West Seneca Planning Board Meeting Minutes 10/09/2008
Chairman Robert Niederpruem called the meeting to order at 7:30 P.M. followed by the Pledge to the Flag.
ROLL CALL: Present -
William P. Czuprynski, Code Enforcement Officer
Paul Notaro, Deputy Town Attorney
Wendy Salvati, Planning Consultant
Absent - Gerald Greenan
Chairman Robert Niederpruem 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 Nigro, to approve the proofs of publication and posting of legal notice.
APPROVAL OF MINUTES
Motion by Mendola, seconded by Rathmann, to approve Minutes #2008-09 of September 11, 2008.
OLD BUSINESS COMMUNICATIONS
2008-07A request from People, Inc. for a rezoning & special permit for property located at 4592 Seneca Street, being part of Lot No. 223, changing its classification from R-75 to R-50(S), for a senior independent living facility.
Chairman Niederpruem stated that this item was before the Planning Board in July 2008 and the petitioner was asked to provide additional information pertaining to density, wetlands, drainage, archaeological, sewer, fire, and other utility related questions. The Planning Board received this information just before this meeting.
Jocelyn Bos, Housing Director for People Inc., stated that the SEQR process was started on July 14th and Pat Bittar of Wm. Schutt & Associates and William Long of Wm. Long Architects were present at the meeting to address the various SEQR items. Ms. Bos stated that the project involved 47 units, 46 single bedroom units and one two-bedroom unit for the caretaker who is on site 24 hours a day. The original proposal for 50 units was reduced to 47, so a variance on the density was not required. The original proposal was also for a three-story building, but that was reduced to two-story by request of the Town Board. The facility was for individuals 62 years and older who were income eligible. Income eligibility was $21,300 for a single person and $24,500 for a couple. There were currently 8300 individuals in West Seneca that were 65 years and older and of those there were 1115 that were income eligible. Ms. Bos referred to the Burchfield Commons complex on Union Road that was comparable to the proposed project, and noted that there was a waiting list of 63 individuals.
Mr. Mendola referred to Ms. Bos’ comment on the number of individuals in West Seneca that were 65 years of age and older and noted that this information was inconsequential because People Inc. did not limit the units to only West Seneca residents.
Ms. Bos responded that they could not limit the units to only West Seneca residents, but they had found in their 18 other complexes that many of the residents lived within a five mile radius of the complex or they were moving back to the community because they used to live there and had family there.
Mr. Ciancio questioned what was proposed for the property to the rear and why the driveway was still on the west side of the property.
Ms. Bos stated that the rear property was originally going to be developed by Calamar Construction, but she understood that they were getting out of the purchase agreement and did not know what would happen with that property.
Ms. Bittar stated that the area behind the parking lot would be maintained as open green space. The driveway circled around the building and did not extend to the rear parcel. The parcel along Sky Hi Drive and to the rear was owned by the original property owner.
Mr. Mendola expressed concern that another developer would want to develop the rear parcel for another complex, using the 90 foot frontage on Seneca Street for a driveway to that parcel.
Planning Consultant Wendy Salvati questioned if the property was two individual tax parcels.
Ms. Bos stated that the property was not subdivided. People Inc. had just put in a purchase order for the front 5.5 acres.
Mrs. Salvati thought that it should be a separate lot of record.
Chairman Niederpruem also expressed concern about the 6.2 acre lot being developed by another developer, and then there would be two driveway cuts on Seneca Street and basically a road in the back yard of the Sky Hi Drive residents.
Ms. Bos responded that there was no proposal for the 6.2 acre parcel and they were just interested in the People Inc. project. They had no control over what happens with the other parcel.
Mr. Mendola agreed but stated that the Planning Board was also interested in future development to make sure their actions did not create a situation.
Chairman Niederpruem understood they could not landlock the rear parcel, but he was concerned about the way it was presented.
