“Slow Down Croton” is more than a slogan or a yard sign – it’s a guiding principle for all of us here in the community and a key priority for our Village government.
So we should all be very pleased that our Croton Police Department has won the Gold Award in the AAA Northeast 2022 Community Traffic Safety Awards program, recognizing communities that identify local traffic safety problems and then work to solve them.
Our Board of Trustees is proud of Croton’s police for achieving the Gold Award. But we all know there is more work to be done, which is why we were so glad to hear at our Monday night Board meeting from Police Chief John Nikitopoulos regarding the ongoing work to achieve better traffic safety. You can view the Chief’s comments by going to Village website at https://www.crotononhudson-ny.gov/board-trustees/pages/webcasts clicking on “October 17 Board of Trustees Meeting”, and then clicking on the Chief’s presentation, the 4th item on that night’s agenda.
In his remarks the Chief noted that speeding is one of the biggest issues raised to the department by Croton residents. To help address the problem, he is now dedicating one full time officer each month to traffic enforcement.
This intense focus on traffic safety translates into real action – a 28.9% increase in traffic summonses issued in the January-August period compared to the previous year, including speeding, illegal right on red, going through a stop sign, or other violations. These summonses represent both a response to violations but hopefully also a deterrence to future ones.
Assisting the public to follow the law are the speed machines posted all around the Village to monitor a driver’s vehicle speed, with a new one to be added at the end of this month. The department’s strategy is to deploy these in numerous locations moving them to new streets when necessary. These devices are an effective way to let the driver know in real time that they are going too fast and must slow down.
We’ve made a good deal of progress on traffic safety, including by implementing suggestions made by our hard-working Bicycle and Pedestrian Committee, but we can’t stop now. For a safer Croton, we all need to decrease our speeding and increase our observance of all the traffic laws in place to protect all of us and our families.
Dear Neighbors: Congratulations and kudos to Croton resident, Janet Meyer, and being nominated to the Westchester County Senior Hall of Fame. Janet is a past President of the Croton Seniors Club and had the unfortunate job of leading the Seniors through most of the Covid pandemic years. Janet, working with others, was a key force in keeping the group together with regular ZOOM meetings and online events and communications. Janet’s background in organizing events no doubt helped the Croton Seniors organization remain intact throughout this challenging period. Janet, a former Cryptographer in the Women’s Army Corps during the Vietnam War, is also an active member of the Fox/Eklof Post 505 of the American Legion in Croton. In that capacity she has been a regular speaker at the Memorial Day and Veterans’ Day ceremonies held in the Village. Janet’s “talks” always add an interesting anecdote and insight to the ceremony of the day bringing home its importance locally. Janet also organizes and promotes a monthly food drive held at the Municipal Building to benefit the Veterans at the VA facility in Montrose. Janet is also a member of the Croton Caring Committee and an active member and volunteer of Croton’s Asbury Methodist Church. Janet is a champion of encouraging more participation. She was, and is, interested in the challenges of interpersonal connections among family and friends during the COVID and post-COVID world. She is always looking for new ways to connect. As such, Janet was one of two seniors who participated with local high school students in an Innovation Challenge focused on building intergenerational connections in the post-COVID world.
Congratulations, Janet, on your well-deserved recognition and nomination to the Senior Hall of Fame.
Dear neighbor, Here is the 598thinstallment 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.
