Planning Board Work Session
February 23, 2015
1.Guiding Eyes for the Blind
Evaluation of required water testing performed by the Guiding Eyes as a condition of the amended site plan approval Resolution #03-18 dated August 11, 2003.
With no additional discussion, the Planning Board voted to approve the resolution accepting the water testing results submitted.
2. IBM Helipad
With no additional discussion, the Planning Board voted to approve the renewal of this special use permit for 5 years.
3. BJ's/Staples Center
Mr. Fon opened the discussion by pointing out that in addition to the representatives of BJ’s/Urstadt Biddle, representatives of both the proposed CVS at route 202 and Stony St. and Crompond Terraces on Old Crompond Rd were present, affording a valuable opportunity for discussion to coordinate and mitigate the traffic impacts of these three new facilities. All the representatives were amenable to this idea, although Mr. Steinmetz of BJ’s/Urstadt Biddle asked for assurances that this project, which is further through the review process than the others, would not be delayed by this comprehensive traffic planning. The Planning Board assured him there would be no such delays. This applicant agreed to provide a master traffic plan drawing on which to superimpose information from the three projects proposed for the intersection of route 202 and Stony St, but the applicant doesn’t actually have this information about the other projects. The Planning Department will help to get this information from the other applicants.
Further discussion centered on internal traffic patterns surrounding the proposed restaurant’s drive-thru window. Issues include: traffic stacking up in the entrance road, pedestrians entering the restaurant having to crossing through cars waiting in the drive-thru queue, coordination with the Dunkin’ Donut drive-thru traffic, accommodating pedestrian traffic from off-site. Planning is complicated by the fact that so far the building has no tenant, so it’s not known exactly how it will be used. However, its proposed size means it will probably not be a fast food restaurant and will probably have sit-down dining. After discussion of some alternatives presented by the applicant, the Planning Board conceptually approved a plan in which the restaurant would be moved toward route 202, so that cars entering from route 202 would turn right, paralleling the entrance road, then drive around the building to the drive-thru window. Meanwhile cars desiring the Dunkin’ Donut drive-thru would follow the same entry, but then go straight to the Dunkin’ Donut drive-thru. Cars desiring to park at Dunkin’ Donut would simply go straight after the right turn from the entrance way, avoiding the drive-thru traffic. Moving the building forward means that parking can be rearranged so that fewer pedestrians have to cross the drive-thru traffic. Extensive traffic control signage, crosswalks and pavement markings were discussed. It was agreed that the internal intersection at the end of the entrance way should be returned to a three-way stop, immediately. The Planning Board concluded that the internal traffic patterns on this site still need “tweaking”.
The applicant reported changes in the gas station canopy to make it more consistent with the existing buildings, which need ABACA approval.
The Planning Board asked the applicant to take a close looks at the trash facilities for the new restaurant to be sure the site can accommodate this additional trash generation and to ensure the dumpsters are adequately screened from neighbors and route 202.
4. VS Construction Corp. /3771 Curry Street
Zoning Board of Appeals Referral
Description: Request to construct a single family home on a lot with a total area of 18,040 sf where 20,000 sf are required and a variance for a side yard setback along Route 6 of 26.1 ft where 40 ft is required.
This is a vacant building lot which is constrained by the presence of a pump station on the lot. Mr. Tegeder was concerned that the peak of the house is too high, making it very visible from Route 6. Mr. Kincart suggested reversing the orientation of the house and moving the driveway would lower the elevation of the peak. Another suggestion was to make the house a split-level, rather than a raised ranch. Mr. Tegeder also said substantial screening was necessary, both along the pump station and Route 6, since Route 6 is supposed to be a greenway along this stretch. The Planning Board wants to review this project again, after its suggestions have been incorporated. However, the Planning Board will recommend that the Zoning Board issue the requested variances, conditional on the Planning Board’s approval of the final site plan.