Ms. Bittar stated that the ditch was a restrictive factor with regard to development and they had to put the building in the front of the parcel. They had also reduced it from three to two stories and elongated the building so it was not as wide. They were limited by the building layout, and in order to provide the loop road around the building to address fire code issues and still address the required number of parking spaces, they were trying to condense it and maintain as much open green space as possible.
Mrs. Salvati stated that one of the previous concerns the Planning Board had when the project in the rear was also being proposed was that they only wanted to see one curb cut on Seneca Street. With the project in the rear withdrawing and the way this project was now being proposed, the curb cuts were an issue.
Mr. Rathmann commented on the flooding on Sky Hi Drive and drainage for the site.
Ms. Bittar stated that she had discussed the drainage with Town Engineer George Montz and they would have to apply for a permit with the NYSDEC and Army Corps of Engineers and address all their concerns.
Mr. Niederpruem questioned if the property owners dictated to the developers on the location of the footprint of the building.
Ms. Bittar responded that they wanted to meet the density for an R-50 zoning and had to limit the amount of land based on what was available through HUD funding.
Mr. Niederpruem questioned why the future road to the rear parcel could not be located on the east side of the property instead of in the back yards of the Sky Hi Drive residents.
Ms. Bos did not see why it could not be, but the purchase agreement they had was for the 5.5 acres indicated.
Linda Golinski, 23 Donald Drive, requested clarification on which parcel would be owned by People, Inc.
Ms. Bos indicated on the plans the 5.5 acre parcel that would be owned by People, Inc.
Roberta Kellum represented her father Horace Vallone, 39 Donald Drive, and stated that she wrote a letter to the Planning Board and copied it to Steven Doleski at the NYSDEC. Mr. Doleski responded and addressed some of the environmental issues, but she was now requesting that the Planning Board seek a full environmental impact statement on this project. This was a rezoning and a major change in the character of the neighborhood and she thought it met the threshold to require an environmental impact statement so that all the issues could be fully addressed and mitigated. The developer would then be required to pay for the town’s consulting to review the information, so they could hire experts on traffic, drainage and stormwater management to look at things in more detail.
William Dinderski, 413 Collins Avenue, represented his mother, Alice Dinderski, 23 Sky Hi Drive, and expressed concerned that if People, Inc. developed the front parcel they might then want to develop the rear parcel. He was concerned about the problems that could occur with the type of people that might live in these complexes and noted the close proximity of an elementary school, middle school, and a senior high school.
Vivian Carroll, 88 Queens Drive, stated that she is the mother of a child in a group home, and she never wanted her son to live there, but she was unable to keep him at home. She commented that these individuals were handicapped, they were not animals, and she suggested that people look at the problems caused by so-called “normal” children. Mrs. Carroll noted the need for this type of housing for handicapped individuals and for seniors.
Sue Itzenplitz, 152 Sky Hi Drive, referred to the drainage plans and questioned if it would cause problems for the rear parcel and the Queens Court subdivision.
Ms. Bittar responded that they were limited to work within the boundaries of their property and anything they did could not create a problem for the surrounding properties.
Deputy Town Attorney Paul Notaro stated that any issues with water runoff from the property will be addressed by Wm. Schutt & Associates and the town Engineering Department and anyone else that might have to be hired in the process to make this work. Water runoff was a premature item to be addressed at this time but it would be dealt with in depth by the Engineering Department if the project moves forward. Mr. Notaro also stated that a number of People, Inc. projects and group homes came into the town since he started in 2000 and they were very successful throughout the town. The Planning Board was well versed in the requirements of these facilities and would not in any way make any discriminatory judgments based on someone’s age or whether they are physically or mentally handicapped. Mr. Notaro further noted that the Police Department and court system was very proactive in addressing issues whether it be at a People, Inc. home or any other home.
Motion by Rathmann, seconded by Ciancio, to table the above request until the Planning Board has an opportunity to further review all the documents submitted.
NEW BUSINESS COMMUNICATIONS
A request from Northeastern Transparts Co., Inc. for a special permit for property located at 54 Ransier Drive, being part of Lot Nos. 198 & 201, changing its classification from M-1 to M-1(S), for transmission remanufacturing, auto repair, and a parts development facility.
