Mohegan Lake Legal Defense Fund

History of this site

This site was originally set up to fight 3 of 5 zoning variances proposed by the FBC development at Sagamore Trail and Mohegan Ave that eliminates two single family homes while nearly quadrupling the parking and occupancy loads of the old Lakeland Jewish Center. That effort failed and the application is currently before the Planning Board.

While Save Mohegan Lake will continue to update you on that issue, we are moving on to all issues affecting the lake, such as Mohegan Lake Improvement District (MLID) meetings, agenda and budget. This site is not an official mouthpiece for MLID, but some updates will be provided on this site; the official site is located here.

We do it all here, so long as it's Mohegan Lake related. Feel free to submit comments, content, garage sale notices, police blotters, PSA's, essays on the virtues of our 105 acre ice rink, rants, raves, etc... We love it all.

Email: YorktownCode@gmail.com

Friday, September 30, 2011

Parking

If the developer's engineer, Site Design Consultants, report is to be believed, then the developer would require 128 parking spaces to support an occupant load of "344" people at a ratio of 2.7 persons per parking space. Please note that the 128 parking space requirement is based on THE BEST occupant to parking space ratio--2.7 cars per occupant. THE WORST ratio observed by Site Design Consultants' was 2.3 cars per person. That ratio would require 150 parking spaces to support a load of "344" people.

Wow.

You can enlarge the image below to review Site Design Consultants' parking analysis; if you click on that image a second time, it will enlarge even more.

To allow the developer a zoning variance that allows an three fold increase in the legal occupant load knowing that the developer already parks 90 cars on the site occasionally is wrong. That's elementary math and don't need an architecture or planning degree to understand that 90 cars is more than the proposed 86. Additionally, "344" occupants is significantly more than the legally allowed 100 people, max, 3 hours a day 3 DAYS A YEAR.

Let's talk about the historic character of the neighborhood.

Thursday, September 29, 2011

How You Can Help

If you are opposed to granting 3 of the 5 variances because it makes the development too big without enough parking, then you can:

A) Write a letter to Yorktown's Zoning Board of Appeals urging them to deny the 3 major zoning variances. I'm including contact information below.

B) Sign the paper petition. If you don't know how to get in touch with me, you can email me at SaveMoheganLake@Gmail.com

I would prefer that you deliver a physical copy of your letter, notarized; but that's quite a lot to ask. You can email your letter to Maria Ricci at mricci@yorktownny.org

Ms. Ricci is the legal secretary of Yorktown who receives and distributes comments to the zoning board, BUT, if you do email her, please only email your letter regarding the zoning variances. DO NOT ask her questions about the project or other things that are outside her job description. There are lots of other town officials that can address any questions;
If you're not sure who to talk to, or need any help, email me at SaveMoheganLake@gmail.com. Let's respect Ms. Ricci's inbox.

If you do email her, copy me(email address above and below). I am bundling letters for the file. I have to make ten copies, per town rules, of my entire submission so send me your letter sooner rather than later.

If you have a question and are not sure which town official to direct your inquiries to, or if you need any help, email me at SaveMoheganLake@gmail.com

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Commenting Guidelines

Below is a comment that cannot be published because the writer fails to disclose their identity and interest in the project. Because it appeared in the early morning only a few hours after the item that he or she was commenting on first appeared, either the Zoning Board of Appeals has groupies or that was from one of the members; that would be my guess.

To reiterate: in order to have your comment published you must include your name and relationship to the project. And for the record, the adjourned and new meeting items were reversed, which is not how previous meetings proceeded.

(Click on the image below to view text)

The following comment is an example of an accountable opinion. Just wanted to clarify what types of behavior will be tolerated in the comment section.

(Click on the image below to view text)

Saturday, September 24, 2011

An Ethical Question

Below are two videos from the Yorktown Zoning Board of Appeals' hearing on 8/11/2011. The first one shows the developer's attorney, Mr. Capellini, presenting two zoning variance applications to the ZBA chairman, Mr. Feine.

At the 30 second mark of this video Mr. Capellini remarks that "Mr. Tripodi [another ZBA member]was doing a great job" on a previous hearing. Mr. Feine jokes he could leave; Mr. Capellini says he was only kidding and they continue. There is an interesting exchange at the 1:12 mark as well.

video

The second video shows Mr. Feine recuses himself for the FBC variance application because he "shares office space" with Mr. Capellini. Sequentially, the following clip occurred minutes before the first one. It is strange that Mr. Feine would only recuse himself for the the FBC application, no?

Points of interest: 16 seconds in, after the recusal, one member says "follow the leader" (nearly inaudible, turn up your speakers). At 20 seconds in, another board member chimes in "coward." It's unclear why Mr. Feine was not recused for the other applications where Mr. Capellini represents the applicant.

video

Friday, September 23, 2011

Wetland Parking

The panoramas below illustrates the extreme proximity of the illegally paved, and expanded, parking lot. It was paved after 2005, when the developer took title of the property.

We ask that the Zoning Board of Appeals ask Mr. Capellini and the development team to submit a current survey. The survey in the file is more than 7 years old. If they find no difference in the current conditions than those appearing in the signed and sealed survey in the file--WE WILL CONCEDE DEFEAT ON THIS ISSUE.

Click on the images to enlarge them. Click on them again to zoom in.


