Location: 3333 Crompond Road
See also Auto Parts International, in the Special Permits page and Zoning Changes on the Legisation page regarding self storage use.
Scroll down for Popeye's discussion.
Planning Board, 1-14-2019
Tesla battery storage facility at Staples Plaza
The company wants to add five battery storage units to lessen the stress and congestion on the grid. Asked why he did not include the storage units in his earlier plan for the charging stations, the applicant explained that the plan was in response to a new NYSERDA incentive program that just opened up. The applicant was open to suggestions from the board as to where the units, which would take up 3-4 parking spaces, should be located, but is trying to avoid locations that would involve the need for DEP permits. Based on the board’s input and suggestions, the applicant will return at the next meeting. The plan will also be reviewed by other town departments as it involves hazardous substances. Locating the units underground was ruled out as not being feasible. The storage unit plan is distinct from the previously approved charging station plan that is approximately 70% completed.
Popeye's Planning Board, 5-20-2019 In an item not on the agenda and at the suggestion of Mr. Bock, the board went into special session to adopt a memo indicating that it did not want to reopen its review of the Popeye site plan based on the town engineer’s memo. During the correspondence portion of the agenda, there was a discussion of a recent memo from the town engineer raising questions about the sewer connection to the Hunterbrook pump station. The issue was whether, based on the engineer’s memo, the PB needed to reopen its review of the approved site plan; it was noted that the applicant is about ready to begin construction; it has all its needed permits except a sewer connection permit that is issued by the engineer. It was noted that the PB’s approval, which dated back to 2015, was based on an EAF that said sewage flows would be 270 gallons/day. This was based on standard retail figures before the applicant had a specific tenant. It now appears that the flow will be 2,000 gallons/day. Current flows to the pump station were not known, nor was it known whether this additional flow would create a problem. It was noted, though, that this was an issue that could surface if and when new restaurants were approved for the Lowe’s pads. The board decided to stand by its earlier approval and take no new action based on the engineer’s memo. Planning Board 10-1-2018 (Popeyes)
Planning Board 4-8-2019
Planning Board, 5-20-2019
In an item not on the agenda and at the suggestion of Mr. Bock, the board went into special session to adopt a memo indicating that it did not want to reopen its review of the Popeye site plan based on the town engineer’s memo.
During the correspondence portion of the agenda, there was a discussion of a recent memo from the town engineer raising questions about the sewer connection to the Hunterbrook pump station. The issue was whether, based on the engineer’s memo, the PB needed to reopen its review of the approved site plan; it was noted that the applicant is about ready to begin construction; it has all its needed permits except a sewer connection permit that is issued by the engineer. It was noted that the PB’s approval, which dated back to 2015, was based on an EAF that said sewage flows would be 270 gallons/day. This was based on standard retail figures before the applicant had a specific tenant. It now appears that the flow will be 2,000 gallons/day. Current flows to the pump station were not known, nor was it known whether this additional flow would create a problem. It was noted, though, that this was an issue that could surface if and when new restaurants were approved for the Lowe’s pads. The board decided to stand by its earlier approval and take no new action based on the engineer’s memo.
Planning Board 10-1-2018 (Popeyes)
The board asked the applicant to make some changes in the traffic circulation pattern and to take a look at the proposed landscape plan so that it minimized the need for long term maintenance that could become a problem if not taken care of.
The applicant said that changes to the timing of the traffic light had been made at the time the gas station opened and that the applicant was not responsible for making any additional changes to the intersection.
A decision statement on the amended site plan is anticipated at the next meeting.
Planning Board, 9-17-2018 (Popeyes)
The applicant showed a revised plan based on discussions with town staff and ABACA that reduced the number of parking spaces and added more landscaping. The plan includes 8 conservation parking spaces.
In response to Geri Schwalb’s concern about the traffic flow from the building to the main driveway, the applicant explained that the revised plan left ample room to avoid problems.
Ann Kutter raised concerns about the traffic light on Route 202 not functioning properly and reminded the board about the need for current and future developments at the shopping center to work jointly to improve the traffic flow, including adding a fourth lane on the north side of Route 202.. (See 2015 discussions below.) The board acknowledged problems at the intersection but noted that the situation needed to be looked at after temporary conditions, such as the pipeline construction site and the construction at the top of hill, were no longer present. The applicant indicated that as part of the 2015 discussions, the timing of the traffic light was adjusted to mitigate the increased traffic coming from the BJ’s gas pumps.
Planning Board, 8-13-2018
The proposal is for a Popeyes building of approximately 2,350 SF on the existing grass pad to the east of Dunkin Donuts. When the board approved the BJ’s gas station, it approved the plan for a building on this site. The applicant has made some slight modifications to the building and some suggested traffic routing around the building. In response to Mr, Tegeder’s question if the colors on the building could be softened, the applicant said that those were the colors that ABACA preferred. Proposed signage on the building conforms to the previously approved master sign plan for the site.
As the site plan is very close to what was previously approved, the board determined that a new EAF was not needed but asked the applicant to submit a comparison of the current plan to the previously submitted EAF. A public hearing will be held in September.
Town Board, 6-20-2017
The board approved an amendment the special permit for the BJ's gas station that will allow the sign to be about 5 square feet larger than originally approved in order to accommodate a new sign directing drivers to the diesel pumps. Mr. Tegeder advised the board that the need for a separate diesel sign had been overlooked when the plan was originally prepared and that a sign directing drivers to the diesel pumps would enhance safety on the site.