Wendy Gutowski, 96 Sprucewood Drive, Cheektowaga, and Brian Gutowski, 205 Nancycrest Lane, stated that they were in the process of purchasing the building located at 54 Ransier Drive for their business, Northeastern Transparts Co., Inc. Miss Gutowski stated that the building would be used for auto repair and 95 percent of what they did was transmission work. There was a small assembly line where transmissions were disassembled, cleaned, put in baskets, and then went to the rebuilders. They also did minimal remanufacturing on the transmissions, machining, and testing on a dyno machine. The transmissions were then either shipped out or
installed on vehicles. They had a complete parts department that sold automatic transmission parts to repair shops, dealerships, transmission shops and the general public. Miss Gutowski noted that all work would take place inside the building and there would be no outside storage.
Mr. Mendola questioned if there would be any junk vehicles parked on the property.
Mr. Gutowski responded that the only outside parking would be for employees and customers.
Miss Gutowski stated that their current facility was located at 2695 Bailey Avenue and they never had any junk cars at that facility.
Mr. Niederpruem questioned how many employees there were and if they planned to expand the business. He further questioned how many vehicles would be in for service at any given time.
Miss Gutowski responded that they currently had ten employees and hoped they did well and could expand. There were three lifts in the current building and they planned to move them all to the new facility. The current location had 20 parking spaces, but they usually were not all filled. There was also a separate area for the parts department and usually two or three cars parked there. There was traffic in an out of the facility all day and Miss Gutowski estimated about 20 to 30 people daily.
Mr. Niederpruem questioned the plan for the back yard, noting that the front yard was paved, but the back yard was stone.
Miss Gutowski stated that they had spoken to Asst. Code Enforcement Officer Robert Pinnavaia about the parking and he informed them that based on the office space, number of lifts, and employees, they were required to have 30 to 31 parking spaces. They planned to pave along the side of the building and 50 feet into the back lot to accommodate 13 additional parking spaces. Miss Gutowski noted that the plan submitted indicated 26 parking spaces, four short of the required 30.
Mr. Mendola questioned how long a car would be parked in the lot awaiting service on the transmission. He noted that they did not want to have a junkyard situation with vehicles parked outside for an extended length of time.
Miss Gutowski responded that transmission service might take two or three days. Security at their current location was an issue, so all vehicles were parked inside overnight, and they anticipated also parking most vehicles at the new facility inside at night. Miss Gutowski noted that no vehicle would be parked outside for weeks or months at a time. The current property owner had cars and two semi trailers parked in the rear of the property, but those would be removed.
Mr. Gutowski stated that they did not want to have a junkyard and did not encourage having cars parked outside. A lot of the customers really needed their cars and wanted them back as soon as possible.
Mr. Ciancio noted that there were no dimensions listed on the parking spaces or any handicapped parking indicated.
Miss Gutowski submitted a revised parking plan that included dimensions.
Mr. Nigro questioned how waste oil would be handled.
Miss Gutowski responded that waste oil would be stored in tanks inside the building.
Mr. Sherman questioned what types of modifications would be made to the building to accommodate excess transmission oil and spillage.
Miss Gutowski stated that no one from the town told her what she had to do for this and she was looking for guidance on this issue. The rags that they use to clean up oil are given to the uniform company for cleaning, and they use speedy dry to soak up the oil and then sweep it up. This procedure was allowed in Buffalo and she questioned if it would be the same in West Seneca. Miss Gutowski stated that she would like to know before she purchases the building if anything has to be done to the building to comply with any regulations.
Mr. Sherman questioned on average how much waste oil and other fluids were kept at the facility.
Miss Gutowski stated that the waste oil is burned in their waste oil furnaces.
Mr. Gutowski stated that at the present time there was about 1000 gallons on site. Everything was kept inside to keep the barrels from rusting and prevent rain water, bugs, and dirt from getting in the oil which causes a problem with the furnaces.
Code Enforcement Officer William Czuprynski questioned if there were floor drains in the building.
