January 28, 2014
“Personnel and Advice of Counsel”
1. Greenwood Street (the “Hill”) commercial permits
Highway Superintendent Dave Paganelli advised the Board that since the November, 2013 fire that put the “beast” grinding machine out of commission, the recycling facility can no longer handle the volume of tree debris brought in by commercial contractors. He is therefore closing the facility – only to commercial contractors – as of February 1 and will refund their permit fee on a pro rated basis. The facility will continue to accept residential tree debris and the highway department will use other equipment to handle the debris currently on site.
2. Jacob Road tree clearing request
The town’s environmental consultant, Bruce Barber, explained that the property owner wants to convert the existing 53 acres of forest to a farm – something it was about 35 years ago. To accomplish this, the property owner will have to cut down most of the trees on the site, described as 25-35 year old second growth. The property is located at Jacob Road and Catherine Street.
The purpose of the discussion was to get feedback from the Board and to identify what steps/permits were needed as part of the approval process, including some clarification from the building department on the requirements for a special permit to permit farming in a residential zone (section 300-45 of the zoning code). The property owner is already filing for status as an agricultural district. In the absence of a wetlands study, it was not known yet whether a wetlands permit would be needed.
When the trees are cut down, the property owner plans to set up a lumber mill on the site to process the downed trees and use the lumber to build a barn. There was no discussion of the planned farming use.
The source of water for the farm use was raised and it was uncertain whether the parcel was in the water district. Supervisor Grace noted the higher cost for being serviced as an out-of-district water customer.
The Board was generally supportive of the plan and wished the property owner “good luck.”
2. Sherry Drive culvert easement
(Note: the technical details of this summary may be subject to change.)
Sherry Drive resident, Mrs. Macie, asked the Board to accept an easement on her property in order to eliminate flooding on her property by extending an existing culvert. After Hurricane Irene, the town applied for FEMA funds to correct the situation but the request was denied. With the help of two town employees, the denial was appealed and FEMA granted the funds.
The request is tied in with the Board’s earlier action to award a bid to reline a nearby culvert that had collapsed, although it was not clear if that relining bid included work on the Macie property. Town Engineer Sharon Robinson said she was not familiar with the Macie request and the Board agreed to refer the easement request to town staff for review.
3. Mohegan Manor (Cortlandt) sewer request
Representatives of the 150 patient facility for disabled people at the corner of Lexington Avenue and Route 6 advised the Board of problems with the facility’s existing septic system and their desire to tie into the Yorktown sewer line on a temporary basis until Cortlandt finalizes its plans to extend sewers down Route 6.
Initially, the representatives want to study the capacity of the Yorktown lines/pump station at two possible tie in locations. The Board had no problem with Cortlandt proceeding with the test as long as the facility paid for any overtime costs incurred by Yorktown staff and voted to allow the test to proceed. If the facility can and does eventually tie in to either line, Councilman Bianco indicated that there would be some sort of payment to Yorktown.
CORRECTION 1/30/14: The Board agreed to sell a vacant parcel taken in rem for $17,000 (and not a house on Hayes Drive as previously stated) and will vote on a resolution at next week’s meeting. Action was delayed on other properties, and Supervisor Grace said that the house on New Road in Shrub Oak, which he said already had an approved redevelopment plan, was going to be redeemed. However, Councilman Bianco said that the plan had been proposed but was never approved.
1. New Appointments
ABACA: Roxanne Visconti was appointed a regular member and Christopher Taormina as an alternate member.
Conservation Board: Richard Shaw was appointed a regular member
Current members of the Ethics Board, ABACA, Board of Assessment Review and Advanced Life Support Board were reappointed.
3. Courtesy of the Floor
a. Teatown deer culling. Bill Kellner, chairman of the Tree Advisory Conservation Commission, asked the Board to support Teatown’s deer culling plan and suggested that people with questions check out the FAQ on the Teatown website. Supervisor Grace suggested that it would be a good idea for the town to hold an informational meeting to discuss the prevailing misinformation about forest and wildlife management issues on town owned land.
b. Community Housing Board. Ken Belfer announced openings on the Board and invited interested residents to submit their resumes.
4. Convalescent home on Underhill Avenue
What started as a comment during Courtesy of the Floor turned into a lengthy – and often contentious -- comment period about the proposed convalescent home for recovering addicts. About 20+ residents who appeared opposed to the facility were at the meeting.
Supervisor Grace, acknowledging that the public had many questions and concerns about the application, and stating that there was misinformation about the proposed facility, suggested that an information meeting be held prior to the scheduled March 4 public hearing. After considerable back and forth, February 24 was tentatively set for the meeting.
Residents raised questions about what types of addictions the proposed residents would be recovering from (drugs, alcohol, sex, gambling, etc.) and the lack of definition as to what a convalescent home was and the lack of regulations governing its operation. They felt that calling the transitional facility a convalescent home was a deception. They acknowledged the need for this type of facility – in the right place – and that it needed to be regulated. They also expressed concern over security issues for their children and neighborhoods.
When one resident asked if the full application was on file and could be viewed by the public, Supervisor Grace explained that the application requirements in the town code were minimal and had been met.
Supervisor Grace explained that as an elected official he was obligated to give the applicant a chance to be heard. And he took umbrage at the suggestion of one resident that he had already made up his mind to support the application and should recuse himself from the public hearing. He said he hadn’t prejudged the issue, although he spoke of the community’s drug problem and the need for this type of transitional facility and the concerted effort the town was making to deal with both the supply and demand side of the drug problem.
The full discussion can be viewed on the town’s web site. http://www.yorktownny.org/generalpage/town-board-meeting-videos or on rebroadcasts of the meeting on Channel 20 (cablevision) or Chanel 33 (FIOS). For a schedule of the broadcasts, check http://www.yorktownny.org/generalpage/yorktown-government-television-program-guide
Shell Station (Kear Street) Public hearing for special permit for canopy
Representatives of the applicant advised the Board that the applicant had revised his plans to incorporate all but one of the requirements and suggestions of the building inspector and Planning Board including, showing all signs on the plan, removing clothing bins and old spill remediation equipment no longer needed, removing two off site lights and preparing lighting and landscape plans.
The one Planning Board recommendation the applicant objected to was closing off one of the two access points to Commerce Street. The Board saw no problem with keeping the two access points. There were no public comments. The Board closed the hearing. A resolution approving the permit will be drafted and voted on at a future meeting.
6. Selected resolutions
a. Corporate credit card. The Board authorized the town to apply for a single credit card that will remain in the sole custody of the supervisor.
b. Conference attendance. Approved the expense of approximately $1,500 for the comptroller and a second person in the Finance Department to attend a conference in Albany.
c. Payments to former and retired employees. Authorized the payment of accrued, vacation, sick and personal time for several employees. (Note. Employees earn their vacation time as of Jan 1, so if their employment ends on Jan 3, they are entitled to a full year’s worth of vacation time.)
d. YCCC leases. Approved a 10 year lease for Yorktown Stage and annual leases for Bright Beginnngs and Head Start. The leases are subject to a permissive referendum.
e. Waive YCCC rental fee: The Board waived the room rental fee for the Nor-West and Spark . Both organizations provide recreational programs for people with special needs
e. Library: Approved the transfer of $30,000 from the library’s fund balance for the renovation of the children’s room.