Planning Board, 2-8-2016
Without any discussion, the board approved the Master Plan and the Urgent Care logo.
Most of the discussion involved the sign for the new Urgent Care building. The Master Sign Plan for the shopping center sets maximum square footage for signs, plus maximum height and length that fits within the square footage requirement. The proposed Urgent Care sign would have exceeded those parameters because of the logo. The board decided not to consider the logo in calculating the sign dimensions, thereby okaying the sign.
Other minor text changes have been made to the Plan which the board anticipages accepting at its next meeting. The Plan authorizes the Building Inspector to approve future signs in the shopping center, except when they do not meet the parameters; then the request will be forwarded to the Planning Board.
The discussion focused around the applicant’s responses to a Planning Department memo on the text of the plan.
The major issue was whether a tenant who moved from one space to another in the shopping center could continue to use his existing sign. After some back and forth, the language was clarified to say the “old” sign could be used on the new location as long as it conformed to the required dimensions required for new signs.
In general, the board is trying to get away from the older “box sign” approach where the area behind the lettering is lit to a newer style “channel lettering” where only the letters are lit.
The board also agreed to modify the language that would eliminate externally lit signs and also eliminate the use of certain types of paint that create a “neon” look, except for subordinate logos.
The Master Sign Plan will be administered by the building department and new tenants will not have to get ABACA approval for each new sign. The Plan does not include BJs.
The board reviewed a series of drawings detailing the square footage of existing signs and proposed new signs. In a discussion that often became difficult to follow it appeared that many of the existing signs already had variances allowing for larger signs. Those signs will remain and can be repaired if necessary. However, if a new store leased the space, a new variance would be needed for the new sign.
The applicant has prepared a master sign plan for the shopping center that includes the four buildings in the center owned by Urstadt Biddle. At the suggestion of Mr. Tegeder, the plan will be revised to include BJs; although the latter building is a separate parcel and in separate ownership, the inclusion will result in a more holistic approach for the entire site. The goal of the plan, which Mr. Tegeder said is a new concept for Yorktown, would be to provide guidelines and criteria for size, placement, lighting and the overall aesthetics of signs. Although the specifics of the plan, which has been reviewed by ABACA, were not discussed, it was clear that overall, the plan will require many variances to allow for more square footage of signage than provided for in the zoning code. In general, similar type signs will be placed over the center of each store.
Because the applicant expects a new tenant in by the fall for the space vacated by Emigant Bank (an emergency medical care facility), the board was agreeable to some type of temporary signage for the building in the event the master sign plan is not completed by the time the new facility opens. The board also decided that the master plan should include some general guidelines for the still to be constructed and leased new building so that once the building is leased, the applicant doesn’t have to come back to the Planning Board for approval but can go straight to the Building Department and ABACA for sign approval.
Planning Board, 7-11-2016
The DEP required some changes to the original SWPPP which, in turn, required some minor changes to the previously approved site plan. Neither the board or the town engineer had an issue with the changes; the Planning Department will draft a memo indicating that the revised SWPPP will be the one of record.
In response to a question from the board, the applicant indicated that, to date, there has been no interest from prospective restaurant tenants for the additional building approved at the time the gas pumps were approved.
As a follow up to the discussion at the last meeting about the filtration system for potential gasoline leaks, Mr. Aiello explained that the proposed stormwater plan met all DEC and DEP requirements and that the applicant had installed an additional filter system. Potential leaks are captured/treated in a 3-part system: leaks would initially be captured in a trench system along the perimeter of the site; a sock filter has been added to the trench that will filter out hydrocarbons; the trench empties into a sand filter where any remaining hydrocarbons can be filtered out. After the sand filter, the stormwater goes into a retention system that captures other “clean” stormwater from the site. Mr. Aiello explained that the filtering system is similar to what has been proposed for the Costco gas station; the only difference being that the BJ’s stormwater is piped to a filter while the Costco system captures the stormwater directly into the filter.
The site plan was approved with the added condition that the sock filter be inspected yearly and a report submitted to the Planning Department.
The discussion of the gas station signs will be included in the discussion of the master sign plan for the entire shopping center. (See agenda item below.)
In response to concerns by Mr. Flynn about whether the planned sand filter was sufficient to handle potential oil spills, the applicant will return to the board with more information. (When the filtering issue was raised by Councilman Patel at the previous public hearing, the applicant said the information would be forthcoming, but to date, the board has not received the information.) Of particular concern to Mr. Flynn was the fact that Costco would be installing a higher level of protection than that proposed for the BJ’s site. In response, the applicant’s engineer explained that there were different requirements for each site: BJ’s was a “redeveloped” site while Costco was considered a new development. He said that the current sand filter plan for BJ’s met all DEP requirements and was incorporated into the site plan after meetings with DEP.
Signage: Mr. Tegeder alerted the board to the fact that the Town Board resolution granting the special permit for the gas station contained an error in the allowed square footage of canopy signs. While the Town Board allowed 3 signs where two are permitted, the resolution incorrectly assumed that a total of 60 square feet was allowed (30 square feet per sign) where the total square footage – for all signs – should have been 30 square feet.
