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Village of Croton-on-Hudson
1 Van Wyck Street
Croton-on-Hudson, NY 10520

Phone: 914-271-4781
Fax: 914-271-2836

Hours: Mon. - Fri., 8:30 am - 4 pm
Waterfront Advisory Committee Minutes 12/15/2009

A meeting of the Waterfront Advisory Committee of the Village of Croton-on-Hudson, New York was held on Tuesday, December 15, 2009 in the Municipal Building.

MEMBERS PRESENT:        Fran Allen, Chairperson
                                Stuart Greenbaum
                                Ian Murtaugh (taking the place of Village Board members Richard Olver & Demetra Restuccia)

ABSENT:                 Richard Olver
                                Demetra Restuccia
                                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.

2.  Application for an Amended Site Plan for the Croton Colonial Diner at 215 South Riverside Avenue (Sec. 79.09 Blk. 1 Lot 54) – Consistency Review:

Edmond Gemmola of Gemmola & Associates, architect for the Applicant, was present.

Mr. Gemmola explained to the WAC members the project being proposed.  Mr. Gemmola stated that the Applicant would like to use his vacant lot behind the diner on Hudson Street for additional parking for the diner.  This lot is situated in a residential zoning district.  In order to use this lot for commercial parking, the Applicant would have to go before the Zoning Board of Appeals for a special permit.  Mr. Gemmola said that the Applicant is proposing to remove the existing guide rail, which separates the diner parking lot along Bungalow Road into two separate lots.  A variance from the Zoning Board would be required for the removal of the guide rail.  The Applicant is also requesting a renewal of the special permit for the parking lot off of Bungalow Road. This parking lot is situated in a residential district; a special permit is, therefore, required.  Mr. Gemmola said that, as part of the project, a portion of an existing retaining wall would be removed, and a new stone-faced retaining wall would be provided.  Any remaining existing retaining walls would also be faced with stone.  Mr. Gemmola stated that the Applicant also proposes to convert the “in” and “out” access to the diner parking lot off of Bungalow Road into an “in only” access.  This would help traffic circulation in and out of the lot.  The Applicant intends to close off the access road from Hudson Street and continue the stone wall and chain link fence along Hudson Street to separate the diner from the residential area(s).  The Applicant would provide landscaping along Hudson Street between the parking lot and the residence, which is adjacent to the lot.  There would also be landscaping provided along Bungalow Road. Mr. Gemmola said that the Applicant is proposing to construct a handicap ramp to access the door on the south side of the restaurant. Mr. Gemmola said that, as had been previously suggested by the Planning Board, the Applicant has relocated the existing trash compactor and container to a new masonry trash enclosure directly behind the diner. Mr. Gemmola noted that, by moving the trash container, another area of the parking lot is freed up for parking.  All in all, the Applicant would pick up ten additional parking spaces on site.  

Mr. Gemmola said that he has provided for the WAC tonight a conceptual landscaping plan.  

Mr. Gemmola noted that, in so far as the drainage from the property is concerned, he has traced the piping and has found no evidence of any water from the property emptying into the Duck Pond situated across the street (on Bungalow Road).  All water flows into a catch basin situated on the westerly side of South Riverside Avenue.  

Mr. Murtaugh asked when the special permit for the parking lot along Bungalow Road had expired, to which the Village Engineer said that it expired many years ago, maybe ten years ago.  The subject special permit was issued with an expiration date; however, the special permit was never renewed.  

The Village Engineer referred to the plan showing the location of the steep slopes on the property and asked how many square feet of steep slopes would be disturbed, to which Mr. Gemmola said that approximately 728 square feet or 5.26%, which is well under the 10% of steep slopes disturbance allowed.    

Chairperson Allen asked Mr. Gemmola to explain the drainage system on the diner property, to which Mr. Gemmola pointed to the Applicant’s plan that showed the catch basins. Mr. Gemmola said that the water from the site would ultimately flow into a catch basin under NYS Route 9.  Mr. Gemmola noted that there would be no redirecting of the flow of water anywhere on the site.      

Mr. Greenbaum expressed concern about the sight distance for vehicles entering and exiting the parking lot along Bungalow Road, to which Mr. Gemmola said that the new proposal is for a right turn “in only” entry along Bungalow Road.  

