February 27, 2018
Personnel, litigation and negotiations
1. Tax map maintenance
In a brief discussion, Assessor Kim Penner explained the need for software to update the town’s tax maps. Money is in the budget. The board had no problems with the request.
2. Arbor Day
Ann Kutter and Bill Kellner presented plans for this year’s Arbor Day celebration scheduled for April 27, 4pm at Patriot Park. Plans for the celebration include an April 14 gathering at Turkey Mountain to remove invasive species.
3. Tree Law/Proposed revisions
Linda Miller, spokesperson for Advocates for a Better Yorktown asked the board to begin a review of the 2016 Tree Law in order to make it more effective. She called the board’s attention to several key policy weaknesses in the current law. including the absence of any regulations that protect woodlands that play an important role in controlling stormwater runoff and erosion as well as maintaining the visual character of the town; inadequate mitigation provisions; and the need for a permit system that doesn’t impose the same requirements on homeowners planning to remove a few trees as developers who may be removing hundreds of trees. In response to a question from Councilwoman Roker whether the 2010 Tree law had these stronger provisions, Ms. Miller said yes, it did, adding that in an effort to shorten and simplify the 2010 law, the 2016 law went too far and stripped away many protections. She noted that at public hearings in 2016 and 2017, residents supported a stronger tree law.
Ms. Miller asked the board to schedule a follow up, more in depth discussion on the Tree Law in March so that the board could begin to come to consensus on some of the key policy issues. She also asked that in addition to referring out any draft text of a revised law to adivosry boards, that residents have an opportunity to review the draft prior to any public hearing, noting that by the time the board sets a public hearing on a proposed law, it is often too late to incorporate public comment.
Going forward, Supervisor Gilbert said the board should consider the best of both the 2010 and 2016 laws.
(Note: Susan Siegel, the observer writing this summary, is a member of Advocates for an Informed Yorktown.)
4. 1515 Journeys End Rd/wetland permit
(See Town Board 2/13/18 and 2/20/18.) In a memo to the board, Town Engineer Quinn reported that of the 25 trees that had been cut down in the wetland buffer without a permit, only 3 were dead, adding that had the property owner submitted a permit application before cutting down the trees, his application would probably have been denied. In justification for his actions, the property owner explained that the removal would not cause any erosion because he had left the stumps in place. After it was pointed out that the law was clear, Councilman Lachterman dropped his concerns and the board voted to refer out the wetland application and schedule the public hearing for March 20.
5. Darby Street wetland permit
After the property owner received a variance from the ZBA and the builder obtained a building permit to construct a single family house on the property, the Engineering Department learned that the applications had incorrectly stated that there were not= wetlands on the abutting property; according to the applicant, the wetland as about 35 feet from the proposed septic system for the new house. While the applicant insisted the presence of water wasn’t a wetland, Mr. Quinn said that the town’s environmental consultant had visited the site visit and determined that that based on town code, the “water” was a wetland and needed a permit. The problem for the builder was that based on his having obtained a bilding permit to move ahead with the project, a couple was scheduled to move into the new house in 3 months. Given the law, and the applicant’s time concerns, Councilwoman Roker asked that the permit application to fast tracked; a hearing was scheduled for April 3, the first available time.
6. Agriculturral issues
Greg Brown, a member of the Grange and on the board of Hilltop Hanover Farm, made a presentation calling for more recognition of the town’s existing farms which he said should be promoted as a way to bring visitors into Yorktown. He outlined a series of possible initiatives, including designating June 2 as Farm Day in Yorktown. The board was appreciative of his comments.
7. Hearing assisted devices
After pointing out to the board that the hearing assisted devices the town purchased last year were ineffective, Mel Tanzman and Maura Gregory asked the board to investigate alternative systems that have proven to be effective and meet the requirements of the Americans With Disabilities Act. In addition to helping people with hearing aids, Mr. Tanzman noted that even those without hearing aids, like seniors, would benefit from a hearing assisted system. One alternative Ms. Gregory suggested is a loop system that transmits the sound from the room’s amplification system directly to hearing aids; the system is currently in use at the Jacob Burns Theater and also used in New Rochelle. Councilman Roker agreed that the current system needed to be replaced and said she would be working on the issue.
8. Mini master plan for Weyant property and Roma Building
Planning Director Tegeder explained that the proposed study could be done in six months as both properties were using the same engineering firm. Although Councilman Diana and Lachterman restated their concern that it was unfair to delay the Weynat project, Supervisor Gilbert noted that he had spoken to the principals for both projects and that they had no problem with proceeding with the study. In response to Councilman Lachterman’s concern that the study could not predict what possible changes to the intersection the DOT might approve, Mr. Tegeder said it was possible to have early discussions with DOT and that preliminary decisions could be fine tuned once the developments came in for final plan approval. A resolution to move forward with the mini study will be on the March 3 meeting agenda.
9. RFP for legal services
A 38 page RFP that legal services, including options for both in house and outside counsel, will be voted on at the March 3 meeting. As described by Town Clerk Quast, the RFP gives potential providers the ability to submit a proposal for some or all of the possible services.
10. March 7 Sanctuary City meeting
(See Town Board, 2-20-2018.)Anticipating that the board meeting room may not be large enough to accommodate the number of people interested in attending the meeting, the clerk is exploring alternate locations for the meeting that is still scheduled for March 7.
At the request of Councilman Lachterman, the board went into closed session for an undisclosed discussion.