Varick Planning Board meeting Thursday, August 23, 2001


7 PM at the Varick Fire House

Present: Mel Russo, Thomas Bjorkman, Larry Peterson, David McMillan (Jeff Case arrived when the meeting was about half over.) Absent: Kevin Swartley and Richard Foxx.

Topic # 1: Chairman Mel Russo opened the meeting by stating that the first order of business was election of a new chairman. Mel Russo nominated Thomas Bjorkman. Larry Peterson seconded the motion. All four board members present voted for Thomas Bjorkman. Mel had a letter from Richard Foxx that stated that he was unable to attend the meeting but Mr. Foxx wanted to cast his absentee ballot for Thomas Bjorkman. Larry Peterson was asked to be Acting Secretary for this meeting.

Newly elected chairman Thomas Bjorkman then ran the rest of the meeting.

Topic # 2: The Thurston Subdivision. It was decided that this topic had been previously finalized. It was noted that Ray Young on the East Lake Road had applied for a request to subdivide a piece of property. Thomas Bjorkman will discuss this with Harriet Haynes.

Topic # 3: The status of the CAFO moratorium since the last planning board meeting. Thomas reported that based on guidance from NY State AG & Markets, the Varick Town Board had rescinded the moratorium at their 7/12/2001 board meeting.

It was therefore decided that the Planning Board should work on developing a regulation that would require large buildings and/or waste storage units be approved by the Planning Board. It was suggested that such approval would be appropriate for new structures over 5,000 square feet and waste storage units over 5,000 gallons. The waste storage unit would apply to either human or animal waste.

It was decided that appropriate tests would be for E-coli, nitrates, and phosphates.

It was decided the test should be done by test wells or equivalent measuring devices. It was proposed that the test wells be completed before the structure is done so that a "Before Measurement" can be taken.

It was decided that such waste storage units should be 2000 feet from a residence, work place, other structure where humans would gather. It was decided that such waste storage units should be 600 feet from a property line or public road.

Mel Russo made a motion that this regulation be finalized before the next Varick Town Board meeting. Larry Peterson seconded the motion and it was carried. Thomas Bjorkman will work on the regulation.


Topic # 4: SPDS. It was reported that Kevin Swartley has developed a Nutrient Management Plan. Thomas said we could not discuss it in detail without Kevin being present. However, it reportedly contains a plan to spread the hog manure from 6 CAFO’s on his property. It is being submitted to ASAE for approval.


Jeff Case arrived and the board reviewed the conditions for approving the cesspool construction. The following additions and clarifications were made:

Whereas the CAFO construction moratorium has been lifted, and

Whereas construction is anticipated at the former Seneca Army Depot

Be it resolved that the Varick Planning Board recommends that the following regulation be adopted:

Any structure designed to hold or treat more than 5000 gallons of human or animal waste (hereafter "a cesspool"), or any building of more than 5000 square feet of floor area require approval by the planing board prior to issuing a building permit.

Be it further resolved that the Planing Board consider the following before approving a building permit for a cesspool.

1. The cesspool be set back from the nearest residence, workplace or other meting place by 2000 feet, and set back from the nearest property line or public road by 600 feet, and set back from the nearest stream or body of water by the distance specified by the prevailing recommendation of the Seneca Lake Pure Waters Association.

2. that the slope at the construction site not exceed 2%.

3. That test wells (or equivalent monitoring device) be installed prior to construction. The water tested should meet EPA drinking water standards for E.coli, nitrate and phosphate.

4. CAFO compliance must be met if the building is for agricultural use.

5. Cesspool construction should be according to prevailing guidelines for manure storage published by the American Society of Agricultural Engineers, and the contractor must provide proof that they were followed.

After the four additions, we voted on the resolution.

The vote was 5-0 to approve the resolution.

Mel Russo made a motion that the Town Clerk get an email account to facilitate communication. Jeff Case seconded it and it was carried.

Mel Russo made a motion to ask the Town Board to establish a web site where we can post our agenda, schedule and minutes. It was approved 5-0.

Thomas Bjorkman reported that the Varick Town Board has approved the hiring of a secretary to take minutes of the planning board. Thomas will talk to Donna Karlsen about advertising for the position

Thomas said that Bob Hayssen has suggested that waste storage lagoons have inspection criteria for the depth of concrete, mesh, rebar, etc.

It was reported that the Seneca Lake Pure Waters Association has regulations on water quality, setbacks, etc that we could use in our resolution.

It was suggested that land used to spread manure on have no more than a 2% slope.

It was discussed that a public hearing might be in order for such large construction projects before the Planning Boards votes on whether to approve them.

Mel Russo suggested that we look into a car ordnance on the number of cars and car parts that can be on a piece of property.

There being no further business, the meeting was adjourned at 9:30 PM


Larry Peterson

Acting Secretary

Back to Planning Board Page