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August 30, 2012 - 4:41pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in batavia, Chad Zambito, Batavia Town Board.

The Batavian received a reply from the City of Batavia today on its FOIL request regarding the loan that Chad Zambito received through the Batavia Development Corp. for his business, Grammy's Laundry, which is set for an asset auction Sept. 4.

Answers to key questions:

  • Date loan approved: Conditional approval, May 2010
  • Amount of initial loan: $20,000
  • Purpose of the loan: working capital/equipment
  • Amount still owed on the loan: The pay off is $14,532.15
  • Date of last payment: July 3

Zambito also owes money to the Bank of Castile. He said previously that his total debt is less than $20,000 and he expects the asset auction to raise enough money to satisfy both debts.

Previously: Business owned by Chad Zambito closed, assets up for auction to pay debts

August 30, 2012 - 3:14pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in business, thebatavian.

Public notices: they’re paid for by taxpayer funds, created by public employees, intended for wide public distribution, but publication is dictated by a monopolistic government subsidy for newspapers.

It’s a law I and every other independent online publisher in New York State would like to change.

When I last wrote about this issue, a guy who has created a national public notices Web site contacted me and told me he was already compiling all of the public notices available online for Genesee County. For the simple price of sending him over our logo, he would provide a link where visitors to The Batavian could go and view public notices in a user-friendly fashion.

He wants to work with independent publishers to help prove online-only publications are just as capable of handling public notices as print publications, so he was offering the service for free.

The Batavia Daily News, under the current law, is the carrier of most paid public notices in Genesee County.

Since the notices originate not from the Daily, but from public agencies, it was our belief the notices are public property and not proprietary to the Daily. Besides, the only action The Batavian was taking was providing a link to a third-party Web site for the benefit of readers.

Now, months after we provided the link, the parent corporation of the Batavia Daily News, has decided to take a different view.

A few days ago, I received a “cease and desist” email from John B. Johnson, an executive with the chain of newspapers that owns the Daily.

The note was cordial, but also asserted legal authority to require us to stop posting public notices that originated from the Daily.

The note accused The Batavian of “copying” notices from, which was a factually untrue statement. As I noted in a reply to Johnson, the service was provided by a third party for which The Batavian has no contractual relationship and no monetary interest.

The assertion that The Batavian was violating the Daily’s copyright of notices also flies in the face of case law that substantiates the idea that a newspaper cannot claim copyright on material that it did not create. Since public employees create public notices, the notices are public property.

And besides, since no advertising appeared on the third-party’s public notice page, and since print publication of public notices is an income stream protected – a monopoly subsidy -- for newspapers courtesy of the State Legislature, the Johnson Newspaper chain cannot establish an important element of any assertion of copyright violation: financial loss as a result of the use of the material.

All that said, the Johnsons can afford corporate lawyers and The Batavian, still a small, family owned start-up, cannot. When you factor in that there is no monetary benefit to The Batavian for providing the free public service of increasing access to public notices, the risk-reward equation for challenging the newspaper chain’s claims falls well short on the reward side.

There’s just no point in fighting the corporation’s claims. 

But we want to continue to provide the service.

The owners of the third party Web site, at no charge to The Batavian, have graciously agreed to start accepting public notices directly from town, village and city clerks along with the agents of every other public entity in Genesee County that create public notices.

Such agencies can now email those notices to (notices at the batavian dot com) (reformat that address into a proper email address, of course).

I’ve already been in touch with about a half dozen town clerks and all cheerfully agreed to start sending their notices directly to this email address.

While the service is free to the public agencies and won’t cost taxpayers a dime, it is no substitute – under current law – for an agency’s legal requirements to publish public notices in a newspaper that has been designated by state law to publish such notices.

While we wish our friends at Johnson Newspapers well in their effort to protect a business model that is being disrupted from a variety of competitive forces, we believe public notices should not be a State Legislature-sanctioned monopoly subsidy for print publications.

In this day and age, public notices should be widely available to the public, and publications other than strictly print should be able to compete for the business of providing verified, legal publication. We will continue to encourage lawmakers to change the law.

August 30, 2012 - 2:13pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in accident, Le Roy.

