West Seneca Planning Board Meeting Minutes 02/14/2008
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.
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.
APPROVAL OF PROOFS OF PUBLICATION
Motion by Rathmann, seconded by Mendola, to approve the proofs of publication and posting of legal notice.
APPROVAL OF MINUTES
Motion by Niederpruem, seconded by Mendola, to approve Minutes #2008-01 of January 10, 2008.
NEW BUSINESS COMMUNICATIONS
Attorney David Polak, 3686 Seneca Street, represented the petitioner, Edward Santoro, and stated his request to operate a vinyl graphics business from his home.
Mr. Ciancio noted that if granted, the home occupancy permit is reviewable on an annual basis. In the event the petitioner is not operating the business pursuant to town code, the home occupancy permit can be removed from the property. He also referred to the code requirements for a sign permit.
Mr. Polak stated it is not the petitioner’s intention to have a sign at this time.
Mr. Ciancio also noted that no more than 25 percent of the building could be used for operation of the petitioner’s business.
Mr. Polak stated the area proposed for the operation of petitioner’s business was significantly less than 25 percent. The dimensions originally submitted for the house were 34 ft x 26 ft, but the proposed work area was a small room. There was also a small area in the basement where the press for the T-shirts was located and that area was approximately 15 percent. No customers would come to the location; the petitioner will deliver the shirts. Mr. Santoro had 190 ft. from the road to the back of the house, allowing for sufficient parking anywhere along the driveway.
Mr. Mendola noted the survey was 16 years old and should be updated. He also referred to the vinyl graphics operation on Harlem and Seneca which had customers going in and out to pick up items with four or five cars parked there all the time.
Mr. Polak stated this was a business run on a small scale basis. The petitioner does not advertise, takes orders over the phone, and then processes them on his computer. Customers do not normally come into the store. The petitioner also resides on the property. Mr. Polak stated it was unclear under the code as to an annual renewal process and fees.
Mr. Czuprynski stated the filing fee is $100.00. Occupancy permits expire on December 31st and must be renewed in January with a $100.00 renewal fee. He also noted that a better set of drawings would be required before he issues a permit. The drawing submitted lacked proper dimensions to clearly show the 25 percent of the home to be used for the intended business.
Mr. Mendola asked if any additional lighting was planned in order to identify the business.
Mr. Polak responded that the petitioner did not intend to advertise. A 2 ft. x 2 ft. sign was allowed but at the present time only a house number was used, as for any other residence.
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 home occupancy permit for property located at 68 School Street to operate a vinyl graphics business, conditioned upon submission of a detailed plan that establishes to the satisfaction of the Code Enforcement Officer that the area to be used is less than 25 percent of the gross area of the house.
Motion by Mendola to amend the motion to direct the submission of a prepared drawing at the next meeting for the members to review before voting on the matter.
Amended motion lost for lack of a second.
On the original motion,
Motion by Mendola, seconded by Rathmann, to open the public hearing.
Mr. Ciancio noted that this matter had been before the Planning Board since 2004; being given pre-application approval in September 2004, preliminary approval in December 2006 and final approval in July 2007. The site is a 72-acre parcel and zoned R-75. The original plan was for 160 lots and was reduced to 154 lots. The developer dedicated 6.3 acres along Smokes Creek to the town. This item was given final approval with the condition that a secondary access be installed due to the possibility of flooding on Fisher Road. The only item before the Board tonight was for approval of the access road.
Ralph Lorigo, Esq., 101 Slade Avenue, represented Marrano/Marc Equity and stated that the petitioner was at this meeting regarding the substitution of the roadway that now ran through the piece of property along the rear and then back into Nancycrest as was originally established. They had received a letter from the County of Erie Department of Public Works, dated February 6, 2008, giving approval of the road in the County highway right-of-way after review of the requested documentation provided by petitioner. The February 13, 2008 letter from the Erie County Water
Authority approved the water line plans for the project. The February 14, 2006 letters from the Erie County Department of Health approved the sanitary sewer plans as submitted and reviewed, as well as the water line plans for the subdivision. Mr. Lorigo stated there were a number of people at the meeting tonight concerned with water issues, but noted that the detention pond on the project would alleviate much of the situation. Marrano/Marc Equity had brought a number of excellent projects to the town, all of which sold out in quick fashion, never created any problems, and substantially increased the tax base and property values of surrounding neighborhoods.
