TOWN OF SARATOGA
PLANNING BOARD DRAFT MINUTES
January 27, 2016
Chairman Ian Murray called the meeting to order at 7:30 p.m.
Planning Clerk Linda McCabe called the roll: Chairman Ian Murray present, Laurie
Griffen absent, Patrick Hanehan present, Robert McConnell absent, Joseph
Lewandowski present, Brandon Myers present, George Olsen - absent.
Also attending: John Witt, Jeff Mancini, Chelsea Madden, Kevin Hastings, Stefanie Clements, Jan & Paul Murphy, Edith Rubinson, Thomas Yannios, Jenny Meeltan, Maribeth Macica, Krista & Matt Malinoski, Jean Seiler, Randall Odell, J. Cashin, Scott & Debbie Cartier, Trish Perrault, Marc & Jan Limeri and other interested persons. (Sign-in sheet is on file in the Clerks office)
Minor Subdivision Sketch Plan Conference
Patricia Bialahoski #16-01 Representative: Jim M. Vianna, P.L.S.
Carolyn Sukala, Linda Barber, Nancy Benn 170 Lohnes Rd.
177 River Rd. Stillwater, NY 12170
Schuylerville, NY 12871
S/B/L 194.-2-42.111 Rural
Applicants seek a 3 lot subdivision of their 88.97+/- acre parcel. The 3 lots will remain in agricultural use.
Jim Vianna, P.L.S., appeared before the Board on behalf of the Applicant, Patricia Bialahoski, subdividing the three lots for her daughters, Carolyn Sukala, Linda Barber and Nancy Benn. He reviewed the three way subdivision of the property as well as each proposed lot with the Board, stating the property will remain in agriculture. He also stated that the 6.5 remaining acres will be attached to the Benn parcel via lot-line adjustment. He then told the Board that he will have the ag data statement on each lot and if, in the future, there is a desire to change the of use of the land, the owner will have to appear before the Board.
Chairman Ian Murray stated he and Town Engineer Ken Martin feel there is no need for the ag data statement on Lots 1 and 3 since there is an existing residence on each of those lots. Lot 2 will require the ag data statement although no perc or soil engineering is required. He also stated they are fine with the lot-line adjustment to the Benn parcel.
Chairman Ian Murray asked if there were any questions of the Board; there were none.
He then stated we will advertise for a public hearing for next month.
Jim Vianna thanked the Board.
Sketch Plan for Major Subdivision Conference
John Witt, Witt Construction #15-05 Current Owners: Bethesda Episcopal Church
563 N. Broadway 41 Washington St.
Saratoga Springs, NY 12866 Saratoga Springs, NY S/B/L 193.-1-17, 193.-1-18, 193.18-1-55 Lake Residential 12866
Rural District II, Rural District Mr. Emory Waldrip
Location: 142 Cedar Bluff Rd. (Co. Rd. 71) Mr. John Witt
Returning Applicant seeks to subdivide three parcels, with a total of 113.70+/- acres, into a major subdivision.
Chairman Ian Murray stated the following:
"My name is Ian Murray and I'm Chairman of the Planning Board. I would like to read a brief statement before we get started tonight.
The reason I feel compelled to give this statement is because of correspondences to Supervisor Wood, Town Board members and Planning Board members about a perceived Ethical Conflict with John Witt of Witt Construction, from an unnamed resident of which I have a credibility issue with.
I met with Supervisor Wood and Town Attorney Bill Reynolds and we carefully examined our Town's Ethics Law and the letters we received.
I have no interest in this proposed subdivision that I need to disclose or that I would need to recuse myself from.
Definition of 'Interest' per our Town's Ethics Law - A direct or indirect financial or material benefit.
I am not employed by Witt Construction. I have no ongoing contractual relationship with Witt Construction and no knowledge or expectation of receiving any contractual benefits from this subdivision.
I have worked on properties that have been built and/or developed by Witt Construction. All my contractual relationships have been directly with the homeowner, separate and apart from Witt Construction."
Chairman Ian Murray concluded and said it was time to go forward with the application.
Witt Construction Consultant Engineer, Kevin Hastings, introduced himself and stated he was before the Board with John Witt, Jeff Mancini and Chelsea Madden. He reviewed the lands of the subdivision as well as each conceptual sketch plan they've presented before the Board to date; the by right plans and conservation subdivision plans ranging from 74 lots to 29 lots. He then reviewed the most recent sketch plan submittal of a 41 lot conservation subdivision and a 35 lot conservation subdivision, surveyed wetland maps of both the east and west sides of the property, land analysis maps with steep slopes and open space areas on the east and west sides of the property, the conceptual sketch plan for the area up on the bluff where they plan to build houses with views of the lake, schematics for the location of the conceived sewer connections and explained they will be looking at the feasibility of connecting sewer to the homes on the east side that they thought to be homes needing septic systems. He then stated these plans will get much more advanced as they go forward, but this is the direction they'd like to go.
