Board Meeting Minutes 01/14/2010

1250 Union Road                                           Minutes #2010-01
West Seneca, NY 14224                                January 14, 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
        Donald Mendola
        Jim Rathmann
        Anthony Nigro
        Joseph Sherman
        Robert Pinnavaia, Code Enforcement Officer
        Wendy Salvati, Planning Consultant
        Jeffrey Harrington, Deputy Town Attorney


    Absent -    Gerald Greenan

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



Motion by Rathmann, seconded by Mendola, 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 Carl & Annette Bueme for a rezoning & special permit for property located at 10 S. Fisher Road, being part of Lot No. 361, changing its classification from C-1 to C-2(S), for a banquet facility.

Chairman Niederpruem stated that this application was before the Planning Board in October and the petitioner was asked to bring additional information. The petitioner had also applied to the Zoning Board of Appeals for a use variance, but in the interim the Code Enforcement Office discovered that the actual zoning for the property is C-1 rather than R-75.

Mr. Mendola questioned if the petitioner planned to do anything with the exterior lighting.

The petitioners, Carl & Annette Bueme, 40 Willow Drive, stated that the existing lighting has been there for 35 years and they did not plan to change it.

Planning Consultant Wendy Salvati read a letter from the City of Lackawanna requesting a privacy fence along the south property line that borders mixed residential. They were also concerned that there be adequate parking and questioned if egress would be a problem with only one small driveway.

Chairman Niederpruem noted there was a building approximately 15’ off the south property line, so they will need to be specific on the fence and comply with the City of Lackawanna. He further noted that the zoning could remain as C-1 with just the addition of a special permit to allow service of alcoholic beverages.

Mrs. Bueme stated that she would not be serving alcoholic beverages, but the people who rent the hall will be.

Code Enforcement Officer Robert Pinnavaia responded that the special permit is required as long as alcohol is being served on the property.

Mr. Mendola questioned if a 6’ privacy fence would be sufficient.

Mr. Pinnavaia responded that the most important part was to screen the parking lot. If they were to put a 6’ fence along side the building they will need a variance for the height.

Mr. Nigro questioned if Mrs. Bueme intended to have a kitchen facility in the building.

Mrs. Bueme responded that there will be no kitchen in the building. People will bring their own food and drinks or have a drop off caterer.

Chairman Niederpruem questioned the plan for signage.

Mr. Bueme responded that the only sign they might have will be on the front of the building.

Chairman Niederpruem stated there was some concern about the construction equipment parked behind the building as it was a non-conformity.

No comments were received from the public.

Mr. Pinnavaia noted that Mr. & Mrs. Bueme will need a building permit for the change in use of the building even though they do not plan to make any changes to the building. The use is going from a church to a banquet facility so there were a number of code considerations, and they will need plans with dimensions so the distance to exits, etc. can be measured.

Motion by Mendola, seconded by Rathmann, to recommend approval of the request for a special permit for property located at 10 South Fisher Road, being part of Lot No. 361, changing its classification from C-1 to C-1(S), for a banquet facility, conditioned upon: 1) construction of a privacy fence along the parking lot in cooperation with the City of Lackawanna; 2) a building permit shall be obtained to change the use from a church to its sole use as a banquet facility; 3) no storage of construction equipment on the property; and further, recommend that the Town Board issue a negative declaration for this project.

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 the Planning Board just received some of the information they had requested yesterday. They needed more time to review this information and had advised the petitioner not to come to the meeting.

Motion by Ciancio, seconded by Rathmann, to table this item.

Ayes: All Noes: None Motion Carried


Mike Kelchlin, 5622 Seneca Street, commented that the residents get tired of having to come to meeting after meeting to be heard on an issue. He suggested that the plans for the project be forwarded to the residents along with the notice for the next meeting.

Chairman Niederpruem noted that the plans they received were available for public viewing in the Town Clerk’s Office prior to attending the meeting.

Edward Zurek, 2268 Transit Road, stated that at the previous Planning Board meeting it was suggested that the Town Engineer evaluate the drainage and he questioned if that had been done.

Chairman Niederpruem stated that the Planning Board asked the petitioner to submit engineering drawings that showed the contours of the property and a total picture of how the parcels come together. They just received this information yesterday.

Planning Consultant Wendy Salvati noted that if the rezoning is approved, the petitioner will still have to come back to the Planning Board for site plan review and that is where they take a closer look at the drainage.

Code Enforcement Officer Robert Pinnavaia understood there was no building construction planned for the site and wanted to ensure that the petitioner would have to go through the site plan review process. If the petitioner wanted to apply for a site plan waiver the drainage would not be reviewed by the Town Engineer. Mr. Pinnavaia suggested that site plan review be made a special condition of the rezoning if that’s what the Planning Board wanted.