Mr. Gemmola noted that no trees would need to be removed for the project being proposed.

Mr. Gemmola said that the Applicant is not going to develop his parcel of land situated along Bungalow Road.   He noted that the Applicant could not do so anyway given the steep slopes in that location.

Mr. Gemmola said that the existing parking lot has 44 spaces; there would be ten spaces gained with this new proposal for a total of 54 spaces.  Mr. Gemmola said that included in the 54 spaces would be three handicap parking spaces. Mr. Gemmola noted that the required number of spaces for the diner property is 39.

Mr. Gemmola said that the surface of the upper parking lot is presently graveled and, as part of the proposed project, would be paved.

Chairperson Allen asked how high the walls would be, to which Mr. Gemmola said a maximum of six feet high on the Hudson Street side of the property, adjacent to the house owned by the Applicant on Hudson Street.

Chairperson Allen said that she would think that the main concern for the WAC would be the drainage.  The WAC would want to be certain that there would be no flow of water from the diner parking lot into the Duck Pond, which is across the street on Bungalow Road. Mr. Gemmola said that the surveyor identified the underground drainage basins and concluded that no water from the site flows into the Duck Pond.  Chairperson Allen asked if the new retaining wall being proposed would add to any flow(s) off site, to which Mr. Gemmola said, “No, it would not.”  The Village Engineer asked about the drainage from the newly proposed parking lot on Hudson Street, to which Mr. Gemmola showed on the Applicant’s plan how the drainage from the new parking lot would end up in basins on the main road (South Riverside Avenue).

The Village Engineer asked if installing the handicap ramp would narrow the existing entrance into the parking lot, to which Mr. Gemmola replied that it would narrow it slightly, but there would still be enough room.

Mr. Greenbaum expressed concern about the distance that storm water has to travel between catch basins. Mr. Greenbaum said that these storm drains have to be closer together for the water to drain more freely. Mr. Greenbaum said that he would be concerned about water freezing on the surface of the parking lot in the wintertime.  He suggested that in order to prevent the water from “ponding” on the surface of the lot an additional storm drain should be installed.

Chairperson Allen went over the changes that she thought should be made to the application materials that Mr. Gemmola had submitted.  Chairperson Allen said that on page 2 of the Full Environmental Assessment Form (FEAF), it says in the Description of Action box, “Please see attached Narrative.” Chairperson Allen said that this narrative should be more clearly identified in this (the Description of Action) box. Chairperson Allen suggested that this narrative or project description should also be provided as an attachment, along with the Coastal Assessment Form (CAF), to the WAC’s memorandum to the Planning Board.

Chairperson Allen said that on page 8 of the FEAF under “Approvals Required” the answer given for the category “Other Local Agencies” is “No.”  The answer should be “Yes,” and the WAC should be listed.

Chairperson Allen suggested that the WAC review the Applicant’s CAF.  Chairperson Allen referred to item B.9 on page 2, “List and describe streams, lakes, ponds or wetlands existing within or contiguous to the project area…..”  Chairperson Allen noted that the answer that Mr. Gemmola gives to item B.9 is “NA” (Not Applicable).  Chairperson Allen said that she would think that the Duck Pond should be “called out” in item B.9.  The Duck Pond is across the street from the diner.  Mr. Gemmola could point out that the Duck Pond is separated from the project site (diner parking lot) by Bungalow Road, and this project would not impact the Duck Pond in that there would be no water from the site flowing into the Duck Pond.  

Chairperson Allen asked if the WAC had any other comments on the CAF, to which there were none.          

Chairperson Allen entertained a motion to recommend to the Planning Board that they find this project consistent with the Village’s Local Waterfront Revitalization Program (LWRP) policies with the minor changes to the FEAF and CAF discussed tonight. The WAC would (also) request, as suggested earlier in the meeting by Mr. Greenbaum, that an additional storm drain be installed in the diner parking lot to prevent ponding.  The motion was made by Mr. Greenbaum, seconded by Mr. Murtaugh and carried by a vote of 3 to 0.

3.  Application for a Special Permit to Operate a Day Care Center at 1380 Albany Post Road (Sec. 67.10 Blk. 2 Lot 15) – Consistency Review:

Tom Vayda and Gloria Foster, owners of the proposed day care center, were present.

