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Lewiston Town Board talks new subdivision, solar facility proposal, 2022 budget

Fri, Oct 1st 2021 10:00 am

Board approves funding for Lewiston Family Ice Rink operations, staff

By Terry Duffy


A host of topics greeted visitors Monday evening to the Lewiston Town Board’s regular session.

Included were a proposed new housing subdivision in northern Lewiston; the town’s 2022 tentative budget; discussions on the ground-mounted, utility-grade solar energy project under consideration on Saunders Settlement Road; the Lewiston Family Ice Rink; a proposed small cell telecommunications facilities law; town bicentennial coins; and a proclamation on breast cancer awareness. All occupied a good portion of board’s discussion.

Kristin Savard, PE, owner, president of the Advanced Design Group in Lewiston, opened the Town Board’s public hearing with a discussion on a proposal for an 11-unit subdivision submitted on behalf of owners Dr. Mark and Debra Perry at 4639 Vrooman Drive.

 “We have been in the process for preliminary plat approval; our objective tonight is to have the public hearing, take in any comments … and we would hope to move towards preliminary plat approval so we could move towards final plat,” Savard said.

“We hope to move this around in the next few weeks.”

She explained the Perrys are long-time owners of the property fronting Vrooman Drive as well as property fronting the dead-end West Park Drive in the Morgan Farms neighborhood.

“We’re proposing to extend that dead end about 400 feet into the subdivision to create 11 new, single-family residential lots with a cul-de-sac,” Savard said. She noted all single-family home lots conform to town zoning codes.

“We are proposing all public utilities,” Savard said. She told board members that would include public water, sewer, gas and electric, as is typically found in a standard subdivision. The first six lots would be considered smaller, meeting minimum building code requirements, with larger lots in the rear to encompass a proposed detention pond for drainage.

Savard said the detention pond meets all state pollution discharge elimination system (SPDES) discharge requirements.

“That detention pond will be on private property,” she said. “It will be owned and maintained … by the homeowner’s association. … It would be privately maintained and would not be the responsibility of the town.”

“The project itself shows individual lots … that are 40-by-60- (foot) boxes that intended to represent the building footprint,” she said.

Savard noted the homes would be subject to what the individual homeowner/and or developer intends to build.

“We are looking at 2,400- to 3,600-square-foot homes,” she said. “And the project we are proposing ideally would start construction in early spring or late spring.

“It’s all conforming; we don’t need any variances. We did all the utility design; we submitted everything to the town engineer and went through all the town approval process to this point.”

The hearing saw five residents appear before the board. Each offered favorable remarks for the plan, with some telling board members they liked the expected positive impact the proposed subdivision would have on their properties.

Some questions were raised as to the detention pond; easements; the potential visual impacts from the new construction; loss of trees; plus traffic, drainage and sewer concerns.

In response, Savard said the aforementioned issues are all in the process of being addressed by the developer in their planning. With respect to the impact on sewers raised by one resident, she said there are capacity issues in the area. She indicated sanitary sewers from the new subdivision would discharge into the existing town system on Morgan Drive.

“In this region (Erie and Niagara counties) there is a program called INI mitigation. It’s the INI mitigation down-street sewer analysis program,” Savard said. “We cannot … get any Health Department or state approvals unless we study sanitary sewer.”

Savard explained that, throughout this “engineering process,” studies and modifications are being addressed with the town with respect to usage, system metering, storm events and capacity. She said that, as needed, the developer would do all repairs.

“It’s in process and it’s an acknowledged, very real concern that is mandated and managed by the DEC and Health Department,” Savard said. “The town has a whole list of repairs that need to be done, so they tell us what needs to be fixed, and it’s all part of this process.”

With that, the public hearing closed. Supervisor Steve Broderick said no action would be taken, as the town continues to review the application process.

Next up, representatives of Borrego Solar Systems visited with Town Board members, where they informed steps are being taken to address drainage issues at the rear of the property by means of installing a culvert. The reps went on state they are addressing issues related to the 10 new criteria as outlined by the town at the Sept. 13 work session. However, they added they were not in favor of constructing a berm as part of the town’s requests on shielding.

“While we’re not opposed to it, we’re discouraging it,” Borrego rep Mark Anthony said. He explained installing a berm would disrupt draining and interfere with their grading plans. “It is not something that we cannot overcome; we’re just discouraging it as we’re trying to maintain conformance to AG and Markets guidelines” as to the location of the berm. If you want that berm to be … we’ll do it to the best of our ability.”

In response, Broderick spoke of the problems with screening as he again called for a berm.

“The biggest concern for town residents when they speak is screening,” he said.

“Again, I called you out again at the last meeting as it being woefully poor. … This is our first solar farm that’s going in, in people’s backyards that don’t want a solar farm. … And their biggest concern is the screening.

“The town has learned from (its) mistakes in the past. And we’re going to require a berm and trees. That’s what we want in there.”

Broderick said the town would take no action on the Caldwell solar project until the screening/berm install matter is addressed. The Borrego reps indicated they would work with the town.

The matter was left open, and is expected to be resolved at the board’s work session next month.

In still more news:

•Town Finance/Budget Officer Jacqueline Agnello presented the town’s tentative $18.140 million budget for 2022.

Broken down, the plan calls for $11.660 million in appropriations spending; Lewiston general, $2.765 million; Lewiston general outside village, $3.276 million; DB highway/drainage – town outside village, $3.285 million; and SS1, Water Pollution Control Center, $2.332 million. The amount to be raised by taxes totals $941,835 under the proposal.

The plan sees $6.480 million in special districts spending: S10 French Landing drainage, $5,350; SF fire protection, $1.443 million; SL Lewiston Heights gas, $11,000; SR refuse, Lewiston outside village, $340,000; SS2 Lewiston MSIA, $1.753 million; SS3, Lewiston south sewer IA, $173,365; and SW1 Lewiston water Improvement, $2.753 million. The amount to be raised by taxes totals $3.104 million under the plan.

Agnello said the town has been rating a 0.0 fiscal stress score under Comptroller Thomas DiNapoli’s rating system for municipalities. Lewiston has enjoyed such a score since 2017.

She will meet with town department heads to further review the budget from 9 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Thursday, Oct. 7, in the main meeting room at Town Hall. The session is open to the public.

•The town approved funding appropriations to get the Lewiston Family Ice Rink underway for an expected Nov. 1 opening. Included is a $20,000 funding transfer intended to go toward actual operations of the rink, and $15,000 geared for the hiring of ice rink personnel.

•The board announced it is still discussing logistical issues related to the town’s pending Small Cell Telecommunications Facilities Law and will address it again at the work session Thursday, Oct. 14.

•In news related to Lewiston’s upcoming bicentennial celebrations in 2022, the town announced its next round of $10 coins featuring the Frontier House is now on sale. The Bicentennial Commission’s Chiavetta’s chicken barbecue fundraiser will take place Saturday afternoon Oct. 9, in the Town Hall parking lot. Tickets are now on sale.

•Wrapping up, after hearing remarks from Paulette Glasgow, a Lewiston resident and former Town Board member, the council approved a proclamation proclaiming Oct. 1-31 as Breast Cancer Awareness Month in Lewiston.

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