A Regular Meeting of the Board of Trustees of the Village of Croton-on-Hudson, New York, was held on Tuesday, February 20, 2001 at the Municipal Building, One Van Wyck Street, Croton-on-Hudson, New York.
The following officials were present:
Mayor Elliott Trustee Harkins
Village Manager Herbek Trustee McCarthy
Trustee Grant Trustee Watkins
Treasurer Reardon and Village Attorney Waldman were absent.
1. CALL TO ORDER:
Mayor Elliott called the meeting to order at 8:03 .m. Everyone joined in the Pledge of Allegiance.
2. APPROVAL OF MINUTES:
On motion of Trustee Grant, seconded by Trustee Harkins, the Board voted unanimously to approve the minutes of February 7, 2001. Trustee Harkins abstained.
3. APPROVAL OF VOUCHERS
Upon motion by Trustee Grant, seconded by Trustee McCarthy, the Board voted unanimously to approve the vouchers as follows, subject to review by the Audit Committee.
General Fund: $ 74,631.23
Water Fund: $ 540.57
Capital Account $ 132,616.02
Trust & Agency $ 26,781.86
4. PUBLIC HEARINGS
a. Local Law Introductory #1, 2001, entitled Rezoning of Certain Parcels to PRE-1 Districts in Accordance with Article XIV, Amendments and Interpretation of Chapter 230, Zoning, of the Croton-on-Hudson Village Code.
Part I. On motion of Trustee McCarthy, seconded by Trustee Grant, the Board voted unanimously to designate all of the listed parcels, except parcels #49, #50 and #51, as PRE-1.
Part 2. On motion of Trustee McCarthy, seconded by Mayor Elliott, to designate parcels #49, #50 and #51 as PRE-1, the motion was denied with the following vote: Trustee McCarthy and Mayor Elliott “aye”; Trustee Grant, Trustee Harkins and Trustee Watkins “nay”.
On motion of TRUSTEE Grant, SECONDED BY Trustee Watkins, to designate the parcels #49, #50 and #51 as PRE-3, the following resolution was adopted unanimously by the Board of Trustees of the Village of Croton-on-Hudson, New York:
Local Law No. 1 of the year 2001
A local law entitled, “Rezoning of Certain Parcels to PRE-1 and PRE-3 Districts in accordance with Article XIV, Amendments and Interpretation of Chapter 230, Zoning, of the Croton on Hudson Village Code
Be in enacted by the Board of Trustees of the Village of Croton on Hudson as follows:
SECTION I. PURPOSE AND INTENT
The purpose of the Parks, Recreation, and Education (PRE) District is intended to preserve natural resources, scenic beauty and other land and community resources whose retention is necessary for the continued maintenance of the quality of the environment. It is designated to provide for public parks; recreational activities including all types of athletic activities; schools and other educational facilities; nature preserves; bird and wildlife sanctuaries; and similar uses.
The PRE district zoning provisions are intended to ensure that no building or other structure, facility or premises or any part thereof shall be constructed or used which is arranged, intended or designed to be used, in whole or in part, for any uses except passive open space, active open space, or educational buildings.
Zoning of the specified parcels in both the Croton Gorge and Kaplan’s Pond as PRE will enhance and protect the valuable open space qualities of these lands and fulfills a key policy recommendation of the Conservation Advisory Council’s adopted Open Space Report. Also designation of these lands under the Village’s PRE District is the best means to ensure the preservation of these lands in their natural state.
SECTION II. ZONING AMENDMENTS
A. The zoning of the parcels having the following Village tax map designations is hereby changed to PRE-1.
B. The zoning of the parcels having the following Village tax map designations is hereby changed to PRE-3.
SECTION III. SEPARABILITY
The provisions of this local law are separable and if any provision, clause, sentence, subsection, word or part thereof is held illegal, invalid or unconstitutional or inapplicable to any person or circumstance, such illegality, invalidity, unconstitutionality, or inapplicability shall not affect or impair any of the remaining provisions, clauses, sentences, subsections, words, or parts of this local law or their application to other persons or circumstances. It is hereby declared to be the legislative intent that this local law would have been adopted if such illegal, invalid, or unconstitutional provision, clause, sentence, subsection, word or part had not been included therein, and if such person or circumstance, to which the local law or part thereof is held inapplicable, had been specifically exempt therefrom.
SECTION IV. EFFECTIVE DATE
This local law shall take effect immediately upon its filing with the Secretary of State.
Discussion: Village Manager Herbek outlined the text of the local law. He stated the parcels being proposed to be rezoned to PRE-1 were located in two areas of the Village – the Croton Gorge and Kaplan’s Pond. The total area of land was approximately 30 acres.
Jon Goplerud, Chairman of the Conservation Advisory Council, summarized the proposal. He stated in 1996 the Committee completed an open space inventory and made their recommendations to the Board. He presented a map outlining the parcels, which are owned by the Village. He stated there are three parcels in question that are being considered for alternative zoning - #49, #50 and #51. He stated any development on those parcels would be difficult because of their size and configuration.