As the Planning Board is in the process of reviewing a master sign plan for the shopping center (the item was withdrawn from tonight’s agenda at the applicant’s request), Mr. Tegeder suggested that the Planning Board could approve the overall amended site plan but add a condition that the canopy sign has to conform to the master sign plan once that plan is approved.
An approving resolution has been drafted but some editing will be needed.
Addressing the board, Ann Kutter thanked the owner of the shopping center for following up on his commitment to clean up the litter along Route 202. She advised the board that a crew had done a very good job.
Mr. Aiello reviewed the final site plan, explaining that it addressed the various issues that had been raised during earlier work sessions, including the flow of both vehicular and pedestrian traffic around the site and additional sidewalks. New LED lighting will be installed throughout the shopping center. Mr. Aiello again explained the need to proceed with the plan in phases but that the traffic light changes would be made as part of Phase 1. The board was satisfied with the site plan changes, complimented the applicant’s team on their responsiveness and closed the public hearing, leaving open a 10 day period for written comments. A vote on an approval resolution is anticipated at the next board meeting.
See the summary of the proposed CVS/bank building across the street for a discussion of changes to the lanes on the north side of Route 202.
In other issues involving the shopping center
Mr. Aiello presented a fourth version of the site plan for the restaurant that addressed the traffic flow issues discussed at the previous meeting. The board was generally satisfied with the changes that more clearly separated the flow between the proposed restaurant and Dunkin Donuts.
The board asked Mr. Aiello to consider adding sidewalks to the plan and also more landscaping along Route 202 where the state put rip rap.
The applicant also has to prepare stormwater and landscaping plans. Once a tenant has been signed, there may be changes to the building to meet the tenant’s specific needs.
Explaining that construction on the two parts of the site plan, the gas pumps and the restaurant, would likely proceed at different times and that the gas pumps were likely to be ready to start construction first, Mr. Aiell0o asked the board to consider separating the site plan into phases in its approving resolution. Whichever phase started construction first, that phase would be responsible for the traffic light improvements which involve the installation of a new controller. The actual phasing of the lights could be adjusted after the second phase was constructed and the new traffic flow evaluated. The board had no problem with this split approach.
Mr. Aiello also advised the board that he had met with the developers of the proposed projects on the north side of Route 202 about making changes to the lanes. Whatever changes are agreed to, he said they would be made incrementally as each project proceeded.
Mr. Fon opened the discussion by pointing out that in addition to the representatives of BJ’s/Urstadt Biddle, representatives of both the proposed CVS at route 202 and Stony St. and Crompond Terraces on Old Crompond Rd were present, affording a valuable opportunity for discussion to coordinate and mitigate the traffic impacts of these three new facilities. All the representatives were amenable to this idea, although Mr. Steinmetz of BJ’s/Urstadt Biddle asked for assurances that this project, which is further through the review process than the others, would not be delayed by this comprehensive traffic planning. The Planning Board assured him there would be no such delays. This applicant agreed to provide a master traffic plan drawing on which to superimpose information from the three projects proposed for the intersection of route 202 and Stony St, but the applicant doesn’t actually have this information about the other projects. The Planning Department will help to get this information from the other applicants.
Further discussion centered on internal traffic patterns surrounding the proposed restaurant’s drive-thru window. Issues include: traffic stacking up in the entrance road, pedestrians entering the restaurant having to crossing through cars waiting in the drive-thru queue, coordination with the Dunkin’ Donut drive-thru traffic, accommodating pedestrian traffic from off-site. Planning is complicated by the fact that so far the building has no tenant, so it’s not known exactly how it will be used. However, its proposed size means it will probably not be a fast food restaurant and will probably have sit-down dining. After discussion of some alternatives presented by the applicant, the Planning Board conceptually approved a plan in which the restaurant would be moved toward route 202, so that cars entering from route 202 would turn right, paralleling the entrance road, then drive around the building to the drive-thru window. Meanwhile cars desiring the Dunkin’ Donut drive-thru would follow the same entry, but then go straight to the Dunkin’ Donut drive-thru. Cars desiring to park at Dunkin’ Donut would simply go straight after the right turn from the entrance way, avoiding the drive-thru traffic. Moving the building forward means that parking can be rearranged so that fewer pedestrians have to cross the drive-thru traffic. Extensive traffic control signage, crosswalks and pavement markings were discussed. It was agreed that the internal intersection at the end of the entrance way should be returned to a three-way stop, immediately. The Planning Board concluded that the internal traffic patterns on this site still need “tweaking”.
The applicant reported changes in the gas station canopy to make it more consistent with the existing buildings, which need ABACA approval.
The Planning Board asked the applicant to take a close looks at the trash facilities for the new restaurant to be sure the site can accommodate this additional trash generation and to ensure the dumpsters are adequately screened from neighbors and route 202.
Attorney David Steinmetz advised the board that although a tenant hasn’t been secured yet for the proposed new 3,000 square foot building, the preliminary plan includes a drive thru. The applicant is still working through issues on the gas station canopy with ABACA. The applicant is working out a few more details and will return to the board at the next work session prior to the scheduling of a public hearing.
The only person who spoke at the hearing was Ann Kutter. She asked the applicant to look at the condition of the internal sidewalks and also the phasing the traffic light that she said is causing backups across the street adjacent to Chase bank.
