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Town of Niagara modifies sex offender restrictions

Fri, Mar 20th 2015 08:40 pm

Staff Reports

The Town of Niagara Town Board followed Erie County's example nine years ago in limiting where sex offenders could live. On Tuesday, the board lessened the restriction based on a state court decision.

"What happened was, the Town of Niagara adopted a local law that was a little more restrictive than the state law, and it was challenged - not in our town - it was challenged in the state of New York, and it went to the New York State Court of Appeals, and they basically said that no local law can supersede the state law," Supervisor Lee Wallace said. "So we have to repeal the law."

"So, we're going from, I believe, (a) $2,000 (fine) to (a) $1,000," Councilman Marc Carpenter said.

"We would've lost in court," Councilman Danny Sklarski said.

The board approved Local Law No. 1 May 16, 2006. It prohibited registered moderate (level two) and high-risk (level three) sex offenders from living within 2,000 feet of any area where children under the age of 18 would congregate on a regular basis (including schools, preschools, day care centers, parks, and community, athletic and private recreational facilities).

Tuesday's resolution was
approved 4-0. Councilman
Robert Clark was excused from the meeting.

•The board voted to schedule a hearing April 21 to show cause why a building, located at 3212 Rhode Island Ave., should not be repaired, vacated or demolished pursuant to Town Code Section 121-6.

"The dwelling has been in disrepair and hazardous to the residents and anyone in Belden Center for quite a while," Wallace said. "It's time that we take care of this, and we are going to take care of another house on St. Paul Street, as well. These kinds of structures should not stand and be in existence in the condition that they're in for years like they have been in the past."

A few minutes later, the councilmen voted to approve a resolution directing the town engineer to prepare bid specifications for the demolition of 3039 St. Paul St.

"This is step two of the process to get rid of a building," Wallace said. He referenced a public hearing on the site held last year and called the building, "Another structure that needs to come down."

•The councilmen approved a resolution allowing planning and design engineering firm Clark Patterson Lee to establish bidding specifications for cleaning and inspecting the town water tower, as well as installing a mixing system. This project is not to exceed $50,000. No discussion followed.

•Clark Patterson Lee was authorized to prepare an engineering feasibility study and electrical design for installation of electrical service at the Town Park, 7000 Lockport Road. The cost is not to exceed $4,000.

"(The park) doesn't have any real power, other than to the building," Wallace said. "So any time we have any outside event or anything we wanted to do over there, we have to use generators. We really need to look into the possibility of putting power into that park."

Sklarski asked Wallace about a funding source.

"We will look to use Greenway money, if at all possible," Wallace said.

"So, hopefully, it will be at no cost to the taxpayers," Sklarski said.

"Absolutely," Wallace replied. "Absolutely."

•The board approved David Chevrolet Buick's final site plan, which calls for the addition of a service garage at the existing building, 10225 Niagara Falls Blvd.

"It's nice to see that a business in our town is expanding," Carpenter said.

•The councilmen will consider giving town Building Inspector Charles Haseley the ability to independently approve minor residential changes.

Crestview Drive resident Walter Wrobel said it would take upward of three months to gain planning/zoning approval to replace his fence, because of its proximity to adjacent roads.

Board members said they don't want to hinder residents looking to make slight home or property modifications when there is no risk to neighbors or passersby.

"The building inspector needs to be given some discretionary powers," Sklarski said.

"We need to give this department the discretion to make that decision, so our residents can move forward, in a case like this," he added.

"I would agree with you 100 percent," Wallace said.

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