Citizens for an Informed Yorktown



Planning Board

Monday, September 21, 2015  


Present: Richard Fon, Chairman; John Savoca;  John Kincart



1. Envirogreen Associates/Public Informational Hearing
In describing the proposed project, the applicant emphasized that the elimination of some existing curb cuts on Route 6 and the provision of a vehicle roadway from Lakeland Ave. connecting this site with those to the east and west would help ease congestion on Route 6.  The applicant claims this is in keeping with the Town Master Plan.  Easement issues with the neighboring property owners have not yet been resolved.  A wetland will be constructed in the northeast corner of the site, which will provide 75% mitigation of the necessary wetland incursion.  The remainder of the mitigation will be covered by the proposed treatment of Route 6 run off before it flows into the wetland.  Currently there is no treatment of Route 6 run off.  Both Town and DEC wetland permits are required.

Mr. Capellini, attorney for the applicant, gave a historical overview of the treatment of wetlands in the Route 6 corridor.  He said that when the Town purchased the wetland on the south side of Route 6, behind and on the Winery at St. George property, it was with the understanding that future developers, whose projects would further encroach on Route 6 corridor wetlands, could pay a monetary contribution to the Town which would help mitigate their wetland disturbance and offset some of the Town’s cost for the purchase of the St. George wetland.  Mr. Capellini hoped this provision could come into play with the Envirogreen project.

Questions and Comments from the public:

Marc Saidel of Saidel and Saidel P.C., attorney for the property owner to the west, asked if the roadway connecting the three properties from Lakeland Ave. to Route 6 could be put in place without easements from his client.  He said his client understood there would be shared parking with the Envirogreen site as well as his neighbors to the north and west, but thought this was very different than a thru roadway.  He thinks the roadway will put excessive traffic onto his property and set up dangerous, inconvenient conditions for his tenants.  The Planning Board recognized Mr. Saidel’s client’s concern and emphasized that no decision about the roadway has been reached.  Ms. Georgiou, counsel for the Planning Board, declined to comment on the easement situation.

Tim Mallon, owner of the property to the east on the corner of Route 6 and Lakeland Ave., reiterated his contention that he never agreed to an easement for a roadway through his property.  At the time of his site plan approval, he only agreed to provide access through his property from Lakeland Ave. to the 2000 sq ft Dana Cole property directly to the west, not traffic for an entire strip of commercial buildings, as proposed by Envirogreen.  He said the extra traffic would make his property worthless and accused the Town of not dealing in good faith.  The Planning Board emphasized that nothing had been decided yet, that no comments could be made on the legality of the situation and that the Planning Board was obligated to review any project submitted.

Jeanette McGrath, representing Goldblatt and Associates which is a law firm located across Route 6 from the Envirogreen site, asked what kinds of tenants are expected, the time frame for the construction, whether any closings of Route 6 are anticipated and about the prospects of empty buildings.  Neither the Planning Board nor the applicant had any answers at this point.

Rick Cipriani, the principal of Envirogreen Associates, commented that his only intent in proposing the thru roadway is to help alleviate Route 6 congestion as per the Planning Board’s request, not to create unsafe conditions, and that he would readily eliminate the roadway from the project if directed by the Planning Board.

The Public Informational Hearing was closed.

2. Hanover Corner Inc./Public Informational Hearing
The site currently has only 3 parking spaces, located off the driveway leading from Commerce St. to the garage at the rear. These spaces will be kept for the use of residential tenants and the property owner.  The proposal is for 15 new parking spaces (13 are required), accessed by a new, two-way access further to the west.  This second access, meant for the public, has much better sight distance.  The footprint of the building will stay the same.  The sidewalk along Commerce St. will be extended.  The project needs DEP approval of its underground storm water detention plan.

There were no questions from the public, and the Public Informational Hearing was closed.     

