine out there and dig a five to seven-foot hole.” Ms. Allen said that the hole should be as deep as the disturbance to the site would be. This would be the only way to be certain that the soil is substantial enough to prevent any slipping. The Village Engineer pointed out that the major excavation would be for the foundation. The deck being proposed at the back of the house is almost at grade. The front of the house is where the largest cut would be i.e., a depth of ten feet. The Village Engineer said that the stone wall along the driveway is
going to be built on grade with fill behind it. The Village Engineer noted that there would be very little excavation on the property. If there were any slope failure, he would think that it would tend to be self-contained in the foundation.
The Village Engineer said that an issue of concern to him would be the effects of erosion and sediment loss on residents living downhill. Erosion could take place after a rainstorm. Mr. Andrews said that he would think that the first step during the construction phase would be to put in a silt fence and a sediment trap. Ms. Allen said that cutting down the trees is usually the first step. Ms. Allen expressed concern about the soils on the property and said that she would want to be certain that the hole being dug was deep enough to identify the soil(s). She was not sure what the depth should be. Mr. Andrews asked if any of the sixteen review standards in the Steep Slopes Law addresses this issue. Mr. Wegner noted that if it were all sand, and the sand started to spill down the slope, then, they would have
to find a way to “shore things up.” He suggested that they could take the preliminary soil tests and make a determination as to what the (field) conditions would be. The Village Engineer noted that there is always a risk involved in digging a hole for the foundation. A contractor always wants to get the foundation built before the ground “turns into a mud hole.” The Village Engineer reiterated what he had said before that, in this type of soil strata, he would think that sand would probably not be found.
Mr. Luntz questioned whether, in the Planning Board’s role as the approving authority for steep slope permits, the Planning Board could simply decide that a house should not be built on a particular lot. Could the Planning Board say “no” to a particular project or does the Planning Board always have to try for “the best possible scenario?” Mr. Luntz suggested that, for the next meeting, Mr. Wegner should respond to each of the sixteen review standards in the new Steep Slopes Law. Mr. Wegner should provide a written report. Ms. Allen wanted to know the heritage of the sixteen review standards. Are the review standards based on the County’s Best Management Practices or some other form of government standards? Ms. Allen noted that this piece of land is unique because of the
glaciers that came through this area. Mr. Aarons questioned whether the Planning Board is empowered to consider the propriety of building on this lot. He said that, with respect to the subject lot, “if the only harm is going to be done to the developer and not to the public, do we [the Planning Board] have the right to say [that] this is a bad idea?” The Village Engineer noted that the Village would require the Applicant to provide a performance bond and an erosion control bond to do the construction work.
Mr. Andrews suggested that Mr. Wegner could look at the review standards in the new Steep Slopes Law and state, in a written report to the Planning Board, how each of these standards is being met. Mr. Andrews said that he, personally, does not see how the Planning Board could question the law beyond that. Ms. Allen said that she thinks that the law does not address soil types. Mr. Wegner asked Ms. Allen if it would help Ms. Allen to feel more at ease about the soil(s) if he were to take a machine to the site for the purpose of performing a soil analysis. He would perform the soil analysis next to where the house would be built. Ms. Allen said that it would, indeed, be helpful; however, she would like to see the soil(s) tested in other areas as well. Mr. Wegner suggested that he could go out to the
site with a backhoe, to which Ms. Allen said that she could not comment on whether this would be a useful idea. Mr. Luntz said that he thought that it would be useful relative to what Ms. Allen’s question/concern is.
Mr. Luntz questioned again whether it would be within the Planning Board’s purview to simply say that “this [project] is a bad idea from the get-go.” He questioned what the Planning Board’s boundaries are as the “approving authority.” Mr. Andrews said that he would think that the Planning Board would (still) have to go by the sixteen review standards set forth in the Steep Slopes Law. The Applicant has to answer to these standards, and the Planning Board would make their determination accordingly. Mr. Andrews reiterated that he would think it is not a question of “just saying no,” but instead, it is a question of reviewing the Applicant’s answers to the review standards and making a determination. Mr. Aarons agreed with Mr. Andrews and added that, “We
[the Planning Board] cannot go outside the four corners of what the statute allows us to do.”
Mr. Andrews told Mr. Wegner that, if he (Mr. Wegner) thinks that a standard does not apply, then he could say so in his report. Mr. Aarons suggested that Mr. Wegner could review the minutes of the last meeting in which the Planning Board discussed the sixteen standards. The Planning Board said at that meeting which ones they felt did not apply.
