ELIZABETHTOWN -- A snag in the development of Family Dollar here has been resolved.

A recent Elizabethtown Zoning Board of Appeals meeting ended with prospective Family Dollar developer Larry Tillack walking out unsatisfied.

Chairman Lee Norton prefaced the special Zoning Board meeting by stating: "We are here for one purpose -- to explain the procedure how an appeal is handled. We will not answer questions on a specific variance, as this meeting was not advertised."

Norton then explained that within 30 days of receiving an application for a variance, an ad is to appear in the newspaper, followed by a meeting 15 to 30 days after the notice at which the request is heard.

Tillack, of Tillack Home Corp. in Canandaigua, has proposed building a Family Dollar store at the site where D&B Country Kitchen now stands.

Elizabethtown Planning Board Chairman Frank Agnew told Tillack that the wrong sections of an application for a sign variance were filled out.

"We can only do what's in the document," Agnew said.

According to zoning law, signs are limited to 50 square feet for one sign and a total of 75 square feet for up to two signs.

Applying for a variance would take about two months, and it was indicated that Family Dollar most likely would not be approved for the sign variance.

"If you can comply with the sign statistics, then there's no problem," Agnew told Tillack. "Then you can start construction."

He informed Tillack that if the sign were put on a pole rather than a pedestal, the pole would not be considered as part of the square footage.

When questioned as to landscaping, since there has been a concern in the community, Tillack responded, "What type of landscaping would you like?"

Agnew suggested it "blend in with the surroundings and spruce up the parking lot to make it less bland."

Zoning Board alternate Margaret Bartley had concerns about the storm-water drainage and the ability of the soil to absorb water. She felt there was too much blacktop in the front.

Tillack informed her that there will be a pitched roof, which will drain onto grass behind the 8,000-square-foot building. The developer intends to put in a catch basin toward the leach field.

At one point, Agnew claimed that this was not a public meeting. However, there was a quorum of members present and Zoning Board business was being discussed, which, under New York State Open Meetings Law, makes it a public meeting.

Tillack was told that if the signage were to meet specifications, construction could ensue; "Everything else passes," Agnew said.

Tillack inquired about the existing signs for D&B Country Kitchen being grandfathered in, but Agnew said that does not apply to the property, just the business.

Tillack was again told he could start with construction as long as the signs were not an issue; otherwise, he would have to wait until the conclusion of the variance procedure.

"It's over," Tillack said. "I can't meet sign specs. We won't stay in business without proper signs. That's the smallest sign we've got. You should be flexible. Law doesn't make it right."

He then rolled up his plans and left the meeting.

But Tillack told the Press-Republican Monday that the issue has been resolved, and the Family Dollar signs will conform to the zoning code. He expects construction to begin in early May.

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