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August 12, 2021 - 10:50am
posted by Howard B. Owens in crime, batavia, news.

A Utility Terrain Vehicle was spotted by a Sheriff's patrol at 1:34 a.m., July 31, on Route 33, in the area of Seven Springs Road, in the Town of Batavia and when the deputy attempted to initiate a traffic stop, the driver failed to stop.

According to the Sheriff's Office, the drive took the UTV into harvestable crops causing significant damage to the crops and to fencing in the area.

The Sheriff's Office is asking for the public's assistance in identifying and locating the UTV.

The UTV is described as white in color and affixed with lights that change colors while in operation.

Anyone with information that may assist in the case can call Investigator Ryan DeLong at (585) 345-3000 ext. 3572 or Deputy Jordan Alejandro at (585) 345-3000 ext. 3257.

August 12, 2021 - 10:40am
posted by Howard B. Owens in Class of 65, Batavia HS, batavia, news.

Press release:

The Batavia High School Class of 1965 will gather for their 55 Plus 1 Reunion on August 27-28. The highlight of the celebration will be dinner on Saturday, August 28 at Terry Hills Golf Club. with a 4 p.m. Social Hour followed by a 6 p.m. dinner. Any classmate who has not made reservations should do so by sending a check for $45 ($25 for just the Social Hour) to BHS Class of 65 c/o Steve Hawley, 50 Main St., Batavia, NY 14020.

On Friday, August 27 classmates are invited to meet at 6 p.m. at TF Browns, where a Party Room will be open to the Class of 1965 to order from the menu. A cash bar will be available. Those planning to attend
are asked to notify Bill Hyatt at [email protected]. Since 1992, the BHS Class of 1965 has annually awarded a scholarship, the Freedom Award, to a graduating senior from Batavia High School. To date, the group has donated nearly $40,000.

August 12, 2021 - 10:22am
posted by Press Release in Batavia Downs, sports, harness racing.

Press release:

Misty Memory N made the four-hour drive from Saratoga to Batavia worth the trip after she captured the winner’s share of the $10,650 Fillies and Mares Open at Batavia Downs on Wednesday night (Aug. 11). 

Jim Morrill Jr. settled Misty Memory N behind Prairie Westerngal (Braxton Boyd) who easily led the field through fractions of :27.4, :58 and 1:27.1, encountering only one minor challenge from Xenia’s Chip (Justin Huckabone) at that third station. Coming off the far turn Prairie Westerngal got a bit rough-gaited and that’s when Morrill tipped Misty Memory N off the pegs. From there Misty Memory N was on her own as she paced away down the lane, passed Prairie Westerngal in deep stretch, and won by a length in 1:55.3.

It was the sixth win of the year for Misty Memory N ($9.70) who is owned by Stephen Picarazzi, Scott Petillo and Brett Derue, who also trains the winner.

Earlier in the $9,500 Fillies and Mares Open II, She Can Party (Dave McNeight III) sat second behind HP Sissy (Jim McNeight Jr.) until the top of the stretch when she ducked into the passing lane and lunged late to win by 1/2 length in 1:55.2, which was a new seasonal mark.    

She Can Party ($19.40) is owned and trained by Lee Dahn. 

Jim Morrill Jr. had a driving hat trick while Brett Derue led all trainers with two wins Wednesday. 

The carryovers continue at Batavia Downs as neither the Jackpot Pick-6 or Jackpot Hi-5 were hit on Wednesday. So when live racing resumes at Batavia Downs on Saturday (Aug. 14) the carryover for the Jackpot Pick-6 will be $1,335 and the carryover for the Jackpot Hi-5 will be $1,903. Post time for the first race on Saturday is 6 p.m.

August 12, 2021 - 9:57am
posted by Mike Pettinella in news, notify, BOCES, pavilion central school.

“Masking is the big issue.”

In five words, Pavilion Superintendent Kate Hoffman this morning summed up what other high-level administration officials at Genesee County school districts are thinking as they contemplate their reopening plans when classes resume on Sept. 7 or 8.

The Batavian reached out to public school superintendents and Notre Dame Principal Wade Bianco to gauge their progress in articulating what restrictions, if any, will be placed on pupils and staff.

During discussions with the officials contacted, it was reported that a Zoom meeting is scheduled for 10 a.m. today with Kevin MacDonald, Genesee Valley BOCES district superintendent, to communicate updates on COVID-19 case data and to try to reach a consensus regarding protocols and procedures.

