CHEEKTOWAGA – Supervisor Diane Benczkowski took the temperature of the town council at Tuesday’s work session about the possibility of a town-wide moratorium on development following recent floods in South Cheektowaga.
The moratorium was suggested by a resident during the town’s flooding forum last week Monday.
“Somebody had asked if I had put in a motion for a moratorium for all economic development,” said Ms. Benczkowski. “I’m an advocate for economic development, so I would never put in a resolution like that; I feel that the economic development helps our taxpayers.”
Councilmember James Rogowski is an advocate for economic development in Cheektowaga and steers the town’s committee on the matter.
“If we put a moratorium on building, then we crush the economics of this township,” said Mr. Rogowski. “Most of our town – maybe 80 to 90 percent – is redevelopment as we are seeing redevelopment on French and Union, we see redevelopment on Walden, we see the redevelopment of a gas station [at Walden and Union]. If we put a moratorium on building, the Bendersons of the world, the DLCs, the DDRs, and the other [development] companies that own properties are going to walk from us and we’re going to have empty buildings.”
Councilmember Timothy Meyers brought up the possibility of a development moratorium on a segregated area.
“I thought that he was saying a moratorium on the effective area. It doesn’t make sense, I agree, to have a moratorium town-wide. I could see in that sewer district,” said Mr. Meyers. “I don’t even know if it could be done.”
“We have to make sure that if they’re in the Erie County Sewer District #1 where the flooding area is, they get an approval from the Erie County Sewer District #1 and that was the problem we had with all of the homes on Hitchcock,” said Ms. Benczkowski.
She says as the town continues to investigate what caused several homes and streets to flood in South Cheektowaga on August 17th, it was brought to her attention that corners may have been cut during the development of that subdivision.
“They needed an extra pipe in there that would cost a lot of money, so they decided not to do that,” she said.
Compound that with Mr. Rogowski’s theory that Erie County should have laid pipe down Clinton Street instead of Losson Road.
“If there is an inflow of water going into the sanitary sewer, when it’s raining in Lancaster, Elma, or Aurora, and they’re flushing their toilets, the only people who are affected by it is the Town of Cheektowaga,” Mr. Rogowski said.
It was also mentioned that the corrugated galvanized pipe installed in that development might need to be replaced because they have reached the end of their 40 to 50-year service life.
“Some of the sewers and piping is holding up well, but we have already seen those limits that were set for their life expectancy,” said Councilmember Brian Nowak.
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