Planning Board comments on Spa scoping document

spa back view
Monday, February 24, 2014

Editor’s Note: Comments due last Friday from the Planning Board to the Town Board as lead agency in the Spa at New Castle application were published today on the town’s website.

To view the pdf on the town’s website, click HERE.  Or read entire text below:

February 21, 2014

Town Board Referral Re: The Spa at New Castle on the Draft Scoping Document dated November 23, 2013—773 Armonk Road

The Town Board should consider whether adoption of “floating zones” may have unintended ramifications in other parts of town. At a minimum, comprehensive amendments to the Town Development Plan would need to be considered by the Town Board for this project to address the desirability of zoning changes and the creation of “floating zones” for this project as well as for other similarly large parcels in town, especially where commercial development is proposed to be introduced into residential areas. The Town Board should determine whether review of the amendments to the Town Development Plan is more appropriately conducted before moving forward with this project, or as a component of this project in which case the Scoping Outline should address such amendments.

With that said, the following comments regarding the content and detail of the draft scoping document are being submitted to you:

1. General Guidelines, Page 2, Paragraph 3. The Town should specify that a searchable PDF Format is required.

2. Description of Proposed Action C. Detailed Description of Proposed Action, Page 4.

The Applicant should provide detailed information regarding all proposed activities on the site related to all proposed uses, (e.g. condominium residences, day spa, hotel operations, restaurant operations, theatre, recreational facilities and activities, special events); and should include operational details, lighting, noise, parking, ultimate build-out, hours of operation and future operations. The applicant shall address maximum use scenarios.

The Applicant should provide a list of all permitted and excluded activities, and should address any special issues, (e.g. whether a “bubble” is proposed for seasonal tennis, basketball and other activities; whether outdoor tents are proposed to be used for any functions)

3. Description of Proposed Action C. Detailed Description of Proposed Action, Page 5, Item 3

The anticipated on-site population should be broken down according to uses (e.g.,
residential use, day spa use, restaurant use, special event use, overnight guests, staff)

The applicant should describe timing, and peaks and aggregate peaks of anticipated
onsite population, and relate them to their uses.

4. Description of Proposed Action C. Detailed Description of Proposed Action, Page 5, Item 3

Provide the impacts to parking relative to the uses (e.g., restaurant parking as compared to permanent residential parking). The DEIS should break down parking requirements for each proposed use on the site (e.g., residential use, day spa use, overnight guests, restaurant use, special events, staff), and should also provide aggregate use totals.

(Note for Addition in Scope Document, p. 5, #4: Insert new construction into line that begins: “Description of building adaptive reuse, NEW CONSTRUCTION…”)

5. Description of Proposed Action C. Detailed Description of Proposed Action, Page 5 and General comment to be addressed throughout

Use of chemicals could be an issue to ground water (including adjacent potable wells) and a potential danger to any downstream water bodies.

Provide an evaluation of alternative approaches to using chemical fertilizers and pesticides on site.

Provide details on a full program of intended use of fertilizers and pesticides, including what, how, when and why they are deemed to be required, and the program should strictly adhere to the Town’s phosphate reduction program and the New York City Department of Environmental Protection (NYCDEP) rules and regulations regarding phosphorus loading.

Existing Environmental Conditions, Anticipated Impacts and Mitigation

6. F. Stormwater Management, Page 15

There should be comprehensive information included in the Stormwater Pollution Prevention Plan (SWPPP), so that the Town can understand the existing soil conditions and the possible changes to the soil characteristics and their impact on percolation of stormwater and septage.

Percolation rates should be provided.

Information on existing groundwater levels should be provided. It has been reported that existing levels are high in the northern part of the site where neighboring basements are reported to have flooded during heavy storm events.

Water discharge quality measures should be provided.

Information should be provided on the neighboring properties’ existing drainage problems caused by the current use of the subject site; the effect of the proposed project on those neighboring properties; and proposed mitigation of those drainage problems.

Page 2 of 7

7. G. Groundwater Page 17.

What zone of groundwater is being used for potable water supply?

Is the groundwater that is being used for potable groundwater supply isolated from the
groundwater that is receiving septage?

What are the impacts to neighboring wells?

Describe the protections that will be in place to prevent septage from contaminating groundwater. What is the risk of failure for these methods of protection?

Should potable water be piped into the neighborhood?

Obtain records on existing wells in the neighboring area of the site to identify existing rock strata, and permeable zones yielding well water.

