Note: See Costco for a discussion of that site plan review.
Planning Board 3-12-2108
In an item not on the agenda, the board agreed to sign the site plan even though the maintenance agreement with the town regarding the water system has not been approved by the Town Board. The general consensus was that the town’s approval was expected soon and that as long as the applicant was already doing work on the site, it made sense to sign the site plan.
Planning Board, 2-26-2018
While waiting for final sign offs from the Dept. of Health and DOT, the applicant requested the Planning Board sign the site plan so that it could get a building permit. The issue the board wants resolved before signing the site plan is the town’s approval of a maintenance agreement with Lowes regarding the site’s water mains; the DOH wants the system to be public, but the town wants to make sure that any future problems with any parts of the system are paid for by Lowes and not the taxpayers in the water district. According to Mr. Tegeder, the town attorney is reviewing a draft agreement that was prepared last year by Lowes; he indicated that heavy revisions to the draft are anticipated. The applicant was advised to work with Mr. Tegeder and the town attorney to resolve the issue.
Town Board, 12-19-2017
The board authorized the supervisor to sign an agreement with KJM Construction Management for an amount not to exceed $235,800 to oversee some aspects of the construction project. The money will come from the inspection fee that Lowe’s will be required to pay.
Planning Board, 12-18-2017 The applicant has submitted the required documents needed to satisfy about half of the conditions in the approval resolution and is working on the remaining documents. As soon as they are submitted and reviewed, the board can sign off on the site plan. In the meantime, the board approved the first 1-year extension.
Town Board, 10-3-2017
Planning Board, 12-18-2017
The applicant has submitted the required documents needed to satisfy about half of the conditions in the approval resolution and is working on the remaining documents. As soon as they are submitted and reviewed, the board can sign off on the site plan. In the meantime, the board approved the first 1-year extension.
The board authorized the supervisor to sign a Letter of Authorization to allow Lowes to submit its water and sewer application to the appropriate regulatory agencies. The supervisor said that demolition was expected to start next week.
The applicant’s engineer gave the following updates.
Stormwater: The DEP wants a few “tweaks” made to the plan. The engineer doesn’t anticipate this to be a major issue. The Watershed Inspector General’s office, which is advisory only, has recomen4ed two additional changes, one of which appears to differ with the DEP’s approach; this will have to be worked out with the DEP that has the ultimate approval authority.
Demolition: This should be started this week and will last about 4 weeks.
Sidewalks at Strang Blvd: the DOT person in charge of making the decision will be out until the end of the month but the engineer doesn’t anticipate any problem with the revised plan; he is preparing the engineering details in anticipation of getting DOT approval.
Water lines: See 8/14/2017 summary below. Supervisor Grace has suggested that the best way to resolve the issue is for the town to take over the lines but form a water district that will consist of the four parcels making up the entire Lowe’s site. Ongoing maintenance of the water lines will then become part of the Common Area Maintenance Agreement that will share expenses for the maintenance of other common areas throughout the site. The water district would be taxed to generate the revenue needed to cover maintenance costs.
The applicant advised the board that he would be having a pre-construction meeting with town and DEP officials later in the week. (Note: At last week’sTown Board meeting, Supervisor Grace said that the applicant had received its demolition permit.)
The only issue discussed with the grass strip from Strang Blvd. The applicant said the DOT wanted a letter of support for the change it wants from the town. A draft of the letter has been writer; its contents was not discussed. In response to questions from Mr. Tegeder who wanted to follow up on the suggestion made at the previous meeting about the feasibility of a narrower strip, the applicant said that that would not work and still preferred to eliminate the strip altogeher. The board agreed with the applicant’s request.
The applicant advised the board that the DEP will permit the demolition of the existing buildings on the site to be demolished before the stormwater plan is approved. Demolition is expected to begin by the end of the month.
The applicant advised the board that DOT approval is also very close to being finalized. One issue still under review is the proposed sidewalk, shoulder and grass strip beginning at Strang Blvd. The plan was designed to provide room for snow removal along the road. The applicant explained that in order to follow the plan, existing trees would have to be removed and an earthen bank flattened. As an alternative that he said would be more sensitive to the environment, the applicant suggested not beginning the shoulder until about 200 feet closer to the entrance ramp on to the parkway. This left open the question of whose responsibility it would be for snow removal on the sidewalk and mowing the grass; it was the consensus that based on town law, this would likely be the responsibility of the owner of the office park. Mr. Fon asked the applicant to check out whether the Americans With Disabilities law would permit a four foot sidewalk instead of the proposed five foot sidewalk.
