February 23, 2016
“to conduct interviews for volunteer boards and personnel”
1. Osceola Beach project
George Roberta, the owner of the property, and Chris Sciarra presented a concept plan that generally followed the outline of what Sciarra had discussed with the board in January. (See January 26, 2016 below.) The plan is now for 24 apartments, all two bedroom units with lake views: 16 units would be 2-story and 8 units 1-story. The building would be either the same or similar to what had originally been proposed as a mixed use building (this was not completely clear from the discussion.)
The applicant again said that the sewer line would go in the street as the resident6ial property owners between his site and the existing sewer connection at Ceola Manor were not interested in having the line go through the rear of their properties, even though this would be the preferred location.
The main thrust of the discussion was whether the town should sacrifice a potential commercial rateable for this residential development. Supervisor Grace said that the site was key to revitalizing the hamlet; he described some of the existing properties along East Main S treet as “ crap.” Mr. Roberto said that he anticipated no trouble renting the apartments and was willing to make that investment. But, he added, he was not ready to risk his money for a commercial project he might not be able to lease. That left the trade off for the town: revitalize the area by rezoning just for the apartments and giving up the commercial rateable – or – leave the commercial zoning as is and wait for another possible commercial development plan.
Mr. Tegeder advised the board that in his opinion the site was suited to a mixed use development given the attractiveness of the lake and the volume of traffic on East Main Street.
The board also discussed the residential properties to the west of the beach property. Given the sharp drop off of the parcels to the lake which would limit parking opportunities, all appeared to agree that
it was unlikely that the properties could be developed for commercial use, even if the individual parcels were assembled into one lot. However, it was suggested that once assembled, the parcels might be suitable for single family homes with access from below from the Roberta site.
No decisions were made.
2. Commerce Street one-way plan
Eric DiBartolo, president of the Chamber of Commerce, asked the board to consider the Chamber’s plan to try out, on a one month trial basis, making Commerce Street one way going east from Friendly’s to the Fire House, then Downing Drive, one way to Route 118, and prohibiting left turns at Downing and Route 118, something that would require state DOT approval. Veterans Road would remain 2-way. The plan also calls for installing lights along Downing Drive.
Once Commerce Street became one way, the street could accommodate parking. Mr. DiBartolo said 74 spaces, but it was not clear if these were diagonal or parallel. He was proposing parking on the north side of the street. Supervisor Grace noted that currently there are no parking restrictions on the street..
Noting the traffic problem created by the BOCES buses in the afternoon turning onto Commerce Street from Veterans Road, Mr. DiBartolo advised the board that the original BOCES site plan dating back to the 1970s called for the buses to use Route 35, not Veterans Road.
The overall goal of the Chamber plan is to give greater visibility to other businesses in the hamlet besides those along Commerce Street and to create a village-like walking environment.
Supervisor Grace and Councilman Bernard appeared non-committal on the plan, but noted that because sometimes fixing one problem at one location ended up creating new problems at other locations, a more detailed traffic study needed to be done, including a computerized modelling of how the one way system would work. Supervisor Grace said he had no problem speaking to BOCES about the bus situation. Mr. Bernard noted that people just don’t walk.
No decisions were made and the Chamber representatives indicated that they would proceed with the traffic study and “keep in touch” with the board.
3. MS4 Stormwater Retrofit Program
Bruce Barber and Rich Rennia, an engineering consultant hired by the East of Hudson Corporation, discussed possible sites, town owned and privately owned, that might be suitable for stormwater retrofit projects to be undertaken by the Corporation for its secon\d required 5-year plan.
Similar discussions are being held with the other municipalities in the Corporation. The goal is to submit a 5-year plan to the DEC in June. Once approved, the Corporation would then seek funding from the DEP.
Based on the discussion, some sites were eliminated as not being suitable based on size, location, or potential for other uses; Mr. Barber and Mr. Rennia will take a more detailed look at the following sites: Junior Lake, Strang Blvd at Route 132, the proposed Depot Square site, a site further down Front Street behind UPS, and a site off Baldwin Road in the vicinity of White Birch. Other possible projects could include stream channel stabilizations in various locations. Mr. Rennia also asked the board if someone could touch base with IBM as he saw the potential for a possible project on its site.
According to Supervisor Grace, Algonquin is looking at the Strong Blvd site as a possible staging area for the drilling that will have to be done at Legacy Fields. ( Supervisor Grace explained that Algonquin is also planning to use Willow Park as a staging area and it is hoped that as part of the use, the site, currently too wet to be of much use, will be upgraded so that it can function, as originally planned, for recreation.) He suggested that if the East of Hudson Corporation could get the project designed quickly, it might be possible to get Algonquin to pay for it was part of its as part of its FERC approval.
Supervisor Grace strongly suggested the Depot Square site as a good location for a “water feature” that would be both aesthetic and serve the MS4 need for stormwater retention and phosphorous reduction. In response to Mr. Rennia’s question how far along the planning was the relocation of the highway garage, the supervisor was very optimistic; he said he already has a commitment from a private developer to provide the steel building for the new highway garage, that engineering plans would be done in house and that the town would go out for an RFP for an architectural design and the price of the project.
Mr. Barber described the second possible project further down Front street that has been discussed at the Planning Board as part of the JCPC project.
The Baldwin Rd site involves a wetland in the area where the town has received a grant to bujild a trail connetion btween Route 118 and Baldwin Road that would link to the trail across the road into FDR Park. Mr, Barber said that the refotif project could be considered along with the plans for the trail.