Regular meeting of the Town Board of the Town of Clarence was held Wednesday, December 1, 2004 at the Clarence Town Hall, One Town Place, Clarence, New York.
Supervisor Kathleen Hallock called the meeting to order at 7:40 P.M. Councilman Scott Bylewski led in the pledge to the flag, followed by a prayer read by Supervisor Hallock.
Members of the Town Board present were Councilmembers Ian McPherson, Scott Bylewski, Joseph Weiss, Bernard Kolber and Supervisor Hallock. Other Town officials present were Asst. Director of Community Development James Hartz, Town Attorney Steven Bengart, Town Engineer Joseph Latona, Deputy Supervisor Anne Case, Building Inspector David Metzger and Planning Board Chairperson Patricia Powers.
Motion by Councilman Kolber, seconded by Councilman Bylewski to accept the minutes of the previous meeting held November 17, 2004 as received. Upon roll call – Ayes: All; Noes: None. Motion carried.
Motion by Supervisor Hallock, seconded by Councilman McPherson to approve the following transfers of funds in the General Fund: $1,000 from A 1620.0450 Maintenance of Building & Grounds to A 1320.0444 Consulting Services and $5,000 from A 1990 Contingency to A 1960 Taxes on town owned property. Upon roll call – Ayes: All; Noes: None. Motion carried.
Motion by Supervisor Hallock, seconded by Councilman McPherson to adopt the following resolution:
WHEREAS, the massive expansion in the mandated cost of Medicaid from $143.1 million in 2002 to a projected $198 million in 2005, is bankrupting Erie County; and
WHEREAS, Erie County has no choice, but to fund approximately one-quarter of the Medicaid program; and
WHEREAS, every city, town and village has felt and will continue to suffer from the effects of rising Medicaid costs if New York State does not supply relief; and
WHEREAS, if New York State does not cut the county’s local share contribution, the impact on city, town and village residents will be devastating endangering their health, safety and welfare with the loss of essential services, by the elimination of sheriff patrols, district attorneys, probation officers, road repair units, snow plows, cultural and public benefit agencies; and
WHEREAS, without Medicaid relief, cities, towns and villages, as we know them, will cease to exist, given that many programs and services will be eliminated or severely curtailed; and
NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED, that the Clarence Town Board joins all city, town and village leaders in supporting the “Albany Can You Hear Us Now?” campaign which is demanding that New York State provide vital Medicaid reform that will provide needed mandate relief to local municipalities to provide public safety and quality of life programs and initiatives; and be it further
RESOLVED, that certified copies of this resolution be sent to Governor Pataki, Assembly Speaker Silver, Senate Majority Leader Bruno, Assembly Majority Leader Tokasz, the local delegation to the New York State Legislature, the mayors of Buffalo, Lackawanna, Tonawanda, the Supervisors of Amherst, Alden Aurora, Boston, Brant, Cheektowaga, Colden, Collins, Concord, Eden Elma, Evans, Grand Island, Hamburg, Holland Lancaster, Marilla, Newstead, North Collins, Orchard Park, Sardinia, Tonawanda, West Seneca and Wales.
Upon roll call – Ayes: All; Noes: None. Motion carried.
Motion by Supervisor Hallock, seconded by Councilman Bylewski to appoint Betty Smolka, 5861 Goodrich Road to the Bicentennial Committee. On the question, Supervisor Hallock said Betty has been attending all of the meetings and will be an asset to the committee. Upon roll call – Ayes: All; Noes: None. Motion carried.
Motion by Supervisor Hallock, seconded by Councilman Weiss to award Milherst Construction Inc., the Memorial Park Waterline Project in accordance with their bid of May 19, 2004 in the amount of $107,065 to be paid from Project 79. On the question, Councilman Kolber asked if this was a part of the original bid. Town Engineer Latona said yes. Upon roll call – Ayes: All; Noes: None. Motion carried.
