By Benjamin Joe
The Town of Niagara Town Board meeting began early Tuesday, as the public hearing to collect input from residents on a new gas-station/convenient store being proposed for 7001 Packard Road was canceled.
This is the second time this public hearing has been delayed. Councilman Marc Carpenter said before the meeting began that “any business” on that property would cause problems, but a Speedway gas station might also create more in-and-out traffic on an already dangerous intersection.
“We can’t do anything without a traffic study,” Supervisor Lee Wallace said when questioned on why the hearing was delayed. The issue was tabled on the agenda and the meeting moved on.
Two residents from Belden Center spoke to the board on issues involved with living in an old neighborhood.
“This is sort of a rebuttal, because I missed last month, but I want to say that I do not, and I know several people who agree with me, have had such a hard time with this board,” Catherine Hall said. “I know they work hard – they’re finally going to do our sewers and our roads – and I think it’s fair to say that any time we’ve called for help, or discuss something, that we have been upheld. Thank you.”
“I, too, know everybody on this board, very well, and I have no disrespect for anybody in this room, because most of them held some of us as babies,” said John Parfinski, another longtime Town of Niagara and Belden Center resident, referring to the audience. “The only thing we’re here for is to make sure that we still have a voice in the town and that we’re still heard. … We would like to see things done and not be the forgotten part of the town. … Things have to be done, roads have to be fixed, sewers have to be taken care of, ditches have to be dug. Water in homes has to be taken out of basements.
“We’re not asking for everything, because it is an old neighborhood. … The town workers do a fine job, they keep the roads plowed, the roads that we have, but we can’t look past the fact that Rhode Island Avenue is the worst road in the Town of Niagara.”
Another resident, Charles Hoyt, also approached the board on his own observations of the sidewalks after a snow. He said he saw mounds of snow blocking the sidewalk in front of businesses that had plowed it there.
“Residents shouldn’t have to go on and tell people how to plow their driveway or clear the side walk,” Hoyt said. “The town should start issuing citations.”
Highway Superintendent Bob Herman was also present at the meeting and made it clear that Hoyt was right, and his department planned to do just that the following morning after Tuesday night’s meeting at Town Hall.
“Letters were sent out to all the residents on Military Road,” Herman said. “Tomorrow I’m putting the machine on Military Road and all the ones that are not done will be sent fines.”
Herman further explained the process after being questioned by Councilman Sam Gatto.
“Bob, the long stretches of sidewalk that don’t have businesses?” Gatto said.
“They have property owners,” Herman replied. “A letter gets sent to the property owner. Then they get an opportunity to clean it ... if they don’t, the town cleans it and then we bill them for that, and that’s what’s going to happen tomorrow.
“They (the sidewalks) need to be safe for the public.”
Appointments and Positions
The board also created a full-time position with benefits for a general laborer assigned to parks and part-time fire inspector assigned to the building inspector’s office. The job pays $44,000 a year. More information can be found by contacting Town Hall at 716-297-2150.