TOWN OF SARATOGA
ZONING BOARD OF APPEALS MINUTES
June 27, 2005
Clifford Hanehan called the meeting to order at 7:38 p.m.
Clifford Hanehan led the flag salute and explained the Rules of the Board.
Clerk Catherine Cicero called the roll: Chairman Stephen Bodnar – absent, Thomas Carringi – present, Barbara Faraone – present, Clifford Hanehan – present, Joyce Waldinger – absent, David Hall – absent, James Burke – present, and alternate Robert McConnell – present.
Also present: Zoning Officer Robert Hathaway and Town Supervisor Tom Wood
Many interested members of the public attended. [See attached Meeting Attendance Sign-In sheet]
Approval of Minutes: All board members present had read the minutes of the May 23, 2005 meeting. A motion was made by James Burke and seconded by Robert McConnell to accept the minutes of the May 23, 2005 meeting as written. Clifford Hanehan – aye, Barbara Faraone – aye, Thomas Carringi – aye, James Burke – aye, and Robert McConnell – aye. Carried 5 – 0
Order of Business:
109 DeGarmo Rd.
Schuylerville, NY 12871
S/B/L 156-2-16 & 19 Rural Residential
Returning Applicant, Chris Lofgren, addressed the Board, seeking an area variance of 80’ for road frontage and 30’ for side setbacks on property fronting Rt. 29 in Grangerville. Mr. Lofgren stated that he has 159’ of road frontage on Rt 29 and another 160’ of road frontage on DeGarmo Road. He needs a variance of 90’ of road frontage. He then explained his site plan. During questioning from the Board, Mr. Lofgren stated that he had combined 2 parcels of property when he bought them in January of 2004. He thought that the paperwork for that had been filed, but was still receiving 2 separate tax bills. He further explained that there had been a house on the property when he bought it, which has since been removed. Currently, there is a single wide mobile home on the property, but he intends to remove it. Mr. Lofgren added that his father owns a retail business on DeGarmo Road which they plan to relocate to the Rt 29 parcel.
Barbara Faraone expressed concern about the location of the intended business in the midst of many residences, even though there is another used car operation situated in Grangerville, which had been grandfathered in at the time of the enactment of the zoning
regulations. There is also Thomas’ Egg business and Sunflower Graphix businesses in the neighborhood, which have been located there for many years.
Robert McConnell asked whether the issue of combining road frontages that had been raised at the April meeting had ever been resolved. No one on the Board had a clear recollection of what Town Attorney William Reynolds had said at that meeting. Clerk Catherine Cicero pulled the minutes from the April 25, 2005 meeting and the following statement was read: “Town Attorney William Reynolds advised that the two separate frontages could be considered as similar to that of a corner lot where they are combined to meet frontage requirements.”
Barbara Faraone read the criteria used by the Zoning Board of Appeals in making a decision. Clifford Hanehan explained that the Board could make a determination at this meeting, or the Applicant could reserve the right to have the Board vote on this item at the next meeting. There followed a brief discussion on the County’s input on this item. The County has not yet responded for an opinion on this matter.
The public hearing on this item was held at the April meeting and no notice of public hearing had been provided; however, Clifford Hanehan opened the floor to allow comments from the public.
Bonnie Allan, 1051 Rt 29, Grangerville—Against. Ms. Allan was concerned about the number of cars that would be on Mr. Lofgren’s lot, the possibility of crime in the neighborhood resulting from the business, the presence of a large commercial venture in a residential neighborhood, and the addition of bright lights related to the business, which is situated next door to her home.
Jay Allan, 1051 Rt 29, Grangerville—Against. Mr. Allan expressed concern over the number of car spaces that appeared on Mr. Lofgren’s site plan. He repeated the concerns of Ms. Allan, and added that the lot would be located in a designated flood zone.
Phil Ratzer, 433 Co. Rt 68, Saratoga Springs—Had questions for the Board regarding current zoning of the parcel. He repeated the criteria for granting a variance which states:  requested variance will not alter essential character of the neighborhood, and said “this issue should be dead in the water.”