Motion by Supervisor Hallock, seconded by Councilman Weiss to grant approval for Change Order No. 1, dated September 29, 2004, reducing the scope of the Memorial Park Project by $48,103 to $59,000. On the question, Councilman Kolber asked what this entails? Town Engineer Joseph Latona said it is a revised waterline plan that will be cut back to provide water to the site. Upon roll call – Ayes: All; Noes: None. Motion carried.
Motion by Supervisor Hallock, seconded by Councilman Kolber to authorize the Northern Sno-Seekers Snowmobile Club to mark a portion of the West Shore Line bike path which runs from Salt Road to Davison Road for use as an insured New York State Class A corridor snowmobile trail, subject to the receipt of a current certificate of insurance naming the Town of Clarence as an additional insured on the Club’s policy. This approval is with the understanding that snowmobiles are allowed only on the right-of-way of the bike path. On the question, Supervisor Hallock said she has received the certificate of insurance. Upon roll call – Ayes: All; Noes: None. Motion carried.
Motion by Supervisor Hallock, seconded by Councilman Bylewski to authorize the Northern Sno-Seekers Snowmobile Club to use a portion of a new trail running through Memorial Park between the parking lots and baseball diamonds on the northern side of the east/west main driveway, subject to final approval by the Town Engineer. This approval is with the understanding that snowmobiles will not use the bike paths. On the question, Councilman Kolber asked if there is any agreement in place if there is damage to the property? Supervisor Hallock said not at this time. Town Engineer Joseph Latona is going to meet with them and mark it off. We need to discuss the crossover of the handicap paths. Councilman McPherson said they are submitting an insurance certificate. Town Attorney Steven Bengart said they would not agree to a hold harmless agreement. They are willing to work with the Town Engineer of where they can go and put ramps over the paths. Councilman McPherson said their insurance should cover any damage. Upon roll call – Ayes: All; Noes: None. Motion carried.
Motion by Supervisor Hallock, seconded by Councilman Weiss to authorize Donald Gallo, Consulting Engineer to provide general services during construction and resident inspection for the waterline installation for Memorial Park at an hourly rate not to exceed $5,000 to be paid from Project 79. On the question, Councilman Kolber said we were looking at not having the same person inspect a project that designs it. He feels it is time that we separate these responsibilities. Town Engineer Joseph Latona said he agrees and they are trying to comply with that, but on this one the designer has to certify that the backflow preventor is installed in accordance with his design. Upon roll call – Ayes: All; Noes: None. Motion carried.
Supervisor Hallock announced that a meeting will be held on Monday, December 6, 2004 at 7:00 P.M. at the Clarence Town Hall to discuss completion of the “Peanut Line” bike path. The Town Engineer and the consulting engineer on the project will host the meeting.
Supervisor Hallock announced that a meeting will be held at the Clarence Library on Thursday, December 2, 2004 at 7:00 and 8:00 P.M. regarding Aphaeresis.
Supervisor Hallock announced that Erie County Highway called today to say that Lapp Road will be closed from Goodrich to Strickler Road until further notice for bridge repairs. The portion of Lapp Road from Strickler to Salt that had been closed for bridge repairs was completed and is now reopened.
Councilman McPherson announced that pursuant to a recommendation by the Traffic Safety Board, the intersection at Clarence Center Road and Strickler Road has been turned into a four-way stop. There are flags on the signs and warning signs are posted.
Councilman Bylewski announced that a test of the Reverse 911 System will be conducted on Sunday, December 5 th around 2:00 P.M. There was a notice in the Bee today. If you do receive an automated phone call, this is what it is about.
Councilman Bylewski referred to Asst. Director of Community Development James Hartz for an update of the action items while under the moratorium.
James Hartz reported the following:
Zoning Law – continue to receive public comments; reviewing the comments and distributing them as they come in; modifications will be made to the draft and Draft 6 will be given to the Town Board shortly.
Subdivision Law – preparing second draft for distribution to the Planning Board on December 8 th.
Adequate Public Facilities Ordinance – meeting set with the consultant on December 15 th at 2:00 P.M.
