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Marilla board warns officials against overstepping authority

The Marilla Town Board this week cautioned town officials against overstepping their bounds in dealing with the public following a confrontation last month involving a Planning Board member and a local businessman that led to an arrest.

Ken Kelchlin, owner of Ken's Sales and Service on Clinton Street, was charged with trespassing April 5 for driving his ATV onto the lawn of Planning Board member Richard Rose, an incident apparently tied to a dispute over a new LED sign at Kelchlin's business.

The Town Board warned town officials following complaints from residents about incidents where members of different town entities have taken action on what they perceived to be violations of the town code.

The Town Board said members of all town entities should become familiar with their roles and duties under the town code and should leave enforcement of the code to those who have that authority.

Code violations are to be reported to the building inspector. When necessary, the Town Board will direct an appropriate course of conduct.

The board made no other comments about the cautionary statement, which was written at the board's request by the town attorney.

No vote was taken at Tuesday's meeting, as board members Warren Handley, Beth Ackerman and Barbara Spanitz refused to vote on the matter. Councilman Donald Darrow was absent, and Supervisor George Gertz made no comment after the others refused to vote.

An Erie County Sheriff's Office report said Kelchlin rode an ATV across Rose's lawn three times.

A deputy was called and spotted Kelchlin driving down the road on an unregistered ATV. When Kelchlin saw the deputy, he sped by Rose's home with the deputy in pursuit. He was arrested at the Kwik Fill gas station at Clinton and Two Rod Road for not stopping when requested.

Kelchlin had asked that Rose be removed from the Planning Board at the April board meeting after Rose came to his business about 10 minutes after an LED sign, for which Kelchlin had a permit, was installed. Kelchlin said he was questioned by Rose in front of customers and employees, which made him angry.

Rose said he had received a couple of phone calls about the sign, which was not doing what it was supposed to do. Kelchlin said the sign can be programmed and that it would take a few weeks to be adjusted.

Rose said he did not go to Kelchlin's business as a Planning Board member but as a resident. Kelchlin said Rose has been in his face since he applied for a permit to build his business.

The Town Board held a closed meeting May 1 with attorneys, board members, Rose and Kelchlin.

Kelchlin said he will not stop until Rose is removed from the Planning Board.

Rose said anything that was said was said in the heat of the moment and that he is willing to forget the incident.

Rose is not prosecuting Kelchlin for riding on his lawn.