Planning Board, 4-22-2013
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.
Planning Board, 4-8-2013
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.
Planning Board, 2-25-2013
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.
Town Board 9-18-2012
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.
Town Board, 7/10/2012
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.
Planning Board, 5/7/2012
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.
Planning Board, 4/17/2012
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 Strawberry Rd,
· 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.
Planning Board, 4/9/2012
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.
Planning Board, 1.23.2012
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.