Town of Esopus Zoning Board of Appeals
OCTOBER 21, 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.
Present: Don Cole, Chairman, Karl Wick, Rob Hare, Vic Barranca, Kathy Kiernan, and Joe Guido, and Linda Smythe.
APPROVAL OF MINUTES
VIC BARRANCA MADE A MOTION TO APPROVE THE MINUTES AS WRITTEN. ROB HARE SECONDED. ALL PRESENT VOTED IN FAVOR.
APPROVAL OF VOUCHERS
JOE GUIDO MADE A MOTION TO APPROVE THE VOUCHER FOR SECRETARIAL WORK. VIC BARRANCA SECONDED. ALL IN FAVOR.
No new applications.
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 if there was anyone in the audience that wanted to speak in favor or against this application. No one was present.
Don Cole asked the Board members if they had any questions regarding this application.
Joe Guido asked to review the site plan. He asked the architect what the four stakes on the property were. John Freeman asked if he meant the stakes with the blue ribbons. Yes. There are actually six of them and they are test holes for the septic system. The tree island was also discussed.
The old/new entrance was discussed. The DOT has not yet approved the new entrance. They have been at the site and expressed no objections. The Planning Board will be reviewing that entrance and this application still must be finished with them.
Mr. Freeman indicated that they were in a catch 22 with the Planning Board. The DOT wants the Planning Board to give a SEQR determination, but they don’t do that until the end of the review. The Planning Board would like something from the DOT saying that they approve the entrance. Letters have been written, site visits have been made, Mr. Freeman has spoken to DOT, and there is a form letter that can be issued basically stating that they have no objections to the current layout.
Don Cole asked Mr. Freeman the entrance width. It is 24 feet. The original trees will remain.
The southern driveway will remain but be chained off. It will not be used as an entrance. It is a good idea to have an extra entrance to the property in case of fire or anything else like that.
Joe Guido confirmed with Ms. Ferguson that she is an accredited school. Recognized by New York State and the United States. The Federal accredited agency is NACCASS. Documentation can be provided. Joe Guido explained that he questioned that because this property would make a nice hotel and he would like to make sure that this property is used for education. Ms. Ferguson stated that the State Ed sent a letter to the Building Department when he inquired about this site. There is a letter on file from the NYS Department of Education.
Joe Guido wanted to clarify who stated the number of spaces that would be needed for the parking. Ms. Ferguson explained that at the Planning Board it was discussed. The Planning Board said lets make the parking lot for 70 cars; they would pre-approve it for 100. We plan to do an expansion in the future.
The architect stated that Ms. Ferguson was also thinking that she might add another building. The parking would stay within the same setbacks that we are proposing here, indicating drawing; it may have this drive (indicating map) and come down to a lower parking area.
Don Cole asked if there were a total of 105 parking spaces. It is approximately 100 spaces. Don Cole asked if this would be a tax-exempt property. As a school, will be tax exempt? Ms. Ferguson stated that she did not know if she would make it tax exempt. Don Cole stated that he would be very much against taking it off the tax roll. Ms. Ferguson stated that she did not know how she would be able to take it off the tax roll. Ms. Ferguson stated that she did not know how she would be able to get an exemption because she is a “for profit”. Rob Hare verified that Ms. Ferguson was “for profit”.
Joe Guido asked about expanding parking. Ms. Ferguson would have to come back to the Zoning Board if that was done. We will vote on what we see tonight. Ms. Ferguson stated that she was not asking for more parking. The Planning Board suggested that we start with less, have this approved, and then when you need it later on, we can go from there. If you don’t need it all now. It just goes on and on and on.
Mr. Freeman stated that the way things look now, if the parking is to change, this area will come out (indicating site plan), and this parking area will move, but we will still keep the same set backs.
Joe Guido stated that we will approve as is.
Mr. Ferguson asked if the Board could possible approve, the setbacks further back another 75 feet. For any possible changes that are being anticipated and we would not be required to come back for another variance. The Board stated that if parking was going to go down further, the applicant would have to come back. The Building Inspector will cover that.
Ms. Ferguson stated that she wanted to keep the integrity of what is there now. A parking lot will not be put in down to the river. The Health Department has been there; we have dug up the land and recovered it. Don Cole asked how things went with the Health Department. Ms. Ferguson stated that everything is fine. He spoke to my office, and they explained how the bookings were done. An estimate had to be done; it is not a solid number.
Joe Guido stated that after visiting the property he could understand the need to put the parking on top and not down below in the rear. Ms. Ferguson stated again that she does not want to ruin the property.
Don Cole asked if the septic is in the rear. Yes said Ms. Ferguson, we dug in all up and then covered it up. Joe Guido stated that is another reason why he would be concerned about how far down this parking goes. Ms. Ferguson stated that she does not want parking down in the rear she wants it up on top with beautiful landscaping. There is still a lot of work to do.
