Location: 2300 Catherine Street
Contact: Site Design Consultants
Description: Proposed continuum of care facility consisting of independent living units and skilled nursing home replacing existing home with a common facility supporting both communities.
Planning Board, 1-22-2018
At the request of the anticipated purchaser of the Holy Comforter Nursing Home, the applicant is requesting a lot line adjustment that would “clean up” several cross easements on the Fieldhome Expansion site plan approved in 2012 that involved the nursing home, the original Field Home and the proposed new independent living facility, the plans for which have been shelved. Mr. Riina explained that the eventual plan is to apply for a formal subdivision of the property that will separate the various uses on the site.
Planning Board, 3-27-2017
The board granted a second one year extension. Mr. Capellini explained that the applicant is actively marketing the site and that it is more valuable with an approved site plan. The applicant is still waiting for Department of Health approval. The sale of the skilled nursing home is under contract.
The board extended the permit for the temporary sales building to July 16, 2018.
The board approved a one year extension of the site plan approval.
The applicant described proposed changes in lot lines with the Holy Comforter and the Fieldhome Hall on separate lots. Formerly the lot lines were oddly configured because a septic system had to be accommodated on one lot. Now that the septic system is no longer needed, the lot lines can be made more regular. Reconfiguring the lot line will require some side lot variances. The reconfiguration shows utility easements for both existing and any future lots. The applicant has not yet applied to the ZBA for the lot line adjustment and variances, but asked the Planning Board to recommend approval when it does get the referral from the ZBA. The Planning Department staff will review the situation and get back to the applicant.
CEO John Ahearn explained that Fieldhome-Holy Comforter's original plan for the independent living facilityare being changed because the independent living plan failed to attract buyers. The group is now hoping to sell the skilled nursing home and Seabury Assisted Living to a for profit company; the Foundation will separately sell the vacant land to a developer. If the nursing home sale goes through, then the site plan approved by the Planning Board will have to be changed as it included shared facilities between the independent living facility and a proposed new skilled nursing home. Also, because the Foundation hopes to sell the vacant land, it wants to keep the temporary sales office for future sales efforts. The only immediate action required of the Town Board is to renew the approval for the temporary sales office which the board will do at its next regular meeting.
The board reapproved the site plan. Mr. Riina explained that the applicant is still before the DEP and that once the agency requests one change, that change triggers the need for other changes that have to be reviewed. He said the applicant has been before the DEP for 1˝years.
Item was withdrawn from the agenda. No explanation was given.
Board action on approving the licensing agreement had to be postponed because Jeannette Koster, the town attorney, had not completed her review of the document. According to Mr. Capellini, Diana Quast, the chairman of the Recreation Commission had expressed concerns to Ms. Koster about the time frame of the license and exactly what children would be using the field. There was also an issue of the terms under which the agreement could be revoked. The board’s attorney also had some issues with the draft agreement.
The board will revisit the issue at its August meeting.
Planning Board, 6-23-2014
The discussion centered on the language of the license agreement with the town for the continued use of the soccer field and the conservation easement. Both documents are being reviewed by the Recreation Commission and the town attorney. On the soccer field use, representatives of the Fieldhome indicated they had no problem with the time frame of the license (or possibly a lease) being open ended with a provision that it could be terminated on written notice. They indicated that the field did not seem to be used very much and that it may not be needed in the future if other fields became available. On the easement issue, they wanted the ability to change the location of the field if the situation warranted and also to be consulted on any signage at the field to assure compatibility with the abutting Fieldhome.
Al Capellini, attorney for the Fieldhome, indicated that they would like both issues to be resolved as soon as possible as it could affect changes in the home’s marketing plan and the way the units are sold. The possible changes are currently under review.
The board reviewed a draft license agreement for the 90,000 sq. ft. field. The draft had been prepared by Mr. Capellini who said that it was 99% based on the 2006 agreement the town had with the Fieldhome. Mr. Tegeder raised questions about some of the terms, including fees, taxes, insurance requirements, and hours of use which, in the draft were: Mon-Fri 3-7:30, Saturday 9-4 and Sunday 10-4. Mr. Capellini said that the Sunday hours were okay with the Fieldhome but Mr. Tegeder though that the 9am start on Saturday might be too early. At the suggestion of Ms. Kutter, the agreement will include language that will allow the implementation of a Forest Management Plan in the conservation easement.
