Parks & Recreation Issues
See also: Navajo Fields, Granite Knolls field & barn, Woodlands Legacy, Trail System, Shallow Creek , Miscellaneous, Dog Park, Granite Knolls Sports Complex
See also: Fieldhome for a discussion of the Catherine Street soccer field
Scroll down for Spectra AIM & Atlantic Bridge and Holland Sporting Club
Route 202 Ballfields
Town Board, 2-28-2017 In an item not on the agenda, the board approved a resolution dealing with the drainage at the Route 202 ballfields. In a voice that could not be heard by the public, Town Clerk Quast who is also the chairman of the Recreation Commission explained what the resolution was for. Dan Strauss also asked the board to spend the $130,000 needed to supplement a state grant that would be used to rehabilitate the fields. In response, Supervisor Grace said that he was currently looking into whether the Highway Department could do some of the drainage work in order to save money; a staff meeting to discuss this possibility was scheduled for the next day. Using town staff for special projects, he said was good for the morale of town employees as well as saving money. He also said that there were some cost inconsistencies in the low bid that had to be reviewed and that more vetting was needed on the existing irrigation system. (See Town Board, 8-4-2015.) Before an audience of YAC baseball players, their coaches and parents, Todd Orlowski, Superintendent of Parks and Recreation, asked the board for $275,000 from the General Fund fund balance to pay for the renovation of the Route 202 ballfields. He explained that after some optional additions and subtractions to the specs, the low bid came in at $262,000 – but, the town will be reimbursed by the state for $130,000 from a grant after it spends the money. (An additional $20,000 from the state was used for repairs to the inline skating rink.) Because the bid is good for only 45 days, the town has to come to a decision by the end of the month. Supervisor Grace said he wasn’t ready to approve the expense, citing “tight” budgets, limited funds, a finite pot of money and the tax cap. He said he wasn’t ready to take all the town’s available cash and put it into this one project. When he said he wouldn’t know how much money might be available until after the 2015 audit was completed, Comptroller Caporale said she anticipated one more visit from the auditors was planned. The supervisor added that he had been waiting since the March joint meeting (see below) with the Town Board, Planning Board and Recreation Commission for a Master Plan from the Recreation Commission so that the board could prioritize park and recreation projects. Comptroller Caporale (who is also a member of the Recreation Commission) reported that the Trust & Agency Fund (funded by a recreation fee paid by residential developers) had $260,000 but that the Recreation Commission was planning to use that money to create a soccer field at the Hunterbrook Field and also upgrade the existing baseball field. Councilman Bernard indicated that the town was hoping to be able to have residential developers construct some of the park improvements on an in-kind basis in lieu of paying the per lot recreation fee. Acknowledging the need for more ballfields, Supervisor Grace chastised Councilman Patel and former Councilman Bianco for their vote against the Spectra Granite Knolls proposal saying that if it hadn’t been for their no vote, the town could have had more fields “for nothing.” He also indicated that access to the existing practice fields could be lost if the new owner of Phoenix House did not renew the existing access agreement. Alternately, if the town could work something out with the new owner, a town investment in the fields might be needed. (The supervisor hinted at a potential buyer for the property but said he couldn’t say more. He also said that he had sent a Granite Knolls proposal to someone to look at but didn’t elaborate.) There was also a brief discussion about the town’s limited finances for maintaining the recreation facilities it already has versus adding new ones. Citing the need for the work to proceed, a representative of the YAC expressed the group’s disappointment with the board’s failure to move forward with the plan. The board asked Mr. Orlowski to ask the low bidder to voluntarily extend the bid for an additional 30 days so that the board had more time to review its finances and recreation priorities. Special joint meeting with Town Board, Planning Board and Recreation Commission
(Use a keyword search for earlier references)
Town Board, 8-2-2016
Town Board, 5-10-2016
Route 202 Ballfields
Town Board, 2-28-2017
In an item not on the agenda, the board approved a resolution dealing with the drainage at the Route 202 ballfields. In a voice that could not be heard by the public, Town Clerk Quast who is also the chairman of the Recreation Commission explained what the resolution was for.
Dan Strauss also asked the board to spend the $130,000 needed to supplement a state grant that would be used to rehabilitate the fields. In response, Supervisor Grace said that he was currently looking into whether the Highway Department could do some of the drainage work in order to save money; a staff meeting to discuss this possibility was scheduled for the next day. Using town staff for special projects, he said was good for the morale of town employees as well as saving money. He also said that there were some cost inconsistencies in the low bid that had to be reviewed and that more vetting was needed on the existing irrigation system.
(See Town Board, 8-4-2015.) Before an audience of YAC baseball players, their coaches and parents, Todd Orlowski, Superintendent of Parks and Recreation, asked the board for $275,000 from the General Fund fund balance to pay for the renovation of the Route 202 ballfields. He explained that after some optional additions and subtractions to the specs, the low bid came in at $262,000 – but, the town will be reimbursed by the state for $130,000 from a grant after it spends the money. (An additional $20,000 from the state was used for repairs to the inline skating rink.) Because the bid is good for only 45 days, the town has to come to a decision by the end of the month.
Supervisor Grace said he wasn’t ready to approve the expense, citing “tight” budgets, limited funds, a finite pot of money and the tax cap. He said he wasn’t ready to take all the town’s available cash and put it into this one project. When he said he wouldn’t know how much money might be available until after the 2015 audit was completed, Comptroller Caporale said she anticipated one more visit from the auditors was planned. The supervisor added that he had been waiting since the March joint meeting (see below) with the Town Board, Planning Board and Recreation Commission for a Master Plan from the Recreation Commission so that the board could prioritize park and recreation projects.
Comptroller Caporale (who is also a member of the Recreation Commission) reported that the Trust & Agency Fund (funded by a recreation fee paid by residential developers) had $260,000 but that the Recreation Commission was planning to use that money to create a soccer field at the Hunterbrook Field and also upgrade the existing baseball field.
Councilman Bernard indicated that the town was hoping to be able to have residential developers construct some of the park improvements on an in-kind basis in lieu of paying the per lot recreation fee.
Acknowledging the need for more ballfields, Supervisor Grace chastised Councilman Patel and former Councilman Bianco for their vote against the Spectra Granite Knolls proposal saying that if it hadn’t been for their no vote, the town could have had more fields “for nothing.” He also indicated that access to the existing practice fields could be lost if the new owner of Phoenix House did not renew the existing access agreement. Alternately, if the town could work something out with the new owner, a town investment in the fields might be needed. (The supervisor hinted at a potential buyer for the property but said he couldn’t say more. He also said that he had sent a Granite Knolls proposal to someone to look at but didn’t elaborate.)
There was also a brief discussion about the town’s limited finances for maintaining the recreation facilities it already has versus adding new ones.
Citing the need for the work to proceed, a representative of the YAC expressed the group’s disappointment with the board’s failure to move forward with the plan.
The board asked Mr. Orlowski to ask the low bidder to voluntarily extend the bid for an additional 30 days so that the board had more time to review its finances and recreation priorities.
Special joint meeting with Town Board, Planning Board and Recreation Commission
The overall purpose of the meeting was to increase coordination between the three boards, two or three of which may be involved in various aspects of the same proposed project. During the free ranging discussion, reference was made to several past approvals that have resulted in ongoing problems as well as development projects currently under review.
For example, all three boards are involved in decisions regarding how residential development plans will satisfy their recreation requirement. Options include:
· Having the developer construct an on-site recreation facility, e.g., a playground or ball field
· Setting aside 10% of the site and transferring ownership to the town for the possible future construction of a recreation facility
· Paying a per lot fee that goes into a special Trust and Agency Fund that can be used only for open space acquisition or park improvements, but not ongoing park maintenance. For subdivisions the fee is $10,000/lot; for site plans (multi family developments), it’s $4,000/unit.
A second issue in need of coordination, primarily between the Town Board and the Planning Board, involves stormwater plans. For example, if the Planning Board is reviewing a plan that includes a stormwater detention pond, the issue becomes who will maintain the pond over time: the developer, a homeowner’s association or the town? Also, if the town will be responsible for the maintenance, does the site plan provide access to the pond?
Below is a summary of more general issues raised during the meeting. Except as noted, no specific follow up actions/decisions were taken.
Money for park improvements
Al Avitable, a member of the Recreation Commission, wanted to know when the Town Board will release the $1.5 million Spectra money to the Commission for use for park improvements. He said that the Commission went along with allowing Spectra to use Granite Knolls and Sylvan Glen parkland for the pipeline construction on the assumption that the money would go to them. In response, Supervisor Grace said that the $`1.5 million is in the General Fund and that the Town Board has not discussed what to do with the money. When Supervisor Grace said the town was under no legal obligation to use the money for park improvements, Mr. Avitable said that there was, at least, a “moral obligation.”
Supervisor Grace asked the Commission to come up with a priority list of its desired projects, including a budget, that could be used as a guide when the Planning Board is reviewing site plans that will have a recreation component. He advised Commission members of the competition for limited town funds.
Diana Quest, chair of the Recreation Commission, noted that while the town has received $117,000 from the state for the rehabilitation of the Route 202 fields, last year’s bid came in at $340,000. (Note the project is expected to be rebid later this year.) In response to her question whether the recreation fee could or should be increased, the supervisor said that they were in line with current land costs. Mr. Tegeder added that the $10,000/lot fee was increased only a few years ago from $5,000/lot.
As part of the discussion on the use of the funds generated by the recreation fee, it was generally agreed that because a private developer, unlike the town, was not subject to paying prevailing wages, the money in the Trust and Agency fund would go further if a private developer could construct the park improvement, even if it was at an off-site location of the town’s choosing. (See discussion below about the location of park improvements.)
Another benefit of coordination and having an available list of priority projects would be when the Planning Board becomes aware of a project that has free clean fill to be disposed of that might be suitable for a town location.
Supervisor Grace discussed the history of, and limitation of the $30 open space fee. (See Town Board, 2-24-2016.) He noted that if the $400,000 a year the fee raises could be used as a revenue for the General Fund and used for other purposes, it would have a 2% impact on the tax rate, i.e., it could lower the tax rate.
Types and location of park improvements
It was generally agreed that small neighborhood tot lots no longer made sense.
There were differing opinions as to where to locate larger projects, such as pickle ball courts. Supervisor Grace said he didn’t think it made sense to have new pickle ball courts built as part of the proposed Fieldstone Manor subdivision in Mohegan lake, a location he felt was isolated; he thought a better location would be Holland Sporting Club, a site he said he would like to see put to use. (He suggested that the Fieldstone Manor developer be allowed to build more houses on the land set aside for the courts and open space.) Another participant, however, felt that the proposed location, which was once used as a sports field and is next to a school parking lot was an ideal location for the proposed pickle ball courts.
Diana Quast, Rec Commission chairperson, advised the Town Board that her group would be ready to make a presentation to the Town Board, and public, sometime in May on a priority list of projects. She noted that plans are moving forward for the construction of an additional field at Hunterbrook and the renovation of the Route 202 fields. Also, instead of the previous plan to “flip” the Woodlands field, the Commission is now considering fencing off the field.
Planning Board member John Kincart noted that if open space is taken as part of the recreation requirement, the discussion should include whether the open space would be part of larger recreation plan, e.g., a trail network, or just left as open space that might invite inappropriate uses.
It was pointed that that the Parks Department is responsible for maintaining an inventory of isolated parcels that have been designated as “parkland” but which have no value as future park or recreation sites. The parcels range from Tall Timbers in Mohegan Lake to a single building lot off Hanover Road that was set aside as part of the subdivision approval process for a ball field even though, at the time, the Recreation Commission said it did not support a ball field on the site.
It was suggested that if these parcels could be sold off as part of a parkland alienation plan with the proceeds going to the Trust and Agency Fund to be used for park improvements. Brian Gray, Superintendent of Parks and Recreation, said he has a list of parkland properties that fall into this category.
Richard Fon, chairman of the Planning Board, noted the benefits of having Councilman Bernard, the Town Board’s liaison to the Planning Board attend Planning Board meetings. It was suggested that although the Rec Commission receives copies of development plans that include a recreation component, it would be helpful if a member of the Commission also attended Planning Board meetings in order to facilitate the give and take dialogue. Mr. Tegeder noted that the developer shouldn’t be the “messenger,” being sent from board to board with his/her plan.
Spectra Energy/AIM & Atlantic Bridge
(see also separate discussions below dealing with Granite Knolls)
Town Board, 10-18-2016
DEC Atlantic Bridge public hearing: Rebecca Berlin and Susan Siegel, the person writing this summary, both commented on the October 19th hearing. Ms. Siegel asked the supervisor to confirm his earlier comment that the hearing was being held by FERC, not DEC, and also whether the town was going to say anything at the hearing. Supervisor Grace said representatives of the town would be there to listen but that it made no difference what the town said because the town didn’t have any jurisdiction over the issue. Ms. Berlin asked that the town try to get the hearing rescheduled because there were several conflicting community events that evening. The supervisor said the town had no say over the scheduling.
Town Board, 5-17-2016
Susan Siegel, the person writing this summary, asked if the town was going to review and comment on the project’s FERC issued Environmental Assessment report by the June 2 deadline. She noted that the project will impact hundreds of town residents, several town owned properties and the town’s major north-south roads. There was no response
Town Board, 5-3-2016
The board approved a resolution holding the town harmless relating to a blasting permit issued to Spectra.
Town Board, 3-8-2016
The board referred an amended SWPP (stormwater plan) to Mr. Barber for the AIM project. No details were provided.
Town Board, 3-1-2016
Representatives of the Algonquin Pipeline Company gave an update on the status of the project. Atlantic Bridge is the second phase of the project that will replace the existing 26’ pipeline with a new 42’ pipeline. The project will cross Yorktown from Stoney Street to the Somers border.
The company anticipates that it will receive FERC approval in the third quarter of 2016 and begin tree cutting and limited construction during the fourth quarter of 2016. Most of the construction will be done in the spring and summer of 2017, with the new line going into service by November, 2017.
The pipeline replacement will be done underground from the Taconic Parkway to the east side of Route 132 and above ground across the rest of the town. The slurry (mud) that will result from the underground drilling process will be tested prior to being disposed of. One resident asked if it would be tested before the drilling was done; there was no response to that question.
A staging area will be used at Strong Blvd and Route 132. At the request of town, the work space in the vicinity of Willow Park off Curry Street has been modified so as not to impact the pond.
While the pigging station to be installed at Stoney Street as part of the AIM project will eventually be relocated to Somers, the representatives explained that the facility will be used at least once before it is relocated, although the residue removed from the pipeline as part of the process will be removed in Southeast.
In response to questions from Councilman Patel and Paul Moskowitz, the representatives assured residents of the pipeline’s safety in terms of any possible leaks or any radioactive emissions.
Residents whose property will be impacted by the project can call the project hotline, 866-873-2579, if they have any questions.
Town Board, 1-19-2016
Without any explanation or discussion, the board voted unanimously to amend the license agreement signed in 2015 allowing Spectra temporary access to workspace in Granite Knolls and Sylvan Glen parks. The amendment removes from the Agreement the requirement that Spectra contruct a 2,000’ gravel driveway in the workspace for access to a future park at Granite Knolls. In consideration for eliminating the driveway, Spectra will pay the town $62,500.
The resolution also directed the town attorney to discontinue the Article 78 lawsuit that challenged the Agreement.
In response to a question during Courtesy of the Floor from Stewart Glass who wanted to know why the Agreement was being amended, Supervisor Grace explained that the access road contemplated in the Agreement might no longer serve a purpose because when the Phoenix House property is sold, and will likely be repurposed, the town will have an opportunity to work with the new owner to create a new access to the town land, and that the new access could open up the property for development as a park.
The supervisor added that the Agreement was also amended in an effort to end the litigation.
Town Board, 1-12-2016
Representatives of Spectra were called into the closed executive session. When leaving, they told the CIY observer to expect a resolution at the board’s next meeting. The inference was that there would be a settlement of the Almar lawsuit challenging the town’s 2015 license agreement with Spectra.
Town Board, 11-17-2015
Spectra pipeline/Atlantic Bridge. I noted that a proposed resolution authorzing the supervisor to submit a “Notice to Intervene” petition to FERC for the Atlantic Bridge project had been removed from the agenda at the request of three board members. I explained the reason why I believed filing the motion, which had no costs associated with it, would be in the town’s interest. There were no comments from the other board members. At the end of the meeting, I made a motion to approve the resolution; it was defeated by a 2-3 vote, with only Councilman Patel and me voting for it. The other members did not explain why they voted against it.
Town Board, 8-11-2015
Environmental Consultant Bruce Barber advised the board that the state was satisfied with the stormwater permit (SWPP) and that Spectra had responded to the town’s earlier questions about the SWPP. While Supervisor Grace said that the pigging station would be moved out of Yorktown as part of the Phase 2 Atlantic Bridge project, I noted that the revised SWPP stated the pigging station, still in the design phase, would be located on Spectra’s right-of-way at Stoney Street and that once the design was completed, the company would submit a revised SWPP.
The board authorized the supervisor to accept the SWPP and sign the required MS4 acceptance form with the additional language that the acceptance was subject to review of any revised plans.
Town Board, 6-16-2015
(See Spectra Energy.) After Spectra’s environmental consultant explained the project, long time Junior Lake resident Brian Amico expressed dismay over what he considered to be years of neglect regarding the lake, including the increased amount of sediment at one end of the lake, plus the fact that many homeowners who bought property in the neighborhood based on a view of the lake could no longer see the lake from their property. He wanted the lake restored to what it once was. He wasn’t against the proposed Spectra project; he just wanted to see more work done to restore the lake. Two other neighborhood residents expressed similar concerns.
Supervisor Grace and Councilman Bernard explained that the plan, which involved creating a forested wetland of trees and shrubs along the perimeter of a portion of the lake, was a benefit to Yorktown and actually a “gift” that had nothing to do with the pipeline expansion through Sylvan Glen or Granite Knolls. Supervisor Grace said that any lake restoration project above and beyond what Spectra would be doing would be a major town investment that would have to be considered along with other town projects.
Bruce Barber explained that there was no single magic bullet that would restore the lake. He said the Spectra project would add to the area’s biodiversity and that some pending East of Hudson stormwater projects would improve water quality which would reduce the phosphorous entering the lake. The new plantings, he said, were only one piece of what could be done.
The hearing was closed and the wetlands permit granted.
Town Board, 6/2/2015
Without any discussion, the board voted unanimously to authorize the supervisor to send scoping comments to FERC. The comments, which had been previously circulated via email, were not included in the published agenda. (For a copy, email me at firstname.lastname@example.org)
The board set a public hearing for June 16 for a wetlands permit for the project. If the Army Corps of Engineers has completed its review of the draft agreement between the town and Spectra by that time, the board will also vote to approve the agreement.
Town Board, 5-26-2015
Junior Lake Wetlands Permit (Spectra pipeline project)
As previously discussed, Spectra will undertake a forest restoration project at Junior Lake Memorial Park as part of its off-site mitigation requirement. Before implementing the plan, Spectra needs to obtain a wetlands permit from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, as well as from the town. While the project meets the criteria for the town permit to be handled on the administrative level by the town engineer, Supervisor Grace suggested that the Town Board hold a hearing on the permit request to clear up what he said was confusion about the project. While I had no problem with holding the hearing, I said that the Junior Lake project had been discussed at several previous meetings and I didn’t think there was any confusion, or opposition to it. I said the public clearly understood the difference between the work Spectra would be doing at Junior Lake, and the disturbance to parkland at Sylvan Glen and Granite Knolls.
The board voted to advertise the public hearing for June 16. As part of the project, the Town will also have to approve a restrictive covenant for the property preventing future development from taking place on the site. If the text of the agreement is ready by June 16,
Atlantic Bridge/Spectra pipeline
Bruce Barber, the town’s environmental consultant, presented the board with a revised set of scoping comments for the Atlantic Bridge project. Supervisor Grace noted that FERC will be required to provide an individualized plan for every homeowner directly affected by the construction. Apart from the scoping comments, the supervisor’s main concern was whether and how the town could avail itself of the excess soil that would result from the underground drilling Spectra is proposing for under the Taconic Parkway and Legacy Fields. He felt that the fill could be used at several town park sites. In response, Mr. Barber said that the town should start prioritizing where the fill was needed and Diana Quast, chairman of the Recreation Commission, noted that the soil would have to be tested if it was going to be used for athletic fields.
As a follow up to the comments I made at the May 11th FERC hearing requesting FERC to require an EIS (Environmental Impact Statement) instead of a briefer EA (Environmental Assessment), I suggested to the board that Mr. Barber add a section to the board’s comment letter requesting FERC to do a more comprehensive EIS in light of the significant impacts the project would have on Yorktown. In response, Supervisor Grace said he didn’t think an EIS was needed. He pointed out that the AIM project, for which both a DEIS and FEIS were required, was far more significant because it involved crossing the Hudson River and Indian Point. I responded that as a board, we should be concerned about Yorktown and that it was clear that the Atlantic Bridge project, that would impact thousands of residents, was far more significant than AIM that went through parkland. The board agreed to have Mr. Barber add the statement about the need for an EIS even though Councilman Bernard said that FERC will do what it wants to do, to which I responded, “But it does no harm to ask. At least if we ask, there’s a chance they’ll listen.”
The board anticipates voting to approve the final version of the comments at its June 2nd meeting.
Town Board, 5-19-2015
The discussion was in two parts: the first part consisted of comments and responses from the board during Courtesy of the Floor; the second part involved the passage of the License Agreement in a 3-2 vote, with Councilmen Patel and me voting no.
The Agreement was to give Spectra permission to temporarily use 7.5 acres of parkland in Sylvan Glen and Granite Knolls to facilitate the AIM pipelines expansion project, plus make long term improvements at Junior Lake Memorial Park, in exchange for $1.5 million.
A series of speakers challenged the town’s ability to enter into a license agreement with Spectra, arguing instead that the town was bypassing the state alienation requirement. Town Attorney Koster defended the license arrangement saying that it was perfectly legal and that because the license was revocable, it was not an alienation. Supervisor Grace said that a third option for granting Spectra the use of the land, condemnation, would only have generated $300,000-$400,000 for the temporary use of the parkland and the value of the lost trees. While the supervisor said that there were only about 30-40 oak trees of value on the site, I noted that a tree inventory had not been done that would have appraised the value of all the trees slated to be removed.
Speakers also objected to the fact that the board’s negotiations with Spectra were conducted in a closed executive session (last week) and believed that this violated the Open Meetings Law. In response, Supervisor Grace said that under the OML, it is legal to conduct negotiations in closed session. I agreed with him, although I added that after the board had informally reached a consensus on the license, and before the vote, more information about what was in the license should have and could have been made available to the public.
Supervisor Grace explained that all the necessary environmental reviews had been done.
After the vote
In a prepared statement I read after voting no on the Agreement, I explained that while I thought the $1.5 million agreement was “a good deal” for the town, I would have preferred Spectra to give the town more cash in lieu of building a 600 foot permanent road in the temporary work area; the only purpose the road would serve is being the beginning of a larger plan to create a second major sports complex at Granite Knolls. I suggested that the additional cash could be used to pave roads and repair crumbling bridges. I said that before the town went ahead with developing Granite Knolls for more sports facilities, there needed to be a community-wide discussion about priorities that would include the need for more sports facilities as well as environmental reviews and a financial analysis of what the sports complex at Granite Knolls would cost taxpayers in the short and long term.
In response, Supervisor Grace defended the original plan which he said was nixed by former Councilman Bianco and Councilman Patel. He said that additional fields were needed, that it was always the town’s intention to create active reaction at Granite Knolls and that the fields would be built at no cost to taxpayers. He said the original Spectra plan was in the “best interests of the town” and accused me of being short sighted.
In my statement I thanked Spectra for working with me and the town attorney to amend the draft license agreement to include more environmental protections as well as provisions for repairing any damage to our roads that occurred during construction.
Town Board, 5-12-2015
Closed session: Negotiations related to Spectra’s use of temporary work space at Sylvan Glen and Granite Knolls during the AIM project and an off-site wetlands mitigation plan at Junior Lake Park.
Town Board, 5-5-2015
The board reviewed a draft scoping prepared by Bruce Barber that incorporated comments from several department heads and an earlier outline I had prepared.
I advised the board that unlike the AIM project that had a DEIS (Draft Environmental Impact Statement), FERC was proposing to do only an Environmental Assessment (EA) for Atlantic Bridge. I expressed concern that the EA might not be as detailed as an EIS.
Supervisor Grace was of the opinion that the town’s comments should not repeat comments likely to be made by other people at the May 11 FERC scoping session or be “all over the place” but instead should take a more surgical approach zeroing in on very specific issues of concern to the town. He also wanted to avoid a negative posture towards Spectra and instead wanted to maintain a good working relationship with the company in order to negotiate some benefits to Yorktown as part of the project. Pointing out the loss of the Granite Knolls ball fields, he identified possible drainage improvements Spectra could be asked to make on some town owned property.
I agreed that many of the items in the scoping document could be consolidated but I continued to argue that we should be aggressive in asking for any item that would impact the health and safety of our residents and protect our environment and roads.
Supervisor Grace explained that the ROW easements through established neighborhoods might actually be owned by the town and not the homeowners and he was checking this out.
Mr. Barber called attention to the need for what he called “baseline documentation” that would document pre- construction conditions on all private and public lands within 50’ of the proposed limits of disturbance.
Mr. Barber will prepare a revised scoping document for the board next week. The board has until June 11 to submit written comments. In the meantime, if board members speak at the May 11 scoping session, they will speak as individuals.
The board also discussed how Spectra was going to compensate the town for the use of Sylvan Glen and Granite Knolls parkland during the AIM construction period. The two key issues were the value of trees that would be lost and the “temporary rental value” of the land. It was agreed that most of the value was in the trees and that a tree inventory would be needed, although the supervisor said that many of trees slated to be removed were of little value. The board will be meeting with Spectra next week to discuss this issue.
Town Board, 4-28-2015
I reviewed a list of 19 possible issues that I thought the town should include in its oral and written comments for the May 11th Atlantic Bridge DEIS scoping session. The list included requiring Spectra to provide more details about how the project will impact town properties, including Legacy Fields and the Willow Pond area as well as stsormwater and road issues. I acknowledged that while FERC might not accept all the town’s “suggestions,” if we didn’t ask for anything, we wouldn’t get anything and that by asking, we might at least get some of what we wanted to see included in the DEIS.
At my suggestion, either the clerk’s office or the supervisor will ask department heads for input on what else should be included in the town’s comments. Bruce Barber will coordinate the comments. I also suggested that the supervisor’s office notify the Lakeland School District of the scoping session as the project will impact Copper Beach and Thomas Jefferson schools.
