Citizens for an Informed Yorktown



Town Board

July 8, 2014



“to discuss personnel, negotiation and litigation.”

(Note: The executive session extended well beyond the time noted on the agenda and there were many department heads waiting to meet with the Board.)




1. Textile Recycling law

Refuse & Recycling Coordinator Kim Angliss Gage and Town Attorney Jeannette Koster discussed the parameters of a proposed local law regulating the placement of clothing recycling bins on private property.  Based on the discussion, the attorney will draft a local law that will require property owners wishing to place bins on their property to obtain a special permit from the Planning Board at an initial cost of between $300-$500 per bin, with an annual renewal fee of about $150. (Councilman Murphy noted that currently the owners of the bins are paying $75/month to the property owners.)   The Planning Board would review the location of the bins, as well as the possible number of bins, based on site plan conditions.


Bins currently located on private property would be subject to a Notice of Violation if, once the new law is passed, they did not apply for and receive the permits.


Ms. Koster said she would have a draft of the new law ready in a month’s time.


Supervisor Grace directed Ms. Gage to notify the one company that has a 15 year old contract to locate a bin in the commuter parking lot next to town hall that the agreement will be terminated.  She is also to notify other vendors with bins on town property that they are to remove their unauthorized bins.  The supervisor added that he would like to “clean-up” the remaining eyesores in the lot.


2. Renewal of garbage collection contract

Under the terms of the existing two year contract with Competition Carting, the town was required to notify the company if it wished to extend the contract. (The original bid gave the town the option to renew the contract for 3-one year extensions at the same price.)


Councilman Bianco suggested that the contract renewal be subject to the contractor getting the special permit from the Zoning Board allowing him to park his garbage trucks on Richard Place (See ZBA discussions below) but the town attorney and Supervisor Grace said that such a condition was not part of the original contract and therefore could not be made part of the renewal resolution.  Supervisor Grace stated that the ZBA had already approved the special permit and Councilman Bianco said, “I’ll take your word for it.”  Supervisor Grace said he would have preferred the renewal be for three years, but Councilman Bianco said he would vote for only one year.


Refuse & Recycling Coordinator Kim Angliss Gage advised the board that the refuse district was saving money as  tipping fees for the garbage had decreased and recycling fees had increased.


Although the observer did not hear motions, seconds and votes, it appeared that the intent of the board was that there were two votes, each passed 4-0: one renewing the contract for a year and a second that may have directed the contractor to comply with the ZBA determination.


3. BJ’s gas pumps

Representatives of BJs and Urstadt Biddle, owner of the Staples Shopping Center, made a pre-submission presentation to the board to construct two new facilities on both sides of the new entrance into the shopping center.

Facing in to the Center, they are proposing six (6) gas pumping stations (with 12 dispensers) on the west side and a new bank building on the east side of the entrance.  Both new structures would be in portions of the parking lot that they say are always unused.


The rationale for the gas pumping operation was to remain competitive with other national buying club operations which, it was said, were all adding the gas operation. Access to the pumps would be for members only.


The new bank building would require an amendment to the existing site but the gas pumping operation would require a special permit from the Town Board and possibly a zoning map line adjustment as the Zoning Code currently only permits gas stations in C-3 zones and the shopping center is located in a C-1 zone.  Supervisor Grace suggested, however, that when the Town Board grants the special permit, it could, at the same time, issue a variance permitting the use in a C-1 zone.  David Steinmetz, the applicant’s attorney, said he would review the zoning issue with staff.


Mr. Steinmetz said that the applicant would do a complete SEQRA review of traffic, stormwater and parking issues, including how tanker trucks would access the site.


Councilman Bianco said he supported the plan, as being appropriate for the site.  Mr. Steinmetz indicated that the applicant would like to move fast on the application with a possible public hearing in September.


As an aside, Councilman Bianco asked the shopping center owner to take care of a downed fence panel behind Dunkin Donuts that abutted a property owner on Pine Grove Court. (see previous discussions about the fence issue.)


