June 28, 2019

Varick Planning Board Minutes, May 2019

Varick Planning Board

May 23, 2019

Present: Linda Mastellar (chair), Rich Olsen, Frankie Long, Thomas Björkman (Secretary)
Absent: Hershey Sensenig, Michelle Hermann, one vacancy
Visitors: Lori Westervelt, Jane Drayer, Joyce Sanford, Ken Sanford, Jerry Drayer, Stephen Blaisdell, Brian Zerges
The Town Board has asked the Planning Board to propose regulation of short-term rentals to prevent associated problems from becoming worse. Several residents were in attendance to address the issue.
Residents of a private road on Seneca Lake described issues with short-term rental properties that impaired their quality of life. The situation has become worse as more houses are used for short-term rental, in particularly when there is an absentee landlord that does not use a management company. There is little response, and neighbors feel there is no recourse. The desirable qualities of living on the lake get compromised.
·     Parking: renters and their visitors bring more cars than there is room for at the rental property. They block the road, park on lawns, and on neighbors properties.
·     Noise:  Some renters are noisy, sometimes late into the night. The impact is greater than with long-term residents who have only occasional parties. With the short-term rentals, it tends to be continuous which has substantial impact on the experience of living by the lake.
·     Speeding: Some renters speed on the narrow private road. 
·     Dogs: renters allow their dogs to roam on to neighboring properties, defecate on the road, and bark continuously when their owners are away.
·     Unattended fires: These fires are a fire danger and, when smoky, cause pollution and noxious fumes. 
The concerned residents supported a license similar to Fayette’s, wherein the owner has a significant role in managing the guests. They noted that one residence managed by Finger Lakes Premier Properties has never been a problem because they make expectations clear to renters and act immediately when there is a problem. They felt that a license system that requires similar engagement would be promising.
A resident who owns a short-term rental on Rt. 89 and Cayuga Lake, Stephen Blaisdell, was concerned that the Fayette ordinance does not have sufficient due process before cancelling a license. An owner cannot reapply for a whole year. That represents too big a business risk. The $500 fee seems excessive, and the administration of the process more involved than necessary. He enlists FLPP as manager to make sure the property is not a problem. 
Brian Zerges, principal of FLPP, spoke in favor of good management of rental properties. He met with the Planning Board last year also encouraging good management so that a few problem properties didn’t result in a loss of support for all short-term rental. 
Board members observed that many of these issues are not specific to short-term rentals and could be dealt with in a general ordinance. For instance, dogs trespassing or barking is currently addressed in the Town dog ordinance and enforced by the dog-control offices. 
For several of the issues, enforcement mechanisms are a challenge. For instance, parking on the private road may not be in town or county jurisdiction. Further investigation is needed.
The planning board is interested in hearing more from owners of short-term rental properties.
Somerville subdivision
The Major Subdivision proposal came back from the County Planning Board. They indicated that the drainage pipe that passes across Lot D need to be addressed in two ways. First, the development footprint of Lot D must not include drainage pipe easement (10 feet on either side of pipe). Second, the deed needs to have and easement to restrict tree planting over drainage pipe.
The septic plan is in the process of being approved by health department. Final action on the subdivision must wait for that approval.
The County Board wanted better access to property behind, which currently has only a narrow lane that allows access to the agricultural field from Yale Farm Road. The board agreed that it would be preferable that the other parcel be compliant with current code and have at least 100 feet on the road. However, that parcel is not part of the subdivision proposal. If the owner of the property to the south wants to develop a residential subdivision in the future, they would need to buy one of lots on the road for access. 
Willower subdivision.
This Minor Subdivision proposal came back from the County Planning Board. The County Planning Board wants written permission from the Finger Lakes Railroad to access over their tracks. However, we understand that the railroad will not provide an easement not give written permission. While they also will not hinder access, the crossing will be at the landowners risk. This board considers that an existing condition that does not change as a result of the subdivision action. An easement from the north was proposed as an alternative, but that would not provide access because the property is bordered by a deep gully that is not passable by vehicle. 
The County Planning Board agreed that the short extension of the 30-foot wide access was acceptable, and that making just that part 100-ft wide would not improve the non-conforming situation. 
If our board wants to approve the subdivision without the permission from the railroad, it will require a supermajority (5 votes).
Zoning Code revisions pertaining to solar energy.
Reviewed solar code revisions. The proposed language is appended below.
Action: Send our proposed revisions to the Zoning Code, which cover solar-energy and docks, to the Town for review at their next meeting.
Moved by Björkman Second by Mastellar. Passed 4-0