Mrs. Salvati stated that if the petitioner is not building anything, making any structural improvements, or doing any re-grading there would be no impact on drainage. If the Planning Board wants the Town Engineer to look at existing drainage problems on the site, he can do that now at any point in time. A tree survey was submitted and the Planning Board could ask the petitioner his intention with regard to removal of trees.

Camelot Square Subdivision, Part III, preliminary approval

Chairman Niederpruem stated that at their previous meeting the Planning Board granted preliminary approval of the Camelot Square Subdivision, Part III. This was done in error and the first order of business should have been to designate the Planning Board as lead agency for SEQR on this property, so the preliminary approval had to be rescinded.

Motion by Rathmann, seconded by Ciancio, to rescind the preliminary plot approval for Camelot Square Subdivision, Part III.

Ayes: All Noes: None Motion Carried


Eric Paul, 99 Hemlock Drive, stated that he owns property immediately adjacent to the west side of the proposed subdivision. He questioned if plans were submitted indicating the proposed location of the roads, a tree survey, a drainage plan, or any changes in topography proposed. Mr. Paul further questioned if the project will be back for preliminary approval at the February meeting.

Planning Consultant Wendy Salvati advised that plans were submitted with lots that conformed to the existing zoning. The applicant tried a number of different development scenarios and none of them were accepted. The current plan was for 52 lots in the existing R-75 zoning. Part of that includes the preservation of trees that sit behind lots backing up to the existing subdivision. Mrs. Salvati encouraged Mr. Paul to view the current plan in the Town Clerk’s Office or Code Enforcement Office.

Chairman Niederpruem did not believe the project would be on the February agenda because the SEQR will not be finished.

Mr. Paul stated that there were a number of endangered species, specifically albino deer, on the property and he questioned if the SEQR process will include an environmental impact statement concerning wildlife.

Mr. Rathmann thought that a long form environmental impact statement would be required. He further noted that a tree survey and grading plan had not yet been submitted.

Mr. Ciancio noted that there is also a moratorium on the sewer district that will impact the SEQR.

Mr. Paul further noted that the current plan still had a stub for the cul-de-sac running south and that was too long by Town Code for emergency vehicle purposes.

Chairman Niederpruem responded that the current plan had a stub street and a secondary stub with a provision for entrance off an existing road into a piece of property the developer does not currently own.

Mr. Paul understood that the town had a policy of not allowing stub streets.

Code Enforcement Officer Robert Pinnavaia stated that the Town Engineer frowned on stub streets and preferred cul-de-sacs because of emergency vehicles, school buses, and snow plows.

Motion by Mendola, seconded by Rathmann, to adopt the following resolution designating the West Seneca Planning Board as lead agency for SEQR purposes on the proposed Camelot Square Subdivision, Part III:

    WHEREAS, the Town of West Seneca has received an application for preliminary subdivision review from Eugene R. Piotrowski for the construction of a 52-lot subdivision known as Camelot Square, Part III; and

    WHEREAS, the site is located east of the existing Camelot Subdivision, west of Angle Road, south of East & West Road, and north of Reserve Road, Town of West Seneca, Erie County, New York; and

    WHEREAS, the Town of West Seneca Planning Board conducted a coordinated review of the project and received no objections to the Planning Board acting as Lead Agency; now, therefore, be it

    RESOLVED, that the Planning Board, as the local agency with the most permitting power, declares itself Lead Agency.

Ayes: All Noes: None Motion Carried



A request from Young Development Inc. for site plan approval for property located at 1370 Southwestern Blvd., for expansion of the existing apartment complex with three new apartment buildings, maintenance garage, and associated utilities, parking, and landscape areas.

Chairman Niederpruem stated that this project was reviewed by the Planning Board in May 2009, a special permit was granted by the Town Board in June 2009, and a variance for density was granted by the Zoning Board in June 2009. Young Development had submitted a site plan with floor plans and an architectural rendering of the facility.

Mr. Mendola expressed concern over drainage if the berm on the west drains toward the west properties. Also, there was no swale on the north to stop any water from running off the property and no drainage along the brick house at 1338 Southwestern Blvd.

Brian Young of Young Development stated that he just received the comments from the Engineering Department and did not see these concerns in the comment letter, but any concerns that come up will be addressed through the engineering. The water will all end up back on site and into a retention pond.

The Planning Board members reviewed Town Engineer George Montz’s comments on the drainage and discussed them with Mr. Young.

Code Enforcement Officer Robert Pinnavaia noted that he and Fire Inspector John Gullo were talking to Mr. Young’s project manager earlier this date and Mr. Gullo requested that the hydrant be moved closer to the existing apartment building so it can service both phases.

Mr. Mendola suggested that Mr. Young meet with the fire chief for his input on the location of the hydrant.

Mr. Sherman questioned if there was any proposed screening for the hot box.