A 31-year-old driver from Le Roy suffered minor injuries Wednesday night after his car hit a utility pole, mailbox and a parked car on Route 5 at York Road.

No citations are listed on the accident report, but Christopher L. Hyde, of Church Street, reportedly failed to stop at a stop sign when coming off northbound York Road.

His vehicle traveled through the intersection and struck the pole, mailbox and a car parked in the driveway of the residence at 8523 E. Main Road.

The accident was reported at 8:18 p.m.

Hyde was transported to UMMC with non-life-threatening injuries.

The accident was investigated by Deputy Kevin McCarthy.

August 30, 2012 - 2:08pm
posted by Billie Owens in Announcements, Le Roy, le roy nursery school.

Le Roy Nursery School will hold a parents' information and registration night beginning at 7 p.m. on Thursday, Sept. 6.

The school is located in the lower level of the First Presbyterian Church, 7 Clay St., in the Village of Le Roy.

Pre-K Classes offered are:

9 to 11:20 a.m. OR  12:30 to 2:50 p.m. on Monday, Wednesday and Friday

Nursery School Classes offered are:

9 to 11:20 a.m. OR 12:30 to 2:50 p.m. on Tuesday and Thursday

  • 5-day program available
  • Early drop-off & late pick-up available
  • Flexible hours
  • Highly qualified teachers

For registration questions, please call Stacy Gabbey, registrar, at 734-5824.
Visit us online at:

August 30, 2012 - 2:01pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in batavia, crime, Oakfield, Darien, Le Roy, Pavilion.

Kyle W. Nash, 25, of 7 Myrtle St., Le Roy, is charged with DWI, driving with a BAC of .08 or greater and felony aggravated unlicensed operation. Nash was involved in a motor vehicle accident Tuesday night in the area of 76 North St., Le Roy. Nash was reportedly looking for an item inside the vehicle and his car veered to the right and struck the rear of a tractor-trailer parked alongside the roadway. Two passengers in the vehicle were transported to area hospitals with non-life-threatening injuries. Following arraignment, Nash was jailed on $5,000 bail.

David Bruce Piechowicz, 36, Eagan Drive, Lackawanna, is charged with trespass. Piechowicz allegedly went to the home of his ex-girlfriend after being told to stay away.

James J. Angelo, 48, of Churchville, is charged with DWI and driving with a BAC of .08 or greater. Angelo was stopped by State Police on Route 77 in the Town of Darien at 12:05 a.m., today.

Reuben L. Bumpus, 29, of Newark, is charged with DWI and driving with a BAC of .08. Bumpus was stopped by State Police in the City of Batavia, at 12:35 a.m., today.

Walter L. Knickerbocker, 54, of South Street, Pavilion, is charged with unlawful growing of cannabis. Knickerbocker was arrested by State Police at 12:45 p.m., Tuesday. No further details were released.

A 14-year-old from Albion is charged with petit larceny after being arrested by State Police for allegedly shoplifting at Kmart on Tuesday. No further details were released.

Kelvin B. Murphy, 39, of Batavia, is charged with criminal trespass, 2nd, and second-degree harassment/physical contact. Murphy was arrested by State Police Tuesday for an alleged incident reported at 1:01 a.m. in Oakfield. He was ordered held in jail, no bail information given in the report. No further details released.

August 30, 2012 - 9:57am
posted by Howard B. Owens in crime, darien lake, Darien.

The following people were arrested Wednesday by the Sheriff's Office during the Uproar Rockstar Energy Drink Concert at Darien Lake Performing Arts Center.

(Redacted upon request), 44, of Owens Street, Corning, is charged with trespass after allegedly refusing to leave the concert venue after being told to leave several times. xxxx was arraigned in Darien Town Court and remanded to jail in lieu of $100 bail.

Tyler W. Seneca, 27, of Route 438, Irving, is charged with disorderly conduct and resisting arrest after allegedly throwing items at deputies and physically refusing to be taken into custody. Seneca was arraigned in Darien Town Court and remanded to jail in lieu of $500 bail.

Deanna L. Russo, 39, of Lake Road, Webster, is charged with harassment, 2nd, and three counts of criminal possession of a controlled substance, 7th, after allegedly striking a security guard while being ejected from the venue and was then found to have possessed a quantity of three different controlled prescription drugs. Russo was arraigned in Darien Town Court and remanded to jail with no bail.

