LOCKPORT – The Common Council held a public hearing Wednesday on a proposed special-use permit for an e-cigarette store, but it was unclear if there ever will be a vote on it.
“No one would sponsor it,” Corporation Counsel John J. Ottaviano said. Since the Planning Board opposed the request, city ordinances require that a unanimous Council vote would be needed to grant the permit.
Jordan Bork wants to open an electronic cigarette store in the front portion of Hairport, a salon at 343 Walnut St. Landlord Dennis J. Stachera handed in a petition with 22 signatures in favor.
Planning Board member Jeffrey Tracy said at the hearing that he thinks e-cigarettes are bad. “I don’t want this temptation in my neighborhood,” he said.
Stachera said, “I know six people who have quit smoking” by switching to e-cigarettes.
Ottaviano said comments on the safety of the product are irrelevant to the question of whether the city should make an exception to the zoning ordinance to permit the store.
He asked Bork questions about whether the e-cigarette units or the liquid nicotine burned in them are a fire hazard. Bork assured him they are not, and also promised not to allow people to lounge around the store. Bork said selling e-cigarettes to minors is illegal, and he will enforce that ban.
Stachera said he walked door to door in the neighborhood and found no opposition to the store. But he also admitted the building in which the store would be located is for sale.
The Council voted to pay the Bonadio Group of Amherst $13,700 for its work, which originally was to cost $7,000.
The firm interviewed staff, met with officials and the Council, and drafted a report in late March that showed personnel shortages were a primary cause of the city falling behind on record-keeping, leading to incorrect financial reports.
Also Wednesday, the Council voted to pay attorney David Haylett $2,400 for filling in as traffic court prosecutor from Feb. 25 until last week. That equals $200 an hour for two hours every Tuesday.
Haylett took the place of Deputy Corporation Counsel Matthew E. Brooks, who was recovering from surgery, Ottaviano said. The city has two other deputy attorneys, but both also work for the county as assistant public defenders, meaning they couldn’t serve as prosecutors, even in traffic court.
The Council also:
• Approved a contract with Mayor Anne E. McCaffrey’s new secretary, Brandy Martucci, for a salary of $28,700 a year.
• Spent $173,629 in state highway aid to buy a new front-end loader that could be used to plow snow. That brings the city’s fleet to four loaders, although two are currently broken down.
• Authorized bidding for repairs to the Main Street waterline, which burst three times in front of City Hall in late April. The resulting damage left Main Street in extremely rough condition, and also left a hole in the City Hall parking lot.