SBL: 26.18-1-11, 12, 14, 15, 16
Town Board Referral
Location: Old Crompond Road
Contact: Ciarcia Engineering, P.C.
Description: Applicant is requesting a change in zone from R1-20 to C-2 and RSP-1 for construction of 96 residential units and 47,500 sf of office and retail space.
Planning Board, 2-26-2018
After more than a year’s hiatus, due in part to the death of one of the principals, the applicant returned to the board with the intention of submitting a new application. Given what he called the speculative nature of the office/retail market, the applicant said he plans to hold off on the proposed commercial part of the original plan and proceed only with the residential portion. Although starting from where the plan left off in 2016, the applicant indicated some willingness to modify the original plan and asked for input from the board as to how it might like to see the site developed. Mr. Fon advised the applicant to review the board’s previous discussions which focused on the board’s concern that the entire site would be disturbed. He suggested possibly a cluster approach and/or different building types that would disturb less of the 16 acres zoned for multi family use. The applicant indicated he was considering rentals for some of proposed units, but no specific ideas were brought forward. He repeated that there were 120 units in the original proposal.
Planning Board, 10-17-2016
Speaking for the applicant, planner Ann Cutingola said that given pressures from the developer’s investors, the applicant was looking for some type of assurance\ from the board that the applicant was on the right track in terms of unit count and general layout. Ann Kutter, one of the property owners involved in the project, added that there was also some pressure from the other property owners who would be selling to the developer.
Noting that the current plan for 110 units differed from what was in the original EAF, Ms. Cutingola presented the board with a new fiscal impact analysis showing that the net gain to the town would be $138.000 and $350,000 to the school district. (As originally proposed, the project was to have 80 units.)
The applicant showed the board a rendering of the controversial “C” units to be built into the hillside and which will involve considerable grading. While board members liked the rendering that they felt was an improvement over previous plans, there was a general concern about the extent of grading that the current layout would require. When Mr. Flynn suggested that the 3-story “C” units be moved elsewhere on the site, Ms. Cutingola said the proposed mix of A, B, and C units was designed to create a diverse housing mix. In response, Mr. Flynn said that while he supported the concept of diversity, he was prepared to give up some diversity for a more friendly use of the site.
The board asked the applicant to provide an actual grading plan so that it could get a more comprehensive understanding of the extent of the proposed grading.
When the developer, Roy Biaitta, expressed some impatience at the more delay and noted that Costco had “walked away” because of the delay in getting approval, members of the board reminded him that there were other reasons why Costco changed its mind and that the delays were not necessarily due to the town. Mr. Fon said it was not fair to place any blame on the town and that the Planning Board just didn’t have enough information to move ahead with the plan.
The applicant presented a revised concept plan seeking a “warm and fuzzy” response from the board that it could take to its investors. The new plan reduces the number of residential buildings from 41 with 122 units, to 35 with 110 units, for an overall density reduction from 7.625 units/acre to 6.875 units per acre. (The rezoning resolution called for 96 units, or 6 units/acre but included a provision that allowed the Planning Board to consider a higher density.) The revised concept plan calls for 1,000 feet of less road.
The revised plan also includes a 32 room inn in addition to the 77,000 square feet of retail and commercial space. When Mr. Tegeder advised the applicant that mid-sized motel franchises were looking for 60-80 room plans, the applicant said he’d “love to do that.” Councilman Bernard, the town Board’s liaison to the Planning Board, raised the issue of whether the site’s C2R zoning permits motels.
The applicant showed photos of what the three types of residential buildings would look like, although the photos were not all from the same modular company that will provide all the units. Mr. Tegeder said that while he liked the appearance of one style, more work needed to be done to made the other two more attractive.
Much of the discussion focused on what the applicant calls his “C” units, three story structures that will be built into the hill, with questions being asked about what the visual impact would be from Route 202 and also whether the proposed on site parking was actually feasible. The board asked the applicant to provide more detailed elevations and confirm the feasibility of the parking.
Mr. Kincart noted that this plan was less crowded and better than the previous plan. Mr. Tripodi and Mr. LaScala , who were not on the board during the earlier plan reviews related to the rezoning, said they liked the plan. Mr. Flynn, however, said he was still concerned that the plan worked against the contours of the topography and would require a considerable amount of cut and fill. Because of the topography changes, some of the units on the slopes will be constructed din a series of terraces, separated by retaining walls. This led to a brief discussion about both the height of the retaining walls and the visibility and aesthetics of above ground foundations.
The applicant advised the board that the county Board of Legislators has approved the site’s addition to the Peekskill Sanitary Sewer District and that even if the Costco plan does not materialize or is delayed, the applicant will construct the sewer connection.
Following the Town Board’s rezoning of the site, the applicant returned to the Planning Board for feedback on a modified conceptual plan that would increase the number of residential units to 121.
(The earlier concept plan that was the basis for the rezoning called for 80 units per acre. However, the rezoning resolution called for 6 units per acre, or 96 units, but also included a provision that the Planning Board could consider a greater density if it felt it was appropriate. See 2013 and 2014 notes below for earlier plans and different proposed densities.)
In response to a question from the Board, the applicant said that the developer now controls the two properties that were included in the rezoning but which, at the time of the rezoning, were not part of the Crompond Terraces conceptual plan.
To achieve the higher density, the revised concept plan calls for a cluster of 3 story buildings,(37’ high) built into the existing slope on the eastern side of the site, with below grade garages, internal elevators, and what sounded like a below grade tunnel-like road linking the condo buildings. A second cluster of what the applicant calls its “C units”, but only 2 story units, are proposed for the western side of the site.
