Ann Gallelli: An update on Hydrilla in the Croton River.

ann2016

To the editor,

The Village is facing a big decision this Winter –  the review of the NYSDEC’s proposed treatment of the Croton River to control the invasive species, Hydrilla.  Hydrilla is a critical problem for the health of the Croton River.  Hydrilla also exists in the Croton Reservoir which is under the control of the New York City Dept. of Environmental Protection (NYCDEP).

The NYSDEC has proposed a treatment program which injects the herbicide, Fluridone, into the river to control and stifle its growth. Fluridone would be injected into the Croton River upstream of the Village’s well fields.

For the proposed program to go forward, the Village’s Water Control Commission (WCC) must issue a permit and the Village’s Waterfront Advisory Committee must determine that the action is consistent with our Local Waterfront Revitalization Program (LWRP).

To that end, the WCC and WAC members met with representatives of the NYSDEC last week for more in depth information.  At its conclusion, both committees determined that they need expert advice and help in evaluating the NYSDEC proposal.    They have communicated that to the Board of Trustees, requesting the Village hire such expert help.  

The Village has a law that requires the costs of an independent environmental review for proposed projects be paid for by the project’s proponent, in this case the NYSDEC.   It is unclear whether the NYSDEC will pay for an independent consultant to advise the Village, in which case, the Village would have to absorb the cost of it itself if it determines it is needed.  This is a decision that will be made by the Board of Trustees even as the WCC and WAC will conduct the actual review.

Hydrilla treatment is a complex and important concern to the Village given the location of the Village’s well fields and water supply.  I believe it is essential that such a review occur before decisions are made about a permit for the treatment program.

 

Ann Gallelli

Ann Gallelli: Decoding Village Agendas No. 349

Ann Gallelli <anngallelli@gmail.com> Sat, Jan 7, 2017 at 1:35 PM
To: Ann Gallelli <anngallelli@gmail.com>

Dear neighbor, Here is the 349th installment of Decoding Village Agendas to keep Croton residents informed of the actions of the Village Board at their meetings. I continue to add recipients to this email update on agendas so you may be receiving it for the first time. I enjoy getting your feedback and hope to continue to hear from you. If you do not wish to receive these periodic email updates from me, please reply to this email and your name will be removed from the email list.
Ann Gallelli

Decoding Village Agendas – January 9,2017
Work Session of the Village Board
7: 30 p.m.
(Open to Public and Televised)

Discussion of proposed Local Law regarding Fences. Currently fences up to six feet in height can be installed anywhere on the lot and fences less than 25% solid (chain link, etc.) have no height restriction other than the maximum height of an accessory building which is 15 feet. It is proposed to limit the height of fences and walls in the front yard to four feet and limit the height of fences that are less than 25% solid to a maximum of eight feet. It is also proposed to require that the finished side of the fence face the street or abutting lot, currently this is not addressed in the code.
In reviewing the proposed amendments to the law, the Planning discussed the possibility of requiring one neighbor to notify the other if they planned to erect a fence. Although the Planning Board did not reach agreement on this question, they noted it in their letter to the Board. As a result the Village Board will consider this question.

Discussion about proposed local law regarding signage in Village Rights of Way. The Village’s Signage law is proposed to be revised with wording making it unlawful to put up signs in the Village ROW including on poles and trees.

Discussion about the process for cancelling previously authorized bond resolutions. This pertains only to past resolutions supporting potential bonds that were never issued. In some cases, projects or purchases were postponed or paid for in another way such as through the General Fund operating budget or through a trust fund. The Manager and Treasurer are recommending this action. It does not affect any existing bonds.
Discussion about the request by the Water Control Commission to hire a consultant to assist with the review of a Wetlands permit for the Hydrilla treatment in the Croton River. The Water Control Commission, in conjunction with the Waterfront Advisory Committee, is requesting the Village hire a qualified consultant to help both committees in evaluating the NYSDEC’s proposed treatment for hydrilla in the Croton River. They point out that they do not have the required expertise to fulfill their responsibilities in this respect. The Village has a law requiring applicants for permits to pay for expert environmental review when it is determined necessary. In this case, the applicant is the NYSDEC. It is not known whether the DEC would consent to this or if the Village might have to take on the expense.

