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Town Board News - 2010
page 2

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Town of Grand Island Website

Approved Town Board Meeting Minutes - Nov. 15, 2010

Click for 11/15/10 Town Board Meeting Minutes.

Zoning Issues Dominate Brief Town Board Meeting - Nov. 2010

By Joelle Logue
   Mon., November 15, 2010 . . . Except for a proclamation, two public hearings and a few unfinished items, there were only two action items on Monday night’s Town Board agenda. A request from Donna Finney and Lee Brownschidle of 2065 West River Road to purchase a segment of land from an adjacent lot to better access their back yard septic system was referred to the Town Attorney for his opinion on whether it should go to the Planning Board or Zoning Board for review. The other item was to pay bills.
   No one spoke during a public hearing on a proposed dog licensing law that was adopted as Local Law #9 for 2011. The law came about when the state decided not to handle the dog licensing process thereby kicking it back to local municipalities. “Welcome to unfunded mandates,” was the message declared by several town board members. Naturally, all the fees go back to the state, but the processing will now be handled by offices of the town clerk throughout New York.
   A second public hearing was held to consider amending the Town Code to include indoor recreational facilities, such as soccer fields and ice-hockey rinks, as an allowable use in the Commercial Recreation District. Speaking in favor of the amendment was Doug Meng, co-owner of Meng-Ko Development, who wants to build an indoor sports facility on land currently zoned R1-A on Whitehaven Road. As the father of two sons who play soccer and ice hockey, he sees the venture as not only good for his family but for the community as a whole. No one spoke against and the Town Board voted to include indoor recreational facilities as an allowable use as Local #10. The Board also voted to rezone the land from R1-A to Commercial Recreation as Local Law #11.
   As a matter of unfinished business, the Town Board also voted to delete language in the Town Code that calls for split lots to be dominated by the larger lot zoning as Local Law #12. This means that split lot owners will have to seek approval for any rezoning requests to combine their two lots under one type of zoning.
   Nicole Finn, who was accompanied by her family, received a proclamation from the Town Board, congratulating her for being a winning artist in New York Recycles Poster Contest. Her drawing is featured for December in the NY Recycles calendar. Nicole is a 5th grader at St. Stephen School.
   Councilman Ray Billica urged students in the audience to appeal to the county for keeping current staffing and funding at the Grand Island Library. Apparently reductions to the library system are being considered on Nov. 23.

Approved Town Board Meeting Minutes - Nov. 1, 2010

Click for 11/1/10 Town Board Meeting Minutes.

Town Board Adopts 2011 Budget - Nov. 2010

By Joelle Logue
   Mon., November 1, 2010 . . .Following a public hearing at which no one spoke, the Town Board adopted the proposed budget for 2011 but not until they took away a 3.25 percent pay raise that had been indicated in the salary lines for Town Supervisor, councilpersons, Highway Superintendent, Town Justices and Town Clerk. That action saved the Town $11,834.92.
    The biggest increases in the budget were found to be in the Sewer District Fund and Refuse & Garbage Fund, the former with a 10.8% increase and the latter with a 8.4% increase. There were no increases in the General Fund or the Water District Fund. The Highway Fund will increase by 3.8% and Fire Protection District by .8%
   Lighting District taxes vary by district with a total appropriation amount of $198,877 in 62 districts with $178,350 of that to be raised by taxation.
   Specific figures for funds are as follows:
• General Fund: total appropriation, $6,653,892 with $2,098,217 to be raised by taxation (estimated tax rate of $3.053 per thousand).
• Fire Protection District: total appropriation, $1,111,569 with $1,109,569 to be raised by taxation (estimated tax rate of $1.522 per thousand).
• Highway Fund: total appropriation, $3,012,157 with $2,372,621 to be raised by taxation (estimated tax rate of $3.452 per thousand).
• Sewer District Fund: total appropriation, $3,337,433 with $980,651 to be raised by taxation (estimated tax rate – land value only - $10.49).
• Water District Fund: total appropriation, $2,870,278 with $705,591 to be raised by taxation (estimated tax rate per 1000 on land value only $5.784)
• Refuse & Garbage District: total appropriation, $1,328,116 with $1,272,420 to be raised by taxation (flat rate of $180 per single family dwelling).
• Total Debt Service amount is $1,269.592. Transfers from other funds, $1,064,092.
   Doug Learman appeared, as he has in past years, to appeal for more staffing in the Building Dept. due to recent state mandates for frequency of inspections that currently are not met by his department. He referred to the department as having received a substandard state rating he attributes to lack of personnel.