Gregory J. Brown, 35, of Louth Street, St. Catherines, Ontario, Canada, is charged with DWI and with a BAC of .08 or greater after allegedly operating a motor vehicle while intoxicated on a public walkway outside the concert venue. Brown was arraigned in Darien Town Court and remanded to jail in lieu of $250 bail.

Jeffrey J. Logal, 30 of Virgil Avenue, Buffalo, is charged with harassment, 2nd, after allegedly pushing and then grabbing a concert usher.

Stephanie N. Nonnemacher, 27, of Cedar Wood Terrace, Rochester, is charged with unlawful possession of marijuana and criminal possession of a controlled substance, 7th.

Jeffrey R. Mason, 21, of Linden Street, Cheektowaga, is charged with unlawful possession of marijuana and criminal possession of a controlled substance, 7th.

Timothy J. Slotta, 35 of Long Hallow Road, Turtle Point, Pa., was arrested on a warrant out of Cattaragus County for an alleged violation of probation.

The following people were issued appearance tickets for alleged unlawful possession of marijuana:

Albert A. Garcia, 48, of Dudley Avenue, Niagara Falls
Jordan P.Powell, 24, of Eagle Street, Medina
Sherie R. Seefeldt, 31, of Eagle Street, Medina
Kayla R. Tubinis, 21, of 86th Street, Niagara Falls
Reuben P. Satarian, 24, of Joanne Circle, Niagara Falls
Kelly L. Dale, 43, of Dowland Crescent, Burlington, Ontario, Canada
Daniel L. Aldrich, 39, of Hinman Road, Little Valley
Brandon J. Wyatt, 29, of Fawn Avenue, Salamanca
Kyle R. Gehrek, 24, of Westchester Boulevard, Kenmore
William R. Whaley II, 30, of Stone Road, Rochester
Broc W. Vanskiver, 25, of State Route 227, Burdett
Tyler P. Renaldo, 21, of Shirley Road, North Collins
Ian M. Brennan, 25, of Park Avenue, Lockport
Ryan S. Buczkowski, 19, of Castlewood Drive, Cheektowaga
Robert M. Souter, 39, of West Avenue, West Seneca
Steven R. Maskell, 19, of North Byron Road, Elba
Elliot P. Arnold, 25, of Terry Street, Byron
Gala K. Tubera, 19, of Oliver Street, Rochester
Harrison C. Delatante, 20, of Oliver Street, Rochester
Matthew R. Meiser, 23, of Newberry Lane, Lancaster
Justin J. Holler, 23, of Swamp Road, Cattaraugus

The following individuals were issued citations for alleged possession of alcohol under age 21.

Kerry R. Meissner, 19, of Bernadette Circle, Niagara Falls, Ontario, Canada
Richard I. Fancher Jr., 18, of Pine Street, Franklinville

August 30, 2012 - 8:25am
posted by Howard B. Owens in Basom, accident, Alabama.

A car reportedly hit a dump truck and is on fire in the area of 1151 Bloomingdale Road, Basom.

Initially, there was reported entrapment, but now dispatchers have been told the person is out of the vehicle, but is seriously injured.

Mercy Flight is in route with an eight minute ETA.

Alabama Fire Department and Mercy EMS responding.

UPDATE 8:58 a.m.: Mercy Flight in route to ECMC.

UPDATE 9:58 a.m.: Alabama fire back in service.

UPDATE 11:29 a.m. (Photos and information provided by Alicia Kaus): The pickup truck was driven by Charles Scorse, 22, of Hamlin. Scorse was reportedly heading to the reservation to buy cigarettes after working all night in Greece and he fell asleep. His truck hit a Waste Management garbage truck that was stopped to pick up residential trash. The WM worker told Scorse to get out of his vehicle, that it was on fire. Scorse managed to get out, stumble across the road and collapse. The truck then burst into flames. He was taken by Mercy Flight to ECMC. The WM worker was uninjured.

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August 30, 2012 - 12:33am
posted by Howard B. Owens in batavia, synthetic drugs, bath salts, The 420 Emporium.