School leaders also have been consulting with Paul Pettit, Genesee/Orleans public health director, for additional guidance on testing, vaccination and other health-related topics.

“We have gone over some guidance following CDC (Centers for Disease Control) recommendations,” Hoffman said. “For us, I’m still formulating our plan. A couple things that I know are likely to happen – we will move to a 3-foot social distancing and we will not be offering a remote option this year.

“We do some opportunities for our high schoolers for a BOCES-run program, but that’s has limited slots for that, so we’re really working through things and trying to see if any guidance does come down from state ed (the New York State Education Department) to see what that entails.”

Currently, superintendents are indicating that they don’t expect any executive orders or mandates coming out of Albany, but things could change if there is a reorganization at the top of the NYS Department of Health.

“It’s my understanding that everything (from the state) are recommendations this time around,” Hoffman advised. “More local decision-making.”

All superintendents said they will be sending out information to the staff and community electronically on their websites and via letters, but none have scheduled in-person meetings with parents yet.

On masking, Hoffman said she’s aware that it is the primary concern of all involved.

“We have some families that are strongly against masking and we have some that are strongly encouraging masking,” she said. “Unfortunately, I’m aware that any plan that we put out is not going to satisfy every single person. My hope is that we do the very best for our students and we approach this with a good dose of common sense and we listen to the people who know the numbers.”

Hoffman mirrored what other superintendents said when it comes to putting out a plan that is flexible in case the landscape changes in either direction.

“I believe our plan will be flexible enough to adjust if the number of COVID cases in our area go up, then we adjust to that; if they go down, then we adjust in the opposite way.”

Comments from other superintendents are as follows:

Scott Bischoping, Batavia High School:

"We’re still in the development of those regionally; still meeting with other superintendents," he said. "As you have seen from the national sort of news how this is traveling – changing very significantly, so we’ve held off on finalizing any planning until we get a further view of it."

Bischoping said Batavia plans on returning with students' in-person learning, so at this point, it's down to the masking requirements.

As far as meetings with parents, he said it may be done on a school building basis.

“We may even do those on a building level rather than a full district level because there would be nuances of those requirements and expectations for different buildings," he offered. "Most would be the same and we will communicate that electronically in letter, but with meetings we have not decided yet whether to do one with the full district or with various groups. Obviously, athletics will be different and will have their own meeting."

He said local districts have the "benefit" of seeing what other states are doing.

"We want to get a good look at that over the next couple weeks before we settle on anything," he said.

John Fisgus, Oakfield-Alabama:

Fisgus said that he anticipates releasing O-A's reopening plan by Friday afternoon, which likely will be the first document that will go out to the public. Previously, he sent out a survey to both staff and the community to gauge residents' feelings on face coverings.

"We certainly will be back five days a week in person; we were that all last year, so that's not a question at all," he said. "The big question for us is the masking."

Gretchen Rosales, Elba:

"Our goal is to develop a plan that meets academic, social, emotional and safety issues of the students and the staff. We have to carefully balance the wishing of our community with the CDC guidelines," she said. "The process is pretty intensive but it's important so it will take a little bit of time. We're working collectively to come up with something."

Rosales said she is expecting to begin the 2021-22 school year with 100 percent in-person learning, but is aware of the public's concerns over masking.

"I think that everyone is just waiting for final guidance and then we can make our plan and go from there."

Merritt Holly, Le Roy: 

Holly noted the number of "moving parts" in the process, especially considering what has happened with Gov. Andrew Cuomo.

"The interesting part is that I don't know, with the administration change in Albany, if the DOH now will put something out at the 12th hour before we start in September," he said. "So, that's always hovering and hanging. Even though they said they wouldn't, was that Governor Cuomo telling them to do that?"

At the local level, Holly said that today's meeting with MacDonald will hopefully "piece some things together and to find out what other districts are thinking about."

He said he initially thought to release his plan next week, but may wait as more and different information is disseminated.

"Really, what I think that it comes down to is that the mask requirements will be the biggest thing," he said, reiterating the common theme.

Plus, students need to be in school five days a week, he said.

"We can't go back to a remote or hybrid learning model," he said. "That's just not good for kids."

