Local planning and zoning actions


Stewart’s tank removal, upgrades on June 4 agenda
Chad Fowler, representing Stewart’s of Saratoga Springs, presented the planning board at their May 21 meeting the first detail for a site plan amendment application for the Stewart’s store at 3648 Albany Post Road. The amendment was primarily requested for the replacement of 20-year-old gas tanks, but additional proposed changes to the site included: an upgrade to lighting and landscaping, a change in canopy, 1,500 sq. ft. of new blacktop, and the addition of catch basins to the property. Board Chair Michael Dupree suggested that the proposed plants in the landscaping — particularly the salvia and burning bushes — were too invasive for the area. Engineering consultant Liz Axelson recommended that a two-way access to the property be changed to one-way because of safety hazards, but Dupree later suggested that it may be an issue for the state Department of Transportation. Axelson also suggested a sidewalk be placed in front of the store. Dupree also commented that a gable sign on the property may need a request for variance due to an overage in letter size. Fowler was going to review the recommended changes, and the application was added to the agenda for the June 4 planning board meeting.

Old Post Rd. minor subdivision approved
A public hearing for a lot line alteration for Michael and Kathryn Whitman of 60 Old Post Road and Dolores Healey of 13 Mulford Avenue was held at the May 21 planning meeting. The board unanimously approved a sketch plan and minor subdivision for the application, which pertains to the Whitmans buying .118 acres of land from Healey in order to build a new garage.

Molt’s lot line revision added to agenda
Patricia and Charles Molt were both present at the meeting for the first discussion of a lot line revision of Molt’s scrapyard at 92 Honeywell Lane. Patricia Molt said the revision is needed to clean up the site. Planning Board engineering consultant Liz Axelson said a few items needed to be added to the map, such as a zoning table, the labeling of open space areas, and something to show that there will be a 50 ft. setback. It was agreed that the surveyor could add the elements to the paperwork. Board member Ed Cigna asked for a site visit, and the Molts agreed. The revision will be on the June 4 agenda despite necessary additions.

Site plan extension OK’d for Jeffrey Groves Estates
A request for a 90-day site plan extension was brought to the planners. The application from Jeffrey Groves Estates of 19 & 31 North Cross Road was placed on the agenda for the June 4 meeting.

Requirements waived for stair repairs
A site plan waiver was submitted by Jason and Heather Fullum of 3 Calmer Place. The owners were not present, but the request is because necessary repairs are needed to the front steps of the home at the property. The requirements were waived unanimously by the board.


Chestnut Mobil hearing continued, one application withdrawn
Scott Parker of CPD Energy, the company that owns Chestnut Mobil Mart at 1110 Violet Avenue, was present before the Hyde Park Zoning Board of Appeals for a continued public hearing on May 28. The company was pursuing a use variance request to change a roof sign from not permitted to permitted and four area variance requests: changing a maximum area sign from 77 sq. ft. to 99 sq. ft., changing a free-standing sign area from 30 sq. ft. to 60.2 sq. ft., changing sign height from 7 ft. to 21.75 ft., and changing the maximum letter height from 10 in. to 24 in.

Parker said the company is withdrawing the letter height application and also said he did not believe the use variance request was necessary for the roof sign. The only request that was discussed was the height of the freestanding sign. Parker said that if the variance did not pass, the only way to make the current sign code compliant would be to remove the planter and place the sign on the ground, because without fixtures the current sign is 7 ft. Board member Stanley Frangk told Parker that he needed show why the variance was necessary, but Parker insisted that he could not provide the evidence because the measurements are not DOT standard. Parker asked if he could verbally change the request to bring the height down to 10 ft. from 21.75 in order for the company to get a decision that night, but ZBA attorney Victoria Polidoro said it would still have to go before County Planning. Parker left the hearing, which was left open, after Polidoro requested that he respond within two days as to whether he wished to continue the application. The public hearing will continue on June 25 unless Parker withdraws the application.

