TOWN OF ESOPUS ZONING BOARD OF APPEALS
Minutes of the September 19, 2006 Meeting
Present: Don Cole, Chairman; Joseph Guido, Catherine Charuk, Karl Wick, Richard Wenzel, Darin DeKoskie, Rob Hare
Chairman Cole called the meeting to order at 7:30pm.
PLEDGE OF ALLEGIANCE
A MOTION TO APPROVE THE AUGUST 2006 MINUTES WAS MADE BY JOSEPH GUIDO AND SECONDED BY CATHERINE CHARUK. ALL IN FAVOR. NONE OPPOSED.
APPROVAL OF VOUCHERS
A MOTION TO APPROVE PAYROLL AND ADVERTISING VOUCHERS WAS MADE BY JOSEPH GUIDO AND SECONDED BY CATHERINE CHARUK. ALL IN FAVOR. NONE OPPOSED.
(No new cases)
Chairman Cole asked if there was any public comment. No public comment was given. Chairman Cole asked the Board if they had any questions for the applicant and had the applicant address the Board. Michael Manicone stated that the application was for an area variance to build an addition on an existing structure.
Chairman Cole reminded the Board that at their last meeting, they had requested additional sketch plans be submitted with the building design and showing the distance from the back line. Manicone presented the plans and repeated that the application was for an area variance for going two percent over the allowed size on a non-conforming existing lot. Wick said it looked like sixty-two (62) feet would be good enough. Chairman Cole said if there were no more questions or objections, the Public Hearing would be closed, and asked the Board if they would be voting on this variance request tonight. The Board agreed.
The Chairman asked Mr. LaBarbera to explain his application for a variance. Mr. LaBarbera explained that he does cosmetic repairs on cars and is interested is buying used cars to fix up then sell. He said that New York State requires a dealership license for car sales, and when the NYS inspector met with him to review the property, he noted that the area is not zoned for this type of business. Mr. LaBarbera said that this business would not impact the neighborhood and he is applying for a use variance. He plans on displaying a few cars at a time for re-sale, and is looking for restricted permission for 4-5 cars on site. He said he will also have an office and run classified ads which would enable him to conduct business without displaying cars if he had to.
Chairman Cole asked for public comment:
Holice Keller, 1823 Rt 213
Mr. Keller stated he has discussed the application with Mr. LaBarbera and would object to him displaying cars on site. He felt that it would be too much of an eyesore in a residential neighborhood and would cause a hazard for passersby slowing down to look at the vehicles. He also felt that there are a number of other lots that could be used for this purpose in a commercially zoned area. He said that this is a residential area, and he didn’t want to see it become a commercial strip.
Missy Harjes, 63 Rifton Terrace
Ms. Harjes stated that Rifton Terrace intersects route 213, and presented the Board with a map to see how close the displayed cars would be to Route 213. She felt it would cause a serious distraction to motorists, and be dangerous. Mr. LaBarbera’s sign was in a residential area and already displayed a DMV number. She felt it was an eyesore.
Robert Ronder, Route 213
Said he owns a piece of property on Pine Street and Route 213, and would be seeking a variance himself to build a house. He felt that if a variance was granted, it would open up the neighborhood for future expansion of commercial use of other properties. He was also concerned about drainage of automotive fluids from the property to Sturgeon Pond and has spoken with County Planner, Herb Heckler. Mr. Heckler told him that there are requirements that need to be met for a variance which include compliance with all state and local regulations. He said that automotive fluids, lights, noise, signage, and other promotional items would diminish the value of his property. He suggested the Board visit the property before considering any further action.
Keith Lewis, Rifton Terrace
Mr. Lewis was hoping that the Board would drive by the property using the Rifton Terrace access to see how dangerous it was before issuing a variance. He said it was already a dangerous road.
Gina Kraut, Maple Street
Ms. Kraut said the road had dangerous curves. She felt that a car lot would limit fire and ambulance access, and deliveries to Mr. LaBarbera’s business would increase possibilities of accidents.