The draft will be sent to the Parks and Recreation Department for its review and comment.
The board had an initial discussion of the conservation easement drafted by Mr. Capellini for the 32 acre portion of the site that will be used by the town for a soccer field. At Mr. Tegeder’s suggestion, the board will do a more in depth review of the draft before it is sent to the town attorney for her review and before the Town Board acts on the easement.
The easement will include a license, the text of which remains to be drafted, for the town to use a portion of the site for the soccer field. The preliminary conditions of the license, based on earlier discussions with the board, will be for 20 years and will limit the use of the field to pre-high school age players, hours will be: Sat, 9-4, Sun 10-4 and school weekdays 3-7:30. The easement, which will make the property tax exempt, will remain in place even if the recreational use ceases at a future date.
The board approved a one year extension of the site plan approval while the applicant awaits DEP approval of its revised stormwater plan which, based on the latest submission, it hopes will be forthcoming shortly. Mr. Riina noted that the revised plan has been before the DEP for over a year.
Authorized the Supervisor to sign a PILOT (Payment in lieu of taxes) agreement that amended a 2000 PILOT agreement. The new agreement covers the proposed new senior independent living units and common areas building.
The Board voted 4-0 with Supervisor Grace abstaining, for a resolution that involved aa payment of approximately $191.000 from the Fieldhome. The purpose of the payment was not disclosed.
(Note: CIY obtained a copy of the resolution after the meeting. The resolution states: "...it is in the Town’s best interest to receive and accept, and that the Town hereby accepts, $191,305 from Catharine Field Home as payment in full satisfaction of arrearages associated with the properties owned by Catharine Field Home or Field Home-Holy Comforter under the Agreement dated October 31, 2000 as amended on May 15, 2006 (the “PILOT”) from 2003 through the date hereof, provided that the Town receives such payment within 30 days, or no later than May 23, 2013.")
The Board granted a one year extension on the site plan approval to allow more time for the applicant to get DEP approval for its revised stormwater plan.
Then, in a work session format, the Board again expressed frustration with the DEP and why the agency hadn’t expressed its concern about the stormwater plan earlier in the approval process. It was decided that the town would wait for DEP to complete its review of the revised stormwater plan before voting to adopt an amended site plan that reflects the new plan. DEP continues to say that it will do an uncoordinated SEQRA review which means that the town may have to reopen the SEQRA process once it deals with the amended site plan.
The applicant was back before the Board because the DEP did not agree with the original stormwater plan approved by the Board (which had the support of the DEC ) and the applicant has had to redesign the system to satisfy DEP concerns.
The main change is the creation of a new infiltration basin in lieu of the earlier plan to enhance an existing detention pond.The new plan will result in slightly less overall land disturbance, the removal of 117 more trees and cost the applicant about the same amount of money. The major concern to the applicant was the delay in the approval as Fieldhome is about to open its sales office.Members of the Board, which support the development, expressed frustration but there was little they could do as DEP would not begin its review until after the Town approved the project, which it did last April, and the applicant submitted its plans to DEP in July, 2012.
One issue that remains to be resolved is the SEQRA process and whether DEP, when it does its own SEQRA review, will consider the town an involved agency or whether the Town will have to do a separate SEQRA review. It was the opinion of Planning Director Tegeder that DEP was not following the law by not involving the Town in its review.
The Board held a public hearing on proposed amendment to the Zoning Code pertaining to permits for temporary structures.
The proposed amendment eliminates a 1,5000 sf limit on the size of a temporary structure and instead leaves the size of the structure up to the discretion of the Town Board to determine on a case by case basis.The permit has to be renewed on a yearly basis and there are provisions in the law for the town to remove the structure if the applicant fails to do so.
Joe Riina of Site Deisgn Consultants, the engineer for the expansion of the Fieldhome, explained the proposed plan to erect a temporary 3,000 sf sales office.
Building Inspector John Winter explained that the temporary sales office at Trump Park was not authorized by this section of the code but instead was part of an approved site plan.
