ZBA Decemeber 10, 2003

MEMBERS PRESENT:      Donald Sapir, Chairman
                                            Rhoda Stephens
                                 Ruth Waitkins
                                 Witt Barlow

MEMBERS PRESENT:      Paul Rolnick

ALSO PRESENT:       Joseph Sperber, Code Enforcement  Officer
                             Deborah McCarthy, Village Board Liaison

Meeting came to order at 8:00 P.M.

The chairman of the Board announced the location of fire exits.


John Nikic, Farrinton Road.  Section 78.08 Block 4 Lot 42.  Located in a RA-5 District.  Request for a total side yard variance with respect to a new one-family dwelling.

Nikic  My name is John Nikic, I live at 70 Farrington Road.  I was fortunate to have purchased a lot at 66 Farrington Rd. and I am now planning on building a home.  I am requesting a total side yard variance.  request total side yard.  I have designed plans that include a bay window, which does not comply with the 2 ft. overhang rule.  It will be a bay type window that is the full length of the room.  I am requesting a total side yard variance.

Sapir  What would your alternative be if the application is not granted?

Nikic  We would continue construction without the bump out (bay-window). Unfortunately, I would have a square box for a home with very little character.

Sapir  Any other questions?.

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Witt  The reason for the extension is esthetic?

Nikic  Primarily.  Most of the house fits with the character of the neighborhood.   It is one story and no foundation.

Stephens  It is just a bay window with a ledge for seating?

Nikic  It is part of the room.

Stephens - The area on the inside of the window, will that be a seating area?

Nikic -  It will be floor to ceiling.

Stephens  I want to see the weight of it for support when you walk into it.

Barlow  There is nothing underneath it?

Sapir  If the application is not granted would you still have a window in that spot?

Nikic  Yes.

Nikic  We looked at town laws and it said nothing can project beyond two ft., but we thought we were ok and not certain if the law applied to bay windows or roof lines.

Barlow- Do you have a building permit?

Nikic  Yes, but this variance will determine if we continue as planned or as you vote.
This may be precedence in changing some of the laws for overhangs such as bay windows, etc.  If it were a roof it would not be an issue but a bay window it is an issue.
No variance is required for an eave, but for an extension of the house and window overhang it needs a variance.

Sapir  What side of the house is this on?

Nikic -Southern side

Sapir  Any other questions?

There were no other questions.  

Hearing closed.
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Joann Jackson, Morningside Drive.  Section 79.09 Block 6 Lot 32.  Located in a RA-9 District.  Request for the following variances:  Area, lot width, side yard, total side yard and off-street parking (230-51D) variances with respect to a proposed dwelling.

Sapir  The Board is in receipt of a letter from Maria Modica Snow, Atty., stating that due to another commitment, she will be at the meeting between 9:00  9:30 P.M.  The Board has agreed to move the matter as the last item on the agenda.

Norman Sheer, Attorney for the neighbors  Stated that he had no objection.

Danny Oks, 138 Maple Street.  Section 79.05 Block 1 Lot 39.  Located in a RB District.  Request for an area variance, street setback variance (230-9 (A)(4)(e), maximum coverage variance and side yard variance.

Barbara Sarbin  I am the President of “Something Good In the World, and the director is Donna Nicholson. The property is owned by Danny Oks. The original application for a variance had to do with the fact that we are applying to change from a daycare to a preschool and kindergarten.   We need a Special Use Permit from the Village and to get it we were told we need zoning variance first.   We have ascertained that the Zoning Law needed to be amended, because it allowed parochial schools, but not regular schools, but there is still a public hearing on that.  In the meantime we are here to try and see if we can have these variances granted contingent upon that Zoning Law being changed.  

The lot size that is required for a school is three acres.  Because we do not have this we are seeking a variance.  The house line also needs to be a minimum setback of 100 ft. from the street and we need a variance for it.  We also need a variance with respect to existing coverage of the house and percentage of the area of the lot and the deck.  We also discussed parking at the last meeting, but we were not noticed for parking.  

The applicant stated that they use a paper street owned by the Village for off-street parking.

Waitkins Asked if public property could be used for private use?
Joseph Sperber, Code Enforcement Officer   I understand that this will be a part of their Special Permit application with the Village Board.  

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Sperber - They also have an unattached deck in the back and I need to know if it meets the requirements as an accessory structure.

Nicholson - It is a tree house, not really, the children pretend that it is.  

Stephens  What is it used for?

Nicholson - It is a place for the children to play house and pretend games.  They like to play house in it.

Waitkins to Sperber - Is that considered an accessory structure?

Sperber  Yes.

Deborah McCarthy  Liaison for the Village Board  On December 15th there will be a public hearing to change the Law from parochial schools to schools in general.  The next step would be the applicant coming to the Village Board to apply for a “Special Permit”.

