Two of the region’s largest utilities were on the minds of Elma officials this week.
The Town Board heard an update on a New York State Electric & Gas environmental plan to build a 300-foot communication tower on a 32-acre site on Creek and Stolle roads.
Norman Gardner of Clark, Patterson, Lee Engineering firm said the required state review was not thorough and lacked what he called significant information regarding wetlands in the area. It also had no report from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and no footprint of the tower, which Gardner called a concern because the designated fall zone included a power grid that could be knocked out. He added that there was a limited site development, no erosion control, and no provisions for water accumulation at the site of an elevated driveway.
After NYSEG addresses those issues, it must then present its plan to the Zoning Board of Appeals for variances regarding the height of the tower in a residential area.
When NYSEG originally applied for the permit in October, officials they said they needed to have the variances approved by Dec. 31. Supervisor Dennis Powers said he was not optimistic that would happen.
“This is highly unlikely due to the time frame we are dealing with,” he said. “They should have come to us last spring.”
NYSEG said the approvals are needed by then in order to obtain federal and state financing for the project.
Also this week, the Town Board discussed National Fuel’s plan to relocate pipes and gas meters that are too near to a ditch along Bowen Road.
National Fuel is concerned that snowplows and cars could hit the ditch, knocking off the pipes. The utility wants to move the equipment farther back from the road and north on a town-owned property on Bowen.
Town Attorney Phyllis Todoro is working on a lease or purchase agreement with National Fuel. The utility is leaning toward a purchase of the property due to the cost involved in moving its equipment. The work is necessary, Powers said, because of new homes going up in Springbrook Shores and on Stoneridge Drive.
The main work for National Fuel will begin on Pound Road in May. Numbers for the lease or purchase agreement will be available at the Jan. 9 session.