September 8, 2014
Attending: John Savoca, John Kincart, John Flynn, Darlene Rivera, Richard Fon, Ann Kutter
1. Kiederer subdivision
In an item not on the agenda, the board accepted a recommendation from the Planning Department that the subdivision plat be signed but that no site work be commenced until a SWPP was approved.
2. Crompond Crossing
In an item not on the agenda, the board agreed with the building inspector that the proposed relocation of a crosswalk designation between the stores and the townhouses was not safe and needed to be redesigned. Planning staff will work with the developer on a new plan.
3. Grotto Holding
The board approved the site plan. The applicant’s architect said that the new owner still has not signed any tenants for the new retail space.
4. Teatown Auxiliary Parking Lot
(See Planning Board, 8-11-2014.) The board approved the site plan
5. Empire Hunan
(See Planning Board, 8-11-2014.) The board approved the amended site plan.
6. Staples Plaza
The applicant’s engineer presented a slightly modified plan for the “middle” building, the former location of Emigrant Savings Bank. The new plan keeps the sidewalk around two sides of the building but changes the parking area. The board was in general agreement with the changes but asked that more landscaping be incorporated into the plan. The engineer will make some changes and return to the board.
The shopping center owner is still looking for a tenant/s for the building.
7. Costco FEIS review
The board continued its page by page review, completing up to section 3E.
At the September 22 work session, the board will review sections up to “J,” including stormwater and fauna.
A special meeting will be held on September 30 to review the traffic section, and any remaining sections. (Time and location for this meeting to be announced.)
Following the pattern set at the August meeting, the goal of the review session was to flag items that the board will want to address in the SEQRA “Findings” statement, including what conditions it might want to include, and also to say where the board might agree or disagree with some of the statements made by Costco in its response to comments made at the DEIS public hearing. It was noted that many of the statements were “assertions” by Costco and the board could consider them contrary to the “facts.” Mr. Tegeder noted that if the board feels it needs more data before deciding on a specific issue, this was its last opportunity to ask Costco for the data.
It was also noted that some issues are covered in more than one section of the document.
Among the issues reviewed/discussed were:
Green roof. Costco said a green roof was not practical given other energy saving measures it planned to incorporate into the design. Mr. Flynn suggested that a green roof was feasible with these other measures, such as skylights, and Lisa Hochman, the board’s attorney noted that the board could include a statement about green roofs in the Findings statement if it has a basis for making the statement.
Need for gas pumps. Costco said that eliminating the gas pumps from its plan would not meet its objectives. It was also explained by Planning Director Tegeder and Ms. Hochman that gas pumps are considered a main use in a C-3 commercial district and would not or should not be considered an accessory use.
Comprehensive Plan/zoning. Mr. Flynn noted that once the Town Board set the C-3 zone for the site, the Planning Board had no option but to consider an application that conformed to the requirements of that zone – which the Costco application did. Ms. Hochman added that the zoning has to be consistent with the Comprehensive Plan but not “slavishly” so. Mr. Tegeder noted that the Planning Board had been involved in the development of the Comprehensive Plan. And, when discussing a separate issue, he suggested that the board could look back at the Findings Statement when the Comprehensive Plan was adopted in 2010.
Screening. Especially as it related to the view from the southbound lanes of the Taconic Parkway, it was noted that “screening” did not mean “obscuring.”
Lighting. It appeared from the comments that Costco was dismissing the concern about the impact of the lights on the night sky although Mr. Tegeder noted that the company had not supplied any data to back up its assertions.
Impact on local businesses. The board didn’t appear to accept Costco’s statement that it would not negatively impact on local businesses, but Mr. Flynn added that it was difficult to prove this point, one way or the other. He added that in the Findings statement, the board could either rely on Costco’s studies or other available studies.
Transportation. When Mr. Flynn commented on the response that appeared to involve a reliance on cars, Mr. Kincart took exception to the fact that Mr. Flynn was commenting on the response to the comment he made at the DEIS hearing; he felt that as a member of the Planning Board, Mr. Flynn should not have made a comment at the hearing. Ms. Hochman, however, said there was nothing improper about Mr. Flynn having made the initial comment.
Density. Flagged for further discussion was the question was the question of the overall density of development in the Bear Mountain Triangle area and whether the increased density for the Costco site would be offset by lower density in other areas.