NORTH COLLINS – At its April 9 meeting, the North Collins Town Board solicited public comment on proposals to alter its wind turbine law, created and passed two years ago.
Key changes recommended by the town’s planning board were:
– Raising the height limit from 150 to 155 feet and giving the town board the power to approve towers up to 200 feet without zoning board approval.
– Adding a subsection for agricultural use.
– Reducing the set-back requirement from 3.5-1.5 times the tower height from property lines and structures.
According to Planning Board Chair Mike Drum, “Our previous law was restrictive and the technology has changed. We’ve been educated.”
With no negative comments issued, the board enacted the new local law.
It further allowed T.J. Winter of Winter’s Rigging to erect a 159-foot turbine on a parcel at Langford and Jennings Road owned by Michael Stefan. The new turbine will sit across the road from another turbine at the Richmond farm. There were no negative environmental impacts found.
“I’m looking at a new business opportunity,” said Steffan. “This law helps me when planning future projects.” He also voiced concern over the length of time it took to rework the ordinance. “It was discouraging how long the process took. Businesses looking to move here look at that.”
Representatives of KHEOPS Engineering presented grant writing services their firm offers. Highlighted were recent successful projects in Springville and Gowanda.
“We worked on Gowanda’s Peter Cooper glue factory site and obtained three years of grants for that project,” said the firm’s marketing director, Jill Sawyer.
Councilman John Tobia, who has led the push for a dedicated grant writer for the town, suggested the village be contacted as well, to help fund the position.
Citing his concerns raised over the past five years, Highway Superintendent David Winter received permission to harvest six ash trees from town park property. Winter said all are under threat from the Emerald Ash Borer and should be used now, before it is too late. Winter plans to use the wood for park improvements.
Code Enforcement Officer Phil Tremblay reported an application for a zoning variance has been received for a parcel on Route 62 near Milestrip Road. A small, steel roof fabrication shop is planned for the site.
The matter was turned over to the planning board for review and a public hearing on a zoning change was set for May 13 at 7:30 p.m.
Jim Lint, a member of the Town Parks Veterans Committee, presented a preliminary sketch of a veteran’s site designated for land adjacent to the senior center and Fricano Park.
Lint’s diagram shows a five-pointed star design, representing all branches of the United States military. The site will be lined with granite and some 2,400 brick pavers will be laid in each of the star’s arms. Additionally, Lint revealed plans for an eternal flame feature at the center.
Total cost projections are not yet available, but Lint said he believes funding can come from offering engraved bricks. “The bricks will only bear the names of people who served in the military,” Lint said. However, he said there would be no restriction to North Collins veterans only.
Erie County Legislature Chairman John Mills presented an Erie County certificate to town board school representative Elizabeth Novoa.
“I plan to tell other towns in my district what North Collins is doing. We need young people to get involved in government,” Mills said.
In other board matters:
– The board approved a resolution that the town board did not exceed the New York state property tax cap in 2015 and does not expect to exceed it through 2019.
– The board approved adding the Bookkeeper and deputy supervisor to the list of bonded town officials on the motion of Councilman Karen Ricotta.
– Councilman Michael Perry informed the board that the initial cost of replacing two steel doors, along with hardware, at the back of the town court would be $5,980. He was directed to obtain more bids.
– Library Board Chair Sue Alessi said that Amazon will donate 1/2 percent of purchases to the public library. Alessi also reported that the library system now offers library card holders five free, permanent music downloads through freegal.
– Winter reported that an additional $7,000 has been added by the state to the town’s highway fund to address winter road damage.
– National Fuel Gas was granted an easement along town property on Route 62 to replace the gas line there.
– Tobia reported he has been researching the possibility of offering a pension program for volunteer firefighters.
– The Senior Center was approved for use by senior-only events. A $250 deposit will be required and returned if center is clean and undamaged.
– A fireworks display was approved for use at Dankert Park in New Oregon in August. Young Fireworks of Rochester will provide the show and will post the required insurance documentation. The board will next meet on May 13 at 7 p.m.
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