and strengthen the economy of the town and encourage a growing and diversified
v Focus commercial development along the length of Grand Island Boulevard, with maximum density at the Central Business District, and lesser density in the business districts north and south of that area.
Provide opportunities for
commercial development by lessening restrictions on the locations of permitted
commercial uses while promoting a cohesive “village scale” appearance.
Implement guidelines that promote
a cohesive appearance by creating a common set of streetscape relationships
between structures, landscaping, signs, parking, and sidewalks in business
desirable industrial and business uses, as well as mixed use office/research
park; encourage the siting of industrial and commercial uses along the New
York State Thruway.
Provide for commercial
development that meets the community’s need for business development along
Provide for small scale
commercial development in residential neighborhoods, which enhances those
neighborhoods by providing locations for businesses to supply basic goods and
Minimize the impact of commercial
development on the surrounding residential neighborhood by requiring
commercial structures to blend into adjoining residential neighborhoods, and
minimizing the impact of automobile traffic, noise, light, and odors on
adjoining residential neighborhoods.
has shown that in order to create a viable business district, a dense
“commercial core” should be born of and supported by a “critical mass”
of residential development. The Town of Grand Island is unique in that
development of its primary commercial district is strongly influenced by the
placement of the north and south Grand Island bridges. Grand Island
Boulevard’s role in connecting the bridges has spawned commercial
development along its length forming the “commercial spine” of Grand
Island, which must be developed in a comprehensive manner in order to create a
viable business district.
Island’s shoreline presents limited but definite opportunities for
development that must be capitalized on in a comprehensive manner. Grand
Island’s Waterfront Revitalization Plan had been combined with zoning
regulations, establishing the “Waterfront Business District”.
Zoning regulations have also established the “Hamlet Business
District” in two areas of the town that are intended to serve as small-scale
neighborhood developments capable of supporting the daily needs of the areas
in which they are developed.
New York State Thruway corridor presents opportunities for commercial
development uses that do not necessarily fit the “village scale”
appearance sought for Town Center, or that would not be fitting in Hamlet or
Waterfront Business districts. This corridor presents opportunities for
businesses seeking larger facilities, and/or high visibility for their
business uses, and lends itself to the creation of Highway Business District
zoning to accommodate this type of development.
uses are not commonly found on Grand Island, and do not generally fit the
vision for the Town Center, Hamlet, or Waterfront business districts. While
these uses are not generally looked upon favorably, consideration should be
given to accommodating limited opportunities for light manufacturing in areas
which do not present conflicts with surrounding uses.
Center Business Districts:
comprehensive plans have focused only on the business district immediately
surrounding Grand Island Town Hall, and have not acknowledged the commercial
and multi-family development, which have developed along the north and south
approaches to this area. Additionally, the streetscape envisioned under the
previous Comprehensive Plan was unable to be implemented due to restrictions
placed on the configuration of Grand Island Boulevard by the jurisdictional
agency, the New York State Department of Transportation.
Town Zoning Code, developed in response to the previous Comprehensive Plan,
focused primarily on regulating uses in this geographic area by establishing a
set of five Town Center sub-districts, thereby establishing a commercial core.
Zoning in the north and south approaches to this area were left as general
business districts with no relationship to the central Town Center.
effect of this approach has been to artificially limit the uses that could be
developed in these areas due to the limited supply of land available for
particular uses in given zoning districts. In effect, a developer planning a
particular building use will be limited to a particular commercial district
that may or may not fit his/her particular development needs.
the previous Comprehensive Plan set forth the vision of development that fit a
“village scale” appearance, development since that plan’s adoption has
not conformed to that vision. Though the 2004 Zoning Code contained design and
performance standards these standards were vague, containing no substantive
regulation requiring the consistent theme “village scale” calls for.
a result of the analysis stated above, it is clear that a complete revision of
the zoning codes affecting Grand Island Boulevard and Town Center, including a
comprehensive set of written guidelines, was necessary to ensure future
development in the village scale style.