3. Marathon Development Group/ Public Informational Hearing
The site is bordered by the Shell gas station, a dentist’s office, the empty Food Emporium building and commercial building across Kear St.  According to Mr. Capellini, attorney for the applicant, this site held a farmhouse 35-40 years ago, but has been vacant since then.  He maintained that the proposed combination of commercial and residential uses is consistent with other parcels in the center of Town and is a good way to revitalize this “forgotten” area.  The residential units will be affordable housing.  Parking is an issue with this proposal.  The building size requires 38 parking spaces, but in a mixed use development, the Planning Board has the discretion to grant a 25%, bringing the required number to 29 spaces.  The proposed plans show 27 spaces, so the applicant would need a variance to eliminate 2 spaces.  The applicant hopes these allowances would be made, but is looking into reducing the size of the building and reconfiguring the site.

Public Comments and Questions:

Ed Ciffone, Yorktown resident, stated that he was opposed to affordable housing.  He pointed to the situation with the Underhill Crossing development where the affordable housing designation had been eliminated, causing rents to increase and forcing tenants out of their homes.  He also questioned “what type of people” affordable housing brings into the Town.

Tony Grasso, Yorktown resident, pointed out that retail development is good for the Town because it provides sales tax revenue.  He also explained that affordable housing usually has a 50 year contract, which expired in the case of Underhill Crossing, allowing the rent increases mentioned by Mr. Ciffone.

The Public Informational Hearing was closed.   

4. Ianuzzi subdivision/ Public Informational Hearing
 The site currently has 3 lots with 3 residences and assorted garage structures.  The proposal is to amalgamate the lots and re-subdivide into 4 lots using the Town’s flexibility standards.  As required, the applicant showed the layout for a conventional 4 lot subdivision.  The site can easily accommodate 4 lots in this R1-60 zone, but a conventional subdivision requires an access road built to Town specifications, which would detract from the rural character of the site, is at odds with the site’s topography and would require the removal of some structures.  Under flexibility standards, the road would not have to be a standard town road, although it would be improved to meet code standards for emergency vehicle access.  The proposal is for 4 lots, one existing house would be removed and replaced, 2 existing houses would remain and one new house would be built.  DOH approval is required for the septic systems and wells.

Public Questions and Comments:

Ed Ciffone, Yorktown resident, asked about increased tax burden generated by the proposed project.  The Planning Board responded that obviously someone’s taxes would go up since two new residences would be built.

The Public Informational Hearing was closed.    


5. Taconic Veterinary Clinic and Canine Kindergarten
In its review of the landscaping for this project, ABACA noticed a note on the plans indicating that the project included more parking spaces than actually required for the size of the building.  Therefore ABACA directed the applicant to include more landscaping in place of the excess parking.  This was a misunderstanding on ABACA’s part because the applicant really does need the parking shown for its particular building use.  Nevertheless, the applicant worked to meet the ABACA requirements without eliminating any parking spaces.  This compromise included large planters along Route 202 instead of in ground plantings, which would be ruined by the canine clients, and a

4 ft vinyl fence with planter boxes for screening with the neighbor to the east, rather than in ground plantings in a 1 ft wide strip.  The Planning Board approved these changes and will sign off on them.

6. Ryder Subdivision/Underhill Ave.
(See Planning Board, 3-11-2015.) A revised plan shows the new house relocated to a better, flatter location which also allows the septic system to be moved out of the wetland buffer.  There will be gravity flow into the primary septic system, but the expansion system will require pumping.  The applicant will petition the DOH to allow the expansion area to be kept uncleared until needed, thus maintaining more natural vegetation on the site.  The Planning Board approved of these changes.

7. Costco Wholesale
The Planning Board and a team for the applicant went over a whole pile of reports and comment letters.  The Planning Department is working on a draft of the resolution to approve the project.  According to the SEQR law, a decision must be reached 62 days after the close of the public comment period, which means it is due at the October 19th or November 9th Planning Board meeting, although the deadline can be extended with mutual consent.  Mr. Tegeder thinks the deadline can be met, but emphasizes that the project is complex, the review process lengthy and that there are often last minute requirements by agencies such as DOT and DEP.  He asked the Planning Board to be thinking about the conditions it wants to include in the resolution and what factors should be highlighted.

