Board members discuss Joseph Davis Park
By Terry Duffy
Add Lewiston to the list of towns and municipalities that have taken or are considering new measures against the Quasar Energy Group of Ohio. Monday, the Town Board agreed to extend its moratorium banning injections of equate, the byproduct from Quasar's biosolids treatment processes, into soils on private farms in the town. The older moratorium was enacted on Sept. 8, 2014 and was to remain in effect to March 8.
"It's an extension of the moratorium we talked at the last meeting about, extending the moratorium versus revising the existing landfill solid waste law" said Town Attorney Mark Davis. He advised the Town Board to take action on extending the town's current moratorium and set a public hearing on amending Local Law No. 5 of 2014 - covering disposal of sludge, sewage sludge and septage.
"There's some technical issues in this language dealing with sludge, sewage and septage," said Davis, adding he intends to work with Town Engineer Bob Lannon in revising the law.
The town will hold a public hearing at 6 p.m. Monday, Feb. 23, on introducing a new local law to supersede Local Law No. 5. "It's a new local law," said Davis. "You are introducing a new local law for 2015. It amends the previous local law."
With the announcement Lewiston joins such Niagara County municipalities as the towns of Wheatfield, Pendleton and Town of West Seneca in Erie County that have taken actions in the form of either moratoriums or new local laws directed against Quasar. The company, which has a biosolids treatment facility on Liberty Drive in the Town of Wheatfield, had earlier applied and was approved for a permit by the state Department of Environmental Conservation to begin the equate injections on private farm lands in the county, including a number in Lewiston.
Other news from the session saw continuing discussion on Town Board meeting times. It led off with the board hearing a letter submitted by Lewiston residents Jean Eber and Nancy Deering on Town Board starting times. The letter, which appeared in the Jan. 31 Sentinel, argued for a return to the practice of a 6:30 p.m. starting time from the current 6 p.m. And it followed with comments from board members opposed to the change.
"I had the clerk's office check our meetings and our times," said Town Councilwoman Beth Ceretto, who with councilmen Bill Conrad and Ron Winkley had argued for the 6 p.m. starting time. "From 2009 to 2013 our meetings started at 6 o'clock. They didn't change until 2014 to 6:30," she said.
"I haven't seen a single person more or less at the meetings since we changed them to 6 o'clock," said Winkley, who was seconded on that point by Ceretto.
"And I have never seen either one of these people at our meetings," Winkley continued.
"I don't know who they are either," said Ceretto.
"It's not like it's a closed door, they can come in late," she added.
"Enough is enough," said Winkley.
"Well I'm here, I don't care what time it starts," responded Town Supervisor Dennis Brochey who suggested the change at least month's meeting.
"OK," said Winkley to Brochey. "You voted for 6 p.m. also."
"Well, I've had some complaints on 6:30," replied Brochey. "I'm just trying to be courteous to everyone else."
No further discussion was heard on the meeting times issue, and no changes were made.
Moving on, the board the discussed its anticipated return of Joseph Davis State Park to the state Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation.
"Mark Thomas called me from State Parks the other day," said Brochey. "He was a little perturbed that it seems like we're undecided on whether we're getting out of Joe Davis for sure."
Brochey said Thomas told him that State Parks did some improvement work at JDP last summer and wouldn't have done so if it didn't anticipate a transfer back from the town. "He assured me they weren't going to put another penny into it" should the town elect to maintain control, said Brochey.
Brochey said there's been a rumor floating around the town's park's department that Lewiston was considering holding onto the park after all.
"If there's opportunity there we should explore it," said Town Councilman Al Bax. He pointed to past discussions with Parks Director Mike Dashineau where a number of ideas for different uses at the park were raised. Included were trail expansions, alternative uses of parks fields, a possible dredging of the park's fishing pond, working on a new rental arrangement for park pavilions and working with area interests for holding future Frisbee golf tournaments at Joe Davis.
"A number of residents have come to me and said they'd like us to maintain it," he said. Bax added he had discussed the matter with Dashineau and was told the park was not that expensive for the town to maintain.
Winkley said that last year Thomas supported a plan for Lewiston to continue its maintenance at JDP. Deputy Supervisor Sean Edwards added that state parks had only begun its budgeting for maintenance at the park in 2015. "State Parks wants Joseph Davis Park to be better utilized," said Edwards, adding that Dashineau's ideas carry merit and they should be something the town can work with state parks on to "make this doable."
More discussion on this issue is expected at the town Recreation Commission meeting Feb. 18 at Town Hall.
In still more news from the session:
•Brochey announced his selection of Martha Blazik as the town's new finance officer and requested board approval for payment of a $25 per hour stipend to town accountant Katelyn Allan for her training. It was approved soon after.
•The board heard a request from Sacred Heart Villa School to close down a portion of Lewiston Road on Aug. 9 to allow for a 5K Race from the school to Mountain View Drive. The request was tabled on a suggestion from Lewiston Police Chief Chris Salada, who said he needed to review it further before supporting a road closure.
•The board approved the naming of F. Brock Davey to fill a vacancy on the Lewiston Environmental Commission.