July 12, 2007
Planning Board Minutes Committee Meeting
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 7:04 PM, Barry Pritchard called the Committee Meeting order.
Attendance of Committee Members:
Others in attendance:
Review of SEQR Material Related To Proposed Oswego College Suites - United Group - By John J. Condino - Senior Project Manager - Barton & Loguidice:
John Condino said we should use this meeting as a working session. We should figure conclusion on these issues, and then go from here. Our main concern is keep moving the process forward.
Jeff Smetana said we should use Mr. Condino's letter as an outline. John asked if he has with him tonight to support some of these issues. Jeff said they met with Saratoga Associates, and a lot of the materials they do have, and a lot of them they have been working on.
John said the first issue is Wetlands. Jeff said they have gotten further along with the drawings. They are going to tweak things a little bit. There is a lot of cutting and sewing. John said that is a big issue in our review. Jeff said we show a storm water pond here (pointing to the drawing), and another one here. They moved this road a little bit. We are talking about eliminating this pond up here, and doing some changes down here (still pointing to drawing). Jim Saxton said you have to discharge the pond someplace. It is usually discharged in the wetlands themselves. The goal is to keep this process as comprehensive as possible, as there is some opposition. Jeff said he understands we are working under a nationwide permit. Jim Saxton said that is correct but the nationwide permit - they still have requirements. There may be litigation. For example, the nationwide that will be used if you have impacts, is Nationwide 39. That will be notice to the Corp. Jim Finn asked if he was referring the Corp as the US Army Corp of Engineers, and John said Yes. Jeff quoted under Wetlands - "The information provided by the applicant indicates that wetlands are present on the property, have been delineated, and that no impacts to these wetlands will occur." The area was flagged and recorded, so we need to give information on that. Jeff said because of the delays, we have some of this stuff ready now. There is also the storm water issue. That is not a wetland issue. It is covered under the Storm Water Pollution.
The next item discussed was Historic and Cultural Resources. Jeff quoted - "The applicant has reviewed the mapping provided by the New York State Office of Parks Recreation and Historic Preservation (OPRHP) and determined that no cultural resources will be impacted by he project. Given the sensitive nature of this project and the potential for needing a Federal 404 Permit, formal correspondence with OPRHP is recommended to obtain their determination regarding cultural resources for this project." Jim Saxton said it is a simple letter that we sent to Parks and Recreation indicating that the project might require certain permits. Jeff said the only historic feature in the area is Sheldon Hall.
The next topic is Threatened and Endangered Species. Jeff said they did get a letter from DEC. Jim Saxton believes he has seen the letter from Natural Heritage, which is the DEC entity that handles that. Jim said if you need a Federal Permit, you are going to need to coordinate with Fish and Wildlife. The issues can be larger with some of the species they are dealing with. If you have a site that is wooded you are in a county where the Indiana Bat has been identified as a species of concern. Removal of trees would be in coordination with fish and wildlife ahead of doing that so that you don't get caught midway. Jeff said it is a certain type of tree that the bat breeds in. Jim said they look for trees about 5 inches diameter, and they also look for trees that have broken limbs broken tops, holes, or they are shredding bark. Jeff asked what about the other two species, the Bog Turtle, and the Piping Plover. Jim said they don't cause any grief at all. The Piping Plover is a grassland species. The Bog Turtle - it is possible there is potential habitat, but a field survey is very simple. As to bats, they Winter in caves, and come out in the Spring, and hang out in the trees. Generally, these bats are from about the middle of Finger Lakes East, you'll get on the list. Jim said to make sure he gets a copy of the state letter.
As to Traffic, Jeff said there is no significant impacts to the traveling [public resulting from the construction of this proposed development appears reasonable. However, given the high profile nature of this project and the public response to potential traffic issues to date, it is recommended the applicant provide additional documentation in support of their conclusion. (i.e. calculations, actual data, additional analysis, etc.) Jeff quoted from John's letter "The traffic counts obtained on June 4, 2007 were taken when the university was not in session, Therefore, it could be argued that these counts may not realistically represent traffic conditions when the university is in session. The applications of a 20 percent factor without supporting data to substantiate this assumption appears inappropriate in this case. It is recommended that the Planning Board request that the applicant submit documentation to support the application of this factor or consider requesting additional traffic counts be obtained during the normal university session. Further, to obtain a better picture of actual traffic counts at adjacent intersections as well."
