Board Meeting Minutes 02/11/2010

1250 Union Road                                           Minutes #2010-02
West Seneca, NY 14224                                February 11, 2010

Chairman Robert Niederpruem called the meeting to order at 7:00 P.M. followed by the Pledge to the Flag.

ROLL CALL:   Present - Robert Niederpruem Jr., Chairman

        Joseph Ciancio
        Gerald Greenan
        Donald Mendola
        Anthony Nigro
        Jim Rathmann
        Joseph Sherman
        Robert Pinnavaia, Code Enforcement Officer
        Wendy Salvati, Planning Consultant
        Jeffrey Harrington, Deputy Town Attorney

    Absent -   None

Chairman Robert Niederpruem read the Fire Prevention Code instructing the public where to exit in case of a fire or other emergency.



Motion by Greenan, seconded by Rathmann, to approve the proofs of publication and posting of legal notice.

Ayes: All Noes: None Motion Carried


Motion by Mendola, seconded by Rathmann, to approve Minutes #2009-11 of December 10, 2009.

Ayes: All Noes: None Motion Carried



A request from Jay A. Pohlman, Esq. for a rezoning for property located north of 2250 Transit Road, being part of Lot No. 227, changing its classification from R-60A to C-2, for retail display of plants & shrubs.

Chairman Niederpruem stated that this project was before the Planning Board two months ago and at that time the petitioner was requested to furnish a tree survey and elevations of the site and surrounding area. These documents had been submitted.

Jay Pohlman, Esq. represented Richard Flett, owner of Seneca Greenhouse, 2250 Transit Road, and stated that Mr. Flett had an option to purchase the 100’ x 1028’ vacant parcel at 2266 Transit Road just north of his property. He was seeking a rezoning to C-2 to use the property for display of plants/shrubs. Mr. Flett was not looking for additional parking and there will be no buildings on the parcel. He was only looking to rezone the front 328’ of the parcel and the rear 700’ will be kept in its natural state. Mr. Pohlman noted that Mr. Flett grows very little on site. Most of his baskets were grown in a greenhouse on Seneca Street, his trees were grown by a third party, and he is primarily a retail outlet. The surveyor indicated a couple extra parking spaces because at times during the year, such as Easter and Memorial Day weekend, there are parking issues and there is someone directing traffic. Mr. Pohlman referred to the tree survey and noted there are 115 trees in the front section over 4-inch caliper.

Chairman Niederpruem questioned how many trees will remain on the property.

Mr. Pohlman responded that they would like to leave the north boundary of the property with a visual barrier, especially since there is a predominance of trees there and it will protect the neighbor to the north. In addition, the parcel will not be clear cut; there are some very large maple and cherry trees he would like to keep, especially in the area surrounding the children’s garden and toward the rear corner of the property. He will cut just what is necessary to promote the photosynthesis needed to ensure the plants are OK and to promote safety of the patrons. Mr. Flett will also cut back a safe distance from the right-of-way to open the site line when exiting onto Transit Road and enable the business to be seen before it is passed.

Mr. Ciancio noted that according to the Tree Ordinance Mr. Flett will have to replace every tree that is removed, either on his own property or elsewhere.

Mr. Pohlman stated that he was aware of that section of the ordinance.

Mr. Mendola referred to the previous meeting and the statement that there will be no physical re-grading of the property and questioned how this could be done if 50 trees were being removed. He commented that Mr. Flett will have to re-grade the property and the drainage will have to be addressed.

Mr. Pohlman stated that they did not intend to clear cut the property. Some trees will be cut, the stumps removed, and the land brought back to the existing grade. There will be no change or deviation from the topographic information submitted.

Mr. Mendola questioned if the stumps will be ground to 2 to 3 inches below ground level.

Mr. Pohlman stated that this would not be a problem for the smaller trees, but they will have to do this in the walkway and places within the children’s gardening area. He noted that they want to keep the land as natural as possible while still allowing safe pedestrian access.

Mr. Mendola stated that as stumps are removed the water will have a quicker flow factor and if it goes to the north property line it will flow across the sidewalk.

Mr. Pohlman stated that they did not plan to change anything with the drainage and it will be natural. Even if some trees are removed, there will still be the same amount of land to handle the water and the same drainage pattern. Mr. Pohlman stated that they were aware of the need to prevent any drainage from impacting the neighbors and were willing to submit a drainage plan that satisfies the town’s requirements if necessary.

Chairman Niederpruem noted that the low point of the entire site was the northeast corner and the board members were concerned that the swale will dump the water there and it will end up in the neighbor’s front yard. If the project receives approval, Town Engineer George Montz will have to approve the drainage plan.

Mr. Mendola questioned if there will be lighting for the children’s garden area.

Mr. Flett stated there will be no lighting for the children’s garden area. It will be a natural setting for the children. There were no plans to change any of the existing lighting.

Mr. Rathmann did not think the plans submitted reflected a natural setting.

Mr. Pohlman agreed that the survey appeared rigid but stated that it will end up being as natural as possible.

Mr. Sherman questioned if there will be school buses bringing children to the site.

Mr. Flett responded that during the Christmas season one school bus brings children from the deaf school, but that is the only one. Parents sign their children up for the gardening classes; they are not school groups of children on a field trip.

