January 28, 2020
Absent: Councilwoman Roker
Personnel (Building and Parks Departments; litigation
1. Town web site
The board gave the go-ahead to Robyn Steinberg of the Planning Department to work on an upgrade to the town’s web site, last updated in 2013. The $5,000 cost will include the redesign and other changes associated with the vendor who hosts the site.
2. Hallocks Mill Sewer Project
The board again grappled with the issue of whether to go ahead and set a public hearing to create the new district before getting a commitment from the county about releasing the $10M EOH funds. Supervisor Slater advised the board that earlier in the day, based on additional information provided by Michael Quinn, the town engineer, the DEP gave the $14.3 project its approval; he hoped that this would convince the county. Mr. Quinn advised the board the town needed two steps to proceed with the project: the resolution creating the project and a resolution authorizing the bonding. He said that passing the resolutions would not cost the town any money and that they could be rescinded in the event the county failed to release the $10M. The town will consult with bond attorney on the next steps.
3. Hallocks Mill Pump stations
Mr. Quinn and a representative of GHD, the company overseeing the rehabilitation of three pump stations, reported that while one pump station is now operational, the Health Department (DOH) has issued violation notices for the other two pump stations because some aspects of what was constructed differed from the approved plan. Mr. Quinn advised the board that the differences were minor and that some of the issues raised by the DOH actually conformed to the plan it had previously approved. The town will argue its case at a February 11 hearing.
4. Par 3 golf course (Shallow Creek)
(See Planning Board discussion below.) Following the discussion at Monday’s Planning Board meeting, the board was advised that the company that is developing the property will need a DEC wetlands permit and other documents associated with the need to have an approved site plan. Mr. Quinn said that as of now the company had sketches of its intended improvements but no actual plan approved by a professional who would be in charge of the project. Questions were raised as to why the project had proceeded without following the established process. Among the reasons cited: the death of the person originally in charge of the project and the absence of his paprwork, the town’s preoccupation the Granite Knolls project, and the confusion as to who was responsible for what in this private/public partnership.
While Supervisor Slater said that the town will assist the company to move the project forward as quickly as possible, Mr. Tegeder said that the company might not be able to meet its timetable. There was the possibility, though, that the first hole might be able to open by June.
5. Battery Storage Law
Mr. Tegeder walked the board through a series of proposed changes to the law in response to comments at the earlier hearing. He differentiated the size of the battery storage facility already constructed at the Staples Shopping Center with the one proposed for Gomer Court. While both are classified as Tier 3 facilities, the Gomer Court is much larger and would consist of four container-like structures, each 12-13’ wide, 55’ long and 13’ high. There would also be ancillary structures.
The changes that Mr. Tegeder suggested would require greater screening and a minimum lot size of 30,000 sf, and would allow the facilities in residential neighborhoods if they could be adequately screened. He did not think that that there were many half acre residentially zoned parcels that would meet the 30,000’ minimum and he said he could provide the board with an estimate as to how many other residentially zoned parcels might qualify. He also raised questions as to whether the proposed Gomer Court project could be adequately screened so that it did not impact the mixed use neighborhood.
The board referred out a revised draft of the law.
6. Hotel RFI (Request for Information)
Members of the Economic Development Committee broached the idea of circulating an RFI to hotel chains and property owners in the hope of generating interest in constructing a 50-100 room hotel, with conference rooms, in Yorktown. Mr. Tegeder said there were possibly five potential sites for such a facility. Serge Esposito, president of the Chamber of Commerce explained that when the Chamber explored the issue 15 years ago, it was told that Yorktown could not generate the required 80% occupancy rate. But the committee members, citing Marriott’s interest in building a hotel near the Hudson Valley Hospital, explained that times have changed and there may now be sufficient demand. But Yorktown would have to act before the Cortlandt project moved forward.
While the board was generally supportive of the idea of having a hotel, there was some concern over what the impact on the town would be if it turned out that there was no interest.
The board decided to pursue a two pronged strategy. The Planning Department will contact the owners of the possible sites to see if they are interested in having their property developed for a hotel and also the business development people at several hotel chains to assess what their needs are, while the Economic Development committee works on a draft RFI; if the former does not generate interest, than the EFI would not be sent out.
7. Volunteer appointments
(See Town Board, 1-14-2020.) The board again discussed the following related issues but came to no decision on any of them.
1) how to resolve the December, 2019 lame duck appointment to the Recreation Commission
2) changes in the town code related to membership and functions of advisory boards
3) the fact that recent appointments to the Ethics Board all expired at the same time
8. Discover Yorktown TV Show
Serge Esposito, president of the Chamber of Commerce, proposed the creation of a TV show consisting of two 15 minute segments that highlighted the town. The program would be modeled after similar programs in other towns. The program would air on the town’s government channel as well as YouTube and other sites. He said the project would cost $800/month. The issue was who would finance the project, and whether, if the program appeared on the government access channel, it could include ads or sponsorship. The interim town attorney said he would look into the legal issue.
9. Arts and Culture Committee
Supervisor Slater said the town needed such a committee, but no action was taken to form one.
10. Climate Committee
The new committee will have its first meeting on February 5.
11. Selected miscellaneous resolutions
75th Anniversary of Auschwitz Liberation. The board passed a resolution commenting the event.
Vehicle purchase. The board authorized the purchase of four cars for the Police Department.