January 6, 2015
1. Special Election
Although not on the agenda, after I raised the issue the issue, the board voted to hold a special election to fill the two vacancies on the Town Board on Tuesday, March 10.
At the beginning of the meeting, I expressed surprise that there was no draft resolution on the agenda calling for a special election as Supervisor Grace had advised me the day before that he had no interest in appointing anyone to the board, and indeed had not even reached out to the two registered Republicans I had suggested to him for the one year Bianco seat. As I had made it clear at the December 19 and December 31 meetings that if the board could not come to an agreement on one or two appointments by January 6, I was prepared to vote for the special elections at the January 6 meeting, I had expected a resolution would have been prepared. None was.
When Supervisor Grace said he was prepared to call for a vote based on an oral resolution, both Councilman Patel and I repeated the position we have stated on more than one occasion that, with the exception of emergency resolutions, we wanted written copies of resolutions at least 24 hours in advance of any vote so that we have time to review the resolutions. However, in order not to have to wait another week to vote on the election, we agreed that if the town attorney drafted a short written resolution, we would vote for it. Which she did, and we so voted.
Note: Unlike regular town elections when voters select two councilmen and the two candidates with the highest number of votes win, for the special election, there will be two separate positions on the ballot since the two seats have different expiration dates. The ballot will indicate which candidates are running for which seat.
2. Courtesy of the Floor
Courtesy of the Floor. Nick Witkowich and Ed Ciffone both questioned exactly what the rules were, e.g., time limit for speaker and whether a dialog between the speaker and a board member was permitted, plus why the customary second courtesy of the floor at the end of the meeting had been eliminated. In response, I stated that the rules for Courtesy should be determined by the Town Board and I asked Supervisor Grace to put this issue on the work session agenda for next week. Regardless of what the rules are, I said they should be applied evenly and consistently.
Commenting on the tone of the remarks of several speakers who he said had an “attitude,” Supervisor Grace said that decorum at board meeting had to go both ways.
Code enforcement: Nick Witkowich questioned why it was taking so long for the town to prosecute a code violation on the property that abuts his and why certain town officials have ignored his repeated emails. In response, Supervisor Grace and the town attorney said that now that the violation, which he described as a neighbor vs neighbor issue, is in town court, the issue is out of the board’s hands and has to “run its course.” I added that the violation stems from problems with the zoning code that the board needed to address.
Safety at YCCC: Gil Kaufmann, speaking on behalf of the seniors, asked for a copy of some recommendations he said the town’s safety officer had prepared but which had never been sent to the senior committee. Supervisor Grace said he would get a copy of the recommendations to the seniors the next day.
Spectra pipeline plan/Junior Lake: Roseann Brackett asked why the town had ignored several FOIL requests involving the pipeline and whether the town followed established protocols about notifying town advisory groups about Spectra’s plans to do off-site wetlands mitigation at Junior Lake. In response, Town Clerk Roker stated that she had responded to all FOIL requests and Town Attorney Koster said there were no documents that addressed what the FOIL was seeking, both points which Ms. Brackett refuted.
Regarding the Junior Lake plan, Supervisor Grace explained that the Rec Commission is currently reviewing the plan as it involves the use of town parkland and that when the Commission has finished its review, the issue will come to the Town Board. I explained, however, that the Town Board, as well as certain advisory groups and the town’s environmental consultant, should be involved in reviewing both the proposed mitigation plan and any associated plan to add a recreational component that Spectra might agree to incorporate into its plan. I also advised interested residents to attend upcoming Rec Commission meetings while the plan was being discussed in the early stages.
Sultana Pool: Ed Ciffone asked what the town was going to do about the Sultana pool issue. In response, Supervisor Grace again cited the problems associated with the property and the reasons the town shouldn’t take on the liability. He held out hope that the YMCA might still be interested. In response to his comments that a business decision has to be made, I suggested that a decision should be made sooner than later as the town (taxpayers) are continuing to pay the pool’s school and county taxes. I said that the one-time cost to fill in the pool and possibly sell the land the the abutting property owner, would cover the cost of the taxes.
Supervisor Grace read out loud an 11 page draft approval resolution. Councilman Patel and I both stated that because we had received electronic copies of the resolution late in the afternoon and hadn’t had time to read and review it, we weren’t prepared to discuss the resolution that evening but would be by next week, leaving the town one additional week before needing to vote on the resolution. (By state law, the board is obligated to render a decision within 62 days of the close of the public hearing.)
While not prepared to discuss the specifics of the resolution, I did note that the conditions that were part of the resolution appeared to be similar to the conditions originally proposed by Compass Westchester and did not contain any of the suggested changes residents had made in October.
I also informed the board that based on a phone conversation I had had with the Department of Health, there was an outstanding issue of the indoor pool and whether the applicants would have to seek a public use pool permit as opposed to the type of permit required for single family homes. The department is still waiting for additional information from the applicants.
I also advised the board of my phone conversation with the DOH seeking clarification on several issues residents had raised during the public hearing about the adequacy of the applicants’ septic plans.
4. 3211 Lakeshore Drive wetlands permit
As the applicant was not present, the hearing was not opened.
Bruce Barber, the town’s environmental consultant advised the board that the owner is currently before the ZBA for a new variance and he asked the board for permission to address the ZBA on the wetlands issue. Pending the outcome of the ZBA process and the submission of all the required documentation, the issue will be re-advertised for a public hearing.
5. Costco sewer district referral
The petition to establish Hunterbrook Sewer District #20 to encompass the remaining portion of the Costco site and abutting properties along Old Crompond Road was tabled on the advice of the town clerk as additional information was needed.
Crompond Terraces /Mandalay Builders: Although on the agenda to advertise a public hearing, the town clerk advised the board that it had already voted to advertise the hearing for January 20.
1805 East Main Street, Mohegan Lake: (See Town Board, 9/23/14.) When Supervisor Grace asked about the status of this request, the town clerk advised him that although the Town Board had voted to refer out the application, the supervisor hadn’t given her any documents to refer out. Supervisor Grace said he would provide her with the documents.
The following town employees retired
Frederick Gauthier and Raymond Granata, Highway Department
Glen Sneyd , Building Department
Patsy Perrotto, Kevin Soravilla and Christopher Rourke, Police Department
And the 11 year old police dog Moose, who, by resolution, was given to his handler, police officer Justin Foley.
8. Senior club transportation agreements
At my request this issue was tabled to the January 13 work session in order to get more information on how seniors sign up for the trips that are organized by the seven clubs, each with very different membership numbers. The trips are open to all Yorktown seniors. (Note: each club, regardless of the number of members, gets $2,000 a year to defray the cost of the trips.)
9. Advisory Board liaisons
Supervisor Grace announced his personal list of liaison appointments to various town advisory groups, asking Councilman Patel and I if we “accepted\” his designation. When I suggested that selecting liaisons had always been a board discussion, the supervisor responded that the designations were his choice to make. Despite the fact that both Councilman Patel and I were interested in serving as liaison to the Recreation Commission, the supervisor reappointed Highway Superintendent Paganelli to the position, saying that we were free to attend the meetings if we wanted.
10. Deputy Supervisor
Supervisor Grace appointed Town Clerk Alice Roker as Deputy Supervisor. (Note. The deputy can conduct Town Board meetings but if not a member of the Town Board, cannot vote.)