Planning Board Minutes 10/27/2009
VILLAGE OF CROTON ON HUDSON, NEW YORK

PLANNING BOARD MEETING MINUTES – TUESDAY, OCTOBER 27, 2009


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

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

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.

  • PUBLIC HEARING:
  • Tara & Desiree Drapala – 10 Old Post Road South (Sec. 78.08 Blk. 7 Lot 5) – Application for an Amended Site Plan Approval for the Opening of a Child Care Center Facility
Tara and Desiree Drapala, owners of the child care center, and Michael Norton from Ten Old Post Road South Corporation, owner of the property, were present.

Chairman Kehoe reviewed the status of this application stating that, several weeks ago, the Village Board referred this application to the Planning Board for a recommendation on the granting of a special permit, and the special permit has since been granted.  Chairman Kehoe said that the Applicant is before the Planning Board tonight for the public hearing on their amended site plan application. The Planning Board has received in their packets the Applicant’s most recently revised set of plans.  Chairman Kehoe noted that, since the last meeting, the Applicant has redesigned the sidewalk at the side of the building to try to save an existing tree. Chairman Kehoe said that, otherwise, it would appear that the plans are not that much different than the previous set of plans submitted.

Mr. Norton said that, among other items, the revised plans show the lighting on the exit doors. Also, details of the hand railing and of the sidewalk construction are now being shown. Mr. Norton said that the Planning Board has received the Applicant’s sign application.  The sign application has also been submitted to the Advisory Board on the Visual Environment (VEB) for review at their November meeting.

Chairman Kehoe opened the public hearing.  He asked if there were any comments from members of the public, to which there were none.

Chairman Kehoe noted that the Planning Board has already discussed the parking for the child care center at previous meetings.  

Chairman Kehoe said that it is his understanding that, as part of the work being proposed, the property owner intends to “match up” the front façade so that the windows in the front are consistent in style, to which Mr. Norton said that this is, indeed, the case.

The Village Engineer noted that the plan shows a new handrail at the existing basement steps.  He asked Mr. Norton if a handrail is also being proposed around the new exit door, to which Mr. Norton said that he would assume that there would be a handrail in that location. The Village Engineer said that he would also want to know if there would be a railing on the top of the stairs.  He asked that Mr. Norton provide him with a detail on the plan(s) showing where a new handrail is being installed.  Mr. Norton said that a new handrail is being proposed around the basement entry steps and around the platform.  He does not know why this has not been denoted on the Applicant’s plan(s).

The Village Engineer said that the Applicant’s plan shows a spot light fixture at the steps at the rear of the property. The Village Engineer told Mr. Norton that he would want to make certain that the lighting in that location has been adjusted to provide the proper illumination on the steps.  Ms. Allen noted that, for the sake of the neighbors, the Planning Board would want assurance that the lights are not kept on late at night.  Ms. Allen added that an exception would be in the case of an emergency at the site. For emergency purposes, the lights around the property should be easily accessible.

Chairman Kehoe noted to the Applicant that the VEB conducted a preliminary review of their sign application this past weekend, and they have provided some comments via email to the Planning Board.  Chairman Kehoe related to the Applicant some of the VEB’s criticisms including the size of the sign, which they think is too large; the cartoon-like character of the heart-face; and the choice of the typeface/font being used.  Chairman Kehoe asked if this heart-face is critical to the sign, to which Ms. Drapala said that they hired Tom McCaffrey to design the sign.  He came up with the heart-face.  Ms. Drapala noted that the heart-face is not their logo, so it is not absolutely necessary that they use this heart-face design.  Chairman Kehoe said that, with respect to the design of the sign, he, personally, would be willing to let the Applicant work this out with the VEB. Ms. (Tara) Drapala said that she would think that “something more tasteful” than what is being proposed could be done for the sign.  Chairman Kehoe said that the VEB noted in their email to the Planning Board that they are looking forward to working out an equitable solution with the Applicant at their November meeting.  Mr. Luntz suggested that the Planning Board could approve this amended site plan application with a condition that the Applicant and the VEB work out a solution for the sign that is equitable to both parties.  

Chairman Kehoe asked if there were any further comments, to which there were none.  Chairman Kehoe entertained a motion to close the public hearing on this amended site plan application.  The motion was made by Mr. Andrews, seconded by Ms. Allen and carried by a vote of 5 to 0.

