TOWN OF NORTH HARMONY
TOWN BOARD MEETING
SEQR AND PUBLIC HEARING LOCAL LAW #1-2015
CREATION OF COMMERCIAL/RESIDENTIAL (C-1A) OVERLAY DISTRICT
MONDAY, MARCH 30, 2015, 7:00 PM
SALLY P. CARLSON, SUPERVISOR PRESENT
RALPH WHITNEY, COUNCILMAN PRESENT
FRANK STOW, COUNCILMAN PRESENT
RICHARD SENA, COUNCILMAN ABSENT
DUNCAN MCNEILL, COUNCILMAN PRESENT
OTHERS PRESENT: Dave Stapleton, Attorney; Brad Lawson, Zoning C.E.O.; Pat Rice, Louis Rieg, Dick Johnson, John Warner, Planning Board Members; Noah Schmucker, Adam Schmucker, Matthew Wroda, Clayton & Helen Emick, Cecil Henkle, Walter Frazer, Thomas Reisenweber, Buck Seekings, Rodney & Heather Anderson, Louise Ortman, Zoning Board of Appeals; Nancy Thomas, Town Clerk
Mrs. Carlson brought the hearing to order at 7:00 PM. She said this is a hearing on a proposed Local Law to Create the Commercial/Residential (C-1A) Overlay District and amend the current zoning map. She said the first step in the process is to establish Lead Agency Status on the SEQR.
- MOTION # 39 OF 2015
- WHITNEY MOTIONED THAT THE TOWN BOARD ACCEPT LEAD AGENCY STATUS ON THE SEQR FOR PROPOSED LOCAL LAW #1 OF 2015, TO CREATE THE COMMERCIAL /RESIDENTIAL (C-1A) OVERLAY DISTRICT AND AMEND THE CURRENT ZONING MAP. MR. MCNEILL SECONDED. YES (4): WHITNEY, STOW, MCNEILL, CARLSON. NO (0). THE MOTION WAS CARRIED.
Mrs. Carlson asked Pat Rice, Chairman of the Planning Board to introduce the members of the Planning Board present and to give an overview of the procedure they used to examine the process of this local law creating the overlay district.
Mr. Rice said that the application had been forwarded to the Planning Board by the Zoning Board of Appeals several months ago and there had been an extensive study of the plan which initially had included a larger tract of land (inclusion of AFD baseball field). He said that had been narrowed down to 4 parcels for the proposed C-1A District. He said the goal of the Planning Board was to make sure that the general residential character of the neighborhood be undisrupted. He said they had come up with the following list of uses that would be appropriate and allowed by Special Use Permit: Corner Grocery Store; Farmer’s Market; Antique Shop; Auction House; Artisan Shop and Arts and Crafts. He said they had also discussed using the Site Plan Review process to determine buffering; hours of operation; lighting; signage; parking, etc. to minimize character change in the area and these would be set in a case by case fashion for the uses as listed previously.
Mrs. Carlson asked Mr. Rice if he recalled a discussion of using the building as a residential facility; the requirement of additional septic systems; and why it would be difficult to do that.
Mr. Rice said it had been discussed but was determined that that type of use would be very hard to facilitate because of the fill used under the foundation of the building and in the parking lot.
Mr. Johnson said they had been trying to find a way to salvage the use of an existing building that would be compatible with the area and not disruptive to the neighborhood.
Tom Reisenweber said that he has lived for 35 years at 4819 Steward Ave. on the NW corner of Linden Ave. and they had not been advised of this action until Sunday before the meeting on Monday. He said he is against the project as it is a quiet neighborhood and he wants it to stay that way. He said it is tar and chip road that cannot handle semi tractor trailers. He said there are also culverts (across Steward and Cedar) over the creek that cannot take that weight.
Mrs. Carlson said notice of the meeting had been given to Peter Stark at his request as a courtesy and he indicated that he wanted to pass them out to the local residents.
Mrs. Thomas said the legal notice of hearing was in the paper two weeks ago and notice was on the website with a copy of the law also.
Mr. Stapleton suggested that copies of the law and maps be distributed so that we can locate Mr. Reisenweber’s home.
Mrs. Carlson said the highway superintendent would be aware of what the roads can handle weight wise.
Buck Seekings residing at 2111 Linden Ave. and having property on Cedar Ave. (located on NW corner of Linden and Cedar) said the superintendent usually uses the one ton truck to plow instead of larger trucks. It was generally discussed that the roads are narrow and there is little traffic.
Mr. Whitney read into the record the response to the Municipal Referral sent to County Planning Department which indicated that “the proposed action should have no significant county-wide or inter-community impact and that the project would be a matter of local concern.”
Rodney and Heather Anderson stated that their home is 2108 S. Maple and located on the corner of Cedar and S. Maple.