4. Yorktown Senior Living  Rezoning request (East Main Street, Mohegan  Lake)

Tim Cassidy, CEO of Senior Consulting, LLC  ,made a pre-submission presentation to rezone 21 acres between Route 6 and Strawberry Road for a 3-part senior complex  of 250 units comprised of:


a. 60 units of age restricted market rate condos

b. 96 units of rental independent living

c. 56 units of memory assisted living

d. a senior learning center/resource center that would be open to the general public that would possibly involve a partnership with Mercy College. (Note: this last part about the partnership was not clear.)


The site is currently zoned R1-40, for one acre development. Mr. Cassidy is currently under contract to purchase the parcel.


While the preliminary plan calls for access to both Route 6 and Strawberry Road, Supervisor Grace made it clear to the applicant that putting additional traffic on to Strawberry Rd, even one with limited use, would be a problem, and he urged the applicant to consider an alternate plan. One possibility would be to factor in the long planned Mohegan by-pass route into the site plan, even if the Yorktown part of the by-pass ended at Lexington Ave, the Yorktown/Cortlandt border.  This would give the development access to Lexington Ave and seemed to have the support of the board as of the Planning Department. Another possibility involved cooperating with the abutting Catucci property that has received preliminary subdivision approval for 26 units. (The observer was not able to view the proposed site plan to better describe the access issues. As the Catucci property also involves the proposed by pass route, it was not clear how this plan would affect the Catucci plan.)


Councilman Bianco noted he had heard that Fieldhome was having problems selling its proposed units (see Fieldhome). Citing the original Cappelli plan to have an assisted living development on Route 6 at Barger Street, which he said had a “shorter life plan than a loaf of bread”  and had been proposed by someone without any experience in the field, he wanted assurances from Mr. Cassidy that there was a demand for what Mr. Cassidy was proposing. He also wanted information about what other projects Senior Consultants had done.


In response, Mr. Cassidy explained that his plan is based on extensive market studies that showed a need for these types of units in northern Westchester. He said his plan differed substantially from the independent living proposed by the Fieldhome, noting that the latter was part of a CCRC (Continuing Care Retirement Center) that involved residents making an upfront payment in addition to paying a monthly fee whereas he was proposing that all units be on a month-to-month, pay as you go rental basis.  He also distinguished his plan from the senior fee-simple units being proposed in the Bear Mountain Triangle.


David Steinmetz, attorney for the project, explained that the proposed rezoning could either fit into the RSP-2 or RSP-3 zones, although both would need some tweaking to accommodate the current plan. He said he would contact Al Capellini, the attorney for the Catucci subdivision, to see if the two plans would work together on access issues.


5.Water Department issues

Water Superintendent Rambo explained, that on the advice of the town engineer, he was requesting $3,250 to hire an architect to provide asbestos and roof replacement specs for the brick building at the department’s site.  The building, which has shower facilities, is used by staff to clean up after working on water main breaks, for sleeping quarters for highway workers during storm events and for record storage.


The board rejected the need for an architect but told him to proceed with the project.


The board also voted to authorize the purchase of a new Ford F250 pickup truck for $27,922 using the county bid.


6.Highway trucks/bonding

In response to a question raised by Councilman Patel at a previous meeting, Highway Superintendent Paganelli investigated the cost differences between leasing and buying outright four new trucks.  Based on his analysis, he said leasing the trucks and then buying them after 3,4, or 5 years would save the town money because the interest rates on the short term lease would be less than bonding the trucks over 15 years.  (Although it was difficult for the observer to follow all the numbers, at one point, Mr. Paganelli said the savings from leasing would amount to 1.75% less than bonding.)


The board agreed that leasing was the preferred way to go and the comptroller will prepare a resolution for the next meeting authorizing a budget transfer from the general fund fund balance. As previously discussed, the trucks can only be ordered when a resolution identifying the funding source is in place.  However, by the time the trucks have to be paid for, the bonding will be in place so the money won’t actually have to be taken from the fund balance.


The comptroller will also proceed to have bond counsel draw up the necessary bonding resolution/s. It was not clear if the short term borrowing for the trucks would be part of, or separate from, the bond issue for the other capital projects, which will be subject to  a permissive referendum because it involves long term bonds.


