A Work Session of the Clarence Town Board was held on July 25, 2007 at Clarence Town Hall, One Town Place, Clarence, NY.
Supervisor Kathleen Hallock called the meeting to order at 6:00 P.M. Members of the Town Board present were Council members Scott Bylewski, Joseph Weiss and Patrick Casilio. Councilman Kolber was absent. Other Town Officials present were Town Attorney Steven Bengart, Director of Community Development James Callahan, Town Engineer Joseph Latona, Director of Administration and Finance Pam Smith, Planning Board Chairman Pat Powers and TEQR Committee Chairman Matthew Balling.
Director of Community Development - James Callahan
A public hearing is scheduled for 7:45 P.M. to consider adoption of the proposed Historic Preservation Local Law.
Formal agenda items:
Russ Sciolino 8275 Transit Road
Arthur Fuerst 9450 Main Street
Steve Kieffer 8175 Sheridan Drive
Tom Kelkenberg 10060 County Road
St. Mary's Church
Annual Excavation Permit renewals:
Work Session items:
Paul Stephen/Douglas Klotzbach 10069 Main Street
Jack Willert - Stage Road
Louie's Car Clinic 9385 Main Street
Metzger Civil Engineering - east of 8940 County Road
Supervisor Kathleen Hallock
Supervisor Hallock will make a motion to approve the request by Clarence Center VFC to host their Labor Day parade on Monday, September 2, 2007.
Supervisor Hallock announced that she has received 15 pages of petitions relative to the Historic Preservation Law; they are on file in the Town Clerk's office.
Supervisor Hallock will announce the results of the Bond and BAN sale.
Mike Quinn and two other representatives from Erie County Department of Environment and Planning are scheduled for the August 1st Work Session. They have preliminary numbers for sewer district consolidation.
Supervisor Hallock received two resolutions from the Town of Lancaster relative to modular tactical vests. The U.S. Marine Corps has denied the use of these commercial Spartan II assault vest by U.S. Marines. The other resolution proclaiming August 1 - 7th as International Clown Week.
Supervisor Hallock copied the Town Board on a draft of the public information notice regarding Greiner/Shimerville Roads. The meeting is scheduled for August 29th at 7:00 P.M. in the auditorium. Notices will be sent to the residents and to the press by Nussbaumer & Clarke.
Supervisor Hallock will appoint a substitute van driver part-time effective 7/26/07.
Supervisor Hallock will make an appointment to the Senior Center Board.
Supervisor Hallock announced that she will be out of town from August 10 - 18.
Supervisor Hallock inquired as to the status of the speed trailer. Councilman Casilio spoke with Highway Superintendent Ted Donner; he is finalizing the purchase and obtaining information regarding the maintenance of the trailer. Town Attorney Bengart received a brochure from the Town of Amherst regarding their speed trailer but it did not contain any information regarding maintenance or calibration.
Supervisor Hallock has two items for Executive Session.
Councilman Scott Bylewski
Councilman Bylewski will report on the Public Safety - Volunteer meeting. There is still one vacancy on the committee, the application period ends this Friday.
Councilman Bylewski received a letter of appreciation from Ray Braun for entering into the Central Fire Alarm Contract. He was happy with the way the negotiations went.
The TEQR Committee has forwarded a total of four recommendations however, there are several concerns regarding Spaulding Green and the Draft Environmental Impact Statement.
TEQR Chairman Matthew Balling stated that the TEQR Committee met with the projects consultants that did the traffic component of the DEIS and there are a number of deficiencies in the traffic component that raised a lot of issues. The committee had four deficiencies that they felt should be addressed by the project sponsor. At this point in the process, the next step is for the Town Board as Lead Agency accept the Draft Generic Environmental Impact Statement. At that point in time the 30 day comment period opens. This would be the point where this document in its current form would be available to the public for review and would also be distributed to involved and interested agencies for their comment. The TEQR Committee passed a motion recommending that the document be accepted contingent upon these deficiencies being corrected, there is no way these deficiencies could be corrected by the applicant before tonight's Town Board meeting. TEQR Chairman Matthew Balling is asking the Town Board to hold off making any formal acceptance of the Draft Generic Environmental Impact Statement as it has been prepared and instead ask the applicant to address the deficiencies that were raised. SEQRA requires us to contact the project sponsor in writing. Mr. Balling drafted a two page letter as their method of letting the sponsor know that the DEIS is deficient.
The Town has the option to hire a consultant and recover the costs of hiring an independent commercial consultant. We can charge the project sponsor up to 2% of the value of his project. The town could also have both an independent consultant and GBNRTC review the DEIS. Councilman Bylewski questioned whether or not GBNRTC charged a fee. Town Engineer Latona stated that he believes GBNRTC charges a fee.
Matthew Balling stated that in this situation the study as it is drafted, the TEQR Committee had them study five intersections. All five intersections 25 years from now would meet a warrant for a major upgrade whether it is installing a new traffic signal and/or adding additional turn lanes. Mr. Balling suggested another team of consultants not as familiar with the thresholds that our regional office in Buffalo has for studying these things and the warrants necessary would be ideal to get a true independent analysis of this. Mr. Balling suggested a firm from the Rochester area.
