Town of Esopus Zoning Board of Appeals
September 16, 2008

Chairman Don Cole called the meeting of the Zoning Board of Appeals of the Town of Esopus to order at 7:30 p.m.

The Pledge to the Flag followed.

ROLL CALL

Present: Don Cole, Chairman, Karl Wick, Rob Hare, Kathy Kiernan, and Joe Guido.  

Absent: Vic Barranca and Linda Smythe.

APPROVAL OF MINUTES

KARL WICK MADE A MOTION TO APPROVE THE MINUTES AS WRITTEN. KATHY KIERNAN SECONDED. ALL PRESENT VOTED IN FAVOR. 

APPROVAL OF VOUCHERS

KATHY KIERNAN MADE A MOTION TO APPROVE THE VOUCHER FOR SECRETARIAL WORK AND LEGAL NOTICE IN THE DAILY FREEMAN. KARL WICK SECONDED. ALL IN FAVOR.  

INFORMATIONAL MEETING

WALKER, JOHN, OWNER
FERGUSON, MARIA, PROPOSED PURCHASER  CASE # 09-16.08-01

Maria Ferguson, Proposed Purchaser, her real estate agent, and John Freeman, Architect, were present.

Don Cole asked Ms. Ferguson to explain what she wanted to do. Ms. Ferguson stated that she wanted to relocate an existing school that is presently in the Village of Highland and the Village of New Paltz. Those Schools would be identified as the Hudson Valley School of  Massage Therapy  and the Hudson Valley School of Advanced Aesthetic Skin Care.  These schools would be moved into the property at 1723 9-W.  The Schools have been in existence for 10 years and they would be combined into one site. Presently New Paltz and Highland are being rented.

Don Cole stated that what Ms. Ferguson is looking for is a set back variance in the front and side. Please explain that.  

John Freeman presented a parcel site plan. The parcel is 1000 feet deep to the Hudson River. There are three existing structures on the property. The main house, cottage, and garage. All three would be converted to schools. It is estimated that the school will require a 100 parking spaces to provide amble parking. The parking would accommodate student, facility, staff and room for extension. The school would require 93 parking spaces. At night, it would be 50.

Don Cole asked if any students would be staying at the property. No, they would be there for the day.

John Ferguson indicated on the site plan that a100 foot set back that would be required.  The parking would be behind the buildings. He indicated the mowed lawn and woods on the plan.

Don Cole stated that a Variance of 25 feet would be required on the North side of the property and 40 foot in the front. It meets the requirements for the R-40, except there is that one clause that states institutional/educational uses require a 100-foot setback. Relief is sought from that one regulation.

Mr. Freeman indicated on the map that the property has a major drop off. There is a drop and the property declines. He also indicated on the plan property that would be below the septic area.

Don Cole stated that when he had previously spoke with Mr. Freeman they discussed the grade and how steep it was to the rear parking area. Across the street, The Stone Hedge Restaurant, has parking right off the street.

Mr. Freeman submitted many photos showing the property and the many buffers on the property.

A Variance of 75 feet from the property line and 60 feet in the front would be required. The other set backs for the property are 40 foot setback, 20 foot side setback, and 35 or 50 foot for the rear.

Again, the map was looked at; property in the area is residential. This side of the road (indicating map) is R-40 and this side is General Commercial.

Joe Guido asked why the parking could not be extended in the rear. It is all lawn and it would be in the Hudson River view and at the Vanderbilt Manor (Historical).

Karl Wick asked if parking on top would not be visible from across the river. Not really, blocked by buildings and trees. There is a stonewall on this side and you don’t see much pass that and then there are also woods.

Maria Ferguson stated that she wanted the parking in that little wooded area because it was secluded. Not a distraction to the river and not visible when the museum is occupied and people were coming through.

The central area (on the drawing) everything is mowed and to the right and left is all forest.

Mr. Freeman stated that from the house to the river is a clear view right down to the Hudson and right here (indicating map) is the Vanderbilt Manson.

Mr. Freeman indicated (on the map) the existing entrance to the property at present, all the vegetation will stay in place and behind the vegetation would go the parking.

Kathy Kiernan asked Ms. Ferguson if she would be living there. She replied “no” the whole building would be used for the school.

At this time, Mr. Freeman showed many photos that he had taken and they were placed in the zoning file for this case.

The Zoning Board inquired about visiting the property. They can go anytime, although they would have to make arrangements with the selling agent. The existing driveway is much to narrow.  The site line will be approximately 1000 feet and 2000 feet.

Kathy Kiernan inquired about the number of students. It varies because there are day and night classes. A listing of students, day and night was submitted. Ninety-three maximum parking spaces will be required at any maximum time. It is not always that way, it varies because on Friday one school is closed, facility administration is working.  The future vision is to make the massage therapy a four day schooling so the students will have three days off. That is already existing in the New Paltz School and State approval is required. It is not easy to do; the course work must be recreated. 

