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Board Meeting Minutes 03/11/2010
WEST SENECA TOWN OFFICES WEST SENECA PLANNING BOARD
1250 Union Road Minutes #2010-03
West Seneca, NY 14224 March 11, 2010
Chairman Robert Niederpruem Jr. called the meeting to order at 7:00 P.M. followed by the Pledge to the Flag.
ROLL CALL: Present - Robert Niederpruem Jr., Chairman
Robert Pinnavaia, Code Enforcement Officer
Wendy Salvati, Planning Consultant
Shawn Martin, Town Attorney
Absent - Joseph Sherman
Chairman 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 Greenan, seconded by Rathmann, to approve the proofs of publication and posting of legal notice.
|Ayes: All||Noes: None||Motion Carried|
APPROVAL OF MINUTES
Motion by Ciancio, seconded by Rathmann, to approve Minutes #2010-02 of February 11, 2010.
|Ayes: All||Noes: None||Motion Carried|
OLD BUSINESS COMMUNICATIONS
A request from Metzger Civil Engineering, PLLC for preliminary approval of the proposed Camelot Square Subdivision, Phase III, for 55 lots.
Chairman Niederpruem stated that this project had been before the Planning Board on several occasions and most recently they had asked the petitioner for a list of various items relative to the NYSDEC, sewers, and other components involved in the approval process.
Attorney Ralph Lorigo, 101 Slade Avenue, represented builder/developer Eugene Piotrowski and Mike Metzger of Metzger Civil Engineering and stated that they were in receipt of a letter from the NYSDEC and trying to get specific answers to each of the issues raised in the letter, but they needed additional time.
Mr. Metzger stated that they were not looking for any approvals at this time and only wanted to update the board members. He referred to the NYSDEC letter and the five points they had raised. With regard to storm water management, they were requiring a storm water pollution prevention plan and Mr. Metzger was aware of that and it will be prepared with the design plans. He was aware of the fact that the project will require sewer approval from the health department and NYSDEC. They were also aware of the potential for hydric soils on the site and a wetlands biologist looked at the site, did a delineation, and submitted it to the Army Corps of Engineers (COE). The COE has issued a jurisdictional determination on that and there is one small federal wetland on the site that the preliminary plan totally avoids. The NYSDEC also saw the potential for state wetlands on site and Mr. Metzger was puzzled by this because the wetlands biologist is confident the site is clear and there are none in the immediate area. He had already contacted the NYSDEC and the COE to explain his belief that there is no issue and get them to sign off on this. The last point in the NYSDEC letter concerned the SEQR process and some additional information that was required. Mr. Metzger further referred to the concern over capacity in the sanitary sewer and stated that he had talked to Town Engineer George Montz and met with the NYSDEC about it. They know there are capacity issues downstream from the property and he wanted to employ the 4 to 1 tradeoff option that is available for development projects. Mr. Metzger confirmed with the NYSDEC that they would be agreeable with allowing that so the next step is to identify a project to make some improvements in the existing system to open up capacity for this project. They were working with the Engineering Department on this to see if there were any known areas. There aren’t any at the present time, but the town has been doing an inflow and infiltration study that is almost done so they will be entering the next phase of the study and it was scheduled to be done at the end of this summer. At that time, they will have information on a specific area where improvements could be made. Mr. Metzger was attempting to schedule a follow-up meeting with the NYSDEC to see if they will give him a letter concurring with his approach to this.
Chairman Niederpruem referred to the NYSDEC letter and noted that they want the wetlands delineation for the properties adjacent to the site before any determination is made on environmental significance. He also referred to a letter received this date from the County of Erie stating their concerns over the segmentation of the property with the stub street and the number of trips through the Angle Road and East & West Road intersection.
Mr. Metzger stated that he would be happy to look into the County’s concerns. He further stated that it may not be possible to do a wetlands delineation on someone else’s property and he would have to talk to the NYSDEC on that.
Motion by Greenan, seconded by Mendola, to table this item until the applicant is ready to proceed.
On the question, Mr. Rathmann noted that a 60’ paved cul-de-sac was required and the plans submitted indicated a 60’ radius for the right-of-way width.
