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Planning Board Minutes 11/23/2010

A regular meeting of the Planning Board of the Village of Croton-on-Hudson, New York was held on Tuesday, November 23, 2010 in the Municipal Building.

        MEMBERS PRESENT:        Chris Kehoe, Chairman
                                        Mark Aarons
                                        Fran Allen
                                        Bruce Kauderer

                              ABSENT:   Robert Luntz

                ALSO PRESENT:   Daniel O’Connor, P.E., Village Engineer

  • Call to Order:
         The meeting was called to order at 8:00 P.M. by Chairman Kehoe.

  • Croton Auto Park – 1 Municipal Place (Section 78.12 Block 3 Lot 2) – Application for an Amended Site Plan approval for proposed modifications to façade of existing facility and request for exception to Village Code on signage.
Mr. Jason Anderson, architect for this project, and the dealership’s owner, Mr. Lou Giordano, presented a site plan drawing of the modifications to the façade of the existing Automotive Showroom Service Facility, consisting of new exterior signage, paint, and the construction of a new entry arch.  Mr. Anderson explained that minor façade changes were required by the local dealership’s franchisor, the Chrysler Corporation.  Mr. Anderson said that, in a nutshell, what was being proposed was a branding arch on the front facade of the building with the rest of the building remaining as is, and a repainting of the building to a light gray color.  
In addition, the signs need to be changed from Chevrolet to the Chrysler Corporation’s brands--Chrysler, Dodge, Jeep and RAM.

Some general questions were asked about the construction of the new entry arch.
Mr. Aarons asked if there was an elevation change due to the arch and if it was above the height limitation. Mr. Anderson answered that there is a high point of the roof and there was a 3 ft 9 inch increase in building height due to the arch..  Mr. Anderson said that looking at this architecturally, the arch works proportionately with the size of the building and creates an obvious front entry that is essential to the plan.

Mr. Aarons asked about the side entrance, and Mr. Anderson responded that it looks similar but it is being repainted.  The whole building will be painted so that all four sides will be uniform.  When the Village Engineer asked about the paint color, Mr. Anderson said the color was going to be a “little lighter in the gray family.”  The trim line will all be the same.

Mr. Aarons said that he wished there were changes in the side elevation.  The driveway to the service door slopes down and is not, in his opinion, the most attractive entrance to the Gateway area.  Mr. Anderson responded that they are not able to add to that side because they want to direct everyone to the main entrance.  Right now it is difficult for customers to determine exactly where the main entrance is.  There will be no new lighting planned.  

The Planning Board members raised some questions about which signs will be temporary, the removal of the current temporary signs, what signs will be necessary, how many temporary banners needed to be hung and what signs will be permanent.  Mr. Kauderer asked about illumination of the signs, and Mr. Anderson explained that some of the brands would be illuminated and others would not.  When asked about neon signs, Mr. Anderson said some of the signs would be backlit.

When discussing how many signs were legally conforming, Mr. Aarons asked about an exception to the Code.  According to the Village Zoning Code 230-44 (4a-1), one freestanding sign is allowed and one sign is allowed on each side of the building facing a street.  Chairman Kehoe asked the Village Engineer if the Planning Board had “carte blanche” to allow as many signs as the dealership needed because the franchise had certain requirements for the dealership, and to say no to the additional signs would cause due hardship?   The Village Engineer said the Planning Board could attach conditions to the signage.  Mr. Kauderer asked if Chrysler required all the signs?  If it was an “unusual hardship”, this would give the Planning Board authority to allow one more sign if it was required by Chrysler.   Mr. Giordano stated that he was not adding any additional signs that weren’t required.

Chairman Kehoe wants the plans to be revised so that the Planning Board can see all the signs that will remain.

Chairman Kehoe stated that he had received some preliminary comments from the VEB, and although not necessarily agreeing with all of the comments, the VEB  suggested some landscaping improvements such as  “reduc[e] the extent of impervious paving” and “provid[e] some additional enhancements to the landscape through improved/renewed planting …along Riverside Avenue and Municipal Place.” Mr. Aarons commented that there was minimal landscaping.

