By Jann Wiswall
The Town of Ellicottville’s board authorized Town Planner Gary Palumbo to complete a State Environmental Quality Review for the town’s amended zoning law (Local Law No. 4 – 2016, Zoning Law Amendment) and to send the documentation to the county for its review. This followed a public hearing during which no comments were heard.
Town Planning Board member John Zerfus, who attended the hearing to observe, suggested that the board, the planning board and the zoning board of appeals should now consider reviewing the town’s comprehensive plan. Town Supervisor Matt McAndrew agreed, saying the first step should be to ask each board to think about issues and topics that they believe need to be addressed. He also asked Palumbo to prepare an estimate to lead the review effort.
A number of other actions were taken by the board during the regular meeting.
Town Engineer Mark Alianello explained that the 2016 payment for the East Tank project is due on September 3. The project is being funded through a Bond Anticipation Note (BAN). The 2016 note is for $1,125,000 plus $10,851 in interest. Alianello recommended that the board pay $60,000 in principal plus the interest amount and then take out a 2017 BAN for $1,065,000. Alianello also recommended that the board budget to ensure that the 2018 BAN gets below $1 million, which will significantly reduce interest payments going forward.
The board authorized Alianello to direct Municipal Solutions, a financial consultant, to draw up the paperwork for a 2017 Bond Anticipation Note (BAN) of $1,065,000.
There was a very preliminary discussion of an idea to create a Joint Water District that would include the town and the village. Alianello explained that there are many issues involved but there could also be many advantages to such an idea. McAndrew said it is “a dialogue we should have.” The board agreed.
McAndrew said that he and town attorney Kathleen Moriarty are working on drafting language for warnings and appearance tickets to be used to cite residents in violation of the town’s local alarm law. A meeting with Police Officer in Charge Don Auge, Town Clerk Robyn Clarke, Moriarty, McAndrew and others will be scheduled soon to detail processes and procedures for collection of fines, data management, etc.
McAndrew also reported that the contractor selected to restore the tennis and basketball courts at the Village park is starting this week.
Highway Superintendent Tom Scharf reported that the department has had a busy month and is planning to keep up the pace throughout the rest of the summer. He and Alianello presented the board with two options to complete necessary culvert work on Canada Hill (Shearer) Road.
One option is to remove the existing pipe and replace it with a new concrete pipe. This would require state Department of Environmental Conservation and federal Corps of Engineers permits. This would take time, likely delaying the work until next year.
The other option is to line the existing pipe and grout it. Because this would be considered maintenance, it should not require permits. It also would be significantly less expensive. Alianello recommended the second since the work can get done this year “while we have these dry conditions.” Pending confirmation that federal and state permits would not be required, he asked the board to allow him to pursue option two. The board agreed.
Scharf warned that Upper Road will be closed on August 1 for repaving. Please stay alert and watch for flaggers and construction vehicles.
Scharf also reported that there have not yet been any responses to their request for bids to construct a roof structure for the department’s fuel pump.
Alianello reported that he has not yet advertised for bids for a stand-by booster pump for the reservoir, but he has arranged to rent an emergency, backup pump to be delivered as needed. He expects to get the bid request out this month.
Meanwhile, only one bid for an HVAC system for the Town/Village hall was received, but it was received after the deadline. The board rejected that bid and asked Alianello to rewrite the bid specs to allow more flexibility and to give companies more time to respond.
Finally, an idea by Village of Ellicottville Mayor John Burrell to build a short first leg of the Ellicottville-Great Valley Trail next to the Village Park did not get the Town Board’s support.
Burrell’s idea was to build an eight-foot wide sidewalk and 10-foot wide on street parking lane from Fillmore to Mechanic Street along Parkside Drive. The section would be paid for, he hoped, using a combination of funds earmarked for different sidewalks on Fillmore and Parkside as well as Village and Town contributions to the cause, plus local municipal labor. Alianello, in his role on the EVGV Trail Board, prepared preliminary drawings and material cost estimates.
The materials-only estimate was $55,000, and did not include engineering plans. However, the biggest issue for the board was the fact that a row of large shade trees along Parkside would have to be removed to make way for the trail. Board members said that there already have been complaints from the public about tree removal, and one board member said he “wants no part of removing trees.”
The board suggested that the Trail Committee consider rerouting the trail and decided that it would not commit funds or labor toward the plan as presented at this time.
The next meeting of the town board will be held on Wednesday, August 17 at 6 p.m. at the Town/Village Hall.