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Le Roy Village Board

November 19, 2021 - 3:36pm
posted by Mike Pettinella in news, notify, Le Roy Village Board, Eric Biscaro, East Avenue.

Now that he’s had a couple days to regroup after the Le Roy Village Board’s rejection of a senior housing and building lot development on East Avenue, Mayor Greg Rogers said he believes that something else is bound to come along.

Rogers, speaking today by telephone, said he’s not quite ready “to take on another challenge” but did surmise that another project could come before the board in the near future.

“What usually happens in cases like this is that something else follows,” Rogers said. “Maybe it’s just single-family homes. We’ll have to see.”

On Wednesday night, lawmakers said no to a proposal by Batavia entrepreneur Eric Biscaro to construct a 30-unit duplex community for those 50 and over on a 20-acre parcel east of East Avenue and to develop 18 single-family building lots by extending East Avenue.

Three board members were against it and two, including Rogers, were for it.

“The whole thing took a lot of energy and life out of me,” the mayor said, noting that the plan was debated (at two contentious public hearings) and reviewed by lawyers, engineers and the board for more than seven months. “But, we still need to expand our tax base; my thought process hasn’t changed.”

Rogers said he tried to look at the project from the standpoint of both the village and Biscaro, who was prepared to invest several million dollars into the development, including the bulk of the cost of extending East Avenue.

“I was hoping for a win-win (situation),” he said. “Eric was a good candidate. He needed the PUD (Planned Unit Development zoning change for the senior apartments) to offset the cost of the road and single-family lots to make it a money-maker for him.”

At Wednesday’s board meeting, both Rogers and Trustee Jim Bonacquisti spoke highly of Poplar Lane resident Tom Frew, for his “professionalism” despite his opposition to the project. Frew distributed flyers and kept residents in the neighborhood abreast of the proceedings.

Contacted yesterday, Frew reiterated what he said from the beginning – that he wasn’t against development there but not in the form of an apartment complex.

“As (Trustee) Bill Kettle said the other night, ‘Strike while the iron is hot.’ That’s prime property. Let’s get some R-1 (Residential) down there,” Frew said.

He said he “buys into” the village board’s attempt at creating more taxable property, but would like to see something without a payment in lieu of taxes agreement for the potential developer.

“Eric needed a PILOT to do that and it greatly minimized for the first 30 years the amount of tax revenue (for the village),” Frew said. “Now, Eric would argue, rightfully so, that it's still more revenue than they're getting right now. But for the first 30 years, most of the tax revenue was going to come from the lots he was going to sell and people would build houses.”

Stormwater runoff was one of the reasons for opposition to the project, and that needs to be addressed, Frew said.

“There has to be some ways to stop this water from falling into the (Le Roy) golf course and Mercy Grove,” he said. “No matter what you put back there, you’ve got to deal with the water first.”

Rogers, who has 2 ½ years left on his term as mayor, said that engineers from two different firms determined that Biscaro’s plan would help to alleviate the current runoff situation.

“They both agreed that it would take care of part of it,” he said. “It would have been an improvement, but I guess that wasn’t good enough.”

October 20, 2021 - 8:30am
posted by Mike Pettinella in news, notify, Le Roy Village Board, Eric Biscaro.

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Update, 3 p.m.: Le Roy Village Mayor just reported that the Village Board will not be deciding the fate of this project tonight, but plans to complete the State Environmental Quality Review process. He said he is looking into scheduling a meeting for Nov. 1 for the vote, although that date has yet to be confirmed.

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The housing development being proposed by a Batavia businessman returns to the public arena tonight when the Le Roy Village Board convenes its regular monthly meeting at Memorial Auditorium on Trigon Park.

Eric Biscaro’s plan to construct 30 duplex units for residents 50 and older on a 20-acre parcel of land off East Avenue in the village (photo at top) has drawn much attention over the past five months – and a great deal of opposition from a vocal group of citizens who live in the East Avenue, Poplar Lane, Orchard Drive neighborhood.

