Envirogreen Associates
SBL: 15.16-1-30
Pre-Preliminary Application
Location: 1851, 1867, 1875 East Main Street, Mohegan Lake
Contact: Site Design Consultants/Rick Cipriani
Description: Proposed redevelopment of a portion of the referenced property by removing one of the existing buildings and parking area, and constructing a new 10,000-12,000 sf retail center with associated parking and proposed through road connecting to the adjoining property to the west.

Planning Board, 9-23-2019

As a relatively new member of the board, Mr. Bock was not familiar with the earlier discussions relating to the benefits of the proposed site plan that connected the rear parking lots and asked questions regarding traffic mitigation. Mr. Tegeder explained the benefits of the linked parking lots, adding that this has been a long standing policy of the board and that it has worked in other locations.  He noted that while abutting properties owners always retained the right to erect barriers preventing cross over traffic, the town’s experience has been that property owners have cooperated and that formal easements were not needed.  


The board voted to accept the negative declaration which the applicant needs to pursue an appeal with the DEC.

Planning Board, 9-9-2019

After a brief discussion, the board decided that a vote on the negative declaration should be done at the board’s televised meeting in two weeks.   Mr. Bock said that the resolution should tie the neg dec to the board’s concerns about traffic safety and adherence to the Comprehensive Plan.

Planning Board, 6-24-2019

On the suggestion of Mr. Bock, Mr. Tegeder will “beef up” a draft negative declaration statement that includes more of the board’s findings for the board to review at its next meeting.

Planning Board, 6-10-2019

The applicant advised the board that the DEC has again rejected the site plan that the board wants, despite a letter from the board’s former attorney explaining the board’s position. He explained that before he can appeal the denial to the agency’s administrative judge, he needs the board to adopt a SEQRA negative declaration.  He felt confident that the judge would accept the board’s plan.   Mr. Tegeder will prepare the negative declaration for adoption at the next meeting.

Planning Board, 12-3-2018

In an item not on the agenda, the applicant asked the board about the status of the application. Mr. Tegeder explained that the Planning Department was working on a letter to the DEC.

Planning Board 9-17-2018

The DEC has told the applicant to “go away” as it will not permit the filling in of the state wetland,. The agency has not provided any written documentation, e.g., a denial of its permit request.  The board remains convinced that the latest plan is the nicest and best use of the parcel and is in conformance with the town’s long term goal of connecting the parking lots of adjoining commercial properties. The applicant prepared a possible new site plan that avoids the wetlands and calls for a single building and no connection to the Village Traditions property.


After discussing its options, the board decided to have its attorney send a letter to the DEC  explaining the benefits of the original plan and requesting the agency to put its objections to the preferred plan in writing.

Planning Board, 11-20-2017

The CIY observer did not attend the public hearing. For more information about the hearing, see the official Planning Board minutes.

Planning Board, 10-16-2017

Mr. Riina advised the board that while the Army Corps of Engineers was okay with the last plan, in verbal discussions with the DEC, the agency indicated that it wanted the applicant to reduce the impact on the wetlands. In order to accommodate the DEC comments, one of the proposed buildings would have to be reduced in size and the connecting road in the rear of the site would have to be eliminated. The board felt that the DEC comments were counterproductive as it very much wanted the connecting road. Neither the applicant or the board had any problem with reducing the size of the building.


On the suggestion of Mr. Tegeder, the board will proceed to approve the plan that it believes is in the town’s best interests and force the DEC’s hand by making the agency respond, in writing, why it objects to the plan. 


A public hearing will be held on November 20.

Planning Board, 6-26-2017

Steve Marino, the applicant’s environmental consultant, explained that while the Army Corps of Engineers was on board with the applicant’s original plan for the 6,000 SF and 10,000 SF buildings, the DEC balked at the plan which involved disturbing roughly 17,000 SF of wetlands and called for about 20,000 SFof off site mitigation. The DEC wanted to see alternate plans that had less disturbance.


Before going back to the DEC, the applicant prepared two alternate plans and wanted to know which one the board preferred before going back to DEC. One plan called for a single building that would disturb 15,000 SF of wetlands, while a second plan which maintained the two building concept but moved the buildings closer to Route 6 would only disturb about 12,800  SF of wetlands, allow for on site mitigation on a abutting parcel owned by the applicant, and also address the Conservation Board’s recommendation for a 1:1 mitigation ratio.


