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.