A Regular Meeting of the Board of Trustees of the Village of Croton-on-Hudson, NY was held on Monday, January 6, 2003 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
Village Attorney Waldman Trustee Schmidt
ABSENT: Treasurer Reardon, Trustee Wiegman
1. CALL TO ORDER:
Mayor Elliott called the meeting to order at 8:10 p.m. Everyone joined in the Pledge of Allegiance.
2. 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 Schmidt and approved unanimously.
General Fund $ 59,509.13
Water Fund 3,314.34
Capital Accounts 4,613.43
Trust & Agency 3,565.00
3. PUBLIC HEARINGS:
Village Manager Herbek reviewed the special hardship permit pursuant to the Village Steep Slopes law requested by Robert Davis, on behalf of Peter Aguanno and Sharon Singer. He referred the Board to several communications included in the Board packet from Mr. Tully, Jill and Barry Edinburg and Village Engineer O’Connor regarding drainage concerns. Mr. Davis gave a presentation on the proposed resolution of the solution they are suggested to correct the drainage problem. Mayor Elliott asked for comments from the public.
Jill Edinburg,7 Georgia Lane, stated that these plans were not made available to her or Mr. Tully until last Friday; they are not disputing building the house, but want to be assured that the water problem is not worsened by the construction proposed; she added that the water is an issue in more than one place.
Mr. Tully, Consultant for the Edinburgs, stated that he doesn’t believe the creation of a swale will correct the drainage problem; he hopes that the Board heeds the Edinburgh’s concerns before the permit is approved; he has a difference of opinion of which plantings are permitted and where the drainage problem is. Trustee McCarthy asked if it is Mr. Tully’s position that a drainage problem should be corrected even better than pre-construction. Ms. Edinburg replied that they do not want to stop the granting of this permit, just do not want their situation to be worsened. Trustee Grant asked about how drainage was corrected by 7 Georgia Lane for the property at 9 Georgia Lane. Ms. Edinburg and Mr. Tully responded with details. Trustee Schmidt asked if the
drainage fixed the problem at #9 and Ms. Edinburg & Mr. Tully replied that it did. Trustee McCarthy asked if it is necessary to go all the way back to the corner or would it satisfy the problem if it goes partially back. Trustee Schmidt asked what is the property like at 7 Georgia Lane that abuts this property. Dan O’Connor stated that he would go out to look at the property prior to rendering a final approval. Mr. Tully stated that he doesn’t believe a swale will handle the water problem and where they are doing it would do nothing. Trustee McCarthy asked Mr. O’Connor to take a field look and render an opinion. Mr. Tully requested copies of all correspondence referred to today. Trustee McCarthy asked for further information about what are permitted plantings. Trustee Grant asked to have checked the previously referred to building permit that was granted in 1991. Mr. Tully requested Board members take a look at the
Joanne Minett, 5 Van Cortlandt Place, stated that she had a similar problem with her property; a wall of stone did fall down and the neighbors corrected the wall on their own.
Maria Cudequest, Grand St., stated that Sherwood Development was required to construct a retaining wall as a condition to build on the property; so there is precedent.
Mayor Elliot closed the Public Hearing. Trustee Grant suggested putting this off to take a further look at this. Trustee McCarthy stated that the Board has an obligation to hear from the Village Engineer before making a decision. Mayor Elliott stated that he would put this on the agenda of the next meeting scheduled for January 21st.
Mayor Elliott opened the Public Hearing for the special permit application for Max Finkelstein Tire Warehouse. Village Manager Herbek stated that the Planning Board memo dated 11/27/02 recommends granting approval subject to certain conditions such as the color of the building as viewed from Waterfront access. He added that the County Planning Dept. found there were no county issues and the request should be determined a local issue.
Peter Elkin, Architect for Tire Warehouse, stated that they need more space for showing product; they are maintaining existing use they have had since 1995 but need a special permit because of change in Village zoning laws; they also will have three more trucks and additional employees; not a lot of traffic is generated; there is no drainage problem; for landscaping, the site is buffered per the Comprehensive Plan and abuts the MetroNorth railroad on the waterfront side; they will paint the building a more subdued color as recommended by the Planning Board. He gave the Board an aerial photograph of the site showing the summertime shielding and buffering; it should have no financial impact on the Village, except it will bring in additional taxes, no additional fire or police
protection is needed.
