West Seneca Planning Board Meeting Minutes 02/16/2005
Chairman Joseph Ciancio called the meeting to order at 7:30 P.M. followed by the Pledge to the Flag.
ROLL CALL: Present -
Robert Niederpruem Jr.
William H. Bond, Deputy Town Attorney
Absent - William P. Czuprynski, Code Enforcement Officer
Chairman Ciancio read the Fire Prevention Code instructing the public where to exit in case of a fire or other emergency.
APPROVAL OF PROOFS OF PUBLICATION
Motion by Rathmann, seconded by Mendola, to approve the proofs of publication and posting of legal notice.
APPROVAL OF MINUTES
Motion by Greenan, seconded by Casciano, to approve Minutes #2005-01 of January 19, 2005.
OLD BUSINESS COMMUNICATIONS
A public hearing to consider final approval of the proposed Rolling Ridge Subdivision for 72 lots.
Motion by Greenan, seconded by Niederpruem, to open the public hearing.
Chairman Ciancio stated that an environmental assessment, traffic survey, wetlands delineation, and an archaeology survey were done as requested by the Planning Board. Approval was also received from the Sewer and Health Departments.
The petitioner, Tim Gawenus of Wm. Schutt & Associates, design engineers for the project, posted the final plat for Rolling Ridge Subdivision and the public was given an opportunity to review the plan. Nigel Builders was the developer of the project that involved 20.2 acres of land. There were 16 lots in Phase I along the southern part of the project near St. Jude Terrace. Phase II had 54 lots to the north near the Cheektowaga border. As part of Phase I, Town Engineer George Montz requested that the developer install the drainage components for Phase II and the sanitary sewer components, because the sanitary sewer exited along the northwest corner of the project. This would have no affect on the sanitary sewer along Clinton Street. All the lots would eventually be connected to the northwest corner where a new manhole would be installed on French Lea Road. Mr. Gawenus referred to the drainage concerns and stated that two large detention basins were proposed for the project. One would be along the St. Jude Terrace right-of-way area in the southerly part of the project to handle drainage for the 16 lots in Phase I. Drainage would be collected in the detention basin and work its way up St. Jude Terrace into the existing drainage system. Drainage from the 54 lots in Phase II would go to the northwest corner of the property where the other detention basin would be installed. This would outfall further to the west and the developer would be adding 900 feet of new drainage pipe to the drainage swale that cut across the West Seneca/Cheektowaga border and headed to the north. The developer would be investing a large amount of money to mitigate drainage concerns expressed by Town Engineers from both West Seneca and Cheektowaga. Mr. Gawenus further stated that they had coordinated with Mobil Oil regarding the pipeline along the northerly border and provisions were made to work around it during construction.
Mr. Nigro questioned if there were two entrances to the subdivision.
Mr. Gawenus responded that one entrance to the subdivision would be from St. Jude Terrace onto Morris Crescent and the other would be from Tim Tam Terrace. The project would not connect St. Jude Terrace, so there would not be any through traffic there.
Chairman Ciancio noted that the street names Morris Crescent and Pine Cove Drive as indicated on the plat plan were final.
Mr. Greenan commented that the property was properly zoned for the subdivision, but he questioned if any variances were required.
Mr. Gawenus responded that the proposed project complied with all the requirements under the Zoning Ordinance with regard to setbacks, side yards, and density. They had received approval from the Erie County Health Department and the Town Engineers from West Seneca and Cheektowaga. They also went through the SEQR process, did a comprehensive wetlands study, and an archaeological study, and all of those were negative. The property was zoned R-65 in the town’s Master Plan and the developer was not requesting a rezoning or special use permit.
Chairman Ciancio stated that he had discussed the project with Mr. Montz and there was a drainage problem in that area for a number of years. With the development of this property, a 24-inch line would be installed that would run 900 feet, and this should solve the drainage problem on the north side. Mr. Montz also commented that this was one of the best subdivision projects that had ever been done in town and the developer and engineers were the best he had ever worked with.
Mr. Rathmann questioned the timing between Phase I and II. He was concerned that an emergency vehicle or school bus would not be able to turn around on the dead end street.
Mr. Gawenus responded that Mr. Montz requested that a temporary cul-de-sac be installed at the end of Phase I. This would be removed after the project moved along to Phase II. The timing on the phases would depend on the market.
