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Genesee County Planning Board

January 10, 2019 - 8:25pm

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After watching the Genesee County Planning Board quickly place its stamp of approval on a project that would result in the tallest thrill ride in New York coming to Six Flags Darien Lake, the theme park general manager couldn’t hold back his enthusiasm.

“The sheer magnitude of the ride – which will be the highest structure in the state – will make it the new signature ride and beacon of the Six Flags brand,” said Chris Thorpe, who attended the meeting tonight at Genesee County Building 2 on West Main Street Road. He was accompanied by Edward McCarthy, Darien Lake's maintenance & construction director.

County planners reviewed and saw no problem with the site plan that calls for the new Six Flags SkyScreamer to replace the Twister. The measure now goes before the Town of Darien Planning Board for final consideration.

If all goes according to plan, the new ride will be ready by opening day of the 2019 season at the park, which has changed its name to Six Flags Darien Lake in an effort to promote the well-known corporate brand, Thorpe said.

The SkyScreamer is a 242-foot tall (24 stories) swing ride that holds 32 riders, sitting two across in 16 open-air swings, and spins round and round a 98-foot circle at 35 miles per hour. At night, the ride’s dazzling, synchronized light package will be in full view.

According to documents from the Genesee County Economic Development Center, Six Flags Darien Lake is investing around $2.1 million for the new ride and has been granted a sales tax exemption of approximately $166,000.

 In other action, the planning board recommended:

-- Approval of zoning text amendments for the entire Town of Pembroke to add the definition of service organizations, allow them by special use permit in the Agricultural-Residential District and add language allowing for the revocation of a special use permit.

The changes were prompted by a request from the American Legion, which is looking to purchase a parcel of land near the new Western New York National Cemetery in Indian Falls, said County Planning Director Felipe Oltramari.

-- Approval with modifications of an area variance request by Batavia Downs Gaming to install an off-premise 25-foot pole sign to assist motorists.

The modifications call for the applicant to erect a monument-type sign, which are permitted in a Residential-1 District, and to explore a directory-style sign at the specified intersection with other Park Road businesses in order to avoid similar requests in the future.

-- Approvals of the following:

            -- A sign permit for Koolatron to add two signs at its Commerce Drive location;

            -- A special use permit for Lynn Strzelecki of Bergen to operate a hair salon by appointment only at her home;

            -- A special use permit for William and Patricia Cultrara to install a ground-mounted solar array for use at their Galloway Road, Batavia residence;

            -- A special use permit for Renee Franclemont of Allegany Road, Pembroke, to convert a portion of a commercial building into a single-family home.

November 8, 2018 - 8:41pm
posted by Mike Pettinella in news, Genesee County Planning Board, city of batavia.

With only three referral items and little else on the agenda, the Genesee County Planning Board tonight needed only 11 minutes to conduct its business, with the most notable action pertaining to the City of Batavia’s recent sign code review.

County planners recommended approval, with modifications, of zoning text amendments to the City’s packet of sign regulations.

In September, the City Planning & Development Committee reviewed the sign code and recommended the following changes:

-- Expanded list of exempt signs, specifically allowing a greater use of directional signage;
-- Defined drive-thru menu board signs to better conform to typical uses;
-- Clarified some language that may have been subjective;
-- Expanded areas where electronic message boards may be used;
-- Expanded the types of appeals that may be considered by the Zoning Board of Appeals.

With the PDC and County Planning Board’s blessing, City Council now is charged with reviewing the suggested changes to the sign code, coming to a consensus on the matter, scheduling a public hearing and adopting a local law that would put any changes into law.

County Planning Director Felipe Oltramari, speaking after tonight’s meeting, said tackling sign codes is “tricky because you’re dealing with freedom of speech issues.”

“You can’t regulate content, but you can regulate (sign) placement, size and color,” he said. “If you have to read the sign to see if it is in regulation, then you’re regulating content.”

Oltramari then said content can be regulated when safety is involved – signs that read “danger” could present a hazard, for example – but that the government holds “content” to a higher standard.

“We try to steer communities away from regulating content,” he added.

As far as modifications are concerned, county planners are advising that City Council solicit its attorney’s opinion on whether “open and closed” signs or “hours of operation” signs could be considered content-based restrictions, and whether the ZBA is permitted to grant area variances for non-dimensional issues.

It is the County Planning Board’s view, stemming from talks with a NYS Department of State lawyer, that non-dimensional variances, such as lighting type, should be considered use variances and not area variances.

City Council adopted its current sign code in January 2017 through a local law that significantly changed the previous version. Since then, the City’s Inspection Bureau reported that numerous questions have come up as to interpretation and intent of the code, and requested a review and, if necessary, amendments to the code.

In other action, the planning board recommended approval of the Town of Byron’s updated Comprehensive Plan, acknowledging the extensive work of the town’s officials.

October 12, 2018 - 12:55pm
posted by Mike Pettinella in news, Genesee County Planning Board, Apple Tree Acres, speedway.

The Genesee County Planning Board on Thursday night recommended the approval of a proposal to build a 60,000-square-foot facility to house a party rental equipment business in Apple Tree Acres Business Park in the Town of Bergen.