There was some general discussion about the sidewalk remaining the same, specific design specifications of the arch, the steep slope of the driveway to the body shop, and where the signage will be attached.  Mr. Anderson made the point that the dealership was not looking to amend anything other than the modifications to the façade, and the additional signage.

A motion was made by Mr. Kauderer to schedule a public hearing at the next meeting scheduled for Tuesday, December 14, 2010. Ms. Allen seconded this motion and the motion was carried by a vote of 4-0.

  • Croton Community Nursery School – Lower North Highland Place (Section 67.20 Block 2 Lots 5, 6, 9 and 25 [formerly Lots 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12 and 25]) – Application for a Preliminary Subdivision Approval – Request for an Adjournment .
Chairman Kehoe stated that Croton Community Nursery School and their engineer were still working on drainage issues and there has been a request for an adjournment.  This item would be put back on the agenda for the meeting of December 14, 2010.


  • RMA Enterprises, LLC (property owner MAF Realty Ltd) – 326 South Riverside Avenue—(Section 79.13 Block 1 Lot 87)—Change of use approval.
Chairman Kehoe stated that there was no need for a public hearing regarding this Change of Use Application. The applicant, Robert and Maria Armanini, stated that they had received correspondence from the Village Engineer as to what conditions had to be met in order to grant this change of use permit.  Chairman Kehoe read the following conditions of the resolution:

  • that the sign application be submitted to the Planning Board for review and approval. The sign application should also be submitted to the Advisory Board on the Visual Environment (VEB) for review and comments.
  • that the parking lot at the rear of the property be re-striped for cars, six  parking spaces are to be provided.
  • that a handicap parking space be provided. This handicap parking space would have to be striped and designated a handicap space with the appropriate sign and pavement markings.
  • that a handrail be installed along the walkway to the front entrance.
Mr. Armanini said that he had discussed the handrail issue along the walkway in the front entrance with the Village Engineer and the landlord.  The Village Engineer stated that because there is a drop off of about six inches, a tripping hazard is created and customers needed to be protected.  If the asphalt is flush to the sidewalk then there isn’t a tripping hazard, and there doesn’t need to be a handrail.  The handrail needs to be installed fairly soon, but the tenant and the landlord should work out the details of when the handrail is installed.  The handrail needs to be 36 inches high according to Code.  

Mr. Armanini distributed photographs of the store to the Planning Board.  He also shared the preliminary logo design with the Planning Board to which there was positive feedback.

There was a motion to approve the resolution subject to the above-stated  conditions.  Ms. Allen so moved, and Mr. Aarons seconded the motion and the motion was carried by a vote of 4-0.

The Planning Board wished the Applicants good luck and stated that a temporary sign can go up until the Applicant returns to the Planning Board for approval of the sign.  

Because the Planning Board was waiting for the architect for Dino Tsagarakis to arrive, Chairman Kehoe suggested the Planning Board go to the Approval of the minutes portion of the agenda. There were two sets of minutes dated 10/26/2010, and 11/9/2010.

The minutes of the October 26, 2010 Planning Board meeting were approved, as amended, on a motion from Mr. Aarons, and seconded by Ms. Allen and carried by a vote of 4-0.

Ms. Allen wanted to discuss the minutes of the November 9, 2010 Planning Board meeting.  Ms. Allen had concerns with the resolution on the Amended Site Plan application from Historic Hudson Valley for the installation of the two storage containers proposed.  Ms. Allen stated that the condition written in the resolution “…that, the storage containers shall be sufficiently screened from view. If, in the future, it is determined that the screen has become insufficient, the Applicant shall develop additional screening to the satisfaction of the Village Engineer,” should include a requirement that a photographic record be taken of the screening, once in place and deemed acceptable by the Village Engineer. This photographic record would establish the screening requirement and serve as a reference point.  Ms. Allen stated that it was imperative for the resolution to require a photographic record.  Mr. Aarons asked if Ms. Allen wanted to amend the resolution.  

 Chairman Kehoe asked if the Planning Board should mandate this.  Mr. Kauderer said that he thought approval of the screenings was in the resolution since the condition stated that the screening had to be to the satisfaction of the Village Engineer.  Ms. Allen reiterated that she would like to see this requirement be written in the resolution.
Chairman Kehoe said that the condition in the resolution would be revised to include additional language requiring a photographic record of the container screenings.

