July 16, 2012
Attending: Ann Kutter, Richard Fon, Darlene Rivera
1. Bartosch subdivision
The Board approved the first 90-day extension for the 2-lot subdivision. The applicant was not present.
2. Lake Osceola Realty Corp.
The Board opened a public informational hearing on the proposed 27,000 square foot office building off Hill Boulevard and abutting Lake Osceola. (See previous Planning Board meeting summaries for a full discussion of the project.) As explained by Al Capellini, the attorney for the applicant, the purpose of the hearing was to give interested parties an “early warning” about the project.
Mr. Capellini and Joe Riina of Site Design Consultants, the project’s engineer, gave a brief overview of the project, including architectural renderings showing how the building, which sits below Hill Boulevard, would be viewed from different vantage points. The building is being designed to conform to the requirements of the “country commercial” zone that it have a residential look. The architectural plans have not been reviewed yet by ABACA.
In response to Ms. Kutter’s question whether the applicant had made any changes in the public access to the lake as discussed at a previous work session, Mr. Riina said that no changes had been made to date and that the issue was still being reviewed.
Two property owners on East Main Street on the north side of the lake expressed concern about how the proposed project would affect the level of the lake. The general manager of Ceola Manor noted serious erosion problems on a portion of the Manor’s site. Both have experienced flooding in recent years. That led to a discussion of the uncertain “ownership” of the lake and who was responsible for cleaning the outlet to the lake. Mr. Capellini said that after the applicant does a one-time cleaning/clearing job to remove dead trees, limbs and garbage, it would be the town’s responsibility to keep the outlet clear. Because access to the outlet is limited and would likely require an inspection by rowboat, no one seemed to know if the outlet was possibly being restricted by a beaver dam. If it is, Mr. Capellini said, the DEC would have to get involved.
Patrick Francois, the Conservation Board’s liaison to the Planning Board, expressed his group’s concern that some of the seven mitigation measures proposed by the applicant (see prior meeting summaries) were more in the nature of amenities than replacing lost wetlands functions which, he said, was the more accurate meaning of mitigation.
The informational hearing was closed.
3. Sophia’s Pizzeria (Turco’s Shopping Center)
The restaurant has plans to expand into the space vacated by the stationery store. The applicant was before the Board because adding additional restaurant seating triggers a requirement in the zoning code for 10 additional parking spaces and there’s no room in the shopping center to add additional spaces.
It was pointed that when the shopping center was built in 1971, it was deemed “deficient” in parking. While some spaces were added after the center was built, it still remains technically deficient.
Noting that the lack of parking only becomes an issue during holiday times, that there is parking across the street in the vicinity of Burger King, and that the KFC space is currently vacant, Planning Director John Tegeder said he did not foresee a large or negative impact if the restaurant expansion was approved. The issue, he said, could be revisited, when the KFC space has a prospective new tenant.
The space vacated by Carvel is slated to become a chocolate shop.
The Board agreed to send a memo to the Building Inspector indicating that there are no planning issues preventing him from issuing the restaurant a building permit and that the Board will review the parking situation when there’s a request to renovate the KFC space.
4. IBM helistop
Representatives of IBM. Including the head of its aviation division and one of its helicopter pilots, answered a series of questions from the Board and two area residents.
IBM representatives explained the findings of the “noise” study they conducted in response to the Board’s earlier request. The study, which included monitoring noise from four different locations between 1,3000 to 2,000 feet from the proposed helistop, recorded all noises, from passing trucks to helicopter flybys at between 1,500 to 2,000 feet high – the height they would be flying at before making a rapid descent. Using the noise level produced by toilet flushing, showers, and dishwashers as a comparison, they said that the flyby actually generated less noise. They agreed than when helicopters flew low, at 500 feet, the noise was greater, but they assured the residents and the Board that their goal was to be “good neighbors” and that by controlling their maneuvers, they could limit the noise to area residents. They also explained that the impact of the landings and departures would be less than one minute.
In addition to their concern about the noise, the residents, citing the presence of two day care centers in the area, expressed concern about the possibility of a catastrophic happening. They also questioned why the visitors who would be arriving by helicopter couldn’t drive the 20 minutes from Westchester County airport. In response, IBM said that even though the helistop would likely be used for less than 10 trips a year, it was in the corporation’s interest to spend $500,000 to build it if it helped clinch billion dollar deals. He said that the trips would be for CEOs of major companies whose time to visit the site might be limited.
IBM explained that in the absence of any town law regulating helicopter landings, the machines were allowed to land anywhere in town. Historically, the company had used the field across Route 134 for landings. When it decided that it wanted to build an actual helistop, it approached the town and it was then decided that the Board would create a special permit provision in the zoning code for the OB zone.
The Board will set a public hearing on the special permit request for August. If the Board approves granting the permit, will be able to include conditions such as number of flights, times of day, and a requirement that a log be kept of resident complaints. As the permit would be subject to renewal , the log could be reviewed at renewal time.
Representatives came before the Board to show members a proposed modification in the site plan that was being made at the request of the DOT. Because the DEIS is close to being complete, the changes will be reflected in the FEIS (Final Environmental Impact Study). Once staff is satisfied that the DEIS is complete, it will be “accepted” by the Planning Board as complete and a public hearing on the document will be scheduled. Planning Director Tegeder said that the Board may be able to accept the DEIS as complete at its August meeting.
The changes eliminate a curved “slip ramp” entrance to the site from Route 202 and instead creates a straight entrance into the site. The change will allow Costco to make other changes in the parking lot configuration, including adding a larger green buffer along Route 202 and taking some parking spaces out of the wetlands buffer. The major change will be in relocating the gas pumps from one side of the parking lot to the other.
In response to questions from Paul Moskowitz about how many cars are expected to buy how much gas on a daily basis and how many fuel delivery trucks there would be, Costco representatives said that that information would be available in the DEIS.
Costco representatives also said that they were interested in having discussions with the Town about whether the stormwater detention area at the northern end of their site could be combined with adjoining DOT land to create a regional stormwater facility that could benefit downstream residents. The idea, which originated with Bruce Barber, the Town’s environmental consultant, would be over and above any plan designed to address stormwater issues solely for the Costco structure.
6.Temporary Building Permits
On a referral from the Town Board, the Board had a brief discussion about the proposed changes to the zoning code regulating temporary buildings, such as the proposed temporary sales office for the Fieldhome. On the recommendation of attorney Karen Wagner, the Board will send a memo to the Town Board suggesting that language be added regarding giving the property owner notice if the owner does not take down the structure within the set time limit and the town decides to take it down.
7. Building Permit renewals
On a referral from the Town Board, the Board had a short discussion about this proposed change to Chapter 15 of the Town Code. It was not clear to the Board why the changes were needed or what impact they would have. The Board will send a memo to the Town Board saying that they had no planning issues with the proposed amendments.