Public Came To Comment On Proposed Zoning Change - Nov. 2010

By Joelle Logue
   Mon., November 1, 2010 . . .A public hearing to consider a local law that would delete wording about lot requirements brought considerable comment from the public during Monday’s Town Board meeting. The section in question reads: “Where a district boundary divides a lot of record at the time such boundary is adopted, the district requirements of the greater portion of the lot will become the requirements of the entire lot.” The lots impacted by this wording are north of Webb Road between Grand Island Blvd. and Baseline, and Baseline Road south of the NYS Thruway and East River Road.
    More than a dozen people spoke in favor of the change particularly as it affects parking at Turner’s Port of Call, 997 East River Rd. Mike Gast, Thomas Russert, Donald Turner Jr. and Donald Turner III plus many others felt the change would eliminate parking problems already evident at the corner of North Colony and East River. It would also permit a needed increased parking area at Turner’s. John Simon said the change has long been needed because it would no longer put lots in a split zone, but Dave Thomas speaking against the Local Law said it would not help split zones. Others against the change pointed out that if more parking was approved it would add to traffic problems when turning onto North Colony from East River, that the corner is already hazardous, that setbacks are needed and that no one observes the speed limit on East River.
    The Town Board voted to table the Local Law in order to review all the comments.
    Another public hearing gave consideration for a special use permit for Mike Ludwig of Meadow Lane to allow a dog kennel at 2120 Alvin Road. The site plan/building expansion would change the use from a landscaping, nursery and gift shop to a dog kennel. No one spoke in favor or against and the Town Board tabled the request in order to complete the SEQR process.
    The Town Board set a public hearing for Monday, Nov. 15 at 8 p.m. to consider Local Law #10 to amend the Town’s dog law. Effective January 2011, the Agricultural and Markets Law will require processing of dog licenses and applications to be performed by local municipalities, thus the Town must adopt a dog licensing Law for the Town.
   Delinquent water and sewer accounts were added to the 2011 tax roll as follows: water ($240,637.86); sewer ($379,759.84); out of district sewer ($502.26); meters ($3655); miscellaneous charges ($100).
   Winter youth and adult program hires for the Recreation Dept. were approved as follows beginning Nov. 4 thru April 2011 at no more than 19 hrs. per week: (Returning) Chris McDonnell, Morgan Green, Alex Killian, Jessica Oyer, Victoria Kostenbauder, Patricia Kostenbauder, Ben Bakula, Evan Shaw - (New Hires) Jon Oyer, Jonathan Goc, Andrew Donahue. The hiring of recreation attendants part time (Kyle Moody, Jared Billica, Kevin Buyer, Joe Wilton, Cliff Smith, Peter Pitts) until Nov. 30 for grass cutting, snow fence installation, ice rink prep, leaf pick up, securing seasonal equipment was also approved.
   In other business, the board:
• Authorized the supervisor to file an application for funds for 2011 Recreational Trails from the NYS Office of Parks, Recreation and Historical Preservation in the amount not to exceed $200,000 for the development of Scenic Woods – Bicentennial Park Trail System.
• Granted a special use renewal to Joseph Higgins for the keeping of three agricultural animals at 900 Ransom Road.
• Granted a special use renewal to Richard Benz for the keeping of three agricultural animals at 828 East River Road.
• Approved placing certain vehicles and equipment identified by the Highway Dept. with the Online Auctioneer Auctions International Inc. after contacting other departments to see if any are wanted and to see if other departments have items to auction.
• Reminded residents about the Veterans Day ceremony at DeGlopper Park Thursday, Nov. 11 at 11 a.m.

Town Extends Building Permit for Ransom Rd. Gas Station - Nov. 2010

By Joelle Logue
   Mon., November 1, 2010 . . . After having been tabled for some time, the Town Board, Monday. in a 4-3 vote, finally renewed for six months a building permit for Parkland Enterprises (now known as 5500 Holdings LLC). The project, a gas station and convenience store at the corner of Ransom Rd. and Stony Point, has been stalled for years, mired in financial difficulties.
   For Frank Burkhart, who addressed the Town Board at its workshop prior to the official board meeting and also at the Town Board meeting, the final straw has been the approval of a gas canopy that is a stock design similar to that of the now defunct Mobil station at the corner of Grand Island Blvd. and Baseline, - one that does not blend in with the neighborhood or the shell of the convenience store next to it. He wanted the Town Board to revoke the building permit altogether arguing that the plan for the canopy was never approved by the Architectural Review Board.
   Also speaking during the public comment period was James Dinsmore who said that the developer had lost all credibility.
   The issue is that the Building Dept. signed off on the canopy without sending it to the Architectural Review Board thus ignoring Town law that reads: "The Building Inspector shall promptly refer to such Board all applications for building permits... for alterations or additions, but only subject to guidelines set by the Advisory Architectural Review Board." Since the statute of limitations has run out, the Town Board’s hands are tied. Had Burkhart brought it to the attention of the Town Board in a timely manner, the issue could have been handled differently. Supervisor Peter McMahon said, in a phone conversation following the meeting, that efforts will be made to have the developer change the canopy design.
   Councilman Crawford reported that the developer now has received an SBA loan so the project can move forward. He and other board members have been frustrated with the delays but legally have to ensure the property owner’s rights. Councilman Gary Roesch was the dissenting vote.

Approved Town Board Meeting Minutes - Oct. 18, 2010

Click for 10/18/10 Town Board Meeting Minutes.

