June 12, 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 7:10 PM, Chairman Jeffrey Boyer called the meeting to order.
Those in attendance were:
Those in Attendance involving United Development Group:
Approval of May 21, 2007 Minutes:
No comments or corrections, therefore Lee Phillips made a motion that the May 21, 2007 Minutes be approved. Judy Watson seconded the motion. All ayes. Motion carried.
Approval of May 30, 2007 Committee Minutes:
Since there were no comments or corrections, Fran Dellamano made a motion that the May 30, 2007 Committee Minutes be approved. Lee Phillips seconded the motion. All ayes. Motion carried.
Application #2007-03- United Development Group - Oswego College Suites - Site Plan Review:
Jeff asked Fran to give a brief summary of what they discussed at the Committee Meeting. Fran said that on May 30th, we met here, and discussed traffic. We brought in an Engineer. We discussed what some of the problems were. We had a very good meeting. We have a report of some of the things said at the meeting that night.
Jeff said he would make sure that any reports will be available at the Town Hall for public review.
Jeff said at the last regular meeting, we went through Part II of the SEQRA. A copy of that section was sent to Barton & Loguidice for review. He understands that they are not quite through with the review process. They do have some questions as to how we answered some of the sections in this, and what I propose to get through this, is create another committee of two individuals to work with Barton and Loguidice to go through all the questions and make sure we have the proper answers to make a decision on this project. Jeff asked for a motion to identify two individuals for a committee to continue review of the SEQRA with Barton & Loguidice. Barry Pritchard made the motion, and Lee Phillips seconded it. All ayes. Motion carried.
Jeff then asked for two volunteers. Barry Pritchard and Jim Finn volunteered. Jeff said in order to meet our time line, the committee should meet as early as next week. It was decided the committee will meet on Monday, June 18th at 7:00 PM. Fran asked if it was possible that Barton & Loguidice could send us the topics we have questions on? Marge said there is a gentlemen from Barton and Loguidice here tonight. Jeff asked John Condino if he could get the information to Marge so she can distribute it to the board members? Mr. Condino said he would. Jeff said when the SEQRA, it will be transmitted to the County and they will have to do the review within 30 days. We would like to get it to the County before the end of June.
Don directed his comments to United Group. He said they are planning on a two phase. They are doing one phase with some 200 units, now you are talking of changing it to a one phase. And now someone is going to build on campus. He just wondered how many buildings we need. If they are going to build 400 units on campus, and you are going to build 400 or 800. Everything we have been told is the population at the college is going to dwindle.
Tom had a couple of questions for the developer. He asked how much the project is going to cost. Jeff Smetana said they are still in the early planning stages, so they don't have exact figures as yet. Tom asked if they had done a cost analysis. Jeff said it would be premature right now.
Tom had a question for the Board. He asked if the Board had determined if this is a negative declaration or a positive declaration. Jeff Boyer said we have done neither, as the SEQRA is incomplete. We are getting a review from our engineering firm. They have some questions as to some of our answers. That is why we formed a committee to go over this. Tom asked when the Board will make a decision. Is it done in private session? It would be done after the committee meeting is finished, or it will be done after the County reviews it. Jeff said the public will know about it.
Tom then read a prepared statement:
"After the initial review at the last Planning Board Meeting, it is obvious that this project is subject to change. Many of them are negative impact. Because of this potential, we ask that you issue a positive declaration. Of all the SEQRA rights, it is the developer's option at their expense, as to who does the study. It also states that the lead agency is the Planning Board, and can hire experts to review the DEIS for accuracy, scope, content and impact. It also states that this is at the expense of the developer up to 2% of the total cost of the land and improvements. In this case, you can spend $220,000 to $440,000 to $660,000 and the developer must pay for this"
He asked what the process is after tonight - is something going to the County? Jeff said the SEQRA form goes to the county for their review. Also, every document we have will go to them for review. Bill said that no vote has been taken by this committee, and Jeff said no. We will get a recommendation by the county, and then we will vote on it here. It should be sometime in July. Bill said someone could make a proposal this evening to vote on a positive declaration. Jeff said other than the committee that will meet next week, the next regular meeting is July 16th. Fran said we can't vote on a positive declaration, as there are still questions to be answered. We have to get it all straightened out before we can vote.
Bill asked if there was a challenge on the Zoning Board's determination of dormitory, or not a dormitory, would that prevent this from carrying through with the county, or would it just continue on? If there was an Article 78 in Supreme Court, and whether or not it is or is not a dormitory. Jeff said we cannot make a decision until the Zoning is resolved. Jeff said he was informed that he made a bad statement. We don't need to wait for the Zoning Board to make a decision. Our responsibility is the Site Plan Review.
Ryan said after what he read in the paper yesterday, I don't think there is a necessity to have so many buildings. The first college he went to had a complex, and it didn't work out. You people think it would be cost effective. He said he didn't think it would. From the article in the paper, the students want to see what's going on, and there is no information out there at present. Jeff Boyer said we are not in a position to answer that now. Our responsibility is Site Plan Review. Fran said he should ask the investors, who are putting the money up. Jeff told Ryan that he is welcome to talk to the investors after the meeting.
He understands they could be using the Ontario Heights Sewer System. That system is designed for about 100 homes. Break this down to 700 people.
At this point, there is some work to be done to see where the best place to hook into the sewer system is. It's a little premature right now.