Adjourned 10:24 pm

Amended code revision proposal

At the June 27 meeting, the Planning board made two revisions to the proposed code revisions.

  • The Special Use "On-site Solar Farm" will also be available for the Small Business Park and Institutional Zone. That is the former recreation area at the north end of the former Depot, which now houses Hillside Children's Center and Ontario Trumansburg Telephone. 
  • The security required in the event of abandonment for both solar farms and telecommunications towers will be a performance bond with the town clerk rather than a letter of credit with the planning board. That change will better protect the town in the unlikely event the town is left with obsolete infrastructure from one of these uses.

June 03, 2019

Proposed Code revisions, May 2019

Proposal to the Town Board for discussion at their June 2, 2019 meeting.

The Town of Varick Zoning Code is hereby amended to include the following:

Add to the end of 306.3: Other structures:
A removable seasonal dock only requires a permit initially and may be reinstalled annually as long as it is the same size and meets the setbacks.  placed in accordance with the constraints of the permit. 
If the lot is too narrow for a dock to meet the side setbacks, the ZBA may consider granting a variance for a temporary dock and hoist with smaller setback dimensions, if it is installed in a way that does not impinge on the neighboring lots and contribute to congestion. This provision shall not be used to justify allowing more docks on larger lots. 

Also add the to the designated sections 

107. Definitions
  1. Glare: The effect by reflections of light with intensity sufficient as determined in a commercially reasonable manner to cause annoyance, discomfort, or loss in visual performance and visibility in any material respects. 
  2. Ground-Mounted Solar Energy System: A Solar Energy System that is anchored to the ground via a pole or other mounting system, detached from any other structure, which generates electricity for onsite or offsite consumption. 
  3. Solar farm, or solar collection system, major: An area used for a solar collection system principally used to capture solar energy and convert it to electrical energy for on-site use or to transfer to the public electric grid in order to sell electricity to or receive a credit from a public utility entity Solar farm facilities consist of one or more freestanding ground or roof mounted solar collector devices, solar related equipment and other accessory structures and buildings, including light reflectors, concentrators, and heat exchangers, substations, electrical infrastructure, transmission lines and other structures and facilities.
  4. Solar collection system, minor: a solar voltaic cell, panel, or array, or solar hot air or water collector device, which relies upon solar radiation as an energy source or collection, inversion, storage and distribution of solar energy for electricity generation or transfer of stored heat; secondary to the use of the premises for other lawful purposes; with the total surface area of all solar collectors on the lot not to exceed 1,000 square feet and is considered a structure for setback purposes.
308. Use Table

Use
Agricultural and Rural Residential (ARR
page19image7000Hamlet Residential (HR
page19image8880Lakeshore Residential (LR)
Small Busi- ness Park and Institu- tional (BPI
Conser- vation (C
Warehouse, Industrial, Transporta- tion, Energy (WITE) 
Residential






