June 6, 2017
1. “Zombie” properties
Supervisor Grace reported that the burnt out building on Garden Lane has been demolished. Because the work was done as part of a lawsuit, the bank, not the town, paid the cost of the demolition. (See Town Board 3/25/2104.) He added that the town was moving forward on removing other properties that were in disrepair.
2. Mohegan Auto & Tire (aka Hilltop Service Station)
Without any discussion, the board approved a SEQRA negative declaration for the project, the site plan and rezoning of the gas station site to a custom tailored transitional zone. (A few changes were made to the approving resolution that was included in the meeting agenda.) The supervisor had already signed the site plan. During Courtesy of the Floor, Marcia Stone asked about the landscaping along Route 6. In response, Mr. Bernard advised her that the landscaping plan, which was noted on the site plan, included a combination of fencing and shrubs. And in response to Ms. Stone’s question as whether the used cars would be visible from Route 6, Supervisor Grace said some will, some won’t. He added that the number of cars allowed on the site will be limited by the number of spaces on the approved site plan.
3. Master Fee Schedule public hearing
(See Town Board, 5/9/2017.) Susan Siegel, the person writing this summary, commended the board for expanding the concept of a Master Fee Schedule that incorporated all town fees. She asked the board to identify some of the fees that might have been changed (Supervisor Grace said that some of the fees hadn’t been changed for 20 years). In response the supervisor explained that one of the changes was how building permit fees would be calculated; instead by estimated construction cost, it would now be by square footage, a method he said was more in line with other municipalities. He said that based on some examples, the change in method would not result in any significant increase in the fee.
Also in response to Ms. Siegel’s questions, it was explained that while the new Fee Schedule eliminated the escrow fee charged developers to cover the cost of the town hiring outside consultants to review certain aspects of their applications, the equivalent amount of what the fee was has been incorporated into the new fee.
Paul Moskowitz stated that the supervisor should recuse himself from voting on the law as he was involved in a construction project that would have to pay fees. In response, the supervisor said that he was not building anything and that a third party was going to be building on his property, adding that he did not want to discuss his personal business.
Councilman Lachterman said that the Senior Advisory Committee had requested that the pool fees for seniors 70 and over be eliminated. He said that many didn’t seek permits.
With the elimination of the senior pool fee, the board adopted the law. Under the terms of the new law, changes in any permit fee will require a local law that will require a public hearing.
4. “Grease Trap” amendments to Sewers and Septic Systems Law/public hearing
(See Town Board 3/28/2017.) Mr. Quinn explained the reason for the law. There were no public comments. The law was passed unanimously.
5. Mohansic Trailway/public hearing on wetlands permit
(See Town Board 5/9/2017 and 5/23/2017. Note: Susan Siegel, the person writing this summary, is a member of the Yorktown Trail Town Committee, YTTC, the group that is planning to build the trail link.) When YTTC spokesperson Jane Daniels attempted to begin the hearing with a power point explaining the project, Supervisor Grace stopped her presentation and instead opened the floor to questions. Several residents from White Birch Drive and Baldwin Road expressed concern about the trailway, explaining that the area is frequented by teenage drinking parties; they also expressed security concerns. Two residents suggested a wall be erected to separate the trail from their property. Some said that the notice they had received about the wetlands hearing was the first they had ever heard about the project. In response, Ms. Daniels was eventually able to show a map of the trail and show how the town owned a 100 foot wide vacant parcel between the trail path and the rear property lines of the houses. She said that experience with other trails has been that when more people use trails, teenage party goers find someplace else to hang out. She added that the drinking problem was confined to FDR Park on the other side of Baldwin Road and not in the wetlands along the trail route. Other residents who experienced drinking problems in their neighbor explained how they had dealt with the problem. Another resident who lives near the North County Trailway recalled how his neighbors also had security concerns when the Trialway was first proposed but that over the years, they’ve had no problems being near the Trailway.
Several people spoke in support of the trail, noting its recreational benefits for residents who could bike instead of having to get into a car to get someplace, as well as attracting visitors to Yorktown which would be a stimulus for Yorktown businesses. During Courtesy of the Floor, Walt Daniels noted that the prickly vegetation in the 100 foot buffer between the trail and the houses served as a natural razor wire-like barrier.