Mr. Aarons noted that, at the last meeting, he had asked about the swale and the water being redirected toward the rear of the property. He had expressed concern about bringing the water closer to the neighbor’s house in the back. Mr. Wegner told Mr. Aarons that this would be a temporary protective measure to keep the water off of the construction site. The Village Engineer asked Mr. Wegner about the design being proposed for the series of retaining walls. He asked if the retaining wall at the front property line would be reinforced concrete, to which Mr. Wegner said that it would be. Mr. Wegner noted that they would not be able to put in a unilock wall because they could not get reinforced matting in the back. The Village Engineer asked about the type of construction for the lower
wall and wanted to know if the footing for that wall is going to be along the property line. Mr. Wegner said that the lower wall would be a unilock wall. The Village Engineer suggested that, to be clear on the type(s) of wall construction, Mr. Wegner should provide specific details on the walls being proposed.
The Village Engineer referred to the retaining wall that extends past the driveway and questioned if it would really be necessary to extend that wall past the driveway. Mr. Wegner said that, perhaps, he could shorten that wall. He would look at the wall design and see what he could do about shortening the wall in the back. Mr. Wegner noted that the intent was to have a yard in that area, to which the Village Engineer suggested that, perhaps, they could put in a yard behind the house. The Village Engineer said that instead of having a retaining wall at the entrance, one could almost bring the retaining wall all the way across along the back of the house. Mr. Wegner noted that there are no trees back there so, perhaps, this would be possible.
Mr. Wegner reviewed the items that should be addressed for the next meeting. He should put together a narrative (written report) based on the review standards in the new Steep Slopes Law. Soil analyses should be performed. If possible, the retaining wall layout should be changed based on the Village Engineer’s suggestion(s). Ms. Allen said that, for ease at knowing which trees are to be removed, she would like to see the trees on the house plan. She would also like to know the sight distance for the proposed driveway.
Mr. Wegner noted to the board that at some point the Applicant would have to go before the Waterfront Advisory Committee for a determination of consistency with the policies of the Local Waterfront Revitalization Program (LWRP).
Mr. Wegner said that he would be in touch with the Engineer’s Office when the Applicant is ready to come back before the Planning Board.
4. APPROVAL OF MINUTES:
The minutes of the Tuesday, October 28, 2008 Planning Board meeting were approved, as amended, on a motion by Mr. Andrews, seconded by Chairman Kehoe and carried by a vote of 4 to 0. Planning Board member Fran Allen abstained.
There being no further business to come before the board, the meeting was duly adjourned at 10:25 P.M.
WHEREAS, the Planning Board held a public hearing on a Site Plan application on Tuesday, November 25, 2008 for Homeland Towers, LLC, hereafter known as “the Applicant,” said property located at 1 Veteran’s Plaza, owned by the Village of Croton-on-Hudson and leased to Homeland Towers, LLC. The subject property is in the LI (Light Industrial) Zoning District and is designated on the Tax Map of the Village of Croton-on-Hudson as Section 79.17 Block 1 Lot 10; and
WHEREAS, the proposed Site Plan is for the installation of a personal wireless services facility (cell tower) at the DPW (Veteran’s Plaza) site upon which there will be a collocation of the personal wireless services facility by Nextel of New York, Inc., New Cingular Wireless PCS, LLC and Omnipoint Communications, Inc.; and
WHEREAS, this application went before the Village Board in March 2006 for a Special Permit approval, at which time the Village Board referred this application to the Planning Board for a recommendation; and
WHEREAS, the Planning Board, in their memorandum to the Village Board dated September 30, 2008, recommended that the Special Permit for a personal wireless services facility be granted; and
WHEREAS, this application was also referred to the Waterfront Advisory Committee for a Local Waterfront Revitalization Program (LWRP) consistency review, and the Waterfront Advisory Committee, as stated in their memorandum to the Village Board dated October 23, 2008, found this project to be consistent with the policies set forth in the LWRP; and
WHEREAS, the Village Board, as the Lead Agency for the review of this application under the State Environmental Quality Review Act (SEQRA), issued a Negative Declaration on November 3, 2008; and
WHEREAS, on November 3, 2008, the Village Board granted the Special Permit; and
WHEREAS, condition #3 of the Village Board’s Special Permit states that the construction of the cell tower shall be in accordance with the plans and specifications submitted and all representations and agreements made by the Applicant in the application process; and
WHEREAS, a list of these plans and specifications, representations and agreements were described in a five-page document prepared by the Applicant (available at the Village Hall).
NOW, THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED, that the Site Plan application, as shown on the aforementioned plans and specifications, representations and agreements be approved subject to the following condition:
1) that the Applicant abide by the nine conditions set forth in the Village Board’s resolution of approval dated November 3, 2008.
In the event that this 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
Motion to approve by Mr. Luntz, seconded by Ms. Allen and carried by a vote of 4 to 0. Planning Board member Mark Aarons abstained.
Resolution accepted with the minutes of the meeting held on Tuesday, November 25, 2008.
Village of Croton-on-Hudson