by Susan Mikula Campbell
Speeders on Hoover Road and problems with Ryan Homes development plans highlighted Monday's Wheatfield Town Board meeting.
Resident Mike Wolf presented the board with a petition signed by neighbors asking that something be done about increased traffic and speeding on Hoover Road between Lockport Road and Brent Drive. Wolf said he sat in front of his residence between 3:30 and 5:30 p.m. recently and counted 126 cars. He believes many people, possibly those on their way to and from Niagara County Community College, are using the road to bypass the light at Lockport and Ward roads.
"This is a residential area, not a bypass. It's an accident waiting to happen," he said, asking that the town put up its speed monitoring sign and increase patrols in the area.
Neighbor Robert Crandall supported Wolf's suggestions, saying, "The neighborhood has become dangerous for my children."
Supervisor Robert Cliffe noted that a young man had recently been arrested on Hoover Road for traveling 71 mph in a posted 35 mph zone. He said he would take steps to be sure speed is properly enforced and see that the recently state-approved, new 30 mph signs for the area are installed.
Two motions dealing with Ryan Homes' plans for an amendment to the Villas at Wheatfield Lake planned unit development were tabled.
Ryan wants to take about 2.5 acres of land designated as common/open area and deed it to property owners to allow them to install decks and fences. Ryan, represented at the meeting by its vice president Chad Rush and attorney Charles Malcomb, is promising that the PUD still will contain the required 25 percent common/open space for use by all homeowners association members.
Board members indicated they wanted to see something that illustrated Ryan's plans to ensure common/open space met the PUD guidelines.
"It's hard to vote on something when we don't have something before us," said Councilman Larry Helwig.
Councilman Art Gerbec said the board wanted to ensure the Villas homeowners association ends up with "something to replace the land they're not going to have access to."
Residents commented on both sides of the issue, some pointing out that sheds, fences and decks already have been installed on what is technically common land without proper town permits.
One commented that everyone knew when they moved in what they could and couldn't have at their homes and that rules were being changed "for no good reason."
Curt Doktor, a member of the homeowners group noted there have been a "ton of mistakes" made at the development and that he also blames the town that "something so messed up was given approval." One of Ryan's suggestions has been to turn a planned cul de sac property into a park, he said, and he's not sure his group wants to accept responsibility for maintaining and insuring it.
New resident Paula Barrish was in favor of the plan to acquire a portion of the common area. She wants to build a small deck and steps behind her home. "Right now I am being denied my back yard," she said, adding there are "a lot of unhappy people" in the development.
Another proposal was to get approval to use a small portion of wetland area for a walking path. A resident commented that she had no wish to walk in "a mosquito-infested area."
•The board also tabled applications for Phase 2 of the Wheatfield Lakes Patio Home Subdivision final phase that would provide 12 patio home lots. It did authorize the concept of a cluster development concept for the Cobblestone Creek subdivision on the west side of Errick Road. This was not an approval of the subdivision itself as regular subdivision approvals still have to be met.
•Highway Department Supervisor Art Kroening reported that mulch is now available at the town Highway Garage for $25 delivered or $10 if picked up by residents.
•The board approved a request by Boy Scout Ben Chatley to acquire a used, surplus flagpole from the town to be placed as part of a Scout project at Veterans Park in Cambria. Chatley said he plans to include Wheatfield Town Board members as well as county veterans groups at the dedication ceremony.
•The board approved a request from Elderwood Assisted Living at Crestwood to use the town's Community Center as a temporary emergency shelter if needed. Cliffe noted that both the Community Center and Youth Center are approved by the American Red Cross as emergency shelters.
•The town is still looking for temporary part-time summer workers. They must be 18 years old or older and have their driver's licenses.
•The next regular Wheatfield Town Board meeting will be May 20. It will begin at 7:10 p.m. with a public information meeting to review the town's draft stormwater report for 2013 and the town's stormwater management plan.