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Pavilion Town Planning Board

February 21, 2022 - 8:30am
posted by Joanne Beck in news, notify, Pavilion, Pavilion Town Planning Board.

A special use permit request to change a piece of property from agricultural to utility solar use prompted many questions from Pavilion Town Planning Board during this month’s meeting.

Applicant NY CDG Genesee 4 LLC requested the permit for a 4.275-megawatt utility solar farm at 6464 Shepard Road, Pavilion. Code Enforcement Officer Matthew Mahaney said the project met solar law guidelines with the proposed size of just over 19 acres. The law caps it at 20 acres, he said during the meeting at Pavilion Town Hall.

Due to the enormous file size of documents sent online to board members, most of them weren’t able to open or review the project. Board Chairman Bill Fuest said he has plenty of questions, such as the height of the panels, how they are tilted, how the property will be maintained and the proximity of the solar farm to neighbors.

Those details weren’t covered in the initial plan anyway, Mahaney said. The request would require a public hearing, and he suggested that questions could be discussed at the next meeting in March, followed by a hearing. 

“I would prefer to have a session in March with the application team, and use April for a public forum,” Fuest said. 

Town Attorney Mark Boylan and the applicants are to be present at future meetings, and a public hearing will most likely be scheduled for April, board members agreed.

The Shepard Road property is owned by Suzanee and Douglas Waite, and Bogdan Dinu of BW Solar is also part of the application.

To view the site plan, click here (pdf).

February 19, 2022 - 8:00am

A proposed campground in Pavilion not only meant a lot of questions, research, legwork, time and expense, but it also proved to be a major learning event for applicant Jesse Coots and the town planning board.

During this week's planning board meeting, Pavilion Town Supervisor Rob LaPoint thanked the board for performing due diligence on a project that contained “the greatest emotional hits of everything that was confusing and frustrating to come before a board.”

“You’ve been through it all at this point,” LaPoint said. “Anything else from here … will be much less intimidating.”

He assured the board he planned to do a forensic review of the entire process so that all involved can become more structurally and procedurally informed the next time around. 

“To be better as a town and functioning in a more efficient way,” he said. 

The project included a 110-acre parcel divided up into 27 acres for the Lokee-Hikee Campground on Perry Road. Coots had requested a special use permit for the project, which prompted many questions along the way, from locations of the main entrance and main driveway and whether there was an adequate water supply to expected traffic patterns and potential environmental impacts. He had expected a decision after a scheduled public hearing last year, but the planning board rendered that hearing null and void and asked that Coots complete another application. 

Navigating through the process has been trying for both Coots and planning board members. Planning Board Chairman Bill Fuest thanked the members of his planning board for seeing this project through to a final approval, and for the ample “input from all parties” involved. 

After the year-long process of nailing down necessary details and code requirements, applicant Coots was thankful to receive a thumbs up Wednesday. 

“This has been a long and expensive road and, sadly, a contested road that cost us our life savings. It’s gone now, but we’re moving forward. We are so excited to know our future. Our girls are happy and our future is now,” Coots said Thursday morning. “We look forward to all of the process from here out. We understand it will be hard work and long hours but we oddly look forward to doing it all together with ourselves and our community. It’s a really exciting movement forward for us and our small community.”

Coots’ efforts hadn’t gone unnoticed in his community. During a public hearing in January, a large portion of a packed town hall was a group of his supporters. Once word of the approval went online, his phone “blew up with phone calls and messages,” he said. He was overwhelmed with the 38 voicemail and 107 text messages sent to him with congratulations of a hard-won battle with neighbors contesting the project and to meet planning board requirements. 

“We’ve spent the last year of our lives trying to bring a nice thing to our community and, unfortunately, have been greeted with heartache,” Coots said. “Therefore, we had to fall back on law. We give huge props to the “county zoning” for making sure code is followed by town boards.”

He also handed out “props” for the community and its ongoing support, the town board and planning board members who “walked the line of what’s right.” He and his family are excited to move forward with the physical and financial work of the campground, while leaving the “subjective and opinionated work” behind them, he said. 

“This is the best I’ve felt in 12 months,” he said. “Really excited to move forward and do good things.”

February 17, 2022 - 8:00am
posted by Joanne Beck in news, campground, Pavilion Town Planning Board.

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After nearly a year of revised plans, land surveys, drilling wells, environmental impact reviews, engineers and planning board meetings, Pavilion resident Jesse Coots finally heard the long-awaited words he had hoped for Wednesday evening at Pavilion Town Hall.

Pavilion Town Planning Board unanimously approved his request for a special use permit to build Lokee-Hikee Campground at 10156 Perry Road. 

“Now, therefore, be it resolved, the Planning Board hereby authorizes the zoning enforcement officer to use a special use permit,” Planning Board Chairman Bill Fuest said, adding a comment during his time to vote. “Yes. I believe everything is in alignment with the Pavilion zoning codes so I vote yes.”

The nod of approval came after a few revisions were made to the request, and with several conditions that must be met by Coots as the applicant, Fuest said. A propane tank has been repositioned from the south end to the north side of the main entrance, with Bollard posts to protect it, he said. The town zoning code only allows for one use on the premises, so the applicant’s request for a massage therapy business “has been dropped,” Fuest said. 

