Planning Board Work Session
January 23, 2012
1. Costco Wholesale
The purpose of the meeting was to consider the completeness of the DEIS (Draft Environmental Impact Statement).
As Planning Board members were still reviewing a lengthy memo on the DEIS prepared by town staff , and the applicant had received a copy of the memo that morning, there was little discussion as to the content of the memo. While the applicant was aware of some of the comments as members of the Costco team had attending meetings with town staff, the applicant did ask for a follow up meeting to clarify some of the points in the memo. Planning Director John Tegeder explained that the “next step” in the DEIS process was up to the applicant who will have to review and comment on the town’s memo.
Mr. Tegeder also advised the board and the applicant that at Tuesday’s Town Board meeting he would asking the board to authorize an amendment to the town’s contract with its outside traffic consultant, Jacobs, Edwards and Kelsey, to review the traffic chapter of the DEIS. He apologized to the applicant for the delay in beginning this review and indicated that he should have a timetable for the completion of the consultant’s review by the end of the week.
2. Faith Bible Church
Discussion Site Plan & Special Use Permit
Location: 3500 Mohegan Avenue
Contact: Site Design Consultants
Description: Proposed additions & renovation to existing one-story church building and associated parking.
In response to comments from the Fire Department, the applicant informed the board that the access points to the site had been modified to provide more defined entrance and exit points and to eliminate what was now considered a “haphazard” arrangement. There will also be intersection improvements and better controls at the Mohegan/Sagamore intersection by creating more of a “T” type intersection.
The board’s overriding concern with the site plan was the adequacy of the on-site parking and whether there were sufficient spaces to accommodate the planned expansion of the building. The current plan provides for 63 spaces where 86 would be required by code. While the goal was to avoid off site parking, Al Capellini, attorney for the church, reminded the board that historically the town has been forgiving of places of worship when it came to street parking. Planning Director John Tegeder suggested that while there might be adequate parking now to accommodate the approximate 150-180 people that typically attend a service, the board might want to require the applicant to submit a parking management plan in the event membership grew and the “typical” capacity exceeded 80% of the proposed 344 seating capacity. The applicant agreed that a plan was a good idea, acknowledging that the current parking arrangement was safe but not perfect and that “down the line” something would have to be done. The church does use parking attendants to help “guide” the cars and, during more heavily attended holiday services uses valet parking.
Also, because the property, located off Route 6, is part of the Sustainable Development Study, Mr. Tegeder advised the board that the application will be referred to the town’s traffic consultant, Jacobs, Edwards and Kelsey, for review. The applicant indicated that it would accept the findings of the town’s traffic consultant and would not hire its own consultant.
While an Article 78 lawsuit has been filed by local resident Evan Bray challenging the Zoning Board’s decision to grant the church two variances, Karen Wagner, the board’s attorney, advised the board that the lawsuit had no bearing on the Planning Board’s review of the site plan.
3. Lake Osceola Realty Corp.
Location: Hill Boulevard
Contact: Site Design Consultants
Description: Proposed 30,000 SF office building and associated parking on 4.4 acres in the CC zone.
The applicant presented preliminary plans to get the “sense of the board” for a proposed 3-story 30,000 SF medical office building and 160 parking spaces on a 4.4 acre site located behind the existing medical buildings on Hill Boulevard. (There’s a house currently on the property.) The site is in the Country Commercial (CC) zone. The majority of the site is in a wetlands buffer and approximately a half acre is in the wetland. The site is sewered. The site would share parking with the abutting Ceola Manor.
One of the alternate plans, which would minimize the disturbance to the wetlands and eliminate the need for a variance, called for deeding a strip of land to the town to provide public access to abutting Lake Oseola. Another portion of the site would be a conservation easement. Mr. Kincart noted that while he liked the idea of reducing the amount of disturbance to the wetland, he wasn’t sure if the town could use the proposed strip of land which he characterized as “low and marshy.” He suggested that a conservation easement might achieve the same goal.