Councilman Bylewski stated that we need someone to look at the draft in terms of mitigation. In talking about the impacts this project is going to have on the intersections, some type of mitigation would be appropriate and the question is what the proportionate share of this project would be for that mitigation.
Matthew Balling stated that to his knowledge, the GBNRTC does not have anyone on staff that can do cost estimating. As far as he knows they do not have civil engineers on staff. They have transportation analyst and they have planners, they do not have anyone that has actually had to put together generic costs for traffic.
Director of Community Development James Callahan met with a consultant from Nussbaumer & Clarke, they are putting together a proposal to update all our numbers on the traffic model that was done as part of the Master Plan. Mr. Callahan asked him to include a review of projects as a component of his fee for service. Mr. Callahan did inquire as to how we could nail down a proportionate value of costs for mitigation into the future and how that would play out.
Matthew Balling stated that the Town Board has to get back to the project sponsor in writing what we feel the deficiencies are as a town. They will then correct the deficiencies as they see fit. The town then gets 30 days to review their revision and make a decision whether to accept it.
Matthew Balling said that there was one item that was mentioned at the Friday morning meeting with the consultant and that was whether roundabouts would be considered an alternative mitigation to installing a traffic signal. Mr. Balling stated this is relatively new in NY State as to whether you would mitigate an unsignalized intersection with a roundabout vs. a traffic signal.
The Town Board was in agreement with the TEQR Committee recommendations to have the project sponsor address the four deficiencies that exist in the draft GEIS.
Councilman Bylewski referenced the discussion at the July 11th Work Session regarding the proposed amendment to the Ethic's disclosure form. Councilman Bylewski asked if that was an official recommendation of the Ethic's Board. Supervisor Hallock stated that she did not think there was a motion but the Ethic's Committee has a scheduled meeting on July 30th.
Councilman Bylewski has two items to discuss in Executive Session regarding the employment history of an individual and matters leading to the appointment of an individual.
Councilman Joseph Weiss
Highway Superintendent Ted Donner is requesting a bid date be set for August 7th, for removal of once ground wood chip mulch from our recycling area on Sheridan Drive.
The Planning & Zoning Department has contacted the owner of the vacant parcel on Susan Drive and Main Street regarding the weeds and tall grass.
The Conservation Committee has had discussions regarding the water level in the pond in front of Town Hall. Peter Wolfe is looking into the possibility of digging a well.
Councilman Weiss attended a meeting with all local Industrial Development Committees.
Councilman Weiss will announce the Bark in the Park event which will take place this weekend July 28th. Councilman Weiss will supply the trophy for the “owner and his dog look alike contest".
Councilman Weiss has one item to discuss in Executive Session regarding the discipline of a particular person.
Councilman Patrick Casilio
Councilman Casilio has been working on the new parks security vehicle regarding graphics and possibly obtaining more equipment for it as well. He has also been in contact with NYS Police and the Erie County Sheriff regarding proper wording. Town Attorney Bengart has been contacted by Disaster Coordinator David Bissonette about using particular wording.
Councilman Casilio had to cancel his meeting with NYSEG because he had to attend a funeral the same day.
Councilman Casilio has been working with many vendors and is ready to send out a request for information for security cameras. Clarence Rotary has raised money for the cameras along with Clarence Hollow Association. “Take Back the Bike Trail" is sponsoring a run on August 1st to raise money as well. Supervisor Hallock stated that the Town has received a $15,000 reimbursable grant through Assemblyman Mike Cole. For the record, Councilman Casilio stated that the cameras are meant as a deterrent so people know the paths are being watched. Councilman Casilio will meet with the Clarence Hollow Association; there has been vandalism at the Farmers Market.
Upon recommendation of Town Engineer Joseph Latona, Councilman Casilio will make a motion to set a bid date of August 17th @ 10:00 A.M. for a generator for the Senior Center.
Councilman Casilio will announce several openings on the Traffic Safety Board.
Councilman Casilio has been questioned by the Clarence Hollow Association as to the status of the parking lot next to Clara's House. There are some drainage issues that must be addressed. Supervisor Hallock stated that Highway Superintendent Ted Donner has been very busy with brush pickup. Last week was the first week he did not pickup brush since the October storm.
Motion by Supervisor Hallock, seconded by Councilman Bylewski to enter into Executive Session pursuant to § 105(1) A of the Open Meetings Law to discuss matters which will imperil the pubic safety if disclosed; § 105(1) H to discuss proposed acquisition of real property, § 105(1) F to discuss the employment history of an individual, matters leading to the appointment of an individual, matters leading to the discipline of an individual, § 105(1) E Collective negotiations pursuant to Article 14 of the Civil Service Law (the Taylor Law) and proposed litigation regarding Swormville VFC. Upon roll call - Ayes: All; Noes: None. Absent: Councilman Kolber. Motion carried.
There being no further business, the Work Session adjourned at 6:55 P.M.
