Planning Board Minutes 07/12/2010
VILLAGE OF CROTON ON HUDSON, NEW YORK

PLANNING BOARD MEETING MINUTES – MONDAY, JULY 12, 2010

A regular meeting of the Planning Board of the Village of Croton-on-Hudson, New York was held on Monday, July 12, 2010 in the Municipal Building.

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

ABSENT:                 Bruce Kauderer

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 HEARINGS:
  • 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 – Public Hearing, Continued
Ron Wegner, P.E. of Cronin Engineering and Norman Sheer, Esq., attorney for the Applicant, were present.

Mr. Wegner said that the plans submitted for tonight’s meeting show the house on Lot #1 farther away from the neighboring property. Mr. Wegner said that he has put together a drainage analysis.  It is his understanding that the Village’s drainage consultants Dvirka & Bartilucci would be reviewing this drainage analysis, and the Applicant would be required to provide escrow monies for their services. He (Mr. Wegner) was told that an escrow account had previously been established for the review of the tree survey by the Village’s environmental consultant Bruce Donohue. Mr. Wegner requested that if there were any monies left in the escrow account for Mr. Donohue, these monies be applied to the escrow for Dvirka & Bartilucci.

Mr. Wegner said that he has counted the number of trees that would have to be removed for both the original and the alternative layouts for Lot #3.  For the original layout, 48 trees would have to be removed and for the alternative layout, 47 trees.  Mr. Wegner said that the tree count is similar for both but the species of trees vary. Mr. Wegner said that he is looking for direction from the board as to which layout they prefer for Lot #3.    

Ms. Allen referred to the Applicant’s Site Development Plan and the Alternative Site Development Plan and noted that there is no difference being shown on these plans for the house locations for Lots #’s 1 and 2.  Ms. Allen noted that for Lot #3 two different house locations are being shown.  The house is shown further back on the property on the Site Development Plan and closer to the front on the Alternative Site Development Plan. Mr. Wegner said that he “took away” the alternative house locations for Lots #’s 1 and 2 because, at the last meeting, the Planning Board seemed to prefer the locations, which are presently being shown.  

Chairman Kehoe said that the tree survey submitted for the meeting tonight shows the house on Lot #3 further back on the property.  No tree plan was submitted for the house in a location closer to the front.  Mr. Wegner noted that he did do a tree count. A total of 48 trees would have to be removed if the house on Lot #3 were further back; 47 trees would be removed if the house were closer to the front. Ms. Allen pointed out that, even though the tree count is about the same for both of these scenarios, the trees to be removed would be significantly different.  They would differ in both size and species.  Mr. Wegner noted that, in so far as the slope disturbance is concerned, there would be a vast difference between the two layouts. He explained that even though the overall steep slopes disturbance is about equal for the two development scenarios, moving the house on Lot #3 closer to the front would more than double the impacts to the “greater than 35%” slopes.

Chairman Kehoe asked Mr. Wegner to explain to the board his storm water (drainage) report.  Mr. Wegner said that at the point of disturbance that they are at (they are disturbing less than one acre of land) New York State does not have any permitting requirements.  Mr. Wegner noted that his drainage analysis is based on a ten-year storm event. Chairman Kehoe said that the Applicant’s drainage report would be referred to Dvirka & Bartilucci for review.  Chairman Kehoe asked how much monies were left in the previously established escrow account for the tree survey, to which the Planning Board secretary said that she would let the board know.  

Mr. Sheer asked if the Village Board and Planning Board had discussed how the conservation parcel should be handled, i.e., if it is to be conveyed to the Village as open space or if it is to be conveyed to the Westchester Land Trust. Mr. Sheer noted that he spoke with Susan Carpenter of the Westchester Land Trust and Ms. Carpenter told him that she had heard that the Village wanted to retain the property.  The Village Engineer suggested that he could bring up this matter at a Village Board work session.  Mr. Sheer noted that the nursery school has no preference in this matter of ownership. Chairman Kehoe said that he, personally, was always in favor of the Village owning the parcel. Ms. Allen said she would prefer that the Westchester Land Trust take ownership. She said that the Village has a poor record of protecting conservation easements.  The Westchester Land Trust is in the business of doing so. They would monitor the parcel and make sure that it is being preserved. Chairman Kehoe said that no matter what happens, the Planning Board would recommend that the Westchester Land Trust do the monitoring and/or enforcement of the conservation parcel. Mr. Luntz said that he would prefer that the Westchester Land Trust take ownership.

Chairman Kehoe asked if there were any comments from the public.  Gary Kogan of 42 Old Post Road North asked if the drainage report/analysis would be addressed at the next meeting on this application, to which Chairman Kehoe said that it would.