The Board had some issues with the visual aspects of what the 3-story buildings would look like and asked the applicant to provide profiles so it could get a better visual sense of what the proposed below grade road would look like and the space between condo units that was called a “void.”
Commenting on the proposed 3-story buildings, Mr, Kincart said it looked as if the applicant was trying to force more units into the plan. He said the 3-story buildings would look like an apartment complex. While he had issues with the proposed 3 story units on the eastern side of the side, he had no issues with the same type of units, but as 2 story structures, on the western side.
The applicant indicated that it is holding off on more detailaed site plans until it gets a sense from the Board about the proposed additional units.
Susan Siegel, the person writing this summary, asked the board to postpone a vote to amend the zoning map until it also voted on a new rezoning resolution that replaced the one voted on December 22. She explained that when the board voted on December 22, members did not know exacting how the parcels were being rezoned because the approving resolution did not include the exhibit with the map showing the zoning line between the commercial and multi family zones. She added that when she received a copy of the map the following week, the zoning line differed from what the board had received in November in the EAF; while the line in the EAF map was a relatively straight line with aq single dip at the western end, the line on the final map had several indents. Ann Cutignola, on behalf of the applicant, explained that the map in the EAF was a long outdated map and that a newer version showed the same zoning lines as the final map.
Supervisor Grace explained that the plan never called for a straight line separating the two zones and that the “newer” map more accurately reflected the proposed parking and stormwater measures shown on the concept plan. He said the difference of 0.2 acres in the proportions of land zoned commercial and multi family was minor and resulted in the actual survey of the parcels. He also added that the zoning resolution left the zoning line flexible so that there could be minor changes in the future based on site plan considerations.
Later in the meeting, Councilman Bernard took exception to Ms. Siegel’s earlier comment that because there was no map included in the December 22 resolution, some board members didn’t know what they were voting for when they voted for the resolution on December 22.
The board closed the hearing and voted 5-0 to amend the zoning map.
The board voted 4-1, with me voting no, on a resolution accepting a SEQRA Negative Declaration for the project, followed by a 3-1-0 vote on a resolution to rezone the eight parcels. I voted no and Councilman Patel abstained because he felt the vote should have been postponed to a regular meeting in January.
The board voted unanimously to schedule a public hearing on January 19 on a local law to amend the Zoning Map to reflect the rezoning in the resolution.
Prior to the votes, I suggested that a vote on a rezoning that affected a major area of Yorktown be done at the board’s next regular, televised meeting in January; I didn’t see that the three week delay would cause any problems. In response Supervisor Grace saw no need for the delay, noting that there had been a public hearing on the rezoning and that there were no public objections.
I then went through several concerns I had with specific provision of the rezoning resolution, all of which were discussed and dismissed by the board.
Time limit on rezoning. Because the rezoning is based on a specific Crompond Terraces development concept plan that covers six of the eight parcels being rezoned, I suggested that the rezoning be valid for a set number of years during which time Mandalay would pursue site plan approval. My concern was that in the event the Crompond Terraces project never came to fruition, the owners of the eight separate parcels could come in with eight different plans.
Recreational component. The resolution states that Mandalay will build an on site 12,000 SF recreational building, the exact size, location and use to be determined during site plan approval and subject to approval by the Town Board. The building will meet the town’s recreation fee requirement. My concern was that the future ownership of the building was not spelled out and was left up in the air for a future board to decide. It was pointed out that while the board had had discussions about this building, the board never arrived at a decision about its future.
“Community Benefit” contribution. The resolution states that Mandalay will erect two pre fab buildings, approximately 120’x80’ and 200’x60’ at a location to be determined by the town and on a foundation prepared and constructed by the town. Like the recreation building, the exact details of these buildings will be determined at site plan approval and will be subject to Town Board approval. My concern was what I considered the vague nature of this contribution. I also pointed out that this “contribution” differed from the contribution that was presented to the board at an October meeting. At that time, it was made clear that the pre fab buildings would be erected on the town’s Greenwood Street property where the supervisor was proposing new buildings for the Pa5rks and Highway departments.
The response to both my recreational component and community benefit contribution concerns was that the existing language was sufficient as it set the dollar value of both items, leaving the details to be worked out later.
Density. I expressed concern over what I considered two contradictory paragraphs in the resolution. One set the maximum residential density at 6 units per acre (earlier drafts had only 5 units per acre), while a second paragraph said the Planning Board could adjust the maximum density during site plan review. In response, it was explained that the two provisions gave the Planning Board needed flexibility to either increase or decrease the density. (Note: The residential density in the concept plan was just under 5 units per acre. Some members of the Planning Board considered the concept plan too dense for the site.)
Traffic improvements. I expressed concern about what I considered the vague language regarding needed traffic improvements that had been identified in the EAF. In response, I was assured that these would be addressed during site plan approval and that if Crompond Terraces was ready for approval before any of the other potential applicants in the area, e.g., the proposed CVS building, that Crompond Terraces would be required to make the necessary improvements.
