TOWN OF SARATOGA
ZONING BOARD OF APPEALS MINUTES
August 22, 2005
Chairman Stephen Bodnar called the meeting to order at 7:33 p.m.
Chairman Stephen Bodnar led the flag salute and explained the Rules of the Board. He apologized for the slight delay in starting the meeting, explaining that he had been waiting for another board member to arrive. He noted that, because the County Planning Board had advised that Chris Lofgren’s application be denied, the Zoning Board of Appeals would need a supermajority vote to supersede that recommendation. Since one Board member was absent, Chairman Stephen Bodnar noted that alternate Robert McConnell was recognized as a voting member of the Zoning Board of Appeals for the night’s business.
Clerk Catherine Cicero called the roll: Chairman Stephen Bodnar – present, Thomas Carringi – present, Barbara Faraone – present, Clifford Hanehan – present, Joyce Waldinger – present, David Hall – present, James Burke – absent, and alternate Robert McConnell – present.
Also present: Zoning Officer Robert Hathaway, Town Supervisor Tom Wood, and several interested members of the public [see attached Meeting Attendance Sign-In Sheet].
Approval of Minutes: All board members present had read the minutes of the July 25, 2005 meeting. A motion was made by Barbara Faraone and seconded by David Hall to accept the minutes of the July 25, 2005 meeting as written. Chairman Stephen Bodnar – aye , David Hall – aye, Clifford Hanehan – aye, Barbara Faraone – aye, Thomas Carringi – aye, Joyce Waldinger – aye, and Robert McConnell – aye.
Carried 7 – 0
Order of Business:
109 DeGarmo Rd.
Schuylerville, NY 12871
S/B/L 156-2-16 & 19 Rural Residential
Returning Applicant is seeking an area variance of 80’ for road frontage and 30’ for side setbacks on property fronting Rt. 29 in Grangerville. Attorney Livingston Coulter spoke on behalf of Chris Lofgren, noting that 19 more signatures had been obtained supporting his proposed use of the site, making a total of 39 signatures. It was Mr. Coulter’s contention that the property was not situated in the flood plain based on the map he had obtained. He corrected the record to note that the building coverage was 2%, not 6%, of the property, and that Mr. Lofgren would restrict the number of cars on the lot to any figure that the Board might designate as reasonable.
Mr. Coulter acknowledged the presence of wetlands on the property, but stated that they were far enough away from where the building and cars would be located that they would not be affected. In answer to a question from Chairman Stephen Bodnar, Mr. Coulter said the wetlands are located 160’ from the proposed car lot; 60’ more than is legally required. Further, with regard to the issue of site distances for traffic entering and exiting the lot, Mr. Coulter stated that part of the problem is due to overgrown trees located on the neighboring Allen property. He said that Mr. Lofgren would be “more than willing” to use DeGarmo road for all traffic, eliminating the use of Rt 29. A barrier, such as a chain link fence could be erected.
Mr. Coulter added that Mr. Lofgren’s road frontages on DeGarmo and on Rt 29 should be combined, which would give him sufficient road coverage for the proposal. He concluded that, although the portion of the property fronting on Rt 29 needs a variance, there is plenty of space in the rear of the property.
The Board reviewed a Flood Plain Insurance Rate Map (Map # 36091C0000), issued by the US Federal Emergency Management Agency, dated August 16, 1995, and determined that the property was, in fact, situated within the designated flood plain area.
Chairman Stephen Bodnar read from Local Law #1, 1995, entitled Flood Damage Prevention, which does not allow the type of operation proposed by Mr. Lofgren to be located on a flood plain.
Chairman Stephen Bodnar then read the letter from the County Planning Board, which recommended that the application be denied on the basis that putting used cars on the lot could result in “negative environmental impacts to Fish Creek and surrounding properties with regard to seasonal flooding and well protection.”
Chairman Stephen Bodnar next read from memoranda from Town Attorney William Reynolds which reiterated his opinion that the two frontages could be combined to meet the minimum road frontage; however, the width of the property still requires a “substantial” variance within the meaning of the zoning law.
Marc Gerstman addressed the Board, stating that he represented the interests of Jay and Bonnie Allan, Bruce Harding, and Mary Huber, who all opposed the granting of the variance. Mr. Gerstman stated the variance should not be granted because the property is situated on the 100-year flood plain, there were issues concerning the possibility of car repairs being made on the property, the proposed use of the property would be in conflict with the character of the community, he was not aware of any precedent allowing two non-contiguous road frontages to be combined to meet minimum road frontage requirements, and that the standards of the Zoning Board of Appeals have not been met. He added that he had FOILed NYDOT for information regarding accidents along that section of Rt 29 which can be forwarded to the Board once it is obtained.