She stated that there have already been many accidents on this road. She felt that the noise of work being done on the cars would depreciate property value.
Albert Neubert, Route 213
Mr. Neuburt states that the continued development of rural property would cause the disappearance of communities.
Jeffrey Abdallah, Rifton Terrace
Mr. Abdallah suggested the Board visit the site. He said you have to listen for the cars before pulling out onto 213 because you can’t see them coming up the road.
Raymond Hoy, Rifton Terrace
He said Mr. LaBarbera was already violating zoning by having cars on site.
Guido asked Mr. LaBarbera if he lived on the property. Mr. LaBarbera said yes. Guido asked if it was being used at as a used car lot or a repair shop. Mr. LaBarbera said he got permission from the building inspector to renovate the garage to use as a repair shop. He said the signs were less than four square feet which are allowed with no variance.
Missy Harjes said she went to Building Inspector on Friday, September 14th to ask if LaBarbera has permission to paint cars. The Inspector said that the business was supposed to be mobile.
Chairman Cole recommended that the Board stop by and visit the property.
(There were several written public comments submitted and on file.)
08-15-06-01 Citivision, Inc
Board member Rob Hare excused himself from the Board meeting at 8:00pm. He said that he was an adjoining property owner and had a letter for public comment. Wick felt that Hare should be allowed to give public comment as an adjoining property owner. Pisani objected to Rob Hare testifying regardless of whether he was for or against the application because it was a conflictof interest. Wick asked Pisani to cite the law. Pisani said he could cite the law and would submit it in a memorandum. Wick said he would like to hear Hare’s comments. Chairman Cole reminded the Board that the comments could be a conflict. Wick felt that as a neighbor, Hare should be able to comment. DeKoski agreed that as a neighbor Hare should be able to speak. Iza Trapani-Hare offered to read the letter into public comment to resolve any concerns. Guido disclosed that he had retained Pisani as his legal counsel, and wanted to know if the Board wanted him to abstain. The Board didn’t feel it was necessary for Guido to abstain from comments or voting on this matter.
Chairman Cole circulated a letter from Ann Henderson which was also entered into public comment.
Ms. Trapani-Hare read Rob Hare’s written comments on Citivision. The letter stated that the zoning variance was originally given to Citivision with the stipulation that it was a continuing non-conforming use by a religious organization. The original condition was for expansion and that any future construction is presented to the ZBA prior to any new structures going up. She further stated that Citivision has already started construction without permission. There are state, land, water, and noise violations in addition to illegal apartment without COs. Section 123.44.1 on use variances state that a site plan review for hardships is not for self-imposed hardships. She felt that the applicant should be referred to the Planning Board, and that the apartments on site are supposed to be unheated for summer use only. Ms. Trapani-Hare felt that Citivision would not be in front of the Board if they had not illegally built. She doesn’t feel that there is a hardship given that the structures were built without permission. She also stated that the amplified noise level has caused complaints to be filed; there is clear cutting of wooded areas, building of a soccer field without permission, and no building was supposed to be used as a permanent residence.
Albert Neubert, Route 213 Rifton
Mr. Neubert complained about the noise and conversion of two family units. He said that Rifton is loosing its rural pleasant area.
Roger Sexton, Carney Road
Mr. Sexton felt every time Citivision was overlooked, they did something else without permission. He said that unless they are constantly monitored, they would keep trying to get away with something.
The applicant’s representative, Pisani submitted two affidavits. Residential floors originally submitted to the building department were approved and inspected by the Building Department. He also submitted a sworn affidavit signed in front of a notary public. Guido said the affidavits did not authorize residence. Pisani said that when the water permits came through, the plans were amended to reflect building of residence which was the plan since the beginning of construction. He said that fifty-two beds were to be relocated from the teepees to the second floor of the towers; there would be no increase in occupancy.
Pisani said that the NFP organization does have religious activities. He has filed a certificate of incorporation with the state for the Citivision fellowship church to be formally recognized as a religious organization after which all property will be conveyed.
