West Seneca Planning Board Meeting Minutes 08/16/2006
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
Paul Notaro, Town Attorney
William P. Czuprynski, Code Enforcement Officer
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 #2006-06 of July 19, 2006.
OLD BUSINESS COMMUNICATIONS
Motion by Greenan, seconded by Niederpruem, to remove this item from the table.
Chairman Ciancio stated a number of changes were made to the plan; however, there was still a question of a double entrance for fire protection. He understood that the New York State Department of Transportation (NYSDOT) was not in favor of extra curb cuts, but thought there should be an emergency entrance/exit to the site.
Mr. Lorigo responded that they attempted to comply and have two curb cuts, but the NYSDOT would not allow it. The entrance was 50 feet wide, so fire equipment should be able to navigate it without a problem.
Mr. Mendola stated that the fire department had requested a second access to the site in case of an emergency and he thought the NYSDOT should allow it as a safety issue. Mr. Mendola further noted that the hydrant added to the end of the property was useless. The fire department personnel would not be able to carry hose across the RV’s and into the complex in case of a fire. If there were a driveway there, it would be more useful.
Mr. Dewey responded that there was a requirement to provide spacing of hydrants at no more than 500 feet. Over 1000 feet of watermain will be installed along the frontage and one hydrant was positioned close to the entrance. This was the primary hydrant that would service the building.
Mr. Mendola did not believe that the hydrant on Southwestern Blvd. would service the building and stated that the fire department had asked for hydrants within the complex.
Mr. Lorigo stated that Town Engineer George Montz would make the ultimate decision as to the location of the hydrants and they would comply with his decision.
Mr. Mendola suggested that Mr. Lorigo request a written statement from the NYSDOT that they denied the additional curb cut. He also suggested a written statement from Mr. Montz if he determined that fire hydrants were not necessary within the site. Mr. Mendola further referred to the lights and stated that they would be approximately 14 feet above the top of the trees. He understood that they will shine down, but stated that they will have to spread somewhat or they will not be useful. Mr. Mendola thought this would be a great concern to the residents of Carla Lane.
Mr. Lorigo stated that a lighting plan would be presented to Mr. Montz for his approval. The issue with lighting was to use the proper type so it would not drift into the residential area.
Mr. Dewey responded that they would probably all be 20 feet tall, but they had not decided that yet. They also had not yet done a foot candle contour map.
Mr. Hunter referred to the planting at the north along the berm and the substantial number of trees. He questioned if a study had been done with regard to a sight buffer or sound buffer.
Mr. Dewey did not know what the noise decibel reduction would be, but stated that it would cut down on some of the traffic noise from Southwestern Blvd.
Mr. Rathmann questioned the reason for the chain link fence along Southwestern Blvd. and did not think it would be desirable to look at.
Mr. Lorigo responded that the chain link fence along Southwestern Blvd. was only added to address a security problem that was raised at the last meeting, and it could be eliminated from the plan.
Code Enforcement Officer William Czuprynski advised that the fence along the front of the property and around the detention pond was illegal because it was in the required front yard setback. A variance would be required from the Zoning Board of Appeals.
Mr. Rathmann referred to the minutes from the previous meeting and stated that a wooden fence was discussed along the property line. He questioned why this was changed to a chain link fence.
Mr. Lorigo did not recall discussing a fence at the previous meeting. The petitioner had directed the engineer to add the perimeter fence to address some of the concerns he heard.
Mr. Rathmann questioned if the NYSDOT would not allow an emergency access such as a single lane with a cable gate across it to access the site at a different point.
Mr. Dewey responded that he had done numerous site plans on state highways and the NYSDOT never allowed an emergency access road.
Mr. Rathmann requested the environmental assessment form and the revised landscape plan.
Mr. Nigro referred to the northeast corner of the property and stated that the site was six feet higher than the residents’ backyards. The residents had large fir trees in their back yards and he questioned if the petitioner would remove the fir trees after the trees on the berm were planted.
Mr. Lorigo stated that the trees could be removed if they were on the petitioner’s property, but he did not believe they were.
Mr. Hunter noted that Mr. Lorigo provided details on the building and the Planning Board had reviewed them.
Mr. Rathmann suggested tabling this item pending receipt of the revised landscape plan, the environmental assessment form, and a letter from the NYSDOT concerning a second curb cut.
Mr. Lorigo stated that the revised landscape plan was prepared this date and was e-mailed to Mr. Rathmann since he had helped devise the plan. He had hoped to move forward with the application due to the time frame of the construction season and the contingency on purchase of the land. Mr. Lorigo asked that the Planning Board recommend favorably on the project and apply contingencies if necessary for the Town Board to review. He noted that a landscape architect had met with Mr. Rathmann to discuss his recommendations and try to incorporate them in the plan.
Motion by Rathmann, second by Mendola, to table this item pending receipt of the revised landscape plan, the environmental assessment form, and a letter from the NYSDOT concerning a second curb cut.
Motion by Greenan, seconded by Ciancio, to go outside the rules of order and discuss the issue before the vote is called.
On the question, Mr. Greenan referred to the landscape plan submitted and questioned what the very large asterisk located in the buffer represented.
