A Regular Meeting of the Board of Trustees of the Village of Croton-on-Hudson, NY was held on Monday, February 2, 1998 at the Municipal Building, Van Wyck Street, Croton-on-Hudson, NY 10520.
The following officials were present:
Mayor Elliott Trustee Daubney
Village Manager Herbek Trustee Grant
Village Attorney Waldman Trustee Rickles
Village Treasurer Campbell Trustee Watkins
1. CALL TO ORDER:
Mayor Elliott called the meeting to order at 8:00 p.m. Everyone joined in the Pledge of Allegiance.
2. APPROVAL OF MINUTES:
Minutes of the previous meeting were not available.
3. APPROVAL OF VOUCERS:
Trustee Grant made a motion to approve the vouchers as follows, subject to review by the Audit Committee. The motion was seconded by Trustee Rickles and approved unanimously.
General Fund $ 46,954.75
Water Fund 3,625.92
Capital Accounts 145,000.00
Trust & Agency 1,530.59
Mayor Elliott continued the Public Hearing on the Special Permit application for Metro Enviro LLC for the operation of a recyclables handling-recovery facility.
Roger Solymozy, Old Post Rd, N. related that he has a deep sense of concern about the atmosphere that has developed in the Village as a result of this process and the manner in which it has been handled; concern for the relationship between the voters and the members of the Board; urged the Board to reconsider the policy of continuing open hearings in respect to this issue; though hundreds turned out for prior meetings, only about 16 are present tonight; people cannot come to all meetings hoping something important will be said; more important, it dilutes the ability for people to come and hear in person what is being said by those both in support of and in opposition to the issue; it would still serve the constituents to not hold continual open hearings; continuing this policy, though well-meaning, will only serve to increase the sense of distrust of the Board. He asked the Board not to continue the open public hearing until a well publicized, designated night when the applicants will be presenting something of major importance. Mayor Elliott replied that the Board may want to revisit this approach.
Richard Weinberg, Mt. Green Rd., stated that he felt not enough facts are available; he could file a request under the Freedom of Information Act, however this is difficult and he would rather have the Village make copies of the actions taken on this matter and have them available in the Library. Mayor Elliott replied that the records are open to anyone and help in gathering facts is available from Village employees. Mr. Weinberg stated that he has previously asked for certain facts and it took a day, which was reasonable, but it would be nice to get the documents quicker and easier. He added that he would like the copies available, such as what the Planning Board said, what was approved, what the applicants would be allowed to do, what bond will they post, what is their background and a chronology of violations and fines imposed. Mr. Weinberg said that he felt that the Library is a better place to store basic documents; a list of about 200 pages should summarize the facts. Mayor Elliott suggested having copies available of documents that were asked for most frequently; he added that a fact sheet has already been mailed. Village Manager Herbek stated that the document that was prepared does give information on violations and fines.
Stephanie Bourdon stated that she felt it is a good idea to have documents available in the Library. She added that one violation was not resolved-that Mr. Liguori had been receiving contaminated materials that contained roaches and ticks. Ms. Bourdon asked if the study was done by the Health Dept. in the spring of 1997 as requested and if so, where are the results. She added that it is her understanding that the Special Permit has been approved by the Planning Board as submitted by the prior owner and the Special Permit application before this Board is for change of ownership only. Village Attorney Waldman explained that the Planning Board approved the site plan application and the new owners have adopted that site plan; they have come before this board asserting that they have now brought the property to conformity to the site plan that was approved and have now filed a Special Permit Application on their own behalf because the original special permit expired last Fall. The Special Permit application was referred to the Planning Board, they recommended approval of the new Special Permit. The Planning Board report set forth a number of respects in which this proposed operation would vary from the Liguori operation; the Liguori operation never had DEC approval for C&D debris divorced from wood products; the DEC has now expanded the Metro Enviro permit to include that. Ms. Bourdon stated that this is the same business, different owners and based on the previous owners and lack of controls, she recommended that the Board look at this very carefully based on prior experience. Ms. Bourdon asked if there is an end in sight for these Special Permit hearings. Mayor Elliott replied that the Board is attempting to bring this to a close as expeditiously as possible and will be discussing the hiring of a consultant later this evening.
