A Regular Meeting of the Board of Trustees of the Village of Croton-on-Hudson, NY was held on Monday, November 16, 1998 at the Municipal Building, Van Wyck Street, Croton-on-Hudson, NY 10520.
The following officials were present:
Mayor Elliott Trustee Daubney
Treasurer Reardon Trustee Grant
Village Manager Herbek Trustee McCarthy
Village Attorney Waldman Trustee Watkins
1. CALL TO ORDER:
Mayor Elliott called the meeting to order at 8:15 p.m. Everyone joined in the Pledge of Allegiance.
2. APPROVAL OF MINUTES:
Trustee Grant made a motion to approve the minutes of the Regular Board Meeting held on November 2, 1998 as corrected. Trustee Daubney seconded the motion. The Board voted for unanimous approval.
3. APPROVAL OF VOUCHERS:
Trustee Grant made a motion to approve the vouchers as follows, subject to review by the Audit Committee. The motion was seconded by Trustee McCarthy and approved unanimously.
General Fund $ 65,562.75
Water Fund 6,122.62
Capital Accounts 231,988.05
Trust & Agency 17,302.65
PUBLIC INFORMATION MEETING ON THE PROPOSED FIREHOUSE IMPROVEMENTS:
Village Manager Herbek related background information about the proposed mandatory referendum scheduled for December 8, 1998; all voting will take place in the Municipal Building from 6 a.m. to 9 p.m. Village Manager Herbek added that the Harmon Firehouse is in poor condition, that it has served the needs of the Village for more than 50 years. Village Manager Herbek stated also that at the Grand Street Firehouse, any ladder apparatus
purchased may not fit in the bay area. He added that the referendum is for
replacement of the Harmon Firehouse and major renovations and improvements to the Grand Street Firehouse, with costs estimated to be $2.1 million for Harmon and $1.1 million for Grand St. Firehouses. Village Manager Herbek stated that this evening is the start of public information sessions and is preliminary; that on November 30th, a more extensive presentation will be given and will be televised; a mailing has gone out to everyone in the community.
Joe Streany, former Village Fire Chief, gave further background, stating that:
The project began 10 years ago and has been developed as a 50-year plan.
There is no available capacity for growth
1994 and 1997 reports are available at the Village office
the Harmon Firehouse was built with post-war money
the facilities are in need of repair and need to be compliant with OSHA regulations
they are now doing an average of 2 calls a day
safety and training have expanded
service to the public must be retained during construction
the public can direct questions to Joe Streany or any Fire Chief.
Trustee Grant added that the public can also call any member of the Board and that the Board is 100% behind this project.
Village Manager Herbek read the following correspondence (full text available at the Village Office):
A letter from Bettie S. Jackson, 319 Half Moon Bay Drive, listing 3 issues of concern and asking for follow-up to this matters. Village Manager Herbek replied to these issues.
A letter from Jerry Gershner, Gershner Realty Service, regarding the possible sale of the former Village sewage treatment plant. Village Manager Herbek responded that he has sent out notices to all Boards, Councils, Committees and Commissions asking for their input.
A letter from Rosalind Morrissey, 6 Cook Lane, regarding the 57th semi-annual blood drive to be held on Sunday, December 6th, 9:00 to 3:00 at the Croton-Harmon High School.
A letter from Michael D. Zarin, Zarin & Steinmetz, responding to a letter from Village Attorney Waldman, on behalf of the Village Board, giving information regarding Metro Enviro’s corporate structure.
A letter from Carl T. Grimm, 5 Cook Lane, identifying his concerns about the road alignment connecting Senasqua Park and the Half Moon Bay access road.
A letter from Doug Garbarini, Chair, Water Control Commission, regarding the request for amended wetland ordinance submitted by Dominick Mamone, stating that they agree with Village Attorney Waldman’s evaluation. It was the consensus of the Board that the Village Attorney should draft an amendment.
