by Terry Duffy
Porter Town Board members talked recycling containers and debated lending a generator in an active session Monday, that also saw the holding of three public hearings.
The board was updated on a state Department of Environmental Conservation recycling grant application from town grant writer Bernie Rotella. It also heard concerns by East Avenue resident Ernie Lavigueur on keeping residents apprised regarding any changes to the recycling program.
"The town is now on a wait list," said Rotella, telling members the application approved earlier by the board, which provides for a 50 percent DEC matching grant on the town's expected purchase of new, bigger recycling containers, was submitted to DEC. Porter has a position number, and the grant funding award would be retroactive to the time the town actually purchases the containers, which is expected within months. It would then begin working out the logistics with recycling provider Modern Disposal to complete the changes for residents.
Much of the program is expected to remain the same, said Town Supervisor Mert Wiepert. He noted the big changes will be in the size of the new recycling containers, from the current box-size versions to larger containers roughly 64 gallons in size, possibly even 96 gallons, that would be mounted on wheels. Recycling pickups would be made every two weeks versus the current weekly schedule. Recyclables would include paper; cardboard, including pizza boxes; glass, plastics and metals.
"They'll be a lot easier than what we have now," commented Town Council member Joe Fleckenstein in response to questions raised by Lavigueur. He told the resident the town would be funding the purchase up front and then be reimbursed by the DEC grant, with the town's actual purchasing of the containers expected over coming months. No cost figure was reported.
"Just keep the community aware of what's happening," responded the resident, suggesting the town provide updates on its website.
"Modern will be having educational programs informing the residents of changes," once the town acquires the new containers said Wiepert, who added that further information on the recycling program and changes will be forthcoming.
More active discussion by the board occurred later in the session, when a correspondence request for the town to lend a generator to the Cambria Volunteer Fire Co. for an upcoming dog show came up, leading to questions. The fire company informed the town it is hosting a dog show at its hall from Sept. 13 to 16 and is seeking use of the town equipment to power motor homes expected on site.
Currently, the town's lone generator is being used to power the Lake Road lift station while electrical repairs are being made and not available.
"Are there any problems here," questioned Fleckenstein to Town Attorney Mike Dowd, saying he didn't want the town to become involved in questionable practices and creating problems for itself with the state.
Dowd suggested the equipment lending to the fire company for a function could be a sticky issue. "If there's a public benefit (the dog show), I'd say it's OK," said Dowd. "If it's private (such as a wedding) well. ... "
"If there's a doubt don't do it," said Wiepert.
Dowd suggested the town approve the request conditionally, on his checking the request out to see if there would be any potential problems with the state comptroller's office, for example. "I'll check it out, to see if it's public or private," said Dowd.
In other news:
•As noted the town held an opening series of public hearings that proved routine with no comments heard, and went on to approve each request.
The first involved a zoning change from rural commercial to rural agriculture for an 8.2-acre parcel on the south side of Lake Road, west of Ransomville Road, to enable a property sale. Current owner Douglas Zastra of Ohio said the zoning change was needed to enable the property to be sold to a single buyer or for construction of private residences. "Granting this request would be a win-win for me and also neighboring properties," said Zastra. He said the property was zoned commercial earlier due to a former appliance repair business on the property.
Wiepert said both the Town Planning and Zoning boards had signed off on the matter. It went on to be approved by the Porter Board Monday, with the measure specifying the town be granted lead agency status for a procedural State Environmental Quality Review. The zoning change request would then be forwarded to the county Planning Board for its OK.
The second involved a change in zoning from low density residential to rural commercial to enable the sale of a building, formerly known as the Portage House, a now-closed sports bar business at Blairville Road and East Avenue. Town Building Inspector-Code Enforcement Officer Roy Rogers said the matter had been OK'd earlier by the town's Planning and Zoning boards. It was also approved by the Town Board Monday, with the aforementioned lead agency status granted for purpose of a SEQR and then forwarding the request to the county Planning Board for OK to enable the sale.
The third involved language specifying fence heights at three feet for residential properties, both current and future builds, bordering Lake Ontario. Rogers said the height change was merely procedural, reflecting revised wording in the zoning law with respect to fence heights. It will now be identical to one covering fence heights on the roadside of lake properties.