Addresses Historic Overlay, Changes to 1887 Building

By Jann Wiswall

Can the 1887 Building be altered?

That is a question being discussed by the Ellicottville Village Board and others in the context of reviewing a request by the new owners of the building who hope to convert the building into condominium units. In order to do so, they want remove the rear addition to the building and create an underground parking garage with a new entrance on Maybee Alley for use by tenants.

At its last board meeting, board member Bob Brogcinski asked for documentation verifying that the rear addition can be removed without impacting the historic nature of the building.

At Mayor Charles Coolidge’s request, Nancy Rogan, chair of the Village Planning Board, and Jack Kramer, a member of that board and chair of the Village Zoning Board of Appeals, attended the meeting to clarify the issue. Rogan stated that, the 1887 Building is part of the village’s “historic overlay,” which was put into place to protect all of the buildings in the village that have “historic significance,” but it is not listed on the state or federal register of historic places. Thus, only the physical part of the building actually built in 1887 is protected by the overlay and there are no restrictions related to removing additions constructed after that time.

Still, Brogcinski felt it was important to locate any documents available that make that clear. Rogan suggested the mayor speak with Sheila Burrell, a member of the planning board who was instrumental in creating the original historic overlay with the help of the New York State Historic Preservation Office (SHPO). SHPO may have the documentation requested.

During the meeting, the board also discussed a number of ongoing issues, as well as some new problems that have cropped up.

Trash and Brush Collection

The village has entered into a one-year contract with Modern Corporation to provide trash removal services for village residents after its previous provider went out of business. Department of Public Works Superintendent Harold Morton reported that many residents are not following proper brush disposal regulations, which limits brush size to no more than 6 feet long and 4 inches in diameter. People have been leaving much larger limbs and even trees out for pickup; department vehicles and staff cannot handle such debris.

Board member Patra Lowes noted that people are not following regular trash regulations either. Many people, particularly vacationers, are leaving trash bags out several days before scheduled pickup, which attracts animals, creates litter and develops odors. She argued that the “whole trash issue is getting out of control” and is creating short- and long-term problems for full-time residents.

The solution? Lowes suggested that the board should look at the issue as a whole, determine what rules and regulations should be established (e.g. require people to purchase and use trash cans, increase fees, charge fines for non-compliance) and work with Modern Corporation to look for short-term solutions. Then, when the board goes out to bid for service next summer, those rules and regulations could be incorporated into the bid request.

The board agreed with Lowes’ suggestion and the mayor will discuss the short-term solutions with Modern Corp.

Sewer Plant Lightning Strike Damages UV System

Morton reported that a lightning strike at the village sewer plant damaged the ultraviolet (UV) disinfection system. A transformer also was damaged and replaced by National Grid. An outside firm is doing a forensic analysis of the UV system and the electrical system to determine the exact cause of the damage. Its findings will be reported to the village’s insurance company.

Morton explained that the existing system is old and parts are difficult to come by. The village’s engineering firm, Nussbaumer & Clarke, is trying to locate parts, but ideally the system should be completely replaced — at an estimated cost of $244,000. It is hoped that insurance will cover replacement cost, rather than repair.

FEMA Flood Plain Map

Last month, new flood plain maps of the Town and Village of Ellicottville, with annotations provided by the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), were made available for public comment and review. Since then, FEMA has provided a new version of the map that incorporates those annotations into the drawing.

NOTE: This revised version was reposted on Tuesday, Aug. 12 at the Town/Village Hall and on the Ellicottville website at, then click on “Flood Zone Map.”

The next meeting of the Village Board will be held on Monday, Sept. 8 at 6 p.m. in the Town/Village Hall. All are welcome to attend.