Regular Meeting of the Board of Trustees of the Village of Croton-on-Hudson, NY was held on Monday, November 21, 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 8:05 p.m. Everyone joined in the Pledge of Allegiance.
2. APPROVAL OF VOUCHERS:
Trustee Brennan made a motion to approve the vouchers as follows, subject to review by the Audit Committee. The motion was seconded by Trustee Steinberg and approved unanimously.
3. Mayor Schmidt and Village Attorney Stecich reported that the Surface Transportation Board (STB) rejected Northeast Interchange Railway’s notice of exemption on grounds that the proposed transaction is “controversial and raises important issues that make more scrutiny in the development of a more complete record necessary”. STB did not rule that NIR was not a common carrier by rail, that is still an open question and to prove they are, they must submit a more extensive application under one or two sections of the STB statute. She added that by choosing this form of proceeding, NIR was hoping to escape notice and get the statute’s automatic exemption from state and local regulation. She added that the village responded with a quick and highly focused campaign to inform the STB that NIR was a hauling company trying to disguise itself as a railroad. It will be up to NIR to make a full disclosure of their finances and their intended operation to prove they are a common carrier by rail. Village Attorney Stecich added that if they apply under one of the 2 sections allowable, the application process will take a few months; there will be an opportunity for the Village to make submissions. Ms. Stecich added that NIR and two other Regus entities were up for license renewal last week before the Solid Waste Commission. She heard that the board was ready to grant the licenses and that the Executive Director’s recommendation was to grant the hauler’s licenses. An Ohio landfill run by Regus had a very bad record and a significant amount of this information was submitted. On the basis of that, the Solid Waste Commission was asked to rule that they are “not fit” to do hauling in Westchester County and not issue the licenses. After more investigation, they found that there are more violations at another landfill in Ohio, but no one would give information by phone what the violations are; she has requested this information in writing. On Thursday, the commission adjourned without granting licenses. Village Attorney Stecich stated that she is not optimistic that the commission will deny the license, but this adjournment will give the Village more time to obtain the information and submit documents. Trustee Kane stated that he feels STB has been “back-doored” by NIR and circumvented the process, but the STB has closed the door. Mayor Schmidt thanked several people, especially Village Attorney Stecich and Michael Gerrard, for their work in continuing the fight in getting the county to do due diligence and sufficient checks on this group,.
Village Manager Herbek read the following correspondence (full text available at the Village Office):
A letter from Ruth Pierpont, NYS Office of Parks, Recreation & Historic Preservation, regarding the proposed nomination of St. Augustine’s Episcopal Church, Old Post Road North, to the National & State Registers of Historic Places. The Village can submit comments which must be received by November 29, 2005. Trustee Wiegman suggested that the Village Manager write a letter in support of this nomination based on the Village’s move toward historic preservation. Mayor Schmidt replied that he would be in support of this provided a check be made that it would not conflict with anything else the Village is planning and would like to run it by the Village Attorney.
A letter from Eugene Zeltman, NY Power Authority, regarding conservation of electricity in light of the increasing costs and offering the services of energy efficiency specialists to identify additional measures that may be appropriate. Village Manager Herbek read an introduction from the Feasibility Report prepared by the NY Power Authority; which is a fairly comprehensive study; he asked the Trustees to read the report and he will schedule a representative from the Power Authority to meet at a January work session.
A memorandum from Village Engineer, Daniel O’Connor, requesting the extension of a building permit for 51 Melrose Ave. Trustee Wiegman made a motion to approve the request, seconded by Trustee Steinberg, approved unanimously.
A letter from Raymond LoGiudici, 41 Whelan Ave., requesting that the Village remove a female gingko tree from in front of his home. Mayor Schmidt recommended sending this to the CAC for advice on moving forward. All Trustees agreed.
CITIZEN PARTICIPATION-Agenda Items
Ray LoGiudici, 41 Whelan Ave., author of above-referenced letter, brought an exhibit of the gingko nut; he had asked for the tree to be removed last year, but was told the policy was to not remove a healthy tree. He stated that he decided to pursue it further this year and did research about this species; a coating around the inside of the nut has a chemical similar to poison oak and poison ivy which causes rashes; also, eating the fruit could be toxic; NYC is seriously looking at removing the female gingko; he believes in the policy of not cutting down healthy trees, but no policy should be so rigid as to forbid removing an offensive object.
a) On motion of Trustee Brennan, seconded by Trustee Steinberg, the following resolution was adopted by the Board of Trustees of the Village of Croton-on-Hudson, New York with the following vote: Trustees Brennan, Steinberg and Mayor Schmidt, aye; Trustees Kane and Wiegman, nay.
WHEREAS, over the years the Village has made an enormous investment in the construction of new sidewalks and repair of damaged sidewalks; and
WHEREAS, the Village will issue special hardship permits to those residents without access to off-street parking allowing permit holders to park on the street during a snow fall; and
WHEREAS, the Village believes it is in the public’s best interest not to allow sidewalks to be used for parking cars as this practice damages both sidewalks and curbs; and
WHEREAS, Local Law Introductory No. 3 of 2005 has been drafted, prohibiting the parking of vehicles on village sidewalks and curbs,
NOW, THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED: that the Village Board of Trustees hereby calls for a Public Hearing on December 5, 2005 at 8 pm in the Stanley H. Kellerhouse Municipal Building to consider Local Law Introductory No. 3 of 2005, prohibiting parking of vehicles on village sidewalks and curbs.