The board also recommended approval -- with modifications -- of an expansion of Amada Tool in the City of Batavia, a new earth shoring business in the Town of Batavia and a new Speedway fueling station/convenience store in the Town of Pembroke.

All decisions by county planners are subject to approval by municipal town boards and zoning boards, and may require public hearings.

According to the site plan review submitted by Hank Parker Rental, the party rental equipment building would measure 200 by 300 feet.

Planners deemed that the business would have no adverse effects on the area, but recommended the applicant apply with the Genesee County Sheriff’s Office to ensure that the address meets Enhanced 9-1-1 standards.

Alexander Amering, PE, of Costich Engineering submitted a site plan review to construct a 19,000-square-foot addition to Amada Tool at 4A Treadeasy Ave.

Planners signed on but stipulated that the applicant check with the NYS Department of Environmental Conservation concerning any archaeological impact and also to complete a Stormwater Pollution Prevention Plan prior to final approval from the City Planning & Development Committee.

The same modifications apply to a site plan review submitted by Paul Vellano for an earth shoring office and storage facility at 4814 E. Saile Drive. The plan calls for the construction of a building measuring 40 feet by 80 feet.

Earth shoring and retention focuses on retaining soil that has been subjected to either a natural, unstable slope or a man-made excavation and when required, supporting existing adjacent structures.

Speedway, per applicant Jonathan Wocher, is proposing to construction a new gas station/store, and sought a special use permit and area variances for the number of signs – five as opposed to the maximum allowed of two; sign height – 100 feet as opposed to the maximum allowed of 50 feet, and sign area, 892 square feet as opposed to the maximum allowed of 100 square feet.

Planners recommended approval contingent upon the following:

-- Apply and obtain an area variance, or merge the two parcels (a Subway restaurant is on the other) as the land separation would result in the parcel to the south having less than the required frontage;

-- Reduce the freestanding sign area and height to conform with the Town's regulations or to a level consistent with the neighboring truck stops;

-- Conduct a phase 1 archeological survey wherever there will be a disturbance of the land;

-- Obtain documentation from NYS DOT for approval of the driveway given the change of use/intensity;

-- Complete, per DEC requirements, a Stormwater Pollution Prevention Plan (SWPPP);

-- Ensure that the storage and disposal of all new and used waste oils, lubricants, fuels, coolants and other hazardous materials lines up with all applicable State and Federal laws.

County Planning Director Felipe Oltramari said the developer agreed to all the modifications, including trying to obtain more frontage by possibly acquiring some property from the neighboring hotel on the east side of Route 77.

He also said the DOT will be restriping some of the road to help facilitate turning to and from the NYS Thruway.

September 14, 2018 - 11:50am

The Genesee County Planning Board on Thursday recommended rezoning six of the seven parcels that were requested to be reclassified for commercial use by City Church, owner of the former St. Anthony’s Church campus.

The county committee’s action comes on the heels of the Batavia City Council’s vote to send the issue to the City Planning & Development Committee for final review.

City Church had filed a petition to change the parcels – 42 Central Ave. and 110-124 Liberty St. – from Residential (R-3) to Central Commercial (C-3) to allow for uses such as a dance school, art school and community education classes.

County planners approved the request with a modification stating that the house at 124 Liberty St. should remain in the residential district.

In its opinion, the board pointed out that rezoning to C-3 will “ease the adaptive reuse of these buildings, however the Future Lane Use Map in the City’s Comprehensive Plan adopted in 2017 designates this area as “Restoration Residential.” Therefore, the home at 124 Liberty St. would serve as a buffer from any commercial uses in the other parcels."

County Planning Director Felipe Oltramari said that it was his understanding that City Church leaders had no plans for the commercial use of 124 Liberty St.

The item is on the agenda of the Sept. 18 meeting of the City Planning & Development Committee. Should it be approved, a public hearing will be scheduled.

In other action, County planners recommended:

-- Approval with modifications of a special use permit and area variance by DiLaura Enterprises to build a self-service storage building at 8994 Alexander Road (Route 98). The proposed 65,000-square-foot building is to be used to store impounded and collision vehicles.

Modifications include: a vegetative buffer between the NYS drainage right-of-way and the parking area; driveway permits from NYS DOT; no storage of vehicles for more than 120 days; proper on-site lighting; and regulated disposal of oils and other possibly hazardous materials.

The building reportedly would measure 50-by-100-by-16 feet with two overhead doors, and would have two entrances and exits to make it easy for trucks to pull in and out. It also would have all utilities, a few outside lights, be fully fenced and gated.

The owner, Dan DiLaura, has said the building will be used for “personal storage" of race cars, towing equipment, tools, tires, etc., but it would not be used for any commercial repairs.

A public hearing is scheduled for Sept. 18 before the Batavia Town Planning Board meeting.

-- Approval with modifications of a special use permit and site plan review to add a truck maintenance facility on the grounds of the Pilot Flying J Truck Care Center at 8484 Alleghany Road (Route 77), near the 48A Thruway interchange in the Town of Pembroke.

