March 19, 2008

Varick Planning Board Draft meeting Minutes from Feb. 28, 2008

Town of Varick Planning Board Meeting Minutes

Date of meeting: February 28, 2008

Meeting called to order: 7:10pm

Attendees: Bob Kayser(Chairman ), Thomas Bjorkman, Phil Knapp, Bill Larzelere, Kevin Swartley , Miles Persing(Code Enforcement Officer)
Absent: Frankie Long

The December meeting minutes were approved as reported T.B. moved to accept, B.L. seconded
The January meeting minutes were approved as reported T.B. moved to accept, K.S. seconded.

¨ No public Comment

¨ Phil Knapp was introduced as a new Planning Board member. His reason for wanting to be a board member is to protect the rural community way of life we have and not allow development that would threaten that. His e-mail-
¨ Miles Persing was introduced as the new Zoning Code Enforcement Officer- His e-mail-

¨ Chairman Kayser noted that the “Sessler Project” had been pulled back by the Sessler group for a minimum of 90 days. Our Board will not discuss any action until it has been resubmitted to the Seneca County IDA and referred to us.

IDA-DEC-VPB Meeting Discussion
¨ Bill Larzelere noted that the best things that came out of the joint meeting was opening the lines of communication, identifying a DEC contact for permitting concerns (Lisa Porter) and the willingness of the DEC to prioritize its wetland remapping project of the Depot property to review areas identified by the IDA that should be done to move development projects along. The whole remapping project does not have to be completed before development proceeds in the remapped areas. Also noted was the willingness of the DEC to accept (after review) third party wetland remapping investigation. Board Discussion continued with reservations about the worth of third party investigation on improvement of turnaround time and who would pay for this third party.
¨ Board discussed the perceived effect of wetland remapping on ability of affected farmers to farm their land. Kevin Swartley thinking there may be significant impacts and Thomas Bjorkman thinking the effects would be minimal and be able to be negotiated with DEC.
¨ The discussion on choosing SEQR Lead Agency status was very informative and enlightening.

Zonining Code Enforcement Officer Report

Miles Persing thanked the Board for it’s support of him in his new position and agreed to attend our Planning Board meetings in the future.

¨ Two recent Building Permits have been denied because setbacks do not meet the new code regulations. One project is on the lakefront on Seneca Lake East Lake Road. The second is on Rt. 89 and is also on the lakefront (Cayuga). Miles noted that both residents were easy to work with and willing to work with the system. Both have been scheduled to come up to the Zoning Board of Appeals in its March 17th meeting.
¨ Bob Kayser commented this was a good start and thanked Miles for his diligence. He expressed hope that local contractors in the area who would take up projects would be as willing to cooperate with the new code.

Docks and Moorings Committee Report

Bob Kayser reported that the scope has changed a couple times in reference to whether the committee would try to harmonize the docks and moorings code on both lakes or do one and then the other. Originally it was both lakes, then it was just Cayuga , now it is both lakes. The next meeting will be March 26th and he is looking for a Seneca Lake volunteer to represent the Town of Varick.

Planning Agenda for 2008

¨ Revised Code Issue Clarifications: Thomas Bjorkman reported that the Town Board had decided to take no immediate action on the Code revision “issues” identified that our Board agreed to work on to find acceptable language. They would like to let the new code work “as is” for the time being and see if the identified issues become concerns that really need to be addressed.
¨ Town Broadband access: Finger Lakes Technology offered at some point in the future to be able to supply “Wi Fi” to the area. Kevin Swartley offered to ask for clarification from his contacts in FLT.
¨ Wind Power : Bob and Bill discussed the need for studying a code to protect residents from any big wind development issues without being too restrictive to local implementation by residents. It was noted that we are a rural area that could benefit from “small wind” power production.
¨ Noise ordinance: It was noted that both Fayette and Romulus have noise ordinances and would be in our interest to do similar. To do: next meeting look at these two towns ordinances.
¨ Bob Kayser will ask Bob Hayssen: If there are any planning concerns his Board would like to see us work on in 2008.

Next Meeting:

Bob Kayser noted that our Planning Board meetings had been monthly for the past several years to accomplish big goals. Since these have been met, he would like to go back to every other month meetings unless any special concerns arise. It was agreed that this would be the new schedule.

Our next regular meeting will be April 24th,2008 at 7:00pm in the Varick Firehall.

Meeting adjourned at 8:45pm.

