By Jann Wiswall

It was determined at this week’s Ellicottville Town Planning Board meeting on Aug. 25 that a public hearing on the preliminary plat plan for the 150-acre Gestion Blueberry Lake subdivision will be over until September when some remaining issues can be resolved to the planning board’s satisfaction.

Last month, Town Planner Carol Horowitz walked through the State Environmental Quality Review (SEQR) short-form questions one by one to determine what issues still needed to be addressed by engineering firm Nussbaumer & Clarke (N&C). By the Monday, Aug. 25 meeting, only two of several issues remained — one having to do with drainage and water runoff, and the other with traffic safety at the development’s intersection with Poverty Hill Road.

Town Engineer Mark Alianello has been working with N&C engineer Andy Gow on the drainage issues, however revised plans had not reached Alianello in time for him to review them before the meeting that evening. Alianello assured the board that the plans will be worked out to his satisfaction.

The board’s concern about traffic safety at last month’s meeting was about sight distances for vehicles turning out of the development and for vehicles traveling Poverty Hill in both directions. Gow said he had measured sight distances based on Poverty Hill Road having a posted speed limit of 40 mph. The board noted that the posted speed actually is 45. In any case, Gow concluded that the sight distance did not comply with national standards and moving the entrance road in either direction would not solve the problem.

Alianello stated that traffic mitigation could be undertaken using signage on Poverty Hill indicating an intersection is ahead. Board members and two members of the public who attended the public hearing suggested the possibility of reducing the speed limit or installing flashing warning lights or three-way stop signs. Gow also said that trees at the entrance to the community could be cleared to improve the sightline for drivers turning onto Poverty Hill. Alianello said he would look into the best options.

Because all issues had not been resolved, the board moved to adjourn the public hearing but leave it open until its Sept. 22 meeting. Members of the public are encouraged to relay any additional concerns to the board until then.

Under new business, the board was scheduled to review the site plan for Holiday Valley’s parking lot relocation. The resort’s vice president for operations, Bonnie Koschir, explained, however, that new surveys had been done and new drawings had not been completed. As a result, she said she would return in September with revised plans.

The board did take some time to review earlier plans and ask questions about drainage, fill usage, landscaping and other details. Koschir said the resort still expects to begin construction as early next spring as possible.

Craft Distillery Zoning Issue

Horowitz reported to the board that she had addressed a zoning inquiry from two business partners who are interested in establishing a craft distillery in an existing building in Ellicottville. Horowitz said a distillery would fit into the zoning law’s definition of a “food processing establishment.”

The company, which is doing business as Ellicottville Distillery, has not yet prepared a special use permit application or site plan for board review but hopes to have them ready for the September meeting. There are many state and federal permits that must be obtained for alcohol distilling businesses, as well.

The next meeting of the Ellicottville Town Planning Board will be held at 6 p.m. on Monday, Sept. 22 in the Village/Town Hall.