A letter from NY State Board of Real Property Service, with the Final State Equalization Rate. Village Treasurer Reardon stated that he has prepared a memo and has sent it to all Board members as an explanation of the State Equalization Rate.
A letter from Joseph Sperber, requesting a waiver of fees for the Croton Housing Network in conjunction with construction of 2 affordable dwellings at Westwind. Trustee Daubney made a motion to approve waiver of fees as stated in Mr. Sperber’s memo dated November 5, 1998. Trustee Watkins seconded the motion; unanimous vote in favor.
Mr. Rondthaler stated that Dan Salzberg could not be present at this meeting, but asked that it be noted that he and a representative of Scenic Hudson looked at the tunnel and the approach and Dr. Salzberg agrees that the tunnel should be preserved for both vehicular and pedestrian travel.
Mr. Rondthaler asked if Metro-North has withdrawn its funding of the new road. Village Manager Herbek replied that he had hoped that the Village Board would have made a decision; that these funds were allocated in 1993; John Kennard, head of planning for Metro-North Commuter Railroad, said last week that they were looking for about $40. million for other Metro-North projects; Metro-North has been supportive of this project and the Brook Street grade crossing closing is important to them; Village Manager Herbek has heard that the money may be pulled; John Kennard gave the impression that if a decision is made tonight, they will work to have the money available; the Board needs to make a decision for the road or for the tunnel; it is his understanding that the grade crossing does not have to be closed; that the only way it can be
closed is if there is an acceptable plan approved by the Village.
Trustee McCarthy asked Mayor Elliott if he had a discussion with Mr. Kennard. Mayor Elliott replied that he had and Mr. Kennard indicated the funds will evaporate very soon if the Village does not take action. Mayor Elliott replied that he believes if the Village gives a decision for further consideration, it must be in a very confined time frame and will be at the risk of losing the funding.
Trustee Grant stated that at the meeting Mr. Kennard attended on Friday, there was to be a decision to reallocate Metro-North funds; through the intervention of Village Manager Herbek, they were able to buy additional time. Trustee McCarthy replied that Metro-North has entered into a memorandum of understanding with the Village and the Village has expended funds and taken on certain obligations and does have damages at this point; that Metro North has obligations that they cannot walk away from.
Mr. Rondthaler stated that the Village can have a road and a tunnel; suggesting one way vehicular access, westbound; that the road can go over the tunnel rather than block the view; Mr. Rondthaler suggested other ways to configure the road to keep the view and asked that the Village keep the road simple which is appropriate for the park.
Carl Grimm stated that he does not want to see this land completely blitzed with a highway; the Greenway Committee has never given their blessing for the roadway.
Phyllis Morrow stated that she got an impartial 2nd opinion from a nearby firm who are experts on highway construction; they looked at the plans and offered alternatives, including the possibility that the project may not require piles which would reduce the cost substantially. Ms. Morrow stated that she and a representative from the firm will be happy to come and speak further to the Board. Ms. Morrow passed along photographs of the tunnel view, taken a few weeks ago.
Lenny Schatskin expressed his appreciation and gratitude to Ed Rondthaler for all he has done for the Village and he endorses what Mr. Rondthaler endorses for the tunnel; and it will be a shame to destroy the tunnel.
Andy Mayti stated that the fines of $75.00 to $150.00 for handicap parking are appropriate. He asked that bars be put up by the Grand Union so cars cannot drive through. Village Manager Herbek replied that this is private property and he has requested this of the owners. Andy Mayti stated that when the Village purchased the tunnel forty years ago, the intent was that it was to be filled in.
Joel Klein read his statement regarding sharing of information between citizens and board members; that information should be shared by all Trustees, regardless of political affiliation. Trustee McCarthy responded that there are many times citizens call any board member and all members respect privacy of information prior to the resident coming to a board meeting.
Trustee Grant stated that Michelle contacted her the next day and gave her additional information and apologized to Trustee Grant for not sharing this.
