Skip to main content

City of Batavia Planning & Development Committee

City's P&DC approves market rate apartments, exterior improvements for downtown Batavia

By Joanne Beck


There was nary a peep of concern or complaint from the public about plans for upper-level apartments at 97 Main St. in downtown Batavia during a public hearing Tuesday evening at City Hall.

That didn’t really surprise applicants Victor Gautieri of VJ Gautieri Constructors and Stephen Fitzmaurice of Hunt Property Solutions. After all, the plan falls in line with what other business owners have done already to transform their properties lining Main and Jackson streets — operating shops, restaurants, breweries and the like downstairs while renovating upper floors for living space.

Members of the city’s Planning and Development Committee, however, had a few questions and areas of concern.

Member Ed Flynn asked for clarification about a window that looked on a site plan to be the size of a door. It wasn’t a door but, in fact, a window, Gautieri said.

Plans were to replace some of the windows with double-hung versions so that they could open for better ventilation; to add a terrace at roof level with a 42-inch-high railing leading to that terrace; an exterior dumbwaiter to haul up groceries or similar bulky items from the alley; and a tote enclosure for trash and recycling storage, he said.

All materials used would be in keeping with existing colors and aesthetics, he said. Chairman Duane Preston asked if anyone could access the dumbwaiter, and there will be a lock on it solely for tenants’ use, Gautieri said.

“It’s very small … for a few grocery bags. There’s a lockable door,” he said.

Members liked the look of the rooftop terrace, but had concerns about the area’s wind: would furniture be weighted down or otherwise secured? It would most likely be secured, Gautieri said, as he and Fitzmaurice then suggested that perhaps tenants could bring their own chairs up there with them and then bring them back downstairs.

They also discussed whether the terrace could be seen from street level, and Gautieri said not from Jackson or Main streets, though probably from a distance as people were farther away. Other questions confirmed that the units would be one-bedroom each, the remaining windows would be left intact, a replacement side door would be a dark bronze and augmented with an awning, and the integrity of the historic architecture would stand.

Member Rebecca Cohen was concerned that there wouldn’t be enough totes — two for trash and two for recycling — for four apartments.

“I feel like with tenants in four units, you're gonna end up with garbage bags sitting in front of it on garbage night,” she said.

Gautieri conducted his own informal study, he said, and feels confident in his conclusion.

“We have 10 apartments, three two-bedroom and seven one-bedroom apartments. And we have a very small, the smallest you can get, Dumpster. And that is filled to a quarter or a third. We're not counting people who throw stuff in there from outside the apartments, but we're lucky the only time that ever got any more than that was really around Christmas time. So that was my recommendation with Steve, and I tried to give him some information on what was happening with our property,” Gautieri said, as Fitzmaurice shared his perspective. “Among other properties that we manage, we just took over a condominium on the west side of Buffalo. And we went through the same thing. We got everybody a full-size trash bin and a recycling bin. And after about two months of that, people said, can you get rid of half of them? Because they were just empty and bulky and so on and so forth. So that's what we did. So my experience is the same as Victor’s. The apartments just don't seem to generate a whole lot of trash."

Fitzmaurice added that they can always add more totes later if necessary.

“I hate to see the city get a problem of pest control, now that we're building apartments downtown,” Cohen said.

Concerns aside, all members — Cohen, Preston, Flynn, David Beatty and Derek Geib — approved the request for a special use permit. That was needed to change the current status of Commercial zone C-3 to Residential R-2. A start date was listed on the application as Feb. 1; however, Gautieri said that a beginning and ending date will depend on when final pricing comes in and when National Grid and National Fuel can be arranged for setup.

“Let’s say we begin on March 1, then count five months from then,” he said.

The apartments will be set at market rate, which would be approximately $1,500 per month, but that’s not set in stone at this point, he and Fitzmaurice said.


In other committee action, a project by owner Brad Trzecieski to make exterior alterations to a mixed-use building at 327 Ellicott St., Batavia, was also approved. The property has a commercial use in the front and residential in the rear of the site.

Top Photo of Victor Gautieri, left, and Stephen Fitzmaurice representing an apartment project at 97 Main St., Batavia, during a city Planning and Development Committee meeting Tuesday at City Hall, by Joanne Beck. Photo above, 327 Ellicott St., Batavia, gets approval for exterior renovations during the committee meeting. Photo by Howard Owens.

