PLANNING BOARD DRAFT MINUTES
June 22, 2016
Chairman Ian Murray Griffen called the meeting to order at 7:33 p.m.
Planning Clerk Linda McCabe called the roll: Chairman Ian Murray present, Laurie
Griffen present, Patrick Hanehan absent, Robert McConnell present, Joseph
Lewandowski absent, Brandon Myers present, George Olsen - present,
Alternate Christopher Koval - absent.
Also attending: Town Engineer Ken Martin, John & Aspen Witt, Caryn Mlodzianowski, Alan Hall, Gary Squires, Jim Vianna, John Caffry, Mr. & Mrs. Gerber, Mr. & Mrs. Murphy, Mr. & Mrs. Yannios, and other interested persons. (Sign-in sheet is on file in the Clerks office)
Sketch Plan for Major Subdivision Conference
John Witt, Witt Construction #15-05
563 N. Broadway
Saratoga Springs, NY 12866
S/B/L 193.-1-17, 193.-1-18, 193.18-1-55 Lake Residential,
Rural District II, Rural District
Location: 142 Cedar Bluff Rd. (Co. Rd. 71)
Returning Applicant seeks a 32 lot major subdivision.
John Witt appeared before the Board and thanked the Board members for all their work to date. He said at the last meeting his representatives showed that they have reduced the number of lots from 35 down to 32. He then stated that they've designed a shared lane for the lots off of Trombley Rd. per Board input. He pointed out that the well water survey of the neighbors was in their packets, and to date they received 21 back. They are holding off on the trace study from the hydrologist until the next phase, although his hydrologist is ready to go as soon as Mr. Witt gives him the go ahead. Mr. Witt said they will test all the wells at that time; the entire explanation of the procedure is in the packets. He added the SEQR long form was also in the submitted packets. He then introduced his Forester, Mr. Chuck Gerber. Mr. Gerber stated the Board received their Forest Management Plan in their packets this month. He said he's recently added photos to it and proceeded to distribute the plan with the added photos to the Board members, and then reviewed it page by page with the Board. (The plan is on file in the Clerk's office) He stated the property has been forested in the past, but that was many, many years ago. Normally you go in, remove the best trees and leave the rest to grow. He said they broke the property into two parcels; east side and west side. The east side parcels contain the lands on which Mr. Witt is looking to do some land conversions; taking some previously hydrated forest of low timber quality and transforming them into agricultural fields. The west side parcels are the lands with the most dramatic topography. Hydrologically, the west side lands are sensitive because of the topography and also because they feed directly into Saratoga Lake. So you must use very careful methods of extracting timber and also with the development of the subdivision, to protect those resources. He then explained how he broke the parcel down into four main categories: 1. pre-forested area-blown down trees, dead trees and trees of poor quality, 2. salvageable marketable trees, 3. good trees, also contains a drainage basin feeding into Saratoga Lake, 4. removal of double stem trees by individual tree selection, and then explained the process of selection within each area while reviewing photos of those areas. The east lot has a lot of soil compaction, trees down due to wind because the soil compaction has rotted the root balls; he suggested that the compaction was caused by intensive grazing by cows. He stated it's a dense forest needing active management and clearing out; making agricultural fields there will be an asset to the property long term. He added that the Kovals' and Hanehans' are active agricultural people in the area and reviewed the Hanehan clearing of the old Hoogeveen property and how this development is compatible with that.
He stated they are not proposing selective cutting, they're proposing a solocultural system, known as individual group tree selection. Mr. Witt is looking to create view sheds of the lake. To do so, they'll create strips to create the view sheds (compatible with group tree selection) and in between the strips they'll do individual tree selection, cutting and removing trees they deem necessary to go. He added that he works with, and has worked with, Mr. Witt on a number of his developments and Mr. Witt's projects always turn out first rate.