The Board closed the hearing and approved the amendments.In an action later in the meeting, it approved the permit for the Fieldhome.
Joe Riina of Site Design Consultants presented a more detailed plan for the location of the proposed 50’ x 60’ temporary sales office. In order to save three trees in parking area, the number of parking spaces has been reduced to 14 from 16. The engineer will also make every effort to protect a fourth tree, a 26” spruce that is close to the proposed building. Some grading and a 2-3’ retaining wall will be required.
According to Fieldhome CEO John Ahearn, the temporary structure will likely be needed for three years. He was hoping to start construction in the fall. There was some discussion but not conclusion as to whether there should be some restrictions on how long a temporary structure should be allowed to exist. Citing the example of the ‘temporary” sales office at Trump Park, some board members suggestedone year permits that would be subject to renewal.
When it became clear that the board did not have a copy of a proposed amendments to the existing Zoning Ordinance regulating temporary building permits that were referred to the Planning last week by the Town Board, it fell to Fieldhome attorney Al Capellini to explain to the Planning Board that the amendment was necessa4ry because the current code allowed for a maximum structure of 1,500 sq ft.whereas the planned sales office wold be 3,000 sq. ft. The proposed amendment, which will be subject of a public hearing on July 17 would eliminate the size restriction and permit the Town Board to grant the temporary building permit on a case by case basis.
In response to Mr. Flynn’s expressed concern about the aesthetics of the building, Planning Board attorney Karen Wager suggested that the applicant bring renderings of the proposed building to the July 17 public hearing. And in response toMr. Flynn’s concerns about noise and dust when the existing structure will be demolished to make room for the new sales office, Mr. Riina said that he didn’t foresee any problems in that area and that he would have to meet any conditions set by the Buildiong Department when Dieldhome applied for a demolition peremit.
The Planning Department will send a memo to the Town Board indicating that it has no problem with the temporary structure.
The applicant wants permission to erect a 3,100 sq ft temporary structure, with a 16 space parking lot, at the entrance to the site to serve as a sales office. (The approved site plan did not include a sales office as the original plan was to have an off-site sales office. On reflection, the applicant determined that an on-site sales office was preferable. )
The temporary sales office would be a modular structure and the parking area would be paved. Once the structure was no longer needed, the area would revert back to the site plan’s original landscape plan. Temporary drainage controls would be installed.The structure would include a presentation area and small offices where potential buyers could have private discussions. The number of sales staff was not known.
Mr. Capellini indicated that the applicant needed to get the sales office issue resolved as quickly as possible as the Fieldhome needs to get a certain percentage of units sold in order to get the financing to start construction. In response to the suggestion from Babette Ballinger that the existing old building be used as a sales office, both Mr. Capellini and members of the Planning Board noted that it wouldn’t be cost effective for the Fieldhome to put money into refurbishing the building when a part of it was scheduled to be demolished. Also, the existing building is used for offices.
After the board determined that the approved site plan would have to be amended in order to permit the structure, it agreed to set a public hearing for later this month on the amended plan. It was also noted that the Town Board needs to okay a temporary structure and that ABACA may want to review the plan for the modular building, especially as Yorktown has learned that some “temporary” sales offices last a longer period of time than originally contemplated.
Soccer field: Prior to the discussion of the sales office, Mr. Flynnasked Mr. Capellini if the Fieldhome might consider entering into some sort of arrangement with the Yorktown School District for the use of the soccer field at the French Hill School in lieu of the Catherine Street site. He noted that the school field had adequate parking and was a standard field. Mr. Capellini said he would speak to representatives of the Fieldhome who weren’t present for this discussion.
Members of the Recreation Commission and Todd Orlowski, Assistant Superintendent for Parks & Recreation participated in a discussion over the future use of the 32 acre field.Fieldhome CEO John Ahearne repeated his concern that there be no increase in the intensity of the field’s use that could jeopardize the tranquility of the setting which could negatively impact the marketing of the new independent living units that will be located close to the field. Residents from Glasbury Condominiums also expressed concern over parking on Catherine St that narrowed the travel right of way. It was noted that when curbs were put in along the road a few years ago, the road was narrowed by about 3 feet.