Before discussing this item, the Planning Board went into closed session to receive advice of counsel. Upon return, Mr. Fon emphasized that the Planning Board was considering a packet of documents only as pertains to the site’s rezoning, not to any specific site plan design. This is according to the permitted segmentation of the action (i.e. rezoning and site plan review). He emphasized also that the Town Board’s negative declaration under SEQR for the rezoning does not preclude the Planning Board from doing a full site plan review, including SEQR, on a specific site plan. There was considerable discussion between the applicant, the Planning Board and Mr. Tegeder to make sure that everyone was on the same page about the difference between the rezoning, the conceptual plans submitted to date and any future, specific site plan review and about the Planning Board’s ability to still carry out SEQR. Mr. Tegeder will draft a memo to the Town Board indicating the Planning Board’s opinion that the rezoning is in keeping with the master plan, yet reserving future site plan review.
The board reconvened the hearing originally opened on January 20, 2015 now that the applicant has submitted an Expanded Environmental Assessment Form.
Gary Ajello repeated the essence of comments he made at the first hearing: from the town’s first master plan in 1955 up to the 2010 plan, the land was always master planned for commercial use. He said the town should not give up 26 acres of potential prime commercial development without finding an alternate 26 acres that could be zoned commercial. Why spend money and time on plans if the plan isn’t followed, he asked. In response, I noted that master plans are not set in stone and that the 2010 master plan took into account the fact that for the previous 55 years, there had been no interest in developing the site commercially. At some point in time, I suggested, the town has to deal with the reality of who wants to do what with the site.
Ken Belfer, speaking for the Community Housing Board, supported the plan which he said would provide a diversity of housing types as well as affordable rental units.
Tony Grasso, speaking for the Chamber of Commerce said the group supported the plan and that he was updating his 2013 survey that indicated that commercial properties and utilities accounted for only 14% of the town’s total assessments.
Vincent Scotto, a resident of Mill Pond Road, expressed concern that the development could exacerbate flooding problems in the Hunter Brook behind his house. He questioned Supervisor Grace over why the stream had not been dredged. Supervisor Grace noted that sometimes development actually positively addresses a stormwater issue and Dan Ciarcia, the project’s engineer, explained that under currently DEC regulations, after development, there will be no increase in runoff from the site and that runoff may actually be reduced. I noted my concern that the stormwater issue would not be addressed until the site plan stage,
Ed Ciffone questioned the impact the project’s 45 children would have on the Yorktown School District and wanted to know more about any “deal” that had been agreed to between the town and the developer in exchange for the rezoning. For the applicant, Ann Cutignola, explained that the anticipated 45 additional children that would be generated by the development would not be an inordinate increase for the school district and that the development would be a net financial benefit to the district. A memo from the Planning Department and the town’s environmental consultant (Tegeder/Barber memo) indicated the need to review the school impact numbers.
Supervisor Grace took exception to Mr. Ciffone’s comment that the he had been “bought” (Mr. Ciffone said he meant the “town” and not a particular person”) and explained that it was standard procedure and “smart governance” to ask an applicant seeking a rezoning to make a “contribution” to the town to offset certain impacts from the proposed development. Such contributions, he noted, save the taxpayers money. As an example, he noted the $3 million in improvements Costo will be making. I noted that in 2011, the applicant for the Croton Overlook rezoning agreed to contribute $650,000 to the town for unspecified purposes.
On the issue of the 16 affordable rental units, Mr. Ciffone asked the supervisor about his earlier comments stating that he opposed the town’s affordable housing law. The supervisor did not respond to this comment.
On the question of whether deferring a more in depth SEQRA review to the site plan stage constituted segmentation, an issue raised in the Tegeder/Barber memo, Supervisor Grace said there was no segmentation because the issue before the board was only a rezoning and that there was no significant impact to the rezoning by itself; the impacts would only occur once there was a site plan. The only issue before the board, he said, was whether the rezoning request was compatible with the master plan. Mr. Tegeder said he agreed 90%-95% with the supervisor’s comments but that the segmentation issue had to be cleared -up in any approving resolution. I noted that in both the Crompond Crossing and Croton Overlook rezonings, the rezoning was done in conjunction with a site plan that had been reviewed by the Planning Board.
Both the Tegeder/Barber and a separate Planning Board memo asked for more time to review the Expanded Environmental Assessment Form.
In response to the applicant’s request to close the hearing and leave open a written comment period, there was a 3-2 vote to close the hearing and leave open first a 10 day comment period, which was later changed to comments to be received by December 1st. Councilmen Patel and I voted against both motions. I questioned whether the Expanded EAF had been referred to the 28 boards and agencies that had received the shorter EAF back in December; I said more time was needed to hear back from these agencies, especially the DEP and the town’s Conservation Board. Councilman Patel asked, “why the hurry.” Speaking for the applicant, Ann Kutter said that copies of the Expanded EAF had been sent to these agencies in October but Town Clerk Roker had no record that the referral included a reply date, a standard practice for such referrals.
While expressing my support for the mixed use concept for the site, I indicated my concern that there had to be a balance between the desire to be more “business friendly” and expedite applications and the need for the town to follow long established procedures designed to protect the town and its residents. I also expressed concern over the proposed density of the project, a concern shared by the Planning Board.
The supervisor then directed staff to “tweak” both the initial SEQRA negative declaration resolution and the resolution approving the rezoning that had been prepared by the applicant. He asked that revised drafts be ready for the December 1st meeting with the anticipation that the board would vote on the rezoning application on December 8th. He said that in fairness to the applicant, the rezoning request should move head and that he was comfortable with the rezoning. Mr. Tegeder said he was providing the Planning Board with more information on the density of existing multi family projects.
On a referral from the Town Board, the applicant made a presentation of its plan and EAF findings. Members of the Planning Board had, to date, only received a CD of the EAF, and in response to requests from members, the applicant said she would send them hard copies. Only one member had had an opportunity to begin review of the EAF.
