Planning Board Work Session
October 19, 2015
1. Envirogreen Associates
The point was reemphasized that the proposed vehicle connection between this site and adjacent businesses will be a parking lot inter-connectivity only, not a through road. Parking is now shown in the rear of the buildings. A Conservation Board memo indicates concerns about drainage on the site. (Note: The CIY observer was not present for the entire discussion.)
2. Hanover Corner Inc.
There was discussion about sidewalk connectivity on the site and the health and value of the adjacent street trees. A crosswalk is shown connecting the end of the sidewalk on this site with the sidewalk across Underhill Ave, where sight distances will be optimal. There was discussion about the location of the trash facilities, the potential for sharing carting services with adjacent properties (probably not feasible) and the truck turning space available on the site. (Note: The CIY observer was not present for the entire discussion.)
3. Spirelli Electric
(See Planning Board, 9/21/2015.) Mr. Piccirillo asked the Planning Board what the next step should be, considering that “as built” this doesn’t conform to its approved site plan. The Planning Board asked for a drawing or overlay highlighting the areas of non-conformity.
4. Taconic Veterinary Clinic & Canine Kindergarten
Minor changes in the height and materials of fences were approved by the Planning Board.
5. Costco Wholesale
Much of the discussion centered on a 10/2/15 memo from Costco to the Planning Board about the project’s “green design” features, specifically solar panels and the refrigerant recapture system brought up by Mr. Flynn at the previous meeting. The project will incorporate the refrigerant recapture system, and its omission was an oversight. On the question of solar panels, Costco said solar electrical generation is not economically feasible in Yorktown and that in fact Costco doesn’t use it on any of its facilities. Mr. Flynn showed research indicating this is false, that a Costco built in New Jersey in 2006 has solar panels and that in the memo under discussion Costco used outdated information about NY State economic incentives. In fact using the latest incentives
(released 9/3/15), the economic picture might change. At first, a Costco representative said he would take the question back to his client, but other Costco representatives claimed the truth or error of the memo was irrelevant because Costco wasn’t going to use solar in Yorktown and that option had never been part of the plans, and that they resented coming to the Planning Board every two weeks and then having to take an issue repeatedly back to Costco for re-working. Mr. Flynn reiterated that the 10/2/15 memo would be part of the public record and that it contained misinformation. Planning Board Counsel thought it was reasonable that the Planning Board wanted to understand the rationale behind Costco’s decision on solar panels. Finally Costco representatives agreed to submit a memo clarifying its position and explaining why solar isn’t an option, using the most recent data. Mr. Capellini, counsel for Costco, emphasized that, bottom line, the project would not include solar panels.
A revised lighting plan was submitted, including requested changes to the light standards bordering Route 202.
The Planning Board asked for a drawing summarizing the changes in the interior roadway system resulting from discussions with the Planning Board since the SEQR Findings Statement.
There was discussion about whether the Costco building would be visible from anywhere in FDR
Park. Costco reps said it would not be visible from the highest point in the park. Mr. Flynn asked whether, after the building was in place, its visibility from any point in the park could be rechecked from the field. If it was visible, he asked if additional screening could be installed. Costco will provide draft language to cover this.
Granting the project a temporary certificate of occupancy (TCO) was discussed. Mr. Tegeder said TCOs were granted by the Town Board, rarely. Costco reps saw situations in which it would desirable to open the store while landscaping was still being finished.
Mr. Tegeder pointed out that the tree analysis was still missing, and was necessary to get a tree removal permit. This could delay the final resolution.
The resolution to approve the project should be ready by 11/9/15, which is more than the statute allowed 62 days since the close of SEQR. This time period can be extended with mutual consent, so there was discussion about whether this required a formal application and a vote. At the 10/5/15 Planning Board meeting. Mr. Capellini said he approved of the time extension on his client’s behalf, and this was recorded in the official minutes of the meeting. Planning Board Counsel said this was sufficient to extend the deadline.
6. Yorktown Heights Revitalization Project (Highway Garage Relocation)
Mr. Tegeder, Yorktown’s Director of Planning, gave a presentation. The project includes consolidating Parks and Recreation vehicle facilities and the Highway Department garage to two new buildings to Town property on Greenwood St. This site already holds the sewer treatment facility and highway sand/salt storage. These new buildings would allow more vehicles to be kept under cover, lengthening their life span and the consolidation on one site would improve efficiency. The then vacant Highway Department garage would be sold to a private developer for commercial use (zoned C-3 or C-4).
Urban renewal plans dating from the 1960s talked about removing the garage and converting the site from this light industrial use to a commercial use more appropriate to the center of Town. The Town Master Plan calls for moving the garage, but doesn’t specify to where. Mr. Tegeder showed some conceptual renderings of how the garage property could be developed, how a commercial building could be positioned. Drawings showed a multistory building with a 9,000 sf footprint on 1.7 ac. The goals would be to make this site a visually pleasing gateway to Yorktown, provide a commercial border to the light industrial uses on Front St., capture some of the North County Trailway traffic and encourage it to patronize Town businesses and provide a link between Railroad Park and Patriot Garden. The area could be “activated” by the inclusion of a gazebo or bandshell for outdoor performances. The Town has an interest in public access and use of a portion of the site, including a public parking component. This could be achieved through agreement with future owners, the use of a Town ROW (Richard Pl.) or by subdividing the site.
Planning Board Comments and Questions:
Greenwood St. Consolidation:
Mr. Fon emphasized repeatedly that it’s very important the new garages be built large enough to accommodate future needs, so that all vehicles could be stored inside. From his work experience, he knows this is crucial to prolong the useful life of machinery, and that once a building is built, it’s very difficult to go back and enlarge it. “There’s only one chance to do this right.” He pointed out that the proposed Greenwood plan shows a lot of car parking spaces which would be eliminated in favor of larger buildings and also that the existing yard waste site could be moved or reconfigured. He was in favor of consolidation to improve efficiency.
Question: What about increased truck traffic on Greenwood St., especially as it crosses the Trailway?
Answer: No traffic study has been done, but there is already considerable truck traffic, especially in
winter as the trucks load sand/salt in snow events.
Question: Who designed the buildings and were they designed for current needs or with expansion
Answer: The Parks and Rec building was designed by the current Parks and Rec Department head,
and it was designed only for current needs. The Highway Department building was
designed by the former Highway Superintendent and does include some expansion
Question: What will be the reaction of Greenwood St. residents to the increased truck traffic,
considering that in the past they objected to a neighbor merely parking two commercial
vehicles in his driveway?
Answer: So far they haven’t been heard from.
Question: Where’s the stormwater retention on the Greenwood site?
Answer: Underground. The buildings are on a plateau with a stream along the base.
Front St. Commercial Project:
Question: Has a market feasibility study been done? How realistic is it that the Town could get $1.5
million for the highway garage site?
Answer: No market feasibility study has been done, no market analysis, no appraisal, because there isn’t a highly developed plan on which to base these types of analyses. The $1.5 million estimate came from the Town assessor. However there has been interest from the business community.
Question: How would the presence of garbage trucks just down Front St. impact the aesthetics of
the site and/or its desirability to a commercial developer?
Answer: The garbage trucks use that property by special use permit which could be
The Planning Board will make a site visit.