Several citizens voice opinion on Bri Estates proposal
By David Yarger
On Tuesday night at the Town of Niagara Town Hall, the Town Board had its monthly meeting and while many motions were passed at the well-attended session, several citizens voiced concerns on the proposed Bri Estates behind Colonial Drive and Miller Road homes.
The proposed housing development wants to place nearly 115 homes, basically in the backyard of citizens living on the said streets. The proposal was brought up at a recent open floor session.
Town Supervisor Lee Wallace understood citizen concerns but reminded them, nothing has been agreed on, and the proposal was first seen by the Town Board at the open floor.
"When they presented at open floor to you folks, that's the first time we saw it too. They have not officially come to the Town Board with anything yet. There's been no formal proposal to this board at all. So, we have made no decision.
"We have personal feelings about those things that are going on, but we have made no decision or no determination on this project at all. So, those who think this is gonna happen like tomorrow, that's not the case," Wallace said.
Richard Zimmer, of Miller Road, said one of the big concerns from people, is that the field behind the area homes "doesn't turn into a gigantic mess," which Wallace agreed with Miller, saying, "I wouldn't blame you, I wouldn't either."
Wallace went on to say the board has its concerns about the project as well, but the board is handcuffed at times, due to legalities. He added the concerns the board has will be addressed.
The proposed area, Wallace said, has been a proposed subdivision forever. Double C Realty bought the property and he understands why the proposals may not sit well with town citizens.
A big issue for citizens is the lot sizes for the proposal, which calls for smaller lots and reduced setbacks. With the new proposal, the parameters would be at a bare minimum, which didn't set well with people.
Paul Torrey, of Colonial Drive, said, "I think we're at the density limit on those lots. If you want to put up a shed or a swimming pool, or anything like that, a variance is gonna be needed in just about every situation."
Mary Ann Casamento, of Grauer Road, spoke on issues she felt needed to be fixed, such as traffic if the project ends up going through, because she said traffic is already bad enough in the area to get on to Military Road. Also, she exclaimed the need to change the requirements of the subdivision, so "at least it's backyard to backyard."
Wallace said the town is in the middle of a comprehensive plan and the entire code is going to be revamped.
Casamento also said none of the citizens want a city feeling. "The area that already lives there-we don't want to live in a city, we want to live in a town. We want room, and that's why we moved out there," she said.
Susan Rizzo, of Colonial Drive, agreed with Casamento, wanting a town and not a city feel. She said, "It's like the Town of Niagara wants to become the City of Niagara."
She added, the development would be a boost to the tax base, but that would add more expenses, and also increase the wear and tear on the roads.
Wallace stayed committed to his word, that the board has made no moves on this, saying "there has been very little information on our agenda, the Town Board has done nothing with this, regarding an agenda goes. We've made no approvals, we've done nothing."
Wallace stated his opinions on the proposal, saying he doesn't like the idea of two ways in and two ways out within "five football fields," as well as the number of houses on Colonial Drive in comparison to the number that would be behind those houses.
He told the citizens the board has to be cautious on how they approach things.
"We need you to understand, from a legal standpoint, if we try to submarine them on things that are legal, we will be sued by them. That's why we have to be careful on how we do it," he said.
Wallace added as a citizen living on Grauer Road, he understands how people feel about the proposal, but, like he said, the town, due to legal reasons has to approach the topic with caution.
Wallace told citizens to feel free to come and speak with him at any time during the day, and he'll always get back.
The next scheduled Town of Niagara Town Board meeting is slated for 6:30 p.m. Monday, Oct. 16.