Rezone calls for patio home development to go from M-1 to PUD
By David Yarger
On Monday night at the Wheatfield Town Hall, the Town Board held its regular board meeting, but prior to that, it held a public hearing to discuss rezoning of a development around Forest Parkway, on the east side of Shawnee Road. The board wasn't able to take any action because it has to go through a State Environment Quality Review. The hearing was more so town residents could hear from the developer about the plans and give feedback, concerns or suggestions.
Representing LI2 Holdings was CEO Ken Franasiak. Franasiak spoke about the details of the area and the goal of expanding from a M-1 zoning to a Planned Unit Development. He said the expansion would add 48 patio homes to an area where he called the section's "senior housing" area and the goal is to continuously take the area and expand the zone.
The Town Board posed questions to Franasiak about target audience for buyers, lot sizes, water issues, traffic and road size. Franasiak said, "The average, I think, is between 1,400 to 1,800 square feet. They're usually empty nesters; there's a man and a wife and they're either retired or semi-retired or one is still fully working."
Councilman Larry Helwig asked if the homes would have designated lot sizes, because some development homes would have additional land, but it would not be owned by the homeowner, causing problems when it comes to putting up a pool or a fence.
Franasiak replied, "There's a HOA over here, Homeowners Association, it would be the same as a continuation throughout here," in which Helwig replied, "So, they (homeowners) only own that little stamp of land?" Franasiak replied, "From my understanding, by law, that's correct."
Planning Board Chairman Walt Garrow spoke after Franasiak and added additional details on the plan as well as requirements the plan has reached.
"They presented us with plans for a patio home relative to the code requirements under PUD, so with that we've made them follow the requirements. At this point, they've met every requirement, so far, and we still have some more meetings to go through that include SEQR. So, they're in really decent shape.
"Basically it would be mere authority to change it from M-1 to PUD, which would allow the housing development," Garrow said.
A citizen asked Franasiak after Garrow spoke if the land would be taxable property on the tax rolls or non-profit, which Franasiak said, "It's all completely taxable."
Another question rose about sidewalks in the area, which Franasiak said there would be no sidewalks, and even though traffic may slightly increase, the area has seen no issues with pedestrians.
Town Supervisor Bob Cliffe later said, rezoning from an M-1 to a PUD could make the development hold more residents and really expands what they can do with the property. He added it initially sounds like a good place to live, with little traffic and in a quiet area.
Following the hearing, the board went into its regular meeting. The meeting began with public input that rose questions about an update on the Agriculture and Markets lawsuit, as well as the streetlight proposed at the last meeting to go up around Forest Parkway. The Town Board put the agenda item on hold at the last meeting, and a citizen was concerned about the lack of lighting, especially with the time change due to Daylight Savings Time.
Town Attorney Matthew Brooks spoke on the biosolids issue with Ag. and Markets, saying, "I spoke to one of our attorneys on that and it is a public record. We can certainly release it out of FOIL or we could release it just for the general request, because it is public record. I don't think we have it on the website yet, but I think the plan is we are gonna get it up, we just haven't had the chance to yet."
Tim Zuber of Wendel, the town engineer, spoke to the board about past planning meetings. One meeting included a sketch plan for an RV park at 2791 Niagara Falls Blvd. The proposed 20-acre site would be zoned a C-1, and is in the Niagara Falls Boulevard overlay district. The RV park sounded merely like a campsite, 20 small sites for pop-ups or tents, 28 cabins, four support buildings, a main check in building and a garage. The one thing the sketch did not include was a conjunction with a hotel or motel, which is required when in the Niagara Falls Boulevard overlay district. Zuber said no action was taken.
In later news, the Town Board approved an item from Wendel to clean and inspect an additional 1,766 linear feet of pipe at a cost of $2,649.
Secondly, the board approved the authorization for the highway department to purchase two overhead roll-up garage doors from Hayes Door, at a cost of $10,200. Several councilmen and people in attendance said the current garage doors were in very bad shape.
The Town Board then moved to schedule a public hearing on Dec. 18 regarding the Jacobs Ladder project that received community development block funding from the New York state office of community renewal.
The board then approved an item from the town clerk, authorizing the town clerk to approve and sign the standard workday and reporting resolution for elected and appointed officials to the New York state and local retirement system for 2017.
A late agenda item approved by the board applied to two buildings in the Bel-Air Estates that are caving in. Helwig said the owners of the property couldn't apply for a grant to take action on the buildings and Brooks assured Helwig's statement, saying, "The town has to do the application to the state and then it can be administered by the LDC, but this type of grant funding has to be done by the municipality.
"We request the money and then it can assist business or development in our community. So, we have to do the application, we don't have to necessarily administer or follow, then we have to make sure that everything through our LDC administer is done properly."
The item was later modified that there would be no cost to the town. The item was approved with a 4-1 vote.
Cliffe, near the end of the meeting, stressed to pistol owners to get their pistol permits renewed before the Jan. 21 deadline. New York state recently implemented a law where if a pistol owner's permit is older than five years old, it needs to be renewed. Cliffe said, "If you do not reregister your pistol permit, it get's null and void, which means you don't have one. So, you're illegally harboring a weapon or illegally carrying a weapon."
Councilman Gilbert Doucet said the process is relatively quick and easy. Cliffe said if someone doesn't know they're registered or not visit www.troopers.newyork.gov/firearms
The next regular Town Board meeting is slated to start at 7:30 p.m. on Dec. 4. The public hearing listed earlier in this report will start approximately at 7:15 p.m.