Minutes respectfully submitted,
Bill Larzelere- Secretary

March 04, 2008

Draft Minutes to Special Feb 25th Meeting VPB-IDA-DEC

Town of Varick Planning Board/NYS DEC/ Seneca County IDA Meeting Minutes

Date of meeting: February 25, 2008
Meeting called to order: 7:05pm
Location: Heroes Conference room, Seneca County office building

Varick Planning Board: Bob Kayser (VPBchairman), Thomas Bjorkman , Phil Knapp, Bill Larzelere, Kevin Swartley
NYS DEC Region 8 office: Paul D’Amato, Peter Lent, Randy Nemecek, Lisa Porter
Seneca County IDA: Steven Dennis, Patricia Jones

o Guests at meeting: Four members of the public
A sign up sheet was passed around that identified the participants by name, who they represented and contact information. This included the members of the public.

VPB Chairman Bob Kayser called the meeting to order at 7:05pm thanking all for attending. He described the meeting as a “get acquainted and informational” meeting to discuss, history, common interests, concerns, and roles of parties in going forward in future development of the former Seneca Army Depot. Bob noted that no specific projects would be discussed in this meeting.

DEC’s Region 8 Director Paul D’Amato began discussion with an overview of Wetland Remapping in the State, Key points follow:
¨ Wetland mapping is a normal responsibility of his office and noted there are no hidden agendas in the remapping of former SAD.
¨ More priority placed on remapping States wetlands with added staff since Elliot Spitzer administration took over.
¨ Actual redrawing of maps has not begun, but aerial inspection and GIS maps have been used to identify possible increases to the SAD and surrounding areas wetlands. The process would continue with actual “boots on the ground” inspections of the identified areas when spring weather broke.
¨ Inspections and analysis could conclude that the wetlands may be controlled by the Federal government in which case the regulating body will be the Army Corps of Engineers.
¨ DEC criteria for a “wetland” is based on area of more than 12.4 acres, vegetation types and location of streams, ponds, lakes, whereas the Federal criteria can be less than 12.4 acres and based more on the presence and location of “hydric” soils.
¨ Lisa Porter of the DEC Region 8 office will be the DEC contact person for SAD Wetland remapping and permitting for any Depot development initiatives.

Discussion continued with questions to the DEC about the SEQR process and specifically regarding how the DEC sees themselves as the Lead Agency. Key Points follow:

¨ Lead Agency would normally be a permitting authority and be the best suited for the SEQR investigation.
¨ Part 617 section 5 of DEC Document 6NYCRR State Environmental Quality Review defines the process of determining which involved agency will be Lead Agency if there is a dispute among the involved agencies.
¨ The DEC Commissioner will resolve the dispute and use the following criteria as defined in the code sited above.
o “ (a) whether the anticipated impacts of the action being considered are primarily of statewide, regional, or local significance(i.e., if such impacts are of primarily local significance, all other considerations being equal, the local agency involved will be lead agency.”
o “(b) which agency has the broadest governmental powers for investigation of the impact(s) of the proposed action; and”
o “(c) which agency has the greatest capability for providing the most thorough environmental assessment of the proposed action.”
¨ Paul D’Amato stated that the SAD does exhibit unique issues and potentials for bad things to happen to the environment if not managed properly.

Chairman Kayser turned the discussion to the Seneca County IDA role in SAD development, asking IDA Executive Director Steven Dennis to comment.
Following are key points:

¨ The IDA took over responsibility of the SAD by default when no other local or government organizations would when the Army announced the base closure in 1995.
¨ The IDA is a voluntary Board in Seneca County that works hard to make the best choices for development of new businesses in all of Seneca County.
¨ In 1996, the IDA designated 7500 acres in the approximate middle of the Depot as the Conservation/Recreation area. It was thought and discussed that the DEC would take over responsibility of this area but declined to do it.
¨ In 2003 negotiations and agreements were made between the Army and IDA with the Army agreeing to:
o supply security for the Depot until 2012
o maintain the fence until 2012
o manage the wildlife according to the Army’s Wildlife management Plan until 2012
o manage the annual deer hunt until 2012.
¨ Because of delays in the environmental cleanup of the Depot, the above agreements are now pushed to 2015. (The Army still has control of about 800 acres that is under remediation.)
¨ Paul D’Amato (DEC)asked Steve if they could get a copy of the Army’s Wildlife Plan and Steve said yes and would be done.

