By David Yarger
On Tuesday, the Town of Niagara Town Board held its monthly meeting at the Town of Niagara Town Hall. The meeting was quick, as public input was heard from two residents and agenda items were gone through quite smoothly.
The meeting started with a public hearing, referring to the combination of a residential zone lot as requested by Rick Bellina of 4100 Isherwood Drive. The hearing garnered no public input and later motions declared a negative declaration on the State Environment Quality Review Act, meaning the review saw no harm to the environment, and also approving the combination of the lots.
Next, Supervisor Lee Wallace gave privilege of the floor to residents looking to voice their opinions on any town issues.
To start the public input, a younger resident from Rhode Island Avenue asked Wallace when the roads around her home would be finished.
Wallace replied, "We're still in the design stages, because the roads Rhode Island and Norman are going to be done first, in the next phase. That's the main artery for the storm sewers, so we're still in the design phase of the storm sewer portion of that. Once that's done, then we will get an actual dollar amount that's going to cost for that part of the project and then we will start working on that."
Lastly, a Colonial Drive resident spoke about his experiences coming to the last few board meetings, mainly referring to the Bri Estates proposal. He also commended the board for the jobs they've done for the town.
He said, "I've changed my focus a bit. I'm not up here to whine or cry right now and I truly believe what you said Lee, in that we gotta have some faith in you all and we do, or I do anyways right now. ... The town code articulates fairly well. My focus ... is going to be on health safety and well-being of the various communities that are within the town itself.
"I do have some concerns, just in general that I'll be looking at. One is, if you look at the proposal for Bri Estates; I have to commend the Planning Board at their last meeting, clearly stating to them 'get me a list of the variances or waivers.' ... I would think with that list they had done and the proposal they have submitted, we should have something that wouldn't vary from the ... town codes, county, New York state and federal regulations and so on.
"More importantly, I think is the master comprehensive plan of the town along with the map that goes with it. I know we still have to work with what we have now. ... I think a lot of people in the town that I've talked to are really trying to focus on that, so when the final proposal comes along, we'll be able to look at it and look and see how that affects me as a resident of the town."
Following privilege to the floor, Councilman Rich Sirianni disagreed with some of the general fund vouchers during the bill payment. Sirianni said, "The system doesn't allow me to separate that. So, I'm forced because the system doesn't allow it."
When asked what he didn't agree with, Sirianni said the vouchers closed Monday, giving him little time to review them all and he said the payment of $1,800 per month for publicity "isn't using their money wisely." Bill payment was passed shortly after with a 3-1 vote.
The first of many agenda items included approving the storm water maintenance agreement for the Fashion Outlet Mall.
Next, the board called for a special Town Board meeting to be held at 4 p.m. Tuesday, Feb. 27. Wallace said the meeting was set to discuss progress on acquiring the old Army Reserve site on Porter Road.
Next, the town permitted Wallace to sign a contract submitted from Brown and Company for the 2017 town audit.
The board also approved to purchase two Dell Latitude 14 MDT's with docking stations in the amount of $9,034.82 with a grant reimbursement.
Next, the board set two public hearings; both for rezoning requests from Porter Road residences, one specifically to go from its B-1 commercial designation to a R-1 single family zone.
Sirianni disagreed with a motion to bid and lease a new 2018 2500 series pickup truck for the Parks Department per the 2018 budget. The item was approved by a 3-1 vote.
The Town Board approved an agreement between the town and Niagara Community Action Program Inc.
The board also revised the rental fee schedule for Veterans Memorial Park. One change for town residents was for the Community Center. The old fee schedule charged $40 per hour and with the new schedule, charges are $50 per hour.
For non-residents, Community Center rental went from $60 per hour to $75 per hour and rental fees for the baseball diamonds went from $55 to $75. The new schedule became effective Wednesday.
Lastly, the board appointed Jill Goldacher for training in the court office for a period of no longer than six months.
The meeting closed with Councilman Charles Teixeira and Wallace commenting on the Waterkeepers Weber Project. The project is a solution to fix flooding issues on property previously owned by Joseph C. Weber around Roberts Drive.
Teixeira said, "It's quite a big undertaking and I think it's something that will work positively for all parties involved and the residents in the area. I thank everybody for their confidence that we can finally get to a deal that will work for everyone and help our community."
Wallace said, "Our hope is, by actually owning this property, which didn't cost us anything, we can alleviate some of the flooding issues that occur over in that area that were a direct result of the subdivision put in years ago, because they actually moved the creek. ... It was difficult and not a good move, so we hope that we'll be able to work that in through and take care of the flooding, as well as create a natural habitat for the species over there."
The special Town Board meeting is slated to start at 4 p.m. Tuesday. The next regular Town Board meeting is at 6:30 p.m. March 20.