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Board of Trustees Minutes 12/02/02
A Regular Meeting of the Board of Trustees of the Village of Croton-on-Hudson, NY was held on Monday, December 2, 2002 at the Municipal Building, Van Wyck Street, Croton-on-Hudson, NY 10520.

The following officials were present:
        Mayor Elliott                           Trustee Grant
Village Manager Herbek          Trustee McCarthy
        Treasurer Reardon                       Trustee Wiegman
        Village Attorney Waldman                Trustee Schmidt
1.      CALL TO ORDER:

Mayor Elliott called the meeting to order at 8:05 p.m.  Everyone joined in the Pledge of Allegiance.


Trustee Grant made a motion to approve the vouchers as follows, subject to review by the Audit Committee.  The motion was seconded by Trustee Schmidt and approved unanimously.

                General Fund    $       44,442.30
                Water Fund       1,668.42                                       
                Capital Accounts        50,686.96
                        $       96,797.68


Mayor Elliott opened the Public Hearing to consider the adoption of the proposed Comprehensive Plan.  

Ann Gallelli, Chair of the Comprehensive Plan Committee, introduced 4 members of the Comprehensive Plan Committee, plus Paul Buckhurst and Elana Vatsky and gave an overview of the Comprehensive Plan review process.  Ms. Gallelli stated that this will be the basis for land use decisions & zoning laws; it has been the subject of a lot of input from citizens, many public meetings, interviews, a residential survey, and advice from Buckhurst Fish; it presents a vision for Croton for future years, and will be guidelines; it does not provide specifics.  Ms. Gallelli added that in the broadest term, the plan envisions Croton remaining as small community; it encourages protection of natural resources and open space, it encourages development of the commercial areas, but not large stores, it encourages the maintenance of an appropriate scale of buildings in the residential neighborhoods; it recommends the establishment of linkages of trails and pathways; it identifies the desire for a place for community gatherings such as a community center.  Ms. Gallelli stated that copies of the plan are available at the Village office, the library & the full text is available on the Village’s web site.

Paul Buckhurst gave a slide presentation and a summary of the recommendation section of the plan highlighting the key elements for various proposals for the Village.  
1.      The overall vision was to ensure that the plan works toward preserving traditional qualities
·       Enhancing existing assets, natural resources, the waterfront, parks and woodlands, should work toward the quality of life
·       The commercial areas in the Village were a major source of discussion; they defined gateway districts and improvements to these districts; the Upper Village needs further streetscape improvements and it would be nice to find funding to take down the overhead wiring.   
·       Municipal Place is the retail center with a suburban character; try to tie together the plazas with pedestrian access; encourage mixed usage to create more of a social meeting place in this area.   
·       In the North Riverside area, the vacant site on the corner of Brook St. and N. Riverside could be developed as a small open space area with landscaping and also provide additional parking.  
·       The Rt. 9 A, S. Riverside Ave & Harmon needs significant effort to upgrade the streetscape, street planting, new sidewalks, screening of outdoor car storage area and parking, a pedestrian connection and removal of overhead wires and poles.  
·       The final commercial area is smaller scale office district existing on the west side of Rt. 9A, it is the northern gateway to the Village; the plan discusses additional street plantings and screening of parking lots and development of vacant lots to create a more rural landscape, possibly using low stone walls.
2.      Natural resources; the 1992 Local Waterfront Revitalization Plan emphasized a link to waterfront areas; the plans emphasized better connection to the two rivers and build on initial trail system signage and better pedestrian connections; there is an opportunity with the continuing Half Moon development where the new access road will allow the use of the tunnel as just a bicycle or pedestrian path; the new Waterfront Park being developed encourages mixed open space passive recreational plans for both adult and children.
3.      Transportation there are three key areas, improving sidewalk and pedestrian network, traffic calming and congestion mitigation and increasing access to public transportation. One topic of concern is sidewalk conditions and the plan recommends continued sidewalk improvements and stronger enforcement requirements for residents to maintain sidewalks in front of homes.  
·       Traffic concerns along state roads, perhaps installing neck downs and curb extensions; in residential areas, the Village can consider constructing speed humps to help slow traffic.  
·       Public transit - the Village can improve bicycle and pedestrian access to and from train station, also look at the needs of the transit dependent population for additional services from the County Beeline System.  
4.      Residential areas had two major concerns, preserving and enhancing neighborhood character and providing affordable housing
·       Preserving historic heritage-develop criteria to identify & establish a list of historic buildings
·       Construction of large size homes out of scale with the neighborhood in Croton and many communities in New York is becoming an increasing concern; the plan suggests establishing exterior guidelines for outside design and setting guidelines for features such as size, materials, ornamentation, fencing, walkways and landscaping.  Small businesses that are run out of homes must mesh with the residential qualities of neighborhood.  The plan recommends the Village revisit its home occupation regulations and develop performance standards; also revise off-street parking regulations.
·       Insure housing is available to a range of income groups and also maintain economic diversity in the Village; undertake a study to identify needs; new construction, reuse of existing buildings, density bonuses and dedicated land.
5.      Community services in the Village
·       Many residents have identified a need for a community center perhaps at the Katz property
·        Continued maintenance of Village parks, expand recreational facilities and a need for additional facilities
·        Identify which would be highest priorities
·       Recommend the Village take a pro-active role in capital improvements of water and sewer facilities.

