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ZBA March 9, 2005
                                                        DRAFT FILED: 3/15/05
                                                                                   FINAL APPROVAL 4/13/05


MEMBERS PRESENT:     Donald Sapir, Chairman
                                           Rhoda Stephens
                                           Ruth Waitkins
                                           Paul Rolnick

MEMBERS ABSENT:       Witt Barlow

ALSO PRESENT:               Joseph Sperber, Code Enforcement officer

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

Announcement of the location of fire exits


2/9/04 – Stephens – Motion to accept the minutes as corrected
             Waitkins – Second the Motion
              Vote:  4-0  In Favor

Mr. Sapir, Chairman of the Board – Informed the applicants present – “This is a five member Board and only four members are present this evening.  In order to be granted a variance you must have the majority of the Boards vote.  If one member is absent you have less of a chance of obtaining a majority vote.  If anyone would like to adjourn their hearing until next month they are welcome to.   However, adjourning your hearing does not guarantee a majority vote, nor does it guarantee we will have a full Board at the next meeting.  Knowing this, would anyone like to request an adjournment?”

There was no reply.

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Nance Shatzkin, Agent/Symphony Knoll Affordable Housing, Mt. airy Rd., Section 67.20 Block 3 Lot 2 & 36.  Located in a RC District.  Request for Height and Stories variances with respect to a proposed Multi-family residence.

Sapir – The Board is in receipt of a request to adjourn the hearing for Symphony Knoll Affordable Housing, Mt. Airy Rd.  Section 67.20 Block 3 Lot 2 & 36, until our April 13, 2005 meeting.

The Board agreed to grant the applicants request to adjourn the hearing.

Phil Spagnoli, 214 Grand Street.  Section 68.17 Block 3 Lot 32.  Located in a RB District.  Request for a variance from Section 230-77(B) with respect to frontage on a village street and Section 230-4 titled “Terms Defined” with respect to new construction for a two-family residence and proposed ingress and egress.

John Alfonzetti, Engineer, representing the applicant.  

Alfonzetti -  We are here to request a variance from the village ordinance that requires a 100 ft. frontage onto a public road.  We do have a one hundred foot frontage on a public road at the intersection of Grand Street and Maple St.  However, due to the topography of the land and steep slopes, there would be, less disturbance, if we were allowed a variance so we can have access from the existing driveway of the adjacent property, which is also owned by the applicant.  We feel this would be the best proposal for a suitable means of ingress and egress.
Sapir – Is the owner willing to give a recorded easement?

Spagnolli – Yes.  An easement will be recorded with the county clerk for access and utility access as well.

Alfonzetti – We feel this is simpler solution and more suited to the land.  As you can see from the topography we have steep drop-off.  We had a new curb cut put in at the intersection of Grand Street and Maple Street.  We are proposing to use the existing driveway that is presently shared with both properties now.  It will be more suitable. It will eliminate the need for rock cut and retaining walls.

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Sapir – What would a rock cut add as far as hardship to the applicant?

Alfonzetti  – There would be considerable rock cutting and blasting to that area.  It would also be an additional cost of approximately $20,000.00 to $30,000.00 to the applicant.  I am not sure of the exact cost.  If we are allowed to construct the driveway as proposed, we will have less storm water to deal with and we will be able to locate drywells in a more suitable area.

Stephens – Will there be ingress and egress from Kuney Street, the street above this property?

Alfonzetti – No.  

Waitkins – How far up will the proposed house be from Grand Street?

Alfonzetti– It will be approximately 70 ft. from the curb and the Code requires 100 ft.

Waitkins – What lots does the applicant own?  

Alfonzetti -The lot north and this one.

Sapir – How do you deal with a shared driveway when someone is coming up and someone is going down at the same time?

Spagnoli – It will be increased to the standard size of sixteen feet.  Two neighbors would be able to pass a standard shared driveway at sixteen feet.

Sapir – what is the width now?

Alfonzetti – Approximately 12 ft. if I am not mistaken.

Sperber – A standard driveway is twelve feet and the applicant is proposing sixteen feet.  They have also suggested that it be a little wider at the hairpin.

Rolnick – What does he own?

Sperber – The lot to the north and the lot to the rear, and the one that abuts Maple Street  and Grand Street.

Rolnick – Now he is using that driveway which is actually on the other property?
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Sperber - Correct.

Waitkins - That is a private driveway?   

Sperber – Yes.

Rolnick – The proposed construction is for a one family dwelling and a two unit dwelling?

Sperber – The two unit dwelling already has a permit and is under construction, it is irrelevant to this application.

