West Seneca Planning Board Meeting Minutes 07/09/2009
Chairman Robert Niederpruem called the meeting to order at 7:30 P.M. followed by the Pledge to the Flag.
ROLL CALL: Present -
William P. Czuprynski, Code Enforcement Officer
Wendy Salvati, Planning Consultant
Shawn Martin, Town Attorney
Absent - Anthony Nigro
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 Mendola, to approve the proofs of publication and posting of legal notice.
APPROVAL OF MINUTES
Motion by Rathmann, seconded by Mendola, to approve Minutes #2009-06 of June 11, 2009.
NEW BUSINESS COMMUNICATIONS
Attorney Ralph Lorigo, 101 Slade Avenue, represented the petitioner, Young Development, and stated that the property was a 100’ x 230’ parcel and the 7000 sf building was formerly the location for Carolina Furniture. Bryan Young of Young Development purchased the property and was renting a portion of it to Home and Office Furnishings. His proposal for approximately 3000 sf of the remaining building was for an upscale Chinese restaurant with service of alcoholic beverages and he planned to invest $200,000 or more in the interior.
Chairman Niederpruem noted that 31 parking spaces were designated on the plan, but spaces 1 thru 5 were against the right-of-way and were not conforming. The Town Code prohibited parking within 10’ of the right-of-way. Also, the dumpster could not be located within the 10’ setback area and relocating it would eliminate another 2 to 3 parking spaces.
Mr. Lorigo stated that the request before the Planning Board at this time was for a change of zoning for the use of the property. Site plan issues and variances would come at a later date, and he understood that the project could be turned down at the site plan approval stage. Mr. Lorigo stated that parking was a factor of the number of seats in the restaurant and they would have to reduce the number of seats if a variance is not granted for the parking. Four to five parking spaces were required for Home and Office Furnishings, so that left 20 spaces for the restaurant.
Planning Consultant Wendy Salvati noted that there was another 1000 sf in the building that would also require parking.
Mr. Lorigo stated that they would have to make the restaurant fit if they are not able to get variances.
Dixie Blando, 60 Amana Place, was not opposed to a restaurant on this property, but was not in favor of it selling alcoholic beverages and was concerned about the special permit staying with the property if the Chinese restaurant closed. She thought the property was more suitable for a take-out restaurant since there was not a lot of parking. Mrs. Blando questioned the need for an entrance at the rear of the building and thought the rear lot would just be used for employee parking and deliveries.
John Blando, 60 Amana Place, did not believe there should be a store front or entrance on Garden Avenue because it will encroach into the residential neighborhood.
Mr. Lorigo suggested limiting the special permit and stipulating that in order to serve alcoholic beverages it must be a sit-down restaurant. This would prevent it from turning into a bar in the future if the Chinese restaurant were to close.
Mrs. Salvati noted that the special permit would have to be clear and specific to the use and be on the record so there is no question in the future.
Motion by Greenan, seconded by Sherman, to recommend issuance of a Negative Declaration with regard to SEQR for the proposed sit-down restaurant with service of alcoholic beverages at 4060 Seneca Street, noting that it will create no adverse environmental impacts.
Motion by Greenan, seconded by Mendola, to recommend approval of the request for a rezoning and special permit for property located at 4060 Seneca Street, being part of Lot Nos. 93 & 94, changing its classification from C-1 to C-2(S), for a sit-down restaurant with service of alcoholic beverages, with the stipulation that there will be a service bar only with no seating at the bar.
Michael Pasquale, 270 Indian Church Road, stated that he bought the property at 924 Indian Church Road a couple years ago and when he applied for a liquor license found out he needed a special permit. The property was previously a bar, but it was closed for more than a year so the special permit expired.
Chairman Niederpruem stated that the first issue with this request was the fact that the proposed bar abutted part of a residential zoning district. The parking requirement was 19 spaces and the plan showed 21 spaces, but 7 spaces abutted the building and that was not allowed. Setback from the right-of-way was also an issue.
