Citizens for an Informed Yorktown

 

 

Town Board

November 25, 2014

 

Note; The first part of this summary was written as an observer at the meeting. The second part was written while participating in the board’s discussions.

 

Closed session

“for negotiations”

 

Open Session

1. Freedom Gardens

The facility, which provides residential housing to disabled persons, is requesting that the town install a street light on one or two possible poles on Strawberry Road and Foothill St.  Highway Superintendent Paganelli advised the residents that he has an available light fixture but that Town Board approval is needed.  Councilman Murphy will visit the site with Police Officer Eidelman and report back to the board.

 

2. Brodie’s Pub sewer connection

(See Town Board, 7-1-2014.) The restaurant, located on Route 6 in Cortlandt, wants to hook up to Mohegan Manor which earlier received permission from the town to hook into the Clover Road sewer district.  The restaurant’s septic system is functioning, but the Department of Health is requiring it to reduce the number of seats in the restaurant based on the current system.

 

Initially Supervisor Grace appeared reluctant to agree to the request, indicating that it was Cortlandt’s responsibility to deal with the sewer situation and they should not be “punting” to Yorktown. However,  as the discussion progressed, he appeared more accommodating and the discussion turned to what the potential cost to the restaurant would be which is based on its water usage.  In response to Councilman Patel’s question as to whether other properties along Route 6 would want to hook up, the owners said there was no interest.

 

The three board members having no problem with the issue, the restaurant owners will review the potential cost figures.  Supervisor Grace will also discuss the technical issue with the town engineer.

 

3. 3415 Mohegan Avenue/Land donation

The board had no issue with accepting the donation but on the Supervisor’s suggestion, indicated that the town might want to consider spinning off the parcel to the Mohegan Highlands Association rather than dedicating it as parkland and keeping it in town ownership.  A resolution will be prepared for next board meeting.

 

4. 3211 Lakeshore Drive/wetlands permit

The discussion between the board and Bruce Barber was, for the most past, not audible. What was heard, however, was Mr. Barber’s comment that the application might not be up-to-date and Supervisor Grace’s comment that when the sewer district was created, it was with the assumption that all the parcels in the district would be buildable. A public hearing is set for the first meeting in January.

 

5. 3721 Gomer Street/wetlands permit

(See Planning Board, 11-24-2014.)The board received the Planning Board’s memo that it has no objection to issuing this permit. The application was previously set for a December 2 public hearing.

 

6. Fawn Drive water bill

The homeowners disputed an $845 bill they received for the period January through May, stating that their “normal” bills were in the $101 range. The homeowners argued that they had repaired a broken pipe BEFORE the billing period in dispute and there were no signs of a leak and no dramatic usage changes to explain the reported 143,000 gallons. The Water Department reported that when the meter was taken out and tested, it proved to be 100% accurate.  The department also noted that the homeowners had failed to respond to post card notice alerting them to a possible leak and also that some of the homeowners’ explanation did not correspond to other facts.  After concluding that it will never to be possible to figure out what happened to account for the high usage, Supervisor Grace quietly negotiated with the homeowners as to how to compromise on the outstanding bill. Ultimately the board voted to give the homeowners a $500 credit on the $845 bill.

 

7. Con Edison Vegetative Management Plan

In previous years, Con Ed has requested and received wetlands permits every three years for its ongoing maintenance efforts. The company, with the support of Bruce Barber, is now proposing to get a general wetlands permit so that it can continue its ongoing work without having to return over and over again for a new permit. The board had no problem with the request, although Supervisor Grace indicated that the town might want to create a new fee for a general wetlands permit that distinguished it, and was greater than, the current $1800  fee for a Level  3 permit.

 

The application was referred out and set for a public hearing for the second meeting in January.

 

 

At this point, I joined the board in my capacity as councilwoman-elect for discussion purposes only and not for voting.

 

8. Crompond Terraces

The applicant’s development team, led by Ann Kutter, made a presentation to the board, highlighting recent revisions in the conceptual plan made in response to the Planning Board’s comments. The major change was the reduction in the number of units to 80 from 96. (Under the current R1-20 using, approximately 25 single family units could be built.) The applicant also stated that the approximate 35,000 square feet of commercial space would be built as a second phase of the project and would be for professional offices, although the requested C-2 zone would also allow retail use.

 

While acknowledging that it was the applicant’s decision whether to build an age restricted or straight multi family project (the allowed density being the same for either zone), Supervisor Grace talked about the need to provide housing for young adults and young families who currently can’t afford to live in Yorktown. He dismissed the argument about not wanting to have any development that brought additional school aged children into the town.   In response, Mr. Biaitta said he would take another look at a straight multi family rezoning.

