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Planning Board Minutes 01/26/2010
VILLAGE OF CROTON ON HUDSON, NEW YORK

PLANNING BOARD MEETING MINUTES – TUESDAY, JANUARY 26, 2010

A regular meeting of the Planning Board of the Village of Croton-on-Hudson, New York was held on Tuesday, January 26, 2010 in the Municipal Building.

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

ABSENT:                 Mark Aarons

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 – REQUEST FOR AN ADJOURNMENT:
  • 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
Chairman Kehoe noted that the Applicant’s attorney Norman Sheer contacted the Planning Board secretary and requested that the public hearing on the CCNS application for a preliminary subdivision approval be adjourned.  Chairman Kehoe noted that this item would be put back on the agenda for the next Planning Board meeting to be held on Tuesday, February 9th.  

  • 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
Chairman Kehoe stated that the Planning Board received in their packets for tonight’s meeting a memorandum from the Village Engineer dated January 22, 2010, which outlined the site visit to the Fallacaro property that took place on January 20th.  Chairman Kehoe said that the prospective consultant for the Village on the Fallacaro application Geotechnical Engineering Services (GES) attended the site visit along with the Village Engineer and the Applicant’s engineer Bernard Grossfield. Chairman Kehoe said that the Village Engineer’s memorandum summarizes GES’s comments.

Ms. Allen noted that GES’s proposal on the Fallacaro retaining wall states that two representatives of GES would visit the site.  She questioned why only one representative of GES attended the site visit.  Mr. Luntz recalled that, at the last meeting on this application, the Planning Board had asked that GES visit the site to “scope out the job.”  Mr. Andrews added that the Planning Board had agreed that GES should visit the site to look at the wall firsthand. GES, along with the other prospective consultants, made proposals and calculated the costs involved based on documentation sent to them by the Village Engineer.  None of them had been to the site.  Chairman Kehoe noted to Ms. Allen that if the Planning Board were to hire GES to be the Village’s consultant on this project, then, two GES representatives would attend the site visits.   

Chairman Kehoe stated that based on the Village Engineer’s memorandum GES, at the end of the site visit, told the Village Engineer that they would not be comfortable investigating the wall and doing a report on the wall.

Ms. Allen referred to the Village Engineer’s memorandum and said that she is confused about what the Village Engineer is saying in the next-to-the-last paragraph of the memorandum.  The Village Engineer said that, after the site visit, he contacted Ziad Maad of GES to see if GES might be willing to assist the Planning Board in a different way (“from a different prospective”) than what was originally proposed. GES would be asked to analyze “a more thorough investigation of the [retaining] wall by the Applicant’s engineer.” The Village Engineer noted that Mr. Maad had already said that he would not be willing to write a report on his observations of the wall and draw any conclusions based on his site visit.

Chairman Kehoe said that, according to the Village Engineer’s memorandum, they discovered during the site visit a structural crack in a section of the middle tier of the wall.  The Village Engineer said that they observed other signs of separation in the wall.  Furthermore, there are portions of the retaining wall that are not even mortared.  The Village Engineer said that GES felt that, from a liability perspective, they would not want to be the “prime investigator” in terms of the field testing, analysis and conclusions.  The Village Engineer said that Mr. Maad “does not feel that his analysis is going to show that the wall is safe.”  Mr. Luntz asked if this information on the outcome of the site visit had been shared with the Applicant, to which the Village Engineer said that it has.  Mr. Andrews said that it is his understanding that the Planning Board is not asking that their consultant certify that the wall is safe. The Planning Board wants their consultant to critique the Applicant’s engineering report on the stability of the wall and provide an independent analysis on the wall’s condition. The Village Engineer reiterated that Mr. Maad would not be willing to write a report of his observations or make any conclusions based on this site visit. The Village Engineer said that he believes Mr. Maad might agree to critique the report prepared by the Applicant’s engineer if the Applicant’s engineer were to do more analysis on the wall.

Chairman Kehoe noted that the Applicant’s attorney Norman Sheer had asked that this item be removed from the agenda tonight. At some point the Applicant would be coming back before the board. The Village Engineer suggested that, perhaps, this would be a good time to contact the Village Attorney and let the Village Attorney know what has transpired. Ms. Allen suggested that the Village Engineer should provide the Village Attorney with his memorandum on the recent site visit.  The Village Engineer noted that the difficulty in analyzing the wall is “the many unknowns.”  Chairman Kehoe said that unless the Planning Board is able to find an engineering consultant who is willing to review and/or analyze the condition of the wall, it is going to be difficult to move this application forward. The Village Engineer suggested that he could approach McLaren Engineering again.  He would ask them if they would be willing to go on a site visit. He (the Village Engineer) could see what their initial observation is and if they feel the same way as GES. Ms. Allen said that she would think that it would be useful to have GES write up their observation(s), to which the Village Engineer told Ms. Allen that Mr. Maad has said that he would not do that. Mr. Luntz suggested that, perhaps, Mr. Maad feels that as soon as he becomes involved with a review/analysis of this wall, he would be putting himself in a position of being “called on it” should something go wrong.  Mr. Andrews said that for better or for worse, the Planning Board has received input from Mr. Maad that elevates the level of concern about the wall’s condition.

