Fieldstone Manor (Lake Mohegan Mansion, LLC)
Location: Lexington Avenue
Contact: Site Design Consultants
Description: A proposed 16-lot cluster subdivision on 22.94 acres in the R1-20 zone.
Planning Board, 7-16-2018
Mr. Riina explained that the applicant is still lining up his finances. With Mr. Kincart recusing himself, the board voted to reapprove the subdivision.
Planning Board, 5-7-2018
The applicant is still working on getting financing, which Mr. Riina said is “coming soon.” The board approved a second 90-day extension. Mr. Kincart recused himself.
Planning Board, 2-12-2018
In a 4-0 vote with Mr. Kincart recusing himself, the board approved the first 90 day extension. The applicant said he expected to pay the required fees and get a bond shortly which will pave the way for filing the subdivision plan.
Planning Board, 7-10-2017
After attorney Al Capellini cited monetary issues as the reason for the delay in proceeding with the project, the board voted 4-0, with Mr. Kincart recusing himself, to reapprove the project.
Mr. Capellini said that the plan had all the necessary approvals and was ready to be signed. However, the applicant needed more time to arrange for the “substantial fees” that were needed once the plan was signed. To give the applicant the needed time, the board agreed to a second 90-day time extension.
The board approved the first 90 day extension. Mr. Riina advised the board that the applicant was waiting for the Planning Department to review the baseline environmental report and clear up some minor items. He anticipated that he would be ready to seek final approval soon. Mr. Kincart recused himself from the vote.
The board opened and closed the public hearing on the final plat; there were no public comments. The board then voted to approve the final plat with the manor house, internal roads, conservation easement and tower assembled into one lot with the owner responsible for their maintenance and upkeep. (The vote was 3-0, with Mr. Kincart recusing himself.) Declarations will be included in the deeds to the 14 houses requiring the owners to pay a portion of the maintenance costs. In response to Mr. Flynn’s question what would happen if the tower was not maintained, Mr. Capellini said that the declaration would allow the town to make the necessary repairs and tax the subdivision’s property owners for the cost.
The subdivision’s recreation requirement will be met by providing 3 tennis courts that can also be used for pickle ball, plus some open space. The subdivision will also have to provide affordable housing units in accord with the town’s Affordable Housing law.
Based on input from Mr. Tegeder and the board’s attorney, it was agreed that the stone mansion, interior roads, the tower lot and the conservation lot should be one lot under one ownership. Because of that change, and some other changes, a new public hearing will be needed before the applicant can get final approval; it already has all needed outside approvals, although the applicant will have to return to the Health Department once it gets final approval.
A public hearing will be held in August.
The board approved an amendment to an earlier resolution permitting the use of Flexibility Standards for the subdivision. Whereas the earlier resolution stated that the units in the stone mansion would be condos, the revised resolution will allow them to be rental units.
The board okayed a second 90-day extension to give the applicant more time to finalize all the details of the conservation easement and deeds giving certain parcels to the town.
The applicant, who will retain ownership of the manor house, will also retain ownership of the interior roads, the tower, trails and the pond, in partnership with a homeowner’s association.
Although the subdivision application was on the agenda to discuss the Town Board’s earlier resolution approving the use of the flexibility standards and the change from condo to rental units in the stone mansion (see Planning Board, 11-23-15 and Town Board 7/16/13 and 8/6/13 below), the focus of the discussion was the plan’s recreation component.
Flexibility: After attorney Al Capellini explained the reason for the change to rental units, the board had no problem with the change and at the end of the discussion, it was agreed that there would be a resolution at a subsequent board meeting.
Recreation component: Supervisor Grace said he was opposed to the plan for the pickleball courts; instead of building new courts scattered throughout town when our existing tennis courts are in disrepair and can’t be used, he preferred either fixing our existing courts or building new courts at Holland Sporting Club, a site he said was more centrally located. He suggested that the town give the applicant a density bonus to allow him to build an additional 2-4 houses on the area set aside for the pickleboard courts and that a decision be deferred to a future date as to where the courts would be built.
