Citizens for an Informed Yorktown


Town Board

January 12, 2016



Listed on agenda as: “to Discuss Personnel and Negotiations”


Spectra pipeline:  Representatives of Spectra were called into the executive session. When leaving, they told the CIY observer to expect a resolution at the board’s next meeting. The inference was that there would be a settlement of the Almar lawsuit challenging the town’s 2015 license agreement with Spectra.




1. Fieldstone Manor, Strawberry Road

Although the subdivision application was on the agenda to discuss the Town Board’s earlier resolution approving the use of the flexibility standards and the change from condo to rental units in the stone mansion (see  Planning Board, 11-23-15 and Town Board 7/16/13 and 8/6/13 below), the focus of the discussion was the plan’s recreation component.


Flexibility: After attorney Al Capellini explained the reason for the change to rental units, the board had no problem with the change and at the end of the discussion, it was agreed that there would be a resolution at a subsequent board meeting.


Recreation component: Supervisor Grace said he was opposed to the plan for the pickleball courts; instead of building new courts scattered throughout town when our existing tennis courts are in disrepair and can’t be used, he preferred either fixing our existing courts or building new courts at Holland Sporting Club, a site he said was more centrally located.  He suggested that the town give the applicant a density bonus to allow him to build an additional 2-4 houses on the area set aside for the pickleboard courts and that a decision be deferred to a future date as to where  the courts would be built.


When Mr. Capellini noted that the courts were what the Recreation Commission wanted, Supervisor Grace said there was a communications problem between the Commission, the Planning Board and Town Board and that one hand didn’t know what the other was doing.


Mr. Capellini advised the board that it was not fair to ask the applicant to change the subdivision plan at the 11¾ hour; changing the plan, he said, would take at least six months. In response, Supervisor Grace asked Mr. Capellini to go back to the applicant can run his density bonus plan “up the flag pole.” He said the added units would give the developer some added value.


Left unresolved was how the subdivision plan could legally deal with the uncertainty of how deal with the recreational requirement and also the need to enact a density bonus provision in the town code.


(See below for several earlier discussions on the recreational component.)


Fire tower: In response to a question from the board, Mr. Capellini said that the applicant is committed to repairing the tower and is still trying to find a use for it.


2. Motion Laboratories (Verizon Building, Route 202)

The Cortlandt based company manufactures portable power equipment, e.g., speakers and lights, for the entertainment industry. The equipment is manufactured in Cortlandt but the growing company wants to rent the vacant 24,000 SF Verizon building, located in a C-4 zone, to design, assembly, package and ship the equipment. The Cortlandt facility will continue to manufacture the components. As the use is currently not permitted in the C-4 zone, Al Capellini, the applicant’s attorney, provided the board with text to add this new use to the zoning code.  As drafted, the use would only be permitted in existing buildings. The firm currently has 76 employees, 46 of which would relocate to Yorktown. 


The board, delighted at the prospect of seeing the building put to use, had no problem with the proposed use which Supervisor Grace felt was not a huge change from the existing code. A public hearing will be held on February 16 on the zoning code change.


To be determined is whether the existing site plan for the Verizon use will have to be amended to accommodate the new tenant. One issue will be the amount of parking spaces needed,


3. Jefferson Valley Mall

Brandon Boyster, the Mall manager, appeared before the board to ask for a reduction in the Mall’s water bill for 2013-2015.  He explained that during that period, when water usage was being estimated, management was not aware that there was a leak in a cooling tower which has subsequently been repaired.  (It was unclear if there was also a problem with a defective meter.)   Instead of being billed at $8.09/1,000 gallons, he asked the board for “consideration” to pay only $5.50/1,000 gallons. He said the additional water charge had cost the mall $51,000 over what would have been “normal” usage and that the additional cost would be passed on to the Mall’s tenants.   (In an exchange that was not clear to the CIY observer, Supervisor Grace advised Mr. Boyster that the $8.09/1,000 charge was already an accommodation as the regular rate was $12/1,000 gallons.)


The board declined the Mall’s request noting that doing so would open up a can of worms when other water customers challenge their bills.


Supervisor Grace said he would check with the Water Department why the 2013-2015 bill had been estimated.  


4. Competition Carting

In an item not on the agenda, Brian Amico of Competition Carting advised the board that the company will be altering its Monday/Thursday and Tuesday/Friday collection routes as of April in order to make more efficient use of its new natural gas powered trucks. The change will affect the kitchen garage and recycling collections but not the bulk collections that are done by town staff.  The company will send out multiple mailings to alert residents of the change.


5. Doctor’s Express (Staples Center)

The board authorized the building inspector to issue a temporary certificate of occupancy (TCO) at his discretion. Most of the interior work has been completed; some outside work remains.


6. Special Town Board meetings

The board will hold closed executive sessions on January 28 and February 3, 11 and 17 to meet with department heads to review staffing. The meetings will begin at 6pm.


7. Police: emergency generator and other issues

Generator: Police Chief Dan McMahon advised the board that the company that maintains the building’s 1970s vintage emergency generator has advised him that it is no longer economically to repair the generator and that parts are no longer available. The chief would like to proceed to purchase a new generator.  Two issues need to be decided: should the new generator also include the court building, and should the new generator be located outside the building  so that when it is tested once a week, there are no fumes in the building. He estimated the cost between $40,000-$50,000, but it was not clear if that cost was just for the electrical wiring or if it included the generator.


It was also unclear whether the board gave the chief the okay to proceed to get quotes or whether that board first had to decide on the specifications of exactly what was going to be purchased.


Used cars: (See Town Board, 12-22-2015.) The chief reported that the Central Garage has checked out the cars and  they appeared to be okay with some minor repairs. It was not clear exactly how many cars were checked out and whether any have actually been purchased.  No decision was made whether the old detective cars would still be serviceable for other town departments.


New cars: The chief asked for authorization to purchase the new patrol cars based on the money set aside in the 2016 budget. No decision was made


Cell tower:  In response to the chief’s question as to the status of the cell tower replacement at the police building, the supervisor said: we have a new town attorney.  (See below)


8. Hudson Valley Hospital Banner request

The board held off making any decision on the hospital’s request to hang flags from light poles for three months.  There was a sense that three months was a long time and perhaps one month might be more suitable.  The supervisor’s assistant will contact Brian Gray to ask about his department’s plans for flags.


9. Appointment of Town Attorney

In an item not on the agenda, and without any discussion, the board voted 4-1 with Councilman Patel voting no, to appoint Michael McDermott as the town attorney at an annual salary of $113,000 without benefits.  He will start on January 13th.  In a related move, the board accepted the resignation of Jeannette Koster effect January 12th.


Note:  Creative Living asked that it be pulled from the agenda.