Mr. Metzger responded that the detail used for the cul-de-sac was obtained from the Engineering Department, but he will take another look at it.
|Ayes: All||Noes: None||Motion Carried|
NEW BUSINESS COMMUNICATIONS
A request from Young Development Inc. for a special permit for property located at 810 Union Road, being part of Lot Nos. 329 & 330, changing its classification from R-60 to R-60(S), for one 3-story, 128-unit senior apartment building and one 2-story, 47-unit HUD 202 apartment building.
Chairman Niederpruem stated that along with the application the Planning Board had received a project information sheet, an abstract of title, a cultural resource investigation, a survey, a wetlands delineation report, a traffic study, an architectural layout, and a tree survey. The Planning Board received a revised site plan prior to this meeting that reduced the project as noted above.
Attorney Ralph Lorigo, 101 Slade Avenue, represented Young Development Inc. and People Inc. and stated that it was always their intention to present a plan that fell fully within the guidelines of the Town Code, including the density. They met with the town in February and were told that the original plan met the requirements, but there was a change in interpretation over the last couple of weeks which led to the revised plan. Mr. Lorigo stated that the project consisted of 20.5 acres zoned R-60, the proper zoning for multiple dwellings in West Seneca. Approximately 17 acres are zoned R-75 and that does not allow for multiple dwellings. It was their original intention to use the vacant land as density for the R-60 use. The Code Enforcement Office determined it was not allowable to use the R-75 property for density, so the plan was revised and the number of units reduced to a total of 175. There is 5.51 acres for the People Inc. project and it involves 100’ of frontage on Park Lane. This will accommodate the required density for 47 units which is 240,000 sf. The other parcel is 15.07 acres zoned R-60 and the proposal for that is a 128 unit, 3-story building. The density exceeds what is required for 128 units. Mr. Lorigo stated that the project meets all Town Codes, but requires a special permit as do all multi-family dwellings in West Seneca. The project was presented to the neighboring residents on two occasions. It was initially presented as an apartment complex and was received fairly well by the neighbors. Subsequently, a situation was worked out with People Inc. who had been looking for a site in West Seneca and the project was changed to include a HUD 202 housing project next to a fair market value housing project. Both projects will be senior housing. The 128-unit complex will have a fair market value rent of approximately $850 per month. The 47-unit People Inc. project will be low income, which means an annual income of approximately $21,500. Mr. Lorigo referred to the Carnation House senior project on Southwestern Blvd. where there is a waiting list and offered to take the board members or interested members of the public there to see the project. The people who live in this type of project are typically in their 70’s, generally from the surrounding area, and they can no longer afford to maintain their houses. Although the HUD 202 project has a property tax exemption, it does pay special district taxes. The seniors that move there are generally giving up their homes that had a senior citizen tax exemption on it, so there is a property tax increase when their homes are purchased by someone else. Mr. Lorigo stated that there is 37 acres in the parcel and 5.51 will have the property tax exemption, so 32 acres will be taxable. Currently there are no taxes paid by Houghton College. Mr. Lorigo stated that the only issue before the Planning Board was whether the R-60 zoned parcel should have multiple dwelling units. He noted that the property is properly zoned for multiple dwellings, meets the density of the Town Code, has no off-street parking problems, has no traffic issues, and will have proper screening after going through the site plan approval process. Other issues to be discussed at that time will be actual location of the buildings and parking lots, the height of the buildings, etc. Mr. Lorigo commented that this is an excellent location for the project because it is in close proximity and walking distance to Southgate Plaza. The traffic impact on Union Road will be substantially less than another project because seniors are not typically out during rush hours. Mr. Lorigo noted that the property has been on the market for a couple years and no one will buy it for other than an apartment complex.
Chairman Niederpruem questioned if the project had an official HUD 202 designation and if market studies had been completed.
Mr. Lorigo responded that it was an official HUD 202 designation and market studies were completed. In order to go through a HUD 202 application, you have to prove the need in the location, because the federal government approves a project based on the need. At Burchfield Commons there are 72 people on a waiting list.
Chairman Niederpruem questioned if the 100’ access was an easement. He further questioned the legal relationship between People Inc. and the Young Development project.
