Meeting Minutes

December 3, 2013



December 3, 2013



Present:  Mayor Christopher Sanders, Deputy Mayor Mark Blomquist, Trustee Lisa DeFeciani, Trustee John Gallucci  Jr.,  Trustee Steven Silverberg, Walter Sevastian, Esq.-Village Attorney, Stephanie Tassello- Clerk- Treasurer


Executive Session


Trustee Silverberg moved to enter into Executive Session to discuss Grievance Determinations.  The motion was seconded by Trustee Gallucci Jr. and upon vote the Board entered Executive Session.


Trustee Silverberg recused himself


Trustee Silverberg moved to exit Executive Session which was seconded by Trustee Defeciani., and upon vote the Board adjourned Executive Session.


Regular Session


Mayor Sanders called the meeting to order, and led everyone in the Pledge of Allegiance.


Public Comment


Audie Moran expressed concern with some of the recreational equipment in Kane Park being a hazard.  She also noted the newer park equipment was a donated on behalf of the Blauvelt Lions Club.



Approval of Minutes


Trustee Gallucci Jr. moved to approve the minutes from the November 19, 2013 meeting of the Board of Trustees.  Trustee Blomquist seconded the motion, which carried by a vote 4-0.

Trustee Silverberg abstained


Department Reports



DPW Superintendent Tom Temple reported December 12, 2013 will be the last day for leaf pickup.  He also reported Rockland Road Bridge punch list items will be complete by the end of the week.


Fire Dept.

Chief Cavanaugh – absent



Police Dept.

Chief O’Shea reported the annual Holiday food basket program with St. Johns went well.  He also advised residents that it is the Holiday Season and they should keep their car doors locked at all times.  He advised the residents if they see something say something.


Building Dept.

Building Inspector Charles Schaub – will submit his written report

Resolution to appoint Part-time Police Officer

Mayor Sanders proposed the appointment of John Salter to the position of Part-Time Police Officer, at a rate of $28.00 per hour.


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A motion was made by Trustee Gallucci Jr. seconded by Trustee Silverberg

Upon vote the motion carried by vote 5-0


The Clerk Treasurer performed the Oath of Office to PO Salter.



Recognition of Former Trustees

The Mayor recognized and honored former Trustee Audie Moran for her commitment to the Village of Piermont. She was originally appointed to the planning board and was a Trustee of the Village Board from 2001 thru 2012. A plaque was provided to her to recognize her service to the Village. 


Mayor Sanders also recognized and honored former Trustee Joan Gussow for serving on the Village Board from 2002 thru 2012.  Joan Gussow requested to make a donation to the Rockland Farm Alliance in her name.


Dan Sherman presented the status of memorial bench slots on the Pier

Dan Sherman reported originally the memorial program began with a total of 10 benches on the Pier, which quickly expanded to 16 benches.  He currently has a waiting list, and suggested to add additional benches at the end of the Pier.  He suggested to the board to landscape an area near the Bud Sedlak building which would include planting grass and trees which would provide an area for additional benches.


Mayor Sanders replied there is inadequate water supply at the end of the Pier which would present a challenge for watering the landscaped area.


Trustee Gallucci Jr. suggested placing memorial benches by Rockland Road Bridge.

Mayor Sanders agreed with Trustee Gallucci Jr. to offer memorial benches at Rockland Road Bridge.


Mayor Sanders tabled this for further discussion.


Request from Stewart & Lennon families to donate a memorial lighthouse in Memory of Lindsey Stewart and Mark Lennon


Raymond Lennon introduced himself, his Wife Janine Lennon and Carol Stewart Kosik.  He commented he is unfortunately here due to a tragic boating accident on the Hudson River July 26, 2013, when Mark Lennon and Lindsey Steward lost their lives.  He thanked the Piermont Volunteer Fire Department and the Piermont Police Department, especially Chief O’Shea, for their professionalism, dedication and support during and after the tragedy.  Their support provided both families some solace to this tragic accident.  Both families are committed to building and donating a lighthouse in memory of Mark Lennon and Lindsey Stewart, proposing to erect the lighthouse at the end of the Pier.   