Mr. Lofgren stated at this point that, although he has 60 car spaces on his site plan, he would not necessarily put that many used cars on the lot.
Bruce Harding, 1040 Rt 29, Grangerville—Against. Mr. Harding asked Mr. Allan to speak for him on the issue of property value depreciation in the vicinity of the proposed car lot.
John Riordan, 1050 Rt 29—For. Mr. Riordan stated that he has lived in Grangerville for 60 years and has no objection to the proposed lot.
Peter Lofgren, 113 DeGarmo Rd, Schuylerville—For. Mr. Lofgren questioned facts presented in a letter from Mr. Allan.
All those wishing to speak having done so, the Public Hearing was closed at 8:08 p.m.
When asked by the Board, Zoning Officer Robert Hathaway responded that he had no opinion regarding this item.
Mr. Lofgren requested that the Board delay any action on his application until the July 25, 2005 meeting.
John Riordan presented a letter written by Jay Allan to him regarding the proposed use of Mr. Lofgren’s property. The letter is contained in the permanent file of this application.
James Burke asked that Mr. Lofgren bring proof that the properties had in fact been combined. Clifford Hanehan noted that the Board will be expecting to hear from the County regarding its opinion of the proposed variance. He also requested clarification from Town Attorney William Reynolds concerning the issue of road frontage. TABLED
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.
Applicant was unable to attend the meeting; therefore, this item will be addressed at the July 25, 2005 meeting. TABLED
Julia & Charles Van Hall, Applicants
13 Olde Saratoga Knolls Lane
Schuylerville, NY 12871
156.-4-53. Rural Residential
Julia Van Hall addressed the Board regarding her request for a road frontage variance of approximately 180’ in order to subdivide the last 32.28+/- acre lot in the Olde Saratoga Knolls subdivision because it is too large to maintain and is land locked. The resulting lots would be 10.28+/-acres and 22+/-acres. She presented a map and explained the placement of her property and the proposed subdivision. She further requested that, if a variance of that magnitude is not possible, the existing road frontage of 219.42’ be divided in half. She would then request variances of 90.29’ for both parcels.
Town Zoning Officer Robert Hathaway commented that dividing the road frontage would create an illegal subdivision. He referred to a prior similar case in which the requested variance was denied.
Ms. Van Hall related that she had notified her neighbors regarding the proposed subdivision when she had applied for a subdivision before the Planning Board several months ago. She stated that they were further notified informally when she put copies of the proposal in their mailboxes prior to the ZBA meeting.
Proof of Notice having been provided, the Public Hearing was opened at 8:24 p.m. Clifford Hanehan asked that people state their name, address, and whether they were for or against the proposal.
Nina Flicker, 11 Olde Saratoga Knolls, Saratoga Springs—Against. Ms. Flicker was concerned about the number of driveways now fronting on the cul-de-sac in the subdivision. She was also concerned about the precedent set by a granting of this variance, and wondered if the deed to the property could be restricted to prevent even further subdivisions being made.
All those wishing to speak having done so, the Public Hearing was closed at 8:30 p.m.
Ms. Van Hall waived her right to have her application heard before the Zoning Board of Appeal’s July 25, 2005 meeting.
Barbara Faraone again read the criteria considered by the Board when determining whether to grant a variance. A motion was made by Barbara Faraone, and seconded by Bob McConnell, to deny both variance requests: (1) for one variance of 180’, or (2) two variances of approximately 90’. Clifford Hanehan – nay, Barbara Faraone – nay, Thomas Carringi – nay, James Burke – nay, and Robert McConnell – nay. Carried 5 – 0. DENIED
Thomas N. Gorman
1388 Rt 9P
Saratoga Springs, NY 12866
S/B/L 193.06-1-27 Lake Residential
Thomas Gorman addressed the Board, seeking an area variance in order to put an additional room on his house: a lot area variance of 6875 square feet for the pre-existing nonconforming lot, and a side setback variance of at least 25’. Mr. Gorman explained that he has converted his 3-season house to a year round home and currently needs more space. He stated that he has bought an additional .6 acres to the rear of his property and would consider combining the parcels, if necessary. He presented several letters from his neighbors who had no objections to his proposal. Those letters have been made a part of the permanent file of this application.