According to the application submitted by the owner, Landon Lane, the project calls for the construction of a 7,960-square-foot, two-bay service garage to be located behind the existing truck stop and entirely within the existing parking area.

The hours of the Truck Care Center are said to be 6 a.m. to 10 p.m. daily, and services performed at the shop include routine maintenance items such as oil changes, tire replacement/repair, mud flap, light bulb, and battery replacement, and other small maintenance items.

-- Approval of a site plan review to change the use of what was a “storefront church” at 10 Lake Ave. (Route 19) in Bergen to a professional office space and art studio owned by David and Anna Marie Barclay.

-- Approval with modifications of a special use permit for Matthew Baldwin to operate a bulk food/deli retail store at 3387 Broadway Road (Route 20) in Alexander.

Modifications focus on the proximity of the Route 20 right-of-way near the building, prompting planners to require the applicant to obtain a driveway permit from NYS DOT and to produce a site plan that clearly delineates all the parking spaces to be utilized by the business.

February 9, 2018 - 9:35am

Two nights after unveiling its plan to the public to construct a $3.2 million station on Stringham Drive to replace Station 2 on Clinton Street Road, the Town of Batavia Fire Department presented the proposal to the Genesee County Planning Board.

Planners, on Thursday, recommended approval of the site plan as long as department officials obtain a state Department of Transportation permit pertaining to an entrance to the 10,000-square-foot substation from Clinton Street Road.

“It’s already (the application for the DOT permit) in the process; it’s already been filed,” Gary Diegelman, department building committee chairperson, said this morning.

Diegelman said he anticipated no problems getting DOT approval.

“The traffic study was done. There shouldn’t be any problem with it,” he said.

The new building will feature two drive-thru bays and entrances from both Stringham Drive and Clinton Street Road. With the drive-thru bays, the trucks will not have to back up to enter and exit the station

It also will have four dormitory-style rooms for firefighters wishing to stay there, a bunk-in program that has been gaining traction around the state.

The fire department’s site plan will be considered by the Batavia Town Planning Board for final approval on Feb. 20.

In other developments, the planning board:

-- Gave its go-ahead, with some modifications, to a proposal by Ronald Long of Springville to construct a 42-unit apartment complex to be marketed to seniors on West Main Street (Route 33) in the Village of Corfu.

Long appeared before the group for the second time in five months, this time presenting the entire plan after addressing a wetlands situation and getting clearance from the state Department of Environmental Conservation.

Stipulations of the board’s positive recommendation include creating a buffer between neighboring properties, installing lighting and landscaping per Village of Corfu guidelines, putting in a sidewalk from the street to the complex, and obtaining state Department of Transportation approval for the driveway.

“There was talk about a possible buffer,” Long said this morning. “I told them I would do whatever the neighbors wanted me to do.”

Long said his plan calls for the construction of seven buildings, each with six 1,155-square-foot apartments.

“It’s a cookie-cutter (design),” he said. “The biggest thing is that all are ranch style, with closed attached garages that enable the residents to get out of their cars and go right into their homes. They have private entrances and two bedrooms.”

Long, who has built large-scale apartment complexes in Clarence Center and Orchard Park, among others, said he picked up the engineer’s site drawings on Thursday and is prepared to go before the Village of Corfu Planning Board in the near future.

“The village has already given its strong endorsement,” he said, adding that he hopes to break ground this spring.

He said he already has enough (tenant) names to fill the first two buildings.

Currently, the site is being called Corfu Senior Apartments, but Long said that a permanent name has yet to be determined.

-- Recommended approval of an area variance requested by Zaremba Group Inc., to have 30 parking spaces (instead of the required 46) at a proposed Dollar General store in East Pembroke.

September 15, 2017 - 8:51am

Backed by data that shows a definite need for senior housing in Genesee County, developer Ronald Long envisions a 35- to 40-unit townhouse complex at 47 W. Main St. in the Village of Corfu.

Long, a resident of Judge Road in Alabama, presented a site plan for his project’s initial phase – two six-unit buildings -- to the Genesee County Planning Board on Thursday night.

And he left the meeting with an approval from the board, contingent upon modifications that include creating buffers from neighbors, placing a sidewalk to an existing building on the site, providing lighting and landscape plans to the Corfu Village Planning Board and obtaining a permit from the state Department of Transportation.

“We’ll probably have them (the apartments) rented before they’re even finished,” Long said, adding that they will rent at the market rate. “We’ve been working with the (Genesee) County Office for the Aging, which indicates a dire need for reasonably priced housing (for seniors).”

Planning Director Felipe Oltramari backed up Long’s statement, pointing out that housing located close to “shops and services is one of the reasons we see this as a good thing – adding density to the village.”

Last night’s site plan review was for Long’s plan to construct 12 units, six in each building.

He said his company, Toor Inc., would like to expand the project to 35-40 units – all in structures located behind the existing 3,400-square-foot building formerly known as The Market.

He said The Market building could be used as a clubhouse for residents (as is the current plan) or converted into another business.

Long said he would like to begin construction on the first phase by the end of this year. He said he will conduct a contest to name the complex, which currently is being called Corfu Senior Apartments.

