A Regular Meeting of the Board of Trustees of the Village of Croton-on-Hudson, NY was held on Monday, August 15, 2005 at the Municipal Building, Van Wyck Street, Croton-on-Hudson, NY 10520.
The following officials were present:
1. CALL TO ORDER:
Mayor Schmidt called the meeting to order at 8:10 p.m. Everyone joined in the Pledge of Allegiance.
2. APPROVAL OF VOUCHERS:
Trustee Steinberg made a motion to approve the vouchers as follows, subject to review by the Audit Committee. The motion was seconded by Trustee Kane and approved unanimously.
Mayor Schmidt gave an update of the MetroEnviro situation: He reviewed why this fight is so important; an entity can come in without any oversight by town, county or state; it is a team effort to fight this. Mayor Schmidt thanked the Trustees for the work they have been doing keeping everyone informed as well as Special Counsel Michael Gerrard who continues to do a fine job; Village Attorney Maryanne Stecich has been doing a lot of work on this; Village Manager Herbek has done an excellent job keeping everyone on their toes and informed on who to contact. He added that Senators Schumer & Clinton and Congresswoman Sue Kelly have sent in letters of support; County Legislator Abbinanti sent a resolution and also a letter of support. Mayor Schmidt stated that the County is very concerned so it does not become a loophole.
Village Manager Herbek read a memo from the Planning Board dated July 6. 2005 giving the background of this application and their recommendation that a special steep slopes permit be granted with certain conditions. Village Manager Herbek stated that legal notices have been published and all property owners within 200 feet have been notified.
John Alfonzetti, the engineer representing the applicant and who has prepared the plans attended and was prepared to answer questions. Trustee Wiegman asked if this home will be visible from Grand Street. Mr. Alfonzetti replied that although it will be visible to some degree, he has reduced the impact; he has made the driveway a little more narrow and some trees and the smaller shrubs will remain; dry wells were sized for several different storm events, including a 100 year storm event; driveways, walkways, rooftops will recharge water back to the ground; it will have a trench drain in front of the driveway, roof leaders will go into dry wells. Mayor Schmidt asked what the size of the house is. Mr. Alfonzetti replied 2400 sq feet; with 3 bedrooms, 2 ½ baths. Trustee Wiegman asked if the house on the other side is planned or built? Mr. Alfonzetti answered that it is under construction and he is the engineer for that also. Village Manager Herbek stated that a small portion of Kuney St has been de-mapped. Mr. Alfonzetti added that the contractor will install an orange safety fence to delineate the area. Trustee Wiegman asked if that area is tighter than the other building. Mr. Alfonzetti replied that application is far less a steep slope than this. Trustee Brennan asked what is the difference from the original proposal and this one? Mr. Alfonzetti replied that the original application was about 2700-2900 sq ft., there was a question about including the basement or not; they have now buried the basement and it is not habitable space; it will not have three stories showing; testing showed it has very good soil and not a lot of blasting will be necessary.
Dan Osborne, 174 Maple St., asked if there will be back-fill of the 20-30 ft drop. Mr. Alfonzetti replied that they do not propose to touch that area at all.
No further questions
On motion of TRUSTEE Brennan, seconded by TRUSTEE Kane, the following resolution was adopted unanimously by the Board of Trustees of the Village of Croton-on-Hudson, New York:
WHEREAS, Philip Spagnoli has applied for a special hardship permit for one family lots pursuant to Section 195-9 of the Village Steep Slopes Law for 214 Grand Street; and
WHEREAS, this matter was referred to the Planning Board for its recommendation; and
WHEREAS, the Planning Board recommended granting the Steep Slopes Hardship exemption subject to conditions outlined in a memo from Ann Gallelli dated July 6, 2005,
NOW, THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED: that the Village Board hereby declares this an unlisted action, accepts the Short Environmental Assessment Form, and issues a Negative Declaration,
AND BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED: That the Village Board of Trustees grants the Steep Slopes Hardship exemption subject to the conditions specified by the Planning Board in the July 6, 2005 memo from Ann Gallelli on behalf of the Planning Board.
