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Waterfront Advisory Committee Minutes 4/15/08

A meeting of the Waterfront Advisory Committee of the Village of Croton-on-Hudson, New York was held on Tuesday, April 15, 2008 in the Municipal Building.

MEMBERS PRESENT:        Fran Allen, Chairperson
                                Stuart Greenbaum
                                Susan Konig

       ABSENT: Robert Luntz
                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.


Ron Wegner of Cronin Engineering was present to represent the Applicant.

Mr. Wegner said that the Applicant, John Nikic, wishes to develop a .41 acre parcel on Franklin Avenue.  The subject lot, which is situated in the middle of the block, is surrounded by single-family homes. Mr. Wegner said that the band of steep slopes is in the middle of the parcel where the house would be situated.  The driveway grade would be at 15%.  The Applicant anticipates that, for the construction of the house, a small amount of rock excavation would be required.  Mr. Wegner said that they have done some soil testing and have found “good, pervious soils.”  Mr. Wegner noted that the drainage being proposed would accommodate a greater than ten-year storm event.

Chairperson Allen read aloud LWRP policies #’s 33, 33A and 33B which, she believed, were relevant to this application.  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.

Chairperson Allen noted that the Applicant has provided for the WAC’s review a drainage analysis for this project. It is stated in the Applicant’s drainage analysis that much of the disturbance to the steep slopes is (would be) for the construction of the house.  

Mr. Wegner noted to the WAC members that, prior to construction of the house/driveway the Applicant intends to do a thorough clean-up of the property, including the demolition and removal of footings for a stone wall that never got built.  Mr. Wegner said that, in so far as the drainage is concerned, they intend to catch most of the runoff with yard drains and roof leaders.

The Village Engineer noted that when this application came before the Planning Board, a discussion ensued about eliminating curbs on the proposed driveway.   Chairperson Allen stated that the Planning Board made the decision to recommend to the Village Board that this application be approved subject to a number of conditions, including a condition that there shall be no curbs on the driveway, and the length of the driveway shall be crowned so that water would tend to flow into the grassy areas on either side.  Mr. Greenbaum asked if the drainage system being proposed would be adequate for a severe storm.  The Village Engineer described the drainage system, stating that Mr. Wegner has designed a three-pit seepage system with yard drains.  Any excess storm water runoff captured from the upper part of the lot would be piped into a dry well type infiltration system.  

Chairperson Allen referred the WAC members to page 1 of the Applicant’s drainage analysis in which the Applicant describes the capability of the drainage system as follows:

“This [drainage] analysis was prepared to demonstrate that, when the site work is completed, the volume of storm water runoff originating from the site resulting from a 10-year recurrence storm will be less than or equal to that of the pre-construction condition.”   

The Village Engineer noted that another issue discussed at the Planning Board meeting was the potential need for rock excavation to construct the proposed basement. The Planning Board included as one of their conditions that the bump-out at the rear of the house be limited to a crawl space, if at all possible, to help reduce the need for rock excavation.  Mr. Wegner said that he has spoken to the Applicant, and the Applicant would have no problem abiding by this condition.

The Village Engineer suggested that Mr. Wegner could describe to the WAC the erosion and sedimentation control device(s) being used, to which Mr. Wegner replied that, for stabilization purposes during construction, they (the Applicant) intend to create a temporary sediment trap at the driveway entrance.

The Village Engineer asked Mr. Wegner if he had checked to see if the property is within the Critical Environmental Area (CEA) boundary for the Croton River, to which Mr. Wegner replied that he checked, and the property is not within the CEA.

Chairperson Allen asked if the WAC members could have a copy of the CEA map(s) for future meetings, to which the Village Engineer said that he would provide copies to the WAC members.

Mr. Wegner referred the WAC members to the copy of the map, which he had brought with him to the meeting tonight, from the New York State Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation National Register website. The map shows the VanCortlandt Manor national historic site highlighted in red. Mr. Wegner said that, as indicated by this map, the subject lot on Franklin Avenue is not on, or contiguous to, VanCortlandt Manor.  Chairperson Allen told Mr. Wegner that the issue, which the WAC has to consider, is whether or not the house being proposed would be visible from VanCortlandt Manor.  The Village Engineer pointed out that the subject lot is “inside a developed area.”  It is not a “fringe lot.” There are at least four houses between (the potential view of) this lot and VanCortlandt Manor.

