West Seneca Planning Board Meeting Minutes 11/13/2008
Chairman Robert Niederpruem called the meeting to order at 7:30 P.M. followed by the Pledge to the Flag.
ROLL CALL: Present -
Paul Notaro, Deputy Town Attorney
Absent - William P. Czuprynski, Code Enforcement Officer
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 Mendola, to approve the proofs of publication and posting of legal notice.
APPROVAL OF MINUTES
Motion by Ciancio, seconded by Nigro, to approve Minutes #2008-10 of October 9, 2008.
OLD BUSINESS COMMUNICATIONS
Chairman Niederpruem stated that the petitioner had requested that this item be tabled.
Motion by Greenan, seconded by Mendola, to table the above request until the petitioner is ready to proceed.
Attorney Ralph Lorigo, 101 Slade Avenue, represented Young Development, Inc. and stated that a number of modifications were made to the project after the last Planning Board meeting. A wetlands delineation was completed and .266 acres of wetlands were shown on the map. The ditch was also indicated and they intended to clean the area up so the water would flow better. The buildings were moved as far as possible to the east and the project was reduced from 53 to 49 units, giving a substantially larger buffer on the west. The entrance was also moved to the east. The above ground detention was eliminated and there would now be an underground detention system. Mr. Lorigo noted that the project still complied with all Town Codes with regard to setbacks and sideline requirements, but a variance would be required for density. A fire hydrant will be placed on the property and the volunteer fire company was satisfied with its location and the access to the property. Grass pavers were added so there was the potential for ingress/egress of emergency vehicles from the parking lot next door. Substantial landscaping was also added, including 20 Norway spruce trees, 22 Locust trees, and trees in the front of the project.
Mr. Mendola stated that a big concern of his was the parking lot lights and he hoped they could be adjusted so there would be no interference on the surrounding properties. He also thought the entrance should be moved 70’ to 80’ to the west, away from the traffic coming off Transit Road.
Mr. Lorigo stated that the entrance was still a considerable distance from Transit Road and it was purposely moved to the east to accommodate concerns from the neighbors. The lighting was very directional and could be shielded so it would not spill over onto any other property. Mr. Lorigo further noted that the dumpster was also moved from the west side to the east side of the property.
Mr. Ciancio thought the entrance should be relocated to line up with the driveway and suggested eliminating two parking spaces on either side of the entrance to allow for better sight distance.
Mr. Rathmann suggested locating a sidewalk adjacent to the building so the residents would not walk directly out of the building into the driveway. Handicapped parking should also be adjacent to the building so that a handicapped person can access a walkway to the building and not have to cross through the parking lot. Mr. Rathmann commented that senior citizens liked to walk and he thought it would be good to have a circuit going around the building for them to use, as well as for safety purposes, and also a sidewalk going out to the sidewalk on Transit Road. He further referred to the emergency access from a neighboring commercial area and stated that they could not make them keep their roadway clear in the winter.
Bryan Young of Young Development stated that he has this same situation at a project in Orchard Park and has the snow plows for the project also plow the access driveway. There is also a crash gate so that people cannot cut through.
Mr. Lorigo stated that they could put together some type of agreement between the two properties so it would be an allowable use of the property.
Planning Consultant Andrew Reilly commended Mr. Young for a great job on addressing the issues raised by the Planning Board. A coordinated review was done to get input from other agencies and the County of Erie suggested moving the driveway farther away from Transit Road and placing a barrier between the parking area and the detention pond, but that was no longer an issue since the new proposal was for underground storage. Mr. Reilly stated that the NYSDEC wanted to ensure the wetlands were delineated and that was done, that the storm sewers were designed to NYS standards and the Town Engineer would review that, and that this was not an archaeologically sensitive area and he understood that it was not. He noted that Erie County would not issue a sewer permit without documentation that this was not an archaeologically sensitive site. Mr. Reilly stated that the property could be rezoned to C-1 that allows multi-family residential, or it could be rezoned to R-50, but since the Master Plan showed this area as commercial he thought the C-1 zoning was appropriate. The special permit would restrict the use to multi-family residential and it would be a good buffer between the residential and commercial areas.
Mr. Greenan questioned the underground storage system and whether this was something new.
Mr. Reilly responded that there will be a large underground tank and New York State allowed this type of system. The amount of water coming out will be what is running into the area now and the quality of water will be treated.
Mr. Lorigo stated that this was a more expensive detention system, but it will eliminate any problem with mosquitoes around a wet area.
Mr. Young stated that the system involves a source of pipes that holds the water and lets it out through a 4-inch pipe.
Mr. Reilly noted that after the Planning Board makes their recommendation and if the Town Board approves the rezoning to C-1, Mr. Young will still have to apply to the Zoning Board of Appeals for a variance for the number of units. The project will then have to return to the Planning Board for site plan approval.