Solar collection system, minor
P
P
P
P
P
P
Commercial






Solar Farm
S 311.21
N
N
N
N
S 311.22
311.21 Solar Farm or Major Solar Collection System
  1. Generates no more than 110% of the electricity consumed on the site over 12 months. 
  2. All of the requirements of 311.22 apply
311.22 Solar Farm or Major Solar Collection System
Because it is in the public interest to provide for and encourage renewable energy systems and a sustainable quality of life, the purpose of this section is to facilitate the development and operation of renewable energy systems based on sunlight. A Solar Energy Production Facility (aka Major Solar Collection System or Solar Farm) shall be permitted under a Special Use Permit when measures are taken, as provided in this section, to minimize adverse impacts on neighboring properties and protect the public health, safety, and welfare. This section shall pertain only to major solar collection systems or solar farms. Where other Sections of the Code conflict with this Section, provisions of this Section shall control.
  1. A letter providing proof of feasibility from the local utility company is to be provided as part
    of the application indicating that utility company can handle the demands of the proposed
    project.
  2. The design of a major collection system or solar farm shall comply with the bulk table (309.1) except that the lot coverage for the solar panels can be 50% if the ground under the panels is vegetated soil with typical water permeation. The lot shall not have more than 30% impermeable surfaces.
  3. The design of the solar farm shall adhere to existing setback requirements of the zoning district. If the solar farm will be constructed by the utilization of ground mounting, then a ground mounting plan and process certified by a Licensed Professional Engineer must be submitted during the Special Use Permit application process. The mounting plan shall consist of standard solar manufacturer installation plans and processes for ground mounting or be addressed in the applicant’s site plans.
  4. Systems and solar panels shall be placed and arranged such that reflected solar radiation or glare shall not be directed onto adjacent buildings, properties or roadways.
  5. System shall not be used to display advertising, including signage, streamers, pennants, spinners, reflectors, ribbons, balloons, flags, banners, or similar materials, with the exception of the following: Necessary equipment information, warnings, or indication of ownership shall be allowed on any equipment of the System or where required by the New York State Building Code.
  6. No System or any of its components shall be illuminated, except to the degree minimally necessary for public safety or maintenance.
  7. All mechanical equipment, including any structure for batteries or storage cells, shall be fenced from adjacent properties to restrict unauthorized access and screened.
  8. No System shall be used or constructed such that it becomes a private or public nuisance or hazard.
  9. Storm water and snowmelt runoff and erosion control shall be managed in a manner consistent with all applicable federal, state, and local regulations and shall not impact neighboring properties.
  10. Systems which have not been in active and continuous service for six months shall be removed at the owner’s or operator’s expense within an additional six months.
  11. The site shall be restored to as natural conditions as possible within twelve months of the removal of the system.
  12. Removal of trees and other existing vegetation should be minimized or offset with planting elsewhere on the property.
  13. The applicant shall post performance security in the form of a letter of credit with the Planning Board in an amount equivalent to 150% of the estimated cost of removal of the equipment as determined by the Planning Board and said letter of credit shall be on terms and conditions satisfactory to the Town Attorney. The letter of credit shall be reviewed every five years from the date of issuance of a special use permit by the Planning Board for the purpose of determining whether or not the letter of credit is at least 150% of the estimated cost of the removal of the equipment. The applicant shall increase the letter of credit to 150% of the estimated cost of removal of the equipment as determined by the Planning Board in the event that the letter of credit is deemed by the Planning Board to be less than 150% of the estimated cost of removal. If the applicant assigns its interest in the equipment or by operation of law no longer owns the equipment, the applicant's successors and/or assigns shall be obligated to post performance security with the Planning Board as provided in this subsection as if it was the applicant at the time the special use permit was granted pursuant to this section. In the event that the applicant leases the site on which the equipment is constructed, the applicant shall obtain an irrevocable consent, to be binding upon the landowner's heirs, distributees, successors and/or assigns permitting the applicant to remove the equipment within six months of the date it ceases to be used for solar-collection purposes and permitting the town to enter onto the landowner's land for the purpose of removing the equipment in the event that the equipment is not removed by the applicant within said six-month period. The consent shall be in a form satisfactory to the Town Attorney and shall, upon approval of the Town Attorney, be recorded in the Seneca County Clerk's office.
  14. Vegetation under and around solar panels should be planted and managed to maximize compatible ecosystems services: pollinator habitat, wildlife forage and carbon sequestration.
14. Abandonment
a)    All applications for a solar farm shall be accompanied by a decommissioning plan to be implemented upon abandonment, or cessation of activity, or in conjunction with removal of the facility.
b)   If the applicant begins but does not complete construction of the project within eighteen months after receiving final site plan approval, this may be deemed abandonment of the project and require implementation of the decommissioning plan to the extent applicable.
c)    The decommissioning plan signed by a licensed professional engineer must ensure the site will be restored to a useful, nonhazardous condition without delay, including, but not limited to, the following:
                               i.     Removal of above ground and below ground equipment, structures and foundations.
                             ii.     Restoration of the surface grade and soil after removal of equipment.
                           iii.     Revegetation of restored soil areas with native seed mixes, excluding any invasive species.
                            iv.     The plan shall include a timeframe for the completion of site restoration work. 


