VILLAGE OF CROTON ON HUDSON, NEW YORK
PLANNING BOARD MEETING MINUTES – TUESDAY, FEBRUARY 9, 2010
A regular meeting of the Planning Board of the Village of Croton-on-Hudson, New York was held on Tuesday, February 9, 2010 in the Municipal Building.
MEMBERS PRESENT: Chris Kehoe, Chairman
ABSENT: 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 – 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 stated that, at the request of the Applicant’s attorney Norman Sheer, the public hearing on the CCNS application for a preliminary subdivision approval is being adjourned. This item would be put back on the agenda for the next Planning Board meeting to be held on Tuesday, February 23rd.
- 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 noted that, at the last meeting, the Village Engineer had said that he would contact McLaren Engineering to schedule a site visit to the Applicant’s property, to which the Village Engineer responded that the engineer from McLaren and he have been emailing back and forth, but they have not scheduled a site visit yet. He would try to speak to McLaren again before the next meeting. The Village Engineer noted that GES went on a site visit to the Applicant’s property and decided after the site visit that they did not want to take the job. The Village Engineer noted that McLaren was the most expensive of the engineering consulting firms that he contacted. The cost for their services would be $30,000. There might be a way to lessen the cost(s) and still provide the necessary review/analysis of the wall. He
would discuss this matter with McLaren.
Mr. Aarons asked approximately how much it would cost to take down the wall, to which the Village Engineer said that he would think it would cost $50,000 to take it down. The Village Engineer noted that the cost to put the wall up, if done correctly, would be well over $100,000. Mr. Aarons said that, perhaps, the Applicant should be looking at the possibility of taking the wall down, to which Chairman Kehoe said that at a previous meeting Mr. Sheer had told the Planning Board that his client might decide that the best solution would be to take down the wall. Chairman Kehoe noted that when Mr. Sheer made that statement, he was expressing his concern about the expense involved for the Applicant of having to provide escrow monies for the hiring of an engineering consultant. Chairman Kehoe said that it would seem the Applicant
is aware that taking the wall down is a possible solution, but he (Chairman Kehoe) does not know how seriously they have looked into it.
Mr. Aarons noted that he was unable to attend the last Planning Board meeting, at which meeting the GES site visit was discussed. He asked to be brought up to date on the outcome of the site visit. Chairman Kehoe said that GES along with the Village Engineer and the Applicant’s engineer Bernard Grossfield went to the Fallacaro property to view the retaining wall and, while there, the engineer from GES saw significant issues with the (condition of the) wall. Chairman Kehoe said that, at the end of the site visit, the engineer from GES told the Village Engineer that he would not be comfortable investigating the wall and doing a report on the wall. Mr. Andrews reiterated that GES does not want to be involved.
The Village Engineer said again that he has a call in to McLaren to see if they would be willing to go on a site visit. They could discuss the project in more detail and see if there might be a way to revise their original ($30,000) proposal. Chairman Kehoe noted that Mr. Sheer had wanted the Village’s consultant to at least visit the site to view the wall firsthand and see if there might be a way of lessening the cost(s) involved. The outcome of the GES site visit was that they would not do the work at all. Chairman Kehoe said that he, personally, finds the outcome of the GES site visit to be discomforting. The Village Engineer said that, in so far as removing the wall is concerned the wall could be removed “down to the lower tier of wall.” The wall could be removed to the point where just “some stable wall is
left.” Ms. Allen said that she would think that the Planning Board has to be careful about becoming too involved with the engineering solutions to this retaining wall problem. She would be concerned about the legal ramifications. Mr. Aarons said that he would agree with Ms. Allen in this regard.
The Village Engineer said that he would contact McLaren and report back to the Planning Board at the next meeting.
- 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 the Planning Board received in their packets for tonight’s meeting the revised report from Kellard Sessions Consulting, the Applicant’s engineer.
