HANOVER - The Hanover Town Board took action Monday to give the planning board more oversight on new development in the business district.
In the past year, the town board has asked the planning board to look into ways to help with the storm water problem in Sunset Bay, which stems in part from runoff from Routes 5 and 20, both the road and the businesses.
The Planning Board asked the town board to amend the zoning law so that it could have site plan review over all development, both business and residential, in the business district.
OBSERVER Photo by Nicole Gugino
Planning Board member Peter Gibson explained a new local law will allow the Planning Board to be involved in new developments on Routes 5 and 20 in order to prevent water runoff damage from possibly harming properties in Sunset Bay and other low areas.
Prior to the amendment, if a development did not need a special use permit or other special permit, the code enforcement officer would issue a building permit without the planning board needing to review any plans.
"The planning board would like to be more involved and have more input in site development in the business district," Planning Board Chairwoman Carol Depasquale explained.
Planning Board Member Peter Gibson said this has to do with protecting property down hill.
"The main thing is Sunset Bay and Hanford Bay flood a lot. The more development you have, the more pavement you have and the more runoff you have. We need to find a way for development not to affect property down stream. The planning board wants to make sure people's property is not in jeopardy by future development," he said.
The town board held a public hearing on the amendment Monday.
Resident Kelly Borrello said she was in favor of the measure but asked if there are any guidelines for future business development.
"We are ripe for development. the time for development is here. Now is the time for the right guidelines," she said.
She compared Niagara Falls Boulevard in Amherst to Tonawanda, saying you could see the difference in the planning guidelines for the businesses between the towns, in terms of more green space and better ability to go between businesses in Amherst. She also compared this to Route 60 in Fredonia, pointing out the difficulty getting between businesses, which leads to traffic congestion.
"It can look so much nicer if they have guidelines. You need development standards. I have done research and there are similar documents in Orchard Park and Amherst. It is a good step, and now is the time to put the standards in place," she added.
Supervisor Todd Johnson said the planning board will be updating the 2000 comprehensive plan, which could include these standards.
Resident Frank Boniface said he did not think that planning for future development would make a difference in the runoff if the town could not convince the Department of Transportation to reroute its drainage.
The amendment was passed as Local Law 4 of 2013.
The board also approved Ronald Brennan for another seven-year term on the planning board, and appointed Ed Schintzius to a one-year term, fulfilling the late Dolores DeTolla's term on the planning board.
Brandyn Griewisch was appointed to a full-time position in the highway department at a salary of $28,945 after the retirement of Robert Davis. Adam Graf was appointed to a part-time laborer position at a rate of $13.50 per hour. Highway Superintendent Steve D'Angelo explained this position was filled in anticipation of another upcoming retirement, upon which Graf will have gotten his CDL license.
The board also approved carrying over four vacation days for Court Clerk Donna Gibbon.
The board will next meet on Jan. 13.