Motion by Councilman Bylewski, seconded by Councilman Weiss to set a Public Hearing for January 19, 2005 at 7:45 P.M. to consider amending the Zoning Law. Upon roll call – Ayes: All; Noes: None. Motion carried.
Motion by Councilman Bylewski, seconded by Councilman Weiss to set a Public Hearing for January 19, 2005 at 7:50 P.M. to consider adoption of a Local Law regarding the official establishment of the Municipal Review Committee. Upon roll call – Ayes: All; Noes: None. Motion carried.
Councilman Bylewski reported on the building permits issued for November 2004 as follows: 3 – in subdivisions, 2 out of subdivisions, year-to-date – 161; the total issued year-to-date through November 2003 was 209.
Motion by Councilman Weiss, seconded by Supervisor Hallock to authorize the insertion of the 2005 informational assessment letter with the 2005 Town and County Tax Bills. On the question, Councilman Weiss said it is just an informational letter regarding the Annual Reassessment Program to review and analyze each property in the Town and goes on to explain the process and resources available. Upon roll call – Ayes: None. Motion carried.
Motion by Councilman Weiss, seconded by Councilman Bylewski that upon recommendation of Highway Supt. Ted Donner, the bid for the purchase of 2 – dump bodies, 2 – salt spreaders and 2- sets of plow equipment to be installed on our two new plow trucks be awarded to STS Truck Equipment at their bid of $51,000 per truck for a total of $102,000. Funds for this equipment are available under the Equipment Bond Account. Upon roll call – Ayes: All; Noes: None. Motion carried.
Motion by Councilman Kolber, seconded by Supervisor Hallock to authorize the transfer of $2,500 from account A 7110.250 Other Equipment to account A 7110.450 Maintenance of Building & Grounds. Upon roll call – Ayes: All; Noes: None. Motion carried.
Motion by Councilman Kolber, seconded by Supervisor Hallock to authorize the transfer of $2,500 from account A 7110.417 Auto Parts to account A 7110.450 Maintenance of Building & Grounds. Upon roll call – Ayes: All; Noes: None. Motion carried.
Councilman Kolber announced as a reminder, the Electronics Recycling Drop Off at Erie Community College North Campus to be held on Saturday, December 11, 2004 from 9:00 A.M. to 2:00 P.M. Acceptable items include: Hard Drives, Monitors, Keyboards, Mouse, Printers, Cell Phones, Fluorescent Bulbs and Ballasts.
Patricia Powers, Planning Board Chairman reported on the activities of the Planning Board for the last year. They began the new year with a new chairman, vice chairmen, two new members and a new alternate. She expressed their gratitude and appreciation for the trust and confidence the Town Board demonstrated in all of these appointments. The group has worked together very well.
By the close of 2004 the Executive Committee will have met 50 times and the Planning Board 24, including two meetings with the Amherst Planning Board. They have reviewed 69 agenda items.
The reviews of the Zoning Code were the most complicated and time consuming. They conducted a public hearing on October 27, 2004 prior to their recommendation to the Town Board. Comments, both verbal and written, were reviewed and added to the code where appropriate. James Callahan and James Hartz patiently, professionally and skillfully guided them through these endeavors. They also appreciate the assistance and service provided by Kathy Tiffany.
Each member serves as a liaison to one or more Town committees. This requires an extra meeting each month, but is worth it in improved communication.
The Planning Board will continue to review the Subdivision Law, Landscape Ordinance and Proposed Tree Law. A joint meeting is tentatively scheduled with the Town Board for March 30, 2005. There will undoubtedly be a substantial increase in the number of development projects after the expiration of the moratorium. She believes the Planning Board is well positioned to meet the challenges of the New Year.
Supervisor Hallock thanked Pat Powers for the report and for serving so ably on the committee. Councilman Bylewski complimented the Planning Board on how they have conducted themselves throughout the year.
Town Engineer Joseph Latona reported that demolition of all the structures on the recently purchased farm has been completed and disposed of properly. Supervisor Hallock said this was a safety issue and she is glad it is taken care of.
