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Waterfront Advisory Committee Minutes 03/01/06



A meeting of the Waterfront Advisory Committee of the Village of Croton-on-Hudson, New York was held on Wednesday, March 1, 2006 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
                                                Vita Rhodes, WCC member                                                                         
1.  Call to Order:

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

Chairperson Allen stated that, at tonight’s meeting, the WAC members will be reviewing the 1A Croton Point Avenue proposal, as per the Village Board’s memorandum to all of the involved and interested agencies dated February 9, 2006.  In that memorandum, the Village Board asked if there were any objections to the Village Board’s acting as the Lead Agency for the 1A Croton Point Avenue project. Chairperson Allen asked if the WAC had any objections, to which there were none.  Ms. Gallelli noted that the Village Board is (would be) the logical choice to act as the Lead Agency.  Chairperson Allen said that she would prepare a memorandum to the Village Board saying that the WAC has no objections.  If at all possible, the memorandum should be prepared in time for the next Village Board meeting scheduled for Monday, March 6th.  Ms. Gallelli said that it should be mentioned, in the correspondence to the Village Board, that the WAC is an involved (rather than an interested) agency.

Chairperson Allen stated that tonight’s discussion on this project also includes the consistency review.  The WAC has received, for review and comment, the Full Environmental Assessment Form (FEAF) and the Coastal Assessment Form (CAF). Chairperson Allen noted that, at tonight’s meeting, the WAC would be doing a preliminary consistency review based on the information available at this time.  

Chairperson Allen asked the Village Engineer to present to the WAC members the plans that currently exist on the 1A Croton Point Avenue project. The Village Engineer noted that the plans that he will present to the WAC tonight are the same plans that were presented at the Village Board meeting. They are as follows:

A plan entitled “Conceptual DPW Site, 1A Croton Point Avenue,” dated 2/3/06
A plan entitled “1A Croton Point Avenue Existing Conditions,” undated
A plan showing the existing DPW facility, dated 2/3/06
Village Zoning Map

The Village Engineer referred to the plan showing the existing on-site buildings and stated that Metro Enviro had been operating out of these buildings in the past.  He pointed out the scale house, the processing building and the old garage, all of which were used by Metro Enviro.  Railroad tracks for transporting the construction debris from Metro Enviro are on the property.  The Village Engineer noted that there is a wooded landscaped berm along NYS Route 9 to buffer the site.

The Village Engineer referred the committee members to the conceptual plan showing the new DPW facility.  The back portion of the property would be used as a gravel-coated area for outdoor storage of materials (asphalt, soil, etc.)  There would be landscaped screening from Half Moon Bay in the back of the property.  The existing DPW salt shed would be relocated to the “new” DPW site. The Village Engineer stated that the building being proposed is shown as 33,000 square feet, which is three times the size of the existing DPW facility.  The Village Engineer pointed out the parking areas on the site, stating that a security fence would be installed to separate the DPW from the public area.  There would be public “visitor” parking in the front.    

The Village Engineer noted that, should the Croton-Harmon Train Station parking areas become flooded the public parking area could be used as an overflow parking lot. There would be room for approximately 100 cars.  

The Village Engineer stated that the scale house would remain and could be used by either the DPW or, perhaps, the Recreation Department.

The Village Engineer said that a storm water detention pond on the premises treats on-site water.  There is an outlet that goes into the Hudson River. The storm water detention pond would probably have to be made somewhat larger to treat the on-site storm water. The Village Engineer noted that there would be gravel, storage areas, buildings and asphalt pavement over a large portion of the site. The pavement runs along the toe of the landscaped berm.  Much of the existing access road would remain.  The existing buildings (except the scale house) would be demolished for the new (DPW) building. The Village Engineer said that a storm water report would need to be developed.   There would be catch basins, pipes and grates to collect water. The design for the treatment of storm water has not yet been decided upon.  The Village Engineer suggested that, rather than buying a brand new system, it would be more economical to take away some of the gravel storage area and make the detention pond larger.      