Let's Go Round the Roundabout - 2010

Submitted by the Town Traffic Safety Advisory Board
What is a Roundabout?
   A modern roundabout is an un-signalized circular intersection engineered to maximize safety and minimize traffic delay. Over the last few decades, thousands of roundabouts have been installed in Europe, Australia and other parts of the world. Recently, they have gained support in the United States. And, more recently New York is getting experience with their use and design. Drivers are becoming comfortable with their use in the cities and towns where roundabouts have been built, and even where the public has been hesitant about accepting them initially, roundabouts ultimately have been accepted enthusiastically because of the increased safety they provide along with traffic calming and aesthetic benefits.
Safety and Operational Performance
   A major reduction in accidents there is a reduction in the number of conflict points within the facility. A standard intersection has 32 potential Vehicle to Vehicle conflicts VS 8 for a roundabout. The merging lanes that characterize traffic circles and lead to confusion over who has the right of way have been eliminated. Roundabouts are relatively small particularly when compared with regular traffic circles so traffic speeds are slower, there are more opportunities to enter circulating traffic, fewer accidents result, and delays are greatly reduced.
Navigating a Roundabout
   Motor Vehicles: When approaching the roundabout, follow the lane designation signs and choose the proper lane for multi-lane approach roadways, slow down and yield to pedestrians in the cross walks.
   Approach the yield line and enter the roundabout when there is adequate gap in the circulating traffic flow. If another car is waiting at the yield line ahead of you, do not stop in the cross walk. Keep the cross walk clear. Bicyclists are permitted to ride within the roundabout and will be riding in the lane just as the other vehicles do and do not pass a bicycle in the roundabout.
   Exiting the Roundabout: Once you have entered the roundabout proceed counter clockwise to your exit, you now have the right of way. As you approach your exit, turn on your right turn signal, exit the roundabout, yielding to pedestrians in the cross walk.
   Trucks: Drive on the circulatory roadway except large trucks and trailers may use the truck apron provided to negotiate the tight turning radius. Drive usually with just the rear wheels on the raised pavement of the truck apron to navigate more easily. Cars should not use the truck apron.
   Pedestrians: Stay on the designated walk ways at all times. Cross only at the designated cross walks, never cross the central island. Watch for cars. You have the right of way. Your best protection is your own attention. Cross the cross walk one lane at a time, stay in the island as a refuge area before crossing the next lane.
    Bicyclists: Ride with traffic as though you are a vehicle making sure to yield to traffic when you enter. Ride the speed of the circular roadway to discourage cars from passing you. If you are unsure about using the roundabout, walk your bike at the cross walks like pedestrians.
   Here's hoping this article is informative and that traffic can flow smoothly and safely through our new and enhanced intersection. Need more information? Look for answers in future articles.

Approved Town Board Meeting Minutes - Oct. 4, 2010

Click for 10/4/10 Town Board Meeting Minutes.

Town Board Meeting Agenda - Oct. 18, 2010

Click for 10/18/10 Town Board Meeting Agenda.

Slaughter Announces $500,000 For Water Treatment Plant - Oct. 2010

From left: Engineer John Whitney, Supervisor Peter McMahon, Town Clerk Pattie Frentzel, Congresswoman Louise Slaughter, Councilman Richard Crawford, Councilwoman Mary Cooke, project engineer Brian Sibiga and Councilman Gary Roesch.
   Improvements Will Save Town Taxpayers $250,000 per year.

   Press Release, October 12, 2010 - Grand Island, NY – Congresswoman Louise Slaughter (NY-28) today announced $500,000 will be awarded to the Town of Grand Island for upgrades to the Town’s Water Treatment Plant creating yearly savings of $250,000 for Town residents. The funding announced today will cover almost half of the cost for the Town to upgrade approximately 2,500 feet of 16 inch waterline from the plant discharge along Ferry Road. With these improvments, the Town will increase the amount of water it can process by 63 percent or 1.6 million gallons per day, reducing the need to buy water from Niagara County and saving the Town $250,000 each year.
   “At a time when our infrastructure is in desperate need of repairs, I am pleased to join Supervisor McMahon in Grand Island to celebrate the much needed funding that will bring safe drinking water to the residents of Grand Island and save local taxpayers hundreds of thousands of dollars,” said Slaughter. “Improvements in the efficiency and effectiveness of the town’s water treatment plant will benefit more than 18,000 residents and are necessary for the town to provide clean water for the sustained residential and commercial growth on the Island through 2016.”
   “I’d like to thank Congresswoman Louise Slaughter for her continued assistance to the Town of Grand Island.” said Town of Grand Island Supervisor Peter McMahon. “This isn’t the first time Congresswoman Slaughter has helped the Water Treatment plant. As a direct result of the sewer line extension that was funded in 2004, two new buildings were built and an existing plaza was expanded. Today, there are 7 businesses along Grand Island Boulevard that didn’t exist before the project was planned.” In FY 2004, Slaughter secured $250,000 for a portion of the cost of constructing a sewer main on Grand Island Boulevard in an area that did not have a sanitary sewer at the time. As a result of the funding and the sewer that was built, 3 new development projects have resulted making way for a gym, physical rehabilitation office, medical office, pharmacy, law office, beauty shop, and tea shop.