Mr. Witt then reviewed the submitted updated site and lot statistics with the Board: of the 111 acres, removing the steep slopes and wetlands - approximately 18.3 acres, buildable land required is 93.3 acres, open space required is 46.6 acres. They are proposing 56.6 acres of open space and 32 buildable lots with right-of-ways. They've notified Army Corp. of Engineers and have been given a number. He stated he had someone on site today verifying the wetlands and reflagging where some of the flags have gone down. On the east side, they originally thought there were no wetlands but it's now been confirmed that there are some wetlands; a swamp off of the property, actually northeast of the property, and he wants to be sure none of that creeps into that section.
Chairman Ian Murray stated there are wetlands right by the barn there. In fact, there are two independent spots, one close by the corner and one back a bit further.
Mr. Witt stated he knows nothing about that; he'll have that checked out. He then reviewed the map with the degree of slopes. He also said, per Board suggestions, that he has put in a lane off of Trombley Rd. which allows access to lots 24 - 30. Lot 31 has access of Cedar Bluff Rd. He then went over topo and driveways for the cul-de-sac. He said he knows that Town Engineer Ken Martin has some concerns with the slopes for lots 18,19 and 20. His plan is to push up the hill to create the grades.
Town Engineer Ken Martin stated he did not have a solution for lots 18, 19 and 20; those lots need real work on the driveways.
Mr. Witt plans to move the houses down a bit and come up and around with the driveways.
Town Engineer Ken Martin said he needs to watch the slopes; the Town has a maximum of 12%.
Mr. Witt responded that their goal is to keep below 12% - he believes he'll keep closer to 10% on
those. He then stated he thinks the most severe lots to build on will be lots 1 - 4; the houses will
be on the downhill side. He then presented a grading plan for those four lots.
Chairman Ian Murray stated it will be very challenging.
Mr. Witt agreed but said it can work; possible retaining walls, rain gardens but it can work. He then reviewed the road profile, showed cuts and fills and acknowledged there will be changes going forward. He then said since last August he's been before the Board with the intention of clearing and recreating pastures and farmland for a nice little gentleman's farm.
Laurie Griffen asked him how many acres will be left on lot 32.
Mr. Witt said he doesn't have the exact acreage, but said 20 acres, maybe 15 acres.
Chairman Ian Murray stated the land on the west side, where the wetland fingers are is .93 acres. Mr. Witt has talked about this for months, but development is off the table on that side. It needs to come back with Undisturbed, Protected, Undevelopable on it; cross that whole plan right out. Even protected from the forest management plan - the Board wants it totally protected.
Mr. Witt said protecting the forest is needed.
Chairman Ian Murray stated Mother Nature has been taking care of it for years.
Brandon Myers stated that he talked to Kevin Hastings about lots 10 & 11 to create same conditions, to not touch the down slope areas of those two lots and have a 50' buffer from the ridgeline to your proposed road; same conditions as Chairman Ian Murray just said.
Mr. Witt replied that won't work with the concept he's proposed to the Board, which was to create lake views for those lots.
Chairman Ian Murray responded that that was Mr. Witt's choice, not the Board's. The Board has discussed this with Mr. Witt from the beginning. The Board knows the sensitivity in that area and told Mr. Witt from day one that that wasn't on the table to do. He stated we've had problems on Brown Rd. when they tried to do that, and it impacted the neighbors down below. These slopes are even more severe here than on Brown Rd.; they're never going to get to stabilize it. The Board told Mr. Witt months ago, it's off the table. There's a plateau there; he can work with a house setting, but as far as clearing - it is not going to happen there.
Mr. Witt responded he'd like Chairman Ian Murray to draw what he's talking about.
Chairman Ian Murray asked Mr. Witt to put up the colored slopes map again and look at it - it's all right there drawn out for him.
Brandon Myers added that the colored areas of lots 9,10 and 11 - 50' up is where your line would start; everything below is untouchable.
