Sandvoss Subdivision

Section 59.07 Block 1 Lots 7, 8
Location: Hanover Street, Croton Heights
Contact: Ralph Mastromonaco, P.E., P.C., Dan Ciarcia, engineer
Description: Application for a 3-lot subdivision on 13.857 acres in a R1-80 zone to be served by a common driveway.

Note: For background, see the 2008-2009 Planning Board discussions below. The meeting summaries are shown from the earliest to the latest.

Planning Board,9-14-2020

Without any discussion, the board approved the subdivision

Plannnig Board, 8-10-2020

Mr. Kincart recused himself. Mr. Riina explained that the applicant has all the required approvals and is ready for final board approval. A draft approval resolution was prepared but Mr. Riina had not seen a copy so a final vote was postponed until September.

Planning Board, 5-18-2020

Ready for final board approval, Mr. Riina advised the board that the applicant has all the outside agency okays it needs, except that the DEC okay is verbal and he is awaiting a written ok.  The applicant was advised that he had to file a formal application for final subdivision approval. As the board’s newest member who did not participate in earlier discussions, Mr. Bock advised the board that he had reviewed the files and asked the board’s attorney if he could vote on the issue. He was told yes.  Mr. Tegeder advised the applicant that the town engineer still needed to sign off on the plan.

Planning Board, 3-25-2019

In an item not on the agenda, there was a brief discussion regarding issues raised in a letter the board received by area resident Tim Glass.  Most of the issues involved whether the board should require updates to the wetlands delineation and tree survey. Mr. Tegeder said Town Code did not require any updates. Mr. Tegeder also defended the various components of the proposed wetlands mitigation plan.


The board did express concern, however, that the new owner of the abutting single family house has apparently done some excavation work and may be dumping water on the proposed subdivision lot without a permit.  The board will do a site visit.


Planning Board, 5-7-2018

Mr. Riina advised the board that he had met with the Conservation Board. Some Planning Board members were at the meeting.  (There was no discussion of what was said at the meeting.) Without any discussion, the board approved a Negative Declaration which paves the way for the applicant to seek DEC, DEP and Army Corps of Engineers approval

Planning Board, 3-26-2018

See Planning Board minutes.

Planning Board, 3-12-2018

Responding point by point to a Conservation Board memo that the Planning Board had just received that afternoon that recommended that the application be denied, Mr. Riina and Mr. Miller dismissed each of the advisory board’s concerns, including the need for the wetland delineation to be reviewed by the town, an inadequate mitigation plan and erosion control plan, the proposed 5.4 acre conservation easement, and concern about the maintenance of the stormwater retention system. Mr. Riina advised the board that after a February meeting with the Conservation Board, he believed the board had no issue with the application and was surprised by its comments. But Tim Glass, a resident of the area who attended the meeting, said he came away with an entirely different impression.  Mr. Glass also expressed concern about the failure of different town entities to communicate about the application.


Citing her work with wildlife on the site, Patricia Johnson advised the board that a more detailed wildlife habit study should be done.


Mr. Riina advised the board that he had responded to the town engineer’s earlier memos but there was no discussion of either memo. Mr. Fon said that these issues, as well as the residents’ concerns would be reviewed in a follow up work session format. He advised the residents that while they would not be able to address the board during the work sessions, they should attend the meetings and send in written comments that will become part of the record.


Mr. Fon advised the public that in addition to the town’s review and approval, the plan would also have to be approved by the DEC and the DEP, adding that the latter agency has stricter stormwater

Planning Board, 1-8-2018

After the applicant’s team made a presentation, a series of residents, mostly from the immediate area, raised a series of concerns about the application, including but not limited to:  missing documents (a SWPPP), inconsistent information in the habitat study and EAF, dubious claims about the likely minimal environmental impacts, especially to the stream corridor that traverses the site, and other deficiencies and discrepancies in the application and supporting documents. They asked the board not to take any action on the application until these issues were addressed.  In his memo to the board that had only been received that afternoon, the town engineer asked for an additional 30 days to review the application.


Rather than ask the applicant’s representatives to respond to the public comments during the hearing, the board voted to adjourn the hearing and give the applicant time to review written copies of the various public comments. No date was set for the hearing to resume.

Planning Board, 11-20-2017

The CIY observer was not at the meeting. For a summary, see the offical Planning Board minutes.

Planning Board, 11-6-2017

Mr. Fon acknowledged correspondence relating to the subdivision and Mr. Tegeder stated that the board would take a “hard look” at the environmental issues raised in the recent submission.

