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Infrastructure updates being considered for Schoolview Road in Eden

A number of infrastructure improvements being considered for Schoolview Road in Eden will make the road safer and improve water quality for area residents.

At an Eden Town Board meeting Wednesday (Feb. 13), the board resolved to send a letter of authorization to National Grid to request improvements to street lighting on the road, which provides access to the three schools in the Eden Central School District. They also listened to a presentation about improvements to a decades-old waterline along Schoolview Road and set a public hearing to solicit comments from residents on the proposed project.

The streetlight issue has been a large topic of conversation among many groups within the town during the past few months. Poor lighting was cited as a contributing factor to a December accident that sent an Eden Junior/Senior High School student to the hospital with minor injuries. Other incidents included multiple cars being pulled over by police for driving through the crosswalk while a pedestrian was crossing. In many cases, drivers told police that they couldn’t see the pedestrian. “It was one of the things brought up [in meetings], the visibility issue,” said Councilman Fran McLaughlin.

A petition submitted from citizens led to multiple meetings between the town, the school board and citizen groups to address concerns related to poor lighting. Among these were included an existing streetlight near the high school crosswalk that flickers on and off, and only gives off a weak light while on. Town officials will ask National Grid for an upgrade from a 100-watt streetlight to a 400-watt streetlight, at an annual cost increase of $138.

The board also heard a proposal from Stephen Waldvogel, an engineer for the town, about a proposed project for Schoolview Road waterline upgrades. The aging waterline, which is about 80-years-old, has a history of water main breaks and sometimes delivers brackish water to homes. During a recent break, Erie County Water Authority officials found excessive pipe corrosion, which has caused water discolorations.

The maximum estimated cost of a project to replace the waterline along Schoolview Road is $640,000, according to Waldvogel. The town would finance the cost with a 30-year bond, given a maximum interest rate of 3 percent financing. The town resolved to conduct an environmental quality review, required by state law before such projects can be approved. The town expects a negative declaration for the review, which means that the project will not adversely affect the environment, especially as the project is for the replacement of an existing pipe. The board also set an official public hearing to solicit comments from residents at 8 p.m. during its March 13 meeting, it’s first meeting next month.

In other business, the board:

• Resolved to petition the state to reduce the speed limit for three sections on East Eden Road near Eckhardt Road. Traveling south to Eden from Hamburg on East Eden Road, the speed limit increases from 35 mph to 45 mph just before a tight turn leading up to the intersection at Eckhardt Road. The combination of increased speed and the tight turn has led to many accidents in recent years, including some fatalities.

The town wants to post lower speeds on two speed limit signs north of Eckhardt, and one just south of the intersection, reducing speeds from 45 mph to 35 mph. As Eden is considered a town of the second class, a classification based on population, it must petition the state for the change.

• Held a public hearing on scheduled fee changes for all town permits. Without any concerns raised by citizens, the board adopted the fee changes. Changes were based on current fee schedules for neighboring towns (Evans and Hamburg) as well as other towns similar in size (Boston and Newstead). Most permit fees stayed the same.

Although he voted for the local law, Councilman Edward Krycia said that the town should look at the code book again to clear up some problems he saw with permit definitions.

He cited specific examples, including the $75 fee for accessory structures on residences, which technically includes a satellite TV dish.

“I can’t imagine anyone pays a fee for this,” Krycia said.

The board’s next scheduled meeting is at 7:30 p.m. on Wednesday, Feb. 27.
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