The Village Engineer stated that, when Metro Enviro operated at the site, they were required to take water samples from the detention pond.  They had to test the water to make sure that there were no pollutants entering into the Hudson River.  

Chairperson Allen wanted to know where (in what direction) the water from the Duck Pond flows before emptying into the Hudson River.  The Village Engineer explained that there are two 48-inch pipes, both of which empty into the river, that parallel each other.  These two pipes discharge at the south part of the upper parking lot near Elliott Way.  One pipe is the outlet from the Duck Pond and the other is the Route 9A storm water drainage pipe.  The Village Engineer noted that water runoff from Route 9A empties into the Hudson River through the Finkelstein property.  

The Village Engineer told the Committee members that the increase in impervious surfaces at the proposed DPW site would trigger the need for the on-site detention pond to be made larger in size.

Mr. Greenbaum noted that the parking area being proposed for overflow parking is (would be) quite a distance from the train station. The Village Engineer said that this parking area would only be used when coastal flooding occurs i.e., probably only two or three days a year. It would be a long walk to the train station, but the overflow parking lot would make it possible for the commuters to get to work.  

Chairperson Allen suggested that, at this juncture, the WAC should go through the documents (FEAF and CAF) received from the Village Board.   She asked if the WAC members had any comments on the FEAF.  

Mr. Kane referred to Page 3 of 21, question A.4.a. “What is depth to bedrock?”  He said that the correct answer should be “greater than 6 feet” rather than “lesser than 6 feet.”

Mr. Kane noted that on Page 3 of 21, question 20 – “Has the site ever been used for the disposal of solid or hazardous waste?” – the answer is marked “No.”  The Village Engineer explained the reasoning behind the “No” answer.  The word “disposal” was interpreted to signify that the spot was a permanent resting spot for solid or hazardous waste materials, such as a “landfill.”  When Metro Enviro was operating at 1A Croton Point Avenue, the site was being used for the transfer of solid waste, but it was not a permanent resting spot.  The Village Engineer said that it is his understanding that the Village is doing a Phase 1 environmental review of the property, which would include a review of the existing use.  The site would be classified as to any contaminants or pollutants present.  Whether or not a Phase 2 is recommended would depend on the outcome of the Phase 1 study. Chairperson Allen noted that the WAC’s position would be to recommend to the Village Board that the Phase 1 study should be done.  The answer “Yes” or “No” to the question regarding the disposal of waste could then be more precisely established.

Chairperson Allen referred to Part 2, Page 14 of 21, question 6. “Will Proposed Action alter drainage flow or patterns, or surface water runoff?”  Chairperson Allen thought that the answer should be “Yes” rather than “No.” She mentioned as reasons for changing the answer to “yes,” the increase in impervious surface(s), the washing on site of DPW equipment, etc.  She suggested adding, as an example under “Other impacts,” the addition and/or change in the amount of impervious surface(s), to which the other members agreed.    

Mr. Wiegman referred to Page 5 of 21, question 4. “How many acres of vegetation (trees, shrubs, ground covers) will be removed from site?” The answer given is “less than 1 acre.” Mr. Wiegman thought that the answer should probably be “more than 1 acre.” The Village Engineer said that he would double-check to make sure that the answer currently given is accurate.  He would verify the area of ground cover to be removed.

Ms. Rhodes wanted to know where the property lines run at the 1A Croton Point Avenue site. The Village Engineer suggested that he could find for Ms. Rhodes an old Metro Enviro site plan that would show the property lines more accurately than the plan he brought with him tonight.

Ms. Gallelli noted that on Page 16 of 21, question 11 – “Will Proposed Action affect aesthetic resources?” – the answer given is “No.”  She thought it should be “Yes.”  Ms. Gallelli said that her reason for changing the answer to “Yes” is that the DPW facility may have a visual affect or impact on the Half Moon Bay condominium complex. She noted that the building is (would be) three times the size of the building that is there now. She suggested adding as an example under “Other impacts” the change in the view for people living on the backside (eastside) of Half Moon Bay and for people using the road (Half Moon Bay Drive).  Ms. Gallelli noted that the visual impact(s) can probably be mitigated, but the view will definitely be different from what it is now.  