Without any discussion, the board approved a resolution to adopt a local law that amended the zoning map to reflect the rezoning resolution that was passed on December 19, 2014.
In three unanimous votes, the board approved a SEQRA negative declaration (meaning no significant adverse impacts), the rezoning, leaving the area behind the BJs building and abutting a residential zone as C-1, and the special permit for the gasoline fueling station . The special permit included variances on the canopy size and signage. The applicant will now return to the Planning Board for approval on an amended site plan.
Representatives of the applicant’s team gave an overview of the project. (given the late hour, Supervisor Grace asked them to limit their presentation to the essentials.)
For the gas station permit, the applicant is asking for three variances dealing with the height of the canopy, the number of permitted signs on the canopy and the total square footage of signage allowed on the canopy. The applicant explained that because of existing conditions alongside Route 202, it was not feasible to erect a more standard pylon-style sign listing prices; instead the prices would be on the canopy.
The applicant explained that an additional 35 trees would be planted on the site and said he would look into whether some additional landscaping could be done to replace the rip rap that the state installed along Route 202. I asked about additional landscaping along Route 202, an issue that had come up at the Planning Board. (Assuming the Town Board grants the special permit, the applicant still has to return to the Planning Board for site plan review.)
When Mr. Centore raised some of the same issues he had done during the Costco hearing, adding that he too would like to show his prices on his canopy, Supervisor Grace said he was open minded and invited him to submit an application. On the issue of displacing existing stations, Supervisor Grace repeated that displacement of existing businesses was not a reason for denial but could be considered. In response, Mr. Centore said: “I understand what you’re saying. I just disagree with you.”
Citing the history of the site flooding, Paul Moskowitz said that an Environmental Impact Study should have been done instead of the less comprehensive Environmental Assessment Form.
Ann Kutter indicated her support for the project but suggested certain site plan changes (that would be the purview of the Planning Board) to improve traffic flow. She also asked for more handicapped parking on the site.
On the rezoning issue, the main issue was whether the C-3 zone behind BJs should extend to the rear of the property or whether the rear 360 feet should be left C-1 in order to provide a buffer for the abutting residential properties.
Some of the same people who spoke against the Costco permit spoke in opposition to this permit citing traffic, stormwater and competition arguments. (The stormwater plan will have to be approved by the NYS DEP.)
Following the example of the Costco hearing, the hearing was closed with a decision possible at the Friday meeting.
The board set December 16 for the public hearing on both requests
David Steinmetz, attorney for the BJ’s advised the board that Urstadt Biddle, the owner of the Staples portion of the shopping center, preferred keeping the zoning of that portion of the overall site as C-1 and was not interested in Supervisor Grace’s suggestion made at the Town Board meeting to rezone the entire site to C-3. Mr.Tegeder, who was not aware of the supervisor’s suggestion, advised the board that if the entire site was rezoned to C-3, the self storage space would become non-conforming, an outcome that would not be desirable. Rather than have the rezoning line ping pong between the two boards, on the basis of Mr.Tegeder’s comments, Mr. Steinmetz asked the Planning Board to send a recommendation to the Town Board to keep the C-1 zone and modify the proposed change to C-3 in the area abutting the R1-=20 zone.
Based on the board’s review of the 1˝” thick expanded EAF, the board will send a positive recommendation on the rezoning request to the Town Board.
Mr. Steinmetz anticipated that during November and December, the Town Board would “drill down” on remaining SERQA issues with the hope that it would issue a negative declaration that would obviate the need for a full environmental impact statement. Mr. Tegeder said that as the site was already highly developed, he didn’t think the rezoning plan rose to the level of requiring a full EIS. As a precedent for accepting an expanded EAF, he noted the earlier Stateland application.
Mr. Aiello reviewed the proposed rezoning map that had been reviewed by the Planning Board, calling attention to the Planning Board’s concern about where to draw the C-3 line. In response, Supervisor Grace suggested that the entire shopping center site be rezoned to C-3, noting that this would give the owners of the Staples portion more flexibility in leasing. This raised questions about whether the existing buildings, built under the C-1 guidelines would meet the C-3 setback requirements. Also what the parking requirements were for C-1 and C-3.
The applicant has submitted portions of the EAF, with a parking analysis still to come. The applicant will include rezoning the entire site to C-3 as an alternative.
Police Chief McMahon asked that the gas station facility have a generator and also that the applicatn install a transfer switch from the generator to the traffic light at the BJ’s entrance. The applicant had no problem with both requests.
In response to last meeting’s concerns about the location of the refueling operation, the applicant showed three revised plans, one of which was rejected, but two of which the board considered workable and an improvement over the original plan.
The applicant will prepare an expanded EAF (Environmental Assessment Form) that will include stormwater, gas station operating procedures, a traffic analysis, and also the visual impacts of the proposed action.
In response to Mr. Fon’s concerns about cleaning up the appearance of the frontage along Route 202, the applicant said that they would take care of it even though the frontage belongs to Urstadt Biddle, the owner of the non-BJs portion of the shopping center. Additional landscaping is planned along the frontage.
The board also asked the applicant to include some additional landscaping in the upper portion of the site (the part closest to the stores). The applicant agreed.
