West Seneca Planning Board Meeting Minutes 03/15/2006
Chairman Joseph Ciancio called the meeting to order at 7:30 P.M. followed by the Pledge to the Flag.
ROLL CALL: Present -
Edwin P. Hunter
Paul Notaro, Deputy Town Attorney
William P. Czuprynski, Code Enforcement Officer
Absent - Robert Niederpruem Jr.
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 Mendola, seconded by Nigro, to approve the proofs of publication and posting of legal notice.
APPROVAL OF MINUTES
Motion by Rathmann, seconded by Hunter, to approve Minutes #2006-02 of February 15, 2006.
OLD BUSINESS COMMUNICATIONS
A request from Erminio Liberatore & Maria Hanley for a special permit for property located at 3242 Seneca Street, being part of Lot No. 123, 124 & 133, changing its classification from C-2 to C-2(S), for two 8-unit apartment buildings.
Motion by Mendola, seconded by Nigro, to re-open the public hearing.
On the question, Mr. Greenan stated that the public hearing was already held on this item, and at the end of the February meeting the Planning Board advised the petitioner that they could deny the application or hold it over pending submission of a survey and a new plan that showed buildings that complied with the ordinance within the bounds of the property north of Seneca Street. This had not been submitted, so Mr. Greenan was not in favor of removing the item from the table.
Attorney Ralph Lorigo represented the petitioners and asked that he be allowed to make a presentation. He understood there were some errors concerning the survey and thought that these had been corrected.
Deputy Town Attorney Paul Notaro stated that the survey that was previously submitted was not accurate and they could not calculate true bulk area or whether the right-of-way for Seneca Street and the area west of Seneca Street was included in the calculations for bulk area. The plan submitted this evening was the same as the previous plan submitted.
Mr. Greenan noted that the survey submitted this evening that was done by Nussbaumer & Clarke also lacked the necessary detail.
Mr. Hunter stated that the site plan submitted for this meeting was the same plan that was previously submitted. The only thing different was that the bulk area was recalculated. The proposal was still over 20,000 square feet short in bulk area with no reduction in the number of units proposed.
Mr. Lorigo understood that Mr. Greenan’s request from the previous meeting was that the petitioner present an accurate survey and correct numbers in terms of the bulk area within the confines of the property, excluding the right-of-way. The survey and plot plan submitted were the same, but the bulk area was now defined for the area east of Seneca Street. Mr. Lorigo was aware that the project was short on bulk area, but stated that the Planning Board could address this or leave the shortage up to the Zoning Board of Appeals. The bulk area of the property east of Seneca Street was 65,322 square feet.
Mr. Greenan stated that the plan and survey submitted at this meeting did not show how many feet of frontage there was on Seneca Street.
Mr. Lorigo asked that he be allowed to make his presentation based on the bulk area calculations submitted on the Nussbaumer & Clarke survey.
Motion by Nigro, seconded by Mendola, to remove this item from the table.
Mr. Lorigo stated that he would have another survey done for the property and show Mr. Greenan in advance to ensure that it was what the Planning Board required. He would then return to the Planning Board with a proposal for 16 units.
NEW BUSINESS COMMUNICATIONS
A request from 2244 Union Road Properties for a rezoning & special permit for property located at 2244 Union Road, being part of Lot Nos. 22 & 23, changing its classification from M-1 to R-50(S), for a 112-unit apartment complex.
Motion by Mendola, seconded by Hunter, to open the public hearing.
Chairman Ciancio stated that along with the application the Planning Board had received a short environmental assessment form, a deed description, a survey, and a site plan.
Tom Alico, 31 Ransier Drive, stated that he was part owner of the property and a revised plan was submitted showing additional detail.
Chairman Ciancio commented that the proposed project did not meet the bulk area requirement, but the plan appeared to be in order with most other requirements being met. An access road in the rear and fire hydrants were added to the revised plan. Chairman Ciancio questioned the type of construction.
Mr. Alico responded that the building would be wood frame and fully sprinkled.
Mr. Mendola referred to the rear access road and stated that there might be a problem with the “H” shape of the project. He questioned if the architect had talked to anyone about where to locate the fire hydrants.
Architect Daryl Martin, 3625 Eggert Road, advised that their engineers, William Schutt & Associates, suggested the location of the fire hydrants, but it would not be a problem to change something if requested.
Mr. Greenan stated that the proposed project was 305,000 square feet short on bulk area. To comply with the ordinance, the maximum this parcel of land would hold was 51 units. He questioned if the petitioners would be prepared to build on the site with only 51 units.