Public Hearing Set To Air Sports Complex Venture - Oct. 2010

By Joelle Logue
   Tues., October 4, 2010 . . .The Town Board, Monday, made short work of a brief agenda that included the setting of three public hearings for Oct. 18 at 8 p.m. One will consider an application from Meng-Ko Development LLC for rezoning 39.972 acres at 2356 Whitehaven Road near Alvin from R1A to CR for the construction of a sports complex. The complex is a private endeavor that would include an indoor soccer field and ice rink with room for future expansion. The men behind the venture are Gene Kozek and Doug Meng.
    A second public hearing will consider final plat approval of Grand Park Vue Subdivision Section VI (17 lots), and a third will consider the closing of Waterford Park from 1-10 p.m. on October 23 for an Octoberfest Block Party.
   There were two public hearings, Monday, at which no one spoke. The first was to solicit ideas for Community Development Block Grant proposals that address needs of senior citizens or two particular neighborhood areas – the Grandyle Village area between Broadway and the Parkway and Marigold housing north of Bedell Road. Councilwoman Mary Cooke referred to a consent agenda item that indicated the $100,000 in Erie County Community Development Block Grant for the Grandyle Village Sidewalk Improvement Project will be deferred until 2011 due to the fact the project could not be completed by January 15.
    A second public hearing involved approving a resolution to create Country Club I Lighting District No. 60. It was declared that the lighting district would not have a significant adverse impact on the environment.
   Two other resolutions regarding Country Club Cottages approved the laying out of the road to be known as Cottagewood Lane and to provide for sanitary sewers, turnaround, public drainage and access easements.
   Two special use renewals were approved for the keeping of one agricultural animal by John Ventry at 3440 Stony Point Road and for Gail Villani at 5302 East River Rd.
   The Town Board approved a change in employment status from engineering aide seasonal to engineering aide part time for Jessie Petit and from laborer seasonal to laborer part time for Tim Burns in the Wastewater Dept.
   In other business, the Board:
• Approved an extension request by Jack and Carol Hugill to occupy a trailer/motor home on Bedell Road for a period ending October 21.
• Denied a request from David and Geraldine Stalica of 2969 Baseline Road who wanted to exchange property adjacent to Veterans Park for property presently owned by the Town along Island Park Drive.
• Authorized Supervisor Peter McMahon to sign an Inter-municipal snow plowing contract with the Highway Superintendents and Association of Erie County governments at a 20-2011 rate of $3,077.57 per mile.
• Authorized the supervisor to sign a Memorandum of Agreement with the Western New York Stormwater Coalition from which the town has benefited greatly with compliance and permitting issues.
• Accepted with regret the resignation of LuJean Jennings from the Economic Development Advisory Board.

Approved Town Board Meeting Minutes - Sept. 20, 2010

Click for 9/20/10 Town Board Meeting Minutes.

Town Board Meeting Agenda - Oct. 4 2010

Click for 10/4/10 Town Board Meeting Agenda.

Grand Island Votes Down Downsizing Of Town Board - Sept. 23, 2010

It was a vote of confidence for Grand Island's supervisor and town board when 2227 votes were cast Thursday, September 23, 2010 against the proposition to downsize the town's governing body. Voting for the change that has been highly promoted by Kevin P. Gaughan, a lawyer in the town of Hamburg, were 1874 residents. The majority of Grand Island voters made the town of Grand Island the first in Erie County to reject the downsizing proposal. A number of absentee ballots and validated affidavits are still to be counted, not enough to change the outcome of the voting. Voting took place in Grand Island's Fire Headquarters on Baseline Road.
Grand Island residents voted as follows on the proposal to downsize the Grand Island town council from 4 members to 2:
NO: 2227 votes
YES: 1874 votes
Total votes cast: 4101

Approved Town Board Meeting Minutes - Sept. 7, 2010

Click for 9/7/10 Town Board Meeting Minutes.

Site Plan Approved for Mighty Taco - Sept. 2010

By Joelle Logue
   Tues., September 20, 2010 . . .The first students of the school year from the government class at the high school were in attendance at Monday night’s Town Board meeting and they heard good news. A revised site plan for a Mighty Taco at 2455 Grand Island Blvd. was approved upon some conditions that would handle traffic concerns on the Grand Island side of the M&T kiosk. The following changes to the site plan were made: removal of a by-pass lane within M&T’s land lease; relocation of an escape lane to a more northerly position to avoid conflict with M&T customers; additional yardarms identifying height restrictions; tightened up ingress and egress islands; landscape alterations to allow ATM customers to discharge; and adding a freezer/cooler to the back of the building, accessible only from the inside.
   Also approved Monday was conditional approval of New England Village Subdivision (located behind the Windham/Bishop’s Gate area near Scenic Woods) that will permit Health Department applications to be filed for approval. Part of the plan is to provide a hard surface driveway for the pump station and an asphalt area for the parking of eight cars to allow access to town property adjacent to the driveway.
   The Town Board set two public hearings for 8 p.m. Monday Oct. 4. One will consider suggestions for the 2011-2012 Community Development Building Grant application process and the other will consider the creation of a lighting district for Country Club Cottages Phase I.
   Rev. Paul Robinson and John Loss were on hand to receive a proclamation in recognition and support of the 23rd Annual Crop Walk on Grand Island scheduled for 1 p.m. September 26 at Kaegebein School. Last year 90 walkers raised almost $4,000 with 25 percent of the proceeds staying on the Island to benefit the Neighbors Foundation and food bank at Trinity United Methodist Church. Islanders are encouraged to participate and raise money for CROP (Communities Responding to Overcome Poverty).
   A change order for the Baseline Water Transmission Main Job was approved in the amount of $7,148.84 to be used to adjust the final quantities (over/under) that will reconcile actual quantities compared to bid quantities. The additional funding is available in the project bond.
   The Highway Department provided an inventory of department machinery, tools and equipment. This was an information only agenda item.
   Approved was the closing of Baseline Road from Grand Island Blvd. to Whitehaven on Friday, Oct. 8 for the Fire Company’s Fire Prevention Open House. The demonstration of emergency services equipment will take place from 5-8 p.m.
   Accepted with regret was the resignation of Frank Brusino as chairman of the Grand Island Citizen Corp Council. He plans to continue to serve on the council but not as chair.

