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ZBA September 8, 2004
                                                DRAFT FILED:__9/14/04
                                                FINAL APPROVAL:  10/13/04



VILLAGE OF CROTON-ON-HUDSON, NEW YORK ZONING BOARD OF APPEALS MEETING MINUTES OF SEPTEMBER 8, 2004.


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

MEMBERS ABSENT: Paul Rolnick

ALSO PRESENT:           Joseph Sperber, Code Enforcement Officer



Meeting Came to Order at 8:00 P.M.

Announcement of emergency exit locations.


HEARINGS:

Robert Klurfeld, 90 Truesdale Drive.  Located in a RA-9 District and designated on the Tax Maps of the Village as Section 79.09 Block 5 Lot 10.  Request for a lot size area variance, side yard and front yard variance with respect to a proposed addition.

Mr. Klurfeld - 90 Truesdale – My wife and I have discussed the application and are hoping you will approve our request to enlarge our home in order to accommodate an aging mother.  

In consulting with the Village Engineer we determined that we needed a variance due to an  inadequate side yard and area.   A second story is out of the question my mother-in law is not able to climb stairs.  Our house is small. The smallest bedroom is 8ft. x 10ft. and it is not adequate for our needs.  

Sapir – How long have you lived there?

Klurfeld - More than thirty years.  The house is 22 ft. by 42 ft..  It is a modest house. It seems a lot larger on paper but, it is only 630 ft.  Some of my neighbors have also commented that it is two stories.  There is just a foundation that is

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there now and one story.  We are not proposing to raise the level any higher than the house is now..

Sapir – So, you are proposing to add on a little suite.

Klurfeld - Yes and to make a little corner for a washer and dryer.

Klurfeld – I got a neighbors list from the village office and spoke to whomever I could get in touch with; 100 Truesdale Dr. is occupied but no one lives there.  Another neighbor had no time to investigate but said she had no objections and did not want to sign.  I thought Mrs. Kennedy’s objection was strange, because Mr. Kennedy did not have any objection and signed my request.   Mrs. Kennedy’s letter of objection was dated September 8, 2004.  I also thought her request for screening was interesting, since they are doing extensive landscaping on their property and their original stone fence is being replaced and I do not know if the stockade fence that was taken down will be replaced.  
Right now I can only see the roof of her house so I do not understand her request for screening. With respect to the number of windows we did not come to a decision, because we did not discuss our plans with an architect yet.   The windows will be on the same level of the current house so I am not sure what the objection is.

Stephens -  The drawings submitted were not submitted by an architectural firm?

Klurfeld - No I did them myself.

Barlow – What will you do with the ground floor space?

Klurfeld - One more garage and storage in the basement area.

Stephens – The entrance will not be the one that was to your office on Truesdale Drive?

Klurfeld - No

Stephens –  So, you will have another entrance on Nordica?

Klurfeld – On  Nordica there will be an entrance leading to the basement and the garage.  There will be no other entrance to the house.  

Sapir – What size house will it be?.

Barlow – 30 ft. x 22 ft. is a big bedroom.

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Klurfeld – There will also be a bathroom and a corner for a washer and dryer in that space. We have the washer and dryer in the basement now, but my mother in-law is unable to climb stairs.  The addition will be roughly 600 sq. ft.  The existing house is approx 900 sq. ft.   It will not be much of an addition from what I see on the market today.

Sapir – I know you said it was less practical to build up, but they do build elevators.  Have you considered that?

Klurfeld – My property goes out to about two 200 ft. but it is woodsy now so the only neighbor that will be affected is at the base and they will not see it.  I do not see this proposal directly affecting anyone.  The only one I touch is at the base and they have no objection.

Sapir – You said at the beginning that you did not want to go up because of the stairs, but is there anyway to get around that?  

Klurfeld - I am trying to avoid stairs.  I did not consider an elevator.  The primary reason is mother in law and her disabilities.

Barlow – Are you planning on putting a kitchen in this addition?

Klurfeld – No. No kitchen.

Stephens – We need to know how high the new roof will be.  We cannot say yes and give you a variance according to this plan that you gave us, without knowing the measurements.

Barlow – The land slopes off so it will be a greater face at the end of the addition.  

