November 17, 2011

PB meeting, Public Hearing 11/17/11

Bill Squires called for the PB meeting to open at 6:59 pm. All members were present. A motion was made by Tom B to accept the minutes for the 9/22/11 PB meeting. Motion seconded by Todd H. and approved by all.

A motion for adjournment was made by Tom B, seconded by Todd H and approved so we could move forward to the public hearing.

Public hearing was called to order by Bill S. The first order of business concerned the simple subdivision of property owned by Mr. and Mrs. Wilkes on Yale Station Rd and E Lake Rd. The parcel needing subdivision is a lot and house formerly owned by Howard Smith. The party interested in buying the parcel wants to refurbish the residence. A motion to subdivide this property was made by Bill L., seconded by Phil Knapp and accepted by all.

The second item of business concerns the proposed Verizon cell tower to be constructed on the corner of Rt. 336 and Rt. 96 in the town of Varick where a radio tower currently exists. Attorney Robert Burgdorf reviewed the intentions of Verizon for the sake of those who were at the hearing. The basic reasons for placing it here is that it is located next to an existing tower and it is the best location for needed coverage. The tower is located 320’ from the residence of Larry and Edith Colton.

The Colton’s had several objections to the placement of a new tower, the main one being that part of their property falls within 300’ of the tower which violates zoning setback limits. Mr. Colton brought a map of the site and claimed that his house was within the setback. However, it was shown that it was actually outside of the setback, although some of his property is within the perimeter. This is Mr. Colton’s main objection to the tower at this location.

Edtih Colton presented a number of concerns as well. She mentioned the change of landscape and the closeness to the tower might devalue their property if resold. She was also concerned about safety issues since this was one of the main reasons for setbacks. She feared damage to their property if the tower happened to fall. Even though it is never supposed to come down, what would happen if it did?

The Colton’s then suggested another possible site adjacent to the property in the Town of Fayette. Mrs. Colton also thought the requested variance was substantial due to these reasons. However, the issue of variance is not the concern of the PB but the Zoning Board of Appeals. She again mentioned the physical and environmental impact upon the area and the problem of resale for their home. She finally mentioned that the alleged difficulty of other sites is self-created. Are there other sites available, such as the one mentioned above. Mrs. Colton was not aware of the tests that were done at the alternate sites suggested by the PB in September.

Richard Olsen also had two concerns. First, how would liabilities associated with the tower falling or something falling off of it be covered? Is Verizon liable for such an event? Also, he urged the PB to follow the town zoning code.

Mr. Burgdorf then addressed the above concerns. He stated that Verizon does not need an easement in regard to Colton’s property. That is not really the issue for our board. He also cited state law that allows for the necessity of public utilities such as cell towers to overrule individual land rights in these cases. The issue of public safety was again addressed – these towers exceed current standards and will not fall down. He stated in the event of such a calamity the current radio tower would come down before the cell tower. In regard to the loss of property value, Mr. Burgdorf said that property near such towers usually increases at the same rate of other property in the area. He also reminded the board that the purpose of this hearing was for a special permit in regard to the setbacks.

Mr. Burgdorf also addressed the issue of liability, Verizon has insurance and any damage would be covered by the company. He also assured us that they were seeking to follow zoning code law by going through the current channel of applying for a special permit.

The Colton’s restated a couple of their concerns but the main one involves the 300’ setback that violates current code. Mr. Colton believes that a special permit should not be granted because of this.

It was again stated that the purpose of our meeting was the issue of a special use permit, not a variance on the zoning code. Tom B explained that the purpose of an easement was to see to it that neighboring landowners could be compensated in situations like this. Since the PB and ZBA might allow a special case, then the neighboring landowners would have some compensation for their loss of protection. In this situation an easement is not really needed, but could be agreed to for the above reason.

A motion was made to close the public hearing by Todd and seconded by Linda M. The motion passed.

We then moved to reopen the regular meeting of the PB. Tom B moved to approve a special permit for Verizon cell tower, but Mr. Burgdorf suggested we make a motion concerning SEQR requirements. Tom rescinded the previous motion and made the following – “I move that the project will not result in any large and important impact(s) and, therefore, is one which will not have a significant impact on the environment, therefore a negative declaration will be prepared.“ The motion was seconded by Barry S, all approved.