Those calling for the village board to turn down the project – which requires rezoning from Residential to Planned Unit Development – have given various reasons, including it’s not a good fit for the area, increased traffic and stormwater runoff.

However, there have been LeRoyans who have spoken favorably of the venture, which also includes extending East Avenue to accommodate 18 single-family building lots. Those supporting it have pointed to studies that show Le Roy (and Genesee County) lack adequate housing for seniors and also have mentioned the tax revenue the project would generate.

So, after a recommendation of approval by the Genesee County Planning Board, two previous well-attended public hearings, and some back-and-forth dialogue on The Batavian, the matter is back on the village board’s agenda, with proceedings to begin at 7 o’clock.

Mayor Greg Rogers, contacted earlier this week, said board members seem to be satisfied with traffic and stormwater runoff studies conducted by the CPL engineering firm hired by the village.

“Yes. We’ve reviewed CPL’s study of the water and traffic issues and they’re (CPL) good with that,” he said.

The pressing concern now, he said, is what to do about Biscaro’s offer to put the East Avenue extension in himself, with minimal assistance (around $30,000) in the way of stone, gravel and trucks from the village. The developer also is seeking a $7,000 cap on building permit fees (which represents about a 50 percent discount).

Rogers said that no decision has been made by the board as far as Biscaro putting the road in.

“He has proposed putting the majority of the roads in for the 60 units (senior housing complex) and the 18 building lots on an extension of East Avenue,” Rogers advised. “The board is looking at a commitment of $50,000 to $75,000 toward the road extension.”

The board is thinking about spending that much because the current village code stipulates that curbs and storm sewers come with the installation of new roads.

“That definitely will be part of the conversation Wednesday (tonight),” he said.

Biscaro, using his Clinton Crossings Adult Community as an example, contends that curbs and storm drains aren’t necessary and “do not make the neighborhood.”

“Curbs trap the water on the street and force it to the storm drains,” he said. “You all heard the complaints about water in the storm drains going into the culvert under East Avenue and on to the golf course. Why do it? It’s not necessary. Our stormwater plan already takes care of any water on that street without sending it on to anyone else.”

The owner of Armor Building Supply in Batavia, Biscaro said he has multiple plans that will meet New York State Department of Environmental Conservation requirements and will present those, as well as a Letter of Compliance, to the board.

He said the “pros” of the project far outweigh the “cons” when it comes to being a benefit for the Village of Le Roy.

Biscaro said he got involved with the village after receiving word from Rogers that the board was considering an investment of up to $1 million to extend East Avenue. The proposal also includes opening up South Avenue as an emergency exit/entrance to South Street.

“A vote for the project will lead to quality built patio homes with garages built for easy senior living with no maintenance and more importantly no worries, and a nice new street where beautiful single-family homes will be built,” Biscaro said. “Maybe someone’s children or siblings can build and stay in Le Roy.”

As he did at the last public hearing, Biscaro – who said he will be investing $9 million over the next five years -- brought up the positive tax implications for the village.

“The current annual tax receipts for that property is approximately $1,360 -- $400 to the village and $960 to the (Le Roy Central) school district,” said Biscaro, who is seeking a Payment in Lieu of Taxes agreement with the Genesee County Economic Development Center. “In just the first year alone, the village would get $2,400 and the school would receive $5,760.”

He said the cumulative totals after 10 years would equal $311,500 to the village and $747,600 to the school district.

“If the board votes against it, it’s the same $1,360 year after year,” he said.

Biscaro said he is committed to building something that will enhance the neighborhood, which has been called a “jewel” by its residents.

“The issue right now is that we have nothing at this location and very little income,” he said. “We need to work together to create something out of this scrub land section of the village, and make this development another gem of the neighborhood.”