In other action, the board:

-- Approved with modifications a special-use permit to construct two cabins for the R2R Christian ministry at 9936 Simonds Road, Darien.

Rich Ohlson, ministry president, said the cabins would be used for overnight programs for the 50 or more youth -- mostly teens from troubled homes – who participate. He said activities include indoor sports (in the main building’s gymnasium) as well as fishing.

“We’re reaching kids before addiction,” Ohlson said, noting that many young people in these situations turn to alcohol and drugs.

R2R conducts programs and religious services every Saturday from 5 to 8:30 p.m. and also hosts day camps at selected times throughout the year. The cabins, with eight bunks each, are to be built behind the campsite’s main building.

Planners OK'd the permit as long as R2R: puts in an access drive with a turnaround adequate for emergency vehicles; provides a parking plan acceptable to the Darien Town Planning Board; and obtains an elevation certificate by a licensed surveyor or engineer to ensure the cabins are not built within the flood hazard area.

-- Approved a 7,200-square-foot storage building at S&S Limousine at 7160 W. Main Road, Le Roy, recommending that the applicant, Joe Spadaro, merge three parcels into one.

Spadaro said the building, which will be placed on the west side of his property, is needed to “get the limos out of the snow.”

Currently, he has a fleet of more than 50 limousines.

-- Recommended for disapproval a request for a special-use permit and area variance by Peter Zeliff to convert the former Michelle's Bakery on West Saile Drive into a rental home.

Planners cited a Town of Batavia zoning law that says such a conversion in a commercial district is allowed only if the location is within 500 feet of other residential structures. The request was for a variance of 2,000 feet.

They also said that locating a single-family home next to the County Airport is "questionable and may pose significant impacts."

Zeliff has the option of taking his request to the Town Planning Board and Zoning Board of Appeals.

-- Approved a site plan submitted by O-At-Ka Milk to construct a 29,075-square-foot addition at its food manufacturing facility on Cedar Street.

July 13, 2017 - 8:12pm
posted by Mike Pettinella in news, Genesee County Planning Board.

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The Genesee County Planning Board on Thursday night recommended disapproval of the expansion of a dog-boarding operation on Route 20 in the Town of Darien, taking into consideration the increased canine population's impact upon neighboring families.

By a 6-2 tally, the panel voted against Randy Blair's request to expand the two-building kennel from eight to 25 dogs. The kennel is located at 265 Broadway Road (Route 20), not far from County Line Road heading toward Alden.

Planning Board member Ed DeJaneiro Jr. said he voted for disapproval "because people's homes take precedence over a business."

The proposal isn't dead, however, as it will have to go before the Darien Town Board and will be subject to a public hearing. Because of the County Planning Board's action, Blair would need a majority plus one favorable vote in Darien for the measure to pass.

Blair told the board that he cleared the expansion with Town of Darien officials, adding that "everything was done above board." Initially, the Planning Board was supportive -- recommending approval as long as the Town of Darien assessed the noise level due to dogs barking.

But that was before the board heard from two neighbors -- Clayton Hoskyns and Timothy Hack -- who said they represented seven families that signed a petition to stop the expansion.

"The main reasons we are against this are the noise ... and the smell," Hoskyns said. "I live between two kennels -- on the east side there is no noise but from his (Blair's) on the west, there is constant barking. Plus the smell because the waste is not disposed of properly."

Hoskyns, a dairy farmer, asked the board, "Who's going to monitor them? Who is going to enforce it when they have more dogs than they are supposed to?"

Hack said his home is about 100 feet from the back portion of the kennel and "the dogs bark for 18 hours and we never see them (the owners) trying to stop them from barking."

Both said that Blair currently is housing more than the eight-dog limit.

The conversation among the neighbors became a bit heated, prompting Planning Board Chair Laraine Caton to implore the speakers to direct their comments to the board.

County Planning Director Felipe Oltramari said he wasn't aware of a maximum number of dogs allowed and that the disposal of animal waste is subject to a management plan. He said the matter will have to go back to the Town of Darien zoning officer.

It was a busy night for the board with more than a dozen referrals on the agenda.

Major rulings were as follows:

-- Planners recommended approval with modifications a special use permit and area variances for Home Leasing LLC, working in cooperation with Eagle Star Housing, to merge three parcels and construct a four-story, 55-unit workforce development residential building at 552-556 E. Main St. in Batavia (on a parcel of land where two homes and Mosman Paint Store currently sit).

Modifications deal with archaeological impacts, driveway permits and meeting Enhanced 9-1-1 standards.

Adam Driscoll, Home Leasing director of development, appeared before the board, expressing his confidence that one dual-purpose elevator (one less than the minimum required) and 48 parking spaces (35 less than the minimum required) would suffice.

Responding to board members' questions about the elevator and parking spaces, Driscoll said that at other Home Leasing projects -- some with up to 100 units -- there is one elevator and "we have never had any major complaints or issues."

As far as parking is concerned, he said his company expects about 35 to 40 percent of tenants to utilize parking spots so 48 would be enough.

"We like to take advantgage of green space -- raised garden beds and a small playground on the site," he said.

