A Regular Meeting of the Board of Trustees of the Village of Croton-on-Hudson, NY was held on Monday, April 17, 2006 at the Municipal Building, Van Wyck Street, Croton-on-Hudson, NY.
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 Brennan made a motion to approve the vouchers as follows; the motion was seconded by Trustee Kane and approved unanimously.
3. PUBLIC HEARING
Village Manager Herbek introduced the following resolution for consideration by the Board to formally request that Westchester County provide $311,636.50 in funds from the Westchester County Housing Implementation Fund to assist and facilitate the development of essential infrastructure in connection with the development of 11-12 new units of affordable senior housing to be located at 15 Mt. Airy Road to be known as Symphony Knoll. Village Manager Herbek stated that this resolution authorizes the Village to apply for funds for infrastructure improvements, i.e. utilities, water lines, sanitary sewers lines, driveways, and parking.
Village Board of Trustees Requesting Westchester County Housing Implementation
Funds In Connection with a Collaborative Project Between the Village of Croton-on-Hudson and the Croton Housing Network, Inc. to Develop 11- 12 new Units of Affordable Senior Housing
WHEREAS, housing prices in the New York City metropolitan area continue to rise making home ownership for persons and families of modest means difficult or impossible; and
WHEREAS, the need for more units of affordable housing in Westchester County is well documented and widely acknowledged; and
WHEREAS, Westchester County has recognized the urgent need for new units of affordable housing and has assigned each municipality a target number of affordable units that each municipality should develop; and
WHEREAS, Westchester Housing Commission has analyzed various factors and recommended that the Village of Croton-on-Hudson develop 101 more units of affordable housing; and
WHEREAS, the Croton Housing Network, Inc. (CHN) is a local, non-profit corporation dedicated to developing, managing and promoting affordable housing; and
WHEREAS, the CHN presently manages 16 units of affordable housing in the Village of Croton-on-Hudson; and
WHEREAS, CHN submitted a proposal to construct 11 - 12 new units of affordable senior housing in the village by combining a vacant, unused portion of the 8+ acre lot that presently hosts Mt. Airy Woods, an affordable housing development owned and managed by CHN, with a .6± acre parcel owned by the Village to create a zoning-compliant parcel suitable for development of new, affordable multi-family senior housing; and
WHEREAS, on or about June 1, 2004, the Village Board of Trustees selected CHN as the preferred developer and endorsed CHN’s plan to develop new affordable senior housing on Mt. Airy Road and encouraged CHN to pursue funding from all available sources to support the project; and
WHEREAS, on January 17, 2006, at a regularly scheduled meeting of the Village Board of Trustees, the board, acting as lead agency under the State Environmental Quality Review Act (SEQRA), reviewed the proposal and adopted a negative declaration of environmental significance; and
WHEREAS, after concluding the required environmental review the Village Board took title to a ±3.5 acre portion of the lot hosting Mt. Airy Woods, designated as tax parcel Section 67, subsection 20, Block 3, lot 36, from CHN and merged same with a ±.6 acre lot owned by the village and identified as Section 67, subsection 20, Block 3, lot 2, for development of 11-12, new units of affordable senior housing to be known as Symphony Knoll; and
WHEREAS, Westchester County, through the Housing Implementation Fund, has monies available to assist in the development of affordable senior housing such as the Symphony Knoll proposal; and
WHEREAS, a Public Hearing was duly noticed in accordance with Village Law §21-2100 for the purpose of complying with guidelines established by Westchester County for disbursement of Housing Implementation Funds;
NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED that the Village of Croton-on-Hudson hereby declares its interest and intent that the new zoning compliant parcel, designated on the official tax village tax map as Section 67.30, Block 3 lot 2, be sold for purposes of developing 11 - 12 units of affordable senior housing as proposed by the CHN;
AND, BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that the village requests that Westchester County provide the Village and CHN $311,635.50 to fund essential infrastructure improvements required in connection with development of 11-12 new units of affordable senior housing to be known as Symphony Knoll and proposed to be located at 15 Mt. Airy Road (Sec. 67.20, Block 3, lot 2) and moreover declares that all 11, or 12, units of affordable housing created at this site with the assistance of monies from the Westchester County Housing Implementation Fund shall be restricted to persons age 55 or older who satisfy county guidelines for affordable housing based on income eligibility rules;
AND, BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that the housing created with this HIF grant shall be limited and restricted in perpetuity to persons who satisfy county guidelines for affordable housing based on income eligibility rules and further that the housing units created with these monies shall be part of the village’s plan to address the need for new affordable housing and credited toward the total number of affordable units in the village of Croton-on-Hudson,
AND BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that the Village is willing to convey the Zoning Compliant Parcel to the Westchester County.
Mayor Schmidt asked if the Westchester Housing Commission is requiring Croton to develop 101 more additional units or is this just the total of units recommended for Croton.
