Town Board Work Session
March 12, 2013
Volunteer Board interviews/Landmarks Commission
1. Holland Sporting Club/DOT Route 202 Fill
George Tolli, a representative of Ecco III Enterprises, the company that will be doing the excavation work for the Route 202 widening project, met with the Board to discuss the issue of the availability of fill for town projects.
The widening project will take about 18 months to complete, but the fill will start becoming available in April at the rate of approximately 1,200 cubic yards per day. Based on soil borings that have been done, Mr. Tolli said the fill is clean, drains well and was compressable. While the state does not require the fill to be tested, Mr. Tolli said it was his company’s policy to test the fill as a protection for the company.
Supervisor Grace said the fill could be used at several Town locations including: Hunterbrook field, Legacy field (for flipping the existing field), Granite Knolls, Holland Sporting Club and possibly to extend the rear parking lot behind town hall. (There was no discussion of the plan for ball fields at the Holland site.) One of issues would be where the Town could stockpile the fill until it had a use and what erosion control measures would be needed during the stock piling. Mr. Tolli said his company might be able to work something out with the town regarding erosion control measures such as silt fencing and hydro seeding. If the Town had to purchase fill, the going price is $20/cubic yard.
Mr. Tolli said that his company would consider “pushing and rolling” the fill only in larger quantities of between 5,000-10,000 cubic yards. The Town did not know how much fill was needed at the different locations cited by Supervisor Grace.
Regarding the Granite Knolls site, when Councilman Bianco noted that the entrance road does not belong to the Town, Supervisor Grace said that the company that owns the gas line has plans to do some work along the line and that possibly their access road could be used for any work to be done at the ball fields. Supervisor Grace also said that a stormwater permit will be needed for work at the site.
Mr. Tolli said that his company will also be offering millings to the Water Department.
2. Shrub Oak Athletic Property
The Shrub Oak Athletic Club has renewed its offer to donate to the town a small parcel that it owns in the area of New Road. (The parcel, less than an acre, is not being used and the club continues to pay taxes on it. The site used to be used as a ball field.) Deputy Town Clerk Quast noted that in either 2010 or 2011 one advisory board favored the Town accepting the parcel while another saw no benefit to the town. The Shrub Oak Park District was interested in accepting the parcel at the time but didn’t have the funds to pay the closing costs. Councilman Paganelli suggested that the park district be asked again if it was still interested in the parcel and when asked if he could do the closing at no cost, Supervisor Grace said he did not mind helping the athletic club and would do the closing at no cost. Councilman Bianco was the only Board member who appeared to support the Town accepting the parcel.
3. Bernstein House property sign
Supervisor Grace reported that a single resident who lives in the area has strong objections to the commercial sign in the residential neighborhood.
As there was general agreement to allow the sign, although it had to be relocated out of the right-of-way, the only issue was who in town government had the authority to approve the sign: the Planning Board or the building inspector. After considerable back and forth, it was decided that the building inspector has the authority to approve the sign. (It was not clear if or when the sign would need to be reviewed by ABACA.)
4. Funtime Amusements (Front Street)
At issue was whether the Zoning Ordinance, which was amended in 2009 to permit the proposed use in an industrial zone, has to be amended to allow the establishment to apply for a liquor license. Town Board minutes from 2009 stated that no liquor was to be allowed on the site and there was to be no cooking. According to John Iorio, the site’s owner, the concern at the time was that the facility not become a bar as the Town, at the time, was experiencing problems with a bar on Kear Street.
The facility is currently used for private parties on a pre-planned basis with outside vendors supplying food, wine and bear. Town Attorney Koster said this use fits the Code’s definition of “banquet hall.”
Supervisor Grace said that as the current language in the Zoning Code was ambiguous, any interpretation of the code had to be construed to be in favor of the applicant. Ray Arnold, the Town’s former planning director disagreed, and said that if a use is not allowed in the code, it is prohibited. Supervisor Grace told Mr. Iorio to go ahead and apply for the liquor license and that a zoning code change was not needed.
5. Review of Town Code
Former Planning Director Ray Arnold has submitted a proposal t to continue the review of all town codes that he began in 2011 He has proposed a cost of $21,000 to be paid over three budget cycles. He said that nothing had been done with the review he completed in 2011. Supervisor Grace agreed that the code needed to be reviewed and that there were both “low hanging fruit” and more substantive issues that needed to be addressed. Mr. Arnold said that he had to time to take on the task that town staff did not have. Town Attorney Koster said the review could be done in stages and Supervisor Grace said he wanted to review the issue with Ms. Koster and staff before proceeding with any new contract with Mr. Arnold. He also said that Board members needed to review the prior work Mr. Arnold had done.
Trump Building/sales office
Three residents at Trump Park joined John Schroder and Aaron Bock of the Yorktown Land Trust to discuss the future of the sales building.