Regina Montana, Ackerman Ct. stated that opening every meeting for discussion on this Special Permit application is being very fair. She added that she is confused about the Negative Declaration; one was issued in May, 1996 to Croton/Harmon Recycling and is the Planning Board required to issue either a Positive or Negative Declaration? Village Attorney Waldman stated that the amended site plan was submitted by the prior owner and the present owner says he is now in compliance; the Planning Board was the Lead Agency for the Site Plan Application and it did issue a Negative Declaration. Ms. Montana asked if this was still applicable to the new application. Attorney Waldman replied that has been one of the issues for several weeks, and there has been no determination yet. Ms. Montana quoted from an environmental law book regarding the explanation of a Negative Declaration. She asked Mr. Gunshor what the potential truck traffic pattern would be and its effect on Village roads. Mayor Elliott replied that this is one of the things that will be investigated. Trustee Watkins added that the Planning Board was the Lead Agency for the Site Plan and the Village Board is the Lead Agency for the Special Permit. Ms. Bourdon added that the Board should take the prior Negative Declaration under review; that information may have been incorrect.
Ms. Panazzo, Irving Ave., asked where do we stand at this point; she has much concern about roaches, rats, lead, asbestos; doesn’t care who owns this business, but has concern for the future of the Village; that there has been enough garbage; and there has to be some solution.
Mayor Elliott closed the Public Hearing portion of the meeting. Mr. David Steinmetz, Special Environmental Counsel, working in conjunction with Mr. Gunshor on behalf of Metro Enviro, asked to make a statement.
Village Attorney Waldman stated that he feel that if Mr. Steinmetz is planning on a major presentation, it should be noted that he has been familiar with the format that if anything significant would happen, there would be a prior announcement to the community; there was not advance notice from the applicant that major issues were going to be discussed, a lot of members of the community feel strongly about this issue and he feels that if there is to be a major issue presentation, some advance warning should have gone out to the community. He added that the first speaker was correct in stating that one cannot expect people to come out time after time; Mr. Steinmetz should consider his client’s position and think about the community and how they will react if now, in their absence, major issues are discussed; however, Mr. Steinmetz will not be deprived of doing so, if he desires. Mr. Steinmetz replied that it was made clear at the last meeting that this would be a Public Hearing item until a decision is made. Trustee Grant replied that it was clearly stated also that anytime there was anything of significance, the public would be notified; he is welcome to speak tonight, but should realize that he may be asked to repeat the presentation at a future meeting. Mr. Steinmetz replied that the nature of the presentation is largely procedural and legal; that it is his client’s legal right to present his application and to seek some kind of response and action from the Board. Mr. Steinmetz added that the Board does not have the right to conduct a Public Hearing and keep it open in perpetuity; that there have been two extensive meetings and have conducted an exhaustive Public Hearing; that anyone who wanted to speak on this issue has been allowed to speak. He added that he hears that the Board is in a position to close the Public Hearing; that it is unfair to his client to perpetually adjourn a Public Hearing. Mr. Steinmetz asked the Board to consider closing the Public Hearing based on time frames stated in Village laws and that State laws require an agency to act expediently. Mr. Steinmetz addressed the issue of hiring a consultant, stating he understands why the Board wants and needs a consultant; but suggested it be done rapidly and, hopefully, this evening; the Village does not have the right to ask his client to reimburse the Village for hiring a consultant, but will post money with the Village and will cooperate, with certain limitations. Mr. Steinmetz asked that the Village conduct any review extremely expeditiously
Mr. Steinmetz stated that Roy Weston, Asso. was hired by the Village and advised the Planning Board on the Site Application, the Special Permit application and the SEQRA process and he does not see why any other consultant should be brought in; they are willing to post money on a voluntarily basis in connection with Roy Weston, Asso. conducting the environmental review and are unwilling to have these funds utilized for another consultant to review this project at this time. Trustee Watkins stated that, was he clear, that if the Board desires to hire another consultant other than Roy Weston, up until the time that the declaration is made, his client will not pay for it. Mr. Steinmetz replied that this is correct.
