Category Archives: Uncategorized

County Planning Board to consider GTC tonight

The Livingston County Planning Board will consider the proposed Geneseo Town Centre proposal at its monthly meeting tonight. The board had considered the project two years ago, but that was premature for an official referral, since the General Municipal Law requires the board to have all the evidence from the SEQR process before it.

Since the Geneseo Planning Board completed the SEQR process by approving Findings last month, which included mitigations that reduced the size of the Lowe’s building and required it to face Volunteer Road, the matter is now ripe for County Planning Board action.

PDDG members Bill Lofquist and Corrin Strong have sent a memo to County Planning Board members urging the board to reject the project as not in keeping with the town or the county’s master plan and policies. The memo also takes particular aim at the access driveway opposite Morganview Drive, which they say is in violation of the Gateway District zoning, will create a major traffic problems and encourage future commercial sprawl to the east.

The memo urges the County Board to recommend that the Morganview access either be eliminated or restricted to delivery trucks and emergency vehicles. The meeting begins at 7 p.m. at the Alice Wadsworth Strong room at the Livingston County Building.

PDDG calls for negative or mitigated finding on Newman FEIS

Please Don’t Destroy Geneseo has delivered a 120-page report to members of the Geneseo Town Planning Board calling for either a negative or a mitigated finding under SEQR on the Newman PDD application. The Planning Board will take up the matter at its regular meeting next Monday, May 12.

The core of PDDG memo is a 14-page report arguing that the board should find that the proposed Lowe’s Big Box can not be built without causing adverse environmental impact. The report also suggests a number of areas where additional mitigation is needed, if the board should decide to move the project forward.

These mitigations include eliminating access to Rt. 20-A at Morganview Drive and orienting the building to face Volunteer Road. PDDG argues that both of these are required by the underlying zoning for the Gateway District. The report also includes a 3-page executive summary, and over 100 pages of supporting material in 5 appendices.

A copy of the report full report is available for public examination at Mattie’s Cafe on Main Street in Geneseo. The Planning Board meeting will be at 7 p.m. Monday at the Town Hall on Millennium Drive.

Clinton and McCain carry county and state

Hillary Clinton and John McCain cruised to easy victories in Livingston County and across New York State in party primaries Tuesday. Clinton beat Barack Obama 62 to 35 per cent in the county, with John Edwards polling 2 per cent. That was better than her statewide margin of 57 to 40 per cent. Clinton appeared to have won every county in the state except Tompkins County, which includes the student-heavy City of Ithaca.

John McCain did win every county in the state including Livingston by a margin of 43 to 32 per cent over Mitt Romney with Mike Huckabee taking 15 per cent. Statewide McCain won 51 per cent to 28 for Romney and 10 for Huckabee. Ron Paul finished fourth statewide with about 6 per cent of the vote.

Eight Republican candidates were on the primary ballot and all received at least some votes in Livingston County. By percentage, Ron Paul had 5 %, Rudy Guiliani 2% and Fred Thompson got 1%.

In the delegate race, John McCain took all 87 Republican delegates under the state party’s winner-take-all rule. In the Democratic race, however, the delegate result was not immediately clear because of a complicated formula for proportional allotment of delegates.

Unofficial individual town results within Livingston County showed Clinton dominating in much of the county, but Obama taking Geneseo by a slim margin, 429-420. Obama won the Village of Geneseo by better than 2-1, taking 305 votes to Clinton’s 147.

Romney had pockets of strength in the county winning 4 of 7 districts in Livonia, although he narrowly lost the town to McCain 233-224. He also won two districts in Avon and one in Geneseo. Mike Huckabee won District 2 in Lima.

Overall, the Democratic race inspired a bigger turnout. Countywide, 37 per cent of the 10,249 registered Democrats turned out, versus 26 per cent of the 17,069 enrolled Republicans. Geneseo led the Democrat turn-out with 48.1%, with Avon bringing out 43.9%.

On the Republican side the most spirited race was in Lima where 34% of the party faithful turned out. The Town of Portage turned out 33%, with Avon following with 31.5%. Only 29.8% of Geneseo Republicans turned out.

Dismissal of Planning Board member causes outcry in Greene County

In a case with great similarity to recent developments in Geneseo, a controversy has erupted in the Town of New Baltimore (Greene County, NY) over the failure of the town board to re-appointed a member of the town planning board who spoke out against a proposed major development. As reported in a Albany Times Union article, the vice chairman and a six-year incumbent on the board was not re-appointed at the town’s organizational meeting last week.

The member, James Coe, was praised by the Chairman of the Planning Board as having, “exceptional skills, exceptional background, exceptional education that suited him for the board.” Coe’s supporters suspect he was dismissed because of his opposition to a massive retail project planned at the Thruway’s Coxsackie exit.

Coe apparently wrote a letter to the editor of a local newspaper last summer opposing theĀ  project as “way too big.” His dismissal has angered members of a local citizens group organized to oppose the project. Members of Citizens for Alternatives to the Multi-Use Park, or CAMP, are urging members to contact town officials and to send letters to editors of local newspapers.

One of their complaints is the secrecy surrounding the decision. The Chairman of the Planning Board and members of the Town Board who were unable to attend the organizational meeting were not informed in advance of the decision. The Town Supervisor declined to comment saying it was a “personnel matter.”