The board preferred the second option and advised the applicant to work with the Planning Department to flesh out the details, especially how the buildings would relate to the Route 6 streetscape.

Planning Board, 1-25-2016

In response to Planning Board and Planning Department comments, some slight modifications have been made in the plan, including changes to the rear parking lot to minimize the likelihood of the area being used as a cut thru.


Mr. Riina advised the board that before he proceeds to develop more detailed plans, he will reach out to the DEC and the Army Corps of Engineers to get feedback from them.  Because the wetland is a Type II wetland, the plan will need a longer and more comprehensive review.  The applicant was also advised that before meeting with the outside agencies, he should complete  a full EAF that reflects the latest plan revisions.


Mr. Capellini asked if anyone had considered the possibility of using the Ardizonne site for off site mitigation. There was no discussion on this issue.


Planning Board, 12-21-2015

Based on meetings the staff, the applicant showed the board a revised site plan that reconfigured one of the buildings and moved both buildings back from the road while maintaining a streetscape; doing this reduced the incursion into the wetland buffer.  The applicant also informed the board that the old house on the property has been demolished.  Any discussion about access issues with the abutting property owner will be put on hold pending the start of construction. The current plan shows two access points to Route 6.  The board asked the applicant to tweak the plan further in an effort to avoid making the rear of the site a thoroughfare.


Bruce Barber raised the issue of whether, as part of the application’s wetland mitigation plan, the applicant would consider some off site mitigation on the Arridzone property on the south side of Route 6. The applicant said he would think about this.

Planning Board, 10-19-2015

The point was reemphasized that the proposed vehicle connection between this site and adjacent businesses will be a parking lot inter-connectivity only, not a through road.  Parking is now shown in the rear of the buildings.  A Conservation Board memo indicates concerns about drainage on the site. (Note: The CIY was not present for the entire discussion.)

Planning Board, 10-5-2015

Before the Planning Board took up the Envirogreen Associates project, Mr. Fon referenced comments made at the 9/21/15 Public Information Hearing on this project.  Specifically, Mr. Mallon, an property owner adjacent to Envirogreen, questioned whether a conflict of interest existed if the same attorney represented multiple parties in the review of this project.  Mr. Fon asked the Planning Board Counsel to prepare a legal opinion on the general role and responsibilities of the Planning Board in such situations.   


As requested by the Planning Board, the applicant showed a plan with the proposed buildings moved closer to Route 6, moving all the parking to the sides and back of the buildings.  A small, planted courtyard is proposed between the building front and Route 6.  In general, the Planning Board liked this design change, although the applicant prefers parking in the front.  Parking in front of retail stores makes it easier for customers to get out of their cars and walk right into the front of the destination store.  Rear parking and entrance requires the business owner to maintain two attractive faces.


There was extensive discussion of comments made by neighboring property owners concerning the proposed thru-traffic on their properties.  Planning Board Counsel Georgiou is preparing a legal opinion on the easements requirements in such situations.  Mr. Tegeder emphasized that the traffic movement between the three properties was not conceived as a “thru-road”, as it’s been characterized in planning review discussions, but rather as a “connection” of parking lots.  Various traffic calming devices were discussed, as well as ways to reconfigure the internal driving lanes so as to make the three properties highly undesirable as an intentional short- cut off Route 6.  Mr. Tegeder advised that a traffic engineer be consulted for design suggestions.  The discussion pointed out several other locations in Town where parking lots are connected, but parking is not shared and easements have not been required.  The connection of the Triangle Shopping Center and CVS Plaza parking lots in the Town center is an example that has been very effective in keeping extra traffic away from the Route 118/Commerce St. intersection.


The project engineer asked the Planning Board to be aware in asking for building location redesign, as well as in phasing the construction, that existing tenants will be on the site during construction and will need to relocated to new buildings with minimal interruption in their businesses. 

Planning Board, 9-21-2015

Public Informational Hearing

In describing the proposed project, the applicant emphasized that the elimination of some existing curb cuts on Route 6 and the provision of a vehicle roadway from Lakeland Ave. connecting this site with those to the east and west would help ease congestion on Route 6.  The applicant claims this is in keeping with the Town Master Plan.  Easement issues with the neighboring property owners have not yet been resolved.  A wetland will be constructed in the northeast corner of the site, which will provide 75% mitigation of the necessary wetland incursion.  The remainder of the mitigation will be covered by the proposed treatment of Route 6 run off before it flows into the wetland.  Currently there is no treatment of Route 6 run off.  Both Town and DEC wetland permits are required.

