Board of Trustees
Village of Baxter Estates
Minutes of Regular Monthly Meeting
August 2, 2012, 7:30 p.m.
Location: Village Hall, 315 Main Street
Port Washington, New York
Mayor Frederick B. Nicholson
Trustee Douglas Baldwin
Trustee Nora Haagenson
Village Treasurer Laurence Tuck
Village Attorney Christopher J. Prior
Trustee Charles Comer
Trustee Alice M. Peckelis
Village Clerk Yvonne Whitcomb
Donald Alberto, R.A., representing the Faccibenes, applicants for tree removal;
Lance Wagner, Village Tree Commissioner;
James Neville, resident, North Washington Street
Mr. and Mrs. DeSciora, residents, Green Hays
Dorothy Dunn, resident, 18 Bayside Ave.
Mayor Nicholson opened the meeting at 7:30 p.m., and, at the Mayor’s request, Trustee Haagenson led those in attendance in the Pledge of Allegiance. The Mayor then noted the absence of Village Clerk Yvonne Whitcomb, and Trustees Comer and Peckelis, due to scheduling conflicts. The Mayor noted that the Village ordinarily skips the August monthly meeting, but necessary Village business required that the Board meet.
1. Draft Minutes of Prior Meeting.
Mayor Nicholson and the Board members elected to table consideration of the draft minutes of the July 10, 2012 meeting.
2. Audit of Claims.
The Board members discussed the abstract of audited claims prepared and circulated by Village Treasurer Laurence Tuck. After discussion, upon motion duly made by Trustee Baldwin and seconded by Trustee Haagenson, the Board unanimously RESOLVED to approve the audit of claims as presented.
3. Investment Policy.
Mayor Nicholson asked Treasurer Tuck and Village Attorney Prior whether immediate action was required with respect to the draft Investment Policy prepared by the Village Attorney. Mr. Prior observed that the Village is obligated to comply with the provisions of the draft policy, in substantially the form presented, even before formal adoption.
Trustee Baldwin noted that Trustee Comer had provided written comments on the draft. Treasurer Tuck suggested that the Board amend the draft Policy to reflect that the date by which funds should be deposited should be increased from three to ten days after receipt by the Village, a practice endorsed by NYCOM. The Mayor directed the Village Attorney to incorporate the changes proposed by Trustee Comer and Treasurer Tuck, and present the modified draft to the Board for consideration at the next meeting.
4. Application for Tree Removal.
Mayor Nicholson noted that the Village had received an application from Peter Faccibene for permission to remove certain trees from his premises at 7A Locust in connection with pending construction plans to demolish an existing home and construct a new home.
Donald Alberto, R.A., representing Mr. Faccibene, presented drawings and surveys to the Board, reflecting the request to remove four oak trees in order to accommodate construction of the home, as well as construction of the extension of Green Hays, previously approved by the Board of Trustees, acting in its capacity as Planning Board. Mr. Alberto noted that two of the trees, identified as trees 1 and 2 on the proposed tree removal plans presented to the Board, necessarily had to be removed to accommodate the contemplated construction. Tree number 3 on such plans would likely be impacted by construction, although definitive determination as to need to remove that tree could not be resolved until construction commences. Tree number 4 on such plans is a large oak tree situated on Tax Lot 212, one of the two lots created by the recent subdivision approval of 7A Locust. The new home proposed to be constructed, and the existing home proposed to be demolished, relate to Tax Lot 225, the other lot created by the recent subdivision approval of 7A Locust Avenue. Mr. Alberto noted that the reason for the request to remove tree number 4 was to provide a play area for the Faccibene children. While Tax Lot 225 is more than a half acre, much of it is unusable, as it is wooded, steep slope. Mr. Faccibene has advised the Village that he does not plan in the near future to construct a home on Lot 212, or to sell Lot 212 for development, but plans instead to use same as a yard for Lot 225.
Lance Wagner, Village Tree Commissioner, advised the Board that he recommended removal of trees 1 and 2, but thought that the Board should refrain from approving the removal of tree number 3 unless and until it is determined that construction efforts make the removal of tree number 3 necessary. Furthermore, Mr. Wagner recommended that the Board not approve removal of tree number 4 from Tax Lot 212. Village resident James Neville, a resident of North Washington Street, in close proximity to the Faccibene property, spoke in opposition to the removal of the tree from Tax Lot 212. Mr. and Mrs. DeSciora, owners of the premises abutting Green Hays just to the north of the Faccibene property, sought information on the project and the trees to be removed, and urged that all work done in the public right-of-way known as Green Hays, to extend same to accommodate ingress and egress into Tax Lot 225, be accomplished in a way that is sensitive to the existing plantings and development of the unpaved right-of-way, with particular attention to be paid to drainage issues.
