Waterfront Advisory Committee Minutes 01/23/02



A meeting of the Waterfront Advisory Committee of the Village of Croton-on-Hudson, New York was held on Wednesday, January 23, 2002 in the Municipal Building.

                  MEMBERS PRESENT:              Chairperson Fran Allen
                                                Charles Kane
                                                Sally Odland
Leo Wiegman
                            ABSENT:             Ann Gallelli

1.  Call to Order:

The meeting was called to order at 7:30 P.M. by Chairperson Fran Allen.

David Plotkin of Steel Style Development Corporation, and his sons, Brian and Steven, were present for this application.

Chairperson Allen explained to the Applicant the role of the WAC stating that, since the entire Village of Croton-on-Hudson is in the Coastal Zone Management area, it is the responsibility of the Waterfront Advisory Committee (WAC) to review projects for consistency with the policies of the Coastal Zone Management Program.  

Chairperson Allen reviewed the history of the Half Moon Bay marina proposal, stating that the original plans that were put together were approved in 1987-88.  The original plans for the Half Moon Bay marina were approved before the Coastal Zone Management Program was in existence; therefore, these plans did not go through the WAC’s consistency review process.  The Applicant is now proposing some small changes. The Village Board has referred this application to the Planning Board.  In a memorandum to the Planning Board, the Village Manager, Richard Herbek, has (also) asked the Water Control Commission (WCC) and the Waterfront Advisory Committee (WAC) to provide guidance to the Board of Trustees on the changes that are being proposed.  The Village Board will hold a public hearing on this application.  The Village Board wants to receive comments from the Planning Board and the other boards/committees before the end of January.

Mr. Plotkin stated that the original waterfront parcel, of which the marina is a part, is quite expansive.  It is unusual that the Village owns underwater land.  This is not the case elsewhere along the Hudson River.  Mr. Plotkin explained to the committee that what makes private ownership of the marina possible is a document known as the “King’s Grant” that goes back to Colonial days.

Mr. Plotkin told the WAC members that a lot line change for this parcel was recently approved by the Planning Board and filed with the Westchester County Department of Land Records.

Mr. Plotkin stated that when the original developer put together the plans for the marina, he never finished with the engineering work.  He never had a map filed with a metes and bounds description.  

Mr. Plotkin stated that it was his understanding that, if his firm wanted to subdivide the parcel into three lots, the subdivision proposal would require many meetings before the Planning Board.  His firm decided, instead, to change the lot line(s).  The marina itself now constitutes one parcel and the rest of the underwater land constitutes the other parcel.  

Mr. Plotkin explained to the committee members that each one of the “Dockominiums” at the marina is a tax parcel.  The original permit called for 300 slips for Phase 1 and Phase 2 combined.  Mr. Plotkin noted that Phase 2 will probably never take place due to the fact that there are restrictions on parking in this area and, as a result, there is not enough room at the marina for the parking required.

Mr. Plotkin showed the WAC a plan of the marina.  He pointed out to the members the 162 boat slips and the long dock built by the original developer.  Mr. Plotkin stated that part of his new proposal is to lessen the activity of transient boats at the long dock.   When his project is completed, there will be as many as 15 to 20 boats at this location.  The objective is to create tax parcels and eliminate the transient boats.  The Village’s fireboat will be allowed to be moored at this dock.      

Mr. Plotkin pointed to the area of the marina where a sewage pump-out station will be installed.  He told the members of the committee that the sewage will be pumped out into the municipal sewer line.  An 8’ x 100’ floating dock will be built for the sewage pump-out station.  This pump-out station will be opened to the Croton Yacht Club and the boat owners at the marina.  Mr. Plotkin stated that he has spoken with representatives from the NYS Department of State and the NYS Department of Environmental Conservation.  The State will give his firm funding for this portion of the marina project provided that the sewage pump-out station being proposed is open to the public.

Mr. Plotkin stated that the new location for the Village’s fireboat is better than where it was before because the fireboat, when summoned for an emergency, can now go straight out into the bay.