Wendy Salvati, Planning Consultant, stated they had reviewed the changes requested by the Planning Board. It was her understanding that there were no foreseeable future plans for any development on the property where the road was now routed. The Planning Board previously issued a negative declaration and this would be considered permissible SEQR segmentation; thus, there was no need to reopen SEQR. There were no issues with regard to the rerouted road. The Town Engineer would look at grading and drainage, but it was her understanding that there were no issues there either.
Mr. Ciancio asked if the petitioner had taken title to this land.
Mr. Lorigo responded that the contract was in place and title had changed hands.
Ms. Salvati noted that the access road ran over utility property and she was aware that an easement had been granted, but asked if the road would be dedicated to the town.
Mr. Lorigo stated it would. The easement had been approved and would be granted to the town.
Code Enforcement Officer William Czuprynski stated the easement would be deeded over to the town, not the street.
Mr. Greenan stated the town did not own Union Road or Seneca Street; nor did the State own Union Road or Seneca Street. Technically, it was a public right-of-way.
Deputy Town Attorney Paul Notaro stated that the Town of West Seneca will have exclusive right of the use of that roadway, other than the power authority having the right to go in and maintain lines.
Mr. Niederpruem asked if the lot count will change with the re-configuration of the road.
Mr. Lorigo stated it would not.
Mr. Mendola stated it was his understanding that any drainage from this particular area beyond the Fisher Court boundary line was going to be attended to by this subdivision through the drainage of the subdivision.
Mr. Lorigo stated that was correct.
Pete Johnston, P.E., Wm Schutt & Associates, stated a swale was designed to run along the high side of the new access road and pick up any water coming from the south which will drain underneath the new road into the existing 24-inch culvert and then continue to flow from the northwest to the National Grid property. Also, any drainage coming down the road would be picked up in a series of catch basins.
Mr. Mendola stated that if this road is approved, it should be given to the attention of the traffic committee to make sure the traffic will flow into the subdivision. The traffic committee should address the situation and consider a one-way road going into the subdivision.
Mr. Ciancio noted that this was discussed at the last meeting and it was decided not to make the road one way, but it could be sent to the traffic committee for further review.
Mr. Lorigo stated the petitioner was willing to install security barriers or do whatever was reasonable and necessary. The road was the creation of the Town Engineer, but whatever the resolution of the Planning Board was, would meet with the approval of the developer.
Maura Lillis Blonski, 11 Angelacrest, stated her concern was the traffic from the subdivision and how it would affect Fisher Court. It seemed logical for the new residents to come through her neighborhood in order to access South Fisher Road. It would also be easier access to Langner Road. There were a number of small children on Nancycrest and traffic was already heavy. She took issue with the letter received today by Mr. Lorigo from the Health Department regarding sewer issues, noting that sewage comes into her basement and the neighborhood in general. She and her neighbor at 9 Angelacrest were tied into the County sewer and got raw sewage from the County sewer in their basements. She referred to an earlier meeting in October when Mr. Ciancio made the statement that the DEC would not allow any further extensions of sewers in District #13 because of surcharging. Sewer District #13, which was a town sewer district, dumped into County Sewer District #3.
Mr. Ciancio noted the Planning Board had always expressed concern in the past on the sewer situation, but the County had approved the petitioner’s plans.
Mrs. Blonski stated that the resident at 9 Angelacrest has had sewage problems going back 25 years and she remembered him having a conversation with her mother when she was the Town Supervisor. She further commented that the Town Engineer advised her that she would need to hang sewers in her basement if she did not want the problem to continue.
Daren Balcer, 15 Neubauer Ct, stated they have had water issues on the street since he was young and his street was flooded just last week, but no one comes down to check it out. There is a drainage sewer in the back at Smokes Creek which needs to be cleaned out.
Mr. Ciancio stated there will be a detention pond on the site which will handle the drainage.
Mr. Balcer noted that the water comes over the top of the drainage sewer at Smokes Creek. With the proposed subdivision higher than his property, the water will not drain toward the subdivision. It will drain toward his house. He had the problem now whenever it rained.