Mayor Elliott opened the floor for public comment.
Neal Haber, representing the Croton Harmon Board of Education, stated he had previously spoken to the Board on several occasions regarding those three lots. He pointed out the original proposal was to zone the entire Croton Gorge area as PRE-1, except for the three lots in question. Subsequently, the Conservation Advisory Committee suggested that those parcels be zoned PRE-1 as well. He stated a PRE-1 zoning means passive recreation only – no construction of any type, no active recreation and no athletic fields. A PRE-2 zoning allows for passive and active recreation. A PRE-3 zoning allows for passive recreation, active recreation and the construction of education facilities on that lot. Mr. Haber stated the School Board examined numerous sites for the construction of an additional school facility and ascertained that there were no additional places within the Village for the school district to build other than an area adjacent to lots #49, #50, and #51. He stated the School Board requests the zoning to be raised to PRE-3 in order to maintain the flexibility to address such issues that may arise in the future. He presented a decision made by the NYS Court of Appeals regarding the Van Cortland Park in the Bronx, wherein the issues and principal were the same. He stated if the three lots were zoned PRE-1, the only way they can be used for anything else besides passive recreation would be to go to the State Legislature and request a law allowing the change in zoning. He stated the School Board felt that some of the land could be useful towards an active recreation site or an educational facility.
Gene Perl, President of the Croton School Board, stated the school district presently does not have any plans to build another facility. He stated this was an issue concerning the needs of the community and urged the Board to allow their determination to have as much flexibility as possible by zoning the parcels PRE-3.
Ed Spector expressed concern about the process for the land designation. He questioned if the Conservation Advisory Committee was truly a proxy for the people concerning this decision. He requested why there was no public survey taken, because he felt the majority of the taxpayers would wish to keep the flexibility. Mayor Elliott reassured Mr. Spector that they had an open process in the community and it was not a small group of people making the decisions.
Don Daubney, a previous Board member, stated he does not feel they should close their options for the land. He supported the PRE-3 zoning.
Karen Jescavage Bernard, representing several families living in the Kaplan Pond area, stated they were supportive of the PRE-1 zoning. She presented a study report, privately funded by the local residents, wherein the findings showed the land was worth preserving due to the plant value.
August Gold stated he felt the community was not properly informed of the public hearing because there was no specific information on what the meeting was about. He also stated, as a former director of school facilities planning for the New York City Board of Education, he felt alternative locations to build could be found and the main concern should be the environmental use and preservation.
Jeff Yates, President of Little League baseball, expressed his concern for the lack of space in the Village. He stated the PRE-2 and PRE-3 zonings allow the flexibility for future circumstances.
Lou Insler, Commissioner of Croton AYSO Soccer, agreed with the comments concerning the lack of space, especially for recreational activities, and supported the PRE-3 zoning.
Rich Fuerst stated as an architect he felt it would be economically impossible to do anything with the land and that it would certainly impact the area. He stated the importance of preserving in tact as much of the open wooded land as possible. He pointed out the school currently uses the property and pond for nature research. He felt if the school district needed another building, there were other sites to use. He felt the strictest criteria should have to be met in order to be able to destroy the property and he supported the PRE-1 zoning.
Jan Wines, Croton Trails Committee, stated he supported the PRE-1 zoning in order to protect the trails.
Barbara Buske stated as a North Croton resident she felt it was getting too congested. She stated she supported the PRE-1 zoning in order to preserve greenery and questioned if the school looked into building up.
Neal Haber reiterated that the school district had no current intention of building. He pointed out if the community decided they wanted an educational facility directly related to environmental studies, the PRE-1 zoning would not allow for that use.
John Goplerud restated it was the Committee’s conclusion that if a need was presented, the Village could go to a higher level at that time.
Mayor Elliott questioned if it was possible to build a field on those parcels. John Goplerud stated although he did not know the dimensions of a ball field, the buffer would be significantly impacted.
Marshall Goldberg stated the School Board had done an exhausted search for other building locations.
Mayor Elliott closed the Public Hearing.
Trustee Grant stated that if parcels #49, #50 and #51 were topographically protected and if building would be restricted because of existing law requirements. She stated that building would be very difficult because of the nature of the land. Jon Goplerud stated topography was critical, but a PRE-1 zoning would provide an additional level of protection.
Trustee McCarthy clarified that a PRE-3 zoning would allow for other structures besides educational buildings: such as an amphitheater, museum and zoo. She felt they needed to look at the parcel for what it could be used for today and expressed the importance of preserving the land for the future. She felt the Village should consider setting up a fund in order to acquire properties for future planning.
Trustee Watkins questioned why the wooded property behind CET has not been considered by the school. Neal Haber stated the property does not meet the present regulations for the size of building required. The architect informed the School Board that the area would not accommodate the footprint for another building and that the land would be very difficult to work with as an addition to CET. He stated the School Board was also concerned about expanding CET since it was the largest or second largest elementary school in Westchester County and for education reasons they did not desire such a large school.
