West Seneca Planning Board Meeting Minutes 11/08/2007
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, Deputy Town Attorney
William P. Czuprynski, Code Enforcement Officer
Andrew Reilly, Planning Consultant
Absent - James Rathmann
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 Greenan, seconded by Hunter, to approve Minutes #2007-09 of October 11, 2007.
NEW BUSINESS COMMUNICATIONS
Motion by Greenan, seconded by Mendola, to open the public hearing.
Attorney Morris Horwitz represented the Western New York Federal Credit Union and introduced Marie Betti, General Manager for the credit union, and Architect Planner John Lydon, an Architect at Left Coast Design Studio Architecture, P.C.
Planning Consultant Andrew Reilly stated that the property in question and the surrounding property were zoned for residential use, and the Comprehensive Plan for West Seneca did not call for large commercial growth south of Cazenovia Creek.
Mr. Lydon stated his proposal to construct a 5000 square foot building at 475 East & West Road to be used for a credit union and noted that the building was a tight fit after considering the setbacks, easement for the underground culvert, and ditch on the parcel. He presented a number of pictures of other buildings that were similar in design to what Mrs. Betti had in mind for the proposed building. They were all residential in scale and brick with gabled roofs and dormers, so it would not be a large commercial building.
Mr. Niederpruem questioned where the buildings in the pictures were located.
Mrs. Betti responded that Northwest Savings Bank on Union Road, First Niagara Bank on Orchard Park Road, and Evans National Bank were all similar with reddish brick, a gabled roof, and white columns at the entrance. She noted that a credit union was more personal than a national bank and did not have the money that a national bank had, so the size of the building would be smaller.
Mr. Horwitz thought it was important to consider that this was a credit union, not a bank, and it would fit better into the neighborhood than a bank would.
Chairman Ciancio responded that a commercial rezoning was still required to allow for the credit union and the Planning Board had to consider that.
Mr. Mendola thought that an entrance on East & West Road too close to Union Road would be a problem, but if it were an exit only it might work. He also suggested moving the building back a little.
Mr. Lydon agreed that moving the building would help to free up the traffic around it.
Mr. Niederpruem questioned if the two-story home located at 475 East & West Road would remain on the property.
Mr. Niederpruem commented on the traffic flow and thought an entrance on East & West Road would be a problem. He agreed that an exit only on East & West Road might be a better alternative. Mr. Niederpruem further noted there was an easement for the corrugated pipe running under Union Road and nothing could be constructed on top of it.
Mr. Lydon was aware of the easement and stated that the corner of the building just touched the line. He understood that a driveway on the easement was allowed because they would be able to access the pipe through the asphalt.
Mr. Mendola suggested that the driveway on Union Road be moved further to the south.
Mr. Reilly commented that the driveway issues were important because if the rezoning were approved location of the driveway would be addressed in the site plan approval.
Mrs. Betti noted that the Union Road ingress/egress was already in place; the New York State Department of Transportation (NYSDOT) installed it when Union Road was reconstructed.
Chairman Ciancio questioned the proposed hours for the credit union and what type of traffic was anticipated.
Mrs. Betti responded that the credit union would be open Monday – Friday, 8 A.M. – 5 P.M. They may also open on Saturday mornings 9 A.M. – 12 P.M. The busiest day was every other Wednesday afternoon when the West Seneca Developmental Center got paid. On that day there could be as many as ten people waiting in line. There were only two full-time tellers employed at the credit union.
Mr. Greenan questioned the plan to pipe the drainage across the creek and into a detention pond on the other side.
Mr. Lydon responded that he had brief discussions concerning the drainage with an engineer, but they would have to research whether that plan would be acceptable.
Mr. Reilly noted that the new stormwater laws may require a detention pond.
Mr. Greenan commented that the C-1 zoning was a very broad category that included a number of offensive uses. He suggested that the Planning Board deny the C-1 and the petitioner reapply for a C-1(S) that would limit the use for a brick bank building no larger than 5000 square feet.
Mr. Horwitz did not see where Mr. Greenan’s suggestion would be a problem since the petitioner did not plan to do anything else with the property.
Mrs. Betti did not have a problem with the C-1(S) zoning classification as long as the drive-thru would still be permitted.