b) On motion of Trustee Steinberg, 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, Local Law No. 4 of 2004 established gateway overlay districts within the Village; and
WHEREAS, one of the prohibited uses in the gateway overlay districts is drive-through windows for commercial establishments; and
WHEREAS, the owner of the property of 379 S Riverside Avenue is considering the construction of a new free standing building on this property to be occupied by Washington Mutual as a bank; and
WHEREAS, the question has been raised as to whether a drive-through ATM should be considered a drive-through window as specified in the Gateway Law; and
WHEREAS, Local Law Introductory No. 4 of 2005 has been drafted amending Chapter 230, Zoning, Section 230-4, Terms defined, to include a definition of drive-through Windows; and
WHEREAS, at the November 7, 2005 Village Board Meeting the Board called for a Public Hearing on November 21, 2005 to consider Local Law Introductory No. 4 of 2005; and
WHEREAS, before a Public Hearing can be held, the Planning Board must give a recommendation to the Village Board,
NOW, THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED: that the Village Board of Trustees hereby refers Local Law Introductory No. 4 of 2005 to the Planning Board for its consideration and review,
AND BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED: that the Village Board of Trustees cancels the Public Hearing scheduled for November 21, 2005.
c) 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
BE IT RESOLVED that the Board of Trustees approves Commerce Bank to be an official depository for the Village of Croton on Hudson, and
BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that, the Village Treasurer is authorized to sign a collateral agreement with Commerce Bank.
Discussion: Treasurer Zambrano stated that the Commerce Bank is expanding in Westchester County and have approached municipalities offering excellent rates on deposits; fees are nominal; he needs Board approval to do business with them; the nearest Commerce Bank is in Mt. Kisco, but they would provide a courier service at no cost.
CITIZEN PARTICIPATION – NON-AGENDA ITEMS:
Cornelia Cotton, Hessian Hills Rd., strongly urged support in declaring St. Augustine’s Church as a special historical marking; a beautiful booklet has been written which is out of print, but she can provide a copy. Ms. Cotton congratulated Croton for it’s generous support of victims of the hurricane in the Gulf region; the Croton disaster committee was formed; they have compiled a listing all fund raising events that have taken place by various groups in the Village; perhaps $25,000 and all money has been passed on to worthy causes; the Gazette has printed a report she wrote after going to Mississippi; Richard Salzburg donated a large motor home which they drove to Mississippi and it is now a home for several families; the entire Gulf coast is in need and it will take years before those regions will come back; poorer populations especially are in dire need. Ms. Cotton stated that a medical facility is in need of a van to go into the countryside as everyone cannot come to the tent; she appealed to anyone who knows of a van, seating 6 to 8 people, that can be donated; they will have someone drive it to Long Beach, Mississippi, leave it there with the medical team and come back another way.
8. APPROVAL OF MINUTES:
Trustee Brennan made a motion to approve the minutes of the Regular Board Meeting held on November 7, 2005 as corrected. Trustee Steinberg seconded the motion. The Board voted unanimous approval.
Village Manager Herbek reported on his trip as a regional vice president of ICMA; he is on the committee that is in the process of planning the annual conference next year to be held in San Antonio, Texas.
Trustee Wiegman offered a thank-you to Richard Wishnie for having served as County Legislator for the better part of a decade and congratulations to Bill Burton, the new County Legislator. Trustee Wiegman reported that he was witness to the Wizard of Ossining AYSO Soccer Tournament where a large group from Croton participated; one Croton team won the sportsmanship award and one Croton girls team won in their division. Trustee Wiegman received a letter from a high school student about the community center which may be of help to the committee from this perspective. He added that the NY Power Authority Energy Audit process began in July and the letter they received today was dated September; it would be helpful to advisors to have access to the document. Trustee Wiegman, regarding redefining drive-thru windows and the acronym of ATM should be defined. Attorney Stecich replied that it is not clear what the real term is; it can be automatic/automated or teller/transaction machine. Trustee Wiegman asked for defining further whether one window per structure meant one person with a drawer and one ATM or both at one station. Mayor Schmidt asked Village Attorney Stecich to look into this further.
Trustee Kane asked that the STB decision be posted on the web site. Trustee Kane stated that he has another pile of leaves after having had his leaves picked up last week and asked if a second sweep will be made or should they be bagged. Village Manager Herbek replied that he will confer with Ken Kraft for his input.
Trustee Steinberg wished everyone a Happy Thanksgiving; he gave thanks to Attorneys Stecich and Gerrard and all county and state officials for their assistance in obtaining the favorable decision; it is important to work in a professional manner and there is more work to be done on this important issue.
Trustee Brennan also wished everyone a happy and safe Thanksgiving. He thanked all the people who have fought for this STB decision. He asked that everyone continue supporting all high school sports teams. Trustee Brennan acknowledged that Cornelia, Carl and their organization did wonderful work but people also need to realize firemen volunteer in this village to help people who need rides, etc.
Attorney Stecich added that she did not want to leave the impression that the Solid Waste Commission was not paying attention about violations at these other sites; it seemed they would require a volunteer environmental monitor, but she feels that that is not enough.
Mayor Schmidt reported that Sue Menz, Superintendent of Parks, won 2 medals at the Empire State games. He announced that the Village will have the annual Winterfest event on December 4th at Vassallo Park from 2 – 4 pm; students will sing carols and light refreshments will be available.
Mayor Schmidt added that after this portion of the meeting is adjourned, the Board of Trustees will be meeting for advice of counsel
Trustee Brennan made a motion to adjourn. Trustee Kane seconded the motion; approved unanimously. The meeting was adjourned at 9:25 p.m.
Phyllis A. Bradbury
Phyllis A. Bradbury, Secretary