May 28, 2014
(Councilman Murphy participated in the meeting beginning at 8:30 pm)
(Listed on the agenda for “advice of counsel,” it appeared that a closed session did not take place because Councilman Murphy was expected to arrive late. The open portion of the meeting commenced earlier than noted on the agenda. A closed session did take place at the conclusion of the open portion of the meeting.)
1. Change in board meeting schedule.
The board voted 3-0 to cancel the June 17 meeting.
2. Stormwater Annual Report
Bruce Barber, the town’s environmental consultant, gave the annual stormwater report, a requirement of the town’s MS4 stormwater permit. A copy of the report, which details a variety of initiatives designed to filter and/or reduce stormwater runoff, will be posted on the town’s web site, yorktownny.org.
During the discussion, questions were asked about the status of the oil spill at Sparkle Lake. Although Mr. Barber stated that the spill had been cleaned up and the town was waiting for a final inspection and sign-off from the DEC before the booms were removed, area resident Howard Frank said that as recently as 10 minutes earlier, he saw oil coming from the outlet. Mr. Barber said he would visit the site. The spill is from a stormwater retrofit project that was done under the auspices of the East of Hudson Coalition, and Mr. Barber stated that it was the Coalition’s responsibility to deal with the issue.
3. Francese wetlands permit
(See Town Board, 5/13/2014.) In an item not on the agenda, Bruce Barber, the town’s environmental consultant, advised the board that based on a site visit and meeting he and the supervisor had with Mr. Francese, it was agreed that, as mitigation, the property owner would remove the trash from the wetlands in lieu of being required to do any new plantings. Mr. Barber said he was waiting for a letter from the town engineer indicating that the trash had been removed before preparing a resolution for the board.
4. Request to purchase town parkland on Illington Road
Ms. Diana Saunders, accompanied by her two daughters, is requesting to purchase a six acre town owned parcel, currently designated as parkland, that abuts her property. The parcel runs parallel to the Taconic Parkway and is considered unbuildable. An old cemetery is located on the parcel and the Saunders told the board that over the years they have restored some of the gravestones as well as done other maintenance work on the parcel, adding that since a dam on the parcel collapsed, the parcel has become even more of a swamp.
Noting that two previous boards have said no to selling the parcel (Ms. Saunders said there had only been one turn-down) Councilman Bianco said he has long supported a policy of acquiring open space and as a general principal was opposed to the alienation of parkland except in very special circumstances, such as the Granite Knolls alienation which he supported because it was for a public utility. He had no problem with the current condition of the parcel and what was termed “returning it to its natural state.”
Supervisor Grace appeared to have no problem with the alienation as long as Ms. Saunders agreed to place a
conservation easement on the land and agreed to a provision that would prevent her from ever merging the six acres with her abutting parcel. Ms. Saunders said would agree with both stipulations.
Walt Daniels and John Schroder of the Advisory Committee on Open Space (ACOS) acknowledged that the Saunders had been good stewards of the land and suggested that they be allowed to continue maintaining the property while keeping it in town ownership. Keeping it in town ownership, they argued, would assure that its current state was not changed, while there could be no guarantees as to what future owners might do. In response, Town Attorney Jeannette Koster raised the issue: what’s in it for them? Why should they continue maintaining a parcel they don’t own? The Saunders agreed that that option didn’t make sense.
When Supervisor Grace made a motion to refer the request to the Conservation Board and ACOS , it was pointed out that three votes were needed to pass a resolution and with Councilman Murphy not present and Councilman Bianco opposed, that could not happen. The board then tabled the issue until later in the evening when Councilman Murphy was available, at which time the board voted to refer out the request, but not until Councilman Patel made a suggestion, supported by the supervisor, that the proceeds from any sale be used for open space purposes and not go into the general fund.
Councilman Murphy advised the Saunders that the alienation process would be a lengthy one and that the vote this evening was only a first step.
5. Club Fit sign on town property
On a referral from the building inspector, the board voted 3-0 to allow the facility to replace an existing sign that has always been on town property and which apparently was approved by the building department many years ago without any Town Board action. When Town Attorney Koster advised that there should be a license agreement between the town and Club Fit formalizing the arrangement even if there was no fee attached to the use of town property, Supervisor Grace dismissed the idea as not necessary.
