Supervisor Ruggiero opened the discussion at 8:51 PM. Owner of Obercreek, Alex Reese, began his presentation on the proposed development plan and explained how this relates to the current Master Plan. He summarized the history, attributes and location of the property. The zoning is a mixture of R20 and R80. He would like to move the density to one area that is close to the Village of Wappingers Falls where there is existing sewer. The plan calls for a shift of an area of density to an area close to the Village of Wappingers Falls and upzoning the remaining property to 3 acre and 5 acre lots. He believes that these efforts will help to reinforce the Hamlet of Hughsonville, while still creating conservation areas.
Supervisor Ruggiero asked Mr. Reese to get to the heart of the issue. Mr. Reese explained that existing zoning allowed about 143 units on the property. He would like to shift the density to one area. There would be 26 units on the rest of the property, 13 of which are new and 13 are existing units. Mr. Reese proposes that he would appreciate the Board moving in the direction of approving the re-zone request and tabling a decision on the remaining land and Hamlet. He added that he has a farm ready to move in to the property.
Supervisor Ruggiero spoke about the benefits of this in terms of protecting the viewshed on New Hamburg Road and the potential to bring water to Tall Trees area of Wappinger. He asked what type of density Mr. Reese was looking for in the Hamlet and whether it is still economically feasible to bring water to Tall Trees. Mr. Reese answered that he began with 30 units and that wouldn’t cover the costs. He then considered 50 units. He has not reached a conclusion, but asked that the Town move forward with the rest of the plan and address the rest at another time.
Jennifer VanTuyl spoke on behalf of Mr. Reese and stated that the idea of reinforcing the hamlet did not come from Mr. Reese. It was originally the Town's idea to establish sound edges around the Hamlet of Hughsonville, as well as Chelsea. Tests indicate that the land on Obercreek has an excess of water on the land that can be shared with the other areas of the Town. Supervisor Ruggiero stated that the plans for Obercreek are in the Draft Master Plan and he will hand it over to his successor. The Town Attorney, Al Roberts, stated that, if there are amendments to the original plan, he would suggest that you include it in the plan along with the supporting data as to how the development of Obercreek will be implemented. Supervisor Ruggiero asked if the density is changed, would that affect the comprehensive plan. Al Roberts asked for the Town Engineer, Jay Paggi, to explain the technical difficulties with regard to the hamlet portion of the plan. The difficulties include sewer, water and traffic issues, along with financial issues on the applicant’s part. He then stated that, given those uncertainties, this part should be removed from the Master plan if the Board wishes to move ahead. Councilwoman McCarthy stated that this was not what was discussed at the last workshop and if there is a shift of density then the portion that would remain in the plan would have to be changed. Mr. Reese added his input to explain the shift in density. Discussion followed.
Supervisor Ruggiero asked Mr. Roberts whether the changes being discussed would require a Public Hearing. Supervisor Ruggiero asked the representative on behalf of the Town Planner, Melissa Baine. Mr. Roberts believes it would need a Public Hearing because it is a change. Supervisor Ruggiero asked for questions.
Councilman Paoloni asked what the technical difficulties were in building the 143 units. Jay Paggi stated that there were technical difficulties that must be met to associated with the "as of right". Mr. Paggi explained that he was referring to specific roadblocks encountered in the Hamlet proposal.
Councilman Paoloni asked if the condensing of certain areas, while leaving other areas wide open, would alter the probability of achieving a certain number of lots. For example, would developing under the current zoning only show a 50% probability of a certain number of lots while permitting the rezone would result in a 100% probability of another number of lots. Mr. Paggi answered that there is not sufficient data to answer that question. Mr. Paoloni pointed out that it is flawed to assume a developer would be able to develop the full amount of lots “as of right”, given the technical difficulties. Discussion followed. Councilman Paoloni again noted that he would like all of the data points before making a decision.
Councilman Beale commented that the Board is only at a conceptual stage and is thinking to deeply about the issue. The Town has an opportunity to redefine the character of the Hughsonville Hamlet. He stated that one of the main goals of our Master plan to develop the hamlets of Wappinger into village centers. As a resident of Hughsonville, he believes this plan represents the flavor of the Master Plan and the Board should be pro-active and move ahead with this plan. Councilman Paoloni stated that the Board is glossing over certain information and embracing other information. These plans come with a cost and all factors and information must be taken into account.
Supervisor Ruggiero clarified the legislative process with regard to amending the Master Plan. He added that the Town Planner will need direction in terms of any changes in order to get this process moving. Councilman Paoloni asked why it is significant that the Board allow this applicant to bypass the proper Zoning process when any other applicant would have to go through the process. Supervisor Ruggiero answered that this property owner is willing to impose restrictions on future owners, making the property less valuable. Councilman Paoloni asked if that couldn’t happen through the Zoning process. Supervisor Ruggiero replied that it couldn’t. Future Town Board’s could come in and wipe out the Zoning map. If there are deed restrictions, it won’t matter what the Zoning ordinance says. Councilman Paoloni noted that the owner could put those restrictions on through the normal process. Supervisor Ruggiero and Ms. VanTuyl answered that the Board could zone property however it likes, but it does not have the power to compel a landowner to impose conservation easements. Councilman Paoloni asked again if this applicant could impose the restriction on his property through the Zoning process. Ms. VanTuyl replied that he could not be compelled to impose the restrictions. Councilman Paoloni clarified his point that Mr. Reese could voluntarily impose the same restrictions on his property through the normal Zoning process. Supervisor Ruggiero replied that he could without Town government. Councilman Paoloni then asked what the benefit of doing this through the Comprehensive Plan was then. Mr. Reese answered that the Master Plan would say that the Town has a vision of this property. The project would then proceed through the Zoning process. Supervisor Ruggiero discussed the Master Plan and Zoning process. Discussion followed.
Councilman Beale noted that the next Master Plan meeting would not take place until 2008. He reinforced his belief in being pro-active in an area of the Town that is in need of change. With no further comments, Supervisor Ruggiero closed the discussion at 10:00 PM.