Trustee Daubney stated that if a citizen, in confidence, gives him information, he will honor this confidence.
Ann DiCioccio asked if when Ann Gallelli made the decision to go to the Planning Board, was that information shared before the meeting. Trustee Daubney replied that he knew of this just before the meeting. Trustee Watkins replied that all Trustees should share information. Ms. DiCioccio stated that she read in the Gazette that Hudson National Golf Club has filed a petition with the Town asking for 80% reduction in assessed evaluation; why did they go to the Town and what is the impact on Village? Village Attorney Waldman replied that he was not aware of any filing against the Village; the Town will handle this; impact would be on residents as taxpayers of the Town, not as taxpayers of the Village. Trustee Watkins added that since Town taxes are significantly higher than Village
taxes, often property owners will go to the Town to see how they fare with the bigger picture, and may then go to the Village.
Ed Rondthaler commented on current access to the tunnel where there is a sign that says, stop and blow horn, and some people blow their horns all the way through the tunnel. He suggested making a mandatory 5 mph approach to tunnel; and as you come to the curve, “stop & look” should be painted on the pavement; with two yellow lines dividing traffic; then there should be a sign saying-“vehicles should not enter until the tunnel is empty- pedestrians and bicyclists have right of way”.
a) On motion of TRUSTEE Grant, seconded by TRUSTEE McCarthy, the
following resolution was adopted by the Board of Trustees of the Village of Croton-on-Hudson, New York with the following vote: Unanimous, in favor of approval
WHEREAS, the Village of Croton-on-Hudson, the New York State Department of Transportation and Metro North Commuter Railroad have been working for several years on a project which will close the Brook Street Grade Crossing, a dangerous railroad grade crossing spanning five separate tracks and
WHEREAS, the project involves the construction of a new north-south connecting road to be built from what is known as the Half Moon Bay Bridge to the Senasqua Park area of the Village and
WHEREAS, $1,000,000 in federal funds has been secured under Section 3 of the Federal Transit Act, originally under Section 1010 of the former ISTEA Program and the additional funds needed for this project will be provided by Metro North and/ or the New York State Department of Transportation and
WHEREAS, this project will not only eliminate a dangerous grade crossing, but will more importantly provide a new access road and riverwalk along the Hudson River shoreline that will provide a new and vastly improved means of getting to a one-mile stretch of the Hudson River and
WHEREAS, CTE Engineers, Inc. of New York City under contract with Metro North studied six separate alternatives involving the possible future of the Senasqua Tunnel and
WHEREAS, after consideration of all of the possible alternatives and after getting further input from the Village Planning Board, and the public at Village Board Meetings held on August 24, 1998 and October 19, 1998 the Village Board wishes to move this project forward in a timely manner,
NOW THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED that the Village Manager is hereby authorized to communicate to Metro North Commuter Railroad that the Board of Trustees acquiesces in favor of Alternative E as submitted by CTE Engineers, Inc.; and,
BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that the Village will promptly seek additional expert engineering advice to determine if an acceptable cost effective alternative exists that permits the preservation of the view and westbound vehicle traffic through the Senasqua Road Tunnel that will be satisfactory to Metro North. In the absence of such alternative the Village agrees to Metro North proceeding with Alternative E and,
BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that this action is contingent upon the Village’s Waterfront Advisory Committee finding that this project is consistent with and in compliance with the Village’s Local Waterfront Revitalization program.
Trustee McCarthy asked that the Board retain an Engineering firm to take a few weeks or a month to look over plans and see if anything different can be done; she is sensitive to the need for the Board to take action, but the present plans will destroy the tunnel and cannot be undone; she suggested taking the resolution on the table, redraft it with a time to look at additional proposals and present them to Metro-North which would give the additional time to determine the best course.
Trustee Grant agreed that this suggestion is excellent, and the Board needs to see how much additional time there actually is.
