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11 30 01
A meeting of the Comprehensive Committee of the Village of Croton-on-Hudson was held on Thursday, November 30, 2001, at the Municipal Building, One Van Wyck Street, Croton-on-Hudson, NY 10520.

The following members were present:

Chairperson Ann Gallelli
Justin Casson
Kurt Carlson
Roger Solymosy
Absent: Paul Doyle
Trustee Liaison Georgianna Grant

1.      Call to Order

The meeting was called to order at 7:30 pm.

2.      Request from Village Board for recommendation regarding an exception to the moratorium law.

Chairman Gallelli explained some of the background on this issue.  CVS will be moving into the old Grand Union space.  In order for them to move all the way into the far end of the Grand Union space  towards Pircio Dry Cleaners  they will need a new site plan.  The Village Board would like this to happen so that a grocery store will be able to fit into the old CVS space and a portion of the right side of the Grand Union space.  The Planning Board already met tonight and gave CVS conditional approval on façade changes.  CVS will have 16,000 sq ft and the new grocer will have about 16,000 sq ft.  The Village Board needs a recommendation from the comprehensive plan committee to make an exception on the moratorium law.  The committee members agreed that since there was only 26 days left to the moratorium and it would be desirable to have a grocery store in that space they would recommend to the Village Board to make an exception.

3.      Further Discussion on Chapter 4

Chairman Gallelli told the committee members that Paul Buckhurst had agreed to print just a text version of the entire draft.  The committee needs to be in agreement with all recommended changes before a new draft can be produced.

a)      Upper Village

Chairman Gallelli reviewed what was discussed at the last meeting.  The committee had discussed facades and the use of tax incentives to try to improve them.  They also recommended verifying the parking problem and taking steps to alleviate it.  She asked if there was anything further they wanted to include on these subjects.  Mr. Solymosy suggested encouraging the merchants work among themselves to coordinate deliveries in order to reduce the traffic situation in the upper village.

b)      Municipal Place

The committee agreed that this gateway area should extend down to Route 9 which would include the sewer treatment plant area as well as the west side of Riverside Avenue from the intersection of Route 129 to Municipal Place.

Mr. Carlson suggested not allowing village leaf composting in a gateway area.  Chairman Gallelli explained that the Village is going to try to purchase a small piece of property owned by the State DOT to use for composting.  If there is no composting the leaves will have to be carted away.

Mr. Solymosy said that they should address the practice of businesses that are parking their vehicles on the street.  Their site plan limits the number of cars allowed on their premises. They should not be allowed to park the excess cars on the street.  This should be prohibited.  

Chairman Gallelli told the members that the Village board is going to allow parking on the west side of Riverside between Route 129 and Municipal Place.  Mr. Solymosy answered that this should not apply to cars that these businesses are working on.  The committee should recommend that businesses should not be permitted to use public streets as an extension of their premises for storage of their vehicles or other materials beyond that permitted by their site plan.

Mr. Carlson suggested changing the wording in figure 4.2 from “senior/Arts center” to “possible community center.”  Mr. Solymosy suggested calling it “potential” rather than “proposed.”

c)      North Riverside

The committee decided to recommend acquiring the end of Brook Street for village purposes.  

Mr. Solymosy expressed his displeasure with excessive informational and directional signs.  Mr. Carlson suggested showing maps at certain intersections.  Chairman Gallelli suggested that this statement about signs should be in the general section and not limited to North Riverside.  Mr. Carlson agreed that it should be in the general section but perhaps also repeated in certain sections.  Perhaps it could be mentioned when discussing the visual clutter of the overhead wires.  Mr. Solymosy would like to recommend the need to evaluate every sign and getting rid of them if they are not necessary.  There should be some method to the way new signs are developed.

d)      South Riverside  Harmon

Mr. Casson suggested this committee recommend relocating the library.  He would prefer it in an area that is not purely residential.  Chairman Gallelli explained that the library is not part of the Village Government  it has its own endowment and budget.

Mr. Carlson suggested trying to find a way to connect Dobbs Park to the library. Chairman Gallelli suggested trying to acquire an easement at the end of New Street, which would allow a connection to Maple Street, as well as an easement through the end of Beekman, which would connect Vassallo Park to the Municipal Place area.

