Board Discusses Zoning Change

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Town Contemplates Lindbergh Road 219 Area Reverting to General Commercial

At the town board meeting Wednesday night about seven citizens attended to voice their opinions regarding changing the zoning at the intersection of Route 219 and Lindbergh Road back to general commercial as specified in the comprehensive zoning plan adopted in 2006.

 Town Engineer Mark Alianello presented the board with several drawings showing two plans for a possible rezoning of the area. At present the town plan shows the area zoned for low-density housing. The two plans called for rezoning some of the areas to general commercial as requested by several landowners in the area. Plan A shows a modest sized commercial zone grafted onto the housing area, encompassing mostly the location where Lindbergh Road meets 219. Plan B includes the same area but extends further west to about half way to the Lindbergh, Poverty Hill Road intersection. Supervisor John Burrell opened the floor for public comments and several of the citizens weighed in with their opinions. One woman spoke in favor of the re-zoning saying that she had bought property in the affected area with the understanding that it was zoned general commercial as specified in the comprehensive plan.

She went on to say that there might be interest in establishing a nursery, farm stand or pumpkin stands in the area. Another gentleman rose to say that the area is a perfect spot for creating a nursery. Robert Obenauer who had been leading the movement for the re-zoning on behalf of the land owners in the area, stated that according to his figuring 80% of the property in the area had been purchased with the intention of development, and that at one point he had presented the planning board with a petition for the re-zoning signed by about 21 people. Supervisor Burrell said that if the master plan is changed to either A or B this would allow for commercial development and give permission for someone to go before the planning board and request permission to develop the area commercially. He went on to point out that a comprehensive plan is a “living thing” that can be altered to allow for changes in economic conditions.

A resident of the area spoke up to point out that there may be a misunderstanding of the commercial zoning designation; stating that it could open the door for other commercial business (i.e.: strip malls, gas stations) next to a wetland. Mark Alianello pointed out that lighter commercial business (veggie stands) are possible under any zoning, and that changing the zoning to general commercial would allow establishment of the types of businesses that she pointed out. Supervisor Burrell pointed out that those businesses would still need to go through a long approval process before they could be constructed.

In further discussion engineer Alianello pointed out that if the zoning was changed back to general commercial, and later the planning board or the town board denied the building of a gas station on the corner, it could result in a lawsuit. In discussing the next steps it was pointed out that if the town board wants to make no change in the zoning, they would simply say “thank you” to the planning board, but need not make any changes to the zoning plan. But, if the town board wants to change the zoning, the town engineer should meet with the town attorney to revise the zoning law. Another public hearing would be needed for discussion of the revised law, after which they could vote on the change.

At the end of the discussion Supervisor Burrell thanked the citizens for their participation in the meeting and the public hearing was closed. In later discussion the board moved to have a public hearing on the final zoning designation at their meeting on January 26th 2011. Later in the meeting Mr. Burrell stated that it was “refreshing to have this many people at the meeting,” and said that at public hearings in the past no one had shown up.

Ed Fredrickson of Great Valley submitted a proposal for a quick response vehicle for medical emergency calls to be shared between Ellicottville and Great Valley. The car would be used by an emergency responder as a regular car, but while in possession of the vehicle they would be on duty, and required to say close to the service area. When a call comes in they would be the first dispatched to the call and there would be no waiting for an EMT to get to the fire station, get in the ambulance and respond to the call. Some equipment would have to be shifted around to equip the vehicle. Supervisor Burrell pointed out that the town has a Chevy Tahoe that is about to be retired and that some arrangement could be made to use the Tahoe in the program. A lot of logistics need to be worked out, but he went on to say that it’s “worth a try.” There was a general consensus of the broad that the program should be arraigned in an appropriate manner for a year trial.