February 5, 2013
Not present: Dave Paganelli
a. Tax office. Barbara Korsak was appointed Assessment Clerk (an upgrade from her current position) at an annual salary of $55,888.
b. Assessor’s office. Cheryl Kastuck was reinstated as a Real Property Appraiser at a salary of $58,092.
2. Public hearing on Teatown wetlands permit
In a 4-0 vote, the Board approved the permit.
3. Public hearing on the Section 8 Administrative Plan
There were no public comments. In a 4-0 vote, the Board approved the plan.
4. Courtesy of the Floor
Unpaid taxes. In response to a question from Susan Siegel (the person writing this summary)about what the Town Board was doing to collect $1.7 million in unpaid taxes from 33 property owners on the 2008 Foreclosure List, Supervisor Grace said that a letter had been sent to the property owners about their unpaid taxes and that in response to the letter, one person has paid off the liens and two other property owners are in the process of working out a resolution of their unpaid tax bill. He added that the Town does not plan to foreclose on the properties or kick people out of their homes. One reason for not proceeding with foreclosure, he said, is that the County’s affordable housing program is interested in taking over properties that have been foreclosed; the county should be helping people in need, he said, not forcing them out of their homes.
He also said that the 1% interest per month charged on unpaid taxes was a huge penalty but that the rate was set by the state. Given the rate, there’s no advantage to not paying one’s taxes, he said.
When Ed Ciffone raised questions about the Sultana Ridge pool’s unpaid taxes, Supervisor Grace said the $2,000 check the association had given the town last month had been returned. He added that the Parks & Recreation department doesn’t want the pool and Councilman Murphy added that it would be costly for the Town to demolish the pool and that simply having a fence around the pool would not be sufficient.
5. Advertising for bids
(See agenda for bids for other items)
Highway truck chassis. Initially, Councilman Patel expressed some concern about moving forward with this request on the grounds that he hadn’t been given enough information to decide whether the request from Highway Superintendent Di Bartolo was a “need” or a “want.” When Councilman Murphy explained that the vote was only to advertise for bids and not to proceed with purchasing the truck, Councilman Patel joined the other councilmen to vote to advertise for bids.
6. Selected resolutions approved unanimously
a. YCCC leases. The board approved a series of annual leases for the YCCC.
b. Bid extensions for bodywork on town cars and trucks
c. Award bid for additive to road salt
7. Creative Living/Navajo Fields
After completing the regular business on the agenda, the Board began a lengthy discussion with members of the applicant’s development team over conditions at the site and what work remained to be done to bring the site into compliance with the conditions of its existing wetlands permit prior to the Board approving amendments to the permit. Supervisor Grace also expressed concern about making sure that the site was safe.
Reports from various Town advisory boards and staff highlighting their concerns with conditions at the site were read and discussed; the applicant said that some issues had been addressed while others still needed to be attended to.
There was no disagreement over what work needed to be done; at issue were procedural concerns.
1. The main issue: when should the Board vote to approve the amended wetlands permit: that evening or the following week. Supervisor Grace wanted to approve the amended permit at the meeting after all the points had been covered. Councilman Bianco said he wanted to see all the changes that had been discussed in writing before he voted. (See #2 below.) As the 2-2 vote on a motion from Supervisor Grace and seconded by Councilman Murphy failed to achieve a majority, the motion failed and the Board will discuss the issue again at next week’s work session. It was also noted that staff had only seen the revised site plan as of 5pm that afternoon and had not had time to review it.
2. Whether conditions of the amended permit should be noted only on the site plan map and/or in an approving resolution. As the discussion progressed, item by item, Supervisor Grace made notations on the applicant’s latest site plan submission. His position was that all the conditions of the permit should be on site map which he would sign; he didn’t see the need for a resolution that would spell out the conditions. However, following established Town procedures, Environmental Consultant Bruce Barber had prepared a draft resolution with all the conditions. This resolution will be revised, based on the discussion, and will likely to be reviewed next week.
3. Whether the applicant could proceed with any work prior to the Board vote on the permit. In somewhat of a chicken/egg catch 22 scenario, Mr. Diven argued that he needed the Board to approve the amended permit so that he could get the required other permits so that he could comply with the conditions of the permit and some Board members and staff felt that there was no merit in his argument. “You messed up,” Councilman Bianco told Mr. Diven, adding that this was the applicant’s opportunity to do it right.
4. What would happen if the applicant didn’t address all the conditions of the permit within the allotted time frame (a 6 months amended permit, with the possibility of a 180 day extension granted by the Board). The answer to this question was left unaddressed, although Supervisor Grace said something to the effect of: We’ll deal with that when the time comes. At issue was whether the greenhouse tents could be used if the temporary certificate of occupancy expired and no permanent CO was issued.
5. Whether the applicant will eventually have to go through a formal site plan approval that would, in effect, replace the wetlands permit. The Planning Board has recommended that the Town amend its Zoning Code to create standards governing this type of use and that the applicant be required to obtain formal site plan approval which would be separate and apart from the wetlands permit. Planning Director Tegeder’s position was that the greenhouses are permanent structures, and as such they require a CO, which triggers the need for site plan approval. Supervisor Grace didn’t necessarily agree that the structures were permanent and he said it would be difficult to set standards for this type of use after the use was already in existence and the applicant had expended funds to develop the site.
A site plan issue that came up during the discussion and which had not been discussed earlier was whether the existing parking was adequate and the need for a better parking plan when major events are held at the site.
Supervisor Grace also told the applicant that it would be a positive gesture on his part if he “cleaned up” the debris at the end of Navajo Street even though it was not his property but was at the entrance to his property. (It was not clear if this was a parcel that the Town had recently taken title to.) Mr. Diven said he would look into the matter, and Mr. Barber asked that he not do anything until he consulted with the Town first.