TOWN OF SARATOGA
ZONING BOARD OF APPEALS MINUTES
October 24, 2005
Chairman Stephen Bodnar called the meeting to order at 7:32p.m.
Chairman Stephen Bodnar led the flag salute and explained the Rules of the Board. 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 – absent, Clifford Hanehan – present, Joyce Waldinger – present, David Hall – present, James Burke – present, and alternate Robert McConnell – present.
Also present: Zoning Officer Robert Hathaway and Town Supervisor Tom Wood
Approval of Minutes: All board members present had read the minutes of the September 26, 2005 meeting. A motion was made by Thomas Carringi, and seconded by James Burke, to accept the minutes of the September 26, 2005 meeting as written. Chairman Stephen Bodnar – aye, David Hall – aye, James Burke – aye, Thomas Carringi – aye, Clifford Hanehan – aye, Joyce Waldinger – aye, and Robert McConnell – aye.
Carried 7 – 0
Order of Business:
Case # 05-12 Walter Feuerstack
46 Furlani Dr. Rt. 4
Schuylerville, NY 12871
S/B/L 196-1-8 Conservancy District
Applicant is seeking an area variance to enlarge a seasonal camp from 26x20’ to 36x20’. An 8x10’ shed and a deck will be removed from the property. Applicant seeks a total area variance of 76, 250 square feet, a front setback variance of 25’, a back setback variance of 25’, and a combined side setback variance of 45’. Applicant is also seeking a variance from regulations requiring buildings to be 8’ above ground on designated flood plains; instead, Applicant’s proposal includes piers to hold the home 5’ above ground.
Mr. Feuerstack addressed the Board, and introduced his builder, Robert Woodard, of Bob’s Contracting, 900 Rock City Rd., Rock City, NY. The actual proposed building will be 20x24’, which includes a screened-in porch. The attached deck will be 10x20’. Mr. Feuerstack intends to tear down the existing A-frame camp and replace it with a gambol roof structure, using the existing piers. An existing shed will also be removed from the property.
Mr. Feuerstack presented letters explaining his plans, which were signed and returned by his neighbors stating that they had no objections to his plans. Chairman Stephen Bodnar
read the letter and the names of the neighbors. The letters have been made part of the permanent file of this application.
Chairman Stephen Bodnar noted that he had visited the site, and asked Mr. Feuerstack if he planned to build to the height of the flood plain. He replied that he would if he had to. Mr. Feuerstack then asked if he would be granted a variance if he did not build to the flood plain. Chairman Stephen Bodnar replied, “On the advice of Town Attorney William Reynolds, no.” Clifford Hanehan stated that he believed that if the Applicant were allowed to build below the flood plain and a problem arose, the Town would be liable.
Mr. Woodard asked if there was a waiver that could be signed to release the Town from liability. Town Attorney William Reynolds was not present to answer that question.
In response to a question from David Hall, Mr. Feuerstack stated that the house is currently 5’ high. In order to be above the flood plain, the piers of the house would have to be 8’ high. Mr. Woodard pointed out that Mr. Feuerstack’s neighbor’s houses are even lower than his. Mr. Feuerstack said that he did not want his house to be an eyesore, but would build higher if he had to.
In response to a question from Joyce Waldinger, it was established that Furlani Drive is a private road.
Chairman Stephen Bodnar stated that, although there was no official response to the application from the County Planning Board, he did receive a verbal recommendation that the house should be out of the flood plain.
Proof of notice having been furnished, Chairman Stephen Bodnar opened the Public Hearing.
Tom Frast, 1 Starbuck Ln, Saratoga Springs – For the building revisions, but against building above the flood plain. Mr. Frast stated that he owned the camp next to Mr. Feuerstack to the south. He said that all of the new owners of the three camps in the area bought their respective properties with the understanding that they were within the flood plain, and that in 1947 the entire peninsula had been “wiped clean.” He said that he did not want to look out his windows to the underside of Mr. Feuerstack’s house, and that raising Mr. Feuerstack’s house would have a detrimental effect to the river view. Mr. Frast concluded that he supported the application, but did not want the house raised to 8’.