In response to my question about the status of the town’s review of the AIM stormwater plan (SWPP), Mr. Barber said he was meeting with Spectra representatives regarding the need for additional information. Supervisor Grace indicated that he thought the DEC would issue the air and water quality permits by the end of May.
In a separate issue, I advised the board that I was researching options for a future board discussion on how the town’s roads could be protected during construction.
Town Board, 4-21-2015
At Courtesy of the floor,Paul Moskowitz accused Spectra representatives of lying at the April 14th work session when they minimized what he said was the danger from radioactive waste products in the pipeline. He also noted that as a limited liability company, the amount of insurance available to cover potential damages would be limited.
Town Board, 4/14/2015
In a 2 ½ hour session, representatives of Spectra made an initial presentation of the plans for both the AIM and Atlantic Bridge pipeline expansion projects, and then answered written questions that had been submitted by residents, as well as oral questions posed during the meeting, mostly from Councilman Patel.
Supervisor Grace also announced that FERC has scheduled a scoping session for the Atlantic Bridge project on May 11 at the YCCC. The time was not available.
A video of the meeting is available on the town’s web site, http://www.yorktownny.org/townboard/meeting-videos.
Questions and answers included
Town Board, 4-7-2015
Representatives of Spectra Energy will be at the April 14th work session meeting for a presentation on both the AIM and Atlantic Bridge projects. The presentation is scheduled for 7:30pm. Supervisor Grace was non-committal when I asked that the meeting be televised and that the public be allowed to ask questions directly to Spectra personnel.
Town Board, 3-17-2015
During Courtesy of the Floor, Paul Moskowitz spoke about the radioactive material that is removed from the pigging facility planned for Stoney Street and Lisa Mackay, speaking on behalf of Keep Yorktown Safe, spoke about the pending impact that the next phase of the pipeline expansion known as Atlantic Bridge will have on 1,000 homeowners within 1,000 feet of the pipeline. She noted that neither Supervisor Grace or Greg Bernard and Tom Diana, the two newly elected councilmen, attended the March 11 Spectra informational meeting.
During my Report from the Town Board, I summarized the Q&A I had with the Spectra representatives at the March 11th meeting, most notably, Spectra’s comment that they would attend a board meeting in the near future to answer questions about both the AIM and Atlantic Bridge projects. I added that it was my hope that the meeting would be televised and that residents would have an opportunity to ask questions directly to Spectra.
I also explained that while FERC has issued the Certificate for Spectra to proceed with the AIM project, construction cannot begin until the DEC issues the required air and water quality permits.
Town Board, 2-24-2015
With no discussion, the board approved a resolution to send a six page comment letter to the DEC asking the agency to delay issuing air and water quality permits for the pipeline project until a long list of unanswered questions were addressed. The letter was prepared jointly by Bruce Barber and myself. A copy of the letter will also be sent to FERC. Copy of the letter.
Town Board, 2-10-2015
As a follow up to last week’s discussion, I went through a two page list of both general and specific questions the town will ask Spectra o answer. Most of the questions dealt with the pigging station and its impact on air quality. In response to some of the questions dealing with wetlands, tree removal and whether the company would provide a stormwater management plan (SWPP), Supervisor Grace said Spectra had told him that they would abide by all local permit requirements.
One of the key questions to be asked involves the future of the pigging station proposed for Stoney Street and how that facility might change in the future if the Phase II Atlantic Bridge project proceeds. Also left undecided was whether the construction of an above ground facility (as opposed to the underground pipeline) on an easement that goes through parkland will require a formal alienation bill from the state legislature.
Bruce Barber, the town’s environmental consultant, will prepare a final list of the questions to be sent to Spectra and will also draft the town’s comments to the DEC on the pending air quality and water quality permits. I asked Mr. Barber to have drafts of both documents by the next meeting so that they could be reviewed by the board prior to the Feb 27 submission date for the Dec comments.
Commenting on Spectra’s proposed off-site wetlands mitigation plan that involves planting around Junior Lake, Mr. Barber said that so far, the town has only seen a narrative of what the company proposes to do but that he would want to see a more specific plan before any work was done. Supervisor Grace said the Rec Commission will also be reviewing a recreation component to the plan, possibly a trail or benches.
Town Board, 2-3-2015
A board update on the Spectra AIM pipeline project is tentatively set for the work session on Tuesday, Feb 10.
Issues to be discussed include the pigging station that’s now planned for the ROW at Stoney Street, a proposed MLR (mainline regulator facility), also at Stoney Street, wetlands issues and the location of the construction ware yard so that we will know what local roads trucks will use to get to the pipeline site. The board also needs to prepare written comments by Feb 27 on the pending DEC air quality and water quality permits.
While I had hoped that Spectra would be able to send a representative to the meeting, or to the February 17, meeting to provide the town with additional information, Supervisor Grace reported that Spectra would not be able to attend a meeting with the board until March at the earliest, too late to provide information that could be incorporated into the DEC comments .
In the absence of a direct meeting with Spectra, the board will prepare a series of questions at next week’s work session that will be sent to the company.
Commenting on the changed location of the construction ware yard, Supervisor Grace said he heard that it will now be located in Cortlandt and that Cortlandt will get the recreational facility that Yorktown has now lost. He also said that the pigging station, aka a launcher/receiver station, would only be a launcher facility and that changes would be made after the completion of the Atlantic Bridge phase of the pipeline project that would expand the pipeline through the rest of Yorktown to the Somers border.
Town Board, 1-6-2015
During Courtesy of the Floor, Roseann Brackett asked why the town had ignored several FOIL requests involving the pipeline and whether the town followed established protocols about notifying town advisory groups about Spectra’s plans to do off-site wetlands mitigation at Junior Lake. In response, Town Clerk Roker stated that she had responded to all FOIL requests and Town Attorney Koster said there were no documents that addressed what the FOIL was seeking, both points which Ms. Brackett refuted.
Regarding the Junior Lake plan, Supervisor Grace explained that the Rec Commission is currently reviewing the plan as it involves the use of town parkland and that when the Commission has finished its review, the issue will come to the Town Board. I explained, however, that the Town Board, as well as certain advisory groups and the town’s environmental consultant, should be involved in reviewing both the proposed mitigation plan and any associated plan to add a recreational component that Spectra might agree to incorporate into its plan. I also advised interested residents to attend upcoming Rec Commission meetings while the plan was being discussed in the early stages.
Town Board, 10-7-2014
Several residents spoke on this issue. Paul Moskowitz talked about Spectra’s Atlantic Bridge project which will continue the expansion of the 26” pipeline to 42” across Stoney Street and across Yorktown to the Somers borders. Calling the project unsafe, he said that Spectra staff had told him that during the construction process, some people will have to vacate their houses.
Roseanne Brackett talked about the board’s lack of transparency on the issue, focusing primarily on Councilman Murphy.
Sheila Schraier took issue with Spectra calling the AIM project a “replacement” project. In truth, she said, replacing a 26” with a 42” is not just a replacement.
Citing the fact that the maps for the Atlantic Bridge project that were on display at Spectra’s September29 meeting showed a pigging station at Granite Knolls, Mark Michaels asked Supervisor Grace to explain the basis of his earlier statement that there would be no pigging station in Yorktown. He also asked for greater transparency regarding the supervisor’s contacts with Spectra. In response, the supervisor said there had been no lack of transparency and that if Mr. Michaels had been at Recreation Commission meetings, he would have known all about the Granite Knolls plan.
Babbette Ballinger said that when she asked a Spectra employee at the Atlantic Bridge meeting whether she would let her children play in a park next to a pigging station, the “woman went white.”
Town Board, 9-16-2014
Several people spoke in opposition to the Spectra pipeline plan. Rosanne Brackett questioned why, with the exception of Councilman Patel, no other Town Board members had attended the press conference along with town officials from other communities prior to the FERC meeting to ask for a withdrawal of the DEIS on the grounds that it was incomplete. She questioned whether Councilman Murphy and Supervisor Grace were working for Yorktown or someone else. In response, Supervisor Grace said he couldn’t attend the meeting because he had a prior commitment, followed by a family emergency. When Ms. Brackett commented that Councilman Murphy, who attended a portion of the hearing, was seen talking to a Spectra PR staff member and had not said anything at the hearing, Mr. Murphy responded that he had submitted comments to FERC. “Check before you speak,” he told her.
On the issue of the pigging station, when Ms. Brackett pressed Supervisor Grace to explain why he says the facility is going to be moved away from Granite Knolls when Spectra still shows the Granite Knolls location in the DEIS. In response, Supervisor Grace said, “I don’t know.” He also reminded the pipeline opponents that the Town Board had unanimously voted twice to alienate the land for the pigging station.
Referring to the board’s September 2 resolution that asked FERC to require Spectra to undertake more health and safety related studies but which eliminated the reference to parkland alienation, eminent domain and the construction of any new maintenance facilities in Yorktown, Paul Moskowitz and Lisa Mackay asked the board to pass a new resolution that put back into the resolution the omitted provisions. Mr. Moskowitz pointed out that if Spectra proceeds with the Atlantic Bridge project that would expand the pipeline from Stoney Street to the town’s eastern border, it would use the Granite Knolls construction site and the existing practice fields would be lost for even more years. He also pointed out that the pipeline goes through Legacy Fields and that those fields would be taken off line if the Atlantic Bridge project proceeds.
On the issue of eminent domain, Supervisor Grace repeated his previous statement that the federal government had the right to take land by eminent domain and that local governments were powerless to stop the action and shouldn’t stop the use of eminent domain for political reasons. However, several residents pointed out that the law of eminent domain as it related to municipal parkland was a gray area in the law, which was why they wanted the board to take a position against the use of eminent domain in the resolution to FERC.
Ms. Mackay also took the board to task for not doing anything to notify people about the September 29 meeting Spectra is holding for homeowners who would be impacted by the Atlantic Bridge project.
Supervisor Grace repeated comments he made at the September 2 meeting regarding the need for local officials to look at a broader range of issues beyond Yorktown, such as national security and the need to roepalcde a 50+ year old pipeline. He said that from day one, the town hadn’t compromised any health and safety issues.
The supervisor added that in the event FERC did issue the Certificate that would allow Spectra to proceed with the project, he wanted conditions added to the Certificate that would give Yorktown jurisdiction over any issue that would require local permits, such as wetlands and tree cutting permits. In general, he said it was better to work with FERC than just say no.
In response to a question regarding the work Spectra was doing on Quinlan Street, Supervisor Grace explained that there had been some erosion that had exposed the existing pipeline and that a portion of the pipeline needed to be reburied. He said there was no gas leak.
Town Board, 9-2-2014
Although there were two versions of a proposed resolution to the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) addressing the town’s health and safety concerns, one, a single page resolution prepared by Supervisor Grace, and a second, a 5-page resolution prepared by Councilmen Bianco and Patel, Supervisor Grace made it clear at the beginning of the discussion that the board was only considering the Bianco/Patel resolution.
In a departure from past board procedures, the supervisor announced earlier in the evening, that the board would entertain comments from the public prior to voting on the resolution.
A series of speakers spoke in support of the Biano/Patel version noting that it was much more comprehensive than the supervisor’s version in identifying the potential health and safety risks and requesting FERC to have Spectra undertake independent risk assessment studies. While it was acknowledged that the resolution was not enforceable, Lisa Mackay, speaking on behalf of the recently formed Keep Yorktown Safe group, said that the Yorktown resolution, combined with similar resolutions by other municipalities and Westchester and Putnam Counties would give the concerned residents more power.
At the conclusion of the public comments, Supervisor Grace said that he preferred to defer voting on the resolution until September 16 when Councilman Bianco would be present. When members of the audience voiced displeasure at the delay, noting that the FERC public hearing was scheduled for September 15, the supervisor agreed to vote on the resolution at the meeting after changes he wanted were made to the Bianco/Patel version. He said that as a responsible public official he had an obligation to weigh both sides of the issue – the economic benefits, jobs and global energy aspects of the project against the potential health and safety issues and the effectiveness of proposed mitigation measures. He said he had reviewed all the information provided by the anti-pipeline group and that there were issues in dispute.
Deleted from the Bianco/Patel version were paragraphs that opposed the construction of any pipeline maintenance facilities virtually any place in Yorktown, opposed the alienation of parkland and opposed the use of eminent domain. In leaving in a paragraph that called for the town to request “full party status” in the FERC proceedings, Supervisor Grace noted that this could involve an expenditure of town funds. The paragraph was left in, however, when it was explained that any expenditure of town funds would require a separate resolution.
At the suggestion of Councilman Murphy, the words “and other carcinogens” were added to a paragraph that addressed health concerns.
A paragraph that opposed the location of a receiver/launcher (pigging) station anywhere within Yorktown was left in the resolution and Supervisor Grace stated that he had been opposed to a pigging station from “day one.”
At one point in the discussion, Supervisor Grace posed the question to proponents of the resolution: if all the risks have been assessed and the mitigation measures satisfactorily address all the health and safety concerns, would you still be opposed to the pipeline? If you are, he said, then all that’s needed is one paragraph saying you’re opposed to the pipeline; you don’t need all these other pages.
After reviewing the changes that had been made to the original Bianco/Patel resolution, the board voted 3-0 to adopt the resolution.
When Ms. Mackay unfurled a banner announcing the September 15 FERC public hearing and asked permission to display the banner in town hall, there was no response from the board.
Town Board, 8-5-2014
Paul Moskowitz advised the board that, contrary to some public statements that had been made, the health and safety issue was not the radon gas that flowed through the pipeline but the radioactive material that is deposited in the pipeline when the radon decays and is cleaned out during the pigging operation. He said the town should not allow the pigging operation, which he called an industrial facility.
Town Board, 7-1-2014
Paul Moskowitz explained the science behind how the “pigs” cleaned out deposits on the walls of the pipeline and why the black powder, which is the end product of the cleaning process, is contaminated with radioactive material. When Supervisor Grace responded, saying that Mr. Moskowitz had made some “good points” that should be made known to FERC, Mr. Moskowitz said he didn’t trust FERC and that the Cortlandt Town Board had gone on record as opposing the pipeline. Councilman Patel shared Mr. Moskowit6z’s concern.
Jonathan Hyman, representing the Koppel family who own property on Stoney Street across from the existing pipeline, said he was pleased that Supervisor Grace was starting to think differently about the pigging station, noting that at a previous meeting he had said that the pigs weren’t a problem. He suggested that the town should submit its own comments to FERC and not rely just on citizens. In response, Supervisor Grace said that the plan never compromised the safety of town residents, that there was some misinformation and hyperbole surrounding the health and safety issue but that the environmental issues needed to be vetted, but that if FERC okayed the project there was nothing the town could do about it. He said it was up to the board to decide if it wanted to send any comments. Councilman Patel said he wanted to see more information about the pigs in writing.
Town Board, 6-18-2014
After a heated discussion, the board voted 2-2 to send a home rule message to the state senate requesting the alienation. Supervisor Grace and Councilman Murphy voted for the resolution; Councilmen Bianco and Patel against. Because there was no majority, the resolution failed to pass. (Note: without the home rule message, the Senate cannot pass the alienation bill.)
For the benefit of the standing room only audience, Supervisor Grace repeated the different parts of the alienation request and explained that if FERC, after it completes its environmental review of the pipeline expansion plan, grants Spectra a Certificate of Necessity, federal law supersedes local law and the town would have no say over the project. He explained that even if the town refused to alienate the parkland, Spectra could use eminent domain to get access to the land it needed. Spectra would get the controversial “pigs,” he said, but Yorktown wouldn’t get the ball fields. He also said that if Yorktown didn’t approve the alienation for the staging area, the company would go elsewhere.
In an effort to clear up what he called “misinformation,” Supervisor Grace said that the Spectra plan would not involve anything like what happened in Briarcliff and he felt it was irresponsible to create the hyperbole about potential health and safety problems and that the project carried a definite public benefit. He stated emphatically that “no one is putting children in a toxic field.”
When Councilman Patel said he wanted more information about the pigs in writing and asked what the hurry was to get the alienation approved by the state legislature, the representative from Spectra said that all the necessary information would be in FERC’s DEIS (draft environmental impact statement) that will be available in early fall and that the company would be open and fully transparent. He also said that the material that the pigs removed from the pipeline during the cleaning process would be taken off site and processed according to federal and state regulations.
Councilman Bianco said he had no problem with the pipeline expansion and also with allowing Spectra to temporarily use the Granite Knolls site as a staging area. He was opposed, however, to the pigs because of what he said could be a “potential” problem and he didn’t want anything on his conscience. When the Spectra representative said that the company was exploring the possibility of being able to locate the pigs on its own right of way, Councilman Bianco said the town could not stop that, adding that would “be on your conscience, not mine.” According to the Spectra representative, the pigs have to be situated at the end of the 42” line.
At several times during the discussion, Supervisor Grace, as well as Councilman Murphy and a representative of Spectra, reminded Councilmen Bianco and Patel that the home rule message only gave the Town Board permission to alienate at a future date and that passing the home rule message now would only to give the board a future option to alienate. In response, Councilman Bianco said he didn’t trust what future boards might do. When Supervisor Grace took umbrage at that statement, Councilman Bianco reminded him about what he called a “bait and switch” on the garbage contract. Despite the supervisor’s repeated entreaties, neither councilmen showed any intent to change their vote.
Supervisor Grace and Councilmen Murphy and Bianco said that when the Granite Knolls property was purchased in 2010, it had always been the town’s plans to create an active recreation complex at the site.
After the 2-2 split on the home rule message, Supervisor Grace asked the board to vote on a motion to have the town proceed with the sports complex plan on its own, beginning with doing the SEQRA environmental study. In a 3-1 vote, with Councilman Patel voting no, the board approved proceeding with SEQRA, although Councilman Bianco said he was not giving the supervisor a blank check to proceed.
Town Board, 6-10-2014
Because the home rule resolution for the senate version of the alienation bill was actually passed before the bill was introduced, it was on the agenda to be voted on again. However, Councilman Patel indicated that he had changed his mind and because of concern over the possibility of radon in the “pigs’ equipment and clean-out process, he would not vote for the new home rule message. He objected to the process being done in a hurry and without sufficient information. Because there were only three board members present, that meant that the resolution could not be passed. This led to an angry confrontation between Supervisor Grace and Councilman Murphy on one side who wanted to proceed with the alienation request because it meant more ball fields and Councilman Patel who was concerned about the potential environmental impact of the project. The supervisor tried to convince Councilman Patel that the home rule message would only give the town permission to alienate the parcel at a future date and that he could vote against the alienation at a future date, but Councilman Patel remained firm in his position. A representative from Spectra said the company had sampled the radon levels and that she would make the information available to Councilman Patel. Given the anticipated end of the state legislative session next week, Town Attorney Koster called the need for a vote a “drop dead issue.” As the discussion became more intense, Councilman Patel left the room.
With the board at a stalemate, the Supervisor Grace and Councilman Murphy discussed the possibility of holding a special meeting next week when Councilman Bianco would be available. Because only two board members remained, there could not be a vote to call a special meeting. Instead, the town clerk advised the supervisor that he could call a special meeting by sending each board member a letter with a 72 hour notice. After some back and forth about when Councilman Biano would be available, it appeared that the meeting might be held sometime on Wednesday, June 17. (Supervisor Grace chastised elected board members who he said weren’t doing their job when they weren’t attending meetings.)
Supervisor Grace said that not proceeding with the alienation for the staging area would result in “$2 million worth of public improvements going down the toilet’ and he wanted it known that this was being done by the Democratic Party that he said didn’t have the interests of the town at heart. Councilman Murphy said that not voting for the home rule message was a vote against the kids of Yorktown.
Town Board, 6/3/2014
The board approved two home rule messages requesting the alienation, each one specifically mentioning the Senate and Assembly bills that have already been introduced, 89673A (Assembly) and S7484A (Senate).
Town Board, 5-27-2014
Town Board, 5-27-2014
Without any discussion, the board approved the checklist explaining the alienation request that is part of the required submission to the state. There was some confusion as to whether a home rule message that included the alienation bill numbers was needed and Supervisor Grace advised the town attorney to check with Assemblyman Katz’s office. A home rule message without the bill numbers was passed at an earlier meeting.
Town Board, 5-20-2014
Town Clerk Roker handed board members a 3-page document that she said was related to the parkland alienation issue. When Councilman Bianco said he wanted to read the document before voting on it, Town Attorney Koster explained that the document was a questionnaire that had to be sent to the state Parks Department as part of the town’s alienation request. On the suggestion of Ms. Koster, the board agreed to permit her to forward the draft responses to the questionnaire as long as it was clear that document was only a draft.
Town Board, 5-13-2014
Bill Kellner, Ron Buehl and Dale Saltzman of the Tree Conservation Advisory Commission discussed the recommendations in the Sylvan Glen/Granite Knolls Forest Management Plan prepared by Ted Kozlowski. The report stressed the habitat value of Sylvan Glen as a large tract of unfragmented land. The preserve’s biggest problems, the report stressed, are invasive species and deer.
Mr. Keller suggested that the NY/NJ Trail Conference has a robust invasive species program and recommended that the town partner with the group. He also suggested that the town consider allowing bow hunting, similar to the one the county has had success with on many of its properties as a way to control the deer population. He said that bow hunting groups were looking for places where they could hunt. Supervisor Grace noted that the hunting issue was an emotional one and suggested to the commission members that they needed to carry out an educational campaign about the problem. The possibility of erecting deer enclosures (fencing) in certain parts of the preserve was discussed, and Supervisor Grace asked the group to identify likely areas, suggesting that perhaps some of this could be paid for by Spectra, which might also be asked to do some invasive removal while it was doing needed clear cutting.
Mr. Kellner said the group had no problem with the Spectra plan along the pipeline and that the clear cutting along the pipeline would create a new grass habitat that was needed; the group’s concern was mostly for the staging area. Mr. Saltzman suggested that instead of all the future money from Spectra going to the new athletic fields, the money be split 50/50 with half going to forest management related measures. He also was concerned about the value of the timber that was going to be cut. Councilmen Murphy and Supervisor Grace rejected the idea of the 50/50 split saying that all the money should go to the athletic fields. Councilman Bianco said that when Granite Knolls was purchased, it was with the intent that it be used for athletic fields. He added, though, that when the time came to sit down with Spectra over the details of the “consideration” for the staging area, all parties should come to the table. However, he added, there were limits as to how much the town could “hit” Spectra for. (Supervisor Grace said that the pipeline easement and the structure for the “pigs’ equipment were FERC issues but that the optional staging area Spectra wants off Stoney Street was a separate issue that was not subject to eminent domain; hence the “consideration” from Spectra.)
Town Board, 5-6-2014
After several people addressed the issue during Courtesy of the Floor, the board voted 4-0 to send a Home Rule Message to the state legislature requesting the alienation of the parkland for both a temporary and permanent easement.
During Courtesy, Bill Kellner, chairman of the Tree Advisory Commission, said that a survey of the trees to be removed needed to be done as well as a mitigation plan that should include a monetary contribution into the Yorktown Forest Management Fund. He added that the primary use of the Granite Knolls park was for passive recreation, such as hiking, and open space and he expressed concern about the proposed larger footprint for active recreation and suggested that the size of the proposed parking field be reduced.
Walt Daniels, speaking on behalf of the Advisory Committee for Open Space, said that the group supported the plan, with restrictions but wanted to see no net loss of parkland and some compensation for the loss of some of the trail system.
Other speakers who opposed or questioned aspects of the plan included Paul Moskowitz who said he did not support the alienation and wanted to see something in writing from Spectra about what they would be giving the town; John Schroeder of the Yorktown Land Trust who suggested the town look into the text of the bonding resolution that funded the Granite Knolls acquisition; and Lisa Mackay who questioned why Supervisor Grace hadn’t keep the board informed about the status of the Spectra plan despite having talked about it a year earlier.
John Parker, a lawyer speaking on behalf of the Kopple family that owns property on Stoney Street, also spoke in opposition to the alienation plan as well as to the overall plan to create an active recreation facility with multiple fields on the site.
Other residents, including Patrick Cumisky, a member of the Recreation Commission, Rick Romanski of Yorktown Youth Soccer Club and Bob Kohl and Tom Regan of the Yorktown Athletic Club and others spoke in favor of the plan, citing the need for more athletic fields.
In response to all the comments, Supervisor Grace said that nothing had been hidden about the Spectra plan and that everyone who was paying attention knew that the park was planned for active recreation; that the plan had been discussed at the Rec Commission for at least five months (he didn’t actually distinguish between the park master plan and the Spectra alienation plan); and that all the details and a negotiated agreement with Spectra would be worked out after the state legislature gave the town permission to alienate the property if and when FERC (Federal Energy Regulatory Commission) approved the permit. He said that if the town didn’t give Spectra the staging area, the company would go someplace else. The supervisor also raised the issue that alienation might not even be needed.
Repeating the improvements Spectra would be making, the supervisor said this would give the town added recreational facilities at little or no cost to the town. He said Spectra would provide funding for the build out of the recreational facilities, although no dollar amount was noted. He rejected the idea that he was rushing to approve the resolution, adding that “delay is death” and that sometimes the town didn’t have the luxury of delay but had to act.
Councilman Murphy reaffirmed his commitment to bring more athletic fields to town to “keep our kids out of trouble” and said the Spectra plan was a win-win for the town, for the kids and the athletic clubs.
Councilman Bianco said he supported the alienation because it was for a public purpose and emphasized that the resolution the board would be voting on was only to give the town the permission to alienate and that “we’ll get a second bite at the apple” when additional negotiations take place with Spectra. He said Spectra had advised the board that they were almost 99.99% certain that they would not need to additional one acre of land. He stressed his concern that there be no net loss of open space, and that the requirements of the town’s wetlands and tree ordinances needed to addressed.
Town Board, 4-22-2014
Representatives of Spectra Energy, operators of the Algonquin gas line that crosses Yorktown, outlined the pipeline upgrade project. (See Town Board, March 25, 2014 for opposition to the project.)
The focus of the discussion was Spectra’s need for a temporary easement from the town along the existing gas line during the two year construction period, a 10 acre staging area to be used during construction, and a permanent easement for approximately one acre of land to house some above ground equipment. The project would involve both the Sylvan Glen Nature Preserve and the Granite Knolls park site. In return for the easements and staging area, after the construction is completed, Spectra would redevelop the disturbed staging area into a recreational facility that would include two lacrosse fields, a baseball field, an access road from Stoney Street, and a parking area. (Note: the staging area is where the town has created two athletic fields just south of Phoenix House. The town’s existing trail system linking several park sites runs through the site.)
As explained by Supervisor Grace, the proposal would benefit both parties and would provide Yorktown with recreational facilities that it would otherwise not be in a position to afford. He said he had had several meetings with Spectra to discuss what he called a “consideration” for granting them the easements. While not all the details of the “consideration” have been worked out, such as possible monetary compensation for giving up one acre of parkland, Supervisor Grace said that negotiations should not be done in public. Councilman Bianco wanted to make sure that the town wasn’t giving Spectra one acre of land for $1.00.