Mayor Nicholson noted that the plans presented by Mr. Faccibene for development of his lot and extension of Green Hays reflected a trench drain which would allow water flowing into the trench drain to be piped to underground dry-wells. Mayor Nicholson urged Mr. Alberto to use a 12”-wide commercial-type trench drain, and Mr. Alberto agreed that same would be appropriate. Mr. Alberto also agreed with the Mayor that the underground drainage structures should be installed towards the easterly end of the contemplated improvements to Green Hays, in order to avoid to the greatest extent possible any adverse impact on the root system of the large tree to the north of the proposed improvements to Green Hays.
After discussion, upon motion duly made by Trustee Baldwin and seconded by Trustee Haagenson, the Board unanimously RESOLVED, with respect to the application of Peter Faccibene for tree removal, to (i) approve the removal of tree number 3, on Tax Lot 225, but only if the Village Building Inspector and the Mayor or Deputy Mayor agree, after construction on Lot 225 commences, that the nature of the construction necessitates removal of tree number 3, (ii) approve the removal of trees 1 and 2, conditioned upon use of a 12” commercial-type trench drain, and placement of the underground drainage structures towards the easterly end of the contemplated improvements to Green Hays; and (iii) deny the request to remove tree 4, which is situated on Tax Lot 212.
5. Annual Snow Removal.
Treasurer Tuck advised the Board that the annual snow removal contract had expired, and that the Village Clerk seeks authorization to solicit bids far annual snow removal pursuant to the competitive bidding process. The Mayor confirmed with the other Trustees his sense that the most recent modifications implemented by the Board with respect to the form of snow removal contract had been working satisfactorily. The other Trustees agreed. After discussion, upon motion duly made by Trustee Haagenson and seconded by Trustee Baldwin, the Board unanimously RESOLVED to authorize the Village Clerk to solicit bids through the competitive bidding process for the annual snow removal contract, and to consult with the Village Attorney with respect thereto.
6. Annual Leaf Removal Contract.
Treasurer Tuck advised the Board the annual leaf removal contract had expired, and that the Village Clerk seeks authorization to solicit bids pursuant to the competitive bidding process. The Mayor confirmed with the other Trustees his sense that most recent modification implemented by the Board with respect to the form of leaf removal contract had been working satisfactorily. The other Trustees agreed. After discussion, upon motion duly made by Trustee Haagenson and seconded by Trustee Baldwin, the Board unanimously RESOLVED to authorize the Village Clerk to solicit bids through the competitive bidding process for the annual leaf removal contract, and to consult with the Village Attorney with respect thereto, as needed.
7. Ratification of Approval of Amendment of Subdivision/Partitioning Approval and Curb Cut Approval for Faccibene, 7A Locust.
The Mayor asked the Village Attorney to review with the Board the status of the Faccibene application to amend a previously issued subdivision/partitioning approval with respect to 7A Locust Avenue, and the related curb cut application. The Village Attorney noted that the Board of Trustees conducted a public hearing with respect to those applications at its July 10, 2012 meeting. At the conclusion of the public hearing, the Board resolved to approve the proposed amendments of the subdivision/partitioning approval for 7A Locust Avenue, originally approved in 2011, and also to approve the curb cut application by Mr. Faccibene, conditioned upon ratification and approval by the Board of a written decision to be prepared by the Village Attorney containing conditions required by the Board in connection with that approval, as had been communicated to the Village Attorney at the July 10, 2012 Village Board meeting.
Mr. Prior noted that he had circulated a draft decision along with a draft declaration of covenants and restrictions called for pursuant to the terms of the draft decision, to each of the Board members. Trustee Haagenson, who had attended the July 5 public hearing, noted that she had reviewed the documents and thought they were complete and fully addressed all of the points made by the Board. Mr. Prior noted that Trustee Comer, who had served as acting chairman of the Planning Board at the July 10 public hearing in the Mayor’s absence, had reviewed the drafts prepared by Mr. Prior, and Mr. Prior believed that Trustee Comer had approved same.