City planners approve Healthy Living campus site plan minus Summit Street exit, 30 parking spaces near GO Art!

By Mike Pettinella


Updated: 7 a.m.:

The City of Batavia Planning & Development Committee tonight approved the site plan of the Healthy Living campus, a $30 million joint venture of United Memorial Medical Center (Rochester Regional Health) and the GLOW YMCA on East Main Street.

The tally was 3-1 in favor of the layout, with Ed Flynn, Rebecca Cohen and John Ognibene casting “yes” votes and David Beatty voting “no.” The committee’s monthly meeting took place at the City Hall Council Board Room.


Related story: Planning committee member sees Healthy Living campus site plan as 'missed opportunity'


“We’re extremely satisfied. We listened to what the concerns were and we made adjustments. I think they were fair and we were fair,” said GLOW YMCA Chief Executive Officer Rob Walker.

Project Consultant David Ciurzynski and representatives of the Clark Patterson Lee architectural/engineering firm had appeared before the PDC two times prior to tonight’s meeting.

Over the course of lengthy deliberations, a few changes requested by the committee were made, most notably the removal of an entrance/exit on Summit Street and removal of parking spaces in the area just east of Genesee-Orleans Regional Arts Council, on a parcel where the YMCA currently sits.

Walker said developers surrendered about 30 parking spots to create more green space.

“When you’re in business, we want those spots, but out of respect for the process, we negotiated,” he said.

On the Summit Street issue, he said, “We met with the Summit Street (Neighborhood) Association and with a number of residents and we listened and we said, OK.”

“The traffic flow is going to work just fine as we have an exit on Washington (Avenue) and an exit on Bank (Street).”

Ciurzynski said the updated site plan shows the Summit Street exit removal and parking space adjustment, adding that there are no plans to build a wall or put up additional trees in the space between GO Art! and the new YMCA building.

PDC member Ed Flynn said the board received a letter from GO Art! stating its support of the Downtown Revitalization Initiative project as long as there was no wall.

Beatty then mentioned a site plan presented by Clark Patterson Lee and sent to Gregory Hallock, GO Art! executive director, was different from the final plan. He said he had hoped the PDC would have been able to see that document.

Ciurzynski said that was a previous drawing, calling it “much more elaborate than what we have and we’re not moving forward with that because of budget reasons.”

“The plan that you have (now) is the plan that we’re moving forward with,” he said, adding that the current plan has appropriate buffering on that back side (of GO Art!). “I understand that he (Hallock) may desire something more (but) technically it’s not his property. We have to be as good neighbors as possible, but we have to also manage our budget.”

The PDC reviewed the State Environmental Quality Review paperwork and determined no adverse impact. It did advise Ciurzynski, however, to make sure the GO Art! building is protected during construction as it is an historic structure. Ciurzynski said he would send the final site plan to the State Historic Preservation Office.

With the committee’s approval in hand, the timeline becomes much clearer.

Ciurzynski said construction documents should be complete by the late fall or early winter, and then bids will be solicited.

“Hopefully, by the end of the year, we’ll start seeing some (activity), with Cary Hall coming down. And start getting the site prepped and ready for construction in earnest starting in the spring,” he said, noting that the entire project will take about 20 months, including 14 to 16 months on the main two-story, 69,420-square-foot building.

“We’re trying to get everything done as quickly as possible so we can move in and take down the (existing) YMCA,” he said. “Start construction in the spring when the weather breaks, get the building up, get everything moved over into there from the existing Y to the new Y – get that operational – and then we can start looking at taking down the old Y and developing that site.”

He acknowledged the PDC’s opposition to the amount of parking on Main Street.

“They didn’t like the look of it (and) they wanted more of an urban park environment, so we sort of split the difference,” he said. “We gave up some very significant parking for our membership but we will find ways to work around that because it was important to the Planning & Development Committee.

“They’re looking out for the city; trying to make sure they can strike a balance. We’re a partner with the city, so we want to make sure that we can strike that balance that works for everybody.”

Even with the reduction of parking spots, the campus will accommodate about 200 cars. Walker said that hospital staff would be able to continue to park in the City Centre Mall parking lot.