Village Manager Herbek said that 101 units are over and above what Croton has already done. Mr. Herbek said that every municipality has been given these guidelines, but there is nothing that mandates that we do this at this point in time.
Mayor Schmidt said that Croton should pat itself on the back; the Village of Croton has done a great job in creating affordable housing for its residents when many other communities in Westchester have not done anything towards that effort.
Mayor Schmidt opened the Public Hearing.
Rick Turner, 35 Truesdale Drive, representing the Croton Housing Network, stated that there was a minor amendment to the resolution which stated that "the Village is willing to convey this combined parcel to the County" and that this was part of the overall plan.
Mayor Schmidt said because of these funds Croton has been able to create affordable housing for our residents. Mayor Schmidt added that he is also pleased that these units will be age restricted to 55 and over.
Mr. Turner said that Croton has done more affordable housing than many other communities in Westchester County.
Bob Wintermeier, 43 Radnor Avenue, said that he is not against affordable housing, but his concern relates to the 101 additional units recommended by the County and asked that the Board provide sufficient information of where those 101 units are going to go. Mr. Wintermeier also asked what the tax impact will be since they may be exempt from school and town taxes. Mr. Wintermeier also wanted to know what is the criteria being used because he felt that we should be giving preference to our seniors, Police Officers and Fireman. Mr. Wintermeier said that he would also like to know what other communities are doing in Westchester since Croton has been the leader in affordable housing. Mr. Wintermeier said that he was under the impression that the Village lent $300,000 to the Croton Housing Network and asked
when that money will be refunded and what type of interest was applied to this loan.
Village Treasurer, Abe Zambrano, stated that the Village has not lent any money to the Croton Housing Network, the Village owns the property being considered and when the Village receives this money back it will go back into the Fund Balance.
Mayor Schmidt commented that the Croton Housing Network does a great job to insure as best as possible that they do give preference to Croton residents but we must understand that there are income qualifications that must be met and other criteria that comes with using these kinds of funding sources. Mayor Schmidt said that they do a good job in trying to make sure that there is some Croton connection first and then they move outside of that list. Mayor Schmidt said that the 101 units are only a recommended number but the Village is not under any obligation to develop this amount.
Mr. Wintermeier said that his only concern is the 101 units and its effect on our schools and other services and his recommendation would be to remove the County's recommendation from the resolution.
Mayor Schmidt said that with the age restriction and size of the units, it is highly unlikely that we will see many children.
Trustee Brennan said that accepting this money does not bind us to build 101 units. Trustee Brennan stated that even though these units will be age restricted, it does not preclude children living in those units because grandchildren do live with grandparents and this is something that we should take into consideration.
Trustee Gallelli said that there is such a demand for these units for people in Croton and you could probably have more and still not meet the demand.
Mayor Schmidt asked that the following be added to the proposed resolution; "and be it further resolved that the Village is willing to convey the Zoning Compliant Parcel to Westchester County."
There being no further comments to come before the Board a motion to close the Public Hearing was made by Trustee Brennan seconded by Trustee Wiegman, all in favor.
a. Lisa Penberthy, dated April 2, 2006, Croton Harmon Education Foundation, re: request to hang a banner at the intersection of Old Post Road and Route 129 for the Under the Stars event
Trustee Gallelli recommended that we allow them to do this. Trustee Gallelli said that this is a great organization that began in 1999 and supports educational initiatives and supplements the education curriculum in the Croton Harmon Schools.
Village Manager Herbek asked that before the banner is purchased they check with the Village so that the necessary requirements are met.
Mayor Schmidt also suggested that a policy and guidelines be developed for the future as to how long banners can be put up before an event to make it fair for all organizations wishing to put these up throughout the Village.
b. JoAnn Dyckman, Town Clerk, Town of Cortlandt, dated April 5, 2006, re: Public Hearing for a zoning amendment to the FDR VA in Montrose
c. John McManus, dated April 6, 2006, Crane, Parent, Cherubin & Murray, re: Proposed Condemnation of 1A Croton Point Avenue commenting on the scoping session held on April 3, 2006.
5. CITIZEN PARTICIPATION - AGENDA ITEMS
Bob Wintermeier, 43 Radnor Avenue, said that he has some concerns with how the Resolution regarding the Community Block Grant is phrased. Mr. Wintermeier said that he is not sure that the statement "reduce isolation of groups within income groups" is an accurate statement and that it seems to be an implication that if we use these funds from CBDG we will eliminate or reduce isolation from income groups. Mr. Wintermeier said that he is also concerned about the reference to a Brookings Institution Report from 2001. Mr. Wintermeier said that this is an old document that cannot be located.
Trustee Wiegman said that the Brookings Institute is a first rate Think Tank Research Organization in Washington D.C. that has done social policy for over 35 years. Trustee Wiegman said that this is a Resolution of Solidarity asking the Federal Government not to cut the funding so the principals mentioned here are general principals from a National perspective.
