Town of Wales
REGIONAL COMPREHENSIVE PLAN NOTES
Plan Prepared by Wendel Duchscherer Architects & Engineers
- Maintain the rural character of the community
- Properly manage future growth and development
- Provide for and encourage limited increases of economic activity in a rural setting
- Encourage opportunities for recreation
- Properly manage traffic and transportation
- Preserve and protect significant environmental resources
Expanded Wales Goals & Observations
- protect the intrinsic value of green space in the Town, which increases the overall value of the land
- promote bike paths, hiking and equestrian trails, snowmobile trails and other interconnections between recreational resources with the Town and region, but in a manner that does not adversely impact local residents and private landholdings
- properly plan development to preserve and protect areas identified as important open space, stream corridors, wildlife habitat and corridors, and farmland
Most recent efforts for region (in terms of any type of comprehensive plan or study):
- Aurora, Wales and EA had Comprehensive Plans prepared under the Urban Planning Assistance Program of the US Dept. of Housing and Urban Development (prepared in 1970 but never adopted in Wales and EA) (Aurora - prepared in 1980-Basic Studies, and 1981-Comp Plan and Implementation Plan).
Existing Conditions in Communities
- Hunters Wilderness Park (759 acre undeveloped County land bank) and Kenneglenn (141 acre parcel recently purchased by the Western New York Land Conservancy for use as a wildlife preserve)
- Town of Wales currently has no public water supply and residents must rely on private wells or truck hauled water as a potable water source. Residents have recently expressed interest in public water with the Town
- researching the possibility to establish a public water supply by:
* Performing an aquifer study for possible well development and distribution system
* Connecting to Village of EA/Town of Aurora via Rte 20A
* Connecting to Marilla via Two Rod Road
* Connecting to future Town of Holland districts
Any districts envisioned would most probably require approval from the State Comptrollers Office because of large capital dollars to furnish necessary infrastructure. The low number of residents may result in excessively high charges to finance the system.
Summarized Needs/Desires of Wales
- agriculture is an important component of the community and should be left alone
- residents want to keep Wales the way it is by encouraging open space preservation and low growth rates
- concentrate limited business development in the hamlet areas and along major routes
Zoning Issues in Communities
- Wales: town is satisfied with its present zoning and zoning codes
Findings and Recommendations
- Elma, EA and Aurora would be considered second ring suburban communities (transition between first ring of suburbs and rural), and Wales and Holland rural
- Wales and Holland under little development pressure (Wales only at Village of EA and Rte 400 interchange) (Holland only from Rte 16 corridor)
- economics of farming and the lack of a next generation of farmers are resulting in a loss of active farmland in Wales and Holland.
Preserving Community Character: Wales Recommendations
- non-traditional development techniques (similar to other towns) and adopt rural development guidelines, to control growth, preserve open space and farmland, and avoid typical sprawl-inducing development practices. Town should carefully design the regulations so as not to encourage development but to discourage poorly planned development.
- support and encourage appropriate programs to preserve important areas of farmland and prime farm soils
- limit water extensions into the Town to eliminate the potential for extensive growth. Only consider water extensions in areas abutting the Town of Aurora that have potential public health and safety concerns. Sewers are not seen as an issue and none are anticipated for the future.
- identify significant lands for open space protection an d develop mechanisms to protect this land. Not a high priority. First, generate an inventory of open space lands. Use vision map to help identify regionally important open spaces. Long term plans should include little focus on public ownership.
- help farmers identify programs to help them keep their farms.
- reassess lot size/density requirements in certain areas to better manage the density of future growth and development. Create a residential/ agricultural zoning district with same lot size requirements that exist now. New agricultural district should have larger lots or decreased density requirements (same lot size but reduced densities).
- encourage reuse and redevelopment of existing structures.
Management of Future Growth and Development: Wales Recommendations
- limit areas for waterline extensions, and sewers are not needed in the Town. Anticipated that areas where waterline will have to be extended will be near Town of Aurora border. It is not the intent of these waterline extensions to encourage residential development. In some instances (due to agricultural districts), it may be necessary to institute a lateral restriction policy (water only provided to existing residents).
