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Wheatfield approves waterfront development and master plans

by jmaloni
Fri, Mar 29th 2013 04:15 pm

by Susan Mikula Campbell

The Wheatfield Town Board's approval Monday of the town's Local Waterfront Revitalization Program and Comprehensive Master Plan doesn't mean work by the committee members is over.

Officials emphasized the projects need to keep up with changing times and current thinking.

"We've taken a look at a lot of things that affect our town," said Councilman Art Gerbec, noting that the town continues to grow and that changes made now might no longer work in five years.

The board approved an amendment to the town's zoning code to provide specific regulations and consistency review for the LWRP district.

Town Attorney Robert O'Toole noted that the waterfront district includes not only the area along the Niagara River, but a small section near where Niagara Falls Boulevard crosses the Erie Canal.

Having a LWRP in place will assist the town in applying for additional grant funding for these areas.

Along the Niagara River, some of the houses were initially cottages and lot sizes are often less than what are required in other areas of the town. A consistency review will help the town ensure that any new development matches the character of the area, O'Toole said.

Councilman Larry Helwig noted that the LWRP was two years in the making and that Monday's public hearing that preceded the vote was probably the fourth public hearing on the project. Since no one spoke at the hearing, it was obvious that the anxieties of the residents of that area had been calmed and that the committee did a good job, he said.

The Comprehensive Master Plan has been in the works at least four or five years, said Town Supervisor Robert Cliffe. The committee's eight different focus groups were under the direction of Richard Muscatello and each volunteer group spent hours and hours of their time on their area, whether it be drainage, greenspace or other aspects of town life. Cliffe stressed the importance of Muscatello's contribution to the project.

More information can be found on the town's website:www.wheatfield.ny.us.

In other matters:

•The board authorized its Water/Sewer Department to purchase a 2013 Bobcat mini excavator from Bobcat of Buffalo for $42,177, and a 2013 Sure-Track trailer from LOE Trailer Sales for $5,492.

•The board authorized its Highway Department to purchase a mobile lift from Mohawk Lift at a cost of $37,505.16 with an adaptor option for $2,494.80. The board also approved the hiring of a mechanic for the department and to send two highway employees for paving training at a cost of $1,000 each.

Cliffe noted that the county is moving to have towns do more roadwork on behalf of the county. "If that happens, we have to have people who are trained," he said.

•The board approved contributing $1,500 toward fireworks for the Shawnee Fire Co. Field Days.

•Recreation Director Ed Sturgeon reported that about 55 youngsters from the Youth Center volunteered last Friday to provide decorations for last Saturday's town Easter event. He also noted that the town's Easter camp for next week is sold out and has a waiting list. Applications for summer camp are being taken and are expected to be sold out by June, he said.

•The board held an executive session to discuss union contracts and personnel issues.

•The next regular Town Board meeting will be at 7:30 p.m. April 8.

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