One of the highlights of Thursday night’s four-hour Geneseo Town Board meeting was a public hearing on the proposed re-zoning of three residential parcels near the top of Morganview Drive owned by Peter Bruckel to allow for professional office use. The proposal which has been wending its way through the town and county planning boards for the past few months with generally favorable reviews, received harsh criticism from Ken Book who lives directly across Reservoir Road from the lots.
Book said it pained him to speak against any proposal that involved economic development, but then made a number of arguments against the re-zoning. First he labeled it “spot zoning” because it was being done to benefit just one landowner. Book claimed it might require three separate curb cuts on Morganview which could represent a traffic safety issue. He also said that commercial construction could disrupt the drainage of the runoff from about 75 acres that currently runs through the property.
Town Attorney Jim Coniglio countered that just because the re-zoning would only benefit one landowner did not automatically make it spot zoning. He said the legal test was whether the proposed new use was totally out of character with the neighborhood.
As for the drainage and traffic issues, Coniglio said that the board should deal with them in a SEQR review. Board member Mike Tenalio also expressed concern about traffic safety on Reservoir Road. Coniglio indicated that the board could ask for a traffic study as part of a SEQR review.
In other business, the board voted to discontinue the Solar Bee program after scientific evidence failed to establish that the devices were actually causing any improvement in lake quality. The Solar Bees spent two summers in the lake, but the board decided to join the Town of Livonia and the CLA in canceling the lease and letting the manufacturer take the machines back. A good roundup of the Solar Bee issue was published Thursday in the Rochester D & C.
After concluding the regular agenda, the board went into a 90-minute executive session to discuss various personnel issues. The board was joined by Supervisor-elect Will Wadsworth and a series of department heads including Planning Board Chair Dwight Folts. Finally, around 11 p.m., the board came back into regular session and approved an amended salary schedule for town employees for the 2008 budget.
There will be one more, short, year-end meeting for the board before the new Supervisor takes office. That was set for Thursday Dec. 27 at 2 p.m. The new board’s organizational meeting has been set for Thursday, January 3 at 4 p.m.