August 12, 2013
Present: John Kincart, John Savoca, Darlene Rivera, Ann Kutter
Attorney Al Capellini advised the Board that the applicant has responded to all issues that arose at the DEIS hearing and that town staff is now reviewing the responses and additional reports.
1. Hilltop Associates
Approved the new plan, a first 90 day extension and a tree permit. As a condition of approval, the applicant will submit a letter indicating that there are no new environmental impacts; if anything, the reduction of one building lot will reduce the environmental impacts.
2. Sierra Bella
Granted another reapproval. The Board will not grant a wetlands permit until the plat is filed; to do so now would enable the applicant to commence work on the site.
4. Kitchawan Fire & Rescue Station
Approved a second 1-year extension while the fire accompany continues to revise the cost numbers for the interior of the building. There will be no changes to the site.
5. Dubovsky subdivision
The Board opened and closed a public hearing, leaving open a 10-day written comment period. There were no public comments.
6. Yorktown Auto Body
The Board opened and closed a Public Informational Hearing. The only speaker was a Peekskill resident who owns property on Summit Street abutting the site. Joe Riina, the applicant’s engineer, assured her that the applicant would work with her to “to make her happy” and would install landscaping around the 9’ retaining wall.
7. Savannah’s Restaurant
The Board opened and closed the Public Informational Hearing. The only comments were from the applicant’s architect, David Tetro . In response to a question from Mr. Savoca that related back to the earlier approval for I Luv My Kids, the applicant will review the reciprocal easement with the adjoining property owner. The agreement would alter egress from the site when the vacant site comes before the Board with a new site plan in order to provide a coordinated traffic plan.
8. Triangle Shopping Center
The Board approved the revised site plan.
9. Yorktown Farms
The Board approved revised layouts for two lots.
10. Dog Park
While the instant issue was the need for a wetlands permit, all agreed that the seminal issue on the table was the use of Sylvan Glen and whether it should be limited to passive recreation or could be a mixed use park facility.
Diana Quast, chairman of the Recreation Commission, advised the Board that the proposed plan has been found to be satisfactory by the DEC, which has issued a wetlands permit, and other habitat and wetlands consultants. The wetlands have also been delineated. The dog park area will be five feet from the existing hiking trail. She said the Commission is firmly behind this plan but was willing to consider other sites. In response to comments from John Schroeder, speaking for the Advisory Committee on Open Space (ACOS), she said the DEC did not require a long form Environmental Assessment Form.
When Mr. Savoca asked how many people currently use the park, the answers differed and Mr. Schroeder explained that there was more than one entrance to the park. Ms. Kutter,who said she frequents the park, and Mr. Schroede, both voiced concerns about environmental impacts, including ground cover and habitat issues. Mr. Schroeder also said that ACOS has a list of town owned properties and again invited members of the Dog Park Committee and the Recreation Commission to sit down with the group to review possible other locations.
Bruce Barber, the town’s environmental consultant, said that there were three issues that needed to be considered.
1. could the site be avoided. It was noted that 34 other sites had been reviewed and Ms. Quast had a spreadsheet listing the sites.
2. could the impact be minimized. He noted concerns over parking, noise and the number of people using the dog park. All appeared to agree that after the initial opening flurry, usage would drop off. Ms. Quast noted that the closest neighbors (about 500 feet away) supported the dog park.
3. what mitigation would be possible to offset the impact on the wetlands.
Mr. Rocco and Mr. Nettlefield, both members of the Dog Park Committee, spoke in favor of the location. Mr. Rocco pointed out that other possible sites the group looked at would cost the town money while there would be no out of pocket cost to the town at Sylvan Glen. Mr. Nettlefield said that the group had done its due diligence and that while there might be other locations, Sylvan Glen was the only location that was on the table for discussion.
Councilman Paganelli said he thought the proposed location was a good one but that some issues needed to be vetted. He asked Mr. Schroeder for a list of other possible sites but said that after 10 years he didn’t want to see the project kicked down the road again.
The Board agreed not to come to any decision until after it did a site visit to Sylvan Glen which will be on Saturday, August 24 at 10am.
12. Creative Living/Navajo Fields
After a contentious discussion, and when it became clear that the Board would not be approving the dome site plan that evening, the applicant, C.J. Diven, announced that he was withdrawing his application.
