Town Board Meeting September 22, 2008

The Town Board met on Monday, September 22, 2008 at 7:30 pm. All members were present.

The main item of business on the agenda was a presentation by Tuxedo Reserve of their recently submitted proposed Amendment to the Special Permit. Supervisor Dolan elected to take care of a few items of other business first:

  • Permission was granted for a Running/Biking/Kayaking Endurance Race, which will take place on Saturday, September 27th and will come through the Town of Tuxedo.
  • The Board voted to start proceedings to recover the money spent over the 21 year struggle with Patrick Kelly which recently culminated in a lawsuit the result of which was the Town’s removal of trailers from his property in Southfields.

Peter Dolan introduced the Tuxedo Reserve Presentation by stating that members of the Town Board had recently participated in one of two site walks with Paul Roggerman, Construction Manager of the Project. He then commented that although the Board is “new” to the Project, they are fortunate to have Town Planner Bonnie Franson and Attorney Larry Wolinsky, both of whom have been involved with the application from the early stages, on their team. Mr. Wolinsky then explained how the process will work moving forward. On September 8, the application was officially referred to the Town Planning Board as required by law and that board will now review it and report back to the Town Board with recommendations. In addition, there will be an ongoing review of the application by consultants to determine its completeness. Once they have received the Planning Board’s findings, the Town Board will likely schedule a Public Hearing. As the lead agency on the project, the Town Board will also determine if the project requires any additional environmental review (SEQRA) at this time.

Andrew Dance of Related Companies then gave a brief introduction to the presentation. In an effort to explain why the developer has submitted major changes to their project only four years after receiving their Special Permit, Mr. Dance stated that over the course of the past four years there has been a lot of progress with the project, specifically the approval of Phase 1, Northridge, by the State and the County as well as the Town of Tuxedo. Throughout the approval process for Northridge, the developer was forced to engage in a lengthy “micro fact-finding process” in order to satisfy the demands of the Town Consultants, H2M, as well as the Town Planning Board. As a direct result of the lengthy process, the Related Companies decided to rehaul their plan and in so doing, complete a lot of research in advance in hopes of avoiding similar lengthy reviews with each Phase of the development. In addition, he commented that the developer has come to the realization that specific enforcement tools are needed to make sure that the project is built as designed.

The main body of the presentation was made by Paul Milano of Cooper Robertson, Planners and Architects as well as Don Powers of Donald Powers Architects. Both gentlemen are consultants for Tuxedo Reserve. They offered a Powerpoint slide show with renderings of the different neighborhoods as well as maps of the project and a chart showing the differences as proposed. The main changes in the project are:

  • 30,000 sq. ft. of commercial space in The Commons as opposed to the 3,000 sq. ft. designated in the Special Permit.
  • The Active Adult Community shown in the 2004 Special Permit has been eliminated and “designated active adult units” have been distributed to the East Terrace and Commons neighborhoods. Most of the Active Adult housing will now be in multi-family units.
  • Tuxedo Reserve is negotiating a land swap with PIPC. If agreement is made, TR would add a parcel to the PID adjoining South Gate Road and move development into that parcel allowing for a better “flow” of roads. There would be a revised emergency connection to South Gate Road.
  • Development is now slated for the area known as Mountain Lake. Some of the housing there will be Tower homes of 3 stories and will be built on stilts.
  • The applicant has proposed a body of standards to regulate the Project, which will be known as the Smart Code. These standards, including both architectural and landscaping components, would be unique to each neighborhood within the project.

Following the presentation, the Board opened the meeting to questions from the public.

Robert Curry of Tuxedo Park inquired about the Emergency Access Road at South Gate Rd., specifically whether this road will be used during construction. The answer is no.

John Dawson of Tuxedo Park noted that several of the homes are being converted from single-family houses to multi-family residences, thus lowering their worth. He wondered what this might do to the tax base of the project. Mr. Dance responded that despite the changes, the bedroom count will remain the same. Mr. Dawson then questioned the effect that the proposed increase of commercial space will have on local businesses and whether this increase would result in a tax loss to the Town. Finally, he inquired as to whether or not the proposed Amendments will require a further SEQRA process. Mr. Dance answered no to the final question, although the Town Board will make the final determination with regard to environmental review.

Kent Kroeber of Tuxedo Park inquired as to which land Tuxedo Reserve plans to swap in order to get the parcel adjacent to South Gate Rd. The Applicant responded that the 88 acre parcel they hope to swap is located in the Northern Tract, across from International Paper.

Dale Mottola, President of the Chamber of Commerce stated that she is in agreement that 30,000 sq. ft. of commercial space will be “necessary” for the development. She continued on to say she hopes the new businesses will be synergistic rather than competitive with the existing Town businesses.

Jim Hays of Tuxedo Park asked if the bedroom count is fixed. He noted that some of the newly proposed housing has “habitable attics,” and wondered what the impact would be on the Town if those were converted into bedrooms. He was told that the number of bedrooms per unit is fixed and that the conversion of attic space to bedrooms would be illegal, however the developer will not have control over what the homeowners do with their attics.

Mayor Houston Stebbins asked if the prior agreements between the developer and the Village of Tuxedo Park will remain unchanged and was told that these agreements will remain intact and will not be affected by the amendment.

JoAnn Hanson of Tuxedo Park inquired about blasting for the project and was told that it would be subject to a protocol which the Planning Board will approve. The applicant hopes to submit their blasting plan within the next couple of weeks.

Barbara du Pont of Tuxedo Park inquired about a time-table for the build-out of Phase 1. Supervisor Dolan responded that the Construction Manager had indicated that he would like to start work on the infrastructure next summer although nothing has been set in stone. Mr. Dance conceded that the Related Companies will have to pay close attention to the state of the housing market and “the availability of lenders.”

Despite the fact that there were more questions from the public, Supervisor Dolan cut the meeting short around 10 pm commenting that there will be ample opportunities for the public to be heard as the project progresses. He ended the meeting by informing the public that the current Special Permit is still in effect. “The proposed changes will not go into effect tomorrow morning,” he commented. “The goal of this Town Board is to fine tune the Special Permit.”

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