Provide information regarding any recent well testing that has occurred in the neighboring area of the site.

Provide an analysis of the existing well water to determine if there are any parameters that might be an issue relative to additional septic field effluent from the site.

Respond to issues raised during the Legionaries proposal on the subject site 15 years ago by regulatory agencies (e.g., NYCDEP and Westchester County Department of Health) including, but not limited to, soils, stormwater management, and sanitary sewage disposal
requirements, which are likely to be even more stringent today.

8. H. Utilities, Item 2 (Sanitary Sewage) Page 18.

Provide examples of successful long-term septic field systems similar to the scale of the proposed system, which includes multiple uses, commercial laundry and dry cleaning waste, and involves a significant amount of stormwater runoff percolating through the septic fields. The proposed restaurant, hotel, and spa operations on site will require special care and consideration in relation to fats, oils, grease, chemicals and their effect on any off- site septic or above ground wastewater treatment system.

Septic fields will not have same performance as above-ground wastewater treatment facilities in treating commercial pollutants, laundry waste and dry cleaning waste pollutants (e.g., , the restaurant wastes, detergents, and chemicals from the hotel/spa operation, and certain human wastewater pollutants). This should be addressed by evaluating both surface and sub-surface system options.

The Applicant should provide examples of similar wastewater treatment facilities that have been successful for a long time in similar soils, slopes, and water table conditions.

The Applicant should provide details on the feasibility of wastewater discharge to the nearest municipal wastewater treatment plant.

Provide and evaluate the Westchester County Health Department history (10-15 years ago) of insufficient SSDS for the number of people using the Legionaries site vs. the applicant’s proposed uses.

Provide details on where an on-site treatment plant might be located, as well as its odor control measures, and other potential impacts and proposed mitigations.

9. H. Utilities, Include under this section- Fertilizer and Pesticide Use Program

Provide information on a program that uses little to no fertilizers and pesticides as a possible means to protect neighboring properties and the downstream watershed.

Page 3 of 7

Provide information on any bulk storage of chemicals. If so, how will the storage be controlled?

Provide information on advisement to emergency service providers of the location and content of chemicals stored in bulk.

Provide information on adequate notice of any pesticide and fertilizer use to adjacent residents.

Utilize only professionally trained and NYSDEC licensed applicators.

Describe how and where the chlorinated water from the swimming pool and spa will be drained, and how the pool and spa will be maintained, so that impact to neighboring properties is avoided, or minimized.

10. H. Utilities, Item 3, Page 19

Discuss and evaluate how the site will comply with Westchester County recycling requirements.

11. I. Traffic and Transportation, Access, Off-Street Parking and Loading, Page 19.

Provide a comprehensive traffic study that will describe current conditions and identify proposed intersection activities, baseline traffic counts from both morning and afternoon rush hours, school traffic peaks, Saturdays and evening hours, and the size, times and frequency of truck arrivals and departures (e.g., delivery, waste removal services, maintenance vehicles), as well as aggregate traffic peaks for proposed uses on the site.

The baseline studies should be expanded to include weekend and weekday evenings particularly given that the existing area currently is a quiet residential area. The introduction of different and combined uses calls for determining the impacts during these current quiet times. Those times should also be added to studies of projected traffic counts for the proposed project.

In addition, proposed uses on the site (e.g. spa, hotel, restaurant, recreational facilities) may have peak hours of use that may differ from more customary peak traffic hours (e.g., weekday (e.g., weekdays 8-9 a.m. and 5-6 p.m., and Saturdays 11 a.m. – 2 p.m.). The DEIS should identify any additional peak times associated with the proposed uses on the site and include those peak times in the baseline traffic studies as well as in studies of projected traffic counts, so that impacts on the surrounding area can be assessed.

Analyze both rush hour and school traffic peaks along with peaks from the proposed uses on the site.

Provide breakdowns of traffic projections by each of the proposed uses on the project site (e.g., residents, day spa guests, overnight guests, restaurant guests, special events), so that the Town is able to understand the basis for projected traffic counts.

Projected traffic counts in the DEIS should always be broken down by use, and then aggregated for total numbers.

Describe alternate emergency routes (e.g. Tripp Street) in the traffic studies.

Provide a comparison of similar-sized facilities in the area (perhaps Doral Arrowwood located in Rye Brook, New York).