Carol Stewart-Kosik also thanked the Piermont fire department and Police Department, from which she received an outpouring of support.  She explained to the board she understands the challenge of their request but is counting on the Board to support them in this endeavor.  She believes and hopes the proposed lighthouse will prevent another tragedy from happening.  Her daughter Lindsey’s fiancé, Brian Bond, still lives in Piermont and would like the opportunity not only to memorialize Lindsey and Mark but also the light will be a guide for the river.  She believes this will be an asset for the Village, providing a place for the public to sit and reflect. Mark Lennon submitted two pictures of memorial lighthouses similar to the one they are proposing. 


Mayor Sanders offered his condolences and thanked them for coming to the board.  He mentioned that he was approached several months ago by Carol Stewart, to discuss placing the lighthouse at the TZ marina, which would be on private property.  The board is faced with a major challenge to allow the placement of a lighthouse memorial on public park property.


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Trustee DeFeciani offered her condolences to both families.  She would need additional information regarding the legalities of where the light house is placed before making any decision.


Janine Lennon responded this is preliminary consultation and wanted to open up the line of communication in order to receive direction from the Board.


Carol Stewart-Kosik asked the Board for direction on what steps would be necessary in order for them to proceed with their proposal.


Janine Lennon informed the board that she has submitted an application to establish a not-for-profit corporation she hopes to help other organizations.


Trustee Blomquist offered his condolences and is pleased they are establishing an open line of communication and accepting input from the community.  He thinks this is an interesting idea and he looks forward to working with them.


Village Attorney Walter Sevastian commented he would need to review Piermont’s Village Code and would also need to contact the Army Core of Engineers, Coast Guard and the DEC.


Trustee Gallucci Jr. offered his condolences to both families.  He agreed with prior board comments there are many issues that would need to be addressed.  He understands and sympathized with both families but is concerned with challenges and issues that will need to be reviewed and addressed.


Trustee Silverberg also offered his condolences he thanked both families for their approach to the request.  He made reference to Dan Sherman’s earlier presentation regarding additional space for memorial benches, he suggested possibly creating the lighthouse as a memorial for everyone.  He is concerned with allowing this proposal due to the possibility of receiving many other requests to place memorials on public park property.  He suggested that both families meet with Dan Sherman to discuss possibilities.


Carol Stewart-Kosik understands the board’s concern but would like to continue with the memorial lighthouse.


Trustee Gallucci Jr. commented in order to accomplish this they would need to expand and make it a memorial lighthouse for everyone.


Mayor Sanders tabled this for further review and discussion.


Public Hearing (7:45) Phil Griffin Site Plan Application for the renovation/addition/alteration of a single family residence


Trustee Gallucci Jr. recused himself due to a potential conflict


Trustee Silverberg made a motion to open the public hearing. Trustee DeFeciani seconded the motion with a vote of 4-0.


Mayor Sanders commented Phil Griffin submitted his request for review at a prior board meeting which the board scheduled a public hearing.


Village Attorney Walter Sevastian reported this is a site plan application in a RD West zoning district, in which site plans need to be approved by the Village board of Trustees.  He received an email from a resident stating that a previous board passed a resolution many years ago that restricted modifications to units in the RD West zoning district, which would ultimately affect this request.  Unfortunately after a diligent search for the resolution in prior Village Board Minutes there were no findings of any such resolution.  The only resolution that was found relates to our current Village Code that states in the RD west district there is additional use requirements which include retail space cannot be more that 8,000 square feet, all site plan

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modification would need to be approved by the Board of Trustees, parking requirements, and residential density has an allowable maximum of 317 units.  He believes the resolution in question was directed towards expanding the number of units in the RD district, not modifications to any units.


Robert Hoene Architect representing Phil Griffin commented this proposal is an expansion of the upper level unit of the building.  They are proposing to expand the rooftop to the outer edges of the building which would increase an additional 812 square feet.    The expansion begins 15 to 20 feet back from the parking lot side and the river side.  This is just the middle section that expands out to the outer edges.  The existing unit is about 1500 square feet with the addition would bring the total to 2,300 square feet.