Mr. Lorigo stated that the 100’ access was part of the 5.51 acres and will be owned by People Inc. There is no relationship between Young Development and People Inc. Mr. Young purchased the land and the question now was how to make the right use of the land to go forward with the development. This is a substantially expensive piece of property that has been on the market for a long time. Mr. Young believes that his 128-unit project can be absorbed into the West Seneca market fairly easily and rapidly. The marriage with People Inc. gives 47 seniors an opportunity to come to the project. There is no question of the need and the project will be filled quickly because of the waiting lists at other projects. Mr. Young was willing to put his entrepreneurial dollars next to the project that most residents of the neighborhood believe will devalue their land. Mr. Lorigo stated that the Lambein building will remain on the property and for a minimum of five years Houghton College will lease the property from Young Development who will own everything except the 5.51 acres owned by People Inc. There were options after five years, but that will be up to Houghton College.
Chairman Niederpruem stated that after five years Houghton College may want to terminate their lease and Mr. Young might then return to the Planning Board regarding the use of that building.
Mr. Ciancio questioned how the People Inc. property will be delineated from the Young Development property.
Mr. Lorigo stated that right now this was one parcel and they were looking for a special permit for multi-family dwellings. They will delineate the two separate parcels according to the Code Enforcement Office’s specifications when they go through the site plan approval process.
Planning Consultant Wendy Salvati noted that they had to look at this as one project right now for SEQR purposes.
Mr. Mendola questioned if the government will pay for some of the empty rooms in the HUD project if the clientele for this type of housing diminishes. He further questioned how they defined senior citizen.
Mr. Lorigo stated that this is a HUD project which means that the funds to build the unit come on a grant from the federal government. It is then totally maintained by People Inc. A senior citizen for HUD purposes is defined as 62 and older. Mr. Young was also willing to bind his project to the town’s definition of a senior project, which typically in most towns was 55 to 62 years of age.
Mrs. Salvati referred to Mr. Young’s other senior apartment complexes, Katie’s Place and Lily’s Place and questioned if there was a waiting list.
Mr. Lorigo stated that Katie’s Place was built and in the process of being marketed and the marketing was going well enough that he is willing to take on this additional project and lock it to a senior project.
Chairman Niederpruem referred to the site plan and questioned if there was a road leading to East & West Road.
Mr. Lorigo responded that what looked like a road was actually someone’s driveway. The only ingress/egress to the project was on Union Road. They were not looking to come out on Park Lane or on East & West Road.
Chairman Niederpruem noted that the traffic study addressed the number of trips currently and the number proposed based on criteria on size of the units and age of those living in them. There was no mention about the driveway from Union Road to Park Lane as it is now and he questioned if there were any improvements planned.
Mr. Lorigo stated that the intention right now was to leave the driveway as is with two lanes leaving and one lane entering.
Chairman Niederpruem stated that this means a private driveway will be accessing a public right-of-way and he thought there would be a problem with water utility trucks going over private property. This issue will have to be addressed.
Mrs. Salvati referred to §120-31(b)(4) of the Town Code and stated that for multi-family developments the driveway access has to be a minimum of 30’ wide. When there are separate driveways, each has to be a minimum of 20’ wide.
Mr. Lorigo responded that the double access is 20’ wide, but the one lane entrance was only 15’ wide so that will have to be increased.
Mr. Mendola referred to the area of the driveway that meets Park Lane and stated that there appeared to be a strip of property that was not designated. He questioned if that was why the road was curved.
Code Enforcement Officer Robert Pinnavaia advised that this was a requirement of Town Engineer George Montz to adequately have the radius for the turnaround and a small portion of land was taken from Houghton College to accomplish that.
Mr. Lorigo indicated on the plan where they intended to have a crash gate in the event emergency vehicle access was required. No normal traffic would be able to cut through.
Mr. Rathmann questioned if they were locked into a 3-story “H” shaped building and commented that a 2-story building would be more pleasant to look at.
Mr. Lorigo responded that they were not locked into anything and all those issues will be debated at site plan approval. Mr. Young was looking to put in 175 units, but this was only the concept plan. Everything he planned to do will meet the Town Code including the density and not require any additional variances.
