VILLAGE OF CROTON ON HUDSON, NEW YORK
MINUTES OF THE WATERFRONT ADVISORY COMMITTEE MEETING
THURSDAY, OCTOBER 23, 2008
A meeting of the Waterfront Advisory Committee of the Village of Croton-on-Hudson, New York was held on Thursday, October 23, 2008 in the Municipal Building.
MEMBERS PRESENT: Fran Allen, Chairperson
Mark Goldfarb (taking Stuart Greenbaum's place)
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, NEXTEL OF NEW YORK, INC., NEW CINGULAR WIRELESS PCS, LLC AND OMNIPOINT COMMUNICATIONS, INC. – REFERRAL FROM THE VILLAGE BOARD FOR A SPECIAL PERMIT FOR THE COLLOCATION OF A PERSONAL WIRELESS SERVICES FACILITY AT THE DPW FACILITY, VETERAN’S PLAZA – CONSISTENCY REVIEW:
Robert Gaudioso, Esq. of Snyder & Snyder, LLP; Anthony Gioffre, Esq. of Cuddy & Feder, LLP; and Manny Vicente, President of Homeland Towers, Inc. were present for this application.
Chairperson Allen noted that this application came before the WAC in August of 2006. At that time, the cell tower was to be situated at a site in close proximity to the canoe launch on the Croton River. The proposed cell tower has since been moved to a different location. Chairperson Allen noted that many of the concerns expressed by WAC members at their meeting in August 2006 have since been addressed.
Chairperson Allen suggested that the Applicant could give the WAC members an update on this application. Mr. Gaudioso explained to the WAC that due to the concerns expressed by the WAC about the aesthetics of the tower, the impact to the wetlands, and the impact on avian resources, the tower was moved to a new location farther away from the canoe launch site. A Critical Environmental Area study was performed including an analysis of the impact(s) on the bald eagle. The NYS Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) reviewed the “new” proposal and concluded that this project would have no significant adverse environmental impacts. Mr. Gaudioso stated that the Applicant also went back to the State Historic Preservation Office (SHPO), and SHPO concluded that there would be no significant adverse impacts.
Mr. Gaudioso stated that the Applicant went back before the Planning Board with the proposal showing the cell tower in the new location. The Planning Board made a recommendation to the Village Board to grant the Special Permit for the installation of the cell tower in the new location. Mr. Gaudioso noted that since the WAC last reviewed this application the lease agreement with the Village for the cell tower has been amended to show, as the “assignee,” the new owner of the cell tower, Homeland Towers, Inc.
Mr. Gaudioso stated that the Applicant has performed a full-blown radio frequency analysis and has responded to all of the comments raised by the Village’s radio frequency consultant, RCC Consultants, Inc., and the Village’s environmental/planning consultant, Frederick P. Clark Associates.
Mr. Gaudioso noted to the WAC that, when the Applicant was going through the review process with the Planning Board, discussions had taken place about coming back before the WAC. The Applicant decided to hold off scheduling a meeting until the Planning Board had made their recommendation to the Village Board.
Mr. Gaudioso stated that the Applicant has revised the Environmental Assessment Form (EAF) and the Coastal Assessment Form (CAF) based on the WAC’s comments at their last meeting and based on changes to the project, which have taken place during the past two years. The Applicant has performed a visual resource analysis of the cell tower in the new location. Some additional photographic renderings have been provided from the crane test(s), and a photographic rendering showing a “build out” of the tower with all five carriers has been provided. Mr. Gaudioso noted that the review process has been a lengthy one, but with the change in the location of the cell tower, the visual (aesthetic) impact has been lessened, the impact on avian resources has been reduced, and the need for the Applicant to apply to the
Village for a Wetlands Activity Permit has been eliminated. Chairperson Allen added that in its new location farther away from the canoe launch site the cell tower is (would be) less visually intrusive.
Mr. Luntz asked the Applicant if there was a proposed time line scheduled for the installation of the cell tower, to which Mr. Gaudioso replied that the public hearing before the Village Board has been scheduled to take place on Monday, November 3rd. Assuming that the public hearing goes well, and the application is approved, one of the recommendations of the Planning Board was that the Village should hire a structural engineer for the Building Permit phase of the project. Mr. Gaudioso said that the Applicant would like to begin the project before the winter season, but there is work yet to be done for the Building Permit. Furthermore, the contractor(s) could only work on Saturdays due to the train station parking/traffic situation. Mr. Vicente of Homeland Towers, Inc. told the Committee members
that for the structural “piece” of this project, soil sampling is (would be) required.