Driscoll said 17 of the apartments will be dedicated to homeless veterans (through Eagle Star), with a transportation van being provided to them. 

He said that the timetable -- "in a perfect world" -- has Home Leasing submitting a NYS Homes and Community Renewal application in November, receiving notification of that award in May, closing on the financing in October and breaking ground in November 2018. Construction of the nearly $13 million project would take about a year to 15 months, he said.

-- Planners recommended approval of a site plan review for Thompson Builds of Churchville to construct a 10,331-square-foot salvaged hangar at the Genesee County Airport on West Saile Drive, noting that the plan already has been looked at by the Genesee County highway superintendent for conformance with the County Airport Master Plan.

Contractor Paul Thompson said salvaged structural steel taken from the old hangar will be used in the structure, which will match adjacent buildings on the airfield. His company is building it on behalf of Peter Zeliff, for private and public use.

Thompson expects construction to start in August and be finished by the end of the year.

-- A site plan review for the Ellicott Station project was postponed due to a lack of information from the developer, Savarino Companies.

Photo at top -- Conceptual rendering of the proposed Home Leasing apartment complex on East Main Street in Batavia.

May 11, 2017 - 8:16pm
posted by Mike Pettinella in news, Genesee County Planning Board, DePaul Properties.

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DePaul Properties Inc.'s proposal to construct a 60-unit multifamily residential building on Mill Street in the Village of Le Roy moved forward Thursday night when the Genesee County Planning Board approved a special use permit, site plan review and area variances. 

Planners unanimously signed off on the requests, which called for a lot size of 64,904 square feet (less than the 128,000-square-foot minimum); front yard setback of 9 feet (less than the 30-foot minimum), and 42 parking spaces (less than the required 60 minimum).

However, the board did recommend modifications relating to the DePaul Apartments project's impact on the environment and archaelogical resources, and requiring a Stormwater Pollution Prevention Plan prior to final approval from the Town of Le Roy. Planners also recommended that DePaul work with the Genesee County Sheriff's Department to ensure that the address of the property meets Enhanced 9-1-1 standards.

The project, which is earmarked for 39 and 43 Mill Street in a Residential zone, now will go before the Village of Le Roy Zoning Board of Appeals and then to Le Roy's joint Town-Village Planning Board.

Matt Carrigg, an attorney for Nixon Peabody, represented DePaul at Thursday's meeting.

He said the modifications recommended by the board would be addressed, adding that upon further approvals, DePaul would submit a funding application to New York State.

The three-story apartment building would go on a site currently occupied by the old Lapp Lumber building.

In other action, the board denied area variances for a truck repair/sales service and education center earmarked for State Street Road, south of the Thruway, but approved with modifications the owner's special use permit application.

Debbie Gawron, of Buffalo, owner of Fleet Maintenance Inc., asked for signage on the proposed building that was well beyond the maximum area allowed and the number allowed, prompting planners to recommend denial due to the potential impact upon neighboring residential properties.

Recommended modifications include documentation as to the project's impact on the environment and archaelogical resources, wetland update and adherence to storage requirements.

November 15, 2016 - 12:57pm

When it comes to rules and regulations pertaining to signs on businesses and other public buildings, there's much more than meets the eye, according to the director of the Genesee County Department of Planning.

Felipe Oltramari provided some insight and background on the City of Batavia Planning & Development Committee's effort to rewrite its sign code, a several month process that initially focused on how to address electronic message board signs.

Tonight (6 o'clock at City Centre Council Chambers) city planners are expected to forward the revamped document to City Council and schedule a public hearing on the matter. Last week, the Genesee County Planning Board gave its approval to the new version.

The new code is "modernized," Oltramari said, and is "more legible and easier to enforce with ample use of graphics and tables."

Just as importantly, the code now lines up with the latest U.S. Supreme Court decisiion that limits governments from regulating signs based on content, Oltramari said.

"The current code addresses temporary signs differently based on whether they were political, for sale signs, event signs, etc.," Oltramari said. "The court case Reed v. Town of Gilbert that was decided last year at the Supreme Court said that signs are a form of free speech protected by the First Amendment and any regulation of the sign’s content was subject to strict scrutiny and had to be narrowly tailored to further a compelling government interest.

"This usually means that the sign’s content can only be regulated if it furthers health and safety of the community. Governments can only then regulate signs based on the time, place and manner -- such as duration, location and type and /materials. The new code sticks to those types of regulations."

Oltramari said other changes deal with procedure.

"The code is being streamlined so that all signs that conform to the standards of the code can be handled administratively only requiring a building permit from the City’s Code Enforcement Officer," he explained.

"Right now, a business that opens downtown and is only changing the sign and is proposing a sign that meets all the requirements of the code still has to go to the City’s Planning and Development Committee and the County Planning Board to get approval to go forward. The new code incentivizes applicants to conform to the code by eliminating the review by these boards ... saving a month or more of time."

Once approved, the new procedure for variances for signs in the city that do not conform because of dimensional requirements will go directly before the City's Zoning Board of Appeals, eliminating review by (and subsequent permit from) the city planning board and review by the county planning board, Oltramari said. 

