December 22, 2015
The board met with its insurance broker to discuss the 2016 policies. (See open session portion of the meeting summary.)
1. Cell Tower Extension, 1750 Darby
In what was primarily an FYI discussion, the board was advised that Crown Castle, the company that has a lease for an existing cell tower next to a water storage tank, will be making some modifications to the existing tower. The modification, which will lower the tower by 6 feet, does not require any change to the existing lease. The exchange did, however, bring to the board’s attention the fact that while the lease calls for the company to remit to the town 50% of the revenue it gets from renting out space on the tower to other companies, the town was not receiving documentation as to what Crown Castle was actually receiving in rent. Going forward, the town will require such documentation.
2. Hilltop Gas Station, East Main Street, Shrub Oak
Although the applicant, along with his architect and Chris Sciarra, presented a revised site plan that included a combination of 4’ fencing along Route 6 and some shrubs, Supervisor Grace made it clear to the applicant that because the transitional zoning, approved in 2001, specifically prohibits the sale of used cars, the applicant will need to apply for a rezoning if that’s the use he wants; site plan issues such as fencing and landscaping would then become part of the rezoning review.
(Note: There are no specified uses for a “transitional zone.” The uses are determined on a case by case basis and are what the Town Board says are to be the uses.)
Supervisor Grace said he had no issue with the car sales use; his overriding concern was the aesthetics of the site which is a gateway to Shrub Oak.
On specific site plan issues, it was suggested that the posts for the proposed 4’ black metal fence along Route 6 be positioned closer together to create a more dense look. Opinions varied over whether the board should allow a canopy over the pumps; Councilman Diana initially said he objected to having one which he felt would destroy the “Americana” look of the old station. He later indicated that he might be open to considering a small canopy.
3. Crompond Terraces (Mandalay), Old Crompond Road
The board voted 4-1, with me voting no, on a resolution accepting a SEQRA Negative Declaration for the project, followed by a 3-1-0 vote on a resolution to rezone the eight parcels. I voted no and Councilman Patel abstained because he felt the vote should have been postponed to a regular meeting in January.
The board voted unanimously to schedule a public hearing on January 19 on a local law to amend the Zoning Map to reflect the rezoning in the resolution.
Prior to the votes, I suggested that a vote on a rezoning that affected a major area of Yorktown be done at the board’s next regular, televised meeting in January; I didn’t see that the three week delay would cause any problems. In response Supervisor Grace saw no need for the delay, noting that there had been a public hearing on the rezoning and that there were no public objections.
I then went through several concerns I had with specific provision of the rezoning resolution, all of which were discussed and dismissed by the board.
Time limit on rezoning. Because the rezoning is based on a specific Crompond Terraces development concept plan that covers six of the eight parcels being rezoned, I suggested that the rezoning be valid for a set number of years during which time Mandalay would pursue site plan approval. My concern was that in the event the Crompond Terraces project never came to fruition, the owners of the eight separate parcels could come in with eight different plans.
Recreational component. The resolution states that Mandalay will build an on site 12,000 SF recreational building, the exact size, location and use to be determined during site plan approval and subject to approval by the Town Board. The building will meet the town’s recreation fee requirement. My concern was that the future ownership of the building was not spelled out and was left up in the air for a future board to decide. It was pointed out that while the board had had discussions about this building, the board never arrived at a decision about its future.
“Community Benefit” contribution. The resolution states that Mandalay will erect two pre fab buildings, approximately 120’x80’ and 200’x60’ at a location to be determined by the town and on a foundation prepared and constructed by the town. Like the recreation building, the exact details of these buildings will be determined at site plan approval and will be subject to Town Board approval. My concern was what I considered the vague nature of this contribution. I also pointed out that this “contribution” differed from the contribution that was presented to the board at an October meeting. At that time, it was made clear that the pre fab buildings would be erected on the town’s Greenwood Street property where the supervisor was proposing new buildings for the Pa5rks and Highway departments.
The response to both my recreational component and community benefit contribution concerns was that the existing language was sufficient as it set the dollar value of both items, leaving the details to be worked out later.
Density. I expressed concern over what I considered two contradictory paragraphs in the resolution. One set the maximum residential density at 6 units per acre (earlier drafts had only 5 units per acre), while a second paragraph said the Planning Board could adjust the maximum density during site plan review. In response, it was explained that the two provisions gave the Planning Board needed flexibility to either increase or decrease the density. (Note: The residential density in the concept plan was just under 5 units per acre. Some members of the Planning Board considered the concept plan too dense for the site.)
Traffic improvements. I expressed concern about what I considered the vague language regarding needed traffic improvements that had been identified in the EAF. In response, I was assured that these would be addressed during site plan approval and that if Crompond Terraces was ready for approval before any of the other potential applicants in the area, e.g., the proposed CVS building, that Crompond Terraces would be required to make the necessary improvements.
4. Police cars
In an item not on the agenda, the board okayed the Police Department spending up to $71,500 to purchase used cars for the use of detectives. The money will come from the department’s medical benefits budget line which has a surplus because some police officers retired during the year. Based on the bid the department received for seven cars, it anticipates it could purchase four or five cars. The cars will be inspected by town staff before they are bought. Equipment, lilke radios, will be transferred from the existing cars which are “aged out.”
5. Insurance policies (2016)
The board approved a resolution authorizing up to $765,000 for premiums for a variety of 2016 insurance policies. Based on the discussion that took place in closed session, combined with additional information the town needs to provide the broker before the end of the year, the actual amount may be somewhat lower. The comptroller indicated that approximately $800,000 had been included in the 2016 budget or insurance.
6. Baptist Church Road
The board approved an additional $5,402 for WSP Sells for inspection and monitoring work related to the project. Highway Superintendent Paganelli reported that over the five or so years the company has been working on various aspects of the project, its total fee was over $100,000. He said the cost of the actual construction of the new culvert and wall totaled $693,000. While the board had earlier approved $950,000 for the project, that cost included work that did not have to be done, e.g., dredging the private pond . The town anticipates receiving between $220,000-$240,000 from FEMA to help offset the cost.
7. Deputy Town Clerk
The board approved Town Clerk-elect Quast’s choice for deputy town clerk, Maura Weissleder. Ms. Weissleder served as Yorktown deputy town clerk several years ago when Ms. Quast was out on maternity leave. She will start on January 11.
8. 2016 Organizational Meeting
The board set January 5, 2016 as the Organizational Meeting for the new year.