Trustee Watkins reiterated that Metro North wants to see approval of the closing of grade crossing with alternative plans for the road. Trustee Watkins added that he is interested in seeing that funds do not go away; would like to preserve as much of the tunnel as possible and be careful how to complete process. Trustee Watkins would like further input from an engineering firm as soon as possible; he is very cautious that this should not be opened for an extended period of time.
Mayor Elliott stated that if the Village was to come up with a plan that is satisfactory, but doesn’t meet code, the Board will have to unanimously agree to accept a road not up to code; New York State code is 24 feet.
Attorney Waldman stated that there are two separate issues coming from the audience; one is the tunnel and the other is the claim of an overblown road; it seems that there would be a much easier time leaving open for further discussion the considerations that Mr. Grimm has raised in his letter which are the kinds of things that can be talked about once the basic principal has been set.
Village Manager Herbek added that Attorney Waldman can redraft the resolution along the lines talked about; and if the Board wants to engage an outside engineering firm, it should be done fairly quickly and the Board should appropriate about $5000 to retain a firm.
Trustee McCarthy stated that they are dealing with something that there is only one chance to do this and it should be done right.
Trustee Watkins, would like to speak with experts to answer “what ifs” before allocating $7,000. Trustee McCarthy stated that she does not believe there is the time for this.
Trustee Grant questioned why CTE would have an ax to grind that they would want to fight the Village on this. Mayor Elliott replied that they did what they were asked to do very well, but are under the direction of Metro-North and another firm would be under the direction of the Village. Trustee Grant suggested Kary Ioannou go to CTE with the information from Ms. Morrow and Mr. Grimm rather than hire an outside firm. Trustee McCarthy stated that she does not want to talk to CTE any more; that the Village has been down that road.
Village Manager Herbek stated that he agreed that it is time to hire someone to review the plans, talk to Metro-North and CTE; Westchester County Public Works Dept. may have suggestions for highway design engineering firms; the
Village also has engineering firms that they have done business with, but would want a firm that specializes in highway design.
b) On motion of TRUSTEE DAUBNEY, seconded by TRUSTEE GRANT, the following resolution was adopted by the Board of Trustees of the Village of Croton-on-Hudson, New York with the following vote: Unanimous, in favor of approval.
WHEREAS, the New York State Real Property Tax Law Section 467 has been amended to increase the maximum income ceiling for the basic (i.e. 50% of assessed value) exemption to $19,500, and
WHEREAS, the ceiling for the basic exemption has been increased numerous times since the creation of the exemption in 1966, and
WHEREAS, such an increase in the maximum ceiling for the basic exemption would also affect the sliding scale option in Section 467 (1)(b) in that the figure referred to in that subdivision as “M” could increase to $19,500, and
WHEREAS, this means that a municipality adopting the proposed ceiling could, for example, grant a minimal (5%) exemption to seniors whose incomes are as high as $27,899.99, and
WHEREAS, where the maximum income ceiling is locally adopted, the income ceiling increase will apply to assessment rolls based upon taxable status dates following such adoption, and
WHEREAS, the Village, over the years, has adopted the changes in income limits as they were amended in Section 467,
NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED THAT a public hearing is hereby called for December 21, 1998 at 8:00 PM in the Municipal Building to consider the adoption of Local Law Introductory #6 of 1998 to increase the income level for partial real estate tax exemptions for persons sixty-five years of age or older in accordance with Section 467 of the New York State Real Property Tax Law.
c) On motion of TRUSTEE GRANT, seconded by TRUSTEE DAUBNEY, the
following resolution was adopted by the Board of Trustees of the Village of Croton-on-Hudson, New York, with all voting “aye”.