Chairman Ian Murray stated correct, as they go further, the Board will need a detailed SWIPP on the survey, Phase I Archeological study, a letter from the sewer district, physical delineation of the wetlands identifying if it's DEC and/or Army Corp. on the plans so the Board will know it's been properly identified and calculated, profiles for engineer work with force main, gravity main, everything else that's proposed will need to be on there also. He said he realizes they are working on the conservation subdivision design and they're getting there, but work needs to continue.
Chairman Ian Murray then stated he wanted to inform the Board, as well as the general public, that due to concerns brought up at the January town board meeting from some of the neighbors, he and Board Member Laurie Griffen had a meeting with the neighbors to explain Subdivision Law 276, public hearing process and procedures, subdivision plans, wells, fracking, septics etc. He explained the Board wasn't aware of the meeting because you can only have two members meeting without advertising a public meeting notice. He said the neighbors had a lot of questions and concerns and he felt they needed to be addressed. He would like to schedule a workshop meeting with the Board, John Witt and the public to go through the questions they have and try and create a good working plan for both the Applicant as well as the neighbors. He asked the Board if February 10th will work for them and the Board was fine with that date. He then told John Witt that the neighbors are not keen on a connection between Hill Rd. and Cedar Bluff Rd; they'd rather see a cul de sac put there. Per highway maintenance purposes, Chairman Ian Murray knows it's more work for the town, more trucks and more labor, but for design purposes he has no issue with it and he'd like Witt's team to think on having a cul de sac coming off of Wright Rd. up to the plateau, with no connection to Hill Rd.; still keeping within the conservation design, still having the buffers with the existing Hill Rd. properties. That is how he'd like to proceed. He then asked if there were any questions from the Board.
Brandon Myers questioned if the Witt team can provide maps showing a cul de sac versus the connection road.
John Witt replied they will bring them to the workshop. He then stated as far as conservation goes, what does the Board think about turning the old farm back into a working farm.
Chairman Ian Murray replied he'll take a poll of the Board:
Chairman Ian Murray stated the Applicant would have to file a lot clearing plan, as they've had other developers do in the past. He added that concerning clearing for a vineyard, he thinks it's too sensitive to the wetlands and to the proximity of the lake; too many impacts all around. He is against it.
Board Member Patrick Hanehan stated he is against it.
Board Member Brandon Myers stated he is against it. There are too many steep slopes there and it should be conserved as forest land.
Board Member Joseph Lewandowski stated he is against it; there should be no clear cutting with the terrain that is there.
John Witt stated he heard the Board loud and clear. He then asked if logging and removing underbrush is reasonable.
Chairman Ian Murray replied it would be reasonable, but you first need to file a lot clearing plan as other developers have done; marking the trees to be removed. The Board will inspect it, approve or disapprove and go from there.
John Witt questioned if the lot clearing plan is connected to the building permit.
Chairman Ian Murray stated yes, totally tied to the building permit on a lot by lot basis. He also stated he wants to see what John Witt is trying to clear, the wetlands delineated, the wetland setbacks delineated and see what that looks like before he can make a determination on the clearing or removal of anything there.
Jeff Mancini stated the wetlands have been delineated. They're 6 - 18 inches deep; like fingers.
Chairman Ian Murray replied that he can furnish the Board with that. Chairman Ian Murray then asked if there were any other questions from the Board.
Joseph Lewandowski questioned if the wetland fingers are like springs coming out of the ground.
Jeff Mancini stated he wasn't there when they were delineated, but no, there's not water running down, but it is damp.
Chairman Ian Murray stated it's hydric soil, the plant life lends itself to that. There's a lot of characteristics that go into wetlands and when they delineate it you then know just what it is.
John Witt questioned if he can clear around the old farm to make a farmstead, staying out of the wetlands.
Chairman Ian Murray replied it possibly lends itself more to that. Give the Board a google map, run it up to 30 scale so we can see and show us what you're proposing; it could be workable. The more information you provide the Board the better.
The workshop will be at 7:00 p.m. on February 10, 2016. He then thanked Tom Yannios for hosting the neighbor meeting.
Old Business: Board Members questioned what is happening with the Roger Sharp application. Chairman Ian Murray responded he was told the Town was going to put a stop work order on him and as far as he knows Roger Sharp is looking at other locations to move his business to; he's been told he has a month to do so and if he is still at his home with his business he will be cited.
v February 9, 2016 at 7:00 p.m. - Joint Workshop Meeting
v February 10, 2016 at 7:00 p.m. - Workshop for Witt Construction Subdivision; Chairman Ian Murray asked for full Board participation for the Subdivision Workshop.
The next regular meeting will be held Wednesday, February 24, 2016 at 7:30 PM.
All submittals must be received no later than 9:00 a.m. on February 10, 2016 in order to be placed on the agenda.
Linda A. McCabe