Citizens for an Informed Yorktown



Town Board

April 15, 2014


1. General announcements

Drug addiction: Supervisor Grace said the town may sponsor a series of training sessions for mental CPR.


Recycling: Refuse  and Recycling Coordinator Kim Angliss Gage reported that because the town gets a credit from the county for the amount of materials it sends to the recycling center, last year the town saved $89,000 on its kitchen waste incineration bill. She said the town was working to develop a recycling program for textiles, i.e., clothing that is no longer wearable and other rags.


Dog park: The park is now open. Access is at the end of Morris Lane which is off Lexington Ave.


2. Courtesy of the Floor

Code enforcement. Maple Court resident Nick Witkowich was critical of the board for not responding to his emails regarding a gazebo that he said had been erected more than a year ago before the property owner received a building permit and without any review by the Building Department.  In response, Supervisor Grace said that a letter from the Building Department had been sent  that day dealing with a remedy for the situation, but added that as supervisor, he can’t tell the building inspector what to do.


Councilman Bianco agreed with the resident that justice was not being served on Maple Hill Street and that something needed to be done. Councilman Murphy took exception to Mr. Witkowich’s statement about a lack of response, explaining that Mr. Witkowich may have been using the wrong email address for him but also that he had spoken to the property owner in the past about code enforcement issues.


Arbor Day. Bill Kellner and Ann Kutter reminded the board about Arbor Day scheduled for April 25.


Sylvan Glen.  Bill Kellner said that the Forest Management Plan for Sylvan Glen and Granite Knolls is available on the town’s web site. The plan may be discussed with the board at a future work session.


Vacancies on advisory boards: Ann Kutter spoke about the need to fill vacancies on some of the town’s advisory boards and also the need for more interaction between the advisory boards and town board liaisons.


Faith Bible Church:  Stating that the Planning Board was not accountable to the people, Evan Bray asked the Town Board to intervene with the Planning Board and request the Planning Board to extend the period for written comments to 20 days, instead of the 10 day period set by the board.  Repeating comments he made at the Planning Board public hearing, he said there were many unresolved issues.  In response, Supervisor Grace explained that a ‘Chinese wall” existed between the boards and that the Town Board cannot influence the decision making process of either the Planning Board or the Zoning Board and Councilman Bianco added that the Planning Board had to be very careful when dealing with religious institutions. Two additional Mohegan Lake residents spoke in opposition to the expansion of the church and the need to protect the character of the Mohegan Lake community.


Condition of town parks; Barbara Walt (sp?) asked the town to take a leadership role in repairing the town’s tennis courts, especially the ones at Downing Park that have night lights, and cleaning up town parks. In response, Supervisor Grace called the condition of Downing Park “atrocious” and a “junk yard” and referring to his plan to relocate the Parks Department garage to Greenwood Street said , “good things are coming down the pike.”   He added that a master plan for Granite Knolls that would cost the town “very  little” would be on the agenda for the board’s April 26 meeting.


Foreclosure: Susan Siegel, the person writing this summery, asked the board to clarify the reasons why the board agreed at a previous meeting to return a parcel the town had taken in rem to the previous property owner after the redemption period at ended. She said there were no documents in the town’s records that reflected the reason Supervisor Grace gave as the reason for the town’s actions. In response, Supervisor Grace repeated that the former property owner claimed he had not received the foreclosure notices and Councilman Bianco said that although he was troubled by how the issue had been handled, it has always been his policy to return in rem properties to their former owners if the owner paid the back taxes prior to the property being sold at auction.


The following issues were raised  by Ed Ciffone who wanted updates on issues he had previously brought up.  He added that the issues of Holland Sporting Club and the status of the Trump Park sales building were matters of “public trust.”


Sultana Ridge Pool:  Supervisor Grace repeated that the parcel was “toxic” and said it would cost a lot to fill in the pool and that the parcel couldn’t be sold or redeveloped. But, he added: “We may have a solution. Stay tuned.”  He did not elaborate.


Granite Knolls barn.  Supervisor Grace said the barn had basically already fallen down and nothing more had to be done. Also that there is an existing bid for dumpsters that can be used at a future \date.


Trump sales building. Councilman Bianco said a meeting with residents is scheduled for next week.


Shallow Creek: In response to Mr. Ciffone’s question whether the person interested in renovating the site would work with the town, Councilman Bianco said he’s like to know “what’s going on” and Supervisor Grace said the park was being redeveloped for disabled veterans.


Holland Sporting Club. Councilman Patel said there was still an open DEC violation on the site and that he wanted to see a plan for how the site was going to be cleaned up and added that the town hadn’t saved a penny on the project that now will have to undergo a third clean up.


3. Public hearing on stop signs

After a brief public hearing, the board approved, in a 4-0 vote, adding stop signs on Loder Road, Oslo Drive, and two signs on Northridge Road.   In response to a comment from a Northridge area resident, the board will consider a follow up local law that would place an additional sign on Northridge.


