Minutes - Land Use Meeting, 6/12/02

Note: There will be a followup meeting of the Land Use Committee next Wednesday, June 19 at 7:30-9 at Village Hall.

June 12, 2002 Minutes

Trustee Allegra Dengler
Trustee Nancy Delmerico
Trustee Frank Farrington
Village Administrator Maryalice Barnett
Planning Board Chair Ed Plotkin
Architectural Review Chair Mike Willis

Trustee Dengler reviewed the report from the Land Use Committee emailed from Trustee Liasion David Mintzes on Feb 8, 2002 which recommended a total rewrite of the Zoning Code. The Board of Trustees felt the need for followup since David is no longer on the Board of Trustees, and Trustees Dengler, Delmerico and Farrington volunteered to follow up.

Trustees also received a letter from Mike Willis on May 25 with a list of specific recommendations for code revisions.

In the Feb 8 Report, David Mintzes summarized:

It is the committee's opinion that a total review and re-write of the Zoning ad Land Use provisions of the Code, basically Chapters 268 (Subdividion) and 300 (Zoning and Land Use) is needed....

The committee proposes to the Mayor and Board of Trustees that we solicit proposals from firms and/or consultants who specialize in this type of work in order to learn what such a study, review and possible rewrite might entail and cost. The Committee is willing to put the RFP together, conduct the interviews, explore possible sources of funding assistance, and make recommendations to the Board and Mayor as to whether we should follow this course of action. We feel this is the logical first step. Please advise the committee as to the wishes of the Mayor and the Board of Trustees regarding this recommendation.

There was a discussion of the recommendation for a total review and rewrite. Ed Plotkin said we should not "tweak" the code, but do a rewrite. He felt it should not be done by a Planning Firm (Ardsley has hired planning firm Frederick P Clark Assoc to revise parts of their code.) He felt Kevin Plunkett would be able to advise us for a list of firms who've done code books.

There was discussion about whether we needed to do a Master Plan first. Ed felt the Zoning Code could be rewritten independent of doing a new Master Plan. He felt that a new Master Plan was necessary, but that the Zoning rewrite could go on independent of any Master Plan effort. He felt the real need for a Master Plan was when a land use decision was challenged in court, having a current Master Plan gives a lot of legal protection to the Village for the decision of its Boards. When the Master Plan says it, it gives real strength in the courts. He explained that the Zoning Map is a function of the Master Plan, not the Zoning Code.

Ed felt that doing "tweaks" to the code while awaiting a full rewrite could cause problems for the Boards because the rules will be changing piecemeal and may cause problems for applicants.

David's Feb 8 report said

The committee has discovered that every change we make in one code section forces changes in two, three or more other sections, and those changes force further changes, etc. Even the simplest amendments, such as a change in the way the code defines building height, gave rise to a complex rewrite of several other provisions. The same was true of something as simple, or so I would have thought, as changing the way the code defines the size of a building and lot coverage....

Any changes we were suggesting became "bandaids" that in the end, could make the code even more complicated than it curretnly is, and even less reflective of the vision we have for the Village.

This was followed by a discussion of recommendations by Mike Willis for fixes to the Code that might be done in the interim while waiting for the full rewrite.

  1. Modify the steep slope law in regards to lot coverage, height of building and building on slopes

    Bob Fitzsimmons has info
    Maryalice noted that Bob Fitzsimmons has a lot of work
    Allegra has a model ordinance prepared by Pace

  2. Revise the means of measuring height of buildings
    Hastings and Irvington ordinances could be models

  3. Lot coverage on oversize lots
    Irvington code could fix this

  4. Deck height above ground
    Mike Willis proposal that any deck over 6' (Ed suggested 3') be included in lot coverage.

  5. FAR (Floor Area Ratio)
    Suggestion to have Bob Fitzsimmons review this as a means to control bulk Scarsdale code is an example

  6. Better define cluster
    Ed noted problems with this for the Planning Board

  7. Fix downtown B-zone issues by requiring retail at ground level and allowing apartments above.

  8. Ed also noted the 10' setback requirement is not in keeping with what we want downtown.

  9. Ed suggested that downtown buildings be required to be 2 or 3 stories, with no one story.

The followup meeting will be to get input from other members of the original land use committee as to these issues and finalize the recommendations to the Trustees. Should the Board of Trustees address any of the suggested changes prior to doing a total rewrite? If so, which changes should take priority? Does the Land Use Committee need to be reappointed or should the Trustees take it from here? How does this interface with the work of the LWRP? Is there a need for an RFP to get a consultant and if so, who should prepare it?