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Hamburg town board discusses railroad quiet zones

A quiet zone was established on Cloverbank Road (above) and Rogers Road. Other village locales now want the same.
HAMBURG — The issue of railroad quiet zones has been a frequently discussed matter at Hamburg town board meetings this year, and the Aug. 11 meeting was no exception. Citizens in the town of Hamburg would like to see at least a couple more quiet zones established in the town, especially following the success of the one recently established at Cloverbank and Rogers Roads. Both Supervisor Steven Walters and Councilman Michael Quinn gave an update on the railroads during the meeting and allowed public comment on the issue. In his comments, Walters stated that he was negotiating with Erie County and was scheduled to meet with the county again on Aug. 12.

“The county initially wanted us to take ownership of sections of both Pleasant Avenue and Lakeview Road,” said Walters. “We found that unacceptable and asked for a meeting with the county, to come up with some type of compromise. The county’s compromise was to more than double the amount of roadway they want us to take over. That’s where it stands. Hopefully, the county will drastically scale back what their last demands were, but we’re going to keep everyone updated on that, certainly.”

Because of these difficulties in negotiating, the town has had “a little bit of a problem” with getting the railroad issue on the agenda, according to Quinn. “I’m supposed to be on the committee,” said Quinn, “but [the supervisor is] dealing with the negotiations with the county.

“I would be more than happy to get involved with all this and put a little extra pressure on,” Quinn continued, “but it’s kind of hard with this open-meeting law: other than us sitting up here, we’d have to call a meeting, unless we call the county personnel up here to answer to all of us, while we sit here.”

The two representatives discussed the possibility of a petition, which the public brought forth, at a recent town meeting.

“We’ve put a few different options on the table that we thought were at least good starting points for a compromise,” said Walters. He later explained, “We’re moving forward very cautiously because we don’t want to, all of a sudden, find ourselves with an extra 10 miles or so of roadway. That would really hit the highway budget pretty hard. We’re proceeding, we’re proceeding cautiously and we’ll continue to proceed.”

While on the subject of the quiet zones, Town Engineer Jerry Kapsiak stated that train crews have been reminded to “remain in compliance” with the quiet zones, clarifying that trains will sometimes still sound their horn in instances where there is a stopped train on the track or an animal or person is spotted near the track.

In other board matters:

– The board scheduled public hearings on the issuance of $650,000 and $1,900,000 “obligations” by Woodlawn Volunteer Fire Company and Big Tree Volunteer Fire Company Inc., respectively. The purpose for these obligations is “to finance the cost of the renovation of the [respective fire halls].” Both hearings were slated for 7 p.m. on Monday, Sept. 8.

“The [companies] will be here on the 8th to make a full presentation,” said Walters. “They gave a presentation to the town board at the work session before the meeting, and that was just to request the calling of this public hearing. They have provided us with quite a bit of information about what they’re proposing to do, how they’re proposing to do it and why they’re proposing to do it.”

– Tracey Avenue, which, as Walters explained, is a “paper street,” was officially abandoned by the town of Hamburg, having “not been opened or worked for more than six years and [having] not been traveled or [having] been abandoned by the public.” The determination was presented by Superintendent of Highways Thomas Best. The town will, in turn, give the parcel over to the Hamburg New York Land Development Corporation.

– The town of Hamburg entered a Private Fire Protection Contract with Erie County Water Authority for the Hamburg Senior Community Center on Southwestern Boulevard.

– The board presented recommendations for amendments to the zoning map of the town, “based on conformance to the Comprehensive Plan, implementing recommendations of the Comprehensive Plan and resolving site specific issues and problems.” These recommendations were made by the Hamburg Code Review Committee, which “evaluates issues and complaints made concerning the town’s codes and the town’s zoning map and assists with the implementation [of] the town’s comprehensive plan.”

HCRC proposed to “rezone 5769 South Park Avenue from M-1, Industrial Park-Research and Development, to NC, Neighborhood Commercial District” and “rezone 5661 Camp Road from M-2, Light Industrial District, to C-2, General Commercial District, and the rear portion of 5543 Scranton Road currently zoned M-2 to R-3, Multifamily District, and a portion of the vacant parcel from M-2 to R-3.”

Also, the following locations are proposed to be rezoned to PR, Park/Recreation Lands District: 4420 Lakeshore Road (currently R-1, Single Family Residence District), parcels of North Creek Road (R-A, Residential Agricultural District), 6374 Boston State Road (R-A and R-3), 6765 Taylor Road (R-A) and 2982 Lakeview Road (R-A).

In order to move forward with the recommendations, the board scheduled a public hearing for Monday, Sept. 22 at 7 p.m.

– On that date, the board will hold a public hearing on one other item, as well. A few amendments to the Hamburg Town Code were made by HCRC, including Article XLIV “by adding a new section entitled, ‘Landscaping Installation Certification,’” Chapter 230, Subdivision of Land, under Article VI: Final Plan Requirements, “by adding a new item, ‘G,’” adding a new chapter entitled “Plowing” and “by adding a new paragraph E, which is entitled, ‘Screening and Location Requirements for Dumpsters and Refuse Containers, Service and Parking Lots’” to section 280-277.

HCRC proposed amendments to the zoning map as well, including changes to a chapter entitled “Conservation Easement Law of the Town of Hamburg, New York,” and adding sections regarding “access management,” “landscaping” and “architectural standards” to the zoning map. Also, HCRC is looking to delete several articles relating to “overlay districts” in favor of a new article to be titled, “Southern Hamburg Overlay District.” These recommendations will not be a subject during the upcoming public hearing but, rather, were referred to the Hamburg Planning Board “for review and recommendation.”

– The issue of signage was once again on the agenda, and the board decided to refer some amendments to “existing signage regulations” to the planning board.

– The Erie County Fair was issued a proclamation in honor of it’s 175th year of operation.

The next meeting of the town of Hamburg board is scheduled for Sept. 8 at the Hamburg Town Hall, located at 6100 S. Park Ave. The meeting will begin at 7 p.m.


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