Project Update: Ellicottville Vacation Properties
Winzen Group Moving Forward with Development
By Eva Potter
Raymond Zenkovich, chief operating officer of the Winzen Group of Companies, has been coming to Ellicottville for about 15 years, because he and his family enjoy what Ellicottville has to offer in all seasons. This prompted him to make an even bigger investment when his company purchased approximately 53 acres of land in the Town of Great Valley about 10 years ago.
“We are a Canadian company, but the company that actually owns the land is an American company, a subsidiary of us,” explained Zenkovich. The project, called Ellicottville Vacation Properties, is in the process of submitting various applications to receive required approvals so building can begin on the planned subdivision of 47 single-family homes
Yvonne Darts, chairman of the Great Valley Planning Board, said, “As you look at it from (Route) 219, it’s going to be on the hill. Down on the flat area is going to be where the wells and the sewage treatment are. The lower part of the hill is the part they’re going to develop first, and they they’ll do the upper part. It’s one long strip of property that goes straight up the hill. It doesn’t go around or behind the school.”
Zoning for the parcel was changed to high density to allow smaller lot sizes of 15,000 square feet, a little under one-third acre. This development will occupy about 25 acres of the 53-acre parcel.
Zenkovich, whose company has over two decades of real estate development experience, said, “We’ve had many kicks of the can, many redrafts of the site, and the last configuration is designated for 47 ‘chalets’ more towards the top of the hill, and the land at the bottom of the hill will not be developed at this time.”
According the Mark Alianello, engineer for the Town of Great Valley, “(Winzen) is preparing a preliminary plat application in preparation for property subdivision.” Once this is approved, applications must be submitted to the Cattaraugus County Health Department for approval of the water supply and water distribution system and to the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation for approval of wastewater collection and disposal, he explained.
Alianello said the Town of Great Valley has a subdivision review local law that describes all the things that need to be done, including some level of detail on wastewater, fire protection and sewage, which includes a septic tank and a soil absorption field serving only this development. This is basically a wastewater treatment facility for this development only.
“Anybody that buys into that development, they’re the ones who pay for the water, the sewage treatment, the maintenance of it and the construction of it. The town pays nothing on that,” said Yvonne Darts, chairman of the Great Valley Planning Board. “We’ve worked with (Winzen) to make sure the roads are wide enough and that the turns are wide enough to make sure we can get the emergency vehicles up in there.”
Glenn Cooley of E&M Engineers and Surveyors, PC, the site design engineering firm for this project, said his company is responsible for laying out the lots and designing the roads, water lines and sewers, among other things. He said there are two wells proposed to serve the subdivision.
Cooley said, “The actual lots start about 1,500 feet west of Route 219 and go up the hill from there. It does go up into the woods.”
The lots cannot be offered for sale yet, per Alianello. He said, “One of the approvals they need, after they get preliminary plat approval, DEC approval and health department approval for the water and sewer, then the health department will issue what’s known as a realty subdivision approval. That’s a New York State approval and it’s issued by the county health department. NYS law says they cannot even offer for sale those lots until they have that approval.”
It could take six months to a year to get all the approvals, according to Zenkovich. No future public hearings have been scheduled yet.