Town Planning Board Discusses Construction Issues

By Jann Wiswall

The former Marble Works property on Route 219 N has been purchased by husband and wife team Phillip Vogt and Dionne Kress, who plan to open a new fitness center, Groove Fitness, in the space.

Preliminary drawings for the facility include two small additions, a new front roof, exterior improvements, parking, dark-sky exterior lighting and more. The Town of Ellicottville’s Planning Board, which was supportive of the new use for the property, focused on infrastructure-related issues that must be addressed.

The board recommended some relatively minor changes to the parking lot configuration to accommodate more vehicles, reviewed the exterior lighting plan to ensure it conforms to the town’s dark-sky initiative and asked Vogt to prepare a landscaping plan.

Vogt said he plans to abandon the well on the property and tie into the town’s water system. Town Engineer Mark Alianello pointed out that the State Department of Environmental Conservation requires abandoned wells to be filled with stone and capped. Meanwhile, the town’s water line installation under Route 219 from the west is awaiting Department of Transportation approval, but otherwise the plan presents no problems.

The sewer issue is more complicated, however. The main municipal sewer line stops about 450 feet south of the gym facility. Alianello said that one option would be to extend the main to the gym, which would require a significant investment from the town and, possibly, the developer. Other solutions proposed by Vogt and various planning board members — including installing a pumping station that would have to carry sewage under a creek — all had their own pros and cons.

Alianello, who was most concerned about setting precedents, said he would bring up the issue with the town’s board at its meeting on Wednesday, Dec. 17 and would communicate the board’s responses accordingly (see Town Board story, cover).

Kress, who will run the facility, said she is still in the midst of doing market research, so is not yet prepared to detail specific plans for classes and equipment offerings. She said she hopes to have these details worked out over the next few months. Tentatively, she and Vogt hope to open in the spring.

The board set a public hearing on the gym for its next meeting on Jan. 26 at 6 p.m. in the Village/Town Hall.