October 5, 2021 - 10:17am

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The Batavia businessman proposing the development of a 60-unit senior housing complex and eight single-family home building lots in the Village of Le Roy on Monday night offered to pay the lion’s share of the cost to extend East Avenue to make room for those lots.

Toward the end of what turned into a 2 hour and 43 minute public hearing at Memorial Auditorium, Eric Biscaro addressed the need to extend the road – something that Village Mayor Greg Rogers previously had said the village would consider doing.

About 50 people, most of them residents of the East Avenue, Poplar Lane and Orchard Drive area, attended.

Biscaro said he could extend East Avenue by about 1,000 feet to the south for considerably less than the $1 million estimate the village had received, comparing the work to the road he put in at his Clinton Crossings Adult Community development in the Town of Batavia.

Holding a photograph of the road (pictured above), Biscaro said, “The road is perfect and that was put in 15 years ago.”

He pitched the idea of the village contributing $26,000 for stone and gravel plus the time involved in trucking the material toward the construction of the road, which he said would be 24 feet wide. It would extend south to a point where an access road or emergency exit could be carved out on South Avenue, connecting to South Street.

The village board did not make any commitments last night and tabled a couple resolutions on the State Environmental Quality Review that is part of the requirements before the project can progress.

When asked about the village’s stance on paying for the East Avenue extension, Rogers said that news of a potential Payment in Lieu of Taxes agreement between Biscaro and the Genesee County Economic Development Center changes things.

“(With the PILOT) our recapture (of taxes) is a lot less now,” Rogers said. “That one million (dollars) is not on the table at this point.”

Rogers said that no voting on the project – including the rezoning of the 20-acre parcel to the east of East Avenue designated for the senior housing complex – would take place until an agreement on the road extension is reached.

After Biscaro said that “the project can be done without the road,” Rogers countered by restating the village’s position that it wants single-family homes (as well as the rental properties for those 50 and over).

Mark Masse, GCEDC vice president of operations, spoke first at the public hearing to give details about Biscaro’s application for incentives.

He also reported that the county has a need for 1,400 new single-family homes and market rate apartments over the next 20 years “to keep up with the (projected) growth.”

Concerning the tax abatements, Masse said the project qualifies for sales tax (materials) and mortgage tax breaks as well as a PILOT, which would reduce Biscaro’s tax bill on a sliding scale over 20 years.

Specifically, Masse said, Biscaro would be responsible for 10 percent of total taxes (county, village and school) for the first four years, 15 percent for the next three years, 20 percent for the next three years, 50 percent for the next five years and 75 percent for the final five years. The PILOT does not cover taxes and fees for any special districts, such as water and sewer.

When a resident mentioned that the village would be losing out on tax revenue, Masse said completion of the project would bring in more than what the village is receiving now on the vacant land. He also noted that tenants would pay their own water and sewer bills.

Masse said the GCEDC has approved incentives for similar projects, mentioning The Manor House and DePaul Properties in Batavia, with a difference being that those projects did not have to be rezoned.

The Village Board would have to approve rezoning of the land earmarked for the senior apartments from Residential to Planned Unit Development. The single-family home building lots on East Avenue would continue to be zoned Residential, however, Rogers said.

Residents asked questions and offered opinions on several other pressing issues, most notably the project’s impact on traffic, stormwater runoff, property values, tax implications and housing opportunities – basically the same concerns that were expressed during a public hearing on Aug. 18 at Memorial Auditorium.

TRAFFIC IMPLICATIONS

Andrew Kosa, engineer with CPL (Clark Patterson Lee), reported that by using numbers provided through a traffic study conducted by the Le Roy Police Department, that the project would result in twice the number of vehicles on East Avenue and East Main Street during peak morning and afternoon times.

Still, Kosa said, that would not significantly impact traffic flow, stating that East Avenue traffic would continue to be at a satisfactory level.

This prompted a resident to bring up the “dangerous” situation where motorists are unable to see clearly as they move from East Avenue onto East Main Street, and asked if the Village Board could look into this.