The lake edge and wetlands have been adversely affected by the illegal paving and expansion of the development site. Any rain event, as seen above and below, results in the lake proper and the wetland outfall connecting. Mohegan lake sits in the middle of these two water bodies and is covered by two to three feet of water. New York State troopers close the road for days or weeks at a time.

Friendly Reminder Regarding Comments On This Website

Please feel free to comment on any one of these posts. Anonymous comments will not be published. You must identify yourself, and relation to the project. We wanted to reiterate this policy as this morning we've received a few anonymous comments which cannot be published.

We encourage commenting, because this issue is vitally important for Mohegan Lake. However, we request a civil discourse and full accountability. You can speak your mind but you must reveal your name and relationship to the project with your comments; otherwise, comments will not be published.

If you do not have one of the accounts that is required to log into the comment section, you can choose "anonymous;"that option requires no account of any kind. But again, identify yourself and relationship to the project in your posted comment. All comments will appear unedited.

"Character of The Neighborhood"

Below, please see an image from September 18th, 2011. You are looking at the wetland parking lot plus an additional lot that was never approved for parking. There were 83 cars parked on the site that day. (click on the image to enlarge)



Both lots have been paved without approval or permit. Now the developer is trying to get credit for correcting this illegal development all within a State and Town required buffer zone. Is this "the character" of our small, unique residential community?

PLEASE NOTE THAT YOKTOWN HAS NEVER APPROVED MORE THAN SIX (6) CARS TO BE PARKED ON THE WETLANDS. You can view those approval documents, by clicking on these big orange letters.

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Coming Up: The Rubber Stamp

I showed up 30 minutes late. I parent 3 children, but am not offering any excuses. I should have been there 30 minutes early.

It appears that the Zoning Board of Appeals deviated from the published agenda and the developer's hearing was done by 7:30. In the last hearings, the agenda followed the order as published online. This time, they started with the adjourned items first. Regardless, they knew we were to present. This pass was telegraphed. I was instructed to make 10 copies of the package which included expensive color copies; 10 copies, per ZBA rules. But that's water under the bridge.

For those of you who arrived late (at my direction), I apologize for the inconvenience. The hearing is now closed to verbal comment.

There is a ten (10) calendar day period that the Zoning Board of Appeals will accept written comments. If you are an interested party or neighbor, we encourage you to write the town about your position on the subject.

A fresh petition will be circulated to Mohegan Lake community. It will reflect the current state of the application, and clearly outline the strong opposition to these major zoning variances that the developer does not need.

It's all probably a moot point anyway as a senior board member has already declared that the ZBA "can't refuse it[all the variance requests]." (the orange words are a link to video of that quote)

We are going to insist that is not the case. We believe the Zoning Board of Appeals can thoughtfully, independently consider the application at hand and decide whether or not it conforms to existing Yorktown zoning ordinances. We also believe that when all the facts are out in the open, the Zoning Board will see that the proposed development far exceeds the occupancy that the proposed parking number of parking spaces can support. The 83 spaces to over 90 spaces (on average) they utilize today is equal to or greater than 86 the developer is proposing. More than tripling the legal occupancy while not increasing the amount of parking seems terribly inconsistent with existing Yorktown law.

Dr. John "Right Place, Wrong Time"

Thursday, September 15, 2011

9/22/2011: Yorktown Zoning Board of Appeals (ZBA) Hearing For Faith Bible Church (FBC)

"You know what, you can't refuse it; they'll article 78."
-Howard Orneck informing Bob Fahey he can't consider the facts and vote against 3 of the 5 FBC zoning variances.
That begs the question: why have a zoning board of appeals at all if you can only vote yes?

Why do we even have town zoning ordinances? If the board can't register a legitimate objection to 3 MAJOR zoning variances, why does it exist at all?

Below you will see 4 minutes from the last ZBA hearing for FBC's proposed new development. There are a few things I'd like to bring to your attention to, after the video.

video

Of note is when the acting chair, I believe his name is Anthony Tripodi, suggests the overall proposed floor area will actually be less than what exists. The applicant's attorney, Mr. Capellini, corrects him and states that it will be larger; larger by 4,000 square feet, Larry Dalfino--the project architect--chimes in (that's big, no? approximately 7,500 square feet of occupiable area is proposed).

There's also a long moment where the board is whispering, but it's still picked up on the microphones [turn up your speakers]. Mr. Orneck tells Mr. Bob Fahey that he "can't refuse" the zoning variance because the church will "article 78." [starts at 3 minutes, 33 seconds into the video]. Shortly after, special counsel advises the board it should stop whispering into the microphones.

This is troubling on several levels. First, it's not his place to be strong-arming another board member against arriving at his own conclusion--after weighing the facts of an application; that's the job of the board, at the end of the day.

Additionally, he's obviously not familiar with what an article 78 petition is. Article 78 requires the petitioner to prove that the town acted against its own rules. Ironically, Mr. Orneck's words might be grounds for an article 78 petition against his actions as a ZBA member; it's unethical, in my mind, at a minimum.

At any rate, come out on 9/22/2011 to Yorktown Town Hall to watch the ZBA pull out the rubber stamp and approve these major zoning variances that will result in a grossly inappropriately scaled mega-church, school and auditorium for over 500 people. Trust me, it's an offer you can't refuse.