August 11, 2021 - 5:49pm

The Le Roy Town Zoning Board of Appeals’ unanimous decision Tuesday night to disallow a solar farm on Thwing Road was more than a 3-0 vote -- it was a 3-0 vote times five, according to ZBA Chair Stephen Barbeau.

Barbeau returned a call from The Batavian seeking reasons behind the panel’s action pertaining to CleanChoice Energy’s application to site a 4.95-megawatt solar array on farmland owned by the Gary W. Clark family at 7120 Thwing Rd.

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SEE ALSO: Solar company rep reacts to Le Roy ZBA's denial of community solar project proposed for Thwing Road

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A former Le Roy Town supervisor, Barbeau said the application, in this case, had to meet five different criteria before the ZBA could issue the use variance necessary to place a solar farm in a district zoned other than either Industrial or Interchange (near the NYS Thruway).

The first one was whether the project could be considered a “public utility,” which was the contention of CleanChoice Energy, and the other criteria – in four parts – were contained in the standard use variance guidelines issued by New York State, he said.

“It’s not for the Le Roy Zoning Board of Appeals to declare that commercial solar projects are akin to a public utility; that’s way above our pay grade,” Barbeau said. “That is not something that is supported in the law as it is known and we had no desire to make new law or try to make new law or set any new precedent.”

Barbeau said the ZBA sought out legal advice from multiple sources in order to make an informed decision.

“The applicants, their attorney, Ty (Baccile, project manager) and the Clarks are all good people,” he said, “but the elected board members of the Town Board set code and what these folks were asking for was an exception to that code.

“For us to grant an exception, there had to be some kind of overwhelming, unique, unusual circumstances as it is pretty rare that a use permit is granted.  It’s a very high bar.”

He said that the vote by the three voting ZBA members was 3-0 against categorizing the project a public utility and 3-0 on each of the other four criteria.

“Even if we had relaxed the standards (on the public utility issue) as they wanted us to, they still wouldn’t have cleared the other hurdles,” he said

The four criteria for a use variance for any town, according to Barbeau, are as follows:

1 – The applicant would not be able to realize a reasonable return (profit) as shown by financial evidence and that lack of return must be substantial.

“For example, 'I can’t sell this land for $2 because it’s landlocked or there’s poison on it or it’s an archaeological site so no one would want it. I can’t lease it … or a realtor determines that it’s valueless,'” he said. “They would have to show that they can’t make any money any other way through a permitted use on the property.”

2 – The alleged hardship relating to the property is unique.

“If there’s some kind of unique element to that property that doesn’t allow you (to use it), such as it’s all rock, and you can’t develop it for houses or to farm it or to mine it,” he said. “It’s just so unique that it’s a hardship.”

3 – The use that the applicant is requesting will not alter the essential character of the neighborhood.

“It’s wooded land, it’s farmland and there is some scrubland in there,” he said. “The only things that go on in that area is that people live there, people farm there and they hunt.”

4 – The alleged hardship has been self-created.

“In other words, ‘I inherited the property, I didn’t anticipate inheriting the property, I’m not a farmer, I’ve never been a farmer and I have no farm equipment, and a realtor said the property is worthless, so I can’t do anything with it,’” he said. “Even if that was the case here, you could potentially sell this land.”

August 11, 2021 - 3:23pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in Peace Garden, news, crime, batavia.

Batavia PD received an anonymous tip that led to the recovery of some of the decorated stones and shells that were stolen from the Batavia Peace Garden a couple of weeks ago, according to Chief Shawn Heubusch.

The officers who recovered the stones and shells returned them to the Peace Garden.

Peace Garden founder and director Paula Savage confirmed that the stones and shells returned were from the Peace Garden.

Previously: Two-month art project at the Peace Garden, painted stones and shells, destroyed by vandals

August 11, 2021 - 3:18pm
posted by Press Release in Chris Jacobs, NY-27, news, COVID-19.

Press release:

Congressman Chris Jacobs (R-NY) and Senator Mike Lee (R-UT) led a bicameral letter with 29 members of Congress to President Biden calling for the administration to change course and end its unconstitutional eviction moratorium. 
“We strongly oppose the Biden administration’s latest eviction moratorium issued by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). This latest action is plainly unconstitutional and will only serve to further distort the market and create a housing affordability crisis,” the lawmakers said. “Additionally, any further restrictions on evictions at this point are counterproductive. The economy is open, jobs and vaccines are abundant, and federal rental assistance is a reality.”