Barbara Faraone stated that she had visited the site and had concerns about the number of items, such as boats, trailers, and unregistered cars that she saw on the Applicant’s property.
Proof of Notice having been provided, the Public Hearing was opened at 8:57 p.m. Clifford Hanehan asked that people state their name, address, and whether they were for or against the proposal.
No one appeared to speak either for or against the application. The Public Hearing was closed at 8:57 p.m.
Robert McConnell made a motion, seconded by Thomas Carringi, to approve the application. Clifford Hanehan – aye, Barbara Faraone – nay, Thomas Carringi – aye, James Burke – aye, and Robert McConnell – aye. Carried 4 – 1. GRANTED
Zoning Officer Robert Hathaway asked the Board for an interpretation of the Town’s zoning regulations with regard to the definition of a home occupation. The regulations are unclear on the issue of the number of support staff allowed in order to be considered a home occupation.
Matthew Jones appeared on behalf of Doug Dockendorf, who also spoke, on a plan to base a home business at 106 Burke Road. Mr. Dockendorf is the owner of Chuck-It, a
junk collection business, which also recycles items to needy families. It was stated that Mr. Dockendorf has a support staff of three people in the office, and anticipates that one of his trucks would return to the office at the end of the day to drop off receipts and possibly pick up office-generated trash. A home occupation is a permitted use in that zone, so no SUP is required. The house will be Mr. Dockindorf’s primary residence and no sign will be at the property. Also, Mr. Dockindorf uses blackberry phones to arrange all schedules with his drivers. Mr. Dockindorf added that he has been operating out of his home in Saratoga with no complaints from his neighbors.
Mr. Dockindorf stated that he intends to keep this arrangement for only a year or two, then hopes that his business will grow to the extent that he will require commercial space. He is currently in partnership with 74 non-profit organizations, and hopes to expand his business to other cities.
Phil Ratzer stated that he owns the property behind Mr. Dockindorf and that they share a driveway. He said the driveway is comprised of dirt and crushed stone, and he is concerned that it cannot handle truck traffic. He did not believe the home occupation was comparable to that of a doctor’s office, as home occupation was defined in the zoning regulations. He also noted that the property is located in the Rural zone.
Robert McConnell asked whether the Town had set a precedent on the allowed number of employees. Town Supervisor Tom Wood stated that no number of employees has ever been established. He read the definition of a home occupation at page 71 of the Zoning Regulations:
An occupation or profession which:
In particular, a home occupation includes:
1. Art, craft or dancing studio for the simultaneous instruction of four (4) students or less,
3. Office of a physician, dentist, lawyer, engineer, architect, agent, broker or accountant, and
4. Other occupations of a similar nature.
Barbara Faraone stated that she would say yes to the number of proposed employees, but would ask Town Supervisor Tom Wood to change the zoning regulations immediately to reflect a specific number.
Cllifford Hanehan agreed, but asked Zoning Officer Robert Hathaway to make sure the situation did not get out of hand.
James Burke said that he was more concerned with the truck traffic on the road than with the number of support staff.
Robert McConnell made a motion, seconded by Barbara Faraone, to interpret the zoning regulation definition of a home occupation to permit no more than three support employees. Clifford Hanehan – aye, Barbara Faraone – aye, Thomas Carringi – aye, James Burke – aye, and Robert McConnell – aye. Carried 5 – 0. GRANTED
Old Business: Clerk Catherine Cicero reported that the application forms have been revised to reflect the new 2 week deadline for filing before ZBA meetings. The forms also state that any files that remain inactive for a period of 2 months must be refiled with a $55 application fee.
New Business: None
The next regular meeting will be July 25, 2005 at 7:30 p.m.
James Burke made a motion to adjourn at 9:42 pm. The motion was seconded by Clifford Hanehan. Clifford Hanehan – aye, Barbara Faraone – aye, Thomas Carringi – aye, James Burke – aye, and Robert McConnell – aye. Carried 5 – 0
Catherine E. Cicero