Sapir  If we were to grant this variance you still would not be able to operate until the law changes and you get approval from the village

Sarbin Yes, that is clear.

Sapir  You also needed State Board approval.

Sarbin  Yes, we need to apply for our provisional charter and that is just waiting for the village Special Use Permit.  Each of these steps is needed.

Nicholson  We also need to move quickly in order for us to be able to plan for September enrollment.

Sapir  What will the hours be for the school?

Sarbin - I sent a letter by fax on Monday, that explains all that, but I can go over it with you.

Sapir  Stated that he was in receipt of the letter and referred to his copy and requested the letter dated December 7, 2003, be made part of the record.

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Sapir  How many students do you have now?

Sarbin  Twenty, but they are not there all at once.  We are only allowed fourteen at one time.  

Sapir  When changing from a day-care to a school, how many would you be allowed?

Sarbin Non-public requires 20 sq. ft. per child, so only using one floor, it would be only 31 children at one time by fire code and Building Code.

Sapir - In your letter dated December 7, 2003, it states 26 students.

We originally said 24, but when we found we were allowed a total of 31, we changed it to 26

Sapir  But, you will have a minimum of 14 at any given time?

Sarbin  Yes.

Waitkins  You speak about using the first floor.  You will not use the second floor at all?

Sarbin  The second floor is for office or storage. Because Building and Fire Codes for group “E” education, will only allow us the use of the first floor.

Waitkins By first floor you do not mean the basement, only the first level?

Sarbin  Correct.

Sapir  Are there capital improvements needed?

Sarbin  No, we are ready to start now as it is.  We need to meet Americas Disability Codes and we need to install exit lights over the back door.

Waitkins A wood building meets the Code for a school?

Sarbin  Yes.  

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Sperber - We asked them to send us the Code and the material they sent to us was thorough.

Sapir  The reason I ask is the variances you are asking for are substantial.  I am a little uncomfortable in granting these variances forever on this property and the number of children (21 or 31) makes me very nervous.  We will deliberate with the Board, but before I consider granting the variances, I would be more comfortable to have a limit on the number of children that will be in such a small area. Is that something you could live with?

Sarbin  I would strongly ask that you limit us to 18 children. The business end of it is not financial we just want to become a credited school so we can grow.  It is difficult for us to move on, if we cannot go above 14 children.

Barlow  What is the most number of children you would have at one time?

SarbinAt the moment we have a Tuesday and Thursday amount and then a Monday, Wednesday and Friday amount, so they are different.  We based it on what we think we can handle.  

Nicholson - Right now we have five children age three coming and we try to keep the ratio six to one.  We try to reasonably look at what is manageable in space.  It might reach 24 children at one time, but it might only be for two hours.

Waitkins  They are essentially day-care/pre school?  Do you have anything that shows that there would be that much interest in a regular school?

Sarbin We are confident with the kindergarten.

Nicholson  We have already received four inquires in the last week for the school, so there is a high demand. It is important.

Oks  I am a parent as well and my child goes to the school.  I know for a fact that there is a lot of interest within a circle of people that I know for alternative schooling other than public education.

Stephens  The 3:00 to 5:00 P.M. program is considered part of the school or day care?

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Sarbin  In terms of licensing or what?

Stephens  In terms of how many children you are allowed to have.

Sarbin - I am not sure.  I am thinking it is more on a day care level.  I know from the Building and Fire Code they distinguish space as square footage.

Sapir-  Will there be any night programs or special events?

Nicholson - Not unless there is a parent workshop, which is twice a year or we may have an open house or fund raising event that has become an annual event such as a craft fair.

Sapir  You have no plans on having school on Saturday and Sunday?

Sarbin  No.

Sapir - What about the summer?

Sarbin Maybe a two-week summer program, but that is not definite.

Sapir  Do you have to make annual applications?

Sarbin  Yes.

Barlow  Do you have the same recess and holidays as public schools?

Sarbin - Yes we follow the Croton school system.

Waitkins  The parking is an issue, but how about the dropping off of the children?  You say they will enter by the back?

Sarbin - The entrance is by the sidewalk

Waitkins  So they will stop on Maple Street and drop the children off?

Sapir  What is that situation like in the morning?

Sarbin Actually it is mellow traffic wise and it dies down late morning.  There is never a problem parking day or evening.

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Oks  Regarding your concern of the number of children in a small space; there are four separate rooms and if you take twenty four children and divide it with four rooms you have six children in each of the four rooms and they are fairly decent size rooms.

Sapir  I am not as concerned about when the children are inside as I am when they are outside.

Oks  Why would that be a concern?

Sapir  Children would be more intrusive outside then when they are inside.

