10 O’Clock All News Final Filed by John Bailey 2/20/02, Updated 9:33 AM The Planning Board met Tuesday evening, responding favorably to a 7-unit townhouse complex planned for the South Post Road Gateway, while sending XM Radio back to refigure their radiation levels. A new church wants to rent at 75 South Broadway, creating a zoning conundrum.
The Planning Board and Prospect Park neighbors got a detailed view of DeKalb Development Corporation’s 7-unit townhouse complex they hope to build on West Post Road across from the Fisher Hill neighborhood between Merritt Avenue and New York Avenue, just across the Scarsdale-White Plains city line.
Eight residents expressed concerns about the proposed tree plantings and fencing proposed for the development, but were not outright opposed to the project. Developer Frank Cantatore the mastermind behind Clayton Park, an apartment community now going up in the Eastview neighborhood, expressed willingness to meet privately with the neighbors along Winslow Road and New York Avenues to finetune selection of green buffering and fencing styles. The objective is to ease the visual impact of fencing on neighboring homes.
“GATEWAY” TOWNHOUSE TOUTED: The proposed façade of a 7-unit, residential townhouse complex as it would appear on Route 22, (West Post Road). Six Units front on Post Road, at the crest of a 25 foot slope above a stone wall. The Units would contain 7-two bedroom apartments and 7 one-bedroom units. Entry would be from Post Road to the far right of the complex, with parking in back of the six units. The seventh unit is behind the northern most unit on the East Side of Route 22.
Photo by WPCNR
The Planning Board was pleased that plans for the complex had made the storage space on the top floors to be unusable as bedrooms, (as suggested by the Board). Access to the eaves is only by a pull-down ladder in the third floor halls.
Planning Commissioner Susan Habel expressed concern about the lighting of the parking areas to lessen impact on the residential homes along New York Avenue and Winslow Road, and advocated the installation of open slat fencing.
The neighbors and Planning Board members expressed interest in maintaining the stone wall façade on Route 22 (West Post Road), preferring the design plan that eliminates the on-street garages now existing on the site.
HOW TO BUILD IN A NEIGHBORHOOD WITHOUT RUFFLING THE NEIGHBORS: Frank Cantatore explains parking lot buffering amenities to the Planning Board, making clear he wants to meet with neighbors to tailor his plans and seek compromises. The overhead site plan, partially visible, shows the location of the seventh building of the complex, behind the northernmost unit on Route 22, with the outlines of the six Route 22-fronting townhouses at the bottom of the plan.
Photo by WPCNR
Cantatore told the audience the buildings would take nine months to construct and would be built from the Post Road side in, with no construction entry from New York Avenue. The Public Hearing was adjourned until March 19.
XM Satellite Radio Does Not Satisfy Planning Board on Radiation Levels
XM Satellite Radio appeared for the second time seeking permission to place a “whip antenna and satellite dish” on the roof of an apartment building at 30 Lake Street.
Representatives for XM Radio admitted their radiation levels exceeded FCC-permitted radiation levels by 508% for the public at the rooftop level, and 116% for occupational exposure at rooftop level. This generated concern on Planning Board Chairperson Mary Cavallero’s part.
Ms. Cavallero noted to WPCNR, “I’m not clear on this but it is something like the FCC apparently allows roughly 5 times the exposure to radiation for workers who would somehow be trained to deal with the increased raidation. The radiation levels rpoeted at a distance of 16 feet from the site are 1.8% of the maximum permitted exposure for the pubic and .4% for occupational levels. You notice how drastically the levels decrease as the distance increases (inversely proporational to the square of the distance.”
Cavallero said, “The Planning Board has never approved any cellular antennas or antennas of any kind that exceeded FCC standards. We’re not convinced that just because you say your output is safe. What is the effect for persons living there 8 hours a day?”
Robert Stackpole asked what would be the effect of the stronger radiation at the rooftop level on the persons living on the top floor of the apartment building, just under the antenna.
Locked Roof Desired
XM Radio also was requesting that the access to the rooftop be locked, police and fire having access to keys, to prevent the general public from approaching the antenna apparatus. This request, raised Planning Board eyebrows for public safety reasons.
Cavallero Finds More Math Mistakes
Radiation statistics were queried by mathematics teacher Cavallero, and XM’s consulting radiation engineer said he would check his figures and return March 19.
XM Radio’s representative, beating a diplomatic retreat, said he would return with a new configuration that would place the antenna ten feet higher to minimize the radiation effects.
Satellite radio, as provided by XM Radio, provides over 100 channels of different types of music and news which may be received by listeners in their cars or homes, using a $300 console and antenna to receive the programming. Their website can be accessed by going to WPCNR’s White Plains Links on the upper left of your screen and going to “Media.”
Cavallero, Habel call for minor site amendment process for second generation of antenna installations.