Chairman Kehoe read aloud the draft resolution.  He added the following (three) conditions:

  • that the Applicant’s plan shall be revised to show all of the new handrails and/or railings being installed.
  • that the spotlighting at the rear steps shall be adjusted to appropriately illuminate the stairs.
  • that the Applicant shall work out the details of their proposed sign with the VEB.
Chairman Kehoe entertained a motion to approve this application with the conditions discussed tonight.  The motion to approve was made by Ms. Allen, seconded by Mr. Luntz and carried by a vote of 5 to 0.

  • OLD BUSINESS:
  • Margo Francy – 57 Old Post Road North (Sec. 67.20 Blk. 2 Lot 27) – Application for a Steep Slope Permit – Planning Board to Consider SEQRA Determination of Significance
Chairman Kehoe stated that he is recused on this application; board member Fran Allen will act as chairperson.

Ms. Allen noted that there is no one present tonight to represent the Applicant. In her view, the Planning Board could still discuss the matter regarding the State Environmental Quality Review Act (SEQRA) process without the Applicant being present.  The Village Engineer noted to the board members that he spoke with the Applicant’s attorney John Gochman earlier today and told Mr. Gochman that he believes that the Planning Board would more than likely be issuing a Positive Declaration tonight.   

Ms. Allen noted that the Village Attorney James Staudt emailed the Planning Board regarding the SEQRA process.  She read aloud portions of Mr. Staudt’s email. Mr. Staudt states in his email that the Planning Board had made a determination some time ago that this steep slope application is an “Unlisted Action” under SEQRA; before making a decision on this application, the Planning Board has to make a SEQRA Determination of Significance. The Planning Board must issue either a Positive Declaration or a Negative Declaration. A Positive Declaration is a written statement indicating that “the implementation of the action as proposed may have a significant adverse impact on the environment…” [SEQRA regulations 617.2(a)(c)].  A Negative Declaration is the opposite of a Positive Declaration.  Ms. Allen stated that the Planning Board should discuss tonight whether to issue a Positive or a Negative Declaration.

Mr. Andrews noted that Mr. Staudt sent, as an attachment to his email, Sec. 617.7 of the SEQRA regulations entitled “Determining Significance. This section lists the criteria, which are considered indicators of significant adverse environmental impacts. Mr. Andrews referred to the list of criteria and said that based on the state regulations, there are multiple factors present to support a Positive Declaration.  Mr. Andrews read aloud the following two items from the list of criteria which, he felt, were relevant to the Francy application: “(i)…..a substantial increase in potential for erosion, flooding, leaching or drainage problems and (ii) the removal or destruction of large quantities of vegetation or fauna….. Ms. Allen said that in addition to those items just mentioned, the Waterfront Advisory Committee (WAC) reviewed this application and found this project to be inconsistent with a number of policies in the Village’s Local Waterfront Revitalization Program (LWRP).

Ms. Allen asked if there were any other comments from the board members.  Mr. Aarons referred to item “(xi)” in the list of criteria, which read: “changes in two or more elements of the environment, no one of which has a significant impact on the environment, but when considered together result in a substantial adverse impact on the environment…..”  Mr. Aarons thought that item (xi) is also relevant to this application. He pointed out that (it could be said that) there are two or more potentially adverse impacts that would result from the intended action. He noted the following:  the impacts of removing vegetations and fauna, the impact on surface water runoff, the potential for flooding and the potential for drainage problems.     

Ms. Allen noted to the board that a draft resolution for the issuing of a Positive Declaration has been prepared along with the SEQRA Positive Declaration form.  Ms. Allen read aloud the draft resolution.  Ms. Allen noted that the SEQRA form is filled out by the Lead Agency which, in this case, is the Planning Board. This form gives the reasons supporting a Positive Declaration determination.  Ms. Allen said that with the issuing of a Positive Declaration, the Applicant is required to prepare a Draft Environmental Impact Statement (DEIS).   
  