As previously reported on The Batavian, the Healthy Living Campus will replace the current YMCA, and will feature YMCA amenities such as gymnasium, pool, locker rooms, multipurpose rooms, exercise rooms and a community living (common) area.

It also will have 10,000 square feet for the hospital’s Healthy Living (diabetes awareness and education) program as well as a medical clinic on the second floor as a teaching unit for medical residents, and space for RRH’s Baby Café, a breastfeeding program run by lactation specialists who offer education and support to any pregnant woman or breastfeeding mom in the community at no charge.

Graham to Build 'Infill' Addition

In other action, the PDC approved a site plan submitted by Graham Mfg. to construct a 2,500-square foot one-story infill addition on the south side of the industrial complex at 4-12 Howard St.

Chris Howell, facilities manager at Graham Mfg., said the company wishes to put in a metrology lab in the new space for non-destructive testing and a stockroom -- “and to do those things well we need a separate area, which is temperature controlled and where it is clean.”

Currently, the firm’s welding and grinding operations are integrated with this kind of testing, he said, and separating those processes will improve the metrology and non-destructive testing.

The plan also is subject to review by the city’s Zoning Board of Appeals due to the entire building’s coverage area on the lot being more than the permitted 40 percent.

Previously: City of Batavia Planning & Development Committee says 'no' to Summit Street access for Healthy Living Campus

Planning committee member sees Healthy Living campus site plan as 'missed opportunity'

By Mike Pettinella

Updated: 7 a.m.:

In voting against the site plan of the Healthy Living campus project, City Planning & Development Committee member David Beatty called it a “missed opportunity” to fully take advantage of the several parcels of land along East Main Street in downtown Batavia.

“I think, for me, it’s such a key project here for Batavia, a key to Main Street,” Beatty said following tonight’s meeting. “We’ve been trying to develop Main Street for decades. So, I think they missed an opportunity to really develop the site – and by site, I mean the entire site that goes all the way back to Washington (Avenue) because they own all of that property.”

Beatty (photo at right) said developers (and, in the end, his colleagues) submitted and approved, respectively, a site plan where they’re “basically adding more parking by taking the steam plant (that sits back from Main Street, west of Wiard Street) out.”

“I’m looking for more green space and a planned public space that could sort of feed off GO Art!” he said. “GO Art! is right there on Main Street and the idea of developing a large public space on Main … and feeding that into the Healthy Living campus, essentially. They refer to it as a campus, but it’s a building and a parking lot.”

Although not wanting to speak for GO Art! Executive Director Gregory Hallock, Beatty said he believes Hallock will be disappointed in the outcome of that particular space but also said he foresees the three entities becoming “good partners.”

“I think there could have been more to it. Again, it’s a missed opportunity. I think they could have done more and I mentioned that many times at various meetings,” he said.

Leslie Moma of Batavia, who serves on the GO Art! board of trustees, was in attendance tonight.

Afterwards, she told The Batavian that a previous “conceptual plan” created by the engineering firm of Clark Patterson Lee showed an expansion of the green space on Main Street and stretching north along the east side of GO Art! and the Genesee County Office for the Aging.

“In Gregory’s letter that he sent to the (PDC) board, he emphasized that there is this partnership that GO Art! has with the Y,” she said. (That plan) really did lend in our campus, the GO Art! campus, which will include the patio space – the courtyard space that is shared between GO Art! and the Office for the Aging,” she offered.

“So, that would be a seamless blend of this common space with the Y and could bleed right into their secondary entrance. But that’s not going to happen.”

Moma (photo at left) said that until the current Y building is taken down, “the barrier of that wall has created this confined space for us.”

“So, once it comes down, we’ll have to revisit what our landscape architecture plan will be for the courtyard and even our space where we can hold events,” she said.

She said the GO Art! board considers the courtyard as a key aspect to its fundraising efforts.

“Right now, with the parking how it has been approved, there’s going to be some conflict between the cars – that parking space – and how we’re going to be able to utilize the courtyard space. We see that as a funding mechanism … as we do have to raise funds for our operation.

“We appreciate the offer that the Y reached out and said they’d be happy to block out parking and things of that nature. But, we all know how we are as human beings.”