5. Crompond Terraces
The Planning Board gave out copies of its letter to the Town Board, supporting the rezoning for mixed use and the hamlet concept. The applicant was looking for stronger language from the Planning Board about how the proposed project is consistent with the Master Plan toward the end of convincing the Town Board to approve the rezoning, but ended up accepting what the Planning Board had written.
As previously requested by the Planning Board, Philip Grealy, traffic consultant, presented a draft of a map showing a network of pedestrian walkways in the whole Route 202 corridor from Stony St. to FDR Park.
5. CVS Pharmacy/Crompond Road
CVS representatives gave an overview of the plans, which incorporate some of the Planning Board’s suggestions. This overview started out with a description of the flood plain situation on the site. As currently delineated, the existence of a flood plain on the site precludes the project as proposed. However, the applicant thinks the flood plain limits are conservatively drawn and will most likely be redrawn in a direction to make the site feasible for the CVS project. Therefore, the applicant is proceeding with the planning and review process, essentially gambling that the flood plain redefinition will be favorable.
The site is zoned for the proposed uses (a pharmacy and bank), but a wetlands permit and special use permits are needed for the drive-thru windows.
Traffic: Mr. Fon opened the discussion by pointing out that in addition to the representatives of the proposed CVS, representatives of both BJ’s/Urstadt Biddle and Crompond Terraces on Old Crompond Rd were present, affording a valuable opportunity for discussion to coordinate and mitigate the traffic impacts of these three new facilities. This applicant was amenable to this suggestion. Mr. Tegeder pointed out that coordinated traffic planning wouldn’t require any major changes in the CVS site plan in any case. Applicant’s traffic studies indicate this project would add 136 afternoon trips and 121 peak Saturday trips. To accommodate this increase, Stony St northbound will be enlarged to two lanes, one for right turns and one for left. This extra lane and the absence of a stop sign on Stony St at its intersection with Old Crompond Rd will eliminate traffic stacking on the “stub” of Stony St. Traffic will enter the CVS/bank site either from Route 202 or from Old Crompond Rd. The State DOT requires a deceleration lane on Route 202, leading to that entrance, however the applicant is unable to make this lane as long as the DOT would prefer. Trucks will enter the site from Route 202, deliver on the east side of the CVS building and exit onto Old Crompond Rd. A road connection to the adjacent property will be provided, eliminating the need for another curb cut onto Route 202 should that site be developed in the future, but the exact location and nature of this connection has yet to be determined. The Old Crompond Rd entrance/exit has been relocated as much as possible to align it with the entrance to the Best Plumbing Supply site across the street. The applicant said the sight distances are adequate, but Ann Kutter pointed out that trees further along Crompond Rd actually block visibility at that location. The applicant was resistant to the idea of contacting the neighboring property owner (based on a question from Mr. Kincart) to negotiate a land swap in order to move this entrance/exit further along Old Crompond Rd, citing lack of necessity for this change. The applicant was also resistant to the possibility of another lane on Old Crompond Rd (based on a question from Mr. Flynn), citing how “tight” the development already is on the property. Mr. Flynn asked about snow removal on the site. If snow piles up, some parking spaces might be sacrificed, or else it will be removed from the site.
Sidewalks: Sidewalks will encircle the site and connect to the residences across Old Crompond Rd. “CVS wants to be the neighborhood pharmacy.”
There’s a 590 sq ft wetland in the northeast corner of the CVS parking lot, most likely formed by dumped soil making a berm on the site. It has been delineated and evaluated by Bruce Barber, TOY environmental consultant. Ann Kutter asked about Sherry Brook which is culverted along the Route 202 edge of the site, maintaining that it “saw daylight” at one spot. The applicant said that the brook was entirely underground, having been closed in by the DOT during its recent work on Route 202. According to the applicant, “daylighting” the brook would result in the site turning into a pond. There is a larger wetland on the adjacent property, but this project is outside that controlled area.
Drainage: There’s been extensive drainage system engineering, including sand filters and underground water storage, which is detailed in a separate, written report.
