by Susan Mikula Campbell
The days of unlimited pet ownership in Wheatfield are over.
The Town Board on Monday put a leash on those living in residential areas (zoned R-1, R-2 or R-3) for the number of dogs, cats and total number of pets in their homes.
Under the amendment to the town code, no more than four dogs and no more than six cats will be allowed per dwelling unit. When there are both dogs and cats in a residence, no more than eight total will be allowed.
These numbers only affect dogs and cats older than 6 months, to allow the possibility of litters of puppies and kittens.
Also, the new regulations contain a "grandfather" clause to allow people who already have more than the allowable number to keep their pet as long as they receive proper care. However, no additional pets will be allowed until the total number is below the limit.
A violation of the local law will mean the excess animals can be captured and retained at the SPCA at the owner's expense. After five days of the court's determination of violation, the animals can be offered for adoption at the SPCA unless other arrangements are made by the owner.
Penalty for violations will be $100 for a first violation, $250 for a second violation within a five-year period, and $500 for subsequent violations.
Prior to enacting the law, the town held a public hearing in July and invited resident comment, as well as sought an opinion from the SPCA.
"My position is that when you have 200 cats in one house, it certainly isn't beneficial for the cats, and it isn't beneficial to the neighbors," Supervisor Robert Cliffe said. "If it doesn't work out, we can change it. This is good as a starting point."
In other matters:
Tim Zuber of Wendel Duchscherer Architects and Engineers reported that word was received Wednesday from the Federal Emergency Management Agency's consultant that the letter of map revision for the flood plain map in the Bergholz/Sawyer Creek area has received final approval. A rough estimate of 135 residents who have been paying flood insurance for years will no longer be required to do so. The letter of map revision will go into effect Sept. 20.
Town Engineer Tim Walck pointed out that not only homes, but also businesses are affected, including the Crestwood area (nursing home and senior living).
The engineers were authorized by the Town Board to check and model elevations in the Bergholz/Sawyer Creek area and work with FEMA for removal from the maps any previously listed properties where the federal elevation numbers were not correct. This was in addition to the effort that resulted in removal of 600 or more homes in the rest of the town that were new additions to the FEMA maps.
The SEQR process determines whether the project would have a significant impact on the environment.
The proposed subdivision on 42.8 acres of land between Errick and Ward roads, north of Lemke Drive is expected to include four single family homes on Errick Road, with 58 patio homes and 12 condos inside the development.