VILLAGE OF CROTON-ON-HUDSON, NEW YORK
MINUTES OF THE WATERFRONT ADVISORY COMMITTEE MEETING
WEDNESDAY, JUNE 9, 2004:
A meeting of the Waterfront Advisory Committee of the Village of Croton-on-Hudson, New York was held on Wednesday, June 9, 2004 in the Municipal Building.
MEMBERS PRESENT: Chairperson Fran Allen
ALSO PRESENT: Daniel O’Connor, P.E., Village Engineer
1. Call to Order:
The meeting was called to order at 7:30 P.M. by Chairperson Fran Allen.
2. BALL FIELD AT CROTON LANDING PROJECT:
Donald Bane of 118 Oneida Avenue and Edward Wohl of 55 Quaker Bridge Road were present. They asked if they could be present during the discussion on the Croton Landing ball field project, to which Chairperson Allen said that they could.
Chairperson Allen suggested that the attendees of the meeting should introduce themselves to Messrs. Bane and Wohl.
Chairperson Allen explained to Messrs. Bane and Wohl the function of the WAC. She gave a brief history of the Coastal Zone Management Program. The CZMP is basically an environmental program, which started at the federal level and now exists at the state level. The main purpose of the program is to protect the navigable waters of the USA. Chairperson Allen stated that the Village (also) has its own local variant of the CZMP. When the WAC is asked to perform a consistency review of a specific project, the WAC must decide whether or not the project is consistent with the 44 policies of the Local Waterfront Revitalization Program (LWRP).
A discussion ensued among those present on the Ball Field at Croton Landing Project. Mr. Greenbaum asked if all age groups would be able to use the ball field or if it would be restricted to certain age groups. The Village Engineer explained that the Village is in the process of writing a grant for the funding of this project. The term, “ball field,” might have to be used in the grant application. A ball field qualifies as a recreation facility. The actual, future use of the ball field would be up to the Village Board. Mr. Wiegman stated that there would not be bleachers or backstops on the so-called “ball field.” The intent of the Village would be to create a large grassy area (lawn), properly pitched for drainage purposes, which could be used for recreation by all age groups. Mr.
Wiegman noted that if a group wants to use a general area for recreational purposes, they would have to go through the Village’s Recreation Department. The use(s) would be administered through the Recreation Department.
Mr. Greenbaum referred to the “Description of Action” section of the Full Environmental Assessment Form (FEAF) prepared for this project. In the FEAF, it states that, “(The field) is intended for the use of younger participants from the ages of 5 through 10.” Mr. Greenbaum noted that it would be important to state that the use is broader than what is described here. He would want to make sure that adults could use the field for recreational purposes. Mr. Greenbaum referred the others to his memorandum to the Village Board dated June 7, 2004, in which he expressed his concern about this age restriction.
Chairperson Allen noted that there are people in the Village who would want to keep this area pristine. These people are concerned that when they picnic by the river, they will be subjected to noise from these groups using the new ball field. She said that maybe the way to handle this matter would be to say that group usage is (would be) administered through the Recreation Department.
The Village Engineer noted that the FEAF, in which this description of the use of the ball field appears, is part of the grant submission. He did not think that the NYS Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) would be concerned with this issue of whether adults or children would be using the field. The permitted uses at the field would be up to the Village Board later on. Ms. Gallelli and Mr. Wiegman both suggested that the sentence in the FEAF pertaining to the age(s) of participants should be removed. A new sentence could be added that says, “It (the field) is intended in part for the use of groups that are scheduled and recognized by the Croton Recreation Department.”
Mr. Wiegman noted to the others that when the walkway is extended into the Beaverkill Conservancy property, there would be many places to picnic along the way.
Mr. Greenbaum stated that he would want to make sure that the Village’s Recreation Department does not have the authority to arbitrarily exclude groups from using the new field.
The Village Engineer pointed to the map showing a possible location for the proposed ball field and stated that this area of Croton Landing is the widest area before it goes into the Beaverkill property. He noted that, as far as the 50/50 grant is concerned, it would take a year to obtain the monies if the grant application is approved. Ms. Gallelli stated that, in the interim, the Village has to deal with the matter of the Yacht Club and Duck Pond dredging materials, to which the Village Engineer pointed out that getting rid of these dredging materials is, indeed, a part of the subject grant application.
Chairperson Allen noted that the County river walk project is also underway. The river walk would connect with the Croton Landing walkway and then go north.
The Village Engineer referred to his proposed location for the bathhouse shown on the map. He told the WAC members that he put the bathhouse in this location. This is just a suggestion, and it could be moved someplace else. The Village Engineer noted that the bathhouse has to be connected to the sewer line. The farther away from the Yacht Club, the more (pipe) it would take to connect it to the sewer line. Mr. Wiegman noted that the bathhouse being proposed is a very small structure with two bathrooms. It has a painted metal roof. He personally thinks that the design being proposed for the bathhouse is an attractive design.
