August 10, 2015
Attending: John Savoca, John Flynn, Richard Fon
(See Planning Board, July 13, 2015.) The board’s concerns having been met, the special permit for outdoor storage was renewed for five years.
2. Village Traditions
The board approved a second one-year extension. On behalf of the applicant, attorney Al Capellini said that the project’s original bond was still valid but that the applicant wasn’t sure if the original DOT was still valid. In response Mr. Tegeder said that regardless of the status of the DOT permit, the site plan required the curb cuts. However, if the DOT wants to modify the plan before issuing a new permit, it can, and the town would have to change the site plan approving resolution. There was no discussion about the joint access with the proposed Envirogreen project.
3. Arrowhead subdivision
The board reapproved the subdivision, paving the way for a single lot to be sold which, in turn, would resolve a pending foreclosure action.
4. Kitchawan Fire & Rescue Station (Route 134)
The board approved the first one-year extension of the site plan originally approved in 2011. According to Al Capellini, the fire district’s attorney, the district is looking to cut the cost of the project and is considering eliminating one bay. An RFP has been issued seeking a new architect for the project.
5. Fieldstone Manor
The board approved the first 90 day extension with attorney Al Capellini holding out the possibility that a second 90 day extension may be needed. He advised the board that the Board of Health has okayed the project and the DEC has given its informal approval. The delay may be caused by the difficulty in lining up a surveyor.
6. Taconic Vet Clinic & Canine Kindergarten/Public hearing
The hearing was opened and closed, leaving open a 10 day written comment period.
In response to earlier board concerns, as well as concerns from the fire district about access to the rear of the site, the plan now includes two 12’ gates closing off the rear play areas. When opened, the gates will allow for circulation around the building in the event that becomes needed.
The applicant will need to clear up the following issues:
1. closing out the sewer permit, which will likely entail an inspection of the sewer connection
2. a landscape plan. The applicant has agreed to install all the landscaping at once in exchange for getting a five year permit.
3. whether the propane tank, shown on the site plan was “temporary” and will be removed or will become a permanent structure
4. a clarification on the use of the kindergarten area and the extent to which dogs may be kept overnight. Based on earlier comments, it was explained that the facility would not be a kennel but that occasionally, dogs might be kept there overnight.
In response to a comment from the public about the noise, Mr. Fon said that noise had been the board’s primary concern since the first discussion, but that based on a site visit to a similar facility operated by the applicant, they felt that noise would not be an issue.
7. Bonsignore subdivision (Hunterbrook Road)/Public informational hearing
(See Planning Board, 7-13-2015.) Several area residents spoke in opposition to the plan, citing stormwater issues, the presence of rock and slopes, traffic on Old Crompond Road, the location of the proposed driveways and disturbance to the wetlands which feed into the Hunterbrook. They also questioned the need for additional houses to be built in the area.
The proposed plan would encroach 8,400 square feet into the wetland buffer, primarily along the driveway to one of the two new houses.
Mr. Savoca explained to the residents that the plan was not a “done deal” and that the purpose of the informational hearing was to get input from the public that the board could use as a guide going forward. Mr. Fon advised the residents that the board shared many of their concerns about the slopes and the incursion into the buffer.
The applicant was asked to provide more details about how the proposed new houses would visually impact on the existing homes on Old Crompond Rd and to work with Mr. Tegeder to tweak the driveway in order to minimize the disturbance to the wetland buffer.
8. Brookside Village (Landmark Court)
The board went into special session to approve a resolution amending a 5-lot subdivision plan approved in the 1980s that required the developer to set aside an area between two proposed lots for snow storage.
Two of the approved houses were built many years ago and the applicant has received sewer permits to build the remaining three. In the intervening years, the driveway for the one of the two houses was reversed and is located in the snow set aside area along with a utility box.
9. Northern Restorative Care
(See Town Board, 8-4-2015). Based on the applicant’s assurance that the issues in an earlier Planning Board memo have been addressed, the board agreed to send a “warm and fuzzy” recommendation to the Town Board. The applicant still needs to meet with the town engineer and environmental consultant to review the stormwater plan. The recommendation for a new survey was modified to read an “as built survey” as the board agreed it made no sense to require a new survey of what currently exists when the amended site plan would change the survey.
The board set Thursday, September 3 for a public hearing on the final site plan. The hearing will begin at 7pm and will take place in town hall.