Anna Georgiou, the board’s attorney, asked the applicant to explain why doing an EAF on the rezoning application and than postponing a fuller SEQRA review to the site plan stage did not constitute segmentation. In response, Ann Cutignola, the applicant’s lead planner, said that the issue had been discussed before at the Town Board level. (The Town Board is lead agency for the rezoning application.) Ms. Georgiou suggested that the segmentation be addressed in any future rezoning resolution.
In discussing the traffic impact of the proposed development and the proposed improvements to the Route 202/Stoney Street intersection that had been discussed between BJs, Crompond Terraces and the proposed CVS development for the parcel between Route 202 and Old Crompond Rd, it was noted that the CVS application appears to have stalled. In the event the CVS project does not materialize, the applicant said Crompond Terraces would complete the needed intersection improvements. Dan Ciarcia, the applicant’s engineer noted that traffic along the Route 202 has improved based on the improvements that have already been made and the applicant’s traffic consultant noted that the development would allow its residents to walk to shopping and work.
The applicant is looking for a memo from the Planning Board that says that the rezoning request meets the goal iin the Comprehensive Plan of creating a hamlet in Crompond. Ms. Cutignola added that assuming the rezoning was approved, while there might eventually be some sight changes to the site plan, the basic site plan was what the Town Board wanted and was pretty much locked in. Mr. Savoca said that while he had no problem with a generic statement of support for a mixed use development for the site, he did not know enough about the specifics of the Crompond Terraces proposal to support the rezoning. Mr. Kincart, while also supporting the mixed use concept, said the opposed the proposed density of the project which he considered “overwhelming”; he described it as trying to put a 10 pound item into a 5 pound bag. Mr. Fon noted that the site was larger than the Costco site and that the proposed plan would change the entire site.
Mr. Tegeder said he would email board members with some suggestions on what could be included in a memo to the Town Board that expressed support for the concept of a mixed use development without attacking the specifics of the Crompond Terraces plan. He said that at the November 17th public hearing, the Town Board would have the option of leaving the hearing open for additional input from the Planning Board or close the hearing and leave open a written comment period.
Representatives of the development team walked the board through the expanded EAF (Environmental Assessment Form). The project, 80 townhouses, 77,000 SF of retail and commercial space and 16 affordable rental apartments above the commercial space, anticipates a population of 283 persons and 45 school age children. The net tax benefits to the town (including special districts) after taking in projected costs, would be $105,811, and $610,590 for the Yorktown School District.
In response to questions raised at a previous meeting about the demand for additional commercial space, the developer’s planner, Ann Cutignola, explained that vacancies from commercial buildings that are for sale were much lower than vacancies for rent. Overall, she said that the project would add 2% to the town’s commercial space. She anticipated that there would be demand for the space. The EAF also includes a graphic that shows that the commercial buildings will be visible from Route 202 even if the proposed new CVS building across from Staples Plaza is built.
Traffic consultant Philip Grealy reviewed the proposed traffic impact from the development.
The biggest change in the project was the “contribution” the developer was prepared to make to the town in exchange for the rezoning. This contribution would be in addition to the proposed 12,000 SF multi use building on the site that would be donated to the town as part of the project’s required recreation fee which , at $4,000 per unit, would total $320,000. The exact use of the building has not been finalized and awaits more feedback and direction from the town.
The changed contribution, a plan developed by Supervisor Grace, now consists of the developer building a 27,000 SF steel building on Greenwood Street to house the Highway and Parks departments, as well as a recreation center of an undisclosed size at Downing Park once the Parks Department is relocated to Greenwood St. According Ann Kutter, a member of the development team, there have been preliminary discussions about the building with the Superintendent of Parks & Recreation but no firm plans. Regarding the new highway garage, Supervisor Grace said that the town might incur some costs to “finish” the new building but that the funds would come from the sale of the current highway garage site. He added that a portion of the building could be for “dead storage” and that another part, or possibly a second floor, could be portioned off for other uses.
Supervisor Grace and Councilmen Bernard and Diana strongly supported this new “contribution” as a “great opportunity” that should be a “no brainer.” The Supervisor thanked the developer for his generosity and willingness to give something back to the town. In response to my questions whether a private developer would have to pay prevailing wage if he constructed a building on town property, Supervisor Grace said the answer was no and that a similar type contribution has been done in Dobbs Ferry.
Anticipating that the Planning Board will be able to review the expanded EAF at its November 9th meeting, the board voted 3-2 to reconvene the public hearing on the rezoning request for November 17 and advised the parties to start working on the rezoning approval resolution. Councilmen Patel and I voted no, preferring to have the Planning Board’s recommendations in hand before scheduling the hearing.
Ann Kutter met with the board seeking guidance on the board’s preference/s for how the project’s recreation fee should be paid (cash or a specific facility), plus what additional compensation the developer was prepared to give in exchange for the rezoning. As explained by Supervisor Grace, when a property owner is seeking a rezoning from the town, that gives the town leverage to ask the property owner for something for the town.
Based on the current conceptual plan to build 80 units, the recreation fee, at $4,000 per unit, would generate $320,000 in lieu of any active recreation.
Based on previous discussions, Ms. Kutter advised the board that she has gotten a variety of feedback from various town staff and residents as to what they would like to see if the project included a possible new municipal building. Based on preliminary discussions, the developer is prepared to build a 12,000 sq. ft. building and make a monetary contribution to the town . The developer may also provide some outside maintenance services for the building such as snow plowing and lawn care.
