WEST SENECA TOWN OFFICES   TOWN BOARD PROCEEDINGS
1250 Union Road Minutes #2001-13
West Seneca, NY 14224 September 17, 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.

ROLL CALL: Present -

Paul T. Clark   Supervisor
Christopher F. Osmanski
(arrived at 8:30 P.M.)
  Councilman
Vincent J. Graber Jr.   Councilman
Timothy M. Wroblewski   Councilman
Craig J. Hicks   Councilman

Absent -   None

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

A moment of silence was held in memory of those who lost their lives during the attack on America on Tuesday, September 11th and to those whose lives were tragically affected by the events.

The meeting was dedicated to the memory of Margaret B. McGarry, Donald Cordier, Norbert L. Steinwandel Sr. and Sean P. Rooney, a high school classmate of Supervisor Clark who was on the 105th floor of the World Trade Center and lost his life during last week's attack.

13-A   MINUTES TO BE APPROVED

  • Motion by Councilman Wroblewski, seconded by Supervisor Clark, to approve Minutes #2001-12 of August 20, 2001.
    Ayes: All Noes: None Motion Carried

    13-B    HELD OVER PUBLIC HEARING

    1.    Re: "A PUBLIC HEARING TO CONSIDER AN AMENDMENT TO THE PROPERTY MAINTENANCE ORDINANCE OF THE TOWN OF WEST SENECA RELATIVE TO MAINTENANCE OF SIDEWALKS" in the Town of West Seneca.

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

    Ayes: All Noes: None Motion Carried

    Town Attorney Tim Greenan stated that at their last meeting the Town Board had considered a proposal to amend the Property Maintenance Ordinance to require that the owner or occupant of any premises fronting or abutting any street or highway shall keep it safe and maintain any sidewalk abutting the premises, and keep it clear from snow, ice, dirt, or other obstruction. Vegetation and trees shall also be trimmed so they don't overhang the sidewalk. The owner or occupant would be liable for injuries or damage as a result of failure to maintain the sidewalk, remove snow, ice, dirt, or other obstructions, or from negligence in performing those functions. The proposal came about in response to a request from a local citizen's group that had concerns over the sidewalks abutting Union Road due to the difficulties their employees and associates had while traversing Union Road last winter. At the last meeting, the board heard comments and concerns from some individuals over the cost and burden the proposed amendment would impose upon adjoining landowners. The board members had also received concerns over the distinction between residential and commercial property and the cost associated.

     

    WEST SENECA TOWN OFFICES TOWN BOARD PROCEEDINGS
    1250 Union Road Minutes #2001-13
    West Seneca, NY 14224 September 17, 2001
    Page two . . .

    13-B    HELD OVER PUBLIC HEARING

    1.    (continued)

    Jeanette Pettibone, 179 Ehinger Drive, member of Voice West Seneca that meets at Ebenezer United Church of Christ, thanked the Town Board for reviewing the issue of snow removal from sidewalks. She presented a petition signed by concerned citizens and noted that they also had the verbal support of the Community of Churches of West Seneca. Mrs. Pettibone presented the board with information on how other towns handled the removal of snow from their sidewalks and thought it was important that West Seneca revise its ordinance before someone was hurt. She felt the ordinance should specify who was responsible for snow removal - the town or the property owners. Mrs. Pettibone commented on the dangerous situation pedestrians were faced with when they had to walk on Union Road, rather than on the sidewalks, with vehicles speeding by at more than 45 mph. She thought there would be more and more pedestrians as gas prices increased and noted that more people were also walking for health reasons.

    Charles Curtin, 76 Angle Road, owner of Curtin Funeral Home located on Union Road, stated that Union Road was probably the widest road in West Seneca, and also the most dangerous. He commented on the difficult time that he had keeping the sidewalks clear after the plows went through and dumped snow on them. Mr. Curtin noted that his front window had been broken many times and mailboxes were often taken down by plows. He thought that the town should assist the business people on Union Road with snow removal on the sidewalks.

    Supervisor Clark questioned if New York State was required to maintain sidewalks along their right-of-ways.

    Mr. Greenan advised that New York State was not legally responsible for maintaining sidewalks along the Union Road right-of-way. The only municipalities that cleared sidewalks were the smaller villages that were able to provide more service to the small areas they represented. Mr. Greenan thought it would be difficult to determine on which roads in West Seneca they would clear the sidewalks and the cost.

