July 16, 2013
Absent: Councilman Murphy
1. FEMA reimbursement
Supervisor Grace announced that the town has received $927,000 from FEMA as a reimbursement for Hurricane Sandy expenses.
2. Courtesy of the Floor
a. Winery: Aaron Bock, joined by Tony Grasso, read an open letter to the Board from the Chamber of Commerce criticizing the May 7 vote not to advertise a public hearing on the wetlands permit. The Chamber was not criticizing the outcome of the hearing, he said, just what it called the inappropriate procedure that denied people the right to voice their opinions on the issue. In response, Supervisor Grace said he agreed with the letter and said that both he and Councilman Murphy had voted against the resolution.
In a separate comment, Stewart Glass commended the three councilmen who voted not to hold the hearing. He also raised questions about the ownership of some of the property that the Winery appeared to be in the process of upgrading.
b. Mohegan Lake: Ken Belfer, president of the Mohegan Lake Improvement District, asked the Board to look into the status of two culverts under Route 6 that may be blocking the outflow from the lake. Supervisor Grace said he would look into the matter.
c. Special district administrative fee: Susan Siegel, the person writing this summary, asked if the special district fee study, involving charges to the water, refuse and Hallocks Mill sewer district, that was supposed to be completed by July 1 had been completed, or if not, when taxpayers could expect it to be completed. There was no response from the Board.
d. FDR Trails grant. Jane Daniels, president of Friends of FDR Park, asked to be put on a future work session agenda to get Board approval for a grant application the Friends are submitting to the state to construct two bridges in the park and along an old railroad right of way. The bridges would be part of a long range plan to link the existing North County Trailway to Downing Drive, then across Route 118, through FDR park and from there, across Route 202 to Strang Blvd, where other existing town trails can be accessed. The bridges are estimated to cost $700 and between $20,000-$30,000. Ms. Daniels explained that the grant requirement for a 20 percent local contribution would be met by volunteer labor and donations.
Supervisor Grace said he would put the item on the next work session agenda, and then for a vote on August 6. The application requires the support of the town.
3. Greenwood Street Bridge/wetlands permit
The Board opened the public hearing, but after some comments, adjourned the hearing due to some issues regarding the hearing notice.
Acting Town Engineer Sharon Robinson explained that the work involves “scouring” or repairing the culvert. The bridge has been “yellow flagged’ by the state DOT. The project, expected to cost about $200,000, should take approximately 4-5 months, although 2 months will be spent getting approvals. She did not anticipate any road closures.
In response to Councilman Bianco’s question why the stream wasn’t be dredged at the same time, Ms. Robinson explained that the repair work was being done because of the yellow flag status and that repair work and dredging involved different types of contractors.
In a separate action later in the evening, the Board voted to advertise for bids for the project, subject to the Board reconvening the public hearing and approving the wetlands permit.
4. East of Hudson retrofit wetlands permit public hearing/Police Building site
The Board open and closed the public hearing and will refer the item back to the Planning Board which has informed the Town Board that it has jurisdiction over the permit as it amends the previously approved site plan for the police building.
In response to a question from Stewart Glass whether the project would preclude any future expansion of the police building, Supervisor Grace said that the only future expansion plans were for parking and that there was room on the existing police site to accommodate additional parking.
5. Sanctuary Golf Club public hearing
Alan Pilch, the applicant’s engineer, updated the Board on changes that have been made to the stormwater plan. Supervisor Grace noted that the Board had received a memo (it was not clear whether from the fire inspector or the Fire Advisory Board) expressing several concerns, as well as a memo from the building inspector about the retaining wall. Planning Director Tegeder asked the Board not to take any action until it received an updated memo from the Planning Board and town staff had an opportunity to make a new site visit to review changes that had been made to the site.
The applicant’s attorney, Al Capellini, stated this is client would address all outstanding issues, but the Board rejected his request for a SEQRA determination so that the applicant could proceed with the DEP review.
In response to Jane Daniel’s question why, with over 30 existing golf courses in the county, another one was needed, Mr. Capellini responded: would you rather have houses.
Given the applicant’s history of making changes to the site in violation of its approved site plan, Susan Siegel, the person writing this summary, asked the Board not to approve the amended site plan until all the previously mentioned concerns were satisfactorily addressed.
The hearing was adjourned with the expectation that it might be reconvened on August 6.
6. Fieldstone Manor/Flexibility public hearing
The applicant explained the reasons for the change and, comparing the original plan for two large units in the mansion to the new plan for seven smaller units, noted that the new plan has one less bedroom and consequently fewer people. In response to Councilman Bianco’s question about the wetlands, the applicant stated that the new plan makes no changes to the wetland area.
A Strawberry Road resident whose house is opposite the proposed entrance questioned why the applicant didn’t know his costs earlier but instead waited 1 ½ years to ask for a 30% increase in the number of units, from 16 to 21 units. He also felt that condo units were not appropriate for the neighborhood which consisted of single family homes. Councilman Bianco said that he too was bothered by the applicant coming back at a future date to ask for more, but was pleased to see that the new plan would generate fewer people.
Ken Belfer, speaking for the Community Housing Board, welcomed the smaller single family homes (2,500 – 2,700 square feet) as well as the smaller condo units which he said added to the diversity of the housing stock, particularly for young people and seniors who were downsizing.
A representative of the Historical Society said the group was interested in accepting the offer of the fire tower.
The Board closed the hearing but reserved decision.
7. Selected resolutions passed without any discussion
a. Computer equipment. Awarded the bid to Sullivan Data, the low bidder, for the annual computer upgrade program.
b. Advertised two bids for the sewage treatment plant.
c. Cash payout of $36,058 to a retiring police officer for accumulated benefits (sick, personal, holiday, longevity)
d. An agreement for an additional year with the county’s Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program.