Mr. Pinnavaia stated that the reason for a special permit was so the Town Board can enforce stricter requirements than what is in the Town Code. There are a lot of conditions that can be imposed.
Chairman Niederpruem referred to the traffic study and noted there was accident data missing and they will be receiving addendums on that.
Lowell Dewey of C & S Engineers stated that within the last six years there were four accidents – two were deer hits and two were rear end hits on East & West Road and Union Road.
Dan Frontera, 2nd Asst. Chief and Andy Kazmierski, 1st Asst. Chief with Reserve Fire Company stated that most of their comments were on the site plan, but they were concerned about the density and questioned whether the units were single or double occupancy. They were also concerned about the access point inside the building and whether one entrance was sufficient. They would like to see another entrance.
Mr. Greenan questioned if a 3-story building posed a problem for the fire service.
Mr. Frontera stated that a 3-story building posed a significant problem for them. They have a 110’ aerial ladder, but it poses a problem based on the occupancy, where people are housed in the building, and the manpower to respond to an emergency call. They would not be able to fit a truck the way the plan is now, but they understand this would be addressed at site plan approval.
Mr. Mendola questioned if there was any concern with the retention pond.
Mr. Frontera responded that the retention pond was a big issue because they could not get to the back portion of the building. They would also want to discuss the turning radius, number and placement of hydrants, sprinkler system, size of the elevators being sufficient to accommodate a gurney with a patient and crew working a cardiac arrest, placement within the building of individuals that are assisted by wheelchairs and walkers, full access to the rear building, and the use of generators to supply power with a plan to shelter and place if faced with another 2006 storm. The population density will also place a huge burden on the fire company and their ability to respond. Mr. Frontera noted that in the Town of Orchard Park they have gone to a paid fire service and the fire districts are now taxing the citizens to pay for full-time EMT’s to respond to calls.
David Bonner, 16 Gervan Drive, submitted petitions that addressed four areas of main concern: zoning, traffic & transportation, environmental, and emergency services. They started circulating petitions a week ago and had already collected 1071 signatures. Mr. Bonner stated that Mr. Young originally sent a letter asking to meet with concerned residents and they met on February 2nd. Mr. Lorigo stated that the property was on the market for a couple years, but the residents were only aware of it being for sale since last summer when Mr. Militello as the real estate agent first sent a letter asking for a meeting with the area residents. Mr. Bonner stated that the current site plan was an updated version of what they saw on February 2nd and it is lower in units than what was originally presented. He referred to Mr. Lorigo’s comment at that meeting that the property is properly zoned for the proposed project and noted that on February 5th Mr. Young applied for a special permit for the project. At the February 2nd meeting, there was no discussion about moving any portion of the property to the ownership of People Inc. Mr. Bonner stated that in collecting signatures on the petition, he found no one that had any ill will towards People Inc, but they were vehemently opposed to a portion of the property being used for a HUD 202 development. He did not doubt that the project would be beautiful when Mr. Young completes it, but was concerned about how it might look decades into the future. Mr. Bonner commented that there was a lot of green space on the property and referred to the cell tower and questioned if that could be removed for future development when the lease runs out. Also, Houghton College’s purpose for selling the property was to seek other land ownership in the southtowns, so when the lease runs out on the Lambein building that will also be available for future development.
Mr. Pinnavaia stated that at this point under the current zoning the number of units was maximized for the bulk area of the property. Mr. Young could come back and request something, but the town would have the right to refuse because they will be over the density requirement. If they want to try to rezone the single family property they could have more development, but that would be a rezoning.
Mr. Bonner stated that the residents were concerned that possibly contaminated materials from the reconstruction of Gervan Drive, Park Lane, and portions of Union Road over the last few years were dumped and buried on the property where the HUD 202 project will be located. With regard to traffic concerns, the original plan did not show the turnaround and Mr. Bonner was concerned that the proposed crash gate would eventually be opened up to Park Lane as the project grows and traffic increases. He also disagreed that the senior citizens living at the project would be limited in their trips in and out of the project. Mr. Bonner questioned how many parking spaces were on the revised plan.
Mrs. Salvati responded there were 299 parking spaces between the projects which included 40 spaces for visitors and that meets the requirement of the Town Code.