Mayor Elliott opened the Public Hearing to comments from the public:

1.      Maria Cudequest 84 Grand St., thanked volunteers who worked on this committee.  She stated that there is a problem downloading the entire text from web.  Ms. Cudequest stated that she agreed that telephone lines should be buried, the Harmon section poles are too high, too many feeders and are in awful shape especially during icy periods; she asked if there is grant money available to bury lines.  Ms. Cudequest suggested finding same species of trees, get uniform sizes, put them closer together and have maintenance on the sagging of the lines to improve the appearance in the Upper Village.   She added that missing from report is maintenance of on-going projects such as the new cobblestones around the trees, which are strewn with garbage and weeds; she would like to see consistency of trashcans in upper Village; there are several examples in the Upper Village of poorly pruned trees.   Ms. Cudequest asked that the Board not to vote on this tonight in order to give residents an opportunity to look further into the proposal.

2.      Mark Aarons, 18 Georgia Lane, is concerned that he did not get a clear sense of what the core of the Village is.  He added that he hoped to be able to congregate with others in the Village, but there are not places that are contiguous with each other; the Municipal Place offers the best place for the most value, but the Upper Village is also a core of the Village and this must be resolved.  Mr. Aarons agreed that the overhead wires being buried is an absolute must.  Mr. Aarons suggested that the Village should have bought the four lots on the end of Mt. Airy and Grand St.; it would have been a good anchor for additional parking, there is not enough parking for the new restaurant.  Mr. Aarons stated that the plan and the government had a difference of the number of households and should it be 3799 or 2799?  Village Manager Herbek replied that it is not 3799.  Mr. Aarons stated that there is a need for childcare to allow people to come to the meetings.  He added that the survey did not give the proper impetus for the idea of a restaurant on Seprieo property; people want a place to congregate by the water and he urged the Board to look into a community center by Croton Landing with perhaps a restaurant nearby. He added that the report said there were 7,000 commuters to Croton-Harmon station and asked about some commercial activity down there to tap into revenue stream.  He also suggested changing the light in middle of Grand Street and suggested making it round with flowers.

3.      Bob Wintermeier, 43 Radnor Ave., stated that there is a lot of good information in the Plan, but it sounds like the Architectural Review Board is going to impose restrictions on people within the village and is in conflict with the Zoning Board; it would control the rights of individual to do what they want with their own property.  He added that controling the number of cuts in sidewalk should be a concern of individual user; there are key homes in the Village with historical significance; do not make restrictive to homeowners.  Mr. Wintermeier stated that he had concerns about locking out store chains and believes some regional chains would be acceptable to Village such as Barnes & Noble; there is no reference to the skating park and it should be mentioned; Book Hut which is mentioned no longer exists, it is now an antique dealer. Mr. Wintermeier agreed with the idea for the removal of overhead lines, but asked who would pay for that? How to force Verizon, ConEd or Cablevision to pay for that? He added that the document refers to some problems at the Seprieo property, metal fillings were found and who will pay for that clean up?  Mr. Wintermeier stated that he could not find out where the WD zone is located.  He added that the document still refers to ferries and he thought that was a dead issue.  The document addressed Low Income Housing, but the Village should take a look in advance where these projects should be.  He added that he would like to have seen a comment about evacuation plans in document and the back-up of the water and power supply. He stated that the slide show talked about purchase of property on Brook St, but he did not see this in the document; he did see the reference to purchase of the Katz property for community center and would like to know what would it cost.