Planning Director John Tegeder advised the applicant and the board that one of the key issues involved in any consideration of the plan would be the architecture of the building, including the proposed flat “green” roof as opposed to a sloped roof, the building materials and the type of windows. Noting that the building would be visible from cars traveling westbound on Route 6, he explained that one of the provisions for the site in the Comprehensive Plan and the CC zone was not to denigrate the existing natural resources of the area. In response, the applicant noted that he had just hired an architect who would take into considerations the architectural requirements of the CC zone. Chairman Richard Fon noted that the board would want to hear from the Conservation Board.
4. Lake Mohegan Mansion, LLC
Location: Lexington Avenue
Contact: Site Design Consultants
Description: A proposed 16-lot cluster subdivision on 22.94 acres in the R1-20 zone.
The applicant appeared before the board to get a “sense of the board’ to alternate plans for a proposed 16-lot cluster subdivision on 22.94 acres in the R1-20 zone. The site is off Strawberry Road and is a portion of the former Franciscan High School/Ladycliff site. A mansion, fire tower and two houses are currently on the site.
The applicant presented both a conventional “cookie cutter” plan for the site that would eliminate the existing mansion and fire tower as well as 3 variations of a cluster plan that would call for 14 new single family homes on 10,000 SF lots, converting the two sides of the mansion into town houses and leaving the center portion of the mansion as a community building. A roughly 4 acre portion of the site, previously used for ballfields, would be set aside for recreational purposes, although it was left open whether this portion of the site would be deeded to the town in lieu of paying the per lot recreation fee. Both the conventional and cluster plans do not encroach on the wetlands on the site and all retain an existing pond.
Mr. Kincart said that the cluster plan was a “homerun” over the conventional plan and Chairman Fon liked the idea of retaining the recreation land, the existing pond, the mansion and tower. Mr. Flynn, a long time member of the board, noted that when the board reviewed previous subdivision plans, residents of the area expressed concern over the additional traffic. Access to the site would utilize the existing road leading to the mansion.
The applicant will meet with the planning director to refine the plan before going to the Town Board with a formal request to consider cluster zoning.
5. Fieldhome Expansion
SBL: 35.12-1-2 & 3
Discussion Residential Site Plan
Location: 2300 Catherine Street
Contact: Site Design Consultants
Description: Proposed continuum of care facility consisting of independent living units and skilled nursing home replacing existing home with a common facility supporting both communities.
Since the previous appearance before the Planning Board, the applicant has reviewed the memo from staff, the Conservation Board, ABACA and has met with the Tree Conservation Advisory Commission.
According to the applicant, ABACA was okay with relocating the garages back to the original location but did request additional plantings, as well as additional plantings to act as a buffer to the abutting soccer field. The group also requested a change in the roof line. The Tree Commission was also okay with the mitigation plan for the proposed tree removal as well as the plan for the additional plantings.
Planning Director John Tegeder advised the board that the following issues needed additional review and discussion:
1. A previous agreement with the neighboring 64-unit Glasbury condominium community over whether it had or should have any priority in purchasing the new units and access to the facilities at the Field Home. Mr. Tegeder noted that Glasbury was built under the same zoning and as part of an earlier sharing agreement between the Field Home and the developer of Glasbury. That agreement may need to be changed now, he suggested, because of changing circumstances. John Ahearn, Field Home CEO, indicated that this would not be a problem.
2. Steep slopes. Mr. Tegeder wanted some clarification as to whether the disturbances to steep slopes was a result of creating new steep slopes or disturbing existing ones.
3. Emergency services. Mr. Tegeder wanted to know if the applicant had heard back from the police and fire departments. In response, the applicant stated that despite a letter and several phone calls, they had not heard from the Police Department and that the Fire Department had said it would be sending a letter but that none had been received to date.
4. Market study. Citing the marketing problems of another “apartment like” building in another part of town that has not been able to sell its units, Mr. Tegeder asked for more information about the applicant’s market studies, especially whether potential buyers would be interested in apartment like living in an otherwise rural bucolic town. In response Mr. Ahearn noted that there was a difference between the service oriented building being proposed for Field home and the other apartment like senior building in Yorktown.
The applicant will return to the Planning Board after it has addressed all the comments from town staff and advisory boards.