Mr. Dewey responded that the very large asterisks were blue spruce and pine trees.
William Wipfler, 121 Carla Lane, read a statement concerning his objections to remarks made by Mr. Greenan at previous meetings on this issue that he felt were prejudicial in nature. Mr. Wipfler suggested that Mr. Greenan be directed to recuse himself from further discussion or action on this issue.
Deputy Town Attorney Paul Notaro stated that all the Planning Board members were fully aware of the Town of West Seneca Ethics Code. Provided that no member has a violation of that Ethics Code creating a conflict of interest with the applicant or landowner, it was not appropriate for Chairman Ciancio to direct anyone to recuse himself from a vote. The Planning Board members were all entitled to their own individual opinions, whatever they may be, at any point in the proceedings. Mr. Greenan was fully familiar with the Ethics Code and would abide by that. If not, he would face the issues that the Town Attorney’s office will have to deal with, and if there is a conflict of interest with the Town Attorney’s office, it will go to outside counsel. Mr. Notaro stated that it was not against the rules for a Planning Board member to have an opinion about a project, whether it is beneficial for an area, or whether he would like to approve or deny it before or after the full public hearing.
Thomas McGowan, 129 Carla Lane, stated that if the Planning Board and Town Board approve this project, the residents of Carla Lane would be asking that an environmental impact survey be completed. He presented a list of concerns and added that the recent heavy rains flooded the intersection of Oakbrook Drive and Angle Road. The residents in the area got water in their basements, and if they don’t have a check valve in their basement they got flood water from the storm sewers. Mr. McGowan stated that these were the same storm sewers that would remove the water from the detention pond. One of the Town Engineers had told Mr. McGowan that the detention pond would always have water in it, but they could not tell him how deep it would be. Mr. McGowan referred to Mr. Lorigo’s statement that the project would add jobs to the community and stated that there would only be temporary construction jobs involved. He referred to the town Master Plan that called for the main business corridor to be Union Road and the Ridge and Seneca Street area. Southwestern Blvd. was not mentioned as a business corridor. Mr. McGowan stated that the residents of Carla Lane were not opposed to commercial property behind their houses, but wanted it to be the proper commercial property.
Motion by Mendola, seconded by Niederpruem, to close the public hearing.
Motion by Niederpruem, seconded by Hunter, to recommend approval of the request for a rezoning for property located at 1200 Southwestern Blvd., being part of Lot No. 393, changing its classification from C-1 to C-2(S), for RV sales & service, in accordance with the plan, architectural renderings and landscape plan submitted at the Planning Board meeting.
On the question, Mr. Mendola suggested that the motion include the following stipulations: 1) receipt of a letter from the NYSDOT addressing the request for a second driveway; 2) receipt of a letter from Town Engineer George Montz addressing the hydrant locations within the complex.
Mr. Niederpruem thought that the location of the hydrants was adequate for the project. He further stated that his experience with the NYSDOT was that the second driveway would not be allowed, but they could request a letter from them.
Mr. Mendola stated that Mr. Montz would be reviewing the hydrant situation and he did not see where Mr. Montz would have a problem putting his findings in writing.
Chairman Ciancio also suggested that the motion include a request for the long form environmental impact study to be submitted to the Town Board for their approval as Lead Agency.
Motion by Niederpruem, seconded by Hunter, to recommend approval of the request for a rezoning for property located at 1200 Southwestern Blvd., being part of Lot No. 393, changing its classification from C-1 to C-2(S), for RV sales & service, in accordance with the plan, architectural renderings and landscape plan submitted at the Planning Board meeting and with the following stipulations: 1) receipt of a letter from the NYSDOT addressing the request for a second driveway; 2) receipt of a letter from Town Engineer George Montz addressing the hydrant locations within the complex; 3) submission of a long form environmental impact study to the Town Board.
On the question, Chairman Ciancio stated that he was originally opposed to this project, but there were some positives about it. The project will not generate a lot of traffic and there will not be a lot of dumpsters, foor odors, or vermin attracted to it.
Mr. Hunter stated that his first view of the project was somewhat skeptical and aesthetic and safety concerns were voiced. He thought the petitioner had responded and addressed the concerns adequately.
NEW BUSINESS COMMUNICATIONS
Motion by Mendola, seconded by Niederpruem, to open the public hearing.
Jonathan Morris, a partner with Carmina & Wood Architects & Engineers, 487 Main Street, Buffalo, stated that he was an agent for the current property owner, Transitowne Dodge. They purchased the former Blossom Hardware site and also owned the South Transit Chrysler Plymouth dealership. They were attempting to negotiate for acquisition of the property between these two properties with the intent of expanding the dealership. Currently they were requesting a rezoning and special permit for the Blossom Hardware site to allow them to move the used car operation onto the site. Most of the buildings would be demolished. They would keep the concrete block storage/warehouse building at the rear and add on to the front of it with a small showroom/sales area for used cars. The block building would be used for detailing operations. Mr. Morris presented a rendering of their proposal for all the properties that was submitted to Chrysler for their approval. The site plan included with the rezoning and special permit application was specific for the Blossom Hardware site.
