Town Board Work Session
April 9, 2013
“Personnel and Advice of Counsel”
1. Tax certiorari settlements
The Board unanimously voted to accept settlements for Sears and Treetops (Northern Westchester Restorative Care) but did not disclose the terms of the settlement.
The Board authorized the supervisor to negotiate a settlement with Fieldhome but did not disclose the nature of the issue.
3. Section 8 Housing program
Karren Perez, Section 8 administrator, advised the Board that the federal government has cut back on support for the program. As a result, once existing housing vouchers become available (the program is now providing rent subsidies to 148 households), she will not be able to sign up new people. By drawing down on the program’s reserves, she believes she can get by with this year’s administrative budget but advised the Board that next year, it might have to rethink the $11,000 the program is being charged in 2013 for rent at the YCCC and the services of the town attorney. This charge had been waived by previous boards.
4. Emergency Notification System
The Board discussed the use of three possible systems: Code Red, Deltalert, the system used in 2011, and Nixtel, a free service that allows people to sign up for notifications that is operated by the Police Department. During Hurricane Sandy, the Town used the school system’s notification system (it was not clear if the Town used both Yorktown and Lakeland systems, or only one), but Councilman Paganelli noted that only households with children in the schools would be on the districts’ lists.
One option was whether the notification system should be based solely on people signing up for the service or whether the town should purchase the Verizon 911 emergency list and let people opt out of the system if they did not want to receive calls. There was confusion about the costs involved and no decisions were made.
(Note: During the discussion, former Susan Siegel, the person writing this summary, clarified some information about the cost of the Deltalert system and provided information about the Verizon list. The day after the meeting, she emailed Board members a correction on the cost of purchasing the Verizon 911 list.)
5. Tax Consideration for Historic House owners
Bill Primavera, the owner of a historic house, said he and his wife have given up on the idea of seeking landmark status for their house after learning that the designation can be an impediment to future sales. Instead, he said he will be seeking state legislation that will enable towns to give a tax break to the owners of historic homes. The tax reduction, he said, would offset the additional costs to the owners associated with maintaining an historic property. The Board appeared to support the concept.
6. Parks & Recreation presentation
Brian Gray, Superintendent of the Parks & Recreation Department and Diana Quast, chairman of the Recreation Commission gave a slide presentation on the Town’s open space inventory and long range plans for upgrading existing recreational facilities as well as constructing new ones. Supervisor Grace said that the idea behind the presentation was to put together a capital plan for parks & recreation. Mr. Gray said the Town had 1,837 acres of open space.
New projects included: a spray park at Sparkle Lake funded by a donation, exploring a golf course for disabled veterans at Shallow Creek, a new playground at Downing Park for children of all abilities, several recreational areas at Holland Sporting Club, the possibility of additional fields plus parking at Granite Knolls, and a dog park at Sylvan Glen.
Existing facilities in need of upgrading and waiting for funding include: the inline skating rink at Shrub Oak Park, the closed tennis courts at both Downing and Shrub Oak parks, correcting drainage problems at the Route 202 fields, turning the Woodfields ballfield, completing the Hunterbrook field extension, demolishing the Granite Knolls barn, developing wetlands educational areas and fence and backstop repairs.
Calling it a “matter of perspective,” Supervisor Grace and Councilman offered different visions of what should be done with vacant parkland. Supervisor Grace appeared to advocate for doing something with the open space while Councilman Bianco said that leaving the open space as is for passive recreation is what some of the land was supposed to be used for.
John Madden, the teacher in charge of the BOCES forestry program, explained that he is prepared to use the students in the program to remove invasive species at Holland, as well as undertake, over a period of years, a forest management program at the site.
Granite Knolls fields. The fields have been seeded and the Town will wait two growing seasons before usage can begin. Supervisor Grace said he was having discussions with Spectra, the owner of the Algonquin gas line, about whether the staging area they’ll be using to work on the line will/can eventually provide the town with an access road to the site, a parking area, and possibly and additional field/s.
