by Susan Mikula Campbell
Folks who spoke on Wheatfield's proposed airport overlay district at a recent public hearing found that their views made a difference at Monday's Town Board meeting.
The goal of the airport overlay district is to promote and attract well-planned economic development in the area of the Niagara Falls International Airport. The plan would focus on the location of the airport to attract related industry to that area.
One objection to the plan made at the public hearing was the boundary of the district would infringe upon farmland to the north of Bergholz. The town has redrawn the map to maintain the existing agriculture district up to the natural farmers' creek that is near the back of the Inducon property, according to Supervisor Bob Cliffe.
The plan also addresses the concern that there would be increased truck traffic in the hamlet. Town Attorney Bob O'Toole said trucks will not have access into the overlay through Bergholz.
The revised plan also takes out the prohibition of industrial uses of land in the overlay district, O'Toole said, although additional airport uses would be encouraged if possible. Existing businesses were never impacted by the plan.
Details of the plan and a map can be found on the town's website.
In other matters:
•Recreation Director Ed Sturgeon reminded residents that the Easter Bunny will make his annual visit to Wheatfield on Saturday, March 23. This year, the celebration will be held at the Youth Center. Also on that day, the annual senior spring dance will be held from 4 to 8 p.m. at the Community Center. Reservations are needed for the dance; call 694-8504.
•County Legislator David Godfrey reported on a recent visit with the local congressional delegation in Washington, D.C., regarding the Niagara Falls Air Reserve Station. Shortly after that visit, the county received a letter from U.S. Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand, who leads the Armed Forces Committee, indicating that the C-130 simulator planned for the base is safe for the 2014 budget. The county also has learned that the drone training mission is still targeted to be placed at the base, Godfrey said.
He added that two consulting firms are being interviewed this week in regards to marketing the base.
•The board approved a request from the St. Johnsburg Volunteer Fire Co. for the town's assistance and use of the Town Hall campus for the 2014 Western New York Volunteer Firefighters Convention. The fire company also received an OK to refinance its ladder truck to save with a lower interest rate - 2.9 percent instead of 5.3 percent.
•The next Wheatfield Town Board meeting will be at 7:30 p.m. Monday, March 25, at Town Hall. Public hearings are scheduled prior to the meeting. One at 7 p.m. will be on the adoption of the town's Local Waterfront Revitalization Program, including an amendment regarding zoning and a consistency review law for building within the LWRP. A hearing at 7:15 p.m. will be on the Wheatfield Comprehensive Master Plan, which can be found on the town's website.