TOWN OF JOHNSTOWN PLANNING BOARD

MAY 9, 2017
6:00 P.M.
TOWN HALL
MEETING NOTES

PRESENT:

RICHARD GOEBEL, CHAIRMAN

ERIC VANALSTYNE, VICE CHAIRMAN

RICHARD LYNAUGH,

ERNEST NIFOROS

ALBERT PECK III

MIKE MCGRAIL

GARTH BRUCE

TONY AMBROSINO, ALTERNATE

RYAN FAGAN, CODE ENFORCEMENT OFFICER

SEAN M. GERAGHTY, SR. PLANNER

I. CALL MEETING TO ORDER:

The meeting was called to order at 6:03 p.m.

II. APPROVE MINUTES OF LAST REGULAR MEETING:

MOTION: To approve the minutes to the April 11, 2017

meeting.

MADE BY: Garth Bruce

SECONDED: Richard Lynaugh

VOTE: 7 in favor, 0 opposed

III. SARAH AND MICHAEL RICHARDSON – PUBLIC HEARING ON A SUBDIVISION ALONG JOHNSON AVENUE AND COUNTY HIGHWAY 131A:

Background:

Sarah and Michael Richardson own a piece of property along Johnson Avenue and County Highway 131A in the Town of Johnstown (Tax Map Parcel No. 162.-1-17.1). The property is approximately 72+/- acres in size. The property is split by a National Grid transmission line. The applicants intend to transfer approximately 6.08+/- acres located along the east side of the National Grid power line to another parcel owned by Sarah Richardson (Tax Map Parcel No. 162.15-7-4). This will give that parcel direct access to Johnson Avenue. The remaining 66+/- acres will be subdivided into an 8.17+/- acre lot that will be retained by the applicant and a 58+/- acre lot with access along County Highway 131 that will be sold as part of the existing farm.

April 11, 2017 Meeting:

During its April 11, 2017 meeting, the Town of Johnstown Planning Board began reviewing Sarah and Michael Richardson’s subdivision application for a piece of property along Johnson Avenue and County Highway 131A in the Town of Johnstown. At that time, the Planning Board did not ask that any additional information be provided on a revised subdivision plat prior to the public hearing.

State Environmental Quality Review:

During its April 11, 2017 meeting, the Town of Johnstown Planning Board authorized the filing of a negative declaration under SEQR for this proposed action. Consequently, unless new additional information has been provided, no further SEQR action is necessary.

Public Hearing:

1. The public hearing was opened at 6:04 P.M.

2. Speakers:

There was no one to speak regarding Sarah and Michael Richardson’s subdivision application.

3. The public hearing was closed at 6:05 P.M.

Planning Board Action:

In accordance with Section 275 of the Town Law of New York State, the Planning Board shall, by resolution, conditionally approve, with or without modification, disapprove or grant final approval and authorize the signing of such subdivision plat within sixty-two days after the public hearing. Consequently, does the Planning Board wish to issue its final decision on Sarah and Michael Richardson’s subdivision application at this time?

MOTION: To approve Sarah and Michael Richardson’s subdivision application for a piece of property along Johnson Avenue and County Highway 131A.

MADE BY: Eric VanAlstyne

SECONDED: Garth Bruce

VOTE: 7 in favor, 0 opposed

IV. MICHAEL CHIARIELLO – PUBLIC HEARING ON A SUBDIVISION ALONG OLD PECK HILL ROAD:

Background:

Michael Chiariello owns a piece of property along the west side of Old Peck Hill Road in the Town of Johnstown (Tax Map Parcel No. 133.-3-59). The existing parcel is approximately 6+/- acres in size. Mr. Chiariello would like to create a 1-acre building lot in the northeast corner of the property.

April 11, 2017 Meeting:

During its April 11, 2017 meeting, the Town of Johnstown Planning Board began reviewing Michael Chiariello’s subdivision application for a piece of property along Old Peck Hill Road. At that time, the Planning Board asked that the following information be provided on a revised subdivision plat prior to the public hearing:

1. The location of the well as shown on the subdivision plat must be moved to the location that is shown on the Sewage Disposal System Design drawing.