Darcy A. Snyder
Motion by Supervisor Hallock, seconded by Councilman Bylewski to adjourn the Executive Session at 7:18 P.M. Upon roll call - Ayes: All; Noes: None. Absent: Councilman Kolber. Motion carried. No action taken
Regular meeting of the Town Board of the Town of Clarence was held Wednesday, July 25, 2007 at the Clarence Town Hall, One Town Place, Clarence, New York.
Supervisor Kathleen Hallock called the meeting to order at 7:30 P.M. Pledge to the flag was led by Councilman Patrick Casilio, followed by a prayer read by Supervisor Hallock.
Members of the Town Board present were Councilmembers Scott Bylewski, Joseph Weiss, Patrick Casilio and Supervisor Hallock. Absent was Councilman Bernard Kolber. Other Town officials present were Director of Community Development James Callahan, Town Attorney Steven Bengart, Town Engineer Joseph Latona, Building Inspector David Metzger, and Planning Board Chairperson Patricia Powers.
Motion by Councilman Casilio, seconded by Councilman Bylewski to approve the minutes of the previous morning work session held July 11, 2007. Upon roll call - Ayes: All; Noes: None. Absent: Councilman Bernard Kolber. Motion carried.
Motion by Councilman Bylewski, seconded by Councilman Weiss to approve the minutes of the previous work session and regular meeting held July 11, 2007. Upon roll call - Ayes: All; Noes: None. Absent: Councilman Bernard Kolber. Motion carried.
Supervisor Hallock announced that item #13, a request by Arthur Fuerst for Amended Development Plan Approval for a previously approved coffee shop/drive-thru at 9450 Main Street was removed from the agenda at the request of the applicant. It will be rescheduled.
Motion by Supervisor Hallock, seconded by Councilman Bylewski to grant approval for a Special Event Request to Clarence Center Vol. Fire Company for the Labor Day Parade to be held on Monday, September 3, 2007 beginning at 1:00 P.M. until approximately 2:00 P.M. On the question, Supervisor Hallock said all proper authorities will be notified. Upon roll call - Ayes: All; Noes: None. Absent: Councilman Bernard Kolber. Motion carried.
Motion by Supervisor Hallock, seconded by Councilman Bylewski to appoint Camille O'Reilly as Van Driver PT effective July 26, 2007 at the budgeted rate of pay. On the question, Supervisor Hallock said this is to replace Ken Adams as substitute van driver, who has resigned effective 7/25/07. Upon roll call - Ayes: All; Noes: None. Absent: Councilman Bernard Kolber. Motion carried.
Motion by Supervisor Hallock, seconded by Councilman Weiss to appoint Roselle LaBruna to the Senior Center Board to an unexpired term ending 12/31/07. Upon roll call - Ayes: All; Noes: None. Absent: Councilman Bernard Kolber. Motion carried.
Supervisor Hallock said for the record, we have received 15 pages of signed petitions against the Historical Preservation Law this morning. The originals are on file in the Town Clerk's office. There were approximately 286 signatures.
Supervisor Hallock announced that there will be a public information meeting on Wednesday, August 29, 2007 at 7:00 P.M. in the Town Hall auditorium on intersection improvements at Shimerville and Greiner Roads. The purpose is to discuss design alternatives that include the current stop sign control on all approaches, installing a signal system and a roundabout. The public will be given the opportunity to ask questions and offer input at the meeting.
Supervisor Hallock stated that the Town of Clarence, in connection with bonds and bond anticipation notes sales, recently received a rating by Moody's Investors Service, Inc. The Town received a rating of Aa3 on the bonds and MIG 1 on bond anticipation notes. Aa3 demonstrates the strongest creditworthiness relative to other US municipal or tax exempt issues and MIG 1 designation denotes superior credit quality. The rate on the bonds is 4.22% and the rate on the BAN is 3.68%.
Councilman Bylewski said a public safety meeting was held on Monday regarding volunteers. Information was distributed about neighborhood watch volunteers and recreational trail volunteers. The information is available at the Town Hall and on our website.
Councilman Bylewski said we received a letter from Ray Braun, Sr. Dispatcher at Amherst Central Alarm. He thanked us for effectively negotiating renewal of their service agreement.
Councilman Bylewski said he will fill the vacancy on the TEQR Committee in two weeks.
Motion by Councilman Bylewski, seconded by Councilman Weiss that upon recommendation by the TEQR Committee and pursuant to Article 8 of the Environmental Conservation Law, a Negative Declaration is issued on the proposed John Kausner 2-Lot Open Development Area located at 4180 Ransom Road. This Unlisted Action involves the development of a 2-Lot Open Development Area on 8 +/- acres in the Agricultural Rural Residential Zone. After thorough review by the TEQR Committee, Planning Board and Town Board of the submitted site plan and Environmental Assessment Form, including a coordinated review with additional details from an archeological report and a Phase I Environmental Site Assessment, it is determined that the proposed project will not have a significant impact upon the environment. Upon roll call - Ayes: All; Noes: None. Absent: Councilman Bernard Kolber. Motion carried.
