Planning Board Minutes 01/27/09
VILLAGE OF CROTON ON HUDSON, NEW YORK

PLANNING BOARD MEETING MINUTES – TUESDAY, JANUARY 27, 2009


A regular meeting of the Planning Board of the Village of Croton-on-Hudson, New York was held on Tuesday, January 27, 2009 in the Municipal Building.

MEMBERS PRESENT:                Chris Kehoe, Chairman
                                        Fran Allen
                                        Mark Aarons
                                        Vincent Andrews

ABSENT:                         Robert Luntz

ALSO PRESENT:                   Daniel O'Connor, P.E., Village Engineer

1.  Call to Order:

The meeting was called to order at 8:10 P.M. by Chairman Kehoe.

Chairman Kehoe told the Planning Board that he has just been informed that there is a resident in the audience who would like to express his concerns about the Croton Community Nursery School subdivision application. Chairman Kehoe suggested that this resident could come forward and be heard prior to tonight’s public hearing on a change of use application.  Adam Cohen of 14 Lounsbury Road came forward and told the board members that the subject nursery school property is situated behind his street (Lounsbury Road.)  As a resident, he would like to open up a dialogue with the Planning Board about his and his neighbors’ concerns regarding this subdivision proposal.  Mr. Cohen expressed concern about the large size of the houses that would potentially be built. He said that the houses in his neighborhood are modest in size.  He would be concerned that large houses would be out of character with the neighborhood.  He would also be concerned that these houses would remain empty like those, which have recently been built on Prospect Place.

Mr. Cohen suggested that, perhaps, rather than the land being developed as proposed, the Village could purchase this piece of land. The Village could do a proposition to purchase the land. Mr. Cohen said that he would think that it would serve the Village better if this land were used in ways to benefit the community as a whole e.g., as a children’s playground, park or recreational area.  Mr. Cohen suggested that, besides the proposition, residents of the Village could also sign a petition against the development of this land.  He (Mr. Cohen) would want to be proactive in his objections to this proposal.  He asked the Planning Board how he should proceed.  Chairman Kehoe told Mr. Cohen that, although the Applicant has appeared before the board a few times, it is still very early in the review process.  A threshold question about the right to develop this property remains to be answered.  The Planning Board would want to make sure that the Applicant has the right to develop this land.  The Planning Board has asked for additional information on when the property was procured by the nursery school, if there were any “strings attached,” etc.  Chairman Kehoe noted that the Applicant did provide to the Planning Board plans showing the location of the houses.  Two board members have been on a site visit.  A wetlands delineation report has been prepared.  Finally, a tree inventory/survey is in the process of being developed. Mr. Cohen pointed out to the board members that when it rains, there are tributaries of water that stream downhill. Chairman Kehoe told Mr. Cohen that the Village’s environmental consultant has been asked to confirm the accuracy of the Applicant’s wetlands delineation report. Perhaps, the Village’s consultant could explain to interested residents the nature of the watercourses/wetlands in that area.  

Ms. Allen said that the original subdivision plan showed houses all in a row on Lower North Highland Place; it was thought, as a result of the site visit, that this was not a good plan.  Ms. Allen said that it is her understanding that the plan has been revised to show new locations for the houses, to which Mr. Andrews said that this has, indeed, taken place. Mr. Andrews noted that on the new (revised) plan that resulted from the site visit, the Applicant has rearranged the location of the houses so that there is less land disturbance.  

Mr. Andrews noted to Mr. Cohen that, as part of their review, the Planning Board looks at the environmental impacts of the project.  The Planning Board also performs an architectural review.  Chairman Kehoe said that, if and when the application for the subdivision is approved, the Applicant would have to come back before the Planning Board for a minor site plan approval for each of the individual lots.  It is at that point in time that the Planning Board would perform an architectural review of the proposed house(s).

Mr. Cohen expressed concern about land development in the Village and the loss of open space.  He reiterated his earlier suggestion that, perhaps, the Village could purchase this piece of property.  The Village Engineer said that the matter of purchasing the property would be up to the Village Board to decide.  He suggested that a way for Mr. Cohen to proceed would be to go forward with his petition and then send the list of names to the Village Board.  Chairman Kehoe said that Mr. Cohen should keep in touch with the Village Engineer’s office for information on up-coming meetings on this application.  Chairman Kehoe said that the Applicant would be coming back before the Planning Board once the tree survey is completed.  Chairman Kehoe told Mr. Cohen that, with respect to open space, the Planning Board discussed, at a previous meeting, the possibility of establishing a conservation easement to protect the back two-thirds of the property.  Mr. Aarons suggested that, for further information on the Village’s proposals and ideas for recreation/park land and open space, Mr. Cohen might also want to look at the Village’s Comprehensive Plan.  Mr. Aarons noted that, with respect to Mr. Cohen’s earlier suggestion that the Village do a proposition, he (Mr. Aarons) does not think that New York State statutes provide for a proposition on non-financial issues.  

Mr. Cohen thanked the Planning Board for their time and said that he would consider taking their suggestion about going before the Village Board.      