Code Enforcement Officer William Czuprynski advised that the property was located along two public right-of-ways and Indian Church Road was considered the front yard, Mineral Springs Road was considered the exterior side yard, and the rear yard abutted the residences but that property was zoned C-1.
Planning Consultant Wendy Salvati stated that the properties across the street on Mineral Springs Road are in an R-50 and R-65 zoning district and Section 120-20A(8)(d) of the Town Code prohibits the serving of alcohol in any establishment that abuts a residential district. A variance would be required to allow relief from that requirement and that could not be done through the special use permit. It was understood that historically the property was operated as a bar, so that has occurred in the past, but before they could go further Mr. Pasquale would first have to seek the variance to allow him to serve alcohol on this site. The other issue of parking should be discussed to make Mr. Pasquale aware of the requirements because it will have to go through the site plan approval process.
Mr. Greenan questioned the history of the property and whether the tavern predated the Zoning Ordinance. He suggested that the property might never have had a special permit for the sale of alcoholic beverages.
Mr. Pasquale responded that the property was a tavern for 50 to 60 years.
Town Attorney Shawn Martin advised that the “S” designation was on the zoning map and he would have to check the records to determine when that was done.
Mary Williams, 929 Indian Church Road, noted that the four houses in the C-1 zoning district were once part of National Grid and the foremen lived in them years ago. They were now residential homes but the zoning remained as C-1. Mrs. Williams commented that when the smoking ban went into effect, patrons of the bar would stand out in the parking lot to smoke and their talking carried throughout the neighborhood. She further commented on the parking situation and how it obstructed motorists’ vision and noted the number of accidents at the intersection of Mineral Springs and Indian Church Road. The bar also attracted a lot of motorcyclists when it was open and Mrs. Williams expressed concern about a patio bar causing noise in the neighborhood.
Sally Becker, 921 Indian Church Road, stated that the point area of the road changed over the years and many years ago an older couple owned the bar and it was very quiet. When ownership changed more noise was generated from motorcycles and outside talking and fighting by the patrons who were not considerate of the residents.
Mike & Sharon Kopacz, 1281 Mineral Springs Road, questioned the location of the dumpster and was concerned about loud music, noise, and people hanging out on the property late at night. Mrs. Kopacz stated she and her husband put up a fence between their property and the bar, but the fence had been hit several times by patrons of the bar. She further commented that when the bar was open they were always finding beer bottles in their yard and swimming pool.
Sheila & David Schlager, 1314 Mineral Springs Road, stated that the neighborhood has been quiet since the bar closed, but when it was open they had the same problems as mentioned by the previous residents. They were constantly picking up cigarette butts and beer bottles and noise was a problem because the door to the bar would be left open. Patrons would hang around outside to smoke and their voices and foul language would travel throughout the neighborhood. The parking also created site distance problems and a dangerous situation.
Mr. Pasquale agreed with a lot of the residents’ comments and stated that he did not plan to keep the bar open until 4 A.M. He was also looking to make it more of a restaurant than a bar. Mr. Pasquale stated that he never had a dumpster on the property and no one ever contacted him with any complaints. He didn’t like the parking in the front and would prefer to have that area landscaped. The smoking ban did create a problem with people going outside to smoke, but he suggested making a designated area for them to smoke. Mr. Pasquale thought that all the problems mentioned could be addressed and stated that he keeps the property clean and well maintained.
Motion by Ciancio, seconded by Mendola, to recommend denial of the request for a special permit for property located at 924 Indian Church Road, being part of Lot. Nos. 58 & 138, changing its classification from C-2 to C-2(S), for a restaurant/bar, based on the past history of nuisances and the potential for those to happen again.
Motion by Mendola, seconded by Rathmann, to adjourn the meeting at 8:35 P.M.
PATRICIA C. DEPASQUALE, RMC/CMC