Lansing at Large: A tale of two venues at zoning board

Posted

More than 60 people showed up for the Town Zoning Board meeting Feb. 25 where there were two wedding venues on the agenda.


The first, Dutch Harvest Farm, to be located off Ridge Road just south of Lake Ridge, is planned to be a 50-acre complex featuring a 7,000 square-foot event barn that will seat 160 people and a rain-safe gazebo for outdoor wedding ceremonies.


Dutch Harvest owner Laura Huizinga and consultant Tim Buhl answered board questions about landscaping, pond size, lighting, and fire safety and moved on.
The second, Osmica at Spring Trail Farm, took a little longer.


Osmica is the planned re-use of the Howland property on Emmons Road – which has a house, a barn, a carriage house, and a guest house – as elements of a bed and breakfast and wedding venue for about 300 people.


There would be three rooms in the main house, two in the carriage house, storage in the guest house, lighted parking for about 80 cars, and a reception space with kitchens and restrooms in the barn.


Kurt Martin, one of two proprietors, submitted revisions to their application to clarify the language and answered the board’s questions about their residency, possible alterations to the inside of the barn, the condition of the barn and its roof and siding, and the number of people at a typical wedding.


Richard Mule’ of Emmons Road rose first in the public comment period.
Comparing the two venues, Mule’ noted that Osmica was larger and would draw more people into a more congested area where he said that there was no natural sound protection. Mule’ claimed that the septic system was sized for 2,000 people, not 300, and that the environmental study was done by Martin himself, who was “hardly an uninterested party.”


Eric Van Every presented large “before and after” photographs of the area showing the “significant changes” expected as a result of the project. His count showed 83 spaces in the parking lot and he spoke of congestion at the intersection of Ridge Road, Emmons Road, and Lansing Station Road when events let out. Finally, Van Every showed an interpretation of the expected effect of the lighting planned for the project.


Dan Pierce, who lives below the project on the west side of Ridge Road, asked the board to consider the effect of the drainage from the project’s parking lot, tents, and solar panels on the ditches downhill. He also noted that the septic system seemed designed “with a grander scale in mind.”


Kathryn McKay seconded Pierce’s concern about the environmental impact of the project and Van Every’s thoughts on the additional traffic into the intersection below. She urged the board to have a traffic study done and to look further into Osmica’s potential environmental impact.


McKay also submitted a note from long-term landscaper Steve Varga Jr. about run-off, in which Varga stated that the site had thin topsoil and a thick layer of heavy clay.


Monica Morgan noted that she had reviewed the site plan “with deep sadness,” noting that it lacked the long form environmental impact form. She noted that the zoning regulations allowed for “small event” and said that Osmica was not small. She added that regulations allowed the conversion of existing dwellings and that the carriage house “was never a dwelling.”


Nancy Gwilliam said that she went on Google Maps and counted 72 dwellings within a 5,000-foot circle around Osmico, and asked the board to consider the effect of “300 people and a band, and the barn doors open” and those residents on a “warm, quiet July night.”


Bill Kerry asked the board about the water supply to Osmica in the event of a fire, noting that many houses in that area need supplemental pumps to bring their water pressure up to supply ordinary requirements.


In response, Osmica’s Martin wrote that he was confident that they have addressed all areas of concern in the site place review process and added that “our project is a permitted use under the Town of Lansing Land Use Ordinance.”


Martin said that they value their neighbor’s comments but were “disheartened to hear misleading and untrue comments that have been made and repeated … that continue to fuel fear in the community.”


He encouraged people to read Osmica’s responses to their concerns on the town website to “better understand the scope and intention of our project,” concluding that “it is truly our hope that we can renovate and preserve this beautiful and historic farm for both visitors and the local community to enjoy for years to come.”


At the outset of the public comment, the residents’ attorney Mahlon Perkins noted that Osmica had revised their application and asked the board to allow residents to review it before responding and, in the end, the board did just that, leaving public comment on the project open through to the next Zoning Board Meeting March 11 at 6:30 p.m.

Briefs

St. Patrick’s Dinner at All Saints
All Saints Catholic Church will host a St. Patrick’s Day dinner March 17 from 4:30 to 7:30 p.m. in the parish hall, 347 Ridge Road.


The menu will feature corned beef, roasted red potatoes and carrots, braised cabbage, green beans, homemade Irish soda bread, carrot cake and ice cream, and green beer, wine, and sodas and juice. The recommended donation is $15 per person, $8 for children, and $50 for groups of five or more.


LTAPA Launches Talent Show
The Lansing Theater and Performing Arts (LTAPA) organization is seeking singers, dancers, instrumentalists, magicians, comedians, martial artists, jugglers, and a master of ceremonies for their community-wide talent show on April 27. The show is open to solo acts or small groups of Lansing students (grades 7 to 12), teachers, or parents. Auditions will be March 22 and entry forms are due March 15. For more information and the entry form, go to tinyurl.com/yyhrhxbo.

Comments

No comments on this story | Please log in to comment by clicking here
Please log in or register to add your comment