At this juncture, Mr. Gaudioso summarized the status of the cell tower project for WAC member Susan Konig, who had just arrived at the meeting.
Chairperson Allen said that one change in the application that she has noted is that the lowest platform of the tower is going to be elevated, to which Mr. Gaudioso explained that the cell tower would be situated in a flood plain and the Applicant wants to raise the electronic equipment above the flood plain level. Mr. Vicente reiterated that, due to the risk of potential flooding, any electronic equipment would need to be elevated or raised up on piers. Chairperson Allen asked if elevating the equipment in this way would change the profile of the parking lot, to which Mr. Gaudioso replied that he would not think so. He explained that they (the Applicant) would just be raising up the ground equipment by two feet (from 11 to approximately 13 feet).
The Village Engineer noted that, in so far as this “new” proposal for the cell tower is concerned, the most significant improvement is the change in the location of the cell tower to a site 1,250 feet to the north. Mr. Gauidoso agreed that, in this particular case, moving the tower to this new location constitutes “actual, verifiable improvements.” Chairperson Allen noted that in its original location the cell tower would have taken up space in a Village park. Moving the tower farther away from the canoe launch and Croton River to the newly proposed location satisfies the policy pertaining to parkland(s) in the Local Waterfront Revitalization Program (LWRP).
Mr. Vicente noted to the Committee members that the Village has allowed the lease of just enough land to accommodate the five carriers; so, as far as the impact on Village property is concerned, “It’s as tight as it can possibly be for five carriers.”
Mr. Goldfarb asked the Applicant if, at some point in the future, a new development in cellular technology were to take place, the structure presently being proposed could be refurbished. Also, what if additional carriers were to express an interest in collocating on the cell tower? Mr. Gaudioso said that this proposal for the cell tower has gone from two to three to five carriers. There is a breaking point. Furthermore, the Applicant is making the space on top of the cell tower available for the municipal antennas. Mr. Vicente pointed out that every market seems to have an average number of carriers. In the New York Metropolitan Area, the number is four to five. The sales and marketing demographics seem to stay relatively constant. Chairperson Allen noted to those present that
there is a new technology being developed. It is her understanding that any replacements required for the installation of this new technology would take place at the base of the tower. Mr. Vicente noted that the software for cellular technology changes but not the infrastructure. The actual infrastructure has not changed over the years and it is not likely to because of “physics.”
Mr. Goldfarb asked what the time line would be for these carriers to provide cell phone service, to which Mr. Vicente said that, the actual, physical construction of the site would take three to four months. The on-air service depends on the carrier. The Village Engineer said that a benefit to the Village would be that emergency (911) services would improve. Mr. Vicente added that this technology is, indeed, important for police departments. “These E-911 technologies are a great service to have for a community.”
Chairperson Allen stated that the Applicant has submitted for the meeting tonight a new (revised) EAF and CAF. The updates to the EAF and CAF were based on the WAC meeting that was held in August 2006. The WAC had raised a number of issues at that meeting. Chairperson Allen said that having compared what was discussed at the August 2006 meeting with the responses provided in the new EAF and CAF she would think that all of the issues raised by the Committee have been addressed. Chairperson Allen said that the WAC’s comments/concerns have been answered either by virtue of the fact that the tower was moved or because more information has been received. Chairperson Allen reiterated that she did a “point by point” comparison and found nothing that needed changing. Mr. Luntz said that he, too, had no
issues with the new EAF or CAF.
Chairperson Allen asked if there were any other comments on this application, to which there were none.
Chairperson Allen entertained a motion to find this project consistent with the Village’s LWRP policies. The motion to find this project consistent was made by Mr. Luntz, seconded by Mr. Goldfarb and carried by a vote of 5 to 0.
Chairperson Allen told the members that she would draft a memorandum to the Village Board and email it to the WAC members for their review. The memorandum should be prepared in time for the Village Board meeting of November 3rd.
