March 27, 2018
Personnel: Building Department
Litigation and negotiations: Legal Department
1. Celestial II/East Main Street, Mohegan Lake, Rezoning
The applicant asked for rezoning to permit retail use (he did not specify which retail zone he was requesting), citing the inability to attract any prospective office use tenants. It was noted that when the original site plan was approved in 2005, the site was planned for a bank and that the infrastructure to support a building is in place, including the parking and stormwater facilities. The bank plan never materialized and the applicant noted that banks are closing branches, not opening new ones. Councilman Diana indicated a concern about traffic and Councilwoman Roker noted that when the rezoning to office use was made she didn’t think it made sense. Supervisor Gilbert said that while his preference would be to fill existing vacant space before adding new space, he had no issue with the rezoning because the site’s development was already contemplated. The applicant said he had no prospective retail clients in mind and would build only once he had a tenant, adding that it was difficult to attract a tenant until the rezoning was in place.
2. Pure Salon, 2062 Saw Mill River Rd/Rezoning request
The applicant wants to demolish the existing building on the site and replace it with a new, 3-story structure that would include retail on the first floor and five apartments on the second and third floor. The new building would be located to the rear of the 12,000 square foot site and would require side and rear yard variances and a parking variance. The property owner is seeking feedback from the board before filing the rezoning application.
Supervisor Gilbert said he was concerned about the height of the proposed building and its impact on the single family home abutting the rear of the parcel. Councilwoman Roker expressed some concern over the number of proposed apartments and Councilman Lachterman noted the need for more apartments.
The owner agreed with the board’s suggestion that the parcel be added to the mini study for the nearby Roma Building and Weyant parcels; a resolution to that effect will be voted on at the next board meeting.
3. Hill Boulevard/Rezoning request
Known as the “former Hill Property.” the 19 acre site, located off East Main Street, between Hill and Lee Boulevards, is currently zoned for half acre development. The applicant is seeking a rezoning to multi family use (R-3) to allow a development of 150 luxury rental units in 10-14 separate structures, with a mix of 60 2-bedroom units ranging from 950 sf to 1,000 sf and 40% 1-bedroom units of 750-800 sf. Average rentals would be about $2,000. Each unit would be on one floor. The plan includes a clubhouse. The anticipated market would be millennials and empty nesters.
The developer, currently building a similar facility in Sleepy Hollow on the former General Motors site, would build, lease, manage and continue to own the site. Based on the companyh’s experience in similar developments, the developer said he did not anticipate that the development would generate a significant number of school children, adding that once children reached school age, the family typically moved into single family homes.
Mr. Tegeder explained that the Comprehensive Plan did not include a specific recommendation for the site but rather noted that it should be for an appropriate use. The applicant noted that while a mixed use development was once considered for the site, given the changing retail environment, retail was no longer feasible for the site. All appeared to agree that the development would help revitalize the Jefferson Valley hamlet.
While the proposed entrance to the site would be from East Street Street, Mr. Tegeder noted that an easement into the site exists from Hill Boulevard and that a connection to Bank Road was also feasible.
In response to Supervisor Gilbert’s question whether the applicant was wedded to the 150 units (the applicant noted that the zoning would allow as many as 162 units), the 150 units was the ‘sweet spot” in terms of the economics of the project.
Asked to comment on the proposal, Ken Belfer, chairman of the Community Housing Board, said that in order to increase diversity, he would like to see some smaller units.
Before submitting a formal application, the applicant was seeking a general sense of the board. Indications were that the request would move forward.
4. 702 Saw Mill River Road (Route 129). Rezoning request
(See Town Board 6-13-17.) The applicant wants to proceed with changes to zoning code as discussed in 2017. Mr. Tegeder said that a draft of the special permit provisions has been prepared and needed to be reviewed by the board.
5. Jefferson Village/Wetlands Permit
(See Town Board 3/20/2018.) It appeared that board members had only recently received a hard copy of the proposed approving resolution. The only issue discussed was the need to clarify that the permit would be for five years. A vote is expected at the April 3rd meeting.
6. 1515 Journey’s End Road/Wetlands Permit
(See Town Board, 3-20-2018.) There was no discussion. A vote is likely at the next board meeting.
7. Mobil Gas Station, Saw Mill River Road
(See Town Board 3-20-2018.) Councilwoman Roker said she was still waiting for more information. Mr. Picirillo noted that he is working on modifications to the canopy as well as the other issues raised at the public hearing, Councilman Diana said he would like the plan to include a generator and Mr. Picirillo said he would bring this up with the site’s owner although he was concerned that there might not be room on the site.
8. Verizon Cell Towers
A company representing Verizon explained that the cell phone provider wants to erect five additional towers in Yorktown in order to improve service. Because the town’s zoning code requires that providers explore municipal sites as the first possible option, the company has identified four municipally owned sites: on Granite Springs Road, the water tanks on Quinlan Street, Locke Lane/Turkey Mountain, and some parkland on Route 6 in Jefferson Valley. The fifth, privately owned site, is on Dell Avenue; discussions are currently underway for this site. The company provided the board with a map of the existing and proposed sites. It was noted that locating towers in parkland would require the town to go through the parkland alienation process. The proposed leases would be for 50 years. The company indicated that given existing and anticipated new technology, the need for cell towers would continue into the future.
9. Re-establishment of E-panel and streamlining application approval process
(Note: The E-panel was an informal group composed of representatives of the departments involved in the development process, plus a member of the Conservation Board. It met every two weeks and reviewed applications before they were formally submitted. The panel stopped functioning in 2016-2017.) The general thrust of the discussion was whether the E-panel concept should be revised, and if so, with what possible changes. Mr. Tegeder advised the board that while there were pluses to the panel’s work, in some instances, it slowed down the process. He suggested that part of the problem might not be the process but one of communication. Councilman Diana suggested that one approach might be regularly scheduled weekly meetings of the key department heads, although Mr. Tegeder said that such meetings occur now on an ad hoc basis as needed. Councilwoman Roker noted that the town code is clear as to which department handles which applications and that perhaps department staff should refresh themselves on the process. She added that no process is likely to be 100% good. Councilman Lachterman noted that part of the problem could be that new staff people were not familiar with the previous process.
The board agreed that the issue needed to be tweaked before any resolution was voted on.
10. Taxing State parkland in Yorktown
(See Town Board 2-21-2017.) The board discussed a proposed resolution to send a letter in support of Senator Murphy’s initiative to require the state to pay taxes on state owned parkland in Yorktown. It was not clear if the board voted for the resolution or will vote on it at the next meeting.