I recently ran into our mayor on the street and provided him a summary of how he and the Village Board could assist the Elm/West/Van Buren Streets neighborhood in regard to the proposed bar/pub at 16 Elm St. I wanted to share those thoughts with your paper.
- The Planning Board closed the SEQRA process, concluding that there will be no significant noise impact upon the neighborhood. However, we have expert testimony and demonstrations on tape indicating that violations are imminent and cannot be remediated once in place. How can a planning board determination be valid or defensible when we know our measurable sound code/standard is going to be violated? Proof of this was presented to the board on Oct. 19. Why does the Village not invest in proper equipment and training to determine the likelihood of our sound code being violated by the proposed development? Remediation will not bring the project into compliance with the law, and approval of the project under these circumstances will be proof that the neighborhood’s rights under the law were ignored throughout the broken process.
- Traffic has been under reported and the study offered by the applicant contradicts and flies in the face of reports previously commissioned by the village.
- The boundary between the industrial and residential zones prior to 2009 was reportedly measured from the center lines of West and Van Buren Streets (presumably 200 feet and 100 feet, respectively). We have been asking if this boundary was formally changed by the revised zoning code, or if this is simply a mapping error in the current zoning map. It seems incredible ( in•cred•i•ble) that no one in Village Hall or on the Village Board has an answer. This needs to be answered by the Village Board who created the Code. This is a critical component for consideration BEFORE the Planning Board proceeds any further. A determination without this information will be fatally flawed.
- At the public hearing, Steve Gross, a former Planning Board member and a professional environmental planner with 40 years of experience, testified that the application for 16 Elm is not an allowed use under our code. Specifically, he notes that the Village Zoning Code identifies as a “prohibited use” any use “that is of such a nature as to be detrimental to neighboring properties by reason of emission of odor…, noise or any other factor that is dangerous to the comfort, peace, enjoyment, health or safety of the area or community.” Clearly, this would apply to a 200+ seat pub with outdoor seating just feet from residential backyards. He also stated that there are multiple ways that the Village Board can and should address the questions we have raised and that those questions are absolutely within the Village Board’s authority and jurisdiction and do not involve or conflict with the authority or jurisdiction of the Planning Board.
- The Village Board has the authority to study the points that Dave Smith, Steve Gross, Caroline Martin, Ed Sattler, Maggie McNeely and David Gordon have raised and to do the due diligence required to fairly and objectively represent our neighborhood in light of their expert testimony all prior to allowing the process to continue.
- Our neighborhood insists that our Village Board lead assertively in the areas where they are empowered to do so. Less is unacceptable for this community legally and morally.