One of the key issues that remains to be resolved will be the need for the state legislature, acting on the town’s request, to approve the “alienation” of the parkland, both for the temporary and permanent easements. Explaining that time was a factor because the legislature only deals with alienation requests in June, the Spectra representatives were hoping for a resolution approving their request that evening and both Supervisor Grace and Councilman Murphy were ready to act, seeing the plan as a “no brainer.”
However, Councilman Bianco expressed some concern over the permanent alienation of the one acre site; he had no problem with supporting the temporary easements that would facilitate the construction project. He also wanted the Recreation Commission to weigh in on the alienation issue. Deputy Town Clerk Diana Quast, who is also the chairperson of the Commission, advised the board that while the Commission has reviewed the overall development plan for the Granite Knolls site, it has never discussed the Spectra plan and was not aware of the request to alienate the one acre parcel. She said that the Commission will review the plan at its upcoming May 1 meeting which should enable the Town Board to act on a resolution at its May 6 meeting. Spectra was not clear on exactly where the one acre parcel would be located.
Councilman Bianco also wanted to give residents who live in the area an opportunity to comment on the proposal.
Town Board, 4-22-2014
Town Board, 4-22-2014
Diana Quast, chairperson of the Recreation Commission, along with Parks & Recreation Superintendent Brian Gray, gave the board an update on the following projects.(See separate summaries below for specific sites.)
In line skating rink. The Commission is requesting $15,000 to prepare design and bid spec documents for the repair. The project will be funded, in part, with the $150,000 state grant, but the town has to lay out the money.
Route 202 ballfields. The Commission is requesting $16,000 to prepare design and bid spec documents for the repair. The project will be funded, in part, with the $150,000 state grant, but the town has to lay out the money.
Hunterbrook multi purpose field. The Commission will be getting three quotes to conduct soil tests on the mounds of dirt currently on the field. The soil was tested in 2007 but no one can find copies of the results. Ms. Quast explained where the proposed field would be located in relation to the existing field.
Holland Sporting Club. She said the Commission would work with the DEC to rectify the violation.
Downing Park. A Master Plan for the park based on the proposed relocation of the Parks garage to Greenwood Street is being prepared . The plan includes eliminating the upper tennis courts (currently not in use), constructing an indoor basketball court, areas for summer camp use, a general clean up of the site, and other plans.
Shallow Creek. The Commission wants the town attorney to draft three agreements with the non-profit entity that submitted a proposal for the site in 2011 in response to an RFP. The agreements would include: to operate the golf course, to operate a restaurant, and for a golf pro shop (this last part was not clear to the public). Councilman Bianco said he wanted to know if the group had submitted any updated information as he remembered that there were questions about the proposal in 2011. Ms. Quast said she would provide him with an updated submission. She added that the 2011 Kevin Chin plan for the site fell through because the project’s financial backers would not accept a revocable license but that the new proposed user did not have any problem with this arrangement.
Granite Knolls barn; The Commission wants the board to prepare bid specs for its removal.
In general comments, Councilman Bianco that the plans were “a lot to do” and asked Ms. Quast to submit a written report. Councilman Murphy asked if a partial cover could be placed over the in line rink. And Councilman Patel asked about the status of the current closed tennis courts in Downing Park and Shrub Oak Park. In response to Councilman Patel, Ms. Quast said that there were usable courts at Blackberry, that the lower three courts at Downing were still usable even though they had cracks, and that three new courts were going to be built as part of the Catucci subdivision (Note: See Fieldstone Manor development.) Overall, she said, there will be a gain, not loss, in the number of tennis courts.
Councilman Patel also wanted to know who maintains the Patriot Garden site, adding that the plants need to be watered.
Holland Sporting Club
(see 4/22/14 updates above)
Town Board, 6-9-2015 The board approved the expenditures of up to $10,850 to haul away remaining construction debris from the Holland Sporting Club. At my suggestion, the funds will come from the General Fund fund balance and not, as originally proposed, the separate Trust and Agency account for use only for park improvements. (Since the demolition project started several years ago, funds were taken from both accounts.) My point was that the demolition project was always meant to eliminate a neighborhood nuisance and liability and while there are ideas for converting the site into a park, to date, there are no active plans to translate those ideas into reality. The board approved an additional $3,500 for the clean-up project. In response to my question, Highway Superintendent Paganelli advised the board that to date the clean-up has cost between $39,000-$42,000 when all costs are added up. He said that the DEC was expected to visit the site next week and will decide if the screened soil should be tested for lead and other substances before being used for fill or for other town purposes. He has also asked the Rec Commission to weigh in on whether it thought the soil should be tested, as the soil at the Hunterbrook field was earlier in the year. His recommendation was that it be tested. Holland Sporting Club. The board approved up to $10,000, to be taken from fund balance, to pay for the tipping fee (disposal fee) for the materials being removed from the site. An outside vendor is screening the material Town Board, 11-18-2014
Town Board, 12-31-2014
Town Board, 12-19-2014
Town Board, 6-9-2015
The board approved the expenditures of up to $10,850 to haul away remaining construction debris from the Holland Sporting Club. At my suggestion, the funds will come from the General Fund fund balance and not, as originally proposed, the separate Trust and Agency account for use only for park improvements. (Since the demolition project started several years ago, funds were taken from both accounts.) My point was that the demolition project was always meant to eliminate a neighborhood nuisance and liability and while there are ideas for converting the site into a park, to date, there are no active plans to translate those ideas into reality.
The board approved an additional $3,500 for the clean-up project. In response to my question, Highway Superintendent Paganelli advised the board that to date the clean-up has cost between $39,000-$42,000 when all costs are added up. He said that the DEC was expected to visit the site next week and will decide if the screened soil should be tested for lead and other substances before being used for fill or for other town purposes. He has also asked the Rec Commission to weigh in on whether it thought the soil should be tested, as the soil at the Hunterbrook field was earlier in the year. His recommendation was that it be tested.
Holland Sporting Club. The board approved up to $10,000, to be taken from fund balance, to pay for the tipping fee (disposal fee) for the materials being removed from the site. An outside vendor is screening the material
Town Board, 11-18-2014
The board authorized spending up to $15,500 from the Parkland Trust account o hire a company to provide screening of materials. Recreation Commission member Patrick Cumisky suggested to the board that a representative of the DEC be on site when the clean-up is done to make sure the work meets with DEC requirements. Councilman Patel said he wanted to be notified when the work was being done so that he could be on site.
Town Board, 4-15-2014
Councilman Patel said there was still an open DEC violation on the site and that he wanted to see a plan for how the site was going to be cleaned up and added that the town hadn’t saved a penny on the project that now will have to undergo a third clean up.
Town Board, 3-18-2014
In response to Mr. Ciffone’s question during courtesy of the floor about the status of last year’s DEC violation notice, Supervisor Grace said that the property had been cleaned up and that there were no current violations. However, Councilman Patel challenged that statement and said that as recently as last week he had been told that there was still an open violation.
Town Board, 4-2-2013
In a dialogue that became contentious at times, Highway Superintendent DiBartolo criticized Councilman Patel for raising the issue about the demolition debris and Councilman Paganelli, reading from the March, 2013 DEC Notice of Violation, said that the only issue was that the Town was clearing debris without a permit. He said the debris was not hazardous. Supervisor Grace added that the highway department workers were at the site for two days and has “pulled out some wood debris.” Mr. DiBartolo said that the work was finished and that he would be contacting the DEC.
When Councilman Patel asked why he hadn’t been informed about the Notice when the town first received it, Mr. DiBartolo said he had just sent a copy of the Notice to the Supervisor that day and the Supervisor’s assistant confirmed that Patty Cole, a highway department worker, had hand delivered a copy to the Supervisor’s office that day.
Councilman Murphy also said that the Notice was not a violation, but just the need for a permit and he reminded Councilman Patel that there were no buried oil tanks on the site.
Councilman Patel also expressed concern for the safety of town employees, noting that they had not been wearing the required protective gear when he had visited the site. There was no response to this comment.
The Board considered the issue of the debris removal closed.
Ballfields at Holland Sporting Club/Alternate Uses of Rotue 202 Fill
Town Board, 3-19-2013
Saying that it was never his intention to use the 86,000 cubic yards of fill at the Holland Sporting Club, Supervisor Grace said that Town staff will be developing plans that will identify both the quantity and quality of fill that would be needed to rehabilitate existing ball fields at Hunterbrook fields, Legacy, Curry Street, and Granite Knolls. Some fill will also be needed to implement the future plan for the Holland Sporting Club that has been developed by the community and briefly discussed at the March 14 Recreaction Commission meeting. Supervisor Grace likened the recent discussions regarding the fill to the children’s game of telephone where information gets distorted as it is passed along from one to another.
Regarding the fields at Granite Knolls: Supervisor Grace said that the planned work along the Algonquin gas line will require a staging area and that this might help provide parking and an access road to the fields which he said could accommodate two lacrosse fields.
Regarding Holland: Councilman Paganelli suggested that the BOCES forestry program be used to help identify invasive species on the site that should be weeded out. Future plans for Holland are to be discussed at the April 9 work session.
Town Board, 3-12-2013
George Tolli, a representative of Ecco III Enterprises, the company that will be doing the excavation work for the Route 202 widening project, met with the Board to discuss the issue of the availability of fill for town projects.
The widening project will take about 18 months to complete, but the fill will start becoming available in April at the rate of approximately 1,200 cubic yards per day. Based on soil borings that have been done, Mr. Tolli said the fill is clean, drains well and was compressable. While the state does not require the fill to be tested, Mr. Tolli said it was his company’s policy to test the fill as a protection for the company.
Supervisor Grace said the fill could be used at several Town locations including: Hunterbrook field, Legacy field (for flipping the existing field), Granite Knolls, Holland Sporting Club and possibly to extend the rear parking lot behind town hall. (There was no discussion of the plan for ball fields at the Holland site.) One of issues would be where the Town could stockpile the fill until it had a use and what erosion control measures would be needed during the stock piling. Mr. Tolli said his company might be able to work something out with the town regarding erosion control measures such as silt fencing and hydro seeding. If the Town had to purchase fill, the going price is $20/cubic yard.
Mr. Tolli said that his company would consider “pushing and rolling” the fill only in larger quantities of between 5,000-10,000 cubic yards.The Town did not know how much fill was needed at the different locations cited by Supervisor Grace.
Regarding the Granite Knolls site, when Councilman Bianco noted that the entrance road does not belong to the Town, Supervisor Grace said that the company that owns the gas line has plans to do some work along the line and that possibly their access road could be used for any work to be done at the ball fields. Supervisor Grace also said that a stormwater permit will be needed for work at the site.
Mr. Tolli said that his company will also be offering millings to the Water Department.
Planning Board, 3-11-2013
Phyllis Bock, co-chairman of the Conservation Board, advised the Planning Board that her group was concerned about the environmental impact of the proposed ballfields close to the lake shoreand that without a plan, it was difficult to give a more detailed review.She added that the Town should follow the same review process that other applicants would be required to go through. J. Patrick Francois, another member of the Conservation Board expressed concern that the Town was being pressured to make a decision by April.
Planning Director Tegeder noted that the proposed 86,000 cubic yards of fill was a “stupendous” amount and the equivalent of 6,000 dump trucks. He questioned whether the site had the capacity to accept that amount of fill.Ms. Kutter and Mr. Francois both raised concerns about the quality of the fill and Mr. Flynn said he was not ready to sign on to the idea that more ballfields were needed. Mr. Kincart saw the need for more fields. Mr. Fon said that the Board couldn’t make any judgments without a plan and that there was also concerns about SEQRA compliance and a possible segmentationissue if the fill issue was considered separate and apart from a plan for the site that would be a later submission.
In item not on the agenda, Supervisor Grace said the NYS DOT can give the town 86,000 cubic yards of clean fill once it starts work later this year on the Route 202 widening project. Calling the offer a “golden opportunity,” he is proposing that the fill be used to create a lawn area and ballfields on the eastern side of the Holland Sporting Club property. The state will also “push and roll” the fill which would also be a cost savings to the Town. Because of the state’s timetable, the Town will have to decide quickly if it wants the fill. If it does, the work would be done between April-August and the project could be completed by the end of the year. The Board voted to refer the plan to advisory boards and also to Mohegan area homeowner groups. No date was set for a follow up discussion.
Town Board, 8-14-2012
In a 4-1 vote, with Councilman Patel voting no, the Board decided to leave the chimney and bathroom building standing on the site. This paved the way for the building inspector to “sign off” on the demolition permit which had included the removal of both structures.In voting to keep the bathroom building, Supervisor Grace said that it may be needed in the future.
Supervisor Grace reported that the oil tanks referred to in previous meetings by Councilman Patel had been taken out in 2007 and told Mr. Patel that he had been told this at the press conference. Councilman Patel said he had not been given this information.
Regarding the left over debris, Mr. Winter said that this was not a Building Department issue and that according to a conversation he had with Jeff Econom, a former Yorktown deputy town engineer, the debris was more of a “landlord” issue and that it was up to the Town whether it wanted to leave the debris buried on the site.Mr. Patel remained concerned about the possible environmental hazards from the remaining debris and said he would contact the Conservation Board. Supervisor Grace said that the site was “fine” and he saw no problem with people playing in the wood chips if they wanted to.He added that he was glad that the site had gotten the attention it needed and that a nuisance had been eliminated.
Supervisor Grace said that the wood chips at the entrance should be removed and replaced with a fence in the event Town staff needed to access the site. He added that in the fall, although the Town was in a fiscally tight situation, it should prepare a plan for the site and that the plan could deal with what’s left in the ground.
Town Board, 8-7-2012
Asking whether the demolition job had been properly finished, Councilman Patel emptied a plastic garbage bag containing debris from the site onto the lawn. He said that the debris, 6” below grade, had to be cleaned up and the site left in a state where it did not hurt anyone. In response to his question whether the building inspector had certified that the project had been completed, Supervisor Grace said that the building inspector had signed off on the job.The supervisor also stated that the site was in “great shape,” that town employees had done a good job and that based on his visits both during the demolition and earlier in the day, all the debris had been removed, citing 48 containers of debris that had been removed from the site.Also in response to Councilman Patel’s assertion that there were buried oil tanks on the site, the supervisor said that if there were any, their removal was not part of the original bid specs.
Councilman Murphy stated that the Town had done the job properly, that it was an “extreme improvement” over what had been there before but acknowledged that some additional clean up was needed. He asked Councilman Patel to show him where the tanks were. In response, Councilman Patel said that he had been told three years ago by an employee of the Parks Department that there were oil tanks on the site.
Councilman Bianco applauded Mr. Patel for his vigor and stated that he had seen debris buried under the wood chips. Adding that the job was “not a Cadillac job, but a Toyota job,” he said that the final arbiter would be the building inspector who had told him that the job was a “bit sloppy.” He said someone had to check whether there were problems with any of the remaining debris.
Supervisor Grace rejected the notion that fill should have been brought in to fill in the foundations, stating that it didn’t make sense to bring fill in now if it would have to be removed later once the Town decided what to do with the site. He added that the decomposing wood chips would make good top soil. He acknowledged that more work had to be done clearing brush on the site.
During Courtesy of the Floor, Linda Miller, raised questions about the potential environmental hazards from the debris left on the site and asked if the Conservation Board had been consulted prior to the demolition. In response, Supervisor Grace said that he had inherited the project and that that would have been something done by the prior Board. He added that given the distance of the demolition work to the lake, he didn’t think the demolition created any environmental problems.
Public access to the lake: Ms. Miller, a Yorktown Heights resident, also raised the issue of access to Mohegan Lake by non-Mohegan residents. She specifically mentioned the ability to use the lake for canoes, kayaks or fishing boats. In response Supervisor Grace stated that the lake is for the enjoyment of the entire town and Ken Belfer, chairman of the Mohegan Lake Improvement District noted that non-Mohegan residents could use two of the beachesmaintained by homeowner associations as long as they paid the same membership fee. He added that the Town owns lake front property along Mohegan Avenue, just south of Route 6 and Councilman Bianco added that the Town also owned some dock lots abutting the lake but that no one was sure exactly where they were.
Town Board, 7-24-2012
As an aside during a discussion on road paving, Supervisor Grace said that the demolition work had been completed and Highway Superintendent DiBartolo said that the building inspector would be signing off on the project. Either Mr. DiBartolo or Councilman Paganelli explained that the old bathroom building had been left standing because it might have some future benefit. The chimney was not taken down because the town’s machine could not knock it down; Mr. DiBartolo said that some people liked the chimmney and that it should be kept.
When Councilman Patel expressed concern that some oil tanks might still be located on the site, Town Clerk Roker said she thought that the facility used propone tanks and Supervisor Grace told the councilman to go look for them; he did not think there were any tanks.
Town Board, 7/17/2012
Supervisor Grace reported that the buildings had been demolished at a total cost of $29,748.75 and Highway Superintendent Eric DiBartolo who was in charge of the work reported that the job took 4 or 5 days to complete and that 304 tons of debris were removed. Wood chips were spread over the area of the demolished buildings. Supervisor Grace noted that the low bid on the job was $89,000, resulting in a $60,000 savings for the town by using town staff. Board members praised the staff for their work and dedication. Councilman Patel said that there should be a final written report on the project and that it should include the cost of town labor to do the work.
Commenting on what he called the “next chapter” for the site, Supervisor Grace said that the Parks & Rec Commission and ACOS should do an audit of the town’s open spaces and come up with a plan for the property that he said should not lie fallow for another 20 years. He encouraged area residents to be part of the discussion over the future use of the property.
Town Board, 6/18/2012
Supervisor Grace said he anticipated that the demolition would begin this week, although Highway Superintendent DiBartolo said that the work might be postponed due to the emergency nature of the Greenwood Street bridge repair.
Town Board, 5/15/2012
Supervisor Grace explained that on Friday, May 11th, while four members of the board were present for the opening of the nutrition center, the board convened a special emergency meeting to approve a $7,200 change order in the Holland Sporting Club asbestos abatement project. The roof of one of the buildings had collapsed, he explained, and that changed the nature of the project. Because the contractor was already mobilized to begin the work, the board had to act quickly in order not to delay the project. A variance was obtained from the Department of Labor.
Town Board, 5/1/2012
Supervisor Grace said that the abatement work will begin this Friday and that by the end of the month the Board would be able to discuss what to do next with the site.
Town Board, 4/17/2012
Resolutions authorized the Supervisor to sign a contract with Geo Environmentalfor air sampling, PCM analysis and project monitor final inspections for a total of $10,000. Supervisor Grace explainedthe history of the problems with the abatement bid and why this contract was necessary. (See previous meeting summaries.) Susan Siegel , the person writing these notes, thanked the Board for moving the project forward, but stated that the contract did not comply with the Town’s procurement policy that required an RFP or three written quotes. She asked why, after voting to advertise an RFP for the monitoring service on April 3rd, the Board decided not to advertise and instead give the contract to Geo Environmental. Supervisor Grace said the contract complied with the procurement policy as Geo Environmental had done the original asbestos survey for the buildings and that because he knew the firm, he felt comfortable knowing that it would do a good job.
Town Board, 4/10/2012
What started out as a discussion about the outstanding invoice for NYCB Engineering, the consulting firm that drew up the initial specs for the asbestos abatement and demolition, ended up as a discussion about the latest problem with the abatement contract.
As explained by Supervisor Grace, the latest problem was the need to have a microfilter operating 24 hours while the project was in progress but it was unclear who would be responsible for providing the electricity to run the filter, the abatement contractor or the monitoring contractor, and how the electricity would be provided as there is no service to the site, a condition that was known to the companies that bid on the job.According to SupervisorGrace, the contractor or the Town could get a variance from the state Department of Labor waiving the 24 hour requirement but it would take 3-4 weeks to get the waiver. Also at issue was who would be responsible for getting the variance.
By the time the discussion ended, it was not clear if the Town was going to take legal action against the vendor who was awarded the abatement bid but would not give the town a credit for the monitoring work, and/or whether the Town would have to rebid the job, and/or whether the Town had already advertised for the monitoring job (see 4/3/2012 below) and how the Town would coordinate the work of the abatement contractor with the monitoring contractor.
In regard to the NYCB invoice, the board felt that the consulting firm should have known about the requirement for the separate monitoring company when it prepared the initial specs and that if the job ended up costing the Town more money, perhaps the firm should be held responsible for the added costs.
Town Board, 4/3/2012
The board voted to advertise bids for asbestos air sampling and project monitoring for the Holland Sporting Club project.
Town Board, 3/20/2012
Town Board, 3/20/2012
In response to Mohegan resident Alan Most’s request during Courtesy of the Floor for an update on the asbestos abatement contract, Supervisor Grace said that the town was still reviewing its options which included renegotiating the contract or rebidding the contract, plus doing a separate bid for the air monitoring. He said that he had hoped that the scope of work for the monitoring contract would have been ready by this evening’s meeting but it wasn’t.He could not give Mr. Most a time frame when the contract issue would be resolved.
Town Board, 3/13/2012
Supervisor Grace explained that two related issues had arisen with the contract for the asbestos removal at the site. The first was that the contractor could not lawfully fulfill the terms of the contract because, by state law, he could not do the required site monitoring that should be contracted out. The second program was that if the contractor couldn’t do the monitoring, then it would cost the town an additional $10,000-$15,000to hire a separate contractor to do the monitoring.
Bob Violante, an asbestos inspector, said that the contractor had anticipated not doing the monitoring and found a way to “drive a truck thru the bid specs.”It was his cost estimate that Supervisor Grace used covered the three required monitorings:interior , interior and exterior, and visual.
Councilman Paganelli asked why the town would “eat” the additional monitoring cost if it was in the bid and Supervisor Grace asked the town attorney how the town could get out of the contract. “I’m glad I’m the supervisor, not the attorney,” he said. Town Attorney Koster said she would have an answer for him by next Tuesday.
In the meantime, Supervisor Grace asked Mr. Violante to prepare a scope of work for the monitoring with the specs. There was some additional discussion of whether this should be a bid or an RFP used for professional services. Comptroller Joan Goldberg said that the town’s procurement policy would require 3 RFP responses but that a bid would be okay if it only had 1 response.
If the asbestos removal is to be rebid, Supervisor Grace said that it should include a time frame for the work, and possibly include longer days so that the number of days is reduced as the cost of the monitoring is related to the number of days the monitoring is required.
Town Board, 3/6/2012
Holland Sporting Club: The board awarded the bid for the rental of containers and disposal of debris for the demolition of the Holland Sporting Club buildings to CRP for a total estimated cost (based on 40 containers and a fixed tonnage) of $30,650.Supervisor Grace said, however, that the town had not decided whether the job should be done by an outside contractor or the Highway Department and that awarding the bid simply locked in the price but gave the board future options.
Town Board, 2/21/2012
Town Board, 2/21/2012
Pat Cumiskey raised several questions about the bid specs for the rental of containers to be used when the town undertakes the demolition. He was concerned that the specs, as written, did not have provisions if the number of containers exceeded the estimate in the bid specs and he questioned the estimated number of containers that would be needed for the job. Stating that he wanted to be of assistance to the town and that he wasn’t being an obstructionist, he wanted to know how the town arrived at its 40 container estimate.
In response, Supervisor Grace said that the specs had been drawn up by himself, working with Dan Ciarcia, a local engineer, and Highway Superintendent DiBartolo. Mr. DeBartolo added that the estimate was based on his experience demolishing the former Parks Department administration building and that he doubted that the number of containers would exceed 32.He also stated that his department had the necessary excavator with a 19.5” reach to do the job. Supervisor Grace said that some vendors had indicated to some town officials that they would not charge for the drop and pull containers but only for the tipping fees.
Mr. Cumisky also asked if the town had requested the extension of the bid from the low bidder for the demolition job.
In response to Councilman Bianco’s question about how many days the job would take, Mr. DiBartolo said 3-4 and that he would be using 2 equipment operators and one other person. Mr. Bianco also asked for a cost analysis of the project but Councilman Paganellii noted that this might be difficult because there could be down time involved for town staff.
Councilman Murphy stated that the project was not going to “flop”and that the town was going to make sure that the job was done.
Councilman Patel raised the issue of whether the wood chips that are being proposed to fill in the foundation might leach into Mohegan Lake. Mr. DiBartolo said that this wasn’t an issue as the chips were used in the town’s playgrounds and were safe.
Town Board, 2/7/2012
The board voted 3-1 vote with Councilman Patel voting No, the board voted to advertise for the rental of containers for the demolition of the Holland Sporting Club. In voting against the bid advertisement, Mr. Patel wanted an itemized list of all the expenses likely to be incurred if the town did the demolition job and said he wasn’t comfortable with the a la carte approach.
Supervisor Grace said that the town estimates it will need about 30 containers and that the job will take three days. The only additional cost will be the diesel fuel to run the equipment. Both Supervisor Grace and Councilman Murphy said that the town had all the equipment it needed to do the job (Highway Superintendent DiBartolo said he had the excavator and claws needed for the job) and Councilman Paganelli said that during a time of budget crunch, the town should do what he could to save $36,000. Mr. DiBartolo said that the foundations would be filled in with wood chips from the Hill and that if they “sunk” over time, more would be added. He said that the existing foundation stones would be stored on the Hill and made available to town residents. Mr. Paganelli added that the town should have faith in its employees and not denigrate them.
During the second Courtesy of the Floor, Susan Siegel asked for a clarification on the bid and whether it included disposal costs. Mr. Paganelli said that the bid was for “drop and pull” and “per ton” and that while the town did not know exactly how many containers it would need, the town would still be saving money even if the original 30 container estimate was increased to 50 containers. Mr. Grace said that the low bidder for the demolition work would be asked to extend his bid so that it would still be valid after the bids came in for the container rental.
Town Board, 1-24-2012
After considerable discussion about the need to pay prevailing wages, the board voted unanimously to award the asbestos abatement contract to the low bidder for $68,000 and rejected, by a 2-3 vote, a motion made by Councilman Bianco and seconded by Councilman Patel to award the demolition contract. Supervisor Grace explained that the vote against awarding the demolition contract should not be taken as a rejection of all the bids, but instead, just a vote not to award the bid that evening.
During the discussion, Supervisor Grace said that because the bid specs for the abatement required five years of experience, it raised the cost of the project because the prevailing wage requirement necessitated hiring more experienced workers who were more expensive. He said that the work for both the abatement and demolition was laborer type work that didn’t require more expensive workers. Initially agreeing with the position that including an experience factor in the bid specs could lead to increased costs, Town Attorney Koster later explained that the experience requirement applied to the company and not the actual employees used by the company who had to be paid according to prevailing wage rates.