Ira Lipton of 55 Old Post Road North was present.  Mr. Lipton noted that the lot count for this subdivision has gone from four lots down to three.  Mr. Lipton said that what concerns him is not the number of lots but the amount of slopes being disturbed. Mr. Lipton was especially concerned about the disturbance on Lot #3.  He did not see that a case had been made for this disturbance.  Mr. Lipton said that, according to the Code, the disturbance should constitute the minimum amount necessary to ensure the property owner a reasonable use of his/her property.  He questioned if there had been an analysis done on what constitutes this “reasonable use.”  Mr. Lipton noted that the nursery school is a not-for-profit organization that does not pay taxes.  The nursery school made a case that they needed money to put into their operations.  Mr. Lipton questioned what the nursery school would absolutely have to have to “not be in trouble” as an organization. “How do you know that you can’t shrink the lot size down to make more land available to the Village or [to] the Land Trust?”  Mr. Lipton said that he thinks that “we are operating in a vacuum here.”  Mr. Lipton said that the Planning Board is taking a conventional approach in their review of this application.  There may, indeed, be less lots than before, but “How much do you have to allow to begin with and what is the minimum disturbance we can do here?” Mr. Lipton said that unless the Planning Board can come up with an explanation on what constitutes the minimum disturbance, he would think that they have not done their job.  Mr. Lipton said that he thinks that the Village law(s) would require that kind of analysis.

John Grant of 6 Valley Trail had questions about the storm water (drainage) report that had been submitted.  He asked if the square footage had changed at all in terms of the impact to the entire site. Mr. Grant said that the calculations for measuring the storm water runoff are confusing to him.  He would want to have a better handle on it by the next meeting.  Mr. Grant said that he has recently done some research on the effect(s) of trees in managing storm water.  He questioned what (if anything) had been considered, besides the Westchester County standards, in terms of managing storm water runoff. Mr. Wegner said that it is unclear to him what Mr. Grant is trying to say. There are standards that are acceptable; he (Mr. Wegner) has to go by them. There are no alternate methods. Mr. Grant noted to the Planning Board that he has recently spoken to a company that used trees as a benefit for storm water management. Ms. Allen said that, prior to the meeting tonight, she read as much as she could of the drainage report.  In her view, it was thorough and very detailed, but it said almost nothing about the impact on trees of managing water. Ms. Allen said that it is well known that trees can make a difference in flood and/or water management.  Ms. Allen said that the role of trees is eluded to in the Applicant’s drainage report, but there is no real discussion of the impact(s) of trees on water management. Mr. Wegner said that the drainage report takes into account wooded ground cover. Mr. Wegner said that he followed the required standards, to which Ms. Allen questioned if these standards are adequate for this piece of property. Mr. Sheer was displeased that Ms. Allen was questioning the standards being used to do the drainage report. He said, “To say the standards don’t mean anything does not work.” Mr. Sheer said that, in so far as the drainage report is concerned, the Applicant has had a licensed engineering firm prepare the report; the Village is going to have a licensed engineering firm review the report. Mr. Sheer said that he thinks that from an environmental standpoint the subject (nursery school) property is not so unusual. It is not “so unique that the standards don’t apply.”  Mr. Sheer said that rather than making a judgment now on the adequacy of the drainage report, he would think that the Planning Board should wait for the comments from Dvirka & Bartilucci.

Mr. Kogan expressed concern about the potential for excessive storm water runoff from the nursery school property. He gave examples of “unusual developments” with slopes in other parts of the United States (Georgia, Colorado, etc.) that had been devastated by floods.  He questioned if the standards that are being used for analyzing the drainage are outmoded.  Mr. Kogan noted that trees absorb water and, when trees are taken away, it does have an effect. He would think that the Planning Board should look at the latest studies being done on rain water and take these studies into account.  Mr. Kogan said that he understands the nursery school’s “push” to develop the land, but he would think “we need to be very careful.”

Stephen Jacoby of 6 Lower North Highland Place expressed concern about the adverse effects downhill of drainage from the site given the steepness of the slopes. Mr. Jacoby said that it sometimes takes a long time for a site to be developed. “The first thing to go is the trees.”  He was concerned about runoff downhill should the trees be prematurely cut down.  Mr. Jacoby asked if the Planning Board takes into consideration the impacts on the steep slopes, drainage, etc. during that interim period between approval of the subdivision and the house construction.  Chairman Kehoe noted that the application presently before the Planning Board is for a subdivision. “Nothing happens when the subdivision is approved.” Once approved, the applicant(s) would come back before the Planning Board for the houses on the individual lots. The Village Engineer said that a subdivision allows for the division of properties.  Separate deeds are drawn up.  Eventually, when the subdivision lots are purchased and the buyers want to build their houses, the buyer(s) would come back before the Planning Board with an application for a minor site plan for the house construction. Ms. Allen noted that the subdivision on Prospect Place and Old Post Road North was developed all at once.  There was one developer who built all three houses, to which the Village Engineer said that he would think that this would not be the case here.