Explaining that construction bids came in $1 million more than expected, the applicant wants to make some minor adjustments to the site plan in order to reduce costs. The board had no issue with the proposed modifications.
Another issue needing resolution was whether a portion of the water lines serving the site would be private or public lines. The applicant advised the board that the DOH wanted the lines to be public but board members said that in previous commercial developments, the lines were all private. The board advised the applicant to set up a conference call with town officials and the DOH to resolve the issue.
Originally scheduled for a discussion during the televised special session, the board moved the discussion to a work session format to allow for a discussion of key issues: the duration of the permit for outdoor services and storage and the master sign plan. As noted below, after agreement was reached on both issues, the board went into special session, and voted to approve the resoltuions.
Special permit: A permit is needed for two areas: a permanent one behind the building where merchandise is off loaded and a temporary seasonal area in a parking area on the west side of the site. The applicant wanted a five year permit for both sites in order to protect its financial investment and not have to come back to the board in a shorter period of time for renewals. The board, however, was concerned about the potential loss of parking spaces during the seasonal use for storage. In a compromise, the board agreed to a split permit: 5 years for the permanent storage that the board had no issue with and 2 years for the temporary storage so that the board could assess the impact of the loss of parking spaces. The applicant explained that the timing of the seasonal storage varied by location.
Master sign: As a follow up to the previous meeting, the applicant presented an elevation showing how the proposed monument sign would be visible from Route 202. As the sign with just Lowes met the requirements of the code, the board approved the master plan approving it so that the applicant could proceed to erect it. When the tenants for the 3 pad sites are identified and their signage requirements become known, the applicant may have to request an amended plan
The discussion was the parameters of a master sign plan for the development that showed renderings of both the location and size of the proposed signs. The overall number of square footage of signs was within the town’s code. Details on the signs can’t be pinned down until the still unknown tenants for the satellite buildings are identified. So far, no tenants are known. Lowe’s is anxious to get approval as soon as possible for a proposed 12’ high monument sign. Mr. Tegeder had no inherent problem with the 12’ (town code allows up to 16’) but asked the applicant to show elevations of why 12’ was needed for visibility and whether a lower sign might be accept able.
The renderings were referred to ABACA for review and the applicant will return to the Planning Board on June 12.
After making some technical changes to the approving resolution, the public hearing on the amended site plan was closed and the board voted to approve the site plan, along with wetlands, tree, and stormwater permits. Because legal issues surrounding the subdivision of the parcels remain to be worked out, the public hearing on the subdivision plan remained open. The applicant explained that at the request of the DOT, the applicant will purchase the additional 3+ acres abutting the 3+ acre DOT site that will be used for stormwater retention. While the stormwater plan will remain the same, the additional acreage will change other calculations of the overall plan such as the percentage of impervious surface.
The applicant reviewed the highlights of the plan as discussed at earlier meetings. No tenants for the two restaurants and the bank building have been identified. The details of the 5-lot subdivision plan remain to be worked out, with the applicant requesting that the eventual plan leave open the possibility that the outer buildings could be sold to the user; in the event that happens, the applicant would return to the Planning Board. The applicant reported that soil borings for the detention ponds on the state DOT property were positive and the applicant will now finalize the site’s stormwater plan. The applicant is the contract vendee for the property. The details for the off site mitigation for the tree removal remain to be worked out.
Two people spoke up at the hearing in support of the project. Chamber of Commerce president Eric DiBartolo said the plan was helping to foster new development along Route 202. The hearing was adjourned to December 5th to give the applicant time to finalize the subdivision plan.
In a technical matter, in a separate action before the public hearing was opened, the board voted to extend the Costco site plan that was due to expire this week.
The applicant has responded to the Conservation Board’s memo. A more detailed lighting plan will be submitted once the tenants for the outer buildings have been identified. Mr. Grealy went over preliminary plans to add sidewalks around and connecting the outer buildings to the parking lot; the board was in agreement with the concept.
A memo from the Tree Conservation Advisory Commission, which the applicant had not seen yet, suggested two off site mitigation measures: planting 22 street trees along Underhill Avenue near Town Hall and installing deer exclosures and removing invasives at Sylvan Glen Nature Preserve. The applicant had no problem with either suggestion but wants to meet with TCAC and staff to work out details.
