West Seneca Planning Board Meeting Minutes 12/21/2005
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.
Edwin P. Hunter
William P. Czuprynski, Code Enforcement Officer
Paul Notaro, Deputy Town Attorney
Absent - Donald Mendola
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 Greenan, seconded by Niederpruem, to approve the proofs of publication and posting of legal notice.
APPROVAL OF MINUTES
Motion by Nigro, seconded by Greenan, to approve Minutes #2005-10 of November 16, 2005.
OLD BUSINESS COMMUNICATIONS
Pete Johnston, Civil Engineer with Wm. Schutt & Associates, P.C., 37 Central Avenue, Lancaster, stated that the project involved a 72-acre parcel on the south side of Fisher Road, east of Langner Road and west of Orchard Park Road. The property was zoned R-75 for single-family residential use and Marrano/Marc Equity was the developer proposing to build 154 single-family homes. Public sanitary sewers will be provided by Erie County Sewer District #3 and public waterlines by the Town of West Seneca. The detention ponds were relocated along the public
Chairman Ciancio referred to a letter from the County of Erie Department of Public Works, Division of Highways, stating their position that the proposed subdivision will have no impact on traffic. He disagreed with the County’s finding and stated that a signal was proposed for Fisher Road and Route 240 in March 2004, but it was denied by the state. Chairman Ciancio thought that a traffic study should be done.
Attorney Ralph Lorigo, 101 Slade Avenue, represented Marrano/Marc Equity and stated that based on the location of the property, most people that worked downtown would use Langner Road rather than Orchard Park Road to access the NYS Thruway. Those that worked in the southtowns would probably take Fisher Road to Orchard Park Road. Mr. Lorigo noted that a traffic study was done a couple years ago, but it was commonplace for the need to occur before a traffic light is installed.
Mr. Nigro commented on the estimated 150 cars daily leaving the subdivision and noted that there were already 200 cars that traveled Fisher Road during peak hours.
Mr. Lorigo did not believe that 150 cars was a substantial number to add to Fisher Road or Langner Road and neither did the County of Erie. He also did not think it would have a major affect on the ingress/egress to residences.
Mr. Greenan referred to the plans submitted and stated that each of the lots met the 10,000 square foot requirement, but the frontage was not indicated.
Mr. Johnston responded that each of the lots had a minimum 75-foot frontage and the corner lots had even more than that.
Mr. Johnston responded that the best maps they had to work with were the flood plain maps provided by FEMA and they were only approximate boundaries. They did assimilate the base flood elevation along the stream with the existing contours and that gave them a better idea as to where the flood plain was, so this was fairly accurate.
Mr. Greenan referred to the designation of a portion of the flood plain as a conservation area dedicated to the Town of West Seneca. He questioned whether the town would want this area to be dedicated.
Mr. Lorigo responded that the developer simply wanted to maintain green space, but rather than dedicating the area to the town they could deed restrict the area from construction so that the green space would still be maintained.
Chairman Ciancio suggested that the green space be turned over to the Western New York Conservancy.
Mr. Lorigo responded that this would be acceptable. He then referred to the detention areas and stated that he understood that New York State was obligating municipalities to deal with detention areas in their towns so they would be handled in the same manner.
Chairman Ciancio questioned if a wetlands delineation had been done.
Mr. Johnston responded that a wetlands delineation had been done and was submitted to the Army Corps of Engineers. A letter dated 2001 included as part of the SEQR documentation indicated that the wetlands areas delineated were isolated wetlands and non-jurisdictional, so no permitting was required. They had moved some of the lots away from the creek because they were concerned about the bank of the creek. The new plan indicated a minimum of 150’ to 175’ of depth from the right-of-way to the top of the bank.
Mr. Nigro questioned if the lots that bordered the east end of the creek drained into the creek or the detention basin.
Mr. Johnston responded that the area from the house to the street would drain to the street and then the detention basin. The back yards would run off into the creek.
Mr. Rathmann referred to the wetlands letter that indicated a delineation of 60.5 acres, but the site is 72 acres. He also understood that a portion of the 60.5 acres was on the east side of Smokes Creek. Mr. Rathmann questioned where the delineation was done and wanted to see a delineation for the entire site.
Mr. Johnston indicated on the site map the delineation of wetlands and the green space that was not part of the delineation but would not be disturbed. He would provide Mr. Rathmann with a copy of the delineation.
