Appoints Moriarty as Village Attorney
By Jann Wiswall
Ellicottville business owner John Rounds asked the Village Board at its Monday, Aug. 8 meeting to consider making Hughey Alley a two-way street again.
Village of Ellicottville Mayor John Burrell explained that changing the direction of the alley would require repealing the 2014 law that made it one way.
Board members who were involved in enacting the 2014 law explained that its purpose was to make the intersection of the Alley at Monroe Street safer for pedestrians. They explained that trucks and cars traveling through the alley to Monroe had to pull out onto the sidewalk in order to see well enough to exit the alley, putting pedestrians, especially children and animals running ahead of their families, at risk.
Rounds said that the current one-way signage is confusing and that traffic goes both ways every day. He said he believes the confusion makes it more hazardous, not less.
The board and mayor agreed that existing signage is not doing its job and moved to take actions to reconsider the law. Those actions required the board to move to repeal the law, hold a public hearing to get the public’s opinion and reconsider solutions. A notice will be published to that effect, and a hearing will be scheduled, likely for the October meeting.
A resident of McKinley Street in the Village asked the board to consider repairing and extending a sidewalk along Mill Street to McKinley for pedestrian safety reasons. She also asked the board to consider installing a streetlight. The board agreed that the issue needs to be addressed and said it would consider funding the work in the next budget.
Finally, a resident of a home on Monroe Street in the business district of the Village complained that there is loud noise coming from Madigan’s on many nights until 2 a.m. and that the noise is not loud music, but loud voices. She said she feels that the Village’s noise ordinance is not being enforced.
Burrell said he had met with the town supervisor, town police and the residents that day and the police officer in charge explained that the police can only act on a complaint at the time it is occurring. He said the 911 dispatcher needs to be called right away in order to get officers there and assess the noise level.
While acknowledging the difficulties of reducing noise levels by the business owners and the police, Burrell said he thinks the problem can be solved and said he would continue to work with all parties to find solutions.
Board member Greg Cappelli, who serves as the board’s parks committee chair, reported that he had obtained costs for purchase and installation of a security system at the Village Park, which has been subject to recent vandalism. The system he recommended includes an internet-connected digital video recorder (DVR) and eight pole-mounted cameras. An additional four cameras may be advisable. The cameras would be equipped with motion sensors and infrared lights and placed strategically around the park. Activity can be monitored remotely from any computer or smart phone. An unintended, but fortunate, consequence of installing the system is that the park, or at least a large area of it, will be Wi-Fi enabled, allowing residents to use their computers while enjoying the outdoors.
The board agreed to transfer funds from the general fund balance to cover the cost, not to exceed $2500.
Several members of the community were on hand to ask the board for approval of plans to hold a new event called “Stroll the Streets.” The event, to be held on three consecutive Fridays beginning this week (Aug. 12, 19 and 26), will invite visitors to come to the Village, enjoy activities and amusements for children, see a movie and hear music at the Gazebo and visit the shops and restaurants. Shops are being asked to stay open until 8 p.m. and participate in giveaways.
The events are officially sponsored by the Chamber of Commerce, but a committee of business owners is independently doing the planning and organizing as a way to get people to come to the village a day early and stay for the entire weekend.
The board approved the Stroll events, as well as the Ellicottville Half Marathon on October 29.
One of those committee members is Attorney Kathleen Moriarty, who, it was announced, has been appointed to serve as the Village Attorney. Moriarty took the reins at the August meeting following last month’s resignation of long-time attorney Bob Simon.
Moriarty also serves as the attorney for the Town of Ellicottville.
In one of her first assignments as attorney, Moriarty was asked to review the Village’s leash law, which dates from 1987. Burrell and the board agreed that the law needs to be tightened up, revised to eliminate ambiguity and written so that it can be enforced.
In other business, the board approved a recommendation from Mayor Burrell to designate the village-owned property at the “Four Corners” of the Village as a park. This designation will preserve the property and protect it from development. The “four corners” refers to the buildings and land at the intersection of Jefferson and Washington Streets. The area already is designated as an historic district. The village-owned park area includes the “front lawns” of the 1887 building, the historical society, the town/village hall and the Episcopal Church.
Finally, Burrell said that replacements for three village employees must be found due to the retirement of Building Inspector/Code Enforcement Officer Tom Abriatis and the resignations of Department of Public Works staff members Al Tucker and Kevin Morton.
The next meeting of the Village Board is scheduled for Monday, September 12 at 6 p.m.