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Eric Biscaro

November 19, 2021 - 3:36pm
posted by Mike Pettinella in news, notify, Le Roy Village Board, Eric Biscaro, East Avenue.

Now that he’s had a couple days to regroup after the Le Roy Village Board’s rejection of a senior housing and building lot development on East Avenue, Mayor Greg Rogers said he believes that something else is bound to come along.

Rogers, speaking today by telephone, said he’s not quite ready “to take on another challenge” but did surmise that another project could come before the board in the near future.

“What usually happens in cases like this is that something else follows,” Rogers said. “Maybe it’s just single-family homes. We’ll have to see.”

On Wednesday night, lawmakers said no to a proposal by Batavia entrepreneur Eric Biscaro to construct a 30-unit duplex community for those 50 and over on a 20-acre parcel east of East Avenue and to develop 18 single-family building lots by extending East Avenue.

Three board members were against it and two, including Rogers, were for it.

“The whole thing took a lot of energy and life out of me,” the mayor said, noting that the plan was debated (at two contentious public hearings) and reviewed by lawyers, engineers and the board for more than seven months. “But, we still need to expand our tax base; my thought process hasn’t changed.”

Rogers said he tried to look at the project from the standpoint of both the village and Biscaro, who was prepared to invest several million dollars into the development, including the bulk of the cost of extending East Avenue.

“I was hoping for a win-win (situation),” he said. “Eric was a good candidate. He needed the PUD (Planned Unit Development zoning change for the senior apartments) to offset the cost of the road and single-family lots to make it a money-maker for him.”

At Wednesday’s board meeting, both Rogers and Trustee Jim Bonacquisti spoke highly of Poplar Lane resident Tom Frew, for his “professionalism” despite his opposition to the project. Frew distributed flyers and kept residents in the neighborhood abreast of the proceedings.

Contacted yesterday, Frew reiterated what he said from the beginning – that he wasn’t against development there but not in the form of an apartment complex.

“As (Trustee) Bill Kettle said the other night, ‘Strike while the iron is hot.’ That’s prime property. Let’s get some R-1 (Residential) down there,” Frew said.

He said he “buys into” the village board’s attempt at creating more taxable property, but would like to see something without a payment in lieu of taxes agreement for the potential developer.

“Eric needed a PILOT to do that and it greatly minimized for the first 30 years the amount of tax revenue (for the village),” Frew said. “Now, Eric would argue, rightfully so, that it's still more revenue than they're getting right now. But for the first 30 years, most of the tax revenue was going to come from the lots he was going to sell and people would build houses.”

Stormwater runoff was one of the reasons for opposition to the project, and that needs to be addressed, Frew said.

“There has to be some ways to stop this water from falling into the (Le Roy) golf course and Mercy Grove,” he said. “No matter what you put back there, you’ve got to deal with the water first.”

Rogers, who has 2 ½ years left on his term as mayor, said that engineers from two different firms determined that Biscaro’s plan would help to alleviate the current runoff situation.

“They both agreed that it would take care of part of it,” he said. “It would have been an improvement, but I guess that wasn’t good enough.”

Comments
November 17, 2021 - 10:22pm

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Batavia businessman Eric Biscaro’s attempt to construct a 30-duplex unit senior housing complex off East Avenue and develop 18 single-family home building lots on that street came to a screeching halt at tonight’s Le Roy Village Board meeting.

Biscaro introduced the project back in April to the Genesee County Planning Board following discussions with Village Mayor Greg Rogers about a development that could provide upscale housing for residents age 50 and over and generate much needed tax revenue for the municipality.

When residents in the East Avenue, Poplar Lane and Orchard Drive neighborhood found out about it, however, many of them rallied together to oppose the village board’s desire to change the zoning from Residential to Planned Unit Development to accommodate Biscaro’s venture.

Those against the plan voiced their opinions at a couple public hearings, citing reasons such as it was a bad fit for the area and concerns over stormwater runoff and increased traffic.

At tonight’s session, held at Memorial Auditorium on Trigon Park, Rogers clearly was disappointed as he communicated the fate of the project. Three of the five board members – Bill Kettle, Richard Tetrault and Ray Yacuzzo -- said they were going to vote against it. Rogers and Jim Bonacquisti said they were for it.

It never came to an official vote because a resolution to accept the required State Environmental Quality Review died for a lack of a second. As a result, the resolution to change the zoning was not considered.

ROGERS: 'HE WAS THE RIGHT GUY'

Rogers said he thanked Biscaro and the board for the time and effort put into this subject.

“I respect my fellow board members and their professionalism and their opinions; that’s how the system works,” he said. “However, I will say, I still in my heart believe that Eric Biscaro was the right guy for the right piece of property at the right time.

