Citizens for an Informed Yorktown


Planning Board



Attending: John Savoca, John Kincart, John Flynn, Richard Fon, Darlene Rivera, Ann Kutter


Regular Session


1. Adrian Auto Body

Pending clarification as to which conditions of the original approval resolution have been met to date, the Board postponed acting on the applicant’s request for  a second one year extension of a 2010 site plan approval.


Pursuant to a separate excavation permit, the applicant has cut down some trees along a hillside, and at least one additional tree fell during Hurricane Sandy.  The excavation has not been completed due to financial reasons, i.e., the cost of bringing in fill to stabilize the hillside.


Planning Director Tegeder suggested to the applicant that if he proceeded to get  the approved site plan map signed and completed all the paperwork, he wouldn’t need the extension.   The site plan is for an expansion of the existing auto body shop and involves less than 5,000 square feet.


2. Hilltop Associates

The Board postponed taking action on the request for re-approval of this modified 3-lot subdivision  as the applicant has not been able to submit a revised subdivision map.   Planning Director Tegeder noted that as the original approval was 5-7 years old, the Board should not give a rote re-approval as there may be significant changes that would require a fuller presentation of the new plan and Board review, even if, he added, the number of proposed lots is being reduced from three to two and there will be less of an environmental impact.  On behalf of the applicant, attorney Al Capellini said his client did not want to “start from scratch.”


3. Arrowhead Subdivision

After a closed executive session for “advice of counsel,” Planning Director Tegeder and Board members expressed their concern that conditions that were attached to the Board’s  October, 2011 resolution  had not been met. The applicant and his attorney, Al Capellini, thought that all the required documents regarding conservation easement and deeds had been submitted to the Town and that the problem might be one of a failure of communications.  (Documents have to be filed with both the county and the town.)


The applicant will meet with Mr. Tegeder to try to resolve any problems.  The applicant is currently in bankruptcy proceedings.


4. Trump Park

In an item not on the agenda, John Schroeder, speaking on behalf of the Yorktown Land Trust and the Westchester Land Trust, reminded the Board that pursuant to the development’s original approval, the “temporary” sales office that currently sits on a conservation and recreation easement was supposed to be dismantled when 50% of the 141 condo units were sold. He advised the Board that he has been told that 73 units are now sold. The rest is in the Board’s hands, he said.


Chairman Fon asked the Planning Department to send a memo to the assessor  asking her to confirm the number of sold units.


Work Session


5. Teatown-Vernay Dam wetlands permit

On a referral from the Town Board, the Planning Board reviewed plans for the repair of the dam. The repairs, which are required by the NYS DEC, involve removing some trees along the embankment, stabilizing the dam’s outlet to the adjoining wetlands, and making other repairs.


Because of the modest nature of the work, the applicant does not anticipate needing to bring in any heavy trucks. Access to the site will be via a road on the existing Con Ed right-of-way.


The Board has no problems with the plan. The permit will be issued by the Town Board.


6. Staples Plaza – Planet Self Storage

The Board reviewed plans to utilize the remaining 85,000 square feet of vacant space in the building’s basement for self storage units.


Access to the units will be from the rear of the building and from the driveway that currently separates the building from the smaller building that houses Subway.   Both the area along the driveway  and the rear of the building will be enhanced with new landscaping and other architectural enhancements  in order make the site more attractive and avoid a “back of the bus” look.  The parking area to the rear of the Subway building will be repaved and stripped. The plan calls for a 7,000 square foot reduction in the amount of impervious surface.


The number of storage units will depend on the ultimate mix of sizes, which will range from 5 x 5 to 10 x 30. An office and bathroom will be located at the entrance. The facility will be open 6am - 10pm.  The applicant anticipates that 95% of the vehicles accessing the facility will be cars and vans (the existing grade will be raised) and there will be separate tailgate loading for trucks.


Chairman Fon suggested to the applicant that he be proactive and contact the residents  to the rear of the site. He noted that they had been concerned that they had not been informed about an earlier proposal that approved a new use into the vacant space.


In response to the applicant’s request that the Public Informational Hearing and the Public Hearing  be consolidated into one hearing,  the Board’s attorney explained that the initial information hearing was to get early input on the plan so that it could, if necessary, be tweaked; once the public hearing is scheduled, the plan is basically finished.


As the vehicles will exit the facility from the opposite side of the building, Ms. Kutter expressed concern about the possible need for some traffic control measurs in the vicinity of BJs. She also asked the applicant to consider installing a sidewalk from the entrance into the site from Route 202 where none currently exists.


7. Lake Osceola Realty Corp. (Hill Boulevard)

With the parameters of the site plan and wetlands mitigation measures having been worked out at previous meetings, the only remaining issue, that was raised by Planning Director Tegeder, was how public access to the conservation/recreation easement that would be provided.  Mr. Tegeder said that the 30 feet easement on the southern side of the site was not acceptable as it was through an existing parking lot which presented a psychological barrier for the public.


The applicant, clearly frustrated at changes in the plans, asked the Board to “make up your mind and tell me what you want.”  In response, Mr. Tegeder said that the Board had always been clear about the need for public access but that there had been “rolling discussions” as to how this should be provided. (See earlier discussions regarding a public dock along the lake shoreline.)


At Mr. Tegeder’s suggestion, the applicant will explore the feasibility of constructing a stairway at the northern end of the site in the event the public used the shared parking spaces at the Sinapi site, as well as relocating the four “public” parking spaces at the southern end  of the site.


The applicant will be responsible for making and maintaining a trail through the conservation easement. The easement will be given to the Town and it will be up to the Town to decide if it wants to assign responsibility to manage the easement to the Yorktown land Trust.


Steve Marino, the applicant’s environmental consultant, also asked for clarification on what the Board wanted to see in terms of landscaping and the mixed messages he said he had received regarding views of the lake from the building as well as plantings that didn’t impede pedestrian access.   He noted that while the Town wanted invasive species removed from the wetlands and wetlands buffer area, the DEC didn’t want anything done to these areas. The applicant and Town planning staff will meet with the DEC to try to iron out this difference of opinion before returning to the Board on February 11, at which time the applicant was hopeful that he would get his final approval. 


8. Creative Living (Navajo Fields)

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.”


The Town has issued several stop work orders at the site.   


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 applicant, C.J. Diven, and his consultants, defended their actions, and at one point, attorney Al Capellini  noted 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.