February 17, 2015
This was an atypical meeting. While it lasted 3 hours, the “business” part of the meeting took about 10 minutes total.
Because I was involved in so much of the discussion, I’ll only give a brief summary here. For a fuller sense of the meeting, you can view the video of the meeting on the town website http://yorktownny.granicus.com/MediaPlayer.php?view_id=1&clip_id=19
(Note: while the web site is now operational for “ current” meetings, the town is still trying to figure out how to retrieve the videos of the earlier meetings that are no longer available on the web site.)
Business portion of meeting.
1. Police promotion: Sergeant Thomas Gentner was promoted to Police Lieutenant at an annual salary of $130,285.
2. NYS Tax Freeze Program. The board approved a resolution to join a county initiative that will explore sharing efficiencies between the county and its municipalities. As part of the state tax cap program, in order for taxpayers to qualify for a state tax rebate, the town has to show how it is working with other municipalities to increase efficiency and reduce costs.
3. Approved a twoyear contract with Bruce Barber of Cornerstone Consulting for professional environmental consultant services.
4. Rezoning. Set March 17 for a public hearing on a request to rezone two properties on East Main St. in Mohegan Lake from office use to C-3 commercial
5. CDBG funds. County Legislator Kaplowitz advised the board that because the town has apositive record of providing affordable housing, the town is eligible to compete for $5 million on CDBG funds that have been made available to the county but which will be disbursed through the state’s CDBG program. No details have been provided on when applications can be made. There was no discussion of possible projects the town might apply for although it was said that the YCCC would be eligible.
As for the other matters…
Zoning amendments relating to sober living residences & Compass Westchester
As I see it, there are two interrelated parts; changing the definition of family and creating a new special use permit that would cover sober living residents and possibly other congregate living arrangements that aren’t “families.” Alternately, the town could continue to use the term “convalescent home” but if it chose to do that, then my position is that a new definition of the term is needed.
Supervisor Grace continues to believe that no changes need to the made to the existing code because he doesn’t see a problem, including the definition of “family” which was the focus of most of his comments. He repeated concerns he raised last week that my suggested definition was far too intrusive into the lives of town residents. He also made a strong plea for allowing future sober homes, leaving the inference (at least to me) that he saw my proposed zoning amendments as a way to bar future SLRs, something I strongly refuted.
I offered again to work with the supervisor on a completely new draft of the amendments but he was not interested.
I also offered to drop any changes in the definition of family and focus only on the special use permit. He was not interested.
In a related matter, during Courtesy of the Floor, John Nowak advised the board that Compass Westchester was in the process of getting 482 Underhill Avenue ready to open as a “family” and he asked that the building inspector look into whether the company had gotten the proper pool permit, legalized some existing bathrooms and an illegal second bedroom and upgraded its septic tank. Commenting on the definition of family, he said that to his way of thinking, 12-14 persons living in a residence on a temporary basis did not constitute a family.
There was also considerable discussion and comments from the public relating to a code enforcement issue but for legal reasons, I will not comment on them.