Mr. Wintermeier said that he is also concerned about another document in the Resolution that is mentioned but is unnamed but referenced as a "National Survey" and asked what this national survey is. Mr. Wintermeier said that the statements made were alarming and doesn't think that the Village should be sending it to Washington until we have looked at the survey. Mr. Wintermeier directed the Board to the statement that "workers such as teachers, firefighters and police officers cannot find affordable housing" and stated that he felt that this is not entirely correct. Mr. Wintermeier also asked that the word "legal" be added to "immigrants" because he is not in favor of giving everyone access to these types of funds
if they are not legal.
Mayor Schmidt said that this is really just a letter in support and some of these issues do not pertain to Croton but pertain across the country where there are areas of blight that are much more significant than here in Croton. Mayor Schmidt said that the Conference of Mayors has supported continuing this funding and that Croton has been a recipient over the years and has used that money for various projects.
Village Manager, Richard Herbek, said that the Village has been the recipient of approximately $3 million or funding for projects such as the Upper Village Improvement Project, the Harmon Commercial Area; the North Riverside Avenue project; improvements to our parks, affordable housing, sanitary sewer rehabilitations and many more.
Rick Turner, 35 Truesdale Drive, said that he has some concerns regarding the Best-Web Agreement and is questioning the loss of potential tax revenue. Mr. Turner said that this came to the Board in August of 2005 wherein Mr. Dickey requested a Franchise Agreement modeled on "an industry standard agreement, such as the Agreement between the Village of Croton and Cablevision". Mr. Turner said that if you compare this Agreement to the Cablevision Agreement you will find no similarity. Mr. Turner said that essential terms that are memorialized in the Cablevision Agreement are not found in Mr. Dickey's Agreement. Mr. Turner directed the Board to a letter that he wrote on September 20, 2005 listing many points that should be addressed before the Agreement is
considered and was very surprised to hear that the School District has already contracted Mr. Dickey's services. Mr. Turner asked if there was any coordination between the Village Board and School Board and felt that it was very premature for the School District to have done this. Mr. Turner said that the Agreement states that the School District will pay Mr. Dickey $1,400 a month for fiber-optic services and that any Village charges will be added on to their fee to the School District. Mr. Turner said that the Agreement before the Board is a Franchise and should be subject to a Public Hearing.
Trustee Wiegman said that he had spoken with the School District because the question came up about setting a precedent for compensation in what would be a very modest amount given that the School District and the Village are partners in many ways.
Trustee Brennan asked why Mr. Dickey is passing the fees being charged by the Village to the School District.
Mr. Turner said that the Agreement before the Board tonight has no reference to compensation to the Village even though they will be using the Village's Public-Rights-Of-Way. Mr. Turner said that the School District boundaries are not coterminous with the Village and there is no need for the Village to underwrite the costs of this service to the School District. Mr. Turner said that because this is Franchise Agreement it can go on to a Special Franchise Tax Roll that is prepared and submitted to the Office of Real Property Services. Mr. Turner said that the Agreement will not result in any taxable real property and as a Franchise there is a mechanism to create taxable real property. Mr. Turner also questioned why this has come to the Board under Transportation Law 27.
Mr. Turner said that this is not applicable because they are not seeking to provide telephone services but rather fiber optic services which are not defined in the Agreement. Mr. Turner said that the Agreement with the School District is for five years, but the Agreement with the Village is for ten years. Mr. Turner also suggested that transferability restrictions be included in the Agreement and implored that the Village hold the right to approve any assignment or transfer of this franchise. Mr. Turner referred to paragraph 12, and said that under Transportation Law 27, they will have Power of Condemnation and suggested that it be taken out of the Agreement. Mr. Turner said that if you compare this Agreement to the Cablevision Agreement you will see that basic protections for the Village are not in this Agreement.
Village Attorney, Marienne Stecich responded to Mr. Turner by saying that she has had lengthy conversations with Mr. O'Connor and the changes that have been suggested have already been addressed. Ms. Stecich said that she didn't understand why the same Draft Agreement was attached to this memo. Ms. Stecich stated that she contacted the Public Service Commission's Counsel Office and confirmed that this should not be a Franchise Agreement but rather a Consent or Easement Agreement. Ms. Stecich said that Franchise Agreements are for television services and this is not for that purpose even though the Agreement does not define what services they are providing. Ms. Stecich said that because this is not a Franchise Agreement a Public Hearing is not required.
Mayor Schmidt said that during his conversation with Ms. Stecich, he recommended that we put off voting for this Agreement until all the changes have been made and the Board has had a chance to review them once again.
Ms Stecich said that the only area that was not finalized with Mr. O'Connor was whether or not the Village will charge and how much to charge.
Trustee Brennan said that he was under the impression that any fee that we charge would be passed on to the School District. Trustee Brennan said that he did not feel that this was fair and would like to discuss it further with the Board.
