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Bylewski on course to succeed Hallock as Clarence supervisor

A key architect of Clarence's controlled-growth policies running for town supervisor and two of his Town Board allies appeared headed to victory in Tuesday's elections, beating back three challengers.

With 50 percent of the vote in, Clarence Councilman Scott Bylewski, a Democrat, had 56 percent of the vote compared with 44 percent for Peter Vasilion, a Republican, in the race for supervisor.

Supervisor Kathleen Hallock is retiring.

Meanwhile, incumbents Joseph Weiss and Bernard Kolber -- both Republicans -- were the top vote-getters in the four-way race for two Town Board seats.

Weiss had 31 percent of the vote and Kolber had 29 percent.

Democratic challengers Timothy Pazda and Ryan Mills received 23 percent and 17 percent of the vote, respectively.

In the supervisor's race, Vasilion, a newcomer to politics who had almost no name recognition, hoped to catch some bounce from the popularity of Christopher Collins, the GOP candidate for Erie County executive, who successfully beat the Democratic candidate, James Keane, in Tuesday's elections.

Collins, a successful businessman, lives in Clarence.

To what extent Collins' popularity in Clarence helped Vasilion is hard to determine. Vasilion was not immediately available to comment Tuesday night. But Bylewski -- the only Democrat on the board -- didn't seem surprised that a political novice like Vasilion did as well as he did.

"It's a Republican town," he said. "Republican registration is almost 2-1 over the Democrats. But I did very, very well. I walked door to door like I always do. It's the face-to-face contact that matters. Fortunately, people were willing to cross party lines to vote for me."

Although they belong to rival political parties, Bylewski, Kolber and Weiss have worked well together and share similar attitudes about controlling growth in Clarence.

In fact, Bylewski was endorsed by Hallock, another Republican.

Weiss said he was pleased to serve for another four years on the board, a time, he said, that will involve making sure the town continues to hold the line on development.

"The last four years have been a turning point. We started heading in the right direction," he said.

He said a top priority in the next four years should be reorganizing fire services, noting that the overwhelming majority of calls are for emergency medical services -- not fires.

All of the campaigns focused on a familiar theme in Clarence in recent years: How to maintain the community's semi-rural and historic roots in the face of continuing development.

Running unopposed were Town Clerk Nancy Metzger and Town Justice Robert Sillars.

e-mail: ncervantes@buffnews.com

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