Town Board

February 21, 2017






1. State of the Town

Supervisor Grace announced that he will deliver a State of the Town  address on Thursday, March 2. The time and location to be announced.


2. Kelderhouse wetland permit

(See Town Board, 1-3-2017.) Councilman Bernard announced that the applicant has decided not to pursue the wetlands permit and instead construct a smaller house.  Town Engineer Quinn said he is working out some details with the applicant and that the applicant may need a stormwater permit that can be granted administratively.


3. Taxes on state owned land

(See Town Board, 2-7-2017.) Councilman Patel read a statement detailing the board’s failure at its February 7, 2017 meeting to discuss or vote on his proposed resolution requesting Senator Murphy’s support for Senate Bill #2737 introduced by another Westchester senator that would require the state to pay taxes on 1,000 acres of state owned parkland in Yorktown.  He then read the text of the resolution and asked for an immediate vote.  Initially, Supervisor Grace said the issue would be taken up later in the meeting, but he returned to the topic a short while later. He said he wasn’t ignoring Councilman Patel’s resolution but that he had not seen a copy of the resolution. Councilman Lachterman said that the resolution should be referred out and that he wasn’t sure if the Senate could carve out a law that just dealt with Westchester.


In the follow up discussion, Supervisor Grace defended Senator Murphy’s call for an investigation into why Westchester was being treated differently from other towns and said that in order to get a bill passed in the legislature it would have to apply to all municipalities in the state, not just Westchester, and he proposed an amendment asking both houses to look into the issue of why Westchester was being short changed on receiving state taxes. The amended resolution was passed 5-0. (Note: As there was no written version of the amended resolution, it was not clear whether the language in Councilman Patel’s original resolution asking Senator Murphy to support Senate Bill #2737 was included.)


4. Gift to Library

Library Director Patricia Hallinan announced that the library has received a $390,854 gift from the estate of Alice Maran, a long time Shrub Oak resident. The library will use the money to begin the rehabilitation of its three bathrooms and also begin planning for remodeling of the adult room.


5. Bulk trash collection changes

Kim Angliss Gage, head of the Refuse and Recycling Department, announced the following changes in the bulk trash collection program:

Leaf and bundled twigs will no longer be picked up with the bulk trash but will only be collected on four special days .

Refrigerators and freezers: There will be a $20 fee. Once the fee is paid at the department’s office, the homeowner will be given a special sticker to be placed on the item. Only items with the sticker will be picked up. 


For more information check out the department’s web site,


6. Compliance with ADA law (Americans With Disabilites)

In response to the current lawsuit involving compliance with ADA relating to parking spaces at town hall, the board approved a resolution to hire an outside consultant at a cost of $2,050 to review how the town can address the issue.


7. Qwick Stop Gas Station (3451 Crompond Road/ Public hearing on special permit

(See Planning Board, 2-13-2017.) The board opened the hearing on the request for an amended special permit to make modifications to the site but adjourned the hearing as the board did not have the necessary plans. Supervisor Grace and Councilman Bernard said that once the plans were submitted they would be reviewed at a board work session before the hearing was resumed.


A Pine Grove Court resident who lives behind the station advised the board of problems the site, including garbage along Old Crompond Road to the rear and the station owner’s refusal to paint the rear of the building when he painted the three other sides.  Supervisor Grace said the town would look into his complaints and Councilman Bernard said he wanted clarification on whether the station owner was planning to continue the repair shop and truck rental uses.


8. 485b Tax Abatement Local Law/public hearing

After opening the hearing, Supervisor Grace and Town Attorney McDermott explained the reason for the local law and its provisions. During the hearing, it was emphasized that the tax abatement would apply only to the added assessed value that resulted from either an improvement to an existing structure or the construction of a new building. Supervisor Grace’s major point in support of the law was that taxes were an important factor in a business’s decision to locate in Yorktown or update an existing building, and that anything the town could do to help the business succeed was worthwhile and beneficial to the town.