A group of at least five men showed up at 400 Ellicott St., Batavia, Wednesday evening to box up the inventory and remove the fixtures of the former location of The 420 Emporium.

The 420 was suspected of selling synthetic marijuana and synthetic amphetamines from the time it opened in Batavia in May.

The store was raided by the DEA on July 25 and its apparent local owner, Joshua Denise, was arrested. The store never reopened after the raid, though its shelves remained stocked -- until Wednesday night -- with glass pipes, bongs, rolling papers and other retail items.

For our prior coverage of The 420 Emporium, click here.

August 29, 2012 - 4:43pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in batavia, John Gerace, Chad Zambito, Batavia Town Board.

Grammy's Laundry, a business located on West Main Street and owned by Chad Zambito, a candidate in the GOP primary for Batavia Town Board, has been closed and its assets are being sold at auction.

The auction is set for 2 p.m., Tuesday, Sept. 4, at the order of the Bank of Castile.

Besides owning money to the Bank of Castile, Zambito also borrowed money from the Batavia Development Corporation (BDC) to help upgrade and modernize the laundry.

In total, Zambito said, he owes less than $20,000 against the business's assets, which he said he expects to fetch close to $30,000 in the auction.

Zambito said today his business got into trouble in January when a plumbing problem forced him to close the laundry for two months. Even after the doors were open again, customers did not return with the same frequency as before.

He believes another business caused the blockage in the plumbing system, but it wasn't resolved in time between the other business and the landlord to get his doors reopened in a timely manner.

"It wasn't my responsibility to fix it, but yet I'm left to deal with the consequences," Zambito said.

The failure of Zambito's business was brought to the attention of The Batavian by his GOP primary opponent John Gerace. Gerace didn't accuse Zambito of stirring the pot on Gerace's own personal issues, but said if others are going drag the campaign into personal issues rather than real issues, people should know about the auction proceedings.

Zambito was appointed earlier this month to fill the vacant spot left on the Town Board by Gerace's resignation from the board in April. Zambito is also the endorsed candidate by the town's GOP committee in the Sept. 13 primary race.

While the notice on the door of Grammy's Laundry confirms the auction, The Batavian has not been able to confirm the amount of debt Zambito incurred and has not repaid. A FOIL request to the City of Batavia for related BDC documents has not yet been answered.

Zambito is a former BDC board member, but said he left that position when he was no longer employed by Genesee County Economic Development Committee, and didn't request the loan until after he was no longer a BDC member.

Grammy's Laundry, Zambito said, went through three or four years of ups and downs as he tried to get the business going and in time, prior to the plumbing problem, the laundry was not much more than a break-even proposition.

"I worked with both lending institutions in an attempt to stay on track, but it got to be too much," Zambito said.

August 29, 2012 - 1:15pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in batavia, crime, pembroke, Darien.

Richard Russell Vetter, 57, of Main Street, Varysburg, is charged with grand larceny and 10 counts of falsifying business records. Vetter is accused of making false metal purchase entries into business records while employed at Stanley Staba & Sons in Darien and writing himself checks in excess of $7,000.

Brian Mark Mahaney, 24, of Indian Falls Road, Pembroke, is charged with reckless endangerment. Mahaney is accused of being involved in a domestic dispute. He allegedly drove a motor vehicle eastbound on Indian Falls Road, crossed the center line into the path of a westbound vehicle. The westbound vehicle reportedly had to drive off the pavement to avoid a collision. Mahaney then allegedly followed the vehicle to a residence and threatened to fight the vehicle's occupants.

Thomas Jacob Wolcott, 26, of West Main Street Road, Batavia, is charged with criminal contempt, 1st, and harassment, 2nd. Wolcott is accused of being involved in a physical altercation with a protected person whom he was ordered not to engage in any criminal act against. He allegedly grabbed the victim by her neck and threw her about a room. Wolcott was jailed on $2,500 bail.

Steven James Scott, 21, of Dellinger Avenue, Batavia, is charged with DWI, driving with a BAC of .10 or greater, open container and unlawful possession of marijuana. Scott was taken into custody following a report at 8:36 p.m., Tuesday, of a motorist needing assistance on Route 33 in Bergen. The motorist reportedly attempted to flag down passing cars. Upon investigation, deputies Joseph Graff and Matthew Butler identified Scott as the operator of a motor vehicle who was allegedly driving while drunk.