Sapir – It will be four units sharing a driveway.

Alfonzetti - Yes

Sapir – And the driveway will continue to be a private driveway?

Alfonzetti - Yes.

Rolnick – The two-family owns the entire driveway and the property under construction does not.

Sapir – Will the owner of that lot be responsible for maintenance?

Alfonzetti – That will need to be addressed.

Rolnick – Have these lots been re-configured?

Sperber – No. These lots have existed for some time.  But, this application would allow him to create easements and have them filed with the county clerk’s office.

Rolnick – Are there any steep slope issues to having the driveway built straight down the hill?

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Sperber – The disturbance that would be caused by blasting, cutting soil, D.O.T. Permit, and the consequences of the disturbance.  There would also be drainage issues that he has already addressed, which would also mean extensive drywells would need to be installed.

Rolnick – It is possible, but a matter of expense.
Sperber -  I see the proposed application as minimizing the impact as far as disturbance to the land.  This application to the ZBA is the applicant’s first step.  They still need to go before the Planning Board and Village Board for a Steep Slopes Permit.

Rolnick -  There is no issue as far as the applicant needing setbacks?

Alfonzetti – We do have the property setbacks.

Sperber -  The Planning Board will also have the right to request the applicant to sight the house in a particular envelope or meet the setbacks.

Sapir -  Are there any other requirements as far as easements or utilities?

Alfonzetti – Not that I know of.

Sapir – You would need to give the other property rights to ingress and egress.

Spagnoli – Yes.

Rolnick – Is it the two family lot that is granting the egress and easements?

Alfonzetti & Spagnoli - Yes.

Sapir – With regard to your application, it says you are asking for a variance with respect to Section 230-77 (B) of the Village Code, is that correct?  It says no building permit will be issued without frontage upon a public street without approval from the Planning Board.

Alfonzetti – If you look at the definition of frontage…

Sapir – I am just wondering, if this is something we need to do or the Planning Board.

Alfonzetti – This is something I have not seen before.  Frontage usually defines the length along a public road.  This refers to ingress and egress.  It can be accessed from
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other methods.  This is the first time I have seen it like that.  That is why we are here before this Board.  We can access the property from Maple St. and Grand Street, but we would have to go up twenty steps to get to the house.  If you have a driveway, you can go right up to the house in case of an emergency.  It would also be an added expense to the applicant to do it any other way.

Rolnick – We might want to be specific about driveway improvements.  Do you have any specific plans?

Alfonzetti – Before we came to the Zoning Board, it did go before the Planning Board.  We still need to go back to the Planning Board.  The Planning Board has asked for these profiles that we have submitted to you.  The Planning Board has not seen them yet.

Sapir – So, you would not have any objections to us making conditions that the applicant file with Westchester County Dept. of Land Records, to obtain easements for right-of-way for ingress and egress and for utilities and emergency vehicles?

Alfonzetti – Correct.

Waitkins – Garbage pick-up and re-cycling, do they have to bring the garbage cans down the hill to Grand Street to be picked up because, if it is not a public road, garbage trucks, will not go up a private driveway to pick up garbage.

Alfonzetti – I am not sure.

The Board agreed to have ZBA Member, Paul Rolnick, prepare a letter to the Planning Board requesting them to address the issue of garbage pick-up.

Pat Calcutti – 221 Grand Street – My fear was that they would want to cut another driveway.  It is horrendous.  There is a curvature in the road.  There was other construction there and there was an accident with the construction trucks.  I do not know how steep slopes would enter into this.

Sapir – Steep slopes is not our  jurisdiction.

Member of the public – I live across from the previous driveway.  The owner that was there entered from Kuney Street.  Kuney Street would be the ideal access to this property.

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A few members of the public, who were not identified, expressed their objection to using Kuney Street.

Anthony Tramaglini – Grand Street – I live across the street from where the proposed house will be built.  I have a question with respect to the location of utility and gas lines, etc.

Alfonzetti – They will follow down to the right.

Discussion followed over plans

Tramaglini – I am concerned about the trees coming down and the disturbance of the steep slopes.  I am also concerned. if the trees should come down during a storm they could come down on my house.

Mrs. Tramaglini - 217 Grand St.   – It is already dangerous and now there will be a new house.  I think this is an issue that needs to be addressed.  There have been accidents. Widening and putting guard rails in is absolutely necessary.  As far as the construction of a new house is concerned, that is a steep slope.

Sapir -  The steep slopes law is not something we look at.  Anyone else like to be heard?

Ms. Albano – Kuney Street – I have been to many meetings over the years.