STORMWATER RETENTION

A major topic of discussion, Kosa said CPL’s role “is to ensure compliance,” adding that any water discharge from the project has to be equal or less than what is running off now.

Biscaro’s plan includes a retention pond in the northwest quadrant of the 30-duplex layout (see photo below).

LeRoyan James Gomborone, who owns nearby Mercy Grove and Le Roy Country Club, said his property gets considerable runoff now – and frequent flooding when it rains heavily – and said he wasn’t convinced of the stormwater plan’s effectiveness.

Biscaro responded by saying the water will flow to the north “and be considerably less than it is now or the same when it leaves the property.”

“My responsibility (under the law) is for it to come out the same or less (than it is now),” he said.

Kosa also responded to a question about the East Avenue extension, noting that CPL would have to mitigate any water issues or be subject to being fined by the Department of Environmental Conservation.

Biscaro reported that only 18 percent of the 20-acre apartment complex would be comprised of impervious cover, such as pavement, roofing, etc.

It was mentioned that Biscaro would be open to developing additional building lots on the west side of East Avenue. If so, a separate stormwater plan would have to be devised.

ZONING CHANGE

Resident Tom Condidorio contended that any zoning changes would affect home values, and called out the village board for not listening to its taxpayers.

Rogers responded by saying the overarching plan is to “try to grow the tax base so your property values don’t go down.”

It then was mentioned that another resident put in a retention pond in a different part of the village with duplexes and the average sale of homes in that area increased by 28 percent over assessed values.

TAX IMPLICATIONS

Biscaro read from a spreadsheet that breaks down the tax revenue starting with 2022 and going out to 2047.

He said the village is collecting $400 a year and the Le Roy Central School District is collecting $960 a year on the property as it currently stands, but each entity would collect six times that amount in the first year.

In year 10, with the completion of the apartment complex and new home builds, he said the village would receive $61,500 in tax revenue and Le Roy Central School District would earn $147,600.

All told, Biscaro’s projections show the village receiving $1.5 million in taxes and the school district capturing $3.7 million in taxes over the 25 years.

HOUSING OPPORTUNITIES

A LeRoyan said she was in favor of creating residences for those people 50 and over, noting that “Le Roy residents have no place to go.”

She said her father is 76 and “this would be the perfect place for him.”

“This is designed to be for rentals,” she said. “Some people don’t want to own (their homes any longer).”

Biscaro, responding to calls for the project to be moved outside the village, said, “This is a fabulous location. We want to be in a good place.”

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Moving forward, Rogers said the village board will evaluate Biscaro’s proposal to construct the road, with an eye on possibly making a decision at its Oct. 20 meeting.

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Drawing of the 60-unit senior apartment complex, showing the oval-shaped retention pond at upper left, as well as the proposed extention of East Avenue along the left side with eight building lots.

Previously: East Avenue area residents defend their 'jewel' of a neighborhood at public hearing on Le Roy development

August 3, 2021 - 11:27am
posted by Mike Pettinella in news, notify, Le Roy Village Board, Mercy Grove, Le Roy Country Club.

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Cold hard facts about a stormwater retention plan apparently will determine the fate of a Batavia businessman’s proposal to build a 60-unit senior residential complex off East Avenue in the Village of Le Roy.

“I’m looking for scientific information – I don’t want anybody’s opinion – that can tell me that the project is going to have no impact upon groundwater or, actually, will improve the situation that the residents are feeling now, including the (Le Roy) golf course,” said Le Roy Mayor Greg Rogers this morning.

“I still believe there is a need for that type of housing in the community … but the main thing is that the water issue has to be a non-issue.”

Rogers presided over a meeting on Monday night that was attended by about 50 village residents at the Town of Le Roy courtroom. The purpose of the meeting was for the board to conduct the State Environmental Quality Review for the project.

After the first two sections of the long form were completed, the SEQR then was put on hold, Rogers said.

