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Village of Croton-on-Hudson
1 Van Wyck Street
Croton-on-Hudson, NY 10520

Phone: 914-271-4781
Fax: 914-271-2836


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Planning Board Minutes 01/12/2010
VILLAGE OF CROTON ON HUDSON, NEW YORK

PLANNING BOARD MEETING MINUTES – TUESDAY, JANUARY 12, 2010


A regular meeting of the Planning Board of the Village of Croton-on-Hudson, New York was held on Tuesday, January 12, 2010 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:
  • Croton Community Nursery School – Lower North Highland Place (Sec. 67.20 Blk. 2 Lots 5, 6, 9 & 25 [formerly Lots 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12 & 25] – Application for a Preliminary Subdivision Approval
Norman Sheer, Esq. of Bank, Sheer, Seymour & Hashmall and Ron Wegner of Cronin Engineering were present to represent the Applicant.

Chairman Kehoe noted to those present that this application has been before the Planning Board for more than a year. Throughout the review process, the Planning Board has allowed those members of the public who have wished to speak on this application to express their concerns. Tonight’s meeting is the first formal public hearing on this application. Chairman Kehoe said that the Planning Board does not intend to close the public hearing tonight; members of the public would have an opportunity to comment at an upcoming meeting. Chairman Kehoe said that due to the large crowd of people here tonight, a sign-up sheet at the podium has been provided.  Chairman Kehoe noted that generally speaking the Applicant makes a brief presentation prior to public comment.  He suggested that the Applicant could describe the project being proposed.

The attorney for the Applicant Norman Sheer came forward and noted to those present that both of his children had attended the Croton Community Nursery School (CCNS).  He was on the Board of Directors at one point in time, and his wife was the president of the board.  Mr. Sheer said that he is sure that there are others in the audience tonight who have served on the CCNS board.  

Mr. Sheer said that the CCNS application is for a four-lot subdivision on a 10-acre site.   The subject property on Lower North Highland Place is in a RA-40 Zoning District; the four lots being proposed would have to comply with the RA-40 regulations.  Mr. Sheer said that, as part of this subdivision proposal, the Applicant is proposing to dedicate a 5-acre conservation parcel to the Village.

Mr. Sheer said that Samuel Rubin donated the subject property to the nursery school in the 1960’s.  To date, there has been nothing done with the property.  Mr. Sheer said that when Mr. Rubin donated the land to CCNS, there were no restrictions placed on it including the ability for the CCNS to offer it for sale. Mr. Sheer noted that, by law, the ability for the CCNS to sell the property is subject to (authorization by) the NYS Supreme Court and the State Attorney General’s Office because the CCNS is a not-for-profit organization.  

The Applicant’s engineer Ron Wegner came forward and said that the subject 10-acre parcel is situated on the west side of Lower North Highland Place.  He (Mr. Wegner) has developed the current plan based on several meetings with the Planning Board as well as visits to the site. The present layout shows four lots.  All are zoning compliant in size and dimensions.  Mr. Wegner said that he has provided for the Planning Board an alternative plan for Lots 1 and 2.  In the alternative plan for Lot 1 the house would be brought forward on the lot so as to reduce the amount of disturbance to the steep slopes on the site.  By bringing the house forward, the Applicant would be required to seek a front yard setback variance from the Zoning Board of Appeals.  Mr. Wegner said that one minor change that he has made to the plan(s) is the addition of a retaining wall, which would reduce the steep slopes disturbance on Lot 1 by 800-900 square feet. Mr. Wegner said that, overall, they would be disturbing less than 14% of the entire site (or more than 85% of the site would be left undisturbed).  Mr. Wegner stated that all four lots would be serviced by municipal water and sewer connections.

Chairman Kehoe opened the public hearing on this application.  Maria Slippen of 5 Michaels Lane came forward to speak on behalf of the nursery school.  Ms. Slippen said that she is the current president of the CCNS. She read aloud to the Planning Board a write-up that she had prepared for tonight’s meeting. Ms. Slippen said that the CCNS has had a strong connection with the Croton community over the years. The CCNS organization cares about the community. She noted some of the ways in which the nursery school has supported/contributed to the community. Ms. Slippen said that, today, CCNS is experiencing financial hardship. It has become necessary to sell their “greatest asset” for the benefit of the school.  In the interest of utilizing the value of the property they are proposing to subdivide the property into four lots.  Ms. Slippen said that they believe that the current proposal is a responsible one. Each of the four lots would be approximately one acre in size, and 5 acres of land would be dedicated to the Village as open space. The vice president of the nursery school Kate Fabian came forward and noted that, in the past, the nursery school boards have struggled to determine the best course of action to take with this property.  The future of the nursery school is in serious jeopardy.  Ms. Fabian said that she joins Ms. Slippen in urging the Village to approve this application.

Chairman Kehoe noted that, in so far as the development and preservation of this land is concerned, the Village has had recent discussions with the Westchester Land Trust about their possible involvement. Chairman Kehoe said that Eileen Hochberg, the Director of Conservation Outreach for the Westchester Land Trust, and Lisa Moir, Chair of the Cortlandt Land Trust Chapter, are both here tonight.  Ms. Hochberg told those present that their staff has reviewed the plans and has used the Geographic Information Systems (GIS) mapping to look at the ecological features of the land. Ms. Hochberg said that this property is definitely one that has significant conservation values worth protecting, including watershed lands, public recreation areas and open space.  Ms. Hochberg said that they are pleased to see on the plan the dedication of the open space parcel. Ms. Hochberg said that the Westchester Land Trust would be glad to work with the Applicant and the Planning Board to come up with the best balance that could be achieved on the development of this land.  Ms. Hochberg noted that if the Village were to want the parcel to be entirely preserved, it would be difficult for the Westchester Land Trust to acquire the parcel in these economic times.  They would try to do so, if this were the preferred outcome.  Ms. Hochberg said that if, in the end, an open space parcel were given to the Village they would be comfortable recommending that the Westchester Land Trust accept an open space parcel. Ms. Hochberg said that they are here tonight on behalf of the Westchester Land Trust as a resource for the Village to work on this project.

Casey Raskob of 34 Lounsbury Road came forward.  Mr. Raskob said that he has walked across this piece of land everyday for 15 years.  He described its topography stating that there are three rock ridges in a row on this parcel.  From his experience, the land is always wet.  He would think that it would be quite difficult to provide the drainage required.  Mr. Raskob noted that his children went to the CCNS.  He realizes that the nursery school needs money.  Mr. Raskob said that, as he understands it, most of the neighboring landowners object to the house on Lot 2.  He would think that if the nursery school were to propose a three-lot versus a four-lot subdivision, then, the objection to this subdivision proposal would be less than it is now. Mr. Raskob said that this piece of land is really a tough piece of land to build on.  In so far as the wildlife is concerned, he has seen eagles, frogs, turtles and other wildlife on the property.  Mr. Raskob said that this is the only piece of land left in the area, which is natural.  There are old growth trees in the back of the property.  He would ask that, if the Planning Board were to approve this subdivision, they eliminate (the house on) Lot 2.  

