By Margo Frink
(Oneida, NY – Nov. 15) Although a public hearing was held in September regarding a two-lot minor subdivision on the former Welton Motor’s property on Route 5, the Planning Commission allowed comments from representatives of the Tim Donut company, who purchased one of the lots and representatives of H.P. Hood, who opposed the site plan due to its proximity to the Hood property.
The decision to allow final plat approval and issue a conditional use permit was tabled at the October meeting by request.
The Commission also allowed comments after the Nov. 1 deadline because a traffic study was requested by Hood.
Betsy Brugg of Fix, Spindelman, Brovitz & Goldman, and attorney for Tim Donut U.S. Limited, Inc. who plans to build a Tim Horton’s on less than an acre, said her client has done its best to provide all the information to allow the Commission to make an informed decision.
The company’s traffic study was approved by the state Department of Transportation and agreed that there will be no adverse traffic impacts, Brugg said. The study provided anticipates 80 to 85 percent drive-through business and 206 total trips (103 in and 103 out) during morning peak hours from 7 to 9 a.m. And the traffic will generally be motorists driving the Route 5 corridor. The study also provided claims eight vehicles at the most queuing on site or what is called “stacking” in the drive-through. The average service time is 34 seconds, according to the study.
The final plans show the westerly driveway will be moved a bit further east and the drive-through aisle will be 20 feet wide to accommodate emergency vehicles.
“We could legally use the existing driveway but we are fixing some of the issues by moving it a bit east,” Brugg said.
Brody Smith, attorney with Bond, Schoeneck and King and representing H. P. Hood said his client is not opposed to the Horton restaurant but has issues with the site plan and its proximity to H.P. Hood.
“There will be a large amount of retail traffic close to an industrial site,” Smith said. He also said the restaurant is not in harmony with other uses in the light industrial zone.
“We argue it’s not and doesn’t fit,” Smith said. “It’s a bad idea to have people in and out of a drive through by an industrial company. The driveway should be farther east.”
Smith cited safety reasons that the driveway is too close in proximity to the Hood drive and Hood’s moving of 100 large trucks in and out of there every day. It said the driveway should be more centered in the property to make it safer.
Planning Commission Board Member Barbara Henderson asked Smith if the driveway was moved even farther east, how much safer it would be.
Smith didn’t know but said it was a good question and suggested it be studied further.
Smith also had issues with the traffic study provided by the Horton team and said its original traffic study done stated 13 to 18 cars queuing, which exceeds the city’s code of 11 at the most.
“The expectations would be to make a longer lane,” Smith said. “They didn’t do that. They got a different traffic study consultation that comes back with eight.”
Smith said the justification for this was to be more helpful in achieving site plan approval.
Commissioner Geoff Snyder asked Smith if they compared the stacking with the Dunkin Donuts drive-through east of the location on Route 5. He said the Dunkin Donuts drive-through lane is not as long as the one Horton’s plans to build and he never sees a problem with its drive-through.
Smith said that was not done but he saw a drive-through out in Syracuse were the cars came out into the road causing a safety hazard.
Smith told the Commission that the traffic study provided by Horton’s should be explained further.
Brugg said Hood is “delaying the application for other reasons, business reasons” and “confusing opinion with data and evidence.”
City resident Joe Magliocca wanted to know how the 100 trucks a day coming and going at H.P. Hood compares with the amount of traffic coming and going from Pepi’s Pizza and Dreamcatcher Plaza. He said that traffic is greater.
Motions were made and the Commission gave its approval on the sub-division, the site plan and the conditional use permit. Conditions include obtaining of all proper permits before a building permit is issued, all outdoor lighting must be facing down, a key box is obtained and construction to be complete in one year or an extension will need to be filed.
Brugg said they expect to begin construction in July.
Margo Frink is vice president of M3P Media LLC and publisher of the Madison County Courier. She can be reached at Margo@m3pmedia.com or 315-481-8732.