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Wal-Mart neighbors want homes washed

Nearby residents of the new Wal-Mart under construction on Transit Road want Wal-Mart to wash their houses after all the dust has finally settled.

Evelyn Chowaniec, president of the Northwood Village Association, told the Lancaster Town Board on Monday that "abrasive dust" blowing from the construction site at the northeast corner of Transit Road and William Street has had a "sandblasting effect" on nearby homes, eroding backyard decks and sending dust into houses through open windows.

Board members said they were trying to get a commitment from Wal-Mart to power-wash the affected residences free of charge after construction is complete.

In other news:

*Board members reviewed a design services contract with William Schutt and Associates to expand Town Hall.

The board had voted in May to borrow $800,000 to build a new, rear addition to the Town Hall/Lancaster Opera House building.

The two-story, 5,500-square-foot addition would replace an existing storage garage in disrepair, said Robert Harris, town engineering consultant with William Schutt. A first-floor, enclosed walkway would connect the existing Town Hall building with the new building.

"It's all going to be the same aesthetic design as the Town Hall," said Councilman Daniel Amatura. "It is part of the historical district, so we're going to have the same roofing on. We're going to try to match the brick as close as possible."

Construction could begin next year.

The addition is expected to move the Building Inspections Department back into Town Hall. The town currently pays $20,000 a year in rent for office space across the street in the old Board of Cooperative Educational Services building, Amatura said.

The expansion also should allow Supervisor Robert Giza to move his office out of the Town Hall basement, where the town jail was once housed.

*Stephen Szopinski, principal transportation analyst for the Greater Buffalo-Niagara Regional Transportation Council, shared preliminary results from a traffic study of the southern end of Lancaster.

Unlike past years when major thoroughfares like William Street have seen sharp increases in vehicle counts, Szopinski said it appears as if traffic has been holding steady over the past two years.

Analysts will now begin projecting future traffic counts by adding in future developments already approved by the town, Szopinski said. The study will estimate how many additional cars will be added to the roadways and the impact on existing street and intersection capacity.


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