When Mr. Capellini noted that the courts were what the Recreation Commission wanted, Supervisor Grace said there was a communications problem between the Commission, the Planning Board and Town Board and that one hand didn’t know what the other was doing.
Mr. Capellini advised the board that it was not fair to ask the applicant to change the subdivision plan at the 11¾ hour; changing the plan, he said, would take at least six months. In response, Supervisor Grace asked Mr. Capellini to go back to the applicant can run his density bonus plan “up the flag pole.” He said the added units would give the developer some added value.
Left unresolved was how the subdivision plan could legally deal with the uncertainty of how deal with the recreational requirement and also the need to enact a density bonus provision in the town code.
(See below for several earlier discussions on the recreational component.)
Fire tower: In response to a question from the board, Mr. Capellini said that the applicant is committed to repairing the tower and is still trying to find a use for it.
Planning Board, 11-23-2015
The applicant has received all the required approvals from outside agencies and has prepared all the necessary easement documents as well as the document deeding the recreational site to the town. The Planning Department will review these documents before submitting them to the town attorney for review.
The applicant indicated that upon further review of some of the physical issues involved in converting the stone building into condominium units, his revised plan is to convert the units into the same number of high end rental units; the owner will retain ownership of the units. Related to this change, he will review possible changes to the stand alone garages in order to build something less expensive, e.g., a carport. The applicant will have to check with the Town Board’s original flexibility resolution to determine if the resolution specified the type of ownership for the seven units.
The applicant also indicated that he has a property owner willing to take the fire tower. However, the applicant’s plans for the future disposition of the tower lot remained unclear.
Changes to the garage plan and the tower lot may require a revised subdivision plan.
Mr. Tegeder questioned the applicant on work that had been done, but shouldn’t have been done, on the site prior to receiving final subdivision approval. In response the applicant acknowledged that he had used some fill from the adjacent George Washington School site to grade and create a pad for the future recreational area.
Planning Board, 11-9-2015
The board approved a second 90-day extension. The applicant has received DEC and Board of Health approval and needs some additional time to complete the documents needed for final approval.
The board approved the first 90 day extension with attorney Al Capellini holding out the possibility that a second 90 day extension may be needed. He advised the board that the Board of Health has okayed the project and the DEC has given its informal approval. The delay may be caused by the difficulty in lining up a surveyor.
The application is still before the Department of Health. With Mr. Kinicart recusing himself (without stating a reason), the board approved a second 90-day extension.
The board approved a second 90 day extension. The applicant explained that the delay was due to problems with the surveyor. Mr. Kincart abstained on the vote.
Citing delays completing the survey, the applicant requested, and the board granted, a 90 day extension of the preliminary subdivision approval.
Philip Grealy, the applicant’s traffic consultant, presented the findings of the traffic signal warrant studies for the intersections of Strawberry Road and Foothill and Strawberry Road and Lexington Ave that were done at the request of the Board. In both cases, the study found that while there were issues at both intersections during peak hours, the traffic counts at both intersections were not high enough over a longer period of time to justify the installation of a traffic light. The studies looked at traffic over both a four hour and eight hour period. While the Foothill intersection “didn’t come close” in terms of volume, the Lexington Ave intersection was “getting to the point.” In both cases, the Board agreed with the applicant that the additional traffic from the proposed subdivision would have minimal impact on future traffic volumes.
Both Mr. Grealy and the Board agreed that the only long term solution to the Lexington Ave intersection was the construction of the long dis cussed Route 6 bypass. It was also noted that the Planning Department had reached out to Cortlandt regarding the status the a proposed subdivision that would provide access to Lexington Ave. for some of the homes.
The Board also reviewed some changes to the EAF that were made in response to comments from the town engineer.
The Board unanimously approved the preliminary subdivision plan.
After going back and forth on which intersection/s, Lexington and Strawberry or Strawberry and Foothill, the applicant should be required to do a warrant study for in order to determine the possible need for a traffic light, the Board decided on the Foothill intersection. Although the general sense was that the study would show that a traffic lilght would not be needed, Mr. Tegeder noted that the data from the study would be helpful. It was suggested that Cortlandt be contacted to see what traffic data was available from the proposed subdivision on the other side of the Lexington/Strawberry intersection. (It was not clear whose responsibility it would be, the town or the applicant’s, to reach out to Cortlandt.)