John Golombek, 64 Tim Tam Terrace, stated that it appeared the developer and engineers had addressed the sewage and drainage problem, but there was still a concern about the detention basins attracting mosquitoes. He also noted that one of the detention basins would be located behind the Clinton Street School and could be a hazardous attraction to the children. Mr. Golombek further stated that two or three developers had looked at the land in the past, but they passed on it because they thought there were drainage problems that could not be solved. He questioned who would be responsible down the road if the people who purchase the homes ended up having drainage problems.
Chairman Ciancio stated that he lived in a subdivision with 100 houses and a pump was installed at the end of the street 40 years ago to handle the water. They were not as thorough years ago, but Chairman Ciancio had the utmost confidence in Mr. Montz.
Mr. Gawenus presented a storm water management report showing the drainage and all the calculations. The report was certified by a licensed engineer and approved by Mr. Montz and the County of Erie.
Mr. Niederpruem read a letter from Charles Alessi, Board of Managers of Erie County Sewer Management District, stating the Erie County Health Department’s approval of the plans for construction of sanitary sewers in the Rolling Ridge Subdivision. Mr. Niederpruem questioned the type of building the developer planned to construct in the subdivision.
A representative of Nigel Builders responded that the houses would be 1800 to 2300 square feet ranging from $190,000 to $230,000.
Gene Siemieniuk, 95 Organ Crescent, stated that the biggest concern was that there was only one entrance into his development and it was difficult to exit onto Clinton Street. He commented on the additional traffic that would be created from this development and the addition of construction vehicles during construction of the project.
Mr. Gawenus stated that construction vehicles would enter the development from French Lea Road.
Richard Koenig, 50 Bosse Lane, questioned how deep and wide the detention basins would be and if there would be any barrier around them to prevent someone from falling in.
Mr. Gawenus responded that the detention basins had 1 on 3 slopes, so they went down one foot for every three feet horizontally. This was approximately 20 to 25 degrees. They were relatively flat because the town wanted to be able to maintain them and there was no need for fences. Mr. Gawenus explained that the detention basins would collect the water and release it slowly into the storm system. Detailed calculations of the detention basins were indicated on the plans.
Mr. Koenig thought that there should be a fence around the detention basins for the safety of the children in the area.
Mr. Greenan stated that the largest detention basin indicated on the plans had a depth in the center of 12 inches. It would also be sodded so the grass could be cut. The normal status of a detention basin was to be dry. It was simply a place to collect water in an unusual storm so the down flow would not be overwhelmed.
Chairman Ciancio noted that a retention basin held water, but a detention basin allowed the water to be collected and flow out slowly.
Gerald Maslona, 58 Organ Crescent, commented on the steady increase in traffic on Clinton Street over the past 39 years and stated that it had become a hazard to travel on Clinton Street. There were a number of accidents at French Lea Road and Clinton Street and the addition of 72 houses would only add to the problem. Mr. Maslona thought that the traffic in his neighborhood would be increased by this development because people would use Bosse Lane rather than French Lead Road to exit onto Clinton Street. He commented that just because the property was zoned residential did not mean that houses had to be built on it, and he thought there was plenty of empty space in West Seneca to build houses where they would not impact on an existing neighborhood. Mr. Maslona suggested that the property be maintained as green space. He further commented that the taxpayers would be paying for the town to mow the detention basins.
Mr. Mendola suggested that a petition be circulated requesting that the New York State Department of Transportation (NYSDOT) study the intersection of Bosse Lane and Clinton Street.
The mailman for this area commented on the lack of shoulders on Clinton Street and the heavy traffic. He thought that 72 houses would have a major impact on this and suggested that a traffic study be done. He further commented on the detention basins and the erosion that would occur.
Colleen Zak, 76 Bosse Lane, stated that a traffic study was supposed to have been done and there was talk of a possible signal at the corner of French Lea Road and Clinton Street.
Chairman Ciancio stated that the public would have to circulate a petition and submit it to the NYSDOT since Clinton Street was a state road.
Roger Korsh, 58 Bosse Lane, expressed traffic concerns and understood that the developer was supposed to complete a traffic study.
