June 26, 2008

Note on June 26 meeting

The public meeting on rescinding the Zoning Code revisions was well attended and lots of public comment was received.

Afterwards, the Town Board did not vote to rescind the revisions. Instead, they voted to have the Planning Board revisit several issues that need revising and come back with proposed revisions in 60 days. In the meantime, there will be a workshop between the two boards, and then a public meeting in a couple months.

The current code stays in effect in the meantime.

Comments will be accepted by letter or email to the town clerk, supervisor and planning board. Click links to get addresses.

June 23, 2008

Björkman comment on June 26 meeting

This commentary was published Tuesday 6/24 in the Finger Lakes Times

The Varick Town Board is about to consider an ill-advised return an old and obsolete zoning code, throwing out recent well-researched revisions that are essential for protecting the interests of Varick’s residents.

The new code is truly the plan of the people of Varick. Hundreds of people had direct input to the planning board through our comprehensive planning, and during the two years that the Planning Board turned the vision into specific policies. Those policies are in the new code that was adopted last December. The full text is on Varick’s website www.VarickNY.com.

Varick will continue to change; residents get a say in how that change happens through local zoning. The new 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 new code achieves 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, Finger Lakes Technology and Hillside Children’s Center, 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 new code provides basic protections for residents and property owners in Varick that were missing in the previous code.

Of interest to many residents is that the code addresses our vision for future development on the former Seneca Army Depot. The old code left the town with no say in Depot development. In New York, the Town has responsibility for determining land use. The new code fulfills that responsibility by establishing guidance for Depot land that reflects what Varick resident value: Conservation, recreation and green energy. It also gives town officials needed support to 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.

Town residents need to make it clear to board members that the protections instituted last December are important. The spirit of lawlessness that is motivating the rescission drive rejects their accountability to the residents of the town, and a failure to take responsibility for our future. Rescinding the conservative revisions of the zoning code leaves the town vulnerable and without an adequate voice in its own future. Oral and written input will be accepted at the Varick Fire Hall on Thursday June 26 at 6 pm.

June 03, 2008

Approved Minutes to May 22nd meeting

Town of Varick Planning Board Meeting Minutes

Date of meeting: May 22nd , 2008

Meeting called to order: 7:05pm

¨ Attendees: Bob Kayser(Chairman ), Thomas Bjorkman, Phil Knapp, Frankie Long, Bill Larzelere, Susan Ottenweller, Kevin Swartley , Miles Persing(Code Enforcement Officer)
A quorum was present.

¨ Public Comment: 10 members of the public
Bob McCann from 5168 E. Lake Rd. thanked the Board for putting together a thorough and comprehensive Dog ordinance and presenting it to the Town Board.
Others thanked Thomas Bjorkman for representing the issue to the board in a professional manner.
Others raised the concern if this dog ordinance was the time to address “puppy mills” noting Town of Romulus moratorium on them.
Rick Conley- Complained that he was issued a “stop work order” for putting in his dock and renovating a deck on his lakefront property. Wanted to know why? Felt as though it should be “grandfathered”

¨ April. 24 Meeting minutes approved- With change to spelling of member of public(Denise) Townley, April. 24 minutes approved- TB moved- PK seconded- Voted Unanimous to accept

¨ Planning Board Chair Report

Bob Kayser :
Had been in contact with the DEC about Seawall construction in the Lake zones and was informed that they wanted to know about any seawall construction or renovation and that a permit was required for this work.
DEC was supportive of our code for 720sq ft. maximum size for lake zone docks.
DEC described a method for easy determination of “Mean High Water Mark” to make it easier for Code Enforcement Officer to measure dock square footage.

¨ Zoning Code Enforcement Officer Report

Miles Persing.
Noted that he and Bob Kayser had visited Rick Conley’s disputed dock and deck renovation site and determined that the dock was significantly over the 720 sg ft. size (900 sq. ft total)
Owner- Felt as though it should be “grandfathered”
After discussion on that day, Rick agreed to get the required $25 permit.
During planning board meeting, when pressed by Conley as to why one was needed, Chairman Kayser said the code was clear and that he had taken Rick’s word that he would get the required permit. When he did not, the “stop work order” was issued by Code Enforcement officer.
Rick Conleys objections will go to the Zoning Board of Appeals.

Todd Engles, from the public, wanted clarification on what was meant by the codes requirement for a foundation to frostline for a mobile home. Was informed of method of pouring monolithic cement pad with supporting stone to frostline.

Bert Ingersoll of Rt. 89 had a permit denied for a deck on his house and a vertical extension of his roofline. The issue is scheduled for the Zoning Board of Appeals.

A representative for the Pleasant Valley Mobile Home Park (?name) asked the Board about replacing a 50 foot unit with a 56 foot mobile home as 50 footers are not available . The 56 unit would not meet rear setback requirements. Discussion followed about “grandfathering” and determined that this would not be acceptable. K. Swartley and T. Bjorkman suggested moving unit closer to the internal roadway to maintain required side and rear setbacks. Representative was not satisfied with this and the board suggested that since more units would need to be replaced in the future that he consider coming up with a new layout plan for the park allowing for the larger units. It also needs to be determined if the Mobile Home park is in the Hamlet Zone. The representative agreed to do a new layout and determine if park is in Hamlet Zone.

