The following minutes are a summary of the Planning Board meeting of June 16, 2015. Interested parties may request an audio recording of the meeting from the Board Secretary for a fee.
Call to Order & Statement of Compliance with the Open Public Meetings Act: Chairman Nalbantian called the meeting to order at 7:47 p.m. The following members were present: Mayor Aronsohn, Ms. Bigos, Chairman Nalbantian, Councilwoman Knudsen, Mr. Joel, Ms. Altano, Mr. Thurston, Mr. Abdalla, Mr. Reilly, Ms. Dockray, and Ms. Peters. Also present were: Gail Price, Esq., Board Attorney; Blais Brancheau, Village Planner, and Michael Cafarelli, Board Secretary. Mr. Christopher Rutishauser, Village Engineer, was not present.
Public Comments on Topics not Pending Before the Board – No one came forward.
Correspondence received by the Board – Ms. Dockray said the Board received a letter from the Open Space Committee asking the Board to include the Open Space Committee plan in the Master Plan. The Board agreed to schedule a review of the items in the letter and to add it to the Planning Board agenda for a future meeting.
Memorializing Resolutions – Amendments to the Land Use Plan Element of the Master Plan: AH-2, B-3-R, C-R and C Zone Districts – Ms. Price said there are four separate resolutions, each of which mirror each other, and which were done in a manner to allow the Village attorney to move forward to represent the Planning Board with action being taken in connection with the Affordable Housing matter. She said the C Zone is different because it does not contain any reference to housing. However, there was a typo on page 3 in the C Zone; it should read "C District" not "B-3-R." Ms. Price said the total page numbers need to be revised to reflect the actual page numbers. Ms. Price summarized the resolutions and said there will be a separate vote for each resolution. Ms. Bigos put forth an objection because she said the Planning Board vote was done too quickly, as it conflicts with the Historic Preservation Commission recommendations to include the areas next to the railroad station.
AH-2 Zone - There was a discussion about the AH-2 Zone. Ms. Price said the number of pages needs to be revised to reflect all pages from 10 to 11 and it was decided to delete "a" on page 7, paragraph 14. Mr. Joel suggested language to include adding alternate member votes. Some members objected to adding alternates and others wanted to keep them in the language. Ms. Price said there was not a full Board to make the original votes. She said having the alternate votes could be significant if there is a court challenge and it is deemed one of the eligible votes was ineligible, they would look to the alternates. Board members discussed whether to include alternates in the resolution and if the process is deviating from procedure. Ms. Price said the Board has always heard from alternates. Board agreed to change paragraph last sentence to add a sentence in the resolution to include alternates and Ms. Knudsen said further study was necessary, that the density was out of character and inconsistent with existing development patterns in the area.
B-3-R Zone - The Board discussed the B-3-R Zone; the same changes added to the AH-2 Zone would be applied to the B-3-R Zone.
C -R Zone – Ms. Price read the list of changes, to include the same changes as in the AH-2 zone except for paragraphs 14 and 22. The amendment was adopted with the revisions. Motion by Mr. Thurston to move, Ms. Bigos seconded, and all other eligible Members approved.
C Zone - Ms. Price read the list of changes, that included a modification on page 3 to change the B-3-R Zone to C Zone, paragraph B.1, three lines up is repeated as in AH-2 except for paragraph 14 and 22.
Mr. Thurston made a motion, seconded by Ms. Bigos and all other eligible members approved. Ms. Price said she would make the changes and coordinate with Mr. Cafarelli to prepare and send out the notice.
The amendment was adopted with the revisions.
Mr. Thurston left the meeting at 8:44 p.m.
Reexamination of Master Plan and Development Regulations – Discussion of Historic Preservation and Environmental Protection Provisions - Mr. Brancheau introduced the document and the role of the Historic Preservation Commission. Mr. Brancheau said Mr. Suplicki, the vice-chair of the Historical Preservation Commission was at the meeting to comment and answer questions. Mr. Brancheau said he provided the Board with his recommendations, comments, and responses from the Historical Preservation Commission. Mr. Brancheau discussed the history of the Historical Preservation Commission and said the Commission provides an advisory role. He gave a summary of the Historic Preservation Commission and discussed how it is divided by ordinance and the differences between local sites and sites in the Master Plan. Mr. Brancheau said if a property is in the Master Plan, and designated by ordinance, there are regulations adopted that pertain to that district and the applicant has to apply for variance because the regulations cannot be violated unless a variance is granted.
Mr. Brancheau said the Historical Preservation Commission is tasked with an interpretive role to determine if a property complies with regulations. He said the current reexamination has to study the inclusion of the entire B-1 zone in the Village Center Historical District. Mr. Brancheau said currently only a portion of the zone is in the district and he recommends that it continue to remain unchanged until additional study is done and Mr. Suplicki agreed.
Mr. Suplicki said that the entire area should be included in the historic district; however, Mr. Brancheau recommended further study. Board members asked Mr. Suplicki if the Commission has its own studies that can be forwarded to the Board. Mr. Suplicki said he believed the original recommendation was in 2006 studies. Mr. Brancheau said the original report goes back to 1990 and does not contain any studies.
The Historic Preservation Commission recommended that the Council designate the Prospect Street/Woodside Park historic district in the zoning ordinance. Mr. Suplicki said most residents in this area are in the historic district. Mr. Brancheau said the area is a historic district in the Master Plan but not in the zoning ordinance.
The Historic Preservation Commission also recommended adding the area surrounding the railroad station to the Village Center Historic District, designate a new historic district on Doremus Avenue, and that renovations and new construction conform to the historic streetscape. Mr. Suplicki proposed that prior to the demolition of any building in the historic district that it be referred to the Historic Preservation Commission. The demolition of a home on Circle Avenue was discussed. Ms. Price said it is difficult to prohibit a demolition and could be costly for the Village. She said it needs to be reviewed by the Village attorney. Mr. Brancheau said there is a cooling off period in the code and he discussed complications associated with a demolition.
Board members discussed examples as to why the Historic Preservation Commission needs to review applications. Ms. Price said if it is advice, it is irrelevant, and that it would need to be in the ordinance to have teeth.
Mr. Brancheau suggested in his report to revise and refine the Village Center Historic District design guidelines to: a) eliminate the procedural provisions, some of which are contrary to law or conflict with the procedures in the Land Use Ordinance, and b) delete those guidelines that are non-historic or which the HPC does not administer, e.g., HVAC equipment.
The Board agreed to have Mr. Brancheau review and revise the design guidelines.
Approval of Minutes – The minutes from June 2, 2014 and May 20, 2014 were adopted as drafted.
Executive Session – The Board moved to executive session. At the conclusion of the executive session, the Board reconvened the public session and adjourned the meeting at 10:35 p.m.
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