Mr. Alico responded that it would not be economically feasible to build only 51 units based on the amount of money invested in the project, but they could reduce the proposal slightly.
Chairman Ciancio questioned if Mr. Alico would consider reducing the project by 2 units per floor on each wing for a total of 12 units. He noted that the project did not meet the parking requirement, but most of the senior housing developments proved that 1˝ spaces per unit was not necessary and this project had more than some others that were approved. Chairman Ciancio questioned if the 25-foot wide access road in the rear was wide enough.
Mr. Mendola stated that because this was a three-story building, the ladder trucks would be a very important factor in case of a fire. He suggested that the access road be reviewed with the fire department.
Chairman Ciancio questioned the curb cuts on Union Road.
Mr. Alico responded that there were four curb cuts and they would be changing that to only one to line up with Forest Avenue on the other side of Union Road.
Mr. Rathmann referred to the parking in the front island area and thought it created a dangerous situation.
Mr. Alico responded that they had discussed taking out the front island and it could possibly be done if the number of units in the back were reduced and the number of parking spaces increased. Then the island in the front could just be landscaped or it could be just a 30-foot wide entrance drive.
Chairman Ciancio suggested two 20-foot driveways, one for ingress and one for egress with an island in the center the length of the entrance. He noted that New York State wanted to reduce the number of curb cuts on thoroughfares and was pushing for inner roads. Chairman Ciancio questioned if this driveway could be used by the properties on either side of the project when they were developed.
Mr. Alico responded that he would not have a problem with a cross easement for use of the driveway.
Mr. Rathmann questioned the location of the storm water detention area and where it would discharge.
Mr. Alico responded that the storm water detention area would be located on the north side of the lot and there was a drainage ditch to pick up the storm water.
Mr. Mendola noted that the outfall was located to the northwest of the proposed project, and he questioned if they would be going through the other complex.
Mr. Alico stated that the other complex also had a detention area that led to the drainage ditch. This was discussed and reviewed with Town Engineer George Montz.
Mr. Rathmann questioned the curbing for the project and noted that there was no sidewalk from the handicapped parking spaces to the front door.
Mr. Alico responded that they planned to curb the entranceway up until the parking on the north and south sides of the project. A sidewalk could be added from the handicapped parking to the front entrance.
Mr. Rathmann stated that there was subsidized housing located behind the proposed project and low to middle income housing down the road. He questioned what type of housing this would be.
Mr. Alico responded that the project would be private senior housing that was not subsidized.
Mr. Rathmann noted that 152 parking spaces were proposed and the Zoning Ordinance called for 168 spaces. Since this was not low income housing there could be more vehicles than other senior housing projects, so he thought that the parking should conform to the ordinance. Mr. Rathmann further requested a full-scale landscape plan because he could not read the reduced plan that was submitted.
Mr. Greenan noted that even with a reduction from 112 to 100 units, the project was still over on density by 252,000 square feet. The Zoning Ordinance called for 5000 square feet per unit and the plan submitted did not even give half of that.
Mr. Alico responded that it was not economically feasible to develop the land with less units.
Brian Doster, Chairman of the Board of Fire Commissioners for West Seneca Fire District #2, and Don Littler, Chief of Union Fire Company, reviewed the site plan for the proposed project. Mr. Doster stated that they preferred to have the fire hydrants close to the building so if they had to drop a line they wouldn’t block the driveway with large diameter hoses. He also referred to the access road around the property and stated that they would need a road to loop around the back between the two wings so they could access that part of the building with a ladder truck. Because this was a three-story building, the road would have to be at least 36 feet from the building.
Mr. Rathmann did not believe there was room between the two wings of the building to loop a 20-foot road.
Mr. Doster further commented on the impact that senior living facilities had on volunteer fire companies. Right now there were three senior living facilities open in West Seneca Fire District #2 and two more under construction. The proposed project would be the sixth senior living facility in this fire district. Calls from the three facilities that were open amounted to 28 percent of the total number of calls for Union Fire Company last year, which was an extreme demand on their manpower. Mr. Doster thought that West Seneca Fire District #2 had their fair share of these types of facilities. He suggested that this project be moved to another location and the developer find another way to develop his property.
Motion by Greenan, seconded by Rathmann, to close the public hearing.
Motion by Greenan, seconded by Hunter, to recommend denial of the request for a rezoning and special permit for property located at 2244 Union Road, being part of Lot Nos. 22 & 23, changing its classification from M-1 to R-50(S), for a 112-unit apartment complex.
On the question, Mr. Greenan stated that even if the project were reduced from 112 to 100 units, there would still be twice the amount of density permitted by the Zoning Ordinance.
