Local planning and zoning actions


Hearing tonight on E. Elm Ave. pool plan
A special meeting was held Aug. 5 to review the application by Barbara and Arthur Gross, Sr. of 3 East Elm Ave, in Staatsburg, for a variance to change the rear yard setback to 10 ft., where 15 ft. is required, and to change the allowed undisturbed stream corridor to 30 ft., where 100 ft. is required, both to accommodate an in-ground pool, patio and associated storage shed. The board set a public hearing for tonight, Aug. 13, at 7pm and then a related site plan waiver application for the project is expected on the planning board’s Aug 20 agenda.
Hyde Park Planning Board

Dollar General review stalled on drainage
At their meeting Aug. 6, the board opened a continued public hearing on the site plan approval for Dollar General on Route 9G. Board chair Michael Dupree said the process had been held up by county Department of Health concerns about lack of separation between the planned septic line and the stormwater drainage line; the county wants to make sure the drainage will not result in leakage, and points out that a good drainage system is especially important because the site is a former wetland that may require special drainage because of the type of soil. The planning board cannot complete its SEQR process or site plan approval until the county is satisfied. The public hearing was adjourned to Aug. 20.

Beck Rd. used car lot gets site plan approval
Also on Aug. 6, a new public hearing on a site plan modification for Al’s Yard at 11 Beck Road was held. The applicant wishes to convert spaces that were used to sell junk cars to spaces for selling used cars. At the previous meeting, changes were requested, such as modifications to the site plan maps, and board chair Michael Dupree noted that the applicant had satisfied the requests. The town Conservation Advisory Council reviewed the plans and had no issues with them. No public comments were submitted, so the public hearing was closed. The board performed the environmental review, finding no significant adverse environmental impacts, and unanimously approved the modification.

Town Center sign amendments OK’d
Kelly Libolt of GNS Group represented Hyde Park Town Center, at 4240-4260 Albany Post Road, Aug. 6 in their continued application for what the board termed a “very significant upgrade” to the exterior of the building, requiring final site plan amendment approval and sign permit approval. The rest of the site plan was approved in May 2013. Board member Chan Murphey recused himself. After much discussion, the board tabled the decision on the letter height for the tenant signs in the plaza until the next meeting pending submission of elevations showing signs at 13 in. and 16 in., both of which would be an increase over the required maximum of 10 in. Initially, the applicant requested blanket authorization for 22 in. letters on all tenant signs. The board agreed that the words Hyde Park Town Center on a free standing sign near the road should be the most easily identified, with all other signs smaller to avoid confusion for passersby. So the board voted to approve only the amendment to the site plan that related to changes in the façade of the plaza, including a “sign bonus” of 22 in. and the sign permit for the Hyde Park Town Center sign. In the resolution, the board also approved other changes to signs in the plaza, including lighting above the sign at the new McDonald’s site and font changes to the freestanding monument sign to promote design unity. The applicant has already received a variance for height and width of the letters.

Stewarts Shop site plan amendment to get hearing
Stewarts’ employee Chad Fowler presented the revised plans for the Route 9 store, which were changed based on comments from the board at a previous meeting. Significant changes include a change in the angle of the southern site entrance to alleviate congestion; an added sidewalk coming in from the north; and trees, a patio, and picnic tables added to the landscaping plan. Requested changes to the signs will require a variance from the ZBA, including an increase in the height of the gasoline prices to 12 in., where 10 in. is the maximum allowed, and an increase in the size of the Stewarts “swoosh.” The board voted to recommend the necessary area variance and then voted to refer the project to county planning and state DOT for the needed approval for the planned drainage swale and the entrance to Route 9, as well as new paving on the site. The board declared itself lead agency and termed the application an “unlisted action” under SEQR. Review by other agencies may take at least 30 days; the public hearing is set for Aug. 20.

Special meeting set for Hoe Bowl site
The board also set a special meeting for Aug. 27 at 6pm to review another request for a possible amendment to the final site plan for the assisted living center planned for the former Hoe Bowl site at 394 Violet Avenue. Due to delays in attaining the necessary approvals for the onsite septic system and because the field will be so large, the process will be subject to a stormwater pollution prevention plan or SWPPP, which takes more time to produce and review and the current site plan expires Sept. 2.

