Citizens for an Informed Yorktown



Planning Board

April 8, 2013


Attending: John Kincart, John Flynn, John Savoca, Richard Fon, Darlene Rivera, Ann Kutter


Open Session


1. Costco announcement

Chairman Fon explained that the Town is waiting for Costco to submit the FEIS (Final Environmental Impact Statement) that responds to all the questions and issues raised during the DEIS public hearing and that the Planning Board is not holding back anything.


2. A&P Shrub Oak (special permits)

The request was for a renewal of the special use permit for outdoor sales.  The existing permit expired in September, 2012. When Mr. Flynn noted that the Yorktown Heights A&P had the same outdoor sales display (plants), he asked if they also had a special permit. Assistant Planner Steinberg responded that both locations had received letters about their expired permits but that she had not heard back from the Yorktown location. Also, the building inspector reported that there is litter at the Shrub Oak location that needs to be cleaned up.   The Board tabled any action until it heard from both locations and could deal with them together. The Board’s attorney added that more information was needed as to exactly what was going to be sold at the outdoor location.


3. Aspen & Mill Subdivision

The Board approved a 90 day extension while the applicant awaits Health Department approval.


4. Fieldhome expansion

The Board granted a one year extension on the site plan approval to allow more time for the applicant to get DEP approval for its revised stormwater plan. 


Then, in a work session format, the Board again expressed frustration with the DEP and why the agency hadn’t expressed its concern about the stormwater plan earlier in the approval process.  It was decided that the town would wait for DEP to complete its review of the revised stormwater plan before voting to adopt an amended site plan that reflects the new plan.  DEP continues to say that it will do an uncoordinated SEQRA review which means that the town may have to reopen the SEQRA process once it deals with the amended site plan.



Work Session 


5. Faith Bible Church

The Board postponed taking any action pending an interpretation of the zoning ordinance dealing with non conforming uses that was raised by resident Evan Bray; specifically, whether special permits were needed for the residential buildings that had previously been converted to church use.  Mr. Capellini argued that the current usage was in full compliance with the zoning ordinance as historically the town has allowed church uses of residential structures.


Parking: The applicant has gotten permission to use 25 spaces at the nearby Learning Center and will supply the Board with a formal agreement.  It was not clear whether the distance requirement in the Town Code about off- site parking referred to the distance from the actual building or from the property line.


Traffic: Some modifications were made in the site plan as previously discussed. The Town’s traffic consultant has reviewed the applicant’s traffic report and there did not appear to be any issues.


Stating that he wanted to avoid an 11th hour call to save a possibly historic structure, Chairman Fon noted that there was an “old” building on the site that was going to be demolished and asked if there was anything worth saving in the building.  Mr. Tegeder said he would refer the matter to the Landmarks Committee.


If the building inspector has no problem with the zoning code issue, a public hearing may be scheduled for May 6th.


6. Stony Street Subdivision

The Board reviewed a pre-preliminary plan to build 12 single family homes on an 8.05 acre site in a half acre zone. The parcel is between Judy and Sunny Ridge Roads.  Access to the lots would be by “opening up” three currently dead end streets:  High Point, Shelly and Sunny Court.  The site includes a paper road  (Scofield Rd) coming off Stony St, but Dan Ciarcia, the applicant’s engineer, did not want to use the road due to questions about its ownership as well as a steep slope over a portion of the road.  Mr. Tegeder noted that there was a long range plan to have Scofield Rd as an east-west link between Shrub Oak and Mohegan, although a portion of the proposed road bisected a wetlands.  He also noted that the paper road could be a possible bike path.


The Board asked Mr. Ciarcia to look at alternate layouts and the elimination a possible 800 foot shared driveway as the only access to several lots.


7. Cserenyi easement

(See March 11, 2013 meeting.) In an email exchange between staff and the Board’s attorney, the town attorney argued that changes in a conservation easement had to be approved by the Town Board. In contrast, Mr. Tegeder said that these types of easements were part of the plat and as such were created by the Planning Board and it was up to the Planning Board modify them.  Adding that the Town Board delegated subdivision approval to the Planning Board, he said the Town Board should not usurp the powers of the Planning Board.

The Board then voted to amend the conservation easement as previously discussed.


8. BJ’s propane facility

BJ’s wants to construct an above ground propane facility for two 1,000 gallon propane tanks, one to be built initially and the second based on demand. The facility would be for 20-30 gallon containers, typically for backyard barbeques or generators and not for large RVs. The facility would be located near the tire center and would be serviced by the center’s staff. The tanks would be enclosed in a fence with bollards outside the fence. Under the current layout, the concrete pad would eliminate 12 existing parking spaces.


The Board asked the applicant to consider the following issues prior to a next meeting.

a. possibly relocating the concrete pad within the area adjacent to the tire center

b. how trucks would maneuver ar ound the pad (the loading docks are in this portion of the site)

c. the type of fencing that would be used to screen the tanks

d. the loss of 12 parking spots, often used by handicapped

e. whether the applicant could do something to correct a flooding problem in one portion of the site


In response to questions and concerns from a Pine Grove Court resident about noise from trucks that access the site at night, the BJ’s representative said he anticipated about one delivery propane truck delivery a day and that the truck was smaller than a gasoline delivery truck. As the truck noise issue related to a second application (see Planet Storage below), Mr. Tegeder asked to see a BJ’s delivery log; the applicant said it would be provided.


9. Planet Storage (and redesign of entrance to shopping center)

Chairman Fon thanked the applicant for making modifications to the site plan that addressed the concerns of the Pine Grove residents, specifically the 6 foot fence and the landscaping.


