The Victor Town/Village Planning Boards met on Tuesday September 23rd. On the docket was a new site plan for the Gullace Project. It has been revised yet again from that proposed in May of this Year.
Replacing the apartments are now townhomes. 72 units arranged in clusters of 2,3 or 4. These will now be for sale and not rentals. The roads have been adjusted to provide an increase in density in the portion of the development inside the village border. These have been increased from 15 to 22 and will be built as patio homes. I looked up the definition of a patio home just to be certain of the terminology, these differ from townhomes in that they are typically single level and may share a wall. In the case of this development, they will be individual houses.
Speaking first was Chris Gullace. He wanted everyone to know that he had listened to the concerns of the neighbors and had redesigned this to accommodate their wishes. His solution was to eliminate the rental units and reduce the traffic impact.
The initial project contained 15 homes East of Hillcrest Drive, 7 Homes North of the Hillcrest development (on the West side of Co. Rd. #9) and 100 apartment units.
The current proposal is 22 homes East of Hillcrest Drive, and 72 townhomes with 56 of them being East of County Road #9 and 16 to the West replacing the 7 homes North of Hillcrest.
Other items that Mr. Gullace mentioned were that the clubhouse has been removed as this is not necessary without apartments. The Green areas should remain as laid out in the previous proposal and that the buffering adjacent to the Southern neighbors will be maintained. He also addressed the traffic pattern that will be created having connected the new road opposite Hillcrest into the main crossroad of the townhomes. His thought was that this will mitigate the through traffic on this street. The roads on this development and to the West of Co. Rd. #9 would be dedicated to the town and no longer be private roads as in the previous proposal.
He also emphasized that these homes would be marketed to the 50 and above demographic and re-emphasized that these would be for sale units.
When Mr Gullace was finished, Bob Cantwell from BME Associates took the podium to make his points from the standpoint of the Engineering firm responsible for the redesign. In addition to the points covered above, Mr. Cantwell mentioned that this was a transitional piece of property with houses valued in the 150 thousand range to the South and in the mid 200 thousand to the North. He did not indicate the proposed price point for the townhomes.
He also indicated that the Utilities would connect to existing services for both the water and sewer systems. Distressing to me was that he indicated the sewer service would connect through Harlan Fisher Park. This means a significant disruption to the availability of the park during the construction of this project. Two drainage ponds would be created to handle stormwater. He did not address the artesian well under the property.
When Mr. Cantwell completed his presentation, the board members asked specific questions.
Meg Chaides- Victor Village Planning Board: Chair
Question: In the Village portion how are the Streetlamps and Sidewalks handled?
Ans: Yes as previously discussed, Streetlamps and Sidewalks will be installed. Sidewalk to be extended along the East side of Co. Rd. #9 to the entrance of the new development.
Question: Are there any drainage issues addressed.
Ans: The general concept is the same, drainage tiles will be installed.
Joe Logan This is a vast improvement with respect to density.
Question: Reiterated Meg’s question on sidewalks.
Question: Connections to Harlan Fisher Park
Ans: Footpaths will be provided to keep pedestrian traffic off the main roads.
Statement: He has concerns about the traffic and infrastructure. What was supportable when the re-zoning occurred may not be viable or supportable with the systems in place at this time. This may be a significant challenge given the current demands on the system.
Statement: The Traffic study indicated that the impacted intersections at Church/Rt. 96, Lynaugh/Rt. 96, and Co. Rd. #9/Lynaugh were already in a failing situation. “Compounding a failing situation is not desirable.” ( The County of Ontario planning board agrees and has voted Disapprove: Motion 49, 49.1 and 49.2: Class 2: Disapprove. Carried by unanimous vote)
Statement: This development does not address nor has control of the current conditions but the traffic issue needs to be solved.
Heather Zollo Concerned with the traffic issues and Infrastructure issues
Question: Regarding the common drive at the end of the Cul-de-sac. This looks like an awkward situation for the Emergency Responders.