Mayor Schmidt said that the purpose of the nominal fee was not to burden the School District but to preserve the Village's right to charge anyone else who wanted to do this type of service in the Village.
Trustee Wiegman asked Mr. Dickey if he is registered as a telephone company.
Mr. Dickey said that he is registered with the New York State Public Service Commission as a Telephone Company. Mr. Dickey said that every service has costs and they would pass any fees on to the School District. Mr. Dickey said that companies do not absorb their costs but rather but rather pass them on to the end user as part of the price.
Trustee Brennan stated that he disagreed with Mr. Dickey because certain companies to keep loyal and faithful customers will absorb costs and since Mr. Dickey is a new enterprise, Trustee Brennan felt that he should not pass those costs on to the School District.
a. On motion of Trustee Gallelli, seconded by Trustee Weigman the following resolution was unanimously adopted by the Board of Trustees of the Village of Croton-on-Hudson, New York:
WHEREAS, Westchester County, like other counties in New York State, must decide the type of voting equipment it will purchase; and
WHEREAS, Direct Recording Electronic voting equipment (DRE’s) has been found by numerous experts and voting integrity organizations to be an inaccurate and unreliable form of recording votes; and DRE’s would make it possible for computer hackers to alter election results without leaving a trace, thereby increasing dramatically the potential for voting fraud; and
WHEREAS, DRE technology is the most expensive and physically fragile form of voting equipment currently in existence, and experts have found that optical scan machines (optical scanners) are far superior to DRE’s in terms of accuracy, durability and cost-effectiveness as ballots are retained inside the scanner, where they become a part of the permanent record of the election;
NOW THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED: that the Board of Trustees of the Village of Croton on Hudson urges Westchester County to purchase and use optical scanners and not DRE’s for the electorate of this County.
b. On motion of Trustee Kane seconded by Trustee Gallelli the following resolution was unanimously adopted by the Board of Trustees of the Village of Croton-on-Hudson, New York:
WHEREAS, the Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) program was enacted as the centerpiece of the Housing and Community Development Act of 1974 with the primary objective to develop viable urban communities in partnership among the federal, state and local governments, business, and the nonprofit sector, “by providing decent housing and a suitable living environment and expanding economic opportunities, principally for persons of low and moderate income;” and
WHEREAS, CDBG funded activities must fall under three national objectives, the elimination of slums and blight; addressing urgent needs that pose an immediate threat to the health, safety, and public welfare of a community; and addressing the needs of low and moderate income persons with at least 70% of CDBG funding; and
WHEREAS, under these guidelines, Westchester County uses CDBG funds to eliminate slums and blight; conserve and expand housing stock; conserve energy; preserve properties of historic value; reduce isolation of income groups within communities; revitalize deteriorating neighborhoods; improve the provision of community services; promote economic development; and encourage more rational use of land and natural resources; and
WHEREAS, a 2001 report published by the Brookings Institution notes that suburban communities house much of the nation’s working families and don’t have the funding they need to manage older infrastructure and the cost of rebuilding and depend heavily on residential taxes to fund basic services. Further, high-cost counties like Westchester have extreme gaps between rich and poor. Workers such as teachers, firefighters, hotel workers and other service personnel – the core people each community needs – can’t find affordable housing. Neither can immigrants who are attracted to thriving areas where the jobs are; and
WHEREAS, CDBG program funds have been used to help provide relief in disasters such as the Katrina, Rita and Wilma Hurricanes when Congress appropriated $11.5-billion in CDBG funds for the recovery of Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama, and Texas. The $3.483-billion in CDBG funds appropriated to help New York City recover from the September 11th tragedy continues to play a critical role in the City’s restoration; and
WHEREAS, the success of the CDBG program has been well documented as a stabilizing force in our cities, towns and villages and the need for funding has increased as our municipalities face rising federal and state costs and taxes and a shortage in housing stock considered “affordable,” yet, since 2001, CDBG funding has declined steadily from $4.41-billion nationally to $3.71-billion and is threatened with a further reduction of 25% to 33% in the FY2007 budget; and
WHEREAS, a national survey on the impact of prior reductions in CDBG funding reports a substantial negative effect on homeownership, local economy growth, and the strength of the nation’s infrastructure. It is alarming to contemplate the projections; fewer jobs retained and created; fewer households assisted with homebuyer assistance; fewer services for elderly persons, children and youth, persons with special needs and low-and-moderate-income persons; reductions in housing rehabilitation; canceled or delayed public improvements including street and sidewalk improvements, community and neighborhood centers and health and recreational facilities,
NOW THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED: that the Village of Croton on Hudson joins such CDBG Coalition members as the United States Conference of Mayors, the National League of Cities, the National Association of Counties, and many others, in strongly urging Congress to fund the CDBG program to at least the $4.5-billion level in the FY2007 budget,
AND BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED: that the Village of Croton on Hudson strongly urges that funding of CDBG not have a negative impact on other HUD programs that critically impact our communities,
AND BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED: that copies of this resolution be transmitted to our federal representatives and the Westchester County Executive so that the intent of this honorable board be known.