Trustee Watkins questioned Jon Goplerud on the reasons why they should not provide future Boards with the flexibility of zoning the parcels PRE-3 and if it was accurate that there was no usage for the land. John Goplerud stated one of the most important reasons would be the shape of the parcels, in addition to the sizes, surfaces and ridgelines. He stated by designating the parcels PRE-3, it would effect the entire adjoining properties and be an issue of concern for the buffer and flow of wetlands.
Trustee Grant stated there appeared to be no objection to rezoning all of the other parcels, except for the three in question, as PRE-1. She recommended to reword the motion to exclude #49, #50 and #51.
Trustee McCarthy stated she would have no objection to splitting the motion if a Board member would prefer to vote on them separately. She reminded the Board that the Village had the power of condemnation, which would serve as a vehicle to acquire additional land for public purposes.
Trust Grant stated that was a separate issue since there was no current proposal to build on the three parcels. She pointed out it was about keeping the option open if they utilized the land in the future since the Village would continue to have control over its use.
Trustee McCarthy stated she felt there were other ways to address the future needs of building. She restated the need to look at the parcels as they presently exist and the importance of preserving for future generations. She pointed out if there was a compelling need, they could always go to the Legislature. She stated after walking the parcels, she determined they could not do anything without destroying it.
Trustee Harkins stated he supported Kaplan’s Pond to be zoned PRE-1. He stated with respect to Croton Gorge, he does not know if all options were explored relative to land trusts. He is concerned about the lack of youth facilities and that those needs were not being addressed.
Mayor Elliott stated the Board has given no resistance to the needs assessment for recreation. He stated the entire Village supported the youth of the community and would strive to do everything they could to find recreation fields for the various sports. However, he felt those three parcels could not be turned into any type of ball field or recreation facility. He stated the community has supported their continued efforts to preserve Croton Gorge.
At the suggestion of the Board, Mayor Elliott stated they could split the motion into two parts.
b. Local Law Introductory #2, 2001, entitled Amending the Compensation of the Mayor and Trustees in accordance with Chapter 54 of the Village Code.
On motion of TRUSTEE Watkins, 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: Trustee Grant, Trustee Watkins and Mayor Elliott “aye”, Trustee Harkins and Trustee McCarthy “nay”.
LOCAL LAW NO. 2
A local law amending the compensation of the Mayor and Trustees in accordance with Chapter 54 of the Village Code.
Be it enacted by the Board of Trustees of the Village of Croton-on-Hudson as follows:
SECTION I. The Mayor of the Village of Croton-on-Hudson, New York, shall be compensated at the rate of five thousand dollars ($5,000.) per annum.
SECTION II. Each Trustee of the Village of Croton-on-Hudson, New York, shall be compensated at the rate of three thousand dollars ($3,000.) per annum.
SECTION III. This local law shall take effect June 1, 2002.
Mayor Elliott opened the floor for public comment.
Don Daubney stated as a previous Board member, he totally supported the local law because the compensation only helped to defray some of the expenses incurred while performing the job. He recommended the law take effect this June instead of June 1, 2002.
Mayor Elliott closed the Public Hearing.
Discussion: Trustee McCarthy stated although she did not oppose the legislation, she firmly believed no member presently sitting on the Board should benefit from this law. She stated even though the designated effective date of June 2002 meant that any present member would had to be reelected, she would support the law to be changed that no sitting member could benefit.
Mayor Elliott stated he was against Board members receiving compensation since they serve as volunteers, but he would agree to the local law on behalf of future successors.
Trustee Grant stressed that the compensation was to only cover expenses, such as telephone and mileage, for which no board members currently submit vouchers.
Village Manager Herbek read the following correspondence (full text available at the Village Office):
a. A letter received from Robert F. Davis, attorney from the law firm of Shamberg, Marwell, Hocherman, Davis and Hollis, with respect to the Half Moon Bay Project. They requested a sales trailer be placed on Village property during the next three phases of the development project. It would be for a temporary use of approximately one year. Six additional parking spaces would be provided so the trailer would not interfere with the use of the adjoining Village lot. Village Manager Herbek stated the Board did not need to make a decision tonight since the issue was also being discussed with the Half Moon Bay Homeowner’s Association.
Mayor Elliott stated they would also have to speak with the residents of Half Moon Bay concerning any disapproval.
Trustee Watkins questioned if the trailer would interfere with the road construction. Village Manager Herbek stated the road construction was not scheduled to commence until another ten to twelve months. He stated the decision would have to be contingent upon the construction and that they would have to move the trailer once construction began.
Trustee Grant confirmed that the trailer would not sit on any foundation and that the developers would cover the insurance.
b. A letter received from Lisa Nardozzi, President of Happy Tots Day Care Center, 114 Grand Street, requesting permission to use the Municipal Building as a third designated relocation site for their children and staff in the event of an emergency situation. The facility needed to prepare an emergency evacuation plan as part of their New York State licensing requirements. They currently have 75 infants and children in their care.