One issue the board left to the Town Board to decide was where to draw the line for the new C-3 zoning; a portion of the current lot (to the rear of BJs looking south) backs up to an R1-20 residential zone and even though it was said that the area was a wetland and not likely to be developed, there was concern that sometime in the future a C-3 use, such as warehousing, could back up to the residential land which was currently vacant.
Staff will draft a letter to the Town Board indicating the board’s positive recommendation for the rezoning.
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 ˝ 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 ˝ 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.
The board referred a request from BJ’s to rezone a total of 11 acres from C-1 to C-3 for the purpose of adding a gasoline filling station to the site to advisory boards and outside agencies.
Representatives of BJs and Urstadt Biddle, owner of the Staples Shopping Center, made a pre-submission presentation to the board to construct two new facilities on both sides of the new entrance into the shopping center.
Facing in to the Center, they are proposing six (6) gas pumping stations (with 12 dispensers) on the west side and a new bank building on the east side of the entrance. Both new structures would be in portions of the parking lot that they say are always unused.
The rationale for the gas pumping operation was to remain competitive with other national buying club operations which, it was said, were all adding the gas operation. Access to the pumps would be for members only.
The new bank building would require an amendment to the existing site plan but the gas pumping operation would require a special permit from the Town Board and possibly a zoning map line adjustment as the Zoning Code currently only permits gas stations in C-3 zones and the shopping center is located in a C-1 zone. Supervisor Grace suggested, however, that when the Town Board grants the special permit, it could, at the same time, issue a variance permitting the use in a C-1 zone. David Steinmetz, the applicant’s attorney, said he would review the zoning issue with staff.
Mr. Steinmetz said that the applicant would do a complete SEQRA review of traffic, stormwater and parking issues, including how tanker trucks would access the site.
Councilman Bianco said he supported the plan, as being appropriate for the site. Mr. Steinmetz indicated that the applicant would like to move fast on the application with a possible public hearing in September.
As an aside, Councilman Bianco asked the shopping center owner to take care of a downed fence panel behind Dunkin Donuts that abutted a property owner on Pine Grove Court. (see previous discussions about the fence issue.)
Amended site plan for "middle" building Planning Board, 9-22-2014 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. The applicant’s engineer presented a slightly modified plan for the “middle” building, the former location of Emigrant Savings Bank. (See below) 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.
Planning Board, 9-8-2014
Amended site plan for "middle" building
Planning Board, 9-22-2014
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.
The applicant’s engineer presented a slightly modified plan for the “middle” building, the former location of Emigrant Savings Bank. (See below) 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.
A public hearing was opened and closed on the proposed site plan changes, leaving open a 10 day written comment period. Mr. Fon complimented the applicant on the improvements that had already been made to the site and the applicant’s responsiveness to the concerns of the abutting property owners. There were no indications from the applicant that the retail spaces had been leased.
With Burger Fi (see below) no longer interested in leasing space in the former Emigrant Bank building, the applicant showed the board a slightly modified plan that has the flexibility to accommodate a restaurant and a possible second retail tenant. The plan includes two stairways leading to a sidewalk that will abut two sides of the building and a revised stormwater plan.
The board liked the changes and will hold a public hearing on the revised plan on July 14.
The board reviewed a Master Sign Plan for the site’s three buildings. (Note: BJ’s is owned separately.) The applicant already has a variance to increase the amount of signage on the main building from 868 sq. ft. to 1,500 sq. ft. and has plans to apply for variances for the other two buildings (one housing Subway and the other Dunkin’ Donuts.) On the main building, all the existing signs will remain after the new façade is put in place; signs for new tenants will need new sign permits.
The issue that needs to be worked out is that the current sign ordinance calculates the allowed amount of signage based on the building’s frontage on a road. While this works for the main building that faces Route 202, it doesn’t work for the other two buildings which sit sideways on the site. Mr. Tegeder said he would meet with the applicant to work out the issue. In the meantime, the applicant can proceed to erect the two approved signs for Extra Storage, the new tenant in the rear of the main building. Mr. Tegeder added that he has been in touch with a resident from the Pine Grove subdivision and that the required improvements to the site are being made.
As an aside, the applicant advised the board that Burger Fi is no longer planning to lease space in the second building and that the applicant is negotiating with other possible tenants.
In an item not on the agenda, architect Tony Romano asked the board if it could intercede to expedite approval of a variance at the ZBA to allow a larger sign than allowed under the existing code. Explaining that at its February meeting, the ZBA indicated that it didn’t want to act on the application until after the town had adopted the pending Master Sign Plan, he said that the proposed sign was in accord with a prior Planning Board memo and the issue was not a design issue but just one of size. It was noted that a draft of the Master Sign Plan has been finalized but that it has not yet been reviewed by the Planning Board. There was no action for the Planning Board to take. (Note: The Master Sign Plan may be discussed at the March 25 Town Board meeting.)
(see above, 4/21/2014)
Planning Board, 2-10-2014
The Board opened and closed the Public Informational Hearing during which there were no comments from the public.
In response to a question from Ms. Kutter about an earlier version of the plan that called for plantings along the sidewalk abutting the building, Mr. Aiello explained that the landscaping plan changed as part of the improved handicapped access plan. However, he left open the possibility of having smaller potted planters on the sidewalk (as opposed to plantings that also served as stormwater filters). The sidewalk area will accommodate 16 outdoor seating places.
