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Town Board Considers Scenic Byway Along 219: Reports Higher Sales Tax Revenues

Byway pic 011

By Jann Wiswall

Ellicottville Town Supervisor John Burrell opened the Dec. 18 town board meeting with some good news. By the end of the third quarter, the town had already received sales tax revenues in the amount the town had budgeted for the entire year. This means sales taxes received during the fourth quarter are unexpected revenues. Burrell suggested that the board consider setting up one or more capital accounts for those funds once they are received.

Scenic Byway

Burrell also reported on a meeting hosted by the Western New York Southtowns Scenic Byway (WNYSSB), a non-profit organization that spearheaded the formation of a state-authorized, 71-mile loop connecting Orchard Park, East Aurora and Springville. This is one of 26 scenic byways in New York and the only byway in western New York.

A designated scenic byway is intended to “promote economic development and community pride through the thoughtful stewardship of the natural, scenic, cultural, historic and recreational resources of the byway region.”

The organization invited more than a dozen Cattaraugus County municipal and business leaders to discuss the possibility of extending the byway into Cattaraugus County for about 25 miles from Concord via Route 219 through Ashford and Ellicottville and ending in Great Valley at Route 98.

WNYSSB President Bob Lennartz explained that expansion would require the endorsement of all municipalities located along the route, their adherence to all state byway regulations and the NYS legislature’s and governor’s approval.

Burrell said that all of the attendees at the meeting were positive about the proposed expansion and its potential for increased tourism. The next step is to assess community support.

For Ellicottville, Burrell said a few zoning and sign ordinance amendments may be required since establishment of a byway would prohibit new billboards from being erected along the route. Existing billboards would be grandfathered in.

Burrell explained the project to the Ellicottville Town Planning Board on Dec. 16, which was received with enthusiasm. He asked planning board members to look at existing ordinances that might need to change and make recommendations to the town board.

Town board members were very interested in the project and felt it would fit in very well with the area’s efforts to build a recreational trail.

Burrell reported that he has a potential tenant for the last available office space at the Town Center building.

He also asked the board to amend the start date for the new town justice, John Nelson, from Jan. 1, 2014, to Dec. 19, 2013. The amended start date is merely procedural and will not affect the budget.

In addition, the board authorized purchase of a new photocopier from Eagle Systems for the Town Hall.

Engineer’s Report

Town Engineer Mark Alianello reported on a number of ongoing projects. He has asked the DOT for “No Standing” signs near the exits from the new Tim Hortons restaurant for safety reasons. The DOT is studying the request.

Glen Burn Trail has requested a certificate of occupancy. Alianello and Town Building Inspector Tom Abriatis have been to the site and are working with the developer to be sure everything is in compliance.

New surveys and soil borings have been completed for the East Tank project. Alianello’s firm is working on final design plans and expects to bid the project in the spring. Alianello also has received a signed agreement for an easement from one property owner and is working with Town Attorney Kathleen Moriarty to prepare easement paperwork for the other impacted owner.

Recreational Trail

Burrell said he had learned that the Ellicottville-Great Valley Trail is one of 21 projects competing for the DOT’s Transportation Enhancement Program grants in the region. While the competition is stiff, additional funds have been added to TED’s pot with unexpended funds from a Safe Roads to Schools program. A decision on the awards has been delayed, however. The EVGV Trail Committee requested a $2 million grant.

Board member Ken Hinman, who chairs the Trail Committee, said that TED representatives had been back in Ellicottville for a second look at the proposed trail location and had spoken with Alianello, who also serves on the committee. Fundraising and additional grant writing for the project continues.

The board set Jan. 8 at 6 p.m. for its 2014 organizational meeting.

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