Calling the building a “real amenity,” Supervisor Grace said that the building could be used to house the Town’s Parks & Recreation Department which could also offer programs in the building. The building would also have meeting space for Town groups. He said there is a need for Town facilities in the northern end of town. As for the existing conservation easement, he said “nothing is reversible” and that legally there were all sorts of “ways out” of the easement.
The Trump residents opposed any Town use of the building and site and reminded the Board that:
1) the sales prospectus states that the 40 acres is to be a conservation easement with a gazebo and walking trail and that they bought their units because of the commitment to retaining the open space
2) the state attorney general would have to approve any change in the prospectus
3) the condo owners own the land and 100% of the owners would have to approve keeping the building
The owners also expressed concern that Yorktown Realty was likely to be going out of business, and once that happened, it would pit the condo owners against the town in any future court action. They said that “time was of the essence” in resolving the issue.
Members of the Yorktown Land Trust, which jointly holds the conservation easement with the Westcheser Land Trust, advised the Board that the Westchester Land Trust was recently successful in court in upholding a conservation easement in Lewisboro. They also talked about the integrity of the Town living up to past agreements.
There was also a discussion of whether the building could be moved; one of the potential sites cited was Shallow Creek Park. While Building Inspector Winter said it was not feasible to move a building on a slab, Planning Director Tegeder said it was feasible. He added, though, that any relocation would also have to consider: the cost of the move, the cost of alterations to the building, the cost of constructing a foundation, and the cost of operating and maintaining the building. One potential problem in moving the building would be how to get it under the Taconic Parkway. No other location for the building was noted. It was also noted that it might be more costly to move the building than tear it down.
Councilman Bianco opposed any change to the existing site plan conditions, noting that “a deal is a deal.” Councilman Paganelli said the Town needed to stand behind its agreements that that it should explore the feasibility of moving the building. Councilman Murphy appeared to be in favor of finding a use for the building and Councilman Patel appeared to support demolishing the building.
Supervisor Grace said he would meet with the condo owners to see if there could be any mutually agreeable plan going forward.
7. Tow Bid
The Board will advertise a new towing bid at next week’s meeting. According to Councilman Paganelli, the towing rate schedule has not been changed in over nine years. There will be a minimum $85,000 bid for the award (this is revenue to the town) and the specs will require indoor space for five town trucks.
8. Heating Oil Plan
The Board agreed with Supervisor Grace’s suggestion to eliminate the $5 registration fee to sign up to participate in the Town’s program. The Supervisor said he saw no need to charge a fee just to have people sign up. (Since the plan went into effect in 2008, it has generated $3,000 in revenue.)
Supervisor Grace also advised the Board that his office has received complaints from residents about some of the vendors but that the Town has no ability to mediate disputes or enforce any type of conditions as it is not an involved third party. He suggested, and the Board agreed, that going forward, all the Town would do is allow vendors to post their prices on the Town’s web site; the rest would be up to residents.
Generators for YCCC and Town Hall
Saying that the issue had been discussed “ad nauseam,” Supervisor Grace said it was time the Town went out to bid for the two generators, plus a third one for the Water Department. He asked local engineer Dan Ciarcia to work with Mike Dubovsky, the town’s electrical vendor, to work up the specs which will then be compared to the state bid prices. Supervisor Grace said he believed the Town could get a better price by doing its own bid.
The Board agreed that it will let Con Ed know of its intention to switch to natural gas for heating town hall when the existing boilers need to be replaced. Highway Superintendent DiBartolo said that all Con Ed needed before extending the gas line to town hall for free was a commitment for the future change. He added that only one of the building’s two boilers needed to be replaced now and the replacement could be a dual gas/oil burner.
Still to be decided was where the generator would be located at Town Hall. Supervisor Grace asked Mr.Ciarcia to work with Mr. Dubovsky on the possible location. One possible locations uggested by Supervisor Grace was the extension of the rear parking lot, an idea he broached as part of the earlier discussion about potential uses for the Routee 202 fill. Mr. DiBartolo said that his department could do the required trenching and install the concrete for the pad.
10. Flat screen monitor for Board room
In a brief discussion, it was noted that installing a 60” flat screen monitor would be advisable once the Town begins accept digital land development applications. Councilman Paganelli said he would look into the possibility of a donation.
11. Courtesy of the Floor
(See March 5, 2013) In an item not on the agenda, Councilman Bianco asked about the future of the second Courtesy of the Floor. Supervisor Grace said it was never his intention to do away with it and he instructed the deputy town clerk to add the second Courtesy segment to the agenda for the Board’s regular meetings. He said that a determination whether or not to actually open up a second Courtesy would be made at each meeting based on circumstances.
Several resolutions extending existing Highway Department bid awards were approved.