West Seneca Planning Board Meeting Minutes 04/10/2008
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.
William P. Czuprynski, Code Enforcement Officer
Wendy Salvati, 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 Niederpruem, seconded by Mendola, to approve the proofs of publication and posting of legal notice.
APPROVAL OF MINUTES
Motion by Nigro, seconded by Niederpruem, to approve Minutes #2008-03 of March 13, 2008.
OLD BUSNIESS COMMUNICATIONS
A request from TRM Architect for site plan approval for property located at 4075 Seneca Street, for addition of a vestibule.
Chairman Ciancio stated this matter was before the Planning Board last month at which time the petitioner was requested to provide additional information on floor plans and elevation. The petitioner had now provided a revised plan and was also granted a variance from the Zoning Board of Appeals for the setback and parking.
David Doyle of TRM Architect, 448 Delaware Avenue, Buffalo, appeared on behalf of Wilson Farms. Mr. Doyle submitted photographs of the existing Wilson Farms and stated the new vestibule will have stone veneer piers and windows with insulated glass. He indicated on the site plan the location of the new vestibule and how it would appear. Wilson Farms will offer a customer service area and coffee area with shelving adapted for handicapped customers. The parking lot will be re-blacktopped and marked for the handicapped parking spaces and existing curb cuts will remain. Mr. Doyle had attempted to contact the County of Erie on several occasions to resolve any outstanding issues, but was unable to make contact.
Mr. Greenan commented that the size of the vestibule appeared different from the plan submitted at last month’s meeting.
Mr. Doyle stated the only difference was the change in the piers. The new vestibule was approximately 370 sq ft with a better entrance away from Seneca Street. The new vestibule will contain an ice machine for customers and manager’s displays.
Mr. Mendola questioned the distance between the building now and the bumpers along the front where the parking begins and noted that the plan was not clear on the distance.
Mr. Doyle stated the parking will not be changed, but will be reviewed by another individual in his firm to see if anything needed to be done.
Mr. Greenan noted that the plan submitted was far superior to the current condition of the existing Wilson Farms store.
Motion by Greenan, seconded by Nigro, to approve the site plan for property located at 4075 Seneca Street for addition of a vestibule.
On the question, Chairman Ciancio noted the improvements to the site and that the Zoning Board of Appeals had issued a variance for the setback and parking.
NEW BUSINESS COMMUNICATIONS
A request from Ellicott Development Company for site plan approval for property located at 162 Slade Avenue, for a six-story, 105 +/- room hotel.
NEW BUSINESS COMMUNICATIONS
Chairman Ciancio stated this matter was previously before the Planning Board and the concept plan was found to be unacceptable. The Town Board later approved the plan and rezoned the property in 2006, and in May of 2007, the Town Board granted a height variance. The question then arose whether the project was a hotel or dwelling units and the Zoning Board of Appeals made the determination that it was a hotel.
Mr. Greenan referenced an article in today’s newspaper that the School Board had approved the site and inquired who the lead agency was for the project.
Carl Paladino, Ellicott Development Co., 295 Main Street, Buffalo, stated that the School Board did its own SEQR on the project, outside of the SEQR done by the Town of West Seneca, to make sure there was enough land left. A study had been done to see what type of hotel the market favored. They then did a search for land, followed by the purchase of this property. Some residents had raised concerns at the Town Board meeting and those concerns were addressed. The Town Board approved a rezoning for the property and later granted a height variance for 64 ft. A considerable amount of time was invested in designing the hotel and the preparation of a full set of documents. He was then advised by the Code Enforcement Officer that the building was not properly placed because of the rear lot lines, leaving him no choice but to actually move the building. It was his understanding that the matter had been scheduled leaving enough time for the Planning Board to review the plans. Mr. Paladino just learned today that there was a list of problems outlined by the Planning Consultant. He stated they needed to move ahead or the entire project would be adversely affected.
