Gowanda board discusses upcoming SEQR process

GOWANDA – The village of Gowanda will have to complete a State Environ-mental Quality Review pro-cess, according to a court order. During a recent workshop to work on the SEQR application for 42 Jamestown St., the village started the process for completing a SEQR.

The village was named in an Article 78 ruling from the Cattaraugus County Su-preme Court where it was ruled the village will have to complete a SEQR. Village lawyer Deborah Chadsey said this ruling does not require further action from Savarino Companies, the site applicant.

“My legal opinion … is that the judge’s decision does not compel Savarino (Compan-ies) to resubmit their application. It compels us to do a SEQR,” Chadsey said.

Savarino Companies submitted an application last summer to construct an office building located at the former Burger King site. Savarino Companies then planned to lease the building to house a mental health clinic. The village must complete a SEQR, which was previously completed by the Gowanda Planning Board as a lead agency; since the planning board is only a recommendatory board, it could not serve as lead agency.

As part of the SEQR process, the village must fill out the long form Environmental Assessment Form. Chadsey said the first part of the EAF is already completed by the applicant, and Building Inspector Gary Brecker and Village Engineer Mark Burr will ensure Part 1 is complete.

Since Trustees Pete Sisti and Barb Nephew are newly elected; both were not on the village board when the site plan was first submitted. Chadsey said if the trustees do not see an application, the SEQR process cannot move forward at the time. Tim Greenen from Savarino Companies will forward an electronic version of the site plan for the trustees to review.

“We do need to move on it in a timely manner that is certain,” Sisti said.

Brecker said the site plan application is still missing a lease from New York State Dormitory Authority and information on the flood plain. He said a map qualifying the site location will not flood again in the future – similar to the 2009 flood. Savarino Companies also did submit a flood plain application with their site plans.

The village board agreed to work on the issue further at another work session on May 13 at 5:30 p.m.

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