On the demolition issue, Councilman Bianco asked how the debris would be disposed of and Supervisor Grace responded that the town would pay the tipping fee. He did not explain where the construction debris would be disposed of. He also said that the Highway Department had all the equipment it needed to do the job and Councilman Paganelli said the town was in the process of getting cost estimates for the dumpster. Supervisor Grace said that if the town wasn’t prepared to decide on the demolition contract within the 60 days that the bids were good for, the town could ask the bidders to extend the time limit for the bid, a practice, he said, that had often been used in the past.
Town Board, 1-17-2012
Four Mohegan homeowners urged the board to move forward with the asbestos abatement and demolition of the Holland Sporting Club buildings and not delay the project while it considered whether to have the Highway Department do the demolition instead of hiring an outside contractor. Patrick Cumiskey noted that the low bids received for both jobs had come in $100,000 less than projected and he urged the board to hire a professional demolition firm. He said that if the town were to do the project, in addition to the cost of renting dumpsters, there would be added out-of-pocket costs for the rental of equipment, wear and tear on town equipment, disposal costs, which he estimated were about 50% of the total project cost, plus liability issues.
He said that using an outside contractors was the safest, least risk option for the town
Supervisor Grace said that the town would proceed as soon as practical with awarding the abatement bid and that the board had to discuss the demolition issue further. He said that the town had to equipment to do the job.
Councilman Bianco said he didn’t believe that the Highway Department should do the work and that the department should use its manpower for snow removal and drainage work. He added that it would be best not to put the spotlight on Highway Superintendent Eric DiBartolo who was likely to be criticized whether his staff did a good or bad job.
Susan Siegel (the person writing this summary) reminded the board that the demolition bid, which was received on December 16th, was only good for 60 days so the board had to make a decision soon.
Town Board, 1-10/2012
Listed on the agenda as “Award bid for demolition at Holland Sporting Club,” Supervisor Grace said he wasn’t prepared to move forward on the recommendation of the Building Inspector to award bids for the asbestos abatement of the building and also the demolition. He said that while the town needed to hire an outside company for the abatement, he wanted to look at doing the demolition in house.
The low bids were $68,000 for the abatement and $77,000 for the demolition.
Councilman Paganelli asked if the demolition work could be done in house and Highway Superintendent DiBartolo said, “Yes.” He said the town would only have to rent out dumpsters and that he would get prices and report back to the supervisor. He estimated that the job could be done in 4 days and that he would use wood chips to “dress” the site after the buildings were taken down. He reminded the board that he took down the former Sparkle Lake building in 1½ days.
Councilman Patel expressed concern about environmental issues for nearby Mohegan Lake but Mr. DiBartolo said that the Sparkle Lake project was also by a lake.
Navajo Fields Project (Creative Living)
Planning Board, 3-28-2016
(See Town Board, 3-22-20`16 below.) Mr. Tegeder reported that the Town Board appeared supportive of the idea of allowing special events on the site and that any such use would come back to the Planning Board for review and would have to be reconciled with the Planning Board’s previous resolutions limiting the use of the horse paddock area.
Councilman Bernard advised the board that the Town Board didn’t see any problem with children playing in a wetlands and that the Town Board looked favorably on allowing events as long as health and safety issues were taken into account.
Mr. Flynn expressed concern that while homeowners might be limited as to how they could use portions of their property if it had conservation easement or wetlands permit limitations, other property owners would not be bound by similar restrictions. He also suggested that the Recreation Commission should possibly play a role in the granting of any special events permit. Mr. Tegeder noted that since any special permit would involve land use issues, such as traffic, the Planning Board would have a role in any permit review; Councilman Bernard said that the Town Board would take the lead role in issuing any such permit.
Mr. Tegeder noted that in the past, the site has been used for special tournaments that have created traffic problem on Route 6 and Route 6N.
Town Board, 3-22-2016
C.J.Diven explained to the board that he had been approached by an events company (that sounded like “The Walking Dead”) who wanted to use the site for a weekend event. However, by the terms of the site’s wetlands permit, he needs to file a special plan if he intends to schedule an event that would involve more than 200 people, which the proposed use would.
Mr. Diven further explained that the events company that had approached him needs a commitment at least six months prior to the event to plan the marketing but that based on the board’s previous discussion (see below), the company withdrew its interest. However, another company is interested in pursuing a scaled down version of the same type of event.
As the discussion continued, with Mr. Tegeder indicating that the town would need some type of plan to review indicating how parking would be handled and what would be put where on the site (the event would not involve any permanent structures or improvements), Supervisor Grace suggested that the town attorney draft a new “events ordinance” that would cover such events and establish thresholds for when certain things had to be done. He said the town wants to encourage events, such as the San Genaro Festival and the Murphy (sports) Tournament, but that the town might want some “consideration” from the event sponsor and that there could be a nominal fee for the permit.
Mr. Diven asked for a letter from the town indicating that the town, in general, supported the proposed event but that there was no guarantee that a permit would eventually issued. The letter was needed, he said, in order for the event sponsor to begin committing funds to develop a marketing plan.
Town Board, 3-8-2016
C.J. Diven appeared before the board asking for permission to continue using the former horse paddock portion of the site for events. He said that previous approving resolutions did not bar such use. Both Mr. Tegeder and Mr. Barber said that such use was not allowed as the previous site reviews did not include this area. While they weren’t against the use, per se, their contention was that the proposed use (use of playing fields, parking and access from Route 6N) needed to be reviewed first. When Supervisor Grace said he didn’t see any difference between the area being used for horses or “feet” as a playing field, Mr. Barber explained that the use would compact the area -- a wetlands – which could cause flooding downstream in the Jefferson Valley area. “Have we come that far that feet are a damage?” the supervisor asked?
Mr. Tegeder advised the board that after this issue was raised was a December Planning Board meeting (see below), Mr. Diven had not returned with any response.
The discussion was tabled pending Mr. Tegeder producing a copy of the approving resolution that restricted use of the horse paddock area. Supervisor Grace indicated that the Town Board would “fix” the problem so that it could be used as a playing field. He added that the access to Route 6N could also be straightened out.
Planning Board, 12-21-2015
Board members were given an “extensive” memo outlining staff concerns after a site visit that included Mr. Diven. Because the applicant had not had a chance to review the memo, there was no discussion of its contents. Mr. Capellini indicated that the applicant would get back to the board after the memo had been reviewed.
It was noted that the applicant has bought an adjoining parcel but it was not clear how the parcel was being used and Mr. Kincart asked for an as built survey for both parcels.
The board said it had no objection to the Building Department issuing the CO for the greenhouses, although Mr. Winter indicated that the applicant first had address a fire access issue.
Mr. Diven indicated that at the Town Board’s request, he has been cleaning up the town owned detention pond at the end of Navajo Road. The Planning Board said it had no involvement in this issue.
Planning Board, 12-7-2015
While still waiting for a DEC wetlands permit for the dome and closing out some unresolved town issues, including compliance with previous Planning Board resolutions and Town Board wetlands permits, the applicant, C. J. Diven, is requesting a second 1-year extension. Mr. Tegeder advised the board that the applicant has been holding events on a portion of the site (the former horse paddocks) and using access to Route 6N that two previous board resolutions specifically said were not to be used.
Citing multiple meetings and phone contacts with DEC staffers, Mr. Diven minimized the extent of any existing violations and said he anticipated receiving a compliance letter from DEC within the near future. In response, Mr. Tegeder said he wanted to see something in writing.
Given the lack of clarity on the compliance issues, the board tabled acting on a re-approval resolution pending a site visit by town staff. The board did, however, agree that the Building Department can issue a new certificate of occupancy (CO) for the continued use of the two greenhouse-like tents; as temporary structures, the COs are only good for one year at a time
Planning Board, 12-8-2014
The extension was requested since there has been no real movement on the application. The Planning Board granted the one year extension, but asked that the Planning Department, Town Environmental Consultant and Building Department make site inspections.
Planning Board, 12-9-2013
The Board unanimously approved the site plan for the dome over the south field. Before construction can begin, the applicant will need a DEC wetlands permit. The applicant must also meet all state and town codes. The approving resolution includes provisions for ongoing inspections and reports during the construction phase. The resolution notes that as per a memo from the building inspector, the dome is being constructed “as of right.”
In accord with earlier DEC requirements, the “greenhouse” between the two fields must be relocated to the parking lot area by the end of May, 2014.
The only point of contention in the resolution dealt with the location of a road in the space where the greenhouse currently is and which will provide fire truck access to the north field. Mr. Capellini wanted somewhat looser language that would have given the applicant some leverage (or, as Mr. Flynn characterized it, “bargaining chips”) in negotiating with the DEC over possible wetlands mitigation. He also wanted the shift authority to modify the plan, if necessary, to the Town Board. The Planning Board, however, not wanting to leave the location of the road up to the DEC, held firm to the original language in the draft resolution which was based on the recommendation of the town’s environmental consultant.
Planning Board, 11-4-2013
The discussion involved two issues: the mitigation plan associated with the original wetlands permit and the location of the “ring road” around the proposed dome. The DEC’s position continues to be that it will not consider the dome application until the wetlands permit issues have been satisfactorily resolved, although complicating the issue is the fact that the mitigation plan for the original wetlands permit has had to be changed in order to reflect the proposed dome.
In response to the Board’s earlier request, Mr. Riina showed a color coded plan indicating what landscaping had already been done, what remains to be done and changes from the previous mitigation plan in order to accommodate the dome plan. Ms. Kutter noted that the plan did not show the landscaping the Board requested to screen the house at the far end of the site and that the Conservation Board had some concerns about the plantings that had been done. Although not technically a part of the mitigation plan, Mr. Riina said he would add this information to the plan. Mr. Barber will do a site visit to see if the new plan is acceptable.
In response to DEC concerns, the greenhouse in the vicinity of the stream are to be relocated and two alternatives for a ring road around the dome were prepared. (The existing greenhouse must be removed by May 14.) Mr. Riina explained that the Fire Advisory Board favored one of the two alternatives and the Planning Board had no problem accepting the Fire Board’s recommendation. Mr. Riina also explained that at a meeting earlier that evening, the Fire Board had also requested a change in the access to the fire emergency road that crosses the second field in order to access the second greenhouse. The Planning Board agreed that the revised access made sense and Mr. Riina will revise the plan accordingly. Because the new road will enter the field at a different point, it was agreed that the plan will have to provide sufficient details to show that the field can accommodate the weight of the fire trucks.
As part of the dome plan, the two greenhouses will become permanent structures.
Toilet facilities will be provided by portosans, some located inside the dome, and others outside near the second field.
The applicant is currently before the ZBA seeking a variance from the fire sprinkler requirements for the greenhouses.
Mr. Capellini said he hoped the applicant would have DEC approval on the wetlands issue by the Planning Board’s next meeting.
Town Board, 9-24-2013
As explained by attorney Al Capellini, the applicant was before the Board for a “compliance review”: the February, 2013 wetlands permit included a provision that the applicant return to the Board in June. The Town’s environmental consultant Bruce Barber explained the need for a new mitigation plan (see prior Planning Board meeting summaries) and the applicant advised the Board that it had a meeting with town staff scheduled for the following day. The Board voted to extend the compliance requirement until November.
Planning Board, 9-23-2013
Originally in the Special Session portion of the agenda (Board actions can only be taken only in special, aka regular sessions), on the advice of counsel, the item was moved to the work session portion of the agenda for discussion purposes.
Prior to the discussion, the Board set September 28 for a joint site visit with the Conservation Board.
(Note: Creative Living is on the agenda for the Town Board’s September 24 meeting. The item is listed as: Request for extension of time to meet wetland permit condition.)
Although both Mr. Tegeder and Mr. Barber agreed that “most” of the conditions of the February, 2013 wetlands permit had been completed, the Board was reluctant to approve the dome site plan with conditions because too many issues relating to the plan were still unresolved. Also complicating the issue was the fact that the applicant will not be meeting with the DEC on the wetlands permit issue until next Wednesday and that based on that meeting the wetlands site plan might change, which in turn, would affect the dome site plan.
The applicant had previously advised the Board that the DEC will not begin its review of dome application until the agency finished its review of the wetlands issues. The applicant had hoped to meet with DEC right after Labor Day but that meeting didn’t materialize. Mr. Capellini said the site plan issues were a “moving target” and that it was difficult to pin down the DEC on what it wanted.
Mr. Fon was particularly distressed that the applicant hadn’t met with town staff to iron out the remaining issues as had been suggested at the Board’s previous meeting. The general sense of the Board was that while it supported the plan, no progress had been made on dome site plan issues since the summer meetings. After the Board made it clear to the applicant that it would not proceed with the dome application, the applicant indicated that it would meet with town staff prior to the Board’s next meeting.
The applicant was hoping to get dome site plan approval so that it could go ahead and order the dome, accepting the risks involved in not having DEC approval or having fulfilled any conditions that might be attached to the dome site plan approval resolution.
Town wetlands permit issues still needing to be resolved:
1. The existing width of one of the wood chip paths is wider than stated on the permit.
2. A more detailed landscape plan needs to be submitted, and reviewed, that includes what has already been planted (is it in compliance with the landscape plan?) as well as additional plantings.
DEC wetlands issues that need to be resolved:
1. Location of greenhouses. While the applicant is willing to move the greenhouse currently on the second field, Mr. Riina advised the Board that the DEC is more concerned about the location of the greenhouse between the two fields that is in or near a stream corridor. That greenhouse, he said, was more critical to the field’s operations. The ultimate location of the greenhouses is critical as it will determine the need for the ring road as well as potentially modifying the location of the dome. Where a greenhouse might be relocated to would also impact future plans for the site, including a planned basketball court and rock climbing wall.
2. Removal of one of the footbridges
Dome site plan issues needing to be resolved:
1. possible need for a new floodplain permit as the original permit assumed the grass fields would absorb runoff but with the dome one field will be replaced by artificial grass. Mr. Barber said that the applicant should provide calculations to show that changes already made to the second grass field will compensate for the impervious nature of the domed field.
2. The future location of one or both greenhouses. As noted above, both these issues need to be dealt with by the DEC and Mr. Barber suggested that the Board needed more feedback from DEC first in order to avoid approving a plan that was later rejected by DEC and needed to be changed. He wanted the Board, and the applicant, to avoid a “ping pong” scenario.
3. A lighting plan
4. More details on rest room facilities
5. Revised mitigation plan
6. General review of the dome structure by the building department
At the close of the work session, the Board went into closed session to discuss the application.
Planning Board, 9-9-2013
Mr. Tegeder reported that based on a site visit made earlier that day, the applicant has made significant progress resolving the most important unfinished site issues but that there is still some work to be done.
It was clear that the Board would not address the “dome” site plan application until all the issues related to the February, 2012 Town Board issued wetlands permit have been satisfactorily addressed. The applicant also stated that DEC has yet to sign off on the earlier wetlands issue and, like the Planning Board, will not consider the dome application until the former issue is closed out.
Two major issues that remain unresolved are the mitigation plan required by the February permit and the location of a fire emergency access road to the second greenhouse at the rear of the second ballfield. The applicant also needs to submit a lighting plan.
By the time the applicant submitted the mitigation plan, it became apparent that there were portions of the plan that are in conflict with the separate “dome” site plan submission. These differences need to be resolved in what Mr. Barber explained was likely to be the need for a new third mitigation plan.
As currently planned, the access road crosses the second field, entering the ring road at roughly home plate and crossing the field across the pitcher’s mound and into center field, close to the location of the second greenhouse. That location meets fire code requirements.
The applicant advised the Board that in a conversation earlier that day with the building inspector, Mr. Winter said that a better location for the road would be to continue the “ring road” concept that currently exists as a wood chip path up to the greenhouse location. According to the applicant, this would require the applicant to convert the existing path into one with a stable base. He wasn’t sure the applicant would want to incur this additional cost and also whether the DEC would approve the change, setting up an issue of fire safety vs incursion into a wetland buffer.
In response to questions from Mr. Fon, it was explained that the extension of the ring road was only needed if the applicant continued to use the second greenhouse (another greenhouse exists between the first and second fields and has adequate fire truck access). The applicant then said that the greenhouse would not be needed when the dome was constructed. Mr. Tegeder noted that the ring road eliminated the possibility of a fire truck having to cross a ‘mushy” field and that it avoided the backstop issue at home plate. Mr. Kincart said that while he favored the road thru the field, the issue boiled down to compliance was preference. The issue was left unresolved pending DEC review.
Mr. Fon suggested that while the applicant is finishing off the wetlands permit issues, he might want to simultaneously begin discussions with the building department regarding the dome and toilet facilities.
The applicant also said that it was possible to get the dome up this winter and “salvage” a portion of the season.
When Mr. Capellini raised the issue of the Board approving a negative SEQRA declaration (for the dome application), there was no comment from the Board.
Planning Board, 8-12-2013
After a contentious discussion, and when it became clear that the Board would not be approving the dome site plan that evening, the applicant, C.J. Diven, announced that he was withdrawing his application.
Starting off the discussion, Planning Director Tegeder advised the Board that on Monday he had visited the site, along with the town’s environmental code inspector and consultant, in order to determine the status of 12 conditions in the applicant’s February, 2013 wetlands permit issued by the Town Board. In his report, he noted that several issues still needed to be addressed. He said that the wetlands mitigation plan that was supposed to be submitted 60 days after the February approval, with the work completed by June, had actually only been submitted the previous Friday. It was also unclear how the mitigation plan addressed changes to the February plan necessitated by the new dome site plan.
In response, Mr. Capellini said that while each point “sounded terrible,” there was “more than meets the eye” and that the applicant had a lot on his plate and was doing the best he could. Mr. Diven stated that 95% of the required work had been completed and that some of the work could not be completed, such as work on stormwater detention ponds, until other construction was completed. He also said that different town staff was using different plans, resulting in additional confusion. He also explained that he had lost two months of work due to the weather and because he had to wait for rock from a nearby site in order to limit his costs.
Mr. Tegeder also expressed concern that some work that had already been done, such as grading, that was not on the previous wetlands plan or the current dome plan, and other items on the current plan, such as showing parking spaces at the entrance to the emergency ring road around the dome, were unacceptable and had to be changed. He advised the Board of the importance of making sure it was clear exactly what needed to be on the plan before the plan was approved.
While initially Mr. Kincart suggested that the Board approve the site plan with conditions, he later concurred with the opinions of the remaining Board members that given the applicant’s track record they were not inclined to accept his “promises” that the future work would be done. In response to Mr. Capellini’s comment that the applicant needed approval that evening in order for the project to move forward, Ms. Kutter said “Your emergency is not our emergency.”
Although Mr. Tegeder said that the remaining unresolved items boiled down to a few items, Mr. Diven felt that Mr. Tegeder was saying that the drawings from his consultants were in error. He said that “I’ve been instructed to [withdraw the application.]” He said he had spent seven years on the plan and about $140,000.
Planning Board, 7-15-2013
The Board opened a public hearing on the application. Representatives of the development team made a presentation that included both the dome and the long range plan for the site that included a dome over the north fiels, described as “more of a reality, a 4-story building on the east side of the site described as “not a contemplated reality” and the horse barn and paddocks on the west side of the site. They anticipated that only the 4-story building would increase traffic over the site’s current usage, although parking would have to be expanded for the second dome. Also, the original events plan filed with the first approval would hold for the planed south field dome.
Two neighboring homeowners expressed concerns about the noise and lights from the proposed dome. And after the homeowner closest to the north field complained that mitigation work that was supposed to buffer his property had not been completed as promised, Mr. Diven explained the reasons for the delay and said that the issue would be taken care of. Mr. Flynn asked the applicant to provide phone numbers to the homeowners in the event they had issues with operations on the field. Representatives of the company that will build the dome said that the noise level from the equipment will meet residential noise standards, but the Carey Street resident asked if there would be any guarantee that there would be no increase in the noise level.
While the applicant noted in a slide show that the test balloons were hardly visible from different vantage points surrounding the site, the homeowners noted that the test was done when there were leaves on the trees and that the situation would be different in the winter when the dome was up.
A Mahopac Street (Route 6N) homeowner expressed concern that the site’s existing gravel road might be used as an alternate exit onto Route 6N. Commenting on the prices charged for some of the activities at the residentially zoned site, he wondered if he could provide the same recreational opportunities on his R1-80 zoned parcel.
Susan Siegel (the person writing this summary) raised what she called “process” issues surrounding the application. Referring Board members to the Navajo Fields web site, she questioned whether the operation was more a commercial facility than a private park and whether the property should more properly be rezoned for commercial recreation prior to any site plan approval. She also said that the town should review the not for profit status of Navajo Fields, an issue, she said, that has been raised before by the Board but never satisfactorily addressed. In response, Mr. Capellini made a point of saying that a previous board had determined that Navajo Fields was a not for profit organization and that there was a difference between a not for profit organization and a charitable organization. Ms. Siegel asked the Board not to approve the site plan until the zoning and not for profit status issues were fully addressed.
When Board members expressed concern about the long list of onoing “violations” remaining at the site, Mr. Capellini took exception to the word “violation” and asked the Board to have faith in the appoicant’s goal to complete the required work. If you require us to catch up on the work before you approve the dome plan, he said, the applicant will miss the “window of opportunity.”
When Mr. Flynn asked for more information about the planned subsurface stormwater structures, Mr. Riina initialy said that he was hoping that the Board would condition its approval on a later submission of an appropriate stormwater plan but changed his mind and said he would provide the Board with more information about the planned pre manufactured systems he was planning to use.
Bruce Barber, the town’s environmental consultant, expressed concern that the applicant still had to “nail down” his current and future plans for the site as it wasn’t clear what the Board was being asked to approve. Mr. Capellini dismissed any concern over the SEQRA segmentation issue and said that the applicant needed a SEQRA determination from the Board so that the applicant could begin talks with the DEC.
The Board closed the hearing but written comments can be submitted for a two week period.
Planning Board, 6-20-2013
In an item not on the agenda, Al Capellini asked the Planning Board if it would change its July meeting schedule as he did not think his client would be ready for a public hearing on July 8; the Board meets only once in July and August. In an accommodation, the Board agreed to reschedule the meeting for July 15 and will advertise the public hearing for that date. If the applicant is not ready by the 15th, the applicant will reimburse the town for the cost of the advertisement.
Planning Board, 6-10-2013
After a closed executive session lasting about 30 minutes, Mr. Fon outlined the following issues regarding the application.
a. SEQRA segmentation. In order to comply with SEQRA, the Board needs more information than has been provided in the latest EAF about the applicant’s future plans for a multi-story building on the site. In response, Mr. Capellini said that the Board was asking for information about a project that in reality can’t be done because the current zoning doesn’t allow it. Either the current zoning has to be markedly changed, he said, or a new zone has to be created. The building is on the plan, he said, because that’s what the Town Board asked for.
b. Use. The Board said that it needs a more formal memo from the Building Department regarding the proposed use to supplement the department’s previous, more general okay of the project.
c. Wetlands remediation. The Board noted that the applicant has still not complied with the requirements of the Town Board issued wetlands permit and Planning Director Tegeder pointedly asked the applicant, “When can it get all be done.” He noted that it would behoove the applicant to finish the work before the summer when there would be greater use of the fields. In response, the applicant said that all but one section of the work had been completed and that the delay was due to his waiting for rock and fill from the Adrian project which had been approved by the Board earlier in the meeting.
d. Safety. Mr. Fon noted that on a recent site visit, he saw that there were no railings on the bridges. In response, Mr. Diven said that they had been put up but then had been told that they had to be removed. Mr. Diven added that in response to calls made by Bruce Barber, the DEC had been to the site three times and that all issues relating to the placement of wood chips near the stream had been cleared up.
(See below for May 20, 2013 Planning Board Public Information Hearing) Public hearing on height and side yard variance application Site engineer Joe Riina and representatives of the company that manfacturers the dome and related mechanical equipment gave a presentation about the dome, including a viewshed analysis that showed the extent to which the dome would be visible from different locations ranging up to approximately 1,800 feet from the dome. Because the Navajo site is in a valley, portions of the dome will be visible from most locations . A slide show indicated that much of the dome would not be seen through existing tree lines. The dome is made of fire retardant material that is translucent. During the daytime, the interior will be lit by natural light. In the evenng, the dome will be more visible because of the interior lighting. In response to a question from ZBA members, it was stated that the lights would typically be turned off by 11pm although the activities might end around 10pm. Although the interior lit dome will be visible at night, representatives stated it would not “light up the sky.” The current grass field will be replaced with artifical turf, and a new stormwater system installed under the turf. A backup generator, blowers, ventilation, air conditioning and heating units, and the unit that generates the air pressure that holds up the dome will be located inside the dome. The dome manufacturers were confident that the noise from the equipment would meet code and not be offensive; some of the equipment will run 24/7. A primary power source will be brought to the site. The representatives assured the ZBA that after people’s perceptions about the dome were addressed, they would see that the dome would be a “good neighbor.” The dome representatives assured the ZBA that the structure can handle snow. The dome includes emergency exits and a special door to provide access for emergency vehicles. The dome will be anchored to the ground. There will be limited space for observers along the side walls of the dome. A Planning Board memo was read indicating that the Board had no problem with the requested height variance. Several members of the public spoke in support of the dome, citing the benefits of having a year-round sports facility. The hearing was adjourned, pending submission of the Enviromental Assessment Form.
Zoning Board of Appeals, May 23, 2013
(See below for May 20, 2013 Planning Board Public Information Hearing)
Public hearing on height and side yard variance application
Site engineer Joe Riina and representatives of the company that manfacturers the dome and related mechanical equipment gave a presentation about the dome, including a viewshed analysis that showed the extent to which the dome would be visible from different locations ranging up to approximately 1,800 feet from the dome. Because the Navajo site is in a valley, portions of the dome will be visible from most locations . A slide show indicated that much of the dome would not be seen through existing tree lines.
The dome is made of fire retardant material that is translucent. During the daytime, the interior will be lit by natural light. In the evenng, the dome will be more visible because of the interior lighting. In response to a question from ZBA members, it was stated that the lights would typically be turned off by 11pm although the activities might end around 10pm. Although the interior lit dome will be visible at night, representatives stated it would not “light up the sky.” The current grass field will be replaced with artifical turf, and a new stormwater system installed under the turf.
A backup generator, blowers, ventilation, air conditioning and heating units, and the unit that generates the air pressure that holds up the dome will be located inside the dome. The dome manufacturers were confident that the noise from the equipment would meet code and not be offensive; some of the equipment will run 24/7. A primary power source will be brought to the site. The representatives assured the ZBA that after people’s perceptions about the dome were addressed, they would see that the dome would be a “good neighbor.”
The dome representatives assured the ZBA that the structure can handle snow. The dome includes emergency exits and a special door to provide access for emergency vehicles. The dome will be anchored to the ground.
There will be limited space for observers along the side walls of the dome.
A Planning Board memo was read indicating that the Board had no problem with the requested height variance.
