Location: 3200 Crompond Road
Contact: TRC Engineers, Inc.
Description: Application to construct a 151,092 SF Costco Wholesale Club retail store and club member available filling station.
In 2016, Costco decided not to proceed with its plan but Breslin Realty, the acutal applicant over the past six years, bought the property. In September, 2016, Breslin announced a new plan for the site, with a Lowe's Home Center as the main tenant. For future site plan discussions about the site, visit Lowes. In a unanimous vote, the board approved the Costco site plan. The vote followed a lengthy discussion of the provisions of the approving resolution with the result that numerous revisions were made. At issue was the timing of when Costco could begin demolition of existing structures on the site and when a building permit could be issued. The board’s concern was that work not begin until the other county, NYC and state agencies had signed off on the plan; once the other agencies signed off on the plan, the Planning Board would, in turn, sign the site plan (referred to in the resolution as “endorsement”) and Costco could proceed. Mr. Tegeder explained that the reason for the timing language was so that the other agencies couldn’t change the plan that had been approved by the town. He cited two examples of why this was important. - The landscaping plan along the Taconic Parkway requires a Use and Occupancy permit from the NYSDOT. If the agency doesn’t approve the plan, or requires modifications to the plan, then the Planning Board would have to approve the revised plan. - After the Planning Board signed off on the Fieldhome site plan, the NYSCDEP required substantial changes to the applicant’s stormwater plan which then required changes to the plan that had been approved by the Planning Board. The resolution will allow Costco to obtain a demolition permit to remove existing structures prior to the signing of the site plan, subject to the submission of a demolition plan. The demolition will be allowed only to the slab and cannot involve an area greater than 5,000 sf. The final resolution also included a provision that the final site plan drawings incorporate ABACA’s concerns regarding the type of lighting fixtures. Mr.. Flynn again brought up the issue of solar panels, challenging the accuracy of Costco’s latest memo indicating its lack of interest in using solar panels. He said he was puzzled why a company that was a leading seller of solar panels to consumers did not find it cost effective to use solar panels in their own buildings. He kept asking for what he called a “straight answer.” (It was noted that 2 out of the 89 Coscto facilities in the northeast used solar; the two were in New Jersey and used a state incentive program that was no longer available. Mr. Tegeder indicated that based on his research, New York still has a solar incentive program through NYSERDA.) Mr. Capellini repeated that the use of solar panels was never considered by Costco and Mr. Fon added that the way the building is designed it could accommodate solar panels at a later date. It was also pointed out that the plan included several other “green” features. Much of the discussion centered on a 10/2/15 memo from Costco to the Planning Board about the project’s “green design” features, specifically solar panels and the refrigerant recapture system brought up by Mr. Flynn at the previous meeting. The project will incorporate the refrigerant recapture system, and its omission was an oversight. On the question of solar panels, Costco said solar electrical generation is not economically feasible in (released 9/3/15), the economic picture might change. At first, a Costco representative said he would take the question back to his client, but other Costco representatives claimed the truth or error of the memo was irrelevant because Costco wasn’t going to use solar in Yorktown and that option had never been part of the plans, and that they resented coming to the Planning Board every two weeks and then having to take an issue repeatedly back to Costco for re-working. Mr. Flynn reiterated that the 10/2/15 memo would be part of the public record and that it contained misinformation. Planning Board Counsel thought it was reasonable that the Planning Board wanted to understand the rationale behind Costco’s decision on solar panels. Finally Costco representatives agreed to submit a memo clarifying its position and explaining why solar isn’t an option, using the most recent data. Mr. Capellini, counsel for Costco, emphasized that, bottom line, the project would not include solar panels. A revised lighting plan was submitted, including requested changes to the light standards bordering Route 202. The Planning Board asked for a drawing summarizing the changes in the interior roadway system resulting from discussions with the Planning Board since the SEQR Findings Statement. There was discussion about whether the Costco building would be visible from anywhere in Granting the project a temporary certificate of occupancy (TCO) was discussed. Mr. Tegeder said TCOs were granted by the Town Board, rarely. Costco reps saw situations in which it would desirable to open the store while landscaping was still being finished. Mr. Tegeder pointed out that the tree analysis was still missing, and was necessary to get a tree removal permit. This could delay the final resolution. The resolution to approve the project should be ready by 11/9/15, which is more than the statute allowed 62 days since the close of SEQR. This time period can be extended with mutual consent, so there was discussion about whether this required a formal application and a vote. At the 10/5/15 Planning Board meeting. Mr. Capellini said he approved of the time extension on his client’s behalf, and this was recorded in the official minutes of the meeting. Planning Board Counsel said this was sufficient to extend the deadline. Costco representatives reported on its meeting with the Planning Department staff to resolve any remaining issues stemming from memos received. Views of the site’s lighting visible from Route 202 were shown. One light standard is still in question, but Costco’s lighting consultant will either eliminate it or reduce its size. With respect to night sky conditions, Costco’s policy is to turn off 75% of the lights, rather than dim them all. Some landscaping notes on the site plans were clarified. The buffering plants are specified to have 100% survival and 80% for others on the site. It was specified that landscape maintenance will be in perpetuity, and the details of the 5 year maintenance bond were worked out. NYSDOT requires that the site entrance from Route 202 be directly aligned with Mr. Flynn asked about Costco’s unwillingness to install any solar panels on its Counsel for Costco said the site plan approval document is a “work in progress” and that Planning Board members should give her their comments as soon as possible.
Planning Board, 11-9-2015
Planning Board, 10-19-2015
Planning Board, 10-5-2015
Planning Board, 9-21-2015
In 2016, Costco decided not to proceed with its plan but Breslin Realty, the acutal applicant over the past six years, bought the property. In September, 2016, Breslin announced a new plan for the site, with a Lowe's Home Center as the main tenant. For future site plan discussions about the site, visit Lowes.
In a unanimous vote, the board approved the Costco site plan.
The vote followed a lengthy discussion of the provisions of the approving resolution with the result that numerous revisions were made. At issue was the timing of when Costco could begin demolition of existing structures on the site and when a building permit could be issued. The board’s concern was that work not begin until the other county, NYC and state agencies had signed off on the plan; once the other agencies signed off on the plan, the Planning Board would, in turn, sign the site plan (referred to in the resolution as “endorsement”) and Costco could proceed.
Mr. Tegeder explained that the reason for the timing language was so that the other agencies couldn’t change the plan that had been approved by the town. He cited two examples of why this was important.
- The landscaping plan along the Taconic Parkway requires a Use and Occupancy permit from the NYSDOT. If the agency doesn’t approve the plan, or requires modifications to the plan, then the Planning Board would have to approve the revised plan.
- After the Planning Board signed off on the Fieldhome site plan, the NYSCDEP required substantial changes to the applicant’s stormwater plan which then required changes to the plan that had been approved by the Planning Board.
The resolution will allow Costco to obtain a demolition permit to remove existing structures prior to the signing of the site plan, subject to the submission of a demolition plan. The demolition will be allowed only to the slab and cannot involve an area greater than 5,000 sf.
The final resolution also included a provision that the final site plan drawings incorporate ABACA’s concerns regarding the type of lighting fixtures.
Mr.. Flynn again brought up the issue of solar panels, challenging the accuracy of Costco’s latest memo indicating its lack of interest in using solar panels. He said he was puzzled why a company that was a leading seller of solar panels to consumers did not find it cost effective to use solar panels in their own buildings. He kept asking for what he called a “straight answer.” (It was noted that 2 out of the 89 Coscto facilities in the northeast used solar; the two were in New Jersey and used a state incentive program that was no longer available. Mr. Tegeder indicated that based on his research, New York still has a solar incentive program through NYSERDA.) Mr. Capellini repeated that the use of solar panels was never considered by Costco and Mr. Fon added that the way the building is designed it could accommodate solar panels at a later date. It was also pointed out that the plan included several other “green” features.
Much of the discussion centered on a 10/2/15 memo from Costco to the Planning Board about the project’s “green design” features, specifically solar panels and the refrigerant recapture system brought up by Mr. Flynn at the previous meeting. The project will incorporate the refrigerant recapture system, and its omission was an oversight. On the question of solar panels, Costco said solar electrical generation is not economically feasible in
(released 9/3/15), the economic picture might change. At first, a Costco representative said he would take the question back to his client, but other Costco representatives claimed the truth or error of the memo was irrelevant because Costco wasn’t going to use solar in Yorktown and that option had never been part of the plans, and that they resented coming to the Planning Board every two weeks and then having to take an issue repeatedly back to Costco for re-working. Mr. Flynn reiterated that the 10/2/15 memo would be part of the public record and that it contained misinformation. Planning Board Counsel thought it was reasonable that the Planning Board wanted to understand the rationale behind Costco’s decision on solar panels. Finally Costco representatives agreed to submit a memo clarifying its position and explaining why solar isn’t an option, using the most recent data. Mr. Capellini, counsel for Costco, emphasized that, bottom line, the project would not include solar panels.
A revised lighting plan was submitted, including requested changes to the light standards bordering Route 202.
The Planning Board asked for a drawing summarizing the changes in the interior roadway system resulting from discussions with the Planning Board since the SEQR Findings Statement.
There was discussion about whether the Costco building would be visible from anywhere in
Granting the project a temporary certificate of occupancy (TCO) was discussed. Mr. Tegeder said TCOs were granted by the Town Board, rarely. Costco reps saw situations in which it would desirable to open the store while landscaping was still being finished.
Mr. Tegeder pointed out that the tree analysis was still missing, and was necessary to get a tree removal permit. This could delay the final resolution.
The resolution to approve the project should be ready by 11/9/15, which is more than the statute allowed 62 days since the close of SEQR. This time period can be extended with mutual consent, so there was discussion about whether this required a formal application and a vote. At the 10/5/15 Planning Board meeting. Mr. Capellini said he approved of the time extension on his client’s behalf, and this was recorded in the official minutes of the meeting. Planning Board Counsel said this was sufficient to extend the deadline.
Costco representatives reported on its meeting with the Planning Department staff to resolve any remaining issues stemming from memos received.