Mr. Plotkin stated that, up to now, the long dock has been used to put boats that were 30’ in length.   He would attempt, in this new proposal, to put 15 larger ($1 million) boats in this location.

Mr. Plotkin stated that, since the September 11th attacks, his firm has had inquiries from boat owners in lower Manhattan who want to dock their large boats at the marina.  By creating larger tax parcels and by making these slight modifications, it would give his firm the ability to accommodate these larger boats.  The new configuration being proposed calls for 6 more 50’ slips.

Mr. Plotkin stated that his firm wants to try to limit the number of jet skis.  In order to do so, he is proposing to eliminate the 2 slips in the middle of the marina and put in very narrow areas in this location to accommodate the jet skis.  These narrow areas would (strictly) be for the boat owners at the marina.

Mr. Plotkin stated that his new proposal calls for eliminating 10 slips and adding 6 more.  The total number would, therefore, be reduced from 177 to 173.  

Mr. Plotkin stated that his firm anticipates that the upkeep of the marina will be the same or better when the Half Moon Bay homeowners purchase these “Dockominium” parcels.  The method of construction will be the same as before.  Everything will be natural wood – no paint or preservatives.  He did not believe there would be any impact(s) to an environmentally sensitive area.  Everything is floating above water.  He noted that there will be a few piles put in.  

Mr. Plotkin stated that he has spoken with the DEC about permits.  He was told by representatives of the DEC that the DEC has no jurisdiction in this case.  Furthermore, it is his understanding that the DEC sees no problem with the project.  

Mr. Kane noted that, judging by what the Applicant is saying tonight, the Applicant is not really changing the footprint of the existing marina.  It would appear that the modifications being proposed will not create further shading of the river bottom from sunlight, and this is good from an environmental point of view.  Furthermore, the sewage pump-out station being made available to the public is a positive development.  Mr. Kane thought that the installation of the pump-out station would be good for the local (Croton) boaters.

Ms. Odland wanted to know where the boaters who use the marina fuel up their boats, to which Mr. Plotkin stated that they have to go to Haverstraw Marina to get fuel.  He noted to the committee that the Half Moon Bay Marina will never have fuel for boats. Furthermore, there is going to be no repair work allowed.  Winter storage of boats is also prohibited.  No boats are (will be) allowed to stay at the marina in the wintertime.  The drift ice enters the bay, and it can damage the boats.  

Chairperson Allen asked the committee members if they had any more questions or comments.

Mr. Wiegman asked how big the fireboat is, to which Mr. Plotkin stated that it is less than 18’ long.  Mr. Plotkin stated that he had never actually seen it be used to put out a fire, but it has been used for rescue purposes.  

Mr. Plotkin stated that, with respect to the pump-out station, there is a flexible hose used that is 60’ to 70’ in length.

Chairperson Allen thought that, from what had been said so far tonight, the WAC members are in favor of the project being proposed. She told the Applicant that the WAC is looking for impacts that might be inconsistent with the policies set forth in the Coastal Zone Management Program.  It appeared to Chairperson Allen that the WAC feels very positive about this proposal.

Ms. Odland stated that, with respect to the overall project, she thought there may even be an improvement from what is there now.  She did not see any real change(s) taking place.  And, the sewage pump-out station is a big improvement.

Chairperson Allen stated that she will write a memorandum to the Village Board on behalf of the WAC, stating that the WAC recommends that this application be approved.  The WAC finds it consistent with the Village’s Local Waterfront Revitalization Program (LWRP).

Ms. Odland suggested that the memorandum to the Village Board could (also) point out the advantages of this proposal.  Mr. Kane stated that the memorandum could say that the proposal does not change the footprint of the existing marina complex.  Furthermore, there will be no increase in the shading of the river bottom from the floating docks. The WAC members agreed that the proposed changes will not result in any increase to area impacts on the environment.  Indeed, providing a sewage pump-out station in this area of the river will actually enhance the environment by making an improvement to the water quality.  Availability to the public and easy access to the sewage pump-out station will encourage its use and discourage dumping in the river.  The pump-out station will be easily accessible to the members of the Croton Yacht Club and the members of the Sailing School.