Page 4 of 7

12. I. Traffic and Transportation, Access, Off-Street Parking and Loading, Page 21 and others, Item 8 – (Accident History)

In addition to recent accident rates, provide data on projected accident rates.

Define all changes in traffic Levels of Service that will constitute a significant impact.

Once requirements are broken down for each individual use, identify complementary and competing uses.

(Note for Addition in Scope Document, p. 22, #2.a.(3): “…identify, discuss and analyze project site-generated traffic for EACH PEAK HOUR…”)

13.I.Traffic and Transportation… Page 25, #3.(2)

Identify responsibility for completion of improvements, including financial responsibility for costs.

13. J. Noise and Air Quality Page 26 (1.a Noise Impacts)

Provide aggregate impact and appropriate mitigation for all permanent and temporary, fixed and mobile exterior equipment.

Discuss noise associated with truck deliveries and other service vehicles to the site (e.g., waste removal trucks, maintenance vehicles, etc.) (How will early morning and late night truck deliveries be avoided?)

14. K. Visual Resources and Community Character, Pages 26 – 27

This section should include details on how the proposed development will affect the existing residential character of the area, the quality of life of the existing surrounding residences, and the property values of surrounding properties

Exterior architectural design concepts and elevations for existing, renovated, and new buildings and improvements should be provided as part of the DEIS. Concepts should include rooftop equipment, windows, veneers, and like features, so that the visual impact can be properly assessed.

Require photo-simulations in demonstrating visual impact instead of drawings/sketches.

Town should consult with the Town’s Visual Consultant regarding the visual analysis

The applicant should follow guidance from the Town and its consultants.

Define methodology, standards of taking of photographs and coverage of locations of photographs.

Viewshed evaluation should address:

o Lighting
o Reflected sun glare
o Dual issue of daytime vs. nighttime impacts, including impact of nighttime traffic on
site in all seasons.
o Light impacts from traffic circulation and tied into hours of operation.
o Illumination levels at property lines
o Looking up at site from adjacent properties
o Provide quantification of impacts
o Provide information on mitigation of impacts

Page 5 of 7

o Impacts of placing the condominiums in tiers.
o Impacts of condominiums on the ridgeline, and from the viewshed which are concerns
relative to the Town Development Plan.
o Use architectural features to break up the mass of the proposed structure
o Note that during the former ZBA application for Legionaries at this site, ZBA was
discussing requirements related to black-out shutters on the windows.

Visual Resources and Community Character, Anticipated Impacts, page 27, #2.a.

Also describe anticipated impacts to views to the site from surrounding properties.

Visual Resources and Community Character, Anticipated Impacts, page 27, #2.e.

Also provide an analysis of daytime and evening viewshed impacts on surrounding properties, and any possible mitigations.

15. L. Community Facilities and Services, Item 1, Schools, Page 28

Generation of children- Inquire of Bedford School District if they have any information regarding generation rates for school children from existing condominium developments in their district.

16. L. Community Facilities and Services, Item 3, Fire and EMS, Page 28

Provide information describing current emergency access to the site as well as future emergency access (density, roadways, frequency, etc.)

Provide an analysis of the current capacity of the New Castle Police Department, Mount Kisco fire department, North Castle Fire Department, and associated Emergency Service Responders’ equipment, including a budget for the possible addition of equipment for emergency response to site. Also address whether current staffing levels of the emergency service providers are adequate to respond to increased volume of calls that the proposed site and operations are anticipated to generate.

Provide details on the cooperative effort of the New Castle Police Department, Mount Kisco fire department, North Castle Fire Department, and associated Emergency Service Responders regarding established joint emergency response.

17. M.Fiscal Impacts, page30

Break down projected tax revenues by municipalities that will receive them. Discuss any loss of tax revenue that may result from project, e.g. decrease in property values in surrounding area.

18. L. Community Facilities and Services, Item 5, Open Space and Recreation, Page 29

Describe trail access- Are proposed walking trails a free facility for use by the general public, or only for paying guests/residents of the proposed development?

Provide and discuss possible linkages to existing walking trails, and possible future expansion and connections.

Explore and describe any reasonably feasible passive and active recreational uses of the site that might be cooperative with the Town (e.g., playing fields).

Describe possible uses, impacts and mitigation relative to any high tech infrastructure on site (e.g. high frequency, broad band, microwave, wireless telecommunications facilities, satellite dish).

Page 6 of 7

19. V. Other Required Analyses, Page 32

An alternative should be provided which includes limiting the development to a hotel/spa/restaurant only.

