By Caitlin Croft

The Law Office of John C. Nelson has submitted plans to renovate and restore a commercial space located at 8-10 Washington Street (PB-2017-05), the former Ellicottville Inn. The applicant has applied for a Special Use Permit to change the allowable use to a Professional Office.

There will be an Architectural Design Review as there will be exterior renovation. This building is in the Historic District and will also be subject to a Historic Preservation Review. Plans include opening the building’s original windows that had been bricked in, along with redoing the awning above the entrance. The Village Planning Board (VPB) has deemed this application complete and a public hearing has been set for June 13 at 5:30 p.m. at the Village / Town Hall.

Two other project applications were completed and their public hearings will also be held June 13 at 5:30 p.m.

The first PB-2017-04 is regarding a project at 11 Rockwell Avenue for a Home Occupation. The applicant plans to open an at-home therapy service, which requires Special Use Permit, Site Plan Review and Architectural Design. The VPB advised the applicant to work with the Village Code Enforcement Officer to complete a Short Environmental Assessment for the State Environmental Quality Review (SEQR). The VPB asked if there will be employees and how many patients will be seen at a time. The applicant advised it would be one patient at a time and there will not be any employees. These questions were raised to see if parking needed to be addressed.

The other project that will have a Public Hearing next month is PB-2017-06, 16 Rockwell Avenue. This is the conversion of an existing garage to an accessory apartment. This project will need the same reviews as PB-2107-04 – Site Plan Review, Special Use Permit and Architectural Design Review. There will be a 133 sq. ft. addition which will encompass an exterior entrance, stairway and laundry room. There will also be an addition of a deck made of pressure-treated wood that will be stained and sealed. The deck will be on the side facing the existing home.

The Ellicottville  Zoning Board of Appeals (ZBA) granted the project two Area Variances to allow the deck within 15 feet of Park Avenue and the Floor Area Ratio to exceed the allowable limit. The Open Space requirement has been met. The VPB asked how parking would be handled because one bay of the garage will be lost. The applicant advised the apartment is for a family member and there will be a total of three parking spaces which satisfied the VPB. A steel roof will be installed and the exterior will be white, which will match the existing home. Lastly, there will be a new garage door.

Christopher and Brenda Perks were given the opportunity to propose a project for a vacant industrial building located at 5 Park Avenue. They propose building an indoor skateboard park that will offer lessons for all ages. “This would be another great recreational activity to bring to the community,” Perks says. In addition, they would like to put in three apartments and office/retail space. This property comes with a 60’ X 90’ lot across the street, which would provide ample parking for the space. They both emphasized that they were there to learn what the VPB would allow and find out the steps to be taken to make this idea a reality. There have been two other instances of industrial zoned buildings converted into commercial/residential space. The VPB has advised them to speak with the Village Planner and Code Enforcement Officer to see how they need to proceed and thanked them for coming to present their idea to the board.

Old Business

In Old Business, the project at 23 Washington, which underwent much scrutiny by residents and business owners at the Public Hearing held in March, was in discussion. The project proposed by developer Phil Vogt is a 480-sq. ft. three-story addition to the rear of the building that will include an elevator and stairwell. The rear existing portion of the building will be reworked with matching brick to fit the aesthetic of the village. Also, the front Alpine style deck will be replaced and expanded over the sidewalk and will return the building to a period aesthetic in compliance with Section 11 guidelines of the Village Law. This project will also include the renovation and addition of a 3rd floor that will be used for either retail or restaurant space and will include a 42-inch high wall around the top.

The main questions raised at the Public Hearing were how this project will affect the adjoining buildings regarding noise, parking and structural issues.  The Village Board, Zoning Board of Appeals (ZBA) and Department of Transportation (DOT) named the VPB as lead agency to perform the SEQR review process. The DOT, in their letter naming the VPB as lead agency, also included a note that they do not support the deck as the posts will be in the state’s right of way. The VPB advised that the applicant could apply for a permit from the DOT to allow this. The applicant decided that the deck would be removed from the plan. Seeing as the SEQR Process was not complete, the ZBA was unable to move forward with their zoning variance request from the applicant.

Regarding parking, the Historic District does not deem off-street parking necessary. The Village Planner advised that the addition would qualify the space for needing to meet off-street parking requirements. Also, questions regarding the flow of traffic and how the current easements affect the proposed project were not cleared up as the easement dates back to the 1800s. The VPB advised the applicant to scale back the project in hopes of getting the vacant space filled sooner than later. The VPB moved to table the issue as the applicant will be making changes of the project.

The next meeting of the Village Planning Board will be held at 5:30 p.m. on June 13 at the Village / Town Hall.