Sarbin We have a setup where the four year olds go outside then the next age group.  We can control that.  They will not be all outside at once it is not like the bell is ringing and everyone goes outside or inside all at once.

Veronica Matonte  136 Maple Street  If the side yard variance is granted does that mean all along that property line or is it just limited to the deck?

Sapir  Limited to the deck as it exists.

Phyllis Vonderheide, Daughter of Monica Matonte I cant get out of my mothers driveway when they are dropping off and parking at the school.

Sapir  That is a commuter route. What I need to know is before 9:00 A.M. does that subside?

Phyllis Vonderheide, Daughter of Monica Matonte - I do not know.  I am there early.   
Mothers house is on the right side facing the building.    That house was built before zoning so, if anything was built closer to her house she would be able to touch it from her window.  She is concerned about building anything adjacent to her house.  

Paul Neworth -  21 Pond Meadow Rd.  I pick up and drop off at 12:00 noon and sometimes 4:00 P.M. later in the afternoon.  It is not like there is a super residential neighborhood.  There are a lot of other things as far as noise volume.   This is not an isolated area where this would be a disruption.  I am able to get two children in an out at all times with no problem it has never been an issue whether it is twelve noon or nine in the morning.

Sapir  But you have never been there at night?

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Neworth  No, but I have seen that area at 8:30 in the morning and 6:30 in the evening when picking my wife up at the train station and I have never seen a problem.

Sapir  What time do they play baseball in the park 5:00 P.M.?

Oks - I pick my daughter up at 5:00 P.M. every day and I never had a problem with parking. Of course you have to be careful coming out of a parking spot.  I honestly never once had no parking space.

Sapir  How many would you have picked up all at once.

Nicholson Maybe three or four.

George Fletcher  146 Maple Street  I live two doors down.  Other than the deck will there be any other new construction?

Nicholson and Sarbin  No and we are not anticipating any.

Fletcher  When did you buy the property?

Oks  Two years ago in January.

Fletcher  We want to thank you.  There was a lot of traffic then and we also had a problem with the sidewalk not being shoveled, but that is not a problem now. The other thing is sometimes people are rushing to get their children and they park in our driveway, so maybe you can mention this to the parents.

Nicholson  Asked where his house was located.

Fletcher  146 Maple St.

Ms. Nicholson and Ms. Sarbin agreed to speak to the parents.

Sapir  Mr. Fletcher how many years have you lived there?

Fletcher - 8 years.

Sapir  How is it during baseball season?

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Fletcher  Maple Street is totally packed and we cannot get in our driveways sometimes it is blocked.  Sometimes practice starts at 6:00 P.M..  If you increase the number of students, the minimum speed of Maple Street is 50 miles per hour.  We all signed a petition, but nothing has happened. I want it on the record that Maple Street is an accident waiting to happen. Maybe speed pumps would help.

Sapir  That is something the Zoning Board does not get involved in but, Mrs.. Mc Carthy, ZBA Liasion to the Village Board, is here tonight and she heard everything you had to say.

Sapir  The cars for baseball do not come until 5:30 P.M. or 6:00 P.M.?

Fletcher No.

Sapir - Any other questions?

There was no reply.

Hearing closed.

Barlow  Made Motion to grant the application with conditions to review the application one year from now and to require children to be pick up and dropped off directly in front of the school.

Motion was not seconded.

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Sapir  Made a Motion to Grant the application for a side yard variance.

Waitkins  Second the Motion

Vote:  4-0  In Favor  Motion Granted - Sapir, Waitkins, Stephens, Barlows  Yea

Sapir  Made Motion to grant the applicants request for a total area variance for a proposed school and to grant the applicants request for a street setback variance for a proposed school.

Waitkins  Second the Motion

Vote:  1-3  -  Motion Denied - Barlow  Yea
                                                Sapir, Stephens, Waitkins, - Nay

Joann Jackson, Morningside Drive.  Section 79.09 Block 6 Lot 32.  Located in a RA-9 District.  Request for the following variances:  Area, Lot width, Side yard, total side yard and off-street parking (230-51D) variances with respect to a proposed dwelling.

Sapir  Maria Modica Snow, the Attorney for the applicant is not here yet, but I am going to open the hearing.  Is there anyone here on behalf of the applicant?

There was no reply.

Norman Sheer, Attorney   399 Knollwood Rd., White Plains, N.Y. I am the attorney who is here on behalf of John & Lillian Brejeski, who live below and behind the applicants property. I am also representing the Schilks who live at 42 Morningside Drive.

