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New York Bus Sales

June 27, 2022 - 5:43pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in New York Bus Sales, GCEDC, business, news, notify, batavia.

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Press release:

New York Bus Sales broke ground on a $4.5 million multi-use 20,000 sq. ft. facility today at West Saile Drive and Call Parkway in the town of Batavia. The facility will include office and training space and repair and storage areas.  It is intended to support school districts and bus operators across Genesee County and the Western New York and Finger Lakes regions convert their fleets from diesel fuel to all-electric.  The project has also pledged to create 24 full-time jobs.

Based in Chittenango, New York Bus Sales is one of the largest Blue Bird school bus dealers in North America. The company’s facility will service customers, including school districts to help transition their bus fleets from diesel fuel engines to all-electric bus fleets. New York has mandated that the approximately 50,000 school buses in the state by 100 percent electric by 2035.

“New York Bus Sales is excited to be leading the charge on school bus electrification in New York State and truly appreciates everyone at the Genesee County Economic Development Center and National Grid for helping make this first-of-its-kind project a reality,” said Sean Finnerty, President, New York Bus Sales.  “As the state begins converting its school bus fleets to all-electric, New York Bus Sales is proud to be at the forefront of this very exciting journey and looks forward to helping school districts across Western New York make the transition to all-electric school buses.  Genesee County’s favorable business climate and its central location between Buffalo and Rochester made Batavia an ideal location for our new facility.”

The GCEDC board of directors approved a request by New York Bus Sales for approximately $400,000 in incentives and National Grid assisted in the installation of charging stations and technology as part of the company’s DCFC Per-Plug Incentive Program.

“New York Bus Sales is yet another project as part of the emerging green economy in Genesee County as evidenced by the current construction of Plug Power’s green hydrogen facility at STAMP, the opening of a research and development facility for more efficient and renewable wind turbine bases in Bergen, and various solar projects across the county as well as other projects in the pipeline,” said GCEDC President and CEO Steve Hyde.

“Our Make-Ready Program provides a range of technical assistance and funding for electric vehicle charging projects across our upstate New York service territory,” said National Grid Regional Director Ken Kujawa. “Working with New York Bus Sales is a great example of a company making a commitment toward innovation and sustainability while reducing greenhouse gas emissions while supporting New York State’s climate emission mandates.”

One of the first electric school buses will be delivered this summer to the Lake Shore School District in Erie County. The school district received funding from the Truck Voucher Incentive Program through NYSERDA. Electric buses are nearly identical to diesel engine buses, with the new EV vehicles have a quieter engine along with more technological capabilities and most importantly, significantly reducing emissions.

Top photo: Ken Kujawa, WNY regional director for National Grid, Greg Post, Town of Batavia supervisor, Shelley Stein, chairwoman of the Genesee County Legislature, Assemblyman Steve Hawley, State Senator Ed Rath, GCEDC CEO Steve Hyde, and John Johnston, VP of New York Bus Sales. 

Photos by Howard Owens

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Steve Hyde

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John Johnston

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Greg Post

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Shelley Stein

November 16, 2021 - 10:31pm

The Batavia Town Planning Board tonight approved a special use permit for New York Bus Sales to operate a school bus service and sales facility at 4450 West Saile Drive -- located at the intersection of Call Parkway.

After the board declared lead agency status for the State Environmental Quality Review, member Steve Tanner went through the items on the form and then made a motion to accept it. The board agreed, issuing a “negative declaration” that denotes that the project would have no significant adverse impact upon the environment.

Lauren Rodriguez, civil engineer with LaBella Associates, asked the board about the company’s desire to merge two parcels, covering 6.9 acres, into one, and Planning Board Chair Kathleen Jasinski replied that the Batavia Town Board is expected to rule on that at its meeting on Wednesday night.

The 20,000-plus square-foot facility is going into an area currently zoned both Industrial and Commercial. The company is looking for the town to rezone it as Commercial, an allowable action since it does fit into the town’s Comprehensive Plan.

New York Bus Sales Vice President James Johnston, who also attended the meeting, said plans call for a groundbreaking ceremony before winter.

Rodriguez and Johnson initially presented the plan to the town planning board in September. Prior to that, the company applied for tax abatements from the Genesee County Economic Development Center, and is waiting for the GCEDC's board decision in the near future.