Miss Gutowski responded that she only saw one floor drain inside the building.
Mr. Czuprynski noted that the diagram submitted did not match the survey and stated that he would need a detailed layout of the inside and outside of the building.
Mr. Ciancio stated that there were state regulations concerning the inventory and storage of oil.
No comments were received from the public.
Motion by Rathmann, seconded by Mendola, to recommend approval of the request for a special permit for property located at 54 Ransier Drive, being part of Lot Nos. 198 & 201, changing its classification from M-1 to M-1(S), for a parts department for sale of transmission parts, a warehouse area for transmission remanufacturing, and an installation area with three lifts to install transmissions.
On the question, Mr. Rathmann noted that when this project returned for site plan approval, the applicant would need a detailed layout of the parking area and perimeter of the building showing the dimensions of the parking spaces and aisles. He suggested that the area to the rear of the property be reconfigured for double sided parking which would be more cost effective. This would also shrink the length of the parking and allow for 30 spaces so a variance would not be required. Drainage would also have to be addressed with the Engineering Department and a landscape plan was needed.
Miss Gutowski responded that the property was already landscaped.
Planning Consultant Wendy Salvati noted that there were some setback requirements they would have to comply with.
A request from Northeastern Transparts Co., Inc. for site plan approval for property located at 54 Ransier Drive for transmission remanufacturing, auto repair, and a parts department facility.
Motion by Niederpruem, seconded by Mendola, to table the request for site plan approval for property located at 54 Ransier Drive for a transmission remanufacturing, auto repair, and parts department facility.
A request from Roofers Local No. 74 for site plan approval for property located at 2800 Clinton Street to erect a 40 ft x 80 ft metal building for training.
David Carr, an Engineer working with Roofers Local No. 74, stated their proposal for a 40 ft. x 80 ft. training building. The building will be 18 ft. high with 7 ft. of split faced block to make it look a little nicer. It will be constructed behind the existing facility and no trees will be removed. The parking was increased to 37 spaces and the septic system will be enlarged in accordance with the Erie County Health Department. The building will have two large classrooms and one small classroom, two bathrooms, a small office and a large open area with a mock up roofing system for training.
Grace Felschow of Roofers Local No. 74 stated that they currently rent classroom space from Maryvale High School and they would keep the same schedule of Tuesday and Thursday nights, 6:00 to 9:00, October through March. Mrs. Felschow noted that the apprenticeship classes in a classroom like atmosphere were mandated by the NYS Department of Labor.
Mr. Niederpruem questioned if there was any lighting plan for the rear lot.
Mr. Carr responded that there was lighting on the existing building and there might be one wall pack on the end unit for the parking area, but there will not be any spillage to adjacent properties.
Mr. Niederpruem noted that parking calculations, including handicapped, should be indicated on the plans. He also noted that the plans submitted were stamped and not signed and the sketch was just submitted at this meeting.
Mr. Carr stated that was an error on his part and he would submit signed plans. He normally did a colored rendering for the meeting and did not submit that prior to the meeting.
Code Enforcement Officer William Czuprynski stated that the code called for one parking space per classroom, but since most of the students would be driving to the facility they would need additional parking.
Mr. Carr stated that they would provide additional parking if required by the town.
Mr. Nigro referred to the enlarged septic system and questioned if they would have to tap into the sewer.
Mr. Czuprynski was not sure that there were sewers along the north side of Clinton Street in this area but noted that the new Canisius High School athletic fields across the street had sewers. He suggested that Mr. Carr check this with the Engineering Department.
No comments were received from the public.
Motion by Mendola, seconded by Nigro, to grant site plan approval for property located at 2800 Clinton Street to erect a 40 ft x 80 ft metal building for training with the following stipulations: 1) the site plan must be signed by the Engineer: 2) handicapped parking spaces should be designated on the plan; 3) parking calculations indicating the number of parking spaces shall be indicated on the site plan; 4) any changes in lighting shall be noted on the plan.