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Varick Planning Board Minutes April 18, 2019

VVarick Planning Board
April 18, 2019
Called to order at 7:00 pm
Present: : Linda Mastellar (Chair), Frankie Long, Thomas Björkman (Secty),  Hershey Sensenig, Rich Olsen. Absent: Michele Hermann, excused One vacancy.
Guests: Mark Fuentes with AT&T, Art Sherman, Tim Dorn
March Minutes approved 4-0 Moved by Mastellar, Second Long
Special use permit for cell tower
Public hearing opened. 7:03. Mr. Fuentes described the proposal. Move to close by Sensenig, second by Long, passed 4-0
Resolution: Having met all the requirements of for a Special Use Permit of a Telecommunications Tower, a Special Use Permit is approved for AT&T to install antennas on the existing tower at 1790 Rt. 336, subject to approval by the Town Attorney of the terms of the letter of credit for removal.
Moved by Björkman, Second by Olsen, passed 5-0
Sherman subdivision.
County recommend approving, contingent on completion of survey and attaching the 47 feet to the adjacent lot. 
Public hearing opened at 7:18 
Mastellar noted that she is a neighbor. A completed survey was provided.
Public Hearing closed 7:21
Resolution: TheVarick Planning Board issues final approval of the Sherman sub-division East Lake Rd. The action transfers 47 feet from lot 6-2.02 to lot 6-2.01 to make lots of 147 ft and 150 ft.
The board received the Short Environmental Assessment Form and declared itself the lead agency for State Environmental Quality Review. Upon review of the EAF, the board found no impact because the action will lead to no change in land use, nor creates a condition that would encourage one. The board makes a negative declaration of environmental impact,.
The application was reviewed by the county planning board, which recommended approval.
Moved by Olsen, second by Sensenig, passed 5-0.

Willower subdivision.Landowners, Rick and Scott Willower, and Bruce and Tracey Maybury.       
Accepted a preliminary sketch plan of a lot-line move on several properties on Rt. 96A, Tax map lots 06-1-11.11, 12.2, 12.11 and 12.12. Narrow (30 ft) driveway access to 40 acres. Goal is to consolidate several parcels belonging to two owners so that each owner has a contiguous on either side of the railroad. The existing 30-foot access would not get wider, but would get slightly longer. 
The Willower lot will be all land west of the railroad, plus a 30-foot access on the south side running east to RT. 96A. The Maybury lot will be the balance of the land east of the railroad. 
The current use of the future Willower lot is woods, the future Maybury lot is farmed. There is a barn but no other structures. 
The 30-foot access is less than the required 100 feet. This non-conforming access exists. The slight extension represents a trivial amount of increase in the non-conforming condition (from ~1400 to ~1800 ft) and has no impact on the access or development potential of the property.
The applicant provided an Environmental Assessment Form, an Agricultural Data Statement and a town subdivision application and the fee.
We will submit to the county planning board for May 9 and schedule a public hearing for May 23.
Moved by Björkman, Second by Sensenig, passed 5-0.
We will check that subdivision proposals that were denied have not been filed.