Barry said this is a big one. It really appears to be the top issue. Jim Finn agreed with Barry. He said he was talking with people in Ontario Heights the other day. Jeff asked about additional intersections being identified. Jim Saxton related to Bullet on Page 3, We've got Johnson Road, Mollison Road and Rte. 104. Mollison Road is a point where there is a traffic signal, which is good. It is pretty wide. Jeff said we would encourage people to go this way. John said in the first Bullet, he thinks the main point there is there 20% factor. There is nothing to support that factor. Jeff said when they did counts, where do you think they would do counts? Do you want to see counts along 104, along Johnson Road? John said when their folks looked at this, they suggested more traffic counts at the additional intersections.
Barry said the residents concerns are that they are going to be driving through that neighborhood. That is the impact we need to address. They don't care if they go Sheldon Ave. and go down. They don't want them coming through Franklin Baylis and Draper. Greg mentioned the new lot, which isn't on the map. Jeff pointed where the new parking lot would be. Jim Finn said the big lot will lose parking. Greg said that lot is for employee and student parking. They are putting a sidewalk in. Jim Finn said there is also a median with trees and grass.
Craig said the question is whether the traffic generated from our project will go through Ontario Heights. How do we address that in the study? John said that would be a question for Clough Harbour to handle. We should ask Clough Harbour what kind of study can we do to help mitigate the concerns? John also said he drove up and down the streets to get a feel of it. Barry said the biggest draw of Baylis Street is the parking lot at the other end of it. Jim Saxton said the project is proposing a bus system that will bring students over there, and there is a walk way that is proposed. When the weather is decent, they will take advantage of that. Jim Finn said when November rolls around, are they going to walk? Jeff said hopefully that is when the bus would be advantageous. Jim Saxton said these aren't new kids. We have kids being added to the university. He said another thing that should be brought out in the traffic study - these people are no longer going to be driving from the City of Oswego up toward the campus. So traffic will be taken off a fairly congested roadway. Barry said these residents don't care about Washington Blvd. Jim Saxton asked why anyone would want to drive through this neighborhood? He would be heading for the nearest lot, not the lot through that neighborhood. They would be driving out of their way. Jeff again pointed to the map, and indicated what direction that would be going from certain points. Jeff said if they are fighting against the grain, to make a left turn out of here, you are waiting for traffic.
Jim Saxton said in the report, there was time spent addressing through traffic in the neighborhood. He doesn't think there is a way to control that. A way to control that would perhaps be signage. Jim Finn asked who is going to enforce it? Not the City of Oswego. It would be the Sheriff, and have just so many cars for the county. Jeff said there are things we could do though. They could get a sticker on their car so they can park in all the lots. If someone is driving through that neighborhood who doesn't have a sticker, well that person doesn't belong there. John said he thinks they should stay away from that idea.
Jeff then went over the traffic study to make sure all bases are covered. "The actual traffic volumes obtained should be presented in this study, not just a LOS (Level of Service) Summary" - He said there should be a little more detail, and Clough Harbour can do that. "Supporting calculations" - that they can do. "This study does not appear to adequately address existing traffic volumes or potential traffic impacts to Johnson Road, Mollison Road or NYS 104. Nor was any evaluation performed regarding the potential impacts to the existing intersection and traffic signal at Mollison and 104. John said that definitely would be addressed. "It appears that the number of potential students in Phase II was incorrectly stated a 216 instead of 288 on Page 4 of the report." - John said that also would be taken care of and corrected.
"It is recommended that the Board request that the study consider the potential effects Phase II would have absent a driveway entrance to Mollison Road" - Jeff said if we don't get this through road, look at Phase II. Jim Finn asked if they have a shot at this Mollison entrance? Jeff said he thinks they do. He said it will be time consuming and that it will be after the fact, after they actually get the project going. Jim Saxton said this is one of those issues we have to be very careful with, because the SEQR Process in New York State have their demands. The potential impact should be evaluated at that time, not some future date. As to roads, you are now talking about changing what is now a pedestrian bridge over the wetlands, to a vehicular bridge over the wetlands. Jeff said he would talk to Saratoga about this issue. He said they have an appropriate entrance here now. Barry said the majority of the Planning Board wishes you to pursue that.