6. Jefferson Valley Mall sign
A representative of the Mall explained that Simon Properties wants to erect a temporary sign at the corner of Route 6 and Lee Blvd announcing the “coming soon” upgrade project. He anticipated being able to show the board details of the sign in about two weeks. In the interim, the board gave its okay to two back to back signs that could be viewed by cars traveling east and west along Route 6. The approval was subject to the board approving the copy on the sign.
7. 738 East Main Street parking spaces for group home
In a 3-0 vote, the board gave the okay for the group home currently under construction to add two additional parking spaces to its site plan and to authorize the town engineer to administratively modify the applicant’s wetlands permit.
8. Raising and keeping fowl legislation
The board agreed to set a public hearing for July 3 on the proposed law that would allow fowl to be kept on residential properties of at least 40,000 square feet. A copy of the proposed law will be available on the town web site, yorktownny.org. (Note: It was not clear if the proposed law included any limitations on the number of fowl that could be kept, but Supervisor Grace said that given the size of the parcels, the number was self- limiting.)
9. Algonquiin/Granite Knolls Alienation checklist
Without any discussion, the board approved the checklist explaining the alienation request that is part of the required submission to the state. There was some confusion as to whether a home rule message that included the alienation bill numbers was needed and Supervisor Grace advised the town attorney to check with Assemblyman Katz’s office. A home rule message without the bill numbers was passed at an earlier meeting.
10. Auction of town owned property
Town Clerk Roker said she and Bob Killeen, the former assessor who has been working part time in the Assessor’s office and who has been hired by the board to conduct the auction, have decided to hold off on the auction until another 10 or so parcels currently in the final stages of foreclosure are ready for sale. Town Attorney Koster explained that the parcels are from the 2009 foreclosure list and that she expects the court to approve the foreclosure within a week or so. Ms. Roker said that while it made sense to auction off the potential list of 25 parcels at one time, she and Mr. Killeen would proceed without the 2009 parcels if there was any delay. She added that now that the auction will include additional parcels, Mr. Killeen would be requesting more money for being in charge of the auction.
11. Rezoning request for Old Crompond Road (Mandalay)
Dan Ciarcia and affected property owners returned to the board with a revised proposal. The focus of the discussion was the new plan for 96 residential units for seniors only. (It was not determined if this would be 55 or 62 years of age.) The units would all be fee simple, i.e., not condos, and would be a mix of attached and stand alone units. The zone change could be to either RSP-1, the zone for Jefferson Village that included certain amenities, or RSP-2, the zone for Trump Park that is straight housing.
The plan also called for the developer to build and donate a stand alone senior center to the town. There was no discussion about retail space, other than that it would cater to destination shopping. When asked why the entire site wasn’t being proposed for commercial development, the applicant said that he had had discussions with the developer of the adjacent Costco site who felt that a mixed commercial/residential development would be the best use of the site, a use Supervisor Grace said was in agreement with the “new urbanism” concept of mixed use development.
Councilman Bianco said he liked this revised proposal better than the earlier one and in response to his question about the age restriction and possible age discrimination issues, Planning Director Tegeder explained that the federal Fair Housing Law allows housing to be age restricted a long as 20% of the units are available to anyone, regardless of age. Supervisor Grace called the age restrictions ridiculous. He also noted that the proposed development would have no municipal costs as the internal roads would all be maintained by a homeowners association.
The board voted, 4-0, to refer the request to appropriate town departments, and at the same time, look at the existing zoning between Costco and Crompond Crossing to see if any other changes should be made. The town clerk will send out the referral once the applicant pays the required rezoning application fee.
12. Miscellaneous resolutions passed unanimously
Temporary Certificates of Occupancy:The board approved TCOs for the Mount Kisco Medical Group building on Hill Blvd., and for QB Front Street.
Water District fund transfer: $111,325 from the “Water meter projects” line to the “Infrastructure line” to cover the cost of repairing the water main on Stoney Street and the Bear Mountain Parkway.
Teatown Lake Reservation. In support of Teatown’s efforts to create an Environmental Stewardship Training Center.