Sapir – With regards to this property?

Albano – We were told that using Kuney Street was out of the picture and we did not have to worry about it.  This plan is our preference.

Rolnick – We have not talked about Kuney street.  Tell us what could be possible and practical expense wise.

Alfonzetti  – Creating a driveway of Kuney Street, would actually be creating another shared driveway.  In relationship to this property, you would first have it going to the two-family house and then down to the single family property and we would run into steep slopes and disturbance issues. Also a shared driveway off of Kuney Street would come much too close to the existing two-family house that is being constructed.  I am not sure the Planning Board would approve of it.  It would be too close to that house.  There would still be steep slopes issues.

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Sapir – Are there different entities who own the lots?

Alfonzetti – Mr. Spagnoli is the owner. They are separate lots and separate entities.

Sapir – A different corporation?

Spagnoli – One is for myself and the other house on top is mine and the one at the bottom we are selling.

Spagnoli – I would like to add that we are showing you these plans before the Planning Board has seen them.  Initially we told the Planning Board that we would access from Maple Street and Grand Street.  If you approve our application for a shared driveway off of Kuney Street the Planning Board will look at both cases and see what they feel is best.

Sapir – All we can do is grant or deny your application as submitted to us. You will have to discuss the other options with the Planning Board.  

Norma Goldstein – 6 Kuney – My property abuts Mr. Spanolli’s property.  The last seventy five feet of Kuney Street has been permanently de-mapped and we have been assured that it is dead and will remain that way.  So, please do not consider Kuney Street as a public access.  I know he did work with heavy equipment to improve the driveway.  It is flat where they are planning to build it is not a steep slope.  I do think the applicant’s plans are best.  

Any other questions?

There was no reply.

Hearing closed.

Pasquale Mastrantuono, 30 Brook Street, Section 78.08 Block 5 Lot 34.  Located in a RB District.  Request for a determination/variance from Section 230-34, 230-40 (G), 230-53 ( C ), of the Village Code, with respect to a proposed conversion of an existing one-family residence to a two-family residence in an RB Zone and the proposed construction of a stairway.

Philip Tully – 4 Eklof Court – Engineer – I will present the application from the zoning perspective and all other questions Mr. Mastrantuono will answer for you.

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Stephens – Mr. Tully, did you prepare the statement of facts that was submitted with the application?

Tully – Yes on behalf of the applicant. Hopefully the Board will conclude that no variances are required.  We are not really looking for a variance.   Mr. O’Connor the Village Engineer, in a letter dated February 1, 2005, cited Section 230-34 as his reason that variances are required.  It is my belief that 230-34 does not apply to this application and neither does 230-40 (G).  The minimum lot width is fifty feet.  This property has a width of twenty.  Section 230-53 ( C ), which states; “Normal maintenance and repair, structural alteration in or moving, reconstruction or enlargement of a building which does not house a nonconforming use, but is nonconforming as to the district regulations for lot area, lot width, front yard, side yard, rear yard, maximum height, maximum lot coverage or minimum habitable floor area per dwelling is permitted, if the same does not increase the degree of or create any new nonconformity with such regulations in such building”.  Simply changing from a one family to a two-family in a RB Zone does not require variances. We are not changing the footprint of the building it remains the same.  The building envelope remains the same and the height remains the same.  Mr. Kary Ioannou, who was Mr. O’Connor’s predecessor, granted a building permit for the stairway.  He concluded it met zoning regulations and we agreed.  On behalf of Mr. Mastrantuono, there is only one conclusion to be reached; no variances are required.

Sapir – The houses abutting this one are one or two family?

Mr. Mastrantuono – When I purchased this house it was a two family and there was a two family on both sides of my property.

Tully -  There is a multi-family on both sides.

Mastrantuono – When I purchased in 1970, it was a two family.  I had three children and needed an extra bedroom.  I removed a kitchen.  The access was through the kitchen in the back.  The new proposed two-family would need to go through my kitchen.  I enclosed the back of the house we built a bedroom.

Rolnick – They got a variance for the side yards in two thousand and a permit was issued and expired and a renewal was refused.

Mastrantuono – I had an operation on my back and I knew I could not finish.

Sperber – He was granted a variance, but the work that involved the stairs was no on the plans.

Tully– The addition in the rear will not in any way be affected by this variance.
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Rolnick – We are talking about a stairway within the existing stairway, is there anything else you are proposing before us tonight?

Tully – No.

Rolnick -  You are not showing what the stairway will look like, specifically.  We have a limited hand drawing of it.