In answer to a question regarding the SEQR process, Chairman Stephen Bodnar stated that the Zoning Board of Appeals had not been designated the lead agency; that would be the Planning Board if the variances were granted.
Mr. Gerstman continued, stating that any hardship resulting from the variances not being granted would be self-inflicted by Mr. Lofgren, and that the property can still be developed without the granting of these particular variances.
Chairman Stephen Bodnar summarized the situation, stating that the application is for a substantial variance for a parcel located in the floodplain, and for an occupation not allowed in the floodplain.
Chairman Stephen Bodnar repeated that the variances would be “substantial” in nature and that the Board would need a supermajority vote to supersede the County’s recommendation, but would only need a majority vote to deny the application.
Barbara Faraone made a motion to deny the application, seconded by Clifford Hanehan, based on the property’s location in the floodplain and along a busy highway. Clifford Hanehan added that the motion should include the notation that the Board has been given a clear directive from the County Planning Board and Town Attorney William Reynolds that the application should be denied.
Chairman Stephen Bodnar – aye , David Hall – aye, Clifford Hanehan – aye, Barbara Faraone – aye, Thomas Carringi – aye, Joyce Waldinger – aye, and Robert McConnell – aye.
Carried 7 – 0
Rt 9P Box 1226
Saratoga Springs, NY 12866
S/B/L 193.18-14-05 Lake Residential
Returning Applicant has removed an existing trailer from the property and is seeking an area variance of 25’ to meet front setback requirements to build a single family home. Mr. Sekerich addressed the Board, stating that the new building would be 1400 square feet “and change” and the coverage will be less than 10% of the lot size, which is 100’x 150’.
A discussion of Mr. Sekerich’s house plans followed, in which it was determined that the house would be 61.10’x38’, including a garage and a slight “jog” out of the side of the house. There would be a minimum setback of 25’ from the property line, which would probably be even more than that since there was a wellhouse located along that side of the property. The building needs only one variance, for road frontage, because the parcel fronts a “paper road” which used to provide access to the property, but has since been blocked off by excavation from the neighbor. Right-of-way to the property would be provided by Mr. Sekerich by a driveway crossing his own property. Town Zoning Officer Robert Hathaway stated that he had no objections to granting the variance.
In answer to questioning, Mr. Sekerich stated that the trailer sewage line had been hooked to a holding tank, but facilities exist for a new sewage line to be hooked up.
Tom Carringi made a motion to grant the variance. Barbara Faraone seconded the motion with the provision that the right-of-way to the property be set at a minimum of 20’ in width. Chairman Stephen Bodnar –aye , David Hall – aye, Clifford Hanehan – aye, Barbara Faraone – aye, Thomas Carringi – aye, Joyce Waldinger – aye, and Robert McConnell – aye. Carried 7 – 0
Old Business: Supervisor Tom Wood reported that progress had been made with regard to issues the Town has had with Mr. Gong’s property. The Town will give Mr. Gong specific instructions concerning the minimum work that must be done on the property to avoid demolishing the building. The Town intends to pursue the matter and may require the building to be demolished in the future if requirements aren’t met.
A brief discussion followed on overcrowded dock space around the lake. Tom Carringi noted that Lake George uses a permit system, allowing only one boat per home.
New Business: Town Supervisor Tom Wood reported to the Board on the progress of the Zoning Amendment Advisory Committee (ZAAC), stating that the work was progressing, but it was progressing at a much slower pace due to the difficulty of getting all the members to meet in the summer time. He noted that one area that has been designated to advance right away is the issue of fees. Although they were increased last year at about this time, they are still comparatively low by other Town standards. The Town Board would be taking up this matter at its next Agenda Meeting. Town Supervisor Tom Wood noted that the project would continue into next year before its completion.
The next regular meeting will be September 26, 2005 at 7:30 p.m.
Chairman Stephen Bodnar made a motion to adjourn at 8:44 pm. The motion was seconded by Clifford Hanehan. Chairman Stephen Bodnar – aye , David Hall – aye, Clifford Hanehan – aye, Barbara Faraone – aye, Thomas Carringi – aye, Joyce Waldinger – aye, and Robert McConnell – aye. Carried 7 – 0
Catherine E. Cicero