Several members of the public spoke in support of the dome, citing the benefits of having a year-round sports facility.
The hearing was adjourned, pending submission of the Enviromental Assessment Form.
Planning Board, 5-20-2013
Public Informational Hearing
Site engineer Joe Riina and representatives of the company that manfacturers the dome gave a presentation. (See May 23 ZBA notes for more details about the dome.)
To facilitate construction of the 77,000 square foot dome and provide emergency access, a road will be constructed around the dome. This will require the applicant to apply for another wetland permit. The existing two greenhouse structures will remain on the north field and will be used as training facilities for batting and pitching, although Mr. Riina stated that they would be removed in the future.
In response to a memo from the Building Department noting that the site still had two violations, one of which was the lack of a site plan, Mr. Tegeder explained that the site plan was currently before the Planning Board for approval. Mr. Riina stated the EAF (Environmental Assessment Form) is currently being updated, and in response to Mr. Flynn’s question, he said he would investigate the site plan’s impact on the adjacent Tonndorf site.
According to the dome manufacturer, after obtaining site plan approval, it will take 2-4 weeks for the Building Department to review the plans, and from start to finish, a total of about 90 days to complete the project. Mr. Fon stated to have the dome in place by November, the applicant would need approval by August 1; the manufacturer stated that is cutting it short due to the manufacturing schedule. The applicant will also need a DEC wetlands permit.
In response to questions from Mr. Fon, it was stated that the dome will have both interior and exterior lavatories.
Mr. Fon read a letter from Susan Siegel including a request for the Board to verify the applicant’s not-for-profit status as it relates to the zoning ordinance and whether the "park" is a private or commercial operation.
The hearing was closed.
Planning Board, 4-22-2013
The Board went into a closed excessive session to discuss the application.
When the open session resumed, Mr. Riina presented the Board with a revised plan (that he said had been worked out in consultation with Mr. Tegeder) that showed only the area for the single dome and the second field remaining as covered “greenhouses.” The current application would be only for the Phase I single dome.
Mr. Capellini explained that because the dome will need both side yard and height variances from the ZBA, he was anxious that the Planning Board start the process and refer the application to the ZBA that night in order to meet a tight schedule that would allow the dome to be up by November. Once the applicant receives approvals, it will take about one and half months to erect the dome—which would only be used from November to the end of March. The applicant will also have to get DEC approval and Mr. Riina stated that that could take 60 days at a minimum. The Board agreed to refer the application to the ZBA. (Note: The variance application is on the ZBA agenda for April 25. The agenda was published on April 23.)
In other issues, Mr. Fon asked about what provisions were being made for toilet facilities. In response, when the applicant said he would continue to rely on porto sans, Mr. Fon asked how many would be required and questioned the use of “outhouses” in the winter. Mr. Capellini said he hadn’t been told that this was an issue. Mr. Fon also asked about ADA compliance.
The Board also referred the application to the building inspector for a determination of whether the applicant is a not-for-profit or profit making entity. (The designation relates to whether or not the site can or should continue as an “as of right” permitted use in a residential zone or whether the site should be rezoned for commercial recreation use.) Depending on the findings of the building inspector, the issue may also go to the ZBA for a further interpretation.
There were also questions about the date and content of the latest Environmental Assessment Form (EAF) and whether it included sufficient information about the long term impacts of the project and whether there is a SEQRA segmentation issue.
Locations for proposed balloon tests to assess the impact of the dome’s height were discussed. The tests will be coordinated with the ZBA’s review.
A public informational hearing on the application will likely be advertised for May 20th.
Town Board, 4-9-2013
The applicant and his consultants repeated the presentation they had made to the Planning Board the night before (see below).
Councilman Bianco noted that the proposed area for the 4-story building was “all wet.” It was also noted that the ring road around the dome in Phase I (required by the Fire Department) encroached into the wetland. The height of the dome will be about 84 feet at the peak but average out at about 43 feet which is the height of the dome used by Club Fit. The dome will not be used from April to November.
Supervisor Grace raised the issue of whether the Town Board wanted to rezone the property now so that it could set standards for the approval of the Phase I dome but the Board appeared content to let the Planning Board come up with standards as part of its site plan review. Planning Director Tegeder said that all requirements, except for parking, were already in the Town’s land development regulations . There was some discussion as to how the parking requirements will vary based on the season. Mr. Tegeder said it was “amorphous” when the rezoning to CR should come about and said that there was a critical path to follow for the Phase I approval, including a possible need for a ZBA variance for the height of the dome.
Mr. Riina indicated that the DEC has not seen to new master plan for the site. Mr. Capellini asked the Town Board to show its support for the project as it moves to the Planning Board in order to counteract what he considered to be negative comments about the project. Councilman Murphy and Supervisor both praised the project and Supervisor Grace referred to some of the comments as a game of telephone.
The applicant asked for permission to erect a sign along Navajo Road on town property leading into the site. The Board has no problem with the request and advised Mr. Diven to come up with a proposed sign.
Planning Board, 4-8-2013
A long range Master Plan for the site was presented by Mr. Riina, the project’s engineer. The plan was submitted in response to the Town Board’s concern that it didn’t want the project to continue piecemeal with changes every six months.
The Plan calls for two domes over existing fields in the center of the site in a Phase I and Phase II. A third phase would be a 4-story building and underground parking and roof top fields on the east side of the parcel. A fourth phase would be a new barn and horse paddocks on the west side of the property.
The applicant is now only seeking site plan approval for Phase I and his attorney, Al Capellini, stated that it was not necessary to rezone the property for commercial recreation at this time; the domed use could continue as a non profit private recreational facility in a residential zone. While the Board did not directly address this issue, it did ask for clarification over how the applicant is claiming to be a “non profit.” In response to Board questions, the applicant said he did not have an IRS non profit designation and Mr. Capellini said that the applicant considers himself a non profit and that as temporary ballfields, he has an “as of right” use as a non profit. Once the site is rezoned, he said, then it becomes a profit operation. The Board’s attorney stated that in 2010, it was said that as soon as there are edifices, the operation would become profit. Mr. Tegeder said that the applicant needed to provide proof that he’s a non profit.
Mr. Capellini also stated that there was no time now to go for the rezoning change as it wanted the dome for Phase I to be operational by the fall so that the site could be used year round.
While Board members appeared to agree that the plan for a 4-story building might be more of a dream than a reality, they felt that some amount of detail was needed about the future plans so that whatever was required for Phase I and II could work for Phases III and IV, such as the road network. Citing possible concerns over SEQRA segmentation issues, Mr. Tegeder said that whatever the Board approves now should not impinge on future plans and has to be something that can support the future plans.
Councilman Paganelli who attended the meeting said that at a previous Town Board meeting he had raised the issue of balloons being floated to gauge the visual impact of an 80 foot dome.
Chairman Fon said that he had no problem with the fields or the dome but that whatever action the Planning Board took, it must be legal. In response to questions Patrick Francois of the Conservation Board raised as to whether the applicant has met all the requirements of the previously approved wetlands permit., Mr. Riina said that the applicant is working on “buttoning up” the site.
Town Board, 2-13-2013
After reviewing the revised site plan map that incorporates the changes it had requested at last week’s meeting and getting assurances that the 5 bridges had been cordoned off, the Board voted 4-0 (Councilman Bianco was not present) to authorize the supervisor to sign a revised site plan map and approve a resolution amending the wetlands and excavation permit.
Initially, Supervisor Grace said that his signing the map was sufficient and that the only document that mattered was the map, but when Town Attorney gave him a copy of last week’s draft approval resolution, he went over the resolution, deleting sections he considered no longer needed and making other modifications. The new resolution states that the applicant has to return to the Board within 180 days for a compliance review. (An earlier provision stating that the permit expired after 180 days was deleted.) Also, the applicant has 60 days to submit a mitigation and sequencing plan to the Town. Supervisor Grace told the applicant that he would not tolerate any delays in getting the work done and made it clear that the applicant could not change anything on the approved plan.
One of the areas of concern was how to delineate the “limit of disturbance” into the wetlands. While the revised map shows a combination of silt fencing and stakes at different parts of the site, environmental consultant Bruce Barber stated that the original plan, approved last year, called for silt fencing over the entire area; he expressed concern that wooden stakes can be moved, knockd down, etc. In response, Supervisor Grace advised the applicant that it was his responsibility to maintain the stakes , otherwise the applicant would be in violation of the permit.
Acting Town Engineer Robinson advised the applicant that her office needed more information included in the weekly reports that he has been submitting; the reports, she said, don’t adequately describe the work that has been occurring on the site.
In response to comments by applicant C. J. Diven that he wanted to have prior notice when someone from the Town was going to be on the site for inspection. Supervisor Grace said Town staff had the right to go onto the property.
It was also made clear to the applicant that work to upgrade the bridges could not be started until the building inspector had approved detailed plans of the work to be done.
The applicant said he would work with the Town to clean up the debris on town-owned land at the end of the Navajo Road cul d’sac.
Town Board, 2-15-2013
After completing the regular business on the agenda, the Board began a lengthy discussion with members of the applicant’s development team over conditions at the site and what work remained to be done to bring the site into compliance with the conditions of its existing wetlands permit prior to the Board approving amendments to the permit.Supervisor Grace also expressed concern about making sure that the site was safe.
Reports from various Town advisory boards and staff highlighting their concerns with conditions at the site were read and discussed; the applicant said that some issues had been addressed while others still needed to be attended to.
There was no disagreement over what work needed to be done; at issue were procedural concerns.
1. The main issue: when should the Board vote to approve the amended wetlands permit: that evening or the following week. Supervisor Grace wanted to approve the amended permit at the meeting after all the points had been covered. Councilman Bianco said he wanted to see all the changes that had been discussed in writing before he voted.(See #2 below.)As the 2-2 vote on a motion from Supervisor Grace and seconded by Councilman Murphy failed to achieve a majority, the motion failed and the Board will discuss the issue again at next week’s work session. It was also noted that staff had only seen the revised site plan as of 5pm that afternoon and had not had time to review it.
2. Whether conditions of the amended permit should be noted only on the site plan map and/or in an approving resolution. As the discussion progressed, item by item, Supervisor Grace made notations on the applicant’s latest site plan submission. His position was that all the conditions of the permit should be on site map which he would sign; he didn’t see the need for a resolution that would spell out the conditions. However, following established Town procedures, EnvironmentalConsultant Bruce Barber had prepared a draft resolution with all the conditions. This resolution will be revised, based on the discussion, and will likely to be reviewed next week.
3. Whether the applicant could proceed with any work prior to the Board vote on the permit. In somewhat of a chicken/egg catch 22 scenario, Mr. Diven argued that he needed the Board to approve the amended permit so that he could get the required other permits so that he could comply with the conditions of the permit and some Board members and staff felt that there was no merit in his argument. “You messed up,” Councilman Bianco told Mr. Diven, adding that this was the applicant’s opportunity to do it right.
4. What would happen if the applicant didn’t address all the conditions of the permit within the allotted time frame (a 6 months amended permit, with the possibility of a 180 day extension granted by the Board). The answer to this question was left unaddressed, although Supervisor Grace said something to the effect of:We’ll deal with that when the time comes.At issue was whether the greenhouse tents could be used if the temporary certificate of occupancy expired and no permanent CO was issued.
5. Whether the applicant will eventually have to go through a formal site plan approval that would, in effect, replace the wetlands permit. The Planning Board has recommended that the Town amend its Zoning Code to create standards governing this type of use and that the applicant be required to obtain formal site plan approval which would be separate and apart from the wetlands permit. Planning Director Tegeder’s position was that the greenhouses are permanent structures, and as such they require a CO, which triggers the need for site plan approval.Supervisor Grace didn’t necessarily agree that the structures were permanent and he said it would be difficult to set standards for this type of use after the use was already in existence and the applicant had expended funds to develop the site.
A site plan issue that came up during the discussion and which had not been discussed earlier was whether the existing parking was adequate and the need for a better parking plan when major events are held at the site.
Supervisor Grace also told the applicant that it would be a positive gesture on his part if he “cleaned up” the debris at the end of Navajo Street even though it was not his property but was at the entrance to his property.(It was not clear if this was a parcel that the Town had recently taken title to.) Mr. Diven said he would look into the matter, and Mr. Barber asked that he not do anything until he consulted with the Town first.
Town Board, 1-29-2013
Board members expressed their frustration with Mr. Diven over the fact that he has a history of making changes to the property in violation of existing permits and then coming to the Town Board to “legalize” what he has already done.
Board members repeated their support for the project but repeated their request that site plan changes not be made “on the fly.”When Supervisor Grace informed that Board that at a prior meeting with Mr. Diven he had asked the applicant to “get on the same page,” Councilman Bianco asked, “How did we get off the page?” Calling the project a “moving target,” Supervisor Grace said that Mr. Diven was “driving my staff nuts.”
After considerable discussion about specific site plan concerns (see below), the Board decided not to take any action to amend the existing wetlands permit pending a site inspection by the Town’s environmental consultant to determine exactly what needed to be done on the site.The Board may revisit the issue at its next meeting.
Specific issues that were addressed included:
Dugouts. The Board has no problems with the changes that have already made (a second story has been added that does not change the footprint) and told Mr. Diven that he could proceed to finish the work.
Foot bridges. Councilman Paganelli said they were not safe and steps must be taken to prevent pedestrians from using them. The applicant said they would be cordoned off and signs posted that they were not to be used.
Access to relocated greenhouse.(See earlier notes.) This remains a problem as the state fire code requires a 20 foot wide access road and the bridge across the stream may not be wide enough.The applicant will review the situation and see if by relocating the railings, the necessary width can be achieved. The building inspector has been in contact with the state to determine whether the 20 foot requirement can be waived.
Wood chips, Environmental consultant Bruce Barber said he was concerned that the heavy layer of wood chips was blocking the drainage swales that are a key component of the site’s overall stormwater management plan. He also said that the limits of disturbance into the wetlands had to be delineated.
DEC wetlands permit. It was pointed out that one of the conditions of the February 2012 wetlands permit (amending the permit is the subject of the current action) was that the applicant get a DEC wetlands permit. To date, that permit has not been issued.
Site plan standards.Planning Director Tegeder said that the Planning Board was concerned about the need to establish standards that could be applied to the review of the new application for construct domes over the two fields.(The Planning Board discussed Creative Living the night before but a memo was not yet available.)He repeated a point made by Supervisor Grace that the Town needed to know what the master plan was for the site and that in the absence of such a plan, there was a risk of segmentation which is illegal under SEQRA.
Temporary Certificate of Occupancy for the greenhouses. Councilman Bianco said it was premature to address this request. Mr. Diven would like to use the greenhouses during the winter.
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.)
Existing conditions related to request to amend existing wetlands and excavation permit
Joe Riina, project engineer stated the Building Inspector has to do a test on the tents and has to issue a CO before other work can be completed. When Mr. Fon expressed concern that the greenhouse was being used without a CO, Al Capellini, the project’s attorney said that if applicant cannot get the CO, he cannot fix the problems. Mr.Tegeder said he felt that if the Town Board issues a TCO, the applicant will again be rushing to get the overall plan completed by next October and he asked what the applicant planned to do when the TCO expires. In response, Mr. Riina said that the overall plan is a large undertaking, with supported domes over both fields. The Board will send a memo to the Town Board requesting that the Town Board not allow occupancy until the TCO is obtained. Mr. Tegeder said the Board had no problems with the applicant resuming work on the dugouts.
Site plan for dome (a separate pending application)
Mr. Riina stated that the overall plan includes supported domes over both fields and a building with basketball courts and a hockey rink. In response to Mr. Flynn’s question whether the end game would allow the applicant to remain non-profit, Mr. Capellini stated the ultimate plan is to become a profit organization.Mr. Flynn also asked when the site will be rezoned, and when does this change from a nonprofit to a profit. Tegeder stated with only the dugouts and two greenhouses the site can remain nonprofit, in an R1-20 as a private park as of right and Mr. Capellini stated the applicant will exceed the private park use with the installation of the Dome.
It was also noted that the applicant has to go to the DEC.
Planning Board, 1-14-2013
Chairman Fon opened the discussion by noting that while the Planning Board supported the project and the need for additional athletic fields, Board members and town employees, including the building inspector, were extremely concerned that work the applicant has done on the site violated many of the Town’s rules and regulations and had created serious safety issues, including moving one of the gas heated “greenhouse tents” without any permits, inspections or certificates of occupancy, all of which were clearly required, and that other conditions of the applicant’s wetlands permits have not been complied with. As a parent whose children participate in activities at the fields, he said he was ‘frightened.”
Other safety issues include the bridges over the stream which Diane Drier of the Conservation Board said should be removed and whether the relocated tent provides sufficient access for fire trucks.
The Town has issued several stop work orders at the site and there was a general sense of frustsration with the applicant..
The applicant, C.J. Diven, and his consultants, defended their actions, and at one point, attorney Al Capellininoted that what had been done was a benefit and “miracle” for the Town.While Mr. Diven said he didn’t think that moving the tent from one location to another required new permits, his site engineer, Joe Riina, advised the Board that the permits for the tent had been filed that day. Mr. Capellini acknowledged that applicant doesn’t have everything he should, “but we’re trying to get there.”
Because the project is considered a private recreational facility it never went through a formal site plan review process and the original wetlands permit, issued by the Town Board , has been modified over time, by the Town Board. The project has also received several variances from the Zoning Board of Appeals.
However, because the new request is to construct a dome, and the dome is considered a structure, a formal site plan application, subject to Planning Board approval, will be required. Mr. Tegeder raised the issue of whether the tents should also be considered a structure.
A representative of the YAC praised Mr. Diven for his efforts in support of the Town’s athletic clubs and their programs.
Town Board, 12-11-2012
Representing the applicant, attorney Al Capellini and environmental consultant Steve Marino explained changes in the existing plan that will require an amended wetlands and erosion control permit, and possibly other permits and reviews.
The applicant wants to install a 330’ x 210’ inflated dome over one of the existing grass fields, replace the grass under the dome with turf and add batting cages around the periphery of the dome. The dome would be 86’ feet high, or 8.5 stories tall and would be taken down in the spring.The applicant also needs a revised permit that recognizes the fact that one of the dugouts built pursuant to an earlier permit was not constructed according to the plan and intrudes more into the wetlands than specified in the permit. (When asked how far off the actual construction was from what was approved, the applicant’s representatives couldn’t say.)
As an aside, Supervisor Grace noted that the applicant had never submitted a signed plan as he was requested to do several months ago and Acting Town Engineer Robinson noted that the plan the Board had before it was not the plan that the applicant had previously submitted. She also had some questions about what had been done to the stream crossing on the site.
Two key issues that need to be decided are whether the dome is considered a structure under the town code and also whether, if the dome requires a building permit, that that triggers the need for a site plan review by the Planning Board. (Note: see earlier discussions about the site plan issue and the role of the Planning Board.)
In response to Councilman Paganelli’s concern over whether the dome would be seen from the homes on Gay Ridge Rd, Mr. Marino said the applicant would be willing to put up test balloons after the other issues about permits and site plans had been ironed out. Everyone agreed that the dome raised a number of questions, both legal, and technical that would have to be reviewed before proceeding with what Councilman Paganelli called an “ever evolving plan.”
Town Board, 3/20/2012
The board approved an amendment to the previously approved wetlands permit for Creative Living that permits the construction of a climbing wall, volleyball and basketball court.
Supervisor Grace advised the owner, C.J. Diven, that because staff has expressed concern about the ever changing plan for which there is no required site plan review, going forward he should do two things: 1) have the map that incorporates the new changes signed by him so that there is an official record of what has been approved to date, and 2) be mindful that any future changes need to be reviewed by the town. He noted that staff was particularly concerned about parking at the fields, something that Mr. Diven said was being taken care of.
Supervisor Grace explained that because the town’s current ordinances do not cover “private recreational uses,” there has not been any thorough review of the plan and that the town may have to look into adding something to the code to deal with this unregulated “animal.”
Concern was also expressed that that the NYS DEC has not yet given its okay to the plan changes needed to accommodate the dugout change.
Town Board, 3/13/2012
CJ Diven, owner of Creative Living discussed plans for the addition of three new recreational components to the Navajo Fields project: a volleyball and basketball court and a climbing wall. He said that these components were on the plans the board reviewed at the earlier meeting when the board discussed the changes for the dugout, although the plans were not discussed at that time, Councilman Paganelli said that there was no mention at the last meeting of these additional facilities and that there was no indication of them on the plans. Acting Town Engineer Sharon Robinson said that the plans with the additional components was not the plans that the board saw when it discussed and approved the dugout change.
After some discussion, the board agreed with Building Inspector John Winter’s opinion that the climbing wall constituted a “structure” that would require a building permit. Mr. Winter said he wanted to make sure that the wall could withstand winds and that he wanted more details on how the wall would be constructed.
Al Capellini, attorney for the project, said that because the fields were a recreational use on private property, the original plans did not require a site plan and that these additional enhancements would similarly not require site plan review. Also, because the enhancements are not in a wetlands, there was no need to revisit the project’s original wetlands permit.
In response to Councilman Bianco’s question whether the three additions had already been constructed, Mr. Capellini said, “no,” but that didn’t mean that construction might not start while the board was still reviewing the issue.
Town Board, 2/21/2012
The board voted unanimously to approve an amended wetlands permit for Creative Living to construct 4 dugouts not included in the original permit. The change was considered “de minimus” and therefore a public hearing on the proposed change was deemed not necessary. The property owner remains subject to the requirements of other outside agencies such as the NYS DEC.
Town Board, 1/24/2012
Town Board, 1/24/2012
Although on the agenda to discuss “temporary field greenhouses,” the discussion focused initially and primarily on the fact that the property owner had been issued a Stop Work Order because he had begun construction on the existing fields without the required site plan amendment and building permit. The applicant wants to change the location of temporary dug outs, shown on the approved site plan, with permanent dug outs. As the new location conforms to the parameters of the site plan, the board had no problem with the change but did want the applicant to follow town code and get the required permit for a permanent structure.
Because the original site plan approval included both state and town wetlands permits, Councilman Bianco raised the issue of whether the current permit needed to be amended, and if so, whether a public hearing had to be held on an amended permit. Supervisor Grace asked Town Attorney Koster to research the issue.
The applicant also wants to install a “moveable cold frame greenhouse” which would function as a temporary rolling batting cage like structure. Building Inspector John Winter explained that as long as the greenhouse was used for less than six months, it would not be classified as a “structure” that would require a building permit. However, even for a temporary use, a tent permit and inspection was required. Mr. Winter also informed the applicant that he would need to get a Flood Plain permit for both proposed changes.
Councilman Paganelli called the delay in getting the required permits “unavoidable” but added that it wasn’t the town that was holding up the improvements. Both he and Councilman Murphy advised the applicant to tell us now what other changes he wanted so that the town wouldn’t have to issue future Stop Work Orders.
C.J. Diven, the applicant, gave the board an update on the sports events scheduled for the fields in the coming months.
Granite Knolls Fields/Barn
(see also the discussion of the possible use of some of the Route 202 fill for the Granite Knolls Fields elsewhere on this page.)
(see also Spectra Engery at the top of this page.)
Town Board, 12-16-2014
The board awarded a bid to Capital Industries Corp. for $26,800 for the demolition of the barn. I explained that Brian Gray, Superintendent of Parks & Recreation had fully vetted the company and was satisfied thata the company could do the job. He said that the wide disparity in the bid prices was explained by the fact that Capital Industries was a demolition company and already had the necessary equipment for the job whereas the other bidders were contractors and would have had to rent the equipment.
Town Board, 12-2-2014
The board tabled a resolution awarding a bid for the demolition of the barn so that it could get more information on why there was a spread of $26,800to $269,000 in the seven bids that were received.
Town Board, 10-7-2014
In an effort to clear up what he said was confusion about the state of affairs at the park, Jonathan Hyman provided the board with a photo report showing existing run down conditions on the site that he said would take tens of thousands of dollars to repair. He suggested to the board that it stop speaking with “fork in tongue.” In response, Supervisor Grace said it was “the other side” that was misrepresenting the facts. He said the land was purchased with the intent to create active recreation and that $25,000 had been set aside to rehabilitate the existing field, and he proceeded to talk about the Spectra offer that would convert the site into more fields at no cost to the taxpayers in exchange for the company’s use of the site as a construction yard.
On the issue parkland alienation, Supervisor Grace said that the town’s earlier votes on the home rule message to the state legislature was only to ask permission to alienate and that if permission was granted, the town would only alienate the property if FERC assured the town that the project was safe, adding that it might be possible for the trucks to use the existing pipeline right-of-way instead of local roads. He said the home rule resolution was not subject to a public hearing. He added that the town had started the SEQRA review for the sports complex.
Councilman Patel said that Town Board had not been kept informed about what was happening, adding that “all that glitters is not gold.”
Susan Siegel, the person writing these notes, agreed with Supervisor Grace that he had informed the board in 2013 about the possibility that Spectra could make some improvements to Granite Knolls, but that before he asked the board in April, 2014 to vote for the home rule resolution, the board had not been advised of the deal the supervisor had worked out with Spectra and that the Rec Commission had no idea that the Granite Knolls plan involved the alienation of parkland. Noting that she was the supervisor when the Granite Knolls property was purchased, she also challenged the supervisor’s statement that when the property was bought it was bought for active recreation. She also questioned his “no cost to the taxpayers” statement given the fact that Spectra has not said how much money it would give the town to create the ball fields.
Gil Kaufmann (a senior citizen)stated that the town needs more fields and that the money to build them would be there. He said he was willing to pay more taxes so that the kids could play.
Town Board, 9-16-2014
Granite Knolls fields. Susan Siegel (the person writing this summary) and Jonathan Hyman, representing the Kopple family, asked for an update on the town’s response to the engineering report Mr. Hyman had submitted at the September 2 meeting (see below) that highlighted safety issues with the driveway access to the fields, as well as other issues related to the use of the fields. Mr. Hyman noted that he had not heard back from either Supervisor Grace or Diana Quast, chairman of the Recreation Commission, regarding the report. He also said he had been told that the Yorktown Athletic Club (YAC) had had a meeting to discuss the use of the fields and decided to continue using them.
In response, Supervisor Grace said that he was working with Phoenix House on a solution to the access problem and hoped that the safety issues would be solved. He said it was nonsense that the town didn’t need more fields, adding that the town’s existing fields needed to be rested. He said that the Recreation Commission had developed an incredible plan for the site and that the Spectra plan would enable the fields to be built for nothing. The entire Town Board, he noted, had voted to go ahead with the SEQRA study for the plan.
When Supervisor Grace asked Mr. Hyman if he wanted the fields shut down, Mr. Hyman said, "Yes."
