Niagara Gazette

April 15, 2014

Wheatfield Lakes rezoning approved by board

by Mia Summerson
Niagara Gazette

WHEATFIELD — For the first time in a while, the Quasar Energy Group controversy was not on the table when the Wheatfield Town Board sat down for a regular meeting on Monday evening.

The hot-button issue in the town has been the possible installation of a five-million gallon tank containing a fertilizer called equate, which would be used at local farms and stored at the Quasar facility on Liberty Drive.

While a public hearing was scheduled to work on the issue before the board’s next regular meeting, another community matter resurfaced this week. On March 10, a public hearing was held to discuss changes to be made to the Wheatfield Lakes community.

“We’re trying amend town law,” said Chuck Malcomb, representing Ryan Homes. “It would allow for residents in the Villas (at Wheatfield Lakes) to have bigger backyards and fences.”

Originally, according to Malcomb, 79 lots were being looked at for this amendment, now that number has been reduced to 70. The backyard expansion, which will impact only existing homes and not undeveloped land, still meets the 25 percent rule requiring the community to have a certain amount of open space.

A motion was made by Supervisor Robert Cliffe, seconded by Councilman Art Gerbec, to issue a negative declaration to SEQR based on the information presented to them. The impact to Wheatfield Lakes residents and the environment would be minimal as a result of the rezoning. A motion to approve the actual rezoning was also passed.

“We’ve made significant improvements to the existing plans by making the development less dense, removing the cul-de-sac and adding a recreational walking trail,” Malcomb explained.

The rest of the meeting was routine, the board approved a bill payment of $583,644.21. Other motions were approved to fix a water line on Lancelot Drive and to award a contract for repairs at the youth center, which had been the victim of vandalism.

Additionally, a motion was approved to retain Matrix Environmental Technologies, Inc. The company would serve as environmental consultants to the town. Cliffe said they will provide assistance and advice to the town regarding environmental protection and they will attend meeting and serve as experts on the town’s behalf.

This will probably come in handy other the course of the next few weeks as the board addresses the Quasar issue. Though it was not on Monday night’s agenda, the topic did come up during the final public input period at the end of the meeting.

One resident questioned the total production outcome of equate each year that would justify the proposed five-million gallon tank.

The public hearing that will take place before the Wheatfield Town Board’s next meeting will discuss the possibility of a moratorium to essentially put the matter on the back burner while a revision is made to the town’s solid waste and recycling law.

The hearing is scheduled for 7 p.m. April 28 with a regular meeting to immediately follow.