Trustee Silverberg questioned when did his unit change from being zoned commercial to residential.


Phil Griffin replied he has a special permit to allow commercial or residential he changed to residential approximately 4 years ago.


Robert Hoene commented the River side and the parking lot side will visually remain the same.  The middle of the building will expand to match the side units which will also modify and lower the roof by 5 or 6 feet.


Trustee Silverberg questioned will the modification protrude past the end of the building.


Robert Hoene commented the modification will be in the middle it will not protrude past the edges of the building.  


Building Inspector Charles Schaub commented this application is exactly what the drawing shows – it’s just an expansion.  He only modifying what is existing. 


Trustee Silverberg questioned if the unit is being occupied without a Certificate of Occupancy


Building Inspector Charles Schaub replied yes there is only a Certificate for unfinished office space.


Bert Dorfman commented he has been the Attorney for the buildings for many years and has refinanced several times each time a certificate of occupancy was produced to the different lenders.  He advised the board he had a certificate of occupancy for his home which was missing from the Building Departments files, suggesting maybe the C of O is also missing.


Trustee Silverberg questioned if this request needs to be reviewed by the LWRP


Village Attorney Walter Sevastian replied the Planning Board would need to review the costal assessment form and send back to the Village Board for final approval.


Mayor Sanders opened for Public Comment


John Roth introduced himself, his Wife Tatania, and his son Peter. He is a neighbor to Phil Griffin residing at 109 Shad Row since 2002.  He advised the board that two of his neighbors are also in attendance.  He commented this proposal is one anomaly after another; there have been several construction projects on the property which Phil had done without consulting any neighbors.  Mr. Griffin sold the second floor unit and added a deck which now has views into his master bedroom.  The site plan has always had a stipulation that changes cannot be made without consent from the majority of the unit owners and the consent of the Village Board.  He does not believe Phil Griffin had ever followed this procedure.  He expressed concern that Mr. Griffin is misrepresented himself and this request.  He went to his neighbors asking them to sign a document which appeared to be on Village letterhead and addressed to the Village of



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Piermont as if it already approved.  He was also minimizing the size of the project, which could not be verified as he was not providing a site plan.  He also explained Mr. Griffin’s significant other was asked his wife to sign the document, without providing details of the project or a site plan. He believes Mr. Griffin is acting fraudulently knowing he needs majority consent from the homeowners.  This is a significant increase in square footage, and the building will be squared off.  The proposal also extends a deck and adds additional windows which will face direct onto his property.


Tatania Roth also expressed concern allowing this project to proceed it will be a further invasion of her privacy. 


Mr. Roth concluded this proposal is to Mr. Griffin’s advantage and he tried to sneak it through.


Dennis Hardy former Mayor and Piermont Landing resident referred to a previous email he submitted regarding a resolution that was passed by a previous board which capped the

square footage in both the River front district east and west.  He believes a previous board passed this resolution and is dismayed it cannot be found.


Mayor Sanders replied he spent a majority of this past weekend reviewing minutes from board meetings between 1999 and 2001 and could not find a resolution “capping the square footage in the RD district”.  He also explained if such a resolution existed and was adopted, it would have been reflected in Village Code, which it is not.


Fred Devan commented he was a Trustee during that time and, to his recollection, the resolution referring to “capping” was for the amount of residential units allowable on the pier.  The resolution was passed due to building 41 which was originally zoned commercial, but instead, added 36 residential units, which became Harbor Cove Condominium.  The board passed the resolution restricting additional residential units.

Village Attorney Walter Sevastian commented that is reflected in the Village code, section 210.67 which states the maximum permitted density of residential uses in the RD District (for overall site) is 317 units (263 in RD-East and 54 in RD-West).


 Claudia Kempton residing at 105 Shad Row commented this building is different than the other buildings it looks like a commercial building, she does not believe Phil Griffin’s proposal will have an visual affect on the appearance of the building.  She also referenced Mr. Roth’s and disagreed with his concern that Mr. Griffin was acting fraudulently and did not provide details while he was requesting signatures.  When she was approached to sign the document she was fully advised and was provided details including a site plan. 