Mr. Young responded that it was not indicated on the plans, but they had already screened and landscaped the existing hot box. The proposed hot box will be located in the building.

Mr. Nigro referred to the detention basin in the northeast corner and questioned the southwest corner.

Mr. Young stated that the existing pond will be expanded and water will be piped through.

Chairman Niederpruem referred to Mr. Montz’s comment that the size of the existing detention basin was too small and expressed concern that the detention basin may have to be enlarged and then they might have to move a building.

Mr. Young responded that there was 250’ between the detention pond and the building and the pond was not going to double in size.

Chairman Niederpruem referred to Mr. Mendola’s earlier concern of the water on the back side of the berm and commented on what was done to protect the residents behind the RV facility and the apartment complex.

Mr. Young stated that there are a lot more DI’s on the property than normal because he is a landscaper and does not like to see water lying on the property.

Planning Consultant Wendy Salvati referred to the last page of Mr. Montz’s comments and noted that the direction of flow was indicated and the swale that runs behind the berm will be graded so it directs flow to the detention basin.

Mr. Rathmann was concerned about the west side of the west berm and thought there should be a more pronounced swale to pick up the water.

Mr. Young stated that he would address this issue.

Chairman Niederpruem referred to Mr. Montz’s memo and noted that the existing swale is directed into a catch basin and a new berm on the north and west side should be directed so the water doesn’t go onto the adjoining property.

Mrs. Salvati noted Phase I did not include street trees and the Planning Board had previously requested that the petitioner supply some street trees along the entire project.

Mr. Mendola questioned if there were any problems with lighting on the existing apartments.

Mr. Pinnavaia responded that there was one complaint, but Mr. Young’s representative took care of it in a very timely fashion. He asked the Planning Board to consider in the future, rather than light packs on the building lighting a parking lot when it is located next to the building, have light posts in the parking lot so the lighting is not as invasive on the neighbors. Mr. Pinnavaia stated that he had already received complaints from the residents of Pine Court North about the lighting at Katie’s Place on Schultz and Transit Roads, but he was sure Mr. Young would take care of that situation.

Mr. Young stated that he was addressing the issue at Katie’s Place and had redesigned the lighting plan for Lily’s Place. He wanted to be a good neighbor and the poles were brought out into the parking lot. Mr. Young referred to the lighting at Carnation Housing on Transit Road and stated that it was a great plan and he was mimicking that.

Motion by Ciancio, seconded by Mendola, to grant site plan approval for property located at 1370 Southwestern Blvd., for expansion of the existing apartment complex with three new apartment buildings, maintenance garage, and associated utilities, parking, and landscape areas conditioned upon the following: 1) applicant must secure full engineering approval, including making sure that no drainage from this site is directed off site; 2) any changes to the detention basin, as required by the Town Engineer, that might change the layout of the plan will require the applicant to come back to the Planning Board for an amendment to their site plan approval; 3) 14 – 2” diameter Honey Locust trees shall be planted along the Phase I portion of Southwestern Blvd.

Ayes: All Noes: None Motion Carried

A request from E.F. Burke Realty Co. for site plan approval for property located at Meyer Road and Birchwood Avenue for the proposed 144-unit Bridgeview apartment complex.

Chairman Niederpruem noted that a special permit with conditions was recently granted for this project by the Town Board and the plans submitted to the Planning Board had to be revised to reflect the changes. This item was on the agenda for discussion only and site plan approval would not be granted at this meeting.

Patricia Bittar of Wm. Schutt & Associates distributed a revised plan to the Planning Board members and stated that they had addressed concerns that were raised. Earth Dimensions was hired to review the site for the presence of wetlands and several wetland areas were identified and indicated on the revised plan. Of the wetland areas shown, Earth Dimensions thought that wetland area #2, the area closest to Meyer Road, will be deemed as isolated by the Army Corps of Engineers and an application was submitted to them. Of the other areas that front on Birchwood Avenue, there is less than 1/10 acre so they anticipate no permit will be required. Ms. Bittar stated that a tree survey was completed and the results were depicted on the plan. The cluster of trees did not fall right along the south property; they were somewhat inset from the property line. The Town Board required a 50’ conservation easement along the south property line and that was reflected on the plans. Another concern made at the initial Planning Board meeting was that the width of the two access points on Birchwood Avenue and Meyer Road be increased from 24’ to 30’ and that was shown on the revised plans. Ms. Bittar stated that previously there was a combination of parking spaces and garages accounting for the maximum number of spaces required for 144 units, but that was revised and there was now the minimum number of required parking spaces with the garages in addition to that. Buildings were shifted to avoid impact on the 50’ conservation easement and all the setbacks had been met.

Planning Consultant Wendy Salvati noted that the Town Board placed two conditions on the special permit as follows: 1) all trees within 50’ of the southern property be maintained and kept in its natural state with no clearing of vegetation; and 2) the parcel on the west of Birchwood Avenue be kept forever wild through a recorded conservation easement.

