Call to Order / Determination of Quorum
The meeting, held at the Historic Watts dePeyster Hall, was opened at 7:00 pm and a quorum was determined to be present for the conduct of business.
- Chair Laura Gail Tyler
- Karen Cleaveland
- Bob Zises
- Jonathan Trombly
- Mark Bennett
- Applicant Yshai Yudekovitz
- Amy Breedlove
The first item of business was to approve the draft minutes from the May 4, 2015 meeting. Item number 1 under new business was changed to read 0.149 acres instead of 6,000 square feet. Karen Cleaveland moved to approve the minutes as amended. Bob Zises seconded. All in favor. Motion carried.
Five area variances for parcel 134803-6174-02-643925-0000 on Clay Hill Road: Chair Tyler stated that the public hearing will be for a parcel in the R2A zone.
The applicant is requesting the following variances:
- Minimum land area per dwelling is 2 acres, he has 0.149 acres.
- Lot width at street is 100 feet minimum, he wants 36.31 feet
- Lot width at front building line is 100 feet minimum, his is estimated to be 34.84 feet
- Side setbacks are 35 feet minimum on each side of building, he wants 10 feet on each side
- Size of dwelling- minimum ground floor space is 700 sq. ft, applicant wants 645 sq. ft.
Chair Tyler stated that this application is quite substantial both for the number of variances and the amount of the variances. The Board will be very slow, careful and deliberate about the consideration of the application. She also went over the list of criteria that the Board needs to go through and consider for each variance. They are:
- Will it produce an undesirable change in the character of the neighborhood and properties around it?
- Can applicant do this in some other way?
- Is it substantial?
- Will it have an adverse effect or impact on environmental or physical conditions in the neighborhood?
- Is it self-created?
Chair Tyler opened the public hearing at 7:06 pm.
Three letters from residents of Clay Hill Road were submitted to the Board in lieu of attendance. Mark Bennett read aloud the letter from Linda Murphy (see attached). Karen Cleaveland read aloud the letter from Joan Lobis and Mary Bednar (see attached). Jonathan Trombly read aloud the letter from Sabra Ciancanelli and Anthony Bagge (see attached).
The applicant, Mr. Yudekovitz, stated the following:
- His house will be slightly larger than stated previously; therefore, the fifth variance will not be needed.
- The applicant stated that the zoning is a way for the village to move forward and develop, not to keep things static.
- He said he tried to minimize his footprint and get as far away from sight and mind as possible.
- He wants to situate the house in a way to distribute the variances as equally as possible so none of the neighbors are taking the brunt of it.
- He will try and make it as safe as possible since the location of the driveway is of concern.
- If a septic system cannot go on the site, if it will contaminate the environment he will not develop the site.
Chair Tyler stated that if variances are granted, they would be contingent upon Board of Health approval. She also stated that this lot was created in 1989 and is a remnant from the road being changed because the school bus could not make the turn.
Amy Breedlove, 38 Clay Hill Road:
- She is not against a new building as long as it takes into account the vernacular of the village.
- Chose her property in Tivoli because of the country feel.
- Has a problem with the mass of house to lot, it seems out of context and not appropriate for that side of the creek.
- While some of these small houses are set on less than 2 acres, they are still situated in ways that are appropriate.
- Has a problem with a house being built on that size lot.
Bob Zises asked the applicant if he knew it was not a buildable lot when he bought it. The applicant stated no, he found out three days later. Bob asked if he made any attempt after that to acquire additional land to make it a buildable lot. The applicant answered no. Bob stated that his concern is somebody could acquire a lot that’s not a buildable lot at a reduced price and then try and get a variance to make it a buildable lot and therefore, increase the value of the property. If this happens on a property that is so significantly smaller than what is required, he thinks it puts other properties at risk in the Village.
Karen Cleaveland stated that she thinks when you buy a piece of property that is substandard insize, you need to know that it’s not a buildable lot. If you own a lot for a number of years that preexists the zoning, that’s another story. Bob Zises agreed. Mark Bennett stated that also concerns him. Chair Tyler stated that if something is self-created it does not preclude the granting of a variance, but it is taken into consideration. Bob Zises stated the Board should take into consideration the opinion of the neighbors regarding zoning. Chair Tyler stated that all five variances must be granted for the applicant to be able to build.