A request from Young Development, Inc. for a rezoning and special permit for property located at 2880 Transit Road, being part of Lot No. 350, changing its classification from R-90A to C-1(S), for construction of a two-story, 53-unit senior housing facility.
Attorney Ralph Lorigo, 101 Slade Avenue, represented Young Development, Inc. and stated their request for a rezoning and special permit for a 53-unit senior complex on a 3.66 acre parcel at the corner of Transit Road and Schultz Road. The property adjacent to Transit Road is zoned C-1 and the property to the east of that is zoned R-90A. Mr. Lorigo referred to an aerial photo indicating the depth of adjacent commercial properties along Transit Road as compared to the depth of the proposed site. He stated that the proposal met or exceeded all town codes and requirements with regard to setbacks, but density for the proposed 53 units was 149,093 sf, about 60 percent of the required 218,000 sf. Mr. Lorigo stated that the proposed units were 670 sf whereas most apartments constructed in town were 900 to 1200 sf. He presented minutes from Zoning Board of Appeals meetings and Planning Board meetings for other senior apartment complexes that were over the density by a greater amount and approved by the town. Mr. Lorigo also presented information from the code of the Town of Cheektowaga calling for 43 units per acre for a one
bedroom density and 29 units per acre for a two bedroom density. The Town of Amherst code allowed 60 units per acre for senior housing and the City of Lackawanna code allowed 30 to 40 units per acre regardless of whether or not it is senior housing. Mr. Lorigo stated that he understood this project would have to go to the Zoning Board of Appeals for a variance on the density if the rezoning and special permit was approved. The units would be specified as free market, senior rentals and would be occupied by one or two people at the most. They do not use the outside for recreational purposes except that each unit will have a porch. The buildings will be two-story, fully sprinkled, and have safety buttons along the corridors. There will be a ring road around the entire structure for emergency vehicle access. Mr. Lorigo indicated the detention pond on the plans and stated that the residential area was about 160 feet from the lot line and it was dense with trees, but they were willing to add trees in any sparse area. The only entrance to the complex will be on Schultz Road, and because this was senior housing the impact on traffic would not be significant during peak hours.
Mr. Ciancio expressed concern over the high density of the project.
Mr. Lorigo referred to other senior developments on Union Road and stated that they only had 45 and 51 percent of the required density where this project had 60 percent.
Mr. Niederpruem thought the drawing was complicated and the way the parking was configured the residents would walk out of their units and walk into the road. He had walked the entire site and became very familiar with it and he estimated that the frontage on Transit Road had been filled in 5 to 10 years ago. Mr. Niederpruem further expressed concern about the soil conditions and wetlands issue.
Bryan Young of Young Development stated that there was a culvert on the west side that went under Schultz Road and fed the existing drainage ditch that outlet at the northwest corner of the property. They would work with the Engineering Department to ensure that this was not negatively impacted and that the detention pond was in compliance with town and NYSDEC standards.
Mr. Niederpruem questioned if a wetlands delineation was completed.
Mr. Young responded that he had not done a wetlands delineation.
Mr. Rathmann noted that the entire site was hydric and potentially hydric soils and the existing vegetation was very indicative of wetlands. He was certain that the whole area was a wetlands of some sort at some time and the drainage ditch was probably a tributary to Buffalo Creek. Mr. Rathmann referred to the detention pond and parking area in relation to the aerial photo and stated that it appeared the ditch
ran under it. He did not see how the proposal would not have an impact on the ditch and recommended a wetlands delineation to determine the bounds of what could be developed. Mr. Rathmann further commented on the large wooded area and noted that a tree survey would be required.
Mr. Young stated that the wooded area would be left as is.
Mr. Rathmann stated that they would need to have this indicated on a survey.
Mr. Niederpruem referred to the sewers and questioned if there was a capacity issue.
Mr. Young stated that the proposed project was located in Erie County Sewer District No. 3 and they would coordinate with them.