Mr. Tegeder noted that Strawberry Road was a very heavily traveled road with about 10,000 trips per day.
Ms. Kutter advised the Board that a resident, Babette Ballinger, had suggested to her that a potential use for the fire tower could be an art gallery/painting studio operated by a non profit group. She said she had advised Ms. Ballinger to get in touch with the applicant. Mr. Tegeder said he would reach out to the Historical Society to see if they had any interest in the tower.
Susan Siegel, the person writing these notes, asked if the Town Board had been consulted regarding the disposition of the vacant land adjacent to the planned tennis courts and whether the parcel should be deeded to the town or remain with the homeowners association with a conservation easement. Both the applicant and the Planning Board felt that the parcel should be deeded to the town.
Modifications regarding the warrant study will be made to the draft resolution which will be voted on, possibly at the Board’s February 10 meeting.
The focus of the adjourned public hearing was on traffic, especially existing conditions at the intersection of Strawberry and Foothill and Strawberry and Lexington. It was acknowledged by both Phil Grealy, the applicant’s traffic engineer, as well as the Planning Board that the problems at both intersections existed now and that the addition of 21 more units would not materially change the situation and that “solving” the problems was beyond the scope of the applicant.
While Mr. Grealy noted that traffic counts at the Lexington Ave intersection already warranted a light, he explained that because of the grade coming from Red Mill Road, the intersection was a difficult – and expensive – one to address, which, he added, was probably one reason why nothing has been done about it. The Planning Board noted that a subdivision across Lexington Ave in Cortlandt has been discussed and that the two towns need to work together on the issue. The long range solution would be the Route 6 bypass, but everyone agreed that this was not an idea likely to proceed in the near future.
Mr. Grealy said he didn’t think a light was needed at Foothill and Strawberry as the intersection was a problem primarily during peak hours. Whether the applicant would be asked to do a warrant study (a study to assess the need for a light at the intersection) was discussed but no decision was made.
Traffic data gathered by the applicant for the Strawberry/Route 6 intersection will be made available to the state DOT with the expectation that the agency will make timing changes to the existing light once the new subdivision is built.
There were no public comments. The hearing was closed with a 10 day comment period left open.
The Board opened the public hearing on the proposed 21 lot subdivision. In addition to the applicant’s team making presentations explaining the project (see previous meeting notes), the only comments from the public (made by the CIY observer) dealt with the portion of the site that was to be given to the town for recreation and open space purposes. The speaker wanted to know if there were specificationis governing the construction of the gravel road leading into the tennis courts and basketball court from Lexington Ave that will be up to the town to maintain. Also, the speaker asked the Board to consider if the open space parcel should be deeded to the town outright or restricted with a conservation easement. She suggested that the Board ask the Town Board if it had any preference.
Because the applicant’s traffic study is still being reviewed by the town’s traffic consultant, the hearing was adjourned and will likely be reconvened on January 13.
Two of the 21 units will be affordable units as required under town code.
Mr. Riina advised the Board that the Recreation Commission was interested in having the applicant meet its recreational fee requirement by constructing three “pick a ball” courts and a basketball court on the land set aside for recreational purpose, along with a gravel parking lot with 15 spaces. Additional land abutting the active recreation area would also be deeded to the town, and the right of way for a possible future Route 6 by pass would remain undisturbed.
Mr. Riina advised the Board that after a meeting with the Historical Society, the group said it did not have the funds to maintain the tower. However, based on his own discussions earlier that day with members of the Society, Mr. Tegeder said he was under the impression that the Society had not made a determination.
The applicant said that he was willing to retain ownership of the tower and the lot and have the subdivision plan note that it was not a building lot, despite the presence of a house on it. He said it would be expensive to repair the existing house. The legal mechanism for accomplishing this would have to be worked out.
A public hearing on the plan will be held on December 9.
Prior to scheduling a public hearing on the subdivision plan, the Board asked for clarification on two issues: the future of both the existing ballfield and the tower. Mr. Tegeder also noted that the town’s traffic consultant will have to review the traffic impact; this will require the Town Board to contract with the town’s traffic consultant, with the applicant paying the cost. The applicant had no problem with this request.