Steve then handed off to Patricia Jones who has overseen the Depot turnover form an early point in the process. Patricia made the following points:

¨ She started with history of several studies that have been done over the years including the Jeff Donohue Report in 2005 and the Erin Crotty report in 2006. These reports were an attempt to define the best uses for the depot land and facilities and resulted in mapping several areas which would best support the defined uses.
¨ She noted that there was significant opportunity for public input in developing these studies.
¨ The areas were not to be individually fenced but would try to be developed with businesses “collocating” .
¨ Each business would have to agree to uphold and use the Wildlife Management Plan.
¨ The IDA has funds set aside and will contract to have a Wildlife Management Plan done. A proposed plan to be done by Cornell University was too expensive.
¨ The goal is to have the plan done in 2008. Pat asked DEC if they could help in any way and they said they definitely could and supplied the DEC contact.

Question from audience about who owned what property on the Depot.
Pat Jones replied:
¨ IDA ~8000acres , Army~800 acres(includes Airport), Airport will be turned over soon to IDA Prison, Coastguard, SC Prison, Waterdistict ~2000 acres. Hillside property is on a 10 year lease which will more than likely be transferred to Hillside when the lease expires.

Question was asked of Steve(IDA) of the process they follow when a company submits a business plan including the SEQR process. Steve Answered:

¨ The IDA is HIGHLY regulated in performing permitting and SEQR process. There is MUCH oversight from the State. The basic process usually is as follows:
o Application accepted and approved from a client. (This is a process)
o IDA will usually take Lead Agency Role for SEQR because historically, no one else wants it.
o Sends out notification of intent to take Lead Agency to “involved agencies”
o Agencies have 30 days to respond and ask if they can be(if they want to)
o These 30 days are also when Involved Agencies can voice comments or raise concerns about the proposed project.
o IDA will usually grant Lead Agency to a requesting Involved Agency

Steve Dennis asked DEC how the Wetland Remapping will be done and when it would start as this new requirement is holding up development plans for a number of projects.

Paul D’Amato replied that it will be handled internally from their office and will be done as quickly as possible. Spring weather is needed to start the “boots on the ground” process of investigation.

Paul offered to prioritize the mapping process based on which properties were most important to the IDA to have done. He reiterated that development cannot start until the mapping of the wetland for the proposed land is complete.

Steve Dennis asked if the IDA could have Wetland mapping done by a third party and submit to DEC for approval. D’Amato said yes and this would be helpful, but would like to know who would be doing the work.

A question was asked, of DEC, about how the Wetland remapping would affect farming in the area. A couple farms have been notified that they have land (some of which is being actively farmed) that will possibly be declared wetland. Perception is that this land could not be farmed or additional drainage installed and would reduce their income as well as property value.

Paul D’Amato(DEC) replied that the particular farm in question would be notified that they would be “grandfathered” and that if land is being actively farmed it would also be grandfathered. They would not necessarily allow additional “wetlands” to be drained to permit more land being put into farming. It is a question that they are sensitive to and will work with particular situations as they arise.

Bob Kayser then asked Thomas Bjorkman to discuss the Town of Varick’s role in Depot development and any concerns. Thomas has been the VPD Chairman for several years and has been the driving force in the 2005 joint Fayette/Varick Comprehensive Plan and the 2007 revision to the Varick Zoning code accepted by the Varick Town Board on December 27, 2007.
Bjorkman’s key points follow:

¨ The Comprehensive Plan and Zoning code revisions were difficult tasks and received much public input. Both the Plan and the Code reflect the public wishes.
¨ A residents Survey was done as part of the Comprehensive Plan and some of the public sentiments were as follows:
o 63% favored outdoor recreation and tourism, and tourism support business
o 40% supported Agriculture support business in the Town of Varick.
o 30% supported some form of Industrial development for tax base improvement
¨ The intent of the Green Energy zone on the Depot property is for :
o low environmental impact and protection of the wildlife and habitat
o development of renewable energy sources of solar, wind and biomass as well as development of new natural gas exploration.
o these energies would be in support of any development that would require power
¨ He then went to the Zoning Code land use chart and cited many of the public service uses that would be supported on the Depot property as well as campus style business developments, citing the new FingerLakes Technology Data Storage business as a great example of what Varick would like to see developed
¨ Thomas noted that the IDA and Varick code have very similar delineation of property and similar use goals

The meeting seemed to be winding down and Bob Kayser commented on the value of communication meetings such as this one and wanting to keep the lines open. He also thanked everyone including the public for participating.

Paul D’Amato thanked everyone again and asked to be personally informed when viable Depot projects are brought forth so they can plan to quickly get their mapping done.

Meeting was adjourned at 9:05pm

Minutes Respectfully Submitted,
Bill Larzelere VPB Secretary