Chairman Kehoe referred to the Applicant’s steep slopes map and told those present that this color-coded map shows the property’s environmental constraints.  Chairman Kehoe explained that the color coding describes the varying degrees of steep slopes on the property. The area in green represents slopes “15% to 25%;” the area in yellow, slopes “25% to 35%” and the area in pink, slopes “35% or greater.”

John Grant of 6 Valley Trail said that his major concern is the impact of the construction on the trees. He is an arborist by profession and his duty is to preserve trees during construction. Mr. Grant referred to chapter 120 “Excavation, Filling and Topsoil Removal” and chapter 208 “Trees” and noted that, as stated in these two chapters in the Village Code, the Planning Board, in the process of reviewing a subdivision proposal, is the approving authority for the removal of trees.  Mr. Grant said that he would be concerned about the trees that grow around the limits of disturbance. He found a total of 50 trees around the perimeter that would be impacted by the construction. Mr. Grant noted that the Village Code states that the contractor/builder is responsible for any impact(s) on the trees.  Mr. Grant said that he (also) found a total of 30 trees within the limits of disturbance that are designated to be preserved.  He questioned who would be held accountable for these trees.  Mr. Grant said that the Village should be looking at the impacts of the construction on the trees.  If approved, there needs to be better accountability once the project is underway.     

Donald Sapir of 25 Finney Farm Road was present. Mr. Sapir said that he served as the chairman of the Zoning Board of Appeals for 15 years.  He also chaired the Water Control Commission for one year during its infancy.  Mr. Sapir said that his two sons graduated from the CCNS.  He was part of the committee during the 1970’s and 1980’s that gathered the deeds of the property and made a determination that the subject property could be used or sold by the nursery school. Mr. Sapir said that he is present tonight to urge the Planning Board not to approve this project as set forth in the application submitted.  Mr. Sapir said that he has no objection to the CCNS’s making use of the property for a new school or other community use, nor does he object to their selling the property. Mr. Sapir said that the CCNS is a cooperative nursery school.  He is aware that the nursery school currently has financial problems.  Mr. Sapir noted that the parents of the CCNS students are required to work at the school.  He takes issue that the school wants to capitalize on its “greatest asset.”  Mr. Sapir said that the CCNS’s “greatest asset” is not the property they own. Their greatest asset(s) is (are): their stature in the community; the parents of the students who attend the school; and the school’s alumni. He is afraid that the school will lose its stature and its position in the community. Mr. Sapir said that he does not want to see built on the property “McMansions” like those that were recently built on Old Post Road North.  He asked that the Planning Board reconsider this application to see if there could be another possible use made of the property.  Mr. Sapir said that this property has cost nothing to the CCNS, and they do not pay taxes.  Mr. Sapir asked that the application be withdrawn or rejected and that a more “reasonable” application be submitted.

Phebe Macrae, chairman of the Village’s Conservation Advisory Council (CAC), was present.  Ms. Macrae said that the CAC is concerned that there is not enough of a buffer between the houses being proposed and the brook and wetlands areas.  There are intermittent streams that run through the property. The CAC would be concerned about the chemicals from the lawns of the “McMansions” seeping into the ground and ultimately finding their way into these streams. Ms. Macrae said that the house on Lot 2 is the most problematic as it is closest to the brook.  Ms. Macrae said that the conservation land being proposed is not sufficient to act as a buffer for the brook. Ms. Macrae said that it is her understanding that the Village wants to have a trail link on the subject property. She questioned if the area designated for a (Village) trail would be wide enough. Ms. Macrae said that she would urge the Planning Board to reject this application. Ms. Macrae said that, as she understands it, the Planning Board has asked the developer to site three houses as opposed to four, and they have not done so.  Ms. Macrae said that it would seem that the Applicant is not interested in presenting a proposal that everybody could agree on.

Sam Watkins of 30 Lounsbury Road came forward and noted that he, personally, would not be able to see any of the “new” houses from his house on Lounsbury Road. He is out of the NIMBY (Not in My Back Yard) category.  Mr. Watkins said that he has no objections to the nursery school’s making money on this project. He noted that his sons attended the CCNS.  Mr. Watkins said that the issue for him is the development of this particular parcel. The nursery school should make money, but it is how the property is proposed to be developed that concerns him.  Mr. Watkins said that the Planning Board’s role is to protect the environment to the maximum degree practicable and, at the same time, ensure a developer/land owner reasonable use of his/her property. Mr. Watkins pointed out that the Village Board enacted a law to protect and conserve the steep slopes. It states in the steep slope law that when it is determined that the avoidance of steep slopes is not practicable “such disturbance [of the steep slopes] should constitute the minimum disturbance necessary to ensure the property owner a reasonable use of his property.” Mr. Watkins questioned if, in this case, it is truly necessary to disturb the steep slopes to ensure reasonable use of the property.  Mr. Watkins noted that even with the changes that were made to the siting of the houses, there would still be impacts on the wetlands buffer.  Mr. Watkins noted that many trees would have to be removed from the property during construction.  There would be significant disturbance for the construction of driveways on Lots 2 and 4.  Mr. Watkins noted (again) that the Planning Board’s role is to strike a balance between protecting the natural environment to the greatest extent possible and still allowing a developer to make a reasonable profit on his/her land.  He asked the Planning Board not to allow “profit to trump environmental protection” in this case. Mr. Watkins said that he would think that four lots are not appropriate. Perhaps, two lots would be more appropriate.  Mr. Watkins said that the existing proposal is wrong and should be denied.  

Eugene Perl of 39 Finney Farm Road was present.  Mr. Perl said that the fact that the Westchester Land Trust is present tonight is a “big plus.”  Mr. Perl said that he was (had been) concerned about the lack of control.  He noted that, over the years, no matter who has been on the staff at Village Hall doing the enforcement, problems with monitoring and/or enforcement have occurred.  He gave as an example the trees that have been taken down on properties undergoing construction that should not have been. Mr. Perl said that, in his view, a conservation easement on the back portion of the CCNS parcel is a “great idea.”  Mr. Perl noted that, in so far as monitoring the conservation easement is concerned, there could be a qualified “grantee” that does their job of enforcement, but there (also) needs to be a dedicated “grantor” who has an interest in what happens to the land. Monitoring and enforcement of the conservation easement are essential. Mr. Perl said that the Planning Board is responsible to the entire community. The subject parcel of land is the last remaining parcel in the Village of any consequence that has not yet been developed. The property is “smack in the middle of the Village.”  Mr. Perl said that he would think that this parcel of land should be retained in its natural state.  He added that the Planning Board members should all keep in mind that their legacy as members of the Planning Board is to the Village far more than it is to a seller, developer, etc.