When asked if the water issue was the reason for tabling it, he said “it had more to do with the overall project.”

When asked if the site plan submitted by Eric Biscaro, owner of Armor Building Supply in Batavia, was in jeopardy, Rogers said, “I wouldn’t say that, it’s just that we’re in the information gathering process.”

“I’ve always contended that the stormwater part of it – the stormwater plan -- was the deal breaker on the whole thing. If any of the properties get more stormwater than they’re getting now, that’s a deal breaker. Right now, for me, it’s all about the water.”

If photos provided by LeRoyan Tom Frew are any indication, standing water in yards in the Poplar Lane and Orchard Drive area as well as nearby Mercy Grove and Le Roy Country Club is a major concern that needs to be addressed.

Frew, a Poplar Lane resident, has been outspoken in his opposition to the project, claiming that the 30 duplex patio home rentals on a 20-acre parcel that runs east of East Avenue are not compatible with the neighborhood. He also is against the village spending money to improve East Avenue and is concerned about the increase in traffic.

Biscaro’s plan, estimated to cost around $9 million, also calls for the development and sale of eight single-family home building lots along an extension of that street.

Contacted this morning, Frew said that a heavy rainfall two weeks ago caused a foot and a half to two feet of standing water behind a neighbor’s home near the intersection of Poplar and Orchard (see photo above).

“That that took a few days to flow out through a buried pipe that goes down parallel with Orchard Drive and dumps into a creek which flows over to Mercy Grove and the golf course,’ he said. “The golf course had two holes under water.”

Frew said turbidity is another issue.

“You could only see about six inches down in the two feet of water, and (Mercy Grove and Le Roy Country Club owner) Jim Gomborone said that when the water recedes on the golf course, he has suspended solids all along the lower shore line that came from that water,” he added.

Frew agreed with Rogers that water “seems to be the tiebreaker.”

“He (Biscaro) will have to build a retention pond to hold and contain it, and then slowly release the water,” he said. “That was where the rubber met the road at the meeting last night.”

Rogers said the developer is on board with village officials when it comes to providing necessary and accurate information relating to water runoff.

“His engineer had sent the water remediation plan to CPL (Clark Patterson Lee) for review, but CPL didn’t feel that they had enough information at that point and time,” Roger said. “So, we’re going to do our due diligence among Biscaro, Clark Patterson and the DEC (NYS Department of Environmental Conservation) to get accurate information on the water remediation plan.”

The mayor said the next step is a public hearing at 7 p.m. Aug. 18 at the Memorial Auditorium on Trigon Park in the village. The public hearing originally was to be held at Le Roy High School but the school is not available, Rogers said.

“After that and if all the information is in regarding the water, then we can go back and adopt Section 3 -- if that’s where it leads us,” he said.

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Photo at top: Poplar Lane resident Gerry Robinson in standing water behind his home. Photos at bottom: Standing water at Mercy Grove and Le Roy Country Club following a recent steady rainfall. Submitted photos.

June 8, 2021 - 1:29pm

The reality that “once you’re in, you can never leave” has Le Roy Town and Village board members taking a cautious approach to any potential participation in the state’s new Marijuana Regulation & Taxation Act.

Officials from both governing bodies gathered with about a dozen residents at the Town Hall courtroom Monday night for what turned out to be a 30-minute discussion on the recently passed legislation that immediately permits the recreational use of marijuana for residents 21 years of age and older.

The MRTA also opens the door for retail dispensaries and onsite consumption spaces, which likely are a couple years away from implementation.

“Part of this that concerns me is that if you’re in, you’re in forever and you can’t opt out,” Le Roy Town Supervisor James Farnholz said. “But if you’re out, you can jump in if it’s working (elsewhere).”

The “opt in” and “opt out” terminology applies to cities, towns and villages who may or may not want to have pot stores or lounges within their borders. Opting in means that the municipality would be eligible for the tax revenue imposed by the state on marijuana sales; opting out could lead to a public referendum, which could overturn that decision.

