March 7, 2017
Closed Executive Session
Cheryl Kastuk, currently a Real Property Appraiser, was promoted to Deputy Town Assessor.
2. Landmarks Preservation Law/Public hearing
(See earlier meeting summary for an explanation of the change.) The board opened the hearing. Town Attorney McDermott explained the reason for the change. There was no public comment. The hearing was closed and the board voted to adopt the amendment. After the vote was taken, Supervisor Grace reiterated the comments he made at a February meeting.
3. Stop signs and traffic light/public hearing
The board simultaneously opened the three hearings for stop signs at Bunny Lane and Mark Road and Quaker Church Rd and Granite Springs Rd, and a traffic light at East Main Street and Stony Street.
The only comments were about the traffic light. Councilman Bernard explained that the law was designed to provide for the potential installation of the light some time in the future but that the town had no immediate plans to install the light as there was no funding for it. He held out the prospect that a developer might share the future cost with the town. Resident Mark Lieberman asked if a traffic study had been done that would justify the light and how many accidents had taken place at the intersection. He also noted that costs for a light could range from $200,000-$500,000.
In response Supervisor Grace acknowledged that lights are expensive. He said that there had been 74 accidents over a five year period in the vicinity, that the applicant for the proposed autistic school at Phoenix House would be doing a traffic study and that there were sight distance issues at the intersection that would need to be considered.
Susan Siegel, the person writing this summary, suggested that instead of asking the owners of the autistic school to build a new road into the proposed Granite Knolls sports complex as a “community contribution,” the town should ask them to pay for the traffic light.
The hearing was closed and all three amendments were approved.
4. New public hearings scheduled for March 21, 2017
Reconvene hearing on wetlands permit for Brookdale Street
New local law regulating double utility poles (See Town Board, 2-28-2017.)
5. Home rule message in support of a Yorktown Industrial Development Agency (IDA)
The resolution urges support for Assembly Bill A5753/Senate Bill S328 that would allow Yorktown to create an IDA. Before voting for the resolution, which was passed by a unanimous vote, Councilman Patel asked why a town IDA was needed and why a business interested in coming to Yorktown couldn’t apply to the county IDA that already had the expertise and staff to assist the business. In response, Councilman Lachterman stated that the county might have location priorities that didn’t include Yorktown and that we should look out for ourselves. Supervisor Grace added that what was important for Yorktown might not be important for the county and that there were other benefits of having a local IDA although he didn’t specify any. Without providing any details, he made reference to the proposed autistic school. He said there was no harm to creating a local IDA and that it was another tool the town could use to repurpose old buildings.
6. Yorktown’s 130th birthday
Councilman Diana said he was working with the town attorney to create a committee that would prepare a celebration for the town’s 130th birthday in 2018.
As part of the program, the board passed a resolution requesting the Acting Secretary of the Navy to name one ship currently under construction the USS Battle of Pines Bridge and another ship the USS Town of Yorktown.
7. Courtesy of the Floor
Traffic light at Ridge St & Route 35/202. Mark Lieberman asked about the possibility of getting a light at this intersection. In response, Supervisor Grace highlighted the problems and difficulties at the 3-way intersection. Councilman Bernard talked about the state’s 10-year Traffic Improvement Plan that identified improvements along state roads.
Work sessions: In order to correct what he said was the erroneous belief that the public could not speak at work sessions, Jay Kopstein said that his experience was that people were allowed to speak at work sessions if they had legitimate questions and were not speaking because they were espousing a personal agenda. This prompted Susan Siegel to suggest that it would be helpful if the board let the public know what the rules for work sessions were as it was not clear who could and could not speak. When Supervisor Grace and Councilman Bernard responded, they explained that work sessions were for the benefit of board members and those who were invited to the meeting to discuss specific issues and that generally the public was not permitted to speak, However, they added that at the board’s discretion, the public is allowed to speak as long as the comments were legitimate and free of politics.
Spectra/Atlantic Bridge. Susan Siegel asked for clarification on why there was going to be more land disturbance at Legacy Fields, including a new temporary access road and a staging area, than originally discussed when the initial plan was announced and why there had been no public discussion of the changes. She asked if there was a quid pro quo that allowed this additional disturbance in exchange for Spectra agreeing to fund the proposed new Granite Knolls sports complex. She also asked about whether there has been a traffic study and DEP stormwater evaluation for the sports complex.
In response, Supervisor Grace said that he didn’t think it safe for the fields to be in use while trucks were removing material from the underground (HDD) drilling process. He did not respond to the Granite Knolls questions.
Mohegan Lake: Ken Belfer, speaking on behalf of the Mohegan Lake Improvement District (MLID), asked for the town’s help in resolving an issue with the regional office of the DEC that regulates lakes in the Hudson Valley. He explained that the DEC has changed the regulations regarding the application of copper sulfate that the group has used in previous years to control algae growth and that the new regulations are proving to be costly for the group. Noting that the town is also a major landowner along the lake, Supervisor Grace advised Mr. Belfer to contact the town engineer who may be helpful in getting the regional DEC office to relax its requirement.
Tennis Courts. Larry Kilian reminded the board that despite comments made several years ago, nothing has been done to rehabilitate the three Downing Park tennis courts that are being used to store equipment. He said that while senior citizens don’t play baseball, lacrosse or soccer, they do play tennis and that the town should create a senior’s tennis program.
485b tax abatement. Larry Kilian asked whether the town would report on the implementation of the plan, including who was getting tax breaks and the effect of the policy on new and existing businesses. In response, Supervisor Grace defended the program, saying that it was a misnomer to call it as tax break, and adding that in the absence of such programs, the town had lost out on dome very good projects. He said the town would be evaluating the program’s implementation.