c. On motion of Trustee Wiegman, seconded by Trustee Gallelli the following resolution was unanimously adopted by the Board of Trustees of the Village of Croton-on-Hudson, New York:
WHEREAS, the property at 2 Cleveland Drive, Section 79.13 Block 004 Lot 032 has been the subject of numerous complaints by neighboring residents; and
WHEREAS, the complaints came from the condition of the building and property area; and
WHEREAS, the Office of Code Enforcement has issued three appearance tickets to the property owner, Fred Wilhelm, on three separate occasions for violating the following village and state codes:
NYR PM302.4 Weeds
NYR PM302.3 Sidewalks & Driveways
NYR PM302.1 Sanitation
NYR PM301.2 Responsibility
NYR PM303.7 Roofs and Drainage
NYR PM303.6 Exterior Walls
NYR PM303.2 Protective Treatment
NYR PM303.1 General
NYR PM302.8 Motor Vehicles
VO 212-5 Notice-Fail Comply
VO 212-3 Storage/deposit Prohibited
VO 197-24 Responsibility of Property Owner
VO 179.2 Failure to Comply
VO 179-1 Removal of Weeds
WHEREAS, as a result of these appearance tickets the property owner, Fred Wilhelm, has been to trial twice and fined twice and the third court case is still pending; and
WHEREAS, Section 179-2 states the following:
§ 179-2. Failure to comply. EN
Upon the neglect or refusal of the owner or occupant of any such premises to do so, the Village Manager or any police officer of the Village of Croton-on-Hudson may, by written notice, served either personally or by mail to the last-known address of such owner or occupant, order the owner or occupant to cut and destroy all weeds or brush upon such premises and to remove all refuse therefrom within two days, and upon failure of such owner or occupant to comply with such notice, such person shall be subject to the provisions of §~1-12 of Chapter 1, General Provisions. The Board of Trustees may cause the weeds and brush to be destroyed and refuse removed and shall assess the costs thereof against the property from which the same was removed, as provided in the Village Law; and;
NOW THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED: that the Village Board of Trustees authorizes the Village Manager to serve either personally or by mail to the property owner of 2 Cleveland Drive, Fred Wilhelm, to cut and destroy all weeds or brush upon such premises and to remove all refuse and rubbish and other materials within two days,
AND BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED: that upon failure of the owner to comply with such notice, the Board of Trustees authorizes the Village Manager to hire an outside contractor to remove the weeds, brush, refuse, rubbish, and other materials from 2 Cleveland Drive,
AND BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED: that the total costs of removing all weeds, brush, refuse, rubbish, and other materials will be added to the Village tax bill for 2 Cleveland Drive.
d. On motion of Trustee Brennan, seconded by Trustee Wiegman the resolution to adopt the findings statement in connection to the proposed acquisition of 1A Croton Point Avenue was put forth by the Board of Trustees of the Village of Croton-on-Hudson, New York for discussion purposes and then tabled.
Trustee Gallelli said that she has some questions and is uncomfortable voting on the resolution before the questions are answered. Trustee Gallelli said that she would like to discuss them further in a work session.
Trustee Kane said that he is also concerned about some of the lack of detail and would like to also address this in a work session
Mayor Schmidt asked for an example of what kind of details he is looking for.
Trustee Kane said that for example when it states that the sand and salt piles had to be moved they do not specify how many parking spaces have been taken up and how much sand and salt is being stored.
Village Attorney Marianne Stecich said that the findings have to be based on the testimony that was given at the Public Hearing and there wasn't anything of that detail given at the Public Hearing and therefore it cannot be inserted into the findings statement.
Trustee Kane asked if the excerpts of the minutes from the Public Hearing should be attached to the resolution.
Attorney Stecich said that this will all be in the same file and if it is adopted a synopsis will be in the newspaper.
Mayor Schmidt said that this is a determination from the Village's standpoint of whether the Village needs a DPW facility. Mayor Schmidt said he felt that Mr. Herbek and Mr. Kraft made it very clear of what the needs are. Mayor Schmidt said that adopting this resolution does not encumber the Village in any way to continue with the Eminent Domain proceedings but rather it is a step in the process. Mayor Schmidt said that the Village is also considering hiring an Eminent Domain Attorney to assist the Village in the process.
Trustee Kane said that he had further questions that should be discussed in executive session.
Attorney Stecich said that she is concerned that if we do not vote on the resolution we will be running out of time.
Trustee Gallelli said that most of her questions are procedural and does not disagree that a case has been made for a new DPW facility but her questions have to do with the process and would like to have the opportunity to speak with an Eminent Domain Specialist before the Village proceeds.