All those wishing to speak having done so, the Public Hearing was closed at 7:48 p.m.
Chairman Stephen Bodnar then read from a document entitled Floodplain Regulation and the National Flood Insurance Program, a Handbook for New York Communities, which provides relief from the floodplain building requirements under certain situations. A copy of the pertinent language has been made part of the permanent record for this application.
Chairman Stephen Bodnar noted that the County Planning Board had not filed a written decision on the project, but had given him a verbal recommendation to “get it out of the floodplain.”
A discussion followed in which Mr. Feuerstack stated that the previous owner of the property had advised him that the highest the water had ever been was to the floor level
of the building. Mr. Feuerstack’s house now sits higher than that of his two neighbors. The house is entirely paid for and Mr. Feuerstack has no intentions of obtaining flood insurance. Mr. Frast stated that he would not object to the house being raised to 6’, but felt that 8’ was “soaring.” The height of the current building is 25’ and still will be 25’ after it is rebuilt.
Robert McConnell made a motion, seconded by David Hall, to allow a variance for a replacement of the current camp, not to exceed 750 square feet, and built 6’ above the flood plain, pending approval from Town Attorney William Reynolds. Chairman Stephen Bodnar – aye, David Hall – aye, James Burke – aye, Thomas Carringi – aye, Clifford Hanehan – aye, Joyce Waldinger – aye, and Robert McConnell – aye.
Carried 7 – 0 GRANTED
[Subsequently, Town Attorney William Reynolds reviewed the action by the Zoning Board of Appeals, and endorsed it, pursuant to Section 6.0 of Local Law 1 of 1995, the Flood Plain Law, which states in part:
Generally, variances may be issued for new construction and substantial im-
provements to be erected on a lot of one-half acre or less in size contiguous to
and surrounded by lots with existing structures constructed below the flood
Such variances may be issued for
a showing of good and sufficient cause; [and]
a determination that failure to grant the variance would result in
exceptional hardship to the applicant…]
Case # 05-13 Otto Williams
103 Point Breeze Rd.
Saratoga Springs, NY 12866
S/B/L 180-18-1 Lake Commercial District
Applicant is seeking a total lot area variance of approximately 10,000 square feet, a side setback variance of 15’, combined side setback variance of 30’, and a front setback variance of 35’ in order to erect a 30x20’ addition to the house. Applicant states that he needs the variance because the house is not built square to the lot.
Mr. Williams addressed the Board, first submitting signed letters from his neighbors, which have been made part of the permanent file in this application, stating that they had no objections to his plans to enlarge his house. He said that his home had been built in 1988, above the flood plain, and that his addition will be above the flood plain. He explained that the placement of the addition on the house is due to a pool in the yard, and to the location of plumbing in the house.
Tom Carringi, who rents out a neighboring house, stated that he had no objection to Mr. William’s plans, and that Mr. Williams is a good neighbor.
There followed a discussion on whether Mr. Williams planned to construct a one- or a two-story addition. It was determined that it was not relevant to the granting of the variance.
Chairman Stephen Bodnar noted that he had not received any comments from the County Planning Board concerning the Application.
Proof of notice having been furnished, Chairman Stephen Bodnar opened the Public Hearing at 8:24 p.m. There were no interested parties; the Public Hearing was closed.
Clifford Hanehan made a motion, seconded by James Burke, to grant the variance to allow the addition as proposed. Chairman Stephen Bodnar – aye, David Hall – aye, James Burke – aye, Thomas Carringi – aye, Clifford Hanehan – aye, Joyce Waldinger – aye, and Robert McConnell – aye. Carried 7 – 0 GRANTED
Case #05-15 William Reynolds
800 Rt. 29
Saratoga Springs, NY 12866
S/B/L 168-3-69.2 Rural Residential
Applicant is seeking lot area variance of approximately 1½ acres to re-subdivide his property into a former existing lot and put a modular home on a mobile home footprint. The modular home would be 6’ longer than the footprint. Applicant is also seeking combined side setbacks of 60’, and a side variance of 10’.