Bill said he is on the Sewer District in Ontario Heights. As he understands, they are talking stages of New Street. It was either a 25 year note or 30 year bond. He said they pay $450 a year for the sewer, plus what it costs to send it to the city and treat it. We paid for the infrastructure of that sewer, and there are 86 homes. If you put 100 more homes on it, I would think we wouldn't have to pay any more for my sewer, since the developer would have to pay the balance of what the infrastructure costs. If they don't use that sewer, the only other way is to go through Sheldon Ave. The homeowners on Johnson Road are under the inclination that they will get a sewer line in front of their homes to hook into, can't happen. You can't hook into a pressurized line. There are 125 signatures on a Petition who are upset about this project being in the neighborhood. Jeff Smetana said they are working internally on this, and there are several options that will work well. He said he knows you can't tie into a pressurized line, but there are lift stations. Bill Dunsmoor said he would like to see something in black and white, as to what the options are. Bill said there are a lot of promises to be made. He told Jeff he isn't saying he isn't a man of his word. Bill said he is a business man also, but spends his money here in Oswego, and that the developer will be taking their money back to Troy. He hopes the Board will consider the feelings of the homeowners in the area, and the traffic. Jeff Smetana said they will be like any other new business - they will spend money here. We will be hiring all sorts of services here.
Bill asked if any of their projects have been taken over by the college. Jeff said none of them.
He asked how much time they have spent with the Sheriff's Department, talking about in the event of a disaster in the facility, such as what happened at Virginia Tech. Those kids are not going to be sitting there drinking soda pop, and playing cards. They are college students. They will be sneaking beer, alcohol, drugs - you name it - you are going to have it.
Jeff Boyer said when this packet is turned over to the County, that is part of the review. They give this to the Sheriff's Department for their review. Randy said the Sheriff's Department usually has a car out East and one West, and they could be waiting an hour for a sheriff. The Oswego Police Department isn't going to respond, as it is out of their jurisdiction.
Randy also asked about the Code Enforcement Officer in our town. He said he drove by the fraternity house on Johnson Road, and the grass is 2 feet high.
He said he doesn't think they ever got an answer as to the Height Variance, and Jeff Boyer said that is still under discussion.
Jack said one technical thing regarding the SEQRA review, when the budget was discussed, he believes there will have to be a sewer district. That means it would become part of the town budget. He realizes it is not a cost to the town, it still will be an increase in the town budget. One other thing - he doesn't know if the traffic study is going to evaluate what Johnson Road will be like when there is a sporting event at the college. And anyone going down Johnson Road, even though it says no parking, it is lined bumper to bumper with people parked on the sides of the road. As to the sewer line, I assume they will have to cross 104. If it is anything like the sewer project that was done in Ontario Heights, 104 is going to have to be blocked off. We will have to go through the State. He encouraged the Board not to rush through anything. The traffic study in the summer is not the same as when the college students are there. They knew a traffic study would be requested when they put the proposal in months ago.
He said in 2010, 104 is going to 4 lanes - was that factored in the traffic study? Jeff Boyer said he had not gotten a response from the DOT yet.
His understanding of the Planning Board's job is to assess the negative impact. Fran said it is Site Plan Review. Doug thinks there will be a negative impact, as several people have stated tonight. Many people have spoken of how this would affect the quality of life in Ontario Heights. A PILOT agreement would generate $5M, and he doesn't know why they need a PILOT Agreement. He doesn't think the school district or the county is going to benefit from this. The developer may buy materials locally, but they aren't going to buy a significant amount of materials. They may create 4 or 5 jobs, but not hundreds. About 80% of the developer's money will leave the community, where our money stays in Oswego.
Jeff Boyer asked if there are any new items under Open Board Discussion. Jeff repeated that on the 18th of June, we will be having a Committee Meeting. Barry and Jim will meet with Barton & Loguidice at 7:00 PM here. They will do a second review of the SEQRA. Another date we talked about is the 21st of June, which is the Zoning Board Meeting. July 16th is our next Planning Board Meeting.
Lee asked if the Zoning Board has to okay the 4th story, and Jeff said yes. Are we supposed to make a decision before the Zoning Board makes theirs. Jeff said it is an independent decision.
Fran questioned the traffic study. They are going to get a right-of-way, and they don't have that. He doesn't see how we can approve a Site Plan without that definite. Jeff Smetana said it is not on the Site Plan. We have a pedestrian access that we are proposing. Fran said we need the width, lighting, etc. on the Site Plan. Will there be a call box in case something happens?
Lee questioned - you are making a path on your property that empties out on the college property? What gives you the right to go across their property? Jeff Smetana said college students walk across this all the time.
Tom Dunsmoor had questions on the right of way, and where it is going to be. They looked at the drawings and maps and had some discussion.
Jeff Boyer stated that we are in Open Board Discussion. We are not getting back into Public Comment, as the public had their opportunity to speak.
Fran stated there are a lot of steps, and a lot of things that need to be submitted to us. Somehow, someone has to write all these things down, and see which ones have been done, and the ones that haven't been done. The Site Plan Review has a bunch of rules and regulations. Jeff said we will work with Marge, and get it all together.
At approximately 8:15 PM, Lee Phillips made a motion to adjourn the meeting. Barry Pritchard seconded the motion. All ayes. Motion carried.
Secretary to Planning Board