TOWN OF SARATOGA
MINUTES - DRAFT
March 9, 2005 - 7:30 PM
Chairman Ian Murray called the meeting to order at 7:30 pm.
Clerk Catherine Cicero called the roll. Chairman Ian Murray – present, Susan Cummings – present, Ralph Pascucci – present, Albert Baker – absent, Paul Griffen – present, Robert Park – present, Laurie Griffen – present, and alternate Barney Drumm – absent.
Approval of Minutes: All board members present had read the minutes of the January 26, 2005 meeting. Ralph Pascucci noted a mistake in the January 26, 2005 minutes which stated that the proposed cemetery on his property would be 400 square feet. The parcel will actually be 4 acres. A motion was made by Ralph Pascucci to accept the minutes of January 26, 2004 with the correction and Robert Park seconded it. Chairman Ian Murray – aye, Susan Cummings – aye, Ralph Pascucci – aye, Paul Griffen – aye, Robert Park – aye, Laurie Griffen – aye. Carried 6– 0.
Before taking applications, Chairman Ian Murray read from a prepared statement to correct any misconceptions from the last meeting. A community member had expressed some concern that Town Engineer Kenneth Martin had met privately with a representative of the applicant. Chairman Murray stated that Mr. Martin is a licensed professional engineer, paid by the Town to perform those duties. He is not a member of the Board, nor is he constrained from meeting privately with parties to discuss aspects of their applications.
Order of Business:
Barlok & Roohan, Applicants E.M. Mease, Owner
519 Broadway 130 Southard Rd.
Saratoga Springs, NY 12866 Saratoga Springs, NY 12866
S/B/L 181-1-12.1 Rural District
The application before the Board is for an 11-lot subdivision on 69.11 acres +/- on Southard Rd, with 5.596 acres +/- being retained by the current owner. The proposed lots range from 4.29 acres +/- to 10.705 acres +/-. Previously, the Planning Board reviewed and completed the Full Environmental Assessment Form. Chairman Murray noted that the conditioned negative declaration was filed on February 18, 2005, and was advertised for a 30-day comment period. All submitted information must be reviewed prior to any final action. The Board will take up this matter again at its March 30 meeting.
Mr. Sam Aldrich submitted a written statement to the Board. That statement is included in the permanent file of this application.
Mr. Aldrich also presented the Board with a petition signed by a number of community members. That petition is included in the permanent file of this application.
Craig M. Munson, et al.
1148 Fort Miller Rd.
Greenwich, NY 12834
S/B/L 157.-1-3.1 Rural Residential
Returning Applicant, James Vianna, representing the heirs to the estate of Patricia A. Munson, asked the Board for permission to subdivide the land on the west side of NYS Rt. 4 into two 3 acre lots. The action is being taken to settle the estate. There are no immediate plans to build; however, the properties may eventually contain two new residences. A portion of the lands of Craig Munson are located on the east side of Rt. 4, entirely separated from the parcel in question by Rt. 4. Mr. Vianna noted that, since the last Board meeting, the billboard has been taken off the property and the SEQR Negative Declaration has been completed. Mr. Vianna then read survey note number 5 which states that no building permit may be issued until a septic system has been designed.
A discussion followed concerning the fact that the Board has never approved a subdivision without such a septic system design being in place. Ralph Pascucci was concerned that the Board was setting a dangerous precedent. He asked if this process would put an additional burden on the Building Inspector, to which Chairman Murray responded that it would not. Finally, Mr. Pascucci asked whether the Board would know if this caveat existed in the deed before a building permit is issued. Mr. Vianna commented that he has appeared before other Town Planning Boards that require a plot plan before issuing a building permit. Town Attorney William Reynolds stated that the Board was not necessarily setting a precedent by granting this application.
Proof of Notice having been provided, the Public Hearing was opened. Chairman Murray asked that people state their name, address, and whether they were for or against the project.
Marilyn Zaborek, 387 Burgoyne Rd.—neither for or against. Ms. Zaborek commented that she appreciated the Board’s discussion to make sure that a granting of the application would not result in a problem later on. She was concerned about things “slipping through the wickets.”
All those wishing to speak having done so, the Public Hearing was closed at 7:48 pm.
Chairman Ian Murray then made a motion that the proposed subdivision would not have a negative impact on the environment. The motion was seconded by Susan Cummings. Chairman Ian Murray—aye, Susan Cummings—aye, Paul Griffen—aye, Ralph Pascucci—aye, Robert Park—aye, Laurie Griffen—aye. Carried 6-0.