Heather Anderson said when there is an auction at Wroda’s, the traffic is ridiculous and she can only imagine what it will be like with a grocery store. She said they do not want the neighborhood disturbed.
Mrs. Carlson said the reality is that the building has to be able to be used for something. She said if there is no residential use for the building there has to be an alternative use or a long range plan for it.
Mr. Seekings expressed concern that if a precedent is set, could residents set up commercial operations in their garage, etc.
Mrs. Carlson said the building permit was initially granted to the AFD to build a training center and that should never have happened, but it did, and the building exists, and we are trying to find a balance or use for this existing building.
Mrs. Thomas said the proposed C-1A District will consist of approximately 9.25 acres that is owned by two persons.
Mr. Stapleton said the Planning Board had done a comprehensive zoning review of an area that is not just the Wroda property, but other properties as well.
SHORT ENVIRONMENTAL ASSESSMENT FORM – PART I – PROJECT INFORMATION
Mr. Stapleton reviewed in its entirety Part I of the SEQR form:
Part I – Project and Sponsor Information : Addition / Correction
- Project Location: Addition of parcel ID numbers to be included in the C-1A District: 384.11-1-18;
384.11-1-19; 384.11-1-20; 384.11-1-21
- 3.a. Addition of 9.25 acres
There was a brief discussion of the NYS wetlands and Mr. Lawson said they are not so much in the proposed new zoning district but are very large in the adjacent Town of Busti. After further review it was determined that there is a small area of wetland on the northeast corner of the affected property. Mr. Stapleton said we are not discussing a building project but a zoning change.
- 8.a. Residents present feel that there will be an increase in traffic. Mr. Anderson said the traffic would have to increase because the auction house is only used once a week or once a month and the grocery store will be open 6 days a week.
- 8.c. The old trolley line was noted as being used for biking, but is not an established or marked trail
Short Environmental Assessment Form – Part 2 – Impact Assessment
The Town Board reviewed and responded to Part 2 of the SEQR questions 1. – 11. All questions were answered “no or small impact”.
- 1. There was lengthy discussion of the impact of traffic and road use. It was noted that the roads are town roads and the option to post the roads can be exercised.
Mrs. Emick said it appears that due diligence has not been done when it comes to the roads and what they can or can’t handle and what the impact will be for the town and taxpayers if the project is approved.
Mrs. Carlson said we are dealing with a zoning change not a specific project. She said those would be questions for the Planning and Zoning Boards.
Mrs. Emick said if this is approved for a corner grocery there has to be access to it and increased traffic will be an impact with this change.
Mr. McNeill stated that there would be impact, but in his opinion small or none makes more sense.
Mr. Stapleton said when a specific project is proposed it can be required that the applicant provides an engineered traffic study and they bear the cost of that.
Mr. Lawson explained what the process for a traffic study entails.
Mr. Anderson clarified for the public present that the property in question is both residential and commercial in nature. He said if someone wished to build houses on it, that could be done, but also if someone wanted to build a grocery store that could also be done with the proper approvals.
Mr. Wroda said the building is 7,260 sq. ft. The maximum building size allowable will be 7,500 sq. ft.
Mr. Stapleton said the commercial uses as outlined previously in the minutes are permitted by Special Use Permit and would have to go through an application process with the Zoning C.E.O.; a review and recommendation process with the Planning Board; and a hearing of the Zoning Board of Appeals before any approval.
Short Environmental Assessment Form – Part 3 – Determination of Significance
- MOTION # 40 OF 2015
- WHITNEY MOTIONED FOR A NEGATIVE DECLARATION OF ENVIRONMENTAL IMPACT ON THE SEQR FOR PROPOSED LOCAL LAW #1-2015, CREATION OF COMMERCIAL/RESIDENTIAL (C-1A) OVERLAY DISTRICT, AND AMEND CURRENT ZONING MAP. MR. MCNEILL SECONDED. YES (4): MCNEILL, WHITNEY, CARLSON, STOW. NO (0). THE MOTION WAS CARRIED.
REVIEW OF LOCAL LAW TO CREATE THE COMMERCIAL/RESIDENTIAL (C-1A) DISTRICT AND AMEND CURRENT ZONING MAP
Mr. Stapleton reviewed the entire proposed Local Law for those present. Additions/
Corrections are as follows:
Mr. Stapleton noted that the first draft of the local law had included the ball field owned by the Ashville Fire Dept. in the proposed C-1A district. He said at a previous meeting of the Planning Board some members of the public had requested that area be removed from the district and that had been done. He said also there had been a change to the first draft definition of Corner Grocery Store under Sec. 3.B. to delete a portion of the last sentence “and shall not be open for more than 15 hours per day between 7:00 a.m. and 10:00 p.m.”
