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Boston places six-month moratorium on permits for illuminated signage

BOSTON — The consensus during a public hearing at the most recent Boston Town Board meeting was to consider the vision of the town of Boston and make sure nothing is done to alter that perception.

When the board met on Jan. 22, two residents spoke up in support of local law No. 1 of the year, which is “a local law for the moratorium on the issuance of permits for illuminated signage in the town of Boston.”

That resolution was made, due to the fact that “current illuminated signage for businesses in the town of Boston is having an unprecedented impact on the quality of life in the community,” as noted in the resolution.

Paul Ziarnowski said he remembered visiting the town as a child, to “see the leaves, enjoy the scenery and go to the cider mill.

“Little did I know,” he said, “that decades later, and in my wildest dreams, that I’d be living out here. I look back at that and I thank [former town supervisors] who ... had the foresight and had the gumption to pass codes and enforce codes and to have a vision for what this town is supposed to be.”

He explained that he and his family moved to Boston because “the town had a feel; the town had a charisma; the town had an identity, and I would hope that that identity could be maintained throughout, and I put it upon this board, and other boards in town, to get together and just say, ‘Look, there are some things that maybe aren’t right. There are some things that might be misinterpreted in the code. There are some things that aren’t enforced the way some people think they should be enforced, and other people think they’re just fine.’”

Ziarnowski said that he supports the moratorium, until a conclusion can be reached.

Fellow Boston resident Jim Gastle, who has lived in the area for more than 30 years, said that Boston has a “flavor.” He encouraged local officials and enforcement to “look at what we have here, because new technology is causing issues where you may agree or disagree, but we have to all look at it because the outside is Times Square in New York or something, with less light pollution; something we can all live with; something that’s aesthetically pleasing.”

The board voted unanimously in favor of passing the six-month moratorium, noting that the board can move to extend that time period at a later date.

In other board news:
– Councilman Jay Boardway announced that the town will be sharing services with the town of Hamburg Baseball League, due to the fact that recent years have demonstrated a lack of volunteer effort for the former Boston Youth Baseball League.

“This is a win-win situation ... for both towns,” he said. “The main purpose and the main focus we have up here is looking out for our youth, here in our town. We still want to provide these fields [and] we still want to provide baseball and the ability to play baseball to our kids.”

The merger will allow Boston to use its own areas as home fields. “We have been told we have the best fields in the Southtowns to play baseball on,” Boardway said. “We’re going to keep it that way.”

He added, “I want to thank Josh Haeick [recreation director of the village of Hamburg]. He’s been key in all of this and making it happen. But, more importantly, Scott Overhoff. [He] has been the president and director of the Boston Baseball League for the last few years. He’s done a fantastic job, has tried to keep this league going the best he could, has kept the town informed. Scott has dedicated hours and hours of his time, his efforts, probably his money also and personal expenses, to keep this league going as well as it did, and he was very, very involved in putting this package together.”

– Due to a recent statement by New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo that “extreme conservatives have no place in the state of New York,” Boardway called for either an apology from the elected official or resignation, saying that Cuomo’s statement “just offends the life right out of me.”

Boardway said, “Murdering unborn children, obviously, in my opinion, is unacceptable. Carrying a gun? That is my right. My Second Amendment right, because my Constitution says so. And believing that marriage is between a man and a woman is also my opinion, and that is because my Bible says so.”

– A public hearing regarding the special permit for a proposed bed and breakfast at 6405 Ward Road was scheduled for Feb. 19.

– The board approved the contract for Grant Consultant Connie Miner; the contract was tabled at the last board meeting. Councilman Jeff Genzel explained, “She had requested a raise from her $15,000 a year. This board felt that, with requests for raises, you come at budget time, so we asked her to revise her contract back to the $15,000 budget coming up. This year, we’ll look at a raise based on performance. She’s worked under numerous supervisors and town boards. I’ve had the pleasure of working with her for the last four years.”

– Genzel provided an update on the water district extension on West Hill, including a meeting that was recently held. Genzel reported, “Connie Minor was here. Jim Hannon was here. We had a ... full room of residents. The consensus was that a lot of people up there want public water. So we sent out an income survey. Everybody got it. We’re getting the results back. We need about 160 replies so that we can utilize that information and go for grants, loans – find funding of any type out there from the government, the county or borrow it, to get some of these people some public water.

– The board approved the reappointment of David Stringfellow to the planning board for a term that will expire on Feb. 1, 2021. “Mr. Stringfellow has actually served us quite well for quite a long time,” Boardway said. “We are more than pleased and quite happy, actually, that he agrees to stay on with us.”

The next board meeting will be held at 7:30 p.m. on Wednesday, Feb. 5 at the Boston Town Hall.
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