P.O. Box 700
Port Ewen, NY 12466
Zoning Board of Appeals

                   845-331-8630                                                Fax 845-331-8634

                                   TOWN OF ESOPUS ZONING BOARD OF APPEALS
                                              Minutes of the May 17, 2011 Meeting


CALL TO ORDER:  Chairman, Don Cole, called the meeting to order at 7:30 pm.


Present:  Vic Barranca, Rob Hare, Kathy Kiernan, Karl Wick and Chairman, Don Cole
Excused:  Joe Guido, Linda Smythe

Vic made a motion to approve the minutes of the March 15, 2011 meeting.  Seconded by Karl.  All in favor.

Karl made a motion to approve the voucher for secretarial work.  Seconded by Rob.  All in favor.


        1. Mordecai Peleg                           Area Variance

                                                                          9 Chambers Road                        80.01-3-25


Pamela Hartford, landscape designer, is representing the applicant.   She has been working on the site plan for the property.  In order to obtain a bank loan, applicant needed to get an approved site plan from the Town that approved 11 parking spaces -  6 for guests and 2 each for the tenant house on the property and an additional space.  Ms. Hartford explained that they were designated a bed & breakfast, even though they are not, because that is the closest category from which to choose.  Applicant and his wife are therapists and they do couples’ therapy on the weekends.  There is not going to be a lot of people coming in and out at all times – it will be a very controlled usage.   People will come in for a weekend and then leave.   Guests will probably be coming 2-3 weekends a month.   She explained that the bedrooms on the 2nd floor will be converted into guest bedrooms and the owners will live on the 3rd floor. 

Ms. Hartford stated that to get the required 11 parking spaces for the bank, the surveyor drew eleven parking spaces on a “giant concrete parking lot” in between the tenant house and the main house.  This is not attractive and since Chambers Road is at an 8% grade, it would be unbuildable, however, it was approved (by the TOE Planning Board).  She went on to say, that in her history evaluation of the site she came up with a recommendation for parking which would better fit the site and maintain the historic integrity of the buildings on the site. 

Ms. Hartford explained her plan which discreetly separates the parking spaces into different areas.  She suggests using the original front entrance on the south side of the house as the guest entrance and there is plenty of space there for 6 parking spaces.   She has allocated space for tenant parking near the tenant house and the owners will have their own entry on the other side of the main house where there is a kitchen back door.  The two spots for owner parking will be covered with pergolas with an arbor in between.

The applicant’s request is for a variance for the guest parking area to be 20 feet from the property line instead of the required 50 feet.  The goal is to have the guest parking not visible from the road and not visible from the main house.  Ms. Hartford is working with the neighbor to create a “natural buffer” on the south property line and to eliminate of a lot of “junk” trees and shrubbery.
A former entrance on 9W will be closed and there will be no entry from 9W.   Guests, tenants and owners will all come in from Chambers Road and go to their respective parking areas.  Ms. Hartford explained that her plan allows her to distribute parking so that it is more subtle and she can screen it better.  She is trying to maintain a residential atmosphere. 

Karl asked Ms. Hartford the location of the “paved apron” on Chambers Road.  She replied that
the paved apron will come in from 9W down Chambers Road to the tenant house.  A similar paved apron will be at the owner’s entry.  The rest of the driving area will be crushed stone, but she wanted something solid at the entries.   Ms. Hartford met with a  DOT representative regarding line of sight on 9W.  He made suggestions and she will comply.  She noted that Chambers Road is a private road.

Karl asked about the blocking of the 9W entry with evergreens and Ms. Hartford explained that the entire entry will closed off with plantings of billowing evergreen shrubs between the opening of a stone wall with stone 3 1/2 feet high stone posts on each side of the opening.  She is trying to emphasize the beautiful stone entry while still closing it.  She explained the screening characteristic of the shrubbery that will be used.

Rob asked if Ms. Hartford had gone over this plan with the neighbors to the south.   She stated that she had walked the property with the neighbor and his tenant.   The tenant is cutting down dead trees.  The neighbor owns the land all around them and an access road down to the river. 
She said they are coordinating so that when she plants, it will look nice from both sides.

Karl asked for an exact distance from the property line to the edge of the parking area so that the variance language is correct.  He measured it to scale from the drawing provided by Ms. Hartford and got about 10 feet.   She will bring the actual figure to the public hearing June 21.

Ms. Hartford asked if a distance of 15 feet from property line to parking would be acceptable.
Karl answered that they are not supposed to tell the applicant.  Rob stated that it depends on the public hearing statements from neighbors.

Chairman Cole dismissed Ms. Hartford and asked her to return on June 21 for the public hearing.