Sapir – You have a fence along the side of the house.  Will you extend that fence to the side of the addition?

Klurfeld - No. I don’t think so.

Discussion followed over plans.

Klurfeld – The roof line will be exactly the same.

Barlow – But the ground elevation changes.


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Klurfeld – It is almost the same.

Stephens – It will have a full basement with heat and hot water?

Klurfeld - Cold storage no heat.

Sapir – I see you are proposing vinyl siding, what is existing?

Klurfeld – Cedar shakes, so we will be installing vinyl on the entire house. We do not want two different kinds of siding. I am not raising the roof line it will be the same as the existing roof line.  With respect to the letter from Mrs. Kennedy, it also requests for us to limit the number of windows and provide adequate screening. What does that mean tall pine trees or something?


Sapir – That is generally what it means.

Klurfeld - Three months ago her property had a stockade fence.  They could not see my house and I could not see theirs.  I do not know if they are planning on replacing or removing it.


Discussion followed over plans.


Sapir – When was your house built?

Klurfeld  – 1962

Sapir – Are you the original owner?

Klurfeld – yes.  

Sapir – So you have lived there forty years not thirty.

Stephens – Since your property has two front yards and you are located in a RA-9 District you have one front yard that needs a ten foot variance and the other side is …

Waitkins  I thought you could only have one front yard?

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Discussion followed over Zoning Regulations with respect to properties having two front yards.

Sperber – The Code does not direct you as far as what yard needs to be considered the front yard.  They need one side yard, front yard, and area variance.  He has a porch so you need to include that in the calculations.

Discussion followed over plans.

Klurfeld – The porch has been there since the house was built so I assume that was allowed at the time the house was built.

Sperber  – Zoning has changed since the sixties.   You have an 8 ft. and you need 12ft.. that would be a 4 ft. variance..


Discussion followed over plans.


Sapir – Does the house presently have two bedrooms?

Klurfeld – The original plans called for two bedrooms.  We broke one bedroom down to two so we have three bedrooms.  Two of the three are very small and we have one full bath and one half bath.

Stephens – Do you have it listed as three bedrooms or two?.

Sperber – Without the property record card I would not guess.

Sapir – have you considered taking the two bedrooms and converting them back to one?  

Klurfeld - It is not a welcoming situation.  It would be 10 ft. x 19ft. approximately.

Mrs. Klurfled – That measurement also includes closet space.

Klurfeld – We felt with the proposed space it would be more comfortable for my mother in-law.

Waitkins – Is she in a wheel chair?
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Klurfeld – She uses a wheel chair and walker.


Sapir – Any other questions from the members or the public?


Nancy Kennedy – 80 Nordica Drive.  I do not object to the proposed addition.  I am just concerned about the size and as a local broker in the area the variances they are requesting will set a precedent.  The Klurfelds are planning to add a sizeable addition and quite large.  Yes, it sits higher and my concern is where the house sits now I can see their house sometimes, but if they push out closer to Nordica Drive, I will see more of it.  Yes, I am landscaping.  With all the salting and sanding of the village, my walls can no longer support my fencing.  I am putting up a stockade fence along the existing stone walls to provide privacy for me.

Sapir –How high is the fence?  Will it be a  2 ft stone wall and then build the fence on top?

Kennedy – It is according to village rules.  I need to create curbing.  My concern is as a village resident and once you give big variance to property owners, it will set a precedent and I am not sure we want to do that.  

Sapir – What about the windows?
Kennedy – They sit high and look down into my property.  I ask if you grant the variance to limit the number and size of the windows for the side facing my property.

Sapir – If the variance is denied and they built up a second story, would that be a better for you?

Kennedy – The existing height does not bother me but anything higher will be looking down into my living space.   I am just interested in protecting my privacy. The reason I moved to Nordica Drive was because I had privacy.

Sapir – (To the Board) Do you feel you can vote without proper architectural drawings?


The board stated that the plans that were submitted were not sufficient and they would like to see architectural drawings.


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Shanesy – 47 Nordica Drive – I am the next door neighbor.  I also have no objection to him expanding for an important need like this.  But, I do think that it is a very large addition.  I may be confused about the size of it.  When I went to the village and looked at the numbers it seemed the width was ---

Klurfeld – The width is 22 ft.  