A motion was then made by Tom and seconded by Linda to approve a special use permit for Verizon to construct a cell tower at the original site proposed to be forwarded to the ZBA. In discussion, it was cited that a tower of this nature would be a huge benefit to the area. It was agreed that there was no real danger to the Colton house and property in the event that the tower fell, although we understand their concerns. The board realizes the potential negative impact to one family, but the public good seems to outweigh this. The question of forwarding info to the PBA was raised. Bill S will send a copy of all the minutes pertaining to this issue to the chair of the ZBA. All were in favor of the motion.

Bill S said he would send a cover letter to the ZBA regarding our motion and would email a copy to each PB member for feedback. He will also talk to the chair of the ZBA about the above issues.

Phil K motioned to approve the minutes of the 10/13/11 meeting, Bill L seconded and all approved.

A motion to adjourn was made by Tom B at 8:35, seconded by Bill S. The next PB meeting is 1/19/12.

October 13, 2011

Special PB Meeting 10/13/11


Special Planning Board Meeting, October 13, 2011.
Meeting called to order at 7:00 pm. All board members present as well as representatives for Verizon Wireless.
The purpose of the meeting was to review the information from Verizon concerning alternative sites for a cellular tower. Bill Squires was in favor of calling a public hearing since the two sites suggested at the last meeting are inadequate to cover the area. Bill also inquired about the break mechanism in the tower in case of failure. The representative called attention to section H in the original proposal which gives the engineering specs for the tower. They exceed current standards.
We were informed that the neighbor to the south of the proposed site, Mr. Sensinig, has agreed to put an easement in place if necessary.
A discrepancy was noted in the cell tower coverage maps presented by Verizon reps. They used a water tower near Romulus rather than the one that was suggested in the old army depot near McGrain Rd and Yale Farm Rd. A new map will be sent for review by Nov. 3. The board would prefer a tower in this area since it is already zoned for technology. However, this site may not be the most advantageous for cell coverage either.
A motion was made by Linda Mastellar that the process for building the new cell tower move forward to a public hearing for November 17 pending receipt of information on the possible depot site. The motion was seconded by Todd Horton and passed unanimously.
A motion to adjourn was made by Linda M., seconded by Phil K. Meeting adjourned at 7:37.
Sincerely submitted,
Barry Somerville, secretary

October 12, 2011

PB Minutes 9/22/11


PB Minutes, September 22, 2011
The meeting was called to order at 7:02 by Bill Squires. All members were present.
Previous minutes were approved. Motion by Tom B and seconded by Todd H.
The first item on the agenda was in regard to building a Verizon wireless tower on the property at the corner of 96 and 336 where a radio tower currently exists. The initial permit was denied due to a failure to meet setbacks in the zoning code. Robert Burgdorf, a lawyer for Nixon-Peabody, represented Verizon’s interests and explained the need for a new tower in this area. Verizon wants to expand its wireless potential, but new equipment would be too heavy to mount on the current tower. Because of footprint overlaps, the new tower needs to be in close proximity to the site they desire. They propose to build a 195 foot free standing tower capable of mounting equipment from three carriers. They will lease a 100’ by 100’ parcel from the owners of the radio tower site.
Mr. Burgdorf needs a special use permit from the PB which will deal with the setbacks issue since 300’ is what the code requires. We discussed the legal procedure which the law office is concerned about and seems to be properly following.
The PB asked numerous questions about the issue. There should be no health issues since the equipment will emit extremely weak signals. The board suggested the possibility of two other sites for such a tower – one farther north on Rte 96 (ATT tower) and the other in the north end of the old Seneca Depot (water tower) near Hillside. The company will check out both of these sites and provide us more info about the possibility of using either. The board also asked about structural stability. The new tower is supposed to withstand 90 mph winds and ice build up to one inch and 40 mph wind. If the tower were ever to fall it is constructed to collapse in the middle. It would not hit any houses or buildings. Another concern was the possibility of the company going out of business. Mr. Burgdorf assured us that such a tower would always be in demand and not remain unused. One other concern was the possibility of another tower being built in this location, will this set a precedent? The lawyer said this does not set any legal precedent. Any future proposals for building have to go through the same procedures and approval. Property values should not be affected by the construction of a tower either.
It was agreed that Verizon reps would provide for the board the following info which we will consider at a special meeting Oct. 13: Info on the two alternate sites, close up photos of what tower would look like from Dilts Rd, a picture or location of a tower similar to the one being considered, and a removable bond.
Once this info is considered the PB will move forward with acceptance by calling a public hearing and granting a special use permit. We will try to do this asap and have a joint public hearing with the Zoning Board of Appeals if necessary.
The next item on the agenda concerned subdivision of a parcel of lands of Howard Smith aka Part Lot 43, Town of Varick, Seneca County NY at the southeast corner of E Lake Rd and Yale Station Rd. We discussed how many subdivisions were allowed to make a major subdivision. Our concern was compliance with the zoning code. Todd Horton made a motion to approve, seconded by Bill Larzelere and unanimously passed. Bill Squires asked to make a note to find out the time frame for making subdivisions from our code book.
Larry Colton, our zoning enforcement officer, had a few suggestions about our application form. 1) Provide a space for his remarks, 2) A space to cite reasons for denial of a permit, 3) A stop work order form, 4) A one year work extension instead of a two year renewal. These seem reasonable to the PB.
Mr. Colton also stated his objection to the wireless tower because it does not comply with zoning code setbacks.
We also discussed the need for additional forms that we do not yet have such as a special use permit.
Linda Mastellar moved to adjourn at 9:15 pm, Tom B. seconded.
Respectfully submitted,
Barry Somerville, secretary

