Citizens for an Informed Yorktown



Town Board Work Session

April 11, 2016


Closed Executive Session

Interviews for volunteer boards and personnel


Open Session

1. Front Street rezoning

Allowing area residents to address the board, Wade Hoyt, a Summit Street resident whose house backs up to the Roberta property, presented a petition signed by 22 residents of Summit Street and the owner of the single family house on Front Street, opposing the rezoning. Calling the rezoning, “a pig in a poke,” their main concern was that a rezoning to “commercial” left unanswered exactly what type of businesses would lease the space and what the impact would be on their properties.


In response, Mr. Roberta clarified that his intention was for professional office use, not retail, with apartments above.


Supervisor Grace advised Mr. Hoyt and his neighbors that an attractively built commercial building would actually be an improvement over the “crap” that’s currently on the vacant and untended site. He also said a commercial building would have less of an impact than single family homes which would likely be small rental units.


The board eventually agreed with Councilman Bernard’s suggestion that Mr. Roberta apply for rezoning to a transitional zone, a special provision in the town code that lets the Town Board custom tailor the requirements for a parcel that straddles two different zones. The actual rezoning would be tied to a specific site plan that would include provisions regarding landscaping, buffering, lighting etc.


Mr. Roberta indicated that he would submit the appropriate application.


2. RPG Properties, Lexington Avenue

As previously requested, Mr. Sanders presented two versions of a revised plan for 10 units, the difference being the parking area between the two rows of units. Both versions will require side yard variances.


Two area residents repeated their earlier objections to any rezoning, asking the board why it was even considering the rezoning which they said was out of character with the existing neighborhood. They felt that once the RPG property was rezoned for multi family use, other parcels in the area would come in with similar rezoning requests. In response; both Supervisor Grace and Councilman Bernard spoke about the need for this type of housing for adult children of Yorktown residents and/or the parents who want to downsize. Without getting into what they called “social engineering,” both said that the rental units were needed for a vibrant town. The supervisor added that in supporting the rezoning, he was cognizant of Yorktown’s needs for a diversity of housing types.  He added that two single houses on the site didn’t make sense and that an attractive multi family development would actually improve the aesthetics of the neighborhood. He rejected the notion that rezoning this one parcel would lead to other multi family rezonings along Lexington Avenue.


After one resident reminded the board that the supervisor had earlier asked the applicant to return with an 8 unit plan in addition to a 10 unit plan, and he advised the board that the neighbors would be willing to accept an 8-unit compromise, Supervisor Grace requested Mr. Sanders to submit an 8-unit plan. Mr. Sanders indicated he would and added that an 8-unit plan would not require any variances and would conform to the town’s FAR (floor area ratio) requirements.


3. Bernstein House, Old Yorktown Road

Mark Franzoso advised the board that his original plan to renovate and restore the house is no longer practical given the condition of the structure and its foundation, combined with the fact that in order to make the house conform to code, only 15% of the original structure would be saved. He said he had spent about $ 30,000 so far on the property. The stand alone garage has been restored. 


Given the situation, Mr. Franzoso now plans to demolish the existing structure and build a new house that would almost duplicate the original structure. He said he has no intention of subdividing the property.


In response to Councilman Patel’s question whether anything of historic interest or value within the house could be saved, Mr. Franzoso said the answer was no.


4. Illington Road parkland alienation

(See Town Board, 9-15-2015.)The Saunders family advised the board that it would like to purchase the town owned parcel designated parkland that the family has been caring for for many years, including replacing and restoring stolen and/or damaged  headstones from a family cemetery on the parcel. Ms. Saunders advised the board that she has been in contact with the current members of the family whose family graves are in the cemetery and that they are supportive of her plan. If the sale is approved, she assured the board that she or her other family members have no intention on building on the long narrow site which lies between Illington Road and the Taconic Parkway and is undevelopable.


The board was supportive of the plan with Supervisor Grace noting that the Saunders family would take better care of the parcel than the town is doing. He added that the town acquired the property about eight years ago in a foreclosure proceeding and he wasn’t sure about the title to the cemetery. He said the town would transfer the property with a quit claim deed, adding that he didn’t think it likely that someone would challenge the cemetery portion of the site.  Ms. Saunders’ mother said that in hindsight, she regretted not purchasing the property from the former owner for $1 when she had the opportunity.


Ms. Saunders was advised to submit a written offer to purchase the property from the town. The sale of the property would be subject the town receiving permission from the state legislature to alienate the parkland.


5. Police building generator

(See Town Board, 1-26-2016.) Michael Dubovsky, the town’s outside electrical contractor, advised the board that the problems associated with installing the proposed new generator at the building had “snowballed” and that the generator approved in January was not longer suitable. Instead, he recommended purchasing a different generator  directly from a company whose price was less than what was available on state contract.  The price was not mentioned but as it was assumed that the price would not exceed what amount authorized on January 26, the board did not believe that a new resolution as needed. The board gave him the go ahead to purchase the generator.


6. Street lights/Commerce Street

The board authorized the purchase of four new street lights, replacing lights that were damaged in earlier accidents. Because there are police reports involving two of the lights, Mr. McDermott anticipated that insurance would cover the cost for those lights; he didn’t say in full or only a portion of the cost. Michael Dubovsky, the town’s outside electrical contractor, estimated that a light would cost $3,500, and possibly $500 more if the base had to be replaced. One of the lights was damaged over four years ago.


The board also plans to install up to three lights where none currently exist in the vicinity of the basketball court on Commerce Street and leading to Underhill Avenue. The supervisor will meet with Mr. Dubovsky to identify the exact locations.


7. Industrial Development Agency

In an item not on the agenda, and without any discussion, the board approved a resolution requesting the state senate and assembly pass home rule legislation authoring Yorktown to create an Industrial Development Agency. (Note: The resolution was handed to board members at the end of the meeting when the supervisor’s assistant advised the board that there were a series of resolutions to be voted on.)


Supervisor Grace said that there was a potential project that would spend $10 million and that if the investor went to the county IDA, the town would lose revenue.  He did not explain who the investor was, or for what project, and what revenue he was talking about. (Note: During the April 5 public hearing to create an Industrial and Commercial Incentive Board, the supervisor mentioned the board’s intent to create an IDA but he didn’t go into any detail about the plan and  the local law that was the subject of the public hearing only dealt with the creation of the Incentive Board and the Section 485b tax incentive and had nothing to do with an IDA.)   


8. Other resolutions

In other resolutions given to the board at the end of the meeting

Conservation Board: Walter Plankel was reappointed to the board.


BJ’s gas station special permit: Due to a mathematical error involving the signs in the original permit, a corrected resolution was approved.


Pool concession. Awarded a food concession for the Shrub Oak Pool.


(With no explanation, the board again tabled a resolutiion dealng with the Enrichment Center.)


Extra board meeting. After the board concluded a second closed executive session for the purpose of discussing personnel, it went back into open session to advertise a special meeting on Friday, April 22 at 3:00 p.m. (Note: before going into closed session, Councilman Bernard suggested that given the hour, it might be too late to discuss what had been scheduled for discussion. As the CIY observer left the meeting once the board went into closed session, no information is available on the length of the second closed session.)


REMINDER:  There will be no board meeting on Tuesday, April 19th, because the board meeting room will be used for the primary election.