Planning Board Meeting
April 9, 2012
Alternate member Ann Kutter replaced John Savoca
1. Aspen & Mill Street Subdivision
The board approved the first 90-day extension. The applicant is still waiting for county DOT approval.
(See Summary of Developments, 2008-2010)
2. Bartosch Subdivision
At the applicant’s request, this item was withdrawn from the agenda.
(See Summary of Developments, 2008-2010)
3.IBM Parking Expansion
After submitting revised plans that satisfactorily addressed all 14 items identified by the Planning Department, the board unanimously declared itself lead agency for SEQRA, issued a negative declaration, and approved the site plan and stormwater permit and tree permit. The site plan will not need New York City DEP approval.
4. Mohegan Lake Motors
The board unanimously voted to declare itself lead agency for SEQRA and issued a negative declaration. It then proceeded to approve the site plan, tree, wetlands and stormwater permits. The applicant had previously been granted a side yard variance from the ZBA in order to establish a buffer area on the west side of the site.
7. Field Home
The board unanimously voted to declare itself lead agency for SEQRA and issued a negative declaration. It then proceeded to approve the site plan, tree, wetlands and stormwater permits.
The future legal status of the 32 acres that includes the soccer field and which will remain open space will be discussed at a subsequent work session that will involve the Town Board and the Recreation Commission. Options include deeding the land to the Town, having the Field Home deed only the future development rights to the Town, or putting a conservation easement on the land.
Mr. Flynn updated the board on a meeting of the Recreation Commission that he attended along with a representative of Yorktown Youth Soccer. At the meeting, the soccer group raised four issues regarding the field, only some of which involve the Planning Board.
1. the desire for an extension of the current lease from the Field Home
2. concern over poor drainage at one end of the field
3. the need to expand the size of the parking area
4. the need to expand the size of the field by about 20’ in width and 10’ in length.
Joe Riina of Site Design Consultants, the engineers for the project, explained that the amount of runoff from the Field Home site onto the field will decrease after the construction as much of the current flow from the Field Home will be captured and channeled into the new project’s stormwater system and away from the soccer field.
As for the expansion of the field, Mr. Flynn noted that any expansion would likely need extensive grading, and Al Capellini, the project’s attorney, raised the issue of how the residents of both the Field Home and the Glassbury condominiums might perceive any expansion.
Trail Side Café (Hoffman Construction & Real Estate)
See earlier discussion below.
With the use for one of the two buildings involved in this proposed project resolved, the issue before the board was how to legalize the use of one of the buildings that appears to have existed for decades but which does not meet current parking requirements: According to the Building Department , there are no records that explain how the use the existing two story garage evolved over the years to permit retail or office use on the lower level and residential use on the upper level. For that reason, the Building Department advised the property owner to seek a variance that would pave the way for the proposed ice cream parlor/café with seven fewer parking spaces than would be required under current C-2R zoning.
After reviewing existing street parking along Kear Street, as well as the commuter lot across the street and public parking adjacent to the Yorktown Glass site, as well as the Comprehensive Plan’s goal of encouraging walking in the hamlet, the board agreed to notify the ZBA that it supported the variance request.
In supporting the reduced parking requirement for this applicant, the board was cognizant of the need for consistency in applying a flexible parking approach to other proposed projects in the area, especially as there is a small vacant parcel abutting the proposed site. It was noted, for example, that when another building on Commerce Street came in for site plan approval for office use about two years ago, the board supported a reduction in the number of required spaces, even though it was said at the time that visitors to a medical office were not likely to walk from a nearby parking lot. (See Summary of Developments, 2008-2010, Fertucci Site Plan.)
9. Contractors Register
The board approved the modification of the site plan to allow two trees to be removed and replaced with two new 4” red maples. The modification will be memorialized in a memo from the Planning Department. Given the problems associated with planting trees of this size, the planting will be done under the supervision of a landscape architect.
Shrub Oak Commons (fka Adler Subdivision)
The applicant came before the board with a preliminary plan that would involve rezoning the five acre site across the street from the A&P Shopping center from half acre zoning to two family zoning. Under the current zoning, the site could accommodate three single family homes; under the rezoning, four duplex units could be built. The applicant was seeking a “sense of the board” prior to submitting a formal application for rezoning to the Town Board. The proposed buildings would not encroach on the wetlands or wetlands buffer in the rear of the site.
