By Jann Wiswall
Zoning changes to accommodate new development at 16 Martha St. was the top item on the agenda at the Village Board meeting on Monday, Jan. 13.
Village Planning Board Chair Nancy Rogan, property co-owner Wayne Bacon and members of the architect’s team shared plans for the development with the board. They explained that Phase 1 of the plan is to fully remediate some environmental concerns with the site and renovate the two existing buildings, formerly the American Locker manufacturing site, to construct a seasonal apartment complex consisting of one building with 10 apartments and a second building with four, two-story townhomes/duplexes. The apartments will be fully furnished and offered for term rentals. None will be sold as condominiums.
Phase 2 would involve constructing four duplexes with potential for 16 rental units. Phase 2 is in a purely conceptual stage at this time.
Rogan asked the board to consider her board’s recommendation on subdividing and rezoning the property. Currently zoned for industrial use (Village Commercial 2), Rogan would like the board to agree to subdivide the site into two zones. Phase 1 buildings on 1.04 acres would be subdivided and rezoned as “Village Commercial 3,” which allows for reuse of an industrial structure. It also allows for use of one or more units as retail space if that possibility ever presents itself. The current owners have no plans to include retail, but the planning board believes it makes sense to build that into the rezoning language.
The 1.76-acre Phase 2 subdivision would be rezoned as medium density. The planning board would require the duplexes to be designed to blend in with the existing residential neighborhood.
Rogan initially asked the board to set a public hearing on the subject for its February meeting. Village Attorney Bob Simon, however, felt that he needed more time to study the plans. As a result, the public hearing was set for March 10.
The village board continued debate of its proposed amendment to Local Law 4 to make Hughey Alley a one-way street from east to west between Monroe and Jefferson streets. The law is intended to improve pedestrian and vehicular safety at the intersection of the alley and Monroe Street.
At the public hearing on the topic in November, several village business owners, whose businesses would be impacted by the law, agreed that the intersection is dangerous and an “accident waiting to happen.” However, they also noted that the solution proposed by the board had numerous pros and cons. A number of alternative ideas were suggested during further discussion at the November meeting and again at the December meeting, and the costs and benefits/disadvantages of various alternatives have been considered over the past several months.
In the end, the board has been unable to find a convincingly better solution. As a result, it set another public hearing on the law as originally proposed for its Feb. 10 meeting.
Department of Public Works Head Harold Morton reported that his department had conducted all routine sewer maintenance, snow removal, vehicle repairs and water meter readings during the month. He also reported that the annual dumping of trash in unauthorized places by vacationers has begun and is challenging the department as well as year-round residents of the village. The board agreed that Mayor Charles Coolidge should prepare an article for the local papers with information about where trash can legally be discarded. They also discussed options for citing those in violation.
On behalf of Village Engineer Mike Smith, who was on vacation, Jim Campolong reported that significant reductions in water loss from pipe leakage are being seen throughout the village. While further repairs have been delayed due to weather, he estimates that some 25 million gallons have already been saved.
Coolidge reported that he and Ellicottville Town Supervisor John Burrell have drafted a revised agreement for shared use of 1 West Washington St., the site of the Village/Town Hall. The town and village had been equally sharing expenses for the building, but after review, they agreed that the town uses more of the space than does the village and that a more equitable arrangement could be made. The board voted to accept the agreement as revised.
Coolidge said that, except for the new sidewalk being constructed by the state along Route 242 from HoliMont into the village (part of which is in the Town of Ellicottville), the village cannot take on plowing and maintenance of any more sidewalks that may be planned and located in the town in the future. He asked attorney Simon to draw up an agreement to that effect for review by the board.
“We don’t have the staff to do more,” he said. “We need to put a limit on it and get it in writing.”
The board agreed.
Coolidge also asked the board to set a public hearing on the proposed 2014-15 village budget. That hearing will be held, along with the hearing on Hughey Alley, at its next meeting on Feb. 10, 2014, at 6 p.m. in the Village/Town Hall.