Maria Cudequest, Grand St., asked if this facility has access to train tracks? Reply-it did have it and they were buried under concrete.
Cornelia Cotton suggested planting ivy or other creeper on the water side.
Trustee McCarthy asked if they would they object, as a condition of the special permit, to never use the railroad access. Mr. Elkin replied that he would be loath to recommend giving that up forever, but cannot speak for his client.
Trustee Schmidt as if the Village Engineer has reviewed this and if so, where are his comments. Trustee Schmidt asked also how does this correlate with the Village code for floor area ratio? Mr. Elkin replied that they are at .48 and it is .5. Trustee Schmidt suggested that if the business changes hands, there could be a traffic impact on the Village; is there a sprinkler system in the addition? Mr. Elkin replied that there is.
Maria Cudequest, 84 Grand St., stated that she is concerned that they are reluctant to give up access to the railroad and asked if this facility will ever be a tire recycling facility? Mr. Elkin replied that, no, it will not.
Trustee McCarthy asked if this site were sold to another entity would they have to come back for a permit for warehousing? Village Attorney Waldman stated that he will look into this. Trustee McCarthy asked that if this site is sold and they wanted to do manufacturing would they have to come back for a permit. Village Attorney Waldman replied that it depends on condition of use. Trustee McCarthy suggested adding a condition that a restriction of never using the railroad siding. Attorney Waldman replied that if the railroad siding were resuscitated, they would in most, but not all instances, have to come back for another special use permit because of change of use. A resident stated that if you take away a right of use for a railroad track, you would be
taking away the value of one’s property. Trustee Schmidt asked if the Board could put this condition into the resolution? Village Attorney Waldman replied that he believes they could because of the considerable expansion of the building. Trustee Schmidt stated that he was concerned they may start handling used tires and shipping them out via rail. Trustee Schmidt asked if the Fire Dept. has ever looked at the sprinkler system in this building to see if it is adequate because of the nature of what is being stored there? Mr. Elkin replied that he was not sure about the Fire Dept., but the insurance company inspects and they have a High Protected List status; the building also has special ventilation in case of a fire. Ann Gallelli added that this facility was examined several times by a Fire Inspector and he has stated to the Planning Board that this building has one of the best implementations for fire protection.
Trustee McCarthy moved that the application be conditioned that the applicant and any subsequent owner be prohibited from using the rail siding or train tracks in connection with any operations that occur on the site and the owner or any future owner must come back to the Board and seek a modification of this permit if the need arises. No further action was taken on the motion. Mayor Elliott closed the Public Hearing
Ms. Minnet stated that she agreed with Trustee McCarthy – look at the future before you make a decision; the public should be protected and the Village should be protected from lawsuits.
Mayor Elliott closed the Public Hearing pending further research on putting in conditions regarding the railroad siding and the resolution will be put on the agenda of next meeting.
Mayor Elliott opened the Public Hearing regarding Overlay Districts:
Ann Gallelli introduced Frank Fish of Buckhurst, Fish & Jacquemart, who was instrumental in developing the Gateway Overlay Districts. She reviewed the background of the process; general goal is to strengthen the overall visual identity of the Village; based on substantial public inputs these overlay designations provide for improving the image of Croton at its commercial entrances and enhancing it’s identity as a small residential Village; it calls for connecting areas of the Village to each other and to other areas of the Village with more safe pedestrian linkages; creating a small scale Village-oriented environment as well as a Community Center.
Frank Fish did a presentation; there are 3 design illustrations in the plan; overlay zones do not change the zones, but adds additional criteria that must be met; it prohibits four uses- commercial parking lots, automobile storage lots, automobile dealerships and drive through windows for commercial establishments. He added that the maximum building square footage would be set at 70,000 square feet. He discussed curb cut regulations, sidewalks for new development and the open-space requirement, signage limitations and limitation on building orientation to try to get new building fronts to face the street and as close to the street so parking can be in the rear of the building.