Special prosecutor appointed in Petitiongate

Patricia Marks, Supervising Judge for the Criminal Courts in the 7th Judicial District, has appointed attorney Dale Worrall of the Rochester law firm of Harris Beach as Special Prosecutor to look into the allegations surrounding alleged irregularities in the witnessing of Conservative Party nominating petitions in the Town of Geneseo. (See previous story on Petitiongate).

The petitions, filed in July, allowed incumbent Supervisor Wes Kennison, and town board members Hop Manapol and David Dwyer to appear together on the Conservative line in the fall election. The petitions were challenged over alleged irregularities at the Board of Elections, but that challenge was thrown out on a technicality. The same irregularities then became the subject of a criminal investigation.

Moran had requested the appointment in papers filed on August 10, and had recently expressed some frustration over the delay in making the appointment since a state police investigation of the matter is already underway. Moran, however, disputed the accuracy of comments critical of Judge Marks attributed to him in a story in this week’s LC News story.

“I’m not sure why it took almost a month to make this appointment” Moran told the Clarion News Blog. “I just want this matter to move forward so that it can be cleared up one way or another.” Moran said that he has received a number of questions from citizens wondering what was holding up the investigation. “It’s frustrating, but there was nothing that I could do about it, ” he said. “It was totally out of my hands.”

In papers requesting the appointment of the Special prosecutor, Moran said that because of his relationship with several of the key people in the matter, he felt his office could not make a decision without causing the public to suspect the integrity of his office. Harris Beach currently also represents the Town of Geneseo Planning Board as special counsel in the Newman SEQR review, although they do not serve as Town Attorneys.

Planning Board defers decision on DEIS completeness

The Geneseo Town Planning Board and Newman Development reached an agreement Monday night to extend the September 3 deadline for the board to decide whether the 900-page Draft Environment Impact Statement (DEIS) submitted by the developer is complete. The board had 45 days to make such a finding after the DEIS was submitted in July. That deadline, which was due to run out on Labor Day, was extended for one week until Sept. 10.

In the extra week, representatives from the developer and the town’s engineers are supposed to meet and try to narrow the list of incomplete items which the town’s consultants have found. Representatives from MRB Engineering and traffic consultant Stantec had produced a memo with a long list of incomplete items last week.

Representatives from Newman attempted to rebut those claims Monday, but the process was handicapped by the absence of chief MRB engineer Mike Guyon who was unable to attend the meeting. Newman representatives agreed to the one week extension, when it became clear that the board was prepared to vote that the DEIS was incomplete.

The board could still make such a finding at its next meeting on September 10. If such a finding is made, Newman would have to make changes to the DEIS and resubmit it. After re-submittal, the Planning Board would then have an additional 30 days to decide again on the completeness of the revised document.

Following acceptance of the document as complete, a public review process will take place culminating in a public hearing. The public was not allowed to comment during last night’s proceedings and a dispute has arisen as to whether the DEIS and related memos are public documents.

Newman attorney Tom Greiner said last night that he believed the DEIS should not have been made public under the Freedom of Information law. Nevertheless, the document is available for public inspection at the town hall, and PDDG member Bill Lofquist has filed a FOIL request to get copies of all memos submitted to the town by the developer’s representatives. (That FOIL, which includes Opinions from the Open Government Committee, is available as a pdf on The PDDG File.)

Lofquist reports that despite the developers attempts to hide their arguments from the public, “There are multiple advisory opinions of the Committee on Open Government which pertain directly to DEIS’s, all of which take the position that those materials prepared by the applicant and its agents are fully subject to disclosure.”

Independent petitions filed in town races

With Tuesday the deadline for filing independent petitions, a flurry of last-minute filings came in this week from five towns. Geneseo led with three independent petitions in the hotly contested races for Supervisor and town board. One petition each were filed for the town races in Lima, Groveland, Leicester and Springwater.

In Geneseo, the incumbent candidates who had already filed to be on the Conservative line, filed 241 signatures on the Common Sense line. The Democrat slate was put on the Geneseo’s Future line with 240 signatures. Independent candidate Corrin Strong filed 177 signatures to run for Supervisor on the Geneseo First line. Only 132 good signatures were needed. (For an analysis of the petitions in these races, see Corrin’s Campaign Blog).

In Lima, members of the Lima Citizens for Responsible Development Cathy Gardner and Dan Marcellus filed 123 signatures on petitions to run for town board on the Lima Citizens line. Only 78 were need to get on the ballot.

The pair are also planning to run in the Lima Republican caucus on Sept. 4. Incumbent Harold Harris will be seeking re-election, although incumbent Greg Otterbein has said he will not. The Lima Town Board was involved in the bruising battle over a proposed Super Wal-Mart last year, which the Lima Citizens opposed.

Another Republican, Bill Carey, has also announced his candidacy for the town board. The caucus will be held at 7 p.m. in the basement of the town hall. The Democratic caucus will take place in the same location on Sept. 12. So far there are no announced candidates on the Democratic side.

The Republican slates in Groveland and Leicester were also placed on independent lines. Groveland’s will be called the Citizen party and Leicester opted for Citizen’s Choice.

Finally, a hotly contested rematch is shaping up for Supervisor in Springwater. Four years ago, retired Sheriffs Deputy Norbert Buckley tied Springwater Supervisor Mark Walker at the Republican caucus, and then lost a coin flip.

This time around Norbert is taking no chance about getting on the ballot. He is already on the Independence line, the party to which he now belongs. This week he filed independent petitions to be on the Community Vision line.

The Springwater Republican caucus is Friday, and it is not known if he will challenge Walker there again. By law, a candidate is allowed to appear on no more than three ballot lines.