WEST SENECA TOWN OFFICES   TOWN BOARD PROCEEDINGS
1250 Union Road Minutes #2001-12
West Seneca, NY 14224 August 20, 2001

 

The meeting was called to order at 7:30 P.M. by Supervisor Paul T. Clark with 30 seconds of silent prayer followed by the Pledge of Allegiance led by Courtney and Nicole Gehen.

ROLL CALL: Present -

Paul T. Clark   Supervisor
Vincent J. Graber Jr.   Councilman
Timothy M. Wroblewski   Councilman
Craig J. Hicks   Councilman

Absent -    Christopher F. Osmanski, Councilman

Supervisor Clark read the Fire Prevention Code instructing the public where to exit in case of a fire or an emergency.

The meeting was dedicated to the memory of Robert C. Schick, Emily Ann Duggan, Jack L. Keller, Christopher M. Mazurkiewicz, Arthur F. Mallette, M. Elaine Camillo and Charles H. Flessel.

12-A   MINUTES TO BE APPROVED

  • Motion by Supervisor Clark, seconded by Councilman Hicks, to approve Minutes #2001-11 of July 16, 2001.
    Ayes: All Noes: None Motion Carried

    12-B    LEGAL NOTICES

    1.    Motion by Supervisor Clark, seconded by Councilman Wroblewski, that proofs of publication and posting of legal notice: "OF A PUBLIC HEARING TO HEAR ALL INTERESTED PARTIES AND CITIZENS FOR OR AGAINST THE ADOPTION OF AMENDMENTS TO THE PROPERTY MAINTENANCE ORDINANCE TO CLARIFY RESPONSIBILITIES FOR SNOW SHOVELING AND TO PROVIDE THAT THE TOWN MAY UNDERTAKE PROPERTY MAINTENANCE UNDER CERTAIN CONDITIONS AND CHARGE THE COST OF SUCH WORK BACK TO THE PROPERTY OWNER" in the Town of West Seneca, be received and filed.
    Ayes: All Noes: None Motion Carried

    Motion by Supervisor Clark, seconded by Councilman Wroblewski, to open the public hearing.

    Ayes: All Noes: None Motion Carried

    Town Attorney Tim Greenan stated that the Town Board had requested that he review the Property Maintenance Ordinance with respect to the responsibility of homeowners for snow removal on the sidewalks that adjoin their homes. In response to this, Mr. Greenan added the following proposed language to the existing ordinance: "The owner or occupant of any premises fronting or abutting any street or highway shall repair, keep safe, and maintain any sidewalk abutting the premises and keep it free from snow, ice, dirt or other obstruction. All trees, shrubs, plants, and other vegetation must be cut back to a height of eight feet directly above the surface of the sidewalk. Any such owner or occupant shall be liable for injury or damage by reason of omission or failure to repair, keep safe and maintain such sidewalk or remove snow, ice, dirt, or other obstructions therefrom, or negligence in performing those functions." Mr. Greenan noted that he drafted this proposed modification in conformity with ordinances of other municipalities such as Hamburg and Amherst. The other modification to the Property Maintenance Ordinance concerned the town's ability to abate nuisances so when someone was not maintaining their property in conformance with the ordinance, the town would have a mechanism to do the work and charge it back to the homeowner on their tax bill. This would be limited to things that were actually a nuisance and were unsightly or created a dangerous condition (i.e. weeds, brush, rubbish, debris).

     

    WEST SENECA TOWN OFFICES TOWN BOARD PROCEEDINGS
    1250 Union Road Minutes #2001-12
    West Seneca, NY 14224 August 20, 2001
    Page two . . .

    12-B    LEGAL NOTICES

    1.    (continued)

    Supervisor Clark commented that he recently viewed the condition of a home on Sunbriar Drive, and the amendment to the ordinance would allow the town to move more quickly to rectify this type of situation.

    Mr. Greenan stated that Building Inspector Bill Czuprynski was the enforcement officer and under the Grass Cutting Ordinance he had some ability to control certain conditions. The current proposal would allow the Town Board to adopt a resolution directing that a letter be sent and set a strict timetable for completion of the work. If the work was not done by the specified time, the Town Board could have it done and charge the cost back to the property owner.

    Supervisor Clark requested clarification on the requirement for property owners to clear snow from their sidewalks.