After an additional work session to iron out any remaining details, the application will be set for a public hearing.
Robert Aiello, the site engineer, showed the Board a revised site plan that incorporated the changes the Board had suggested at the previous meeting regarding handicapped access. The Board was pleased with the changes. Mr. Tegeder , pointing out that parking and access were two critical issues for potential retail tenants, suggested that the stairway leading to the restaurant and future second store be moved to provide better access to the building. The applicant agreed to rework the stairway location. The application will be set for a Public Information Hearing, either in February of March, depending on whether the notice of the hearing can be advertised in time for February.
The Board reviewed a preliminary plan to convert the vacant space that once housed the Emigrant Savings Bank into a new restaurant -- Burger Fi. The Board was supportive of the plan and liked the proposed architectural rendering but asked Robert Aiello, the site engineer, to consider changes that would make handicapped access easier and also provide better access to the site. The restaurant would use approximately 2,500 sq. ft. of the existing building with space remaining for a second, as yet undetermined retail tenant.
The Board reviewed plans for a facade upgrade at the shopping center . The Board was pleased with the new look. No Board action was required.
The applicant advised the Board that the DOT will not complete its work on the new entrance to the shopping center until the spring but the applicant will continue its work to complete the new island at the entranceway.
The Board reviewed and approved an amended site plan that consolidates the number of dumpsters and relocated one dumpster further from the abutting residences. Also, the applicant will replace an existing retaining wall at the rear of the site with a “strong stone” wall which the Board felt would be aesthetically more desirable than simply repairing the existing wall. The changes will be recorded in a memo.
Two changes to the approved amended plan were discussed.
There will be a slight change (for the better) in the pedestrian crossing at the entrance to the site based on the DOT’s final determination of the area it will be taking as part of the Route 202 road widening project.
The applicant also wanted to relocate some of the site’s trash enclosures but the Board was concerned that one, in the vicinity of the Dunkin Donuts, was too close to the abutting property owner. The applicant will make some modifications to the plan.
Planning Board, 2-10-2014
In a 4-1 vote, with Mr. Flynn casting the dissenting vote, the Board approved the special permit.
Notwithstanding the recommendations of the Fire Advisory Board in favor of an above ground facility, Mr. Flynn, citing his many years of experience in the chemical industry, said he could not support an above ground facility in a part of the site that served as the driveway for shipping and receiving operations.
At the suggestion of the applicant, the Board updated some parking numbers in the draft approval resolution which the Board will vote on at its February meeting.
Robert Aiello of John Meyer Consulting summarized the project which calls for two 1,000 sq ft tanks, although the second tank will only be built if demand warrants it. The tank/s will be enclosed in a chain link fence surrounded by bollards. At the request of the Fire Advisory Board (FAB) that did not want the facility concealed, there will be no landscaping around the fence. The facility will be staffed by employees of BJ’s tire operation. The site will include three sensors capable of identifying any leaks and there will be annual ad bi monthly inspections and logs.
In response to a question from Mr. Flynn, it was noted that the FAB had reviewed whether the facility would impede truck access to the loading docks, the Board was told that the FAB had reviewed this and had no issue.
There were no comments from the public.
The hearing was closed with a 10 day comment period. A decision statement is anticipated at the next meeting.
Based on a memo from Ed Kolisz, the fire inspector, indicating that the Fire Advisory Board preferred an above ground installation, the Planning Board was satisfied that all its concerns have been addressed and a public hearing will be scheduled for January 13.
Since their last meeting with the Board, representatives of BJs have met with the Fire Advisory Board and made some modifications in their plans to address the Fire Board’s concerns. According to the applicant, at one of those meetings there was a full discussion about above vs underground tanks, and it was the applicant’s contention that the Fire Board had no problem with above ground tanks. The Planning Board, however, wanted to contact the Fire Board directly, as well as the building inspector who is a member of that board, for a first hand opinion.
Based on the Fire Board’s concerns, as well as past experience with propane installations in other states, the revised plan eliminates screening around the facility citing the reason that it is safer if the public knows that the facility is there (i.e., not throw a match) than hide it behind shrubs. The applicant also said that above ground tanks were safer because they were easier to inspect. The applicant did say that BJs was open to discussing alternatives to its planned chain link fence.
Mr. Flynn expressed concern over consistency of the town’s policy and why the Board should approve above ground tanks for BJs when it required another town business to undergo the expense of putting the tanks underground.
The Board reviewed a revised site plan that showed the 36’ x 36’ facility in the same location as previously discussed, but surrounded by bollards, a 3-sided 6” high curb, and green vinyl fencing. The applicant also showed a graphic of how the delivery trucks could circulate around the facility to enter and leave the loading dock area. The details of a truck survey indicating the number of truck trips will be forthcoming at a later meeting.
Mr. Flynn expressed concern about the facility’s planned location so close to the truck loading docks, noting that propane fires aren’t put out but are left to burn until all the gas is spent.
An attorney for the owner of Yorktown Beer & Soda asked that BJ’s be required to put its tanks underground as his client was required to do in 1997. In response, Mr. Tegeder noted that in 1997, the requirement took into consideration the location of the tanks in the downtown area and that each new request should be viewed individually. A BJ’s representative said that the company had already begun considering the possibility of burying the tanks, although he reiterated that the current plan met all code requirements. The company will also be meeting with the Fire Advisory Board later this week.