Views of the site’s lighting visible from Route 202 were shown. One light standard is still in question, but Costco’s lighting consultant will either eliminate it or reduce its size. With respect to night sky conditions, Costco’s policy is to turn off 75% of the lights, rather than dim them all.
Some landscaping notes on the site plans were clarified. The buffering plants are specified to have 100% survival and 80% for others on the site. It was specified that landscape maintenance will be in perpetuity, and the details of the 5 year maintenance bond were worked out.
NYSDOT requires that the site entrance from Route 202 be directly aligned with
Mr. Flynn asked about Costco’s unwillingness to install any solar panels on its
Counsel for Costco said the site plan approval document is a “work in progress” and that Planning Board members should give her their comments as soon as possible.
The Planning Board and a team for the applicant went over a whole pile of reports and comment letters. The Planning Department is working on a draft of the resolution to approve the project. According to the SEQR law, a decision must be reached 62 days after the close of the public comment period, which means it is due at the October 19th or November 9th Planning Board meeting, although the deadline can be extended with mutual consent. Mr. Tegeder thinks the deadline can be met, but emphasizes that the project is complex, the review process lengthy and that there are often last minute requirements by agencies such as DOT and DEP. He asked the Planning Board to be thinking about the conditions it wants to include in the resolution and what factors should be highlighted.
Although the Town Board approved the lighting plan, there was discussion about the lighting at the Old Crompond Rd/Route 202 corner. According to Mr. Tegeder, it’s undesirable that the source of lighting be visible from Route 202. The applicant maintained that the height of the light poles and landscape screening would buffer the lighting impact on Route 202. There was discussion about the growth rate of the proposed landscape plantings, but it was agreed that this was only important in the context of providing screening for the lighting. The applicant will meet with Mr. Tegeder to convince him the lighting is adequately screened.
In response to comments about parking spaces, the applicant is providing a work up summarizing the numbers, types and sizes of parking spaces. It also has simulations showing that a 17 ft long vehicle can maneuver through all the spaces and lanes at the filling station.
ABACA comments indicate that it approves of 25 ft light poles in the site’s interior, but 16 ft at the perimeter and entry. It also approves of the detail of the timber (rather than metal) guide rails, but has questions about siding still shown on some of the building elevations. The Costco team will meet with ABACA to resolve this.
Most of the CAB concerns have already been addressed in the EIS. The Costco team maintains that 36 sq ft tree wells are sufficient, although the CAB asks they be larger. Vernal pools mentioned by the CAB will be protected because a proposed wall will preserve more natural areas.
The TCAC has concerns about landscaping and the tree survey. The Costco team agrees with some of these, but will dialog with the TCAC about others. It was mentioned that some of the comments from the various advisory boards conflicted with each other.
The Costco team will address comments made by DEP and meet with Mr. Tegeder to work out the “nuts and bolts” of the DEP concerns. The team pointed out that the Costco site includes << 1% of the Hunter Brook drainage basin and that the project will actually improve storm water run off and treatment conditions.
Mr. Kincart asked about a connection to the bike path and the status of a historical building on the site. These are issues of concern to some Planning Board members, so he wanted to know if these points had been resolved and wouldn’t re-emerge at the 11th hour. Mr. Tegeder said that, although he is sensitive to the need to preserve historic structures, he didn’t see any value in the one in question. Also, a connection to the bike path will not be done. It was agreed that these two decisions would be formally summarized and included in the record and not left “dangling” as open issues.
There was discussion about the removal of invasive species. The applicant agreed to do it along the perimeter of its site, but Mr. Tegeder suggested this be extended to include the perimeter of
The Costco team said it would hold off fully responding to DEP and DOT requests for information until the plans had been finalized and very specific, useful information could be provided. Mr. Tegeder thought this was a mistake, given the Town’s experience with these agencies requiring substantial redesign at the last minute.
Because energy consumption and green technology has been a topic of much public interest, Mr. Tegeder asked Costco for a written list of all the “green technology” that will incorporated so this can be included in the draft resolution.
The Costco team will meet with Mr. Tegeder next week.
Town Board, 9-15-2015
Public hearing on amendments to lighting code.
Supervisor Grace explained that the need to amend the lighting code regarding the height of outdoor lighting oles was brought to the board’s attention as part of the Costco application; unlike other town land use codes that had provisions for waiving or appealing provisions of the code, he explained that the lighting code had no such provision regarding the 16’ height limitation for outdoor lighting poles.
Planning Director John Tegeder explained that Costco’s original plan called for 42’ poles but that the latest plan called for a combination of 16’ and 25’ poles; the rationale for the taller poles being that taller poles reduced the number of poles and that the parking lot would be safer with fewer poles.
Paul Moskowitz spoke in opposition to the change, calling the taller lights a quality of life issue and said that residents did not want Yorktown to look like Times Square. He said that once a waiver was given to one applicant, it would have to be given to all. Bill Stoiber questioned the impact the lights would have on the Taconic Parkway which was a designated scenic byway. He asked if the state’s Scenic Byway Commission had reviewed the plan. Mr. Tegeder said he know of no such requirement and that the state DOT had reviewed the Costco plan.
Ann Kutter, who lives near the proposed Costco project, said that her neighbors, including the homeowner closest to Costco, had no objections to the taller poles which they understood would be shaded and would provide better security on the site.
I commented that on its web site, the International Dark Sky Association has examples of light fixtures that minimize the glow from light poles and that it was my hope that when the Planning Board set conditions for the Costco site plan approval, it would include provisions regarding the type of lighting fixture.
The board voted unanimously to approve the change in the lighting code.
Planning Board, 9-3-2015
The public hearing was opened, closed and an 11 day written comment period left open through September 14th.
In a review of the applications’ timeline, Chairman Fon noted that there was a hearing on the DEIS in the fall of 2012, the FEIS was submitted in October, 2014, the Planning board adopted its SEQRA Findings Statement in December, 2014, and in May, 2015, Costco returned with a revised site plan that incorporated elements from the Findingis Statement..
The board will review all comments and continue to deliberate on the site plan at its September 21st meeting. The board has 62 days from the close of the hearing to act.
At the start of the hearing, Chairman Fon advised those present that because a public hearing had already been held on the environmental aspects of the application, including traffic, the Comprehensive Plan, stormwater, blight, etc., the board would only entertain comments about the site plan.
The applicant reviewed changes to the site plan that have been made since the FEIS (discussed below), including landscaping, additional stormwater retention areas and the internal traffic circulation plan. The applicant is now proposing a mix of both 16’ lights along the site perimeter and the main entrance and 25’ lights in the parking lot. (Note: the Town Board will be holding a public hearing on September 15th to modify the Lighting Code to allow for lights taller than 16’.)
In response to Patty Peckham’s comments that the pump configuration was inefficient and outdated and presented a safety problem to the building, the engineer stated that similar layouts are being used, and work, at other Costco locations. He added that all required safety measures have been taken to deal with potential spills and that the plan meets all building codes.
In response to questions from Babette Ballinger about the number and size of proposed parking spaces, the engineer explained that there are a total of 610 spaces (the number has not changed since the original plan) and consist of two sizes, with the larger widths being closest to the building.
In response to comments from the Conservation Board that it would have liked to have seen more green technology in the building, the engineer stated that Costco is opposed to green roofs and that the plan includes other features he considered to be green, including additional landscaping and stormwater retention.
Planning Board, 8-10-2015
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.
Town Board, 7-14-2015
On a recommendation from John Tegeder, the town attorney will draft an amendment to the town’s Lighting Code that currently limits outdoor lighting poles to 16 feet. (See Costco discussion and why this issue is being raised.) Because the code had no provision for modifying the requirement, the amendment will give the approval authority (Town Board or Planning Board) the ability to incorporate taller poles into the lighting plan if deemed appropriate as part of site plan review.
Planning Board, 7-13-2015 After a lengthy review of site plan issues (see below), a representative of Costco indicated the company was looking at the following timetable: · Demolition to begin in Fall, 2015. (Demolition can begin, at the applicant’s risk, prior to site plan approval) · Construction – during 2016 · Anticipated opening: November, 2016 The county is still reviewing the application to connect to the Peekskill Sanitary Sewer District, a process expected to take 6-7 months. (The application was made in May.) A back up plan for an on site septic system has been prepared. As an aside, the representative from Costco said that the project has cost, to date, $6 million in soft costs, and the Costco’s engineering consultant added that whle initially he had told his client that off site improvements would could $2 million, that figure is now over $3 million. The board continued its site plan review with members of the applicant’s development team. Beth Miller explained the changes to the landscape plan that included additional plantings along the northern boundary to screen the view from the southbound Taconic, additional islands in the parking lot and additional landscaping along Route 202. Together, the revised plan adds 100 trees; there will be 22 locust trees in the parking lots. Considerable discussion focused on the second access road and several possible options to control and redirect traffic were discussed to address the concerns raised at the previous meeting by Mr. Flynn. No final decisions were made. While Mr. Tegeder said he didn’t like the second entrance/exit, the Costco team said that for the company, the second entrance/exit was a basic requirement. On lighting, the board agreed that 25 foot poles were preferred and will send a memo to the Town Board requesting that the existing Lighting Code be amended to allow the 16 foot height limit to be waived. Phil Grealy, the traffic consultant reviewed the pedestrian sidewalk network and the second bus stop (the first being at Strang Blvd) at the Costco site. There was considerable discussion about the shared bike/sidewalk lanes under the Taconic Parkway where the engineers are constrained by the existing width. They will be meeting with the DOT in hopes of getting approval to narrow the 5’ space designed for a snow shelf in the hope that the extra foot can be added to the bike/sidewalk lane for a total of 6’. While not perfect, they said 6’ was better than the nothing that existing now. When Mr. Flynn suggested that Costco provide funds to the trail system for cyclists as a way to mitigate the project’s traffic impact, Costco representatives noted this request was beyond the reasonable scope of mitigation measures. There was a brief discussion of whether a barn on the site should be preserved, on the grounds that it was “old” but not necessarily of any historic significance. Mr. Tegeder said that the structure had not been looked at during an earlier historic structures survey. Mr. Kinart added that at the time of its demolition, the applicant could make salvaging available. The board also dismissed the need for any mitigation measures along at Taconic at FDR park as being directly related the any project impacts.