Suggestions for the new building include: a senior center, municipal offices for the Planning Department and Parks & Recreation Department, a gym for indoor basketball, an arts center, classrooms and a mixed use building that incorporates several of the other options. Opinions differed as to whether this was a good location for a senior center. Supervisor Grace indicated his support for a building saying that it would be much cheaper for a developer to construct the building than for the town do to it. He also said having a new building would eliminate the town’s need to rent gym and recreational spaces from the school districts. In response to Councilman Bernard and my concerns about maintenance costs, Ms. Kutter said that she will provide estimated costs in the EAF (Environmental Assessment) based on current maintenance costs at the YCCC.
Ms. Kutter also expressed concern that whatever the Town Board decided it wanted as part of the rezoning approval could be changed when the Planning Board had site plan approval at a later date. Most board members didn’t see this as a problem, however. The discussion ended with the consensus that the 12,000 sq, ft, building footprint should be included on the rezoning plan with the use of the building to be determined at a later date.
The Planning Board gave out copies of its letter to the Town Board, supporting the rezoning for mixed use and the hamlet concept. The applicant was looking for stronger language from the Planning Board about how the proposed project is consistent with the Master Plan toward the end of convincing the Town Board to approve the rezoning, but ended up accepting what the Planning Board had written.
As previously requested by the Planning Board, Philip Grealy, traffic consultant, presented a draft of a map showing a network of pedestrian walkways in the whole Route 202 corridor from Stony St. to FDR Park.
Dan Ciarcia updated the board on changes made to the plan since the applicant’s last appearance before the board.
The applicant went over the scoping outline that had been presented to the Town Board and Philip Grealy, the traffic consultant, discussed what would be included in the traffic study. The board’s attorney, Ms. Georgio, raised the issue of possible segmentation because there would be two separate SEQRA reviews, one for the rezoning and a second for the site plan, but the general sense was that the rezoning plan would take a “global” look and the subsequent site plan would deal with the “devil is in the detail” issues.
The board did ask the applicant to add a color coded plan to the scoping documents that would show the pedestrian network in the area.
The board appeared to like the suggestion that the commercial portion should be rezoned to C2-R instead of C-2.
Mr. Savoca expressed concern for the homeowners who recently purchased townhouses at Crompond Crossing expecting that the abutting property would be developed at half acre zoning density where multi family density is now planned. In response, Mr. Flynn noted that the buyers could have looked at the Comprehensive Plan which called for a Crompond hamlet in the Bear Mountain Triangle area.
The board will send a letter to the Town Board.
The board discussed a scoping outline of the proposed studies the applicant will submit as part of an expanded EAF (Environmental Assessment Form). Included in the issues to be studied were: traffic, grading, stormwater and fiscal impact.
The applicant reported to the board that at a meeting with the Community Housing Board, it was suggested that instead of the C-2 zoning, the applicant consider a C2R zoning that would allow apartments above the stores. The board agreed that the suggestion should be explored in the EAF.
The applicant also reported on a meeting with the Recreation Commission on what that group’s “wish list” might be for the project’s recreation fee. (The fee for townhouses is $4,000 per unit; the applicant can pay cash or provide a structure for an equivalent amount of money. The applicant reported that the Commission appeared interested in an indoor gym for basketball. Supervisor Grace talked about a senior center, adding that getting a physical plant from the applicant was better than getting money. I expressed concern that the anticipated funds in the range of $320,000+ was not likely to be sufficient to complete a building and cover long term staffing and maintenance costs. The applicant will continue to meet with the Recreation Commission before any decisions on the use of the recreation fee will be made. As part of the rezoning, the town can also ask the applilcant for “extras.”
Members of the development team made a presentation explaining the plan and outlining some of its proposed impacts including land disturbance, traffic, stormwater, fiscal, etc. The only impact discussed in any detail was fiscal with the applicants showing that a mix of commercial and residential would generate considerable more revenue for the town and Yorktown School District than if the current half acre residential zoning was left in place. In response to a question from Bob Giordano, the consultant explained that her school impact calculation was based on a $10,500 per pupil instructional and transportation cost as certain overhead costs did not change if enrollment increased.
Recalling a plan from the 1990s that would have rezoned the area for light industrial use, former Councilman Gary Ajello asked the board to consider keeping the 23 acres all commercial. Ken Belfer supported the mixed use concept and asked the applicant to consider a mix of housing types at the site plan stagae. Greg Bernard supported the mix used concept but suggested that the proposed density might be too great.
On behalf of the applicants, Ann Kutter explained that going forward, the applicant needed guidance from the board in three areas:
1. how much additional information the board needed in order to evaluate the rezoning request
2. how the town wanted to handle to recreational fee the development would be required to pay
3. how the affordable housing law would impact the development
On the information issue, I suggested that the board meet with the applicant and the planning director in a work session to discuss the scope of the what additional information is needed and the level of detail for issues such as stormwater, grading, traffic, alternative development scenarios, etc. I suggested that the board look at the recent Stateland rezoning where the impact analysis was done based only on a conceptual site plan, not a real one.
On the recreation issue, Ms. Kutter said the applicant would be making a presentation to the Recreation Commission at its February 5th meeting. I suggested that the Town Board hold some type of information meeting so that residents had an opportunity to provide input as to what type of municipal use they might want as part of the eventual development. As the type of use, e.g., a senior center or municipal offices, would change impacts such parking and traffic, the sooner the applicant had an idea of what the town wanted the better.
