VILLAGE OF CROTON ON HUDSON, NEW YORK
MINUTES OF THE WATERFRONT ADVISORY COMMITTEE MEETING
WEDNESDAY, MARCH 19, 2008
A meeting of the Waterfront Advisory Committee of the Village of Croton-on-Hudson, New York was held on Wednesday, March 19, 2008 in the Municipal Building.
MEMBERS PRESENT: Fran Allen, Chairperson
ABSENT: Stuart Greenbaum
ALSO PRESENT: Daniel O’Connor, P.E., Village Engineer
1. Call to Order:
The meeting was called to order at 8:00 P.M. by Chairperson Fran Allen.
2. APPLICATION FOR A STEEP SLOPES HARDSHIP PERMIT FOR THE CONSTRUCTION OF A SINGLE-FAMILY DWELLING AT 39 TRUESDALE DRIVE – LWRP CONSISTENCY REVIEW:
Ron Wegner of Cronin Engineering and Thomas Brennan, owner of the property at 39 Truesdale Drive, were present.
Mr. Wegner said that it is his understanding that the entire Village of Croton-on-Hudson is in a coastal zone, which is protected by the Village’s Local Waterfront Revitalization Program (LWRP). Chairperson Allen noted that the Coastal Zone Management Plan provides protection to coastal waterways at the federal, state and local level(s). Local protection is provided under the Village’s LWRP.
Mr. Wegner explained to the Committee that the Applicant has been before the Planning Board for a recommendation to the Village Board on their Steep Slopes Hardship Permit application. The lot in question is approximately one-third of an acre in size. The Applicant intends to situate the proposed house on the flat portion of the site. The disturbance to the steep slopes would be for the proposed driveway. The new house would be serviced by the municipal sewer and water system(s). The Applicant would provide mitigation for any increase in storm water runoff by using drywells and an infiltrator and trench drain system. Mr. Wegner said that the Applicant is before the WAC tonight to look at potential impacts on the coastal areas of the Village.
Mr. Wegner showed the Committee members an aerial map of the Village. He pointed out that the subject property is somewhat removed from actual waterfront (shoreline) areas. To his knowledge, there are no wetlands areas in the vicinity of the project. Mr. Wegner said that he believes the impacts to the environment would be minimal. Existing infrastructures are in place to handle water and sewage. Mitigation for storm water runoff is being provided.
Chairperson Allen read aloud LWRP policies #’s 33, 33A and 33B which, she believed, relate specifically to this project. They are as follows:
Policy 33: Best Management Practices will be used to ensure the control of storm water runoff and combined sewer overflows draining into coastal waters.
Policy 33A: Encourage new developments to retain storm water runoff on site so as to not increase flows within the existing system or to improve existing storm water runoff systems so that runoff from such developments does not adversely impact coastal waters.
Policy 33B: Improve existing Village storm water discharge to control flow of pollutants from street and parking areas, etc. directly in the rivers.
Mr. Kane said that, in so far as storm water drainage is concerned, storm water enters the Croton River directly from a storm drain, which is situated 100 feet away. The Village Engineer said that the Old Post Road South system drains into Mayo’s Landing. Mr. Kane noted that there is a serious defect in the existing drainage pipe at Mayo’s Landing. Mr. Luntz pointed out that, assuming the Applicant’s proposed drainage system fulfills its purpose of retaining the additional water created on the site, then, this particular lot would not be adding to the problem with the existing pipe at Mayo’s Landing. Mr. Luntz said that he would think that the defective pipe at Mayo’s Landing is a separate issue from the development of this lot.
Mr. Kane asked if the storm drain would be connected to the existing infrastructure, to which Mr. Wegner replied that an infiltrator would be placed underneath the driveway. The drainage system being proposed is a “stand-alone” system. Mr. Luntz said that this would mean that the drainage would not be connected to the existing manhole.
Mr. Wegner told those present that he has not yet finished his drainage analysis for this project. He still has to do percolation tests.
Mr. Kane asked Mr. Wegner what his parameters are for the size of the trench drain being proposed. Mr. Wegner said that the trench drain is a standard size drain. The overall system has been sized to treat a 10-year storm event. Mr. Luntz asked if the drainage being proposed meets the requirements of the Best Management Practices. Mr. Wegner said that they have actually gone beyond New York State requirements in that they are providing this level of drainage treatment on a lot, which is only one-third of an acre in size. He explained that, normally, to meet the NYSDEC requirements, an erosion and sedimentation control plan would be required for disturbance to an area greater than one acre, and mitigation for quantity increases would be required for an area greater than five acres.
