By Jann Wiswall
The Town of Ellicottville’s Planning Board set a public hearing for a farm stand special use permit and will be seeking the Town Board’s approval to review zoning ordinances for similar seasonal or temporary businesses.
The request for a Saturday-only organic produce stand adjacent to the parking lot of Dionne Kress’ Groove Fitness club on Rt. 219 will be decided following a public hearing scheduled for the board’s July 27 meeting. Kress hopes to operate the stand from August through October from 8 a.m.-5 p.m.
The Kress farm stand is in an Ellicottville commercial zone, which requires the special use permit. The recommendation for review of ordinances, however, came as a result of another business owner who has opened a weekend-only barbeque chicken and ribs business on private property at Rt. 219 and Irish Hill Rd., which is in an agricultural/residential zone.
The owner, Tom Zukic, explained to the board that he has been operating the “Smokin’ Tom’s BBQ” location for several months. Zukic has obtained necessary permits from the County Health Department, and Town Code Enforcement Officer Tom Abriatis has been working with him to ensure the operation meets town regulations for what Abriatis classified as a farm stand.
Because the BBQ is in an agricultural/residential zone, Town Planner Carol Horowitz explained that the BBQ, if considered a “farm stand,” is an allowed use under current zoning law and, therefore, doesn’t need a planning board permit. But, she said, it doesn’t quite fit the farm stand definition, nor does it fit the only other designation available – a restaurant. More accurately, she thought, it could be defined as a “food truck,” and the town does not have ordinances in place regarding food trucks.
Horowitz suggested that the planning board consider whether and how it wants to deal with food trucks in the future, given the growing popularity of such businesses and the likelihood that the issue will come to the board’s attention.
The board agreed and will take up the issue pending town board approval of its request.
The next meeting of the Town Planning Board will be held on Monday, July 27 at 6 p.m. in the town/village hall.