West Seneca Planning Board Meeting Minutes 04/09/2009
Chairman Robert Niederpruem called the meeting to order at 7:30 P.M. followed by the Pledge to the Flag.
ROLL CALL: Present -
Wendy Salvati, Planning Consultant
Absent - Joseph Sherman
Paul Notaro, Deputy Town Attorney
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 Nigro, seconded by Greenan, to approve the proofs of publication and posting of legal notice.
APPROVAL OF MINUTES
Motion by Greenan, seconded by Mendola, to approve Minutes #2009-03 of March 12, 2009.
Chairman Niederpruem stated that he had received a letter from Town Engineer George Montz concerning the minutes from the March Planning Board meeting. Mr. Montz noted that he had not received or approved the engineering plans for 2880 Transit Road as stated in those minutes.
OLD BUSINESS COMMUNICATIONS
Attorney Ralph Lorigo, 101 Slade Avenue, represented Young Development and apologized for the confusion with the engineering plans and Mr. Montz’ approval. He stated that Mr. Young submitted a site plan last month, but modifications were made to it based on discussions with the Planning Board. Changes were made to the entrances on the new site plan and Mr. Young worked in conjunction with the East Seneca Fire Chief in revising the plan. The fire hydrant was not on the plan, but Mr. Lorigo indicated its proposed location. Mr. Lorigo stated that the Town Board’s motion approved a 49-unit project, but the proposal was actually for 50 units and the Town Board and Town Engineer agreed that the density was a question for the Zoning Board of Appeals. A variance was granted for 50 units and the Town Board clarified that the number was acceptable to them. Mr. Lorigo noted that the revised site plan indicated two entrances, one on Schultz Road that was moved closer to Transit Road and a second entrance on Schultz Road. The five garage units and maintenance building were moved from the Schultz Road side to the north side of the property next to the dumpsters.
Bryan Young of Young Development stated that this plan was discussed last month at the Planning Board and allowed for less blacktop with a little more green space. The underground detention was slightly affected because of the reduction in the parking area.
Mr. Rathmann thought he had requested a 30’ drive-thru aisle going north and south, but the plans indicated a 24’ driveway which would be tight for emergency vehicles and dumpster trucks. Mr. Rathmann further suggested additional screen plantings along Transit Road, 2½ inch trees instead of 2 inch, and moving the sign on Transit Road away from the emergency access driveway.
Mr. Young had no problem changing the driveway to 30’ wide or moving the sign and stated that the project would be nicely landscaped.
Mr. Rathmann questioned why the emergency access was eliminated from the plan.
Mr. Young stated that a second entrance to the project was added so he did not see any sense in having the emergency access too.
Mr. Mendola referred to the lighting on Schultz Road and thought it might affect the corner house.
Mr. Young responded that all lighting will be on the building and will be shielded so it does not shine past the parking lot area. There will be no light standards in the parking lot.
Mr. Ciancio questioned what type of barrier will be in the west parking lot area to prevent someone from driving into the pond.
Mr. Young responded that the west parking lot will be curbed.
Mrs. Salvati questioned if the 18” and 24” trees located near the dumpster will be kept.
Mr. Young responded that it will depend on what type of tree they are.
Brian Guy, Chief of East Seneca Fire Company, stated that he reviewed the revised plans and was happy with the changes that were made. He just wanted to ensure that the hydrant would be included in the final plan.
Motion by Greenan, seconded by Ciancio, to approve the site plan for 2880 Transit Road with the following changes: 1) the west driveway shall be changed to 30’ wide; 2) the sign located on the east side of the building shall be moved north far enough to allow access to the north wall of the building; 3) three additional clump maples shall be added on the Transit Road side.
On the question, Mr. Rathmann suggested adding that the trees be 2½” caliper.
Mr. Lorigo responded that Mr. Young is a landscaper and will own this project and want it to look good so he can rent the units. He further noted that landscaping was not an issue in any of Mr. Young’s other projects.
NEW BUSINESS COMMUNICATIONS
Chairman Niederpruem stated that along with the application the Planning Board received two surveys for each parcel, a site plan, a short environmental assessment form, and letters of support from Island Park Catering and Deborah Fuszara.