Diana Quast, chairman of the Recreation Commission explained that since the existing agreement between the Town and the Fieldhome was signed six years ago, the field has had limited use because work had to be done to it to bring it up to an acceptable quality.Because the field is not regulation size, it is only used by younger players.Also, because of the needed improvements, there is little real history to go on to determine what “normal” usage would be. She said she would work with the Fieldhome as the new schedule for the field is developed, and that one option to minimize the parking problem would be to adjust the schedule in order to avoid overlapping usage.
Citing his concern about increasing the intensity of the usage, Mr. Ahearne rejected the Recreation Commission’s request that the field be considered a “multi-purpose” field in order to give the town and clubs more flexibility.
There was a brief discussion about the possibility of relocating the field away from the new units, but there was a consensus that there was no other suitable location.The discussion on whether additional on-site parking could be developed was inconclusive; there is a possibility that there might be sufficient right of way along Catherine St. to allow for parking on the shoulder.
There was some discussion, but no decisions, on whether there should be fencing (in the past, the field was damaged by ATVs). When Mr. Ahearne asked, “at who’s cost?” Mr. Fon cited the clubs as one possible source.
Mr. Capellini said that the existing agreement governing the use of the field should be scrapped and he will continue to work on a new agreement for a recreation easement, using the Trump Park agreement as a model.
Members of the Recreation Commission thanked the Planning Board for what they called an “awesome” opportunity to discuss recreational needs with the board and Mr. Fon, who again said that there needed to be more communication between boards, advised them of the ongoing discussions regarding the potential for additional fields at the Fieldstone Manor project.
The discussion centered on the future ownership and use of the 32 ac. site that abuts the proposed new independent living units. Mr. Capellini said the Fieldhome preferred to retain ownership of the site and designate it as a conservation easement.
The Town holds a 20 year lease (which is approaching its end) on a 2.5 ac. soccer field within the 32 acres. The Planning Board, especially Mr. Fon and Mr. Kincart, emphasized what an important resource this field is for younger age group travelling teams in the Town’s three soccer clubs (AYSO, YAC, YYSC) and hoped the field would continue to be available and could be upgraded. There was discussion about exactly what is included in “upgrading”, because “improvements” are not allowed under the terms of the current lease. Mr. Ahearne, Fieldhome CEO, was concerned about the magnitude of upgrades proposed and potential negative impacts of soccer games on Fieldhome residents and neighbors on
Mr. Flynn asked if the soccer field could be relocated to minimize its impact on the neighbors. Mr. Riina, project engineer, said it could, but would require much more land disturbance.
Ms. Kutter asked about the status of a forest management plan for the remainder of the conservation easement. This could be part of the language establishing the easement, according to Ms. Wagner.
Mr. Capellini asked about a model for the language of the conservation easement. Mr. Tegeder suggested using the Cappelli property on Barger St. Mr. Capellini will write a draft which the Planning Board will review before sending to the Town Attorney.
The board unanimously voted to declare itself lead agency for SEQRA and issued a negative declaration. It then proceeded to approve the site plan, tree, wetlands and stormwater permits.
The future legal status of the 32 acres that includes the soccer field and which will remain open space will be discussed at a subsequent work session that will involve the Town Board and the Recreation Commission.Options include deeding the land to the Town, having the Field Home deed only the future development rights to the Town, or putting a conservation easement on the land.
Mr. Flynn updated the board on a meeting of the Recreation Commission that he attended along with a representative of Yorktown Youth Soccer.At the meeting, the soccer group raised four issues regarding the field, only some of which involve the Planning Board
1.the desire for an extension of the current lease from the Field Home
2. concern over poor drainage at one end of the field
3. the need to expand the size of the parking area
4. the need to expand the size of the field by about 20’ in width and 10’ in length.
Joe Riina of Site Design Consultants, the engineers for the project, explained that the amount of runoff from the Field Home site onto the field will decrease after the construction as much of the current flow from the Field Home will be captured and channeled into the new project’s stormwater system and away from the soccer field.
As for the expansion of the field, Mr. Flynn noted that any expansion would likely need extensive grading, and Al Capellini, the project’s attorney, raised the issue of how the residents of both the Field Home and the Glassbury condominiums might perceive any expansion.