“I’m glad he came to Le Roy and he wanted to be part of this community. He looked at a lot of different things. He looked to rescue Genesee Street. There are vacant houses on East Avenue that we looked into getting into rehabbing.”

The mayor said the village is going to lose “a possible asset here” but reiterated that this is the way the system works.

He then acknowledged that he did not find any satisfaction in presiding over the public hearings.

“I'm totally glad they're over, and you'll never get me to do another one of these,” he said. “So, thank you all for your time … And Eric, I'm terribly sorry. I appreciate you taking the shot on Le Roy. I’m sorry I dragged you into this.”

BISCARO: MISSING OUT ON TAX BENEFITS

Rogers then asked Biscaro if he wanted to say something and he proceeded to bring up comments earlier in the meeting when the board held a public hearing about its decision to opt out of the adult use cannabis retail dispensaries and on-site consumption places under New York's Marijuana Regulation & Taxation Act.

“I heard a lot today about empty stores on Main Street,” Biscaro said. “Le Roy, like a lot of places, has been losing population over the last 20 years. And I heard about tax money … It would be a whole lot more tax in this than any pot store locally; constant – coming in every year for forever.”

Biscaro said that developers aren’t knocking the door down to do business in the village.

“Fine, give me your opinions, but to make a decision on something … nobody's promoting their money to go and look at South Avenue, no one’s even looking there,” he said. “You said to look towards the next street down. Nobody's looking there. To the developer’s eyes, those types of reasons make no sense to us.  It's not what we’re proposing for development. We're proposing that we should stay right there and just look right there.”

Finally, he told the board that he was warned about pursuing a project in Le Roy.

“That's one thing I heard over and over and over again. ‘Are you kidding me? You're going to Le Roy. They don’t move on anything.’ This is what I was told over and over again by people that do business,” he said.

“You might want to be careful with that in your future because it's the developers … they’re not going to look (at this town) because nothing happens. That would be the complaint from the development person. I’m not sitting here stabbing anybody (as) I'm not jealous of you sitting in your seats, but sometimes you got to take a little bit and go forward. That’s something I'd recommend, not that that means anything here.”

VILLAGE TRUSTEES SPEAK OUT

Bonacquisti, Kettle, Tetrault and Yacuzzo addressed those in attendance prior to Rogers and Biscaro.

“I supported this project from early on -- single floor patio homes for 55 (actually 50) and above is needed in our community,” Bonacquisti said. “Keep in mind, this is my opinion. It's not your typical rental units. It was going to be a bump to our tax base (and) it was going to develop an area that has not been developed for 50 years.”

He contended that the response he received from village residents was “positive” except for those who live in the immediate area. And he said turning Biscaro’s project down could dissuade others from considering Le Roy.

“This is the second time that I've been on a board that a developer has come in the last 10 years and is trying to do something different in the community. And it's the second time they've been turned away,” he said. “My fear is no other developer will come to Le Roy. They see what has happened over the course of the last 10 years.”

Kettle said he did the math and believes that this is not “the best plan for the comprehensive plan that we have in the Village of Le Roy.”

“I think there's a better plan out there. I think there's a plan that will bring tax dollar revenues, 100 percent of assessed values to the coffers -- the school coffers, the village coffers, and the town and county coffers,” he said, implying that he didn’t agree with the payment in lieu of taxes agreement that Biscaro worked out with the Genesee County Economic Development Center.

Tetrault, mentioning that he has been involved in construction, said he liked Biscaro’s plan but couldn’t vote for it because he hasn’t been made aware of the full scope of the project. Thus, he is wary of potential problems down the road.

TETRAULT: QUESTIONS WENT UNANSWERED

“And some of the questions I had, I really never got clear answers for,” he said, noting that he was hoping to see a more detailed set of blueprints that encompassed all aspects of Biscaro’s proposal.

Yacuzzo said that connecting East Avenue with South Avenue (one of the conditions of the project) would be a terrible mistake, leading to “a crush of traffic” as people would use it as a shortcut on weekdays to get to the Le Roy Central School and after football games.

“If there's a connection to East Avenue anywhere else, I think it should be to Asbury Road and that would not serve as a shortcut … That's the sort of plan that I’d like to run by our planning board.”

As he was leaving, The Batavian asked Biscaro if he would consider a revised plan or another location in the village.

“No, it’s done,” he said.

Photo: Le Roy Village Board members at tonight's meeting, from left, Richard Tetrault, Ray Yacuzzo (speaking), Mayor Greg Rogers, Bill Kettle and Jim Bonacquisti. Photo by Mike Pettinella.