It was agreed that her questions could be discussed in a public meeting and it was decided to go through them one by one at the meeting. The questions were read by Trustee Gallelli and answered by Attorney Stecich.
Question 1: Is the SEQRA process for which we recently held a scoping session about eminent domain or is it about the DPW proposal? It seems to be just about the DPW project itself.
Response: It is about both. It is all one project. The acquisition and the DPW proposal are both subject to SEQRA but the acquisition has no environmental impacts.
Question 2: Does the proposed Eminent Domain action require a separate SEQRA process?
Response: No, it is all one thing.
Question 3: In either case, why doesn’t the SEQRA clock supercede the Eminent Domain Procedure clock as it does in other actions such as Subdivisions and Site Plans? By that I mean, first we complete our SEQRA Findings and then we take the action.
Response: It just doesn’t. The Eminent Domain Procedure Law is very strictly construed. The vote on the findings is not an action. The Village has to complete SEQRA before it takes an action. The Eminent Domain findings have to be made first because it will be many months before AKRF will have finished the SEQRA process.
Question 4: In the proposed statement of Findings and Determination, last paragraph, we state that we expect no negative environmental impacts, but we haven’t issued a Negative Declaration but we are doing a DEIS anyway – why?
Response: We can’t make a determination until the SEQRA is completed. EDPL requires that in the findings we must say whether we think there are environmental impacts but not in a SEQRA context. We say in the findings that although we don’t think there will be negative impacts we will look at SEQRA before going any further.
Question 5: Since we haven’t made a Negative Declaration, by adopting this Findings and Determination statement on the need for 1A Croton Point Ave., aren’t we making a determination the site will serve the purpose without or before making the determination that there are no adverse environmental impacts?
Response: You are making the determination that the site will serve the DPW purpose but not making a decision about the environmental impacts. This is a separate inquiry from SEQRA.
Question 6. When we adopt this Findings and Determination are we not triggering a 30 period (following the mandatory publications) where the owners must appear in court if they wish a Judicial Review under the EDP law? If so, do we expect them to be there and do we need to be prepared to be there too?
Response: Yes, they will wish a Judicial Review and yes, we will be prepared.
Question 7: Since the Judicial Review step appears to be largely about procedural steps, what are they likely to challenge?
Response: There are only 4 ways they can challenge and it can only go to one court, the Appellate Division. They can challenge if the proceeding can be shown to be in conflict with the federal and state constitutions. They can challenge if the proposed acquisition is not within the condemnor’s jurisdictional authority. They can challenge if it can be shown that the determination and findings were not made in accordance with Eminent Domain Procedure Law and Article 8 of the conservation law. The last challenge is more substantive, if they can show that we have not proven a public purpose.
Question 8: If a judicial review does occur what is the expected time frame for this to be processed.
Response: I don’t know, probably around 3 to 4 months.
Question 9: At what point in the process do the current owners make their arguments regarding the taking, assuming they are opposed to it? Is it during this initial Judicial Review or sometime else? In what forum does this occur?
Response: They will challenge at every opportunity. They will challenge at the judicial review on whether it is a public purpose. If the Village decides to go ahead, they will challenge the appraisal and go to court to get more money.
Question 10: What is the consequence of not adopting the Findings and Determination in the 90-daytime frame? Re-hold the Public Hearing to restart the process? Anything else?
Response: Would have to repeat the Public Hearing and start the process over.
Question 11: Since we are going to engage an ED specialist, shouldn’t we review this step as well as others taken and yet to come with that person first?
Response: The specialist is being hired to help with the valuation. The rest is just procedural. The Board makes the determination on whether there is a public use and a specialist could not help you with that.
Trustee Brennan said that it is critical to let the public know that we may slightly be turning away from our plan in acquiring this property through Eminent Domain because of a difference in opinion.
After further discussion it was agreed that the matter would be discussed further in executive session before a decision would be made. A motion to table the resolution was made by Trustee Wiegman and seconded by Trustee Kane, all in favor.
e. On motion of Trustee Wiegman, seconded by Trustee Brennan the following resolution was unanimously adopted by the Board of Trustees of the Village of Croton-on-Hudson, New York:
WHEREAS, Marc Leuzzi has been a police officer in the Village of Highland Falls and has successfully completed the New York City Police Academy; and
WHEREAS, the Village currently has one open position in the Police Department; and
WHEREAS, Lt. Anthony Tramaglini has conducted an extensive background check of Marc Leuzzi and both he and Police Chief Dennis Coxen recommend the hiring of Mr. Leuzzi;
NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED: that Marc Leuzzi of Highland Falls, NY, is hereby appointed as a Police Officer at the salary of $42,743, effective May 8, 2006 in accordance with the rules and regulations of the Westchester County Department of Human Resources.