4.      Kieran Murray, 20 Arlington, stated that he echoed complimenting the process which was extremely open.  He added that there were two sections of the plan that he would expect to see: 1) a measurement criteria; if the plan is adopted, nothing is said when it should be done to be deemed a success. 2) There should be aggressive incentives and aggressive penalties for those who refuse to comply; there should be time lines and an implementation team should be formed to be pro-active.

5.      Terry Lukin, 5 Alexander Lane, stated that she works closely with the Recreation Dept. about facilities; there has been a large needs assessment that has been done and she doesn't know how it interfaces with this document.  Ms. Luckin asked that the Board make sure the Recreation Dept. needs assessment as well as the recommendations that came from that is addressed before Comprehensive Plan is approved.

Mayor Elliott stated that the Board would welcome any written comments; they have not received a report from the County; he adjourned the Public Hearing.

Trustee McCarthy stated that an extensive letter has been received from Kevin McManus dated October 10, 2002 should be made part of the record.

On motion of TRUSTEE Schmidt, 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 Board of Trustees appointed a Comprehensive Plan Committee in August 1999 in order to prepare a Comprehensive Plan for the Village; and

WHEREAS, this plan was formally transmitted by the Comprehensive Plan Committee to the Board of Trustees on October 21, 2002 and the Board of Trustees approved a resolution calling for a Public Hearing at that time; and

WHEREAS, the Comprehensive Plan is subject to SEQRA review and the Board of Trustees must consider the environmental impacts of approving the proposed Comprehensive Plan; and

WHEREAS, the Village sent out its intent to serve as Lead Agency in this matter to all interested parties on October 22, 2002; and

WHEREAS, a full Environmental Assessment Form was prepared by Buckhurst Fish & Jacquemart and circulated to all interested parties on November 4, 2002; and

WHEREAS, the Village has not received any written objections to the intent of the Village Board of Trustees serving as Lead Agency,

NOW THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED: that the Village Board of Trustees declares itself lead agency for this action.   

AND BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED: that the Village Board of Trustees will consider the environmental significance of this matter at a public meeting at a future date.  


Village Manager Herbek read the following correspondence (full text available at the Village Office):

a.      A letter from Emilie Spaulding, Cablevision, regarding price and cable changes for 2003.

b.      A letter from Joseph E. Phelan, Westchester County Dept. of Environmental Facilities, advising of actions they have taken to enlarge the Ossining Sanitary Sewer District by 14 parcels of property and also of legislation that was adopted reducing the Ossining SSD by removing 117 parcels of property.  Village Manager Herbek added that the reduction no completes the removal of all eligible Croton parcels from the sewer district.

c.      A letter from Craig S. Kominoski, NYS Office of Real Property Services with the new tentative Residential Assessment Ratio for Croton-on-Hudson.  Village Manager Herbek stated that there are some invalid entries in the report; Joseph Sperber has made the corrections, which have been sent to Albany.


