Board Addresses Noise Pollution

By Jann Wiswall

Weather was the hot topic of discussion at the Town of Ellicottville’s board meeting on Wednesday, July 15, following the previous day’s torrential rains that dumped five or more inches of water on the area.

Town Supervisor John Burrell reported that the fire department had 11 call-outs on Tuesday evening about roads that were flooded or washed out.

Highway Superintendent Loyd Hovey said that Coon Road had been closed due to a serious washout and Cotter, Jackman Hill, Canada Hill, and Town Line roads all had significant damage. Burrell also noted that Rt. 219 near Tim Horton’s had been closed briefly due to flooding as well.

Ellicottville resident Dick Young attended the meeting to report damage on Horn Hill Road, where huge rocks from private property were carried downhill from the force of the rains.

Hovey said that most of these roads will be drivable within a few days, barring additional rains, but that the damage may well cost close to $400,000 for longer-term repairs. He said the County has asked all municipalities to report back on estimated damages; depending on the total, the County may be able to request federal aid.

Meanwhile, the heavy rains all spring and summer have brought a number of other drainage issues to the attention of Hovey and Town Engineer Mark Alianello. Poorly constructed driveways in several areas are sending water onto town roads and causing damage to municipal and private property.

The weather has slowed construction of the Holiday Valley Road project to a crawl, Alianello said. The new target completion date is sometime in September.

And Tuesday’s rains caused some drainage issues at the town’s East Tank property, which will be corrected.

Sommerville Valley road repairs also have been slowed by the weather, though work will continue and drivers should be aware of lane closures.

In all, Hovey estimates it will take “months and months” to get all the repairs done.

In other business, Burrell reported that the towns of Ellicottville and Mansfield are working on creating a fire district that would allow the Ellicottville Fire Department to cover areas of Mansfield that abut Ellicottville. The Ellicottville fire department is larger and physically closer to these areas and, therefore, is able to respond more quickly to fires and other emergencies. The towns and fire commissioners are working now to determine how costs will be shared.

Tracy Stokes, who serves as deputy town clerk as well as the summer youth recreation director, reported that the Summer Park Program is serving some 100 children this year. Some days, as many as 40 children participate.

Due to lack of applicants for swim instructor jobs, swimming lessons are not being offered this year. The board discussed some options that would attract instructors for next summer.

Alianello reported that a final inspection of the State DOT sidewalk project along Rt. 242 is being conducted next week. The project also included improvements to Village pedestrian ramps at numerous intersections and widening the Fillmore Dr./Rt. 219 intersection. Burrell added that a ribbon cutting ceremony is being planned for later this summer.

Under the heading of “Old Business,” a board committee has been looking at revising the town’s noise ordinance local law, which was written in 1985, and updated the rest of the board and town resident Cheri Giancarlo on its progress. The challenge has been to determine how to strengthen the existing law to ensure that residents are not subjected to long-term noise pollution from industry or agricultural activities.

Giancarlo brought the issue to the board’s attention in January after years of logging activity on a neighbor’s property had become unbearable. She asked the board if anything could be done to control the noise that she said is threatening her health.

The board committee has been looking at legal implications, property owners’ rights and enforcement options within the confines of its jurisdiction and zoning laws.

Also during the meeting, a public hearing was held to allow public comment on the board’s proposed Local Alarm Law. No one from the public was present to comment, but the board was expecting a letter from a resident. After closing the public hearing at the end of the meeting, the board opted to delay a vote on the law until its August meeting.  The draft law is available for the public’s review at the town clerk’s office.

The next meeting of the town of Ellicottville’s board will be held on Wednesday, August 19 at 6 p.m. at the town/village hall.