Paul Griffen made a motion to grant the application. Susan Cummings seconded the motion. Chairman Ian Murray—aye, Susan Cummings—aye, Paul Griffen—aye, Ralph Pascucci—aye, Robert Park—aye, Laurie Griffen—aye. Carried 6-0. GRANTED
Saratoga Builders, LLC Peter & Sue Grassi, Owners
8 Campion Lane 394 Burgoyne Rd.
Saratoga Springs, NY 12866 Saratoga Springs, NY 12866
S/B/L 168.-2- 24 & 25 Rural District
Returning Applicant, Dan Barber, spoke to the Board regarding a conventional subdivision of 38 +/- acres into 13 building lots on a new road off of Burgoyne Road. At the last meeting, the Board requested a topography map, in 5’ increments, and including a pond reputed to be on the property, any wetlands, and a road profile showing cuts and fills. Due to the weather, the Applicant has been unable to finish the topography map. The Board questioned Mr. Barber regarding his plans for placement of utilities, but he had not yet spoken with Niagara Mohawk or other utilities. The Applicant was unable to provide the Board with any new information regarding the project; no action was taken. Returning.
James & Nancy Ciccolella, Applicants Paul Murray, Owner
112 Brown Point Lane 105 Brown Point Lane
Saratoga Springs, NY 12866 Saratoga Springs, NY 12866
S/B/L 168.-3-60.1 Conservancy District
Applicants propose to subdivide the property of Paul Murray to convey .494+/- acres of his 2.6+/- acre parcel to the Applicants, James and Nancy Ciccolella.
Applicant did not appear. No action was taken.
Gary Grentzer, Applicant
52 Ruggles Road
Saratoga Springs, NY 12866
S/B/L 154-1-4.1 Rural Residential
Applicant proposes to subdivide 2.2+/- acres for a home site in the existing development of Scidmore Woods. Mr. Grentzer presented the Board with a proposal for further development of an ongoing project on his property. A discussion followed with Board members concerning the most efficient and aesthetic subdivision of the property, including “flagging,” and using a loop-type road, rather than Mr. Grentzer’s proposed cul-de-sac. Returning.
Special Use Permit
929 Rt 29E
Saratoga Springs, NY 12866
S/B/L 156.-1-1 Rural Residential
Returning Applicant is seeking a Special Use Permit to utilize approximately a 4 acre piece of property in the northeast corner of his 40 acre parcel as a “green cemetery,” open to the public. The proposed use of the property will enable Mr. Pascucci to preserve the integrity of the property while permitting multiple uses. His current plans include a long drive that will loop through the affected property to give funeral processions access. No additional driveways, parking areas, or buildings are proposed at this time. Since the last meeting, the proposal has been submitted to the County, which responded with a package of information. Ralph Pascucci addressed the Board regarding his proposal. It is his intention to obtain a Special Use Permit from the Planning Board before continuing with the State process. He said he would consult with his attorney regarding the fact that the proposed cemetery is not a not-for-profit business. He has spoken with Larry Benton from the County regarding the project, and has learned that New York State has already approved a similar cemetery, but it is not yet in operation. Mr. Pascucci explained that in a green cemetery the family members may even dig the grave. There are no constraints about being buried with pets, and there are no vaults, as required in traditional cemeteries. There is no grass to maintain, no lawnmowers, and he will avoid cutting down many trees. Mr. Pascucci has not made any firm decisions, but stated that he may allow markers, but may restrict their size, height and type. He stated that he is looking for some direction from the Board.
Chairman Ian Murray stated that Mr. Pascucci does have to incorporate, he must have 3 trustees, and he must subsidize his property. He said that the Board could not approve the public cemetery as proposed. He noted that if the owner abandons the cemetery, for whatever reason, the Town has an obligation to take it over and maintain it. As proposed, the cemetery would be landlocked. There followed a discussion of exactly what the Town would have to be maintaining since a “green cemetery” would revert back to wilderness. However, the access road to the cemetery would still need to be maintained and kept cleared. Chairman Murray stated that the road should be put in by Mr. Pascucci and should conform to the Disability Act.
