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Batavia City Planning & Development Committee

August 8, 2022 - 10:27pm

With despair in their voices, residents of three homes on Burke Drive tonight implored the Batavia City Council to do something to end the chaos being caused by several farm animals – along with five dogs and 20 cats – being kept by a neighbor woman who they claim has been abusive and unwilling to listen to their concerns.

Teresa Potrzebowski, John and Melissa Ladd, and Shannon Maute presented a united front during the public comments portion of Council’s Conference Meeting at the City Hall Council Board Room – each one of them speaking of the deplorable conditions stemming from the Jill Turner residence.

The governing body, according to Council President Eugene Jankowski Jr., has been dealing with this situation for 18 months. After hearing from the Burke Drive residents and sharing their opinions on the matter, Council members voted, 8-1, to hold a public hearing on Sept. 12 to consider a revision to the City Code titled “Restrictions on Animals and Fowl.”

Potrzebowski said she had to put up a 6-foot vinyl fence “just to preserve my sanity” due to the horrendous smell and the constant noise from the ducks, goats and chickens. Maute said she counted six goats, four chickens and two ducks that are kept in a 5-foot by 7-foot shed when they’re not “running wild” or inside the house with Turner and her daughter.

Both women said they have been subjected to verbal abuse, including profanity, when they have tried to speak with Turner about the animals.

“What kind of parent encourages her 11-year-old daughter to swear at everyone, giving them the middle finger and chanting (expletives)?” Maute asked. “Then dumps chicken feed all over the side and front lawn as she looks at us smiling and saying, “Here, chickens?”

Maute said that Potrzebowski has been tormented to the extent that she won’t come out of her house when Turner is home because Turner and her daughter continually harass her.

John Ladd said he lives next door to Turner, who has been “nothing but trouble and violent” for quite some time. He said she claims the animals are for therapy but that Turner spends no time with them, other than to change the water once in a while.

“I live in the city; I don’t live in the country,” he said. “I never thought I would have to deal with this – living in the city. And grandfathering her in won’t solve anything.”

Melissa Ladd said she was concerned for the welfare of the animals, noting that they are outside for hours with little or no access to water.

The “grandfathering” term used by John Ladd is in reference to proposed revisions in the City Code, as presented by the City Planning & Development Committee, that include a provision to allow property owners that have registered individual animals and/or fowl (farm animals) prior to the effective date of the amendment to keep the identified animal(s).

City Manager Rachael Tabelski asked City Council to strike that stipulation from the code revision since she doesn’t have the staff or resources to create an animal registry and to tag and track pre-existing animals.

She did say she agreed with another PDC recommendation to limit the number of hen chickens to six as long as they are penned appropriately, do not accumulate feces, cause odor or an unsightly or unsafe condition.

The gist of the “Restriction on Animals and Fowl” ordinance is that no person shall own, bring into, possess, keep, harbor or fee farm animals, cloven hoofed animals, equine or fowl, including, but not limited to, cattle, horses, sheep, goats, pigs, swine, llamas, alpacas, ducks, turkey, geese, feral cats, ponies, donkeys, mules or any other farm or wild animal within the city limits.

Council members who addressed the public speakers said they sympathized with their plight, with Paul Viele and Kathleen Briggs taking a stand against allowing any farm animals in the city.

“There shouldn’t be any chickens,” Viele said. “If you want eggs, go to the store and buy eggs.”

“This is a city ... we shouldn’t have farm animals in the city,” Briggs said. “We should write a law. You break the law, there’s consequences.”

Robert Bialkowski voted against moving the matter to a public hearing because he said it violates federal and state law pertaining to the right of handicapped citizens to have a small horse or dog for therapeutic reasons.

He said that one problem homeowner shouldn’t infringe on others.

“Let just deal with the problem,” he advised.

Bialkowski urged the residents to contact the county health department, police, fire department, dog warden and the ASPCA for assistance, mentioning that the animals would be confiscated if they’re being mistreated.