Sheer  The first category is that there is a legal impediment in granting these variances.  We had a merger of these two lots into a single lot. The property was broken up into two ownerships when the divorce occurred and this lot was conveyed to Joann Jackson.  Both lots are 50 ft. wide and zoning requires 75 ft. and both lots have less than the square footage required.  When Joann Jackson owned the two properties together, they became one.  She now needs to go before the Planning Board to sub-divide the properties.  The Zoning Law says, if you have a non-conforming lot and you acquire an adjoining lot they have merged and you have lost what you thought was a building lot.  That is what

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happened here.  So, these lots are now one lot.  I would like to submit a survey to the Board.  Survey submitted to the Board.

Sapir  Who has been paying the taxes?

Sheer  Joann Jackson, but that does not make the lot a buildable lot.  These lots need to be separated.  They have been merged as one by her common ownership.  If you own no adjoining property, you then have an existing small lot, but when you own adjoining lots they become one lot.  This is also a lousy lot.

Sapir  Was your client, the Schilks, conveyed the property by Joann Jackson and no one else?

Sheer  Yes and Maria Modica Snow, her attorney, would tell you that, she would not contest that.   
Sheer - This is a lousy lot, it is too narrow, it is 50 ft. wide and zoning requires 75 ft  This proposal goes beyond what the applicant is asking.   There are issues with parking and a site plan that was prepared by Mr. Cronin, shows a retaining wall and that wall is an accessory building by Code.  The wall is also in the front yard and accessory structures are prohibited in the front yard.  These are sizable variances on one little lot.

Sapir  Do you know if that retaining wall needs to ……

Sheer -  I do believe that Maria Modica Snow has arrived.

Snow I actually dont. know what has been said.

Sapir  The Chairman of the Board gave a brief summary of Norman Sheers statements to Maria Modica Snow and the hearing continued.

Sheer  I am fully aware that the Village Board amended the Steep Slopes Law.  They were the Board that granted a hardship from the steep slopes square footage in excess of the disturbed slopes law.  But when you look at one of the five standards you (ZBA) need to consider, certainly environmental issues need to be considered.  The Law is very clear, if you look at what is permitted in the Steep Slopes Law.

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Permitted disturbance is 15 to 20 percent, which is 174 sq. ft.  What is being proposed is 199 sq. ft. that is not so bad, then you have the steep slopes which brings it to 3,068, that is more than six times the permissible disturbance, look at the plans and slope analysis. We also had a letter from Phil Tully, P.E. that was submitted to the Village Board.  It addresses the issues of the merger of the lots.

Maria Modica Snow stated that she also had a copy of the letter.

Sheer  He also makes reference to the retaining wall and area of disturbance.  I request, this variance be denied by this Board.  The Environmental Disturbance and Steep Slopes Laws specifically say protection of the environment and also consider whether Joann Jacksons merger of the two lots are self created.

Sapir  Anyone else like to be heard?

Maria Modica Snow, 104 Grand Street, Attorney for Joann Jackson  I am the attorney for the applicant, Joann Jackson.  My client is looking for a variance to build.  She and her husband purchased two separate lots in the 1960s.  The lot with the house was jointly owned by Joann Jackson and her husband.  The vacant lot was owned by her husband.  The lots were merged as a result of a divorce and both lots were transferred to Mrs. Jacksons name.  The attorney kept the lots under separate deeds, so they would not become one lot.  In the year 2000,  Mrs. Jackson sold the lot with the house and kept the vacant lot.

Sapir  Was there a merger of two lots being in common name?

Maria  I spoke to Seymour Waldman and he said it lost the small lot status, but did not merge, so we do not need to go back to the Planning Board, which is why we now have to come before the Zoning Board for the variances.  If she did not have separate deeds and kept it as before, it would have met all of the requirements of an existing small lot.  It was not until the contract vendee went to the Village with plans, that this became an issue.

Sapir  These figures you are requesting are not under Existing Small Lots, correct?

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Snow  No.  This is as it stands now, not an Existing Small Lot.   The variances we are requesting are:

                        Required                Existing                Variance Requested

1.  Minimum Area          9,375 sq. ft.         8,487±  sq. ft.                 888 sq. ft.
2.  Min. Lot Width             75 ft.                 50 ft.                       25 sq. ft.
3,  Min. Side Yard             12 ft.                 11 ft.                          1 ft.
4.  Min. Total Side Yard     30 ft.                    22 ft.                          8 ft.
5.  Off Street Parking         600 sq. ft.                    400 sq. ft.                          200 sq. ft.

In terms of steep slopes the role of the Zoning Board is to pretend the parcel is flat and grant on those issues.   I am asking that you do not consider anything Mr. Sheer said with respect to Steep Slopes and decide if a variance would be granted.    The retaining wall that Mr. Sheer mentions, it is a question of re-grading and it will no longer fall within that category as an exiting structure, because of the height.  Everyone thought it would be a separate lot and it still meets the requirements of a separate lot, it is merely a technicality.  It was not merged, but kept under separate title.  The neighborhood is fully developed and this is one of the few vacant lots there.
Sapir  What is your clients intention with respect to the property?