In other action, the board issued a negative declaration for a SEQR in connection with Pierrepoint Visual Graphics’ request to place signage at the site of medical offices for UR Medicine in the Gateway II Industrial Park on Call Parkway.

Previously: GCEDC board of directors accepts application for New York Bus Sales facility in Town of Batavia

October 16, 2021 - 8:47am

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“Good for your garden, good for your community, good for your planet” – and, in the eyes of Genesee County Planning Board members, good enough for a location on Wright Road in the Town of Alabama.

Planners on Thursday night recommended approval of a site plan for EcoVerde Organics, LLC, of Buffalo, to own and operate a compost facility on a portion of a 27-acre parcel in an Industrial zone at 396 Wright Rd.

The company, which was formed in 2017 by entrepreneur Warren Emblidge Jr., uses the motto above as it promotes environmental and social ecosystem improvement through composting.

EcoVerde Assistant Chief Katy Duggan appeared at the planning board meeting at County Building 2 on West Main Street Road.

“We’re a small company that was started by a local businessman (Emblidge, EcoVerde’s chief) who had been successful (in other ventures) for many years,” Duggan said. “He got the idea of sustainability and the next step was to get some composting going.”

Duggan, in her third year with the company, said EcoVerde had a composting plant in East Aurora but now is focused on this site in the Town of Alabama.

“We work with people, businesses and others in our local community to source our inputs, then make and sell quality soil amendments like compost,” she explained. “Our products improve soil to support plant growth with less chemical fertilizer and less nutrient run-off into waterways to protect our natural environment.

“We look forward to operating in Genesee County where we can support its goal of agricultural preservation.”

She said that a new food scraps law in New York State requires businesses and institutions that generate a certain amount of food scraps to donate usable food and to recycle what’s left.

“So, some of this is in preparation for that,” she said.

A former recycling sustainability coordinator and educator, Duggan developed the Lewiston Art Festival recycling and food waste composting program, and developed food waste collection and waste audit services for commercial customers.

Plans for the Alabama facility are to process source-separated organics, manure and yard waste (specifically food scraps), solid manure/bedding, select food processing waste and crop residue, and leaf and yard waste from municipalities and landscape professionals. Biosolids will not be accepted.

Duggan said activity won’t begin until after final approval from the Town of Alabama Planning Board, which was scheduled to meet this Monday, but has cancelled that session.

The state Department of Environmental Conservation has granted EcoVerde approval to operate the compost facility, she said, limiting production to 7,500 cubic yards per year. She said customers will include farmers (organic and market), landscapers, gardeners and homeowners.

“We will start by bringing material into the plant, initially manure and yard waste, and since compost takes three months to make, we plan to start selling it in the spring,” Duggan added.

The planning board’s recommendation of approval is contingent upon EcoVerde obtaining a stormwater permit from the DEC if it disturbs more than one acre of land, and registering with the GLOW Solid Waste Management Committee and reporting the amount of material recovered by the facility to the GLOW Recycling Coordinator.

Planning Board member Tom Schubmehl also requested that Duggan reach out to leaders of the neighboring Tonawanda Seneca Nation to mitigate any odor or other issues caused by prevailing winds. She said that she would be agreeable to that.

In other action, the board recommended approval of:

  • A special use permit to combine two parcels into one Commercial zone to accommodate New York Bus Sales’ new 20,000-plus-square foot school bus service/sales facility at the corner of West Saile Drive and Call Parkway in the Town of Batavia.

Lauren Rodriguez, civil engineer with LaBella Associates, said the facility will cover seven acres, with minimal security lighting and fencing.

One of the board’s concerns was that on-site lighting would not shine directly onto neighboring properties or cause a hazard for motorists.

The project application has been accepted by the Genesee County Economic Development Center,

  • The addition of four storage units to the current seven at West Batavia Storage at 8550 Wortendyke Rd. in the Town of Batavia, with the on-site lighting stipulation.
  • An area variance for Har-Go Farms in Pavilion to construct a 6,300-square foot barn addition in an Agricultural-Residential (AR-1) District.

Photo: Katy Duggan of EcoVerde Organics presents the company's site plan to Genesee County Planning Board members, clockwise from bottom, Laraine Catan, Planning Director Felipe Oltramari, Jill Gould, Richard Richmond II, Legislator John Deleo, Robert Bennett, Eric Biscaro, Tom Schubmehl, Deputy Director Erin Pence. Photo by Mike Pettinella.