Mr. Mendola questioned if the detailing shop would include collision and painting.
Mr. Morris responded that detailing was strictly cleaning & washing vehicles to ready them for delivery to a customer. There would be power lifts for detailing low spots on vehicles.
Mr. Rathmann questioned if there was an on site dumpster location.
Mr. Morris stated that there was no dumpster shown on the site plan; however, there was room at the rear of the building.
Mr. Rathmann questioned why the entrance driveway came in at such an angle.
Mr. Morris responded that there was an existing curb cut and Transit Road was a state highway, so they wanted to make use of the existing cut.
Mr. Rathmann suggested adjusting the driveway so it was closer to a 90-degree turn. He further referred to the handicapped parking spaces and suggested that they be redesigned or moved to the front of the building.
No comments were received from the public.
Motion by Mendola, seconded by Nigro, to recommend approval of the request for a rezoning & special permit for property located at 3190 & 3200 Transit Road, being part of Lot Nos. 51, 52 & 69, changing its classification from C-1 to C-2(S), for used motor vehicle sales.
A request from Marrano/Marc Equity Corp. for review of the proposed tree plan for the Princeton Estates Subdivision.
Attorney Ralph Lorigo, 101 Slade Avenue, represented Marrano/Marc Equity Corp. and presented a tree survey report for Princeton Estates Subdivision prepared by Earth Dimensions. This was a heavily wooded site with over 5600 trees and he referred to Page six of the eight-page report indicating the percentage of the various trees on site. The majority of trees were a type that would not last several years.
Chairman Ciancio stated that this was the first time the Planning Board had received a tree survey of this kind. He questioned if the random sampling presented in the report was an accepted standard.
Soil Scientist Don Owens stated that he was the principal author of the Erie County Soil Survey and addressed the Planning Board on the tree survey for Princeton Estates. He confirmed that there were tree species on the parcel that would have a very short life. Elm trees were subject to Dutch Elm disease, and they did not grow very tall before they were infected with that disease. The Green Ash was also a major tree species in New York State, but it was being heavily infected and was subject to death. The Dutch Elm and Green Ash constituted 80 percent of the trees on site. Mr. Owens stated that they random sampled ten percent of the parcel, set up a grid system of 100’ x 100’ blocks, and counted every tree within the blocks.
Mr. Lorigo stated that the great majority of the 5600 trees would be taken down and replaced with two trees per lot, but several hundred trees will remain along Smokes Creek. Mr. Lorigo noted that the town’s Tree Ordinance did not require a one for one replacement of trees. It was a discretionary requirement based on the Planning Board’s decision.
OTHER BUSINESS (continued)
Code Enforcement Officer William Czuprynski advised that the Subdivision Ordinance required that two trees per lot be planted, so those could not be considered replacement trees for the trees that will be removed. He noted that Mr. Lorigo could discuss an agreement with the Planning Board wherein the town would take money in lieu of trees, and that money will be given to the Highway Department for planting trees.
Mr. Lorigo responded that he had discussed this with his client and they were willing to provide $1500 to $2000 for the excess trees that would be lost.
Mr. Czuprynski stated that the town paid about $160 per tree for a guaranteed tree and this would only amount to about 20 trees at the dollar amount stated.
Ecologist Travis Morris noted that only about 20 percent of the existing tree species on the site could survive and some of them were in poor shape.
Mr. Lorigo stated that they would be providing good trees for bad trees and would leave some of the better trees in place when the lots were prepared. He thought $2000 was a reasonable figure and did not believe that any other developer in town had offered or paid anything for tree replacement. Mr. Lorigo referred to the Southwind Landing project in Cheektowaga where thousands of trees were removed for a senior citizens complex. They gave Cheektowaga the same kind of money as they were offering for this development. The Town of Cheektowaga had a very strict ordinance, but they realized the quality of the trees being replaced so they were happy to bank the $2000.
Mr. Mendola thought that $4000 was a more reasonable dollar amount.
Mr. Greenan did not believe that they should take advantage of the developer. He wished every developer in town treated their property with as much respect as Marrano/Marc Equity did.
Mr. Czuprynski commented that with all the subdivisions he had seen developed, most of the trees in the back yards were lost due to drainage swales. He noted that the Tree Ordinance was adopted to prevent developers from stripping the land of all the trees, but it did not call for a one-to-one replacement.
Vic Martucci, Vice President of Marrano/Marc Equity, stated that they owned the property they were developing, so they also owned the trees that were being removed. Mr. Martucci had no problem with the $4000 suggested.
OTHER BUSINESS (continued)
Motion by Mendola, seconded by Ciancio, to set a stipend of $4000 as compensation for the trees to be removed as part of the development of Princeton Estates subdivision in accordance with the Tree Ordinance, noting that this is in addition to the two trees per lot as required by the Subdivision Ordinance, the band of trees along Smokes Creek and the trees that will be left on the rear of the properties.
Motion by Nigro, seconded by Niederpruem, to adjourn the meeting at 9:20 P.M.
PATRICIA C. DEPASQUALE, RMC/CMC