P.O. Box 700
Port Ewen, NY 12466
Zoning Board of Appeals

      1. Fax 845-331-8634


                                TOWN OF ESOPUS ZONING BOARD OF APPEALS
                                           Minutes of the July 20, 2010 Meeting


Chairman, Don Cole, called the meeting to order at 7:30 p.m.


Present:  Vic Barranca, Rob Hare, Kathy Kiernan, Linda Smythe, Karl Wick, and Chairman, Don Cole
Excused:  Joe Guido

Also present:  Ray Rice, George Heissenbuttel, Tim Halpin, Gloria VanVliet, Larry VanVliet, Wayne Freer, Dennis Suraci, Linda McCarthy, Neftali & Sibbie Lemus, Dave Sember
Karl made a motion to approve the minutes of the June15, 2010 meeting as corrected.  Seconded by Vic.   All in favor.

Kathy made a motion to accept the voucher for secretarial work.  Seconded by Vic.  All in favor.

 07-20-10-01                                           Reformed Church of Port Ewen
                                                                158 Salem Street                                 Area Variance

Dennis Suraci was present representing the applicant.  He explained that the area variances applicant is looking for are 1. front yard setback and 2.  % of lot coverage.  The church is at 35% coverage right now and with the increased square footage, they will be at 36% coverage.  He stated that the allowable coverage is 30%, so the church would be 6% over that if the variance is granted.  At present it is pre-existing, non-conforming coverage.  Mr. Suraci explained that this request is not for floor area, it is for a new front porch entrance to the church.  The increased area in the entrance is needed for better maneuvering of coffins during funerals.  He stated that it is presently 5 1/2 feet wide.  He continued, “By giving them the maximum, which is almost 8 feet, we had to push the stairs to the front.  There is a 4 foot setback presently and we’re going to push it to zero.”  Mr. Suraci stated that he knows he is pushing the envelope, but they have no place to go.  They will be 11 inches back with the first riser, but the hand rail that’s on these stairs, has to project 12 inches past the last riser by ADA requirements. 

Chairman Cole asked Mr. Suraci if he had been before the County on this matter and he stated that if the County refuses it, the Zoning Board cannot pass it.  Mr. Suraci stated that he is aware of this and that he wanted to get in front of the ZBA to see where this Board stood on it.
Mr. Suraci asked the secretary if she had forwarded the application to the County and she replied that she had sent it to the Ulster Co. Planning Board.  Chairman Cole stated that the County Highway Department will also be asked for input.  Mr. Suraci stated that there will be no new curb cut going in; there will be a new sidewalk on the church property which will be tied in to the present sidewalk, and some existing pieces of sidewalk that are old will get replaced.  A new ramp will come up the front on the left at a 1 and 20 slope and will not need a handrail.  With the existing ramp on the right side, there will be ramps on both sides in the front of the building.

Chairman Cole asked how many feet from the sidewalk will the building be (with the addition).
The plans were consulted and it was determined that the building will be 8 feet from the sidewalk. 

Rob pointed out something on the plans and asked what it was.  Mr. Suraci handed out drawings made from two different perspectives and stated that it was a concrete platform that Rob was asking about.

Mr. Suraci went on the discuss the other addition - the rear exit out of the present Fehr Brother Hall, which at present has one exit on the side entrance.  The only other means out of that hall is down a set of stairs and out into the same area, or going out through the kitchen. 
He explained that the applicant would like to take this opportunity to get a second exit which is needed by code, even though they are “grandfathered in.”   This addition will include a deck meeting the handicapped accessible exit requirements.  It allows two parking spaces on the platform. He explained, “If you are in a wheelchair, you don’t have to have a ramp to grade. You can get out of the building and be located on a platform so that the fire department can come and evacuate you or someone from the church can evacuate you.” 
Mr. Suraci stated that this meets the setback requirements, but that this portion of the application is part of the coverage issue.

Karl asked how old the church was and Linda McCarthy, head of buildings and grounds and a member of the church consistory, answered that it has been in existence sine 1851.  Karl asked how long the church had been holding funerals at the church and Ms. McCarthy replied, “Since its been a church.”  Karl asked why they had waited 160 to fix this problem.  Ms. McCarthy replied that the porch is in disrepair and has to be repaired so this is an opportunity to fix a problem.  The church has hired Dennis to come up with a plan to redo the porch, to help with the grading, to make sure it is done properly. 

Karl asked if the property line on both sides steps back from the neighbors’ property lines, as he interprets the plans.  Mr. Suraci answered that the surveyor had provided the survey showing the pins in place and it does appear that the neighbors’ properties do step out from the church’s line and are a little closer to the street.  Karl said that would enter into his decision.

Rob asked why applicant did not put a ramp in the back and Mr. Suraci answered that when they
drew a ramp into the plans it ate up too much room, including a parking space; and it also was more expensive.  The current plan meets the criteria and there is an elevator in the front of the building.

Representatives of the Reformed Church were dismissed and asked to return on August 17 for the public hearing.


        1. Rifton Fire District

24 Maple Street                   Area Variance
                                                                        71.30-2-36 & 37

Chairman Cole asked if anyone was present who wished to speak on this application.  George Heissenbuttel introduced himself as a member of the Rifton Fire District and commented that he thought that this was a good opportunity for the fire department to meet the present and future needs of the district at a cost that is substantially less than adding a new fire house to the district.
This renovation would cost 10% less than building a new fire house. 

