February 4, 2020
Absent: Councilwoman Roker
Interviews for Climate Smart Communities Task Force, Personnel for Police Department, Litigation & Negotiation’’
Railroad Station rehabilitation: The work is progressing. When completed, the station will be used as an information center with a concession.
Mohegan Avenue retaining wall: Work will begin in the spring.
Soundview School: The school closed as of 1/31/20 due to financial problems.
Section 8 housing vouchers: When the waiting list was open for two days, 6,500 applications for 400 slots were received.
2. Traffic safety report
Highway Superintendent Paganelli read off a list of proposed new stop signs and a parking restriction on a portion of Kear Street. Once a local law with the changes is drafted, a public hearing date will be set.
Highway Superintendent Paganelli asked residents to let his department know about potholes so that his staff can address the issue.
3. Courtesy of the Floor
Ethics Code. Three people addressed the issue. All agreed that changes needed to be made to the existing code, but there were differences as to exactly what changes were needed. Two speakers mentioned that proposed revisions that had been discussed and drafted previously but had not been acted on. One speaker said that a major change, requested by an earlier Ethics Board, was that the Ethics Board should be able to announce its decisions; under the current code, the Ethics Board sends its decisions to the Town Board and it is up to the Town Board what to do about the recommendations. Supervisor Slater agreed that the code needed to be reviewed.
Summit Hill: Questions about the status of the project were raised. Supervisor Slater said that the project was applicant driven and that he had no new information about the status. Dan Strauss, noting that the developer for the Weyant was now planning a condo development instead of a rental project, questioned whether there actually was a demand for rental units in Yorktown.
Battery Storage Law. Commenting on the discussion at the previous meeting, Jim Campobasso said that the 30,000 sf minimum lot size in residential zones was not a sufficient restriction.
Catch basins: Tony Grasso suggested that it might be more efficient for the town to hire an outside company to clean the town’s 5,800 catch basins instead of having the highway departmnet do the work at a rate of 250-300 per year.
4. Winery sign approval
The Board approved the conceptual sign for the Winery, subject to the applicant providing ABACA with a final rendering that addressed some of its concerns.
5. Shallow Creek/Par 3 golf course
The board authorized the supervisor to sign the DEC wetlands permit application. In response to a question during Courtesy of the Floor, Supervisor Slater said that RC Recreation Development LLC, the company that has the contract to operate the golf course, would be responsible for paying all permit fees, although it was later clarified that the building permit fee for the restaurant building renovation had been waived in 2016.
Councilman Lachterman noted that the tree cutting that took place several months ago was not accidental and Parks Superintendent Jim Martorano, Jr. said that only about one quarter of the trees were rotten, not 95% as a member of the applicant’s team told the Planning Board.
Supervisor Slater said that the town would assist the applicant in order to expedite the approval process and do what it could to fast track the project. The applicant has a contract for some work to start on the site in March.
6. Recreation Commission Appointments
(See Town Board 1-28-2020.) The board voted 3-1, with Councilman Patel voting no, to rescind the re-appointment of Diana Quast to the Commission and appointed Richard Romanski to fill the vacancy through December 31, 2026.
During Courtesy of the Floor, two speakers spoke in support of keeping Ms. Quast on the Commission with one speaker noting that Mr. Romanski should not be appointed because he has a conflict of interest; he operates two organizations, one non-profit and one profit, that utilize town property. Other speakers involved in athletic clubs praised Ms. Quast for her work but asked the board to proceed with Mr. Romanski’s appointment.
Councilman Lachterman spoke in support of Mr. Romanski’s appointment noting that Mr. Romanski was already serving on the Commission as an alternate member and that he was on record as having supported the concept of moving alternate members of advisory boards to full membership as vacancies opened up. He did not see a potential conflict of interest.
Councilman Patel asked that the vote be postponed until Councilwoman Roker was in attendance but Supervisor Slater explained that he had not had a request from Ms. Roker to postpone the vote.
The board took no action on the related – and still pending – issue of whether elected officials and/or department heads should serve on advisory boards and commissions.
The board authorized spending $6,885 to cover the cost of the emergency repair to a broken steam pipe under the gym floor. The gym is now closed pending additional repairs.
8. Tax certiorari settlements. The board approved reduced assessment settlements for 3775 Crompond Road (the Verizon building) and 1896 East Main Street. During Courtesy of the Floor. a speaker asked how long the assessed value of the Verizon building would remain reduced now that the previous vacant building now has a lease.