Guido asked who brought the plans to the Building Department and gave them to Mark Rieker. He asked if they were, in fact, given to Mark Rieker. Pisani said the “building official” knew of the plans, reviewed the plans, and approved the plans. He said someone forgot to get a copy of the approved plans.
Wick asked about the date when the plans were submitted. Pisani said it was about the same time that the water was approved. Guido noted that the date on the blueprints was October 2001, but the date of plans from the building permit stating no sleeping quarters is April 2001. He asked where the approved plans were with the sleeping quarters. Pisani said someone wrote on the plans that it should not be approved until after the water issue was resolved and the living quarters put in. Wick asked if there was a new set of approved plans. Pisani cannot find a set of approved plans.
Chairman Cole remarked that the kids that stayed in wagons and teepees will move up to the second floor. He thought that if this happened it would provide better controls on their activities.
Liz Sexton of Carney Road asked what would happen to the current sleeping quarters in the wagons and teepees when the children are relocated to the towers. Pisani said it would be used for arts and crafts, not sleeping. Sexton said she sees cars parked on site all year round. Pisani said that there are some year round residents who volunteer their time. They are not paid.
Iza Trapani-Hare recommended that the Board speak directly with the Building Department to get the correct information.
Pisani said that the only issue before the ZBA is moving the occupancy from one building to another. Guido said that Citivision should have come before the Planning Board before the apartments were put in and not tried to get them approved after. Pisani said he would have if he had been asked, and that the Building Inspector could not find previous plans and variances that were approved.
The decisional meeting for Citivision was to be set for October 17th.
THERE WAS A MOTION MADE TO HOLD THE PUBLIC HEARING OPEN UNTIL OCTOBER 17TH FOR THE PURPOSE OF RECEIVING MORE INFORMATION BY JOSEPH GUIDO AND SECONDED BY CATHERINE CHARUK. ALL IN FAVOR. NONE OPPOSED.
05-16-06-01 Michael Sussholz
Chairman Cole said that this application is for an area variance to build a house. Mr. Sussholz provided more paperwork from an abstract company. He reminded that Board that he missed last month’s meeting. Wick asked if this was a local abstract company Charuk pointed out that Queen City Abstract is located on Main Street in Poughkeepsie. Sussholz said that the abstract showed that there was an existing structure on the property. He was asking for a 48 foot wide house, and said if the Board felt that is was too wide, he would like to see the structure at least 40 to 44 feet to make it marketable. DeKoskie asked for amended plot plan. Sussholz submitted one to the Board for review.
Hare asked if there was a relationship with adjoining property owners. Sussholz said that he had built houses on both adjoining lots. Hare was concerned about the set backs and asked if the position of house could be changed to eliminate some of the variance issues. He also said there could be a lot line adjustment. Sussholz said that the other property had already been purchased by someone so a line adjustment may be difficult.
Guido said that 46’ feet was out of the question, but may agree to 42’ feet. Wick felt that this was a self imposed hardship, and also thought that a lot line adjustment would eliminate the problems. Sussholz asked what the process was for getting a lot line adjusted. He was told that he would have to approach the Planning Board. Chairman Cole suggested he change the style of the house.
There was some Board discussion on the deed that was presented by the abstract company. Wick noted that not all of the information corresponded with the deed. Wick said without clearing up some of the discrepancies, he would vote against any decisions tonight.
A MOTION WAS MADE BY CATHERINE CHARUK AND SECONDED BY KARL WICK THAT THE VARIANCE BE DENIED DUE TO INPROPER DOCUMENTATION.
Charuk asked if the title company had issued insurance on the area and acreage. Sussholz said the title company had no problem issuing coverage. He gave Charuk a copy of the deed. She said the deed stated a 70’ X 70’ foot area not 100 X 100 as stated in the abstract company’s memo. Sussholz also presented a survey with dimensions of the proposed house.
Charuk withdrew her motion. Wick said the title correspondence had major errors and kept his motion on the table. Sussholz said he was willing to work with the Board on size changes. If this was not agreeable, then he would consider lot line adjustments.