Discussion: Trustee Kane stated that the Planning Board has negotiated a good acceptable reduction of the original plan and it is well engineered. Trustee Steinberg asked how is the environmental consultant funded? Mayor Schmidt replied that is funded by the builder.
Village Manager Herbek read the following correspondence (full text available at the Village Office):
A letter from Westchester County Executive Andrew Spano regarding a resolution to enact a civil confinement law for convicted sex offenders. Mayor Schmidt suggested that this be held over for discussion at a work session.
An email from Carolyn Whiting, Nordica Dr., about removing signs posted on poles, etc. and suggesting a regulation for prompt removal of these signs particularly in the Harmon section. Mayor Schmidt replied that there is a regulation in the Village code and all these signs are illegal. He suggested putting a notice into the Village newsletter that residents can put signs up as a courtesy, but the Village will enforce the regulation if not removed in a timely manner. Trustee Wiegman added that he also has a problem with commercial entities and their signs. Mayor Schmidt recommended looking at signs put up by contractors- that they are being dated to help indicate when they should come down. Attorney Stecich stated that the Zoning code says temporary signs can stay up for 7 days. Village Manager Herbek suggested looking up another code that restricts posting of any signs. Attorney Stecich will look at the code for conflicting information. Trustee Brennan suggested putting this information on cable also.
A letter from Congresswoman Sue Kelly regarding the Highlands Conservation Act to preserve land & water resources in the Highlands Region and encouraging municipalities wishing to submit properties for consideration to reach out to NYS DEC. Village Manager Herbek stated that he is trying to find out if Croton is a part of the Highlands Region.
A letter from Jan Wines, chair, Croton Trails Committee, regarding signs posted by the Riverwalk and restrictions imposed by Half Moon Bay to not allow residents access except by showing an ID to the guard at the guardhouse and a notice posted by the owner of the marina that does not recognize that Village residents can use the easement. Village Manager Herbek replied that he had a meeting with Mike McFadden, Harbormaster Steven Plotkin, Jack Ready and Ann Gallelli; they looked at and discussed signage put up by Half Moon Bay. He added that he told Mr. Plotkin that one sign has to come down; a sign with revised language will be put up; proposed wording for signs is “Private Property-trail restricted to Village residents and HMB marina tenants only- ID required”; there have been problems with some non-residents doing things not allowed on HMB property such as rollerblading and skateboarding; the new signage should help; occasionally it may require some police enforcement. Mayor Schmidt asked residents to please carry some form of ID when using the Riverwalk trail.
Notice of application to the Village of Ossining to co-locate a wireless telecommunication facility on an existing water tank at 56 Browning Dr., Ossining.
A letter from Fran Allen, Waterfront Advisory Committee, regarding extension of the Riverwalk Trail through the Beaverkill property with three concerns: access to the Hudson River by small boats, vegetation removal and parking. Mayor Schmidt asked that in the future when a board is making a comment to this Village Board they should keep it within the area of their purview. Trustee Kane stated that their concern is that the boating access will be removed and will not be replaced. Mayor Schmidt stated that this was discussed at a work session and suggestions made to provide access to the boaters such as at the Senasqua boat basin. Trustee Kane suggested that this be discussed with the WAC to come to a conclusion. Trustee Wiegman added that the WAC is charged with finding out if projects are compliant with the 44 state and local policies of the Local Waterfront Revitalization Plan, it is inconsistent to take away one use and replace it with another; it is consistent to keep a favorable existing use and add to that- such as a walking trail; they did discuss vegetation & parking which are outside the particular legal mandate of the WAC, but were trying to see the project holistically; no conclusions were reached, but questions were raised. Trustee Steinberg asked if the interest of commercial fisherman must be protected. Trustee Wiegman replied that that use cannot be removed as it has been an existing use for many years.