Trustee Silverberg addressed Claudia Kempton stating her request is on the Agenda and questioned the location of her unit.


Claudia Kempton acknowledged her request to expand her existing deck is also on this evening’s agenda, and she lives directly below Mr. Griffin.


Mr. Roth questioned the process of this and referred to Claudia Kempton suggesting she has a special interest in this project they both want to expand their units.  He feels the project will detrimental to the surrounding property owners that it will be an invasion of privacy.  He also questioned the required minimum allowable votes to approve the project.


 Phil Griffin apologized to his neighbors and would like to address a few of their concerns.  He addressed Mr. Roth’s question and stated he believes he does not need approval from the majority of homeowners, in 1997 a site plan amendment was approved by a previous board.  He would only need approval from the three units within his building, he requested approval from other surrounding units but are not needed.  He also addressed another privacy concern which he agreed to modify the placement of windows to which would create privacy.   




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Trustee DeFeciani questioned the process if he went before the planning board which they did not find any issues with the proposed project and there is nothing in Village Code that would prohibit this project.   


Village Attorney Walter Sevastian commented the use is permitted by special permit; there is nothing in Village Code that would prohibit this special permit.  The site plan changes would need to be approved by the Village Board.   


Trustee Silverberg suggested for Claudia Kempton and Phil Griffin applications be reviewed at the same time which will provide an overall visual impact.  He also suggested to Mr. Griffin to address the concerns of his neighbors.  


Building Inspector Charlie Schaub commented Mr. Griffin would need approval from all his surrounding neighbors.

Mayor Sanders directed Mr. Griffin to modify his document and take off anything that resembles the Village of Piermont Letterhead.  This request would need to be referred back to the Planning Board for a costal assessment recommendation. 


Trustee Silverberg moved to adjourn the Public Hearing to January 21, 2013 Village Board Meeting at 7:45pm.  Trustee Blomquist seconded this motion which carried by vote 4-0


Trustee Gallucci Jr. re-entered the meeting


Request from Claudia Kempton for an extension of her existing deck


Claudia Kempton commented she currently has two decks and is looking to expand and adjoin them to make it one deck.   


Building Inspector Charlie Schaub commented this is less of an impact than Mr. Griffin’s request, but he would like her to address the privacy concerns of Mr. & Mrs. Roth.


Claudia Kempton commented when she purchased her home this was an existing deck and would not have a problem with adding a privacy fence to address their concern.


Village Attorney Walter Sevastian commented this should be referred to the Planning Board for a recommendation for the site plan and a costal assessment.   


Trustee Blomquist made a motion to schedule a Public Hearing to review the site plan on January 21, 2013 at 8:00pm. Trustee Silverberg seconded the motion, which was carried by a vote of 5-0.


 Continued Discussion on the Train Station

Mayor Sanders commented this discussion was tabled from the last board meeting in order to review operating costs and get estimates of costs to change the interior to accommodate single-family residential space.


Trustee Gallucci Jr. commented the primary modification needed to accommodate a single-family residence would be to add a kitchen.  The intent is to keep modifications at a minimum while maintaining the Station’s historic value.  The final destination of the Kitchen has not been determined.


Building Inspector Charles Schaub advised the board that he and a consulting contractor submitted a design that would have minimum modifications and very little impact, to maintain its historic value.


Trustee Gallucci Jr. replied the estimates received to add a kitchen range between $14,000 and $24,000.  He commented that prior to the Village of Piermont purchasing the train station; someone lived on the second floor.  There would be no modifications to the exterior of the building.

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Building Inspector Charles Schaub reported this is a very basic modification which would keep the integrity of the building.  Everything would be surface mounted to preserve the building which could easily be returned it to its original state.


Mayor Sanders reported the total operating expenses are about $1,500 a year.  The total upkeep and maintenance costs are about $4,000 a year


Trustee Silverberg questioned if there is any consideration in renting the 2nd floor, as opposed to the entire building. 


Mayor sanders commented it would cost the same to convert the space, with a higher return on that investment in renting the entire space.