A Public Hearing was held to consider a Special Exception Use Permit for outside display of product at 8655 Transit Road.
Councilman Bylewski said by way of disclosure, his firm represents Belknap, the property owner. He will recuse himself from this item to avoid the appearance of impropriety.
James Hartz said the recommendation from the Planning Board of November 10, 2004 is an approval with the following conditions: no items on display in right-of-ways on Transit Road or Tonawanda Creek Road; vehicles must line up with the front exterior wall of the building; the size of the outside display area shall be contained within the existing concrete pad; any landscaping considered essential to the appearance of the business will be considered in the future.
Supervisor Hallock asked the applicant if he is aware and in agreement with the conditions and he said yes. He added that they have been in business for 52 years and intend to continue to run a nice clean business in Clarence.
Councilman Weiss asked if a maximum number of display units was established? Mr. Hartz said it was discussed, but it was determined that designation of the display area was sufficient.
With no one else speaking to the subject, motion was made by Supervisor Hallock, seconded by Councilman McPherson to close the Public Hearing. Upon roll call – Ayes: Councilmen McPherson, Weiss, Kolber and Supervisor Hallock; Noes: None. Recuse: Councilman Bylewski. Motion carried.
Motion by Supervisor Hallock, seconded by Councilman Kolber to grant a Special Exception Use Permit for outside display of product at 8655 Transit Road, subject to the conditions set by the Planning Board. Upon roll call – Ayes: Councilmen McPherson, Weiss, Kolber and Supervisor Hallock; Noes: None. Recuse: Councilman Bylewski. Motion carried.
Dr. Budik requests a Building Permit and Architectural Approval for construction of a new storage building at 7591 Transit Road. James Hartz said the proposal is for a 24’ x 36’ pole barn in the Major Arterial Zone.
Dr. Budik said he intends to use the barn for personal storage behind his veterinary office.
Town Engineer Joseph Latona said he may be in the Density Floodway and will need a Floodplain Development Permit. It will be determined when he applies for the building permit.
Motion by Councilman McPherson, seconded by Supervisor Hallock to approve the request for a Building Permit and Architectural Approval for construction of a new storage building at 7591 Transit Road. Upon roll call – Ayes: All; Noes: None. Motion carried.
Fred Stanton, Clarence Flying Club requests a Building Permit and Architectural Approval for construction of two new hangers at 8041 Transit Road. James Hartz said the property is north of Wolcott Road in the Major Arterial and Agricultural Zones. There are three existing hangers on the north side of the property and the proposed hangers would be built next to them of the same material and style. Mr. Stanton said the size is 48’ x 48’. Any floodway issues would be handled at the building permit application.
Motion by Councilman McPherson, seconded by Supervisor Hallock to grant approval for the request for a Building Permit and Architectural Approval for construction of two new hangers at 8041 Transit Road. Upon roll call – Ayes: All; Noes: None. Motion carried.
Towne BMW/Mini requests a Building Permit and Architectural Approval for construction of a 5,462 sq. ft. addition to the existing automotive sales/service center at 8215 Main Street. James Hartz said this is located in the Commercial Zone and the Master Plan recommends this area to remain as such. The proposed addition is to the rear of the property, including additional parking. They actually started a little early on the parking area.
Bill Wincott, D. R. Chamberlain Corporation is the engineer for the project. The addition is strictly for service work. The area started was done by an overzealous manager who was not aware of the requirements. They have submitted landscaping plans to the Landscape Committee in an attempt to rectify this situation. In previous projects at that location, they have constructed a berm and plan to continue it down. Councilman McPherson asked if the intention is to provide as much buffering as there was before? Mr. Wincott said it was scrub trees and they intend to continue the berm as it exists.
Councilman Bylewski asked if complaints were received? James Hartz said yes and the residents were not very happy. Councilman Bylewski said the residents will be notified of future meetings to discuss the buffer. He thinks there would be re-establishment of a visual buffer as well as a vegetative buffer between them and the residential area. James Hartz said the Landscape Committee reviewed the initial plan on November 18 th and did disapprove it. Mr. Wincott said the comments were reviewed and they resubmitted a new plan.