Chairman Ian Murray repeated it's been the consensus of the Board from day one that that was off the table and this is why we are still in sketch plan. Mr. Witt doesn't want to hear us.
Mr. Witt said he told the Board from day one that he's going to clear for the lake views; it's the asset for those lots.
Chairman Ian Murray asked Mr. Witt what has the Board said from day one? The Board has said no, and continues to say no; those are to remain untouched and off the table.
Chairman Ian Murray continued on stating sight distance has been met on the road with the new proposed location, hydrological - Mr. Witt has indicated trace study has started though it's not been completed yet. Phase III of the procedure mentioned fracturing; hydro-fracking has been banned in the Town of Saratoga, so it's not an option. Please pass that information on to Hanson-VanVleet. Chairman Ian Murray then stated the Board will be hiring an independent hydrologist and will submit the procedures that the applicant has given the Board from Hanson-VanVleet. The Board is requesting a copy of the trace study so it can be reviewed by their hydrologist at the same time, to guide and advise the Board going forward. He then stated that Mr. Witt mentioned the letter to Army Corp. Chairman Ian Murray stated he's surprised to see that the letter only went out in April since this Board has been talking about this for a long time and knowing there will be a very delayed response from Army Corp.- they take a long time to respond.
Mr. Witt replied he too was upset about that; he'd been told last fall that the whole thing was done.
Chairman Ian Murray responded they move slowly and in their letter it says there will be no disturbance in any of those areas until they do jurisdictional review on it.
Laurie Griffen questioned how long will it be and Chairman Ian Murray stated 6-9 months; they're very slow and that is why he was so surprised.
Chairman Ian Murray stated he had questions on the EAF. He then read the following from the SEQR form:
A. Site Description-Physical setting of the overall project both developed and undeveloped areas.
1. Mr. Witt checked off the forest and agriculture and ruled not farmed. He asked Mr. Witt if he plans to move forward with agriculture on lot 32?
Mr. Witt responded correct.
2. Chairman Ian Murray said under question #2 the applicant has LAWN - 16 acres, is that a calculation for all the lots combined?
Mr. Witt replied yes, but until final plan that's what he assumes.
3. Chairman Ian Murray said under question #3, soil drainage: poorly drained- the applicant has stated soils and wetlands are at 2%; he believes that will prove to be higher.
Mr. Witt stated like he said, until he gets the final information he doesn't know what that number is.
4. Chairman Ian Murray said under question #4 it asks are there bedrock outcroppings on the project site. Mr. Witt stated no. Under 4. a. it asks what is depth to bedrock and Mr. Witt answered 6 feet minimum. Chairman Ian Murray stated where the cul-de-sac is proposed he read the reports and they said there is shale in that location; Mr. Witt said yes. Chairman Ian Murray told Mr. Witt he needs to correct his answer to #4 then. Mr. Witt agreed.
17. Public Utilities, under b. asks if improvements will be necessary to allow connection. Mr. Witt answered no, but improvements will be necessary to connect to public utilities, namely Saratoga County Public Sewer. So please correct the answer.
B. Project Description
1. c. It asks project acreage to remain undeveloped and Mr. Witt answered 0. Chairman Ian Murray stated that calculation needs to be corrected to include the area that is to remain untouched and undeveloped.
3. b. Will topsoil be stockpiled and reclaimed - Mr. Witt answered yes. and under question
3. c. Will upper subsoil be stockpiled for reclamation - Mr. Witt answered yes. Chairman Ian Murray asked where they plan to stockpile those and what the uses for it will be.
Mr. Witt responded it will be for re-grading the lots, filling in where needed. He isn't sure exactly where they'll be stockpiling it, but details will be in the final plan.
4. Chairman Ian Murray stated to get back to the question of Laurie Griffen; how many acres of vegetation (trees, shrubs, ground cover) will be removed from site? Mr. Witt answered 12 acres. Chairman Ian Murray asked how they arrived at that number.