Bonnie Watkins of 30 Lounsbury Road was present.  Ms. Watkins noted to those present that both of her children attended the nursery school.  Ms. Watkins said that she has with her tonight a letter dated January 7, 2010 from Cora Weiss, Samuel Rubin’s daughter. Ms. Weiss’s letter is addressed to Mayor Wiegman, members of the CCNS and members of the Planning Board. Ms. Watkins read aloud Ms. Weiss’s letter. Ms. Weiss’s letter states that her family had lived in Croton and had moved away in 1948.  Her family was very much a part of the community.  Her father Samuel Rubin donated land to the community, for example, he donated the land to the Village, which is now the Arboretum.  Ms. Weiss states in her letter that it would be wonderful if the subject property could be used as a nursery school or for some other educational purpose without endangering the ecology of the land.  She believes that her father’s “values” would not have supported selling the land for private home development. She hopes that “everyone can work together to find a way for the school to benefit from this gift of land.”  Ms. Weiss suggests that, perhaps, a conservation organization could buy the land for purposes of protecting its natural resources and, at the same time, provide an easement for a new nursery school to be built on the land. This “might become a model for other communities to replicate.” Finally, Ms. Weiss wishes everyone well in their deliberations and hopes that a solution could be found that would “contribute to the special character of Croton.”

Lewis Montana of 5 Ackerman Court came forward and told the Planning Board about the time that he had to come before the Village Board regarding a construction vehicle that “nearly killed” his child.  Mr. Montana noted that he lives in the River Landing Subdivision; when the River Landing Subdivision was approved, the Planning Board approved the subdivision without any sidewalks.  “It has been a hazard every since.”  Mr. Montana noted to the Planning Board that from Old Post Road North to North Highland Place there is a very narrow stretch of road where cars almost collide on a daily basis. He would be concerned about pedestrian safety.  The more traffic that there is on that road the more chances there are for a major accident or fatality. Mr. Montana said that if the Planning Board approves this development, there should be factored into the approval safety mechanisms for the (increase in) vehicular traffic.  

Ronald Marans of 18 Lounsbury Road was present.  Mr. Marans said that at a previous meeting on this application a board member had expressed concern that if the number of lots were reduced, the sizes of the houses on the remaining lots would “naturally balloon.” Mr. Marans said that, perhaps, there are reasons why, in this particular case, that would not happen; but even if the houses were to “balloon” and be somewhat larger in size, the adverse impacts on the environment would still be less with fewer lots.  Mr. Marans said that this proposal features two lots (Lots 2 and 4) with very long driveways; the longer the driveway, the more damage to the environment.  Mr. Marans said that if Lot 2 or Lots 2 and 4 were taken off this plan, the impact on the environment would be significantly reduced.  Mr. Marans said that with respect to the sizes of the houses on the remaining lots, he does not see how the houses could “grow that much.”  This would not be a “trade-off.” It would be better all the way around to reduce the number of lots.  Mr. Marans noted that if there were half the number of houses, then, there would be half the number of services vehicles going to these houses.  Mr. Marans said that the drainage channel on Lot 2 “seems to be a stream most of the time.”  If Lot 2 were eliminated, any disturbance to the drainage channel and other environmental features in that area of the property would be reduced.  Mr. Marans said, “Everybody admires the nursery school and we hope that there is a way that the school can gain some benefit from this asset of theirs.”  Mr. Marans urged the Planning Board to enforce the Village’s environmental codes (steep slopes and wetlands), especially for the neighbors downhill from this property.  He asked that the Planning Board consider the safety and integrity of the neighborhood and preserve the property values of the neighboring property owners.

Ira Lipton of 55 Old Post Road North said that one of his children attended the nursery school.  He and his wife have no objection to the nursery school’s gaining some profit out of this property for the school.  Mr. Lipton said that, like everyone else tonight, he also finds the current plan to be objectionable. Mr. Lipton said that there is a level of expertise required to ensure that all safeguards have been examined.  For a project such as this one there are issues that would have to be addressed regarding drainage, soils, trees, impacts on wetlands, etc.  Mr. Lipton said that he would think that this is (would be) a formidable task for the Village Engineer’s office to have to consider.  Mr. Lipton said that although the Village Engineer is a good engineer, he (Mr. Lipton) does not know that he has the expertise to guide the Planning Board on a project like this one.  Mr. Lipton said that the building issues are complex and challenging and not “garden variety.” The soils might need to be tested for stability; the retaining walls might be at risk of collapsing, etc.  Given the wetlands and steep slopes on this parcel, he would think that, from an engineering standpoint, there is nothing routine about this application. Mr. Lipton noted that the arborist who spoke earlier addressed the issue regarding the removal of trees.  Mr. Lipton questioned who would advise the board that a certain tree that has been marked for removal should, instead, be preserved.  Mr. Lipton said that if the Planning Board were to proceed with this application, there should be an investment made by the Village for the hiring of appropriate experts in the field.  

Mr. Lipton referred to the Village’s steep slope law and said that this law states that disturbance to the steep slopes should be the minimum necessary to ensure a developer/property owner reasonable use of the property. Mr. Lipton said that it is his understanding that the houses would be a minimum of 3,500 square feet in size.  He would think that this would not constitute the minimum disturbance necessary.  Mr. Lipton questioned why the houses have to be so large.  “What’s wrong with a small house?” Mr. Lipton expressed concern that the houses would be built and, then, remain empty like the huge houses on Old Post Road North.  Mr. Lipton thought that the board should be looking at what the minimum house size is for the zoning district in which the property is located and should require the builder to go with the minimum size house.  Mr. Lipton thought that the board should look at the possibility of having the houses situated closer to the road.  He would think that it would minimize the environmental impacts.  He realizes that it might cause zoning issues, but it might be worth looking into.  

Paul Steinberg of 35 Old Post Road North told the Planning Board that he is one of the downhill neighbors.  He is concerned about flooding.  Mr. Steinberg expressed concern about the adverse environmental impacts caused by the removal of vegetation from the site.  He noted that there could be severe flooding problems caused by old-growth trees being removed. Mr. Steinberg said that there has been no discussion thus far on the absorption of water in the ground.  He would think that this has to be quantified in some manner, perhaps, by analyzing the existing trees.  Mr. Steinberg noted that natural vegetation would be replaced by lawns.  Grass does not absorb much water, so the water is going to be pushed into the wetlands, streams and finally into the Hudson River.  Mr. Steinberg noted that Mr. Rubin donated the land to the nursery school 50 years ago; 50 years from now the Planning Board’s legacy is going to depend on the decisions that this board makes today.  Mr. Steinberg distributed to the board members a hand-out on the value of trees to a community.