Bob Kohl and Matt Talbert of the YAC thanked the board for getting the fields ready. Mr. Talbert, who is in charge of the group’s football program, said that the club is staggering practice hours in order to mitigate the traffic issue. He also contradicted Mr. Hyman’s statement that the YAC had met to discuss the traffic issue. Both he and Mr. Kohl stressed that the town needed more fields, especially a 90’ baseball field.
Councilman Bianco said that when the Granite Knolls property was purchased by a 3-2 vote, it was for open space and both active and passive recreation. He said the existing fields were a great place for the sports teams to practice. He said the only complaint he had ever received from Phoenix House about the use of its driveway dealt with buses for people using the trails, a use that had been stopped.
Town Board, 9-2-2014
Jonathan Hyman, speaking on behalf of the Stoney Street Kopple family, advised the board that the town was in violation of the August, 2011 license agreement it had entered into with Phoenix House that allowed town residents to use the Phoenix House driveway to access the Granite Knolls ball fields. He said that according to the agreement the license was to give the town time to build its own road into Granite Knolls but that the license agreement contradicted an earlier board resolution that stated that the ball fields were for a minor temporary use of the land. He also pointed out that Supervisor Grace has said on two occasions that the driveway access was substandard and unsafe and shouldn’t be used: once when the site was being considered for the dog park and on August 13, 2014 at the Keep Yorktown Safe meeting. He added that five days after the August 13 meeting, the town opened up a 120 space parking lot on the site.
Mr. Hyman gave the board copies of an engineering report that updated a 2013 report that detailed the deficiencies of the site and charged the town with not holding the town to the same standards it holds private developers to in terms of complying with town and state laws. When Supervisor Grace said he had no problem looking at the report, Mr. Hyman suggested he take a “hard look.”
Reminding Councilman Murphy that he said the fields were “all about the kids,” Mr. Hyman asked the councilman what he was going to do about the safety issues and whether he would renounce the use of the unsafe driveway. Councilman Murphy did not respond.
In a related discussion, during Courtesy of the Floor, Ed Ciffone questioned Supervisor Grace’s comment at the August 13 meeting that the ball fields were not connected to the Spectra project. In response, Supervisor Grace said that when the town purchased the property it was with the clear intention of creating ball fields and that some fields already existed on the site. He said he could schedule a community meeting at which time the athletic clubs could present their case as to why more fields were needed.
Town Board, 8-5-2014
Susan Siegel (the person writing this summary), asked the board to clarify what its intentions were regarding Granite Knolls. Pointing out that, to date, the town had only a one page concept sketch map of what the future complex would look like, she said that before a SEQRA review of the sports complex could be done, a real plan was needed. There was no response to her questions of who would prepare such a plan and what the complex might cost taxpayers.
Town Board, 5-6-2014
Authorized going out to bid for specs on demolition and removal
Town Board, 4-15-2014
Supervisor Grace said the barn had basically already fallen down and nothing more had to be done. Also that there is an existing bid for dumpsters that can be used at a future date.
In a separate discussion about parks, Supervisor Grace advised the board that a master plan for Granite Knolls that would cost the town “very little” and would be on the agenda for the board’s April 26 meeting.
Town Board, 3-18-2014
There was no response to Mr. Ciffone’s comments during courtesy of the floor about what was being done about the deteriorating condition of the barn.
Town Board, 10-22-2013
Based on information from the building department that the middle portion of the barn was collapsing, the Board agreed to ask the highway department to demolish the structure. Supervisor Grace said that the asbestos in the barn had already been removed and that there was an open DEC spill number on the property because of an oil stain on the floor.
Town Board, 8-6-2013
Ms. Daniels asked the Board to waive its policy of not using herbicides on town owned land in order to eliminate an invasive species in the area around the barn that cannot be removed simply by cutting back the plant. The Board asked her to put her request in writing. In response to her comment about having the barn removed, Supervisor Grace said it would be attended to soon.
Town Board, 5-7-2013
Steve Gardner, speaking at the first and second Courtesy, called attention to the fact that the company that did the work to grade and seed the ball fields had not installed proper erosion control measures, such as silt fences, or utilized ground cover to protect the grass seed. “Why was this allowed to happen?” he asked. Acknowledging that he had submitted a price quote for the job, he said his quote was based on what he knew a proper job would entail and that the Town should have questioned the lowest price. When Supervisor Grace said that about six vendors had submitted quotes ranging from about $16,000 to $6,200, Gardner said that since most of the quotes were at the higher end, the Town should have been cautioned about the lowest price.
In response, Supervisor Grace said that he would check into the site.
Gardner also noted that there is no silt fencing to protect against erosion at the Holland Sporting Club.
Town Board, 4-16-2013
See Miscellaneous below for discussion about a master plan for the site
Town Board, 4-9-2013
As part of an overall presentation on recreational facilities, it was announced that the fields have been seeded and the Town will wait two growing seasons before usage can begin. Supervisor Grace said he was having discussions with Spectra, the owner of the Algonquin gas line, about whether the staging area they’ll be using to work on the line will/can eventually provide the town with an access road to the site, a parking area, and possibly and additional field/s.
Town Board, 10--9-2012
Supervisor Gracereported that the asbestos abatement company has changed its mind again and will do the work at the barn.He also said that he will ask the Highway Department to demolish the barn.While Councilmen Bianco and Patel said they were opposed to the department doing the work, the issue was never put to a vote.
Town Board, 10-2-2012
An item not on the agenda, Supervisor Grace brieflymentioned that the contractor who was selected for the asbestos abatement job for the barn has withdrawn his offer. (It was not clear what the reason was.)He said he would now seek a new third quote before proceeding.
Town Board, 9-26-2012
The Board awardeda $6,200 contract to All County Contracting NY of Croton-on-Hudson to remove stumps, roots, re-grade, fine rake and level and seed the Granite Knolls field.Five prices quotes had been received for the job.
Town Board, 9-18-2012
Dog Park: David Rocco, president of the Dog Park Committee, advised the Board that because the Granite Knolls Barn site was too small to accommodate separate fenced in areas for both large and small dogs, the site was not be acceptable to the group. He asked the Board to look for an alternate location. Supervisor Grace said that it might be possible to create a separate facility on the opposite side of Stony Street where the ball fields are located, but Councilman Bianco said that any additional town usage on the western portion of the Granite Knolls property would need the approval of Phoenix House which is allowing the town to use its driveway as access to the town property. Supervisor Grace added that in the current difficult financial situation the Town was trying to use the resources that it had and that the location of the dog park could be looked at again once the barn was taken down.
Asbestos abatement/demolition: As part of the discussion of the dog park, Supervisor Grace announced that three quotes had been received for the asbestos abatement, ranging from approximately $1900 to $3300, with the lowest quote coming from the first contractor who had been contacted. In a separate action, the Board voted to award a bid to AAA Carting at an estimate cost of $14,862 to supply dumpsters and remove debris for the demolition of the barn. The actual cost will be determined by the amount of debris that will have to be disposed of. In response to Councilman Bianco’s question of who would actually do the demolition, Supervisor Grace he was planning on having the Highway Department do the job but that any final decision would be discussed by the Board once the asbestos job was completed.
Town Board, 9-4-2012
Supervisor Grace announced that Geo Environmental, the firm hired to check for asbestos at the barn, had found some and that the company has recommended an abatement vendor who would charge $1400 to remove the asbestos.Supervisor Grace said he didn’t want to get three quotes for the abatement job as he was satisfied with the recommendation from Geo Environmental. The Board voted to authorize the expense of up to $2,000; the funds will come from the $25,000 that was set aside in 2010 for improvements to the Granite Knolls property.
The Board also approved advertising for bids for the rental of roll off waste containers to be used during the in-house demolition of the barn.When Councilman Patel asked if the demolition work would be done according to OSHA standards, Supervisor Grace assured him that they would.
Once the barn is demolished, plans call for the site to become a multi-purpose site, to be used for parking for people accessing the trails as well as a relocated dog park. “Everyone will benefit,” said Councilman Paganelli.
Board members, joined by members of the Recreation Commission, the Parks Department and representatives of the NY/NJ Trail Conference, recently participated in a clean-up at the site that included removing discarded Jesuit artifacts from the barn and clearing brush.
Town Board, 8-14-2012
An item not on the agenda, the Board voted to have an asbestos study done on the building prior to any demolition. (Note: As the discussion was brief and not always audible, the observer cannot report anything more about plans for the site.)
Town Board, 6/19/2012
Councilman Murphy thanked the Highway Department for doing an “awesome” job at the fields. Tree stumps have been removed and seeding and raking remain to be done.
Town Board, 4/25/2012
During a special meeting to discuss the Yorktown School District's temporary use of the multi purpose field at Legacy (see below, under "Miscellaneous") the following discussioni took place about the Granite Knolls Field.
Regarding the Granite Knolls field, Supervisor Grace said that the Town would either have to spend money to sod it or seed it and allow ample time for the seed to take. The tree stumps also have to be removed. And questions remained as to who would maintain the field. He said that the Parks Department did not have staff to take on additional mowing responsibilities and that there were issues, which he did not explain, involving the clubs doing the maintenance. One additional option, he said, is to accept the offer of a local landscapre contractor to maintain the field.)
Town Board, 4/3/2012
During Couresty of the Floor: Ed Ciffone said that Town should take down the barn, using the unused funds from the $250,000 that the board set aside to demolish the Holland Sporting Club buildings.
Town Board, 3/20/2012
Stating that the town had earlier set aside $25,000 for the Granite Knolls field, Ed Ciffone asked how much money to town had spent to make the field usable and what would be done with any money that was saved. Supervisor Grace explained that the town had “anticipated” spending up to $25,000 for the field but that no money had actually been set aside for the project. Highway Superintendent DiBartolo explained that his department has actually spent only about $500 on the project for diesel fuel and chain saws.
In response to Mr. Ciffone’s questions about the Granite Knolls barn, Supervisor Grace said that there was no asbestos in the barn.
Town Board, 2/21/2012
Town Board, 2/21/2012
Mr. Paganelli reported that Highway Superintendent DiBartolo has completed about 95% of the grading and tree removal work at Granite Knolls so that the site can be used as a practice field for the athletic clubs. Town Attorney Koster said that the agreement with the clubs for them to maintain the field has not been finalized.
(see 4/22/14 update above)
The board authorized paying Site Design Consultants $14,300 to prepare a site plan and related documents for the creation of a new athletic field located adjacent to the existing baseball field.
Town Board, 2-3-2016
Note: The following discussion took place at a work session that was advertised to be an executive sessin discussion of the "employment history of particular persons." That discussion took place after the 90 minute open session discussion.
An open session with Brian Gray, Superintendent of Parks and Recreation, and three department staff members: Todd Orlowski, Erin Riedel and Barry Gelbman.
Supervisor Grace explained the purpose of the discussion was to acquaint the new board members with the operations of town departments, noting that last week’s work session dealt with the Engineering Department and the need to replace the services of Sharon Robinson . (Note: that entire meeting was a closed executive session.) He said there was a need for an open and frank discussion.
For most of the discussion, Mr. Gray, referring to a handout he had prepared for board members, outlined the many activities and projects, completed, recurring, and planned, for both the recreation and parks units of his department.
In general, Mr. Gray said the department had been handed an ever increasing workload and staff was concerned that it was sacrificing quality for quantity. Mr. Gray said he was also concerned about department morale because of the increased work load. He pointed out that many tasks that had previously been contracted out, e.g., tile work around the pools, were now being done in-house.
During the discussion, the following issues were noted that would require additional discussions with the Town Board, Recreation Commission and/or Planning Department. (See earlier discussions about some of the same park and recreation issues.)
1. Tennis courts. Six of the town’s 12 courts are closed and three open ones are close to needing to be closed. About 4-5 years ago, there was an estimate of approximately $500,000 to fix the six courts. Mr. Gelbman, the park foreman, explained that paving over the existing cracks doesn’t work; when it was tried in 2008-2009, the cracks reappeared two years later.
2. Lights at Commerce Street basketball court. Supervisor Grace noted that there were no lights at the court or an adjacent pathway and wondered why not. The sense of those present was that the “no lights” decision was probably meant to avoid noise to the abutting residents.
3. Railroad Station Park. Even though the town did not get the state grant for the renovation of the station building, Supervisor Grace said that something needed to be done to preserve the building lest it suffer more vandalism.
4. Senior programs. Mr. Gray noted that his department has taken over responsibility for several senior programs operating at the YCCC, such as bridge and mah jong, that had developed on an ad hoc “drop in” basis over the years. These programs were in addition to those offered by the department.
5. Online registration. The department would like to move to online registration for all its programs. The software to handle pool registration would cost $15,000.
6. Parkland. What to do with the town’s existing parkland parcels needs more discussion. It was noted that several park parcels are strewn with litter.
7. New recreation building. Citing the limitations of using both Yorktown and Lakeland schools for the summer camp programs, and limitations of the YCCCC, Mr. Gray talked about what he called his “Field of Dreams,” a new recreation building that could have classrooms, a gym and offices for the department. If the town had such a building, he said, it could offer a full 8 week summer camp program and enable the department of offer additional programs, which he said, could generate revenue. Supervisor Grace agreed that such a building could pay for itself and he believed that taxpayers would support such a plan. It was noted that many potential home buyers were looking for towns with quality recreation programs.
8. Working with two non-profit groups that provide services to the disabled: Norwest and SPARC. The town makes an annual contribution to Norwest and waives YCCC fees for SPARC.
9. Erecting banners. Mr. Gray noted the staff time involved in putting up and taking down banners for outside groups.
10. Foreclosed property. The department mows the lawns for bank foreclosed properties but has not been putting a lien on the property to recoup the cost of providing the service. (Note: this was done in past years.) Supervisor Grace directed the department to develop a charge and the town attorney to draft appropriate legislation.
Super visor Grace said that the department’s presentation should be repeated, at a televised meeting, so that members of the community had a better understanding of what the Parks and Recreation Department does.
Town Board, 8-4-2015
The board rejected the single bid for the ballfield drainage improvements, will review the bid specs and go out to bid again in the future for a 2016 project. (The board authorized going out to bid on October 7, 2014.)
Without stating what the bid price was, the supervisor said it was almost double what the town had anticipated. In response to my questions why there was only one bid, Diana Quast, speaking in her capacity as chairman of the Recreation Commission, said that the specs called for the project to be done this year and that the time frame was too tight for many potential bidders who already had jobs lined up. A second possible problem was that the specs included penalties if the work was not completed on time. (There were also provisions about using seed or sod but the details were not clear.)
Town Board, 10-7-2014
1. Route 202 ballfields. Authorized the Parks and Recreation Department to go out to bid to fix the drainage at the Route 202 ballfields.
2. Approved the use of $67,000 from the recreation Trust and Agency account to develop a multigenerational play and exercise area at the YCCCC Veterans Memorial Field.
3.Approved the use of $50,375, a gift from the Gilbert Beaver Conference Farm, to develop a playground for disabled children at Downing Park.
Town Board, 5-20-2014
Hunterbrook Field. Authorized a contract with Environmental Maintenance Contractors for $11,825 for soil testing for a proposed multi use field.
Turkey Mountain: Accepted a donation of 4.5 acres adjacent to the Turkey Mountain Park Preserve from the Arrowhead Subdivision in satisfaction of the applicant’s recreation fee requirement, and dedicated the parcel as parkland.
Town Board, 4-15-2014
Condition of town parks; Barbara Walt (sp?) asked the town to take a leadership role in repairing the town’s tennis courts, especially the ones at Downing Park that have night lights, and cleaning up town parks. In response, Supervisor Grace called the condition of Downing Park “atrocious” and a “junk yard” and referring to his plan to relocate the Parks Department garage to Greenwood Street said , “good things are coming down the pike.” He added that a master plan for Granite Knolls that would cost the town “very little” would be on the agenda for the board’s April 26 meeting.
Town Board, 4-1-2014
Ken Belfer and Laura Kobar (sp?) of the Mohegan Lake Improvement District advised the board that the group has applied to the DEC for a permit to add alum (aluminum sulfate) to the lake in an effort to control the existing phosphorous problem in the lake bed, which, in turn, creates the algae bloom problem that has closed the lake to swimming for the past two seasons. They explained that the last time alum was added , in 2002, it helped the lake. They explained that the alum would bind with the phosphorous and prevent its release. While sewers and fertilizer restrictions have helped reduce the introduction of “new” phosphorous into the lake, they explained that the limnologists who have studied the lake believe that the problem is the phosphorous already in the lake. Because MLID will also need a town wetlands permit, or an amendment to its existing permit, the speakers asked to be put on a board work session as soon as possible so that their request could be processed as quickly as possible. They explained that in order to be effective, the alum had to be added to the lake in the spring before the algae had a chance to grow.
State grant for Route 202 ballfields and inline skating rink
Town Board, 3-25-2014
The board authorized the supervisor to sign a Grant Disbursement Agreement with the state so that the town could receive a $150,000 grant to be used to renovate the Route 202 ballfields and the inline skating rink at Shrub Oak Park. The grant was first announced by Senator Ball several years ago. Supervisor Grace explained that the town will have to lay out the money first and then seek reimbursement.
Town Board, 2-11-2014 Rose Rothe, executive director of SPARC, a not-for-profit organization that provides social and recreational activities for children, teens and adults described the group’s services to Yorktown residents and asked for financial support from the town. She was joined by some parents and clients who paricipate in the group’s activities. Currently, the only financial assistance the town provides the group is that it waives the room rental fee when the group uses the YCCC. It was pointed out that the town has been providing financial support to NorWest, a group that services the same general population and has similar programs since the 1970s. (In 2014, NorWest will receive $40,000 from the town.) Some clients participate in the programs of both organizations. The parents made it clear that they didn’t want money taken away from NorWest and given to SPARC, but rather additional funds were provided SAPRC. Supervisor Grace said it appeared that the town had been providing assistance to NorWest “by rote” and that it might be time to take a fresh look at the issue. Comptroller Pat Caporale who is also on the Recreation Commission explained that the Commission had looked into the NorWest issue a few years ago but at the supervisor’s request, she’ll ask the Commission to look into the issue again.
SPARC (Special Program And Resource Connection)
Town Board, 2-11-2014
Rose Rothe, executive director of SPARC, a not-for-profit organization that provides social and recreational activities for children, teens and adults described the group’s services to Yorktown residents and asked for financial support from the town. She was joined by some parents and clients who paricipate in the group’s activities. Currently, the only financial assistance the town provides the group is that it waives the room rental fee when the group uses the YCCC.
It was pointed out that the town has been providing financial support to NorWest, a group that services the same general population and has similar programs since the 1970s. (In 2014, NorWest will receive $40,000 from the town.) Some clients participate in the programs of both organizations. The parents made it clear that they didn’t want money taken away from NorWest and given to SPARC, but rather additional funds were provided SAPRC.
Supervisor Grace said it appeared that the town had been providing assistance to NorWest “by rote” and that it might be time to take a fresh look at the issue. Comptroller Pat Caporale who is also on the Recreation Commission explained that the Commission had looked into the NorWest issue a few years ago but at the supervisor’s request, she’ll ask the Commission to look into the issue again.
Master Plans for Parks and Open Space
Town Board, 4-16-2013
During his opening announcements, Supervisor Grace talked about the previous week’s presentation about parkland and park and recreation projects. (See below.) Referring specifically to Granite Knolls, he said that the Town would be doing a master plan for the site that should be completed within a few months. In addition to the two full size lacrosse fields that have been seeded, the plan calls for a new 90’ baseball field below the lacrosse fields with a new parking area. The advantage of having a master plan, he said, was that when certain unexpected resources become available, such as the Route 202 fill, the Town will/would have a project ready to go that could utilize the resource.
He said he hoped the planned dog park at Sylvan Glen could be completed during this calendar year.
Town Board, 4-9-2013
Brian Gray, Superintendent of the Parks & Recreation Department and Diana Quast, chairman of the Recreation Commission gave a slide presentation on the Town’s open space inventory and long range plans for upgrading existing recreational facilities as well as constructing new ones. Supervisor Grace said that the idea behind the presentation was to put together a capital plan for parks & recreation. Mr. Gray said the Town had 1,837 acres of open space.
New projects included: a spray park at Sparkle Lake funded by a donation, exploring a golf course for disabled veterans at Shallow Creek, a new playground at Downing Park for children of all abilities, several recreational areas at Holland Sporting Club, the possibility of additional fields plus parking at Granite Knolls, and a dog park at Sylvan Glen.
Existing facilities in need of upgrading and waiting for funding include: the inline skating rink at Shrub Oak Park, the closed tennis courts at both Downing and Shrub Oak parks, correcting drainage problems at the Route 202 fields, turning the Woodfields ballfield, completing the Hunterbrook field extension, demolishing the Granite Knolls barn, developing wetlands educational areas and fence and backstop repairs.
Calling it a “matter of perspective,” Supervisor Grace and Councilman offered different visions of what should be done with vacant parkland. Supervisor Grace appeared to advocate for doing something with the open space while Councilman Bianco said that leaving the open space as is for passive recreation is what some of the land was supposed to be used for.
John Madden, the teacher in charge of the BOCES forestry program, explained that he is prepared to use the students in the program to remove invasive species at Holland, as well as undertake, over a period of years, a forest management program at the site.
Town Board, 4-16-2013
Authorized the Supervisor to sign an agreement to provide recreational services for developmentally disabled individuals through Nor-West Regional Special Services Program.
Town Board, 1-15-2013
Town Attorney Koster suggested to the Board that it might want to revisit the Town’s long history of financial support for the group which provides recreational services to disabled children and adults.(The 2013 budget includes $38,232 for the program.) The issue has come to a head because the Town has not paid its 2012 contribution.Ms. Koster explained that she has not been able to get information explaining how the financial contributions from Peekskill, Cortlandt and Ossining (town) and Yorktownare calculated, as well as an up to date contract.
Superintendent of Parks & Recreation Grey said that the group provides services to Yorktown residents that the Town cannot provide; the number of Yorktown residents varies depending on the season and whether residents attend “drop-in” programs or have to register for specific programs.
Councilman Paganelli said that even if the Town has no legal obligation to support the group, or provide recreational services to a special population, it has a moral obligation to do so. He said he would join Mr. Grey at the group’s next board meeting so that he could get more information.
Special Issue: Temporary School District Use of Legacy Multi-purpose field.
Town Board, 5/8/2012
Supervisor Grace advised the Board that the Town would lose $11,000 in revenue when the Yorktown School District uses the multi-purpose field. He said that he would speak to the district to make sure they understand the financial impact of the arrangement the Town agreed to last week, but it did not appear that the Town would be asking the school district to reimburse the Town for the lost revenue.
Town Board, 5/1/2012
The Board voted to authorize the Supervisor to submit a grant application to Entergy for the purchase of emergency lighting. Supervisor Grace said that he had had “positive” discussions with Entergy about the request. (See April 25th discussion about making portable lights available for use by the athletic clubs.)
Town Board, 4/25/2012
In addition to Town Board members, the meeting included representatives of the Yorktown School Districtand private athletic clubs and members of the Recreation Commission.
As explained by Supervisor Grace, the purpose of this special meeting was to address a request from the Yorktown School District to use the multi-purpose field at the Legacy Fields from August19th through approximately mid-November while a new turf carpet is being installed at the high school field. The district needs the fields Mon-Fri from 2-7pm and Sat from 8am-noon.Because the clubs use the field at those times, he said that there would have to be some “sacrifice” on the part of the clubs to accommodate the district’s needs and he asked for everyone to work out the scheduling issues in a spirit of accommodation.
Once Supervisor Grace made it clear that the school district would have access to the field during the hours it needed and the club representatives had no problem with this, the issues then became:
· How the clubs could change their practice and game hours
· How the changes would affect the different age groups that participate in club sports as younger groups could not play in the evening
· What additional fields could be used by the clubs as substitutes for Legacy
· Who would pay for portable lights on the substitute fields
After considerable discussion, the following decisions were arrived at:
1. The clubs would use Legacy from 7-10pm, after the district use, instead of their previous 4:30-7pm schedule which actually created problems because some coaches were not available in late afternoon. The clubs will work out the schedule for the new time among themselves.
2. The school district will make the “administration” field behind the old Farmhouse available for club use.
3. The Highway Department will do some “cleanup” at the Hunterbrook fields to make an additional soccer field available. Highway Superintendent DiBartolo said this could be ready by the weekend. The consensus was that this was a better location than the still unfinished Granite Knolls field (see below), even though the Hunterbrook field has parking issues and there would likely be a complaint from at least one neighborhood resident to the additional use and lights.
4, The portable lights that will be needed at Hunterbrook and the district field beginning in September from about 5pm on will be supplied by the Town.(Club representatives said that they could not afford the $10,000 that portable lights cost, especially as they had just raised their fees to in order to incorporate the new fee the Town will charge for the Legacy turf replacement fund. Mr. DiBartolo suggested that the Town ask Entergy for “emergency” portable lights that could be used for the fields when not being used for an emergency. Supervisor Grace said he would explore possible donations for the lights or fund them as part of the Town’s emergency management efforts.
In response to a question from Recreation Commission Paul Tetro whether the district would pay any fees for the use of Legacy, Supervisor Grace and Councilman Bianco said that that issue could be discussed later and Parks & Recreation Superintendent Brian Gray said that the district currently used the field without a fee.
Regarding the Granite Knolls field, Supervisor Grace said that the Town would either have to spend money to sod it or seed it and allow ample time for the seed to take. The tree stumps also have to be removed. And questions remained as to who would maintain the field. He said that the Parks Department did not have staff to take on additional mowing responsibilities and that there were issues, which he did not explain, involving the clubs doing the maintenance. One additional option, he said, is to accept the offer of a local landscapre contractor to maintain the field.)
During the discussion, it was announced that the school district will make two schools available for the Town’s summer camp program, one for a full day program and one for a half day program.
Shrub Oak Pool
Town Board, 6/5/2012
The board approved a change order for an additional $2,050 to replace the underlayment of the pool tiles that was rotted, bringing the total cost of the proj3ect to $18,360.
Town Board, 5/1/2012
The Board voted to authorize the Supervisor to sign a contract with Phil Aversano Tile & Marble to replace the damaged tiles at the Shrub Oak Pool at a cost of $16.310. While Mr. Aversano’s price of $16,310 was $764 higher than another contractor’s, the Board’s selection was based on the fact that Mr. Aversano’s price included several different warranties, each for different periods of time and including one which was a lifetime warranty, while the lower price contractor only offered a manufacturer’s warranty.
Town Board, 4/25/2012
This observer learned the day after the meeting, that after the meeting broke up, and without any announcment that the Board would continue meeting to discuss other issues, and after most people, including the CIY observer, had left the building, that the Town Board discussed the quotes that had been received for the replacement of tiles at the Shrub Oak pool. According to the Deputy Town Clerk who was contacted the morning after the meeting, the Town will be getting additional quotes and the Board may vote on the issue on May 1st.