Chairman Ian Murray said that number is way off; with lot 32, the road, everything else
Mr. Witt responded there will be a lot more than that taken out; until they have their final he doesn't know, but at that point they'll fine tune it; his daughter added it's a working document.
Chairman Ian Murray stated he knows what a working document is, but proceeding from this point, we're going from conceptual stage into preliminary. But SEQR must be complete and correct before going to preliminary and without that document being complete and correct we can't finish SEQR.
Mr. Witt said he thought SEQR was done at sketch plan, not at preliminary.
Chairman Ian Murray responded correct, we will be moving into preliminary, but before preliminary we need to have SEQR complete and correct.
Brandon Myers stated he does not think this is compatible with our zoning. He reviewed item A.2.and stated in his mind, he doesn't see how Mr. Witt can improve on having a natural buffer better than leaving that wooded area alone. He'll have dust control, odor, soil treatment, soil stabilization. The idea of taking 32.7 acres to clear cut continuous to a farming operation makes absolutely no sense to him
Mr. Witt stated he disagrees. To him its suggestive; he likes farms, he likes looking at farms. There is a right-to-farm law in this town and this is keeping within that spirit. That area is not a mature forest-it was a farm.
Brandon Myers stated if Mr. Witt was under the jurisdiction of NYS Ag & Mkts the Board would not be having this conversation with Mr. Witt because they regulate it and control it. Unfortunately he thinks the discussions about the farm has been a huge distraction from the development of the property.
Mr. Witt disagreed stating it meets 90% of the comprehensive plan and the farm has been part of the concept of this development since last August; a farm and a conservation subdivision - leaving open space and houses clustered. He stated he could have come in saying he's putting in roads and really subdivide it out, but believes he's being more creative, showing something he thinks is a little more sexy. This is his vision. This will create a visional enhancement for people driving down the road; when they make that turn, they see the lake, it will be gorgeous. He stated he understands that is off the table and he has agreed to it but he can't agree with everything. His plan is an attractive asset to the community, creating farm fields, house sites and open space.
Chairman Ian Murray stated he understands where Brandon Myers is coming from, but doesn't necessarily agree; the Board is heading toward a working project and he'd like to move forward.
He then stated test pits were referenced for lots 19 - 22; he asked Mr. Witt if he can provide the data for that?
Mr. Witt replied yes.
Chairman Ian Murray then questioned the driveway stats for lots 1 - 3 and 18, 19 and 20. He told Mr. Witt he believes the calculations are off on the driveway lengths and the slope calculations are off.
Mr. Witt stated he'll do a detailed drawing for all those lots. He then asked if the Board was comfortable with lots 1 - 4.
Chairman Ian Murray replied yes, provided that the engineering works on them; it's a conceptual plan but keep in mind when we get out of sketch plan and into preliminary, we have to receive more engineered drawings there. He added that Kevin Hastings showed a conceptual on the road and showed open swales on there. Mr. Witt will have to have a containment and capture system on there and he doesn't think, although it's been discussed, that they've made provisions for storm water. He believes that will have a huge effect on the disturbance areas when it concerns putting the road in and grading the lots out and getting storm water to work. He then questioned what phase they are in concerning archeological?
Mr. Witt replied they are in phase I and II and going into phase III. They found arrow heads and flint.
Brandon Myers said he'd like to see details of disturbance/limits of clearing on lots 1 - 4, 9 - 11 and 17 -20, not just the road, so he can see if he thinks they're developable. George Olsen agreed.
Chairman Ian Murray said on the east side; the private road, as the Board discussed in the past, is the way to go. It gets the driveways off the corner and it's the only way it will work. He added that it must be done to Town standards with a turn-around or hammerhead designed into it for turn-around of emergency vehicles and able to support 50 ton vehicles.
Mr. Witt questioned why it has to be to Town specs.
Chairman Ian Murray responded when it's over 200' it must support 50,000 lbs. vehicles, must have a turn-around especially with 6 - 8 houses on there; it's needed for emergency purposes. Standards are in the zoning regulations.