WHEREAS, the Village Board is desirous of prohibiting the landing of helicopters and other aircraft from landing and taking off in the Village of Croton-on-Hudson and
WHEREAS, the Village Board has reviewed legislation from other municipalities and the Michaelian Municipal Law Resource Center, Inc regarding this issue and
WHEREAS, the Village Attorney has drafted a proposed law for the Board’s consideration
NOW THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED: that a public hearing is hereby called for December 21, 1998 at 8:00 PM in the Municipal Building to consider Local Law Introductory Number 7 of 1998 to prohibit the landing and taking off of helicopters and other aircraft in the Village of Croton-on-Hudson.
d) On motion of TRUSTEE DAUBNEY, seconded by TRUSTEE GRANT, the following resolution was adopted by the Board of Trustees of the Village of Croton-on-Hudson, New York with the following vote: Unanimous, in favor of approval.
WHEREAS, there have been numerous abuses of the handicapped parking law within the Village, and
WHEREAS, the current fine for parking in handicapped spaces is $75, and
WHEREAS, the Village Board believes this fine should be increased to $150
to discourage illegal use of parking in handicapped spaces,
NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED THAT a public hearing is hereby called for December 21, 1998 at 8:00 PM in the Municipal Building to consider the adoption of Local Law Introductory #8 of 1998 to increase the parking fines for parking in handicapped spaces in the Village of Croton-on-Hudson.
7e) Village Manager Herbek presented a proposal from Lev Zetlin Asso., for further changes to the plans for the Parking Lot Phase II project; they propose to make these changes for $12,500 and Village Manager Herbek asked the Board for authorization to further engage Lev Zetlin Asso. to make these changes.
Staff in agreement these changes need to be made
$12,500 could be taken from highway capital account.
Attendant is needed 5 – 6 hours a day; data from the machines will be linked into the attendant booth; attendants won’t have to go to each meter; adjustments can be made to the machines to accept debit cards as well as cash; Debit Cards can be sold at a lower price than meter would cost per trip; machines are needed that will work effectively and quickly.
Phase II money was awarded from a TIP Grant and was approved a few years ago for a total of $1.5 million and the end of this project is in sight.
Trustee Grant stated that the time may come when the Village will have to put a hold on capital projects.
Trustee Watkins stated that the original proposal was supposed to have been user friendly; why the necessity for additional funds. Village Manager Herbek replied that the original vision was that the attendant would not have to be present for a long period of time and it now appears that the attendant does need to be at the booth in order for the process to work properly.
Trustee McCarthy suggested discussing this further at a work session.
Trustee Watkins stated that he would like more information about what the scope of project is and asked that it be taken up further at a work session.
The Board agreed to bring this matter up at the next work session. No resolution was brought to vote.
Village Manager Herbek reported on the Environmental Benefit Funds, stating that they were originally $84,000 and are now about $104,000; in discussing the use of these funds, it was suggested splitting it between the Canoe Launch and the Railroad Tie projects; a meeting was held with Mark Moran last week, also in attendance was Fran Dunwell and Kathy Hudson; they discussed all the Village projects in which the DEC has input; it was the recommendation of Mark Moran to dedicate Environmental Benefit Funds for the canoe launch improvement project. He added that no one has really come up with a method and costs on how to remove the railroad ties and there is a need to know more before proceeding with this project.
Village Manager Herbek reported on the Old Post Road North stop sign request; he provided a report; because of a curve in road and sight distance problems; there is concern about rear-end collisions; they are not in favor of stop signs at this area. Trustee Daubney stated that the Village should enforce speed controls; perhaps the Village could install mirrors. Trustee Grant suggested Rich Corvinus be asked to look at this also and get his opinion.
Village Manager Herbek reported that a work session is scheduled for November 23rd; members of the Chamber of Commerce will be there.
Trustee Watkins asked about 1) the signature signs; Village Manager Herbek will follow up. 2) Donofrio House, Brook Street, and asked why demolition has held up? Village Manager Herbek replied that an application for additional subsidy is needed to make the house affordable and has been submitted; the Housing Network is working on this; no action has come through yet from the NYS Affordable Home Loan Asso. He added that the house can be demolished, but the new construction must be started in conjunction with the demolition because of the rear retaining wall.