Mr. Bonner questioned if Mr. Lorigo was an investor in the project along with the legal representative.
Mr. Lorigo responded that he was not an investor in the project, he was the legal representative for Mr. Young who was the sole owner.
Mrs. Salvati referred to the petitions submitted and questioned what the residents that signed it were agreeing to support.
Mr. Bonner stated that the petition contained four main points of concern: rezoning, traffic, environment and safety. As he and other concerned residents collected signatures, they explained the project the best they could to the people signing. He hoped the project would become much smaller than 175 units and be developed residentially. If the project were developed residentially, the homeowners would pay school taxes, property taxes, and other service fees for the town. It would be smaller in size and much less traffic in the area. Mr. Bonner stated that the petition was asking that the proposed project be stopped.
Mrs. Salvati stated that the reason Mr. Young downsized the project was because the zoning only allowed for 175 units. If he were to enlarge the project he would have to come back to the town and request that land be rezoned.
Mr. Bonner thought if the proposed project is approved it would set a precedent and the town would not be able to deny a request for a rezoning for future development. He agreed that senior housing was needed but did not believe this was a good location for the project and noted that there were plenty of other dilapidated tracks of land in the town that could be developed. Mr. Bonner commented on the poor maintenance of the sidewalks on Union Road over Cazenovia Creek and thought it would be hazardous for seniors to walk to Southgate Plaza.
Mr. Lorigo responded to some of Mr. Bonner’s statements and stated that environmental reports were submitted and there did not appear to be any problem. The Town Engineer must approve the project and should be aware if any materials from road reconstruction were buried on site.
Chairman Niederpruem questioned if the NYS Department of Transportation needed a permit to use the property to store a pile of blacktop over the winter.
Mr. Pinnavaia thought they would have needed a permit, but nothing was on file.
Mr. Lorigo referred to comments about the traffic and stated that traffic studies were done and have shown that senior complexes have less traffic. The traffic study completed did not indicate that there will be a traffic problem. He understood that no one wanted the turnaround on Park Lane and Mr. Young did not want it either. The crash gate will only be used in the event of an emergency and is a reasonable alternative to ever opening up Park Lane. With regard to future development, Mr. Lorigo stated that the density has been maximized and they had no intention of coming forward to seek a variance. If in the future Mr. Young or anyone else wanted to do that, they would have to come before the Planning Board and Town Board and request a change in zoning. Mr. Lorigo stated that there may be other dilapidated parcels in town, but he thought this site was perfect for the project. It has been zoned R-60 for decades and that allows for multi-family dwellings with a special permit.
Chairman Niederpruem commented on placement of the People Inc. building in the rear of the property and thought it would be better in the front along Park Lane where it would be away from the residential area.
Mr. Lorigo responded that this would be a site plan issue, but there were two buildings being proposed for the site and they had to fit around wetland delineations.
Lowell Dewey of C & S Engineers stated that they chose that corner for the People Inc. building because of the location of the wetlands and because it was the best location for the shape of the building. Mr. Dewey referred to the parking requirement under the Town Code and noted that it was much higher than actually needed. He has done at least 15 other senior housing projects in other communities where he banked the parking. Mr. Dewey could not see covering green space with asphalt if it is not needed, and instead they could just plan for it and put it in if needed.
Bruce Vona, 320 East & West Road, disagreed that the southwest corner of the property was the only place the HUD building will fit and suggested that it be redesigned to fit in the northeast corner. He stated that everyone has their own ideas and there are a lot of unforeseen things but it is up to the Planning Board to make sure that the property is developed for the best use. Mr. Vona agreed that the project will be beautiful when it is first built, but thought that 15 years from now it will be less desirable especially since these are rental units. He thought there were enough senior housing complexes in West Seneca and asked the Planning Board to support the residents’ opposition.
Guy Modica, 823 Union Road, stated that he lives across from the driveway on Union Road and the traffic is very busy there. If the project is approved, he suggested that a signal be installed to control the traffic.
