Lake Osceola Realty Corp.
Location: Hill Boulevard
Contact: Site Design Consultants
Description: Proposed 30,000 SF office building and associated parking on 4.4 acres in the CC zone.
Town Board, 6-4-2013
Accepted the easement that was part of the site plan for an office building previously approved by the Town Board.
Planning Board, 5-6-2013
Unanimously adopted an amended approval resolution with some minor language modifications.
Planning Board, 4-22-2013
There was a short discussion about some changes that had to be made to the approving resolution relating to easements and whether or not the Town Board had to “approve” the easements, or only had to “accept” them in order for the supervisor to sign the document.
Subject to the town attorney’s approval of the resolution language, the decision statement may be ready to be voted on in May.
Planning Board, 2-25-2013
The Board voted 5-0 to approve the site plan, wetlands permit and stormwater permit.The approving resolution includes a condition that if the DEC approved mitigation plan involves “substantial” changes in the site plan, the applicant will have to return to the Planning Board. According to Planning Director Tegeder, there’s no “hard threshold” for when a change is deemed “substantial.”
One of the issues raised in a letter from the DEC (it was not clear whether the letter was addressed to the applicant or the Planning Board) dealt with planned mitigation measures on the adjoining Ceola Manor property.
Planning Board, 2-11-2013
Based on a meeting with the DEC, the applicant has had to revise the plan in order to reduce the disturbance to the wetland buffer. As a result, some sections of the parking lot have been reconfigured, resulting in a loss of 8 spaces; the reduced number still meets Code requirements. There will now be 3 public access parking spaces instead of the 4 originally proposed. The public access walking trail will follow outside the western edge of the parking lot and lead to a potential future dock where residents could launch kayaks. (Concern remains about the ownership of the lake.) The applicant will conference with DEC again to get the agency’s approval of the new plan, which puts the parking lot within the area the DEC has previously approved back in May.
There were additional discussions about signage for the public access trail, the placement and height of lights so as not to disturb animal life in the wetlands, and the landscape plan along the trail. The applicant will be responsible for seeing to it that the new plantings “take” over a 3 year period and replace the invasive species that will be weeded out over the 3 years. The placement of street trees along Hill Blvd. remains to be decided.
It was agreed that the applicant will construct the trail as part of his monetary contribution to the town. The discussion was less clear on whether the dock would simply be noted on the site plan as a “future” location or whether the applicant will be required to make some improvement to the area, placing gravel.
The Board voted to grant site plan approval, as well as approval of the wetlands and stormwater permits subject to DEC approval.
Planning Board, 1-28-2013
(Due to inclement weather, the CIY observer was not able to attend the meeting.The following summary is based on the Planning Board’s own draft minutes.)
The applicant’s representatives and Mr. Tegeder will be meeting with the DEC tomorrow to go over the latest plan which differs from the one the DEC originally reviewed. At issue are 4 parking spaces adjacent to the wetlands and the public access trail through the wetlands. Mr. Tegeder said he would like to see signage so that the public was aware of the access to the lake; he will defend the public access issue at the meeting with the DEC.
Mr. Tegeder expressed some concern about the building’s layout which has been designed for a specific tenant(Mt. Kisco Medical Group).He is also reviewing the lighting plan.
The issue of whether the developer would be making a $40,000 cash contribution to the Town come up briefly but the Planning Board was unaware of the offer and it wasn't addressed. (Note: in earlier discussions that were never fully reviewed by the Planning Board, certain Town officials had suggested that as part of the project's mitigation plan, the applicant might spend a sum of money to alleviate an off site floording issue.)
Planning Board, 1-14-2013
With the parameters of the site plan and wetlands mitigation measures having been worked out at previous meetings, the only remaining issue, that was raised by Planning Director Tegeder, was how public access to the conservation/recreation easement that would be provided.Mr. Tegeder said that the 30 feet easement on the southern side of the site was not acceptable as it was through an existing parking lot which presented a psychological barrier for the public.
The applicant, clearly frustrated at changes in the plans, asked the Board to “make up your mind and tell me what you want.”In response, Mr. Tegeder said that the Board had always been clear about the need for public access but that there had been “rolling discussions” as to how this should be provided. (See earlier discussions regarding a public dock along the lake shoreline.)
