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Village Planning Board Addresses Compliance Issues

By Jann Wiswall

The Village Planning Board met on Tuesday, February 11, to take action on applications for a special use permit and a site plan/architectural review, and to review a number of ongoing issues.

The special use permit was for a proposal to put an apartment in an existing accessory garage at 9 Mechanic Street. After confirming that a separate water meter had been installed by the owners for the apartment, the board approved the application and set a public hearing for its next meeting.

The site plan/architectural review was for a second story addition at 5 Elizabeth Street. The footprint of the home will not change; a second floor will be added to the existing first floor extension. The board approved the plan. The owners of the home also are proposing to add a separate garage. That project will not be considered until the Zoning Board of Appeals rules on a zoning variance.

Following these decisions, planning board members discussed some ongoing topics.

Ellicottville Brewing Company owner Peter Kreinheder had inquired earlier this year about constructing a dance/band floor in the beer garden area of the restaurant. No plans have yet been received by the planning board, so no action was necessary. However, the board is still concerned about improper keg storage at the property. Kegs are being haphazardly stacked outside and pose a safety hazard for pedestrians. They also violate the property maintenance code. And, the board had made proper storage a condition of the original building permit.

The board asked Code Enforcement Officer Tom Abriatis to prepare formal letters when these situations arise, stating that the property owner is not in compliance. The letters will include a deadline for rectifying the situation. If the situation is not rectified by that date, formal appearance tickets will be issued.

Because this has been a chronic issue with several developers in the Village who have not complied with conditions of their permits in a timely fashion, board member Jack Kramer suggested that the board should not entertain new permit requests or projects until those conditions are met. He also suggested that certificates of occupancy should be held until all conditions are met. He proposed that language to that effect be drafted and sent to the Village attorney for review. The board agreed; planning board engineer Jason Paananen will take the lead on drafting that language.

In other business, planning board Chair Nancy Rogan said she has had very preliminary and tentative discussions with John Northrup and Peter Krog about a possible reuse plan for the 1887 building. The idea is for a condominium building with a dozen or so units, underground parking for one car per unit, and additional outside parking. No plans have been submitted to date.

Rogan also suggested that it is time for the planning board to update its comprehensive plan. This must be done before zoning maps can be redrawn.

The next meeting of the Village Planning Board is scheduled for Tuesday, March 11 at 5:30 p.m. in the Village/Town Hall.

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