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Planning Board makeover highlights Village of Lewiston organizational meeting

by jmaloni
Sat, Jul 6th 2013 11:00 am

by Joshua Maloni

The Village of Lewiston Board of Trustees held its annual organizational meeting on Monday. Several individuals were re-appointed, but two significant changes were made to the Historic Preservation Commission/Planning Board.

David Giusiana was re-appointed, but will no longer serve as chairman. Returning board member Kenneth Slagenhoupt will fill that position.

Moreover, Jamie Symmonds was not re-appointed. The Angel to Apple Clothing Boutique owner represented the village's retail district.

Other Planning Board members include Loretta Frankovitch (returning), former Trustee Ernie Krell and newcomer Norm Machelor.

Village of Lewiston Mayor Terry Collesano said he was looking to make a proactive change on the board before the Frontier House and Ellicott Development projects come to fruition.

"It's the mayor's appointment and I've made a couple of changes," he said. "We've obviously changed the chairperson to not cause any misunderstandings in the future, because there was a couple instances in the past year where our chairman had to recuse himself because he was involved as the architect."

Giusiana's projects included the Waste Technology Services tennis court.

"Mr. Machelor has had 12 years experience on the Planning Board on Grand Island, so I thought, with his expertise and knowledge, that it would help on the Planning Board," Collesano said. "We have a lot of big jobs coming up, especially the plaza that Mr. Paladino is putting in. I thought this is the time that we really need the expertise of skilled and qualified - I'm not saying the members we had weren't qualified - but we need more insight and more knowledge with what we're faced with, as well as the Frontier House. That could be a big project, and it's going to create a lot of work." (See related cover story.)

Giusiana said he was fine with the mayor replacing him as chairman.

"I think that makes sense," he said. "It gives me a little more freedom to practice my real profession and then still be a part of the board.

"There is absolutely no one more qualified than Ken Slagenhoupt to be chairman. I couldn't imagine anyone more qualified. I applaud the mayor's decision, and hopefully that will make my ability to be on the board easier and continue my practice."

After the meeting, Symmonds said she was let down and confused by the mayor's decision.

"In four years of being on the board - of which I was reappointed two years ago by him - I was never once given any critique; any evaluation; I was never informed that I wasn't performing up to their expectations. In fact, we took initiative to revise the codebook (and) the application for signage. We held several extra meetings out of our own time to do all this."

"I just wanted some feedback in how I can improve, so that I could get back on the Planning Board," she added. "In what ways was I not living up to their expectation; was I not qualified? Where is the job description of what you're looking for, basically? Because I think I know what I bring to the table. I'm from Lewiston; I grew up here; I own a business here. I'm very involved in the community. I think that brought a lot to the table versus somebody who's not from here going on the board."

Giusiana, likewise, said he was "disappointed" Symmonds wasn't reappointed.

"I don't know (anyone), other than Ken, Loretta and I, who knows the signage code and the proposed change to the signage code better than Jamie."

The Planning Board recently asked the mayor's office to send letters to more than 50 Lewiston businesses informing owners their retail stores and restaurants are in violation of the village's municipal signage laws.

Deputy Mayor Bruce Sutherland said, "I would like to thank Jamie for her time on the Planning Board. I think you did a fine job. Every day was a new experience, and I know you did a lot of work on the codes and everything. We appreciate that. Thank you very much."

The village re-appointed the following (each carries a one-year term):

•Sutherland as deputy mayor;

•Welch as registrar;

•Amy Salada as deputy registrar;

•Karen J. Goodman as deputy treasurer and budget officer;

•Edward Jesella as village attorney;

•H. John Ritter as chairman of the Zoning Board of Appeals;

•Jerry Mosey as chairman of the Parks, Recreation Conservation Board;

•Pam Hauth as historian;

•Blair McEvoy as fire inspector;

•Kenneth Candella as building inspector; and

•Melody Griffith as clerk to the Planning and Zoning boards.

Harry Wright was appointed zoning officer. He replaces Bill Brodie.

Trustees will hold a work session on the first Monday of the month (October through May) and the first Tuesday of September. The Village Board's regular monthly meeting will take place the third Monday of each month (March through January) and the third Tuesday in February.

The Sentinel was named the official village newspaper.

Trustees will next meet Monday, July 15, at 6 p.m. inside the Red Brick Municipal Building, 145 N. Fourth St.

•The Village of Lewiston has offered the Red Brick as a voting location for the July 15 Town of Lewiston recreation center referendum.

"We're offering the village, to have it as a voting place, as well," Collesano said. "We feel it would be in the best interest of the village residents if they didn't have to tote all the way out to the town to vote, if they could vote here in the village, as well."

Trustees will wait to hear back from the Town of Lewiston Town Council to see if this option is viable.

Referendum voting hours are 6 a.m. until 9 p.m. at the Town of Lewiston Town Hall, 1375 Ridge Road. Residents will determine if the multimillion-dollar project moves forward.

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