Citizens for an Informed Yorktown


Planning Board Meeting

September 10, 2012


Attending:  John Kincart, John Savoca, Ann Kutter, Richard Fon, Darlene Rivera


Regular Session


1. Hilltop Associates

Attorney Al Capellini explained that due to DEP considerations, the previously approved 3-lot subdivision will be redesigned to eliminate one lot but that when the revised drawings are submitted to the Board, the possibility of a future third lot may be left open. The Board approved a second 90-day time extension to give the applicant more time to prepare the revised drawings.


2. Sierra Bella

Attorney Al Capellini explained that the applicant is still waiting for DEP’s legal department to approve the maintenance agreement for the private driveway.  In response to Paul Moskowitz’s request that the Board take a fresh look at the plan rather than grant an automatic reapproval, Mr. Fon noted that there have been no changes in stormwater regulations since the original plan was approved. When Mr. Moskowitz cited past problems with the property owner, it was pointed out that the property is now under new ownership. The Board voted to reapprove the subdivision.


3. Yorktown Auto Body

The Board approved a1-year time extension on a 1,500 SF addition to the existing shop. The applicant has received approval from the county Department of Health and is in the final stages of getting town approval for a building permit.


4. IBM Helistop

In a 5-0 vote, the Board approved granting a two year special permit that limits the number of flights to 18 per year, not counting emergency services use. The initial draft resolution included language for a one year permit but the Board felt that a two year permit was more appropriate given IBM’s substantial investment in constructing the helistop. The draft also limited the number of flights to 10 per year and was increased in response to Mr. Kincart’s question to IBM representatives: “Let us know now if that is adequate.” The representatives said that while they initially asked for 12 flights and would have preferred to have double the amount, they were satisfied with the 18 flight limitation.


Ms. Kutter and Mr. Kincart noted that IBM had been very responsive to residents’ concerns about noise and flight pattern issues. A letter from the county assured the Board that the helistop would in no way impact the county airport.

5. Costco

The Board voted 4-0  (Ms. Kutter recused herself) to accept the DEIS as complete and to set a public hearing on the DEIS for October 15.  Copies of the 2200 page DEIS can be obtained from the Planning Department, will be available on the Town’s web site,, and copies will be available at the John C. Hart Library.


In response to the concerns of some residents that they will not have sufficient time to review the lengthy document and prepare comments by October 15, Planning Board chairman Richard Fon asked the public to “trust me,” adding that the DEIS would  not be “blasted through” and that the public hearing could be extended if more time was needed for the Board to hear comments.  The hearing starts on October 15, he said; it doesn’t end on the 15th. In addition, once the Board votes to close the public hearing, written comments will be accepted for 10 additional days.


There was also a brief discussion of whether the preliminary DEIS should have been made available to the public so that residents would have had more time to review the document and prepare their commentss prior to the public hearing. A resident stated that his FOIL request for the document had been denied by the Planning Department. In response, Kevin Ryan, the Board’s attorney for the project, stated that the resident was correct when he said that the SEQRA Handbook states that  the preliminary DEIS should have been made available to the public. The attorney added, however, that as a practical matter, reviewing the preliminary DEIS would not have saved the resident much time as the DEIS that was accepted by the Board was “changed dramatically” from the original document.


Work Session


6. Autoparts International

The Board reviewed the site plan for a special permit to permit a warehouse use of a 6,000 SF portion of the lower level of the Staples Center building.  Entrance to the business will be from the rear of the building. The business is currently located on Front Street but wants more space. Although the business sells auto parts to garages and repair facilities within a 10-15 mile radius and is not a typical “retail” business, it will fill orders from area hobbyists who stop in.  Because the plan includes the elimination of about eight parking spaces, Planning Director John Tegeder asked to see the original approved site plan for the shopping center to make sure that the reduced number of parking spaces wasn’t contrary to the approved plan.  The Board also wanted to make sure that the warehouse plan did not preclude any future warehouse use for the remaining vacant space on the lower level.  A public hearing on the special permit request was scheduled for October 16.