Mayor Elliott confirmed that the Village would be named as additional insured.
The Board unanimously agreed to permit Happy Tots to name the Municipal Building as their third designation location in their emergency evacuation plan.
c. A letter received from Betsy Nussenbaum, 176 Cleveland Drive, concerning the dangerous conditions on Hughes Street while walking her children to school at CET. She stated the road does not have any sidewalks and fellow parents are speeding down the road to drop off their children. She questioned why the road does not have any speed signs or school zone signs posted. She contacted the police and the principal at CET, who have informed her that it was the responsibility of the Village. Village Manager Herbek stated he received recommendations from Ken Kraft concerning this matter. One option would be to install the fluorescent green-yellow children walking sign at both ends of Hughes Street. Another option would be to post school zone signs with a 15 MPH speed limit, which would require an amendment to the Village Code.
Trustee Grant stated another option would be to extend the sidewalks down Hughes Street. She felt the Board should take action and put the sidewalks in this year’s budget.
Trustee McCarthy stated that was on the list of proposed sidewalks in the Village. She stated that would not solve the parents’ immediate concern, which could be addressed by posting a 15 MPH speed limit sign.
Trustee Watkins stated it would be very difficult to put sidewalks in on that street. He also stated they would need to take the necessary steps required concerning the property for the sidewalks.
The Board unanimously agreed to move forward on the recommendations received from Ken Kraft and also to investigate about the sidewalks. Mayor Elliott reminded the Board that it has been confirmed by both the police and the residents that it is the fellow parents that are speeding.
d. 1. A letter received from Richard Schupper, President of Temple Israel, stating they will take immediate action to install a stop sign at the south exit of the main driveway area coming out of the Temple, in addition to one way and do not enter signs at the north end of the main parking lot. He also stated they would pay for a stop sign at the corner of Hessian Hills Road and Glengary Road.
2. A letter received from Michael J. Kenny, 150 Hessian Hills Road, concerning the petition their neighbors filed. He stated one of the main issues to amend and clarify the zoning law required immediate attention and requested that the Board take up this issue without delay.
3. A letter received from David and Dinah Davidson, 6 Glengary Road, concerning the issue of changing the signage on Glengary and Hessian Hills Roads. Mr. Davidson submitted a proposal for recommended signage based upon his numerous discussions with Lieutenant Calcutti of the Croton Police. Village Manager Herbek stated they are in the process of evaluating these recommendations.
Trustee Watkins stated he supported the increased signage but inquired if the surrounding neighbors were uniform in their desire for this signage.
Mayor Elliott stated the Board requested Mr. Davidson to contact the neighbors before he prepared the recommendations.
Trustee Grant suggested how the signs could take away from the neighborhood’s attractiveness. She discussed the importance of initiating and instituting the traffic counters they previously discussed. Village Manager Herbek stated they needed to wait for allowable weather conditions since the counters could not be used in the snow. She requested that they be in place by early April.
e. A memorandum received from the Comprehensive Plan Committee enclosing a copy of their recommendations for zoning revisions for the Light Industrial Zone. A copy of the proposed revisions was also submitted to the Planning Board. Mayor Herbek stated if the Board was interested in the recommendations, they would need to be put them in local law format for further introduction as a possible local law.
Trustee McCarthy recommended the exclusion listed under Item “C”, No. 6 also be listed under Item “C”, No. 1. Mayor Elliott stated they could request Village Attorney Waldman to review this matter again.
4. CITIZEN PARTICIPATION
Carol Czujko, Glengary Road, stated as of February 19th no stop signs were installed at the Temple and questioned what time frame was given to them. Village Manager Herbek stated it was his understanding the signs were installed and he would contact Mr. Schupper again. Ms. Czujko stated the mailbox for the Fields’ property was at the end of Glengary Road, which has been made into the Temple’s one-way egress. She previously requested the specific mapping for the property line of the end of Glengary Road and the beginning of the private property. She questioned if the end of the Temple’s driveway extended onto Glengary Road in order to clarify if the one-way egress was allowed. Mayor Eliott stated they would double check exactly where the property line was.
Ms. Czujko questioned the status of the Village Board’s investigation as to why the Fields’ property was permitted to be turned into a gravel parking lot, which destroyed landscaping, lawns and plantings, when it is zoned residential. She stated there was no application filed with the Village for a change in use of that property and questioned how they were allowed to do that without any application or permits. Mayor Eliott stated Village Attorney Waldman was researching all of the legal questions concerning this matter and unfortunately, was not present to provide the information at this time. Ms. Czujko presented a picture of the vehicles that were parked on the Theall property. She felt there was a sense of urgency to resolve this matter because the gravel parking lot was within the buffer of the wetlands and the cars were probably causing ecological damage to the wetlands.