f On motion of Trustee Wiegman, seconded by Trustee Gallelli the following resolution was unanimously adopted by the Board of Trustees of the Village of Croton-on-Hudson, New York:
WHEREAS, the contract with Acocella Contracting for the sidewalk improvement program expired on December 31, 2005; and
WHEREAS, this project was bid again and five bid proposals were received; and
WHEREAS, the lowest proposal was from DeCarvalho Landscaping for $202,225; and
WHEREAS, the Village Engineer recommends awarding the contract to DeCarvalho Landscaping,
NOW THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED: that the Village Manager is hereby authorized to award the contract to DeCarvalho Landscaping for the amount of $202,225
AND BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED: that this amount should be charged to capital account #3-5110-200-0405-118.
g.. Awarding the bid proposal for the asphalt in place program
On motion of TRUSTEE Wiegman, seconded by TRUSTEE Brennan, the
following resolution was adopted by the Board of Trustees of the Village of Croton-on-Hudson, New York:
WHEREAS, the Village intends to repave various streets in the Village during spring, summer, and fall of 2006; and
WHEREAS, the Village received 3 proposals for this project; and
WHEREAS, Acocella Contracting submitted the lowest bid at $57,250; and
WHEREAS, the Superintendent of Public Works and the Village Engineer recommend awarding the contract to Acoccella Contracting; and
NOW THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED: that the Village Manager is hereby authorized to award the contract to Acocella Contracting for the asphalt concrete in place project for the bid price of $57,250
AND BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED: that this amount should be charged to account # 03-5110-200-0304-102.
h. On motion of Trustee Brennan, seconded by Trustee Kane the following resolution was unanimously adopted by the Board of Trustees of the Village of Croton-on-Hudson, New York:
Authorization to Enter into an Inter-Municipal Agreement (IMA) with Westchester County Relating to RiverWalk and County Road Ownership
WHEREAS, Westchester County (the County) is the owner of certain roadways within the Village of Croton-on-Hudson (the Village), to wit, Croton Point Avenue (CR7), from Riverside Avenue west to the east edge of the bridge, and South Riverside Avenue (CR305), from Van Cortlandt Manor to Route 129, consisting of approximately 0.97 miles in the aggregate (hereinafter referred to collectively as the “Roads”); and
WHEREAS, the County proposes to remove the Roads from the County roadway system, in the manner prescribed by Section 115-b of the Highway Law, thereby transferring all right, title and interest in the Roads to the Village of Croton-on-Hudson; and
WHEREAS, the County proposes to finance improvements to South Riverside Avenue, in accordance with approved plans and specifications, with the work to be performed or put out to bid by the Village; and
WHEREAS, in connection with said transfer of the Roads, the County proposes to fund the construction of a trailway and related improvements along the Hudson River in the area now subject to a conservation easement to the Beaverkill Conservancy, and
WHEREAS, the trailway and related improvements are anticipated to include an approximately 2,300-foot-long trail system, including the construction of decks, retaining walls and sitting areas, landscaping, fencing, related site improvements and site preparation for the extension of RiverWalk; and
WHEREAS, the County proposes that, following construction of the said trailway, the Village shall have sole authority and control over the management and maintenance of this segment of RiverWalk; and
Whereas, the County proposes that the completed trailway shall be operated by the Village as a Village park, available for use and enjoyment by all residents of Westchester County; and
WHEREAS, the Village Manager has advised the Village Board that he has no objection to taking over the Roads, provided that the County finances the necessary improvements to South Riverside Avenue in the amount of $500,000; and
WHEREAS, the Village Board has determined it to be in the best interests of the residents of the Village to accept the County’s proposals with respect to the trailway and Roads;
RESOLVED, that the Village of Croton-on-Hudson accepts the County’s proposals with respect to the trailway and the Roads, including providing the financing for the necessary improvements to South Riverside Avenue in the amount of $500,000, as outlined above; and be it further
RESOLVED, that the Village Manager is authorized and directed to sign an Inter-Municipal Agreement with the County of Westchester, together with such documents as may be appropriate and necessary, to effectuate and implement the County’s proposals with respect to the trailway and the Roads; and be it further
RESOLVED, that prior to being signed by the Village Manager, the proposed Inter-Municipal Agreement and all related documents shall be reviewed and approved as to form and substance by the Village Attorney.
Trustee Brennan said that Mr. Herbek did a tremendous job for the Village in securing the $2.3 million plus for the Village. Trustee Brennan said that Mr. Herbek should be applauded because this is a tremendous asset to the Village.
Trustee Gallelli seconded Trustee Brennan's comments. Trustee Gallelli said that this could have been an expense for the Village, but we now have acquired the two roads and also received $500,000 for upkeep and improvements.
Mayor Schmidt said that in the future it will cost us money to maintain these roads but it still a great deal for Croton and makes sense for us to do this. Mayor Schmidt said that the Village will now have control of the two roadways in terms of future improvements and it is all very positive for the Village.
i. The Best Web Consent Agreement was tabled.
