West Seneca Planning Board Meeting Minutes 05/14/2009
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
Shawn P. Martin, Deputy Town Attorney
Absent - Gerald Greenan
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 Ciancio, seconded by Nigro, to approve the proofs of publication and posting of legal notice.
APPROVAL OF MINUTES
Motion by Ciancio, seconded by Nigro, to approve Minutes #2009-04 of April 9, 2009.
NEW BUSINESS COMMUNICATIONS
Chairman Niederpruem stated that the Planning Board received a project information sheet for the environmental form and noted that the description of the action was listed as a 16-unit development rather than 20-unit. They also received a site map, deed description, and property survey.
Attorney Ralph Lorigo, 101 Slade Avenue, represented Young Development LLC and stated that they previously informally presented the project to the Planning Board. The project was an expansion of the Fox Trace Apartments (48 units) that was approved approximately three years ago. Young Development was able to acquire the neighboring 1.62 acres and would like to add two 8-unit buildings and one 4-unit building. The additional units will use the original entrance for Fox Trace. A variance will be required for the density. The density of the overall project is about 76 percent, which is the same as for the 48-unit project. The style of the building will be the same as the existing units. Mr. Lorigo noted that they would amend the environmental assessment form to indicate 20 units.
Mr. Nigro questioned if the trees in the back will be continued up to the swale.
Mr. Lorigo stated that the trees were already existing and the detention pond will be expanded, but this could be discussed at the site plan review.
Chairman Niederpruem questioned if two parcels were purchased.
Bryan Young of Young Development responded that two parcels were purchased, but the survey shows it as one.
Planning Consultant Wendy Salvati stated that the two parcels purchased should be annexed to the original parcel so there will be one tax parcel/bill.
Kevin Evanetski, 90 Fawn Trail, stated that his home is located behind the proposed additional units and he was concerned about buffering.
Chairman Niederpruem responded that if the special permit is granted, buffering will be addressed when the project gets to the site plan stage.
Mrs. Salvati noted that the property already has a special use permit that was issued for Phase I. If the Planning Board recommends approval of this request, it should be to amend the original special use permit for 68 units rather than 20 units.
Motion by Rathmann, seconded by Mendola, to recommend a negative declaration for the SEQR process for the proposed construction of 20 additional apartment units at 1370 Southwestern Blvd.
Motion by Rathmann, seconded by Mendola, to recommend amending the special permit for property located at 1370 Southwestern Blvd., being part of Lot No. 394, changing its classification from C-1 to C-1(S), to include two additional parcels for construction of 20 additional apartment units for a total of 68 units.
Chairman Niederpruem stated that the Planning Board had reviewed this application informally and received a revised plan with modifications to the building plan as a result of the informal review.
Attorney Ralph Lorigo, 101 Slade Avenue, represented C & S Engineers, Inc. and the property owner, Treadwell Enterprises, and stated that the revised plan substantially increases the green area along Union Road, widens the main entrance, and moves the building to the rear of the property, eliminating the pass-thru lane and the patio, and creating a larger buffer of 15 feet between the neighbor to the north. The fencing along the north property line is also reduced to keep the line of sight easier for the neighbor to ingress/egress her property.
Chairman Niederpruem stated that the Planning Board and petitioner had been working on the plan for several meetings to maximize the green space and lessen the effect on the surrounding neighbors, but there were still some items of concern. The light along the back corner of the building at the entrance to the drive-thru was a concern because they were already crowding the home. Chairman Niederpruem suggested that the light be removed and replaced with some other type of lighting installed on the building that is less obtrusive to the neighbor.
Lowell Dewey of C & S Engineers agreed to remove the light and replace it with another type of low lighting.
Chairman Niederpruem further stated that there were some questions about the building rendering and the way it will look from Union Road. There were glass windows on the Ebenezer Drive side and a big, blank wall on the Union Road side.
Mr. Lorigo stated that they could add a second window on the Union Road side.
Chairman Niederpruem questioned where the receiving door for shipments was located.
Mr. Dewey indicated the location of the receiving door and how the tractor trailer would access the door.
Mr. Rathmann stated that most Kentucky Fried Chicken restaurants have a maximum of six parking spaces in the front. They all have the narrow side of the building facing the street with parking on the sides. In place of the windows, the other Kentucky Fried Chicken restaurants have placards of the food items they offer, and he did not find that very appealing. Mr. Rathmann preferred windows on the front instead of the placards. He wanted the front of the building to look more residential in character in accordance with the Master Plan for the town.
Mr. Dewey agreed to have two sets of windows with awnings on the Union Road side of the building.
Mr. Ciancio questioned if the corporation dictated the type of architecture on the building.