Chairman Kehoe asked if there were any more comments on the minutes.  Mr. Kauderer moved to approve the minutes and Ms. Allen seconded the motion. The vote carried 3-0 with 1 abstention.

  • OLD BUSINESS                                                                    
  • Dino Tsagarakis—383 South Riverside Avenue (Section 79.13 Block 2 Lot      27)—Referral from the Village Board Regarding the Special Permit Application for a Mixed-Use Occupancy.
Mr. Dino Tsagarakis presented his application for a Special Permit for a Mixed-Use Occupancy. He stated that this mixed-use plan would be great for the Croton area and would help beautify the South Riverside Avenue area.  Mr. Tsagarakis said that he already had prospective renters interested in the space.

Mr. Eric Lam, architect, joined Mr. Tsagarakis to present this application.

Chairmain Kehoe noted that he had seen the building and there appears to be three separate brick buildings. The plans show the building being modernized and improved but there was no new building being proposed.  Mr. Tsagarakis pointed out that there was a slight change in the footprint of the building that would make it more reasonable for a tenant.

There was an extensive discussion about the plans as seen in the application materials given to the Planning Board members. The drawings included the layout of the first floor office retail space, the entrance way, parking lot, bathroom locations, the roof top deck, parking calculations and off street parking requirements in a C-2 district.  Fourteen spaces are required, and fifteen spaces are shown in the plans.

Mr. Kauderer asked how the office space would be entered.  There is a pre-existing ramp on the side off the parking lot.  There will be a front entrance--the main entrance for the retail space.  There is a back office for the retail space.  The exact location of the bathroom will be decided when there is a tenant for the retail space so Mr. Tsagarakis can accommodate the tenant’s wishes.  

Mr. Aarons asked if there was a rooftop deck.  There is a bulkhead to the roof so there is access to the roof.  At this time there is no immediate plan for a green roof, but the plan would support a green roof in the future.  

Chairman Kehoe commented that the office space is not completely separate from the retail space.  Mr. Tsagarakis said it could be kept separate but he was trying to rent them together.  There would be an equipment room in the basement.  There would not be a full time superintendent for the building.  

Mr. Aarons asked what the next steps are and Chairman Kehoe said that the Planning Board makes a recommendation to the Village Board to grant a special permit for Mixed-Used occupancy.  Then Mr. Tsagarakis would come back to the Planning Board for site plan approval, to the WAC for a consistency review, and then a public hearing would be held before the Planning Board.

The Planning Board discussed amongst themselves the dimensions and layout of apartments.  Mr. Lam confirmed that the apartments were about 500 feet per apartment space.

There was about 1524 feet for commercial space.  There are three awnings, and the middle one is the main entrance to the commercial space.  The apartment entrance is on the left side of the front of the building, a rear entrance is also proposed.

The ramp cannot be built in the front because it would be in the village’s right of way.  The ramp is proposed on the south side of the building and would make the commercial space handicapped accessible.
Mr. Tsagarakis wants to have one retailer for the commercial space.  He thought this would keep the integrity of the original structure.  The Village Engineer stated that there is an option to split the space up for more than one retailer.  
Regarding the mixed-use permit, historically, this building has been used for a mixed –use occupancy.  It has, in the past, had at least one apartment.  The first floor had been retail in the past.

The Village Engineer asked if the garage was accessible.  Mr. Tsagarakis said it would be used for storage now but access to the garage has been maintained by the parking layout.  The raised green area was going to be kept green for a garden-- for aesthetics purposes.  Chairman Kehoe stated that the existing parking does not allow for a food service establishment to which Mr. Tsagarakis was agreeable .  A handicap space was noted on the plans.

Chairman Kehoe stated that the architect on the Planning Board, Mr. Luntz, was not here tonight and he would be interested in hearing Mr. Luntz’s opinion about the building plans, but from the Chairman’s perspective, the building has the “entire look” that the Planning Board had discussed during the Harmon rezoning process. The elevation does not go higher than 35 feet. The windows will be greater than 60% which will improve the look.  Because the building is close to the front property line, 8-10 feet from the curb, there can’t be any landscaping in the front.   The building has gone through lots of changes over 90 years.  The general consensus amongst the Planning Board was that they liked the look of building design.
There was a discussion on the parking requirements in a C-2 zone.  Some changes might be needed for handicapped aisle so there isn’t any blockage of the entrance.  Mr. Lam said there was enough space for a car to get in the garage.  The dimensions of the parking access in front of the garage are 24 ft. and this allows for sufficient maneuvering to back out.