He then said that at the April meeting Jeff Mancini had stated that the center line of the road was staked out, do you know if they just staked it out or is it staked out at the stations or?
Mr. Witt replied he's unsure but will get back to the Chairman with that information.
Chairman Ian Murray then stated he wanted to poll the Board to see if they'd like to move forward by approving this conceptual sketch plan stage and work toward preliminary:
Brandon Myers - no
Chairman Ian Murray - yes
Robert McConnell - yes
Laurie Griffen - yes
George Olsen - yes
Chairman Ian Murray then asked Mr. Witt if he had notes on what is needed and he said yes. He then told him Mr. Witt if he had any questions or concerns he can call him or Town Engineer Ken Martin.
Chairman Ian Murray asked Attorney Justin Grassi if the Board should declare Lead Agency status for SEQR now, or wait? Justin Grassi replied they should declare the intention of Lead Agency now and let all other agencies know. Procedurally from here they are still at conceptual stage working toward preliminary, once in preliminary the Board can consider the application complete, once it's gone through SEQR. At that point the Board has 62 days to hold a public hearing and once you close the public hearing you have another 62 days to make a decision on preliminary.
Chairman Ian Murray introduced Attorney Justin Grassi, of Miller, Mannex, Apner and Schachner, to the Board (for those members that were absent the last time he did this) stating he is representing the Board for the review of this subdivision. Justin Grassi stated the only other thing he wanted to mention was for preliminary approval the Board needs to keep in mind that at that point, the details of preliminary are locked in; the specific design details, topography, all the lot-lines and sizes, infrastructure of the roadways - all is locked in at that time. So you need to be sure everything is the way you want it before approving preliminary.
Special Use Permit Conference
Primax Properties LLC c/o Bohler Engineering MA, LLC #15-01
17 Computer Drive West
Albany, NY 12205
Location: NYS Rt. 29
Returning Applicant has recently been granted approval from the Schuylerville Planning Board to build a retail store within the Village limits; the property is located within both the Village and Town limits. The Applicant is now seeking a Special Use Permit from the Town Planning Board to establish a paved area and dumpster enclosure to accompany the adjacent retail store; this section of the property is located within the Town limits.
Caryn Mlodzianowski, Bohler Engineering, appeared before the Board on behalf of Primax Properties, stating that they were before this Board in the spring of 2015 proposing to construct a 9100+/- square foot Dollar General retail store, to be located at 44 Spring St., in the Village of Schuylerville. She reviewed the property and the project with the Board, reminding them that the property is located within both the Town of Saratoga and the Village of Schuylerville. She said that 3+/- acres of the 4.5+/- acre portion of the property that is located within the Town, will be donated to the Schuylerville Central School District. The store and most of the parking will be located entirely within the Village district. There will be a section of pavement to access the dumpster on the portion of land within the limits of the Town. As stated earlier, they were before the Board in April 2015 and since that time they have gained approval through the Village Planning Board. She is here now to complete the review of this project. In April 2015 this Board had questions, which she feels has been addressed in their recent submittal. Storm water was questioned; they submitted that information with their site development plan. Buffering was another concern; the site plan shows the trees that will be preserved along the western side of the property. They are also proposing to install a 6' stockade fence along the east side of the site to act as a buffer along with the tree line on that side of the property. This Board also wanted a lighting plan and the Village has approved the submitted plan, which is in their packet. She then said she's ready to listen to any comments and answer any questions.
Chairman Ian Murray said he'll start with the lighting plan and questioned if they really think it necessary to have that many wall pack lights on that building?
Caryn Mlodzianowski responded yes, the Village approved that.
Chairman Ian Murray said on the back and the east side? There's no traffic, there's no reason for it.
She responded the Village wanted a light on each side for safety reasons.
