Visual Environment Board Minutes 2/21/07
Advisory Board on the Visual Environment
Village of Croton-on-Hudson

Minutes:        VEB Meeting of Wednesday, February 21, 2007

Present:        VEB Chair Doug Wehrle, Sandy Hardy, and Tom Smith.

Absent:         Nancy Kennedy, Kevin McManus, Trustee Liaison Leo Wiegman, and Building Dept. Liaison Joe Sperber.

There were no sign applications at the February meeting.  Instead, the Board reviewed proposed designs for trail markers as presented by the Croton Trails Committee and, in response to a letter from a resident to the Village Engineer, discussed issues surrounding fence heights. Sandy Hardy filled in as secretary for the malingering Kevin McManus.

1. Trail Markers
Jan Wines, Chair of the Croton Trails Committee, asked the VEB to evaluate three designs for a proposed 4-inch round Trail Marker. His committee will print and distribute approximately 400 such markers throughout the Trails network to direct hikers in locations where trails cross and sometimes follow Village streets.

Sandy Hardy expressed some concern about the designs as presented, based on the Board’s shared view that the key words on the marker are "Trail Link":  she suggested that these words should be most prominent in the design, with the words "Croton-on-Hudson" and the Village logo being somewhat smaller by comparison. Tom Smith agreed and added that the logo, being essentially round, should be centered within the round marker, with the identification of Croton-on-Hudson appearing in smaller type below.

At Mr. Wines’ suggestion, Tom Smith sketched the Board’s proposed changes and conveyed them to Jan for discussion with his designers.

2.  Fences
The board reviewed correspondence between a resident of Farrington Road and Village Engineer Daniel O'Connor regarding the height of her neighbor’s fence.  The Board noted that the matter was largely settled by the fact that the fence in question is not in violation of Village Zoning Law, and Mr. O'Connor is aware of the need for additional language in the Village's Zoning Code revisions.

Nonetheless, Doug Wehrle asked that the VEB go on record~as re-stating the concerns noted in the minutes of its July 21, 2004, meeting, at which VEB members agreed that, when located in front of a property, fences (and shrubbery) should be set back 18-24 inches from the inside edge of the sidewalk. In addition, Doug and Tom underscored that fences located in front of a property should be lower in height compared to privacy screening in the rear. As a general rule of thumb, the VEB thought then, and continues to think now, that fences might be stepped down from maximum height in back yards to picket-fence height in front yards, where they otherwise pose a hazard to residents driving in and backing out of driveways, without benefit of full view of the sidewalk and street.

3. Additional Discussion
The board continued discussion of ways to propose visual improvements to commercial properties along Riverside Avenue, with respect for the sensitivity of the issues and the difficulty in motivating absentee property owners and rental agents in addition to local tenants.

The Meeting adjourned at approximately 9:00 p.m.