Decoding Village Agendas – October 17, 2022
Meeting of the Village Board of Trustees
In the Georgianna Grant room
Stanley Kellerhouse Municipal Building
PRESENTATION:Presentation by John Nikitopoulos, Chief of Police, regarding traffic safety.Presentation of the “Key to the Village” to Seaver Wang, former President of the Croton Rotary Club, in recognition of outstanding service to the Village.PUBLIC HEARINGS:a. Public Hearing to consider Local Law Introductory No. 13 of 2022, to revise the time limit parking within the residential permit parking system zones from 2 hours to 4 hours between the hours of 7:00 AM to 7:00 PM on weekdays. b. Public Hearing to consider Local Law Introductory No. 14 of 2022, increasing the incomeeligibility level for the senior property tax exemption. In August 20221, NYS passed legislationincreasing income eligibility for senior property tax exemptions from $29,000 to $50,000. Municipalities have the option of opting to do this or not.. Manager Healy estimates thatbetween 25 and 46 households would be eligible.CONSISTENCY REVIEWa. LWRP Consistency Review and EAF Part II Review for Local Law Introductory 11 and Local Law Introductory 12 of 2022. The Village Board will review and complete the formsfor the SEQRA process and the Local Waterfront Revitalization Plan for the two zoning laws under consideration. Local Law 11 pertains to amending the Harmon Gateway Overlay Zoning area by expanding its area and allowing multi-family use. Local Law 12 pertains to allowingTransit Oriented Development (TOD)zoning in the LI district at the top of the railroad station,west of Route 9.
a. Letter from Mae Carpenter, Westchester County Commissioner of Senior Programs, announcing the induction of Croton resident Janet Meyer into the Senior Hall of Fame for 2022. Janet Meyer, past President of the Croton Seniors Club and active member of American Legion Fox- Eklof Post 505 has been accepted into the Westchester County Senior Hall of Fame. The formal County-wide ceremony will be held on Friday, December 2.
b. Email from John Munson, President of the Croton Fire Council, regarding membership status changes in the Croton Fire Department. As required, Chief Munson is notifying the Village of membership changes in the Fire department.
c. Letter from John Corlett, Vice President of Public and Government Affairs, congratulating the Village upon earning a Gold Award in the 2022 Traffic Safety Awards Program. The American Automobile Association (AAA) recognizes Croton for its commitment to traffic safety and will present the award at its annual Community Traffic Safety luncheon on October 26th.
a. Consider authorizing the Village Manager to execute an agreement with Ten Old Post Road South Corporation for use of 6 parking spaces along the north side of 10 Old Post Road South. This formalizes a previous agreement that has expired for the Village use and maintenance of 6 spaces that are half in the Village-owned parking lot adjacent to Vassallo park and also half in the property of 10 Old Post Road South. The agreement expires in 2027.
b. Consider authorizing the Village Manager to execute an agreement with American Legion Fox-Eklof Post 505 to support patriotic observances and remembrances throughout the year. The Village supports patriotic observances and remembrances throughout the year, including, but not limited to, Vietnam Veterans Day, Memorial Day, Independence Day, Veterans Day and Pearl Harbor Day and wants to continue cooperation with Fox-Eklof Post 505 to further these events. The Village agrees to provide up to $2500/year for supplies and refreshments to help sponsor these events.
c. Consider adjusting the terms of the members of the Water Control Commission to align with the terms spelled out in the law.The terms of the current members of the Water Control Commission have become inconsistent with the terms spelled out in the law, namely that one member’s term should expire each year. This would adjust the terms as follows: Stuart Greenbaum: Term to expire December 31, 2022 Leo Wiegman: Term to expire December 31, 2023 Richard Wetherbee: Term to expire December 31, 2024 Mark Goldfarb: Term to expire December 31, 2025 William Pfrang: Term to expire December 31, 2026
d. Consider adopting a resolution to acknowledge receipt of the 2022 Justice Court Audit. The Village acknowledges that the required audit was conducted.
e. Consider scheduling a public hearing to consider Local Law Introductory Number 15, deleting §197-9 of the Village Code to align with the provisions in §208 of the Village Code, Trees No change to existing practice is being proposed with this local law. This is simply a housekeeping change to ensure the accuracy of the Village Code.
f. Consider authorizing the Village Manager to accept the proposal from Sullivan Architecture of White Plains, New York, to design an addition onto the Harmon Firehouse for Croton EMS to utilize as their headquarters. Currently, Croton EMS is no longer operating out of 44 Wayne Street and has temporary headquarters in the Harmon Firehouse. A working group of EMS, Firemen and Village administration have determined that putting an addition onto the Harmon Firehouse for Croton EMS to use as their headquarters would be the most economical and wise use of Village resources. The contract is not to exceed $32,000. The funding was allocated in the current budget.;
g. Consider adopting an updated FOIL Policy to include the Retention and Disposition Schedule for New York State Local Government Records (LGS-1) as the Village official subject matter list for records. The Village is required to maintain a subject matter list of records available under the Freedom of Information Law. This resolution adopts the State’s subject matter list for Village purposes.