A laundry list of items include that the applicant would have to be and remain in compliance with local, county and state laws and codes, the zoning ordinance and local fire department’s directives about dry fire hydrants and Mercy Flight landing space; be subject to a property inspection by the town code enforcement officer before operations begin; and comply with the permit not being transferable. The special use permit will expire if not used within one year of approval. 

A public hearing on Jan. 26 brought out several people to speak either for or against the proposed campground. That piece of Perry Road land is 110 acres — and an estimated $250,000 investment so far — that has required a special use permit, engineering, topographical surveys, drilling for wells, securing town board approval and doing everything they can to ensure the site will be environmentally sound and neighbor-friendly, Coots had said. 

The proposed site is 26.4 acres to be carved out of the total 110-acre property with woods, wetlands and rolling topography. The campground is to be seasonally operated, neatly landscaped and maintained, and geared toward families, retirees, and seasonal occupancies, he said. Amenities are to include a registration building and camp store, food service, a swimming pool, public restrooms and shower facilities, and a recreational fishing pond. 

The application is for approval of 145 total campsites that would be developed in multiple phases and compliant with the town’s zoning ordinance. In addition to the town  Planning Board’s approval, the project has also been reviewed by Genesee County and the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation.  

During a prior Planning Board meeting, Coots needed to address the use of an existing driveway at 10162 Perry Rd., the campground’s main entrance, plans for the whole 110 acres (half to be for farming and half for campsites), water, septic, buffering, dark sky technology and the recreational area, according to meeting minutes from an initial meeting in May 2021.

Due to the controversial aspect of the project — some neighbor and area resident complaints — the board opted to keep the public hearing open until this next meeting on Feb. 16 for additional comments. Four more people submitted letters citing various reasons for being against the project, such as an estimated lowered property assessment for neighboring homes, campfire fumes, and noisy, dusty vehicle traffic.

Carol Ann Wolfe, as a licensed real estate appraiser, Mike Fisher, Ronald Zarbo and Mary Schillinger-Cooke of Keller Williams Realty of Greater Rochester sent those opposition letters. John Tinelli’s letter added another position in favor of the campground. As a fellow recreational park owner, Tinelli listed ways the project could enhance the town and general area.

There was little discussion by the board before the final vote to approve the special use permit. Members Patrick Boyd, Tim Welch, Liz Conway, Don Brooks, Gary Kingsley, Lisa Schiske, and Fuest voted yes. 

Top photo: Pavilion resident and business owner Jesse Coots, shown with wife Jolene and their daughters, Souly, Trilly, and Cricket, received the special use permit necessary to proceed with plans for Lokee-Hikee Campground in Pavilion. File photo by Howard Owens.

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This is an updated site plan for the campground. To view it in more detail, click here to view the PDF.

January 24, 2022 - 11:06pm

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Jesse and Jolene Coots are keeping their fingers crossed for a positive outcome of their hearing this week. Pavilion Town Planning Board will be reviewing the Coots’ application and supporting documents for their Lokee-Hikee Campground at 10156 Perry Road, Pavilion.

"The hardest part of these projects is just starting," he said during an interview Saturday with The Batavian. "Our setbacks with neighbors are over the top. We're well within the code." 

The hearing is set for 7 p.m. Wednesday at Pavilion Town Hall, 1 Woodrow Drive, Pavilion. 

The Details …
The proposed site is 26.4 acres to be carved out of a total 110-acre property with woods, wetlands, and rolling topography. The campground is to be seasonally operated, neatly landscaped and maintained, and geared toward families, retirees, and seasonal occupancies, the application states.

Amenities are to include a registration building and camp store, food service, a swimming pool, public restrooms, and shower facilities, and a recreational fishing pond. 

The application is for approval of 145 total campsites that would be developed in multiple phases and compliant with the town’s zoning ordinance. In addition to the town  Planning Board’s approval, the project will also be reviewed by the Genesee County Planning Board and the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation.  

During a prior Planning Board meeting, Mr. Coots needed to address the use of an existing driveway at 10162 Perry Road, the campground’s main entrance, plans for the whole 110 acres (half to be for farming and half for campsites), water, septic, buffering, dark sky technology and the recreational area, according to meeting minutes.

Because the project’s original concept changed, the board recommended that the Coots had to “restart with a new complete site plan plus engineering” and return for another hearing. The board agreed to consider a campground site plan of up to 150 sites at that initial meeting in May 2021. 

The application also includes prospective “project benefits” of:

  • Positive economic impact to the town through bolstered sales at local restaurants, gas stations, golf course, laundry service, and retail stores.
  • Job growth potential from those businesses named above.
  • An increased town tax base.
  • Compliance of town codes, the Comprehensive Plan, and Environmental Regulatory mandates.
  • Buffering and setbacks (exceeding the minimum of 25 feet with nearly 150 feet) to mitigate any negative impacts to neighboring residents.

Time to Speak Up …
Public comments are encouraged during the hearing. Speakers may be given maximum time limits, and the board may terminate a speaker’s time for combative, rude, overly emotional, or non-relevant statements. 

The Coots encourage people to attend and speak up about the project. They wanted to have discussions with those who oppose it, but haven’t been able to do that, Mr. Coots said. He would like to be able to hear and address residents’ concerns, he said. 

See Also: Pavilion campground venture merges entrepreneurship with family values

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