Planning Board, 6-11-2018
The applicant explained the revised plan would accommodate 38 additional students and 3 more staff members. The existing number of parking spaces is sufficient; actually two more than required. The traffic consultant explained that the impact would be less, given fewer students.
Jay Kopstein questioned the safety aspects of drivers crossing traffic to turn into or out of the site and asked if the curb cuts could be designed to eliminate those turns. He said that signage prohibiting the turns was not adequate. Mr. Tegeder explained that while the applicant could post no turn signs, and no turns could be noted on the site plan, the applicant could not issue any tickets if drivers made the turns.
A member of the abutting church expressed concern about a drainage problem that creates muddy conditions for parishioners. In response, Mr. Riina explained that given the site’s physical limitations, there was little he could do to correct the situation but he would see what could be done. The church representative said that clarification was also needed about dual use of weekend, adding that the church would not sign a new easement for the shared parking until both issues were resolved.
John MacDonald from Hamblyn Street expressed concern about the availability of parking for special events, questioning whether Verizon would agree to the same parking terms as Chase.
Planning Board, 5-21-2018
The applicant has submitted a scaled down plan for the addition, from an estimated 18,000 sf addition to 10,000 sf, or 3 times the existing size instead of 5 times. Although the public did not have an opportunity to see the revised plan, based on the brief discussion, it appeared that the addition would be mostly visible in the rear of the existing building. Because of the reduced size, the applicant is dropping two proposed new programs and the number of students will be increased to 104, compared to the 66 now served. Given the types of programs, the applicant did not anticipate any additional parking needs, although it is working with the abutting church on its existing agreement for the shared use of the lot. The board will review the revised plan after the Planning Department has had an opportunity to review the plan. A Public Hearing will be held on June 11.
Planning Board, 6-12-2017
During courtesy of the floor at the beginning of the televised portion of the meeting, a resident whose children attend the school spoke in support of the project. He was speaking for a large number of other parents (with their children) who were in the audience. During the work session, architect Michael Piccirillo asked for guidance from the board on the bulk issue; he said he didn’t want to proceed with more detailed plans until he had guidance from the board. The consensus of the board was that while the project and the expansion plans were laudable, there was concern about the mass of the building and the board asked the applicant to review her space needs.
The board’s attorney also raised issues about the shared parking agreement the school has with the church which the attorney said appeared never to have been filed with the count; the failure to file meant that the agreement would not be binding on future owners of the church. He added that the agreement was vague on the number of shared spaces. The applicant said she believed the agreement had been filed and will review the issue with her attorney. The board’s attorney offered to meet with her attorney to resolve this issue.
Issues were also raised about the landscaping business that is being operated from the house on the other side of the school and whether it was legal.
The board was also concerned about parking on the site.
Hamblyn Street resident John McDonald also spoke in opposition to the proposed addition to the school that’s currently before the Planning Board, citing mostly traffic and parking problems. Supervisor Grace noted that there were some issues with the plan’s overall lot coverage.
The item was pulled as the applicant was not prepared
The applicant gave the board a detailed description of how each room would be used and how it was needed to provide a more comprehensive and efficient array of services to different groups of children and also meet state licensing requirements. The applicant again stated that she had contracted the neighboring property owners and none had an issue with the plan. Mr. Kincart called the school’s proposed services a “fantastic” idea but added that he was still thinking about the rest of the plan.
Most of the discussion focused on traffic, parking, ingress and egress, and fire evacuation procedures. The applicant will provide the Fire Board with a written narrative of its evacuation plan that utilizes the two properties on either side of the school: the church and the Androkso property. While the school has a written easement agreement with the former, the board suggested that the applicant get something in writing from the latter.
Phil Grealy, the applicant’s traffic consultant, advised the board that the addition would not likely add any new trips to Route 202 and that the school’s traffic would not be in peak hours. When the school holds special events, it utilizes neighboring properties, e.g., the Chase Bank and Freyers, for parking.
The applicant made a lengthy oral presentation on why the additional space was needed and how the space would be used. The board asked for the information in writing. Depending on the time of day and types of programs, the number of children will increase from 66 to 136. The children will come and go, but the total number at any one time will not exceed 136.
The applicant said she had explored other sites but found none. She also said that she had spoken to her neighbors and that they have no problem with the addition plan.
Phil Grealy, the applicant’s traffic consultant, reviewed the access and parking management plan that will use the driveway and parking spaces of the adjoining church. Concern was raised about fire truck access, particularly the movements required for the truck to exit the site. The applicant will have to review this. Concern was also expressed about the possibility of back ups on Route 202 while cars were entering the site. The applicant was asked to factor in to its traffic study the proposed new nearby 36 unit multi family development. The board’s lawyer also asked to see the easement agreement with the church for the shared access and parking.
Board members expressed their concern about the mass of the proposed addition as well as concerns about traffic and the need for a traffic management plan. There was also a memo from the Fire Advisory Board that appeared to raise some safety issues. When Michael Piccarillo, the project’s architect, complained that this was the first time the board had expressed concern about the size of the proposed addition, Mr. Tegeder challenged that statement saying that the proposed mass has been an issue since the initial presentation last year. Mr. Kincart said that while he supported the use, he felt that the proposed addition to was too much for the site, adding that the existing use even needs to rely on the adjoining church for parking and traffic management. In response, the applicant said that the present site was the only one available to them,
The applicant was asked to provide more information about traffic created at different times of the day by the day care and afterschool uses, employee parking needs, and plans to possibly increase the programming for the afterschool program.
The board agreed with Mr. Quinn’s suggestion that before dealing with the building mass issue, that he arrange a meeting to go over the traffic issue with the fire inspector prior to the next board meeting. Planning Board members will also do a site visit.
The applicant’s engineer and architect made a brief presentation of the plan. In response to the board’s earlier request, the architect showed a street scape of how the proposed size of the additioin would blend in with the existing buildings. The architect also showed a rendering of the building and how he has softened its bulk by using reverse gables and cupolas. The applicant advised the board that under current zoning, the existing structures along Crompond Road, two of which are commercial uses, could also be enlarged by adding a second story. A landscaping plan is being developed. The hearing was closed.
The ZBA application is on hold pending Planning Board review. The board expressed concern for the traffic pattern and wanted to see a more detailed map that showed shared access and parking with the church next door. Explaining arrival and departure patterns, the applicant said it did not anticipate any problems from the increased enrollment. The board will look at the Costco traffic study numbers. Concerned about the mass of the addition that will impact on neighborhood character, the board also wants to see elevations. A Public Informational Hearing will be held December 5th.
The applicant is proposing to expand its facility by adding a second story to its existing one story structure and add on a two story addition to the rear, increasing the facility’s size from 3,618 sq. ft. to 17,335 sq. ft. The enlarged structure would increase potential enrollment from 66 children to147. The plan includes a covered outdoor play area attached to the new addition.
The applicant is currently before the Zoning Board seeking an amended special permit and a coverage variance: The existing building covers 12% of the site were 25% coverage is allowed. With the proposed addition, coverage would be 33%, or an increase of 3,000 sq. ft.
Given the site plan issues, including parking, traffic, and how the construction will be scheduled to accommodate the school’s ongoing program, the Planning Board will send a memo to the ZBA indicating it wants to do a site plan review before the ZBA makes a final determination.