Mr. Pascucci questioned the Board about obtaining a Special Use Permit conditioned on his filing for incorporation. Chairman Murray responded that the Town requires road frontage and a road. Mr. Pascucci responded that there is currently a curb-cut on Rte 29, and that he would propose deeding his current road to the cemetery corporation, then obtain an easement from the corporation to use the road as his driveway. He said that he would file for a subdivision if that was absolutely necessary.
Laurie Griffen stated she had concerns similar to those raised by Chairman Murray. The Town might eventually have to take over the road and plow it in the winter.
Mr. Pascucci stated that the road wouldn’t see much wear. He added that the cemetery is not intended to be affiliated with any particular religion. He noted that orthodox Jews are required to not be buried in vaults. Therefore, they might be attracted to the type of cemetery he is proposing.
Town Attorney William Reynolds commented that the Town has no obligation to take over a private abandoned cemetery.
Robert Park asked Mr. Pascucci who he had in mind to serve on the board of the corporation.
Proof of Notice having been provided, the Public Hearing was opened. Chairman Ian Murray asked that people state their name, address, and whether they were for or against the project.
Penelope Benson-Wright, Burke Rd.—for. Ms. Benson-Wright thought the idea of a cemetery was a great idea but wanted to know what economic impact the plowing of the road would have on the Town. Mr. Pascucci responded that funds could be set aside for the upkeep of the road. He noted that 25% of revenues is often the standard used for maintenance; however, in this instance, that figure would be high because there is little maintenance aside from snow plowing and the cost of replacing rubble to repair the road. He added that if the project is not viable, he will not move forward with it.
Ms. Benson-Wright added that she thought it was a very creative use of the land that would benefit the community.
William Corrigan, 207 Walsh Rd.—for. Mr. Corrigan said that this was a creative use of the property, but posed questions to Mr. Pascucci. He wanted to know if Mr. Pascucci was looking for a special use permit with contingencies. He also asked whether, if the Town took over the cemetery, it would be obligated to run it as the corporation originally envisioned. Chairman Murray responded that the Town would not actually run the corporation. It would only continue to maintain it if it is abandoned for any reason. Maintenance would be performed at the direction of the Department of State. Later, Mr. Corrigan asked if the application could be granted as a one year renewable special use permit. He also asked Mr. Pascucci if he had made any plans for expansion of the cemetery if necessary.
Steve Crain, 302 Burgoyne Rd.—for. Mr. Crain said that the proposal was a creative use of the land and a great and innovative idea; better than subdivisions.
Marilyn Zaborek, 387 Burgoyne Rd.—for. Ms. Zaborek commented that it was a great idea, and stated that she had more concerns with subdivisions that require road maintenance. She asked for a price on a plot, and further commented that the cemetery on Burgoyne Road is maintained by prisoners.
Phyllis Aldrich, 173 Burk Rd.—for. Mrs. Aldrich stated that the idea was wonderful and ecologically sound. She asked whether it would have a tax impact on the Town and whether there would be an invasion of privacy for Mr. Pascucci. Mr. Pascucci responded that the cemetery would be situated as far from any neighboring residents as possible, and that he only expected to see an occasional car go by.
All those wishing to speak having done so, the Public Hearing was closed at 8:50 pm.
Laurie Griffen agreed that the proposal was a great idea, but wanted to know how the Town permit would work vis-à-vis the State. Mr. Pascucci stated that the permit could be granted contingent upon him going to the State for further permits. He would then return to the Planning Board for a subdivision. He does not want to separate out another 200’ for road frontage from his property if it isn’t necessary.
Town Attorney William Reynolds stated that the Board can look at the proposal more closely under a special permit review. The Planning Board must deal with the subdivision as it concerns the special use permit.
Chairman Ian Murray stated that the Board is looking for information regarding the subdivision. Mr. Pascucci’s suggestion to deed his road to the corporation while retaining an easement for personal use would be adequate to meet regulation standards. He said that Town Engineer Kenneth Martin may have to look at the road, but it may not need to meet the same standards as other roads in the Town. The 200’ required by the regulations is for emergency vehicles and may not apply to hearses and cars. Paul Griffen stated that the Board wants to examine all possibilities. Chairman Murray restated that, in essence, Mr. Pascucci will be creating 2 parcels. Mr. Pascucci replied that there will be three pieces when he returns before the Board. He will create a loop in the cemetery parcel, which he will make slightly larger if necessary.
Both Laurie Griffen and Paul Griffen requested that the issue be tabled until the next meeting.
Zoning Board of Appeals Chairman Stephen Bodnar then noted to the Board that although the road is private, it should have emergency vehicle access.
