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Wales Town Board acts to limit storage, spreading of sludge

Sewer sludge won’t be coming to the Town of Wales for at least a year.

The Town Board on Tuesday established a one-year moratorium on spreading and storing the material in order to study its potential effect in the community.

Marketed as a fertilizer, the sludge was strictly limited in neighboring Marilla under a local law passed last month by that town’s board.

A handful of residents spoke in favor of the moratorium before the board unanimously approved the measure.

“This gives us a chance to learn more and review it,” said Supervisor Rickey Venditti.

Sewer sludge is a byproduct when waste is converted by anaerobic digesters into methane gas.

After placing a hold on sludge, the council then denied a special-use permit for a parking lot capable of accommodating 300 cars.

Promised Land Inc. hoped to build a lot measuring approximately 300 feet by 325 feet on land at 11166 Big Tree Road.

The request was submitted to the Town Board in April but it was redirected to the Planning Board, which determined at its April 29 meeting that the town code doesn’t support the lot and its intended use.

That decision did not sit well with Mike Lina, owner of Mike Lina Paving, where the lot would have been built.

Lina and his wife, Kim, said they were under the impression that the Planning Board would contact him before making a decision.

“Nobody from the Planning Board called us,” said Kim Lina. “They were supposed to call us so we could be involved; so we could answer questions. We didn’t even know they met.”

After the meeting, Venditti said the Planning Board usually gives notice to parties of interest for items on its agenda, but he did not know if the board notified the Linas.

“I have to speak with the Planning Board chairman,” Venditti said. “I can’t speak for him.”

Venditti said the permit was denied because there are no “similar like uses” in any town zoning district.

“Zoning is inclusive,” added town attorney Ronald Bennett. “That means that a permitted use or special use must be listed. If it’s not listed, it’s not permitted.”

The lot would have been used as storage for a local car dealership.

Also Tuesday, a request from Verizon Wireless to construct a cell tower on property owned by Fine Line Collision, 12860 Big Tree Road, was tabled.

The board sent the request to the Planning Board for review in April because of concerns that the “fall zone” wouldn’t accommodate the 184-foot tower.

Bennett said the plans were also returned to Verizon representatives so that they could address the board’s concerns, but he hasn’t heard from them since a phone conversation with them in late April.