Trustee Watkins congratulated the Varsity Girls’ Volleyball Team on winning the State Championship.
Trustee McCarthy reported that there was a work session last week; discussion included the helicopter landing law, changes in handicapped parking fines; P.R.E. zoning; sale of cars in the district; non-conforming uses and the Master Plan. Trustee McCarthy referred to a previous inquiry about the lack of lighting on Benedict Blvd and asked if Ken Kraft has looked at it. Village Manager Herbek replied that he had given the approval to put the light in and will check to see if it has been done. Trustee McCarthy asked to see if there is a possible legal affect to take grant money and lay sewer lines on the Seprieo property and not allow it to be open to the general public. Village Manager Herbek replied that Ed Mills had looked into it and indicated that it will have no impact on resident-only use of Senasqua Park. Trustee McCarthy asked for this to be in writing.
Trustee Daubney reported that the Arboretum seems to be reaching some agreement with Hudson National Golf Course. He added that the Library is looking for designs of a new logo. Trustee Daubney asked if they are going to get the engineer’s estimate on the sewers. Village Manager Herbek replied that this is coming.
Trustee Grant gave additional congratulations to Girls Volleyball Team and stated that she was impressed with the good sportsmanship of the girls. Trustee Grant added that the Veterans’ Day ceremony on 11/11/98 was very moving, but it is a shame that young people are not there; she will call the High School to urge teachers and students to attend these ceremonies. Trustee Grant stated that Michelle Celarier called about a report that James Hickey owned other property in the Village; Trustee Grant checked on this and found that it was the same property, just a building designation code. Trustee Grant added that notices about what is going on in the Village is supposed to be in Gannett papers; tonight’s meeting was not in there.
Mayor Elliott added his congratulations to the Girls’ Volleyball Team; noting that Robin Cook is the “winningest coach” in Croton history.
Mayor Elliott stated that the Thanksgiving inter-denominational service will be held on Thanksgiving eve and all are welcome.
Trustee Grant made a motion to adjourn; Trustee McCarthy seconded; all
approved. The meeting was adjourned at ll:45 p.m.
Phyllis A. Bradbury, Secretary
Village Clerk/Acting Clerk
Corrections to the minutes of the Regular Board Meeting of November 2, 1998:
Page 2, paragraph 1, line 2: a special permit application is under consideration.
Trustee McCarthy questioned if the non-conforming use has been at….
Page 2, paragraph 1, line 5, should read: from one con-conforming use to
Page 2, paragraph 2, last line, add: Mayor Elliott indicated that he would have
further information about funds for the boat launch at the next meeting.
Page 2, paragraph 3, last line: in the lot only until November 15…
Page 3, paragraph 2, line 6: change to read: is the way to go and reminded everyone of the safety factor that must be addressed regarding closing the Brook Street crossing.
Page 3, paragraph 1, last line, change to read: elevation of the road, and stated that she will speak further with Mr. Lee.
Page 4, paragraph 4, line 1: change name to Pellicci (also change in several references in that paragraph).
Page 4, 4th paragraph, line 8 should read: ..there is an Affidavit of Publication that may be one way…
Page 5, 1st paragraph 5th line, change to read: anything questionable would be brought to the attention of…
Page 5, 1st paragraph 5th line 16, change to read: right thing and not negatively impact the Village.
Page 5, paragraph 3, line 2, should read: ..also be a service on December 7th..
Page 3, 1st paragraph, line 2, add: to spend on purchase by $600.
Page 7, 1st paragraph, line 3: Vote was taken with Trustees Watkins, McCarthy and Daubney voting “aye” and Trustee Grant voting “nay”.
Page 7, 2nd paragraph, 1st line, change name to: Richard Corvinus…
Page 7, 4th paragraph, 1st line, should read: problem that has to addressed…
Page 8, 3rd paragraph, 5th line, should read: input from all Village Committees…