June 12, 2017
Attending: John Kincart, John Savoca, William LaScala, Richard Fon, AnthonyTripodi, Robert Garrigan
1. Orchard View subdivision, Sherry Drive
With the applicant not present, the board approved a first 90 day extension while the applicant continues to work with DEP.
2. Hearthstone subdivision, Hearthstone St/Public Informational Hearing
The applicant provided a summary of the proposed project and in response to comments from Mr. Tegeder, it was clarified that, to date, the applicant has not received any comments from the county. Three neighbors spoke in opposition to the proposed subdivision with one person questioning the need for the applicant to provide an accurate survey. In response, Mr. Fon advised the neighbors that more detailed information would be available at the formal public hearing later in the approval process. Mr. Tegeder explained that the maintenance agreement for the private road would be part of the deeds for the two houses and would not involve the town. The hearing was closed.
3. Unicorn Contracting/Kear Street/Public Informational Hearing
Click unicorn_rendering.jpg for a rendering of proposed new building.
Dan Ciarcia presented a brief overview of the project, highlighting the interior sidewalks and the connectivity to off-site existing sidewalks.
Citing existing vacant retail space, Mara Ziedins questioned the need for additional retail space and suggested that the project be all office space. In response, Tony Grasso, speaking for the Chamber of Commerce explained that either poor management or a change in where residents were shopping was causing the vacancies. He said the Chamber sees the building as a great improvement for the area. The hearing was closed.
Originally scheduled for a discussion during the televised special session, the board moved the discussion to a work session format to allow for a discussion of key issues: the duration of the permit for outdoor services and storage and the master sign plan. As noted below, after agreement was reached on both issues, the board went into special session, and voted to approve the resoltuions.
Special permit: A permit is needed for two areas: a permanent one behind the building where merchandise is off loaded and a temporary seasonal area in a parking area on the west side of the site. The applicant wanted a five year permit for both sites in order to protect its financial investment and not have to come back to the board in a shorter period of time for renewals. The board, however, was concerned about the potential loss of parking spaces during the seasonal use for storage. In a compromise, the board agreed to a split permit: 5 years for the permanent storage that the board had no issue with and 2 years for the temporary storage so that the board could assess the impact of the loss of parking spaces. The applicant explained that the timing of the seasonal storage varied by location.
Master sign: As a follow up to the previous meeting, the applicant presented an elevation showing how the proposed monument sign would be visible from Route 202. As the sign with just Lowes met the requirements of the code, the board approved the master plan approving it so that the applicant could proceed to erect it. When the tenants for the 3 pad sites are identified and their signage requirements become known, the applicant may have to request an amended plan
5. Pied Piper Preschool, Route 202
During courtesy of the floor at the beginning of the televised portion of the meeting, a resident whose children attend the school spoke in support of the project. He was speaking for a large number of other parents (with their children) who were in the audience. During the work session, architect Michael Piccirillo asked for guidance from the board on the bulk issue; he said he didn’t want to proceed with more detailed plans until he had guidance from the board. The consensus of the board was that while the project and the expansion plans were laudable, there was concern about the mass of the building and the board asked the applicant to review her space needs.
The board’s attorney also raised issues about the shared parking agreement the school has with the church which the attorney said appeared never to have been filed with the count; the failure to file meant that the agreement would not be binding on future owners of the church. He added that the agreement was vague on the number of shared spaces. The applicant said she believed the agreement had been filed and will review the issue with her attorney. The board’s attorney offered to meet with her attorney to resolve this issue.
Issues were also raised about the landscaping business that is being operated from the house on the other side of the school and whether it was legal.
The board was also concerned about parking on the site.
6. Shrub Oak International School, Stoney Street
During courtesy of the floor at the beginning of the meeting, Councilman Diana, a resident of Stoney Street, read a statement advising the board that his neighbors had contacted him with their concerns about the proposed helistop. He advised the board that while the residents applauded the school use, they didn’t want to helistop and that emergency responders didn’t need one. He said the helistop would not provide any benefits to the town but only to the school and its parents.
During the work session discussion, Mr. Steinmetz advised the board that in a conversation with Diana after his statement, it became clear to him that the councilman did not know of an earlier letter from the applicant agreeing to limit the number of flights to 36 per year and the hours of operations and that both restrictions were still negotiable. He also said that Phoenix House had refused to allow the helicopter test that had been suggested at the previous meeting. He said that each helicopter trip would total 6 minutes, landing and taking off – or 18 minutes /month total.
In the discussion on the proposed traffic light at East Main Street, the issue was the total cost of the project and the extent to which site improvements such as handicapped access could be accommodated in the existing right of way. After Mr. Fon suggested that the entire East Main Street corridor needed to be looked at, not just the Stoney Street intersection, Mr. LaScala said that only the current project which he said would have a miniscule impact on the traffic, should be looked at it would be unfair to place a burden on the applicant for future projects. Mr. Steinmetz said his client was willing to pay for a study but wanted a cap on the amount and some degree of certainly. He said the traffic consultant’s report indicated that most of the traffic to the site would come from the south, not the north.
Mr. Steinmetz indicated that the town had decided not to use the shared driveway as access to Granite Knolls but instead preferred its own access. The applicant is revising the driveway plan.
Mr. Steinmetz indicated that for financial reasons, including the county IDA, the applicant was seeking an approving resolution as soon as possible. Mr. Kincart suggested that there could be two resolutions: one for the site plan for which there was no opposition, and a second for the special permit for the helistop that could be postponed pending additional information. He said he was not against the helistop but that it would take longer to get support for it from the community. It was noted that when the school takes ownership of the property, it might then be feasible to arrange the helicopter test.
It was anticipated that an approving resolution might be on the board’s next agenda.