by Autumn Evans
The proposed Cobblestone Creek cluster development by Errick Road was the highlight of Monday's Town Board meeting in Wheatfield, held at 7 p.m. in Town Hall, 2800 Church Road.
Corey Auerbach, a lawyer with the Damon Morey law firm, spoke on behalf of the subdivision's developer about a motion to issue a positive declaration, indicating that the development would have a significant impact on the environment.
"I had an opportunity to review the file extensively, and I'm surprised, quite frankly, that this board has apparently changed their tune on issuing a negative declaration on this matter," Auerbach said. "The documentation that I've reviewed that's been submitted by the developer all leads to the conclusion that any potential environmental impact has been mitigated in this matter."
He said those documents indicated there would be no traffic impact, minimal or no effect to wetlands and no issues with stormwater.
"Weren't those studies all done by the developer's design engineer?" Town Attorney Bob O'Toole asked.
"To the extent that you're suggesting that, because a developer commissions a report it's somehow skewed in their favor, I think, quite frankly, is spitting in the eyes of the engineers that compose it," Auerbach said.
"Hard to believe it wouldn't be skewed," O'Toole said.
Auerbach said he believed the positive declaration was a reaction to negative public opinion rather than the facts.
Later, the board issued a positive declaration and scheduled a public scoping session for 7 p.m. Wednesday, Dec. 3, to be held at Town Hall. During the session, the public will have the opportunity to present concerns to be addressed by the Environmental Impact Study.
Residents from the area surrounding the development plot applauded the board's decision.
"I just wanted to say thank you all for your consideration," said Errick Road resident Joe Downie. "I think you guys are doing the right thing. I know it can be a little painful and there's a lot of work involved, and I really think you guys did the right thing. I applaud that and I can tell you the residents really appreciate it.
"There's still 'miles to go before we rest,' but I appreciate you going down the right path. Thank you."
In other town board news:
•Highway Supervisor Paul Siegmann reminded residents that snow season is coming, and asked them to avoid parking in the street overnight so the plows could effectively clear snow.
•Recreation Director Mike Ranalli announced the town's Christmas party will be held from 6 to 8 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 6, at the Youth Center, 2795 Church Road. There will be refreshments, a visit from Santa and a presentation by Nickel City Reptiles.
•Wendel engineering firm representative Tim Zuber reported the Errick Road culvert project, which was delayed because of last week's weather, was still being worked on. Supervisor Bob Cliffe said Site Services planned on continuing work before Thanksgiving this week.