In any event, the deadline to decide is Dec. 31 of this year. But with the state still trying to figure out all the rules and regulations attached to the law, many local governmental leaders seem to be in no hurry.

Le Roy Village Mayor Greg Rogers said he is part of that group.

“We’re going to take as much time as we can – right to the end of December – because we believe the landscape will change eight or nine times until then,” he said.

As previously reported on The Batavian, the state is establishing the Office of Cannabis Management & Marijuana Control Board, which will have an executive director and will be housed inside the New York State Liquor Authority.

The office will implement regulations for production, licensing, retail, packaging, labeling and use, with the first sales not expected until 2022 or early 2023.

Currently, 18 states plus the District of Columbia, the Northern Mariana Islands and Guam have legalized cannabis for adult use. Another 13 states and the U.S. Virgin Islands have decriminalized its use.

Farnholz said he doesn’t support a local law that would supersede the fact that marijuana is considered a Class One drug at the federal level.

“If you opt out, then down the road you can take some more time and see how it plays out in other communities. You then would have the opportunity to opt in or, in my opinion, if the federal government were to remove it as a Class One drug and it became legalized on a federal basis – to me that changes the discussion significantly,” he said.

He said the dispensary or consumption site can not be within 500 feet of a school or 200 feet from a place of worship, and that restriction – if not changed – would mean that Main Street in the village would be out due to the number of churches along Route 5.

In any event, Farnholz said the emphasis leading to a decision should be on what the law would mean to municipalities, not the morality of legalized marijuana.

“I don’t want to go down the road if legalized marijuana is good or bad,” he said. “We all have our opinions.”

Whiting said that municipalities are limited in what they can pass to just the two areas -- dispensaries or onsite consumption spaces.

“Other than that, the municipalities’ hands are tied and restricted,” he said.

Rogers said he is convinced that “somewhere in Genesee County, someone is going to sell it” but as far as Le Roy is concerned, he said the village board is going to discuss the possibility of a public referendum “to let the people decide if that is something that they want.”

A local law is subject to a permissive referendum, Whiting said, meaning that if 10 percent of the voters who last voted in the prior gubernatorial race sign a petition, there would have to be a referendum.

Several topics came up during the discussion, including the taxation schedule, drug impairment recognition, information from the state of Colorado, increased costs of public safety and federal law enforcement’s involvement.

Tax Revenue Split

Whiting pointed out that there is a 25/75 split between Genesee County and the municipality that allows the dispensary and the onsite spaces.

Specifically, the sales tax on cannabis will be 13 percent, with 9 percent going to the state, 3 percent to the host municipality and 1 percent to the county. Additionally, a THC (tetrahydrocannabinol) excise tax will be imposed.

David Damico, a resident and school teacher, said he’s all for the tax revenue but is concerned because he’s around teenagers all the time.

“I do think that whatever we decide to do tonight, that those who want it will get it,” he said. “We’re almost within walking distance of multiple villages that might opt in, including the big one down the road (Batavia), which is much bigger than us. So, I’m not really sure that keeping it off the books here is going to deter anybody.”

Farnholz replied, “I’m not sure we’ve deterred anybody since 1975,” adding that he spent 30 years as an educator and shares Damico's concerns.

Rogers said that “as far as the taxation and revenue goes, I don’t think our boards should make a decision based on thinking they’re going to get a boatload of tax revenue … This is a bigger issue than that for the social aspect.”

Recognizing Those Impaired by Pot

Farnholz said that local judges he has spoken to have a “grave concern” over it because of the lack of standards in testing for impairment.

Whiting said courses are available for law enforcement personnel to learn to recognize and detect marijuana impairment but they’re very time consuming.

Town Councilperson John Armitage mentioned that it takes a full year to train a police officer to become a DRE (Drug Recognition Expert).