Previously: GCEDC board of directors accepts application for New York Bus Sales facility in Town of Batavia

October 14, 2021 - 11:54am

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The Genesee County Planning Board is expected to review the site plan for a compost production facility at 396 Wright Rd. in the Town of Alabama at tonight’s monthly meeting at County Building No. 2 on West Main Street Road, Batavia.

EcoVerde Organics, LLC, of Buffalo, is looking to operate the plant on a 27-acre parcel of land owned by Shawn Wilkins and William Eberhard, who reside in Akron and Clarence, respectively.

The location has an Akron mailing address but actually is in an Industrial District in the Town of Alabama.

According to documents submitted by EcoVerde Organics, the company will utilize approximately five acres to process source-separated organics, manure and yard waste, specifically food scraps, solid manure/bedding, select food processing waste and crop residue, and leaf and yard waste from municipalities and landscape professionals.

Biosolids will not be accepted.

Daytime hours of operation will vary depending upon the type of work involved, but the plant will be closed on Saturday and Sundays. The company anticipates developing regular collection routes and will accept source food scraps and manure from other haulers.

Company literature indicates its vision “is to reduce waste, reduce the use of chemical fertilizers, improve soil health and enhance the water quality of the Great Lakes basin.”

“To realize that vision, EVO will work with community stakeholders to locally source food scraps (SSO), manure, yard trimmings and other organic materials to create eco-friendly, tailored and tested composts for use in gardens, landscapes and farms, including applications requiring compost that meets organic-use specifications.”

County planning staff is recommending approval with the following modifications:

  • If plans are made to disturb one acre or more of land as a result of the operation, the applicant completes a Stormwater Pollution Prevention Plan (SWPPP) and obtains a Stormwater Permit for Construction Activity from NYS Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) prior to that disturbance;
  • Per County Source Separation Local Law, the applicant register with the GLOW Region Solid Waste Management Committee and report at least annually the tonnage of materials recovered by the facility to the GLOW Recycling Coordinator.

Other referrals on the agenda include a special use permit request by New York Bus Sales, LLC, for its proposed 20,000-plus-square foot school bus service/sales facility at the corner of West Saile Drive and Call Parkway in the Town of Batavia, a site plan review for new storage units at West Batavia Storage, review of the Village of Bergen’s new zoning law and a new battery energy storage local law in the Town of Elba.

The meeting is scheduled to begin at 7 o’clock.

Photo, courtesy of Genesee County Planning Department: Aerial view of the propsed site for a compost facility on Wright Road in the Town of Alabama. 

September 22, 2021 - 10:35am

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Not looking to branch out into the landscaping business, the Town of Batavia is taking steps to put the onus on solar companies to make sure their community solar projects are maintained and screened according to signed agreements with the town.

“We want to be green friendly but also want those who we do approve to stand up for exactly what they told us and informed us they would do,” said Town Building Inspector Daniel Lang at Tuesday night’s Town of Batavia Planning Board meeting at the Town Hall on West Main Street Road.

After hearing about modifications being made to the proposed Trousdale Solar twin 5-megawatt and 4-megawatt projects on Ellicott Street Road, one of them which addressed buffering the site from neighbors’ views, the board heard an update from Lang about issues at current solar farms.

Lang brought up the possibility of requiring solar companies to sign a landscaping bond, which would make them legally responsible for initial planting and regular maintenance of trees, berms and plants to ensure proper screening.

“It’s a code enforcement nightmare to maintain and ride around and figure out how many trees, what trees are dead, what trees are dying, when the best time to plant is,” he said, advising that the town’s solar committee will be meeting from 6 to 8 p.m. Thursday at the Town Hall to address these and other topics as it moves toward adopting a new solar ordinance.

He said a landscaping bond could be a way to solve the problem of unscreened solar sites by giving the town the necessary leverage.

“Right now, we don’t have the teeth other than letting them (solar companies) know that we’re going to pull their certificate of occupancy, certificate of compliance or shut them down,” he said.

Lang said Thursday’s meeting, which is open to the public, is expected to include representatives of the Wendel engineering firm, New York State Soil and Water Conservation and, possibly via Zoom, Ian Latimer, project manager for NYS Energy Research and Development Authority.

