TOWN OF NORTH HARMONY
ZONING BOARD OF APPEALS
WEDNESDAY, 10/22/2014, 7:30 PM
ZONING MEMBERS PRESENT:
Jim Levesque, Greg Michalak, Dan Thomas, Dick Barton, Helen Emick, Roger Vaillancourt, Louise Ortman, Dave Stapleton, Attorney, Brad Lawson, Zoning CEO
John Jablonski, CWC, Richard Rose, William R. Locke
Mr. Levesque opened the hearing at 7:35 PM. Mr. Stapleton swore in all who expressed intent to speak regarding the case to be heard.
1. CHAUTAUQUA WATERSHED CONSERVANCY (CWC) requesting a Special Permit to construct an 8’x16’ observation platform with a 4’x30’ ramp and install an Osprey pole at the Loomis Bay – Goose Creek Preserve located on Rt. 394, specifically Section 367.00-2-15.
Mr. Levesque asked the applicant what they wished to do. Mr. Rose said the CWC owns some wetland acreage at Loomis Bay that goes to the lake. He said there is an existing parking lot and driveway there. He said they also have Federal funding to install ponds at the reclaimed wetland. He said they would like to install an observation platform (8’ wide x 16’ long) so that persons visiting will have a better view shed of the wetlands. He said they want to make it handicap accessible so the ramp would be 30’ long to the platform which will be 30” above the parking lot. He said the landing will be pre-cast concrete. He said the platform will have an overhang style roof for shelter but it will be open on all 4 sides for view purposes. Mr. Rose said the proposed osprey pole will be located near the easement line as far away from the road as possible. Mr. Jablonski said the pole will be similar to a telephone pole with a small platform for nesting on the top and will be approximately 30-35’ tall. Mrs. Emick asked if there are any height restrictions in that area. Mr. Lawson said it is an R-1 District and utility poles used there would be about that height or taller. Mr. Thomas asked if there are any trails there. Mr. Jablonski said they had just been issued a permit by the DEC and Corp of Engineers to install trails. He said that Cummins Engine has expressed interest is volunteering to help with this project. Mr. Rose indicated that there is one small change to the plans presented. He said the platform is shown parallel with the parking lot. He said they would like to change it so the platform is canted slightly for optimal viewing purposes. Mr. Thomas asked about the size of the parking lot as it relates to school groups, etc. coming in on busses. He said the parking lot is not large enough. Mr. Jablonski said there are no plans to increase the size of the parking lot. Mr. Thomas said having busses parked on the side of Rt. 394 could be very dangerous. There was discussion of the DEC easement which was used to install the ponds on the wetland. Mr. Michalak asked if there would be any electric or lighting at the site. Mr. Rose said no and Mr. Jablonski said no one should be in the preserve after dusk.
Mr. Stapleton said after review of the new zoning law he and Mr. Lawson felt the application should be dealt with as a Special Use Permit under Sec. 905 since platform for conservation is not listed as a use in the R-1 district. He suggested this be treated as a commercial use sub-category in a conservation area. He also referenced Sec. 601 as it relates to the types of issues or areas of concern under a Special Use Permit the board might want to consider.
Mr. Thomas expressed concern about the smallness of the parking lot and overflow or busses parking on Rt. 394. Mr. Jablonski said the parking lot is gravel and in the past when they knew they would have larger groups at the preserve they had made arrangements with Ashville Bay Marina to park there. Mrs. Ortman expressed concern about the proximity to the road. Mrs. Emick asked about waste/trash removal at the site. Mr. Jablonski said they have Preserve Stewards designated to oversee and maintain the property. He said they probably will not install trash receptacles; it will be a take in take out type of situation. Mrs. Emick asked if there would be any additional signage. Mr. Jablonski said they would like to install an informational style kiosk at some point in the future similar to the one at the Rain Garden in Ashville. Mr. Levesque asked if anyone wished to speak regarding the application.
Mr. Levesque motioned to grant a Special Use Permit to CHAUTAUQUA WATERSHED CONSERVANCY (CWC) to construct an 8’x16’ observation platform with a 4’x30’ ramp and install an Osprey pole at the Loomis Bay – Goose Creek Preserve located on Rt. 394, specifically Section 367.00-2-15 as outlined in the application and these minutes with the following condition:
Mr. Lawson will check on the project in one year and continuing approval will be based on his findings at that time.
Mrs. Ortman seconded and the motion was carried unanimously.
The hearing was adjourned at 8:05 PM.