Access: In response to comments from ABACA, the applicant has redesigned the two entrances into the site. By moving the sidewalk and enhancing the landscaping to what had been the secondary access, the plan now visually splits the parking lot in half which has the effect of visually reducing the mass of the parking lot. For the original entranceway, a timber guard rai will replace the metal one for a more “welcoming” look.
Lighting: There was considerable discussion about the 16’ and 25’ lights. While there was general agreement that fewer light poles were better (25’ poles would mean 50% fewer poles), the board asked the applicant to consider using 16’ poles along the perimeter of the site. Pointing out the grade change as cars go up the Route 202 hill, Mr. Tegeder was concerned about the visibility of the poles from the western end of the site. In general, ABACA supports the taller lights but suggested 16’ lights along the first access road.
Landscaping: The applicant will review its landscape plan, including the plant selections, with ABACA on Tuesday, August 11. The size of the trees to be planted along the Taconic Parkway side of the site has been increased. The board asked the applicant to consider adding trees and/or shrubs in lieu of grass to a small area along the town’s right of way. Costco was asked to take a second look at the visual impact from the Taconic and FDR Park to determine whether the town could establish a strong link that could justify the town requiring Costco to do mitigation measures, such as removing invasives, from the park. Without the “strong link,” the town has no legal authority to require Costco to do the additional mitigation.
Shared bike/sidewalk lane under Taconic: To the dismay of both Costco and the board, the applicant advised the board that the DOT was opposed to the shared bike/sidewalk lane under the parkway. As an alternative, it was suggested that Costco go back to the DOT and ask if the existing unpaved shoulder area under the parkway could be paved.
Charging station: Based on lack of use and maintenance issues at other facilities, Costco is not interested in including any in the site plan. It was noted that there’s a charging station at BJs.
Barn: A consensus was reached that the existing barn is not worth saving.
Traffic on Route 202 at Middle School. While the traffic study notes there will be a delay at this intersection, Costco’s traffic consultant explained that the DOT will not change the timing of the traffic signal until after the project is built and the traffic impact assessed.
12. Hanover Square
After only a brief discussion of the site plan, the board scheduled a public informational hearing for September 21.
Issues under consideration include whether the sidewalk should be continued along Underhill Avenue to connect up with the existing sidewalk. If this is done, it will require the removal of about three trees. Joe Riina, the applicant’s engineer also raised the issue about pedestrian crossings to the parking lot across the street adjacent to the highway garage.
13. Marathon Development/322 Kear Street mixed use
A pre-application plan was reviewed for a proposed 3-story building of approximately 23,000 sf on a 0.4 acre vacant parcel abutting the Shell station with retail on the first floor and rental apartments on the second and third floors, including 12 one-bedroom units and four two-bedroom units. The apartments would be built as part of the county’s affordable housing program. (The developer is the current owner of the Underhill Apartments.) According to town regulations, the site would require 39 parking spaces based on the commercial 4 spaces/1,000 sf and 2.2 spaces per apartment. The current plan shows only 27 spaces. (The Planning Board has the authority to reduce the parking requirements by 25% but the applicant would need an additional reduction of three spaces. The applicant advised the board that based on the company’s experience with other affordable housing products, 2.2 spaces per unit was not needed.
Concerned about the height of the building, the board asked the applicant to return with elevations showing the height of the surrounding buildings. The applicant said that reducing the building to two stories did not work.
14. Envirogreen Associates
The applicant has relocated the entrance further to the west on Route 6. No progress has been made with the discussions about cross easements with the owners of Village Traditions to the east and Mohegan Plaza to the west. The owner of Mohegan Plaza said he was opposed to the easement. It was noted that while the site plans for both developments call for the cross connection, requiring the owners to actually enter into cross easements could be a separate legal issue; the board’s attorney is looking into the issue.
The Conservation Board has suggested that the buildings be moved closer to the street; Mr. Tegeder noted that the buildings to the east and west of the site appear to be 30 feet from the road, compared to about 50 feet on the current plan. He also suggested to the applicant that he look at the Mohegan Streetscape Plan that was done several years ago. The board asked the applicant to prepare alternative plans that move the buildings closer to the road.
A public informational hearing will be held on September 21.
The applicant said he prefers to postpone discussions with the DEC until after he has a more definitive sense of what the Planning Board will require.