Town Board Work Session
March 22, 2016
Interviews for volunteer boards and personnel
1. Yorktown Senior Living, East Main Street, Mohegan Lake
(Note: the discussion began 15 minutes before the 7:30pm time shown on the agenda.)
In response to the board’s earlier concerns about traffic, the applicant, Tim Cassidy, presented a revised plan that calls for fewer housing units and a scaled back senior learning center. The plan includes 96 assisted living units and 124 independent living units and eliminates the condos. Space for on-site senior learning classes would be limited with most of the classes being shifted to the YCCC.
From the board’s perspective, the major problem with the plan continues to be the access to Route 6; two access points would only be for right turns. Cars wishing to make a left (going east) exiting the site would have to turn right, then turn left onto East Main Street (just before the Winery) and then turn right at the light at Strawberry onto Route 6 to proceed eastbound.
While the left turn issue could be resolved by allowing right turn exits onto Strawberry Road, Supervisor Grace made it clear that he did not want any additional traffic on Strawberry, even if the exit was limited to emergency vehicles and even if the road was channelized to only allow right turns. While the applicant downplayed the potential number of emergency calls to the site that might use Strawberry, the supervisor said he anticipated more calls given the older population. Councilmen Bernard and Diana, both noting existing trafficbottlenecks at the corner of Route 6 and East Main Street, also expressed concern about the proposed “jug handle” solution for eastbound traffic.
An alternate road plan that would have crossed a state wetland was, for the most part, ruled out by DE.
While acknowledging that the site had “challenges,” Mr. Cassidy stressed the lower traffic impact the age oriented development would generate compared to the site being developed for single family homes according to its current zoning. However, both Councilman Bernard and Supervisor Grace indicated that a single family development would give the developer more access options.
Although Supervisor Grace indicated his general support for the plan’s concept, he indicated that he did not see how the access issues could be overcome. In response, Mr. Cassidy said he would like to pursue the application to the public hearing stage as he needs an official decision, one way or the other.
To that end, it was agreed that the board would refer out the rezoning application once the applicant submitted all the necessary papers and that a public hearing would be scheduled, most likely in May.
2. Hilltop Hanover Farm Subdivision
A property owner on White Horse Lane, currently receiving town water as an out-of-district customer, wanted to know if and how he and the five other houses on the street could be included in the district.
Supervisor Grace explained that as an out-of-district customer, the property owner pays twice the water usage charge but DOES NOT pay a tax into the water district; properties within the district pay both a user charge based on consumption and a tax based on the property’s assessed value. Revenue from the tax goes to help build and maintain the district’s infrastructure, including transmission lines, hydrants, storage tanks, etc.., all of which are needed to provide water to the out-of-district homes. It would be unfair, he said, for houses to come into the district without having paid the tax that district property owners have been paying, some for 60 years. The supervisor added that the water district boundaries were set many years ago and have not been changed, although over time, properties just outside the district have been able to connect to the system as out-of-district customers.
Water Superintendent Rambo added that if the homes wanted to become part of the district, they would likely have to upgrade the water line that a developer put in. That expense, plus a potential and still uncalculated “buy in” cost led the supervisor to suggest: Be careful what you wish for.
Supervisor Grace advised the property owner that he would have the new town engineer look into the issue, although it wasn’t clear exactly what he would be “looking into.”
3. Triglia subdivision, Christine Road
The issue before the Town Board was whether or not to support the Planning Board’s preliminary decision to require the applicant to pave 100 feet of Baker Highway.
Several area residents advised the board that they preferred the dirt road as keeping in character with the neighborhood and did not want it paved. Instead, they said they were more concerned about drainage in the area. Mr. Tegeder, however, said that he had heard from other residents who wanted the road paved and suggested that all the affected residents be queried. He also explained the long range implications of keeping Baker unpaved if the abutting property was developed.