The development will have two homeowner associations: one for the fee simple town houses and one for the condo units in the existing manor house.
At previous meetings, the applicant said that the existing ballfield could be given to the town as part of the “recreation fee” requirement; if the town didn’t want the field, it would belong to the homeowners’ association. (The pond, used in the past for ice skating, could also be given to the town or kept for the association.) If the town accepted the field, the hope was that the adjoining George Washington School parking lot could be used. While the subdivision plan has been forwarded to the Recreation Commission, no formal response has been received. However, Assistant Planner Steinberg said that in an informal conversation with Diana Quast, chairman of the Commission, the latter said that the group preferred a per lot cash payment in lieu of land to satisfy the recreation fee requirement.
While the Historical Society had earlier expressed interest in doing something with the tower, there have been no subsequent discussions or plans. Some Board members expressed concern over what the town would do with the tower if it took title to it, as well as maintenance issues. As the location of the tower is shown on the plan as a separate building lot, the suggestion was made about the possibility of relocating the tower and switching it with one of the building lots closest to the wetlands buffer; it remained unclear whether it was feasible or practical to relocate the tower. If the tower was to be demolished and used for another building lot, then the flexibilty resolution allowing 21 units would have to be modified to permit an additional unit.
Mr. Riina asked that a public hearing be scheduled and Mr. Tegeder advised him that a few more details were needed first regarding mitigation, screening, and the status of the fire tower. If these issues are addressed within the next two weeks, the Board can vote to advertise a public hearing at the September 23 meeting.
Mr. Fon advised the Board that he has heard that area residents are likely to raise traffic issues at subsequent meetings.
Without any discussion, the Board voted unanimously for the revised flexibility request.
The applicant explained the reasons for the change and, comparing the original plan for two large units in the mansion to the new plan for seven smaller units, noted that the new plan has one less bedroom and consequently fewer people. In response to Councilman Bianco’s question about the wetlands, the applicant stated that the new plan makes no changes to the wetland area.
A Strawberry Road resident whose house is opposite the proposed entrance questioned why the applicant didn’t know his costs earlier but instead waited 1 ½ years to ask for a 30% increase in the number of units, from 16 to 21 units. He also felt that condo units were not appropriate for the neighborhood which consisted of single family homes. Councilman Bianco said that he too was bothered by the applicant coming back at a future date to ask for more, but was pleased to see that the new plan would generate fewer people.
Ken Belfer, speaking for the Community Housing Board, welcomed the smaller single family homes (2,500 – 2,700 square feet) as well as the smaller condo units which he said added to the diversity of the housing stock, particularly for young people and seniors who were downsizing.
A representative of the Historical Society said the group was interested in accepting the offer of the fire tower.
The Board closed the hearing but reserved decision.
Project architect Michael Piccirillo explained why the applicant was asking to modify the flexibility resolution to allow seven units in the mansion instead of the previously discussed two. (See earlier Planning Board meeting summaries.) The latest plan includes garages for the seven units.
Councilman Bianco said he was “not too happy” with the change that added density to the most dense part of town and he wanted to see what the conventional lot count would look like. He will do a repeat site visit to the mansion. Supervisor Grace said he was okay with the additional units that were needed to make the project economically viable. In response, Councilman Bianco said that while he understood the objective was to keep the building, the economic viability of the project was not the town’s problem.
In addition to referring out the revised plan, a public hearing on the flexibility request was set for July 16.
In an item not on the agenda, Mr. Riina advised the Board that because the DEC objected to one lot that encroached into the wetland buffer, he has prepared a revised site plan that eliminates some of the courtyard concept that the Board had previously expressed support for. The issue now becomes whether the client and the Town want to press for the better site plan or not delay the project and move ahead. The revised plan has the ability to provide additional mitigation to offset the buffer disturbance, but according to Mr. Riina, the DEC’s first priority is “no intrusion.”
In the meantime, the application for a revised flexibility authorization will be sent to the Town Board. It was not clear whether this request had to be made by the applicant or the Planning Board.