Darlene Ellis, 690 Union Road, commented on the difficult time she and her family had entering and exiting their driveway and expressed concern about the zoning being changed to commercial, noting that this area of Union Road was residential. Mrs. Ellis was also concerned that if this property were rezoned to commercial the vacant lot across the street would also be rezoned in the future.
Chairman Ciancio stated that the property was currently zoned R-60A and there were a number of uses that could locate there without being rezoned. Only site plan approval would be required.
Mr. Niederpruem recited allowable uses under the R-60A zoning including a real estate or insurance office; a mortuary; an art, dance, music, or photography studio; an optician or ophthalmologist; a fire station with club facilities; meeting rooms for a private club, lodge, or fraternal organization; a medical building consisting of offices or clinics for medical doctors, dentists, chiropractors, or podiatrists; nursing or convalescence home; and a hospital.
Chairman Ciancio noted that if the rezoning to C-1 were approved with a special permit, they would be limited to the proposed use and certain restrictions could also be placed. Even if the property were sold in the future, it could not be changed.
Mr. Hunter questioned the plans for the present credit union office on Willowdale Drive if this rezoning were approved.
Mr. Horwitz stated that if this rezoning were approved the credit union would move to the new location and the Willowdale Drive building would be marketed. He noted that prior to locating on Willowdale Drive, the Western New York Federal Credit Union was located on East & West Road, not far from the proposed site, in a small ranch house near the WNYDDSO. They outgrew that location and have now outgrown the Willowdale Drive location.
Motion by Greenan, seconded by Mendola, to close the public hearing.
Motion by Greenan, seconded by Hunter, to recommend denial of the request for a rezoning for property located at 475 East & West Road, being part of Lot No. 375, changing its classification from R-60A to C-1, for a credit union office with drive-thru.
On the question, Mr. Hunter thought the C-1 zoning would open up the possibility for other commercial development in that area.
Motion by Greenan, seconded by Hunter, to recommend approval of a rezoning and special permit for property located at 475 East & West Road, being part of Lot No. 375, changing its classification from R-60A to C-1(S), for a credit union office with drive-thru, conditioned upon the use being limited to a 5000 square foot or less bank building by footprint and the construction shall be single story brick with gabled roof, dormers, and drive-thru facility.
On the question, Chairman Ciancio stated that the driveway would have to be corrected for the site plan process and they would need approvals from the county and state.
Motion by Mendola, seconded by Niederpruem, to open the public hearing.
Chairman Ciancio stated that along with the application the Planning Board had received a letter of intent, a deed description, a survey, a short environmental assessment form, and a site plan.
Architect James Whitmann represented Dan and Kristin Vivian and stated that Kristin would be the director of the proposed day care center. They were requesting a rezoning to commercial and this was in keeping with the neighboring properties.
Chairman Ciancio questioned if the house and driveway to the left of this property was part of this parcel.
Mr. Whitmann responded that the house was not part of the parcel, but as part of the seller’s contract, the driveway leading to the traffic light would be shared.
Chairman Ciancio questioned if there was a lease agreement for the driveway.
Dan Vivian, 80 Ashley Drive, stated that they were purchasing 3729 Seneca Street contingent upon the property and the property next door having a 15-foot easement to the traffic light on Seneca Street.
Chairman Ciancio questioned where the second proposed addition of 520 feet would be located.
Code Enforcement Officer William Czuprynski noted that a fence would be required between the commercial property and the property next door that was zoned R-65A.
Mr. Whitmann stated that the property was fenced around the day care yard.
Mr. Czuprynski advised that the parking area would also have to be shielded from the residential property.
Mr. Whitmann understood that the property next door was already zoned C-1.
Mr. Czuprynski stated that there were no records indicating that the next door property had been rezoned to C-1.
Mr. Whitmann questioned if there would have to be a physical fence or if shrubbery could be used for screening.
Chairman Ciancio responded that the Planning Board may recommend shrubbery, but that would come under the site plan approval process.
Mr. Hunter questioned if the Vivian’s had closed on the property yet.
Mr. Whitmann responded that the closing was scheduled for January and the contract was contingent on the zoning change.