Creek Rd. fence hearing continued
Robert J. Lee of 541 Creek Rd. and his attorney, Eileen West, were present for a ZBA public hearing on an application for variance to change the height of a pre-existing fence from the standard 6 ft. to 7.5 ft high. Board member Stanley Frangk recused himself because he employed one of Lee’s neighbors for construction work. Lee explained that his various fences, some of which are currently 13 ft. high, are necessary for privacy because of traffic and noise in the neighborhood. Two of Lee’s neighbors, David Koffman of 543 Creek Rd. and Jim Burns of 4 Judy Terrace, objected to the fences, but both said they would not object to a properly installed fence if they could see the plans before it is constructed. The public hearing was left open for the June 25 meeting in order for Lee to present the plans.

Hearing on TEG sign closed
Nancy Forrest of Gloede Signs Inc. represented TEG Federal Credit Union of 4282 Albany Post Rd. at the ZBA meeting for a public hearing on a variance application requesting the maximum letter height be changed from 10 in. to 14 in. and the graphic symbol size be changed from 10 in. to 19 in. The board reviewed the Planning Board’s letter on the application, which did not recommend that the variance be granted. The ZBA chair asked why the sign could not be smaller since the area speed limit in the area is not that high, but Forrest said the request was because the Rondout bank across the street had a 30 sq. ft. sign. Kate Hinz-Shaffer of Riverwood Signs voiced concern for setting precedent for other cases because of arguments like the one Forrest made. The public hearing was closed and a vote was set for the June 25 meeting.

Hearing set for United Methodist sign
Kevin Julius Jones, a member of the United Methodist Church of Hyde Park, at 1 Church Street, was presented the ZBA details on a new application for a variance to change the symbol on their sign from 10 in. to 24 in. Jones said the church will be upgrading their sign because of disrepair, and that while the new sign will be a larger size, only a variance for the symbol is necessary. A public hearing was set for June 25.

South Cross Rd. setback variance to get hearing
Vincent Curcio of 66 South Cross Rd. gave the ZBA details on a new variance application in which he and his wife are requesting a side yard setback be changed from 25 ft. to 17 ft. in order to enlarge the kitchen at the back of their house. The house is apparently at an angle on the property, though, meaning that the one section of the house may have a setback of 19 in. A public hearing was set for June 25.

Oil tank removal set for public hearing
Eric and Kristin Littlefield of 25 Coll Hollow Rd. presented details to the ZBA on a new variance application. The Littlefields are requesting a side yard setback change of 10 ft. to 8.5 ft. and a front yard setback of 50 ft. to 36 ft. in order to replace an underground fuel tank with an above-ground tank. The Littlefields said they would be removing what they believed was the original tank from 1975 and that the new tank would have lattice placed around it. A public hearing was set for June 25, but Board member Stanley Frangk said a site plan waiver might have to be sent to the town planning board.


Concession in Grinnell St. lot merger
Carolyn Blackwood has dropped plans to add an apartment above her garage at 64 Grinnell St., she told the town planning board at the continuation of her public hearing May 19. Blackwood is seeking to merge three lots in order to renovate an existing house and garage and make other improvements to her Rhinecliff property, and the concession was in response to some of her neighbors’ concerns. They had claimed the apartment would increase the height of the building and obstruct their Hudson River views. Some at the hearing seemed pleased with the concession, but others remained concerned about the proposed height of the property’s hedges, which was discussed in more detail during a special workshop session later that evening. Blackwood’s plans still require special use permits and site plan approval. The public hearing was to continue at the June 2 planning board meeting.

Blackwood’s amended application, which also requires several variances, was then presented at the May 21 Zoning Board of Appeals meeting by architect Steve Mensch.The ZBA accepted the amended application and moved to continue its public hearing on the project at its June 4 meeting.

River Rd.-Carmel Dr. estate applications approved
Attorney Jennifer Van Tuyl and architect Christopher Courtney gave the planning board a presentation on changes to Robert Duffy’s application for special use permits and site plan approval for his 32.4 acre estate comprised of two parcels at 195 River Road and 31 Carmel Drive. Proposed changes include facing both barns on the property in stone, reducing the size of one to 942 sq. ft. and formally consolidating the lots. The board voted to unanimously accept the application as amended and scheduled a public hearing for June 2, which was expected to be continued to a later meeting.

