September 24, 2012
Attending: Ann Kutter, Richard Fon, John Savoca, John Flynn
1. Biffer Alterations (3631 Hill Boulevard)
The owner plans to convert the second floor office space of this existing building, built in the 1970s, into a yoga studio. While the proposed interior renovation would normally not require Planning Board review, the provisions of the Town’s Lighting Ordinance, enacted after the building was approved, triggered the need for the Board’s review of the lighting plan.
The plan calls for the installation of several new outdoor lighting fixtures in front of the building and in the parking lot, the eventual replacement of the remaining older fixtures in the parking lot, repaving and upgrading the parking lot and some new landscaping. There will be no changes to the original site plan.
The lighting plan was approved by the Board.
In a narrative document, the applicant documented that while the proposed new warehouse use would eliminate eight existing parking spaces from the original approved site plan, the reduction would not create a parking problem. Planning Director Tegeder noted that the original plan includes a provision for about 100 “conservation spaces,” i.e., an area set aside on the site plan for future parking spaces that could be created if and when there was a need for additional spaces. He noted that the site does not appear to have a shortage of parking spaces.
Citing the requirements of the special permit language in the Zoning Ordinance, Planning Board attorney Karen Wagner asked the applicant to submit additional information that would establish a “finding” for the record that the proposed use would not interfere with the operations of the existing tenants in the shopping center.
If the required information is submitted on time, the Board will hold a public hearing on the application on October 15.
3. Lake Osceola Realty
After a review of the Conservation Board’s memo, and based on additional input from Bruce Barber, the Board and the applicant reached a consensus on the following issues:
Public access: While the ownership of the lake remains unknown, in furtherance of the Comprehensive Plan that seeks to provide public access to the lake, Planning Director Tegeder asked that certain changes be made in the plan to assure future public access. He suggested that in addition to a planned 30 feet access strip to the lake along the southern boundary of the site (which connects to an easement on the abutting property which provides access to Hill Blvd), the applicant will put back in the plan, an easement to the lake from its parking lot. The additional access, Mr. Tegeder noted, would be helpful given likely future problems associated with the 30 feet easement. The applicant will also provide an easement or a deed to the Town a strip, approximately 50 feet wide, along the lakefront, but without a dock. Mr. Tegeder noted that the size and shape of this strip needed further definition, as well as the legal framework. He also wanted to see some indication on the plan that in the future there might be a public dock.
Mitigation. The latest plan includes the improvements to the Ceola Manor parking lot as previously discussed and removing invasive species from the wetland and wetland buffer in the north eastern corner of the parcel where the existing house and driveway are located. There is no plan for any offsite mitigation and no changes will be made to the lake outlet as the applicant’s consultants have not found any problems at the outlet. At the suggestion of Mr. Barber, the applicant will submit details for some additional plantings in the buffer area.
There was a brief discussion of how to interpret the requirements of the Town’s wetlands law, specifically the difference between the Town’s “no net loss” policy and a requirement that for every square foot of loss there be an equivalent square foot of mitigation. It was Mr. Barber’s contention that what mattered was the functional improvements to the site and not necessarily the square footage.
Flooding. Ms. Kutter expressed concern that there no mitigation measures were included in the latest plan that would address the lake flooding problem. Although the applicant’s stormwater plan will retain 125% of the stormwater from the site, it was acknowledged that the additional 25% retention will not have much impact on the lake. While the Conservation Board memo raised the possibility of creating a lake improvement district, there was no further discussion of this point.
Architecture. The Board briefly reviewed rendering of what the 3-story buildings with mansard roofs would look like. Mr. Tegeder advised the applicant to have the Building Department look at the plans to make sure that the plan conformed to the Town’s 35 foot height requirement.
Process. Planning Board Chairman Fon reminded the applicant to follow the Town’s planning process and have referrals to other advisory groups go through the Planning Department instead of the applicant going to the groups on its own. (The applicant is scheduled to appear before ABACA on September 26th.)
Once the Planning Board receives the additional mitigation information he requested, the Town will refer the plan to the DEC for its review. While the applicant was pressing for a public hearing date, Mr. Tegeder said that the hearing date could not be set until the plan had been referred out to the appropriate agencies with sufficient time for them to submit their comments. It was left undecided if this could be accomplished for an October 29th meeting or would have to wait until the Board’s first November meeting.
On behalf of Yorktown Smart Growth, Jonathan Nettlefield delivered a letter to Board requesting that the public be given 90 days instead of 30 days to review the DEIS before the public hearing was held. He said the group was concerned that the October 15 hearing could be closed before the public had sufficient time to read the document. The Planning Board did not comment on the letter.
5. Fieldstone Manor
Although not on the agenda, representatives of the applicant advised the Board of Supervisor Grace’s concern over the community center plan for a portion of the mansion and attorney Al Capellini repeated his client’s possible interest in a 17th lot in the event the future preservation of the tower becomes an issue. Before proceeding with more detailed plans, the applicant wanted to know if the Board still supported the original plan. The Board appeared to give the applicant the go ahead to proceed with the current plan.