Councilman Kolber said he would like to see the buffer rectified before we address the proposal. The people behind are suffering and were not considered.
Mr. Wincott said if they were referred to the Planning Board, they could get the proper direction. They will have to bring in a significant amount of material to continue the berm.
Motion by Councilman Bylewski, seconded by Councilman McPherson to refer the request for a Building Permit and Architectural Approval for construction of a 5,462 sq. ft. addition to the existing automotive sales/service center at 8215 Main Street to the Planning Board for further review with the understanding that it is to be heavily buffered between this project and the residential area to bring it back to where it was before. On the question, Councilman Kolber said he does not believe this should move forward right now after they had no regard for the residents. Councilman Weiss said he does not think a couple week wait is a deterrent to the project and there should be some penalty. Councilman Bylewski said by going to the Planning Board, the public could be involved again. Town Attorney Steven Bengart said they could be violated at this point for violating the approved landscape plan. Upon roll call – Ayes: Councilmembers McPherson, Bylewski and Supervisor Hallock; Noes: Councilmembers Weiss and Kolber. Motion carried.
Mike Helbringer requests an amendment to the existing Planned Unit Residential Development (PURD) to allow for one single-family residential lot on Clarence Center Road. James Hartz said the PURD was approved for Bristol Homes. Mike is the manager.
Councilman McPherson asked if this home will always be for the manager at this facility? There was concern if the property was sold to someone else. Mr. Helbringer said his board also had a concern and would like the right for first refusal if he sold the house. It does not guarantee that the house will always be owned by the manager of that facility.
Councilman Kolber said a major issue is for the location of the bike path through that parcel. Supervisor Hallock said the intention was to have the Town Engineer review this before the approval was granted.
Mr. Helbringer said in speaking on behalf of Bristol Village, they have a huge amount of acreage to be able to offer many alternatives for the bike path. He would be happy to sit down and discuss this.
Motion by Councilman Bylewski, seconded by Councilman McPherson to approve the amendment to the existing Planned Unit Residential Development (PURD) to allow for one single-family residential lot on Clarence Center Road to remain as a single-family residence and contingent to the Town Attorney and the Town Engineer’s approval regarding the bike path that shall go across the Bristol Village property. On the question, Councilman Bylewski said that because it is a PURD, the building should be used as a single-family residence and not as a business down the road. Upon roll call – Ayes: All; Noes: None. Motion carried.
Motion by Councilman Bylewski, seconded by Supervisor Hallock to table the request by Mary Jo Parker for a Building Permit and Architectural Approval for construction of a pole barn at 8160 Wehrle Dr. until a landscape plan is submitted. On the question, Councilman McPherson said this Board is not in favor of the size of the building that was submitted. He would not want to review it unless they have revised the size. Upon roll call – Ayes: All; Noes: None. Motion carried.
Colton RV requests a Special Exception Use Permit to allow for recreational vehicle sales in an existing storefront at Eastern Hills Mall. James Hartz said there was previously a similar use at the mall wherein a Temporary Conditional Permit was issued.
Brad Stamm, attorney representing Colton RV said they are entering into a lease for 52,000 sq. ft. at the mall. They feel that they will draw traffic to the mall. All of the vehicles will be stored inside.
Motion by Councilman Bylewski, seconded by Councilman Kolber to refer the request by Colton RV to allow for recreational vehicle sales in an existing storefront at Eastern Hills Mall to the Planning Board for review of conditions for a Temporary Conditional Permit. On the question, Councilman McPherson said he serves as a committeeman of a political party of which Mr. Stamm is the chairman, which has nothing to do with this project, so he will be voting. Upon roll call – Ayes: All; Noes: None. Motion carried.