Trustee Gallucci Jr. thinks it would be more disruptive to the space, it would cost more to put a kitchen in the second floor and would also need to convert the heating/air condition to two zones.  He believes the board has an obligation to review all assets and facilities to address all costs and expenses.


Trustee Silverberg expressed concern losing the historical aspect of the train station if the entire space is rented. 


Mayor Sanders commented he is open to alternate suggestions from the Historical Society.


Mayor Sanders opened for public comment


Richard Esnard, chair of the Historical Society, commented after the last board meeting they held an open house at the train station he received multiple emails suggestion to form a petition.  He submitted a Petition to save Piermont’s Historic Railroad Station attached to the minutes. 

He read the Petition;

We, the undersigned, petition the Piermont Village Trustees not to convert the Piermont Railroad Station into a single-family rental. The loss of this valuable historic asset to the village would he profound and irreversible.  As a major tourist attraction, its commercial loss would be substantial.


We further petition the Piermont Village Trustees to create a Piermont Village Heritage site to remain within the public domain as an interpretive center where Piermont’s railroad and general history will be on display for all to see.  Its interior should continue to house and preserve Piermont’s valuable historic artifacts.  Without a question, Piermont’s station is the most important and only remaining symbol of Piermont’s railroad experience.  He currently has 150 signatures, and will continue to get more.  He concluded changing this to a single family rental the Village will lose the Jewel of Piermont.  


He further stated he is forming a committee to come up with a Plan to save the train station and asked for volunteers.

Margaret Holihan whom has lived in Piermont for 50 years advised the board the railroad station is the only thing left of historic value in Piermont.  She believes changing the use of the station would have a significant negative impact on the Village. 


 Audie Moran read an email (attached to the minutes) addressed to the Mayor and the Board of trustees discussing how she initiated and played an integral role in the purchase of the Train Station.


Mr. Fowler thanked the board for their efforts in trying to find creative ways to offset costs as a tax payer.  He believes the Train Station is a historical building which is the gateway to Piermont.  He does not believe the costs to renovate, and annual costs to maintain does not compare to historic value. 



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Trustee Blomquist suggested keeping the train station the way it is but does not oppose converting the 2nd floor to single family rental.  It would enable the Historical society to have access to the 1st floor, while generating revenue for the Village.


Trustee DeFeciani agreed with Trustee Blomquist to convert the 2nd floor to a single family rental.  She also expressed concern with the Village of Piermont becoming a landlord but at the same time it would generate revenue for the Village.


Trustee Silverberg applauded the efforts of the Board to address offsetting expenses but feels the train station invaluable.  He suggested tabling this to the second meeting in February which will give time to put a plan in place.  He volunteered to work as liaison to the Historic Society.


Robert Hoene commented he would like to rent the 2nd floor for his architectural firm.


Mayor Sanders tabled this for further review to the Village Board Meeting on February 18, 2013.


Schedule Board Meeting dates for beginning of 2014


Mayor Sanders confirmed Village Board Meetings, scheduled for the following Tuesdays

January 7th and 21st.

February 4th and 18th

March 4th and 18th

April 1st. and 29th

May 13th and 27th


Approval of Warrant

Trustee Blomquist moved to approve the Warrants in the amount of $ 618,854.06 attached to the Minutes.  Trustee DeFeciani seconded the motion, which was carried by a vote of 5-0.


Old/New Business


Village Attorney Walter Sevastian requested to schedule a public hearing amending local noise ordinance at the next Village Board Meeting.


Trustee DeFeciani suggested writing thank you letters to all volunteers whom helped clean up the medians in the parking lot. 


Trustee Blomquist reported the Fire Department is requesting a change to their awards program which would need a Village-wide referendum to get passed.


Trustee Silverberg reported the Scenic Hudson task force held its initial public meeting which was a success. 


Mayor Sanders reported the Clerk’s office renovation project is complete and looks wonderful.   



Trustee Gallucci Jr. moved to adjourn the meeting at 9:58 pm. Trustee Silverberg seconded the motion, which was carried by a vote of 5-0.




Respectfully submitted,

Stephanie Tassello