    Supervisor Clark did not know if they could offer sidewalk clearing service to one part of town and have it financed by the entire community.

    Highway Supt. Pat Finnegan stated that this issue was discussed at a Highway Superintendent's meeting and representatives from New York State advised that they would not clear any sidewalks on their right-of-ways unless the sidewalk was tied into one of their state facilities.

    Stan Kandefer, 2247 Union Road, stated that there was six feet between the sidewalk and curb of Union Road, and that was not enough room to put the snow so it ended up on the sidewalk. Because of the width of Union Road, an exceptional amount of snow was plowed onto the sidewalks and it was almost impossible to shovel it. Mr. Kandefer questioned who owned the sidewalks and noted that the utility companies all had equipment buried underground in the area of the sidewalk.

    Mr. Greenan responded that Union Road was a state highway, so the owner was the State of New York.

    Roger Harris, 400 East & West Road, felt that the proposal presented at this meeting had merit, but noted that Union Road was the only main thoroughfare in West Seneca that had sidewalks. He thought the logistics of maintaining the program would be difficult. Mr. Harris also thought that if the proposal was adopted they would have to force the county and state to keep the sidewalks clear on the bridges. He presented pictures taken January 5, 2001 of the bridge on Orchard Park Road near Wegman's. There was a thaw, but the sidewalks were not plowed. At 7 P.M. that evening Mr. Harris hit a pedestrian walking in the street with the mirror of his car. The police and fire department was called and there was thousands of dollars in medical costs and vehicle damage.

    Mr. Greenan stated that the town was unable to force the state and county to keep their roads clear. The ordinance, as proposed, would make the individual property owner responsible for the sidewalk in front of their property. As a property owner, the county or state would be responsible for sidewalks on their bridges and roads, but the town could not bring charges against them if they did not clear them of snow.

     

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    West Seneca, NY 14224 September 17, 2001
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    13-B    HELD OVER PUBLIC HEARING

    1.    (continued)

    Bill Falkner, 5627 Seneca Street, stated that he was a former Union Road business owner and was currently employed by Curtin Funeral Home. He had assisted Mr. Curtin many times with plowing and clearing the sidewalks at night to prepare for a funeral in the morning, only to find two feet of ice on the sidewalk from the plows going by during the night. Mr. Falkner commented on the number of pedestrians that were struck by cars on Union Road. He thought that Union Road was the most dangerous road in the town and the town would have to do something similar to the small towns and villages that maintained their sidewalks. Mr. Falkner did not believe that the small business owners on Union Road could constantly be clearing the sidewalks or afford to pay someone to do it for them.

    Marie Betti, 90 Leaside Drive, stated that she worked at a business on Union Road, and had to shovel the sidewalk in the winter. Many of the businesses had hired contractors to remove the snow in the past because there was no room to put it. Ms. Betti commented that business owners could not be outside in the winter constantly trying to keep the sidewalk clear while trying to run a business, and it was too expensive to hire someone, even if they were available. She thought that since Union Road was the biggest problem and this was where the residents wanted to walk, the town should clear the sidewalks.

    Rev. Ralph Anderson, Pastor of Ebenezer United Church of Christ, 633 Main Street, stated that one common bond in this matter seemed to be the safety of the pedestrians. He thought that the price of gasoline would continue to rise as a result of the week's events, and with that would be an increase in pedestrian traffic. Rev. Anderson commented that Southgate Plaza and the Town Hall did a fine job of clearing the snow and it would only enhance the businesses if their sidewalks were also cleared. He thought that the town should be proactive and do everything in its power to make pedestrian traffic safe. Rev. Anderson stated that at the last meeting of the West Seneca Community of Churches, there was unanimous support for a firmer ordinance. He thought that creative minds could come up with a creative solution to benefit everyone. Rev. Anderson further invited the Town Board members to a prayer service hosted by the Community of Churches tomorrow evening at 7:30 P.M. at Ebenezer United Church of Christ.

    Jim Bove, 11 Willowdale Drive, thought there were some flaws in the proposal because the amendment would make the property owner liable if someone was hurt on their sidewalk and it was not cleared of snow. He further thought there would be problems with enforcement of the ordinance. Mr. Bove commented that not every winter saw 100 inches of snow fall, and he felt the pedestrians should find another means of transportation if there was a lot of snow on the ground.