Previously: Patio homes/building lots development project is back on the Le Roy Village Board's agenda for tonight

Previously: Developer offers to pay to extend East Avenue as Village of Le Roy residents continue to question housing project

Previously: East Avenue area residents defend their 'jewel' of a neighborhood at public hearing on Le Roy development

Comments
October 20, 2021 - 8:30am
posted by Mike Pettinella in news, notify, Le Roy Village Board, Eric Biscaro.

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Update, 3 p.m.: Le Roy Village Mayor just reported that the Village Board will not be deciding the fate of this project tonight, but plans to complete the State Environmental Quality Review process. He said he is looking into scheduling a meeting for Nov. 1 for the vote, although that date has yet to be confirmed.

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The housing development being proposed by a Batavia businessman returns to the public arena tonight when the Le Roy Village Board convenes its regular monthly meeting at Memorial Auditorium on Trigon Park.

Eric Biscaro’s plan to construct 30 duplex units for residents 50 and older on a 20-acre parcel of land off East Avenue in the village (photo at top) has drawn much attention over the past five months – and a great deal of opposition from a vocal group of citizens who live in the East Avenue, Poplar Lane, Orchard Drive neighborhood.

Those calling for the village board to turn down the project – which requires rezoning from Residential to Planned Unit Development – have given various reasons, including it’s not a good fit for the area, increased traffic and stormwater runoff.

However, there have been LeRoyans who have spoken favorably of the venture, which also includes extending East Avenue to accommodate 18 single-family building lots. Those supporting it have pointed to studies that show Le Roy (and Genesee County) lack adequate housing for seniors and also have mentioned the tax revenue the project would generate.

So, after a recommendation of approval by the Genesee County Planning Board, two previous well-attended public hearings, and some back-and-forth dialogue on The Batavian, the matter is back on the village board’s agenda, with proceedings to begin at 7 o’clock.

Mayor Greg Rogers, contacted earlier this week, said board members seem to be satisfied with traffic and stormwater runoff studies conducted by the CPL engineering firm hired by the village.

“Yes. We’ve reviewed CPL’s study of the water and traffic issues and they’re (CPL) good with that,” he said.

The pressing concern now, he said, is what to do about Biscaro’s offer to put the East Avenue extension in himself, with minimal assistance (around $30,000) in the way of stone, gravel and trucks from the village. The developer also is seeking a $7,000 cap on building permit fees (which represents about a 50 percent discount).

Rogers said that no decision has been made by the board as far as Biscaro putting the road in.

“He has proposed putting the majority of the roads in for the 60 units (senior housing complex) and the 18 building lots on an extension of East Avenue,” Rogers advised. “The board is looking at a commitment of $50,000 to $75,000 toward the road extension.”

The board is thinking about spending that much because the current village code stipulates that curbs and storm sewers come with the installation of new roads.

“That definitely will be part of the conversation Wednesday (tonight),” he said.

Biscaro, using his Clinton Crossings Adult Community as an example, contends that curbs and storm drains aren’t necessary and “do not make the neighborhood.”

“Curbs trap the water on the street and force it to the storm drains,” he said. “You all heard the complaints about water in the storm drains going into the culvert under East Avenue and on to the golf course. Why do it? It’s not necessary. Our stormwater plan already takes care of any water on that street without sending it on to anyone else.”

The owner of Armor Building Supply in Batavia, Biscaro said he has multiple plans that will meet New York State Department of Environmental Conservation requirements and will present those, as well as a Letter of Compliance, to the board.

He said the “pros” of the project far outweigh the “cons” when it comes to being a benefit for the Village of Le Roy.

Biscaro said he got involved with the village after receiving word from Rogers that the board was considering an investment of up to $1 million to extend East Avenue. The proposal also includes opening up South Avenue as an emergency exit/entrance to South Street.

“A vote for the project will lead to quality built patio homes with garages built for easy senior living with no maintenance and more importantly no worries, and a nice new street where beautiful single-family homes will be built,” Biscaro said. “Maybe someone’s children or siblings can build and stay in Le Roy.”

As he did at the last public hearing, Biscaro – who said he will be investing $9 million over the next five years -- brought up the positive tax implications for the village.

“The current annual tax receipts for that property is approximately $1,360 -- $400 to the village and $960 to the (Le Roy Central) school district,” said Biscaro, who is seeking a Payment in Lieu of Taxes agreement with the Genesee County Economic Development Center. “In just the first year alone, the village would get $2,400 and the school would receive $5,760.”

He said the cumulative totals after 10 years would equal $311,500 to the village and $747,600 to the school district.

“If the board votes against it, it’s the same $1,360 year after year,” he said.

Biscaro said he is committed to building something that will enhance the neighborhood, which has been called a “jewel” by its residents.