Mr. Lorigo advised that there were certain models and identification they had to adhere to.
Mr. Dewey stated that this was completely different than their standard model and the signage and awnings was the closest they could come to identifying the proposed building as a Kentucky Fried Chicken.
Chairman Niederpruem noted that the side of the building facing Ebenezer Drive looked very quaint and homey and he wanted the Union Road side to look the same way. He further referred to the position of the dumpster and stated that the garbage truck must enter against the drive-thru to pick up the dumpster, then backup into the parking area and make a 180 degree turn to exit. Chairman Niederpruem suggested that the dumpster be changed from facing west to facing south and the pickup be scheduled prior to the drive-thru opening so the truck would not have to access it in that manner.
Mr. Dewey stated that they had the dumpster facing south, but thought it was better the other way with the scheduled pickup being in off hours and the truck backing up instead.
Planning Consultant Wendy Salvati stated that the Planning Board was trying to replace some of the asphalt with green space wherever possible. Two variances were required and they both had to do with reduced green space on the site.
Mr. Dewey noted there was a bar across the drive-thru lane that identified the maximum height of a vehicle and the truck picking up the dumpster would hit the bar.
Mr. Lorigo thought the dumpster should be left as indicated on the plan and stated that there is an 8’ fence along the line, but a 6’ fence was preferred. He suggested a four foot fence up to the setback and then 6’ around the back.
Mr. Rathmann suggested the landscaping be staggered for better screening. He further suggested that the handicapped parking be relocated to near the front door.
Code Enforcement Officer William Czuprynski questioned whether this application should be acted on prior to going to the Zoning Board of Appeals.
Chairman Niederpruem referred to the turning radius of the driveway onto Ebenezer Drive and questioned if an 18-wheel truck would be able to get out of that driveway and make the turn onto Union Road.
Mr. Dewey did not believe this would be a problem for the truck and offered to show the Planning Board auto turn sketches. He preferred to keep the green space, but offered to increase the radius if requested.
Chairman Niederpruem noted that the site plan did not indicate the type of signage that would be used at the driveway on Ebenezer Drive.
Mr. Lorigo responded that there would be a sign restricting commercial vehicles from making a left hand turn. The gate was eliminated at the request of the Planning Board.
Mr. Rathmann thought the first parking space should be eliminated because it was a dangerous spot. This would give a larger turning radius to accommodate the dumpster truck and they could also plant a tree there.
Mrs. Salvati noted that a variance would also be required for the side entrance. The code required it to be a minimum of 30 feet back from the property line.
Lisa Graves, 53 Ebenezer Drive, stated that the biggest concern she had was traffic on her street and the last plan she saw had a gate across the driveway on Ebenezer Drive. Without a gate the traffic will use Ebenezer Drive instead of Union Road and this will be too much traffic for a residential street with a lot of children. She further questioned the width of the drive-thru and location of the speaker and stated that snow removal and green space were important issues.
Mr. Dewey stated that the drive-thru was reduced to one lane and green space was increased. The speaker is a specialized version that is very quiet and designed to go directly to the person in the vehicle. Mr. Lorigo stated that they could bring the speaker system to the next meeting for a demonstration.
Mrs. Graves noted that the truck that delivers to the current Kentucky Fried Chicken was not a small truck and she thought it might have a problem negotiating the turn into the restaurant. The time it delivers was also a concern because it was a busy time of the day. This was also a problem at Dunkin’ Donuts and it has never been resolved.
Brian Graves, 53 Ebenezer Drive, stated that all the Planning Board members were previously in agreement with the gate and now it was being changed. The gate would keep the traffic off their street and he did not see where it would be a problem. The 4’ fence on Ebenezer Drive was also preferred to help screen the restaurant and cut down on the noise, and he suggested planting trees in front of it for additional screening. Mr. Graves questioned what variances were required for the project.
Chairman Niederpruem responded that a variance was required for the front yard parking, reduced rear yard setback, and the side entrance.
Mr. Graves commented on the number of accidents in this area of Union Road. He requested an 8’ fence at the rear of the property and was also concerned about the appearance of the rear of the building which the neighbors on Ebenezer Drive would be looking at, noise from the speaker, and light shining in the neighbors’ yards.
Mrs. Salvati noted that the building light was being eliminated and replaced with a light on the ground that will define the edge of the driveway.
Mr. Mendola thought the gate would cheapen the project and suggested installing curbing so that only a right turn could be made onto Ebenezer Drive.
Mrs. Graves referred to the landscaping next to the driveway on Union Road and noted that there is a driveway for a residential home directly next to this. She suggested fewer bushes next to the driveway to allow for more visibility.