¨ Dog Control Ordinance Discussion

Chairman Kayser had revised the draft Animal Control Ordinance in response to a request by the Town Board to make it only for dogs and eliminate references to farm animals and cats.

Veterinarian Dr. Art Sherman – attending as a member of public with expertise in Dog Control issues passed out information to Board that was from Article 7 and Article 26 of NYS Ag and Markets Law dealing with control and definitions of animals. Article 26 deals with responsibilities of a “Dog Control Officer” and Shelter Construction” This law is the basis of what is used for animal control in the state.
It was noted by Chairman Kayser that our code was based on this language as well as other Town’s laws and was intended to condense , identify, and clarify issues for Dog control in our Town. Town law can be more strict and specific than Ag and Market law.

Dr. Sherman noted that even though we were talking about dogs, it is required by the State that cats be vaccinated for rabies.

This large portion of the meeting -was devoted to a line by line review of the revised ordinance and its acceptance to be referred to Town of Varick Town Board for discussion, changes, and possible formal acceptance as Town Law.
The main revisions were :
¨ removal of any reference to “animals”, “farm animals” or “pets” and change to “dogs”.
¨ John Vincent will be identified as (Dog Contol Officer) not animal.
¨ Dangerous Dog definition description of “public property” and “rights of way” to verify when a dog “crosses the line” to threaten someone or another dog.
¨ Wild Animal Definition to include coyote, wolves and coy dogs.
¨ Town Board wanted any dog cruelty to be reported to SPCA
¨ Removed any regulation of “farm animals”.
¨ Dr. Sherman questioned construction of dog shelters and noted that this was described in Article 26 353-B of Ag and markets law.
Discussion about Dog Control Officers rights when accessing private property to investigate a complaint or to check dog licenses. If access is denied by the property owner, then DCO retreats and gets a Search Warrant from a Town Judge.
¨ Section 8-B dealing with euthanizing of dangerous dogs that this would be done as a last resort and not a first .
¨ Public comment- that taxpayers should not be financially responsible for fees accumulated during confinement of a dog deemed as dangerous.

¨ It was the consensus of the Planning Board that the comprehensive law be forwarded to the Town Board instead of trying to reduce it and make it simpler. It was noted that this hopefully will minimize the misinterpretation of the laws’s intention in as many cases as possible.

Thomas Bjorkman made a motion that the revised Dog Contol Law be forwarded to the Varick Town Board for their consideration. Phil Knapp seconded the motion. The vote of the Varick Planning Board was to accept the motion unanimously.

New Business Discussion

Phil Knapp Asked that his assignment of a Noise Ordinance be postponed till the next meeting. All agreed.

Chairman Kayser - described a proposed subdivision of a Rt. 89 property know as “Schwietzer-Trombino-Keegan” With Schweitzer selling his property to Keegan and Trombino who would split it between them and create green space between them.
Subdivision was approved unanimously.

Bill Larzelere described a Subdivision, using a survey map drawn by Charles Carroll. The subdivision was requested by Barbara Hammond on Rt 89 which would have a housing lot conferred to a daughter(present at meeting) on the west side of Rt 89 and a 55 foot lot on the east(lake) side for lake access. It was noted that the 55 foot of frontage was too small (100 feet required by code) Reason for 100 foot was to discourage postage stamp sized lots being built on.
Discussion followed with Daughter making the point that there were many small lots less than 100 feet, and they required access to the lake to make the development worthwhile.
Thomas Bjorkman commented that the small lots were all done before 1977 when the Subdivision code was established. He suggested that the 55 foot lot be taken out of the Subdivision request and the lake access negotiated separately with her Mother. This was acceptable and Bill Larzelere will advertize a public hearing for the June 26th Planning Board meeting to formally approve this.

Zoning Code Definitions-
Chairman Kayser- passed out several definitions clarifying language used in the Zoning Code.

Definition of Dock- For the purposes of this code, a DOCK is any structure whether permanent or temporary that extends from the land into the water to provide additional lake access to boats, swimming or any other purpose.

Beginning of Dock- For purposes of measuring square foot area of a dock – any dock constructed shall be determined to begin at the Mean High Water mark as defined by the NYS Department of Environmental Services.

Compliance with County Code with respect to Structures- In keeping with the requirements of Seneca County, all structures whose size is equal to or greater than 144 square feet, whether attached to a home or in the Lake District or elsewhere in the Town shall be subject to a Building Permit.

Seawalls- Provided that appropriate permission has been received from the NYS DEC and Army Corps of Engineers if needed, seawalls shall be permitted in the Town of Varick. Any repair or replacement of seawalls is subject to a building permit and requires approval of the NYS DEC.

After discussion these definition revisions were unanimously approved for use in the Town of Varick Zoning Code.

Next Meeting: (one month) All meetings will be monthly until further notice.

Our next regular meeting will be June 26th at 7:00pm in the Varick Firehall.

Meeting adjourned at 10:30 pm.

Minutes respectfully submitted,
Bill Larzelere- Secretary