The Village Engineer said that he went over his memorandum with the engineer from Kellard who prepared the report for Sky View. The engineer from Kellard was unable to attend the meeting tonight. The Village Engineer said that, in so far as the report is concerned, there are a few calculations and cost information that Kellard and he need to work up together. This data should be incorporated into the report; otherwise, all the other issues in his memorandum have been addressed.
The Village Engineer noted that, at present, the Village pumps the wet well at Sky View twice a year. Solid waste has been building up in the wet well; in order to remove the solid layer from the wet well, Sky View has offered to have the wet well pumped four times a year. The Village Engineer said that this wet well was designed for a high flow rate. In order to help alleviate the sewer odor problem, Kellard and he propose to lower the volume of sewage at a given interval that would be moved into and discharged out of the force main. Smaller volumes dissipate more readily into the atmosphere; pumping smaller volumes of sewage per discharge would help alleviate the sewer odor. The Village Engineer said that, at this point in time the sewage is pumped out all at once, which causes more odors. Ms. Allen noted that the
Department of Public Works (DPW) has sealed the manhole covers so that no odors could escape. Ms. Allen said that she would be concerned about the building up of explosive gases, to which the Village Engineer responded that most of the manholes have vent holes; nevertheless, he would raise this issue with the DPW. The Village Engineer said that to help eliminate the sewer odor problem Kellard and he are also proposing to relocate the bioxide feed. The Village Engineer explained how the proposed bioxide injection system would work stating that, rather than pumping the bioxide into the wet well the bioxide would be pumped directly into the force main. The Village Engineer said that as part of the proposal for improving the sewer system at Sky View, the Applicant’s engineer (Kellard) would evaluate the changes being implemented for a period of one year. Kellard would, then, develop a report documenting the conditions and submit this report to the Village.
Ms. Allen said that she would suggest that the Village should put in place a process whereby residents could make their complaints about sewer odors. Ms. Allen said that, at present, no one knows who to complain to. As a result, Mr. Share of Sky View noted in a recent letter to the Planning Board that he was unaware of the sewer odor problem. Ms. Allen said that the Village should engage the public to monitor odors in their neighborhood and let the Village know when and from what areas of the Village the odors are generating. Ms. Allen said that she rents a house in the Village and has recently received from her tenant a note in which he mentions detecting a sewer odor problem at the Stevenson Place intersection. Her tenant states that every night they smell a distinct odor of gas in this location.
Her tenant said that, of late, they have also detected this odor farther down the block. Ms. Allen said that, as she understands it, two sewer lines are connected at Stevenson Place. The Village Engineer said that the sewage “drops” from one sewer line to another in that location. There is a change in elevation from 15 feet to 5 feet. The turbulence caused by this “dropping” is what creates the gas odors. The Village Engineer said that any dropped man hole is going to be a potential problem. The Village Engineer said that decreasing the amount of sewage that is discharged at any one time would help eliminate the sewer odor. Also, injecting bioxide directly into the force main would help.
Ms. Allen noted that at one point sheets, diapers, etc. were clogging up the sewer system at Sky View, to which Chairman Kehoe replied that this problem was supposedly remedied. Mr. Share said that the clogging of the pumps decreased when they switched to reusable washcloths. The Village Engineer added that the sewer pumps were actually getting jammed up with rags. They have not had that problem for three or four years. Chairman Kehoe said that, as Ms. Allen has pointed out tonight, the sewer odor problem persists, hence, the solutions to the problem, which the Village Engineer has explained to the Planning Board tonight. The Village Engineer noted that the thought behind the grinder solution was that the grinder would grind up materials so that there would no longer be a problem with the sewer pump.
Mr. Share said that he would think that there are two separate issues being discussed tonight, i.e., the building up of materials at the pump and the sewer odor(s). Mr. Share said that Sky View would be willing to work with the Village to resolve these issues.
The Village Engineer noted that pumping out the wet well is not going to help the Stevenson Place odor problem. What would help the odor problem at Stevenson Place are the injection of bioxide into the force main and the alteration of the pump cycle by decreasing the volume of sewage per cycle. The Village Engineer said that the more pump-outs, the less the odors.