In a recent Supreme Court case, Alabama Association of Realtors v. Department of Health and Human Services, five members of the Supreme Court effectively acknowledged that CDC exceeded its authority in issuing the moratorium. Justice Kavanaugh stated that “clear and specific congressional authorization (via new legislation) would be necessary for the CDC to extend the moratorium past July 31.” 

“Instead of pursuing an unconstitutional moratorium, the Biden administration should be focused on distributing the nearly $50 billion in rental assistance that was appropriated through three separate stimulus packages.” the lawmakers said. “As long this moratorium remains in place, property owners will continue to struggle financially. These property owners must still pay mortgages, taxes, and maintenance for the dwelling. If this continues much longer, we will see a wave of bankruptcies, foreclosures, and blighted properties.”

Most states require the tenant to take the initiative when applying for rental assistance. A recent Treasury report found very little of the federal rental assistance money has been disbursed so far, and the new moratorium will act as an additional disincentive for tenants to apply for this aid, leaving property owners on the hook. 

“We demand the Biden administration end this moratorium and allow the rental assistance funds to do what they were intended to do. This government overreach must end,” the lawmakers said.

Full text of the letter can be found here

August 11, 2021 - 3:12pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in batavia, news, community night out.

Video by Pixel Pro Video

August 11, 2021 - 3:02pm

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Randy Fancher, president of Fancher Properties of Akron, is returning to the Genesee County Planning Board on Thursday night for a third time to propose a revised site plan for a mixed-use project on Main Road between Brickhouse Corners Drive and Tim Hortons in the Town of Pembroke.

The latest version has Fancher Properties of Akron, doing business as Brickhouse Commons LLC, constructing a two-story building with 7,000 square feet of retail space on the first floor and six market rate apartments on the second floor, along with driveways, parking lots and a six-bay tenant parking garage to the south.

A review of his site plan is on the agenda of tomorrow’s meeting starting at 7 o’clock at County Building 2 on West Main Street Road.

“This is basically the third version considering changes requested by the DOT (NYS Department of Transportation) and issues with wetlands,” Fancher said. “So, this is where we have to start until we hear back from the Army Corps of Engineers on our request for wetland reclassification, which could take up to a year. We didn’t want to wait so we decided to get started here.”

Fancher said that his company will begin construction once all permits are obtained and verbal commitments for tax incentives from the Genesee County Economic Development Center are approved.

“We’re looking to start in the late fall and hope to have the building up about a year from now,” he said.

The project has changed in scope from what Fancher Properties proposed last June – going from a three-story mixed-use building with retail on the first floor and 17 apartments on the top two floors.

In January of this year, the company modified its plan to a two-story mixed-use building along with two buildings housing 12 apartments.

“Last year, we were already to go but then the DOT said that we couldn’t have a driveway onto Route 77,” Fancher said. “We’ve had a few challenges up to this point but we’re working through them.”

Because of the DOT’s concerns, the company moved the location from Route 77 to Main Road (Route 5).

“We’re still on the corner, basically, but instead of building on Route 77, we’re on Route 5,” Fancher said, adding that the venture was delayed because the DOT would not allow a curb cut onto Route 77,

“We have to connect a road from Route 77 over to Brickhouse Corners Road, which is where Yancey’s Fancy is located. There are wetlands there and we’ve applied to the Army Corps of Engineers for reclassification because, right now, the road has a big curve in it,” he said. “Once we get that approval, we can continue on to Phase 2 and Phase 3, which will consist of more retail and more apartments.”

The development’s location is the GCEDC’s Buffalo East Technology Park in the Town of Pembroke’s Interchange District.

Fancher said he and his brother, Jeff, company vice president, plan to reach out to companies such as Starbucks or Mighty Taco to gauge their interest in placing a store at the site.

Other referrals on tomorrow’s planning board agenda include:

-- Downtown design review for a new façade, lighting and signage on one side of the Batavia Tailors & Cleaners building at 33-39 Ellicott St., along with a new rooftop heating and air conditioning unit.

-- Downtown design review for the addition of four wall-mounted canopies, one large structural entrance canopy, new wall paneling and new freestanding signage at Fieldstone Private Wealth, 219 East Main St., at the intersection of Summit Street. The project is part of the New York Main Street grant program administered by the Batavia Development Corp.

-- Downtown design review of the Healthy Living Campus project in the city, with developers seeking approval to remove multiple buildings and construct new ones.