Mr. Steinmetz, in reference to the Citizens Committee, stated that the committee may have good and legitimate purposes, but he is unaware of any other time that citizens have been impaneled and given authority by the lead agency to review the nature of an application and report back. He said that his client will cooperate, under certain parameters. Mayor Elliott replied that the Village has the ability to hire consultants and also has the ability to call upon people who have legal and engineering expertise in this particular area; they have asked these people to serve on this committee along with some that have voiced opposition to this as well as some lay people who have good common sense. Village Attorney Waldman added that there is precedent in previous major projects before the Board such as the Parking Lot where a citizens committee was empanelled to assist the Board. Mayor Elliott added that the Village routinely appoints citizens committees to help review projects. Mr. Steinmetz set the following parameters: committee should be charged by the Board to respond in an extremely expeditious fashion. He suggested they would cooperate if he gets assurance from the Board that the committee will report back within the next four weeks, invite their consultant from Spectra Engineering to attend a committee meeting and answer questions, and he would hope the applicant and his consultant will be invited to the meeting with the DEC. Mr. Steinmetz also stated that the he would like the committee’s site visit to be conducted in an orderly fashion and not open to the entire Village.
Trustee Daubney stated that he thinks Mr. Steinmetz’ client would welcome a second consultant because if his findings were the same as Weston’s, this would give them an unassailable position, why insist on one consultant. Mr. Steinmetz referred to the state finance law adding that the consultant he selected has been here before and is also the lowest responsible bidder. Village Attorney Waldman responded that RFP’s did not have to be sent out and the Board could have hired a consultant, that the lowest responsible bidder is not a serious issue.
Mr. Steinmetz stated that after reviewing files, especially the Planning Board’s review of the 1995 application and it’s negative declaration, the DEC review of the entire site, consent order, cleanup, and it’s Negative Declaration, a special permit must be issued by the Village in connection with this application. He added for the record that it is it the applicant’s position that it is merely a transfer and a renewal of a preexisting special Permit. Trustee Rickles replied that it is his position that what is proposed now has vast differences to that which was proposed in 1995, almost a 100% increase in the volume of material that is coming on the site. Mr. Steinmetz contended that this application is virtually identical to the application before the Planning Board in 1995. He added that after reading the zoning ordinance, he feels this use may not require a special permit, that it could be an as-of-right use for a light industrial zone. Village Attorney Waldman asked if his position is that the original Special Permit was wrong and proceeded on an incorrect premise, or it is that your client’s use will be sufficiently different than that of Mr. Liguori and it now is an as-of-right use. Mr. Steinmetz replied that he cannot answer until he reviews the findings of the applications that were processed over a 10-year period. He added that neither he nor Mr. Gunshor was involved in these applications. Village Attorney Waldman added that these applications were never challenged nor does this applicant now have the right to challenge them. Mr. Steinmetz added that the Board has effectively prohibited Metro Enviro from conducting business for a number of months and recommended they seek Mr. Waldman’s advice on the question of temporary taking and damages that flow from that. Trustee Watkins replied that the Board will continue to look at this application as carefully as possible and hopefully sign a consultant tonight and will ask the consultant work expeditiously. Trustee Watkins asked if Mr. Steinmetz’s client is willing to cooperate with another consultant if it is not Weston. Mr. Steinmetz replied that the could not definitely answer this; however, he knows his client will not reimburse the Village for that other consultant, and he will have to get back to Mr. Herbek regarding his cooperation.
a) Trustee Grant made a motion to transfer $12,500 from the contingency account to cover the cost of the consultant. Trustee Rickles seconded the motion. Vote was taken with all voting “aye”.
b) Trustee Rickles made a motion to approve the following resolution; seconded by Trustee Grant.
RESOLVED: that the Village Manager is hereby authorized to enter into an agreement Allee, King, Rosen and Fleming of White Plains, NY to provide professional services to the Village Board with respect to the current application and precedent site historical data in its review of the Special Permit application filed by Metro Enviro to operate a recyclable and Construction and Demolition processing facility at 1A Croton Point Avenue in the Village.
FURTHER RESOLVED: Said services shall not exceed the estimated fee of $12,500.
Discussion: this consulting firm was the recommendation of the committee. Village Manager Herbek solicited 7 proposals, received 5 replies. This firm is respected in the area; some members of the committee have worked with them.
Vote was taken, with all voting “aye”.
Village Manager Herbek read the following correspondence (full text available at the Village Office):
A notice from MTA/Metro-North Railroad regarding Public hearings on Hudson River Access; Wednesday, February 4, 1998 7:00 p.m. to 9:00 p.m. at Westchester County Center, White Plains, NY.
A notice of intent to renew the liquor license for Pizza & Brew Restaurant at S. Riverside Ave., Croton on Hudson, NY 10520.
Letters from a number of residents with concerns about N. Highland Place.
