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Boston Town Board addresses concerns on Chestnut Lane

HAMBURG — “When people bring issues to the town board, we look into them, we do our due diligence on them [and] we make sure everything is done properly,” announced Boston Town Supervisor Martin Ballowe, at the completion of the town board’s Feb. 19 meeting. Ballowe was responding to multiple concerns brought to the board’s attention by resident Brian Burns, regarding issues on Chestnut Lane.

This was not the first time matters on this street were addressed at a town board meeting. The board looked into putting in a snowplow turnaround in June; that project had the unanimous consent of the board, but was ultimately scrapped, due to opposition from the neighbors. Instead, stop signs and safety ballards were put up, to help alleviate any issues. Burns said that he was awaiting answers from the board on two matters in particular.

“I would like to thank the town board for the decision not to further develop the area at [the] end of Chestnut Lane,” he began. “There are, however, other matters related to that subject that have not been addressed. The first of my concerns is the removal of all the trees on town property at the end of Chestnut Lane by [Highway Superintendent] Bob Telaak. Having attended the town board meeting in June and commenting on the questionable issue, it was suggested that the town board would look into the matter and get back to me with it. I have not received an answer about that yet.”

Ballowe countered, “You did ask me about the trees, and this whole board did agree, every single one of us, that we wanted a turnaround up there for the plows. It came to the board that you did not want a turnaround there. You didn’t want the land developed. Your neighbors came in; other people came in, so we said, ‘OK, no turnaround.’ You asked for ballards; we put up safety ballards there. You asked for stop signs; we put up stop signs there. So the matter was closed; done with. We stopped doing any work on it. We stopped filling it, we stopped cutting trees [and] we stopped everything. So that matter was closed for us.”

Ballowe said that he, the town attorney and some of the other board members looked into the matter. “We did discuss in our meeting that ... we wanted a turnaround,” he said. “It was on the board minutes.”

Burns stated a second concern as well, regarding snowplowing: “Approximately seven to nine years ago, the highway department paved an area to the right side of the private road Hillside at the end,” he said. “This was apparently done so that the snowplow could more easily push the snow to that side, so as to not obstruct my right-of-way to my property, which is a private road that I have a permanent easement to.”

He said that Telaak personally removed and damaged the area that the town had paved, when he built that house, “so it’s no longer currently the way that it was before. At the start of this winter season, the plow truck now pushes the snow all the way from the turn at the end of Hillside directly into the center of the end of that road, which accesses my property, blocking the right-of-way to my property, which I have an easement to. This not only obstructs my legal access to the property, but it causes a restriction to all emergency services in that area.”

In addition, Burns said that a town employee had “threatened [his] life.”

“I have always had the utmost respect for town employees, until this season,” he said. “My contention is that Bob Telaak appears to use his position as a venue for personal gain and to retaliate against any resident that disagrees with him or his decisions.”

Regarding the snowplowing, Ballowe said, “There’s 4 feet of snow at a time. We’re trying to put it where we can. Because the ballards are there, I don’t have many options, where we used to plow past the ballards and push it over. But I will do the best I can for you. I will make sure the people are respectful.”

He added, “Anybody who says that town employees threatened somebody, we take it very seriously, and I will be looking into that, being myself one of them who was threatened before, in the past. I make sure police reports are filed and records are taken, and we handle the matter from there.”

In other board matters:
– The board held a public hearing for a special use permit requested by Catherine Cherry-Myers for a bed-and-breakfast at her property. “I believe this endeavor will benefit the whole town of Boston by increasing tourism and stimulating growth for a broad spectrum of recreational and economic establishments,” Cherry-Myers said, in a letter to the board. “We are proud of Boston and want an opportunity to share the beauty of our town.”

Orchard Park resident John Solomon addressed the board, during the hearing. “It seems like [the board is] working really hard to have the neighbors to this property not know what the heck’s going on,” he said. It was announced that the only information that was not available to the board was the number of acres at the aforementioned property.

“There were 15 neighbors, including the applicant, that were informed of the project, so there were other neighbors who were informed,” Town Clerk Jennifer Mule’ said.

“I know it’s hard to believe, but I actually know that,” Solomon said.

“Then I don’t know how we’re not working hard,” Ballowe said. “Everybody’s notified who touches the property. We have a public hearing for getting people’s opinion, whether they’re for it or against it.”

Solomon asked multiple times about the “rezoning” (even though no rezoning is involved with the permit) and about the current zoning of the property, which Town Attorney Michael Kobiolka reported was R-2, which is for single families and allows bed-and-breakfast businesses, if a special use permit is granted. It was for this permit that the applicant applied.

Solomon also asked for the documents to which the councilmen referred, before admitting that he already had them and had read them “more than once.”

At the close of the public hearing, the board unanimously carried the special use permit for Cherry-Myers.

– The board approved the site plan by Lenny Ciolek for a cider mill project on Rice Road. “The proposed plan suggests a 6,000-square-foot retail center which will serve as both a farm market/retail center, as well as a sampling/hospitality room,” Ciolek said, in a letter. “Our intentions are to make the cider mill extremely visual and inviting, with tremendous curb appeal. The investment will be substantial and is budgeted at $2 million for capital costs and resources.

“The mill will provide additional tax revenue to the town, while creating a ‘show place’ for the town to be proud of,” he added.

The next meeting of the Boston Town Board is scheduled for 7:30 p.m. on Wednesday, March 5 at the Boston Town Hall, located at 8500 Boston State Road in Boston.

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