Planning Board, 10-16-2017

Joe Riina of Site Design Consultants has replaced Dan Ciarcia as the project engineer, although Mr. Ciarcia participated in the discussion. Mr. Riina said that the plan was essentially the same as the one before the board in 2015. The plan is still being reviewed by the DEP. Steve Marino went over the highlights of a report he submitted to the board addressing a variety of environmental issues including the impact of the development on habitat.


Mr. Tegeder said that the next step was for the board to review the Marino report and after that it could issue a negative declaration and an approval. It was noted that the public hearing on the application was closed  several years ago.

Planning Board, 7-13-2015

Several residents continued to raise issues about the proposed subdivision, primarily about stormwater runoff. Although the public hearing on the application was closed several years ago, the board’s attorney said it was okay for the Planning Department to accept a report from the residents that corrected and updated an earlier wildlife report. It was also their contention that since the wetlands permit was issued in 2009, and the EAF submitted in 2006, there have been significant changes to the site that should be taken into account.   Mr. Savoca noted that the board should be concerned about what existed now as opposed to what was approved years ago and Mr. Fon noted that half of the current board members were not on the board when the application was first reviewed. The board advised the applicant to consult with town staff and said that wetlands boundaries may need to be re-verified and possibly re-delineated.


Planning Board, 10-20-2014

Dan Ciarcia, the applicant’s engineer, explained that he has been working with the DEP on stormwater issues and that while there have been only slight changes from an earlier plan reviewed by the board, he will have to submit a revised plan to the DEP. Mr. Tegeder suggested that the current plan be recirculated to the town’s advisory groups and that Mr. Ciarcia should keep the board informed on the changes the DEP is requesting.


Several area residents asked about the next steps in the approval process and were advised to keep in touch with the Planning Department regarding DEP updates.

Planning Board, 11-18-2013

According to Al Capellini, the applicant’s attorney, the property owner wants to resume the approval process after a five year hiatus due to personal reasons. Despite the time lapse, Mr. Tegeder explained that the application is not time barred and there was no need to submit a new application. During the intervening years, Mr. Capellini said the applicant has had contact with DEP and DEC.


Consulting engineer Dan Ciarcia showed the Board alternate plans showing access from a public road and also a shared driveway off a private road. 


Because the public hearing on the application was closed in 2009, several area residents wanted to know when and how they could comment on any revised plan. Chairman Fon assured them that they would be able to address the Board during its informal work sessions and advised them to monitor the Board’s agendas so they knew when the application would be discussed again. (Only public hearings have to be legally noticed to abutting property owners.)

2008-2009 Planning Board Review

November 10, 2008, work session

This property has a stream running along the bottom of a steep ravine.  Two smaller streams join to form this main channel. The subdivision has been configured so that the ravine will not have to be crossed, although two, box culvert stream crossings will be necessary.  The stream crossings will be mitigated by the construction of additional wetlands along a bend in the stream.
Mr. Klaus pointed out that doing wetland mitigation along the stream channel, an already protected area, doesn't replace the buffer area lost by the original wetland.  Conservation easements might be necessary to make up for this loss.
Mr. Klaus also asked about the feasibility of connecting the subdivision to some neighboring town road in order to minimize disturbance, but Mr. Ciarcia said there was no feasible alternative.
There was some discussion about re-siting one of the house to move it away from the ravine.  Mr. Ciarcia said the house's current position would actually lessen potential incursion into protected area because it gave a maximum usable yard.  Mr. Tegeder pointed out that there was potential for incursion in the front yard and suggested a stone wall or other physical barrier to keep future residents from moving into the protected area.
The applicant will get input from the Conservation Advisory Board before a Public Informational Hearing can be scheduled.

November 24, 2008, work session
Since the last meeting, the Conservation Board did a site visit although its report on the visit has not yet been received. Based on the visit, the applicant relocated one of the proposed houses so that it is outside the wetlands buffer. He explained to the board that as the site's onsite septic system and wells have already been approved, certain elements of the site plan have already been locked in.

The applicant advised the board that he had reviewed the town's pending tree ordinance and explained that he had done a tree survey a few years ago. He said that during the Conservation Board's site visit, he had been asked if he could avoid a large white oak. To do so, however, would require shifting the driveway which would mean encroaching on the wetlands buffer. Mr. Klaus said he understood the trade-offs between saving a specific tree versus wetlands protection. He also raised the issue of the condition of the tree and its likely longevity.

As the request of the Conservation Board, the applicant will fix some erosion along the stream. The applicant said that the group did not appear to have any problems with the proposed mitigation plans.

The applicant told the board that Bruce Barber, the town's environmental consultant, had delineated the site's wetlands a few years ago and asked is this would have to be redone. In response, Mr. Klaus explained that the town law requires that this be done if the previous plan was more than a year old. However, he suggested that the applicant get a letter from Mr. Barber indicating that there had been no change on the site, or alternately, do a walk through the critical areas on the site to see if there had been any changes.