Mr. Jacoby said that at this point in time the Applicant is showing on their plans driveways, culverts, retaining walls, etc., yet, the Planning Board has not talked at all about the process of building these structures. Mr. Jacoby asked if, in the building sequence, there would be an extended period of time with no protection(s) for the community.  The Village Engineer said that erosion and sedimentation control measures are put in place. The Village Engineer said that Mr. Jacoby makes a good point about the “first development” of the property when driveways are put in, etc.  In the end, the property is seeded to prevent erosion.  The Village Engineer said that he would ask the Applicant’s engineer to look at the interim period of site disturbance.  Perhaps, a temporary system could be built and, then, later redone.  The Village Engineer reiterated that he would have the engineer look at additional protection(s) during the interim period.

Chairman Kehoe noted that the limits of disturbance govern the construction of the houses; however, the property owners down the road have the right to apply for a permit to remove trees.  Chairman Kehoe said that, at this stage, the Planning Board would be granting approval of a subdivision and a steep slope permit. Chairman Kehoe asked the Village Engineer if, for example, a garage were shifted to the other side of a house and it triggered the need for a steep slope permit, the Planning Board would have to issue another permit, to which the Village Engineer said that he would think that this is the case.  He told the Planning Board that he would check to see if there is a “sunset clause.”

Ms. Allen said that the Planning Board members are not here “as engineers.”  The Planning Board has its own judgment to make on the impacts of the project on the neighbors, the environment, etc.  Ms. Allen said that the Planning Board will do what it can to make certain that the laws/standards are being followed.  Ms. Allen noted that, in the end, it is the Planning Board’s judgment whether or not this project goes forward.

Mr. Lipton said that Mr. Sheer commented earlier in the meeting that the nursery school property is not that unique.  Mr. Lipton said that, perhaps, it is not unique “on the face of the earth,” but it is really unique in this Village.  Mr. Lipton said that because this property is unique in the Village, it deserves “exacting standards.”  Mr. Lipton said that he believes that the Planning Board could impose higher standards than what is currently required.  Mr. Lipton said that he sees nothing imaginative in the plan presently before the Planning Board, and the Planning Board could be asking for that.

Mr. Grant asked about a tree preservation plan, to which Chairman Kehoe said that, in his opinion, such a plan is not needed at this stage. The Village Engineer agreed and added that he would think that a tree preservation plan would be more appropriate during the minor site plan approval process when the actual house design is known.  The Village Engineer noted that, with respect to the trees, during the minor site plan review process, the Applicant and the Planning Board would go “tree by tree.”

Chairman Kehoe referred to the site development plan for Lots #’s 1 and 2 and said that he does not see any changes that could be made to save more trees on these two lots. Ms. Allen recalled that the Planning Board had a discussion about siting the houses depending on the trees specifically.  Ms. Allen said that the houses being shown are ordinary houses.  In her view, they are not being designed to fit into the terrain with the trees that are there.  Chairman Kehoe said that the houses are being sited with respect to the slopes. Mr. Wegner said that, in so far as the trees are concerned, the trees on the conservation easement have been surveyed.  The conservation easement parcel is 6 acres in size. Mr. Wegner said that there are hundreds of trees that are being preserved on this site; these trees are going to be providing storm water protection on the site.  Mr. Wegner pointed out that, on Lot #2, only 22 trees are coming down for the construction of the house.  The Village Engineer noted that a landscaping plan would become a part of the minor site plan approval. The Village Engineer said that, with respect to the loss of 48 trees on Lot #3, some replacement trees could be planted. The Village Engineer said that it would not be a “full loss.”  It would be less than what is being shown.  The Village Engineer said that, as a condition of their approval, the Planning Board could require that a certain number of trees be replanted.

Chairman Kehoe asked that Dvirka & Bartilucci be asked to do a write-up for the Planning Board giving their opinion on the alternative storm water treatments. The Village Engineer said that Dvirka & Bartilucci could be asked to give the “pros and cons” for each type of drainage system.  Ms. Allen said that, in her view, the Planning Board “is not there yet.”  The Planning Board has not even decided yet whether the development presently being proposed is appropriate. Ms. Allen added that the Planning Board has not taken a site walk based on the “new plan.” Mr. Luntz said that he would think that the Planning Board has discussed the nursery school application enough for tonight. Mr. Luntz said that the Planning Board needs the input on the drainage from Dvirka & Bartilucci. In order to move forward the Planning Board needs more information.

