Niagara Gazette

November 26, 2013

Lewiston subdivision talk: New plan sought for Riverwalk

By Timothy Chipp
Niagara Gazette

LEWISTON — A pair of subdivisions garnered attention from the Lewiston Town Board Monday. The attention, though, wasn't exactly what residents of one of them wanted.

Residents of the Lewiston Riverwalk homes along Lower River and Pletcher roads in the town's north end were again told a plan to alleviate a long-mishandled standing water issue has changed.

Highway Superintendent Doug Janese said he's still not impressed with the direction the town is going with the project and proposed bringing in another set or two of eyes to have a look and create a solution the town can actually perform.

"I would like to get one or two site contractors to come in and take a look to see what needs to be done," Janese told the five-member board during its latest meeting.

"All I want to do is do it once and do it right."

This request comes on the heels of just the latest plan created by town engineers with regards to the water not draining from an area of the subdivision affecting the lives of multiple residents in the area. In 2013 alone, the town board has heard three entirely different plans proposed with Janese telling it the third and latest one has flaws as well.

The first failed plan this year involved running drainage pipe from the land in question to a county pipe running along Lower River Road. The second failure called for a rain garden to be installed, which would only partially cure the ills of the residents.

The latest plan, proposed by town engineer Ryan Smith, calls for pipe to once again be used to eliminate the water. Janese, also the drainage department chief, said he has problems with the type of pipe required to make it work.

"This latest pipe looks good on paper," he said. "But I did some research on it and ... it's a flat pipe that develops silt buildup and it can't be cleaned."

Smith, though, fired back at Janese, claiming the pipe is used in several water-sensitive projects in the state and, contrary to what the highway department head said, can be cleaned.  

Janese and Deputy Supervisor Gary Catlin said they'd take a look at the plans and come to a decision on the matter in order to determine the next step.

While those residents heard some more proposals to help fix a problem, one of the town's longstanding proposed subdivisions was given some better news.

Dominic Massaro, a Lewiston developer looking to build the Legacy Drive subdivision, was granted approval on a key aspect of his project necessary to finally bring residents into his homes.

The board approved the dedication of Legacy Drive, the road itself, with contingencies calling for additional work Massaro's attorney Charles Ritter said could be completed with money set aside in escrow.

It's a step town consulting attorney Michael Dowd said is necessary in the process.

"The town has to dedicate the road by deed," he said. "The town won't do it until everything is properly done. We wanted to make sure the loose ends are taken care of. If the road's not dedicated, he can't have people move into the homes."

As board members appeared uncertain whether to approve the request, even with the contingencies, which included installing proper road signage, a test of a sewer line for blockage and the installation of sidewalks called for in the original site plan approved by the town when the project was first proposed almost a decade ago, Ritter and Massaro said they could easily meet the requirements.

Ritter said one of the biggest question marks, concerning a stone access road installed for emergencies, is covered under a memorandum of understanding with the town and would be paved as part of the final completed development. Massaro added the road isn't even time-effective for any emergency vehicles to use as it would add three to four minutes of driving opposed to using Legacy Drive to gain entry during any trouble situations.

In all, the approval helped push the project, which has gotten caught up in legal proceedings, along.

"This project has had a bit of a (bad) history," Ritter told the board. "We're not trying to cut any corners here. At this pint, this is like a living, breathing thing."

"As things stand now, my company stands to lose more than a million dollars if we can't get people in those houses by January," Massaro said, adding he lives just blocks away from his subdivision, a community he's called home for 20 years.