Other business
Rich Buotte represented an application for a lot line alteration between his property at 525 Cedar Lane and Paul Russo’s at 28 Cedar Lane. The public hearing opened and closed with no comments and with no discussion, and the board voted for approval….An sign permit application that included approval of dimensional increases for graphics on a free-standing sign at the Staatsburg Library also received quick approval. The 14 in. wide by 18 in. height of a gothic window graphic and 13 in. for the library symbols were described as worth of “special aesthetic consideration.” …Two site plan waivers for solar panel installations also received approvals, one for Gary Garzetta, of 50 Fuller Lane; another for Josh Horton of 25 Garden St. In both cases, the board noted that the changes were not significant enough to merit site plan review.


Lasher Rd. daycare center discussion continues
Katherine Gagin of 388 Lasher Road in Tivoli returned to the town planning board for more discussion on her application for an in-home daycare center for 6 children ages 2 1/2 to 6 years old. A scheduled public hearing was postponed because Gagin was still making changes to her site plan. She now wants to install a 36-in. by 32.5-in. split-rail fence around the property to enclose the children’s outdoor recreation area. The special permit requirements state that any recreation area must have a 50-ft. front-yard setback from the road, but Gagin’s current site plan extends 4.5 ft. into the setback area. The board suggested planting shrubs in that area to fulfill the setback requirements. Gagin has now designed a 21.5 in. by 32 in. sign but still has no name for her business. The board asked her to make site plan revisions that delineate the changes clearly and tentatively scheduled her application for the Aug. 18 meeting.

Red Hook Self-Storage site plan amendment reviewed
Marty Willms, owner of Red Hook Self-Storage at 19 Maizeland Road, returned to discuss his application to construct a 30-by-80 ft. storage building on a 4.45 acre parcel on Route 9 in the TND CC sub-district. The parcel currently has 11 storage buildings and a single-family home with garage. Because of a long-standing question about a proposed town connector road that would have cut through his property, Willms has been unable to add the new storage shed to his business. The board told Willms they received word from Town Supervisor Sue Crane that the town has no plans for the road at this time. The board said Willms can build the new addition and if the town decides to go ahead with the road in the future, Willms will be compensated. The board asked Willms to return with more information on lighting and landscaping. A lot line adjustment was done before the new TND zoning, so new zoning information also must be provided and must show the new zoning district boundaries between residential and business. The board tentatively scheduled his application for their Aug.18 meeting.

W. Kerley Corners Rd. lot line adjustment discussed
Surveyor Marie Welch came for a pre-application conference for applicant Dan O’Neill who owns three contiguous lots in the RD3 zoning district, 460-464 W. Kerley Corners Rd., including the site of Common Fire Housing Co-op. O’Neill wishes to develop a new driveway by joining two flag lots into one and getting rid of the old driveway. DEC wetlands are nearby. The board thought it could be done if all neighboring landowners agreed and there was no wetlands impact. But, they also felt that even though one of two flag lots will be eliminated, the applicant will still be creating a new curb cut and a new flag lot in the vicinity of a DEC wetland. The zoning regulations state flag lots can only be created if there is no environmental impact. The board took no action but wanted to discuss it with engineer Mark Graminski, who engineered the original subdivision there.

Montgomery Pl. building permit revoked on technicality
The board received a notice that Building Inspector Bob Fennell had revoked a building permit to erect a mobile home for farm labor housing at Montgomery Place. An affidavit of authorization, naming Douglas Taylor as Montgomery Place’s authorized representative, was not submitted with the permit. The board agreed this was a technicality and once Montgomery Place submits that letter of authorization, the building permit will be approved.


Hotel Tivoli gets site plan approval
At its meeting July 28, the planning board unanimously approved the site plan for Hotel Tivoli, at 53 Broadway, represented by contractor John Molinaro. Proposed changes include a change in the railings and posts for the porch and a new signs for the roof and side of the building. The approval was conditional on the removal or trimming of two boxwood bushes that the board felt obstructed drivers’ sight lines. The signs will be lit according to the village code, from above the letters. A neon sign that had been proposed was denied.

New location proposed for skate ramp
The board also discussed the proposal by the village board to install a skate ramp in Tivoli Memorial Park. Originally the site proposed was near the ball field, but the planning board members agreed that a better site would be closer to the bus stop, near the water tower, on the other side of the park. The board also agreed that having the ramp closer to the road would aid in supervision and alleviate neighbors’ concerns about noise. The issue will now be considered by the village board and may be subject to a new public hearing.