With regard to the various letters of support submitted on behalf of the Village to the STB, Trustee Steinberg asked if people could have access to the full comments by the County and State representatives. Mayor Schmidt replied that these can be posted on the web site and any residents interested should contact legislators to sponsor legislation to eliminate this loophole in the federal law.
HARMON WATER PROJECT UPDATE – DAN O’CONNOR.
Village Engineer O’Connor updated the work being done on this project; the contractor ran out of 8 inch water pipe today, but they will have a supply tomorrow and work will continue. If residents are unsure what type of pipe they have, they can call a plumber or the Water Dept. at 271-5270. He added that residents can call 271-4783 to contact Dan O’Connor with questions.
CITIZEN PARTICIPATION-Agenda Items
a) Maria Cudequest, 84 Grand St., thanked all for keeping residents abreast about what is going on with MetroEnviro. She reported that residents have been working hard and have sent over 221 emails and faxes to various representatives; they learned last week that Regis has blazed a trail of environmental offenses, they are currently under a contempt of court citation; an individual directly associated with Northeast is named in a lawsuit; it is suspected that waste originated from the Croton site and cleanup of the site and believes an entirely new company also named in this lawsuit operated out of the Croton site, but they have been unable to determine who the principles of that company are. Ms. Cudequest added that the committee on solid waste & recyclables has filed a resolution and letter on behalf of Croton; this has been a real team effort. Ms. Cudequest addressed three issues: 1) a handful of people continue to insist that the new board & residents who oppose Metro are responsible for where they stand now and insist that Metro is in compliance with its permits and the Village should have taken the money last September; nothing in the deal last year that could have prevented them from selling then or now. 2) some people have suggested that aren’t we better off with Allied than other types of garbage. She believes the Village is moving in the right direction; it is naive to believe that a waste operation is never going to bring in other types of garbage or material 3) many people say that why didn’t Mr. Gerard or anyone else see this coming; she asked to please don’t go there, it’s taken a long time to get where we are now.
Richard Pellicci, 65 Radnor Ave., thanked several people for their latest attempt to put this in proper perspective and reality. He added that people have been going on the blog and expanding their advice and upsetting the residents who have been fighting this for years; he asked them to stop and let professionals handle this.
Mayor Schmidt commented that there has been misinformation on both sides and asked people to work together to have this facility closed.
Ann Gallelli stated that she and Mayor Schmidt had a conversation today regarding a letter she wrote which appeared on both the Croton blog and in the Gazette; this was written as a resident of the Village who has been actively involved since the 1980’s; she believes that this is the single most serious problem that has appeared in the Village for that entire time and agrees everyone should be working together, not pointing fingers; residents must be united in the approach and every single person in this Village should take part and every step needs to be taken to fight this; it should not be characterized as a political thing or something being done for political purposes; everyone must get on with the problem in front of us or must deal with the consequences; people should be engaged and informed. Mayor Schmidt stated that if it is true about what the railroad can do, there is no stopping them bringing anything through there; the Board is entirely behind this fight; he encouraged every single resident to contact a legislator and tell them that they want it stopped. Trustee Steinberg added that over the course over the past 10 days, the events are unparalleled in connection with other events that have transpired in the past; the goal is a unified front; he has made numerous phone calls and contacted numerous people as have others; this is an important issue and he wants to see this facility closed under the purviews and rules of the law.
Bob Wintermeir, 43 Radnor Ave., stated that 1) he agrees with Ann Gallelli’s article and thought it said let’s all get together and stop the bickering going on and the misinformation on both sides. He added that he stopped looking at the blog because of the emotion that goes into some of the statements. He added that Allied was in trouble years ago; they could have done this at any time and had to sell to someone; Mr. Gerrard said this was a possibility. He added that they are using a loophole to make them a common carrier because of 1600 ft of rail spur. He said the important thing is sticking together to the end and also to subscribe to the information Maria Cudequest sends out. 2) signs on poles are a pain and may be hazardous; he suggested people should be required to post a deposit until signs are taken down. 3) on the pathway into HMB, the stop sign is bent and people are not sure what to stop for; 4) this is the worse town for cell phone transmission; in an emergency-can they really be used; something should be done in that regard.