Jankowski said the city manager has spoken to animal control and “that’s where we found the missing part of our code."

“We’re unable to regulate change at this point,” Tabelski added, hopeful that next month’s public hearing bears some meaningful fruit.

Previously: Got farm animals in the city? A mandatory registry may be for you

April 12, 2022 - 1:20pm

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Just as in a dance recital or musical, executing all the “steps” properly are vital in the process of redeveloping existing space into an attractive public venue.

Patrick Burk, president, executive and artistic director of the Batavia Players, today said he understands the significance of the Main Street 56 Theater project reaching the planning board stage over the next week.

The Genesee County Planning Board will be considering the Downtown Revitalization Initiative site plan on Thursday night, and the City of Batavia Planning & Development Committee is on track to do the same on April 19.

“It's wonderful that we have a lot of people working on the project that, I guess I could say, know what they're doing,” Burk said. “I'm learning as we go and making sure that we keep putting one foot in front of the other, whether it's a big step or a small step. It looks like over the next week or so, we're going to be making some pretty big steps – moving forward to getting more of the construction work done.”

Batavia Players, Inc., was awarded more than $700,000 from New York State’s DRI and another $400,000 from the NY Main Street Grant program to transform space at the City Centre into a contemporary theater to showcase its productions.

“And we raised about $210,000 ourselves, and we're continually working to raise that that dollar amount even higher as we need it for the work that we're doing,” Burk said, noting that the project will cost in the $1.5 million range.

For the past 20 months or so, the troupe has been performing in a temporary space at the City Centre.

“We call it our backstage theater because we have so much space there that we're using right now,” Burk said. “We're performing in that space while the construction is going on.”

The Batavia Players presented Shakespeare in Springtime: Love’s Labour’s Lost in March, and will be presenting The Springtime Music Spectacular: Back on the Boards Again, a tribute to Stephen Sondheim, on April 22-24.

OPEN HOUSE SCHEDULED FOR APRIL 30

A special craft/vendor show, including a hotdog stand operated by the Batavia Lions Club, is set for 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. April 30.

“That’s when we will have our open house in the temporary theater space and in our dance academy,” Burk said. “We’re also going to be showing the space as it stands right now -- wherever they're at on April 30 -- so that people can see the development of the space. So, yes, we will be going into the construction space as well.”

As far as when the new facility will be ready, Burk said he hopes construction will be done by the Batavia Players’ Christmas show – Meredith Willson’s Miracle on 34th Street: The Musical – in early December.

For now, he said he’s excited that the project is in the hands of the two planning boards.

“I'm so thrilled that we're going to the county planning board because that's a big step. We have to have approval for that because we sit on a state highway. And our frontage is on a state highway and we're making quote, unquote, significant changes to that frontage,” he said.

Burk said the site plans and architectural drawings are “sitting there at City Hall, all set and ready to go.”

“We’re just waiting for these approvals, and we’re hoping that it moves forward as quickly as possible,” he said. “Once that step is done, it will be gangbusters, since we’ve been assured by our construction manager that it’s going to go pretty solidly and pretty quickly.”

More information about the Batavia Players can be found at www.bataviaplayers.org

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Top: Architect's rendering of the facade of Main Street 56 Theater, the new home of the Batavia Players, which is under construction at the City Centre. Bottom: The way it looks now -- unfinished -- next to Genesee Dental along Main Street. Bottom photo by Mike Pettinella.

August 18, 2021 - 2:02pm

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A Summit Street entrance and exit to the proposed Healthy Living Campus is off the table.

That’s the word from Duane Preston, City of Batavia Planning & Development Committee chair, following Tuesday night’s monthly meeting at the City Centre Council Board Room.

Consultants and architects assigned to the joint venture of United Memorial Medical Center (Rochester Regional Health) and the Genesee Area Family YMCA continued their presentation of the $30 million Downtown Revitalization Initiative project, looking to address concerns from their appearance in July.

