Public Hearing Scheduled Aug. 25

By Jann Wiswall

Preliminary engineering plans for the 150-acre Gestion Blueberry Lake development off Poverty Hill Road were reviewed in detail by the Town of Ellicottville Planning Board at its Monday, July 28 meeting.

Town Planner Carol Horowitz led the meeting, asking the board to go through the State Environmental Quality Review (SEQR) short-form questions one by one to determine what issues still need to be addressed by engineering firm Nussbaumer & Clarke (N&C).

The bulk of the SEQR questions were answered to the board’s satisfaction and were not judged to have any “significant environmental impacts.” Several questions, however, remain to be addressed by N&C engineer Andy Gow and/or Town Engineer Mark Alianello.

SEQR Question 5: Will the proposed action result in an adverse change in the existing level of traffic or affect existing infrastructure for mass transit, biking or walkway?

The board noted two issues here that need to be addressed: 1. The Finger Lakes Trail may or may not go through the property. If it does, it must be accommodated. 2. Sight distances at the intersection of Poverty Hill Road and the new road must be evaluated in the interest of traffic safety.

SEQR Question 7: Will the proposed action impact existing public/private water supplies or public/private wastewater treatment utilities?

Individual wells and septic for each of the 20 home sites on the property must be provided. Both Alianello and Gow had consulted with a well driller who felt, based on experience in the area, that the chances are good that water will be available, but acknowledged that “you never know until you put a hole in the ground.” Alianello felt that it is reasonable to “conclude you’ll have the water you need for 20 homes on 150 acres.” Gow will consider the merits of digging a test well.

SEQR Question 8: Will the proposed action impair the character or quality of important historic, archaeological, architectural or aesthetic resources?

Board member Sheri Barrera expressed concern about roofs being visible from a distance above the trees along the ridgeline. Horowitz and Alianello felt that was unlikely, but asked Gow to ensure it would not be an issue. Town Attorney Kathleen Moriarty suggested that the issue could be resolved if rules for building height were specified in the Home Owners Association document that is being prepared.

SEQR Question 10: Will the proposed action result in an increase in the potential for erosion, flooding or drainage problems?

Alianello and Gow have been working together to address Alianello’s concerns about adequate drainage. These issues will be solved to his satisfaction.

SEQR Question 11: Will the proposed action create a hazard to environmental resources or human health?  The board’s concern here was related to traffic safety at the new intersection, also noted in question 5.

The board and its advisors felt that all of these remaining questions could be adequately addressed in time for next month’s meeting, so they felt confident about scheduling a public hearing on the preliminary engineering plans for that meeting. That hearing will be held on Monday, Aug. 25 at 6 p.m. in the Village/Town Hall.

Under new business, Alianello relayed a request from the town board asking for the planning board’s support of its recommendation to rezone a small, 100-foot-wide strip of land along Route 219, north of the Tim Hortons restaurant, from its current conservation district status to low-density zoning. The land is adjacent to the East Tank site and a few private property owners. Current zoning, Alianello remarked, was “odd to begin with.” The change will make no material difference in land use there. The planning board moved to support the zoning change.