Chairman Kehoe asked if there were any other members of the public who would like to speak tonight, to which there were none.

Chairman Kehoe noted that, as stated earlier in the meeting tonight, the Westchester Land Trust is interested in being actively involved with the preservation and/or future development of the CCNS parcel. Chairman Kehoe told Mr. Sheer that he would think that the Applicant should take many of the suggestions made tonight under advisement.  Chairman Kehoe said that he, personally, would like to see three as opposed to four lots.  He noted that there were cogent points made tonight for two rather than four lots. Chairman Kehoe said that he does not want the Applicant to go away tonight and, then, come back before the board to have the same discussion.  He would think that this would not be a productive approach to take.  Chairman Kehoe suggested that, perhaps, something could be worked out with the Westchester Land Trust prior to the Applicant’s coming back before the board.  

Mr. Andrews said that he thinks that there were some compelling arguments made tonight.  Chairman Kehoe said that the comments made were extremely well presented and the people who spoke were polite and respectful.  Ms. Allen said that she is pleased with the turn-out and she, too, thinks that the comments made were excellent.  She is encouraged that there is such a strong feeling in this community for the environment and for its preservation.  Ms. Allen said that she, too, thinks that this is a very special piece of property; this was reflected in the comments tonight. Mr. Aarons noted that the Planning Board has walked the property.  Indeed, it is a special piece of property.  Mr. Aarons told those members of the public interested in this application that the Planning Board would not take their decision lightly.  A great deal of thought would go into the decision that is ultimately made.

Chairman Kehoe noted that the Planning Board had the Village’s environmental consultant Bruce Donohue identify and tag the trees; a survey was prepared by the Applicant’s surveyor.  Mr. Luntz added that Mr. Donohue also “tracked” the delineation of the wetlands that had been done by the Applicant’s wetlands consultant.  Mr. Sheer said that, in so far as the trees are concerned, they would quantify for the board at the next meeting the number of trees proposed to be removed.  

Mr. Luntz said that there were comments made tonight on the size of the houses being proposed.  One of the speakers said that the minimum size house would be 3,500 square feet.  Mr. Luntz said that he had not heard that before; he does not know where that number came from.  Mr. Luntz said that the house size is an issue that would be addressed at the time of the minor site plan approval. Mr. Luntz pointed out that when an applicant comes before the board with their minor site plan application, they might actually propose a smaller house(s); neither the Applicant nor the Planning Board has reached that point in the review process yet. “That [the house size] is not even on the table.”  Chairman Kehoe noted that whatever is approved for the subdivision, a future applicant is going to have to come back before the Planning Board for an individual (minor) site plan approval for the house on each lot. Chairman Kehoe said that when the Planning Board approves a subdivision they are approving lines (lot boundaries) and conceptual layouts for houses, driveways, etc. Chairman Kehoe noted that the plans submitted for a minor site plan approval for an individual house would offer much more detail on the house and the siting for the house.  Chairman Kehoe pointed out that this does not mean that the Planning Board does not spend a lot of time on site-related issues now; it just means that the Planning Board could expect much more detailed information later on.

Ms. Allen noted to those present that the Planning Board is very early on in their review process.  There are a number of other “entities” that need to be looked at.  Ms. Allen said that she is sure that it (this proposal) will be changing.  Ms. Allen said that she would encourage individuals to take a walk through the site.  She would hope that the CCNS would encourage these site visits.

Ms. Allen noted that the brook on the property is a federally-protected waterway under the Clean Water Act of 1971. This brook is under the jurisdiction of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (ACOE).

Chairman Kehoe told the Applicant that the next meeting would take place on Tuesday, January 26th.  Mr. Sheer said that he would be in touch with the Planning Board secretary when they are ready to come back before the board. Chairman Kehoe noted to those present that those interested in this application should contact the Village offices or visit the Village web site as to when this item would be coming back before the board.

At this juncture, Ronald Marans of 18 Lounsbury Road came forward and gave to the Planning Board secretary copies of GIS aerial photos of the CCNS property (“2007 Orthological Photo” and “Surrounding Open Space” and “Environmental Features” photos) prepared by the Westchester Land Trust.  He asked that these photos become a part of the record.

  • OLD BUSINESS:
  • Tom & Carlene Fallacaro – 3 Arrowcrest Drive (Sec. 67.15 Blk. 1 Lot 33) – Applications for a Modification to the Building Envelope, a Steep Slope Permit and a Wetlands Activity Permit for an Existing Retaining Wall and Other Site Improvements
Norman Sheer, Esq. of Bank, Sheer, Seymour & Hashmall, attorney for the Applicant, was present.

Mr. Sheer referred the Planning Board to the four proposals that had been submitted to the Village Engineer’s office for engineering consultant services on the Fallacaro retaining wall application. Mr. Sheer said that it is his understanding that the Planning Board wanted to have their consultant review the Ground Penetrating Radar Report prepared by Bernard Grossfield, the Applicant’s engineer.  Mr. Sheer said that the reports submitted do not even mention Mr. Grossfield’s report, to which the Village Engineer said that he made this report available to all these engineering consulting firms.  Mr. Sheer stated that the proposal submitted from Boswell Engineering directly addresses what the board wanted.  “All the others seem to want to redo everything.”  Mr. Luntz said that he thinks that what the Planning Board is looking for from their consultant is an independent confirmation of Mr. Grossfield’s work.    

The Village Engineer said that, among other items, he requested that these engineering firms review the documents that were placed on the Village web site i.e., the Grossfield Ground Penetrating Radar Report; Ralph Mastromonaco’s watershed plan (map) and some images of the subject wall.  He spoke to all of these firms.  The Village Engineer said that, in reviewing the proposals, he noticed that Boswell Engineering did not propose any testing.  The Village Engineer said that he mentioned this to them and they said that they should have included the testing in their proposal.  The Village Engineer said that he was not pleased that they did not include the testing, to which Mr. Sheer said that the board did not mention doing testing again.  They only mentioned having their consultant review the work that Mr. Grossfield had already done.  Chairman Kehoe said that, as he understands it, the other three firms all felt that to do a thorough job they would have to do some field work.  All of the firms except Boswell Engineering talk about doing field work. The Village Engineer said that he just got the feeling that Boswell Engineering had not looked at the project in detail.  The Village Engineer said that it would appear from the proposal that he received from Geotechnical Engineering Services (GES) that this firm had a solid understanding of the problem.  The Village Engineer said that to do a thorough review would include testing the soil.  The ground penetrating radar testing that was performed would not give any indication of the soil(s).  