Mr. Kane noted to the Applicant that his concern is (would be) to protect the fish in the Croton River. They spawn in May. Mr. Kane said that he would be concerned about overloading the storm drain system during major storm events and the adverse environmental impact(s) of the subsequent accumulation of silt deposits in the Croton River. The Village Engineer noted that there are many drainage points from different areas of the Village into the Croton River. He would think that the drainage in this area would not be overloaded as a result of the new house construction.
The Village Engineer said that the seepage pit at the end of the driveway would capture most of the pollutants.
Mr. Kane asked what the maintenance of the drainage system would be, to which Mr. Wegner replied that he anticipates that there would not be too much maintenance required. The Village Engineer said that, with the seepage pits being used, he would think that the sewage system should last for a long period of time. In so far as the trench drain is concerned, it would eventually become clogged with leaves and would have to be cleaned out. Mr. Wegner stated that the trench drain being proposed would be flush with the ground. Chairperson Allen asked what the angle of rise would be where it enters Truesdale Drive and flows into the storm water sewer system. She would think that there are calculations that could be provided to help the WAC better understand this aspect of the functioning of the drainage. Mr.
Wegner asked if Chairperson Allen is talking about water crossing the road, to which Chairperson Allen said that, indeed, she is. Mr. Kane said that Chairperson Allen is talking about water possibly “jumping the drain” and crossing the road. Mr. Luntz noted that the drainage calculations, yet to be provided, need to bear this out, however, it is his understanding that the engineering design is such that there is a “net zero increase” in the surface water that would run off this lot.
The Village Engineer noted that if the trench drain is being installed on a level to the ground, this would tend to slow down the flow of water. Mr. Wegner told the WAC that one of the changes requested by the Planning Board was to provide a flatter area at the entrance to the driveway. He had originally planned to install the trench drain by the property line; however, the Planning Board requested a more level landing, which would put the trench drain in a flatter area. The Village Engineer noted to the WAC that if work has to be done in the Village right-of-way for the trench drain, there is a permitting process in place to do this work. There are design options that could (also) be implemented for making this drain work better for catching water.
Chairperson Allen questioned if the water, crossing over the drain, would stay on this (the Applicant’s) side of the street and end up in the storm drain, to which Mr. Wegner replied that the water should stay on the “near” side of the street.
Mr. Kane pointed out that from Cedar Lane to Nordica Drive there are no storm drains on the east side. If the water were to “jump” over the trench drain and onto the street, it would go all the way down Truesdale Drive and continue down Nordica Drive. The Village Engineer asked if the water “jumps” over the street now, to which Mr. Kane replied that there is some flow, but it is not that heavy. Mr. Kane said that the current flow of water might change with the new impervious surface(s) being added. The Village Engineer suggested that there would be a way of putting cross basins across the street to tie into the catch basins. The Village would have to look into this matter. In the interim, Mr. Wegner has to demonstrate through his drainage analysis (calculations) that the drainage system would work.
Mr. Kane asked about the bedrock on the property, to which Mr. Wegner said that they used a rebar and hit bedrock at 9 feet.
Chairperson Allen told the Applicant that, as part of their review, the WAC looks at the answers given to the questions in the Full Environmental Assessment Form (FEAF) and the Coastal Assessment Form (CAF). Chairperson Allen said that she had no comments on the EAF or CAF. Mr. Kane referred to questions 10 and 11 on page 4 of the CAF pertaining to water runoff on or from the site and noted that he (Mr. Kane) answered “Yes” to both questions. Chairperson Allen pointed out to Mr. Kane that the Applicant has also answered “Yes,” so questions 10 and 11 should remain as is.
Mr. Kane referred to the Applicant’s site plan and said that it is his understanding from the legend on the plan that the darker “dash line” refers to the proposed limits of disturbance, to which Mr. Wegner explained to the WAC members the meaning of the various dotted lines being shown.
The Village Engineer noted that the “proposed stabilized construction entrance” indicated on the Applicant’s plan should be continued all the way up the steep part of the driveway.
Mr. Kane noted that there are County regulations governing projects within 500 feet of the Croton River. He asked if this project is within 500 feet, to which the Village Engineer said that it is not. It is 700 feet from the river. Mr. Luntz noted that, at the last Planning Board meeting, the Village Engineer said that this project is out of the Critical Environmental Area (CEA) for the Croton River.
Mr. Kane said that he does not have any other questions/comments at this time.
