Town of Esopus Zoning Board of Appeals
     Minutes
     September 20, 2005

The meeting was called to order at 7:30 p.m. by Chairman Don Cole. The Pledge to the Flag followed.

ROLL CALL

Present: Don Cole, Joe Guido, Rob Hare, and Richard Wenzel.
Absent: Karl Wick
Excused: Catherine Charuk and Darin DeKoskie.

APPROVAL OF MINUTES

JOE GUIDO MADE A MOTION TO APPROVE THE MINUTES AS SUBMITTED. RICHARD WENZEL SECONDED. ALL PRESENT VOTED IN FAVOR.

APPROVAL OF VOUCHERS

Two vouchers from the Freeman, each for $18.92, for public hearing notices and a voucher for 12 hours of secretarial work were submitted. JOE GUIDO MADE A MOTION TO APPROVE THE VOUCHERS. ROB HARE SECONDED. ALL PRESENT VOTED IN FAVOR.

INFORMATIONAL MEETING

NIKAJ, VILMA Case # 08-16-05-01

Aleks Rakaj, contractor for the applicant, was present. He apologized for not appearing at last monthís meeting and said that he was not aware that he had to appear. He is before the Board regarding the addition. Mr. Hare asked what was to be in the addition and Mr. Rakaj said it was for a kitchen and a master bathroom. Mr. Hare then asked what the condition of the foundation is. Mr. Rakaj answered that it is new. He was not involved when the foundation was put in. Someone else put the foundation in and then they were stopped. Mr. Hare asked about the porch that he saw when he rode past. It is not shown on the drawing. Mr. Rakaj first said that it is there and it will stay there. Mr. Hare advised him that it must be considered in the square footage since that is what is not in compliance. Mr. Rakaj then said that he was told by the owner to knock it down.

Mr. Guido advised Mr. Rakaj that for the next meeting the Board needs a more detailed and accurate drawing and the applicant must explain why he canít build the addition along the same lines as the house. Upon further discussion, it was brought to Mr. Guidoís attention that the addition had already been started before a building permit was applied for so the foundation is already there. Mr. Guido said that he would then need to know if the porch was legally built, if they had a building permit. Mr. Hare informed the contractor that the drawing must be done to scale and it must be accurate. It must show all existing porches since they are included in the square footage. Mr. Guido again explained that the Board needs boundaries, measurements, pictures with dates or showing that the porch has been there, and some kind of a time line telling when certain things were constructed. It was suggested that the owner be present at the next meeting to explain things that the contractor could not answer.

TOWN OF ESOPUS VOLUNTEER AMBULANCE SQUAD Case # 09-20-51-01

Joe Pisani and Dennis Suraci, the architect, were present to represent the applicants. They would like to construct an addition to the existing building for the purpose of accommodating all of the vehicles, making two bays into three bays, and making part of it into a meeting room where training can take place. The current facilities are inadequate. Mr. Pisani pointed out how it would be arranged and where the new entrance would be. The addition cannot be put on the rear of the existing building because of underground utilities and septic.

Mr. Suraci explained that the reason they are asking for the front yard setback reduction is because the lot has three front yards; Route 9W, Cross Street, and Ulster Avenue. The corner of the front of  the building nearest Ulster Avenue is within 18' of the property line and there is an additional five foot overhang to protect the doors and the side of the building. This brings it down to 13' from the property line. In the rear of the building the septic is right up to the building and Verizon lines come across the property, both of which are shown on the drawing. That left them one way to go. They have already gotten a new curb cut approval on the Ulster Avenue side where the parking will be. The existing exit will be improved to make it more centered on Cross Street.

Mr. Guido asked if the property already has a use variance on the existing building. He seems to remember TEVAS being before the Board before but he is not sure what it was for. He also remembers the applicants being here a few years ago for something and withdrawing the application because of complaints from the neighbors. Mr. Guido asked if the meeting room was for training or if they were planning to rent it out. Mr. Suraci answered that renting it out was not in the plans because there is not enough parking. He pointed out the parking spaces on the drawing. Mr. Hare asked why the three bays were not set over and Mr. Suraci explained that the way it is planned will allow the ambulance squad to remain in operation during construction. One bay will be available for a vehicle and the other ambulance will be housed off site until construction is completed.

PUBLIC HEARING

GOLDIN, REENI Case # 06-21-05-04

No one was present for the applicant. A letter was received from the applicants stating that they would not be present because they didnít have the minutes. A copy of the letter is in file. The Board discussed whether the public hearing for the case would be extended until next month.

Both Mr. Guido and Mr. Cole stated that they didnít feel that the minutes not being on the Internet was a valid reason for the applicant not to be present but it was agreed that the public hearing would be extended one more month.

MYERS, JOANNE Case # 08-16-05-02

Prior to the meeting Ms. Myers gave to each member of the Board a copy of a list of other properties in the neighborhood that were two or three family dwellings. A copy of the list is in the file. Mr. Hare asked the applicant if she had a copy of her tax bill since the letter she had submitted with her application stated that the taxes were $6,000.00. Ms. Myers said that she didnít have a copy of the tax bill and that the letter said the taxes plus utilities were $6,000.00. Ms. Myers reiterated her reasons for requesting the variance. The information was included with the application and is in the file.