The Mayor and Trustee Baldwin noted that they had been absent from the July 10, 2012 meeting, but had read the draft resolution and draft declaration of covenants and restrictions, and thought they were appropriate. Nevertheless, as both Trustee Comer and Trustee Peckelis were present for the July hearing, but not present tonight, the Board members thought it advisable to condition any approval of the Faccibene decision and related covenants and restrictions upon confirmation by Trustee Comer, in his capacity as acting chairman of the Planning Board for the July 10,2012 hearing, that he approved same.
After further discussion, upon motion duly made by Trustee Baldwin, and seconded by Trustee Haagenson, the Board RESOLVED to approve the form of written decision on the Faccibene application prepared by the Village Attorney and circulated to all of the Board members, and also to approve the form of declaration of covenants and restrictions in the form prepared by the Village Attorney and circulated to all of the Board members by the Village Attorney, conditioned upon Trustee Comer confirming his approval of same as consistent with the direction of the Board communicated to the Village Attorney at the July 10, 2012 Village Board meeting.
8. New Business.
Mayor Nicholson presented to the Board and the public his view that improvements within the Village along the Baxter Estates Beach would be greatly beneficial to the Village, its residents, and the surrounding communities. He described an extension within the Village of the Bay Walk that exists along the shore of Manhasset Bay just to the north of the Village, connecting the Bay Walk to the Town of North Hempstead municipal parking lot that lies between Baxter Estates Beach and the Village Hall. The Mayor noted that he had spoken to design firms and contractors, as well as other elected officials, including United States Congressman Gary Ackerman, Nassau County Legislator Wayne Wink, New York State Senator Jack Martins and Town of North Hempstead Supervisor Jon Kaiman, all of whom indicated informally support for such a project. In fact, the Mayor noted that Supervisor Kaiman referred to available grant monies held by the Town in the amount of $20,000,000 for waterfront improvements throughout the Town, some portion of which might be available for such a project.
The Mayor envisioned a boardwalk-type walkway extending over the beach, with significant separation from Shore Road, to minimize any danger to pedestrians or cyclists using the walkway. Trustees Baldwin and Haagenson expressed enthusiasm for the concept. The Board agreed that the Mayor should reach out to Supervisor Kaiman to ascertain whether Town grant monies might be available on a “seed” basis to fund initial conceptual drawings, and to reach out to the Port Washington Business Improvement District for their insight and assistance. The Mayor suggested that any such Village a project might be considered of the previously authorized and implemented the Bay Walk project to the north, when presented to other jurisdictions for any required project approvals.
9. Executive Session.
Upon motion duly made by Trustee Baldwin and seconded by Trustee Haagenson, the Board entered into executive session to discuss a possible real estate transaction, at 9:40 p.m.
At 10:45 p.m., Mayor Nicholson announced that the open portion of the meeting was resumed, and that the executive session had concluded, with no action taken, so no minutes will be made.
10. Engaging Bond Counsel.
The Mayor noted that the Village Attorney had obtained from Hawkins, Delafield & Wood, LLP, special bond counsel, a proposal under which HD&W would serve as special bond counsel to the Village in connection with any possible bond financing that would be required if the Village elects to proceed with the acquisition of title to 315 Main Street, the Village Hall, under the purchase option contained in the Lease Agreement between the Village, as tenant/option holder, and the Port Washington Pollution Control District, as landlord/owner.
Mr. Prior noted that William Jackson, Esq., of HD&W had reported that the expected aggregate amount of legal fees required with respect to a bond authorization would be approximately $1,500. Mr. Jackson had also reported to Mr. Prior that in the event that bond anticipation notes having a one year maturity are used, then the renewal of financing upon the expiration of each bond anticipation note term would require additional services of HD&W, which would result in costs on each such occasion slightly in excess of $1,000.
Mr. Prior reported to the Board that, in the event that the Village retained bond counsel and proceeded with the steps through the adoption of a bond resolution authorizing bond financing, the Village would not be committed to that path; a bond resolution adopted is effective as authorization for a 10 year period, at any point during which term the Board could exercise the authority or elect never to do so. The Board members discussed the fact that the last date by which the option to purchase is exercisable is April 30, 2013, and that all appropriate steps to put the authorization in place should proceed, so that, if the Board elects to take such action, the requisite authorization is in place with sufficient time to effectively exercise the purchase option.