Discussion: problem is that the chain is down a good deal of the time; signs have been ordered to put up in front of the chain. Lewis Montana stated that this has become an irritant; the chain is down more than not; construction vehicle operators have the responsibility to close up the chains; there is no penalty involved for misuse of this requirement. Trustee Grant replied that this problem surfaced only when people recently moved in; prior to that, construction trucks were not going through. Village Manager Herbek replied that it is a very difficult thing to staff and to administer. Mayor Elliott added that they will talk to the construction companies again. Trustee Watkins suggested that the Board vote to put in papers that will preclude trucks from using this road. Larry Keon, N. Highland Place, asked each member of the Board if they are unanimous in endorsing what has been decided. Trustee Watkins replied that it is his opinion that the decision of the Planning Board will be allowed to stand. Trustee Daubney replied that everyone on the Board stated this already. Mayor Elliott stated also that if the barrier was eliminated, it would produce more traffic. Trustee Daubney stated that he went up there and it is clear to him that this is a shortcut; people who buy houses now must be made to understand that cannot come through that way.
A letter from Jerry Gershner, Gershner Realty Services, regarding his purchasing property owned by the Village on the north side of Municipal Place between S. Riverside Ave and Rt. 9 entrance ramp. Trustee Rickles stated that this was appraised at $500,000 several years ago when the market was depressed and suggested before making any decision, a new current appraisal be done. Village Manager Herbek added that the Village has had about three appraisals done on this property, with the last done about 10 years ago. Trustee Watkins suggested seeing what the appropriate value is now, perhaps by using the same company to update their last appraisal. Village Treasurer Campbell added that what ends up being on that property should be a very important factor for the sale.
A letter from Diane Rainey, Media One, announcing they will be airing the 9th Annual African American Read-in, a local program highlighting African American literature.
A memorandum from Mary Zimmermann, Recreation Superintendent, for the proposed “Skate Park” at Vassallo Park. This matter will be scheduled for a work session.
A letter from John T. Felt, Director, Cortlandt Dept. of Technical Services, Planning Division, noticing a Public hearing for proposed Zoning and Master Plan amendments to be held on February 3, 1998. Mayor Elliott asked the Village Planning Board to review this document carefully. Trustee Rickles added that this will be considered this week and the Village should get as much information as possible; also, the Village Planning Board meeting is also scheduled for February 3rd.
A letter from Ann Gallelli, Planning Board Chair, regarding the impending closure on the amended site plan application for Hudson National Golf Course. Trustee Rickles stated that he agrees the Special Permit needs to be updated so there is no confusion in the future, it should reflect all agreements and the Planning Board should do the draft. Ms. Gallelli replied that issues need to be resolved before a draft is done. It was agreed that this will be included in a work session and then the Planning Board will proceed with the draft.
A memorandum from Ann. H. Gallelli, Planning Board Chair, with their recommendation on the request from Barbara Notarius/Brenda Barta for a sign at the Intersection of Grand St. and Hamilton Ave. The recommendation is that the requested signage be denied. Trustee Daubney stated that he feels there is no chance of reading a one by two sign from 40 feet away and the Planning Board was not addressing the request; he believes there should be some way to find the Alexander Hamilton House instead of just knowing what the house looks like; he suggested a sign might be allowed on the house. Mayor Elliott stated that they were just addressing whether a sign should be put up at Grand and Hamilton and he doesn’t detect anyone agreeing with this. He added if they want to put up a sign on the house larger than 2 sq. feet, they can approach the Zoning Board; however, he believes Ms. Notarius did not want a sign on the house. Trustee Grant added that the neighbors also did not want a sign on the house. Mayor Elliott took a poll of the Board and all agreed that the signage request is denied.
A resident stated that there are issues of code enforcement and how is it currently managed. She asked what the procedures are and could Kary Ioannou come before the public to explain code enforcement. Village Manager Herbek replied that procedures are standardized; if there is a violation of the code and it is a non-police matter, those are enforced by the Village Code Enforcement Officer.
Trustee Grant made a motion to approve the following resolution; the motion was seconded by Trustee Daubney.
RESOLVED: that the Village Manager is hereby authorized to sign the 1997 agreement with the Town of Cortlandt which provides for the Volunteer Fire Department to provide ambulance service to the Mount Airy/Quaker Bridge District for the amount of $34,250.00.