Mr. Johnston stated the storm water comes off the larger area to the south of this subdivision and goes through the National Grid property. That water would continue to go in that direction. The subdivision will not add to the existing problem and the petitioner was not responsible for fixing the existing problem. The petitioner was responsible for addressing the water in the subdivision itself and that was being handled through the detention basin, and the runoff was being controlled in accordance with all the regulations of the Town of West Seneca as well as the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation.
Clinton Tasseff, 21 Neubauer, referred to the culvert running from the south to the north and stated it was his understanding that the Town of West Seneca and National Grid had an easement of 30 ft. on each side of the power lines and the Town of West Seneca owned 60 ft. from the power lines to the back sides of the Neubauer Court residences. He discussed the problems and issues with the ditch in that area.
Mr. Greenan stated the 24-inch opening of the pipe was in a paper street that showed up on the Fisher Court subdivision map which was never approved or dedicated to the town.
Joan Lillis, 25 Leocrest, stated her opposition to the access road into the subdivision because of the number of children in the area. She noted there were a number of subdivisions with one access road and that sustain water. She felt it would be better for people to stay in their homes rather than try to get through the water. Another access road was not necessary. She has had water in her basement in the past and now that there was a subdivision going up, the neighbors were starting to get water in their basements again. She also asked if the detention basin would be fenced.
Mr. Ciancio noted that it was not the petitioner who requested the access road; the Planning Board had requested it for safety reasons.
Bruno Maliszewski, 633 Fisher Road, referred to the proposed detention pond and stated that the loss of vegetation, together with the 150 planned lots, would accelerate the amount of water going into the pond. He also asked if it was going to be fenced in and noted his concern with mosquitoes. Since the bridges were put in, flooding had become a yearly event. The area was overloaded with subdivisions and without the necessary green space to absorb the water, it would continue to flood the neighbors’ yards. It was not stable around the creek and basements were cracking and foundations were slipping. Most of the 154 homes would have two to three cars. Fisher Road and Langner Road were both single lane roads and there was no opportunity to make the roads wider to accept this kind of traffic. He also noted the number of children in the area with no sidewalks for them to walk on.
Mr. Mendola stated the reason the Planning Board requested the secondary road was for emergency purposes in the event of an occurrence there. The Town was attempting to improve the way in which a development was designed, especially in the event a fire department needed to access a subdivision.
Paula Minklei, Orchard Park Road, stated she also gets water and sewage in her basement. She has lived there for 43 years and the flooding happened every year. Ms. Minklei asked the size of the subdivision and if this was a Type 1 action.
Mr. Ciancio stated the subdivision was 72 acres and the project had gone through the SEQR process.
Ms. Salvati noted that this project was a Type 1 action under SEQR which means it must go through a coordinated review with other agencies. That had been completed.
A Neubauer Court resident stated he was concerned with how the raw sewage and rain water runoff would travel through the 24-inch pipe. There had been a flooding problem in that area for 16 years. Additionally, it was difficult now to get out of Fisher Road and the subdivision would only cause extra traffic.
Mr. Mendola stated he was aware of the flooding problems in that area, but that was a Town Board issue and needed to be handled there.
Maura Blonski stated she had appeared at a Town Board meeting in December with regard to the flooding issue and was told it was a Planning Board issue.
Debbie Eldridge, 585 Fisher Road, stated she had a conversation with a lady from the Erie County Health Department who indicated there was a serious sewer problem in that area and Mrs. Eldridge was surprised to learn about the letter received by the petitioner today. She also referenced previous correspondence sent to the Planning Board which had gone unanswered. She expressed concern with the noise and headlights from the 300 plus cars that would now be passing by her home everyday.
Mrs. Mancuso, a West Seneca resident for 16 years, stated she spent in excess of $7,000 in 1974 to have her basement water sealed and guaranteed for the lifetime of her home. Her basement was flooded twice last week with all the rain and flooding that occurred, the first time since she had the basement water sealed. With the clearing of the land for the subdivision, the water table had risen. That problem had not been addressed and now a road was being proposed. This hard surfaced road would slope down into the Fisher Court subdivision and water would be running down the road and into the creek behind her house and subsequently into the ground which raises the water table to the point where homeowners are faced with flooding.
