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Waterfront Advisory Committee Minutes 02/23/05
VILLAGE OF CROTON-ON-HUDSON, NEW YORK

MINUTES OF THE WATERFRONT ADVISORY COMMITTEE MEETING

WEDNESDAY, FEBRUARY 23, 2005:


A meeting of the Waterfront Advisory Committee of the Village of Croton-on-Hudson, New York was held on Wednesday, February 23, 2005 in the Municipal Building.


                  MEMBERS PRESENT:              Chairperson Fran Allen
                                                Ann Gallelli
                                                Stuart Greenbaum
                                                Charles Kane
                                                Leo Wiegman

                     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.  OPENING OF SOUTHERN ACCESS 2-WAY ROAD AND BICYCLE/WALKWAY BETWEEN CROTON POINT PARK AND DISCOVERY COVE – CONSISTENCY REVIEW

Chairperson Allen asked the Village Engineer to describe to the WAC members the proposal for the southern access two-way road and bicycle/walkway.  The Village Engineer stated that the 2-way access road in question is situated at the southerly end of Discovery Cove.  The developers of Discovery Cove improved the road as was required in their site plan approval by the Planning Board.  The site plan approval was for a road, which was “one-way out” in the morning and “one-way in” in the evening.  The Village Engineer stated that, based on the traffic study that was done at the time, Gateway Plaza and Croton Point Avenue were going to have a level of service (LOS) of “e” or “f” which was considered unacceptable. The Village Engineer explained that, when a traffic study is conducted, the LOS is based on how much time a driver of a vehicle has to wait to make a turn at an intersection at peak traffic times. A new traffic study was conducted; it was found that the LOS dropped to a level, which was acceptable

The Village Engineer noted to the WAC members that the morning/evening one-way traffic restriction at the southerly access road is difficult to enforce.  The results of the latest traffic study have made it possible to turn the road into a two-way road.  The road has since been widened by two feet to allow for two-way traffic.  The opening of this access road is beneficial to the residents of Half Moon Bay and Discovery Cove.  

The Village Engineer stated that the road is mostly on County land. A portion of it is on land belonging to Metro North.  The Village has obtained an easement from Metro North for that part of the road, which is on their land. The Village Engineer stated that, in order to take ownership of this road, the County requires that the Village enter into an inter-municipal agreement (IMA) with the County whereby the Village agrees to maintain the road.  As part of the process, the Village must follow the procedures set forth in the State Environmental Quality Review Act (SEQRA). The state’s coastal zone policies must also be followed.  The Village Engineer noted that this application for the opening of the road and bicycle/walkway does not involve any further construction. It basically just involves the Village’s accepting ownership of the road.  It is the responsibility of the WAC to review the coastal zone impacts of the project.

Ms. Gallelli stated that, when the site plan was approved, it was the Planning Board’s intent or wish that this road be a two-way road.  It was thought at the time that another access route to the condominium complex would be a boon to the residents of the complex.  The road has been widened to make it totally acceptable as a two-way road.  Ms. Gallelli stated that the developer of Discovery Cove improved the road with the understanding that the Village would take it over one day. Ms. Gallelli stated that the road is on County land and the Village must enter into an inter-municipal agreement with the County in order to take ownership of the road.

Mr. Greenbaum asked if the road is concurrent with the bicycle path or separate from it, to which Ms. Gallelli replied that the bicycle/walkway is separate from the access road.  

The Village Engineer stated that, as part of the agreement to take ownership of the access road, the County would give the Village an easement to maintain the bicycle trail.

Mr. Kane stated that, as part of the agreement with the County, he would like to have a small parking area established to allow access to the northernmost end of the beach area. The Village Engineer noted to Mr. Kane that, because it is County land, the Village would have to ask permission from the County to create such a parking area.  

Chairperson Allen asked what the width of the road is, to which Mr. Kane replied that the roadway is 22 feet wide and the bicycle/walkway is 8 feet wide.  

Chairperson Allen stated that the Village residents have access to the waterfront walkway, and there is a right of way at the river’s edge.  There is a gate that connects to the County property.  Ms. Gallelli noted that, if a person is going north to south, a person could exit from there and join the Village’s trail system.   

Mr. Kane noted that the riprap is right up to the blacktop.  He asked if there would be some type of signage, to which the Village Engineer replied that there would be white lines on both sides of the swale. There would be small (4 x 6) edge-of-the-curb delineators along the riprap swale.  Mr. Kane asked the Village Engineer if the riprap is connected by pipes to the storm water infrastructure. The Village Engineer said that water entering the swale would head south and go into an existing drainage system.  There are test wells every 30 or 40 feet.

Ms. Gallelli noted that, during the final approval process for Discovery Cove, the Planning Board developed an alternative trail route, which ran through the condominium property and did not come out onto the County property.  The Planning Board really preferred a trail that would enter onto the County property.  When the new developer took over the Discovery Cove project, the new developer went back to the original plan for the trail that the Planning Board preferred, which was to extend the trail to the end and enter onto County property.  Ms. Gallelli noted that the objective was always that Village residents using the trail(s) could continue on along the riverfront.  

Chairperson Allen noted that the condominium complex at Half Moon Bay is a gated community.  She recalled that, during the site plan approval process, the Planning Board ran into difficulties trying to provide a connecting trail along the waterfront for the Village residents and, at the same time, provide the residents of Half Moon Bay with the privacy that they wanted.  

Chairperson Allen noted that the proposal for the opening of the 2-way access road and bicycle/walkway would provide the Village residents with access to their entire waterfront with the exception of the one spot where the Croton Yacht Club stores its boats in the wintertime.  She thought that it should be emphasized, as a positive outcome of the project, that the opening of the bicycle/walkway along the waterfront represents the last link in the development of the Village’s trail system.  Ms. Gallelli added that this proposal is the desired result of a cooperative effort that was made by the County, Metro North, the developers of the condominiums at Half Moon Bay and the Village.

