May 17, 2016
1. Appointments to volunteer boards
Ethics Board: Reappointed Richard Rubenstein through December 31, 2018 and Albert Durante through May 31, 2019 and appointed James Martorano Sr. as a new member through May 31, 2019.
Planning Board: Appointed William LaScala as an alternate member of the Planning Board through December 31, 2020. (The vote was 4-1, with Councilman Patel voting no.)
2. Lexington Avenue rezoning Reconvened/Public hearing
Supervisor Grace explained that the board has had several work session discussions with the applicant as well as input from neighbors. The applicant made a brief presentation of the latest revised plan showing only 8 units.
Evan Bray took exception to the comments made by Planning Director John Tegeder at an earlier meeting to the effect that the rezoning was not “incompatible” with existing zoning and land use and noted that even with the rezoning, the applicant’s plan would still need variances from the Zoning Board.
A concern brought up by many speakers was whether this rezoning would set a precedent or be a prototype for similar rezonings elsewhere. One speaker asked the board to protect his neighborhood instead of being a salesman for the applicant. In response, Supervisor Grace addressed what he called the “contagion” factor and said that all applications for rezoning are considered on a case by case basis on their own merit and that the Lexington Avenue rezoning would not set precedents for future applications.
The supervisor also explained that the board was looking at how it could fill the density gap in the current Zoning Code between the R-2 zone that allows for a two family house on a half acre lot and R-3, the multi family zone that allows up to 12 units per acre. He said that the board was looking at a limit of 8 units for the Lexington Ave. parcel as a condition of the rezoning. He considered the applicant’s plan an improvement to the existing neighborhood.
Councilman Bernard reminded neighbors that the ultimate decisions regarding the actual site plan would be made by both the Planning Board and the Board.
Susan Siegel, the person writing this summary, asked if the residents would be able to see a copy of the approving resolution before it was voted on so that they could be assured that the conditions the supervisor said would be in the resolution, e.g., limiting the number of units to 8, would be in the resolution. (Ed Ciffone noted that after the Town Board had rezoned the Crompond Terraces site for 80 units, the developer came before the Planning Board with a site plan for 121 units.)
After the board voted to close the hearing, Supervisor Grace read off some of the conditions in the draft resolution approving the rezoning. He advised interested parties to request a copy of the draft and provide comments prior to an anticipated vote at the board’s June 7th meeting. (Note: Ms. Siegel questioned the condition relating to land set aside for recreation and asked if that meant the developer would not have to pay the $4,000 per unit recreation fee. She also asked if the resolution included the requirement that the applicant set aside one of the eight units as an affordable unit.)
3. Commercial Puppy Mill Law
The board voted to refer out for comment a proposed amendment to “Animals” chapter of the Town Code that would prohibit commercial puppy mills. The draft law is modeled after a similar law in the Village of Mamaroneck. Councilman Lachterman and several residents spoke of the need for such a law. It was explained that a state law enacted in 2014, enabled towns to enact local laws banning commercial puppy mills. However, one speaker opposed the law, saying that the ban would only force the puppy mills underground and that the SPCA could not satisfy the demand for puppies. Adding that the law “sounds good,” he urged the board to think it through and that what was needed was more enforcement of existing animal health and safety laws and regulations.
The board anticipates holding a hearing on the proposed law sometime in June.
4. Industrial Development Authority
The board passed a home rule resolution in support of a state law, sponsored by Senator Murphy and Assemblyman Katz (S7255/A10005) that would allow the town to re-estabalish an IDA. (Note: According to the documents accompanying the state law, Yorktown’s previous IDA ceased to exist as it had no outstanding bonds or other obligations.)
Supervisor Grace said that there may be some projects that could benefit from either a sales tax exemption or a PILOT (Payment In Lieu Of Taxes) agreement that could be made available by a town IDA. By creating a town IDA, Grace said the town would not be beholden to the existing Westchester County IDA which might not approve a town project.
During Courtesy of the Floor, Susan Siegel, the person writing this summary, asked for more information about the proposed projects the supervisor was alluding to and also whether a local law, subject to a public hearing, would be required in order to establish the IDA. There was no response.
5. Courtesy of the Floor
Dogs at YCCC track: After Dan Strauss asked why the signs regulating dog poop were still not up, Councilman Diana responded that they had been put up that day.
Roma Building: (See Town Board, 3-15-2016.) In response to Mr. Strauss’ comments that nothing had been done at the building, Councilman Diana said that a lot has been done behind the scene but that the landowner was not working aggressively on the problem which might not be resolved by May 31st . But Supervisor Grace added that the project might still be on track for resolution by the end of the month.
Hilltop Service Station: Mr. Strauss again raised the question of why the property owner had not been fined (he said the fine would amount to $20,000-$30,000) for illegally cutting down trees on his property six months earlier.
Highway garage: Ed Ciffone asked for an update on the Supervisor’s plan to relocate the highway garage. There was no response.
Spectra Atlantic Bridge pipeline project: Susan Siegel, the person writing this summary, asked if the town was going to review and comment on the project’s FERC issued Environmental Assessment report by the June 2 deadline. She noted that the project will impact hundreds of town residents, several town owned properties and the town’s major north-south roads. There was no response.
Industrial and Commercial Incentive Board. Ms. Siegel asked if members had been appointed to the board that was established on April 5. The board was charged with developing a plan for providing tax incentives to commercial developers. There was no response.