STATUS: Provided.

DISCUSSION: The Planning Board had no further questions regarding this issue.

2. A Short Environmental Assessment Form must be completed.

STATUS: Provided.

State Environmental Quality Review:

Section 617.1 of 6 NYCRR states that, the basic purpose of SEQR is to incorporate the consideration of environmental factors into the existing planning, review and decision making processes of State, regional and local government agencies at the earliest possible time. To accomplish this goal, SEQR requires that all agencies determine whether the actions they directly undertake, fund or approve may have a significant effect on the environment, and if it is determined that the actions may have a significant effect, prepare or request an environmental impact statement. Under these terms, the review of a Subdivision application is subject to SEQR. Therefore, the following issues must be addressed:

1. Does the Planning Board feel that the Short Environmental Assessment Form, provided by the applicant, has been completed adequately?

DISCUSSION: The Planning Board felt that the Short Environmental
Assessment Form had been completed adequately.

2. Does the Planning Board feel that any additional information should be provided as part of the SEQR process?

DISCUSSION: The Planning Board did not ask for any additional information.

3. Section 617.6 (b) of 6 NYCRR states that, when a single agency is involved, the agency will be the lead agency when it proposes to undertake, fund or approve a Type 1 or Unlisted Action that does not involve another agency. If the agency has received an application for funding or approval of the action, it must determine the significance of the action, within twenty (20) calendar days of its receipt of the application, an Environmental Assessment Form or any additional information reasonably necessary to make that determination, whichever is later. Therefore, does the Planning Board wish to issue a Determination of Significance under SEQR at this time?

MOTION: To authorize the filing of a negative declaration under SEQR for this proposed action since:

1. There is sufficient acreage available to create a new building lot from the original tract of land.

2. Public utilities are readily available to service the new building lot.

3. A detailed septic system design has been provided for the new building lot.

4. There will be no traffic implications resulting from the proposed action.

MADE BY: Richard Lynaugh

SECONDED: Michael McGrail

VOTE: 7 in favor, 0 opposed

Public Hearing:

1. The public hearing was opened at 6:06 P.M.

2. Speakers:

There was no one to speak regarding Michael Chiariello’s subdivision application.

3. The public hearing was closed at 6:07 P.M.

Planning Board Action:

In accordance with Section 275 of the Town Law of New York State, the Planning Board shall, by resolution, conditionally approve, with or without modification, disapprove or grant final approval and authorize the signing of such subdivision plat within sixty-two days after the public hearing. Consequently, does the Planning Board wish to issue its final decision on Michael Chiariello’s subdivision application at this time?

MOTION: To approve Michael Chiariello’s subdivision application for a piece of property along Old Peck Hill Road.

MADE BY: Eric VanAlstyne

SECONDED: Richard Goebel

VOTE: 7 in favor, 0 opposed

V. JAMES HULBERT AND BEVERLY MACCRACKEN – PUBLIC HEARING ON A SUBDIVISION ALONG NYS ROUTE 29 AND OLD STATE ROAD:

Background:

James Hulbert and Beverly MacCracken currently own two (2) parcels of land along NYS Route 29 and Old State Road in the Town of Johnstown. The property located on the north side of NYS Route 29 is approximately 156+/- acres in size (Tax Map Parcel No. 147.-1-60). The applicants would like to create a 6.64+/- acre building lot from this parcel and intend to retain the remaining 150+/- acres. The applicants also own a piece of property on the south side of NYS Route 29 that extends all the way to Old State Road (Tax Map Parcel No. 161.-6-1). That parcel is approximately 11.48+/- acres in size. The applicants would like to split that property into a 6.37 acre property along NYS Route 29 and a 5.11+/- acre lot along Old State Road.

April 11, 2017 Meeting:

During its April 11, 2017 meeting, the Town of Johnstown Planning Board began reviewing James Hulbert and Beverly MacCracken’s subdivision applications for two (2) properties they own along NYS Route 29 and Old State Road. At that time, the Planning Board asked that the following information be provided on the revised subdivision plat prior to the public hearing:

1. The correct Tax Map Number for the south subdivision should be noted on the drawing.

STATUS: The correct Tax Map Number should be identified as 161.-6-1.