Mayor Elliott stated that he has received a request from Trustee Wiegman to postpone action on this as he is not able to be present tonight. He added that the Board will accept written comments from the public
Robert Davis, Attorney on behalf of Mr. Katz, owner of Croton Auto Park and the adjacent property, stated that he has filed a protest petition today because Mr. Katz owns more than 20% of the area affected in the municipal shopping center area and a super majority vote of the Board is necessary. He added that he has a notice issue as his client resides in Florida and did not receive notice of this meeting in a timely manner. Mr. Davis stated that these changes would substantially reduce the value of this property. He added that his client did attend an earlier meeting and the Village was aware of his concerns in regard to the auto dealership; he was cooperative with the Village to not follow up with a contract to put a McDonalds on his property. Mr. Davis
requested an adjournment of the determination to assess what implications it would have on his client’s property and his understanding with Eckert Drugs.
Ms. Minett read a statement that there are areas of the Village which are a mess; the bus stop needs to be taken care of; there is garbage in the area between the Two Capriccio’s; traffic problems; an issue of safety & traffic for Middle School children for additional signage; citizen input was not implemented in the Overlay District Plan; money should have been spent on correcting existing problems. Ms. Minett asked how did Ann Gallelli get this position and what credentials does she have? Mayor Elliott replied that Ms. Gallelli has done a marvelous job on the Planning Board and she and all members of the Planning Board are qualified to serve in any of their capacities; Ms. Gallelli is not paid for serving on the Planning Board.
Mark Block, President of Westwinds Homeowners Assn., stated that the diagram in the mailing shows sidewalks on both sides of Rt. 9A, but text calls for sidewalks on one side and wanted to know if they would they incur any liability on the part of the Association? Ann Gallelli replied that the Westwinds Association is not in the Gateway at all.
Jim Harkins, 9 Daly Drive, in regard to the Comprehensive Plan, stated that he would like to see the scope of the whole plan bigger than it now is; the plan should address the infrastructure also; there is a big difference in what we would like the Village to be and what it can be- it should be S.M.A.R.T. –specific, measurable, achievable, realistic and time bound. He added that he was pleased to see the concept of a community center, but he is concerned about the suggested location which is at Municipal Place across from the old Grand Union; he does not believe a community center belongs in a gateway location and it may become a large problem for the Police Dept.; a better location would be behind and connected to the Municipal Building.
Tom Brennan, 121 N. Riverside, commented that there are bigger problems to worry about such as the Grand St. merchants have no parking and there is less parking for shoppers; concerns are valid, but they are leaving out parts of town that need work; he suggested putting up a small parking structure by Trustee Schmidt’s office.
Kathleen Riedy, 285 Grand St., stated that she met with the consultant working on the Comprehensive Plan and the new sign legislation proposed for the Village. She commented that the Comprehensive Plan has not been enacted and finalized by this body and should not be amended. Ms. Riedy stated that the Board should take a global view of what Croton on Hudson should look like; they should approve the Comprehensive Plan and then take a look at an overlay plan; see what impact legislation would have by having examples of what is going to take place with this document; three gateway districts are proposed, but a broad blanket approach is being taken; bulk regulations are being proposed, but districts are very different; a workshop would be helpful to advise the community; she
doesn’t know what the unique character of Croton Point Ave. by the podiatrist’s shop is and it should be pointed out.
David Tuttle, 94 Grand St., stated that he agrees that the scope of this needs to be broadened; existing businesses have been pushed away through the years; this work is important and needs to be done but they need to concentrate on keeping merchants in the Village; there is very little encouragement for small businesses to come in and for those already here to stay and be able to make a living.
Kevin McManus stated that he agrees that they are putting the cart before the horse, an economic survey should be done before mandating physical changes to the commercial areas; he doesn’t want big box development, but it is potentially a mistake to mandate changes before we know what we want; there is talk of creating a street wall, but what if all the building fell down after the wall was built-what would the area look like? Mr. Fish replied that the FAR only determines the total bulk of building, not where to place the building and parking is a policy call of the Village. Kevin McManus stated that the proposal pushes buildings farther away from each other and requires getting in a car and driving from place to place, but there is nowhere to put the car and walk; it
continues to promote automobile use.