Ms. Odland stated that this memorandum from the WAC can also speak on behalf of the Water Control Commission (WCC), of which she is the chair.  


Discussion of Feasibility Study for the Village Waterfront Property

Chairperson Allen stated that the other order of business tonight is the WAC’s response on the Village’s Feasibility Study.  Chairperson Allen stated that she has prepared a memorandum to the Village Board for the WAC members to review.  She noted that WAC member, Ann Gallelli, has already distributed her comments on this memorandum to the WAC members.  

Chairperson Allen stated that she also wanted to raise another issue tonight for the WAC members’ consideration.  She would like to see the WAC play an expanded role in cases where there is relevance to the Coastal Zone Management Program.  The request by the Village Board to review the marina proposal is the first request the WAC has ever received outside its official role of performing a consistency review of Type 1 actions.  When such a consistency review is required by the Village, a Coastal Assessment Form (CAF) is filled out, and the WAC is asked to review a proposal to see if it is consistent with the Local Waterfront Revitalization Program (LWRP). Chairperson Allen stated that she would like to see projects/proposals referred to the WAC that may not necessarily involve a CAF review.  She thought the WAC, with its knowledge of the LWRP, could offer some further insight(s) from the perspective of coastal zone management.

Ms. Odland noted that the WAC is unique in that it is comprised of representatives from other groups, e.g., the Water Control Commission, Village Board, Planning Board, etc.

Ms. Odland stated that in one sense, it is redundant for the WAC to be reviewing proposals already being reviewed by other boards, to which Chairperson Allen responded that the WAC, as opposed to other Village boards, can bring into the review process its knowledge of the Coastal Zone Management Program.

Mr. Kane noted that the WAC members all offer different insight(s), experience, and levels of knowledge that could be of use to the Village Board or the Planning Board.

Chairperson Allen stated that the WAC is the only board that looks at projects from a broader (area) perspective.  The WAC looks at many issues that are within its purview from a larger point of view.

Mr. Wiegman stated that, if the question is, “Is there an additional advisory capacity that the WAC could serve,” then, the WAC would have to define what subjects are within its domain.   We would have to be very specific so that the other Village boards would be sure of what proposals/projects should come to the WAC.

Ms. Odland stated that she did not think the WAC would want to add another layer of government, to which the WAC members agreed.

Mr. Wiegman stated that he believes, if a committee is serving as an advisory board and the committee has too broad a scope, as time goes on, fewer projects will come the way of that committee.  He suggested that the WAC, in addition to the mandatory role it already plays, should seek to define exactly what domain(s) it would want to advise on.

Mr. Kane suggested that, when the WAC sees a project on the Village Board’s agenda that it would like to comment on, a memorandum could be sent to the Village Board saying that the WAC would like to have an opportunity to comment on this application.  Chairperson Allen suggested that WAC member, Leo Wiegman, in his role as Village Board liaison to the WAC, could have the responsibility of flagging projects/proposals that may be relevant, to which Mr. Wiegman agreed.  

Ms. Odland stated that, as a committee that has diverse experience/knowledge, she thought the WAC is, indeed, uniquely situated.  

Chairperson Allen stated that she has spoken to Ann Gallelli about this matter, and Ms. Gallelli seems to think that the idea of the WAC’s playing an (expanded) advisory role is a good idea.  Chairperson Allen asked the WAC members present if, indeed, they would like to play an advisory role, to which they all agreed.

Chairperson Allen stated that it would be important to discuss this matter with the Village Manager.

The committee discussed the draft memorandum on the Feasibility Study.

Ms. Odland stated that she had a question about whether it is appropriate for the WAC to perform a consistency review on the Feasibility Study when a consistency review was already performed early on.  Chairperson Allen stated that she thought the WAC should have been involved with the review that was done before.  She reiterated that the committee should, at least, have been involved in some form of the consistency review process.  Mr. Wiegman agreed with Ms. Odland’s comment(s).  He noted that the WAC is being asked, now, to comment on amendments or to suggest any further considerations.  The consistency review was written up before by the Village’s consultants and was based on (review of) the Greenway Vision Plan and the LWRP.  Chairperson Allen stated that when she realized Appendix B of the Feasibility Study is, in fact, the LWRP consistency review, she thought that the WAC should become involved.   

