Planning Board decision on October 21, 2014 approved the subdivision and denied the wetland permit. The wetland permit denial stops the proposed house from being built, although a revised application can be filed. The Planning Board has continued to extend the subdivision approval permit.
What’s this project? Mr. Petruccelli owns a parcel of land on Oscaleta Road, near the intersection of Twin Lakes Road. He applied to the Planning Board for a wetland activity permit to build on this wet property. A description of the project, taken from the applicant’s June 12, 2012 Engineering Report, states:
“The proposed project is for an approval to construct a new 4 bedroom residence [now 3 bedroom] on an undeveloped 0.693 acre parcel of land in the Town of Lewisboro, Westchester County, New York. The subject property is located on Oscaleta Road and is more specifically known and identified as Section 33-B, Block 11157, Lot 46.
The project site is currently vacant and moderately wooded with 150 feet of frontage on the west side of Oscaleta Road, approximately 100 feet just south of its intersection with Cove Road…. The site consists of a freshwater wetland area L-13 along the rear property line that is a tributary to Lake Waccabuc…. The construction of the site and associated grading, impinge upon the local wetland area and occupy about 65% of the site’s entire DEC wetland buffer. The local wetland area impacts are unavoidable if any use of the project is to be approved.”
Why is 3LC concerned? Many reasons are expressed in our letters below. We are most concerned about phosphorus inputs from a septic system next to a wetland that communicates with Lake Waccabuc, with the precedent of filling in a wetland, and with the unacceptable mitigation.
The Three Lakes Council has expressed its concern to the DEC, the applicant, and to the Town of Lewisboro Planning Board. Our memos can be accessed by clicking on the document names below. Note that the details of the application have changed over time, although filling in the wetland and placement of the septic system adjacent to the wetlands has not.
The Conservation Advisory Council and the Lakes Committee, both Town of Lewisboro committees, have written the Planning Board expressing their concerns with this proposal.
Residents voiced opinions about this proposal. A Public Hearing of the Planning Board was held on November 19, 2013, January 28, 2014, February 25, 2014, and July 15, 2014. (The hearings planned in April and June were both deferred on the day of the meeting at the request of the applicant.)
3LC hired a lawyer and an engineer to help us voice our concerns. Many wonderful memos from lake users were submittted, and these can be seen in the Planning Board agenda packets posted on the town web site, but unfortunately they can’t all be posted here. See the links below for selected memos.
From 3LC lawyer for January and February meetings
From 3LC engineer for January and February meetings
Paul Lewis submitted memos on lake levels compared to property levels, when wetland maps were available, and on wildlife seen on the site.
Janet Andersen submitted a memo with questions about the wetland delineation in January.
3LC submitted memos on prior wetland approval comparisons and in response to varied topics brought up at the January hearing.
3LC also submitted an appeal to the ZBA, and when the applicant responded, a second memo. Our appeal to the ZBA was denied in May, 2014 because of timeliness, that is, they found that we did not appeal within the 60 days allowed for appeal.
3LC also offered to buy the property from Mr. Petruccelli to halt the development.
More 3LC letters were sent to the Planning Board in March, 2014. One expanded on responses to planning board questions at the Februrary meeting. 3LC also commented on the updated submissions made by Mr. Petruccelli in March.
3LC also made it clear that, as one party to the proposed subdivision of property, we opposed the subdivision application.
In April, Paul Lewis submitted evidence that the wetland serves as a vernal pool for the NYS amphibian, the wood frog.
3LC visited the Westchester County Dept. of Health (DOH) to look at the files on the project’s onsite septic system review. We wrote a memo to the Planning Board summarizing some of what we found. We discovered a hold harmless declaration which seems to indicate that the septic system could be risky, so Mr. Petruccelli promises not to sue the DOH if they allow him to build it closer to the wetlands than their guidelines support.
Mr. Petruccelli asked to perform off-site mitigation on the 3LC parcel. We set high criteria, but awaited a specific proposal. Mr. Petruccelli’s wetland advisor submitted plans to the Planning Board for off-site mitigation on our property – without letting us know of this proposal! Our response detailed why the proposal is unacceptable.
3LC also submitted a summary of our organization’s ongoing roles in education and outreach. We added an updated outline of the deficiencies of this application. The Town’s consultants provided a memo which asked for additional information.
Memos for July 15 hearing
Mr. Petruccelli’s June 2014 submission to the planning board is posted here for your review.
The Planning Board requested a summary document. We submitted our summation to the Planning Board.
Discussion on October 7. Resolutions finalized on October 21, 2014
At the Planning Board meeting on October 7, 2014 in a non-binding straw poll, the planning board expressed their views on the Pettruccelli applications as follows:
subdivision application: 4 to approve, 0 to deny; wetland application, 1 to approve, 3 to deny.
The board voted on the resolutions at their October 21 meeting, with the same results. The approval of the subdivision means that the lot was legalized as a building lot. Without the approval of his wetland application, Mr. Petruccelli will not be able to fill in the wetlands and build his house. He could submit a more complete and more compliant application on this parcel in the future. Click for the Wetland Resolution or Subdivision Resolution. The minutes from the Planning Board meetings can be found here.
The Lewisboro Ledger ran this article on October 9, 2014 which summarizes the October 7 discussion.
The denial of the wetland permit supports wetland protection in this specific case and town wide. This result could not have been achieved without the support of the community. Thanks to everyone for your support, letters, and participation at town meetings.