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Town of Wheatfield: Quasar appeals court ruling on town's biosolids law

Fri, Jun 10th 2016 11:05 am

By Lauren Zaepfel

Tribune Editor

Quasar Energy Group announced Monday it has filed an appeal of State Supreme court Justice Frank Caruso's ruling on the Town of Wheatfield's biosolids law. Last month, Caruso ruled the law, which bans the spread of human waste byproducts on town land, is legal.

This came after the company challenged the legitimacy of the town's law.

"We prefer not to comment on pending litigation, but we are indeed appealing as there is very little in the lower court decision with which we agree," said Quasar Energy Group Biomass Account Executive Nate Carr in an email Monday. "We will leave the details of our objections and corrections to our counsel to disclose through his court filings."

The company has appealed to the Appellate Division of State Supreme Court, 50 East Ave., Rochester. A timeline for a hearing has not been determined. The board declined to comment.

In other news

•At Monday's Town Board meeting, the board scheduled a public hearing for 7 p.m. Monday, July 11, on adopting a local law that would permit general agricultural land uses, buildings and activities in the town's rural residential zoning district.

Activities that would be permitted include the growing of fields and crops, dairying, livestock raising, poultry farming, fur farming, hog raising and fish farming, all under specified regulations.

"We haven't made any changes yet," Supervisor Robert B. Cliffe said. "We've agreed to have a public hearing, so that we can make that change."

Currently, town code states agricultural uses are not an allowed use in the R-R zoning district, unless the land has been grandfathered down to the owner.

"If somebody were to stop farming for a year and then they wanted to pick it back up, technically, we have to shut them down, because it doesn't meet our code," Cliffe said.

When members of the town's agricultural focus group and the town's comprehensive task force developed the town's farmland protection plan, Cliffe said they picked up on this "quirk" in the code and suggested it be amended.

"This is a very clear and obvious recommendation," Cliffe said.

He said, by adopting the local law, farmers within the R-R district would have an option to join the agricultural district if it is advantageous for them. With the current code, they cannot do this.

•The board tabled a motion to approve proposed modifications from the town's green space focus group on cluster subdivisions for further review, as members had multiple versions and the final proposal needs to be determined.

Despite this, the board approved a negative declaration of SEQR for the amendment, meaning it would not adversely affect natural resources of the area or the health and safety of residents.

•The board awarded the project of the Lemke Drive and Errick Road culvert replacement project to low bidder Yarussi Construction Inc. for $371,340.

The installation of a new concrete box culvert on Lemke Drive is predicted to be completed in August, however the one planned to be installed on Errick Road (near the elementary school) may not be completed until after the school year begins in September.

Cliffe said this would be inconvenient, as drivers would have to take an alternate route to the school.

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