Because the Conservation Board's comments are of “paramount importance,” Mr. Klaus said that the public hearing would not be scheduled until the report had been received. He advised the applicant to check with the planning department to see if the hearing could be scheduled for January.

January 12, 2009
Public Informational Hearing

Al Capellini, the applicant's attorney advised the board that since two property owners had not received the required notice of the hearing, the notices would have to be resent and the hearing rescheduled for a future date. However, because one of the adjacent property owners was present at the meeting, the applicant made a presentation which he will repeat at the next hearing date. The homeowner looked at the site plan map but did not make any comments.

The hearing was adjourned.

February 9, 2009
Public Informational Hearing

This was a continuation of the hearing that was opened last month. As only one person in the audience was interested in the application and he had been at the previous meeting, the applicant's engineer, Dan Ciarcia gave only a brief overview of the plan.

The homeowner, Tim Glass, who lives in the area, had no objections to or concerns with the subdivision plan but expressed his concern that the beauty of the area not be compromised by the construction of “garish mansions in the middle of the woods.” Empathizing with him about the beauty of the area, Mr. Klaus explained that if and when the property owner came in with development plans, the board would carefully delineate the “l
imit of disturbance” area. He added that in addition to clearing land for the septic fields, the health department required that any plan show the area that could accommodate a 100% expansion of the fields if that became necessary in the future. He wasn't sure if that area just had to be noted on the map but didn't have to be cleared in advance.

Mr. Klaus also explained that if and when a subdivision plan was submitted, there would be several additional reviews and discussions and he encouraged Mr. Glass to stay informed on the progress of the application.

The applicant's attorney, Al Capellini indicated that given the board's anticipated support for the subdivision, he would proceed with plans to file a request for a variance from the zoning board for the site's private road.

March 23, 2009, work session
At Mr. Capellini's request, the Planning Board will recommend to the ZBA that it grant the variance necessary for a common driveway on this site.  The Board again expressed its concern that, although the lots are of adequate legal size, their usable space is heavily constrained by wetlands.  Mr. Flynn pointed out Lot #4 especially in this regard.  There is little useful space on this lot without wetland encroachment.  Mr. Tegeder suggested rotating the house 90o , but Mr. Cicarcia said this would interfere with the septic system.  Mr. Klaus observed that the entire lay out of lot #4 is “very tight”—the house, septic fields, well and wetlands buffer. 

July 13, 2009, work session
Mr. Capellini advised the board that the zoning board had granted the variance for the common driveway and asked the board to set the application up for a public hearing in August - which the planning department will do if everything is in order.  

August 10, 2009
Public Hearing

Mr. Cicaria and Mr. Capellini summarized the project.  The ZBA granted a variance for three lots with no frontage on a town road.  The three lots will be accessed by a private road.  According to Mr. Cicarcia, this access option will have the least impact on the neighborhood because it is in keeping with the rural nature of the area and requires fewer wetland crossings.  Mr. Cicarcia described the storm water management system, which still needs review by the Town Engineer and DEP.  The access road will be lined with permeable pavers.  The Fire Marshall has okayed this, even though generally preferring paved access roads for emergency vehicles.  The site will have a conservation easement, protected in perpetuity.
Neighbors from Colonel Greene Rd spoke at the public hearing: 
Peter and Christina Fairweather pointed out the large wetland just adjacent to the Sandvoss site and expressed concern that this development will cause more flooding from this wetland.  They said they already experience a lot of flooding, and it has gotten worse after development on Croton Ave.
Sheila Schrayer also cited flooding on her property and septic system.
Diane Glass was concerned about the frequency at which the bridge on Colonel Greene Rd. washes out, leaving the neighborhood stranded and the likelihood this will increase after the Sandvoss site is built.  She was also concerned that the houses proposed for the subdivision be in keeping with the others in the neighborhood, not overly large houses that would make existing houses look like tear downs.   She was also concerned that there be an adequate marketing plan in place so the new houses are actually finished and sold, referring to houses on Hanover Rd. that remain unfinished and their lots still disturbed.  Mr. Klaus referred Ms. Glass to ABACA for information about the house designs.
Mr. Cicarcia said it was unlikely that the Sandvoss development would add to the flooding problems on Colonel Greene Rd because the property is in its own little basin, separated from the adjacent wetlands and Colonel Greene Rd by a ridge.  The Planning Board directed the applicant to get comments from the Town Engineer about the flooding issues raised by the neighbors.  The public hearing was adjourned.