Mr. Rice indicated that the hours of operation would be addressed in the Site Plan Review phase of the application. He said they would also discuss ways to regulate and mitigate disruptions by controlling lighting, noise, ingress and egress, truck traffic, signage, and requiring buffering plantings, etc.
There was discussion of maximum lot coverage and building size.
- Section 5. F. Addition to Area Standards “Maximum Building Size (sq. ft. of building) 7,500”
Mr. Stapleton asked if anyone wished to comment.
Mr. Warner said the Planning Board had tried to figure the best possible approach to benefit the residents. He said the building should not have been built there in the first place and when it was sold a special permit had been issued to Mr. Wroda for the Auction House. He said now it is in the process of changing hands again and you cannot keep issuing Special Permits again and again. He said the right thing to do is create this allowance district. He said the list of uses was especially geared toward keeping the area quiet and residential in nature.
Mr. Johnson said the board had also kept in mind that if the owner was unable to sell the building for some use it might become abandoned and derelict and that would certainly not serve the neighborhoods best interest.
Mrs. Emick asked if the board felt they were setting some type of precedent for this type of action. She also asked who the owners of the proposed C-1A district property are.
Mrs. Thomas said Mr. Wroda and Mr. Joslyn own the properties. She said both owners had been given written notice of the action proposed in January, 2015.
Mr. Stapleton said that nothing like this has occurred in over 30 years and commercial opportunities in the town have been minimal at best.
Mrs. Emick asked about spot zoning.
Mr. Stapleton said that had been discussed previously and repeated that there had been a comprehensive review process looking at an entire area.
There was discussion of locating a number of small businesses in the Auction building and Mr. Lawson said it was possible, but not probable because of the building codes.
Mr. Stapleton said although this is not a public hearing for the Special Use Permit of Mr. Schmucker who wishes to operate a salvage grocery store with no refrigeration at the location, perhaps it could be discussed with the public.
Mrs. Carlson said Mr. Schmucker is here and if residents present have questions, perhaps he could help answer them. She said some of the issues include traffic and number of cars in the parking lot and the types of transport trucks for the goods.
Mr. Reisenweber asked who would be responsible for cleaning up any horse manure and preventing it from contaminating any drainage.
Mr. Schmucker said he would not clean up the public roads, but would maintain and clean a hitching rail area. He said he does not want to cause any problems and he wants to be a part of the community and bring something into the community that is not here. He said salvage groceries allow people to save about 40% on their grocery purchases. He said the goods come from all over the U.S. He said a store may have a case with one can smashed which makes it a “salvage” case. Mr. Schmucker said he had looked for a store location for more than a year and he feels this is an area he wants to be in.
Mr. Stapleton said the reality is that Mr. Schmucker’s application could be pulled the day after this local law is passed and someone else could be looking at a use for the building. He said that is why it has all been looked at in a comprehensive manner.
Mr. Reisenweber said he would rather it be done the same way that the AFD Training Center was done and not create a C-1A District.
Mr. Schmucker said if business is good they will receive 2 semi truck loads of goods once a month. He said it usually takes about 1-1 ½ hours to unload the truck and it is gone. He said the amount of customer traffic will depend on sales and how much people like the store. He said he has 2 stores in Ohio: one is about 5,200 sq. ft. and the other is about 3,200 sq. ft. He said only about 5,200 sq. ft. of the building in Ashville will be used for the store as the other space has been divided already for office space.
Mr. Rieg asked if goods could be brought in with box trucks as opposed to semi’s.
Mr. Schmucker said that is not possible because the trucks come from distribution centers all over the U.S. He gave a brief description of the business and the types of items that might be found on the store shelves. He said the trucks are unloaded using a pallet jack. He said they use a dumpster for refuse and recycle all the cardboard.
Mr. Stapleton asked what time the trucks come to make deliveries.
Mr. Schmucker said during hours of operation, usually between 8-9:00 a.m. He said deliveries are not made during the night or very early morning.
Mrs. Anderson asked if this was a cash only business, or would food stamps be allowed. She expressed concern that people we might not necessarily want in our community might be coming from outside the area.
Mr. Schmucker said they take the same types of payments as other stores: cash, credit card; food stamps if they are on a card, etc.
- MOTION # 41 OF 2015
- STOW MOTIONED TO ADOPT LOCAL LAW NO. 1-2015, CREATION OF COMMERCIAL/RESIDENTIAL (C-1A) OVERLAY DISTRICT, AND AMENDMENT OF THE CURRENT ZONING MAP. MR. MCNEILL SECONDED. YES (4): MCNEILL, WHITNEY, CARLSON, STOW. NO (0). THE MOTION WAS CARRIED.
- MOTION # 42 OF 2015
ON A MOTION MADE BY MR. STOW AND SECONDED BY MR. WHITNEY AND NONE BEING OPPOSED THE HEARING WAS ADJOURNED AT 8:45 PM.