Planning Consultant Andrew Reilly commented on the parking plan that indicated 11 parking spaces and noted that there was nothing in the Town Code concerning parking requirements for a day care center.
Mr. Mendola commented on the parking plan and did not believe it addressed the safety of the children.
Mr. Whitmann stated that there was an existing driveway and parking along the building and they wanted to keep the parking there rather than completely relocate the driveway. He did not think the driveway could even be relocated due to the turnaround that swung to the neighboring property and the light. Mr. Whitmann noted that the main entrance to the building was at the rear and they would not be promoting use of the front door.
Mr. Whitmann stated that they obviously needed one space for every employee and additional parking for people dropping off and picking up children, but he thought one space for every 100 square feet was excessive and they would have a large, empty parking lot.
Mr. Czuprynski stated that with 28 children there would be a lot of vehicles at certain times of the day.
Mr. Reilly agreed that a number of vehicles could be dropping off or picking up children at the same time. Parking would be a difficult issue and they might either require a variance or require more spaces for the first phase.
Mr. Whitmann stated that it would be impractical to install parking any further to the rear of the property because there was a considerable slope going to the soccer field.
Mr. Czuprynski commented that when dropping off or picking up children the vehicles would probably stack in the driveway rather than park. He suggested eliminating parking spaces #6 thru #11 so that vehicles had room to turn around and would not have to back up out of a parking space.
Mr. Whitmann thought that they would apply for a variance for the number of parking spaces and hoped that they could come up with something that was a reasonable compromise for what was necessary and what would fit on the site.
Mr. Greenan commented that his law office was located at 3755 Seneca Street and was zoned C-1. He had no objection to this rezoning or the proposed use.
No comments were received from the public.
Motion by Greenan, seconded by Mendola, to close the public hearing.
Motion by Greenan, seconded by Niederpruem, to recommend approval of the request for a rezoning for property located at 3729 Seneca Street, being part of Lot No. 165, changing its classification from R-65A to C-1, for a day care/child care center.
Motion by Greenan, seconded by Hunter, to open the public hearing.
Chairman Ciancio stated that along with the application the Planning Board had received a site plan application, a full environmental assessment form, a survey, a topographic survey, first and second floor plan, building elevations plan, and an engineering report.
Attorney Ralph Lorigo, 101 Slade Avenue, represented the developer, Bryan Young of Young Development Inc., and stated that Mr. Young was previously before the Planning Board for the Fox Trace apartment complex located just north of the proposed site. There were 48 units in the Fox Trace development and they were all rented almost immediately after they were built. The typical renters of those units were young and old people with no children and the 32 units proposed for this site were the same. The proposed site was 2½ acres of vacant land directly behind the Wilson Farms plaza on Angle Road and Southwestern Blvd. Mr. Lorigo stated that they had notified the neighbors and invited them to Alton’s Restaurant on Tuesday night to view the project. About a dozen residents of Carla Lane attended that meeting and a number of them arrived at this Planning Board meeting early, asked Mr. Young some questions, were satisfied, and left. As a result of the meeting at Alton’s and requests from the neighbors, some modifications were made to the plan involving the location of dumpsters and addition of trees. Mr. Lorigo stated that there would be four buildings with eight units per building. Building #1 & #2 would face each other and building #3 & #4 would face each other, and the view for the Carla Lane residents would be the sides of the buildings. A substantial amount of landscaping was planned as indicated on the landscape plan. Mr. Lorigo noted that the property was properly zoned but needed the special permit for multiple dwellings. He referred to the density issue and commented that in his opinion town regulations with regard to density were outdated. Mr. Lorigo noted that the Fox Trace complex was 48 units on 3½ acres, and this project would be 32 units on 2½ acres. They would be applying to the Zoning Board of Appeals for a variance for bulk area if the special permit were approved. Mr. Lorigo further noted that the engineering plan had already been submitted to the Engineering Department and Town Engineer George Montz had approved the plan with comments.
Chairman Ciancio questioned if a variance would be required for the rear yard setback.
Code Enforcement Officer William Czuprynski responded that when a C-1 zoning abutted a C-1 zoning the rear yard setback was ten feet.
Mr. Niederpruem questioned if the area immediately to the east of this parcel was the detention pond for the storage facility on Southwestern Blvd.