Starting off the discussion, Planning Director Tegeder advised the Board that on Monday he had visited the site, along with the town’s environmental code inspector and consultant, in order to determine the status of 12 conditions in the applicant’s February, 2013 wetlands permit issued by the Town Board. In his report, he noted that several issues still needed to be addressed. He said that the wetlands mitigation plan that was supposed to be submitted 60 days after the February approval, with the work completed by June, had actually only been submitted the previous Friday. It was also unclear how the mitigation plan addressed changes to the February plan necessitated by the new dome site plan.
In response, Mr. Capellini said that while each point “sounded terrible,” there was “more than meets the eye” and that the applicant had a lot on his plate and was doing the best he could. Mr. Diven stated that 95% of the required work had been completed and that some of the work could not be completed, such as work on stormwater detention ponds, until other construction was completed. He also said that different town staff was using different plans, resulting in additional confusion. He also explained that he had lost two months of work due to the weather and because he had to wait for rock from a nearby site in order to limit his costs.
Mr. Tegeder also expressed concern that some work that had already been done, such as grading, that was not on the previous wetlands plan or the current dome plan, and other items on the current plan, such as showing parking spaces at the entrance to the emergency ring road around the dome, were unacceptable and had to be changed. He advised the Board of the importance of making sure it was clear exactly what needed to be on the plan before the plan was approved.
While initially Mr. Kincart suggested that the Board approve the site plan with conditions, he later concurred with the opinions of the remaining Board members that given the applicant’s track record they were not inclined to accept his “promises” that the future work would be done. In response to Mr. Capellini’s comment that the applicant needed approval that evening in order for the project to move forward, Ms. Kutter said “Your emergency is not our emergency.”
Although Mr. Tegeder said that the remaining unresolved items boiled down to a few items, Mr. Diven felt that Mr. Tegeder was saying that the drawings from his consultants were in error. He said that “I’ve been instructed to [withdraw the application.]” He said he had spent seven years on the plan and about $140,000.
12. Staples Plaza.
Request to install additional retaining walls was withdrawn.
13. Mohegan Lake Motors
The Board heard the applicant’s request that instead of constructing an enclosure for a refuse dumpster at the rear of the site, the applicant be allowed to dispose of the site’s trash in garbage cans placed at the curb. On behalf of the applicant, Mr. Riina explained that given the limited use of the site as a showroom, the site wouldn’t generate sufficient trash to warrant the dumpster. The Board will approve a resolution amending the site plan at a future meeting.
14. Lake Osceola Square
After discussions with Planning Department staff, the applicant has moved the building closer the road in order to open up the space along the lakefront. The change, which will necessitate a variance from the Zoning Board, will create 21 parking spaces above the requirements that could be used to provide public access to the lake. The applicant would like the town to accept dedication of the lakefront area.
The applicant will submit a formal application and a Public Informational Hearing will be held in September.
15. Nelson Residence/Change in Conservation Easement
The owners are seeking an amendment to two existing conservation easements on their property in order to create more of a usable backyard. They said they didn’t understand the ramifications of the easements when they bought the property. One easement provides a buffer along London Road. The second, larger easement, abuts an intermittent stream at the rear of their property.
While the Board was sympathetic to the owners’ needs, it was also concerned about setting a precedent for modifying other conservation easements throughout town. Planning Director Tegeder said that such requests should be carefully reviewed and decided on a case-by-case basis.
Environmental Consultant Bruce Barber suggested that in this case an adjustment to the easement was warranted because it appeared that the path of the intermittent stream had changed over time and also that trees in the easement were dying and were hazardous and the area covered with invasive species. Based on a site visit, he’ll recommend a compromise adjustment in the easement line.
16. Broad Pines Subdivision/Broad St.
The owner of the property wants to abandon the undeveloped portion of this subdivision approved many years ago so that the performance bond cvan be released and he can get his money back. The exact amount was not known but it was implied that it was at least $10,000. Only one lot with two houses was developed on a septic system; the remaining lots were not developed because of the Hallocks Mill sewer moratorium.
Planning Director Tegeder explained that while there are provisions in state Town Law for the abandonment of approved but undeveloped subdivisions, there were no provisions in Yorktown’s law. The Planning Department will review possible options for how to proceed and report back to the Board.