“Paying this officer overtime, bringing in extra manpower – it is astronomical – and we’re not talking one or two deputies … you would have to have multiple deputies trained in DRE,” he said. “And the amount of tax you think you’re going to get, you’re not going to get (due to increased expense incurred for public safety and related services).”

Stein on Colorado: Unintended Consequences

Rochelle Stein, Genesee County Legislature chair, advised the boards that the county has no authority in this legislation before providing information from Colorado, which is one of the states that have legalized cannabis.

“The cost to public safety in that state has risen due to the sale of marijuana and the cost of public safety will be borne by the taxpayers when those costs go up (here),” she said. “The mental health, the physical health – those costs have also risen in Colorado. Incidentally, they will also tell you that the black market of cannabis has benefited greatly in Colorado.

“If there are some lessons to be learned, I would suggest that we look at Colorado and to see their experiences there. I would absolutely welcome the opportunity to opt out, preserve whatever you can for the future. If I were in your shoes, that’s what would do.”

Armitage agreed with Stein, adding that before any decision is made, board members need to look at these other states.

“I will tell you that Colorado’s accident rate is up over 400 percent since legalization, and that costs have increased more than the revenue that has been taken in,” he said.

Public Safety Costs a Major Concern

Armitage compared the MRTA to the influx of casinos, which in many cases have led to increase crime and public safety budgets.

“This is one of the worst ideas I have seen the state come up with yet, especially when other states have done it and you can see their numbers – it just does not work,” he said.

Stein also brought up that the dogs used as K-9 officers and their handlers would have to be retrained, which is another expense.

Resident Nikki Calhoun said that putting on two or three more village police officers “would be a significant cost to the village and eventually that will have to be passed on (to the taxpayers).”

“And, of course, the village can’t respond to other towns and Genesee County has limited resources for the sheriff’s on this side of the county, so I think you’ll have more problems,” she said.

Feds’ Involvement in Question

Whiting said states will be on their own when it comes to enforcement.

“My guess is that enforcement of marijuana consumption by the federal government will be very few and far between,” he said. “I’m sure they’re going to interdict large quantities coming into this country, but my hunch is that U.S. attorneys’ offices are not looking to prosecute anyone for personal consumption of marijuana.”

Resident Jay Beaumont opined that ultimately the federal government will leave it up to the states, calling it “ludicrous” that the feds classify marijuana as a Class One drug.

He also said he sees many changes from New York State before the end-of-the-year deadline to opt in or opt out.

Will Communities be Lining Up to Opt In?

The point was brought up that other communities will opt in and benefit from the tax revenue.

Farnholz had a different take on the issue.

“Looking at other states, the fantasy from the governor’s office that this is a major economic boon to the municipalities is just that – a fantasy,” he said. “You’re not going to get the financial boon that you think you are from a (cash only) dispensary. Because quite frankly, people will grow their own or the black market flourishes incredibly to avoid paying the 25-, 35-or 40-percent tax.”

Beaumont asked if it could be put to a vote to see what the residents’ feeling toward it is.

“We could do it one of two ways,” Farnholz replied. “Someone could come forward with a permissive referendum, which would be binding, or we could … have a (nonbinding) vote to gauge the feeling of the community (as the town did with the ambulance a couple years ago).”

Whiting said he expects more details to be released on a regular basis, which “will give us a lot of these answers.”

January 16, 2016 - 12:44pm
posted by Raymond Coniglio in Le Roy, Wiss Hotel, Le Roy Village Board, Boy Scouts.

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Grant Hertzler, center, presents a community service project to the Le Roy Village Board on Wednesday. Also pictured, from left, is Trustee Bob Taylor, Mayor Greg Rogers and trustees Bill Kettle and Jim Bonacquisti. Grant, a member of Boy Scout Troop 6016, hopes to beautify the former Wiss Hotel site as part of his Eagle Scout Service Project.

Grant Hertzler has a plan for the former Wiss Hotel site.