Planning Board, 7-13-2015
After a lengthy review of site plan issues (see below), a representative of Costco indicated the company was looking at the following timetable:
· Demolition to begin in Fall, 2015. (Demolition can begin, at the applicant’s risk, prior to site plan approval)
· Construction – during 2016
· Anticipated opening: November, 2016
The county is still reviewing the application to connect to the Peekskill Sanitary Sewer District, a process expected to take 6-7 months. (The application was made in May.) A back up plan for an on site septic system has been prepared.
As an aside, the representative from Costco said that the project has cost, to date, $6 million in soft costs, and the Costco’s engineering consultant added that whle initially he had told his client that off site improvements would could $2 million, that figure is now over $3 million.
The board continued its site plan review with members of the applicant’s development team. Beth Miller explained the changes to the landscape plan that included additional plantings along the northern boundary to screen the view from the southbound Taconic, additional islands in the parking lot and additional landscaping along Route 202. Together, the revised plan adds 100 trees; there will be 22 locust trees in the parking lots.
Considerable discussion focused on the second access road and several possible options to control and redirect traffic were discussed to address the concerns raised at the previous meeting by Mr. Flynn. No final decisions were made. While Mr. Tegeder said he didn’t like the second entrance/exit, the Costco team said that for the company, the second entrance/exit was a basic requirement.
On lighting, the board agreed that 25 foot poles were preferred and will send a memo to the Town Board requesting that the existing Lighting Code be amended to allow the 16 foot height limit to be waived.
Phil Grealy, the traffic consultant reviewed the pedestrian sidewalk network and the second bus stop (the first being at Strang Blvd) at the Costco site.
There was considerable discussion about the shared bike/sidewalk lanes under the Taconic Parkway where the engineers are constrained by the existing width. They will be meeting with the DOT in hopes of getting approval to narrow the 5’ space designed for a snow shelf in the hope that the extra foot can be added to the bike/sidewalk lane for a total of 6’. While not perfect, they said 6’ was better than the nothing that existing now.
When Mr. Flynn suggested that Costco provide funds to the trail system for cyclists as a way to mitigate the project’s traffic impact, Costco representatives noted this request was beyond the reasonable scope of mitigation measures.
There was a brief discussion of whether a barn on the site should be preserved, on the grounds that it was “old” but not necessarily of any historic significance. Mr. Tegeder said that the structure had not been looked at during an earlier historic structures survey. Mr. Kinart added that at the time of its demolition, the applicant could make salvaging available.
The board also dismissed the need for any mitigation measures along at Taconic at FDR park as being directly related the any project impacts.
The meeting was devoted solely to a discussion of the Costco site plan.
The applicant made a brief presentation reviewing the application’s history and noting that a few minor changes have been to the site plan that was included in the FEIS. The most notable change dealt with the size and location of the stormwater infiltration chambers and the pollution remediation plan. A second change was the addition of approximately 20 landscaped islands throughout the parking area, a change requested by the Planning Board. Additional changes that refer to mitigation measures are included as notes on a series of drawings. A 17 page document identifies what mitigation measures are included on what drawing.
According to the applicant, the Watershed Inspector General is satisfied with the stormwater changes and the applicant expects a similar okay from the NYCDEP shortly. The applicant has also made some stormwater modifications to reflect input from the DOT regarding runoff from the Parkway.
Lisa Hochman, the Board’s special attorney for the project, explained that the site plan review will follow the Findings Statement that was adopted on December 15, 2015 (a copy of which is available on the town’s web site). Basically the Board will be tweaking or fine tuning the FEIS site plan.
Copies of all the documents have been submitted to the town’s technical staff who will be reviewing specific chapters, e.g., stormwater and landscaping; ABACA is reviewing the building and visual impact from the southbound lanes of the Taconic State Parkway, leaving the board to focus on traffic, parking and quality of life issues.
Traffic consultant Phil Grealy went through the traffic changes along Route 202 from Strang Blvd to Old Crompond Road. Explaining that the improvements Costco will be making should shorten the delay time that currently exists, he outlined the addition of turning lanes, thru lanes, a 5’-6’ shoulder along the road (except narrower under the Parkway bridge) that will also serve as a bicycle lane, plus a 5’ strip for snow loading, a bus turnoff lane and shelter, and sidewalks. At key crossings, there will also be pedestrian controlled buttons to stop traffic. Once all the improvements are in place, he said there would be pedestrian sidewalks from Strang Blvd through to Little Sorrento’s on Route 202, although on different sides of the road, but with pedestrian controlled buttons where crossing was needed.
In response to Mr. Flynn’s concern that the 5’ wide shoulder for bikes was not safe and that a separate lane was desirable. Mr. Grealy noted that at least 5’ is better than the existing total absence of a lane along portions of Route 202. Mr. Flynn proposed that instead of the 5’ lanes, the applicant provide money for off -site bike enhancements. When Ms. Hochman noted that the purpose of mitigation measures was to deal with the impacts of the proposed development and not to improve a situation, e.g., the absence of shoulders, that currently exists, Mr. Flynn responded that encouraging bike use would be a mitigation measure that would lessen traffic delays east of the site. Mr. Grealy said that signal timing could improve that situation.
Mr. Flynn also expressed concern about the internal access road leading to the site’s secondary entrance/exit; he saw potential problems/conflicts between cars entering or existing and customers loading up their cars, possibly from the rear. Mr, Kincart shared his concern. In response, the applicant said he would look at signage and speed bumps as a way to mitigate this concern, adding that at this point, the configuration of the lot could not be changed.
In its site plan Costco is proposing to use 25’ tall light poles where the town code (chapter 200) limits the height to 16’. According to the applicant, the taller poles give better lighting and fewer poles are safer in the parking lot, a point that the board appeared to agree with. As the town’s lighting code, which is separate from the zoning code, does not have a provision for varying its requirements, the attorney will look into this issue and determine whether the lighting code needs to be changed or whether the Town Board can authorize the Planning Board to vary the code if it so chooses.
Another legal issue that will need to be resolved is whether the board will be required to hold a public hearing on the site plan. Whereas public hearings are required prior to site plan approval, according to the Planning Department, when the SEQRA public hearing was noticed, it included a hearing on the site plan. The attorney will review the issue and other requirements of state law.
The applicant will have a surveyor delineate the limits of disturbance, which may take about three weeks, and after that is done the Planning Board will do a site visit, along with the Conservation Board.
The board will likely resume its discussion of the site plan at its July 13th meeting which will give the town’s technical staff time to review their pertinent sections of the site plan.
During the work session, there were comments from two members of the public. Ann Kutter, who lives the area, wanted to know if the residents along Old Crompond Rd would be notified prior to any blasting. The applicant assured her that they would and that Costco would be doing a pre-blasting survey. Blasting will only be done as a last resort and, if necessary, will follow all requirements in the town code.
Lisa Morales-Hellebo expressed concern about the design of the main entrance road and the fact that once on the site, the same access would be used for cars turning right for gas and left for parking. In response, it was explained that the ingress/egress details had been worked out over a series of about a dozen meetings with the NYSDOT that controls access to Route 202. It was also explained that at this stage in the site plan review and after the DEIS and FEIS reviews, the only changes to the plan would be fine tuning. When Ms. Morales-Hellebo asked to see traffic studies, she was advised that all the documents relating to the Costco application were on file for public viewing at the Planning Department and that some documents were also available online.
Planning Board, 6-8-2015
There will be a special meeting of the Planning Board Monday, June 15, 2015 at 7:00pm in the YCCC to review the changes made to the Costco site plan in response to comments collected in the SEQR process.. The Planning Board passed a resolution to retain the same outside counsel for the Costco site plan approval as used for the SEQR process. This was done in the interest of continuity.
Town Board, 4-28-2015
At Supervisor Grace’s suggestion, the town attorney will draft a local law that will remove the C-3 exception from the local law passed in 2013 that reduced parking requirements for all commercial zones, except C-3, from 5 parking spaces per 1,000 sq. ft. to 4 spaces. He said the exception, which shouldn’t have been in the law in the first place, was included in 2013 in order to get one councilman’s vote. If the local law is passed, it would have no effect on the current Costco site plan that already provides for 4.04 parking spaces per 1,000 sq. ft. (For details about the original legislation, see the Jefferson Valley Mall page.)
Town Board, 4-7-2015
In two separate votes, and without any discussion, the board voted unanimously to create the Hunterbrook sewer district extension and request that the county include the new district in the Peekskill Sanitary Sewer District. The district is a key part of the Costco plan.
Town Board, 3-17-2015
The proposed district would include the Costco site and the properties along Old Crompond Road, from the Costco site to the existing sewer connection in the vicinity of Crompond Crossing. The sewer line, which would be paid for totally by Costco, would run along Old Crompond Road and would not involve any digging up of Route 202.
Both Supervisor Grace and I explained the differences between how hook ups are realized in the county operated Peekskill Sanitary Sewer District (for the Hunterbrook extension) and the town owned and operated Hallocks Mill Sewer District still under a moratorium. (See Sewers for an update on the Hallocks Mill district)
Three people spoke against creating the district, citing concerns that the existing Hunterbrook pump station could not handle the anticipated additional load, especially during heavy rain events when flows into the plant increase. In response, Acting Town Engineer Sharon Robinson said the opponents were not using the correct flow capacity number and that the existing pump station could handle the additional projected flows. Costco’s engineer stated that the additional flows would increase the flow into the plant by 2%.
Two residents along Old Crompond Road who will be included in the new sewer district spoke in favor of the creation of the district. Supervisor Grace noted that bringing sewers to the area would enable to long planned future development of the Bear Mountain Triangle area.
The hearing was closed but the board will not take action until the March 24th work session when it is anticipated that both the SEQRA resolution and an approval resolution will be prepared.
Once the board votes to approve the creation of the district, the county Board of Legislators must approve the addition of the district into the Peekskill Sanitary Sewer District.
Town Board, 1-13-2015
Two petitions are needed: one to the NYS Comptroller’s office to create the sewer district (with all the construction costs being paid for by Costco) and a second to Westchester County to allow the district to connect to the Peekskill Sanitary Sewer District. Costco’s attorney asked the board to process both petitions simultaneously.