DISCUSSION: Mr. Geraghty noted that the Tax Map Number is shown as 161.-1-6 on the subdivision plat and needs to be changed.

2. The classification of the stream passing through the property along the south side of NYS Route 29 should be identified.

STATUS: The stream is labeled as a “Class C” Stream.

DISCUSSION: The Planning Board had no further questions regarding the stream classification.

3. The proposed home location for Lot #2 in the south subdivision should be moved at least 100’ from the steam location.

STATUS: Provided.

4. Percolation and pit test results for the new building lot must be provided.

STATUS: Provided. A notation has also been added indicating that, due to seasonal high groundwater, an engineered septic system must be designed by a licensed professional to meet NYSDOH standards.

DISCUSSION: Planning Board Member Mike McGrail questioned the presence of a high-seasonal water table.

Mr. Geraghty explained that the notation on the final subdivision plat recognizes that there is seasonal high groundwater and that some type of engineered mound-type system will need to be designed for the new building lots.

5. A notation should be placed on the final plat indicating that Lot #1 in the south subdivision will have access to City of Johnstown water.

STATUS: Provided.

DISCUSSION: Planning Board Alternate Tony Ambrosino asked what would happen if the homeowner of Lot #1 wished to have a well instead of City of Johnstown water?

Mr. Geraghty indicated that the applicant’s engineer, Charles Ackerbauer, P.E., indicated during last month’s meeting that City of Johnstown municipal water would be available to Lot #2. He pointed out that there is sufficient acreage available on the building lot to provide a well for the building lot if that’s what the property owner chooses to do.

State Environmental Quality Review:

During its April 11, 2017 meeting, the Town of Johnstown Planning Board authorized the filing of a negative declaration under SEQR for this proposed action. Consequently, unless new additional information has been provided, no further SEQR action is necessary.

Public Hearing:

1. The public hearing was opened at 6:10 P.M.

2. Speakers:

There was no one to speak regarding James Hulbert and Beverly McCracken’s subdivision applications.

3. The public hearing was closed at 6:11 P.M.

Planning Board Action:

In accordance with Section 275 of the Town Law of New York State, the Planning Board shall, by resolution, conditionally approve, with or without modification, disapprove or grant final approval and authorize the signing of such subdivision plat within sixty-two days after the public hearing. Consequently, does the Planning Board wish to issue its final decision on James Hulbert and Beverly MacCracken’s subdivision application at this time?

MOTION: To approve James Hulbert and Beverly MacCracken’s subdivision applications for properties along NYS Route 29 and Old State Road.

MADE BY: Ernest Niforos

SECONDED: Michael McGrail

VOTE: 7 in favor, 0 opposed

VI. DG NEW YORK SOLAR – SUBDIVISION AND SPECIAL PERMIT AMENDMENTS FOR SOLAR FARMS ALONG NYS ROUTE 67:

Background:

On January 10, 2017, DG New York Solar received both subdivision and Special Permit application approvals for a Solar Farm project along NYS Route 67. Based on comments that the applicants received from the NYS Department of Transportation (NYSDOT) during the State Environmental Quality Review Process, the final subdivision plat needed to be amended and the proposed access driveways for the project needed to be relocated.

(Planning Board Member Albert Peck III arrived at the meeting.)

DISCUSSION: Mr. Geraghty explained that DG New York Solar had to make a few minor amendments to its subdivision and Special Permit applications as a result of comments it received from the NYSDOT. In terms of the subdivision application, Mr. Geraghty reminded Board members that the applicants were informed that all four (4) lots in the subdivision will need to have a direct access to a public street. He pointed out that Lot #1 originally did not have direct access to a public street, but did have a right-of-way easement on the properties of Edmund Derossi leading to County Highway 142A. Mr. Geraghty reminded Board members that the applicants were considering purchasing the right-of-way from Mr. Derossi so that they would have direct access to County Highway 142A, but have decided to provide a 22’ strip on the western edge of Lot #2A that will provide Lot #1 with direct access to NYS Route 67. Mr. Geraghty stated that there are no other changes involving the actual subdivision plat. The Planning Board had no questions concerning this amendment.