Snow  The intention is to develop.  I do not believe there is a buyer yet.

Sapir  She will not be living in the house?.

Snow This was supposed to be her retirement fund.

Sapir  Any other questions?  Is there anyone else who would like to speak?

Deborah McCarthy 10 Truesdale Drive  I am a Village Board Trustee and Liaison to the Zoning Board.  I am not here to speak in that capacity, although I am thoroughly familiar with the information.  My memory is not clear on this existing small lot designation.  I thought when the village looked into this they found that at the time the parcels were acquired they were a few months too late to fall under the “Small Lot” designation.  I find it very interesting that Maria could stand before you today and say this area was developed.  I specifically asked her at the Village Board meeting if she

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knew how many lots were improved and she did not know.  The Correales have a double lot and the Rizuttos have a double lot.  There are multiple double lots and I am concerned about the number of variances that are being granted for such applications.  I also have a problem with respect to Marias statement that this Board is to consider this lot as flat.  This Board needs to consider whether this proposed variance will have an impact. This Board is not empowered to address hardship.  The environment issue raised is within the purview of this Board.  I am not aware of any case precedent in them being able to apply for this variance as if this lot were flat.  I would encourage the Board to deny this application for the variances that are being sought.

Carol Trulio I have a letter I would like to submit.

Sapir  Give it to Maria Modica Snow and anyone else who would like to look at it .  It will then be made part of the record.

Carol Trulio  A 10 % benchmark is a considerable variance on a 20 % slope.  These are material variances and when you look at how small this lot is and 15 to 20 percent of the trees will come off of this lot. I am concerned about erosion.  I am concerned about privacy.  I have a tenant who lives in a cottage and I have looked at the plans, but I am not sure as to what kind of views they will have onto my property.  I have heard tonight how this property is her retirement nest egg and I do not think this proposal would have a significant impact on the neighbors.  But, I do think there is no reason to grant the variance.

Joann Schilk 42 Morningside Dr.  My husband I purchased our house from Joann Jackson.  I have a lot of unanswered questions after listening to the hearing and talking to my attorney.  Why were we sold a house that at this point in time is technically an illegal lot?  There are parking issues, we have no driveway or garage.  We park pulling onto a sidewalk and into something like a carport.  That is not appropriate parking.  I cannot imagine what the new house plans would call for that would be better than what we have.  I can imagine pulling out of my parking spot worrying about another car pulling out.  I will not be able to see.  I will be pulling out into the street before I know what is going on.  Across the street there are two children that play in the front yard and the back and they sleigh ride and jump in piles of leaves.

Sapir  What is the point you are trying to make with that statement?

Schilk  If I am pulling out of my driveway the lack of visibility is a concern.  I would also like to say that it is my opinion that if the lot was originally intended to be built on I do not understand why my house was built as it was.  My living room, dining room, and

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kitchen are on the top floor and the bedrooms are on the bottom.  I do not understand why someone would build a deck on stilts.  When I am on my deck I am in the trees.
When they start to remove dirt and trees I am wondering if I will look out my window one day and see dirt.  I am concerned about damage to my property.

Sapir  If we grant the variance they will still need a building permit and the village engineer would need to overlook the project to make certain it would not adversely affect your house.  How far is your house from the property line?

Schilk  I do not know I am not sure.  All I can say is if I envision a house there, it will be almost directly on top of my lot.

Sapir  And your bedrooms are facing that lot and your deck?

Schilk  The deck is parallel to where the house will be built and I understand the house will be set back a little bit.  My husband was prepared with a presentation, which is on this disk, but I was having printer problems.  Would anyone be willing to meet with him to look at this presentation?

Sapir -  We would not be able to do that only if this matter is adjourned.  He can come to the next meeting and present it.  But, if this matter is closed tonight he will not have the opportunity.

Deborah McCarthy I want to make it very clear that I am not here tonight speaking as a Village Board Member.  Mr. Schilk had pictures and a presentation where he spent a good deal of time talking about erosion issues.    I just want to pass that on for the Boards information.

Sapir  What is the timetable youre client has with respect to construction?

Snow Within 1? yrs.  

Sapir  So, you would not mind waiting, if we decided to adjourn the hearing?

Norman Sheer  (Read Sections of the Steep Slopes Ordinance) and stated  “The steep slopes law is very clear and the Board of Trustees finds that it is essential for the protection of the villages character and property values.  The law is specifically addressing the environment and the Steep Slopes issue.  So, you need to look at it as a Steep Slopes Issue.