Members of the Planning Board made a site visit to the mansion.
In a revised plan, the applicant is now asking for a 21 unit lot count (instead of the previously approved 16 lot count) that would allow seven units in the mansion (instead of the original plan for two units), plus community common space. The applicant showed a conventional 21 lot subdivision that had three or four lots in either the wetland or wetland buffer.
The applicant said that five or six units didn’t work because the units would still be too large to be economically viable. At seven units, the units would range in size from 2,847 square feet down to 600 for a studio unit. The units would be sold as condos and would also have to comply with the town’s affordable housing set aside law. The community space would remain the same in each scheme. Yet to be resolved is where on the site the applicant can provide the required 10-11 parking spaces. There did not appear to be any possibility of garages.
The Board had no problems with the seven unit plan and agreed that the larger number of units was needed in order to make the units smaller and more likely to sell. The matter will now go back to the Town Board for a new flexibility resolution.
Councilman Paganelli who attended the meeting asked the applicant: “What works best for you” adding that his concern was that the town get the land for the ballfields that was part of the flexibility plan.
In response to Ms. Kutter’s question about the status of the tower, the applicant said that it would be repaired and that he was still hoping to find a public use for it.
The Board discussed two issues:the applicant’s traffic study and the future use of the existing building.
Traffic consultant Phil Greely explained that the area intersections are already stressed and that the estimated 20 additional trips per hour that the development would generate would not drastically changed things. He said both Cortlandt and Yorktown officials are well aware of the problems but that the installation of a traffic light on Lexington Ave, the likely solution, has not happened, in part because of grade issues.
When Mr. Fon expressed frustration that the traffic problem will continue to exist even if no new development takes place, Mr. Flynn said that every time a new application in the area has come before the Board, the traffic issue has been raised.
On behalf of the applicant, attorney Al Capellini explained that upon further review and study, the applicant has determined that his original plan to create two units at either end of the existing building is not economically viable. As an alternative, he showed the Board a conceptual plan that would create three additional units in the building, for a total of five untis, in addition to leaving some space for a community center for the residents.He added, however, that because the building itself is so large, at least one of the proposed additionalunits could be as large as 4,600 square feet, much larger than the approximately 2,800 square foot size of the proposed detached single family homes.
To permit the additional three units, Mr. Capellini suggested that the Town Board could either rezone a portion of the property for two family use (R-2 zone), or it could increase the overall permitted lot count for the half acre zone by counting some of the wetlands in the lot count calculation.
The Board will review the matter again after visiting the building. There appeared to be a consensus that the building should be saved.
Planning Board, 9-24-2012
Although not on the agenda, representatives of the applicant advised the Board of Supervisor Grace’s concern over the community center plan for a portion of the mansion and attorney Al Capellini repeated his client’s possible interest in a 17th lot in the event the future preservation of the tower becomes an issue. Before proceeding with more detailed plans, the applicant wanted to know if the Board still supported the original plan. The Board appeared to give the applicant the go ahead to proceed with the current plan.
Public hearing on request to use flexibility standards for proposed Fieldstone Manor subdivision. The Board unanimously approved the use of flexibility standards for the subdivision with a recommendation to the Planning Board that as part of the subdivision approval a conservation easement be placed on the site’s open space.An earlier suggestion by Councilman Bianco that the approving resolution require the conservation easement was deemed not practical in that it would tie the hands of the Planning Board.
Prior to the vote, Supervisor Grace expressed concern that over time the planned 16-member homeowner association might not be able to maintain the portion of the mansion that was slated to become a community center for the association. He said he feared that the association would default on the taxes and that the town would have to take over the building as part of a foreclosure proceeding. He suggested that a better way to preserve a building that should be preserved was that instead of converting the two ends of the building into townhouse units, two additional single homes should be built on the ball field site. He said that if the Planning Board took money instead of the fields as part of the subdivision’s recreation fee, the money could be used to make improvements at the Holland Sporting Club.