Ms. Czujko also discussed the proposed amount of people to be bussed into the Temple, which would exceed the total amount of students currently enrolled in all of the Croton school district. She stated people are being bussed in from different areas at one time to one place on a dead end road next to a wetland. She stated she felt a 15 MPH speed sign would help the situation. Ms. Czujko stated the residents wanted the traffic analysis to be fair and accurate. She stated the school district would be closed for two weeks during April and that there were huge spikes in traffic depending on High Holidays or activities. She felt they should capture a normal school week, as well as, a large event such as a High Holy Day in order for the reading to reflect the spectrum of activities that happen on the street. She stated the residents have the same traffic regulation concerns as the School Board.
Village Manager Herbek stated the results of the attorney’s research would be openly discussed at future Village Board meetings and neighbors would be notified. They are still looking into some of the questions and also awaiting proposals from consultants. He stated the Board would be in a better position to discuss these matters at the next meeting on March 5th. He reassured the residents that they have developed a lot of information on the usage at the Temple. He stated one item on the agenda was a resolution for the proposed local law requiring the issuance of a special permit for the expansion, extension, reconstruction, rebuilding, or relocation of certain uses and buildings.
Trustee Grant stated they are scheduling a public hearing to discuss the research completed on the Theall property.
Ms. Czujko also questioned the issue about the septic. Mayor Elliott stated if a proposal were to be made, it would then come into play. He stated if requested, the Temple has agreed to allow an expert to look at it. Trustee McCarthy stated it would be beneficial to write a formal letter to the County Department of Health in connection with the septic issue in order to find out if the County would do the inspection instead of having to retain someone else to do it. Village Manager Herbek stated he already spoke to Edward Delaney. He stated any application for expansion requires a referral to the County Health Department, wherein the evaluation would be the responsibility of Westchester County not the local government. However, Mr. Delaney has stated the only way the County would come in at this point of time was if there was a detectable problem, such as sewage seeping through the ground. Trustee McCarthy stated she was not sure what his response would be if he was presented with a formal request. She pointed out there has been a change in connection with the use and it was possible they could get a positive response. Mayor Elliott stated they could certainly send a letter.
Trustee McCarthy requested technical information on the dimensions of the roads and the dimensions of the school buses in order to clearly understand legally where they stand. Mayor Elliott restated all of the traffic issues were being researched by Village Attorney Waldman and the Board would be better prepared to answer those questions at the next meeting. Trustee Grant questioned if the School Board had guidelines on where the buses could travel.
Mr. Gerry Hocutt, 17 Glengary, stated he felt the road could not accommodate the larger size buses because the road was so narrow. He stated smaller buses would be less hazardous. Trustee Grant questioned where the buses were coming from and who they were transporting. Village Manager Herbek stated he was informed there was one large bus used for bar mitzvahs on Saturdays to transport the children to a party following the ceremony. Ms. Czujko stated that information was incorrect. Village Manager Herbek stated there were all sorts of legal questions concerning whether the Board had the authority or power to legally prevent a bus from using these roads. He stated if he has inaccurate information, residents should contact him at his office.
Faith Kasinovsky, Mt. Airy Road, stated she is a Temple member and felt the Temple has grown out of hand. She questioned if the Board was going to permit the Temple to expand. She expressed concern that the Temple needed to stop accepting enrollment to the religious school. She stated during the summertime there was a large bus every single day on the road because of the camp. She also felt the development in the Village has grown out of hand. Mayor Elliot assured the resident there would be no more development in Croton once the Half Moon Bay Project was completed. He also stated the Temple has made no application for expansion. Ms. Kasinovsky stated the Temple has posted their proposed plan and they have already raised monies for their new site. This information came from a newletter printed by the Temple – (a copy of the pertinent page is filed in the Village Office). She was disappointed that many of her friends and neighbors who are located on those streets have indicated they would move if the Temple were to expand.
Alice Kenny, Hessian Hills Road, stated the newspaper indicated there has been communication between the neighbors, the Temple Board and the Village Board. She stated that was a misunderstanding because there have been no conversations between the Temple Board and the neighbors. The neighborhood is aware of the Temple’s proposed plans and she felt the Board should be aware of those plans as well. She stated members of the Temple have received several pieces of communication regarding the expansion plans and submitted one of the newsletters to the Board. She stated on December 5th they discussed the Temple’s current use and expansion plans. Mr. Shupper stated he wanted to build a sanctuary large enough to accommodate 1,000 people at one time. In a February Temple newsletter, wherein the Temple was soliciting funds for their expansion plan, Mr. Schupper stated the expansion would accommodate 1,300 to 1,500 people. She stated the total Croton school population was 1,400 students and Mr. Schupper was envisioning more people coming down one single narrow winding dead-end road at one time than the entire student population in the Croton school district. She stated Mr. Shupper has been misrepresenting his plans and has showed a total disregard for the health and safety of the neighborhood. She felt it should be Temple’s responsibility to provide answers to these issues. She stated the safety issues of the school buses should be taken up now because there are regulations on the books about how wide and straight the road needs to be.
