TOWN OF SARATOGA
MINUTES - DRAFT
February 28, 2007 - 7:30 PM
Chairman Ian Murray called the meeting to order at 7:32 p.m.
Planning Clerk Catherine Cicero called the roll. Chairman Ian Murray – present, Ralph Pascucci – absent (Mr. Pascucci arrived at 7: 37 p.m.), Paul Griffen – absent, Robert Park – present, Laurie Griffen – present, Patrick Hanehan – present, Robert McConnell – absent, and Alternate Jennifer Koval – present.
Approval of Minutes: All Board members present had read the minutes of the January 24, 2007 meeting. A motion was made by Laurie Griffen, seconded by Patrick Hanehan, to accept the minutes of January 24, 2007 as written. Chairman Ian Murray – aye, Robert Park – aye, Patrick Hanehan – aye, Ralph Pascucci – aye, and Laurie Griffen – aye. Carried 5 – 0.
Chairman Ian Murray made a motion, seconded by Laurie Griffen, to elevate Alternate Jennifer Koval to voting status due to the absence of Paul Griffen and Robert McConnell. Chairman Ian Murray – aye, Robert Park – aye, Laurie Griffen – aye, Patrick Hanehan – aye, and Ralph Pascucci – aye.
Carried 5 – 0.
Order of Business:
Willard F. Chamberlin Trust, Applicant
143 Circular Street
Saratoga Springs, NY 12866
S/B/L 155.-1-46.11,-46.2, and 46.3 Rural Residential
Returning Applicant proposes a 28-lot conservation subdivision on 89.7 +/- acres on the north side of Route 29, across from Bryants Bridge Road, to be named Schuyler Hills.
Peter David, of the LA Group, appeared on behalf of the Applicant and gave an update on the project since it was last before the Board in December, 2005. He gave a brief history, stating that the parcel was approved for a 35-lot conventional subdivision in 1990. In March 2005, the Applicant proposed a 32-lot conservation subdivision. The Board did a walk-through of the property in the following month, and granted preliminary approval for the project in December, 2005. Mr. David stated that, although the application has not been before the Board for several months, he has been in frequent contact with Chairman Ian Murray and Town Engineer Kenneth Martin regarding the proposal.
Since then, the proposal has been modified in several respects. The number of lots has been reduced to 28 due to required setbacks for wetlands and between wells and septic systems, leaving 52.917+/- acres of open space.
The road has been shifted 150’ to the west, improving its relationship to Bryants Bridge Road and avoiding an archaeologically sensitive area. The grading has been changed, as well as the drainage system, which is now an open system rather than the previously proposed closed system.
In accordance with a NYS DOH recommendation, 4 test wells and 4 deep test pits were dug and the results were approved.
NYS DOT, Town Engineer Kenneth Martin, and Town Highway Superintendent David Hall have discussed the road plans. The slope has been minimized and erosion control blankets will be put down for re-vegetation. Mr. David offered a list of proposed trees for replanting, adding that there will be more landscaping than in the initial plan. He said the look will be less barren than previously and the entrance will look nicer. He said that the Applicant is hoping for a public hearing in April and would like final approval at that time.
Chairman Ian Murray had several remarks:
The drawing cover sheet must state that there will be no further subdivision on open-space land.
The final submission of the maps must be stamped. Mr. David said that storm water modifications would be made to the drawings and then the final maps would be printed and stamped.
The SEQR review can’t be completed until a letter is received from NYS DOH.
A Home Owners Association must be established to maintain the open space areas. Mr. David said the attorney for the Applicant is handling the contract for the Home Owners Association.
On drawing L-1, the driveway for Lot 28 must come off of the subdivision. Ralph Pascucci noted that, by moving the roadway over, a lot has been removed that would have provided screening for the subdivision; the vegetation will be gone that would have hidden everything. He said that although the planting of oaks and maples will provide good screening 30 years from now, there will be no visual buffer for years. Mr. Pascucci said that Lot 27 is a major concern because the visual impact along Route 29 is what gives the impression of the rural character of the Town to motorists passing through.
A discussion followed on the types of soil on the parcel, the use of larger trees for screening, and the use of a landscape plan for the side slopes. Ralph Pascucci requested that the Applicant make an inventory of the existing trees so they can be identified and preserved. He said the clearing plan should be approved by Town Engineer Kenneth Martin and strictly limited. Robert Park requested that the Applicant provide a sketch or photos to show what the vegetation currently looks like. That information should include housing elevations. Mr. David said that he would provide something at the next meeting and added that the planned tree plantings will include a mix of evergreen and deciduous. Mr. Pascucci asked whether there would be a significant no-cut area.