Mr. Lorigo confirmed that the area to the east was a detention pond for the storage facility.
Mr. Czuprynski suggested that some of Mr. Young’s abutting property along Southwestern Blvd. be included in this project to provide the required bulk area.
Mr. Lorigo referred to the aerial photo and stated that Mr. Young owned more land and there were some other commercial spots he was negotiating on for other projects, but they were more commercial in nature.
Mr. Greenan questioned how many units would conform to the ordinance.
Mr. Lorigo responded that 23 units were allowed under the ordinance. However, he noted that the Fox Trace complex was also over in density a similar amount and that project was approved.
Mr. Mendola stated that although the space might be similar the Fox Trace complex was quite different from the proposed project. The Fox Trace complex faced Southwestern Blvd. and there was nothing to interfere with it, only houses at the rear. The proposed project would be boxed in on all sides.
Mr. Lorigo stated that the proposed project was the text book transition between the residential homes on Carla Lane and the commercial plaza. Mr. Young could put a number of things less desirable on this property without any approval from the town.
Chairman Ciancio questioned how Mr. Young intended to make the detention pond aesthetically pleasing.
Mr. Lorigo noted that the detention pond for Fox Trace was not fenced. He thought that fences created more problems.
Mr. Mendola commented on the fencing around the detention pond at Buffalo RV and thought that it ruined the appearance of the project.
Mr. Lorigo was not in favor of the fence but noted that the Planning Board had recommended it. Considering the slope on the detention pond, he did not see it as a dangerous situation, and there would be landscaping around it.
Mr. Mendola agreed that the proposed apartments would be a good transition between the residential homes and commercial property, but he commented on the size of the water line and the inability of a fire truck to turn around within the complex.
Mr. Lorigo noted that Mr. Montz’ comments included a revision in the size of the watermain to the new hydrant assembly to a minimum of 6 inches.
Mr. Young stated that he could put a crash gate along the side of the plaza for fire apparatus to use as an exit from the apartment complex. Rather than a paved road, he preferred to use grass pavers so it would look good but they could drive on it and plow it.
Mr. Mendola asked that parking not be allowed on the side of the plaza so there would not be a problem if that driveway had to be used by fire apparatus. He further commented on the fire hydrant placement and suggested that it be moved to between building #1 & #2.
Natalie Caputy, 1 Carla Lane, stated that when she moved into her home there was a drainage problem in her yard, so a second receiver was installed. Mrs. Caputy wanted to ensure that the project would not cause water problems on her property.
Chairman Ciancio advised that any runoff produced on this property had to be taken care of on site.
Greg Pressing, 11 Carla Lane, asked for clarification on the density issue and questioned where the crash gate would be located on the plaza property.
Mr. Young indicated on the site plan where the crash gate would be located on the apartment complex property.
Chairman Ciancio explained that density was how many units were allowed per square foot of property.
Mr. Reilly stated that the Town Code allowed approximately eight units per acre, so about 23 units on this site would conform to the code.
Mr. Czuprynski stated that the density issue was important to prevent an area from being congested and allow emergency vehicles to maneuver on the site.
Motion by Greenan, seconded by Nigro, to close the public hearing.
Motion by Greenan, seconded by Hunter, to recommend approval of a special permit for property located at 55 Angle Road, being part of Lot No. 393, changing its classification from C-1 to C-1(S), for an apartment complex with a maximum of 23 units.
On the question, Mr. Nigro questioned if Mr. Greenan was suggesting that one of the apartment buildings be eliminated.
Mr. Greenan responded that he was recommending approval of a special permit for multiple dwellings, but suggesting that they conform to the ordinance.
Motion by Ciancio, seconded by Greenan, to amend the motion and recommend approval of a special permit for property located at 55 Angle Road, being part of Lot No. 393, changing its classification from C-1 to C-1(S), for an apartment complex with a maximum of three buildings, 24 units.
On the question, Mr. Mendola stated that the Fire Chief for Reserve Hose may not agree to grass pavers for the access driveway. If not, he suggested that a condition be added to the special permit that Mr. Young will install a hard surface driveway.
