Mass Vantage Point rejection rids proposal; TB still holds hope for new series
By David Yarger
On Monday, the Town of Wheatfield Town Board voted to deny a proposal from Jon Rosen of USA Cycling for a 10-week bicycle racing series at Vantage Point Industrial Park off of Lockport Road.
Said proposal would have used Inducon Drive for 10 Thursdays during the summer for three bicycle races per night. The proposal would've required traffic volunteers to control traffic flow in and out of the industrial park.
At the previous Town Board meeting, the board heard from several businesses and citizens that were against the proposal. Most businesses said the racing series would deter business from coming in, and food operators, such as Original Pizza Logs, said the traffic backups would hold back government inspectors and possibly lead to recalls of their product.
In turn, the agenda item was denied by each Town Board member present.
Following the denial, Councilman Curt Doktor, the brainchild behind bringing the racing series to Wheatfield, said, "We definitely got some opposition from businesses. So, we do listen. As proposed, we do not want to move forward."
Doktor added the board has not given up on bringing a cycling series to Wheatfield and said the board is looking to possibly switch the event to three Sundays in the summer, with a full opt-out clause if the event doesn't perform to par.
Following the meeting, Doktor said, "Traffic going in there on day and nights was probably the biggest (concern). There were concerns over liability that we had heard. I would say those are the two major ones. Also it was logistical elements - frankly, we ran out of time to figure it out in order for us to proceed with something so soon."
On the Sunday series, "I would say we're going back to the drawing board. We do want to pursue Sundays, do it in a smaller venue - so not 10 races, agree to three - have the ability to pull the plug if required or if something were to go unplanned, and then if things go well, hopefully that would be something ... to build upon."
Supervisor Don MacSwan said the board had some discussion with businesses about the Sunday series and there were no negatives about the new possibility.
During board member items, Councilman Randy Retzlaff added, "Sunday mornings, I think, would not be a problem. ... Let's just make sure that if we go that route, we have a way to get out if something goes terribly wrong."
In other news, the state environmental quality review was given a negative declaration for construction of a multi-use trail along River Road from the intersection of 102nd Street to Witmer Road. The trail will run along the north side of River Road until Williams Road, where it crosses to south side down to 102nd Street.
In past meetings, the board had been adamant that the multi-use trail project would be taken over by the state Department of Transportation. The agenda item said, "The Town of Wheatfield is proposing. ..."
Councilman Larry Helwig assured that the DOT takeover is close to occurring and all indications lead to the DOT taking over the project.
The Town Board also scheduled several meetings to be held at their next meeting on Monday, May 21.
The Town Board scheduled a work session at 6:30 p.m. regarding the town's 2019 budget. That meeting will be held in the Town Board council chambers.
The board also scheduled public hearings at 6:45 and 7 p.m. to discuss the proposed change to town code chapter 200: zoning/off-street parking and for the approval of a cable TV agreement between the town and Time Warner, respectively. Also, the board scheduled a public information meeting at 7:15 p.m. to review the town's draft stormwater annual report for 2017 and the town's stormwater management plan.
The board awarded the lowest bid of $224,300 to State Group Industrial USA Limited for the pump station generator project. The board also authorized Wendel, the town's engineering firm, to provide service during construction on the project for an estimated cost of $9,300.
Wrapping up, the board authorized Wendel to begin the SEQR process on a possible subdivision for 23 single-family homes around 3400 Niagara Falls Blvd.
The subdivision talk garnered several comments at the beginning of the meeting, notably from residents who did not want the subdivision around their properties. MacSwan calmed people by saying, "The Town Board is taking no action on that subdivision until we go through the SEQR process, so it's gotta go back to the Planning Board, but the first step will be a motion to start the SEQR process, which will happen tonight.
"There will be a public hearing and I would say that's the most appropriate time then ... because that's when a decision will be made, but there will be none made tonight."
The next Town of Wheatfield regular Town Board meeting is at 7 p.m. Monday, May 21.