(Correction appended) The village ZBA last night accepted the variance application of a developer seeking to build a three-story mixed-use commercial building on the vacant lot at the corner of Third and Front streets (see below) and scheduled a hearing on that application for Feb. 17 as well.
Westchester-based SAKD Holdings LLC proposes a three-story hotel-restaurant-retail building on the now-vacant corner lot on the southeast corner of Third and Front. A 70-seat restaurant — with an additional 10 seasonal sidewalk cafe seats — and a retail space would occupy the ground floor and 16 hotel rooms would occupy the second and third floors of the building (eight rooms per floor).
The site is in the village’s Waterfront Commercial District. As proposed, the building requires: a lot coverage variance (46 percent instead of the 40 percent maximum); a 12-foot height variance (three stories and 47 feet instead of two stories and 35 feet); off-street parking variance (12 instead of 36 parking spaces); a variance from the requirement of an off-street loading berth; and a front-yard setback variance to allow a raised, trellised outdoor dining area on Front Street within the required 6-foot setback.
ZBA members will conduct a site inspection on Feb. 17 at 4:15 p.m., just prior to its meeting on that date.
In the interim, the ZBA is asking the village planning board, which meets next week, to say whether it intends to declare lead agency status for purpose of conducting coordinated review pursuant to the State Environmental Quality Review Act.
The board agreed to hold the Feb. 17 meeting in the historic school house on Front Street because a meeting of the fire department wardens is scheduled for 7 p.m. that night in the fire department meeting room. ZBA members thought the board’s Feb. 17 hearings might require more time than the two-hour allotment available in the firehouse that night.
ZBA members agreed to relocate the Feb. 17 meeting after a lengthy discussion of whether the February meeting should be postponed to the fourth Wednesday of the month — from its regular slot on the third Wednesday — or whether it should be canceled altogether. Two of the board’s five members will not be in town on Feb. 17 — ZBA chairman Douglas Moore is wintering down south and will not be in attendance in February or March; member Dinni Gordon will be out of town during the third week of February.
Member Dave Corwin was adamantly opposed to changing the February meeting date or canceling the February meeting.
With only three members present, all three would have to agree in order to act on an application.
“I’m uncomfortable that a vote would have to be unanimous,” Gordon said
“Then don’t leave town,” Corwin replied.
In the end, Corwin’s view prevailed, with Gordon casting the lone no vote on Corwin’s motion to schedule the next meeting on Feb. 17 at 7 p.m at the school house.
The scheduling discussion was framed by a larger discussion over whether absent ZBA members should be allowed to participate in a meeting by videoconference, a question that has been posed by the ZBA chairman to the village trustees, who have not yet reached a conclusion on the matter. The absent member would not be permitted to vote by videoconference, but questions arose as to whether someone who participates in a discussion by video call should be allowed to subsequently vote — in person — on a matter discussed during the meeting from which he or she was absent.
Nothing precludes a member from voting on an application if he or she missed the meeting at which the public hearing was held, village attorney Joseph Prokop told the board.
The minutes of the meetings and hearings are posted on the village website and an absent board member is expected to educate himself or herself on the matter by reading those minutes and looking at the board’s application files, Prokop said. That’s true whether there’s a videoconference with the absent member or not, he said.
Board members agreed that absent members could participate — but not vote — in a meeting by video conference, though the trustees must still weigh in.
Member Ellen Neff, who chaired the meeting in Moore’s absence last night, was initially opposed to relocating the Feb. 17 meeting and sought to put it off a week or a month, though in the end she went along with the motion. After the meeting Neff expressed concern about whether there would be a sufficient internet connection available in the school house in order to allow Moore and Gordon to participate by conference. That matter remained up in the air, though village administrator Paul Pallas promised to investigate.
Before the meeting concluded, Corwin made a motion to name member John Saladino as temporary chair of the board, allowing Saladino, rather than Neff, to run the Feb. 17 . With Saladino abstaining, the board voted to approve that motion 3-0.
Correction: A previously published version of this article incorrectly stated that a public hearing was set for Feb. 17. on variance applications for two subdivisions on Fifth Avenue.