Shanesy – Still it seems very large.

Klurfeld – The length is 42 ft. and the width is 22 ft..   The house is a tiny house right now.

Shanesy – I am concerned it will be out of scale and we were not  visited by the applicant with respect to this application.

Klurfeld  – She is part owner of the property and we spoke to the other owner.

Stephens – You also have another address which is…

Shanesy– 76 Nordica Drive is the other property I own.

Shelly Klurfeld  - 90 Trusdale – I would like to comment about Nancy Kennedy’s comments.  We do not see her house at all.  Her house is way below ground level.

Sapir – Have you had anyone stand on a ladder to determine how the proposed addition will affect your neighbors?

Mrs. Klurfeld– The only thing you see is the steps.   The fence has been removed and she is at least 150 ft. away so I am not sure how much that will be a concern when this is completed.

Mr. Klurfeld  – If I put a ladder on the roof maybe I could see her house, but we are not on the roof that often, that is the point I would like to make.

Sapir – Is there room for you to make some kind of compromise?   There seems to be a concern with respect to the size of the lot and the size of the house.   You may want to consider a smaller addition.  What I hear is they do not object to the addition just the specific size of the addition you are doing.   The people that will be most affected by the variances that we grant are the very people that live in the surrounding area so when they object and say things that make sense we need to take it into consideration in our determination.  Would you want to put this hearing over and come up with something more acceptable?  I think an architect’s drawing is especially needed with this type of
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request for a variance.  If it were an addition in the back and no one could see it, it would be a different story.  But, when you ask us to bend the rules and people object to it we need to take it seriously.   Perhaps you can build smaller addition and still allow space for a washer and dryer.

Sapir – Will you also need to take down trees?

Klurfeld -0ne large tree.  There is a wooded area and some of it is village property.

Mrs. Klurfeld -  There is a large rock on the side, but two thirds of the property will remain as open as it is.  We will need a closet space and the existing rooms are not big enough to add closet space.

Sapir – Did you discuss your plans with an architect?

Klurfeld – Yes we had a long discussion.  If I thought hiring an architect at $1,500.00 would be worth it for this application and take a chance of it being denied, but, I am not much of a gambler.  

Sapir –  That does not prevent you from coming up with another proposal and coming back to us.

Waitkins – I do not understand what you meant when you said that some of the property is village property.

Klurfeld – The easements.  It appears much greater so I do not think it would be that noticeable it is a large wooded area.

Klurfeld– Can you give me a number that would be more suitable as to square footage.  I spoke to two neighbors facing us on Truesdale Drive and I got a total of five people who do not object.   

Sapir – But, there are two neighbors here tonight who have objections.

Klurfeld – One is not really a neighbor.

Sapir – But she is a property owner.

Mrs. Klurfeld -  I think her concern is if you allow this variance it will set a precedent.


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Sapir – I do not feel this case is setting a precedent because this is a unique property that you purchased and it is acceptable as a pre-existing small lot you want to expand.  But, in your situation it is a focal point in that part of town.   I can understand the peoples concern.  On the other hand there are large trees there an additional screening may mitigate the problem.  I also fee you can scale back the plans.  This may be a case where you are asking for more than you need to accomplish your objective.

Klurfeld– If we cut it 5 ft. or 25 ft. they would object.  

Sapir – I suggest you discuss it with your neighbors.  They do no object to the addition only the size of it.  Also, it is not uncommon for people to bring architectural drawings when applying for a variance.

Klurfeld – You want me to confer with these two neighbors?. We could scale it back and then when I discuss it with an architect he may not approve.

Sperber  – If he were to speak to the neighbors tonight they would not have plans for the Board anyway, so it might be wise to request an adjournment so you do not have to pay the fee again. He might want to talk to the neighbors who object and present a different presentation next month.

Sapir – (To Mr. Klurfeld) It would be a lot easier for you to have an architect’s drawings and have him present at the next meeting, so you will not have to request another adjournment the next time.

Klurfeld – If these neighbors did not appear tonight and did not object how would that have affected our application?

Sapir – But, we do have concerns and objections.