Although the Town Board approved the lighting plan, there was discussion about the lighting at the Old Crompond Rd/Route 202 corner.  According to Mr. Tegeder, it’s undesirable that the source of lighting be visible from Route 202.  The applicant maintained that the height of the light poles and landscape screening would buffer the lighting impact on Route 202.  There was discussion about the growth rate of the proposed landscape plantings, but it was agreed that this was only important in the context of providing screening for the lighting.  The applicant will meet with Mr. Tegeder to convince him the lighting is adequately screened.

In response to comments about parking spaces, the applicant is providing a work up summarizing the numbers, types and sizes of parking spaces.  It also has simulations showing that a 17 ft long vehicle can maneuver through all the spaces and lanes at the filling station.

ABACA comments indicate that it approves of 25 ft light poles in the site’s interior, but 16 ft at the perimeter and entry.  It also approves of the detail of the timber (rather than metal) guide rails, but has questions about siding still shown on some of the building elevations.  The Costco team will meet with ABACA to resolve this.

Most of the CAB concerns have already been addressed in the EIS.  The Costco team maintains that 36 sq ft tree wells are sufficient, although the CAB asks they be larger.  Vernal pools mentioned by the CAB will be protected because a proposed wall will preserve more natural areas.

The TCAC has concerns about landscaping and the tree survey.  The Costco team agrees with some of these, but will dialog with the TCAC about others.  It was mentioned that some of the comments from the various advisory boards conflicted with each other.

The Costco team will address comments made by DEP and meet with Mr. Tegeder to work out the “nuts and bolts” of the DEP concerns.  The team pointed out that the Costco site includes << 1% of the Hunter Brook drainage basin and that the project will actually improve storm water run off and treatment conditions.

Mr. Kincart asked about a connection to the bike path and the status of a historical building on the site.  These are issues of concern to some Planning Board members, so he wanted to know if these points had been resolved and wouldn’t re-emerge at the 11th hour.  Mr. Tegeder said that, although he is sensitive to the need to preserve historic structures, he didn’t see any value in the one in question.  Also, a connection to the bike path will not be done.  It was agreed that these two decisions would be formally summarized and included in the record and not left “dangling” as open issues.

There was discussion about the removal of invasive species.  The applicant agreed to do it along the perimeter of its site, but Mr. Tegeder suggested this be extended to include the perimeter of FDR Park along the Taconic.  The applicant was resistant to this idea.

The Costco team said it would hold off fully responding to DEP and DOT requests for information until the plans had been finalized and very specific, useful information could be provided.  Mr. Tegeder thought this was a mistake, given the Town’s experience with these agencies requiring substantial redesign at the last minute.

Because energy consumption and green technology has been a topic of much public interest, Mr. Tegeder asked Costco for a written list of all the “green technology” that will incorporated so this can be included in the draft resolution.

The Costco team will meet with Mr. Tegeder next week.   

8. Stone Gate/Bridle Ridge
SBL: 16.10-2-64
Building Department Referral

Contact: Planning Department
Description: Review of the rear yard setback requirement in developments that were approved using the flexibility standards.

A resident of the existing Stone Gate complex applied to the Building Department for a permit to add a deck attached to the back of his unit.  The Building Inspector determined that a deck is an accessory structure that required a 10 ft side yard set back.  The side yards don’t have that much space.  Mr. Tegeder asked if the Planning Board wanted to relax the flexibility standards or require a modified site plan every time this sort of application came in.  Similar situations apply to the Bridle Ridge subdivision and also with respect to garden sheds.  The Planning Board decided 4 ft would be sufficient side and back yard set back.

9. Spirelli Electric
SBL: 16.01-1-44
Discussion Approved Site Plan

Location: 990 East Main Street
Contact: Planning Department
Description: Modifications to approved site plan.

(See Planning Board, 9/9/2013; 9/23/2013; 10/7/2013) This project was not built as specified in its approved site plan.  There are fewer plantings at the entrance, less screening with the neighbors and the dumpster enclosure has been moved.  Although the changes are minor, Mr. Tegeder asked if the Planning Board would require an amended site plan.  Mr. Kincart pointed out that the Planning Board was aiming for a village feel in this area, not a commercial strip look.  Planning Board members will drive by the site to see if it looks “okay”.  The developer will be required to provide a written memo detailing how the “as built” differs from the site plan.