Mrs. Salvati stated that this was a tree and would not obstruct vision. Someone sitting in a vehicle will be able to see under the branches.
Mrs. Graves suggested that rodent baiting be started as soon as possible to control the rodent problem.
Mrs. Salvati stated that if there is an existing rodent problem the property owner should already be addressing it.
Mr. Lorigo stated that he would inform the property owner to take care of the rodent problem.
Evelyn Hicks, 276 Seneca Creek Road, stated that the Comprehensive Plan stresses a hamlet image for Union Road projects and signage should be unobtrusive and typically involve minimal building signage and only a small ground sign not greater than 8’ in height, not internally lit, and include natural materials. Mrs. Hicks asked that the signage be scaled back to conform with the intent of the Comprehensive Plan.
Mrs. Salvati stated that the intent of the Comprehensive Plan should be taken into consideration when it comes to the design of the building.
Mr. Lorigo stated that they would be applying to the Zoning Board of Appeals for a variance for the following: 1) 4’ vinyl fence on Ebenezer Drive; 2) entrance on Ebenezer Drive (25 ft instead of 30 ft.); 3) 8’ fence along the side of the house at the drive-thru; 4) front yard parking; 5) reduced rear yard setback.
Mr. Rathmann referred to the existing curb cut and questioned why it could not be used.
Mr. Lorigo responded that the building was being torn down and it was a totally new project.
Motion by Rathmann, seconded by Ciancio, to table the request for site plan approval for property located at 1175 Union Road.
Chairman Niederpruem stated that along with the application the Planning Board had received a full environmental assessment form, deed description, plot plan, survey and an architectural rending.
Jocelyn Bos, Director of Housing with People Inc. stated that they were originally funded for this project for a site on Seneca Street but were notified in December to look for a new location. This site was located in February and they met with the town’s planning consultants and the Chief of Union Fire Company to discuss the project. The Town Board referred the project to the Planning Board and thought it would be a nice buffer between commercial and what the town hopes will return to rural agriculture. The facility will be for senior citizens 62 and over, income eligible (a single person not more than $22,250 and a couple not more than $25,400). Ms. Bos noted that the proposed project was almost identical to the Burchfield project and the Carnation project on Southwestern Blvd. in Orchard Park and the only difference was the number of units. Ms. Bos stated that the Union Fire Chief had requested a system with key fobs so they would have easy access to the site. The community kitchen and meeting area will have a generator system.
Patricia Bittar of Wm. Schutt & Associates stated that the project site is 5.5 acres. She indicated the location of 81 parking spaces on the plan but noted that they do not need nearly that amount and could cut the number in half. The existing driveway on Clinton Street will be utilized. Ms. Bittar also indicated the proposed stormwater drainage plan.
Chairman Niederpruem questioned the size of the units.
Ms. Bos stated that the one bedroom units were 540 sf and the two bedroom unit was 800 sf and that was for the live-in caretaker.
Chairman Niederpruem noted that based on the size of the units, the footprint of the building will be much smaller than a normal apartment complex.
Ms. Bittar noted that not every resident will have a vehicle and there is a van service provided for them.
Ms. Bos referred to the Burchfield Commons facility and noted that there were 50 units but only 35 vehicles.
Mr. Mendola questioned if this was a HUD project.
Ms. Bos responded that HUD 202 funding will fund the project.
Code Enforcement Officer William Czuprynski noted that the project did not meet the Master Plan for the town.
Ms. Bos thought that the project met the Master Plan.
Brian Przybyl, 121 French Road, stated that the proposed project will be in his back yard, and he questioned how the nursery will operate without commercial traffic accessing their property from Clinton Street when French Road does not allow commercial traffic.
Chairman Niederpruem suggested that Mr. Przybyl ask the nursery that question since they are selling the property.
Mr. Przybyl noted that the nursery had financial issues and he thought they were selling this property to pay off some overdue debts.
Lisa Przybyl, 121 French Road, stated that if the project is approved there will not be sufficient parking for the nursery. She commented on the elimination of green space and was concerned about oversized vehicles using French Road to access the nursery.
Evelyn Hicks, 276 Seneca Creek Road, requested clarification on the location of the driveways and green space for the project and Ms. Bos indicated this on the plans. Mrs. Hicks referred to the Comprehensive Plan and thought it was spot zoning to only rezone a portion of the property and the entire piece should be rezoned or at least made congruent so that future development is a similar type. She questioned if this was Phase I of a larger project that would be proposed.
Ms. Bos stated that this was the only project planned for the site and they had no problem deed restricting the green space.
Mrs. Hicks did not believe the proposed use was a bad use of the property as long as everything else was good (sewers, stormwater, etc.), but they also had to consider the commercial needs of the nursery and the truck traffic that will be re-routed.