Supervisor Grace assured area resident Denis Horbatuk that no more than 16 units could be built on the site, although Al Capellini, attorney for the applicant, advised the Board that while the current plans calls for the preservation of the tower as a separate lot, if that plan proves not to be feasible, the applicant may come back to the Town to request that the tower lot be converted into a building lot.
In response to questions from Ed Ciffone on taxes from the property, there was a brief exchange between Supervisor Grace and Councilman Bianco about the tax impact of adding more children to the Lakeland School District.
Supervisor Grace also called attention to the fact that because the subdivision will have to comply with the Town’s Affordable Housing law, two of the planned 16 units will have to meet the law’s affordable guidelines. He said that he would like to see the law repealed.
Councilman Bianco rejected the applicant’s position that he could build 16 homes under a conventional subdivision plan and instead said that 6 homes was a more likely figure.There was no further discussion on this issue.
The remaining discussion focused on whether the Town should take the ball field or the mansion.While he said he was in favor of using the town’s flexibility standards, Supervisor Grace said that the Town didn’t need any more ball fields and preferred to look into the possibility of taking the mansion which he said could be turned into a community center for the northern end of town and putting houses on the existing ball fields.He suggested that the property owner explore this possibly and see “if it works for you.”Councilman Paganelli said he thought that turning the mansion over to the town would diminish the value of the property for the owner and Councilman Bianco said that the issue was “what works best for the people of Yorktown.”
Deputy Town Clerk Diana Quast who is also the chairman of the Recreation Commission said that the Commission had visited the site and supported the plan that would leave the ball fields. She said that those fields would be more usable to the Town than the soccer field at the Fieldhome which has limitations.
Planning Director Tegeder said that the proposed plan, which had the support of the Planning Board, was one of the best layouts he had seen since he’s been in Yorktown.
Supervisor Grace did not support the idea of the tower being given to town as it would be a liability.
The Board agreed to refer the proposal out to the appropriate boards for review prior to holding a public hearing on the use of flexibility.
The board held a public informational meeting for the purpose of giving residents an opportunity to comment on the proposed development early in the planning process. Attorney Al Capellini and site designer Joe Riina explained existing site conditions and showed both a conventional subdivision plan and the clustered approach preferred by the Planning Board.The latter plan, which Mr. Riina called an “open space development” preserves the mansion, tower, ballfields and potential ROW for a Route 6 bypass, and also involves less incursion into the wetland buffer area. Because the houses will be smaller and closer together there will be less land disturbance and less impervious surface.
In response to a question from a Strawberry Road resident who lives across the street from the proposed development about the existing access to Lexington Ave, Mr. Riina said that that access would be discontinued.
The resident was also concerned about the access and parking for the ballfield, noting that parking was a problem when the fields were used by the school. Mr. Riina responded that access would most likely come from the abutting George Washington School as the road serving the homes would be a private road. As for the parking, he said that that would have to be worked out with the town if the town wanted to take over the fields. In response, the resident said that the access and parking issues should be worked out beforehand and not left to be dealt with at some future date.
In response to a question about the traffic impact from the 16 homes, Mr. Riina said that no studies had been done to date but more information will be made available as the application proceeds through the planning process.
In response to a question about the future bypass, Mr. Riina said that there would still be enough room for at least one field if the bypass project were to move forward.
The public hearing was closed. The next step will be for the applicant to make a formal request to the Town Board for authorization to use the Town’s flexibility standards. The Planning Board will attach a memo to that request stating that it supports the use of flexibility.
The discussion centered on whether this site should be developed using clustering or flexibility standards. Generally the goal of clustering is to preserve large tracts of open space by clustering the houses on small lots. A formula is used to determine the number of lots to be allowed. Flexibility is not necessarily for open space preservation, but rather to use the site creatively in order to preserve its best features. It does not use a formula to determine lot count.
The applicant presented a plan for 16 dwellings, consisting of 14 single family residences and 2 units within the existing mansion. The lots are arranged using flexibility standards, which allows
· the wetlands, pond, mansion and tower to be preserved,
· requires only a single entrance from
· preserves space for an athletic field and
· takes into account a future Route 6 by-pass through the site.