The Village Engineer suggested that the Planning Board could recommend to the Village Board a time frame for Sky View to make these changes to the existing sewer system.
Chairman Kehoe noted to the Applicant that the Planning Board feels that this issue regarding the sewer odor(s) has to be resolved before the Planning Board could move forward. Chairman Kehoe wondered if, perhaps, the Planning Board should recommend to the Village Board that the sewer problem be resolved before they (the Village Board) approve the sunroom addition. Chairman Kehoe expressed concern that, if the special permit were granted and the sewer problem had not yet been resolved, the sunroom would be built and there would no longer be any motivation on the part of Sky View to fix the sewer problem. Ms. Allen pointed out that the Village has no guarantee that the additional solutions being discussed tonight would solve the problem. Mr. Share said that he would be willing to work with the Village to resolve
this issue pertaining to the sewer odor(s).
Mr. Andrews asked what the timing would be on setting up the proposed bioxide injection system and altering the number of pump-outs, to which the Village Engineer said that he would think between three and six months. Mr. Andrews asked Mr. Share what his current timetable on building the sunroom would be, to which Mr. Share said, maybe three to six months from start to finish. Chairman Kehoe told Mr. Share that, if the special permit were granted and the Applicant were to come back before the Planning Board, it could be anywhere from six to eight weeks before the Planning Board approves their (Sky View’s) amended site plan. He questioned whether these changes to the sewer system could possibly be made prior to the site plan approval. The Village Engineer noted that more detailed plans would have to be provided
for the conversion to the bioxide injection system. Mr. Share noted that the solutions being discussed tonight would be at Sky View’s expense, to which Mr. Andrews said that, as he understands it, the implementation of the sewer remediation would be the responsibility of Sky View in conjunction with, and to the satisfaction of, the Village Engineer.
Ms. Allen said that she would like to see the sewer problem resolved first. Ms. Allen said that, from the Village’s past experience with Sky View, she would want to make certain that the sewer problem is resolved before allowing Sky View to proceed with the sunroom. Mr. Aarons said that he would be willing to move forward with a recommendation to the Village Board on the sunroom with the condition that a surety bond be put in place for the implementation of the changes to the sewer system. He would assume that the Village would ask for at least a $40,000 bond. Mr. Aarons told Mr. Share that providing the Village with a bond for the sewer work would make the Planning Board feel “more comfortable” about making a positive recommendation to the Village Board on the sunroom.
Mr. Andrews suggested that, perhaps, the Planning Board could recommend that the Village Board make it a condition of the granting of the amended special permit that a certain amount of sewage correction work be done. The Planning Board would want to see some real progress before work starts on the sunroom. The Village Engineer said that the first step in resolving the sewer problem would be the completion of design drawings. The Village Engineer said that for the modification of the wet well, he would need to see engineering drawings that could be used for the construction. The Village Engineer suggested that a way to start would be for the Planning Board to have these design drawings submitted within a certain time frame. Chairman Kehoe noted that, if the amended special permit were granted, it would be
six to eight weeks before the Planning Board approves the amended site plan for the sunroom. In the meantime, the Applicant’s engineer could be working on the aforementioned design drawings.
Mr. Share asked if the Planning Board would recommend to the Village Board that they grant the amended special permit for the sunroom and, at the same time, that they remove the stipulation for Sky View to install a grinder. Mr. Share said that he would like some guarantee that if Sky View were willing to make these concessions to fix what is actually owned by the Village (Sky View’s sewage pump station), Sky View could go ahead with their project to build a sunroom. Mr. Share noted that he was not the administrator at Sky View when the grinder became an issue for the Village. He expressed concern that he has to “pay” for something that happened before he arrived at Sky View. The Village Engineer noted to Mr. Share that the grinder issue might certainly come up again, to which Chairman Kehoe added that a discussion
about a grinder would certainly come up if the solutions, presently being proposed, do not resolve the clogging and/or odor problems. Mr. Aarons pointed out that Mr. Share keeps saying that he has to “pay” for something that happened prior to his arrival at Sky View. Mr. Aarons said that he would want to make certain that whatever the outcome, Mr. Share understands that it is not he, personally; it is Sky View and/or the past relationship between the Village and Sky View that is at issue here. Mr. Aarons noted to Mr. Share that, in their review of applications, the Planning Board has to take into consideration the community at large. Over the years there have been issues with Sky View about clogged sewer pumps and sewer odors. Several years ago Sky View was granted a special permit to build an addition subject to Sky View’s installing a grinder to alleviate the sewer problems. Sky View did not abide by this condition; hence, the situation that exists between Sky
View and the Village today. Mr. Aarons said that there are those in the community who take issue with Sky View over this sewer problem; the Village has to make sure that, this time, Sky View does what is being required of them.