-- Site plan review and sign permit request from Zambito Realtors to convert a dwelling into a new realty office across from Applebee’s on Lewiston Road. The project includes siding, windows, and removing a breezeway to make it into an office with handicap ramp.

-- Site plan review and special use permit in a Commercial district for Alvamar Healthy Foods to use 1,000 square feet on the first floor of the Masonic Temple building at 12 S. Lake Ave. in Bergen for freeze drying, warehousing and shipping of healthy snacks.

Owners Eddie Alvord and Michael Marsocci’s application indicates that Phase 2 would be the addition of retail space in the front area of the building to dispense healthy snack foods with no preservatives.

-- Site plan review for Tamara Parker to reuse an existing storefront at 22 East Main St., Corfu, for a sign and vinyl graphics business to be known as TMP Signs.

-- Special use permit for PCORE Electric, Inc., 135 Gilbert St., Le Roy, to build a 227 square-foot addition for an office.

Photo: Architect's rendering of Brickhouse Commons mixed-use building proposed by Fancher Properties of Akron near the intersection of Route 5 and Route 77 in the Town of Pembroke.

August 11, 2021 - 1:13pm

The project manager of the proposed Thwing Community Solar Garden project on farmland owned by the Gary W. Clark family at 7120 Thwing Rd., Le Roy, declined to address any future action following Tuesday night’s rejection of the 4.95-megawatt system by the Town of Le Roy Zoning Board of Appeals.

Contacted by telephone at his Corning home this morning, Ty Baccile, project manager/solar development for Washington, D.C.-based CleanChoice Energy, acknowledged that the ZBA’s vote against the siting of the solar system on 26 acres of a 62-acre parcel represents the end of CleanChoice Energy’s communication with local officials.

“As far as the Town of Le Roy goes, that is the last procedural step for CleanChoice Energy and the Gary Clark family to pursue the application,” he said. “We could proceed with an appeal to the New York State Supreme Court to review the ZBA’s response that we are not a public utility and to review the same points that we presented to the zoning board.”

When asked if CleanChoice Energy would be looking to appeal, Baccile said, “I can’t comment on that at this time.”

Baccile has been working on the project for a couple years leading up to last night’s public hearing in front of the four-person ZBA at the Le Roy Town Hall courtroom.

The plan came up against a recently-passed solar ordinance by the Le Roy Town Board that restricted such projects to land zoned as Industrial, or located in the municipality’s Interchange Zone.

On Monday night, Baccile said a few neighbors asked “constructive questions” about the project, but said there were no controversial issues.

“We gave a PowerPoint presentation with lots of visuals to show both the Zoning Board of Appeals and the public just how suitable the site was and how special we believe it is – and the benefit to both agriculture and the landowners,” he said. “The landowners farm 600 acres in town and this would serve to help their farm out and also to show the different things you can do with the operations and maintenance plan with pollinators.”

Baccile said the solar farm was “barely visible” from the road and was formulated with appropriate setbacks.

He said the current zoning as it pertains to community solar farms is restrictive to the point of infringing upon property owner’s rights to control the use of their land.

“If you were to look at a zoning map of Le Roy, the town is 80 percent Residential or Agricultural district and very little amount of Industrial,” he said. “Part of our presentation was to show them that if we were to move our project to an Industrial district and leave behind the opportunity for the Agricultural district and the landowner, that we would have a very difficult time because of the technological and environmental constraints that exist in the Industrial district.”

Calls and emails to ZBA Chair Stephen Barbeau were not returned at the time of the posting of this story. Barbeau is a non-voting member of the board; voting members are Tony Madeau, Mark Moochler and Jay Whipple.

Baccile cited concerns from the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation over the impact to wildlife, plants and wetlands in Industrial/Commercial zones and also mentioned the lack of appropriate electrical infrastructure in those districts.

“We wanted to show them that we could still follow the spirit and intent of their zoning – with how you site a project and doing it safely and following all the setbacks – but we just couldn’t place it in an Industrial district because of the lack of appropriate land,” he added.

Another issue was that the code stipulates the project fit the definition of a public utility, and the ZBA disagreed with that as well.

“The public utility aspect … started with a series of court cases in the early 1900s right to the late 1990s with various emerging technologies from electric power to steam to antennas to telephone towers. As they have merged, it has been identified that they don’t always fit in the zoning schemes, for the very reasons that we presented: the technical challenges,” Baccile said.

