HAMBURG — Hamburg Town Engineer Jerry Kapsiak saw the fruit of his labor on June 24. At 12:01 a.m., the railroad quiet zone at the intersection of Rogers and Cloverbanks Roads took effect, resulting in a quieter night for nearby residents. The change was announced at the Hamburg town board on June 23.
“At that time, the train horns are not to be sounded at those crossings except in situations where some sort of danger is observed by the crew on or near the tracks,” said Kapsiak. “That shouldn’t be often, but if that does happen, you will still hear the horn. There might still be some train engineers who haven’t quite gotten the message or haven’t gotten used to it yet and might accidentally blow it, so be patient for a few days, if you still hear a few horns.
“It should be good to go, as of tonight,” he continued, “and we’ve got some good positive coverage of it in the Buffalo News and the Hamburg Sun, so much so that I’m getting calls from residents and officials from other communities saying, ‘How’d you go about it?’”
Kapsiak added, “It’s taken up quite a bit of my time, and a few other projects have had to get put off to the side because of it.”
Kapsiak now looks to begin a new project at another crossing, in the near future. Intersections that are likely candidates include Pleasant Avenue, Northcreek Road and Bayview Drive.
“In regard to extending the project to other crossings,” the engineer said, “we have scheduled a meeting with the county highway department that Superintendent [Tom] Best and Supervisor [Steven] Walters will be attending with me, later this week, to discuss possible options for undertaking installations at locations that are along county highways. It appears we’ll have sufficient funding remaining in the federal grant we have to do at least two more of the crossings.”
Councilman Mike Quinn asked specifically about the viability of a quiet zone at Pleasant Avenue, which was supported by at least three residents who spoke up from the floor. Kapsiak said, “In the past [the county has] told us the only option is if the town takes over the road, which the town superintendent has been resistant toward, up until now, so hopefully there’ll be other options that can be discussed at this meeting, later this week.” This meeting was scheduled for June 26 at 1:15 p.m.
The necessity for the town to take over the road is due to liability issues, noted Kapsiak. He explained, “They don’t want to have the liability or maintenance associated with having dividers put into the middle of the road. They consider it a potential liability. That’s what they’ve told us, at least.”
In other board matters:
– Deputy Superintendent Amy Ziegler, sitting in for the absent Walters, extended public gratitude to Jennifer Kosmowski, head of the department of domestic violence, and to the Hamburg Police Department. Ziegler said, “We got a very, very positive letter from a woman who availed herself of those services. Just know that the services offered in this town are really second to none. With the heartfelt thanks of this community, you really are doing a tremendous job.”
– Ziegler also reported on Woodlawn Beach, which is reporting all-time high numbers. “There was a record attendance day yesterday [June 22],” Ziegler said. “There were close to 1,500 cars that passed through the gates yesterday. With those numbers, with a week to go in June, we have tremendously surpassed the numbers of June 2013. I know it’s a lot of work. I want to thank the staff and all those involved in the tremendous running of the beach.”
– In an effort to benefit both communities, the towns of Hamburg and Eden entered an inter-municipal agreement for the services of a code enforcement officer. “The town of Eden employs one part-time building inspector/code enforcement officer,” explained Councilman Mike Quinn, in a resolution. “[This] building inspector/code enforcement officer may be unavailable to perform said duties, from time to time,” Quinn continued. “[Since] a situation may arise where either municipality may need the assistance of the other municipality’s code enforcement officer [and] the town of Hamburg and the town of Eden wish to enter into a mutual aid agreement, relative to New York State Code Enforcement Inspections and other services relating to New York state uniform code and local zoning codes, [this board resolves to] enter into an agreement with the town of Eden for such mutual aid and assistance.” As part of the resolution, each town holds the right to cancel the agreement with 90 days advanced written notice.
– A first amendatory agreement was enacted by Supervisor Steven Walters to the town’s June 5, 2002 cooperation agreement with Erie County “as it pertains to forming a consortium for the [Housing Opportunities Made Equal] Investment Partnership Program.” This agreement contains “the automatic renewal provisions for successive, three-year qualification periods as so required by [the United States Department of Housing and Urban Development].”
– The board adopted the Town of Hamburg Workplace Violence Prevention Statement Policy and Incident Reporting.
“The town of Hamburg is committed to the safety and security of all employees,” said Quinn. The policy states that it “is designed to meet the requirements of New York State Labor Law 27b and highlights some of the elements that are found within our Workplace Violence Prevention Program.”
This process includes workplace evaluations, including “a committee made up of management and authorized employee representatives.” In addition, an annual training program will be made mandatory for all employees.
“The goal of this policy is to promote the safety and well-being of all people in our workplace,” the policy stated. “All incidents of violence or threatening behavior will be responded to, immediately upon notification.”
– The board scheduled a public hearing for July 14 to discuss the rezoning request by Braymiller Market to rezone almost half of the land from Residential-Agricultural district to Neighborhood Commercial General Residence district.
The need for the rezoning is “in order to bring the market into compliance with the town code. After review of the application, the code review committee “found merit” in the project, which action was followed by the town board’s referral to the planning board.
A public hearing has been necessitated, since the planning board’s positive recommendation on the rezoning, given on June 18. The property is located at 6936 Gowanda State Road.
– A request by Glenn Wetzl, a Hamburg resident, to rezone vacant land on the northeast corner of Boston State Road and McKinley Parkway from R-A district to Planned Residential Development district was referred to the planning board “for its review and recommendation.”
The CRC was unable to agree on moving ahead with the proposal for the 29.29-acre parcel, despite several meetings with Wetzl.
– Brad Rybczynski was appointed to a seven-year term on the town zoning board of appeals. His term concludes on Dec. 31, 2021.
The next meeting of the Hamburg town board is on July 14 at 7 p. m. The board will convene at the Hamburg Town Hall, which is located at 6100 S. Park Ave. in Hamburg.