Mr. Hunter questioned the distance between the east boundary of the proposed project and the detention pond for the storage facility and suggested extending the proposed project 50 feet to the east for additional bulk area.
Mr. Young estimated the distance to be approximately 60 feet but did not see any purpose in extending the project, noting that it was not economically feasible without approval for four buildings.
Mr. Lorigo commented that the density was a variance issue and he thought the Planning Board should only be approving the use of the property. The density was an issue for the Zoning Board of Appeals.
Mr. Reilly stated that the Planning Board’s motion was for approval of the special permit with a condition of only 24 units and the Town Board may or may not approve that. Mr. Young could still seek a variance.
Motion by Mendola, seconded by Niederpruem, to open the public hearing.
Planning Consultant Andrew Reilly stated that the Town Board granted a rezoning for this property for a barber shop and Mr. Scaccia was now returning to the Planning Board for site plan approval. The Planning Board had previously recommended that there only be three parking spaces in the front setback and the site plan indicated that. The other major comment concerned reducing the parking in the back, but the site plan indicated a full parking lot in the rear.
Mr. Scaccia responded that he eliminated a parking space in the front and added green space in its place. The driveway was also widened from 12 feet to 24 feet. After the initial Planning Board meeting, he discussed the issues of his neighbor to the east and he was now in agreement with what Mr. Scaccia was proposing for the site.
Gary Oosterhoudt of the West Seneca Environmental Commission was happy to see that the green space in the front of the building would be enlarged and questioned what would be put in the green space.
Mr. Scaccia responded that he would probably plant low level shrubbery, nothing obtrusive, a small amount of decorative, ornamental, landscaping shrubs. There would be nothing big to block people from seeing.
Code Enforcement Officer William Czuprynski stated that when the snowplows go down Seneca Street they plow two lanes worth of salted snow in the front yards, so any shrubs planted near the road would not survive. He suggested that Mr. Scaccia plant the shrubs near the building and leave the 10’ – 12’ along Seneca Street as grass.
Joyce Mallette of the West Seneca Environmental Commission commented on the large paved area in the back yard and noted that the back yard was somewhat sloped. She questioned how much excavation would be required to make the parking area flat and how it would affect the neighbors on both sides. Mrs. Mallette thought there should be more green space in the rear.
Mr. Mendola stated that the parking lot would not have to be flat; it could be pitched down to match the land toward the receiver.
Mr. Reilly questioned where Mr. Scaccia planned to put the snow and suggested eliminating even one parking space.
Mr. Scaccia responded that the last parking space would serve as a place to pile snow in the winter.
Motion by Greenan, seconded by Niederpruem, to close the public hearing.
Walter Kolkiewicz of Homes by Walter Inc. stated his proposal to develop a 24-lot subdivision on Seneca Creek Road.
Mr. Greenan stated that the proposed site was zoned for residential development with 100-foot lots. Mr. Kolkiewicz’ proposal was for 65-foot lots, so the development was inappropriate for the area.
Mr. Kolkiewicz stated that Gary Bommer in the Engineering Department had told him the first 300 feet of the property was zoned R-60 and the rest had to be 75 feet and 100 feet.
Code Enforcement Officer William Czuprynski stated that the zoning along Seneca Creek Road was R-65A, but the zoning in the rear was R-100A.
Chairman Ciancio noted that the lots in the R-100A zoning had to be 20,000 square feet.
Planning Consultant Andrew Reilly stated that most of the lots in the front half conformed, but the lots in the rear did not meet the R-100A zoning. The Planning Board could consider allowing Mr. Kolkiewicz to cluster the homes, apply for a zoning change, or conform to the R-100A zoning. Mr. Reilly also noted that a percentage of the property was located in the flood plain area and about half way to the back of the property there was a high embankment area, making that portion of the property practically useless.
Mr. Greenan thought that the depth of the R-65A zoning along Seneca Creek Road was only about 200 feet. For this subdivision plan to be acceptable to him, the lots in the R-100A zoning would have to be designed in such a way that they each had the required minimum 20,000 square feet. Mr. Greenan stated that the plan as submitted was totally unacceptable.
Motion by Greenan, seconded by Hunter, to adjourn the meeting at 9:45 P.M.
PATRICIA C. DEPASQUALE, RMC/CMC