John Goplerud, Finney Farm, stated that this is about getting a sense of community back to the community and encouraging shop owners to look at how they impact the community; it will encourage more shopping, healthy business community image, encourage walking down to the business rather than take a car; the entrance is gorgeous; stone walls thought throughout the Village is very encouraging; he likes the idea of pedestrian access thoughout and a seating area for the ability to stop and share comments with other residents; he suggested softening the Harmon area, making buffers and reducing the amount of cement-to-trees. He made suggestions that in the Northeast area there are no provisions for bikeways; North-end building orientation-he is not sure it is appropriate in that quarter;
regarding Municipal Place, there is no emphasis on biking or requiring bike racks; along Rt. 9, consider good screening there; Gateway Associations should be developed to see guidelines and policies are fulfilled.
Regina Montana, 5 Ackerman Court, stated that there is a lot of work to be done on the idea of vision; this vision may have a hard time; small “mom & pops’ are being eaten up by larger chains; what can Croton do to make this a realistic vision when people already own property they want to develop.
Mark Aarons stated that he didn’t see where it details how anything gets funded and who pays for such things such as a clock or a statue. Mayor Elliott replied that these are not plans, but suggestions and there would be a framework for guidance. The resident asked if anyone has looked at the expansion or turn-over of actual properties in the Village; he would like to see parking in the Upper Village addressed as the single most important problem and suggested taking a hard look at this; he doesn’t believe the North end is a Gateway and why isn’t Rt. 129 a Gateway; it is the single most beautiful part coming into the Village. Trustee McCarthy replied that she also asked that and was told Rt. 129 is not a commercial gateway and that is why it is not included.
Don Daubney, 45 Bungalow Rd., stated that he concurs with Mark about Rt. 129 as there is a lot of commercial traffic coming down that road; he is uncomfortable that the plan singles out some businesses; the Village-run parking lot is not included in this report; there are no esthetics, no trees or vegetation as in the original plans, except for the wall; the Village should make the parking lot look better than it does and this should be addressed.
A resident asked if lighting been addressed? Ann Gallelli replied that lighting is already addressed in the Village code.
Mayor Elliott adjourned the Public Hearing, but left it open for written comments. Trustee McCarthy suggested leaving the Public Hearing open. Mayor Elliott welcomed anyone to speak at future meetings and these comments will be included in the public record of the meeting.
Trustee Schmidt stated that for those who have received the packet that the Board has, there might be some errors in the numbers, which will be reviewed.
Mayor Elliott opened the Public Hearing on MetroEnviro, which, on advice of council, will be continued to the next meeting on January 15, 2003:
Pat Barua stated that she is disgusted at the extent of Allied’s misconduct; she supports the Village’s conclusion that the continued operation of MetroEnviro is a health and safety hazard; it has been fined for receiving materials from Engelhard which is a hazardous waste generator; MetroEnviro has not supplied them with a customer list; this calls for a professional monitor and a shut down is warranted
Maria Cudequest, 84 Grand St., suggested that the Board not schedule four public hearings in one night. She added that she will continue to strengthen the case for shutting down this facility; Concerned Citizens of Croton has prepared a file of every news article that has appeared on this issue which provides a publicly available chronology of events; she disputes assertions made in the Gazette regarding pressure generated by a few residents and some Trustees; Mr. Gerrard has acknowledged that Engelhard does produce hazardous waste; she understands that Allied must be given every opportunity to be heard, but they will never know everything that has taken place at that site; from1997 to tonight, there have been at least 85 meetings of the Board where MetroEnviro was discussed; and he
questioned item #5 in Mr. Mack’s order which seems to indicate that he is conducting another investigation of Mt. Kisco and Croton site and the use of containers with false walls. Mr. Gerrard replied that he has spoken with Mr. Mack who has submitted a draft of this report to Judge Rakoff and copied MetroEnviro; he has no knowledge of the false wall issue. Ms. Cudequest asked if the Village has submitted a motion to oppose Judge Rackoff’s elimination of the monitor. Mr. Gerrard replied that Allied has until Jan. 9th to respond to that request. Ms. Cudequest asked that notice of the January 15th continuation of this Public Hearing be put on the web site; she indicated several people would like to submit written comments and Mayor Elliott replied that they would be welcome.