h. Consider authorizing the Village Manager to execute the agreement between the Village and M&B Towers LLC of West Babylon, New York. Since 2006 M&B Towers has leased a portion of the train station parking lot to host a telecommunications tower that currently has 4 carriers on it. This will extend the number of renewals possible as well as increase the monthly rent.
i. Consider authorizing the Village Treasurer to amend the 2022-2023 General Fund Budget in the amount of $5,000 for expenses related to Oktoberfest. This is a budget amendment to reflect income and expenses related to the event.
j. Consider authorizing the Village Treasurer to make an interfund transfer in the 2022-2023 General Fund Budget in the amount of $23,176 for recordkeeping purposes related to the hiring of a new assessor. The Village has hired a part-time Assessor. This reflects the transfer of salary expenses to the position from the General fund.
k. Consider authorizing the Village Treasurer to amend the 2022-2023 General Fund Budget in the amount of $12,385.40 related to police overtime reimbursements. The Croton Harmon School District, Con Edison, and the Croton Rotary Club requested police services for various events during the fiscal year and have agreed to pay the overtime costs for the officers.
Dear Crotonites, It gives me great pleasure to share with you that at the Village Board meeting on October 3, 2022, the Board voted unanimously to adopt a Resolution in support of Statewide Ballot Proposal 1: Clean Water, Clean Air, Green Jobs Environmental Bond Act of 2022. The Act was passed by the New York State Legislature as part of the 2022-2023 New York State Budget, and will appear on the November 8, 2022 New York State General Election Ballot for voter approval. The Clean Water, Clean Air, Green Jobs Environmental Bond Act would authorize the four billion and two hundred million dollars of bonds to finance critical environmental restoration, clean water, and infrastructure projects across New York State. The Act will provide funding for a variety of environmental initiatives, among them protecting our local waterways from pollution and modernizing water infrastructure to safeguard clean water, reduce flooding, and reduce lead exposure and other health threats. Funding will also go towards building green roofs, upgrading cooling centers, upgrading transportation and stormwater infrastructure, restoring natural resources, growing urban forests, protecting open space and farmland, upgrading facilities at state and local parks and preserves, and creating new outdoor recreational areas, thereby protecting wildlife habitat and providing more people with access to nature. All of these initiatives will reduce the pollution that causes climate change, and protect the State’s vulnerability to extreme weather, characterized by rising temperatures, stronger and more frequent storms and storm surges that put people, properties and public assets at risk. In addition, these funded initiatives will support more than 84,000 family-sustaining jobs for New Yorkers: green jobs, with strong labor provisions . The Environmental Bond Act also stipulates that at least 35%, with a goal of 40% of the measure’s funding will go towards addressing pollution, public health threats and other hazardous conditions in disadvantaged communities across the State. For all these reasons, the Village Board is pleased to support the Clean Water, Clear Air, Green Jobs Environmental Bond Act, and hope you will too when it appears on the ballot for public approval on Election Day, November 8th! Sincerely, Sherry Horowitz, Trustee, Croton Village Board
To those in Croton who lift their trash lids and think “It sure would be great if the Village sponsored a food scrap recycling program” – here’s some good news!
Croton will soon be running a pilot six-month program that will recycle food scraps so they can be converted into compost. It will be open to 40 Croton households and run from Saturday, January 7, 2023, through Saturday, June 24, 2023. If you’d like to participate, visit the Village website (crotononhudson-ny.gov) and click on Sustainability Committee under “Boards and Committees”. Once there, at News and Announcements on the right, the top news will tell you all about the Food Scrap Recycling program.