After scheduling public hearings for AT&T Wireless antennas at 155 Ferris Avenue and 101 Old Mamaroneck Road, Cavallero called for the Planning Department to huddle with the Building Department to discuss a process to streamline requests to install improvements to existing antenna locations in the city.
“As more improvements continue to be made, companies are going to swamp our agendas with these requests for improvements to existing facilities,” Cavallero predicted.
Antenna-ists Chided for Unclear Presentation
She scolded antenna presenters in general for presenting confusing, unclear plans with incomprehensible comparisons. She requested in the future that antenna presenters note in clear terms what the differences are between previous sites and new proposals for those existing sites.
Cavallero wants new requests for alterations to existing antenna sites in the city to present clear comparisons of radiation differentials in order that the city can recalculate the overall impact of radiation of new proposals.
Commissioner Considers Department Antenna Pow-Pow
Susan Habel, Commissioner of Planning, noted this was a good idea and it was agreed that the Planning Department would undertake to examine how such second generation improvements at existing antenna sites could be approved with a minor site plan amendment procedure to streamline such processes.
Can Churches and Cabarets Exist Side-by-Side?
This was the question raised by Robert Stackpole at the appearance by the Westchester Chapel Church of the Nazarene, seeking to rent 4,500 square feet of an office building, 75 South Broadway, (which is adjacent to ANL Sports, and across the street from McDonald’s and Border’s Books in the Westchester Plaza Mall), for a meeting place and administrative offices.
Susan Habel, Commissioner of Planning, also noted that the zoning ordinance prohibits a cabaret operating within 200 feet of a church. The 75 South Broadway location is right next door to The Thirsty Turtle pub. The Turtle had been in the news previously over a dispute with the Sloan Bar Building over use of the Sloan Bar parking lot.
Just Small Friendly Gatherings.
Reverend James Warren of the Church of the Nazarene explained that at present the church only expected a maximum of 50 persons about once a quarter.
He advised no weddings or funerals would be held at 75 South Broadway. He noted that the church would hold public gatherings for no more than 20 persons some three to four times a week in the evenings for classes and a theater group, and of course on Sundays. He said little more than half of the floor space would be used for administrative offices.
Habel Frowns on Parking Differential
Commissioner Habel cautioned the Planning Board that the lack of parking in the area was of major concern with the church needing to find 26 more parking spaces to comply with the parking ordinance requiring 45 spaces.
Troubled by Zoning Violation
Habel also said that approval of the church occupation of the space at 75 South Broadway, would throw the cabarets along East Post Road into nonconformity, creating a future problem if the cabaret owners were to sell their properties. She said that adult entertainment establishments (meaning cabarets and nightclubs) perhaps were not appropriate neighbors for a church.
Commissioner Habel said “an accommodation needed to be reached, if the church is on the record that it is moving into a cabaret district and has no problem with it.”
Reverend Warren assured the Planning Board, that he had “no problem whatever with cabarets within 50 feet of where we are. We offer a different kind of entertainment more family-oriented than cabarets.”
Nevertheless, Habel insisted that the issue of creating a nonconformity be addressed by the Planning Board with the Common Council.
New Commissioner Sets New No-Nonsense Tone
The legal representative for the Church of the Nazarene pointed out that the Planning Board was being difficult, implying it was trying to keep the church out of White Plains.
Commissioner Habel said she found that an “insulting” suggestion, and that the Planning Board had a long history of being very accommodating to churches of all faiths. The representative apologized.
The Planning Board was going to consider the issue of conformity of zoning and compose a letter next Tuesday at a special meeting.
A fast-growing denomination
The Church of the Nazarene is one of the fastest growing congregations in the country, gaining 100,000 members from 1998 to 1999. Their website can be accessed by going to White Plains Links and clicking on “Houses of Worship in the News.”
In other Planning Board Action…
The Vanderhoef Subdivision in Woodcrest Heights was moved to March 19, due to a procedural error on the part of the developer. He needs to submit a slope analysis and a wetlands report, in addition.
The 484 Rosedale Site Plan, and Metro Auto Tech at 7 Intervale Street will be taken up in a special meeting, February 26 at 7:30 PM.
The Planning Board recommended the Common Council approve Tri-Kelly Inc. (Kelly’s Tavern) for a one year renewal of their cabaret special permit, in order for the city to access the effects on the East Post Road area of their outdoor dining area.
The Ron-Rose Group present new site plan elevation drawings for a 16-unit townhouse apartment complex on 108 North Kensico Avenue. The Planning Board suggested a faux front door be designed to give the appearance the building is facing the street. The public hearing was held open another month.
AT&T Wireless request for a new antenna site at the Westchester Mall was scheduled for a hearing March 19. It is a new site that AT&T claims to need to handle capacity.