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McCarthy  The Village Board requested the applicant to come to the Zoning Board for a buildable lot, so that is why they are here before you tonight so they can get a hardship permit from the Village Board.  The applicant will still be required to do that.

Sheer  I think there is enough information for you to turn this application down and that will end this issue.

Snow  I appreciate the comments of the neighborhood and Mrs. McCarthy wanting to leave it as it is and her comments with respect to double lots.  We have plans that show what lots are double lots and which ones are vacant.  Developing this as one lot is not going to change the character of the neighborhood.  

Mrs. Snow  Submitted a copy of a tax map showing the neighborhood concerned.
Snow  Ron Wegner, of Cronin Engineering is here this evening. He can answer any questions you may have.

Wegner  Submitted plans for the record that were not submitted with the application.

Wegner- These plans were drawn to address the issue of the parking and retaining wall.  The retaining wall is a grading issue in the matter of inches, which is no longer an issue.  The plans show a 300 ft. parking space that can be done with additional disturbance and three, 10 ft. x 20 ft. stalls.  It is 18 ft. long by 6 ft. to 8 ft. wide.  This is ample parking a 20 ft. x 20 ft. would be adequate to park two cars.

Stephens - What do you mean by additional disturbance?

Wegner - I had to push the steps up to provide an additional area for parking.  

Discussion followed over plans.

Sapir  The Code permits parking by the road with no sidewalk?

Wegner The applicant is proposing a sidewalk.  As far as pictures and views I do not have multiple copies.  I did present this to the Planning Board.   

Discussion followed over plans with respect to slopes and elevations of other homes in the area.  There was also discussion over the plans with respect to trees that will stay and will block the proposed site.  It was also stated that the proposed house will be in character with the neighborhood.

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Stephens  You show a lot of trees to be removed at the discretion of the village. What do you mean by that?

Wegner - There is a sewer that will be the discretion of the village.

Barlow  We only have a footprint shown on our plan.  It does not show elevations

Freeman -43 Morningside Dr. - The statement that no two houses are alike is absolutely not true.   I live in a house that was built the same as hers and there are three more houses that were built the same.  They are all the same.

Sapir  What does that have to do with this application?

Freeman  Because a statement was made that was not true.  Schilks property had to be evaluated because the value of the house went down because of a mistake by the village.    If a mistake is made again it will compound the problem.  The erosion that took place was unbelievable.  The wall that was put up destroyed the houses below it.   There are five different variances on this property you might as well say this property does not exist.  A one-foot variance is a different story but this is too much.

Sapir -  For the record, I think that wall was built before any approvals were made..

Carry This is cattycorner from my street.  I am concerned about the environmental concerns and parking and sure you can park three cars in there, but will they be able to open the doors?  I remember when I first built my house a neighbor wanted to build three houses and our neighbors said no, you have to have twenty-five feet to build there.   Now the law does not seem to matter. So what good is the law?

Sheer  I have the greatest respect for Mr. Cronins Office and Mr. Wegner…. I have spoken to you about the number of feet that was proposed.   Take a look at the latest plans with respect to disturbance.   It is more than ten times what is permitted.  This is just unbelievable.  You are in charge of considering steep slopes.  This is  …I am sorry they only increased it to be 3,214 ft.

Sapir  If we grant this variance request they will still need relief from the Steep Slopes Law, Correct?

Sheer  Yes.
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Schilk We have the most to fear and lose as this property is developed.  We purchased our property three years ago and our realtor assured us that nothing could be built because of the steep slopes.  Ms. Jackson is requesting hardships and easements.  She already requested a change in the Steep Slopes Law, because she was not the owner and it was not grandfathered in and she was able to get those changes.  But, she still has to fight the neighbors, The Zoning Board, and Board of Trustees for relief of the steep slopes law but, only if she can get the variances.  Ms. Jackson is requesting five separate variances.  What exactly is hardship, if she needs this much change to make it a suitable lot?  What are we doing here?  She does not even come close to the minimum requirements.  This proposed construction will literally place her front lot on my front doorstep.  My deck is my only access to my home.  My deck is 4 ? ft. from the side of my house.

Discussion followed over plans.

Sapir  This is not shown on the plans.  How far is the edge of your deck to your side property line?  Do you know if a variance was ever granted for that?

Schilk  No, I do not know.

Sapir  Do you have much more of your prepared statement?  You are re-capturing a lot of what was already said.  You have stated that you will be most affected by this proposed construction.  Tell us how you will be most affected by this application. Why do you not want them to go forward with this application?