After considerable back and forth, and after it became apparent that the Town Board was listening to the homeowners and that Highway Superintendent Paganelli thought that drainage was more important than 100 feet of paved road, Supervisor Grace suggested that in lieu of the paving, Mr.Triglia provide some additional drainage improvements. He also said that as part of the Planning Board’s approval there needed to be a maintenance agreement relating to Baker Highway. (The road is currently plowed by an area homeowner, with neighbors providing him with a sum of money.)
Almost as an afterthought, and in connection with differing opinions of how wide any changes to Baker Highway should be, Mr. Tegeder said the 2-lot subdivision could be processed under the town’s Flexibility Standards that allows for narrower roads. What followed, without any discussion, was a board vote authorizing the Planning Board to consider using Flexibility.
Mr. Tegeder expressed concern that the board failed to adopt a policy that would provide guidance to the Planning Board regarding approving future subdivision requests involving substandard, ie., unpaved roads. While he said the lack of a policy left the Planning Board with a “willy nilly” approach, Supervisor Grace said he preferred not to adopt a hard and fast rule.
4. Parking issues
In a brief discussion, the board agreed to act on Robert Giordano’s request to erect “Municipal Parking” signs next to Yorktown Glass (5 parking spots are available) and in the lot next to the highway garage. When Supervisor Grace questioned the need for the sign at the highway garage site on the grounds that everyone already knew it was a municipal lot, Mr. Giordano explained that out of towners did not necessarily know that.
5. Creative Living (Navajo Fields)
C.J.Diven explained to the board that he had been approached by an events company (that sounded like “The Walking Dead”) who wanted to use the site for a weekend event. However, by the terms of the site’s wetlands permit, he needs to file a special plan if he intends to schedule an event that would involve more than 200 people, which the proposed use would.
Mr. Diven further explained that the events company that had approached him needs a commitment at least six months prior to the event to plan the marketing but that based on the board’s previous discussion (see below), the company withdrew its interest. However, another company is interested in pursuing a scaled down version of the same type of event.
As the discussion continued, with Mr. Tegeder indicating that the town would need some type of plan to review indicating how parking would be handled and what would be put where on the site (the event would not involve any permanent structures or improvements), Supervisor Grace suggested that the town attorney draft a new “events ordinance” that would cover such events and establish thresholds for when certain things had to be done. He said the town wants to encourage events, such as the San Genaro Festival and the Murphy (sports) Tournament, but that the town might want some “consideration” from the event sponsor and that there could be a nominal fee for the permit.
Mr. Diven asked for a letter from the town indicating that the town, in general, supported the proposed event but that there was no guarantee that a permit would eventually issued. The letter was needed, he said, in order for the event sponsor to begin committing funds to develop a marketing plan.
6. Legislative changes
Building permit change. In conjunction with the building inspector, the town attorney has drafted legislation that would clarify that before a CO was issued for a new use of an existing structure, a building permit would be needed even if only the use changed. The board set May 3 for a public hearing on the proposed local law.
Dumpsters and commercial garbage collection. Initially, the town attorney discussed a proposed draft of an ordinance regulating dumpsters and compactors. The subject of unsightly dumpsters has come up at several meetings.
As an alternative approach to regulating unsightly dumpsters, and generate revenue at the same time, Supervisor Grace suggested that the town might want to franchise commercial carters, much as it franchises a towing operation. The town would set standards and rates and select a single carter.
(Town Clerk Diana Quast explained that currently commercial carters, who have to be licensed by the county, pay a fee to the town for a commercial carting license.)
Mr. McDermott said he would draft such as a law and circulate it for comment. (Note: it was not clear if any action would be taken on the draft dumpster law while the broader franchise issue was explored.)
7. Miscellaneous issues
YCCC rental fees. The board waived a $160 fee for AFC Urgent Care. The company is planning a Health Fair at the YCCC. The board, for the third time, tabled a vote to grant a discount to the Enrichment Center for the use of additional space.
Appointments: Appointed William Gregory to the ZBA (he currently is an alternate member ), replacing Anthony Tripodi who resigned. Former ZBA member Howard Orneck was appointed alternate ZBA and will serve at the pleasure of the board; Mr. Orneck indicated that he did not want a full time and would serve when needed.