Acting Town Engineer Sharon Robinson explained that the submission to the county had to include the projected assessed value of the new units (residential and commercial) to be included in the district so that the county could calculate the 10 year buy-in that the property owners would have to pay. Referring to a previous application, she said that in the past the county rejected a petition from a property based on a rezoning plan; the county wanted a more specific site plan. This led to additional discussion about the Crompond Terraces rezoning application (see above) that is in the preliminary stages without a fixed number of units. The board will likely have a resolution on this at the January 20 meeting.
Town Board, 1-6-2015
The petition to establish Hunterbrook Sewer District #20 to encompass the remaining portion of the Costco site and abutting properties along Old Crompond Road was tabled on the advice of the town clerk as additional information was needed.
Town Board, 12-19-2014
The special permit for the gasoline fueling station was approved in a 4-0 vote. While the approval resolution includes variances to some of the code’s provisions on road width, canopy height and the height of lighting poles, the Planning Board will have final site plan review for the entire project.
Supervisor Grace went through the additional correspondence that had been received after the close of the hearing on December 16 and addressed the arguments that had been offered to deny the permit, noting that many of the comments were against Costco in general. He explained that a special permit was akin to an “as of right” use and that there was no basis for denying the permit.
In explaining why I voted for the permit, I said that when the Comprehensive Plan was adopted in 2010 (as supervisor, I voted for the Plan) the existing C-3 zoning for the proposed Costco site was left in place. Acknowledging that there are pros and cons associated with the plan, on balance I said I felt that the project had more pluses than minuses and that there will be mitigation measures to lessen the impact of the increased traffic.
With the plan now returning to the Planning Board for site plan review, I suggested that interested residents attend the Board’s work sessions which are not televised.
In a public hearing on the gas station permit that lasted over two hours, there were speakers for and against the permit, although it was clear that both sides were speaking for and against the overall Costco plan.
As background, it was explained that the special permit provisions in the Zoning Ordinance dealing with gas stations were adopted in 1997, in part to deal with the then new phenomenon of convenience stores at gas stations, and also to limit the proliferation of gas stations.
The Zoning Code, while setting specific physical standards for gas stations, also gives the Town Board the authority to vary those requirements as it deems appropriate. This led to the applicant explaining why he was asking the board to vary three provisions: the height of the canopy, road width and the height of lighting fixtures..
Phil Grealy, Costco’s traffic consultant, detailed the plans to make $3.5 million worth of road improvements along Route 202 and Mohansic Avenue
The main arguments against Costco were the traffic, failure to be in accord with the Comprehensive Plan (Jonathan Nettelfield called the Comprehensive Plan an “orphan”) and the negative impact on the 14 existing local gas stations with Larry Centore, owner of the Hess station, pointing out that even Costco’s own market study showed that there already were too many gas stations in town. He said that the combined impact of the BJs and Costco fueling operations was the equivalent of 10 regular sized stations. He said that when the current station owners invested in their stations they trusted that the town would not change the1997 law and that their investment would be protected..
Costco opponents also felt that the applicant was getting “special privileges” when it was requesting that specific code requirements be waived. When it was pointed out that Costco would generate an estimated $635,000 in school taxes without adding any children, opponents noted that if existing businesses go out of business as a result of Costco, the town would be losing tax revenue.
On the pro Costco side, long time residents Dottie and Bill LaScala recalled the opposition to the JV Mall and the argument that local stores would die because of it. That didn’t happen, they said, and Ms. LaScala said her local clothing store continued to be profitable.
Addressing the issue of the impact Costco will have on existing businesses, Supervisor Grace said that all businesses had to play by the same rules and were entitled to equal protection under the law. He said the town could not deny the permit in order to protect some businesses. He also rejected the claim that the town was “bending” the rules for Costco.
Another more technical anti-gas station argument that the Zoning Code did not allow the fueling operation along with a retail store was dismissed by Planning Director John Tegeder as not an accurate interpretation of the Zoning Ordinance.
Although the Supervisor’s original plan was to close the hearing and vote immediately thereafter to approve the special permit, I said I wasn’t prepared to vote as the first time I saw the approving resolution was at 7:15pm when I came to town hall and found the resolution on the table in front of my seat and clearly hadn’t had time to read it. After some discussion, the board agreed to close the hearing and allow written comments to be submitted through Thursday, 5pm. And, later in the evening, the board agreed to the Friday special meeting for the potential vote.
Planning Board, 12-15-2014
Prior to the discussion on the Findings Statement, Mr. Fon read out a December 5 email from the NYS Watershed Inspector General’s office stating the all the office’s concern have been satisfactorily addressed and requesting that the applicant submit a revised stormwater plan (SWPP).
After more than two hours of discussion editing the substance and grammar of a 71 page (plus appendices) draft Findings Statement, the board unanimously adopted the Findings Statement bringing to an end the SEQRA review process that identified the project’s potential adverse impacts and how they would be mitigated.
Among the issues discussed were:
1. The Findings Statement notwithstanding, theboard still have the flexibility to request changes in the site plan as long as the changes do not introduce a new impact or add to an existing impact. Changes that reduce an impact present no problem.
2. Open space. The Comprehensive Plan includes a statement about the goal of 30% of a commercial site being left as open space although there is nothing in the Zoning Ordinance that requires this. When it was pointed out that the Costco plan states that only 24% of the site will remain “undisturbed” open space, the equivalent of about 1.13 acres, a Costco representative said that an additional 5+acres of “disturbed” land will be re-landscaped and remain green, thereby exceeding the 30% figure.
3. Noise and visual Impact on FDR park. Although it was noted that the park is not an abutting property, because a considerable portion of the traffic to the site will be coming from the Taconic Parkway, Mr. Flynn was concerned about the increase in the noise level at those parts of the park closest to the parkway. In response, a Costco representative pointed out that the noise level from the estimated 1,000 cars a day, as measured in decibels, would be insignificant. As for the visual impact, it was agreed that the Costco building would be visible from one area of the park. But, it was also agreed that the impact could be mitigated with landscaping requirements that would be part of the site plan review.
4. Gas station. It was agreed that there would be an attendant at the station at all times, that the attendant would have the proper training and that all equipment and materials needed to deal with potential spills would be located at the gas station facility. The fueling facility will only be available to Costco members, a provision that was one of the measures designed to mitigate (lessen) the potential traffic impact.
5. Hire local residents. This provision, which Costco had earlier volunteered to include in its application, was eliminated from the Findings Statement as it was agreed that it was most likely illegal.
7. Other improvements. The board added a “wish list” of improvements that it would like Costco to consider. The list included: a bus loop linking Costco the the Staples Center, a charging station for electric cards, additional work to remove invasive species, a link to FDR Park and the North County Trailway, and relocating a mid-1880s farmhouse that while having no historic value would be valuable to keep.
8. The old motel site. While all agreed that the Costco plan that will demolish the derelict building was a “positive,” it was pointed out that had the town enforced existing town codes, the building issue could have been/should have been addressed even without a Costco plan.
9. Taxes. The wording that the Costco plan would generate “additional” tax revenue was modified to reflect Mr. Flynn’s concern that any additional property tax revenue generated by Costco might be offset by the loss of property tax revenue from existing businesses that went out of business because of Costco.
10. Alternative development plans. In what board attorney Lisa Hochman called the “crux” of the Findings Statement, the board looked at the Statement’s alternative development options (the only one discussed to any extent was the “no gas station” option) and following the advice of counsel, decided to follow the language of the SEQRA regulation that loosely states that the proposed Costco is one alternative that avoids or minimizes adverse environmental impacts to the maximum extent practicable. As explained by the Costco attorney, SEQRA did not require the board to pick a preferred alternative or to compare the alternatives.
Planning Board, 12-8-2014
The discussion centered on a revised version of the Planning Board’s proposed SEQR Findings Statement. This statement is based on the full environmental impact statement, all the public comments and questions, and the applicant’s responses to these questions. The Planning Board had just received this revision and hadn’t had time to read it thoroughly which limited the scope of the discussion.
Mr. Fon’s opening comments referenced counsel’s assurance that the Planning Board was following the SEQR procedure correctly, the value of public input, the hard work of both the Planning Board and Planning Department and the responsiveness of the applicant.
Bruce Barber, Town Environmental Consultant, is satisfied that the project’s environmental impacts are mitigated to the greatest extent practicable. He summarized comments relating to the site’s environmental resources and the applicant’s responses. Various agencies and individuals commented that Costco:
1. Underestimated the amount of phosphorous deposited from the site into wetland A
2. Overestimated the degree of infiltration water scouring the site’s soil could provide, because the site’s soil actually has a very high infiltration rate.
-- As part of an enhanced stormwater plan, a “jellyfish” system will be installed to remove phosphorous from run-off. There will still be a slight increase in the amount of nitrogen going into wetland A, but this will not have a substantial impact.
3. Based hydrological calculations on outdated rainfall data
--Another feature of the enhanced stormwater plan, a 28000 cu. ft storage vault will in installed to hold rainwater and prevent downstream flooding in heavy rain events
--With regard to points 1-3, the Findings statement includes a requirement for Costco to test water quality leaving the site to ensure the enhanced stormwater system is working. The Planning Board and Engineering Department will receive the test reports and adjustments will be made as necessary.
4. Did not identify a hydrological connection between wetland A and wetland B
--Mr. Barber reported that additional field observations and testing revealed no connection between the two wetlands.
5. Used incorrect methodology to assess the site’s wildlife and its critical habit
--According to Mr. Barber, the applicant correctly followed scoping andTown biodiversity guidelines in assessing wildlife, and did increase the buffer on the site’s vernal pool after finding one box turtle, a species of concern.Mr. Flynn expressed concern about a letter from the Watershed Inspector General, an interested party, dated 10/31/14, which ends by urging the Planning Board not to issue a Statement of Findings at this time. Through considerable back and forth between Mr. Flynn, Mr. Tegeder, Mr. Barber, Costco’s environmental consultant and the DEP representative, it was established 1.) that this letter pre-dated meetings between the applicant and the DEC and DEP in which these agencies’ concerns were discussed, 2.) that the stormwater system enhancements were actually recommended by the DEP, so the DEP would be in full agreement 3.) that this unusual request by the Watershed Inspector General was actually an artifact of the time constraint’s built into the SEQR process. Nevertheless, Mr. Flynn would feel more comfortable with a paper trail reflecting the Watershed Inspector General’s “blessing” of the Planning Board’s issuing a Statement of Findings. The Planning Board urged the DEP representative to encourage the Watershed Inspector General to provide such a paper trail.