    Mr. Greenan advised that the current ordinance stated that: "steps, walks, driveways and parking spaces shall be maintained to afford safe passage under normal use and weather conditions. Holes or hazards that may exist shall be filled and necessary repairs or replacement carried out." A community group had contacted the town and questioned whether this applied only to the sidewalks that approached the front door or the sidewalks along the street also. Mr. Greenan found that other town's ordinances made it clear that sidewalks along the street were the homeowner's responsibility. He noted that this would also help the town with any liability issues that might arise. The board members did not want the ordinance to be unduly burdensome on any homeowner, considering the elderly residents, but Mr. Greenan thought there was some room to maneuver in the proposed language and take this into account. Enforcement of the ordinance would be complaint driven and based upon normal weather conditions and the fact that the town had some resources through the AmeriCorps to assist the elderly and those who were not physically able to do the work. A blizzard event would be considered an abnormal condition.

    Supervisor Clark recalled a death in another town that had this type of ordinance, and the town ended up more liable and with more of a legal problem because it was viewed that the ordinance was not properly enforced.

    Mr. Greenan did not know the particulars of the case referred to by Supervisor Clark, but stated that the proposed language placed responsibility on the homeowner. There was always potential for liability for the town, but without an ordinance it would be debatable who was responsible.

    Clifford Dusch, 109 Cambridge Avenue, questioned the town's ability to enforce this ordinance when they had not been enforcing the House Numbering Ordinance.

    Mr. Czuprynski responded that Fire Inspector John Gullo was working on enforcement of the House Numbering Ordinance and had completed about three-quarters of the town, but Mr. Dusch's street might not have been done yet. Residents were given two weeks after notification by the town and most of them responded by posting their house number as requested. No citations were issued.

    Mr. Dusch questioned how sidewalks on the bridges would be kept clear of snow.

    Supervisor Clark stated that the ordinance referred to sidewalks in front of private property. The sidewalks on bridges were a governmental matter and would have to be cleared by New York State or Erie County.

    Keith Greiner, 105 Fremont Avenue, commented on certain businesses that plowed their snow in the sidewalks and questioned if the ordinance would apply to businesses as well as homeowners.

     

    WEST SENECA TOWN OFFICES TOWN BOARD PROCEEDINGS
    1250 Union Road Minutes #2001-12
    West Seneca, NY 14224 August 20, 2001
    Page three . . .

    12-B    LEGAL NOTICES

    1.    (continued)

    Mr. Greenan responded that anyone with a sidewalk in front of their property would be responsible for clearing that sidewalk. The majority of complaints the town had received had to do with sidewalks on the main highways (i.e. Union Road). The town did not have the ability to police every house, every day to ensure that the sidewalks were shoveled, but if there was a problem area that the town received complaints on, they could respond by enforcing the ordinance. Mr. Czuprynski and his two assistants would respond to a complaint or a situation that they might see as they drive by, but they would not be out policing the streets.

    Mr. Greiner questioned if the Highway Department plows could report obstructions that they see as they travel the streets in town.

    Supervisor Clark thought that Highway Department personnel and police officers would be vigilant of impassable sidewalks in high traffic areas and communicate with Mr. Czuprynski.

    Bill Graser, 1425 Union Road, stated that there was approximately 12 feet between the curb and his building and the plows sped by at up to 45 mph. Last winter he had snow hit his building as high as 11 feet on the window and they went through three to four times a day. Mr. Graser thought it was unfair and unreasonable to ask him to clear the snow that the plows dump on the sidewalk in his front yard. He was unable to clear it himself and it would be a considerable expense for him to hire someone. Mr. Graser suggested that the town purchase a plow to clear the sidewalks.

    Mr. Czuprynski suggested that the board hold the public hearing open until the next meeting to review the proposed language and consider the comments made at this meeting.

    Supervisor Clark agreed that they should hold the public hearing open to consider the comments made and look for a compromise. However, he thought it would be difficult because there were certain sections within the town, especially in the commercial areas, where people needed to walk and it would be dangerous for them to walk on the road.

    Councilman Wroblewski also agreed that the snow removal portion of the amendment needed to be fine-tuned, but he suggested that the portion regarding removal of rubbish, weeds and debris be adopted at this time.

    Councilman Graber suggested that other towns be contacted to find out how their commercial property owners who were in a similar situation to those on Union Road dealt with the snow.

    Supervisor Clark suggested that Mr. Greenan forward the proposed amendments to the Chamber of Commerce for their comments and suggestions.

    William Glair, 92 Parkside Drive, commented on the Town of Angelica where a track vehicle with a V-plow would begin clearing sidewalks at 6 A.M. and by 8:30 A.M. have every one cleared.

    Mr. Greenan stated that they had discussed this possibility, but if they assigned an employee to do this work it would cost approximately $50,000 per year, plus equipment. There was no provision in the budget to add an employee, so they would have to take someone off the road.