Chairman Kehoe stated that the Planning Board doesn’t get involved with interior spaces but they were curious about some of the layout of the apartments’ interiors.
It was clear that there were three distinct entries--parking lot side, and two entrances on South Riverside (one to the retail space, and one to the apartments).  The three awnings give the impression that there are three points to get in the building, but actually there are only two.  The ramp allows access to both doors for the commercial space.  The Village Engineer asked if the dimensions on the apartment met the minimal requirements of the Building Code of 2007 and that the timing of this application may require using the 2010 Code.  Mr. Lam said he was hoping that the timing of the building would fall before the 2010 Code.  

Chairman Kehoe asked if they were anticipating roof top usage.  The Village Engineer asked if there was a railing on the roof.  Mr. Lam said the rail was steel and bolted to the wall and the height was 42 inches for the roof top rail.  There was a river view from the roof and a western view.

The non-residential use on the first floor does not exceed 5000 sq. ft.  There are separate means of egress; there is the required number of parking spaces; the trash area is screened by the landscaping and/or fencing.  According to the Village Code 230-58:
  • the site is accessible to all proposed structures to fire and police protection
there is very little change in the size of the building--only a 130 square feet increase and therefore compatible with the  orderly development of the properties within its zoning district.  The real change is in the façade which Mr. Kauderer thought was a big improvement.  Ms. Allen said the WAC had looked into the height of the building which is going up 4 feet, and there isn’t a problem.
The parking egress is the same, as is vehicular traffic;   there is a slight change to materials and building envelope but the building has the same uses.
Ms. Allen made the motion to make a positive recommendation to the Village Board as required by Village Code Section 230-58 to grant a special permit for mixed-use occupancy with no conditions.  Mr. Kauderer seconded the motion and the vote carried 4-0.  Mr. Tsagarakis should come back to the Planning Board for a site plan public hearing.

The meeting was adjourned at 9:52 P.M.
Respectfully submitted,
Ronnie L. Rose


WHEREAS, the Planning Board held a meeting on a Change of Use application on Tuesday, November 23, 2010 for RMA Enterprises, LLC (Robert & Maria Armanini), hereafter known as “the Applicant,” said property owned by MAF Realty, Ltd. and located at 326 South Riverside Avenue.  The property is in the C-2 Zoning District and is designated on the Tax Map of the Village of Croton-on-Hudson as Section 79.13 Block 1 Lot 87; and

WHEREAS, the proposed Change of Use is from a limousine service establishment to a “Backyard Birding” retail store; and

WHEREAS, the Village Board, as the Lead Agency for this application under the State Environmental Quality Review Act (SEQRA), determined that the proposed project is an Unlisted Action and issued a Negative Declaration at their meeting of October 25, 2010.

NOW, THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED, that the Change of Use application, as described in a document entitled “RMA Enterprises, LLC Village Board/Planning Board Presentation” received by the Planning Board on September 23, 2010, and as shown on a site plan of the property provided by the Village Engineer and received by the Planning board on November 5, 2010 to indicate, among other items, the newly proposed parking configuration, be approved subject to the following conditions:

that the sign application be submitted to the Planning Board for review and approval. The sign application should also be submitted to the Advisory Board on the Visual Environment (VEB) for review and comments.
that the parking lot on the at the rear of the property be re-striped for cars, six parking spaces are to be provided.

that a handicap parking space be provided. This handicap parking space would have to be striped and designated a handicap space with the appropriate sign and pavement markings.

that a handrail or other acceptable code-compliant solution be installed to eliminate the safety issues associated with the drop-off along the edge of the walkway to the front entrance.

In the event that this Change of Use 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 Ms. Allen, seconded by Mr. Aarons and carried by a vote of 4
to  0.   Board Member Robert Luntz was absent from the meeting.

Resolution accepted with the minutes of the meeting held on Tuesday, November 23, 2010.

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