Ms. Gallelli thought that this proposal at 1A Croton Point Avenue would most likely require a DEIS and, if so, the WAC’s comments could be considered input for scoping.  Chairperson Allen suggested that the WAC could say in its memorandum to the Village Board that the WAC’s input could be used for the expanded EAF or for scoping, if a DEIS is required.

Chairperson Allen referred to Page 21 of 21, Part 3, entitled “Evaluation of the Importance of Impacts.”  She thought that question 11 pertaining to the aesthetic impact should be included in Part 3, as the aesthetic impact(s) would be considered potentially large.  Question 11 should be added to Page 21 under Question 5.

Mr. Kane questioned the “No” answer given to question 19 on Page 19 of 21, “Will Proposed Action affect the character of the existing community?”  Mr. Kane thought that the answer should be “Yes” instead of “No.”  He referred to the second example cited as a potentially large impact, pertaining to an increase in the municipal budget by more than 5% per year.  He thought that this particular example could be applied as a reason for answering “Yes.” Ms. Gallelli stated that if the contention is that the answer is “No,” then it should (at least) be put forward what the actual percentage of the budget would be to do this project.  The Village Engineer said that he does not know if the answer should be changed to “Yes,” but he does think that it would be appropriate to ask what data was used to answer this question and ask if the data could be provided.  Chairperson Allen noted that the instructions in filling out the EAF state that if the answer to a specific question is not known, the answer given to the question should be “Yes.” The Village Engineer thought that, at the very least, this question should be looked at in more detail.

Mr. Wiegman suggested that the memorandum from the WAC could say words to the effect that it is unknown what the entire financial impact of this project would be on either capital or operating expenditures, but it seems conceivable that the impact could exceed 5%. The WAC would recommend that the Village Board carefully study this matter.  Chairperson Allen noted that the WAC’s memorandum could also say that this project has the potential of having a large impact on the character of the existing community.

Chairperson Allen referred to Page 20 of 21, question 20. “Is there, or is there likely to be, public controversy related to potential adverse environment impacts?” Chairperson Allen noted that the answer given is “No.”  She questioned if this was the proper answer.  Chairperson Allen thought that the reality is that there would be public controversy.  It (public controversy) exists on almost any conceivable subject. She thought that the answer should be changed to “Yes.” The Village Engineer noted that the WAC’s comments on this document (FEAF) will help the Village Board to determine whether to make a Positive or Negative Declaration under SEQRA. He thought that answering “Yes” to this question and giving the reasons for this answer would help the Village Board to make the proper SEQRA determination. Chairperson Allen noted that the potentially adverse environmental impacts of this change of use to a DPW facility should be assessed.  Mr. Greenbaum suggested that the answer to this question could be “Yes,” but he did not think it was necessarily appropriate to list the reasons in the WAC’s memorandum.  Chairperson Allen suggested that the WAC could recommend that the answer should be changed to “Yes,” and then say that the potential environmental impacts of the new use have not been assessed.     

Chairperson Allen referred (again) to Page 21 of 21, Part 3 – “Evaluation of the Importance of Impacts.”  Chairperson Allen said that she would want to add to the comments on question 5 (“Will proposed action affect surface or groundwater quality or quantity?”) that salt and chemicals, as well as petroleum, will be stored on site.  Furthermore, it should be stated that, with respect to the storage of hazardous materials, the Village would comply with Westchester County Best Management Practices. Mr. Greenbaum said to add “corrosive materials” to the list of DPW materials to be stored on site.  The Village Engineer noted that Part 3 is for large impacts.  The WAC should also say in their memorandum that additional Part 3’s should be prepared for any impacts that are identified as being potentially large.

Chairperson Allen referred the WAC to the CAF and asked if there were any comments.