    Supervisor Clark questioned the possibility of using town equipment to clear the main stretch of Union Road which was the most troublesome part for pedestrians. He further commented that he thought it would be difficult to enforce the ordinance in a high weather snow condition.

    Mr. Glair commented that Seneca Street did not have any sidewalks, but was also a problem for pedestrians and was badly in need of reconstruction.

    Councilman Graber stated that Seneca Street was a federally funded county road and the town had no control over when it would be repaired. He agreed that the road was atrocious and noted that the town had previously gone on record asking that it be reconstructed.

     

    WEST SENECA TOWN OFFICES TOWN BOARD PROCEEDINGS
    1250 Union Road Minutes #2001-12
    West Seneca, NY 14224 August 20, 2001
    Page four . . .

    12-B    LEGAL NOTICES

    1.    (continued)

    Highway Supt. Pat Finnegan stated that a pre-construction meeting regarding Seneca Street was scheduled for tomorrow morning, and they would know at that time when the project would begin.

    Motion by Councilman Graber, seconded by Councilman Hicks, to close the public hearing regarding an amendment to the Property Maintenance Ordinance concerning abatement of nuisances.
    Ayes: All Noes: None Motion Carried

    Motion by Councilman Graber, seconded by Councilman Wroblewski, to adopt an amendment to the Property Maintenance Ordinance of the Town of West Seneca with the addition of 92-12 through 92-19 as it related to abatement of nuisances.
    Ayes: All Noes: None Motion Carried

    *APPENDICES*

    2.   Motion by Supervisor Clark, seconded by Councilman Wroblewski, that proofs of publication and posting of legal notice: "OF A PUBLIC HEARING TO CONSIDER A REQUEST FOR A SPECIAL PERMIT FOR PROPERTY LOCATED AT 1751 ORCHARD PARK ROAD, BEING PART OF LOT NO. 419, CHANGING ITS CLASSIFICATION FROM C-2 TO C-2(S), FOR A RENTAL CAR BUSINESS" in the Town of West Seneca, be received and filed.          (Tarquinius Ltd.)
    Ayes: All Noes: None Motion Carried

    Motion by Supervisor Clark, seconded by Councilman Wroblewski, to open the public hearing.
    Ayes: All Noes: None Motion Carried

    Town Attorney Tim Greenan read the Planning Board recommendation: "At its July 18, 2001 meeting, the Planning Board recommended approval of the request for a special permit for property located at 1751 Orchard Park Road, being part of Lot No. 419, changing its classification from C-2 to C-2(S), for a rental car business, with the stipulation that no body or engine work be performed on site."

    Anthony Tarquini, owner of the plaza located at 1751 Orchard Park Road, stated that a car rental agency formally located in Orchard Park had lost their lease and wanted to move to this location. There would be 12 to 15 vehicles parked in the parking lot behind the building and made available to their clients. The rear parking lot had 30 to 35 spaces and was mostly used for employees and tenants of the plaza, so there was plenty of room for the rental cars.

    Councilman Hicks noted that Mr. Tarquini owned Nino's Pizzeria and it was a very clean and class operation. He also owned the plaza next to the pizzeria and there was never any problem with that property.

    No comments were received from the public.

    Motion by Supervisor Clark, seconded by Councilman Wroblewski, to close the public hearing.
    Ayes: All Noes: None Motion Carried

    Motion by Supervisor Clark, seconded by Councilman Hicks, to approve the request for a special permit for property located at 1751 Orchard Park Road, being part of Lot No. 419, changing its classification from C-2 to C-2(S), for a rental car business.
    Ayes: All Noes: None Motion Carried

    *APPENDICES*

     

    WEST SENECA TOWN OFFICES TOWN BOARD PROCEEDINGS
    1250 Union Road Minutes #2001-12
    West Seneca, NY 14224 August 20, 2001
    Page five . . .

    12-B    LEGAL NOTICES

    3.   Motion by Supervisor Clark, seconded by Councilman Wroblewski, that proofs of publication and posting of legal notice: "OF A PUBLIC HEARING TO CONSIDER A REQUEST FOR A SPECIAL PERMIT FOR PROPERTY LOCATED AT 50 NORTH AMERICA DRIVE, BEING PART OF LOT NOS. 198 AND 201, CHANGING ITS CLASSIFICATION FROM M-1 TO M-1(S), FOR TRUCK REPAIR, SERVICING AND SALES" in the Town of West Seneca, be received and filed.          (Richard Deney)
    Ayes: All Noes: None Motion Carried

    Motion by Supervisor Clark, seconded by Councilman Wroblewski, to open the public hearing.
    Ayes: All Noes: None Motion Carried

    Town Attorney Tim Greenan read the recommendation of the Planning Board: "At its July 18, 2001 meeting the Planning Board recommended approval of the request for a special permit for property located at 50 North America Drive, being part of Lot Nos. 198 and 201, changing its classification from M-1 to M-1(S), for truck repair, servicing and sales. The Planning Board further recommended that the provisions of the Industrial Park Overlay Ordinance be incorporated with the approval, in particular, those items shown on the attached schedule."