Mr. Sheer said that the subject retaining wall has been in place for ten years now.  Mr. Sheer said that there are certain empirical observations that could be made for a wall that has been in place for ten years.  He questioned why his client would have to incur a $22,000 expense (GES’s cost) as opposed to an $8,000 expense (Carlin Simpson & Associates’ cost).  Mr. Luntz noted to Mr. Sheer that the geometry of the wall was not conclusive and this would have to be further analyzed. The Village Engineer said that GES sounded like they would do a very thorough analysis of the wall. The geometry of the lower walls is (would be) more difficult to analyze.  The Village Engineer said that GES proposes doing soil borings using drilling equipment.  GES seemed to him to provide the most information (that would be used) to make calculations on the stability of the wall. Mr. Sheer said that this firm would have to use a drilling rig, which would be very costly. Mr. Sheer questioned whether any of these firms had taken into consideration the fact that this wall has been in place for ten years.  They are saying that this is what has to be done in spite of the fact that the wall has been there for ten years. Mr. Sheer said that the Applicant has proposed to monitor the stability of the wall using a laser spotting technique. Mr. Sheer said that no one asked any of these consulting firms what they think of this technique.  Mr. Sheer told the Planning Board that, perhaps, in the end, his client would decide that the best course of action would be to take down the wall.     

The Village Engineer said that the firms that gave him the proposals have not been to the site.  The proposals were based on the documents that he sent them.  The Village Engineer suggested that one of the firms could be invited to visit the site.  The Applicant’s engineer and the Village Engineer could meet the consultant at the site for a discussion.  Mr. Sheer questioned how these firms could give the Village Engineer a fair proposal without having first gone to the site.

Chairman Kehoe said that the Village Engineer is recommending GES to be the consultant on the project.  Chairman Kehoe said that he trusts the Village’s Engineer’s judgment on a choice of consultants.  He would suggest that GES be invited to go on a site visit.  Mr. Andrews noted that by visiting the site the consulting firm would have a better understanding of the scope of work involved.  At this point in time GES is proposing the use of drilling equipment, which is making their proposal more costly.  Mr. Sheer said that he thinks that once they visit the site and take a look at the wall, they may not feel it necessary to do what they are suggesting. Mr. Andrews reiterated that it would make sense for them to go on a site visit for the purpose of refining the scope of work, the costs involved, etc.  Ms. Allen said that, in so far as the cost of the consulting services is concerned, she is offended that Mr. Sheer’s client “is willing to compromise on the safety of that neighborhood.”  Mr. Sheer said that the Applicant has had a structural report (analysis) done, which the Planning Board said they wanted to have reviewed.  Mr. Sheer noted that some of the fees being charged by these consulting firms are more than what the Applicant had to pay for the original (Grossfield) report.   

Chairman Kehoe noted that taking the wall down would require a demolition permit.  The Village Engineer said that it would also constitute a disturbance to a wetland area; a wetlands activity permit would be required.  Mr. Sheer said that the Applicant does not want to take the wall down but “it is not fair for these engineers to make proposals that have no relation to reality.”

Mr. Aarons asked the Village Engineer exactly what documentation was sent to these engineering firms, to which the Village Engineer said that he sent the following documentation: Mr. Grossfield’s Ground Penetrating Radar Report; Ralph Mastromonaco’s watershed map; a survey map prepared by Thomas Quartuccio; a few images of the wall and all of the Planning Board minutes pertaining to this application.  Mr. Aarons said that he, too, had been concerned that what Mr. Grossfield had done in his report was not enough. He wanted to be sure that “we [the Planning Board] had done enough;” hence, he agreed that a consultant should be hired.  Mr. Aarons said that he would agree that the consultant should visit the site to refine the scope of work and the costs involved. Mr. Aarons said that, in so far as this wall is concerned, the Planning Board has to think of the safety of the public. “We [the Planning Board] are being challenged here.” Mr. Sheer said that the Applicant will do what he has to “up to a point financially.”  Chairman Kehoe said that, as he understands the scope of work for the consultant, it is more than just reading Mr. Grossfield’s report.  Chairman Kehoe said that he thinks the board expected that there should be some “fresh work” done.  Mr. Luntz said that it is his recollection that the board wanted to have their own consultant make sure that the wall was safe. Mr. Sheer noted again that the Applicant has suggested monitoring the wall at certain intervals using a laser spotting technique.  Chairman Kehoe asked if this would ultimately be a condition imposed upon the Applicant by the board, to which the Village Engineer noted that this (the wall monitoring) might end up being an enforcement problem for the Village.  Mr. Sheer suggested that one way of handling this would be for the Planning Board to require that this monitoring/testing be a covenant in the deed, which would be recorded at the County Clerk’s Office.

Mr. Sheer said that, once the site visit with the Village’s prospective consultant has taken place, he would reschedule to come back before the board.            

  • Referral from the Village Board for an Amended Special Permit for Sky View Rehabilitation and Health Care Center
Steven Share, facility administrator of Sky View, was present.

Chairman Kehoe noted that this Applicant had been before the Planning Board once several months ago. At that Planning Board meeting, the sewage problem at Sky View was discussed. Chairman Kehoe said that the Applicant has since hired an engineering firm to provide an analysis/report on the sewage issues at the nursing home.  This report was submitted to the Village Engineer who, in turn, provided his comments on the report.  To date, the Applicant’s engineer has not made the revisions to the report that the Village Engineer had requested.  Mr. Share said that it is their (Sky View’s) intention to make the necessary improvements to correct the current sewage problem. Mr. Share said that his hope is that, in the interim, the Planning Board would recommend to the Village Board that they grant the special permit to build a sunroom for the physical therapy room at the nursing home. Mr. Share said that this proposal for a sunroom would not involve increasing the number of residents and has no bearing on the sewage problem.

Ms. Allen noted that this is the third attempt by the Village to have Sky View resolve this problem pertaining to the sewage.  Ms. Allen said that the Village Engineer read the engineering report provided by the Applicant’s engineer and has done a very thorough job commenting on the report.  Ms. Allen said that the Applicant should have their engineer update the document as per the Village Engineer’s suggestions. Ms. Allen said that she is not prepared to move forward with the sunroom application until such time as this engineering report has been revised.  Mr. Share said that they have worked out a lot of the issues pertaining to the sewer problem.  They would definitely come back with the corrections to the report.  Mr. Share said that, in so far as the sewer odor is concerned, he does not think that Sky View is the “number one” culprit creating this odor.  He noted that the houses in the Arrowcrest Subdivision also connect into that sewer line.  Chairman Kehoe told Mr. Share that they (the Applicant) would have been much further along tonight if the Planning Board had received in their packets a revised engineering report that reflected the Village Engineer’s comments.  Chairman Kehoe suggested that it might also help move the application along if the Applicant’s engineer could attend the next Planning Board meeting. Chairman Kehoe stated that the Applicant’s engineer should provide to the Planning Board for the next meeting a revised document answering the Village Engineer’s comments/concerns. Once this issue regarding the sewage/sewer odors is resolved, the Planning Board could move forward with the application for a sunroom.

