Citizens for an Informed Yorktown



Town Board Work Session

June 23, 2015


1. Bridge closings

Baptist Church Road: Highway Superintendent Paganelli and Town Attorney Koster reported that earlier in the day a judge denied the town’s motion to proceed with the repair on an emergency basis. The effort to proceed with the project is being opposed by the two homeowners on either side of the bridge culvert.  Both sides are due back in court on August 3.


Croton Heights Road: The new pipe has arrived, but at the last minute the engineering consultant discovered that the town’s existing right of way didn’t encompass the entire area needed for the repair. So now, the town will enter into negotiations with the abutting property owner. The board also authorized an additional expenditure of $7,740 to cover the costs associated with the need to get a permit from DEP.    


2. Family Self Sufficiency Program (Section 8 Rental Assistance Program)

As far back as the 1990s, the town’s HUD funded Section 8 Rental Assistance Program had a separate Family Self Sufficiency Component that involved a case worker assisting voucher holders get jobs and deal with their personal problems. Because there are no more suitable candidates for the program, Karren Perez, the Section 8 coordinator recommended officially ending the program. The board agreed and passed an appropriate resolution.


3. Rezoning request, 3574 Lexington Avenue

In a preliminary discussion, Phil Sanders explained that he wants to rezone a one acre lot with an existing house between Route 6 and West St,  to multi family to allow approximately 12-14 attached units. (The existing house would be demolished.) The units would be 2 and 3 bedrooms, with a basement and might be rental. The site has public water and sewer. The board was generally supportive of the idea but wanted to see more details, especially some architectural details of what the units would look like. Based on the positive reception, Mr. Sanders will complete prepare a formal application.


4. Gulf Station signs

(See Town Board, June 9, 2015.) Mr. Steenack returned with an illustration of a single monument sign and no signs on the canopy.  The board set a public hearing on the application for July 21.


6. In rem auction refund

The buyer of a house at last year’s auction changed his mind after the auction and decided not to complete the sale because of a mortgage issue. Now he wants the $10,000 down payment he paid at the auction (10% of the sales price) returned.  As explained by Supervisor Grace, the terms of the auction sale were that the properties were sold “as is” and prospective buyers were made aware of this. The buyer’s argument was that he was told there were no mortgages on the property when one subsequently turned up. Without debating the legal points, Al Capellini, the buyer’s attorney, argued that the town had a moral responsibility to return the down payment.  The board eventually voted 3-2 to refund $5,000 with Councilman Bernard and myself voting no.  The buyer accepted the $5,000 offer.  Supervisor Grace said that the text of the documents used at future auctions would be clarified so as to avoid any future misunderstandings.


7. Lake Osceola development

George Roberto, the owner of the former beach site,  presented an alternative concept  to the board that called for one or two restaurants on the first floor with apartments on top, using the same basic building configuration as in the previous plan. Alternately, the main building could be just a destination restaurant and the apartments could be on the eastern portion of the property.  Using Mahopac as an example, Planning Director Tegeder noted that restaurants with lake views tend to be very successful.


With the Town Board unanimous in wanting to see something attractive developed on the site, and both the board  and Mr. Roberto flexible on the parameters of a future plan, Supervisor Grace suggested that Mr. Roberto  “take an eraser” to the requirements of the County Commercial zone and come up with a plan that made sense to him from a business perspective.  Mr. Tegeder explained that when the zone was created, the town had little experience with it and that that the country commercial zone was more of a concept with an arbitrary set of numbers, especially the requirements governing the number of residential units.


Janice Donadio and Julie Duquet, two area residents, said they supported plans for a new development on the site but also wanted the town to do something to slow traffic on East Main Street. In response, Councilman Bernard said that the Public Safety Committee was looking into the issue.  Ms. Donadio also expressed concern over the rising level of the lake but no one seemed to know for sure where the lake’s outlet might be blocked.


Chris Sciarra, who is working with Mr. Roberto on the project, indicated that any future plan might involve pulling down the derelict bar abutting the site.


8. Landmarks Preservation Commission

Three members of the Commission presented the board with their plan for a Yorktown Homes of Historic Distinction Plaque program and a brochure explaining the work of the Commission and the importance of preserving the town’s history.


As explained  by the group, property owners who have  houses that meet certain historical significance criteria will be able to apply to the Commission for a plaque that would be affixed to their house and which would cost in the neighborhood of $75.00. The purpose of the program is to identify houses of historic significance but without going through the procedures to have the house officially landmarked.  A survey done a few years ago identified about 206 houses of historic interest. The dark green plaques would provide the approximate age of the structure and the name of its first owner or initial use. 


Still be to worked out is the legal framework of who will collect the money for the plaques which will be custom made by Signs Ink.  The Planning Department will have the brochure printed.


9. Sparkle Lake Dam

Acting Town Engineer Sharon Robinson advised the board that now that the town has received both the DEC dam permit and wetlands permit, the upgrade project can proceed to bid.  The upgrade, which will require some new piping, the removal of invasive species along Hyatt Street  and grading downhill of the dam, is mandated by the DEC


The board voted to advertise for bids, set a public hearing for July 21 for a town wetlands permit, and referred the plan out to various town advisory boards.


10. Public Safety Report

(See Town Board 6/16/2015). The Board accepted the report and directed the town attorney to prepare the local laws needed  for the signs.


11. Tax Lien enforcement

Acting on the suggestion of the town attorney, the board directed the attorney to draft a local law that would enable the town to charge a $180 administrative fee that would reimburse the town for costs associated with collecting delinquent taxes.