    Mike Endres, President of Mohawk Truck, stated that they were located in the City of Buffalo for 50 years, but had expanded and were currently leasing the facility located at 50 North America Drive. Mohawk Truck was a franchise dealer for Western Star Trucks and a franchise dealer for Thermal King Refrigeration. They sold trucks and equipment, serviced trucks, and sold parts for trucks. Mr. Endres stated that he had many conversations with Supervisor Clark and the Planning Board regarding the requirements that would be part of the special permit, and they were able to meet all of the requirements set forth. He presented a plot plan indicating the existing buildings and the modifications to the yard. There would be no building construction, but they would have storage and display lots for the trucks.

    Supervisor Clark stated that when Mohawk Truck initially moved into the Industrial Park, he had received some comments of concern from certain investors in the park and was also somewhat concerned himself. However, after discussion with Mr. Endres, Supervisor Clark found him to be very cooperative and willing to address the concerns.

    No comments were received from the public.

    Motion by Supervisor Clark, seconded by Councilman Hicks, to close the public hearing.
    Ayes: All Noes: None Motion Carried

    Motion by Supervisor Clark, seconded by Councilman Wroblewski, to approve the request for a special permit for property located at 50 North America Drive, being part of Lot Nos. 198 and 201, changing its classification from M-1 to M-1(S), for truck repair, servicing and sales, and incorporate the provisions of the Industrial Park Overlay Ordinance, in particular, Items A - I specified on the attached schedule.
    Ayes: All Noes: None Motion Carried

    *APPENDICES*

    4. Motion by Supervisor Clark, seconded by Councilman Wroblewski, that proofs of publication and posting of legal notice: "OF A PUBLIC HEARING TO CONSIDER THE USE OF LOCAL LAW ENFORCEMENT BLOCK GRANT FUNDS" in the Town of West Seneca, be received and filed.
    Ayes: All Noes: None Motion Carried

    Motion by Supervisor Clark, seconded by Councilman Wroblewski, to open the public hearing.
    Ayes: All Noes: None Motion Carried

     

    WEST SENECA TOWN OFFICES TOWN BOARD PROCEEDINGS
    1250 Union Road Minutes #2001-12
    West Seneca, NY 14224 August 20, 2001
    Page six . . .

    12-B    LEGAL NOTICES

    4.    (continued)

    Supervisor Clark stated that the town had been very successful in gaining federal funds for much work in the Police Department. A public hearing was required to hear public input and an advisory board set up by the Chief of Police also submitted recommendations. Restrictions applied as to how the money could be used and how much money the town would receive.

    Chief Gehen stated that traditionally the funds were used to foster the community policing efforts and assist in maintaining technology in the Police Department. He suggested that 60 percent of the grant be used to continue funding community policing efforts by supporting two citizen police academies and the bicycle patrol. Another possibility was a Vehicle Identification Number (VIN) etching program that would be available for anyone in town that wanted to take advantage of it. This was an anti-theft program in which the VIN number of a vehicle was etched into its window through a chemical process. The remainder of the money could be used for computer software and hardware and technology updates. Chief Gehen welcomed any input from the community as to how the funds should be used.

    No comments were received from the public.

    Motion by Supervisor Clark, seconded by Councilman Wroblewski, to close the public hearing.
    Ayes: All Noes: None Motion Carried

    Motion by Supervisor Clark, seconded by Councilman Wroblewski, that Local Law Enforcement Block Grant funds be utilized to fund the following: 1) Citizens Police Academy; 2) the bicycle patrol unit of the West Seneca Police Department; 3) a VIN Etching program; 4) any additional community policing programs that may become available, at the discretion of Chief Gehen; and 5) computer software and hardware and technology updates.
    Ayes: All Noes: None Motion Carried

    5.   Proofs of publication and posting of legal notice: "OF THE ADOPTED CHANGE IN THE ZONING ORDINANCE FOR PROPERTY LOCATED AT 1100 SOUTHWESTERN BLVD., BEING PART OF LOT NO. 393, CHANGING ITS CLASSIFICATION FROM C-1 TO C-2, FOR A RESTAURANT" in the Town of West Seneca, received and filed.          (Benderson Development Co.)