Chairman Kehoe said that he would think that the Applicant should use the next six to eight weeks, before coming back before the Planning Board with their amended site plan application, to have their engineer start work on the design drawings for these sewer improvements.
The Village Engineer noted that the Village Board has more discretion in the granting of a special permit than the Planning Board has in approving an amended site plan. It would be better to have any items pertaining to the aforementioned sewer improvements incorporated into the conditions for the granting of the amended special permit. The Village Engineer said that the design drawings for the sewer improvements would be the first step. The Village Board could require that the Applicant have these drawings completed either prior to the issuance of the amended special permit or prior to the approval of the amended site plan. The Village Engineer said that the most lenient approach for the Village to take would be to require the completion of these drawings prior to the issuance of a building permit. Mr. Aarons said
that he would be more concerned about being sure that a bond is put in place. If a surety bond were in place and Sky View defaulted on doing the work, then, Sky View would be legally obligated to pay. Chairman Kehoe said that he would think that a reasonable time frame for the completion of the design drawings would be prior to the Planning Board’s approving the amended site plan. Mr. Andrews said that these design drawings would have to be done to the satisfaction of the Village Engineer.
Chairman Kehoe reviewed the conditions for the granting of the amended special permit stating that, in their letter to the Village Board, the Planning Board would recommend that the amended special permit be granted subject to the design drawings for the sewer improvements being submitted prior to the Planning Board’s approving the amended site plan. Also, a surety bond in a form acceptable to the Village would have to be put in place. Mr. Share asked what the bonding amount would be, to which Mr. Aarons said that this would have to be decided by the Village Board.
Chairman Kehoe said that, having reviewed the Applicant’s drawings for the sunroom addition, he, personally, would have no problem recommending the granting of the amended special permit for this sunroom. He would be prepared to make a positive recommendation to the Village Board based on the conditions discussed tonight regarding the design drawings and the surety bond for the proposed sewer improvements.
Chairman Kehoe noted that the area where the small sunroom would be built is currently a landscaped area. He asked Mr. Share about the patio being proposed, to which Mr. Share said that it would just be a small patio. Mr. Share noted that part of a patient’s rehabilitation would be to go outside onto the patio and walk around. This patio would also make the front of the building look nicer. Mr. Aarons asked if the existing driveway would be changing at all, to which Mr. Share said that it would not be changing.
Mr. Andrews said that he, too, would be willing to go forward with a positive recommendation based on the conditions pertaining to the sewer improvements discussed tonight.
Chairman Kehoe said that another possible condition could be to have the Applicant work with the Village staff to set up a notification process for reporting sewer odors. The Village Engineer noted that, at present, calls come in to several places e.g. the DPW, the Village Engineer’s office, the Village Manager’s office, etc., to which Ms. Allen said that she would think that “that is what is wrong with the system.” Ms. Allen said that it would be better to have a central location/phone number for recording these complaints. Ms. Allen noted that the sewer odors are a “cumulative annoyance,” not just a “one-time” issue. It would be worthwhile to keep an on-going record of them. Chairman Kehoe added that complaints could be logged in so that a record could be formed. Mr. Aarons said that once the Village has a
specialized complaint number set up, residents would anticipate that the problem is going to be resolved. He noted that people are going to be upset with the Village (staff), if their hopes are frustrated. The Village Engineer suggested that there could be a central repository for the complaints so that wherever they go, they would end up in one data base. Mr. Share asked how Sky View would be involved with setting up such a complaint system. Chairman Kehoe said that he is not sure that Sky View should be involved. Mr. Aarons questioned whether this matter regarding the complaints should be “part and parcel” of the special permit conditions for this application. If the Applicant is not involved, then, why would this be a condition of their special permit? The Planning Board decided not to make it a condition of the granting of the amended special permit that this notification procedure be set up.