Evelyn Hicks, 276 Seneca Creek Road, questioned if there will be any impact on the schools from 175 units, if the traffic study included the ingress/egress on Union Road or just within the Houghton College campus, and how there could be two developers on one parcel without it being segmentation under SEQR. She further questioned how they were avoiding a Type 1 action under SEQR, and if it is a Type 1 action, what is the status, when will it be made public, and will there be a hearing.
Mrs. Salvati responded that that since the number of units was downsized the project no longer met the threshold for a Type 1 action. The Town Board will be the lead agency under SEQR and will have to make a determination of significance. The Planning Board will have to make a recommendation on the determination of significance and even though it’s not a Type 1 action there still could be a greater level of SEQR review as an unlisted action.
Mr. Lorigo stated that there was not a segmentation issue. There are two developers, but the property is being presented as one parcel of land in terms of the special use permit. At site plan review they will have separate applications for two specific site plans. Mr. Lorigo did not believe there would be any impact on the schools from this project.
Mr. Dewey spoke regarding the traffic study and stated that they counted the cars on Union Road and the trips they entered and exited the Houghton College site between the hours of 7 AM and 9 AM and 4 PM and 6 PM. They considered 270 units when the study was done and the AM peak hour generated 38 trips and the PM peak hour generated 49 trips for 55 and older senior housing. The level of service went from C to D so there will be a 30 second delay to turn left leaving the site. It is a difficult turn, but the intersection did not fail or warrant a signal. They would prefer a signal, but NYS will not warrant it at that location.
Brian Larkman, 232 East & West Road, questioned if the traffic study included deliveries to the property. He works for a food service that delivers to People Inc. with 36’ tractor trailers and questioned if there would be trucks delivering to the complex.
Mr. Lorigo responded that the HUD 202 project is 47 independent living apartments. It is not a group home or assisted living. There is no facility to prepare meals so there would be no need for that type of delivery.
Peter Johnson, 34 Woodward Drive, stated that when the elderly people moving into the apartments sell their homes, younger people with children buy them and there is an automatic increase in the impact on the school system. He questioned if there were any studies done on the size of that impact.
Mr. Lorigo responded that there were no studies of that kind, but there is a tremendous need for senior housing and that has been established. He commented on People Inc. and their other facilities and stated that they are the #1 not-for-profit organization in Western New York and have been for a long time. They do things right and maintain their properties. Mr. Young will also own his apartment complex. He has seen the need for senior housing and does not believe that the HUD 202 project will have a negative effect on his project.
Mr. Nigro questioned if there was occupancy rate information available on the other senior apartment complexes in town.
Mr. Lorigo did not have this information and stated that they are private developments. It is Mr. Young’s entrepreneurial risk to develop this project and it will be an appealing project that will increase the tax base. Mr. Lorigo referred to Mr. Young’s other apartment complexes and senior apartment projects that are all rented.
Mr. Rathmann questioned the rent for a unit at Katie’s Place.
Mr. Young responded that the rent at Katie’s Place was from $780 to $900. It will be open April 1st and is already half full.
Laurie Wozniak, 498 Main Street, stated that she was at the meeting with the real estate agent and the meeting with Mr. Young and Mr. Lorigo. She commented that the Carnation project on Southwestern Blvd. was great for that location and then referred to the location of the senior apartment projects that were built on Union Road north of Clinton Street. Mrs. Wozniak did not believe the Houghton College property in the middle of town was a good location for the project. She stated that the town did not have a village center like other towns, but credited Southgate Plaza
for offering community oriented events and trying to be a good neighbor. Mrs. Wozniak agreed with earlier comments that the ingress/egress on Union Road will not be sufficient to handle the traffic. She also commented on the changes in the plan since it was first presented.
David Bonner, 16 Gervan Drive, questioned if the traffic study included cars going in and out of the Houghton College property. He further questioned if Mr. Young had applied to the town for more buildings at Katie’s place.
Mr. Dewey stated that the traffic study included trips in and out of Houghton College and traffic on Union Road.
Mrs. Salvati advised that Mr. Young could not build any additional units on the Katie’s Place site because the special use permit has a condition placed on it that limits him to 51 units.
Mr. Bonner questioned the number of developers over the last year that had applied to the Planning Board for a special permit and if any were denied.
Chairman Niederpruem did not have these figures available and suggested Mr. Bonner request that information from the Town Clerk’s Office.
