Meeting Date : September 8, 2015
Download Minutes : Download File

Call to Order / Determination of Quorum

The meeting, held at the Historic Watts dePeyster Hall, was opened at 7:01 pm and a quorum was determined to be present for the conduct of business.

  • ZBA Attendees:
  • Chair Laura Gail Tyler
  • Karen Cleaveland
  • Bob Zises
  • Jonathan Trombly
  • Mark Bennett

Also Present:

  • Trustee Susan Ezrati

The first item of business was to approve the draft minutes from the July 6, 2015 meeting. weBob Zises moved to approve the minutes as presented. Jonathan Trombly seconded. All in favor. Motion carried.

Old Business

Four area variances for parcel 134803-6174-02-643925-0000 on Clay Hill Road: The public hearing was reopened at 7:03 pm. There was no public present. The Chair asked the Board to read the email from the applicant, which is new information, and asked them for any comments. Karen Cleaveland asked if the location of the septic would put the house farther back on the lot. Chair Tyler stated that it did move the house farther back to 98.84 feet from the front. Karen Cleaveland moved to close the public hearing at 7:14 pm. Mark Bennett seconded. All in favor. Motion carried.

The Board discussed the application. These are their findings:

Yshai Yudekovitz has applied for the following four area variances for parcel 134803-6174-02- 643925-0000 on Clay Hill Road in Tivoli. The parcel is in the R2A zoning district. The bulk regulations for the R2A district are noted in the variances requested.

1) A variance for the minimum parcel size. The parcel in question is 0.149 acres; the minimum parcel size is 2 acres.

2) A variance for the minimum lot width at the street. The parcel in question has 36.31 feet; the required lot width at the street is 100 feet.

3) A variance for the minimum lot width at the front building line. The parcel in question has 34.83 feet; the required lot width at the front of the building line is 100 feet.

4) A variance for the minimum side setbacks. The required side setbacks are 35 feet on each side; the applicant proposed a 10 foot setback on each side.

Public comment was received on June 1, 2015, July 6, 2015 and September 8, 2015 and recorded in the ZBA minutes. In addition, letters were submitted by Linda Murphy, Sabra Ciancanelli and Anthony Bagge, and Joan Lobis and Mary Bednar. The applicant submitted maps detailing the sizes of parcels in the R2A district and the village, an amended site plan and a letter on September 8, 2015.

In considering the balancing test for an area variance set forth in Section 7-712(3) of the NYS Village Law, the ZBA has determined four of the five considerations to be unfavorable to the variances requested as set forth below:

1) The granting of the variances would result in an undesirable change to the neighborhood because the substantially smaller parcel size deviates greatly from the others in the R2A district. Only three properties on Clay Hill Road have less than 50% of the required parcel size. The parcel size is not in keeping with the rural feel of the others in the district.

2) The applicant was asked to pursue the acquisition of land from a neighboring parcel, but barring this, there is no other way to build a residence on this parcel without the relief of variances.

3) The requested variances are extremely substantial. The applicant has requested a variance from the minimum lot size of two acres to permit a parcel is 0.149 acres. That is half of the size of the village’s smallest zoning district, R15000, and only 7.5% of the area required in its district. A 92.5% reduction of the minimum lot area is very significant. The remaining three requested variances result from the substandard parcel size. The lot width at the street and the lot width at the front building line are required to be 100 feet in R2A; the lot widths for this parcel are respectively 36.31 ft. and 34.84 ft. This is a 65% reduction. The side setbacks are to be 35 feet on each side and the request is to reduce them to10 feet on each side, a 70% reduction.

4) There are potential negative environmental impacts regarding the design of a septic and driveway for this parcel. The applicant has presented information from the Board of Health regarding 10 ft. setbacks from the property lines and states that the Board of Health claims a 62.87 ft x 14.32 ft. above ground system will be sufficient for a small single family residence. There are concerns about negative impacts on the adjacent creek from runoff or an inadequate SDS. The applicant has not sufficiently demonstrated that such a small septic system is possible on this particular location given the soils in Tivoli, which generally contain a significant amount of clay.

Further, the applicant has not responded to concerns that a driveway can be safely located within the small amount of frontage available. Issues have been raised regarding the lot’s location on the crown of a hill on Clay Hill Road and the narrow width of the driveway.

The applicant has not met his burden of proving that the substandard lot can safely be used for a residence.

5) The difficulty is self-created because the parcel was purchased without researching the zoning. The parcel is clearly a substandard size for the R2A district. However, this factor alone does not preclude the granting of the variances.

In addition, The ZBA has received overwhelmingly negative community testimony regarding the impact on community character and potential environmental impacts from siting an SDS on the property and the location of the driveway.

Whereas the detriment to the community from the granting of the four variances outweighs the benefit to the applicant

Whereas the most significant criteria is the substantial amount of each variance requested and whereas all four variances must be granted for a residence to be built,

Now therefore be it resolved that the ZBA hereby determines that all four requested variances are denied.

Bob Zises moved to deny all four variances. Jonathan Trombly seconded. Roll call vote: Zises: aye, Tyler: aye, Cleaveland: aye, Bennett: aye, Trombly: aye. Motion carried.


Karen Cleaveland moved to adjourn the meeting at 7:59 pm. Mark Bennett seconded. All in favor. Motion carried.

Respectfully submitted,

Claire Roff

Planning and Zoning Clerk