December 19, 2016
Attending: John Kincart, John Flynn, Rich Fon, William LaScala, Anthony Tripodi.
Chairman Fon introduced the board’s new counsel: Mark Blanchard and Christine Wilson of the White Plains firm of Blanchard & Wilson.
1. Ianuzzi Subdivision, Baptist Church Road
The board approved the first 90-day extension on the subdivision. The applicant is awaiting Department of Health approval.
2. Lowe’s Home Center
After making some technical changes to the approving resolution, the public hearing on the amended site plan was closed and the board voted to approve the site plan, along with wetlands, tree, and stormwater permits. Because legal issues surrounding the subdivision of the parcels remain to be worked out, the public hearing on the subdivision plan remained open. The applicant explained that at the request of the DOT, the applicant will purchase the additional 3+ acres abutting the 3+ acre DOT site that will be used for stormwater retention. While the stormwater plan will remain the same, the additional acreage will change other calculations of the overall plan such as the percentage of impervious surface.
3. 3787 Crompond Road, (Brophy Restaurant)
The applicant informed the board that the DOT wants the second access point to Route 202 closed. This will necessitate a change in the site plan that will have to be worked out with the DOT which controls access points onto Route 202. The applicant anticipates that the area planned for the second access point will now be used for staff parking and for deliveries.
Acknowledging that it could take the DOT time to address the situation, and not wanting to hold up the applicant, the board went back into Special Session mode, closed the public hearing, and approved the site plan so that the applicant could proceed with the renovations while making a temporary closure of the second access point, pending a final resolution with DOT.
4. Orchard View Subdivision, Sherry Drive
Town Engineer Quinn advised the board that based on a meeting he had with the applicant, there had been progress resolving 30 items he had identified in a memo. One of the key issue was the need for a Stormwater Management Agreement that will detail the responsibilities of the homeowner’s association , including the need for a possible escrow account to protect the town in the event the town has to step to resolve any problems. The applicant said he had no problem with such an agreement.
A second issue involved how to protect the wetland buffer area that would be in the backyard of some houses and whether this should be done by means of a conservation easement, or a fence or some barrier. If the lot is within the 100 ft buffer area, it was suggested that the restrictions on the homeowner might be limited to less than 100 feet, e.g., 50 feet, so homeowner could install a shed, but possibly not a swimming pool. This issue needs further thought. The proposed swale behind some of the houses and how this might affect future decks also needs to be clarified.
It was noted that at the preliminary stage, the exact location of the houses on each lot has not been set and that the board might want to see the final plans before the applicant gets a building permit.
Another issue that needs to be resolved is the need to inspect the stormwater connecting pipe to Pine Grove Court to make sure it is in acceptable condition to accept the additional flow.
The responsibility for the existing detention pond on the site also needs to be cleared up. While it was stated that old records indicate that it was/is the town’s responsibility to maintain the pond (it was designed as a regional basin for several developments in the area), the consensus was that a fair compromise needed to be worked out with the applicant, e.g., the applicant might clean and re-establish the basin while future maintenance would be the town’s responsibility. The future ownership of this this 3+ acre site also needs to be decided in the event the homeowner’s association stops paying taxes on this land.
With the applicant pushing for a SEQRA negative declaration and preliminary approval, the board advised the applicant to meet with staff to work out the remaining issues and come back to the board on January 9th with the possibility that a draft approval resolution might be on the agenda.
5. Adrian Auto Body, Route 202
Advising the board that he had been held up for nine months by the DEP, the applicant said he was ready to proceed with his plan and wanted a public hearing scheduled. However, both Mr. Quinn, who was not familiar with the earlier plan, and Mr. Tegeder said that more information was needed. Calling attention to the plan’s proposed office space, Mr. Tegeder wanted more information about parking; the applicant said the parking was part of the auto body business and not for a separate business.
Mr. Flynn questioned whether the item #4 used in the parking area would be considered pervious surface for stormwater calculations.
The board advised the applicant to meet with staff and iron out the remaining issues prior to scheduling a public hearing.