The Village Engineer said that there has to be a timeline for the construction/implementation of these sewer improvements. The Village Engineer added that the report, which has been submitted by the Applicant’s engineer, should be revised to include this timeline. Chairman Kehoe said that the Planning Board could recommend to the Village Board that there be a condition stipulating a completion date for the construction. The Planning Board would not set a date but would recommend that the Village Board set the date. Ms. Allen said that she would think that the work should be done before the heat of summer. Mr. Aarons thought that six months would be an appropriate time frame. Ms. Allen said that she would want the work done prior to the construction of the sunroom. Chairman Kehoe said that he would think that six
months is fair; however, the Planning Board would leave the timeline up to the Village Board. Ms. Allen said that she would think that a Certificate of Occupancy for the sunroom should not be issued until such time as the sewer remediation is completed. Ms. Allen said that, in so far as the sewer improvements are concerned, she would like to know what the Applicant’s engineer Kellard Sessions Consulting has to say about how long it would take to complete the work. Chairman Kehoe said that the condition could (also) state that whichever method being proposed for the sewer improvements “has the best shot at odor control” shall be implemented first.
Chairman Kehoe reviewed the conditions that the Planning Board would recommend to the Village Board for the granting of the amended special permit. A surety bond in an amount acceptable to the Village Engineer and in a form acceptable to the Village Attorney shall be provided. Design drawings for the sewer improvements shall be completed to the satisfaction of the Village Engineer prior to the Planning Board’s approval of the amended site plan. The Planning Board would recommend that the Village Board specify a timeline for the completion of the construction/implementation of these sewer improvements. The Planning Board would think that six months is a reasonable time frame with the first priority being the odor-reducing improvement(s).
The Planning Board members unanimously agreed to recommend to the Village Board that the application for an amended special permit for Sky View be granted subject to the conditions pertaining to the sewer improvements discussed tonight. Chairman Kehoe told Mr. Share that the Planning Board would prepare a memorandum to the Village Board for the next Village Board meeting to be held on Tuesday, February 16th.
- New York SMSA Limited Partnership d/b/a Verizon Wireless – Referral from the Village Board for a Special Permit for the Collocation of a Personal Wireless Services Facility at the DPW Facility, Veteran’s Plaza
Michael Sheridan, Esq. of Snyder & Snyder, LLP and Anthony Botta of Tectonic Engineering were present for this application.
Mr. Sheridan said that the Applicant SMSA Limited Partnership d/b/a Verizon Wireless is proposing to collocate on the existing cell tower at the DPW facility at 26 Veteran’s Plaza. Verizon’s antennas would be situated on the tower at approximately 110 feet from the base of the tower. The antennas would be situated in the #2 position from the bottom right above MetroPCS.
Mr. Sheridan noted that this application would also have to go before the Waterfront Advisory Committee (WAC) for a consistency review. He asked if it would be proper at this point in the process to set a meeting date before the WAC, to which Ms. Allen responded that the WAC would do their review once the input from the Village’s consulting engineering firm (RCC Consultants, Inc.) has been received.
Mr. Sheridan said that he has seen tonight the proposal to the Village from RCC for the Verizon Wireless application review. He thought that RCC’s estimated cost in the amount of $3,000 was somewhat extensive, to which the Village Engineer informed Mr. Sheridan that RCC has already knocked the cost down once. Mr. Sheridan said that RCC has already reviewed the radio frequency data and prepared reports on the other collocators of the cell tower. He would think that much of the work had already been done. He would question the $3,000 charge for the Verizon review. Mr. Aarons said that there is still a new evaluation to do. The Village Engineer suggested that, for comparison sake, he could provide to Mr. Sheridan a copy of RCC’s proposal for the MetroPCS application.