Discussion about the possibility of establishing and email usage policy for elected officials. There is no back up available for this discussion as it was not proposed by Village Management. The Village’s Employee Manual currently has a policy regarding employees use of email. Village Board members in the Village are included in this policy.

Ann Gallelli: Progress in Harmon

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To the Editor,
As we start the New Year, many people have noticed that long-awaited outcomes from the Harmon Gateway re-zoning of 2012 are starting to occur. The passage of this zoning amendment was the outcome of a group of residents who came together to address economic development in the Harmon Commercial area. As an outgrowth of their report, and after three years and $479,000 of taxpayer-financed litigation caused by a small group of naysayers, the zoning for the Harmon Gateway was successfully amended to permit the kinds of development we are currently seeing.
In general terms, the amended zoning allows the Village Board to issue a special permit for Mixed Use buildings with three stories, but no higher than existing height restrictions of 35 feet, at least 50% of first floor being commercial, and specified parking requirements for residential and commercial components.
In 2015, the first of these permits was authorized (5-0) by the then Village Board for 370 South Riverside (also known as Dairy Mart) for 6 residential units while keeping the current commercial establishment intact. While it was approved first, a second mixed use building, approved by the current Village Board (5-0) in March 2016, at 379 South Riverside (called Riverside Apartments, formerly Nappy’s), began construction earlier this year. The latter mixed use building calls for 11 residential units along with first floor commercial. Both these developments are similar to the existing 3-story buildings on the south side of South Riverside but the new ones have met parking requirements which the existing ones did not have to meet.
Both these developments will enhance the commercial viability of the Harmon Commercial Gateway area of the village while providing much-needed housing for a range of people, seniors, empty nesters, young singles and couples, seeking smaller living spaces close to shopping and the railroad.
The completion of these two mixed use buildings will provide us with insights for future proposals in this area as well as incentives for small business development. Two small steps for a prosperous new year for the Village.

Ann Gallelli

Brian Pugh: For a Green 2017

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To the Editor:

As a community at the confluence of two rivers, climate change is of special importance to our Village. In addition, our county has consistently received an F rating from the American Lung Association due to air pollution.

Therefore, like many Croton residents, I am alarmed by the President-elect’s rejection of the scientific consensus on climate change and has announced his intention to appointment an array of fossil fuel executives and pollution apologists to his cabinet. But losing the executive branch as an ally in the battle against global warming might be just the challenge we need to a popular, grassroots mobilization against climate change.

Here are a few proposals on how our community can act in environmentally and economically prudent steps to fight climate change:

First, participate in the 100% renewable option for the Sustainable Westchester Community Choice Aggregation (CCA) program. Last year, Sustainable Westchester succeeded in securing 100% renewable electricity for consumers in over a dozen Westchester communities at less than that average 2015 Con Edison price. Since then, the success of this CCA program led the NYS Public Service Commission to use it as a model and approve CCA statewide and the US EPA has honored Sustainable Westchester as New York Environmental Champion. According to the latest data (12/28/2016), the 100% renewable option for CCA continues to consistently beat the Con Edison price. Currently, Dr. Mayor Greg Schmidt is scheduled to meet with Sustainable Westchester this Friday–I hope that this will lead to Croton joining the CCA program sooner rather than later.

Second, support divesting public pension funds from the fossil fuel industry. As a public employer, our Village contributes to the NYS pension fund, but the fund is controlled at the state level. Recently, the Croton Climate Initiative requested that the Village Board of Trustees adopts a resolution calling on the NYS legislature to adopt a bill to limit investments of public pension funds in fossil fuels (A.8011-A/S.58973). I support such a resolution. It does not make any sense to invest in businesses that are working at cross-purposes with public policy and the public interest. Already, investors controlling more than $5 trillion in assets have committed to dropping some or all fossil fuel stocks from their portfolios, according to the New York Times. Do we, as taxpayers, want to be the ones left holding the bag if and when fossil fuels become a stranded asset?

Third, facilitate the adoption of electric and low-emissions vehicles. New incentives are available to help New York vehicle fleet owners, including local governments like Croton, to transition their fleets into cleaner, more efficient and cost effective alternative fuel vehicles–with the state picking up a share of the cost. Since a large share of our local air pollution comes from vehicle emissions, improvements here are a triple play: environmentally, economically and as a public health matter.

