Sets Public Hearing on Lawn Maintenance Laws

By Jann Wiswall

The Village of Ellicottville’s board got to work at its meeting on Monday, Aug. 10, finalizing details for the wastewater treatment plant (WWTP) construction project. Several resolutions were approved regarding financing, the State Environmental Quality Review status and the notice of the electrical contractor award to O’Connell Electric, whose work will begin once financing is in place. In addition, the board approved a proposal from Village Engineer Mike Smith to hire Municipal Solutions, Inc. to apply for a state grant to offset some of the project’s costs.

Smith reported that a pre-construction meeting was held with the general contractor, STC Construction, and O’Connell Electric to walk through procedural issues and said that an electronic construction management tool will be used to track all activity throughout the process.

Some residents near the plant had asked the board if noise from the plant’s blowers would be better managed than in the past. Smith explained that the new blowers will be encased in sound deadening enclosures and will be physically located farther away from residential areas. He felt these strategies should significantly mitigate noise issues.

The Village’s water system also was on the agenda. Smith reported that the new water tank on the east side of town is still being tested so has not been filled. Until that occurs, repairs of the old Village reservoir cannot begin. However, Smith said that the old reservoir has been inspected and his staff from Nussbaumer & Clarke is preparing a report on what is needed and how much it will cost.

Smith proposed to the board that the Village should apply for grants to cover reservoir repairs; the board agreed.

Local Laws on Lawn Maintenance

In an effort to strengthen and enforce the village’s lawn maintenance ordinance, the board and its attorney, Bob Simon, have prepared amendments to two local laws related to the matter.

Local Law #1 of 2015 is an amendment to existing law which states that if property owners do not keep their property mowed and maintained according to law, they can be ticketed for the cost of village staff time to maintain it for them. If they don’t pay the ticket, the cost and a fine will be charged and will constitute a lien on the property.

Reminders about unpaid tickets will be enclosed with owners’ annual property tax bills.

[Note: All village laws and ordinances are accessible at the Village Clerk’s office.]

Local Law #2 of 2015 amends existing law to authorize certain municipal employees to issue appearance tickets for lawn/rubbish-related violations.

Public hearings on both laws will be held during the September 14 Village Board meeting.

The board also set a public hearing on a revised comprehensive plan prepared by the Village Planning Board, which includes suggested changes to building, permitting and zoning processes, procedures and policies. Following approval of the comprehensive plan, the board will hold a public hearing (likely in October) on proposed changes to village zoning laws.

Fall Festival Planning

The village’s special events committee is working through all the rules, regulations, police coverage, fees and other issues related to the 2015 Ellicottville Fall Festival as the committee tries to change public perceptions about the festival as a drinking event.

Committee members Patra Lowes and Greg Cappelli, who also are both trustees on the village board, felt they turned a corner last year with increased police presence and the committee’s aggressive discouragement of charter party buses. While many event calming strategies are confidential, all are aimed at reducing the number of negative incidents.

The committee expects to have a plan ready for presentation and approval to the board at the September meeting.

The next meeting of the village board will be held at 6 p.m. on September 14 in the village/town hall, when the board will hold the three public hearings noted above (lawn maintenance laws and revised comprehensive plan).