Chairman Kehoe noted that the next steps in the process would be to settle the matter of the escrow monies and forward the drainage report on to Dvirka & Barilucci for their review.

  • Croton Sailing School, Inc. – 2 Elliott Way (Sec. 78.12 Blk. 1 Lot 1) – Application for an Amended Site Plan Approval for a Shed
Steven Jennings, President of the Croton Sailing School, was present.

Mr. Jennings told the Planning Board that the Croton Sailing School would like to replace their old (existing) storage shed at Senasqua Park with a new one. They would like to move the shed over to the fence area so as to create a better pathway from the park down to the docks.  Mr. Jennings said that the dimensions of the new shed would be somewhat larger, the reason being that the sailing school lost storage space when the bathhouse at the park was renovated; they need a larger shed to house the materials that were previously being stored in the bathhouse.

Chairman Kehoe opened the public hearing.  Chairman Kehoe asked if there were any members of the public present who would like to comment on this application, to which there were none.

Mr. Aarons asked what the shed would be sitting on, to which Mr. Jennings said that the new shed would sit on 6 or 8 inches of crushed gravel or asphalt. The Village Engineer said that the bottom of the shed has wood “sleepers” that are a part of the shed.  The wood is pressure-treated.  The Village Engineer said that there would probably not be that much water getting underneath the shed; any water beneath the shed would permeate the gravel pad upon which the shed would rest.  

The Village Engineer said that there is one condition that he would ask the board to incorporate into their resolution. The Applicant intends to build a 4’ x 16’ lean-to addition on the north side of the shed.  This lean-to addition would store life jackets. The Village Engineer said that there should be a condition that states that the siding and the paint color of this lean-to addition must match the shed so that it looks like a uniform structure.

Chairman Kehoe entertained a motion to close the public hearing.  The motion was made by Mr. Luntz, seconded by Mr. Aarons and carried by a vote of 4 to 0.    

Chairman Kehoe read aloud the draft resolution with the following (one) condition:

  • that the life jacket storage attachment shall be of the same color and materials as the storage shed.
Chairman Kehoe entertained a motion to approve this amended site plan application with the condition just discussed.  The motion to approve was made by Mr. Aarons, seconded by Ms. Allen and carried by a vote of 4 to 0.

  • E/T Equipment Co. (Jodine & Jennifer Realty, Property Owner) – 425 South Riverside Avenue (Sec. 79.13 Blk. 2 Lots 66 & 91) – Application for an Amended Site Plan (Lot Line Adjustment)
Edmond Gemmola, architect for the Applicant, and Thomas Fallacaro, owner of the property, were present.

Mr. Gemmola said that the parcel being discussed is the E/T Equipment property on South Riverside Avenue.  The property consists of two lots (#’s 66 and 91).  The Applicant would like to sell Lot #66 as a residential lot.  Mr. Gemmola noted that in the current configuration both lots have land in two zones, i.e., the C-2 commercial zone and the RA-5 residential zone. When the Village’s zoning law was first enacted in 1931 the whole parcel was in a commercial zone. The 1955 zoning law change created a parcel in two zoning districts.  Mr. Gemmola said that the lot line adjustment being proposed would make it so that Lot #66 would be totally out of the commercial zone and solely in a residential zone.  Mr. Gemmola said that the application before the Planning Board tonight is for an amended site plan/lot line adjustment.  The Applicant would have to come back before the board with a minor site plan application for the house.  Mr. Gemmola said that a potential house could be accessed by a driveway from Devon Avenue. If the house is placed parallel to Devon Avenue, then, the neighbor could still enjoy views of the Hudson River without any obstructions. Mr. Gemmola said that they have done the calculations for steep slopes and they are well under the threshold of needing a steep slope permit. Mr. Gemmola said that in the new lot configuration both lots would conform to the front, rear and side yard setback requirements of the Zoning Code.  Mr. Gemmola explained why the Applicant is before the Planning Board for an amended site plan stating that, with the lot line adjustment being proposed, land (approximately 16,000 square feet) is being taken away from the originally approved (commercial) site plan.  Mr. Gemmola noted that the newly proposed residential parcel would no longer have frontage on South Riverside Avenue.