Triton Adam Drock, 18, of Buell Street, Batavia, is charged with endangering the welfare of a child and sexual abuse, 2nd. Drock allegedly had an ongoing relationship with a minor female. Drock is accused of acting in a manner injurious to the physical and moral welfare of a minor. Following arraignment in Darien Town Court, Drock was released on his own recognizance and issued a stay-away order for the minor female.

August 29, 2012 - 12:49pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in crime, Alabama.

Earl Francis Sprague, 42, of 1366 Church St., Alabama, who was arrested over the weekend on two charges of sexual abuse has been indicted on 26 such Class D felonies by a Genesee County Grand Jury.

The indictment alleges sexual abuse in the first degree against a child under age 11 on 28 separate occasions from 1999 through 2009.

Sprague, who is accused of abusing a single victim, was also charged with endangering the welfare of a child, a Class A misdemeanor.

August 29, 2012 - 12:14pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in crime, pembroke.

A prominent Rochester attorney and a former reality TV personality are in the national news today after they were arrested in Pembroke on Tuesday morning.

James Doyle, 54, of Rochester is accused of DWI, refusing a breath test, providing alcohol to a person under age 21 and patronizing a prostitute.

Alicia Guastaferro, 20, of Williamsville, is charged with criminal Impersonation, criminal possession of a controlled substance and prostitution.

At age 16, Guastaferro appeared in the reality TV series "Wife Swap," a series on the Lifetime Network that involves unhappy spouses switching families for a week.

In the episode Guastaferro appeared in, viewers learned the teenage beauty queen received a Christmas present from her parents every single day.

Doyle has made several statements to the media, including WHAM 13, denying all of the charges. He described Guastaferro as a family friend.

August 29, 2012 - 9:14am
posted by Lisa Ace in Deal of the Day.

Alex's Place, 8322 Park Road, Batavia, NY: People come from all over the region for a fine dining experience at Alex's. It's best known for its ribs, of course, but Alex's seafood is also a favorite of the restaurant's diners. We have a $25 gift certificate for $12.50

Alli's Cones & Dogs, 7063 Lewiston Road, Oakfield, NY: Full breakfast, lunch and dinner menu; all-you-can-eat salad bar; ice cream served year-round; eat-in or take-out. We have a $20 gift certificate for $10

Bourbon & Burger Co., 9 Jackson St., Batavia, NY: Batavia's newest burger joint offers more than two dozen different types of tasty hamburgers. Our menu also includes a variety of sandwiches, appetizers and an extensive beer list, plus a full bar. We have a $20 gift certificate for $10.

Center Street Smoke House, 20 Center St., Batavia, NY: Authentic Southern BBQ, from ribs to brisket with all the fixin's. We have a $20 gift card for $10.

Ficarella's Pizzeria, 21 Liberty St., Batavia, NY: Dine-in, drive-thru or delivery. Featuring fresh, hearth-baked pizza since 1985, plus wings, pasta and more. We have a $20 gift certificate for $10. (Good only at the Batavia location.)

Greg'ry's Bakery, 13 N. Lake Road, Bergen, NY: The bakery offers a variety of the finest cakes, cookies, pies, cupcakes, breads, breakfast and lunch sandwiches and so much more. Each treat is made the same as it has been for decades and baked right here. Come in and sample some for yourself! We have a $20 gift certificate for $10.

Kravings, Valu Plaza, 4152 W. Main St., Batavia, NY: Kravings offers soups, salads and sandwiches, fresh and flavorful; Monday through Saturday. We have a $10 gift certificate for $5.

Oliver's Candies, 211 W. Main St., Batavia, NY: Oliver's, a Batavia landmark, offers the finest chocolate and confections in the area. We have a $20 gift card for $10.

Rancho Viejo, 12 Ellicott St., Batavia, NY: Traditional Mexican cuisine, from tacos and burritos to pollo norteno, Rancho Viejo brings a bit of "south of the border" to Batavia's restaurant scene. We have a $20 gift card for $10.

