By Jann Wiswall

The lawyers for HoliMont, the towns of Mansfield and Ellicottville and the Village of Ellicottville are preparing the final paperwork necessary to exchange easements in order to provide and maintain water and sewer service for the new WestMont Ridge development at HoliMont. WestMont Ridge lies in the town of Mansfield, which does not have a municipal water or sewer system.

Mansfield’s engineer, Mark Alianello, explained the process to the board at its Monday, Nov. 17, meeting. HoliMont’s general manager, Dave Riley, was also on hand to answer questions.

In order to tie WestMont into a public system, Mansfield and both Ellicottville municipalities, a decade ago, agreed that the Town of Ellicottville would maintain the development’s water system and the Village of Ellicottville would maintain its sewer system on Mansfield’s behalf. While Mansfield will technically own the easements, it will enter into an agreement with each municipality to allow them unimpeded access to the lines for maintenance, management, billing, etc., in exchange for the revenues generated. Future WestMont residents will be billed by each municipality for those services.

As Alianello explained, there are several steps that must be followed. First, HoliMont must “dedicate” (or deed) the water and sewer line easements to Mansfield. Some of the lines physically lie in the Town of Ellicottville, so HoliMont will dedicate those easements to Ellicottville as required.

Next, Mansfield must formally enter into an agreement with the Ellicottville municipalities for their services.

Alianello explained that final paperwork is nearly ready for signatures and that his goal is to have everything signed and finalized by mid-December. Mansfield Supervisor Bob Keis asked the board to allow him to sign all paperwork on its behalf as it becomes available over the next several weeks, noting that it is in the town’s best interest to expedite the process in order to help owners close on their properties and get those properties on the Mansfield tax rolls beginning January 2016. The board agreed.

Alianello also said that Mansfield would need to adopt a set of water service rules and a sewer use law for the town. The rules and law would only impact the WestMont development since that is the only area of Mansfield that will be in a “water and sewer district.” He suggested using Ellicottville’s rules and law as a model.

Alianello and Riley informed the board that HoliMont is working on preparing drawings for power lines to be installed for both the single family homes and the new condominium development at WestMont. Because of the difficult topography of the single family home community, owners will be required to hire engineers to develop site plans and to have their foundations certified by independent engineers for Mansfield’s building inspector. HoliMont also will review the architectural plans for each home before building permits can be issued to ensure the designs fit the “Rocky Mountain” character of the resort.

Riley explained that engineering plans for the 18 new condominium buildings with four units each (72 total) that are planned at the base of the Sunset area are in process. Alianello said those plans, as well as architectural plans, will be available for the Mansfield Planning Board’s review in the next few months.  Riley said he hopes to begin pre-selling condominium units this winter.

FEMA Reimbursements

In the good news category, Keis reported that five of the town’s 16 applications for FEMA reimbursement of highway damage caused by May storms have been approved for payment by FEMA. The other 11 applications are still in the review process. Keis expects checks to start arriving in December.

Even more good news—Keis said that New York State has agreed to reimburse its municipalities for the 25% of costs not reimbursable by FEMA. In the past, the state has covered 12.5% of the balance with municipalities making up the difference.

The next meeting of the Mansfield board will be held a week later than normal, on Monday, Dec. 22 at 7 p.m. in the town hall. All are welcome to attend.