When it was mentioned that about 30 parking spots were removed from the plan, she said that “pushing it back a little further would have been ideal for us.”

“Once the demolition is done, we’ll have to see what those options are, and what we need to do to mitigate any impacts from the automobiles,” she said. “Maybe things will change as far as public opinion on parking, and how many people live downtown. Maybe more people will be walking to the Y. So, the use of having that extensive parking, at least so close to GO Art!, maybe it won’t be needed because of just how society is changing.”

Moma said that until the existing YMCA is torn down, the door is open to do something different with that space.

“There’s still the opportunity, we feel, that there’s hope to do something different with that space where it can be more of a collaborative, social, green active space, so that our programming and the Y’s programming can have this fluid activity time,” she said.

Quicklee's proposes convenience store, gas station for former Bob Evans Restaurant site on Oak Street, Batavia

By Mike Pettinella

Owners of Quicklee’s Convenience Stores have their eyes on the former site of the Bob Evans Restaurant at 204 Oak St. for a convenience store with a retail fuel station.

The City of Batavia Planning & Development Committee last week reviewed the sketch plan submitted by Patricia Bittar, director of land development projects for Quicklee’s, which has about two dozen stores/retail fuel locations – mostly in Livingston and Monroe counties.

“Right now, the site plan looks favorable. It fits really nice there, you know, with the Thruway exiting,” PDC Chair Duane Preston said.

According to a letter from Bittar to City Code Enforcement Officer Doug Randall, the proposed project involves converting the existing 3,771 square-foot building into two sections: 2,700-plus square feet for the convenience store and the remaining 1,000-plus square feet for a “quick service restaurant partner with a drive-thru window.”

Additional aspects of the site modification plan are as follows:

  • The 12-foot wide drive-thru lane will be situated along the east and north building walls, with a 13-foot wide escape lane adjacent to it;
  • The fueling area will be placed south of the existing structure, and will feature four fuel pumps under a 48-foot by 48-foot canopy;
  • Some of the existing concrete curb and asphalt pavement will be removed, and will be relocated on the site;
  • The existing curb cut onto Noonan Drive and the access drive along the east edge of the site will be maintained, while a right-out only curb cut, 12 feet in width, is proposed along the west edge of the site, connecting to Oak Street (Route 98);
  • Parking spaces would be reduced from 57 to 40, with sections of the existing parking area to be converted to green space. The company would need an area variance due to the fact that 68 parking spaces are required in that amount of space.
  • The existing site lighting on the building and in the parking area will be maintained, and lights will be added to the fuel pumps’ canopy.

Preston said the PDC is not thrilled about the right turn only idea onto Oak Street, so close to the Thruway on-ramp.

“We had a couple concerns about an exit onto the (New York State) DOT (Department of Transportation) area going into the Thruway,” he said. “Obviously, we’re not in favor of that because if a car … gets in the wrong lane and exits to the right, they’re right in the Thruway entrance and then, you would foresee a situation where someone might turn to do a U-turn and get into an accident.”

He said he did like that the location has only four gas pumps and a drive-thru “for some fast food for people (coming) off the Thruway.”

A second area variance would be required since the store is located within 500 feet of a public entrance to a church (Emmanuel Baptist at 190 Oak St.).

The district is zoned Commercial, so the convenience store/gas station would be an acceptable use.

According to Quicklee’s website, the corporation has been owned and operated by the Bruckel family of Avon since 1995, with its business plan focused on combination stores featuring fast food, car washes and fuel stations.

One of its most recent stores is a travel center off of I-390 South, featuring a fully stocked convenience store, car wash, Dunkin’ Donuts and Calabresella's New York Style Deli, along with a truck stop equipped with a diesel mechanic shop, overnight parking, showers and laundry.

City planners give the go-ahead for Main Street Pizza building revitalization project

By Mike Pettinella

The City of Batavia Planning & Development Committee on Tuesday night approved a special use permit that opens the door for the creation of two apartments on the second floor of the Main Street Pizza building at 206 E. Main St.

Applicant Paul Marchese, doing business as Just Chez Realty LLC, said the $489,000 project – which qualified for a Downtown Revitalization Initiative grant of $137,600 from the Batavia Development Corporation’s building improvement fund – advances to the next stage, which is “to finalize the engineering drawings and move the project into the construction phase.”

