July 21, 2020
Shrub Oak Pool is open, Wednesday-Sunday, with separate AM and PM sessions. Contact the Parks Department for special rules and fees for social distancing squares.
Town facilities. Town offices remain closed but the public should access the town’s newly designed web site, yorktownny.org
Hilltop Hanover Farm. The Board of Legislators approved two bond acts that will provide money for the farm. A $200,000 bond will fund a study to develop a master plan for the farm. The second bond, for $675,000, will fund the improvements proposed in the study.
Hallocks Mill Sewers. Discussions with the county are ongoing. The town has submitted additional data to the county.
2. Presentation on affordable housing unit for sale
Ken Belfer, Chairman of the Community Housing Board, advised the board that a two bedroom single family house, built under the town’s previous affordable housing program, is available for sale at $121,000. He explained the income guidelines. Applications to be considered for the unit are available on the town’s web site, https://www.yorktownny.org/affordable-homeownership-opportunity, and by contacting the town clerk’s office, firstname.lastname@example.org or calling 962-5722, ext 208.
3. Courtesy of the floor
Trees and woodlands: Marcia Stone questioned the need to cut down so many trees and woodlands to make way for new development. She suggested that the town reinstate the Open Space Fund that made funds available for the town to purchase open space. In response to her comments about why Atlantic Appliance didn’t consider other sites, Councilman Lachterman explained that the Planning Board can’t steer an applicant to specific sites.
4. Battery Storage Law/Reconvened public hearing
(Given the length of the hearing, readers interested in more details are encouraged to watch the video of the meeting at https://yorktownny.granicus.com/MediaPlayer.php?view_id=1&clip_id=1040.Scroll to
38 on the time bar for the beginning of the hearing.)
Mr. Tegeder reviewed changes in the proposed law in response to comments made at the earlier hearing. Major changes included increasing the minimum lot size to one acre and decreasing the allowed height of the facility to 15’ from 20’. The revised code also included a provision that the facility plan needed to address issues raised in several local laws including, trees, noise, signage, etc.
In response to Paul Moskowitz’s comments that detailed a history of lithium battery explosions, Councilwoman Roker raised the issue of whether the town’s fire departments had commented on the proposed law and Councilman Diana said that the law required the developer to train first responders in how to deal with fires at the site.
Susan Siegel, the person writing this summary, raised a series of technical issues with the language and also asked the board to consider rezoning potential sites on a case by case basis instead of allowing them on any residential parcel. In response, Mr. Tegeder offered a series of reasons why the rezoning approach, referred to as a floating zone, was not appropriate.
In response to Councilwoman Roker’s comments that a photograph of a facility she had received from Ms. Siegel was not what was being considered for Yorktown, Ms. Siegel said that the photograph showed six containers while the proposed Gomer Court facility would have four. But, she added, Mr. Tegeder said that the proposed law would allow facilities three times as large as the Gomer Court facility.
Swarnav Pujari, chair of the Climate Task Force, spoke in favor of the facilities and the legislation.
The board closed the earing and will accept written comments until Friday, July 24.
5. Solar Law/Reconvened public hearing
(Given the length of the hearing, readers interested in more details are encouraged to watch the video of the meeting at https://yorktownny.granicus.com/MediaPlayer.php?view_id=1&clip_id=1040. Scroll to
130 on the time bar for the beginning of the hearing.)
Because several additions to the law were suggested during the hearing, the board decided to adjourn the hearing so that it could review a revised draft.
Supervisor Slater opened the hearing by explaining that the proposed law was an effort to balance competing interests: the need to encourage new clean energy sources and the need to protect the integrity of the town’s natural resources. He also explained that the law was not meant to address specific solar projects, although a proposed solar farm on Lockwood Road was mentioned several times during the hearing and Susan Siegel, the person writing this summary, pointed out that the yown first began considering a solar after when te developer of the Lockwood site presented his proposal to the town.
Mr. Tegeder walked the board through changes that had been made from the earlier draft, including a new provision that prioritized the sites for potential installations and restricted accessory ground installations on residential parcels to at least one acre.
On the subject of preferences, Sarah Wilson said she supported the law and liked the addition of the preferences but she questioned how they could be followed. Commenting later, Susan Siegel reminded the board that when the preferences were first proposed, Mr. Tegeder advised the board that including them in the law didn’t preclude applications for other locations being considered.
Nicholas Miriam (sp?) said the proposed law broke the existing zoning laws by allowing a commercial use in a residential zone.
Paul Moskowitz suggested that the law include a maximum size for the facilities and questioned why the proposed law included a provision that repealed other laws that conflicted with the solar law. Supervisor Slater asked the town attorney to look into that provision.
Michael Grace, the attorney representing the developer of the proposed solar farm on Lockwood Rd, advised the board that the town didn’t need a separate law; all that was required, he said, was adding solar farms as a permitted use to the zoning code and that the applicant would have to abide by already existing land use laws.
Swarnav Pujari, chair of the Climate Task Force, spoke in favor of the law and supported additional language, suggested by the Task Force that would require proposed developers to calculate the amount of carbon sequestration by the trees that would be cut to make way for the solar farm so that the different impacts on the carbon issue could be compared. He also noted that while the financing for solar farms typically covers 20-25 years, in practice, the systems could last for 30-35 years. And in response to a question from the public, he said he had no data on the possible impact a solar farm would have on property values.
6. Landmarks Preservation Law/public hearing on amending name of Commission
(See Town Board 5-26-2020.) The board opened and closed the hearing and approved a change in the Commission’s name, substituting “heritage” for “landmarks. Lynn Briggs, chairwoman of the group explained that the term landmarks was too limiting as the group is involved in many more aspects of the town’s historic past.
7. Miscellaneous resolutions
Arts & Culture Committee. (See Town Board, 7-14-2020.) The board approved the formation of a seven member committee; four members to be appointed by the Town Board and three by the Chamber of Commerce.