Chairperson Allen suggested that the WAC could find this project to be consistent with the policies set forth in the LWRP subject to the conditions discussed tonight. Among other items, a complete drainage analysis must be submitted that shows the drainage system would function, as it is being proposed. Any changes to enhance the drainage system at the bottom of the driveway should be implemented. The Village Engineer added that the Applicant’s drainage calculations (analysis) results should show that there would be no net increase in runoff. Mr. Kane suggested that, for the WAC to be comfortable (assured) that the entire system of drainage would work, “data points” should be established that could be checked (on) during its construction. The Village Engineer said that, as mentioned earlier, the “proposed stabilized
construction entrance” should be increased (continued) to cover the entire portion of steep slopes in the driveway. Finally, an erosion and sedimentation control plan should be provided. The Village Engineer stated that, as discussed at the Planning Board meeting, the retaining walls would be built fairly early in the construction process to stabilize the site. Another means of stabilization would be to put a temporary gravel pocket at the bottom of the driveway.
Chairperson Allen asked the WAC members present if they found this project to be consistent with the LWRP subject to the conditions discussed tonight. The three members present found it to be consistent.
Chairperson Allen suggested that, if at all possible, the memorandum from the WAC to the Village Board should be written up in time for review and comment by the Planning Board at their meeting on Tuesday, March 25th.
Mr. Brennan, owner of the property, came forward and pointed out to the WAC members that new sidewalks have been installed on Cedar Lane. There is a brand new 6-inch curb from Cedar Lane past his existing driveway. Mr. Kane noted that if water were to “jump” over the trench drain, it would hit that curb and go north. Mr. Wegner said that making a flatter landing at the driveway entrance should break the velocity of the water before it hits the road.
3. IMPROVEMENTS TO THE CROTON-HARMON PARKING FIELD TO ADDRESS HIGH WATER PROBLEMS – LWRP CONSISTENCY REVIEW:
Robert DeGiorgio of Dvirka and Bartilucci Consulting Engineers was present for this application.
Mr. DeGiorgio distributed to the WAC members some additional application materials consisting of an aerial map of the railroad station, an excerpt from the long form Environmental Assessment Form (EAF) and an 11” x 17” map showing the existing conditions of the parking lot.
The Village Engineer noted to the committee members that the design phase of this project has just begun. The WAC is seeing the very preliminary stages of the design phase tonight. The Village Engineer said that there has been a “priority status” placed on the project to move it along as quickly as possible. The New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) still needs to review this proposal. The DEC’s input might change the details of the design. The Village Engineer told the WAC that he would think the WAC could not make a determination of consistency tonight; however, the WAC could point out the critical policies of the LWRP that would need to be addressed. Mr. Kane agreed that the WAC could not make a determination of consistency tonight based on the lack of information.
Mr. Luntz suggested that Mr. DeGiorgio could explain the proposal to the committee members. Mr. DeGiorgio said that the intent of the project is to raise the elevation of the existing parking lot at the railroad station to alleviate/mitigate the hazard and damage caused by repeated flooding. Two elevations are critical to the project. The first phase would involve raising a 2 to 2.5-acre area of the surface to a three-foot elevation and the second phase would raise the full 6 +/- acres to a five-foot elevation. Mr. DeGiorgio said that the intent would be to raise the parking lot to an elevation of three and then ultimately to five so that the parking lot surface would be above the high water table. Gravel item 4 would be used as fill. Also, a shoreline wall would be developed as part of this project.
Mr. Kane noted that the Village had taken measures in the past to mitigate the damage caused by high tides and flooding. Ten years ago, fill was added to the parking lot surface, but the parking lot still sank. Mr. Kane pointed out that the more weight on the surface the more it sinks. Mr. Luntz questioned how this situation could be rectified. Mr. DeGiorgio told the WAC that a geotechnical report has been prepared for this site. The Village could take additional measures to improve stabilization but there would be further costs involved. Mr. DeGiorgio said that he would question whether the parking lot could be stabilized even if these additional measures were taken to improve its settling capacity. He noted to the Committee that some action definitely needs to be taken, and this (the course of action presently being
proposed) seems to be the only alternative that could be implemented.
Mr. Kane said that he has a 1948 map that shows the wetlands and the surrounding area(s). He would send a copy of this map to the WAC members.
Mr. Kane noted that there are structures in the vicinity of the parking lot that are on pilings e.g., the Half Moon Bay condominiums and the Metro North buildings, to which Mr. DeGiorgio said that pilings are not usually a practical solution for a parking lot.
Mr. Kane said that the WAC would need to see a large-scale map to do their consistency review. Mr. DeGiorgio noted that, in terms of submittals, he would provide a large-scale map in greater detail for the next WAC meeting. Mr. DeGiorgio explained to the committee that it was his understanding that tonight’s meeting was just to introduce the WAC members to the project.