The Board did not see the need for the applicant’s two proposed signs, one of which would have been 14 foot tall and suggested instead either 4ft or 6ft stand-alone signs, or possibly a sign on the Staples building.  The Board felt that the large sign was more of an advertising sign than a directional one which was the original purpose of the sign. The applicant will rework the sign plan, the approval of which is the prerogative of the Planning Board.


Entrance to shopping center

Because the state has taken some land at the entrance to the shopping center as part of the Route 202 widening project, the shopping center owner is redesigning the entrance to the center and will have to erect a new sign. The Board asked the applicant to consider extending the proposed center island at the entrance further into the center in order to better control traffic and possibly to add some landscaping to the island.  In general, the Board was satisfied with the new proposed sign at the entrance that had already been reviewed by ABACA.


A possible May public hearing was discussed, but no decision was made. 


10. Emerald Hills (Kitchawan Road)

The applicant reported that the Recreation Commission wants money instead of any land set aside.  The Board asked the applicant to meet with the Town’s environmental consultant to review some stormwater  issues. Also there needs to be a new wetlands delineation as the previous one is no longer valid.


Subject to the above review, the applicant wants a general sense from the Board that it agrees with the proposed layout so that the applicant can begin preparing a stormwater and septic plans. The applicant wants to avoid the “Fieldhome issue” where the DEP doesn’t accept what the Town has accepted and the applicant has to “spin wheels” and go back to the drawing board.


11. Fieldstone Manor

Members of the Planning Board made a site visit to the mansion.


In a revised plan, the applicant is now asking for a 21 unit lot count (instead of the previously approved 16 lot count) that would allow seven units in the mansion (instead of the original plan for two units), plus community common space. The applicant showed a conventional 21 lot subdivision that had three or four lots in either the wetland or wetland buffer.


The applicant said that five or six units didn’t work because the units would still be too large to be economically viable. At seven units, the units would range in size from 2,847 square feet down to 600 for a studio unit.  The units would be sold as condos and would also have to comply with the town’s affordable housing set aside law.  The community space would remain the same in each scheme.  Yet to be resolved is where on the site the applicant can provide the required 10-11 parking spaces.  There did not appear to be any possibility of garages.


The Board had no problems with the seven unit plan and agreed that the larger number of units was needed in order to make the units smaller and more likely to sell. The matter will now go back to the Town Board for a new flexibility resolution.


Councilman Paganelli who attended the meeting asked the applicant: “What works best for you” adding that his concern was that the town  get the land for the ballfields that was part of the flexibility plan.


In response to Ms. Kutter’s question about the status of the tower, the applicant said that it would be repaired and that he was still hoping to find a public use for it.


12. Dubovsky application (Saw  Mill River Road)

The only change from the previous site plan was that the building in the rear will no longer be used for an office and will only be used for storage.  Regarding previous violations on the site, Mr. Tegeder explained that there were no real wetlands on the site; it was speculative, he said, whether there ever was a wetland. However, the site had been illegally filled without the required permit.  He added that the site had to be stabilized before any new work could take place.


There was a discussion of how drainage on the site is linked to drainage on adjacent properties.  The application will be scheduled for a Public Informational Hearing.


13. Creative Living (Navajo Fields)

A long range Master Plan for the site was presented by Mr. Riina, the project’s engineer. The plan was submitted in response to the Town Board’s concern that it didn’t want the project to continue piecemeal with changes every six months.


The Plan calls for two domes over existing fields in the center of the site in a Phase I and Phase II. A third phase would be a 4-story building and underground parking and roof top fields on the east side of the parcel. A fourth phase would be a new barn and horse paddocks on the west side of the property.


The applicant is now only seeking site plan approval for Phase I and his attorney, Al Capellini, stated that it was not necessary to rezone the property for commercial recreation at this time; the domed use could continue as a non profit private recreational facility in a residential zone. While the Board did not directly address this issue, it did ask for clarification over how the applicant is claiming to be a “non profit.”   In response to Board questions, the applicant said he did not have an IRS non profit designation and Mr. Capellini said that the applicant considers himself a non profit and that as temporary ballfields, he has an “as of right” use as a non profit.  Once the site is rezoned, he said, then it becomes a profit operation. The Board’s attorney stated that in 2010, it was said that as soon as there are edifices, the operation would become profit. Mr. Tegeder said that the applicant needed to provide proof that he’s a non profit. 


Mr. Capellini also stated that there was no time now to go for the rezoning change as it wanted the dome for Phase I to be operational by the fall so that the site could be used year round.


While Board members appeared to agree that the plan for a 4-story building might be more of a dream than a reality, they felt that some amount of detail was needed about the future plans so that whatever was required for Phase I and II could work for Phases III and IV, such as the road network.  Citing possible concerns over SEQRA segmentation issues, Mr. Tegeder said that whatever the Board approves now should not impinge on future plans and has to be something that can support the future plans.


Councilman Paganelli who attended the meeting said that at a previous Town Board meeting he had raised the issue of balloons being floated to gauge the visual impact of an 80 foot dome.


Chairman Fon said that he had no problem with the fields or the dome but that whatever action the Planning Board took, it must be legal.  In response to questions Patrick Francois of the Conservation Board raised as to whether the applicant has met all the requirements of the previously approved wetlands permit., Mr. Riina said that the applicant is working on “buttoning up” the site.


14. Proposed local law on electronic filing

In a brief discussion the Board considered a referral from the Town Board. The only modifications suggested were that instead of the requirement that only one paper copy be submitted, the language should head “paper copies as required.” Mr. Tegeder said that the Town would never get away completely from paper and that it made sense for the applicant to provide the paper copies rather than have town staff make them.