Settler's, 353 W. Main St., Batavia, NY: Settler's has a 25-year history of serving great, affordable breakfasts, lunches and dinners to Batavians. We have a $20 gift certificate for $10.

South Main Country Gifts, 3356 S. Main St. Road, Batavia, NY: Handcrafted items, gifts with a regional flair, candles, jams, soups, home furnishings & more -- South Main has a wide selection to please most any interest. Decorate your home or office for the upcoming fall season. We have a $20 gift certificate for $10.

Spirits, 78 Lake St., Le Roy, NY. Le Roy's favorite sports bar, where fun and good food are always on tap. Come try one of our many delicious burgers that we have to offer, as well as our HUGE Bomber Sandwich, homemade chicken fingers made to order, and the all-time favorite Dumpster Plate with many choices. We deliver. We have a $20 gift certificate for $10

Viking Valhalla Restaurant & Rose Garden Bowl21 Buffalo Road, Bergen, NY: Open for lunch Monday through Sunday, and dinner Friday and Saturday evenings. Dinner favorites are our succulent prime rib and Friday fish fries! We are always happy to help plan your special occasion -- wedding, shower, rehearsal dinner, stag party, graduation, company function, banquet, family or class reunion. We have a $20 gift certificate for $10.


Note: If you've never purchased Deal of the Day before, or are otherwise unfamiliar with the rules and processclick here.

August 28, 2012 - 9:14pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in accident, Le Roy.

A small car has reportedly struck a parked tractor-trailer in the area of 76 North St.,  Le Roy.

Le Roy fire and ambulance dispatched.

UPDATE 9:32 p.m.: A second ambulance requested to the scene.

UPDATE 10:06 p.m.: Caledonia ambulance transporting a patient. Le Roy fire on scene until car is towed.

UPDATE 10:23 p.m.: Le Roy back in service. Road reopened.

August 28, 2012 - 9:06pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in batavia, City Fire.

City of Batavia firefighters got to get a hands-on experience for the first time today with their new fire engine, to be known as Engine 11.

Representatives from Rosenbauer, the company that built the engine, were on hand for the orientation.

Firefighters were able to try out all of the controls -- from the spray canon to the foam nozzle -- to familiarize themselves with the operations of the engine.

Two platoons went through the orientation today and two more will get their chance to check out the new apparatus on Thursday.

Chief Jim Maxwell said he expects Engine 11 to go in service on Sept. 10.

Purchase of the $342,000 fire truck was approved by the city council in April using funds specifically set aside for the fire department.

Engine 11 replaces Engine 14, which was retired due to escalating repair costs to keep it up to standards.

August 28, 2012 - 7:31pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in batavia, fire, Jackson Street.

Batavia Fire Department has responded to 104 Jackson St., lower, for a possible oven fire.

The apartment is full of smoke.

The resident states he just moved in and it's the first time he used the stove.

UPDATE 7:33 p.m.: Burnt food. City fire ventilating the apartment.

UPDATE 7:45 p.m.: The food is out of the stove, the stove is out of the house and City fire is back in service.

August 28, 2012 - 3:59pm
posted by Billie Owens in Le Roy, robbins nest.

After more than two years of studies, mapping, approvals, controversy, lawsuits, finger-wagging and name-calling, the senior housing plan in the Village of Le Roy called "Robbins Nest" is a hornet's nest that shows scant signs of abating.

Some villagers view the proposal to build 26 homes on 13.1 acres east of Robbins Road and south of Filmore Street as progress -- an opportunity to provide quality housing for adults 55 and over, and increase the tax base to bolster public services instead of continuing to cut them.

Others argue it would destroy the neighborhood, flora and fauna while providing no guarantee that it won't become a burden for taxpayers or that the single-story homes -- expected to go for $130,000 to $160,000 -- will even sell.

At an informal discussion at last week's village board meeting, opponents and proponents tepidly agreed that bringing in a neutral mediator would be worthwhile. And village officials acknowleged that looking into how similar developments in other places have panned out would also be a good idea.

"My trust is at an all-time low -- we need an impartial view," said resident David Boyce, who characterized the whole thing as "a debacle."

It's clear that more give and take will be required on both sides to quell the imbroglio.