Ms. Gallelli referred the others to the Village Board resolution dated May 17, 2004. She stated that she thought, because this project is in a CEA (Critical Environmental Area), it would have to be a “Type 1” rather than an “Unlisted” Action. The Village Engineer stated that it would be classified as a “Type 1” Action if the County were an involved agency; however, the County is not involved in this project. It is therefore classified as an “Unlisted” Action. Ms. Gallelli stated that, whether or not the County is involved, this project is in the CEA. She noted that the distance from the river determines whether or not a proposed project is in the CEA. She still questions the designation of the type of action. The Village Engineer suggested that he could “double-check” to make sure that
the “Unlisted” Action designation is correct.
The Village Engineer suggested that the first “whereas” clause in the Village Board resolution should be changed to read, “…..soccer, little league and other recreational uses…” Mr. Greenbaum suggested that “soccer, little league and other recreational uses,” should be changed to “broad recreational use.”
Mr. Wiegman referred to the second “whereas” clause and stated that “ball field” should be changed to “playing fields.” The sentence would then read: “Whereas, the Village would like to construct a great lawn to be used as playing fields at Croton Landing…”
Mr. Wiegman referred to item B.2 on page 5 of the FEAF and stated that the word “tons” should be removed. Rather than “12000 tons/cubic yards” of dredged material, it should be “12000 cubic yards.”
The Village Engineer stated that under 3.a on page 5, “ball field” should be changed to “playing fields.” Chairperson Allen suggested that rather than just saying “playing fields,” it should say, “great lawn usable as playing fields.”
Ms. Gallelli referred to item B.1.a on page 5 and stated that the total contiguous acreage should be +/- 33 acres rather than 14.3 acres. This amount would include the underwater land. The Village Engineer suggested that, for clarification purposes, a note could be added saying that the +/- 33 acres includes the underwater land.
Mr. Greenbaum wondered if the answer to #1 on page 11 (“Will the Proposed Action result in a physical change to the project site?”) could be “yes” instead of “no.” The Village Engineer noted that the dredging material at Croton Landing is there on a temporary basis only and will be removed. The great lawn area would be filled with topsoil and graded at the center. The Recreation Department would be responsible for maintaining the great lawn and keeping it mowed. The field would be pitched to shed water. Mr. Wiegman pointed out that the subject playing field was not a playable field before. It was rutted and water pooled everywhere. The new playing field would be elevated with a pitch so that the water would drain off.
Ms. Gallelli referred to item 13 on page 17 pertaining to the impact of the proposed project on future open spaces and recreational opportunities. She suggested that the answer to this item could be “yes” rather than “no.” A note could be added to item 13 saying that this project would make a positive impact because it is going to expand recreational opportunities in the Village. The Village Engineer told Ms. Gallelli that the reason why the Village answered “no” rather than “yes” to this question is that this question deals with negative and not positive impacts. Ms. Gallelli said that she realizes this is the case, but sometimes in the past the Village has taken this opportunity to make a positive point. Mr. Wiegman stated that, if the answer becomes “yes” rather than “no,” a note could be
added saying that playing fields (at Croton Landing) would greatly increase public enjoyment of the riverfront.
The Village Engineer stated that, in the last sentence on page 21 beginning with “Creation of the ball field…,” the words “ball field” should be changed to “playing field.” Chairperson Allen stated that she would also want the term “great lawn” to be used in this sentence. The WAC decided that “playing field” should be changed to “…great lawn usable as a playing field...”
The WAC reviewed the two-page Coastal Assessment Form (CAF). Chairperson Allen stated that in the first sentence under item B.2 on page 1, the words “ball field” should be changed to “…great lawn usable as a playing field…” She stated that the same wording should be incorporated into the last sentence under item B.2. Mr. Wiegman noted that, in the Village’s final review of the FEAF and CAF, it would be important to make sure that this phrase, “great lawn usable as a playing field,” is used consistently throughout.
Mr. Kane suggested that, for consistency purposes, the answer to item C.2(f) on page 1 could be “yes” rather than “no.” He pointed out that the proposed action would have a positive effect on public recreation opportunities. The Village Engineer agreed that the project would have a positive effect; however, according to instruction #2 at the top of page 1, (it was determined that) the answer to item C.2(f) would have to be “no.”