05-17-11-02                                                Lifespire, Inc.                                   Area Variance
                                                                    315 James Street                              56.18-1-1.116

Scott Dutton, architect, is representing the applicant.  Mr. Dutton explained that Lifespire is a non-profit agency providing housing for people with developmental disabilities and also  physical disabilities.  The house they are proposing is for an older population that is medically frail.  The people who move into this house, move into a family unit.  They all need assistance, none of them will be coming or going on their own.  Most of them are in wheelchairs or are permanently bed-ridden.  

Mr. Dutton provided the Board with photos of the lot taken from the neighbor’s property.  He explained that Lifespire purchased the property from James Rieker who recently sub-divided the property.  Lifespire representatives met with the building inspector and members of the town board and notified the town of their intent to purchase the property.  He explained that the town had 45 days in which to object and there were no objections.

Mr. Dutton had the property surveyed and started to design a house to meet Lifespire’s needs.  He explained the design of the driveway and how he had altered it tobe a safer traffic pattern and to avoid disturbance of the neighbors.  In order to have this one-way traffic pattern for the driveway, it is necessary to move the house into the front yard setback which is 30 feet.
Lifespire is requesting a 15 foot variance to have the house 15 feet from the property line.

If the board members visit the site, Mr. Dutton noted that the edge of the pavement varies from between 15 and 18 feet from the property line.  The telephone pole power lines follow the property line.  Many of the homes in this neighborhood are much closer than 30 feet from the street. 

Mr. Dutton stated that they do have an alternative plan, but this one is a better placement in the community, safer and with less congestion.  He thinks that this is an appropriate solution.

Kathy asked if Lifespire had an SIC number, Standard Industry Classification.  Mr. Dutton replied that he has a memo from the NY State Department of Codes Division stating that the home is classified as a single family residence.  A law passed approximately 15 years ago which states that when there is a group of people that have a disability and they live together as a single family unit and  are receiving services through New York State OPWDD – Office of People With Developmental Disabilities - they are to be classified as a single family unit. 

Rob asked the number of residents.  Mr. Dutton answered that there were six bedrooms, two doubles – eight residents.  The law states that you can have up to 14 in a home and still be classified as a single family unit.

Kathy asked about the number of staff and Mr. Dutton replied that the staff/client ratio is not quite one-to-one, but close.  The clients require a lot of medical attention – they need help with showering, eating.  Occupational therapists come in daily. 

Mr. Dutton stated that in the last 14 years his firm has designed 50 + homes in the community for people with disabilities – from teens with autism to adult populations with disabilities.    Lifespire is a not for profit entity which receives money from OPWDD and Medicare for providing services. 

Don asked the square footage of the house and Mr. Dutton replied 4,857 all single- story handicap accessible, three large bathrooms, 150 sq.ft. bedrooms, living room, kitchen, dining room, laundry.   He added that he recently did a similar facility by the Kingston/Ulster Airport for Ulster-Greene UARC – the Palmer Center.  It has a similar medical population.

Karl asked if there was ever a house on this property.  Mr. Dutton answered not to his knowledge.  Vic verified that there was never a house on the property.   Karl suggested that, if there are other homes in the neighborhood closer to the front property line than the required setback of 30 feet, Mr. Dutton should bring specific examples to the public hearing.   It will make the Board’s decision easier.  Karl also asked that Mr. Dutton give consideration to door sizes in his design to enable emergency services to come and go with stretchers with little discomfort to the clients.  Mr. Dutton explained the challenges of finding appropriate hardware for a wider-than-average door.   He stated that the granting of the variance request- placing the residence further into the front yard- would allow them easy ingress and egress with emergency vehicles.

Kathy asked why there are stairs if it is a one-story house and Mr. Dutton replied that the stairs are to the basement which houses the mechanical room, sprinkler system, boiler and storage.
About one-third of the footprint is a full basement and the rest is slab on grade.

Vic asked if the main entrance is going to be in the rear of the building.  Mr. Dutton replied that was correct and he showed elevation diagrams and pointed out  the wrap-around porch. 

Don asked what kind of heat the building would have and Mr. Dutton answered that he would have a boiler – hydronic system.  The actual delivery will be determined by the budget, but his ideal system would be a valance unit where the hydronic heating and cooling is located above the window.  Baseboards are often abused by wheelchairs and beds knocking into them.  Convection drives the heat down into the room from the valance unit above.  The units fit well and have built-in lights. 

With Albany’s budget constraints, Mr. Dutton explained that he has $165 per sq. foot to work with and his experience has taught him where he needs to spend the money.   In budget language, it is called a “hardcap” - you get “X” amount of dollars per client.

Mr. Dutton was asked to come back before the Board on June 21 for the public hearing.

There was NO OLD BUSINESS and Chairman Cole made a motion to adjourn the meeting.
Seconded by Rob.  All in favor.

Meeting adjourned at 8:06 pm.

Respectfully submitted,


Joan Boris, Secretary
Zoning Board of Appeals