At Mr. Tegeder’s suggestion, the applicant will explore the feasibility of constructing a stairway at the northern end of the site in the event the public used the shared parking spaces at the Sinapi site, as well as relocating the four “public” parking spaces at the southern end of the site.
The applicant will be responsible for making and maintaining a trail through the conservation easement. The easement will be given to the Town and it will be up to the Town to decide if it wants to assign responsibility to manage the easement to the Yorktown land Trust.
Steve Marino, the applicant’s environmental consultant, also asked for clarification on what the Board wanted to see in terms of landscaping and the mixed messages he said he had received regarding views of the lake from the building as well as plantings that didn’t impede pedestrian access.He noted that while the Town wanted invasive species removed from the wetlands and wetlands buffer area, the DEC didn’t want anything done to these areas. The applicant and Town planning staff will meet with the DEC to try to iron out this difference of opinion before returning to the Board on February 11, at which time the applicant was hopeful that he would get his final approval.
Planning Board, 12-3-2012
A public hearing was opened. The only speakers were the applicant’s consultants who presented an overview of the project. The Board voted 4-1 to close the hearing (with Ms. Kutter dissenting due to some concerns over landscaping issues and differences of opinion with the proposed plan and the Conservation Board) with a 30 day written comment period.
Parking: the plan calls for 113 spaces where 135 are required by code. Twelve spaces will be shared with Ceola Manor.
Coverage: approximately 53% of the site will be left undisturbed. The building will be located in the wetland buffer.
One acre of land, running along the lake front and up to Hill Blvd will be dedicated to the town and a conservation/recreations/access easement will be placed on the wetlands so that a path from the parking lot through the wetland will provide access to the lake and to a potential dock on the town owned land.
There will be additional trees and shrubs planted on the northern end of the site. Planning Director Tegeder suggested that street trees along Hill Blvd be added to the landscape plan. Given the limited property along Hill Blvd, it was estimated that this would result in two trees.
Mr. Tegeder asked for clarification about the location of the proposed new plantings in the wetland in order not to block access to the lake. In response, the applicant said he would tweak the landscape plan. He will also have the Conservation Board review the modified plan and consult again with Bruce Barber. Iin general, the applicant plans to replace invasive species with native plantings.
Mr. Tegeder also wanted to see more details about the retaining wall that will run along the driveway into the site and to the main parking lot. The height of the wall will be as high as 13 feet, but only a portion of it will be above grade.
There was also some discussion about the height of the 3 story buildings which will feature a mansard roof.
Planning Board, 9-24-2012
After a review of the Conservation Board’s memo, and based on additional input from Bruce Barber, the Board and the applicant reached a consensus on the following issues:
Public access: While the ownership of the lake remains unknown, in furtherance of the Comprehensive Plan that seeks to provide public access to the lake, Planning Director Tegeder asked that certain changes be made in the plan to assure future public access. He suggested that in addition to a planned 30 feet access strip to the lake along the southern boundary of the site (which connects to an easement on the abutting propertywhich provides access to Hill Blvd), the applicant will put back in the plan, an easement to the lake from its parking lot. The additional access, Mr. Tegeder noted, would be helpful given likely future problems associated with the 30 feet easement. The applicant will also provide an easement or a deed to the Town a strip, approximately 50 feet wide, along the lakefront, but without a dock.Mr. Tegeder noted that the size and shape of this strip needed further definition, as well as the legal framework.He also wanted to see some indication on the plan that in the future there might be a public dock.
Mitigation. The latest plan includes the improvements to the Ceola Manor parking lot as previously discussed and removing invasive species from the wetland and wetland buffer in the north eastern corner of the parcel where the existing house and driveway are located.There is no plan for any offsite mitigation and no changes will be made to the lake outlet as the applicant’s consultants have not found any problems at the outlet.At the suggestion of Mr. Barber, the applicant will submit details for some additional plantings in the buffer area.
