September 22, 2014
Attending: John Savoca, John Kincart, Ann Kutter, Darlene Rivera, Richard Fon
1. Staples Middle Building
Rob Aiello, project engineer, reviewed changes to the landscape and parking plans as per the board’s comments at the previous meeting. Satisfied that its concerns had been addressed, the board voted unanimously to approve the amended site plan.
There was no discussion of who the future tenants might be.
2. BJ’s/Staples Center Gas Pumps
On a referral from the Town Board, the Planning Board heard a presentation from Mr. Steinmetz and Mr. Aiello on behalf of John Meyer Consulting. Mr. Steinmetz advised the board that the rezoning request had been well received by the Town Board and that the other tenants in the shopping center was supportive of the plan. His comment that the Conservation Board also supported the plan was corrected by Ms. Kutter who said that the Conservation Board saw no environmental issues with the application but did not come out in support of it.
Mr. Tegeder explained that the major differences between the current C-1zone and requested C-3 zone was that the latter permitted gas stations by special permit, as well as auto dealerships and warehousing. As other parcels in the immediate vicinity are already zoned C-3, the general feeling of the board was that the zone change made sense and did not constitute spot zoning.
The facility, which would include a 200 sq. ft. building for an attendant, would sell only gas, and only to BJ members. The canopy would be 4,100 sq. ft. Together with the proposed 4,000 sq. ft. bank building on the other side of the entrance (no tenant has been identified), there would be a slight decrease in the overall amount of pervious surface. The facility would be open from 6:30am to ½ hour after the store closing time. It was anticipated that there would be one fuel delivery per day and that the delivery would take approximately ½ hour.
The plan calls for additional landscaping around both the fueling area and new building as well as along Route 202.
The Planning Board appeared generally supportive of the plan but did express concern over the location of the proposed tanker refueling truck area: just south of and parallel to the existing east-west roadway. The board’s concerned dealt primarily with visibility issues. The applicant agreed to consider other possible locations for the refueling operation.
One outstanding issue was whether there would be separate SEQRA reviews for the rezoning request for the gas pumps (the bank building would only require an amended site plan) and the site plan to follow, or the rezoning and site plan should be reviewed together in a single SEQRA process. On one hand, Mr. Steinmetz pointed out that the applicant could not file a formal site plan until the property was rezoned. Planning Board members, however, felt that they needed at least a conceptual site plan in order to properly comment on the rezoning request.
The Planning Department will prepare a letter listing some of the concerns that will likely have to be addressed as part of the SEQRA process, including stormwater, site plan, traffic and the refueling area,. The applicant is expected to return to the board in October.
3. Crompond Terraces
Mr. Tegeder raised the process issue of whether there should be one or two SEQRA reviews; one for the rezoning and one for the site plan. In response, Mr. Ciarcia said there was no clear answer and he would look to the town for guidance. Mr. Kincart pointed out that once the parcels are rezoned, the current developer Roy Biaitta, could change the plan or sell the land to someone else who had a different plan but that the Planning Board would have no choice but to approve a site plan that conformed to the existing zoning. Even Mr. Biaitta pointed out that the 96 units he was requesting was less than what would be allowed in the RSP-1 zone, but he did not state was the difference was.
In response to Mr. Kincart’s concern over the condition of Old Crompond Road, Mr. Biaitta said he was aware of the fact that improvements would have to be made, adding that he has already spoken to the Costco people about this as Costco plans to run its sewer line along the road. He didn’t see the road as a major issuie.
In response to a question from the board’s attorney, Mr. Ciarcia said that market studies showed a demand for the planned 55+ age restricted units. The sloped nature of the property and its appropriateness for a senior development was touched on briefly. In response, Mr. Biaitta indicated that there would be regarding.
Mr. Tegeder raised the question of how much detail the board would need in order to give a recommendation to the Town Board on the rezoning request. (The Town Board is the lead agency on the rezoning request.) There are “endless questions,” he said. Short of detailed engineering studies, how far should this be studied, he asked. He pointed out the need to consider other proposed projects in the area and how they related to and connected with each other: the BJs gas pumps, the proposed CVS/bank building plan, and the possibility that the “Exxon” parcel in front of the proposed site could be developed. When Mr. Biaitta said the Exxon parcel was a wetland and would not be developed, Mr. Tegeder said that a development plan had come close to getting financing.
While the board seemed to agree that half acre single family development wasn’t the best possible use for the 20+acres, and that some type of mixed use made sense, there was no agreement on exactly what that mix should be. Mr. Kincart supported the senior housing but expressed concern over the commercial uses, which Mr. Biaitta said would be professional offices.
The Planning Department will draw up a list of issues for which more information is needed.
A homeowner on Old Crompond Road whose property is not part of the proposed plan said he objected to the plan. His house is located next to the proposed senior center and pool and he felt the value of his property would decrease if next to those more intense uses. Mr. Fon advised him to monitor future Planning Board and Town Board meetings.
The Board went into closed session for the “advice of counsel.” The subject matter was not identified.
(Note: Both Karen Wagner, the board’s regular attorney, and Lisa Hochman, the board’s attorney for the Costco application were present for the closed session.)
Costco FEIS review
Before beginning its review, Mr. Fon announced that the board had received a letter from the Willngham Engineering firm related to stormwater. In response to a question from Mr. Capellini, Ms. Hochman stated that the public comment period was closed. The content of the letter was not discussed.
Flora & fauna chapter. Mr. Fon noted that there were many good comments in this section and agreed with the responses that said that the Planning Board would review the issues as part of its site plan review. There was virtually no discussion about the chapter which Mr. Fon labeled a “quiet chapter.”
Wetlands, ground water, surface water: There was little discussion, and in general Mr. Fon noted that based on the responses Costco has made some changes to the plan (the nature of the changes was not identified).
Stormwater: Mr. Fon read a memo from Mr. Flynn who was not at the meeting. In his memo, Mr. Flynn raised questions about benzene and other pollutants getting into the Hunter Brook. In response, Bruce Barber, the town’s environmental consultant, explained that in its Findings Statement, the board could require post development monitoring. He also noted that there would be other post development DEC monitoring requirements. Mr. Fon noted that based on the comments at the DEIS hearing, Costco had made many technical changes to the stormwater plan and that the new plan provides a much better stormwater system.
The board will meet again to continue, and possibly complete, the FEIS review on TUESDAY, September 30, at 7:15pm at the YCCC. The major topic for review will be traffic.