Mr. Share referred to page 9 of the report prepared by their engineering firm Kellard Sessions Consulting and said that page 9 addresses an alternative solution to the sewer odor problem. The Village had wanted Sky View to install an in-line grinder pump, which Sky View discovered would be very costly.  Mr. Share said that it is states on page 9 that the Village would delay the need for a grinder if Sky View would undertake the expense of having the wet well pumped out on a quarterly basis. Mr. Share said that their engineer would monitor the functioning of the pump station for one year and submit an evaluation report to be reviewed by the Village. Chairman Kehoe suggested (again) that the Applicant ask their engineer to attend the next meeting with a revised report that is acceptable to both the Village Engineer and their engineer (Kellard).  

Ms. Allen referred the other board members to Mr. Share’s letter to the Planning Board dated December 11, 2009. Mr. Share states in this letter that the Village Engineer and Director of Public Works had indicated that they would be willing to take a ‘wait and see’ approach and revisit the sewer odor issue in a year.  Mr. Share also makes a comment in the letter that when he took over as administrator, there had been no indication made to him that there currently exists a sewer problem. Ms. Allen said that judging by these comments there are still issues at Sky View with the sewage that need resolving by the Village.  Chairman Kehoe asked the Village Engineer if, indeed, the Village is willing to wait a year before undertaking the quarterly pump-outs, to which the Village Engineer told the board that the Village currently pumps out the sewer twice a year. Sky View had been using cloth rags, which were clogging up the system, and has since switched to disposable washcloths.  The Village Engineer noted that there is still debris in the wet well. What he (the Village Engineer) was saying is that the Village could evaluate the situation “over a year.”  Chairman Kehoe said that, as he understands it, the Village would go from two to four pump-outs a year right away, to which the Village Engineer said that this is, indeed, the case.  Ms. Allen said that the Village needs to establish a program whereby when a resident calls to report a sewer odor problem, the Village takes appropriate action in a timely fashion.

Mr. Share noted that there are other sources besides Sky View that could be contributing to the sewer odor, to which the Village Engineer said that there are possibly three houses besides the houses at Arrowcrest Subdivision that are connected to that sewer line. The wet well is not functioning properly, which would lead him to believe that this problem is associated with the sewage from Sky View. The Village Engineer noted that the sewage from the houses in the Arrowcrest Subdivision is a “different type of sewage.”       

Chairman Kehoe told Mr. Share that once this issue regarding the sewer is resolved, the Planning Board would be in a position to review the sunroom application and make their recommendation to the Village Board. Mr. Share said that he intends to come back in two weeks with a revised document on the sewer problem. He would ask their engineering firm Kellard Sessions Consulting to attend the meeting.

  • Rakis Inc. (Peter Tsagarakis) – 215 South Riverside Avenue (Sec. 79.09 Blk. 1 Lot 54) – Application for an Amended Site Plan for the Croton Colonial Diner – Discussion of SEQRA Determination of Significance
Chairman Kehoe reviewed the history of this application stating that in February 2009 the Planning Board had recommended to the Zoning Board of Appeals (ZBA) that the special permits for the parking and the variance for the guide rail be granted.  Several months later this application came back before the Planning Board for the required SEQRA (State Environmental Quality Review Act) review. The Planning Board declared itself the Lead Agency under SEQRA. The Planning Board sent this application to the Waterfront Advisory Committee (WAC) for a consistency review and the WAC found this project to be consistent with the Village’s LWRP policies.  The Village Engineer noted to the board members that the Applicant went before the ZBA in July 2009 for an introductory/informational meeting at which time the Applicant made the ZBA aware that the SEQRA process had begun.  

Chairman Kehoe said that at this point in the SEQRA process the Planning Board has to make the Determination of Significance.  The Planning Board has to decide whether to issue a Positive or a Negative Declaration. If the board were to issue a Positive Declaration, then, a Draft Environmental Impact Statement (DEIS) would be required.   Chairman Kehoe said that if the Planning Board were to determine that there would not be a potentially large environmental impact resulting from this project, then, the Planning Board would issue a Negative Declaration.  Chairman Kehoe said that if the ZBA were to grant the special permits and variance, this application would have to come back before the Planning Board for an amended site plan approval.  The Village Engineer noted that, for the granting of the special permits/variance, the ZBA might decide to have the Applicant modify the current design. “They [the ZBA] have a large part to play.”

Chairman Kehoe noted that when the Planning Board declared itself the Lead Agency there was a resident in the audience who came forward and informed the board members about the parking issue on the Applicant’s vacant lot on Hudson Street.  This resident said that the lot is being used for parking for the diner, which is not allowed unless or until the ZBA grants the special permit(s) for the parking.  The Village Engineer said that the Applicant/owner of the diner owns this lot on Hudson Street and had the house on this lot demolished. The Village Engineer told the Applicant Peter Tsagarakis that he and his family could park on this lot, but customers and employees of the diner could not park there. The Village Engineer noted that this issue concerning the parking continues to be an issue.

Ms. Allen recalled that there are other changes being proposed besides the additional parking.  The Applicant is proposing to cut off the access to the diner parking lot from Hudson Street.  The dumpster is being relocated to an area directly behind the building (diner).  Finally, a handicap access ramp at the south side of the diner is being proposed.  The Village Engineer added that the Applicant’s proposal also includes a modification to the existing retaining wall.

Chairman Kehoe noted that a public hearing would take place before both boards (ZBA and Planning Board).

Charles Henley of 7 Hudson Street came forward.  Mr. Henley noted that he had raised concerns before about the parking on the Applicant’s Hudson Street lot.  The Applicant Peter Tsagarakis uses this lot for employee parking, and he does not have permission to.  Chairman Kehoe asked Mr. Henley if he is aware that the Applicant is proposing, in his current application before the Planning Board, to use his vacant lot for additional parking, to which Mr. Henley said that he is aware of it and is opposed to it.  Chairman Kehoe noted to Mr. Henley that he would have an opportunity to speak on this subject at the ZBA public hearing.  Mr. Henley said that he would also be concerned about the odors emanating from the garbage compactor which, in its “new” location, would be closer to the Hudson Street residences.  Mr. Henley said that a “precedent would be set” if the Applicant/owner were allowed to have a commercial parking lot in a residential area.  Mr. Henley said that he could not think of any value gained by the Village to allow parking there.  He could not think of a “Village positive.”  Mr. Henley said that he rejects the notion that the Applicant needs this lot for parking.  He said that there is an abundance of parking along South Riverside Avenue. This parking along the street is for the public and is free.  Mr. Henley noted to the Planning Board that the intersection at the diner is a dangerous intersection.  He would think that if the Planning Board were to allow more parking in that area, the traffic problems at the intersection would worsen. Mr. Henley said that the handicap access ramp could have been done at any point in time.  He does not think that this should be taken as some kind of a “positive.” The real issues here are the special permits/variance for commercial parking in a residential area.