Church ballfield granted
The planning board voted unanimously May 19 to approve the Grace Bible Fellowship Church’s application for special use permits and site plan approval for their baseball field at 6959 Route 9, conditional on variances being granted by the Zoning Board of Appeals. The ZBA then voted unanimously May 21 to approve an area variance reducing the setbacks from the required 100 ft to 34 ft.

Old Post Road subdivision is a go
Paul Matthies’ application for a subdivision that will merge two lots totaling 13.66 acres at 114 Old Post Road was approved at the planning board meeting. The board voted unanimously to approve both the final draft of the resolution and to close the public hearing.


Rhinebeck Health Foods changing hands
Sunflower Natural Foods Market, which will take over Rhinebeck Health Foods June 4, received approval May 20 from the village planning board for new signage at the store at 20-24 Garden St. A 2 by 8 ft. unlit roof sign will replace multiple small hanging signs and window decals. This will be the second location for Sunflower, which has operated an organic grocery in Woodstock since 1978.

Gelato shop warned on sign violation
Artigiani Del Gelato, a gelato shop at 41 E. Market St., Suite 3, failed to receive approval by the planning board for a site plan and sign review May 20 because owner Mauro Sessarego was not present at the meeting. Kimberly Santoro, who operates the Glo on the Go juice bar at the same location, intended to represent Sessarego but did not have written authorization. Sessarego has proposed placing benches in front of the shop, but he must first address a warning from Zoning Enforcement Officer John Fenton over an unapproved sign. Fenton noted that Sessarego will be issued a violation if he puts the benches outside without changing the sign.

Rhinebeck Pilates seeks permit for new location
Rhinebeck Pilates, at 23 E. Market St., above J. Ettenson Realty, will move to the second floor of 6400 Montgomery St., above the Rhinebeck Department Store. The planning board noted in a May 20 site plan review discussion that owner Elaine Ewing must apply for a new special use permit, because the existing permit is for the current location. The board declared itself the lead agency on the application and scheduled a public hearing for June 3.

Demolition of historic two-story barn approved
Michael and Mary Bird received approval from the planning board May 20 for the demolition of a two-story barn on their property at 62 Livingston St. in the historic district, During a public hearing, village resident Warren Smith urged the board to make a commitment to preserving all structures in the historic district, not just houses. The board agreed that the loss of the barn would diminish the character of the neighborhood but the structure is beyond restoration. It noted the importance of enforcing maintenance codes before demolition is the only option. The board conditioned its demolition approval on the replacement structure using as many design elements and salvaged materials from the current structure as practical.

Montgomery St. subdivision hearing set
The planning board scheduled a public hearing for June 3 on a proposed lot line adjustment by Paul Matthies on his property at 139 Montgomery Street, which straddles the town-village line. Matthies received approval from the town planning board May 19 to join two parcels in the town at 114 Old Post Road totaling 13.66 acres. A three-quarter acre section of his property that lies entirely in the village would now be broken off into a separate lot, with 130 feet of frontage on Montgomery St. Matthies says the parcel meets all requirements for a village lot.

Variance for Platt Ave. pergola recommended
Steve Rosenberg and Deborah Duke of 25 Platt Ave. received a positive recommendation from the planning board for a 7.5-ft. setback variance on a planned pergola. The board found that the proposed structure will have no impact on drainage and is less of an encroachment than an existing garage set 3.5 ft. from the rear property line. The zoning board of appeals will consider the recommendation at its June 19 meeting.

Larger sign approved for law firm
Rodenhausen Chale LLP, a law firm at 20 Springbrook Park, sought planning board approval May 20 for a 9 sq. ft. freestanding sign at the south edge of the property. Victoria Polodoro, representing the firm, said an existing sign set back 300 ft. is not adequately visible from the road. The board noted that signs greater than 8 sq. ft. require a setback variance. Polodoro amended the sign proposal to meet the limit and received board approval.


Montgomery Place applies for tree-cutting permit
Montgomery Place site director Raymond Armater and arborist George Vengrin of Silver Mountain Tree Service presented an application for a special permit for the maintenance of scenic vistas at Montgomery Place at the May 19 planning board meeting. Armater said Montgomery Place wants to open up four vistas by pruning and cutting down trees, including sugar maples and red oak. Montgomery Place received a $10,000 grant from the Hudson River Foundation and $6,000 from Historic Hudson Valley to help with the work. When finished, the views would match the historical aspect of the 1920s. The board requested that Armater submit a full Environmental Assessment Form and a Waterfront Revitalization Form for the board’s June 2 meeting.

