Public hearings postponed, plus local planning and zoning updates

Milan Planning Board

Public hearings were postponed until the board’s March 5 meeting, including Lauren Munsch’s two-lot subdivision at 212 Round Lake Rd; Patrick Barrett’s two-lot subdivision on Barrett Lane/Fitzsimmons Rd and the Verizon Wireless site plan and special use permit application for a tower on Academy Hill Rd.

South Road subdivision hearing continued
South Road Farms was the subject of a public hearing before planners Feb. 12 for an application for a two-lot subdivision of 91.215 acres at 145 South Road. A 10-acre parcel would be created for a new residence intended for a family member. Engineer for the project Mark Graminski showed plans for a shared driveway; the existing driveway must be widened to meet town code. The board requested an Open Development Area (ODA) form, which is required when creating a lot with common access to road frontage. The ODA is reviewed by the fire department and includes a legally binding driveway maintenance agreement between the two parties. The board said it also needs more information from the county’s Department of Public Works before continuing with the SEQR process. The public hearing will be continued March 5.

Brooklyn Heights subdivision approved
A two-lot subdivision and lot line adjustment application by Brian Trudell of 123-125 Brooklyn Heights Road was approved Feb. 12. The board reviewed Trudell’s ODA, declared lead agency and approved a negative declaration of environmental impacts for SEQR, unanimously. The subdivision splits a 6.68 acre lot into two lots of 3.37 acres (with an existing residence) and 3.31 acres. The lot line adjustment added a .22 acre strip to lot one in order to make a future septic system upgrade possible.

Irish Hills lot line adjustment granted
An application for a lot line adjustment by Irish Hills, represented by owner Paul Doherty of Spring Lake Road, was granted Feb. 12 after the maps for the application were reviewed and approved by planning boards in both Milan and Clermont. The adjustment was made to allow road frontage for a 35-acre landlocked parcel by adding 1.3 acres of another parcel of 3.9 acres that Doherty owns on Spring Lake Rd. Part of the property extends into Columbia County and so necessitated the review by two boards with Milan’s planning board as lead agency in the review. As part of the approval, the board also declared lead agency for SEQR and made a negative declaration of environmental impacts.

Public hearing set on Sawmill Rd. deer fence
A public hearing was scheduled for March 5 after the board reviewed an application for a lot line adjustment on the 54.6 acre Sawmill Road property of Craig Leavitt, who is seeking to increase his parcel to 55.25 acres in order to erect a deer fence. Leavitt’s original fence application placed the fence right on the property line when a 35 foot setback is required, so Leavitt sought to satisfy the requirement by purchasing 1.19 acres from his neighbor Francisco Pujol, whose property at 15 Shookville Road abuts Leavitt’s to the east.

AT&T cell tower permit renewed
The board reviewed and approved a renewal of AT&T’s special use permit for use of the cell tower at 616 Salisbury Turnpike. By law, this must be done every five years.

Village of Rhinebeck Planning Board

Fairgrounds train station move discussed
At their Feb. 18 meeting, the planning board discussed an application by the Dutchess County Agricultural Society, operator of the fairgrounds, to move a train station from West Road in Pleasant Valley to the fairgrounds, at 6550 Springbrook Avenue, over several months in the spring. The historic train station will be accompanied by an outhouse and both buildings date to the late 1800s. The chosen site for the relocation is close to the antique one-room schoolhouse near the center of the fairgrounds and is not in the village’s historic district. The board discussed ensuring that the relocated building is up to code once it is installed. Before the application can move forward, the new fairgrounds zoning law, now before the village board, must be passed in order to allow for this kind of site modification. If that is accomplished, the applicant will bring detailed site plans to a future planning board meeting.

Village of Rhinebeck Zoning Board of Appeals

Public hearing on Platt Ave. garage apartment continued
The board reviewed an application by Clinton Kershaw for an area variance to create a 929 sq. ft. apartment from the detached garage, an accessory dwelling to the primary residence where his mother lives, located at 27 Platt Ave on a .464 acre parcel.

Kershaw, accompanied by his attorney, Richard Cantor, told the board that in order to abide by the code, which stipulates that accessory apartments should not be more than 25 percent of the floor area of the primary dwelling, he would have to use portions of both floors of the two-story garage to meet the recommended 650 sq. ft.. He said he can create a 450 sq. ft. apartment out of one floor but it would not be large enough for his needs.

The current application is for an apartment with 35.7 percent of the floor area of the house, which is 2,602 sq. ft., according to Kershaw’s application to the planning board. At the Jan. 7 planning board meeting, Kershaw received a negative recommendation to the ZBA. No changes to the dimensions of the garage, other than interior renovations, are expected. In its negative recommendation, the planning board said that the apartment size problem is self-created by Kershaw.