David Tuttle, 95 Grand St., thanked everyone for making this courageous decision; he is glad to see the Board is in unity on this and thanked Mr. Gerrard for his report; he also thanked the Village administration for making this material available on a timely manner. Mr. Tuttle stated that one cannot put a monetary value on the amount of time spent on this issue; it has caused a lot of divisiveness in the Village; time & resources spent, as well as this report, is enough to deny this permit; he sees trucks waiting every day for the facility to open; he didn’t see in this report the violation of a snow blower that was crushed and resulted in a fire but it should be included; this business has been given a lot of room and benefit of the doubt, it is his hope that the permit will
not be renewed and the Board should consider significant and substantial fines regardless of the outcome of this permit as they are clearly in violation; there may be future litigations and the Village will need funds to defend against future lawsuits. Mr. Tuttle added that Finkelsteins seems to be a “good neighbor” by responding to Village requests; no one from MetroEnviro is here except for Mr. Steinmetz.
Richard Pellicci, 65 Radner Ave., read a prepared statement and stated that he will be glad to not see uncovered trucks in the Village; they can now focus the energies on more positive projects such as to move the municipal garage to MetroEnviro location and use that space for much needed parking spaces.
Tom Brennan, 121 North Riverside, thanked everybody for taking the steps that they are going to do.
Joanne Minett, 5 Van Cortlandt Place read a statement regarding the decision to allow Metro Enviro into the Village; she referred to 1300 signatures on a petition that had been submitted and added that she can get another 1000 signatures; the Village needs a more open form of government; she gave thanks to the relentless effort of those who lead to the fall of Metro Enviro.
Mayor Elliott continued the Public Hearing until January 15th.
Mr. Gerrard stated that the finding statement is detailed and presents factual information; he is eager to have comments from Allied as to the findings statement and correct any misstatements; Mr. Steinmetz indicated there was not enough time to do this and he has recommended that Allied be given until January 15th; the Village Board will not be making any decisions until the finding statement is complete, it is still just a draft.
Trustee McCarthy stated that she objects to having a special meeting on the 27th in respect to this issue and asked the Board to adjourn to the next regularly scheduled meeting on February 3rd. Mayor Elliott replied that this is being scheduled on advice of Mr. Gerrard. Trustee Grant stated that she sees no reason to put it off and does not want to change the meeting date.
Roger Solymosy, Old Post Rd. North, suggested keeping the meeting as scheduled; this issue deserves special meetings; when there are a lot of other issues, there is no time to speak properly.
Trustee Grant read a statement (copy available in the Village Manager’s Office) stating that every board member must be fair & equitable on all issues to protect the Village in the event of any law suits; MetroEnviro deserved a fair shake; she asked everyone to be patient; this process has commenced because of violations to the special permit and they will be guided by legal advice; this was a very good special permit and if they had done what they were supposed to, they would not have been in the situation that they are today; information is still coming in, but it may be time to close the facility; they are in a different position today than four years ago; new violations are substantive, real and big enough to take action; the Board is about to make a sound and reasoned decision; she asked Mr. Steinmetz to bring
back to his client that the Board will follow proper procedures.
4. Correspondence: Village Manager Herbek read the following:
a) A letter from John Goplerud, Conservation Advisory Counsel, with further comments regarding the proposed Comprehensive Plan
b) A letter from Reverend David L. Carlson, St. Augustine’s Church requesting permission for a march for peace on January 19th. Trustee Grant made a motion to approve the request, seconded by Trustee Schmidt, approved by all.
5. Citizen Participation:
David Tuttle, 94 Grand St., stated that the DPW worked hard on Christmas; however, he received a parking ticket for parking on Grand St. during the snow. He feels a courtesy citation would have been more appropriate; tried to get an explanation of what a seasonal parking permit is and this information should be on the web site; people are not aware of what they are supposed to do; he suggested alternate side of the street parking when it snows. Village Manager Herbek replied that even a seasonal parking permit does not help when it snows; people should move their cars when there is 2 or more inches of snow but people do not know where to move their cars; the staff is working to come up with an alternative plan so plows can get through.
