Town/Village Engineer Position Filled
Story by John Thomas
Village Mayor John Burrell began Monday’s meeting of the Village Board of Trustees with good news. He announced Niles Pierson had been nominated to fill the newly created position of Town/Village Engineer. Officially Mr. Pierson will be a town employee but will divide his time between the town and village. He will be responsible for overseeing the DPW for both entities and will be responsible for future engineering projects. The final details of the inter-municipal agreement between the village and town to share the engineer’s services are still being finalized, but it should be ready for signing shortly. The Mayor reported Mr. Pierson had brought his family to Ellicottville during Fall Festival to gain a sense of the community. Mr. Burrell said the Village had made an emergency purchase of a pickup truck. The old truck developed an axle problem that made the purchase necessary. He worked with eight dealers for bids on a truck and polled the board members for authorization. The lowest bid turned out to be a 2017 Dodge Ram. The funds will come out of the sewer account. The Mayor said yet another leak in the Village’s water supply had been fixed. He said the DPW “has made wonderful strides in stopping leaks.” Jessica Maynard-Gilbert from Ava Grace addressed the board. She had become concerned about the possible elimination of the sandwich boards in front of downtown shops. She said she needs to have a sandwich sign on the sidewalk in front of her store to bring in customers. The propitiator said she understood the need for control (of the signs) but said hers is important to her business. In a later discussion, it was pointed out the signs can be a problem in the winter for the sidewalk plow. There was talk about finding other types of signs to put on posts directing people to the businesses. The Mayor thanked her for the input.
Village Planner Gary Palumbo reported on Planning Committee activities. He discussed the ATM that recently appeared by Katy’s Cafe on Washington. He said the device had been installed without permits. The dilemma is the Planning Board cannot order the machine removed without going through the regular application process. Mr. Palumbo said the owner of the property has submitted an application for a special use permit, but will also have to apply for a sign permit. He said the property would have to be surveyed to see if the necessary setbacks have been met. Once that is done, the Board can decide if they will allow the bank-in-a-box to stay. Palumbo presented several Draft Zoning Code Amendments. The Zoning Codes were adopted in 2012 and amended in 2014. There are changes to the FAR (Floor Area Ratio), a zone establishing a Four Corners overlay zone within the existing historical district. In that district, any changes would have to be reviewed by the Historic District Commission and would be subject to special use permits. It allows the Board to adopt additional new standards to protect the area. The amendments change some of the land use tables to allow for less than 30-day property rentals. The Planner said he could not find any adopted measure in the Village restricting less than 30 days rentals. Changes are also suggested for village sign regulations and outdoor lighting regulations. The Planner will take the revision suggestions to the Planning Board for their input; then the revised changes will be brought back to the Village Board for a public hearing. Mayor Burrell said he wanted public input on the zoning changes. The department reports were accepted as submitted.
Village Engineer Nick Dobmeier is proposing to bid the Wastewater Treatment Plant Sludge Removal Project in early 2018. He will have a project plan and schematic ready for review by the end of this month. He reported the stream monitoring equipment in Great Valley Creek has been washed down the stream and is missing. That explains why there is no data coming from it. But, before that, the equipment had been reporting ammonia nitrate levels on a monthly basis. With the unit gone the state DEC will impose stricter limits on ammonia nitrate, down to 6.8 milligrams per liter from 15.6 mg/l. However, before the device disappeared it was reporting NH3 levels ranging from undetectable to 1-2 mg/l, well below the stricter limit. Dobmeier reported he will be giving a joint presentation on cold weather nitrification to the 90th Annual New York Water Environmental Association Conference in NYC. His presentation will be in conjunction with Nexom Environmental.
Code Enforcement Officer’s Report
Kelly Fredrickson said he had distributed copies of the relevant zoning codes to downtown businesses. He said Chamber of Commerce Executive Director Brian McFadden wants to have a meeting with all the village establishments. Mr. Burrell suggested Mr. Fredrickson attend the meeting, then Village Planner Gary Palumbo volunteered to attend the meeting as well.
There was a question as to how Christmas lights could be put up along Monroe now that the trees have been removed. Spencer Murray asked if businesses along Monroe could put up Christmas Trees along the sidewalk. He wondered how the lights could be lit and the Mayor said there is power up on the buildings for Christmas lights. Mr. Murray said he would try to get the other merchants involved. Mr. Burrell requested the lights be the same color as those along Washington. Greg Cappelli reported John Northrup is in preliminary talks about possibly demolishing a house on Rockwell and converting the land to a parking lot. The Mayor adjourned the meeting in honor of Joe DiPasquale’s birthday.