Dan Daubney, referring to the posters on poles, suggested putting in a mechanism to allow people bothered by them to call someone in the Village who will call the offending person; it is not the job of Village police or employees to take signs down; also put in the Newsletter that signs need to be taken down within 24 hours of the event; if people are notified by someone in authority this may get them taken down. Mr. Daubney asked which fields are affected by the agreement with the County on Croton Point Park. Mayor Schmidt replied that those as you come off the bridge. Mr. Daubney asked if the Village will have the responsibility to maintain the fields. Village Manager Herbek replied- yes and there is an understanding with the school district that they will pay 50% of the cost of what needs to be done at the ball fields. Mr. Daubney asked if the points the Recreation Advisory disagreed about in the contract have been resolved. Village Manager Herbek replied that not entirely from the standpoint of the Recreation Dept.; the use of fields will primarily be used by AYSO soccer, little leagues & the school district; the agreement has to be between Westchester County and the Village of Croton on Hudson; this is being looked at as a community benefit; there is a lack of ball fields in the community; it is almost impossible to work on any field because there are more people who want to use the fields than fields available; taking over these fields will give some flexibility in maintaining other fields; this item must be approved by the Village Board & Westchester County Board of Legislators; the Village is not looking to hire additional full time employees; there will be additional costs for landscapers and maintenance. Mr. Daubney asked if there will be a rental fee for outside requests. Village Manager Herbek replied that there will be, but a fee will have to be established; the Village will be the recipient of these fees and cannot exclude those outside, but the Village can charge double what they charge a local group. Mayor Schmidt added that this will be a temporary agreement and will give the Village time to see what the costs will be before signing an Inter-Municipal Agreement. Trustee Brennan stated that he is not 100% sure it will be a good idea to enter into this agreement. Mr. Daubney asked if there has been discussion with AYSO and are they okay with paying a fee to use these fields. Trustee Wiegman responded that AYSO has previously paid up to $1500 to the County for use of these fields.
Georgiana Grant, 37 Wells Ave., thanked Mayor Schmidt for his opening statement which was very gratifying; this will be a big battle; everyone is committed to working together to get any degree of success; this is potentially too harmful & detrimental for the Village. Ms. Grant added that it serves no purpose to live in the past, but asked to set the record straight that every solitary member of the previous Board made decisions based on sincere good wishes for the Village; there are still some who believe the Village won in Appellate Court because of the grounds that were laid and getting paperwork in place. Ms. Grant added that she is pleased that this Board has taken the initiative to contact so many government officials; but some very powerful officials have opposed this in prior years and the STB has not paid a lot of attention to them; she is pleased with the way the Board has undertaken this battle and help from everyone is needed. Ms. Grant questioned the figure she heard tonight that the County is putting in 6 million dollars for the Waterfront Trail. Mayor Schmidt corrected that it is 1.6 million not 6 million. Ms. Grant also stated that she believes that any Trustee can put something on the agenda.
a) On motion of TRUSTEE Brennan, seconded by TRUSTEE Wiegman, the following resolution was adopted unanimously by the Board of Trustees of the Village of Croton-on-Hudson, New York:
WHEREAS, Gerald Weinstein and his brother, of 1339 Albany Post Road, desire to build an additional residence at this site in order for both to live on this property but in separate residences; and
WHEREAS, Gerald Weinstein has received an area variance for an accessory apartment from the Zoning Board of Appeals; and
WHEREAS, the applicant is now applying to the Board of Trustees for a special permit for an accessory apartment,
NOW, THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED: that the Village Board of Trustees hereby refers this matter to the Planning Board for its consideration and review,
AND BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED: that the Village Board of Trustees hereby calls for a public hearing at 8 pm on September 19, 2005 to be held in the meeting room of the Stanley H. Kellerhouse Municipal Building to consider the issuance of a special permit for an accessory apartment at 1339 Albany Post Road.