“The issue right now is that we have nothing at this location and very little income,” he said. “We need to work together to create something out of this scrub land section of the village, and make this development another gem of the neighborhood.”

October 5, 2021 - 10:17am

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The Batavia businessman proposing the development of a 60-unit senior housing complex and eight single-family home building lots in the Village of Le Roy on Monday night offered to pay the lion’s share of the cost to extend East Avenue to make room for those lots.

Toward the end of what turned into a 2 hour and 43 minute public hearing at Memorial Auditorium, Eric Biscaro addressed the need to extend the road – something that Village Mayor Greg Rogers previously had said the village would consider doing.

About 50 people, most of them residents of the East Avenue, Poplar Lane and Orchard Drive area, attended.

Biscaro said he could extend East Avenue by about 1,000 feet to the south for considerably less than the $1 million estimate the village had received, comparing the work to the road he put in at his Clinton Crossings Adult Community development in the Town of Batavia.

Holding a photograph of the road (pictured above), Biscaro said, “The road is perfect and that was put in 15 years ago.”

He pitched the idea of the village contributing $26,000 for stone and gravel plus the time involved in trucking the material toward the construction of the road, which he said would be 24 feet wide. It would extend south to a point where an access road or emergency exit could be carved out on South Avenue, connecting to South Street.

The village board did not make any commitments last night and tabled a couple resolutions on the State Environmental Quality Review that is part of the requirements before the project can progress.

When asked about the village’s stance on paying for the East Avenue extension, Rogers said that news of a potential Payment in Lieu of Taxes agreement between Biscaro and the Genesee County Economic Development Center changes things.

“(With the PILOT) our recapture (of taxes) is a lot less now,” Rogers said. “That one million (dollars) is not on the table at this point.”

Rogers said that no voting on the project – including the rezoning of the 20-acre parcel to the east of East Avenue designated for the senior housing complex – would take place until an agreement on the road extension is reached.

After Biscaro said that “the project can be done without the road,” Rogers countered by restating the village’s position that it wants single-family homes (as well as the rental properties for those 50 and over).

Mark Masse, GCEDC vice president of operations, spoke first at the public hearing to give details about Biscaro’s application for incentives.

He also reported that the county has a need for 1,400 new single-family homes and market rate apartments over the next 20 years “to keep up with the (projected) growth.”

Concerning the tax abatements, Masse said the project qualifies for sales tax (materials) and mortgage tax breaks as well as a PILOT, which would reduce Biscaro’s tax bill on a sliding scale over 20 years.

Specifically, Masse said, Biscaro would be responsible for 10 percent of total taxes (county, village and school) for the first four years, 15 percent for the next three years, 20 percent for the next three years, 50 percent for the next five years and 75 percent for the final five years. The PILOT does not cover taxes and fees for any special districts, such as water and sewer.

When a resident mentioned that the village would be losing out on tax revenue, Masse said completion of the project would bring in more than what the village is receiving now on the vacant land. He also noted that tenants would pay their own water and sewer bills.

Masse said the GCEDC has approved incentives for similar projects, mentioning The Manor House and DePaul Properties in Batavia, with a difference being that those projects did not have to be rezoned.

The Village Board would have to approve rezoning of the land earmarked for the senior apartments from Residential to Planned Unit Development. The single-family home building lots on East Avenue would continue to be zoned Residential, however, Rogers said.

Residents asked questions and offered opinions on several other pressing issues, most notably the project’s impact on traffic, stormwater runoff, property values, tax implications and housing opportunities – basically the same concerns that were expressed during a public hearing on Aug. 18 at Memorial Auditorium.

TRAFFIC IMPLICATIONS

Andrew Kosa, engineer with CPL (Clark Patterson Lee), reported that by using numbers provided through a traffic study conducted by the Le Roy Police Department, that the project would result in twice the number of vehicles on East Avenue and East Main Street during peak morning and afternoon times.

Still, Kosa said, that would not significantly impact traffic flow, stating that East Avenue traffic would continue to be at a satisfactory level.

This prompted a resident to bring up the “dangerous” situation where motorists are unable to see clearly as they move from East Avenue onto East Main Street, and asked if the Village Board could look into this.

STORMWATER RETENTION

A major topic of discussion, Kosa said CPL’s role “is to ensure compliance,” adding that any water discharge from the project has to be equal or less than what is running off now.

Biscaro’s plan includes a retention pond in the northwest quadrant of the 30-duplex layout (see photo below).

LeRoyan James Gomborone, who owns nearby Mercy Grove and Le Roy Country Club, said his property gets considerable runoff now – and frequent flooding when it rains heavily – and said he wasn’t convinced of the stormwater plan’s effectiveness.

Biscaro responded by saying the water will flow to the north “and be considerably less than it is now or the same when it leaves the property.”