"There is a compromise," Robbins Road resident Laura Robinson said. "There IS going to be development. ... There is a middle ground here and we have an obligation to find it."

About 35 to 40 people were on hand Wednesday to hear the exasperated developer -- lifelong Le Royan Pete McQuillen who also lives on Robbins Road -- say he wants closure on a planning process that has become "a blunder on many levels."

His options include:

1) Holding onto the property and do nothing;

2) Scraping the plans he's already spent thousands of dollars and a couple of years on, and develop it under the current single-family residential zoning (R-1);

3) Selling to another developer;

4) Proceeding with current plans and/or become further mired in a legal battle;

5) Trying to find a solution most residents can buy into, which would almost certainly be easier said than done.

Safe to say everyone who's been caught up in the acrimonious drama would also like to move on.

Yet the end is not near.

Boyce and Le Roy Town Supervisor Stephen Barbeau have filed two lawsuits against McQuillen, the village and the town planning board. The town and its planning board approved the project but soon after Barbeau was elected he sued them over it.

Some approval procedures were deemed not in compliance with state law, forcing McQuillen to restart the process he began in early 2010. More approvals, including that of the final plan, are needed before construction would be possible.

"The county is laughing at us in Le Roy -- this is a joke," McQuillen said.

Supervisor Barbeau would normally have oversight of expenditures related to a lawsuit and consult with the attorney. But because he's a plaintiff, outside counsel needed to be hired and the funds to do that come out of the budget Barbeau helps write and approve.

Boyce, president and CEO of Tompkins Insurance Agencies, is not happy that his property is contiguous with the Robbins Nest site. If built, it would destroy his view, the character of the neighborhood and much of its natural habitat.

(Tompkins Insurance, like the Bank of Castile, is a subsidiary of Tompkins Financial Corp.)

The point was made that a property owner's aesthetic rights are only protected up to 35 feet from the property line. So if someone ripped out trees and put up a big garage at that juncture, it would have a similar effect on the view as would a 1,600-square-foot house (or houses).

In other words, there should be no expectation that the trees Boyce recalled romping through as a child behind his house will always remain, Trustee Jennifer Keys said.

Then there's the issue of density.

"It's like putting a whale in a sardine can," quipped a woman at the meeting.

But it's less about the merits of the project, Boyce said -- despite his statements about habitat destruction and devaluing his property -- it boils down to zoning.

Boyce contends the plan doesn't comply with the village master plan, although county planners concluded it does. Some at the meeting indicated they might be more amenable to McQuillen's plans if fewer homes were included.

The county planning board voted to recommend changing zoning from R1 (single-family residential), the property's designation since 1966, to PUD (planned unit development). PUD zoning allows a developer to build without having to ask for a lot of variances.

The village board has not yet made a decision and can't, in fact, until the environmental review process is finished.

A PUD zone, sometimes referred to as "spot zoning," would be needed to build a condensed development with more houses on less land than would otherwise be allowable. It also would permit the creation of a homeowners' association (to pay for outdoor maintenance), walking trails, and let the developer retain ownership of the land but not the houses.

But it requires a "super majority" to approve, which brings up another sticky wicket. Four out of five "yes" votes would be required for a quorum.

Mayor Greg Rogers and trustees Keys and Jim Bonaquisti are in favor of approving a zoning change. But two trustees -- Bob Taylor and Mike Tucci -- have abstained from voting on issues related to Robbins Nest, citing conflict of interest.

The village attorney said the men's decision to abstain is personal choice, not something they are legally obligated to do in this case, even though Tucci is an employee of Tompkins Insurance and therefore an employee of Boyce. That's why Tucci is gun-shy of voting on Robbins Nest. And supervisor and litigant Barbeau is Taylor's nephew, so Taylor doesn't feel comfortable voting on it either.

Big stalemate.

"I can take a yes vote or a no vote, but an abstention in my mind is unpatriotic," McQuillen said. "Take your bat and ball and go home -- don't stick your head in the sand."

Another point that was brought up is whether this sort of development is appropriate for the area.

Wilson Street resident Beth Bartz peppered village trustees with questions at the Aug. 22 meeting.