"Having the City’s ZBA handle these as variances is in harmony with State Law and will ensure more consistent interpretation of the code," he said.

He said that other changes include allowing exposed neon to be used in signage, and recognizing and allowing for backlit illuminated signs -- something that has increased in popularity due to the utilization of LED lighting.

September 9, 2016 - 9:51am
posted by Mike Pettinella in news, Tim Horton's, Genesee County Planning Board.

Genesee County planners came up with a five-item “to do list” for the owners of a proposed Tim Hortons Café & Bake Shop at 1106 Main Road (Brick House Corners) in the Town of Pembroke

At a meeting Thursday night at County Building No. 2, the board recommended approval of a special use permit and area variances for Clark Holdings Inc. to construct a 1,776-square-foot restaurant, with drive-thru, but not before several modifications have been made.

The panel noted that it is concerned about traffic on Route 77, primarily a lack of visibility to drivers making left-hand turns out of the Route 77 driveway to head north, and the safety of students crossing Route 77 in an area with no sidewalks.

“The proposal is missing documentation, it’s just not ready yet,” said Planning Director Felipe Oltramari. “For one thing, a traffic study needs to be done when school is in session.”

Two of the modifications focus on traffic issues, specifically that the applicant should obtain driveway permits from the New York State Department of Transportation for the proposed driveways onto routes 5 and 77; and that there should be no northbound turns onto Route 77 from the proposed driveway leading to that highway.

Other modifications are that the applicant eliminate at least one wall sign, obtain documentation from the State Historic Preservation Office as to the project's impacts on archaeological resources, and obtain documentation from the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) as to the project's impacts on endangered or threatened species.

Clark Holdings Inc., headquartered in Williamsville and owned by Bryan Clark, owns and operates a dozen Tim Horton shops in Western New York.

A call to Clark this morning was not immediately returned.

In other action, the Planning Board:

-- Approved, with modifications, a site plan review for the 21,000-square-foot (140x150) L&M Specialty Fabrication metal fabrication facility at East Saile Drive and Bank Street in the Town of Batavia.

The manufacturing and repair business, owned by Lee Shuknecht and Matt Geissler, previously was approved by the Genesee County Economic Development Center for a seven-year, $200,000 loan from the Growing the Agriculture Industry Now fund to purchase equipment.

Planners recommended that the applicants obtain documentation from the State Historic Preservation Office as to the project’s impacts on archaeological resources in light of a form submitted to the SHPO that erroneously stated that the project is not located in an archaeologically sensitive area.

They also asked that any proposed signage conform to the Town’s zoning requirements.

-- Approved, with modifications, a site plan review for Evelyn Jaeger of Batavia to open a consignment shop at 102 S. Main St., Oakfield, an existing commercial building. Modifications include obtaining a driveway permit from state DOT for change in use prior to final approval by the Village of Oakfield.

-- Approved, pending an amended site plan showing all the buildings on the property, a site plan review to construct a 1,920-square-foot (40x48) equipment storage building at Select Collision, 5273 Clinton Street Road.

-- Approved a site plan review from East Saile Properties LLC to build a 2,936-square-foot addition to an existing tractor trailer repair shop at 4736 E. Saile Drive in the Town of Batavia.

-- Approved wind energy systems’ special use permits requested by Paul and Debbie Harris of Bethany and Harold Sinemus of Elba, as well as a solar system special use permit requested by Cynthia Jones of Byron. 

August 12, 2016 - 7:07am
posted by Mike Pettinella in news, Genesee County Planning Board.

Genesee County planners on Thursday gave a "thumbs up" to five sign permits in Batavia and two skilled trade shops in Pembroke, but did not look favorably upon John Rumble's request for an area variance to replace a 14- by 66-foot mobile home on his Kelsey Road property in the Town of Batavia with a new one of the same size.

In a 5-2 split decision, the panel voted for dissapproval, citing Town code that a one-family dwelling may be replaced with another mobile home only if it meets the minimum dimensional criteria of 20 feet in width. The majority were of the opinion that any deviation from Town regulations should be authorized by Town officials.

Rumble contended that because the dwelling was there for 29 years, his plan is one of "replacement not new construction." He said he is not putting in a new foundation.

"Now you're saying that I have to go with a double-wide," he said.

Since the Planning Board is a "recommending" board, Rumble can present his case to the Town of Batavia Zoning Board of Appeals.

Planning Board members Robert Bennett and Ginny Adams voted against the recommendation for disapproval.

In other action, planners:

-- Recommended approval of sign permits for Lawley Insurance, M&T Bank, Carter's Restaurant and Kati's Place Restaurant in the City, and for the Genesee County Chamber of Commerce Visitors Center on Park Road in the Town.

-- Recommended approval with modifications for a pair of skilled trade shops in the Town of Pembroke -- a canoe and small boat shop operated by Randy Filter on Indian Falls Road and an online wholesale business of statues and lights and furniture refinishing along with the construction of a 2,400-square-foot storage building operated by Donald Barone on Lake Road.