Town Board Meeting Agenda - September 20, 2010

Click for 9/20/10 Town Board Meeting Agenda.

Approved Town Board Meeting Minutes - Aug. 16, 2010

Click for 8/16/10 Town Board Meeting Minutes.

Town Formally Opposes Downsizing Of Board - Sept. 2010

By Joelle Logue
   Tues., September 7, 2010 . . .The Town Board, Tuesday, adopted a resolution opposing the downsizing of Grand Island government from five members to three and urged voters to become informed about the proposition before the Special Election that is scheduled for September 23. Several arguments are presented in the resolution to convince voters to vote against the downsizing. One contention is that it would create serious difficulties for complying with state law, including NYS’s Open Meetings Law.
   Other arguments that the Board presents in the resolution include: less representation available to the public in general and the advisory boards in particular; that the maximum savings to taxpayers is ten cents per one thousand dollars of assessed valuation; that any savings would be offset entirely by additional costs associated with the engagement of workers to fulfill duties currently performed by town board members; and that downsizing to three would bring Albany’s “three men in a room” concept, with its dangerous concentration of power, to the Island.
   The election will be held September 23 from 6 a.m. to 9 p.m. at the Grand Island Fire Hall. Absentee ballots are available at the Town Clerk’s office.
   A proclamation by the Town Board was presented to Jason Chadwick of Boy Scout Troop 630 who was recognized for attaining Scouting’s highest honor – Eagle Scout. He was also recognized for his 121-man hour project that resulted in two 20 ft. stone planters at Beaver Island.
   Two public hearings were held, one to approve the closing of the Jen Court cul-de-sac on September 11 from 3 p.m. to 1 a.m. for a block party.
   Another public hearing to consider rezoning the current Town Center districts to North Business District, Central Business District and South Business District, and creating allowable uses and rules for those business districts, elicited discussion by Attorney David Brody representing the David Levin family property, that lies on the eastern edge of the cental business district. He argued that while he approves of the rezoning, one allowable use is missing – single-family dwellings. Brody claims that smaller homes on 50 to 60 ft. lots can offer the density needed to jumpstart a business district.
   Also speaking on David Levin’s behalf was Bob Strell with MBA Valuation & Consulting who pointed out that there has been minimal residential growth on the Island from 2000 to 2009. The only building that has remained constant is single-family housing. Other housing uses have not been significant. He asserted that the market clearly indicates that single-family unattached units can act as a catalyst for growth within the Central Business District.
   William Tuyn, a village planner, presented aerial photographs of successful downtown villages and towns throughout Western New York that showed single-family housing as a norm in the center of business districts. While the main streets of the villages and towns featured businesses and multi-use buildings, just behind the main roads of the villages and towns were predominantly single-family homes. All three men insisted that historically successful villages and towns allowed single-family dwellings in the center of their business districts and urged the Town Board to reconsider the uses in the Town’s Central Business Districts.
   James Dinsmore also addressed the town board on the subject to say he was against any single-family homes being built in the Central Business District. The board tabled any action on the rezoning until further review.
   In other business, the Town:
• Denied a special use permit for a dog grooming business by Jan Symon on Amy Drive due to the fact it was not a customary home occupation.
• Awarded the bituminous resurfacing of various town roads (Broadway from East River to Beaver Island Parkway, Elmwood, Cox, Alllenton, Towerwood, and Bronson) to Amherst Paving in the amount of $202,127.
• Authorized the supervisor to submit the necessary paperwork to Erie County to create the new position of Chief Waster Water Treatment Plant Operator.
• Awarded the bid for sedimentation basin upgrades at the Water Treatment Plant to LP Ciminelli in the amount of $1,298,400.
• Authorized the supervisor to sign a professional services agreement with Wendel Duschscherer for sedimentation basin upgrades that will cost $43,200 for engineering during construction and $81,450 for resident observation services (review and observe on-site construction activities).
• Authorized the supervisor to sign lease agreements with Erie County for Island polling places (Nike Base, Grand Island Library and Town Highway Garage), for the Primary Election, September 14 and General Election, November 2.
• Announced that the September 11 observance by the VFW Post would be held at 11 a.m. and include a special unveiling of Charles DeGlopper’s Congressional Medal of Honor.
• Announced that the Antique & Classic Boat Show would be held at the Buffalo Launch Club Saturday, Sept. 11 from 10 a.m.-4 p.m.
• Announced that an Erie County Electronics (computers, digital items) Drop Off Day would be held Saturday, Sept. 18 from 9 a.m.- 1 p.m. at the Tonawanda Engine Plant on Vulcan St.
• Announced that James Dlugokinski of Love Road was awarded the Elliott Lynch Memorial Scholarship to attend the Grade 1A Operator Course from WNY Water Works Conference.

