December 23, 2013
Attending: Richard Fon, John Kincart, John Flynn, John Savoca, Darlene Rivera, Ann Kutter
1. BJs Propane installation
Based on a memo from Ed Kolisz, the fire inspector, indicating that the Fire Advisory Board preferred an above ground installation, the Planning Board was satisfied that all its concerns have been addressed and a public hearing will be scheduled for January 13.
2. Staples Shopping Center
The Board reviewed plans for a facade upgrade at the shopping center . The Board was pleased with the new look. No Board action was required.
The applicant advised the Board that the DOT will not complete its work on the new entrance to the shopping center until the spring but the applicant will continue its work to complete the new island at the entranceway.
3. Gione subdivision
The Board reviewed a revised subdivision plan. Its major concern was limiting the area of disturbance. No final decision was made.
4. Convalescent Home Special Use Permit/Underhill Avenue
On a referral from the Town Board, the Planning Board reviewed the plans to convert the house built in the 1880s. The house has been on the market for three years and is currently subject to a 90 day sale contract with the applicants.
As explained by the applicant, the facility would have a single supervisory staff person 24/7 on a shift basis. The residents would not have cars and the facility would transport the residents when necessary in one or two vans. The residents would be encouraged to have outside jobs and/or continue with private therapy and not remain on the site during the daytime. There may be weekend family visits. Additionally, the applicants plan to do some unspecified related outreach into the community.
In response to questions from the Board, which was supportive of the concept, the applicants had the following responses:
Although this would be the first such venture on the part of the applicants, they will be following the AA 12-step model and the work of an addiction specialist Arnold Washton. The son of one of the applicant’s currently manages a similar facility. The Board asked to see a list of the facility’s board members. The Board was concerned that despite the applicant’s positive intentions, based on past experience, it also needed to consider the overall viability of the project. It was noted that while similar facilities exist in Texas California and Florida, there are none in this area.
Traffic. The site currently has a long horseshoe driveway with two curb cuts onto Underhill Avenue. Mr. Flynn, citing traffic conditions on the road, suggested that that an exit onto French Hill Road would be safer. Although initially reluctant to make site plan changes, the applicants said they would consider such a change. Parking on the site was considered adequate and was not an issue.
Septic fields. The applicant said the fields have been previously approved for 10 bedrooms and that they have been advised that the fields are adequate. This would be an issue for the county health department.
Residential character. There was some concern that the “overimprovement” of the house might impact the overall residential character of the area and also the need for screening, particularly in the rear of the building. In offering some advice to the applicants, the Board suggested that many of the issues being raised by the Board were likely to be raised at the public hearing and that the applicant should be prepared to answer the comments.
SEQRA: The Town Board will be lead agency and an EAF will be required. Although Mr. Capellini said it would be a "short form: EAF, Mr. Tegeder implied that something more would be required.
Zoning code issues. Also discussed were the limited and inconsistent provisions of two sections of the zoning code governing nursing homes and convalescent homes. As pointed out by the Board’s attorney, the two terms are used interchangeably in the section dealing with the need for a special permit, but the second section that contains specific site plan requirements only mentions nursing homes, in effect, leaving no separate guidelines or standards for evaluating a convalescent home which may be different from a nursing home. Initially, chairman Fon suggested that the Board not issue a recommendation to the Town Board until the building inspector commented on the two sections, but Al Capellini, the applicant’s attorney, advised the Board that in discussions with the building inspector, Mr. Winter had agreed that a convalescent home was different from a nursing home which made the nursing home requirements not applicable and that the conditions of the special permit use for a nursing/convalescent home had been met. In response, Mr. Fon said that if the opinion was not in writing, it did not exist.
Mr. Capellini advised the Board that given the 90 day contract to purchase the site, with the clock starting on November 13, the Town Board would be holding a public hearing on the application in January and he urged the Board to finalize its recommendation at the meeting and not postpone the issue until January.
After some discussion, the Board agreed to issue a recommendation supporting the concept but asking the Town Board to take into consideration the possible need for screening in the rear of the property, lighting, traffic, especially the exit to French Hill Road, and the opinion of the building inspector regarding the requirements for a convalescent home.
5. Shell Gas Station Canopy
Although the applicant was not present, the Board briefly discussed the site plan, noting that some of the conditions of a 2004 site plan approval had still not been addressed. The Board also expressed concern about the aesthetics of having one of the two canopies very close to the road and across the street from the Railroad Park in an area the town hopes to enhance. While the Board was supportive of the need for a canopy, the thinking was that possibly one canopy might be sufficient.
Because of continued concerns about other areas of the site, Board members will do individual site visits.
In response to request for a Certificate of Occupancy (CO), the Planning Department advised the Building Department not to issue the CO until additional site work was addressed, including curbing, installation of gravel and landscaping improvements on the DOT lot, the installation of a “no left turn” sign on the DOT lot, and the placement of wine barrels on the front lawn.