Upper Hook Rd. area variance hearing held
A public hearing was held Aug. 6 for an area variance application made by Rosemary Bakker of 8 Upper Hook Road for a 109 ft. variance entailing a front yard setback reduction from the required 150 ft. to 41 ft..The applicant seeks to construct a “no-step entrance” at her home, creating a handicap accessible walkway that she considers a “universal design,” using materials like bluestone and cedar. The renovation will include the creation of a sloped walkway and extension of the existing porch. The parcel is 17.5 acres, described as mostly wetlands, and is in the 10-acre residential zone, which has tighter rules compared to when the parcel was originally created. The ZBA described the project as “non-controversial” and closed the public hearing, noting it had 60 days to act on the application.

Ackert Hook Rd. area variance gets hearing
A public hearing was also held Aug. 6 for an area variance application by Brennan Kearney of 211 Ackert Hook Road to allow the following: construction of a maximum-allowed 900 sq. ft. accessory apartment in an existing barn; an accessory dwelling on a 2-acre lot in the RC5 zone; and two variances that will bring the lot, which predates the new town zoning, into compliance with the RC5 zone bulk regulations where it was previously non-conforming: a front yard setback of 28.9 ft. less than the required 100 ft.; and a lot width of 20 ft. less than the 240 ft. required. Attorney Lisa Rosenthal represented Kearney, and read a letter from her dated Aug. 6, explaining the application. The renovation to the barn will include new siding, a new front door and other changes that will enhance the appearance of the structure. Some concern from the public was expressed over the access to the property, which was described as a “blind driveway.” The ZBA will continue review of the project at its Sept. 3 meeting.

Multiple variances at 262 Route 308 get hearing
A public hearing was held for multiple variances requested for 262 Route 308, including an area variance for an accessory dwelling in RC5 zone; an accessory dwelling on 4.1 acres in a 5-acre zone; and two variances to bring the lot, which predates the new town zoning, into compliance with the district’s regulations: a front yard setback of 37.1 feet where 100 ft. is required; and a lot width of 23ft., less than the required minimum of 240 ft. The front yard setback change is sought because it would bring into compliance the single-family home on the property, not the proposed accessory dwelling, an action recommended by the Zoning Enforcement Officer. Architect Darren Davidowich, representing the applicant, told the ZBA the home has been on the market for 14 years and is considered a “challenged property” on a busy, commercial corridor rendering it “functionally obsolete.” The renovation of the barn will preserve an original feature on the property and the footprint will not be expanded. The ZBA described the project as “non-controversial” and closed the public hearing, noting that it has 60 days to make a decision.

Route 9 area variance for home in commercial area considered
A public hearing was also held Aug. 6 for Robert Monahan of Integrity Land Services on an area variance for his property at 6052 Route 9 in the RC5 Zoning District. The applicant seeks to increase square footage by 980 sq. ft. by constructing a second-floor addition to a single-family home, where he currently resides, but with no change in number of bedrooms. There is currently a garage, office building and single-family house on the property although, up until recently, the house was used for commercial purposes. The proposed renovation includes cosmetic enhancements, as described by Jordan Valdina, architect for the applicant. They will include a landscaping plan; a new roof, windows and siding to match other existing buildings; and a new cupola to match that on the garage. Residents living adjacent and nearby to the property expressed concern over the aesthetic quality of the changes, namely that a two-story building may not be appropriate for the site. Although the ZBA described the project as controversial, the public hearing for the application was closed. The ZBA has 60 days to render a decision.

Other business
Also on Aug. 6, the ZBA approved the multiple area variances sought for Robert Duffy’s estate at 195 River Road/31 Carmel Drive. Three new structures along with several minor changes were proposed that will include a pool pavilion, a one-bedroom glass guest house and 2,144 sq. ft. maintenance barn…. An area variance was also granted to John Martin of 2735-2737 Route 9G to increase allowable square footage on the property to 4,000 sq. ft., allowing him to construct a steel barn to replace two existing storage containers…..A 21-page document from the town attorney regarding an area variance request for the Carolyn Marks Blackwood property on Grinnell Street in Rhinecliff was received by the ZBA. The board will issue a decision on the controversial application at its Sept. 3 meeting.


Real estate office approved for E. Market St.
The public hearing Aug. 5 on the special use permit for the new real estate office for Gary DiMauro Real Estate was opened and closed with no comments. The applicants then discussed signage for the new office, proposing a total of 60 sq. ft. when signs for six windows were totaled. The board explained that only 8.5 sq. ft. of coverage would be allowed, according to the amount of street frontage, but noted that store owners can still hang things within the windows as long as they are not on the glass. A hanging sign of 2.5 x 3 ft. will hang outside and after much discussion, the applicants agreed to only have their company logo on the glass, greatly reducing the signage to under the limit. The board then approved a negative declaration of environmental impacts and approved the sign permit and the special permit with no conditions, except to warn the applicants that no extraneous signs will be allowed.

