Visual Environment Board Minutes 03-21-07
Advisory Board on the Visual Environment
Village of Croton-on-Hudson

Minutes:        VEB Meeting of Wednesday, March 21, 2007

Present:        VEB Chair Doug Wehrle, Sandy Hardy, and Building Dept. Liaison Joe Sperber.

Absent:         Nancy Kennedy, Kevin McManus, Tom Smith, and Trustee Liaison Leo Wiegman.

Attending members reviewed plans for the interior renovation of facilities at Holy Name of Mary and discussed several issues relevant to Croton's visual environment. Sandy Hardy filled in as secretary for the still-malingering Kevin McManus.

1. 87 Old Post Road South
VEB members expressed concern over the status of the  property at 87 Old Post Road South, where the owners had more than two dozen trees cut down last Fall. Joe Sperber reported that the property owners were in violation of Village code and would be responsible for considerable remedial work. Doug Wehrle emphasized the need to plant deciduous hardwoods, shrubs, and vines on the property, making every attempt to repair what was a naturalized woodland environment. Of particular note is the need to re-establish cover for the chain-link fence around the adjoining  property.
Joe Sperber will keep the Board advised as specific plans  develop.

2.  Renovations to Holy Name of Mary Church
Members discussed the Church's application for an amended Site Plan Approval for a planned renovation to house offices, meeting rooms, and the Montessori  School, as set forth in plans drawn by Kaeyer, Garment & Davidson Architects.  Interior.
Work will include construction of a ramp to provide  handicap access to the entry lobby. The existing stairs will be removed and new, accessible concrete stairs featuring an integrated concrete ramp will be installed. Also of interest to the Board was signage to be installed over the newly designed entryway. The Board requested that specific details, drawings, and descriptions of signage  materials as well as proposed plantings along the ramp be forwarded to the VEB as soon as they are available.

Members expressed the hope that, instead of making an unnecessary attempt to "hide" the ramp, shrubs and trees could be planted in such a way that they rise from ground level to alleviate and soften the appearance of the blank wall behind the ramp.

3. Additional Discussion
Dough Wehrle  expressed regret over Nancy Kennedy's intention to resign from the Board. She  will tender her resignation to Mayor Schmidt.

In addition, Doug called the Board's attention to the sorry condition of the walk from Benedict Boulevard to and from the train station:

"       Recent snow plowing of the sidewalk with a machine too large for the  job has created deep wheel ruts on each side; these are resulting in  soil erosion directly into the Village storm system, which is in contravention of the Village's storm water runoff policy.
"       In  addition, the recent plowing has scraped topsoil from the planting strip between the curb and sidewalk, depositing some of this soil on the adjacent roadway.
"       Subsoil and gravel dislodged from the surface of the car storage lot created a walking hazard on the sidewalk. This condition has also produced an erosion problem, with runoff into the Village's storm water system ultimately reaching its river/estuary outfall.

Doug noted that the Village needs to focus on and enforce responsibility for the upkeep and maintenance of property along the north side of Croton Point Avenue.  He emphasized that Village tax payers should not have to pay for snow removal and mowing when these are clearly the property owner's legal responsibility.

Janine King
Assistant to the Village Manager
Croton on Hudson
1 Van Wyck Street, NY 10520
(914) 271-4848