Motion by Councilman Bylewski, seconded by Councilman Weiss that upon recommendation by the TEQR Committee and pursuant to Article 8 of the Environmental Conservation Law, a Negative Declaration is issued on the proposed Town of Clarence Zoning Map Amendments. This Type I Action involves zoning map amendments to change zoning classification along Transit Road near Tonawanda Creek Road from Restricted Business to Major Arterial and to extend the Restricted Business Zone along the south side of Sheridan Drive west of Harris Hill Road to an increased depth. After thorough review by the TEQR Committee, Planning Board and Town Board of the proposed changes and the Environmental Assessment Form, including a coordinated review among involved agencies, it has been determined that the proposed action is consistent with the adopted Master Plan 2015 and will not have a significant impact upon the environment. Upon roll call - Ayes: All; Noes: None. Absent: Councilman Bernard Kolber. Motion carried.
Motion by Councilman Bylewski, seconded by Councilman Weiss that upon recommendation by the TEQR Committee and pursuant to Article 8 of the Environmental Conservation Law, the Town seeks Lead Agency status and commences a coordinated review among involved agencies on the proposed Master Plan 2015 Amendments. This Type I Action involves amending the adopted comprehensive Master Plan 2015 to further detail future sewer district expansions. Upon roll call - Ayes: All; Noes: None. Absent: Councilman Bernard Kolber. Motion carried.
Motion by Councilman Weiss, seconded by Councilman Bylewski that upon recommendation by Highway Supt. Ted Donner, a Bid Date is set for August 7, 2007 at 10:00 A.M. for the sale, including loading and hauling, of Once Ground Wood Chip Mulch consisting of 3.5 piles totaling 4,500 cu. yds. The successful bidder will be required to remove the material within 90 days. Total payment and insurance must be submitted prior to removal of any material. Upon roll call - Ayes: All; Noes: None. Absent: Councilman Bernard Kolber. Motion carried.
Councilman Weiss said he, along with Supervisor Hallock and Jim Callahan, attended a meeting with people from the County and a number of the IDA's. There is a movement to do planning on a County level. He hopes that the County is on the right track. They will keep the public informed on the efforts of the various towns to attract business to Western New York.
Councilman Weiss said the Conservation Advisory Committee is looking at the possibility of digging a well to maintain the flow of the two ponds at the Town Hall. We are looking at the best and cheapest way to try and get that done.
Councilman Weiss said this Saturday; the Clarence Center Community Association is holding an event called Bark in the Park at Town Place Park on Goodrich Road from 12 to 4 P.M. Residents are welcome to bring their dogs on a leash. Councilman Weiss displayed the trophy he is contributing for the dog and owner look-a-like contest. You have to enter to win. Supervisor Hallock said people are welcome to come with or without a pet.
Councilman Casilio had stated at the last meeting that he was going to meet with NYSEG regarding our power outages. He had to cancel that meeting and will reschedule.
Councilman Casilio said several organizations have been raising funds to help purchase a camera system for our bike paths. They are very close to sending out RFP's so the project can get started. The main purpose of the cameras is to serve as a deterrent to help make our bike paths safer.
Councilman Casilio said a purchase order has been issued for the repair work on approximately 57 street lights in the Harris Hill area. He thanked the Harris Hill Association for mapping out the poles that are damaged.
Councilman Casilio said the sidewalk bid for Harris Hill and Clarence Center was awarded and that work should begin in about two weeks.
Councilman Casilio announced that there are three openings on the Traffic Safety Board. This board will work in conjunction with the Planning Board on various projects and review requests submitted by the residents.
Councilman Casilio said after the October storm we were using fire halls for shelters. It was difficult for the fire companies to man the shelters while they were being summoned to their various calls. The Town has decided to use the senior center as a shelter in the future. The only item needed now is a back up generator for that building. Dave Bissonette, Disaster Coordinator is working with the senior center for volunteers to man the shelter in the event that it is needed.
Town Clerk Nancy Metzger received a resolution adopted by the Town of Cheektowaga in support of dedicating County Forest Preserves as parklands to be included in the Master Plan of Erie County Parklands.
Marty Logan said he is a member of St. Mary's Parish. They are building a new church, but not bringing a new parish to town. The traffic flow has been there and will continue to be there. The purpose behind the circular architecture is that the parishioners can be closer to the Celebration.
A Public Hearing was held to consider adoption of the proposed Historic Preservation Local Law. Henry Brodowski, Chairman of the Historical Preservation Committee said they began working on this local law two years ago. The draft has been approved by the NYS Office of Parks, Recreation and Historical Preservation. They have held two public meetings and made some changes. They are now ready to present the law.
Mr. Brodowski said the process is not easy or is it fast. He read a letter from residents who are heartbroken at the loss of the granary, the creamery and Williams Hall to name a few. We can work to preserve remaining historical structures by supporting historic property owners with praise, compliments and encouragement. Mr. Brodowski said that does not bring back the buildings that have been lost. Without the generosity of some of our citizens, Clara's House in the Hollow would now be a parking lot.
