Citizens for an Informed Yorktown



Planning Board

July 15, 2013


Attending: John Flynn (acting chairman), John Kincart, John Savoca, Darlene Rivera, Ann Kutter



Regular Session


1. Gione Subdivision

The Board reapproved the subdivision to allow the applicant more time to complete legal issues involving the dedication of a road widening strip and a conservation easement.


2. Creative Living/Navajo Fields

The Board opened a public hearing on the application. Representatives of the development team made a presentation that included both the dome and the long range plan for the site that included a dome over the north fiels, described as “more of a reality, a 4-story building on the east side of the site described as “not a contemplated reality” and the horse barn and paddocks on the west side of the site.  They anticipated that only the 4-story building would increase traffic over the site’s current usage, although parking would have to be expanded for the second dome.  Also, the original events plan filed with the first approval would hold for the planed south field dome.


Two neighboring homeowners expressed concerns about the noise and lights from the proposed dome. And after the homeowner closest to the north field complained that mitigation work that was supposed to buffer his property had not been completed as promised, Mr. Diven explained the reasons for the delay and said that the issue would be taken care of.  Mr. Flynn asked the applicant to provide phone numbers to the homeowners in the event they had issues with operations on the field.  Representatives of the company that will build the dome said that the noise level from the equipment will meet residential noise standards, but the Carey Street resident asked if there would be any guarantee that there would be no increase in the noise level. 


While the applicant noted in a slide show that the test balloons were hardly visible from different vantage points surrounding the site, the homeowners noted that the test was done when there were leaves on the trees and that the situation would be different in the winter when the dome was up.


A Mahopac Street (Route 6N) homeowner expressed concern that the site’s existing gravel road might be used as an alternate exit onto Route 6N. Commenting on the prices charged for some of the activities at the residentially zoned site, he wondered if he could provide the same recreational opportunities on his R1-80 zoned parcel.


Susan Siegel (the person writing this summary) raised what she called “process” issues surrounding the application. Referring Board members to the Navajo Fields web site, she questioned whether the operation was more a commercial facility than a private park and whether the property should more properly be rezoned for commercial recreation prior to any site plan approval.  She also said that the town should review the not for profit status of Navajo Fields, an issue, she said, that has been raised before by the Board but never satisfactorily  addressed. In response, Mr. Capellini made a point of saying that a previous board had determined that Navajo Fields was a not for profit organization and that there was a difference between a not for profit organization and a charitable organization. Ms. Siegel asked the Board not to approve the site plan until the zoning and not for profit status issues were fully addressed.


When Board members expressed concern about the long list of onoing “violations” remaining at the site, Mr. Capellini took exception to the word “violation” and asked the Board to have faith in the appoicant’s goal to complete the required work.  If you require us to catch up on the work before you approve the dome plan, he said, the applicant will miss the “window of opportunity.”


When Mr. Flynn asked for more information about the planned subsurface stormwater structures, Mr. Riina  initialy said that he was hoping that the Board would condition its approval on a later submission of an appropriate stormwater plan but changed his mind and said he would provide the Board with more information about the planned  pre manufactured systems he was planning to use.


Bruce Barber, the town’s environmental consultant, expressed concern that the applicant still had to “nail down” his current and future plans for the site as it wasn’t clear what the Board was being asked to approve. Mr. Capellini dismissed any concern over the SEQRA segmentation issue and said that the applicant needed a SEQRA determination from the Board so that the applicant could begin talks with the DEC.


The Board closed the hearing but written comments can be submitted for a two week period.


Work Session


3. Triangle Shopping Center

 The Board reviewed plans to add 4 additional trees to the parking lot, 2 each in 2 rows of parking.  Although an ABACA memo asked to see samples of the prosed pavers along one landscaped strip, it was noted that the pavers have already been installed. The Board will vote on a resolution amending the original site plan at a future meeting.


4. Hilltop  Associates

The Board reviewed a proposed tree harvesting plan for the third lot with the goal of balancing the economics of the harvesting against protection of the wetlands and the likelihood that many of the trees are likely to fall on their own and that if they do, they could create an erosion problem.  The applicant will return in August for a public hearing on an amended subdivision plan, tree and wetlands permits.