The modifications include not using more than 2,000 square feet of the buildings for the trade shop, no retail sales, limitation of the size of the buildings' signs, no outdoor storage and no outdoor lighting that shines directly onto neighboring properties or nearby motorists.

-- Recommended approval with modifications of a site plan review request by Kay Muscarella to open a consignment store at the corner of Main and Indian Falls roads in Pembroke. Modifications to be made include lighting and sign requirements along with the applicant obtaining a driveway permit from the NYS Department of Transportation prior to final approval by the Town of Pembroke.

-- Gave high marks to Bergen Town and Village officials on the adoption of their updated Town/Village Joint Comprehensive Plan, a project that took two years to complete.

"This is a great undertaking," Adams said. "I'm very pleased with it."

August 11, 2016 - 8:55pm
posted by Mike Pettinella in news, Genesee County Planning Board, wind/solar generator.

Cottonwood Dairy Farm owners Paul and Jason Tillotson are hoping for the best of both worlds by contracting with SkyWolf Wind Turbine Corp. for a hybrid wind/solar energy system to partially power their large agricultural operation at 10771 Cook Road in Pavilion.

The Genesee County Planning Board on Thursday night recommended approval of a special use permit and area variance for the Tillotsons to install two 32-foot high, 8.5 kilowatt towers. The panel ruled that since the towers are only 32 feet high, proposed setbacks from the public right-of-way of 555 and 564 feet, respectively, present no significant impact. The current requirement according to Town of Pavilion code is 1,000 feet from the right-of-way.

Planning Director Felipe Oltramari further reinforced the board's decision by stating that the Town of Pavilion would be wise to consider updating its code to base it on tower height instead of a set distance.

"The Town adopted its wind energy system awhile back. It was one of the earlier models, and their thinking was in line with large wind turbines -- 500-foot towers," he said.

The Tillotsons will now have to go before the Town of Pavilion Zoning Board to complete the preliminary process before the wind/solar system is constructed. Paul Tillotson said he's excited about the possibilities.

"It makes a lot of sense to be able to capture both (wind and solar energy)," he said, noting that he's looking to offset some of the significant expense of running a 1,000-acre, 300-cow dairy farm. "We know that the wind in our area is at 12 3/4 (mph) on average, which gives us a 'good' rating."

Gerald Brock, president and CEO of the Geneseo-based SkyWolf Wind Turbine Corp., said the hybrid system packs more power in a smaller package than traditional wind turbines.

"It's already been proven (that it works)," Brock said, mentioning that the system is supplying 80-90 percent of the total electricity of a house in Livonia.

In a press release, Jason Tillotson said his farm recently completed the purchase of five robotic milkers and an automated calf-feeding system, along with other precision agriculture equipment -- moves that allowed them to obtain organic certification. But with that, the Tillotsons' monthly electric energy usage drastically increased.

They said they expect substantial savings by locating the SkyWolf system towers on their farm.

"They're about a couple hundred feet from my house," Paul Tillotson said.

SkyWolf touts itself as designer, manufacturer and supplier of an innovative patented Solar Hybrid Diffused Augmented Wind Turbine (DWAT) that integrates solar and wind kinetic power into renewable electric energy in a single turbine.

In related action, the Planning Board recommended approval with modifications of a a special use permit and area variance request by Rebecca Hackett of 6359 Telephone Road, Pavilion, for a 153-foot high, 10-kilowatt wind energy system.

The modification stipulation stems from the fact that the proposed setback from the public right-of-way is 294 feet and the proposed setbacks from property lines are 247 and 252 feet -- all three much less than the required distance of 1,000 feet.

Planners are recommending that the applicant obtain a waiver from adjacent landowners before proceeding with the project.

August 10, 2016 - 9:43am
posted by Mike Pettinella in news, Le Roy Town Board, Genesee County Planning Board.

A 66-page updated Comprehensive Plan for the Town of Le Roy has been completed and is available for public review.

That's the word from Le Roy Town Supervisor Stephen Barbeau, who said he is hoping the Town Board -- at its meeting on Thursday night -- sets a Sept. 8 date for a public hearing on the document.

The Comprehensive Plan provides a framework for future public and private investment into a municipality.

Le Roy's strategy focuses on land use in the context of seven policy areas -- taking into consideration the community's strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and obstacles to its quality of life. Those policy areas are residential living, local commerce, agriculture, community resources, leisure and culture, natural resources and regional cooperation.

"We're comfortable putting this out to the public," said Barbeau, noting that the plan, which hadn't been revised since 2001, has been posted on the Town's website -- www.leroyny.org. "We've put a lot of work into this."

The plan was developed by members of the Le Roy Town Board, Le Roy Town Planning Board, Town of Le Roy staff, Genesee County Planning Department and County Legislator Rochelle Stein, with technical assistance from the firm of Clark Patterson Lee.

Barbeau also reported that he plans to present the Town's tentative 2017 budget at the Sept. 8 meeting.

"I am requesting information from the department heads," he said.

Barbeau mentioned that the Town will need to override the tax cap levy for 2017 due to the creation of a new southwest water district.

"We'll have to override it even though it (the water district) will be paid for by district residents," he said. "The cap is less than 1 percent this year."