The Village Engineer pointed out that, in order to move forward with this proposal, there would be permitting required from the DEC. Once these permits are in place and the DEC has provided their comments, then more detailed plans could be prepared.
Mr. Kane asked Mr. DeGiorgio what was being planned for storm water treatment, to which Mr. DeGiorgio said that the storm water treatment would depend on what the DEC requires them to do. It would be a function of how they (the DEC) “reads” the project.
Mr. Kane referred to the map submitted and pointed out that the parking lot has been split into three separate sections. He questioned why areas were separated in this way. Mr. DeGiorgio explained to the WAC that the project would be done in phases. Phase 1 would raise 2.2 acres to an elevation of three feet. Phase 2 would raise 5.9 acres to an elevation of five feet. The project would be phased in this way to minimize disruption to the commuters. Mr. DeGiorgio said that the elevations are “mean sea level” elevations. What causes the flooding is the tide, which could go as high as five feet or as low as three feet. The tide is either above or below “mean sea level.” Mr. Kane said that he checked the tidal events for the month of March. He found that 46 events in March were
three feet or higher. Mr. DeGiorgio reiterated that to minimize the disruption to the commuters and salvage as many parking spaces as possible, the intention is to phase the work of completing the two elevations (three- and five-foot elevations) in sections.
Mr. Luntz said that as he understands the project, most of the parking lot would be raised by about one or one and a half feet. It would depend on the topography (contours) of the land. Mr. Luntz pointed out that the proposal is not to add three feet of fill; it is to raise the ground level to an elevation of three feet. The Village Engineer said that the proposal is to raise the ground level of the parking lot to an elevation of three or five feet.
Chairperson Allen said that she is finding this proposal, as it has been described thus far, somewhat difficult to grasp because the land in question is not “solid land.” Chairperson Allen asked how this project would affect the topography of the land, as it exists today. She would want to know the potential environmental impacts on Echo Point and the other surrounding areas. Mr. DeGiorgio said that, in so far as the proposed grading is concerned, the final grading for the project would be a function of the DEC. The contours of the land would look mostly like they look now. The actual way that it is going to be contoured is (would be) a function of the final design. Mr. DeGiorgio pointed out that the various locations for the drainage basins would (also) be a function of the final design.
Mr. Kane said that he would want to know how the transition in grading between varying elevations would be handled. Mr. Kane noted that the elevation of the area past the Municipal Garage would have to be “transitioned” into the parking lot itself. How would this take place? Mr. DeGiorgio said that a point would have to be found downstream where the two grades meet. This would be a part of the final design. Mr. Kane asked if it would be possible to expand the map so as give the WAC more information on how this transition in grading would take place. Chairperson Allen said that the WAC would need to see a profile of the area past the salt shed. Mr. DeGiorgio said that he would think that the area where the grades would “marry” would be a few hundred feet off of where the map ends now. They (Dvirka &
Bartilucci) would provide an expanded survey map for the next meeting. They would have a profile of the road “all the way down to that point where it meets the old road.”
The Village Engineer explained the current status of the project to the WAC stating that the Village has already begun the SEQRA process. The Lead Agency has to be established. There is a thirty-day review and comment period for the interested and involved agencies. The Village Engineer noted that the DEC would be an involved agency. The Village Board would very likely be the Lead Agency. Dvirka & Bartilucci would complete parts 2 and 3 of the full EAF. Also, the CAF has to be reviewed by the WAC. During the review process the design details for the project would be developed. For example, if retaining walls were required, a conceptual sketch of the wall design would be provided. Also, the concept for the storm water drainage system would be developed.
Mr. DeGiorgio said that their intent is to keep the parking spots at the railroad station as they are now.
Mr. Luntz wanted to know what the useful life of this project is anticipated to be, if it is already known that the parking lot is eventually going to sink, to which Mr. DeGiorgio did not have the answer. He said that he would find out and let the WAC know.
Mr. Luntz asked how much the project would cost, to which Mr. Kane said, $1.5 million for Phase 1 and $1.7 million for the entire project (Phases 1 and 2 combined).
Mr. Luntz asked if all the fill being added would be item 4, to which Mr. DeGiorgio said, yes, it would be predominantly item 4 with some gravel sub-bases to accommodate the final porous pavement. Mr. Luntz asked if it would be a five- or ten-year “fix,” to which Mr. DeGiorgio replied that the service life of the asphalt would probably be more in the range of ten to fifteen years. Mr. Luntz asked if the present solution being proposed is the only solution to the problem that “makes sense,” to which the Village Engineer said that it is the best solution from a cost standpoint. The Village Engineer pointed out that the alternative of putting in pilings for parking decks would be a very costly proposition.