“As a result, zoning boards are allowed to relax some of the use variance rules related to landowners’ desires to dedicate some of their property for solar. But the ZBA declined to accept that thought process, and simply responded that they do not believe we are a public utility and since we are not a public utility, they will apply the standard methodology and denied our application.”

The vote was 3-0.

Baccile said the ZBA’s decision possibly could be challenged in the future as New York continues its push for more renewable energy.

“They have made it very difficult for them to achieve the goals of their solar plan, which are to distribute energy resources as called for by the state, and to promote the opportunities that exist per the state’s legal mandates for the electric generation transmission by 2025,” he said.

Le Roy Town Supervisor James Farnholz, who cast the lone “no” vote to the town board’s solar zoning code ruling, said today that he felt a compromise could have been worked out when considering the Residential and Agricultural districts.

Farnholz agreed that the solar code is restrictive and mentioned that trying to place solar farms in Industrial or Interchange (by the Thruway) districts would be more expensive.

“It’s not that there isn’t significant property available for solar companies to use. There is about 20 percent, I think, outside of Residential and Agricultural, if you combine it all,” he said. “But it’s going to be more expensive because it’s not flat, tilled ground that you can just come in and throw solar panels on. The available land is going to require more site preparation and that will cost more.”

If it was approved, the Thwing CSG would have qualified for the CleanChoice Community Solar program, generating enough energy to power 800 to 850 homes in the Town of Le Roy and surrounding areas, Baccile reported.

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Photos: Visual simulations of the proposed Thwing CSG project that was turned down by the Town of Le Roy Zoning Board of Appeals on Tuesday night. Submitted by CleanChoice Energy.

August 11, 2021 - 12:50pm

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Members of the Batavia Society of Artists participated Tuesday evening in a Plein Air painting exhibition at the Stafford Country Club.  

The artists spread out over the golf course to paint various landscapes of the club.  The event was organized by club member Mari-Ellen Lamont as part of the club's 100th Anniversary Celebration.

The paintings will be sold at auction to benefit Stafford Country Club Scholarship Fund.

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August 11, 2021 - 12:36pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in National Night Out, batavia, news.

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City Church, at its St. Anthony's facility on Liberty Street, was the site Tuesday of the Batavia Police Community Night Out event.

The evening, which includes games, demonstrations, displays, vendors, and food for the whole community, is designed primarily to give community members and local law enforcement to intact in a fun, casual atmosphere. 

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August 11, 2021 - 12:13pm
posted by Press Release in crime, news.

Press release:

Now is the time of year that many homeowners are having their driveways paved or repaired, and the Genesee County Sheriff’s Office would like to remind residents that if anyone comes to your door offering to pave your driveway, you should be very cautious of a scam.  Most towns in the county require a permit to solicit door to door.  If a contractor comes to your house offering to do work, they need to possess a permit from the respected town that indicates the town has approved them as a legitimate contractor.  If a blacktop contractor offers to do work at a price that is too good to be true, it probably is, and you should be very cautious.  These scam blacktop contractors tend to be very persistent and will later try to get you to pay more money than what was originally agreed upon.  As soon as you see any suspicious soliciting or work being done in your area, please call 9-1-1.  

August 11, 2021 - 11:59am
posted by Press Release in batavia, news, downtown, notify, Bank Street.

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Press release:

The City of Batavia has been awarded a Northern Border Regional Commission (NBRC) 2021 State Economic & Infrastructure Development (SEID) grant.  

The City’s Bank Street water project was awarded $334,000. The NBRC received 156 applications this year for the SEID grant cycle, requesting more than $81M in funding.  This was a 16% increase in requests over 2020. Across the four states, 44 applications from this very competitive field were selected including the City of Batavia.

“The much-needed upgrades to infrastructure will support both public and private development along Bank Street including the progress being made at the City Centre Campus redevelopment and Healthy Living Campus. The new 8” water main will also allow for an additional number of residential and commercial units to be developed in the corridor as planned in the downtown revitalization strategy,” said Eugene Jankowski, Jr. City Council President.

The current Bank street waterline will be updated to an 8” line.  Over 950 linear feet of 8-inch diameter water main will be installed and replace the current 4” and 6” lines that are undersized and aging, 90+-year-old water lines.  The estimated cost of the project is $410,000 and the City will provide a local match to the grant of 20% ($82,000).  

