Rogers: Housing project in the Village of Le Roy hinges on science-based stormwater retention plan
Cold hard facts about a stormwater retention plan apparently will determine the fate of a Batavia businessman’s proposal to build a 60-unit senior residential complex off East Avenue in the Village of Le Roy.
“I’m looking for scientific information – I don’t want anybody’s opinion – that can tell me that the project is going to have no impact upon groundwater or, actually, will improve the situation that the residents are feeling now, including the (Le Roy) golf course,” said Le Roy Mayor Greg Rogers this morning.
“I still believe there is a need for that type of housing in the community … but the main thing is that the water issue has to be a non-issue.”
Rogers presided over a meeting on Monday night that was attended by about 50 village residents at the Town of Le Roy courtroom. The purpose of the meeting was for the board to conduct the State Environmental Quality Review for the project.
After the first two sections of the long form were completed, the SEQR then was put on hold, Rogers said.
When asked if the water issue was the reason for tabling it, he said “it had more to do with the overall project.”
When asked if the site plan submitted by Eric Biscaro, owner of Armor Building Supply in Batavia, was in jeopardy, Rogers said, “I wouldn’t say that, it’s just that we’re in the information gathering process.”
“I’ve always contended that the stormwater part of it – the stormwater plan -- was the deal breaker on the whole thing. If any of the properties get more stormwater than they’re getting now, that’s a deal breaker. Right now, for me, it’s all about the water.”
If photos provided by LeRoyan Tom Frew are any indication, standing water in yards in the Poplar Lane and Orchard Drive area as well as nearby Mercy Grove and Le Roy Country Club is a major concern that needs to be addressed.
Frew, a Poplar Lane resident, has been outspoken in his opposition to the project, claiming that the 30 duplex patio home rentals on a 20-acre parcel that runs east of East Avenue are not compatible with the neighborhood. He also is against the village spending money to improve East Avenue and is concerned about the increase in traffic.
Biscaro’s plan, estimated to cost around $9 million, also calls for the development and sale of eight single-family home building lots along an extension of that street.
Contacted this morning, Frew said that a heavy rainfall two weeks ago caused a foot and a half to two feet of standing water behind a neighbor’s home near the intersection of Poplar and Orchard (see photo above).
“That that took a few days to flow out through a buried pipe that goes down parallel with Orchard Drive and dumps into a creek which flows over to Mercy Grove and the golf course,’ he said. “The golf course had two holes under water.”
Frew said turbidity is another issue.
“You could only see about six inches down in the two feet of water, and (Mercy Grove and Le Roy Country Club owner) Jim Gomborone said that when the water recedes on the golf course, he has suspended solids all along the lower shore line that came from that water,” he added.
Frew agreed with Rogers that water “seems to be the tiebreaker.”
“He (Biscaro) will have to build a retention pond to hold and contain it, and then slowly release the water,” he said. “That was where the rubber met the road at the meeting last night.”
Rogers said the developer is on board with village officials when it comes to providing necessary and accurate information relating to water runoff.
“His engineer had sent the water remediation plan to CPL (Clark Patterson Lee) for review, but CPL didn’t feel that they had enough information at that point and time,” Roger said. “So, we’re going to do our due diligence among Biscaro, Clark Patterson and the DEC (NYS Department of Environmental Conservation) to get accurate information on the water remediation plan.”
The mayor said the next step is a public hearing at 7 p.m. Aug. 18 at the Memorial Auditorium on Trigon Park in the village. The public hearing originally was to be held at Le Roy High School but the school is not available, Rogers said.
“After that and if all the information is in regarding the water, then we can go back and adopt Section 3 -- if that’s where it leads us,” he said.
Photo at top: Poplar Lane resident Gerry Robinson in standing water behind his home. Photos at bottom: Standing water at Mercy Grove and Le Roy Country Club following a recent steady rainfall. Submitted photos.