Jeff W. Yates, Hessian Hills Road, stated he wished to reiterate the sense of urgency as stated by the other neighbors. He stated letters have been sent to the editor of the Gazette from Temple members who represented themselves as residents of the Village and, in fact, were not. He stated 100 percent of the support for the use of the Temple grounds was coming from people outside the Village – they do not live here, they do not vote here, they do not pay taxes here. He urged the Board to continue their efforts to investigate the issues and the importance for a decision to be made without delay.
Mayor Elliott requested the community to give the Board time to work on these issues appropriately. He assured the residents that every member of the Board was doing everything they possibly could to move this along. He stated every issue had a process - the community makes a suggestion, they hold a public hearing and then propose a law.
Mayor Eliott closed citizen participation.
a. On motion of TRUSTEE Harkins, SECONDED BY Trustee McCarthy, the following resolution was adopted unanimously by the Board of Trustees of the Village of Croton-on-Hudson, New York:
RESOLVED: that the Village Board of Trustees hereby calls for a Public Hearing on March 19, 2001 to discuss Local Law Introductory Number 2 amending Section 230-4 of the Zoning Law regarding signage.
Discussion: Trustee Grant stated the importance for members of the community to attend the public hearing, especially if they were concerned about the signage. She stated an enormous amount of effort went into this matter.
Village Manager Herbek recommended that the public hearing be postponed until March 19th in order to give everyone more time to review the information. The Board voted unanimously to amend the date of the Public Hearing.
b. On motion of TRUSTEE Grant, SECONDED BY Trustee Harkins, the following resolution was adopted by the Board of Trustees of the Village of Croton-on-Hudson, New York with the following vote: Trustee Grant, Trustee Harkins, Trustee Watkins, Mayor Elliott “aye”, Trustee McCarthy “nay”.
WHEREAS, the Village Board and the Manager wish to acknowledge several department heads for outstanding work and productivity in the current fiscal year to adjust their salary levels in accordance with the Village Manager’s recommendations; and
WHEREAS, the following employees will receive the increases listed below to their annual rate of compensation beginning February 01, 2001;
Court Clerk $ 2,000.00
Deputy Village Clerk $ 1,300.00
Village Treasurer/Asst. Manager $ 5,000.00
Deputy Treasurer $ 1,300.00
Supt. Of Public Works $ 2,000.00
Now Therefore be it RESOLVED that the Village Treasurer is hereby authorized to increase the salaries of the above five positions effective February 01, 2001, and be it further
RESOLVED that the acting Recreation Director’s salary be set at $ 48,180.00 retroactive to January 01, 2001.
Discussion: Trustee McCarthy stated it was her understanding that the adjustments were being made in order to keep the employees’ salaries in line with comparable salaries, in addition to outstanding performance, and that the first whereas clause should state that. She felt it was important that the wording be as sharp as possible and also explained the rationale. She stated there was extensive discussion on this matter and she felt there has not been sufficient justification demonstrated for the adjustments that are being proposed. She disagreed on making comparisons with other municipalities without having full information on what the job was, how many people they had under them or how long they have been in the position.
Village Manager Herbek stated that statement was completely untrue. He stated he provides the Board with complete information. He stated it would be extremely difficult to maintain comparison charts containing such detailed information for every position and that it would be necessary to obtain a consultant to provide that type of data.
Trustee McCarthy stated when the Board previously questioned Village Manager Herbek if it was guaranteed that these adjustments would resolve such discrepancies going forward, he was not willing to make that representation. She stated the Board does not know if next year they would be in the same position and need to give these employees adjustments again in order to make them comparable. She also pointed out that some of the increases that occurred over time have been quite large and she felt the evaluation system that was used was not appropriate. The percentages were not reflective of the marketplace. She stated she does not have a problem with making these adjustments where warranted. She does have a problem with the proposal tonight because she does not believe justification is being shown.
Trustee Grant stated she previously objected to any comparison with other communities for the same reasons as stated by Trustee McCarthy and specifically stated she would not vote for the adjustments if it was to bring the employees up to a level comparable to their peers in other communities. She stated it was her opinion that the adjustments were justified by the evaluations that they did for each department head and that the increases were reflective of outstanding work performed during this past year. It did not have to do with making the salaries equal to other communities.
Trustee Watkins stated that the comparison was one of the issues they previously discussed and he would not object to adding that wording into the whereas clause as requested by Trustee McCarthy since it was a piece of the consideration.
Trustee Grant stated she did not want it added for the reasons that were already said. It was a piece that she was not willing to accept.
Trustee Harkins stated it was his view that the increase was for the recognition of the value of the position, what the job was worth for work being performed as told by the Village Manager. He stated it had nothing to do with the individual performance and that is what a merit increase was for. This was for a specific activity and the value of performing that activity.
