by Susan Mikula Campbell
Wheatfield is expecting continued growth in the town and officials want to be ready.
At Monday's Town Board meeting, town engineer Tim Zuber reported on a Planning Board meeting this month at which initial details were presented for a 218-dwelling apartment complex a developer wants to place on Niagara Falls Boulevard on the old corn maze property.
Rane Management of Amherst is suggesting building four-, eight- and 26-unit apartment buildings and a clubhouse for Meadows of Wheatfield on the 24.2-acre site near Old Falls Boulevard and Arnold Drive, Zuber told the board. Meadows of Wheatfield would be fronted on Niagara Falls Boulevard by a restaurant. These would be full market rent, higher-end apartments, he said.
Meanwhile, by its next meeting on Dec. 2, the board is expected to review a certificate of incorporation for a Wheatfield Local Development Corporation that would work with potential developers in the town, according to Councilman Art Gerbec.
Gerbec, reporting on the town's various focus groups, said having a local development corporation would be beneficial.
"The town is one of the few municipalities that does not have a development corporation," Gerbec said. "We need something to determine what we want to do in the town, where we are going and to come up with ways to entice business here."
A Wheatfield Development Corporation would be able to work professionally with potential businesses and developers to give details of what the town has to offer, he said.
Wheatfield's agricultural roots won't be forgotten. The Agriculture Focus Group is making plans to work with a consultant to create a Wheatfield Farming Protection Plan. Local farmers are being sought to participate, Gerbec said.
Among other focus group reports, he reported that the Veterans Memorial Focus Group has benefitted from a new volunteer, state-licensed engineer Tim Rider, as well as pro bono counsel from a professional public relations and fundraiser volunteer, Earl Wells. The group is evaluating a site for the memorial on the Town Hall campus and is considering renaming the title to include town fire and constable volunteers who have died while in service to the town.
In other news:
•Zuber reported that the Planning Board has approved a site plan from Liberty Home Care for the old Shipman Printing Building on Niagara Falls Boulevard. Most of the work would be interior with the space being converted to offices, with Liberty occupying one and renting the other three spaces to related businesses.
•Highway Superintendent Art Kroening reminded residents that the no-parking rule on town roads between 2 and 6 a.m. is now in effect to allow for snow plowing. However, he added that the rule shouldn't be followed just in those hours - "When the roads' got to be plowed, we go out."
With the snow season coming, residents also should remember not to push snow from their properties across the roads. If spotted by a sheriff's deputy, it could result in a hefty fine, he said.
Water/Sewer Superintendent Rich Donner added that residents also should be careful not to pile snow around fire hydrants.
•Recreation Director Mike Ranalli said the town's annual Christmas party and tree-lighting ceremony will be from 6 to 8 p.m. Dec. 7 on the Town Hall campus. Those who want to see Santa arrive should be there early, he said.
Senior citizens also will celebrate. Their Christmas dance will begin at 4 p.m. Dec. 14. Sign up in advance at the Community Center.
•Supervisor Bob Cliffe said the town has selected BlueCross/Blue Shield for retiree coverage for 2014 because there is no "doughnut hole" or gap in coverage included since the town provides a group plan. The board also approved an amendment to its flexible health care spending accounts for employees, because under Obamacare employees now will be able to carry more than $500 for two and a half months into the next year, without losing it. There is no cost to the town.
•Cliffe said the town will discuss its new contract with the SPCA of Niagara County at its next meeting, scheduled to begin at 7:30 p.m. Dec. 2.