West Seneca Planning Board Meeting Minutes 08/17/2005
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 P. Czuprynski, Code Enforcement Officer
Paul Notaro, Deputy Town Attorney
Absent - None
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 Nigro, seconded by Mendola, to approve the proofs of publication and posting of legal notice.
APPROVAL OF MINUTES
Motion by Rathmann, seconded by Niederpruem, to approve Minutes #2005-06 of July 20, 2005.
OLD BUSINESS COMMUNICATIONS
Chairman Ciancio stated that the Planning Board had previously granted final approval for this subdivision; however, there was a lot of engineering work to be done and Town Engineer George Montz recently signed off on it.
Motion by Greenan, seconded by Mendola, to renew the final approval for Queens Grant Subdivision.
NEW BUSINESS COMMUNICATIONS
Motion by Greenan, seconded by Mendola, to open the public hearing.
Chairman Ciancio stated that along with the application the Planning Board had received a survey, a deed description, a short environmental assessment form, and a plan showing the erection of the billboard. He further noted that this item was before the Planning Board in April 2005, but the application was withdrawn prior to proceeding to the Town Board so the petitioners were able to reapply at this time.
Stacy Bechakas, 38 Creekwood Drive, Lancaster, stated that the billboard would be located 50 feet from the north property line. The structure itself will be 40 feet high (pole = 23 feet; apron = 3 feet; sign = 14 feet) with a four-foot diameter base. The width of the sign will be 48 feet.
Mr. Greenan questioned if Mr. Bechakas had anything that located the base of the sign within the perimeter of the parcel.
Mr. Bechakas responded that the billboard would be located at 50 feet from the north boundary and 40 feet from the west boundary. This was not designated on the plan because he wanted some latitude to be able to alter the angle of the billboard due to difficulties with the curve of Orchard Park Road.
Mr. Mendola questioned if the size of the sign could be reduced.
Mr. Bechakas responded that he wanted to have the largest possible sign, but would consider a 36-foot billboard. The billboard was constructed in 8’ x 8’ sections, so it could be easily modified. The usual size of billboards was 12’ x 25’, 14’ x 36’ or 14’ x 48’. The billboard would be lit from the top and would not be illuminated after midnight. This was a totally commercial area with no residential homes nearby, so the lights would not be disturbing anyone trying to sleep.
Mr. Rathmann commented on the utility lines and poles and other visual pollution coming over the hill on Orchard Park Road from Wegman’s. He was hoping to see photographs taken from both directions with the billboard superimposed on them to help visualize how the billboard would look at this location.
Chairman Ciancio questioned if Mr. Bechakas would consider a 14’ x 36’ billboard.
Mr. Bechakas responded that he would consider a 14’ x 36’ billboard.
Mr. Greenan stated that the plan submitted indicated a “v-shaped” structure with two billboard signs. He questioned which way the bottom of the “v” was facing.
Mr. Bechakas responded that the point would be facing Orchard Park Road.
No comments were received from the public.
Motion by Greenan, seconded by Mendola, to close the public hearing.
Motion by Ciancio, seconded by Greenan, to recommend approval of the request for a special permit for property located at 555 Orchard Park Road, being part of Lot No. 296, changing its classification from M-1 to M-1(S), for erection of a 14’ x 36’ billboard with the following stipulations: 1) the point of the sign shall be positioned toward Orchard Park Road; 2) illumination shall not be overly intense so that it interferes with the traffic on Orchard Park Road; 3) no portion of the billboard’s base shall be closer than 35 feet to the perimeter of the area sought to be rezoned.
On the question, Chairman Ciancio asked that Mr. Bechakas follow through on Mr. Rathmann’s request for photographs depicting the visual impact of the billboard and present this to the Town Board at the public hearing.
This item would proceed to the Town Board with no recommendation from the Planning Board.
Motion by Mendola, seconded by Rathmann, to open the public hearing.
Chairman Ciancio stated that along with the application the Planning Board had received a survey, a deed description, and a short environmental assessment form.
Attorney Steve Townsend, 726 Exchange Street, Buffalo, represented the petitioners, John Szczypierowski and Susan Mayer, and submitted a revised plan for the proposed ice cream stand.
Mr. Greenan noted that the first plan submitted had a requirement for 98 parking spaces. He questioned if changes made in the revised plan changed the parking requirements.
Mr. Townsend responded that the revised plan did not meet the required 98 parking spaces, but it did change the parking to 15 spaces plus a garage with two spaces for employee parking. The building was currently a single-family residence income property. Mr. Szczypierowski and Ms. Mayer were under a contract to purchase the property conditioned upon the proposed rezoning. There was significant green space at the front of the property along Harlem Road and the revised plan eliminated the park benches. The parking lot will be illuminated and the business will be open on a seasonal basis for approximately six months each year from mid-afternoon until early evening. Improvements to the property included the parking lot and painting and/or siding the garage and residence. A new roof will be installed along with a new front deck and awning. The brush along the back of the property will be removed and new landscaping added with a berm and fencing or foliage. The old windows on the existing structure will be replaced and there will be one service window. The only menu items will be ice cream and it will be strictly take-out.