b) On motion of TRUSTEE Steinberg, seconded by TRUSTEE Kane, the following resolution was adopted unanimously by the Board of Trustees of the Village of Croton-on-Hudson, New York:
WHEREAS, the President signed the Disaster Mitigation Act of 2000 (Public Law 106-390) into effect on October 10, 2000 to improve the planning and set standards for mitigation throughout the nation; and
WHEREAS, the act requires an approved pre-disaster hazard mitigation plan in order to be eligible for mitigation project funding; and
WHEREAS, the development of this plan fulfills other Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) planning requirements making the Village competitive for further mitigation funding; and
WHEREAS, the Village of Croton-on-Hudson participated in the Town of Cortlandt HAZNY workshop sponsored by the Westchester County Department of Emergency Service Office of Emergency Management; and
WHEREAS, the Hazard Mitigation Plan, prepared by the Village of Croton-on-Hudson Hazard Mitigation Committee, focuses on methods of mitigation that will reduce exposure and vulnerability to the hazards identified by the HAZNY plan; and
WHEREAS, the Hazard Mitigation Plan evaluates a broad range of natural and man-made disasters and cost-effective means of minimizing risk to life and property in the village; and
WHEREAS, the Disaster Mitigation Act (2000) requires adoption of the plan by the local government to be eligible for consideration of approval by FEMA;
NOW, THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED: ~that the Village Board of Trustees hereby adopts the Hazard Mitigation Plan as a means of mitigation that will guide cost-effective mitigation of hazards that cause damage to property and loss of life,
AND BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED: that the Village Board of Trustees hereby authorizes the submission of this plan to FEMA for their consideration and approval.
Discussion: Trustee Wiegman stated that this is an excellent report; he questioned items on pages 32/33 regarding hazardous and radiological waste in transit; other places in the emergency planning refer to transportation of nuclear waste; the Village is 4 ½ sq miles of land & 6 sq miles of water and it is unlikely hazardous waste on truck would go north to Bear Mt Bridge, but may leave by rail or barge; either of these modes of transportation would pass through the Village; he added do we want to declare the Village a nuclear free transportation zone to work with Federal and County regulations so the police know in advance about such a transportation event. Village Manager Herbek asked if Trustee Wiegman is suggesting this resolution be modified or amended or suggesting some other type of legislation; there is a Committee that has been actively working on this for several years; they can brainstorm this issue. Trustee Wiegman stated that this resolution is fine as it is, but the Village should look 5 or 10 years down the road and be pro-active. Village Manager Herbek stated that the committee who put this information together deserves a pat on the back- Janine King, Dan O’Connor, Tex Dinkler, Michael Nolte, Ken Kraft, Tom Brann and Emily Fannon the Village intern.
c) On motion of TRUSTEE Brennan, seconded by TRUSTEE Kane, the following resolution was adopted unanimously by the Board of Trustees of the Village of Croton-on-Hudson, New York:
WHEREAS, the Village received a $150,000 grant – EPF 540487-T7 - from the New York State Office of Parks Recreation and Historic Preservation to help fund the costs of the construction of a multi-purpose playing field and Comfort Station at Croton Landing; and
WHEREAS, in order to accept this grant the Village must enter into a contract with the State,
NOW, THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED: that the Village Manager is hereby authorized to sign the agreement with New York State for the Croton Landing Improvements Project.
