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Fair code enforcement OK'd by Grand Island Town Board

Sat, Dec 23rd 2023 07:00 am

By Karen Carr Keefe

Senior Contributing Reporter

The planned Golfside Development across from the former Radisson Hotel was the subject of controversy as the Town Board dealt with a code violation regarding dumping of millings at the site.

Council member Mike Madigan asserted the town Code Enforcement Department didn’t pursue a violation against Golfside in light of being told by several town officials of a cost-saving favor the developer was doing for the town.

Golfside concurrently is seeking to rezone the site as a Planned Development District to allow mixed use for the parcel.

Madigan introduced a motion at Monday’s board meeting requesting the town “fairly and consistently enforce town code.” His motion was approved 3-0.

Madigan said that it seemed to him there’s a conflict of interest by Golfside in doing the town a favor while asking the town to rezone the parcel.

At the close of the meeting, Council member Christian Bahleda said he believes there was nothing “nefarious” going on with regard to the millings program: “I think it was a breakdown in communication between the Town Board and the highway superintendent.”

At the board’s workshop meeting, Madigan said, “We do have a PDD being considered for that property and there’s a code violation that’s occurring on that property, with 50 to 100 or so truckfuls of fill that’s been dumped there.”

Golfside, owned by Frank Grebenc, is planned as a residential and commercial development on a 65-acre site. The property falls under two zoning classifications: Less than 25% of the acreage is zoned for general business and the rest is for single-family residential use.

The violation was cited under Code 253-2A, which calls for a grading permit to be obtained from the town Building Department before beginning any excavating, regrading or filling of land. Asphalt millings, a byproduct of pavement construction, is the fill that was dumped at the site. Millings can be recycled and used to resurface roads, parking lots and for commercial and residential paving.

“I conveyed a complaint from a resident to Code Enforcement,” Madigan said. “They sent out a violation letter … regarding town code.”

The situation was to be remedied within 30 days. But there was no follow-up enforcement.

Madigan read from the Code Enforcement Department’s response to the complaint about millings being dumped at the Golfside site: “This resulted in a very significant cost savings and being told that the town would have been responsible for paying trucking charges to remove those road millings off the Island and dumping them at some other site. In light of this, we do not intend to chase this further because it would only result in the town having to pay someone to remove it and truck the material off the site.”

Madigan said he believes the amount dumped at the site could be 10 times as much as is permitted.

“I don’t believe that anyone on this Town Board agreed to this favor that’s occurring at the same time that we have a very serious PDD rezoning occurring, and the appearance is very bad. It should not have ever occurred,” Madigan said. “The public should be aware of anything like this that’s occurring.”

Later in the regular Town Board meeting, resident Cathy Rayhill supported Madigan’s call for a fairly and consistently enforced town code.

“Around Timberlink and Trail’s End over near the Radisson, we had our roads repaired there,” she said. “There were millings taken. We actually followed the trucks that were leaving our neighborhood and all the millings were being dumped into the property that’s across from the Radisson. This happens to be the same property that has business in front of the board to get approved for a PDD.”

Rayhill said she was told that no permit is required – which she said is incorrect. She said she learned that providing millings to Island residents is done according to a list, but said the program “is not codified in any way, shape or form.”

Although the Golfside Development site was not next on the list, it was the only property that could take that amount of millings.

Rayhill also said Highway Superintendent Dick Crawford has committed to getting together with the Town Board to ensure the millings give-away-program is a codified program.

In other Town Board news:

•Grand Island Police Officer in Charge Thomas Franz reported to the Town Board that, in the months of October and November, traffic enforcement was enhanced in two “troubled areas” of the town.

“I have addressed your and the Town board's desire for enhanced traffic enforcement in the troubled areas of Staley and West River roads,” he said. “With that said, a total of 100 traffic stops were conducted in November with 86 traffic tickets issued. Additionally, on Nov. 28, GIPD conducted a traffic "blitz" on both Staley and West River roads.

“A total of 40 traffic stops were made, and out of those stops, 25 traffic tickets were written. For your information, several residents from both target areas were stopped for speeding and ticketed.”

Franz added, “Going forward, GIPD will continue with traffic ‘blitz’-type details in all problem areas.”

•Madigan said farewell and thanks in his last meeting as a council member.

Bahleda said, “I want to thank him for all his hard work throughout the years.”

Madigan said to the residents, “Today marks a bittersweet moment for me as I address you for the last time as councilman. Serving the residents of Grand Island over the past eight years has been an honor and a privilege.”

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