1. Maria Cudequest, 84 Grand St., stated that a number of questions were raised at the last meeting as a result of a letter from Mark Millspaugh; that letter stated that a concrete pad was replaced at MetroEnviro and the status of MetroEnviro’s DEC permit which expired early November; these questions have questions been turned over to Arnold & Porter.  Ms. Cudequest stated that the DEC has become a very user-unfriendly entity; she has found that the DEC permit allows permitee to continue to operate under the terms of the permit until a determination is made by the DEC.  She added that the concrete pad was not a violation "per se” but the pad needed to be replaced because of wear & tear and leachate concerns.   Ms. Cudequest further added that she has received messages from Mt. Kisco residents today and one found a recent letter from Arnold & Porter detailing two loads of non-permitted waste separate from industrial waste; she will get the exact date of letter.   Ms. Cudequest stated that Dec 16th is the next permit extension hearing; she has arranged to have five people who will baby-sit up to 12 children so residents can come to this meeting.  Attorney Waldman stated that Mr. Mack has indicated he is putting the finishing touches on report and it will then have to go to Allied and the U.S. Attorney’s office for comments for 10 days; it will then be evaluated by Mr. Mack who expects to have it done by the end of the year.  Ms. Cudequest asked if the permit is extended, give it no more than 60 days; indications are a lot of decisions are predicated on what the Village is going to do.  Trustee McCarthy suggested telephonic participation be instituted to allow for more access to the meeting.

2- Bob Wintermeier, 43 Radner Ave., stated that he believed there was prior discussion on a contract to demolish a digester and the cost went from 20 thousand to 70 thousand; people should be held accountable for this kind of mistake and it is his understanding that it was not put out for bids.  He added that the Board should take a look at the salary of those who should be held accountable.  Village Manager Herbek explained that the Village operated a primary sewage treatment facility at the Municipal Place site for many years and it was closed in 1982 due to the Federal Clean Water initiatives & the opening of the Ossining Secondary Sewage Treatment Facility; secondary sewage treatment provides a higher degree of water quality than primary; when they started this project it was found that the sludge digesters were not cleaned out but the tops were welded shut to make them safe when the facility was taken off line, at the time, demolition work was not considered a priority; components were removed over the years when time & money allowed. He added that when the skateboard facility was being constructed he put out bids to dismantle the digesters; when the tops were torched off, it was discovered both digesters were completely full and the bids received were based on empty digesters.  The contractor was on the job with their equipment and they were faced with an open digesters with open tops which would be a potential safety problem; Ken Kraft contacted the County Dept. of Environment Facilities for suggestions of disposal of sludge, but it was not an acceptable form to be taken to any county facility; Mr. Kraft then contacted Fred A Cook, Jr., a contractor who does high-pressure work for the Village; they made an estimate of the quantity based on size was 100 thousand gallons of sludge; the going rate and the estimate received is 18cents a gallon (the Purchase Order was placed at $20,000 for removal of sludge).  Village Manager Herbek added that the size of second tank was a lot larger than first one and much was buried under ground; when pumping began, they found a part became solids that needed to be broken up in order to be taken out by the tanker trucks; the cost for that is covered by a state contract; the sludge needed to be disposed of in an environmentally sound manner.  He added that he and Bob Reardon are the enforcers of the purchasing practices followed by Village and there is excellent cooperation among dept. heads but unanticipated problems do come up and emergency decisions are made by the Village Manager in the best interest of the Village.  He added that the bill was analyzed and has been reviewed with Dan, Ken & Seymour and he thinks it was handled in the way it should have been handled.   Village Attorney Waldman stated that Village Manager Herbek mentioned that the dimension of the second unit was unknown and it turned out that the total amount of sludge removed was about 190 thousand gallons, not 100 thousand gallons as was the best estimate based on what they could see; the entire project has three major elements- 1) the demolition, excavation, and removal of units themselves and it was completed as bid.   2) The equipment rental, labor costs which are set by NYS contract; this amount was billed & paid based on NYS contract figure.   3) The removal, pumping out, use of tanks, trips to Dutchess County and the Dutchess County facility fees; there were 30 truck loads and that price per unit was fixed from beginning at going rate or somewhat below; nothing exceeded the rate that was quoted & known, but the conditions were unknown until the operation proceeded.  Trustee McCarthy added that a lot of the sludge was disposed of at the New Jersey facility.

Bob Wintermeier stated that he doesn’t think it would have been a problem to recap the digesters and doesn’t know what the hurry was.  Trustee Wiegman replied that these were immense caps and they were probably damaged in the removal process; 30 truck trips were made to get all of the material moved from those digesters in as few weeks as possible was in the interest of the Village's public health.   Mr. Wintermeier asked if Westchester County could have paid for any of the costs.  Village Manager Herbek replied that they did go to the County, but they could not assist because of the state of the contents.  