Ms. Kutter noted the need for either BJ’s or the shopping center (the two sites are separately owned) to do a better job of cleaning up litter in front of the center along Route 202.
BJ’s wants to construct an above ground propane facility for two 1,000 gallon propane tanks, one to be built initially and the second based on demand. The facility would be for 20-30 gallon containers, typically for backyard barbeques or generators and not for large RVs. The facility would be located near the tire center and would be serviced by the center’s staff. The tanks would be enclosed in a fence with bollards outside the fence. Under the current layout, the concrete pad would eliminate 12 existing parking spaces.
The Board asked the applicant to consider the following issues prior to a next meeting.
a. possibly relocating the concrete pad within the area adjacent to the tire center
b. how trucks would maneuver ar ound the pad (the loading docks are in this portion of the site)
c. the type of fencing that would be used to screen the tanks
d. the loss of 12 parking spots, often used by handicapped
e. whether the applicant could do something to correct a flooding problem in one portion of the site
In response to questions and concerns from a Pine Grove Court resident about noise from trucks that access the site at night, the BJ’s representative said he anticipated about one delivery propane truck delivery a day and that the truck was smaller than a gasoline delivery truck. As the truck noise issue related to a second application (see Planet Storage below), Mr. Tegeder asked to see a BJ’s delivery log; the applicant said it would be provided.
Self Storage Facility
Self Storage Facility
Planning Board, 10-7-2013
The Board approved an amendment to the earlier resolution needed to clarify that both low hazard and medium hazard storage is allowed, as per the town code. (The word “medium” had inadvertently been left out of the earlier approval resolution.) It was noted that medium hazard items included flammable items such as clothing and furniture. The town code prohibits storage of high hazard items such as flammable chemicals.
The Board approved the amended site plan, stormwater pollution prevention plan, tree permit, and special use permit for a self-storage facility. The resolution included limitations on idling in the rear and side of the shopping center. The lighting fixures were also lowered.
The development team presented an overview of the proposed project and a representative of Urstadt Biddle, the center’s owner, advised the Board that in response to homeowner complaints, the center has ceased nighttime sweeping and that all cleaning will be done manually and during the daytime. The company is also monitoring deliveries in an effort to eliminate truck idling.
The main concern, on the part of the Board and a resident of the area was the lighting plan; specifically the plan for nine 16’ tall lights along the site’s western perimeter. Even though the fixtures will be shielded and aimed toward the center and away the abutting homes, there was concern that the overall impact of the lights might cast a “glow” that would negatively impact the homes. (Some of the lights will be shut off at 11pm, leaving some on for security reasons.)
In response to this concern, the applicant was asked to provide additional information about the impact of the proposed lighting and also more details on the landscaping plan that will also shield some of the lighting. The landscaping plan calls for 8’-10’ trees to be planted in the same area, and the applicant’s engineer noted that the trees grow one foot a year.
Resident Joe Adrian, citing his background as an appraiser and his familiarity with the history of the site, questioned why the town was allowing a self storage use in a C-1 commercial district, something that, he said, would negatively impact the neighboring homes. He called the recent amendment to the zoning ordinance that allows self storage by special permit “despicable downzoing” and said it “looks like favoritism.” In response, Mr. Fon noted that the current application met all the requirements of the zoning ordinance and that how the special permit provision came about was not a Planning Board issue. He also thanked the development team and Urstadt Biddle for listening to and addressing the concerns of the residents.
The hearing was closed, leaving a 10 day additional period for written comments.
The intended tenant is now Extra Space Storage, replacing Planet Storage.
The applicant’s engineer showed a revised plan that extends the entrance island into the shopping center and the location of three signs, each of which has been reduced in size ( one sign will be on the Staples building) and the addition of more dumpsters at various locations.
The Board continued to express concern over long term maintenance issues for the center and will to consider adding some enforcement mechanism in its approval resolution. Talking about the future improvements being planned for Route 202, Mr. Fon talked about the overall need for stronger enforcement of maintenance issues.
Two neighbors expressed concern about the ongoing night time noise from cleaning crews and garbage trucks and the engineer said that there are ongoing discussions with management in an effort to have the crews revise their schedules.
A public hearing will be held in May, although the applicant has to return to ABACA for possible modifications to the plan needed to accommodate the new tenant.
Chairman Fon thanked the applicant for making modifications to the site plan that addressed the concerns of the Pine Grove residents, specifically the 6 foot fence and the landscaping.
The Board did not see the need for the applicant’s two proposed signs, one of which would have been 14 foot tall and suggested instead either 4ft or 6ft stand-alone signs, or possibly a sign on the Staples building. The Board felt that the large sign was more of an advertising sign than a directional one which was the original purpose of the sign. The applicant will rework the sign plan, the approval of which is the prerogative of the Planning Board.
Entrance to shopping center
Because the state has taken some land at the entrance to the shopping center as part of the Route 202 widening project, the shopping center owner is redesigning the entrance to the center and will have to erect a new sign. The Board asked the applicant to consider extending the proposed center island at the entrance further into the center in order to better control traffic and possibly to add some landscaping to the island. In general, the Board was satisfied with the new proposed sign at the entrance that had already been reviewed by ABACA.
