June 19, 2013

Special PB meeting

Special PB Meeting  6/4/2013

Meeting opened at 5:05 pm. Members present: Linda M, Hershey S, Todd H, and Barry S.

Todd expressed the need of the Romulus and Varick Planning Boards to request extra help in regard to rezoning areas of the old Seneca Army Depot. We need more expertise in the zoning and planning of said area to make sure we have an unbiased source of aid in doing a proper job of any rezoning of the depot. However, we want to make sure that this remains under the jurisdiction of both Planning Boards and is not a plan that we are required to adopt. We will have the final authority in any plans to rezone areas of the depot. It will be our plan, not that of an outside agency.

The following resolution was proposed by Barry Somerville, seconded by Hershey Sensinig and approved: We request that the Varick Planning Board be authorized to pursue any necessary support from an outside consultant with expertise in zoning and planning to help develop a plan for rezoning the depot area. This proposal will allow Varick Planning Board and said consultant to work jointly with Romulus Planning Board in the same activity.

Two such consultants were set forward (Stuart & Brown and Peter  J. Smith) but others may be considered.

The PB would also like as much funding as possible through grants or other sources (federal, army, etc.) to offset costs for consulting fees.

Motion for adjournment made by Hershey at 5:45, seconded by Todd.

Sincerely submitted,
Barry Somerville, secretary

PB minutes 5/23/13

Draft Copy PB Minutes 5/23/13

Meeting called to order at 7:05 pm. All present except Linda M and Bill S. A motion to approve the 4/25/13 minutes was made by Hersey S, seconded by Tom B and approved.

Todd mentioned being contacted by Marianne (sp) Kawolski about any records we might have concerning NE Freight. She was concerned about their piece in a local paper concerning the type of business they are trying to attract in the area which seemed like advertising to her. However, we do not have any documentation that would be helpful to her.

Todd discussed a meeting he had with Steve Absalom that brought another perspective to the table concerning rezoning of the Depot. He feels that we may be making a decision that may be perceived as  biased toward NE Freight and the railroad. This led Todd to believe we might be wiser to rezone the whole depot area at one time and be sure we stay in the parameter of supporting conservation. The rest of our meeting was basically submitting ideas of what we need to do with this new approach to zoning the area.

Hershey suggested that we open up the depot to hunting through regular permits and let the DEC oversee the fenced areas of the depot. But it is unlikely that they have the funds or staff to undertake such an operation.

Mr. Absalom informed Todd that the entire depot was under a superfund with some areas that could be released from the fund. A section in the NW corner where ammo was exploded may never be released or available for any kind of zoning. Another area in the SE corner is under dispute. It was agreed that Steve’s knowledge of the depot area would be a big help to us in trying to rezone it. We are going to invite him to a PB meeting in the near future.

A map produced by Seneca White Deer showed how the depot might be used for totally conservation uses. Some suggested activity areas included a hotel and conference center, camping facilities, horse trail, etc. If money was no object, something like this might be feasible. Some of the projected ideas could fit into a comprehensive plan of management.

Mr. Abraham also mentioned professional reports have been devised that offer a business master plan for the depot. Todd is going to email these to PB members.

In order to help us revise our strategy we are going to contact Bruce Habberfield again and try to take a rail ride around the depot. We also will contact Dennis Money with Seneca White Deer to talk more about their ideas.

Larry Colton stopped in to ask information about dock zoning on the lake. We confirmed that Varick has zoning jurisdiction over the lake as well as the land. Larry said that some dock contractors were not aware of that. He does have authority to issue stop work orders if an unpermitted dock is being built.

A motion to adjourn was made by Tom and seconded by Dave. Meeting adjourned at 8:35. Our next meeting will be June 27

Respectfully submitted,
Barry Somerville, secretary

Draft Copy Minutes 4/25/13

Draft Copy PB Minutes 4-25-13

Meeting called to order at 7:04 pm – all members present except Bill Squires.

A motion was made by Tom B to accept minutes from 3-28-13 meeting, seconded by Linda M and approved.

Visitor – Bob Kayser from Seneca Lake Pure Waters. Mr. Kayser addressed concerns from his group concerning rezoning of Varick army depot area. They are concerned about the conversion of conservation land to other uses and being sure that the code reflects the interests of Varick’s rural status. The idea of converting already designated green space was an issue. He also wanted reassurances that no trash be allowed in the area being considered for NE Freight. He also was concerned about the effects upon the white deer population. The board assured him that we had already made considerations in all these areas and we have the town’s interest in mind. He stayed for about an hour and listened to discussion and seemed pleased with the way the issue was being handled.

Guest Speaker – Bob Aronson was also present to answer questions concerning zoning of the former depot area. He met with the Romulus zoning committee and helped them formulate a map of possible considerations for zoning similar to the one drawn up for Varick. The PB asked about any areas that may not be released for use by the EPA. There are a couple of spots that this might be the case. One area is under dispute as to whether old ammunition was burned there or not. Two other areas, one on each side of the depot (east-west) do not appear to be cleared either.

There was lengthy discussion concerning fencing off the Romulus area for white deer population. Also about maintenance of the herd – culling, feeding, protecting etc. How costly would this project be and who would manage it? Repair and maintenance of the fence is another issue to be considered.

It was brought to our attention that some funds may be available to repair and pave old County Rd 135. This would be of great benefit to the town and county as a short cut between Rts 96 and 96a.

Bob was also asked his opinion on the possibility of the depot land reverting to town ownership and what the process would be. He was in favor of the suggestion and thought the IDA would be favorable as well. It is uncertain what the process would be.

After Bob left we continued laying out our plan for rezoning a small area where NE Freight operates. We considered a possible name for this zone as a transportation and logistics area. It was suggested that we ask the company and the railroad how much area they need or would require for their operations. We will also ask if they know of any places that have a similar operation that would help us understand the logistics of their needs.

Before our next meeting Todd will contact NE Freight and Finger Lakes Rail with the above questions. We will also try to visit the area to be rezoned as well.

Meeting was adjourned at 9:03 pm. Motion made by Hershey S, seconded by Tom B. Our next meeting will be on May 23. A joint committee meeting with Romulus will be on May 30.

Respectfully submitted,
Barry Somerville, secretary