Mr. Reynolds explained to the Board that the property had been two lots at one time, but had been combined into one big parcel approximately 10-12 years ago. He now wants to separate the lots and install a modular home where a trailer had been situated. The trailer had seasonal use for approximately 15 years, and prior to that had been used full time by Mr. Reynolds’ uncle. Chairman Stephen Bodnar noted that there was no well or septic indicated on the property, but Mr. Reynolds pointed to a pumphouse building and said that there had been a septic. He stated that the trailer’s dimensions are 14x57’, with a cover over it that is 16x59’, and a garage off the front measuring 8x24’.
Mr. Reynolds showed the Board a plan for the proposed modular home for his in-laws, which would be 28x64’. Chairman Stephen Bodnar noted that the dimensions would be double the size of the trailer that is on the property now. He added that there would be septic and well issues with the new home. Mr. Reynolds said that he would be willing to grant any necessary easement for them on his own property.
There followed a discussion of the small sizes of the camp lots along Firelane 8 and the difficulty arising from people trying to change the camps into permanent homes.
Chairman Stephen Bodnar reported that both the County and the Town of Saratoga Planning Boards had recommended that the application be denied. Chairman Stephen Bodnar explained that Mr. Reynolds would need a supermajority of Zoning Board of Appeal votes to override the recommendation of the County. He added that Mr. Reynolds needed to increase the size of the proposed subdivision by 60,000 square feet
and address the septic and well issues. He recommended that Mr. Reynolds return to his surveyor and see what might be possible with the property, then go to the Planning Board
with an application for subdivision. It was then determined that Mr. Reynolds owns approximately 15 acres of additional adjacent property. However, Mr. Reynolds said that his driveway is now on Firelane 8 and he is concerned about moving it, or exiting directly onto Route 29, especially since there is proposed new development almost directly across from his property. There followed a discussion on the best placement of his driveway.
Although proof of notice had been furnished no public hearing was held.
Chairman Stephen Bodnar made a motion, seconded by David Hall, to table the proposal until the November 28, 2005 Zoning Board of Appeals meeting so Mr. Reynolds could reconsider and revise his application. Chairman Stephen Bodnar – aye, David Hall – aye, James Burke – aye, Thomas Carringi – aye, Clifford Hanehan – aye, Joyce Waldinger – aye, and Robert McConnell – aye. Carried 7 – 0
Saratoga A G Sales & Service
Schuylerville, NY 12871
S/B/L 156-2-16 & 19 Rural Residential
Mr. Levandowski is interested in purchasing property in Grangerville with the purpose of setting up a showroom for his lawn and garden equipment. The property had recently been before the Zoning Board of Appeals for an area variance for the purpose of establishing a used car lot by the property owner, Chris Lofgren. That application was denied. Mr. Levandowski stated that he was aware of the prior application, and knew that the property was situated within the flood plain. He said that he was willing to fix the lot and construct the single, wooden, ranch style building to conform to flood plain regulations. He was also willing to situate the entrance to the facility on DeGarmo Road.
There followed a discussion of the history of Mr. Lofgren’s application and the reason for its denial. Clifford Hanehan and Robert McConnell both stated that Mr. Levandowski would be faced with similar opposition from the property’s neighbors. Clifford Hanehan stated that it would be up to Mr. Levandowski to draw a distinction between the two proposals. When Chairman Stephen Bodnar asked Town Supervisor Tom Wood for his opinion he responded that he thought it would be a “hard sell” because Grangerville is fundamentally a residential area and a residence would be the most compatible use of the property.
Clifford Hanehan stated that his advice to Mr. Levandowski would be to discuss his proposal with the neighbors and get their feedback. David Hall said that if Mr. Levandowski did return to the Zoning Board of Appeals with his proposal, he should bring a picture of the proposed showroom and include proposed landscaping.
Old Business: Zoning Officer Robert Hathaway reported that Eddie DeCore, whose business burned down approximately a year ago, would like to rebuild and change the
type of business to office space. He stated that Mr. DeCore would like to place the new building back further from the road.