This new initiative is a great example of an all-hands-on-deck partnership. Since waste reduction and recycling is an important Village goal, our Sustainability Committee, led by Lindsay Audin, sought and was awarded a grant for the Village from the NY Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) for this pilot. Subsequently, the Committee has worked with DEC, our DPW and the Westchester County Residential Food Scrap Transportation and Disposal Program to get the program underway. Our Conservation Advisory Council and great groups like Croton100 and Mothers Our Front will help us to get the word out.
Monday night our Board of Trustees approved an Intermunicipal Agreement for the County program. Our bagged scraps will be picked up weekly by a county truck and taken to a commercial composting facility in Cortlandt Manor.
The program will be described, and materials distributed at a kick-off meeting at noon on Sunday, Dec. 4, 2022, in the Municipal Building Community Room – the only opportunity to complete the sign-up process and receive the necessary start- up supplies.
Croton has an “all of the above” strategy for sustainability – now we can add this food scrap recycling pilot to our tool kit. We look forward to a great kick-off, success for the pilot and then, with your help, looking at next steps for food scrap recycling in Croton.
At last Monday’s Board of Trustees meeting, a Public Hearing was opened to consider two Local Laws that would amend existing Village Zoning laws. The Village Board has been studying these proposed zoning changes for some time and has engaged AKRF Consultants to study the impacts and the possible outcomes if these laws are implemented. AKRF representative Aaron Werner presented the study results at the Public Hearing.
It is important to remember that this is the beginning of a lengthy process in which the Board is required to perform complete SEQRA and Consistency reviews. Public input is an important part of this process. To that end, this week’s Public Hearing was not closed and will remain open for more comments in the future. Beyond that, it is important to understand that these are zoning amendments, i.e. changes to what might be legally built, and not actual projects.
Here are the highlights of the presentation. Proposed Local Law #11 would expand the area of the currently existing Harmon South Riverside Gateway (HSRG) area to include 4 parcels on Wayne and Clinton Streets as well as the lot on the southeast side of South Riverside, the location of ET Equipment. (The latter site Is proposed to have its current split zoning of C-2 and RA-5 combined to all C-2). Proposed Local Law #12 would affect only the 3 parcels on Croton Point Avenue, west of Route 9 which are located in the Light Industrial (LI) zoning district to allow Transit Oriented Development (TOD) Zoning.
Proposed Local Laws 11 and 12 would allow, by Special Permit, multi-family residential or mixed-use (residential above commercial) as a Special Permit Use in their respective districts. While Mixed-Use development is already allowed by Special Permit in the HSRG area, this would also be extended to the TOD designated area. Both proposed local laws would allow Multi-family residential use as well by Special Permit. The height and FAR restrictions in the HSRG zone would remain at 35’ and 0.8 FAR. The new proposed TOD area in the LI district would permit 5 stories and a 1.2 FAR (Floor Area Ratio).
AKRF was asked by the Village to analyze the potential outcomes of these zoning changes if they were fully implemented within their respective zoning districts. They have provided data on the maximum buildout scenario where all existing uses would be replaced by Mixed use or Multi-family developments (an unlikely scenario). The analyses included total potential buildout data as well as schools, traffic and visual impacts. All this data is available on the Village website under Projects and Initiatives.
While these proposed zoning changes may appear to be substantial, past experience indicates that buildout as a result of zoning changes tend to be very gradual, usually dependent upon decisions by individual property owners. As an example, in the 10-plus years since the Harmon Gateway Zoning was implemented which, for the first time, allowed mixed-uses (residential above commercial) in an area with 45 eligible parcels, only one mixed-use building has been erected with 8 residential units at 379 South Riverside.
The Board expects this to be a thorough process and welcomes public input. Opening a public hearing on the proposed changes in the early stage, as occurred this week, is a way to ensure maximum knowledge and understanding of the proposed zoning changes. It is hoped that residents will keep raising the questions that need to be answered as the proposals move ahead.