Joanna Pickering, member of the Historic Preservation Committee explained how we have arrived to this moment. It became apparent in 1976 that the Town of Clarence, the oldest town in Erie County, had no means to protect its historical heritage. A movement began to find a way to guard our historic sites for future generations. Many of our residents had already recognized the need for an historic preservation ordinance. Many people worked hard on drafts that were presented to the Town and nothing was done. Petitions with hundreds of signatures were submitted and still nothing was done. An architect along with UB students did a survey of Clarence Hollow and Clarence Center using State and Federal criteria for historic structures. They recommended establishment of an historic preservation ordinance.
Bob Metz said there is another side to the story. They have submitted petitions not to pass this law as written. There is a personal cost to an owner if this law is mandated. Many are opposed because it is not voluntary, but mandatory. There are no time limits specified and if you do not comply, you go to jail. He has spent over $90,500 on top of the purchase price just to get his house habitable and he has a long way to go. This law includes maintenance and landscaping and repointing mortar which takes a lot of time and is so expensive. His home would cost $10,000 per side and coming up with that kind of cash is a hardship. He urges the Town Board not to pass this law as written and think about some of the concerns of the people.
Michael Ferrari said his family occupies two of these homes on Martin Road. He is concerned for his future in Clarence because he does not know if he can afford to pay all of the people that the Town will hire to decide if he can remodel his house the way he wants to. After living here all of his life he would hope that his town would have faith in him to remodel his home to make it look right. He is all for preservation, but is flabbergasted that Williams Hall could be torn down for a parking lot and then people in expensive homes can tell him what to do.
Barbara and Bob Anderson said even though they would like to preserve the character and charm of the old buildings, they believe it is unrealistic to follow in line with the goals of this law. They are shocked by the fines that could be imposed and the jail time to people who may be unable to comply. Having a committee make decisions on what they do to their home infringes on their freedom. The town has a unique character and people do what they can to their property. She believes the Town Board should step back and look at this again because it will be very difficult for many people to stay or to even sell their house.
Linda Mosher said she has worked over 20 years looking at various ordinances and laws. They worked very hard to come up with something that was fair and beneficial to people who live in historical homes. She does not live in a 6-figure home and does not want to tell people what they can and cannot do with their homes. She loves this Town and we have some wonderful treasures here. As we are the oldest town and as we approach our bicentennial, we do need to have a fair law that balances hardships, individual's property rights with the rights of all of us to have these treasures that have been handed down. If we don't have a way to help people who have the historic homes, they will be gone. She urges the Town to adopt the law.
Robert Lenz said an item in the Washington Post said that historical listings can increase home and neighborhood values. It also boosts tourism. The Clarence Hollow Association sent out a survey in 2002 to residents of the Town and received back 30% of those sent. They asked a number of questions about what was important to the residents, 87% of which responded small town atmosphere and historic charm, 81% said historic buildings. (The survey and summary are available.) He believes that it is time for the Town to have this law and he fully supports it. There are protections for everyone.
Elaine Wolfe said she has had the experience to save the Magoffin House on Main Street and she thinks it is important for everyone to understand what they went through to do that. The owner could not sell the house and applied for a demolition permit. The Town exhausted all of the legal tools to prevent the demolition. The owner would delay demolition for 6 months and if nothing happened after that he would keep the $25,000 and continue with demolition. David Brace led the charge so that it did not happen. Town residents who cared about preserving this house donated $20,000 of their personal money and the Historical Society donated $5,000. They settled four days before the deadline. She wonders how many others would step up and do the same. It comes down to how important it is to preserve the history and architecture these buildings represent. It is probably part of the reason many have moved to Clarence. She urges adoption of this law.
Tamara Metz said they are interested in preserving property and have gone into debt to preserve one. She feels the hardship clause is exploitive and abusive for people with financial problems or on limited incomes to have to go to a public hearing and disclose personal information to prove they cannot afford alterations. They are not totally against trying to preserve the beautiful properties, but the law is too far out. They are against the law as written. They do not have the money to do any more to their house right now. Her house is not eye candy for anyone else. It is a home for her family.
Peter Vasilion said he has some experience in this area. His law firm introduced a preservation law in Orchard Park in 2003. They have since amended it twice and are again looking at amendments to bring the law into harmonious balance with the needs of the town. If the intent is to do a one time inventory, it is not clear in the law. He asked that the Board consider the following points: the law provides 20 days for an appeal and he suggests 30 days; a typographical error in Section 13.(e); Section 10 includes a section if the cost of compliance is cost prohibitive and why is it not in Section 9; why is there nine people on the board rather than 7; and there should be an engineer or builder on the board.
Mr. Adams, a representative from Albany who has been working with the Preservation Committee for the past year was present. There are 12 nearby communities that have a preservation law and Orchard Park is in the process of amending theirs to be more in compliance with the State law. It is always controversial when this program comes up. It is not a unique concept and has been around for a long time. The program brings economic benefits to towns in Federal grant monies, as well as from other agencies. There has only been one court case brought against a commission and it was upheld in the commission's favor. It is about managing change as communities grow and change with the times.