Mrs Klurfeld - And that is out of how many people who received notices?

Sapir – They are concerned about the enjoyment and the value of their property and that is a legitimate concern.  Oversized houses on small lots are unfortunately becoming a concern and we have been addressing that on a  case by case basis.

Klurfeld - We did not think this would affect anyone.

Sapir – If you want us to go forward tonight then we can and if it is not granted then you can go discuss it with other neighbors, but the disadvantage is that you will need to file again and pay a second fee.
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Mr. Klurfeld and the concerned neighbors agreed to recess for discussion.

The Board agreed to a recess and to continue with the other hearings on the agenda.


After the recess, Mr. Klurfeld submitted a note to the Board requesting the Board to adjourn the hearing until next month at which time he will present revised plans.

The Board agreed to the adjournment until next month.

Hearing Adjourned.


Peter and Marianne Calo, 117 Old Post Road South.  Located in a RA-25 District and designated on the Tax Maps of the Village as Section 79.09 Block 5 Lot 3.  Request for a front yard variance with respect to a proposed shed.

The applicant arrived late 9:20 P.M. for the hearing due to a misunderstanding of the location of the hearing.  The Board agreed to go forward with the hearing.

Peter Calo -  117 Old Post Rd. South  -  We are requesting a variance for an 8 ft. x 8 ft. shed.  The driveway where we live is on a hill and there are eighteen steps that lead to the house.  We need storage for the baby strollers, bikes, etc.  The most practical spot would be on our driveway.

Stephens – During my site visit I noticed that the proposed location of the shed will not be visible from the street, but I noticed you have something to the right of your property.

Calo – We have a trash shed.   The proposed shed will total eight feet in height.  The existing trash shed is four and one half feet high.  We will put it on four by fours to get the structure off the ground.

Sapir – Will they require a variance for that?

Sperber – According to the Code any shed that will not be moved is considered a permanent structure.  We would like to exempt anything under, 100 sq. ft., but we have not gotten that far, although other municipalities have.
Sapir – What are the dimensions of the proposed shed?

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Calo – It will be 8 ft. x 8 ft. x 8 ft. and it is called a mini barn.

Stephens – Will it be locked?

Calo - Yes.

Sapir – When did you purchase the house?

Calo – Two years ago we purchased it from a woman.

Sapir – Your house has an unusual situation.  What did the previous owners do?

Calo – I do not know, but we have three small kids and to keep bikes and carriages, in the house is not practical, it is too far from the house to the driveway.  Our driveway is diagonal to the street and there are trees there.

Sapir – Is there anything you could do that would not be as tall as eight feet?

Calo – It would mean having it specially made.  We are going by a pretty standard size. We want somewhere to put the bikes.  We will hang them on the walls and we have a double stroller and we would like to be able to walk in.  It was the smallest and most practical size.

Stephens – When you are in the corner looking up to the road can you see the entire road from your height?

Calo – Yes.  I understand what you are saying.  Maybe the shed will be a little higher than me at the highest point.

Other Board Members felt it would be visible from the street.

Sapir – What did the previous owner do?  If we grant the variance I do not know how we can limit it.  At some point in time you will not need the stroller storage, etc., it will be unsightly and a bit out of character of the neighborhood.  I would like to see something lower.

Calo – Your question is what did the previous owners do?

Sapir – What other alternatives did you look at beside the barn?

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Calo – Frankly it is the most practical and makes the most sense.  We have no garage and we cannot locate it in back of the house.

Sapir – I understand you cannot put it in back of the house.   I am asking you to consider the height.

Calo – I did not see anything that would look nice that was lower.  What the other owners did I cannot tell you .  When we moved in there was one woman living in the house.   Even though the kids will get older and not need stroller, etc., we will still need the storage because just getting up and down our steps is difficult.  There are eighteen steps to our driveway.

Sapir – But you will not be considering tools such as lawn mowers because then you will need to take it up the steps.

Calo – We will need storage for lawn mowers. We will be maintaining that area.   The mini barn looks nice and this proposed shed seems to be a standard height.

Barlow – Maybe if he moved it farther off the driveway and closer to the road..

Calo – I can’t.  I even dug a small amount to be able to tuck it in.