There was no discussion on the affordable housing issue.
The hearing was adjourned and the applicant will return to the Planning Board for the next discussion.
The applicant presented a revised “concept” plan that included additional potential residential and commercial units on two properties it does not currently control, as well as a conceptual layout prepared by the Planning Department that showed how the project would relate to a potential commercial development in front of Crompond Terraces between Old Crompond Road and Route 202.
The discussion centered primarily on the different level of detail needed for a rezoning application as compared to an actual site plan, especially as the applicant can’t currently prepare a site plan because it doesn’t control two parcels and a third parcel in the center of its concept plan is currently in litigation. The applicant’s desire appeared to be to have the town board consider the rezoning as a general planning matter and separate it from any future site plan.
It was stated that before the applicant proceeds to spend any more on more detailed plans, it needs a sense from the board that it generally favors the concept of the mixed use development. This support was apparent from the three members, but I did suggest that no decision be made on any rezoning until after there were five members on the board. This did not appear to be a problem for the applicant.
Since rezonings are optional, and often give the town the opportunity to ask the applicant for something in return for agreeing with rezoning, I asked the applicant to work with the Planning Department to consider other possible “contributions” to the town besides a senior center. Other options included a community center or some town offices. When the issue of the viability of the commercial spaces was raised (as it was raised at the Planning Board), it was suggested that a municipal use on the site would help bring people to the location.
I indicated that I had no problem with the change from senior housing to non-age restricted multi family housing that had been suggested by Supervisor Grace. (Both zonings have the same density provision.) The applicant will present some fiscal impact data on children at the January 20 hearing, assuming that the units are either sold as condos or fee simple. (The assessment differs.)
When Supervisor Grace raised the issue of the town’s affordable housing law which would require the developer to set aside a certain number of units as affordable, he called the law unconstitutional and said that if the town wanted to provide affordable housing, it should do so by using a density bonus. I advised him that I would continue to support the existing affordable housing law.
(See Costco discussionregarding sewering.)
Although on the agenda to advertise a public hearing, the town clerk advised the board that it had already voted to advertise the hearing for January 20.
This project has been referred to the Planning Board by the Town Board for its comments on the proposed rezoning. Ann Kutter and Dan Ciarcia summarized the modifications made in the plans, i.e. 80 vs 96 units, a buffer along the
Mr. Flynn questioned the desirability of the commercial strip. Ms. Kutter pointed out that the proposed commercial buildings were not situated in a strip mall, and she referenced the master plan which calls for hamlets of mixed uses.
Mr. Kincart advised the applicant to be sure of the economic feasibility and demand for both the commercial and residential uses proposed.
The Planning Board decided it needed more information about the other properties in the area in order to get an overview of the impacts of rezoning. The Planning Department and Mr. Barber will synthesize the issues discussed so the Planning Board can develop its comments on rezoning.
The board set January 20, 2015 as the date for a public hearing on the rezoning request for Crompond Terraces.
The applicant’s development team, led by Ann Kutter, made a presentation to the board, highlighting recent revisions in the conceptual plan made in response to the Planning Board’s comments. The major change was the reduction in the number of units to 80 from 96. (Under the current R1-20 using, approximately 25 single family units could be built.) The applicant also stated that the approximate 35,000 square feet of commercial space would be built as a second phase of the project and would be for professional offices, although the requested C-2 zone would also allow retail use.
While acknowledging that it was the applicant’s decision whether to build an age restricted or straight multi family project (the allowed density being the same for either zone), Supervisor Grace talked about the need to provide housing for young adults and young families who currently can’t afford to live in Yorktown. He dismissed the argument about not wanting to have any development that brought additional school aged children into the town. In response, Mr. Biaitta said he would take another look at a straight multi family rezoning.
Also discussed was the condition of Old Crompond Road. Mr. Biaitta said that Costco will repave the road after putting in the utilities but had no additional plans to make improvements to the road. He also stated that the Planning Board might require that the pending CVS application at the intersection of Route 202 and Old Crompond Road make an adjustment to that end of the road, but that no major improvements or changes in the road were being planned.
In response to the applicant’s request that a public hearing be scheduled in January, Councilwoman elect Siegel said she supported the mixed use concept for the site but that had several issues with the current plan, including the need for additional environmental studies, how the project would relate to other proposed and potential projects in the area and the proposed donation of a senior center building and pool to the town. She said these issues had to be resolved as they would impact on the site plan that would be subject of the environmental studies.
The consensus of the board was that these issues would all be addressed over time as part of the simultaneous rezoning/site plan review. A date was not set for the public hearing.
Mr. Fon referred to a memo from the Conservation Board that raised concerns about protecting the existing grades on the site.
The consensus of the board was that while they liked the idea of a mixed use, the plan, as presently presented was “way too much.” When Mr. Fon again expressed concern about the width and Old Crompond Road, Mr. Ciarcia said that that problem was not insurmountable. Mr. Tegeder suggested that a master plan for the vacant parcels in Bear Mountain Triangle area (the Crompomd Terraces site, plus two currently vacant sites between Route 202 and Old Crompond Road) be prepared. One possibility, he noted, was that instead of access to the Crompond Terraces site coming from Old Crompond Road, a new road could possibly come in from Route 202 from one of the vacant sites.
Mr. Ciarcia asked the board for suggestions on what it wanted but the board generally felt that this was up to the applicant to give something to the board and convince the board of why it should recommend a zone change.
