The PRD, or planned residential development, zoning in the Town of Lloyd will be getting another look by Town Board members. While there were no concerns raised by the public when the law was first passed, it became an issue that reached political proportions when the Trail View development on Toc Drive was approved. While that collection of three-story residential buildings was approved in full compliance with the existing law, neighbors were aghast over the height of the structures, and the fact that they could be erected right up against the property line, with no setbacks whatsoever.
Building department head Dave Barton provided an update on the specifics of the proposed amendments during the April 6 Town Board meeting. PRD zoning will not have a minimum lot size, he said, because the other requirements would make lots below a certain size economically unfeasible. Setbacks, however, would not be no less than 15 feet from the property line, and Planning Board members would be given the flexibility to require still greater distances. The rigidity of the old law made it difficult for that board to modify any proposals prior to approval, he explained. The specific responsibilities of town and planning board members are also more clearly spelled out in the new version.
“Fifteen feet is not much, with a large building,” said council member Joseph Mazzetti. Instead, he proposed it be based on the number of stories, to which Barton countered that the building height itself would be a better measuring stick.
Ruth and Ed Dapp, whose house now has the buildings of Trail View looming over it, submitted a letter that echoed Mazzetti’s concerns. Board member Michael Guerriero read it aloud. In part, the Dapps wrote that “that more consideration with setbacks at a distance more then a 15 foot minimum should be required and not left to decision at the time of site plans. Let me add that if Trail View went along with this recommendation, a mere five feet would make no difference to the abutting property than the ten feet with the three-story buildings overlooking our property allowing us no privacy. The grade was changed on that property resulting in those buildings being about seven or eight feet higher than the grade originally was, with the parking lot graded higher than the original land allowing the residents of Trail Views headlights to illuminate our bedrooms and property.”
Additional discretion for Planning Board members mean that they can decide on such things as the locations of dumpsters and other accessory structures and items, as well as having the ability to decrease — but never increase — the density allowed in a particular tract.
Board members will discuss the PRD zone more at their next meeting.