Tom DeChiaro and his engineer, Dan Ciarcia, were before the Board to discuss the need for a wetlands permit for the portion of his previously approved site plan that will utilize a portion of the town owned wetland. (References were made to the fact that this should have been done at the time of the rezoning but wasn’t.) In response to questions from Councilman Bianco, it was determined that the permit required a public hearing and that as the land was owned by the Town, the Town should be applying for the permit. It was not clear how the delay in getting the wetlands permit would impact the completion of other work that is required to be done elsewhere on the site.
8. Creative Living
The applicant and his consultants repeated the presentation they had made to the Planning Board the night before (see below).
Councilman Bianco noted that the proposed area for the 4-story building was “all wet.” It was also noted that the ring road around the dome in Phase I (required by the Fire Department) encroached into the wetland. The height of the dome will be about 84 feet at the peak but average out at about 43 feet which is the height of the dome used by Club Fit. The dome will not be used from April to November.
Supervisor Grace raised the issue of whether the Town Board wanted to rezone the property now so that it could set standards for the approval of the Phase I dome but the Board appeared content to let the Planning Board come up with standards as part of its site plan review. Planning Director Tegeder said that all requirements, except for parking, were already in the Town’s land development regulations . There was some discussion as to how the parking requirements will vary based on the season. Mr. Tegeder said it was “amorphous” when the rezoning to CR should come about and said that there was a critical path to follow for the Phase I approval, including a possible need for a ZBA variance for the height of the dome.
Mr. Riina indicated that the DEC has not seen to new master plan for the site. Mr. Capellini asked the Town Board to show its support for the project as it moves to the Planning Board in order to counteract what he considered to be negative comments about the project. Councilman Murphy and Supervisor both praised the project and Supervisor Grace referred to some of the comments as a game of telephone.
The applicant asked for permission to erect a sign along Navajo Road on town property leading into the site. The Board has no problem with the request and advised Mr. Diven to come up with a proposed sign.
9. Proposed local law for keeping chickens and fowl
In a brief discussion, the Board decided to have Bruce Barber, the Town’s environmental consultant work with the town attorney to do some additional tweaking to the proposed law. Councilman Bianco and Murphy and the Planning Board were opposed to allowing chickens on lots less than an acre.
10. Electronic filing law
Planning Director Tegeder advised the Board of last night’s Planning Board discussion regarding the requirement for paper copies. The Board had no problem with the recommendation. (It was not clear if the Board voted to advertise a public hearing.)
11. Cserenyi easement
(See 4-8-2013 Planning Board notes.) Over the objection of the town attorney, the Board gave the Planning Board the right to approve the revised easement documents.
12. Other resolutions, passed unanimously
a. YCCC fees. Waived rental fees for meetings at the YCCC for the Alliance for Safe Kids and the NYS DOT for an informational meeting dealing with the Route 202 widening scheduled for April 23.
b. Awarded bid to Peckham Mateials for Asphalt concrete and liquid bituminous materials
c. Approved a list of budget transfers for 2012. Councilman Bianco asked for clarification on the $124,211 transfer for the Holland Sporting Club. As he had just received the document, he said he hadn’t had time to review it. Comptroller Caporale explained that the figure included the cost of both the asbestos abatement and demolition.
13. Baptist Church Road Culvert Replacement
Although on the agenda, there was no discussion, other than either Supervisor Grace of the town attorney saying that the Highway Superintendent had to do some type of paperwork.
14. AT&T cell tower leases
Councilman Murphy raised issues regarding the proposed 20 year lease. Town attorney Koster said that the lease terms had been arrived at in late 2011 but that the Board held off signing the lease in order get the company to clean up the site. Now that the clean up has been done, she wanted to proceed with signing the lease. When Councilman Murphy began suggesting other terms, Supervisor Grace said that the discussion should continue in closed session. The Board then went into closed session.