Mr. Henley said that he has reviewed the Full Environmental Assessment Form (FEAF) and disagrees with some of the Applicant’s answers.  Mr. Henley said that he thinks the answer to question 6 on page 14 “Will Proposed Action alter drainage flow or patterns, or surface water runoff?” should be “yes” instead of “no.” Also, the answer to question 7 “Will Proposed Action affect air quality?” should be “yes” because there would be more cars parked in the area.  Chairman Kehoe noted to Mr. Henley that under questions 6 and 7, examples are given as to what might be considered a “potential large impact.” One of the examples given under question 7 (air quality) is: “Proposed Action will induce 1,000 or more vehicle trips in any given hour.” Chairman Kehoe noted to Mr. Henley that the Planning Board has to judge whether the Proposed Action would rise to the level of a significant environmental impact; it is (would be) a judgment call on the part of the board.  

Mr. Henley referred to question 11 on page 16 “Will Proposed Action affect aesthetic resources?” and said that the answer should definitely be “yes” instead of “no.”  He said that his view of the Duck Pond would be obstructed because of the modification to the wall being proposed.  Mr. Aarons asked Mr. Henley if there were any type of screening that might improve the situation for him, to which Mr. Henley said that he would like to see tall evergreen trees rather than stone.  Mr. Henley noted that the Applicant does not have much of any greenery on his property.  He would like to see something on the property that would create a better neighborhood feel.

Mr. Henley referred to question 13 on page 17 of the FEAF “Will Proposed Action affect the quantity or quality of existing or future open spaces or recreational opportunities?” and said that he would think that the answer to this question should be “yes.” Mr. Henley said that his neighborhood does not have a sidewalk and people oftentimes cut through the Applicant’s lot. The Applicant/owner of the diner has “enabled a recreational opportunity here.” Chairman Kehoe referred to question 15 on page 18 “Will there be an effect to existing transportation systems?” and said that Mr. Henley’s point about people cutting through the Applicant’s lot might be better suited here. Chairman Kehoe noted that one of the examples of a “potential large impact” under this question (question 15) is: “Alteration of present patterns of movement of people and/or goods.” Mr. Henley agreed and said that the answer to question 15 should be changed to “yes.”

Mr. Henley referred to question 17 on page 18 “Will there be objectionable odors, noise, or vibration as a result of the Proposed Action?” and said that he would think that the answer should be “yes” instead of “no.”  The garbage dumpster/compactor is being relocated closer to a residential area. He would be concerned about the potentially adverse impacts (noise and odors) of relocating the dumpster.  There would be more noise from the loading and unloading of garbage trucks.  There would also be more noise from the cars in the new parking lot on Hudson Street.  Mr. Henley said that he would be concerned about the adverse effect of this project on his property values.

Mr. Henley said that question 18 on page 19 “Will Proposed Action affect public health and safety?” should be answered “yes” instead of “no” because of the (aforementioned) safety issue at the intersection.    

Mr. Henley referred to question 19 on page 19 “Will Proposed Action affect the character of the existing community?” and noted that the answer given to this question is “no.”  Mr. Henley pointed out to the Planning Board that some of the other neighbors and he are here tonight because of their concerns about the adverse impact(s) of this project on their neighborhood.  He would think that the answer to question 19 should be “yes.”

Chairman Kehoe noted that, in so far as the relocation of the trash dumpster is concerned, the dumpster would be in roughly the same place as it has always been.  The Applicant had originally proposed relocating the dumpster to another area of the diner parking lot; however, after some discussion, the Planning Board asked that it be placed directly behind the building (diner).

Mr. Henley said that the Applicant answered “no” to question 20 on page 20 of the FEAF “Is there, or is there likely to be, public controversy related to potential adverse environment impacts?”  Mr. Henley said that he would think that those who came tonight to oppose this project constitute the “public controversy.” Mr. Henley said that the neighbors on Hudson Street have had to deal with the negative impacts of living next to this Applicant for a long time. “Why is our neighborhood constantly getting hammered?”  He thinks that the Village should be looking into this.

Harold Lockwood of 11 Hudson Street said that there was supposed to be trees planted on the empty lot on 6 Hudson Street immediately after the house was razed.  Mr. Lockwood said that the site plan has since “disappeared.” He questioned what happened to the trees that were supposed to be planted.  The Village Engineer said that he does not recall a site plan showing trees to be planted as part of the application for the house demolition. The Village Engineer noted that if there was a site plan that showed trees, it may have been associated with the Applicant’s earlier request to rezone his lot on 6 Hudson Street to a commercial zoning district (C-2).  The Village Engineer noted that, with respect to the house demolition, “Anyone can come in (to the Engineer’s Office) for a demolition permit to demolish a house on a lot.”  Mr. Luntz added that plans submitted for a demolition permit do not necessarily show what the home owner/property owner is going to put back on the lot.

Chairman Kehoe said that he does not necessarily agree with all of the changes that Mr. Henley suggested should be made to the answers given in the FEAF.  Chairman Kehoe said that he would concur with changing the answer to question 19 “Will Proposed Action affect the character of the existing community?” from “no” to “yes.”  Chairman Kehoe said that although the answer should be changed to “yes,” the impact(s) would be classified as “small to moderate,” which would not “kick this up” to a full SEQRA review (DEIS).  Chairman Kehoe said that he would also agree with changing the answer to question 11 “Will Proposed Action affect aesthetic resources?” from “no” to “yes.”  

Chairman Kehoe questioned what would happen if the ZBA were to deny the Applicant’s request for additional (diner) parking on the Hudson Street lot, and the Applicant does not come back before the Planning Board with an application for an amended site plan, to which the Village Engineer said that if the Applicant’s employees/customers were to continue to park on the Hudson Street lot, then, a violation would be issued and the Applicant would end up in the Village Justice Court.   

Michael Calcutti of 10 Hudson Street was present.  Mr. Calcutti noted that, as part of this application, the guide rail would be removed from the back parking lot.  Mr. Calcutti noted that the guide rail was originally installed to stop drivers from pulling out too fast onto Bungalow Road.