Mr. Paganelli advised the board that the new trucks would be convertible to compressed natural gas which he said would be cheaper to operate and more environmentally friendly.


7. Yorktown Mews/request for street name change

Five residents from this new subdivision (aka Yorktown Farms) located off an extension of Gay Ridge Road, asked the board to change the name of their street.  The spokesperson said that 14 lots of the 26 lot subdivision are now occupied and that 13 homeowners had signed a petition requesting the change. Although their name preference was Winchester, the town will first have to check to see if the name is currently in use; the residents will provide two other names.


There was also an issue of converting what appeared to be an emergency exit road directly to Route 6 into a full use road. This related back to the original subdivision approval. Highway Superintendent Paganelli said he would review the issue.


8. Maintenance of vacant properties

Code Enforcement Officer Jason Zeif proposed that the existing Property Maintenance Code be tweaked to allow the building department to take certain maintenance actions on properties that do not reach the “unsafe structure” threshold without the need of coming to the Town Board for authorization. The cost for doing the work would become a lien on the property.


Two specific properties were mentioned: one on Gomer Street  that has been in probate for about four years and where the grass is four feet tall, and a second on N. Deerfield that is in foreclosure and has a roof gutter issue.


Town Attorney Koster said that giving the building department blanket authority could result in the department mowing lawns all over town and Supervisor Grace said the issue of when a lawn had to be cut was subjective.


The board voted 3-1, with Supervisor Grace voting no, to give the building department permission to deal with the Gomer and N. Deerfield properties and Ms. Koster said she would work with Mr. Zeif on a possible tweaking of the existing code.


In a separate issue, Councilman Bianco asked Mr. Zeif when the deli sign that showed prices would be taken down and Mr. Zeif said it would come down this week.


9. Mount Kisco Medical Group sign

Noting that the proposed sign placement was supported by the Planning Board, the Town Board unanimously approved the placement of the sign in the town’s right of way.


10. Ethics Code/Amendment to Financial Disclosure Requirement

On the request of Court Clerk Isabel Klein, Town Attorney Koster proposed that the position of Deputy Court Clerk be added to the list of town employees who must file an annual Financial Disclosure Form.


Supervisor Grace and Councilmen Bianco and Murphy seemed to question the need to amend the Ethics Law to make this change and Councilman Murphy said he would speak to Justice Lagonia about the issue. No action was taken.


11. Special Election Law

Having been given two versions of the proposed law, one with and one without a 30-day appointment option, the board appeared to agree to proceed with the 30-day option version, but with some additional tweaking.  Supervisor Grace, in a change of position, said he would work with the town attorney to make the changes and that he would support the law.


As currently proposed, in the event of a vacancy for any elected official, except town justice, the law would give the board the option to appoint someone within 30 days of the vacancy occurring. If no appointment is made, the board would call for a special election.  However, depending on how close to the November general election the vacancy occurred, there might not be time to hold a special election.


The revised text will also clarify that in the event the position is not filled by appointment, the person elected at a special election would take office as soon as the Board of Elections has certified the winner. If an appointment is made (and a person is elected to fill the unexpired term at a November election), the appointed person would  serve until the end of the calendar year  and the newly elected person would begin serving as of January 1.


12. YCCC Generator

Dan Ciarcia, the engineer hired to prepare specs for the installation of the generator, explained that because of different gas pressure issues involving the Nutrition Center kitchen, some adjustments will have to be made in the installation plan.  He also explained that while one of the building’s three boilers can also run on gas, the boiler could not be used the same time the generator was being used.   Once he works out some final details with Con Edison, Mr. Ciarcia will prepare two sets of bid specs: one for the electrical work and one for plumbing.


13. Miscellaneous resolutions (Passed 3-0, as Supervisor Grace was not present)

Budget transfer of $23,136 to pay a retiring librarian for unused vacation  and sick time

Waived rental fee of $347 for Historical Society to use the Nutrition Center room


Note:  Although listed on the agenda, there was no discussion about 2358 Broad St.


The next Town Board meeting will be August  5th at 6pm at Patriot Garden.