Date of meeting: November 15, 2007
Meeting called to order: 7:00 pm
Attendees: Thomas Bjorkman (Chairman), Annie Bachman, Bill Larzelere, Larry Peterson, Frankie Long, Kevin Swartley
Absent: Bob Kayser
Guests at meeting: Tom Battaglia of Sessler Wrecking, Gary Chave and Tom Mitchell of Seneca County Federation of Sportsmen’s Clubs
• Tom Mitchell complimented the Board on the work that was done on the zoning code changes. He then passed out a resolution and read it to the Board. The resolution is attached to these minutes.
- The Sportsmen’s clubs are opposed to “canned hunts” and “fee hunts” on Depot land. They asked that the Varick Planning Board include language in the proposed zoning code changes to prohibit canned and fee hunts. They want land open to the general public for hunting but did not have a plan for managing the deer herd.
• Chairman Bjorkman asked Tom Battaglia what plans Sessler Wrecking had for the property on the former army depot that they have proposed to lease and eventually purchase from Seneca County.
- Mr. Battaglia began with a history of the Sessler philanthropy and mission to do good things for the area. He described the area that has been proposed and described the proposed “lodge” as an educational facility as well as place for public guests to stay while on their property. The property will include approximately 2300 acres that would be used for agricultural uses and fee hunting.
- There will also be five 10 acre lots developed with gas and water infrastructure for support businesses that are undefined at this point.
- Mr. Bataglia asked the Board if the language for the Green Energy and Conservation zone was going to stay the same, as it was very restrictive to their plans and they would probably not be able to do the plan and supply the jobs and business if the language was not changed. He assured the board that the plans were in the best interests of the Town of Varick.
Discussion followed about the nature of the fenced depot property and the environmental nature of the property with the deer herd and the need to properly manage the herd for their own good and how this could be accomplished by the approach of both groups.
Kevin Swartley talked about the need to support changes to the language to allow more development in the Green Energy, Conservation Zone.
Bjorkman discussed his proposal to take the lead role in the SEQR process for the Sessler project. Swartley suggested that unless we made changes to the code that we would not need to do SEQR because the project would not be able to proceed.
• Swartley moved not to pursue lead agency status unless the proposed zoning code is amended to allow industrial development in the Green Energy, Conservation zone. Peterson seconded the motion. The vote was 2 for, 3 against and 1 abstained. Motion failed.
• Chairman Bjorkman moved to be lead agency for the Sessler project. Frankie Long seconded the motion. The vote was 2 for, 3 against and 1 abstention. The motion failed.
Chairman Bjorkman outlined some of the changes the Seneca County Planning Board suggested for our zoning code proposal.
• Subdivisions - new wording to replace the word “conveyance” as this was somewhat vague in the definition. Thomas will craft and e-mail the change for our board to approve.
• Encourages changes to the code to be less restrictive in the Green Energy and Conservation Zone that would allow some commercial and recreational uses as was outlined in the Depot Redevelopment master plan last updated by the “Crotty Group”
• Bjorkman will scan the text of Seneca County Planning Board comments and e-mail to our board.
Bill Larzelere moved that uses such as transient residential motels, B&B’s, camping, or retreat facilities be appropriately listed as special use permits required in the Green Energy and Conservation zone. Frankie Long seconded. The vote was 4 yes and 1 no. Motion passed.
Chairman Bjorkman moved to add land along the route 96A Depot fence to the Varick Small Business/Commercial zone. Larzelere seconded the motion. The motion passed unanimously. The land added will be 500 feet deep by 5000 feet long. Bjorkman will modify the zone map. There will be one entrance to the land and a roadway to access the property behind the fence.
The Zoning Code Changes will be presented for approval to the Varick Town Board at a public meeting at 7:00 pm December 4th before the regular Town Board Meeting.
The October meeting minutes were approved. Peterson moved, Frankie Long seconded.
All Planning Board Minutes will be posted on the Town Website within 2 weeks of the meeting and be labeled as “DRAFT” until approved at the following board meeting.
No meeting was set for December
Meeting was adjourned at 9:30 pm
Chair’s note: On checking with the County Planning Department, the concern regarding subdivisions can be addressed by striking “lease” from the definition of Subdivision in the Subdivision Code.