A possible May public hearing was discussed, but no decision was made.
Based on a personal visit to the site, Mr. Fon chastised a representative of the shopping center’s owner for the lack of acceptable maintenance at the site. He said he understood why area residents were so concerned about the new application; past promises have never been kept. He made it clear to the Planet Storage development team that his issue was not with them but with the owner of the shopping center. The center’s representative said that all the necessary clean-up work would be taken care of within the coming weeks.
The project’s engineer said that after reviewing earlier approved site plans for the shopping center, the applicant was now looking at a combination of different types and heights of fencing along different sections of the perimeter in addition to a mix of new trees and shrubs to provide a buffer between the center and the homes along Pine Grove and Lynn Courts.The details of the plan remain to be worked out, based on a Planning Board site visit scheduled for March 23, as well as recommendations from the Conservation Board and ABACA.
Mr. Tegeder noted that in addition to the final site plan that would detail the required buffering, the applicant should be required to submit a maintenance plan so that the requirements of the buffering plan could be enforceable.
A Public Informational Hearing was held. Residents from Pine Grove and Lynn Court who back up to the shopping center expressed concern about ongoing problems with noise, lighting and security from the existing site.One resident stated that the new use “will ruin our neighborhood.” Mr. Flynn noted that many years ago when he was a member of the Zoning Board of Appeals and the shopping center owner was before the Board for a variance, many of these same issues were brought up and he was concerned that conditions of the ZBA approval may not have been met. Planning Board members will review the ZBA files and review compliance.
The applicant explained that the new lighting fixtures will be directed onto the shopping center site and that shields will be placed behind some to limit any reflection onto the residential properties.The applicant is considering erecting a new 6’ wood stockade fence along the entire side and rear perimeter of the site; this should provide security and mitigate some of the noise. Discussions are in progress with the shopping center owner regarding possible limitations of truck access during certain hours.
The Board will conduct a site visit (possibly before the next meeting) and review plan modifications that address residents’ concerns.
(Due to inclement weather, the CIY observer was not able to attend the meeting.The following summary is based on the Planning Board’s own draft minutes.)
The applicant has met with ABACA and the Conservation Board and comments from both groups are being incorporated into the plan. It was noted that the sidewalk requested by Ms. Kutter at the last meeting already existed.The applicant has submitted a landscaping plan and will be submitting a lighting plan as well as meeting with a representative of the DEP. The importance of the existing pine trees along the lot line as the important scenic view was noted.A Public Informational Hearing will be held on February 11.
Planet Self Storage
The Board reviewed plans to utilize the remaining 85,000 square feet of vacant space in the building’s basement for self storage units.
Access to the units will be from the rear of the building and from the driveway that currently separates the building from the smaller building that houses Subway.Both the area along the drivewayand the rear of the building will be enhanced with new landscaping and other architectural enhancementsin order make the site more attractive and avoid a “back of the bus” look.The parking area to the rear of the Subway building will be repaved and stripped. The plan calls for a 7,000 square foot reduction in the amount of impervious surface.
The number of storage units will depend on the ultimate mix of sizes, which will range from 5 x 5 to 10 x 30. An office and bathroom will be located at the entrance. The facility will be open 6am - 10pm.The applicant anticipates that 95% of the vehicles accessing the facility will be cars and vans (the existing grade will be raised) and there will be separate tailgate loading for trucks.
Chairman Fon suggested to the applicant that he be proactive and contact the residentsto the rear of the site. He noted that they had been concerned that they had not been informed about an earlier special permit proposal (Auto Parts International) that approved a new use into the vacant space.
In response to the applicant’s request that the Public Informational Hearing and the Public Hearing be consolidated into one hearing, the Board’s attorney explained that the initial information hearing was to get early input on the plan so that it could, if necessary, be tweaked; once the public hearing is scheduled, the plan is basically finished.
As the vehicles will exit the facility from the opposite side of the building, Ms. Kutter expressed concern about the possible need for some traffic control measurs in the vicinity of BJs. She also asked the applicant to consider installing a sidewalk from the entrance into the site from Route 202 where none currently exists.
As part of the NYS DOT’s Pine Grove/Route 202 improvement plan, the state wants to take two pieces of land from the shopping center to widen right turns coming into and leaving the site. The proposed widening coming into the site would eliminate approximately 25 existing parking spaces. The other widening would have no impact on existing parking.
While all members of the board acknowledged that the spaces to be eliminated were not generally used, because they are part of the original parking space requirements of the approved site plan, if they were removed, the shopping center would not be in compliance with its approved plan. This would only be an issue if the center came in for any future improvements to the site, such as the construction of an additional building. According to the center’s owner, an additional 4,500 sq ft would require 25 spaces.
Ms. Steinberg explained that the DOT has suggested that as a “trade off” the center add spaces behind the Dunkin Donuts building that are shown on the original site plan but which were never built. Everyone agreed, however, that given the active drive-in window, this would not be an acceptable location for additional parking.
Mr. Kincart noted that as the state’s proposed action constituted a “taking,” the shopping center would be entitled to compensation. He suggested to Mr. Biddle that he decide what would be in his best interests and then negotiate with the state.As there were no representatives of the DOT at the meeting, Ms. Steinberg will get back to the agency and advise them that their initial “trade off” was not acceptable to either the shopping center or the town.