Citizens for an Informed Yorktown


Town Board Work Session

February `12, 2013


Not present:  Councilman Bianco


Closed session

CSEA Contract negotiations and other matter/s not identified.


Open Session

1. Personnel: Library vacancy

(As the discussion with several members of the Library Board of Trustees was not on the agenda and most of the discussion took place before  the Board went into closed session and before the CIY observer came into the room, the following summary is based on information provided by one of the trustees.)  


Although the 2013 Library budget included funds for a 25 hour/week assistant librarian for the children’s room, at previous closed Town Board meetings with Library Director Pat Baressi, the Board said it only wanted to hire someone for 24 hours/week in order to avoid having to pay benefits to a part time worker. Ms. Baressi has advised the Board that she cannot find anyone interested in the position at 24 hours/week.  Based on tonight’s discussion, the Library Board has two options: provide the Town Board with documentation that  it cannot find a person interested in taking the job at 24 hours – or – hire someone for 25 or more hours, and reduce the amount of money spent for other part timers so there’s no overall increase in expenditures.


2. Tree Conservation Advisory Committee/grant application

The Board approved the request of the TCAC to submit a grant application to the Westchester Agricultural Council Management Assistance Program for funds to erect temporary deer exclosure fences at Turkey Mountain. Pursuant to the Forest Management Plan prepared in 20111, the goal is to plant new seedlings and protect them from deer for a period of about three years, after which time the fences will be removed.  The grant will cover the cost of materials (the amount was not identified) and will be installed and maintained by volunteers.


3. Arbor Day

On the recommendation of the Arbor Day Committee, the Board set April 26 for the Town’s Arbor Day celebration. The group will solicit donations to cover the estimated $650 budget. 


4. Bernstein House property

In response to some complaints about the content of the sign that has been placed on the Town’s right-of-way listing some of the companies who are providing materials for the rehabilitation of the house, the Board voted to refer the sign to ABACA, the building and planning departments and the Planning Board.  Adjoining neighbors will also be notified. The Board will revisit the issue at the February 26 meeting and invite public comments on the sign at its March meeting.


5. Creative Living/Navajo Fields

After reviewing the revised site plan map that incorporates the changes it had requested at last week’s meeting and getting assurances that the 5 bridges had been cordoned off, the Board voted  4-0 (Councilman Bianco was not present) to authorize the supervisor to sign a revised site plan map and approve a resolution amending the wetlands and excavation permit. 

Initially, Supervisor Grace said that his signing the map was sufficient and that the only document that mattered was the map, but when Town Attorney gave him a copy of last week’s draft approval resolution, he went over the resolution, deleting sections he considered no longer needed and making other modifications.  The new resolution states that the applicant has to return to the Board within 180 days for a compliance review.  (An earlier provision stating that the permit expired after 180 days was deleted.)  Also, the applicant has 60 days to submit a mitigation and sequencing plan to the Town.  Supervisor Grace told the applicant that he would not tolerate any delays in getting the work done and made it clear that the applicant could not change anything on the approved plan.


One of the areas of concern was how to delineate the “limit of disturbance” into the wetlands.  While the revised map shows a combination of silt fencing and stakes at different parts of the site, environmental consultant Bruce Barber stated that the original plan, approved last year, called for silt fencing over the entire area; he expressed concern that wooden stakes can be moved, knockd down, etc. In response, Supervisor Grace advised the applicant that it was his responsibility to maintain the stakes , otherwise the applicant would be in violation of the permit.


Acting Town Engineer Robinson advised the applicant that her office needed more information included in the weekly reports that he has been submitting; the reports, she said, don’t adequately describe the work that has been occurring on the site.


In response to comments by applicant C. J. Diven that he wanted to have prior notice when someone from the Town was going to be on the site for inspection. Supervisor Grace said Town staff had the right to go onto the property.


It was also made clear to the applicant that work to upgrade the bridges could not be started until the building inspector had approved detailed plans of the work to be done.  


The applicant said he would work with the Town to clean up the debris on town-owned land at the end of the Navajo Road cul d’sac.


6. Proposed legislation on raising fowl

In a 3-1 vote, with Councilman Murphy voting no and Councilman Bianco not present, the Board referred out a draft of proposed legislation that would permit raising fowl on residential property.  (It was not clear why Councilman Murphy voted against the referral.)  The vote took place after Supervisor Grace deleted sections from a draft local law that had been prepared by the town attorney and added some provisions. Although town attorney Koster suggested that she present a clean revised draft to the Board at its next work session after she had had a chance to sit down with the building inspector, Supervisor Grace preferred to move ahead and not wait for a clean copy of a revised draft. Prior to the vote taking place, building inspector John Winter suggested that the number of chickens be linked to the size of the lot and not the zoning district.


Based on the discussion, it appeared that the proposed law would:

a. be limited to chickens and ducks only (and excluderoosters)

b. allow the use by special permit issued by the ZBA (the original draft made the Planning Board the approval authority)

c. allow 12 or fewer chickens/ducks on residential property, but allowing the ZBA to limit the number of chickens

d. setting 30 feet rear and side yard setbacks for coops.

Mr. Winter will also review the state’s Agriculture and Markets law to see if there are any provisions that would impact on a local law.


7. Proposed legislation on sidewalk amenities.  Removed from agenda


8. Renewal of agreement with Auctions International:  Removed from agenda


9. IBM fiber optic cable on poles

This was brought up at the very end of the meeting, but it wasn’t clear what , if any, Board action was being requested  or was needed.


10. Hurricane Sandy/Tree Removal

In an item not on the agenda, the Board discussed a letter it had received from a Davenport Lane resident requesting the Town reimburse him the $429 it cost to have a tree removed that turned out to be on the Town’s right of way.  The Board denied the request on the grounds that granting it would  open a Pandora’s box for the next storm and the storm after that. Supervisor Grace said that legally the Town can’t pay for something without prior approval having been obtained.


11. Budget transfers

The Board approved a series of budget transfers for the 2013 budget.