d) On motion of TRUSTEE Wiegman, seconded by TRUSTEE Kane, the following resolution was adopted unanimously by the Board of Trustees of the Village of Croton-on-Hudson, New York:
WHEREAS, Westchester County has renovated the ball fields at Croton Point Park through the use of legacy funds; and
WHEREAS, Westchester County has asked the Village if they would like to manage the fields; and
WHEREAS, this would require an intermunicipal agreement with the County; and
WHEREAS, this agreement can not be finalized until late fall; and
WHEREAS, the County has prepared a temporary permit that would allow the Village to manage and schedule the fields for the fall season – September through November;
NOW, THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED: that the Village Board of Trustees authorizes the Village Manager to obtain a letter permit allowing the Village to manage the fields for the fall season,
AND BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED: that based on the experience of managing the fields during the fall season, the Village will then decide whether to enter into an intermunicipal agreement with the County to manage the fields on a more permanent basis.
e) On motion of TRUSTEE Kane, seconded by TRUSTEE Brennan, 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 established a defined service award program for active firefighters of the Village of Croton on Hudson; and
WHEREAS, Penflex, Inc. has been retained to maintain the actuary record of the Fire Department Service Award Program for all active firefighters of the Village of Croton on Hudson; and
WHEREAS, contributions to fund the Fire Department Service Award Program must be deposited with a responsible and reputable investment firm; and
WHEREAS, RBC Dain Rauscher works closely with Penflex, Inc. the actuaries responsible for calculation yearly contribution,
NOW THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED, that the Village of Croton on Hudson retain the firm of RBC Dain Rauscher to maintain the investments of the Fire Department Service Award Program; and
BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, that the Village Board of the Village of Croton on Hudson adopts the attached investment policy recommended by RBC Dain Rauscher.
CITIZEN PARTICIPATION – NON-AGENDA ITEMS:
a) Lynn Roessler, 85 Grand St., asked what has happened to the double yellow lines on S. Riverside Ave. Mayor Schmidt replied that the lines had to be moved to accommodate the parking that has been done there so that the lines will now be in the middle of the road; the paving is almost done and looks great.
8. APPROVAL OF MINUTES:
Trustee Kane made a motion to approve the minutes of the Regular Board Meeting held on July 25, 2005. Trustee Brennan seconded the motion. The Board voted approval with Mayor Schmidt abstaining.
Trustee Kane made a motion to approve the minutes of the Special Meeting of the Board of Trustees held on July 25, 2005. Trustee Brennan seconded the motion. The Board voted approval with Mayor Schmidt abstaining.
Village Manager Herbek reported that on August 29th at 7:30 pm, Neil Levy will give an update on the millennium pipeline situation; part of the meeting can be public and part will be closed to discuss legal strategy; Town of Cortland and Village of Briarcliff Manor representatives will be present. This will replace the work session previously scheduled.
Trustee Wiegman reported that the Village Attorney gave a lot of detail about executive sessions, etc. and distributed wallet guides to Board members. He added that in the Special Meeting of 7/25/05, the Board approved an amount for appraisal of property at Croton Point Avenue and asked if an appraiser has been found to do this. Village Manager Herbek replied that he has 2 proposals and is waiting for a 3rd; he is also waiting to talk with Mike Gerrard & Village Attorney Stecich about these.
Trustee Kane reported that Village resident James Castaldo has returned from Iraq safe & sound and thanked him for his service to our country.
Trustee Steinberg reported that NJ Senators Corzine & Lautenberg have submitted a senate bill to exclude solid waste disposal from the jurisdiction of the Surface Transportation Board; more information can be found at the web site of www.thomas.loc.gov. and any comments the public have that can be provided would be much appreciated. He added that Village Superintendent of Parks & Recreation Sue Menz won 2 gold medals at the Empire State games.
Trustee Brennan reported that the MetroEnviro issue needs everyone to work together; put a lot of things in past; this board has stood firm and is working united with the professional staff; all have gone in with the same resolution and resolve.
Mayor Schmidt stated that everyone needs to fight this together; stick with moving forward and issues of the past should stay in the past.
Trustee Kane made a motion to adjourn. Trustee Wiegman seconded the motion; approved unanimously. The meeting was adjourned at 10:25 p.m.
Phyllis A. Bradbury
Phyllis A. Bradbury, Secretary