There was a brief discussion of how to interpret the requirements of the Town’s wetlands law, specifically the difference between the Town’s “no net loss” policy and a requirement that for every square foot of loss there be an equivalent square foot of mitigation.It was Mr. Barber’s contention that what mattered was the functional improvements to the site and not necessarily the square footage.
Flooding. Ms. Kutter expressed concern that there no mitigation measures were included in the latest plan that would address the lake flooding problem. Although the applicant’s stormwater plan will retain 125% of the stormwater from the site, it was acknowledged that the additional 25% retention will not have much impact on the lake. While the Conservation Board memo raised the possibility of creating a lake improvement district, there was no further discussion of this point.
Architecture. The Board briefly reviewed rendering of what the 3-story buildings with mansard roofs would look like. Mr. Tegeder advised the applicant to have the Building Department look at the plans to make sure that the plan conformed to the Town’s 35 foot height requirement.
Process. Planning Board Chairman Fon reminded the applicant to follow the Town’s planning process and have referrals to other advisory groups go through the Planning Department instead of the applicant going to the groups on its own.(The applicant is scheduled to appear before ABACA on September 26th.)
Once the Planning Board receives the additional mitigation information he requested, the Town will refer the plan to the DEC for its review. While the applicant was pressing for a public hearing date, Mr. Tegeder said that the hearing date could not be set until the plan had been referred out to the appropriate agencies with sufficient time for them to submit their comments.It was left undecided if this could be accomplished for an October 29th meeting or would have to wait until the Board’s first November meeting.
When advised that under the terms of the Town's recently amended parking requirements for commercial zones, the applicant could reduce the number of parking spaces, he said that given the needs of the building's prospectrive tenant, the Mt. Kisco Medical Group, he did not want to reduce the number of spaces.
Planning Board, 9-10-2012
Steve Marino, the applicant’s environmental planner, presented his functional analysis of the site’s wetlands.
Much of the remaining discussion focused on the possible wetlands mitigation measures for the site, with a special focus on which mitigation measure/s would provide the “public benefit” that DEC regulations require then a state regulated wetland is impacted. The site plan provides for 125% retention of stormwater from the site.
Potential public access dock Joe Riina, the applicant’s engineer, showed a revised site plan that included a second possible location for a dock that would provide public access to the lake. While the new location required a longer path from the parking lot to the lakefront, it had less vegetation than the first location and hence would have less impact on the wetlands. Citing potential nighttime problems with teenagers using the dock, Planning Board members Kutter and Kincart said they did not support the dock concept and Mr. Marino said that DEC did not like the dock idea. Mr. Kincart added that he thought the dock would be a detriment to the planned office building.Planning Director Tegeder pointed out that the Comprehensive Plan calls for providing public access to the Town’s open spaces and that while he appreciated the concern about the dock’s possible nuisance factor, he suggested that the Board not preclude any future public access to the lake. He suggested that if the Board ultimately decides not to require the dock as part of the approved site plan, that a notation be made on the map, as a guide to future boards, about a possible dock.Even without the dock, the plan is to deed a strip of land abutting the lake to the Town.
Off site mitigation: At the suggestion of Supervisor Grace, the applicant looked at the possibility ofsomething being done in the vicinity of Lewis and Fairview Avenues to address a flooding situation in section of Jefferson Village. Mr. Riina explained that because the plan for that site, developed by the Village’s engineer, was complicated, his client was prepared to put some money into an escrow fund that could be used if and when that plan went forward. He cautioned, however, that the plan was a major infrastructure project and that just doing part of the plan would only be a bandaid.Mr. Tegeder also noted that that plan involved increasing the flow into the detention pond at Hill Blvd. and Route 6 which was adjacent to the outfall of Lake Osceola and that the pond might not have the capacity to receive any additional flow.As part of the discussion, Mr. Marino reported that he did not find any obstructions at the lake’s outfall.
Otherpotential problems raised with this mitigation suggestion included the possible time delay needed to get the JVOC’s approval of the project and who would maintain any future infrastructure improvements, the Town of JVOC.Also, if money was put into an escrow fund for the improvement, what would happen to the money if the Town never proceeded with the project.