Planning Board, 3/26/2012
The board reviewed a draft of the decision statement which, with a few minor changes, will be voted on at the next meeting.One of the additions to the statement will be the condition that the Field Home maintain that portion of the original Field Home building that is shown on the site plan. The town’s desire to preserve a portion of the building was identified during initial discussions between the Planning Department and the applicant, with the latter having no problem accommodating the town’s goal.
In response to Ms. Kutter’s question regarding how the proposed independent living facility differed from Trump Park, attorney Al Capellini said that the latter was a condo that was built at the wrong economic time. Mr. Ahearne added that based on the home’s extensive market studies, the home was confident that there was a market for what it was proposing. “We have to succeed,” he said, as we’re a not-for-profit organization.
Mr. Capellini asked to board to give Mr. Ahearne some sense of assurance that if the project didn’t start construction within the required time frame, that the board will grant site plan extensions. Mr. Flynn responded that to the best of his knowledge the board has never refused any extension and that some projects have gotten three or four extensions. The Field Home still needs approval from several health oriented state agencies.
Once the Planning Board approves the site plan, the applicant will have to get DEP approval.The applicant has not had any substantive contact with DEP up to this point in time.
The board convened a public hearing on the project.
Consultants from the development team presented an overview of the project, including the new buildings, traffic, architecture, and drainage issues. John Ahearne, Fieldhome CEO explained that the proposed Continuing Care Retirement Community (CCRC), which has been a work in progress for 2 ˝ years, will be a win-win for the Fieldhome, assuring its future economic viability and also for the community by addressing a need for local residents. He noted that there are only two other CCRCs in Westchester and 11 in New York State.
The project includes 101 units of 1 and 2 bedroom independent living, a connected building with a dining room, fitness center and other amenities, a new nursing home building that will have only 96 beds compared to the current 202 beds (the old building will be demolished once the new facility is built and the old site converted to lawn) and a relocated day care center for the same number of children. A portion of the original Field Home Building, currently used for administrative offices, will be restored and retained.A second entrance to the site will be constructed north of the existing entrance. The site will have 278 parking space and 40 garage units. A rear service road will encircle all the buildings. A total of 284 new trees will be planted, plus additional landscaping. The existing old house along Catherine St will be demolished and not replaced.
Joe Riina of Site Design Consultants explained the variety of drainage measures that he said were above and beyond what was required and which would reduce any downstream flooding. The measures will include bio retention areas, an infiltration area, some porous pavement and a reconstructed retention pond.In response to questions from residents from Glasbury Court about what would happen if the retention pond overflowed, he explained that any overflow would be captured in a channel that would flow to the north of the property (away from Glasbury).
A 32 acre portion of the site will either be deeded to the town or a conservation easement placed on the site that will preclude any future development. A portion of the site includes a soccer field that the town has been using. The future legal status of this site and whether the town will want to take title to the property will require further discussion with the Town Board and Recreation Commission.Because some of the existing trees along the edge of the soccer field will have to be removed as part of the construction, the applicant will replant new trees or shrubs.
Phil Grealy, a traffic engineer with John Collins Engineers, reviewed the traffic impact from the proposed development along Catherine Street and eight affected intersections.He estimated that traffic would increase by about 30-50 trips during peak am and pm hours. As part of this report, he is recommending that the applicant work with the highway department on a combination of signage/road stripping/pruning improvements for the Old Crompond Rd and Catherine St and Old Crompond and Garden Lane intersections. In response to concerns from Glasbury residents about the narrow width of Catherine St, it was explained that the width varied from 19 feet to about 24 feet at different parts of the road and that it appeared that the road had been narrowed at its northern end, possibly in order to deter speeding. He also suggested that stripping along the curb would help. His report also included conceptual improvements to Garden Lane which is owned 1/3 by the town (southern end) and 2/3 by private owners. Any future improvements would require cooperation with the current owners, he said.
Concern was also expressed about the school buses to Panas HS that use Catherine St.The problem of parking along Catherine St when the soccer field is in use was also raised.
In response to Mr. Flynn’s questions about the availability of public transportation for the home’s workforce, Mr. Grealy said that there was public transportation along Route 202 but that he didn’t think there was sufficient usage to warrant public transportation along Catherine St. Also, there will likely be a decrease in thesize of the work force once the new smaller nursing home facility is built.
