Variety of subjects discussed at meeting
By David Yarger
The Town of Wheatfield Town Board met for its second meeting of the month this past Monday. At the meeting, Town Supervisor Don MacSwan answered a question from the audience regarding the Summit Mall.
The mall has been vacant since The Bon Ton closed its doors in late August. Big Thunder Brewing and the Niagara International Sports & Entertainment Center have reached out with proposed projects at the mall site, but nothing has come to fruition to date.
In a report from the Wheatfield Local Development Corp., the project's expected completion is in 2019. As of now, though, upon first glance, there doesn't appear to be a ton of movement at the Williams Road complex.
In a sit down in late August, MacSwan said he would be meeting with mall owner Zoran Cocov and his representatives. Monday night, he said the meeting has yet to take place, but efforts to meet and discuss future plans are still on the two parties' minds.
"I talked to a representative - this goes back a couple weeks ago, and this is twice now - where they're trying to set up a meeting with the owner to discuss future plans of the mall. I'm not (at) liberty to say what these plans are, but there is some, hopefully, some good things going to happen their," MacSwan said.
MacSwan added that some Canadian developers have mentioned interest in coming to the mall, but he did not go into detail of the types of businesses the developers were pursuing.
In the past, MacSwan has said he doesn't want the complex to become a "ghost town," and he had high hopes for the mall's future.
The question about the mall rose when a resident asked about graffiti on the mall's property and the future of the mall itself. MacSwan said he wasn't aware of the graffiti, but he and Building Inspector Mike Klock would check it out.
In other news:
•Councilman Curt Doktor provided an update to residents on his intiative to bring LED lighting to the town. Doktor mentioned every town in Niagara County has been contacted about the LED initiative and there are eight municipalities (including the Town of Wheatfield) that have taken the next the next step towards thinking of switching to LED. Doktor added the more municipalities that participate in the initiative, the better likelihood that the town could save some money.
Doktor also mentioned the possibility of having the New York Power Authority coming in for a public session to discuss and present the money figures. Doktor said the meeting could be held near the end of November, because "at that time, we should have a pretty good idea about the other towns that are participating. So we'd have some pretty good costs."
•The meeting began with a public hearing regarding a change in town code between the Zoning Board of Appeals and the Planning Board. Tim Zuber from Wendel, the town's engineering firm, said, "The current code reads ... 'At least 15 days before the date of the hearing required by law on an application or appeal to the Zoning Board of Appeals, the secretary of said board shall transmit to the Planning Board a copy of said application or appeal together with a copy of the notice of the foresaid hearing, and shall request the Planning Board submit to the Zoning Board of Appeals its opinion on said application or appeal. The Planning Board shall submit such a report of advisory opinion prior to the day of said hearing. Upon failure to submit such a report, the Planning Board shall be deemed not to oppose the application or appeal.' "
In essence, Zuber said everything that was coming to the ZBA was also being sent to the Planning Board. Zuber added, the Planning Board didn't want their non-response leading to an approval of something they had no control over.
The change was, as read by Zuber, "The ZBA may refer any application or appeal to the Planning Board, town departments and/or advisory staff to receive input."
The hearing drew no public comments and was later approved by the board.
•The Town Board scheduled a public hearing at 6:45 p.m. Nov. 5 to discuss the 2019 preliminary budget.
•MacSwan and Highway Department Director Paul Siegmann stressed to residents not to leave brush out. Siegmann said the chipping truck will be going off the road, and the leaf trucks will be on the road in the town with the fall season in full swing. Regarding leaf cleanup, Siegmann said not to put the leaves in ditches.
•The next Town of Wheatfield Town Board meeting begins at 6:45 p.m. with a public hearing, Nov. 5. The regular meeting will begin following the public hearing.