Richard Tuttle came forward and told the Planning Board that his mother owns the adjacent house on 8 Devon Avenue. There is a big (steep) slope in the area where the new house would be constructed, which is in close proximity to his mother’s house. Mr. Tuttle questioned how a house could be built on Devon Avenue in the location currently being proposed with this big slope there. Mr. Gemmola went over his steep slope data and explained to those present how the Applicant meets the Village’s steep slope requirements.  Mr. Tuttle said that he would be concerned about erosion and the potential for the hill coming down.  He would be concerned about the impacts of taking down trees to build the house.  Mr. Gemmola told Mr. Tuttle that the Applicant would have to show the trees to be removed at the time of the minor site plan approval for the house.  

Elizabeth Giblin of 17 Hastings Avenue was present. Ms. Giblin had questions about the proposed house and asked about the location of the house on Devon Avenue, to which Mr. Gemmola pointed out on the Applicant’s site plan the location for the house.  Mr. Fallacaro told Ms. Giblin that the application before the board tonight is for a lot line adjustment.  He (Mr. Fallacaro) eventually wants to sell the residential parcel.  The buyer of the property would come back to the Planning Board with plans to build a house.  Ms. Giblin said that she would be concerned about the steep slopes.  She would object to a house being built there.  Chairman Kehoe said that the application currently before the board is for the adjustment to the lot lines.  Chairman Kehoe showed Ms. Giblin on the plans the old (existing) and the new (proposed) residential lot configuration.   

Linda Potthast of 9 Hastings Avenue questioned how a house could be built in that (the Devon Avenue) location.  She said, “It is all sand there.”  Ms. Potthast said that her main concern is the loss of her land. She explained to the Planning Board that she has already lost much land to erosion and does not want to lose any more.  Ms. Potthast said that they have Locust trees on their property, which she does not want to lose.  

Scott Giordano of 11 Hastings Avenue said that his “biggest fear” is the embankment because it is all sand. He would be concerned that disturbing the hill would create erosion problems. Mr. Giordano said that he remembers the erosion that took place during Hurricane Floyd.  He thought his house was going to end up on the E/T Equipment site. Mr. Giordano said, “Anytime anyone is going to put a shovel in that hill, it is a concern of mine.”

Ms. Giblin said that she moved in to the neighborhood when Volkswagen occupied the E/T Equipment site. Ms. Giblin said that they dug out the bank, which destroyed that part of Devon Avenue.  Ms. Giblin said that when Mr. Fallacaro bought the property from Volkswagen, he said that he would tier the hill, to which Mr. Fallacaro said that he did not buy the property from Volkswagen.  He bought the property from Mr. Katz who was there 20 years after Volkswagen.  Mr. Fallacaro said that he never had plans to do anything like that (tier the hill). He said that there is no feasible way to do anything with that hill. Mr. Fallacaro said that the hill is stable and has growth on it. The only flat portion is where the house would go.  Mr. Fallacaro said that the neighboring houses are protected in that nothing is going to change.  Mr. Giordano said that he is not here to put it (the house project) down.  He is just concerned about the slopes, sand, etc.

Chairman Kehoe asked if there were any other comments.  Mr. Luntz said that, with respect to the lot line adjustment on this property, he would want to be certain that the proper procedures are being followed for the Planning Board to approve a shift in these lots lines.  He questioned if the application should go to any other board or to the Village Attorney. The Village Engineer said that, in his view, it is clear in the Village Code what constitutes a lot line alteration (adjustment) as opposed to a subdivision.  This application fits the former category.  Both lots would meet the bulk and zoning requirements. The proposed lot line adjustment does not create any zoning inconsistencies. The Village Engineer said that the Applicant is before the board with an amended site plan because, with the proposed lot line adjustment, land is being taken away from a previously approved site plan. The Village Engineer said that people typically adjust lot lines to make properties more valuable. The Village Engineer noted that a lot line adjustment, in and of itself, does not require Planning Board approval. In this case, a lot line adjustment has triggered the requirement for an application for an amended site plan.

Chairman Kehoe entertained a motion to close the public hearing.  The motion was made by Mr. Aarons, seconded by Ms. Allen and carried by a vote of 4 to 0.

Chairman Kehoe read aloud the draft resolution with the following two conditions:

  • that certified copies of new deeds that were filed with the County Clerk’s office are to be submitted to the Village Engineer.
  • that an updated survey showing the installation of the iron rods along the new property line shall be submitted to the Village Engineer.   
Chairman Kehoe asked if the Planning Board had any other conditions.  Mr. Luntz said that he does not have another condition; however, he would want to caution whoever comes back before the board that he/she be fully prepared to talk about the aforementioned embankment area. The Planning Board has heard concerns from the public tonight about the stability of this embankment. The Planning Board would want information on how the embankment would be dealt with.  Mr. Luntz added that at the time of the minor site plan process the Applicant would have to “do a lot to prove” to the Planning Board that this embankment were being dealt with properly.