Mr. Flynn was also concerned that additions to the stormwater treatment plan (comments 1-3 above) were significant changes requiring further Planning Board review and public comment. There was considerable discussion on the difference between substantive “changes” in and “enhancements” to the stormwater. Legal Counsel advised that the enhancements did not change the project nor generate a significant negative environmental impact, so did not require reopening the public comment period.
Conservation Board representative Patrick Francois told the Planning Board to expect comment on the Statement of Findings from his board.
The Planning Board, finding itself unable to make substantive comments on the revised Statement of Findings without an opportunity to study it in depth, scheduled a special meeting on December 15, 2014 to take up the subject.
Planning Board, 11-24-2014
The continued discussion on the Findings Statement was postponed until the board’s December 8 meeting as additional comments have been received dealing with traffic and from the DEC and DEP on stormwater issues. More comments are still expected from the DEP. As the comments come in they need to be reviewed by town staff and the applicant also given an opportunity to respond to them. Some of the new comments address design changes that were made to the site plan between the DEIS and FEIS.
According to attorney Lisa Hochman, other than the pending DEP comments, no additional comments are anticipated.
On the traffic issue, Mr. Flynn noted that there is a wide gap between the projected traffic counts supplied by Costco and the traffic consultant hired by those opposed to the project. (The numbers 400 and 1,200 were heard.) There was no discussion about the stormwater issues raised by DEC and DEP.
Both Mr. Capellini and board members appeared in agreement that much of the problem was with the outside agencies such as DEC and DEP. Mr. Tegeder noted that as an involved agency, the DEP could even come up with its own Findings Statement.
Gas station special permit: On a referral from the Town Board which has set a December 18 public hearing on the permit request, the board discussed how to respond to the Town Board given the fact that it has not yet adopted its Finding Statement or reviewed the revised site plan.
The board’s options ranged from not providing any recommendation until it has completed its Findings Statement to making a recommendation based on what it has already reviewed. The board could also recommend that the Town Board grant the special permit subject to any conditions the Planning Board sets.
When asked whether requesting the special permit before the Planning Board completed its review was “out of sequence” Mr. Capellini said the timing of the request was designed to move the project ahead, adding that planning and SEQRA issues could be separated.
Town Board, 11-18-2014
Without any discussion, the board referred out the application for the special permit, with responses due back by December 9th and set the public hearing for December 16.
Planning Board, 11-10-2014
The board began , but did not finish, its review of a draft Findings Statement that has been prepared by staff and which reflects the board’s comments during the FEIS review process.
Attorney Lisa Hochman explained that the town is still waiting for comments from outside agencies, including the DEP regarding stormwater, and that based on the comments, the applicant may be asked to provide more information. She also explained that some of the issues the board raised during the FEIS review, as well as comments on the FEIS from other parties , will be the basis for future site plan review discussions.
Most of the discussion on the draft Findings Statement focused on words, sentences, and issues that were raised by Mr. Flynn as other board members appeared not to have completed their review of the entire document.
Because the 30 day time limit set by law for adopting the Findings Statement will run out before the board’s next meeting, set for November 24, there was a mutual agreement to extend the time limit to the 24th. When the possibility that a further extension might be needed, the applicant indicated that he did not want an open ended extension. The board indicated that it wanted to do a thorough review and did not want to act in haste.
Planning Board, 10-20-2014
Mr. Fon explained that a CD of the Revised FEIS is available from the Planning Department and will be on the town’s web site. Copies will also be available at the library. The board will discuss a draft Findings Statement at the November 10 meeting.
Planning Board, 10-6-2014
Planning Board, 10-6-2014
After spending approximately two hours reviewing text changes to the FEIS that had been prepared by staff and the town’s consultants that reflected the concerns/issues that had been raised during the board’s chapter-by-chapter review of the FEIS, the board voted unanimously to accept the revised document, creating a new “Revised FEIS” document in order to distinguish it from the FEIS submitted by Costco.
Attorney Lisa Hochman set out the next steps in the process. After the changes approved that evening are finalized into a document, roughly one week, the Revised FEIS will be officially stamped in and recorded. From that date there will be a 10 day written comment period. The board has 30 days to issue a Findings Statement, but that deadline can be extended by mutual consent. In the interim, while staff begins assessing the written comments, it will also begin to draft the Findings Statement, with the expectation that it may be adopted sometime in November.
As discussed at previous meetings, many of the issues raised during the FEIS review will be dealt with during the site plan stage. Mr. Flynn suggested that a map identifying pedestrian access would be very helpful.
Planning Board, 9-30-2014
The board completed its review of the FEIS and expects to vote to “accept” it as complete at its October 6th meeting.
Prior to commencing the review, the board discussed how to handle comments that raised issues that had not been identified earlier. The question was being asked hypothetically. The board’s attorney, Lisa Hochman, explained that although the initial scoping session that identified what was to be included in the DEIS was supposed to be finite, if a “new” issue was determined to be significant, then it could be looked at. In reviewing the FEIS, she said, the board should be more concerned about comments at the DEIS hearing that had not been addressed.
Mr. Fon noted that if the board felt that the FEIS did not adequately respond to a comment, that determination could be noted in the board’s Findings Statement.
On most of the FEIS chapters, such as utilities, noise, and air quality, there were no substantive discussions. On traffic, the board indicated that it would like more traffic counts for portions of Connecticut that might be considered to be in the market area, as well as more information of potential traffic delays along Route 202. Regarding the latter, it was noted that the need for signal changes could be made a condition in the Findings Statement, although any such changes would need DOT approval. It was also noted that with the new BJs application for gas pumps, the traffic generation numbers of Costco would likely be different.
On the issue of police services, the board noted it needed an update on current department staffing levels.
On the issue of the impact of Costco on other businesses, the board said that this issue was beyond its scope of consideration and Mr. Tegeder added except to the extent that Costco might have an adverse impact on other businesses along Route 202 which might go out of business and create a blight situation along the road. Mr. Fon, citing the new development applications in the Bear Mountain Triangle area, noted that Costco’s impact on Route 202 was likely to have the opposite impact.
In the chapter discussing alternatives to the current plan, the board agreed that something needed to be included in the Findings Statement dealing with either eliminating the gas pumping operation from the plan or mitigating its adverse impacts. It also agreed that evaluating some alternative development options, such as a hotel, were beyond the applicant’s capabilities.
Citing the noise and dust associated with blasting, Mr. Kincart saw no merit to the underground parking alternative although Mr. Fon said he felt that a temporary inconvenience was sometimes worth a permanent convenience.
In the growth inducing chapter, the impact of the proposed Crompond Terraces plan was discussed and although that plan, which involves rezoning, is still in the preliminary stages and subject to change, Ms. Hochman advised the board that there should be some mention of the proposal.
On the issue of segmentation and the potential for a lawsuit, Ms. Hochman said that the cumulative impact of other development had been looked at and while the segmentation issue had been raised at the DEIS hearing, she said the FEIS adequately refuted the argument. Costco and the potential Stateland project are not components of the same project, she said.
As a general statement, Mr. Fon noted that the comments of the professionals hired by the citizens had made a significant impact on changes that Costco had made to its original plan.
Based on a discussion at the end of the meeting, the following procedures were outlined.
1, After accepting the FEIS as complete at its October 6 meeting, the board will leave open a period for written comments, with a minimum of 10 days.
2. The board has a maximum of 30 days – which can be extended – to submit its Findings Statement. (It was not clear if the 30 days is from when it voted to accept the FEIS or from the close of the written comment period.)
3. In the Findings Statement the board can flag certain issues it believes need to be looked at more closely at the site plan review stage.
4. Ms. Hochman advised the board to take a “wait and see” approach to how it might handle the written comments and the impact those comments might have on the Findings Statement. As expressed by Mr. Savoca, there was concern of not opening a Pandora’s Box; the process, he said, has to be finite at some point.
Planning Board, 9-22-2014
Before beginning its review, Mr. Fon announced that the board had received a letter from the Willngham Engineering firm related to stormwater. In response to a question from Mr. Capellini, Ms. Hochman stated that the public comment period was closed. The content of the letter was not discussed.
Flora & fauna chapter. Mr. Fon noted that there were many good comments in this section and agreed with the responses that said that the Planning Board would review the issues as part of its site plan review. There was virtually no discussion about the chapter which Mr. Fon labeled a “quiet chapter.”
Wetlands, ground water, surface water: There was little discussion, and in general Mr. Fon noted that based on the responses Costco has made some changes to the plan (the nature of the changes was not identified).
Stormwater: Mr. Fon read a memo from Mr. Flynn who was not at the meeting. In his memo, Mr. Flynn raised questions about benzene and other pollutants getting into the Hunter Brook. In response, Bruce Barber, the town’s environmental consultant, explained that in its Findings Statement, the board could require post development monitoring. He also noted that there would be other post development DEC monitoring requirements. Mr. Fon noted that based on the comments at the DEIS hearing, Costco had made many technical changes to the stormwater plan and that the new plan provides a much better stormwater system.
The board will meet again to continue, and possibly complete, the FEIS review on TUESDAY, September 30, at 7:15pm at the YCCC. The major topic for review will be traffic.
Planning Board, 9-8-2014
The board continued its page by page review, completing up to section 3E.
At the September 22 work session, the board will review sections up to “J,” including stormwater and fauna.
A special meeting will be held on September 30 to review the traffic section, and any remaining sections. (Time and location for this meeting to be announced.)
Following the pattern set at the August meeting, the goal of the review session was to flag items that the board will want to address in the SEQRA “Findings” statement, including what conditions it might want to include, and also to say where the board might agree or disagree with some of the statements made by Costco in its response to comments made at the DEIS public hearing. It was noted that many of the statements were “assertions” by Costco and the board could consider them contrary to the “facts.” Mr. Tegeder noted that if the board feels it needs more data before deciding on a specific issue, this was its last opportunity to ask Costco for the data.