Mr. Johnston responded that water now runs to the ditch in the back of Neubauer Court. The subdivision will not increase the amount of water flowing there. The road was only 28 ft. wide and 200 ft. long. Water from the road will go into the 24-inch culvert that goes into the creek. There will be no increase in storm water from the subdivision.
John Nasal, 635 Fisher Road, stated he has been a resident for 50 years and felt the subdivision did not have to be built based on the serious problems already existing and the potential for future problems. His lot ran back 900 ft. and he was unable to get back to the rear because of water. The water floods his neighbors’ yards as well. Mr. Nasal also referred to a rusty pipe going through that broke. He felt the proposed subdivision would cause serious problems in the future and felt the Planning Board and Town Board should be more responsive to the taxpaying residents.
Evelyn Hicks, 276 Seneca Creek Road, expressed her concern with the amount of dissention over this proposed subdivision. She referenced an article from July of 1975 which stated that in water surface and ground water drainage code should be established in West Seneca to prevent increased runoff and to decrease infiltration often caused by development. She felt the Town Board, Planning Board, department heads and the residents should combine their efforts to solve the problem.
Cindy Kandefer, 25 Campbell Lane, stated there was a definite water problem in the area and requested that the Planning Board help solve the problem. One hundred fifty plus homes would add to the water problem, as well as the additional number of children overcrowding the schools and the increased traffic.
Susan Singer, 4 Neubauer Ct., stated she lives at the corner of Neubauer Court and Nancycrest and purchased her home because the street was a dead end. She has had a plumber twice in the past six months because of sewage and felt that the second access road was unnecessary and served no real purpose.
Raymond Kapuscinski, 115 Neubauer Ct., stated he was opposed to the secondary access road based on safety issues with regard to the children in the area who often play in the street.
Brian Gutowski, 205 Nancycrest, stated his house was the second house from the dead end. He also had water problems and was concerned with the dead end being used for through traffic. The 154 new homes proposed for the subdivision would increase current problems and he was concerned for any future development that may be planned in five or ten years for the remaining area of land.
Sheila Meegan, 3 Cathedral Court, stated she was present on behalf of her nephew Michael Murphy who lives at 15 Fisher Road. Her nephew expressed concerns with flooding in his back yard and the fractured sewers caused by the heavy traffic on Fisher Road. The residents who belong to that sewer district must then bear the cost of those damages caused by the heavy traffic of vehicles on the road.
Maura Blonski stated the Town Engineer was at her home shortly after her purchase of the house due to water coming into the basement, as well as standing water in her back yard. She was told the sheds and pools installed by her neighbors added to the problem. This subdivision would have 154 homes which is much more than sheds and would create much more water. The vegetation which now absorbs some of the water coming to her home will be eliminated.
Mr. Lorigo agreed that the Fisher Road residents had legitimate water problems, but the proposed subdivision could not create additional problems for those residents. He felt a representative of the Town Engineer’s office should have been present at this meeting to address the concerns of residents as well as Planning Board members. It was the obligation of the Town Engineer to make sure the subdivision met all of the necessary requirements. The residents had substantial misinformation. The engineering on this subdivision had been 3½ years in the making. This would not have occurred 25 years ago, nor were there detention ponds or the requirements imposed on developers. County approvals received were based on extensive engineering work and review by County agencies over the course of a great deal of time. Fisher Court residents have had water problems historically and this subdivision could not create any additional water problems for them. The developer’s engineers begin with that premise, that no additional water can be created. That is also reviewed and approved by the Town Engineer to make sure it does not happen. The only issue before the Planning Board tonight was the access road and nothing else.
Motion by Greenan, seconded by Mendola, to close the public hearing.
Mr. Ciancio stated the Planning Board had reviewed this subdivision very closely for a considerable length of time.
Mr. Greenan stated the US Constitution clearly stated that private property could be bought and sold as long as it conformed to state statute. To attempt to stop a sale is in violation of the private property owner’s rights. Every single rule and regulation of the Town of West Seneca and County of Erie had been taken care of, other than the developer providing a road that met West Seneca specifications. No one had shown that this road did not meet town specifications and the Town Engineer had confirmed that it does. Mr. Greenan stated he did not want to see the town lose another law suit and summary judgment which was what would happen within a month of the Planning Board turning this down tonight.