Citing recent studies, several speakers, including Maura Gregory, Mark Lieberman and Mel Tanzman, questioned whether the abatement would make a difference in attracting new business to Yorktown. According to the studies, taxes were only one factor in a business’s decision where to locate, and it wasn’t a major one, especially for larger businesses.  Ms. Gregory asked the board what evidence it had to support the belief that the abatement would actually make a difference.


Mr. Tanzman also suggested that the abatement be applicable only to small businesses.  He said the board had not done its due diligence on the impact the abatement would have, pointing out that helping one business could actually hurt other businesses in Yorktown.  He also said that what the town needed to attract new business was a vision that could be used to market the town.  


Paul Moskowitz pointed out that because the tax reduction applied only to town taxes, it would be very modest for a major business. Supervisor Grace acknowledged that the program was aimed more at small businesses and that the two school districts had indicated interest in adopting similar legislation for school taxes. 


Susan Siegel, the person writing this summary pointed out that the way the law was written Lowe’s would be eligible for the abatement even though it decided to come to Yorktown without any tax incentive. She suggested that the law be amended so that it only applied to development applications or building permits that were submitted after the law went into effect.  She cited several new businesses in several of the town’s hamlets that have opened with any tax incentive. She also asked what evidence there was that the 485b program had resulted in increased business activity in the other New York State towns that had adopted the program.


Jay Kopstein, Robert Puff and Jeffrey Jankowski, a member of the advisory board that recommended the abatement, all supported the legislation. Mr. Puff said the program would help small start-up businesses and that the legislation should not discriminate between large and small businesses. 


After closing the hearing, the board voted 5-0 to adopt  the local law.  Supervisor Grace said that the board had researched the value of tax incentives and that he disagreed with the comments made that questioned the value of the law. He said that “something is better than nothing.” Citing the competition for new business from other towns, he said Yorktown had to take the first step in the current competitive environment.


9. 2515 Garden Lane

(See Town Board 7-28-2015.) The board approved a resolution authorizing the town attorney to take legal action to resolve the situation of this burned out building.


10. Courtesy of the Floor

Public input:  Mark Lieberman asked what the value of a public hearing was when it was evident that the Town Board had already made up its mind before the hearing. When the supervisor did not initially respond to his question, Mr. Lieberman persisted and the supervisor finally said that he took exception to the comment. He said that that there had been ample opportunity for the public to comment on the 485b tax abatement law which had been under review for two years and that when the Town Board proposed legislation, it was appropriate for the board to be a proponent of the law.  Not speaking specifically about the 485b law, he added that by the time a local law gets to the public hearing stage, the board has spent considerable time reviewing and perfecting it in contrast to the public that comes in at the 11th hour.   Councilman  Bernard supported the supervisor’s contention that the public is being listened to in the early states of a laws’s drafting. Citing the public hearing for recently enacted Tree Law when a large number of residents spoke, he pointed out that members of the Tree Advisory Commission had participated in the early review of the tree law  but that when their suggested changes were not included in the final draft, they repeated their concerns at the public hearing.  


YCCC bathrooms.  In response to Dan Strauss’s request for an update, Supervisor Grace said that the decision was made not to do the project in-house and that bid specs are being prepared.


Unsightly garage. In response to Mr. Strauss’s comments about the garbage on the Citibank side of the Turco’s building, the supervisor said he would look into the problem.


Insurance to use town board meeting room. Susan Siegel asked the town attorney to look into the availability of a special type of insurance policy that would enable town residents to use the board meeting room without having to have their own expensive liability insurance policy.


Senior Center:  In response to Ed Ciffone’s question about the status of the long talked about stand alone senior center, Supervisor Grace said that as part of his plan to relocate the highway garage and Downing Park park’s garage, his plan was to build a new recreation center/senior center on the reclaimed Downing Park site.



To discuss a contract issue