December 02, 2007

Adopt code revisions

The Town of Varick is on the verge of acting on significant revisions to an old and obsolete zoning code. The I encourage the town board to pass these revisions on December 4th. It is essential for protecting the interests of Varick’s residents.

This is truly the plan of the people of Varick. Hundreds of people have had direct input to the planning board through our comprehensive planning, and during the two years that we have worked on turning the vision into specific policies in the form of these revisions. The full text of the revisions can bee seen on Varick’s website

Varick will continue to change. Passing an up-to-date zoning code lets those of us who have chosen to live in Varick have some assurance that what we value will still be here tomorrow. Our neighbors on Canandaigua and Keuka Lakes waited until it was too late. They suffer with congestion and high taxes that many in Varick shudder at. There is till time to determine our fate, but not much time.

The main thing the revisions achieve is to create districts that reflect different expectations and land use challenges.
  • The lakeshore and hamlet zones require some protections to recognize the high-density residential development there.
  • Agriculture is central to Varick’s nature, both as a major business and what creates the beautiful environment that we so value.
  • Hamlet vitality is encouraged through development that makes them more attractive to live in.
  • The plan encourages business, especially home-grown small business, that strengthens our community. The businesses at the north end of the Depot are good fits that need encouragement and protection from incompatible uses.
  • Water is a defining character of Varick, and resident are deeply concerned about water quality. The plan protects water quality, especially near the lakeshore.
The code revisions provide basic protections for residents and property owners in Varick that are missing in the current code.

Of interest to many residents is that the plan codifies our vision for future development on the former Seneca Army Depot. In New York, the Town has responsibility for determining land use. The proposed revisions fulfill that responsibility by establishing guidance for that part of the town that reflects what Varick resident value: Conservation, recreation and green energy. It also gives town officials a needed legislation to support them when they partner with the Seneca County IDA in redeveloping this property for the benefit of the community.

In a small town, providing accurate, uniform, customer-friendly zoning enforcement is a challenge. The code revisions are designed to be very clear. Residents can plan projects seeing clearly what provisions need to be met for the community’s sake. They are also easier and less expensive to enforce so that they are fair to everyone.

Passing these revisions shows accountability to the residents of the town, and a willingness to take responsibility for our future. Failing to revise the zoning code in the conservative manner proposed by the planning board leaves the town vulnerable and without an adequate voice in its own future.

Thomas Björkman

November 2007 Minutes

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.
• Chairman Bjorkman thanked both groups for their time and presentations and they left the meeting.

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

Respectfully submitted,
Bill Larzelere

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.

November 2007 Agenda

Varick Planning Board
November 15, 2007

Approve minutes
October 25, 2007

Petition by residents
Gary Chave and Tom Mitchell, Seneca Federation of Sportsmens Clubs

Committee reports: none

Information items:

Discussion items:
Sessler proposal in CRE district
New Business
Old business:
Zoning Code
  • Update on progress
  • Response from County Planning Board
New subdivision proposals: None

Set next meeting time: Currently scheduled for Dec 27, 2007 7:00 pm


October 2007 Minutes

Varick Planning Board
October 25, 2007

Meeting called to order: 7:05pm

Attendees: Thomas Bjorkman (Chairman), Bob Kayser, Bill Larzelere, Larry Peterson, Frankie Long, Kevin Swartley
Absent: Annie Bachman