Mr. Freeman stated that the usage was broken down from morning class to evening class. Morning class is 33 students, 7 faculty, and morning clients are eight. Total of 48.  The school for skin atheistic is morning 30 students, faculty 8, and clients 7 for a total of 45. That is a total of ninety-three and then we added 7 for expansion. Total 100 spaces. The breakdown was copied and added to the file.

Rob Hare had Mr. Freeman explain the parking. In considering parking the natural buffer was considered in order that it would not look to commercial. In addition, the yard slopes. There is presently trees and shrubs that make a good natural buffer.

Karl Wick stated that the property does not appear to be steep, is the view from the river the only reason you cannot put the parking behind the building. Mr. Freeman stated that the property is very steep.  Mr. Freeman showed additional photos in order that the Board would have idea of the slope and how it drops off. 

After looking at the pictures, Rob Hare asked if it has already been terraced, yes, and he asked if the terrace was part of the septic field. No, the septic field….Mr. Freeman continues the tank is located here and the absorption field runs towards to cottage. We have to determine the condition of this concrete tank, it is probably 20 years old. We would probably need a second tank and a leach field.

Don Cole asked Mr. Freeman if he had approached the Board of Health of any of this. We are in the process of getting an application now. Don Cole asked about the well. We will be doing a pump test to determine that.

Don stated the Building Dept. would review that, the Zoning Board’s concern is the parking.

Karl Wick stated the applicant must convince the Board that there is not other remedy and there will be no harm to the neighborhood.

Mr. Freeman stated that this is an adult vocational school, it is fairly quite. There is a lot of parking. The class sessions are 9 – 2 four days a week and the massage is 8 – 12. There is a little traffic before 9 but very little until after 12.

The evening classes are 6 – 10 Monday thru Friday and the esthetics is 6 to 10 Monday through Wednesday. There is no afternoon activity creating traffic

The Massage School is already in a residential community in Highland. Rules might be different there, but parking goes right up to the neighbor.

Mr. Freeman stated that when the Board does the site visit you will see the parking and how unobtrusive it is. Mr. Freeman also asked the Board if anyone on the Board know of how this rule came to be for setbacks for parking at schools.

Karl Wick stated it came under the umbrella and institutions can mean many different things.

There was a discussion on the law and how is was written and different institutions. 

Joe Guido stated that the Board has to give very specific reasons of why a variance is granted and the more reasons the applicant gives the Board the better chance the application will have.

Don Cole stated it would be a nightmare to have parking way down there (indication map) and have to plow in the winter.

There was a discussion on placing the septic tank, running the lines, drainage field, and parking. Is there a setback from the river for septic – a Board of Health, a Coast Guard regulation?   Putting the septic on top is better, further from the river.
Rob Hare asked Mr. Freeman where this application stood with the Planning Board

Mr. Freeman said the Planning Board stated that they had to come for the variance. There was a sketch plan meeting two weeks ago and we have moved the parking….what happened we moved the parking back 40 feet and they liked this plan a lot. We also put the parking here (indicating drawing).   We are also trying to keep disturbance to a minimum.  We do not want to disturb more than we have to. But, we need to address the needs for the school.

Karl Wick asked if we had a statement from the owner, John Walker, stating that Marie Ferguson can represent him.   It is in the Planning Board records. Ms. Ferguson stated that she has already knocked on the neighbor’s doors and identified herself. The real estate agent or Ms. Ferguson can be called to make arrangement to see the property.

It was noted that across the street is general commercial and this property is a R-40.

We will get a copy of the permission letter from John Walker in the Planning Board file and place it is the Zoning Board file.

Marie Ferguson just wanted the following clarified:

Are we in favor, still thinking about it, a public hearing?
There will be a public hearing next month and possible a vote.

  1. The board will do a site visit
  2. Information and know that the application has been made to the Health Dept.
  3. Information about water on the premises and septic

 

Don Cole stated that the Building Dept. would cover all these things; however, we are just asking these questions.

Rob Hare explained the reason we want this information is because when we look at this we have to know that this the only place it can go and that within that neighborhood it is acceptable. If we discuss the parking in front, if you can show us that, it cannot go any where else, that is in your favor. You are presenting a case to us, this is a good use of the property, and that your setback problems will not affect the area.

Ms. Ferguson stated that she understood.

Joe Guido state that when you come back you neighbors will have been notified. If they don’t have a problem that will enhance your case, if there is a good reason that they do not want it there, that is a barrier for you.

An objection from one neighbor does not necessarily mean that it would be a “no go”, but the Board would be required to listen to what that neighbor had to say.  

The next meeting is October 21, 2008 and the Board will visit the property prior to that meeting. 
        
DECISIONAL MEETING

CARPINO, JOANNE                                        CASE # 07-15-08-01

Joanne Carpino was present.

Ms. Carpino stated that she had brought photos and a letter from Jack Reynolds stating that he had no objection.