Motion by Councilman Bylewski, seconded by Councilman McPherson to set a Public Hearing on January 19, 2005 at 7:55 P.M. to consider a Temporary Conditional Permit for Colton RV to allow for recreational vehicle sales in an existing storefront at Eastern Hills Mall. Upon roll call – Ayes: All; Noes: None. Motion carried.
Allene Falk, League of Women Voters of Buffalo/Niagara presented a report titled “At Taxpayers Expense: How Government Policies Encourage Sprawl in Erie and Niagara Counties” to the Town Board. This is a non-partisan, volunteer organization with members throughout Erie and Niagara counties. A committee of the League has studied issues of land use and sprawl. They ran a public education campaign on the economic, environmental and social costs of sprawl, which won a national award last year. They encourage the Town Board to read the report.
Mrs. Falk said one interesting item was that in this region, new houses outpaced new households 4 to 1 in the 1990’s. This is the most extreme example in the country according to the Brookings Institute. The report can also be downloaded from their website at www.lwvbn.org. The campaign on the cost of sprawl is also on the website. They welcome comments.
Councilman Bylewski asked if the League had a chance to review the proposed Zoning Law? There are certain activities going on to help reduce sprawl in looking at the institution of an adequate public facilities law. He personally has lobbied legislators to allow us to have impact fees to also help curb sprawl. He encourages the League to take a look at the proposed laws and to comment on them.
Mrs. Falk said they must compliment Clarence, the Town Board and Planning Board on being on the ball with many of the issues. Many towns lack a master plan. The proposed zoning laws, greenspace legislation and the effort for good communication between the Planning Board and other boards are all issues that point toward controlled sprawl.
Councilman Weiss asked how would you address the developers who claim that there is no sprawl in this area. Mrs. Falk said she would say it is in the eye of the beholder. Someone who wants to develop land thinks of it as a good use. However, once it is developed it is never going to be available for other purposes. That is why we need to plan so that we end up with what we want.
Kevin Curry, spoke on behalf of the Sports Coalition. Also present were Joe Miano and Vic Martucci of Clarence Baseball, Rick Divita and Tim Pazda from Softball, Clarence Mustangs Hockey (member, but not present), and Sherry Frost, Jack Colocousis and himself from Soccer. All the members of the Coalition wish to thank those responsible for the advancement of Memorial Park. It will be an asset to the entire Town. They thanked the Town Board, James Callahan from the Planning Department, the Recreation Advisory Committee, John Burns and the Parks Department and Town Engineer Joseph Latona. The spirit of cooperation made this possible. They look forward to working with the Town Board and Recreation Advisory Board to see that the remaining fields and details are completed.
Jack Colocousis presented a plague to the Town and everyone who played a part in the realization of the common goal of developing more athletic facilities for the Town of Clarence.
Motion by Councilman Kolber, seconded by Councilman Bylewski to approve the following Clubhouse Applications: A. Holy Cross Lutheran Church; B. Boy Scout Troop #93 – Feb. 27, 2005; C. Clarence Contemporary Club – Sept. 26 & 27, 2005; and D. VFW Memorial Post 1200 – 2 nd Tuesday each month of 2005. Upon roll call – Ayes: All; Noes: None. Motion carried.
Motion by Councilman McPherson, seconded by Supervisor Hallock that after proper audit and review by the Town Board, the following bills of December 2, 2004 are approved for payment: General Fund - $510,353.32; Highway Fund - $223,573.87; Water District - $18,452.14; Lighting Districts - $956.43; Sewer Districts - $660,516.96; Capital Fund - $180,389.05; Special Revenue - $6,657.02; and Trust & Agency 203 - $8,457.99 for a total amount of $1,609,356.78. On the question, Councilman Bylewski said one of the reasons we have such a high bill pay is the sewer bill settlement. Supervisor Hallock added that the big item was the payment to the New York State Retirement System. Upon roll call – Ayes: All; Noes: None. Motion carried.
There being no further business, Supervisor Hallock adjourned the regular meeting at 9:00 P.M. and the Town Board returned to their previously called Work Session.
Nancy C. Metzger