In terms of process and next steps, it was explained that the town engineer cannot finalize her comments regarding the project’s stormwater plan until the DEP has finished its review and that would not happen until the Planning Board issued a negative declaration.
The hearing was closed and the comment period left open until the board’s next meeting.
Planning Board, 2/13/2012
The applicant needs a setback variance on the north side for the site for garages and a building.The Planning Board has no objection to this and will indicate so in a letter to the Zoning Board.With respect to the SEQR classification, the Board determined the project is unlisted.
Planning Board, 1/23/2012
Since the previous appearance before the Planning Board, the applicant has reviewed the memo from staff, the Conservation Board, ABACA and has met with the Tree Conservation Advisory Commission.
According to the applicant, ABACA was okay with relocating the garages back to the original location but did request additional plantings, as well as additional plantings to act as a buffer to the abutting soccer field. The group also requested a change in the roof line. The Tree Commission was also okay with the mitigation plan for the proposed tree removal as well as the plan for the additional plantings.
Planning Director John Tegeder advised the board that the following issues needed additional review and discussion:
1. A previous agreement with the neighboring 64-unit Glasbury condominium community over whether it had or should have any priority in purchasing the new units and access to the facilities at the Field Home. Mr. Tegeder noted that Glasbury was built under the same zoning and as part of an earlier sharing agreement between the Field Home and the developer of Glasbury. That agreement may need to be changed now, he suggested, because of changing circumstances. John Ahearn, Field Home CEO, indicated that this would not be a problem.
2. Steep slopes. Mr. Tegeder wanted some clarification as to whether the disturbances to steep slopes was a result of creating new steep slopes or disturbing existing ones.
3. Emergency services. Mr. Tegeder wanted to know if the applicant had heard back from the police and fire departments. In response, the applicant stated that despite a letter and several phone calls, they had not heard from the Police Department and that the Fire Department had said it would be sending a letter but that none had been received to date.
4. Market study. Citing the marketing problems of another “apartment like” building in another part of town that has not been able to sell its units, Mr. Tegeder asked for more information about the applicant’s market studies, especially whether potential buyers would be interested in apartment like living in an otherwise rural bucolic town. In response Mr. Ahearn noted that there was a difference between the service oriented building being proposed for Field home and the other apartment like senior building in Yorktown.
The applicant will return to the Planning Board after it has addressed all the comments from town staff and advisory boards.
Mr. Riina of Site Design Consultants reviewed a few changes that have been made in the site plan since the applicant’s previous appearance before the board. An amended EAF (Environmental Assessment Form) will be submitted to reflect the changes.
Location of garages: In response to earlier comments from ABACA, the applicant prepared a plan that repositioned the garages. However, the applicant has rejected that plan because it created more site disturbance and has returned to the original plan that has the garages parallel to the buildings. The current plan also includes modifications to the exterior of the buildings.
Tree removal: Mr. Riina advised the board that the current site plan meets the requirements of the Tree Ordinance and calls for less than 30% of the site’s trees to be removed. Patrick Francois, the Conservation Board’s liaison to the Planning Board, expressed concern about the number of trees to be cut and asked for additional information. The tree plan will be submitted to the Tree Conservation Advisory Committee for review. The Conservation Board also expressed concern over the possibility of erosion from grading a slope and wanted more information about what plantings would be used to stabilize the slope, as well as more information about buffer plantings between the site and the abutting soccer field.
Skilled nursing building: The building will now include a basement level to be used for utility purposes. While the square footage of the building will increase, the footprint will remain the same and the basement will be buried “for the most part.”
Conformance with earlier use of site. Resident Babette Ballinger asked if the changes in the site were consistent with the intent of the original donation of the property dating back to the 1880s which was to provide a home for aged women. Field Home CEO John Ahearn responded that the intended use is in concert with the original donation and Al Capellini, attorney for the applicant, said that he would review the deed.
The Planning Department will prepare a memo on the latest plan changes, including comments made by the board’s attorney dealing with the EAF that were not discussed at the meeting.
The application will be reviewed again at the board’s January 23rd meeting.