Chairman Kehoe said that the Village would set up an escrow account for this application. The Village would ask for escrow monies in the amount of $3,000 to be deposited into the account. Once the escrow monies have been received, this application would be sent to RCC for their review. When RCC has completed their review, they would prepare a report of their findings, and the application would come back to the Planning Board. If the findings were found to be acceptable, the Planning Board would make a positive recommendation on the granting of the special permit to the Village Board; the Village Board would schedule the public hearing. If the special permit were granted, the application would come back to the Planning Board for a site plan approval. The Village Engineer added that if the site plan were approved, the
Applicant could, then, apply for a building permit to install the antennas.
Mr. Aarons asked which board – the Village Board or the Planning Board – makes the recommendation on the consultant, to which the Village Engineer said that the Planning Board chooses the consultant.
The Village Engineer said that because this project would take place at the train station parking lot, a plan dealing with the logistics of the construction would need to be submitted. The crane operation, which is required as a part of the construction, would have to be done on a Saturday. The Village Engineer said that the installation includes back-up batteries. There would need to be labels placed on the battery compartments giving the requirements for the proper disposal of the batteries. The Village Engineer said that the Verizon Wireless antennas would need to be painted to match the other antennas on the cell tower. The Village Engineer said that there is very likely to be contaminated soil at the train station. The Applicant would have to follow the proper procedures for disposing of contaminated soil. The
soil would have to be clearly identified and stockpiled. The soil has to be tested, and arrangements have to be made to bring the soil to the proper facility. The Village Engineer said that the Applicant’s plan(s) should show a detail of the gas main installation for the generator. He noted that soil would have to be removed for the gas main installation.
Ms. Allen asked where the WAC fits into the review process, to which the Village Engineer said that he would think that the recommendation from the WAC to the Village Board could be made at about the same time as the Planning Board’s recommendation to the Village Board. The Village Engineer said that the WAC could set up their meeting once the radio frequency report from RCC has been received. Mr. Sheridan questioned why the WAC would need to see the RCC report, to which the Village Engineer replied that the WAC would need to have a completed application. The Village Engineer suggested that to expedite the process the WAC could schedule their meeting as soon as the report comes back from RCC but, perhaps, before it gets to the Planning Board.
The Village Engineer asked the Applicant about the process for running the gas line into their (Verizon Wireless’) facility, to which Anthony Botta of Tectonic Engineering told the Village Engineer that, usually, Con Edison and Verizon Wireless would work together on the design. Mr. Botta said that it is up to the utility company to establish where the meter would be. The Village Engineer said that, as he understands it, Con Edison would be the applicant for the gas line, to which Mr. Botta said that this is, indeed, the case. The Village Engineer said that, with respect to the gas line installation, he would want to see the breakdown of what Con Edison would be doing and what Verizon would be doing.
The Village Engineer told the Applicant that as soon as they provide the escrow monies to the Village for the consultant’s review of this application, he would send the Notice to Proceed to RCC.
The Village Engineer asked that the Applicant let him know how long the crane would be at the site. He would also like to know what could be done with the soil that has to be removed for the gas line installation i.e., if there is a spot on site where it could be stored.
Mr. Sheridan said that, as soon as the Planning Board has received RCC’s report, they would schedule to come back before the board. Chairman Kehoe said that this report would most likely not be ready for the next meeting to be held two weeks from tonight. Mr. Sheridan asked if the report might be ready for the first Planning Board meeting in March, to which Chairman Kehoe said that he would think so. Mr. Sheridan should contact the Village Engineer’s office for an update on the status of the report.
The minutes of the Tuesday, January 12, 2010 Planning Board meeting were approved on a motion by Mr. Aarons, seconded by Mr. Andrews and carried by a vote of 4-0.
There being no further business to come before the board, the meeting was duly adjourned at 9:50 P.M.
Village of Croton-on-Hudson