After discussion, upon motion duly made by Trustee Baldwin, seconded by Trustee Haagenson, the Board RESOLVED, to retain Hawkins, Delafield & Wood, LLP as special bond counsel in connection with the contemplated authorization of bond and/or bond anticipation note financing with respect to the possible acquisition of 315 Main Street, on the terms presented to the Village by bond counsel, which such amendments and modifications thereto as are deemed necessary or appropriate by the Village Attorney.
11. Authorizing Public Hearing to Consider Transfer of Reserve Funds from Highway Repair Reserve Fund to Land and Buildings Capital Reserve Fund.
The Mayor noted that funds on hand in the Village highway repair reserve fund had increased significantly over the years, at least partly in light of the minimal snowfalls in recent years. The Mayor noted that, in light of the amount of available capital reserve funds, and the possibility that the Village would exercise its option to purchase the Village Hall property under its lease thereof, it would be appropriate to consider transferring funds that the Board does not feel are necessary for the Highway Repair Reserve Fund, into the Land and Buildings Capital Reserve Fund for possible allocation to the option exercise price. The Board discussed with Village Treasurer Larry Tuck an appropriate balance to remain in the Highway Reserve Fund. Treasurer Tuck observed that a transfer of funds in the Highway Reserve Fund to the Land and Buildings Capital Reserve Fund would require a public hearing be held by the Board prior to adoption of such resolution.
After further discussion, upon motion duly made by Trustee Haagenson, and seconded by Trustee Baldwin, the Board unanimously RESOLVED, that pursuant to General Municipal Law §6-f, the Village proposes to transfer $460,000 from the Highway Snow Removal and Repair Reserve Fund to the Village’s Land and Buildings Capital Reserve Fund, and that a public hearing on such proposal shall be held at the Village Hall, at 7:30 p.m., on September 6, 2012, and that the Village Clerk be, and she hereby is, authorized and directed to cause a legal notice with respect to such public hearing to be published in the official newspaper of the Village.
12. Resident Request concerning Fee for Letter in Lieu of Certificate of Occupancy
Treasurer Tuck explained to the Board that former resident Dorothy Dunn had applied for a letter in lieu of certificate of occupancy with respect to the single family home that she had owned in the Village prior to the sale thereof. She was advised of the fee for such letter in lieu, and paid the requested fee and received the letter in lieu. She has since sold her home. Thereafter, the Village Clerk advised Mrs. Dunn that the Board increased fees applicable for such letters in lieu, by $30, prior to the time that Ms. Dunn had requested same. The Treasurer reported that Ms. Dunn objects, based upon the original representation of the Village Clerk. She expressed her belief that she is not therefore obligated to pay the higher amount. The Village Attorney explained that a strong legal argument exists that Mrs. Dunn nevertheless is required to pay the additional $30. However, the Board noted that the cost of pursuing her would exceed the $30 in question, and that the best interests of the Village would be served by waiving the additional $30, to avoid costs in a greater amount to recover same. Upon motion made by Trustee Baldwin, and seconded by Trustee Haagenson, the Board unanimously RESOLVED, to waive the $30 additional fee owed by Ms. Dunn as the pursuit of same would be contrary to the best interests of the Village, as the expense of pursuit would exceed the amount of the Village claim.
13. Clean-up of Village property at Bayside, near Water District Property.
Treasurer Tuck sought clarification with respect to action taken by the Board at the July meeting. Treasurer Tuck recalled that the Board conditionally approved the award of clean-up work to Robert Keogh, Inc., provided that the amount proposed by Keogh for such work be reduced to an amount acceptable to the Mayor. The Board confirmed the recollection of Treasurer Tuck, and the Mayor noted that he was satisfied with the amount proposed. Upon motion made by Trustee Baldwin, and seconded by Trustee Haagenson, the Board unanimously RESOLVED, to authorize the expenditure of not to exceed $ 360.00 for work to be performed by Robert Keogh, Inc. with respect to clean-up at the end of Bayside near the Water District Property.
14. Final Adjusted Annual Financial Statements.
Village Treasurer Tuck reported that adjusting entries recommended by the outside auditor for the Village had been posted to the Village books, and that the final adjusted annual financial statements of the Village for the year ended May 31, 2012 had been distributed to the Board members. Mr. Tuck also reported that the annual update document for the year ended May 31, 2012 had been submitted to the Office of the State Comptroller on July 27, 2012.
At 11:10 p.m., there being no further business before the Board, on motion of Trustee Baldwin, seconded by Trustee Haagenson, it was unanimously resolved that the meeting be adjourned
Christopher J. Prior, Village Attorney