Somerville subdivision.Submitted a preliminary plat. Proposal is a major subdivision of lot 6-1-40 on Yale Farm Rd., owned by James and Dorothy Somerville. Plan is to create seven one-acre lots. The land is currently farmed by an adjoining landowner. 
Initial discussion was held on July 26, 2018.
The requirements of the application in Section V 3(A) of the subdivision code were met, except
(6) Location, size, flow direction and grade of culvert in center of lot (approx 18” diameter) that ends in the ditch on Yale Farm Road. 
Will send to county for their May 9 meeting if the materials with culvert information is received by April 26. We will schedule a public hearing for May 23, 2019.
Resolution to accept application and sending on to County Planning Board with the correction of address and addition of culvert information.
Moved by Mastellar, Second by Sensenig passed 5-0.

Adjournment moved by Sensenig, second by Olsen, passed 5-0
Adjourned 9:18 pm

May 23, 2019

Varick Planning Board March 28, 2019

Varick Planning Board
March 28, 2019
Called to order at 7:00 pm
Present: : Linda Mastellar (Chair), Michele Hermann, , Frankie Long, Thomas Björkman (Secty),  Hershey Sensenig, Rich Olsen, excused. One vacancy.
Guests: Mark Fuentes with AT&T, Art Sherman, Tim Dorn
January Minutes approved 4-0 Moved by Mastellar, Second Long
February, with one correction, approved 4-0 Moved by Mastellar, Second by Hermann
Special use permit for cell tower. Information was sent to county, but we didn’t hear back. Will schedule public hearing as soon as possible, Donna will advertise. AT&T would like to install antennas before an osprey nests on tower. 
Will want a letter of credit filed for removal.
Sherman subdivision. Submitted sketch plan of a lot-line move on East Lake Rd. Proposal to move lot line to make 147 ft lot 100 ft, and 150 ft lot 197.  (Mastellar is a neighbor) From lot 6-2.02 to lot 6-2.01. No issues were detected. We submit to the county for review. Can hold public hearing at next meeting. No SEQR is anticipated.  All documents were in order (application, EAF, Ag Data Statement, fee), Moved Olsen, Second Mastellar, passed 6-0)
Move next meeting to April 18. Publish in Reveille along with Public Hearing ad. 
We will develop solar language for our zoning code based on the Olean code at the April meeting.

We will check that subdivision proposals that were denied have not been filed.

Adjournment moved by Sensenig,  Second by Olsen. Passed 6-0
Adjourned 8:56 pm


March 29, 2019

Varick Planning Board February 28, 2019

Varick Planning Board
February 28, 2019
Called to order at 7:00 pm
Present: : Linda Mastellar (Chair), Hershey Sensenig, Frankie Long, Thomas Björkman (Secty). Absent: Rich Olsen, Michele Hermann, excused. One vacancy.
Public hearings:
Jim Brown subdivision and SEQR.Public hearingopened 7:04 
Reported on county-planning-board resolution.
No other comments.           
Hearing closed at 7:06 on a motion from Björkman, and a second from Sensenig.
Hogue subdivision and SEQR. Public hearing opened 7:08.
No comment. 
Hearing closed at 7:09 on a motion from Björkman, and a second from Sensenig.
Jim Brown subdivision approval. All documents are in order, the EAF has been and the subdivision as proposed is approved by the county planning board.Resolution: TheVarick Planning Board issues final approval of the Jim Brown sub-division.  The action transfers for a lot line move from parcels 04-01-2.11 to 04-01-2.2 on the Fayette-Varick Townline Rd 
The board further makes a negative declaration of environmental impact under SEQR.
Moved Björkman Second by Long. All in favor. 4-0

Hogue subdivision. All documents are in order, the EAF has been and the subdivision as proposed is approved by the county planning board. Resolution:The Varick Planning Board issues final approval of the  realigning lot 10-4-25.11 and 10-4-25.12 & 10-24  to make two lots, eliminating 10-4-25.12. The board further makes a negative declaration of environmental impact under SEQR.
Moved Björkman Second by Long. All in favor. 4-0

Sylvester Brown subdivision. All documents are in order, the EAF has been and the subdivision as proposed is approved by the county planning board. A public hearing was held at the January meeting. Resolution: The Varick Planning Board issues final approval of the Sylvester Brown minor subdivision of lot 10-2-17.2 to make two lots. The board further makes a negative declaration of environmental impact under SEQR.
Moved Björkman Second by Mastellar. All in favor. 4-0