Chairperson Allen said that for the next meeting more detailed maps should be provided. Profiles of the larger pieces of the parking lot and surrounding areas should be provided. The WAC would want more information on the wall design. The WAC would also be concerned about pollutants being discharged into the soil. In order to make a determination of consistency, the WAC would want to know the potential environmental impact(s). Chairperson Allen said that, for the next meeting on this application, Dvirka & Bartilucci should have reviewed the policies of the LWRP. Mr. DeGiorgio assured the WAC that, for the next meeting, Dvirka & Bartilucci would have maps prepared for the purpose of doing a proper environmental review.
Chairperson Allen said that the WAC would want to “stay close” to this project as it develops. The WAC would leave it up to Dvirka & Bartilucci and the Village Engineer to keep the WAC involved. Chairperson Allen said that she would think the WAC should become involved again sooner in the development of the project rather than later.
Chairperson Allen suggested that it would be helpful to go on a site visit. It would probably be useful to schedule this site visit fairly soon.
The Village Engineer said that the project should be looked at from the standpoint of the life of the project. He mentioned issues that would need to be considered during the review, e.g. construction phasing, storm water, maintenance and replacement issues, and pollutants control.
Chairperson Allen brought up the issue of the phasing of this project, stating that it would be useful to have a formal assessment for both Phase 1 and Phase 2. The WAC could do a consistency review for both phases. She would think the WAC should reach a conclusion on each phase separately. To make a determination of consistency on Phase 1, the WAC would need further clarification of this phase of the project along with more detailed plans.
Chairperson Allen said that she would prepare a memorandum to the Village Board bringing them up to date on what took place at the WAC meeting tonight. She would say in the memorandum that the WAC would need much more information to do their consistency review. Mr. Kane pointed out that the WAC has to the end of the month to prepare the memorandum. The Village Engineer suggested that the WAC might want to start off by saying that the WAC has no objection to the Village Board’s acting as the Lead Agency for this project.
Chairperson Allen said that she would draft a memorandum and email it to the WAC members for their review and comment.
4. OTHER BUSINESS:
Chairperson Allen asked that the Village Engineer explain to the WAC members why applications for a Steep Slopes Hardship Permit for single-family homes are coming before the WAC. The Village Engineer referred to Chapter 225 in the Village Code entitled “Waterfront Revitalization.” In Section 225-3 “Definitions,” the term “Action” is defined as “Either Type 1 or Unlisted Actions as defined in SEQR regulations (6 NYCRR 617.2).” Type 1 or Unlisted Actions are subject to the SEQR process and are, therefore, required to go before the WAC. The Village Engineer noted that (construction of) a single-family home, in and of itself, is a Type II Action, which is exempt from SEQR. However, a single-family home with an
environmental permit associated with it (steep slopes, wetlands, fill permits, etc.) is considered an Unlisted Action, which is subject to SEQR and WAC review.
The Village Engineer said that the question is whether reviewing this type of application is the proper use of the committee’s and the applicant’s time. In the past the WAC has been reviewing only the large-scale projects that affect the waterfront, e.g. railroad tie removal, the County bulkhead project, etc. Chairperson Allen noted that applications pertaining to single-family homes are already being reviewed in a number of ways by a number of other boards and departments (Planning Board, Village Board, Engineer’s Office, etc.). She, too, would question the WAC’s involvement in the review of this type of application.
The Village Engineer noted that the Village has recently updated the chapter in the Village Code pertaining to the SEQR regulations. It might be worthwhile to clarify what constitutes a Type II Action. The list could be modified to include, for example, steep slopes or wetlands permits in which the area disturbed is under a certain square footage. If an application were considered to be a Type II Action, then a determination of consistency by the WAC would not be required. The Village Engineer said that this “modified list” would have to be developed. The Village Engineer noted that there are undoubtedly statutory regulations from the Department of State that have to be followed; however, he personally did not see any harm in the Village’s looking into this matter. He would suggest that the consultants
currently involved with updating the Village’s environmental laws could be asked to do research into this matter as well. He would keep the WAC informed.
5. APPROVAL OF MINUTES:
The minutes of the Thursday, November 29, 2007 Waterfront Advisory Committee meeting were approved on a motion by Mr. Kane, seconded by Mr. Luntz and carried by a vote of 3 to 0.
There being no further business to come before the Committee, the meeting was duly adjourned at 10:13 P.M.