West Seneca Planning Board Meeting Minutes 10/11/2007

1250 Union Road Minutes #2007-09
West Seneca, NY 14224 October 11, 2007

Chairman Joseph Ciancio called the meeting to order at 7:30 P.M. followed by the Pledge to the Flag.

ROLL CALL:   Present -

        Joseph Ciancio, Chairman
        Robert Niederpruem Jr.
        Gerald Greenan
        Donald Mendola
        Anthony Nigro
        James Rathmann
        Edwin P. Hunter
        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.


Motion by Ciancio, seconded by Rathmann, to approve Minutes #2007-08 of October 11, 2007.

Ayes: All Noes: None Motion Carried


A request from Robert J. Gill, R.A., for pre-application approval of the proposed 134-lot patio home project located on Orchard Park Road.

Robert J. Gill, R.A., represented a group of five Orchard Park Road property owners and stated their proposal for a 134-lot patio home development. They had met with the town’s Planning Consultant, Drew Reilly of Wendel Duchscherer, and were now asking for the Planning Board’s direction on this project.

Landscape Architect Frank Brzezinski stated that the project involved 27 – 28 acres of land and the lots were a minimum of 50’ x 100’ with larger lots around the perimeter and corners because of the geometry. Significant green space was proposed for amenities such as walking paths, patios, landscape plantings, a buffer around the perimeter and an entrance road off Orchard Park Road. The lots will be similar to the Marrano project, Hickory Grove, on French Road near Union Road. There will be sidewalks in front of the units, two-car garages and two-car parking in the driveways with additional guest parking scattered throughout the development.

1250 Union Road Minutes #2007-09
West Seneca, NY 14224 October 11, 2007
Page two . . .

2007-B    (continued)
Chairman Ciancio stated that the Planning Board would not even consider this plan because the Master Plan called for this property to remain R-75 as a suburban residential zone. Also, the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (NYSDEC) will not allow any more sewer extensions of Sewer District #13 because of the surcharging. Chairman Ciancio further noted that the town did not have an ordinance that covered patio homes.

Planning Consultant Wendy Salvati stated that the Planning Board had reviewed other subdivisions and given the same direction that the zoning of the property should remain R-75, so they were consistent in their decisions.

Mr. Gill questioned how long there had been a moratorium on Sewer District #13.

Chairman Ciancio understood that repairs were being made, but they were looking at a target date of 2013. The sewer surcharges every time there is a heavy rain and a pump is necessary at the end of Elmsford Drive to keep the houses from flooding.

Deputy Town Attorney Paul Notaro advised that the town had to have a plan for rehabilitating the sewers in Sewer District #13 because it was impossible to rebuild the entire system the way the NYSDEC wanted. This plan was tiered out through 2013.

Tom Brooks, Orchard Park Road, stated that he owned part of this property, had been paying taxes on it for more than 35 years, and would like to develop it. He understood that the County of Erie had wanted to take over the sewers for the past several years, but West Seneca would not agree to it. Mr. Brooks questioned if the sewers on Langner Road were encumbered the same way and suggested running the sewer line there instead. He further noted that the plan called for a sizable retention pond. Mr. Brooks thought there may be some bias on patio homes and thought maybe the Planning Board members did not understand the full concept. They were basically two-bedroom homes and for the most part would be sold to empty nesters. The patio home development would establish an association that takes care of snowplowing, garbage collection, lighting, etc. so there are no demands on the town, but they still pay taxes. Mr. Brooks thought this would be a good situation for the town and would help reduce the tax burden. He did not believe that the development would cause traffic problems because most of the residents would be retired and not be traveling the road during rush hour.

Mr. Rathmann stated that the Planning Board was not against patio homes, but the project would have to conform to the R-75 zoning.

1250 Union Road Minutes #2007-09
West Seneca, NY 14224 October 11, 2007
Page three . . .

2007-B    (continued)
Mr. Brooks questioned why Marrano was allowed to build their patio homes on 50-foot lots. He thought the proposed project was a better location and a better project.

Mr. Notaro responded that Marrano’s project was developed long before the Master Plan was adopted and the Planning Board members were different. Since that time, the town looked at all the issues in the various neighborhoods in town and very carefully prepared a Master Plan. The Master Plan was recently adopted and he thought they should follow it. The Planning Board also had to look at certain safety issues such as traffic, but no traffic study was provided. Mr. Notaro agreed that the town would benefit from the tax revenue, but noted that if anyone in the development had children in school the school buses would not go into the development to pick them up because the streets were not the same size as a normal street.

Mr. Brooks questioned if the Master Plan addressed patio homes.

Mr. Notaro responded that the Master Plan raised the issue that the Town Board needed to look at patio home developments and implement a patio home ordinance.

Mr. Brooks suggested that the Master Plan be amended to allow the proposed development.

Mr. Mendola responded that the Planning Board did not believe it was in the best interest of the town to amend the Master Plan as this location was not the place for a patio home subdivision.

Chairman Ciancio stated that he had no objection to the land being used for R-75 zoning. He suggested that the property owners pursue something that fits in with the proper zoning.

Mr. Greenan noted that even if the property were rezoned to R-50, an R-50 lot required 8000 square feet and Mr. Brooks proposal was only for 5000 square feet.

Mr. Rathmann noted that the subdivision ordinance states that “for fire access you cannot exceed a cul-de-sac length of 500 feet” and the entrance drive was about 600 feet long. A secondary access to the site would be necessary for emergency vehicles. They would probably also require sidewalks.

1250 Union Road Minutes #2007-09
West Seneca, NY 14224 October 11, 2007
Page four . . .

2007-B    (continued)
Mrs. Salvati stated that one option would be if the town wanted to entertain clustering a patio home development on this site. The yield under R-75 would be determined and the homes could then be clustered together on small lots with more of the land maintained as open space. This would still be a private development and other requirements, such as secondary access, would still have to be met. Mrs. Salvati further referred to Mr. Brooks comments about the county taking over the sewers and stated that the NYSDEC had the final say on approving sewer extensions. For this development, the sewer would have to be extended in from the road to service the homes and the NYSDEC must approve that. Since the NYSDEC was charged with environmental protection, they would not allow sewer extensions in an area where there were existing problems with the sewers. During heavy rainfalls the water was surcharging and this was happening in a lot of communities.

Mr. Rathmann stated that he preferred to see a cluster development on this site because there were large wooded areas involved that could be preserved.

Mrs. Salvati further noted that there might be wetlands on the site that could not be developed and that would have to be determined first.

Chairman Ciancio suggested that the property owners address the sewer situation with the NYSDEC before they spend a lot of money on the project.

Mr. Gill commented that instead of the town rejecting the project because of the sewer problem, they should consider the revenue the patio home development will generate that will assist in fixing the sewer problem in this area.


Motion by Greenan, seconded by Ciancio, to adjourn the meeting at 8:00 P.M.

Ayes: All Noes: None Motion Carried