Richard Biddlecom said he has lived in his home for over 20 years and has spent a lot of money to improve it. He does not want somebody telling him what he can or cannot do.
James Blum said he is in favor of preserving our historical interests, but he prefers that there was sufficient inducement so that properties would be offered by their owners to be maintained without pressure of the law. He is disappointed that some have already disappeared, so he is in favor of some type of law. It is a lot of responsibility to take on when a building is designated as historic. Perhaps a service organization or the town would have to take on the responsibility to maintain a property when it is no longer reasonable for a private property owner to take care of. The 15 days in jail is extreme, although it has never been practiced with other laws. He asks that if the law is passed, it is further refined in the future.
Anne Jedrzejek said their 1880 house cost in excess of $65,000 to repair. The barn is falling down and they do not have 6-figures to repair it. They have looked for funding and now they will be penalized. She is not paying a $100,000 to fix a barn.
Nicole Heary said she is a member of the preservation committee and is opposed to the law as written. Properties now considered consequential could end up being designated. It is unfair to say that the law is limited to a small number. Her other issue is that the law is not voluntary. The fact that the Town would not qualify for CLG status if there was an opt-out clause holds little weight. It does not guarantee that the town will receive any money. The money is for education and not to help owners repair or maintain their properties. The burden of the law outweighs the benefit to the owner. You would not be able to replace a light fixture on the outside of your home before going through the commission. The fines are outrageous. They would not have bought their house if they knew they would be subject to this law.
Arlene Hibschweiler said they have a barn on County Road that is in very poor condition. They have tried to donate the barn and contact agencies to help with preservation. There was either no response or no viable response. They cannot bankrupt themselves to save it. On behalf of her family, they will donate the barn to the Town of Clarence to remove and reconstruct.
Bruce Bonhoff said the Master Plan states that the method to achieve the goal of historic preservation should be designed to protect the individual property owners from undue hardship. He feels the Town should develop a census from all of the property owners before adoption of this law. There have been many objections throughout development of the law and no changes have been made. The real property tax exemption is minimal. The savings is only on the increased assessment and not on the repairs. The State and Federal benefits are also minimal with none of the funding going into repairs. He can only see property values go up if there is an historical district formed. He suggests that the law be optional. An historical fund could be created for the purchase of façades or entire properties similar to the greenspace fund. He asked that the Board vote no.
Michael Rockwell said their 150 year old home has been modified through the years to accommodate the families who have lived there. The law is not written to help owners of historical homes. It restricts our civil liberty to do with the homes that people work for and pay taxes so the Town can run their government. He has heard people say they will not keep up the exterior of their home so that they are not regulated by this law. If the Victorians had the materials we have today, they would have used them on their homes. He does not believe future generations will want the burden of this law and will not purchase one. He asked that the Board listen to the constituents and not pass this law.
Amy DiBartolo Rockwell said when they have done any renovations to their home they have taken great pains to make any changes in keeping with the character and charm of the home. She cares about preservation issues and loves old homes. She grew up in this home and is now raising her family and now feels this dream is being taken away. She is considering leaving because of this law. It penalizes her as an historical home owner. She believes that the law may be better for public buildings and not private homes. Historic home owners do take care of their property and have the right to change things like other property owners. She asked that her rights are preserved.
Paul Kelly said he has a small business in the area that this law will affect. This law is going to be very restrictive. He has done nothing but fix the property through the years. If this law is passed, they are going to move out of town.
Jennifer Post lives in a house with historical significance on Herr Road. She objects to the jail time aspect of the law. Enforcement of the current building code laws may take care of some of the issues. She believes in preservation, but in order to afford some of the maintenance on an historic home people must use modern materials. She believes new builds should be in keeping with the character of the neighborhood. Her home would not mean much with a modern type building next to it. She would not have purchased her home if there were restrictions on what she could do with it.
Martha Dippold said her house is over 150 years old and when they went to paint the front porch discovered that the carved posts had to be replaced. They found an Amish man to make the replacements, which took over a year to have done. This was all done without this law telling them what they had to do. They should be able to maintain their home as their resources allow. According to this law, they will have to write up a proposal that has to go through a lengthy review process and approval in order to make an improvement. She asked that this law as written be voted down.
Councilman Casilio said the painting requirements were removed from the law. Supervisor Hallock said the law did go through changes as it was developed to reduce some of the restrictions.
Kathy Moguel said she has been trying to have holes above her windows fixed for a long time. She is afraid of this law being so restrictive that she will not be able to find someone to do repairs on her home.
Joe Jedrzejek said he has a barn in question and they are not going to go broke just to save it. He has worked for the Parks Department for 32 years. We are talking about historic preservation and he has never seen the historic cemeteries in such poor condition. They have had very little time or money to deal with them other than mow the grass. The clubhouse needs repairs. He believes the Town Board should put their foot forward first and take care of some of those things. He thinks this law should be turned down and consideration of the whole scope of historic preservation and not just buildings.