4. Public hearing on local law dealing with filling vacancies in elected offices

Town Attorney Jeannette Koster explained that although the board had asked her to draw up the proposed law, she was not given a lot of guidance on what to include in the law. As a result, she used a somewhat similar law from another town, consulted with town Clerk Roker and also put in her own thoughts.


The law, which would go into effect in 2015 if approved by the voters in a November election, would call for the vacancy to be filled by a special election if the Town Board didn’t appoint someone within 30 days after the position became vacant.


After several problems, some minor, others more significant, with the proposed law were identified during the hearing, by Supervisor Grace as well as some speakers, the board voted unanimously to reject the proposed law and then, in a 3-1 vote, with Supervisor Grace voting no, directed  the town attorney to prepare a new law that reflected the following significant changes.


1. the law should make clear that the person elected at a special election would serve for the remainder of the term left vacant. The first draft only had the newly elected person serving until the end of the year.

2. the law will add the town justice position so that it covers all elected officials.

3. if the board cannot agree on an appointment within 30 days after the vacancy occurs, a special election will be held even if there’s a 2-2 split on the board about holding a special election. (For a resolution to be approved, it requires three affirmative votes.)   In the first draft, it was ambiguous as to what would happen if there was a 2-2 split. 

4. The law will have both  “not less than” and “not greater than” dates for setting the date of the special election. The first draft did not have an outside date.


During the hearing, both Tony Grasso and Gary Ajello, both former councilmen, called on the board to fill the current vacancy for the remainder of 2014 by appointment .  Mr. Grasso, who was adamant that the board do its job, also argued that the board’s previous vote to appoint Rich Campanaro which received two ayes and two abstentions was sufficient to appoint Mr. Campanaro.  (See below for more about Mr. Campanaro. ) Mr. Ajello called for picking the person from a lottery containing the names of all former board members.


Supervisor Grace repeated his opposition to any version of the proposed law stating that it was the board’s responsibility to fill the vacancy by appointment.  When he began to say that holding special elections would be an unnecessary cost, Town Clerk Alice Roker said that wasn’t the case, but no specific cost numbers were given.


Ed Ciffone asked that the board be polled to see if there would be three votes in support of a revised, but board members responded that the board could not make a decision without a law in front of them.


After the public hearing was closed and the votes taken, Supervisor Grace made a motion to appoint Mr. Campanaro, repeating the reasons he gave at the April 8 meeting.  After the motion was seconded by Councilman Murphy, Lisa McKay, speaking on behalf of the Democratic Town Committee, stated that the Committee does not support the appointment and that Mr. Campanaro had advised the executive committee of his intention to switch back his registraiton to the Republicann Party which prompted Counciklman Bianco to say, "hat's what this is all about," and Supervisor Grace advised Ms. McKay that any further comments she wanted to make should be at the second coourtesy of the floor but that the board did not entertain comments from the public when it was voting on motions.


After the board voted 2-2, this time with Councilmen Bianco and Patel voting no, Councilman Bianco repeated that he would not discuss the appointment in open session, citing the opinion of the town attorney. When Supervisor Grace disagreed with him, the councilman advised the supervisor that he wasn’t the town attorney.


5. Water main break/Stoney Street

(See April 8, 2014)  Supervisor Grace advised the board that as a result of a lengthy meeting he, Mr. Rambo and Mr. Paganelli attended with representatives of the DO T and ECCO, it was agreed that rather than try to repair the existing 12” main which in a 24” sleeve,  a new 12” main will be installed alongside the existing main. And, based on new specifications, the 12” main will be encased in a substance that will protect it from the heavy traffic on the parkway.  The revised project will be about $97,000, approximately a $70,000 less than the original estimate, and will be based on the unit prices in ECCO’s contract with the state.  The town will pay the DOT, which in turn, will  pay ECCO. The supervisor took care to explain why it was not necessary to seek new competitive bids for the emergency repair.


6. YCCC generator

In an item not on the agenda, the board approved, in a 3-0-1 vote with Supervisor Grace recusing himself,  to award an $8,000 contract to Dan Ciarcia to do the design specs for the installation.


7. Tax Installment Plan legislation

The board voted to schedule a public hearing  for May 6 to consider amendments to Chapter 260 of the Town Code dealing with tax installment plans for paying off back taxes.


8. Selected resolutions passed unanimously

Tractor purchase: awarded a bid for $34,952 for purchase of a tractor for the Parks Departments.


Stormwater: authorized the supervisor to pay Yorktown’s estimated $3,413 share of the estimated 2014 legal expenses for East of Hudson Watershed Coalition.


Auction of unneeded equipment. Accepted the auction bids for several pieces of unneeded Water Department equipment and put out to auction two additional pieces from the Central Garage.


Costco: authorized  Jacobs Engineering, the town’s traffic consultant, to evaluate Costco’s traffic analysis in its Environmental Impact Statement. Costco will reimburse the town for the cost, not to exceed $8,500.



Closed session

The subject of the unplanned for meeting was not identified.