Chairman Ian Murray said that he would like to see the septic system on Lot 15 reconfigured to the back of the house so the screening vegetation on that lot wouldn’t be affected. Mr. David raised concerns about separation distances, saying they are currently very tight. Ralph Pascucci asked whether the septic systems could be situated side-by-side; Mr. David responded that a lot of them are that way.
Chairman Ian Murray had several questions regarding the grading notes on drawing L-1. He asked if the 1990 survey was upgraded before being used as the base map. Mr. David responded that the topo map is within “planning stages accurate” and that the building contractors will be responsible for verifying all field conditions. Chairman Ian Murray pointed out that the SWPPP procedures are mandatory regarding erosion control, so the map language should be stricken. He also requested language to make erosion control mandatory on the slopes.
A brief discussion followed on erosion control along the roadway. Mr. David agreed to revise the maps.
The road radius will be 33’ according to Town Engineer Kenneth Martin and Town Highway Superintendent David Hall. It was determined that a letter from NYS DOT to that effect would not be necessary.
Chairman Ian Murray asked Mr. David who has jurisdiction over the wetlands since there are some designated by the Army Corps of Engineers and some by NYS DEC. He pointed out that there is some confusion between the SEQR filing and the maps as to which wetlands are which.
Mr. David said that he would find out what the designations are and make corrections.
It was clarified that HP means “high point” on the maps. On sheets L-1 and L-2, Lots 27 and 28 are reversed; the designation needs to be corrected because Lot 27 has a proposed engineered septic system.
Chairman Ian Murray referred to the water quality treatment on drawing L-2, Lot 14, and asked whether a drywell should be installed. Mr. David did not believe that was necessary. He referred to the detail on drawing L-7, Lot 11.
Chairman Ian Murray said that he was looking for additional trees for screening along the streets. He illustrated what he wanted on the drawings; Mr. David said that the drawings would be revised.
Chairman Ian Murray referred to drawing L-3, Lots 8 and 25, noting that the slopes are too great. He requested that the layout be flipped to move the driveways, or to front-load the lots. A brief discussion followed on the septic sites and lot layouts. Mr. David said that a grading plan for each lot could be filed with its building permit application.
There followed a lengthy discussion on use of the vertical curve at the driveway entrance. According to Mr. David, the road plans were constrained by slopes, wetlands, and zoning regulations.
Finally, Chairman Ian Murray advised Mr. David that he needs to provide a copy of the full long form EAF for SEQR review. He also advised Mr. David to provide neighbor notification so a second public hearing can be held at the March Planning Board meeting. Chairman Ian Murray stated for the record that the first public hearing on this application was held on December 14, 2005. Both Chairman Ian Murray and Ralph Pascucci noted that it was unlikely that final approval would be possible before the April meeting at the earliest. Mr. David said that he is still waiting for SHPPO approval of the archaeological study.
Patrick Hanehan asked about the agricultural setbacks on the south and west side. Mr. David said that the buffer exceeds the required setbacks, but would provide the exact numbers, which he believes to be 150’ and 100’, respectively. There was a discussion regarding the possibility of making these buffers a no-cut area.
Chairman Ian Murray asked the Board if there were any further questions; there were none. RETURNING
Arthur Kemmet, Applicant
183 River Road
Schuylerville, NY 12871
S/B/L 209.13-1-17 Conservancy
Gil Van Guilder appeared on behalf of the returning Applicant, stating that the previous proposal for a 4-lot subdivision has now been reduced to a three lot subdivision on the 22.91+/- acre parcel situated primarily between NYS Rte 4 and River Road. Lot 1 is now 13 acres. The parcel straddles NYS Route 4 and has additional frontage on Wilbur Road.
Mr. Van Guilder handed out a revised map of the proposal, stating that the topography of the property is primarily a ridge with wetlands on either side. There are both NYS DEC and Army Corps of Engineers designated wetlands, and the appropriate setbacks have been incorporated into the plans. Mr. Van Guilder said the proposal complies with all FEMA regulations; 2-3’ of imported fill will be used to raise each house to at or above the flood plain.
Chairman Ian Murray said that he and Town Engineer Kenneth Martin had found information on FEMA maps to establish the flood plain elevation at 97’, but that information is still not provided on the proposal. Mr. Van Guilder says that his office will provide an elevation certificate to FEMA for flood insurance requirements at the time the Certificate of Occupancy is issued. There will be grading plans for each individual lot. He added that he has worked previously with Zoning Officer Robert Hathaway on homes along Saratoga Lake that are situated in the flood plain. He added that the information will be included in the subdivision plats if the Planning Board requires it.