The next topic discussed is Storm Water Management. Jeff quoted from Jon Condino's report - "It is recommended that additional information be included in the report to demonstrate that the sizing and location of proposed ponds shown on Sheet W-2 will meet the water quantity control requirements outlined in the New York State Stormwater Management Design Manual. While it is understood that this is a conceptual design at this stage, watershed sub-areas draining to each individual pond should, at the very least, be divided and shown. Doing so will help facilitate a complete assessment of the feasibility of the proposed drainage scheme. Additionally it is recommended that details of outlet structures for the ponds be developed and provided along with calculations that address how the storm water ponds would attenuate peak flows to pre-developed conditions. Stage storage/discharge curves should be provided with the outlet structure design details." - Craig said after reviewing costs of locations, and the difficulty of the site. Jim Saxton said if something doesn't go right, and your discharge is increased, you will have a very visible impact from the project in the form of flooding or whatever is going on downstream. A lot of people want this project. We want to make sure it will still happen - not shot down because someone was smarter somewhere along the line. There is grading and things like that, which will tell what the impacts are. He knows there are plans for a retaining wall. Jeff said it would look like a landscaped wall. Jeff again pointed to the drawings, showing the retaining wall, etc. In the report it mentions detailed grading plans and details for the storm water basin discharges are necessary to ascertain if wetland impact will be incurred and whether a federal 404 permit will be required.
Jeff then quoted Bullet 3 - "A portion of the center of the site including Building D and the Lodge Building and parking lot, are shown to enter a closed conveyance that appears is not directed to any of the storm water ponds. It is not clear how water quality and quantity control requirements have been taken into account for these areas; they do not appear to receive treatment on the site. This is of particular concern because it appears that the conveyance is shown to connect to an existing 12-inch CMP. Therefore, it is recommended that further documentation be provided to address the Above referenced concern and verify that the 12-inch CMP structure has he capacity to handle the additional flow. They again looked over the drawing, and had some discussion. They also looked at the recent maps and drawings which were sent to the Planning Board Members - Map L-5. Bullet 4 states - "It is recommended that proposed time of concentration flow path under developed conditions be provided in order that the wetlands of individual storm water ponds can be evaluated." Jeff said he thinks Ron of Saratoga has that.
Jeff then quoted "The larger stormwater ponds on the northern and eastern portions of the site would need to be built into fairly steep slopes which would require significant cut and fill operations." Jeff said that is being done. He then quoted "It is recommended that additional information be provided addressing long-term inspection and maintenance requirements for the stormwater ponds." That is also in the works.
Jim Finn wanted to go back to the last one - inspection and maintenance requirements for storm water ponds. Do they actually have to be inspected on a routine basis? John stated yes. Jeff said that would be included in a SWPTP (Storm Water Prevention Treatment Plan) which indicates what the program is for those inspections. Jim Finn said that won't be a one time thing, and John said no. Jeff said in the SWPTP Plan, there are manuals, and they have be on site and if it starts raining while you are doing construction, you have to measure how much water fell, and needs to be reported. Jim Saxton said he doesn't know of anyone getting a fine. Jim Saxton said the only involvement the Town has in storm water structures like that is if they happen to be in a MS-4 area. If they are part of an MS-4, they have to do their periodic documentation of outlets, where they are, etc.
The next item discussed was Erosion and Sediment Controls. Jim Saxton asked Jeff if they are going to have 1,000 foot slope at 15%? Jeff quoted Bullet 2, 3, 4 and 5. (2) - "The erosion and sediment control plan references swales, spillways, and outlet control structures shown on grading and drainage plans, neither of which are included in the package presented. If it hasn't already done so, it is recommended the Board request the grading and drainage plan". Jeff said we are okay with that. (3) " Details and specification should be included for all practices and should be consistent with the New York Standards and Specifications or Erosion and Sediment Control. Information concerning inspection and maintenance of all erosion and sediment control practices is also require". (4) "The erosion and sediment control noted indicate installation of riprap at locations shown on the plans, but no riprap protection is actually shown at appropriate locations such as diversion swale outlets." (5) "The erosion and sediment control plan does not indicate in what order the various components of the project would be constructed. Some level of phasing appears to be necessary, as total disturbance area on the site will exceed five acres." Jeff said that is an area we are working on. Jim Saxton said that particular items is less of an issue. Generally the DEC was willing to issue variances for the 5 acres. DEC has found out through experience that when you have a large site open, it actually removes sediment before the storm water reaches. (6) "Stormwater ponds are proposed top be used as temporary sediment basins during construction. While this may prove to be effective in controlling sediment, it appears that runoff from a large part of the center of the site would not flow to any of the basins without construction of diversion swales or closed conveyances. It is assumed that the drainage structures shown on Sheet W-2 would not be constructed until final grades have been achieved, so it is not clear how runoff would be conveyed to sediment basins in the interim." Jeff said this is something we will have to come up with.
