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Truck stop plaza in Wellsville dominates P&Z commission debate

October 13th, 2011 Posted in Opinion

By Allie Jeppson

WELLSVILLE–Discussion on the addition of a commercial overnight truck stop to the city dominated Wednesday’s Planning and Zoning Commission meeting, as members from both City Council and Planning and Zoning debated whether such an addition would upgrade the community.

Resident Steve Kyriopoulos recently filed an application to put an auto truck spa plaza in Wellsville along Highway 89-91. While the city council has approved his request, the planning and zoning commission is still waiting for the results of a required traffic study by a professional firm before establishing specific requirements for the truck stop, City Manager Don Hartyle said.

“We need to be very specific about what’s allowed and why,” Commission Chairman Loyal Green said.

While a full, detailed plan has not yet been brought before the commission, members are concerned about people getting on and off the highway and about disturbance of the residents who live in that area.

“We have residents that live right there and if you have a whole bunch of trucks with their refrigerators running all night it’d be very disruptive,” Hartyle said.

Another problem that the planning and zoning commission face is whether to include this project under the current land use code, which establishes procedures for all commercial developments, or to establish it under the new code, currently being rewritten.

The problem with waiting to proceed under the new code is that Jay Nielson, city planner and author of the code, has requested an 18-month leave of absence to serve an LDS mission. It was unanimously decided by the city council that Nielson would be allowed to leave and given his position back upon his return, in which time he will have six months to finish the land use code, Hartyle said.

This leaves the question of whether or not to replace Nielson in his absence.

“It’s been great for me to have Jay around because of his experience,” Commissioner M. Kent Larsen said. “It’s my discomfort to not have someone for a year and a half with that level of experience.”

As an alternative, it was suggested the city either hire a temporary city planner to finish the code (an option already ruled out by the city council), to create a temporary economic committee to continue in Nielson’s place, or to continue the truck stop project under the city’s current land use code.

“We don’t have any intention of sitting and letting things pass us by,” Councilman Carl Leatham said. “However, we can’t change the rules in the middle of the game. We have an existing plan and if we want to change it we’ll have to bring in someone new and by the time we find someone and get him up to speed, Jay will almost be home.”

Because the truck stop issue was only a discussion between commission members, no final decision was made. However, the actual installation of the truck plaza will take some time as Kyriopoulos still has to put together a plan and come up with data before he can come back to the zoning commission, Hartyle said.

In other business, the commission:

· Approved the request from resident Cristine Price for a conditional use, level 1, Home Occupation to be used for professional counseling, life coaching, educational testing, etc.

· Approved the request from resident Jennifer Nielson for a conditional use, level 1, Home Occupation to be used for making hand-made chocolates.

· Approved the request from Helen Poppleton for a conditional, level 1, Home Occupation to be used to teach natural childbirth classes.


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