Mr. Hunter stated that this seemed to be a good project for senior housing, but if it were approved they would be setting a precedent to the next applicant that proposed non-senior housing. He thought the proposed project might reduce the quality of the housing stock in West Seneca, and based upon the number of units the project was over in density, Mr. Hunter thought the application should be denied.
Chairman Ciancio stated that this project met all the requirements of the Zoning Ordinance except the bulk area, and they would have to go to the Zoning Board of Appeals for a variance for that. He commented that a precedent had already been set with other senior housing projects in town that were over the bulk area, and the others did not meet other requirements.
A request from Young Development Inc. for a special permit for property located at 1370 Southwestern Blvd., being part of Lot No. 394, changing its classification from C-1 to C-1(S), for a 48-unit apartment complex.
Motion by Mendola, seconded by Nigro, to open the public hearing.
Chairman Ciancio stated that along with the application the Planning Board had received a short environmental assessment form, a deed description, a survey, a contract with a contingency, and a site plan.
Code Enforcement Officer William Czuprynski noted that the application was lacking a tree survey.
Chairman Ciancio stated that Planning Board member Robert Niederpruem had done a study on the water system and found that the line along Leydecker Road was a low-pressure line that would require a pumping station. It was recommended that the project use the line coming from Crofton Drive, which was a higher pressure line.
Attorney Ralph Lorigo, 101 Slade Avenue, represented Young Development Inc. and stated that the engineer for the project was aware of this, had discussed it with Town Engineer George Montz, and would have a feasible solution when the project got to that stage. He presented a site plan, front elevation and building layout for the proposed 48-unit apartment complex that would be located on a 4.27 acre site. Mr. Lorigo stated that the property was zoned C-1, which allowed for mult-family dwellings with a special permit, but there were a number of less desirable uses that did not require any approval from the Planning Board or Town Board. The plan called for six buildings with eight units per building. Each unit was 890 square feet, two bedrooms, and would rent for $850 per month. There will be 2.47 acres of green space, .58 acres of building, and 1.22 acres of paving, so the ratio of green space to building was 5:1. However, the bulk area required by the Zoning Ordinance was 243,000 and the proposed project only had 184,730, which was a ratio of 76 percent of the bulk area. Mr. Lorigo commented that the town’s Zoning Ordinance should be updated and modified with regard to bulk area requirements. The proposed project was located in a commercial area so there was a substantial amount of green space surrounding it. Immediately adjacent to the property was another apartment complex and to the rear was a residential subdivision. Jack McNulty of 104 Fawn Trail had wanted to hire Mr. Lorigo to oppose the apartment complex, but he was now in favor of the project after viewing the site plan and understanding that there was 100 feet of green space between the apartments and the residential homes to the rear and another 70 feet of parking. Mr. McNulty had also asked for the following conditions: 1) That the construction be built in accordance with the submitted plan, i.e. approximately 100 feet of green area at the rear and approximately a total of 170 feet to the building rear line; 2) That the landscaping be required as proposed on the landscape plan; 3) That a berm be installed along the rear lot line and that trees be placed on the berm; 4) That the proposed trees be approximately six to seven feet in height and Colorado Spruce spaced appropriately. Mr. Young agreed to these conditions.
Chairman Ciancio advised that the Planning Board had received a letter from Mr. McNulty stating that he was in favor of the proposed apartment complex with the conditions outlined by Mr. Lorigo, and Albert Schneider who owns two houses on Fawn Trail was also satisfied with the plan.
Mr. Mendola questioned who placed the hydrants for the project.
Mr. Lorigo stated that fire hydrants were placed in the project in conjunction with discussions with Fire Inspector John Gullo and the driveways were 30 feet wide so fire trucks could make turns without a problem. The apartment complex would be fully sprinkled. Mr. Lorigo commented that the project would add tax base to the Town of West Seneca and more and more people were seeking apartments to live in.
Mr. Mendola referred to the placement of buildings on the property and stated that the purpose of green space was so that everyone could benefit from it. He questioned if it was possible to move the buildings on the east and west back to take better advantage of the green space.
Mr. Lorigo stated that if Mr. Mendola was concerned about utilized green space, the green space at the rear of the property would probably be more utilized than green space in the front. If he was concerned about green space for aesthetics in the front, Mr. Lorigo thought there was sufficient green space to be aesthetically pleasing. The buildings could be moved, but he also wanted to stay in conformity with what Mr. McNulty requested.
Mr. Rathmann noted that the plan indicated 101 parking spaces, but only 72 were required under the Zoning Ordinance.