W. Market St. law firm sign approved
Attorney John Marvin of Marvin and Marvin PLLC returned to the board for discussion of the proposed sign at their new office location at 44 W. Market St. The proposed hanging sign will use 6.64 sq. ft. of the 19 sq. ft. of allotted signage and will be 4 ft. by 1.66 ft. The bottom of the sign will hang out over the sidewalk about 82-83 inches at 7.5 ft. high. The board noted that the proposed lighting, which will be mounted on the bar holding the sign, must be under 40 watts and angled so that it hits the sign only. The sign was unanimously approved.

Platt Ave. variance recommended to ZBA
Herb Smith of 32 Platt Ave. appeared before the planning board Aug. 5 to get a recommendation to the zoning board of appeals for an addition to his primary residence, which will continue an existing encroachment on his side yard setback. His deck is currently 7 ft. from the property line, where 10 ft. is required, and Smith plans to tear down the deck and replace it with an addition, of 13 ft. by 10 in.. Smith expressed frustration that the issues were not addressed when he first applied for a building permit almost two years ago. The board approved a positive recommendation for the variance, finding that it would follow the line of the existing structure and be no closer to the property line than the rest of the building. They also suggested that Smith bring photographs and elevations of his plan to the ZBA and round up supportive neighbors for the public hearing on the variance.

Fairgrounds antique train site plan approved
Engineer Mark Day and fairgrounds manager Andy Imperati came before the board for further review of the plans to move the 1800s Pleasant Valley train station to the 86 Fair Main Way at the fairgrounds. The board approved the plans, which include a new area around the station of brick or blue stone that would allow the structure to be handicapped accessible; after it is set up it will be open to the public during fairground events. Imperati said the project would start this fall and be completed before next year’s fair. The station is part of an “antique village” made of actual old buildings from various spots in the county, including a schoolhouse. The board suggested that the fairgrounds do as much research as possible into the original color and design of the building during the restoration process. Then they declared themselves the lead agency on the application, and approved a neg. dec. and the site plan.

Historic District covered parking, addition approved
Architect Warren Temple Smith, representing Holly and Barry Feirstein of 24 South St., in the historic district overlay, presented plans to add a 1-car carport (covered parking) to the back corner of the Feirsteins’ lot. No variances will be required and the plan will encourage parking at the rear of the property.
Smith also represented Daniel Sparks and Karen Unger of 40 Chestnut St., also in the historic district overlay, in their application for an addition. Smith noted that theirs is the only house in the neighborhood without an addition where many of the houses were originally the same size. The addition will have wood siding and will match the existing house and will not be visible from the road.
The board saw no problems with either set of plans and declared lead agency on each application before approving negative declarations of environmental impact and site plans for both.


Planning board recommends allowing houses in land conservation district
At its Aug. 6 meeting, the Milan planning board agreed to recommend to the town board that single-family houses be allowed within the Land Conservation Zoning District (LC), in which no new residences are now permitted. The impetus for the recommendation was the recent application by of 564 Milan Hollow Road, who wants to subdivide a parcel in the LC but is prohibited from doing so because the planning board cannot create any new unbuildable parcels and, at this time, any parcel in the LC would be unbuildable due to the code.

As it now stands, the zoning code reads, “The purpose of the Land Conservation District is to recognize and provide for the preservation of permanent open space, viewshed protection, and limited development on severely constrained lands, such as wetlands and floodplains, as well as lands that are under the ownership or control of agencies and organizations providing for parks and designated open space.”

Planning board secretary Karen Buechele told the board the LC was created in order to protect a wetland and possible watershed shared by several towns and it is possible that whole parcels were placed under protection when they could be buildable without affecting the environment.

“For instance, —her property—she has 22 acres—has that wide swath going down the back but the front is fine, there’s no wetlands on the front at all,” Buechele explained, referring to the recent applicant. She later told the Observer that there are several homes within the LC that predate the zoning district’s creation.

The recommendation approved by the planning board would allow houses only where the applicant can demonstrate no negative impacts on natural resources and only with site plan and special use permit approval required. Such a change would still allow the planning board to do stringent review of any proposed dwellings, Buechele said.

Any change would be reviewed by the town board and subject to a public hearing.