Town Board, 4/17/2012
Councilman Paganelli reported that tiles at the Shrub Oak swimming pool will have to be replaced. The Parks & Recreation Department is in the process of getting prices for the work and will try to get the pools open on time. (See also Lifeguard at Sparkle Lake, 4/17/2012, below)
Pool Concession Contract
Town Board, 2/28/2012
On the recommendation of Parks & Recreation Superintendent Jennifer Fava, the board agreed to extend the current contract for the pool concession for anotheryear. The contract approved last year included an option for three one-year extensions.
Lifeguard at Sparkle Lake
Town Board, 5/22/2012
Although not on the agenda, the board voted unanimously to provide lifeguards at Sparkle Lake this summer.
Councilman Paganelli, liaison to the Recreation Commission, explained that the Commission had recommended against having the lifeguards citing the fact that the Recreation Department had already scheduled programs at the building and that the town’s insurance broker had advised the commission that the town actually had less liability without the lifeguards.“It’s not clear cut,” he said, adding that the final decision was the board’s and not the commission’s.While he acknowledged that people do swim there when lifeguards are not on duty, he saw the issue as one of public safety and a help to moms who might be there with three children who have to be watched.
Town Board, 5/8/2012
Supervisor Grace advised the Board that the Recreation Commission has recommended against restoring lifeguards to the lake. The rationale appeared to be that the lake was used after hours when there was no lifeguard. The Parks & Recreation Department supplied usage figures for when the lifeguards were on duty. Out of courtesy to Councilman Paganelli who was not at the meeting and who is the Board’s liaison to the Commission, the Board postponed taking any action.
10. Legacy Ballfields
Town Board, 4/17/2012
While the Board did not want to vote on the issue in Councilman Bianco’s absence, Councilman Paganelli said that he was more concerned about the need to replace the damaged tiles at the Shrub Oak pool than the lifeguard. He wanted to make sure that there was money for both items. Deputy Town Clerk Quast. who is also chairman of the Recreation Commission, advised the Board that based on preliminary cost estimates, the tile replacement would cost in the $17,000-$19,000 range and that the funds could possibly come from the maintenance line in this year’s Parks Department budget.As for the lifeguards, after she told the Board that she would bring the issue to the next Recreation Commission meeting, Supervisor Grace said he would postpone taking any action until the Board heard back from the Commission.
Town Board, 4/10/2012
Supervisor Grace repeated the desire of a six year old resident to restore lifeguard service at Sparkle Lake. When Councilman Patel noted that it was the former Parks & Recreation Superintendent who had recommended the cut, Councilman Paganellii corrected him and said that the elimination of the lifeguards was the least objectionable of several possible cuts to the recreation budget that had been recommended by the previous superintendent.
When Supervisor Grace asked what the lifeguard poll results were on the patch.com website, his assistant checked her cell phone and advised the board that of the 48 votes cast, 37 said they wanted the lifeguard restored and 9 voted no.
Both Supervisor Grace and Councilman Paganelli appeared in favor of restoring the lifeguard which they said people saw as a “value” and which they considered a “public courtesy issue” but they decided to postpone taking a vote so that Councilman Bianco whowas not at the meeting but who voted to eliminate the lifeguard as part of his budget vote last year, would have an opportunity to cast a vote.
Town Board, 3/26/2012
Supervisor Grace said he had added this item to the agenda in response to a letter he received from a six year old girl who enjoyed swimming at Sparkle Lake with her grandmother requesting that a lifeguard be assigned to the lake this summer.It was explained that last year, on the recommendation of the Parks & Recreation Superintendent and with the concurrence of the Town’s insurance broker, the previous Town Board had eliminated the $18,000 expense for the lifeguard from the budget as a cost saving measure.
Councilman Paganelli, the board’s liaison to the Recreation Commission, explained that the window of opportunity to get county Health Department approval for the lifeguard had passed and that the Recreation Department had already made other plans for the use of the service building.When other board members questioned what role the Health Department played in the lifeguard issue, he said he would check it out again.
In the meantime, Supervisor Grace said he would write back to the young lady advising her that he was looking into the issue.
Woodlands Legacy Fields
Town Board, 12-18-2012
A representative of the Huntersbrook condominiums expressed concern that the Town has not lived up to a prior agreement with the association to flip the existing ballfield at the Legacy ballfield site in exchange for the condos giving the Town an easement when it was building the new fields. He said that whenever he brought up the issue, he was told either that the Town didn’t have the money (Councilman Bianco said the flipping would cost $125,000) or that there was no easement.Councilman Paganelli said the condos have been “extremely patient” waiting for the issue to be resolved and suggested that the person attend the next meeting of the Recreation Commission.
Town Board, 4/25/2012
See above "Miscellaneous" for a discussion of the temporary use of the multi-purpose field by the Yorktown School District.
Town Board, 2/28/2012
Parks & Recreation Superintendent Jennifer Fava advised the board of a proposed increase in the user fees for the multi-purpose field at the Woodlands Legacy Fields to $45/hour from the current $15/hour fee for residents and to $75/hour from $30/hour for non-residents. The added revenue from the new fees, which will go into effect in the fall (as spring and summer registrations are already completed) will be placed in a trust fund to be used to replace the current artificial turf.
Councilman Paganelli said that a new turf would cost between $600,000 - $800,000 and that if the added user fee did not generate enough revenue, the town could revisit the fee structure in future years. Ms. Fava estimated that the field was used for approximately 1500 hours last year, with almost all the use by local clubs.
In response to Councilman Murphy’s question as to whether the athletic clubs were aware of the proposed fee increase, Ms. Fava told the board that it was the clubs that actually brought up the issue and that they have no problem with the increase.
Town Board, 11-22-2016
Mark Linehan, co-chair of the Yorktown Trail Town Committee, asked the board to authorize $7,750 for the construction of the trail link. The town funds would supplement the $20,000 received in grant money, plus $20,850 worth of volunteer labor. While expressing support for the project, Supervisor Grace raised additional issues that the Committee will have to resolve before the Town Board okays the expenditure of funds. One issue involves whether volunteer labor can replace unionzed workers.
Town Board, 8-9-2016
Mark Linehan, co-chairman of the Yorktown Trail Town Committee (YTTC), gave the board an update on the plans to construct a dirt trail on the old railroad spur between Route 118 at Downing Drive and Baldwin Road where it would link up with the trail across Baldwin Road that is currently being built by the Friends of FDR State Park. The trail would connect the North County Trailway to FDR Park and to other town trails.
Mr. Linehan advised the board that the YTTC would be applying for a $16,800 grant from the Hudson Valley Greenway to supplement the $7,500 Greenway grant the town has already received for the project. The project’s total budget is $48,600, with $20,850 coming from volunteer labor,. The town’s cash outlay would be between $3,450 - $20,250 depending on the size of the YTTC grant. Any money the YTTC received would be turned over to the town.
Supervisor Grace said that although he supported the project, he wasn’t ready to authorize any town funds for the project because a variety of issues still had to be clarified. The board did, however, approve a resolution of support for the project that directed town staff to work with the YTTC on preparing the necessary SEQRA forms and wetlands permit.
Mr. Linehan will work with town staff to address the outstanding issues that were raised and the town attorney will send a letter to abutting property owners notifying them of plans to proceed with the trail.
Town Board, 8-2-2016
Dan Strauss asked the board to fund the $20,000 request from the Yorktown Trial Committee that would supplement the $7,500 Hudson Greenway grant the town received for the construction of a trail link between Route 118 and Baldwin Road. In response, Supervisor Grace said that there were some legal issues that had to be looked into but that the board had agreed to consider the request. The committee will meet with the board next week.
Town Board, 5-10-2016
Mark Linehan, co-chairman of the Yorktown Trail Town Committee, made a power point presentation on the group’s plan to use the $7,500 grant the town received from the Hudson Valley Greenway to construct an unpaved trail along the old railroad right of way from Route 118 at Downing Drive to Baldwin Rd. He explained that the trail would link the North County Trailway with FDR Park which, from Strang Boulevard, provides access to other town trails. The total cost of the project, that will include two bridges over a stream and a boardwalk over the wetlands at the Baldwin Rd portion of the trail, is $26,868. The cost is mostly for lumber and related hardware to build the bridges and boardwalk. The Highway Department has agreed to provide some assistance, with most of the work being done by volunteers.
Mr. Linehan was requesting $19,368 from the Town Board. The budget also includes $5,540 from the Highway Department to cover the purchase of Item 4 that will be used on a portion of the trail.
The board was supportive of the project but before authorizing any money, Supervisor said that two legal issues needed to be resolved first:
1. Whether the trail could be constructed over the buried AT&T fiber optic cable that runs 50’-60’ in from Route 118, and
2. Who owns the right of way: the town, county or state (DOT)
Supervisor Grace advised Mr. Linehan to work with the town attorney to resolve both issues. Board members also asked Mr. Linehan to investigate the possibility of private donations.
FDR Trails grant.
Town Board, 8-6-2013
Jane Daniels said she had learned that a Board resolution was not needed for the Friends’ grant application but she did request a letter of support. The Board had no problem with the request and asked her to draft a letter.
Town Board, 7-23-2013
Comptroller Caporale reported to the Board that she was informed by the NYS Parks Department that the Town Board was not in a position to pass a resolution dealing with a state park.
Town Board, 7-16-2013
Jane Daniels, president of Friends of FDR Park, asked to be put on a future work session agenda to get Board approval for a grant application the Friends are submitting to the state to construct two bridges in the park and along an old railroad right of way. The bridges would be part of a long range plan to link the existing North County Trailway to Downing Drive, then across Route 118, through FDR park and from there, across Route 202 to Strang Blvd, where other existing town trails can be accessed. The bridges are estimated to cost $700 and between $20,000-$30,000. Ms. Daniels explained that the grant requirement for a 20 percent local contribution would be met by volunteer labor and donations.
Supervisor Grace said he would put the item on the next work session agenda, and then for a vote on August 6. The application requires the support of the town.
Town Board, 7-24-2012
The Board voted 4-1, with Councilman Murphy voting no, to accept joint responsibility with the NY/NJ Trail Conference for the maintenance of 900 feet of new hiking trails that will link the BJ’s shopping center to the trail system just north of the Bear Mountain Parkway at Stoney Street.
Councilman Murphy said he was voting against the resolution because he hadn’t seen it earlier. Supervisor Grace said he didn’t think the Trail Conference would actually maintain the extension and that the responsibility would ultimately fall to the town.The Town has an agreement with the Trail Conference for the non-profit group to maintain the trail system.
Town Board, 6/19/2012
A resident called the Board’s attention to the fact that the parking lot for the trail, which is next to the highway garage and which is promoted on the trailway’s web site, is typically full, creating a problem for potential users. In response to his comments that employees from the Highway Department were probably using the lot, Supervisor Grace said that the employees park elsewhere.One suggestion was signage that would let people know that there is additional public parking in the commuter lot next to Town Hall.
Town Board, 6/12/2012
Trail link at Route 202 and Stony Street
In response to Supervisor Grace’s comment that as part of the Route 202/Pine Grove/Stony St improvement project, the DOT has requested that the Town maintain a 900 foot long extension of the hiking trail that will be constructed as part of the road improvement project, Jane Daniels of the NY/NJ Trail Conference explained to the board that this link will enable hikers to reach the proposed stop light at the intersection of Bear Mountain Parkway and Stony Street and then safely cross the Parkway to the light at BJs. She suggested that the supervisor talk to the DOT about making a “deal” in which we agreed to maintain the 900 feet in exchange for the DOT giving the Town permission to build trails on its land north of Granite Knolls and Woodlands parks.
The Hudson River Estuary Grant
Ann Kutter and Assistnat Plann Lorraine DeSisto asked the board to pass a resolution next week authoring the Town to submit an apploication for a Hudson River Estuary Grant that would construct a non paved trail linking the existing right-of-way along Downing Drive, across Baldwin Rd and to FDR park. From FDR park, hikers would go up Strang Blvd and from there access the existing trail network. That grant would be for approximately $20,000.
The grant requires a 50/50 match, although a part of the Town’s match can be in volunteer services. Ms. DeSisto said that the Town’s willingness to make 20%-25% cash available as part of its match would help the Town’s chances of being awarded the grant.
Without committing to making any funds available, the board gave Ms. Kutter and Ms. DeSisto the okay to submit the application. Councilman Bianco said that the Town gets the grant, it can always decide at that time if it is willing to spend the cash for the required match.
Town Board, 3/13/2012
Tim O’Connell from the Westchester Mountain Bike Association, joined by Walt Daniels who has been actively involved with the expansion of Yorktown’s trail system, repeated his request that the town do something to demolish the Granite Knolls barn so that it could be used as a parking area for hikers using the trails. He said the trails were used by hikers, mountain bikers, running, cross country skiers and snow shoers.
His first idea was that the town could include the barn in the Holland Sporting club project but that idea didn’t appear to go anywhere. Based on previous figures he had gotten, he estimated the demolition cost at between $10,000-$15,000 but that the entire project, which involved establishing the parking lot, would cost $30,000-$40,000 and that an earlier grant application was rejected because it did not include the full completion of the project but only the barn removal.
Councilman Murphy questioned why the $5 million open space acquisition bond issue that financed the Granite Knolls acquisition couldn’t also be used to demolish the barn, which led to a contentious exchange between Supervisor Grace who appeared to disagree with the bond issue and Councilman Bianco who said that 85% of the residents had approved it.
Councilman Paganelli expressed concern that the place is and/or will become a hangout, especially once the Holland Sporting Club buildings are demolished.
No decisions were made and Supervisor Grace said he would visit the site.
During Courtesy of the Floor, Tim O’Connell of the Westchester Mountain Bike Association gave the board a report of the status of the town’s growing trail system, used by both hikers and mountain bike users. Fifteen miles of new trails have been added in the Sylvan Glen, Woodlands Legacy and Granite Knolls trail systems. (Note: The bridge over the Taconic links the three trails.) Citing the need for additional parking, he asked the board to do something to demolish the deteriorated barn along Stoney Street that was part of the Granite Knolls acquisition. Highway Superintendent DiBartolo said that his department is currently working on the tennis courts at the Granite Knolls site and that possibly the site’s old basketball court could be used for parking.Supervisor Grace said that as there were many issues that needed to be discussed, he would ask Mr. O‘Connell to come to a work session.
In response to comments from Fred Gulitz about the value of the wood in the barn, Mr. O’Connell said that he had contacted several potential buyers but that no one was interested.Councilman Bianco noted that the town had been trying to work with local churches to dispose of religious artifacts located in the barn which was previously owned by the Jesuits.
In response to a question from Gil Kaufmann during the second Courtesy of the Floor about what types of bikes used the Woodlands Legacy trail, it was explained that mountain bikes were permitted. Mr. Kaufmann said that something should be done about bike riders who may be creating safety problems for those using the fields.
Town Board, 3-1-2016
In an item not on the agenda, the board voted unanimously to waive the building fee for the renovation of the building at Shallow Creek on the basis of the building was town owned. The amount of the fee was not identified.
Town Board, 9-15-2015
Bruce Barber and Diana Quast, chairwoman of the Recreation Commission, gave an update report on two issues:
- The county Department of Health has approved the existing septic system for the proposed restaurant use of the clubhouse building.
- Plans to renovate the old par-3 golf course have not progressed and Mr. Barber suggested that he be designated as project manager to move the project forward with DEC and for the required town permits. He said the work would be done as part of his consulting contract with the town. Noting that dealings with the DEC and applying for town permits was the responsibility of the applicant, not the town, I objected to Mr. Barber taking on his role at the taxpayer’s expense, even though Ms. Quast explained that this was town property and the town would benefit from any improvements. The issue was tabled. I noted that when the board approved the license for the gold course last year, neither the licensee or the town had contacted the DEC.
Town Board, 8-12-2014
After the supervisor’s assistant gave the board copies of the latest version of the two license agreements for Shallow Creek, the board voted unanimously to authorize the supervisor the sign them. The only change from the previous draft was the inclusion of performance bond requirements in the agreement for the golf course. Both licenses will be for 10 years, with an option for the town to renew them for two 5-year periods. Both are revocable.
Councilman Patel expressed concern that if the operator went out of business or otherwise walked away from the project, the town would be liable to reimburse him for improvements he had made. He wanted to know what protections there were for the town. In response, Supervisor Grace explained that the town would only be subject to reimbursement costs if the town arbitrarily and without reason revoked the license. He explained that if the operator didn’t complete the required improvements, then the town would be able to use the performance bond money to complete the project.
Supervisor Grace said the operator was ready to start “today,” adding that the clubhouse building had been vandalized the previous week.
Town Board, 8-5-2014
Pointing out that the golf course was located in a flood plain, Susan Siegel (the person writing this summary) suggested the any license agreement include provisions with time frames for obtaining a DEC wetlands permit and completing any of the improvements DEC might require as a condition of its granting a wetlands permit.
Later in the meeting, the board passed a resolution awarding the RFP (Request for Proposals) to Rocco Cambereri to show its commitment to him, but it deleted the clause that would have authorized the supervisor to sign the two license agreements. Supervisor Grace said he would look at the draft license agreements to make sure they included the four points that Brian Gray, Superintendent of Parks and Recreation wanted added: changing the length of the license agreement to 10 years (it wasn’t said from what), adding (or possibly increasing) a performance bond requirement, that the license would re irrevocable and that the licensee would have to get all required permits and meet requirements of all outside agencies.
One issue that remained unclear was under what circumstances the town could cancel the license without having to reimburse Mr. Cambereri for his investment.
Town Board, 6-10-2014
Recreation Commission Chairperson Diana Quast updated the board on the status of the Commission’s discussions with Rocco Cambareri who is proposing to reestablish the par 3 golf course, with an emphasis on making it adaptable for veterans and disabled people, plus a restaurant and a portable 60 x 120 foot ice rink. The Commission has been negotiating two separate agreements (one for the golf course and one for the restaurant) with Mr. Cambareri but needs to discuss terms of a license or franchise with the Town Board in closed session. Supervisor Grace said that he had not been involved with any prior discussions about the plan.
Mr. Cambarieri, who own the renovated driving range on Route 6, said that the plan has garnered lots of support and that there is a possibility that the project could receive a $250,000 grant from the Wadsworth Foundation. Representatives of the Foundation will be visiting the site on July 2. He said the project is “racing the clock” and he’d like to get started on improvements this year so that the facility could open next year by Memorial Day of the July 4th weekend. Supervisor Grace and Councilman Murphy said they were both on board with the plan and the supervisor said that the financial arrangements could be discussed at next week’s special meeting that will be scheduled to discuss the Granite Knolls alienation issue.
(see 4/22/2014 update above)
Town Board, 4-15-2014
In response to Mr. Ciffone’s question whether the person interested in renovating the site would work with the town, Councilman Bianco said he’s like to know “what’s going on” and Supervisor Grace said the park was being redeveloped for disabled veterans.
Town Board, 3-18-2014
In response to a question during courtesy of the floor from Ed Ciffone, Supervisor Grace said that someone was looking into creating a new Par 3 course on the site and had been in discussions with the Recreation Commission.
Town Board, 3-13-2012
Kevin Chin, the “applicant” the Town Board chose last year to create a recreational facility at Shallow Creek under a license from the town, appeared before the board with his attorney, Al Capellini.
Supervisor Grace said that he might have “thrown a monkey wrench into the thing” when he was working out the terms of the agreement with Mr. Chin and when many issues were raised including the town’s liability for the site, its involvement in setting fees and hours, what would happen is the facility ran at a deficit, the fact that work on town property would involve public works contracts, and exclusive use. Once we started to put pen to paper, he said, the problems surfaced.
By far, the most serious issue, and the one that led to a heated and contentious discussion, focused on the fact that the proposed license the town would be giving Mr. Chin would be revocable at any time by the town. Mr. Capellini explained that it didn’t make sense for Mr. Chin to put in $400,000 worth of capital improvements on the site if the town could yank the license at any time. Mr. Chin’s proposal was for a 10 year license with no rent so that he could recoup his investment, plus two options to renew for 10 years each.Mr. Chin said he couldn’t raise the money for the improvements if the license was revocable.
The way out of the problem, Mr. Capellini said, was to “depark” the land so that it could be sold outright. It was explained that “deparking” (aka “alienation of parkland”) required an act of the state legislature and Councilman Paganelli added that two consecutive legislatures had to pass the bill and that this would mean a minimum four year process.
Councilman Biancotermed any discussion of the “deparking” a “sweetheart deal, ” aterm Supervisor Grace took strong exception to. Councilman Bianco said that “deparking” was not going to happen and that leaving the land as open space brought in revenue to the town. Councilman Murphy also said that the “deparking” was not a sweetheart deal and but that the town couldn’t go through with the original proposal. Councilman Bianco later apologized for use of the term “sweetheart deal”but said that was what it sounded like to him.
The discussion ended without any resolution of the issue but with the suggestion that Mr. Chin and his attorney work with Councilman Bianco to see what could be worked out.
(For other discussions about the dog park, do a keyword search for "dog" on this page.)
Town Board, 12-17-2013 On behalf of the Dog Park Committee, David Rocco presented the Board with a check for $4,000 as the first installment of the group’s “good faith effort” to pay for a portion of the fencing for the park. He said future checks would be forthcoming. The stumps will be removed as the weather permits. Walt Daniels, speaking on behalf of the Conservation Board, said he was pleased to see that the park came out better than anticipated but that the Board was still waiting for a mitigation plan that dealt with the incursion into the wetland buffer. Authorized taking an additional $2,000 from the Parks and Recreation Trust and Agency Fund. (Observer’s note: the funds will be for the fencing at the dog park as the fencing bid came in higher than anticipated in an earlier resolution.) The Board awarded a bid for the purchase and installation of the fencing but no details about the cost was disclosed. Ann Kutter, speaking as an individual and not as a Planning Board member, said she was disappointed to learn that the town would be paying for fencing for the dog park. She said that from the beginning of the dog park discussions, it was understood that the dog park committee would pay for the fencing. In response, Supervisor Grace said that because of the nine year delay in finding a location, people weren’t willing to contribute funds and Councilman Paganelli said he would make it his business to get the additional “good faith” payment of $7,500 from the group after they gave the town an initial $2,500 for the fencing. The Board unanimously approved the use of $22,537 from the Trust and Agency Fund (recreation fee money paid by developers) for the dog park. While $4,537 will pay for the consultant who studied the presence of turtles on the site, the remaining $18,000 will be used for fencing. (see August 6, 2013 for comments at first part of the hearing.) After voting to close a lengthy public hearing with about 19 speakers, the Board voted 3-0 with 1 abstention to approve the wetlands permit needed to establish the dog park at Sylvan Glen. Voting for the permit were Supervisor Grace and Councilmen Murphy and Paganelli. Councilman Patel abstained, saying that while he supported the concept of a dog park, he felt that the Board should postpone voting for two weeks so that it could review more written information. He speculated whether the rush to approve the permit might be related to the September primary. What follows is a synopsis of some of the issues. 1. Town Board’s role. Supervisor Grace made it very clear that the decision to have a dog park at Sylvan Glen was strictly the prerogative of the Recreation Commission and the only action the Town Board needed to take was granting the wetlands permit. 2. Nature of wetlands permit. While supervisor Grace stated the permit was only about erecting a fence in the wetland buffer, those opposed to siting the park in Sylvan Glen pointed out that encroachment into and impact on the buffer would be greater than just a fence. The issue mitigation was brought up but no specific mitigation plans were discussed. At issue was whose responsibility it was to come up with mitigation suggestions. 3. Impact on animal habit. The Supervisor cited a report that there were no turtles on the site, but another naturalist said there were. The Supervisor said that even if there weren’t any turtles, the town should do something to provide a nesting area for turtles. There was disagreement over the impact the park would have on birds. 4. Process. Many members of advisory boards, including Conservation and Open Space, cited the deficiencies in the process, the failure to involve them early in the planning process, and the incomplete information they were sent once the Rec Commission decided on Sylvan Glen. They asked for more time to consider other sites based on an accepted criteria that could be used for all possible locations. Councilman Paganelli agreed that there had been a breakdown in communications that should be addressed. 5. Neighbors. While the vice chairman of the Rec Commission stated that the closest neighbors supported the park, two of the closest homeowners said that five of the six neighbors were against the park. A homeowner from another nearby street supported the project. 6.Type of park. Speakers disagreed over whether a dog park was active or passive. Supporters commented on the positive aspects of other dog parks, including, in Rockland County, a dog park in a nature preserve. It was noted that dogs are currently using Sylvan Glen, although it wasn’t clear whether they were on leashes. 7. Delay. Many supporters of the dog park cited the 9-10 years the issue has been under discussion and the need to act. Explaining that the wetlands permit will be good for one year only, Supervisor Grace said that if problems developed, the park could be relocated. The approving resolution, with conditions, was read after the vote was taken. (Note: Members of the Town Board and Planning Board and residents conducted a site visit in late August.) While the instant issue was the need for a wetlands permit, all agreed that the seminal issue on the table was the use of Sylvan Glen and whether it should be limited to passive recreation or could be a mixed use park facility. Diana Quast, chairman of the Recreation Commission, advised the Board that the proposed plan has been found to be satisfactory by the DEC, which has issued a wetlands permit, and other habitat and wetlands consultants. The wetlands have also been delineated. The dog park area will be five feet from the existing hiking trail. She said the Commission is firmly behind this plan but was willing to consider other sites. In response to comments from John Schroeder, speaking for the Advisory Committee on Open Space (ACOS), she said the DEC did not require a long form Environmental Assessment Form. When Mr. Savoca asked how many people currently use the park, the answers differed and Mr. Schroeder explained that there was more than one entrance to the park. Ms. Kutter,who said she frequents the park, and Mr. Schroede, both voiced concerns about environmental impacts, including ground cover and habitat issues. Mr. Schroeder also said that ACOS has a list of town owned properties and again invited members of the Dog Park Committee and the Recreation Commission to sit down with the group to review possible other locations. Bruce Barber, the town’s environmental consultant, said that there were three issues that needed to be considered. 1. could the site be avoided. It was noted that 34 other sites had been reviewed and Ms. Quast had a spreadsheet listing the sites. 2. could the impact be minimized. He noted concerns over parking, noise and the number of people using the dog park. All appeared to agree that after the initial opening flurry, usage would drop off. Ms. Quast noted that the closest neighbors (about 500 feet away) supported the dog park. 3. what mitigation would be possible to offset the impact on the wetlands. Mr. Rocco and Mr. Nettlefield, both members of the Dog Park Committee, spoke in favor of the location. Mr. Rocco pointed out that other possible sites the group looked at would cost the town money while there would be no out of pocket cost to the town at Sylvan Glen. Mr. Nettlefield said that the group had done its due diligence and that while there might be other locations, Sylvan Glen was the only location that was on the table for discussion. Councilman Paganelli said he thought the proposed location was a good one but that some issues needed to be vetted. He asked Mr. Schroeder for a list of other possible sites but said that after 10 years he didn’t want to see the project kicked down the road again. The Board agreed not to come to any decision until after it did a site visit to Sylvan Glen which will be on Saturday, August 24 at 10am. Al Avitable, vice chairman of the Recreation Commission led off the hearing stating that the one acre dog park at the 162 acre Sylvan Glen Nature Preserve would be a win-win situation for all. He said that three prior Town Boards had promised a dog park, that the current proposal wouldn’t cost the town anything, that the neighbors supported the plan (as a way to discourage teenagers from visiting the site) and that the Dog Park Committee would maintain the facility. He also stated that the DEC had already issued a wetlands permit for the project with few restrictions. Of the 15 people who spoke at the hearing, all but three opposed locating the park at Sylvan Glen – although most went out of their way to support the concept of a dog park, just not at Sylvan Glen which they felt was the wrong location. Speaking in favor were David Rocco, president of the Dog Park Committee and his wife, and Al Morales who described himself as a nature lover and dog lover and thought that the two groups could share the space. Mr. Rocco also read a letter from Jonathan Nettlefield, vice chair of the Dog Park Committee who was unable to attend the meeting. Most of the arguments against the park focused on environmental concerns, inadequate parking, its out-of-the-way location and the danger to the nature preserve’s animal habit. Walt Daniels, a member of both the Conservation Board and the Advisory Committee on Open Space (ACOS) and John Schroeder of the Yorktown Land Trust and ACOS were both critical of the process. Mr. Daniels noted that the town’s submission was poorly written and didn’t come up to the same standards as the town would require of a developer. Mr. Schroeder noted that the submission didn’t properly address many critical environmental issues and that a long form EAF (Environmental Assessment Form) should be completed that dealt with the impact of the fencing, vegetation removal, and impact on endangered species. After listening to the comments, Councilman Bianco said that he didn’t think the two sides were far apart and he urged them to get together. He noted that over the nine years, 32 different sites had been looked at and he didn’t see the need to look for other sites. He added that Bruce Barber, the town’s environmental consultant, has addressed any need for mitigation. Mr. Schroeder invited members of the Dog Park Committee to this week’s meeting of the Advisory Committee on Open Space so that together the groups could go over the inventory of town owned land. The hearing was adjourned.
