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Lewiston considering zoning changes

by jmaloni
Fri, Apr 13th 2012 05:00 pm

by Terry Duffy

Lewiston Town Board members and interested residents heard more on planning for the town's future at an informative session on zoning, Monday at Town Hall.

Representatives from the Wendel Companies visited and detailed a number of changes eyed for the town's zoning code to the board. The Wendel presentation was its second before the town in recent months; an earlier one this year focused on proposed zoning changes for the hamlet of Sanborn.

"All changes are proposed, they have yet to take effect," said Wendel rep Andrew C. Reilly, PE, AICP, who with Ellen L. Parker AICP, apprised Supervisor Steve Reiter and board members on the changes in store to the town's current zoning map, which was last updated in October 2010 from previous town efforts. Notable changes under consideration include:

•Setback modifications affecting the town's R-1 districts. The new plan would group all R-1 districts in the town, currently numbering seven and many having varying setback criteria, into two single districts - either R-1, one family residential, or R-2, two family residential. Front yard depths would become uniform and "any new development would match the existing front yard depths in the surrounding area."

Under the proposed zoning map, a number of areas in the town now under a R-1E designation (one family residential, with 30-foot setbacks and 10-foot sides), mostly undeveloped, would become a new designation - Rural Residential.

•Creation of another new district - Rural Residential Transition - reflecting changes from a "very rural" Residential Rural District to the more suburban R-1 Districts in the town. Areas affected under the plan, if enacted, would be those north and south of Saunders Settlement Road, roughly from Heritage Road on the west to North Kline Road on the east.

•Creation of two additional commercial zoning districts from the town's current single business district plan, to those which "support different types of commercial development: the business district for general business," and two districts - Rural Business and Traditional Neighborhood Development - both "designed to support more controlled commercial development."

In the proposed business district, for example, "modernized" zoning language would be included, and additional commercial uses allowed, some with special use permits. Areas in the town under consideration according to the proposed zoning map include an expanded tract in the area of Ridge and Model City roads; a tract on the northwest corner of Saunders Settlement and Townline roads; on the west side of Townline Road south of Carney Drive; areas south of Saunders Settlement Road at the Buffalo Street intersection in Sanborn; and on the west side of Ward Road and Niagara Street in Sanborn.

In the proposed RB district, low-intensity commercial development would be compatible with the rural area. "Strong design guidelines would be employed," according to the Wendel proposal. Areas under consideration include land tracts at Ridge and Ransomville roads, and at Ridge and Simmons roads.

The proposed TND district would promote mixed-use, hamlet-style development, described as small businesses, mixed uses, second floor offices or apartments. "This district includes strong design guidelines," according to the Wendel plan. Areas under consideration include primarily both sides of the Buffalo Street area in Sanborn south to Niagara Street; corner areas of Griffin Street on the south side of Saunders Settlement Road; and west side tracts on Townline Road at the Upper Mountain Road intersection.

"We received a great amount of input" from residents, said Reilly of Wendel's earlier workshop in Sanborn on the TND district proposal for the hamlet. He told the board that as a result industrial classifications were removed; drive-through provisions affecting residents were removed in neighborhoods; and criteria added to special use permits. Reilly noted, for example, it provides for greater clarity on specific uses of bars versus restaurants that may be eyed for the area.

•Creation of Planned Unit Development districts, where zoning would create a district tailored for the specific use of a business or residential area. Areas designated in the map thus far include Niagara University, Mount St. Mary's Hospital and Health Care Center, and selected apartment complexes in the town.

•Creation of a zoning district for the New York Power Authority property and for public owned lands (i.e. parks such as Reservoir, Joseph Davis and Bond Lake).

•One other notable change discussed involves designation of a Light Industrial district which removes residential as an allowed use. Areas discussed include portions of Model City Road, both sides, from roughly Washuta Park north to Swann Road; the west side of Harold Road; and portions of Pletcher Road (both sides) from Harold Road heading 1-1/2 miles west.

Reilly closed his presentation by announcing he would furnish the maps on disk to the town to enable viewing on the town's website by residents. Further presentations and formal public hearings on the plan would come prior to any approval by the town and enactment.

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