June 27, 2016
Attending: John Savoca, John Flynn, Rich Fon, Anthony Tripodi
1. Kear Street (Marathon Development)
In a 3-0 vote, with Mr. Savoca recusing himself, the board approved the site plan. The text of the approving resolution was not discussed, except for the text that ruled out any of the commercial space being used as a restaurant.
2. Village Traditions, East Main Street, Mohegan Lake
Mr. Mallon advised the board that he is seeking a change in his approved plan. Instead of the barn (it wasn’t clear if the existing barn had already been demolished), he wants to construct a mixed retail/office building on the same footprint but change the orientation of the building so that it faces the other residential properties on Lakeland Street and looks like a residence. He said the new building would be the same square footage as was previously approved.
The Planning Board advised him that he needs to return with more detailed drawings of his revised plan, including changes, if any, in square footage, bulk requirements and parking requirements and that he will likely need an amended site plan.
3. Chase Bank, Commerce Street
Representatives of the bank gave the board an update on relatively minor modifications to the lighting, landscape and streetscape plans that had been made based on consultations with town staff members. The bank is still working with DEP on the stormwater plan. A second side entrance to the bank off the parking lot is now planned.
In response to the board’s earlier request, the bank did a revised traffic study that included Saturday morning. While the new counts showed an 11% increase in traffic, and the increase might slow traffic by a few seconds, overall, the increase did not affect the general level of service at the two intersections with lights.
Town Engineer Quinn noted that the intersections, one controlled by the state and the other by the town, are based on old designs that cannot take advantage of the new smart technology. The extent to which the town could require developers to pay into a fund that could finance traffic improvement is limited by law.
The one remaining concern was the possibility of two left turns out of the site (one on each side of the building) one being very close to the egress from Wallauers. At the board’s request, the bank will speak to Wallauers and see if some type of joint egress can be arranged. Acknowledging that Wallauers might not have any interest in such an arrangement, the board felt that the question should at least be asked. Also, as left turns are already permitted for existing businesses, it would not be possible to now prohibit them.
A public hearing will be held on July 11.
4. Tree Law/Referral from Town Board
The board continued its discussion of the draft new tree law. In general, members felt that the current law had not created problems for the board; Mr. Fon said that the only concern he had heard was that some developers had complained about the cost of the tree survey but that this had never been an issue before the board. He said the only time the board had dealt with the survey issue was with the Hilltop minor subdivision. Mr. Flynn noted that the current tree law was comprehensive and that he did not understand the new law.
Citing its lack of expertise in the area, the board said it preferred to limit its comments on the draft law to broad strokes and not get involved in specific details. It felt the tree survey had value but that the board needed to retain a flexible approach as each application was different and had to be looked at differently; while protecting a 12” tree might work for one site, on another a 6” tree might have significance. Also, for some sites, e g., Costco, all the trees would likely have to be cut while this would not necessarily be the case in residential subdivisions.
There was some discussion over whether the draft law included town owned property and whether the town would need a tree permit to cut down trees on its own property or only adhere to the guidelines and standards required on private property.
The board was not in favor of a provision in the draft law that would give the Town Board the to review a Planning Board tree permit decision; citing the separation of powers between the board, the Planning Board felt if the applicant was not happy with the board’s decision, it always had the right to file an Article 78 lawsuit.
Because the board wanted to give Mr. Kincart an opportunity to weigh in on the issue, it agreed that the Planning Department would prepare a summary of the issues that were discussed, highlighting what tools the board might gain or lose with both the current law and the draft new law.