The WAC members reviewed the Full Environmental Assessment Form (FEAF) for this project. Chairperson Allen referred to item A, “Site Description,” on page 3.  She questioned the use of the word, “residential,” in the description of the present land use. The Village Engineer suggested that the word “residential” could be removed.  The description would then read, “street and recreational trail.”  

Mr. Wiegman referred to the description given to the access road in the FEAF, in which it states that the road will be a 2-way rather than a 1-way road.  He asked in what other way it is going to be “2-way” other than “[cars now being able to go] in and out,” to which Ms. Gallelli stated that cars would now be able to enter and exit the condominium complex at any time.  

Mr. Kane stated that the opening of this 2-way access road would lessen the impact of traffic on Municipal Place.

The Village Engineer referred to question #14 on page 17 of the FEAF pertaining to the impact(s) of the project on a Critical Environmental Area (CEA).  He noted to the WAC members that the impact of this project on the CEA is minimal because there is no construction involved.

Mr. Greenbaum referred to question #15 on page 18 of the FEAF, pertaining to the impact on existing traffic patterns.  The answer given by the Village to question #15 is that this proposal for a 2-way access road will have a potentially large impact on traffic patterns.  Mr. Greenbaum expressed concern that this answer would have a negative connotation.  The Village Engineer suggested that the WAC could state their concern in their letter to the Village Board. The WAC could say that the answer to this question has a negative implication when there should not be any.  In fact, there are benefits. For example, the opening of this 2-way road would take traffic away from Municipal Place.  Mr. Kane stated that a benefit would also be that this 2-way road would provide another means of access and egress for emergency vehicles.

Chairperson Allen wondered if there should be some signage associated with the trails in this area (Half Moon Bay).  She thought that the Village’s trail maps should make a distinction between the trails.  Mr. Kane thought that the gate should be marked.  Mr. Wiegman said that a distinction should be made between the short trail and the inland two-way trail.

The WAC reviewed the Coastal Assessment Form (CAF).  Chairperson Allen asked if there were any comments on the CAF, to which there were none.

Chairperson Allen asked the WAC members to make a determination of consistency with the Village’s Local Waterfront Revitalization Program (LWRP). The WAC determined that this proposal for the opening of the 2-way access road and bicycle/walkway between Croton Point Park and Discovery Cove is consistent with the Village’s LWRP.  

Chairperson Allen noted that the WAC also has to respond to the Village Board’s request to be the Lead Agency for this project.  The WAC members had no objection to the Village Board’s acting as the Lead Agency.

The WAC discussed the various points made at the meeting tonight that should be included in the letter to the Village Board.  It should be stated that the opening of this 2-way road would have a positive impact on traffic by decreasing the traffic congestion elsewhere in the Village, particularly at Municipal Place.  The opening of the bicycle/walkway would increase access to the Hudson River for Village residents. The opening of the walkway represents the last link to be developed in the Village’s trail system.  The letter should also state that the bicycle/walkway is the desired outcome of a cooperative effort made by the County, Metro North, the developers at Half Moon Bay and the Village.  It will be an environmental asset to both Village and County residents.

Mr. Kane asked that the record state that he would like the County to seriously consider adding a small parking area for access to the northernmost beach area.

Chairperson Allen stated that she would draft a letter for the Village Board and e-mail it to the WAC members for their review.

3.          UPDATE ON CROTON POINT PARK BULKHEAD PROJECT

Chairperson Allen stated that, at the last meeting, Ian Scott, project designer for the County on the Croton Point Park Bulkhead Project, presented the County’s bulkhead proposal to the WAC members.  The project area, Croton Point Park, is covered under the Village’s Local Waterfront Revitalization Program (LWRP); hence, the WAC had to review the Coastal Assessment Form (CAF) submitted for this project. The Applicant submitted a CAF with the application materials; however, the CAF, which was submitted, was a federal form and not the Village’s form.  The Applicant contacted the NYS Department of State regarding this matter, and the Department of State told the Applicant that they must withdraw their application and submit a new one using the proper local form.  Chairperson Allen stated that, as soon as the County officers involved with this project sign off on the new (revised) application, it will be sent to the NYS Department of State and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers for review.  The Department of State will then notify the Village that they have received the application materials and that the WAC’s comments on the CAF are required.

Chairperson Allen noted that, at the last meeting, the WAC members discussed this application in detail.  She did not expect that there would be much else to review.  The WAC members have already provided their input to the Applicant.  

Chairperson Allen told the WAC secretary that she wanted it stated in the record that this item has been brought up again at tonight’s meeting.  The record should state that the WAC is looking forward to receiving the revised CAF.  The committee members expect that there will be no changes, (other than the “new” CAF submitted), and the members anticipate that they will find the project to be consistent with the Village’s LWRP.

Chairperson Allen referred to a memorandum from the WAC secretary to the WAC members, dated February 23, 2005, updating the WAC on the current status of the bulkhead project.  She asked that this memorandum be included in the minutes of tonight’s meeting.

4.          APPROVAL OF MINUTES:

The minutes of the Wednesday, November 3, 2004 Waterfront Advisory Committee meeting were approved, as amended, on a motion by Mr. Kane, seconded by Ms. Gallelli and carried by a vote of 5 to 0.

5.          ADJOURNMENT:

There being no further business to come before the Committee, the meeting duly adjourned at 8:45 P.M.

Respectfully submitted,



Sylvia Mills
Secretary