 

Also discussed was the condition of Old Crompond Road. Mr. Biaitta said that Costco will repave the road after putting in the utilities but had no additional plans to make improvements to the road. He also stated that the Planning Board might require that the pending CVS application at the intersection of Route 202 and Old Crompond Road make an adjustment to that end of the road,  but that no major improvements or changes in the road were being planned.

 

In response to the applicant’s request that a public hearing be scheduled in January, Councilwoman elect Siegel said she supported the mixed use concept for the site but that had several issues with the current plan, including the need for additional environmental studies, how the project would relate to other proposed and potential projects in the area and the proposed donation of a senior center building and pool to the town.  She said these issues had to be resolved as they would impact on the site plan that would be subject of the environmental  studies.

 

The consensus of the board was that these issues would all be addressed over time as part of the simultaneous rezoning/site plan review. A date was not set for the public hearing.

 

9. Yorktown Enrichment Center

In the event that the Center will not be able to operate at Crompond  School for the 2015-2016 school year, Ms. Minard, the Center’s director has begun to explore the possible use of Room 16 in the YCCC from 2-6 pm.  Two issues need to be ironed out:  can the building’s current usage accommodate the added use, and if so, what the charge would be.  All agreed that the current policy for determining rental rates, either per hour for occasional use or an annual square footage rate for yearly leases, would not be appropriate and that some new arrangement would have to be worked out in the event that Ms. Minard did need to find new space and if the YCCC could accommodate the program.  Supervisor Grace suggested she explore the old Mercy College buildings on Strang Boulevard.

 

10. Special Election

(Note: At the Supervisor’s direction, Councilwoman-elect Siegel did not participate in this discussion.)

Supervisor Grace indicated that he wanted to proceed with a discussion of appointing someone to fill former Councilman Bianco’s seat.  When Councilman Murphy suggested that the discussion be expanded to discuss the filling both vacant seats so that the board could plan for the situation as of January 1, Deputy Town Clerk Quast advised the board that it could only discuss one vacancy as only one vacancy currently existed.

 

When Councilman Patel indicated that one possible approach was for each group to appoint one person, Supervisor Grace said he was “shocked” by the councilman’s changed position and the councilman responded that circumstances were different.

 

The discussion ended without any resolution.

 

11. Peg Realty performance bond

(See Planning Board, 11-24-2014.)

In an item not on the agenda, the board was given a resolution to accept a check for $231,097 as a performance bond for site work for the Valley Commons commercial development on Hill Boulevard.

 

Supervisor Grace and Councilman Murphy took strong exception to the proposed resolution  on the grounds that it was unfair to keep and tie up someone’s money for infrastructure improvements that were on the applicant’s property and would not be turned over to the town.  Supervisor Grace explained the rational for performance bonds and said he would propose a resolution at the next board meeting to change the Planning Board’s policy requirement for performance  bonds for commercial projects.

 

Councilwoman-elect Siegel, who had attended Monday’s Planning Board meeting when the issue was discussed, tried to explain the background that led up to the receipt of the check but the supervisor and councilman were not interested in what had transpired.

 

12. Sober House

Supervisor Murphy asked the board members what their positions were regarding the special permit request. As he had done before, he outlined three options: granting the permit, granting the permit with conditions, and denying the permit.  He repeated that there had to be a legal basis for denying the permit.

 

Councilwoman-elect Siegel  said she was prepared to deny the permit on the legal ground that the Zoning Ordinance did not legally designate the Town Board as the approving authority for special permits for convalescent homes. In response, Supervisor Grace said that when the Zoning Ordinance was silent on the issue of which board was the approving authority, by default, it automatically went to the Town Board.  Ms. Siegel said she wanted additional legal advice on this issue.

 

Ms. Siegel also outlined a series of unresolved issues that related to whether the current application met the standards for granting a special permit.  Specifically she referred to alleged current violations on the property, the unresolved septic issue and the need to clarify what standards, single family residence or multiple dwelling, applied to a convalescent home in a single family residence.  She said she wanted clarification on these issues from the DEC and the building inspector before proceeding.  Supervisor Grace dismissed these issues for a variety of reasons.

 

When the supervisor said he could begin drafting an approving resolution, Ms. Siegel suggested that given two opposing views on the board, he not proceed with such a resolution. Councilman Murphy indicated that he had some unanswered questions but did not indicate which way he was leaning on the issue.

 

13. Dangerous tree situation

The supervisor’s assistant gave each board member copies of correspondence from a homeowner stating that a tree on town property that abutted his property was in danger of falling and causing damage to hishouse. The supervisor suggested that board members visit the location but that the town might want to sell the parcel to the homeowner. Deputy Town Clerk Quast indicated that the parcel might be parkland.

 

14.Miscellaneous resolutions  passed unanimously

YCCC room rental.  The board waived rental fees for two users.

$1,450 rental fee for AARP to use a room to provide income tax assistance for seniors

$1,116 for Nor-West’s use of the gym