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by Joshua Maloni
On Twitter: @joshuamaloni
Following an executive session Tuesday night, the Village of Lewiston Board of Trustees unanimously approved the appointment of Anne Welch to the Planning Board/Historic Preservation Commission. Welch served as village clerk for more than 30 years before retiring in September. She replaces Ernie Krell, who resigned in December.
Mayor Terry Collesano said Welch was selected for "her experience working with the Planning (Board) for years. Two of the members thought very strongly that she would fit in well. After we heard from council as to the requirements for that position, the rest of the board members that were wavering fell into place."
The board called an executive session to discuss residency requirements related to the position, and to discuss unrelated litigation.
During the open board meeting, Trustee Nick Conde and Planning Board Chairman Norm Machelor both spoke in favor of appointing Welch to the position.
"She has over 30 years of experience in enforcing the (village) code, and she knows it inside and out," Machelor said following the board's vote. "We need to be very careful (that) any development in the village complies with the code, which we've developed over 30 years to make sure that this village stays a unique place and an attraction for people to come.
"She's written a big amount of that code that's been approved over the years. I wanted her there as an actual voting member, but (also) as an adviser to why these things happen. It's even more important to understand why they happen; why we restricted developments to 5,000 feet rather than 14,000 feet, because we didn't want people to build big buildings - strip plazas - that are one big block building. We can't have these big blocks that succeed or fail. If they fail, we're stuck. We got these white elephants in the village."
Welch, who called herself a "traveling grandmother," said she was interested in returning to village government because, "I care about Lewiston; I care about the development; and I just wanted to help."
The Planning Board meets at 6 p.m. on the second Monday of each month.
Water Street resident Mark Finn told trustees The Silo Restaurant is jeopardizing his quality of life, and that of his neighbors, with its loudspeaker system. The seasonal waterfront restaurant utilizes microphone announcements to alert patrons when meals are prepared and ready for pickup.
"When (The Silo) announces the numbers, I can hear them clearly inside of my house, with the windows closed," Finn said.
He encouraged Silo proprietor Alan Hastings to purchase a pager system.
"Just 'cuz The Silo is isolated down there, we still, as residents, would like a little peace and quiet," Finn said.
He also complained of Hastings' parked catering van, which Finn called a mobile billboard. He said the vehicle blocks the view of motorists trying to turn onto Water Street from the fishing dock.
"The truck issue is another issue that we brought up last year, and he did move it for a while, then he put it down below," Trustee Vic Eydt said. "I know he was told two or three times last year about keeping that truck out of there."
"It's a safety issue," Deputy Mayor Bruce Sutherland said.
"I know there's other people that use that park besides his customers," Sutherland added. "They're sitting out there and they're being blasted by this (loudspeaker), as well."
Zoning Officer Edward DeVantier offered to speak with Hastings before the start of the restaurant's summer season.
Business consultant Stacey Sheehan works with Hastings. She said, "Before the van was purchased, and before it underwent customization, Alan and I requested permission from Mayor Collesano to make sure we could park it in the end stall at the restaurant. A large part of the reason the van is needed is to haul supplies from the lower level of The Silo to where the action happens up top. Other uses include transporting food to and from our many catering events.
"(Collesano) was very accommodating and seemed to have no issue with it, so we went ahead and bought the van. After it arrived, a boater complained about the van obstructing the view when vehicles were approaching the top of the hill and, on further reflection, Mayor Collesano asked Alan to move it over some. There seemed to be some confusion about where, exactly, he should be allowed to park it, but, in the end, we reached an agreement that involved parking it a few spaces over from the hill/ramp.
"It is (Hastings') assigned parking and, as long as it's not posing a danger to anyone, I can't see why it can't be parked as agreed? I see fellow business owners with customized vehicles around the village parked in lots at their establishments daily, so I'm having trouble identifying what the trouble is. It sounds like a simple conversation could be the solution here."
Collesano said he did initially approve the parking spot. However, he said Lewiston Police Chief Chris Salada later informed him the van was parked too close to the corner stop sign.
With regard to the speaker system, Sheehan said, "Other businesses in the village play music inside and on outside speakers during their hours of operation and no one complains. Other restaurants host live bands - some even play using amplifiers and microphones outdoors - and no one complains. But the calling of order numbers is suddenly an issue? The Silo is only open a few months a year, and only between the hours of 10 a.m. and 10 p.m., and I believe that type of reasonable noise output falls within village/town ordinance.
"I've spent ample time at the waterfront gazebo, at the Barton Hill and next door on the patio at Water Street Landing and never been disturbed by The Silo speaker system calling out order numbers."
Hastings is currently out of the state.