Mr. Sheer said that, in so far as new deeds are concerned, there would be no deeds to be filed because the same property owner owns both lots, to which Mr. Aarons said that new deeds should be filed. The Village would want two amended deeds showing the new metes and bounds descriptions.

Chairman Kehoe entertained a motion to approve this amended site plan application with the conditions just discussed.  The motion to approve was made by Mr. Aarons, seconded by Ms. Allen and carried by a vote of 4 to 0.


  • 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., attorney for the Applicant; Bernard Grossfield, P.E., consulting engineer for the Applicant; and Thomas Fallacaro, owner of the property, were present.

Mr. Sheer said that, at the last meeting on this application, the Planning Board and Applicant had a discussion about the Village Engineer’s memorandum dated January 22, 2010. In this memorandum, the Village Engineer refers to comments made by Ziad Maad, P.E. who visited the Applicant’s property and made observations on the wall’s stability.  Mr. Sheer said that the Planning Board and Applicant had agreed at the last meeting that the Applicant would ask his consulting engineer Bernard Grossfield to review Mr. Maad’s comments. Mr. Grossfield has responded to Mr. Maad’s comments in a memorandum to the Planning Board dated June 25, 2010 and is present tonight to answer any questions that the Planning Board might have.

Mr. Grossfield came forward and told the board that he is a consulting engineer with offices in Hawthorne, New York.  Mr. Grossfield said that he has worked on the Fallacaro site for almost two years.  He has met with the Village Engineer and has reviewed his memoranda.  He (Mr. Grossfield) has written several reports on the wall’s stability.  The Village Engineer noted to Mr. Grossfield that over the course of the last few meetings the Planning Board has been trying to engage their own consulting engineer to review his reports.  The Village Engineer said that Mr. Maad visited the site and decided that he did not want to take the job.  The next engineering firm to show interest was McLaren Engineering. McLaren had given the Planning Board a proposal earlier on for doing all of the engineering work.  McLaren has since submitted a revised proposal with a significant reduction in cost based on the premise that the Applicant’s consulting engineer would do all of the engineering work and analyses involved, and McLaren would do the review of this work.  The Village Engineer said that the Applicant was asked to provide escrow monies to pay McLaren for their services; however, to date, no monies have been provided.  The Village Engineer said that, “We have not gotten past that point,” to which Mr. Sheer said that, “We did get past that point.”  Mr. Sheer said it is basically understood by all involved with this application that no engineer is going to put a seal on plans or reports on the stability of the wall. “You are not going to get an answer guaranteeing that the wall is absolutely fine.”  Mr. Sheer said that Mr. Grossfield reviewed the comments that were made about the wall, and he believes that the wall shows no evidence of failing; however, he is not prepared to say that “the wall would last forever.”  Mr. Sheer said that the board now has empirical observations from a professional who is telling the board that he sees nothing wrong with the wall.  Mr. Sheer said that Mr. Grossfield will give ways to monitor the stability of the wall. He is proposing that a monitoring procedure be put in place to make sure that the wall is safe.

Mr. Grossfield said that in the first report that he prepared, he commented in the report that the wall shows no signs of stress.  The Planning Board was not satisfied with his first report on the wall, so he did ground penetrating radar tests in 15 locations on the wall.  After doing these tests, he came to the same conclusion about the wall’s stability.  

Mr. Aarons asked about (the need for) doing soil boring tests, to which Mr. Grossfield said that he did not do soil borings but did do the radar testing.  They were able to do the calculations for 13 out of the 15 locations on the wall’s upper (top) tier and were able to determine the profile for the back of the wall.  Mr. Grossfield pointed out that they did their calculations using conservative soil values. Everywhere they tested they found that the calculations worked. With the ground penetrating radar they were able to get an approximation of the thickness of the wall.

Mr. Grossfield said that, “We [engineers] judge not only by analysis but also by observation.”  The only load on a retaining wall is pressure from backfill.  The only pressure is the weight of the soil pushing laterally.  Mr. Grossfield said that an engineer would look at the wall for signs of failure.  In this case, there is no sign anywhere along the top tier that the wall has moved.  If the wall had moved, it would show up at the top.  That is why he could give an opinion that the wall is structurally adequate.  Mr. Grossfield said that based on what he has seen there are no signs of stress or movement.  Mr. Grossfield said that there is a crack running from the second tier to the upper tier.  The crack is where the mortar was placed.  Water was (has been) coming down and landing on the shelf between the two tiers.  Materials are being washed up and deposited in that location.  Mr. Grossfield said that to rectify this situation he would recommend building a concrete slab underneath the pipe.  Mr. Grossfield said that this crack in the mortar is the only sign of stress that was located. Mr. Grossfield noted to the board members that this crack is not in the stones themselves but in the mortar.

