January 11, 2016
Attending: John Kincart, John Savoca, John Flynn, Darlene Rivera
1. Marathon Development, Kear Street
The public hearing was opened and adjourned to the February 8 meeting as the hearing notice for January 11 was not advertised.
Presentations were made by the applicant’s representatives regarding the site, zoning, and architectural treatment.
In response to Mr. Flynn’s question whether solar panels could be used, the applicant said this could be looked into. Noting the narrow width of Kear Street, Mr. Flynn also expressed concern that delivery trucks were likely to park in the street instead of pulling into the site, off loading their items and walking them through the store’s front door. In response the applicant’s architect said this boiled down to a policing issue on the part of the retailer.
Mr. Kincart expressed concern for what he considered to be the overcrowding of the site.
Mr. Flynn noted that since the site has been vacant (he said a former house was demolished sometime in the 1990s), the only proposed new development for the site was a bar and grill. The project was abandoned, however, because of inadequate parking. The site’s sewer permit dates back to before the sewer moratorium.
Albert Padavani, the owner of the medical laboratory across the street, expressed concern over the possibility that visitors to the Marathon site would use his limited parking. He said his other concerns, which he did not identify, could be dealt with. Mr. Flynn noted that the board has not made a final determination on the number of required parking spaces.
Citing three other existing affordable housing developments in Yorktown (Underhill Crossing, Crompond Crossing and Crompond Terraces) Ed Ciffone questioned the need for any additional affordable units which he said would change the demographics of the whole town. He said the town should stop any new affordable housing units unless they were for Yorktown residents. He also wanted to know if the development would be part of the 750 housing units the county was required to build as part of a legal settlement.
In response, it was noted that while Yorktown has no affordable housing requirements, the 12 Marathon units would be included the county’s required count. Also, although the units would have to be advertised to the region, the applicant said that when the renovated units at Underhill Crossing were rented, the majority of the new tenants came from the general area. Mr. Kincart noted the general need for rental housing, adding that while he would prefer to see preference given to Yorktown residents, that was not how the system worked; the private sector was not interested in constructing rental housing.
Mr. Ciffone was advised to check with the Planning Department for details on how the original site plan has been changed during the review process in response to the board’s concerns.
Mr. Capellini explained that the 60 units at Underhill Crossing, built in the 1960s as part of urban renewal , replaced substandard housing and was a valuable addition to the Yorktown community. He added that the 26 units at Crompond Crossing were fee simple townhouses for families with incomes in the $80,000-$85,000 range. When Mr. Tegeder said that there were about 11,000-12,000 housing units in Yorktown, Mr. Capellini said he didn’t think that adding 12 affordable units would change the demographics of the town.
2. JCPC Holdings Front Street
Based on a site visit, Mr. Barber confirmed that the wetlands delineation has not changed and that the site does meet the town’s definition of a wetland. Most of the site is either wetlands or wetlands buffer. Since the town’s wetlands ordinance requires no net loss of wetlands, the discussion focused on the feasibility of doing some off site mitigation on a town owned parcel (designated parkland) behind the UPS building that is in a DEC regulated wetland. It was thought that mitigation on this site could work for the JCPC site as well as other locations along Front Street where there are no appropriate stormwater controls.
Dan Ciarcia, the applicant’s engineer, along with Steve Marino, the applicant’s environmental consultant will work with Mr. Barber to flesh out possible offsite mitigation strategies and return to the board in two weeks. One option Mr. Barber suggested was that the site could possibly become a regional stormwater project for the East of Hudson Corporation; in that event, JCPC could contribute a portion of the cost.
In the meantime, the applicant will excavate the 10” drainage pipe on his site that empties into a manhole on the Front Street sidewalk. It is assumed that the pipe in blocked due to sediment and that the blockage may be the cause of the ponding on Front St. It was agreed that the applicant will apply for an administrative wetlands permit for the excavation work and that this permit will be separate and distinct from any future wetlands permit the applicant applies for as part of the overall site plan.
Acting on Mr. Flynn’s suggestion, the applicant said he would contact the Summit Street homeowners to the rear of his site to let them know about his plans in advance of a public informational hearing. Although the rear of the new building will be at least 80’ from the residential zone, because the houses look down on Front Street, the homeowners will be impacted by the loss of some wooded area.
3. East Coast Auto Sales & Storage, Front Street
Joe Riina, the applicant’s site engineer, advised the board that even with part of the parking being designated for car storage, the remaining parking was still in compliance with the zoning code. While the site plan will have to be amended to reflect the new use, it was felt that the change of use might not require a public hearing as the site plan would revert to the original plan if and when the auto storage use ceased. Mr. Tegeder will review what needs to be done to amend the site plan and return to the board in two weeks.
The applicant will continue to work with the building department on the required interior changes.
4. Staples Plaza, Master Sign Plan
The discussion focused around the applicant’s responses to a Planning Department memo on the text of the plan.
The major issue was whether a tenant who moved from one space to another in the shopping center could continue to use his existing sign. After some back and forth, the language was clarified to say the “old” sign could be used on the new location as long as it conformed to the required dimensions required for new signs.
In general, the board is trying to get away from the older “box sign” approach where the area behind the lettering is lit to a newer style “channel lettering” where only the letters are lit.
The board also agreed to modify the language that would eliminate externally lit signs and also eliminate the use of certain types of paint that create a “neon” look, except for subordinate logos.
The Master Sign Plan will be administered by the building department and new tenants will not have to get ABACA approval for each new sign. The Plan does not include BJs..