Letter to ZBA: Ensure that Alfredo’s is operating within its special permit for a nursery

The ZBA is scheduled to continue its discussion of the cell tower proposed by Homeland Towers on the Alfredo property on Wed. May 28. To see agenda, click HERE
Monday, May 19, 2014
by Roger Blanc and June Blanc

“The Board has been provided with sufficient information of unsanctioned activities from neighbors of this property that surely require further investigation by the Board.”

May 19, 2014

To Members of the New Castle Zoning Board of Appeals
Town of New Castle
200 South Greeley Avenue
Chappaqua, NY 10514

Re:  Homeland Towers, LLC/Alfredo Landscaping & Development Corp. application appealing the Building Inspector’s determination that an amendment to the existing Special Use Permit is required, and for an amendment to their Special Use Permit to permit a wireless telecommunication services facility.

Homeland Towers/Verizon/Alfredo Landscaping – Application for Special Use Permit, and Wetlands Permit Approvals for a Wireless Telecommunications Services Facility \ (Major) – 620 Armonk Rd. (NY Route 128) – TM #101.11-1-2

Ladies and Gentlemen:

We respectfully recommend that the Zoning Board of Appeals (the “Board”) deny the above-captioned applications (together, the “Applications”) for the reasons set forth below and other reasons the Board may find appropriate.

We respectfully request, moreover, that the Board make an unannounced site visit to Alfredo LDC, in connection with the company’s application for an amendment to their Special Use Permit, to inspect the premises to determine whether the site is in compliance with the site plan created by that Special Use Permit.

This company’s Special Use Permit allows it to operate a plant nursery in a residential zone.  That Special Use Permit created a specific site plan that delineated what activities would be allowed and where on the site those activities could be conducted.  Among other provisions, the site plan provides the acceptable location for mulch storage and for soil storage, specifies the number and types of trucks and other equipment allowed on the property, provided specific locations for employee parking, reflecting the permit’s limitation on the number of employees allowed.  The Board should ensure that there are no activities being conducted on the property that are not allowed by the Special Use Permit and that none of the activities that were allowed have expanded from their originally approved locations.

As the Board knows, a homeowner may make changes in a building with a permit from the Building Inspector, but a site plan, created by the Board, requires an amendment to the site plan by the Board itself before the Building Inspector can issue permits to make changes that are not in compliance with the site plan.  There has not been an amendment to this original site plan, created with careful consideration of the importance of ensuring that this use was, and would remain, compatible with the residential zoning and use of the surrounding properties.  The requirement that a plant nursery in a residential district can only operate pursuant to a Special Use Permit reflects the Town’s recognition that such use should be carefully controlled to ensure that it is conducted in a manner which is compatible with the surrounding uses.

The Board has been provided with sufficient information of unsanctioned activities from neighbors of this property that surely require further investigation by the Board.  The attached photographs, which were also attached to our March 18 letter, document some of the activities on the property.  This property is not only in a residential district, but it is located within less than a mile of a County Park, Wampus Pond Park, and a Town Park, the Burden Preserve, as well as significant New York DEP holding along the road, and is in the Kisco River watershed, flowing directly into the Croton Reservoir, which watershed is listed by New York State as critical waters requiring special protection.  When the Special Use permit was issued and the site plan was originally created the Board took into careful consideration the sensitivity of the site and of its responsibility to maintain the character of the neighborhood and the natural resources of the town in crafting the site plan.  The Board should be no less vigilant in amending this Special Use Permit and Site Plan.

As a final note, the Board in Matter of Holy Spirit Association for the Unification or World Christianity v Gabriel Rosenfeld et al., Constituting the Zoning Board of the Town of New Castle, denied a Special Use Permit for a religious use on property opposite the Alfredo LDC property on Armonk Road because the applicants deceived the Board while their application for a Special Use Permit was pending by misrepresenting the activities they were conducting at the site.  In this case, the applicant has represented, through his attorney at Board hearings, that the site was in compliance with the existing Special Use Permit, which created the site plan.  Should this Board find that not to be accurate, such conduct would certainly be a sufficient basis to deny continuance of the plant nursery activities.  At the very least the Board should deny any amendment of the Special Use Permit until the site is in complete compliance with the existing Special Use Permit and site plan.

Respectfully submitted,

Roger D. Blanc
June K. Blanc

cc: New Castle Planning Board

Alfredo

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