Currently, town employees have been dealing with plantings and stone issues at a few solar farms, Lang said.

Planning Board member Steve Tanner suggested requiring a special use permit for future projects, with Lang noting that could be an option.

ELLICOTT STREET CHANGES ADVANCED

mark.jpgMark Sweeney of Albany, attorney for the Trousdale Solar venture on property owned by Planning Board member Don Partridge on Ellicott Street Road, provided an update on changes in two areas: the number of poles on the site and what he called “enhanced landscaping” measures.

Partridge recused himself from the conversation; no voting was conducted.

“We’re here basically to talk about how we’re trying to satisfy the conditions of approval for the project that you gave previously … in March or April 2020,” Sweeney said.

On the first modification, Sweeney (photo at right) said the goal is to ground mount as much equipment as possible. After meeting with and obtaining approval from National Grid, he proposed a plan showing a total of four poles.

Originally, the design had seven poles, he said, three to handle solar company Cypress Creek (Renewable’s) equipment and four for National Grid’s equipment.

Since then, developers were able to ground mount “both of the mutes – one for Cypress Creek and one for the utility company – and eliminate one pole altogether,” Sweeney said.

As far as screening is concerned, he said landscaping is proposed at the entrances and across any current gaps between trees, and a one-foot berm will be used to elevate the plants. He said the revision includes a “specific planting plan” outlining the types of species, sizes and numbers – with the company obligated to replace plants as needed.

Sweeney also said the solar company is willing to agree to a decommissioning bond (to be in force at the end of the project’s cycle). Lang advised him to work with Town Attorney Andrew Meier on completing the proper form.

Tanner said he supported decreasing the number of poles to four, although planners were hoping that number to drop to three.

“It’s definitely a good reduction,” he said. “Much better than it was.”

NY BUS SALES PRESENTS ITS PLAN

Lauren Rodriguez, civil engineer with LaBella Associates, and John Johnston, vice president of New York Bus Sales, opened the meeting with a brief presentation of the school bus company’s plan to place a 20,000-plus-square foot facility at the corner of West Saile Drive and Call Parkway.

The operation is set to be built on two parcels, covering 6.9 acres, in an area currently zoned both Industrial and Commercial. Rodriguez said they wish to combine the parcels into one Commercial zone, which does fit into the town’s Comprehensive Plan.

Details of the site plan are as follows:

  • Three entrances – two off of West Saile Drive and one off of Call Parkway, with passenger vehicles (employees and others) to use the eastern entrance off West Saile Drive; bus deliveries and tractor-trailers heading for the loading dock would use the other entrances.
  • The area around the building will be paved; the area used for parking of the buses will be gravel.
  • The site will accommodate 20 passenger vehicles and 180 buses.
  • Security lighting will be installed, along with a fence around the property and gates at the entrances. The stormwater facility will be located at the south end of the lot.

Johnston, who gave a more extensive report to the Genesee County Economic Development Center on Sept. 9, said NY Bus Sales receives school buses from the factory, prepares them, adds options if required and then – after inspection by the state Department of Transportation – delivers them to local school districts.

Planning Board Chair Kathleen Jasinski advised them the board will take up the matter again next month to review the site plan and conduct the State Environmental Quality Review.

Prior to that, the proposal will be heard by the Genesee County Planning Board and be the subject of a public hearing held by the GCEDC, which is offering $430,120 in tax abatements.

The company’s total capital investment is estimated at $4.5 million. The project is expected to create 24 additional full-time equivalent jobs paying $30,000 to $75,000 annually by year three.

Previously: GCEDC board of directors accepts application for New York Bus Sales facility in Town of Batavia

Photo at top: Town Building Inspector Daniel Lang at Tuesday night's Town Planning Board meeting. Photo by Alecia Kaus.

September 9, 2021 - 5:58pm
posted by Mike Pettinella in news, notify, GCEDC, New York Bus Sales, Valiant Real Estate USA.

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Destination: Corner of West Saile Drive and Call Parkway.

New York Bus Sales -- pending approvals by local planning boards and scheduling of a public hearing – will be putting into motion its plan to construct a 20,000-plus-square foot facility at what has become a “go-to” location in the Town of Batavia.