2007, the Town adopted formal “Design and Performance Standards,” which
created a comprehensive set of regulations promoting consistency in design of
buildings, the arrangement of buildings and parking on sites, and their
relationship to the street. These standards must be coordinated with revisions
to the current zoning to ensure future commercial development takes on the
The first step recommended in the process
is to acknowledge that Grand Island’s Town Center has and will continue to
develop “bridge to bridge” along Grand Island Boulevard, and to adopt
zoning regulations which will promote the following goals:
the number of zoning classifications along the length of Grand Island
Boulevard to three.
the five existing Town Center districts into one Central Business District.
North and South Town Center districts to govern zoning from the bridges to the
the restrictions on which uses are permitted in these districts.
size and density regulations to focus more intensive commercial and
multi-family developments to the Central district while allowing less dense
commercial and multi-family development in the North and South districts.
all three Town Center districts to the town’s Design and Performance Standards.
Promote visual continuity in the
appearance of developments as seen from travelling vehicles by requiring
consistency in plantings, reinforcing a common streetscape in the Town Center.
as to the permitted and special uses as well as to the allowable size and
density for developments in these districts are contained in the “Matrix of
Permitted and Special Uses for Town Center Districts” contained in Appendix
“???”. This matrix establishes recommendations regarding the size and
density of permitted uses within the business districts. It establishes low,
medium, and high density thresholds for the pertinent uses, and generally
dictates that low to medium density development be permitted in the North and
South Business districts, while dictating that medium to high density
development be permitted in the Central district.
is recommended that all new developments be required to establish a “tree
line” along the right-of-way line as a means of creating visual consistency
along the major roadways in the business district. Larger trees that grow into
a canopy appearance are recommended to help create a sense of less dense
environment in the North and South districts. More ornamental, lower growing
trees that appear to be lighter and more airy are recommended in the Central
district to help create the vision of a denser commercial core.
further the goal of enhancing the natural environment, the preferred method
for site planning shall be to set parking areas to the rear and side of
buildings wherever practical, and to screen from view all parking areas from
the roadway. Where circumstances dictate that parking areas must be located in
front of the building face, landscaped berms, planters, or masonry walls are
the preferred screens.
signage detracts from the visual harmony of the Central district. While
signage is a necessary business identification tool, it can be an effective
tool without imposing on the visual environment. It is recommended that each
development be limited to one sign identifying it by name and street address,
and that it be limited to a height of ten feet and a length of twelve feet.
addition to providing a strong commercial core, there is a clear need to
provide for commercial development to supply goods and services to the
community at points of need outside Town Center. As such, the current zoning
code has designated Waterfront Business districts at key points for commercial
activity along the Town’s shoreline, and Hamlet Business districts in two
districts shall serve to host water-related businesses such as marinas, boat
sales and service businesses, boating clubs, restaurants, hospitality industry
uses, and small retail stores. With the exception of the Waterfront district
located at the east end of Whitehaven Road, these districts are located in
neighborhoods primarily residential in nature, and future development must be
done in a manner that preserves the character of the surrounding
Hamlet districts are located in two well-established residential
neighborhoods. The intent of these is to provide conveniently located
small-scale businesses offering goods and services within walking distance of
nearby residences. Future development must be carried out in a manner that
enhances the quality of life in the neighborhoods in which they occur, and
should minimize any negative impacts associated with development.
following recommendations are (?) adopted to address objectives related to the
goal of meeting the localized commercial needs of the community without
drawing substantial development away from the Town’s center, and without
adversely impacting the character of the surrounding neighborhood:
Utilize community outreach
techniques to gain public input on design issues affecting the surrounding
neighborhood prior to making the substantial planning decisions.
Emphasize pedestrian friendly
access as part of design to encourage use of the development without the need
for motor vehicles.
