By Sean Browne
The absence of a document showing an approved site plan for a Radio Circle building has the Mount Kisco Planning Board split on how to address the latest issue surrounding the Katonah Art Center application.
Officials have learned that there is no current site plan on file in the village offices for the 40 Radio Circle property.
“The applicant recently discovered that there was an approval in the 1980s for a site plan that is somewhat similar to the existing conditions,” said Mount Kisco Village Planner Jan Johannssen. “Although we don’t have a signed site plan, one that is endorsed by the Planning Board chairman.”
While there are meeting minutes reflecting a 1982 approval for the Karafin School, which still operates at the address, a copy of the document has not been located. If, in fact, site plan approval was granted, that was apparently the last approval for the property.
Johannssen said the current site parking arrangements provided to the village by the Katonah Art Center’s representatives reflect what is there now. The proposal includes 40 spaces, which is sufficient, he said.
However, there is no certainty that the art center’s plans accurately reflect all current conditions.
“So, what has been presented to us may be the site plan but it may not, but it is the only document that you or the village has applied,” said Planning Board Chairman Douglas Hertz. “So, we are going to go under the assumption that it may be the site plan but to assume that it is is taking a step that we don’t want to go to.”
The missing site plan is the latest snafu regarding the property. It had been discovered that the art center, which moved into its 4,700-square-foot space last September, had failed to obtain a certificate of occupancy and a completed safety plan and have a fire inspection conducted before moving in. That was discovered after a routine Oct. 3 fire inspection of the grounds was conducted.
Building Inspector Peter Miley said that the Katonah Art Center passed its fire inspection but will not receive the Certificate of Occupancy until the applicant receives site plan approval.
Project architect Patrick Croke provided board members with copies of a plan a few days before the Feb. 25 meeting. In the plan, he proposed landscaping upgrades around the building. Landscaping details include removing overgrown and outdated plants and adding 12 trees along one side of the building.
Since there isn’t a signed official site plan on file, however, board members are unsure about how to proceed. Site plans are often revised but Hertz said he wasn’t sure if 40 Radio Circle had undergone any changes. As a result, Hertz said he didn’t want to proceed with a resolution to approve the Katonah Art Center’s plan.
However, Vice Chairman John Bainlardi said some of the blame for the situation falls on the village for failing to provide the board with a record of the most recently approved plan at the site. He said the applicant has done the best it could.
“They are going to make some significant improvements, maybe not all we hoped for, but I think given the totality of what happened I don’t have a problem (with) what they are asking for,” Bainlardi said.
Hertz then proposed that the applicant make site improvements to bring it into compliance with other properties in the village rather than base it off of a 1982 plan that can’t be located.
Bainlardi countered that that would be counterproductive and the current site plan should be put to a vote.
“What can we do here to make sure that they come back for one meeting instead of two or three? We just keep making them come back,” Bainlardi said. “We all see this in front of us. Do we want to take another meeting to look at a two-level drawing? Let’s put it to the planner.”
Hertz said he would oppose the current application if it goes to a vote at its next meeting on Mar. 12. The board, however, directed village staff to draft a resolution on the matter for next week.