Special Election to Decide Size of Grand Island Government - August 2010

By Joelle Logue
   Mon., August 16, 2010 . . .A special election will be held Thursday, September 23 from 6 a.m. to 9 p.m. to consider decreasing the representation on the Town Board from four council members to two. A resolution was adopted Monday to hold the election in response to a petition for the submission of a proposition that was filed in the Town Clerk’s office July 22.
   In accordance with the law, the election must be held within a certain time frame and therefore may not be held during the primary or regular election dates. Councilwoman Mary Cooke addressed the irony involved regarding the timing of the petition filing. While the proposition’s purpose is supposedly designed to save the taxpayers money, the consideration for downsizing is forcing the town to hold an extra costly election.
   The polling place for the special election will be the Grand Island Fire Hall, 2275 Baseline Road and the proposition will read as follows:
   Shall the representation on the Town Board be decreased from four (4) to two (2) council members in the Town of Grand Island, New York, such that the Town Board shall be comprised of the Supervisor and two (2) council members beginning on January 1, 2012.
   The Town Board plans to hold a public meeting about the downsizing to answer any questions and concerns residents may have. Due to the wording of the proposition, the seats held by Councilmen Dick Crawford and Gary Roesch would be eliminated if the vote to downsize is affirmed due to the fact that council members can not be terminated in the middle of their terms. If there is a decision to downsize, Crawford and Roesch, whose terms are up at the end of 2011, would not be able to run again until the terms for Cooke and Billica are up.
   Kevin Gaughan who has successfully campaigned to downsize five town boards including West Seneca, met with defeat Tuesday in trying to dissolve village governments. The Village of Sloan and the Village of Williamsville held elections to consider dissolving that layer of government altogether, but voters by a 4 to 1 and 5 to 1, margin, respectively, elected to keep them intact.
   The Town Board set a public hearing for Tuesday, September 7 at 8 p.m. to consider the rezoning of business districts within the Town Center between Bedell Road and Webb Road. Currently there are several zone designations within the Central District. The rezoning would permit the many usages now permitted in various sections of the district to be permitted throughout the district. Thus, there would be one zoning classification to address all the usages now allowed.
   A second public hearing will air a request to close the Jen Court cul-de-sac in River Meadows on September 11 from 3 p.m. to 1 a.m. for a block party.
   A resolution to create lighting district No. 59 in Waterford Park Phase III was adopted with an annual, total charge of $1583.50 and a cost to property owners at $68.85 per year. A scheduled public hearing for Whitehaven Meadows (55 lots) was cancelled.
   Approved was a Verizon cell tower revised site plan on Long Road. The Town Board agreed with a Planning Board suggestion directing Verizon to move the tower across the street on the Dunlop property, behind the building against the Thruway. No variances are needed and there are no wetland issues.
   The Recreation Dept. was granted permission to purchase playground equipment for Ed Ball Park (a climber, slide, spring animals and swings) at a cost of $6079. The equipment is funded from a donation given earlier this year. Peter Pitts, a recreation attendant part time, was given a change in status to recreation attendant seasonal at a pay rate of $8.80 per hour effective August 16 through October 29.
   In other business, the Board:
• Granted conditional approval of a preliminary plat for Grand Vue Park Subdivision – Section 6 that contains 17 lots (71 to 87) with the road bowed around the wetlands.
• Renewed a special use permit for the keeping of up to 10 animals on 50 acres by Cyrus Ardalan at 5345 East River Road.
• Renewed a special use for a natural gas/metering station for National Fuel Gas Supply Corp. at 1589 Stony Point Rd.
• Granted permission for the Recreation Dept. to purchase playground equipment for Ed Ball Park (a climber, slide, spring animals and swings) at a cost of $6079. The equipment is funded from a donation.
• Agreed to advertise for bids on the bituminous resurfacing of various town roads with a deadline of August 20 at 10 a.m.
• Referred to the Recreation Director, Parks and Recreation Advisory Board and Grand Island Police Dept. a request from Amy Stewart to hold a road race on October 30 at 9 a.m. to benefit Erie County Medical Center.
• Referred to the Town Board, Town Attorney, Town Engineer and Parks and Recreation Board, a request from David and Geraldine Stalica to approve an exchange of property on Baseline Rd. to provide for a building lot with dimensions required by the present zoning ordinance.
• Appointed Judy Tafelski to the position of assessor effective Aug. 1 at Grade 8, Step A.

National Airborne Day Proclaimed - August 2010

(left) Councilmen Gary Roesch and Dick Crawford, Supervisor Peter McMahon, Lt. Col. Kelly M. Carrigg (retired) and Joseph Synakowski, Councilwoman Mary Cooke and Councilman Ray Billica.
By Joelle Logue - Mary Stewart Photo

   Mon., August 16, 2010 . . .A proclamation declaring August 16 National Airborne Day was received by Lt. Col. Kelly M. Carrigg (retired) and Joseph Synakowski of Grand Island’s Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 9249. This year marks the 70th anniversary of the War Department’s authorization of the Parachute Test Platoon and in observation of the birth date, the town was presented an 82nd Airborne Division flag.
   Grand Island is the final resting place for Medal of Honor recipient Pfc. Charles N. DeGlopper cited for his heroism while serving as a member of Company “C” in La Fiere, France where he died in action by drawing attention away from his battalion June 9, 1944. Carigg was one of the speakers present at the unveiling of the DeGlopper monument in France and she recently led several Island VFW members on a trip to France to visit the monument.
   The Island is also the final resting place for Lt. Col. Terrance K. Crowe, trained Airborne Trooper serving with the 98th Division, who was killed by fire while part of offensive operations in Tal Afar, Iraq on June 7, 2005.