There followed a brief discussion on whether Mr. DeCore could rebuild other than on the original footprint of the building even if the new placement is an improvement.
There followed a brief discussion on whether Mr. DeCore would have to apply to the Planning Board. It was determined that Mr. DeCore would have to apply to the Planning Board for a Special Use Permit to change the nature of the business.
Chairman Stephen Bodnar introduced Betty Kovel, who is currently running for Town Councilwoman, who had attended the meeting.
Town Supervisor Tom Wood reported on progress from the Zoning Amendment Advisory Committee (ZAAC), stating that the two Town Councilmen charged with heading the Committee, Charles Hanehan and Fritz Drumm, were continuing meetings with their respective subcommittees. He added that Paul Griffen has taken the recommended changes and will be consolidating them into a “user-friendly” document. He added that there would be plenty of time for public comment on the proposed changes. Although Paul Griffen will be away for 4 weeks in November, Clifford Hanehan wondered if he could be tied into the process electronically.
Town Supervisor Tom Wood stated that Town Board members, ZBA members, PB members, and ZAAC members – approximately 19-20 people – would be attending the presentation of the recommended changes.
An opportunity for questions will follow, and public hearings will be held. Some Town residents have already stated that they will examine the recommendations “very closely.”
Town Supervisor Tom Wood said that he had wanted something in place by early spring. The proposed changes are not radically different than what is currently in place, but will provide “more consistency and uniformity.” Once the Town Board accepts and adopts the changes, they will be codified.
Town Supervisor Tom Wood added that Town Attorney William Reynolds is currently drafting language some of the revisions for Town Board approval at the November 10 meeting.
There followed a discussion on permitting boat storage in the Lake Commercial Zoning District and why it was necessary. Town Supervisor Tom Wood stated that the definition and permitted use would be added to the Rural and Rural Residential Zoning Districts as well.
Town Supervisor Tom Wood explained that there was a $1300 deficit in the Town budget due to expenses for the Planning Board and related costs; therefore, fee schedules will be increased. The new building fee will be $350 and the new park fees will be $300 per new lot. Current fees are a base fee of $150, and $200, respectively. Town Supervisor Tom Wood stated that there would be a public hearing on this matter at the next Town Board meeting on November 10, 2005. By comparison, Stillwater has a building fee of $520, plus additional park fees. Other Towns charge $700-$800 per lot in park fees. Agricultural building fees will remain at $100.
Next, Town Supervisor Tom Wood stated that the County Open Space Committee is designing a County Green Infrastructure Plan. It will be holding 4 regional workshops to listen to County residents about what they would like to see. One of these workshops
will be held on November 3, 2005 at the Schuylerville Elementary School cafeteria from 6:30-8:30.
Chairman Stephen Bodnar reported that he went to the most recent County Planning Board meeting and was impressed by the presenter of the County Open Space Plan.
Town Supervisor Tom Wood stated that the Town now has a contract for a $20,000 grant, down from an initial $35,000 grant for Quality Communities, to be shared jointly with the Town of Northumberland. The Towns will meet next with Ms. Clothier of the LA Group on this matter.
Finally, Town Supervisor Tom Wood reported that Zoning Board of Appeals and Planning Board forms will be changed to include language requiring applicants to reveal any related easements or deed restrictions. Those changes to the forms will be made as soon as possible.
Clifford Hanehan asked if anyone had heard any more from the owner of Chuck It who had appeared before the Zoning Board of Appeals several months ago with questions concerning a home-based business. There was no new information on this matter.
New Business: None
The next regular meeting will be November 28, 2005 at 7:30 p.m.
James Burke made a motion to adjourn at 9:47 pm. The motion was seconded by Clifford Hanehan. Chairman Stephen Bodnar – aye, David Hall – aye, James Burke – aye, Clifford Hanehan, Thomas Carringi – aye, Joyce Waldinger – aye, and Robert McConnell – aye. Carried 7 – 0
Catherine E. Cicero