It was also noted that some issues are covered in more than one section of the document.
Among the issues reviewed were:
Green roof. Costco said a green roof was not practical given other energy saving measures it planned to incorporate into the design. Mr. Flynn suggested that a green roof was feasible with these other measures, such as skylights, and Lisa Hochman, the board’s attorney noted that the board could include a statement about green roofs in the Findings statement if it has a basis for making the statement.
Need for gas pumps. Costco said that eliminating the gas pumps from its plan would not meet its objectives. It was also explained by Planning Director Tegeder and Ms. Hochman that gas pumps are considered a main use in a C-3 commercial district and would not or should not be considered an accessory use.
Comprehensive Plan/zoning. Mr. Flynn noted that once the Town Board set the C-3 zone for the site, the Planning Board had no option but to consider an application that conformed to the requirements of that zone – which the Costco application did. Ms. Hochman added that the zoning has to be consistent with the Comprehensive Plan but not “slavishly” so. Mr. Tegeder noted that the Planning Board had been involved in the development of the Comprehensive Plan. And, when discussing a separate issue, he suggested that the board could look back at the Findings Statement when the Comprehensive Plan was adopted in 2010.
Screening. Especially as it related to the view from the southbound lanes of the Taconic Parkway, it was noted that “screening” did not mean “obscuring.”
Lighting. It appeared from the comments that Costco was dismissing the concern about the impact of the lights on the night sky although Mr. Tegeder noted that the company had not supplied any data to back up its assertions.
Impact on local businesses. The board didn’t appear to accept Costco’s statement that it would not negatively impact on local businesses, but Mr. Flynn added that it was difficult to prove this point, one way or the other. He added that in the Findings statement, the board could either rely on Costco’s studies or other available studies.
Transportation. When Mr. Flynn commented on the response that appeared to involve a reliance on cars, Mr. Kincart took exception to the fact that Mr. Flynn was commenting on the response to the comment he made at the DEIS hearing; he felt that as a member of the Planning Board, Mr. Flynn should not have made a comment at the hearing. Ms. Hochman, however, said there was nothing improper about Mr. Flynn having made the initial comment.
Density. Flagged for further discussion was the question was the question of the overall density of development in the Bear Mountain Triangle area and whether the increased density for the Costco site would be offset by lower density in other areas.
Planning Board, 8-11-2014
Acting chairman John Flynn began the discussion by explaining that given the requirements of the open meetings law, this was the first time that board members have met to discuss to what the procedures would be for reviewing the FEIS . He explained that once the FEIS is reviewed, it will become the Planning Board’s document and will become the basis for the board’s Findings Statement, which will contain the “meat” of the board’s conclusions relating to the application. He anticipated that the multi volume document would be reviewed, chapter by chapter, at a series of work sessions that could stretch out over a period of months. He indicated that during these discussions, the board may ask staff for input, but that unlike work sessions for other projects where the board allows the public to ask questions or make comments, during the FEIS discussion, neither the applicant or the public would be allowed to participate.
By the conclusion of the meeting shortly after 11pm, the board had reviewed up to page 36 of the FEIS and agreed that at its next work session, scheduled for September 8, it would review pages through the end of section 3F. In an effort to move the process along, Mr. Flynn held out the possibility of devoting a greater portion of future work sessions to the FEIS review and/or scheduling a special meeting, possibly on a Saturday, devoted exclusively to the FEIS review.
Mr. Capellini indicated that the applicant hoped to demolish some of the buildings on the site and begin a general clean-up sometime in the fall.
During its page by page review of the FEIS Executive Summary and a part of the Site Plan chapter, and cognizant that the document will eventually become the board’s document, members questioned the meaning of some words (e.g., the difference between landscaping that “shielded” or “screened’ the building), noted some typos, and had substantive comments in other areas, such as the need for an additional sidewalk into the site for customers coming from the east, and the traffic plan for vans and large trucks in the area of the gas pumps. When members questioned certain conclusions made by Costco, they agreed that in the final document, the board had the option of either rejecting the comment altogether and eliminating it, or asking Costco to provide additional information in order to substantiate its conclusion. The board also felt that given the fact that the gas pumping operation would create problems with the parking lot, Costco would have to balance the positives and negatives by providing more information about the benefits of the pumps. \
It was also explained that if in the course of reviewing the FEIS if there were site plan changes or newly discovered information, the board could require Costco to do a supplemental EIS.
Planning Board, 7-14-2014
The board officially received the FEIS (Final Environmental Impact Statement). With appendices, the document consists of 6 separate volumes. The first document is 2½” thick. According to Mr. Fon, after reviewing the document, the board will decide whether to accept it, and after that, it will set out the next steps in the review process. Copies of the FEIS are available on CD from the Planning Department.
Town Board, 4-15-2014
Authorized Jacobs Engineering, the town’s traffic consultant, to evaluate Costco’s traffic analysis in its Environmental Impact Statement. Costco will reimburse the town for the cost, not to exceed $8,500.
Planning Board, 8-12-2013
Attorney Al Capellini advised the Board that the applicant has responded to all issues that arose at the DEIS hearing and that town staff is now reviewing the responses and additional reports.
Planning Board, 6-10-2013
Although not on the agenda, Mr. Fon asked Mr. Capellini to provide an update on the project. Mr. Capellini said that the FEIS is “almost finished” and should be ready by the end of the month when a full submission will be made to the Planning Board. To date, the applicant has sent “sections” of the FEIS to town staff for review.
Planning Board, 4-8-2013
Chairman Fon explained that the Town is waiting for Costco to submit the FEIS (Final Environmental Impact Statement) that responds to all the questions and issues raised during the DEIS public hearing and that the Planning Board is not holding back anything.
Planning Board, 11-19-2012
Twenty-seven people spoke at the continuation of the DEIS public hearing, eight in support of Costco, 16 opposed, and three comments that did not appear to be either pro or con.The Board voted unanimously to close the hearing and left a 30 day period to receive written comments.
Planning Board, 10-15-2012
Note: Given the extensive media coverage of the public hearing, these notes will not summarize the comments.
A video of the hearing will be available on the Town’s website, yorktownny.org, and will also be rebroadcast on Channel 20 (Cablevision) and Channel 33 (FIOS); for the schedule, scroll down to the bottom of the home page, for the link to the YGTV schedule.
The purpose of the public hearing was to give the public an opportunity to offer comments or ask questions about the project and the content of the DEIS. The applicant will respond to specific comments and questions in a Final Environmental Impact Statement (FEIS). The comments/questions dealt with traffic, the impact on local businesses and potential blight to existing hamlet areas, taxes, jobs, the environment, emergency services, public transportation.
After 26 speakers addressed the Board (14 against, 11 for, and one neutral) , the hearing was adjourned to October29, at a location to be determined.Written comments can be sent to the Planning Department, 1974 Commerce Street, Yorktown Heights.
Town Board, 10-2-2012
During Courtesy of the Floor, two upcoming meetings were announced: A “teach in”on the DEIS sponsored by Yorktown SmartGrowth to be held on October 4th at 7:30pm at the Mohansic Grill at the Mohansic Golf Course, and the October 15th Planning Board public hearing to be held at 7:30 in the nutrition center at the YCCC. Paul Moskowitz noted that people who didn’t want to speak at a public hearing could submit written comments.
William Primavera announced the formation of a pro Costco group, Citizens for a Progressive Yorktown, that he said was dedicated to intelligent and responsible business growth. He invited people to visit the group’s web site, progressiveyorktown.com. Speaking as a realtor, he said that the two most important things prospective buyers look for when considering Yorktown is: 1) the condition of the house, and 2) availability of local shopping.
Planning Board, 9-24-2012
On behalf of Yorktown Smart Growth, Jonathan Nettlefield delivered a letter to Board requesting that the public be given 90 days instead of 30 days to review the DEIS before the public hearing was held. He said the group was concerned that the October 15 hearing could be closed before the public had sufficient time to read the document.The Planning Board did not comment on the letter.
Town Board, 9-18-2012
Duiring Courtesy of the Floor, eight people spoke on the issue, seven in opposition and one in favor.Those opposing the proposed development noted that while the Planning Board is the approval authority for the project’s site plan, the Town Board had to act on three aspects of the plan: granting a permit for the proposed gas station, creating a sewer district, and modifying parking regulations.They stated that the project is not a “done deal” and advised residents to visit their web site, nocostco.com for more information on what they believe will be the negative impacts of the project. They cited traffic, environmental issues, incompatability with the Comprehensive Plan, the impact on local businesses, and erroneous information about the tax benefits from the project. They urged residents to attend the Planning Board’s public hearing on the DEIS on October 15.
William LaScala, who earlier in the evening was appointed to the Conservation Board, spoke in favor of the project and reminded residents that the JV Mal,l which had opposition many years ago, did not result in the negative impacts that were talked about at the time.
Supervisor Grace said that he had several counter points to the comments and that he welcomed having a discussion with Costco opponents, either at the end of the meeting or at a later date.He invited the group to participate in one of his televised Grace Notes programs. A spokesman for the group said that he would call the supervisor’s office to set up a meeting.
Planning Board, 9-10-2012
The Board voted 4-0(Ms. Kutter recused herself) to accept the DEIS as complete and to set a public hearing on the DEIS for October 15.Copies of the 2200 page DEIS can be obtained from the Planning Department, will be available on the Town’s web site, yorktownny.org, and copies will be available at the John C. Hart Library.
In response to the concerns of some residents that they will not have sufficient time to review the lengthy document and prepare comments by October 15, Planning Board chairman Richard Fon asked the public to “trust me,” adding that the DEIS wouldnot be “blasted through” and that the public hearing could be extended if more time was needed for the Board to hear comments.The hearing starts on October 15, he said; it doesn’t end on the 15th. In addition, once the Board votes to close the public hearing, written comments will be accepted for 10 additional days.