A discussion followed on NYS DOH requirements for septic systems in the flood plain. Chairman Ian Murray said that the current septic plans are below the 100-year flood plain; he said that the 10-year flood plain information is necessary to determine whether the property is even buildable. Mr. Van Guilder said that he would investigate this issue with FEMA and respond to the Board’s concerns.
A discussion followed on the code requirements for building houses within the flood plain, such as not having a basement, and having the electrical systems and first floor above the flood plain. The discussion included a history of flooding along NYS Route 4 and River Road which, according to Mr. Kemmet’s recollection to Mr. Van Guilder, happened on a regular basis before the dam was built on the Sacandaga River.
Chairman Ian Murray advised Mr. Van Guilder to include the test pits and proposed septic sites on the survey map. He also asked Mr. Van Guilder to provide information on well and septic sites on the surrounding properties to show that separation requirements have been met.
Chairman Ian Murray recommended that the parking area near the river be eliminated to prevent it from becoming a public parking area.
Town Engineer Kenneth Martin asked for information on the septic expansion.
Mr. Van Guilder said that the weather has prevented the Army Corps of Engineers from delineating the wetlands. There was a discussion on the possibility of isolated wetlands on the property, which needs to be verified.
Chairman Ian Murray asked the Board if there were any further questions; there were none. RETURNING
David and Jane Sheeran, Applicants
176 Burke Rd
Saratoga Springs, NY 12866
S/B/L 181-1-26 Rural
Applicants are proposing to subdivide a 34.39+/- acre parcel into four lots. An existing home (Lot #1) will have a 4.69+/- acre lot. Lots 1, 3 and 4 will be 4.99+/- acres, 11.20+/- acres, and 13.41+/- acres, respectively. Lot 3 would be a flag lot.
Dave Myers, of Myers Engineering, appeared on behalf of the Applicants explaining that the existing house sits on a bedrock ridge, and that the proposed lots were determined based on function, septic sites, and aesthetics. The parcel provides long range views off to the east. The septics on lots 1 and 4 will be raised. Mr. Myers provided information on the septic designs stating that material for the raised systems would be imported since there is none available on the property.
The proposal would utilize two existing driveways. The Sheerans use one for their residence and would share that driveway with Lot 1. Lots 3 and 4 would share a driveway that is currently a trail. Mr. Myers said the sight distance from the driveway is about 600’ from the north and about 500’ from the south. He noted that Burke Road is not posted for speed. He said that the current driveway is quite steep and would not meet Town driveway regulations. That issue would have to be addressed.
Chairman Ian Murray noted for the record that the flag lot was not included in the initial presentation to the Board last month. He explained the history of the zoning regulation regarding flag lots, stating that it was intended to preserve the rural character of the Town, and gave an example of where a flag lot was created behind working farmland in order to preserve the road frontage and rural use of that land. In this instance, the flag lot would be located behind an existing house; therefore, there is no preservation of farmland. Instead, the use of the Sheerans’ proposed flag lot would be purely for density. Both Chairman Ian Murray and Ralph Pascucci stated their reluctance to set a precedent in this instance which would open the door to similar proposals. Ralph Pascucci said that there are several parcels situated within the Town with the same constraints. He added that the Board has consistently denied applications for flag lots when they do not meet the zoning requirement.
Jane Sheeran explained to the Board the rationale behind the lot layouts. There followed a lengthy discussion on the process of the application before the ZBA and back again before the Planning Board.
Laurie Griffen read from the Town Zoning Regulations regarding flag lots:
M.1. Purpose and Intent: The use of keyhole lots is generally discouraged. The primary
objective is to prevent incremental development that unnecessarily uses valuable
farmland and degrades the open space perspective of the Town. Allowing limited
flag lots allows the Planning Board the flexibility to negotiate the set-aside of roadside
views and agriculturally-used lands to get a better land use pattern than would be
achieved by the straight road frontage rule.
M.4.d. In situations where the above requirements cannot be met or where
environmental and scenic considerations are paramount, the Planning Board can
permit access to a final one residence flag lot if deed restrictions are imposed.
This standard prevents future incremental land development of difficult properties.
Ralph Pascucci recommended that the Applicants return to their initial proposal and request road frontage variances from the Zoning Board of Appeals if necessary. Laurie Griffen stated that the Applicants have other options that they could present to the Planning Board. Robert Park said that he does not want the Planning Board to set a precedent of granting unnecessary flag lots.