All agreed that the current half acre zoning didn’t make sense. Mr. Kincart liked the idea of age oriented housing,
Mr. Tegeder raised the process issue of whether there should be one or two SEQRA reviews; one for the rezoning and one for the site plan. In response, Mr. Ciarcia said there was no clear answer and he would look to the town for guidance. Mr. Kincart pointed out that once the parcels are rezoned, the current developer Roy Biaitta, could change the plan or sell the land to someone else who had a different plan but that the Planning Board would have no choice but to approve a site plan that conformed to the existing zoning. Even Mr. Biaitta pointed out that the 96 units he was requesting was less than what would be allowed in the RSP-1 zone, but he did not state was the difference was.
In response to Mr. Kincart’s concern over the condition of Old Crompond Road, Mr. Biaitta said he was aware of the fact that improvements would have to be made, adding that he has already spoken to the Costco people about this as Costco plans to run its sewer line along the road. He didn’t see the road as a major issuie.
In response to a question from the board’s attorney, Mr. Ciarcia said that market studies showed a demand for the planned 55+ age restricted units. The sloped nature of the property and its appropriateness for a senior development was touched on briefly. In response, Mr. Biaitta indicated that there would be regrading.
Mr. Tegeder raised the question of how much detail the board would need in order to give a recommendation to the Town Board on the rezoning request. (The Town Board is the lead agency on the rezoning request.) There are “endless questions,” he said. Short of detailed engineering studies, how far should this be studied, he asked. He pointed out the need to consider other proposed projects in the area and how they related to and connected with each other: the BJs gas pumps, the proposed CVS/bank building plan, and the possibility that the “Exxon” parcel in front of the proposed site could be developed. When Mr. Biaitta said the Exxon parcel was a wetland and would not be developed, Mr. Tegeder said that a development plan had come close to getting financing.
While the board seemed to agree that half acre single family development wasn’t the best possible use for the 20+acres, and that some type of mixed use made sense, there was no agreement on exactly what that mix should be. Mr. Kincart supported the senior housing but expressed concern over the commercial uses, which Mr. Biaitta said would be professional offices.
The Planning Department will draw up a list of issues for which more information is needed.
A homeowner on Old Crompond Road whose property is not part of the proposed plan said he objected to the plan. His house is located next to the proposed senior center and pool and he felt the value of his property would decrease if next to those more intense uses. Mr. Fon advised him to monitor future Planning Board and Town Board meetings.
This is a referral from the Town Board for a request to rezone property in the Bear Mountain Triangle area off Route 202 from R1-20 (half acre residential) to a combination of C-2 ( commercial) for 47,500 sf of office and retail space and RSP-1 (55+ age oriented) for 96 residential units. The plan also includes a senior center and pool. The plan involves five separate existing parcels, with the possibility that some additional abutting parcels may be added to the plan. The commercial units would front on Old Crompond Road (to the east of the new Best Plumbing building) with the residential units spread out over the rear portion of the site.
Residential: In order to maximize the taxes from the residential units, they will be sold as fee simple as opposed to condos which have lower assessed values. There would be three different types of units; one type would be two attached two-family houses with a total of four units. The applicant stated that there would be a demand for the type of units being proposed but did not give any price range figures.
In response to Mr. Tegeder’s comments that the RSP-1 zone requires a certain percentage of the site to have community amenities, Mr. Capellini, the project’s attorney, said that more thought would have to be given to the ownership/operation of the center and pool. (Note: although there was very little discussion about the center, in an earlier presentation to the Town Board, the center was described as being a building that would be given to the town.) Mr. Tegeder suggested that the RSP-2 zone, which permits straight age restricted housing, might be more appropriate.
Mr. Kincart said that in general he liked the idea of providing housing opportunities to the 55+ age group, a group, he noted, the town is losing. He added that given the grades on the site, the number of permitted units might need to be cut back.
The board said it would also consider existing zoning for senior housing as part of its review. (Note: a second rezoning request that includes some age oriented condos and rental units, along with other senior uses, was presented to the Town Board recently.)
Commercial: The applicant explained that the space would be destination oriented and as such would not generate much foot traffic. No potential tenants were identified. Mr. Kincart wanted more information about the potential tenants as he was concerned about the proximity of the senior units. Mr. Tegeder questioned the economic viability of the commercial units given the fact that the layout was not responsive to the street, that a new commercial building (see CVS plan below) was being proposed in front of the proposed buildings that would block the visibility from Route 202, and also that 96 residential units were not enough to sustain the retail space.
The applicant said he had been in discussions with Costco about the proposal and that the latter was very supportive of the plan.
No further action beyond this initial presentation was taken.
Dan Ciarcia and affected property owners returned to the board with a revised proposal. The focus of the discussion was the new plan for 96 residential units for seniors only. (It was not determined if this would be 55 or 62 years of age.) The units would all be fee simple, i.e., not condos, and would be a mix of attached and stand alone units. The zone change could be to either RSP-1, the zone for Jefferson Village that included certain amenities, or RSP-2, the zone for Trump Park that is straight housing.
The plan also called for the developer to build and donate a stand alone senior center to the town. There was no discussion about retail space, other than that it would cater to destination shopping. When asked why the entire site wasn’t being proposed for commercial development, the applicant said that he had had discussions with the developer of the adjacent Costco site who felt that a mixed commercial/residential development would be the best use of the site, a use Supervisor Grace said was in agreement with the “new urbanism” concept of mixed use development.