    Supervisor Clark questioned if the proposed amendment to the ordinance would cause any additional liability to the homeowner.

    Mr. Greenan responded that right now if someone had an injury or fell on a sidewalk in front of a particular piece of property, it would be likely that they would bring an action against the municipality and the property owner. By stating in the ordinance that the property owner was responsible, it would impose additional liability and be covered under a typical homeowner insurance policy.

    William Marts, 376 Meadow Drive, stated that the Town of West Seneca also plowed snow on the sidewalks of town streets and it was difficult to move once it was put there.

    Mr. Harris commented that once the snow settled down, the state came out and undercut the sidewalks on some of the bridges selectively. However, this appeared to be an afterthought and not a priority with them.

    Mr. Greenan stated that the state would get the vehicle traffic moving first and then plow the bridges afterward. This was a responsibility that the state assumed, but the town could not cite them under the ordinance if they did not do it.

     

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    West Seneca, NY 14224 September 17, 2001
    Page four . . .

    13-B    HELD OVER PUBLIC HEARING

    1.    (continued)

    Supervisor Clark read the following comments he had received from residents of the town: Union Road business owner - "keeps walks clear, but plows clear the street and dump it back on the walks. Can't keep up." West Seneca resident - "All for the sidewalks being kept clear, but do not believe we need a small bulldozer like Supervisor Clark suggested. A snow plow is sufficient." Woodlane Drive resident - "All for the snow removal on main roads, but businesses have to keep up their end." Ludwig Drive resident - "Would like to see all sidewalks in town kept clear - not only Union Road. Not happy with the snow plowing contractors dumping snow in the streets and also on sidewalks." Christopher Drive resident - "Live on cul-de-sac and very unhappy because after clearing the driveway the plows bury it."

    Mr. Greenan suggested that the public hearing be closed and he would then review the comments received from the public and report back to the board with some alternative courses of action within the next 30 to 45 days.

    Supervisor Clark stated that during a snowstorm the Highway Department did not have extra equipment or manpower available and keeping the roads safe and clear was their priority.

    Mr. Finnegan agreed and stated that many streets did not have an area to place the snow and the sidewalks then became a problem. Buildings & Grounds Department crews spent a number of hours each day keeping the sidewalk in front of Town Hall open.

    Mr. Greenan noted that business owners stated that in some cases it was impossible for them to clear the sidewalk, and he suggested that the community groups come up with some alternatives to pedestrian traffic on the major roads during times of high snow. The community groups could possibly get together and assist people in need of transportation.

    Rev. Anderson thought that Mr. Greenan's suggestion was a good one, but it took focus off the issue at hand. He questioned if the town wanted an ordinance that would keep the sidewalks clear for pedestrian traffic, or if they would rather leave it up to the civic and community groups that were already working and had been since this became an issue. Rev. Anderson thought that the town should take charge of the issue and show some leadership.

    Mr. Greenan stated that if the town imposed on every property owner the responsibility of keeping the sidewalks clear, when a big snow event occurred or if a property owner was ill or unable to clear the sidewalk, there should be some alternative in order to keep the pedestrians safe. They could adopt the amendment to the ordinance requiring that property owners clear their sidewalks, but enforcing the ordinance so that the sidewalks were always clear would be a problem.

    Supervisor Clark thanked the public for their input and suggestions on this matter.

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

    Ayes: All Noes: None Motion Carried

    13-C    LEGAL NOTICES

    1.    Motion by Supervisor Clark, seconded by Councilman Hicks, that proofs of publication and posting of legal notice: "OF A PUBLIC HEARING TO CONSIDER A REQUEST FOR A REZONING FOR PROPERTY LOCATED AT 1100 SOUTHWESTERN BLVD., BEING PART OF LOT NO. 393, CHANGING ITS CLASSIFICATION FROM C-1 TO C-2, FOR A SUBWAY RESTAURANT" in the Town of West Seneca, be received and filed. (Benderson Development Co.)

    Ayes: All Noes: None Motion Carried

     

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    West Seneca, NY 14224 September 17, 2001
    Page five . . .