The Village Engineer said that, in so far as the wall is concerned, the less height, the better. One recommendation (that had been suggested to him) is to take the top tier (of the wall) down.  Ms. Allen said that she would think that this is not a matter that the Planning Board should be discussing. This is (would be) for the experts to decide and not the Planning Board.  Chairman Kehoe questioned what would happen if the Applicant came before the board and said that they have decided to take the wall down.  The Village Engineer said that if the wall were gone, it would remove a potential safety issue. The Village Engineer said that the existing wall would be taken down and, then, some “new” walls would be built under a permit.  Ms. Allen suggested that, at this point in time, the Village Engineer should be careful about getting too involved with an engineering solution to the problems with this wall. The Village Engineer said (again) that he would contact McLaren Engineering and try to set up a site visit.    
     
  • 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 – SEQRA Determination of Significance
Chairman Kehoe noted that, at the last meeting, the Planning Board reviewed the Full Environmental Assessment Form (FEAF) for the diner project.  The board mainly discussed Part 2, “Project Impacts and their Magnitude.” Chairman Kehoe said that, based on the discussion at the last meeting, the Village Engineer has revised Part 2 of the FEAF. The answer to question 11 “Will Proposed Action affect aesthetic resources?” has been changed from “no” to “yes.”  Likewise, the answer to question 19 “Will Proposed Action affect the character of the existing community?” was changed from “no” to “yes.” Chairman Kehoe noted that, for both, the impacts are being considered “small to moderate.”

Chairman Kehoe noted that the Planning Board had (already) answered “yes” to question 1.  He (Chairman Kehoe) does not see a need to change the answers to the next three questions (2, 3 and 4).  Chairman Kehoe said that the neighbor Charles Henley thought that the answer to question 6 “Will Proposed Action alter drainage flow or patterns, or surface water runoff?” should be “yes” instead of “no.” Chairman Kehoe said that he thinks the answer should remain “no.”  This matter was addressed by the Waterfront Advisory Committee in their consistency review.  The WAC concluded that there would be no impacts to the Duck Pond caused by storm water runoff.

Chairman Kehoe said that in terms of the impact(s) on aesthetic resources, the Planning Board agreed to change the answer to question 11 from “no” to “yes.” The board did not discuss the impact(s) on historic resources (question 12). Chairman Kehoe said that for question 15 “Will there be an effect to existing transportation systems?” the answer given is “no.” Chairman Kehoe said that he would think that the answer should remain “no.” Chairman Kehoe noted that if this application were ultimately approved by the ZBA, there would no longer be any access or egress onto Hudson Street from the diner parking lot. He would think that this would constitute an improvement to an existing transportation system and/or pattern; hence, there would be no adverse (negative) impacts.  

Chairman Kehoe said that even though a few answers have been changed from “no” to “yes,” he believes that the Proposed Action would not have a significant adverse environmental impact and would not rise to the level of (the Planning Board’s issuing) a Positive Declaration.  Chairman Kehoe said that he, personally, would be comfortable issuing a Negative Declaration.  Chairman Kehoe said that with the issuing of a Negative Declaration the Planning Board would still be performing an environmental review as part of their amended site plan review process.   

Ms. Allen said that she is puzzled by the draft resolution that has been prepared for review by the Planning Board tonight. She questioned what the purpose of the Planning Board resolution is for adopting a Negative Declaration. She questioned why the Negative Declaration could not stand alone. The Village Engineer said that the Planning Board, as Lead Agency, has to make a Determination of Significance.  The Planning Board has to issue either a Positive or a Negative Declaration. This resolution is the resolution that the Planning Board formally adopts under SEQRA.  The Village Engineer said that the Negative Declaration has been prepared on the SEQRA form supplied by the NYS Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC). The resolution that has been prepared is the Planning Board’s resolution adopting this Negative Declaration.  

Ms. Allen said that the WAC reviewed this application and made a recommendation to the Planning Board to find this project consistent with the Village’s Local Waterfront Revitalization Program (LWRP) policies provided that an additional storm drain be installed to prevent “ponding” at a low point in the diner parking lot. Ms. Allen said that if the Negative Declaration were to be adopted by the Planning Board tonight, she would be concerned that, at some point in the review process, the WAC’s “proviso” regarding an additional storm drain would be lost. She would be concerned that during the Planning Board’s review this “proviso” would not be carried forward.  Chairman Kehoe said that the Planning Board would have to remember to carry it forward.  The board would have to make sure that the condition regarding the storm drain does not get lost. Chairman Kehoe said that he has always questioned why SEQRA dictates that a Negative Declaration has to be adopted at this point.  It would make more sense to adopt the Negative Declaration at the end of the review process. Chairman Kehoe said (again) that, according to SEQRA, adopting the Negative Declaration at this point in the review process is the right way to proceed.  The Village Engineer suggested that this condition about adding a storm drain could be incorporated into the Planning Board’s resolution adopting the Negative Declaration. Chairman Kehoe agreed and added that this would help the Planning Board to keep track of what the WAC had said in their consistency review.

