HV Realty/Rental Mgmt. Getting New Home

By Jann Wiswall

John Northrup, representing Win-Sum Ski Corp., presented a plan to the Town of Ellicottville’s Planning Board on Monday, Sept. 28, to renovate the former home of the Burger King restaurant. As Northrup explained, Win-Sum, the parent company of Holiday Valley, recently purchased the site at the intersection of Rt. 219 and Holiday Valley Road and plans to move its Holiday Valley Rental Management (HV Rental) and HV Realty operations there.

The plan calls for removal of existing dumpster, freezer and storage space on one side of the building and replacing it with a 20-foot addition that will have a matching roofline and gabled window. HV Rental will make creative use of the existing drive-through window; property renters will be able to pull in and pick up their keys without even leaving their cars.

Two stone pillars will be erected to anchor the existing exterior sign from the current HV Rental and Realty location. Signs also will be placed on the face of the building.

Interior renovations will be made for offices and reception areas.

Town Planner Carol Horowitz explained to the Planning Board that the proposed reuse of the building is permitted from the zoning perspective. A special use permit, site plan review, State Environmental Quality Review (SEQR) and public hearing are all required.

The board set a public hearing on the matter for its Oct. 26 meeting at 6 p.m. Pending approvals, Holiday Valley hopes to open the new space in early winter.

Northrup Development Projects

For the next item on the agenda, Northrup changed his Win-Sum hat for his developer hat to request an amendment to a Master Planned Development (MPD) at the former site of Northrup Construction on Rt. 219 near the Tim Horton’s restaurant.

More than a year ago, the planning board approved the MPD for residential and light commercial use. Since then, Northrup has converted one building into an apartment and a space used by his son’s golf training center.

Under the same MDP, Northrup plans to convert another building, which was formerly used as a Northrup Construction maintenance shop, into a four-unit apartment building called “The Yacht Club,” so named because, he joked, it’s next a pond that is the “largest body of water in Ellicottville.”

The two-story apartments of about 850 square feet each will include a living/dining/kitchen space with vaulted ceilings plus a bedroom and bath on the first floor and a bedroom and bath on the second floor. Entry to the apartments will be from the rear via an existing driveway, where parking and a footbridge will be provided for residents and their guests.

The building façade on the Rt. 219 side will be painted but will remain essentially the same. However, the existing parking and driveway areas will be removed and replaced with attractive landscaping. The driveway for the golf center and existing apartment will be preserved. Northrup said he hopes to begin the project in late winter/spring 2016.

The planning board determined that the project is a “de minimus” (minor) change to the MDP and, as such, did not feel that a public hearing on the matter would be required. However, the board asked for a more accurate site plan that includes a night-sky compliant lighting plan and a calculation of square footage for the parking lot. Northrup also must provide town Engineer Mark Alianello with engineering plans for the pedestrian footbridge, which will span a creek.

Northrup again held the floor for the next item on the agenda, which was to ask the board to help him determine allowed uses for property across 219 from the site described above.

The property, a former energy plant, was purchased by Northrup and developer Peter Krog last year at auction. Several serviceable buildings stand on the seven-acre property, though Northrup said they all need work and each has different characteristics, so their uses could be different.

The property is currently zoned for general commercial use. It had been zoned for “light industrial service commercial” use, which was eliminated as the town seeks to create a “gateway to Ellicottville” feel for that stretch of 219 to the intersection with Rt. 242 by prohibiting storage of heavy equipment and other “unsightly” uses.

According to Horowitz, zoning code provides several categories of allowable commercial activity, ranging from catering companies to radio stations to mortuaries. Offices, art studios, garden stores and other retail businesses also are permitted, however there is no truly comprehensive list.

The board asked Horowitz and Alianello to prepare a list of allowable uses and then the board will establish zoning standards and set parameters for them. If it is determined that a zoning amendment is needed, approval from the Town Board, the county and the public would be required

For the short term, Northrup asked the board if two contractors who currently lease space in the future apartment building across the street would be permitted to move to one of the existing buildings. One of those, a building contractor, stores equipment. The other is a painting contractor who stains and paints materials indoors.

The planning board said it would consider that request during its process.

Brewpub, Distillery

Next up, Bill Bursee was on the agenda for a pre-application conference to discuss what he needs to do to build a brewpub and distillery at the former location of the Aardvark furniture shop – also across from Tim Horton’s and in the “gateway” to Ellicottville area.

The first hurdle for the project is to get a federal and then a state permit for a distillery. Bursee has begun the federal process.

Horowitz explained that the brewpub portion of the business is already an allowed use in the zoning district, but distilleries are not specifically permitted. That will require a special use permit. Bursee’s next step is to follow the application process and submit architectural plans as well as plans for parking, water/sewer expansion, wastewater disposal, landscaping, lighting, etc.

Jurisdiction Issues

Kathleen Moriarty, Ellicottville’s attorney, was asked by the town board to brief the planning board on a situation regarding a request by a private citizen to make changes to zoning laws in order to avoid being impacted by the noise from a logging operation near her residence. Agriculture and forestry are permitted uses in every zone in Ellicottville.

Moriarty explained that some of the resident’s suggestions for changes to the town’s noise ordinance are feasible (e.g. clarifying permitted operating times for construction and logging companies) but others are more difficult (e.g. requiring equipment to have certain types of mufflers). The planning board noted that it does not have jurisdiction over equipment, nor does it have a role in enforcing the town’s noise ordinance.

Moriarty (as private citizen) also was on the agenda to request a one-year extension to an approved permit for a different distillery she co-owns in Ellicottville. She said the federal permit took much longer than expected and has delayed the opening.

The next meeting of the Ellicottville Town Planning Board is scheduled for Monday, Oct. 26 at 6 p.m. in the Town/Village Hall.