"Have you done your homework?" Bartz asked. "Have you researched other communities that have these kinds of developments? What if they can't fund a homeowners' association right away?

"Are you going to need a bond measure (to bridge the gap)? Are there enough people in Le Roy who can afford a $150,000 home, plus the high taxes in Le Roy, and the homeowners' association fees? What if the homes don't sell?"

Trustees indicated the questions were valid and worth looking into.

McQuillen says everyone he's spoken to in the community "to a man" is in favor of what he's trying to accomplish and they are supportive. The aging population, himself included, likes the idea of selling their big homes to their children and moving into a ranch-style place where they won't have to rake leaves and shovel snow.

"I think we need this," resident Pete Weaver said. "This is not a low-rent operation."

At the end of the day, something WILL be built.

"I hold the cards on what's going to happen next," McQuillen said. "I didn't buy the property to sit on it."

August 28, 2012 - 10:25am
posted by Howard B. Owens in batavia, John Gerace, Chad Zambito, Batavia Town Board.

The signs say "Re-Elect John Gerace, Town Board," but it's not that simple.

Gerace is not the incumbent in Batavia.

Chad Zambito is. He was appointed earlier this month to the seat vacated by Gerace in the spring.

Gerace has been trying to get the seat back ever since his letter of resignation, which he says was written in a "knee-jerk reaction," was accepted by Supervisor Greg Post.

As for Zambito, he's not overly concerned about Gerace posting "re-elect" signs.

"I don't think he's necessarily trying to confuse the issue," Zambito said. "I just think they're from a prior election."

Gerace said he figures he can run for reelection because he's been elected before.

Of course, so has Zambito.

Both were first elected to the town board in 2003, and then Zambito resigned in 2007 when he became VP of marketing for Genesse County Economic Development Center, causing a possible conflict of interest.

Now they face each other in a GOP primary Sept. 13 that is the result of Gerace's resignation in April.

At the time, Gerace wouldn't discuss his resignation. Now he acknowledges it was spurred by events at the awards and installation dinner for the Town of Batavia Volunteer Fire Department.

Gerace was intoxicated at the event and was observed being loud and boisterous.

What happened later in the evening isn't clear, but Gerace said that contrary to various rumors, he was not involved in a physical altercation with Supervisor  Post.

He said he and Post had words outside of the fire hall about his behavior, and some people followed them out to see what was going on, but that was it.

"I held myself up to a higher standard than most people being an elected representative," Gerace said. "(My resignation) was a knee-jerk reaction. The next day I spoke with the supervisor about it and he asked me what I should do and I said I would fire myself. It was a knee-jerk reaction."

Even though he acknowledges that he wrote a letter of resignation, it was never intended to go through or be made public.

It was supposed to be held in abeyance until and unless he had any similar problems in the future.

Once word got out about the letter, however, Gerace said, Post had no choice but to accept it.

Gerace said he also went to the next board meeting for the fire department and personally apologized to every member for his behavior at their event.

Earlier this month, Zambito, who was endorsed by the town GOP as Gerace's replacement, was selected by the town board to complete Gerace's term.

Gerace believes the process for selecting Zambito violated parliamentary procedures under Roberts Rules of Order. But Zambito said the town's attorney looked into it and the process was fine.

Besides the fire department event and resignation, the other issue that may dog Gerace in the primary is a question about unpaid taxes.

In June, NYS Taxation and Finance issued a tax warrant against Gerace $571.26.

When asked about it, Gerace said, "I know what that's about. It's taken care of."

The Batavian learned of the tax warrant after an unknown person attached a copy of it to our office door.

Even with all these issues, Gerace said he's confident he's the right man for the job and that voters should check off his name on their ballots.

"I have a proven track record serving the Town of Batavia," Gerace said. "I'm a lifelong resident of this area. It's very near and dear to me and the issues that effect this area effect myself. I don't vote to approve or disapprove motions for myself. I look at how they effect every member of the community."

Gerace added that he also has a near-perfect attendance record for town meetings over the past decade.

Zambito said he would bring experience and professionalism to the position.

He noted that besides being a previous town board member and serving on the Genesee Chamber of Commerce Board, his three years with GCEDC is just the kind of experience the board needs right now with all the planned and anticipated growth in the town.





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