Deputy Town Attorney William Bond suggested that the public attend the next Town Board meeting and ask the board members to request a traffic study of Clinton Street by NYSDOT. A petition was not mandatory, but it would show that a number of people were concerned about this.
Mr. Korsh stated that French Lea Road was in bad shape and the construction vehicles would make it worse. The proposed development would double the number of houses in that area, but it did not provide any additional outlet. He suggested reducing the number of houses.
Mike Edwards, 41 French Lea Road, stated that there was a proposal 10 years ago to close French Lea Road at St. Jude Terrace because the traffic was so heavy and it had become a thoroughfare to French Road. More houses would only add to the traffic problem.
Mr. Gawenus stated that they had done a traffic study and found that there were approximately 70 trips in the morning for the homes, and one-third used Bosse Lane while the remainder used French Lea Road.
Mr. Niederpruem questioned if the traffic study addressed the number of trips on Clinton Street.
Mr. Gawenus responded that the study only addressed local trips to the subdivision.
Michael Kelly, 76 Bosse Lane, stated that 90 percent of the neighborhood was retired, so it would be changing over in the next 15 to 20 years and there would be more traffic. The addition of 72 homes would just add to the traffic problem.
Dora Horbachewski, 89 Organ Crescent, stated that she had begun circulating a petition to the residents in attendance at this meeting requesting that a traffic study be done on the area.
Mr. Gawenus stated that a full SEQR was done on the project and that included a traffic study.
Joanne Gallagher, 103 Tim Tam Terrace, stated that currently Bosse Lane was the only way out of her subdivision and there were well over 70 homes in the subdivision.
Evelyn Hicks, 276 Seneca Creek Road, questioned when the SEQR was presented to the town and if a negative declaration had been issued.
Mr. Gawenus responded that the SEQR was presented to the town in December 2003 and a negative declaration was issued at that time.
Mrs. Hicks requested a copy of the negative declaration. She further questioned if the Planning Board had given site plan approval.
Chairman Ciancio responded that preliminary approval was given on the project.
Mrs. Hicks questioned if the traffic study was submitted to the NYSDOT.
Mr. Gawenus responded that the traffic study was done with coordinated review and he thought that it had been submitted to the NYSDOT.
Mrs. Hicks noted that the town was in the process of preparing a comprehensive plan and it was presently in the draft form. The SEQR process should be started in another month and she encouraged the Planning Board members and town residents to involve themselves in the comprehensive plan in an attempt to mitigate some of the issues before they came before the Planning Board.
Gerald Maslona, 39 Organ Crescent, stated that when the existing subdivision was built in the 1960’s, deed restrictions were instituted to protect property values. He suggested that the proposed subdivision also follow those deed restrictions.
Mr. Greenan stated that except for the first two lots on Morris Crescent, the property in question was not part of the existing subdivision.
Mr. Niederpruem questioned who the Lead Agency was in the SEQR process and whether it was submitted to the NYSDOT.
Mr. Bond responded that the Town of West Seneca was the Lead Agency in the SEQR process for the project. The SEQR had been submitted to the county, but he was not certain if it had been submitted to the state. Mr. Bond noted that the state would not widen Clinton Street in anticipation of a problem. It would only come about after the fact or after it became a necessity. The state would not react until there was a problem.
Mr. Mendola agreed but stated that the state had been known to make modifications to accommodate specific situations.
Motion by Greenan, seconded by Mendola, to close the public hearing.
Motion by Greenan, seconded by Casciano, to grant final approval of the Rolling Ridge Subdivision for 72 lots.
On the question, Mr. Greenan stated that although he would rather see open space and wildlife, the property was properly zoned and the developer had followed all the codes with regard to lot sizes and setbacks. On a previous occasion, the Planning Board had denied final approval of a subdivision where the developer had also followed all the codes, but the courts overruled the Planning Board’s decision. This only cost the taxpayers unnecessary legal fees in defending the case.
Chairman Ciancio commented on the Wise Subdivision that went to court after the Planning Board denied it. Prior to the denial, Chairman Ciancio had requested that the developer donate excess land to the town or the Western New York Conservancy and the developer had agreed. After the developer went to court and won, he chose not to donate the land.
Motion by Niederpruem, seconded by Greenan, to adjourn the meeting at 8:45 P.M.
PATRICIA C. WISNIEWSKI, RMC/CMC