Sandy Krawczyk, 2827 Clinton Street, questioned why all the neighbors were not notified and stated that she lives directly across the street and did not receive notification of this meeting. Mrs. Krawczyk referred to the traffic on Clinton Street and stated that many years ago the town restricted the 24’ wide driveway to prevent commercial trucks from using it because it impacted the neighbors across the street. The driveway on French Road was also restricted and commercial trucks had to use a driveway farther down Clinton Street. Mrs. Krawczyk further noted that maps indicate the entire area where the proposed development will be located is full of underground streams and waterways. Also, part of French Road is septic and part of Clinton Street is sewers.
Mr. Czuprynski noted that the 300 feet of R-100A property lining the area along Clinton Street was put there because the neighbors requested it to stop any development along Clinton Street. The Planning Board did this many years ago to help the people on Clinton Street.
Cheryl Krawczyk, 2965 Clinton Street, stated that her husband owns a business at 2890 Clinton Street, and she commented on the water problem they experience after heavy rains. Mrs. Krawczyk noted that there already was a senior citizen development on Clinton Street and another one on North Avenue and she did not think a third was necessary.
Barbara Tokasz, 2780 Clinton Street, stated that over the years as Clinton Street was resurfaced the residents got watershed coming into their driveways and yards. She commented on the standing water in the lot across from her and stated that many years ago the residents fought Majeski’s request to put a parking lot there. Mrs. Tokasz thought that taking away the green space would cause even more severe problems for the neighbors.
Brian Doster, West Seneca Fire District No. 2, stated that another senior citizens facility in this area will have a huge impact on the fire department. There are already six senior facilities and another was recently before the Zoning Board for a variance. Mr. Doster stated that in 2007 Union Fire Company had 155 calls to the senior facilities and in 2008 there were 259 calls. The fire company is already short members and they were very much in danger of going to a paid department, which will have a huge impact on the taxpayers.
Chairman Niederpruem questioned if any consideration was given to maintaining a truck access for the nursery.
Ms. Bos stated that this was an MLS listing and there was no discussion about that. She noted that their intent was to reduce the pavement as much as possible and maintain green space.
Chairman Niederpruem thought the residents had valid points on a number of issues. He thought truck access to the greenhouse from French Road was an important issue and the proposed project will cut into the parking area for the nursery.
Ms. Bos stated that the proposed project needed 5.4 acres for density without requesting a variance. The parcel was 5.5 acres and the building would be located 68’ off the side lot line. Ms. Bos stated that they could look at the possibility of the nursery putting a driveway in their existing parking and see if it will cut into the density requirement.
Chairman Niederpruem commented that if the Planning Board considers the application it will alter the balance of the entire area, because everything will be put on French Road. The standing water was also an issue.
Mr. Ciancio referred to comments about the financial difficulties of the nursery and stated that the Planning Board could be dealing with this again if the property owner decides to sell another piece of the parcel. He further noted that he was a member of the Steering Committee for the Master Plan and this area was designated R-100A because of the flooding and it was left as a recreation area where nothing should be developed.
Mr. Mendola referred to the sewer problem and stated that this development would not help the situation. He did not believe there was a moratorium on connecting to the sewer, but thought there should be if the sewer is as bad as the neighbors report. Mr. Mendola commented that they needed to define where the storm sewers were located, why they were not flowing, and if it was the town’s responsibility to resolve the problem. He further commented on the burden these facilities place on the fire companies.
Planning Consultant Wendy Salvati stated that the sewer problems were a question for Town Engineer George Montz and the Planning Board needed input from him on this issue.
Ms. Bittar stated that she had discussed this with the Engineering Department and they were aware of an existing drainage problem along French Road where the water backs up and flows toward Clinton Street. They were proposing and working with the present landowner to install drainage improvements. Ms. Bittar reviewed the drainage plan for the proposed senior facility with the Engineering Department and they did not have any problem with how they were proposing to deal with the storm water.
Ms. Bos commented on the need for this type of housing and stated that currently there were 1854 individuals eligible (age & income). Addition of these 46 units will only address 2.4 percent of the need. She would look into the driveway issue with the property owner and possibly eliminate a portion from the proposed project.
Motion by Rathmann, seconded by Mendola, to table the request for a rezoning & special permit for property located at 117 French Road, being part of Lot Nos. 13, 32 & 33, changing its classification from C-2 & R-100A to R-50(S), for a 47-unit senior apartment facility, pending receipt of additional information on storm water, sanitary sewer, and other factors that affect the site.
Motion by Rathmann, seconded by Ciancio, to adjourn the meeting at 10:10 P.M.
PATRICIA C. DEPASQUALE, RMC/CMC