“My responsibility (under the law) is for it to come out the same or less (than it is now),” he said.

Kosa also responded to a question about the East Avenue extension, noting that CPL would have to mitigate any water issues or be subject to being fined by the Department of Environmental Conservation.

Biscaro reported that only 18 percent of the 20-acre apartment complex would be comprised of impervious cover, such as pavement, roofing, etc.

It was mentioned that Biscaro would be open to developing additional building lots on the west side of East Avenue. If so, a separate stormwater plan would have to be devised.

ZONING CHANGE

Resident Tom Condidorio contended that any zoning changes would affect home values, and called out the village board for not listening to its taxpayers.

Rogers responded by saying the overarching plan is to “try to grow the tax base so your property values don’t go down.”

It then was mentioned that another resident put in a retention pond in a different part of the village with duplexes and the average sale of homes in that area increased by 28 percent over assessed values.

TAX IMPLICATIONS

Biscaro read from a spreadsheet that breaks down the tax revenue starting with 2022 and going out to 2047.

He said the village is collecting $400 a year and the Le Roy Central School District is collecting $960 a year on the property as it currently stands, but each entity would collect six times that amount in the first year.

In year 10, with the completion of the apartment complex and new home builds, he said the village would receive $61,500 in tax revenue and Le Roy Central School District would earn $147,600.

All told, Biscaro’s projections show the village receiving $1.5 million in taxes and the school district capturing $3.7 million in taxes over the 25 years.

HOUSING OPPORTUNITIES

A LeRoyan said she was in favor of creating residences for those people 50 and over, noting that “Le Roy residents have no place to go.”

She said her father is 76 and “this would be the perfect place for him.”

“This is designed to be for rentals,” she said. “Some people don’t want to own (their homes any longer).”

Biscaro, responding to calls for the project to be moved outside the village, said, “This is a fabulous location. We want to be in a good place.”

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Moving forward, Rogers said the village board will evaluate Biscaro’s proposal to construct the road, with an eye on possibly making a decision at its Oct. 20 meeting.

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Drawing of the 60-unit senior apartment complex, showing the oval-shaped retention pond at upper left, as well as the proposed extention of East Avenue along the left side with eight building lots.

Previously: East Avenue area residents defend their 'jewel' of a neighborhood at public hearing on Le Roy development

August 18, 2021 - 11:48pm
posted by Mike Pettinella in news, village of le roy, Eric Biscaro, Clinton Crossings.

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One after another over the course of an hour and forty minute public hearing tonight, residents of East Avenue, Poplar Lane, Orchard Drive and South Street in the Village of Le Roy took the microphone – letting Batavia developer Eric Biscaro know how much they love their “jewel” of a neighborhood.

Biscaro, owner of Armor Building Supply, stood his ground, though, responding that his proposal to build 30 duplex units for tenants age 50 and over on a 20-acre parcel off East Avenue and open up eight single-family home building lots by extending the street would be a good thing for the community – creating more housing opportunities for older people and adding to the tax base.

The setting for the public hearing called by Village Mayor Greg Rogers was Memorial Auditorium at Trigon Park, where about 85 people – most of them from the area where Biscaro hopes to build – showed up either to voice their opinions or to hear what others had to say.

The project has been on the table for several months, with Biscaro proposing his Le Roy version of Batavia’s Clinton Crossings Adult Community to the Genesee County Planning Board in early April.

Since then, it has encountered considerable opposition, primarily from residents near the identified location who fear a substantial increase in traffic along East Avenue – as currently that is the only way to access the proposed development – and are concerned about stormwater runoff from the complex.

Village board members heard more of the same tonight, as well as impassioned pleas from longtime homeowners to put the complex somewhere in the Town of Le Roy as to not disturb their peaceful setting.

Maurice Turner of 24 East Ave., a transplanted Rochesterian who said he and his wife purchased the home about 21 years ago, may have summed up the neighborhood feeling the best when he addressed the crowd about two-thirds of the way through the public hearing.

“When I looked at this place, I said, ‘This is a jewel … this is sweet,’” he said. “One way in, one way out, and that particular day, I didn’t see a lot of traffic. But what I did see … is anybody that can’t see this must be a fool … I’m saying that because of the passion in my heart that I have for the area that I live in.”

Turner said he thinks the Biscaro project – which would need a zoning change from Residential to Planned Unit Development – would be best suited for the town, but if it had to be in the village, he suggested that village officials “think outside of the box” by putting in an access road from Asbury Road, and leave East Avenue and the surrounding streets as is.

Mayor Rogers opened the meeting by outlining the Village Board’s reasoning for considering the project, stating that the dwellings would generate needed tax money and fill the need for housing for seniors.