    6.   Proofs of publication and posting of legal notice: "OF THE RECEIPT OF THE REPORT OF EXAMINATION BY DELOITTE & TOUCHE, AN INDEPENDENT PUBLIC ACCOUNTANT, OF THE FISCAL AFFAIRS OF THE TOWN OF WEST SENECA FOR THE PERIOD BEGINNING JANUARY 1, 2000 AND ENDING DECEMBER 31, 2000" in the Town of West Seneca, received and filed.

    12-C    COMMUNICATIONS

    1.   Supervisor Clark re Permanent appointment of Police Chief Edward F. Gehen Jr.

    Motion by Supervisor Clark, unanimous second, to change the appointment of Edward F. Gehen from Police Chief Provisional to Police Chief Permanent effective August 20, 2001 and authorize the Supervisor to complete and sign the necessary forms for Erie County Personnel, noting that Police Chief Gehen scored #1 on the Civil Service Exam for this position.

    On the question, Councilman Wroblewski congratulated Chief Gehen and noted that he was highly recommended by outgoing Police Chief John Miskovski. He was confident that Chief Gehen would continue to lead the Police Department in the positive direction that it had been going.

     

    WEST SENECA TOWN OFFICES TOWN BOARD PROCEEDINGS
    1250 Union Road Minutes #2001-12
    West Seneca, NY 14224 August 20, 2001
    Page seven. . .

    12-C    COMMUNICATIONS

    1.   Supervisor Clark re Permanent appointment of Police Chief Edward F. Gehen Jr.    (continued)

    Supervisor Clark stated that the West Seneca Police Department had excellent officers that were well educated and better trained than ever before. Chief Gehen was a graduate of Bishop Timon High School and received a B.S. in Criminal Justice in 1978. He received Central Police Service (CPS) training in 1979 and attended Central Police Training Academy Supervisor's School in 1989. Chief Gehen began his police career in the City of Lockport Police Department in April 1979, but became a West Seneca Police Officer in September 1980. He served as Police Officer, Desk Lieutenant, Patrol Lieutenant, Police Captain, and Asst. Police Chief under Chief John Miskovski. Chief Gehen helped take the Police Department through full NYS Accredidation and was active under CPS dictates for professional standards institute of the Citizens Police Academy. Supervisor Clark stated that he had known Chief Gehen and his family for a number of years and he was a solid citizen and a great police officer. He was very proud to be able to vote for Chief Gehen as the next West Seneca Police Chief.

    Councilman Graber congratulated Chief Gehen and commented that running the Police Department as a business was just as important as the law enforcement aspect. Former Chief Miskovski had spoken highly of Chief Gehen and Councilman Graber hoped that he would continue to look for ways to lower costs in that department.

    Councilman Hicks also congratulated Chief Gehen and commented that he had done a great job as Provisional Police Chief.
    Ayes: All Noes: None Motion Carried

    Chief Gehen thanked the Town Board for their vote of confidence and also his colleagues, family and friends in attendance at the meeting. He noted that they could expect nothing less than 100 percent effort from him.

    2.   Supervisor Clark re Retirement of K-9 Police Officer Bart Adams

    Motion by Councilman Wroblewski, seconded by Councilman Graber, to accept the retirement of Bart A. Adams and terminate him as K-9 Police Officer effective August 31, 2001 and authorize the Supervisor to complete and sign the necessary forms for Erie County Personnel, noting that Officer Adams served the town for 20 years and was K-9 Officer since May 1997.
    Ayes: All Noes: None Motion Carried

    3.   Supervisor Clark re Grant application for Parkside Drive berm

    Motion by Councilman Wroblewski, seconded by Councilman Graber, to authorize Supervisor Paul T. Clark to apply to the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation for $25,000 for study and construction of a low berm in the Parkside Drive area to protect residents from regular flooding, noting that the town would provide $25,000 or 50 percent of project costs in in-kind goods and services.

    On the question, Supervisor Clark stated that this grant application was put together very quickly and without prior notice to the residents of the Parkside Drive area. Grant funding was available that would allow the town to do further engineering and possibly construct a berm at the end of Parkside Drive near the creek. Supervisor Clark did not have any details at this time, but would be scheduling a meeting with the neighborhood to review the plans.
    Ayes: All Noes: None Motion Carried

     

     

    [Return to head of form]     [Continue on Page Two]

     




    Disclaimer

    For additional information, suggestions, or problems, please contact our Webmaster