6. Colangelo Subdivision, Jacob Road
The applicant requested the board’s agreement with a plan to move a portion the road 25-30 feet into the wetland buffer in order to save two trees. He also wants to modify a stormwater plan so that a portion of any excess flow goes into the existing wetland with the balance being diverted down the slope at the rear of the property. The board had no problem with the road issue but said that more technical information was needed on the best possible balance on the stormwater issue.
7. Kelderhouse Wetlands Permit, Turus Lane, Town Board Referral
Mr. Quinn expressed concern about the proposed 1,000 foot length of the sewer connection for a single house and suggested that town might be able to work on a joint plan with the applicant to install a larger pipe with the town possibly supplying the material and the applicant installing it. The larger pipe would address the board’s concerns about future development in the area and avoid what it considers a proliferation of “spaghetti” utility lines. Mr. Quinn also said that more information was needed about the route for the proposed water line that appeared to involve removing trees that were located in a paper road. As the impact of the proposed single lot had a minimal impact on the wetlands buffer, the board had no issues with the permit.
8. Revised Wetlands Ordinance, Town Board Referral
The board took an initial look at a proposed new Wetlands Ordinance with the focus being: going forward, how would the new law assist the Planning Board.
While the board had before it two different drafts, Town Attorney McDermott advised the board to review the second draft which he said were based on Town Board comments to the first draft. He explained that the Town Board’s overriding goal was to streamline the law and make it more user friendly. To that end, the draft changes the threshold of when a wetlands permit is needed and designates the town engineer as the approving authority for more permits.
Threshold for determing a wetland: Bruce Barber explained that under the current law, an area is considered a wetland if it meets one of three criteria based on vegetation, soil, or hydrology; under the draft law, only one of the criteria need be present. In order to be considered a waterbody or pond, the new law would require that water must be present at least three months of year. The new law would also protect vernal pools, something that is not mentioned in the current law but which, in practice, have been protected. The size of what constitutes a wetland would also be increased from 1,000 sq. ft. under the current law to 1/10 of an acre, or 4,356 sq ft, under the proposed new law which Mr. McDermott said would be in line with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and other towns. The 100 ft. wetland buffer remains unchanged.
Threshold for determining the approval authority: The proposed law removes the need for homeowners to get a wetlands permit for certain activities in a wetland buffer, e.g, a deck or generator, a change Mr. McDermott called “common sense.” It also makes the town engineer the approval authority for more permits; Mr. Quinn said that exactly where that threshold should be was up for discussion.
Citing the evening’s earlier discussion about buffer issues in the Orchard View subdivision, Mr. Quinn advised the board that while defining what constituted a wetland was not a Planning Board issue, the new law did not diminish the board’s authority over wetlands and that the law could be used as a tool to assist the body. When Mr. Flynn questioned whether te Conservation Board was being “taken out of the loop” in the new law, Mr. Barber assured him that was not the case and that all advisory boards would be given an opportunity to provide input.
Mitigation: The new law would also add the concept of doing a functional assessment of the value of the wetland as part of any mitigation plan and establishes a standard for doing the assessment. However, when developing a mitigation plan, the proposed law deletes the requirement in the current law that a greater than 1:1 replacement for lost wetlands may be required. According to Mr. McDermott, the new law would give the town “greater latitude” in developing either on site or off site mitigation, e.g., like the regional stormwater basin being planned for Front Street, or the Lowe’s off site tree mitigation plan for Sylvan Glen.
A member of the Conservation Board advised the board that his group had not yet receicved a copy of the draft for review. (Note: The board voted on November 22, 2016 to refer out the draft.) Mr. McDermott said he would look into the issue.
The Planning Board said it needed more time to review the draft; the issue may be on the January 9th agenda. Councilman Barnard advised the board that there was “no hurry.”
(Click here for a copy of Draft #2 of the Wetlands Ordinance and a comparison of the current law and draft, visit www.yorktownbettergovernment.org/town-issues.htm.)