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Click the link below to see the full rendering created by Invictus Civil Engineering.
Click the link below to see the full rendering created by Invictus Civil Engineering.

Residents object to Golfview zoning change

Fri, Mar 8th 2024 09:45 am

By Karen Carr Keefe

Senior Contributing Writer

Town Hall had a packed house Monday as residents pleaded with the Town Board to say no to a rezoning request that would allow four apartment buildings in the proposed 65-acre Golfview development at Whitehaven and East River roads.

The site, which is planned to have more than 300 total dwellings, is across from River Oaks Golf Club and the former Radisson Hotel.

Project attorney Sean Hopkins said the developers want to establish a planned development district (PDD) overlay there to allow mixed use of the property owned by Frank Grebenc.

On the site, 51 acres is zoned R-2 (attached and detached single-family residential); and the remaining 14 acres is zoned B-1 (general business).

“We’re developing this in a less-intensive and more diverse manner with more amenities than would be allowed by the existing R-2 and B-1 zoning,” Hopkins said.

He noted a public roadway would wrap around the development. Parking has been added to the plan to accommodate visitors as well as residents.

The concept plan proposes 69 single-family homes; 48 four-unit, two-story townhomes; three mixed-use buildings with retail space on the first floor and three upper-story apartments in each. Also in the plan are four two-story, 14-unit multi-family buildings, for a total of 56 apartments, clustered around a courtyard.

Hopkins said the site also will have extensive permanent green space (25% of the site) and a mile of recreational trails.

  • Click HERE to see the full rendering created by Invictus Civil Engineering (PDF).

A previous plan with more housing units was recommended for approval by the town Planning Board on April 10, 2023. The developers submitted a revised plan with less density and more open space and made several recommended changes requested by the Town Board. The new proposal then received a favorable recommendation from the Planning Board last month. The ultimate decision on the PDD overlay belongs to the Town Board.

The plan also is subject to environmental review. But Hopkins said there are no wetlands on the parcel and there will be a stormwater drainage system installed at the site.

Deputy Supervisor Tom Digati conducted the meeting in place of Supervisor Peter Marston, who was absent.

Hank Cushing, who lives near the proposed Golfview site, led the procession of about a dozen speakers objecting to the request to change the zoning from R-2 to PDD.

“We bought our homes; we knew the zoning that was behind us. Now we’re faced with anything the developer wants, compromising on all the regulations. … What kind of consideration do the current residents of Timberlink (Drive) get in return for the town approving a PDD for a developer who has yet to be determined, which means it could change?” he asked.

Cushing also wanted to know why the town isn’t considering things such as setbacks, property widths and use of buffers that are the same as those for the existing homes nearby. He said the requested zoning change needs further review by town planners.

“In my opinion, this project needs to be referred back to the Long Range Planning Board, and they need to have good recommendation to the Town Board before anything is considered on this,” Cushing said.

Bobbi Cushing said she wants town officials to take measures to safeguard property values: “Island residents elected the current administration to protect the integrity of the Island, not to change zoning for the benefit of an individual property owner.”

Cathy Rayhill said the reason Golfview properties wants a zoning change is to allow apartment buildings to go up, which is just what the homeowners at Monday’s meeting don’t want.

“The current R-2 zoning law already permits town homes and attached and detached single-family dwellings,” she said. “This development could be easily designed and approved within the current guidelines of the R-2, B-1 zoning laws, including the specified 60 feet of space between buildings and a buffer between Timberlink and this property,” as required by local law.

“No apartment buildings are allowed in either an R-2 or a B-1 district. This owner simply wants a PDD so that he can build apartment buildings and a higher density of town houses that do not have the required space between buildings,” she said.

Rayhill asked the Town Board to deny the PDD rezoning request.

The public hearing remains open for additional comments through the March 18 Town Board meeting.

At the close of Monday’s meeting, Digati talked about the process of considering zoning changes such as the one PDD request by Golfview Properties. He stressed it’s not the Town Board “that picks who applies for what. Any one of you can apply for a variance or a rezoning of your property. It’s our job to consider it. That’s what we’re doing.”

“We can’t just pick and choose,” he added. “The reality is that, with this plan – I don’t love it – but it’s by far better than it was. And that’s because this Town Board has taken their time to try and work with the developer and find ways that we can make the project more palatable for the locals. And I get the frustrations, but the best thing that you guys can do, in my opinion, is give us ideas about things that can make it better.”

Digati said, “There’s a lot of work that the Town Board has to do to get our zoning code more consistent with our comprehensive plan.”

Find a map online at www.wnypapers.com.

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