Weekly Feature

2015-05-27 / Local News

Code amendments would address retail, turbines


The size and scope of future development projects in the town was under discussion during the town Planning Board meeting on May 20.

Two amendment draft proposals were brought before the public to address small-scale retail, as well as the height of wind turbines, cellular antennas and other structures that have proved to be figurative lightning rods in the community in recent months.

During a meeting in April, the Planning Board heard from developers who hoped small-scale retail in multifamily housing projects in the restricted business zone would not be too hampered by space limits as low as 2,000 square feet. An amendment to the Multifamily Housing Special Exception Use Permit Law if approved by the Town Board would set the limit at 2,500.

“What we’re really doing is looking at an opportunity within the restricted business zone to allow small retail facilities in that zoning area, which are currently excluded,” Planning Board member Paul Shear said. “We have professional office buildings, those kinds of things, but not retail as we all generally know it and define it. What we’re doing is adding that to the restricted business area.”

Jim Callahan, director of community development, added that the amendment applies only to mixed-use projects. Under the amendment, no automotive sales, service or collision repairs will be allowed. Drive-thrus are also prohibited.

Planning Board member Steve Dale opposed the amendment as it was set to be sent to the Town Board for review, saying he felt it wasn’t specific enough.

“I want to go on the record as saying that I remain against this,” Dale said. “I think the code remains too vague, and I would like to see permitted uses specifically enumerated. … I am afraid this will lead to inconsistency and more deliberation in the future.”

An amendment to the Satellite, Antennas and Towers Law was also discussed, in the hope of alleviating the influx of petitions to the Zoning Board of Appeals for variances related to wind turbines. Multiple turbines that exceed the town’s 60-foot height limit have been erected throughout Clarence in recent months.

“The Planning Board feels there is some degree of urgency with this law because of the petitions to the Zoning Board of Appeals,”

Planning Board Chairman Robert Sackett said. “The code was written probably 15 years ago, and the technology has changed.”

The height amendment allows for turbines up to 140 feet, depending on the zoning of the property. It would not affect the neighbors of Thompson Brothers Greenhouse — which proposed turbines of 150 and 133 feet on two separate occasions — because the property is in a residential single-family zone, which limits height to 60 feet.

In another matter, Emerling Insurance received development plan approval for a proposed 6,200-square-foot office building at 9092 Main St.

The next Planning Board meeting is scheduled for 7:30 p.m. Wednesday, June 17, at Town Hall, 1 Town Place.

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