5. Dubovsky

The Board reviewed  site elevations for planned new building which Mr. Riina explained is actually smaller than the building that was shown conceptually on a plan a few years ago  when the adjoining lot was developed . The applicant is waiting for some curtain drains to kick in before doing a perc test on the adequacy of the proposed location of the septic field.   If the perc test is not satisfactory, the building size may have to be reduced.  The project may be set for a public hearing in August.


6. Yorktown Auto Body

The Board reviewed ABACA’s memo and some sight line drawings and will schedule a public hearing on the amended site plan for August. The applicant also needs ZBA approval for a variance for the wall.


7. Emerald Hills

The site’s stormwater plan continues to be a concern, both to the Conservation Board, but also to the owners of the site who are in contract to sell the land to the applicant but who also plan to retain ownership of some of the resulting lots.  According to Al Capellini who was representing the current owners, one of the proposed detention ponds is very close to one of the existing houses on the site that the owner plans to retain. According to the applicant, the location of the two major detention ponds is being dictated by the DEP and its requirements that the ponds be a fixed number of feet away from other water courses and septic fields. However, the applicant explained that he has a meeting scheduled with DEP for the following day and hoped that the agency would change of its initial ruling as to what constituted a “water course.” If the agency does change its mind, then the ponds could be redesigned and moved away from the house.  While the applicant was anxious to schedule the public hearing on the plan, Mr. Flynn said that a hearing was premature as the subdivision plan may change based on the DEP ruling.


The applicant is expected to return for the August work session, with the possibility that the application may be ready for a public hearing in September.


8. Savannah’s Restaurant (Route 202)

The southern food restaurant will be housed in the former I Luv My Kids/Sunshine Pizza building. The plan calls for adding a porch with outdoor seating on the front of the building and some changes to the landscaping in the front.


The applicant is before the Board for approval of a change of use and also for approval of a parking plan that has four fewer spaces than required for a restaurant.  The applicant explained, however, that the building’s original site plan included four “conservation” spaces, or future spaces left as grass that could be used if and when needed. The Board felt comfortable leaving these spaces as grass until the need for them was demonstrated. Counting the conservation spaces will also eliminate the applicant’s need to get a variance from  the ZBA.


The applicant will also tweak the plan to eliminate an increase of 20 square feet of impervious surface in order to eliminate the need for the project to undergo DEP review.


An August public hearing is anticipated.


9. Yeshiva

In a referral from the Town Board, the applicant’s engineer, Dan Ciarcia, presented a plan showing two groupings of solar panels but said that the actual location of the panels was subject to change pending the completion of a tree survey that should be completed in about two weeks.  Until that’s done, he was unable to answer questions about how much fill would be needed, the number of trees to be cut, whether there would  be any blasting, and where an access road to the panels would be located.  The presence of wetlands on the site also has to be evaluated. 


In the absence of a more definitive plan, Mr. Flynn said that it was hard for the Planning Board to comment on the planning aspects of the application by the Town Board’s July 25th comment deadline but the Board did direct Mr. Tegeder to send a memo to the Town Board of a more generic nature. The Town Board has scheduled a public hearing on the excavation permit for August 6.


10. Yorktown Farms

The Board reviewed the location of two more lots and will approve a resolution at its next meeting.


11. Dog Park at Sylvan Glen

On a referral from the Town Board prior to an August 6 public hearing on a wetlands application, the Planning Board reviewed the proposed location of a dog park in the existsing “classroom” area of the nature preserve.


Ann Kutter, the Board’s liaison to the Conservation Board, reported that the Conservation Board is opposed to the location for a number of reasons, including the impact on the nearby wetlands, the effect on local animal life, including box turtles, and the possibility that the dog park would encourage more off leash use of other parts of the nature preserve.


John Schroeder, speaking as a member of the Yorktown Land Trust and the Advisory Committee on Open Space said that both groups opposed the location saying that a dog park was not what was envisioned when the town acquired the property as a nature preserve. 


Calling attention to the inadequacy of the Town Board’s submission, Mr. Flynn noted that based on the submitted drawing, it was impossible to figure out exactly where the proposed dog park would be located within the preserve and its relationship to the hiking trail.


The Board will send a memo to the Town Board stating that it does not consider Sylvan Glen an appropriate location for a dog park and that the town should look for an alternate site.