The applicant explained that it is still conducting tests on the DOT site to locate the best possible site for the detention ponds.
For taxing purposes with the future tenants of the out buildings, the applicant wants to subdivide the site into five lots: one each for the three out buildings, the Lowe’s building, and the remaining open space. All five lots would be owned by the same owner and each would be responsible for a share of the maintenance for the roads and open space on the entire site. A representative of Breslin explained that while the company has no intention of selling off the individual lots, it wants to preserve the possibly that a future tenant for one of the out buildings may have a corporate policy of owning its own site rather than leasing.
A public hearing on the plan will be held November 22nd.
After a discussion of any potential adverse environmental impacts not previously reviewed in the Costco plan, and based on a memo prepared by the Planning Department, the board adopted a resolution stating that there were no significant adverse environmental impacts associated with the Lowes plan and that the board could proceed to review the site plan.
After doing a site visit of the additional parcel to be used for stormwater, Bruce Barber reported that 297 trees will be removed based on the town’s new tree law that increased the size of a “protected tree” from 6” dbh to 8”dbh. Lowes plans to plant 334 new trees throughout the site. The applicant will present a mitigation plan for the tree removal at the November 7 meeting that will include a mix of onsite and offsite mitigation at Sylvan Glen, as per the latter’s previously prepared Forest Management Plan. The plan will be based on the functional needs of the site and will attempt to meet the same absorption benefits that the removed trees provided.
A representative of Lowes reviewed the company’s “green” measures and how they differ from the Costco plan.
As part of the site plan review, Mr. Flynn asked the applicant to consider more sidewalks in the front of the site linking the restaurant buildings and bank to the bus stop as well as the Lowes building. The applicant said he would accommodate this concern.
The lighting plan will follow that of Costco and include a mix of 16’ poles along the perimeter, 25’ polies in the parking lot (fewer than in the Costco plan) and 20’ along the building. The fixtures will all be “dark sky.” The lighting for the bank ATM will have to be considered once there is a firm tenant.
A public hearing on the site plan will be held November 21.
The key issue discussed at the meeting was whether the plan created any significant adverse impacts (the key word being “significant”) that were not in the approved Costco plan; if there were, the applicant would have to complete a supplemental EIS. It is the applicant’s contention that a supplemental EIS is not needed.
Having gone through each of the sections in the previously submitted Technical Memo, Mr. Fon said he saw either less of an impact, or an improved situation for the new plan’s visual impact, overall uses, parking, layout and traffic. His one area of concern was that more information was needed on the landscaping plan, especially along Route 202.
Traffic consultant Philip Grealy explained that while the AM peak hour traffic will be heavier than Costco due to contractor’s visiting the garden center, the PM and Saturday peaks will be lower and that overall, when the peak AM and PM hours and Saturday peaks are looked at, the total traffic impact will be less than Costco – and the applicant will be making the same level of improvements.
Most of the discussion centered on the revised stormwater plan on the 3.3 acres the applicant plans to purchase from the state DOT. While this could be considered a “significant” impact that involved removing a considerable number of trees, the general sense was that the proposed mitigation that called for adding 100 new trees and other mitigation measures would offset the tree removal.
Mr. Tegeder said he did not think that the new plan had any significant impacts but that he was still reading through the Technical Memo. Several board members also have not had an opportunity yet to review the Memo.
Board counsel Anna Georgiou advised the board that after all the members have had an opportunity to review the memo, at its next meeting (October 17) the board could come to a preliminary decision that a supplemental EIS would not be necessary and that it could proceed to review the site plan and environmental issues at the same time.
The applicant is still working out the details of the stormwater plan with the DEP and will meet on site with DEP staff at the end of October to do some testing. Plans for the road improvements that need to be approved by the DOT are about 95% completed.
Once more information is available on the stormwater plan and mitigation, the board will schedule a public hearing.
While the board is processing the amended site plan, the applicant will be able to proceed with plans to demolish the existing building. If less than 5,000 s q. ft. of soil is disturbed, the applicant will not need a DEP permit but will need a town stormwater permit (SWPPP).
The applicant wishes to create 5 separate lots on the overall site, one for each building and a fifth for the stormwater site. The applicant would own all five lots. What needs to be determined is whether this can/should be accomplished by a formal subdivision process or a simpler lot line adjustment.
In an amended site plan, representatives of Breslin Realty, the owner of the site that was originally planned for Costco, unveiled plans for Loewe’s Home Center, two stand alone restaurants and a stand alone bank. No gas pumps are planned.