Croton residents send a good portion of our tax dollars to Washington every year. So, it is great when we get them back to provide vital services here in the Village. That’s why an email the Village received on Friday which began: “Congratulations! Your grant application submitted under the Grant Programs Directorate’s Fiscal Year (FY) 2021 Assistance to Firefighters Grants has been approved for award” was very welcome news indeed.
The Assistance to Firefighters Grants (AFG) program is administered through the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA). Since 2001, AFG has helped firefighters and other first responders obtain critically needed equipment, protective gear, emergency vehicles, training and other resources necessary for protecting the public and emergency personnel from fire and related hazards.
Croton was awarded $39,000 to acquire vital equipment such as air packs, masks and other priorities for our dedicated volunteer firefighters. We do our best to provide the resources which the Fire Department needs. But the help we can get from the federal side is appreciated as a very beneficial supplement to our own local funding.
There was a time when the federal government provided no direct assistance to first responders, believing that was solely a local responsibility. Fortunately, local elected officials around the country, joined by their police, fire, and EMS leaders turned that philosophy around and convinced Congress and the White House to start making these investments in safety. The results were programs such as the Community Oriented Policing Services (COPS) in the Justice Department and FEMA programs like AFG and Staffing for Adequate Fire and Emergency Response (SAFER).
Croton will always be careful when it comes to applying for federal grants. We want to make sure it is our priorities which drive the pursuit of these funds, and not the other way around. In the case of AFG we were fortunate to be guided by Village Manager Bryan Healy and his team and Fire Chief John Munson, whose excellent collaboration led to this AFG grant success.
Rainy weather caused our 9/11 ceremony this year to take place in the Harmon Firehouse. In some ways though, it was so appropriate since the bravery and sacrifice of our firefighters is so much of what 9/11 means to us all. Croton’s Fire Department deserves the best resources available, and we will do our best to make sure that is so.
Dear neighbor, Here is the 595thinstallment 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.
Decoding Village Agendas – September 19, 2022
Regular Meeting of the Village Board
Georgianna Grant Room
Public Hearing to consider Local Law Introductory No. 11 of 2022 and Local Law Introductory No. 12 of 2022 to amend Chapter 230 of the Village Code, Zoning, determining that the Proposed Action is a Type 1 Action under SEQRA, declaring the Village Board to be Lead Agency under SEQRA, issuing the EAF and CAF and referring the necessary documents to the Village Planning Board, Waterfront Advisory Committee and Westchester County Planning Board as required by law.
Local Law 11 would expand the area of the Harmon South Riverside Gateway Overlay area to include several lots at the north end of Wayne Street as well as the lot on South Riverside where ET Equipment is currently located. It would also expand the zone’s potential uses to include multi-family residential.
Local Law 12 would allow Transit Oriented Development (TOD) in the Light Industrial (LI) zone at the west end of Croton Point Avenue, west of Route 9 on lots fronting on Croton Point Avenue. (Currently this is where Parking Lot A is located and two commercial buildings.) Allowable uses would include both mixed-use and multi-family residential with a maximum height of 40 feet or 5 stories.
Backup documents, including studies by the Village consultants, AKRF, are available on the Agenda website.
a. Email from FEMA regarding the FY 2021 Assistance to Firefighters Grant Award Notification. The Village is notified that they will be recipients of a Firefighters Grant award previously applied for.
b. Notice of Application from Champlain Hudson Power Express to the Public Service Commission regarding the proposed circuit from the Canadian Border to New York City. The Village is being notified that a certificate of environmental compatibility issued to the Champlain Hudson Power Express in 2013 is under consideration for amendment by the NYS PSC. The Village is notifed as an “interested party” as the project affects the Hudson River.
c. Notice of Intent from the Croton-Harmon School District to declare Lead Agency under SEQRA on the Croton Harmon UFSD/District-Wide Capital Improvement/Infrastructure Project. The Village is notified of the School District’s intent to undertake some major infrastructure and building improvement projects which will occur in the boundaries of the Village of Croton-on-Hudson.
d. Letter from Petra Vatne requesting a building permit fee waiver for the property at 217 Half Moon Bay Drive. The Vatne’s are completing awork initially permitted to a contractor but now being completed by themselves. They would like a refund of the permit fee.