Tully – That is the survey and shows the location, it does not show detail.   There is no encroachment on the side yard.  There is no impact whatsoever, lot width, lot depth, etc., there will be a door at the top leading to the stairway.

Rolnick – Will there be a porch?

Tully – No, a stairway leading from the porch to the second landing. You open the door and you are in second story.

Sapir – Does the applicant presently reside in the house and will he continue to reside in the house?

Tully - Yes.

Sapir – What will you do with the second unit?

Mastrantuono – I will rent it.  My wife and I are both retired.  I will rent it and live in the house.  I would like to stay in Croton.

Sapir – What do you estimate the rent to be?

Mastrantuono - $1,200, because gas and electric will be included. It will have one bedroom, kitchen and full bath.

Stephens – Does he have the required parking for that?

Sperber – They have the required parking.

Sapir – First we need to make a determination whether or not a variance is needed and if we determine a variance is required we need to grant it or deny it.

Tully – Yes.   Section 230-53 ( C ) does apply, but the other sections do not apply.
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Rolnick – Why doesn’t 230-34 apply?

Tully – Because, what you are saying is it does not even fall under small lots.  I do not think we accepted that the last time we were before you.

Mr. Tully – I have a statement here …..

Sapir – Is it different from the one you gave us?

Tully – Slightly different.

Statement submitted for the record.

Sapir - Anyone else like to be heard?

There was no reply.

Hearing Closed.

Resignation Announcement:

Donald Sapir, Chairman, announced his resignation as Zoning Board of Appeals Chairman.   Mr. Sapir stated that he will continue as Chairman of the ZBA, until a new Chairman is appointed by the Mayor. Mr. Sapir, stated that he would like to thank the Board Members and Secretary for all their support and dedication during his term as Chairman.

Respectfully submitted,

Janice Fuentes
ZBA Secretary


Pasquale Mastrantuono, has applied to the Zoning Board of Appeals of the Village of Croton-on-Hudson, requesting a determination /variance with respect to Section 230-34, 230-40G, 230-53C, with respect to a proposed conversion of an existing one-family to a two-family residence in an RB Zone and the construction of a stairway.

The property, at 30 Brook Street, is located in a RB, District and is designated on the Tax Maps of the Village as Section 78.08 Block 5 Lot 34.

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

The existing house predates zoning and the original footprint of the house is not being changed.  

The proposed interior staircase conforms to the New York State Building Codes and Regulations.

The existing lot is an unusual lot and there is lack of outdoor access on either side for the proposed one bedroom apartment.

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

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

Sapir – Made Motion to grant a variance according to  Section 230-40(G) of the Village Code for the proposed construction of an interior stairway, Section 230-40-(E) (3), 230-4, and Section 230-34 of the Village Code according to plans submitted and as follows:


          East side yard variance of 9.17 ft.
          Total side yard variance of 21.07 ft.

The Board finds there is no variance required for a front yard setback according to Section 230-40 (E) (3) of the Village Code which states “No proposed one-family or two-family dwelling need have a front yard greater than the average setback of two or more existing dwellings located within 300 ft. on each side of said proposed dwelling, on the same side of the street, and within the same block and the same district.”


        The applicant will grant the tenant  the same use of open space as is enjoyed by the applicant, according to Section 230-4 with respect to the Definition of Open Space and Section 230-34 of the Bulk Regulations with respect to usable open space per dwelling unit  in a RB District, Two-Family, Residence.

Rolnick – Second the Motion

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


Phil Spagnoli, has applied to the Zoning Board of Appeals of the Village of Croton-on-Hudson, to request a variance from Section 230-77(B) with respect to frontage on a village street and Section 230-4 titled “Terms Defined” with respect to a proposed new construction of a two-family residence and proposed ingress and egress.

The property, at 214 Grand Street, is located in a RB District and is designated on the Tax Maps of the Village as Section 68.17 Block 3 Lot 32.

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

The proposed location of the driveway was chosen because of the topography of the site and the need to cause the least amount of disturbance to the land.

Blasting to alter the location of the driveway besides being expensive, could cause damage to surrounding properties.

Neighbors who will be most affected are in favor of the proposed driveway according to plans submitted in this application.

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

Rolnick – Made Motion to Grant a variance from the requirements of 230-77(B) of the Village Code with respect to frontage on a village street and with the following conditions:

The shared driveway will be suitable for motor vehicles, emergency vehicles, and fire apparatus.

The applicant must record and file with the Westchester County Dept. of Land Records, for a right of way and easement for a shared driveway, utilities, and emergency vehicles.

Stephens  - Second the Motion
Vote:  4-0 In Favor


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.”