Featured News - Current News - Archived News - News Categories

Grand Island Town Board reorganizes for 2024

Sat, Jan 6th 2024 11:00 am

By Karen Carr Keefe

Senior Contributing Reporter

Peter Marston conducted his first Town Board meeting as town supervisor in orderly fashion, moving items along like a pro at the Jan. 2 session. Not surprising, since he has been filling in as interim supervisor since Aug. 4, when predecessor John Whitney resigned.

Marston was sworn in, along with four other town officials, on Jan. 1 in an inauguration ceremony at the Sandy Beach Yacht Club.

Job No. 1 for Marston was to set the wheels in motion for town government to run smoothly for the new year.

“This is a reading marathon, so bear with me,” Marston said as he enumerated dozens of actions, appointments and designations that comprise the Town of Grand Island’s 2024 reorganization.

Among the actions was to appoint Council member Thomas Digati as deputy supervisor.

Marston also welcomed new Council member Dan Kilmer to the Town Board, near the close of the meeting.

“Dan, welcome to the board,” Marston said. “We’ve had some really fruitful discussions already amongst all of us. I think it’s going to gel well. It’s just a matter of time.”

Kilmer noted that he has just “three years and 11 more months of meetings” to serve.

He is a retired 38-year veteran who served in the Navy, Army and Air National Guard. In 2000, he was appointed deputy supervisor of the Town of Lewiston, and in 2002 was elected to the Lewiston Town Board.

Having off-week Town Board workshop meetings is one of the innovations Marston has introduced for his four-year term as supervisor. The regular meetings and workshops are held on the first and third Mondays of each month. The additional workshops will be more informal discussions and work sessions, and will be held on the second and fourth weeks of the month in the supervisor’s office at Town Hall.

Marston said during Monday’s workshop, “We really don’t want to do any voting of circumstance on these off-week workshops – anything that’s a large fiscal purchase – land use, you know, final approval of land use and stuff like that. We’d like to continue to do upstairs because I think it’s easier for Pattie (Town Clerk Patricia Frentzel) to capture it. It’s more important; I think it’s more transparent. The off-week workshops are basically so we can get our ducks in a row.”

Marston noted that town employees are more available during the day for workshop meetings. He said in that scheduling, the town wouldn’t have to pay overtime to bring in and get information from its employees.

“My goal is to get the board to do the decision-making, and not the people. … And not somebody being the messenger,” the supervisor said.

The off-week workshop schedule for January is as follows:

•The first will take place at 1 p.m. Thursday, Jan. 11, at Town Hall. The topics will include discussion of local laws and advisory board vacancies.

•The second is a joint workshop meeting to be held at 7 p.m. Monday, Jan. 29, at the Grand Island High School Professional Development Room.

The next regular Town Board workshop and meeting will be held Tuesday, Jan. 16, at Town Hall. Jan. 15 is Martin Luther King Jr. Day, a federal holiday.

In other action Monday, the Town Board:

•Approved the final plat for phase 5 of the Golf Villas at River Oaks development, this phase consisting of 20 lots, subject to negotiation of recreational fees for any future phases. Golf Villas is on Whitehaven Road across from the River Oaks Golf Club.

•Approved a special use permit renewal for Robert F. Mesmer for a private airport/landing strip for 2548 Love Road.

•Gave site plan approval to John Valenti for a one-story, 14,000-square-foot, multi-unit incubator building between Alvin Road and the I-190, across from the Western New York Welcome Center. The total lot area is 4.77 acres. A negative declaration, indicating no significant impact on the environment, was issued under the State Environmental Quality Review Act. The building would house 14 units, each approximately 1,000 square feet, for small, start-up contractors to use as a base of operations.

•Tabled Local Law 6 that would amend the town zoning code regarding allowable uses in the M-1 District. This proposed change is intended to limit the allowable size of buildings such as warehouses and distribution centers in the M-1 zoning.

•Approved a special use permit amendment for Kelli Swagel for the property at 2488A Grand Island Blvd. to expand a dog training and boarding center with the ability to kennel dogs overnight. The total number of dogs allowed on the premises is 30, with a maximum of 20 of those per suite.

•Tabled a special use permit application by Jody Rider for a bed and breakfast at 1559 East River Road after a public hearing during which there were no public comments.

Hometown News

View All News