At the forefront was the idea of an access from Summit Street on a parcel owned by the hospital between two houses on the west side of the street. Developers contended that it was needed to ensure proper traffic flow; planners, however, disagreed.

“They (project representatives) were kind of hesitant but we all agreed to take the Summit Street access off the plan,” Preston said. “Nobody on the board felt that it was needed at this point and my thing is that it is something that could be put in at a later date if we had to.”

As it stands now, vehicles will be able to enter the campus via Bank Street, Washington Avenue or Wiard Street.

Preston said two residents of Summit Street spoke against the access, mentioning increased traffic on the street and annoyance of vehicle lights in the backyard or side of their house.

The PDC also had hoped developers would expand the amount of green space along the east side of the GO ART! building at the corner of Main and Bank streets, removing some parking spaces in the process.

Consultant David Ciurzynski said that has been addressed, making that area more of a park-like setting.

Preston said he expects more green space there, but emphasized that developers still believe all parking lots in the plan are necessary.

No official action on the site plan was taken, said Preston, adding that the State Environmental Quality Review will be conducted now that the public hearing is over.

“They’re going to throw us another plan next month, and we’re going to go from there,” he said. “We all agree that the building is great. We don’t want to pinch this whole thing … but we’ve spent more time on the parking lot than we have on the building. Still, we have to do what’s best for the residents of Batavia.”

In other action, planners approved downtown design reviews for a new façade, lighting and signage on one side of the Batavia Tailors & Cleaners building at 33-39 Ellicott St., along with a new rooftop heating and air conditioning unit, and for renovations at Fieldstone Private Wealth, 219 East Main St.

Photo: The City of Batavia Planning & Development Committee has decided against allowing a Summit Street access point to the proposed Healthy Living Campus.  Photo above was taken from Wiard Street, looking east to Summit. Photo by Mike Pettinella.

July 21, 2021 - 8:12am

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The City of Batavia Planning & Development Committee on Tuesday night approved the site plan and special use permit application by Quicklee’s to renovate the former Bob Evans Restaurant at 204 Oak St. into a convenience store/fuel station with drive-thru restaurant.

Following a 10-minute discussion that focused on proper signage and traffic flow, the committee unanimously approved both referrals – giving the go-ahead on the site plan contingent upon developers adding “signage to direct vehicles going into the drive-thru from blocking the exit between the canopy and the building so they can exit out onto Noonan Drive.”

The special use permit allows Quicklee’s to operate as a convenience store and quick-service restaurant.

Patricia Bittar, director of land development projects at WM Schutt Associates, and Lou Terragnoli, director of real estate for Quicklee’s, appeared before the PDC at the City Centre Council Board Room in anticipation of gaining final approvals for the project, which was introduced (and reported first on The Batavian) in late April.

Plans call for the reuse of the 3,771-square-foot restaurant and involves construction of a four-pump fuel station island with canopy and underground fuel storage tanks. The convenience store with retail fuel sales will take up about two-thirds of the space, with the drive-through restaurant – Quicklee’s is in negotiations with Tim Hortons – using the remaining space.

Last month, the PDC conducted an environmental review, which showed no adverse effects, but held off on approving the site plan or special use permits until the applicant provided details on traffic flow patterns, including an updated study by the New York State Department of Transportation.

Also, in June, the city’s Zoning Board of Appeals approved area variances that permit the business to be within 500 feet of a church (Emmanuel Baptist at 190 Oak St. (corner of Noonan Drive) and to have 40 parking spaces instead of the required 68.

Questions from the PDC last night focused on signage on Noonan Drive to ensure that motorists are informed of the proper way to access the location as members were concerned about the stacking of vehicles, especially near the fuel pump island.

The DOT traffic study submitted to the PDC calls for the removal of a proposed right-out driveway (onto Route 98) and that “all site access utilize the existing Noonan Drive roadway.” Additionally, the internal access driveway will remain that connects to the Super 8 Hotel parking lot behind the restaurant.