2.  PUBLIC HEARING:

  • Mapleby LLC – 171-187 South Riverside Avenue (Sec. 78.12 Blk. 3 Lot 4) – Application for a Change of Use Approval from a Fitness Center (“Curves”) to an Ice Cream Store (“The Purple Monkey”) at the Croton Commons Shopping Center
Stephen Ferreira, P.E., of SJF Engineering Services; Barbara Groden of West-Ex Associates, Inc., managing agent for the property owner; and Philip Profeta, proprietor of the proposed ice cream store, were present.  

Chairman Kehoe recused himself from the review of this application.  Mr. Andrews acted as chairperson.

Mr. Andrews opened the public hearing.

The Applicant’s engineer, Stephen Ferreira, stated that the Applicant proposes to operate an ice cream store at the space at Croton Commons that used to be occupied by a physical fitness center.  The space in question is 1,450 square feet in size.  The service area for the ice cream would be 975 square feet in size.  The remaining space would be (used as) a “prep area” and a unisex bathroom.  There would be eight tables seating four at each table at the front of the store.  Mr. Ferreira stated that, in so far as the signage for the ice cream store is concerned, the ice cream store would have a wall-mounted sign at the front that would be consistent with the signage at Croton Commons.  In the meantime, the Applicant intends to place a temporary window sign at the front of the store. Mr. Ferreira said that, as he understands it from the owner of Croton Commons, the signage for all of the stores at Croton Commons is going to change at some point in the near future.

Mr. Ferreira noted that at the last meeting the Planning Board asked to see photographs of “The Purple Monkey” ice cream store in Ossining.  He showed the Planning Board colored photographs of the Ossining store.  

Mr. Profeta noted that, with respect to the design, lettering, colors, etc. of the sign, the Applicant’s signage would be exactly like that which was used at the former fitness center (“Curves”).  He pointed out that the permanent sign for the ice cream store would not look like the sign for “The Purple Monkey” being shown on the Applicant’s submitted plan.          

Mr. Andrews asked if the ice cream would be made on site, to which Mr. Profeta said, no.  The ice cream for “The Purple Monkey” would all be brought in.  Mr. Andrews asked how it would be delivered, to which Mr. Profeta replied that the ice cream would be delivered in small freezer trucks.  The deliveries would be made at the back of the store.  Mr. Andrews asked how the trash would be disposed of, to which Ms. Groden replied that there is an existing dumpster in place for their use.  The Applicant would have to separate the cans and bottles to be recycled from the other trash. Ms. Groden noted that the owner of the shopping center would acquire another dumpster for the ice cream store, if needed.  Mr. Andrews asked who picks up the trash, to which Ms. Groden said, the Village (DPW).  The garbage is picked up twice a week (Tuesday and Friday) and the recyclables are picked up once a week (Wednesday).  

Mr. Andrews asked what the hours of operation would be, to which Mr. Profeta said, 11:00 A.M. to 10:00 P.M. in the wintertime.  In the summertime he would probably stay open until 11:00 P.M.  

The Village Engineer asked the Applicant if they had thought about how school children would get “down there” (to the ice cream store).  The Village Engineer questioned the accessibility of the ice cream store to school-aged children who would be walking to Croton Commons.  A Croton-on-Hudson student, Shane Andrews, came forward and said that students from Pierre Van Cortlandt Middle School (PVC) would just walk down the hill past the CVS and cross the street. Students from the Croton-Harmon High School would do the same. Shane Andrews noted that students from Carrie E. Tompkins Elementary School (CET) would have farther to go. It would be somewhat harder for them to get there.  Mr. Aarons suggested that the parents of these children would have to drive them.  

Mr. Ferreira noted that the Village Engineer calculated the number of parking spaces required for the ice cream store and concluded that, based on the seating (8 tables X 4 seats per table = 32 seats), the parking would meet Village standards.

The Village Engineer asked if any changes to the façade were being proposed (door, windows, etc.), to which Ms. Groden said, no.

Ms. Groden said that, with respect to the parking at the shopping center, the employee parking is at the rear of the building and edge of the parking lot that faces the gas station.  The Village Engineer said that, typically, employees of the shopping center would be asked to park their vehicles on South Riverside Avenue.  The Village Engineer suggested that the Planning Board could make this a condition of their approval, if deemed necessary.  Mr. Andrews questioned how the parking could be monitored, to which the Village Engineer said that, if the parking situation were to become worse, people (residents) would complain. Also, his staff in a drive-by would witness an overcrowded parking lot. His office could also be in touch with the store owners themselves about the parking.  Ms. Groden said that employees of the ice cream store would be working late at night.  She would rather have the ice cream store employees park their vehicles closer to the store so as not to have to walk so far at night.  She would think it would be better to ask other store owners with earlier closing times to have their employees park off-site.