3.      Tom Brennan, 120 N. Riverside said that it is clear to him that mistakes were made on this; the contractor should have known if the tanks were full.  Village Manager Herbek replied that no one knew the tanks were full because the digesters were sealed tight.  Mr. Brennan replied that something failed when a $20,000 job became a $70,000 job; he wants to know when it was found out that the sludge was there; he wants to know now and for the future that there will be a mechanism in place that if a bid goes over what was bid for, and a set percentage for overage costs?  Village Manager Herbek explained the NY State regulations on bidding jobs and lump sum or line item bids.   Mr. Brennan stated that any contract in the Village, if it is expected to go over for unexpected expense, the Village should be notified and make a decision.  Village Manager Herbek added that he is aware of only two companies that do this type of work and are under state bid, other companies were from other states; he is very careful of following correct purchasing procedures.  

Mayor Elliott closed the Citizens’ Participation portion of the meeting and asked for comments from the Board

Trustee Wiegman stated that he was perfectly satisfied with the way this was handled.

Trustee McCarthy questioned the bill that talked about the vactor and the removal which took days to do, and she believes that under the law, you are able to purchase services need, but to portray this as though it would be exceed $20,000 cannot be correct. Village Attorney Waldman stated that it is his understanding from Ken Kraft that when looked at, they saw liquid and the pumping went fine for a while until a certain point was reached, when they found the vactor was needed.  Village Manager Herbek offered to have Brian Cook and Ken Kraft at the next Board work session.  

Trustee Schmidt stated that he found it hard to believe a contractor would have agreed to take down the facility without knowing what was involved.  Village Manager Herbek added that they brought all three contractors out to the site and no one knew they were not empty.  Trustee Schmidt added that he believes any reliable firm would have asked the questions about contents and the nature of the structure.  Trustee McCarthy asked if, under the procurement policy is there not a need to get faxed quotes?  Village Manager Herbek replied that they were making a judgment based on an unforeseeable situation.  

Trustee Grant stated that she cannot come up with any reason for anyone to deliberately underestimate this job, it was done in good faith and what had to be done was done; they pay the Village Manager and the DPW to make these decisions.  She thanked the Village Manager for the cohesive summary of what was done.  Trustee McCarthy stated that she believes the tops should have been resealed.  Trustee Grant said that she doesn't believe the Board members are qualified to make a decision about if the tops should have been resealed.  Trustee McCarthy said that the Village Manager stated the Village did not determine whether the tops could have been rewelded.


a.      On motion of TRUSTEE Grant, seconded by TRUSTEE Schmidt, the following resolution was adopted unanimously by the Board of Trustees of the Village of Croton-on-Hudson, New York:

WHEREAS, the Village Board authorized the Village Manager to conduct a study of the sewer problem on North Riverside Avenue; and

WHEREAS, the firm of Stearns & Wheeler, LLC was chosen to conduct said study for $ 10,600.00; and

WHEREAS, the Treasurer recommends utilizing funds in the contingent account  (1990.400) to pay for the study; and

WHEREAS, The Treasurer wishes to move those funds to the General Fund Budget and make the following transfers:

1. Increase     001 8120.0400 by        $ 10,600.00  (Contractual Expense)
2. Decrease   001-1990.0400  by $ 10,600.00  ( Contingent Account )

NOW, THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED:  that the Village Treasurer is hereby authorized to transfer $ 10,600.00 as described above.

b.      On motion of TRUSTEE Wiegman, 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, at the Regular Board of Trustees Meeting of November 18, 2002, Peter Elkin, AIA, on behalf of Max Finkelstein Tire Warehouse, requested a special permit to expand its existing tire warehouse building; and

WHEREAS, this matter was referred to the Planning Board; and

WHEREAS, the Planning Board has completed its review of this matter and submitted a recommendation to the Board of Trustees,

NOW, THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED:  that the Board of Trustees hereby calls for a Public Hearing on January 6, 2003 to consider the special permit application of Max Finkelstein Tire Warehouse.