- continue participation in studies concerning its groundwater resources. Educational programs to teach people about how to properly maintain their septic systems. May look for grants to help with improving or replacing wells and septic systems.
- slightly amend zoning maps and codes to better address the commercial zones and zoning along the state highway routes. Set up stronger guidelines. Set up zoning overlays
- continue to give input and assistance into the development of Kenneglenn and Hunters Wilderness Creek Park.
- lots of buffer area around Buffalo Creek and Hunters Creek. The zoning overlays would add additional requirements for development
Economic Development: Wales Recommendations
- prefers to remain rural in nature at this time
- if economic development were to occur, most likely location would be along Rte 20A in western area of Town
- adopt policies that recognize the importance of agricultural to local economy; discourage non-agricultural uses on prime agricultural lands; potential for limited agri-tourism
- new commercial development should not be encouraged, except to the extent that it meets local demand. Should be small in scale and sited near existing retail areas; redevelop old buildings
- possibility of designating area along Rte 20A near Aurora border for potential future non-retail commercial or light industrial uses. Possible small industrial/business park in the area.
Recreational Opportunities: Wales Recommendations
- recreational use of Hunters Wilderness Creek Park or Kenneglenn is not officially permitted
- outline appropriate and restrictive passive recreational uses (hiking, bird watching, limited picnicking) for Kenneglenn property (owned by WNY Land Conservancy) as well as Hunters Wilderness Creek Park; do not permit active recreation
- identify ways to connect Wales with Holland and Aurora, whether along roadway, creek corridors and/or utility easements
- provide access for fishing along Cazenovia Creek
- continue and possibly expand participation in EMW Sports and Tri-Town Recreation Programs
Community Vision: Wales Vision Components
- major features of the area: influences of EA, very rural agrarian nature of Town (concentration of farms in easterly portion of Town), large open space feature of Hunters Creek, two major stream corridors (Buffalo Creek and Hunters Creek), two major state highways (Rte 20A and Rte 78), Wales Center and South Wales Hamlets)
- much of town as agricultural protection area. Including zoning techniques (zoning overlays, rural development guidelines, reduced density) to protect rural character and agricultural operations in Town. Other proactive measures: restricting infrastructure improvements and possibly some agricultural land preservation techniques such as purchase of development rights (PDR), purchase of agricultural conservation easements program (PACE) and right-to-farm legislation
- area of rural/resource protection area is also a rural residential area, but has smaller concentration of farming. Zoning overlay to protect these features and direct any development to incorporate rural guidelines
- two hamlets (Wales Center & South Wales) are identified and represent areas of mixed use in village-type atmosphere. Includes only areas for on-street trails
- Rte 20A corridor and Rte 78 corridor: commercial overlays; presently allow commercial uses by special permit; continue this, but add additional guidelines through use of zoning overlays along these important corridors
Implementation: General Section
- first step is to designate an Advisory Committee as entity(s) responsible for implementation of document; establish biannual review to determine progress and continue to review and update plan
- Priority 1 Actions: should be completed first and are anticipated to take place in first two years after adoption
- Priority 2 Actions: can take place after a particular priority 1 action takes place or as the community desires in the years 1-5 after plan adoption.
