TOWN OF ULYSSES
BOARD OF ZONING APPEALS
PUBLIC HEARING & MEETING
PRESENT: Acting Chairman Jim Hickey, Board Members Ken Christianson and Carl Mann, Code Enforcement Officer Alex Rachun, Zoning Clerk Karin Lanning.
ALSO PRESENT: Mike Addicott, John Benedict and Kate Sinko, for the Trumansburg Golf Association, applicant and owner of tax parcel 12-1-1.2, Timothy and Fran Maguire.
Acting Chairman Jim Hickey called the meeting to order at 7:44 pm.
Mr. Mann moved and Mr. Christianson seconded, to approve the minutes of the meeting of December 9th, 2002 as presented.
Mr. Christianson aye
Mr. Mann moved and Mr. Christianson seconded, to approve the minutes of the meeting of March 18th, 2003 as presented.
Mr. Christianson aye
Mr. Hickey opened the public hearing at 7:46 pm and invited Mr. Timothy Maguire to speak, noting the Board scheduled this additional meeting to give him the opportunity to present his concerns in person.
Timothy Maguire-I think the letter adequately expressed my concerns, not only as a neighbor but as a resident of Pennsylvania Avenue. There are two situations being dealt with: first, I am a neighbor who will be affected by this and second, my son plans to build a house in that vicinity on my property that would put his residence much closer than 300 feet from the proposed building. There is a swale on the edge of the property, but the building would be right there. I cannot give an exact number of feet from where my son plans to build-I apologize for not pacing it off-I know it will be very close, though. If the Zoning Law calls for a 100-foot setback, I think you should require 100 feet. I think that the nature of the activity, while allowable, the legal notice, project description, etc. describes activities of a commercial nature. I do understand that they are limited to some degree, but if you have people-it’s going to be an office too, as I understand-there will be cars in and out of there, there will be, as stated, tractor trailers and UPS trucks, deliveries, and visitors-I don’t know how many, I don’t think anyone does, exactly. It’s going to be a thoroughfare, with staff vehicles in and out on a daily basis-as the project description states, “this would include weekdays, weekends, holidays, at various times throughout the day.” This is Pennsylvania Avenue, and we’re not accustomed to having tractor trailers go up and down there. I know it wouldn’t be every minute of every day, but I think it takes away from the character of the neighborhood and I think the nature of the activities there will deter from our property values. Those are my concerns. If the zoning calls for 100 feet, then require 100 feet. I know there are some constraints, but I also know there have been some situations where I’ve been involved with building or attempting to build within the boundaries of legal constraints of commercial districts, and I changed my building plans because I was too close to the edge of the property. I think Alex will substantiate that; in fact, I know he will, because he was the man who I worked with on that. We changed the building, and it did put a hardship on us as far as what we initially planned and where we planned to put the building-we had to waste some of our space. I don’t think the Golf Course should be any different. Thank you for listening, but it was pretty well explained in my letter. . .I’m not here to be an unreasonable neighbor, the Golf Course is an asset to the community, I just don’t think that particular building should be accessed from Pennsylvania Avenue considering its commercial neighbor, and I don’t think a variance should be granted to construct the building 40 feet from my property line-I think the 100 feet called for in the Zoning Ordinance should be required.
Mr. Hickey asked if there are any questions for Mr. or Mrs. Maguire?
Michael Addicott (Trumansburg Golf Association Representative)-Is your concern more for the vehicles or the building itself?
Timothy Maguire-I don’t want to say “it’s everything”, but I think it’s the building’s and the traffic’s commercial nature, and the fact that there will be a 90 foot pole barn 40 feet from my property. Again, being the neighbor next to it, I don’t like the idea. Maybe that’s “not-in-my-backyard syndrome”, but a 90 foot long building is just not conducive to the Pennsylvania Avenue neighborhood.
Mr. Hickey-So, your issue is with the aesthetics and the traffic, then?
Timothy Maguire-Yes. It’s a combination. There are other things to talk about, too. There will be gas tanks and sheds for pesticides. Right behind, excuse me if I’m not using the right golf terms here, but there is a swale right near there, and any runoff will go down into the creek, which feeds into Taughannock Creek. I’m not anticipating a gas or pesticide spill, but the potential is certainly there and I think the potential for pollution is severe. I have an approximately 2-acre pond in my yard-right now, which I occasionally get golf balls in. I know these issues are not related to the variance exactly, but the proposed project is of a commercial not residential nature.
