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Town of Wheatfield promotes base, negotiates on patio homes

by jmaloni
Thu, May 23rd 2013 01:45 pm

by Susan Mikula Campbell

Wheatfield Supervisor Bob Cliffe was part of a local delegation on a two-day trip to Washington, D.C., this week to promote the Niagara Falls Air Reserve Station.

The lobbying trip also would include representatives of the base, the Niagara Military Affairs Council and other county officials, County Legislator David Godfrey reported at Monday's Wheatfield Town Board meeting. He noted the fight to save the base and especially the 107th Airlift Wing of the New York Air National Guard, due to lose its flying mission in July, is "an ongoing battle."

Cliffe said the base is not only critical for the economy of the area, but also provides 2,000 highly trained individuals in case of disaster.

"In a real pinch, these people are available to help us," he said.

Cliffe said he expected to be meeting with Senate staffers and with officials at the Pentagon during the trip.

The board and Ryan Homes may have reached an agreement on the Wheatfield Lakes Patio Homes subdivision.

Ryan Homes had asked to take about 2.5 acres of land designated as common/open space and deed it to individual property owners, allowing them to install decks and fences. As a planned unit development, it needs to have 25 percent common area for use by all homeowners. Ryan also was asking for approval for 12 patio homes as part of Phase 2 of the development. Both items were tabled at the May 6 meeting.

Ryan Vice President Chad Rush asked to speak with board members after Monday's meeting to present a revised plan that he indicated was "at extreme expense to me."

Rush said he now proposes building just four patio homes on Lakeside Drive and eliminating the planned cul-de-sac, which would bring the common area to 24.39 percent and allow the deeding of land to individual property owners who want to build decks and fences, and those who live along the pond to own the rights to the land right down to the pond.

Councilman Larry Helwig questioned whether this would mean as a resident if he wanted to walk his dog around the pond, would he be trespassing.

Councilman Gil Doucet wanted to be sure the land formerly designated for the cul-de-sac would be leveled and seeded by Ryan, possibly being made into a small park for residents. He also wanted to see the final plan before approval.

"I am inclined to think this a creative way to solve the problem," Cliffe said, noting that approval by the homeowners association on the part of the property owners and approval by the town's Planning Board must still be won.

•Town Clerk Kathy Harrington-McDonell reported that the Wheatfield Farmers Market will open June 12 for the season, running every Wednesday from 3:30 to 6:30 p.m. in its new location in front of Town Hall.

•Councilman Art Gerbec reported that residents are receiving letters from a company promoting insurance on water lines between the street and their homes. Calls he received were from concerned senior citizens.

Water/Sewer Superintendent Rich Donner indicated that in almost 24 years, he's seen maybe two lines that had to be dug up for repairs. The lines are made of solid copper and the chances of them going bad are very slim, he said.

•The board approved its annual stormwater report. The report will remain available on the town's website until the end of the month.

•The board approved the abandonment of the end section of Cory Drive to allow Metaullics to build a gated driveway, provided Metaullics gives the town an easement for water and sewer lines and provides a way for snowplow operators to open the gate to turn around in the driveway.

•A Lakeside Drive resident complained of people illegally riding ATVs and gunfire from the railroad track area near his home. Councilman Helwig noted he is scheduled to meet with the president of the ATV Association of Western New York on June 5 to discuss ways of solving this ongoing problem in the town.

•The board approved $3,800 for the Recreation Department to purchase fencing material to install a fence around the pond next to the Youth Center. The fence will be green in color.

•The next Town Board meeting will be at 7:30 p.m. June 10.

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