Mr. Rathmann was also concerned with the single ingress/egress to the site. The Erie County GIS site indicated the 100-year flood plain from Langner Road beyond the site. Mr. Rathmann referred to photos from last year’s flooding and stated that emergency vehicles would not be able to access the site without a secondary means of access.
Mr. Johnston responded that the property they owned only allowed one point of access, but there is a stub road to the south and they added one to the west. This was done because after looking at the adjacent subdivision they found that Nancycrest Lane had a stub street to the east, which was there to provide access to future development to the east of that subdivision.
Mr. Lorigo stated that this project was given pre-application approval with one ingress/egress, and there are a number of subdivisions in town that have only one ingress/egress. The proposed subdivision was not exceptionally large that it would be a problem with only one ingress/egress. Mr. Lorigo stated that flooding after a rainfall came about because of storm sewer backups and other problems that the petitioner had no control over. He asked that the Planning Board just consider the storm sewer capacity and other issues that had to be addressed with the Town Engineer. Mr. Lorigo noted that the property was properly zoned and all the lots had 75 feet of frontage and 10,000 square feet.
Mr. Niederpruem commented that he could not see building 154 homes on this site and isolating those people when the property flooded each year. This would be a problem for school buses and emergency vehicles and the town would be saddled with the problem. He further noted that there was only one subdivision in town larger than this one that had only one ingress/egress. Mr. Niederpruem suggested another ingress/egress into Fisher Court.
Mr. Greenan stated that the bridge on Fisher Road over Smokes Creek was clearly inadequate and the only thing that would cure the flooding problem on Fisher Road was to add enough houses.
Mr. Lorigo agreed and stated that this was an existing problem, not one created by the proposed subdivision, and it would be resolved when there was more force or determination to get it resolved.
Mr. Hunter stated that although the proposed subdivision would not create the problem it would be exacerbated until improvements were made to accommodate the additional homes. Although the flooding would occur with or without the proposed subdivision, there would be fewer people affected without the subdivision.
Mr. Rathmann questioned the purpose of the stub road to the south and noted that there was no place for it to go or tie into.
Mr. Lorigo stated that the developer did not own any more land and the stub street was just good planning. Fisher Court also had two stub streets leading to nowhere that had been there for 40+ years.
Kevin Love, 78 Nancycrest Lane, stated that he had the lowest lot in Fisher Court and when Thistle Court and Mosside Loop was constructed he was assured that the water runoff and storm sewers would be handled and his lot would not be flooded. However, this had not been the case and there was water in his basement the last three summers. Mr. Love blamed the town for this problem, not the developer. He further commented that traffic was a definite problem that would be further exacerbated by the addition of 154 homes.
Michael Donohue, 139 Suburban Court, Vice President of Carriager’s Social Club located at 224 Fisher Road, stated that there were problems with the sewer backing up and the back lot flooding constantly. He thought that the detention pond would only increase the problem if it were to flood, and they also had to worry about all of Smokes Creek flooding, not just a portion of it. Mr. Donohue further commented on the traffic problem and noted that Delta Sonic was expanding, which would bring additional traffic to an already congested area.
On the question, Chairman Ciancio requested further information on the wetlands by the next meeting and asked that the stub streets also be addressed at that time.
Chairman Ciancio stated that the Planning Board received a revised plan prior to the meeting showing three units; however, the square footage of the property only supported two units.
Shawn Hanley, 3266 Seneca Street, stated that he and his wife, Maria, had purchased the property next to Royal York Apartments and wanted to construct three eight-unit apartment buildings on it. About 17 years ago three buildings were constructed on the lot next door and it turned out to be a very nice project. Royal York Apartments was over 30 years old and they wanted to add some buildings with newer features and more modern options.
Chairman Ciancio stated that it appeared the parking area would be located in the flood plain.
Mr. Niederpruem stated that the drawing submitted did not indicate where the flood plain was located and they had to extrapolate from the GIS maps an approximate location.
Mr. Hanley stated that they were willing to work with the Engineering Department on issues such as this to ensure this is a good project.
Mr. Rathmann noted that storm water detention areas would be required for this project and Mr. Hanley would have to hire an engineer to design them.
Mr. Greenan commented that the plan submitted did not compare the proposal to what was allowed under the Zoning Ordinance and none of the figures were indicated on the plans. The Planning Board needed to know the size of the units, building elevations, etc.
Chairman Ciancio stated that the project involved 1.9 acres, which would only allow for just under two 8-unit buildings.
Deputy Town Attorney Paul Notaro advised that the issue before the Planning Board was specifically for use of the property for multi-family dwellings. The issue of the third 8-unit building had to go to the Zoning Board for a variance.
