September 22, 2020
1. NYS Executive Order 203 (police procedures)
(See Town Board 9-8-2020.) The board appointed members to a new Community Safety and Engagement Committee and set out a draft timetable for community listening sessions leading up to the town’s required submission of a report to the state in April, 2021. The Committee consists of representatives of several town organizations, e.g., the Lions, seniors and the Chamber, two “citizen” members and one “youth” member. Supervisor Slater also said then new Committee would partner with other community organizations such as Yorktown for Justice.
The first listening session is tentatively set for October 15 and will be a zoom meeting. The meetings will be taped and available livestream, on Channel 20/33 and on the town’s web site. Comments will also be accepted in writing.
(A power point presentation listing the Committee’s members and the timetable is able on the meeting video.
2. Park Safety Enhancements
With a grant from New York Presbyterian/Hudson Valley Hospital, the Parks Department will be installing hand sanitizers in town parks and recreational facilities. The board and Park Superintendent Martorano thanked the hospital.
3. Food truck site, 401 East Main Street, Jefferson Valley
The owner of the site where an old tavern building was demolished wants to use the site for four food trucks with an outdoor seating area. The site is across from the existing deli. The board in general liked the idea but concerns were raised about whether the use conforms to the site’s “commercial recreation” zoning which allows for restaurants and other food establishments. There was also concern whether the use would conform to the peddler code that says no peddler, e.g., a food truck, could do business within 300 feet of an existing restaurant.
The owner has not worked out details of whether the same trucks would be located on a short or long term basis. But he did say that the trucks would be upscale and would attract non Yorktown residents to the site. The board suggested he get in touch with the National Food Truck Association that made a presentation at an earlier board meeting.
It was suggested that board visit a similar type location on Route 9A in Elmsford.
4. Clean Energy Communities Program
Swarnav Pujari and Robert DeAngelis, members of the CSC Task Force advised the board on the need for the town to do energy audits of its buildings, especially the Police/Court complex, the AACCC, and the Greenwood Street sewage treatment plant. While the audits could cost in the neighborhood of $24,000, if the town gets certified as a Climate Smart Community the town would be eligible for a 50% grant for the audits.
The CSC is currently in the process of working towards certification and the board encouraged the group to work with town staff to pursue the grant application.
5. Vacant commercial buildings
Supervisor Slater suggested that the town adopt law that would require the owners of commercial buildings that have been vacant for a specified number of years to submit reports to the town on a scheduled basis. He said the reports would help foster a conversation with the town over what the own could possibly do to assist the owner find tenants and also to deal with situations where the building might be a blight on the neighborhood, e.g., the old tire building at the Shrub Oak Shopping Center. He added that he and the planning director have spoken to all of the owners of buildings with long term vacancies and added that residents have a right to know what may be holding up leasing the building, e.g., a long term lease by the former tenant.
Councilman Patel spoke about how, for some owners, keeping their building vacant is better for them financially and that there’s nothing the town can do to change that. Councilwoman Roker noted that the town has no control over tax certioraris and that only the state could change the law, e.g., not allowing owners to file tax certiorari lawsuits if they intentionally were keeping a building vacant.
As an aside, the board was advised that the owners of the Roma Building will be returning to the town. There was no indication if the owners are planning any change from the original plan.
The board asked the town attorney to draft appropriate legislation.
6. Zombie properties
The town’s code enforcement officer has suggested the town adopt a new law that would require vacant residential buildings to register with the town so that the town can better deal with these houses that can be a blight on the neighborhood. Building Inspector Landi explained it can be difficult to the take the owners of the houses to court as it is often difficult to find out who owns them. The town attorney was asked to work with the building department, look over two laws from other municipalities, and come up with a draft law.
7. Master Fee Schedule
(See Town Board 7-28-2020.) Mr. Landi walked the board through some suggested changes in Building Department fees that he felt would be more balanced and were in line with what other municipalities were charging. Some fees would be increased; others decreased. Supervisor Slater advised him to review his proposed changes with the comptroller to see what the impact on the department’s revenue would be, adding that the board should not go ahead with the changes until it knew what the impact would beon revenue.
Mr. Landi is also suggesting adding fees where none currently exist and streamlining the paperwork process for certain permits.
As noted at the previous meeting, Mr. Paganelli has already increased certain highway fees in order to keep pace with current costs, plus the fact that come contractors who cut into the road are not repairing the road properly and the cash bond they put up is not sufficient to cover the cost of the town redoing the job
In an item not on the agenda, the board accepted the resignation of Jennifer O’Neil as library director.
9. Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg
The board adopted a resolution celebrating the life of the justice.