This list is far from comprehensive. So, as always, I welcome your suggestions on how we can work together to improve our community:bpugh@crotononhudson-ny.gov

Sincerely,

Brian Pugh

Ann Gallelli: Decoding Village Agendas No. 348

Dear neighbor, Here is the 348th installment of Decoding Village Agendas to keep Croton residents informed of the actions of the Village Board at their meetings.  I continue to add recipients to this email update on agendas so you may be receiving it for the first time. I enjoy getting your feedback and hope to continue to hear from you.  If you do not wish to receive these periodic email updates from me, please reply to this email and your name will be removed from the email list.

Ann Gallelli

 

 

 

Decoding Village Agendas – January 3, 2017

Regular Meeting of the Village Board

8:00

 (Open to Public  – Televised)

 

NOTE:  This meeting is on Tuesday due to New Years Holiday.

 

 

 

PRESENTATION/Other:  The Village Board declares itself Lead Agency for SEQRA purposes and reviews criteria of significance related to the amended special use permit application from Hudson National Golf Club to construct a 12-room cottage building for overnight guests and a caddy storage building on their property located at 40 Arrowcrest Drive.    HNGC received its current special permit in 1999.  As part of that permit, 8 cottages with 4 bedrooms each were approved for the site  The proposed amendment to the special permit would replace those with a single  12-bedroom building and a nearby caddy building.  As Lead Agency, the Village Board needs to review both the Environmental Assessment (EAF) and Coastal Assessment (CAF) form provided by the applicant.

 

PUBLIC HEARING: The Public Hearing scheduled for January 3, 2017 to consider the special permit modification request from Hudson National Golf Club has been cancelled due to the applicant’s withdrawal of the request.

 

CORRESPONDENCE:

 

  • Kyle Kimball, Vice President of Government, Regional & Community Affairs, Con Edison; re: National gas safety tips about how to identify and report gas leaks.  Con Ed has provided a brochure containing several important gas safety tips.

 

 

PROPOSED RESOLUTIONS:

  1. Authorizing the Village Treasurer to amend the 2016-2017 General Fund Budget to reflect insurance recoveries in the amount of $1,420.93 to repair damages to the Police department’s 2014 Ford Explorer.  This is a necessary budgetary housekeeping item.
  2. The Village Board declares itself Lead Agency for SEQRA purposes and refers this application to the waterfront Advisory Committee for recommendation of consistency with the Village’s Local Waterfront Revitalization Program (LWRP). Furthermore, the Village Board calls for a Public Hearing on February 6, 2017 at 8pm in the meeting room of the Stanley H, Kellerhouse Municipal Building to consider an amended special use permit application from Hudson National Gold Club to construct a 12-roo, cottage building for overnight guests and a caddy storage building on their property located at 40 Arrowcrest Drive.    This is related to the discussion earlier in the meeting under Presentation in which the Board will review SEQRA documents related to this application.    In addition to declaring themselves Lead Agency, they are calling for a public hearing on the proposal forFeb. 6.
  3. Authorizing the Village Manager to sign the Inter-Municipal Agreement with Westchester County to allow the Village to continue to receive services and discounted rates from Cablevision Lightpath for the period between January 1, 2017 and December 31, 2021. The Village utilizes Lightpath for phone service and high speed internet.  This is a shared service. The County has an agreement with Cablevision for this high speed service which they share with county municipalities like the Village who sign the agreement.
  4. The Village declares itself Lead Agency for SEQRA purposes and calls for a Public Hearing on January 17, 2017 at 8:00 pm in the Meeting Room of the Stanley H. Kellerhouse Municipal Building to consider the formal adoption of the Village’s Comprehensive Plan.  The proposed plan is an update to the existing 2003 Comprehensive Plan.  The Comprehensive Plan Committee held its own public hearing on the draft in June 2016.  The resulting document has been formally transmitted to the Board which must hold its own public hearing before adoption.  The Comprehensive Plan Committee has been assisted in its preparation and development by the planning firm of Buckhurst, Fish & Jaquemart (BFJ).
held its own public hearing on the draft in June 2016.  The resulting document has been formally transmitted to the Board which must hold its own public hearing before adoption.  The Comprehensive Plan Committee has been assisted in its preparation and development by the planning firm of Buckhurst, Fish & Jaquemart (BFJ).