A Special Meeting was held Monday, February 28, 2004 at the Clarence Town Hall, One Town Place, Clarence, New York at 7:00 P.M. for the purpose of a Residents Forum.
Members of the Town Board present were Councilmembers Bernard Kolber, Scott Bylewski and Supervisor Hallock. Supervisor Hallock led pledge to the flag.
Supervisor Hallock announced the Historical Event being held on Sunday, March 6, 2005 at the Main Street Park and encouraged everyone to attend.
Councilman Kolber said when he ran for office, he said he wanted to get government back into the hands of the people. He suggested holding these forums to provide the opportunity for people to speak about anything they would like. This is the second annual meeting. He wants to do everything that he can for the people he represents.
Councilman Bylewski said it is very important to have public participation. Every Town Board meeting offers the opportunity for people to speak. The Planning Board also now has an open comment period for every item.
Supervisor Hallock said this is the publicís opportunity to speak. If they are unable to respond this evening, they will get back to people with answers to their questions.
Dennis Zuchlewski, 6275 Jennifer Ct. had a question of whether or not something could be done with Adelphia Cable in regard to the louder advertisements from the programs. You have to constantly adjust the volume.
Councilman Bylewski said he would contact Adelphia and the Public Service Commission to find out and report it at a future Town Board meeting.
Jerry Young, Elmcroft Ct. said we voted for sewers in 1998 and he would like to know where that stands. He walks around the neighborhood and they are needed.
Supervisor Hallock said the Town is making application this week for reimbursement of some of our expenses. The level of extensions will depend on how the grants come through. The question of whether they will start north or south of Main Street will have to be determined at that time.
Councilman Kolber said we need to determine the worst areas and decide where the money will do the most good. The south side is probably more in need, but will be more expensive because of the rock. Mr. Young said that is his point, they would be cheaper and are closer to the trunk line. More sewers could go in. It is long awaited. He asked if there are any sewers connected yet?
Supervisor Hallock said nothing is flowing yet. The DEC is inspecting the work done by the DOT to install the lines on Main Street. The line is in on Bank Street, but is not functioning.
John Campochiaro, 8275 West Point Dr. asked about consolidation of the trash pick-up? Councilman Kolber said they are working on that right now. A Public Hearing is scheduled for March 23rd.
He also wanted to thank the Parks Commissioner for plowing the bike paths.
Francis Rouse said he has been a resident for 50 years and followed the sewer fiasco for all of those years. The State put out a mandate to clean up the pollution in Ransom Creek and he wonders why they do not want a sewer up Ransom Road to take the sewage out of the creek?
Councilman Kolber said he believes that the line will go up Ransom Road. The Town Engineer is deciding where we will go next to do the most good with the money that we have. It is the ultimate goal to get the pollution out of the creek.
Mr. Rouse is worried that more money will be wasted with nothing being done. He does not want a sewer.
James Blum, 5509 Marthaís Vineyard said he is also annoyed by the volume differences on Adelphia.
Mr. Blum said the Master Plan refers to country setting or rural look. He has been thinking about it for a long time to figure out what we would like to have and what is keeping us from having it. He thinks we would like, on certain roadways, the rural look to remain. It appears that there are two kinds of approvals by the Town that are eating away at that look. The most significant is the individual lots being subdivided along our roadways. There are also subdivisions affecting the roadways. We need to begin to talk about housing in the back to separate them from the roadway. He does not believe our new Subdivision Law addresses that.
Mr. Blum said he thinks that the majority of the people in the Town would like to have the lot sizes somewhat associated with the size of the house. The lot coverage is the only control that will provide control of this issue. The fixed number of a setback will not do that. He believes that it has to be a variable control to work. Mr. Blum said he hopes that the Zoning Law is passed at the next meeting.
Councilman Bylewski said we try to maintain as much of the character as we can through the minor subdivision law. He also believes that lot coverage should be by a percentage rather than just a setback. Mr. Blum said some communities use both.
Councilman Kolber said he agrees with those issues, but in a minor subdivision, you are allowed to split a property four times without a major subdivision buildout plan. That has not been enforced and now all of the frontage has been sold off. Now, it is being enforced and will make some people very angry. It is the only way to keep from building up all of the road frontage. Many people in Amherst have told him that we should not make the same mistakes as they did by not planning. Developers want to come in and make every dollar that they can. They were pushing for smaller lot sizes, but they were not any cheaper. The builders complained about not having affordable housing, when they are building $800,000 houses on postage stamp lots that can barely fit the houses.
Mr. Blum said we have only begun to realize what we need. We desperately need the new zoning law adopted. We do not want the builders to put the biggest house on any lot, no matter what the size is.
Councilman Bylewski said if anyone is interested, the Municipal Review Committee is meeting down the hall on the proposed Subdivision Law.