Mayor Eliott stated they had a resolution presented before them that he felt required no adjustments. He stated the resolution had to do with outstanding employees – employees that work for the Village Manager, who in turn evaluated them and came to the Board for the approvals. He stated the matter has been discussed at length during numerous meetings and reminded the Board Members they do not always agree.
c. On motion of TRUSTEE Grant, SECONDED BY Trustee McCarthy, the following resolution was adopted unanimously by the Board of Trustees of the Village of Croton-on-Hudson, New York:
BE IT RESOLVED: that a public hearing is hereby called for Monday, March 19, 2001, on Local Law Introductory #3 of 2001, amending Section 230-9 of the Zoning Law, requiring the issuance of a special permit for the expansion, extension, reconstruction, rebuilding, or relocation of certain uses and buildings.
d. On motion of TRUSTEE Watkins, SECONDED BY Trustee Grant, the following resolution was adopted unanimously by the Board of Trustees of the Village of Croton-on-Hudson, New York:
WHEREAS, the VILLAGE OF CROTON-ON-HUDSON (the “Village”) is the owner of certain premises at 33 Brook Street, Croton-on-Hudson, NY (the “premises”); and
WHEREAS, THE CROTON HOUSING NETWORK, INC., has undertaken the redevelopment of the premises by construction of a two-family affordable housing residential building; and
WHEREAS, the Village has entered into a contract dated September 29, 2000, for the sale of the premises to Carlos DaCosta and Averil Yoe for the amount of $137,500.00, said amount to be paid all cash at closing.
NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED: that the Village sell the premises at 33 Brook Street, Croton-on-Hudson, NY, together with the improvements made thereon by the CROTON HOUSING NETWORK, INC., to Carlos DaCosta and Averil Yoe for the amount of $137,500.00; and
AND BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED: that the Mayor, or the Village Manager, be and hereby are authorized to execute such documents as may be necessary to sell the aforesaid premises to Carlos DaCosta and Averil Yoe pursuant to the terms set forth in the aforesaid contract of sale dated December 29, 2000.
AND BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED: that the proceeds of such sale be paid to CROTON HOUSING NETWORK, INC., to reimburse it for the costs of construction.
Discussion: Trustee Watkins confirmed that the language did not mean that they are not allowed to obtain a mortgage, it just meant that they had to pay cash. Mayor Eliott and Village Manager Herbek stated that was correct. Trustee Watkins requested if they had a connection with the Village. Mayor Elliott stated the mother has been a longtime resident of the Village.
Trustee McCarthy pointed out an error in the amount listed under the now therefore clause. Village Mayor Herbek stated he already fixed the error. The Board voted unanimously to amend the resolution.
e. On motion of TRUSTEE Grant, SECONDED BY Trustee McCarthy, the following resolution was adopted unanimously by the Board of Trustees of the Village of Croton-on-Hudson, New York:
WHEREAS, the Village of Croton has almost exhausted its supply of road salt for the current winter season along with the budget for same; and
WHEREAS, the Superintendent of Public Works has estimated that this year the Village’s salt & sand needs for the remainder of the winter season to be in excess of 800 tons; and
WHEREAS, the Treasurer has requested funds in the 2000-2001 budget to be amended to address the salt shortage; and
WHEREAS: the Treasurer has reviewed the budget and has requested the following budget transfer to accommodate this purchase:
Increase 001-5142.470 by $ 5,000.00 ( Vehicle Repairs )
Decrease 001-5110.470 by $ 5,000.00 ( Vehicle Repairs )
Now Therefore be it resolved that the Village Treasurer amend the 2000 – 2001 General Fund budget to reflect these changes.
Village Manager Herbek presented the 2000 Municipal Recycling Summary Statistics and stated Croton was once again the second highest municipality in all of Westchester County under pulp pounds per person. He stated the community should be commended for their efforts.
Village Manager Herbek stated the scheduled dates for the Household Chemical Clean-up Day were October 19th from 1pm to 3 pm and October 20th from 9 am to 3 pm at the FDR Park in Yorktown. He stated there were other facilities to go to on different dates and the information would be posted on the web page.
Village Manager Herbek stated a letter was received from Matt Donepp of Bari Manor thanking the staff of the Public Works Department for their fine snow removal and ice control job performance this winter. Village Manager Herbek commended the department for their outstanding efforts handling the numerous snow storms this winter.
Village Manager Herbek prepared a memorandum on the New Parking Policies at the Croton Harmon Train Station as requested by Trustee Grant. He stated the new policies accommodated residents who are not monthly permit holders or Amtrak users. The Village made a provision for Croton residents to purchase a daily permit to allow them to park in the permit area for the day (not overnight.) It also allowed Amtrak users to park for the length of time they will be traveling.
Village Manager Herbek stated there was a special Citizen Comment Form available on the website in order for residents to submit their comments and suggestions. He stated the website was viewed by people from all over, as proven by the form submitted by Elaine Beyer Fandell of Illinois who wrote to inform the Village that her father Millard K. Beyer had died. He was a Board Member in the 1950s.
