A meeting of the Comprehensive Committee of the Village of Croton-on-Hudson was held on Thursday, December 7, 2000, at the Municipal Building, One Van Wyck Street, Croton on Hudson, NY 10520.
The following members were present:
Chairperson Ann Gallelli
Absent: Paul Doyle
Trustee Liaison Georgianna Grant
Also present: Frank Fish of Buckhurst, Fish & Jacquemart
Call to Order
The meeting was called to order at 8 pm.
Recommendations from the Planning Board Concerning Automobile Sales Regulations C-1 and C-2 Districts
Chairperson Gallelli distributed a memo from the Planning Board regarding their recommendations for automobile sales regulations in C-1 and C-2 Districts. This memo will go to the Board of Trustees.
Chairperson Gallelli questioned how the zoning changes would affect the existing businesses. Would they be grandfathered or would they be forced to comply with zoning changes. Mr. Fish suggested creating an amortization schedule which would allow the existing businesses to come into compliance over a period of time – suggested 3-5 years. His point was that owners would prefer to adhere to an amortization schedule rather than becoming a pre-existing nonconforming use – this is a burden on the property owner.
Report Prepared by Frank Fish
Mr. Fish distributed a report prepared by him and Bonnie Braine regarding proposed revisions to the Croton Zoning Code in the commercial and industrial districts. This report is a result of the meeting on October 26, 2000 with the Committee and Seymour Waldman, Village Attorney, which focused on various existing inconsistencies in the zoning code and certain items to be dealt with before the moratorium ends. Mr. Fish said that he also met with Mr. Waldman on December 6th to discuss this report and he made some addition revisions that Mr. Waldman requested.
Mr. Fish divided the necessary zoning code revisions into three categories: (1) housekeeping changes, (2) policy changes (arising out of new Comprehensive Plan, (3) immediate issues to be resolved prior to the end of the moratorium.
The report dealt with issues associated with the third category – the critical issues to be dealt with before the moratorium is lifted.
Industrial Uses: Section 230-18 Light Industrial District.
This section will now prohibit solid waste transfer stations and landfills
Mr. Carlson asked about liquid waste and recycling centers. Mr. Solymosy asked if construction and demolition would be included in the prohibition.
Mr. Fish said he would add construction and demolition waste to the prohibition.
Uses which are deemed industrial in nature will require special permits.
Manufacturing will be redefined as “light”
Mr. Fish explained that light industrial may need to be defined – some village’s do not want things to be defined specifically – their preference is to decide on a case by case basis whether they want a business to come in – general definitions give them flexibility – some other village’s like specific definitions. There are standard definitions that could be used if the preference is for specific definitions
Chairperson Gallelli said that the problem with having things too specific is that you can’t anticipate every type of new business.
Mr. Fish said that environmental restrictions could be added to existing definitions as a way of protecting the Village from certain types of businesses.
Discussion ensued regarding special permits and their uses in granting permissions to new businesses. Mr. Fish explained that special permits can be granted by Boards of Trustees or Planning Boards or Boards of Appeals. His preference was for special permits to be granted by the Planning Board so that the applicant is not forced back and forth between boards.
Chairperson Gallelli expressed a preference for special permits for their flexibility – without them everything must be spelled out.
Mr. Solymosy asked what other ways could permissions be granted without using special permits. In addition, was there a way to make the granting of a special permit discretionary?
Mr. Fish said that if a use calls for a special permit to be granted it is still a permitted use – if it meets the condition outlined for that particular site – the special permit must be granted – it is not discretionary. In order to make them discretionary the special permit should be granted by the Board of Trustees. If the issue were to go to court – the courts favor elected officials. The Planning Board could handle special permits that deal with design issues. The Board of Trustees should then handle special permits that deal with big impact use.
Mr. Solymosy said that he has reservations about special permits being widely used – would like to severely limit the uses that are being permitted by special permits.
Commercial uses – Create clearer distinctions and uniformity between C1 and C2 uses
Mr. Fish recommended creating two distinct categories, permitted and special permit uses for commercial uses. In C1 – certain uses, which were previously permitted uses, will now be permitted as special permit uses only. In C2 – permitted uses will only include what are now permitted uses in C1. All other permitted uses will now only be permitted with special permits.
He also suggested creating a distinct zoning district for the Upper Village. This would enable the capability of disallowing certain uses in the Upper Village, as well as maintaining a high FAR, such as 2, for the Upper Village. The other commercial areas would have their FAR reduced to 0.5.
A separate zoning section for the Upper Village might necessitate a third zoning district for the Village, but it might be possible to have just two, one for the Upper Village, and the other for the rest of the commercial districts. There are currently allowable uses for a large business if someone were to control several adjoining lots.
Mr. Solymosy questioned why certain uses such as gas stations were still being allowed in the upper Village
Chairperson Gallelli suggested that these permitted uses could be disallowed for the Upper Village, or, if the Upper Village is rezoned to its own zone, then could list out all permitted uses for Upper Village.
Mr. Solymosy suggested finding a way to limit certain repeated retail stores in order to create a more varied retail mix in the Village.
Mr. Fish replied that there are ways to control that with zoning but you need to consider how great a problem it is – how much do you want to control the marketplace.
Chairperson Gallelli stated that she believed it is better to improve façades and amenities as a way of trying to attract certain businesses rather than trying to legislate businesses.
Chairperson Gallelli summarized the procedures for obtaining the zoning changes. By late February or early March the proposal for zoning changes will need to go to the Board of Trustees. They will refer it to the Planning Board for their recommendation. She suggested showing the proposal to the Planning Board first before it is brought before the Board of Trustees.
Mr. Fish asked, if in addition to the changes suggested in this meeting, should he add landscape standards to parking lots. However, this would probably only apply to new businesses.
Chairman Gallelli replied that although Croton Dodge dates from 1930, they have a new area where they are storing cars which she believes is a violation. She would like to see an immediate change in some way.
Mr. Carlson said he believed extra parking lots should be subject to different standards than the showroom area.
Chairman Gallelli brought up the Planning Board’s landscaping recommendations for automobile sales in C1 and C2. She had some misgivings about the effects of these recommendations on other parking areas. Currently it is difficult to park in the Grand Union area – if those businesses would have to comply with new landscaping recommendations parking spaces would be reduced even further.
Mr. Casson asked how landscaping standards are enforced. Mr. Fish replied with a letter of credit.
Mr. Fish said he would make modifications to his proposal which would be subject to another review by the Committee.
Chairman Gallelli said the Committee needed to talk further about allowable uses in the various commercial zones. In addition, there is still the question of the empty lot adjacent to Kayson. The committee needs to look at ways zoning restrictions could limit uses on that lot. She asked if the Committee should meet with automobile dealers or the Chamber of Commerce about this zoning proposal. It was decided to send the Chamber a draft proposal after Mr. Fish makes additional modifications.
Second Public Input Workshop to be held on January 11, 2001.
The workshop will be held at the Municipal Building beginning at 7 pm. At the workshop, attendees will break up into tables based on geographical areas and discuss issues. Perhaps some of the topics discussed at this meeting could be addressed at these tables.
The next committee meeting will be held on February 1st. Mr. Fish will be at this meeting to further discuss zoning revisions.
The third public input workshop will be held on March 8th. This workshop will try to address issues raised by the survey which do not include commercial issues.
The meeting was adjourned at 10:15 pm
Janine King, Secretary
Ann Gallelli, Chairperson