Mr. Capellini, attorney for the applicant, gave a historical overview of the treatment of wetlands in the Route 6 corridor.  He said that when the Town purchased the wetland on the south side of Route 6, behind and on the Winery at St. George property, it was with the understanding that future developers, whose projects would further encroach on Route 6 corridor wetlands, could pay a monetary contribution to the Town which would help mitigate their wetland disturbance and offset some of the Town’s cost for the purchase of the St. George wetland.  Mr. Capellini hoped this provision could come into play with the Envirogreen project.

Questions and Comments from the public:

Marc Saidel of Saidel and Saidel P.C., attorney for the property owner to the west, asked if the roadway connecting the three properties from Lakeland Ave. to Route 6 could be put in place without easements from his client.  He said his client understood there would be shared parking with the Envirogreen site as well as his neighbors to the north and west, but thought this was very different than a thru roadway.  He thinks the roadway will put excessive traffic onto his property and set up dangerous, inconvenient conditions for his tenants.  The Planning Board recognized Mr. Saidel’s client’s concern and emphasized that no decision about the roadway has been reached.  Ms. Georgiou, counsel for the Planning Board, declined to comment on the easement situation.

Tim Mallon, owner of the property to the east on the corner of Route 6 and Lakeland Ave., reiterated his contention that he never agreed to an easement for a roadway through his property.  At the time of his site plan approval, he only agreed to provide access through his property from Lakeland Ave. to the 2000 sq ft Dana Cole property directly to the west, not traffic for an entire strip of commercial buildings, as proposed by Envirogreen.  He said the extra traffic would make his property worthless and accused the Town of not dealing in good faith.  The Planning Board emphasized that nothing had been decided yet, that no comments could be made on the legality of the situation and that the Planning Board was obligated to review any project submitted.

Jeanette McGrath, representing Goldblatt and Associates which is a law firm located across Route 6 from the Envirogreen site, asked what kinds of tenants are expected, the time frame for the construction, whether any closings of Route 6 are anticipated and about the prospects of empty buildings.  Neither the Planning Board nor the applicant had any answers at this point.

Rick Cipriani, the principal of Envirogreen Associates, commented that his only intent in proposing the thru roadway is to help alleviate Route 6 congestion as per the Planning Board’s request, not to create unsafe conditions, and that he would readily eliminate the roadway from the project if directed by the Planning Board.

The Public Informational Hearing was closed.

Planning Board, 8-10-2015

The applicant has relocated the entrance further to the west on Route 6.  No progress has been made with the discussions about cross easements with the owners of Village Traditions to the east and Mohegan Plaza to the west. The owner of Mohegan Plaza said he was opposed to the easement. It was noted that while the site plans for both developments call for the cross connection, requiring the owners to actually enter into cross easements could be a separate legal issue; the board’s attorney is looking into the issue.


The Conservation Board has suggested that the buildings be moved closer to the street; Mr. Tegeder noted that the buildings to the east and west of the site appear to be 30 feet from the road, compared to about 50 feet on the current plan. He also suggested to the applicant that he look at the Mohegan Streetscape Plan that was done several years ago.  The board asked the applicant to prepare alternative plans that move the buildings closer to the road.


A public informational hearing will be held on September 21.


The applicant said he prefers to postpone discussions with the DEC until after he has a more definitive sense of what the Planning Board will require.

Planning Board, 6-22-2015

Having previously given its approval for the demolition of a building on the site, the Planning Board was going to discuss the project’s parking plan and the desirability of traffic entering and exiting from Lakeland St. as well as Route 6.  Then Mr. Tim Mallon, the owner of the building at the corner of Route 6 and Lakeland St, entered the discussion and adamantly insisted that he never agreed to allow the traffic connection between his property and the site under discussion.  He vigorously argued that all the extra cars crossing his property would hurt his property value.  Mr. Fon and other Planning members assured him that the Board would only discuss the plan before it, as it stands without his participation in the traffic plan and that the Planning Board couldn’t force Mr. Mallon to allow access across his property.  Mr. Mallon was invited to stay to hear the Planning Board discussion, but he left, saying that the rest of the project had nothing to do with him.  The Planning Board did discuss the traffic patterns entering and leaving the site from Route 6 only and instructed the applicant to develop an entrance on the east end of the site, leading to parking both in front and in the rear and then an exit onto Route 6 on the west end.  However, it also instructed the applicant to include a traffic connection to Mr. Mallon’s property and Lakeland St on the site plan, although this access wouldn’t be activated at this time.  Ms. Steinberg pointed out that a connection to neighboring properties was in fact a condition of Mr. Mallon’s own site plan approval, but in fairness, when he had agreed to it, the connection was only between his property and the adjacent one, not three commercial sites strung along Route 6.

