By Benjamin Joe
Rodney Rinard, a Witmer Road resident, approached the Wheatfield Town Board at its Monday meeting to talk to the officials in regard to heavy drainage problems on his property.
Rinard asked the board if an excavator could be sent to clear the ditch beside his property. The trench is very deep in the middle of his property, but rises as it approaches the street, resulting in “standing water.”
“I live … right next to the new development, or the field. Alongside my property, my ditch was dug out probably about three or four years ago,” he said. “When they dug it, they made it deeper in the center of my property and higher where it’s supposed to drain into the road. I reached out here today because it’s just standing water there. I tried to rake all the stuff out of the way, but it really needs an excavator in there to drain that water out to the street. I was wondering if something could be done about that.”
Supervisor Don MacSwan asked if the ditch was town property. Rinard replied that it was.
“I think we talked about it in the past,” MacSwan said. “Paul (Siegmann, superintendent of highways), do you have any comments?”
“Part of the problem is when we did dig that out, about two or three years ago, there’s a huge root on your one tree in that ditch,” Siegmann said. “They dug it down as deep as they could, but they didn’t want to tear your root out, because it probably would kill your tree.”
“The trees are gone,” Rinard said. “I took them down.”
Siegmann said, in that case, his team would come down and re-dig the trench. The resident noted that his property is under water and any work done would need to be checked out first. MacSwan recommended Rinard call Siegmann the next day and see if something could be done quickly.
Rinard thanked the board, and then also said that vehicles were ignoring the stop sign close to his house. He asked if an additional sign could be put up to warn people about the upcoming stop sign.
“We can,” MacSwan said. “You see Rodger (Thompson, head constable) when you’re done and I’m sure he’ll put the stop sign over there. Just so you know, we had the sheriff’s department over there, this goes back several weeks ago, and they issued 31 tickets, and would you believe most of those were Wheatfield citizens?”
“I believe it,” Rinard said. “Sometimes if you’re not paying real good attention, you’ll blow right through it, because the sign needs some fluorescent on the pole. It needs something to make people aware that it is a stop sign.”
Assessor to be Shared
Another resident approached the board about an issue on the agenda involving the assessor. As MacSwan explained, the former assessor for Wheatfield had retired, but the Town of Pendleton’s assessor was working part-time there and would likely be coming to work in Wheatfield as a second job pending a public hearing.
“We came up with an agreement with the Town of Pendleton,” MacSwan said. “First of all, let me go back, you know our assessor retired, and first it came to us after meeting with her to discuss the budget and, unless something earthshaking happens to the town, she felt the job could be done part-time.
“I met with the supervisor from Pendleton and he had made an agreement with his assessor to work part-time in Wheatfield. Until we make sure everything works out, we’re just doing a one- year contract with the possibility of an extension.”
Summit Mall News, Other Projects
Tim Zuber, town engineer, made his report to the board on the matters that had come in front of the Planning Board. One of them involved the Summit Mall, specifically in the old Sears building owned and developed by Zoran Cocov.
“The next item is the Summit Mall Sears building re-use,” he said. “They actually made it to the meeting this time. They further elaborated the interior modifying that would include batting cages, pick-up courts, indoor hockey, lacrosse and soccer and a small concert venue.”
The Planning Board had verified parking conditions, Zuber said, and had approved the site plan without any conditions.
“They’re doing a music Halloween party this Saturday (Oct. 26),” Building Inspector Mike Klock said, later. “Currently everything is being done to bring it up to fire code, but it looks like they’re really doing it and bringing that section (of the mall) up to code and cleaned out.”
Zuber also went on to describe other projects, including:
•Parcels on Niagara Falls Boulevard that are residentially zoned, but could be turned into commercial space was discussed. The plan, by Scheid Architecture, is to take these lots and create a 10,000 square- foot day care center. The proposal still needs a site plan, but it would need to consider of floodplains and wetlands on site.
•Madison Trails, a proposed 3-4 acre area of planned unit development, or PUD, to be developed by Fred Mallone, was also discussed. The project would result in 91 new units east of Ward Road. Currently the area is zoned for residential/agriculture. The Planning Board discussed issues including the airport’s impact on such a project.
“This applicant was actually in front of the Planning Board in 2013 with a very similar type of project,” Zuber said. “(They) were given some things to look into and hasn’t come back to the Planning Board until now.”
•The Niagara SPCA was also in front of the Planning Board, Zuber said, to build an SPCA surgical unit.
“The applicant proposes to construct 2,000 square-foot addition to the SPCA building,” he said. “The expansion will replace an existing trailer in the parking lot that’s currently used for small animal surgery, and will allow for the treatment of larger animals.”
County Legislator Visits
Dave Godfrey, the 10th district legislator, was also in attendance of the meeting. He was asked to talk about the Purple Heart program.
“Thanks for getting that out,” Godfrey said in regard to the sign welcoming Purple Heart recipients to the town. “That was the first Purple Heart sign in the county. Niagara County a few months ago had deemed the county as a Purple Heart county. When you come in and you’re a Purple Heart recipient, we’ve got a registry for that. They had a great ceremony up the river at the Veteran Memorial and, in addition of that, in order to honor Purple Heart recipients, if they come to the courthouse for any reason, the clerk’s office, etc., the parking space which is now designated for the chairman of the legislature is being changed to Purple Heart recipients only.”