April 10, 2007
Planning Board Minutes
Oswego Town Hall
Chair: Jeffrey Boyer
Town Board Members: Judy Sabin-Watson, Francis Dellamano,
Lee Phillips, Barry Pritchard, James Finn
Attorney To The Board: Stephen Greene, Jr.
At approximately 7:30 PM, Chairman Jeffrey Boyer called the meeting to order.
Those in attendance were:
Approval of March 19, 2007 Minutes:
Jeff Boyer asked if there were any corrections to the March 19,2007 Minutes. There were none, so Barry Pritchard made a motion to approve the Minutes. Lee Phillips seconded the motion. All ayes. Motion carried.
Application #2007-03 - United Development Group - Oswego College Suites - Site Plan Review - Public Hearing - Presentation by United Group - Questions and Answers with United Group - Public Comment:
Jeff Boyer opened the Public Hearing by stating that we will go through the presentation, and review a Site Plan for the proposed student housing project in the Town of Oswego. After the presentation, we will open the floor for questions for the developer, and then any questions for the Board regarding the Site Plan.
Jeff Smetana, Executive Vice President of United Group introduced the other members with him, including David Clemenzi, Project Manager; Ron Mogren, Architect; Mike Stanley, Attorney; and Craig Zogby of United Group. Jeff showed maps of the concept plan, topography, and plans for the lodge and apartments. He explained that United Group builds many multi-family projects, such as senior housing, and Military housing and they propose to build this project on County Rte 7 to accommodate students at the college. They propose to purchase 21 acres near State Route 104, on County Route 7 across from the athletic field. He showed an area photograph. There will be an access road from Johnson Road. The project will be in two phases. A 4 story lodge will be built, as well as Phase 1, which would be four 3 story buildings, hopefully to be built in the summer of 2007. The second phase of four 3 story buildings will be built in the summer of 2008. Phase 1 will have 100 apartments, and Phase 2 will have 72 apartments. He showed the Concept Plan as to where the lodge, and Phases 1 and 2 will be. The apartment buildings will grade up the road, and the lodge would be at the top of the slope. There will be ample parking for all residents, as well as a bus turnaround. The way the apartments are designed, there will be an entry into each building and a corridor, and then entrance into the apartments off the corridor. Each apartment will have 4 bedrooms and 2 baths, a living area and full kitchen. There will also be laundry rooms available.
Jeff explained that the lodge building will have a cupola on top. It will have a live in manager. It will also have a maintenance person, and a security office, as well as a convenience store and a little coffee bar. While the students are waiting for their bus, they can have coffee and a snack. There will also be an exercise equipment room and rooms where they can study. There will be a bicycle storage area. The whole area will have beautiful landscaping, grassy areas and shrubs, as well as a sprinkler system throughout the buildings.
Jeff said they would be working with the Ontario Heights Sewer District. They will work with Barton and Loguidice who will work directly for the Town, and would be reimbursed by United Group. The money will be held in escrow with the town, and they will hire Barton and Loguidice to be the engineer, and will pay the cost of installing it. As to water, they will be working with the Onondaga County Water Authority. They will also be working closely with the Oswego Town Fire Department as to any issues there, including fire hydrants.
Jeff Smetana explained they have been very successful, with all the amenities to make the students comfortable and safe. He stated they researched areas looking for the right location. We looked at one area in the City of Oswego, but the neighbors figured it would be too much for their life style. He said he does not want to push this to an area where the neighbors would be unhappy. This will a first class housing facility for Juniors and Seniors at the college. There will be a secure entrance. They will have a key to get into the building. There will be a private road for bicycles and pedestrians, as well as a pavilion.
One gentleman asked a question in the middle of the presentation, and Chairman Boyer asked to please wait until the end of the presentation to ask questions.
Jeff Smetana then asked Ron Mogren, the Architect to speak. He pointed to the various maps and plans to explain the sewers and water. The Onondaga County Water Authority will come from a pump station on Byer Road. The sewer will come from the City Sewer District.
Jeff Smetana asked David Clemenzi, the Project Director to speak. Dave said the architectural design would culturally work well, and aesthetically work well. He said the administrators are constantly upgrading the quality of the housing. They are providing amenities which are important to students today. They don't want to provide a facility that is isolated from the campus. It will be in close proximity to the entrance of the campus. They are trying to promote less vehicle travel, as there will be busses, and where they can ride bicycles. The Lodge building will be up on the hill, so people will be able to see it from Route 104 and County Route 7. The apartment buildings will have 6 apartments per floor. The Lodge will have a fireplace. There will be social functions, and an office for the manager. On the upper floors of the apartments buildings, there will be smaller single bedroom apartments for the resident assistants and other personnel.
Jeff Smetana said "We are not just coming here with a cookie cutter project that we're just going to plop down. We have a unique design that we hope will create an iconic building in the area. We're not a development company that wants to push something on a community that they don't want. We're here for the long term. We don't allow drinking in the suites. We won't be a party destination".
He said they are doing everything possible as to what the Planning Board and Zoning Board needs, as to the buildings, fire protection, sewer and water.