Wick remarked that the June 1976 deed describes the land with a residence (a trailer). He asked if there was still a foundation on the property. Sussholz said the trailer was on the adjoining lot. Wick asked if there were right of ways. Sussholz said that he was looking at the wrong parcel. It was parcel under Liber number 3006 which changed in 1967 (post zoning), and it is a legal undersized lot.
Guido asked Wick if he would withdraw his motion and agree to a 42’ foot structure with 13’ feet on each side. Wick said he would be agreeable, but suggested 12’ feet on both sides. (MOTION withdrawn) Chairman Cole suggested that the decision is left open and that the contractor speak to the owner first. Sussholz said he preferred that the Board make their decision tonight.
Wenzel remarked that house width standards are usually 27 ½ to 28’ feet. Wick said he would be okay with 42’ feet and approving side variances for 12’ feet, and that the rear setback was okay. DeKoskie asked if there were any neighbors at the back of the property. Sussholz said there was just a boat launch.
A MOTION WAS MADE BY JOSEPH GUIDO AND SECONDED BY DON COLE TO GRANT A VARIANCE TO BUILD A HOUSE 42 FEET WIDE, CENTERED AND ANGLED IN SUCH A MANNER THAT THE DISTANCE ON BOTH SIDES WAS EQUAL, HAVING A SIDE YARD SET BACK OF 12 FEET AND REAR YARD SET BACK OF 26 FEET.
Richard Wenzel voted in favor on the variance with the size amendments
Catherine Charuk voted in favor stating that a smaller house which would set better on the lot and not change the characteristics of the neighborhood
Joseph Guido voted in favor and felt that a 42 foot house would be more functional
Don Cole voted yes for the previously stated reasons
Darin DeKoskie voted yes and stated that a 42 foot house would work better on the lot
Rob Hare voted yes and felt that the changes were a fair compromise to the original application
Karl Wick felt the original plans would change the character of the neighborhood and amendment to the applicant provided a favorable solution
All in favor.
A MOTION WAS MADE BY KARL WICK AND SECONDED BY DON COLE TO APPROVE AN AREA VARIANCE TO BUILD AN ADDITION ON AN EXISTING HOUSE.
Richard Wenzel voted in favor stating that the application met the criteria.
Catherine Charuk voted in favor.
Joseph Guido voted in favor and said that the addition would not change the character of the neighborhood.
Don Cole voted in favor.
Rob Hare voted in favor for the previous stated reasons.
Darin DeKoskie voted in favor for the previous stated reasons.
Karl Wick voted in favor because the application met all of the criteria.
Mr. Graff, attorney for Rondout Hills submitted a letter with a proposal to build an additional twenty nine townhouses in Sections C and D, and needed a variance for an access road. A previous site plan had been approved in 1987 with a proposed access road, and he stated that his client would now like to come in and finish building the remaining townhouses. The fire commissioner had responded to Graff’s request and said they would prefer the access road to be used by emergency vehicles only. He said that the attorney for the Planning Board, Peter Graham, told the builder that a variance was required. Hare asked how substantial the road would be. Graff said it would be up to Town specifications to meet the highway department specs. He said the existing road has access and visual issues. Charuk asked if Graff would be filing a formal application. Graff said he would like an interpretation. Guido told Graff that if he wanted a variance, he would have to file one or ask for an interpretation. He couldn’t do both. Graff said the Planning Board requested a variance from the ZBA. He said the Planning Board would not make a decision until they hear what the ZBA says. Graff felt that an interpretation would be acceptable, but Peter Graham said he needed a variance. Guido told him he should file an application for a variance. Graff left a copy of a sketch plan with Chairman Cole.
A MOTION WAS MADE TO ADJOURN THE SEPTEMBER MEETING OF THE ZONING BOARD OF APPEALS BY JOSEPH GUIDO AND SECONDED BY ROB HARE. ALL IN FAVOR.