Brian Graves, 53 Ebenezer Drive, quoted from the HUD website that “Occupancy in a Section 202 housing is open to any low income household comprised of at least one person who is at least 62 years of age at the time of the initial occupancy.” He noted that nothing would stop a senior’s daughter and children from moving in with them, so there was a chance it will impact the schools. Mr. Graves was concerned about the future of this project and referred to the Allenhurst apartment complex in Amherst that was once like the project Mr. Young was proposing. It became no longer viable for a senior complex and was turned into a low income/welfare project and now the crime rate in that area has risen. Mr. Graves agreed that the 55 and over age group was a large portion of the population in West Seneca, but in 15 to 20 years when that population dies off, there is not enough youth in the area to refill the senior complexes. The only thing that is a guarantee for the Buffalo area is project style housing. Mr. Graves further commented on the tremendous burden this will put on the fire service.
Mr. Lorigo stated that only two people are allowed per unit in the proposed project. He asked Mr. Dewey to calculate the percentage of footprint to green area for the project. With just the 20.5 acres, the percentage is about 7.3 percent, so 92 percent of the area will not have a building on it. Looking at 37 acres, 4 percent will be covered by a building.
Mr. Pinnavaia stated that the Town Code specifies green space per dwelling unit, not the footprint of the building. If the building was single story, the footprint would be larger with the same amount of units.
Mr. Mendola questioned the size of the apartments in Mr. Young’s project.
Mr. Lorigo responded that 25 percent of the apartments are one bedroom and 75 percent were two bedroom. The two bedroom units were about 1000 sf.
Valerie Suto, Forest Drive, questioned how they would stop someone less than 55 years of age from living in Mr. Young’s apartment complex. She also noted that she knows 55 year olds with children so there will probably be an impact on the school system and on the traffic.
Mr. Lorigo stated that a 55 year old has a right to move into these apartments with their child, but statistically they do not live in these types of apartments. The property is zoned residential and a senior apartment complex will have the least impact on the school system.
Dan Frontera, 791 Union Road, stated that with 128 units and 75 percent of which are double occupancy, that will be 192 people, plus an additional 32 for single occupancy, plus the potential for double occupancy on the 47 HUD units. This totals 318 additional people in that footprint. Mr. Frontera referred to the Fox Run development located on Rte. 20A, which is upscale housing, is not yet filled, and is already adding 70 calls per year to the Orchard Park Fire Company’s response total.
Brian Vona, 326 East & West Road, questioned if the Planning Board will have to get answers to the statistics presented by the fire company and have an updated traffic study before voting on this project.
Chairman Niederpruem stated there are a number of questions they would be looking for answers to prior to voting on this.
Arlene Vogt, 800 Union Road, stated that she lives next to the driveway on Union Road and was never notified of this meeting or the meetings with Mr. Young and Mr. Lorigo.
Mr. Pinnavaia stated that the Assessor’s Office provides the Town Clerk’s Office with a list of residents within a 250’ radius of the property.
Mrs. Vogt commented on the traffic on Union Road and the difficulty she has getting out of her driveway even with the college being closed. The snow is also an issue and causes sight problems.
Hazel Reukauf, 24 Gervan Drive, stated that the 3-story building will be located behind her home and she did not want to have to look at that. She further commented on the poor sound system in the Court Room.
Robert Todoroff, 41 W. Willowdale Drive, questioned how this project could even be considered when the fire company said this is a safety problem and the traffic is a problem.
Mr. Lorigo stated that there is 37 acres at Houghton College and 20.5 acres are properly zoned for the project and they will meet all of the requirements of the Town Code. He commented on the opposition to the project, but stated that the Planning Board must weigh Mr. Young’s right to utilize his land in conformance with the Town Code. Most of the fire company’s issues were site issues and those can be addressed, but they should be addressed at the right time. Mr. Lorigo thought that any developer will use this property for multiple dwellings because it is zoned for that and it is a residential use of the property. He stated that people are always concerned about something new going in their back yard and he did not dispute their right to be concerned, but they should at least look at a similar project like the Carnation building and see what it’s like.