Use natural and manmade
landscaping elements to separate commercial developments from adjoining
residences, and minimize impact on quality of life in the adjoining
Limit the size of the structures
permitted in these districts to that which is in keeping with existing
structures in surrounding neighborhoods.
Utilize design standards to
promote residential character in commercial structures so they blend well with
adjoining residential neighborhoods, creating a positive aesthetic
relationship between the two.
Utilize performance standards to
influence the design of commercial sites to minimize the impact of
automobile traffic, noise, light, and odors on the adjoining residential
Special consideration should be
given to encouraging the revitalization of the Love Road hamlet in a manner
that is consistent with the standards for new developments.
Grand Island has an abundance of shoreline, the majority of the land is
residentially zoned or designated as parkland. The primary opportunities for
business development are located along the shoreline in the Ferry Village
area, and on East River Road around the intersection of Whitehaven Road
land use was created to encourage development of the town's Niagara River
recreational resource as part of its overall economic development strategy,
and to provide water‑oriented recreation facilities for residents.
Given the apparent demand for boat slips and opportunities for river
access, several areas have been designated for this use.
Many are currently in operation as service centers. Characteristics of
this land use may include:
Service Center areas consistent with recommendations of the Horizons
developed with bulkhead, dredged and artificially protected harbor providing
numerous docks and slips and a boat launch.
or town ownership.
parking area for vehicles and trailers.
concession stand type businesses, and tackle shops may be associated with
Marine Services Center.
Town should explore the potential for cooperation with the New York State
Office of Parks, Recreation, and Historic Preservation as a vehicle for
establishing Niagara River access at Ferry Village.
This project might be undertaken as an element of the Town Park
recommended for the southern end of River Road just north of the state's East
study of the proposal to create a Marine Service Center in the southwestern
corner of Buckhorn Island State Park indicated that boat launching may not be
practical at that location. The
Land Use Plan, therefore, recommends that a passive recreation area be
development along the New York State Thruway corridor has primarily taken the
form of larger office and research facilities, and automobile dealerships.
Development of this type should be focused along the length of the thruway
corridor rather than in the other business districts, as they provide Grand
Island with substantial opportunities to increase its tax base by
accommodating business uses requiring larger floor areas, and/or high
of current zoning codes reveals that no concerted approach has been taken to
reinforce development opportunities for these types of businesses along the
thruway corridor. To foster this objective, it is recommended that the Town
establish a Highway Business zoning code classification, which would allow for
of commercial uses not favored in a village scale, residential, or waterfront
of economic activities reliant on highway exposure for economic survival.
parking, building height, and/or floor area allowance.
of business uses generating larger volumes of traffic.
of uses as corporate headquarters, office buildings, and research facilities.
for larger signage not favored in other commercial areas.
for building aesthetics not favored in village scale, or residential settings.
for light manufacturing opportunities presenting neither pollution issues nor
conflicts with adjoining uses.
of large outdoor storage yards for materials or items that detract from
is also recommended that the Town’s Design and Performance Standards be
further developed to ensure that building projects in Highway Business
Districts are completed in a manner that reinforces a positive image of the
Town as perceived by travelers along the New York State Thruway. The standards
developed should address the following issues:
the “high tech” aesthetic that has developed along the thruway corridor.
higher-quality finishes, and discourage low-quality materials such as metal
siding and plain masonry block.
building heights, massing and unbroken lengths to facilitate a more appealing
a campus setting by requiring green space and landscaping affronting the
thruway and adjoining roadways.
visual screens and substantial buffers to adjoining residential zones.
should be given to the expansion of current Highway Business areas, by the
creation of overlay zoning that permits future development in areas not
currently appropriately zoned.
zoning permits certain manufacturing uses in “M-1”, and “M-2”
districts, and provides adequate opportunities for these uses. No expansion of
these areas is recommended. Consideration may be given to inclusion of
provisions for the appearance and siting of future developments in these
districts by further development of the Town’s Design and Performance