Barlow – What color will it be?

Calo– Barn red.

Barlow – That color will not make it unobtrusive.

Calo – It will not be bright red.  What color would you like it ?

Sapir – Have you considered any type of bin?

Calo – How high would it be then, if I went with six feet?

Sapir – You would not need it to be six feet high.

Calo – Then how could I use it for storage?

Sapir – I am just wondering if you looked at all your options.



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Calo– Before we talked to you that is what we decided on.  We felt we could tuck it in the corner so it was not visible from the street and we will put Alberta Spruce trees to screen it and even short bushes so you will not be able to see it.

Sapir – Any other questions.

There was no reply

Hearing closed.


Stephens – Made Motion to grant the application as requested with the following conditions:

1.      There will be no permanent foundation for the shed.
2.      The applicant will provide screening to the satisfaction of the Village Engineer.

Waitkins – Second the Motion

Vote:  4-0  Stephens, Waitkins, Sapir, Barlow


Christopher Judge, 38 Palmer Ave., Located in a RA-5 District and designated on the Tax Maps of the Village as Section 78.08 Block 3 Lot 39.  Requesting to reinstate expired Zoning Variance that was granted on 10/9/02, with respect to a proposed addition.

The applicant was not present.  

The Board agreed to close the hearing and make their decision since the applicants renewal request was identical to the previous variance that had expired.

Hearing Closed.


Stephens – Made Motion to grant the renewal according to the previous variance that was granted and with the same conditions.

Barlow – Second the Motion
Vote:   4-0 In Favor   -  Stephens, Waitkins, Sapir, and Barlow
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FOR THE RECORD:

The Board acknowledged receipt of a letter from Mrs. Kelly of 35 Old Post Rd. No. regarding a Variance that was granted with conditions on 7/10/02 to her neighbor Dominick Malone on 7/10/02.

The Board stated that it was their intent that the trees be maintained by the applicant with guidance offered by the Village Engineer’s office




DISCUSSIONS:

Village of Croton Proposed Zoning Changes:

The Board Members requested a breakdown of the Village’s proposed Zoning changes that will be discussed by the Village.  The Board also suggested that the ZBA be represented when the Zoning changes are discussed.

Don Sapir, Chairman of the Board and the ZBA Members  – Stated that they would like the Village Board to address the issue of requiring more proportionate sized houses on the smaller lots.


Respectfully submitted,



Janice Fuentes
ZBA Secretary
9/8/04





                                RESOLUTION


Peter & Marianne Calo, have applied to the Zoning Board of Appeals of the Village of Croton-on-Hudson, for a front yard variance with respect to a proposed shed.
The property, at 117 Old Post Road South, is located in a RA-25 District and is designated on the Tax Maps of the Village as Section 79.09 Block 5 Lot 3.

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.

The neighbors who will be affected did not object to the application.

The proposed location of the construction is the most practical area due to the house location, which is located on a hill with 13 steps leading to the house from the driveway area..

The proposed variance will not have an adverse effect or impact on the physical or environmental conditions in the neighborhood or district.  The applicant agreed to provide screening.


NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED, that the application is hereby GRANTED as follows:


Stephens – Made Motion to grant the application as requested with the following conditions:

1.      There will be no permanent foundation for the shed.
2.      The applicant will provide screening to the satisfaction of the Village Engineer.


Waitkins – Second the Motion

Vote:  4-0  Stephens, Waitkins, Sapir, 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.”




                                RESOLUTION


Christopher Judge, has applied to the Zoning Board of Appeals of the Village of Croton-on-Hudson, request to re-instate expired Zoning Variance that was granted on 10/9/02, with respect to a proposed addition.

The property, at 30 Palmer Ave.  is located in a RA-5, District and is designated on the Tax Maps of the Village as Section 78.08 Block 3 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:


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

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

The requested area variance is not substantial




NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED, that the application is hereby GRANTED as follows:

Stephens – Made Motion to grant a south-east side yard variance of 3.9 ft. for a proposed addition to kitchen that will be constructed according to plans submitted.

Barlow – Second the motion.

Vote:  4-0  In Favor  Stephens, Barlow, Sapir, Waitkins




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.”