By Terry Duffy
Monday's Lewiston Town Board session was a low-key one - save for some discussions concerning a selection of wish list improvements in areas of the town. Nothing all that major, mind you, but items, nonetheless, worthy of discussion as town residents contend with the new town tax.
Leading off were comments from a Roosevelt Avenue resident concerning the presence of decrepit or "zombie houses" in her neighborhood.
"I would really appreciate if you would come to our area and take a look," the resident said. "We've got a house; it's basically condemned. It's been sitting there, falling apart. It needs to be addressed.
"People come out and look at our neighborhood: Some of us work hard, to keep it a nice community. ... I brought some pictures; you'd be so shocked."
Town Supervisor Steve Broderick explained to the resident that he and Town Building Inspector Tim Masters are fully aware of the home on Roosevelt. It's one of an ongoing problem of "zombie homes" - basically residences in the midst of foreclosure that are popping up in Lewiston.
"We actually have two up there," Masters said to the woman.
Broderick said he and Masters are available to talk with her about the problem.
"Just come and talk to us; it's like we're a forgotten area," the woman said.
Needs issues moved next to the Curtiss Court neighborhood, where a formal request came for a "Child at Play" sign by a resident.
"Throughout the Town of Lewiston, we have children everywhere," Councilman Bill Geiben commented. He said it was a good idea for the town to have these signs placed in certain areas "to remind drivers" of the presence of children. He then referred the matter to Town Highway Superintendent Dave Trane, who explained he felt he had it already addressed.
"I have one at the entrance to the subdivision. I have a speed limit sign, a sign 'Children at Play' at the entrance to the subdivision," Trane said. "He's only the second street over, two dead-end streets."
Trane explained he heard the complaint from a resident about a reckless driver in the neighborhood.
He then told Broderick and the board the state has guidelines for "Children at Play" signs, with a directive suggesting to highway departments that placement of such signs has become redundant and should not be repeatedly placed in locations of obvious residential developments.
"It becomes like junk mail," Trane said. "They (drivers) don't read the signs.
"He didn't read the speed limit sign, which is enforceable, he didn't read the 'Children at Play' sign which is underneath the speed limit sign," Trane said of the offending driver. "Putting another sign down the street doesn't make much sense."
Trane went on to say he felt placing additional signage was a waste of time. The town has a limited supply, and "Children at Play" signs do not deter reckless drivers.
"It's a police issue," Trane said, noting such signs are already found in every subdivision in town.
The matter was left with instructions to Town Clerk Donna Garfinkel to better advise drivers on the awareness of child safety in her Clerk's Corner column and on the town website, and for the Lewiston Police Department to keep a better eye out for troublesome drivers.
In other news:
•The Town Board scheduled a public hearing for 6:15 p.m. Monday, March 13, to consider extending the moratorium on solar power units in the town. Town Attorney Ryan Parisi told the board the moratorium needed to be extended for up to one year, while the town considers the issue, and the issue of creating a new law to address solar power installations on town properties.
Also scheduled that night is a 6 p.m. public hearing on establishing a single town water district related to the upcoming town water line project.
•The board heard on the pressing need for a new phone system for virtually all town buildings and departments. Town Finance Director Marti Blazick said she, the town clerk and town attorneys plan to look into various town resources, including infrastructure accounts, and pursue outside grants to help fund what she called collectively "a very outdated system."
Included in a potential phone do-over would be the Lewiston Senior Center, Lewiston Town Hall, plus the highway garage and wastewater treatment plant.
•The town approved a funds transfer of $3,500 in the LPD account to allow for interior painting at the Creek Road police station.