Schilk  My biggest concern is erosion.  What will happen if they build and we have a 400-year storm cycle.  It will be so close to my house on the slope side that it will basically be a giant dam and it will create ground water in my home. Heavy equipment for excavation, retaining wall, drywells, and vegetation that has taken decades to grow.  I am very concerned as to what will happen.  My deck is setback on stilts on the back edge of the slope.  I am now fighting erosion.  Morningside Ave. takes a curve and this is all wooded.  This is already a blind spot.  A bunch of cars in this area would create more of a blind spot.  I am concerned about the safety of the neighborhood.  I am concerned about losing property value.  This construction will be right on my doorstep and every bedroom will be affected.  There is not much space between the house and the bedroom windows. They will destroy the slope side and it will lead to problems to my home.  I hate to sue people, I really do.  I want it to go on record that I wanted to read this statement and I was cut short.  I want to leave this as an official record.  It is my home you are building next to.

Maria Modica Snow, Attorney for Joann Jackson was given his statement.
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Unidentified neighbor When they built our house many trees were taken down and the ones that were not taken down died.  It is not only how many trees are taken down but also how the trees are affected.

Wegner - I would like to address the drainage issue.  The design of the drainage system is to capture and filtrate in excess of a 100-year storm.  It will be captured and not run into the hill, it will go into the ground.   

Sapir  So, you are saying this will not affect the Schilks?

Wegner  No.

Sapir  Are you certain as to whether or not they will be able to look into the Schilks bedroom windows?

Wegner  I am not sure.

Barlow  Are there windows planned for that side of the house?

Snow  In terms of the Schilks house, it was already built when the Jacksons purchased it.  It may have needed to conform to zoning when built.  It also seems like there are many variances that are being requested but if it was not for the technicality of the two deeds we may not be here at all.  If we get the ZBA variances we will then re-file an                                                                                  
application to the Village Board and the Village Board will then give it back to the Planning Board to review.  In terms of the history of the property, the contract vendees applied for a Steep Slopes Hardship Permit with the Village Board; they were sent to the Planning Board for recommendation; the law calls for a thirty-day response time and the Planning Board was not able to do it within the 30 days, the applicant spent $12,000.00 and nine months with the Planning Board and engineers before they were satisfied;  the Planning Board sent an affirmative recommendation to the Village Board;  One Trustee requested a search of the deeds, and it was discovered that in 1991, Mr. Jackson transferred both the house and the lot to Joanne Jackson; their attorney at the time had assured them that the lots were still separate.  The lots continued to be kept “separate” but both were in Joann Jacksons name until 2000, when she sold the house.  She has continued to pay taxes on the lot.  Because of the discrepancy of the deed, we had to come before the Zoning Board of Appeals.  Three engineers have looked at the plans, Mr. Wegner, Philip Tully, and Daniel OConnor the Village Engineer.  Mr. Sheer is right, if this variance is not granted this house cannot be built.  Ms. Jackson does not have an option.  She sold the house in the year 2000, because she believed the two lots were legal.  Otherwise, she would have sold it as one parcel.     

Sapir  Has there ever been a discussion with the Schilks?  
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Sheer  There was a discussion with me.
Sapir  - Were they agreeable to purchasing the property?

Sheer  Not at those prices, it was too high.
Snow  I request that the Board please consider granting this variance.

Deborah McCarthy There has been absolutely no evidence by Jackson that she is unable to sell this lot.  Her attorney presented to Mr. Sheer a number that does not establish that it has no value .  It is disturbing to me that it continually goes back to matrimonial issues.  There are lots of ways this could have been sold then.  This is due to pure greed.  They chose not to do it as part of the matrimonial. I think the Board should give no credence to that issue, because it should have been dealt with at the time of the divorce.

Snow  It had nothing to do with greed, as explained before, this is a retirement fund, I resent the accusation of greed and the personal attacks.

Sapir   I might want to take another look at the site with respect to the parking issue.  I do not know if the Board is ready to vote now.

Barlow  I have no objection to delaying the hearing.

The Board agreed that they would like to adjourn the hearing until next month.

Sapir  Please, if anyone here tonight decides to come to the next meeting, please, do not repeat what was said this evening and Mrs. Schulz, we will make certain that your statement will be made as part of the record.

Hearing adjourned.

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Village Board Liaison Report:

Deborah McCarthy, Village Board Trustee  The Comprehensive Planning Committee is now considering Zoning Regulations and I know some of the Zoning Board Members have stated in the past that they felt they would like to be part of comprehensive planning with respect to the Zoning Regulations.  I have mentioned it in the past, but I will bring it up again and see if I can get a more concrete answer for your Board.  Perhaps, your Board could suggest the names of one or two members who could represent the Board and I will submit them to the Village Board.

Respectfully submitted,

Janice Fuentes
ZBA Secretary

Danny Oks has applied to the Zoning Board of Appeals of the Village of Croton-on-Hudson, for a total area variance, street setback variance, maximum coverage variance and side yard variance with respect to a proposed school.