In response to Dan Strauss’ question as to whether a public hearing on the project had been held, Supervisor Grace said that none was required.
After most of the residents had spoken, Ms. Daniels was allowed to continue with her power point presentation. She explained that the 600 foot boardwalk that will traverse the wetland will be 8’ wide and handicap accessible.
Supervisor Grace expressed surprise that some of the neighbors had concerns about the trail. Saying he had been led to believe that there was no opposition, he said that there apparently had been some miscommunication and that more vetting had to be done and that possibly the scope of the project had to be rethought. Susan Siegel, a member of the YTTC advised the Board that last year, acting on the town’s request, the YTTC had sent letters to all the property owners abutting the trail and that no comments or questions had been received.
Supervisor Grace then made a motion to withdraws the wetlands permit application and said he would set up a meeting with the homeowners.
6. The Weyant, Route 202
The Board agreed to reschedule the public hearing on The Weyant transitional rezoning request to September 19 from the previously scheduled July 18.
7. Ethics Board Issue
In an item not on the agenda, Councilman Bernard moved to accept a unanimous report from the Ethics Board that it had investigated a complaint against Supervisor Grace regarding his vote in favor of the 485b tax abatement program and found that it had no merit. The vote was 3-1-0 with Councilman Patel voting against the motion and Supervisor Grace recusing himself. Commenting on the complaint, Supervisor Grace called it political in nature, adding that he resented what he labeled specious allegations against him.
8. Hallocks Mill Sewers
The board approved a $315,000 contract with GHD Consulting Engineers to begin design work on sewers for the three focus group neighborhoods, plus an evaluation of the Crystal Lake pump station. The funds will come from theYorktown Sewer District fund balance. The resolution included a provision that that the town “wishes to include in the extension project “the Ridge Street subarea, Broadview subarea and Carolina Road subarea, but it was not clear exactly what planning the consultants would do for these areas. In response to questions during Courtesy of the Flor, Supervisor Grace said that it was still undecided whether the plans for the 361 home Birch Street focus neighborhood would be to hook up to the Hallocks Mill treatment plant or be switched over to the Peekskill Sewer district; he said the “buy in” homeowners would have to pay to become part of the Peekskill district was not significant.
9. Granite Knolls Sports complex
The board declared itself lead agency for the proposed site plan for the Granite Knolls Recreation Facility. During Courtesy of the Floor, Susan Siegel, the person writing this summary, referring back to the concerns of some homeowners who felt they had not been notified about the planned trail near their property, asked if the residents of Stoney Street had been informed about the town’s plans for the Granite Knolls sports complex. There was no response to her question.
10. Miscellaneous resolutions
Stray animals: The board okayed an agreement with the Yorktown Animal Hospital for harboring and sheltering stray animals. (Note: The previous contract had been with the SPCA.)
Town Hall roof: Authorized the expenditure of $29,000 for improvements.
Legacy Ball fields: Authorized an expenditure of $6,075 for maintenance of the turf.
Winery: Authorized support for state legislation that would advance the parkland alienation bills that would implement the 2015 land swap that was part of the winery’s site plan approval.
11. Courtesy of the floor
Pipeline: Mark Lieberman wanted to know what the town was doing to either stop the Atlantic Bridge portion of the pipeline or, if it proceeds, how to deal with emergencies as a result of peipeline breaks. In response, Supervisor Grace said that the town had no control over the pipeline and that there “was not much we can do about it.” He added that most of the pipeline accidents referred to by pipeline opponentd were on service lines, not transmission lines.
Sultana pool: Ed Ciffone noted that the town is owed $100,000 in unpaid taxes for the abandoned Sultana pool and wanted to know what the town was doing about it. In response, Supervisor Grace said he would try to get neighborhood input on the pool’s fate.
Wetlands: As a follow up to the April wetlands hearing, and in response to a request from Supervisor Grace for more information about wetlands and their functions, Linda Miller read a statement that explained the difference between a wetland’s function and its value and how neither, because they are subjective measures, can be part of a definition of what is or isn’t a wetland. She advised the board that before it drafted a new version of the wetlands law, it first had to decide on several key policy issues regarding how and who would assess a wetland’s functions followed by what value the town would place on those function/s. Supervisor Grace thanked her for her comments and repeated his desire to include function in any revised wetlands law.