The study also indicated that during peak times of 7:15 to 8:15 a.m. and 4 to 5 p.m., the business is expected to generate an additional 79 entering/71 exiting vehicle trips, and 53 entering/55 exiting vehicle trips, respectively. Terragnoli said the site plan can accommodate stacking of up to 15 cars.

Terragnoli said renovations of the inside of the restaurant and construction of the fuel island will start in September, with completion by the end of the year. Currently, the Quicklee’s chain has 23 locations – mostly in Livingston and Monroe counties.

Photo at top: Architect's rendering of the new Quicklee's business at 204 Oak St.

February 17, 2021 - 2:28pm

The Batavia City Planning & Development Committee on Tuesday night approved a site plan for a radiology/intensive care unit addition at United Memorial Medical Center at 127 North St.

The hospital’s request for an area variance -- in light of the front yard setback along Summit Street Extension being about 15 feet less than the minimum requirement of 25 feet -- is scheduled to be considered by the City Zoning Board of Appeals on Feb. 25.

Doug Randall, city code enforcement officer, said that he expects the variance to be approved as well since the two-story, 5,113-square-foot addition will be in line with the previous cancer treatment center addition.

According to information provided to Randall, the project will feature a new building entrance off of Summit Street Extension, three new parking spaces and landscaping along the entire frontage of the addition. About 75 percent of the proposed addition perimeter will abut the existing hospital structure.

Additionally, plans call for an extension of the 90-degree parking area in front of the cancer center, but do not include any new hospital beds.

UMMC President Daniel Ireland and Facilities Management Director Dave Hetrick attended the PDC meeting along with Joe Hanss, architect with Clark Patterson Lee of Rochester.

Ireland, responding to an email for comment today, said the $8 million investment will result in improvements to the facility infrastructure, such as heating and cooling, and direct patient care related items, and will include a new Magnetic Resonance Imaging unit, Computerized Tomography scanner, and improved flow and access to the main campus and the Radiology Department.

“The intensive care unit portion of this project will set the stage for a future renovation that will bring state-of-the-art ICU rooms to the facility,” he added.

He said he expects crews to break ground by the end of March, with all radiology additions and renovations as well as the shell of the future ICU to be completed in early 2022.

Final timelines are dependent on the continued approvals of local governing bodies and will be set once all local approvals are obtained, Ireland noted.

In other action, the PDC approved a site plan submitted by Jack Waggoner, owner of 39-43 Jackson St. -- a structure designated for renovation with the support of $100,000 in Building Improvement Fund money in connection with the New York State Downtown Revitalization Initiative.

Previously, the site plan was recommended for approval by the Genesee County Planning Board.

The application includes numerous improvements such as building out the storefront entrances, replacing windows, and installing new lighting, retractable fabric awnings and doors.

Three businesses are on the lower floor and five office units are on the top floor.

Waggoner said he is in the process of contracting with an architectural firm and hopes to begin renovations in May.

Previously: County planners to consider site plan for renovations at 39-43 Jackson St.

November 18, 2020 - 9:25am

The City of Batavia Planning & Development Committee on Tuesday night saw no problem with a change in the location of an elevator that will lead to second-floor apartments of the Ellicott Place project.

V.J. Gautieri Constructors Inc., which is rehabilitating the Save-A-Lot building as part of the state’s Downtown Revitalization Initiative program, submitted a site plan review to the committee that modifies the previously approved design of the second floor by moving the elevator originally planned for the interior of the existing building to a location on the exterior wall of the north elevation.

Company President Victor Gautieri, in his submission to the committee, said the basis for the change was “to develop a more easily accessible, safe entry for the second-floor apartment tenants, wherein the travel distance and corridor turns to the first-floor elevator access point would both be reduced to a more desirable condition.”

Work is underway on the $2.3 million renovation of the exterior of the building and the vacant space that will include 10 market rate apartments on the second floor.

Plans call for the construction of seven one-bedroom and three two-bedroom apartments on the vacant, 11,600-square-foot second floor, and includes the development of 18,000 square feet of first-floor commercial/retail space.