Councilman Bianco said he liked this revised proposal better than the earlier one and in response to his question about the age restriction and possible age discrimination issues, Planning Director Tegeder explained that the federal Fair Housing Law allows housing to be age restricted a long as 20% of the units are available to anyone, regardless of age. Supervisor Grace called the age restrictions ridiculous. He also noted that the proposed development would have no municipal costs as the internal roads would all be maintained by a homeowners association.
The board voted, 4-0, to refer the request to appropriate town departments, and at the same time, look at the existing zoning between Costco and Crompond Crossing to see if any other changes should be made. The town clerk will send out the referral once the applicant pays the required rezoning application fee.
Town Board, 4-23-2013
Dan Ciarcia, the engineer for the proposed project, presented a new plan for a 20 acre mixed use development that involves 10 separate parcels off Old Crompond Road, just south of the proposed Costco . The site is currently zoned commercial and half acre residential. The plan includes what sounded like four retail buildings, each 8,000 sq. ft., 11 buildings each with six attached two family structures for a total of 132 units, and a 9,200 sq ft, 104 bed nursing home.
Given its location, Mr. Ciarcia said that the site, often referred to as the Bear Mountain Triangle, had always been considered for some type of mixed use. Also, given the fact the site was surrounded by commercial use, its current half acre residential zoning made no sense. While the Board agreed that some rezoning was appropriate, Councilman Bianco took strong exception to the proposed 132 residential units. (Each two family unit would consist of a 1,200 sq. ft one bedroom rental unit, and a two story, 2,400 sq. ft, two bedroom unit for the owner.) His concern was the likely increase in the number of children for the Yorktown School District and the impact this would have on school taxes. Councilman Paganelli calculated that the units could generate 237.6 children and that this potential impact had to be part of the Board’s consideration. Supervisor Grace said he had no problem with the additional children and suggested that the Town “not go down that kid thing” or consider multi family housing only if the occupants agreed to be sterilized.
When the subject of affordable housing come up, it was noted that this would not be an affordable project, although the current affordable housing law would require a certain number of the proposed 132 units be affordable. Supervisor Grace said he would repeal the law before that happened.
Councilman Paganelli said he liked the mixed use concept but wasn’t sure if it was viable. Councilman Bianco also questioned the viability of the mixed use concept but said he had no problem rezoning the area for commercial development. The applicant, however, said he didn’t think the site was marketable for any type of single tenant office use or a big box type of store; the contemplated retail use would be primarily to service the residential units. When Councilman Bianco suggested that the rezoning request be put on hold until the Town could assess the impact of Costco and Crompond Crossing, the applicant said that six parcels would become worthless if the owners waited and that they would lose money. Planning Director Tegeder noted that the plan was not truly a mixed use plan as the three proposed uses were in three distinct portions of the overall site.
When Supervisor Grace suggested that the Board vote to refer out the proposal, Ms. Roker advised the Board that the request could not be referred out until after a formal application had been filed and a fee paid. Councilman Paganellii wanted to be assured that once the application was referred out that its acceptance was not a foregone conclusion. Supervisor Grace responded that the application would have to undergo a SEQRA review that would include alternate uses for the site but that once the Town Board rezoned the site, the actual site plan would be approved by the Planning Board. Mr. Tegeder noted that there would have to be a “long and hard look” at the rezoning request to make sure the Board knew what it was getting once it approved the rezoning request so that there would be no big differences in the site plan after the rezoning was approved.
Town Board, 10-16-2012
The Board rescinded its previously approved Resolution #440 without identifying the content of the resolution or without any explanation. (Upon further checking, it was learned that the resolution was approved on October 9, 2012 and referred a proposed rezoning on Old Crompond Road to advisory boards.)
Town Board, 10-9-2012
Dan Ciarica, representing the owners of two properties on the portion of Old Crompond Road known as the Bear Mountain Triangle initiated a discussion about the future development of the area and the possibility of rezoning two, and possibly more, properties on the road to multi family, with a possible commercial zoning fronting on Old Crompond Road. Based on a very preliminary concept, he showed 68 townhouses and some commercial development on nine acres (2 adjoining parcels) and said that an additional 10 acres might be added.
Councilman Bianco said he was opposed to any rezoning to multi family use because it would cost the school district an estimated $3.4 million. He did, however, agree with Supervisor Grace who said that the Town would benefit financially from the additional residential units.The Supervisor added that it’s families and children who drive the local economy. Councilman Bianco also questioned why people would want to live next to Costco and across the street from BJs.He suggested that the area might be rezoned all commercial. (It is currently zoned half acre residential.)The question of whether the residential units would be affordable, low income, or senior housing was asked but the plan was too preliminary for any answers to be forthcoming.
Supervisors Grace noted that the Comprehensive Plan calls for a mixed use of the site, a concept he said is supported by Yorktown Smart Growth.
Because the properties along Old Crompond Road are scheduled to be included in the Costco sewer district, the discussion then turned to the issue of the Peekskill sewage plant and efforts by Supervisor Grace to have the remaining capacity at the plant reallocated so that Yorktown could divert some Hallocks Mill sewage to Peekskill. He said that because the Peekskill plant is a county plant, the reallocation decision is a county decision, not a Peekskill decision. He is planning to meet with Cortlandt and Peekskill to discuss the sewer allocation issue.
The Board voted 4-1, with Councilman Bianco voting no, to refer out the rezoning issue. One of the issues still to be decided is whether other properties along the road are interested in being part of the rezoning request.