Chairperson Allen noted that on Page 2 of 4, question 3(c) – “Will the Proposed Action involve or result in the expansion of existing public services or infrastructure in undeveloped or low density areas of the coastal area?” – the answer given is “No.”  She questioned if “No” was the proper answer.  Mr. Kane questioned what is meant by “low density.” The Village Engineer pointed out to the Committee members that the sanitary sewer system would certainly have to be expanded to accommodate the new DPW facility.  Chairperson Allen suggested that the WAC should recommend that the answer be changed to “Yes,” to which the others agreed.

Chairperson Allen referred to Page 3 of 4, question 4(j) – “Does the project involve transport, storage, treatment or disposal of solid waste or hazardous materials?” – and noted that the answer given is “No.”  Chairperson Allen recalled that in the documentation provided by the Village Board there was a statement made that hazardous materials would be taken off site.  Mr. Wiegman noted that the project would involve the disposal of solid waste.  The Village Engineer noted further that it would also involve the storage of hazardous materials. The WAC decided to recommend that the answer to this question should be changed to “Yes.”

Mr. Wiegman referred to Page 3 of 4, question 4(f). “Will the surface area of any waterways or wetland area be increased or decreased by the proposals?” The answer given in the FEAF is “No.” Mr. Wiegman asked if the detention pond on site would be considered a wetland area.  The Village Engineer noted that the detention pond would be less than the minimum area designated for a wetland (5,000 square feet). Furthermore, he would question whether a pond that is actually a storm water detention basin could be classified as a wetland area. The WAC decided that the answer to this question should remain “No.”

Mr. Greenbaum noted that on Page 4 of 4, question 4(o) – “Will the project alter drainage flow, patterns or surface water runoff on or from the site?” – the answer given is “No.” Mr. Greenbaum thought that the answer should be “Yes.” He gave as a reason the fact that the detention pond on the site would have to be increased in size.  The other members agreed that the answer to question 4(o) should be changed to “Yes.”

The WAC members discussed the wording of their memorandum to the Village Board.  The Village Engineer said that it should be stated in the memorandum that the WAC has no objections to the Village Board’s acting as the Lead Agency.  It should also be noted that the WAC is in the process of preparing a statement of preliminary findings on the consistency of this project with the Local Waterfront Revitalization Program (LWRP).  

Ms. Gallelli thought that the WAC should prepare its preliminary consistency findings in the same time frame that the Village Board is making its determination to act as the Lead Agency. The memorandum to the Village Board could say that the WAC would be providing its preliminary consistency determination by the end of next week.  Furthermore, it should be noted in the memorandum that, in its role as an involved agency, the WAC is looking forward to being involved in the further identification of issues.  Ms. Gallelli noted that, at the end of the SEQRA review process, the WAC would have to make a final consistency determination and prepare a statement of findings along with the other involved agencies.  

Chairperson Allen said that she would prepare a draft memorandum and circulate it by e-mail to the Committee members.


Chairperson Allen asked for an update on the County project to extend the Riverwalk Trail through the Beaverkill property.  Mr. Kane said that the cost of the project has increased.  The County is asking for a financial contribution from the Village.  The County is also asking that the Village assume the responsibility for the maintenance.  Mr. Kane stated that, at this point in time, the matter is still under discussion.  Mr. Wiegman noted that when the County put the project out to bid, the cost to do the project was higher than what was originally anticipated.  Chairperson Allen recalled that, at the WAC meeting on this project, the WAC was concerned about the clear-cutting of the land and the types of plantings being proposed.  She asked for an update on the County’s proposed landscaping plan.  The Village Engineer said that the County has not come back yet with any new plans.  Chairperson Allen recalled that the WAC never issued a determination of consistency on this project because the Committee members felt that the information submitted was not precise enough.  She questioned what the next step should be, to which the Village Engineer suggested that the WAC could write a letter to the Village Manager saying that the WAC would like to review the most recent plans for this project.


The minutes of the Wednesday, August 3, 2005 WAC meeting were approved 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 9: 30 P.M.

Respectfully submitted,

Sylvia Mills