Mr. Vayda told the WAC that he and his wife Gloria Foster have an application before the Village Board for a special permit to operate a day care center at 1380 Albany Post Road.  The Village Board referred their application to the Planning Board for a recommendation. They are now before the WAC for a consistency review.  

Mr. Vayda said that his wife Gloria has been running a day care out of their home for five or six years.  They decided that they wanted to create a commercial venture and selected the property at 1380 Albany Post Road. Mr. Vayda said that there exists currently on the site a two-story modular building. They are trying to see what they could do to make improvements to the site. The proposed day care facility would accommodate 72 full-time children and 20 after-schoolers.  The staffing level would be approximately 16 persons; however, not all staff would be present at all times.  There would be overlapping and some staggered shifts.  

Mr. Vayda said that the existing septic system on site would be insufficient to meet their needs.  Also, the water supply (well water) is insufficient. As part of their project they would connect to the municipal water supply. They also intend to connect to the private sewage treatment plant across the street. Mr. Vayda noted that they would be adding approximately 1,500 gallons of waste to be processed per day, which is an increase of slightly more than 1%.  This would be considered a negligible increase and would fall far below that which is permitted by the County Health Department.   

Mr. Vayda said that the proposed building for the day care would be 6,694 square feet in size, which is approximately 13.7% of the land parcel.  This would fall well below the Village’s allowable Floor Area Ratio (FAR) requirements.  

Mr. Vayda said that as part of the interior renovations they intend to add a new commercial kitchen. They would also have a reception area. As far as the exterior improvements are concerned, they would have four outdoor playground areas designated for the different age groups. Mr. Vayda said that they plan to set up an overhead sprinkler system outside to keep the children cool in the summertime. The proposed playground areas would be fenced in with chain link fencing for protection purposes.

Mr. Vayda noted that the existing parking lot would accommodate the required 21 parking spaces.  

Mr. Vayda said that they are going to try to limit the removal of trees.  They would make every effort to keep the forest on the property intact.  They have no intention of clear cutting the land. Mr. Vayda said that when they do the fence installations, they would work around the trees so as to save as many trees as possible. Mr. Vayda said that they had an arborist identify the trees on site.  For safety purposes they want to remove 27 trees on site, 15 of which are dead.  There are no long-standing trees on the property.  Most are between 10 and 30 years old.  There is a Sugar Maple tree on the premises, which would not be touched.   

Mr. Vayda said that they plan to install a six-foot high fence on the west site border along Route 9 for safety reasons and to decrease the road noise.  They also intend to put a three-foot high white picket fence along the east property line for aesthetic purposes and as an additional safety feature.  

Mr. Vayda noted that trash removal from the site would be arranged through the Village Department of Public Works (DPW).

Mr. Vayda said that they included in their application materials an environmental study performed by Jade Environmental, Inc. in 2003. The study concludes that there are no real environmental site issues including (the existence of) wetlands areas on the property.  Mr. Vayda noted that the Village Engineer, the Assistant Building Inspector and he walked the site to see if anything was missed in the environmental study and did not find anything.  

Mr. Vayda said that there is a drainage pipe on the east side of the road, which needs to be moved, and they have agreed to do so.  

Mr. Greenbaum noted that the Matra Construction building is adjacent to the day care center site.  He asked how this building is currently being used, to which Ms. Foster said that it is currently being used as an office building. There is (also) a real estate office there.  Mr. Murtaugh noted that Matra Construction’s headquarters is located in that building.  Mr. Vayda noted that Croton Country Gardens is south of their property; the two properties are separated by a significant amount of land. Mr. Vayda added that there are woods separating their property from the Matra building.  

Mr. Murtaugh said that it is his understanding that the Applicant is considering the possibility of changing his proposal for the day care center building. The original plan was to keep the existing building intact. The alternate plan would involve demolishing the building.  Mr. Murtaugh asked if making this change would have an effect on what the WAC is doing tonight. Chairperson Allen said that she would not think so. The WAC’s role in performing their consistency review is to look at the policies in the LWRP and/or the environmental issues.    