3. UPDATE ON VILLAGE BOARD WORK SESSION ON THE TRAIN STATION PARKING LOT IMPROVEMENTS PROJECT:
Chairperson Allen updated the WAC members on the Village Board work session, which had taken place on the train station parking lot improvements project. Chairperson Allen said that the Village’s consultant on the project, Dvirka & Bartilucci, had developed a memorandum for use at the work session responding to the WAC’s ten recommendations to the Village Board. The WAC had found the project to be consistent with the LWRP subject to these ten recommendations/conditions. Chairperson Allen noted that Dvirka & Bartilucci prepared this memorandum in conjunction with the design/engineering work, which they had been carrying out for the project to ultimately go out to bid. Chairperson Allen said that, for the most part, she was pleased with the responses in the memorandum and thought the memorandum was well
Chairperson Allen noted that she was disappointed with the responses to a few items, one having to do with the WAC’s recommendation to establish an oil/water separator system in the storm water drain at the DPW site. Apparently, this is not able to be done. Ms. Konig stated that, in her role as a member of the Board of Trustees, she, too, was at the work session on the parking lot improvements. Ms. Konig said that she would think that the WAC should not necessarily take this response as a definite “no.” The WAC should not be too discouraged. Mr. Olver said that he was also at this work session as a member of the Board of Trustees. He personally thought that it was worthwhile for the issue of the DPW drainage to come up. He also thought that the discussions that took place at the work session
were helpful in clarifying the issues. Chairperson Allen agreed and said that, all in all, the discussion that took place was a “useful exercise.”
Chairperson Allen asked the Village Engineer to update the WAC on the progress of the parking lot project. The Village Engineer told the WAC that the NYS Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) had asked that the wetlands buffer be delineated, and this has been done. Dvirka & Bartilucci are moving forward with the design. The next step would be the preparation of the bid documents.
The Village Engineer noted to the WAC that there are a few outstanding items to be considered, one being the possibility of tightening up to eight feet the width of some of the parking spaces and the other being the possibility of redesigning the traffic configuration in front of the train station. This (latter) improvement would make the traffic in front of the station flow better. The Village Engineer said that the issue is (would be) the cost/benefit of these improvements. There would be an additional cost involved. The Village Board has to do a cost/benefit analysis and make a determination. The Village Engineer noted that this matter is going to be discussed at the Village Board work session this coming Monday. Mr. Luntz said that, in so far as tightening up the parking spaces is concerned he
would be careful about “squeezing them down to eight feet wide.” He would think that cars squeezed so close together could easily sustain damage. The Village Engineer pointed out to Mr. Luntz that there would not be that many spaces affected.
4. OTHER BUSINESS:
- Chairperson Allen expressed concern about the processing of paperwork for the WAC. She said that, as she understands the process the CAF is supposed to be filed with the NYS Department of State. There is a statement to this effect on the form itself. Chairperson Allen said that, to her knowledge, this is not being done. Chairperson Allen noted that this filing became very important during the Millennium Pipeline review process. The Applicant’s lawyers went to the Department of State to review the Village’s CAF forms. Chairperson Allen said that they were interested in determining the fairness of the documents and wanted to make sure that proper procedures were being followed. The Village Engineer told Chairperson Allen that it is his understanding that the CAF would only have to be sent to the State
if a DEC permit were required for the project. Otherwise, filing with the State would not be required. He would contact the Department of State for clarification as to the requirement for filing a CAF. Chairperson Allen noted to the WAC members that the Village’s CAF has been revised, and the statement about filing with the Department of State has been dropped from the form altogether. She expressed concern that the WAC had no input in the revisions made to the CAF. Chairperson Allen said that she would like the WAC to settle on a final version of the CAF. Finally, she would think that, once a project is reviewed by the WAC and a determination of consistency is made, it should become a matter of procedure that the CAF be sent to the Department of State. The Village Engineer reiterated that he would look into the requirement for filing CAF’s and report back to the Committee.
5. APPROVAL OF MINUTES:
The minutes of the Monday, June 30, 2008 WAC meeting were approved on a motion by Mr. Luntz, seconded by Ms. Konig and carried by a vote of 5 to 0.
There being no further business to come before the Committee, the meeting was duly adjourned at 9:00 P.M.
Village of Croton-on-Hudson