Planning Consultant Wendy Salvati outlined the concerns as addressed in their comment letter following a review of the plan submitted. The Planning Board recommended denial of a rezoning request in July of 2006, but the Town Board rezoned the property from R-65 to C-1 in August of 2006 and subsequently issued a height variance to 64 ft 2 inches in May of 2007 and a SEQR negative declaration. Mrs. Salvati recommended that the SEQR process be reopened to allow for a full and proper SEQR review of the site plan, since the previous SEQR was based on a short form EAF and a concept plan. The site is 7.27 acres in size, with 5.5 acres being retained as green space as shown on the site plan. The Town Board minutes indicated the petitioner’s proposal was to develop a one-story office/retail building and a 29,000 sq ft hotel. The current site plan did not show what other uses were proposed on the site. In an effort to avoid segmentation, the Planning Board should know what was planned for the entire area. The plans, as submitted, indicated that the proposed height of the hotel would be 71 ft 6 ˝ inches, which
NEW BUSINESS COMMUNICATIONS
exceeded the height variance issued by the Town Board. Mrs. Salvati cited the definition for building height: “The vertical distance measured from the average elevation of the proposed finished grade of the building to the highest point of the roof for flat roofs, to the deck line of mansard (a roof with a double pitch on all sides) roofs and to the mean height between eaves and ridge of gable, hip or gambrel roofs. For the purpose of determining maximum permitted height for principal buildings, such measurement shall be made from the average finished grade at the front setback.” In this case, the Code Enforcement Officer had reviewed the plans and expressed concern that the height of the building was measured from the first floor and should have been measured from finished grade, but even if measured at the first floor, the elevation exceeded what was granted by the Town Board by a few inches. The Planning Board did not have the authority to grant a height variance for the additional inches.
Mr. Paladino did not understand the difference in the measurements, as the drawing did not reflect the 71 ft 6 ˝ inches. In any event, he assured the Planning Board that any necessary changes would be made so that the average elevation of the proposed finished grade to the roof would comply with the 64 ft 2 inches.
Mr. Mendola commented that the finished grade was actually below the first floor and the difference could be as much as 9 inches.
Mr. Paladino stated he would check the plans and if necessary, lower the roof line to comply with the height.
Mrs. Salvati noted that the plans did not include a lighting plan and photometric data of the site and that would also be required. The utility plans also showed stubbed lines extending into the southern portion of the site.
Mr. Paladino stated these matters had been addressed in the initial meetings with the Planning Board and Town Board. The stubbed lines were included on the plan for another hotel to be built in the future depending on what the market would allow. There was the potential for another hotel or office building and he would return to the Town Board in the event either of those came to fruition. Two houses along Slade Avenue were also purchased and would be left up for the present. Mr. Paladino indicated on the site plan where the driveway would be located. He also commented that the transformer behind the houses would not affect the project. Mr. Paladino was attempting to maintain some flexibility in the present plans and understood he might need to return to the Planning Board and Town Board in the future for any project development later on.
NEW BUSINESS COMMUNICATIONS
Corey Stewart, Project Manager, directed the Board’s attention to a sheet within the package that showed the lighting with photometrics and the conceptual layout.
Mr. Nigro questioned the drainage.
Mr. Paladino reviewed the drainage on the plans, noting that water would drain into a ditch that comes across the property from behind the houses and then crosses over to the Thruway right-of-way. A basin was proposed along the Thruway ditch, and that would be fenced with two gates and would meet all State regulations.
Mrs. Salvati also noted that the Planning Board did not have any comments from Town Engineer George Montz. Mr. Montz was away at this time and had not completed his review of the project. It was her understanding that there was a concern about the secondary sewer lines running so close to the residential units and the Planning Board needed to hear from Mr. Montz.
Mr. Paladino assured the Planning Board that he would fully comply with all the requirements of the Town Engineer.
Craig Gangloff, Fire Chief of Seneca Hose Fire Co., stated the petitioner contacted the fire company and meetings were held with regard to the original plans and the revised plan. He noted the cooperation of the petitioner and developer in revising the site plan at considerable expense to the petitioner. He was particularly satisfied with the inclusion of the road to the rear of the buildings, enabling the fire trucks to access in case of an emergency.
Mr. Mendola noted the cooperation of the developer in working with the fire company and the time expended on the part of the fire company.
Motion by Greenan, seconded by Ciancio, to grant site plan approval for property located at 162 Slade Avenue, for a six-story, 105+/-room hotel.
Motion by Mr. Niederpruem, seconded by Mendola, to adjourn the meeting at 8:30 P.M.
PATRICIA C. DEPASQUALE, RMC/CMC