The PDC also recommended that the City Zoning Board of Appeals approve an area variance request for internal illumination of the proposed Save-A-Lot signs – four signs that will feature the grocer’s new logo. Signs by John’s Studio has been contracted to create the signs.

The ZBA meeting is scheduled for 6 p.m. Thursday.

September 25, 2020 - 1:40pm

An update of the direction that the Batavia City Council will take in filling the vacant city manager position is on the agenda of Monday night’s Conference Meeting at City Hall Council Chambers.

Council President Eugene Jankowski Jr. previously indicated that the board would make its plan public at Monday’s meeting.

The choices boil down to utilizing a stipulation in a contract with The Novak Consulting Group of Cincinnati, Ohio, to receive a “free professional search” or to hire Interim City Manager Rachael Tabelski, who has been serving in that capacity since the June departure of former City Manager Martin Moore.

The Novak Consulting Group assisted in the search to hire Moore in August of 2018. The firm’s agreement with the city included a free search should Moore leave within two years of his employment date.

City Council met in executive session earlier this week to, in all likelihood, discuss the city manager position.

Should Council decide to conduct a full search as it did in the case of the Moore hiring, it would consist of forming a screening committee to evaluate potential candidate resumes and, eventually, conduct interviews.

Jankowski has acknowledged there will be costs associated with the search that would not be covered by Novak’s guarantee, such as advertising in national trade publications and travel expenses.

The board could bypass a manager search and offer the job to Tabelski, who was hired as assistant city manager in August of last year.

In a related development, Council will consider a resolution on Monday’s meeting agenda to give Tabelski $1,000 per month in addition to her regular salary – effective July 20, 2020 – for assuming additional duties and responsibilities in the absence of a city manager. The stipend would continue until the city manager position is permanently filled.

Other agenda highlights include:

  • An application from the Downtown Business Improvement District to hold Christmas in the City from 2 to 6:45 p.m. on Saturday, Dec. 5. A parade from Jefferson Avenue to Liberty Street is set for 6 p.m. Estimated costs for the event are $480 for police coverage, $276.42 for public works assistance and $1,425.71 for bureau of maintenance duties.
  • An audit presentation by Laura Landers of Freed Maxick concerning the city’s financial statements for the fiscal year ending March 31, 2020. Landers and Tabelski met with the City of Batavia Audit Advisory Committee on Aug. 18 to review the documents, and answered questions pertaining to fund transfers, debt service payments, fund balances (including water and sewer), the city’s self-insurance plan and the impact of decreased sales tax revenue.
  • A resolution authorizing a foreclosed house at 50 Oak St. to be transferred (for $1) to Habitat for Humanity for rehabilitation. If approved, it would be the 11th home acquired by Habitat from the City of Batavia. A memo from Tabelski to Council indicates that Habitat plans to invest between $58,000 and $62,000 to renovate the one-family house, which is assessed at $62,000. The Batavia Housing Authority is partnering with the city in this venture.
  • A resolution to schedule a public hearing on Oct. 26 to amend the Batavia Municipal Code to include public garages in I-1 industrial zones with a special use permit. This change stems from a January request by Eric Biscaro, owner of Classic Home Improvement, to construct an auto service station on the property at 653 Ellicott St. The zoning text change has been approved by the City of Batavia Planning & Development Committee and the Genesee County Planning Board.
July 22, 2020 - 12:01pm

Six months after seeking approval from Batavia City Council to build an auto service station on his Ellicott Street property, Eric Biscaro may be seeing some light at the end of the tunnel.

On Tuesday night, the City Planning & Development Committee voted in favor of allowing what the municipal code classifies as a “public garage” in an I-1 (Industrial) zone, contingent upon the granting of an accompanying special use permit.

Currently, the City code allows auto repair shops in the P-1 (Planned Development) zone, specifically the Batavia Industrial Park, and in a C-2 (Commercial) zone with a special use permit.