Mr. Hickey-Fran, do you want to add anything?
Fran Maguire-Lots of things float through my mind, but drainage was the first thing that came to mind. When the Golf Course has changed in the last 25 years, adding nine holes, and whatever else, it has affected the drainage for us. I don’t know if the creek on the two properties was included on this map, but it is the creek that feeds into Taughannock Creek, and when the Golf Course changed last time, when they put their nine new holes in, it drastically affected the flow of drainage. That’s without putting pesticides and other things above us, above a creek that flows into Taughannock Creek. We know the Golf Course fairly well, and there’s another whole section on the other side where, if you’re looking for a way to better the whole community, you could put the building-on a site where it’s not going to affect a residential area.
Mr. Christianson-According to the Golf Club, they don’t have access to the other side of the property.
Fran Maguire-Excuse Me?
Mr. Christianson-We discussed this at the last meeting, and the Golf Club has said they don’t have road access elsewhere on the property.
Timothy Maguire/Fran Maguire-They have access from Route 227.
John Benedict-We only have 50 feet of right-of-way on Route 227, and if we build near 227 we will be affecting more neighbors: we will be within 15 feet of three different property lines. One of the benefits of building off Pennsylvania Avenue, though we will be interrupting you, is we’ll be alleviating impacts on eight immediate neighbors whose homes are within feet of our property. Where we are now, we are 5 feet from one house, and only 50 feet from three other houses. I don’t know how far away your house is, but I think it’s around 400 feet from the proposed building site. By building off Pennsylvania Avenue, we will be interrupting you but we also will be alleviating the impact on many others.
Timothy Maguire-How many years has the present building been in its location?
Mike Addicott-The Golf Course has been around for over 30 years…
Timothy Maguire-Those buildings have been where they are now for that period of time. Now you’re trying to make a change to affect us instead of these others who’ve been affected for years.
Mike Addicott-What I’m saying is the building has been there. I don’t know what differences exist between Village of Trumansburg and Town of Ulysses Zoning Regulations, but we will be farther away from neighboring residences than we are now. It is a tough situation.
Mr. Christianson-You don’t have any access from 227 at all?
Mike Addicott-There is a 50-foot right-of-way.
Timothy Maguire-It may be marshland over there-I don’t know, it seems like you said something to that affect-but if that’s the case, fill it. I had to change my plans for a building because I was too close to the line. Somehow, we did what we had to do, and I think you could change this to have the building somewhere else.
John Benedict-The only other place a building could go would be right behind a row of houses-it would be within 15 feet of those property lines. That’s the only other site that might be able to be developed for a building, but that would be affecting three houses, instead of just one.
Timothy Maguire-Well, you will be affecting the whole street-and Tamarack that comes onto Pennsylvania Avenue right across from there.
John Benedict-There is traffic in and out of there now. Traffic will not change-we have been using that access road. When you bought that property from us, you knew that we kept the right of way. Standing out on the 16th hole, I can’t see your house, so I cannot see why you are so upset about this when [neighbors] on the other side, who are much closer, aren’t objecting.
Timothy Maguire-I can’t speak for [them], but first of all, they golf and spend a lot of time on the course, and second, part of their pond is within your right-of-way. You could tell them to move their pond-there are a lot of variables to consider here. Most of the people living near the golf course play golf, I don’t. I’m not against the golf course, it is an asset to the community, but I am against a 30-foot by 90-foot pole barn with offices and lawn mowers and other noise sources. I don’t envy the Board having to make this decision, but the law as it stands calls for 100 feet away, and I would request that the law be upheld.
Fran Maguire-We have been there 25 years and the Golf Course has been there longer than that. In all that time, we’ve both been good neighbors; that’s a long time of being good neighbors. It is not a good time to stop that, and let this thing come between us. If this can’t be settled neighbor to neighbor, it’s not worth it. A building is never worth that. (Mrs. Maguire excused herself, noting she is very upset about the project.)
Mr. Christianson-It’s rather a muddy problem.
Mr. Hickey-It is a tough situation. There is no solution that will make everyone happy. My two-cents on this is that this construction will affect somebody, and the current site is probably going to have the minimum possible negative impact on neighbors. I respect your (Maguires’) concern, and I’m not happy about impacting you, you’ve been respected citizens for years, and I don’t like to make a decision that makes anyone unhappy, however my two-cents is that this site is the one where the project will have the least negative impact on neighbors.
