April 14, 2020
(Meeting held via Zoom. a video of the meeting is available on the town’s web site.)
Personnel to discuss employment of a particular person
Negotiations: advice of town attorney
1. Battery Storage law
Mr. Tegeder led a discussion about a revised draft of the proposed law. He said the new draft incorporated changes made in a July, 2019 revised NYSERDA model law as well as the comments from an earlier town public hearing.
The major NYSERDA changes included reducing the number of tiers from three to two: Tier 1 would be basically for home based systems while Tier 2 would be for facilities of 600 KW or larger. As an example, the existing storage facility behind Staples would be a Tier 2. The model law also modified the definition section of the law and made other text changes that were not identified.
The current town draft would allow the facilities in any zoning district with a minimum lot size of 30,000 sf, although Mr. Tegeder said the board might want to consider a larger minimum size. The revised draft also increases the need for a vegetative clearing from the storage units to 20 feet from 10 feet in order to provide sufficient access for first responders. The draft also prohibits the facilities from areas that are designated flood zones.
In response to the concern about allowing the units in residential zones voiced by Councilmen Diana and Lachterman, Mr. Tegeder said that when the stored electricity was made available to the grid, it would be available to Yorktown residents in the event of a surge in demand for electricity and a brownout. It was also pointed out that not all residential parcels would be likely sites as the parcels would have to have the ability to hook up to the grid. Mr. Tegeder also noted that utility facilities are currently permitted, and do exist, in residential zones.
The storage units would be limited to 20’ in height. The noise level would be limited to 60 decibels, a level Supervisor Slater said was akin to “normal conversation” although it was noted that the noise level varied based on proximity to the units. The Planning Board, which would approve the special permits for the Tier 2 units, would have to conform to the town’s existing lighting code.
Supervisor Slater said that the new draft covered many of the concerns voiced at the earlier public hearing and felt that the town should be part of the conversation of how the state was moving to deal with future energy needs.
The board voted to refer out the revised draft for comment and will consider a June public hearing.
2. Smoking in town buildings
(See Town Board 3-10-2020.) The board reviewed comments from the Planning Board on the proposed law that would ban smoking in all town facilities, including 50 feet from town buildings. An earlier draft had 75 feet. The law would only apply to town properties. The proposed law will be referred to all advisory boards, and possibly departments for review and a public hearing is possible in June.
3. Commercial water meters
The board discussed a revised draft of the law that adds a fine of $250/day, not to exceed $5,000 in three year period, for non compliance with the requirement that commercial meters be tested every three years. The goal of the fine was to make it an incentive for the property owner to comply as the fine would be greater than the cost of the test which would be in the $1,600 range. Water Superintendent Rundle advised the board that these meters have never been tested in the 33 years he’s worked for the Water Department. Commercial meters account for 30% of the district’s revenue. In response to questions from the board, Mr. Rundle explained that it was not advisable to have town staff do the testing. The draft law was referred out and a public hearing is possible in June.
Councilwoman Roker suggested, and the board agreed, that when the proposed law is scheduled for a public hearing, that the affected commercial property owners receive a notice of the hearing.
4. Litter law
Faced with an increase of litter, especially used masks and gloves littering parking lots, and as a follow up to his earlier executive order doubling littering fines to $1,000, Supervisor Slater proposed amending the existing litter law to make the $1,000 fine a permanent fine. Councilman Diana suggested that the revised law include a provision that community service might be an alternative to a monetary fine. The supervisor will work with the town attorney to prepare proposed amendments.
5. Greenway grant application/Pedestrian lights at Mohansic Trailway
(Susan Siegel, the person writing this summary and a member of the Yorktown Trail Town committee participated in the discussion.)
Ms. Siegel presented a plan for the Yorktown Trail Town Committee, on behalf of the town, to apply for a Hudson River Valley Greenway grant in May for the installation of pedestrian activated flashing warning lights at the intersection of Route 118 and Downing Drive. She explained that while the lights would not legally require drivers to stop, they would alert drivers to people crossing the road and would provide for a more safer crossing. The lights would cost an estimated $7,500 with the Greenway grant covering 50% and the town picking up the remaining half. Board members raised several questions about the limitations of the lights and Supervisor Slater said that given the town’s uncertain financial picture, he preferred to postpone considering the grant application until November when there would be a second application deadline. In the meantime, Ms. Siegel was advised to meet with the Traffic Committee.
6. Selected Resolutions
Grant needs assessment. The board approved a resolution to hire a consultant, at a cost of $5,000, to do an assessment of the town’s needs as related to grant possibilities.
Property tax deadline. The board voted to support a property tax relief law that is expected to be considered by the county Board of Legislators this coming Friday. Supervisor Slater explained that the town has no power to alter the current state requirements governing deadlines for paying town and county taxes or the interest charges for late payments.
7. Postponed public hearings
It was explained that the governor’s executive order allowed towns to hold public hearings as long as the public had an opportunity to participate. The board agreed that before possible June hearings were scheduled for newly proposed legislation, the board would likely hold a special meeting in order to accommodate a backlog of pending public hearings. The hearings for this special meeting were not identified.