The September meeting minutes were approved. Kayser moved, Peterson seconded

New Business:
  • Amended language to subdivision code: Presented by Bjorkman in the document italicizes language changes.
    • Subdivide property once is considered a subdivision subject to planning board approval. (2 or more lots)
    • Lease or conveyance
    • Sec. 4B Change of language to define the format of the drawings required
  • Long- motion to approve changes to sub-division language as submitted and discussed. Kayser second- approved unanimously.
Old Business:
Discussion of issues of concern brought up at the public informational meeting from residents:
  • Kayser talked to Dick Peterson about his concerns.
    • Unused farm equipment – 1 year period is too short before removal. Discussion concluded that if equipment isn’t used for one year that it needs to conform to section 309.2 paragraph B and be screened from neighbors view.
    • Painting of vehicles in approved spray booth- Too restrictive and unenforceable. Discussion concluded Ag. equipment in Ag./Rural Residential zone is exempt and took out language requiring approvals and a spray booth. New language (pg19 309.2 paragraph A) would require “such work is performed inside a structure or similarly enclosed area designed for such purpose”
  • Setbacks better defined- sec 309.1 General Design Standards- Bulk tables
    • Front setback- 50 feet from centerline of road.
    • Lakeshore Zone- Main structure height measured from the mean high water mark and also the measuring point for the rear(lakeside) setback.
    • All setback requirements are the landowners responsibility to assure compliance with the code
  • Lakeshore Zone
    • Add in 309.5e1 parking for cottages – new construction- provide off street parking for a minimum of two cars.
    • Dock language- boat houses are to be a maximum of 16 ft. to the peak of the roof.
  • Grandfathering – Non conforming uses can not be passed on to heirs
  • Outdoor retail sales-
    • Size of sales booth is defined in code
    • Outdoor retail sales of agriculture products are approved for all zones
  • Puppy Mills
    • Frankie Long does not believe we address the issue decisively
    • Ag and Markets has the regulations and is the enforcer
  • Kevin Swartley made the point that a Varick Town board member suggested that our code does not provide for industrial or ancillary businesses on the depot in the Town of Varick. Bjorkman clarified that this issue had been thoroughly discussed in several prior meetings and was addressed in the Comprehensive Plan and the public surveys. The zoning code is consistent with these.
  • Timeline for adoption of Zoning Code Revisions
    • Presented by Bjorkman - Need to do SEQR and present to Town Board in the November meeting. Town Board will forward to the County Planning board for their approval and then back to the Town of Varick Board for approval at the December Board meeting.
    • Kayser will work with Harriet Haynes to complete the SEQR.
  • Frankie Long moved that all changes be approved and presented to the Town of Varick Board. Larry Peterson seconded and the motion passed with one negative vote.
Next meeting was set for November 15th 7:00pm at the Varick firehouse

Meeting was adjourned at 9:30 pm

Respectfully submitted,
Bill Larzelere Secretary

Approved November 15, 2007

September 2007 Minutes

Town of Varick
Planning Board Meeting Minutes
September 27, 2007

Meeting called to order: 7:05pm

Attendees: Thomas Bjorkman (Chairman), Bob Kayser, Bill Larzelere, Larry Peterson,
Absent: Annie Bachman, Kevin Swartley, Frankie Long,

The August meeting minutes were approved.

• Bob Kayser and his wife agreed to be on the Lake Moorings and Docks committee.

• Change of property to commercial use: Carl Stuck –owner asked for his property on Rt. 96 (Old Garlick’s store) to be returned from residential to commercial use. He has a lawyer and a flooring business that want to use the building. Bob Kayser moved to accept the change, Bill Larzelere seconded. Passed unanimously.

• Frankie Long and Larry Peterson had visited Jeff Case about the changes to the Zoning code. They found him generally positive, and grateful for the amount of work. Had a couple of questions and concerns.

• Section 303 Lakeshore residential paragraph C-12 - Mobile home- remove “12 ft. width” requirement to make consistent with other references in the code. Approved
• Discussion-clarification of “grandfathering”.
  • Non-conforming usages of properties will not be conveyed upon sale.
  • Non-conforming lot sizes can be conveyed upon sale, but new use restrictions of code must be adhered to by new owner.
  • Non-conforming structures are grandfathered under general development standards but must be brought up to general maintenance, health and safety codes.
• Seasonal use of travel trailers
  • Seasonal is defined as a period of 8 months. There will also be “zero discharge” from the trailer during the period of use.
  • Permanently Placed- More than 8 months and then must meet, permitting, setbacks and zero discharge (same as camp language).
• Common Access Sites- Lakeshore Zone
  • Issues for such areas are noise, storage, parking on road, open fires, zero waste discharge, lighting.
  • More discussion needed.
  • Thomas will find out what Town of Fayette uses for language to address usage of common access to lakes.

• Public Informational meeting on Zoning changes.
  • Thomas will set up time for an informational meeting in the Varick firehouse.

Next Planning Board meeting set for October 25, 2007 7:00pm. at the Varick Firehouse

Meeting ended at 9:00pm

Respectfully submitted,
Bill Larzelere, Secretary