a. Consider scheduling a public hearing on Local Law Introductory No. 13 of 2022 to amend Chapter 215 of the Village Code, Vehicles and Traffic, for Monday, October 3, at 7 PM. This calls for a public hearing that would amend the Vehicle and Traffic Law to permit 4 hour parking of non-permitted vehicles located on streets in the Residential Parking System areas.
b. Consider authorizing the Village Treasurer to make an interfund transfer in the amount of $7,750 for new Village wayfinding signs. The signs would replace the existing wayfinding signs, which have been weathered over a number of years and the signs will also be updated to ensure visitors to the Village know where municipal parking exists.
c. Consider authorizing the Village Treasurer to amend the General Fund 2022-2023 budget in the amount of $310,617.69 to allocate funds for Department of Public Works based services. This reallocates funds to the specific DPW accounts in which the services were provided.
d. Consider authorizing the Village Treasurer to make an interfund transfer in the amount of $3,270.24 for decorative planters in the Upper Village. The Village would install three decorative planters at the intersection of Grand Street and Old Post Road South in the Upper Village. The purpose of these planters is to enhance pedestrian safety at the intersection in line with the Bicycle Pedestrian Committee’s Master Plan document
e. Consider authorizing the Village Manager to execute a license agreement with Regan Development Corporation to permit access to the property located at 41-51 Maple Street for site work preparations. The Village and the developer of the former Katz property are working towards the official property closing. The developer would like to begin site work before the official closing takes place. This agreement would allow for such work to proceed.
Dear neighbor, Here is the 594th 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.
Decoding Village Agendas – September 12, 2022
Work Session of the Village Board
Georgianna Grant Room
NOTE: This meeting starts at 7:30 pm.
1. First Quarter Financial Update Treasurer Tucker presents the first quarter update showing an increase in budgeted revenue of $430,309 and First Quarter expenses of $5,488,943.30.
2. Discussion on Updated Senior Tax Exemption NYS recently passed legislation that increases the eligibility for Senior Property Tax Exemptions from an annual income of $29,000 to $50,000. Each taxing authority can decide whether to opt-in to this or not. Manager Healy provided the following information regarding Senior property exemptions in Croton as background for this discussion:
“The Village currently maintains a senior tax exemption at the maximum level of 50% for those senior citizens earning $29,000/year or less. There is also a downward sliding scale for those earning more than $29,000/year, but less than $37,400/year. As of this year, a total of 35 properties have applied for and received the senior tax exemption. Unlike other tax exemptions (firefighter and veteran), seniors must apply annually for this exemption to ensure their income remains within the eligible range. In trying to determine how many residents would be eligible under this new legislation, I reviewed the income data contained in the 2013-2017 American Community Survey for the Village. There are approximately 350 households that earn less than $30,000, meaning that 10% of those households are eligible for and have applied for the senior tax exemption. An additional 250 households make between $30,000 and $50,000. If we were to extrapolate this data based on the preceding numbers, we could reasonably expect another 25 households to be eligible for a new senior tax exemption. I also reviewed the number of households currently receiving the Enhanced STAR exemption in the Village. The number of households receiving this exemption is 162 (data provided by the Town of Cortlandt). The Enhanced STAR income level ($93,200) is approximately double that of the new senior property tax exemption level. Based on this information, we could reasonably expect another 46 households to be eligible for a new senior tax exemption.”
3. Harmon Parking Survey Results The Village recently sent a survey to residents of the Benedict Blvd, Hastings and Young Avenues area of the Village in regard to complaints about the consistency of regulations in this area and a possible change in regulations as follows: a proposal to implement a four-hour maximum street parking rule, effective weekdays between 7 AM and 7 PM on Benedict Boulevard, Hastings Avenue, and Young Avenue outside of the Residential Parking Permit Area. . Of 83 surveys sent out, 29 were returned. With 16 saying parking was still an issue on their street, 15 support a change in regulations and 12 oppose.