Andrea Shear said she purchased a home on Clarence Center Road that was in shambles and has made considerable improvements. She received a beautification award for the work she has done. This was all done without a law. If the proposed law would have been in effect, it would have financially crippled her and landed her in jail. She spoke with over 50 people in the community who had no idea of the ramifications of this law to them as homeowners. She asked that this proposed law be looked at again without imposing a financial burden on the homeowners. She asked what the vision is. Councilman Bylewski said it is to preserve the rural and historical character of the town. It was set forth as a community goal throughout our master planning process.
Clinton Brown said he worked on the survey for the Town. People come to Clarence because they like the historical character. He recommends adoption of this law to help make Clarence a leader amongst communities in Western New York. He is surprised to hear the level of fear and unknowing that is in so many residents minds from such a progressive community. He would be happy to talk to anyone who has a home listed on the survey as he has 30 years experience in historic preservation. They have not yet identified any potential historical districts. Communities generally want historic districts because they maintain their property value rather than non-historic districts. Historic communities retain and grow their intrinsic value which helps maintain their quality of life. Progressive communities adopt these measures in order to stop the flow of people leaving.
David Hormell said he has lived in Clarence all of his life. He is involved in the Historical Society and the Bicentennial Committee. Our town is the oldest town in Erie County. There is much written about heritage tourism and we have some of that in our town. He commends those who live in the historical homes. It is important to have something in place and we are moving forward.
Donald Boyd said he is President of the Clarence Hollow Association and one of their missions has been the preservation, improvement and promotion of the historical character of Clarence Hollow. The Association worked hard with the Town and the NYS Dept. of Transportation on the Main Street streetscape project. The historical attributes give the association its niche to market businesses to compete with big box stores. The survey they conducted a few years ago indicated that 80% of the residents do not want to see a signature franchise building go up in the Hollow; 81% believe that historic buildings are an economic asset; 87% believe that the preservation of the historic charm and character are important. The Clarence Hollow Association enthusiastically supports the proposed Historic Preservation Law.
Al Herrscher said he does believe in historic preservation as he purchased his grandparents farm. He has spent an astronomical amount of money to try to bring the property back up to be able to live there. He thinks it is not so much about preserving history, but new builds should come back to our historic style. Kenyons on Goodrich Road is an example of a new build blending in with the Town. He does not want to see the people here who are trying to maintain their properties being penalized. The Town should be brought back to the quant little town that it used to be.
Kathy McHugh, President of Clarence Center Community Association said their mission is to have the vision to preserve our historic Clarence Center the way it is. She understands the expenses that some may incur, but feels there has been too much negative said about this and not enough about what help there would be for the homeowners. We need to stop all of the confusion and help the homeowners.
Janice Errick said she has lived in her home all of her life. She does not understand why the people who have lived here for so many years are being picked on. They cannot afford to leave Town because who would buy a house that has restrictions on what they can do.
Supervisor Hallock read some letters she received from residents who are unable to be here. One from Mrs. David Brace saying that this law is one of the most important and long over due measures for the Town of Clarence. She encourages passage of the law so that the process is not delayed any longer. Her home is one of the oldest in Erie County and she would like to see it protected before she sells it.
Supervisor Hallock said from a personal experience, her husband and his two sisters inherited an 1860 carriage house in Barnstable Village, Cape Cod. It is in an historical district with the “paint police" and “window police". It is a beautiful area and they are happy to comply because the value of the property is protected.
Councilman Weiss said he also shares some of the concerns of the public with the financial hardship and the penalties of jail seem strong. We have to weigh the spirit versus the letter of the law. Any proposed law is a work in progress that can be adjusted as we begin to work with it.
Supervisor Hallock said there was a comment that the clubhouse was not being maintained by the Town. This Town Board has approved a $550,000 capital improvement. It took a couple years to get it into place. This year a new roof and gutters were put on because we feel it is important to preserve this 1911 building for the Town. Councilman Bylewski added that it was done in accordance with historic preservation architectural standards.
Councilman Casilio said he believes that the law as written does put a financial burden on property owners. He wishes that the residential portion could be voluntary. He is also concerned that any house over 50 years old would come under review. The purpose of the law is really asking a homeowner to maintain it. He believes that the law will be looked at again as we move forward. Residents were concerned that their financial situation would be discussed in public and that would not happen. The law is a tool for this Board to better plan and serve this community. His fear is that places like the emporium would be torn down and a box store built in its place. There is nothing in place now to stop that from happening. He cannot imagine this Town Board forcing people into foreclosure in order to save a barn. That is not the intent. This law is important to protect everyone.
Councilman Weiss said some things are beyond repair. If the law is passed, as we move forward all that was said tonight will be taken into consideration as we make changes. They do not intend to overburden anyone.
Councilman Casilio added as was said before, Amherst has far more structures and they had only 10 included. We are at 51 and could be less than 10 when all is said and done. There is room for improvement in the law and he invites anyone here tonight to come forward to assist in any future changes.
Supervisor Hallock said she has a problem with the provision of imprisonment.
Councilman Casilio said corporations could care less about fines. They consider it part of their operating expense and would think nothing of tearing down a building to put up one of their own. The jail sentences are more for corporate America to be responsive.