And the Le Roy High School junior pitched his idea to a supportive Village Board this week — from a lofty perch.

The mayor’s seat.

Grant, 16, is a member of Boy Scout Troop 6016 in Pavilion. He is pursuing his Eagle Scout rank, which requires him to lead a community service project.

His goal is to beautify the now-vacant hotel site at Main and Lake streets (routes 5 and 19). He was prepared with a laptop computer on Wednesday, to outline the project for the Village Board.

The board wanted a closer look, so Mayor Greg Rogers obliged by offering his seat at the table.

The Wiss Hotel was razed in 2013. The village has since installed an electric service panel for the Community Christmas Tree that is raised on the lot every holiday season, but the lot is otherwise vacant.

Grant said he would give the site a facelift by building a shed to house the electrical panel, leveling the ground and adding mulch and greenery. He would also upgrade the gravel circle where the Christmas Tree usually stands.

“I would either put brick over that, or a more-appealing stone,” he said.

Grant said he would recruit volunteers and obtain donations of material and money.

“This would be at no cost to the village,” he told the board.

Village Board members were encouraging, and even suggested the Department of Public Works could support the project by donating in-kind services.

“I like your ideas,” Trustee Bill Kettle said.

Grant said he hopes to begin work this spring. The project has to be finished by the time he turns 18, and then presented to an Eagle Board of Review.

Grant is the son of Neil and Deb Hertzler, of Le Roy. He picked the Wiss Hotel site because it needs improving — a goal that’s ambitious but manageable.

He agreed to bring detailed drawings and plans back to the board in six weeks.

Trustees had a final question: How did he feel sitting in for the mayor?

“Powerful,” Grant said.

“Don’t be fooled,” Rogers said.

December 30, 2015 - 5:15pm
posted by Raymond Coniglio in Le Roy, Le Roy Village Board.

The Village of Le Roy has tapped the expertise of a veteran forester to facilitate the sale of timber.

John Eisenhard will help market timber on village-owned land along Oatka Creek adjacent to the Sewer Treatment Plant on Red Mill Road.

The Village Board voted Dec. 16 to hire his company, Eisenhard Forestry of South Street Road, for a 6-percent commission on the eventual sale.

The idea to sell timber originated at the treatment plant, where walnuts were falling into outdoor settling tanks. Superintendent Steven Carroll approached village officials about having the trees removed, and they contacted Eisenhard.

He spoke to the board for about a half hour about the village property and woodlot management.

The village owns several wooded acres along the creek bank, as well as a wooded island in the creek. Black walnut predominates, and there are about 81 walnut trees large enough to attract buyers, the board was told.

Eisenhard said culling mature trees should make the property more valuable in the long term. Underbrush is smothering the growth of new trees, he said.

“When you walk in the woodlot it’s pretty obvious you're not getting the typical regeneration (expected) in typical woods,” Eisenhard said. “You’re lacking a dramatic amount of seedlings and you’re lacking a dramatic amount of saplings.”

Eisenhard has helped more than 300 landowners market their timber in the past 13 years, according to information provided to the board. He stressed that he represents landowners, and neither works for nor represents any lumber company.

The Village Board will be asked to authorize bids when it meets next month.

Eisenhard said bidding information would be sent to at least six companies. He did not speculate how much the village could expect to receive, but said sale offers vary widely based on the available markets and sawmill volume needs.

Eisenhard advised the village act soon to sell at least the ash trees on its property. The state Department of Environmental Conservation has severely restricted the movement of ash lumber, in an effort to slow the spread of the emerald ash borer.

This invasive species that has killed millions of ash trees since it was first discovered in the United States in 2002. The insect — which has been confirmed in Caledonia and Darien — kills individual trees within two to four years of infestation.

Eisenhard said ash lumber will likely fetch a higher price during winter months, when it can be sold to buyers outside the area.

“I would recommend you sell every commercial stick ... on the property because they’re going to be dead in five years,” Eisenhard said.

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