Town Board, 11-29-2013
Town Board, 10-22-2013
Town Board, 10-15-2013
Town Board, 10-8-2013
In response to Councilman’s Patel’s question whether there was not supposed to be any town expense for the fencing, Councilman Paganelli explained that due to the delay in settling on a location for the park, the Dog Park Committee has not been able to raise sufficient funds to cover the expense. In what he described as a “good faith agreement,” the group will make an intial $2,500 available for the fencing and a good faith effort to raise an additional $7,500 over the next two years, eventually paying for 55% of the cost of the fencing. Councilman Paganelli said he was confident that the group would be able to raise the money.
When the subject of maintenance over and above picking up after the dogs which the Committee has said it would be responsible for, Councilman Patel brought up the lack of maintenance at Patriot Garden.
Town Board, 9-3-2013
Planning Board, 8-12-2013
Town Board, 8-6-2013
Planning Board, 7-15-2013
Town Board, 12-17-2013
On behalf of the Dog Park Committee, David Rocco presented the Board with a check for $4,000 as the first installment of the group’s “good faith effort” to pay for a portion of the fencing for the park. He said future checks would be forthcoming. The stumps will be removed as the weather permits.
Walt Daniels, speaking on behalf of the Conservation Board, said he was pleased to see that the park came out better than anticipated but that the Board was still waiting for a mitigation plan that dealt with the incursion into the wetland buffer.
Authorized taking an additional $2,000 from the Parks and Recreation Trust and Agency Fund.
(Observer’s note: the funds will be for the fencing at the dog park as the fencing bid came in higher than anticipated in an earlier resolution.)
The Board awarded a bid for the purchase and installation of the fencing but no details about the cost was disclosed.
Ann Kutter, speaking as an individual and not as a Planning Board member, said she was disappointed to learn that the town would be paying for fencing for the dog park. She said that from the beginning of the dog park discussions, it was understood that the dog park committee would pay for the fencing. In response, Supervisor Grace said that because of the nine year delay in finding a location, people weren’t willing to contribute funds and Councilman Paganelli said he would make it his business to get the additional “good faith” payment of $7,500 from the group after they gave the town an initial $2,500 for the fencing.
The Board unanimously approved the use of $22,537 from the Trust and Agency Fund (recreation fee money paid by developers) for the dog park. While $4,537 will pay for the consultant who studied the presence of turtles on the site, the remaining $18,000 will be used for fencing.
(see August 6, 2013 for comments at first part of the hearing.)
After voting to close a lengthy public hearing with about 19 speakers, the Board voted 3-0 with 1 abstention to approve the wetlands permit needed to establish the dog park at Sylvan Glen.
Voting for the permit were Supervisor Grace and Councilmen Murphy and Paganelli. Councilman Patel abstained, saying that while he supported the concept of a dog park, he felt that the Board should postpone voting for two weeks so that it could review more written information. He speculated whether the rush to approve the permit might be related to the September primary.
What follows is a synopsis of some of the issues.
1. Town Board’s role. Supervisor Grace made it very clear that the decision to have a dog park at Sylvan Glen was strictly the prerogative of the Recreation Commission and the only action the Town Board needed to take was granting the wetlands permit.
2. Nature of wetlands permit. While supervisor Grace stated the permit was only about erecting a fence in the wetland buffer, those opposed to siting the park in Sylvan Glen pointed out that encroachment into and impact on the buffer would be greater than just a fence. The issue mitigation was brought up but no specific mitigation plans were discussed. At issue was whose responsibility it was to come up with mitigation suggestions.
3. Impact on animal habit. The Supervisor cited a report that there were no turtles on the site, but another naturalist said there were. The Supervisor said that even if there weren’t any turtles, the town should do something to provide a nesting area for turtles. There was disagreement over the impact the park would have on birds.
4. Process. Many members of advisory boards, including Conservation and Open Space, cited the deficiencies in the process, the failure to involve them early in the planning process, and the incomplete information they were sent once the Rec Commission decided on Sylvan Glen. They asked for more time to consider other sites based on an accepted criteria that could be used for all possible locations. Councilman Paganelli agreed that there had been a breakdown in communications that should be addressed.
5. Neighbors. While the vice chairman of the Rec Commission stated that the closest neighbors supported the park, two of the closest homeowners said that five of the six neighbors were against the park. A homeowner from another nearby street supported the project.
6.Type of park. Speakers disagreed over whether a dog park was active or passive. Supporters commented on the positive aspects of other dog parks, including, in Rockland County, a dog park in a nature preserve. It was noted that dogs are currently using Sylvan Glen, although it wasn’t clear whether they were on leashes.
7. Delay. Many supporters of the dog park cited the 9-10 years the issue has been under discussion and the need to act.
Explaining that the wetlands permit will be good for one year only, Supervisor Grace said that if problems developed, the park could be relocated. The approving resolution, with conditions, was read after the vote was taken.
(Note: Members of the Town Board and Planning Board and residents conducted a site visit in late August.)
While the instant issue was the need for a wetlands permit, all agreed that the seminal issue on the table was the use of Sylvan Glen and whether it should be limited to passive recreation or could be a mixed use park facility.
Diana Quast, chairman of the Recreation Commission, advised the Board that the proposed plan has been found to be satisfactory by the DEC, which has issued a wetlands permit, and other habitat and wetlands consultants. The wetlands have also been delineated. The dog park area will be five feet from the existing hiking trail. She said the Commission is firmly behind this plan but was willing to consider other sites. In response to comments from John Schroeder, speaking for the Advisory Committee on Open Space (ACOS), she said the DEC did not require a long form Environmental Assessment Form.
When Mr. Savoca asked how many people currently use the park, the answers differed and Mr. Schroeder explained that there was more than one entrance to the park. Ms. Kutter,who said she frequents the park, and Mr. Schroede, both voiced concerns about environmental impacts, including ground cover and habitat issues. Mr. Schroeder also said that ACOS has a list of town owned properties and again invited members of the Dog Park Committee and the Recreation Commission to sit down with the group to review possible other locations.
Bruce Barber, the town’s environmental consultant, said that there were three issues that needed to be considered.
1. could the site be avoided. It was noted that 34 other sites had been reviewed and Ms. Quast had a spreadsheet listing the sites.
2. could the impact be minimized. He noted concerns over parking, noise and the number of people using the dog park. All appeared to agree that after the initial opening flurry, usage would drop off. Ms. Quast noted that the closest neighbors (about 500 feet away) supported the dog park.
3. what mitigation would be possible to offset the impact on the wetlands.
Mr. Rocco and Mr. Nettlefield, both members of the Dog Park Committee, spoke in favor of the location. Mr. Rocco pointed out that other possible sites the group looked at would cost the town money while there would be no out of pocket cost to the town at Sylvan Glen. Mr. Nettlefield said that the group had done its due diligence and that while there might be other locations, Sylvan Glen was the only location that was on the table for discussion.
Councilman Paganelli said he thought the proposed location was a good one but that some issues needed to be vetted. He asked Mr. Schroeder for a list of other possible sites but said that after 10 years he didn’t want to see the project kicked down the road again.
The Board agreed not to come to any decision until after it did a site visit to Sylvan Glen which will be on Saturday, August 24 at 10am.
Al Avitable, vice chairman of the Recreation Commission led off the hearing stating that the one acre dog park at the 162 acre Sylvan Glen Nature Preserve would be a win-win situation for all. He said that three prior Town Boards had promised a dog park, that the current proposal wouldn’t cost the town anything, that the neighbors supported the plan (as a way to discourage teenagers from visiting the site) and that the Dog Park Committee would maintain the facility. He also stated that the DEC had already issued a wetlands permit for the project with few restrictions.
Of the 15 people who spoke at the hearing, all but three opposed locating the park at Sylvan Glen – although most went out of their way to support the concept of a dog park, just not at Sylvan Glen which they felt was the wrong location. Speaking in favor were David Rocco, president of the Dog Park Committee and his wife, and Al Morales who described himself as a nature lover and dog lover and thought that the two groups could share the space. Mr. Rocco also read a letter from Jonathan Nettlefield, vice chair of the Dog Park Committee who was unable to attend the meeting.
Most of the arguments against the park focused on environmental concerns, inadequate parking, its out-of-the-way location and the danger to the nature preserve’s animal habit. Walt Daniels, a member of both the Conservation Board and the Advisory Committee on Open Space (ACOS) and John Schroeder of the Yorktown Land Trust and ACOS were both critical of the process. Mr. Daniels noted that the town’s submission was poorly written and didn’t come up to the same standards as the town would require of a developer. Mr. Schroeder noted that the submission didn’t properly address many critical environmental issues and that a long form EAF (Environmental Assessment Form) should be completed that dealt with the impact of the fencing, vegetation removal, and impact on endangered species.
After listening to the comments, Councilman Bianco said that he didn’t think the two sides were far apart and he urged them to get together. He noted that over the nine years, 32 different sites had been looked at and he didn’t see the need to look for other sites. He added that Bruce Barber, the town’s environmental consultant, has addressed any need for mitigation.
Mr. Schroeder invited members of the Dog Park Committee to this week’s meeting of the Advisory Committee on Open Space so that together the groups could go over the inventory of town owned land.
The hearing was adjourned.
On a referral from the Town Board prior to an August 6 public hearing on a wetlands application, the Planning Board reviewed the proposed location of a dog park in the existsing “classroom” area of the nature preserve.
Ann Kutter, the Board’s liaison to the Conservation Board, reported that the Conservation Board is opposed to the location for a number of reasons, including the impact on the nearby wetlands, the effect on local animal life, including box turtles, and the possibility that the dog park would encourage more off leash use of other parts of the nature preserve.
John Schroeder, speaking as a member of the Yorktown Land Trust and the Advisory Committee on Open Space said that both groups opposed the location saying that a dog park was not what was envisioned when the town acquired the property as a nature preserve.
Calling attention to the inadequacy of the Town Board’s submission, Mr. Flynn noted that based on the submitted drawing, it was impossible to figure out exactly where the proposed dog park would be located within the preserve and its relationship to the hiking trail.
The Board will send a memo to the Town Board stating that it does not consider Sylvan Glen an appropriate location for a dog park and that the town should look for an alternate site.
Town Board, 6-25-2013
At the request of Councilman Paganelli, the Board voted to advertise an August 6 public hearing on the proposed dog park at Sylvan Glen.
Town Board, 4/9/2013 & 4/16/2013
See Miscellaneous, Master Plan above.
Town Board, 9-18-2012
(See Granite Knolls Barn, 9-18-2012)
Town Board, 9-4-2012
(See Granite Knolls Barn, 9-4-2012 above regarding a new location for the proposed park.)
Town Board, 6/19/2012
Councilman Paganelli reported that he met with Linda Cooper, former town supervisor and now in charge of the regional office of the NYS Parks and Historic Preservation Office. They rejected FDR park as a potential site; Councilman Paganelli cited the $8 parking fee.The Town is still working with the state on the Trump Park site. He was optimistic that something would be worked out.
Town Board, 5/15/2012
During Courtesy of the Floor, Jonathan Nettlefield, vice chairman of the Dog Park Committee, asked for a clarification of the status of the Town’s proposed use of Trump Park for the dog park. He said that at a recent meeting with the Recreation Commission, it was said that the Town may only be interested in leasing a small part of the 153 acre park from the state as opposed to the entire park.Supervisor Grace said that the Town was “working on it,” noting that we may be in a better position vis a vis the state now because former Yorktown Supervisor Linda Cooper now works for the state Park’s Department.
Granite Knolls Sports Complex
(Note: As the discussion over the future of Granite Knolls has evolved, the discussions have been organized under different headings on this page, e.g., about the Spectra pipeline or about ballfields. Beginning with the 11/22/2016 Town Board meeting, all discussions involving the parkland will be under this heading. For earlier referernces, it is suggested that the reader do a keyword search.)
Town Board, 6-20-2017 Susan Siegel, the person writing this summary, asked the board to televise the upcoming July 11 hearing that will be at a work session meeting that is not ordinarily televised. She said the public has not had an opportunity to comment on the plan. Supervisor Grace didn’t respond, except to say that the hearing couldn’t be delayed because work needed to start soon on the fields so that they could be in use by the time Legacy fields was closed for pipeline construction. Joe Riina of Site Design Consultants explained that Bruce Barber will be working with him to prepare the SEQRA documents and mitigation plans for the project. They discussed the general parameters of the mitigation plan (7 small wetland areas totaling 8/10 of an acre will be disturbed, plus tree removal) that will include removing invasives and general “cleaning up” of the area abutting Stoney Street. Supervisor Grace said he wanted the mitigation plan to show what could be done under the tree law and that the town should serve as an example. When Mr. Riina explained that that a public hearing was needed for a DEP submission, the board voted to schedule the hearing on the SEQ$RA portion of the application at the July 11 work session because there will not be a board meeting on Tuesday, July 4 and waiting until July 18 would be too late. The board declared itself lead agency for the proposed site plan for the Granite Knolls Recreation Facility. During Courtesy of the Floor, Susan Siegel, the person writing this summary, referring back to the concerns of some homeowners who felt they had not been notified about the planned trail near their property, asked if the residents of Stoney Street had been informed about the town’s plans for the Granite Knolls sports complex. There was no response to her question. The board voted to advertise bids for the sports complex. In response to Councilman’s Patel’s question what the estimated cost of the project would be, Supervisor Grace said we wouldn’t know the cost until the bids come in, which is why we’re going out to bid. He added that he’s in negotiation with the new owner of the pipeline company for them to pay the entire cost of the project, but that the negotiations couldn’t be completed until he knew the price of the project. He said the project would be built with no cost to the town and he dismissed any discussion of the ongoing costs to maintain the complex once built explaining that the two multi purpose fields will be artificial turf and won’t have to be mowed. However, later in the discussion, the supervisor said the project was worth between $3 million to $5 million. The supervisor said he anticipated the project would be built in 2018 before Legacy Fields was closed during the construction of the Atlantic Bridge portion of the pipeline project. He also defended the new project saying that the town was in “desperate need” of more athletic fields and that many of our existing fields were substandard, adding that while the town is the lacrosse capital of the country, we didn’t even have a lacrosse field. A member of the Yorktown Athletic Club spoke in support of the project saying that Yorktown did not have what he called a “showcase field.” Supervisor Grace also clarified what he called “fake news” about the project, now in progress, to rehabilitate the Route 202 ballfields (Scroll up to the top of page for a discussion on this issue.) He said that the town was saving about $150,000 by redesigning the project so that the $150,000 state grant would cover the entire cost of the project without the need to add town funds to complete the project that he said originally going to cost about $250,000. Handing board members a packet of plans, Joe Riina said the hard engineering for the project was 99% complete, and that only a few small details needed to be firmed out. He said the stormwater plan (SWPPP) would be completed next week. He saw no reason why a public hearing on the project should not be scheduled. Supervisor Grace alluded to a possible change in the access point. (Note: See discussion of the Shrub Oak International School.) Mr. Riina suggested that the plan be slightly modified to include an adaptive field abutting one of the planned fields that would be able to accommodate the disabled. The board agreed with the suggestion. Most of the discussion focused on whether the project should be bid out as one project or broken into segments, e.g., the fields and the parking lot as one contract, and separate contracts for the tennis courts, basketball court, etc. Supervisor Grace said the quicker the project can go out to bid, the quicker the town would have cost figures for the project, adding that it was important to get the job done soon. After some back and forth, the board appeared to accept Mr. Riina’s advice that bidding out the total project would be the preferred route and that a general contractor would likely hire other contractors who specialize in finishing off the fields, e.g., installing the artificial turf. The board also appeared to agree to have a surveyor survey the entire site now so that board members could visualize where all the parts would be; the board plans to wallk the site with Mr. Riina. The board voted to hire a surveyor for the project. The cost was not disclosed. Supervisor Grace said he anticipates that the new fields will be ready by the end of the year so that they can be in use with the Legacy Fields are shut down in 2018 for the pipeline construction. Later in the meeting, in response to a question about how much the sports complex would cost and how itwould be funded, the supervisor and Councilman Bernard said that with some exceptions, the complex would be built at no cost to the taxpayers (no cost was given) with money from Spectra and also an anticipated contribution from the planned purchasers of Phoenix House. Town costs would include the preparation of the plan, the survey and some clearing and grading by town employees. In response to Councilman Patel’s concern about long term maintenance costs, the supervisor said these would be minimal as the fields will be artificial turf. On a referral from the Town Board, Joe Riina of Site Design Consultants made a presentation on the concept plan for the sports complex. The board was generally enthusiastic about the plan but did raise questions about traffic on Stoney Street, provisions for emergency vehicle access, the need for overflow parking in addition to the 200 proposed parking spaces, plans for the portion of the site that would be graded but not developed, stormwater issues that cause icing on Stoney Street, and how the plan would impact on existing trails that traverse the site. Citing existing traffic issues on East Main Street, Mr. Fon suggested that the Town Board be proactive and hire a consultant to do a traffic study of Stoney Street. In response to Mr. LaScala’s question of how soon the town could proceed with the project, Councilman Bernard said that it would take less than two years to build. Asked if there was a budget for the project, the Councilman said no, but there will be one. Referring to his earlier comments about the conceptual plan for the new highway garage, Mr. Fon suggested that the Granite Knolls project should be built in one shot. The board acknowledged receipt of a detailed ABACA memo about the plan but noted that members had not had time to review it. Mr. Riina indicated that he would be doing soil testing over the next few weeks, delineating wetlands and working on a more detailed plan. The board advised him to return to the Planning Board once the more detailed plan was available.
Town Board, 6-13-2017
The bid deadline for the project have been extended to June 26. The supervisor explained that the bid specs included two options for access to the site: a new road from Stoney Street and shared use of the driveway with the autistic school; based on information he has received so far he said the savings from the shared road option was only 10% so he’s opted to go with the town’s own new access road.
Town Board, 6-6-2017
Town Board, 4-18-2017
Town Board, 2-28-2017
Town Board, 2-7-2017
Planning Board, 12-5-2016
Town Board, 11-22-2016
Town Board, 6-20-2017
Susan Siegel, the person writing this summary, asked the board to televise the upcoming July 11 hearing that will be at a work session meeting that is not ordinarily televised. She said the public has not had an opportunity to comment on the plan. Supervisor Grace didn’t respond, except to say that the hearing couldn’t be delayed because work needed to start soon on the fields so that they could be in use by the time Legacy fields was closed for pipeline construction.
Joe Riina of Site Design Consultants explained that Bruce Barber will be working with him to prepare the SEQRA documents and mitigation plans for the project. They discussed the general parameters of the mitigation plan (7 small wetland areas totaling 8/10 of an acre will be disturbed, plus tree removal) that will include removing invasives and general “cleaning up” of the area abutting Stoney Street. Supervisor Grace said he wanted the mitigation plan to show what could be done under the tree law and that the town should serve as an example.
When Mr. Riina explained that that a public hearing was needed for a DEP submission, the board voted to schedule the hearing on the SEQ$RA portion of the application at the July 11 work session because there will not be a board meeting on Tuesday, July 4 and waiting until July 18 would be too late.
The board declared itself lead agency for the proposed site plan for the Granite Knolls Recreation Facility. During Courtesy of the Floor, Susan Siegel, the person writing this summary, referring back to the concerns of some homeowners who felt they had not been notified about the planned trail near their property, asked if the residents of Stoney Street had been informed about the town’s plans for the Granite Knolls sports complex. There was no response to her question.
The board voted to advertise bids for the sports complex. In response to Councilman’s Patel’s question what the estimated cost of the project would be, Supervisor Grace said we wouldn’t know the cost until the bids come in, which is why we’re going out to bid. He added that he’s in negotiation with the new owner of the pipeline company for them to pay the entire cost of the project, but that the negotiations couldn’t be completed until he knew the price of the project. He said the project would be built with no cost to the town and he dismissed any discussion of the ongoing costs to maintain the complex once built explaining that the two multi purpose fields will be artificial turf and won’t have to be mowed. However, later in the discussion, the supervisor said the project was worth between $3 million to $5 million.
The supervisor said he anticipated the project would be built in 2018 before Legacy Fields was closed during the construction of the Atlantic Bridge portion of the pipeline project. He also defended the new project saying that the town was in “desperate need” of more athletic fields and that many of our existing fields were substandard, adding that while the town is the lacrosse capital of the country, we didn’t even have a lacrosse field. A member of the Yorktown Athletic Club spoke in support of the project saying that Yorktown did not have what he called a “showcase field.”
Supervisor Grace also clarified what he called “fake news” about the project, now in progress, to rehabilitate the Route 202 ballfields (Scroll up to the top of page for a discussion on this issue.) He said that the town was saving about $150,000 by redesigning the project so that the $150,000 state grant would cover the entire cost of the project without the need to add town funds to complete the project that he said originally going to cost about $250,000.
Handing board members a packet of plans, Joe Riina said the hard engineering for the project was 99% complete, and that only a few small details needed to be firmed out. He said the stormwater plan (SWPPP) would be completed next week. He saw no reason why a public hearing on the project should not be scheduled.
Supervisor Grace alluded to a possible change in the access point. (Note: See discussion of the Shrub Oak International School.)
Mr. Riina suggested that the plan be slightly modified to include an adaptive field abutting one of the planned fields that would be able to accommodate the disabled. The board agreed with the suggestion.
Most of the discussion focused on whether the project should be bid out as one project or broken into segments, e.g., the fields and the parking lot as one contract, and separate contracts for the tennis courts, basketball court, etc. Supervisor Grace said the quicker the project can go out to bid, the quicker the town would have cost figures for the project, adding that it was important to get the job done soon. After some back and forth, the board appeared to accept Mr. Riina’s advice that bidding out the total project would be the preferred route and that a general contractor would likely hire other contractors who specialize in finishing off the fields, e.g., installing the artificial turf.
The board also appeared to agree to have a surveyor survey the entire site now so that board members could visualize where all the parts would be; the board plans to wallk the site with Mr. Riina.
The board voted to hire a surveyor for the project. The cost was not disclosed. Supervisor Grace said he anticipates that the new fields will be ready by the end of the year so that they can be in use with the Legacy Fields are shut down in 2018 for the pipeline construction.
Later in the meeting, in response to a question about how much the sports complex would cost and how itwould be funded, the supervisor and Councilman Bernard said that with some exceptions, the complex would be built at no cost to the taxpayers (no cost was given) with money from Spectra and also an anticipated contribution from the planned purchasers of Phoenix House. Town costs would include the preparation of the plan, the survey and some clearing and grading by town employees. In response to Councilman Patel’s concern about long term maintenance costs, the supervisor said these would be minimal as the fields will be artificial turf.
On a referral from the Town Board, Joe Riina of Site Design Consultants made a presentation on the concept plan for the sports complex.
The board was generally enthusiastic about the plan but did raise questions about traffic on Stoney Street, provisions for emergency vehicle access, the need for overflow parking in addition to the 200 proposed parking spaces, plans for the portion of the site that would be graded but not developed, stormwater issues that cause icing on Stoney Street, and how the plan would impact on existing trails that traverse the site. Citing existing traffic issues on East Main Street, Mr. Fon suggested that the Town Board be proactive and hire a consultant to do a traffic study of Stoney Street.
In response to Mr. LaScala’s question of how soon the town could proceed with the project, Councilman Bernard said that it would take less than two years to build. Asked if there was a budget for the project, the Councilman said no, but there will be one.
Referring to his earlier comments about the conceptual plan for the new highway garage, Mr. Fon suggested that the Granite Knolls project should be built in one shot.
The board acknowledged receipt of a detailed ABACA memo about the plan but noted that members had not had time to review it.
Mr. Riina indicated that he would be doing soil testing over the next few weeks, delineating wetlands and working on a more detailed plan. The board advised him to return to the Planning Board once the more detailed plan was available.
Joe Riina of Site Design Consultants walked the board through what appeared to be a slightly revised concept plan for the sports complex that would include multi purpose fields, a ball field, restored basketball and handball courts, a pickleboard court, an open pavilion and playground, walking trail, bleachers, lights, bathrooms, and a gravel parking lot. There did not appear to be any discussion about what the complex would cost to construct, or when, how and who would construct it. The board voted to declare its intent to be the lead agency for SEQRA purpose and to refer out the concept plan and the Environmental Assessment Form (EAF) that had been prepared by Bruce Barber, the town’s environmental consultant. Comments are due back December 22nd.
There was also a brief mention of the town signing a formal contract with Site Design Consultants to prepare a more detailed plan. No cost was mentioned and it was not clear if a vote authorizing a contract had taken place.