Destroy thriving trees to make a prospective new resident happy? Present another site plan within the Wilson Park development while the soccer field sees another vacant season?
“No way!” Tarrytown Planning Board members said to Toll Brothers Senior Project Manager Chris Badger and attorney Jennifer Gray, whose site plan presentation for Lot 13 (217 Wilson Park Drive) ended abruptly. The board didn’t stand for tricks so it was no treat for Toll when, during the October work session, members refuted the idea of replacing legacy trees with smaller ones.
“The trees are important to the identity of the neighborhood, and the feeling of Wilson Park,” member Paul Birgy said. “There are concerns about making the area (different) and altering it in a negative way.”
“We’re talking about a configuration (of the property),” member Ron Tedesco agreed. “We had a bad experience with Lot 4, and we’re making a point and setting an example to the neighborhood.”
One option was “to push the house closer to the street, (however) Toll is not comfortable with this,” Gray said. When the trees are removed, “(Toll) would go ahead with aggressive replanting of (new) trees.”
Chairman Stanley Friedlander reiterated his words of earlier meetings. “The buyer, the owner, does not dictate to the neighborhood. He can’t have his cake and eat it.”
“We had a preliminary hearing in front of the board, and a site visit,” Badger said later. One option was to move the home closer to the street, which required a variance from the Zoning Board. Toll’s engineer redrew the plans accordingly, however the Planning Board agreed the home would then be too close to the street.
“We offered to replace the two trees in back with four trees, and the board said no, so we have to go back to the buyer,” Badger said.
Toll has pushed the envelope in other ways. Birgy said crews were working unsupervised during the weekend. “I got two phone calls Saturday morning (early October) about Lot 3 and the soccer field,” Birgy said. “There was no one from Toll at either of the locations, (and) I thought there would be no unsupervised work.”
Badger replied that the work being done that (particular) morning was not in sensitive areas.
“We had an agreement (that) if there is large equipment, someone will be there. I saw the largest piece of machinery, and someone (from Toll) was supposed to be there,” Birgy said. Frustrated, he recommended that the board hire a full-time site supervisor at Toll’s expense. “We asked that no work be done on Saturdays,” he repeated.
Discussed at length at nearly every meeting, the soccer field remains incomplete, with Toll delaying or hassling about agreed-upon drainage, infrastructure, and access. It was to have been completely refurbished by December 2011, when it would become village property.
With two lost seasons, and possibly a third, board members stood firm. This month the developer must show the community what progress is being made on the soccer field. “We’re confident that Toll will continue with the right actions, but I would not expect the board to agree to construction on individual lots if they fall short,” member David Aukland said.
Friedlander asked how to penalize Toll for noncompliance, how to provide public access to the field, and about Americans With Disabilities (ADA) compliance. Village Attorney Jeffrey Schumejda suggested obtaining an historical timeline of work that was required, expected deadlines, and when said work was completed.
“The village will determine what options are available to address timeliness questions posed in regards to the Toll Brothers project,” Village Administrator Mike Blau explained via email. “Once it has been determined what options are available, a strategy to address timeliness will be developed, and the village will move forward with that strategy.”
As advertising for the Wilson Park development continues — Lot 12 (221 Wilson Park Drive), Lot 7 (218 Wilson Park Drive), and others — lot sales and additional applications for site plan review before the Planning Board may follow. Badger said he expected the soccer field was to have been seeded by October 30.