Will Investigate Options to Improve Safety

By Jann Wiswall

Deputy Mayor Bob Brogcinski opened the Ellicottville Village Board meeting on Monday, Nov. 4, in place of Mayor Charlie Coolidge who is recovering from surgery. Brogcinski said Coolidge is “recovering nicely” and “hopes to be back to active duty shortly.”

He then opened a public hearing related to a proposed amendment to Local Law No. 4 to make Hughey Alley one way from east to west between Monroe and Jefferson streets. The change was proposed as a way to make the intersection of Hughey Alley at Monroe Street safer for pedestrians.

Roger Spell, owner of The Barn restaurant, Sean Lowes, proprietor of the City Garage, and Greg Dekdebrun, owner of Dekdebrun’s ski shop attended the hearing to comment on the proposed law. While all agreed that the intersection is a problem and that pedestrian safety is paramount, Spell noted that it will be difficult for large delivery vehicles to make the turn into Hughey Alley. Lowes and Dekdebrun agreed, and also noted that residents along the alley, as well as patients and customers visiting Ellicottville Optical, would have difficulty getting to their destinations when Hughey Alley is blocked by delivery trucks.

With these issues in mind, the board and community members discussed some alternative ideas, including installing an extra stop sign and a pedestrian walkway sign for westbound travelers at the Monroe Street intersection, adding flashing lights to existing signs and installing warning signs for pedestrians. All alternative ideas had pros and cons, as well as cost implications. As a result, the board moved to table the hearing until the next meeting after cost estimates could be considered.

In addition to this discussion, Dominic Spicola, owner of the Ellicottville Winery, attended the meeting to ask for the board’s guidance in helping him manage a recurring problem during Fall Festival. He explained that residents of an apartment next door to his building have held a loud and crowded party there for several years. The alley that separates the buildings is owned by the Winery, though there is an easement for a power line. The alley exists for ingress and egress only. During Fall Festival, the alley was used by these partiers for outdoor partying and public urination. Spicola asked the board if there was anything it could do to help him avoid this issue in the future.

The board and Village Constable Howard Gifford noted that all of these spaces are private property. Gifford said that as a property owner, Spicola is encouraged to call the police and file a formal complaint when problems such as this arise. The police then may respond and act accordingly. He also suggested that Spicola follow through with the property owners of the other buildings to address his concerns.

In regular board business, Department of Public Works Head Harold Morton reported that preparation and cleanup for Fall Festival went very smoothly from his department’s perspective. Throughout the month, DPW has been busy repairing water leaks and lines around the village and has identified leaks at several residences where repairs need to be made by the property owners.

Brogcinski asked how the village will handle ensuring that those repairs are made. Morton said the homeowners would be notified that leaks have been found and that they must have them repaired within 30 days. This applies only to leaks in pipes between the municipal shutoff to the house. It does not apply to indoor plumbing leaks.

Constable Gifford reported that, during the month of October, he had issued two vehicle/traffic summonses, made one arrest for disorderly conduct, responded to two noise complaints and issued nine parking tickets. During Fall Festival, he issued 10 open container citations, responded to pedestrian-related traffic obstructions, replied to requests for residential and business security checks, dealt with issues related to bus and limousine parking, and oversaw towing of vehicles parked on private property.

Village Engineer Mike Smith and his colleague from Nussbaumer & Clarke, Jim Campolong, reported on their progress investigating and documenting water leak issues throughout the village with the help of the DPW. Campolong said there has been “substantial” improvement in the water system as leaks have been repaired. By the end of the fourth quarter of 2013, he estimates that unaccounted for water use may drop by as much as 50 percent. Campolong also said Nussbaumer & Clarke is preparing a comprehensive map of water mains in the village for use by the DPW.

Special Events Committee Chair Patra Lowes said that the committee is scheduling a meeting to review its efforts to improve the 2013 Fall Festival. Committee member and board member Greg Cappelli commented that a lot of the rules and processes put in place this year worked, but the committee will work to tweak some of those processes next year.

Lowes asked if the village had been asked to provide extra help for the Beer and Wine Festival at Holiday Valley this weekend, Nov. 8-9. While the event is located at the resort, Friday and Saturday night’s participants typically come to the village afterwards. Constable Gifford said the village is not adding staff for the event, but that Holiday Valley security and the town police have been working together.

Under old business, Brogcinski asked if any progress has been made on the issue of the growing population of stray cats in the village — a problem that was introduced to the board by Betsy Peyser at its October meeting. Village Clerk Mary Klahn said that Peyser is getting estimates from organizations that will trap and spay/neuter the animals in order to help control their population growth and will present those figures to the board when they are complete.

Please note: The next meeting of the Village Board will be held on Monday, Dec. 9 a half-hour later than normal — at 6:30 p.m. The public hearing on the local law amendment was rescheduled for that date.