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Clarence officials and the audience were evenly matched -- seven to seven -- Wednesday night at a Town Board meeting that saw 16 acres of land rezoned for 22 new homes.

And when a developer and three businessmen concluded their business with the board and left, the seven town officials were left with an audience of three newspaper reporters.

At the 35-minute-long, year-ending session, the board unanimously approved Engasser Builders' "Williamsburg Farms North" subdivision on land bounded by Clarence Center Road, Shimerville Road and Candlewood Lane.

Drainage concerns were raised early in the subdivision-review process by residents of the existing Williamsburg Farms development to the south, said Paul McCarthy, town zoning enforcement officer.

The neighbors' concerns, McCarthy said, were satisfied by a drainage plan to Ransom Creek that includes the tiling of an open drainage ditch in the existing subdivision.

The Town Board granted development-plan approval two weeks ago and the Clarence Planning Board had recommended approval of the rezoning.

In other business, the Town Board approved a snow- and ice- control contract with the county, requiring the county to reimburse towns and villages $1,300 per lane-mile for plowing and de-icing county roads.

Clarence and most other towns had rejected the county's original reimbursement offer of $1,175 per lane-mile, up from $1,100 last winter.

The board's resolution calls for negotiations to begin with the county next month on a new multiyear contract, the goal of which is reaching $2,280 per lane-mile. Town highway officials say $2,280 reflects what it costs to keep roads clear in winter.

"I hope they begin negotiating in January, rather than Sept. 1, as they have the past couple of years," said Councilman John F. Love.

The board also set a $50-a-day food allowance, "plus all necessary and reasonable expenses," for town officials who attend the annual state Association of Towns convention in New York City Feb. 16-20. The board approved an initial list of six officials to attend the convention, including three board members, although the list may be expanded later.

The board also:

Approved a five-year contract at $95,000 a year for the services of the Amherst Central Fire Alarm dispatch office.

Set a public hearing for 8:30 p.m. Jan. 23 on a request for a conditional permit for D & R Auto Detail to occupy the former Rural Sanitation Service building at 10187 Main St.

Accepted with regrets the resignation of Warren Greatbatch, longtime secretary of the Clarence Conservation Committee.

Reappointed Ronald M. Boehm to a five-year term on the Board of Assessment Review and Richard K. Milewicz to a one-year term as an alternate member.

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