Beverly Strassburg, 359 Schultz Road, stated that her house is located directly across the street from the proposed project at the corner of Schultz and Transit Roads. When she built her house in 1989 she wanted it to be a duplex to help pay for the house, but the town denied her request. Mrs. Strassburg did not understand how this multi-family project could happen when she was not able to build a duplex. She expressed concern about the water situation and did not want the project to add to the problem. She also did not want the driveway for the project to be directly across from her house. Mrs. Strassburg stated that in addition to her home at 359 Schultz Road, she owned 391 Schultz Road and 2852 Transit Road up to Max Pies and questioned what will happen to her property values if this property is rezoned to commercial.
Chairman Niederpruem noted that there was an 18-inch and 36-inch pipe that goes across Schultz Road into the ditch and the proposed project could not put more water into the ditch any faster than it currently goes in. If the engineering calculations were correct, the project should not have any affect on the ditch. Chairman Niederpruem stated that he was not a real estate agent and did not know what affect the project would have on Mrs. Strassburg’s property values.
Mr. Rathmann stated that part of 391 Schultz Road was already across from commercial property and if a fast food restaurant were built there it would depreciate the property values more quickly than a senior housing project.
Mrs. Strassburg stated that at one time her family owned 33 acres in this area, but they sold some of it to Gene Dyke over time. When Dyke Road was developed, fill was brought in and the runoff from that property now goes onto Mrs. Strassburg’s property and floods her back yard. The town never fixed this problem and she wanted to make sure that the proposed project did not add to it.
Mr. Reilly stated that if the project goes forward, as the ditch is being cleaned out the town may be able to coordinate and clean out the ends of the culvert to make sure the water is flowing properly.
Mr. Ciancio questioned if the wetlands included the ditch.
Mr. Young advised that the wetlands included the ditch, but he was allowed to clean it. He further stated that he was a good neighbor in all his projects and would be happy to do whatever he could to help fix the water problem.
Motion by Greenan, seconded by Rathmann, to close the public hearing.
Motion by Greenan, seconded by Rathmann, to recommend approval of 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 49-unit senior housing facility in general conformance with the plan dated October 28, 2008.
Mr. Reilly referred to the SEQR and noted that the wetlands were delineated, water and sewer capacity and drainage issues were looked at, the project was a small generator of traffic compared to other users that could locate on the site, there were no agricultural lands and no impacts on archaeological or historic resources, it was not a critical environmental area, senior housing would not generate noise or odor, and the project matched the vision of the Master Plan and would act as a nice buffer between the commercial and single family residential neighborhood.
Mr. Ciancio agreed that the project was a nice buffer, but noted that other than the wetlands area there was not much green space around the building.
Motion by Greenan, seconded by Mendola, that the Planning Board has considered the various SEQR issues outlined by Planning Consultant Andrew Reilly and finds no SEQR problems with the proposed project.
NEW BUSINESS COMMUNICATIONS
Chairman Niederpruem stated that along with the application the Planning Board received a deed description, a short environmental assessment form, a property survey and a tax map.
David Young, 28 Regent Street, represented the petitioner and property owner, William Hartnett, who was out-of-town. Mr. Young was leasing the property for use as a restaurant. He had been operating a restaurant on the property for more than a year and his long term lease was for the next three years.
Planning Consultant Andrew Reilly stated that the Planning Board was probably going to recommend that this request be submitted to the Zoning Board of Appeals instead of for a rezoning, but he suggested that Mr. Young get a letter from Mr. Hartnett authorizing him to be a legal representative in this matter prior to going before the Zoning Board.
Mr. Greenan noted that a lease for more than two years was a conveyance under the New York Real Property Law so Mr. Young would just need to provide a copy of the lease.
Chairman Niederpruem stated that the property was a very large parcel adjacent to a residential area. Other than the rezoning, the applicant could submit a request to the Zoning Board of Appeals for a variance to operate the business. Chairman Niederpruem recommended that this be submitted to the Zoning Board of Appeals due to the size of the property and its proximity to the residential neighborhood.
Mr. Reilly stated that he had spoken to the Town Board last week on this issue and they agreed that rather than put the applicant through the entire rezoning process, this request should be submitted to the Zoning Board of Appeals for a use variance. The use variance will only allow the applicant to use the property for what it is presently being used. Mr. Reilly noted that there are five criteria for a use variance and he suggested that Mr. Young have an attorney help him fill out the forms properly. He further suggested that Mr. Young ask the Town Board for a refund of the rezoning application fee.
Deputy Town Attorney Paul Notaro suggested that the Planning Board table this item at this time pending submission of a request to the Zoning Board of Appeals and approval of a use variance.
Mr. Mendola commented that there was a lot of junk on the property, such as unlicensed vehicles and other materials.
Mr. Young responded that the property was cleaned up over the weekend and the only vehicles left had license plates on them.
Motion by Mendola, seconded by Ciancio, to table this item and recommend that the applicant apply to the Zoning Board of Appeals for a use variance.
Motion by Greenan, seconded by Mendola, to adjourn the meeting at 8:20 P.M.
PATRICIA C. DEPASQUALE, RMC/CMC