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Consultant offers 'townwide' plan for new zoning rules in Lewiston

Growth in the Town of Lewiston will be governed by a new set of zoning rules if the Town Board adopts recommendations made Monday by a consulting firm.

Representatives of Wendel engineers and planners told members of the board that "most people will not be directly affected" by the recommendations, "but there are areas that will get new zoning designations."

Wendel representatives Andrew C. Reilly and Ellen L. Parker said that most existing properties would be "grandfathered in" and would not have to make any changes to conform with new zoning rules, but new construction would be subject to whatever revised rules eventually may be adopted by the Town Board.

Reilly and Parker added that Monday's presentation was just a first look at zoning concepts that could undergo significant changes after a yet-to-be-scheduled public hearing, further consideration by the Town Board and eventual adoption of ordinances that could be months away.

In addition, they said, local zoning rules may not apply to large sections of the town, such as property owned by the New York Power Authority, the Tuscarora Indian Nation and existing dumps politely referred to as landfills.

In summary, the consultants recommended "townwide" changes in residential, commercial and industrial zoning districts, and specific changes in the hamlet of Sanborn, which has many of the characteristics of a small village near the Lewiston-Cambria town line.

Among the recommendations is a suggestion that all eight of the town's present residential zoning districts be combined into a single district.

"The principal difference among all eight R-1 districts is the front yard depth," the consultants said.

"New zoning would combine all R-1 districts into a single district. Any new development would match the existing front yard depths in the surrounding area," they said in a written summary of their recommendations.

They also would "create a new Rural Residential Transition District as a transition between the very rural RR district and the more suburban R-1 district."

Regarding commercial zoning districts, the summary said: "Currently the town has only one business district. We propose two additional commercial zoning districts to support different types of commercial development." The districts would be:

*Business District to allow additional commercial uses.

*Rural Business District to allow low-intensity commercial development compatible with rural areas.

*Traditional Neighborhood Development District to promote mixed-use, hamlet-style development such as small businesses and second-floor offices or apartments.

In the section on industrial zoning, they recommended removing residences as an allowed use in light industrial districts, but existing homes could remain there.

Proposed changes in Sanborn include:

*Areas of Buffalo and Niagara streets, and Saunders Settlement Road near Townline Road, would be rezoned to allow residential, restricted commercial and mixed use properties.

*Part of the north side of Sunders Settlement Road, a limited area on the south side of Saunders Settlement Road, and properties on the west side of Buffalo Street at the southern end of the hamlet would be zoned for businesses.

*Industrial zoning along the railroad tracks would be removed except for an existing manufacturing operation on West Street, which would be light industrial.

*The rest of the properties in Sanborn would be zoned R-1 for residential.

email: rbaldwin@buffnews.com