The waterline project is needed to improve water pressure and fire suppression capabilities on Bank Street, as well as enable future development on the City Centre Campus, and the Alva Place parking lot for the Police Station,” said Rachael J. Tabelski, City Manager.  

This project aligns with the strategies laid out by the Downtown Revitalization Initiative (DRI) Investment Plan and New York State Brownfield Opportunity Area (BOA) as well as being in a federally designated Opportunity Zone. It is also part of a larger corridor plan in which the City is seeking Transportation Alternative Program (TAP) grant funds, as well for roadwork and streetscape on Bank Street.  

Currently, there is over $50M in public/private development in downtown Batavia, at various stages of planning, permitting, and construction.  This will be a welcomed investment that helps City as a whole, as well as the local business community, community institutions, and quality of life. 

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August 11, 2021 - 11:50am

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Rob Credi did something unusual last summer -- he opened a physical location for his business -- Pub Coffee Hub, which up to that time had been purely mobile -- in the middle of a pandemic.

It hasn't hurt business at all. In fact, Credi said yesterday the business is doing well.

But it did mean there was no ribbon-cutting with the Chamber of Commerce.

That item on the business-opening checkbox was ticked off yesterday.  

Previously: Moon Java to become new location for Pub Coffee Hub under ownership of Rob Credi

Photo courtesy the Genesee County Chamber of Commerce.

August 10, 2021 - 4:42pm

As expected, the Batavia City Council on Monday night voted to pursue a 2021 Transportation Alternative Program grant that, if awarded, could spur city maintenance crews to address the inadequate crosswalk setup from the Genesee County Office of the Aging to the parking lot on the west side of Bank Street.

“It’s really not a highway project … (but) is focused on non-vehicle enhancements, which would be traffic calming and more pedestrian elements,” said City Maintenance Supervisor Ray Tourt during the board’s Conference Meeting. “And we would finally go ahead and try to configure a crosswalk out there.”

Council President Eugene Jankowski Jr. jumped at the chance to comment further on the crosswalk situation.

(See below -- Previously: Video: Crosswalk awareness event on Bank Street)

“Is that going to solve the problem that we’ve had where people are in the crosswalk and cars are whizzing by not noticing them?” he asked. “It’s kind of a situation that has been like that for a long time.”

Tourt said a goal is to narrow that corridor “which tends to slow vehicles down.”

“So, with the use of bump-outs and vertical elements in the way of replacing trees … and actually formalizing a crosswalk where it could make sense,” he said. “There’s a chance that there could be a change to the driveway access points to a couple of the properties and try to get those in line and then include a crosswalk at the intersection of Alva Place.”

City Manager Rachael Tabelski reported that these federal TAP grants administered by the Genesee Transportation Council and New York State Department of Transportation range from $500,000 to $5 million, depending upon the project’s price tag.

Tourt said an estimate provided by LaBella Associates of Rochester about 18 months ago pegged the Bank Street project at $1.5 million, but that price could go up by 20 or 30 percent due to rising material costs. The city would be asking for the amount of the project and would be on the hook for 20 percent of the final cost.

The proposal includes adding streetscape elements, pavement markings, signs, accessible ramps, more crosswalks, pedestrian corner “bump-outs” and/or center median refuge.

“And there certainly could be more road improvements that could go on there,” Tabelski said. “If we do receive a grant from the Northern Border Regional Commission as well, this would play nicely to do the waterline (on Bank Street) and the road at the same time.

Following the meeting, Tabelski answered additional questions about the section of Bank Street between Main Street and Washington Avenue.

  • On the chances of getting the grant:

We always like to try our best to pursue grant opportunities, and we have LaBella Associates (of Rochester) helping us write the grant. We’ve gotten this grant before and we’ve been successful with it.

“There’s definitely a lot of positive attributes to the project – not only the pedestrian safety and the streetscape, but also the studies we’ve done previously where it was identified as a need in the community. The DRI (Downtown Revitalization Initiative) had a Bank Street project component and so did the Mall Feasibility Study. So, it has been identified multiple times as an area to be enhanced with streetscape and pedestrian safety.