- Priority 3 Actions: either long-term actions (those that may or may not be necessary depending on future scenarios, or are alternative ideas for certain priority 1 or 2 actions (that may not achieve desired results). Considered "Tool Box" actions
Town of Wales Implementation
- Priority 1: adopt plan and advisory committee; establish annual budget for implementation of Regional Comprehensive Plan
* zoning issues: concentrate commercial and residential development around
hamlets through effective zoning map revisions to avoid sprawl;
- revise town zoning map to reflect commercial and light industrial use along 20A, west of Rte 78 split, reflect zoning choices for Rte 78 and Rte 20A east of Wales Center hamlet;
- business uses along portions of Rte 78 and 20A should be non-retail in nature, agricultural support businesses should be encouraged;
* other codes and regulations: adopt standards and guidelines to effectively buffer
residential uses from non-residential uses (important along portions of Rte 20A and
- percolation testing requirements
* cooperative efforts: continue with Elma and Marilla to improve and expand Tri-
Towns Recreation Program;
- with assistance of US Natural Resource Conservation Service, work with other communities to develop erosion and sediment control guidelines to protect creek corridors from impacts of development and excessive stormwater runoff;
- consider amending site plan review and subdivision regulations to allow for more effective assessment of transportation impacts to region
* other actions: work with farmers to establish local agricultural tourism program in
- work with WNY Land Conservancy to development effective plan for Kenneglenn and Hunters Wilderness Creek Park properties to limit passive use of facilities
- Priority 2 (years 3-5): complete comprehensive plan annual report and note Priority 1 options that have not been completed. Target and reprioritize those actions. Assess any subdivision and site plan activity that occurred in previous years to make sure it is compliant with Regional Comprehensive Plan. Evaluate impact of Priority 1 implementation items that were completed. Recommend Prior 2 items to be completed in upcoming year; establish annual budget for Regional Comprehensive Plan
* zoning issues: concentrate commercial and residential development around
hamlets through effective zoning map revisions to avoid sprawl;
- prepare zoning overlay districts for areas identified as priorities, including hamlets, Rte 20A and Rte 78
* other codes and regulations: adopt historic preservation guidelines and standards
* cooperative efforts: (with Holland) develop mutual rural development guidelines
* other actions: identify and improve public access sites along Cazenovia Creek
- Priority 3: work with County and State to ensure that any proposed roadway projects do not incorporate sidewalks or curbing
- cooperatively explore possibilities of increased public transportation or creative
alternative modes of transportation
- identify appropriate methods and programs for preserving important open lands, as
identified and prioritized through an open space inventory
- consider establishing a purchase of agricultural conservation easements program
(PACE) for preserving important farmland in the Town
- consider and protect active rail corridor through Town as future alternative source
for transportation and commutation
- pursue joint efforts with other communities in the Plan to address issues that effect
the regions by pooling resources, filing joint grant applications for funding,
undertaking mutual studies, establish joint committees, etc.
- adopt architectural guidelines to control quality of design in Town. Historic
preservation standards should also be evaluated for areas containing structures of
historical significance. Design guidelines should also be adopted for non-residential
- add poor soil condition requirements, similar to those used in Elma, to require
increased lot sizes in areas with poor "percolation" (lot sizes up to 5 acres minimum)
- implement accessibility and improvements in and around Wales Center, South Wales
and possibly Wales Hollow, hamlets. Consider addition of sidewalks to connect
- Work with other communities to develop a regional recreational facility, such as a
pool, skating rink, etc.
- improve designated roadway shoulders to accommodate pedestrians and bicyclists
- consider acting with other communities in designating important stream corridors as
Critical Environmental Areas (CEAs)
7.0 - Environmental Review
- Wales population growth numbers:
+ population remained relatively stable, growing by a modest 1.5% between 1990 and 2000. Projections suggest this stable state will continue, with increase of 1.4% projected between 2000 and 2020.
+ rate of residential construction in Wales since 1990 has been average of 18 single-family units per year
+ town has limited non-residential development. EA serves as central business district
GLOSSARY OF TERMS USED IN REGIONAL COMPREHENSIVE PLAN
Aquifier - an underground source of water that lies within or between water bearing layers of permeable rock, sand or gravel.
Agricultural Preservation - a variety of techniques employed to help support farming as an economic activity and farmland as a land use.
Central Business District - the area of the Village or a hamlet, consisting of retail, commercial, institutional and public service establishments, that functions as the primary location for commerce
Clustered Development - Clustered Development is a design technique for development projects that concentrates residential buildings in specific areas on a site to allow the remaining land to be set aside for recreation, common open space or environmental preservation. This is done by allowing housing to be constructed on smaller lots as long as the original density (the number of houses that can be built as-of-right on the property under the existing zone) does not change.
Conservation Easements - Conservation Easements are a legal means of controlling development on a particular parcel in order to preserve open space. Lands subject to Conservation Easements have controls or regulations limiting development.
Corridor (stream, scenic, open space, habitat) - a connection linking open space, wildlife habitats or other environmental features.