c.      On motion of TRUSTEE Schmidt, 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, at the Regular Board of Trustees Meeting of November 4, 2002, Robert F. Davis, on behalf of Peter Aguanno and Sharon Singer, requested a steep slopes special hardship permit for 5 Georgia Lane; and

WHEREAS, this matter was referred to the Planning Board; and

WHEREAS, the Planning Board has completed its review of this matter and submitted a recommendation to the Board of Trustees,

NOW, THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED:  that the Board of Trustees hereby calls for a Public Hearing on January 6, 2003 to consider the steep slopes special hardship permit application of Peter Aguanno and Sharon Singer for 5 Georgia Lane.  


Trustee Grant made a motion to approve the minutes of the Regular Board Meeting of November 18, 2002 as corrected.  Trustee Schmidt seconded the motion; approved unanimously.

9.      REPORTS:

Village Manager Herbek reported that, regarding the Millennium Pipeline, a number of petitions have been submitted to the Court of Appeals- one by Great Lakes United and another by a person named Peter Suppa who has a water supply system being crossed by the pipeline upstate and petitions on behalf of a number of gas companies for leave to intervene.  Village Manager Herbek stated that with the latest bill the cost is $540,417.71, which is just Croton’s portion; Briarcliff has also received a $48,000 bill.   Trustee Grant stated that she wants people to know what is being spent and if it is a problem, residents should let the Board members know.  Village Manager Herbek reported also that the High St. bottoming-out problem has been corrected; the Duck Pond dredging work is proceeding and all dredged material is going out to the Seprio property which will not look good at first but someone will take a look to see if this can be combined with composting material and use for a new lawn or part of the Brooks Street grading project.  Village Manager Herbek stated that a second Newsletter is out for the month of December; he has been hearing that some sections are not getting these newsletters; they are being sent out bulk mailing and he needs to know if they are not received so it can be taken up with the Postal Service.   Village Manager Herbek added that the Maple St. wall is turning out to be an attractive, quality wall; they will complete the job the beginning of next year's construction season.  Mr. Herbek announced that about 20 more volunteer Salvation Army bell ringers are needed.

Trustee Wiegman reported on the Hunter Place fence; he has submitted a summary of the meeting with residents and assumes there will be some response from other neighbors.  Trustee Wiegman asked that various advisory board members be invited to a work session to have a dialog about the Comprehensive Plan.  Trustee Wiegman stated that the Croton Sustainable Energy Cooperative may have NYSERTA’s mid-Hudson representative come and set up an all-day workshop in January or February for both business and home owners; as soon as they have a date, he will put the word out to organizations for representatives to attend.  Trustee Wiegman thanked Dan O'Connor for detailed critique of the County's draft water assessment report; he is very specific in the report to describing the potential contaminate sources for the well fields including the Millennium Pipeline.  

Trustee McCarthy stated that Dan O'Connor is doing a wonderful job. She added that recently she was asked to speak to two classes of 5th graders and brought a copy of the Villages' budget; she included pie charts put together by Bob Reardon.  Trustee McCarthy announced that the Lions’ Club has Christmas trees for sale at the Shop Rite.

Trustee Schmidt stated that the Chamber of Commerce, in conjunction with the Recreation Dept. and the Croton-Harmon schools would have the tree lighting ceremony Sunday at 3 to 6 pm in Vassallo Park.  He announced also that the C.o.C. and the Recreation Dept. is doing their annual tree decorating; the trees have been put in barrels and if someone wants to decorate a tree, they should contact Cynthia at Rivertown Realty.  The Chamber discussed the Upper Village parking and suggested leaving it at the two hour parking limit and work on better enforcement of the two-hour limit and revisit later.

Trustee Grant stated that she has brought Bob Reardon’s budget pie charts to the senior citizens and the charts do help residents understand the budget.

Trustee Schmidt made a motion to adjourn, seconded by Trustee Grant, approved unanimously.
The meeting was adjourned 10:45 pm.

Respectfully submitted,

Phyllis A. Bradbury, Secretary

Village Clerk