There was also a brief discussion of whether the preliminary DEIS should have been made available to the public so that residents would have had more time to review the document and prepare their commentss prior to the public hearing. A resident stated that his FOIL request for the document had been denied by the Planning Department. In response, Kevin Ryan, the Board’s attorney for the project, stated that the resident was correct when he said that the SEQRA Handbook states that the preliminary DEIS should have been made available to the public. The attorney added, however, that as a practical matter, reviewing the preliminary DEIS would not have saved the resident much time as the DEIS that was accepted by the Board was “changed dramatically” from the original document.
Planning Board, 8-13-2012
The major issue under discussion was whether the Planning Board was ready to make an official determination that the long awaited DEIS (in the works for 18 months) was “complete,” i.e., that it was responsive to all the issues identified in the scoping document.Speaking on behalf of Costco, attorney Al Capellini said that the Costco team had been working closely with town staff on the document and that the Planning Board should accept the staff’s determination that the document was “complete.” Mr. Flynn, however, disagreed, and said that Board members had only received the 2,200 page document on August 10 and members had not had time to read it. He also noted that two members of the Board were not in attendance at the meeting.While he acknowledged that he might not read all 2,200 pages of the DEIS, he said he didn’t want to take any short cuts. He also noted that the Planning Department had prepared a memo indicating that the applicant still have to address some issues before a public hearing on the DEIS could be scheduled.
In an effort to “move the process along,” Mr. Capellini requested that the Board hold a special meeting to declare the DEIS complete. In response, Mr. Flynn said that the Board adopted a yearly calendar of meetings at the beginning of each year that served as a guide to applicants and he did not accept Mr. Capellini’s comment that in the past boards have made exceptions.
The Board will take up the DEIS issue at its next meeting. Once th Board formally accepts the DEIS as complete, a public hearing on the DEIS will be scheduled.
The Costco team also did a repeat presentation of the site plan change that relocates the gas pumps to the easterly side of the site. While the overall size of the pump area will be the same as in the earlier plan, the dimensions of the area will be slightly different. Between one to four gasoline delivery trucks are expected per day.Efforts will be made to screen the pumps from the Taconic Parkway that will soften but not obliterate the view. Costco’s traffic consultantstated that the relocation will not change any of the traffic impact numbers in the DEIS; the change will only affect the interior flow of traffic and improve the pedestrian crossing to the site.
Planning Board, 7/16/2012
Representatives came before the Board to show members a proposed modification in the site plan that was being made at the request of the DOT. Because the DEIS is close to being complete, the changes will be reflected in the FEIS (Final Environmental Impact Study). Once staff is satisfied that the DEIS is complete, it will be “accepted” by the Planning Board as complete and a public hearing on the document will be scheduled. Planning Director Tegeder said that the Board may be able to accept the DEIS as complete at its August meeting.
The changes eliminate a curved “slip ramp” entrance to the site from Route 202 and instead creates a straight entrance into the site.The change will allow Costco to make other changes in the parking lot configuration, including adding a larger green buffer along Route 202 and taking some parking spaces out of the wetlands buffer.The major change will be in relocating the gas pumps from one side of the parking lot to the other.
In response to questions from Paul Moskowitz about how many cars are expected to buy how much gas on a daily basis and how many fuel delivery trucks there would be, Costco representatives said that that information would be available in the DEIS.
Costco representatives also said that they wereinterested in having discussions with the Town about whether the stormwater detention area at the northern end of their site could be combined with adjoining DOT land to create a regional stormwater facility that could benefit downstream residents. The idea, which originated with Bruce Barber, the Town’s environmental consultant, would be over and above any plan designed to address stormwater issues solely for the Costco structure.
Planning Board. 5/21/2012
During the opening “correspondence” portion of the meeting, Mr. Fon acknowledged receipt of the Planning Department’s latest update on the status of the Costco DEIS. The applicant is in the process of revising the DEIS based on comments from town staff. The update identified which of the staff’s comments have been addressed to date.No indication was given as to when the applicant might complete its revisions.
Town Board, 2/21/2012
The board voted unanimously to hire Jacobs Engineering Group to analyze the traffic impact of Costco, at a cost not to exceed $9,000 to be paid for by Costco.
Planning Board, 2/13/2012
Mr. Flynn would like to add to the EIS scoping a consideration of the health impacts of suburban sprawl.He alludes to studies suggesting suburban dwellers are less healthy than urban dwellers because of the car-dependent culture of suburbia and points to the Costco project as an example of a land use that encourages people to drive to a shopping venue rather than walk.The comment period for the scoping document is closed, but Mr. Tegeder will ask the applicant to include Mr. Flynn’s suggestion in the DEIS.
Town Board, 2/4/2012
During Courtesy of the Floor, the following comments were made:
Paul Moskowitz talked about traffic problems on Route 202 and wanted the board to approve hiring a traffic consultant to review the Costco traffic plan. In response, Supervisor Grace said that the town had scheduled a meeting with Route 202 stakeholders and state officials for February 23rd at 9am in town hall to discuss private investment along the corridor. Referring to the long range plan for the extension of the Bear Mountain Parkway he said that the town was going to start the discussion in earnest and not wait for Cortldant. He said that the town had authorized the Costco traffic study.
Jonathan Nettlefield, chairman of Yorktown Smart Growth, presented the board with a copy of a report, “The True Costs of Costco.” He said the group didn’t dislike Costco but that the whole story hadn’t been told. In response, Supervisor Grace said that his point of view had been heard and hadn’t been ignored.
Planning Board, 1/23/2012
The purpose of the meeting was to consider the completeness of the DEIS (Draft Environmental Impact Statement).
As Planning Board members were still reviewing a lengthy memo on the DEIS prepared by town staff , and the applicant had received a copy of the memo that morning, there was little discussion as to the content of the memo. While the applicant was aware of some of the comments as members of the Costco team had attending meetings with town staff, the applicant did ask for a follow up meeting to clarify some of the points in the memo. Planning Director John Tegeder explained that the “next step” in the DEIS process was up to the applicant who will have to review and comment on the town’s memo.
Mr. Tegeder also advised the board and the applicant that at Tuesday’s Town Board meeting he would asking the board to authorize an amendment to the town’s contract with its outside traffic consultant, Jacobs, Edwards and Kelsey, to review the traffic chapter of the DEIS. He apologized to the applicant for the delay in beginning this review and indicated that he should have a timetable for the completion of the consultant’s review by the end of the week.
Town Board, 1/24/2012: Modifications to contract with the town’s traffic consultant
Planning Director John Tegeder explained to the board that since 2004, as part of the Sustainable Development Study, the town has used the services of an outside traffic consultant to review the traffic data submitted on behalf of any new applicants proposing developments in the Route 202 or Route 6 corridors. Virtually the entire cost of the consultant is paid for by the applicant. The consultant submits a proposal to the town that sets out the scope of services and the cost and that information is then presented to the developer who has to approve the proposal before the Town Board actually contracts with the consultant. The procedure, Mr. Tegeder noted, predates the escrow issue and is not open ended as the applicant is told in advance what the cost of the consultant will be.
Mr. Tegeder explained that the services of the consultant, the firm of Jacobs, Edwards and Kelsey, were needed to review the traffic chapter of the Costco DEIS and also for the Faith Bible Church application that impacts Route 6.
When Supervisor Grace questioned the need for this additional expense for the developer and why the town had any reason to doubt what the developer was saying, Councilman Bianco said that a second study by the town’s consultant was a “double check” and that it was important for the town to make the public feel that the town had done its job. He said that in the past, in most cases, the town’s consultant had agreed with the developer’s traffic findings. He added that the members of the Town Board and Planning Board did not have the expertise to evaluate traffic issues, a point Supervisor Grace disagreed with, saying that the Town Board should be able to understand these issues.
In response to Councilman Murphy’s question of what happens if the developer doesn’t agree to the consultant’s study, Mr. Tegeder said that that was not likely to happen as the town wouldn’t be able to finish the project’s review without the consultant’s report.
Acknowledging that the town did not have an in-house traffic expert, Supervisor Grace said he would accept a proposal for using the outside consultant if it had a defined scope of services.
Mr. Tegeder will be in touch with the consultant and report back to the board.
Planning Board, 1/9/2012
This was the board’s first meeting on the application since the three volume DEIS was submitted. Mr. Tegeder said that he has been meeting with the town engineer and environmental consultant to go over the document. He advised the board that he expected the review to be completed within the next two weeks when the application can added to the Jan 23rd agenda. Based on the initial review, he said that there would be some comments, although nothing “earth shattering.” One of the likely comments included the need for larger pictures and labeling on the pictures to indicate where they were taken from.
Sewer issue: It was noted that the Town Board had opened and then adjourned the public hearing on the applicant’s request to create a new sewer district (Hunterbrook extention #20) to tie into the Peekskill Sanitary Sewer District. Al Capellini, the applicant’s attorney, explained that the parts of the site that included the motel and Kings Gate parcel were already included in the Hunterbrook #17 extension that had been created by the Town Board several years ago as part of an earlier site plan for the parcel but that the extension request had not yet received approval from the Westchester County Board of Legislators. District #17 did not include the 11 homes along Old Crompond Road that are part of the current District #20 plan. Mr. Capellini advised the board that the applicant would wait with the #20 request until after the Planning Board finished its findings and that in a few weeks the applicant may be able to provide additional information about their sewering plans.
Wetlands: In response to comments from the Conservation Board, the applicant acknowledged that additional work needed to be done to delineate the western wetlands, adding that the work was being held up pending a final determination on the exact location of the building.
Planning Board, December 13, 2010
Mr. Capellini said that the draft scoping document picked up all the points brought up at the public scoping hearing. The Planning Board had no additional comments, so adopted the final draft of the scoping document.
Planning Board, November 8, 2010
Public Hearing on Draft DEIS Scope of Work
The site is 18.75 ac in the northwest quadrant of the intersection of the Taconic State Parkway and Route 202. It consists of 4 properties: the old motel site, the fence business (formerly a gas station) on route 202, Zino’s nursery on route 202 and 2 residences on Old Crompond Rd. The plan is for a 151,000 sq ft Cosco store along the Taconic Parkway toward the northeast corner of the site, 610 parking spaces along the front and west side of the site and a gas station at the southwest corner. The site is currently zoned C-3, and no zoning change is required. The motel site is in the Peekskill sewer district, but petition would have to be made to get the rest of the site into a sewer district and to allow hook-ups. The main site entrance and exit would be at the signal at Mohansic Ave., and the gas station would have its own entrance further west along route 202.
