November 22, 2016
(A personal note: The importance of untelevised “work session” meetings, at least for those people who want to know what their elected officials are up to, was driven home last week when I missed this meeting so that I could be with my out of state family over Thanksgiving. The notes below are based on an audio recording that someone was kind enough to make for me and which I listened to once I returned home. Unfortunately, the audio quality was not always clear allowing me to provide CIY readers with an informed summary of the different discussions. What follows, therefore, is a very short summary of what was discussed; at a minimum, the summary will give you a “heads up” of what to expect at future meetings.)
1. Mohansic Trailway
Mark Linehan, co-chair of the Yorktown Trail Town Committee, asked the board to authorize $7,750 for the construction of the trail link. The town funds would supplement the $20,000 received in grant money, plus $20,850 worth of volunteer labor. While expressing support for the project, Supervisor Grace raised additional issues that the Committee will have to resolve before the Town Board okays the expenditure of funds. One issue involves whether volunteer labor can replace unionzed workers.
2. Croton Overlook
(See Town Board, 10-25-2016.) The executor of the estate of the former applicant asked the board to reconsider its earlier decision to let the 2011 rezoning expire. Supervisor Grace restated his opposition to the plan but left the door open if the applicant wants to come back to the board with a revised plan once some legal issues are resolved. On a motion made by Supervisor Grace, the board approved a resolution NOT to extend the 2011 resolution. (The voting record could not be discerned from the audio tape, but Councilman Bernard either abstained from voting or recused himself.)
3. Hallocks Mill Sewer District Pump Station Upgrades
Town Engineer Quinn said he needed more time to review the bids. Discussions will also be needed with the comptroller and the town’s bond counsel to review how to finance the project. (Note: The CIY observer did not hear any cost figures mentioned.)
4. Highway Garage relocation
Ed Ciffone of the United Taxpayer of Yorktown went over the history of the changing plans and changing costs for the project and asked the board not to start the project until the town had firm monetary commitments to pay for the entire project. He referred to a comment from the Planning Board that the project should be done all at one time and not broken down into incremental segments as money become available. When Councilman Patel said that over 5,000 residents had signed a petition against the project, Supervisor Grace reminded Mr. Ciffone that the signed petitions had never been submitted to the town. Then, when Mr. Ciffone responded that he had not submitted the signatures because, based on past experience, he anticipated that there would be retaliation against the signers, the supervisor advised Mr. Ciffone that he had “crossed the line” and ordered the police officer in attendance at the meeting to escort Mr. Ciffone out of the room. Councilman Bernard accused Mr. Ciffone of making accusations against the board’s integrity and Councilman Diana said that Mr. Ciffone’s license and privilege to address the Town Board had been revoked. The supervisor advised Mr. Ciffone that when he understood the inappropriateness of his comment, he could return to the board meeting.
5. Granite Knolls Sports Complex
Joe Riina of Site Design Consultants walked the board through what appeared to be a slightly revised concept plan for the sports complex that would include multi purpose fields, a ball field, restored basketball and handball courts, a pickleboard court, an open pavilion and playground, walking trail, bleachers, lights, bathrooms, and a gravel parking lot. There did not appear to be any discussion about what the complex would cost to construct, or when, how and who would construct it. The board voted to declare its intent to be the lead agency for SEQRA purpose and to refer out the concept plan and the Environmental Assessment Form (EAF) that had been prepared by Bruce Barber, the town’s environmental consultant. Comments are due back December 22nd.
There was also a brief mention of the town signing a formal contract with Site Design Consultants to prepare a more detailed plan. No cost was mentioned and it was not clear if a vote authorizing a contract had taken place.
6. Revised wetlands law
Bruce Barber walked the board through a first draft of a revised Wetlands Law that he said had more to do with streamlining the process of obtaining wetlands permits than any major substantive change. Some of the modifications include changes to the definition of what constitutes a wetland, a slight increase in the size of the wetland that would trigger the requirements of the law, an increase in the number of actions that would be exempt for needing a permit, identifying town owned land that could be the recipient of off site mitigation, and, for certain wetland buffer areas, allowing the town engineer to issue administrative permits instead of having the property owner go to the Town Board which would trigger the need for a public hearing.
The board voted to refer out the draft but did not set a public hearing date on the assumption that, based on the comments, there might be a second draft.
7. Master Fee Law/Schedule
Mr. McDermott explained a proposed local law that would change some of the provisions of the currently Master Fee Law relating to an escrow fee to cover the cost of the town hiring outside consultants to review certain aspects of land development regulations.. While it was not clear exactly what changes he was proposing, Supervisor Grace said the part he objected to was that the amount the consultants could charge was opened ended. The law would also add to the Master Fee Schedule certain fees not currently in the schedule but included in the actual law governing the fee. Once in the Master Fee Schedule, fees could be changed by resolution.
The board also discussed changes to several existing fees, including the special permit for accessory apartments, plumbing and the $50 fee for a special bulk pick up. It was suggested that the bulk pick up fee be based on the quantity of the items picked up.
The board voted to refer out the draft legislation.
8. Budget Transfers
Police: The board approved series of transfers from within the 2016 police budget totaling $215,000 to pay for the new computer and communications equipment and also a vehicle. Most of the funds came from unspent money in the medical insurance line ($117,0000) and officer salaries (($72,000). An additional budget transfer took $134,884 from the officer salary line and added it to the officer overtime line.
Engineering: Money was also transferred from within the Engineering budget to add $67,860 to the salary line.
9. St. George Winery
In an item not on the agenda, Mr. McDermott advised the board that he is working on parkland alienation legislation.
10. Water bill
The board voted to allow a property owner to pay a large bill in installments.
11. Land use counsel
The board decided to delay voting on the appointment of a new outside counsel for the Planning Board and Zoning Board. (Note: interviews for the position were held November 21st.)