Chairman Ciancio stated that they would still need to know where the flood plain was located to ensure that the buildings were not built there.
Motion by Niederpruem, seconded by Ciancio, to table the above request until the petitioner submits the following information: 1) density to meet what is allowed under the Zoning Ordinance; 2) location of the flood plain so that placement of the buildings is outside that area.
Charles Siwy, 33 Smallwood Drive, lives behind Royal York Apartments and presented pictures of pipes draining into the creek, the maintenance building, and garbage at the apartments. He contacted the management several times, but it was never cleaned up. Someone had also dumped concrete in the creek. Mr. Siwy further commented on a water problem, a problem with kids cutting through from the school, and the heavy traffic in the area.
Chairman Ciancio was aware of the mess behind the building and agreed that it was an eyesore. He would discuss this with Code Enforcement Officer William Czuprynski.
Gary Martin, 16 Willow Drive, commented that the proposed apartments would be located in a flood plain and he did not want to have to look at the back of them from his home. He also commented on the traffic and the number of accidents in that area of Seneca Street.
NEW BUSINESS COMMUNICATIONS
Chairman Ciancio stated that along with the application the Planning Board had received a survey, a deed description, a site plan, and a short environmental assessment form.
Donald Denz, 1005 Main Street, East Aurora, stated that he had a contract to purchase the property at 5700 Seneca Street where he would like to open a family type restaurant similar to Applebee’s with service of alcohol. The building was currently vacant with back taxes owed and Mr. Denz had made a cash offer on the property. The second floor of the building was unfinished and he hoped to finish it off for an open seating area.
Louise Zaccardi, 11 Pleasantview Drive, East Aurora, stated that they also planned an addition to the kitchen area and an exterior patio on the second floor. The drive-thru would be eliminated.
Mr. Denz stated that he intended to put a privacy fence around the existing first floor patio and the proposed second floor patio.
Mr. Niederpruem questioned how many seats would be in the restaurant.
Mr. Rathmann advised that three parking spaces were required for every 25 square feet of gross floor area.
Chairman Ciancio stated that the New York State Liquor Authority would want to know the seating and the Planning Board also needed to know to ensure the parking spaces were adequate.
Ms. Zaccardi stated that they would like to have as much parking as possible and would then match the seating to that.
Mr. Denz stated that his architect would configure the parking spaces to conform to the ordinance.
Code Enforcement Officer William Czuprynski advised that the current parking allowed for 135 seats, two spaces for every five people, or 54 spaces. He also noted that a sprinkler system was required in the building.
Mr. Denz was aware of the requirement to install sprinklers in the building and would comply.
Mike Kelchlin, 5622 Seneca Street, stated that he lives 150 feet from the restaurant and was happy that something would be going in this location; however, he was concerned about an outdoor patio and lights shining in his back yard and the possibility of overflow parking along Seneca Street.Motion by Greenan, seconded by Rathmann, to close the public hearing.
Motion by Niederpruem, seconded by Rathmann, to recommend approval of the request for a special permit for property located at 5700 Seneca Street, being part of Lot No. 227, changing its classification from C-2 to C-2(S), for a restaurant serving alcoholic beverages, with the following stipulations: 1) the reconfigured parking shall conform with the seating; 2) any lighting on the site shall be directed away from the residential property to the west.
Motion by Mr. Greenan, seconded by Mr. Niederpruem, to amend the motion and recommend approval of the request for a special permit for all but the westerly 10 feet of the property located at 5700 Seneca Street, being part of Lot No. 227, changing its classification from C-2 to C-2(S), for a restaurant serving alcoholic beverages, with the following stipulations: 1) the reconfigured parking shall conform with the seating; 2) any lighting on the site shall be directed away from the residential property to the west.
Chairman Ciancio stated that along with the application the Planning Board had received a deed description, a short environmental assessment form, a survey, and a site plan. A revised site plan was also submitted prior to the meeting. Chairman Ciancio noted that a letter of opposition was received from Wallace Piotrowski.
Brian Young of Young Development proposed constructing 40 market rate units on the vacant property located at 5240-5266 Seneca Street. The revised site plan listed the size of the buildings and the density was broken down to indicate the buildings vs. green space and paved area.
Mr. Greenan questioned if the plan indicated the building density compared to the Zoning Ordinance requirement.