Mr. Nigro questioned if Mr. Flett planned to fence the site at all, possibly on the west to separate the undisturbed property from the children’s area.

Mr. Pohlman stated that they had not intended to fence the area, but would do so if the neighbors on the north or west preferred a fence instead of the natural state. He noted that more trees will have to be cut down for a fence and that will cut into the natural buffer.

Chairman Niederpruem recited §120-27(b) of the Town Code that requires screening or fencing commercial property that abuts residential on the side or rear and this was at the discretion of the Town Board.

Mr. Mendola questioned what the retail display consisted of.

Mr. Pohlman responded that the retail display was either cinder blocks or rain barrels holding a box with plants displayed.

Mr. Mendola noted that the display will have to be setback 40’ from the right-of-way and 25’ from the north property line and this was not indicated on the plans.

Mr. Pohlman was aware of the setbacks and stated that the display garden will be a permanent garden located on the furthest north portion of the property and will comply with the Town Code.

Code Enforcement Officer Robert Pinnavaia noted that if in the future Mr. Flett eliminates the green area in the front he will have to obtain a variance from the Zoning Board because there is a 10’ requirement for green space. Also, a 10’ green space is required on the southern line before the parking spaces are put in.

Mr. Rathmann commented that rain gardens were becoming popular and it may be beneficial to use the swale for that purpose. He further questioned if the children’s garden area was strictly for educational purposes or if they will have regular gardens they will be maintaining.

Mr. Flett responded that the children’s garden area was for educational purposes only and it will not be a play area. Parents will bring the children for a 1 to 1½ hour class and then leave. Mr. Flett stated that they have held classes in the past but it is congested inside with the customers, so they wanted to move it outside. They have a schedule of classes on Saturdays and Sundays.

Edward & Sue Zurek, 2268 Transit Road, questioned if the drainage will have to be approved by the Town Engineer. He commented on the natural swale and noted that the water flows over and under the sidewalk now and it is ready to crack. With additional water the sink hole will be worse.

Chairman Niederpruem responded that the drainage plan will have to be approved by Town Engineer George Montz. The Planning Board understood that the northeast corner is the lowest point and the water will end up there. It will not be able to flow across the sidewalk and will have to be contained in a structure underground.

Mr. Zurek referred to a row of trees on the property line on the plans and stated that there are no trees. The trees that were there died many years ago because of the standing water in that area. He did not believe anything would grow in that area and suggested a six foot stockade fence that runs 328’ deep and across the width of the property. Mr. Zurek stated that he has a dog that stays outside on a leash in the summer and he was concerned about children wandering onto his property.

Mrs. Zurek commented on the natural habitat she is accustomed to seeing when she sits in her yard and did not want to see a business and customers roaming around. If the rezoning is approved, she asked that the drainage be taken care of and a fence be constructed.

Mr. Zurek questioned if there will be any temporary plastic greenhouses on the property.

Mr. Flett stated that there will be no greenhouses on the property.

Mike Kelchlin, 5622 Seneca Street, questioned the future existing overflow parking indicated on the plan and where the employees park. He noted the bags of peat moss, potting soil and fertilizer stacked near the fence along Flappy’s and the spoils from the flowers, rotted lumber and rotted pumpkins. Mr. Kelchlin stated that his house is located on Seneca Street, but with the rezoning of the restaurant on the corner and now the greenhouse it’s like he lives on Transit Road and proper fencing and screening was necessary to separate the properties.

Mr. Pohlman stated that the overflow parking was what they would potentially like to do on days where additional parking is needed such as Mother’s Day, Easter, etc. He stated that the entire parcel was originally put on the rezoning application, but they were only looking to rezone the first 328’ and did not intend to do anything with the rear portion that abuts the Seneca Street properties and it will remain residential.

Motion by Greenan, seconded by Mendola, to recommend a negative declaration with regard to SEQR for the proposed project at 2266 Transit Road.

Ayes: All Noes: None Motion Carried

Motion by Mendola, seconded by Rathmann, to recommend approval of the request for a rezoning for property located at 2266 Transit Road, being part of Lot No. 227, changing its classification from R-60A to C-2, for retail display of plants & shrubs, conditioned upon the following: 1) the rezoning will apply only to a depth of 328’; 2) a 6’ high stockade fence shall be constructed along the property lines abutting a residential zoning district (north, west, and south), including the existing greenhouse property.

On the question, Deputy Town Attorney Jeffrey Harrington advised that there may be an issue as to whether the Town Board can condition rezoning the new parcel on making changes to the existing parcel.

Mr. Pinnavaia suggested they get an agreement from the applicant. He further noted that the fence should be setback 40 feet in the front yard.

Planning Consultant Wendy Salvati commented that the rezoning involves the existing parcel because it is an extension of that business, so she did not believe they could separate the two parcels.

Mr. Harrington noted there was a similar situation currently in town court but they had not received the Judge’s decision yet.

Ayes: All Noes: None Motion Carried



Motion by Greenan, seconded by Rathmann, to adjourn the meeting at 8:00 P.M.

Ayes: All Noes: None Motion Carried