He said the village was committed to spending up to $1 million on improvements to East Avenue, citing a 1988 resolution that authorizes the village to fund projects that would enhance future growth.

Biscaro followed with a quick overview of the project, using a video of the set-up at Clinton Crossings and photos featuring trees and other buffering around the Le Roy parcel.

He said each lot of the senior development would measure 100- by 150-feet, and could be accessed by a main exit off East Avenue toward the center of the parcel and, in an emergency situation, from South Avenue onto East Avenue.

Twenty-four of the 30 one-floor units would measure 1,200 square feet plus a one-car garage and six of them would measure 1,450 square feet with a two-car garage.

He stressed that the development would not be visible from the south, north and west as long as the trees are there (which he promised to make sure they are retained), and about 40 percent of it could be seen from Asbury Road to the east.

Biscaro also spoke about the success of the Clinton Crossings complex, noting that residents there and those who live along the adjacent Stringham Drive co-exist without any issues.

Although Rogers set ground rules, asking for an orderly process to accommodate those who wished to speak, the public comment session began on an emotionally-charged note when Tom Condidorio, at a high decibel level, said that the proposal to put in a PUD “is not the future of our village.”

“If anybody here thinks it is, stand up and tell me please. Any LeRoyan in this village, (if) you think this belongs here, stand up and tell me!” he shouted.

He then contended that the Fussells, who own the land to be purchased by Biscaro, will be making a lot of money (a notion later challenged by E. Robert Fussell and his daughter, Anna Sorensen, who said they have been paying taxes on that land for many years).

Condidorio, an East Avenue resident, went on for a couple minutes, mentioning that he was “passionate” about the subject, before Rogers stepped in to keep the situation from escalating.

About 16 more people spoke after that (most, but not all against the project) before Rogers wrapped things up. He said the board would not be taking any action tonight, but would resume the public hearing at its Sept. 15 meeting.

“We want to give it proper thought and follow up ... and do our due diligence,” he said, advising that the board will provide more information about traffic patterns in the village and continue to obtain data about water runoff.

Previously, Biscaro said that he intends to ensure that no more water will run off of the property than what takes place now.

ADDITIONAL COMMENTS FROM THE PUBLIC HEARING

Updated: 8 a.m., 8/19

  • Rogers, on putting the development in the Town of Le Roy: "All of the building is going on in the town. The farmers don't want to lose that good, valuable farmland. And the biggest consideration ... of people is in the village." To which Condidorio replied, "Then, let's make those homes; let's make it residential (not rental)."
  • Biscaro, on the possibility of receiving tax incentives (from the Genesee County Economic Development Center): "I don't know yet. If we get one, it will be the first one in the county ... for residential building. And the reason is the 2018 housing study for Genesee County is begging for housing like this." To which Rogers replied, "We won't support a PILOT (Payment in Lieu of Taxes) that comes out of ... the taxpayers' pockets."
  • Sorensen, on the need for senior housing: "People need housing. These are beautiful places. I heard originally that they were horrible ... so I went out and looked at them. I disagree."
  • Rene Robinson, Poplar Lane, on demographics in Le Roy: "(Per 2018 census) over 55 is the smallest growing population, the lowest population of LeRoyans that we have. So, to focus an entire development on over 55 and then state you are going to use taxpayer money because it's earmarked for future growth of residents is really not reasonable." Biscaro's response was that older people would be able to stay in Le Roy because of this type of housing, and by selling their homes, it would open up housing for younger people.
  • Barb Anchor Elliott, East Avenue, on safety pertaining to traffic: "The only access to getting into this development is going to be East Avenue ... you can park on the east side of East Avenue, and if you park on the east side, there really isn't room for two cars to get by. So, I can not see how construction vehicles and all of that can come down East Avenue and maintain the safety." Other speakers agreed with her assessment, adding that the traffic is already heavy in the morning when school is in session. She added that if the (Great Lakes) cheese factory doesn't go through on Route 19, north of the village, that would be a good place for the development.
  • Biscaro, on traffic flow at Clinton Crossings: "There's nowhere that traffic. Out of our 40 units, five have no vehicle, and only two units that have two vehicles. Even though that place is 55 and over, the average age is 75, 76 years old."
  • Jackie Whiting, on Village Board's responsibilities: "Whether I agree or disagree is neither here nor there. Their job is to investigate opportunities for the village, looking into all possibilities. They may say yes, they may say no ... whether I agree or disagree, I thank you guys for your time and effort ..."
  • Florence Condidorio, East Avenue, asked why professional environmental studies weren't done beforehand. Rogers replied that the flood plain and stormwater plan are the developer's responsibility, and the Village Board's responsibility is to review those plans (in this case utlizing Clark Patterson Lee engineering firm). Biscaro said he contracted with an engineer "and there will be less water now than is coming off currently."
  • Dwight Kanyuk, attorney representing Condidorios, on the need to have State Environmental Quality Review Assessments: "It's up to this board under SEQR whether there may be a significant adverse impact of their project on the environment." He said it doesn't appear that the correct procedures were followed in accordance with Type 1 SEQR regulations.
  • Ron Pangrazio, East Avenue, on water problems that prohibited further development of that street: "(After investigation), they told us, 'We're not giving you any state aid to put in those streets -- it's too much money; it's too wet. They turned it down, and we went someplace else."  He said water problem needs to be corrected, and the development "is putting the cart before the horse."
  • E. Robert Fussell, property owner, in response to Pangrazio: Stating that the homes on East Avenue were developed by his father, he said, "That (water) is not the reason (more homes weren't built). The reason is the village refused, and this was decades ago, a lift station to that my father could make any money at all developing land past Pangrazio's and Condidorio's houses on East Avenue." He said he believes people should be able to live in the village, and the Biscaro proposal presents an opportunity for older people to do that. 