Chairperson Allen stated, and the other WAC members agreed, that a letter of recommendation should be sent to the Village Board. The letter should say that the WAC finds the proposal for a great lawn usable as a playing field consistent with the policies of the Village’s Local Waterfront Revitalization Program (LWRP). In particular, the WAC finds that this project would enhance access to the river without negative impacts. The letter to the Village Board would say that the WAC would recommend some minor revisions to the FEAF, the CAF and the Village Board resolution. The revisions would be attached to the recommendation letter. The letter should also include, as an attachment, the sketches prepared by the Village Engineer showing possible locations for the great lawn and bathrooms. Chairperson Allen
noted that she would prepare the letter in time for the Village Board meeting next Tuesday.
Chairperson Allen entertained a motion to find the proposal for a great lawn usable as a playing field consistent with the policies of the LWRP. The motion was made by Mr. Greenbaum, seconded by Mr. Kane and carried by a vote of 5 to 0.
3. APPROVAL OF CROTON YACHT CLUB DREDGING PROJECT MEMORANDUM TO VILLAGE BOARD:
Chairperson Allen stated that, at the last meeting held on May 4th, the members of the WAC and WCC reviewed the Croton Yacht Club dredging proposal. The WAC’s intent at the end of the joint-meeting was to issue a preliminary finding of consistency with the LWRP. It was concluded at the meeting that the two boards would want to review the project again when more information was received from the NYS Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC).
Chairperson Allen stated that the WAC and the WCC identified three areas of concern, which would require more information and which should be more clearly specified in the overall proposal. They were: (1) More readable and concise information about the test results, (2) A plan for handling trash in the basin and (3) tide impacts.
Mr. Kane stated that, with respect to the test results, he requested of Charles Pound of Aqua Dredge Inc. that the results be collated in a more readable form. Chairperson Allen stated that she would want to have a list of the compounds detected (which are) above state requirements. The list should (also) include the detection levels and make note of the state requirements.
Chairperson Allen stated that the WAC needs to discuss tonight the wording of the memorandum to the Village Board on the Yacht Club dredging proposal.
Chairperson Allen asked if there was anything further the WAC would want to add about the berms and the use of Duck Pond dredged material. Mr. Kane said that he had assumed that the Duck Pond material would not be used. He did not know if it would be considered stable enough to be used. Chairperson Allen asked how the engineering process for the berms would work, to which the Village Engineer stated that the DEC would look into the engineering work. The DEC would send a letter to the Village listing any concerns they might have. The Village would have to address the issues raised. The Village Engineer noted that the future disposition of the Duck Pond dredged material is unknown at this point in time. It may not even be available for use.
Chairperson Allen noted again the three areas of concern and added a fourth i.e., the use of Duck Pond dredged material for the berms (if available).
Ms. Gallelli questioned how the additional information being requested would be used in the WAC’s consistency review. The WAC’s mission is to determine whether or not a project is consistent with the policies of the LWRP. Ms. Gallelli wondered if knowing this information could change the committee’s final determination. Mr. Kane asked if any of the four points raised tonight would make it inconsistent with the policies of the LWRP. Mr. Kane thought that, as it stands now, the project is consistent; however, it would ultimately depend on the DEC’s findings and/or requirements. The Village Engineer noted that, with respect to the dredged material, the problem to be resolved is what to do with it once the Yacht Club dredging project is complete. The Village is not going to leave the dredged
material at Croton Landing because leaving it in this location would be inconsistent with the proposal to create a great lawn and playing field. The Village Engineer stated that the Village would have to work with the DEC to find an appropriate place for the dredged material.
Chairperson Allen suggested that the WAC could issue a preliminary finding of consistency and then include, in its finding, the changes that were made at the last meeting to the FEAF and CAF.
Mr. Wiegman suggested that the letter to the Village Board could say that the WAC finds the proposal, as presented to the committee thus far, to be consistent with the policies of the LWRP. The WAC would like to see the proposal again once the DEC has reviewed it. Chairperson Allen said that she would note in the letter that what has been presented to the committee thus far is incomplete. She would prepare the letter in time for the Monday night Village Board meeting.
Chairperson Allen stated that she would e-mail a draft of the recommendation letter to the Village Board to the WAC members. She would be going away this weekend and would ask Mr. Wiegman to make changes to the draft, if required.
4. APPROVAL OF MINUTES:
Chairperson Allen distributed to those present her four-page written summary of the minutes of the May 4th, 2004 joint meeting of the WAC and the WCC. The minutes of the meeting were initially prepared by Janice Fuentes, Secretary to the WCC. The WAC members reviewed the summary of the minutes and, after they made a few minor changes, accepted this summary as the official minutes of the May 4th meeting. The minutes were then approved, as amended, on a motion by Mr. Wiegman, seconded by Mr. Kane and carried by a vote of 5 to 0.
There being no further business to come before the Committee, the meeting duly adjourned at 9:55 P.M.