Free Rabies Clinic Announced - August 2010

   A free rabies clinic for cats, dogs and ferrets is scheduled for Wednesday, August 25 from 1-4 p.m. at the SPCA, Ensminger Road in Tonawanda. The clinic will be conducted by the Erie County Department of Health, the Niagara Frontier Veterinary Society and the SPCA serving Erie County.

Approved Town Board Meeting Minutes - Mon., Aug. 2, 2010

Click for 8/2/10 Town Board Meeting Minutes.

Town Board Meeting Agenda - August 16, 2010

Click for 8/16/10 Town Board Meeting Agenda.

Town Board/Hoyt square off about Vets Park Tower - July 2010

By Joelle Logue
   Assemblyman Sam Hoyt has publicly come out against the Town of Grand Island putting a Verizon tower in Veterans Park. He did so before the decision was made and again at a public meeting following the decision. The curious thing about his stance is that he never engaged the Town Board on the subject at all, not even fellow Democrats.
   That doesn’t say Sam Hoyt isn’t versed on the situation. Citizens who spoke at the public hearings against the location contacted Hoyt to help them with their position. Apparently that was good enough for Hoyt who elected not to hear the Town Board’s view.
   Insisting that the Veterans Park location is the least intrusive, Supervisor Peter McMahon said this tower site is further away from residential homes than the other sites considered. And, in fact, legally it is not on Veterans Park land but on the former Geis property adjacent to Veterans Park.
   There is consensus from Town Board members that Hoyt is using this issue as a campaign re-election ploy that could backfire since there are, in fact, residents who do not object to a tower in/next to Veterans Park.

Approved Town Board Meeting Minutes - Mon., July 19, 2010

Click for 7/19/10 Town Board Meeting Minutes.

Town Board Keeps Business Brief - July 2010

By Joelle Logue
   Mon., August 2, 2010 . . .The Town Board spoke to the choir Monday, regular staff members and two reporters, during a brief meeting that had no residents in attendance. Thus, no one spoke during a public hearing to approve the closing of a road for a block party Saturday, August 28 with a rain date of August 29. Park Place will be closed between #106 and #132 to all traffic except emergency vehicles to accommodate the party between the hours of 1:30- 8 p.m.
   Approved was a motion in support of finding outside funding to cover the costs of completing a Generic State Environmental Quality Review (SEQR) for all undeveloped land in the three business districts and manufacturing zones M-1 and M-2 except for hamlet zones.
   The Town Board agreed to the release of restrictive covenants on parcels of property owned by J.S.J. Holdings on which the former Dunlop Building is located. In the late 90s the town, county and state applied for a HUD grant to fund converting the Dunlop Building into a senior center. The project fell through and the covenants are no longer required.
   A public hearing has been set for 8 p.m., August 16 to consider creation of the Waterford Park Phase III Lighting District No. 59 in the Town. The estimated annual cost for the street lighting is $1,583.50 with an expected annual cost to property owners estimated at $68.85.
   Another public hearing August 16 will air a preliminary plat approval for Whitehaven Meadows, a proposed single-family development, located off Whitehaven Road.
   A bond resolution to cover the reconstruction and construction of various town roads including the 2010 proposed highway resurfacing program was authorized at an estimated maximum cost of $500,000. Serial bonds will be issued in an aggregate principal amount not to exceed $500,000. The cost is consistent with the amount projected for the year 2010 in the proposed capital improvement plan.
   Supervisor Peter McMahon was authorized to sign a contract with National Grid for lighting improvements at the Erie County Sheriff’s Dept. Substation and Grand Island Police Dept. Seventy percent of the cost will be covered by the Energy Conservation Program offered by National Grid. Rockwoods, the landlord, will cover the remaining 30 percent, $503.56.
   A Feasibility Study with Cannon Design for the shared Transportation facility was authorized with $25,000 of the cost to be reimbursed by the Local Government Efficiency Grant Program. The balance will be paid from the General Fund.
   In other business, the Board:
• Awarded a bid for Library lighting modifications to CIR Electrical Construction Corporation in the amount of $25,700.
• Renewed a special use permit for the keeping of two agricultural animals on 3.5 acres as requested by Patricia Burg of 3030 Stony Point Road.
• Approved the hiring of Barbara Johnson as an interim cook at the Golden Age Center to fill in for Maria Leszczak who is recovering from an injury.
• Announced that Paddles Up was a successful event with 215 people participating with 180 watercraft.
• Announced that Grand Island will send a team to the Battle of the Books competition at ECC South August 7.

Town Board Meeting Agenda - August 2, 2010

Click for 8/2/10 Town Board Meeting Agenda.

Downsizing Town Board - July 2010

See "7/22/10 Buffalo News" story by Barbara O'Brien.

Approved Town Board Meeting Minutes - Mon., July 6, 2010

Click for 7/6/10 Town Board Meeting Minutes.