Mr. Vayda said that the drainage system for the site is under consideration.  The original plan was to install three eight-foot in diameter tanks for storm water retention. An alternate plan presently being considered would be to put in a retention pond. Mr. Vayda said that to manage the water flow around the building, they would install a retaining wall and curtain drain in the front of the building. Mr. Vayda said that, to comply with the American Disabilities Act (ADA) requirements, they plan to grade the parking lot to allow the reception entrance of the building to be at grade.  Mr. Vayda pointed out that making the parking lot flatter would improve the drainage by slowing down the runoff. He added that they are putting in this (type of) drainage system because their proposal involves the removal of groundcover.

Mr. Vayda said that, if they were to go with the alternate plan for the building, the size of the building would be increased by approximately three to four hundred square feet. The building would be slightly larger but more compact. Mr. Vayda said that the net effect in terms of groundcover and water runoff would be exactly the same as with the original building plan.  Chairperson Allen noted that, in so far as the drainage is concerned, the nuances of the flows are not going to be of particular interest to the WAC as long as there is no significant change in the water flow; the water remains pure, etc.  Mr. Vayda said that he would think that the drainage from the site would be improved. There presently exist no water retention facilities on site.  Furthermore, they are replacing the existing septic system by connecting to a sewage treatment facility (plant). Mr. Greenbaum noted that, if the Applicant were to put in a retention pond, there would be “more things to consider” including the installation of a fence.  Mr. Murtaugh asked if the three tanks being considered for storm water retention would be underground, to which Mr. Vayda said, “Yes.”  Mr. Vayda added that these tanks would be eight feet in diameter and three or four feet deep.  The Village Engineer told Mr. Vayda that it would be better to have these tanks separated to allow some independent soil for each tank; otherwise, they would (all) be using the same soil.  

Chairperson Allen suggested that the WAC review the Applicant’s Coastal Assessment Form (CAF). Mr. Vayda noted to the WAC that the last two pages of the CAF are missing.  He downloaded and printed out the CAF from the Internet and must have inadvertently missed the last two pages.  

Chairperson Allen questioned why for item 4a)1 on page 4, “Will water-related recreation be provided?” the answer given is “Yes,” to which Mr. Vayda said that they answered “Yes” to this question because they intend to provide an overhead sprinkler system for the children to keep cool in the summertime.

Chairperson Allen said that on page 8 of 21 of the Full Environmental Assessment Form (FEAF) under “Approvals Required” the answer given for the category “Other Local Agencies” is “No.”  Chairperson Allen said that the WAC is one of the three local agencies, along with the Village Board and Planning Board, required to review this application. The answer should be “Yes,” and the WAC should be listed.

Chairperson Allen said that for item 11 on page 2, “Will the action be directly undertaken, require funding or approval by a state or federal agency?” the answer given is “No.”  Chairperson Allen said that she would think that the answer should be “Yes.” The approving agency in this case is the New York State Office of Children and Family Services (OCFS).

Chairperson Allen suggested that the Applicant and the WAC could review together pages 5 and 6 of the CAF, which were missing from the Applicant’s submission.  It was agreed that the answers to items 4k); 4l); 4m); 4n); 4q) and 4r) on page 5 of the CAF should be “No.”  The answer “Yes” should be given to items 4o), “Will the project alter drainage flow, patterns or surface water runoff on or from the site?” and 4p), “Will best management practices be utilized to control storm water runoff into coastal waters?” Chairperson Allen noted that in section D on page 5, “Remarks or Additional Information,” the Applicant has to provide explanations for the answers “Yes,” which were given to items 3l; 4a)1; 4o and 4p.  Chairperson Allen said that the Applicant should also fill out the information required in page 6 of the CAF i.e., preparer’s name, title, telephone number, etc.         

Chairperson Allen asked if there were any further comments from the WAC, to which there were none.

Chairperson Allen entertained a motion to recommend to the Village Board that they find this project consistent with the Village’s LWRP policies with the minor changes to the FEAF and CAF discussed tonight. The motion was made by Mr. Greenbaum, seconded by Mr. Murtaugh and carried by a vote of 3 to 0.

4. Approval of Minutes:

Approval of the minutes of the Wednesday, September 2, 2009 WAC meeting was tabled until the next scheduled meeting of the WAC.   

5. Adjournment:

There being no further business to come before the Committee, the meeting was duly adjourned at 9:15 P.M.

Respectfully submitted,

Sylvia Mills

Sylvia Mills
Village of Croton-on-Hudson
Engineer's Office
tel: 914-271-4783
fax: 914-271-3790