Greater Buffalo-Niagara Regional Transportation Council (GBNRTC) - The Greater Buffalo-Niagara Regional Transportation Council is the interagency planning group that establishes transportation policies and programs for Erie and Niagara Counties. In 1975, the GBNRTC (which was known as the NFTC - Niagara Frontier Transportation Committee) was designated the Metropolitan Planning Organization (MPO) responsible for transportation planning in these counties. The organization provides a regional decision-making forum for the development of a multi-modal integrated transportation system that best serves the Niagara Frontier.
Housing Stock - the overall supply of housing in an area, including all sizes and styles of residential development.
Hydric Soils - soils are considered to be hydric if they are saturated, flooded or impounded long enough during the growing season to develop low oxygen levels and changeable chemical conditions in the upper layer. These soils are very poorly drained and have a high probability of containing wetlands.
Infrastructure - the underlying framework of public works systems that includes sewers, water lines, roadways, drainage piping and other utility service systems.
Level of Service - this term refers to a measurement of the amount of automobile traffic on roadways. Level of Service or LOS, as defined in NFTC 2010 Transportation System Plan, is a qualitiative measure describing the operational conditions within a stream of traffic. It is a means of quantifying or "grading" the operational quality of service provided by a roadways facility (NFTC, December 1994). LOS employs a rating system of "A" through "F", with "A" representing the best conditions with minimal delays and "F" representing failing conditions with extensive congestion.
Neo-Urbanist Concepts - Neo-urbanist, or neo-traditional, planning concepts emphasize mixed-use development reminiscent of traditional "small-town" type development. Traditional grid street patterns are preferred. Additional design standards typically found in neo-urbanist plans include smaller building setbacks so that buildings create a street-line, use of public buildings or parks as focal points in design, and pedestrian-friendly features, such as sidewalks, crosswalks, benches and street trees.
Overlay District - an overlay district is created by identifying an area on a municipality's Zoning Map and specifying additional regulations to supplement the underlying zoning regulations. The underlying zoning of the area does not change. Rather, additional restrictions are overlain onto the district. When development is proposed within the boundaries of an overlay district, the developer must comply with the requirements of the existing zoning district and the overlay district.
Passive Recreation - passive recreation involves non-strenuous activities such as picnicking, bird watching, casual walking and scenic viewing.
Planned Unit Development (PUD) - Planned Unit Developments (PUD) allow the mixing of commercial, industrial and residential uses on a single property. Typically zoning does not allow mixing uses, but this technique allows for a more creative site plan, subject to municipal approval. The usual use of PUDs is the creation of a planned community, with a proper mix of uses and layout. If they are allowed within a municipality, the Code specifies the minimum size of a PUD (acreage), and the requirements that must be followed. It must be understood that this zoning category is not an "open approval" to all uses. A plan must be submitted and approved by municipal authorities. A subcategory of PUDs is the Planned Residential District, or PRD. In this zoning category only residential uses are allowed, but there is greater leeway in the mixing of housing types (single-family, duplexes, apartments, condos, etc.).
Subdivision - The division of any parcel of land into two or more lots for immediate sale or development with or without streets or highways.
Transfer of Development Rights - This is a legal mechanism for preserving land and open space, by allowing denser development elsewhere within the municipality. In the areas identified for protection, the "development rights" can be sold or transferred to a receiving area, where denser development is appropriate. The area that purchased the development rights is allowed increased density (more units per acre, for example). In exchange, development is prohibited in the area selling the development rights.
Wetlands - those areas which are inundated or saturated by surface or groundwater at a frequency of duration sufficient to support, or that under normal circumstances do support, a prevalence of vegetation typically adapted for life in saturated soil conditions. Wetlands include bogs, swamps, marshes, cattail ponds, wet forests and meadows. These areas may not be wet or covered by water throughout the year.
Zoning Districts - In a municipality there exists zoning which tells you what can be built on the property (the use), and how it shall be built on the land (bulk requirements including size, height, etc.). Each zoning district has specific regulations regarding uses and bulk that must be followed. The zoning districts are identified through a zoning map that depicts where the boundaries of the zoning district exist.