Marchese said planning committee members asked whether he is looking to renovate the other half of the upstairs as well.

“The plans for the other half of the upstairs have not been solidified as of yet,” he said. “At this point, we have acquired funding and grant sources and various things to complete phase one of our project. Phase two could be apartments or it could be something totally different depending on if we have a tenant that wants a specific build-out for up there.”

Concerning apartment rental rates, Marchese said that since the project was awarded one of the grants, it is bound by a predetermined rent schedule.

As previously reported on The Batavian, Marchese’s application calls for placing two apartments on the second floor and altering the building’s exterior by adding an entrance door on the south side, replacing windows, changing the nameplate on the north (front) of the building from MANCUSO to MARCHESE, and installing “up lighting” on that side.

Additional improvements include removing existing awnings and exposing the original transom windows, installing a new aluminum-clad wooden door on the north side and installing new aluminum-clad wood windows/door storefront in the center bay.

County planners recommend approval of zoning amendment to allow public garages in city's I-1 districts

By Mike Pettinella

A zoning text amendment that would add “public garages” to the list of allowed uses with a special use permit in all Industrial Districts in the City of Batavia is back in City Council’s hands after a recommendation of approval Thursday night from the Genesee County Planning Board.

County planners had no issues with the zoning change that was initiated back in January when Batavia businessman Eric Biscaro sought the city’s permission to build an auto service station on his Ellicott Street property that currently houses Classic Home Improvements and Armor Building Supply.

Initially, county planners denied Biscaro’s request for a use variance because the city code allowed auto repair shops only in the Batavia Industrial Park, and in a C-2 (Commercial) zone with a special use permit.

In July, the City of Batavia Planning & Development Committee decided to open the I-1 (Industrial) zone to include public garages, setting the stage for another review by the Genesee County Planning Board and, ultimately, a public hearing set by City Council.

Genesee County Planning Director Felipe Oltramari said that last night’s planning board action is “the middle step” in the process and could see things working out for Biscaro, and any others who wish to pursue similar ventures in the I-1 zones.

“This is the way it is supposed to work,” Oltramari said, comparing this situation to the referral pertaining to an event venue in the Town of Darien that also was on Thursday’s agenda.

The planning board also approved, with modifications, a special use permit for West Seneca business partners Glenn Laben and Kelsey Dellaneve to build The Barn at Flower Creek, a 3,120-square-foot gambrel roof gathering facility to accommodate up to 220 guests for weddings, parties, graduations, etc., located at 388 Broadway Road, Darien.

The estimated $500,000 project also will include an access driveway, parking lot for 85 vehicles, and an onsite wastewater treatment system meeting health department requirements.

Required modifications are obtaining a driveway permit from the state Department of Transportation prior to approval by the Darien Town Planning Board and completing a Stormwater Pollution Prevention Plan prior to final approval from the Town.

Two years ago, the couple was denied a use variance and, as was the case with Biscaro, needed to seek a zoning amendment from the Town of Darien – this one to allow gathering halls in Low Density Residential Districts with a special use permit.

A public hearing on their proposal is set for 7:45 p.m. Sept. 21 at Darien Town Hall, 10569 Alleghany Road.

In other action, planners approved the following site plans:

  • For HP Hood to construct a 7,200-square-foot commercial cooler addition to the existing structure at its plant in the Genesee Valley Agri-Business Park, East Main Street Road, Batavia. Neil Zinsmeyer, of Napierala Consulting, representing the company, said the cooler will provide overflow storage and will have little impact upon traffic or staffing levels.
  • For a 2,800-square-foot addition (78 feet by 36 feet) to the rear of the Imagination Station child care center at 5079 Clinton Street Road, Batavia.
  • For Holland Resources of East Bethany to put up a 45- by 100-foot addition (six more bays) to the north side of an existing self-service Recreational Vehicle storage building at 5545 Route 5, Stafford.
  • For a new real estate office in a Commercial District (C-2) at 7133 W. Main Road, Le Roy. Documents submitted by applicant Nancy Crocker, of SB Gee’s LLC indicate that Empire Realty Group, will be moving into the location.

Previous story: Genesee County planners to address special use permit for The Barn at Flower Creek in Darien​

Authentically Local