Ten acres (=54%) of the site has been previously disturbed for development. It is relatively flat, but drops down to a 1.2 ac wetland on the west. There is also a 0.2 ac, groundwater fed, wetland in the northeast. The site sits 40 ft below the Taconic State Parkway. After the site is developed, there will be 8 ac (out of 18.75 ac) of vegetation which includes the wetlands, TSP buffer and islands in the parking lot.
Stormwater will be treated, detained and slowly released into the western wetland which then flows under Old Crompond Rd into Sherry Brook. In the end, the water leaving the site will equal the existing run-off. The smaller northeastern wetland will continue to discharge to the north. The applicant expects no direct wetland impact, so wetland mitigation will be limited to replanting. The applicant is in discussion with the DEP about stormwater management, and the Conservation Board has asked for a biodiversity study.
The natural gas line has to be extended along Crompond Rd, and the sewer line along Old Crompond Rd from Stony St. Mr. Klaus asked the applicant to consider allowing Old Crompond Road to hook up to this sewer line.
Phil Greely, a traffic engineer with John Collins engineering and also a Yorktown resident, described the current and expected traffic conditions, emphasizing that the applicant is well-aware of the current traffic problems in the area. When BJs opened further west on route 202, the idea was that traffic would use the Bear Mountain Parkway exit from the Taconic and approach BJ’s on route 202 from the west. This would reduce the number of cars exiting the TSP at route 202, turning left and clogging route 202 from the TSP to BJs. This plan never worked, because, faced with congestion at the BMP and Stony St., the BMP and route 202 and route 202 and Pine Grove Ct., drivers chose to exit the TSP at route 202, causing route 202 backups. This meant that signals along route 202, especially at Strang Blvd, had to be timed to prevent the TSP exit from clogging back onto the parkway, which caused delays and congestion on other streets. Currently the NYSDOT is considering changes in the above listed intersections to reduce congestion and therefore encourage drivers to use the BMP. Also Costco will widen route 202 from the TSP to the Costco entrances. Supposedly, these changes will increase the capacity of route 202 and improve the area’s traffic problems, even with the addition of traffic generated by Costco. Traffic planning for Costco runs parallel to and depends on NYSDOT improving other intersections in the area. Costco is supposed to be an impetus for total area traffic improvements. The applicant also pointed out that they have to get the traffic situation right, otherwise their customers won’t be able to get to their store.
The Costco store will be open from 10:00 am to 8:00 pm on weekdays, 9-6 on Saturday and 10-6 on Sunday. The gas station will be open from 6:00 am to about 8:00pm. The Costco site is expected to generate 300 cars entering and exiting per hour and the afternoon peak time. Trucks will only arrive and be unloaded from 4:00am to 10:00am. The trucks unload at the back of the building on the north side.
A representative of Costco described the company. Costco recycles aggressively.
It has a program to decrease the amount of plastic packaging. It is a major sponsor of the Children’s Miracle Network. Costco emphasizes plantings on its sites, especially along highways. The Yorktown site is expected to generate 250-300 jobs, half fulltime and half part time. The jobs pay $11/hour and both full and part time employees qualify for health benefits. In answer to questions from Mr. Flynn, the Costco representative said that there will be no employee recreation facilities, other than a break room and that employees will not be allowed to park motor homes on the Yorktown site.
Ann Kutter, speaking as a resident of Old Crompond Rd: Trees should be planted/preserved to buffer the view of the site from the TSP which is designated a scenic highway. Is the Sherry Brook drain functional? Often it clogs, flooding Old Crompond Rd, especially when mulch from Zino’s Nursery washes off that site.
Will the two houses on Old Crompond Rd be removed? Yes
Old Crompond Rd residents would like to be able to hook up to sewer and gas lines. There are concerns about traffic on Old Crompond Rd and asks the applicant to consider the possibility of making Old Crompond Rd a cul-de-sac at the Costco end.
A neighbor to the site on Old Crompond Rd is concerned about noise and lights from the truck deliveries in the early hours of the morning.
Bill Kellner, Hunter Brook Rd. resident
Access to public transportation should be evaluated. In order to reduce energy consumption and greenhouse gas emission, a project of this size should have access to adequate public transportation. This site is served by only one Westchester County Beeline bus, which is usually off schedule. Requiring the bus to actually enter the Costco site to pick up and drop off riders would slow it even more. Requiring a large number of passengers to wait on route 202 is not feasible. An alternative site with better public transportation should be considered, especially considering the life span of this type of store.
John Tegeder, Director of Planning
The impacts on FDR Park, a critical environmental area, should be considered.
Paul Moskowitz, chair of the Energy Advisory Committee
1. Calculate the carbon footprint of the complete building, including the car traffic
2. Calculate the carbon footprint of the construction phase, including the loss of trees.
3. Describe and evaluate any plans for solar/alternative energy uses.
4. Describe and evaluate any plans for energy star and/or LEEDS construction/practices
5. Describe/evaluate the incorporation of bicycle-friendly features
6. Include calculations of all greenhouse gas emissions in scoping
A resident of Eleanor Dr.
This resident is still feeling the impact of the traffic generated by the enlargement of the Cortlandt Town Center. She asks that the congestion, noise and air pollution impacts of the increased truck traffic on the entire area be considered. The trucks will have to use route 202, route 9 and other area highways, not immediately adjacent to the Costco site. Also there will be increased traffic on the TSP. These wider impacts should be evaluated.
Bill Primavera, speaking as a resident
The possibility of moving the Costco building further to the west should be evaluated. This would decrease its visibility from the TSP and preserve the viewsheds from this scenic highway. Mr. Klaus pointed out that the planning board has already requested that balloons be tethered from points on the site so that visibility from the TSP can be evaluated.
Patty Peckham, Baptist Church Rd Resident
The site is projected to deliver 3900 tons of solid waste to the Charles Point facility. This amount should be evaluated in terms of the capacity of the plant. The site will use 10,000 gal of water per day. The impact of this consumption on its the capacity of its source should be considered.
The impact of Costco on other Yorktown and area businesses should be considered, especially BJs. Mr. Klaus pointed out that BJs and Costco serve a different demographic and co-exist in other areas. Mr. Flynn asked the applicant to provide a list of where this is the case.
Asks about the 15 jobs that will be lost according to the Environmental Assessment Form. These should be identified. The potential need to bus in employees should be evaluated in terms of environmental impact of the bus trips. The percentage of jobs going to town residents should be calculated and evaluated.
The Public Hearing on scoping the DEIS was closed, with a two week period for written comments.
Town Board, January 26, 2010
A group representing a developer for Costco presented preliminary plans to the Board for a Costco to be located next to the Taconic on Route 202. This is the site of the old Motel. The site along the Taconic and Rt 202 on the NW quadrant includes 4 properties - Motel, Nursery, Fence company and 2 dwellings and is on 18.75 acres, currently zoned C3. The plan is to construct a 151,000 sq ft Costco store, 576 parking spaces and a fueling facility for members only. The development will be 30 - 40 feet below the grade of the Southbound Taconic. Mid point in the property it falls off 40 feet into a 1.1 acre wetland on the west side. There is also a .2 acre wetland in the north east corner of the property.
Entry will be opposite Mohansic Avenue with resignalization of that light, and with an additional egress onto 202 between Mohansic and Old Crompond Road. This should disperse exiting right onto the Taconic. There will be no left turn at this exit.
There will be grading in the wetlands buffer and walls will be build around the perimeter for grade transition and to prevent disturbing wetlands on property. 8 acres (42% of the site) will remain green, and the developer will clean up the rest of the site. The presenters claimed accommodating the wetlands makes this project “much more expensive”. Development near the wetlands triggers DEP, DEC involvement in the process.
The group asked the Town Board to keep the present zoning (C3), which could change with master plan adoption (Interchange?). They also asked the Town to help with County approval to expand the sewer district to include the entire site. Currently only the motel site is included. It was also suggested that the Town could use this project as an impetus to get the DOT to come in and improve existing problems. This plan will solve the traffic problems for Costco, according to the developer, but it is also an opportunity to improve existing congestion conditions.
Phil Greeley spoke on Traffic issue. DOT - opportunity to make improvements through Costco development on 202 from Strang Blvd to Old Crompond Rd corridor. They can add a lane through the Taconic interchange area which Phil says can accommodate 6 lanes (2 lanes each way plus two turning lanes) which would improve westbound traffic. The lane they plan to add would go from Strang Blvd to Old Crompond Road (North) just past the Zino Nursery property. They will also upgrade the signals. Greeley suggested this project can be used as a building block in getting more improvements. The developer will fund all improvements within the existing ROW or what it controls. The permit process to get DOT approval for the work begins with Town SEQR process.
Jim Martorano asked about Costco’s charitable contributions, and was told Costco donates 1% of pre-tax dollars. In addition each manager has a discretionary fund above that 1% level. Jim asked if there could be acontribution to the Sr. Center fund and was answered positively.
Questions from other Board members and members of the public present:
Wetlands impacts were noted by Nick Bianco, who indicated he would be more comfortable if the fueling station did not encroach in the northwest corner wetland buffer.
Ann Kutter, of Old Crompond Rd noted that traffic on Old Crompond Rd. (OCR), already a problem, would be adversely impacted by traffic trying to “game the light” at BJ’s by shortcutting down OCR. She also noted there will be a large area to be clearcut, and a large impervious area. She questioned runoff down the hill, noting past problems that clogged the drains so badly the Town had to put in new ones last year, and the impact on the water table. She was told no runoff is allowed per DEP. Construction vehicles coming down the hill on OCR will also negatively impact the neighborhood, especially in light of the proposed Senior development (Crompond Crossing) at the intersection of OCR and Stoney Street. She also expressed concern about light pollution. Noting the proximity of BJ’s she asked if we can support two large stores like that or if we would end up with additional empty retail space.
In response to another question from the public, the developer said this is a "balanced" construction site - no materials trucked in or out. Further questioners asked about where the sewer lines would come into the site, and was told they can bring line up to Rte 202.on in March 11.