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Public to weigh in on wind turbine changes, April 8

NORTH COLLINS – The North Collins Town Board set April 8, at 7:30 p.m. as the time of a public hearing on proposed changes to the town’s wind turbine ordinance.

At its March 11 meeting, the board heard Councilman John Tobia reported that the Town Planning Board had approved changes to the current legislation. The modifications, if approved, will allow T.J. Winter to erect a turbine on Jennings Road, near the already erected Richardson Farm turbine.

Tobia also released key focus points received from the community response to a town-wide survey and a subsequent public meeting.

Among the wish-list items submitted were: The need for a grant writer; over age 50 housing; bike paths; sidewalks; a Boys and Girls Club; greater Internet availability; a community social or marketing director and installation of mini parks. Tobia added that Main Street in the village was especially singled out for attention. “People are tired of how the village looks,” said Tobia. He said that there needs to be an examination of town and village codes and a stricter enforcement of those codes.

The board authorized Tobia to search for a grant writer.

At the request of James Lint of the town’s Veteran Parks Committee, the parcel of land between the town’s Senior Center and the Fricano Park exit was designated as the place for a Veterans Green. The parks group will work to secure funding for improvements to the area.

Jeanette Gier brought her proposal for a “Safe Route to School” that would utilize property Gier’s mother owns in the village. The lot connects Harrison Avenue with both the high school and the town library. Gier had previously presented the concept to the village board.

Tobia, citing that the current Planning Board serves both the village and town, saw no problem with the group researching the matter but restated that it demonstrates the need for a grant writer.

Councilman Ellen Mathis questioned the continued town contribution of $40 per month to provide Internet service at Town Bookkeeper Agnes Park’s residence. Mathis raised her question as the town recently upgrading internet service at town hall to accommodate multiple users.

Town Supervisor Rosaline Seege said it was a small price for a bookkeeper who is working full-time but is only paid part-time. “She only has access to cellular service at her home,” said Seege, “And by giving her a municipal account, she can use unlimited data.”

The board approved discontinuing funding the remote Internet service.

Highway Superintendent David Winter reported his crews having plowed 152 times during the current winter. He also reported sufficient sand and salt supplies remain on hand and that seasonal Lennox Road had been opened to allow operation of a large maple syrup operation there.

Winter also reported discovering that National Fuel has a fund available to extend natural gas service.

The board approved sending a claim for payment to the village for sidewalk repairs performed by town employees around town hall. Winter had recommended the action.

In other board matters:

– The board hard Library Chair Sue Alessi report continued problems with the library’s heating system. Noting repairs, Alessi said, “I’d hate to see the town spend more money to fix it, if we are going to have to replace it.”

– Historian Georgianne Bowman reported that her continuing Civil War research has discovered a Confederate Army veteran buried nearby in Collins.

– The board received a request through Town Clerk Margaret Orrange to obtain a permit for a private fireworks display at Dankert Park in New Oregon in the coming summer. Orrange reported the firm to conduct displays is licensed and can meet the $2 million insurance coverage town requests. The board tabled the item to its April meeting.

The town board will next meet on April 8 at 7 p.m. in the town hall.

At that meeting, a public hearing will be conducted at 7:30 p.m. for comments on the most recent revisions to the town’s Wind Turbine Ordinance.