Town Approves Site Plans For Two Verizon Cell Towers - July 2010

By Joelle Logue
   Mon., July 20, 2010 . . .Despite protests from several residents Monday night, the Town Board approved site plans for two cell towers – one in Veterans Park and one at Fix Road/West River.
    The Veterans Park location (Sandy Beach cell site) was not the first choice for Verizon which had requested the site behind the Island Presbyterian Church. In the resolution approving the site, Veterans Park was described as the least intrusive of the many studied by the Town and one that met setback requirements. Two other locations (Huth Road and Garden Parkway) had 33 and 15 homes within five times the height of the tower, respectively.
   According to Consultant Dr. William P. Johnson's report dated March 26, Verizon demonstrated a need for coverage in this area, that the Veterans Park location remedies the need, that the proposed height is the minimum height necessary and that the site will comply with all FCC emissions regulations. On June 21, the Town Board determined that the Veterans Park cell site would not result in any adverse environmental impacts and issued a negative declaration of environmental significance. On July 1 the Zoning Board approved the use variance thus clearing the last step for site plan approval.
    However, there are a lot of unhappy people with the site including Craig Eddy who, with numerous papers in hand went through a litany of reasons why the Town Board should say no to the site. He claimed that by Verizon not getting their ideal location, coverage at the north end of the Island would have significant coverage gaps. The Veterans Park site is a half mile from the original site. He felt the Town’s duty was to protect the character of Veterans Park and argued against any wetlands reasons for deterrents to the Huth Road or Garden Parkway sites. Eddy emphasized that in addition to the residents of Grand Island being against the Veterans Park site (he had a petition with 600 names) so are public officials like Sam Hoyt and Antoine Thompson.
    Bill McKibben also supported the Huth Road site over Veterans Park claiming that any coverage lapse caused by the not giving Verizon its first choice could result in a public hazard – the inability to call emergency numbers. It would also prevent Verizon from serving the optimal number of subscribers.
    But Greg Nearpass, speaking on behalf of Verizon, said that Verizon would not have agreed to the alternate site if it was inadequate and that the Veterans Park site met its main objective in serving main transportation roadways. He felt coverage would be reliable from East River to the north, Stony Point to the east and Baseline to the west.
    As for the Fix Road cell site, located in the Town’s R1A low density single family residential zoning district and enhanced environmental overlay district (north of Colosi’s property), Dan Oliveri argued that residents did not have enough input, dissemination of information was lacking, and that the Town should give residents more time to address the matter. Mary Oliveri accused Verizon about wanting towers just to make money and said she had read that four other telecommunications companies were already assigned to the Verizon tower. She pointedly said that the Town Board was not following the will of the taxpayers.
    According to Dr. Johnson’s report of October 2008, Verizon Wireless has a need for coverage in this area, the proposed location fulfills that need, and that Verizon needed to be as close to the western edge of Town so as to minimize the cross-border interference into Canada.
    The Town Board came to the conclusion that the Fix Rd./West River site was the least intrusive and that constructing the tower in the Enhanced Environmental District (EED) would prevent the EED from being subjected to a more intense use (i.e. residential development). A waiver of the setback requirement was allowed because the Town felt there would be no change to the character of the neighborhood nor be a detriment to nearby properties. With the exception of the Colosi residence, the nearest residence is more than five times the height of the proposed 125 ft. tower. Additionally, the tower will be significantly hidden. There were no feasible alternatives to the proposed setback waiver if the Town was going to achieve its goal of minimizing impact. Location is based on the north property line, residential homes along West River Road and wetland areas on the property. The setback waiver is not substantial and Russell and Patricia Colosi do not object to the location.
    At the end of the meeting, Town Board members defended their decisions with regard to sites for the towers. Deliberation and research had gone on for months and although they realized not everyone would be happy with the decisions, including many members of the Conservation Commission, all were satisfied that the best possible determinations had been made.
    The Town Board approved a work agreement with the NYS Dept. of Transportation Utility for a large culvert replacement under Grand Island Blvd. located between Whitehaven and Baseline roads. Because the town has a sanitary sewer manhole in the vicinity of the work, it is necessary to grant NYS authority to perform adjustment to the manhole and maintain said facility. There will be no cost to the Town for this work.
   In other business, the Town Board:
• Agreed to advertise for bids on sedimentation basin upgrades for the Water Treatment Plant with bids to be open August 25, 2010 at 10 a.m.
• Approved a request from Ronald and Anna Gramza of 768 North Colony Road for the Town to abandon a turn around easement for snowplows on their property since the road is extended and there is no further need, all subject to approval of the Highway Superintendent and the filing of appropriate paperwork with the county.
• Set a public hearing for a block party request to close Park Place (106 to 132) on Friday, August 28 from 1:30-8 p.m.
• Approved Local Law #8 providing for a revised concept development plan for Whitehaven Farms/part of River Oaks PDD.
• Announced that a second gift of $500 was presented to the Commission for Conservation of the Environment on behalf of the Leon D. Carr Memorial Fund for a worthy Island environmental project.

Island Bridges Display Opens July 24th - 2010

   "Grand Island Celebrates 75 Years of the Bridges" is the title of a photo display prepared by the Town of Grand Island Historic Preservation Advisory Board and the Grand Island Historical Society, opening on Saturday, July 24 at River Lea during the Paddles Up Niagara event.
   This year marks the 75th anniversary of the 1935 opening of the first Grand island bridge spans. Included are photos, news articles and memorabilia beginning in the early 1800s when a bridge to Grand Island was first mentioned, to photos of the deck replacement project happening now.
   The display will move to Town Hall and the Grand Island Memorial Library later in the summer and fall.

Town Board Meeting Agenda - July 19, 2010

Click for 7/19/10 Town Board Meeting Agenda.

Approved Town Board Meeting Minutes - Mon., June 21, 2010

Click for 6/21/10 Town Board Meeting Minutes.

Town Board Meeting Agenda - July 6, 2010

Click for 7/6/10 Town Board Meeting Agenda.