Village Manager Herbek stated a memo was received from Sergeant Nolte to Lieutenant Calcutti concerning an act of outstanding police work performed by Officer William Morrison on February 1, 2001. Officers Morrison and Bagley were processing an arrest at headquarters when a frantic 911 call was received that a 3-year-old child was choking. They proceeded immediately to the location where Officer Morrison’s application of first aid dislodged the food and stopped the child from choking. He recommended that Officer Morrison be recognized for his accomplishment. Village Manager Herbek stated this act of outstanding police work was reflective of all of the officers they have in the police department.
Trustee Watkins advised that the Board Members sat on the Board of Assessment and Review for four hours today to hear citizen complaints.
Trustee Watkins stated the Ossining Sewer System list had been submitted to the County.
Trustee Watkins stated he had a meeting scheduled on March 2nd with Village Manager Herbek, two other heads from Parks and Recreation and Miss Pugliese. He suggested the key to that meeting was to seek another location for the occupants of that building to operate out of.
Trustee Watkins congratulated both the girls’ and boys’ high school basketball teams for reaching the playoffs. He stated the second round of games would be held on Thursday, February 22nd at 5 pm and 7 pm in Dobbs Ferry and wished both teams good luck.
Trustee McCarthy commended John Goplerud and the entire Conservation Advisory Committee on their extensive investigation concerning the Local Law for the PRE-1 zoning. She stated they have been addressing the issue in excess of one year and should be congratulated for presenting recommendations to the Board that have resulted in a very positive change.
Trustee McCarthy stated a resident brought to her attention the need for a stop sign at the corner of Olcott and Radnor. She stated there have been a large number of accidents at that particular location. Mayor Elliott stated the stop sign has been proposed several times before, but they can certainly review it one more time.
Trustee Harkins presented the 2000 Accomplishments for the Chamber of Commerce. He stated they introduced a very successful Winterfest and Holiday Tree Decorating project, as well as, conducted another wonderful Summerfest in conjunction with the Recreation and other Village Departments. They worked to increase participation in the Historic River Towns of Westchester. They spent many hours working with the Croton Planning Board on the new signage law. They have met with the consultants and the participants for the Comprehensive Master Plan. They have worked with Village officials on numerous Village improvements, such as the installation of the pedestrian cross walk signs and the cleaner street light lamps. They planned a promotional brochure for retail and tourism-related services, which will be completed shortly and distributed throughout various points of the Village, Croton Point Park and Van Cortlandt Manor.
Trustee Harkins stated he had meetings with Marshall Goldberg from the School Board, Mike Kaplowitz, the County Legislator for Croton, and the Deputy Commissioner of the Department of Parks and Recreation to follow up on the use of Croton Point Park’s Capital Program involving the baseball field for the high school team. He requested that the Village be invited to the upfront planning stages in the hope to have a field for the high school students to play on in the year 2002. He stated it was a wonderful meeting and they will continue to work towards the issue of making it happen. He stated he used the opportunity to request Croton residents to receive free access to Croton Point Park but was unfortunately denied.
Trustee Harkins requested the status of the parking lot waiting list. Eleanor Soderlund stated all school district residents have been issued permits. She stated there still might be one or two residents on the waiting list, but they are in the process of getting permits.
Trustee Harkins discussed the subject of air-conditioning. Village Manager Herbek stated they met with PASNY concerning a program. One of the benefits to the Village would be all of the construction supervision would be handled by the Power Authority who have mechanical engineers that do this on a regular basis. He also stated instead of borrowing the money, the Village would be able to pay it off over a period of seven years. He felt it was an interesting concept and would save the Village some money. He stated he could request the Power Authority to attend a future work session to further explain the program. In addition, they would also review and evaluate the plans that have been developed by Tom Seery so the Village would still be able to bid it both ways. He stated they would provide further information to the Board on the pros and cons for each of those approaches.
Trustee Harkins inquired if the Village Administration had contacted anyone concerning the financial modeling with respect to police overtime. Village Manager Herbek stated he was not sure if they contacted anyone, but he spoke with one management firm and was awaiting a proposal. He stated there were other firms the Village might want to get proposals from.
Trustee Grant stated she would hold her items until the next meeting because she felt they were important and deserved maximum coverage.
Mayor Eliott stated the Village held a joint municipal meeting with Briarcliff Manor in order to bring the residents up-to-date concerning the Millennium Pipeline and their meeting with FERC. He stated they not only updated the public, but also discussed where they would go next - which is basically to put pressure on the Public Service Commissioner of the State of New York. He stated there were no new developments to report.
On motion by Trustee Grant, seconded by Trustee Harkins, the Board voted unanimously to adjourn the Regular Meeting of the Board of Trustees at 11:13pm
Gina M. Tomaino,
Richard F. Herbek