He said that a recent audit of the Town's books showed "no significant issues" and that the Town is in "good shape financially." The Town has four major accounts -- Town and Village, Town outside of the Village, and two Highway Department funds (one for winter expenses and the other for summer expenses).

July 14, 2016 - 8:46pm
posted by Mike Pettinella in Genesee County Planning Board, news, STAMP, Oakfield.

The Genesee County Economic Development Center's proposal to create access roads to alleviate traffic on Town of Alabama roads in preparation for the arrival of 1366 Technologies was met with approval Thursday night by the Genesee County Planning Board.

County planners, at their monthly meeting at County Building 2, voted in favor of the construction of two access roads on the Western New York Science & Technology Advanced Manufacturing Park in a single recommendation, ruling that the roads -- one running from Route 77 to Crosby Road and the other running from Crosby Road to the 1366 Technologies solar wafer manufacturing facility's property line -- pose no significant countywide or inter-community impact.

The board was concerned, however, about the possibility of traffic having to stop and lining up on Route 77, a major highway that runs to the NYS Thruway interchange in Pembroke.

Mark Masse, GCEDC's senior vice president of operations, said the plan to divert major construction traffic down these access roads, with turning lanes at the main entrance, is subject to approval by the state Department of Transportation. Masse noted that the DOT currently is reviewing a permit application from the GCEDC.

"We are looking to put in the two roads and reinforce and widen a section of Crosby Road," Masse said. "We're also proposing a left-hand turn off of Route 77 onto the STAMP site, but nothing can be done until DOT approves it."

The GCEDC proposal also must go before the Town of Alabama Planning Board.

The Massachusetts-based 1366 Technologies will be the first tenant at STAMP, taking up about 105 of the 1,250 acres available for development.

The county Planning Board welcomed a request from the entire Village of Oakfield to implement comprehensive plan updates, zoning text and map amendments in line with recommendations of the Green Genesee Smart Genesee project, and to write form-based codes for a portion of the village.

The board's approval came with wording that the village's plan represents "a large step forward for land use policy and regulations" and its form-based code governing future development will "respect the traditional character of the downtown and that of the surrounding residences."

County Planning Director Felipe Oltramari went even further, stating that Oakfield's strategy is on the "cutting edge" and he wished that "everybody in Genesee County adopt something like this." He said Oakfield's model is not quite complete as officials "are tweaking it" to meet the village's specific needs.

In other action, the board:

-- Approved, with modifications, a request from Oakfield Hospitality, LLC, (the Patel family from Erie, Pa.) for variances for a freestanding sign area, number of signs and building height for a proposed Fairfield Inn & Suites to be built on Federal Drive in the Gateway I Corporate Park off Route 98 near the Thruway interchange.

The board voted to allow two signs on the four-story, 62-room hotel, not four as requested. After discussion, Sean Hopkins, a Williamsville attorney representing the Patels, revised the request to three signs, but the board opted to allow signs on the east and south sides only.

Planners did not object to a freestanding sign area of 147 square feet, which is more than the 100-square-foot maximum allowed, or to the 51-foot proposed height of the building, which is 11 feet higher than allowed. Since county planners can only recommend, the final decision on the number of signs is in the hands of the Town of Batavia Planning Board and Zoning Board of Appeals.

-- Approved an update to the Town of Bethany's comprehensive plan, which also is deemed to be "in harmony" with the County Smart Growth Plan and Agricultural and Farmland Protection Plan. The board wrote that Bethany's plan addresses timely issues, including renewable energy.

-- Approved exterior changes, specifically a patio, at City Slickers Bar & Grill at 59 Main St., Batavia; two wall signs at Restore, 230 Ellicott St., and a 3,000-square-foot additon to the Genesee ARC recycling center at 3785 W. Main Street Road, Batavia.

-- Approved, with modifications, a sign permit fot a 126-square-foot window sign requested by Victor Marchese, owner of Main Street Pizza, 206 E. Main St., Batavia, stating that the window size is significantly more than the City's 25-percent maximum standard, which, in this case, would be 31.5 square feet.

June 13, 2008 - 1:39pm

From the Daily News (Friday):

  • Intern Kristen Kotz sat down with Batavia Fire Capt. Michael Drew to talk fire safety. Check out the article on the front page for some tips.
  • Genesee County's Planning Board voted to turn the soon-to-be empty lot at the corner of Bank Street and Washington Avenue into a "green area" — United Memorial Medical Center's Growney Building currently located there will be demolished. Reporter Paul Mrozek writes: "UMMC wants to plant grass and shrubs, put in paths and picnic benches and add off-street parking." No date has yet been set for the demolition, and the city of Batavia still has to grant final approval for the plan.
  • Reporter Virginia Kropf wrote a great piece on a group of retired friends who gather twice a week for breakfast at Miss Batavia Diner. It starts: "Retirement for a group of local friends means starting the day off with coffee and camraderie, and if they should happen to solve the world's problems in the meantime, so much the better." What a great lede!

For the complete stories, the Daily News is available on local newsstands, or you can subscribe on BataviaNews.com.

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