Jonathan Trombly stated that the zoning is not just a guideline, it’s the law. It’s a guarantee for the neighbors. The letters received have been against this application. The Board reviewed the list of allowed primary uses in the R2A zone. If the variances are not granted, the other permitted uses include: agriculture, parks and playgrounds.
The applicant is going to explore the possibility of purchasing additional land to make the lot bigger.
Jonathan Trombly moved to continue the public hearing to July 6, 2015 at 7:00 pm. Mark Bennett seconded. All in favor. Motion carried.
The Board had a discussion on whether to have regularly scheduled workshops. It was decided that if needed, a special meeting could be called for the Board to discuss something on their agenda.
Bob Zises moved to adjourn the meeting at 8:22 pm. Jonathan Trombly seconded. All in favor. Motion carried.
Planning and Zoning Clerk
My husband and I (Sabra Ciancanelli and Anthony Bagge of 11 Clay Hill Road) are opposed to granting the variances that would allow a small family home on the very small piece of property adjacent to the Well’s property and designated as parcel 1348036174026439250000.
I’ve spent the majority of my life on Clay Hill Road, growing up in the house on 21 Clay Hill Road and later purchasing and restoring the home on 11 Clay Hill Road with my husband. I love Clay Hill Road. It is a gem, a treasure of the town and a true place of beauty that needs to be preserved.
The current law requires 2 acres, or 87,120 square feet to build a home. The property in question is 6000 square feet; 6.88 percent of what has been designated by the town as sufficient land to sustain a dwelling; or a 93% deficit. That alone should be enough to deny the lot size variance. All other variances seem to stem from the size and dimensions of the lot —there simply is not enough land to accommodate a single family dwelling on the smallest parcel on Clay Hill Road, with a road frontage of 40 feet.
We feel that a dwelling on this property will negatively impact the character of the road and the many historic homes on it, not to mention the environmental impact. I can’t imagine how one would have a proper septic system that would not contaminate the adjacent stream and harm the wildlife thriving in that area.
I also have a safety concern not addressed by the variances. The driveway for such a home would need to be placed in the blind spot on the crest of a hill – which would pose a definite safety issue.
Lastly, approving these variances would set a precedent that concerns us. The property adjacent to ours is going to be auctioned off in the near future and if it is decided that 6000 square feet is sufficient land to support a single family dwelling, than one might assume that property of 1.87 acres could be subdivided into a mini‐development.
My husband and I would be there in person but our son has a band concert at the very same time. We ask you to please consider our concerns and thoughts regarding these variances.
Sabra Ciancanelli & Anthony Bagge
11 Clay Hill Road
To: Chair Laura Gail Tyler and members of the Zoning Board of Appeals: I have lived on Clay Hill Road since 1967. At that time it was unpaved, a dirt road that curved into the Village by the east end of the Wells property and the north end. I believe the parcel in question was the north part of the road that was removed in the early 70’s. To consider building a house on what was once a part of a road on a 40’ width is unthinkable. I object to the five variances for three reasons: (1) Safety – a driveway on the crest of the hill is a dangerous situation. (2) Environmental – the stream below that property enters into the creek. This is an active stream, in a recent hurricane it washed out a portion of Clay Hill. (3) Historical – Mr. Aldrich, Red Hook Town Historian stated at a meeting that all land west of 9G to the river is designated historic. You must have two acres to build a single family home. To allow a variance to this law is setting a bad example.
For these reasons, I respectfully ask the Committee to deny all of the five variances.
As home owners and residents of 66 Clay Hill Road, we would like to express our strong disapproval for any variance that would allow building on parcel 643925. It is well below the 2 acre minimum which would allow construction. Approval of a variance would be at odds with the character of the village and invite more applications, effectively destroying the efforts of rational village planning and growth. The owner was or should have been aware of the zoning restrictions on the land when he purchased, and his application for five variances now is absurd. He should not be granted any variance that would permit him to flaunt the carefully thought out zoning plan of the village.
Joan Lobis & Mary Bednar