Mr. Young responded that this information was not on the plan, but he understood that 11 units per acre was allowed, or 33 units. A variance would be required for the additional 8-unit building. Setbacks and other requirements were met under the R-50 zoning. The front of the building would be brick and the units would rent for $700 to $800 per month with no subsidized housing. There were 79 parking spaces provided, which exceeded the requirement by 19 spaces, and all the lighting would
Chairman Ciancio stated that the parcel was 126,803 square feet and three 8-unit buildings would require 129,000 square feet, so the density of the proposed project exceeded the ordinance by two 8-unit buildings. Under the R-50 zoning, the first unit required 8,000 square feet and each additional unit required 5000 square feet. For one 8-unit building 43,000 square feet was required, and 43,000 square feet for each additional unit. Chairman Ciancio commented that Bullis Road was predominantly residential.
Mr. Greenan questioned if there would be any access to Bullis Road from the site.
Mr. Young responded that a berm would be located along Bullis Road, so there would be no access to the site from that side of the property.
Mr. Rathmann noted that no handicapped parking spaces were indicated on the site plan.
Mr. Young stated that there were 19 extra spaces and if a handicapped individual moved in and required a handicapped parking space, they would post one for them.
Deputy Town Attorney Paul Notaro advised that a minimum number of handicapped parking spaces were required whether or not there were any tenants that were handicapped.
Mr. Rathmann questioned if one dumpster was adequate for five units.
Mr. Young stated that one was adequate and could be moved if the Planning Board preferred another location.
Mr. Niederpruem stated that Seneca Street is zoned C-2 and Bullis Road is R-75. Bullis Road was primarily residential and Seneca Street was not real commercial in that area, especially away from the intersection. The proposed project exceeded the density and was basically a blacktop jungle with buildings on it. Mr. Niederpruem thought this was a lot to squeeze into a small area and he was not in favor of changing the R-75 zoning because of the nature of Bullis Road.
Mr. Young stated that he could eliminate the building along Bullis Road, reduce the parking, and leave the area along Bullis Road green space.
Mr. Young stated that they would have to rezone part of the R-75 parcel, but they could do a conservation easement to keep the property along Bullis Road green space.
Wallace Piotrowski, 26 Centennial Court, suggested that Mr. Young find another location in West Seneca that is already zoned properly. The property in question was not zoned for an apartment complex and he was opposed to changing the zoning. The site was approximately three-quarters R-75 and one-quarter C-2. Only one building, a retention pond, and some parking spaces would fit in the C-2 area where it is allowed.
Bill Heusinger, 312 Bullis Road, understood that the C-2 portion of the property allowed for an apartment, but was opposed to rezoning the R-75 parcel. He commented that Bullis Road was a nice rural area and the neighbors wanted to keep it that way. Mr. Heusinger noted that he owned four acres on Bullis Road and if this project was allowed he should also be allowed to put up apartments on his property. He stated that years ago the zoning was changed at the corner of Bullis Road and Seneca Street and Lein Road and the businesses do not take care of their properties.
Russ Anderson, 280 Bullis Road, presented a petition signed by 63 residents that were opposed to changing the zoning of this property. They did not want the character of their quiet dead end street changed and did not want the green space in the neighborhood reduced.
Ken Morano, Liberty Lane, did not see how changing the zoning for this project would be a benefit to the town. The surrounding residents preferred to see houses on the property so their property values would be maintained.
Elaine Gresco, 200 Bullis Road, commented on a flooding problem in the area and thought that a detention pond would be a hazard to small children in the neighborhood. The residents of Bullis Road enjoyed the existing green space and did not want to look at the back of apartment buildings and a dumpster.
Mr. Young stated that water would only be held temporarily in the detention pond and it would then drain to an 8-inch pipe and into a stream.
Mr. Young stated that he was willing to revise his plan by eliminating the back building and including more green space and additional berming.
Motion by Greenan, seconded by Niederpruem, to close the public hearing.
Motion by Ciancio, seconded by Hunter, to recommend denial of the request for a rezoning and special permit for property located at 5240 – 5266 Seneca Street, being part of Lot Nos. 230 & 369, changing its classification from R-75 & C-2 to R-50(S), for a 40-unit apartment complex, based on the density of the project and noting that the proposed apartment complex would change the character of a single family residential neighborhood.
On the question, Chairman Ciancio stated that he did not believe they should change the residential zoning to support an apartment complex.
Motion by Greenan, seconded by Rathmann, to adjourn the meeting at 9:45 P.M.
PATRICIA C. DEPASQUALE, RMC/CMC