The Village Engineer said that, for the next meeting, he would make the two changes to the FEAF that Chairman Kehoe had suggested.  The Village Engineer said that questions 11 and 19 should be answered “yes” instead of “no;” the impacts would be considered “small to moderate.” The Village Engineer said that this project does not affect the drainage patterns, so he would assume that the answers given in the FEAF pertaining to drainage would remain as is. Chairman Kehoe said that, for the next meeting, the Village Engineer would make the two changes discussed tonight and distribute a revised FEAF to the board. The Planning Board would, then, be in a position to make the Determination of Significance.  
  
  • NEW BUSINESS:
  • Morgan Bari Manor LLC – 31A Old Post Road South (Sec. 79.05 Blk. 1 Lot 33) – Discussion Pool Area Restoration at the Bari Manor Complex
Alex Pearson, Service Manager for Morgan Bari Manor LLC, and Tim Strait, Property Manager, were present.

Mr. Pearson said that the owner of the apartment complex Morgan Bari Manor LLC would like to move forward with the demolition of the swimming pool, which is in a state of disrepair.  Mr. Pearson said that the pool demolition had been in process when Home Properties owned the complex in 2002.  As part of securitizing the mortgage on the property Morgan Bari Manor LLC has to remove the swimming pool.  Mr. Pearson noted that fixing the pool is not an option because the pool is in such a state of disrepair.  

Chairman Kehoe noted to the Applicant that if the Planning Board were to review a site plan for an apartment complex today, the Planning Board would require that the complex have a recreational component. Chairman Kehoe said that the Planning Board asked the Applicant to come before the board tonight to discuss possible ways of restoring the pool area for some form of recreational use. The Applicant has provided a plan showing a play area for children, a concrete patio with picnic tables, a grill and benches.  Mr. Pearson noted that the land “coming away from” the parking lot at Bari Manor is on a grade. There would not be much of a flat area on site for organized ball games.  Creating a flat area would involve the construction of retaining walls, which would be more costly.  Mr. Pearson said that because there is a park opposite the complex on Maple Street, which has good facilities for ball games, they (the Applicant) thought that they could create a less formal recreational area at the apartment complex where small children could play; families could get together for a cook-out, etc.  

Chairman Kehoe asked if there was a way to walk to the park from the Bari Manor complex, to which Mr. Pearson said that there is.  He showed the Planning Board a route that people take to get to the park (Dobbs Park). Mr. Strait said that there is a road attached to Maple Street, which is directly across the street from Dobbs Park. Mr. Strait noted that, yesterday, board member Fran Allen visited the Bari Manor site and while there, they walked that route to get to the park.    

Mr. Aarons said that because the Applicant is encouraging people to assemble outdoors in the “new” recreation area, the Applicant might want to consider putting in a gazebo or some other type of shelter in case of inclement weather. Mr. Aarons said that if money were an issue, then, a less elaborate structure (than a gazebo) would serve the same purpose.

Mr. Strait noted that, although there are areas on the Bari Manor property that are sloped, the area where the pool is situated is a relatively flat area.

The Village Engineer said that he had met earlier tonight with the Village’s Recreation Advisory Committee.  The Committee looked at the Applicant’s plan for a recreation area at the Bari Manor complex and was relatively satisfied with it.  The Village Engineer said that one suggestion that the Committee thought might improve upon the plan would be to have more picnic tables and grills for the tenants’ use. The Committee thought that, judging by what is being shown on the plan, there would not be enough picnic tables and grills for the number of tenants. Mr. Andrews asked if the Recreation Advisory Committee “weighed in on” a configuration for the benches to allow for socializing among the residents, to which the Village Engineer did not recall that the benches were discussed. The Village Engineer said that he would think that the Planning Board needs to establish some guidelines in terms of the numbers of tables, grills, benches, etc.  Ms. Allen suggested that, perhaps, one or two trees could be planted in the proposed recreation area, to which Mr. Andrews suggested that the trees could be placed near the benches. The Village Engineer suggested to the Planning Board that the Planning Board could authorize the demolition of the swimming pool subject to the Applicant’s coming back before the Planning Board with a somewhat more detailed plan for the proposed recreation area. Mr. Strait said that this project for a “new” recreation area would fall under the category of a “major capital improvement;” the cost would get passed on to the tenants.  

The Village Engineer noted to the board that Hill Street and Cross Street are two paper streets owned by Bari Manor.  The Village Engineer pointed to a map showing these paper streets and said that the Village proposes in its master plan for the Village trails to have a trail link up Cross Street and to the library on Cleveland Drive.  Mr. Pearson pointed to the area where this trail link would be located and noted to the board members that sink holes have developed behind the retaining wall in that area of the property; any trail would have to come up the other side of the wall.  Mr. Aarons noted that this trail link, if established, would be from Dobbs Park straight to the library. Mr. Strait said that the area in question is (also) a dumpster area.  Trash gets deposited back there. Mr. Strait noted that they have had problems with raccoons getting into the garbage. Chairman Kehoe said that, perhaps, something could be worked out between the Village and the Applicant, if the Village is interested in pursuing this trail link.

Chairman Kehoe reviewed the items to be addressed for the next meeting.  The Applicant should come back before the board with a more detailed plan for the recreation area.  Chairman Kehoe said that, perhaps, there could be some more landscaping provided.  Chairman Kehoe said that, as suggested earlier by Mr. Aarons, the plan should also show a covered area/shelter for the tenants’ use in case of inclement weather.  The Village Engineer said again that the Planning Board could authorize the demolition of the swimming pool, subject to the Applicant’s coming back before the board with a site plan showing the items discussed tonight.  

Chairman Kehoe asked if there were any more comments from the board members, to which there were none.  Chairman Kehoe entertained a motion to authorize the demolition of the swimming pool subject to the Applicant’s coming back before the board with a more detailed plan showing the proposed recreational features. The motion was made by Ms. Allen, seconded by Mr. Luntz and carried by a vote of 5 to 0.

Alan MacDonald, owner of 285 Grand Street, came forward and told the Planning Board that there is no crosswalk on the route/street that was discussed earlier for Bari Manor residents to walk to Dobbs Park.  He would think that it would not be a good idea to encourage children from the apartment complex to go that way to get to the park.  

Mr. Aarons showed the Applicant on the plan where he thought the aforementioned shelter/pavilion could be located.

Chairman Kehoe told the Applicant that the next Planning Board meeting would take place on Tuesday, January 26th.  The Applicant should contact the Village Engineer’s office to be placed on that agenda, if they are ready to come back before the board.  
 
  • APPROVAL OF MINUTES:
The minutes of the Tuesday, December 8, 2009 Planning Board meeting were approved on a motion by Mr. Luntz, seconded by Ms. Allen and carried by a vote of 4-0-1.  Board member Mark Aarons abstained.   
  
  • ADJOURNMENT:
There being no further business to come before the board, the meeting was duly adjourned at 11:30 P.M.

Sincerely,



Sylvia Mills
Secretary


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