Sawmill Rd. lot line adjustment approved
Surveyor Wesley Chase, representing Bruce Howe of 162 Sawmill Road and Craig Leavitt of an unnumbered 54-acre parcel on Sawmill Road, went to the planning board Aug. 6 for a public hearing on a proposed lot line adjustment that would add .14 acres to Howe’s property in order to create a natural property line at a stone wall on the property and transfer lands that include Howe’s well from Leavitt’s property, bringing Howe’s acreage up to 2.2. The public hearing was opened and closed with no comments, and the board declared itself lead agency, approved the negative declaration of environmental impacts for SEQR and granted conditional final approval of the application.

Academy Hill Rd. lot line adjustment approved
The board also granted final approval for the transfer of 15.88 acres of the Steckler Estate on Academy Hill Rd and lands of George Steckler to Jason Aiello of 941 Academy Hill Road. Aiello’s parcel will now be 26.21 acres and fishing rights on the land will continue to be deeded to the public, regulated through the state Department of Environmental Conservation. A public hearing on the application was opened and closed with no comments. The board declared itself lead agency and approved a neg. dec. before voting on the approval.

Hearing set on Odak Farm Rd.-Turkey Hill Rd. subdivision of 4 parcels
Engineer Dennis Lynch, representing Paul Doherty of Red Wing Properties, presented an application Aug. 6 to create six parcels from four: four 3-acre parcels, a fifth parcel with an existing house to remain on 20.8 acres and a sixth parcel of about 100 acres. The town highway department has okayed conceptual sight distances for the four parcels if they would ever have driveways. The applicant is working on county Department of Health approval for a well for the existing house. The board declared itself lead agency on the application and set a public hearing for Sept. 3.


Camp Drive lot line variance recommended
John and Diane Harding of 62 Camp Drive presented an application for a variance recommendation at the Aug. 5 planning board meeting. After having their 2.24-acre property surveyed recently, they found out that the property line is not where they thought and a neighbor has been using a portion of land that is technically their property. They want to sell about a third of an acre to David Bamford, who owns .413 acres at 70 Camp Drive. However, the board pointed out that if the variance is approved by the zoning board of appeals, the Hardings’ property will then become non-conforming because of minimum lot size in their zoning district. An existing shed would also have to be removed or relocated, because if the variance is granted, the shed would then be within the required side yard setback. The board approved a positive recommendation to the ZBA for the variance, and it will be on that board’s Aug. 28 meeting agenda.

Pumpkin Lane subdivision discussed
Ira Rosenfeld, representing the co-owners of his property at 404 Pumpkin Lane, Mitchell and Andrea Rouda, presented to the board an application to subdivide 10 acres, including an existing house, from a 26.85-acre parcel. The board told Rosenfeld he would need to return with a deed showing that he is a third owner of the property and an updated survey map showing other changes to the property and he would need to address a building permit that is missing for the 40-year old pool. Then, the board approved a conditional sketch plan approval with the intent of holding a public hearing on the application at a future meeting.

Long Pond Rd. slope permit sought
Kenneth Furman of 194 Long Pond Road appeared before the planning board Aug. 5 to address a letter from the zoning enforcement officer indicating that he needed a steep slopes permit before completing installation of a new driveway. The board said that the driveway plans must be submitted to the town engineer for review. Furman noted that he paid $1,000 in escrow for the project in 2004 but he did not explain why he did not pursue the project at that time. A permit for the new driveway has been issued by the town highway department. Furman agreed to send in the plans, and the board confirmed that no site plan review is necessary.

Browning Rd. lot line alteration approved
A lot line alteration application by Owen Clarke and Elizabeth Salisbury Kurten of 87 Browning Road was also reviewed Aug. 5. Kurten wants to convey 11.10 acres to Richard and Kathleen Levin of 127-143 Browning Road, leaving the final acreage of 87 Browning at about 64 acres and Levin’s at 57.64 acres. The board agreed that no public hearing was necessary, noting that no variances will be needed and there are no conservation easements on the affected properties. The board then granted final approval of the change with the condition that acreage and spelling corrections are made to the survey maps.

Transfer of 1st, 2nd Ave. and Center St. considered
Aug. 5 the planning board also reviewed a lot line adjustment application by Victor and Diane Sutter of Silver Lake Road. The Sutters own 1st Ave., 2nd Ave., and Center Street, just south of Silver Lake in Clinton–totaling 1.15 acres–and would like to sell 1st Ave. and part of 2nd Ave. to James and Amy McCauley of 719 Slate Quarry Road. The roads are privately owned but open to public use. The addition will make the McCauleys’ more compliant and alleviate the need for a variance for their garage. The board recommended that the applicants return with the associated deeds and an attorney for the application.

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