Robin Kendrick, 1370 Union Road, was opposed to the project and questioned why he was not notified of this meeting. He did not believe this was a good location for the project and commented on the dangerous situation with traffic on Union Road. Mr. Kendrick suggested that project be relocated to the Seneca Mall site.
Christian Pisancyn, 900 Union Road, stated that the Planning Board has a huge responsibility to the town. The residents are concerned that a beautiful parcel of land is being sacrificed to a developer that lives in Orchard Park and was turned down for a similar project in that town.
Dan Frontera, 791 Union Road, questioned if the transfer of this property to Mr. Young was officially closed, and if not, will Mr. Young still purchase the property if the special permit is not granted.
Mr. Lorigo responded that Mr. Young had a contract to purchase the property and has put a substantial amount of money as a deposit that is non-refundable, but it had not yet closed. It will be up to Mr. Young if he chooses to continue with the purchase if the special permit is not granted.
Joe Deck stated that he is involved with the real estate transaction for this property and when the property was put on the market last spring, realtor Jim Militello took the property to many buyers, including apartment developers because it is zoned for that and medical people for consideration of a medical park. Through it all, there were four contracts of sale on the premises. Mr. Deck stated that Houghton College is going to sell the property and whether or not they stay in Lambein Hall after closing is still open for debate. He suggested that the residents petition for the town to buy the property if there is so much displeasure over it being developed. Mr. Deck stated that the four offers on the property were all various amounts and some were more than Mr. Young had offered, but when they listened to his proposal the school was most comfortable with what Young Development was proposing. He noted that with at least two of the other offers, there would be more of an impact on the school system and with the zoning that exists they would have the right to build what they were proposing.
Bruce Vona, 320 East & West Road, questioned what the sale price was and if any of the developers were residential developers. Mr. Vona read a statement from the Town of West Seneca Code concerning the general purpose of the Zoning and Planning Boards. He stated that the Planning Board has the control to make a difference and questioned what their plan is.
Chairman Niederpruem stated that the Planning Board has a lot of questions that need to be answered by the petitioner so the item will likely be tabled at this meeting. He noted that the Master Plan identifies this area for suburban uses and recommends the connection of the suburban area along Union Road with the town center area to the north.
Mr. Ciancio did not believe the zoning for this area was changed in the Master Plan. However, with regard to the demographics in the Master Plan all the age categories went down except for 65 and over, so this was something they had to deal with.
Caroline Panfil, 21 Woodward Drive, stated that she and her husband bought their house in 2002 and spent a lot of money on improvements, but if the proposed project is approved they will be saving their money for a new home. Mrs. Panfil commented on the traffic situation on Union Road at the corner of her street where she witnessed numerous serious accidents.
Jim DiSarno, 56 Hilltop Court, questioned why there were no senior citizens in attendance asking for this type of housing if there was such a drastic need for it.
Jeanette Zahm, Sunbriar Drive, stated that she and her husband live behind Southgate Plaza, but due to medical expenses they could no longer afford their home and were going to have to sell it. They were thrilled when they heard about the proposed development because they would not have to move out of the area they love. She asked the younger people that were opposed to the project to consider the elderly people that need this type of housing.
Peter Rola, 4 W. Willowdale Drive, thought that designating the apartments as senior housing was only for marketing purposes and that a person of any age could move in. He recently moved his mother-in-law into a People Inc. facility and they are very nice, but Mr. Rola was opposed to the 128-unit apartment complex that he thought was too big.
Mr. Ciancio noted that when a project is designated as senior housing it must meet certain conditions (handicapped accessible, etc.).
Motion by Rathmann, seconded by Mendola, to table this item based on the Planning Board receiving the revised plan just prior to the meeting which did not allow sufficient time to review it along with information from the residents and additional information from the developer concerning archeological concerns, the traffic study, and an updated environmental assessment form reflecting the revised plan.
On the question, Mr. Mendola asked that the fire company submit a list of their concerns to ensure that they are addressed.
|Ayes: All||Noes: None||Motion Carried|
Motion by Ciancio, seconded by Rathmann, to adjourn the meeting at 9:50 P.M.
|Ayes: All||Noes: None||Motion Carried|
PATRICIA C. DEPASQUALE, RMC/CMC