Chairperson Allen referred to item 25 “Approvals Required” on page 5 of the EAF and noted that the WAC is not included in the list of approving agencies/boards.  She said that she would think that the WAC should be explicitly called out on this list.

The Village Engineer referred to item 8 on page 4 “Will blasting occur during construction?” and noted that the answer given to this question is “No.”  The Applicant qualifies his answer by stating that any removal of rock would be performed by mechanical means.  The Village Engineer told the WAC that the neighbors living in the stone house nearby had expressed their concern to him about blasting and rock hammering on this site.  He would suggest to Mr. Wegner that he should try to find more information on the type of bedrock in this area.  He could check the NYS geological maps or he could contact a local excavator for this type of information.  The Village Engineer noted that this issue is probably more of an issue for the Village Board in their review of the Steep Slopes Hardship Permit and the Planning Board in their review of the Minor Site Plan; however, he still wanted to make the WAC aware of it.  Chairperson Allen said that she would think that either the Planning Board or the WAC, in their recommendation to the Village Board, should raise this issue regarding blasting/rock hammering.

Chairperson Allen referred to item 1(a) on page 2 of the CAF “Will the proposed action be located in or contiguous to any of the resource areas identified on the coastal area map?” and noted that this question was left blank.  She would think that the answer to this question should be “Yes.”  Chairperson Allen pointed out that the entire Village is within the coastal zone; hence, the proposed action is (would be) identified in the coastal area map. Mr. Wegner noted to the WAC members that he had also left blank item 2(a) “Will the proposed action have a significant effect upon any of the resource areas identified on the coastal area map?”  Chairperson Allen said that she would think that the appropriate answer to this question would be “No.”

Chairperson Allen asked the Village Engineer where the Applicant obtained the CAF (form) being reviewed tonight, to which the Village Engineer said that it probably came off of the Village’s website. Chairperson Allen said that it seemed to her that the form being used tonight is somewhat oversimplified.  She would want to know if this form is in compliance with the New York State CAF.  Chairperson Allen said that she would be in touch with the State to make sure that the Village’s form is appropriate. Chairperson Allen said that it is her understanding that the questions being asked in the Village’s CAF need to be general but also specific enough to go along with the Village’s law (LWRP).  

Chairperson Allen referred to Mr. Wegner’s explanation for Question 4 in Section D of the CAF and suggested that in the first sentence of the last paragraph the wording “many hundreds of feet” should be changed to “more than 500 feet,” to which the other WAC members present agreed.

The Village Engineer brought up the issue, mentioned earlier in the meeting, about blasting on the site.  He would be concerned about the impacts of blasting/rock hammering on the neighboring properties. Chairperson Allen suggested that the WAC could bring this matter up in their recommendation to the Village Board.  The WAC could recommend that the Village Board, as part of their review of the project, consider the potential impacts on the neighborhood of blasting or other methods of bedrock removal.  

Chairperson Allen asked if there were any other comments from the WAC on this application, to which there were none.

Chairperson Allen reviewed the conditions for the WAC’s recommendation to the Village Board.  The drainage system should include the storm water management techniques identified by the Planning Board and the Village Engineer including a crowned driveway without curbs and a drywell type infiltration system.  The WAC should be added to the list of required approving agencies/boards.  In the CAF, the answer to question 1(a) is “Yes, the proposed action is in the coastal area map.  The answer to question 2(a) in the CAF is “No,” the action would not have a significant impact on resources identified on the coastal area map.  In question 4 of Section D in the CAF, the wording in the last paragraph should be changed from “many hundreds of feet” to “more than 500 feet.” Finally, the WAC should raise the issue about blasting on the site, recommending to the Village Board that they should consider the potential impacts on the neighbors.

Chairperson Allen entertained a motion to find this project consistent with the policies of the LWRP subject to the conditions discussed tonight.  The motion was made by Mr. Greenbaum, seconded by Ms. Konig and carried by a vote of 3 to 0.

Chairperson Allen said that she would prepare the memorandum to the Village Board on the WAC’s consistency findings.

There being no further business to come before the Committee, the meeting was duly adjourned at 8:50 P.M.

Respectfully submitted,

Sylvia Mills