Carmen Vallone, 14 Pine Court North, bought his home in 1983 and his property was northwest of the proposed project. He commented on the wet condition of the property and the presence of cattails and noted that the town cleaned out the ditch on Schultz Road but had not touched the ditch on that property in 25 years. Mr. Vallone stated that the drainage situation had to be addressed but questioned whether a detention pond was the answer. He further commented that 53 units was too dense for the size of the parcel and thought the entrance should be on Transit Road rather than Schultz Road.
Beverly Strassburg, 359 Schultz Road, lives directly across the street from this property and stated that drainage was never a problem until the town allowed the buildings to be put up on Dyke Road. Runoff from Dyke Road goes across her property and it was no longer a ditch, it was a river. Ms. Strassburg had contacted the town two years ago and they dug under the road with a 36-inch pipe, but it was still a problem. The town had not cleaned out the cattails in about four years and this caused a problem with the water running freely. Ms. Strassburg further commented that Schultz Road was a cut through from Transit Road and there was no signal light at the Schultz and Transit intersection. This was a busy area with the subdivisions off Schultz Road and the proposed development would add to the heavy traffic.
Douglas McIvor, 350 Schultz Road, stated that his property abuts the proposed site and he had tried to purchase property from Mr. Piotrowski years ago so this would not become a problem for him. He commented on the drainage problem in the area and was concerned about the detention pond, lighting, privacy issues due to the balconies on the second story units, and the heavy traffic when exiting Schultz Road onto Transit Road that would be further impacted by the proposed project. He did not have a problem with the property being developed for single family homes but thought the proposed development would negatively impact his quality of life.
Mark Strassburg, 353 Schultz Road, stated that there was tremendous flooding in his back yard and the water from his yard and ½ mile down Schultz Road ends up on the proposed site. He commented that Schultz Road had always been residential and thought the proposed project would negatively impact the neighborhood. Mr. Strassburg was concerned about lighting being a problem and suggested that the size of the project be reduced and kept on the commercial property on Transit Road rather than extended down Schultz Road.
Kevin Smith, 1863 Center Road, Chief of East Seneca Fire Company, stated that he would like to see an actual set of plans for the proposed project prior to the Planning Board acting on this rezoning.
Mrs. Salvati stated that Code Enforcement Officer William Czuprynski had noted that the areas referred to on Union Road where senior housing projects were developed were industrial and commercial in nature and much more developed than this rural area.
Mr. Young responded to comments made and agreed that the water situation was an issue, but the engineers would ensure that the problem was resolved. All the lighting will be on poles shining at the building, not in anyone’s back yard, and he would agree to add some large trees to help screen the project and move the location of the dumpster. Mr. Young stated that he put the driveway on Schultz Road because he thought it would be more difficult for elderly people to pull out onto Transit Road, but he could move the driveway farther away from the residents’ houses if desired. He offered to redesign some areas of the project to address the issues brought up by the residents.
Mrs. Salvati advised that they would need to do a coordinated SEQR review and get a wetlands delineation to learn about what’s happening with this property from an environmental perspective, because that will dictate how the site can be developed. If there are designated federal wetlands on the site, it cannot be developed.
Motion by Mendola, seconded by Rathmann, to table the request for a rezoning and special permit for property located at 2880 Transit Road, being part of Lot No. 350, changing its classification from R-90A to C-1(S), for construction of a two-story, 53-unit senior housing facility, pending submission of a wetlands delineation and a coordinated SEQR review.
On the question, Chairman Niederpruem stated that the application did not include a survey or a sketch of the building elevations, but building elevations were presented at this meeting. He noted that if he had not walked the site he would not have known where the stream is, so the wetlands delineation will bring this out. They were not trying to engineer the site, but the SEQR review will answer questions as to how to engineer it. Chairman Niederpruem further referred to Article 6 of the site plan regulations concerning planting trees and suggested that the next submission include details.
Mr. Rathmann suggested that the tree line and ditch be indicated on the revised plan.
Motion by Sherman, seconded by Rathmann, to adjourn the meeting at 9:30 P.M.
PATRICIA C. DEPASQUALE, RMC/CMC