Chairperson Allen stated that WAC member, Ann Gallelli, had substantive comments on the memorandum that she (Chairperson Allen) drafted.

The committee reviewed the first paragraph of the draft memorandum.  The WAC decided to eliminate the third sentence beginning with “The WAC did not contribute…..”  The fourth sentence was changed to read:  “Because of the importance of the waterfront to the Village and our Local Waterfront Revitalization Program, the WAC reviewed the report…..”

Chairperson Allen referred to the fourth sentence in the second paragraph of the memorandum, stating that she still needs to fill in the acreage amount, i.e., number of acres owned by the Village at the south end of the SEPRIEO property.  Mr. Wiegman suggested that the reference to acreage be taken out so as not to hold up, any longer, the WAC’s response to the Village Board.  

Ms. Odland referred to item 1 under paragraph 4 of the memorandum.  Item 1 states that the WAC would like to augment the Feasibility Study report with its comments so that the WAC’s observations and recommendations are not lost, etc.  Ms. Odland disagreed that the wording of the report (Feasibility Study) should be changed (per se).  The memorandum could just say that the WAC’s future comments should be taken into consideration, i.e., that the WAC would want its observations and recommendations to be considered for future waterfront actions.  Furthermore, item 2 should be changed to read:  “We would like any project in the Croton waterfront area to be referred to the WAC…..”

Ms. Odland referred to the WAC’s comments on the LWRP consistency assessment in Appendix B.  She agreed that it should be made clear that some statements in the LWRP consistency review should be in the future tense rather than the present tense.  She suggested some additional wording to item 1 of the WAC memorandum as follows:  

All statements are in the present tense leading to confusion as to what currently exists and what might exist.  For example, the Policy 5 review text states:  “Public Services and facilities for all project components are available and adequate…..”  Yet, such facilities do not actually exist.

Mr. Kane referred to item 3 on page 2 pertaining to the use of pervious surfaces.  He thought that the wording of item 3 could be somewhat more specific to include, for example, a reference to lower infrastructure costs.

Ms. Odland referred to item 6 on page 2 of the memorandum pertaining to visual impacts of/from the river.  She did not think the wording of this item (item 6) was quite clear, to which Chairperson Allen stated that she would expand upon the wording.

Ms. Odland referred to item 7.  She stated that, whereas the Feasibility Study is a generic document, the wording of this item is (too) specific in nature. She suggested that item 7 be eliminated altogether, to which the others agreed.  

Chairperson Allen told the WAC members that she would make the changes to the memorandum discussed tonight.  She noted again that WAC member, Ann Gallelli, had substantive comments on the draft memorandum.  She would read Ms. Gallelli’s comments and discuss the memorandum with her before sending it on to the Village Board.


The WAC discussed the approval of the May 17, 2000 minutes.  Mr. Wiegman suggested that a motion be made to grant authority to Chairperson Allen to approve these minutes due to the fact that three out of the five current committee members were not yet on the committee at that time. The motion was made by Mr. Wiegman, seconded by Charles Kane and carried by a vote of 4 to 0.  Chairperson Allen declared the May 17, 2000 minutes approved.

Approval of the minutes of the September 27, 2000 meeting was adjourned until the next WAC meeting.

The minutes of the Thursday, August 23, 2001 meeting were approved, as amended, on motion by Mr. Wiegman, seconded by Ms. Odland and carried by a vote of 4 to 0.

The minutes of the Wednesday, December 5, 2001 meeting were approved, as amended, on motion by Mr. Kane, seconded by Ms. Odland and carried by a vote of 4 to 0.


There being no further business to come before the Committee, the meeting duly adjourned at 9:30 P.M.

Respectfully submitted,

Sylvia Mills