Mr. Aarons asked Ms. Groden when the owner intends to make the change in the signage, to which Ms. Groden said that they have been looking at various signs; however, they have not found any yet that they like.  Ms. Groden said that, for the time being, they are going to stay with the existing signage (red and white signs). The Village Engineer suggested to the Planning Board that the Planning Board could approve the wall-mounted sign, subject to the Applicant’s submitting a sign application to the Village Engineer’s office and subject to review by the Advisory Board on the Visual Environment (VEB).  Mr. Aarons asked if it would be necessary for the VEB to have to review this sign since it is (would be) part of the uniform signage for the shopping center, to which the Village Engineer said that they would still have to review it.  Shane Andrews came forward and pointed out to those present that, with respect to the signage being proposed, another ice cream store in the Village, “The Blue Pig,” has a consistent color scheme (blue) throughout.  He questioned why the color purple could not be used, at least in some small way, for the sign for “The Purple Monkey” ice cream store.  Ms. Groden responded that the inside of the ice cream store would be purple.  The outside has to be red and white to match the other shopping center signs.  She noted that the sign on the outside is just going to say “Ice Cream” and not “The Purple Monkey.”

Mr. Andrews asked if there were any other comments from the public, to which there were none.  Mr. Andrews closed the public hearing.

Mr. Andrews read aloud the draft resolution. The Planning Board discussed the wording of the conditions contained in the draft resolution and agreed that condition #1, regarding the subsequent review and approval of the sign, required no changes in wording.  For condition #2, the words “if necessary” should be added to read: “that, if necessary, the employees of the ice cream store shall be required to park off-site on the west side of South Riverside Avenue.”  The Village Engineer suggested that in lines 2 & 3 of the “Now, therefore be it resolved” paragraph of the resolution, the wording should be changed to read: “…on the parking space analysis plan provided by the Village Engineer’s office…”  The reference made in that paragraph to the site plan of the shopping center prepared by Neil Carnow should be eliminated.

Mr. Andrews entertained a motion to approve this Change of Use application with the conditions discussed tonight.  The motion to approve was made by Ms. Allen, seconded by Mr. Aarons and carried by a vote of 3 to 0.
    
3.  OTHER BUSINESS:

The Village Engineer asked the Planning Board to look at color samples for the cell tower, which is proposed to be constructed at the DPW site at Veteran’s Plaza.  The Village Engineer said that the Benjamin Moore “Costa Rica Blue” specified on the Applicant’s plans is very similar in color to the Sherwin-Williams “Robotic Blue” being presented as one of the samples tonight. The Village Engineer said that Village staff members have looked at these color samples and have concluded that the “Costa Rica Blue” and the “Robotic Blue” are too dark to be used on the cell tower.  The Village Engineer noted that most of the viewing of the tower is going to be from land with the sky as a background.  The aforementioned colors would stand out too much and would not blend in at all with the sky.  The Village Engineer referred the board members to the color samples and said that Village staff members thought that the top row of colors might work.  So far, staff members prefer the “Hydro Blue” color.  Mr. Aarons said that, in his view, “Hydro Blue” and “Cool Blue” are the closest to sky colors.  He personally would prefer “Cool Blue.”  Ms. Allen said that she, too, would prefer “Cool Blue.”  The board members all agreed that “Cool Blue” would be the best choice of colors for the cell tower/appurtenances.      

4.  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

RESOLUTION

WHEREAS, the Planning Board held a public hearing on a Change of Use application on Tuesday, January 27, 2009 for Philip Profeta, hereafter known as “the Applicant,” said property owned by Mapleby LLC and located at 171-187 South Riverside Avenue (Croton Commons Shopping Center).  The property is in the C-2 Zoning District and designated on the Tax Map of the Village of Croton-on-Hudson as Section 78.12 Block 3 Lot 4; and

WHEREAS, the proposed Change of Use is from a fitness center to an ice cream store; and

WHEREAS, the Planning Board has discussed the proposed sign with the Applicant and approves the concept of the sign and the sign location; 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 Change of Use application, as shown on the parking space analysis plan provided by the Village Engineer’s office, received by the Planning Board on December 23, 2008, and a plan entitled “Proposed Floor Plan The Purple Monkey Ice Cream Store Yorktown Heights, New York,” dated December 15, 2008, prepared by Stephen J. Ferreira, P.E. of SJF Engineering Services, be approved subject to the following conditions:

*       that the sign application be submitted to the Village Engineer’s office for approval including review of the application by the VEB.  If the design of the sign is not generally consistent with what was presented to the Planning Board, it shall be referred back to the Planning Board for approval.
 
*       that, if necessary, the employees of the ice cream store shall be required to park off-site on the west side of South Riverside Avenue.
        
In the event that this Change of Use 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
                                                Mark Aarons
                                                Fran Allen
                                                Vincent Andrews
                                                Robert Luntz
                                                                
Motion to approve by Ms. Allen, seconded by Mr. Aarons and carried by a vote of 3 to 0.  Chairman Kehoe recused himself from the review of this application.  Board member Robert Luntz was absent from the meeting.  

Resolution accepted with the minutes of the meeting held on Tuesday, January 27, 2009.


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