May 26, 2011

PB Meeting 5/25/11


Planning Board Meeting – May 25, 2011
Meeting called to order at 7:00 pm by Bill Squires. Attendance – Tom Bjorkman, Todd Horton, Phil Knapp, Bill Larzelere, Barry Somerville, and Bill Squires.
Phil Knapp motioned to accept the minutes from the previous meeting, Todd Horton seconded. Motion passed.
We were informed by Bill S that Paul Conroy resigned as the Town Zoning Code Enforcement Officer. The new officer is Larry Colton.
Bill S handed out copies of the Zoning Board of Appeals Application for our review. No issues were raised.
The only item of business was to review a subdivision proposal, but the parties involved did not show up. Any such proposal will be assessed by the PB to check compliance to the zoning code and then a public hearing needs to be arranged.
After 25 minutes it was suggested that we adjourn. Motion was made by Tom Bjorkman, seconded by Bill Larzelere and passed by all.
Respectfully submitted,
Barry Somerville, secretary

March 25, 2011

PB Meeting 3/24/11


Planning Board Minutes, March 24, 2011
Members present: Bill Squires, Linda Mastellar, Todd Horton, Phil Knapp, Barry Somerville.
Meeting called to order by Bill S at 7:10 pm.
First item of business – proposed project by Greg McNeely at 5358 E Lake Rd. Current code does not specifically define a Planned Unit Development. However, the proposed project does fall under the definition of multi-family dwelling in Section 107 (definitions). After looking at the land plats and discussing the proposal the PB retained its conclusion from our previous meeting that this project cannot be approved. The above definition excludes such a plan in this district.
The following motion was made by Todd Horton and seconded by Linda Mastellar: The PB chair will write Mr. McNeely addressing the zoning code exclusion (Section 107, Definitions - dwellings, multi-family) of developing the property at 5358 E. Lake Rd. and adjacent military lot 55. Said letter will be reviewed and agreed upon by PB members. The motion was passed.
The PB also is concerned that such developments increase density in this district that is unwanted by the public. It was suggested that Mr. McNeely look into the town subdivision code for alternate plans.
The second item of business involved the approval of the Zoning Compliance Permit Application. All members have agreed on the current format and are open to changes once it is put into effect. Guidelines for fees were again discussed. The purpose of such fees is to help offset the costs of the Zoning Officer without being punitive in nature.
It was determined that Bill S. will contact the Town Board and put this item on the agenda for the next TB meeting. Todd H. will check fees proposed by other towns (Fayette, Romulus, Waterloo, Ovid) and contact other PB members so we can suggest a fee schedule for the TB meeting. Our aim is to have the TB vote on these at the next meeting. This will complete our work on the application form. If necessary we will hold a brief meeting in April to finalize the issue.
The necessity to determine what to do about Planned Unit Developments was then discussed. It is mentioned as an item in the zoning code but not defined. We need to address the issue and either delete it or define it. Either way, it will call for a public hearing. We will discuss this at next meeting.
The need to review the whole code for other undefined issues was brought up. It would be good if we could deal with all items at one hearing rather than do so piecemeal.
Todd Horton asked if any more action or discussion has occurred concerning private school compliance to the zoning code. This was a question raised some time ago by David Kidd. Since other issues have been more pressing we have not discussed this. However, it is something that needs to be taken up at a future date.
Motion to adjourn was made by Linda M. and seconded by Phil K. Meeting adjourned at 8:30 pm.
Sincerely submitted,
Barry Somerville