(See Costco, for a discussion of that plan.)
Timetable and SEQRA review: The applicant anticipates beginning construction in 2017 and a 2018 opening. Work may begin later this year or early 2017 on the demolition of the existing structures on the site and environmental remediation measures including the scrapping away of soil and removal of trees. Subject to getting the proper permits and preparation of a stormwater plan (SWPPP), the latter work can begin while the Planning Board reviews the amended site plan.
Because, according to the applicant, the new plan does not create any new “significant” impacts, the applicant anticipates that a full SEQRA review will not be needed and that a supplemental EIS (Environmental Impact Statement) might suffice. In its place, the applicant has submitted a Technical Memorandum that compares the impacts of the previously approved Costco site plan with the new plan. It will be up to the Planning Board to compare the impacts, request additional information if needed, and then document its analysis of why a new SEQRA is not needed. According to the board’s counsel, the analysis of impacts will have to be circulated to outside agencies prior to Planning Board approval.
Plan: The new plan calls for a 120,663 sq. ft. Loewe’s, plus a 25,448 sq. ft garden center, slightly smaller than the 151,000 sq. ft. Costco structure. The building has been moved somewhat to the north on the site and because the site is lower than Route 202, only a portion of the building’s peaked Loewe’s sign will be visible from Route 202. The two restaurants, 7,600 sq. ft. and 4,500 sq. ft. and a 4,000 sq. ft. bank will be located close to Route 202 with parking to the rear of the buildings.
According to the applicant, one of the restaurants may have a drive up window but it will not be a fast food type restaurant. The applicant is currently negotiating with prospective restaurant and bank tenants who are prepared to work with the applicant to achieve some common design elements such as façade colors and textures. If, however, the prospective tenants change, the architectural plans may need to be changed to reflect the tenants’ needs.
The garden center will include a propane tank exchange location.
The site’s main entrance at Mohansic Avenue will remain the same and the secondary access to the west has been shifted slightly.
Parking: Using a combination of parking requirements for the different uses which have different peak hours, and historical parking data from other Loewe’s locations, the plan calls for 512 parking spaces, or a ratio of 3.1 spaces/1,000 sq. ft. (The Costco plan had about 610 spaces or a 4.0 ratio.) The town’s code currently has no parking requirements for garden centers.
Traffic & Infrastructure: Even though the revised plan anticipates a 5% -15% reduction in peak hour traffic, the applicant will make the same infrastructure improvements, e.g., road widening and traffic light signalization, as in the Costco plan. The applicant anticipates submitting the final road widening plans to the state DOT by late October.
The sewer and water infrastructure plans remain the same. The parcel is now in the county’s Peekskill Sanitary Sewer District. The applicant assured the board that the proposed sewer line has more than enough capacity to handle to heavier restaurant use as well as the proposed Crompond Terraces development to the west.
Financial impacts: Based on future assessed values supplied by the town assessor, the applicant anticipates that the revised plan will generate $1.2 million in taxes compared to $900,000 from Costco, with $132,000 going to the town. The new plan will, however, generate less sales tax for the county because of the elimination of the gas pumps.
Full time employment is estimated at between 150-180 persons for Loewe’s and an additional 130 full time equivalents for the three additional buildings.
Market issues: Based on an updated market study, the applicant concludes that Loewe’s will not have a negative impact on local mom and pop stores and that it could capture some of the $1 billion in sales it estimates is leaving the area.
Landscaping and lighting: The landscaping plan will be similar to the Costco plan and will include a row of plantings on state property parallel to the southbound lanes of the Taconic Parkway. The lighting plan is still being reviewed but will include a combination of 16’ and 25’ poles as in the Costco plan.
Stormwater: The one major change from the Costco plan, although the applicant does not consider it a “significant” impact, is how stormwater will be treated. Whereas the Costco plan called for underground storage, the new plan utilizes above ground storage ponds on a 3.38 acre site north of the building abutting the Taconic Parkway that the applicant plans to purchase from New York State. While this will involve the removal of trees, the applicant indicated that new shrubs of higher value than the existing trees would be planted. The applicant anticipates that the state and city agencies that oversee stormwater will be more receptive to this more standard above ground approach to handling stormwater because it is easier to maintain. Because of the site’s topography, stormwater runoff will be directed to outlets both the north and south of the site.
The applicant anticipates returning to the Planning Board in two weeks for the September 26 meeting.