County planners back new Taco Bell in Albion

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 27 October 2022 at 10:02 pm

Planning Board members voice concern about difficulty of right turn from entrance for tractor-trailers

Design by APD Engineering & Architecture in Victor – Hospitality Syracuse is proposing a 2,600-square-foot Taco Bell at 118 West Ave., next to McDonalds. The Taco Bell site would have 39 parking spaces and room in the drive-through lane for 12 vehicles.

ALBION – The Orleans County Planning Board is recommending the Village of Albion approve the site plan for a new Taco Bell on Route 31, and also give variances for the signs.

Hospitality Syracuse is the developer for the Taco Bell, which is proposed for 118 West Ave. at a vacant paved lot next to McDonalds.

Hospitality Syracuse would remove a 36-foot high steel water tank from the back corner of the lot, and make about 40 percent of the 1.33-acre lot green space with grass. That would be an improvement with drainage at the site over the current space that is nearly all asphalt, planners noted.

The project now goes to the Village Planning Board for a vote on the site plan, and the Zoning Board of Appeals for consideration of the variance. The ZBA has a public hearing at 4 p.m. on Nov. 15 to hear from the public on the sign variances.

The developer is proposing four signs with three on the building and one on a freestanding pole. The village code calls for a maximum of two signs.

The developer is proposing the new Taco Bell go on this vacant lot next to McDonalds.

The freestanding sign would be 79.5 square feet, which is above the 48 square foot maximum.

Hospitality Syracuse also is seeking a pole height of 25 feet, which is 5 feet higher than the limit.

The company wants its pole for the sign to be set back 10 feet from the road to align with the sign at McDonalds. However, the village code calls for signs to be set back at least 15 feet.

The site plan shows vehicles will need to make a sharp turn left at the end of the drive-through. Planning Board members think it will be difficult for tractor-trailers to have to make that left turn and then turn right onto Route 31.

The total cumulative area of the signs is at 147.6 square feet, which is 44 feet over the Albion zoning.

The developer is seeking the additional building signage due to the unique “tower” aspect of the building design. A sign on each side of the tower provides architectural symmetry, and a sign over the door identifies the main entrance, Hospitality stated in the application.

The configuration of the drive-through does not allow for a pylon setback greater than what has been proposed.

County planning officials said the sign variances would not alter the neighborhood if granted because the Taco Bell would be in the general business district and adjacent to McDonalds.

“Signage and brand recognition are critical to quick-service restaurants,” county planning officials wrote in reviewing the proposal. “The consumer needs to quickly identify the business from a distance and safely navigate to the site. Larger directional signs aid in on-site circulation through the site.”

Planning Board members would like to see a sagging chain-link fence either repaired or removed. The fence at the back end is in good shape. That is along the property line backing up to the Orleans County Highway Department or the Department of Public Works off West Academy Street.

Planning Board members spent the most time at this evening’s meeting expressing concern over tractor-trailers being able to turn right from the property after making deliveries.

The big trucks will need to go through a lane next to the drive-through and then turn left, and then make a hard right, and then another right to get onto Route 31.

“There is no way you can make a right turn safely,” board member Tim Elliott said.

Jim Bensley, county planning director, doesn’t want to see the trucks out of their lanes on Route 31, disrupting traffic. That happens in several locations around the county when trucks are making deliveries.

Stephanie Albright, engineer for the project, said the developer sought two entrances from the state Department of Transportation for the site. There are already three entrances to the property, but the DOT wants it reduced to one entrance. The DOT told the engineer and developer the design allows for tractor-trailers to make right turns without a problem.

The County Planning Board recommended Albion village officials press for a wider entrance to make it easier for the big trucks to turn right.

Albright, the engineer, said Hospitality Syracuse is eyeing a spring construction start for the project.