Architecture: CVS has proprietary building designs, but the design incorporates Planning Board comments. For example, the side facing the residential development across Old Crompond Rd has been made more attractive and “softer”, and brick which coordinates with nearby buildings will be used. The 3472 sq ft proposed bank building will be one story and feature brick veneer, stucco, split face block and aluminum exterior surfaces. However, this building’s design may change when a specific tenant is found. Both buildings will have drive-thru windows, so the site needs an interior traffic loop. The drive-thru for CVS will be on the back (Old Crompond Rd side), for the bank on the Stony St. Mr. Tegeder asked about the location of the buildings’ mechanicals and pointed out that roof locations will be visible from the Route 202 hill so additional screening will be necessary. If the flood plain re-delineation doesn’t come out as the applicant hopes, the buildings will have to be elevated 2 ft which could create a problem with the grade of the parking lot.
Legal Issues: The site has several legal issues that need to be resolved. For example, there’s a culvert with no easement in place, so no provision for maintenance. Also, in the past Old Crompond Rd was relocated, but the old road still exists as a paper road with an unclear title on this site.
A Public Informational Hearing is set for April 13, 2015.
6. Lake Osceola Square
Due to the expense, the Recreation Commission recommended against the Town taking ownership of the beach on this site and operating it as a public swimming facility. The applicant thinks that without the beach to draw people in, the retail shops proposed for the lower level of the new building will not be profitable. He’s now proposing a high end, destination restaurant for the building’s ground floor. The upper level office space appearing on earlier plans will be eliminated and replaced by apartments (two bedroom) above the restaurant. Mr. Kincart asked to see plans comparing two different sized apartments.
There was lengthy and heated discussion about public access to the beach area and Lake Osceola via this site. Mr. Tegeder maintained that town residents should have access to the beach and lake. He thinks the site plan doesn’t take advantage of the site’s outdoor amenities. He also said that the plan doesn’t invite people in and makes it physically difficult for them to access the beach and lake. The applicant said he is not interested in operating a beach for swimming and in fact he’s not interested in attracting people to the site at all, except to patronize the restaurant. He expressed frustration that the Town refused his offer of the beach as a Town recreation area, yet still seemed to expect him to provide the recreation facility for town residents. Then in response to questions from Anna Georgiou, the applicant back-peddled and allowed how as he wouldn’t be opposed to passive recreation on the beach, such as a walking path connected to other lakeside paths. Nevertheless, he had difficulty envisioning how a public access easement would be written and enforced to allow activity compatible with a destination restaurant while blocking undesirable use of the site (the example given: A child tossing pebbles into the lake with his grandfather vs teenagers throwing rocks at each other on the beach). While not necessarily opposed to passive recreation (such as a walking path), the applicant was opposed to the beach becoming a town park, because it would draw too many people which would be incompatible with the desired ambiance of the destination restaurant. As the discussion continued, it became unclear what the applicant wanted and what he was willing to accept re public use of the beach. Mr. Kincart said that if the Town didn’t want the beach as a park, it shouldn’t dictate to the applicant how he has to use the resource. A representative of the Recreation Commission, in attendance, was asked if the Rec Commission would be amenable to the Town taking the site for passive recreation. She said she couldn’t speak for the Rec Commission, but it would certainly consider that possibility if it received the referral. Mr. Fon asked the applicant to meet with the Rec Commission to explore the possible passive use of the beach as a Town facility and to meet with the Planning Staff to work out a compromise. The applicant repeatedly emphasized what an asset his proposed restaurant would be to the Town and that his site improvements will greatly improve the property, regardless of the opportunities for public access. The Planning Board, especially Mr. Kincart, agreed with this. The applicant also pointed out that “all this exploration cost me money” and that “no one is a winner here”. Mr. Fon repeatedly reassured the applicant that the Planning Board recognizes the value of the project and that the planning/approval process is difficult, but it’s important to get it done right.