The ZBA opened the public hearing on the application and reviewed more than 25 letters of correspondence about the application, none of them in support. Three neighbors out of a group of about 10 people in attendance explain their concerns that if the apartment is granted, it could negatively affect property values and neighbors’ privacy.

Kershaw and his attorney said they were expecting more information from the architect on the project and would like to submit that before the board closes the public hearing. The board agreed to adjourn the public hearing until their March 20 meeting.

Livingston St. garage renovation variance granted
Robert and Ellena Weinstein of 25 Livingston St. appeared before the board at its Feb. 20 meeting for a public hearing on their request for a rear yard setback variance of 7 ft. where 25 ft. is required. The variance received a positive recommendation from the planning board. One set of neighbors looked at the plans, but no comments were made. The garage was built before current zoning was in effect and is already 7 feet from the rear property line, making it a non-compliant structure so the variance is required as a formality even though the Weinsteins plan to extend the garage to the interior of the property and not to the rear. A separate variance request for a 3 ft. side yard setback variance where 10 ft. is required was withdrawn by the applicant and had received a negative recommendation from the planning board. The ZBA granted the variance request and the application now goes back to the planning board for site plan approval.

Town of Rhinebeck Planning Board

Mining application receives scrutiny, public hearing continues
At a special meeting Feb. 18, the board reviewed an application for a special use permit Red Wing Properties has submitted in order to continue mining operations at their 37.5 acre mine, located on a 241-acre parcel on White Schoolhouse Rd. As part of the permit application, Red Wing also proposes to begin subaqueous mining by creating a 9-acre lake on the property. The state Department of Environmental Conservation, which has oversight for all mining activities in the state, approved the subaqueous mine in March of 2013; the permit is good through 2019.

The board reviewed the required Environmental Assessment Form, part of the SEQR review process, and noted that Red Wing has agreed to abide by the rules established with the former permit for the site, which expired in 2013. These include operating hours of 7am to 5pm Mon. through Fri. and four Saturdays per year and no changes to the approved exits onto town roads. About 20 trucks are predicted to enter and leave the site each day of operation and they are limited to 10-wheel, 12 cubic yard capacity.

The board further reviewed public comments from the Feb. 3 public hearing on the application and agreed that many of the concerns are either addressed by the information supplied by the applicant (such as a concern by neighbors about possible blasting techniques to be used; the applicant says there will be no blasting) or are outside the board’s purview, such as a request from the public that some of the land around the mine site be placed in a conservation easement.

Board chair Michael Trimble emphasized that although the public hearing on the application will remain open until the board’s meeting March 3, the town only has control over certain areas of the mining business, such as use of town roads and hours of operation. All other aspects of the application are controlled by the DEC, which grants mining permits and has already granted one in this case.

Grasmere application SEQR findings up for review March 3
The board reviewed the status of Jonathan Mensch’s application for a country inn (called Grasmere) to be located on 250 acres between Mill Road and Route 9. The applicant presented a map showing how the larger amount of land owned by the Mensch family, approximately 500 acres, will be subdivided into a 250-acre parcel that includes the historic manor portion of the property and the view sheds to the east and south. The parcel will meet the minimum acreage requirement of the zoning code. The rest of the land will not be considered part of the Grasmere project.

The board and planning consultant Art Brodt announced they had completed the required “Final Generic Environmental Impact Statement,” which includes the board’s findings as part of the SEQR review process, and they turned the more than 100 page final draft over to the applicant for factual review. At the March 3 meeting, the statement will be up for approval by the board, at which time the findings will be made public. The findings respond to the comments made by the public and other parties during the initial review phase and represent the final step in the SEQR process for this application. After adopting the SEQR findings and issuing a statement of consistency as required by the Local Waterfront Revitalization Program (required because the property is located within the LWRP area and Historic Shore Land Scenic District designated by the town and state respectively), the board can consider approving the special permit.

Town of Clinton Planning Board

Positive recommendation for Sodom Rd side yard setback variance
The planning board on Feb. 18 granted Kevin and Nancy McDonald, of 110 Sodom Road, another positive recommendation on a side yard setback reduction. The first recommendation to the Zoning Board of Appeals was granted and got ZBA approval in October 2012. But due to a missing form, the McDonalds had to reapply for both the recommendation and the variance. They are seeking a side yard setback reduction from 50 ft. to 32 ft. 8 in. for the construction of a 24 ft. by 30 ft. storage barn. The application is on the agenda for the ZBA meeting Feb. 27.

Conditional approval for Stissing View Drive subdivision
Nancy Packes of 27-37 Stissing View Drive was back before the board Feb. 18 to continue discussion of her application to subdivide her property into two lots. Since the last presentation, Packes had received permission from the county for a second driveway, a requirement under the town code when creating a new lot, even though a second driveway is not planned at this time. The board granted conditional approval to the subdivision application provided Packes is granted the necessary area variance by the ZBA for the size of a proposed accessory structure.

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