Mr. Solymosy said he felt this committee should have done more in the rezoning of south riverside rather than allowing it to be solely for automobile sales and repairs.  He would like to do more to make the area poised for more desirable retail uses.  At the present time there is nothing that discourages an auto body shop or limousine service company from being in that area.

Chairman Gallelli said they did make the area more restrictive by adding more landscaping and parking requirements.

Mr. Carlson said it is better to have these types of businesses than ending up with empty lots.  The Village has a need for auto body shops somewhere.

Mr. Casson asked if they were going to address the amortization issue.  He would like to be able to use that method with the Dodge storage parking lot.  Chairman Gallelli thought the Dodge storage parking lot could be disallowed now since she doesnt believe they have a valid site plan.

Mr. Solymosy said the penalties that results from these violations need to be much stricter.  At the present time businesses see the fines imposed as a cost of doing business.

Chairman Gallelli suggested changing the last sentence in the second paragraph of part (d) to make it stronger.  Instead of saying improvements should be considered it should say improvements should be made.

Mr. Solymosy added that the last bullet under streetscape improvements was not clear.  The last bullet reads as follows:  “Encouraging the use of distinctive and attractive commercial signage utilizing a carefully selected vocabulary to achieve a coordinated design approach.”

The members agreed that carefully selected vocabulary should be removed or clarified.  In addition, they were not happy with the term coordinated design approach as it implies the desire for uniformity.

Under the last item in Harmon/South Riverside  “Reinforce Gateway Identity” Mr. Solymosy wanted the recommendation for a sculpture to be removed.  The other members agreed to change the suggestions of a “freestanding clock, historic marker or sculpture” to a more general recommendation of a “distinctive feature.”

e)      North End Office District

Chairman Gallelli referred to the last sentence of this section  “The use of stone walls along property lines and to screen parking should also be strongly encouraged as a means of providing a special identity for this gateway area.”  She believed this sentence should more clearly state that the recommendation for the use of stone walls was in order to be more consistent with the areas just south of Warren Road.
Mr. Solymosy again suggested using a gateway overlay to allow the use of garden centers in this area.

Mr. Carlson recommended having the village acquire the empty lot that is now owned by Scenic Ridge.

f.      4.3  Natural Resources, Open Space and Trails

Under (b) trails and links  bullet 5  “Create better pedestrian/bike connections at RR station”  the members wanted a specific recommendation to provide bicycle parking at the train station.  Mr. Carlson also suggested that section (b) could be a place to add recommendations about the desired linkages between Village areas.  

Under (c) Improve Waterfront Access  bullet 4  “Utilize picture tunnel for bicycles and pedestrians only”  the last sentence says “the picture tunnel could be reserved for pedestrian and bicycle use” and the members wanted it to say should.

g)      4.4 Transportation

Under bullet (a) Sidewalk and Pedestrian Networks  bullet 2  Enforce sidewalk maintenance by adjacent sidewalk owners  Mr. Solymosy suggested mentioning here that the village has a sidewalk improvement program in place and should continue it into the future.

Mr. Casson noted that the last sentence in the first bullet also mentions pedestrian links and perhaps this is a possible area to mention desired easements.

Under (c) Public Transportation  Chairman Gallelli mentioned that the committee members had already made a specific recommendation about not increasing parking at the train station which would result in increased traffic through the Village streets.  This recommendation needs to be added to this section.

h)      4.6 Community Facilities and Services

Mr. Carlson mentioned that in the old master plan there was a goal for a certain amount of desired acres for recreational space and wondered if the new plan should have such a goal.  He also thought perhaps the underwater lands should be mentioned and the plan should state that they should not be developed.

The members made the following changes to this section:

·       Under Park Maintenance improved pedestrian access should include Silver Lake.

·       The term cleanliness of the Duck Pond should be changed to improved water quality.

·       The term Senior Center should be changed to Community Center.

·       Under New Recreational Facilities  the first sentence should be changed to residents are interested in additional recreational facilities.  When referring to ice skating the word rink should be removed.

4.      Meeting Dates

The members agreed they would meet twice in January before coming before the Village Board and Planning Board.  These dates were not yet determined.

5.      Approval of Minutes

The minutes of November 1, 2001 were approved as corrected.

The meeting was adjourned at 10:15 pm.

Respectfully submitted,

Janine King, Secretary

Ann Gallelli