January 14, 2020
Absent: Councilwoman Roker
1. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Essay Contest
The board agreed to sponsor an essay contest for fourth and fifth graders with a focus on how Dr. King’s vision relates to Yorktown. The details of the contest remain to be worked out. The board is expected to adopt a resolution about the contest at its next meeting.
2. Winery at St. George
The Winery wants to erect a sign. Because the site is in a transitional zone, the zoning regulations regarding signs does not apply but the applicant needs Town Board permission to change anything regarding the approved site plan. Michael Grace, the applicant’s attorney, said that a public hearing to amend the 2012 site plan approval wasn’t needed. The board agreed with Mr. Grace that there was only one logical location for the sign. On Mr. Tegeder’s suggestion, the application was referred to ABACA for review and Supervisor Slater asked Mr. Tegder to review the town code as to whether a hearing was needed.
3. Battery storage law
Based on the comments at the December public hearing, Mr. Tegeder advised the board that the main issue that needed more discussion was whether Tier 3 facilities should be allowed in residential zones. In this regard he said the board had several options, including: banning them altogether from residential zones, allowing them only in certain zones, e.g., larger lots, establishing a minimum lot size, requiring screening, and whether to allow them on steep slopes and on land that would impact the view of parkland.
Although the board did not come to any decisions, there appeared to be a sense that the facilities should only be allowed on larger lots, e.g., 2 acres or more and that there should be provisions regarding screening and views of parkland. Mr. Tegeder will work with the town attorney to create a revised red line version for the board’s review. He will also provide the board with more information about the potential size of these facilities as they would relate to lot size requirements.
Mr. Tegeder advised the board that Tier 3 facilities would be a benefit to Yorktown communities because the facilities would be adding electricity to the grid that could be used in the event there were power outages or brownouts in Yorktown.
(Pending the adoption of a battery storage law, a moratorium on their approval is in effect.)
4. The Weyant
The applicant advised the board that he is asking for a “technical amendment” in the verbiage of its approval in order to allow the units to be rented, as originally proposed OR sold. He said that he has received interest in purchasing the units, many from Yorktown seniors. The applicant said he has made no final determination whether any of the 23 units would be rental or for sale but he wanted to leave his options open. When Councilman Patel raised the issue of how the units would be taxed if they were sold, Mr. Tegeder said they would be sold as condominiums.
The board referred the proposed change to the Planning Board for comment.
5. Census 2020
Robyn Steinberg from the Planning Department advised the board of tentative plans for increasing participation in the upcoming census. She anticipates that a meeting of a still to be formed Census Committee would be held later this month.
6. Hallocks Mill sewer extension petition
Mr. Quinn advised the board that of the 318 petitions that were sent out, 225 (70%) were returned and that of those returned, 88% said Yes, and that the yes votes represented 62% of the district’s assessed value – well above the 50% required by the state comptroller.
He said the next steps were for the board to pass a resolution certifying the results and for the board to pass a resolution authorizing the project and the amount to be borrowed.
The latter resolution generated discussion and concern. The project is estimated at $14M, with $10M coming from the East of Hudson Fund and $4M to be borrowed by the town. But Mr. Quinn said that last summer, the county had raised concern that there wouldn’t be a sufficient number of homeowners hooking up because of the $15,000 hook up cost for the roughly 100 property owners who would need low pressure hookups. He said that the county was on board with an earlier $20M plan that would have sewered more homes but that the county needs to okay the revised $14m plan and agree to a new IMA (Intermunicipal Agreement) before the money can be released. Quinn will be meeting with the DEP this week to get its okay for the $14M plan with the hope that this will persuade the county to give its approval to the scaled back plan.
If the county does not provide all of the $10M, the town would have to borrow more money and that would require a new petition as the petition that the homeowners signed was based on a $4M borrowing.
Mr Quinn advised the board that the county has been discussing making funds that have set aside to assist homeowners with septic problems available to lower the cost of the low pressure hook ups but no decisions have been made to date.
The town comptroller also has to review the potential $4M borrowing and its impact on the tax cap.
The supervisor said he would be working with Mike Kaplowitz, now working for the county, for assistance to move the project forward. And Mr. Quinn said the town would work with the state’s EFC (Environmental Finance Corporation) regarding low inte rest loans and/or any grants that would lower the borrowing costs.
7. Par 3 golf course/Shallow Creek
The applicant discussed the status of the improvement plans and advised the board that he anticipates a soft opening of at least one hole for a driving range and the building in June. He said that about 80 trees had been removed but that he plans to plant 120-140 new trees, selecting species that would absorb water. The board was enthusiastic about the plan.
8. December appointment to Recreation Commission
(See Town Board, 1-7-2020.) The board went into a closed executive session to discuss whether the December 17 reappointment of Diana Quast to the Rec Commission was legal. When the meeting was reopened, Supervisor Slater said that it was the town attorney’s opinion that the appointment was illegal because it extended the term of the appointment beyond when it was vacant.
Until the Town Board decides to take any action, Supervisor Slater said Ms. Quast will continue to serve on the Rec Commission.
9. Appointment of elected officials to advisory boards
(See Town Board, 1-7-2020.) Supervisor Slater explained that a board discussion on whether elected officials and/or department heads should serve on advisory boards would be postponed given the absence of Councilwoman Roker who expressed interest in participating in the discussion.
Supervise Slater asked that a list be drawn up of all terms on advisory boards that may have expired as of December 31, 2019. He also suggested that a committee be created to review the provisions governing all town advisory boards, committees and commissions.