Mr. Kincart brought up the issue of how much the public should be allowed to participate in work session discussions.  Ms. Georgiou, counsel to the Planning Board, advised it was essential to be consistent in policy regarding public participation.


Planning Board, 6-8-2015

The building in question formerly housed the Dana Cole Hair Salon.  This is a referral from the Building Department, basically asking the Planning Board if there are any potential uses for the building proposed for demolition.  The Planning Board sees none.  According to the applicant Mr. Cipriani, the interior of the building has totally deteriorated and has been assessed zero value by his bank.  Mr. Cipriani said it didn’t matter to him whether the demolition permit was issued now or as part of the final site plan approval for the whole property.  The Planning Board will notify the Building Department that it has no objection to the demolition permit being issued at this time.  Mr. Tegeder asked that the Planning Department be provided with photographs of the building in its present condition.

Planning Board, 5-4-2015

The applicant returned with a revised plan that now includes the addition of the building to the immediate west of Village Traditions (once the proposed home of Dana Cole hair salon).  With the addition of the new property that was purchased recently and rezoned in April (See Town Board, 4/7/2015),  the applicant anticipates that he can do more onsite wetlands mitigation as virtually all the area along Route 6 is in a wetland or a wetland buffer. The site includes 19,000 square feet of wetlands and 54,000 square feet of wetlands buffer.


Mr. Kincart said that while he wasn’t happy with the original plan, he liked the new plan which made more on site mitigation possible.  In general, the board seemed pleased with the new plan as it could help improve drainage issues for surrounding properties. The board will consider a site visit. The wetlands were flagged last summer.


Mr. Capellini explained the history of the Ardizone property acquisition that was designed to create a wetlands bank that would allow for the development of other wetland sites along Route 6 and which could make possible the concept of “no net loss” of wetlands.


Mr. Riina explained that the applicant prefers not to discuss the project with the DEC until the applicant has a better sense of what the Planning Board wants for the site.


The board asked the applicant to consider working with the owner of Village Traditions to see if a common entrance to Route 6 could be agreed to that would eliminate the parking in front of the Village Traditions site.

Planning Board, 12-8-2014

The proposal is to remove the existing 5000 sq ft building, housing a Dunkin’ Donut, a pizza place and a nail salon, and replacing it with a 10,000 sq ft building.  The site has adequate parking, even if the new building becomes a restaurant, i.e. 107 spaces.  The plan includes a vehicle pass-through connecting this property and the one to the west, which would relieve some traffic on route 6.  The applicant would like to obtain property to the east (housing a party store and hair salon and which is in foreclosure) so that traffic could enter the back of the combined sites from Lakeland Ave. 


The main difficulty is that the site has 7 ac. of wetland, 1/3 -1/2 ac. of which would be filled for the proposed pass-through road.  Even without the connecting road, the entire proposed building and most of the parking is in the wetland buffer.  The applicant has experience in new wetland creation as mitigation and is willing to do this.  He’s also okay with eliminating the connecting road, if that’s the Planning Board’s preference.  It was generally understood that a site with such environmental restrictions would never be before the Planning Board, except that it’s in the heavily developed Mohegan/route 6 corridor.  


There was discussion between Mr. Barber, Mr. Tegeder and project engineer Mr. Rina about when the wetland should be delineated, considering weather restrictions, the already extremely disturbed character of the wetland and the very preliminary nature of the proposal before the Planning Board.  Mr. Rina and Mr. Barber favored doing the delineation now.  Mr. Tegeder favored holding off until the Planning Board had something more definite to consider.  The Planning Board decided on the latter timing.  Applicant’s Counsel Mr. Capellini will research the history of the Town’s approach to route 6 corridor wetlands as it relates to theTown’s  condemnation of the Ardizone wetlands on the south side of route 6 in the 1990s.