Church gets shed approval from board

The city of Dunkirk Planning Board made quick work of both items on its agenda Thursday, approving both during the 20-minute meeting.

With member Andy Bohn serving as chairman in the absence of Ed Schober, the board revisited a request from the First United Presbyterian Church that sought permission to build a storage shed on its property at 410 Eagle St.

Church elder Dan Putnam was present, as the meeting began to answer questions about the shed placement and the need. Bohn read from an email that Schober sent to board members about the issue in which he wanted to know who is requiring the church to move its lawn mower and snow blower, along with fuel containers, from the existing buildings.

Putnam said he didn’t know for sure and added the church was just waiting for a decision.

“You were going to look at the site and provide us with some recommendations. I guess that’s where we’re at,” he added.

After the last meeting, the board did visit the proposed site and Bohn reported there were few spots available for a shed before continuing with the Schober email.

“If the church feels it is an absolute necessity, approval in my opinion should include stipulations,” Schober wrote.

Those stipulations included a landscaping screen to hide the shed from Eagle Street passersby, including landscaping foliage that would remain green in the winter.

“The rustic style shed they proposed is not appropriate at all with the style and period of the buildings, not that a specific style is going to be found that matches the 19th century church and hall,” Schober stated before suggesting a classical look. He called for brown roof shingles that matched the church and neutral paint colors that would not stand out so much.

Putnam said he didn’t see a problem with the board’s recommendations, adding that, “Certainly we would want to make it attractive.”

Board member John Mackowiak asked if the church owned an offsite building that could be used for storage, but was told “no.”

“What you’re suggesting will work for us,” Putnam said. “We’ll paint it and make the roof as you suggested.”

Mackowiak made the motion to allow the church to erect the shed “in accordance with the stipulations we’ve discussed this evening and the proper setbacks outlined by the building inspector and the colors and landscaping in accordance to the document we read.”

Member Chris Piede seconded it and it was approved 3-0 as board member Bill Tuggle missed the meeting.

Church elder Rich Mekus arrived at that point and was asked about the fire inspection.

“For years, we always stored it in the basement, it’s a new fire code,’ he replied.

Mackowiak asked whose fire code that was.

“The city of Dunkirk,” Mekus replied. “Once a year they come through. … Sometimes it’s the fire chief that does the inspection, sometimes it’s (firefighter) Todd Ellman. … It’s been that way for a few years. … Right now, we’ve been renting a space, but it’s kind of inconvenient.”

Mekus added the church never got a ticket because they complied.

Mackowiak suggested a next-door building on Lark Street, but was told, “It’s a disaster.”

“We’ve had issues before. We looked at the building, you could go fishing underneath it,” Mekus stated. “We’ve reported it a few times because all that water was coming into our basement.”

The other agenda item was about signage for New York Stylez at 404 Central Ave. The board approved the request for the 3- by 8-foot sign that would lay flat against the building above the large window.

Owners Tylah and Nicky DeJesus opened in December 2012 and were before the board that month for sign approval. At that time, a decision was not made by the board pending more information on sign colors. Nicky DeJesus told the board they decided to wait on a new sign pending the amount of business they did.

Development Director Steve Neratko told the board about training offered in Mayville on Nov. 14 that would meet annual state requirements for board members. Requirements can also be met with online classes, Neratko added.

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