Town Engineer Kenneth Martin recommended that the Board do a site walk when weather permits. Mr. Myers suggested that the application be tabled for now. TABLED
Darren Tracy, Applicant
235 Daniels Road
Saratoga Springs, NY 12866
S/B/L 157-1-21.11 Rural Residential
Terry Humistan appeared on behalf of the Applicant, who proposes to divide his parcel on NYS Route 4 into 2 lots with existing buildings, with one lot to include the relocated house from Schuylerville Central School. Mr. Humistan provided a new copy of the survey, which relates to a proposed shared driveway and includes the building envelope. He then explained the history of the house, referred to as The Old Webster House, which was previously owned by Schuylerville Central School and was moved from one part of its property to a spot adjacent to Mr. Tracy’s lands. The parcel with the house was incorporated into Mr. Tracy’s land by lot-line adjustment granted by the Planning Board in December 2006. The closing on that transfer has taken place and Mr. Tracy is now applying for a subdivision of the property with that residence in order to sell it.
Robert Park asked where the existing septic is located; Mr. Tracy thought it might be behind the barns, but was unsure because the installation predated his ownership of the property.
Chairman Ian Murray asked for grading contours on the plan, a drainage plan, and sight distances for the driveway.
Mr. Humistan said that the school has fairly recently acquired a topographic map of all its property and he was hopeful that he could obtain an overlay of that information for the proposed subdivision. He said that the septic system would need to be engineered, and perc tests will be conducted in the spring of this year. There is an existing gravel drive to the residence, previously owned by the school, connected to the driveway used by the other buildings on his property; however, Mr. Tracy explained that those buildings use the north end of the driveway, which is the only end plowed in the winter.
Town Engineer Kenneth Martin questioned whether NYS DOT has to approve a curb cut for the driveway. Mr. Humistan said that he would ask NYS DOT to give an opinion on that and will put sight distances on the plans.
The Board determined that the proposal meets road frontage and area requirements for the rural residential district.
Due to the historic sensitivity of the site, Chairman Ian Murray directed the Applicant to perform an archaeological study in order to complete the SEQR review. Laurie Griffen asked if the school has already performed a study on the property, and if it has, that information could be used by the Applicant.
A discussion followed on when the proposal will be eligible for a public hearing, which will probably be in April. Town Engineer Kenneth Martin stated that the short form EAF would be sufficient for SEQR review. RETURNING
Old Business: Chairman Ian Murray referred to the statement read by Penelope Benson-Wright at the last meeting, noting that it was a statement of opinion and not fact. He wanted the Board members to know that they did a good job with the application, which was highlighted and used as a positive example at the Association of Towns Annual Training and Meeting held last month in New York City. He noted that the decision of the Board was upheld in Court twice.
Laurie Griffen asked the status of the following cases:
1. Harold Reiser, III, who was referred to the Town Board for a PUD in January in order to comply with zoning regulations. Mr. Reiser has not yet filed an application with the Town Board.
2. The Fish Creek Rod & Gun Club, which applied for a lot-line adjustment to incorporate land from David and Betty Larmon. Chairman Ian Murray said that the lands can be combined into one parcel and the bank can use the building envelope for the club as collateral for the bank loan.
3. Louden Estates, which was granted final approval in December 2006. Chairman Ian Murray said that he believed that Saratoga Builders planned to close on the property after the first of the year. He had no further information.
4. SBA Network Services, which has 2 pending cell tower applications before the Board. Chairman Ian Murray said the Applicant has been informed that the Town will not waive its requirement that any application must include a copy of an FCC license. Ralph Pascucci noted that the Applicant can meet this requirement simply by obtaining a letter of commitment from a carrier; the carrier wouldn’t even have to be listed as a co-applicant.
Robert Park raised the issue of the signage on the Giovanone boat storage facility. A lengthy discussion followed on the signage around the Town. It was noted that ultimately Zoning Officer Robert Hathaway approves signage.
Town Engineer Kenneth Martin provided an update on the Gong property.
New Business: None
The next meeting will be March 28, 2007.
A motion to adjourn was made at 10:00 p.m. by Robert Park, and seconded by Laurie Griffen. Chairman Ian Murray – aye, Robert Park – aye, Patrick Hanehan – aye, Ralph Pascucci – aye, Laurie Griffin – aye, and Jennifer Koval – aye. Carried 6 – 0.
Catherine E. Cicero