Bryan Young of Young Development stated that the extra parking spaces were added to allow for storage of snow, and the streets were also wider. These would be high-end rental units and many of the people who rented at his other complexes had two or more vehicles.
Mr. Greenan questioned if the lack of garages in a high-end complex would downgrade the complex.
Mr. Young responded that only half of the garages at his other apartment complex in Orchard Park were rented. Garages rented for $85 on top of the $850 to $950 for the apartment.
Mr. Rathmann suggested eliminating the 13 parking spaces across the front to increase green space and moving the two buildings on the west back to allow for a straighter entrance into the project.
Mr. Young stated that the entrance had to line up with Hazel Court across the street. He did not have a problem with moving the buildings back ten feet, but did not want to adversely affect the residents behind or next to the property.
Mr. Rathmann stated that if the buildings on the west were moved back ten feet it would make the parking more accessible to the first building.
Code Enforcement Officer William Czuprynski noted a six-foot discrepancy in the side lot lines between the survey and the site plan. He also noted an existing 8-inch waterline that was running on someone else’s property, but no easement was indicated.
Mr. Young stated that the dimensions on the site plan came off the original survey that the realtor provided. The survey included with the application was more current.
Mr. Rathmann referred to the detention basin in the southeast corner of the project and a swale going around the entire perimeter of the property. He questioned how the swale would be affected if a berm were installed at the rear of the property.
Mr. Lorigo responded that the berm just came about this date as a result of discussions with Mr. McNulty and it would have to be engineered into the plan.
Mr. Rathmann stated that the entire site was covered with vegetation. He questioned if it would be beneficial to attempt to retain some of the natural buffer that was on the property.
Mr. Lorigo responded that the property was almost completely scrubs and it would not be cost effective to try to save the one or two that might look good. Mr. Young would be planting six to seven foot Colorado Spruce trees on the berm.
Mr. Nigro questioned the occupancy rate on apartments in the Town of West Seneca.
Mr. Lorigo stated that every project was different, but Mr. Young had been in this business for a while. The project might be somewhat of a risk for him, but it was a good project for the town.
Albert Schneider, 136 & 118 Fawn Trail, stated that he wanted to see as much green space as possible and the original site plan was fine with him. His only other concern had to do with back yard drainage of the homes on Fawn Trail and he questioned what affect the proposed project would have on it.
Chairman Ciancio advised that Town Engineer George Montz was responsible for drainage and any water that was created by the project had to be collected and taken to the detention pond. The berm also had to be approved by the Town Engineer.
Mr. Schneider questioned where the detention pond would drain.
Mr. Young responded that the detention pond would drain to the east and nothing would flow to the north. It should greatly improve the drainage for the entire north end of the site.
Mr. Mendola expressed some concern over the drainage plan presented, but noted that the drainage would have to be approved by the Town Engineer.
Luann Zak, 98 Fawn Trail, was concerned about the drainage and also suggested some type of fencing to prevent people from walking through to the back yards on Fawn Trail.
Mr. Lorigo stated that they tried to avoid fencing because it looked bad after a while. Most people thought that a berm and trees were a better solution because a natural barrier was better appearing.
Motion by Mendola, seconded by Nigro, to close the public hearing.
Motion by Mendola, seconded by Nigro, to recommend approval of the request for a special permit for property located at 1370 Southwestern Blvd, being part of Lot No. 394, changing its classification from C-1 to C-1(S), for a 48-unit apartment complex, with the following stipulations: 1) the buildings on the east and west side be moved back 20 feet to allow for stacking of vehicles exiting the complex; 2) a berm be installed along the rear lot line with six foot Colorado Spruce staggered on the berm; 3) final approval of hydrant locations shall be received from East Seneca Fire Company.
On the question, Mr. Greenan stated that this was a beautiful site for four buildings that would conform to the Zoning Ordinance, but the extra two buildings violated the bulk area requirement by more than 75,000 square feet.
Chairman Ciancio noted that a tree survey was required.
Mr. Hunter stated that Mr. McNulty’s letter indicated approximately 170 feet at the rear of the property, so moving the two buildings back 20 feet would not substantially change that. He did not believe that the concerns he had with the previous application on Union Road existed with this application, and although the bulk area was deficient, it was not to the extent of the previous project. Mr. Hunter also was not concerned that this project would reduce the quality of the housing stock in West Seneca.
Motion by Greenan, seconded by Mendola, to adjourn the meeting at 9:30 P.M.
PATRICIA C. DEPASQUALE, RMC/CMC