Mr. Geraghty noted that NYSDOT expressed some concern during the State Environmental Quality Review process that the applicant had too many driveways along NYS Route 67. Mr. Geraghty pointed out that the applicants originally proposed having four (4) access driveways along NYS Route 67, but were told by the NYSDOT that they could only have two (2). Mr. Geraghty indicated that, after negotiating with NYSDOT, the applicants are now going to have three (3) access driveways on NYS Route 67 and will still access Lot #1 in the subdivision from County Highway 142A. Mr. Geraghty pointed out that the arrangement of the solar racking systems has been altered slightly because of the driveway locations. Mr. Geraghty pointed out that the double driveway that used to serve the parking lot at the 19th Hole driving range will be reduced to a single driveway.

Board members asked if there will be enough turnaround area off of the right-of-way outside of the gated solar arrays to turn vehicles around?

Mr. Geraghty showed Board members where the vehicle turnaround areas are for each of the driveways. Mr. Geraghty indicated that he would make sure that the applicants provide all of the vehicle turnaround areas outside of the fencelines surrounding the solar arrays. Mr. Geraghty then pointed out that there will be gaps along NYS Route 67 in the fencelines surrounding each of the solar fields due to the minor reconfigurations of each solar array.

Planning Board Chairman Dick Goebel had a question concerning access to Lot 2B?

Mr. Geraghty pointed out that the applicants have made notations on the Site Plan drawings indicating that a temporary lay down access road will be provided in order to install the solar arrays.

PLANNING BOARD ACTION:

MOTION: Approving the amendments to the DG New York Solar subdivision and Special Permit applications.

MADE BY: Garth Bruce

SECONDED: Michael McGrail

VOTE: 7 in favor, 0 opposed

VII. WILLIAM J. KELLER AND SONS CONSTRUCTION CORPORATION – SPECIAL USE PERMIT FOR COMMERCIAL EXTRACTION OPERATION ALONG NYS ROUTE 67:

Background:

William J. Keller and Sons Construction Corporation will be constructing an irrigation pond on lands owned by Shari Harwell at 1411 NYS Route 67 (Tax Map Parcel No. 161.-4-7.11). Ms. Harwell’s property is 67.7+/- acres in size. The irrigation pond to be constructed by William J. Keller Construction Corporation will be 500’ x 450’ in size and will be approximately 6’ deep. The construction company will remove the clay material from the property and haul it off-site.

Planning Department Review:

The Fulton County Planning Department has reviewed the Special Use Permit application in accordance with Article X of the Town of Johnstown Zoning Regulations. Article X states that a Special Use Permit shall not be granted until the Planning Board finds that the following criteria, as well as any special criteria, have been met.

1. Harmony with Master Plan.

2. Compatibility.

3. Access, circulation and parking.

4. Infrastructure and services.

5. Environment and natural features.

6. Long-term effects.

Commercial Extraction Operations:

Article VIII, Section 84-35(B) of the Town of Johnstown Zoning Regulations states that, “Except when incidental to permitted construction activities on the same lot or associated with an agricultural use, the excavation processing and sale of topsoil, sand, gravel, clay or other natural mineral deposit or the quarrying of any kind of rock formation for commercial purposes is subject to a Special Use Permit by the Planning Board.”

As part of the applicant’s submittal package, a letter was provided from the NYSDEC Warrensburg Office Mineral Resources staff indicating that the proposed construction of an irrigation pond on Ms. Harwell’s property is exempt from further review under the NYS Mind Land Reclamation Law. The letter goes on to outline several conditions that must be met in order for this proposal to continue to be exempt from the Mind Land Reclamation Law. (See attached letter.)

DISCUSSION: Mr. Geraghty explained that NYSDEC has exempted this proposed project from any further review under the Mined Land Reclamation Act. He asked the Planning Board if the Special Permit application materials submitted by the applicant were sufficient given the nature of the project?