The consensus of the board was that the preliminary plan was consistent with the Comprehensive Plan’s vision for the Shrub Oak hamlet and that it was consistent with existing neighborhood uses. Mr. Kincart noted that there was not likely to be much of a market for single family homes along heavily traveled East Main Street.
The board expressed some concerns about the placement of two of the four homes as well as the location of the driveways and asked the applicant to come back with more details on proposed grade issues.
Note: Planning Board Chairman Richard Fon recused himself from any discussion of the application as he lives on New Road.
11. Fieldstone Manor (fka Lake Mohegan Mansion)
The applicant presented a revised plan to cluster 16 units on the site. The new plan, which includes four clusters of homes grouped around separate courtyards, was developed in consultation with the Planning Departmet. In response Ms. Kutter’s concern that a portion of one of the 16 units would be in the wetland buffer, Joe Riina, the project engineer, said that he would explore options that could prevent any backyard encroachment into the wetland. As in the earlier plan, the existing mansion would be preserved but would be converted into two residential units at either end of the building, with the center portion being used as common area for the homeowners. The pool to the rear of the mansion would be preserved along with the fire tower and the existing pond.
The plan also calls for setting aside four acres that were previously used as ballfields as open space. The fields could be used by the Town for additional athletic fields. As this area is one of the possible right of ways for a future Route 6 bypass, there was some discussion of what the future designation of the four acres could be so that the site could be used as ballfields without precluding the possibility that it might be needed for the future bypass
The single access to the site would be from Strawberry Road, but the access point was shifted somewhat from the original plan. The new location would merge into the existing driveway leading to the mansion.
One issue that remains to be resolved is the lot count for the cluster subdivision. While the site can accommodate 16 lots under a conventional plan, when the cluster formula in the Town Code is applied to the site, it only permits 15.2 units. However, if the formula permitted 15.5 units, the number of permitted units could be rounded up to 16. Planning Director Tegeder suggested that the applicant look at the flexibility standards in the Town Code as that section would allow for the clustering concept but was not formula based.
In response to the board’s concerns over traffic on Strawberry Road and the problem intersection of Strawberry Road and Lexington Ave, Al Capellini, the applicant’s attorney, acknowledged that traffic was definitely something that will have to be dealt with. Noting that there is a pending subdivision on the other side of Lexington Ave in the Town of Cortlandt, Mr. Kincart suggested that the Town staff and the developer monitor development plans in Cortlandt.
The board was supportive of the new cluster plan and will schedule a Public Informational Hearing before referring the application to the Town Board which must authorize the use of cluster zoning.
12.Twist Yogurt Outdoor Patio
The applicant, a new tenant in the Roma Building, is seeking a special permit to permit an outdoor seating area, approximately 24’ x 18’, on the side of the building along Route 202. The plan calls for benches only, plus a new exterior staircase that would link the two levels of the building. Because of the grade, a retaining wall will need to be constructed.
The board was supportive of the concept but was concerned about several design elements and asked the applicant to work with the Planning Department to work out some of the key issues that included the location of the staircase, the height of the retaining wall, and the existing curb in the lower parking lot. While the applicant is anxious to begin construction as soon as possible, Planning Director Tegeder explained that if the proposed retaining wall exceeds 4.5’ (the current plan calls for an 8’ wall), the Zoning Code could consider it to be a structure which would then trigger other requirements which would require a variance and site plan approval. One way to avoid the height issue, he suggested, was to use bollards to set off the dining area, but the applicant expressed some concern whether the bollards would provide sufficient safety for those sitting on the benches.
The applicant advised the board that the building’s new landlord had indicated that he was planning to redo the façade of the building but that he had no idea what the landlord’s timetable was. The landlord has indicated that he will contribute toward the construction of the new staircase. Once constructed, the seating area will be available for use by anyone and will not be restricted to patrons of the yogurt shop.
The applicant is expected to return to the board in two weeks with possible revisions to the original plan.