Zoning Board of Appeals requests new application from Maxim Development

Gwen Chamberlain

The Town of Torrey Zoning Board of Appeals (ZBA) has asked Maxim Development to submit a new special use permit application for a proposed major development near Long Point on Seneca Lake.

Board members told representatives of the Plainfield, N.J. company they would like to see the number of units in the project reduced.

The proposed development, which Maxim spokesperson Patrick Gawrysiak says has been reduced in size, was introduced to town officials and residents in 2006. The previous application for a special use permit was filed in the summer of 2006, but the ZBA took no action after a public hearing in October of that year. The ZBA says it sent Maxim Development’s attorney, Leon Sawyko of Harris Beach, a list of information it needs before the proposal can be processed.

But Gawrysiak says that list — more than a page and a half long — is too extensive for his company to provide without more information from the town.

“For us to get into the minutia and detail you’ve asked for is a tremendous expense,” he said, explaining Maxim is trying to be a partner with the town on the project.

“We haven’t had any feedback from the board from that (2006) presentation. We’re looking for feedback,” he told the board before reviewing some revisions to the original plan.

The plans he described at the Jan. 7 meeting of the ZBA call for about 260 units in both single family homes and condominium units to be built on property owned by Eskildsen Farms.

The property is located off Downy Road, adjacent to the Salvation Army Camp at Long Point.

Gawrysiak says at fewer than six units per acre, the project, the first planned unit development (PUD) in Yates County, will be built to a lower density than  PUD regulations spell out.

One of the two roads planned off Downy Road has been eliminated and a building that was originally planned as eight stories tall has been reduced to five stories. There were originally seven multiple unit buildings, but the new plans call for 10 smaller buildings of 12 to 26 units each.

ZBA member James Cougevan told Gawrysiak he’s opposed to the density of the project, a sentiment echoed by other members of the board.

Gawrysiak explained he’ll have to count on a specific number of units that will be approved by the board in order to cover the cost of building the infrastructure (water, sewer, roads, storm water drainage) and keep the unit cost in the $350,000 range. While the project will be built in phases, the complete infrastructure must be built first.

“To consider scaling down and coming back for more later, it would make it too expensive. You have to be smart about it,” he said.

He said 90 percent of the buyers will be summer residents. He intends to market the project to buyers in major metropolitan areas like Boston, New York, Philadelphia.

Kathleen Bennett, the special counsel from Bond Schoeneck & King, who was hired by the town to work on issues related to this project, also had some specific questions and comments for Gawrysiak.

But, as ZBA member Marty Gibson noted, – “I think you’ll find we all support it in one way, but I think you’ll find to a person we all have issues with one thing - the density.”

Gawrysiak agreed to re-submit the application and asked Bennett to contact Sawyko again with a specific requests. “I don’t want to keep guessing. I need some guidance from the board. Give me an idea where you think it’s too dense and Maxim will be glad to work with you,” he said.

Following the meeting, Town Supervisor Pat Flynn asked Gawrysiak if he had any materials about completed projects that town officials could see. Gawrysiak said Sawyko could provide materials, and he invited Flynn and members of the ZBA to travel to Virginia and Maryland to look at some of their current projects.