Meeting Minutes : Planning Commission


Pittsford Planning Commission Meeting    

October 24, 2013


Board Members Present: Kathryn Brown, Chris Beitzel, Don Nickless, Mike Gecha, Trish Lewis


Board Members Absent:


Also in Attendance:Ken Niemczyk – Zoning Administrator, James Bourne


1.  Call to order


The meeting was called to order at 7:00PM by Don Nickless, Chair.      


2.  Administrative Matters


There was no discussion held.


3.  Public Hearings


a) Old Business


There was no discussion held.   


b) New Business


There was no discussion held.  


4. Deliberation


There was no discussion held.  


5.  Public Comments


There was no discussion held.  


6.  Other Business


a)   Review of Landscaping Plan Pursuant to the Conditional Approval of a Site Plan Submitted by James Bourne for JLB Branson Enterprises, Inc.


Don Nickless opened the discussion for the review of the Landscaping Plan submitted by James Bourne for JLB Branson Enterprise, Inc. and turned the discussion over to Trish Lewis who had presided over the hearing. Trish Lewis stated one of the conditions for approval of the site plan was submission of a landscaping plan to the Planning Commission. Jim Bourne provided a presentation on the landscaping plan submitted for approval.  Mr. Bourne has been working on this plan with Wade Mitchell and had made attempts to include Mr. Crossman in these efforts. The plan consists of a double row of pines being planted along the property line, in addition to a third row of a fast-growing species, such as lilac bushes or the type of bush that turns red in the fall. On the remainder of the property near the wet area, there will be 20 to 25 willow trees planted. He has been advised there will likely be a 50% success rate in planting this time of the year and replacements will be planted in the spring, if required. Ms. Lewis asked how far the willows will be planted from the septic due to the root systems. Mr. Bourne advised they would be planted a sufficient distract from Mr. Mitchell’s property to avoid this issue. Mr. Bourne stated that Mr. Mitchell has a great deal of knowledge about the property and is aware of the underground water issues.  There has been discussion of potentially reducing the top of the hill to help Mr. Mitchell with his water issues and Mr. Bourne advised he may be coming back to the Planning Commission with a proposal for this change. Mr. Bourne stated his property and the two properties to the north of his property have a large amount of water that creates the water issues that Mr. Mitchell has. Mr. Mitchell also showed Mr. Bourne the issue with the undersized culvert. Mr. Bourne reiterated his intention to plant three rows of screening instead of just one. Trish Lewis advised that blueberry bushes and burning bushes are the shrubs that turn red in the fall, however, the burning bush is an evasive species and the state is encouraging people not to plant them.  Mr. Bourne advised that Mr. Mitchell will also be planting blueberry bushes on Mr. Bourne’s property. In considering what to plant, he found the maple trees would be several hundred dollars and is the reason he has chosen to go with pines. 


Trish Lewis has viewed the plantings and she is in agreement with the landscaping plan.  She likes the layered plan, as the pines will be year round coverage and the others will lose their leaves in the fall. Mr. Bourne noted that he had tried to involve the Crossmans; however, they had not expressed an interest in participating in the planning. He stated the condos do not really see much of his property from where they are located. He is doing three rows of planting, with a dual line of pines and another planting in the spring.  He would like to pave the front of the store; however, Markowski has indicated that it would not be possible due to the amount of water on the property.


A motion was made by Mike Gecha and seconded by Kathryn Brown to accept the landscaping plan submitted by James Bourne for JLB Branson Enterprises, Inc. The motion passed unanimously.


b)  Status of Revisions to Zoning Regulations


Ken Niemczyk provided copies of the proposed zoning map to the Board members that the Regional Planning Commission developed. Don Nickless provided a copy of a letter drafted to the Select Board to obtain feedback on the proposed revisions of the zoning map. Mr. Nickless has not received any comments from the Select Board at this point. Copies of both the existing map and the proposed map have been provided to the Select Board. Mr. Nickless suggested postponement of the hearing until feedback is obtained from the Select Board. It was noted that the proposed changes to the zoning map are to conform with the ‘goals’ stated in state Planning and Development Act, to reflect public input during the previous two updates to our Town Plan, and to recognize previous recommendations from the RRPC. Existing development in the commercial zone area to be rezoned rural would be ‘grandfathered’. Mr. Nickless stated the boundaries drawn should be on both sides of the road, which would require an adjustment of the map. Ken Niemczyk suggested the Planning Commission start discussion at a more basic level in determining what kind of character people want Pittsford to have. The way the present zoning map exists, it is calling for strip development. If that is contrary to the character of what people desire, there needs to be a change. Mr. Nickless agreed that once feedback is obtained from the Select Board, conversation can take place in a public forum to express sentiments.


During the September 5th meeting, a motion was made to set a public hearing on November 7th to discuss the zoning map. Mr. Nickless suggested including an information segment during the next Planning Commission meeting for discussion of the zoning map. A recommendation was made to change the November Planning Commission meeting to November 21, 2013. Ken Niemczyk will review the law relative to permit applications received once proposed changes to the zoning map are under discussion. Mr. Nickless will make an increased effort to obtain feedback from the Select Board. A suggestion was made for the Planning Commission members to attend the Select Board meeting of November 6th to answer any questions they may have concerning the zoning map.   


A motion was made by Don Nickless and seconded by Chris Beitzel to amend the motion made on September 5, 2013 to hold a public hearing on November 7, 2013 for the purpose of amending the town zoning map to holding the public hearing on December 19th, 2013.  The motion passed unanimously.


Don Nickless reported that Ken Niemczyk, Trish Lewis and he have been working on the updates to the zoning regulations. Ms. Lewis has volunteered to draft a document of the changes made, which will be emailed to the Planning Commission members within the week for review and comment. Mike Gecha stated he has emailed information regarding residential wind turbines to the Commission members that he suggests would be acceptable to use. Mr. Nickless thanked Ms. Lewis for her assistance with the draft. Mr. Niemczyk stated that wind turbines, as they relate to residential use, have a distinctive sound (whamp, whamp, whamp) when the winds are high.  He noted that he can hear a residential wind turbine that is installed one-half mile from his house. Mr. Nickless noted that he had found a document on the internet entitled A Guide to Drafting Wind Turbine Regulations which could provide further information in drafting our regulations. Mr. Niemczyk suggested placing information of this nature in the health regulations.


Don Nickless questioned the status of the Rules of Procedure and the Conflict of Interest policy.  Ken Niemczyk reported the information has been put into the computer and has been voted on and approved. Mr. Niemczyk will provide a hardcopy to the Planning Commission. Don Nickless provided a schedule of VLCT seminars for Mr. Niemczyk to distribute to the Planning Commission members.


Mike Gecha reported he has received complaints about the condition of the property where the driving range is located. Ken Niemczyk stated this has been zoned for retail and a permit was not required for a change in the product being sold, as it is not a change of use. It was suggested a letter could be written to educate the property owner about the town’s Junk Ordinance.  As this is not the authority of the Planning Commission, it was suggested the Zoning Administrator discuss this with the Town Manager to determine if something can be done.



7. Next Regular Meeting                   


Thursday, November 21, 2013 @ 7:00PM at the Pittsford Town Office.  Note that subsequent to the meeting the date for the next meeting was changed to December 5th.



8. Adjournment


A motion was made by Don Nickless and seconded by Trish Lewis to adjourn the Pittsford Planning Commission meeting at 8:10PM. The motion passed unanimously. 


Respectfully submitted,



Charlene Bryant
Recording Secret




Approved by,




 The Pittsford Planning Commission