Karl stated that Zoning Code section 123-21 Supplementary regulations on area and bulk states that, “window sills, bay windows, cornices, etc. shall be permitted to project no more than four feet.”   He noted that this works in favor of the applicant.

Chairman Cole closed the public hearing for Rifton Fire District.

Chairman Cole stated that the Ulster County Planning Board sent back a “no impact” statement on this application.

06-15-10-02                                                    Neftali & Sibbie Lemus
                                                                        295 Broadway                            Use Variance

Chairman Cole stated that the Ulster County Planning Board sent back a “no impact” statement on both the area and use applications of the Lemus’.

No members of the public were present to comment on this application.

Linda had a question about the number of parking spaces the variance requested and it was verified that applicant is asking for a 7 space variance-33 spaces when 40 are required.

Chairman Cole closed this public hearing.


06-15-10-01                                                  Neftali & Sibbie Lemus
                                                                       295 Broadway                          Area Variance
No members of the public were present to comment on this application and Chairman Cole closed this public hearing.

06-15-10-03                                                Rifton Fire District
                                                                    24 Maple Street                      Area Variance
                                                                    71.30-2-36 & 37

Karl made a motion to grant a variance to Section 123-20 of the Zoning Code, Schedule of Area & Bulk Regulations, to allow a 12 foot encroachment into the rear yard; where the required setback is 30 feet, 18 feet will be allowed.

Motion seconded by Linda.

Vote:   Karl – Karl disclosed that he is a firefighter with a neighboring district. 
                        It will not be a detriment to the neighborhood, it will be a benefit.
                       These volunteer organizations are fantastic.  It is not terribly substantial, it is 
                        necessary to provide a service that the public needs so I vote in favor.

            Rob – Rob disclosed that he lives in the Rifton Fire District.
                       I am in support of this.  I think it is a better answer than a new firehouse and is
                       definitely needed.

            Vic -  I’m in favor.  I don’t think it has any impact to the character of the neighborhood
                      and it’s going to save the taxpayers money.

            Don – I’m in favor for all the other statements.

           Kathy – I vote in favor for the reasons already stated and no one from the public has
                         any objections.

           Linda -  I vote in favor because its going to save the taxpayers money.

Chairman Cole stated that the variance was granted and applicant’s representatives left the meeting.

06-15-10-01                                    Neftali & Sibbie Lemus
                                                        295 Broadway                            Area Variance  

Rob made a motion to allow a variance to Section 123-20 of the Zoning Code to allow a 14 foot extension reducing the rear setback to 36 feet on the east side.

Motion seconded by Kathy.

Vote:  Karl – I vote in favor.  This is somewhat substantial.  I caution the applicant to do a really 
                      good job with this.  I don’t see any other solution to your problem.  It’s an
                      important place in the town and it’s a well-liked place, so I vote in favor.

           Rob – I vote in favor.  It’s a commercial district and as such the value of the property
                     demands that more coverage be allowed.

           Vic – I vote in favor.  I don’t see any major problem with this.  It’s not going to
                     jeopardize the character of the area and its going to bring in more revenue for the
                     Town as far as improvements.

           Don – I vote in favor.  This whole establishment is an asset to the Town.

           Kathy – I vote in favor for the reasons already stated.  I’m looking at the grade on that
                         side-I don’t think it’s going to interfere.

           Linda -  I vote in favor because as a member of the Zoning Board, I’m here to help
                         businesses in the area, help the taxpayers in the area and I certainly don’t want to
                         stymie them;  So I feel that it’s a help to them by my saying yes and it’s good for
                         our community.

Chairman Cole stated that the area variance had been approved.

06-15-10-02                                       Neftali & Sibbie Lemus
                                                           295 Broadway                                 Use Variance

Rob had a question on the placement of diagonal parking spaces which he addressed to Dave Sember, applicants’ representative.  Dave explained that it was designed specifically to allow for the wide swings of the tractor trailers that make deliveries to the rear of the building.  

Karl made a motion to grant a variance to section 123-24 A(1) to allow 33 parking spaces instead of 40.  Actually 33 would be the requirement by occupancy, the other would be the requirement by square footage and its not continuous occupancy-its short term.

Chairman Cole seconded the motion.

Vote:  Karl – I vote in favor.  It’s a difficult site.  I think it’s built out as far as its going to be.
                       But I think this is a workable solution, particularly in the nature of the temporary 
                       use of these parking spaces.  I don’t think it’ll change the character of the
                       neighborhood in any fashion, I don’t think it’s a detriment to the neighboring
                       property, and I would hope that the Planning Board consider storm water run-off
                       when they look at this.

           Rob -   I think the most pertinent issue is number of parking spaces relative to seats rather
                       than square footage, so the parking spaces work with the number of people seated
                       and I think that’s a reasonable standard.  I vote in favor. 

           Vic -   In favor for both reasons given.

           Don -  In favor

         Kathy – I vote in favor.  I think they have made the best use of the property that they

         Linda -  In favor for all the above reasons.

Use variance has been approved.

Linda stated, “I would like to put something in the minutes.   I think that it’s a  record for two public hearings, one informational meeting and we’re done in record time.  You’re phenomenal.”

Vic made a motion to close the meeting, seconded by Rob.  Chairman Cole adjourned the meeting at 7:59 pm.

Next meeting of the ZBA is August 17, 2010.

Respectfully Submitted,


Joan Boris

Secretary, Zoning Board of Appeals