May 5, 2015
1. June 2 set for public hearings (See Town Board 4/28/2015 for background on each issue)
a. Eliminate No Parking signs on Veterans Road in front of Solaris
b. Install a Stop Sign at intersection of Rutledge and McKeel
c. Install a No Parking sign at intersection of East Main St & Wood St.
d. Amend commercial parking requirements to eliminate current exemption for C-3 zone.
In a 4-1 vote, with me voting no, the board appointed Thomas D’Agostino to the position of Assistant Planner in the Planning Department. I voted no based on the fact that the number of development applications has decreased considerably over the past three years and I believed that the existing staff could handle the current work load. I indicated I was willing to reconsider hiring the third person if and when there was an upturn in the number of applications or the town was successful in obtaining grants and there was additional work associated with managing the grant. As part of the discussion, I reiterated my position that I did not think town staff should be spending it’s time planning a commercial building (e.g., Depot Square) and Supervisor Grace defended he work the Planning Department was doing.
3. Baptist Church Road culvert repair
The board unanimously approved a resolution to spend up to $634,000 to install the new culvert. Mr. Paganelli anticipated that the work could be completed in about three weeks once the contract is signed. The work will be done by the same contractor who did the emergency replacement for the Lexington Avenue culvert last summer and has also been hired to install the new culvert at Croton Heights Road (see below). When a project has been declared an emergency, there is no competitive bidding.
4. Croton Heights Road
Work on this project will be delayed for a few weeks to allow delivery for a special size and quality pipe . The special pipe is needed to meet NYCDEP size requirements but also to install a longer lasting pipe.
5. Spectra pipeline expansion/Atlantic Bridge scoping document
The board reviewed a draft scoping prepared by Bruce Barber that incorporated comments from several department heads and an earlier outline I had prepared.
I advised the board that unlike the AIM project that had a DEIS (Draft Environmental Impact Statement), FERC was proposing to do only an Environmental Assessment (EA) for Atlantic Bridge. I expressed concern that the EA might not be as detailed as an EIS.
Supervisor Grace was of the opinion that the town’s comments should not repeat comments likely to be made by other people at the May 11 FERC scoping session or be “all over the place” but instead should take a more surgical approach zeroing in on very specific issues of concern to the town. He also wanted to avoid a negative posture towards Spectra and instead wanted to maintain a good working relationship with the company in order to negotiate some benefits to Yorktown as part of the project. Pointing out the loss of the Granite Knolls ball fields, he identified possible drainage improvements Spectra could be asked to make on some town owned property.
I agreed that many of the items in the scoping document could be consolidated but I continued to argue that we should be aggressive in asking for any item that would impact the health and safety of our residents and protect our environment and roads.
Supervisor Grace explained that the ROW easements through established neighborhoods might actually be owned by the town and not the homeowners and he was checking this out.
Mr. Barber called attention to the need for what he called “baseline documentation” that would document pre- construction conditions on all private and public lands within 50’ of the proposed limits of disturbance.
Mr. Barber will prepare a revised scoping document for the board next week. The board has until June 11 to submit written comments. In the meantime, if board members speak at the May 11 scoping session, they will speak as individuals.
The board also discussed how Spectra was going to compensate the town for the use of Sylvan Glen and Granite Knolls parkland during the AIM construction period. The two key issues were the value of trees that would be lost and the “temporary rental value” of the land. It was agreed that most of the value was in the trees and that a tree inventory would be needed, although the supervisor said that many of trees slated to be removed were of little value. The board will be meeting with Spectra next week to discuss this issue.