Discussion: Trustee Rickles stated that this contract needed to amended on the first page to reflect that it furnished ambulance service to the residents of the Town of Cortlandt and the Mt.Airy/Quaker Bridge District.
Trustee Rickles made a motion to amend the resolution; seconded by Trustee Daubney, approved by all.
Vote was taken on the amended motion; unanimous approval.
Trustee Daubney made a motion to approve the following resolution. Trustee Rickles seconded the motion. Vote was taken, with all voting “aye”.
RESOLVED: that the Village Manager is hereby authorized to sign the 1998 agreement with the Town of Cortlandt which provides for the Volunteer Fire Department to provide fire protection to the Mount Airy/Quaker Bridge District for the amount of $106,347.61, with $29,777.33 paid directly to the Fire Council and $76.570.28 paid directly to the Village.
Trustee Grant made a motion to approve the resolution authorizing the Village Manager to sign the Intermunicipal Agreements with the Town of Cortlandt for 1) bidding by Town Purchasing Director, 2) shared use of equipment and 3) removal of freon from appliances. Trustee Daubney seconded the motion. Vote was unanimous in favor.
Trustee Grant made a motion to approve the attached resolution appointing election inspectors and machine custodians for Village Election of March 17, 1998. Trustee Watkins seconded the motion; unanimous in favor.
Trustee Grant made a motion to approve the agreement between the Village and the Library. Trustee Rickles seconded the motion. Vote was taken with all voting “aye”.
Resolution regarding Sprint/Spectrum was taken off the agenda upon request of David Snyder on behalf of Sprint/Spectrum. Village Manager Herbek read the letter from Mr. Snyder requesting an adjournment of Sprint’s application to construct a public facility.
Village Manager Herbek reported that the Fire Dept. will be looking for a work session with Bob Fullan to discuss his report.
Trustee Watkins noted that the Village will receive $106,000 as recycling savings. Treasurer Campbell replied that the Village did not get the whole figure and it is included in budget preparations. Trustee Watkins stated that this Board has received notification of a site plan for Quaker Ridge Estates and he had asked that an amended site plan be submitted for review by the Engineer Dept., the Town of Cortlandt Planning Board is having a hearing tomorrow night; Village Manager Herbek has written a letter stating that the Village has not received that amended site plan and request that they await final decision until the Village has had time to review the amended site plan.
Trustee Rickles asked if an investigation was completed regarding a possible Senior Citizen discount from Media One. Trustee Daubney replied that Rockland County was a pre-existing condition and Mt. Kisco has a different cable company and offers no senior citizen discount; Diane Rainey, from Media One, had stated that the federal government would not allow this discount. Mayor Elliott suggested writing the FCC a letter asking for clarification. Trustee Rickles asked that a work session be set to discuss increased communication within the Village.
Trustee Daubney asked about the planned right hand turn on Benedict Blvd, which was approved by the County in November. Mayor Elliott replied that Westchester County has privatized the Public Works Dept. and now has a skeleton staff for emergencies only; he added that he will give a call to find out the status of this project. Trustee Daubney reported that the Library will have an open house on Sunday, from 1 p.m. to 5 p.m.
Trustee Grant asked for a decision about keeping the Metro Enviro hearing open indefinitely. Mayor Elliott stated that perhaps the policy should not be changed again; updates will be in the newsletter; people are expecting that the hearing will be kept open; if the Board thinks there are serious matters that have been discussed and need to be discussed again, it also will be put into the newsletter and can be brought up again. Trustee Watkins added that this Board is willing to continue the Public Hearing until it gets a feeling from the consultants as to what their recommendations are.
Mayor Elliott reported that John Imbiano will chair a committee to review the gateway area/improvements of Riverside Ave., both North and South, and make recommendations to the Planning Board and the Village Board. Members from the Marketing Committee and the Greenway Waterfront Committee will be working with him. Mayor Elliott reported also that the Historic River Towns are holding a friendly competition for a “Flower Villages” best rating in the summer of 1998. Mayor Elliott also reported that Gordy Sheer’s Olympic event will be on February 13th and he is trying to find out from CBS Sports exactly when this will be aired so they can get the word out to the community.
Trustee Watkins made a motion to adjourn, seconded by Trustee Daubney, approved by all.
The meeting was adjourned at 10:40 p.m.
Phyllis A. Bradbury
Village Clerk/Acting Clerk