Tom McGinley, 5201 Brookhaven Dr. wanted to reinforce what Jerry said about the sewer. He fully supports the sewer and cannot wait for it to be installed. We have a very serious problem. He supports the north side of Main Street because the more you get out of the system in numbers, the less pollution there will be.
Dennis Zuchlewski said he has been watching what has been going on with this County and he wonders what is our plan for police protection?
Supervisor Hallock said that we have 14 people in the budget for Parks Security, which is an increase from 2004 due to the increased miles on the bike path. They have asked for a report from the Chief Security Office to see if we can elevate the status of that department. They also have contacted the Amherst Police Department. Sheriff Gallivan said that the road patrols are his priority.
Councilman Bylewski said we could also contact the Town of Lancaster. We are fortunate to still have the State Police in the Town.
Mr. Zuchlewski asked how many roads the County plowed in the Town? Supervisor Hallock said they plow approximately 106 lane miles. Councilman Kolber added that they also plow State roads, which one is Main Street from Sheridan Drive to the County Line. Mr. Zuchlewski asked if the Town plowed some of them, would there be a trade off for more patrols? Supervisor Hallock said the County pays the Town to plow some of them now. We do not know if there will be a contract by the County or will we have County roads that are just not plowed. Councilman Kolber said we just passed a resolution where our Highway Department would plow County roads if it becomes a matter of health and safety, but at this point we do not know if we would receive reimbursement.
Supervisor Hallock said there are a lot of the obvious departments affected, but there are several others. Councilman Bylewski said it was recommended that the Association of Erie County Governments take a look at alternative methods of structure for the Erie County Government. Safety is first and foremost. Councilman Kolber said the people are saying that they cannot take any more taxes.
Mary Kolub, 10470 Alexander Dr. said they are desperate for sewers. She owns four acres and it is wet and mosquito infested. She can watch soap suds float in the ditch near her house. This is a health hazard and she would like to see movement on the sewers.
James Smerecak, 5090 Elmcroft Ct. is here to support the much needed sewer system in his area. People are hanging on and wondering what they should do with their systems. He said they are hearing that it is a question of north or south of Main Street will be done.
Councilman Kolber said they do not know where it is going in first. It is easier to do the north side. The south side with the rock is probably the worst. It has smaller lots and less soil.
Debbi Calandri, 5110 Elmcroft Ct. reiterated the need for sewers. The smell in the neighborhood is atrocious most of the time. She said there are about 75 homes in that neighborhood and wondered if that would have a bearing? Supervisor Hallock said she did not have an answer to that.
Lou Donovan, 5130 Elmcroft Ct. said he supports the work being done in his area. He lives at the bottom of the hill and everything ends up in his yard. He understands some of it is surface drainage, but the septic tanks are causing soil saturation. This is really something that must be corrected.
Supervisor Hallock said that another reason that we are looking at the garbage district is that our Highway Superintendent told us last year that the paving is impeded due to the garbage trucks being on the roads all week. The new Superintendent said the heavy trucks are ruining the storm drainage receivers. Most people can save between $80 and $100 per year. Every parcel will receive a postcard notifying them of the Public Hearing on March 23rd.
Rita Belzer, 5065 Alexander Dr. said she supports the sewer system. She believes that there are clear health violations if they inspected the failing systems in the area. She does not know why the Health Department is not directly involved.
Councilman Bylewski said there is a Master Sewer Plan. The Hollow and the Harris Hill areas both have serious environmental problems. We are trying to deal with them the best that we can. Ms. Belzer asked what is the homeowner supposed to do in the meantime. She understands that the bear minimum is what is being called for because the area is actively seeking funding according to the Town Engineer.
Councilman Kolber said he thinks we should have another meeting with the Town Engineer to address the issue of the sewer to update the residents. Councilman Bylewski said the last meeting was June 18, 2003. Supervisor Hallock will look into having another meeting for that purpose.
Tom McGinley asked why was the initial line, called the Heise/Brookhaven line? It has nothing to do with Brookhaven. Supervisor Hallock said she believes that it was in the original design. He said that is absolutely right, but was told it was an oversight.
Tim Pazda thanked Mr. Kolber for this Town Meeting. It is always good to hear what is going on. He also added that there is an opening on the Planning Board.
Supervisor Hallock said applications are being accepted through April 6th.
Karen Willyoung, 9080 Greiner Rd. asked if there are penalties for being out of compliance with the septic systems? Supervisor Hallock said that because we have a Consent Order, it means that we agree we have a problem and it is being worked on. Harris Hill is not under a Consent Order because it is not going into a body of water. Councilman Bylewski said not that we know of anyway. It is not along a creek, but we do not know about the aquifer.
Supervisor Hallock thanked everyone for coming and adjourned the meeting at 8:00 P.M.
Nancy C. Metzger, Town Clerk