    13-C    LEGAL NOTICES

    1.    (continued)

    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 August 15, 2001 meeting the Planning Board recommended approval of the request for a rezoning for property located at 1100 Southwestern Blvd., being part of Lot No. 393, changing its classification from C-1 to C-2, for a Subway restaurant." Mr. Greenan noted that this restaurant would be located in the plaza owned by Benderson Development Co., and only a specific portion of the plaza would be rezoned for this purpose.

    Jeff Wereski represented Southwestern/Angle Associates and stated their proposal to change the zoning to C-2 for 1320 square feet of space within the plaza located at Angle Road and Southwestern Blvd. for a Subway restaurant. The restaurant would be located two stores away from the Wilson Farms store. Mr. Wereski noted that Subway had over 15,000 locations and they were an international company. The restaurant would have approximately 40 seats, and although they would not be preparing any dough products there, they would be baking on the premises. The signage would be similar in size to Wilson Farms and have the international logo for Subway on it. Mr. Wereski stated that another restaurant was approved for the east end of the plaza, but the 108 parking spaces was sufficient. Lighting would remain the same. The hours of operation would be 10 A.M. until 10 P.M., full-service, sit-down and take-out, and no alcoholic beverages.

    Marci Curtin, 76 Angle Road, stated that she was in favor of the rezoning for a Subway restaurant. She thought that this type of restaurant was needed in the area and they would hire local people along with bringing additional tax revenue to the town.

    Supervisor Clark questioned whether a special permit was required for this restaurant.

    Building Inspector Bill Czuprynski responded that a special permit was only required if the restaurant would be selling alcoholic beverages.

    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 Graber, to approve the request for a rezoning for property located at 1100 Southwestern Blvd., being part of Lot No. 393, changing its classification from C-1 to C-2, for a Subway restaurant.

    Ayes: All Noes: None Motion Carried

    *APPENDICES*

    2.   Proofs of publication and posting of legal notice: "OF THE ADOPTED CHANGE IN THE ZONING ORDINANCE 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, received and filed.      (Tarquinius Ltd.)

    3.   Proofs of publication and posting of legal notice: "OF THE ADOPTED CHANGE IN THE ZONING ORDINANCE 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, received and filed.       (Richard Deney)

    4.   Proofs of publication and posting of legal notice: "OF THE ADOPTED AMENDMENT TO THE PROPERTY MAINTENANCE ORDINANCE OF THE TOWN OF WEST SENECA WITH THE ADDITION OF 92-13 THRU 92-19, ORDER TO ABATE NUISANCES" in the Town of West Seneca, received and filed.

     

    WEST SENECA TOWN OFFICES TOWN BOARD PROCEEDINGS
    1250 Union Road Minutes #2001-13
    West Seneca, NY 14224 September 17, 2001
    Page six . . .

    13-C    LEGAL NOTICES

    5.   Proofs of publication and posting of legal notice: "OF THE SALE OF 25 HILLDALE AVENUE TO WILLIAM PARKS AND MARY PARKS FOR THE SUM OF TWENTY-TWO THOUSAND FIVE HUNDRED DOLLARS ($22,500), SUBJECT TO PERMISSIVE REFERENDUM" in the Town of West Seneca, received and filed.

    (Councilman Osmanski arrived at this point during the meeting.)

    PROBLEMS OF THE PUBLIC

    PROBLEMS IN MEADOW PARK SUBDIVISION

    Tom Kittell, 388 Meadow Drive, presented pictures of the Meadow Park Subdivision and stated that the contractor who was developing the subdivision was no longer in business and possibly filed bankruptcy. There were several undeveloped lots that were left in a shambles with piles of dirt, rocks, and construction debris. There was also five-foot concrete culverts with standing water in them that presented a dangerous situation to small children.

    Donna Gross, 359 Meadow Drive, stated that in 1999 the developer, Chris Emond, promised the residents and the town that the subdivision would be completely finished by December 2000. She noted that Mr. Emond owed her and other residents of the development money. He left six undeveloped lots with a lot of debris and no sidewalks. At one point on the street, they had to walk into the road to get around the debris. Mrs. Gross questioned who was responsible for the lots and why the town was not making Mr. Emond finish the development as he had proposed.

    Councilman Graber stated he had visited this development and it was a mess. The residents spent a lot of money on what was supposed to be a very nice development with houses in the $150,000 to $250,000 range. He questioned what the town could do to force Mr. Emond to remove the piles of debris, or if the town could do it themselves and charge Mr. Emond on his tax bill.