BQ Energy solar farm.Kim Nason represented BQ Energy. The proposal is for a solar farm of up to 100 ac on the Depot (Martin property) near the east entrance. The installation would be in 20 – 25 acre units due to a 5MW parcel limit set by the NYS Public Service Commission. Our code requires amendment to make solar a special use in the WITE district. The planning board agrees that it should be. The question now is how to proceed.
BQ can provide amended code language and the Special Use application in one package. That combination would be considered a single action under SEQR. The town could amend the code independently as a separate action under SEQR. 
The planning board will develop and initial draft of the zoning revision at the next meeting, and request feedback from BQ on the provisions. The general format will follow the Town of Olean code in having some solar-specific requirements for the Special Use, including provisions for removal at end of life and ecological services.
BQ Energy would like to have a joint meeting of the Town Board and the Planning board, with a target date of the April Town Board meeting, to determine whether there are any issues that should be addressed before proceeding.
Only after BQ Energy has the permits to proceed, as well as the current lease option on the land, they will enter serious negotiation with the utility to tie to the grid as a Community Solar provider. 
A similar proposal in The Town of Romulus is pending a zoning application, but their Zoning Code does not require amendment. 
Adding antennas to cell tower.Tim Dorn received a permit application from AT&T to add antennas to the Verizon cell tower at Rt 336 and 96. This modification is a Special Use under our code, so it will require some additional steps.
The application contains all but a few items. Dorn will ask the applicant for the additional information.
If the information comes in the next few days, we can consider the application referred at that time and schedule a public hearing for our next meeting. We have 30 days from referral to hold that hearing. If the material is received later we have to consider it referred at our March meeting with a public hearing at our April meeting. 

We noted that the Zoning Compliance Application form needs amendment to add the new zoning districts. (It is available on the ZBA website.)
Adjourned at 8:43 on a motion by Sensenig and a second by Long (4-0)

March 04, 2019

Varick Planning Board, January 24, 2019

Varick Planning Board
January 24, 2019
Called to order at 7:00 pm
Present: : Linda Mastellar (Chair), Michele Hermann, Hershey Sensenig, Thomas Björkman (Secty). Absent: Rich Olsen, Frankie Long, excused. One vacancy.

November Minutes approved with minor changes 3-0
Member changes. David Kidd resigned.
Bill Yale resigned due to other commitments. 
Michele Herman was appointed by the Town Board to fill David Kidd’s seat. Thomas Björkman was reappointed. 
Sylvester Brown subdivision. Received signed documents, and will send them to the county.
 Public hearing opened at 7:05, closed 7:06 No comments. 
Hogue subdivision. The board accepted the sketch plan for a subdivision of lot 10-4-25 and adjacent. (Motion by Björkman, second by Sensenig, passed 4-0). We classified it as a Minor Subdivision. The proposal is to turn three lots on East Lake Road, currently 60, 55 and 55 ft wide into two lots, 100 and 70 ft wide.  That change brings them closer to compliant, and is viewed favorably by the board. The application needs an Environmental Assessment Form and an Agricultural Data Statement before we can proceed. Thereafter we can forward the application to the county and schedule a public hearing for February 28.
Jim Brown subdivision.The board accepted the sketch plan for a lot line move from parcels 04-01-2.11 to 04-01-2.2 on the Fayette-Varick Townline Rd. (Motion by Björkman, second by Mastllar, passed 4-0)The proposal isto add 26 ft  to a current lot that is currently 200 ft wide. The piece will be removed from a large parcel with many hundred feet of frontage.We received the application with the Environmental Assessment Form and Agricultural Data Statement. We will forward it the county and schedule a public hearing for February 28.
Romulus Presbyterian Church.  Prospective buyer wants to know whether the former church could be used as a wedding and event venue. Referred to Zoning Code on churches and restaurants in the Hamlet district.
BQ Energy. Provided additional information, but do not have a code recommendation at this time. They would like a joint meeting with the town board.
Adjourned at 8:58 pm