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Stillhouse Brewpub Approval Slated for August

Planning Board Reviews EVGV Trailhead

By Jann Wiswall

Review of plans for the Stillhouse Brewpub and Distillery was hung up by procedural issues and it will take another month before the town planning board can approve it.

At its July 25 meeting, Town Planner Gary Palumbo explained that the county planning board must approve the project before the town planning board can give its final OK. He said the necessary documentation did not get to the county in time to be placed on its July meeting agenda, so it will be addressed there in August.

Another delay is the fact that a letter to the owners of the adjacent property to inform them of the public hearing was sent to only one of two owners. Both must have the opportunity to comment. As a result, the public hearing that was opened at Monday’s meeting was left open until the August meeting.

The good news is that all remaining issues with the property, including those brought up by the one owner who did get the public hearing notice, have been solved to everyone’s satisfaction. The only change the board made was spelling out that the Brewpub owner is responsible for long-term maintenance of the drainage system.

Jennie Acklin, a member of the Ellicottville-Great Valley Trail board (and is the publisher of this newspaper), and town engineer Mark Alianello (who also serves on the board) asked the planning board for a “courtesy review” of the committee’s plan to construct a kiosk/pergola that doubles as the entrance to the Nannen Arboretum and to the trailhead.

Acklin explained that Ellicottville BOCES students sawed the lumber for the structure as part of their coursework in the spring and their teacher will oversee its construction beginning with the start of the new school year in September.

The planning board reviewed the site plan and information provided and determined that the proposed trailhead structure and land use does not require planning board approval. As such, no action was taken. However, Palumbo advised that he and the town’s code enforcement officer would send a letter for the trail committee’s file confirming its thinking on the matter.

Planning board members also made a point to express their support for the trail.

At last week’s town board meeting, planning board member John Zerfus suggested that it is time to review the town’s comprehensive plan. The board agreed and town supervisor Matt McAndrew said the first step should be to compile a list of topics that need to be addressed. In relaying this suggestion to his fellow board members, Zerfus asked that each take some time to read through the existing plan and think about what issues have come up over the past several years that might warrant changes.  Palumbo said he would use that information to craft a work plan and prepare an estimate for his time that the town board that can include in next year’s budget.

The next meeting of the town planning board is scheduled for Monday, August 22 at 6 p.m. in the town/village hall.

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