    Building Inspector Bill Czuprynski stated that the town had no commitment on the sidewalks, but they could do something about the mounds of dirt and debris.

    Town Attorney Tim Greenan stated that the promises Mr. Emond made to the town could be enforced along with the violations to the ordinance, but the town could not enforce the promises Mr. Emond made to the individual homeowners. One of the homeowners had approached the town regarding a number of punch list items that were part of the original contract and conditions to the certificate of occupancy. The town advised the homeowner that if Mr. Emond was not following through on the conditions of the certificate of occupancy, they would revoke it and the homeowner would have to pursue it with Mr. Emond. The debris on the vacant lots could be addressed under the Property Maintenance Ordinance and Mr. Czuprynski could inspect the property and determine if it was hazardous or a nuisance.

    Mr. Czuprynski stated that Mr. Emond was told to clean up the wood that was left and he understood that a lot of it was taken away. Only two complaints were received with regard to this subdivision - one was regarding the sidewalks and the other was regarding the concrete that was dumped at the end of the cul-de-sac.

    Bill Marts, 376 Meadow Drive, advised that he had reported the faulty condition of the railings inside his home to Mr. Czuprynski, but Mr. Emond never replaced them.

    Mr. Czuprynski stated that he had directed Mr. Emond to replace the railings and assumed that the work had been done. He further noted that the concrete culverts could be removed if they were not being used in the subdivision.

    Councilman Graber suggested that Mr. Czuprynski utilize the new provisions of the Property Maintenance Ordinance and give Mr. Emond a specific period of time to take corrective action. If he did not follow through, the town would then hire someone to do the work and assign the fee to Mr. Emond's property.

     

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    West Seneca, NY 14224 September 17, 2001
    Page seven . . .

    PROBLEMS OF THE PUBLIC

    PROBLEMS IN MEADOW PARK SUBDIVISION (continued)

    Mr. Czuprynski noted that there could be mounds of topsoil on the lots and they could remain if the lots were being developed. There was no time limit in the ordinance and nothing that required the developer to put the rest of the sidewalks in on vacant lots. Mr. Czuprynski stated that he would give Mr. Emond two weeks to remove the debris, and if the work was not done in that time frame the town would do it and charge the cost back to him.

    Councilman Hicks suggested that the town restrict Mr. Emond from selling or developing the vacant lots until the pre-existing conditions were taken care of.

    Councilman Osmanski stated that if the town did the work and charged the cost back to the individual lots, the lots would be less likely to be sold because they would have an assessment for clean up on them.

    Mr. Marts stated that the railings inside his home were unsafe since they were originally installed, and he questioned who was responsible for having them replaced.

    Mr. Czuprynski stated that Mr. Marts' house was a model home and when his department did the final inspection and issued the certificate of occupancy the railings were fine.

    Mr. Greenan advised that the quality of workmanship was between Mr. Marts and the developer and the town could not get involved in this type of issue. The certificate of occupancy was issued based upon Mr. Czuprynski's inspection of the property and on that date the house was built in conformance with the NYS Building Code. Although it was possible for a building inspector to miss something, the town would not be responsible because the agreement for the house was between the buyer and the builder, and the bank and the buyer inspect the house.

    Dawn Kittell, 388 Meadow Drive, stated that her home was located between the two vacant lots that were in deplorable condition. She commented on the number of children in the area and asked that the town do something to have the lots cleaned up to keep the children safe from injury.

    BRIGHT LIGHTS AND DEBRIS FROM KWIK FILL GAS STATION

    Alfred Kiera, 2138 Transit Road, referred to the Kwik Fill gas station located on Transit Road near Seneca Street that was open 24 hours a day. The lights from the gas station shined into Mr. Kiera's home at night, and when it was robbed twice, people ran through his yard with guns. Mr. Kiera suggested that the gas station be forced to close at 10 or 11 P.M.

    Town Attorney Tim Greenan stated that the gas station pre-dated any town ordinance so the town could not make them close earlier. He suggested that Building Inspector Bill Czuprynski inspect the lighting to determine if additional screening was needed.

    Mr. Kiera further commented on the garbage in the neighborhood that came from the gas station.

    Supervisor Clark directed Mr. Czuprynski to visit the property and investigate Mr. Kiera's complaints.

     

     

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