Attorney Ralph Lorigo, 101 Slade Avenue, represented Stephen Donahue and stated that although Mr. Donahue just purchased the property two years ago, he has been doing business at this location for the last 12 years. Mr. Donahue was under the assumption the property was properly zoned for his blacktop business since the only real activity there was storage of vehicles. The vehicles stored on the property included two dump trucks, a roller, a sealer, a paver, and two Chevy pickup trucks. Mr. Lorigo noted that this is a seasonal operation and only runs from April 1st – November 1st. The workday starts at 7:00 A.M. and employees come to this location, leave with the vehicles, go pick up the blacktop, proceed to their job, return any unused blacktop, and return the vehicles to this location at the end of the workday. Mr. Donahue told Mr. Lorigo that he would agree to clean the vehicles at the job site rather than at the business location. He also agreed to construct a six foot wooden fence along the back and side of the property. Mr. Lorigo noted that Midas Muffler is located directly adjacent to Mr. Donahue’s property and is zoned C-2. The Code Enforcement Office informed him that the C-2 zoning was required for outside storage of vehicles.
Mr. Greenan questioned if there would be any exterior changes to the property.
Mr. Lorigo responded that the only exterior change will be addition of the fence.
Mr. Nigro noted that the property was kept fairly clean. He questioned what will be done about the two signs.
Mr. Lorigo stated that the two signs will stay where they are. Mr. Donahue meticulously maintains the lot and that has been a problem with some of the neighbors because he blows the lot clean on a regular basis. This will have to be reduced because it is troublesome to some of the neighbors.
Mr. Mendola referred to the 15’ to 20’ strip of land behind Mr. Donahue’s property that is unkempt and suggested that he clean it up to make the neighbors happy.
Mr. Donahue stated that this was a town easement and he intended to clean it up and remove the debris, but it was too wet to get a machine on the property.
Mr. Mendola commented on cleaning the vehicles and tools and stated that the odor from the blacktop could be fairly strong. He suggested that this be done at the construction site.
Mr. Donahue stated that they were cleaning the wheelbarrows and hand tools at the business, but the neighbors were complaining. He was agreeable to cleaning the tools at the job site instead.
Mr. Lorigo noted that the hand tools and wheelbarrows were stored inside the garage; only the vehicles were stored outside.
Mr. Rathmann questioned if the City of Lackawanna was notified since the property is so close to the border.
Town Clerk Patricia DePasquale advised that the City of Lackawanna was notified and no comments were received from them.
Chairman Niederpruem questioned if there will be any additional signage or lighting.
Mr. Lorigo responded that there will be no additional signs or lighting. The only change will be the addition of the fence. Mr. Lorigo noted that Mr. Donahue has been operating this business at this location for the last 12 years and never had any complaints or police calls.
Mr. Donahue stated that he has motion lights on the garage and house, but they are not big. He did not need any additional lighting because he does not work at night.
Richard Ryan, 11 Maryon Drive, questioned how long the property was zoned C-1 and what the difference was between C-1 and C-2.
Mr. Greenan responded that a C-2 zoning was required to legally store contractor’s equipment outside. He thought the property had probably been zoned C-1 since 1963.
Mr. Ryan stated that he lives directly behind Midas Muffler and never had any problems or reason to complain about noise, etc. He understood that Mr. Donahue’s property used to be two residential properties and questioned if it was always zoned C-1.
Mr. Greenan stated that when the zoning ordinance was adopted in 1963, that area of Ridge Road was zoned C-1. A C-1 zone permits general business and residences as opposed to an “M” zone that only permits manufacturing or an “R” zone that only permits residential.
Marlene Andrzejewski, 21 Maryon Drive, stated that she bought her house in 1997 and at that time the property was used for residential purposes, not for a business. She had a disagreement with Mr. Donahue when he cleaned out the easement with a piece of machinery and the exhaust killed her shrubs. Ms. Andrzejewski presented pictures of the property and a petition signed by 18 of the surrounding residents that were opposed to the rezoning.
Chuck Sardo, 47 Maryon Drive, stated that the business has been operating for a long time without the proper zoning and the residents did not want this business in their back yards. Mr. Sardo commented on the noise of the construction equipment and blowers used to clean the equipment, odor from the blacktop, and repair of vehicles in the parking lot. The garage siding was falling off and the roof was in need of repair.
Margaret Armbruster, 1436 Ridge Road, stated that Mr. Donahue has been operating at this location for the last 10 to 12 years and she had no problem with him. He was hard working and kept the property very neat and clean. Mrs. Armbruster stated that the equipment leaves early in the morning, returns around 4:00 P.M., and they are not there in the evening or on weekends.