The Planning Board preferred this layout to either a conventional plan or a clustered plan. Ms. Wagner recommended looking at the history of the cluster/flexibility legislation and its application to try to clarify the ambiguity of which technique to use under what circumstances. Susan Siegel, an observer, pointed out that flexibility standards would allow the applicant an additional lot over clustering, so the Planning Board should be prepared to field that criticism. However, this can be answered by showing that 16 lots would also be allowed in a conventional design.
Ms. Kutter repeated her concern about the one lot within the wetland buffer, but thought the overall suitability of the layout balanced this concern. The possibility of a physical barrier protecting the wetlands, such as a stone wall, along all the property lines was discussed. These stone walls could be incorporated into the architecture of the houses and landscaping and be continuous with the proposed steps leading to the pond.
There will be an informational hearing on May 7, 2012 before the Planning Board refers to plan to the Town Board which must approve the use of the flexibility standards.
The applicant presented a revised plan to cluster 16 units on the site. The new plan, which includesfour clusters of homes grouped aroundseparate courtyards, was developed in consultation with the Planning Departmet. In response Ms. Kutter’s concern that a portion of one of the 16 units would be in the wetland buffer, Joe Riina, the project engineer, said that he would explore options that could prevent any backyard encroachment into the wetland. As in the earlier plan, the existing mansion would be preserved but would be converted into two residential units at either end of the building, with the center portion being used as common area for the homeowners. The pool to the rear of the mansion would be preserved along with the fire tower and the existing pond.
The plan also calls for setting aside four acres that were previously used as ballfields as open space. The fields could be used by the Town for additional athletic fields. As this area is one of the possible right of ways for a future Route 6 bypass, there was some discussion of what the future designation of the four acres could be so that the site could be used as ballfields without precluding the possibility that it might be needed for the future bypass
The single access to the site would be from Strawberry Road, but the access point was shifted somewhat from the original plan. The new location would merge into the existing driveway leading to the mansion.
One issue that remains to be resolved is the lot count for the cluster subdivision. While the site can accommodate 16 lots under a conventional plan, when the cluster formula in the Town Code is applied to the site, it only permits 15.2 units. However, if the formula permitted 15.5 units, the number of permitted units could be rounded up to 16.Planning Director Tegeder suggested that the applicant look at the flexibility standards in the Town Code as that sectionwould allow for the clustering concept but was not formula based.
In response to the board’s concerns over traffic on Strawberry Road and the problem intersection of Strawberry Road and Lexington Ave, Al Capellini, the applicant’s attorney, acknowledged that traffic was definitely something that will have to be dealt with. Noting that there is a pending subdivision on the other side of Lexington Ave in the Town of Cortlandt, Mr. Kincart suggested that the Town staff and the developer monitor development plans in Cortlandt.
The board was supportive of the new cluster plan and will schedule a Public Informational Hearing before referring the application to the Town Board which must authorize the use of cluster zoning.
The applicant appeared before the board to get a “sense of the board’ to alternate plans for a proposed 16-lot cluster subdivision on 22.94 acres in the R1-20 zone. The site is off Strawberry Road and is a portion of the former Franciscan High School/Ladycliff site. A mansion, fire tower and two houses are currently on the site.
The applicant presented both a conventional “cookie cutter” plan for the site that would eliminate the existing mansion and fire tower as well as 3 variations of a cluster plan that would call for 14 new single family homes on 10,000 SF lots, converting the two sides of the mansion into town houses and leaving the center portion of the mansion as a community building. A roughly 4 acre portion of the site, previously used for ballfields, would be set aside for recreational purposes, although it was left open whether this portion of the site would be deeded to the town in lieu of paying the per lot recreation fee. Both the conventional and cluster plans do not encroach on the wetlands on the site and all retain an existing pond.
Mr. Kincart said that the cluster plan was a “homerun” over the conventional plan and Chairman Fon liked the idea of retaining the recreation land, the existing pond, the mansion and tower. Mr. Flynn, a long time member of the board, noted that when the board reviewed previous subdivision plans, residents of the area expressed concern over the additional traffic. Access to the site would utilize the existing road leading to the mansion.
The applicant will meet with the planning director to refine the plan before going to the Town Board with a formal request to consider cluster zoning.