An alternative should be provided which includes limiting the development to a condominium development only.

A reduced density version of the mixed use proposal should be provided. Such an alternative should include reducing the size of individual condominium footprints and/or reducing the total number of condominium units.

An evaluation of how the Applicant arrived at this size proposal should be provided.

The Applicant should be required to provide the metrics of the proposal (give weight and body to the proposal).

In the event the Applicant claims an alternative is not feasible, the Applicant should be required to provide a breakeven point which includes a reasonable and objective rate of return on the proposal, and reasonable and objective rate of return on alternatives.

Provide clarification of the draft Scoping document regarding the following;

o Page 5, Point #4 “Description of building adaptive reuse, general site layout…” Does this include new construction? If so, “new construction” should be added to the text.

o Page 22, Point #3 “…identify, discuss and analyze projected site-generated “peak hour” traffic…” Does this mean all hours identified for the study? If so, “peak hour” should be pluralized to “peak hours”

20. N. Cultural Resources, Page 30

In addition to a Phase 1A Cultural Resources Study, a Phase I Archaeological Report should be prepared.

cc: Town Board
Jill Simon-Shapiro, Town Administrator
Carolina Bruschi, Secretary to the Town Administrator
Nicholas Ward-Willis, Town Counsel

Find all documents related to the Spa application on the town’s website.

And for all articles on the Spa application published in NCNOW, click HERE.

We encourage civil, civic discourse. All comments are reviewed before publication to assure that this standard is met.

The first paragraph above is hardly representative of the actual comments by the planning board in the meeting where this was discussed.  In fact, it is lame in comparison.  Why ?

One thought is that planner Sabrina Charney influenced the statement. She is for this resort development.  Supervisor Greenstein is also for this resort development. 

There is no good reason to continue with this resort development proposal at this time, or ever. This is not planning . This is complete disregard for zoning and our master plan.
It should be tabled until the master plan review is completed.  In the meantime the zoning and master plan should be respected. 

There already exists many studies and documents regarding the property.  They have been ignored.  We do not need more studies to tell us what we already know.  It is disgraceful that these studies have been and are ignored.

Rob Greenstein has showed us that he is lacking in integrity.  Lisa Katz’s comments that going forward with this process is a way to learn, shows us that she is a puppet.  We know that Brodsky is for all development with no holds barred.

By Jane P. on 02/28/2014 at 9:47 am

Well said, Jane P.  Agree totally.  What a mockery of government and the administration of law.

By Disgraceful Negligence on 02/28/2014 at 4:37 pm

Jane P – you hit the nail on the head! When Greenstein and Katz complained, protested, obstructed, circulated petitions and lambasted our prior Town Board for moving ahead with discussions for retail at Chapp Crossing they always included the fact that our master plan was old and needed revision. Last I checked that master plan has not been updated ( although it’s in the works) and here they are entertaining this developers requests regarding zoning and studies. So when Summit Greenfield came before our various town boards Greenstein and Katz objected but when this developer of the Spa does the same it’s ok with them.

Jane you should attend Town Board meetings and give these phonies and hypocrites a piece of your mind. Remind them how the protested and objected to Summit. Greenfield and remind them how rude and insulting they were to the former Town Board members. In fact we should treat them the same way.

It’s simple they have an agenda to stop retail at CC and buildout downtown Chapp instead. This is why the Napoli plan is supported by Greenstein and Brodsky. Let’s not forget Brodsky and family own downtown commercial property. Lisa Katz only wants to stop retail at CC and will go along with Greenstein / Brodsky on everything else. The Spa isn’t on their radar screen but it can bring in commercial tax revenue and they can use it to offset the lost revenue at CC.

By What did you expect? on 02/28/2014 at 5:26 pm

Total distortion of what the PB members actually said and concluded at their meeting!  They gave this application a unanimous thumbs down.  They found it untenable and gave sound reasons for denying this application.

Why Brownell thinks it is a one man board and only his opinion should prevail is astounding.  He should step down so the board can function properly.  He is in the way.

By Time for him to go: Petition? on 02/28/2014 at 9:32 pm

Anybody still wondering why Brownell was picked for the Steering Committee?  He is in Greenstein’s hip pocket

By Clear now? on 03/01/2014 at 1:06 pm

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We encourage civil, civic discourse. In other words, be pithy and polite. All comments will be reviewed before publication to assure that this standard is met.