Deborah Fuszara, 1416 Ridge Road, stated that she has lived at this location for four years and Mr. Donahue has cleaned up the property a lot since she moved there. She noted that the easement property was being used for storage by the house directly behind hers. Mrs. Fuszara had no problem with Mr. Donahue and stated that he was very meticulous about the property. She was never bothered by noise and his employees were very kind and hard working.
Dan Quinn, 17 Maryon Drive, thought that the business had only been operating for 2 to 3 years and stated that it was residential prior to Mr. Donahue moving there. Mr. Quinn commented that the diesel dump trucks were noisy and would sit idling even on Sunday mornings, and he asked if anything could be done about that. He questioned what guarantee there would be that Mr. Donahue will keep the property clean and put up a fence.
Chairman Niederpruem stated that Mr. Donahue would have to follow through on any stipulations that were part of the motion and it will be enforced by the Code Enforcement Officer. He did not know if there was a code against trucks idling.
Robert Brown, 27 Maryon Drive, stated that Mr. Donahue has filled the easement with tar, concrete and stone and raised it at least 6 to 8 inches causing water problems in his back yard.
Mr. Mendola commented that the entire area was wet and swampy and has been that way for 15 to 20 years.
Hank Andrzejewski, 21 Maryon Drive, stated that he is handicapped and disabled and has to deal with the noise and fumes from the equipment. He expressed concern about a decrease in his property value and stated that a fence will not help the situation or stop the dust and dirt that is blown into his yard. Mr. Andrzejewski further stated that Mr. Donahue has argued with and been nasty to the neighbors and told them he could do what he wanted because he had pull in the town.
Mr. Lorigo referred to the pictures presented and stated that the debris is in the easement not on Mr. Donahue’s property. He presented the permit that was issued for construction of the fence and noted that Mr. Donahue was willing to accept conditions. Mr. Lorigo stated that this property was located next to a C-2 zoning and there were other properties zoned C-2 along Ridge Road. There were also diesel trucks that traveled Ridge Road and created noise and fumes. Mr. Donahue was only looking to be able to store his vehicles and was willing to clean them off site. This was a seasonal business and only ran until about 4:00 P.M. Mr. Lorigo further noted that Mr. Donahue wanted to be a good neighbor.
Mr. Ciancio asked for details on the size and type of fence.
Mr. Lorigo responded that the fence will be 166’ long and 6 feet high, constructed of treated stockade fencing.
Mr. Rathmann questioned how many diesel vehicles there were.
Mr. Donahue stated that he has had one diesel truck for a while and at the end of last season he bought a second one. He noted that he planned to clean up the easement so the water will run more effectively and he would only run the blower a couple times a month to keep the noise to a minimum. Mr. Donahue stated that he would also clean the tools offsite and promise to be a better neighbor.
Mr. Rathmann suggested storing the diesel vehicles along the east property line in front of the garage so the wind does not blow the fumes into the neighborhood.
Chairman Niederpruem referred to the 15 foot easement and questioned if any of the neighbors knew what was located there. The residents advised that their sanitary sewer ran back to the easement.
Mr. Donahue stated that the easement has been built up a little from blowing leaves back there that have turned to mulch, but it was fairly level with the neighbors’ yards. He further stated that they do a lot of commercial seal coating and striping on weekends because the parking lots are empty. They start the motors on the sealer tanks before they leave to circulate the material and get it ready, but Mr. Donahue was willing to do this at the job site instead to eliminate the noise in the neighborhood on the weekend. Mr. Donahue stated that he did not know his operation was bothering the neighbors because no one had ever approached him with any complaints.
Motion by Greenan, seconded by Nigro, to recommend approval of the request for a rezoning for property located at 1416 & 1420 Ridge Road, being part of Lot No. 289, changing its classification from C-1 to C-2, for operation of Straight Line Sealing business, conditioned upon the following: 1) a six foot stockade fence constructed along the north property line; 2) all diesel vehicles shall be parked at the most easterly end of the property; 3) no on site tool cleaning.
On the question, Mr. Mendola suggested that Mr. Donahue pay attention to the statements made by the neighbors and correct them so the Code Enforcement Officer does not have to visit the property.
Mr. Donahue stated that he will try to be a good neighbor. He asked that the neighbors tell him if there are any problems and he will try to address them.
Motion by Greenan, seconded by Rathmann, to adjourn the meeting at 8:40 P.M.
PATRICIA C. DEPASQUALE, RMC/CMC