Chairman Ciancio questioned what percentage of the house will be used for the ice cream stand and what the remainder would be used for.
Mr. Townsend responded that the entire single-family residence will be used for the business. The basement will be used for storage and the first floor for operating the business. The area was approximately 800 square feet.
Mr. Townsend stated that they recently became aware of the 25-foot driveway requirement, so the revised drawing would have to be amended and one parking space eliminated to widen the driveway.
Mr. Rathmann noted that another parking space would have to be eliminated because the handicapped parking space required an access aisle. This would reduce the parking to 12 spaces plus the garage, which was substantially less than the requirement. Mr. Rathmann was concerned about what would happen if the parking lot filled up and other vehicles pulled in. There would be no way out for those vehicles. The vehicles would have to park on the side of Harlem Road or the traffic would back up on the street.
Mr. Mendola commented that no provision was made for employee parking and that would take another two parking spaces. He further questioned the lighting plan and was concerned about the affect on neighbors to the rear of the property.
Mr. Townsend responded that the garage was designated for employee parking. Lighting could be added without a problem, but Mr. Townsend noted that virtually all the time the ice cream stand would be open would be summer and there would be minimal use of any kind of evening lighting. The business plan was to close at 9:00 P.M. Monday through Thursday and at 10:00 P.M. on weekends. Provisions could also be made for blocking the neighbors from any direct lighting.
Mr. Mendola stated that three sides of the property would have to be lit and it would be very difficult to stop the light from affecting the neighbors at the rear of the property.
Mr. Townsend stated that the lighting at the rear of the lot would shine toward Harlem Road and he did not believe any side lot lighting would be necessary. The building itself would have its own lighting around the walkway.
Mr. Nigro commented on the limited parking and questioned how many employees would be working at any given time.
Mr. Townsend responded that three employees would be scheduled and two of their vehicles would park in the garage. He noted that there were a number of other businesses along Harlem Road with minimal parking, and there would be no picnic tables or benches, so this was not an eat-in environment.
Mr. Mendola did not believe the traffic pattern on Harlem Road and the lack of sidewalks could accommodate this business with limited parking.
Mr. Greenan noted that if this rezoning to C-2 were approved there were a number of other uses that fell under that zoning classification. The typical application would include a special permit that would limit the use to a specific plan.
Charles Lickfeld, 244 Dwyer Street, questioned how the service window would work when the first floor was four feet off the ground. He further expressed concern over what else could locate in a C-2 zoning. Mr. Lickfeld’s property was located directly behind the proposed ice cream stand and he was concerned about drainage problems if the petitioners were to change the grade of the lot and fumes from vehicles in the parking lot. He thought this was a poor location for a business.
Mary Kostran, 661 Harlem Road, stated that her property was located adjacent to the proposed ice cream stand and Winchester Elementary School was located across the street. Mrs. Kostran noted the heavy traffic on Harlem Road and thought there would be a problem with children running across the street from the school to the ice cream stand.
Rose Ann Groach, 236 Dwyer Street, stated that the vacant lot that would be used for a parking lot was very low and would have to be filled in, so she was concerned about drainage problems. Mrs. Groach noted that the property was bordered on three sides by residences that were established for more than 50 years. She commented that this was a dangerous area due to the heavy traffic and the school, and it was a residential area and should remain so.
Peter Kibler, 240 Dwyer Street, agreed with the previous comments made and was opposed to having this business located in his back yard.
Kathy Lickfeld, 244 Dwyer Street, stated that she and her husband had made many improvements to their home and had constructed a stockade fence for privacy, but the proposed ice cream stand would greatly affect their privacy. Traffic in and out of the parking lot, noise from vehicles and car stereos, fumes from vehicles and odors from the dumpsters, and drainage problems from filling in the property would disrupt the neighbors’ lives and cause a decrease in their property values.
Motion by Niederpruem, seconded by Mendola, to recommend denial of the request for a rezoning for property located at 677 Harlem Road, being part of Lot No. 134, changing its classification from R-60A to C-2, for an ice cream stand, based on the lack of parking, safety concerns with the proximity of the front of the business from Harlem Road, general congestion in the area, and disruption to adjacent residents with noise and air pollution.
Motion by Greenan, seconded by Rathmann, to adjourn the meeting at 8:30 P.M.
PATRICIA C. DEPASQUALE, RMC/CMC