Alternate off site mitigation measures that were identified including funding a study of the Shrub Oak Brook (the lake outfall goes into the brook) and flooding issues in the vicinity of Gambrill Village. Ms. Kutter and Mr. Fon both expressed the opinion that they would prefer to see possible off site mitigation measures that might help the lake and flooding in Jefferson Valley.
After Mr. Marino discussed other mitigation measures that had the support of the Board, Mr. Tegeder suggested that the list may be sufficient to show a sufficient “public benefit.”It should be up to the Town, he said, to identify the potential benefits and then have DEC review them as opposed to leaving it up to DEC to suggest what the benefits might be.
The applicant will present the wetlands functional analysis to the Conservation Board and return to the Planning Board at the end of the month for further discussion of identifying and prioritizing the mitigation measures. The plan will also be referred to the Recreation Commission.
Planning Board, 8/13/2012
The applicant has formally submitted an application, SWPP (stormwater), preliminary architectural drawings and a revised mitigation plan based on feedback from the Board and more discussions with the DEC.
The latest plan eliminates the proposed public access dock on the northern end of the property and replaces it with a wood chip path leading from the parking lot down to the lake shore where an as yet to be determined informalbeach or dock could be constructed where the public could launch canoes or kayaks. The path would be approximately 300 feet and have a modest grade down to the lake.
The Board agreed with the suggestion of Bruce Barber, the Town’s environmental consultant, that the applicant prepare a quantitative functional analysis of the site’s current wetlands and wetlands buffer and how that would change in the post construction phase based on the current plan.The analysis would help identify the pluses and minuses of different proposed mitigation measures and help prioritize them. The applicant agreed to prepare the analysis which he hoped could be ready in time for one of the Board’s two meetings in September.
One of the earlier mitigation measures proposed by the applicant was a one time cleaning out of the lake outlet. However, the applicant advised the Board that upon further examination, they could not locate a single point to be cleaned up.
Planning Director Tegeder asked that, at the request of Supervisor Grace, the functional analysis include the possibility of some off site mitigation that might help alleviate flooding problems at Condo 9 at Jefferson Village.
Planning Board, 7/16/2012
The Board opened a public informational hearing on the proposed 27,000 square foot office building off Hill Boulevard and abutting Lake Osceola. (See below) As explained by Al Capellini, the attorney for the applicant, the purpose of the hearing was to give interested parties an “early warning” about the project.
Mr. Capellini and Joe Riina of Site Design Consultants, the project’s engineer, gave a brief overview of the project, including architectural renderings showing how the building, which sits below Hill Boulevard, would be viewed from different vantage points.The building is being designed to conform to the requirements of the “country commercial” zone that it have a residential look. The architectural plans have not been reviewed yet by ABACA.
In response to Ms. Kutter’s question whether the applicant had made any changes in the public access to the lake as discussed at a previous work session, Mr. Riina said that no changes had been made to date and that the issue was still being reviewed.
Two property owners on East Main Street on the north side of the lake expressed concern about how the proposed project would affect the level of the lake. The general manager of Ceola Manor noted serious erosion problems on a portion of the Manor’s site. Both have experienced flooding in recent years. That led to a discussion of the uncertain “ownership” of the lake and who was responsible for cleaning the outlet to the lake. Mr. Capellini said that after the applicant does a one-time cleaning/clearing job to remove dead trees, limbs and garbage, it would be the town’s responsibility to keep the outlet clear. Because access to the outlet is limited and would likely require an inspection by rowboat, no one seemed to know if the outlet was possibly being restricted by a beaver dam. If it is, Mr. Capellini said, the DEC would have to get involved.
Patrick Francois, the Conservation Board’s liaison to the Planning Board, expressed his group’s concern that some of the seven mitigation measures proposed by the applicant (see prior meeting summaries) were more in the nature of amenities than replacing lost wetlands functions which, he said, was the more accurate meaning of mitigation.
The informational hearing was closed.
Planning Board, 6/11/2012
Mr. Riina reviewedthe latest plan that incorporates concerns from town staff and the DEC and the seven proposed mitigation measures as discussed at the previous meeting. After informing the board that a formal application has been submitted, the board agreed to schedule a Public Informational Meeting in July in order to give the public an opportunity to view the plan.