Don Cole stated that none of the neighbors have objected. The new drawing is improved from
what we had in the past. It makes it easier to make a decision.

Karl Wick stated that a side yard variance would not be required. A variance from set back from the street and a variance for the garage in front of the house will still be required.

Kathy Kiernan asked Ms. Carpino if she had talked to the Highway Superintendant about an additional driveway cut.

No, Ms. Carpino stated that she would not put a driveway there because it is basically a shed. It is for a classis car. It is garaged from November 1 to April 1. It is not in and out everyday. It is basically a shed to store the car. I will not be working on it, or putting anything else in there. It is to keep it in there out of the weather.

Kathy Kiernan said, but you would still enter the road from where that shed is going to be, or would you drive across the lawn to your driveway. Ms. Carpino stated that she would drive across the lawn.

Karl Wick asked if the shed could be turned 90 degrees in order that the door faces the driveway.

I could, but I did not think it would look so good. I was trying to hide it as best as I could.

Rob Hare stated that it is a six-foot difference in the width if it was turned sideways and it does remove that question of the access over the driveway.  It would be six foot less of a setback.

Members of the Zoning Board explained this more clearly to Ms. Carpino. Rob Hare drew a diagram for Ms. Carpino showing the garage sideways.  Ms. Carpino explained that she did not think it would look as good and explained that she was trying to hide it.

Ms. Carpino showed different houses in the area and explained parking situations in her neighborhood.

Rob Hare told Ms. Carpino that the Board was trying to make the variance easier to grant.

Kathy Kiernan asked Ms. Carpino to show what garage she has chosen.   It has a side door and windows on each side of the main door. It would be the same siding as the house.

Rob Hare stated that in July when he looked at the plan he would have rejected it. At this point if you turn the building around, Kathy Kiernan has a very good point about the driveway access, so if you were to turn it so that the garage was parallel, and the garage door went towards your driveway, it would be a big improvement. You would not be looking at a garage door; you would be looking at a couple of windows, but in would not be as garage or industrial looking. That is in your favor and it is also a much less variance.

Don Cole stated your access from the building to your driveway.

Rob Hare stated again, the garage would be parallel to the roof of your house and to the building behind so that would make sense.  It is also a six-foot difference.  The garage would be placed in the same place. 

Again, Rob Hare showed Ms. Carpino a diagram. By doing it this way it will be 31 feet off the street, and 40 is required. A garage typically has a driveway; we are trying to limit your driveway to one cut, one driveway access instead of two. Rob explained that a second driveway could possible to put in without approval; the building inspector comes and checks it out and then the owner is up the creek because there was not approval. The Board is trying to find a way to make it work. The Board must be covered and the property owner must be covered. Setbacks are a big issue for the Board.

Ms. Carpino stated that it takes six weeks to order the garage and she wanted to do it soon.

The Board made a decision to vote on this application.

KARL WICK MADE A MOTION TO GRANT  A VARIANCE TO SECTION 123-21 c (5) (d) TO ALLOW PLACEMENT OF A 12 X 18 FOOT ACCESSORY STURCTURE IN THE FRONT YARD OF PROPERTY SUBJECT TO NORMAL SETBACKS AND A SECOND VARIANCE THAT WE WILL CONSIDER THIS SAME NIGHT. 

SECONDED BY ROB HARE.

The vote was as follows:

Karl Wick:     Yes.

Rob Hare:     Yes, I feel that the changes that were made in the plans tonight make it workable. I am sure that it will be well kept.

Don Cole:     Yes, I agree.

Kathy Kiernan:  I vote in favor. The applicant is willing to turn the building and it makes it a less variance.

Joe Guido:    Abstain. I was not here for the previous meetings.

Approved.

KARL WICK MADE A MOTION TO GRANT A VARIANCE TO SECTION 123-20 – SCHEDULE OF AREA REGULATIONS – TO ALLOW THIS BUILDING, IN THE AFOREMENTIONED VARIANCE, TO HAVE FRONT YARD SETBACK OF MINIMUM 31 FEET, WHICH IS A VARIANCE OF NINE FEET FROM THE REQUIRED 40 FEET.

SECONDED BY KATHY KIERNAN.

The vote was as follows.

Karl Wick:     I vote in favor. This variance will not hurt the neighborhood in anyway.  This is a mixed neighborhood with many older structures. This property is kept very nice.

Rob Hare:     I vote in favor.    In general, I do not have a big problem with accessory buildings in front of main residence.

Don Cole:     I vote in favor. The changes made on the variance makes for a better situation. No one appeared at the public hearing to contest this variance.  

Kathy Kiernan:  I vote in favor for the same reasons.

Joe Guido:    I abstain. I was not at previous meetings.

The Variance was GRANTED.

OLD BUSINESS – NONE.

Joe Guido made a motion to adjourn the meeting and Rob Hare seconded. All in favor.

The meeting was adjourned at 9:00 p.m.

Respectfully submitted.

Nancy Henry
Zoning Board Secretary