Mr. Aarons said that it would seem from Mr. Grossfield’s comments tonight that Mr. Grossfield is confident about his findings on the wall’s stability.  Mr. Aarons questioned Mr. Grossfield as to why he could not put his professional seal on the wall construction, to which Mr. Grossfield said that when he puts his seal on a construction project, it means that he designed it and he knows what is there.  Mr. Grossfield said that he did not prepare the design for this wall, so he cannot put his seal on it. Mr. Grossfield noted that he did put his seal on his opinion expressed in his report.

Mr. Aarons asked Mr. Grossfield if he knew where the water table is in relation to the base of the wall, to which Mr. Grossfield said that if the water table were at the base of this wall, the soil at the base would be soft, and the wall would sink into the mud.  Mr. Grossfield pointed out that this has not happened here.

Ms. Allen noted that the wall is situated on a hillside. She would think that the water pressure coming down that hillside would be significant, to which Mr. Grossfield said that this is not pressure; this is flow. Mr. Grossfield explained how a stone wall withstands pressure from the flow of water; the water eventually seeps through and does not cause damage to the wall. Mr. Grossfield said that water pressure is made of two parts – hydrostatic and dynamic pressure. “Hydrostatic pressure is what we are talking about here. The dynamic pressure is negligible for groundwater.”

Chairman Kehoe said that it would seem that Mr. Grossfield “knows what he is talking about.” Chairman Kehoe said that, not being an engineer, he (Chairman Kehoe) does not know the technical/engineering aspects of wall construction. Chairman Kehoe questioned what the next step should be, to which the Village Engineer noted that the Planning Board had wanted to hire a professional consulting engineer to review the work that has been done. Mr. Aarons said that he, personally, would not be willing to move forward without the advice of a geotechnical specialist.  He suggested that Mr. Grossfield could meet with McLaren Engineering to discuss the wall.  Mr. Aarons said that he would want McLaren to review and comment on Mr. Grossfield’s report(s).  Mr. Aarons said that he has worked professionally with GZA Engineering. Their specialty is geotechnical engineering. He would be willing to give their telephone number to the Village Engineer.  Perhaps, GZA’s fees would be more reasonable.  Chairman Kehoe suggested that, to start with, the Village’s consultant could be invited to attend a Planning Board meeting.  Mr. Grossfield said that soil borings have not been taken yet.  A geotechnical engineer is going to want to take soil borings. Mr. Grossfield noted (again) that when he did his calculations he used conservative numbers for the soil values.

Mr. Luntz said that he, personally, would be willing to move forward in the manner being discussed tonight. He (Mr. Luntz) would ultimately like to go along with the ideas expressed earlier in the meeting tonight about monitoring the wall.  Mr. Sheer said that if the Planning Board and Applicant could get past this next step, then, this monitoring could be done.  

Mr. Grossfield said that the Applicant had suggested using Carlin Simpson & Associates to do the engineering work.  Carlin Simpson is also a geotechnical engineering firm.  Mr. Grossfield noted that Carlin Simpson also wanted to do soil borings.  Mr. Aarons said that the idea is (would be) to come to an agreement on the scope of work to be performed.  Mr. Aarons said that, “We [the Planning Board] owe it to the citizens of the Village to do our due diligence.”

Chairman Kehoe questioned how this is all going to work. Mr. Sheer suggested a way to proceed, stating that the soil borings would be done first. After the soil boring tests have been completed, the results would be calculated and documented. Mr. Grossfield’s report(s) would be reviewed followed by an on-site inspection. Mr. Sheer said that the Applicant would come back before the Planning Board, once the aforementioned engineering work/analyses have been completed. Ms. Allen said that she is still concerned about the potential adverse impacts on residents living downhill from the property.  She suggested that another approach could be to take down the wall and rebuild it.  The Village Engineer said that he would have the prospective consulting engineer review Mr. Grossfield’s reports after which they could conduct a site visit.  Mr. Luntz said that we (the Planning Board) can depend on the Village Engineer to ask the right questions and get what the Planning Board needs.  Mr. Sheer suggested that the Planning Board might want to have the Planning Board secretary send the minutes of tonight’s meeting to the prospective consultant.       

Mr. Sheer said that he would notify the Engineer’s office when they are ready to come back before the board.