Feller-Newmark Rd lot line adjustment hearing set
Dean and Linda Kent of 67 Feller-Newmark Road returned to the planning board for approval of a lot line adjustment between their 93.9-acre parcel and the estate of John Feller, owner of a 139-acre parcel at 134 Feller-Newmark Road. The plan will convey 10 acres of land from Feller to Kent. The board declared itself lead agency for SEQR review and determined the application is an unlisted action under SEQR, which will have no environmental impact. A public hearing was set for June 2 at 7:35pm.


Hearing on daycare variance continued
A public hearing on Don Triebel’s application for an area variance at the former site of Half Pint Daycare at 208 Rockefeller Lane will continue at the June 11 ZBA meeting. At the May 14 ZBA public hearing, Triebel explained the goals for Funshine Nursery School, which is seeking to purchase the property. He said that might result in a 33 percent increase in the number of children there, but not all children would attend every day, and not all day. While the town code refers to “enrolled” children, Triebel is requesting consideration for children permitted “onsite” at one time. Two neighbors spoke about parking, traffic and liability concerns. The board requested further documentation from the current owner of the site, Darlene Pedatella, as well as Triebel and Funshine for its next meeting.

Spring Lake Rd. accessory apartment proposed
The board heard the initial application May 14 from Susan Simon and Elizabeth Jones of 38 Spring Lake Rd. to convert 500 sq. ft. of a renovated barn on their property to an apartment for an elderly relative. Regulations do not allow an accessory apartment in their zoning district. The board explained the documentation needed in order to consider granting a use variance for the property and will revisit the discussion once the applicants submit the paperwork.


New commercial spaces approved for Market St.
Lauren Grady and Vivian Mandala returned to the planning board May 8 to continue discussion of their site plan application for 31-35 Market St. The application is for a change of use in order to turn two residential apartments into two commercial spaces. At its April meeting, the board asked the applicants for detailed plans for parking at the rear of the building. Grady and Mandala presented plans for 25 parking spaces, including two handicapped spots. The board accepted the plans with the stipulation that two handicap signs be added. Signage for the site still needs to be approved.

Knollwood Commons plan change proposed
The board also held a conference with engineer Mark Graminski and project manager Mark Lindberg of Knollwood Commons on Firehouse Lane on proposed changes to the original site plan, which was approved in 2006. The original plans called for the two buildings fronting Firehouse Lane to be mixed use: commercial retail on the ground floor and residential on the second. The developers want to change the use from mixed to residential only with no change to the footprint. The planning board attorney told Graminski that they will need site plan amendment and special use approval and can return to the board when they are ready.

Two public hearings on zoning changes set
At the May 12 Village Board meeting, Mayor Ed Blundell suggested the zoning code needs a new provision to allow the planning board a 60-day deadline to make decisions, including the SEQR process. A public hearing on the change will be held June 9 at 7pm in Village Hall.

The board also proposed changing the parking code during winter months to allow parking on village streets until 2am for local night spots. Local businesses complained that their patrons were being ticketed after 11pm, which has been the cutoff time for winter street parking. A public hearing on this change was also set for June 9 at 7:15pm.


Sign permit application approved
Michael van Dijk, of Restyle Real Estate Design and Service, got planning board approval May 27 for a 3 ft. by 3 ft. sign for his new business at 65 Broadway. The 9 sq. ft. sign will hang above the entrance and is under the 10 sq. ft. maximum allowed by the village.

Friendship St. B&B special permit approved
Tim Voell, owner of the Suminski Innski B&B at 8 Friendship Street, appeared before the planning board to finalize approval of a special permit originally granted in 2011 for his business. Though the village issued the permit June 20, 2011, it was conditioned on Voell providing the board with a legal description of the 9-space parking lot across the street, which he did not do at the time, and the board failed to follow up.

On April 28, village Code Enforcement Officer Steve Cole cited the lack of the special permit to close down the B&B after neighbors complained of a loud party there. Voell then provided the board with the required legal description of the parking lot and the board approved the special permit.

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