1. Garden Club
The Garden Cub asked for, and received, board permission to plant a Norway Spruce in Patriot Garden, near the back side of the skate board park, to commemorate the 90th anniversary of the club. The club also wants to install a 12 x 20 Blue Star Memorial plaque on a milestone that’s currently located someplace on Yorktown School District property. Help will be needed to move the stone. Supervisor Grace will do a site visit to the school district property with members of the club.
2. Crystal Court/wetlands permit
(See Town Board 7-25-2017.) Town Engineer Quinn advised the board that trees in the wetland and wetland buffer were cut down in violation of the wetlands permit that was issued in August. (The Engineering Department issued a stop work order after a caller alerted the department to the tree cutting.) The property owner advised the board that he had told the contractor where to cut/not cut and blamed the contractor for the error. Mr. Quinn suggested that an orange fence be erected to delineate the buffer area and that the permit be modified to include this requirement. He also suggested that the property owner be required to plant a specified number of new trees of a certain size.
3. Lakeshore Drive wetlands permit
(See Town Board, 10/17/2017.) After comparing the original site plan to the proposed new one that has a smaller footprint and, in his opinion, is less intrusive, Supervisor Grace said he believed that the board had no “wiggle room” to deny a new wetlands permit when a previous one had been issued. The town engineer said a new wetlands permit was needed because the original one was based on a site plan that was no longer valid. The adjourned hearing will be reconvened; a date was not specified.
The board went into closed session to interview vendors for the town’s paramedic services contract.
RESUMED OPEN SESSION
4. Open space purchase
(See Town Board, 6-13-2017.) The board approved spending $125,000 from the Open Space Fund as the town’s contribution toward the purchase of the Sullivan parcel along Route 118 that abuts the town’s Turkey Mountain Preserve. The remaining money for the purchase (the purchase price was not disclosed) will come from the Westchester Land Trust, a major private contribution, and contributions from members of the town’s Advisory Committee on Open Space (ACOS). The parcel will be owned by the Land Trust and an easement will be given to the town.
Negotiations are still in process for the Boniello parcel that, once acquired, will link Granite Knolls West and Sylvan Glen. Supervisor Grace said that soil borings were being done on the parcel, adding that the Westchester Land Trust is also hoping to participate in this purchase.
5. Solar farm proposal
A second proposal for a solar farm was presented to the board. The 17.5 acre privately parcel runs from Underhill Avenue up the slope to Darby where the town’s water tank and a cell tower is located. A representative from Keystone Power Holdings, the company that is planning the project advised the board that the installation would not be visible from Underhill Avenue. An estimated 6-8 acres would be used for the installation.
The company was advised that the town is in the process of developing legislation to regulate this new use; a company representative indicated his interest in helping the town craft the legislation and said hewould provide information about how other municipalities are dealing with this new use.
One issue that needs to be worked out is how solar farms are to be assessed. According to Mr. McDermott, the town assessor has begun looking into the issue but to date there was little to go on for installations in the Hudson Valley. The need for more research notwithstanding, there was discussion about the potential use of a PILOT (Payment in Lieu of Taxes) agreement that could have a 15 year duration. What the rate would be remains one of the main issues to be decided.
6. Work order management system
(See Town Board, 10-3-2017.) While the general sense of the board was that the system would increase efficiency, the main issue to be worked out was how the cost would be split between the water, sewer and highway departments, and how a portion of the cost could be billed to 2017 and the remainder to 2018 when the system would be fully installed. Supervisor Grace advised staff to work out these details before the board proceeded to authorize the purchase of the system. The system is expected to cost up to $51,000. Because the data on the web based system will be on the consultant’s server, no new computer hardware will be required by the town. In the future, some additional tablets may be purchased so that staff can access the system while out of the office.
7. Alarm permits
The building inspector, working with the town attorney, has drafted legislation that would require alarm monitoring companies to pay an $8,500 yearly franchise fee to the town. According to Supervisor Grace, since the monitoring companies are utilizing the town’s first responder services when they get an alarm, the companies should pay to use town services. The alarm companies would also be responsible for monitoring false alarms with the potential that the company could be penalized is the number of false alarms exceeded a certain number. The building inspector said that he didn’t have t e staff to monitor the volume of false alarms and that this should be done by the monitoring companies; if their clients had an excessive number of false alarms, it would be up to the company to deal with their clients. He added that there were many variables that caused false alarms.
The board referred out the draft legislation to the police and fire departments, the Chamber of Commerce and also alarm system vendors. According to the building inspector, there are about 10 alarm monitoring companies providing a service in the town.
8. CSEA contract
The board voted to sign a new contract with the CSEA. The union already agreed to the contract. The salary increases are 1.75% for 2016, 2% for 2017 and 2018 and 2.18% for 2019. The contract also includes increases in longevity payments (the amount was not disclosed) and provisions dealing with an education allowance. A concession agreed to by the union was the installation of electronic time clocks with the change to be reviewed either after one or two years.
9. Flag poles
In an item not on the agenda, the board approved the expenditure of $9,575 for new flag poles for Patriot Garden and Town Hall, plus an additional $7,000 to cover installation costs.
10. Change in election voting locations
In an item not on the agenda, the board voted 4-1, with Councilman Patel voting no, to adopt a resolution in support of the Board of Election’s decision to move the voting location for several election districts from town hall to the YCCC and French Hill School.
According to Supervisor Grace, the Board of Elections, which is responsible for determining voting locations, said that town hall could not be used this year because the pending construction for the new handicapped parking spaces in front of the building would make the location unsuitable for handicapped voters.
The board’s resolution in support of the county’s decision, also cited other reasons why town hall was not an appropriate voting location, including the location of the supervisor’s office on the third floor, and the “inappropriate” location of the town clerk’s office next door to the room where voting was taking place.
The town clerk has filed a lawsuit against the Board of Elections and town officials in opposition to the change. The town attorney said he would appear in court the following day to answer the lawsuit.
11. Water Department
The board okayed the purchase of two 2018 Ford Escape SEs for a total of $47,923.28