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Lewiston Town Board approves local flood law, adopts police reform policy

Fri, Mar 26th 2021 11:35 am

By Terry Duffy

Editor-in-Chief

Overall, the workload was light Monday evening for the Lewiston Town Board, as two public hearings opened the regular meeting followed by limited board discussion and approval on various routine matters.

Leading off was a proposed local law covering flood damage prevention. No comments came from the public either at the sparsely attended Town Hall session or online from Zoom.

Responding to a question by Councilman Bill Geiben on how the general public might know whether or not they are in a federal government-designated flood zone and would thus need to acquire mandated flood insurance on their property, Engineer Robert Lannon offered an explanation.

“My understanding is if you have a mortgage and are in one of these FEMA zones, the bank would notify you that you need it,” Lannon said.

Building Inspector Tim Masters said impacted property owners would likely hear of any government concerns regarding flood control when they decide to do a project.

“They won’t find out really until they go to do a project down by the water and they have more hoops to jump through with regard to the flood plan code,” he said.

“It didn’t affect the Town of Lewiston a whole lot,” Masters said of the flood plain law. “It was all about the coastal flood (measures). We have some updates with that.”

He explained there could be “a little impact down by the Niagara River. The only people it might affect (would be) if you’re going to put in a deck or something very close to the water. It might affect how you build it, and the size of your footings, etc. It’s not really a lot of impact for the Town of Lewiston.”

The Town Board went onto approve the preliminary negative declaration and, in turn, the flood prevention local law. It took effect immediately.

Police Reform

The second public hearing addressed the state-mandated Police Reform and Reinvention Collaborative in response to Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s 2020 executive order No. 203.

Over past months, the Lewiston Police Department met with local leaders, presented a community survey and developed “a plan that reinvents and modernizes police strategies and programs,” based on community input.

As reported in the March 12 Tribune/Sentinel, the LPD survey revealed strong community support for the department. (See related HERE.)

“I have already been aware of the unique relationship, the unique support, that we have in this community for police,” Chief Frank Previte said of the survey. “This is a good thing.”

Limited comments came during the LPD policing reform public hearing.

In her remarks on the measure, Village of Lewiston Mayor Anne Welch, who was a member of committee, wrote, “After many meetings with the police chief, town and village officials, chamber of commerce, school administrators and community input, we agree with adoption of the Policing Reform Plan.”

Soon after, the Lewiston Town Board went on to unanimously approve the LPD policing reform measure.

The document needs to be submitted to the state by April 1.

In other news,

•The board took no action on a public health emergency operations plan mandated by New York state. Supervisor Steve Broderick said the plan had been reviewed over the past year by town attorneys and officials, and was currently awaiting input for representatives of the town’s labor unions.

•Wrapping up, Lannon presented an update on the Kiwanis Park basketball court reconstruction project.

“There were five bids received, ranging from $153,750 up to $195,110,” Lannon said.

He went on to recommend the low bid, from paving contractor Louis Del Prince & Sons of Cheektowaga, for $153,750.

Soon after, the board lent its approval.

Construction on the Kiwanis Park project is expected to begin this spring.

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