The next item is Visual Assessment. Jeff quoted (1) "It is recommended that a statement be added as to whether or not the surrounding tree canopy will be retained to reaffirm the buildings" relationship to the site. If the trees in the photos will be removed, then the visual impact could become more significant. Likewise, if the tree canopy remains, justification is understandable as to what the photos convey." Jeff said there will be some clearing. Jim Saxton said there are trees behind you that are at a higher elevation. The visual assessment as it is right now is you will not be changing this dialogue. The other thing is that site as it currently sits has a nice buffer in terms of the line of trees that is right at the road, and the question is - can you retain those in your design. What you will see of that building is what little bit sticks above that line of trees. Barry asked if the buildings can be superimposed without a lot of work? Jim Finn said that could open up can of worms. Jeff quoted (2) "No photos were taken from the Northwest or Western orientation (assuming GIS orthophoto is oriented due North). While photos from these angles may not be necessary, it is recommended that a statement be added stating that impact is benign from these angles." Jeff said photos were not taken, as you can't see anything. Jeff quoted (3 "It is recommended that the report highlight the fact that the existing buildings in the foreground (ref: View Point 2) appear to have a similar or greater impact on the horizon (treeline obscured) then the proposed building we have." Jeff said we can do that. Jeff quoted (4) "It is recommended that the report highlight the fact that in each photograph;, the red balloons (representing the height of the proposed building) are of a height lower than the existing treeline/skyline" Jim Finn said as long as those trees are not cut down. Jeff said we are talking about the trees behind us. Jeff pointed to the map and said "This property is owned by the Foundation".
Jeff quoted the second last paragraph of John Condino's letter "As a means of facilitating the review process, we suggest that the Planning Board convene a committee meeting with United Development at its earliest conveniences to review the progress to date and further discuss these review comments. We believe pending receipt and review of the additional information requested, the Planning Board should have sufficient information to complete a comprehensive and complete analysis of the potential impacts of the project and therefore be in a position to issue a determination of significance. We would note that the expansion of sewer and water service to this area must also be included in the SEQR evaluations we have discussed previously. As it stands currently, we anticipate the need to construct a pump station on the United parcel and install piping through the wetland to connect with the existing City of Oswego system." Jim Finn asked if there was any kind of a sewer plan to date? Jeff said there is a proposed water plan that OCWA has been working on. John said there is additional information that they are working on. There are two options. Jim Finn asked what the options are. John stated one option is to connect to the existing pump station, with appropriate modifications. The other is to pump it up to Sheldon Avenue. Jim asked in order to do that and tie into the city, will they have to form a new sewer district? John said they would, so that takes them right out of the Ontario Heights Sewer District. Jim Finn said, if they stay on the South side of 104, they are out of the Ontario Heights Sewer District? If they cross over to the North side, would they be in the Ontario Heights district? Even if they don't connect into the piping, and run their own piping, on the North side of 104, it would be their own sewer district. Jim Finn says he knows Ontario Heights needs a right of way to go up on the other side of 104. Even though they would cross into that right of way, they could still maintain their own. That is as much of an issue as the parking. People are spending a ton of money in Ontario Heights for the sewer district. If you guys are going top come over to their sewer district, it would be nice to have some of it paid for. This issue as well as the Mollison Road entrance would solve a lot of problems. Jim Saxton told Jim Finn he brought up good points, the finer points our folks will resolve.
Jeff said we have, after tweaking this plan a little bit, we have some revisions that will make the storm water work a little better. There will be letters of request from the various agencies. We also need some traffic counts when school is in session. Jim Saxton said the 20% was basically brought out there without any real fact. Barry said the biggest concern would be the number from this project. All 300 cars will be going out of there at the same time. If someone can break that down, as to how many vehicles would leave the project at a certain time - that would help a whole bunch. Then you have the people in the audience say "Wait a minute, that's right too, they will be going to more than one class a day". So they will make 3 trips a day, that will be 900 cars.
Jeff said they had an extension of the review time through next Friday, July 20th. We will have to ask for another extension. Barry said our next meeting will be August 20th. Now we would go to at least August 24th, which would be the Friday following the Zoning Board Meeting. John Condino said he is not sure it can be done in a month. It is always difficult, as some of the information will take some time. It is possible to revise the time frame. The period doesn't really start until you have a complete package. It should be extended until such time until the package is complete. Jim Finn said we should phrase it that way. Barry said it would be 62 days. John said then we would not have to go through the extension letters every month. He doesn't think we are that far away from a complete package. Jeff said they would be in touch with Kevin Caraccioli and Steve Greene as well as Mike Stanley. They both understand the whole thing. John said we don't want to give the opposition any opportunity to step on a issue that may or may not be addressed. Jim Finn said "John, you are going to offer those 3 attorneys this issue to discuss", and John said yes. Jeff went through the steps as to when the package is complete. Barry said the SEQR must be done before the Zoning can act.
The Committee Meeting was adjourned at approximately 8:45 PM.
Planning Board Secretary