Chairman Kehoe referred to the third paragraph of the draft resolution, which states that “Whereas, the Planning Board reviewed the Applicant’s Full Environmental Assessment Form…..” and said that the word “Applicant’s” should be removed.

The Planning Board discussed whether the word “preliminary” should be removed from the wording in the next paragraph pertaining to the WAC’s consistency review. Chairman Kehoe said that he would think that where it says “…..the Waterfront Advisory Committee’s (WAC’s) preliminary recommendation of consistency…..” the word “preliminary” should be removed. The Village Engineer referred the Planning Board to Section 225-6D(1) of the Waterfront Revitalization law, which states that the WAC has 14 days from the receipt of the Environmental Assessment Form/Coastal Assessment Form to make a preliminary recommendation of consistency to the Lead Agency.  The Village Engineer noted that in Section 225-6E it states that if the Lead Agency were to make a Negative Declaration, then, the WAC has 20 days “to render its written recommendation of consistency to the lead agency…..”  The Village Engineer said that, according to the Code, this (the WAC’s consistency review) is a dual process. In the case of the diner the WAC has made a preliminary determination of consistency.  The WAC would make their final determination at the time of the amended site plan approval.  Ms. Allen expressed concern about the extent to which the WAC is required by Code to review this application. She said that she does not see how “we can impose on this Village that level of meetings and paperwork.”  Ms. Allen said that the Village’s Mayor and Board of Trustees are in favor of “green taping” as opposed to “red taping” the process. This is an area where it would seem to her that the process is extreme, to which Chairman Kehoe said that, even so, “we can’t ignore the process. It is in the Code.”  Chairman Kehoe said that, based on the Code, the word “preliminary” in the aforementioned paragraph should remain.

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

Chairman Kehoe entertained a motion to adopt the resolution for issuing a Negative Declaration, subject to the changes/additions discussed tonight. The motion was made by Mr. Andrews, seconded by Ms. Allen and carried by a vote of 4 to 0.

  • OTHER BUSINESS:
  • The Village Engineer said that the various Village boards/committees were invited by the Village Board to a joint meeting, which took place last night.  At the joint meeting the members present from the Advisory Board on the Visual Environment (VEB) and the Water Control Commission  (WCC) said that they would want to be kept more “in the loop” of the Planning Board applications that would ultimately be referred to them for a recommendation. The members of the Planning Board present did not object to the VEB and the WCC having plans earlier on in the review process.  The Village Engineer said that, from now on, his office would ask an applicant for additional copies of plans and send the VEB and WCC the plans early on “as a courtesy.”  His office would let these boards know when, in the review process, the plans being submitted represent “an official referral.”
  • APPROVAL OF MINUTES:
The minutes of the Tuesday, December 22, 2009 Planning Board meeting were approved on a motion by Mr. Luntz, seconded by Ms. Allen and carried by a vote of 4-0.   
  
  • 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, Rakis Inc. (Peter Tsagarakis) has submitted an application to the Planning Board of the Village of Croton-on-Hudson, New York for an Amended Site Plan Approval for a parking lot expansion and the installation of a handicap accessible ramp at the Croton Colonial Diner located at 215 South Riverside Avenue.  The subject properties associated with this project are designated on the Tax Map of the Village of Croton-on-Hudson, New York as Sec. 79.09 Blk. 1 Lots 52, 53, 54, 55 & 56; and

WHEREAS, the Planning Board has determined that the proposed project is an Unlisted Action under the State Environmental Quality Review Act (SEQRA) and, in accordance with its review of site plan/amended site plan applications, is the Lead Agency for this project; and

WHEREAS, the Planning Board reviewed the Full Environment Assessment Form received in the Village Engineer’s office on December 9, 2009; and

WHEREAS, the Planning Board has received and reviewed the Waterfront Advisory Committee’s (WAC’s) preliminary recommendation of consistency with the Village’s Local Waterfront Revitalization Program (LWRP) and, based on the WAC’s recommendation, the Planning Board finds this project to be consistent with the LWRP subject to the condition, requested by the WAC, that an additional storm drain be installed to prevent “ponding” at a low point in the diner parking lot.

NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED, that the Planning Board of the Village of Croton-on-Hudson, New York determines that no significant adverse environmental impacts would result from this project and, as the Lead Agency, issues a Negative Declaration (attached).  [The Negative Declaration is attached to filed copy of minutes in the Village Engineer's Office.]

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

Chris Kehoe, Chair
Fran Allen
Mark Aarons
Vincent Andrews
Robert Luntz

Date~:  January 26, 2010



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