Planning Board Member Ernest Niforos questioned whether the project’s primary purpose is to remove clay from the property or create an irrigation pond?

Town Code Enforcement Officer Ryan Fagan noted that the applicant is not paying the property owner for the clay but is, in return, creating the irrigation pond. Mr. Ryan expressed some concern with the amount of trash along NYS Route 67 that blows off of trucks that are heading to the County landfill. He indicated that he didn’t want to see the irrigation pond become a floating wastewater of trash. He pointed out that Landfill employees are frequently picking up garbage along this stretch of NYS Route 67. Several Planning Board members who were familiar with this stretch of road confirmed that there is always a significant amount of debris blowing around the road as a result of the dump trucks that travel back and forth to the County Landfill.

Planning Board Member Eric VanAlstyne asked if the irrigation pond could be used by the local Fire Department?

Mr. Fagan indicated that the applicant has not indicated that the intent is to use the irrigation pond for anything other than agricultural purposes. He pointed out that there are already two (2) detention ponds in the general vicinity that are used by the Fire Department.

Planning Board Alternate Tony Ambrosino asked what the pond will be irrigating?

Mr. Geraghty pointed out that the property is located in an Agricultural Use Zone and seems to be used as a hayfield.

Mr. Fagan confirmed that the only farming activity that he is aware of is the growing of hay on part of the property.

Mr. VanAlstyne then asked if there was an outlet on the pond? He indicated that there is a great deal of water that accumulates in this particular area and questioned whether or not the pond could conceivably overflow.

Mr. Geraghty pointed out that the applicants are not proposing to create any new impervious surfaces and the actual construction of the irrigation pond will create an additional collection basin for any water that accumulates on the property.

Several Board members talked about the size of the roadside culvert adjacent to the applicant’s property.

Mr. Geraghty noted that, since DEC has exempted the proposal from any further review under the Mine Land Reclamation Law, it could be considered a typical agricultural operation and may be classified as a Type II Action under the State Environmental Quality Review Act. However, Mr. Geraghty suggested that the Board may want to Coordinate Review of the action in an effort to create a paper trail and to make sure that there are no other comments that the NYSDEC wishes to offer them as part of the local review of the project. Mr. Geraghty indicated that he would ask the applicant to provide a Short Environmental Assessment Form for this project. He suggested that the Board classify the project as an Unlisted Action and propose that it act as the Lead Agency. He indicated that if he finds that the proposal is exempt from further review under the State Environmental Quality Review Act, then he will simply not send any letters out to other Involved Agencies.

State Environmental Quality Review:

Section 617.1 of 6 NYCRR states that, the basic purpose of SEQR is to incorporate the consideration of environmental factors into the existing planning, review and decision making processes of State, regional and local government agencies at the earliest possible time. To accomplish this goal, SEQR requires that all agencies determine whether the actions they directly undertake, fund or approve may have a significant effect on the environment, and if it is determined that the actions may have a significant effect, prepare or request an environmental impact statement. Under these terms, the review of a Special Use Permit application is subject to SEQR. Therefore, the following issues must be addressed:

1. Does the Planning Board feel that the Short Environmental Assessment Form, provided by the applicant, has been completed adequately?

DISCUSSION: The Planning Board recognized that Mr. Geraghty would be asking the applicant to provide a Short EAF, if necessary.

2. Does the Planning Board feel that any additional information should be provided as part of the SEQR process?

DISCUSSION: The Planning Board did not ask for any additional information.

3. Section 617.6 (b)(3) of 6 NYCRR states that, when an agency proposes to direction undertake, fund or approve a Type 1 or Unlisted action undergoing a Coordinated Review with other Involved Agencies, it must, as soon as possible, transmit Part 1 of the Environmental Assessment Form completed by the Project Sponsor or a Draft Environmental Impact Statement (DEIS) and a copy of any application that has been received to all Involved Agencies and notify them that a Lead Agency must be agreed upon within thirty (30) calendar days of the date the Environmental Assessment Form or DEIS was transmitted to them.