7. CITIZEN PARTICIPATION
Rick Turner, 35 Truesedale Drive, asked the Board to consider establishing a Critical Environmental Area (CRA) area along the boundaries of the Croton River and also designate it as a CEA. Mr. Turner said that this would not stop development but subject it to a stricter review.
Mr. Herbek said that this action has already been taken by Westchester County many years ago.
Mr. Turner said that the current designation is a very limited area that should be expanded.
Trustee Kane said that he has been out there with the County on many occasions and has requested that the area be expanded.
Trustee Wiegman said that the Village is waiting for the Watershed Study from the County so that the Board can review it. Trustee Wiegman said the Watershed itself is 3,000 acres and the goals are to take the principals of protecting the river and apply it to Croton.
Robert Wintermeier, 43 Radnor Avenue, said that many people are happy that we closed down Metro Enviro but people who are opposed to the Eminent Domain have been misled. Mr. Wintermeier said that we know there is a need for a DPW facility and said that the resolution should have been passed this evening. Mr. Wintermeier said Regis has violations in Connecticut, Massachusetts, and Ohio over and over again and asked if these are the people we want to negotiate with. Mr. Wintermeier said that he is against negotiating with Regis and does not understand why the Board cannot reach a conclusion on the Eminent Domain issue since it is in the best interest of the Village.
Trustee Brennan said that Regis has never come to the Village of Croton to apply for a permit to open their facility. They have tried to circumvent and supersede the Village by going to the Federal Transportation Board for their permits. Trustee Brennan said that if any other entity opens up at that facility it will not preclude them from going to the Transportation Board to try to supersede, Local, County and State DEC Regulations.
Trustee Gallelli said that an Eminent Domain procedure is about a public good.
8. APPROVAL OF MINUTES:
Trustee Wiegman made a motion to approve the minutes of the Organization Meeting held on April 3, 2006 as corrected. Trustee Kane seconded by motion. The Board voted unanimous to approval.
Trustee Wiegman made a motion to approve the minutes of the Regular Board Meeting held on April 3, 2006 as corrected. Trustee Brennan seconded the motion. The Board voted unanimous approval.
Trustee Wiegman made a motion to approve the minutes of the Public Hearing on the proposed 2006-07 Budget held on April 10, 2006. Trustee Brennan seconded by motion. The Board voted unanimous approve.
Mr. Herbek said that he is pleased to announce that the Village of Croton won the Westchester County water taste test this year. Mr. Herbek said that the Village of Croton on Hudson is proud of their drinking water-it is of an extremely high quality.
Mr. Herbek said that the Board had asked him to put together a list of Eminent Domain Specialists. Mr. Herbek said that he has done so and he will be discussing it with the Village Attorney.
Trustee Wiegman announced that there will be a Congressional forum at the Croton Library on April 18th at 7:00pm. Trustee Wiegman said that he is very much in favor of fiber optic technology and said that the Board will not let the School District's opportunity slip off the radar screen. Trustee Wiegman asked the Village Manager if the Town of Cortlandt had a reaction to the IMA regarding the Millennium Legal Funding.
Mr. Herbek said that he has not heard anything back at this time.
Trustee Kane announced the Community Blood Drive for Sunday, May 7th at the High School.
Trustee Gallelli toasted and thanked Tom Brann for the Village's Water Award by the County. Trustee Gallelli said that the crane for Nextell is in place, it is visible in some places but in many others it is not visible at all. Trustee Gallelli said that a couple of weeks ago the Village Board adopted a resolution mandating that Croton become part of National Incident Management System. Trustee Gallelli said that she attended one of the training sessions and expects that this will be a big commitment on part of the Village, it is important and will standardize all of our resources in handling incidents. Trustee Gallelli said that the Planning Board met with Symphony Knoll regarding their site plan application for senior housing. Trustee Gallelli said that she will be
introducing a resolution supporting Westchester Municipal Planning Federation's requirements for four hours of training for members of Planning and Zoning Boards. Trustee Gallelli announced the opening of a new art gallery which will be available to local artists. Trustee Gallelli stated that she would like to schedule a work session with the Comprehensive Plan Committee.
Trustee Brennan advised that the Community Center Committee will be meeting on May 2nd. Trustee Brennan encouraged everyone in the community to support the varsity High School teams.
Mayor Schmidt advised that there are still vacancies on various Boards and to please send in a resume if you would like to be considered. Mayor Schmidt announced that the Rotary Kellerhouse Annual Dinner will be held on April 30th at Crystal Bay to raise funds for the Kellerhouse Scholarship.
Mayor Schmidt advised that following the close of the Regular meeting the Board will meet in work session to discuss the Budget. Mayor Schmidt said that the meeting is open to the public.
There being no further comments to come before the Board, a motion to close the meeting at 11pm was made by Trustee Brennan and seconded by Trustee Kane, all in favor.
Peggy Keesler, Village Clerk