Following a 10-minute presentation by two company officials this afternoon, the Genesee County Economic Development Center board of directors accepted an application from Valiant Real Estate USA, Inc., which is working on behalf of the Chittenango-based business – the largest authorized Blue Bird school bus dealer in New York State.

“When we were looking at this, we looked at strategically planning it and Batavia was the spot that worked for us,” said John Johnston, company vice president. “It is centrally located between two of the major urban areas. Electric buses – that’s where they will be strong. It made more sense for us to put it here.”

Johnston and Comptroller Jeff Purdy said Blue Bird is “very big” into alternative fuels, with many of its fleet of buses powered by propane and an increasing number by electricity.

“One of the big things that we see coming, that Blue Bird sees coming is electric vehicles,” Johnston said. “They are on the forefront with some of the first electric school buses. They have over 500 of them in service currently and another 500 to be delivered by the end of the year.”

The Batavia location would replace a leased facility in Rochester, said Purdy, noting the Rochester shop is significantly smaller, and is landlocked with no room for expansion.

Johnston said they considered putting the facility in Buffalo “but that did not make sense; it made more sense to centrally locate it in Batavia.”

Chris Suozzi, GCEDC’s vice president of Business & Workforce Development, said he showed several sites – including Pembroke and Bergen -- to Johnston and Purdy.

“They settled on Batavia,” Suozzi said. “They said they wanted to be on Saile Drive, and I think it’s the last lot that they found.”

New York Bus Sales’ proposal is to construct the building to support the sales and parts needs as well as the service of school buses in Western New York. The company hopes to break ground this fall.

Johnston said his company will be able to maintain the vehicles of bus companies that service schools in Western New Work – businesses such as First Student, First Transit and Student Transportation of America.

“So, one of the things that we’re looking at is some of those operators don’t have repair facilities – they basically outsource it. So, we’re looking at the fact that we’ll actually bring them in and maintain some of those vehicles. We’re basically like a car dealer, but for school buses,” he said.

He noted that electric vehicles would be most useful to schools located in urban areas, and that’s another reason Batavia fits the bill,

“We’re talking the second- and third-largest urban areas, and (us) being centralized between them,” he said. “We think that’s the biggest window of opportunity for EV product to be out there.”

Breaking down the proposed Batavia facility’s layout, there will be approximately 12,000 square feet of repair area with 11 work bays; approximately 4,000 square feet for parts, and approximately 4,000 square feet of office space, and another 1,500 square feet for a meeting/training room to support school districts and school bus operators.

Johnston said New York Bus Sales supports the New York Association For Pupil Transportation, and the New York Head Mechanics Association For Safe Pupil Transportation, Inc.

“One of the things that they get into quite frequently is having a facility to train in,” he said. “We will have a training room in this facility to not only train mechanics for the school districts but also to support and back both of those organizations in this part of the state.”

They said the site will include 18 parking spaces for electric buses, more than 100 parking spaces for full size buses and more than 50 parking spaces for mini-buses, with six regular charging stations and two fast charging stations. LaBella Associates of Rochester has been hired to do the engineering and design work.

Purdy said the total capital investment is estimated at $4.5 million, and the project will create 24 additional full-time equivalent jobs paying $30,000 to $75,000 annually by year three.

New York Bus Sales is seeking $430,120 in tax abatements: $224,800 in sales tax exemptions, $45,000 in mortgage tax exemptions and $160,320 in property tax exemptions. A 10-year Payment in Lieu of Taxes Agreement also is part of the financial assistance proposal. GCEDC officials project that for every $1 of public benefit, the company is investing $50 into the local economy.

The company has eight locations across the state – main sites in Chittenango, Ravena, Middletown and (currently) Rochester, as well as service contract facilities at school districts in Greene, Whitney Point, Morris and Malone. It also has three on-the-road service technicians.

In other action, the GCEDC board gave its final approval of incentives to Liberty Pumps expansion in Bergen and accepted the application (with a public hearing to be scheduled) for J&R Fancher Property Holdings LLC’s mixed-use development project at Brick House Corners in the Town of Pembroke.

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Photo at top: John Johnston, right, and Jeff Purdy present New York Bus Sales plan to build at the intersection of West Saile Drive and Call Parkway in the Town of Batavia. Photo at bottom: Site plan of the garage and numerous parking spaces for school transportation vehicles. Photos by Mike Pettinella.

Previously: GCEDC board to consider three projects at meeting on Thursday

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