MOTION: To classify the proposed project as an Unlisted Action and to propose that the Town of Johnstown Planning Board act as the Lead Agency for the purpose of issuing a determination of significance under SEQR and to offer other Involved Agencies twenty-five (25) calendar days to comment on the proposed action or the Town of Johnstown Planning Board’s proposal to act as Lead Agency.

MADE BY: Albert Peck III

SECONDED: Richard Lynaugh

VOTE: 7 in favor, 0 opposed

Planning Board Action:

In accordance with Section 84-54(D)(7)(a) of the Town of Johnstown Zoning Regulations, the Planning Board shall hold a public hearing on a complete Special Permit application within sixty-two (62) days from the determination of the Planning Board that the application is complete.

MOTION: To schedule a public hearing on William J. Keller and Sons Construction Corporation’s Special Use Permit for a commercial extraction operation along NYS Route 67 for 6:00 p.m., Tuesday, June 13, 2017.

MADE BY: Ernest Niforos

SECONDED: Michael McGrail

VOTE: 7 in favor, 0 opposed

VIII. OTHER BUSINESS:

A. Code Enforcement Update:

Mr. Fagan indicated that Town Councilman Tim Rizzo has an issue that he would like to bring to the Board’s attention.

Mr. Rizzo indicated that, during last night’s Town Council meeting, the Planning Board’s recommendation for amendments to the Zoning Ordinance involving properties along Hales Mills Road Extension were discussed. He indicated that the Planning Board’s recommendation was not originally on the schedule but was, nonetheless, discussed during the meeting. He indicated that his particular concern involves the proposed changes to Appendix A, the Use Table. Mr. Rizzo pointed out that a new column has been added to the table for the Hales Mills Development District. He indicated that the table is somewhat confusing and had several notations that are different from the table that is on the Town’s website.

Mr. Geraghty explained that his office has had a difficult time finding a writable copy of the Town’s Zoning Ordinance that can be easily edited. He indicated that the only writable copy of the Town’s Zoning Law is the working copy that is used by the Zoning Commission that shows both the previous and proposed requirements for each of the uses in the table. Mr. Geraghty agreed that the table is somewhat confusing but noted that the only column that needs to be viewed is the last column that deals with the Hales Mills Development District.

Mr. Rizzo indicated that he felt there were many other changes made to the Zoning Law.

Mr. Geraghty indicated that he was responsible for writing the proposed amendments and he assured Mr. Rizzo that the only changes to the Appendix A Use Table are the addition of a column outlining all of the uses that will be allowed in the Hales Mills Development District.

Mr. Rizzo indicated that he felt the Town Board should rescind its motion from last night approving the proposed changes until Council members are given an updated proposal from the Planning Board.

Mr. Fagan pointed out that the Town Board did not approve the proposed amendments to the Zoning Ordinance, but simply scheduled a public hearing date for next month.

Mr. Geraghty indicated that he would provide a follow-up letter for the Council clarifying the changes that have been made to the Appendix A Use Table.

Mr. Fagan indicated that the Town has already had six (6) permits for new homes this year. He indicated that the Town has seen an increase in revenue from Mortgage Tax collection.

Town Supervisor Jack Wilson confirmed that the Town’s Mortgage Tax receipts have went from $45,000 to close to $96,000.

B. Chairman’s Update:

Dick Goebel mentioned that he spoke with Bob Jackson, a homeowner along South Pine Street. He reminded Board members that Mr. Jackson spoke at a public hearing on the project involving the connector road between South Pine Street and Cherry Street. He indicated that Mr. Jackson did not have any flooding this year and was very pleased with the Town’s work on the road.

Planning Board Member Mike McGrail asked if the Town has had any conversations with Tom Avgerakas concerning his office building project on the corner of North Pine Street and NYS Route 29A?

Mr. Fagan indicated that the Town is attempting to have a meeting with Mr. Avgerakas, but has not yet been able to schedule that meeting.

IX.CLOSE OF THE MEETING:

MOTION: To close the meeting at 7:52 p.m.

MADE BY: Dick Goebel

SECONDED: Ernest Niforos

VOTE: 7 in favor, 0 opposed