7. Lake Osceola Realty Corp.

Steve Marino, the applicant’s environmental planner, presented his functional analysis of the site’s wetlands.


Much of the remaining discussion focused on the possible wetlands mitigation measures for the site, with a special focus on which mitigation measure/s would provide the “public benefit” that DEC regulations require then a state regulated wetland is impacted. The site plan provides for 125% retention of stormwater from the site.


Potential public access dock: Joe Riina, the applicant’s engineer, showed a revised site plan that included a second possible location for a dock that would provide public access to the lake. While the new location required a longer path from the parking lot to the lakefront, it had less vegetation than the first location and hence would have  less impact on the wetlands. Citing potential nighttime problems with teenagers using the dock, Planning Board members Kutter and Kincart said they did not support the dock concept and Mr. Marino said that DEC did not like the dock idea. Mr. Kincart added that he thought the dock would be a detriment to the planned office building.  Planning Director Tegeder pointed out that the Comprehensive Plan calls for providing public access to the Town’s open spaces and that while he appreciated the concern about the dock’s possible nuisance factor, he suggested that the Board not preclude any future public  access to the lake. He suggested that if the Board ultimately decides not to require the dock as part of the approved site plan, that a notation be made on the map, as a guide to future boards, about a possible dock.  Even without the dock, the plan is to deed a strip of land abutting the lake to the Town.


Off site mitigation: At the suggestion of Supervisor Grace, the applicant looked at the possibility of  something being done in the vicinity of Lewis and Fairview Avenues to address a flooding situation in section of Jefferson Village. Mr. Riina explained that because the plan for that site, developed by the Village’s engineer, was complicated, his client was prepared to put some money into an escrow fund that could be used if and when that plan went forward. He cautioned, however, that the plan was a major infrastructure project and that just doing part of the plan would only be a bandaid.  Mr. Tegeder also noted that that plan involved increasing the flow into the detention pond at Hill Blvd. and Route 6 which was adjacent to the outfall of Lake Osceola and that the pond might not have the capacity to receive any additional flow.  As part of the discussion, Mr. Marino reported that he did not find any obstructions at the lake’s outfall. 


Other  potential problems  raised with this mitigation suggestion included the possible time delay needed to get the JVOC’s approval of the project and who would maintain any future infrastructure improvements, the Town of JVOC.  Also, if money was put into an escrow fund for the improvement, what would happen to the money if the Town never proceeded with the project. 


Alternate off site mitigation measures that were identified including funding a study of the Shrub Oak Brook (the lake outfall goes into the brook) and flooding issues in the vicinity of Gambrill Village. Ms. Kutter and Mr. Fon both expressed the opinion that they would prefer to see possible off site mitigation measures that might help the lake and flooding in Jefferson Valley.


After Mr. Marino discussed other mitigation measures that had the support of the Board, Mr. Tegeder suggested that the list may be sufficient to show a sufficient “public benefit.”  It should be up to the Town, he said, to identify the potential benefits and then have DEC review them as opposed to leaving it up to DEC to suggest what the benefits might be.


The applicant will present the wetlands functional analysis to the Conservation Board and return to the Planning Board at the end of the month for further discussion of identifying and prioritizing the mitigation measures. The plan will also be referred to the Recreation Commission.


8. IBM Fiberoptic cable

Although no representatives from IBM attended the meeting, after a brief discussion, the Board determined that it would send a memo to the Town Board stating that it had no planning issues with the referral.


9. Church of the Latter Day Saints


Planning Director Tegeder said that his department wanted to review the original site plan for the church to make sure that the proposed improvements conformed to the original plan and whether the damage to the parking lot that was in need of repair could or should be dealt with by making any modifications to the site’s existing drainage plan. If the department’s review shows that everything is in order, the Board can send a memo to the Town Board which is the approval authority for the permit.  (See Town Board meeting, August 14, 2012)


10. Bostinto Property

On a referral from the Town Board, the Planning Board determined that no planning issues were involved in the request of the property owner to convey property to the Town. The property is located on Saw Mill River Road (Route 35) in the vicinity of Willoway. (See Town Board meeting, August 7, 2012)