The Village Engineer explained the difference between a Negative and a Positive Declaration. Issuing a Negative Declaration ends the SEQRA process without any more study or analysis.  Issuing a Positive Declaration requires the Applicant to prepare a DEIS.  The Village Engineer said that the DEIS is a “very lengthy formal environmental document” that the Applicant has to prepare.  Mr. Aarons said that he would think that issuing a Positive Declaration is appropriate in this case. He gave as reasons the potential adverse impacts on drainage, the potential for the soil not being stable for development, etc.  Mr. Luntz agreed with Mr. Aarons and pointed out that this project was also found to be inconsistent with a number of LWRP policies.  The Village Engineer noted that the aforementioned SEQRA form for a Positive Declaration has a section entitled “Reasons Supporting This Determination,and the reasons include the environmental impacts discussed tonight e.g., erosion of steep slopes, destruction of vegetation, etc.  The Village Engineer suggested that the board might want to consider adding to the list the item brought up earlier by Mr. Aarons which pertains to impacts, considered together, resulting in a substantial adverse impact. The Planning Board agreed that this item should be added to the list of reasons.

Ms. Allen asked if there were any further comments, to which there were none.  Ms. Allen entertained a motion to adopt the resolution issuing a Positive Declaration.  The motion was made by Mr. Luntz, seconded by Mr. Aarons and carried by a vote of 4 to 0.

Ms. Allen asked the Village Engineer to inform the Applicant of the Planning Board’s determination.

Ira Lipton of 55 Old Post Road North was present.  Mr. Lipton asked if this item would be on the agenda again, to which Ms. Allen responded that it depends on what the Applicant decides to do. The Planning Board has made its Determination of Significance; a DEIS is required.  Mr. Lipton noted that the public hearing was closed.  He would think, from the action that was taken tonight regarding SEQRA, that it should be reopened.  Ms. Allen said that it is her understanding that the Planning Board does not have to reopen the public hearing.  The Village Engineer said that at the end of the SEQRA process the Planning Board prepares a Findings Statement based on the Applicant’s Environmental Impact Statement.  After that, the Planning Board can make a decision on the application. Mr. Lipton asked if the process pertaining to SEQRA happens outside of public meetings, to which the Village Engineer said, no, the SEQRA review takes place at board meetings. The Planning Board meetings are open to the public.  Ms. Allen noted that the next step in the process is the scoping session, which would take place at a regularly scheduled Planning Board meeting.

  • OTHER BUSINESS:
  • Chairman Kehoe noted that Ron Wegner of Cronin Engineering sent an email to the Planning Board secretary giving possible dates for a site visit to the Croton Community Nursery School property. The Planning Board received a copy of the email in their packets. Chairman Kehoe said that he would like to check his upcoming weekend schedules before arranging the date.  He suggested that he could email the board members regarding possible dates and times for the site visit.  
  • Chairman Kehoe said that the Planning Board is the Lead Agency under SEQRA for the Croton Colonial Diner application.  As the Lead Agency, the Planning Board has to refer this application to the Waterfront Advisory Committee (WAC) for a consistency review. Chairman Kehoe said that the Applicant has filled out a Coastal Assessment Form (CAF).  The role of the Planning Board tonight is to refer this application to the WAC.
The Village Engineer noted that, besides the WAC, this Applicant also has to go before the Zoning Board of Appeals (ZBA) for special permits and variances. The Applicant has already had an appearance before the ZBA.  The Village Engineer said that once the Planning Board has reached the point where the SEQRA process has been completed, the Applicant can go back before the ZBA.  
The Village Engineer noted that the Planning Board has already written a letter to the ZBA recommending that the variances and special permits be granted.  The Village Engineer pointed out that the Planning Board could revise their recommendation to the ZBA based on the WAC’s review and comments.  Chairman Kehoe recalled that the Planning Board had had a lengthy discussion on the diner application and had made some very specific comments in their recommendation to the ZBA. The Village Engineer said that based on the Planning Board’s discussion(s), the Applicant had made some revisions to their plan(s). The Planning Board recommended granting the special permits and variances based on these revisions. The Village Engineer noted that the first step for the WAC is a preliminary determination of consistency. The WAC makes a recommendation to the Planning Board on the consistency of this application with the LWRP, and the Planning Board makes the ultimate decision.        

Chairman Kehoe asked if there were any other comments, to which there were none.  Chairman Kehoe said that he would send a written referral to the WAC on behalf of the Planning Board.

