Citizens for an Informed Yorktown


Planning Board

Monday, October 5, 2015


Planning Board Members Present: Richard Fon, Chairman, John Savoca,  John Kincart,

John Flynn, Darlene Rivera


Regular Session


Hilltop Associates

Mr. Capellini, attorney for the applicant, explained that a new project engineer had been brought on-board and that the applicant is currently in negotiations over easements.  The Planning Board granted the requested extension.  


Dubovsky, Michael

Mr. Dubovsky explained that he’s been dealing with the Department of Health over septic system approvals for two years, but is close to receiving the permits.  The situation is complicated by the amount of fill existing on the site, which had to be removed and replaced with soil with acceptable percolation rates.  The Planning Board granted the requested extension.  


Work Session


Envirogreen Associates

Before the Planning Board took up the Envirogreen Associates project, Mr. Fon referenced comments made at the 9/21/15 Public Information Hearing on this project.  Specifically, Mr. Mallon, an property owner adjacent to Envirogreen, questioned whether a conflict of interest existed if the same attorney represented multiple parties in the review of this project.  Mr. Fon asked the Planning Board Counsel to prepare a legal opinion on the general role and responsibilities of the Planning Board in such situations.   


As requested by the Planning Board, the applicant showed a plan with the proposed buildings moved closer to Route 6, moving all the parking to the sides and back of the buildings.  A small, planted courtyard is proposed between the building front and Route 6.  In general, the Planning Board liked this design change, although the applicant prefers parking in the front.  Parking in front of retail stores makes it easier for customers to get out of their cars and walk right into the front of the destination store.  Rear parking and entrance requires the business owner to maintain two attractive faces.


There was extensive discussion of comments made by neighboring property owners concerning the proposed thru-traffic on their properties.  Planning Board Counsel Georgiou is preparing a legal opinion on the easements requirements in such situations.  Mr. Tegeder emphasized that the traffic movement between the three properties was not conceived as a “thru-road”, as it’s been characterized in planning review discussions, but rather as a “connection” of parking lots.  Various traffic calming devices were discussed, as well as ways to reconfigure the internal driving lanes so as to make the three properties highly undesirable as an intentional short- cut off Route 6.  Mr. Tegeder advised that a traffic engineer be consulted for design suggestions.  The discussion pointed out several other locations in Town where parking lots are connected, but parking is not shared and easements have not been required.  The connection of the Triangle Shopping Center and CVS Plaza parking lots in the Town center is an example that has been very effective in keeping extra traffic away from the Route 118/Commerce St. intersection.


The project engineer asked the Planning Board to be aware in asking for building location redesign, as well as in phasing the construction, that existing tenants will be on the site during construction and will need to relocated to new buildings with minimal interruption in their businesses. 


Hanover Corner  Kear Street

Discussion centered on the sidewalk proposed along Underhill Ave/Commerce St, specifically how it will impact the existing trees along the street and how far it should be extended.  No conclusion was reached about the trees.  Currently there are breaks in the sidewalk on this side of the street, requiring pedestrians to cross the street back and forth to follow it.  After much discussion about the safest place for pedestrians to cross, the presence or absence of crosswalk markings in the pavement and the complication of a rock outcropping between the Hanover Corner site and the adjacent Spadaccia property, the Planning Board asked the applicant to blast away the rock to prepare that area for a sidewalk, but is not requiring the Hanover Corner sidewalk to be connected to the one along the Yorktown Commons site.  Additionally the Town Highway Department would be consulted about re-installing crosswalk markings.


Ianuzzi Subdivsion, Baptist Church Road

As requested by the Fire Marshall, the shoulders of the driveway will be compacted so as to support emergency vehicles.  Mr. Tegeder asked that rock ledges be shown on the plans as they could affect the siting of proposed buildings.  The applicant will send a letter to the Planning Board asking it to officially support the request to the Town Board for consideration under Flexibility Standards.    


Marathon Development Group, Kear Street 

Once again the discussion centered on the number of parking spaces the project needs and the number the site can provide.  In order to increase on-site parking, the building has been shortened, parking made head-on rather than parallel and the trash facilities reoriented, which yields 27 spaces.  Assuming the Planning Board grants a 25% parking reduction, the project is still short one space. 


Mr. Capellini, attorney for Marathon Development Group, repeated his contention that the proposed use of this site is a hybrid of commercial and residential uses, and therefore simply adding together the parking requirements for each is not appropriate.  Ms. Georgiou, counsel for the Planning Board, read a section from the Town Code (300-182) which stipulates the required number of spaces for commercial and for residential uses, but not a combined use, but the code does allow the Planning Board to set parking requirements for uses not listed in the code.  Mr. Capellini is asking the Planning Board to use this authority in this project.  Ms. Georgiou suggested the ZBA could be asked for an interpretation of the code on this point.


Mr. Flynn didn’t think 2.2 parking spaces/one bedroom unit was excessive, pointing out that a working couple could well have two cars.  Mr. Kincart wanted to see a plan showing vehicle traffic circling around the building, because the one-way pattern shown means cars will have to back out onto Kear St or make 3- or 4- point  turns within the parking lot.  The possibility of leasing off-site parking was mentioned.  Mr. Tegeder suggested the building be moved 5 ft closer to Kear St. to open up more space for parking and circulation in the back.  This would mean the elimination of a planting strip between the sidewalk and curb, but Mr. Tegeder thought this would give a more urban feel and be acceptable.    


Bonsignore Subdivision, Hunterbrook Road

(See Planning Board, 8/10/2015)As requested by the Planning Department, the applicant showed plans comparing a 12% driveway grade with a 10% grade. The 12% grade slightly altered the elevation of the proposed house, resulting in a small construction cost savings, but otherwise it made little difference to the proposal.  It was agreed that it isn’t worth the effort of going to the Town Board for the necessary approval of the steeper grade.  The project was set for a public hearing.


Costco Wholesale

Costco representatives reported on its meeting with the Planning Department staff to resolve any remaining issues stemming from memos received. 


Views of the site’s lighting visible from Route 202 were shown.  One light standard is still in question, but Costco’s lighting consultant will either eliminate it or reduce its size.  With respect to night sky conditions, Costco’s policy is to turn off 75% of the lights, rather than dim them all.


Some landscaping notes on the site plans were clarified.  The buffering plants are specified to have 100% survival and 80% for others on the site.  It was specified that landscape maintenance will be in perpetuity, and the details of the 5 year maintenance bond were worked out.


NYSDOT requires that the site entrance from Route 202 be directly aligned with Mohansic Ave., which will be done without altering the internal route of the exit/entrance road, so no substantive site plan changes are necessary.  The applicant has to get a permit from the DOT to enter DOT land to plant and maintain trees.  Obtaining this permit will be a condition of the site plan approval.


Mr. Flynn asked about Costco’s unwillingness to install any solar panels on its Yorktown facility, considering that, according to a Corporate Environmental Responsibility Report, Costco is second only to Walmart in the number of kilowatts generated by roof mounted solar panels.  Mr. Flynn asked why stores in New Jersey and Pennsylvania got the benefit of that green technology, but Yorktown was denied.  Similarly, he asked if the Yorktown facility would have a refrigerant management system to manage CFC emissions, as Costco agreed to elsewhere in a consent agreement subsequent to a violation of the Clean Air Act.  Costco representatives didn’t know the answer to these questions, but said they would find out.


Counsel for Costco said the site plan approval document is a “work in progress” and that Planning Board members should give her their comments as soon as possible.