Mr. Guido asked if the applicant had found any proof that the house had been a two family previously and Ms. Myers said that she hadnít and that the tax assessor advised her that she probably wouldnít. It was only hearsay. The neighbors donít remember it being a two family either. Mr. Cole asked how many meters for gas and electricity are in the house. There is only one for each.

Mr. Hare asked if the room upstairs that the applicant intends to use as a kitchen shows any indication that it was a kitchen before. Ms. Myers said that it looks like it could have been a kitchen because there are water pipes in the wall. Mr. Cole asked if there was a gas pipe and Ms. Myers said no.

There were no further questions. Mr. Guido recommended that the Board not vote on this case at this meeting since there were only four members present and one no vote would defeat it. Mr. Cole agreed. The vote will take place next month.

DECISIONAL MEETING

PIRTLE, WOODY Case # 07-19-05-01

Mr. Cole asked if Tom Story had come out to the house. (A letter from Mr. Pirtle to the Board stated that he had contacted Tom Story at the DOT regarding this project. A copy of the letter is in the file.) Mr. Pirtle answered that he contacted Mr. Story by telephone and he said he was going to come by. Mr. Story also said that he checked the survey and it wasnít under the jurisdiction of the DOT. His telephone number is in the letter if anyone on the Board wishes to call him.

Mr. Cole asked if there were any questions. Mr. Guido advised that he had been there and looked at it and because of the height of the structure it would not obstruct the line of sight anymore than what is already there. Mr. Hare stated that he personally wouldnít take down the bushes that are there because they are keeping people from going onto the applicantís property.

Mr. Cole stated that the only problem that he has with this is that the whole house is too close to the road and any further obstruction would be detrimental. He stated that itís the worse road he has ever been on around here. Mr. Wenzel asked if the DOT isnít responsible for making an assessment, who is? Mr. Pirtle answered that he doesnít feel that it is his responsibility to find out who owns what. He was asked to go to the DOT and he did.

Mr. Guido advised the applicant that since there are only four Board members present if there is one no vote the variance will be denied. He gave the applicant the option of waiting until the next meeting for the vote and Mr. Pirtle said that he would prefer not to wait and have the vote tonight.

JOE GUIDO MADE A MOTION TO GRANT A VARIANCE TO ALLOW CONSTRUCTION OF A ROOF OVER THE PORCH WHICH IS ONLY 7.5' FROM THE FRONT YARD LOT LINE, THE BASE OF THE PORCH BEING AND HAVING BEEN ALREADY THERE WITH THE STIPULATION THAT THE PORCH NOT BE ENCLOSED. ROB HARE SECONDED. The vote was as follows:

  RICHARD WENZEL - Iím in favor of the variance. Iím not comfortable with the closeness to the road which is already existing. I see no real more encroachment than what is there because of the level. No obstruction. The base is above the eye level itself on the street. I donít see where itís going to be a detriment to any driving of any nature. It doesnít create an undesirable change or no adverse effects.

  JOE GUIDO - Iím in favor of the variance also based on the fact that the base of the porch is already there. The whole porch assembly is high enough that I do not feel that itís going to interfere with the visibility coming around that turn.

  DON COLE - Iím going to vote in favor. Even though I got calls from people that had problems with what was being done there, I canít see any problem at this particular time that would cause me to vote against this variance. I donít know what the condition is on other times of the year, but Iíll have to vote in favor of it because the foundations were there. I donít like it being so close to the road but itís an issue that existed from the day it was built. Thereís not much you can do to change it.

  ROB HARE - Iím voting in favor of the motion. The building historically was that close to the road. The foundation for the porch has existed for a period of time without undo hardship or increasing the hardship of that road. As long as the porch is kept open, I believe that it wonít decrease visibility.

Motion carried 4-0.

OTHER BUSINESS

Mr. Guido suggested that for the case that didnít show up tonight, he thinks it would be beneficial for the person who is making the proposal for the motion to know what the general idea of the Board is regarding the case. Personally, if he had to make the motion and he felt that there was a good chance that it would be approved, he would put several restrictions on it. Mr. Cole stated that there were many people there who were against it and he feels that itís a detriment to the area. He also stated that if the County came through and said there was no detriment to the area regarding sewer and water, he might consider it but he hasnít seen that. Mr. Guido stated that the County gave a denial on it. Mr. Cole said that was from the County Planning Board. Heís looking for something from the Board of Health.

Mr. Hare stated that his problem is that he feels that the applicant has been trying to get a subdivision from the very beginning and is trying to get it through the back door. This property was the first case that he had when he joined the Board and he doesnít feel that it can be subdivided. He feels that cluster development is what is going to save the rural character of the area and he was interested when he initially saw that on this case but he thinks the applicant is going about it all wrong.

ADJOURN

JOE GUIDO MADE A MOTION TO ADJOURN. DON COLE SECONDED. ALL PRESENT VOTED IN FAVOR. Meeting adjourned 8:30 p.m.

Respectfully submitted,

Kathleen Kiernan
Secretary