The North Castle Planning Board last week delayed making a recommendation regarding a possible zoning code change to allow an Armonk nursery to hold social functions on its grounds.
The owner of Mariani Gardens, located at 45 Bedford Rd., is seeking amended site plan approval from the planning board and a zoning text amendment from the town board to allow it to rent out its space for events such as wedding receptions.
Chairman Robert Greene said at the board’s July 2 meeting he had questions regarding several issues related to the application, including lighting, permissible hours for the events, and how long before an event a tent should be allowed to be put up and when it should be taken down.
Consideration is important because it could be difficult for the town to revoke an approval if it is granted once events have been scheduled, Greene said.
Town Attorney Roland Baroni suggested that the planning board could limit the number of events held at the site for the first year so impact on the neighborhood could be evaluated.
Dan Hollis, the attorney representing Mariani Gardens, said he opposed having each event approved separately. Greene agreed with him and favored Baroni’s contention that the number of events should initially be limited.
Planning board member Arthur Adelman said outdoor events have been held at nearby Wampus Brook Park without complaints of excessive noise, and Mariani Gardens could probably achieve the same result.
“I don’t see how this would be any different,” Adelman said.
Hollis said his client would make every effort to contain on-site noise in response to an acoustics report from SoundSense LLC, which was paid for by the applicant. The report stated, in part, that the volume of DJs and music would be below the maximum permissible sound levels allowed by the town. Greene noted that when the test was done there were no tables and people to help muffle noise.
Director of Planning Adam Kaufman said he wanted more information about noise levels.
Ownership would address issues such as traffic and noise during site plan review, Hollis said. Meanwhile, he asked that the matter be sent to the town board for the zoning code changes.
Armonk resident Neal Baumann, a longtime parishioner at St. Stephen’s Episcopal Church across the street from the nursery, voiced several concerns. The church regularly holds Saturday religious services beginning at 5:30 p.m., which would be disturbed should there be a coinciding event at Mariani Gardens, he said.
“They want a quiet service,’ Baumann said.
Parishioners are also wary of neighborhood impact when events attended by several hundred guests would extend late into the evening, Baumann said.
Greene said the planning board wasn’t in a position to make a recommendation to the town board.
“There’s no question, more work needs to be done,’ he said.
The project is scheduled to be discussed again by the planning board July 23.