Chairman Ian Murray replied the foot candles in those wall packs are the same as in the pole lights; it's wasted energy and he doesn't think it needs to be lit up that way, but that went with the approval of the building through the Village, so this Board can't do anything about it.
George Olsen said the pole lights are on our side of the property.
Chairman Ian Murray added it'll be a skateboard park at night there. In regards to the lands being donated to the school district, a lot-line adjustment will have to be done for that. They will need to provide the Board with a survey and deed reflecting the adjustment.
He then questioned if the dumpster is portable or ground mounted.
Caryn Mlodzianowski responded it is to be ground mounted within an enclosure; stockade fence on three sides and chain-link gate in front.
Chairman Ian Murray stated concerning the drainage plan and the orchard trees on the west; the parking lot drains back to the south into a catch basin and goes into the infiltrator, but there is a swale that picks up just past the catch basin and goes north and hooks around the dumpster - and just dumps out there. There's a house right there.
Caryn Mlodzianowski responded yes. It's not like it's going to be free flowing there.
Chairman Ian Murray replied there are heavy soils there and he believes there needs to be storm water detention back there. The Board agreed.
Caryn Mlodzianowski responded they can take a look at it; maybe create a little depression pond in back there.
Chairman Ian Murray replied absolutely. He said if she were to look at her maps, one of the maps has that house on it and it shows it is right off the corner of the proposed building and that storm water will flow right into her backyard. He said they need to create a detention pond with riprap outflow or something to the north.
Caryn Mlodzianowski responded in their storm water design they do include the rate that the storm water leaves the site, up to the hundred year storm and because they're under an acre, they do not have to treat that water.
Chairman Ian Murray replied that she needs to look at that; this Board cannot allow them to dump it into that backyard.
Chairman Ian Murray then stated we will advertise for a public hearing for next month.
Heidemarie Lane #16-09 Representative: Jim Vianna
1379 Valentine Pond Rd. 130 Lohnes Rd.
Adirondack, NY 12808 Stillwater, NY 12170
S/B/L 206.-1-32.11 & 32.12 Lake Res.
Location: North side of Brown Rd., West of Wright Rd.
Applicant seeks a lot-line adjustment between her two parcels.
Jim Vianna appeared before the Board on behalf of the Applicant and reviewed the proposed lot-line adjustment.
Chairman Ian Murray stated the front line width needs to be adjusted or they'll have to send him to the Zoning Board for a variance, other than that it's fine.
Jim Vianna replied he'll correct that front line width.
Chairman Ian Murray stated no Board action is required; he and Town Engineer Ken Martin will sign off once that correction is made.
Jim Vianna thanked the Board.
James C. Drake #16-10 Marcie L. Krout Representative: Jim Vianna
18 Teaberry Pl. 9 Brock Dr. 130 Lohnes Rd.
Ballston Spa, NY 12020 Saratoga Springs, NY 12866 Stillwater, NY 12170
S/B/L 206.9-2-22.12 S/B/L 206.9-2-15
Location: North side of Brock Dr., off of Brown Rd.
Mr. Drake seeks a lot-line adjustment to convey 263+/-sq. ft. (Parcel 1) and 2,318+/- sq. ft. (Parcel 2) to Marcie L. Krout as she has put a shed, pool, deck and garden on his property.
Jim Vianna appeared before the Board on behalf of the Applicant and reviewed the proposed lot-line adjustments. He explained that when the owner, Mr. Drake, had his lands surveyed he found that Ms. Krout had used some of the land as her own and put in a pool, deck, shed etc. Mr. Drake is changing the lot-lines to help her out and new deeds are being drawn up to reflect the changes.
Chairman Ian Murray stated as before, no Board action is required; he and Town Engineer Ken Martin will review and sign off once the maps are brought in.
Jim Vianna thanked the Board.
New Business: Board Member George Olsen stated he will be unable to attend the July meeting.
The next regular meeting will be held Wednesday, July 27, 2016 at .
Linda A. McCabe