Board dedicates park to firefighter who gave his life
By Lauren Zaepfel
The Town of Niagara Town Board is considering an updated noise ordinance for the entire town.
Town Board members scheduled a public hearing for 7 p.m. Tuesday, April 18, at Town Hall in order to obtain the public's input on the possible change.
"We've had some issues with a few businesses," Town Supervisor Lee S. Wallace said at Tuesday night's Town Board meeting. When Wallace reviewed the town's current noise ordinance he said it only consisted of a few sentences, "which made very little sense and didn't have a whole lot of teeth to it."
With that, a new, more clear ordinance may be put in place "to try and come to some kind of reasonable term where we're not killing or hurting the businesses, but, at the same point in time, making them toe the line on excessive noise while people are trying to sleep," Wallace said.
In other news:
•The board unanimously voted in favor of naming the playground located at the corner of John Street and Liberty Avenue after John Nielsen, the only firefighter in Town of Niagara history to lose his life whole fighting a fire.
Wallace said Nielsen lived in the area where the park is located.
In addition to the dedication, Wallace said the town is planning to rededicate all the satellite parks in the town. Uniform signage is planned to be installed at each park, either by the end of summer or in early fall, he said.
The board also unanimously voted in favor of seeking bids for a new fence for the exterior of the Garcia Playground. Wallace said the playground was built in the '70s.
"If you look at it, you can tell it's original," Wallace said of the fence. "So, it's in desperate need of replacement."
•Town Board members scheduled a public hearing at 7 p.m. Tuesday, April 18, on whether the town will establish a residency requirement for town employees.
Wallace said he believes the town should hire its own residents, unless absolutely necessary.
The law would afford leeway in the case of police or some of the other positions requiring specific skill sets.
"I just believe this is something that we should be doing," Wallace said.
The town has never really had a residency policy before, he noted.
•The board approved a $750,000 bond resolution to replace the roof of the Highway Department garage building.
"It's a hard one to swallow, but a necessary one," said Deputy Supervisor Charles F. Teixeira.
"Some time years ago, the Town Board decided that the areas along Niagara Falls Boulevard should be zoned C-1, and drew a line about 200 feet from the road. The lands behind this 200-foot zone were left at R-1 and R-2 regardless of the depth of the lot," Cliffe said in an email. "This is our major commercial zone, as it is all the way from Kenmore Avenue near the old UB campus, all the way past Home Depot in Niagara Falls. However, in Wheatfield, some of the properties go back 500 feet and more! This landlocks these properties such that owners can't use the back of their own lots."
Cliffe said the current plan for rezoning the boulevard that is before the board includes taking all property along the boulevard and changing it to be zoned commercial, "Whether it is 200 feet deep, or 1,000 feet deep, all would be C-1." Existing homes would be grandfathered and may even be allowed to be replaced, "But the base zoning would be C-1," Cliffe said.
Two public information sessions have already been held on rezoning the boulevard and, "When the board is ready to proceed, we'll call for the public hearing and move closer to completion of this process. No time frame is yet set," Cliffe said.