Most of the discussion focused on how best to provide public access to the lake, whose “ownership,” it was noted, is currently unknown.Mr. Flynn asked if the proposed walkway and boardwalk could be extendedcloser to the shore and at the shoreline grade, in part to avoid people having to walk along the lake’s shoreline which might damage the existing plantings. While Mr. Riina explained that the DEC wasn’t in favor of the boardwalk idea, Planning Director Tegeder saw public access to the lake as a positive and hoped that the applicant could come up with some ideas as to how the boardwalk/pier concept could be redesigned so that its size and grade would make it attractive and useable to the public while still complying with ADA accessibility requirements.In addition to fishing, it was noted that the lake was ideal for kayaking.There is no other public access to the lake. Mr. Riina noted that other than discussions with the Planning Department and Planning Board, he hasn’t heard anything from the Town about the proposed public use of the rear of the property.
In response to Mr. Riina’s comments that, as one of the project’s mitigation measures, the application would clear the debris from the Lake Osceola outlet that’s on the southern portion of the site, Babette Ballinger wanted to know who would be responsible for keeping the outlet clear of debris once it was cleaned out. Mr. Riina’s response was that it was the Town’s responsibility.
Planning Board, 5/7/2012
Mr. Riina advised the board that based on a new delineation of the site’s wetlands, as well as preliminary discussions with the DEC, several changes have been made to the original plan, including:
the building has been moved further away from the wetlands
the building has been reduced by 27,000 square feet
the number of proposed parking spaces has been reduced to 119 from 161
the green roof concept has been eliminated
The revised plan also includes several new mitigation measures, including:
Mr. Riina said that the applicant had also suggested enhancing the existing wetland area but that the DEC was not interested in such a plan.
While the current plan that provides 119 parking spaces does not meet the 135 required spaces, the Planning Board can reduce the parking requirement by up to 25%.The parking area is proposed to be porous pavement.One of the key elements of the parking plan was the need to allow sufficient turning radius for delivery trucks.
The proposed three story building will have one story buried and will be two feet above the flood level.
Planning Director Tegeder advised Mr. Riina that before the applicant went back to the DEC with the latest revised plan, he should meet with town staff to work out details for several aspects of the plan so that when he returns to DEC, he has a better idea of what the town wants. He repeated a concern expressed at the previous meeting about the architectural appearance of the building and the need to address design standards in the CR (Commercial Recreation) zone.
To start the process moving, Mr. Tegeder advised the applicant to file a formal application which will then en able the Planning Board to refer the plan to the advisory boards for review and comment.Once that is done, a public informational hearing can be set to get additional feedback from the community.
Planning Board, 1/23/2012
The applicant presented preliminary plans to get the “sense of the board” for a proposed 3-story 30,000 SF medical office building and 160 parking spaces on a 4.4 acre site located behind the existing medical buildings on Hill Boulevard. (There’s a house currently on the property.) The site is in the Country Commercial (CC) zone. The majority of the site is in a wetlands buffer and approximately a half acre is in the wetland. The site is sewered. The site would share parking with the abutting Ceola Manor.
One of the alternate plans, which would minimize the disturbance to the wetlands and eliminate the need for a variance, called for deeding a strip of land to the town to provide public access to abutting Lake Oseola. Another portion of the site would be a conservation easement. Mr. Kincart noted that while he liked the idea of reducing the amount of disturbance to the wetland, he wasn’t sure if the town could use the proposed strip of land which he characterized as “low and marshy.” He suggested that a conservation easement might achieve the same goal.
Planning Director John Tegeder advised the applicant and the board that one of the key issues involved in any consideration of the plan would be the architecture of the building, including the proposed flat “green” roof as opposed to a sloped roof, the building materials and the type of windows. Noting that the building would be visible from cars traveling westbound on Route 6, he explained that one of the provisions for the site in the Comprehensive Plan and the CC zone was not to denigrate the existing natural resources of the area. In response, the applicant noted that he had just hired an architect who would take into considerations the architectural requirements of the CC zone. Chairman Richard Fon noted that the board would want to hear from the Conservation Board.