Sandra Baker said she has removed the asbestos siding from her home and has had custom made storm windows made. It is the only home left in Clarence Center with the arch windows. She would like to restore her diamond in the ruff with no restrictions. She asked the Board to vote no.
Jerry Hardick said his home is considered significant. In the 11 years that he has been working on his home the Preservation Committee has never contacted them. He would think that a progressive community would work with the residents they are serving. The Preservation Committee could have reached out to historical homeowners and an architect to help them plan and make changes to their houses.
Supervisor Hallock said members of the Preservation Committee are present tonight and will take all of the suggestions of getting together to work on this. People will still be able to do what they want with their house until this goes into effect. The process is lengthy.
With no one else speaking to the subject, motion was made by Supervisor Hallock, seconded by Councilman Casilio to close the Public Hearing. On the question, Town Attorney Steven Bengart said receipt of the petitions against the law should be made a part of the record. Supervisor Hallock said they will be on file in the Town Clerk's office. Upon roll call - Ayes: All; Noes: None. Absent: Councilman Bernard Kolber. Motion carried.
Motion by Supervisor Hallock, seconded by Councilman Bylewski to adopt the following resolution as amended:
Russ Sciolino requests a Building Permit and Architectural Approval for construction of a pole barn at 8275 Transit Road. James Callahan said the location is the east side of Transit Road, north of Wolcott Road consisting of approximately 4.8 acres in the Restricted Business Zone and the Density Flood Zone.
Steve Kieffer requests Preliminary Concept Review of a proposed office park at 8175 Sheridan Drive. James Callahan said the location is the south side of Sheridan Drive east of the entrance to Eastern Hills Mall consisting of 3.8 acres zoned Restricted Business.
Tom Kelkenberg requests Preliminary Concept Review of a proposed office/warehouse park at 10060 County Road. James Callahan said the location is the north side of County Road, west of Strickler Road consisting of approximately 3.59 acres zoned Industrial Business Park.
St. Mary's Church requests a Public Hearing to consider a Special Exception Use Permit for a structure greater than 10,000 sq. ft. in the Traditional Neighborhood District at 6925 Transit Road. James Callahan said the location is the southeast corner of Transit and Stahley Roads consisting of an existing church facility in the Traditional Neighborhood District of Swormville.
James Callahan said according to the Excavation Law, the Town Board has authority to review Excavation Permits on an annual basis. All necessary documents and fees are in order for the following: 10001 Grand Corporation located on Wehrle Drive west of Shisler Road and Emeritus Holdings located on Wehrle Drive, west of 10001 Grand Corporation, both hauling under 20,000 cu. yds.; Buffalo Crushed Stone located on Wehrle Drive near Harris Hill is hauling over 20,000 cu. yds.; and Lakeside Sod located at Goodrich and County Roads for ongoing sod production.
Motion by Councilman Weiss, seconded by Councilman Bylewski to grant approval of the following: Clubhouse Applications - A. Clarence Holiday Valley Ski Club - Sept. 23, 2007; B. Clarence Garden Club - Dec. 9, 2007; C. People of Praise - March 9, 2008; D. Girl Scout Troop 973 - 3rd Friday each month 2008; E. Girl Scout Troop 886 - 3rd Tuesday each month 2008; F. Log Cabin Quilters - 4th Tuesday each month & Dec. 2, 2008; G. American Legion - May 26, Nov. 11, & Dec. 10, 2008; H. Clarence Book Review Club - 1st Wednesday each month 2008; I. Garden Friends of Clarence - 2nd Wednesday each month & May 14, 2008; J. Clarence Arts & Crafts Society - 2nd Thursday each month, Oct. 31, Nov. 1 & 2, 2008; Legion Hall Applications - A. Clarence Soccer Club - Sept. 22, 2007; B. Stephanie McKillen - Oct. 21, 2007; C. American Legion - 4th Monday each month, 2nd Wednesday each month, May 26, June 14, 2008; D. Log Cabin Quilters - Every Thursday of 2008; Nature Center Application: A. Clarence Unit League of Women Voters - Oct. 4, 2007. Upon roll call - Ayes: All; Noes: None. Absent: Councilman Bernard Kolber. Motion carried.
Motion by Councilman Bylewski, seconded by Councilman Weiss that after proper audit and review by the Town Board the following bills of July 26, 2007 are approved for payment: General Fund - $173,212.35; Highway Fund - $56,127.47; Water District - $1,651.36; Lighting Districts - $1,069.95; Sewer Districts - $372.16; Capital Fund - $426,150.56; Trust and Agency 203 - $15,157.94 for a total amount of $673,741.79. Upon roll call - Ayes: All; Noes: None. Absent: Councilman Bernard Kolber. Motion carried.
There being no further business, Supervisor Hallock adjourned the meeting at 10:19 P.M. in memory of former employee of 27 years and head of our Parks Department Bob Weber. Mr. Weber was responsible for overseeing the development of Meadowlakes Park, Town Place Park and Glenwood Park.
Nancy C. Metzger