By Benjamin Joe
The Town Board of Niagara convened on Tuesday for a mere 30 minutes. During that time, the board resolved to grant Randal Sinatra a mixed-families residence zoning for his property on Laur Road, create a local law that paves the way for a possible recycling plant within the town, schedule a public hearing for the destruction of a zombie home and, of course, answer questions from citizens.
The board also resolved the final scoping documents involving the Bri Estates subdivision to be sent back to the developer till such a time when the developer submits an environmental impact study.
“So, for those of you who don’t know this, the scoping document attached to the positive declaration we made on the Bri Estates project has gone through a couple months of procedures,” Supervisor Lee Wallace said. “We went through the entire scoping document and all the changes, including all the information that was generated from the residents and other sources.
“Last Wednesday, Corey (Auerbach of Barclay-Damon) prepared the document, he did an amazing job. … So, we’re confident this is pretty thorough; we’ve done a good job with all the concerns. All of the residents seemed fairly happy last week. So, now it will go back to the developer for him to actually use the scoping document, which is an outline to prepare the environmental impact study.”
The resolution permits Auerbach to add additional concerns submitted after Sept. 17 and prior to the submittal on Sept. 29 at his discretion. It was voted in unanimously.
Privilege of the Floor
John Parfinski approached the board during the “privilege of the floor,” a time allotted for citizens to speak to the board.
“I talked to (Highway and Sanitation Department Superintendent) Bob Herman in the spring,” John Parfinski said. “Louisiana, Nevada and Birch were supposed to be paved. He said in the spring they were going to take care of it. I see him at the last work session; he said … we’re going to get to the roads at the end of August. I said, that’s fine, I’ll take you at your word; I’m fine with that.
“August has come and gone, we’re in the middle of September now, nothing’s been touched.”
“Louisiana Avenue, at the end going towards Hyde Park, the Highway Department has got to cut the brush back on both sides of the road. It’s starting to look like a tunnel. That’s the town’s easement; it’s got to be cut back,” Parfinski said. “And Globar. You guys have to do something about Globar.”
“You talking about the. …” Wallace said.
“The factory,” Parfinski said. “It’s right on the corner of Rhode Island.”
“The problem is the guy who owns the building lives in Florida,” Wallace said. “He really won’t communicate with us. We try to do what we can to make it safe.”
“I had property on Rhode Island. The town got on me about it. I cut it three times,” Parfinski said.
“You know why?” Wallace asked. “Because you’re a law-abiding citizen.”
Wallace said he’d look into the matter and, at the very least, the easements would be cut.
Resident Charles Hoy also approached the board, asking if the people would have "the right to vote" on a town tax after the landfill is closed. After some discussion, the board told Hoy, "no," and that it would be the board that voted on any new tax.
Council members have not discussed any tax at this time.
Richard Ries of Fittante Architecture was at the meeting with plans showing a possible style of two-floor apartment buildings, uppers and lowers, to be built on Laur Road. This, he said, required a zoning change from R-1 (single family homes) and R-3 (mixed residential). He was not asked to approach the board with his plans and the board approved the zoning change unanimously. Ries said he didn’t expect to have to appear before the board again as his client, Randal Sinatra, was not looking for any variances.
A public hearing took place before the regular board meeting began in which a new local law was not discussed, because no citizen came forward to speak. The public hearing was closed and the board resolved to create Local Law No. 3-2019 amending the current town code to sections 245-26 and 245-27.
After the meeting was concluded, Wallace explained, “We created the law so we could have recycling in an area.” He indicated he was speaking of a recycling plant. “It’s pretty much pigeonholed right now and they can only have it in certain areas, which makes it more difficult. We have a proposed project that might come in with different spots, so we changed the code. It doesn’t mean we’re going to accept it, it just means we couldn’t accept it with the code the way it was.”
Another public hearing was called to move along the demolition of 2929 Birch Ave. Wallace had indicated at past meetings that the process to take down homes with unresponsive owners was difficult and took a lot of time. He said the public hearing would entail Mike Risman, town attorney, asking Chuck Haseley, building inspector, if the building was in need of demolition.
A resolution was proposed to post and hire a full-time account clerk in the Water/Sewer Department, and post and hire for a part-time assessor.
“The full-time clerk was due to retirement,” Wallace said. “She’s been here 30 years. And the part-time assessor is needed because our full-time assessor, Darlene Sullivan, came back and worked for us part-time, and now she’s just had enough completely.”