Mr. Mendola commented that there appeared to be a lot more trees than what were shown on the plan.

Brian Burke of Burke Realty stated that there were a number of trees on the opposite side of the fence along Route 400 and they were not on his property.

Mr. Rathmann commented that the billboard was in the middle of a cluster of trees, but the plan did not depict that.

Ms. Bittar stated that she would check this with the people that conducted the survey and prepared the layout.

Code Enforcement Officer Robert Pinnavaia noted that the garages to the north were located in a required front yard. Accessing them off Meyer Road presented another problem because the building had to be moved back another 10’. He suggested eliminating those garages.

Mr. Rathmann stated that the roadway throughout the site should be 30’ wide.

Ms. Bittar understood that the roadway only had to be 30’ at the access points and could reduce to 24’ feet throughout the site.

Mr. Pinnavaia stated that the Zoning Ordinance was amended in 1990 to require a 30’ driveway for multiple dwellings to provide emergency vehicles accessibility throughout the complex.

Ms. Bittar questioned if the plan could be submitted to the fire chief for his approval of the driveway as indicated on the plan.

Mr. Pinnavaia stated that the fire chief could not dictate what was in the Zoning Ordinance, but if there was a problem with interpretation they could pursue it with the Zoning Board of Appeals.

Mr. Ciancio questioned if the density was calculated using 8000 sf on each 8-unit building.

Ms. Bittar referred to senior apartment projects they had done with 50-units in the building and stated that the density was calculated the same way with 8000 sf for the first unit and 5000 for each additional unit.

Mr. Pinnavaia stated that the senior apartment projects were a single building, but this project had separate 8-unit buildings and the density should be calculated with 8000 for the first unit in each building and 5000 for each additional unit in each building, or 43,000 sf for each 8-unit building.

Chairman Niederpruem suggested that Ms. Bittar meet with the fire chief regarding placement of hydrants.

Mrs. Salvati reiterated the following revisions the Planning Board was requesting and noted that revised plans will have to be submitted at least two weeks prior to the next meeting: 1) garages along Meyer Road must be moved from the front yard setback; 2) the roadways are to be widened to 30’ and if the entrance/exit is separated it must be 20’ on each side; 3) a variance will be required for the density; 4) necessary adjustments must be made to the tree survey; 5) a natural screen should be developed between the project and the dairy operation; 6) note on the site plan the conservation easement area on the west.



A request from St. John’s Lutheran Church for informal discussion on a proposed new church building.

Richard Lipka represented St. John’s Lutheran Church located at 3512 Clinton Street and stated that the existing structure has been deemed unsafe and they were in the process of planning a new church on the existing site. They were looking to raze the existing building in September 2010 and hopefully start construction in April 2011. Mr. Lipka noted that the setback on the existing structure was only 10’ from Clinton Street and although the plans for the new building had more of a setback, it probably would not be 40’ as required by the Town Code. He questioned if they could start the variance request now before even having a plan in place for the building.

Code Enforcement Officer Robert Pinnavaia advised that they could apply for a variance with a proposed plan, but they would have to apply for a building permit within six months of receiving the variance and have to start the project within six months of receipt of the building permit.

Chairman Niederpruem stated that he had seen the proposed layout and thought the big issue would be parking for the number of seats and events on site.

Mr. Lipka noted that there was a parking lot on Kron Avenue that they used and parking on the side of the education building. He questioned if they would look at parking for the school building, offices and sanctuary combined.

Planning Consultant Wendy Salvati stated that the Town Code called for one space for each classroom plus one space for every three seats in an auditorium or stadium.

Mr. Ciancio questioned if the proposed building will be larger that the existing one and Mr. Lipka advised that the new building will be smaller.

Mr. Niederpruem questioned how many seats were planned for the church.

Mr. Lipka advised that the maximum attendance for Easter service was 279 and they will probably have around 240 seats and the narthex will handle any overflow.

Mr. Pinnavaia stated that the Town Code did not have an inch dimension for a seat in a pew and thought they could use the Building Code which is 21” per seat.

Mr. Lipka stated that their existing bells were not currently in use and will not be used in the new building, but they would like to display them in a tower. He questioned if a tower would be considered a building with regard to setbacks or if it would be considered signage. They planned to place the tower in the courtyard between the church and school building.

Mr. Pinnavaia considered the tower to be an accessory structure and suggested a variance if it did not meet the setback requirement.

Mrs. Salvati advised Mr. Lipka that his next step would be to meeting with Sarah DesJardin to commence a site plan application and meet with Mr. Pinnavaia as required to go over any additional codes.


Motion by Mendola, seconded by Rathmann, to adjourn the meeting at 9:00 P.M.

Ayes: All Noes: None Motion Carried