Laurie Griffen made a motion to table the proposal, seconded by Paul Griffen. Chairman Ian Murray—aye, Susan Cummings—aye, Paul Griffen—aye, Robert Park—aye, Laurie Griffen—aye. Ralph Pascucci—abstain. Carried 5-0. TABLED
Mr. Sam Aldrich asked for clarification regarding the end of the comment period on the conditioned negative declaration issued on the Southard Rd. proposal. He noted that the Board had been presented with petitions and with a formal statement by Mr. Aldrich regarding that matter. He requested that those materials be considered comments to the conditions of the negative declaration. (The petitions and formal statement are contained in the permanent file of that application.) Mr. Aldrich informed the Board that he is operating under the assumption that the petitions and his statement will not change the Board’s position; however, he asked when the public would be informed of the Board’s final position. Chairman Ian Murray responded that the Board may make a decision at its March 30 meeting.
Mr. Aldrich noted that the Save Southard Road Coalition would then have 30 days from the date of the Board’s final decision to file an Article 78 proceeding against the Town.
Ms. Penelope Benson-Wright asked whether there would be another public hearing on this issue at the March 30 meeting. Chairman Ian Murray read from the rules pertaining to the conditioned negative declaration. No public hearing is planned for that application at the next meeting.
Old Business: Paul Griffen reported that the zoning and provision committee will be starting up soon at the Town Board and Supervisor level. He added that he has met with other groups, who have requested more information. He intends the final report to be a process roadmap; a graphical representation of the process. The final product may include the consideration of the following topics: safety issues (e.g. hydrants), dumpster shielding, roadside landscaping by developers, utility distribution rules (surface or burial), design regulations for passive solar designs, well water regulations, outdoor lighting (an issue in the Town of Saratoga because of excessive farm lighting), and demolition permits so the Town would know when something is being torn down. This last item is important in the case of any historic building that might be mistakenly dismantled. Finally, Mr. Griffen stated that the issue of parks should be discussed at the Town Board level, and that developer participation would be helpful in discussing Town improvements.
Mr. Griffen said that, if anyone wants to comment on any of these or other related issues, they should submit something in writing within the next six months. He would like to see the new regulations completed and voted on within the coming year.
Penelope Benson-Wright requested the Board to scan the proposed regulations and post them on the Town’s website to make it easier for the public to make comments.
William Corrigan asked who the members of the committee were and volunteered to become a member. Paul Griffen responded that the committee had not yet been formed. The regulations would eventually be professionally written, reviewed by the Planning Board, and legally reviewed. Any input must be made within the next couple of months.
Penelope Benson-Wright asked Supervisor Tom Wood if the Town Board had made any decisions regarding the issue of a moratorium. Supervisor Wood replied that the forthcoming Town Board agenda would include the items of the formation of a formal committee to update the regulations and discuss a building moratorium.
New Business: The Board received and reviewed a letter from Frank Narent regarding the Board’s Subdivision Regulations and Design and Construction Standards. The document was adopted by the Town Board on September 11, 1972. Mr. Narent contends that, with the exception of a relatively minor amendment in 1987, the document has remained unchanged since that time. Mr. Narent is concerned that contractors may be using substandard construction materials in new building projects, while still conforming to Town building requirements. Chairman Ian Murray noted that the Planning Board is using all up-to-date professional engineering standards. The Board has used the terms “current or approved” in its permits since 1972.
Mr. Narent stated that a “savvy” contractor would get around that language, and that it would be prudent for the Planning Board to review that language and take control of any materials being approved and used.
Next, James Vianna explained to the Board that a minor error is contained in a survey map that he made of Saratoga Farms, which was subdivided last summer. Based on information more recently obtained, Mr. Vianna would like to correct the error and resubmit the amended map to the County. Although the difference is negligible, Mr. Vianna stated that the adjustment would be a better record. Chairman Ian Murray suggested that Mr. Vianna bring the issue back to the Board at its next meeting and request a lot-line adjustment.
The next meeting is scheduled for March 30, 2005.
A motion to adjourn was made at 9:38 p.m. by Laurie Griffen and seconded by Robert Park. Chairman Ian Murray – aye, Susan Cummings –aye, Paul Griffen –aye, Ralph Pascucci – aye, Robert Park – aye, and Laurie Griffen – aye. Carried 6-0.
Catherine E. Cicero