  • On attracting a developer to put up a mixed-use building:

“Any enhancements we make in infrastructure can be an incentive for developers to look at an area. A proposal to have apartments and possibly commercial at Bank and Alva Place is one of the long-term concepts in the BOA (Brownfield Opportunity Area) plan. So, it would be directly across from the police station. It has always been envisioned to have more downtown living near the mall campus.

  • On slowing down traffic with a new police station on the block:

“I don’t know the traffic flow patterns of where they (patrol cars) will go; it will probably be call dependent on how they will leave the station. Even now, they have to get out of the parking lot that they’re in (behind the old City Hall, next to Austin Park).

“But, typically, they don’t leave the station to go out on a call because they’re already out in the community when calls come out.  A lot of times they’re already on a call when another call comes in.”

  • On the status of the new police station on the Alva Place parking lot?

Right now, we’re drawing up the documents to put out an RFP (Request for Proposal) for a design and engineering firm that we hope to release at the beginning of September.

“The stages of the project start with the RFP for design and engineering, score and rank those firms internally and then bring that proposal to Council at the same you bring all of the funding information to them so they can decide to move forward.”

In other action last night, Council:

  • Approved a resolution authorizing the city to act as lead agency for the State Environmental Quality Review for the renovation of Jackson Square, the concert area located between Jackson and Center Streets, next to Center Street Smoke House.\
  • Moved resolutions to the Sept. 13 Business Meeting pertaining to the rezoning of two parcels on East Main Street to C-3 (Commercial) and to conduct a SEQR for the Healthy Living Campus project of United Memorial Medical Center and the Genesee Family Area YMCA.
  • Approved a resolution for the receipt of a Police Traffic Services grant for $12,936 for details dedicated to increasing seat belt usage and reduce dangerous driving behaviors, and another to reflect the receipt of $3,000 for the fire department to continue its child safety seat program through the NYS Governor’s Traffic Safety Committee.
  • Agreed to not lock the Little League and Minor League fields on State Street and Denio Street, respectively, despite communication from youth baseball officials who expressed concerns about dogs leaving a mess on the diamonds.

Jankowski urged residents to respect the fields and clean up after their pets, but stated that it would be best to keep the parks accessible for all to use.

“We don’t want (people) climbing the fence to use a city park,” he said.

Previously: Video: Crosswalk awareness event on Bank Street.

August 10, 2021 - 2:18pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in Andrew Cuomo, news, Ed Rath, kathy hochul.

Press release from State Sen. Ed Rath:

This afternoon's resignation from Governor Cuomo is a welcomed and necessary relief for those New Yorkers he has harmed and those who continue to look to Albany for leadership amid this pandemic. Harassment has no place in our society, especially at the upper levels of state government.

I continue to call on the State Legislature to ensure that other investigations into Governor Cuomo's malfeasance remain ongoing. New Yorkers who lost loved ones in nursing homes deserve answers. While the Governor has already written his book, let us not write off other avenues where he has betrayed his oath of office. If ongoing investigations by the State Assembly reveal further misdeeds, impeachment must remain a viable option. The State Legislature must uphold its duty to hold Governor Cuomo accountable.

I look forward to working with Lieutenant Governor Hochul in her new capacity as the first female Governor in New York State history. As a fellow Western New Yorker, I hope she strives to help New York heal and elevates the voices of upstate New Yorkers long maligned and ignored by downstate leaders. Having served with her at several levels of government, I am confident that her integrity is unwavering. Together, we will continue to navigate the challenges facing all New Yorkers.”

From Lt. Gov. Kathy Hochul:

"I agree with Governor Cuomo's decision to step down. It is the right thing to do and in the best interest of New Yorkers.

As someone who has served at all levels of government and is next in the line of succession, I am prepared to lead as New York State’s 57th Governor."

Assemblyman Steve Hawley:

 “Now that the governor has done the right thing and resigned, we can focus on bettering the lives of the working people of this state once again. This is the third high ranking official that has stepped down due to improper conduct during my tenure, and I hope we can come together and work to assure it’s the last and that conduct like that of Andrew Cuomo’s is never left unchecked. I do want to congratulate Kathy Hochul, who will be our next Governor in two weeks, and hope we can work together in bipartisan fashion to do more for the people of this state than ever before.”

Rep. Chris Jacobs:

“Andrew Cuomo's resignation is long overdue, and needed to move our state government past the multiple scandals he and his staff inflicted on the citizens of New York. Despite his resignation, criminal investigations of the Cuomo administration must continue to ensure justice is served.”

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