The property, at 138 Maple Street, is located in an RB District and is designated on the Tax Maps of the Village as Section 79.05 Block 1 Lot 39.

A public hearing having been held after due notice, this Board from the application and after viewing the premises and neighborhood concerned, finds:
The applicants tenant, “Something Good in the World,” operates a daycare business at the premises.  The tenant wishes to change its operation from daycare to a preschool and kindergarten.  A Special Use Permit to operate a school is required and an application for a Special Use Permit is pending before the Village Board of Trustees.  The maximum number of daycare attendees is fourteen.  If permitted to operate a school, the maximum number of students is 31 and the applicant anticipates accepting approximately 24 students to be present at the school at any given time.  One adult employee is assigned to supervise 6 students.  Outdoor activities will be conducted on the applicants premises and at the Villages Dobbs Park across the street (Maple Street) from applicants premises.  Children will be dropped off and picked up on Maple Street due to a lack of adequate off-street parking.  At times, neighbors driveways have been used or blocked by parents dropping off and picking up students.

The zoning ordinance 230-9(A)(4)(b) requires a minimum lot size of 3 acres for a school.  Applicants premises is .1722 acres requiring a variance of 2.8278 acres.  The zoning ordinance 230-9(A)(4)(d) requires a street setback of 100 feet for a school.  Applicants  proposed school building has a street setback of 12.4 feet requiring a variance of 87.6 feet. The zoning ordinance 230-9(A)(4)(e) permits maximum coverage by the proposed school building and an accessory deck of 20 percent.  The structures on applicants premises cover 15.8 percent of the premises and no variance is required.  The zoning ordinance 230-9(A)(1)(b) requires a side yard setback of 5 feet for an accessory deck.  The deck on applicants premises has a side yard setback of 1 foot requiring a 4 foot variance.

Because no Special Use Permit, as yet, has been granted by the Village Trustees, this Board has concerns about granting the substantial variances requested by the applicant.  Because the proposed school is situated on a main (two lane) thoroughfare of the Village, this Board finds that environmental issues and issues of safety and welfare of the public are raised: 1.  Does adequate on street parking for pick-up and drop-off of students exist?  2.  How will safety and traffic issues be addressed concerning drop-off and pick-up during rush hours and when more cars are parked on Maple Street due to attendance at organized

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games (unrelated to the proposed school) played at Dobbs Park across the street from applicants premises?  3.  What safety measures will be taken to keep children from running into the street while playing outdoors or when crossing the street for play at Dobbs Park for school recreational activities?

The Board finds that these serious issues arising from the application are beyond the expertise or ability of the Zoning Board of Appeals to address, especially because they deal with the health, safety and lives of small children.  Nor does this Board believe it to be the best agency to address traffic and safety issues that arise from the application.  Accordingly, this Board finds that the variances requested for a proposed school should not be granted at this time; however, the applicant may re-apply and have a request for the variances considered anew when and if a Special Use Permit is granted by the Village Board of Trustees and issues raised by the Zoning Board have been addressed.  However, the side yard variance is not related to use of the premises as a proposed school and the Board finds that the side yard variance for the existing deck will not adversely affect the neighborhood.

Barlow - Motion to Grant the application with conditions to review the application one year from now, and to require the drop-off and pick-up of children directly in front of the school.

Motion was not seconded.

Sapir - Made a Motion to Grant the application for a side yard variance for the existing deck

Waitkins - Seconded the Motion

Vote: 4-0 -Motion GRANTED - Sapir, Stephens, Waitkins, Barlow - Yea

Sapir - Made a Motion to grant the application for a total area variance for a proposed school and to grant the application for a street setback variance

Waitkins - Seconded the Motion

Vote: 1-3 Motion DENIED - Barlow - Yea
                                         Sapir, Stephens, Waitkins, - Nay



John Nikic, has applied to the Zoning Board of Appeals of the Village of Croton-on-Hudson for a total side yard variance with respect to a new one-family dwelling.

The property, at Farrington Rd, is located in a RA-5 District and is designated on the Tax Maps of the Village as Section 78.08 Block 4 Lot 42.

A public hearing having been held after due notice, this Board from the application and after viewing the premises and neighborhood concerned, finds:

There will be no undesirable change to the character of the neighborhood or detriment to nearby properties.  There were no objections to the application.

The variance requested was not substantial

The proposed variance will not have any adverse affect  or impact on the physical or environmental conditions in the neighborhood or district.

Stephens  Made Motion to grant the application as submitted

Waitkins  Second the Motion

Vote:  3-1   - In Favor  Stephens, Waitkins, Sapir
                    Nay  Barlow


According to Section 230-76 (D), “Unless work is commenced and diligently prosecuted within one (1) year of the date of the granting of a variance or special permit, such variance or special permit shall become null and void.”