Ans: Would be maintained by a Home Owners Association created for the 3 units that this drive services.
Statement: We will need the Emergency Responders to comment on this
Ans: Is similar to the way the roads are handled in the Drumlins on the other side of town. The extension to the West would be a private drive.
Question: Have you run any models with single family homes and Duplexes?
Ans: The current zoning is Multiple Dwelling (MD). The yield of single family homes would not make the proposal feasible.
Question: Have any questions arisen regarding transfer of development rights?
Ans: No incentives have been addressed or have been deemed to be necessary.
Following this question and answer discussion, Victor’s Traffic Consultant Jennifer was asked to speak.
Jennifer indicated that no new traffic study had been performed but having reviewed the proposal she indicated that the traffic would increase slightly. She said 7 out and 4 in. I was unable to clarify what the time factor for that increase meant as we were unable to ask questions at this meeting.
Jennifer also indicated that the failing intersection at Co. Rd. #9/ Lynaugh Rd could be mitigated with the addition of a 4 way stop. This would raise the level of the intersection to B.
Ontario County has indicated that this is not currently an option.
This ended the Gullace Project section of the Planning board meeting.
Following this, John Palomaki stepped to the podium and indicated that he was the lead on this project for the County Planning Board and that his term on the Ontario County Planning Board was expiring. If they wished to have him continue then he would need to be reappointed to the County Planning Board.
I have been keeping up with the buzz around this project and was quite disheartened by the article that appeared in the Daily Messenger. While the breakdown of the project was precise, the interviews that were presented are not actually addressing the concerns of much of the community. While one calls the opponents of this project “elitist”, I would disagree. We have legitimate concerns that don’t appear to be addressed.
The first interview:
Among the few who logged positive comments was Kelly Kane, a young graduate student in search of her first apartment. She wrote, “I’m fully in support of any projects that can bring in more housing for students such as myself …”
This indicates that a young graduate student is looking for a rental. While this may have been available in the previous instance of this development, that is now not available. It has been specifically stated that the demographic being marketed is 55 and over. While she may wish to move to Victor(the schools for young starting families are quite attractive) the targeted demographic does not include her. Does this mean that she wouldn’t be welcome in Victor, no, but it does indicate that even though this development is being marketed to empty nesters, it is quite attractive to a younger demographic.
Currently, the Victor School System is at capacity, funding from the State will not increase and an additional influx of new students will exacerbate an already tense situation in the school system.
The second interview:
“To be blunt, I don’t know how to take this any other way than as thinly veiled elitism,” Kane wrote in response to negative online comments about the project. “I believe the apartments would, in fact, help the town bring in a population of young professionals, many of whom could start families right here in Victor, helping the town to move forward and continue to prosper. The idea that apartment renters somehow inherently ruin a town is quite simply offensive.”
Also indicates a younger demographic is interested in moving to Victor and would like to have their children in the school system here. In both of these cases, the demographic that is being proposed (55 and older) does not fit the reality of the situation. The project can be marketed to a specific demographic but cannot control the demographic that is not being addressed.
The Planning Board did ask some good questions regarding the traffic issues. They failed to address the concerns of the County however. Speed Limits through this area are 55 and drop to 25 at the Village line. There is a dip that makes the Hillcrest Drive intersection dangerous. NY State has indicated that there will be no changes to this layout. The County, Town and Village do not control this aspect of the traffic. The Ontario County Planning Board has already disapproved of this project. This means that a super-majority of the Town Planning Board will need to vote to override this project. Given all of the negatives that are present in this project is this something that we want to encourage?
During the introduction to the meeting. Chairman Santoro indicated that anyone that wants to be kept informed regarding this project should send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org and request to be kept updated on the current progress. You can also contact them via snail mail at: Planning/Zoning, 85 East Main St., Victor, NY 14564
The next meeting of the Planning Board will be on October 14, 2014
Please feel free to leave your comments. I will compile them and present them to the Planning Board.