lot_1.jpg

Photo at top: Maurice Turner presents his views about the proposed housing development off East Avenue in the Village of Le Roy. Behind him is Eric Biscaro. Photo at bottom: Twenty acre parcel that Biscaro is hoping to develop. Photos by Mike Pettinella.

Previously: Rogers: Housing project in the Village of Le Roy hinges on science-based stormwater retention plan

Previously: Developer, mayor address criticism; stage is set for May 19 public hearing on Le Roy senior housing development

Comments
May 4, 2021 - 12:09pm
posted by Mike Pettinella in news, notify, Clinton Crossings, Eric Biscaro, village of le roy.

The Batavia businessman and Le Roy municipal leader at the forefront of a proposed 60-unit senior residential complex off East Avenue in the Village of Le Roy on Monday afternoon responded to objections about the project -- calling the development a quality, well-thought-out venture that will benefit tenants and the community at large.

Eric Biscaro, owner of Armor Building Supply in Batavia and several other construction material-related companies in and around Western New York, and Le Roy Village Mayor Greg Rogers returned phone calls from The Batavian after the posting of a story reporting concerns from LeRoyans Tom Frew and Jim Gomborone.

Biscaro is looking to construct 30 duplex patio home rentals on a 20-acre parcel that runs east of East Avenue. The plan also calls for the development and sale of eight single-family home building lots along an extension of that street.

Frew, a member of the Le Roy Town/Village Planning Board, said he was against the idea for several reasons, primarily that the duplex units are not compatible with homes in the East Avenue, Orchard Drive and Poplar Lane (where Frew lives) area; that there would be a significant increase in traffic; and that it would cost the village considerably to extend infrastructure on East Avenue to accommodate Biscaro.

Gomborone said he is worried about water running off the development into a stream and possibly flooding his Mercy Grove and Le Roy Country Club properties on East Main Street.

Noting that he read the story with their objections, Biscaro said he wanted to set the record straight about the project, which he said will likely be a $9 million to $10 million investment.

On the zoning issue:

“One question that came up is that we’re going to change an R-1 (Residential) District to a Planned Unit Development area. We won’t change anybody’s zoning, including the eight lots that are proposed on the front of this. Those eight lots will be an R-1 District. The only thing that requires a PUD is my senior housing proposal for the 20 acres there.

On extending East Avenue and connecting to South Avenue:

“The planning board’s concerns were that nobody wants to put in dead ends anymore or cul-de-sacs because people get trapped in there if something major happens down the street. What we will do – because we want the project to go through, and yes, we will be putting more people there – is to let me recondition that South Avenue road that’s there. It’s 18-feet wide and there’s a base in there right now. You could drive down in with a pickup truck right now.”

Biscaro said he met with Le Roy highway and fire officials and went over a plan where he would clear trees and brush, and would lay crushed stone over it to make it passable.

“I’m not going to pave it – I’m not a road builder – but I will make it very nicely passable for a fire lane that’s emergency use only, so no one is ever trapped there. We’ll have a great fire exit for all of East Avenue and those two side streets (Poplar Lane and Orchard Drive). I would think the residents would look at this as a nice addition, and hopefully, they’ll never need it, but if they do, it will be there.”

On the building lots:

“There will be eight new lots for sale for single-family homes. The village is looking for more places for younger people to buy, and this gives them eight more lots to do that. I would presume that those houses, when they do build, will be the highest assessed properties in the neighborhood. I don’t see them lower than the houses currently in the R-1 District, which are nice houses but they were built in the 1960s and ‘70s.”

He said the new houses and rental units must pass current building and energy codes.