Motion by Greenan, seconded by Niederpruem, to approve the modification to the final plat of the Princeton Estates Subdivision.
On the question, Mr. Mendola stated he was aware of the concerns of residents, including the issues of traffic and the safety of children. It was his opinion that if the road was made one-way into the subdivision it would cut down on the traffic into Fisher Court. It was the job of the Town Engineer to make sure no water from this new subdivision went into Fisher Court. The existing condition in Fisher Court needed to be taken care of by another body.
Motion by Mendola, seconded by Ciancio, to amend the motion to include approval of the road with the recommendation to the town that the road be one-way going east into the new subdivision.
On the original motion,
Mr. Ciancio stated that this item was previously before the Planning Board. At the January 23, 2008 Zoning Board of Appeals meeting, the applicant was denied a variance for 32 units, but granted a variance for 24 units.
Ralph Lorigo, Esq., stated that the drawing was revised to show the garages. The landscaping was exactly the same on the drawing initially submitted and the buildings were shown exactly the same way. The only difference was the garages that were now shown where the fourth building was located.
Mr. Mendola noted the water line locations were missing on the drawing and the engineer was instructed to provide a complete set. The Fire Chief was present at this meeting and was concerned with how he would address an emergency.
Daniel Blamowski, FRA Engineering, stated that prior to the January ZBA meeting, a revised set of drawings was submitted and revised based upon Town Engineer George Montz’ comments. This week a revised set of plans was being submitted, which were basically the same as the original plan and showing water lines in the same locations as previously shown, except to the fourth building.
Ms. Salvati stated that this was a new site plan submittal, so a new set of plans was required; there also was no landscape plan submitted with this plan.
Mr. Blamowski stated the revised set of drawings would be submitted to Mr. Montz this week.
Christopher Boltz, Fire Chief, Reserve Fire Co., stated he received the original plans but after reviewing the revised plans, based upon where the old hydrant was and with the 30 ft. access road, the closest hydrant was on Colonial Manor Court and one on the corner of Southwestern and Angle. He reviewed the revised plans with Planning Board members and indicated that it would be impossible to get vehicles through to get to a hydrant. It was suggested that a hydrant be placed next to the dumpster. The second issue dealt with the pathway between the buildings which appeared to be 24 ft. He indicated the concrete abutments as shown on the plan and stated it would not be possible to get a fire vehicle through.
Ms. Salvati stated that there was more than adequate parking provided. The petitioner had 46 spaces and only 36 were required. It would be possible to straighten the road out and eliminate some of the parking spaces.
Mr. Boltz noted that the back access road was unimproved to the point where the pavers would be crushed by the weight of the fire vehicle. Further discussion followed between the Fire Chief and the Planning Board members.
Mr. Niederpruem referred to the planting plan which showed some type of Christmas trees along the R-65 property to the north and stated he would like to see a buffer between the R-65 and the commercial property. He also noted there was an existing problem with lighting in that area and the lighting plan should be specific about not affecting the adjoining residences.
Ms. Salvati noted that the lights should be shielded so that they shine down and that should also be shown on the lighting plan. She also asked if the petitioner planned on fencing around the detention pond. The fencing should be a dark color chain link vinyl fencing. Discussion followed on the location of the sidewalks alongside the buildings.
Motion by Greenan, seconded by Niederpruem, to table the request for site plan approval for property located at 55 Angle Road for a 3-building, 24-unit apartment complex, for the petitioner to supply the following:
1) Solid vegetation buffer along the north property line.
2) Reduce amount of parking more in line with what the code required and realign the entranceway.
3) Eliminate the 10 ft. access road in the rear.
4) Provide shielding on the wall packs and show where all the lighting will be located.
5) Fence around the detention basin.
6) Include the additional sidewalks and adjust the sidewalks so that they connect with all the parking area.
7) A fire hydrant to be located to the left side of the dumpster.
Motion by Greenan, seconded by Rathmann, to adjourn the meeting at 9:45 P.M.
PATRICIA C. DEPASQUALE, RMC/CMC