John Benedict-We have cut the building back from 125 feet long, to just 90.
Mr. Rachun-And, you may have to cut it down more if you don’t wish to install a sprinkler system in it.
(Mr. Benedict and Mr. Rachun discussed the sprinkler issue as per New York State Building Code, Mr. Rachun noting that he will not be able to tell whether the building will or will not need sprinklers until he reviews the plans.)
Mr. Hickey-Will pesticides be stored in this building?
Mr. Hickey-Will they be in an adjacent building?
Mike Addicott-No, they will be stored in the same place they presently are stored.
Mr. Hickey-We could make that a condition.
Mr. Rachun-The Planning Board already made it a condition. The Planning Board did not, however, address the gasoline.
The Board looked at the site plan, which calls for multiple, small above-ground fuel tanks.
Mr. Hickey-Where is your gas now?
Mike Addicott-By the Parking Lot.
Mr. Hickey-Would it make any sense to keep the tanks there?
Mike Addicott-No, not with our equipment being down at this building.
Mr. Rachun-There is a lot of contaminated land in the Town of Ulysses, which was contaminated by gasoline leaks. I do not have the power to require a catch basin, under New York State code, but I think installing one would be a good idea to make sure that the gasoline does not spill and spread. If the plans called for one large tank instead of numerous smaller ones, New York State DEC would be involved, and would require a catch basin.
Mr. Hickey-Is this a matter of installing new tanks or just moving present tanks?
Mike Addicott-That would be up to [fuel supplier]. Probably, we would just use the present ones.
Mr. Hickey-Mr. Rachun, what do you suggest?
Mr. Rachun-Have the Golf Course follow NYS DEC regulations. My feeling is that the smaller tanks are a way to avoid working with DEC, [another group] has done the same thing. It will be a little more expensive, but it just makes common sense, it protects the golf course and its neighbors.
Mr. Hickey-Would you be willing to do this?
Mike Addicott-I think what we have now is under DEC regulations.
Mr. Rachun-You are not presently regulated by DEC because your tanks are too small.
Mike Addicott-How big a tank would we have to have?
Mr. Rachun-I think the minimum size for DEC regulation is 750 gallons.
Mike Addicott-So, you would prefer just one big tank?
Mr. Rachun-I would prefer one big tank, installed per DEC regulations. I think that would make more sense. Are you putting different grades in, though?
Mike Addicott-No, but we do need one diesel tank. I think we could keep one tank where it is now-for carts, and then just have one gas tank and one diesel tank at the new building, but that’s only 500 gallons.
Mr. Rachun-I don’t want to tell you how to design your project, but I do want it to be done safely. Mr. Rachun discussed gasoline pollution, noting that Mr. Maguire’s concern about pollution of his pond is a legitimate concern.
Mr. Hickey-The basic difference is the catch basin?
Mr. Rachun-Yes, there are some other things-a roof is required over larger tanks, etc, but the catch basin is a major item.
Mr. Christianson-It seems to me, the reason we are here is to give or not give the Golf Course a variance from the 100-foot setback requirement. Is that correct?
Mr. Hickey-That’s correct.
Mr. Christianson-(gesturing towards Mr. Maguire) And he’s here because there’s a disagreement over the project.
Mr. Hickey-That’s correct.
Mr. Christianson-The case is closed.
Mr. Hickey-The case is closed?
Mr. Christianson-He’s got a very valid argument-that the building will be too close to the lot line. I don’t think we should give the golf course a variance.
Mr. Hickey-Okay. You are on the board to form an opinion.
Mr. Rachun-But, your opinion needs to be founded on the statements of fact, according to state law.
Mr. Christianson-They are the ones asking for a variance, correct?
Mr. Hickey-Would anyone like to make a motion?
Mr. Christianson-I make a motion that we act on this as a board of three.
Mr. Hickey/Mr. Rachun-No motion is needed to do that.
Mr. Christianson moved that the variance be denied, Mr. Mann seconded.
Mr. Christianson aye
The motion passed, the variance was denied.
Hearing no further business, Mr. Christianson moved to adjourn the meeting. Mr. Mann seconded.
Mr. Christianson aye
The meeting adjourned at 8:25 pm.
Karin T. Lanning