Mr. Freeman stated that this property runs from the road to the river, about 1,000 feet. Mr. Freeman asked if the setback could be given up to 350 feet from the road. Right now, it is showing 260 feet.
Don Cole asked him why he would need more.
reeman if they were changing this now.
Yes, Mr. Freeman said. We are trying to work with the Planning Board. The Health Department and the DOT and this Board. This Board would have to be first because we would have to go for the variance. This is our first hurdle, and then after we are here then we need to finalize it. Right now, it looks like this parking is going to change, and what we would like to do is keep the same setback, just want it a little further back, so we do not have to come back to the Zoning Board.
Don Cole stated this was brought to us, this current application, and if you change it now, you will have to start all over again. New drawings. I am trying to explain to you, in a round about way, go with this now, and the changes you want to make will be addressed at another time.
You can get yourself going and in business.
Ms. Ferguson stated that beginning November 1, 2008, because I have gone into contract, I have to start paying Mr. Walker rent of $ 5,000. per month. We cannot do anything with the Planning Board until the Variance is done.
The setbacks were discussed. Karl Wick asked Mr. Freeman to explain to the Board the question of why you could not put the parking to the east of the building. Because it was to steep. However, you plan to expand the parking and increase the building?
Again, Mr. Freeman stated that there are a number of reasons that the parking is not good there, (indicating site plan), it is steep, and they will have to deal with that. But, if all the parking is down there, it is very hard for people to get up. If it were here (indicating site plan), most of the parking is at an elevation 10 feet above or 10 feet below the building. In that general range. When you start getting down below you start dropping off quickly. Then all the parking is located at a much lower elevation. It just does not seem like a very reasonable thing to do.
Joe Guido said last time I was saying put the parking down here, and you were saying you could not do that because it was to steep, but now, down the road, you are going to put it there anyway.
Mr. Freeman stated that this is the best area for parking (indicating site plan); this is the flattest area, the most accessible to the building. It is prime location for the parking.
Don Cole suggested that the applicant get this project going and have money for other things in the future.
It was verified that Mr. Walker had submitted a letter giving permission for the applicant to speak regarding the property. A copy is in the file.
There is a sketch plan in the file that was submitted to the architect. The drawing is dated September 3, 2008. Don Cole, Chairman and Maria Ferguson, Proposed Purchaser, signed the drawing tonight. It will be used as a referral.
The Board made a decision to vote on this application.
JOE GUIDO MADE A MOTION TO CLOSE THE PUBLIC HEARING. KARL WICK SECONDED. ALL IN FAVOR.
KATHY KIERNAN MADE A MOTION TO GRANT A VARIANCE FROM SECTION 123.13 O. (1) FOR PARKING AS SHOWN ON A SKETCH PLAN OF MEDENBACH & EGGERS DATED SEPTEMBER 3, 2008 AND SIGNED ON OCTOBER 21, 2008 TO ALLOW PARKING TO ENCROACH ON THE REQUIRED 100’ SETBACK ON THE NORTH SIDE BY 75’, ON THE WEST SIDE BY 60’, AND ON THE SOUTH SIDE BY 10’ WITH THE STIPULATION THAT THE PROPERTY BE USED AS A SCHOOL AND THAT THE TREES REMAIN AS A BUFFER AS SHOWN ON THE SUBMITTED DRAWING.
SECOND BY KARL WICK.
The vote was as follows:
Karl Wick: Yes. I gave this very careful consideration. Topography being snow and ice issues. I think this is a workable solution. I am not totally comfortable being this is an R-40 Zone, but I think it is workable. It is a reasonable solution. I will vote in favor of this variance.
Rob Hare: Yes. Due to a lack of public outcry. This is a reasonable use and the fact that it will remain a school.
Vic Barranca: I vote in favor for reasons stated. There is no detriment to the neighborhood.
Don Cole: I vote in favor for all the various reasons that were stated.
Kathy Kiernan: I vote in favor. I think it is the best way to put the parking on the property. I would not like to see it in front of the building. It is a good variance plan.
Joe Guido: I vote in favor of this. It is an extensive variance. It seem to be the most reasonable compromise visual from the river and the 9-W.
Linda Smythe: Abstain. Was not at previous meeting.
The variance was GRANTED.
A conference, “RESERVING YOUR LAND” was explained by Rob Hare. Rob Hare spoke to Dennis Doyle about getting credits, and he believes that it would be two credits.
Don Cole made a motion to adjourn the meeting. Linda Smythe second. All in favor.
The meeting was adjourned at 8:30 p.m.
Zoning Board Secretary