According to Code Enforcement Officer Doug Randall, the PDC’s decision to open the I-1 zone to include public garages will now go back to City Council for its review.

“If City Council decides in favor of it, then it will go to the Genesee County Planning Board for its review and recommendation to Council,” Randall said. “From there, Council again will review the county’s recommendation and hold a public hearing and vote, or schedule a public hearing (prior to a possible vote).”

If and when the change becomes a local law, then Biscaro – or anyone else for that matter – would be able to file an application for a special use permit which, in Biscaro’s case, would mean going back to the County Planning Board since the location is within 500 feet from a state highway.

In late January, Biscaro petitioned City Council for permission to place a motor vehicle repair shop on the site of his other two companies at 653 Ellicott St. – Classic Home Improvements and Armor Building Supply.

Prior to that, his request for a variance was rejected by the County Planning Board because a public garage was not an allowable use in the I-1 district.

Council members forwarded Biscaro’s request to the PDC for review and subsequent recommendation, action that was taken last night.

According to the municipal code, a “public garage” is a building or part thereof used for the storage, hiring, selling, greasing, washing, servicing or repair of motor vehicles, operated for gain.

Randall said that the shop’s principal use would be to repair cars and trucks.

Biscaro’s proposal calls for expanding an existing open shed into a two-bay garage behind the Armor side (of the facility), a building that he said will not be visible from Ellicott Street.

Contacted today, Biscaro said he was disappointed when he learned that the auto repair shop wasn’t permitted in the first place, but is pleasantly surprised to hear of the PDC’s ruling.

“At the time, being in the Industrial zone, I thought it would absolutely be OK,” he said. “Since then, I lost my tenant – he had to find another place – but I still wish to go forward with it.”

In other action, the PDC, as expected, approved a pair of major construction projects:

-- Ellicott Place, the Downtown Revitalization Initiative venture of V.J. Gautieri Constructors Inc., to renovate the Save-A-Lot supermarket building at 45-47 Ellicott St.;

Both projects received recommendations of approval last month from the Genesee County Planning Board.

Following several minutes of discussion about siding materials, color selection, window types and placement, exterior design, dumpster location and designated parking areas, PDC members OK'd Gautieri’s request for a special use permit to allow the firm to create 10 apartments on the vacant, 11,600-square-foot second floor.

The approval, however, comes with the stipulation that additional enhancement – or bump-outs -- be placed around two windows on the south side of the second floor to conform with the rest of the architectural design.

Victor Gautieri, company president, said financing is expected to be finalized by the end of the month, with work to begin about four weeks later.

He and David Rowley, director of project management, answered questions from the board.

PDC Member Ed Flynn, who made the motion to add the window treatment, said the final plans “were pretty consistent to what was (originally) submitted” a couple years ago.

“It’s great to see a DRI project moving forward,” Flynn said.

About half of the project’s cost will be paid for by a $1.15 million DRI award. It also will be receiving about $130,000 in sales tax and mortgage tax abatements from the Genesee County Economic Development Center.

Previously: Planning boards to consider Ellicott Place residential/commercial venture special use permits

-- A two-story, 20-bed detoxification center addition to the Atwater House residential facility on the Genesee/Orleans Council on Alcoholism and Substance Abuse campus at 424 E. Main St.

Eleanor Asquith, an architect with Fontanese Folts Aubrecht Ernst of Orchard Park, presented the nonprofit agency’s proposal to build an 8,788-square-foot medically supervised detox center.

Questions from the PDC dealt primarily with the need to install another parking lot (13 spaces), which would increase the available umber of parking spots to 113 – including 18 spaces that are being leased from property owned by Cornell Cooperative Extension off Masse Place.

Asquith pointed out that GCASA officials anticipate that at least 94 parking spaces will be required since the addition of the detox center will create about 26 more jobs.

The $3.6 million addition is being funded by OASAS capital projects.

Previously: 'A welcome addition': County planners support GCASA's detoxification center project

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