by Susan Mikula Campbell
Oogie Games, "Everything Video Games," believes business would be good on Military Road in the Town of Niagara.
It's already got the site in Payne's Plaza at 2404 Military Road and hired the employees. What it doesn't have is approval from the town's building inspector to open.
Supervisor Steve Richards promised Oogie Chief Operating Officer Matt Walter of Depew at Tuesday's Town Board meeting to arrange a meeting the next day for Walter with the inspector and himself.
Walter told the board he had planned to open the new store in January and the business can't afford to wait much longer than another week. "I picked this location," he said. "I'm just confused why this is taking four weeks."
Walter said the building department had told him he had opened the store without approval, but answered that he has videotapes that show that is not true.
Oogie already has several sites in Erie County and one in Lockport. The Town of Niagara store would start by offering old and new video game and equipment sales as well as repairs. In about six months, it would apply for approval to open a party room at the site, similar to those at existing stores, he said.
The board, during its meeting passed a resolution to negotiate a contract with the town's engineering consultant Clark Patterson Lee to provide code review services to assist the building inspector on commercial projects. Councilman Charles Teixeira said the resolution might help with the Oogie problem because, with all the building going on in the town, the situation could have been caused by a backlog in the Building Department.
Teixeira said Oogie Games would be a good new business for the Town of Niagara and added that he remembered when the growing business had a single location in Kenmore.
In other news:
•By a 3-2 vote, the board passed a resolution to approve a flood map revision to allow removal of a portion of the Niagara Falls Air Reserve Station from the flood plain.
Jason Powell of the Buffalo District U.S. Army Corps of Engineers was on hand to speak on behalf of the change that would allow the currently vacant property to be used for U.S. Border Patrol offices. The base is trying to add missions at the facility to help keep it from facing another BRAC hearing and facing possible closing.
Richards and Councilman Danny Sklarski voted against the proposal. Sklarski said the Corps' proposal offered no guarantees that the new facility wouldn't add to the existing Cayuga Creek flooding problem in the Tuscarora Road-Effie Drive-Ziblut Court area.
Richards said the town doesn't need additional flow coming into the creek. Areas, such as the base, and facilities outside the town "keep pushing water down to us with no remedy and no help," he said.
•In another water issue, no discussion was held on the Niagara Falls Water Board's stated intention to end its stormwater/wastewater treatment agreement with the town at the end of April. After the meeting, Richards said fee increases the Falls Water Board wants are "way beyond what we want to pay - what we feel is fair." He added that the Water Board hasn't been keeping up with its end of the contract - "In high water events, we can't get our flow into the city system."
He said the town is current on its bills. "I can't believe any judge, health department or the DEC would allow them to shut us off immediately."
About two-thirds of the town is served by the county system. The other third is served by the City of Niagara Falls. This includes Belden Center, Veterans Heights, areas across from the Fashion Outlets of Niagara mall, Tuscarora Road and the trailer parks.
•Pretoria Street resident Katherine Hall spoke against the town's plans to institute fees for use of pavilions and the Calvin K. Richards Center at Veterans Park on Lockport Road, saying she didn't think town residents should have to pay for at least pavilion use. The proposal has yet to come to a final vote. The proposal being considered by the board provides reduced rates for residents.
Councilman Marc Carpenter noted that the town does have to pay for employees for cleanup and other work when pavilions and the center are used, but he's hoping the board will be able to "review and tweak it (the policy) to the point that residents will be happy with it."
•The board unanimously passed the final draft of its drug-free workplace policy that provides mandatory drug testing for town employees. Sklarski said the policy guarantees a safe workplace.
"It's a good thing for town residents knowing that the workers they're paying for are safe in all aspects," Sklarski said.
•The board decided to re-establish the Recreation Committee. Several years ago, it had been melded into the Master Plan Committee. Richards said each Town Board member would hold one appointment to the Recreation Committee and there would be two at large members.
•The board approved the request for the Niagara County Senior Walk event to be held at Veterans Park on June 5, as well as the request for the Police Athletic League to use the soccer fields.
•Hagop Otabachian was approved as a part-time police officer. Councilman Rob Clark said Otabachian is a Town of Niagara resident who put himself through the police academy because he wanted to become an officer, and already is working part-time with the Lewiston Police.