  • Chairman Kehoe noted that he received an email from Mr. Aarons regarding the Planning Board’s memorandum to the Village Board on the Harmon zoning changes. He (Chairman Kehoe) would incorporate into the memorandum the changes recommended by Mr. Aarons.
  • Mr. Aarons had a question regarding the signage regulations for the Central Commercial (C-1) district. He referred the board members to the section in the code pertaining to signs on an establishment located on the same lot. Sec. 230-44(4)(a)[2] reads as follows: “The aggregate area, in square feet, of all signs on any wall shall be not greater than two times the length, in feet, of the wall on which it is placed.”  Mr. Aarons questioned what the term “length” in this sentence is referring to. He said that his first conclusion was that the term “length” actually means “height.”  He came to realize that the term “length” is referring to the width. This is so because the calculations for the size of the sign are based on the width of the wall that the sign is going on. Mr. Aarons asked if there was a complimentary item “(4)(a)[2]” in the signage regulations for the C-2 district, to which the Village Engineer said that there are specific signage regulations for each district.  Mr. Aarons thought that the Village might want to revisit its sign law.  Based on what he has seen, there are matters that he (Mr. Aarons) would think need to be cleared up.
  • APPROVAL OF MINUTES:
Approval of the minutes of the Tuesday, September 22, 2009 Planning Board meeting was tabled until the next regularly scheduled meeting to be held on Tuesday, November 10th.
     
  • ADJOURNMENT:
There being no further business to come before the board, the meeting was duly adjourned at 9:10 P.M.

Sincerely,



Sylvia Mills
Secretary

RESOLUTION

WHEREAS, the Planning Board held a public hearing on an Amended Site Plan application on Tuesday, October 27, 2009 for Tara and Desiree Drapala, hereafter known as “the Applicant,” said property located at 10 Old Post Road South and owned by Ten Old Post Road South Corporation.  The property is in the C-1 Zoning District and designated on the Tax Map of the Village of Croton-on-Hudson as Section 78.08 Block 7 Lot 5; and

WHEREAS, this proposal is for the opening of a child care center facility; and

WHEREAS, the Planning Board discussed the parking for the child care center and waived the parking requirement(s) based on Village (municipal) parking being available; and  

WHEREAS, this proposal is considered a Type II Action under the State Environmental Quality Review Act (SEQRA), therefore, no Negative Declaration is required.

NOW, THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED, that the Amended Site Plan application, as shown on sheet SY-101 entitled “Plot Plan,” dated October 5, 2009, last revised October 22, 2009; sheet SY-201 entitled “Site Details,” dated October 22, 2009; sheet A-101 entitled “Proposed Floor Plan,” dated July 7, 2009, last revised October 22, 2009; and sheet A-201 entitled “Proposed Exterior Elevation,” dated October 5, 2009, last revised October 22, 2009, prepared by Gemmola & Associates, Architects/Planners; and a Sign Permit Application received by the Planning Board on October 22, 2009, be approved subject to the following conditions:

  • that the Applicant’s plan shall be revised to show all of the new handrails and/or railings being installed.
  • that the spotlighting at the rear steps shall be adjusted and/or modified to appropriately illuminate the stairs.
  • that the Applicant shall work out the details of their proposed sign with the VEB.
  • that employees of the childcare center shall apply to the Village for parking permits. Employee parking shall be at the rearmost section of the municipal parking lot located behind the building, subject to condition #4 of the special permit issued by the Village Board on October 5, 2009.   
        
In the event that this Amended 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
                                                Mark Aarons
                                                Fran Allen
                                                Vincent Andrews
                                                Robert Luntz
                                        
Motion to approve by Ms. Allen, seconded by Mr. Luntz and carried by a vote of 5 to 0.

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

RESOLUTION

WHEREAS, Margo Francy has submitted an application to the Planning Board of the Village of Croton-on-Hudson, New York for a Steep Slope Permit Approval for the construction of a single-family residence to be located at 57 Old Post Road North, said property being designated on the Tax Map of the Village of Croton-on-Hudson, New York as Sec. 67.20 Blk. 2 Lot 27; and

WHEREAS, the Planning Board has determined that the proposed project is an Unlisted Action under the State Environmental Quality Review Act (SEQRA); and

WHEREAS, the Planning Board is the Lead Agency for this application.

NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED, that the Planning Board of the Village of Croton-on-Hudson, New York has reviewed the Full Environmental Assessment Form (FEAF) and has made a determination that one or more impacts are considered large and therefore is issuing a Positive Declaration (attached).  A Draft Environmental Impact Statement (DEIS) is required.


The Planning Board of the Village of
Croton-on-Hudson, New York

Fran Allen, Acting Chairperson
Mark Aarons
Vincent Andrews
Robert Luntz





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