“They are great buildings that we have built. If you look at Clinton Crossings in Batavia (a similar project that he put up about 15 years ago) the quality is fabulous. We use radiant floor heating instead of forced air. That will cost me 2 ½ times (more) than what it would cost if we put in forced air heat and air conditioning – and it’s way more efficient and way more comfortable. That’s why seniors love to stay in my place.”

On the possibility of decreased property values:

“If you go down Stringham Drive and Violet Lane (in Batavia, next to Clinton Crossings), homeowners there had the same concerns. We did a study on what my project did to them and the assessments over the 10 years that we were there went up 15 to 18 percent. Nobody got hurt. You can talk to anybody who backs up to us and they’ll all say that we are wonderful neighbors and nobody got hurt one bit.”

On increased traffic in the area:

“At Clinton Crossings, we have 40 units. Five of the residents don’t drive and only three have more than one car and more than one driver in the home. I don’t even have an average of one driver and vehicle per house, and they may go out only twice or three times a week.”

On flooding of Le Roy Country Club:

“I cannot go in there and have any more water leave that property when I’m done that leaves it right now. I have to submit a plan to the DEC (Department of Environmental Conservation) and they have to approve per their stormwater retention requirements. Once we get the topography, we will be able to design this plan and get the DEC to approve it. We certainly will (have) way less leaving there but whether it will be zero or not, I can’t say at this point. I have no question that we will develop a fine stormwater plan and leave it way better than it is right now.”

On the cost to the village:

“Mr. Frew is under the impression that the village is going to put in all of the water, sewer, gas and electric in there for me. I wish that was true. Down that street, anywhere that has anything to do with the street or my project, I put the water and sewer in. On the street, itself, when I get done with it and they inspect it and it’s all done to code, I give to the village – it’s theirs. But I put it in at my expense.”

Biscaro said the village is going to start with infrastructure work extending about 500 feet, taking in the first four building lots and the entrance to the development.

“I’m doing building lots for the first time because that’s what the village is looking for, but I don’t think they’ll be that profitable. The village never developed that street because it needs a sewer pump station with a backup generator in there, which is a very expensive item (probably around $60,000 to $80,000). But by putting those eight lots in and my 60 units, now we can afford it.”

In closing, Biscaro said the vast majority of rental units will be 1,200 square feet with one and a half bathrooms and an attached garage.

“For this one, I’m going to put in a couple that are a little bigger and have a two-car garage. People have asked me to do that. And I, myself, would like one of those and I’ll probably end up living there when this project is done.”

MAYOR: NOT DONE ON A WHIM

Le Roy Mayor Rogers said the village has done its due diligence and has a plan that will save money and, ultimately, expand the village’s tax base.

“We are not hiding the fact that we are investing in this road in an attempt to broaden our tax base,” Rogers said. “It’s a dedicated village street – an extension of East Avenue around to South Avenue over to South Street. We’re not going down South Avenue at this time – that will be for somebody else. We plan on blocking it off for emergency access only.”

Rogers said the village will get help from the Town of Le Roy and Genesee County on the road, and has reached out to the Genesee County Economic Development Center to see if it could assist.

“This wasn’t something that was done on a whim. We plan on doing the work ourselves and using CHIPS (Consolidated Local Street and Highway Improvement Program) money that we have set aside for a project like this – which is over $600,000. The developer is going to take care of all the infrastructure under the ground,” he explained.

“If we were to go to the end of the street and put it out for bid, Clark Patterson Lee (engineering firm) said it would be roughly $1.8 million to do it. This is our plan to get started with our own stuff to see how far we can go. We don’t plan on borrowing any money. Yes, we are going to spend resources that we have set aside for roads; that part is true.”

PROMOTING THE BUILDING LOTS

Rogers said he doesn’t see “consistency with the neighborhood” as an issue and is convinced that the project is a good investment for the village.

“The closest that the development is going to be is 100 from the back property line of any resident. It’s going to be the same thing that is on Route 33 in Batavia – Clinton Crossings,” he said. “And the building lots are what we’re really looking to promote; getting some new, single-family homes in that thing, along the street (east side of East Avenue).”

The mayor said it likely would take 10 years for the village to get a return on its investment, but looked beyond that to the increase in the village’s assessed value that would be applied against the school tax rate.

“This is something I thought needed to be done when I started in office,” Rogers added. “In a perfect world, let’s get it started; get down the street and have the developer come in and do South Avenue. The building lots over there would be absolutely gorgeous.

“Honestly, I’ve got three years left in office and I could have sat back and made my life easy and not done a thing. But I didn’t think it was the right thing to do.”

A public hearing on the project is scheduled for 7 p.m. Wednesday, May 19 at the Le Roy Village Hall at 3 W. Main St.

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