Mr. Tuttle asked for assurance that there were no harmful affects from the sewage treatment plant being dismantled while the skateboard park had kids on it. Village Manager Herbek replied that there was no impact on the skateboard park. Mr. Tuttle asked if the Duck Pond is done. Village Manager Herbek replied that the contractor had a problem and had to bring in special equipment but it was done within the time frame requested. Mr. Tuttle stated that he found the Public Hearing distasteful and the attacks on Board members was not appropriate.
a) The resolution for the Adoption of the Negative Declaration with respect to the proposed Comprehensive Plan was put over to next meeting.
b) Upon motion by Trustee Schmidt, second by Trustee Grant, the following resolution was approved unanimously by the Board of Trustees:
RESOLVED: that the annual Village Election of the Village of
Croton on Hudson, NY, shall be held Tuesday,
March 18, 2003, at the following polling place:
Community Room, Municipal Building
in the Village of Croton on Hudson, at which election
the polls will be open from 6 a.m. to 9 p.m.
c) On motion of Trustee Grant, seconded by Trustee Schmidt, the following resolution was adopted by the Board of Trustees of the Village of Croton-on-Hudson, New York with the following vote: Trustees Grant, Schmidt, and Mayor Elliott, aye; Trustee McCarthy, nay.
WHEREAS, in a letter dated March 23, 2001, Zarin & Steinmetz, Attorneys at law, on behalf of Allied Waste Industries, Inc., requested a renewal of their Special Permit which was due to expire on May 5, 2001; and
WHEREAS, at a special meeting of the Board of Trustees held on April 23, 2001, the Board of Trustees granted a sixty-day extension of the previous special permit in order to have time to consider the renewal of the Special Permit; and
WHEREAS, a Work Session was held on April 30, 2001 and a Public Hearing was held on May 7, 2001 to consider this matter; and
WHEREAS, the Board approved further extensions on eleven separate occasions the most recent being December 16, 2002 which extended the permit until midnight on January 21, 2003; and
WHEREAS, the Board has called for a Special Meeting on January 15, 2003 to hear responses by Metro Enviro Transfer, LLC on the Draft Statement of Findings and to hear any other public comments; and
WHEREAS, David Steinmetz, the attorney for Metro Enviro Transfer, LLC, has requested that the Board not vote on the renewal of the permit until January 27, 2003,
NOW, THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED: that the Village Board of Trustees does hereby grant another extension of the special permit to Allied Waste Industries until midnight on January 27, 2003, and
BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED: that the Village Board of Trustees will further consider the matter of the special permit renewal to Allied Waste Industries on January 27, 2003.
Discussion: Trustee McCarthy stated that she was voting “no” because this matter would be taken up at a special meeting on January 27th instead of the Board’s regularly scheduled meeting one week later on February 3rd.
7. Approval of Minutes:
Trustee Grant made a motion to approve the minutes of the Regular Board Meeting held on December 16, 2002 as corrected. Trustee McCarthy seconded the motion. The Board voted unanimous approval.
Trustee Schmidt made a motion to approve the minutes of the Special Board Meeting held on December 9, 2002 at 7:30 p.m. Trustee Grant seconded the motion. The Board voted unanimous approval.
Trustee Grant made a motion to approve the minutes of the Special Board Meeting held on December 9, 2002 at 9:10 p.m. Trustee Schmidt seconded the motion. The Board voted unanimous approval.
Village Manager Herbek reported 1)that Neil Levy has submitted a brief regarding Millennium pipeline and the DC Circuit Court of Appeals has ruled to hold case in abeyance pending the outcome of the Commerce Dept. decision.
2) The recreation feasibility needs assessment is provided
3) Snow removal - the Dept. of Public Works deserves a note of credit for the job they have been doing; they are looking for cooperation from residents; people should make plans to get cars off the streets when there is 2 or more inches of snow; sidewalks needs to be shoveled, but not before the DPW is done plowing; residents should clear any hydrants; snow should not be put back into the street; it is the homeowners responsibility to clear off crosswalks.
4) A work session is scheduled for next Monday.
Trustee Schmidt made a motion to adjourn. Trustee Grant seconded the motion; approved unanimously. The meeting was adjourned at 1:00 a.m. January 7, 2003.
Phyllis A. Bradbury, Secretary