Jeff Boyer, Chairman then opened the floor to questions to the Board. There were no questions at that time, so then told the audience to ask questions to United Group.
Lady in back of the room who did not identify herself:
She asked about the wetlands. Jeff Smetana explained they will do the research on any wetland areas. They aren't really wet, but considered wetland areas, which they will stay away from.
He asked if there would be sprinklers, to which Jeff said there would be.
Frank said he had three questions:
1) This project will increase the traffic flow on Johnson Road and Route 104. He asked if the speed limit could be reduced, and Jeff Boyer said that is not up to our Board. Jeff Smetana said they would get into negotiations with the DOT.
2) He questioned the sewer line, and Jeff Smetana said they are in negotiations with that issue also.
3) Frank then questioned the security. Jeff Smetana said security would be 24/7. Frank asked what type of security they are talking about "Are you talking about police or a rental company where you can rent people or hire". Jeff said there won't be police officers, but will be security guards. Frank asked if it would cost the residents any money down the line, and Jeff stated no.
He said he lives in the City of Oswego. He had questions regarding the sewer district. A sewer district was put in place in 1995. Then after some time, the residents did have to pay some money, after 12 years. He asked if there would be an empire zone, and Jeff Smetana said no. There would be negotiations between the Town and United Group to work out the Ontario Heights Sewer District.
She also questioned the wetlands and wildlife. Jeff Smetana said the DEC would be involved, and there would be erosion control and resource assessment.
Jack stated the traffic would be a big problem. He said he lives on Baylis Street, and where Rte 104 goes from 4 lanes to 2 lanes right near Baylis Street, the traffic would be horrendous. He said if the students have parties, it will mean more traffic. People who are walking would be going directly through their neighborhood. He said their neighborhood supposedly is a quiet one, but this project would destroy the neighborhood.
Dave said where they propose to build the project, is not a convenient spot to build it. He said "If you go down Washington Blvd. down to Swift Street on an average day you are talking 2,500 cars on the street. I don't care where you are, you are not going to stop people from speeding".
Don questioned the parking problem. He said it is claimed they have plenty of parking, but what if one of the students has a boyfriend who has a car, where is he going to park. Jeff Smetana said each car owner will have some sort of identification or sticker for their vehicle.
Mary spoke about the traffic problems, as did Jack Tyrie. She said where 104 goes from 2 lanes to 4 lanes, when she is coming from the city, as she makes a right hand turn onto Baylis Street, her heart goes in her mouth, as the cars behind her speed up and come around her. She said when she goes to her daughter's on Hillside Avenue, she goes Johnson Road. She stated the people live in a nice area and she has a problem when someone wants to come in and disrupt their life style.
He claimed he was not notified of the meeting, and he lives within 1,500 feet of the proposed project.
He said he doesn't see the benefit for the Town of Oswego, adding some 700 students.
He said there is a fraternity down the road who has parties. He said it is so dark on Johnson Road, if people are walking, they could get hit by a car, especially if they are drinking, and weaving all over the road. There should be some lighting in the area of the new complex. Jeff Smetana said there will be plenty of lighting at the college apartments, and there will not be any alcohol on the premises. We want to keep a good track record. There will be Resident Assistants who will keep things in order.
Tom said that most of the people in this room are opposed to the project. He asked why couldn't it be built on Fred Haynes Blvd where there are no houses, and won't bother anyone.
Jeff Boyer stated that the purpose of this meeting is for THIS site location, not for another one.
She is concerned about garbage thrown in the wooded areas, and Jeff said that the complex will be kept clean, and no reason for students to go in the wood areas. Also, the area will have plenty of lighting.
Joe stated that he is not a town resident, but is concerned about how the project would benefit the town. Will there be a pilot program? There are a lot of issues, including economic impact. Jeff Smetana stated all these issues will be addressed. Joe said with the traffic, it will not only affect the immediate area, but will affect the city. He said good student housing is needed, but is this the right location?
He said he had looked at the website, and it seems to be a nice facility, but will it work in our area.
He asked how this would fit in with the Comprehensive Plan. Jeff Boyer said along with the Comprehensive Plan, we are also revising all the Zoning regulations, which is in the works.
Barb said her family has resided in Oswego Town for 100 years, and have enjoyed the peace and quiet, and would like to continue to enjoy the area.
She asked if the apartments would be by lease, and Jeff explained they will be by license.
She brought up the subject of no drinking on the premises. She said "Come on, you were young once. You can't tell me that the students won't party" She also asked if she would be in constant contact with the management and resident assistants to make sure the rules are abided by to which Jeff Smetana said they would be in close contact.
Jeff Boyer explained that we have 62 days from tonight to make a decision, as long as we have the information to make a decision. The next meeting will be Monday, April 16th.
Mary asked the Board to please consider what the residents have spoken about tonight in opposition. She said it is very important to all the residents that the Board weighs out the concerns.
At approximately 9:45 PM, Lee Phillips made a motion to adjourn the meeting. Barry Pritchard seconded the motion. All ayes. Motion carried.
Secretary to Planning Board