At this juncture, Seth Davis, chairman of the Zoning Board, came forward and told the Planning Board that the Zoning Board members Rhoda Stephens, Alan MacDonald and he were present tonight for the Fallacaro retaining wall application. Mr. Davis explained to the Planning Board that this application had been before the Zoning Board and has been adjourned for a long time. It would eventually have to come back before the ZBA for variances, including variances from the setback and height requirements. A discussion ensued among the Zoning Board members present and the Planning Board on the various procedural aspects of this application.


  • APPROVAL OF MINUTES:
The minutes of the Tuesday, May 25, 2010 Planning Board meeting were approved on a motion by Mr. Aarons, seconded by Mr. Luntz and carried by a vote of 4-0.  Board member Bruce Kauderer was absent.

The minutes of the Tuesday, June 8, 2010 Planning Board meeting were approved on a motion by Ms. Allen, seconded by Mr. Luntz and carried by a vote of 4-0.  Board member Bruce Kauderer was absent.

Approval of the minutes of the Tuesday, June 22, 2010 Planning Board meeting was tabled until the next regularly scheduled meeting to be held on Tuesday, July 27, 2010.    


  • ADJOURNMENT:
There being no further business to come before the board, the meeting was duly adjourned at 11:34 P.M.

Sincerely,



Sylvia Mills
Secretary

RESOLUTION

WHEREAS, the Planning Board held a public hearing on an Amended Site Plan application on Monday, July 12, 2010 for the Croton Sailing School, Inc., hereafter known as “the Applicant,” said property located in the WC (Waterfront Commercial) Zoning District, at 2 Elliott Way, and designated on the Tax Map of the Village of Croton-on-Hudson as Section 78.12 Block 1 Lot 1; and

WHEREAS, the proposed Amended Site Plan is for the installation of a storage shed; and

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

NOW, THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED, that the Amended Site Plan application, as shown on a plan (aerial map) entitled “Croton Sailing School – Amended Site Plan (Proposed Shed), Senasqua Park, Village of Croton-on-Hudson,” (undated), received by the Planning Board on June 18, 2010, and the manufacturer’s shed drawings, received by the Planning Board on June 18, 2010, be approved subject to the following condition:

*  that the 4’ x 16’ life jacket storage box attached to the storage shed shall be of the same color and materials as the storage shed.

In the event that this Amended Site Plan is not implemented within three (3) years of this date, this approval shall expire.

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

                                                Chris Kehoe, Chairman
                                                Mark Aarons
                                                Fran Allen
                                                Bruce Kauderer
                                                Robert Luntz
                                        
                                                        
Motion to approve by Mr. Aarons, seconded by Ms. Allen and carried by a vote of 4 to 0.  Board member Bruce Kauderer was absent from the meeting.  

Resolution accepted with the minutes of the meeting held on Monday, July 12, 2010.


RESOLUTION

WHEREAS, the Planning Board held a public hearing on an Amended Site Plan application on Monday, July 12, 2010 for E/T Equipment Co., hereafter known as “the Applicant,” said property located at 425 South Riverside Avenue and owned by Jodine & Jennifer Realty.  The subject property is situated in two Zoning Districts – C-2 and RA-5 – and  is designated on the Tax Map of the Village of Croton-on-Hudson as Section 79.13 Block 2 Lots 66 & 91; and

WHEREAS, this proposal is considered an amendment to the  site plan because the lot line adjustment being proposed would reduce by approximately 16,000 square feet the area of the property shown on a previously approved site plan; and

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

NOW, THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED, that the Amended Site Plan application, as shown on  sheet ESY-1 entitled “Existing Site Plan,” dated February 12, 2010; sheet SY-1 entitled “Amended Site Plan (Lot Line Adjustment),” dated May 5, 2010; and sheet SY-1.1 entitled “Amended Site Plan (Lot Line Adjustment),” dated June 23, 2010,  prepared by Gemmola & Associates, Architects/Planners, be approved subject to the following conditions:

  • that certified copies of new deeds that were filed with the County Clerk’s office are to be submitted to the Village Engineer.
  • that an updated survey showing the installation of the iron rods along the new property line shall be submitted to the Village Engineer.
In the event that this Amended Site Plan is not implemented within three (3) years of this date, this approval shall expire.

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

                                                Chris Kehoe, Chairman
                                                Mark Aarons
                                                Fran Allen
                                                Bruce Kauderer
                                                Robert Luntz
                                        
Motion to approve by Mr. Aarons, seconded by Ms. Allen and carried by a vote of 4 to 0.  Board member Bruce Kauderer was absent from the meeting.

Resolution accepted with the minutes of the meeting held on Monday, July 12, 2010.




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